Welcome from Monica Fogarty
Hello and welcome to the latest edition of Warwickshire Still Means Business.
It is great to hear that, despite the increased frequency of WSMB, the editorial team is far from struggling to find stories - and, what's more, very positive ones. In this edition, please read about a range of businesses which have adapted brilliantly to help the communities around them through this difficult time.
This year has posed challenges of a type and magnitude that nobody could have envisaged but Warwickshire businesses have risen to those challenges with huge resourcefulness, enterprise and skill - a sure sign that Warwickshire Still Means Business!
Warwickshire Gin Company and PSW Paper & Print, both of which have benefited from WCC business support programmes, have channelled their expertise into producing much-needed supplies for the NHS and care homes. IC Solutions have recruited to meet exceptional demand for their services and are supporting their fellow businesses at the Centenary Business Centre in Nuneaton. PetShop.Co.uk have recruited to keep staff working round the clock 24/7 to meet demand from the nation's locked-down pet-owners.
Following the Prime Minister's address on Sunday, social distancing remains paramount and the message remains clear - Stay Alert, Control the Virus, Save Lives - but the business world can begin to take some small, very careful, steps back towards normality. We will continue to do all we can to support businesses of all sizes and in all sectors throughout Warwickshire along that path.
We are working with our partners at the district and borough councils to get Government grants out to businesses. The national average for eligible businesses who have been supported in accessing grants or loans stands at 61%; in Warwickshire, we are over 70%, so heartfelt thanks and well done to everyone who has been working so hard to get that process moving so quickly. It is gratifying to read the story of Rustic Food as an example of how that the rapid grant turnover was so important and appreciated.
The Government has also announced a top-up to the grant schemes. A further £617 million is being made available nationally to accommodate certain small businesses outside the scope of the current schemes. The Government is expected to publish guidance for local authorities shortly and information on eligibility in Warwickshire and how to apply will be published as soon as possible. The new grant fund will again be managed by Warwickshire’s District and Borough Councils as the billing authorities.
Finally, Warwickshire County Council has recently announced that we will be adding to the pot of funding available for small businesses through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to make sure that more funds are available locally to support our smaller enterprises with short-term loans to help them get through this period. The County Council has approved a loan of £1 million to Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust, one of the approved lenders under the CBILS scheme.
There is a lot of support and advice available to businesses - please make sure you take advantage to any that is relevant to yours.
Right now, we are seeing the best of Warwickshire businesses, as we all pull together to get through. We must remain positive and hopeful that our economy will be back on its feet just as soon as is possible. If we continue to support each other; and to dig deep into our innovation and resilience, I just know we can come out the other side.
In the meantime, stay well.
Best wishes as ever,