Businesses across the Marches are being urged to move quickly to take advantage of a hugely successful funding programme which has helped create almost 500 new jobs and establish six new businesses.
The Business Growth Programme (BGP2) has awarded almost £4.5million in grants to businesses across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin – but the funding comes to an end in the next month.
Now the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership – which promotes the scheme through its business support arm the Marches Growth Hub – is urging businesses to act quickly to apply for grants to meet the final March 22 deadline.
The programme, which is designed to help small, medium sized and start-up businesses grow is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund but is coming to an end following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
Start-up businesses are eligible to apply for grants of up to £10,000, whilst existing businesses in the Marches LEP area can apply for up to £1million.
Marches LEP chief executive Rachel Laver said the scheme had brought huge benefits across the region.
“BGP2 has been a real success story, supporting a wide range of established businesses and start-ups to realise their ambitions for growth. There is not much time left to apply for support and I would urge companies to contact the Marches Growth Hub urgently to see how the programme can help them.”
Joanna De Rycke, director of Shrewsbury-based speciality coffee roaster Iron & Fire received £50,000 as part of the scheme. She said: “Our business had reached the point where we needed to invest in new equipment and take on more staff. The grant meant we were able to invest in a new bespoke coffee roaster and take on three new members of staff as well as launch a new website.”
Emma Finch, from Hector Finch in Leominster, received a £30,000 grant to help expand into new premises. She said: “As a result of the move, the business has brought manufacturing processes in-house and created eight new jobs.”
The company, which designs and manufactures high end light fittings, has seen 50 per cent business growth over the past two years with 80 per cent of its products exported to the USA.
Emma added: “The Marches Growth Hub was hugely helpful in supporting us to access the funding and we initially aimed to create three jobs but we have created more than that. The whole experience has been extremely positive for us.”
Businesses intending to apply for the grant need to bear in mind that the deadline for applications is 22 March 2023.
The Business Growth Programme is designed to strengthen supply chains, stimulate innovation and help businesses grow. The programme is available to both start-ups and existing B2B SMEs in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.
Grant funding is limited and subject to availability for companies which meet the eligibility criteria.