UPDATED: The £220k grants which could be handed to people in Oldham

Reporter: Charlotte Hall, Local Democracy Reporter
Date published: 02 April 2024

Oldham council is taking on unemployment in the borough with two new schemes to boost local businesses.

The council will hand out £220k in grants to entrepreneurs and small business owners in what it called a “brilliant opportunity” to help build 40 new enterprises and 72 new jobs in the area. 

The news comes after recent employment figures by the Office for National Statistics found 4.3 percent of Oldhamers are unemployed - higher than the 3.9 pc national average. 

Councillor Fida Hussain, the council leader for business, employment and enterprise, said: “We’re determined to boost business and jobs in Oldham which is why we’re supporting new start-ups or ambitious businesses which need help to grow.

“So, if you are an Oldham entrepreneur or looking to start up in the borough and need a helping hand to help us make a more prosperous Oldham, we want to hear from you.”

The ‘Start-up Grant’ scheme, run by Oldham Enterprise Trust, will provide grants of up to £1,000 for those looking to start their own business.

They’ll also receive support to develop a business plan and figuring out cash flow. 

Meanwhile, a ‘Business Growth Grant’ run by the council will focus on the businesses already up and running in Oldham.

The money can be used for projects like buying new machinery or expanding a business premises. 

Up to 50 pc of the project costs - up to a maximum of £10k - will be funded by the council.

There is £180k up for grabs, with the council estimating to support around 70 businesses. 

But business owners will only receive the funding if the projects will result in new employment by March 31, 2025. 

The council has indicated that it will prioritise businesses in certain ‘key sectors’ including manufacturing, construction, digital and creative and low carbon/green technology.

The schemes are funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, a pot of government money put aside for growing the economy in local communities.

Oldham council successfully applied for almost £1.5m of the funding via the GMCA. 

Around £1.1m is earmarked for developing the new workspace programme in Spindles, where the council will be operating a hot-desk and office space rental programme for new businesses. 

Other spending will include staffing costs to run the grant scheme and business support programmes. 

Applications for the Start-Up Grant and Business Growth Grant opened on April 2.

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