WCC programme has supported more than 1,000 businesses
"I would like to pay the warmest tribute to all the staff at the County Council and our partners who have worked so hard and so well to ensure this support reached those who need it as swiftly as possible. During a tough period for the economy this programme is a resounding success story.”
A programme launched by Warwickshire County Council in 2016 to encourage growth in the local economy has proved an enormous success having now provided intensive support to more than 1,000 businesses.
The CW Business: Start, Grow and Scale programme, which will run until June 2023, has supplied 1,031 businesses across Warwickshire and Coventry with at least 12 hours of intensive support.
A total of 414 new jobs have been created under the programme while 425 individuals have been assisted to set up their own business. Of 1,031 businesses supported, 496 were within their first 12 months of trading when the support was received.
The collective benefit from the programme’s six strands to businesses and the communities of which they are part has been colossal, not least during difficult recent times with the pandemic, Brexit and rising costs. A recent independent evaluation found that 92% of businesses said they would, or had, recommended the programme while 87% said they had achieved their goals in completing the support.
The total cost of CW Business: Start, Grow and Scale to date is £5.1million, comprising £2.57million from the European Regional Development Fund, £1.47million from Warwickshire County Council, £800,000 from private investment and £300,000 from the five district and borough councils. It has proved a shrewd and successful investment in the region’s economy.
Warwickshire County Council Chief Executive, Monica Fogarty, said: “The CW Business: Start, Grow and Scale programme was launched in 2016 with high ambitions and has emphatically fulfilled those ambitions to provide critical support to small businesses in a range of ways. Small business are the lifeblood of our economy and our communities and all the people involved with those 1,031 businesses – employees, suppliers, customers – share the benefit of this support.
“Each strand of the programme is, or was, unique with tailored support delivered by experienced business advisors to help businesses learn new skills and enable them to grow. No two businesses have the same experience, so the support is completely bespoke and focused on what each business needs.
“As with all Government funded programmes, the six strands of the CW Business: Start, Grow and Scale programme have required considerable and, at times, complex administration. I would like to pay the warmest tribute to all the staff at the County Council and our partners, who have worked so hard and so well to ensure this support reached those who need it as swiftly as possible. During a tough period for the economy this programme is a resounding success story.”
An audit conducted by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on CW Business: Start, Grow and Scale in 2020 deemed it “very good” with no issues found - an extremely rare outcome for an ERDF-funded programme.
The programme was part of the submission which last year earned Warwickshire County Council two FSB Local Government Awards (for Programme of Business Support and All-Round Business Support).
CW Business: Start, Grow and Scale consists of six delivery strands (four current and two historic) in addition to the Programme Management Team at WCC.
- Start-up, a procured service delivered by Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, offering support to businesses within their first 24 months of trading and potential entrepreneurs looking to start a business in Warwickshire.
- Business Ready, delivered in partnership with University of Warwick Science Park, offering support to High Tech, High Growth businesses from early stage to growth focussed businesses.
- Business & Investment, delivered by Warwickshire County Council staff, offers access to finance support to businesses based in Coventry and Warwickshire.
- Project Warwickshire, a procured service delivered by Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with Shakespeare’s England and Northern Warwickshire Tourism, implemented by Warwickshire County Council as a response to Covid-19. The programme offers support to existing businesses in the Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality sectors.
- Jumpstart was delivered by Coventry & Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust and supported individuals to gain courage, confidence and skills needed to take the leap to the next stage of starting a business. This programme is still running as a non-ERDF programme.
- Creative Springboard, delivered by Coventry & Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust, offered support to Warwickshire businesses in the creative sector.
* To find out what other support is available to your business, please call CWLEP Growth Hub on 0300 060 3747