Merry Christmas from Think Sandwell – and some exciting updates

Christmas tree_2016Merry Christmas from the Think Sandwell Business Growth Team.

We’ve been in touch with some truly inspiring people and their businesses in 2016, and we look forward to providing more support in 2017.

Before we disappear for a few days’ break, we’d love to give you a run-down of what we’ve been working on in the past 12 months. Some of it you may have missed – and it could prove valuable to you and your future business plans . . .

Improving our business support pages

Have you explored our business services section lately? This year we’ve been busy updating and expanding on the information we provide online, giving you pages of useful links and suggestions for funding streams, new business opportunities, recruitment, growth and a host of other useful stuff.

If you’re from an SME or startup company in the Black Country, or thinking of launching a business soon, check out the new growth for small businesses page for practical ways to achieve your goals.

Welcoming new team members

We’re delighted to have expanded our Business Growth Team this year. Adding to our business expertise are Helen Peach, our Business Development Coordinator who started in January and Anita Gosain, our Business Investment and Relocation Officer who joined us in April.

Welcome, Helen and Anita!

They join:
* Paul Mountford, Economic Regeneration Manager
* Nicy Morgan, Business Development Coordinator
* Darshana Dookhy, Programme Coordinator
* Peter Martin, Business Investment and Relocation Officer
* Karen Richards, Community Benefits Coordinator
* Conrad Parke, RGF Programme Manager
* Marcus Whiting, Research Officer
* Steve Massey, Local Purchasing Coordinator
* Donna Parchment, Central Monitoring Officer
* Idnan Shafiq, Graduate
* Neree McKenzie, Apprentice.

Updating our events calendar

Did you know that every year we post details of hundreds of networking events, workshops, seminars, exhibitions and business breakfasts – most of them in the West Midlands? They’re all in our new-look events calendar. You can click on each event heading to find more information and, if applicable, get a link to the booking form.

Think Sandwell’s events calendar is a great page to bookmark if you’re looking to expand your knowledge and contacts in 2017.

Celebrating Sandwell’s Top 50 fastest growing companies

For the second year running we’ve compiled an index of the Top 50 fastest growing companies in Sandwell. We’ve done this in order to celebrate the vital contribution this diverse range of businesses makes – both to our borough and the prosperity of the wider West Midlands.

Who’s in the Top 50 of 2016? And will your company make our 2017 list?

Shouting about what’s been #madeinsandwell

In November 2016 we launched our #madeinsandwell campaign, celebrating everything great that has been manufactured, engineered, produced, grown, devised, dreamed up and delivered in the borough of Sandwell. We’re encouraging local businesses to shout more loudly about what they do, and we’re sharing details through our news page and on Twitter.

In the run-up to Christmas we’ve been running a #madeinsandwell advent calendar, adding a different Sandwell success story every day – from celebrities, food and drink and homegrown products to advanced robotics and precision engineering. Take a look at our 25 days of Sandwell, and we look forward to you sharing your #madeinsandwell stories with us.

Growing our social media platforms

Talking of Twitter, we now have over a thousand followers on the social media site. We’re using our account to share local business news, celebrate the successes of Black Country firms, tweet about forthcoming events and generally keep an eye on what’s happening on the local business scene. Our handle is @thinkSandwell – come and say hello!

You’re also welcome to join us in our Think Sandwell Business Network on LinkedIn where we aim to start up thought-provoking conversations each week, on topics that are relevant to Sandwell businesses.

Launching Sandwell Business Ambassadors

We supported the launch of  the Sandwell Business Ambassadors programme in March 2016. The Business Ambassadors are leading lights from the local business community, who are working to help  to promote Sandwell’s strengths as a business destination and shape the future vision for growing the local economy. Read more about them and find out how they could help you too.

Supporting other valuable programmes

We’re always keen to promote other schemes and organisations that will help our local businesses. This year we’ve been pleased to be part of the re-launched Black Country Transformation GOLD fund, a capital and revenue grant scheme which is led by the City of Wolverhampton Council and run in partnership with Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall Councils.

BCT GOLD is primarily aimed at firms involved in advanced manufacturing, building technologies, business services, environmental technologies, transport technologies and social enterprises. Eligible businesses can apply for grants of up to £9,000 to purchase plant and machinery, equipment or buy in consultancy to support expansion projects that will enable their organisation to grow by up to 20 per cent. Find out more.

A newly launched website we’re pleased to shout about is Discover Sandwell, created by Sandwell Council to give information about living and working in the borough, as well as exploring the attractions it offers. Visit Discover Sandwell today and see what’s happening in Sandwell over Christmas and into the new year.

Once again, have a happy Christmas and we look forward to ringing in 2017 with a new year of support, news and opportunities for your business.