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Welcome to the latest edition of the SVBS newsletter.

This week, we're focusing on our new South and Vale visitor economy survey, our upcoming ShopAppy webinar and the Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) expression of interest form.

We're also highlighting ShopAppy's weekly product uploading sessions, Sainsbury's Innovation Investments, promoting your events via Experience Oxfordshire and Tourism South East, and a webinar on supporting prison leavers into employment.

There are lots more opportunities, events and resources to get stuck into this week, but as always, if you'd like to suggest content for the SVBS newsletter, please get in touch with us.

- Team SVBS

In collaboration with Tourism South East Research, we are inviting South and Vale based businesses to participate in a survey centred around the local visitor economy.

The deadline for completing this survey is Sunday 13 August at 11:59pm.

This survey will allow us to gain a better understanding of the sector, identifying the challenges faced by businesses and uncovering exciting opportunities for the future. The findings from this research will play a pivotal role in shaping strategies, materials and assets to support and improve the tourism sector, creating better experiences for both residents and visitors.

By taking part in this survey, you can contribute to the promotion of our rural districts as thriving destinations for tourism, leisure and well-being. Together, we can ensure that our local economy remains robust, supporting the vitality of town centres and high streets, and the viability of leisure, hospitality and cultural facilities.

This extensive research project is funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The survey should only take approximately 20 minutes of your time. As a token of our gratitude, all submissions will be entered into Tourism South East's competition for a chance to win one of three £75 gift cards of your choice.

If you have any questions or need support in completing the survey, please contact or telephone 02380 625400.
We’d like to thank all those who submitted an expression of interest for our UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).

The expression of interest window is now closed, but if your business is based in a rural area, you may be interested in submitting an expression of interest for the Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF), outlined below.

UKSPF - next steps

We received over 70 expressions of interest and are currently in the process of completing our assessments. Whilst the expression of interest was not a formal funding application, we will be using the submitted information to help inform our programme. This may include making funding under interventions (outlined on our South and Vale webpages) available as grant funds, or contract opportunities. We advise you to keep an eye on the SVBS newsletter for further news as the schemes progress.

In the meantime, our team may be in touch with those who have submitted projects to provide advice, seek clarifications, or signpost to alternative funding over the coming weeks.
We've partnered with ShopAppy to provide an online marketplace for independent High Street businesses located in South and Vale. Our partnership with ShopAppy aims to consolidate local, independent businesses on a single online marketplace, allowing residents access to a platform through which they can purchase goods and services from South and Vale based businesses.

To help businesses get started and make the most of the ShopAppy platform, we're running a webinar to outline how you can increase your income by selling your products and services.

Date and time:
Thursday 27 July
11am - 12pm

This event is aimed at home businesses, micro businesses, small businesses, entrepreneurs and anyone looking to boost their income to help take their business to the next level. Businesses who are already registered on the platform and those who are yet to sign up are welcome to attend.

How can ShopAppy help your business?

  • Free presence until March 2024
  • Feature your business locally and nationally, with unlimited product listings
  • No commission on sales
  • Quick and easy product uploading functionality
  • Access to digital marketing materials to create and enhance your own campaigns, whilst benefiting from ShopAppy's local and national campaigns
  • 1-2-1 support on optimising your ShopAppy store, including online training sessions and access to industry experts
  • Exclusive discounts from ShopAppy partners, saving you money on services needed to run your businesses, such as Insurance, PR and advertising
We’ve recently secured funding through the government’s Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF). 

The fund supports the aims of the government’s Levelling Up White Paper and Future Farming Programme. It will fund capital projects for small businesses and community infrastructure that help to improve productivity and strengthen the rural economy and rural communities.

We’ll be making funding available to help achieve aims set out in our Corporate Plan, including action on the climate emergency, and improving community and economic wellbeing.

You can find more information about REPF via the links below:
We’ll be opening a grant scheme to allow organisations to apply for this funding later this year. In the meantime, we’re asking interested parties to complete an expression of interest form (EOI). 

Completed EOIs will help us to understand local demand and will inform the criterion for our final grant scheme that we expect to be available in Autumn 2023.

Please note - by submitting your ideas, you are not committing to undertake the project, and we are not committed to funding it or to offer funding in this area.

Submit your expression of interest form here.
ShopAppy's product uploading sessions

The ShopAppy team are hosting free sessions to show businesses how they can upload their products and use the platform effectively.

Every Monday   |   2pm - 3pm

During the session, businesses will learn about ShopAppy, how the platform works, how to get started with the platform and how to upload your own products.

You will be able to ask questions and learn how to get the most out of the platform.

Businesses can register to attend this free session via ShopAppy's website.

To find out how you can get involved with our ShopAppy scheme, visit our website here.
£500,000 available for disruptive tech that can help Sainsbury's decarbonise

Sainsbury’s has committed to investing £1 billion towards becoming a net zero business by 2035. While 70% of this target can be achieved using existing solutions, a 30% gap remains where new technologies and solutions need to be identified, tested and deployed.

In partnership with WAE, Sainsbury’s Innovation Investments (S2I) are looking to invest in early-stage companies who are developing new and disruptive technologies that can support Sainsbury’s net zero goals.

S2I will look to deploy at least £5 million over four years with initial investments up to £500,000, with potential to expand further.

Check out the investment criteria on the WAE website.
Promote your events through Experience Oxfordshire and Tourism South East

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils are members of the Destination Management Organisation, Experience Oxfordshire, and the official tourist website for South East England, Tourism South East.

Our local businesses are hosting an assortment of events this summer, and to help promote them, you can now submit your events to Experience Oxfordshire and Tourism South East to promote to their audience.

Supporting prison leavers into employment

Providing employment opportunities for prison leavers is a great way for your organisation to improve its diversity, inclusion and social responsibility, while resolving skills shortages and increasing staff retention.

The Oxfordshire Inclusive Economy Partnership is hosting an in-person event to outline how we can support prison leavers in finding and securing employment opportunities.

Tuesday 18 July   |   10:30am - 1:30pm
Banbury and Bicester College

This event is a fantastic opportunity to learn from employers who are experienced at recruiting, training and supporting prison leavers. There will be a chance to learn about the benefits for your organisation and the local community, hear inspiring case studies and network with likeminded employers.

Register for your free place via Eventbrite.

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