A £4 million fund is being invested in Oldham to help the next generation of local entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground.
Thanks to the ongoing commitment from the Stoller Charitable Trust, the Oldham Enterprise Fund (OEF) now brings together an investment package of £4 million for Oldham – the fund will act as a hub for businesses in the borough to access the support and finance they need to thrive and grow.
The OEF is a unique partnership within Greater Manchester – bringing together the Oldham Enterprise Trust with funding backed by Business Finance Solutions. This investment will be enhanced by a package of Oldham based business support backed by the Stoller Charitable Trust, Oldham Council, the European Regional Development Fund and the Manchester Growth Company.
The OEF will continue to provide specific support to Oldham’s young entrepreneurs, with grants available for people under the age of 25 and affordable loans available to those aged 25 and over.
This enhanced partnership hopes to act as a catalyst for the whole Oldham economy – ensuring that businesses at all stages of growth and development can access the full range of growth and financial support they need to thrive and grow.
Between its launch in January 2013 and December 2016, the OEF supported 100 businesses financially.
Of these 100 successful applicants, 38 were given grants and 66 received loans – four people received both. The average grant is £3,789.21 and the average loan is £8,645.86.
This has led to the creation of 207 jobs, including 90 for people under the age of 25.
Businesses helped so far include Smoke Yard, North Planet, Jack’s Smokehouse, Simply Treats and Aerial Focus to name a few.
The fund is open to Oldham residents aged 16 and over and non-Oldham residents who will base their business in the borough for a minimum of 12 months.
Jean Stretton, Oldham Council Leader, said: “Since its launch in 2013 the fund has invested £732,367 in Oldham businesses, either in grants or loans.
“This investment has led to hundreds of jobs being created and has boosted our local economy. The Oldham Enterprise Fund is a key part of our outstanding Get Oldham Working scheme.
“What’s also crucial is supporting our young people to reach their potential. That is what this fund has already done for so many and it will continue to do so.
“But everyone should be able to do this no matter how old they are and that is why support is available for people of all ages.
“This fund supports Oldham, enterprise, employment and our young people.”
Sir Norman Stoller CBE KSt DL said: “I am greatly encouraged by the work of The Oldham Enterprise Trust in developing my aim of stimulating, encouraging and supporting enterprise amongst Oldham’s young people.
“The funding from the Stoller Charitable Trust has already backed over 100 new start-up businesses which have created over 200 jobs. Thanks to our investment and faith in Oldham, we can look forward to a further influx of £3 million of business finance that is ring fenced for Oldham businesses from the Manchester Growth Company.
“This funding augments the Stoller Trust’s ongoing financial commitment and will help create and sustain an enterprise culture and support infrastructure in Oldham that is unique in Greater Manchester.”
Peter Treadwell, Business Finance Solutions Operations Director, said: “Business Finance Solutions is excited about working with Oldham on this ground breaking approach to helping businesses start and importantly grow their businesses.
“More funding is available, more support is available, and now this joined up accessible approach means Oldham businesses have an accelerated pathway to starting and building successful enterprises and driving growth in the borough.”
Further support is available whether the application is successful or not. Links are made to other national, regional, sectoral, and GM-wide funds.