£7.4 million business boost driven by collaborative approach
"From early on in the pandemic, the County was keen to work with partners to ensure that we were giving the maximum support possible to businesses, particularly those in the hardest hit sectors."
A joined-up approach from a leading finance provider, business support organisations and local authorities in Coventry and Warwickshire throughout the pandemic has boosted jobs and the local economy by nearly £25 million.
Recent figures released by the Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust (CWRT) show how the collaboration has ensured businesses have accessed the finance needed to survive Covid-19.
Since June 2020, just over £7.4 million has been lent by CWRT to businesses across the area which has led to 833 jobs being safeguarded and the creation of 297 jobs in a wide range of sectors.
This was alongside the tens of millions of pounds in Covid grants, the local authorities in Coventry and Warwickshire awarded businesses through the crisis.
Sheridan Sulskis, Executive Director of the CWRT, explained: “Our collaborative measures have meant we have continued to fill the gap in the marketplace left by the mainstream lenders to provide finance to SMEs in Coventry and Warwickshire which as well as supporting these viable businesses has also protected their supply chain so there has been a wider impact.
“Not only has this helped businesses to survive but has enabled companies to diversify, strengthen their business models, streamline their processes and procedures, and create and safeguard jobs.”
The partnership-working approach by the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub, the CWLEP, CWRT, the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses, Warwickshire County Council, Coventry City Council, Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, Warwick District Council, Rugby Borough Council, Stratford-upon-Avon District Council and North Warwickshire Borough Council has impacted the economy by around £24 million.
Craig Humphrey, managing director of the CWLEP Growth Hub, said the figures emphasise that businesses have been using recent months to strengthen their foundations to look to the future with positivity.
He said: “Since the first national lockdown last March, the Growth Hub and the Chamber have signposted businesses to apply for the Government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) as well as promoting the local grants available.
“All the signs show that the economy is moving again because we are seeing good signs of growth and job creation although we recognise that many businesses are still in recovery mode.
“I would urge businesses based in Coventry and Warwickshire to take advantage of the comprehensive range of support and financial packages available to businesses to help them and the economy steadily recover from the pandemic.
“There is plenty of support and finance available for new start-ups or to help businesses throughout Coventry and Warwickshire to grow, diversify, innovate, address skills challenges, and become more low carbon.”
Warwickshire County Council contributed £1.5 million to the overall £7.4 million CBILS scheme. This was part of the County’s initial £6.25 million economic recovery fund to support local businesses, particularly in the retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors which have been hardest hit by the pandemic.
Mark Ryder, Strategic Director for Communities, said: “From early on in the pandemic, the County was keen to work with partners to ensure that we were giving the maximum support possible to businesses, particularly those in the hardest hit sectors.
“We put in a suite of programmes, both business advice and grants or loans, so that businesses could access support that was most relevant to them. It’s good to see initial signs of improvement and I would urge businesses to contact our partners at the Growth Hub to see what support might be available to them.”