Wigan firms to benefit from council cash windfall

Zoe Kerboas, Janis Maleedy, Wigan Council's Business Investment Officer, and Andrew Kerboas at Ratcliffe's in Leigh
Zoe Kerboas, Janis Maleedy, Wigan Council's Business Investment Officer, and Andrew Kerboas at Ratcliffe's in Leigh

Independent firms across Wigan will be handed another chance to access a cash pot to help them grow.

Wigan Council will re-open its Business Booster fund next month with loans of up to £10k and grants of up to £2k available following feedback from the Big Listening Project.

The scheme first opened in 2017 as part of the town hall’s Deal for Business,.

This is the scheme which outlines its commitment to creating vibrant town centres. and is designed to help start-ups and small-scale independent firms across the borough.

Council leader Coun David Molyneux said: “The Business Booster has always been a well-supported offer and we have tried various models to ensure it is effective.

“Creating an economy that is both successful and sustainable is a key priority for us and The Deal for Business signifies a shared commitment with businesses within the borough to achieve this.”

Applications can be submitted from this week by all firms that have signed up to the Deal for Business.

Andrew and Zoe Kerboas, owners of Ratcliffe’s outdoor shop in Leigh, received £2,000 from the Business Booster in 2018 and have been given ongoing support from the town hall’s business growth team.

Mr Kerboas said: “I would encourage any start-up or local business to look into this opportunity, why wouldn’t you? It’s a win-win.”

“Since signing up last year and accessing the grants, we have been able to develop our business quite quickly.

“We originally met the team to get some advice on setting up a business and we ended up walking away with money that helped us to employ a team early on, including a former employee who worked at Ratcliffe’s under the previous owners for 22 years.

“With the money, we’ve been able to advertise ourselves by designing and printing leaflets and by booking a space onto Leigh Centurions’ annual ‘golf day’, where we showcased a range of our products to other local businesses.

“As a result of this, we were able to spread the word about Ratcliffe’s being signed up to the CycleScheme, which allows the employees of other CycleScheme members to receive tax-free discounts on our bicycles.

“The Business Booster money has allowed us to advertise our business in a number of different ways and for that we are grateful.”

Wigan Council is committed to supporting the economic growth of the borough and urges even more businesses to look into the opportunities provided.

The Business Booster fund can help small-scale and start-up companies with a number of aspects of their business venture from refurbishing premises, purchasing equipment, advertising, developing a website and more.

Coun Molyneux, who is also the council’s cabinet member for economy and regeneration, added: “Through engaging directly with our residents and listening to what is important to them through The Big Listening Project, we were able to adapt the model again.

“This ensured business owners were not missing out on valuable support.

“Wigan borough has so much to offer and we look forward to welcoming even more businesses on board.”

For more information about the Deal for Business or the Business Booster, visit www.wigan.gov.uk/thedeal and click ‘Our Deals’.