SMEs across the Black Country are being given the opportunity to grow their businesses by tapping into a new European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funded scheme led by the City of Wolverhampton Council, working in partnership with Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall councils. The capital and revenue grant scheme, Black Country Transformational GOLD (BCT GOLD) delivers financial assistance and access to development support to businesses across Wolverhampton, Walsall, Sandwell and Dudley.

The BCT GOLD scheme, which launches on Thursday, October 20, 2016, is primarily aimed at firms involved in advanced manufacturing, building technologies, business services, environmental technologies, transport technologies and social enterprises.

Eligible businesses can apply for grants of up to £9,000 through BCT GOLD to purchase plant and machinery, equipment or buy in consultancy to support expansion projects that will enable their business to grow by up to 20 per cent.

The scheme represents the second opportunity of its kind in the region. Its predecessor – the Black Country GOLD scheme – enabled over 86 businesses in the area to create jobs, increase output, develop new products and diversify into new markets.

One of the companies helped under the previous round of funding was printing company, Printdot, based at Fallings Park Industrial Estate, Wolverhampton.

Printdot Managing Director, Keith Milford, said: “The grant we received from Black Country GOLD enabled us to buy a new printer and IT equipment, as well as take on a new employee.

“All of this has had a significant impact on the excellent growth the company has experienced over the last year.”

Councillor John Reynolds, City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for City Economy, added: “This new round of funding is great news for SMEs in the Black Country. The previous scheme enabled many businesses across the Black Country to carry out expansion projects which had been put on the back burner because of lack of funding or other factors.

“The scheme is a really good example of the Black Country local authorities and the Black Country Growth Hub at the Wolverhampton Business Solutions Centre working together to support enterprise and create new employment opportunities.

“It is great to see a business like Printdot benefitting from the funding and we look forward to helping many more businesses.”

The grant covers 30 per cent of project costs, with the remaining balance being funded by the business. Once a grant has been approved, businesses need to complete their project in full within three months and pay all their suppliers, before the grant can be released.

Demand for the grants is expected to be high and funds are limited, so Black Country businesses are urged to find out more and register to attend the BCT GOLD Breakfast Launch Event between 8am and 9.30am on Thursday, October 20, in the Marston Room at University of Wolverhampton Science Park, WV10 9RU.