Worcestershire set to benefit from ‘Assisted Area’ status
The Government has recently published its final ‘Assisted Areas’ map confirming areas in Worcestershire that will benefit from ‘Assisted Area’ status. This means that businesses in these areas will be eligible for higher levels of grant support.
The areas in Worcestershire recommended to benefit coincide with three of the four ‘Gamechanger’ sites recently included in our Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) and are located in Wyre Forest, Wychavon, Worcester City, Bromsgrove and Redditch.
Read the full news story here
RGF available for Worcestershire Expansion Programme
Worcestershire has been awarded £2.5 million from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund to support businesses across the county.
The ‘Worcestershire Expansion Programme’ will run from April 2014.to March 2015 and will offer funding for expansion, capital equipment purchase, support for training and research and development. Grants of £20,000 up to £1 million are available for eligible businesses.
Primarily targeted at small and medium sized private businesses, the Programme will target Worcestershire LEP’s key sectors comprising Advanced Manufacturing; Cyber Security, Defence and IT; and Agri-tech.
The Fund is now open for applications. For further information and to check eligibility, please email
James Lloyd at Worcestershire Business Central or call 0300 123 14 40. The closing date for applications for this first round of funding is 13 June 2014.
New Board members – are you ready to join us?
Three years ago the Worcestershire LEP was established and its main Board and Business Board were set up. The three year terms of office have now reached full term and although our rules of governance allow members to serve a second term, we are keen to bring in new talent and experience into both Boards.
Applications are invited from those who have business-based experience at director level or above and are able to commit time each month to LEP activities and responsibilities. We are particularly keen to attract applications from women and ethnic minority groups, who are currently under-represented on the Boards.
The positions are non-executive and unpaid, however they provide an unparalleled opportunity to contribute to Worcestershire’s future economic priority and success.
Further information and details of the application process are available from the LEP office
Tour of Britain - call for business support
We previously reported the exciting news that a Stage of this year’s Tour of Britain – one of the top ten Stage races in the world – will be starting in Worcestershire on 10 September.
The Tour has been brought to the county by Worcestershire LEP and is supported by Worcestershire County Council, Worcester City Council, Malvern Hills DC, Wychavon DC and Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce. However, to really make the event a success and ensure that the county gains maximum benefit from this prestigious sporting event, we need more businesses to become involved.
It is estimated that at least 10,000 spectators will turn up on the day and the event will attract a huge amount of TV coverage: in excess of 1,000,000 viewers on ITV4 live and highlights programmes and 1,500,000 per day on Eurosport. So, it’s a great opportunity for you to raise awareness of your business – both with national and local audiences.
A number of options are available. If you are interested in advertising and sponsoring, please contact Jan Bailey
at the LEP office.
Worcestershire businesses win Queen’s Award
Our congratulations go to Bromsgrove based business Viezu Techonologies and Worcester-based Postcode Anywhere, both of whom have been recognised in the recently announced Queen’s Awards for Enterprise.
Viezu received an Award in the Innovation category in recognition of its Fuel Saving Tuning Solutions, Carbon Emissions Reduction, Software Development and Training.
Meanwhile Guy Mucklow, Chief Executive at Postcode Anywhere, is celebrating a Queen’s Award in recognition of his voluntary work in promoting enterprise in Worcestershire and beyond.
We are delighted that two of the county’s businesses have been recognised in this way, which can only help to raise Worcestershire’s profile as an ideal location in which to do business.
Hopefully this will also encourage other county based businesses to enter for such prestigious awards next year.
Latest jobless figures
The number of people seeking Jobseekers Allowance fell by 461 in April to a total of 7,104 or 2.0% of the 16-64 resident working population.
It was especially pleasing to see this drop mirrored in the 18-24 age group where the number of claimants fell by 150 to 1,830 or 4.1% of the population.
This is good news for Worcestershire. We are performing well ahead of the West Midlands region, where claimant count rate is 3.4% of the 16-64 age group, and also better than England as a whole, where the figure is 2.7%.
Full details can be found here
‘Proof of Concept’ fund
Worcestershire County Council has announced a new grant fund that can support SMEs to investigate, advance, commercialise and protect early stage innovative business ideas.
A partnership with the Central Technology Belt, the grant can fund different elements including market assessments, IPR Protection, accreditations and prototyping.
Grants of up to 50% of the total cost of a project (to a maximum contribution of £30,000) are available for businesses and universities to prove that their innovations have significant economic potential.
Please visit the Worcestershire Business Central website
for more information or telephone 0300 123 1440.
Eckington Manor scoops VisitEngland Award
Our many congratulations to historic Eckington Manor which has recently been awarded a silver medal in the Bed and Breakfast/Accommodation category and a bronze in the Taste of England section of the VisitEngland Awards.
The awards are a great accolade for the Manor and a fitting tribute to founder and owner, Judy Garner, and her team.