Caption: Craig Humphrey, managing director of the CWLEP Growth Hub

Growth Hubs across the West Midlands are working together to encourage businesses to access free advice to Check, Change and Go following the end of the transition period and the UK’s exit from the EU.

A new website has been launched to provide impartial information to help businesses stay informed about the changes that affect them and take advantage of new opportunities arising from the new rules which came into force from January 1.

Growth Hubs in Coventry and Warwickshire, Greater Birmingham and Solihull, the Black Country, Worcestershire Business Central, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire and Marches have joined forces to help businesses throughout the region understand the key areas of change and the challenges arising from the UK’s new trading status.

The website provides information on the local and national business support that is available for SMEs to find the help they need.

There is also information on events and workshops that are to be held to guide businesses through the maze of changes and maximise the new opportunities including Going for Global Growth on Tuesday, January 26, which will bring together a panel of international trade experts to offer advice and answer questions.

The online event is being run from 2pm-3.30pm by The Export Academy from the Department for International Trade in collaboration with the West Midlands Growth Hubs and the West Midlands Chambers of Commerce.

There is also the opportunity to complete an EU Transition Support Questionnaire to request specialist support needed by your business.

Craig Humphrey, managing director of the CWLEP Growth Hub, said there are new rules for businesses to consider to continue trading and ensure their operations are uninterrupted.

He said: “The UK’s exit from the EU Customs Union and Single Market means we now have zero tariffs and quotas with the EU.

“The decisions which businesses make are crucial to their long-term success as the UK moves forward to being an independent trading nation.

“Businesses need help with resources which are relevant to them and staff at the Growth Hubs throughout the West Midlands will be able to point them in the right direction to access the help they need.

“The Growth Hubs have appointed sector specialists in a wide range of industries from automotive to transport and logistics, to employment law and importing and exporting.

“The fact West Midlands Growth Hubs are collaborating emphasises our joined-up approach to bringing all our resources together with one website, to help businesses navigate the changes and understand the new rules which affect them on a daily basis.

“We hope this will prove to be a valuable resource to help businesses whatever sector they are in, and all the expert advice via the Growth Hubs across the region is free and impartial.”

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “I’m sure people and businesses across the region will have been as pleased as I was when the announcement finally came just before Christmas that the Government had negotiated a trade agreement with the EU.

“Having run a business myself, I am acutely aware of how frustrating the uncertainty of waiting for the deal will have been. This frustration has clearly been intensified by the coronavirus pandemic, which has created immense challenges for businesses and their customers. This invaluable resource will act a single point of information for businesses across the West Midlands, giving crucial advice on how to adapt to the new rules.

“Every business will need to explore how they can benefit from the new arrangements but also understand what changes they’ll need to make to continue trading successfully with businesses in the EU.”