Team expands to ensure best support for Warwickshire businesses
"I am very proud of the team which has been at full stretch and burned a lot of midnight over recent months, so it is great to have three excellent new people on board."
Warwickshire County Council's Business & Economy team has welcomed three new members to help power its array of business support, access to finance and other economic development schemes around the county.
William Tse (Funding Lead) and Annie Smith and Emily Hodesdon (Project Officers) have been added to the team in light of its greater workload than ever to support the businesses and people of Warwickshire.
The County Council manages a broad range of projects and programmes which have been created to help businesses and communities deal with the pressures during and post-Covid.
The Business & Economy team is now managing projects and programmes worth over £40 million - and this is only expected to increase. Those projects require significant development as well as much diligent and time-consuming administration to ensure that support reaches businesses and people swiftly, so the team has been reinforced with the three recruits, all of whom bring valuable and relevant experience.
William, who was born in Lincolnshire and attended Sheffield Hallam University, brings a wealth of Urban Regeneration, project management and funding experience into the team. As the new Funding Lead, this will be a strategic role which involves working closely with external funders and the County Council's partners in the region. The team’s current projects and programmes are funded by over £13 million of European and Government grants, and William is now working on a range of new Government funding programmes which he describes as an 'exciting challenge.'
"The primary focus of my role is to influence external funding programmes and to align funding opportunities within the Warwickshire area," he said. "There is a huge amount of potential and a possibility of creating stronger partnership-led programmes in the post COVID environmen. I work closely with our local partners and other County Council teams to lead, engage and inform the future strategic direction of programme delivery for the local economy as well to lead or support funding bids."
Annie brings a wealth of experience from working at county councils, firstly for 11 years in the education sector in North Yorkshire and latterly, here in Warwickshire for the last 17 years, either side of a brief spell at Coventry University and in the private sector.
"I am proud to have joined the Business & Economy team," said Annie. "Throughout my career to date, my roles have involved supporting the local community and my position here enables me to continue in that vein.
"My qualification in IT has enabled me to use this in my previous roles, alongside compliance, Quality Assurance and managing business support. My new position will allow me to maintain the high-quality work that this department provides, making sure that applications are accurate and checking that everything is in place so that businesses can get the funding they need as quickly as possible."
Warwickshire-born Emily has arrived driven by a similar desire to help the community, though she has taken a different route to the County Council - via primary school teaching.
"I worked as a Teacher in a Warwickshire primary school straight out of the University of Winchester, I loved working with children" she said. " I remain a passionate advocate for Early Years Education and it’s something that I may go back to in the future, but I also wanted to see what else was out there to broaden my skills and experience. I worked in the offices at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home for a year and that was great fun!”
Emily joined the Council in 2021 as a Business Support Officer and was delighted to become a Business & Economy Project Officer earlier this year. “In my role I predominantly support businesses with claim submissions to receive grant funding. I was also heavily involved in the popular Adapt & Diversify scheme, which won a Star Award, following the successful delivery of funds, during an unprecedented and challenging time.”
"This role is great for me because it combines my passion for helping people, with my love of administration. I am also learning a lot which really excites me because I am always looking for the next challenge. Mostly, it feels good to be giving back to the County I grew up in and one that I love so much".
Warwickshire County Council's Lead Commissioner (Business & Economy) Matthew Epps is delighted to have the three new team members on board.
"I am very pleased to welcome William, Annie and Emily to the team," he said. "They all bring great attributes to the council and have the strong work ethic and desire to help businesses and local communities, just like the rest of the team they have joined.
"It has been an incredibly busy year for the Business & Economy team, with numerous schemes and projects ongoing and new ones coming on line as we adapt our support to the evolving needs of businesses. I am very proud of the team which has been at full stretch and burned a lot of midnight over recent months, so it is great to have three excellent new people on board."