The Growth Hub Stroud is open for business
By Sarah Wood | 25th October 2021
The Growth Hub, Stroud held its official opening on Friday (October 22) - more than 18 months after it was originally scheduled.
The Growth Hub, Stroud has been providing online support for businesses throughout the pandemic and, with the easing of restrictions, is finally able to welcome businesses through the doors.
There were 65 guests at the opening event, with a large presence from GFirstLEP.
Proceedings were led by Siobhan Baillie, MP for Stroud, along with special guests and local businesses marking the launch of the go-to place to receive free business support, network, attend workshops or simply escape the isolation of working from home.
Stroud and the surrounding areas have a proud history of producing successful businesses and displaying entrepreneurial spirit. But with the uncertainty that Covid-19 and Brexit have presented, the need for a trusted and knowledgeable support hub for businesses is more crucial now than ever before.
Siobhan Baillie, MP for Stroud, said: "The idea of the Growth Hub is to make sure we're connecting businesses to skills, and for the young people that come to college here at SGS to know what's available locally.
"We don't want brain drains, we don't want people thinking that they have to go to another area to get a job. We want them to know exactly what's here, because we are so blessed locally in Stroud and Gloucestershire with amazing businesses."
She continued: "We know that there's about 1.2 million vacancies in the country that need to be filled. Businesses want to employ your kids and you and help you reskill.
"What we know about further education is that people are in favour of it, but for other people's children. Previous governments had a drive to get 50 per cent of children into university.
"What that did was get kids onto university courses which wouldn't necessarily lead to jobs and the remaining 50 per cent were effectively forgotten. We're changing that and we've got brilliant colleges that can really deliver for us."
The Growth Hub, Stroud aims to support employers to be flexible, innovative and emabrace technology by:
• Delivering assured, sector-specific support that meets the needs of the local district's businesses, responding to known and emerging needs
• Supporting people to reach their potential through skills development
• Supporting and strengthening the local business community through increased routes to market and increased networking opportunities
• Providing an innovation base for businesses to work from, including private offices, co-working space and a large meeting room available for hire
Based in the educational setting of SGS College, The Growth Hub, Stroud is ideally placed to raise standards across the county in employability, skills and qualifications and to provide alignment between education and business.
Working as part of the Gloucestershire Growth Hub Network, this investment will bring business support closer to the companies of the Stroud district and a local base they can turn to for growth.
Sara-Jane Watkins, principal of SGS College, said: "SGS College is a huge supporter of The Growth Hub Network and we are delighted to be able to further support developing and growing local businesses within the Stroud area and enable innovators to achieve their ambitions and make their great ideas become reality.
"As a college, we already work with over 2,000 employers annually through apprenticeships, work placements and commercial training, and our new Growth Hub facility is an extension of our expert team of employer advisers, who are focused on supporting businesses to achieve their full potential."
Ruth Dooley, chair of the Gfirst LEP and a partner at Hazlewoods accountants said: "I have been really lucky so far that having just taken over as chair, I have already helped open the Forest of Dean Growth Hub, just a couple of weeks ago. Mark Harper MP was there and he very kindly cut the ribbon.
"We are very lucky here in the county, we have a very supportive press in terms that they support businesses in Gloucestershire, our local authorises support businesses, our local MP's support businesses, it really is a business focused county.
Having these facilities here so that they can come here for help and support is absolutely fantastic".
Mark Owen, editor of Punchline-Gloucester.com, attended the opening. He said: "It's great to see The Growth Hub, Stroud open at last! It is an impressive facility with an enthusiastic team."
The Growth Hub, Stroud includes three private offices available for hire to start-ups and growing businesses. The free to use co-working space is ideal for professionals who need a break from working at home and want to make connections with other Gloucestershire businesses.
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