Welcome to the sixth European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Newsletter that has been produced by Coventry & Warwickshire’s ERDF Techncial Assistance Team.
The ERDF Technical Assistance team is available to provide support on further developing any 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.
In this sixth edition, we explore the success stories of local SME support services.
Education group to save on electricity bills
The Learn2Group received a grant of £2,670 to invest in a new heating system upgrade, a lighting upgrade as well as the installation of double glazing. Based in Coventry, the company provide high quality, accredited and standardised training to organisations throughout the Midlands
The upgrades will lead to a reduction of 2.4 tonnes CO2e per year and lead to savings in the company’s annual electricity bills.
Becki Coombe, founder and director of the group, provided this statement: “It may seem a small thing - however when you have applied for numerous grants for heating and windows, had no luck and it's winter... then a 30% ERDF grant with not much paperwork is actually amazing!”.
For more information on the ERDF Green Business Programme, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recycling company expanding and creating jobs
Fortress Recycling and Resource Management, based in Warwick, received a grant of £100,000 to invest in a new £5 million machine that would allow them to sort through recyclable items much more quickly.
The new equipment would also lead to cost savings in the disposal costs of materials which in the past the business couldn’t recycle. In addition, the new machine will reduce its CO2 emissions by up to 5,571 tonnes every year. That is the equivalent of taking 1,092 cars off the road for a year.
David Pass, of Fortress Recycling and Resource Management, said: “This plant is now one of the most advanced material recovery centres in the UK. We recycle non-hazardous business waste and recycle paper, cardboard, glass, aluminium cans, plastic bottles and milk bottles and the new machine will also improve our productivity levels.
“The carbon savings we are making is fantastic and it isn’t just the fact we are recycling materials which usually go to landfill but the savings we are making on raw materials. Items can be recycled so less energy is being used to make new products.
“We used to spend over £2 million a year on disposal costs so we will be making big savings on that as well.”
Another result of buying the new equipment is that a six-year lease has been agreed at a second site, in Leamington, for storage and 20 new members of staff have been appointed.
Dragon takes flight in Warwickshire with business programme support
Jobs are being created and local engineering skills exploited after automotive inspection company Dragon Solutions expanded into Warwickshire with business support from Warwickshire County Council and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Dragon Solutions was formed in 2003 by Craig Harding and Gerald Woosnam who, having been made redundant from their engineering jobs at a mid-Wales foundry, backed their own skills and contacts to start the business.
It has thrived - and while its headquarters remains in Wales, servicing its prime customer, the Ford plant in Bridgend, the time came when, to meet the demands of further growth, another base was necessary.
So Dragon Solutions has now opened premises at the MIRA Technology Park in Nuneaton from which to fulfil the huge potential presented by the West Midlands automotive sector and other associated sectors.
When they began the search for suitable premises, Craig and Gerald spoke to Steph Williams, a business support advisor at Warwickshire County Council. Steph alerted them to MIRA Technology Park and also helped them to access a £25,000 European Regional Development Fund Investment Grant through the Coventry & Warwickshire Business Support Programme.
That grant will help equip the new base which is up and running. The Dragon has now spread its wings to the Midlands, servicing contracts with major local businesses including Jaguar Land Rover.
"It is the perfect location for us," said Gerald. "We are very well established in south Wales but in recent years have received an increasing number of inquiries from the Midlands only to be unable to advance them because we haven't had a presence here. Now we have that presence.
"Steph was fantastic in helping us to liaise with MIRA. She has fantastic knowledge of the sector locally and also helped us access the grant which will enable us to pursue our growth plans and increasing our Midlands-based customers which already include JLR, Mahle, Sertec Group Ltd, MGI Coutier and Eaton.
"We employ 14 full-time and agency staff at our Wales HQ and hope to be employing the same number in Warwickshire within a year. The support and advice we received from Steph and Warwickshire County Council was invaluable towards making that happen."
Steph is delighted to have helped bring another proactive and forward-thinking small business to Warwickshire.
"Dragon Solutions and the MIRA Technology Park are a perfect fit," she said. "It is great news that businesses of the calibre of Dragon Solutions are bringing their expertise to Warwickshire, building the supply chain further, thereby creating jobs and adding to the already buoyant automotive sector in the region."
If you would like more information about the county council's business support programme, please visit https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/business.
The Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme assists Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with fewer than 250 employees. Such SMEs are encouraged to apply for the fund (managed by Coventry City Council), in particular companies looking to invest in capital assets, for example, machinery or equipment, hardware/software, refurbishment, or purchase of new premises, which can benefit from up to 30% of grant to cover the costs of the investment.
Warwickshire County Council's Invest in Warwickshire Team is part-funded by the ERDF as part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme.