About 150 people from advanced manufacturing and engineering companies heard about the free business services available to support their growth at the launch of the new Clearing House.
The initiative, started as part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s (CWLEP) City Deal, will provide a single point of contact for business-led support ranging from access to finance to research and development advice.
Companies ranging from MIRA in Nuneaton to Squires Gear and Engineering in Coventry attended the event organised by the CWLEP and Coventry City Council at the International Digital Laboratory at the Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick.
Louise Bennett, Project Director of Clearing House and Chief Executive of Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said advisers at the Clearing House would be working with 1,348 advanced manufacturing and engineering companies in Coventry and Warwickshire.
“Previously businesses have had to navigate their way round a plethora of support such as access to finance which could be quite complex,” she said.
“We want to make it simpler and the creation of the Clearing House, which is also known as a Growth Hub, will provide a single point of contact for businesses to get in touch with advisers who will do all the work to steer their way through the advice and support available which is best suited to each individual company.
“It is a free service for businesses to use and the team will work with businesses to understand their needs to steer them in the right direction since it can often be quite complex to help them grow.
“We will provide quick response times, a brokerage service and add value to each business because each member of the team is a specialist in advanced manufacturing and engineering.
“There is plenty of funding available including £250,000 in business innovation grants which is open to advanced manufacturing and engineering companies and our brokerage service is in place to encourage research and development and innovation.
“The Skills 4 Growth programme aims to work with 48 advanced manufacturing and engineering companies in 2014/15 which will bring a consortium of businesses together to temporarily move employees from one company to another to enhance their skills before returning to add value to their place of work.
“There is huge support available and the Clearing House team is here to help businesses access the right support and advice for them to grow their business which in turn will boost the regional economy.”
Dr Richard Hutchins, of Warwick Manufacturing Group and CWLEP board director, said the fact over 150 businesses from SMEs to blue-chip companies had attended the launch underlined the need for the Clearing House.
“I am delighted that companies agreed to help shape the Clearing House and become members of an advisory group of the LEP’s High Value Manufacturing Business Group,” he said.
“This is an exciting time as we transform the City Deal proposition into reality by starting the Clearing House.
“The response from businesses in the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector is extremely encouraging and we have the support services in place to enable businesses to grow.
“This doesn’t mean we are not interested in helping businesses from other sectors but the focus of the City Deal bid was on the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector because we have world-class companies in this field in Coventry and Warwickshire.”
PICTURE CAPTION: From the left, Dr Richard Hutchins (CWLEP and Warwick Manufacturing Group), Louise Bennett (Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce), Rachael Delich (Coventry City Council) and John Nollett (Clearing House)