Almost 40 SMEs in Wolverhampton have benefitted from European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) cash as part of a Black Country scheme to help them expand. The Black Country GOLD initiative has been led by Wolverhampton, Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall councils, and the University of Wolverhampton. It has provided support to 86 Black Country businesses – including 37 in Wolverhampton - by giving them the opportunity to apply for match-funded grants of up to £16,000 to support expansion projects.
The scheme has had a significant impact on the Black Country economy by enabling businesses to increase their output, develop new products and diversify into new markets in the UK and overseas.
Councillor John Reynolds, Wolverhampton City Council Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “The Black Country GOLD scheme has enabled many businesses across the Black Country to carry out expansion projects which had been put on the back burner because of lack of funding or other factors.
“The scheme has been a really good example of the Black Country local authorities and the University of Wolverhampton working together to support enterprise and create new employment opportunities.”
Bob Hughes of Bilston-based firm C.L.M. Construction Supplies, added: “We applied to the GOLD scheme to support us with our moving and refurbishment costs, as well as new equipment to enable the smooth transition from the smaller premises that we rented into our own larger premises.”
Other businesses who have benefited from the scheme include Wolverhampton-based Stones Throw Media, Sandwell-based Paint 360 who reengineer paints to be environmentally friendly, and Walsall-based MOTAD, a leading supplier of components for motorcycles.
Tammy Inglis, Managing Director of Halesowen-based Somers Forge, added: “Applying for a grant from the GOLD scheme was a straightforward and quick process.
“The GOLD project team were very helpful and processed our application promptly so we could implement plans to provide specialist development support for the management team; another strand to the project was investment to improve our energy efficiency.
“The projects have already made a tangible difference which would have taken longer to achieve without the support from GOLD.”