Businesses are starting to reap the rewards of a £2 million funding pot aimed at creating more than 200 jobs in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire over the next two years.
The Grants for Growth cash was awarded to Stoke-on-Trent City Council last year after a successful bid to the European Regional Development Fund to further enhance the area’s economy.
Companies in both the city and county can apply for grants from the fund – ranging from £10,000 to £250,000 – while demonstrating how a successful application will generate new jobs, and lead to possible expansion, better efficiencies or new product development or research.
The first firm to receive funding from the scheme is Burton upon Trent-based Hardy Signs Ltd, which manufactures and installs a variety of bespoke signage across 12 sectors from retail to the motor trade. The company has been given a £75,000 grant towards the purchase of a state-of-the-art UV Flatbed printer which will improve quality and speed up production.
Now managing director Nik Hardy has urged other firms across the county to come forward and access the grants available.
He said: “The new printer will mean we can create better, sharper imagery in brighter colours. It will allow us to exceed our client’s expectations and grow our portfolio even further through increased colour matching and wider print formats.
“The help and support we received from Stoke-on-Trent City Council in writing the full application to procuring the new printer has proven invaluable. We are delighted to have secured grant aid that will cement our position at the forefront of the industry in the West Midlands and I would encourage any businesses reading this to get their applications in.”
Grant funds available to 2019 can be used to support a range of development, including premises expansion and buying equipment to market development. The £2 million grant payments are expected to release £4.5 million from the private sector as match funding.
Eligible businesses have until February 2019 to submit a grant funding application, with projects expected to be completed by June 2019. The funding will not be affected by the UK’s negotiations to leave the European Union.
Cllr Janine Bridges, the city council’s cabinet member for economy and education, said: “This is a great opportunity for small to medium sized companies in the region who are looking to grow their business and create jobs to receive a funding boost.
“One of our Stronger Together priorities is to secure investment to create jobs and help our businesses to thrive and grow, and this funding is one example of how we are doing that. I would strongly urge eligible businesses to get in touch and make the most of this funding opportunity.”
If you would like to check if your company is in an eligible sector then please register your interest by emailing the GfG Programme Team on G4G@stoke.gov.uk.
Alternatively, speak to Angela Kidney, Grants for Growth client manager, by calling 01782 231586, or Vanessa Darlington, Enterprise Projects team manager, on 01782 233671. Further information on the Grants for Growth Programme is available on www.makeitstokestaffs.co.uk