More than 80 City of Wolverhampton micro and small businesses have now completed the Council’s new Relight Business Programme thanks to over £60,000 investment so far.

A further 25 business have applied for the fifth cohort of the programme, which will start next month, with applications for cohort 6 to be invited from September.

The programme went live in January, and the Council’s Business Development team is already working with city businesses in sectors such as hair and beauty, health and wellbeing, photography, manufacturing, painting and decorating, recruitment, property management, retail and hospitality.

The programme provides financial management advice and digital guidance along with 12 months’ membership of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce or the Federation of Small Businesses.

Each business can receive £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. 

Businesses completing the Relight Business Programme are eligible to apply for a Relight Business Support grant, enabling them to undertake small investments based on recommendations from the Relight Business Programme. Some of the funds would be matched with a current ERDF grant programme to maximise external funds. Based on the business review carried out by the Council’s business development team, and supported by documents completed by the consultants, a business can apply for a maximum grant of £5,000 to invest in equipment and services.

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 some of our smallest, but most ambitious businesses, survive and grow.”

The programme is aiming to support up to 200 micro and small city businesses in total.

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

Full details, including eligibility criteria are available at Wolves in Business.