Pilot scheme to boost business in Conwy

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Anna Openshaw, left, formerly of Conwy Rural Business Support with project partners, Janette Worsencroft, right, Heather Jones and Andrew Jones at the quayside in Conwy.

A pilot scheme is being launched later this month to reach out to 3,000 businesses in Conwy to help them be more successful.

Conwy County Borough Council have appointed a new skills coordinator to ensure that businesses in the county are guided towards the best possible advice, support and possible sources of funding.

Anna Openshaw, who has 10 years’ experience providing business support, will be the first port of call for companies, large and small, so she can point them in the right direction for help.

She is working with Business Wales, the Department of Work and Pensions, and Coleg Llandrillo Menai.

The new service is being launched at a special event at Conwy Business Centre in Llandudno Junction from 5.30pm to 8.30pm on Friday, May 22.

Ms Openshaw, who is part of the Business and Enterprise Team at Conwy Council, was previously the project manager at Conwy Rural Business Support.

She explained: “It’s a pilot scheme for 12 months and the idea is to create one Team Conwy within the Business Support sector.

“My role is to pull it all together and I’m going out meeting all the hard to reach businesses, doing all the leg work for them. Then I’ll refer to all the relevant organisations to help them.

“I suppose you could say I provide a gateway to business support in Conwy.

“I can do a diagnostic to assess what they need, what will help them and pass them on to the relevant organisation.”

“There are over 6,000 businesses in Conwy but we’re only dealing with 3,000 at the moment – so I’m going to try to find those other companies and engage with them to see if they need help with training, recruitment.

“I’m looking for any business that would benefit from support in training, recruitment, finance, tendering – anything you can think of that any business could possibly need.

“The service will available to all types of companies, micro-businesses, SMEs and larger companies.”

The initiative was welcomed by Heather Jones, the Department of Work and Pensions’ Employer and Partnership Manager for Conwy.

She said: “When we get a lead from Anna, we can help if a company needs to recruit staff or advice on recruitment. We can provide employers with a free service.

Her colleague, Jannette Worsencroft, an Employer/Advisor, added: “Equally, if anybody was to say to me that they weren’t sure about what funding was available in the area or training, I could get in contact or Anna and I can pass contacts on to her so that she can go out and perhaps flag up other services that might be available.”

Andrew Thomas, the Business Development Advisor for Group Llandrillo Menai, also felt it made “good sense”.

He said: “There’s lot of business advisors out there who are working individually but we’re now joining all the dots to provide a much more cohesive, coordinated approach.”

Any companies in Conwy wanting business advice or support should contact Anna Openshaw by emailing her at Anna.Openshaw1@conwy.gov.uk or ringing her on 01492 577840.