Welcome from WCC leader Cllr Izzi Seccombe
Hello and welcome to the May edition of Warwickshire Means Business.
It is very encouraging to read in this edition that there is now a real sense of positivity among the business community in the county and region
What a challenging year it has been, and we all know that challenges remain and we must be careful in the months ahead, but it is lovely to see restrictions easing and life - and business - returning closer to normality.
A recent FSB survey revealed that business confidence in this region is the second highest in the UK. That is good to hear, though it does not surprise me. I have spoken before about my enormous pride in Warwickshire's business offer - its innovation, adaptability, diversity and depth - and if any county is well-placed to bounce back from the pandemic, it is ours.
Those challenges will be with us for some time, of course, and Warwickshire County Council will continue to support businesses through them in every way we can. In this edition of WMB we feature our Business & Economy team which drives much of that support.
How proud I am of the work of that team! In the last five years, our Business & Economy team has given intensive support or grants/loans to over 1,500 businesses and helped more than 400 people start their own business.
It is often heartwarming to read in case studies in WMB just what a difference that support has made to small businesses. That support, often delivered with our excellent partners in the region, is powered behind the scenes by Matt Epps and his brilliant unsung team. They have put in so many hours through all the difficulties of the last year to ensure that support reached business as quickly as possible. They are, as Alison Robinson says, an outstanding and dedicated team.
Also in this edition of WMB please read about the launch of our COVID-19 Mental Wellbeing and Resilience Fund and do get in touch if it could help your business.
We also celebrate a 500 apprenticeships milestone and report how our Survive, Sustain and Grow programme has left The Antelope Inn and Adventure Sports better-equipped to face the future.
I am sure we have all loved seeing businesses in the hospitality and tourism sectors, which have been hit so hard, opening up again. Here's to a great and prosperous summer for those businesses and their customers alike!