Earlier I am attending the latest European Structural Investment Fund sub-committee meeting to discuss the latest funds available to local businesses. This includes the recently announced European Social Fund calls for funding. A total of £3.5million is available across the four schemes which includes; Integration of Young People, Access to Employment for Jobseekers, Enhancing Equal Access to Lifelong Learning through Succession Leadership and Management Planning and for Upskilling Worcestershire. These funds will provide a great amount of support to develop skills and improve employment opportunities in the County. More information on these funds are available on our website.
Next week I will be joining Worcestershire County Council in welcoming the latest Chinese business delegation from Huizhou as relations between Worcester and China continue to develop. Our growing relations with the Chinese regions of Huizhou and Hezhou are helping to raise the profile of the fantastic business, education and tourism offering we have locally. Building Worcestershire’s international profile as a business location is hugely beneficial for the local economy and I believe that we are making great progress with the numerous delegations with China and the recent cyber business delegation to Maryland in America.
I have recently been discussing how we can all help to promote Worcestershire as a fantastic location for business. A key part of this is for local companies to promote their successes and I’m therefore pleased to see that a number of local businesses have recently received high profile national awards. I would like to congratulate Gymshark for being recognised as the UK’s fastest growing business in the Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 league table, with Gtech, Lioncourt Homes and Cruise.co.uk also placing in the top 100. Congratulations also go to Bee Lighting who won the ‘Best British Small Business of the Year’ 2016 at the British Chamber of Commerce business awards, a fantastic achievement.