[C]umbria Business Growth Hub has helped to create or safeguard nearly 7,000 jobs since 2012, new figures show.
The one-stop business advice service, established and run by Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, has worked with 6,800 businesses to add £280m GVA to the county’s economy.
The statistics come from Supporting Success, a 34-page report charting the progress and achievements of the Growth Hub.
Suzanne Caldwell, the Chamber’s Deputy Chief Executive, said: “We set up the Growth Hub after the national business support network, Business Link, was wound up.
“We identified a gap and moved to fill it, with further support delivered by partners. It’s fair to say the Growth Hub’s performance has exceeded expectations.”
Another Growth Hub was set up by Greater Manchester Chamber at the same time. The two were so successful that the Government adopted the model as a blueprint for business support and rolled out Growth Hubs across the country.
Cumbria Business Growth Hub can call on 60 advisers – all experienced business people in their own right – who offer one-to-one support, advice and mentoring.
Its newly-upgraded website – www.cumbriagrowthhub.co.uk – offers a wealth of information for businesses.
There are sections on start-ups, marketing, sales, productivity, product development, exports, acquisitions, sourcing finance, sustainability and employing staff.
The website’s Supply Chain Gateway helps small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to win contracts with large companies such as BAE Systems, Booths, Innovia and Pirelli.
The Growth Hub also delivers programmes on behalf of government and European funders. These include BSUS for start-ups and New Enterprise Allowance, which helps unemployed job seekers go into business.
Cumbria Forum is a management development programme run in partnership with Lancaster University Management School.
And the Subsidy Scheme helps SMEs to defray up to 40 per cent of the costs of buying-in consultancy services.
Suzanne added: “Thanks to funding put in by the Chamber and our partners, most of our services and advice are free.
“I’d urge any business in Cumbria to take a look at our website and get in touch. It’s very likely we’ll be able to assist you, whatever your business sector.”
To contact Cumbria Business Growth Hub, call 0844 257 84 50.
The Chamber’s partners funding the Growth Hub range from government departments to local authorities, Cumbria LEP, the University of Cumbria, Lancaster University Management School, training providers and further education colleges.