Coronavirus update: More than 40,000 firms log on to Business West’s Covid-19 advice portal

April 17, 2020

More than 40,000 businesses have sought advice and guidance on how they can survive the coronavirus pandemic from a special service set up by Business West, the organisation behind Bristol Chamber of Commerce.

Trading Through Coronavirus, which went live exactly a month ago, provides expert information and guidance to businesses as well as capturing detailed intelligence to guide the economic response to the crisis at a local and national level. 

Figures released by Business West earlier this week show 40,000-plus businesses from across the West of England had already used the service, at the centre of which is an online portal with answers to frequently asked questions and up-to-the minute expert legal and financial advice.

There is also a facility to submit questions direct to Business West advisors and even a regular video and podcast series.

Business West has also this week launched a survey running in tandem with the Trading Through Coronavirus hub to establish an evidence base reflecting the true impact of the coronavirus pandemic on businesses and the economy in the region.

With more than 500 responses received so far, the results of the survey will be fed back to national government via the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), which is in regular contact with the Chancellor.

The portal was created by the Business West team behind its award-winning Trading Through Brexit service, which has helped thousands of businesses prepare successfully for life after Brexit. 

Business West managing director Phil Smith, pictured, said: “The unprecedented challenges businesses face has generated an unparalleled demand for trusted advice, information and guidance and, as a result, businesses have been coming to us in their droves.

“As the crisis unfolded, we at Business West moved quickly to fill the information void and launched our Trading Through Coronavirus service.

“With each of the local authorities in our region signposting businesses to us, we have become the go-to resource for business in South West England at what is an incredibly difficult time for the regional and national economy.

“Our route into Westminster, the mobilisation of our members to provide pro-bono legal and financial advice and our ability to quickly answer the questions that business throws at us has enabled us to cultivate this unique position, not only as the region’s largest business organisation, but as the most trusted when it comes to navigating their companies through the coronavirus pandemic.”

Among those using the Trading Through Coronavirus portal is Rebecca Prior, director of Bristol-based product design company Prior Made.

She said: “Business West have been the core of information and support during these trying times. The information we have been given from the government is hard to decipher when you’re in panic mode and the team at Business West have tirelessly replied to every question I’ve asked.

“The questions they cannot answer I know they are going out of their way to find the answers for me.”


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