An innovative engineering business has received a £7,500 grant from Walsall Business Support to upgrade its websites as it seeks to grow its reputation internationally.
Birchills Automotive is a family-run business with 25 employees that has been established in Walsall for over a century. The company originally made specialist locks and architectural hardware for local industries and today specialises in the exhaust component market, construction and engineering.
The first website that the grant will enable the business to upgrade is its Birchills Automotive manufacturing website, which will be updated to reflect the company’s growth in new industries. Birchills Automotive has undergone extensive diversification into the design and development of building products such as bollards and barriers, which are being sold across the UK and internationally.
The grant will also support the upgrade of a second website for Oliver Wellings Designs. Established by the son of Birchills Automotive managing director Andrew Wellings, Oliver Wellings Designs specialises in the design and production of bespoke stainless steel sculptures from upcycled metal utilised in the manufacturing side of the business.
Investment in this website will help launch Oliver’s sculptures to a new global audience. Oliver Wellings Designs was recently invited by the British Embassy in Dubai to showcase its sculptures at a party being held for the coronation of King Charles. The sculptures have also been showcased at Qatar’s Expo 2023 and will be exhibited at the COP28 climate change conference in Dubai, which starts in November.
Birchills Automotive managing director Andrew Wellings commented: “We believe our plans to upgrade our websites and expand into new markets will bring significant benefits to Walsall and the wider community, securing our existing workforce but also supporting our ambitions to grow using local employment and skills.
“We are confident that the expansion of our websites will ultimately result in more local employment, training opportunities and a greater awareness of our local area’s rich history and culture. We are very proud to have the opportunity to promote Walsall’s heritage on a global scale.”
Formed by leading local business figures to distribute funds collected from the legacy of Walsall Chamber of Commerce, Walsall Business Support provides grants to applicants who want funding for projects to enhance business life in the borough.
Councillor John Murray, chairman of Walsall Business Support, said: “We offer grants for businesses looking to bring growth, skills and employment to the borough of Walsall, with the aim of benefitting as many local people as possible.
“We are really pleased to support Birchills Automotive with this grant. The business is innovative, forward-thinking and committed to its roots in the West Midlands, employing and training local people.
“It is very rewarding to be able to support Oliver with the promotion of his sustainable sculptures. As a Walsall-born designer who attended Walsall Academy, he is a fantastic local success story. There can be no better way to showcase a Walsall business than on an international stage.
“Birchills Automotive is a great example of how a growing business can benefit from a Walsall Business Support grant, and we wish them every success in the future.”
Walsall Business Support can provide grants and a free training needs analysis to businesses looking to generate growth, create employment or shape training opportunities for the borough of Walsall. Using an online application form on the WBS website, bids for financial support can be submitted by businesses needing investment in a new project or a company wanting to improve skills.