Welcome from WCC leader Cllr Izzi Seccombe
Hello and welcome to the February edition of Warwickshire Still Means Business.
It has been an incredibly tough year for everybody in the business world but, with a roadmap for leaving lockdown now in place and the vaccination programme in full flow, I think we can all start to look forward again with cautious optimism.
We are not out of the woods yet, of course, and all still need to be totally vigilant regarding the restrictions to deal with COVID, but there are many encouraging signs.
I am so proud of the strength, resolve and unity that the people and the business community of Warwickshire have shown during the pandemic. Those attributes can only leave us better placed to grow the county's economy again. This edition of Warwickshire Means Business highlights many of the very positive developments already this year. I can’t think that anywhere else in the UK has such a level of activity and investment in future technologies in the first two months of 2021. That there are so many significant investments in the county, like the Megalab which will bring 2,000 jobs to Leamington and the Gigafactory which will have the potential to bring 4,000 jobs to Coventry Airport, is a very positive endorsement of our local economy.
That said, we know that a lot of work remains ahead as we seek to bounce back from the pandemic. Small businesses have been particularly hard hit which is why we are pouring so much effort and funding into supporting them. We had an overwhelming response to the first round of our Adapt & Diversify business support grants which we opened for applications at 9.30am on 15 February 2021. We closed the application window at 6pm the same day after receiving 144 applications, totalling £1.8m. We are working hard to process all the applications received to help Warwickshire businesses adapt and diversify their service offer to support recovery and future growth.
More information on the Adapt & Diversify grants, along with our other business support grants, can be found here. In the coming weeks we will announce details of a £140million Warwickshire Recovery Investment Fund, subject to approval of the council's business plan following the election, which will further underline our commitment to supporting local business.
That commitment is ongoing, as is clear from this edition of Warwickshire Means Business. You can read about our new Warwickshire Apprenticeship Progression programme which I am delighted to say has started very strongly. It is heartwarming to read how our Future Careers funding enabled Harris School to deliver a full careers programme to their students even in lockdown.
We have supported Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust with another £500,000 to support small businesses. Campbell Marsh are looking ahead with renewed confidence following support from our Survive, Sustain & Grow programme while Nuneaton and Bedworth town centre have been given a boost by our Town Centres Tech Challenge fund,
Thank you for reading this edition of Warwickshire Still Means Business. Hits on last month's edition were exceptionally high so it so great to know that this information is appreciated and getting out there widely. We just want everyone in the county's business world to know about all the support that is out there for them...so please do spread the word and invite people you know to sign up for WMB.