Growing your business

Is your Sandwell business ready to grow? Expanding your work capacity, taking on bigger contracts, hiring more staff, launching products or services, accessing new markets or moving into larger premises are all exciting moves . . . but also difficult to achieve. Think Sandwell is sympathetic to the challenges faced by growing businesses and we’re always ready to give you the right support.



Think Sandwell can:

* Flag up relevant finance opportunities, including loans and grants
* Highlight suitable property in Sandwell, the UK’s supply chain capital
* Provide recruitment support to ensure you have the right people in the right place
* Direct you to tendering opportunities in your sector.

If your business is classed as a ‘small business’ (the definition is loose but we tend to see it as employing 50 people or fewer), see also our growth for small businesses page for more ideas.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Identifying areas for growth

Aim For Gold

The Think Sandwell business growth team delivers the Aim for Gold business growth programme, which provides support to SMEs by helping them identify areas for business growth.

Receive one-to-one support and help to find funding, as well as professionally delivered masterclasses to help you develop growth plans. On joining this business support programme you will receive:

* One-to-one support from a member of the business growth team to complete a business review and action plan
* Support to equip you with the skills to produce and implement your growth plans
* Access to grant funding, if appropriate.

To find out more or register, contact us.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Tendering opportunities

Looking for new clients and contracts? Our procurement opportunities page lists several fruitful places to search for tendering opportunities in every sector. As a business-friendly council we’re particularly keen to point out to you Sandwell Council’s current opportunities, which are advertised through a portal called In-Tend.

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games
The 2022 Commonwealth Games will bring millions of pounds into our region’s economy – including in business opportunities leading up to the big event. To find out about tendering opportunities, sign up to the Commonwealth Games business portal hosted by finditinbirmingham.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Support from partner organisations   

Think Sandwell works with many public and private sector partners to ensure Sandwell businesses have access to all the support they need to grow. We’ll keep you posted on their latest updates and ventures – and please check out the websites below for details of their valuable (and usually free) services on offer:

BCGH Standard JPG

Black Country Growth Hub is a single point of contact for advice and funding support to help businesses grow. Visit the new website and see how the team could help you.

BCCC logo

Black Country Chamber of Commerce is an accredited network of businesses across Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton. The Chamber works hard all year round to connect people and act as a respected voice for businesses in our region. Find out how to join the BCCC.

BC Logo Black Country Skills Factory

Black Country Skills Factory is an employer-led education and training collaboration designed to address skills shortages in the Black Country. You can get free impartial advice on courses, training your team and taking on apprentices. Learn more.

DIT logo

Department for International Trade (formerly UK Trade & Investment) provides support and advice to growing businesses with the specific aim of increasing the number of exporters from, and investors in, the UK. The new website is at www.great.gov.uk.

Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry aims to bridge the gap between business and academia, providing an environment for SMEs to develop and demonstrate new technologies on an industrial scale. Learn more about MTC.

DriveMidlandsLogo

Drive Midlands coordinates local support services for the automotive sector. It collaborates with higher and further education institutions to nurture skills in our region. The overriding aim of Drive Midlands is to support the development of SMEs to safeguard the future of the automotive industry. Find out more at www.drivemidlands.co.uk.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Networking and learning

Forging strong links with other businesses means you can collaborate, share intelligence, exchange ideas with and learn from likeminded people – all important in the business growth process. And of course it’s vital to keep your skills and knowledge fresh, no matter how long you’ve been in business. That’s why the Think Sandwell team holds regular networking events, attends trade exhibitions and organises seminars and workshops. We want you to be able to:

  • Build strategic partnerships
  • Promote your business
  • Acquire new skills to help your business diversify and thrive
  • Access expertise.

The third Black Country Business Festival takes place from Monday 5 to Thursday 15 October (most of the events online), giving you a chance to network, learn, share ideas and garner insight across many different topics and industries. See the full line-up and read about the events we at Think Sandwell are hosting in partnership with Sandwell Council, Sandwell Business Ambassadors and others.

Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills is a training facility designed to address skills gaps in our region by delivering specialist apprenticeships and short courses in disciplines that include toolmaking, foundry, patternmaking, metalforming/forging, advanced computer numerical control, manufacturing management, leadership and project management. ECMS’s hub will be based at the University of Wolverhampton’s new Springfield Campus and we’ll bring you news on its completion as soon as we have it. In the meantime, check out the list of forthcoming training to help you upskill your workforce: http://theecms.co.uk/training-courses.

At NatWest’s Business Hub you will find a great range of local and national events, for learning from experts and meeting with peers.


Local marketing opportunities

#MadeInSandwell  is Think Sandwell’s campaign to celebrate everything great that has been manufactured, engineered, produced, grown, devised, dreamed up and delivered in the borough of Sandwell. Most Mondays (#MadeInSandwell Mondays, we call them!), we aim to publish a profile of a different Sandwell-based business, sharing its story and celebrating its successes. Learn how to get involved.


Growth through savings and efficiency

EnTRESS stands for Environmental Technologies and Resources Efficiency Support Services. Part of the University of Wolverhampton’s Faculty of Science and Engineering, it links academic research into business, driving innovation in areas such as waste management, pollution control and sustainable operations.

EnTRESS supports Black Country SMEs with adopting environmental technologies and resource efficiency processes, with the aim of boosting your business competitiveness, improving your productivity and helping you identify resulting new market opportunities.  Learn more at the University of Wolverhampton website.

For further ideas for going greener, see our energy saving for businesses page.


Other support

GetSet for Growth is a specialist service helping businesses overcome the two biggest barriers to growth – accessing finance and finding customers. GetSet for Growth has a dedicated platform for SMEs in the West Midlands.

Mentorsme‘s free site gives you access to a list of business mentoring organisations across Britain, Mentorsme has an easy-to-use search engine which allows you to refine your search according to the life stage of your business and your location.

The Creative Scale Up Programme is a two-year programme offering information and advice to creative businesses in the West Midlands, aimed at empowering them to reach their full potential. Participating businesses are allocated a dedicated business coach and mentor, are given introductions to potential investors and have access to regular workshops on topics such as marketing and branding, pricing and pitching.


Last reviewed in September 2020.

:-)