2nd Jul, 2022

West Midlands Mayor says small business revival will rely on support for big companies

Andy Morris 10th Jul, 2020

A RISE of small and start-up firms in Coventry and Warwickshire on the back of the Coronavirus crisis will only happen if bigger businesses are supported to grow again, according to the Mayor of the West Midlands.

Andy Street was speaking to companies across the region on the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce #PolicyHour call and outlined the West Midlands’ response to the crisis.

He said he had applied for £3.2billion of government funding through his ‘Recharge WM’ plan to help tackle the economic fall-out of the virus, after revealing the West Midlands would be one of the hardest hit regions due to the make-up of the economy.

The measures, he said, would protect 135,000 jobs and create thousands of training opportunities.

Mr Street said the crisis could lead to a rise in start-up businesses – but that their success would rely on the region’s larger firms being able to grow again after the pandemic.

He said: “It will be positive if people do decide to move towards self-employment but, either directly or indirectly, their demand comes from the region’s really big businesses. Companies such as Jaguar Land Rover are mission-critical for our region.

“The next challenge is to help smaller businesses become medium-sized businesses. It’s great that we are able to generate start-ups but if we can speed up their growth, that helps the economy to grow.

“We are the first region to get this kind of ‘bid’ into Government for what we need to respond to the Coronavirus crisis and we felt it was important for the West Midlands to make its case.”

Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, added: “In recent weeks we’ve seen a real spike in the enquiries from people who want to start a business through our business support team.

“That is something many will be thinking about at this time and we’d encourage them to come to us for support. Andy Street is absolutely right that their growth will be supported by helping and protecting the wider economy.

“As a Chamber we are very pleased to back his £3.2 billion Recharge WM plan to help our region recover economically from the pandemic.”

The wider Recharge WM plan details the need for support for the electrification of the automotive industry, including investment in a giga-factory.

It also outlines the need for ‘green growth’ including making more homes energy efficient as well as wider investment in housing, transport and skills.

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