Coventry & Warwickshire’s ERDF Technical Assistance Newsletter

Tuesday 9th of April 2019 02:25 PM

The Technical Assistance team is available to provide support on further developing any ERDF project ideas you have on the four themes of the ERDF programme within Coventry & Warwickshire:

  • Supporting Research & Development (R&D) and Innovation within businesses
  • Enhancing access to and the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for local businesses
  • Improving the competitiveness of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs)
  • Supporting the development of the low carbon economy

ERDF News/Update

The ERDF funding is still available for eligible projects and it has been guaranteed until the end of 2020. Read more at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/funding-from-eu-programmes-guaranteed...

Past Events

New ERDF Programmes Launch – 26th February.

120 organisations from Coventry & Warwickshire made their way to the Transport Museum to learn about accessing new funding opportunities for their businesses. Following the success of the three previous programmes which ran from 2016–2018 and a total of £4.6m provided in grants, the Council, alongside its delivery partners, are excited to be launching new ERDF programmes in the areas of Business Support, Green Business and Innovation. The Programmes will run from 2019 to 2021 and will build on the successes from previous ERDF Business Support Programmes.

If you are a small to medium sized business (fewer than 250 employees) in Coventry and Warwickshire, then you may be eligible to receive business support, including grants from the three European Regional Development Funded (ERDF) Programmes to help you to grow and develop your business.

Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs & Regeneration, opened the event and reflected on the successes of the previous programmes that have provided some of the foundation of Coventry & Warwickshire’s recent economic success and outlined the reasons why the region has been the fastest growing economy of all LEP areas since the 2008/09 recession.

Andy Williams, Director of Business, Investment & Culture at Coventry City Council, outlined the funding opportunities available to SMEs around business support and capital investment grants to enable growth going forward. These include: supporting new start-up businesses, assisting existing business with grants, improving energy and resource efficiency of business premises and supporting businesses to develop innovative new to market products & services. 

The delegates were able to hear first-hand from three organisations who had received grant support in the past.  Mobilerecon, Alchemie Ltd, and R53 shared their successes of capital investments which have been made in the areas of property renovations, a new energy efficient heating system and support for new product development which has resulted in supplying Renault Sport and Bentley.  

Cllr O’Boyle added: “It is wonderful to see that all three programmes, which are part funded by the ERDF, have supported the development of new start-ups and the growth of SMEs in our region. In addition, the programmes have created 770 new jobs, which is testament to the fact we have targeted successful business growth projects.”

He added: “We are keen to support local SME’s to continue to grow and to flourish and we expect to see even more successes within these three new programmes which will support many local businesses vision.”

For further information about funding opportunities please visit the CWLEP Growth Hub at www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk

Upcoming Events

10th April - Brexit Planning for Importers & Exporters at https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/brexit-planning-for-importers-export...
26th April - Free Business Support: Warwick at https://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/event/free-business-support-session-warwick-4
9th May - Getting the most out of Google for your Business at https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/getting-the-most-out-of-google-for-y...
16th May - Put your Social Media house in order at https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/put-your-social-media-house-in-order...
23rd May - Email Marketing that works at https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/email-marketing-that-works-23rd-may-...

Case Study – Break New Markets Thanks to Local Support and Funding

A family run design and manufacturing business is celebrating its 50-year anniversary with plans to expand and create new jobs.

NDE Clarke Pitchline, based at the historic former Riley Motor Company Works on Aldbourne Road, Coventry, specialises in the design, engineering and manufacture of a range of vehicle component products, with clients across the globe.

A successful 2018, including the acquisition of a new Hankook vertical milling centre machine thanks to grant from Business Support Programme Investment Fund and assistance from the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP Growth Hub, has allowed the firm to break into new markets, increase productivity and recruit staff.

The firm is expecting to increase its annual turnover by 25 per cent over the next 18 months off the back of the latest investment. Plans are also now in place to expand the firm’s premises in 2019 and bring in more staff as it celebrates 50 years in business.

Peter Edgington, Managing Director, said: “We are proud to be able to continue adding to the strong business heritage of our site, which many people in Coventry will remember as the thriving heart of the Riley Motor Company Works.

“To have had 50 successful years of our own here is incredible and the fact the anniversary has come while we are in such a strong period of growth is great for us.

“We have invested in new staff and new equipment over the last few years, with this new machine really helping to transform our working practices.

“This investment has allowed us to be bold with our ambition and we are aiming to increase our long-term turnover.”

NDE Clarke Pitchline currently employs around 45 people, two of which were brought in as a direct result of the machine investment, which created two skilled production posts.

Last year, exports accounted for 30 per cent of the company’s revenue.

Gary Thyeson, Account Manager with the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP Growth Hub, said: “NDE Clarke Pitchline is a fantastic company with strong historical roots in Coventry and we are delighted to be supporting their growth ambitions as they hit their 50th anniversary.

“It is crucial that businesses in the Coventry and Warwickshire area are known as leaders in their field and bringing in new technology such as the Hankook VMC machine helps put Chris and the team ahead of their competition.”

The Coventry and Warwickshire LEP Growth Hub helped NDE Clarke Pitchline access £20,000 of funding towards the new machine through Coventry City Council’s Business Support Programme, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Kierandeep Bal, business development advisor at Coventry City Council, added: “The purchase of the vertical milling centre machine has had such a big impact on NDE Clarke Pitchline in such a short space of time, which from our perspective is encouraging to see.

“The company is a fantastic example for other SME businesses in Coventry to look up to.”  

Case Study - Sirius in the fast lane after crucial business support from Warwickshire County Council

Funding support and advice from Warwickshire County Council has helped make 2018 a "turning point" year for a high-performance sports car business.

Sirius Automotive Ltd, which has a base in Kenilworth, was formed in 2014 when founder Abdul Ghafoor has overcome many challenges, from finding partners and organisations willing to help to turn concept into reality to recruiting individuals with the skills to help drive the business forward.

A big boost came in 2016 when Subaru agreed to supply new engines for the petrol cars. This was a significant development because Subaru supplies very few manufacturers and this ensures that customers have an immediate outlet for servicing their cars. The following year came further progress with the finalisation of the design of the car range and the selection of Hammink Performance, based in Holland, as the manufacturing partner to produce the cars.

Mr Ghafoor's business partner John Garbett also set about developing a business and marketing strategy to generate funding. This led to the involvement of Warwickshire County Council - and substantial further progress.

“2018 was a turning point for us,” says Mr Ghafoor. "We engaged with Warwickshire County Council for business support with some reservation as our previous experiences with other providers were not positive. But from the outset our advisor Jagdish Soor understood the challenges that we were facing. He arranged a series of meetings that enabled us to define a very cohesive and concise strategy going forward.

“Without the support and assistance from Warwickshire County Council, and the grant award to help with procurement of tools and equipment. we probably could not have moved the business on. The whole process has been a tremendous help to us.”

By the end of 2017, three cars - a track car, coupe road car and 100% pure electric convertible - were ordered for production and all three will be finished and available for sale by the end of December.

Further partnerships have been created to help move the business move forward. Sirius merged with Dragon Electric Vehicles to help begin an electric vehicle conversion business. As regulation and clean air policies become implemented there will be a scrapheap of vehicles available to convert to pure electric. The 20 years’ skills and experience that the merger brings is crucial to assisting Sirius Automotive in the early stage development of this market.

“Our short-term plan is to finish the production of cars in Holland, and then to implement our sales and marketing strategy” said Mr Ghafoor. "Our site in Kenilworth helps us to refine the cars further and provides us with the base from where we can begin to grow.”

Jagdish Soor commented: "Sirius Automotive came to us with very ambitious plans for an early-start business wanting to design, develop and manufacture three versions of its sports car, including EV technology. The wide range of experience within Warwickshire County Council business support team enabled a robust mentorship programme to be put in place for the client and it is very pleasing that the client will take delivery of their first cars in December 2018."

* The advice for the company was delivered as part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Warwickshire County Council. 

To find out more about the range of support available to grow your business, please contact the Growth Hub on: 0300 060 3747.

If you would like more information about Warwickshire County Council's business support programme, please visit https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/business  

If you would like more information about Coventry City Council business support programmes, please visit: http://www.coventry.gov.uk/businesssupport