Coventry business hiring new staff and moving into new sectors – Coventry City Council
A recruitment agency is hiring new staff and moving into new sectors after receiving a loan from a scheme, helping Coventry and Warwickshire businesses to recover and grow after COVID-19 disruption.
The Michael Sharma Group suffered enormously, like many businesses, during the pandemic, when its contractors and clients were unable to work with them due to the national lockdown.
The team, based at the Mercia Business Village on the Westwood Business Park in Coventry, applied for Covid-related grants to survive and then contacted the Coventry & Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust (CWRT) to discuss the Recovery Loan Scheme.
CWRT has £1.4 million available to support businesses based in Coventry and Warwickshire thanks to receiving £1.2 million from Unity Trust Bank and £250,000 from Coventry City Council to deliver the scheme.
It is designed to support companies that can’t afford to take out additional finance for business purposes including managing cashflow, investment and growth. Businesses who have taken out a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme or the Bounce Back Loan Scheme are able to access the new scheme.
Sean Michael, co-founder and director at the Michael Sharma Group, said the initiative had led to the business employing three more people and there are vacancies for a further six.
He said: “Before the pandemic, we were on course for our most profitable year with new clients and placements but we were massively impacted by COVID-19.
“Three-quarters of our contracts went virtually overnight which meant our revenue streams were severely affected.
“We decided to pivot the business and move into new areas to help our recovery and the loan from CWRT has given us the injection of working capital that we needed.
“We are now not solely focused on accountancy and finance recruitment because we have moved into technology and digital sectors and have opened up a new branch of our business called TempWare, which specialises in providing industrial temporary workers.
“We have key clients such as Royal Mail and Eddie Stobart and having access to working capital meant we could also concentrate on developing new areas of the business.
“Sheridan Sulskis and Andrew Scarborough at CWRT have been first-class in the way they helped us through the whole process of applying for the loan – they held our hand at every stage and were really supportive which was just what we needed.
“It can be difficult to secure loans from conventional banks and building societies but straight-away, CWRT was able to help and it means business is going well and we are looking to employ another six people.
“In a way, their help has safeguarded a mini-economy because we have been able to provide work for the temporary workers on our books as well as those we employ, so CWRT has safeguarded jobs as well as helped to create new posts.”
Sheridan Sulskis, Executive Director at CWRT, added: “The Recovery Loan Scheme is helping businesses of all sizes and in all sectors in the next stage of bouncing back from the pandemic.
“It has been a really difficult two years for many businesses but many are now at the stage where they have an opportunity to not only recover but to grow.
“Access to finance can sometimes be a barrier to making that happen which is where the Recovery Loan Scheme is such a lifeline since it improves the terms on offer to businesses.”
Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change at Coventry City Council, said:
“Schemes like this are really important and as The Michael Sharma Group has shown it can be used to help protect and create jobs which is exactly what it is for.
“Access to finance is always important – but especially now as businesses look to diversify and grow. I would urge eligible businesses to get in touch.”
The Recovery Loan Scheme is managed by the British Business Bank on behalf of, and with the financial backing of the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. British Business Bank plc is a development bank wholly owned by HM Government. It is not authorised or regulated by the PRA or the FCA. Visit http://british-business-bank.co.uk/recovery-loan-scheme