Figures from Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub have revealed the scale of support delivered to businesses across the region during the pandemic.
SMEs from across the area approached the Growth Hub for urgent guidance to navigate through Covid-19 on more than 18,000 occasions.
The team received almost 10,000 calls to its helpline, as well as nearly 7,000 emails from business leaders looking for advice.
Individual diagnostics were also carried out across 550 organisations and 1,425 contacts made.
Alun Rogers, Chair of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said:
“The Growth Hub team has drawn on all its resources to manage the challenges, and to allocate advice, grant support and other activities to businesses across our area.
“The scope and scale of the enquiries has been exceptional.
“Our message now, as we move out of Covid-19 restrictions, is that we are still here to help businesses as they focus on taking advantage of the renewed momentum in the economy to move to thrive rather than survive, and take on the new challenges and opportunities ahead.”
To help Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire SMEs to stabilise and plot a growth curve, the Growth Hub has developed a unique package of fully funded services, under their new #EvolvingEnterprise initiative.
This brings together unparalleled levels of support for eligible SMEs – delivering up to 12 hours of business expertise, which can be tailored to meet businesses’ exact needs.
Bespoke, specialist support in areas including funding and finance, HR, marketing, international trade, recovery and growth is all provided, with a further 120 referral partners across the country able to support the most specific requests from businesses.
The three-stage process starts for all businesses across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire with an initial triage session, via the Growth Hub’s Business Helpline.
This is followed by a one-to-one diagnostic with an experienced business advisor, to establish the specific needs for their company to grow.
From there, eligible businesses can then go onto access a package of specialist support, tapping into the depth of knowledge and advice from Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub, to help power their ambitious growth plans.
Nicola Kent, Business and Enterprise Support Manager at Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub, said:
“As we move forwards, the ability for local SMEs to benefit from the extra vision, insight and even emotional support to face the challenges ahead will be invaluable.
“We’ve developed #EvolvingEnterprise to meet that need, and to bring meaningful direction and advice through a streamlined process.
“Businesses engaging with #EvolvingEnterprise will be connected with the right experts in a quick and responsive way, from one port of call.”
The Growth Hub acts as a focal point for businesses in the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership area, driving strong, sustainable business growth and offering co-ordinated programmes, networks and groups alongside signposting to specialist information, advice and services.
Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce is its delivery partner.
Chief Executive of Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, Sara Williams, said:
“As the largest business support organisation catering exclusively for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent businesses, we understand the unprecedented challenges that businesses in our region face right now.
“Together with our Growth Hub partners, our collaborative knowledge, reach and expertise ensures that businesses engaging with Growth Hub services receive invaluable and effective support packages to help them to recover and thrive.
“The strength of our partnership allows us to continue to adapt our services to meet the ever-changing business needs to ensure Staffordshire continues to be a great place to do business.”
More information on #EvolvingEnterprise, and other Growth Hub services, can be found at www.stokestaffsgrowthhub.co.uk or by calling the local Business Helpline Advisor on 0300 111