A campaign to boost the spirit of enterprise across Redcar and Cleveland has been a resounding success.
The Enterprise Team – part of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council – received investment from the European Regional Development Fund Competitiveness Programme in 2013 to help businesses to set up and flourish in Redcar and Cleveland.
For 27 months the team provided advice, guidance, and free workshops to residents and established businesses.
A recent study carried out by a team from Durham University has now revealed that during that time the Enterprise Team helped companies to record a £4.3m increase in turnover – a huge boost to the local economy.
The campaign has provided assistance to more than 400 businesses, helping them through difficult challenges.
Although the European funding comes to an end on 30 September, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council is committed to continuing to provide business support.
Planning is well underway for future provision for start-ups through to the largest employers and inward investors in the borough.
The assistance provided by the Enterprise Team helped create 229 new jobs, and safeguarded a further 61 jobs.
The figures have delighted those tasked with driving economic regeneration in the borough.
Dale Quigley, Redcar and Cleveland cabinet member for economic development, said: “It’s a fantastic achievement and we’re delighted the campaign did what it set out to do.
“The report from Durham University is validation that the funding has been used effectively.”
The Enterprise Team helped launch 177 new businesses, and all but eight of them were still trading 12 months after they launched.
The team also ran self-employment workshops for more than 2,000 Redcar and Cleveland residents, with 981 of them becoming ‘Enterprise Ready’, meaning that if they should choose to, those individuals could turn their business ideas into reality.
In addition the Enterprise Team launched the Redcar and Cleveland Business Forum – a free networking event where companies could meet like-minded people, hear from guest speakers, enjoy a bite to eat, and chat to the Enterprise Team business coaches.
Peter Moore, managing director at the Construction Skills Academy, began trading in January 2015.
He said: “The team helped us with all aspects of the business, including looking after cash flow.
“It’s been collaboration between myself as a business person and the expertise of the Enterprise Team.”
Andy Carman, owner of Arc Aerial Imaging, served in the RAF before launching his business earlier this year.
He said: “I accessed free workshops which cemented some of the understanding and learning I received as part of my resettlement from the RAF, topics included marketing, social media awareness and the financial aspect of the business.”
Phil Pallent, training director, said: “The Enterprise Team helped us immensely, we had support with everything from marketing to finance, banking to web design.”
Melanie Newton, owner of FJ Hannay Bears, said: “To get a fresh pair of eyes on our business was really helpful, it made it much more smooth-running and it allowed us to put a new lease of life into FJ Hannay Bears.”
Robert Duffy, director at Driver Competence Training Ltd, said: “The contacts we made through the Redcar and Cleveland Enterprise Team were really helpful.
“We got great information on accounts and marketing and we even managed to get a grant through a partner company.”
• Pictured (above): Enterprise Team members celebrated a £4.3m boost to turnover during the Redcar and Cleveland Business Forum held at Hunley Hotel and Golf Club.