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9 Sep 2009 : Column 2060W—continued

9 Sep 2009 : Column 2061W

2. Within the West Midlands region, The West Midlands Task Force set up by the Minister for the West Midlands, has established a 'one stop shop' website at:

dedicated to signposting businesses and individuals across the region to support available, including specialist regional support.

3. The following provides details of the range of support available to businesses at a national and regional level. It should be noted that it is not possible to provide Coventry specific data in many cases, as data are not routinely available at a local level and schemes do not generally distinguish between small and medium sized firms.

National Measures to assist business under Real Help for Business-January 2009 to 21 August 2009

4. Support available includes government guaranteed lending under the Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme, the Capital for Enterprise Fund, the RDA Transition Loan Funds and a series of other financial measures instituted to help businesses with their cash flow such as the Prompt Payment Code, Top-up Trade Credit Insurance. Other key measures put in place include the Help for Business Helpline and special help to the automotive sector including scrappage and the Automotive Assistance Programme. The following provides details of the take up of this support at national level. Figures on take up are provided for the West Midlands where available.

Overview of national initiatives-cumulative figures to 21 August 2009

National initiatives

Enterprise finance guarantee scheme

Over 4,600 businesses have been offered total loans of £470 million.

West Midlands EFG: 448 businesses have been offered total loans of £43.15 million.

Capital for enterprise fund

Almost £36 million offered to 24 businesses.

RDA transition loan funds

Loans totalling over £30.3 million have been agreed.

Prompt payment code -business to business

427 signatories to the Prompt Payment Code.

75 West Midlands companies have signed up to the code.

Prompt payment code -government to business

In July, central Government departments paid 9 out of 10 invoices within 10 days; median performance across 22 departments was 92.96 per cent.

Top-up trade credit insurance

52 accepted applications to a value of £7.045 million made up of 39 suppliers in 7 sectors.

Help for business helpline

A total of 226 companies were considered urgent enough to require Government intervention by MPs and Peers who referred cases to the Help for Business helpline. 155 of the total cases were identified as SMEs; 29 from the West Midlands.

Business link health checks

Over 74,000 businesses have benefited from a health check

West Midlands: 9,706.

Temporary vehicle scrappage scheme

Almost 166,000 orders for new vehicles have been taken since the scheme was announced in the Budget. 9 per cent. of these were placed in the West Midlands.

41 manufacturers signed up.

Automotive assistance programme

BIS officials have been in direct contact with over 90 companies, which is around 2/3rds of all companies who qualify for the support package. To date, officials have worked with over 20 companies on their formal expressions of interest.

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Regional m easures to a ssist businesses over the last two years

5. Key initiatives are set out in the following table along with details of the level of support provided to businesses in the Coventry and Warwickshire area during 2007-08 and 2008-09 (Coventry data are in italics where they are available).

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Key business initiatives

Advantage West Midlands (AWM) businesses assisted

3, 267 businesses assisted.

AWM business start ups

103 businesses supported.

AWM inward investment activity

Assisted 11 new foreign owned companies to set up and in the expansion of 2 new foreign owned companies.

AWM grant for business investment (includes SFIE)

26 businesses received grants totalling £2 million.

AWM regional venture capital funds

14 businesses in Coventry received funds totalling £6.3 million.

Business link West Midlands

Within Coventry:

Market engagement/penetration (unique businesses) with 6,444 businesses.

Assisted 272 businesses.

Assisted 465 start ups.

1,508 intensively assisted incorporating diagnostic review and follow up support.

1,961 individuals given advice on business start-up in 2008-09.

Manufacturing advisory service

Within Coventry:

Market engagement/penetration with 268 businesses.

Intensively assisted 108.

UK trade and investments (funded by BIS)

58 companies, (mainly small businesses) were assisted through its Passport to Export Programme.

Additionally, outside of the Passport to Export Programme, significantly assisted a further 193 (mainly medium sized) companies to increase their exports.

Local enterprise growth initiative (LEGI) aimed at increasing levels of entrepreneurial activity and supporting SMEs. LEGI was jointly sponsored by ODPM (now DCLG), DTI (now BIS) and HM Treasury

Between April 2006 and March 2009, Coventry received just over £12 million, through the LEGI initiative, outcomes include:

support and advice to 626 businesses

403 individuals being supported in developing business propositions leading to 311 new business start ups.

Advantage transition bridge fund

The Advantage Transition Bridge Fund reopened in November 2008. To date, it has made offers of loans totalling £9.3 million to 55 businesses. Of these, 9 businesses were located in Coventry and Warwickshire, who received loan offers totalling £1,405,000.

Business link business doctor service

The business doctor service (which operated during February and March 2009) sought to address the immediate needs of businesses affected by the economic conditions. The service was targeted at providing face to face support on key issues, including strategy development, marketing, financial management etc. A small element of grant funded specialist support to help businesses access advice on financial restructuring and recovery measures was also provided. This initiative delivered specialist support to 140 businesses across the region (sub regional breakdown not available), awarding £340,000 in grant funding.

Community development finance institutions (CDFIs)

32 loans were made to Coventry based businesses, totalling £401,734.

Innovation support

6. The Coventry and Warwickshire sub-region has significant strengths in innovation being home to Coventry University and the University of Warwick, as well as clusters of high growth industries including ICT, digital media and medical technologies. The area benefits from region wide innovation activity, supported by AWM, such as Innovation Networks, Grant for Research and Development, the Index Voucher Scheme and Knowledge Transfer Partnerships. Also, going forward Business Link West Midlands is developing the Innovation Advisory Service to work with partners (including MAS) to offer a range of innovation support to business.

7. Examples of innovation support provided by AWM to businesses in the Coventry and Warwickshire area during 2007-08 and 2008-09 include:

8. Additionally, UKTI through its Passport to Export Scheme has targeted and assisted seven research and development intensive companies. More generally, working with Coventry University Enterprise, UKTI also provides a range of training and support programmes to help businesses in Coventry and across the region.

Developing the skills base

9. The following table provides an overview of support provided in the Coventry and Warwickshire area over 2007-08 and 2008-09, unless otherwise stated. Coventry specific data are provided where available.

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Regional initiatives

Train to gain

Over the last four years £4.5 million funding has been invested, with over 4,500 employees benefiting from training.

During 2008-09 an additional £7 million was invested in the area in Train to Gain delivery, enabling over 6,000 employees to benefit from training.

Coventry LEGI initiative

Between 2006-09 LEGI provided mentoring support, training and/or advice to over 1,300 individuals to enable them to overcome barriers to employment or enterprise start up.

AWM's advantage graduate scheme

Over the last two years it has:

Completed around 40 placements in the Coventry area.

Assisted around 160 students from Coventry to improve their employability skills.

10. Under the Advantage Graduate Scheme, AWM also collaborates with partners to produce a brochure detailing regional job opportunities which is available to all final year students in the West Midlands. The 2009 edition contains a list of 1,000 business in the West Midlands who are interested in employing graduates, over 100 of which are in Coventry.

11. In terms of Leadership and Management skills, AWM supports a brokerage service delivered by Business Link that targets leadership and management support at middle tier aspirational businesses. The service works with management teams to improve business performance. So far six teams have been supported in Coventry-approximately 10 per cent. of the total number.

12. AWM has also provided funding for TUC Learning Centres in the Coventry area to enable work based learning.

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent steps his Department has taken to assist small and medium-sized businesses in Leeds. [282038]

Kevin Brennan [holding answer 24 June 2009]: Through Business Link Yorkshire, small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in Leeds can access the wide range of mainstream Government business support products and services. In 2008-09 Business Link Yorkshire dealt with 14,727 requests for advice and support from SMEs in the Leeds local authority area.

The Government have delivered on their commitment to simplify support with the roll out of the Solutions for Business portfolio of services. Solutions for Business offers a comprehensive and streamlined package of 30 publicly funded support products for SMEs.

Additional support has been made available to help SMEs during these tough economic times through Real Help Now for Businesses. This includes business financial health checks and a rapid response service to help SMEs hit hardest by the recession. The rapid response service provides support to people recently made redundant or facing redundancy to help them find new jobs or consider starting a business.

The full suite of business support services is routinely delivered in Leeds, including: advice, guidance and practical financial support with business start-ups, support for entrepreneurs and innovators with information on how to develop and explore their ideas, from inspiration to planning, to research, marketing, launch, business growth and exporting. Jobcentre Plus assists local businesses with recruitment and training and the LSC provides Train to Gain and apprenticeship funding.

9 Sep 2009 : Column 2065W

Leeds secured £20.6 million from the Government's Local Enterprise Growth Initiative (LEGI) in 2006. The Leeds LEGI programme-known locally as "Sharing the Success"-aims to develop enterprise, create new jobs and boost prosperity in some of the most disadvantaged communities and runs until March 2011. "Sharing the Success" is funding a wide range of community based initiatives including a network of local enterprise centres, business start up advice and a business growth fund for existing businesses.

Leeds Chamber of Commerce and Leeds City Council have formed a partnership-Enterprise Leeds-which brings together a range of business support organisations. They include Leeds Media, China Britain Business Council, Business Link Yorkshire and the West Yorkshire Employer Coalition Through Enterprise Leeds, businesses and entrepreneurs in the city can access a wide range of services including:

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how many businesses in Tamworth constituency have (a) applied for and (b) received funding from (i) the Enterprise Finance Guarantee and (ii) the Working Capital Scheme to date. [285366]

Kevin Brennan: The Department records information on the Enterprise Finance Guarantee on a regional basis, including the West Midlands. It does not hold the information at the requested level and it could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Set out in the table is the information for West Midlands since the launch of the Enterprise Finance Guarantee on 14 January:

Number Value (£ million)

Eligible applications



Loans offered



Loans drawn



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