Thousands of businesses have been given vital help during the coronavirus crisis by the Marches Growth Hub, new figures show.
The hub – the expert one-stop business advice and support service for Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin – handled a huge rise in inquiries from worried companies and business people during the lockdown.
Its three bases in Hereford, Shrewsbury and Telford were at the forefront of the drive to keep businesses informed about the fast-changing situation throughout the spring and early summer and help them survive the crisis.
New figures released today by the hub covering April to July reveal:
• Staff dealt with nearly 5,000 telephone calls asking for advice
• Hub staff received more than 9,500 emails from businesses
• The hubs have supported nearly 90 virtual events to help business recover from the crisis
• More than 1,600 took advantage of the hub’s virtual events
• More than 450 calls were also received by the Business Support Helpline
Yasmin Sulaman, Marches Growth Hub Business Support Lead, said the figures reflected the hub’s position as the region’s foremost business support service.
"These figures are a testament to the incredibly hard work of all our business support staff during a very difficult period.
"They show that the growth hub – whether in virtual form or through our three physical bases – is a valued and trusted point of contact for all types of business looking for help and support.
"The number of phone inquiries shows a huge increase on previous years, inquiries to the virtual hub are also up on the same period last year and despite the restrictions we have been able to stage a comparable number of events to help the business community, albeit virtually.
"Our satisfaction surveys also showed that businesses across the region were very impressed with the way we dealt with their inquiries and the help we were able to offer."
The Marches Growth Hub brings together all national and local business support in one place for the first time and is fully aligned to the Government’s ‘Business is GREAT’ campaign.
Backed by the UK Government, the Business Support Helpline – 0800 998 1098 – provides free, impartial business support and signposting services to businesses in England.