Businesses across the Marches are being urged to make 2018 the year they ‘scale up’, taking advantage of opportunities to help them grow on offer through the Marches Growth Hub.
The MGH delivers support and advice via its virtual hub at www.marchesgrowthhub.co.uk, where businesses can search a directory of more than 165 different schemes, from grants and loan finance to mentoring schemes and access to research and development expertise.
It also has three hubs venues in Shrewsbury, Telford and Hereford, the latter co-located with the University of Wolverhampton’s Business Solutions Centre, offering businesses the opportunity to meet face-to-face with business advisors.
Paul Hinkins, Chairman of the Marches Growth Hub and a Vice-Chairman of the Marches LEP, said the Government’s new Industrial Strategy included a commitment to back the UK’s network of growth hubs.
“We’re been extremely pleased with the success of the Marches Growth Hub to date, helping more than 14,000 businesses to access the support they need to grow.
“We’re moving into a different era in 2018, with the Government’s post-Brexit plan for developing the economy revealed in the Industrial Strategy, which included a promise to build on the Growth Hub programme so private and public sector partners continue to be brought together to benefit business.
“These partners include UK Research and Innovation, the British Business Bank, Tech Nation, investors and universities and like the Government, we want our growth hub to carry on building our reach and connecting businesses to the best support available from the private and public sectors.
“From funding schemes offering grants of up to £167,000 to access supply chain opportunities for HS2 to Innovation Vouchers offering £2,500 of support to companies looking to develop new products and bring them to market, the Marches Growth Hub can help businesses access a huge range of programmes designed to help them grow and create jobs.
“The Industrial Strategy includes a clear commitment to work with Local Enterprise Partnerships, Growth Hubs, universities and the private sector to support high potential businesses to ‘scale up’, which is why our companies here in Shropshire should be seeing 2019 as the year to get growing.”
The Marches Growth Hub works closely with a number of organisations delivering business support, including the Department for International Trade. In 2018, the Government will also be piloting intensive export growth support for potential scale-ups and particularly ambitious medium sized businesses.
Mr Hinkins added: “This includes co-investment to access commercial export support services, with each eligible business offered a grant on a 50:50 match funded basis and we very much welcome the commitment to work with Local Enterprise Partnerships and Growth Hubs to ensure joined up and easily accessible export and business growth advice.”
Since its launch in 2015, the support delivered via the Marches Growth Hub has contributed to the creation of more than 500 jobs in the region.