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Loans from specialist finance provider in Coventry and Warwickshire help businesses go green and grow

9 February 2023
The Business Magazine article image for: Loans from specialist finance provider in Coventry and Warwickshire help businesses go green and grow

Loans from a specialist finance provider in Coventry and Warwickshire are helping businesses to go green and win new work.

Local finance provider Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust (CWRT) has lent nearly £300,000 to small businesses to help them invest in environmentally-friendly products and services.

CWRT delivers the innovative Duplex Investment Fund, which is a combination of a loan and grant, on behalf of Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council, Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the Midlands Engine. 

Avon Boating, a popular tourist attraction in Stratford-upon-Avon and one of the oldest businesses locally, used the fund as part of their plan to go greener, by purchasing several electric boats to move away from petrol.

Gerard Walmsley, of Avon Boating, said: “Without the Duplex funding, the changeover would have occurred over three to five years. This would have been a bit of an operational nightmare as we would have essentially had to have run two products at the same time for our customers, and would not have benefited from the reduced emissions and running costs as soon as we have.”

The British Business Bank has also had an important role to play in the local green businesses’ growth. CWRT has been accredited by the organisation to deliver the Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS).

Leamington Spa based RHI Energies Group Limited, which designs and installed ground source heat pumps, used the scheme delivery by CWRT to avoid the problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic over the last two years almost entirely. The scheme supported the ground source heating and cooling systems specialists who faced difficulty during the pandemic and the firm has now secured its first new contract and has several others in the pipeline.

CWRT also manages the Local Communities & Enterprise Fund (LCE), funded by Warwickshire County Council, which aims to help small businesses start-up as well as existing firms to grow.

Solarvision Lighting Technologies, based in Ryton-on-Dunsmore, specialises in providing off-grid solar lighting, a positive move for the region becoming more sustainable. They received support from the LCE fund, which assisted with fulfilling new orders, whilst creating new jobs and raising their brand awareness.

Sheridan Sulskis, CEO at CWRT, said: “More and more businesses in all sectors are conscious of becoming environmentally friendly and it is fantastic that the loans provided to these three businesses have helped them to make a difference to our area’s Net Zero targets.

“Avon Boating is Stratford’s oldest business but its modernisation into electric boats shows it is constantly looking to the future while Solarvision Lighting Technologies is creating four jobs early in 2023 while providing their customers with clean, efficient and renewable energy.

“RHI Energies Group is a small company with great potential, they provide eco-economical heating and cooling solutions which is a great alternative in economically challenging times. It is wonderful to see work coming its way post Covid-19.

“But like so many other businesses, the pandemic had a drastic effect upon its trading and it is wonderful to see work coming its way again because climate change globally is having a significant impact on the construction industry.

“There is also a positive knock-on effect for these businesses because the loans have helped to secure new contracts which will boost Coventry and Warwickshire’s economy.”

Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economy & Place Cllr Martin Watson said: “I am delighted that support from the Duplex Investment Fund has enabled Avon Boating to not only expand but do so in an environmentally friendly manner. Their growth in this way is a great example of partners and businesses working together for the benefit of all, not least the many visitors to Stratford who enjoy the offer of Avon Boating.”

Nicky Godding is editor of The Business Magazine. Before her journalism career, she worked mainly in public relations moving into writing when she was invited to launch Retail Watch, a publication covering retail and real estate across Europe.

After some years of constant travelling, she tucked away her passport and concentrated on business writing, co-founding a successful regional business magazine. She has interviewed some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs who have built multi-million-pound businesses and reported on many science and technology firsts.

She reports on the region’s thriving business economy from start-ups, family businesses and multi-million-pound corporations, to the professionals that support their growth and the institutions that educate the next generation of business leaders.

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