Following closely after last week’s announcement that Warwickshire County Council was launching the £140 Million Warwickshire Recovery and Investment Fund (WRIF), the Council has unveiled the first strand of this cash-injection: The £90 million Business Investment Growth (BIG) Fund.
The BIG Fund is designed to support existing businesses in Warwickshire or those who are wishing to locate within the county, who are looking at growth or new market opportunities. Warwickshire County Council is particularly interested in businesses and sectors that will help drive the future of Warwickshire’s economy, and those business activities that will help support the commitment towards a net-zero carbon economy.
The key objectives of the BIG Fund are:
- Creating new jobs within the county or for residents of Warwickshire
- Increasing economic output
- Levering additional investment into the county
- Increasing level of business rates
- Supporting the transition to a low carbon economy
Priority sectors of interest to the County Council under this fund are:
- Automotive Technology
- Digital creative and digital technologies
- Future of mobility
Other priority sectors are:
- Advanced manufacturing
- Culture, tourism and hospitality
- Modern methods of construction
- Health and wellbeing
- Agri-tech and rural based businesses
- Businesses in the supply chain that support the delivery of the council’s priority outcomes for people, for example, public health,
Investment proposals from businesses outside these sectors will be considered on a case-by-case basis if they focus on innovation and future growth opportunities and are able to demonstrate a clear commitment to low carbon activities.
Cllr Kam Kaur, Warwickshire County Council’s portfolio holder for economy and place, said: “It’s fantastic that, so soon after announcing the countywide Warwickshire Recovery and Investment Fund, that we have been able to launch perhaps its most impactful element: the £90 Million BIG Fund
“We committed to be working with our partners and with local businesses to ensure Warwickshire bounces back better with a vibrant and sustainable economy that is fit for the future in the world after the COVID-19 pandemic and this sizeable fund for businesses is a clear demonstration of that.
“We know that this is a big commitment, but we need an ambitious and bold strategy to play our part in creating a healthy job market with opportunities for everyone to find work.
“We are seeking applications that will have a positive impact not only on the economy but also on our society and environment, making Warwickshire the best it can be, sustainable now and for future generations.”
While this Fund is focussing on a smaller number of higher value loans, The Local Communities and Enterprise Fund (LCEF) will be aimed at smaller and micro enterprises and will launch in the Autumn.
How to apply?
Businesses who feel they meet the aims and ambitions of this fund and want to find out more are encouraged to complete the Expression of Interest form on the website.
The Business Growth team at Warwickshire County Council will then make contact to discuss further and provide an initial view on the suitability of the fund.
Subject to a basic eligibility test, a specialist advisor will then be appointed to work with you to review the investment proposal, assess the business plan, provide advice if needed and set out the information needed to undertake due diligence. Following due diligence, a draft Heads of Terms document will be developed, which will set out the loan offer, rate of interest and any key conditions.