The Staffordshire Means Back to Business Scheme was set up by Staffordshire County Council in partnership with all the district and borough councils in the county, resulting in an additional £3.4m invested in growth and survival grants.
Now over 683 employees in Stafford Borough have been upskilled, 35 apprentices have been recruited, eight business have received survival and growth funding and £40,000 in interest-free start-up loans have been invested.
Apprentices are central to Stafford-based FMS Care and Truck’s businesses and have recently taken on 18-year-old Kyle from Stafford using a £5,000 grant to recruit and support an apprentice from the Staffordshire Means Back to Business scheme.
Owner Richard Fraser said: "Apprentices bring such great ideas and vibrancy to the business, but the best business advantage is that you get to shape them – teaching them to do things in the way that you want them to be done, and in so doing growing them into a great representative of your brand.
"The grant funding has really helped with the costs of Kyle Hugill’s first year and has made such a difference.’"
Councillor Frances Beatty, cabinet member for economic regeneration and planning, said: "Small businesses are the stalwart of our economy, and through this scheme we’ve been able to help more businesses with more funding and more support, quicker, and that’s made an incredible difference to many people."
Councillor Philip White, Staffordshire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economy and skills, said: "While it has been important to help businesses struggling as part of the Staffordshire Means Back to Business scheme, it’s also been critical to recognise that the pandemic changed how we work, with many people needing to learn new skills.
"Young people haven’t had as many opportunities to access the world of work, especially during the pandemic.
"Together with our council partners, we’re proud to have directly supported nearly a thousand businesses and nearly 4,000 individuals to survive and grow."