Making firms aware council cash can help

First published in Business

A MAJOR new bid to publicise council cash for emerging businesses is about to kick off – amid worries not enough firms realise the help is available.

Worcester City Council is to contact 1,000 companies to try to engage them with the various ways the authority can help.

Since 2010 27 businesses have secured cash grants to help them survive and grow in the harsh economic climate.

A report which went to the Conservative cabinet stated there is “a major issue” in making sure enough organisations are aware the help exists.

At the moment, any business which has been trading for up to five years can apply for a £2,000 award.

Under the ruling, they must agree to match it pound-for-pound from the firm’s own resources.

There are also start-up grants for new companies which have been trading for less than six months, who can apply for £750.

Since 2010 both pots have benefited a total of 27 companies – but now the push is on for more.

Councillor Simon Geraghty, the leader of Worcester City Council, said: “We want to make it more widely known what help is available, especially in the current climate.

“There are so many small and medium sized businesses that we need to help, because they are out there and want to grow, but need support.

“From a county-wide perspective, we are looking to create a business hub which aims to make it simpler for businesses to access help and advice. At the moment there are so many bodies around, we want to streamline the help available.”

The report says a major “engagement programme” will launch later this month, and by October 1,000 company bosses will be contacted to make them aware of the help.

Advice will be dished out on grants, how to take on apprentices and interns, and a range of other city council services.

All of the information collected will then be stored on a database so the authority can actively manage relationships with those firms interested in the guidance.

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