Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Firms urged to apply to £3.2bn Regional Growth Fund

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Wiltshire and Swindon businesses are being urged to apply for a share of £3.2 billion, as the fifth round of the Regional Growth Fund has opens.

The call has come from Swindon & Wiltshire LEP, a business-led partnership between the two unitary councils (Swindon & Wiltshire) and the private sector tasked with driving economic growth, creating jobs and new business opportunities, and working with central government to attract public and private investment into the area.

A pot of £300 million is available to private sector projects and programmes that leverage private sector investment and create sustainable jobs.

Worth £3.2 billion in total, the Regional Growth Fund is helping businesses across the country to create jobs and drive economic growth, with £2 billion of funding already committed through earlier rounds.

 

Back in July, Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells of Swindon and Cooper Tires of Melksham saw their bids accepted in the fourth round of bids.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "This fund has so far helped over 400 projects and over 3,000 small and medium-sized businesses across the country to boost our economy - expanding, improving, innovating and helping secure our economic recovery.

"The economic recovery is starting to bloom – we’re seeing very encouraging signs that we are turning a crucial corner on our road to recovery. Home-grown and British-based businesses are leading that charge for a stronger economy.

"The RGF is a helping hand from the government, but I pay tribute to the people who are working hard to fuel our recovery."

Businesses have until December 9 to submit their bids for the round five, with round six opening in the summer of 2014.

For more information, including application details, log on to https://www.gov.uk/understanding-the-regional-growth-fund#how-to-apply

Seven in ten firms expect significant growth in 2013 - report

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Beverley Glover of White Horse EmploymentSeven out of ten Wiltshire businesses are expecting significant growth this year compared to 50 percent in 2012, according to the findings of the 2013 White Horse Employment Business Outlook Survey. 

Following the success of the 2012 report, a recent snapshot of local businesses and their outlook has been completed by Trowbridge-based White Horse Employment, which invited over 1,500 businesses to take part. 

The survey also raised valuable funds for charity, with White Horse Employment making a donation to Comic Relief for every completed survey received.

Business confidence remains optimistic throughout 2013, with 70 percent of respondents predicting growth in 2013, and revealing that despite the economic “ups and downs”, six in ten organisations saw an increase in their turnover in 2013 from 2012, an increase of 16.5 percent of organisations that reported growth for the previous year.

With only 16.7 percent of organisations reporting a decrease in their net profit, a significant reduction from 28.4 percent the previous year, indications of growth within Wiltshire’s local businesses is encouraging.

With regards to workplace planning, almost half, (47.7 percent) of respondents predicted an increase in staffing levels in 2013, an increase from three in ten in 2012, with 13 percent saying they expected to take on apprentices.

Beverley Glover, managing director of White Horse Employment, said: “It is clear that a more positive set of findings have resulted this year, with most organisations predicting increased results both in terms of turnover and net profit.

“On the jobs front, there is an encouraging view for the local community and its inhabitants, with job prospects looking brighter through growth in 2013 and beyond.”

For a copy of the 2013 Business Outlook Survey Report, contact Emma Roberts, support services manager, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Park date for ladies who lunch

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The November meeting of the Wessex Business Women's Networking Lunch will be held at Brokerswood Country Park, near Westbury, on Thursday, November 21 from 12.15pm to 2pm.

Attendance costs for £19 for members and £22 for non-members.For more information, or to book a place, log on to www.wessexchambers.org.uk

Business ideas will be generated at workshop

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Chris Simpson of Wiltshire Business Support ServiceThe first step towards self-employment is having that big idea. Now help is at hand for people who want to take the plunge in setting up their own business, but don't yet have a business idea.

The Business Idea Generation Workshop is a free event from Wiltshire Business Support Service that promises to give delegates the foundation and confidence to begin generating their business idea. 

The workshop will be delivered by senior business manager Chris Simpson at Castledown Enterprise Centre, Ludgershall on Thursday, November 7 from 10am to 1pm.

For more information, or to book a place, log on to www.wessexchambers.org.uk/business-support/introduction.php

Rail expert will tell business leaders how to stay on track

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Nick Brailey, UK head of marketing and communications at Knorr-Bremse Rail Systems will be the guest speaker at the Wessex Chambers Breakfast on Friday, November 29.

His talk is entitled Knorr-Bremse - Local & Global. The event takes place at Cumberwell Park Golf Club, Bradford on Avon from 7.30am to 9am, and attendance costs £12 for members and £40 for non-members.

For more information, or to book a place, log on to www.wessexchambers.org.uk

Mysteries of social media unravelled at networking lunch

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Using Social Media & Why SEO Matter is the subject of a talk by John Purvis of Wombat Social Media the Devizes Chamber of Commerce networking lunch in November.

The event takes place from 12.30pm until 2pm on Thursday, November 7 at The Bear Hotel, Market Place, Devizes.

Attendance costs for £19 for members and £40 for non-members. To book a place log on to www.wessexchambers.org.uk

Green energy supplier launches corporate bond

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Juliet-DavenportChippenham-based renewable gas and electricity supplier Good Energy has launched its first retail bond, offering 7.25 percent to investors who tie in for four years.

The group aims to raise £15m from the deal, enabling it to increase its own solar and wind generation capacity.

The proceeds will contribute to the group's overall objective of developing 110MW of its own renewable energy generation capacity by 2016;  targeting 50% of its customer's future electricity supplies. 

It will pay 7.25 percent in six month instalments to investors, plus an extra 0.25 percent to customers who invest until 2017.

The bond can be bought in multiples of £500 with no maximum but the bonds are unsecured debt and non-transferable, meaning they cannot be bought or sold on the secondary market. 

Good Energy has over 100,000 customers and generators, and has topped the Which? Customer Satisfaction Survey for electricity suppliers for three out of the last four years.

It operates a 9.2MW wind farm which provides 16 percent of its electricity supply, with a further 8.2MW of wind-generated power capacity under construction. The Group is also now has a wind and solar farm development portfolio in excess of 200MW.

In 2012 the Company reported annual revenue of £28.2m with profit before tax of £1.4m.

The company is also a founding member of the Social Stock Exchange, an exchange founded for connecting Social Impact Businesses with investors looking to generate social or environmental change as well as financial returns. 

Juliet Davenport, founder and CEO of Good Energy, said: "We are delighted to launch the Good Energy Bonds, the proceeds of which will be used to strengthen our balance sheet and to help us to accelerate the build-out of our pipeline of UK renewable energy projects. This is increasingly important as we look to meet our commitments to our rapidly expanding customer base.

"We believe this product provides investors and customers with the opportunity to be a part of the development of the UK's green energy market and Good Energy's expansion in particular, while also providing a yield backed by a Group which has a strong financial track record."

Applications for the bond are due to close on 13th November 2013.

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