Hundreds of small and medium-sized businesses across Hertfordshire can access new grants of up to £3,000 or one-to-one advice, as part of a package of tailored business support from Hertfordshire Growth Hub.

The Growth Hub’s Get Growing project is the second of its kind funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), with the first having successfully helped over 200 businesses, created 190 jobs and generated £12.2m for the local economy.

Sian Ryan, Head of Service at Hertfordshire Growth Hub, said: “Get Growing 2 provides a structured package of comprehensive support for SMEs that have the potential to grow or scale up. Following initial registration, eligible companies meet with our expert Growth Account Managers, who carry out a free in-depth diagnostic to help us understand their challenges and barriers to growth. We then put in place a detailed growth action plan and work with the SME to implement the key actions identified either directly or through our network of local specialists, who can provide support in areas such as marketing, cyber-security, recruitment, productivity and product development.”

Building on the success of previous funding, the project is placing particular focus on working with businesses that demonstrate the ability to grow, scale and improve productivity. Eligible companies can receive a grant of up to £3,000 to access external expertise, with Growth Hub Account Managers monitoring progress and providing ongoing support.

Companies are also invited to exclusive events and seminars on key business-improvement topics and will have access to the Growth Hub’s new online platform.

An impressive track record

The Growth Hub is delivered by a consortium, led by business support specialists Exemplas, as well as the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and the University of Hertfordshire. It is publicly funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The Get Growing project itself has an impressive track record. Almost three quarters (71%) of the companies who have taken part so far say they’ve improved their approach to growth, while nearly half (45%) say they’ve seen an increase in productivity and over a third (34%) say they’ve seen a profit increase. In that same timeframe, 36% have created new jobs.

Fast profits for fast-food business

One of those who has benefited is Andrea Allen, who runs Hertford-based fast-food restaurant, Galos. Get Growing linked her up with a branding expert, finance specialist and restaurant investor, who all helped her make significant changes to her business, which helped increase its profits.

“Get Growing made me look at the numbers, the mechanics of the business and how you market yourself,” she explains. “It’s given me a sense of focus and direction and I’ve found the process positive and motivational. You have to have a big skill set as a business person and I now have more confidence to do what needs to be done.”

To find out more about Get Growing 2 and register your interest in receiving in-depth advice or accessing the business grant, go to www.hertsgrowthhub.com.