We have developed an economic recovery plan and earmarked a budget of £6 million to support the immediate economic recovery phase. This includes a number of new or extended programmes to support businesses.
Employee Assistance Programme
We have extended our EAP to support business owners and the employees of high street small and micro-businesses (employing 10 or less) to provide information and a confidential telephone number for help with mental health and well-being.
Town Centres Tech Challenge – looking for ideas
The Town Centres Tech Challenge aims to identify and support up to four scalable digital initiatives that can be implemented across the county focusing on supporting and promoting our town centres as places to visit, enjoy and engage with safely. This will encourage the recovery of our town centres and help to stimulate the local economy.
Funding was available for projects within the range of £10,000 to £80,000 for a mixture of new or existing solutions.
Applications are currently being assessed and further details will be made available once successful projects have been selected.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
We have provided a loan to Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust to extend the delivery of the government-backed CBILS scheme in Warwickshire.
We have extended our start-up contract with Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce to meet the additional demand from people looking to start a new business.
Survive, Sustain and Grow
Survive, Sustain and Grow is a new support programme for businesses most affected by the Covid-19 crisis. Open to all small businesses in Warwickshire with a focus on retail, tourism, hospitality and leisure, the programme offers a tailored one-to-one recovery support package through a network of specialist consultants.
Digital Training Programme for Retailers
We have extended our training programme to help retail and hospitality businesses reach and connect customers through online and social media tools. The popular workshop programme is delivered by Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce in junction with Stories Marketing.
Retail and Hospitality Recovery and Investment Grants
We have launched a new grant scheme to support small businesses in the retail and hospitality sectors with the costs of capital investments which help sustain the business, safeguard jobs and support future growth. Round 1 has now closed, but it is expected that there will be further opportunities to apply later in the year.
The retail and hospitality grants form part of a wider package of finance for businesses funded by WCC.
Further initiatives to be launched soon
Funding has also been allocated to support further initiatives which will be launched over the coming weeks. This includes:
- Art Challenge Fund – Commissioning local artists to deliver schemes in our towns which help create attractive spaces to encourage shoppers to visit whilst at the same time supporting safe movement and social distancing.
We are also working with partners and a specialist tourism marketing consultancy to plan and deliver a new Visit Warwickshire marketing campaign which promotes the county as a safe, open destination for visitors.
Further programmes and initiatives are in development. Our economic recovery programme is part of a wider business support offer.