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10 ways to beat the recession

Medway Council has developed a series of counter-recessionary measures, including a scheme to support graduates and a programme of business start-up grants.

These measures are an illustration of the council’s commitment to taking action in support of local business start-up and growth, as well as workforce development.

They are also closely linked to priorities identified in the council’s revised and updated Economic Development Strategy.

Portfolio Holder for Strategic Development and Economic Growth, Cllr Jane Chitty, said: “Combating the recession is high on Medway Council’s agenda and we are committed to doing everything we can to help business growth and job creation at a local level.

“Medway has built a very strong business sector, ranging from engineering and manufacturing to service industries and it is imperative that we build on this very sound foundation.

“These 10 counter-recessionary measures show our commitment as a council to support local residents and businesses.”

The 10 measures are:

  • Business start-up grants programme
    These grants are available up to a maximum of £1,000, to help budding entrepreneurs to start up their own businesses. The scheme began in September 2009 and still continues with many successful applicants.
  • Partners for Growth (PfG) interest free loan scheme
    Previously, businesses wanting to apply for the scheme had to have a bank loan in place before they were eligible. However, many small and medium-sized companies in Medway have found it difficult getting extra finance from banks since the recession. In answer to this, Medway Council has relaxed the criteria of the scheme and companies no longer need to have a bank loan to apply. By July 2010, four local firms had taken up this opportunity.
  • Medway's Retail Champions’ scheme
    On 1 October 2009, the Medway Retail Conference at the St George’s Centre in Chatham Maritime marked the launch of the Retail Champions’ scheme. This aims to support Medway’s retail businesses by advising them about local workforce training and business support programmes, covering aspects such as customer service skills, effective business development and marketing.
  • Employ Medway
    Since August 2009, Employ Medway has focussed on those people who are recently unemployed or have been made redundant. Employ Medway advisors work with clients to enable them to review their options, look at addressing their training and skills needs and provide further support in seeking alternative local employment. It operates through a dedicated advice centre in Chatham High Street.
  • Managed workspace
    Medway Council has more than 100 business units at affordable rents across three sites, including the newly-opened Innovation Centre (80 per cent occupied by July 2010) which provides high quality business space, tailored for innovative, ambitious and dynamic businesses. All tenants receive personalised business advice and support at all of the council’s managed workspace sites. The council has vacant premises ready and available to businesses with aspirations for growth.
  • New Deal for Innovation

This advice service follows on from Transmanche Network and assists businesses to find new markets on the other side of the Channel.

Eco-Advantage Scheme
This training and development programme for local businesses advises them how they can respond to the challenge of climate change while also reducing costs. This scheme became operational in autumn 2009.

  • Creative Industries – business support and networking
  • Medway Apprenticeships scheme in partnership with local training providers
    The development of a new local apprenticeship scheme provides valuable work experience to young people aged from 16 to 24 years. Opportunities include apprenticeships within the council, as well as with private sector contractors to the council. This scheme started in October 2009.

 

For more information contact Economic Development and Social Regeneration by telephone: 01634 306000 or by email: mailto:business.support@medway.gov.uk

Write to: Economic Development and Social Regeneration, Medway Council, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham, Kent ME4 4TR