Business support scheme success
European funded business support schemes in the Marches have created or safeguarded nearly 800 jobs, new reports have revealed.
An external independent review of six programmes – the Business Enterprise Fund, the Marches Environment Technology Network (metnet), Marches Grads for Business, Optimising Business Broadband, and the Redundant Buildings Grant scheme – revealed that collectively they led to 776 new or safeguarded roles and placed 45 graduates into local businesses.
The schemes worked with more than 500 businesses, established 60 new businesses and helped 57 to expand as well as attracting £8.34m of private investment into the Marches.
Marches LEP Chairman Graham Wynn welcomed the evaluation results, which can be downloaded from the LEP’s website. He said: “These figures should be set in context against what has been a very difficult economic backdrop over the past few years.
“All programmes performed very well against their targets, in the majority of cases exceeding them, and delivered targeted business advice, support and grants where it was needed. There have been important lessons learnt from the delivery of all these projects that we will be taking forward into the delivery of the Marches Growth Hub.”
The Marches Growth Hub brings together all the national and local business support in a ‘one stop shop’. The hub will be based around a comprehensive business support website and dedicated enquiry phone line for firms to access funding, support and advice, alongside three physical hubs in each of the Marches local authority areas.
LEP Director Gill Hamer added: “We want to consolidate and build on the success of these EU-funded schemes, delivered both by the LEP and its partners. The evaluation noted that the voice of businesses needs to be heard when shaping future support for businesses in the Marches. The new Marches Growth Hub will address that and streamline and simplify access to advice and support.”