A multi-million pound programme to support small businesses and apprentices is being launched in Staffordshire.
The £5 million scheme will see the three new programmes set up to help companies across the county bounce back from the pandemic.
The new scheme includes ‘The Staffordshire 500’ Apprentices Wage Support programme which aims to incentivise employers to take on 16 to 24-year-olds by contributing towards the cost of the wages of 500 apprentices.
Businesses are also being offered support to upskill their employees or train new staff through the Nil Cost Training for Employers Top-up Project which will provide up to 500 businesses with grants of up to £5,000 over the next 15 months.
The final initiative – The Small Business ‘to Thrive’ Financial Support programme – will see small businesses offered grants of between £2,000 and £5,000 to cover expenditure costs essential to their operations.
The total value of all of the schemes is £5 million, this includes a £860,000 investment from Staffordshire County Council and contributions from the county’s district and borough councils, as well as central Government.
Staffordshire County Council will run all three programmes on behalf of the partnership.
Staffordshire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economy and skills, Philip White, said: “It is critical that as a county council we continue to prioritise support for small businesses and people whose jobs or employment prospects have been impacted by the pandemic.
“In an area like Staffordshire that has a county council plus district and borough councils with their own covid-19 funding, this support is far more effectively delivered by close collaborative working between councils and a range of other partners to make our respective funding go further.”
BusinessLive is your home for business news from around the country – and you can stay in touch with all the latest news through our email alerts.
You can sign up to receive daily morning news bulletins from every region we cover and to weekly email bulletins covering key economic sectors from manufacturing to technology and enterprise. And we’ll send out breaking news alerts for any stories we think you can’t miss.
Visit our email preference centre to sign up to all the latest news from BusinessLive.
He added: “We owe it to businesses and communities to direct all available funding where it is needed most, and vitally to make it accessible as soon as possible.
“The new programmes are designed to complement existing support schemes and cover gaps in the assistance already available. We look forward to working with colleagues across our district and boroughs to get them off the ground imminently.”
The new programmes are in addition to the package of support which has already been launched by the county council including a start-up scheme to support up to 300 aspiring entrepreneurs to get their businesses up and running, a start-up loan scheme to provide loans of between £3,000 and £5,000 and a student start-up programme to help hundreds of students start a new venture.