North Worcestershire - the natural environment for business

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SUPPORTING YOU TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS

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North Worcestershire businesses have access to a range of support programmes designed to help them to grow.  The programmes support growth by helping businesses to access important supply chains and business opportunities; to develop innovative products; to facilitate relocation and expansion; and to accelerate organic growth. We also have programmes that can help you to manage costs through resource efficiency and to employ apprentices.

STRENGTHENING SUPPLY CHAINS

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HS2 Supply Chain Programme

The HS2 Supply Chain Programme targets established companies that are preparing their business to take advantage of future HS2 business opportunities.  You do not have to have secured a HS2 contract to be considered for HS2SCP grant funding but applicants must be looking to expand their business with projects that will improve their capabilities/capacity, thereby enabling them to pitch for HS2 opportunities.

The programme is open to SMEs that have been trading for 6 months or more; operate solely on a business to business basis; are in an eligible sector; and will be creating employment.  Grants of between £20,000 and £167,000 are available for eligible expenditure including capital expenditure; application of innovative advanced technology; building information modelling; and market development.

Please contact us to discuss whether your business and project are eligible and for assistance in the application process.

Note: The HS2 Supply Chain Programme is a component of the Business Growth Programme (BGP).  The BGP limits awards to one grant from any one of its four component programmes, ie you cannot apply for a grant from each programme.

Green Bridge Supply Chain Programme

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The Green Bridge Supply Chain Programme supports existing SMEs operating in or diversifying into the green economy demonstrating quantifiable green benefits such as energy efficiency; waste management; recycling and renewables.

The programme offers grants of between £20,000 and £150,000 for eligible expenditure to SMEs that have been trading for 6 months or more; operate solely on a business to business basis; are in an eligible sector; and will be creating employment.  Eligible expenditure includes capital expenditure; new product development; and market development.

Please contact us to discuss whether your business and project are eligible and for assistance in the application process.

Note: The Green Bridge Supply Chain Programme is a component of the Business Growth Programme (BGP).  The BGP limits awards to one grant from any one of its four component programmes, ie you cannot apply for a grant from each programme.

STIMULATING INNOVATION

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Worcestershire Proof of Concept Fund

The Worcestershire Proof of Concept Fund provides grants of up to £30,000 to help SMEs to investigate, advance, commercialise and protect early stage innovative business ideas.

Open to established SMEs in eligible sectors, the grant will fund up to 50% of eligible expenditure including new machinery; market research and assessment; IPR protection; accreditations; prototyping; marketing; and building works.

Support is available from the Central Technology Belt Business Manager to get draft applications appraisal ready.

Please contact us to discuss whether your business and project are eligible.

Business Innovation Programme

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The Business Innovation Programme is aimed at SMEs that are investing in innovative production processes leading to new products and services close-to-market.

The programme is open to SMEs that have been trading for 6 months or more; operating solely on a business to business basis; are in an eligible sector; and will be creating employment.  Grants of between £10,000 and £30,000 are available to fund up to 50% of eligible expenditure including capital equipment; improvement of production processes and systems; new product development (concept development; prototyping; product testing; and product launch); and market development.

Please contact us to discuss whether your business and project are eligible and for assistance in the application process.

Note: The Business Innovation Programme is a component of the Business Growth Programme (BGP).  The BGP limits awards to one grant from any one of its four component programmes, ie you cannot apply for a grant from each programme.

Low Carbon Opportunities Programme

The Low Carbon Opportunities Programme provides free support to businesses interested in low carbon product, process or service innovation or diversification into the low carbon market.  The support comprises a review of the business' current position in the marketplace, an assessment of opportunities and specialist advice as required.

Following the support, businesses can apply for grants of between £20,000 and £100,000, covering up to 45% of eligible costs.  For more information, including eligibility criteria, please contact us.

NB The Low Carbon Opportunities Programme has two elements - new product development and investment in renewable energy generation.  Businesses can access support for one element only.

FACILITATING RELOCATION AND EXPANSION

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Business Development Programme

The Business Development Programme is available to support a broad range of small B2B businesses looking to expand, relocate and improve access to markets.

Grants of between £10,000 and £20,000 are available to businesses in eligible sectors that have been trading for 6 months or more and are creating employment.  The grant will fund up to 50% of eligible expenditure including capital equipment; relocation and expansion; and market development.

Please contact us to discuss whether your business and project are eligible and for assistance in the application process.

NB The Business Development Programme is a component of the Business Growth Programme (BGP).  The BGP limits awards to one grant from any one of its four component programmes, ie you cannot apply for a grant from each programme.

ACCELERATING GROWTH

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Worcestershire Business Accelerator

Business Accelerator is a dynamic new service that supports businesses that have been trading 2 years or more to achieve sustainable growth.

Businesses that can demonstrate growth potential and the ability to create jobs will be supported throughout the programme by dedicated, experienced business consultants to tackle issues or challenges they face as they grow.  If eligible, they will also have the opportunity to apply for match-funded grants of £5,000 - £20,000 to support their business growth plans.

Participation in the programme is subject to eligibility criteria; please contact us for more information.

Business Booster Grant

The Business Booster Grant is designed to help young businesses to make a step change in their development.  The £2,500 grant is available to eligible businesses to help them to access new markets or customers and create jobs.  The grant will cover up to 50% of eligible costs.  For more information about eligibility and an application form, please contact us.

OTHER PROGRAMMES

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Business Energy Efficiency Programme

The Business Energy Efficiency Programme offers free assessments, looking at a company's equipment, premises, processes and performance, to find opportunities for improvements in energy use.  The company will receive a report containing recommended actions and can apply for a grant of up to £20,000 towards 40% of the cost of implementing the recommendations.  For more information, including eligibility criteria, contact us.

Low Carbon Opportunities Programme

The Low Carbon Opportunities Programme provides free support to businesses considering renewable energy generation.  The programme will assess the best options for the business including assessing technical feasibility and financial payback.

Following the assessment, businesses can apply for grants of between £20,000 and £100,000, covering up to 45% of eligible costs.  For more information, including eligibility criteria, please contact us.

NB The Low Carbon Opportunities Programme has two elements - new product development and investment in renewable energy generation.  Businesses can access support for one element only.

 Apprenticeship Grants

The Redditch & Bromsgrove Apprenticeship Grant provides a one-off payment of £1,500 to SME businesses in Redditch or Bromsgrove to employ a new apprentice who is resident in either district.  The grant is paid after the apprentice has completed 3 months of their training.  For full terms & conditions and an application form, please contact us.

The Wyre Forest Apprenticeship Grant provides a 35% wage subsidy (up to a maximum of £3,000) for the first year of an apprenticeship and 20% (up to a maximum of £1,500) in the second year.  To be eligible the business must be an SME located in Wyre Forest employing a new apprentice who must be resident in the district.  The grant will only support apprenticeships in priority vocational areas and preference will be given to Level 3 apprenticeships and above.  The Wyre Forest Apprenticeship Grant is delivered in partnership with Kidderminster College.  For more information please contact Beth Newton, Kidderminster College on 01562 826515 or email bnewton@kidderminster.ac.uk

How are our programmes funded?

All of our programmes (except the Business Booster and Apprenticeship Grants) are part-financed by the West Midlands European Regional Development Fund Programme 2014 to 2020.  The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs.

For more information visit www.communities.gov.uk/erdf

GROWTH HUBS

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North Worcestershire is served by two growth hubs – the Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP Growth Hub and Worcestershire Business Central.

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The GBS LEP Growth Hub is the home for business advice, funding and support across greater Birmingham.  Services can be accessed via the website or helpline (0800 032 3488).  If you are looking for business finance the Access to Finance Portal is designed to simplify the process for SMEs to raise finance by providing all of the information in one place.  It explains the different types of finance available to businesses, providing direct contact details for funders.

Worcestershire Business Central provides a single point of contact for all Worcestershire business support needs – whether it be for start-ups, growing businesses, developing skills, finding property, networking or finance.  Worcestershire Business Central has a dedicated web presence, help line (01905 677 888) and enquiry system.  If you are looking for business finance Worcestershire Finance Finder allows you to search for business funding by type (grant, loan, equity) or purpose (eg start-up, growth, resource efficiency).  Results give an overview of relevant schemes with details of value, criteria, eligibility and the application process.