Business and political leaders have welcomed the return of the Birmingham Post Growth Fund – praising its role in creating hundreds of jobs.
The Post will distribute £5 million of Regional Growth Fund cash to help small and medium-sized firms in the region to grow and create jobs.
Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock praised the Post and partner Bournville College for the first phase of the scheme after more than 300 jobs were created or safeguarded by the funding.
But a greater challenge has been set by the second Post Growth Fund – set to start this summer – with a target of 350 jobs.
Mr Hancock said the initiative had seen the Post and Bournville College support “some brilliant businesses” and that the Government had been impressed enough to repeat the project.
He said: “I am hugely enthusiastic about the Birmingham Post campaign to support growing businesses in Birmingham,” he said.
“Partnering with Bournville College they have supported some brilliant businesses.
“We have been so impressed with their delivery of the Regional Growth Fund so far that we are doubling down and backing the Post with more support for more growing businesses to create more jobs and give more families a secure future.”
Mr Hancock praised the initiative during a visit to Tyseley-based Hollywood Monster – a fast-growing signage and graphics firm previously funded by the Post fund to invest in machinery and create jobs.
The Minister said that Hollywood Monster was a fitting example of the kind of firm helping to create jobs and put the country’s economy back on track.
He added: “Most of the growth in jobs that we have seen has come from smaller and medium-size businesses and we are backing them full throttle because that is where the jobs and prosperity of the future is going to come from. And the Birmingham Post is a big part of that in the West Midlands.”
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 grants must be match-funded by the organisation, which must also prove it has been turned down for a bank loan or other support.
Among the businesses funded by the first tranche of Birmingham Post Growth Fund money was city creative agency ORB.
The firm was given £59,000 to create four new jobs as part of an expansion plan focused on destination marketing and education.
However, managing director Robert Bloxham said the company was on course to create double the number of jobs promised.
He said: “We said we could create four jobs in two years, but we will easily have created eight by then.
“When you are trying to grow, sometimes you just need the breathing space to take on the right kind of projects, and the funding helped us to focus our time on the right kinds of work.”
There will be several application rounds, and details of when the first one will open will be published in the Post and on our website at birminghampost.co.uk.