February 2023


Boating business is buoyant after CWRT loan

"Without the Duplex funding, the changeover would have occurred over three-to-five years...we would not have benefited from the reduced emissions and running costs as soon as we have.”

Loans from a specialist finance provider in Coventry and Warwickshire are helping businesses to go green and win new work.

Local finance provider Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust (CWRT) has lent nearly £300,000 to small businesses to help them invest in environmentally-friendly products and services.

CWRT delivers the innovative Duplex Investment Fund, which is a combination of a loan and grant, on behalf of Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council, Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the Midlands Engine.

Avon Boating, a popular tourist attraction in Stratford-upon-Avon and one of the oldest businesses locally, used the fund as part of their plan to go greener, by purchasing several electric boats to move away from petrol.

Gerard Walmsley, of Avon Boating, said: “Without the Duplex funding, the changeover would have occurred over three-to-five years. This would have been a bit of an operational nightmare as we would have essentially had to have run two products at the same time for our customers, and we would not have benefited from the reduced emissions and running costs as soon as we have.”

The British Business Bank has also had an important role to play in the local green businesses’ growth. CWRT has been accredited by the organisation to deliver the Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS).

RHI Energies Group Limited used the scheme delivery by CWRT to avoid the problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic over the last two years almost entirely. The scheme supported the ground source heating and cooling systems specialists who faced difficulty during the pandemic and the Leamington firm has now secured its first new contract and has several others in the pipeline.

CWRT also manages the Local Communities & Enterprise Fund (LCE), funded by Warwickshire County Council, which aims to help small businesses start-up as well as existing firms to grow.

Solarvision Lighting Technologies, based in Ryton-on-Dunsmore, specialises in providing off-grid solar lighting, a positive move for the region becoming more sustainable. They received support from the LCE fund, which assisted with fulfilling new orders, whilst creating new jobs and raising their brand awareness.

Sheridan Sulskis, CEO at CWRT, said it was great the finance provided by CWRT from the different schemes had had such a positive effect on the green initiatives.

She said: “More and more businesses in all sectors are conscious of becoming environmentally friendly and it is fantastic that the loans provided to these three businesses have helped them to make a difference to our area’s Net Zero targets.

“Avon Boating is Stratford’s oldest business but its modernisation into electric boats shows it is constantly looking to the future while Solarvision Lighting Technologies is creating four jobs early in 2023 while providing their customers with clean, efficient and renewable energy.

“RHI Energies Group is a small company with great potential, they provide eco-economical heating and cooling solutions which is a great alternative in economically challenging times. It is wonderful to see work coming its way post Covid-19.

“But like so many other businesses, the pandemic had a drastic effect upon its trading and it is wonderful to see work coming its way again because climate change globally is having a significant impact on the construction industry.

“There is also a positive knock-on effect for these businesses because the loans have helped to secure new contracts which will boost Coventry and Warwickshire’s economy.”

Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economy & Place, Cllr Martin Watson, said: “I am delighted that support from the Duplex Investment Fund has enabled Avon Boating to not only expand but do so in an environmentally friendly manner. Their growth in this way is a great example of partners and businesses working together for the benefit of all, not least the many visitors to Stratford who enjoy the offer of Avon Boating.” 

CWRT continues to assist a number of businesses in their steps towards becoming more sustainable, including assessing their own carbon footprint, along with the businesses that they support. Funding is still available under the LCE fund, Duplex fund and the Recovery Loan Scheme. For further information about CWRT, visit www.cwrt.uk.com or call 02476 551777.

* To find out what other support is available to your business, please call CWLEP Growth Hub on 0300 060 3747



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