Motorway at night


Tender Opportunity: Business Advice Services

This invitation is issued by Cumbria Chamber of Commerce/Cumbria Business Growth Hub. It covers business advice for the following initiatives delivered within its Cumbria Business Growth Hub umbrella:

  • ERDF Growth Hub project (including supply chain)
  • ERDF BSUS Business Start-Up Support project
  • New Enterprise Allowance
  • Other potential business support projects/initiatives

We are looking to renew our pool of experienced business advisers (individual advisers and/or specified individuals within an organisation), both generalist and specialist, to carry out business reviews/training needs analyses, develop action plans and deliver advice and coaching to businesses (primarily small and medium-sized businesses [SMEs]) and/or potential start-ups in Cumbria.

This will be a flexible pool of contracted advisers, drawn on as needed depending on factors such as levels of demand, client needs and preferences, experience and specialisms.

The pool may also be used for other similar business support projects.

Note that this tender is to replace the existing pool for the relevant projects.

Advisers already contracted must reapply if they wish to continue to work on these projects and/or to work on future projects in the next four years.

Tender documentation

  • Invitation to Tender here
  • Schedule A Certificate of Non-Collusion here  (editable version here)
  • Schedule B Form of Tender here   (editable version here)
  • Schedule C Commercially Sensitive Information here   (editable version here)
  • Schedule D Undertaking here   (editable version here)
  • Schedule E PQQ here   (editable version here)
  • Schedule F Adviser Tender Tables here   (editable version here)
  • Schedule G Sample contract here   (editable version here)
  • Schedule H Award Criteria here   (editable version here)


The current ERDF projects run until approximately June 2023.

The current New Enterprise Allowance project is open to new referrals until at least March 2021.

This pool will be in operation for up to four years.

It is intended that contracts will start from 9th March 2020.

Note that there will be no commitment to a particular number of hours under the contracts, either in total or in any given period.

Instructions for submission

Submissions must be submitted by post or email to Lesley Robinson, Growth Hub Project Manager, Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, 3rd Floor Broadacre House, 16-20 Lowther Street, Carlisle, CA3 8DA, by no later than 12 noon on 20th February 2020.

Any tender received after the deadline will not be opened or considered.

Important note re: process

The Chamber is not a contracting authority. This procurement is accordingly not subject to the requirements of EU public procurement law or the EU Treaty Principles relevant to public procurement, and, to the extent that any aspect of this procurement process which might bear any resemblance to a public procurement process, any such resemblance does not amount to a commitment to be bound by EU public procurement law and does not signify that such law applies.

Questions & responses

  • Do I need to be a Chamber member to tender? – No
  • In the ITT each criteria has an associated word count (Relevant expertise, qualifications and experience (word limit 500 words), is this the total word count or 500 words per lot and 500 words per specialism tendered for? – It’s 500 words per lot
  • Schedule E asks for 3 contracts relevant to Chamber – my contracts have all been Chamber work so would I put down BSUS/GH, NEA and Catalyst for example?  – It’s fine to list Chamber contracts, please don’t list Lesley Robinson as a reference
  • Do all the forms need to be printed, wet signatures, scanned and returned or can I just type in the signature boxes as I am submitting via email – Typed signature is acceptable
  • Do I need to complete schedule G sample contract? – No it’s just an example contract
  • I wonder can you tell me how many hours a week it might be and a bit more about how it works – do we need to find clients ourselves or do you do that for us? – I can’t give any indication around working hours etc, advisers are allocated on a ranked basis which takes into account the score of the tender and distance to the client. Highest ranked advisers will obviously get more work than lower-ranking advisers but this depends on client demand and location. Clients can either be allocated by ourselves or you can bring clients into the project(s) as long as they meet the eligibility criteria in place.
  • Can it work around existing business and your specialism and what experience do you need to have to apply? – There are various lots to apply for, apply for the ones you would feel comfortable supporting either start-ups or established businesses in and list any relevant experience you have under those lots looking at your employment history, any relevant qualifications or training undertaken etc.
  • [Can] I just clarify one aspect of the Tender Submission. The Lot Category:  Funding (including Submissions) does this include all Subsidy work for both Pools and wider Leader applications or just the wider category? I’m happy to do the Chamber funding applications but have little experience or interest in the bigger financing projects. – No we wouldn’t include subsidies in that category.