Growth for small businesses
When your Sandwell-based small business is ready to grow, Think Sandwell can help you ensure your growth is realistic, manageable and successful. We have a vested interest in seeing your business thrive: it’s great for you and valuable for jobs, skills and the economy of our borough – and ultimately this creates a positive impact on people.
Please feel free to contact us if you need further information – or when you’re ready to talk more.
Work with Sandwell Council
If you’re thinking of growing your business within the public sector, looking at Sandwell Council’s procurement opportunities is a great place to start. We’re proud of being a transparent and approachable council to work with: we’ve even won ‘Small Business Friendly’ awards from the Federation of Small Businesses.
In order to maintain high standards, be fair to all and meet procurement rules, we do have a set of criteria and policies you need to put in place before we can accept a tender from your business:
* Equal opportunities and diversity policy
* Quality policy
* Health & safety policy and accreditation
* Environmental policy
* Insurance certificates: employer’s liability and public liability (minimum £5m)
* Business continuity / disaster recovery policy
* Corporate social responsibility policy
* Testimonials and references (relating to similar services / similar size contracts)
* Certification from relevant governing or professional bodies.
With construction-specific contracts the tender may state that you need to be accredited by Constructionline (www.constructionline.co.uk) and/or CHAS (the Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme: www.chas.co.uk. These are government-run schemes to ensure prospective suppliers are correctly set up with the right health & safety standards.
Do you need help with tenders? Think Sandwell has teamed up with Klick Business Solutions to help you create original, compelling content that shows your business in the best light for winning new contracts. Look out for workshops on our events page. Learn how to avoid common pitfalls while finding ways to excel at PPQ (prequalification questionnaires) and ITTs (invitations to tender). Visit www.klickbusinesssolutions.co.uk to find out more and tell Klick Business Solutions that Think Sandwell sent you.
Think Sandwell is always on hand to offer business support and advice. You may also wish to contact SWEDA (Skills Work and Enterprise Development Agency) here in Sandwell. SWEDA has recently launched its 2016-18 RAISE project. Funded by the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund), RAISE delivers support to entrepreneurs in the Black Country to set up and run their businesses, specifically targeting new and early stage entrepreneurs from under-represented groups including women, BME communities and disabled people. You can learn more at the SWEDA website.
Employment and skills
When you’re ready to grow your business by taking on new people and upskilling your team, Think Sandwell is the place to go. We can help with all aspects of recruitment, and advise you on available funding to support your ambitions. Visit our recruitment and training page for more information – or contact us today.
Please visit our access to finance page for information about grants and loans to help you achieve your business goals. For small businesses we recommend in particular Black Country Transformational GOLD: read more.
Aston University offers business support through a variety of programmes and workshops, including the Advanced Services Programme for SMEs. This is a five-module course designed to help manufacturing and technology-innovating SMEs grow their revenues and improve their competitiveness. Read more here.
Meanwhile, the Aston Programme for Small Business Growth helps you develop your leadership skills and build a targeted growth strategy for your own business in the company of other ambitious business leaders. This programme aims to support SMEs to grow by increasing their turnover and creating jobs within the Midlands. It is free of charge. Apply to be part of the next cohort.
Although marketing your small business is a broad topic, Think Sandwell can always point you in the direction of learning opportunities (such as local workshops and seminars) and possible funding. Our events page is a good place to start – and you may also find the government-led Business is Great initiative a useful resource: www.greatbusiness.gov.uk.
When it’s time to move into a bigger workspace to accommodate your growing Sandwell business, you can view our database of commercial property for lease or purchase here. The Think Sandwell team is also on hand to advise of suitable premises: feel free to contact us today.
Support for social enterprises
SCVO promotes opportunities for organisations to collaborate with one another, and helps public-sector partners to inform, involve and engage with the voluntary and community sectors. For more information about SCVO’s work and how it might help your social enterprise, visit www.scvo.info.
Unltd is a UK charitable organisation working to promote social entrepreneurship within local communities. Unltd offers cash awards, networking and mentorship opportunities to support new social enterprises to grow. Visit www.unltd.org.uk for information.
Innovations and technology
If, in order to take your Sandwell small business to the next level, you find it’s necessary to embrace new technology or invest in research and development (R&D), ask the Think Sandwell team for details of valuable grants, training and forthcoming events.
Sandwell Council has been praised on a national level for helping local engineers and manufacturers to adopt BIM (building information technology). See our specialist BIM page for details of a multitude of ways in which we can support your journey to being fully BIM-compliant.
Meanwhile, Sandwell College is doing innovative things to support the entrepreneurs of the future. Fab Lab West Midlands is a ‘digital fabrication laboratory’ based at its Central Sixth site in New Square, West Bromwich. There, a wide range of machines and tools (including 3D printers and precision laser cutters) are available for use by businesses, creative professionals and schools. See www.fablabwestmidlands.co.uk for details of training sessions.
If you’re thinking of growing your business in overseas markets, take a look at the information on our page dedicated to growing your business – especially regarding the government Department for International Trade (formerly UK Trade & Investment).
Page last reviewed in November 2017.