The Birmingham Post has promised to help create hundreds of jobs all over again after being awarded £5 million from the Regional Growth Fund for a second time.
The newspaper, alongside partner Bournville College, has been given the money by government to distribute to companies throughout the region, and help to stimulate investment and unlock job creation.
The Post met its target for job creation with the first tranche of RGF money between 2012 and 2013.
And the same target has been set again – to create 250 jobs – throwing over the gauntlet to businesses with fewer than 250 employees, which are struggling for finance, to submit their bids.
The Post’s regional head of business Graeme Brown, who sits on the selection panel for the Post’s growth fund, said: “Since the last Birmingham Post Growth Fund closed, we have been inundated with enquiries about whether we are starting again.
“There are still thousands of businesses out there in the West Midlands with big growth plans, but which find themselves unable to innovate and expand for financial reasons.
“So that is why we are back with another £5 million. With a region back in growth, exports surging and employment on the rise again there are new possibilities, and we want to do our bit to make the region reach its potential.
“And the fact that the Government has selected the Post, as well as our partners Bournville College, to distribute Regional Growth Fund money to businesses in the West Midlands again is a real compliment.
“So if you are from a business with big plans to create jobs, but are currently held back by finance, watch this space.”
The Birmingham Post Growth Fund will offer grants of between £10,000 and £100,000 for expansion and growth ideas and initiatives that will directly create jobs across Birmingham, Coventry and Solihull.
The objective is to stimulate private sector investment by providing support for businesses that offer potential for long term economic growth and the creation of additional sustainable private sector jobs.
The fund offers grants of between £10,000 and £100,000, which must be match-funded by the organisation, which must also prove it has been turned down for a bank loan or other support.
The Post distributes the money through Dragons’ Den-style events held in the city called Investors’ Fortress, in which representatives from companies pitch to a panel, who assess the need and potential of the bid.
Norman Cave, principal at Bournville College, said: “This is brilliant news for the region and the businesses that operate here. Our partnership with The Post has been extremely successful and we are delighted that this has been recognised with further funding to support businesses with growth potential. This is in addition to over £7 million already secured by Bournville College on behalf of the nine regional colleges in the area to help businesses upskill their workforce.”
There will be several application rounds, and details of when the first one will open will be published in the Post and on birminghampost.co.uk.
Among the other recipients of funding are Aston Martin Lagonda, HydraForce Hydraulics, Maier UK, MTC, Sense and Sense International, Sertec and Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce.
Skills and enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock used Hollywood Monster – a business previously funded by the Post fund to invest in machinery and create jobs – as evidence of the importance of RGF to the West Midlands.
He said: “This builds on the £400 million already committed from earlier rounds of the competitive fund which are helping leading businesses like graphics experts Hollywood Monster to grow and create vital new local jobs.”