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£2.2m scheme launched to help businesses expand

By James Pugh | Business | Published:

A £2.2 million scheme to help businesses across the region expand and create new jobs has been launched today.

Aled and Hannah Ellis of Needham with Caroline Cattle, MBIG grant manager

The new Marches Building Investment Grant (MBIG) programme will help growing companies meet up to £150,000 of the cost of building new premises, or extending and reconfiguring their existing ones, to help them grow.

The scheme – part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and supported by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership and Marches Growth Hub – is an extension of the hugely-successful MBIG programme which will have created 268 jobs by 2025.

Programme manager Caroline Cattle said the maximum grant had been increased by £50,000 under the new MBIG scheme which could also now cover the purchase of some new equipment.

She said the scheme, delivered by Herefordshire Council and projected to create more than 80 jobs, would make a huge difference to the expansion plans of companies across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.

“This extension is fantastic news for the whole of the Marches region and means that we can carry on helping companies realise their growth plans, create new jobs and provide the economic success on which the region depends,” she said.

The grant, which is dependent on new jobs or products being created, meets half the cost of successful applications meaning that projects costing up to £300,000 are now eligible. The scheme covers B2B businesses and does not include retail or agricultural companies.

“This is a real opportunity for businesses to invest in innovation, growth and a successful future. An independent report into the original scheme praised its effectiveness and said it will have added an extra £30 million of value (GVA) to the Marches economy by 2025. We are convinced the new extension can bring even more benefits to our region.”

Paul Hinkins, chair of the Marches Growth Hub, urged businesses to make the most of the new scheme – part of the £10 million Growth Challenge the hub has set the region.

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“The original MBIG scheme was a huge success for the whole of the Marches, creating jobs, wealth and prosperity," he said.

Mark Thompson, Alex Thompson, Councillor Richard Overton and Caroline Cattle

"The new extension will help us continue that good work and build an economy which is successful for all.”

Councillor Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s Council cabinet member for assets, economic growth and regeneration, said: “This is great news for businesses in Shropshire and across the Marches. The funding will help them to expand and create jobs, providing a real boost to local people and to the local economy.

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“I urge businesses to contact the growth hubs to find out more and to apply.”

Councillor Lee Carter, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for the borough economy, said: “We have always positioned ourselves as a business winning, business support council and have worked hard to encourage inward investment as well as supporting existing businesses to expand.

“This scheme can only help us to achieve that and is a welcome boost for the borough’s economy.”

Whitchurch-based Needham Laser Technologies Ltd relocated to a new unit in the town thanks to a grant worth almost £70,000 from the original MBIG programme.

The firm, which also launched a new range of laser marking products, was born out of long-established parent-company The Needham Group to specialise in the development of laser marking technologies and the manufacture of laser systems.

Telford-based battery pack manufacturer and distributor AceOn was awarded an £80,000 MBIG grant to extend its base on Stafford Park and transform its future growth potential, creating eight new jobs.

Herefordshire Council is the accountable body for the MBIG scheme. Full details are available from Caroline and Alison Rogers on mbig@herefordshire.gov.uk or by calling 01432 260 662.

James Pugh

By James Pugh

Shropshire Star Business and Farming Editor.

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