FIGURES for Business Link Berkshire and Wiltshire's 2002/03 year-end show that demand for business support services in Wiltshire increased by a massive 76 per cent compared with the same period the previous year.

A total of 6,907 businesses (3,920 the previous year) accessed Business Link's range of services, covering its support line, website and team of 30 business advisers.

Business Link expects the growth to continue and believes strong demand reflects continued confidence in businesses, despite the public view that the economy is in trouble.

During the year, Business Link has supported many more business events and provided its website service, currently catering for more than 3000 user downloads per month.

Partnerships with other business support organisations will continue to develop.

Business Link expects that increased co-operation with Chambers of Commerce, the Learning and Skills Council and the Federation of Small Businesses will help streamline the delivery of quality, relevant services to small and medium-sized businesses.

Daphne Milner, chief executive of Business Link Berkshire and Wiltshire, said: "These figures demonstrate the underlying confidence in the economy and the enthusiasm and commitment of Wiltshire's businesses to grasp the opportunities in the market.

"Wiltshire clearly remains a great place to do business," she said.