Thinking of Starting Up or Expanding? Bromley Answers
F ollowing on from our article 'Thinking of Starting UP or Expanding' of the London boroughs inclined to answer our questions, we have published them in full for you to access their services

1. What is your organisation doing to promote small business and enterprise in your borough?

We have a Town Centre Management (TCM) service:

www.bromley.gov.uk/info/200097/town_centre_management

which provides liaison and support for businesses in the main town centres - including encouraging development and growth of business associations and traders groups and also Business Improvement Districts (BIDs). The TCM service also organises and supports seasonal public events in the town centres to drive additional footfall and awareness of the town centre offer - and thereby encouraging small businesses / enterprises in those locations. The TCM service organises promotional activities - e.g. publication of town guides, heritage trails etc.

The Council has been working during the past few years with Transport for London and other funders (such as the Mayor of London's Outer London Fund) to upgrade the public realm in many of the major town centres - to ensure that these towns remain attractive to visitors, shoppers and investors for years to come. You will see there is a major investment programme ongoing for Bromley North Village:

www.bromley.gov.uk/info/200079/regeneration/336/bromley_north_village-improvement_scheme

The Council also has a wider remit to promote small businesses across the borough, and this is done through provision of a Business Guide and Directory which is published every two years, and includes over 3500 local businesses which can be searched online (www.burrows.co.uk/business). We also have a dedicated section for Business on the Council website - with information of particular relevance to new and existing SMEs - including a free commercial property database. There is also a free business e-bulletin (www.bromley.gov.uk/businessebulletin), issued every 2 months, which provides all the latest news, support and events of interest to local small businesses.

2. Where can entrepreneurs access frontline services to business advice, guidance and support immediately?

The first port of call should be the Business section of the Council website - www.bromley.gov.uk/businessbut if they have a more specific enquiry they can email: business@bromley.gov.uk

3. Have you got a policy for encouraging start ups? If so, please elaborate?

We provide signposting to sources of support for start ups and have also run joint events with business support organisations - e.g. recently we have hosted 2 open evenings to introduce potential business owners to the government's Start Up Loans Scheme.

4, Are there any empty retail spaces that could be accessed to provide discounted market testing for start-ups?

In general the Council does not own retail properties in the town centres. There are some commercial / retail properties owned by the Council is outlying parts of the borough

see: www.bromley.gov.uk/downloads/200018/commercial_property

These are rented at market rates. Potentially, some vacant town centre properties could be used for this purpose, but it would require cooperation from private landlords.

5. Do you have a rent or rate free period to attract new business to your local high streets?

Most high street property is not Council owned, so we have no control over rental levels - although in recent months more private landlords have been considering tactics such as rent free periods to encourage occupancy. We are not in a position financially to be able to offer rate free periods - although small businesses may be eligible for the small business rate relief scheme.

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