GBSLEP

Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire Growth Hub

Telephone Number: 0300 111 8002

Website: http://www.stokestaffsgrowthhub.co.uk

Introduction

The Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub is part of the Wave 2 Growth Hub Networks and has been operational since April 2014. Its purpose is to improve the co-ordination, efficiency and effectiveness of business support across the LEP area. The focus in the pilot year was to tackle historic challenges of lower than average engagement by local businesses with nation support opportunities and funding programmes. The aim was to deliver culture change amongst business support organisations to encourage and enable cross referrals, and to work with businesses to prepare them for growth by supporting them through local and national business initiatives.

Growth Hub Year One 2014-2015

The Business Helpline is managed by Winning Moves and provides a service Monday to Friday 8.30 to 5.30. Businesses are helped via the telephone, email and face to face at business events. Referrals are made to more than 50 business support organisations across the LEP area and to national business support schemes.

Business Needs Analysis and one to one support is carried out by Chambers of Commerce Business Advisors who use a diagnostic tool to work out where support is most needed.
When specialist advice is needed, referrals are made to organisations such as Youth Enterprise, UKTI or the LEADER Programme. 

An indirect benefit of this work has been the improvement in partnership working across business support organisations in Staffordshire who cross refer and meet together at the Enterprise Round table .

Growth Hub Year Two 2015-2016 and beyond.

The work in Year 2 is ensuring that the Business Advisors and Helpline are able to help businesses with increased efficiency and awareness. A case conferencing approach is being developed for businesses which would benefit from support from multiple business support organisations.  Information gathering, monitoring and evaluation are key parts of the work this year as plans are in place for an expansion of the core Growth Hub in 2016. It will include more specialist Business Advisors for areas such as finance and skills, small and large grant funds, a new loan scheme and inward investment advisors. 

ESIF bids for ERDF funding were submitted in May 2015.  The intention is that the good work of Year’s 1 and 2 be built upon for the future model of the Growth Hub. Analysis and evaluation of Year 1 is being undertaken by Lancaster University and Keele University. 



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