Coventry Business Support Programme

Coventry City Council is now able to support SMEs within the Coventry area with both non-financial support and financial support. This project is funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund  (UKSPF). For more information, please visit UK Shared Prosperity Fund [https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-shared-prosperity-fund-prospectus] page. 

We are able to offer capital grants up to a 50% intervention rate:

  • Start-up grants - £2,500 - £7,500
  • SME Capital grant - £2,500 - £25,000

Start the application process [https://myaccount.coventry.gov.uk/service/Business_finance_and_support_enquiry]

The non-financial support can help, guide and support the SME with:

  • Management & People
  • Business Planning & Growth Strategy
  • Sales
  • EU Exit and International Trade
  • PESTLE- (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental)
  • Marketing
  • Branding and Company Presentation
  • Operations
  • Premises and Planning
  • Financials
  • Energy and Sustainability
  • Social Responsibility & Inclusion
  • Legal
  • Intellectual Property (IP)

SME Capital Grant specification

The grant funding can be used for the following activities:

  • Establishment of new business start-ups
  • Relocation, expansion, and growth of existing businesses
  • Developing new market opportunities
  • Low carbon/energy efficiency/waste management – Green grants (link to decarbonisation)
  • Improving systems and processes
  • Capital investment, e.g., new plant, machinery and equipment.
  • Increase in productive capacity of new and existing premisses through new property builds/refurbishment/extensions.

Ineligible costs

Local Authorities and delivery providers should ensure they are aware of the limitations of the UKSPF funding to prevent spend on ineligible costs. The list below provides examples of costs that are not to be included in a UKSPF intervention,

  • Political or religious activity
  • Statutory or funded activities
  • Fines or debt
  • Gifts
  • Contingencies
  • VAT reclaimable from HMRC

Ineligible business sectors

  • Charities
  • Those of a political or religious persuasion (places of worship)
  • Activities involving pornography or clairvoyance.
  • Any business activity that is illegal or deemed unsuitable for public support by Coventry City Council.
  • Agricultural, fishery & forestry

This project is funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. For more information, please visit UK Shared Prosperity Fund [https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-shared-prosperity-fund-prospectus].

Business Investment Team

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street
Coventry
CV1 5RR

Case studies

The below case studies showcase how a UKSPF grant could help your business grow.

Successful Coventry business continues its growth with business support from Coventry City Council  

Bludog

A Coventry business is set to expand its operations further, following expert advice and grant support received from Coventry City Council. 

Bludog Ltd is based in Albion Industrial Estate and for the last ten years they have been producing printed, embroidered, designed and rebranded clothing.  

With its almost million-pound turnover and a dedicated team of 18 employees, Bludog Ltd recognised the need for strategic investments to improve its operational efficiency and increase production capacity. 

In September 2023, Barinder Chahal, the Director of Bludog Ltd, took a proactive step towards business expansion by engaging with the Business Support team at Coventry City Council.  

Barinder was seeking grant support for an initiative aimed at advancing the company's development.  

The company's project, with a total cost of £26,000 and a grant request of £13,100, focused on purchasing a new conveyor dryer and printer which would help to expand the business and create new jobs. This grant funding, amounting to £13,100, was provided by Coventry City Council with funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, further supporting the company's growth and economic development initiatives. 

Barinder Chahal said: “We are grateful for the support we have received from Coventry City Council. Our decision to reach out to the Council was driven by our ambition to grow and the need to modernise our equipment. Their support played a critical role in not just meeting our immediate needs but also in laying the groundwork for our future growth. 

“The impact of this support has been multifaceted. It is not just about the financial aid; it is about the confidence placed in our business and the message it sends about the Council's commitment to local enterprises. The efficiency gained from the new machinery has enabled us to meet customer demands more effectively, ensuring a higher level of satisfaction and opening doors to new markets.” 

Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration at Coventry City Council, said: “I’m pleased we were able to support this company’s growth ambitions – a move which will help them to create new jobs and grow the business into new markets. 

“Support and guidance from our expert business team plays a fundamental role in growing a small or medium-sized business and Bludog is a good example of the difference we can make.” 

MPL Fabrications increases turnover following grant support from the Council  

MPL

MPL Fabrications, an independent family business based in Coventry, has increased its turnover following grant support from Coventry City Council.  

The company, which has been operating for 40 years, supplies a variety of industries with light steel and aluminium fabrication. 

MPL Fabrications recently invested in a new press brake machine, replacing their existing machine, which had been encountering numerous problems and repair costs. The new machine, which cost £109k, was partially funded by a £15,000 grant from Coventry City Council, through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). 

The new machine has improved productivity, energy efficiency, and business opportunities for MPL Fabrications. It has allowed the company to tender for different jobs, presenting a growth opportunity and safeguarding jobs within the business. 

Kevin Duffy, Managing Director at MPL said: “Thanks to the funding received through Coventry City Council we have been able to replace our 30-year-old press brake with a new Bysotronic ByBend Smart 160/3100.  

A press brake is vital to a fabricating company. We were facing a situation where the prior machine was failing regularly and parts supply was nearly impossible. This new machine gives us vastly increased functionality, lower energy output and the ability to do more complicated jobs efficiently. In its first week, we have already managed to quote on a job we would have been incapable of doing on the previous machine. It should help increase our customer base, revenue opportunities and fulfil our company growth aspirations.” 

Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration at Coventry City Council, said: “This is a great example of how a relatively small grant can make a huge difference. Turnover is up, new markets have opened up and  jobs that were previously outsourced can now be done in house.  

“This local family run business has had its roots in the city for the last 40 years – hopefully this investment will help them to continue to thrive.” 


Please note the following businesses received support from the Business Support Programme, funded by the European Regional Development Fund between 2016 - 2023. Grant values and eligibility criteria might be different for the new programme, which is funded by the UK Prosperity Fund.

Coventry manufacturing and engineering specialist is geared up for future growth plans 

Coventry manufacturing and engineering specialist is geared up for future growth plans

A manufacturing and engineering specialist in Coventry which counts Formula 1 teams among its clients is gearing up for a successful future after investing in its future expansion plans. Vigour was set up by Ashley Hatton in 2015 as a multi-axis machining specialist, focusing on producing high-precision components for the motorsport industry.

The business, based on the Binley Industrial Estates in Binley, also supplies parts for teams taking part in the FIA World Rally Championship and Olympic gold-winning sailor Ben Ainslie’s team in the America’s Cup. Ashley wanted to improve Vigour’s efficiencies and productivity by eliminating some of its administration work and streamlining its data and information.

The business successfully received a £8,000 grant towards buying software and a laser marking machine to add serial numbers and the company’s name to the parts it manufactures.  The business support grant which is part funded by ERDF is being delivered by Coventry City Council.

Ashley said: I have invested over £120,000 in various machinery over the last 12-18 months, so the grant has reduced the pressure on the company’s cashflow. I love being involved in motorsport and my first customer was Formula 1 team Toro Rosso – now Alpha Tauri. We make complex small parts for a number of F1 teams as well as teams in the World Rally Championship.

Having the specialist software system means we can keep accurate information on all our stock, production, despatch, invoicing and accounts so we have better traceability and streamlined processes, and we no longer need to carry out some of the repetitive administrative tasks which means we have more time to do other jobs and have increased our productivity. Buying a laser etching machine is a good investment, particularly since we managed to purchase an ex-demo version and we are providing a quicker turnaround for our customers. We’re hoping this will lead to more work, particularly in the aerospace industry which is a sector we are now targeting.”

Cllr Jim O'Boyle, Coventry City Council Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change, said: “Our region has long had a reputation for being at the heart of the UK’s automotive industry and that’s largely thanks to innovative local manufacturers like Vigour. We’re determined to build on this reputation and that’s why I’m delighted that the Business Support team in the Council has been able to support Vigour to realise their ambitions."

Growing manufacturing and engineering business set for further expansion 

Growing manufacturing and engineering business set for further expansion

Precision Laser Processing (PLP), which is based at the Butlers Leap Industrial Estate in Rugby, specialises in flatbed cutting, five-axis laser cutting and water jet cutting as well as providing full fabrication services.  Its customers in the aerospace, security, automotive, medical, and power generation sectors are based throughout the UK.

PLP, which is part of the Sirius A Corporation, was quickly running out of space at its 12,000 sq ft premises after winning new work in the green energy and electric vehicle sectors and wanted to re-organise its factory and office space.  The business received a £34,000 grant from the Business Support Programme which is part funded by ERDF and is being delivered by Coventry City Council.  They also received £49,000 from Rugby Borough Council through the Government’s Additional Restrictions Grant.

This financial support led to PLP creating a 2,525 sq ft mezzanine and buying a high precision robotic welding machine which has created a further four jobs to take its staff numbers to 25.

Bill Boswell, Sirius A Corporation CEO, said PLP has invested £150,000 in the mezzanine. The mezzanine has been up-and-running for 12 months and has been a fantastic addition to the business. We have new offices and inspection space as well as room for the purchase of additional manufacturing equipment to accommodate a new opportunity that we secured in the green energy and electric vehicle sectors.

Additional manufacturing equipment was required to accommodate the new order so we have bought a robotic welding machine which has increased the capabilities and capacity of our fabrication department and means we can diversify into larger volume products for our growing customers.

Altogether we have invested around £500,000 on this site over the last 12 months and without the investment we wouldn’t have secured the new orders – we have signed one long-term contract with a customer in the hydrogen sector until 2026.

 Kierandeep Bal, Business Development Advisor at Coventry City Council, added: “PLP has made significant investments in the business in such a short space of time which is understandably difficult to cashflow simultaneously, so I am pleased to have supported them via two separate grants through our Business Support Programme.

PLP is an important business within Coventry and Warwickshire that make excellent contributions to high value manufacturing in the aerospace industry which is one of our key sectors in the region and globally.  The support they have received will help the business to diversify into new markets, in particular green energy and electric vehicles whilst creating new and skilled employment opportunities across Coventry and Warwickshire." 

Local manufacturer invests over £500,000 in a state-of-the-art machine

Smartcom solutions

A local manufacturer has invested over £500,000 in a state-of-the-art machine and added four employees to its workforce. Smartcom Solutions, which was set-up in 2001, has been based in Bourne End, Southam, for around 20 years and specialises in CNC sheet metal work for the telecoms, electrical enclosure and automotive industry. The business has been steadily growing but relied on a seven-year-old laser cutting machine to carry out the majority of its work.

The owner Mathew Commander contacted the Growth Hub to see if there were any grants available. Mathew was put in contact with Denise Osborne, Business Development Advisor on the Business Support Programme at Coventry City Council, which is part funded through the European Regional Development Fund and he was successful in his bid for £50,000 towards the £567,000 AMADA fibre laser cutting machine which they wanted to buy.

Mathew said: “We have been growing over the years and laser cutting machines have moved on tremendously since we bought our last machine seven years ago. Over the last 18 months, there has been a rapid increase in the costs of materials which we can’t pass on to our customers immediately and we have recruited staff to expand our office administration and marketing.

The benefits of the investment in this expensive piece of equipment are to increase our productivity to consolidate the work we have and grow the business further as well as take on new members of staff. We have finished our training on the new laser machine and as well as completing work much more quickly, there are auto sheet loading facilities which enables it to run overnight which was not possible before even though we have been running a late shift. Our customers are mainly in the Midlands but we are hoping investing in this new machine will lead to new orders.”

Denise Osborne, Business Development Advisor at Coventry City Council, said: “With additional help through the grant funding, Smartcom Solutions has been able to invest in the new laser cutting machine to provide them with the capacity to scale up their business. This new machine will really transform their business, improving processes with higher productivity, enabling them to take on more work and increase turnover. All this will contribute to increased profitability, job creation and job security and it is great that we have been able to support a local business with this grant.”

Warwick business set to expand after relocation

Utility Stream

A Warwickshire company which simplifies energy supply for businesses throughout the UK is set for further growth and job expansion after re-locating to new premises. Utility Stream provides commercial utility energy procurement, management and consultancy services to clients in the sport and leisure, food production, education and manufacturing sectors.

The forward-thinking business moved a short distance across Pegasus Court in Tachbrook Park, Warwick, to a larger, modern premises after receiving funding support. Utility Stream received a £12,500 grant from the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and delivered by Coventry City Council.

The investment has led to the business creating modern offices, a communal area and a state-of-the-art boardroom as part of its growth plans and has created seven new jobs – with more on the way. Mark Edwards, co-owner said Mark the move had led to winning new contracts as well as creating the platform for further expansion.

Mark said: "We had put our growth plans on hold because of the pandemic but the re-location to new offices is very much the start of our expansion. We currently have 20 employees and we hope to continue to recruit over the coming years. We now have room to expand and we have the ambition to continue to grow the business. As well as hiring experienced staff, we have realised the need to invest in apprentices and we work with Warwickshire College Group in Leamington. Our new facilities are already helping us win more clients, and our state of the art boardroom really helps us fully outline our proposition and secure business."

Denise Osborne, Business Development Advisor at Coventry City Council, said: “It is wonderful to see how this business has been growing and creating lots of jobs and this is an example of the key benefits of the business support programme. In simple terms the funding help that was made available to Utility Stream has helped accelerate their growth and create additional roles.”

Global ambitions for Midlands supplements business

Nouveau healthcare

A Midlands-based supplement business has global ambitions for its increasing range of products after successfully receiving two business support grants. Nouveau Healthcare Limited was launched in April 2014 by Dilly Kular and his team, initially based in a small office. The business rapidly grew from having one brand to now holding the exclusivity for five other unique brands. They have secured licences to exclusively distribute products that help treat histamine and allergies to supporting with migraine to as far afield as the USA, UAE and China.

A need for a larger premises saw the business seek support from the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and delivered by Coventry City Council. Nouveau Healthcare successfully received a grant for £15,000 which, along with its own investment for the same amount, allowed them to relocate in January 2022 to its new 3,324 sq ft office and warehouse at the Seven Stars Industrial Estate in Coventry.

The grant was used for office partitions, refurbishment of kitchens, acoustic barring for ceiling and insulation, office furniture, fixtures, racking and shelving. This big step allowed the business to streamline its operations, leading to four new jobs as well as safeguarding the jobs of the existing three employees.

Nouveau Healthcare’s Marketing Director Dilly Kular said: “It was a massive deal for us to receive the funding as the move just wouldn’t have been possible without that support. Our old office was out dated and no longer fit for purpose and didn’t have warehousing capabilities which the new one does. That has allowed us to take the business on to the next level. Since October 2022, we've managed increased revenue. We've seen our revenue grow by over 30 per cent in 6 months and are seeing year-on-year growth. We've turned the business around in the space of six months, from a loss-making business to a profitable business.”

Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change at Coventry City Council, said: “Business support services and funding programmes are crucial for local small to medium sized companies who have ambition to grow and take on new staff. This grant funding has helped Nouveau Health to increase sales and productivity and the move to larger premises has enabled them to scale up their operations. I’m really pleased to see that has also secured a number of jobs alongside creating new jobs for local people and I wish them every success for the future.”

Innovative events and exhibitions business reaching new heights

Showplace 8

An local innovative events and exhibitions business will be reaching new heights after investing in state-of-the-art machinery. Showplace, which is based at Clifford Chambers near Stratford-upon-Avon, has specialised in exhibition stands, event structures and exhibition trailers for the last 35 years throughout the UK and overseas.

During the pandemic, the business diversified into creating modular visiting pods at care homes and Covid testing facilities. As the events and exhibitions industry has started to recover, Showplace wanted to invest in a new forklift truck after spending a large amount on hiring forklift trucks at different locations last year.

Rob Goodman, managing director of Showplace, was put in touch with Denise Osborne, Business Development Advisor at the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and is being delivered by Coventry City Council.

The business received an £11,600 grant towards buying the £58,000 Manitou Truck Mounted Telehandler Forklift which has also created three jobs. Rob said the grant had been instrumental in Showplace’s decision to go ahead and buy the top-of-the-range model.

Rob Goodman, Managing Director said: “We work throughout the UK for our clients as well as in Europe and after adding up the cost of hiring forklift trucks last year, we decided to look into how we could become more sustainable and more cost efficient. It was sometimes frustrating when we had hired a machine and our staff were on-site but it didn’t arrive on time which would delay the setting up for our clients through no fault of our own. Investing in the new forklift truck means we can load and unload exhibition items at our depot and the venues we are working at. The benefit is that we are much more efficient and are in control of the situation and not reliant on plant hire companies.

Denise Osborne, Business Development Adviser at Coventry City Council, said: “It has been a pleasure to work with the team at Showplace who have shown resilience to not only diversify during a tough couple of years for the events industry but also look to the future with investment in new projects. The funding they have received through Coventry City Council will enable them to provide a more efficient service to their clients at events. The business support that the Council provides has always been important in helping businesses find innovative ways to grow as well as provide those key links to diversify and become more competitive.”

Business support grant helps Coventry geotechnical company upgrade laboratory

Geotechnics Ltd with Cllr Jim O'BoyleOne of the largest independent site investigations companies in the UK has upgraded its geotechnical laboratory after receiving a grant. Geotechnics Ltd in Torrington Avenue, Coventry, was established in 1983 to provide geotechnical and geoenvironmental investigations and advisory services.

The 100-strong business, which also has offices in Chester, Leeds and Exeter, carries out projects ranging from risk assessments for new houses to multi-million-pound developments including high-rise buildings, brownfield regeneration sites, waterside developments, bridges, railways, highways, water pipelines, power stations and energy networks.

Geotechnics received a grant from the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and is being funded by Coventry City Council, to buy several pieces of equipment with associated data logging software.

Paul Hayes, Managing Director, Geotechnics, said:

Our clients, which range from house-builders to major international consultancies and contractors, were already seeing the benefits since their results could be turned around much more quickly and data could be used to aid important design decisions. We wanted to improve the quality and speed at which data was made available to our clients. This is being achieved by data logging, which no longer relies on periodic manual readings being taken by a member of staff.

It has proved to be much more efficient and means we are collecting information 24-7 including weekends rather than from 8am until 4pm from Monday to Friday - it is increasing our capability and capacity since the results are being produced much more quickly.

This increase in capacity is helping us in all areas of our business because we previously had to sub-contract some parts of our work to approved laboratory partners but now all the projects from our offices in Chester, Leeds and Exeter can be carried out at our laboratory in Coventry.”

Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change at Coventry City Council, said:

“I really pleased that we have been able to use European funding to support Geotechnics – they are an ambitious local company and now they have been able to invest in kit to support their ambition and growth plans. They have also been able to take on an apprentice so they are investing in the future of their workforce too which is great.”

Coventry exhibition business secures record turnover

An exhibition stand design and manufacturing business in Coventry secured a record turnover in their last financial year after investing in new machinery. Exhibit 3Sixty specialises in designing, building and installing exhibition stands which are manufactured in-house from its base in Coventry.

The business, like many in the events sector, was hit hard by the pandemic with its turnover falling from over £2.5 million in 2019 to just over £800,000 in 2020 but in 2022 its annual turnover reached £5 million. Exhibit 3Sixty was successfully awarded an £18,000 grant through the ERDF business support programme which is being delivered by Coventry City Council, towards a new CNC machine. The business also received a grant from the Coventry & Warwickshire Green Business Programme who undertook a free energy audit and provided funding of just over £2,800 from the ERDF scheme towards buying LED lighting for its workshop to improve its energy efficiency.

From the left, Kierandeep Bal (Coventry City Council), Alan Craner (Exhibit 3Sixty), Linda Savitri (CWLEP Growth Hub) and Andrew Pearce (Exhibit 3Sixty), standing behind a big sign

Alan Craner, business owner, who has over 30 years’ experience in the industry, said:
"Installing the CNC machine had created two jobs – a project manager and logistics director – as well as being able to bring sub-contracted work in-house which was more efficient in terms of sustainability and time.

We wanted to expand our capabilities and improve our existing services with the purchase of a flatbed CNC router machine since it would enable us to cut and shape sheet material in ways, and at speeds, that are not possible manually. Receiving the grant meant we were able to buy the machine earlier than was in our business plan, and it has been a big step towards modernising our workshop, has greatly improved productivity, and has allowed us to offer a wider range of design services.

There are also considerable savings on wastage by almost eliminating cutting errors and through more efficient use of materials, and there are considerably more creative opportunities than had previously been available to us. The CNC router has also eliminated our reliance on sub-contractors, so we are also reducing our overall carbon footprint by reducing waste to landfill which is helping us to achieve greater sustainability, and saving on transport costs.”

The Business Support programme team at Coventry City Council is currently working again with Exhibit 3Sixty on a second project to help grow their business. Investment is being made to expand their IT provision to recruit their own graphic designer to reduce outsourcing as well as investment in a crew bus to reduce hiring multiple vehicles which will reduce fuel consumption and address sustainability impacts. This second project is likely to create another three jobs within the region.

Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change at Coventry City Council, said:

“Our business support services have always been important – but even more so to support companies emerge from a couple of difficult years in good shape. Exhibit 3Sixty now look set to create a number of new jobs which is good news for local people and indicates real promise for a successful future. On top of that our green business team has also helped them to improve their energy efficiency – so good news for the climate too.”

Business aiming to celebrate 25th anniversary with further growth

Beechwood trees

A tree, vegetation and landscape management services business is aiming to celebrate its 25th anniversary next year with further growth after investing in a new machine.

Beechwood Trees and Landscapes Ltd in Brinklow Road, Binley, Coventry, provides a wide range of arboriculture and landscape services for domestic and commercial customers including local authorities. The business, which was set-up in 1998 by managing director Simon Rotheram, is continually investing in new machinery. Simon applied for a grant for the machinery through Coventry City Council’s Investment Fund, which is funded through the European Regional Development Fund. Simon was successful in his grant application and received twenty per cent of the total cost of the machine which cost nearly £43,000.

Simon said:
"This new machine will help with expansion plans in 2023. This will open up new areas of work because we can use this machine to operate in hard to reach woodland where having the right machinery is essential. There is more demand for biomass energy as more and more people and businesses are concerned about the environment.

We have had grants in the past for training which has been very helpful in developing employees but this is the first time we have received funding to invest in equipment. Specialist equipment in our sector is expensive so receiving the grant from the Investment Fund was great. Business generally is pretty good and in 2023 we’re looking for further growth. We want to expand the landscaping side of the business and we have taken on a Business Development Manager and Landscape Manager because we see it as an area for expansion.”

Engineering company launches in Coventry after receiving funding help

A new precision engineering company has been set-up in Coventry after receiving a grant to buy a wide range of equipment. Sebastian Kalek and Bradley Walker, who have vast experience in the sector, have launched SB Precision Engineers in Coventry.

The business focuses on manufacturing precision machined parts out of different materials including plastics, aluminium and steel to detailed specifications from prototypes to large orders for their customers who are based all over the UK in the automotive, aerospace, medical, oil and gas industries.

They were successful in applying for a grant of £10,717 from the Coventry & Warwickshire Business Support Programme which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and is being delivered by Coventry City Council. The grant supported the business to purchase a range of equipment for their machine shop floor in their new commercial premises ranging from work benches and a compressor to component measurements and a pallet truck.

Bradley said:

“We spotted a gap in the market for this type of engineering because it isn’t as popular as it once was, particularly with the younger generation, but we felt there were plenty of opportunities available since the technology is developing all the time.

Sebastian and I have worked in this sector for a long time and we thought if we combined our skills, we could create a special business. The funding means we have been able to buy a number of different machines and we are looking to progress and buy lathe and turning machines later this year so the future is bright.”

Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change at Coventry City Council, said:

“It’s always great to hear about another business flourishing thanks to the support offered by Coventry City Council and the Growth Hub. Businesses like SB Precision Engineers can and should take advantage of the help on offer, whether that’s support in securing grant funding or advice on greener business practices, there is a lot of support available.

It has been a challenging few years for many businesses, but businesses investing and growing is both good news for local people, since it creates job opportunities, and good news for the local economy too.”

State of the art machine installed at Warwick business

Caption: From the left, Martin Nwangwa (CWLEP Growth Hub) and Denise Osborne (Coventry City Council) with Sonia Astle-Fletcher, Max Bennett and John Bennett (Technical Support).

An innovative family-run business in Warwick has installed a new state-of-the-art printed circuit assembly machine after receiving grant funding through the Business Support Programme which is being delivered by Coventry City Council. The machine, an Atom A1 from Europlacer, is the first of this model to be installed in the UK.

Technical Support assembles electronics for clients in many market sectors and was set-up over 40 years ago by John Bennett. Today this family business is still run by John, together with his five children, Sonia Astle-Fletcher, and Josh, Jessica, Suzy and Max Bennett.. The team identified the need to step up to new technology for three reasons: to offer the manufacture of complex assemblies with highly miniaturised components normally only available from larger manufacturers, provide faster turnaround on prototypes, and to improve productivity.

Technical Support successfully received a £40,000 grant which is funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), towards the state-of-the-art £165,000 machine.

Sonia said:

“Our typical customer has designed circuit boards as part of a manufacturing project and is looking for a dependable sub-contractor to assemble them. “We’ve used some impressive machines over the years, and new clients are often surprised at our manufacturing capability, but in order to meet the requirements of some new high-end projects, we needed to upgrade again owing to advances in technology.

Before the pandemic, we had identified the machine we needed but had to put our plans on pause. When restrictions began to ease, we knew it was time to move ahead and found out through our bank that we might be eligible for a grant. We produce tens of thousands of printed circuit boards a year and this new machine is a game changer for us. We operate in a niche area and this brand new model is the first installation in the UK. Miniaturisation brings cost benefits and can allow more functionality within an existing product, but designers are sometimes hesitant to downsize components as it can be difficult to find a suitable sub-contractor. Our new Europlacer will enable us to excel in this area.”

Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change at Coventry City Council, said:

“This funding will help Technical Support transform their business. The new state-of-the-art machine will satisfy demand they are experiencing for newer technology printed circuit boards and allow them to progress into more complex technologies enabling the organisation to take on more business.

“This is another great example of how grant funding is helping SME businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire to scale up their operations and provide new employment opportunities within our region.”

Training organisation recruits new staff

A training organisation was quick off the starting blocks to recruit new staff after extending their offices in Coventry. The SCCU Group provides Apprenticeships, Traineeships and Commercial Training across education and other sectors.

After deciding to refurbish and extend its current office in Harry Weston Road, Binley, operations director James Pease contacted the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub to enquire about grants. James was put in touch with Coventry City Council and he was successful in his application for a £25,000 grant through the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The grant assisted towards the investment of £85,000 for an extension and refurbishment project which includes a new technical software and hardware, furniture and air conditioning unit along with LED lighting. Six more staff numbers are to be added to the 35-strong company as new contracts continue to be won.

James said:
"Our offices needed to be improved to accommodate new colleagues. We have been growing over the last few years and everything is well positioned for further growth. There are a number of government incentives around apprenticeships and upskilling staff and we have developed our programme over the last few years to now offer up to 35 different types of apprenticeships. We have secured £1.3 million of funding to deliver traineeships until July 2023 from the Education and Skills Funding Agency to support work placements across both school and business settings.

I think more and more companies are aware of the apprenticeships available for existing members of staff to upskill or for new members of staff so that they can grow their own workforce in a cost-effective way and teach them the skills they need.”

Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change at Coventry City Council, said:

“It’s great to see another local company thriving, taking on new staff and creating new jobs. Often all small innovative local companies like the SCCU Group need is a small boost of cash to take that next step and that is exactly what the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme is about.”

Business Investment Team

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street
Coventry
CV1 5RR

Other grants and loans

Loans

CWRT logo

The Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust [http://www.cwrt.uk.com/] (CWRT) is a "not for profit" specialist financial institution providing loan finance to individuals and businesses which are unable to obtain some or all of their finance from high street banks. They offer:

  • Start-up loans of up to £25,000 supported by the government, and
  • Commercial loans from £1,000-£100,000

Duplex Investment Fund - "a grant and loan in one easy deal"

A new way to help finance capital investments by local businesses. It combines public sector grants and loans to give you financial flexibility and ensure that your project proceeds successfully. For further details visit the Duplex Investment Fund webpage [https://www.cwrt.uk.com/duplex-investment-fund] or for more information on Loans and Duplex, please contact CWRT on 024 7655 1777.

Support and advice

  • General enquiries [/businesssupportenquiry] and to establish if you may be eligible for assistance.
  • Business Rates [/businessrates] Your business may be eligible for business rates relief.
  • Planning [/planning] For planning and building regulations information.

Business Investment Team

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street
Coventry
CV1 5RR

Delivery partners for start-ups and social enterprises

Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber

Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce colour logo

Start-ups support 

Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce has been awarded a contract to deliver start-up support in Coventry. As part of the Start-Up Programme, they offer a range of free fully funded business support to help you start up, build and grow your new venture.

What’s included in the business support?

  1. 1:1 Business Coaching -  A team of skilled and experienced business coaches to guide you on every step of growing your new business.
  2. Workshops - Covering business planning, financial planning, marketing, and social media so you have business fundamentals in place.

Please note eligibility criteria apply. Visit the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce website [http://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/business-support] for more details.

Coventry and Warwickshire Co-operative Development Agency (CWCDA)

Coventry & Warwickshire CDA logo

Coventry and Warwickshire Co-operative Development Agency (CWCDA) has been awarded a contract to deliver social enterprise support in Coventry until 31 March 2025, this includes support for pre start-up, start-up and existing social enterprises that want to grow.

CWCDA has established an incubator and accelerator hub for local enterprises at their base in Foleshill.

CDA will be offering a range of services including workshops, access to business tools and one-to-one advice and support sessions. They will also be offering a Peer-to-peer scheme where social enterprises can support each other and will also offer opportunities to network.

If you would like to receive free advice and support or want to know more then please contact the Business support team: info@cwcda.co.uk [mailto:info@cwcda.co.uk] / 024 7663 3911 / www.cwcda.co.uk [https://cwcda.co.uk/]