Growth Voucher Advisors


  • Maldon financial expert offers advice as part of new £30m Growth Vouchers initiative
  • The programme distributes subsidies of up to £2,000 for business advice
  • Part of a brand new advice marketplace aimed at encouraging SMEs to take on good advice

A Maldon financial expert is set to deliver strategic start-up advice as part of the Government’s £30m Growth Vouchers Programme.

Chris Devereux-Cooke, director of accredited small business financial advice firm Caris Brook Ltd, is part of a new scheme that aims to help start-ups and SMEs to take on board advice at an early stage via a purpose-built marketplace.

The new Growth Vouchers scheme offers advice and guidance to businesses taking part and subsidies of up to £2,000 towards the cost of that advice to successful applicants.

The programme will then monitor SME performance over the coming years in order to assess the impact that advice has had.

Chris Devereux-Cooke said: “If we can help start-ups in the Maldon area take their businesses to another level whilst keeping an eye on cash flow for example, it will set them in good stead to become sustainable businesses contributing to the long-term prosperity of this part of Essex.

“The Growth Voucher marketplace will hopefully mean taking advice becomes an integral step for people forming a new business, leading to enhanced sustainability and economic growth.”

The Growth Vouchers programme is also being run as a randomised control trial (RCT) by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Cabinet Office’s Behavioural Insights Team. RCTs are widely regarded as a gold standard for empirical research. This is the first time an RCT has been run on this scale and aims to find out what sort of business advice is most effective for government to support.

The marketplace is designed to make it easier for businesses to find providers of strategic advice on key topics like:

  • Improving leadership and management;
  • Making the most of digital technology;
  • Managing cash-flow, late payments and negotiating finance;
  • Marketing, attracting and keeping customers;
  • Developing skills and taking on staff.

Businesses that have been running for a year, with fewer than 50 employees, and have not paid for strategic external advice in the past three years will be able to apply at They will go through a process which will help them identify what sort of advice they might benefit from. Small business network Enterprise Nation has developed a marketplace for business advice where participants will then be able to find a qualified adviser at

The new marketplace is funded by private sector firms: technology specialist Toshiba, co-working expert Regus, cloud-based collaboration and data sharing software provider Citrix, telecoms brand Vodafone, cloud-based accounts, payroll software provider Sage One, email marketing campaign brand Constant Contact and EDF Energy which are showing their support for small businesses by backing the initiative.

It is also supported by professional bodies including the ACCA, ICAEW, AIA,  CIPD, CMI and the CIM.

The scheme comes in the context of record numbers of start-up businesses across the UK, with more 526,446 registered in 2013.

The Growth Vouchers programme will run until March 2015. To apply for a voucher go to

For more details contact:

Chris Devereux-Cooke   –