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GBSLEP launches Business Support Forum to support diversity in businesses

The Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) has started a new scheme to support entrepreneurs in the most deprived parts of the city-region.

GBSLEP’s Growth Hub held a Business Support Forum on 9th May, which targeted businesses in Lozells, Sparkbrook and Small Heath. In just one day, 12 workshops took place involving 219 firms. Of the attendees, 57 signed up to a support programme and intensive support was offered to 22.

The scheme, part-funded by GBSLEP in collaboration with the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CREME), the community organisation Citizens UK and national bank NatWest, will be rolled out to other parts of Greater Birmingham and Solihull later this year.

The project involves a business advisor visiting three disadvantaged areas in the region to meet with owners of start-up business, and offer face-to-face advice and guidance on future growth. The programme is focused on building an inclusive ecosystem, which enforces the importance of diversity in supporting local businesses.

Saqib Bhatti, GBSLEP Director for Growing Businesses and Representing SMEs, said:

A wide range of businesses were involved in the pilot of the Business Support Forum, demonstrating the programme’s huge potential ahead of its roll-out across the city-region in the coming months. Our priorities now are to ensure that as many firms as possible, across all sectors, are aware of the support that is available.”

GBSLEP and its Growth Hub offer tailored support for companies with strong growth potential through training, business advice, funding opportunities and directing business owners to a range of support services across the region.