More than 180 business representatives attended the Telford Business Summit, which saw the opening of a state-of-the-art facility for business support in Telford.
The Marches Growth Hub Telford & Wrekin will help businesses “flourish and become more competitive”, operating alongside the virtual hub, a business support website and dedicated enquiry phone line.
The Business Summit hosted the inaugural event of the hub, which focused on cyber security for businesses, and was followed by tours of the facility at the Telford Innovation Campus at the University of Wolverhampton.
Chairman of the Telford Business Board, Paul Hinkins, explained how the business boards, along with business champions from industry sectors and the local authority, were working in partnership with the Marches LEP to drive business growth in the region.
“The Business Board aims to listen to the needs of our businesses and understand the challenges they face and also to influence economic strategy and the skills agenda to support growth – local, regional, national & international,” he said.
Chairman of the Marches LEP, Graham Wynn, told businesses: “The Marches Growth Hub is one of 30 developed across England to simplify and streamline the support offered to businesses. Each one is different and ours is a virtual hub, supported by three physical hub, the first of which is here in Telford.
“Telford & Wrekin Council has developed a fantastic space here with its partner, the University of Wolverhampton.”
The hub offers hot desk facilities, meeting rooms for hire and space for business advisors to hold face-to-face meetings with businesses looking for support.
Councillor Shaun Davies, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for Business, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Telford Business Board and the University of Wolverhampton to offer our businesses a state-of-the art physical growth hub, here at the Telford Innovation Campus.
“This will very much complement the virtual hub, but offer our businesses much more – we want our Hub to help business to flourish, to become more competitive and increase productivity and profitability.
“The Hub will ensure that our businesses get access to all of the support they need under one roof – it will be a model of partnership working with the Chamber, UKTI, the national Business Growth Service and other local and regional partners accessible through the Hub. Support may be through access to finance, coaching and mentoring, support to export or access to other expertise locally.”
Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton, Professor Ian Oakes, added: “The University of Wolverhampton is proud to play a leading role in this scheme and we recognise the importance of attracting government funding into our region to support local business growth.”