Make the most of free online support for your business

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October 2020

Visitor economy updates

A three-tiered system of local COVID alert levels in England has been introduced which will impact businesses, particularly those in the hospitality, tourism, and leisure sectors. The levels are set at medium, high, and very high. Here are more details and guidance on each alert level.

See the guidance for COVID levels medium, high, and very high. For the latest tourism related news and information from Visit Britain, including information about the Job Support Scheme and cash grants for businesses legally required to close please click here

Cllr. Richard Morris.

Deputy Leader and portfolio holder for economic growth and tourism.

Here 2 Help free technology consultancy 

Here 2 Help

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Worcestershire County Council have set up the Here 2 Help programme where expert advisers will offer flexible support in key areas to Worcestershire businesses to enable them to move forward and grow in the post pandemic economy. 

Click here to learn more about Adapt Here 2 Help business support.

The cyber security team Cybx at borwell are providing the technology consultancy services for the Here 2 Help Programme.

Delivered through Zoom Worcestershire businesses can access free web events. These will be interactive presentations for up to 25 businesses, booking is essential. 

Cyber Security and your Business 11 November 2020, 9.30 to 2.30

Topics include:

  •   what is security?
  •   how do you protect your business physically and digitally?
  •   OWASP - web application security.
  •   network security.
  •   typical network setups/configuration.
  •   staff awareness - phishing, social engineering.
  •   business management; logging and auditing.

Please book here.

One-hour advice calls

Delivered through Zoom these will be one hour calls that you can book to ask a question you may have regarding your business’ technology. You can also take away advice for your business from a one-hour call including an IT Health Check or an Ask the Expert one to one session. 

Please book here for a one hour advice call.

Bespoke technology for business consultancy

Bespoke, in-depth, one to one support directly linked to the strategic agenda of the business. Eligible Worcestershire businesses may receive up to 6 days consultancy support in technology, at present this will be delivered remotely via Zoom.

Please apply here. To find out more about the above programs call 01684 377980.

Meet the team behind the Proof of Concept Programme

Run by Worcestershire County Council, the Proof of Concept Programme (POC) provides grants to allow small businesses to investigate, advance, commercialise and protect early stage innovative business ideas. So, how does it all work?

Whether you’re looking to bring an innovative new product to the business to business (B2B) market or your business, POC is designed to take your company to the next level, with an experienced team on hand to offer support, expertise and guidance throughout the whole journey.

For businesses looking to develop new products, the POC fund will provide grants of up to 40% of the total cost of a project (up to £30,000). With an aim to drive investment within the county, POC has to date helped around 170 B2B businesses within Worcestershire. 

Following an initial eligibility call with Worcestershire Business Central, companies are referred to Jane Holmes, a highly skilled Business Manager at Central Technology Belt, who specialises in supporting businesses and managing the appraisal process to give firms the best chance of making a successful application.  Having spoken to around 200 different companies in the last year alone, Jane’s role is integral to the process, as she explains:

“I work alongside businesses to help them understand the requirements of the grant fund. Some people have never applied for a grant before which can be daunting, but I help them break it down and cut through the jargon to tell their story as effectively as possible. I love working with companies who are doing new things and helping make them a reality.  It’s my role to support companies to take their plans from where they are now, to a new product or service in the B2B market.”

“Sometimes people get the wrong impression and feel that they need to develop something ground-breaking, or something on a huge international scale. It doesn’t need to be ground-breaking; it just needs to be new to them. Sometimes incremental changes to a product can have a huge impact.”

Once companies have made a successful application, they’ll be put into contact with Simon (EU Project Manager) and Anna (Project Support Officer) at WINN (Worcestershire Innovation) to begin the process of transforming their ideas into reality.

Day to day, Simon maintains regular communication with a variety of businesses spanning an array of sectors, as well as setting up grant offer meetings and managing grant claim processes, whilst Anna ensures procedures and timings are all adhered to, with decisions made quickly and processes running as smoothly as possible. This level of efficiency is crucial to the overall timeline as a lot of these projects are worth a lot of money.

Over the past few years, POC has supported a long list of innovative ideas, including everything from software systems that speed up the scanning process for illegal substances in airports, to stainless steel tanks used to supply water in refugee camps and even orthotic horseshoes.

For any businesses thinking about applying, Simon’s advice is to go for it,

“A lot of businesses don’t know we’re available, so I’d advise anybody who is interested to find out more and get in touch with Worcestershire Business Central to see if they’re eligible. If they are, Jane can ease any anxieties they may have about the application process, and we’ll ensure support is available every step of the way. Sometimes in business you have to be selfish and go for it – you never know if you don’t try.”

To find out more about the Proof of Concept Programme and eligibility, click here.

Worcestershire POC

WINN Innovation Launch Pad

Are you a future-thinking Worcestershire business passionate about innovating and creating? Do you understand how innovation can drive growth, productivity, and your competitive advantage? Why not learn more from cutting-edge innovators and subject specialists about how these ideas can work in your business? The WINN Innovation Launch Pad is your mission, should you choose to accept it.

Innovative Launch Pad

Programme itinerary

  • Hear the latest thinking from top innovators
  • Receive 1:1 exploratory business coaching
  • Share the online space with like-minded entrepreneurs
  • Explore and develop their mind set, ideas and goals in online breakaway spaces
  • Select the specialist bespoke support required in phase 2
  • Receive an exciting Mission Pack delivered directly to your door packed with items you will need for your mission

The second phase of the launch pad is 6 hours of bespoke specialist professional support delivered at your premises or online by specialist advisors. Worlds away from unhelpful generic advice, this support will be tailored to your business.

Accelerate at warp-speed toward long-held goals or new ideas! The advisors you work with can be selected from a team of professionals with diverse specialisms, ensuring you can access the expertise you really need- when you really need it.

Click here for more information and here to book your mission day.

Mission datesEuropean Union

First images of the commercial HERU

We are pleased to have supported the development of the HERU, helping to bring it to the commercial and domestic market by hosting field trials at the Council’s offices at Pershore. The commercial HERU has taken a massive leap from concept stage to being close to technical design release. During this process, there have been improvements to the mechanical design of the unit. The assembly of parts (part-funded by the Worcestershire County Council Carbon reduction program) has now begun after delays caused by COVID-19.


Everything online

The Chamber of Commerce Herefordshire and Worcestershire, and Worcestershire Business Central are just two of many business support organisations that are providing online advice to support current business needs and future recovery plans. They both have a series of webinars available in place of events, training courses and face to face meetings to inform you on the latest government updates, business support, HR and legal advice, mental wellbeing and much more.

Here are links to book some of the latest Chamber webinars:

Food and Drink Forum

Planning Finance

Lunchtime networking

You can view all past webinars on their YouTube Channel. To find out about their virtual training days for the recovering business head straight to the training calendar for upcoming courses.

WBC offer free business support webinars to help your business during the COVID-19 pandemic they are listed here - upcoming events.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do

The information available to businesses is changing regularly. We will continue to provide information as soon as we receive it. If you know of any businesses that would benefit from receiving these updates, please let them know they can sign up to our e-newsletter.