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Growing your business

How do I grow my Sandwell business?

Expanding your work capacity, taking on bigger contracts, hiring more staff, launching products or services, accessing new markets or moving into larger premises are all exciting moves. Think Sandwell is always ready to give you the right support. See also our training and recruitment page.

Contact Think Sandwell for support

We can:
* Flag up relevant finance opportunities, including loans and grants
* Highlight suitable property in Sandwell, the UK’s supply chain capital
* Provide recruitment support to ensure you have the right people in the right place
* Direct you to tendering opportunities in your sector.

We also deliver the Aim for Gold business growth programme, which helps you identify areas for business growth. You can get one-to-one support and help to find funding, as well as masterclasses to help you develop growth plans. To find out more or register, contact us.

Take advantage of this marketing opportunity

#MadeInSandwell is Think Sandwell’s ongoing campaign to celebrate everything great that has been manufactured, engineered, produced, grown, devised, dreamed up and delivered in the borough of Sandwell. Most Mondays (#MadeInSandwell Mondays, we call them), we aim to publish a profile of a different Sandwell-based business, sharing its story and celebrating its successes. Learn how to get involved.

Find out how to work with Sandwell Council

As a business-friendly council we’re particularly keen to point out to you Sandwell Council’s current opportunities, which are advertised through a portal called In-Tend. We’re proud of being a transparent and approachable council to work with: we’ve even won ‘Small Business Friendly’ awards from the Federation of Small Businesses.

In order to maintain high standards, be fair to all and meet procurement rules, Sandwell Council has criteria and policies you need to put in place before it can accept a tender from your business:

* Equal opportunities and diversity policy
* Quality policy
* Health & safety policy and accreditation
* Environmental policy
* Insurance certificates: employer’s liability and public liability (minimum £5m)
* Business continuity / disaster recovery policy
* Corporate social responsibility policy
* Testimonials and references (relating to similar services / similar size contracts)
* Certification from relevant governing or professional bodies.

With construction-specific contracts the tender may state that you need to be accredited by Constructionline  and/or CHAS (the Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme). These are government-run prequalification schemes to ensure prospective suppliers are correctly set up with the right health & safety standards.

Look out for other tendering opportunities

> Our procurement opportunities page lists several fruitful places to search for tendering opportunities in every sector.
> You may also find our international trade page very useful.

Look out for funding opportunities

Innovation Funding Service
The central government website lists current government-funded innovation competitions for UK-registered businesses.

Access business support from these regional organisations 

Aston University offers business support in the form of people development, recruitment and access to business expertise. Learn more at Aston University’s Aston Business School website. The Aston Programme for Small Business Growth is also currently open for applications until Friday 17 June 2022.

Black Country Growth Hub is a single point of contact for advice and funding support to help businesses grow. Visit the website and see how the Black Country Growth Hub team could help you.

Black Country Chamber of Commerce is an accredited network of businesses across Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton. The Chamber works hard all year round to connect people and act as a respected voice for businesses in our region. Find out how to join the BCCC.

Black Country Skills Factory is an employer-led education and training collaboration designed to address skills shortages in the Black Country. You can get free impartial advice on courses, training your team and taking on apprentices. Learn more.

Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills is a training facility designed to address skills gaps in our region by delivering specialist apprenticeships and short courses in disciplines that include toolmaking, foundry, patternmaking, metalforming/forging, advanced computer numerical control, manufacturing management, leadership and project management. Check out the list of forthcoming training to help you upskill your workforce.

Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP
The LEP’s Clean Growth initiative provides grant funding to contribute to the costs of a local consultant who will work with you to evaluate your business and develop an environmental action plan. Visit the website for more information, and to apply for the scheme.

Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry aims to bridge the gap between business and academia, providing an environment for SMEs to develop and demonstrate new technologies on an industrial scale. Learn more about MTC.

> See also our page on training and recruitment
> Try our access to finance page too!

Get business support from these national organisations

Be The Business is a resources platform supported by UK government and developed by real businesses. It has lots of information focused on improving your skills as a business leader.

Department for International Trade (formerly UK Trade & Investment) provides support and advice to growing businesses with the specific aim of increasing the number of exporters from, and investors in, the UK. The website is at www.great.gov.uk.

The Internationalisation Fund awards grants of £1K to £9K to help SMEs boost their international sales. The money can be used for third party costs, such as market research, translation, interpreters, flights, consultancy, cultural advice, social media, press and publicity, due diligence and costs relating to participation in trade fairs, trade missions and market development visits. Find out more on the DIT’s website. Applications close in December 2022.

At NatWest’s Business Hub you will find a great range of local and national events, for learning from experts and meeting with peers. NawWest also runs a free six-month accelerator programme for entrepreneurs. Visit the website to apply for the next cohort.

Accredited by Small Business Charter and 90 per cent funded by government, Help to Grow: Management is a 12-week online learning programme, supporting you to build your capabilities in leadership, innovation, digital adoption, employee engagement, marketing, responsible business, and financial management.

> See also our page on training and recruitment.

Attend business growth events

Please do send us your event details for us to consider sharing here.

Get value from networking

Forging strong links with other businesses means you can collaborate, share intelligence, exchange ideas with and learn from likeminded people – all important in the business growth process. And of course it’s vital to keep your skills and knowledge fresh, no matter how long you’ve been in business.

The Black Country Business Festival takes place annually in/around October, giving you a chance to network, learn, share ideas and garner insight across many different topics and industries.

Achieve growth through savings and efficiency

EnTRESS stands for Environmental Technologies and Resources Efficiency Support Services. Part of the University of Wolverhampton’s Faculty of Science and Engineering, it links academic research into business, driving innovation in areas such as waste management, pollution control and sustainable operations.

EnTRESS supports Black Country SMEs with adopting environmental technologies and resource efficiency processes, with the aim of boosting your business competitiveness, improving your productivity and helping you identify resulting new market opportunities.  Find out more at https://www.wlv.ac.uk/business-services/funding-and-support/entress/.

Look for a mentor or peer support

Mentorsme‘s free site gives you access to a list of business mentoring organisations across Britain, Mentorsme has an easy-to-use search engine which allows you to refine your search according to the life stage of your business and your location.

The government-funded Peer Networks programme includes structured, small-group sessions, delivered by professional facilitators, as well as one-to-one mentoring, coaching and advice. The aim is to bring likeminded business owners together, in a safe environment, to identify and discuss challenges that they may be facing, and to work together to find practical solutions. To find out more and to register your interest, visit the Black Country Growth Hub website.

Get support with bid writing

Klick Business Solutions and other bid-writing companies can help you create original, compelling content that shows your business in the best light for winning new contracts. Learn how to avoid common pitfalls while finding ways to excel at PPQs (prequalification questionnaires) and ITTs (invitations to tender).

> Go to our main business services menu.

This page was last updated in February 2023.