Expert help from Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire’s Growth Hub is helping local businesses to grow. Its Business Helpline, advice services and assistance with securing business grants and loans are benefitting thousands of local firms, the latest figures show.
The Growth Hub, run by Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, was among the first 20 to be launched in England. And its success is being replicated across the country, according to the latest figures from England’s 38 Local Enterprise Partnerships, which show the impact that support that the Growth Hub Network is having on small businesses.
Since its launch in 2014, a total of 6,078 businesses have engaged with the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub and 8,732 businesses have called its Business Helpline on 0300 111 8002, while the hub has made 7,542 referrals connecting local entrepreneurs with business support schemes in both the public and private sectors.
Together, the helpline and hub have helped nearly 3,500 people to launch their own business, while expert advisers have carried out a total of 860 in-depth diagnostics for small businesses, and 1,007 local businesspeople now have on-going support from mentors.
The national LEP figures, based on an independent evaluation, reveal that businesses that have been in contact with a Growth Hub are growing faster than other businesses both in terms of turnover (9% for beneficiaries compared to 2.5% on average) and employment (8% for beneficiaries compared to 0.1% for the comparison group).
Growth Hubs are having significant positive impact on the take-up of national support programmes, with an increase of almost 50% in the number of businesses receiving assistance from national providers.
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership chairman David Frost CBE commented: “These latest figures show the important role that our Growth Hub has in encouraging business development and creating a thriving and diverse local economy.
“There is a wide range of expert advice and assistance available to businesses in all sectors of the economy and I would urge local enterprises and start-ups to get in touch and take full advantage of the help on offer.”
Any local businesses or individuals wishing to access business support can call the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub Business Helpline on 0300 111 8002, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Growth Hub website: www.stokestaffsgrowthhub.co.uk
Examples of local firms aided by the Growth Hub include:
Bebbington Brick: Brick tinting firm Bebbington Brick Services, based at Bradley, near Cheadle, is working with a Growth Hub mentor to grow the business and was also signposted to Keele University’s Research and Innovation Support Programme (KRISP). Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, KRISP helps small firms to innovate and grow by providing additional personnel and academic expertise. KRISP matched Bebbingtons with two Keele masters degree students, who have been working with the firm to review and test its online marketing strategies to raise awareness of the Bebbington brand and increase direct sales. Business development manager Simon Morley is pictured above.
Great Grounds: Landscaping firm Great Grounds received £50,000 of funding via Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Growth Hub to convert redundant barns at Oak Tree Farm, Dilhorne, in the Staffordshire Moorlands, into its new base covering the West Midlands. Funding was secured from the European Regional Development Fund’s Business Growth Programme after the firm approached the Growth Hub for advice. Tony Millar, MD, is pictured below