Start-up schemes are helping new businesses in Staffordshire

ENTREPRENEURS setting up new businesses in Staffordshire will be able to access a range of support thanks to schemes set up by the county council as part of its economic recovery plan.

In the summer, a new Start-up Scheme was launched following a £360,000 county council investment. This is aimed at supporting people who found themselves at risk of redundancy or unemployment due to the pandemic.

In the first year of the programme the aim is to support 300 people and see 200 businesses started.

The scheme is being run by the Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce. There have already been over 100 applications to the scheme.

A £100,000 Start-up Loan Scheme has just been launched by the county council, providing interest-free loans of between £3,000 and £5,000 with no payment arrangements for the first 12 months. This is a pilot scheme which could be extended if successful.

A Student Start-up Scheme will follow to encourage young people to understand the basics of entrepreneurialism and enterprise. The three-year programme aims to engage 4,000 students and is supported by the four Staffordshire colleges. The county council has invested £165,000 in this scheme.

Further initiatives include promoting Staffordshire as a leading location to start a new business through a Start-up Prospectus to detail all the support on offer through a range or organisations. The county council will continue its promotion of its enterprise centres which provide flexible workspace for start-up businesses, two of which – Cannock Chase and Silverdale in Newcastle – are currently being extended.

Staffordshire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economy and skills Philip White said: "Staffordshire is one of the best places in the UK to set up and grow a business and we want to encourage more of our citizens to make their business ideas a reality by providing high quality and accessible support.

"Start-ups and SMEs employ thousands of people in Staffordshire and support for them forms part of our economic recovery plan in response to the Covd-19 pandemic. We have excellent survival rates for new businesses in the county and we recognise that during recessions more people embark on setting one up.

"As a county council we have already invested £360,000 in our start-up scheme. This will be enhanced by a new Start Up Loans Scheme, a Student Start Up Scheme and the creation of a digital Start Up Prospectus for potential new business in Staffordshire.

"We will continue to work with the LEP and other partners to increase start-ups across the county and put additional support programmes in place where there may be gaps in national provision.”

A progress report on countywide start-up support and will be discussed by the county council’s cabinet at its meeting next Wednesday (Nov 18).



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