LEP marks record of success in business support
The Marches Growth Hub – the one-stop home for business support and advice across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford – has helped more than 50,000 businesses achieve their ambitions, new figures show.
The hub has helped a total of 52,295 businesses with some form of support since it was established six years ago, the figures reveal.
In that time, business advice experts have also helped 1,910 businesses to start up while the hub’s comprehensive website has attracted 103,986 unique visitors. Business support is delivered in partnership with Herefordshire Council, Shropshire Council and Telford & Wrekin Council.
The figures have been released to mark ten years of the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership and its Decade of Delivery. The LEP oversees the Marches Growth Hub.
Dave Courteen, the chair of the Marches Business Support Steering Group and Marches LEP small business champion, said the figures showed the huge impact the hub has had across the region.
“This is real help being delivered to real businesses day in, day out across the whole of the Marches region to ensure that our businesses are in the best possible shape to continue to grow and prosper,” said Dave.
“The success of the hub since it was launched in 2015 has been exceptional. We have become the go-to place for all business support and advice and helped thousands of entrepreneurs and innovators realise their ambitions.
“We have been able to do that through the unique way we work – in partnership with our public and private sectors alongside our skills and training providers and funding programmes, so that we can ensure we have all the information that businesses need right at our figertips.”
Examples of the key role the Marches Growth Hub has played in helping businesses across the region to succeed include:
- EMS: The environmental management consultancy has opened new offices in Hereford thanks to help from the Marches Growth Hub Herefordshire. The move has created two full-time and one part-time job and seen the development of the county’s first asbestos testing laboratory. Business development and marketing manager Lucy Harris said: “Our whole experience of working with the hub has been so positive that we will definitely look to build on the relationship to help us develop further growth. The help and support is so easy to access that we would encourage all other businesses to follow our example.”
- Planet Doughnut: The Shrewsbury company has enjoyed a meteoric rise in just three years to become one of the region’s best-loved brands, employing 32 people at its Battlefield bakery and a further eight in its retail operations. Help from The Marches Growth Hub has seen it move to a new state-of-the-art bakery, access funding programmes and develop its business plan. Duncan McGregor, who founded the company with his wife Samantha, said: “The help and support we have had from the Marches Growth Hub Shropshire has been instrumental in our continued success. The hub has supported me literally from the get-go and has always been easy to contact and work with.”
- Global Minds: The software services company is more than doubling in size after moving from London to Telford thanks to help from the Marches Growth Hub. Executive Director Hema Kumar says the company’s planned expansion – which will take the workforce to 70 by the end of next year and which has also seen revenue soar by 20 per cent – could not have been possible without the support of the Marches Growth Hub Telford & Wrekin. “The growth hub has been outstanding. They have given us excellent guidance and support and helped us find exactly the right offices in the most desirable location in the town centre.”
Other key figures revealed in the official report to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy show that 52,851 people have received ‘light touch’ triage, information and/or signposting support from the hub, 408 businesses have been given ‘high intensity’ support and 688 have been referred to a funding programme.
The hub’s comprehensive website – https://www.marchesgrowthhub.co.uk – features links to advice programmes, workshops, events, funding information, regional and national assistance and an unrivalled database of business support.
The hub also has bases in Hereford, Shrewsbury and Telford where its work is delivered in partnership with the local authority business support teams.
“Our satisfaction surveys showed an overwhelming number of businesses we come into contact with are satisfied with the support they receive,” said Dave.
The hub has worked alongside other growth hubs across the West Midlands during the pandemic to ensure its help reached as many businesses as possible, and has also supported the recruitment of extra advisers in key sectors, Dave added.