A new business serviceacross the Marches has already helped thousands of organisations to unlock support and guidance towards growth, it has been revealed.
Since the virtual Marches Growth Hub launched late October 2015, more than 5,000 users have accessed the online business support website www.marchesgrowthhub.co.ukwith more than 35,600 different pages visited.
Three physical hubs, offering face-to-face advice, have opened in Telford, Shrewsbury and Hereford. Between October to March they have hosted 76 Marches Growth Hub events, attracting more than 2,080 people. Business support advisers at the hubs have held one-to-one consultations with 278 people over the same period.
More than 200 direct enquiries have been dealt with through the dedicated business support line – 0345 6000 727 – and via email, and through other direct referrals.
A series of pop up roadshows will visit market towns in Shropshire and Herefordshire in the coming months to deliver Marches Growth Hub Services to more rural business.
The statistics about the success of the Marches Growth Hub have been released to mark the national Growth Hub week and the completion of the network of Growth Hubs around the country.
The Marches Growth Hub is an initiative delivered by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership aligned with the national BusinessisGREAT campaign. The LEP also supported the creation of the three hub sites working with its partners Herefordshire Council, Shropshire Council and Telford & Wrekin Council.
Paul Hinkins, Chairman of the Marches Growth Hub, said the Marches LEP was delighted with the response to the service.
"The strong uptake of services has demonstrated there was a clear need for the help that the Marches Growth Hub is now providing through a single brand delivering business support in our region.
"We are dealing with organisations in the one to five year bracket that are looking to grow and develop as well as small to medium sized businesses and our larger employers. The Marches has an eclectic mix of businesses from small cottage industries to major manufacturers but the Marches Growth Hub can cater for all.
"We look forward to developing plans in the future and continuing to help businesses access the support they need to create a stable and sustainable economy in the area."
Business Minister Anna Soubry added: "Small businesses are the beating heart of our economy and this government continues to build the right environment for them to thrive.
"We will keep cutting red tape and business taxes, improving access to finance and broadband, and taking forward the measures in the Enterprise Act to cement our position as the best place in Europe to do business.
"Growth Hubs have already helped thousands of businesses and, with the full network up and running, every registered business in England can access the expertise they need to succeed. Marches Growth Hub will help entrepreneurs boost their business and create more jobs for people in the local area."
As well as the core virtual hub, employers are now also able to access a dedicated Employer Skills Search website developed to help businesses find information on apprenticeships and training available from providers in the Marches.
Mr Hinkins added: "The Employers Skills Search was launched in March and already it is adding value not only to what the Marches Growth Hub can offer companies but also directly to employers."