BUSINESS SUPPORT & RECOVERY PLANNING
The West of England Growth Hub managed by WECA built resource to help businesses through the initial ‘crisis management’ phase of Covid-19, but has since developed a range of support packages to respond directly to what businesses are highlighting as critical issues in the context of recovery and renewal.
Through the Hub, Enterprise Executives are on hand to provide advice and support, including through new measures:
- Trading Better Online – designed to provide specialist support to help businesses become digitally enabled and improve their resilience and productivity e.g. through enhanced e-commerce, accounting software, CRM…etc. The project is a partnership approach between WECA and
- Financial Resilience – support which targets the region’s accountancy expertise to help SMEs (5-100 employees) plan for financial resilience. The programme has recently launched and is delivered by a partnership between WECA and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW).
- Thrive West – Mental health in the workplace support has been highlighted as a challenge by many businesses. Through WECA, the region’s local authorities, Public Health England and business ambassadors, Thrive West aims to raise awareness, provide information, advice and guidance to support businesses and individuals
- Intellectual Property support: WECA has an in-house specialist adviser from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) to help businesses understand the basics of IP and how best to protect it. Resource, promoted through the Growth Hub, is free to use and accessible via desktops, tablets and smart
- Mentoring for Growth: The Mentoring for Growth programme has been refocused during the crisis to a Rapid Response Mentoring Programme.
EMPLOYMENT AND SKILLS SUPPORT
The eligibility criteria for the West of England Future Bright initiative has been changed and can now provide dedicated 1:1 coaching support for people who have:
- Been made redundant or laid off
- Are at risk of redundancy
- Have had their hours significantly reduced, and therefore have a reduced income
- Are self-employed and whose income or ability to earn has been severely impacted
- Are furloughed employees, if their reduced income means they are eligible for Universal Credit
Workforce for the Future: is an initiative aimed at helping SMEs plan for future skills needs which provides engagement with SMEs on skills/training brokerage and skills planning.