A FIVE-YEAR business recovery strategy to support the county economy in getting back on its feet following the Covid-19 crisis includes an £870,000 investment in two enterprise centres.
This is on top of the £860,000 already committed by the county council to support the local economy to recover.
Like the whole of the UK, Staffordshire’s economy will suffer a negative impact as a result of Covid-19 – however the strategy looks to build on the county’s established strengths and seek new opportunities arising from the crisis.
While unfortunately some businesses will not survive, previous recessions have led to a rise in new and successful companies and evidence points to this happening again. The county council’s priority is to support all businesses and offer bespoke guidance and backing to new companies to get through their critical early stages.
Since the Covid-19 outbreak began, the county council has put in place several support programmes. Last week it launched the Staffordshire Start-up Programme for people looking to start their own business. Its aim is to see the creation of 200 start-up businesses in key sectors each year, over the next three years. A micro-business grant scheme enabled companies with nine employees or less to apply for grants of up to £1,000 thanks to a £500,000 investment by the county council. The LEP also launched its Redundancy and Recruitment Triage Service to support those who have been made redundant or who are at risk.
The county council’s enterprise centres offer small businesses units with flexible short-term rental arrangements. They provide on-site business support, meeting rooms, networking opportunities and parking. Two of the most popular are the centres at Cannock Chase and Silverdale, Newcastle.
The expansion will see 21 new units created across the two centres and 45 new jobs. Work is set to begin imminently thanks to the investment by the county council (£355,850), the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (£371,150) and the joint county council/Cannock Chase District Pye Green Investment Fund (£150,000).
The county council will be working closely with the local enterprise partnership and district and borough councils to support businesses through the strategy. It will be reviewed on a constant basis to reflect the ever-changing economic landscape resulting from the Covid-19 crisis.
Staffordshire County Council leader Philip Atkins, pictured, said: "The role of the county council is central to supporting everyone during these changing times, and indeed the recovery and renewal of our economy is already under way.
"As well as continuing to invest in the conditions all businesses need to thrive, the current situation has also presented us with opportunities to further develop the Staffordshire economy by supporting the creation of those clean, digital, highly productive businesses that will provide the jobs of the future.
"Our five-year Economic Recovery and Renewal Strategy is a roadmap to regrowth and a renewed economic landscape. It includes our approach to supporting new businesses to become established, robust and thrive. Including the refurbishment of previously unused parts of the in-demand Cannock Chase Enterprise Centre, and the expansion of the Silverdale centre to create much needed extra workshop space.”
WATCH: Economic growth leader Mark Winnington and LEP chairman Alun Rogers explain why investing in enterprise centres is important https://youtu.be/Juz7rdh_tn8
The Economic Recovery and Renewal Strategy will be discussed by the county council cabinet at its meeting next Wednesday June 17.