A pilot scheme funded by Ashford Borough Council to boost economic activity has been extended following the runaway success of the programme, the first to be launched in Kent.
Scale Up Ashford has been delivered in partnership with Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and Simon Teague from New Level Results, a business growth coaching specialist.
The initiative identified six businesses in the borough that were assessed as having the potential and ambition to grow. A bespoke support programme was then created to ‘supercharge’ them to exceed this potential to create jobs and boost the economy in a sustainable and long-lasting way.
The results were so impressive that the decision has been taken to extend the scheme to benefit 10 companies in the next phase of the Scale Up programme. The original six firms were joined by the new recruits at Kent Invicta Chamber for an event to celebrate the success of the first cohort and the launch of the next round.
The event heard that in six months the programme created 17 jobs, grew the turnover of the companies involved by 21% on average, and helped to facilitate half a million pounds worth of investment in plant and machinery. The full impact of the programme is still being assessed.
The six firms involved in the first programme are Forza Industries, Red Alert Telecare, AES Precision Engineering, Directline Structures, Medash Signs and VISARC.
From a philosophy pioneered by the Scale Up Institute in London, studies have shown that growth within these sorts of businesses has been proven to create more local jobs and provide better returns to the local economy than other kinds of business support.
Andrew Osborne, economic development manager at Ashford Borough Council, said: “Scale Up Ashford is a prime example of the authority’s continued commitment to develop growth and economic prosperity across the borough.
“Following the success of the pilot scheme, we are now developing the next phase of the programme, which will expand the help and support available to even more businesses in the Ashford area.”
The second phase of Scale Up Ashford will kick off with a workshop for the 10 businesses selected, before a bespoke programme is created for each one. Meanwhile the original six companies will be able to access continued support from Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce.
For more information about the programme visit www.ashfordfor.com/scaleupashford
For more information about membership and the full range of business support services offered by the Chamber visit www.kentinvictachamber.co.uk