Paula Basnett gave a case study of a business that had run for thirty years in Birkenhead, Hankinson Painting Group. She said that Hankinson Painting Group had “not been complimentary about support” [from Wirral Council] but “wanted to grow” and were “eligible for funding”. They had received a Business Investment Grant (BIG) to diversify into new markets. £64,000 had been given to Hankinson Painting Group which equated to £250,000 of support and had secured sixty-eight jobs and created sixteen jobs. Hankinson Painting Group had secured new contracts in the rail industry and now had a turnover of £5-6 million and employed 244 employees. Steve Hankinson was now “very complementary” of the support received to develop the business.
Paula said that they tried not to duplicate the work of the Manufacturing Advisory Service who worked with Graham. She said they give Mark a lot of referrals. The business forum had 2,030 members. This gave members access to business opportunities, procurement, tenders, a directory, information on major developments such as the Peel Project, information on the intermediate labour market and apprenticeship information. Businesses could also search for a local plumber or architect in a forum which Paula said was “unique in the North West”. She said that other Merseyside local councils wanted access to it. She had some great case studies of inter-trading and joint working. Paula also mentioned the workshops and how businesses could use CHEST which contained details of public sector procurements over £10,000. Businesses could also sign up to a daily or weekly list of tenders.