Small Businesses Get WNF Support

By on 14/01/2010 in News

The New Year will see a fresh start for many small and medium businesses in the region as Birmingham City Council launches a new initiative which lends a helping hand to a wide variety of businesses including start ups and companies affected by the recession.

A total of £31million has been secured as part of the Working Neighborhoods Fund (WNF) which aims to stimulate vital enterprise and business activity in Birmingham. The fund is being delivered through a number of key partners including Business Link West Midlands, Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, Aston University, Birmingham University,  Birmingham City University, Digital Birmingham, and the Black Country Birmingham & Solihull Lifelong Learning Network.

The scheme aims to stimulate vital enterprise and business activity in Birmingham through a portfolio of projects, each one tailored to benefit a variety of businesses.

Support includes Business Development Grants and the Business Rates Hardship fund, both of which are designed to assist a breadth of varying businesses.

The Business Development Grants enable businesses to access up to £2,500 towards identifying new market opportunities and up to £6,000 to help new or existing businesses set up, consolidate or expand their business premises.

For those businesses experiencing extreme hardship, the Business Rates Hardship Fund provides assistance to small and medium businesses with rate relief support..

Cllr Neville Summerfield, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “Last year was particularly tough for businesses in Birmingham, many of which have had to make drastic decisions about their future. This package will give many such businesses that much needed cash injection to get them back onto their feet and position them to move forward into the future.

“By offering immediate and tangible intervention on the ground to the grass roots of the local economy, these initiatives prove how WNF money can make a real difference here and now, and are typical of the sort of schemes we are now brining to bear as we move into the delivery stage of our WNF projects.”

In addition to providing grants and hardship funds the project will also help many young graduate entrepreneurs set up their first business, providing not only wage subsidies, but also advice through a number of “Enterprise Coaches” who offer informal and confidential sessions.

To find out more about the programme and how to apply go to

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