Swindon and Wiltshire Growth Hub exceeds expectations

By Ben Carey on 24 October, 2022

The effectiveness of the Swindon and Wiltshire Growth Hub has been formally assessed by an independent body.

Wavehill, social and economic research experts, have completed an in-depth evaluation of the progress and impact of the services and support provided by the Growth Hub – the business support arm of the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP).

The report outlines the valuable work that the Growth Hub delivers to the SME community in our region, including its range of information, high-quality business support and impartial advice.

The evaluation found that key issues faced by businesses over the study period included staff shortages, supply chain disruptions, rising costs, the ongoing fallout of the EU exit, climate change and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Having assisted 2,343 businesses, the most desired support was around access to finance and mentoring (both 47 per cent). This was closely followed by business planning (43 per cent) and team training (40 per cent). Of those businesses who responded, 65 per cent stated that they would value further support from the Growth Hub in 2022/23.

One in three businesses has grown their staff numbers and nine stated they had saved 23 jobs following interaction with the Growth Hub. Using this information and the overall number of businesses who received support, Wavehill estimated that the Growth Hub helped safeguard 149 jobs and contribute to £8.4m GVA for the region.

Chris Stevens, Growth Hub Manager, said, “I am delighted that 74 per cent of the 124 businesses who responded to the survey felt that we had exceeded their expectations and 69 per cent said they were in a better position having accessed support. The team and I strive to give valued input to all organisations which need help and support.”

The Growth Hub aims to remain relevant to the times, expanding its offer to incorporate support covering the green economy and cyber, whilst creating and safeguarding jobs in the region.

The Growing Places Infrastructure Fund (GPIF) launched in 2012, is an £8 million capital fund that enables businesses to attain a loan to accelerate and deliver innovative projects to stimulate growth, productivity and jobs. Since 2012, SWLEP and the Hub have supported an array of exciting, innovative and much needed projects within the SWLEP area including the expansion of manufacturing lines, investment in research and development capability and creation of coworking space.

To find out more about the Swindon and Wiltshire Growth Hub visit: growthhub.swlep.co.uk email: hello@SWGrowthHub.co.uk or call: 01249 477287