On 15th December Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust (CWRT) reached another milestone in our development, proving, once again, that 2016 was our year for expanding our services far beyond personal and business funding.

CWRT received a cheque for £34 600 from Surinder Summan, Director of Commercial Banking at NatWest to support the expansion our Inclusive Enterprise Programme, which we are currently delivering in Warwickshire. NatWest funding has enabled us to develop a specialist women’s support programme, which is centred in Nuneaton and Bedworth, and which will enable us to offer confidence building, employability skills, business start-up support and financial literacy training for at least 50 women in the area.

In addition, we will develop the “Women’s Loan Fund”, unique in the region. This will offer women and girls of working age loans of up to £500.00 to invest in their personal and professional development. The Fund will be run on the peer-group support system developed originally by India’s Grameen Bank, and shown to be highly successful, both in developing women’s talents and in achieving repayment rates that can only be dreamed of by conventional banks. Once loans are repaid participants may apply for further loans of up to £1000.

Mr Summan wished every success to the “exciting project that will support the development of new and young enterprises in the local community.” “We are grateful for everyone who voted for us in this round of NatWest Skills and Opportunities Fund in Midlands. We are so thrilled to be launching this initiative, which is the first stage of our partnership with The Women’s Economy in developing a comprehensive support service for girls and women in Warwickshire”, said Sally Arkley, Specialist Delivery Director for the Inclusive Enterprise Programme and Director of The Women’s Economy.

So far our Inclusive Enterprise Programme’s “The Business Dream” initiative, part-funded by The European Regional Development Fund, has provided business support to Nuneaton and Bedworth residents through personal mentoring and unique workshops targeting the individuals’ particular needs – “Transferable Skills”, “Confident Start” and “Be Your Own Boss” training is now delivered on a rolling basis. All of the programme’s current clients have expressed their appreciation of the programme’s structure and flexible delivery.

The Inclusive Enterprise continues to grow and build successful partnerships with the programmes of other local establishments. Delivery plans for the NatWest funded project are already being laid out and the programme team keep searching for every opportunity to add maximum value to all their offerings.