More than 100 businesses have pledged to work with their community thanks to pioneering approach to partnership working.
The Deal for Business is a voluntary agreement between Wigan Council and local businesses to work together to make Wigan a great place to live, work, invest and visit. And, since its launch at the Wigan Business Expo in October 2017, more than 100 companies have signed up to the Deal to receive recruitment guidance, financial support or training in return for them recycling, working with the community and supporting council initiatives.
Two most recent sign ups include Stonehouse hair salon in Wigan town centre and Ratcliffe’s of Leigh sport and cycle shop. Both companies received money from the council’s Business Booster fund after signing up to the Deal, which supports start-up and small, independent businesses with loans up to £10,000 or grants up to £2,000.
Craig Stonehouse, 32, owns Stonehouse hair salon with his partner Craig Harris, 40, who is originally from Wigan. They recently opened their business on Library Street and received £2,000 from the Business Booster. Craig said: “When Craig brought me to Wigan, I immediately fell in love with the place and wanted to set something up here. We have always been passionate about working with the community and the support the council has given us on a range of levels definitely inspired us to do as much as we can.
“We’re in the process of arranging free haircuts for foster children and are working with The Brick to provide free haircuts to their service users who may have a job interview coming up. We’ve also joined forces with Wigan and Leigh College’s art and textiles departments to commission student art and soft furnishings for the salon. “That’s just a taster of what we have planned and it wouldn’t be possible without the help from the council as they have put us in touch with so many people. The money from the Business Booster will also help our plans to expand the team and launch a make-up range.”
Ratcliffe’s at Leigh is owned by Andrew and Zoe Kerboas. They received £1,900 from the Business Booster and another £40,000 from Business Finance Solutions, thanks to help from the council’s business growth team. Andrew, 40, said: “We heard about the Deal for Business at last year’s Business Expo. We originally met the team to get some advice on setting up a business and we ended up walking away with money that helped us to employ a team early on, including a former employee who worked at Ratcliffe’s under the previous owners for 22 years.
“We’ve only been trading for a few weeks, so it’s been quite a fast, simple process. “We have plans to donate old stock including sleeping bags and camping equipment to a local homeless charity and we’ve also been speaking with Inspiring healthy lifestyles to support their cycling group. “I would encourage any start-up or local business to look into this opportunity, why wouldn’t you? It’s a win-win.”
Wigan Council is committed to supporting the economic growth of the borough and urges even more businesses to look into the opportunities provided as a result of the Deal for Business.
Rebecca Heron, director for economy and skills at the council said: “Creating an economy that is both successful and sustainable is a key priority for us and The Deal for Business signifies a shared commitment with businesses within the borough to achieve this. “We pledge to promote various opportunities and provide the support our businesses need to grow and be innovative but we also want them to recognise the role they play in helping our borough to thrive and encourage them to invest in the communities in which they’re based. “Businesses and communities can learn a lot from each other and it’s crucial they work together in order to build a stronger borough. “Wigan Borough has so much to offer and we look forward to welcoming even more businesses on board.”
For more information about the Deal for Business or the Business Booster, visit www.wiganworks.com