Rural businesses throughout Warwickshire are going from strength to strength with more than 30 new firms created already this year with the support of the Warwickshire Rural Growth Network (WRGN).
During the first three months of 2015, 31 rural businesses started up in the county with WRGN backing, taking the total number created with the network’s support since April 2013 to 150.
Existing businesses have also benefited. Between January and March, 228 business were engaged with, or supported by WRGN, taking the total since April 2013 to 656.
A major strand of that support comes through Micro Enterprise Grants (MEGs), a third round of which were recently awarded and which have underpinned many success stories in the last two years and continue to help small rural business become established or expand.
Already this year MEGs, totalling £641,088, have created or safeguarded more than 250 jobs in all parts of the county from Polesworth to Shipston-on-Stour and from Studley to Rugby.
Among companies to have benefited are Wolston design company Smallfry (2.5 jobs created, 9.5 safeguarded), Napton-based compressor manufacturer Lontra (3 created, 11 safeguarded) and North Cotswold Brewery in Stretton-on-Fosse (3 created, 6.5 safeguarded).
A diverse range of enterprises have profited from WRGN backing. Most are small, with over 75 per cent having three or fewer permanent staff, but the network also welcomes approaches from bigger firms with 5 per cent of those supported so far this year having ten or more permanent employees.
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, leader of Warwickshire County Council and board director at the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), said: “The continuing success of business assisted by the Warwickshire Rural Growth Network is excellent news. It is a tribute to both the businesses themselves and the support they are receiving through WRGN.
“Warwickshire’s economy continues to grow and if we can encourage small businesses through grants to expand then this will benefit the local community through new jobs and greater business productivity.”
Cllr Philip Johnson, Chair of Communities Overview & Scrutiny said: “Many of these small and rural businesses are still trading in difficult economic conditions so I am encouraged that this grant system is ensuring growth and benefiting the local community in all parts of the county.”
For more information on Warwickshire Rural Growth Network please go to www.warwickshire.gov.uk/ruralgrowthnetwork