Commercial

Specialist enterprise programme to launch in Shropshire

Entrepreneurs from across Shropshire are invited to take part in a free programme aimed at helping them build and grow their businesses.

NatWest has teamed up with the Marches Growth Hub, to deliver the bank’s Business Builder programme across to businesses in both Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.

Business Builder has been developed and tailored to support businesses and entrepreneurs at all stages, whether they are just starting out or already established. The programme is free, and participants don’t have to be a NatWest customer to join.

Business Builder includes a portal which hosts modular content of bitesize, self-led modules which cover the three main pillars of business support: growth, mindset and financial support. It also includes access to a Facebook group with more than 5,000 members to share skills and experiences with.

Over the coming months, NatWest and the Marches Growth Hub, will be offering a series of 10 Business Builder workshops.

For more information or to register, visit: https://natwestbusinessbuilder.com/?ref=MEE

Further business grant scheme opens to support businesses affected by current lockdown

Shropshire Council has launched a new grant scheme to support the county’s businesses which have been affected by the current coronavirus lockdown.

This is a discretionary fund aimed at those who are not eligible to apply for the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG). It includes organisations which:

  • have been mandated to close but do not pay business rates
  • do not fall within the eligible sectors outlined for support from LRSG, but have been severely impacted by this latest lockdown.

Applicants who were successful in the first round of funding made available in November 2020 are being asked not to apply again, as these applications will be reassessed and businesses will be awarded any grant money as appropriate. However, those who think that they are eligible for this new round of funding are being encouraged to apply.

The grant fund will be open for applications until Sunday 21 February 2021, but this closing date will depend on the end of the current lockdown and is subject to available funding remaining available.

For further information, and how to apply people should visit the council’s website https://shropshire.gov.uk/covid19darg

Free one-to-one support for businesses

The Marches Growth Hub Shropshire is working with a new team of expert advisers to provide detailed free support to help the county’s businesses grow.

The hub – the one-stop gateway to business support and funding – says the move will help it support more businesses than ever before as the county recovers from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

To see how the new advisers can help visit https://www.marchesgrowthhub.co.uk

The Marches Growth Hub Shropshire can be contacted on 01743 250526 or email marchesgrowthhub@shropshire.gov.uk

Shropshire residents urged to ‘Think Local’ this Christmas

Shropshire residents are being urged to ‘think local’ to give the county’s economy a £4 million pre-Christmas boost.

After a difficult year for the county’s businesses, Shropshire Council has launched a campaign to encourage people to ‘Think. Shop. Buy Local’ in the run up to Christmas.

Research shows that if every adult in Shropshire spent £3.80 a week in local shops rather than with international retailers online, it would boost the county’s economy by £1 million a week, or nearly £4 million before Christmas.

The campaign will ask people to ‘think local’ when doing their Christmas shopping, and also promote and highlight – via a new website and through social media – some of the special activities and promotions the county’s towns are putting on in the run up to Christmas.

Shropshire towns, villages and traders who are offering special events, later opening hours or other promotions are being encouraged to contact the council – on epuadmin@shropshire.gov.uk – so that these can be promoted via the Shropshire Council website and social media.

For more information about the Think. Shop. Buy Local promotion, visit www.shropshire.gov.uk/thinklocal.

Coronavirus: Shropshire to go into Tier 2 (High Alert) next week

Shropshire will be placed in the Tier 2 (High) local COVID alert when the four-week lockdown in England ends next week.

New restrictions in Shropshire will come into force on Wednesday 2 December as the county moves into the Tier 2 (High) local COVID alert.

Despite a reduction in the number of positive cases in the past week, Shropshire’s current 7-day infection rate sits at 168.7 per 100,000 of the population.

Under Tier 2 restrictions, people must not meet socially with friends and family indoors in any setting – including homes, pubs and restaurants – unless they live with them or have formed a support bubble with them.

From 00.01am on Wednesday 2nd December 2020, the new local alert level 2 restrictions for Shropshire will mean:

  • People must not socialise indoors with anyone who is not part of their household or support bubble, whether at home or in a public space
  • People can meet family and friends not in their household or support bubble in outdoor settings. When they do so, they must not meet in a group of more than six people
  • You should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible
  • Pubs and bars must close unless operating as restaurants and can only serve alcohol with a substantial meal
  • Hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
  • Shops, personal care, gyms and the wider leisure sector will reopen
  • Schools, colleges, universities and places of worship will remain open
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees
  • Public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) and spectator sport and business events, is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors.
  • Organised grassroots sport will be able to resume

The Government has also announced that up to three households will be able to form bubbles to meet up during a five-day Christmas period of 23 to 27 December. When a bubble is formed it is fixed and must not be changed or extended further at any point.

Each Christmas bubble can meet at home, at a place of worship or an outdoor public place. The bubbles will be fixed, so you will not be able to mix with two households on Christmas Day and two different ones on Boxing Day. Households you are in a Christmas bubble with can’t be in others.

Coronavirus: Second phase of business grants launched

A second phase of grants for businesses impacted by coronavirus has been launched by Shropshire Council.

The additional discretionary grant fund has been set up to support firms who have been hit by the second coronavirus lockdown, and has gone live on Shropshire Council’s website.

The scheme will follow the same level of grant payments that the recently launched Local Restrictions Support Grant does, but will also be available to eligible businesses who are not the business rates payer, and those operating from residential premises.

The first phase has already helped hundreds of businesses in the county, with thousands of pounds of grants already being processed.

Businesses within the events and retail, hospitality and leisure supply chain will be treated as priority, and businesses that cannot show losses of more than 30 per cent will not be considered.

The scheme is being limited to a three week period and will close earlier should funds be allocated more quickly.

Grants will be awarded at three levels as follows:

  • A grant of £1,334 for:
    • Properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
    • Where businesses are not the business rates payer.
    • Where a business operates from a residential premises.
  • A grant of £2,000 for properties with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k.
  • A grant of £3,000 for properties with a rateable value of £51k or over.

To be eligible through this scheme, details on impact will be required to ensure grants go to those businesses most in need.

To apply, visit: https://shropshire.gov.uk/covid19darg

Funding through the Local Restrictions Support Grant is also available and can be accessed by visiting the following site: https://shropshire.gov.uk/covid19lrsg

Coronavirus: Further support to local businesses with GRANTfinder

Shropshire Council has accepted an offer from GRANTfinder that will give it six months’ free access to a new online funding portal that will make it easier to promote available funding streams to the local business, voluntary and public sectors.

As the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on businesses in Shropshire increases, this new ability to signpost available funding will provide an important boost to local organisations.

The new portal will give the council a simple way to promote available funding.

The offer will be available in Shropshire for free until 31 October 2020.

Open4Business provides a one stop shop of all the funding and support on offer to help local companies succeed and grow: vital in a time of challenging conditions for enterprise. It is hoped many more business will be able to benefit from the information available and access new and existing funds.

Open4Business will be highlighting business news and information about new funding streams designed to support businesses respond to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Access to the site will allow business owners to assess whether there are opportunities they can apply for.

To sign up to the service, businesses must be willing to share some key data with idox including name, address and telephone number. Terms and conditions, and information about how your data will be used, is clearly available on the sign up page. Find out more about this offer on Shropshire Council’s website.

Business support

Businesses can access a broader range of business support through the Marches Growth Hub. The Marches Growth Hub offers a single point of access to information and guidance on business grants, loans, support and advice available to enterprises across the region, regardless of sector or size of development.

For more information about the advice and support that is available to your business, visit the Marches Growth Hub website or ring 0300 456 3565.

Coronavirus: Expert online events will help businesses recover from coronavirus lockdown

News from Marches Growth Hub

Three special online sessions are being staged to offer expert advice to help Shropshire businesses recover from the coronavirus lockdown.

The Marches Growth Hub Shropshire has teamed up with experts from The Innovation Beehive to run the free, live and interactive events in May and June 2020.

The hub says the online sessions will be open to all businesses in both Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin to help support the whole county’s recovery.

Emma Chapman, Shropshire Growth Hub manager, said the three sessions on 12 May, 19 May and 2 June would offer a springboard for businesses to prepare for what is to come once the current restrictions are lifted and build a roadmap through the uncertainty the virus had created.

The first session on Tuesday 12 May – Virtual Working at its Best – will examine ways in which businesses can use the skills and techniques developed through home-working during the lockdown when offices reopen.

It will examine how a virtual team can stay connected, engaged and productive, the tools businesses can use to stay connected, how to connect with customers remotely and some of the traits of great remote leadership.

It is aimed at entrepreneurs wanting to connect with their teams and customers remotely, team leaders needing to stay connected with their teams and business leaders who want to preserve the digital capability developed during the pandemic for the future.

To find out more and book a place visit: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_IgW9FEUDRYe_cy6TXDtY8g

The second session on 19 May will look at what makes great leadership during a crisis, how these skills will be needed during the various stages of the recovery and the questions leaders need to be answering at each stage.

The final session on 2 June will examine how innovation and creative problem solving will be vital to businesses successfully recovering from the crisis.

To reserve a place on 19 May session visit https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Jn4oNm0LTFueQyCYI5vSog  and for the June 2 event https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_4hX6LmyPToiQTBoFfS-0cw

Coronavirus: £42m of grants paid to Shropshire businesses

Shropshire Council has paid more than £42m to more than 5,600 Shropshire businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, since grant applications opened on 1 April 2020.

The council is working hard to ensure that all eligible businesses receive their payments as soon as possible, with additional staff helping to process remaining applications.

The council has received £91m of funding from the Government to pass directly onto local businesses affected by the pandemic.

Shropshire’s small businesses, and businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, can apply for Government funding through the Coronavirus COVID-19 Small Business Grant Fund, and Retail Hospitality & Leisure Grant Fund. Businesses must be business rate payers to apply.

Please forward this to friends or family who may be able to benefit from the scheme.