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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
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
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
- 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.
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
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.
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