Thursday, April 28, 2016

News: Growth Hub to boost productivity in SCR

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The Sheffield City Region (SCR) Growth Hub that acts as a gateway for businesses to access specialist support has been officially launched.

The model coordinates and simplifies business support so that it joins up national, local, public and private business provisions across the city region.

Designed to be a single point of contact, the Growth Hub has core funding of £4.82m and helps businesses access specialist support in a number of key areas to enable growth, including innovation, exporting, accessing finance and training. Businesses can contact the Growth Hub via phone or online.

The launch follows a successful pilot project, which has already helped more than 300 businesses, and is part of a national roll out of 39 Growth Hubs across the country, funded by central Government.

As part of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership's ambitious growth plan, the hub plans to help create 6,000 businesses by 2022 and with several key aims being to cultivate entrepreneurial activity, increase the start-up rate, and grow the Sheffield City Region.

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David Grimes, Head of the SCR Growth Hub, said: "The Growth Hub means that wherever you are in the Sheffield City Region you will have the same access to the same level of support, as we are working with a wide range of partners.

"Whether your business is large or small, new or well-established, you will have just one place to go to find out about, and access, the best possible advice that suits your needs."

The Growth hub is working with, and will be signposting to, industry experts, including successful companies, consultancies, universities, Chambers of Commerce and local authorities, and national provision such as Innovate UK, UK Trade and Investment and a wide range of other business support partners.

Businesses may also be offered direct support and guidance from one of the Growth Hub’s own business growth advisors; all of whom have extensive experience of running businesses.

As well as the core funding, the SCR Growth Hub includes a £22m Business Investment Fund, a Skills Bank fund of more than £17m and access to the Sheffield City Region European Structural Funds of approximately £90m.

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The Growth Hub is overseen by the Business Growth Board, which is made up of representatives from the public and private sector, and reports directly to the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership Board.

Paul Houghton, chair of the Business Growth Board and managing partner of Grant Thornton in Sheffield, said: "The official launch of the Growth Hub is great news for businesses across our region. It is all part of the LEP's ambitions to grow the city region economy by working together to create a stronger and bigger private sector that can compete in national and global markets.

"Whether you are a creative technology start-up looking for financial advice or business training, a manufacturer looking to export your product to a new overseas market, or any other business looking to grow and expand, then the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub can help you access the support that you need."

The Growth Hub aims to work alongside agencies like RiDO offers business support in the borough. In its latest budget, Rotherham Council approved continued investment in the regeneration arm to replace lost grant funding. It described RiDO as "a service critical for attracting inward investment into the borough if it is to grow and thrive."

SCR Growth Hub website
RiDO website

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