A business growth programme in Worcestershire is celebrating having successfully delivered a mix of financial and consultancy support to help local businesses to grow.
The Investing in Growth programme, which was funded through the European Regional Development Fund with contributions from Worcestershire County and District Councils ran between May 2017 and September 2019 and benefited fifty-two businesses with grants totalling over £860,000 and over 500 hours of bespoke financial consultancy.
The programme enabled twenty-seven SMEs to access 45% grant funding of up to £50,000 towards the cost of expanding, relocating, purchasing machinery and market research.
A total of twenty-eight businesses also accessed investment advice and expert support to help them raise funds for growth projects. This one-to-one investment readiness support included identifying suitable loans or equity deals and making introductions to business angels. To date, ten of the participating SMEs have secured funding.
As a result of the advice and funding provided, over 100 jobs have been created within the SMEs supported by the programme, with roles including operatives, fabricators, software specialists and production engineers.
Ken Pollock, Worcestershire County Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for Economy and Infrastructure said:
“We are delighted with the outcome of the Investing in Growth programme and how it is has supported businesses in the region to achieve their growth dreams and help put Worcestershire firmly on the global map.”
In addition to grant funding and investment advice, the programme has also funded the marketing and promotion of Worcestershire as a business destination, to encourage national and international businesses to relocate to the region. This included funding the creation of the promotional website Invest in Worcestershire, and brochures for game changer sites that offer premises and facilities for businesses looking to invest in the region.
The Investing in Growth programme is designed to help SMEs in Worcestershire initiate significant expansion projects through the provision of advice and funding. The programme supports businesses to become investment ready and then assists them to apply for and access relevant funding.
One business supported through the programme is Rocket Caravans Ltd. The manufacturer of retro aluminium caravans, based in Kidderminster, received grant funding towards the cost of moving premises and buying new equipment. The Investing in Growth team at WCC guided the business through the application process enabling them to secure the funding needed to move to a more prestigious location, and thanks to the improved layout, implement a production flow process which has saved hours on the build of each caravan. As managing director Peter Carrick said:
“We wouldn’t have been able to do this without the funding we received through the Investing in Growth programme. Its enabled us to get started straightaway, rather than waiting for our own funding to get into place, which would have taken twelve to eighteen months.”
Anyone wishing to find out more about the support available for Worcestershire SMEs should visit the Worcester Business Central site www.business-central.co.uk or call 01905 677888.
- Contact Name:
- Wendy Garrad
- Worcestershire County Council
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