C&W Business Support as the lockdown eases

Published Friday, 14 May 2021

A leading finance provider, business support organisations, local authorities and district and borough councils in Coventry and Warwickshire have joined together to offer support to businesses. 

Craig Humphrey, managing director of the CWLEP Growth Hub.
Craig Humphrey, managing director of the CWLEP Growth Hub.

The joined-up approach throughout the pandemic has boosted jobs and the local economy by nearly £25 million.

With the next stage of the Government’s roadmap due to come into effect from May 17, new figures released by the Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust (CWRT) shine a positive spotlight on the benefits of collaborative working to ensure many businesses have accessed the finance needed to survive Covid-19.

Just over £7.4 million has been lent by CWRT to businesses across the area since June 2020 which has led to 833 jobs being safeguarded and the creation of 297 jobs in a wide range of sectors.

This was alongside the tens of millions of pounds in Covid grants, the local authorities in Coventry and Warwickshire awarded businesses through the crisis.

Sheridan Sulskis, Executive Director of the CWRT, explained: “Our collaborative measures have meant we have continued to fill the gap in the marketplace left by the mainstream lenders to provide finance to SMEs in Coventry and Warwickshire which as well as supporting these viable businesses has also protected their supply chain so there has been a wider impact.

“Not only has this helped businesses to survive but has enabled companies to diversify, strengthen their business models, streamline their processes and procedures, and create and safeguard jobs.”

The partnership-working approach by the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub, the CWLEP, CWRT, the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses, Warwickshire County Council, Coventry City Council, Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, Warwick District Council, Rugby Borough Council, Stratford-upon-Avon District Council and North Warwickshire Borough Council has impacted the economy by around £24 million.

Businesses to have benefited range from a commercial cleaning service taking on more employees and investing in new machinery, to the launch of a business administration service. These businesses were provided with support and advice from the Chamber of Commerce’s Accelerated Growth programme, part funded by the Coventry & Warwickshire Business Support Programme, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Craig Humphrey, managing director of the CWLEP Growth Hub, said the new figures emphasise that businesses have been using recent months to strengthen their foundations to look to the future with positivity.

He said: “Since the first national lockdown last March, the Growth Hub and the Chamber have signposted businesses to apply for the Government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) as well as promoting the local grants available.

“All the signs show that the economy is moving again because we are seeing good signs of growth and job creation although we recognise that many businesses are still in recovery mode.

“As we gear up for the next easing of restrictions on May 17, our joined-up eco-system in Coventry and Warwickshire between all the business support organisations, local authorities and district and borough councils will continue to help businesses to recover whatever their size or sector.

“I would urge businesses based in Coventry and Warwickshire to take advantage of the comprehensive range of support and financial packages available to businesses to help them and the economy steadily recover from the pandemic.

“There is plenty of support and finance available for new start-ups or to help businesses throughout Coventry and Warwickshire to grow, diversify, innovate, address skills challenges, and become more low carbon.”

Warwickshire County Council contributed £1.5 million to the overall £7.4 million CBILS scheme with Coventry City Council adding £2.5 million.

This was part of the County’s initial £6.25 million economic recovery fund to support local businesses, particularly in the retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors which have been hardest hit by the pandemic.

Mark Ryder, Strategic Director for Communities, said: “From early on in the pandemic, the County was keen to work with partners to ensure that we were giving the maximum support possible to businesses, particularly those in the hardest hit sectors.

“We put in a suite of programmes, both business advice and grants or loans, so that businesses could access support that was most relevant to them. It’s good to see initial signs of improvement and I would urge businesses to contact our partners at the Growth Hub to see what support might be available to them.”

Coventry City Council