...the latest news from SDC's Business Centre                                            View this email in your browser


Welcome to 2021, <<First Name>>

Despite the bizarre start to the year, we would like to wish you every success and happiness for the year to come. In the meantime, we'll do our best to focus on the positives and seek out the opportunities that are always present, although not always easy to spot.

If you need some help spotting those business opportunities, please get in touch with us as there are business advisors waiting to help you...
In this edition ...
  • Government support for businesses
  • NEW PopUp Business School - 15-19 Feb
  • Procurement Opportunities for SMEs
  • Small Business Charter programme
  • EU Exit support from Growth Hub
  • Want help to get ahead?
  • Online networking -  the "new normal"
  • Donut Time networking - 13 January
  • How doing good can help you & your business
  • Appeal from community shop bosses
  • Rural and green matters...
  • Other interesting stuff...
  • Message from local business - Copy Café
  • Events & Networking

Coronavirus support for business

Government information available to businesses is changing regularly.  We recommend you keep a close eye on the following websites:

The new & updated coronavirus guidance:
- New lockdown grants for business
Information on local restriction grants
Full Government list of financial support to businesses
Coronavirus Job Support Scheme extended until end of April 2021
Bounce back loan scheme extended until end of March 2021
- CBILS extended until end of March 2021

Procurement Opportunities for SMEs

There are currently dozens of live supply chain opportunities available to local SMEs on Coventry & Warwickshire’s B2B procurement portal, FinditinCW, including:
  • CRM & Technical Support Contract Opportunity
  • Carpets, fitting and decorating services, for Butts Park Arena
  • PPE Supply Opportunity, with Penso
  • UK Distributor opportunity for market leading air purifier vacuum cleaner, with PROAIR Gmbh
  • Collaboration opportunity for transport and logistics companies, with EFM Global
  • And many more, across multiple sectors and organisations, with new opportunities added daily.
Find out more here.

New Small Business Charter programme to support small businesses

The Small Business Charter is partnering with some of the top business schools in the country (including Coventry University) to launch the new Small Business Leadership Programme. This new and fully-funded programme is for small business leaders to help their businesses survive and thrive throughout the post-COVID-19 period and beyond.

Learn more about the programme and how it could help your business.
Need help with EU Exit rules?
Get in touch with the Growth Hub team and arrange a 1-2-1 with an expert Business Advisor to guide you through the actions that are relevant to your business.
Alternatively, you can complete a simple questionnaire to let them know what support your business requires and what preparations you have already undertaken.

Want help to get ahead?

From April 2021, adults without A-Levels or equivalent will be eligible to study for a free Level 3 qualification to help boost their job and business prospects. There are almost 400 courses on offer – from construction and agriculture, to digital and health and social care.

Also the Skills Bootcamps are offering flexible courses of just 12-16 weeks, giving people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer. Currently available in the West Midlands, Greater Manchester and Lancashire, the Liverpool City Region, the Leeds City Region, Heart of the Southwest, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

Find out more

Online networking - the "new normal"

A year ago, when we talked about "online networking", we were thinking of social media and platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. A year later, like it or not, a different online networking has stepped up and taken the limelight. 

The talented and entertaining Jo Ciriani from Spaghetti Agency has put together some essential tips to help you with online networking skills, as well as including additional facts on Networking for Newbies and Introverts and Zoom Fatigue.

Read full article
Next Donut Time: Wed 13 January, 10-11.30am
Connect with local small businesses at our free
Zoom networking event featuring a session from Wright Hassall LLP on An Introduction to Intellectual Property

plus breakouts for social time with other business owners.
Book your FREE place here 

How doing good can help you AND your business

Despite our frustration and fatigue over the ever changing restrictions on our lives over this last year, it is the positivity of many people’s responses to the difficult situations that have stood out. 

Take a few minutes to read this fascinating blog from Josh Pinfold at Make Good Grow on the growing need to "do good" and find out how volunteering can be of huge benefit to you and also to your business and employees.

Read Josh's blog.

Now we need you - community shop bosses appeal to customers 

Two community shops in Stratford's district provided local residents with a much needed lifeline when the pandemic hit. These volunteer-run convenience stores ensured that residents could shop more locally for their essential items but also interact with a friendly face and find out any local news.
The community shop bosses are urging people to continue to support them when things start to go back to normal so that they continue their great work.

Read full article 

Rural and green matters ...


Unlocking the contribution of rural enterprise and "levelling up"...

Electric Fleet First - "try before you buy" scheme

Positive news from a small rural village in Somerset...

New West Midlands cycle hire scheme to start with pilot in Sutton Coldfield.
Go to the UK Transition website to find out how you, your family and your business will be affected by us having now left the EU single market.

Local blinds company in Studley saved from collapse by the hard work of Stratford District Council.  

Rugby Borough to join Shakespeare's England family.

Matt Hancock opens new Digital Innovation Hub in Stratford.

The Hillers farm shop has put it's centenary celebrations on hold to continue to support the local community through the pandemic.

Find out the latest business news and information for Warwickshire at Warwickshire Means Business.

Boost your copywriting confidence

and learn how to make your words work harder

Discover the easy way to elevate your copy – with ongoing support to suit your specific needs. Banish bland business writing, so you can start creating more impact with your marketing in 2021.

Explore the benefits of flexible Copy Café membership, available from just £4 per month:


Let us know about any forthcoming events you would like us to include in future updates.

December events

Online course - DIT: Customs declaration training - Chamber of Commerce - 7 Jan
Online workshop - Warehousing and digital skills - Skills Ladder - 11 Jan
Tech start up webinar - How to make money online - CUE - 12 Jan
Online start up workshop - Finance and accountancy - Chamber of Commerce - 12 Jan
Start up workshop - What is a brand and how to create one - Chamber of Commerce - 13 Jan
Tech start up webinar - Coming up with a profitable business idea - CUE - 14 Jan
Online start up workshop - Business vision and strategy - Chamber of Commerce - 14 Jan
Online workshop - Social media training course - Skills Ladder - 19 Jan
Start up workshop - Thinking of starting a business - Chamber of Commerce - 19 Jan
Online course - DIT: Customers framework - Chamber of Commerce - 20 Jan
Online course - DIT: Free trade agreements - Chamber of Commerce - 20 Jan
Start up workshop - What you need to consider for your website - Chamber of Commerce - 20 Jan
Tech start up webinar - Ways to save money on your marketing - CUE - 21 Jan
Start up workshop - Winning and keeping customers - Chamber of Commerce - 26 Jan
Tech start up webinar - LinkedIn magic - CUE - 26 Jan
Decarb Connect Digital Festival - Carbon Trust - 26 - 28 Jan
Start up workshop - LinkedIn masterclass - Chamber of Commerce - 27 Jan
Online start up workshop - Writing your business plan - Chamber of Commerce - 28 Jan
Tech start up webinar - SEO for the novice - CUE - 28 Jan
VentureFest WM - West Midlands Combined Authority - 28 Jan

Local Networking

Whether you are a seasoned networker or are new to the world of networking, there are still plenty of opportunites to connect with other businesses as many of the friendly local networking groups are running online events. Take a look at our list of local networking groups for further details.  If you are running online networking events, please tell us about it and we can add update your listing.
Please share this newsletter with anyone you know who runs their
own business or is thinking of setting up a new business.

Information and Support for Businesses during Coronavirus from SDC
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Hotdesks, Serviced Offices and Meeting Space
Free Business Advice & Support

About Venture House...

Although our hotdesking and meeting facilities remain closed due to Covid-19, our first-floor serviced offices still remain open and Covid-secure. After quite a long spell of being fully occupied, some serviced officespace has just become available.  Please contact us for more details.

The VH Team continue to work remotely supporting local businesses in the form of business advice and signposting, start-up support, plus online workshops and networking (Donut Time). So if you are considering starting a business, want help to grow your business or are experiencing challenges within your business, please get in touch.

For more info call 07583 100488 or

Venture House is owned and managed by Stratford-on-Avon District Council and
forms part of the Council's business strategy. 

Our mailing address is:
Venture House Business Centre,
Avenue Farm Industrial Estate, Birmingham Road,
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire  CV37 0HR

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