BUSINESSES are being urged to spell out the effect the coronavirus crisis is having on them.

On day one, Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) said it saw one-and-a-half times more calls for advice than it normally gets in a month.

The LEP has launched a survey in a bid to understand the impact Covid-19 is having on business operations across the county. It says the results will be used to help it understand what support businesses need.

Its support service Dorset Gateway – which works with Dorset Chamber – has been handling a rising tide of enquiries from businesses, owners and the self-employed. Business people have sought help on issues such as accessing government grants and loans, the coronavirus job retention scheme and changes to statutory sick pay.

Dorset Gateway manager Finn Morgan said: “This survey is important in allowing us to identify sectors in Dorset which may need specific support or assistance so that we can tailor it to best meet the needs of the region’s businesses.

“The results we gather will help us advise the government as they develop current, and future, Covid-19 business support measures. We’re also keen to hear from businesses that are adapting their products and services as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The LEP says the initiative is the next step after it took immediate action in mid-March to bolster the Dorset Gateway service, ensuring further resources to help businesses in the crisis. It has also been sending regular reports to the government to help inform national and local responses to the crisis.

Dorset LEP director Lorna Carver said: “At this extremely difficult time we want to make sure that businesses, their employees and the self-employed, have access to the full range of information and support on offer to help them.

“The additional resources we have invested into the Dorset Gateway service is one of what may be a number of measures above and beyond those introduced by the government that we introduce to help Dorset’s businesses manage and recover from this current crisis.”

The survey is at

Free one-to-one support is available from Dorset Gateway on 01202 714800.


t: 01202 411297


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