Small business owners and would-be entrepreneurs in Handsworth could be eligible for free expert advice and grants of up to £50,000 thanks to a new business support initiative launched by Birmingham City Council (BCC).
The £9.3 million Enterprise Catalyst scheme is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and aims to build an entrepreneurial culture in some of Birmingham’s most disadvantaged areas.
Over the next two years it hopes to support 3,500 businesses and entrepreneurs with free independent expert advice and provide grant investment of up to 50% to help new businesses launch and existing ones grow.
To be eligible for support individuals must live, or have a business trading, in northwest, central or south-east Birmingham. Businesses must also demonstrate that they are or will trade within eligible ERDF business activity areas – these currently exclude ‘Retail’.
As part of a customised package of business support, Enterprise Catalyst deploys a wide range of experts, including dedicated enterprise coaches, business mentors and specialist service providers to help entrepreneurs tackle key business obstacles impeding their entrepreneurial ambitions. These obstacles might include developing a business plan, understanding employment and tax issues or acquiring much-needed financial assistance for enterprise development.
Councillor Tahir Ali, BCC’s Cabinet Member for Development, Jobs and Skills, said: ‘Entrepreneurs and small businesses that create growth are one of the keys to economic recovery. For us to be an Enterprise City, we need to encourage greater growth in private sector businesses and social enterprises that employ and train local people and make a positive contribution to the communities in which they operate.’
Would-be entrepreneurs or business owners who want to know more can visit Enterprise Catalyst’s next Support Roadshow, which takes place between 10.00am and 2.00pm on 29 January at Beaufort Sports & Social Club, 89 Coleshill Rd, Birmingham B36 8DX.
To find out more about how to become part of Enterprise Catalyst call 0121 675 7584, visit http://www.enterprise-catalyst.com/ or text EC to 80800.