SME Support

AP Benson has been engaged to assist in the development and delivery of a range of SME support programmes.   These include:

Engagements as a programme designer:

Development of the Digitally Networked Businesses (DnB) initiative: working with the Department for the Economy and Transport (DE&T) within the Welsh Assembly Government to develop an initiative among SME businesses in the 14 sectors identified as important by the Ministerial Advisory Group in Wales.   A DnB is, firstly, a group of participants that identify the business need to develop collaboration, cooperation and competition in their sector in order to compete with larger organisations.   This can be delivered by developing an electronic marketplace supporting organisations and individuals that want to "do business with one another."     Initial work was undertaken with the Wales Innovators Network and in the Social Housing sector supply chain.   Subsequently we were asked to undertake the development of manuals for managing the deployment of a series of DnBs.   One manual is aimed at prospective participant companies, offering guidance on the development of a DnB and the second manual is aimed at DE&T personnel and sets out the process for managing a programme of DnB development across a number of sectors.  

Innovation Centre Development: AP Benson led the development of The Innovation Centre at Howbery Park along with its associated business accommodation for HR Wallingford Ltd.   Work included the development of a business case, collaboration with the Southern Oxfordshire Enterprise Hub and development of an ICT infrastructure. Consultancy support was also provided in addressing legal matters and property disputes.

ICT Advisory Centres: Development of delivery manuals for the ICT Advisory Centres programme in Wales.   We were asked to assist in the development of manuals for individual consultants and programme managers for the delivery of this service.   We later contributed to the review of the programme and to its subsequent withdrawal and replacement by the new E-Business and IT Advisory Service from the DE&T.

Supported Turnaround Interventions: We are currently engaged in the development of a programme, working with Regional Development Agencies, for early intervention in businesses facing a downturn.   Early intervention is particularly important if a turnaround is to be achieved.    There is also a need to  raise the profile of Business Recovery and Turnaround services with staff in the UK's regional development agencies to ensure appropriate and rapid signposting, and, where appropriate, funding of turnaround assistance by relationship managers.   Debt Management: Alongside this, we have developed a programme for the provision of consultancy services to advise regional and local government on the actions needed, in the current economic climate, to prevent local businesses and people becoming trapped by debt.

Engagements as a delivery partner:

The Waste & Resource Action Programme (WRAP): AP Benson was recently appointed to deliver Business Development advice to SME businesses in the environmental sector.   AP Benson has a number of consultants who can demonstrate experience in a range of relevant disciplines from environmental modelling, through waste materials management and recycling to bio-remediation.   

The Corus Regeneration Project: working with the Welsh Assembly Government, a series of interventions with SME businesses based in Ebbw Vale and the surrounding valleys.   AP Benson assisted companies ranging from furniture manufacturers, through DVD distribution companies to companies engaged in the production of engineering products.   Companies assisted included Capita Gwent, a subsidiary of Capita, the UK's leading outsourcing company, Prima Furniture, Pramac Group and Optical Alliance.

The SME-Business Programme: again with Welsh Assembly Government, a programme delivering IT Transformation services.   "We were able to examine individual business needs, evaluating current ICT support and systems and proposing an action plan for each business to improve and upgrade. The primary focus of the project is to give business tailored advice on ICT solutions providing systems and processes that allow sustainability, growth and increased profitability" stated Tom Girn, Managing Director, AP Benson "TES, AB Glass, SA Partners, Monex, Electronic Screen were amongst the participating companies".

The E-Business and  IT Advisory Service: the next generation project, following on from SME-Business, AP Benson was recently accepted as a service delivery partner under this programme.