Nearly half a million pounds has been allocated to Cannock Chase small businesses through the pandemic by a unique partnership.
The Staffordshire Means Back to Business scheme, a unique partnership to get more money and more support to businesses quicker during the pandemic, has seen over £426,000 invested by Staffordshire County Council and Cannock Chase District Council.
Set up during the first lockdown, the scheme has allocated an extra £3.4m to businesses across the county to help them to not just survive but grow and prepare for the future.
Over £5,000 in loans, £10,000 in growth grants and £70,000 in upskilling over a hundred employees has been invested in the area’s small businesses, alongside financial support for the recruitment of 38 apprentices.
Stuart Dawson, owner of Connect Midlands Ltd, is the proud boss of 18- year old electrical apprentice Mitch Chadwick. “What really made the business case stack up to take on Mitch was the £5,000 apprenticeship grant that helped me to kit Mitch out with what he needed, and support his wages when he was learning. He’s already making a big difference to the business which wouldn’t have been possible without the grant.’’
Cllr Philip White, deputy leader of Staffordshire County Council and cabinet member for economy and skills, said: “Thanks to our partnership with Cannock Chase Council, more money has been given to businesses to recruit apprentices in Cannock Chase than anywhere else in Staffordshire, which is showing in the quality of the apprentices that are adding real value to businesses.
But the Staffordshire Means Back Business Scheme was about getting more money and support to business quicker, and that’s exactly what happened with over £3.4m being allocated to compliment the governmental initial funding.’’
It’s helped businesses to set up, apprentices to start their career, employees to skill up as well as help them survive and grow. Small businesses continue to be top priority for the county council as the lifeblood of the Staffordshire economy.”
Deputy Leader of Cannock Chase Council, Councillor Bryan Jones, said: “We’re committed to local businesses and in particular upskilling the workforce’s next generation with the bespoke skills that current and future businesses in our need. Mitch is one of 38 apprentices that are learning while they earn in our area, and all are making a huge difference.
In joining with the county council, we’ve been able to make more of a difference quicker, at a time when businesses needed help the most.”
As the result of the success of the partnership, an extra £726,000 was allocated from the UK Government’s UK Community Renewal Fund to continue the apprentice and business start-up schemes.
Although all funding has now been allocated to businesses from the Staffordshire Means Back to Business scheme, the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub on 0300 111 8002 have dedicated business advisors on hand to support and signpost businesses to current funding and professional support. Any business less than two years old can apply for an interest free start-up loan of up to £5,000, with more information at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/StartUpLoans. Anyone thinking of starting up their own business can get fully-funded bespoke advice, marketing and accountancy support from the county council’s Get Started scheme bit/ly/GetStartedWithSCC