Shropshire's economic growth plans are underway – and have started with £9.3 million of funding for Oswestry.

Supporting businesses, providing the necessary infrastructure and attracting inward investment, provide a key focus of Shropshire Council’s economic growth strategy. And, just six months since its launch, great strides have been made towards realising its ambitious vision for Shropshire.

Oswestry is part of this vision, with a £9.3m of Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) from the government. The HIF will help to unlock the potential of the Oswestry Urban extension, innovation park and support infrastructure improvements to kick-start development opportunities in this key growth location.

This year, alongside its Marches partners, Shropshire will exhibit at MIPIM, the world’s leading property market, which features over 24,000 participants from over 100 countries.

Here many investment opportunities will showcased, including the Oswestry Innovation Park.

One of the many successes has been Marches Growth Hub Shropshire, designed to provide advice, support and signposting for local businesses and start-ups. Since opening in 2016, Marches Growth Hub Shropshire has dealt with over 700 enquiries from local businesses, contributing towards the creation of over 30 new jobs in the area.

Alerting businesses to funding and helping to complete applications is another key service offered by Marches Growth Hub Shropshire, and Shropshire is amongst one of the most successful areas in supporting its businesses through the process.

The Business Growth programme, made available through the European Regional Development Fund, is designed to strengthen supply chains, stimulate innovation and grow existing small to medium sized enterprises across the Midlands.

To date, over 25 Shropshire businesses have been supported, with 71 jobs created, stimulating approximately £1m of investment in the county.

Nic Laurens, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for economic growth, said: “With dedicated officers assigned to locating these opportunities we have been particularly successful, with over £37m of funding accessed for business support and innovation, environmental projects and social inclusion in Shropshire over the last few years.”

As well as finding funding opportunities for its businesses, the team is constantly on the lookout for additional financial resources to support a range of infrastructure projects.

To date, over £11.2m worth of investment has been made in delivering digital connectivity across Shropshire through the council’s Connecting Shropshire project.

Selling the benefits of moving a business or setting up a new business in Shropshire remains a major priority. Soon the many benefits that the county can offer will be touted at international level.

Nic Laurens added:

“It has been a bold decision to take part but it’s a highly competitive marketplace. We need to start presenting these very exciting and potentially lucrative projects to potential investors, alongside our regional partners, on the world stage.”