Shropshire’s comprehensive one-stop business advice service is among the best in the country – and set to get even better, its chairman says today.
Paul Hinkins says the Marches Growth Hub has a proven record of success but will not rest on its laurels in supporting business over the next 12 months.
Mr Hinkins said the hub – which offers vital business advice to new and existing companies across all business sectors – has already outperformed many of its counterparts to be ranked in the top 25 per cent in the country.
He said: "As one of the last growth hubs to be formed in the country we have rapidly grown to be firmly positioned as one of the best.
"We are now recognised as being in the top quartile of all 38 growth hubs and the Marches has one of the most successful start-up survival rates in the country, which is testimony to the visionary talent of the entrepreneurial business minds we have."
Mr Hinkins said plans were already in hand at the hub’s two bases in Telford and Shrewsbury to build on the success over the next 12 months.
"As with any organisation we are always looking for continuous improvement and for 2019 we will look to further strengthen our relationship with our strategic partners, both local and national.
"We will continue to work with the Telford and Shropshire Business Boards, which enables us to listen to business needs for now and the future.
"The next 12 months will also see increased activity around the issue of skills because we recognise just how vital it is that the region’s workforce is equipped with the knowledge that business needs.
"The Marches Growth Hub has a comprehensive offer and is proof that the close partnership we have established between the private and public sectors works for the good of everyone in the region.
"We have an excellent relationship with our two local authorities, whose Business Support and Economic Development teams support the growth hubs, and with our partners the University of Wolverhampton and University Centre Shrewsbury who provide us with excellent facilities. They are all true ambassadors for Telford and Shropshire."
The growth hub will launch a series of campaigns in 2019 and stage a number of high-profile events to give businesses the help and support they need to thrive.
The hubs will start the year supporting a campaign to help entrepreneurs launch their own businesses called #getstarted, and also back drives to boost the use of digital technology.
They will also focus on export campaigns and access to finance issues alongside offering a comprehensive range of support, funding advice, workshops and face-to-face advice sessions for new and growing businesses.
Last year, the Marches Growth Hub Shropshire helped more than 2,000 businesses with their launch and growth plans from its base at Battlefield Enterprise Park in Shrewsbury.
It also delivered 79 separate events between January and October attracting 1,482 people through its doors and organised 330 face-to-face business sessions.
Meanwhile Marches Growth Hub Telford & Wrekin revealed that it had secured £1.4million in grants for businesses in its first three years.
The hub, which is delivered by Telford & Wrekin Council and based at the University of Wolverhampton’s Innovation Campus in Priorslee, says it has helped more than 1,500 small and start-up firms in that time, run 383 different events attended by 4,758 delegates and handled 1,992 phone enquiries from businesses keen to access its services.
The two hubs are joining forces to try to boost the use of digital technology in the county’s workplaces, with a high-profile event planned for the spring.
They are also working on a joint event to help companies make the most of the procurement process to be staged in Shrewsbury at the end of February.
*This article from Paul featured in the Shropshire Star Business Supplement in January 2019. You can view the whole supplement here: