SME Competitiveness initiative launches in Swindon & Wiltshire

By Ben Carey on 14 July, 2020

The Swindon & Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP) has launched a new programme for SMEs with ambitious growth plans.

SME Competitiveness will offer support to the region’s entrepreneurial community, from pre-start ups through to established SMEs, working in partnership with YTKO, University of Bath SETSquared, Swindon Borough Council and Wiltshire Council.

With a total contract value of £2.4million, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) supported programme will have three key elements:

•             Pre-start and start-up support

•             Growth and scale-up support

•             Support for individuals being made redundant from Honda that wish to start a business

The programme, which will be under the stewardship of the Growth Hub, will see the SWLEP expand its digital resource base to include additional technical assistance. It will also see the team grow in number by four members of staff, with existing staff also contributing to the programme. 

Growth Hub Manager, Chris Stevens, said, “I am very excited to lead this fantastic ERDF programme of business support for the region, which will inevitably stimulate the ‘recovery’ from Covid-19 and service those with entrepreneurial aspirations.  I very much look forward to working with our Delivery Partners in giving the programme every chance of success.”

Lee Hughes from partnership organisation YTKO added, “We are extremely pleased to be working with SWLEP and partners on this important project which will nurture the enterprise culture across Swindon and Wiltshire. 

“Our Outset start up support services will be provided by experienced and empathetic local teams of coaches and experts in business planning, marketing and traditional and alternative finance and funding.

“I am confident that our activities will ensure that our target communities are provided with the skills and knowledge they need to start up and sustain their new enterprises, support that’s needed more now than ever before.”

Councillor David Renard, Leader of Swindon Borough Council believes the programme will have a positive impact on people being made redundant from Honda of the UK Manufacturing Ltd and local suppliers.

He added, “This programme is great news for new start-up businesses in the local area and complements the training and support we are already providing through our partners to those that will be affected by Honda’s closure next year.

“In Swindon, we have always had a strong entrepreneurial spirit and we want to encourage that by offering this support for those who’ve always wanted to run their own business.”

For all enquiries relating to SME Competitiveness please email smecompetitiveness@swlep.co.uk