21 February 2022

Accelerate - Supporting Business in North Somerset



Community Renewal Fund Project

This project is funded by the UK Government


Project Aims

Contributing to the levelling up agenda by investing in people, places, businesses and communities Focus is to support innovation and new ideas, investing in pilots that draw on local insights

Government’s investment priorities:

 - Investment in skills

 - Investment for local businesses

 - Investment in communities and place

 - Supporting people into employment

North Somerset local priority themes:

 - Inclusion and Equality

 - Thriving towns, villages, and coastal communities

All partners will be delivering a programme of targeted, flexible business and skills support, that’s holistic in approach and designed to target businesses and individuals where support is needed most. This multi-partnership approach draws on knowledge and expertise of four established delivery partners who understand the needs of local business and our communities.

North Somerset Enterprise Agency (NSEA) will enhance the existing Universal Business Support Programme through an outreach business advisor who will work 1-1 and mentor, advise and signpost rural businesses to existing provision and additional support identified within this bid. A second advisor will mentor and work on business skills with female entrepreneurs and a third advisor will work with 18 – 35- year olds to offer financial literacy training and develop the beginnings of community enterprise projects through eleven-week intensive workshop programmes.

Food and Drink Forum (FDF) will deliver a comprehensive, workshop programme made up of 20 thematic events to give food and drink businesses the necessary expertise and guidance to take a product from Concept to Launch and to aid business growth and innovation. In addition, a sector specific technical support programme will be provided through a voucher scheme to help 15 individual businesses tackle issues that have held back their growth or address challenges created by Brexit and COVID19.

North Somerset Council (NSC) will provide overall project coordination and deliver a Business Voucher scheme to enable businesses to access specialist paid for support that meets individual needs. Business can apply direct or through a referral from NSEA, UCW, West of England Growth Hub (GH), Food Works and other recognised support organisations after needs identified/assessed. Vouchers will fund support focused on growth, job creation, productivity, product development and business resilience. This will enable North Somerset businesses, currently disadvantaged by not being able to access creative, start up and growth grants on offer from WECA. Vouchers will also be targeted at food and drink, visitor economy, creative and rural businesses who’ve been severely impacted by Covid and Brexit.

University College Weston (UCW)/Weston College (WC) will establish a culture of business innovation and create a dedicated training space to enable businesses to access the support needed to grow. A programme of 56 skills sessions will be delivered by industry experts and trainers focused on business planning, digital support, sustainability, green agenda, mental health and well-being, business planning and masterclasses. This programme will be closely linked to existing provision, qualification-based training and more advanced professional support available through the vouchers scheme to see an increased investment in skills, employment opportunities, business growth and capability.


UCW/WC are looking to engage with 568 businesses during the 6 months; that fall into the following categories:

284 small (below 50 staff)

274 medium (51-249 staff)

10 large (250+ staff)

WC/UCW will host two launch events to local businesses followed by 56 ‘skills sessions’ which will be non-accredited workshop style training sessions (based on what employers want/need). Aiming to reach the 568 businesses via skills events that are shaped around one of the following themes:


  1.  Be COMPETITIVE (Understanding vision/purpose, Strategic Planning, Leadership, Bid Writing, Sales Skills etc etc)
  2. Be DIGITAL (Website development, social media for Business, non-AEB funded IT training etc)
  3. Be GREEN (Carbon Leadership, Carbon Literacy, practical Net Zero/COP 26 training for SMEs)
  4. Be INCLUSIVE (Inclusive recruitment, Diversity training, Understanding Autism, Mental Health, Effective Listening etc)



  1. Businesses of any size and in any sector of the economy based in North Somerset may be beneficiaries of the UK Community Renewal Fund support, subject to need and
  2. There is no minimum age that individuals must have reached to be eligible as end beneficiaries, providing activity clearly contributes to the themes of the UK Community Renewal Fund.


Location of delivery

University Campus Weston-super-Mare, The Winter Gardens, Weston-super-Mare, and possible external locations such as The Hive, Weston-super-Mare, Portishead and Clevedon.


Skills Session Duration

1-3 hours (suggested to fit in with business demands).


Dates and Delivery

1) Launch event online 3rd February

2) All Skills Sessions to run via a published timetable with weekly sessions covering all aims from Feb-June 2022

  • - Skills sessions are fully funded.
  • - Skills Sessions may be delivered online or in person.
  • - They may be repeated or evolve depending on need.
  • - With COVID restrictions, options will remain flexible and adaptive.


Booking Skills Sessions

  • - A landing page, on the WC/UCW website will be launched showing a timetable of events.
  • - Individuals/Businesses and employees in North Somerset; will be able to book on by email which will be confirmed by the project assistant.
  • - All course details, pre course coursework and follow up details will be sent through to the registered contact.
  • - Contact details of the applicant will only be shared with NSC, Foodworks and NSEA as project partners.
  • - Post Skills Session feedback forms will be required from every attendee for data and project aim result purposes.




Head of Business Growth and Employer Partnerships, Weston College/UCW

Senior Project Manager for Accelerate, Supporting Businesses in North Somerset



Business Partnerships Manager, Weston College/UCW

Project Lead for Accelerate, Supporting Businesses in North Somerset



PA to the Principalship, Weston College/UCW

Project Assistant for Accelerate, Supporting Businesses in North Somerset

Updated: 20-02-2022