Sandwell businesses are aiming for GOLD

An abstract image of gold stars against a bright green backgroundOver four years, a funding programme has helped 92 businesses in Sandwell with face-to-face support and, in many cases, grant funding.

The Aim for GOLD programme was part-funded by the ERDF. It was designed to help support local small and medium-sized enterprises achieve their full potential – by supporting investment in capital equipment or revenue investments such as updating websites or IT equipment.

In Sandwell, 49 businesses received at least £1000 in funding – with over £792,000 being awarded in all. This has led to the creation of ­37 new jobs and helped Sandwell companies leverage over £1.7m in private sector finance.

Our Business Growth Team at Sandwell Council is delighted to have exceeded all targets for delivering the Aim for GOLD scheme.

Sandwell Council was the only West Midlands local authority to meet all its targets, which included the number of companies supported, the amount of grant funding issued and the number of new jobs generated.

Hundreds of companies supported

Together with regional partners Wolverhampton, Walsall and Dudley councils, the Aim for GOLD scheme supported a total of 292 companies and awarded over £3.2m of grant funding.

Every member of our Business Growth Team – Gareth, Helen, Nicy and Darshana – worked hard to achieve (and exceed) all their targets and make a difference to our local economy. Here are just some of the businesses we supported in Sandwell.

Howells Patent Glazing Ltd

In 2023, this family-run firm in Cradley Heath has been celebrating 50 years. It manufactures, supplies and installs domestic and commercial glazing in all sorts of places – from railway stations to amusement parks, domestic homes to heritage sites, schools to care homes. Products made at the Cradley Heath factory include glazing bars, north lights, roof lights, canopies and vents. These are transported and installed across the whole of the UK. Howells used its £15K Aim for GOLD grant to help pay for a new die and tooling, used to make a new three-way cap.

Tracey Jackson, Business Development Manager at Howells said: “Aim for GOLD was pivotal in helping us to continue to innovate post-Covid. Without this support we would have had to slow down the project and delay release indefinitely.”

Inspired Data Solutions Ltd

Inspired Data Solutions is a West Bromwich firm that specialises in customer relationship management software and databases. The company works with businesses and charities, in the UK and across the world, to provide bespoke systems that can take care of day-to-day tasks and enable organisations to grow.

As a new business, Inspired Data Solutions was awarded a £5k Aim for GOLD grant to cover development and hosting costs of the company’s website and its cloud-based software, which is used in the UK’s not-for-profit sector. This funding made it possible for the company to host a major CRM and to continue to support not-for profit organisations.

Steve Riddle, director at Inspired Data Solutions, said: “After major Covid-based financial disruption to the company, Aim for GOLD enabled us to continue building products that support charities.”

P&H Fabrications

P&H Fabrications is the in-house manufacturing arm of RLW Roofing, which manufactures, supplies and installs a full range of roofing systems and bespoke building envelopes across the UK. The products fabricated at its West Bromwich site include rain screen cladding systems, cappings, soffits, facias, light gauge steel framings, and other bespoke aluminium architecture.

P&H Fabrications was awarded £20k of Aim for GOLD funding, which helped fund a new CNC laser. This enabled the company to produce a new product which required a more intricate cut.

Zak Fullerton, manager at P&H said: “Following the installation of this machine, we have been able to grow as a business, ensure employee retention and even employ a new apprentice – all whilst operating within a challenging business climate.”

Thomas Howse Ltd

This Rowley Regis industrial paint and powder coatings firm was established in 1903, and 120 years later is still an independent family-run company. Its products are sold in the Black Country and across the UK. The £29k awarded to Thomas Howse through Aim for GOLD enabled the firm to buy new production machinery. This enabled it to significantly increase production capacity, as well as to reduce waste, reduce energy consumption and generally improve the whole production process.

Garry Plant, General Manager, said: “We really appreciated the hands on, jargon free, direct approach of the Aim for GOLD team. The process was transparent, to the point and made to measure.”

CMT Engineering

The roots of CMT Engineering stretch all the way back to 1907 when the Cradley Heath Manufacturing Company was established, producing wrought iron fittings for the gas, water and steam industries. Over 100 years and a few acquisitions later, CMT is now an independent company led by Sandwell Business Ambassador Anjali Agrawal. It supplies tubes, fittings, clamps, floats and hose and pipe connection systems.

CMT used the £10k it was awarded through Aim for GOLD to buy a new ‘cut grooving’ machine to its already successful ‘roll grooving’ operations. CEO Anjali said that, following Covid, CMT would have had to delay this investment, were it not for the grant.

“It‘s great to know that our local authority is working with local businesses to support the Sandwell area and local jobs,“ she said.

JCM Joinery

This Smethwick firm was established in the 1990s. It designs and constructs bespoke joinery products, specialising in commercial washrooms for offices, shops, hotels, schools, leisure centres, warehouses and factories.

JCM Joinery secured £21k through Aim for GOLD, which it used to purchase extractor systems and booths.

Nat Macauley from JCM Joinery said: “We moved our established business to Sandwell in late 2022 and, having reached out to the Business Growth Team in advance, we were absolutely delighted with the support we received. Our council contact was well networked within the council organisation and was able to connect, advise and genuinely resolve issues that arose with our relocation.

“We are so grateful to the Sandwell Business Growth team, who are VERY business and commercially focused. Their actions demonstrate their commitment to helping and supporting business in Sandwell.”

SCG Engineering

This Tipton firm supplies and distributes products for a wide range of heavy-duty applications, such as nuts, bolts, washers and thread. It supplies for industries that include petrochemical, agricultural, road and rail, power, construction and flood defence. SCG secured a £3555 grant from Aim for GOLD to purchase new machinery. This helped the business expand, and create at least one new job role at the company.

Director Shaun Collinson said: “Sandwell council are five stars when it comes to their business support, their help to get this grant over the finish line was fantastic. We simply cannot thank them enough. We wouldn’t want to be under any other borough.”

WOW Logistics

WOW provides distribution services and warehousing to the whole UK from its base in Wednesbury. The company received £3,500 from Aim for GOLD, which it used to upgrade its alarm systems and CCTV.

This enabled WOW to meet certain safety criteria, essential for expanding into new sectors. As a result, the firm has landed contracts with new clients, and is now able to invest in raising its profile through improved social media and a brand new website (coming soon!).

Managing director Rachel Middleton, said: “The Aim for GOLD grant has allowed us to expand our services, expertise and profile in the industry. We very much appreciate the knowledge, support and guidance we’ve had from Sandwell Council.”

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