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Aston is a lead partner in the newly-launched Greater Birmingham Growth Hub   

Greater Birmingham Growth Hub launch
l-r Ian Mclaughlan, Saqib Bhatti, Mark Sayers and Mike Carr at official launch of the Greater Birmingham Growth Hub on 7th October 2015

12 October 2015

Local companies have been urged to take advantage of the Greater Birmingham Growth Hub, which has been launched as a one-stop-shop of support for Greater Birmingham Businesses. The hub was officially launched on 7th October at an event attended by over 300 entrepreneurs, business leaders and stakeholders.

Run by the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), the Growth Hub comprises a web portal, phoneline and one-to-one specialist advice. It is the new home for all business advice, funding and support in the area – providing a route for businesses to local organisations offering business support or funding.

Though particularly focused on small and medium sized businesseswithin the GBSLEP area, the Growth Hub is designed to assist companies along the region’s supply chains and across all sectors.

Mark Sayers, Deputy Director of Business Productivity and Growth Programmes at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, and Saqib Bhatti, GBSLEP Director and President of the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce, both spoke at the launch event, which was held at Birmingham Hippodrome.

Mark Sayers outlined the importance of the Growth Hub during his speech, stating: "SMEs are pumping £1.3 trillion into the economy and are responsible for 50% of private sector employment. Encouraging these businesses to scale up, innovate, secure funding, export and access new markets is key to unlocking growth. 

"Combining all the local and national services available in Greater Birmingham will provide the greatest benefits‎ to businesses. The Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP and its Growth Hub will have a strong role to play in this."

A further 18 companies and organisations exhibiting at the event – including Aston Business School as well as national bodies UK Trade & Investment and the Manufacturing Advisory Service – provided free advice to delegates.

During the next 12 months, the Growth Hub will help with 7,200 business enquiries and contribute to creating 500 new jobs. The Hub is progressing strongly already, with its site – www.gbslepgrowthhub.co.uk – receiving over 5,000 unique visitors and handling more than 300 enquiries and requests for support.

The Growth Hub’s web portal enables business owners to access information and advice about how to start, grow, run and finance their company effectively. Its tailored information directs users to the most appropriate information and support for them. Downloadable step by step guides, films and free event listings are also available online.

To date, the website’s sections about starting a business have become the most popular, reflecting Greater Birmingham’s strength as a start-up hotspot. In Birmingham alone, more than 18,000 firms were set up in 2014, more than any other UK city outside London, according to StartUp Britain.

Local businesses are also continuing to boost employment across the region. The GBSLEP area created 40,800 private jobs during 2014, according to the Office of National Statistics – growing at 6%, well above the national growth rate of 4.3%.

Growth Hub Manager Ian Mclaughlan said: “Greater Birmingham’s economy is going from strength to strength – and our local companies deserve first class advice and support so they can grow, and recruit, even further. The growth of Greater Birmingham’s businesses, large and small, is crucial to its economic success, which is why the Growth Hub is such an important initiative for the GBSLEP.

“The Growth Hub is designed to make it much easier for firms to find the right support for them. From setting up a company to exporting, recruiting, securing funding or developing new products – there is information and guidance available for business owners based right across Greater Birmingham. Any business that wants to grow, or needs any kind of help, should contact the Growth Hub team as a one-stop-shop for advice.”

The initiative is part of the Government’s Small Business Strategy, with all 39 LEPs in the UK setting up a Growth Hub for local business advice. The Greater Birmingham Growth Hub will be serving one of the largest business communities in the country.  

Media enquiries:

Jonathan Garbett, Press and PR Assistant on 0121 204 4552 or

j.garbett@aston.ac.uk  

Aston Business School, Aston University is renowned for the quality of its innovative learning and teaching, world leading research and for having a friendly and supportive culture. The School has strong business links, and offers life-transforming experiences that make a real difference to organisations, economies and the global society. Aston Business School is committed to helping small businesses realise their potential through dedicated services which are specifically tailored to meet their needs, and in 2014 was awarded the Small Business Charter Gold Award in recognition of its achievements. The School also delivers cutting edge entrepreneurial research (especially on high growth firms) and is home to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor UK project and jointly hosts the national Enterprise Research Centre with Warwick University.

For more information on the Growth Hub or to register, please call the local helpline on 0800 032 3488 visit www.gbslepgrowthhub.co.uk or email info@gbslepgrowthhub.co.uk.  

The key partners supporting the Growth Hub comprise:

  • Aston Business School
  • Birmingham City Council
  • Birmingham City University
  • Business Growth Service
  • Cannock Chase Council
  • Digital Birmingham
  • East Staffordshire Borough Council
  • Finance Birmingham
  • The Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce
  • Innovation Birmingham Campus
  • North Worcestershire EDR and Worcestershire Business Central
  • Marketing Birmingham
  • Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub
  • Tamworth and Lichfield for Business
  • University of Birmingham Business School