The fifth round of the Birmingham Post Business Growth Fund has been launched– and businesses have been urged to get grab a chance to grow.
The £5 million pot, which is part of the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, aims to stimulate the region’s economy through funding firms to expand and take new people on.
It was launched by the Post in partnership with Bournville College in April 2012 with a view to creating at least 250 long term jobs.
Applications for grants from £10,000 to £100,000 from small businesses in Birmingham, Solihull and Coventry are being invited in the new round, with hopes to create dozens of new jobs in the coming year.
Craig Cooksley, commercial advertising manager at Trinity Mirror Midlands and chairman of the fund, said the fifth round had been brought forward because of demand for funds.
He said: “We have been able to support some fantastic companies through the first four rounds of our programme, however it has become apparent that there are a large number of companies willing and able to create long term value added jobs within our region and need short term access to funding to do so.
“In order to capitalise on the momentum we have created over the past 11 months, we are accelerating the programme and opening round five to applicants much earlier than we originally anticipated.
“The odd survey or economic data not withstanding, there is a real feeling amongst the many businesses we deal with on a daily basis that the economy is almost ready to burst into life with West Midlands well placed to lead the charge to growth and job creation over the coming months and years.”
The Birmingham Post Business Growth Fund has funded more than 35 companies, creating and safeguarding more than 100 jobs since it was launched.
Demand for the funding, which aims to boost long-term jobs and assist businesses develop the skills to maximise any investment, has risen in recent months as firms learn more about the fund.
Bournville College principal Norman Cave said: “We have been heavily oversubscribed in the past four rounds which shows the amount of interest and buoyancy in the region for growth business.
"It’s great that we have been able to assist through the scheme a wide and diverse number of business who are creating sustainable jobs, investing in training, and stimulating economic growth.”
BPM Media’s regional head of business Graeme Brown said he was hoping to see applications of a similar quality to previous rounds.
He said: “Since we launched the Business Growth Fund has become increasingly popular with fledgling companies in the West Midlands because it is in tune with the issues that smaller businesses are facing.
“Access to finance has been a major issue in recent years so I am not surprised that this initiative has caught the imagination.
“What has been exciting has been the range of businesses to take part – from those in the region’s burgeoning creative sector to traditional manufacturers and lots more.
“If a small business meets the simple criteria and believes they have a compelling case for a grant that will lead directly to job creation then we want to hear from them.”
• Visit www.thebusinesssupportnetwork.co.uk to register your interest and an application form will be sent to you.