The final panel meeting of the Merseyside Jobs and Growth Fund, which took place at the end of March, has seen eight more grants awarded, bringing the total number of business grants awarded by the project to 102.
Launched in July 2015, the programme allowed Merseyside businesses looking to expand and create long term jobs for local people to benefit from grants of up to £75,000.
Backed by the Regional Growth Fund, St Helens Chamber managed the Fund, supported by their partners at Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool and Sefton, St Helens and Wirral Chambers of Commerce.
Over the lifetime of the programme, over £3.5 million of grants were awarded to Merseyside companies, helping them to create 664 new jobs for local people.
Geoff Bates, Business Support Programme Manager at St Helens Chamber, commented: “The Merseyside Jobs and Growth Fund was able to provide a real boost to businesses by part-funding capital expenditure projects and helping the businesses to leverage the private sector investment from banks or other sources that they needed to complete the projects.
“Whether firms were looking for new premises or equipment, all the projects funded have allowed them to grow their businesses, winning new contracts and clients and allowing them to recruit new staff.
“Between the 102 projects funded, firms have contracted to create 664 new jobs. To date over 250 of these positions have already been filled and many more are due to be in place in coming months, which is an excellent result for the region.”
Projects have been completed right across Merseyside, including;
Acer Engineering Ltd in Halton which relocated into new premises, safeguarding the future of the company and creating nine new jobs.
David Halton, Managing Director at Acer Engineering commented: “Without the grant there is no way we’d be where we are now in terms of staff numbers. Our efficiency has improved massively and more work is coming in, which we now have the space to fulfil.”
Liverpool City Centre based Digital agency Mando, whose ambitious office move and interior fit-out saw them creating 132 new jobs;
Tuffx Processed Glass Ltd in Knowsley was able to invest in specialist new equipment, allowing them to expand into new markets and recruit 14 new staff.
John Tierney, Operations Director at Tuff X Processed Glass Ltd, commented: “The new furnace has opened up lots of new avenues for us. Our turnover is up by 15% thanks to new business and increased throughput and we’ve doubled the expected job creation.”
Qualitech Environmental Services Ltd from St Helens opened new offices and purchased a new vehicle thanks to their grant, allowing them to create 11 new posts.
Wirral-based Recovery North West have been able to open an additional site creating 12 new positions and as a direct result has won several contracts and retained a major contract with a regional client.
Stephen Hall, Managing Director at Recovery North West, commented: “Without the grant we wouldn’t have had this site up and running as soon as we did – or we’d have been working from a Portakabin!”
St Helens firm North West Metal Sections took on an additional business unit and purchased new specialist equipment, allowing them to grow the business and recruit 12 new staff.
Tracy Mawson, Deputy Chief Executive at St Helens Chamber, adds: “The Merseyside Jobs and Growth Fund has been a huge benefit to Merseyside businesses, which are the lifeblood of the local economy. It has helped to secure the future of the businesses we have supported, safeguard jobs, create new employment opportunities and will be a catalyst for further growth in the future.
“The Chamber will continue to look out for any new business funding and support opportunities that become available and endeavour to bring these funds to St Helens for the benefit of local businesses.”
To find out more about the business support services currently available from St Helens Chamber, call Geoff Bates on 01744 742087 or visit www.sthelenschamber.com/business