- Service launched at event on 7th October
- Initiative aims to assist 10,000 businesses and create 500 new local jobs
- Growth Hub website has already secured over 5,000 unique visitors
Local companies have been urged to take advantage of the Greater Birmingham Growth Hub, which launched today at an event attended by over 300 entrepreneurs, business leaders and stakeholders.
Run by the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), the Growth Hub comprises a web portal, phoneline and one-to-one specialist advice. It is the new home for all business advice, funding and support in the area – providing a route for businesses to local organisations offering business support or funding.
Though particularly focused on small and medium sized businesses within the GBSLEP area, the Growth Hub is designed to assist companies along the region’s supply chains and across all sectors.
Mark Sayers, Deputy Director of Business Productivity and Growth Programmes at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, and Saqib Bhatti, GBSLEP Director and President of the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce, both spoke at the launch event, which was held at Birmingham Hippodrome.
Mark Sayers outlined the importance of the Growth Hub during his speech, stating:
“SMEs are pumping £1.3 trillion into the economy and are responsible for 50% of private sector employment. Encouraging these businesses to scale up, innovate, secure funding, export and access new markets is key to unlocking growth.
“Combining all the local and national services available in Greater Birmingham will provide the greatest benefits to businesses. The Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP and its Growth Hub will have a strong role to play in this.”
A further 18 companies and organisations exhibiting at the event – including national bodies UK Trade & Investment and the Manufacturing Advisory Service – provided free advice to delegates.
During the next 12 months, the Growth Hub will help with 7,200 business enquiries and contribute to creating 500 new jobs. The Hub is progressing strongly already, with its site – www.gbslepgrowthhub.co.uk – receiving over 5,000 unique visitors and handling more than 300 enquiries and requests for support.
The Growth Hub’s webs portal enables business owners to access information and advice about how to start, grow, run and finance their company effectively. Its tailored information directs users to the most appropriate information and support for them. Downloadable step by step guides, films and free event listings are also available online.
To date, the website’s sections about starting a business have become the most popular; reflecting Greater Birmingham’s strength as a start-up hotspot. In Birmingham alone, more than 18,000 firms were set up in 2014, more than any other UK city outside London, according to StartUp Britain.
Local businesses are also continuing to boost employment across the region. The GBSLEP area created 40,800 private jobs during 2014, according to the Office of National Statistics – growing at 6%, well above the national growth rate of 4.3%.
Growth Hub Manager Ian Mclaughlan said:
“Greater Birmingham’s economy is going from strength to strength – and our local companies deserve first class advice and support so they can grow, and recruit, even further. The growth of Greater Birmingham’s businesses, large and small, is crucial to its economic success, which is why the Growth Hub is such an important initiative for the GBSLEP.
“The Growth Hub is designed to make it much easier for firms to find the right support for them. From setting up a company to exporting, recruiting, securing funding or developing new products – there is information and guidance available for business owners based right across Greater Birmingham. Any business that wants to grow, or needs any kind of help, should contact the Growth Hub team as a one-stop-shop for advice.”
The initiative is part of the Government’s Small Business Strategy, with all 39 LEPs in the UK setting up a Growth Hub for local business advice. The Greater Birmingham Growth Hub will be serving one of the largest business communities in the country.
Birmingham-based manufacturer Radshape Sheet Metal has already used the services of a key Growth Hub partner, Finance Birmingham. It secured £1 million funding to invest in essential tools for the production of parts for a future Bentley vehicle. Finance Birmingham provided the funding as part of its £24m Tooling Funding Programme, which has been supported by the Regional Growth Fund.
Keith Chadwick, Managing Director, Radshape Sheet Metal, said:
“The support we received from Finance Birmingham has played a pivotal role in securing this new contract from Bentley and our future as a business. The funding we have received for tooling is simply unavailable from more traditional sources of finance.”
Picture caption: (left-right) Growth Hub manager Ian Mclaughlan, GBSLEP director Saqib Bhatti, deputy director of Business Productivity and Growth Programmes at BIS Mark Sayers, and GBSLEP programme delivery director Mike Carr.
Rebecca Bannister, Communications Manager at Marketing Birmingham: 0121 202 5112 / 07903 924 896 / email@example.com.
Notes to editors
The key partners supporting the Growth Hub comprise:
- Aston Business School
- Birmingham City Council
- Birmingham City University
- Business Growth Services
- Cannock Chase Council
- Digital Birmingham
- East Staffordshire Borough Council
- Finance Birmingham
- The Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce
- Innovation Birmingham Campus
- North Worcestershire EDR and Worcestershire Business Central
- Marketing Birmingham
- Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
- Stoke on Trend and Staffordshire Growth Hub
- Tamworth and Lichfield for Business
- University of Birmingham Business School