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WECA announces business support programme to aid Covid-19 recovery

The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) is launching a new business support programme for businesses and individuals working in the creative industries as part of its Regional Recovery Plan.

The programme is aimed at small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) working in the creative industries, including creative freelancers, that require support as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The sector specific business support programme is designed to build resilience and support change in response to Covid-19.

It will offer support for individuals and management teams to reformulate operating and financial models and business plans through mentoring, peer networks and training and workshops.

There will also be grants for creative projects that support recovery and resilience and a grant fund for creative freelancers will give self-employed people the opportunity to become more resilient by developing their own creative product, practice or service, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A grant fund for creative businesses will fund creative projects that support recovery and resilience, employ freelance creatives, engage local communities and advance diversity and inclusion.

Grants will range from £1k to £3k for freelancers and £5k to £10k for businesses.

Commenting, Mayor of the West of England, Tim Bowles said: “Our cultural and creative industries really are the soul of the West of England and are an important contributor to our wider economy.

“As we secure our recovery from the impact of Covid-19, this much needed support will help ensure that our creative businesses can continue to provide exciting and engaging jobs, attract new commercial opportunities and help ensure the West of England remains an exciting and vibrant place to live and work.”

The business support programme has been designed in consultation with members of the creative and cultural sector, with a focus on recovery from the pandemic and the priorities of inclusivity, diversity and community engagement.

The programme also fits with WECA’s ambitions to establish a West of England Cultural Compact, an initiative jointly funded with Arts Council England.

This will involve the creation of a new strategic cultural partnership which will lead on the development of a Cultural Strategy and new activities to help increase investment across the creative and cultural sectors in region.

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