Introduction from Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Leader of Warwickshire County Council
Hello everyone and welcome to the latest edition of Warwickshire Still Means Business. I hope that you have been able to get a bit of a break, hopefully away from the house after the rigours of recent months.
I appreciate that for many of you, that may not have been possible. It has been an incredibly busy last few weeks as businesses adapt to the new measures put in place that allow them to reopen. At the County Council, we have been working at a real pace, despite it being the holiday, to play our part in getting the county up and running again.
In this edition of Warwickshire Still Means Business, there are a whole suite of stories which show how businesses are facing up to the pandemic. Clearly, the spirit of innovation and endeavour that was so prevalent before businesses were locked down remains strong in the county.
At the start of lockdown, Warwickshire County Council immediately began working with all of our partners to co-ordinate efforts and resources to bring most benefit to businesses in and around the county. I am proud of the way that the County Council did everything in its power to support the business community.
We have received glowing testimonials from partners for this. But on top of that very proactive role, the County Council has also showed its commitment by allocating a very significant sum of money to businesses through a variety of programmes.
Back in April, the County Council added £1m to the pot of money to support the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan which provided critical support. We are now pushing out the programmes of work funded by the £4m that the County Council agreed out of its Place Shaping Fund to support economic recovery.
Foremost among that investment is the £300,000 business support programme ‘Survive, Sustain and Grow’ which will provide an enhanced business consultancy service open to all micro and small enterprises based in Warwickshire.
Businesses will be able to gain access to a network of specialist consultants to support them in establishing a framework for their businesses and identify challenges, opportunities and where they might apply for grant funding. It will prioritise the retail, hospitality, tourism and leisure sectors, those being among the hardest hit by the pandemic.
We are also launching grants to underpin our work in supporting the retail industry to maximise its digital offer which will be so integral to their survival in the short term and growth as we move forward.
In the next few weeks, businesses will be able to apply for help through various workstreams that we have identified to support businesses as they look to bounce back. We will be pushing these grants through our social media accounts to ensure that businesses remain informed of the help and support that is becoming available so do keep checking your LinkedIn accounts to see if there are any funding or support opportunities that would benefit you.
I hope you find the contents of this Warwickshire Still Means Business helpful and informative and wish all of you well.