The £1 million second phase of a major business support programme for small and medium sized companies in Coventry and Warwickshire has been launched.
Business Ready, which is run by University of Warwick Science Park and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Warwickshire County Council as part of the CW Business: Start, Grow & Scale Programme, will help tech-based SME firms across the area which have ambitions to grow and scale.
The first three-year phase of Business Ready proved to be a major success as it had a positive impact on the companies it helped and the wider economy.
Over seventy jobs were created through the direct support of Business Ready, with the potential for more to follow, and clients were assisted to raise £3.3 million in external funding.
The new phase of Business Ready has similarly ambitious targets, which were outlined at an event to welcome the programme’s Growth Specialists who have a range of experience in a variety of fields.
It supports established businesses as well as start-up companies, helping them overcome barriers to realise their potential for growth – from tapping into the right markets through to accessing sources of finance.
In addition to Business Ready’s own advisers a selection of Growth Specialists can be assigned to an SME business to provide practical support.
Ian McFarlane-Toms, Business Ready Programme Manager at the University of Warwick Science Park, said: “The first phase of Business Ready was a great success and we are now looking forward to supporting many more companies across the Coventry and Warwickshire area.
“The way we tailor our support, and the Growth Specialists we assign to an SME business, means they get help that really does work for them and we typically provide this support over a long period of time.
“Over the past two or three years, we’ve helped companies to access grant-funding, grow and scale, and recruit the right talent.
“In one case, for a small organisation, we facilitated the placement of internships that led to the development of a brand new product that the company is hoping to take to market very soon.
“So I would urge companies across the region to look into how they can be supported through Business Ready because it can make a very real and tangible difference to their ambitions for growth.”
Dirk Schaefer, Business Ready Growth Adviser from the University of Warwick Science Park, said: “The range of companies we work with is very broad. Between our internal adviser team and external growth specialists we have expertise in wide variety of sectors and business functions so that businesses can quickly benefit from our support.”
Business Ready is one of a number of support programmes for businesses managed by Warwickshire County Council and the County Council is the lead applicant for the ERDF money.
Leader of Warwickshire County Council and portfolio holder for economic development, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, said: “Warwickshire has a strong economy and a key factor underpinning this is the success of our many small companies, particularly in the high tech field.
“Warwickshire is fast becoming a centre for the tech industry with many small companies, like those supported by Business Ready, flourishing across the sector. This has not happened by accident, though, and working with the likes of Business Ready has helped smaller companies through the potentially difficult period of start-up or expansion.
“We’re pleased to be supporting this very promising upward trend in tech industries in Warwickshire. It is not only strengthening the local economy but also ensuring that the county can offer rewarding career opportunities for residents and those that choose to make the county their home.”
For more information on Business Ready and the help available go to http://www.business-ready.co.uk/
Notes to editors:
The CW Business: Start, Growth and Scale project is receiving up to £2.6m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding