WRIF funding available to help drive businesses’ growth plans

Businesses across Warwickshire are being urged to take advantage of a unique new £140million investment fund to help them grow in the wake of the pandemic.

Warwickshire County Council aims to distribute the funding over the next five years through its Warwickshire Recovery and Investment Fund (WRIF), offering small business loans of up to £100,000 or debt finance up to £10million to existing and new businesses to help their long-term recovery and growth.

The fund is split into three areas to support businesses of different sizes and scales.  Applications to all three areas – medium and larger companies, smaller business including start-ups and social enterprises, and commercial property and infrastructure – have been strong, but the council is keen to attract more companies to come forward.

The first local funding under the Business Investment Growth (BIG) – debt finance to growing medium and larger businesses with sound prospects – has been issued to Nuneaton-based Forge Care which has created a £7 million state-of-the-art residential care home for children.

Priority sectors of interest to the County Council for the BIG are automotive technology, digital creative and digital technologies, and future mobility, but applications are open to companies in a wide variety of sectors.

Warwickshire County Cllr Martin Watson, Portfolio Holder for Economy, said: “BIG caters for funding of between £500,000 and £10million and the Business Investment Growth team is on hand to support businesses through the application process and Investment Finance team carry out due diligence as the finance can take different forms.

“We are delighted to have reached agreement with Forge Care and there are several others in the pipeline but we would urge companies to seriously look at what the WRIF can offer as a way of putting their growth plans into place.

“Warwickshire has so much to offer as a place to do business in a wide range of sectors, and what we are offering is another incentive to companies in our key growth sectors, but also those looking to relocate here.”

The investment is a fundamental part of the Council’s Covid-19 Recovery Plan – and together with other support from the Council – is expected to create over 3,000 new jobs and safeguard many thousands more.

Warwickshire County Council’s investment is designed to help address a fall in GVA, arrest the downward trend and drive growth and recovery of the county’s previously strong economy.

It is anticipated that the WRIF will also unlock and bring in around £100m of additional private sector investment and, through improved growth and productivity, create an annual increase in GVA of up to £160m.

For further information on the WRIF and what support it can offer, please visit https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/wrif

For more information about the small business loans, call Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust, who manage the Local Communities and Enterprise Fund on behalf of WCC, on 02476 551 777 or visit https://www.cwrt.uk.com/applylce