Coronavirus Support and Guidance
For support and guidance including Government Grants, Testing for Businesses, Environmental Health support and how to become COVID Compliant please visit Coronavirus - Support for Businesses.
Wolves in Business, a local economy support package. We’re making millions of pounds of grant payments available and are developing new measures in partnership with business groups across the city.
We’re determined to keep Wolverhampton’s business community vibrant and resilient by being on the side of our local businesses, their employees and those who are self-employed.
We may be a small team but like our small business community we believe we have made a big impact. We hope this booklet gives a flavour of what we can do; and how we have adapted through the pandemic to ensure our support is tailored to the changing needs of the business community. Working together we continue to have a big impact on the Wolverhampton economy.
These are unprecedented times for us all, however we are committed to continue to provide the best support we can to businesses and jobseekers. We are here to help you plan your current and future workforce needs as you navigate the current COVID-19 situation. Our consultancy services are fully funded and over 600 businesses have accessed the support in the last three years.
Wolves at Work business services are ready and available to offer support to businesses looking for assistance on the following:
- Recruitment - we can advertise and promote your vacancies and assist with sourcing new talent through the highly successful Wolves at Work project
- Redundancy support
- Advice on upskilling your workforce to meet future business needs
- Information on the Job Retention Scheme and links to training for furloughed staff
- Useful connections to further business support
Please don’t hesitate to contact us for recruitment or workforce support: email@example.com
Or call the Business Support line: 01902 290242 between 9am and 5pm from Monday to Thursday or from 9am to 4.30pm on Fridays
Job Retention Scheme
Claim for wages through the coronavirus job retention scheme.
It will allow you to retain your staff and ensure your business can resume quickly when re-growth occurs.
There are also several useful websites to further explain the support available to businesses and their employees:
- Black Country Chamber
- Instutute of Directors (IOD)
- Business Support
- Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)
- Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS)
A useful tool for further support are the following webinars on employment topics:
Black Country-specific advice and support for businesses is available through the Black Country Growth Hub.
The Federation of Small Businesses has also published guidance on what you can do to protect your business and employees.
The Black Country Chamber of Commerce have also published a number of interpretative and advice documents on the Government support schemes.
Guidance for food businesses reopening and adapting their businesses during COVID-19 can be found on the Trade with Confidence website.
The City of Wolverhampton Council is looking to engage up to 200 City-based businesses into a free package of intensive short term and ongoing long-term support to be delivered in collaboration with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), and the Black Country Chamber of Commerce.
The scheme, thought to be a first in the country, will focus on improving financial management; encouraging product, service and market reviews; and improving digital awareness and application – and is designed to help build the capacity to survive and grow in the Covid-19 hit economy.
Importantly the package includes free membership of the FSB or the Chamber of Commerce for 12 months – two key business support organisations active in the City, each of whom provide a comprehensive package of support available to their members.
The Programme will be open to sole traders, micro and small businesses from across a range of sectors.
The basic eligibility criteria include:
- employing no more than 250
- turnover below £50m
- primary trading base in the Wolverhampton local authority area
- not a member of the FSB or the Chamber within the past 6 months
- not a participant in a Council Business Support Programme within the past 6 months (excludes government Covid-19 related grant schemes)
There will be an application process, and assessments will be based on:
- commitment to an initial Business Review
- attending a series of thematic and membership offer webinars
- signing up to the Wolves@Work pledge
- evidencing ambition and passion
We are running 5 cohorts of 40 businesses in the period up to March 2022; each cohort will reflect a cross-section of business sectors and sizes, and a decision to be accepted or not will be final.
The programme went live in January 2021 and applications are now being invited for cohort 2. A key part of a successful application will be to show ambition and passion about the business and programme – and the package being offered will be worth on average £750 to each participating business.
Apply for the Business Relight Programme
Councillor Stephen Simkins, Cabinet Members for City Economy noted: “These are incredibly difficult times for our small businesses, and we are constantly looking at new ways we can support them and help them bounce back from the current crisis. Through our work in administering thousands of vital business grants during the Covid-19 pandemic we have identified where some small businesses need more than just financial support. The Relight Business Programme provides more tailored support from business professionals that will help build capacity in some of our smallest, but most ambitious businesses.”
Membership of the Federation of Small Businesses or the Black Country Chamber of Commerce comes with the package - as does a financial health check, and focused support on funding, financial management and cashflow; and product, service and market reviews.
Karen Wooley, West Midlands Development Manager at the FSB commented, “It is challenging to run a business in the best of times, but the past 8 months have presented incredible challenges for our local entrepreneurs and we want to support them in whatever way we can. The economic disruption caused by Covid-19 calls for some new thinking and what we have here is, I believe, a first for the City. The offer of Wolverhampton Council to provide businesses with a 12-month FSB membership, along with a wrap-around programme of support, is an example of the Council’s commitment to nurture and protect its small businesses with a robust suit of immediate, on the ground advice and resources to help them through the crises and beyond - enabling them to not only survive, but to thrive.”
The Council believe there is real value for a business in being a member of a business support organisation and equally believe that this can be significantly enhanced through an intensive package of focused support to build resilience and capacity – and the package being offered will be worth at least £750.
Corin Crane, Chief Executive at the Chamber of Commerce added, “The Black Country Chamber of Commerce has been helping local business over the past two centuries and, during COVID-19 have turned to us to help them navigate the challenges which many now face. Participating businesses will have to commit to actively use their membership and participate in this intensive programme of support and the cohort, account management, and focussed support on offer will give many businesses a means by which to navigate these very challenging times.”
New Products or Services Pivot - Webinar 1
New Markets Pivot - Webinar 2b
Issue 5 - April 1, 2021
- Business Testing Scheme Grant Open
- Exporting with a Clean Growth Agenda
- Registering for Work Testing Kits Extended
Issue 4 - March 19, 2021
- Gearing up to opening up!
- Relight Business Support Cohort 2 - Application deadline: 31st March
- Register for Free Rapid Flow Tests
- Response to Redundancy
- Final Call on Grants
Issue 3 - March 5, 2021
- Important Reminder Covid-19 Testing and Business Grants
- Join Relight Business Support - Cohort 2
- Help to Grow Campaign
- Clean Growth and the Green Economy Wind Turbines
- End of Lockdown: Challenge or Opportunity
Issue 2 - February 18, 2021
- A message from Councillor Simkins, Cabinet Member for City Economy
- COVID-19 Grants
- Relight Programme Registration
- Business Survey
Issue 1 - February 11, 2021
- Are you ready for Brexit?
- COVID-19 Test Centres
- Relighting our city survey
- National Apprenticeship Week 8th - 12th Feb
Through the summer we ran a series of 7 webinars and 5 surgeries with the support and involvement of a number of businesses that represented a cross section of business sectors, sizes and structures. Our thanks go to our Economic Growth Board members John Wood, Director at the Liberty Group, Scott Thompson, Managing Director at the Thompson Group, Matt Weston, Director at Stones Throw Media, Anna-Maria McCauliffe, Director of the McAuliffe Group, Maria Posiwnyncz, owner of The Accountancy Firm; Sham Sharma, owner of Zuri Coffee; Henry Carver, Managing Director of Carvers; and Russell Jones, General Manager Marketing and Commercial Growth at Wolves FC.
The titles of the webinars were:
- Cut Costs and Streamline Processes to Improve Productivity and Efficiency
- Plan ahead and Plan for Success
- Lead and Don’t be Led
- Innovate and Diversify
- Invest and Identify New Customers and Market Trends
Our thanks too to Maqq Rafique, Director of Airguard Filters; and Keith Milford, owner of PrintDot. Maqq and Keith successfully pivoted their businesses early this year to respond to the needs of the NHS and essential businesses, securing AIM for GOLD grant support to implement investment in new machinery. They shared their stories in 2 of our recent growth planning webinars:
- Growth Planning – the creative sector
- Growth Planning – the manufacturing sector
Time for another ‘Small Business:Big Impact’ booklet...you bet, and you could be part of it!
Maqq Raffique (centre of second row) from Airguard Filters pictured with staff at University Hospital Birmingham – Airguard diversified its business away from manufacturing air filters for power generators and into making PPE for the NHS over the summer
We’ve already showcased over 50 Wolverhampton businesses in our first 3 editions so now it’s on to the fourth - and a bumper edition this time!
It’s been an incredibly challenging time, but we have been amazed and immensely proud of the numerous companies that have developed new products and services, entered new markets and in some cases changed their business model completely through the year.
There were those who responded to the call to support the needs of the NHS through the spring and summer. There was some quick repositioning, re-engineering and re-prioritising to provide a range of equipment from ventilators through to PPE. Productive capacity was re-focused and scaled up and much needed vital equipment is now with local hospitals and care workers.
Many others responded to the changing environment in which we are living our lives – supplying safety barriers to shops, restaurants and pubs; and others still have pivoted, developed new products and services, entered new markets and changed their business model.
If you are proud of what you have achieved this year and want to share your business story in our next booklet please email firstname.lastname@example.org