City of Wolverhampton Council has announced a new ‘Relight Business Programme’ to support up to 200 micro and small businesses in the city.

It will provide financial management advice and digital guidance and is being run in conjunction with the Black Country Chamber of Commerce and Federation of Small Businesses.

Each business will receive at least £750 worth of professional support in the form of financial health checks, analysis of funding and cashflow, reviews of products and services, and ways to improve market awareness, with the aim to rapidly build their capacity to survive and grow in the Covid-19 hit economy. 

Membership of the Federation of Small Business or the Black Country Chamber of Commerce is also included as part of the programme.

The programme will go live early in the New Year with applications being invited from Monday 30 November, 2020. 

Councillor Stephen Simkins, Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “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.”

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 City 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 crisis and beyond - enabling them to not only survive, but to thrive.” 

Corin Crane, Chief Executive at the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Black Country Chamber of Commerce has been helping local businesses over the past 2 centuries and during Covid-19 they 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. The cohort, account management, and focussed support offer will give many businesses a means by which to navigate these very challenging times.”

Applications must show ambition and passion about the business and programme. 

Full details, including eligibility criteria and an online application form will be posted at Wolves in Business on Monday.