Cumbria Crack

Growth Hub grants help Cumbrian businesses expand

Suzanne Caldwell

Cumbrian businesses have been snapping up grants to help them buy-in outside consultancy services.

Cumbria Business Growth Hub has approved grants totalling £265,000 to 200 businesses so far, with more in the pipeline.

The money is available to small and medium-sized enterprises that meet European Regional Development Fund criteria.

They can claim a maximum of £2,000 to cover up to 40 per cent of consultancy costs to help them grow and create jobs.

Almost any form of consultancy is eligible from marketing advice to website development, accountancy and finance advice, social media consultancy, public relations and help to gain accreditations such as ISO and SALSA.

Suzanne Caldwell, Deputy Chief Executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, which is the lead partner in the Growth Hub, urged more businesses to apply.

She said: “We’re keen to encourage businesses to make the most of the services available from private sector consultants in Cumbria and beyond.

“Our Subsidy Scheme supports businesses to do that, enabling them to spend more than they would otherwise and to try new approaches.

“This scheme is only running for the next few months with all claims to be paid out by the end of December, so anyone who is interested needs to act quickly.”

Businesses to have benefited include the outdoor bag brand Millican, at Braithwaite near Keswick, which brought in a designer to revamp its Originals range.

Claire’s Handmade, at Fletchertown, used a consultant to upgrade its website to allow wholesalers to order preserves, pickles and chutneys online.

And Cleanroom Supplies, at Cumrew near Carlisle, brought in a specialist to help it attain ISO9001 accreditation.

Make Us Visible, a digital consultancy based near Grange-over-Sands, recommends the scheme to clients.

Founder David Hamer said: “We’ve referred seven or eight clients. It’s great for them because they can defray 40 per cent of their costs. In some cases it enables them to go ahead when they wouldn’t without the subsidy.”

For more information on the Subsidy Scheme click here or call Cumbria Business Growth Hub on 0844 257 84 50.

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