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Welcome to the latest edition of the SVBS newsletter.

This week, we're focusing on our Green Skills contracts, currently open for bids on the South East Business Portal. Further details can be found below.

We're also highlighting the new Help to Grow: Management Essential course, the Oxfordshire Electric Vehicle Infrastructure survey, Enterprise Nation's new Funding Hub, the Beautiful South Tourism Awards and Oxfordshire County Council's Local Nature Recovery Strategy progress event.

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.

- South and Vale's Economic Development team
Under South and Vale's UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) E39: Green Skills intervention, we have two contracts that are currently open for bids on the South East Business Portal.

  1. Green Skills courses - £74,999

    We are looking for an organisation to provide residents and businesses operating within South and Vale with the opportunity to gain a green skills qualification, or complete a relevant green skills course. The training provider will be expected to recruit at least 40 people per district onto a relevant course in their programme during the period of the contract.

    Apply for the Green Skills courses here.

  1. Green Skills courses: Inclusive Recruitment programme - £70,000

    The winning organisation will provide an inclusive recruitment programme to support those furthest from employment in South and Vale to attend a green skills course, leading to a qualification or completion of a course. This programme should aim to address the green skills gap and support the Oxfordshire Inclusive Economy Partnership priority of Inclusive Recruitment ‘by looking at how organisations can create better pathways into work whilst understanding the barriers people face to accessing employment’.

    Apply for the Green Skills courses: Inclusive Recruitment programme here.

These contracts are open for bids until 5pm on Monday 20 May.

Please note that all projects must be completed by 31 March 2025.
New online training course for small businesses

The Department for Business and Trade has launched the Help to Grow: Management Essentials course, a free, online course that explains the essential business concepts required for growth, with practical tips and resources for small business leaders.  

The Essentials course is the latest addition to the ‘Help to Grow' toolkit, supporting UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The course is suited for leaders of newer or smaller SMEs, or those who are looking to explore the principles of business growth and management. Business leaders can access the course through the Help to Grow website.

Small businesses can access the course via the Government's website.
Have your say in the Oxfordshire Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Survey

Oxfordshire County Council is exploring the feasibility of expanding electric vehicle (EV) charging at the Park & Ride sites it operates across the county.

The aim of this survey is to understand the current and future demand for electric vehicles and EV charging, and the barriers companies are facing, to help inform investment decisions and what support for companies is needed to increase uptake.

The council is seeking information from businesses that currently, or are planning to, own or operate two or more company vans or cars, i.e. vehicles that have a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) of 3.5 tonnes or less.

The survey should only take a few minutes to fill out, but the findings will be vital for developing effective strategies to promote electric vehicle uptake across the county.

Have your say in the survey here.
New Funding Hub to help small businesses access funding

Enterprise Nation has launched a new Funding Hub, offering personalised finance options for start-ups, small businesses, sole traders and other business professionals.

By completing a quick and easy diagnostic tool, you'll receive a series of recommendations tailored to your business, including:
  • Useful resources and advice
  • The opportunity to connect with financial experts for tips on starting or growing your business
  • Free e-learning modules on how to access and manage your finances
  • Exclusive discounts and offers to support you on your entrepreneurial journey
As part of the Funding Hub, you may be eligible to apply for funding through Enterprise Nation's partner, Capitalise, who can help connect you to finance from a wide range of providers.

Check out the new Funding Hub via the Enterprise Nation website.
Apply for the Beautiful South Tourism Awards

The Beautiful South Tourism Awards are now open for applications, and we're encouraging businesses in South and Vale to get involved.

The awards categories are as follows:
  • Accommodation
  • Food and drink
  • Wedding and business venues
  • Unsung heroes
  • Dog-friendly
  • New business
  • Accessibility
  • Sustainability
  • Events
  • Experiences
  • Visitor information
  • Attractions
  • Future of Hospitality
  • International Tourism
If you would like the awards team to help with your entry, they will be running a series of online workshops.

The deadline for entries is Sunday 23 June. Apply via the Tourism South East website.
Oxfordshire’s Local Nature Recovery Strategy - Progress Summary

Oxfordshire County Council is developing a Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS) for Oxfordshire. A coordinated strategy for nature's recovery can help wildlife to flourish, improve the quality of our air and water, and mitigate the impacts of climate change. 

The council is hosting a free, online webinar for people to hear about the LNRS progress so far.

Wednesday 8 May   |   6pm - 8pm

By attending this workshop you will be able to engage with and understand:

  • A summary of the data received so far and next steps
  • A description of the council's approach to mapping and the software tools that will support this process. Examples of dummy data will be shown to help you visualise the process.This will not indicate any final decisions for which areas of Oxfordshire will be mapped
  • A summary of how you can submit any map data about projects or important areas that you may already be working on
Register for this webinar via Eventbrite. To find out more about the local nature recovery strategy, visit the council’s website.

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