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Funding scheme for local businesses

HSBC UK has launched a £600m fund for SMEs in Birmingham as part of a broader £15bn lending scheme to support firms across the UK. The fund includes more than £10bn of specific regionally-focused

allocations and the money is designed to support economies, employment opportunities and growth. Roger Pratt, HSBC UK’s business banking director for the Central

Region, said: “We are committed to supporting businesses in Birmingham and we know they are adapting at pace and looking at what comes next. “We recently helped a Birmingham manufacturer and supplier of

fastener components to purchase higher volumes of PPE from its suppliers, with the backing of the SME fund. “This fund is all about helping businesses to take new opportunities

and grow and we want to reassure them that we’re here to support them achieve their goals.” Peter McIntyre, head of small business banking at HSBC UK, added:

“With the vaccine rollout, there is light at the end of the tunnel and businesses in Birmingham are starting to look ahead again. “We’ve helped British business get through the last year with over

£14bn of Covid-19 lending support. Now its time to turn our minds to what comes next and how we help companies grow again, opening up a world of opportunity and contributing towards a sustainable future society. “The £15bn fund will help businesses across the Midlands to expand

internationally and here at home, support key sectors and drive investment across regions.”

Foundation hits

£3m milestone The Wesleyan Foundation has now awarded a total of £3m to good causes across the UK since its launch three years ago. After pledging a further £50,000

to the Titan Partnership earlier this year, a Birmingham charity that has been tackling tech poverty within schools during the pandemic, Wesleyan hit the £3m milestone. The Wesleyan Foundation has

now awarded more than 500 grants to charities, community groups and social enterprises across the UK. The specialist financial services

mutual launched the Wesleyan Foundation in 2017 as part of their commitment to supporting great causes that are important to their members and the communities in which they live and work.

For more information about the Wesleyan Foundation visit

For more information about Titan Partnership visit


Experts in small business and entrepreneurship from Aston University have played a significant role in developing the Government’s new national management programme for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to help them boost their performance, resilience and growth potential. The new scheme, Help to Grow: Management, announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in his budget, will be delivered through the Small Business Charter and leading business schools. Paula Whitehouse, associate

dean enterprise and director of the Aston University Centre for Growth, is the curriculum director for the new national programme. Mark Hart, professor of small business and entrepreneurship, is advising the government on the development of Help to Grow: Management.

Contact: Victoria Osgood T: 0750 8713797

University shapes growth programme

The scheme will give 30,000

small business leaders and managers the opportunity to take part in a 12-week executive development programme led by business and enterprise experts from top university business schools across the UK, featuring case studies from entrepreneurs and guest speeches from leading industry figures. Aston University’s Centre for

Growth has been supporting SMEs since 2013. Thousands of business owners and managers in the Midlands have benefited from the centre’s business growth programmes. All business schools delivering

the programme have been accredited by the Small Business Charter, a national accreditation awarded by small businesses to business schools who excel in supporting SMEs and the local economy.

College of Food gets first female boss

The first female head of the University College Birmingham’s College of Food - who trained there herself 35 years ago - has shared her plans to work even closer with the regional food and hospitality industry in her new role. Responsible for a team of 30 and departmental operational strategy, Kali

Davidson has already spearheaded the launch of the university’s new Food and Hospitality Hub @UCB, a training hub jam-packed with vital support for professionals struggling due to the pandemic, created in partnership with the NEC Group. “We have great links with industry, but I want to reach out further, make

even more relevant links,” she said. “In normal times, I eat out a lot, and there are so many new, exciting places in Birmingham – Dishoom, the new Grand Hotel, incredible street food businesses – and I think it’s important for us to work with these. “It’s incredibly frustrating and unfortunate what’s happened with the

pandemic, but when we come out the other side, we hope there will be plenty of opportunities to explore. “We have amazing lecturers, including Anthony Wright – the only chef

lecturer in the UK with a Master of Culinary Arts, who also led Team UK’s campaign at the prestigious Bocuse d’Or.” As well as showcasing the university’s “wonderful, talented” students to

businesses for both placements and paid work, Kali said it was also crucial for students to hear from industry during their studies to understand the sheer scope of what they could achieve. “You go to places like Fumo, Tattu, Marco Pierre White’s, which are always

rammed, and you’ll find students we’ve taught working there,” she said. “But we need to be talking to more executive chefs and managers about collaboration – guest speaking, for example.”

To find out more about how the department can help your business, email Kali at

Great links: Kali Davidson

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