Telling the truth about SME life today

Business Link bites back

“There’s an obvious and enduring problem with Business Link: a complete lack of quality assurance on the organisations they recommend,” we wrote in the September edition of Real Business. “For example, in the East of England, entrepreneurs looking for advice on how to write a business plan will be given a list of more than 200 consultants. None of these has been vetted by Business Link. To appear on the list, one need only supply three references. The entrepreneur has no idea which consultant is highly regarded. Business Link will not advise – it is supplier-neutral. The entrepreneur is forced to pick a consultant at random. The remedy to this is to introduce a feedback system.”

On reading this attack, David Parkin, RDA Business Link network director, decided to get in touch: “I would like to clarify the quality assurance that Business Link provides its customers,” he said.

He went on to explain how suppliers registering with Business Link are required to provide references from existing clients, and details of professional memberships, accreditations and quality standards achieved. “Business Link is an impartial service, so it does not promote one supplier over another and encourages customers to research the shortlisted suppliers,” he explained.

Read his full letter here.

What do you think” Does Business Link go far enough to vet suppliers or should it, as we believe, adopt a more transparent, eBay-style feedback system where entrepreneurs can report their experiences about business-support providers?

Have your say and post a comment below.

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