The encouragement of businesses to grow and share their ideas is to me the very lifeblood of company development.
That’s why I am a great supporter of the GFirst LEP’s innovative Growth Hub Network.
And the latest of these Growth Hubs is now opening at the South Gloucestershire and Stroud College as an integral part of their Stroud campus at the end of March.
This is a place where young entrepreneurs can be helped to see their ideas becoming a reality with the expert advice and mentoring available through the Gloucestershire Growth Hub network.
Sara-Jane Watkins, principal of SGS was enthusiastic about the new Growth Hub in Stroud when she told me:
“As a college we already work with over 2,000 employers through apprenticeships, work placements and commercial training.
“This new Growth Hub facility is a great extension to our excellent expert team of employer advisers supporting businesses to achieve their full potential”.
The Stroud and the Five Valleys area has bluntly not really been very supportive to local business in the past.
That is now changing with enthusiastic efforts from the Stroud Business Voice group which Business west is supporting.
There are something like 4 300 businesses in the Stroud District area.
Many of these are micro businesses so there is a huge opportunity for them to accelerate their growth with help-much of it free- from the new Stroud Growth Hub.
What I like about the Stroud Growth Hub is that it is part of the college, just like the Growth Hub in Tewkesbury is an integrated part of the borough council offices there.
And the Forest of Dean Growth Hub will be opening at Vantage Point in April and the Cheltenham Hub in October.
What excites me about the SGS Growth Hub is that we will have students at Stroud, and at their Berkeley campus who might decide to set up their own company after studying.
They will then have a pool of professional advice on starting out on their start-up journey from the team of business navigators who operate throughout all the Gloucestershire Growth Hubs.