Business support scheme success

September 7, 2015

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.”

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The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership has now ceased trading and transferred all its functions to Shropshire Council working with Telford & Wrekin Council and Herefordshire Council, in line with the UK Government's plans for devolution.

The Marches LEP was established in 2011 and hands over an impressive legacy from its 13-year life. In that time the LEP invested over £196m in projects across the Marches, securing in excess of £100m of match funding and supported more than 66,000 business interactions.

The schemes supported have made tangible differences to local communities, increasing skills, creating jobs and improving the physical appearance of many towns.

We would like to thank all the LEP Board Members who have given their time freely over the life of the LEP, as well as all the staff who worked for the LEP over the years. We also want to thank our delivery partners, local education providers and local, regional and national stakeholders who helped us achieve so much.

The Marches Growth Hub will continue to support businesses and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford and Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Each of the three Local Authorities will also continue to provide direct business support locally. Details of this support will be available through the Marches Growth Hub website and from the Local Authorities directly. Website: | email:

The Marches Careers Hub will continue to be delivered and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford & Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Website: | email:

For any queries about Getting Building Fund (GBF), Local Growth Fund (LGF) and Marches Investment Fund (MIF) projects supported by the Marches LEP please contact:

For any finance queries please contact:

The solvent liquidation of the Marches LEP is being managed by the Evelyn Partners Limited. For any matter related to this please contact:

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