Warwickshire Recovery and Investment Fund takes another step towards launch…
The Warwickshire Recovery and Investment Fund, an important strand of Warwickshire County Council's support for the local economy post-COVID, has taken a big step forward. WCC's Strategy and Commissioning Manager (Economy & Skills) Alison Robinson explains...
Back in the March edition of Warwickshire Means Business, we announced the launch the Warwickshire Recovery & Investment Fund (WRIF). We said we would keep you up to date on progress and are now delighted to announce that the WRIF gained cabinet approval on June 17th, taking us one step nearer to launch in July.
To recap, the WRIF is a significant new access-to-finance initiative that Warwickshire County Council is launching to support the economic recovery and future growth of the county. Over a five-year period, the council is planning to invest £140m to provide new and additional finance options for businesses looking to invest and grow in the county.
The fund has been designed to drive the future growth of Warwickshire, with a particular interest in businesses that will help support our journey to a net-zero carbon emission economy, and investments that will deliver wider social value along with economic growth.
A key priority for the county council is to support Warwickshire’s economy to ensure it remains vibrant and is supported by the right jobs, training, skills and infrastructure. We recognise that many businesses will have had to invest significantly to adapt and survive through the post-pandemic period and may struggle to access the finance they need to fully recover and prosper in the post-pandemic economy. The WRIF will therefore look to fill an identified gap in the availability of finance to businesses looking to invest in the county.
As a local authority, we have a wider interest than just economic growth, and therefore are keen to utilise the WRIF as an opportunity to promote and lever wider social value from our investments. These could include, for example, provision of apprenticeship opportunities, helping tackle inequality and poverty, supporting vulnerable groups, or enabling environment improvements.
As the WRIF is an investment fund, Warwickshire County Council will be looking for a full return on the totality of its investment and will therefore be predominantly looking at debt finance through secured loans for suitable businesses and investment opportunities.
We now await final approval following the next full Council meeting on 1st July after which we will release full details on eligibility for the different strands of the fund and how you can register an interest.
We’ll also keep you up to date with further information in Warwickshire Means Business over the coming months.