A new package of support programmes for small businesses and apprentices has been launched in Stafford Borough through a council partnership.
It will add to the support already being delivered by Stafford Borough Council and the County Council as well as a range of other organisations.
The Staffordshire Means Back to Business support programmes include an investment to fund wages for 500 apprentices, a training top-up fund for businesses to upskill their employees, a grants scheme to enable small businesses to thrive, a loan scheme for people who want to set up their own business and have completed the online Start-Up training course and more funding to support entrepreneurs currently in further education to set up their own business.
The county council is investing £860,000 into the schemes across the county with the Borough Council supporting programmes to help businesses impacted by the pandemic.
Councillor Frances Beatty, Cabinet member for Economic Development and Planning at the Borough Council, said: “We want to make sure our local businesses are able to grow as we come out of this pandemic and this latest programme builds on the extensive support we have been providing to many of them over the last 12 months.
“We have distributed more than £35 million to businesses who have been hardest hit because of Covid-19 restrictions. Recently we launched new schemes to give financial help to taxi drivers and a joint initiative with the Federation of Small Businesses to provide help for micro businesses in the borough.
“This is another great example of partnership working across the authorities focusing on businesses bouncing back and taking advantage of the opportunities as they evolve and become stronger.”
The Staffordshire 500, Apprentices Wage Support programme could see the creation of up to 500 apprentices. It will incentivise employers to take on 16 to 24-year-olds by contributing to the costs associated with recruiting and retaining an apprentice. The programme could also offer apprentices progression from the national Kickstart scheme.
And businesses are being offered support to upskill their employees or train new staff in accordance with their changing business operations or entering new markets through the Free Training Top-up Project with grants of up to £5,000 provided and matched through other funding sources.
People can find out more about the new programmes at: www.staffordshire.gov.uk/5millionscheme
Other advice and support at www.staffordbc.gov.uk/business-support-coronavirus
Staffordshire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economy and skills Philip White said: “It is critical that as a county council we continue to prioritise support for small businesses and people whose jobs or employment prospects have been impacted by the pandemic.
“In an area like Staffordshire that has a county council plus district and borough councils with their own COVID-19 funding this support is far more effectively delivered by close collaborative working between councils and a range of other partners to make our respective funding go further.
“We hope that our new programmes will reach more people and businesses affected by the pandemic. We owe it to businesses and communities to direct all available funding where it is needed most, and vitally to make it accessible as soon as possible.
“The new programmes are designed to complement existing support schemes and cover gaps in the assistance already available. We look forward to working with colleagues across our district and boroughs to make a difference to our communities and the local economy over the coming months.”
Press Release No 5747