There’s never been a better time to be a small business in the Humber Region.
With the launch of the Humber Business Growth Hub’s #GrowMySME programme, finding the right advice, support and funding for start-ups and small to medium businesses ready to grow is now as easy as dialling a number.
Words by Jo Smedley, Small Business Champion for the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)
This November saw the launch of the Humber LEP’s Growth Hub #GrowMySME programme; a new initiative seeking to make the Humber one of the UK’s top regions for SME growth in the next three years.
This exciting programme is open to all small to medium sized businesses based within the Humber region, and it is estimated that 98% of the businesses within the Humber region will be eligible to apply.
Over 400 businesses attended the 5 different launch events held in a variety of different venues across the region, which just goes to show the strength of interest across the Humber in what the new scheme has to offer.
Although business support has been available within the region for some time, this is the first time that the four Humber local authorities and E-factor have worked so closely together to deliver such a comprehensive programme aimed at encouraging growth and development of small to medium businesses.
The key message from small businesses present was how easy it was to access the support now available through the Growth Hub and how important it was to access the right advice to support growth as early as possible.
“There is a widely held belief in small business that if you can’t make it on your own, you shouldn’t make it at all” said Alex Wright of Knapton Wright during his key note speech at Forest Pines. “In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.”
Thanks to funding already received through the Growth Hub, businesses are growing and taking on new staff.
Allan Rice, Managing Director of Atom Beers who was the key note speaker for the Hull launch commented: “We’ve already got our eyes on future expansion.” Allan encouraged the attendees to contact the Growth Hub team as early as possible to get the most out of the scheme.
In Grimsby, Quick Box Solutions had a great idea and thanks to grant funding they were able to make that idea a reality fast and have seen a ridiculous level of growth within just 12 months.
“The Humber is a great place to set up and grow” said Murray Sellars of Quick Box Solutions who spoke at the Oakland launch. “I keep encouraging other business owners to move up here.”
“It’s so much easier to apply for grant funding than it used to be” said John Fox of KV Transfix. “Back when I started the forms were pages long and it took weeks to fill them out. These days, the team help you fill them in, and it’s so much easier to apply.”
“We aim to have a response to grant funding requests within as little as three weeks” Said Phil Hall Programme Manager of the ICT for Growth Programme. “We want to make the process as easy for small businesses as possible. All you need to do is fill out an expression of interest on the website, or phone us directly and we aim to have a small business advisor contact you within days to explain to you want help is available.”
As the Small Business Champion for the LEP, I was present at all five of the events alongside the Growth Hub team. I really can’t begin to tell you how much this joined up thinking will mean for small businesses across the patch.
Knowing there’s a one stop shop to get help, support, advice and find out what funding options are available to you will make things so much easier for small businesses.
Many businesses don’t have time to ‘go shopping’ for grants, as many are too busy running the businesses and trying to make ends meet. Having a one stop shop like the growth hub will mean small businesses will be able to contact one advisor and access everything there is on offer.
The £6 million ERDF funded package of support available through the Growth Hub is designed to assist with Information Communication and Technology expansion, capital investments, and facilitating access to finance and growth initiatives across the region.
Within a week of launch the Growth Hub team have already received over 35 requests for help. As well as holding their own grant funding, the team are also able to direct interested businesses to a wealth of other funding resources available within the region to assist with small business growth.