The Council supports businesses to grow by attracting inward investment; helping businesses to expand; encouraging them to create jobs; improving their access to skilled workers; and retaining skilled graduates in the area.
Coventry and Warwickshire are home to clusters of successful, world-class business sectors, including advanced manufacturing and engineering (particularly in aerospace and automotive industries); energy and low carbon; connected autonomous vehicles; business, professional & financial services; and digital, creative and gaming.
Coventry’s business rates rateable value increased from £313m to £319m in 2018/19. The city’s rateable value has remained relatively constant in recent years. This suggests growth from new properties or those with increased rateable value has been broadly neutralised by those that have been removed from the list or received a reduced rating.
98.2% of collectable business rates were collected in-year. This is above the target of 98% for the second consecutive year.
Gross value added (GVA) is a measure of the size of a local area, calculated from the value of goods and services produced by businesses operating in an area. GVA may increase due to increased productivity; growth in business size; or an increase in the number of businesses.
Given Coventry’s population size, the city has historically performed below average. More recently, the city has experienced good growth. The latest data, for 2017, shows an annual GVA growth of 3.3% to £8.8 million for Coventry, compared to 3.1% for England. This is believed to be a result of the growth in the number of small businesses in the city.
To compare regions of different sizes, the GVA per head figure is used. At £24,500 in 2017, Coventry’s GVA per head was higher than in similar authorities but remained lower than England overall at £27,949. The city’s GVA per head figure increased by only 1.3% year-on-year, suggesting that the local economy did not grow as fast as the local population. This is partly explained by the growth in student numbers, the majority of whom are economically inactive.
In recent years, the UK’s level of productivity, a measure of efficiency, fell behind other advanced economies. Coventry’s productivity remains lower than the national average. However, in 2017, productivity increased by 4.5% in Coventry compared to 2.5% nationally, narrowing the gap. Indeed, the city’s productivity is now higher than amongst similar local authorities.
Coventry has a high rate of exports per job. This reflects the strength of the local business partnerships, particularly in the advanced manufacturing sector. 59% of the city’s exports were from the road vehicles sector, and this is attributable to the partnership between Jaguar Land Rover, its local supply chain, and the Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick.
In 2018, there were 9,845 active enterprises in the city. At a rate of 340 enterprises per 10,000 adult population, the number of active enterprises in Coventry remain notably lower than elsewhere: 377 in the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), 588 in Warwickshire and 515 in England.
Most enterprises in Coventry are small firms employing fewer than 10 people – so the number of active enterprises is, in effect, a measure of the city’s small to medium enterprise (SME) sector.
In the four years leading to 2018, Coventry’s business stock grew at a faster rate than the regional and national averages, fuelled by strong growth in new business creation. However, in 2018 the total number of active businesses dropped by about 200, falling from 10,065 to 9,845, amounting to a 2% decrease. This is a result of a reduction in the number of new businesses created compared to previous years; the rate of annual business creation in Coventry remains lower than national and regional averages.
The Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub works with local business, helping start-ups get off the ground and established SMEs grow. Since its establishment in 2014, the Growth Hub has supported the creation of over 5,000 jobs in the sub-region. The CWLEP works alongside local authorities, universities, and business groups to help secure funding deals.
The Council’s economic development service delivers business support and helps local businesses secure funding. In 2016-18, the team managed three European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) business support programmes, supporting over 800 businesses, generating £16.7m private investment, creating 775 jobs and reducing carbon emissions by 11,686 tonnes.
The team works closely with partners including the WMCA and the local business community; and has been awarded over £10m to deliver another three years of tailored support to local businesses, focusing on growth and job creation.
The Skills 4 Growth project, a partnership with the CWLEP and Warwickshire County Council, supported 61 SMEs to provide accredited training to 278 employees according to their identified skills needs. Furthermore, four young people have successfully completed their apprenticeships through the award-winning Construction Shared Apprenticeship Scheme. The project’s social value work has resulted in 1,069 local people employed on sites with skills and employment plans.