Free expert advice and grants of up to £50,000, are being offered to small business owners and would-be entrepreneurs by Birmingham City Council’s new Enterprise Catalyst Business Support initiative.
The £9.3 million scheme is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and is helping to build an entrepreneurial culture in key communities; and provide dedicated support to social enterprises and existing businesses in some of the city’s most disadvantaged areas.
As part of the Council’s drive to regenerate priority neighbourhoods, Enterprise Catalyst will, over the next two years, support 3,500 businesses and entrepreneurs with free independent expert advice, as well as provide up to 50 per cent grant investment - to help get businesses off the ground and grow.
One happy business owner who took advantage of the scheme was former solicitor, Kauser Parveen, who launched her own recruitment agency after spotting a gap in the supply of locum doctors in the NHS as well as private hospitals in the Middle East.
Initially, unsure whether her idea could turn into a business, Kauser was given a confidence boost by some of her early clients who praised the service they received.
After just months of work, Kauser got in touch with the team at Enterprise Catalyst, who helped shape her future plans with match-funding of more than £10,000 to handle the growing demand of the business.
Now, just two years later, Kauser employs eight workers and supplies staff across a range of sectors.
Enterprise Catalyst’s next Support Roadshow is taking place at the Beaufort Sports & Social Club in Hodge Hill, Birmingham on 29th January between 10am and 2pm, to support individuals looking to start their own business or develop an existing venture.
To be eligible for Enterprise Catalyst support; individuals must live, or have a business trading in northwest, central and southeast Birmingham, which makes up the scheme’s target boundary. As part of the eligibility criteria, businesses must demonstrate that they are or will trade within eligible ERDF business activity areas.
Councillor Tahir Ali, Cabinet Member for Development, Jobs and Skills said: “Entrepreneurs and small businesses that create growth are one of the keys to economic recovery.
“For us to be an Enterprise City, we need to encourage greater growth in private sector businesses and social enterprises that employ and train local people and make a positive contribution to the communities in which they operate”.
Financial backing can often be the most daunting prospect to overcome, which is why Enterprise Catalyst not only provides financial support for entrepreneurs and start-ups at varying stages of the business development journey, it also offers much needed mentoring and advice throughout the whole process.
To find out more about how to become part of Enterprise Catalyst call 0121 675 7584,
visit http://www.enterprise-catalyst.com/ or text EC to 80800