The Coventry and Warwickshire (CW) Green Business Programme supports the shift towards a low carbon economy, delivering a cohesive package of SME support activities that facilitate economic growth through SMEs developing and adopting energy and resource efficiency measures and renewable energy.
Activities are delivered by an established partnership of Coventry City Council (CCC), Coventry University (CU) and Coventry University Enterprises (CUE). CWLEP Growth Hub and Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce act as important cross-referrers to the programme, complementing marketing and publicity delivered through the programme itself, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
In essence, the Green Business Programme supports SMEs with fewer than 250 employees based in Coventry and Warwickshire who want to save money on energy, waste and water bills and maximise low carbon opportunities. We provide grants and free energy and resource efficiency audits to help identify where energy, water and waste savings can be made, as well as low carbon product development.
Support through the programme includes, but is not limited to: energy and resource efficiency capital and revenue grants up to £50k; low carbon innovation capital and revenue grants up to £20k; free energy and resource efficiency audits to identify where savings can be made; free membership of the Green Business Network; events, workshops and 1:1 support.
SMEs engaged in the programme experience reduced energy bills, reduced maintenance costs and reduced carbon emissions, even in areas they may not have considered before having an audit undertaken. They also have increased competitiveness, profitability and efficiency – improving cash flow and the ability to win new contracts. There will also be reduced exposure to energy price rises, the significance of which has proved increasing important over the last few months.
Since the start of the programme, we're proud to report: over £2.5m in grants have been awarded to 270 small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); there have been over 14,000 tonnes of CO2 savings; 60 new jobs have been created; over 150 SMEs have received non-financial support; 1550 organisations have joined the Green Business Network; over 700 followers on Twitter.
As a Council, we not only recognise the importance of reducing carbon emissions within our own estate, but also the importance of supporting businesses in the region to reduce carbon emissions and make the most of low carbon opportunities, the key aim of this Programme.
The CW Green Business Programme has been built upon the success of previous business support Programme's across the region, and as such recognises the importance of the customer journey. As well as providing direct energy and resource efficiency support, the Programme works with key partners (e.g. other Council Programme's, CWLEP Growth Hub, CW Chamber of Commerce) to ensure businesses achieve the best offering available to them as part of an integrated customer journey.
The last 18-months have proven that adaptability in any Programme is key. We have had to change our offering to ensure the continued support of businesses in a safe and effective way during the pandemic. This has included the introduction of remote energy audits and online webinars, that have complemented other services and now remaining as popular offerings of the Programme moving forward.
We would advise anyone to do their research first, find out the needs of the SMEs within the region, look at the success of current or previous programmes, review the summative assessment and programme evaluations to gain as much understanding of the results produced, which will identify the outcomes and outputs which were achieved and provide data on the unsuccessful elements.
As with any programme management ensuring the eligibility is clearly stated and in line with the funder's terms, conditions and guidance. Monitoring and evaluation throughout the lifetime of the programme with regular partner meetings and communications. Assessment of the risk register is fundamental to the adjustments and programme changes which may be required.
Partnership working, cross referrals, social media and a strong comms plan are the key to offering of the programmes reaching the widest field of different companies, industries and sectors. This also ensures the support offered to the SME is beyond your own programme but leads them to a full offering of various business assist, grants, knowledge transfer, events and networking.
Number of enterprises receiving support.
Number of new enterprises supported.
Number of energy and resource efficiency audits completed.
Number of enterprises supported to introduce new to the firm products.
Number of enterprises cooperating with research institutions.