A BUSINESS support programme in Barnsley has helped to create or save more than 1,000 jobs in the town.
The Enterprising Barnsley programme has led to 630 new jobs and the protection of 397 posts since it was set up in 2009 and broke its targets for 2011 a month before the end of the year.
The organisation has provided support for 575 companies, employing a total of 6,000 people – a significant proportion of Barnsley’s workforce.
Enterprising Barnsley provides coaching support to businesses that have growth potential in sectors that include advanced manufacturing and materials, creative and digital industries, financial and business services, bioscience, sports technology, environmental technology and food and drink technologies.
Coaches provide free specialist advice on everything from sales and marketing to IT and environmental management.
Enterprising Barnsley has also offered free or subsidised office space or “hubs” for businesses and run networking events.
Among the companies helped by Enterprising Barnsley are training company Lavender International, visitor attraction Cannon Hall Farm, architectural metalwork specialist Zebra Steel and children’s outdoor gear company Spotty Otter.
Lavender International’s Stephen Lavender said: “We have to keep pace with the changing demands of many different industries and we also have to keep pace with more day-to-day tasks like IT and marketing – and that is where Enterprising Barnsley’s help has been invaluable.”
Award-winning Cannon Hall Farm boosted gate receipts by 30 per cent with Enterprising Barnsley’s help, while Zebra Steel has won prestigious contracts in London and Spotty Otter is fast becoming a cult brand.
Barnsley Council cabinet member, Tim Cheetham, said: “As we all know it has not been an easy year for businesses, but we have shown that even in difficult times it is possible for businesses to survive and in some cases even thrive if they are given support.”