Green Shoots Plus fund helps firms create 400 jobs

Ministers today hailed the Shropshire Star’s Green Shoots Plus fund as it was revealed the £4 million scheme had created 400 jobs and protected another 200 across the West Midlands.

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The Government’s local growth minister Andrew Percy praised the newspaper and the University of Wolverhampton for leading the project, which has generated more than £11 million in private sector investment into the local economy.

He said: “Our investment into the West Midlands is reaping rewards. This scheme has created almost 400 jobs for local people and safeguarded almost 200 more, thanks to the Star and the University of Wolverhampton.

“We’re determined to build on this momentum. Along with our Midlands Engine Strategy, we’ve just announced another £392 million to support local projects, create more jobs and boost skills in the region.”

The Green Shoots Plus initiative involves the Shropshire Star and its sister paper the Express & Star.

Business Secretary Greg Clark added: “Local newspapers make a vital contribution to the success of local business, and I am delighted to hear about the initiative that the Star is promoting.”

In total, Green Shoots Plus has seen 408 new jobs created and a further 200 protected with 65 firms being awarded funding.

The scheme provided grants of between £10,000 and £150,000 to small and medium-sized businesses across the region to help them buy new equipment, win new contracts and create new jobs. The funding covered up to 30 per cent of the costs of their plans. The project was administered by the Business Solutions team at the University of Wolverhampton and overseen by a panel of expert business leaders. It was the second wave of the Green Shoots project, which is funded by the government’s Regional Growth Fund.

Previously as part of the initial Green Shoots scheme, £1.2m was handed out in grants to 34 businesses, creating 123 jobs. University deputy vice-chancellor Professor Ian Oakes said: “This scheme has been a catalyst for the region in supporting local businesses.”

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