Retail support programme launched to boost local businesses

Business support

31 January 2024

Retail Support Programme image

Local retail businesses and entrepreneurs are being invited to join North Northamptonshire Council’s new programme of support and mentoring to help them grow, thrive, build resilience, and achieve success.

Consisting of a dynamic mix of workshops, mentoring sessions, webinars, events with networking opportunities, and tailored support, the expert-led retail support programme is available free of charge to eligible businesses. 

The Council has partnered with Smarter Society to deliver the programme which is made possible through investment from the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). It covers a range of vital topics designed to help businesses flourish including customer service, retail excellence, sales support, website development, social media expertise, and more.  

A key part of the new retail support programme is the commitment to engage with local businesses through Smarter Society’s ‘Beat the Streets’ initiative which sees the team actively visiting the 12 towns that make up North Northamptonshire, and retail businesses operating there.

This hands-on approach allows the team to get to know the business and understand the unique challenges they face to identify specific areas where support is most needed.

We are thrilled to be partnering with North Northamptonshire Council to bring this transformative free support and mentoring programme to local retail businesses in the area.

Town centres, high streets and in particular the retail landscape are facing many challenges, and we are here to equip businesses with the tools and confidence they need to navigate these and build resilience, as well as encouraging and shaping ideas to help them thrive.

Initiatives like this are not only important to support local businesses, but also for strengthening the local economy and building stronger communities.  

We have met many businesses local to the area and we are excited to be rolling out this fantastic programme of support for them.  We are urging them to sign up to receive the free support, mentoring and events available, and are looking forward to seeing where the programme leads for North Northamptonshire.
Brian Pinnell, Programme Lead for Smarter Society
Our little sweet shop holds a special place in the community, and I am proud of what we have achieved over the years and how far the business has come.

Small businesses face many challenges and the Council’s new Retail Support Programme will help us to continue to build resilience to these as well as develop skills and make important new connections.

As a small business owner, I am learning all the time and am grateful for opportunities like this because they are an investment into the future success of the business.  I’m excited to get involved with this brilliant opportunity and see where it takes The Sugar Barn.
Karen Walters, owner of The Sugar Barn

Experts from the Smarter Society team have already spent time visiting businesses in Kettering, Corby, Rothwell, and Burton Latimer, with further visits planned to Raunds, Irthlingborough, Oundle, Desborough, Higham Ferrers, Rushden, Thrapston and Wellingborough over the coming weeks.

Local businesses wanting to enrol on the support and mentoring programme should be independent retailers with a business in North Northamptonshire. The event series is available to any local business in the area.

Businesses can find out more and register interest online.