Worcestershire.Business.Central is a free support service for Worcestershire businesses, for people starting up a business, growing a business, developing skills and hiring apprentices, finding property, networking or getting access to finance.

The scheme, run by Worcestershire County Council, the District Councils, the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce – plus other expert business partners, has helped over 250 Worcestershire businesses to start up or grow in 2013 and given support and information to over 1,200 companies in the last year.

Businesses can obtain free, one to one, support from business relationship staff and find out about available funding, events, and schemes to help their business to grow.

Rob Bowers owner of Evesham Greengrocer, obtained funding and support for his new business, said, ‘It’s the best thing I have done for my business.’

Simon Geraghty, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economy, Skills and Infrastructure, said "Worcestershire.Business.Central has made a tremendous difference to local businesses in its first year in operation, as we start to see a real improvement in the local and national economy. I would recommend that any business get in touch with the service and see what it can do for them, and indeed to keep the County 'Open for Business'."

The WBC team has provided the following services over the last year:

◾ 95 businesses have received free advice from Resource Efficient Worcestershire

◾ 75 brand new businesses have started up in the last 12 months creating 165 jobs

◾ £1.6m worth of external funding secured to support Worcestershire Businesses

◾ 50,000 visits to the website

◾ 1,200 businesses have accessed help from the WBC website

◾ 200 apprenticeship places secured

◾ 250 businesses have received funding and support to grow

To find out more about Worcestershire.Business.Central go to www.business-central.co.uk where you can also see our new videos through our YouTube account www.youtube.com/worcscc.