The Business Exchange Swindon & Wiltshire Edition 49: June/July 2020 - Page 14

SWLEP SWLEP WE’RE HERE FOR YOU I’m proud that our Growth Hub Team have been at the forefront of business support in our area from the moment the pandemic hit. The Government has provided a lot of financial and other support, delivered either directly or through local government, and our role through the Growth Hub has been to ensure businesses know what they can apply for and how to do it. We already had the Growth Hub website in place, but swiftly invested in changes to it to give businesses access to the latest news, announcements and advice – being the first port of call for local business. There has been a combined effort with the SWLEP, both Swindon and Wiltshire Councils and the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy working together. When the crisis was at its peak, we had 8:30am meetings each day talking through issues and ensuring we were reaching out to as many businesses as possible. We’ve also been working closely with other business representation groups in the area, such as the FSB, and we’ve had extremely useful sharing of information. For example, the councils had lists of businesses they had reached out to saying you might qualify for this grant and to check it out. Where the council hadn’t received a response, we reached out to the business representatives to see if they recognised the names of any of the companies, where they did, they helped put us in contact with the right people. There’s been a real combined effort. So far, we’ve supported 1000 businesses and our web traffic has been up by 300 per cent compared to the same period last year. If you haven’t already, we ask that you register for free with the Growth Hub to keep up to date. Some businesses are doing really well and have reacted fast, digitalising their services. Others are really struggling such as the hospitality industry, our cafes, pubs, restaurants, tourist attractions and high street shops. As we slowly move out of strict lockdown, I urge you to buy local if you need a product or service, reach out to the many brilliant businesses we have in Swindon and Wiltshire. It’s by working together that we can rise to meet the challenges that Covid has brought us. To get the latest information go to: 8