Stoke-on-Trent City Council, through Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, is offering a new Fledgling Business Growth Grant of up to £5,000 to eligible Stoke-on-Trent businesses, who have started in the last 2 years.
The grant will be aimed primarily at those businesses that have received little previous government support and will target new fledgling businesses looking to deliver growth and recover from the adverse effects of the pandemic.
Grants funded by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to assist with third party costs associated in preparing the necessary documents to help businesses with their growth plans and to apply for growth funding.
How much funding is available?
For SME’s who are currently trading, grants are available for up to 60% of the cost with a maximum grant of £3,000 (minimum grants of £1,000). Minimal Total Project Cost must be £1,700.
- Located within the Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire LEP area
- Fulfil the full definition of an SME trading 6+ months
- Have received less than £200,000 of state aid assistance in the last 3 years
- Pay business rates to one of the local authorities within the SSLEP area (these must be not be in arrears)
- Fit within certain sectors*
The following are examples of eligible project costs however this list is not exhaustive:
- Accountant or other professionals’ costs associated with the preparation of a business plan, financial projections, and debt consolidation advice.
- Professional costs associated with preparation of a Marketing Strategy, HR/workforce consultancy advice to assist with underpinning business restructure arrangements and to put contingency measures in place to assist with business resilience in the future.
It does not cover any statutory financial documents prepared by the Accountant, such as preparation of wage data, VAT returns, year-end accounts, or tax returns.
To express your interest in this programme please send an email to email@example.com
Many businesses are adapting their strategies, diversifying their product offering and changing their working processes (e.g. working from home). We have a number of tools and services that help our members maintain business services through the use of a Virtual Office.
The virtual receptionist service enables members to run their business at home and to ensure they never miss an important phone call. The service offers a professional call answering service that can take calls and messages using the business name and then relay the call / message to appropriate staff members.
Rent a secure physical mail box at Commerce House. Useful for businesses working remotely or with no fixed address who want to continue using a professional business address.
Forward emails to any address in the world. The Scan 2 email service also scans important letters and emails and forwards them directly to the business owner.
Connect with fellow members, clients, and staff members with our video and conferencing facilities. We also aim to open up our members’ lounge to enable members to enjoy a social distanced coffee and reconnect with peers.
For more information please call 01782 202222
Reshaping Staffordshire’s rural economy
A blog by David Cousins
Assistant principal of South Staffordshire College and chair of Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce Rural Business Forum
The March meeting was my first as the newly appointed chair of the Rural Business Forum and we had a lot to discuss as the impact of Covid-19 continues to play out on the rural business community of Staffordshire.
It is a great honour to take up the post and I and fellow forum members intend to make an impact in helping rural based businesses prosper in any way we can.
There is quite a list of challenges facing rural businesses at present and we touched upon several at the meeting including, access to funding; rural and cyber-crime; broadband; rural networking and links to our curriculum at SSC.
On funding and finance, I know that most local authorities have posted information on grants such as the Mandatory Local Restrictions Support Grant, Restart grants and discretionary grants on their websites and in newsletters. However, the challenge is to ensure that this information is effectively disseminated so that the grants are taken up by those who need them most.
Rural communities do not share the luxury of connectivity and networks as their counterparts in urban areas and this situation has been exacerbated by the lack of physical social contact, for example a conversation at the local pub or Young Farmers meeting simply has not been happening.
We are incredibly grateful that Jeremy Lowe from the NFU is an active member of our group. In his role as county advisor for Staffordshire he can listen to rural businesses about the issues they are facing and employ resources to effectively work on their behalf across all sectors.
Jeremy is doing a lot of work with schools and colleges in the county to make sure that farming and rural business is on the curricular and extra-curricular radar so that we are not only increasing awareness but bringing on the next generation of the workforce with the appropriate skills and knowledge to meet the demands of a changing rural business landscape.
Rural crime has also sadly increased with the pandemic as increased poverty has led to more thefts of equipment and livestock. Worryingly there has been an increase in the theft of lambs as lambing season reaches its peak.
One of my short-term aims as chair is to involve Staffordshire Police in the forum so that we can work towards raising awareness and preventative measures to curb this upward trend of criminal activity.
Finally, a call to you. Forum member Ian Jackson from Staffordshire County Council has drafted an economic strategic paper to formalise all the above and other issues into a working action plan. I would welcome comment from anyone involved in business in the rural areas of Staffordshire. I would also like to increase membership of the forum to harness as much expertise and knowledge as we can.
If you are interested in finding out more or coming along to a future Rural Business Forum, please contact Vicky Frost at the Chamber: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to talk about any business issues, you can call the Chambers switchboard on 01782 202222 or call the Stoke and Staffs Growth Hub Helpline on 0300 111 8002 or email: email@example.com
To join the Forum discussion click here Hot Topics — Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce
Patronage ensures that you are well-placed to shape the optimum business environment for you and your customers.
The Chamber Finance Finder simplifies and speeds up the funding process, matching members’ businesses with the right funding opportunities across loans, equity investment, grants and commercial mortgages. Register an account for free and within minutes, you could be matched to all available finance opportunities on the market, including the Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS). Check your eligibility and track your progress via the Chamber Finance Finder, with a team of experts readily available to support you throughout the process. Chamber members will also have access to several exclusive benefits, including:
- 5 days a week Chamber Finance Finder hotline
- Free financial health check
- Templates and tools to aid your application
- Finance updates and alerts
- Access to a finance newsroom
To view the Chamber Finance Finder please click here.
The total price tag of burglary, shoplifting, robbery, criminal damage, theft and other offences against businesses in Staffordshire is estimated at over £7,300 per hour.
The Staffordshire Commissioners Office has commissioned Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce to deliver specialist support to businesses impacted by crime. Business Crime Advisors are trained to deliver tailored support packages to businesses following a crime.
If you have been the victim of a business crime or would like to find out more information about how you can support victims, call 01782 900239.
A Europe Direct Information Centre (EDIC) is your local information contact point on Europe.
There is a network of EDICs that will engage on EU topics of relevance to the public at local and regional level, promote dialogue on EU issues and cooperate with other EU or local information networks and contact points. Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce are working with the European Commission to deliver the Staffordshire Europe Direct Information Centre.
Locally, business confidence in the Brexit negotiations has been relatively low, and this lack of confidence has led to nervousness about exporting and importing, both inside and outside of Europe. In addition, businesses have also voiced concern regarding access to skilled and non-skilled workforces after 2019, with their being genuine worry from local EU nationals about their rights post-Brexit. The Europe Direct Information Centre (EDIC) for Staffordshire will help deal with this uncertainty in a positive and proactive manner, providing business support for employers and employees on their citizens rights and the work of the European Commission during the Brexit process.
For more information please call 01782 202222 or click here.
The British Business Bank is a Government-owned, independently-run development bank that’s helped more than 126,000 growing businesses find the right finance option to help them reach their next ambition. Their Finance Hub has been built to help businesses understand and discover the finance options that could enable them to grow.
For more information please call 01782 202222 or click here.