May 2021


Strength, resilience, innovation and sheer hard graft...

Economy restart"I’ve just got a fantastic team, determined to support me, each other and above all Warwickshire’s businesses and residents."

Warwickshire County Council's Business & Economy team has a broad brief at the best of times.

The last year has not been the best of times. Add in the challenges and pressures that a pandemic brings to the county's economy and that brief takes on even greater dimensions.

During the last 12 months, businesses in Warwickshire have reacted to Covid-19 with incredible strength, resilience, innovation and sheer hard graft. And it is exactly those attributes which the Business & Economy team have shown throughout an incredibly taxing year to offer every possible strand of support, says Matthew Epps, WCC's Lead Commissioner for Business & Economy.

Matt's team currently manages programmes worth over £27 million which help drive economic recovery and growth in Warwickshire. In the last five years, the team’s services and programmes have supported over 1,500 businesses and helped over 500 people with starting their own business. This support has so far helped create or safeguard over 1,750 jobs and many hundreds of more new jobs are expected to be created as the economy recovers.

In the last year, more than ever, the team has been shoulder to shoulder with businesses every step of the way. At the forefront of the council's response to Covid-19, they have moved with energy and purpose to put new support programmes in place.

"I’m not sure where to start with the team," said Matt. "Their hard work, dedication and commitment never ceases to amaze me.

"The hours they put in to help businesses with a particular problem, make sure grant claims are paid quickly, or develop and submit a business case for funding are just amazing. We have had business owners in tears on the phone, either with worry or with relief when their grant application has been successful.

"I’ve just got a fantastic team, determined to support me, each other and above all Warwickshire’s businesses and residents.

"Most of the team are unsung heroes behind the scenes. We deliver most of our services and programmes through partners, suppliers and consultants but none of the support would exist without the team securing the funding in the first place and then managing and administering the programmes largely out of sight of businesses and the public."

The team works closely with partners driven by the same objectives. The projects and programmes are funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the UK Government through Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the five District and Borough Councils in the county. Their delivery partners include the CWLEP Growth Hub, Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Coventry & Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust, University of Warwick Science Park, Coventry City Council and Coventry & Warwickshire Co-operative Development Agency as well as a number of specialist and industry-specific consultants. The team also works with other strategic partners including the Federation of Small Businesses.

All have pivoted adroitly to adapt support in the wake of COVID - none more so than the county council.

"We moved quickly to develop innovative new programmes like Survive, Sustain and Grow," said Matt. "It was clear that businesses faced a whole new set of challenges and that existing programmes were not designed for sectors most impacted by Covid-19.

"That's why we also devised the Retail & Hospitality and Adapt & Diversify schemes to complement Government support. We’re also developing a new programme to support tourism businesses which will be launched over the summer when the SSG support ends."

The team’s many programmes further power the local economy by securing external funding and levering private sector investment. Every £1 invested by the County Council in its business support programmes is at least matched by other funders. The team also work with funders and partners to influence and shape how Government and European funding for business support and economic development is spent in Warwickshire.

For more information on all their work please visit

Start-Up Support

  • Warwickshire Start-Up Service – 1:1 support and workshops/ masterclasses for businesses in their first 24 months of trading and Warwickshire residents looking to start a business. The service is delivered by Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce on behalf of WCC
  • Support for Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust’s JumpStart project – Community-based project for residents and communities needing additional support with their business ideas.
  • Business Ready – Support for tech-based and other innovation-led early-stage businesses in partnership with University of Warwick Science Park.

Business Support

  • Advice and support for businesses looking to grow with focus on access to finance.
  • Business Ready – Support for tech-based and other innovation-led early-stage businesses in partnership with University of Warwick Science Park.
  • Coventry & Warwickshire Innovation Programme – Support with developing new products or services.

Sector/Specialist Support

Access to Finance

  • C&W Duplex Fund – Combined loan and grant towards costs of larger capital investments 
  • WCC Small Capital Grants – Grants of up to £35k towards costs of capital investments
  • ERDF Innovation Grants – Grants of up to £50k towards costs of developing new products or services.
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans – Support for the Government backed scheme via Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust
  • Adapt & Diversify Grants – Grants of up to £20k for retail, hospitality, tourism & leisure businesses and their supply chains to access specialist expertise and/ or purchase equipment or property refurbishment


    Have your say...

    Comments are closed for this article