Nearly two-and-a-half thousand SMEs in Staffordshire have been supported by a business advice and referral hub, led by Staffordshire County Council, over the last financial year.

The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub, which is part of the local enterprise partnership, made 2,439 referrals to small businesses.

This week is national Local Business Week which is being backed by the county council and the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Latest figures released to today show that near full employment continues in Staffordshire, with just 1.7 per cent of the local population claiming out of work benefits. This is lower than both regional (3.3 per cent) and national (2.4 per cent) averages.

The vast majority of referrals made by the hub were to existing businesses (89 per cent) with eight per cent start-ups and three per cent pre-start businesses. Calls to the hub’s advice line were mostly about financial issues. The hub’s leading referral issue was also finance, with marketing and operational advice close behind. Small businesses in Staffordshire employ thousands of people across a range of sectors.

Businesses can find out more about advice and support offered by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub by visiting

The hub’s helpline number is 0300 111 8002 or people can email

Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader Mark Winnington said: “Smaller businesses employ thousands of people across the county and are an essential part of the local economy. They also support larger businesses as part of their supply chains.

“The success of our small businesses strengthens our position as a county with near full employment and so we will make every effort to ensure we can support them. “The growth hub is doing a great job in offering advice and referrals to businesses to help them grow and thrive. They then can then create even more jobs for Staffordshire people.”