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As part of the British Business Bank’s British Finance Week we are promoting a number of articles and case studies to showcase the variety of financial and business support available through WCC.

This article focuses on the Duplex Investment Fund, which was introduced in 2019, and is a combined grant and loan initiative jointly managed by Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), the Coventry & Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust (CWRT), Warwickshire County Council, Coventry City Council and the Midland Engine.

Over 160 jobs have been created or saved by this innovative scheme which was launched to help businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire find the investment they need to grow.

The project is funded by £3.9 million of grants from the Government’s Local Growth Fund and the Growing Places Fund, distributed and managed by CWLEP. Warwickshire County Council and Coventry City Council have both invested a further £2 million in the scheme managed by CWRT.

CWRT has supported 22 businesses throughout Warwickshire which has led to 162 jobs being created or saved.

two green circles one dark one light, overlapping with the text 'Duplex investment fund' over the top.

They have also lent £1,578,598 and have issued £469,496 in grants to businesses in the county like Beer & Coffee Co. and Bear Cleaning.

 

Case Study: Beer & Coffee Co.

Beer & Coffee Co received £75,000 from the Duplex Investment Fund after investing £160,000 itself to open its fourth pub, the Lazy Pug, which has five ensuite bedrooms, a restaurant and coffee house in Shipston-on-Stour. The funding from Duplex has also enabled the creation of 18 jobs.

Matt Crowther, Director at Pugs Pubs, said: “The Duplex Investment Fund has made a significant difference since we wouldn’t have been able to open the Lazy Pug without it.

“Having the loan and grant meant we could refurbish the entire pub and kitchen as well as create five rooms and business is going really well. Bookings for the summer are looking really good and business has grown slowly but steadily.”   

Sheridan Sulskis, Chief Executive at CWRT, said the feedback from businesses who had been helped by the Duplex Investment Fund has been really positive.

“The loans and grants that CWRT have issued to businesses in a wide range of sectors throughout Coventry and Warwickshire has reached over £2.3 million which underlines the success of this innovative scheme,” she said.

“Pugs Pubs is a perfect example of a businesses which has grown due to this funding being available and they are creating jobs which boosts our economy and encourages innovation.”

 

Case Study: Bear Cleaning

An entrepreneurial family-run business, Bear Cleaning, was launched by former Warwickshire police officer Ted Hunter and his wife, Kate, who was a social worker, in Kenilworth in 2017.

The exterior cleaning business focuses on cleaning roofs, driveways, patios, gutters and wheelie bins for domestic properties in Warwick District, Southam, Cawston and parts of Coventry. They also provide jet washing, gutter clearance, steam cleaning and bin cleaning for the commercial sector in Warwickshire and the West Midlands.

Ted spotted an opportunity to complement the existing collection services provided by district and borough councils and increase the range of options for collection for customers.

After meeting CWLEP Chair Sarah Windrum through a peer-to-peer networking programme, she put Kate in touch with the CWLEP Growth Hub, who advised her to talk to the team at the Coventry & Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust (CWRT).

They recommended Bear Cleaning should apply to the Duplex Investment Fund. Kate successfully applied for a £41,500 loan and £16,600 grant from the scheme to buy a 3.5 tonne truck to deliver the new service from Bear Cleaning in Warwick and Stratford-upon-Avon.

Kate said: “It was great to meet the LEP who were really encouraging about our plans for the business.

“We have three members of staff and we are currently recruiting for a fourth because we are really busy and want to continue growing because we have loads of enquiries coming in and we have built some great relationships with our clients.

“Ted spotted a gap in the market for householders who may want more regular collections. I carried out a lot of detailed market research and realised we needed to buy a small truck – similar to the type you see with a cage picking up litter bags in parks – so I got in touch with the Growth Hub and then CWRT to apply for the Duplex Investment Fund.

“We now have our new vehicle and we’re ready to go. There was a lot of information and due diligence required but it really helped to formalise our business plans and we are really grateful to have received this valuable funding.”

Martin Nwangwa, account manager at the CWLEP Growth Hub, said: “The Growth Hub provides support to businesses throughout our region no matter their size or sector and part of that work involves giving information on accessing funding and grants.

“Bear Cleaning is a great example of a family-run entrepreneurial business which prides itself on providing a quality service and has built a fantastic company despite having no previous experience in the sector.”

Warwickshire County Council leader Cllr Izzi Seccombe said: "The Duplex Investment Scheme is a great example of organisations working together to provide the most effective and timely help to small businesses. I am delighted that so many businesses have been supported and so many jobs created or saved by the scheme which is an integral part of the County Council's ongoing commitment to support small businesses throughout Warwickshire in every way we can." 

Businesses wanting to find out more about the Duplex Investment Fund can contact CWRT on 02476 551 777 or at www.cwrt.uk.com/duplex or www.cwrt.uk.com

For more information on British Finance week please visit: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/finance-hub/business-finance-week-2022/

Published: 10th November 2022