A programme dedicated to making Walsall businesses more competitive has helped more than 80 firms in its first year.
The £300,000 Winning Opportunities in Walsall (WOW) project has helped add more than £500,000 to the borough’s economy, safeguarding and creating nearly 100 jobs in the process.
Funded by Walsall Partnership through Walsall Council, the initiative offers specialist innovation support through a bespoke mix of strategic one-to-one mentoring, signposting, interactive clinics and group support.
It has already passed its target for the first year, but the good news for the town’s business community is that a further 80 places are still available for one of the few Government funded programmes still operating.
Judith Bayliss from WOW said: “Walsall has always boasted a strong tradition of ingenuity and what the first year has proven is that there is still an appetite to do things differently in the town.
“When we talk about innovation it doesn’t have to be just about launching unique products or services. Naturally that is a major benefit, but innovation can also be about the way you treat your customers, how you manage your supply chain and even how you look to take the waste out of your business.
“We’re about twenty companies ahead of schedule and so far have assisted organisations across twelve sectors, including distribution, hospitality, manufacturing, security and training.”
Each company taking part in WOW will receive a one-to-one diagnostic to work up an action plan and will then benefit from the in-depth assistance of a skilled mentor who will help them work towards meeting their objectives.
It is available to all Walsall companies regardless of size and sector and the programme has taken the support package one stage further by hosting a series of specialist seminars and interactive workshops that have attracted more than 200 delegates to date.
It has also strengthened existing relationships with Universities, the Manufacturing Advisory Service-West Midlands and Designing Demand, not to mention leveraging the expertise of private sectors partners such as InnovationXchange.