More than 15,600 people have turned to the Marches Growth Hub to help start or grow their business since it launched one year ago, it was revealed today.
Developed by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership, the hub is a single point of access to business support information and advice in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.
The service’s business friendly website at www.marchesgrowthhub.co.uk was launched in October 2015, on the same day as the hub telephone helpline and the first physical growth hub centre in Telford. Marches Growth Hub Herefordshire opened in November 2015, and Marches Growth Hub Shropshire opened in Shrewsbury in March.
Paul Hinkins, Chairman of the Marches Growth Hub, said the website had received nearly 20,000 visits since it launched and more than 3,600 businesses had attended 194 Marches Growth Hub events.
“When we launched the Marches Growth Hub, our aim was to simplify the way businesses could access the information they needed to help start and grow their enterprises.
“We have been delighted with the way the business community has engaged with the Marches Growth Hub services. To mark the first anniversary, the hub website has unveiled a new look – making it even easier for visitors to search more than 120 different business support products and services on offer, including finance and funding programmes offering grants of between £10,000 to £200,000.
“More than £600,000 of grant funding has been secured by businesses in the last year through schemes including the Green Shoots and Business Growth Programme, and there are more applications in the pipeline so we expect this figure to rise before the end of the year.”
Business Minister and Local Growth Champion for the Marches, Jesse Norman MP said:
“There are now one million more small businesses in the UK than in 2010, creating jobs and driving local economies and communities.
“Growth Hubs play an important role in combining national and local support, encouraging entrepreneurial spirit across the country. I congratulate The Marches Growth Hub on its first anniversary, helping over 15,000 ambitious people start up and grow their own businesses.”
To date more than 5,100 people have either attended an event at one of the three Growth Hub centres, called the hub business support helpline on 0345 6000 727 or had a consultation either face-to-face or over the phone with a business support advisor.
Mr Hinkins added: “The Growth hub centres in Hereford, at Skylon Park in Hereford, and Telford, at the Telford Innovation Campus, have also been developed in partnership with Herefordshire Council and Telford & Wrekin Council, respectively, in association with the University of Wolverhampton.
“The Growth Hub centre in Shropshire at the Food Enterprise Centre in Shrewsbury is co-located with the Shropshire Chamber of Commerce and works closely with University Centre Shrewsbury. It is great to see all of these organisations working with the Marches LEP to benefit our businesses and help them achieve their potential.”