More than 40 City of Wolverhampton businesses today (Tuesday) became the latest to join the Aim for Gold business growth programme.
It provides small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with one to one coaching, bespoke growth planning and peer to peer learning valued at up to £2,000.
The part-funded European Regional Development Fund programme led by City of Wolverhampton Council’s business development team, also offers a further opportunity to access a cash contribution, averaging £10,000, towards the value of their business.
The three-year programme will support 120 companies, with a further two cohorts to be announced in autumn 2019 and winter 2019/20.
The launch took place at Molineux Stadium and, as well as participating in workshops, businesses heard from inspirational speakers – Wolverhampton-born Paralympian and England’s most-capped blind footballer, Darren Harris, and eBay UK’s Business Development Director, Bert Bassett.
Cabinet Member for City Economy, Councillor Harman Banger, said: “The Aim for Gold programme is absolutely critical for small and medium businesses in the City of Wolverhampton.
“It gives the businesses the support they need to help them grow and get to where they wish to get to."
“Small and Medium enterprises are vital to the Wolverhampton economy and I will be pushing this hard in my role.”
Darren added: “Aiming for gold is something we think about as athletes and there are a lot of similarities between business and sport in terms of setting goals and thinking about how you break that down and approach those goals."
“The businesses in Wolverhampton are really pragmatic. They understand the challenges and realise they’ve reached a point in their journey where getting support from experts is going to help them in the long run.”
The scheme’s predecessor – the Black Country GOLD scheme – enabled businesses in the area to create jobs, increase output, develop new products and diversify into new markets.
One of the companies helped under the previous round of funding was non-destructive testing company, NDT Midlands Ltd, based at Planetary Road, Willenhall.
NDT Midlands Ltd Managing Director, Stuart Dudwell, said: “We were looking to install an x-ray facility as an add on to our business. Thanks to the support of the council we achieved that, and it’s been a benefit to the business."
“The council’s business development team also helped us with marketing support and many other business aspects and is now helping us look at grant funding.”
Following an initial application and interview process, successful businesses will be registered onto the programme following the completion of a business review.
To check the eligibility criteria and to register your interest, visit www.investwolverhampton.com/aimforgold
Image caption (L-R): Stuart Dudwell, NDT Midlands Ltd Managing Director, Cllr Harman Banger, Darren Harris, Paralympian and England’s most-capped blind footballer, and David Main, Managing Director of Wolverhampton-based furniture company, Shankar, who also previously benefitted from the programme