A support hub for businesses across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent which has benefited nearly 4,000 companies will extend its delivery in 2017 with backing from the county council.
The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub is delivered by the Local Enterprise Partnership and has supported 3,852 businesses since it was established in 2014. Its advisors refer businesses to relevant organisations that can assist with support on a range of issues including access to finance, resource efficiency, innovation, mentoring, skills, growth coaching, manufacturing advice, start-up support, strategic relationships and export advice. The hub runs the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Business Helpline – 0300 111 8002. A quarter of calls to the business helpline have been about access to finance.
Staffordshire County Council is a major partner in the hub, forming part of a wider package of support to businesses to enable them to grow and create or safeguard jobs. It is a ‘first stop shop’ for businesses needing advice. This year, the hub will be providing additional support to businesses in a high growth position.
In addition to support and advice, the hub manages a new small business grant fund, offering grants of between £1,500 and £10,000 and arranges support events across the county.
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership chairman David Frost CBE said: “Our region has a strong track record of innovation, enterprise and creativity driven by small and medium enterprises – many of which have gone on to become household names. We are delighted that the Growth Hub’s advice services are supporting so many local businesses in bringing more and better jobs and continuing economic growth to our area.”
Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader Mark Winnington said: “The growth hub has played an invaluable role in supporting small and medium-sized businesses in Staffordshire and guiding them to future growth. It acts as a first port of call for businesses which need advice on a range of issues – from access to finance to employment laws. The county council plays an important role in the delivery of the hub, which supports our priority of ensuring there is continued economic growth in Staffordshire and job creation. It has achieved a great deal since it was set up in 2014 and we will be working closely with partners to ensure this continues.”
A progress report on the hub will be discussed by the county council’s Prosperous Staffordshire select committee on January 19.