Greater Birmingham LEP launches business support programmes

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A series of new initiatives have been launched to support businesses in the West Midlands recover from the impact of the coronavirus lockdown.

Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) has partnered up with local authorities and business improvement districts to establish them as pilot projects.

They include enabling companies to offer online ordering, grant funding, help to retain apprentices and a programme to increase digital capacities.

The LEP said they had been designed to offer support related directly to the challenges of adapting business models, moving services online and increasing adoption of technology to improve future competitiveness.

They will support SMEs in key growth sectors as well as independents and towns and local centres.

GBSLEP is now asking companies within the region to step forward to find out if they are eligible for the schemes.

 

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The support programmes are:

  • A click and drop service giving free access to a digital platform enabling local businesses to offer online shopping and deliveries
  • A programme to increase digital capacities of businesses via online training, run in partnership with the Institution of Engineering and Technology and volunteer digital ambassadors

  • Another online training programme to focus on preparing retailers for reopening, delivered via webinars and one-to-one sessions

  • A triage programme for employers and individuals to retain apprentices on training programmes even while staff are furloughed

  • A matching service to bring together job seekers with employers experiencing an increase in demand for workers

  • A grant scheme is also set to be created and will be finalised in the coming weeks, along with further sector-specific support

The schemes can be accessed via the GBSLEP’s Growth Hub which contains business advice, funding and support.

The LEP said the programmes were currently being piloted so space on them was limited but it planned to expand them if they proved to be successful.

Chairman Tim Pile said: “Businesses within greater Birmingham and Solihull have faced immense challenges in the last few months.

“We have already seen many inspiring stories of businesses successfully shifting online or digitising processes in response to the crisis.

“It is vital we offer as much support as we possibly can, not only to improve their resilience in the immediate term but to pave the way for future growth.

“By working closely with our partners, we have created and begun to implement schemes which will benefit organisations operating in a wide range of sectors, encouraging them to adopt new working models to continue operating and growing.”

The GBSLEP area covers businesses operating in Birmingham and Solihull as well as Bromsgrove, Cannock Chase, East Staffordshire, Lichfield, Redditch, Tamworth and Wyre Forest.


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