As we reported last month, Michelin Development recently offered £1 million worth of backing to new businesses in Staffordshire. Disappointingly, the response from the county’s entrepreneurs has been almost non-existent.
In the time since Michelin offered the challenge there has been only a trickle of enquiries into Michelin’s Stoke headquarters, and no new loans have been approved. According to the schemes organisers, Staffordshire is one of the poorest performers in terms of new business development.
This represents something of a reverse for the previously successful region. Michelin’s business development manager for the region, Dave Smith, explained the thinking behind the £1 million challenge, “We issued the challenge last month with a view to invoking a North Staffordshire renaissance, returning to the times when the region accounted for almost half of the jobs created by our fund. So far the response we have had has been somewhat muted and we once again issue the rallying call to entrepreneurs in the region to take advantage of what is a great business development opportunity – one we believe is the best out there.”
“It would be a crying shame,” Smith continued, “to see the money we have available not used and with it a great opportunity to inject capital and business growth into the North Staffordshire region,”
The scheme has been in place for five years, during which time Michelin Development has helped over 100 new companies, many of whom continue to flourish.