Council unveils Wigan's new Deal for Business

A refreshed approach to building a prosperous Wigan borough has been backed by local businesses.

Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 3:45 pm
Coun David Molyneux

Wigan Council has unveiled its new Deal for Business: a voluntary agreement between the authority and local businesses which signifies a shared commitment to supporting local economic growth.

Originally launched in 2015, the deal has been refreshed with the local Business Consortium co-designing the new enhanced offer.

Coun David Molyneux, leader of the council, said: “As part of the borough’s community wealth building ambitions, we began working closely with the Business Consortium to understand their needs and priorities as part of the borough’s recovery plan and how we can all work together to support our economy.

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Coun Keith Cunliffe

“The refresh was a result of that partnership work and encourages collaboration, identifies local supply chain opportunities, and the important contribution local businesses have to making our borough a great place to live and work. We’re proud to be launching something that’s been a true joint effort.”

The scheme is based on an informal agreement in which the council and local businesses each have pledges to support each other and work together to create an economy which is successful and sustainable.

Businesses who are already signed up to the deal, and helped to design it, have praised its support and values.

Caeryn Collins, from local school uniform and workwear supplier Impressions, said: “Our values are really closely aligned to those with the criteria set out in the new Deal for Business. For instance, we’re an ethical company, we support our staff and local communities, we buy and support other local businesses, and since we’ve adopted that set of values our turnover has increased significantly.

“Many businesses think that being a green business, or paying your staff a living wage or employing apprentices is something that will be a cost to them but it’s actually a huge benefit.”

A number of new features are included in the offer including a mentoring service and an online directory which will allow businesses to search for others that have the same values, opening opportunities to connect, source and collaborate with local suppliers.

The council is also inviting more local businesses to join the business consortium and has urged them to register interest via the council’s website – www.wigan.gov.uk/thedealforbusiness with the business engagement team on hand and ready to welcome new partners.

Steven Tomlinson is founder of Nemiah, a computer software company and Leigh Works, a coworking space built for start-ups. He said: “We signed up a while ago and it’s worked really well for us. For us it was about making connections, finding out what’s available in terms of help and support. We’ve referred several new businesses who all found it useful and we used a grant secured through the Deal for Business to get our workshop started. More recently we’ve been working with the council and members of the Business Consortium to define the new Deal for Business framework and it’s been great to be able to give our input.”

New gold, silver and bronze membership levels will be awarded to each business and members will receive a toolkit of graphics they can use to share good news stories, shout about their achievements and connect to each other online.

Colette owns Boutique Colette, a ladieswear shop in Wigan town centre. Colette said: “I signed up to the Deal for Business a few years ago and during the covid-19 pandemic it really helped because I had access to support. I’ve been able to set up a website, make those connections and get exposure. Wigan Council is one of the biggest employers in the area, so you’ve got that reach. The new refresh is fantastic, and it’s helped me to concentrate on areas of my business that I can improve.”

Jonathan Twist, who runs Gee Tees, a retailer and wholesaler which trades online and has five stores including those in Ashton-in-Makerfield and Pemberton, said: “We’ve been delighted to help with the refresh of the Deal for Business, which is open to all businesses both small and large. It’s around trying to share experiences and resources, and do more business together that will help us to succeed and thrive which in itself will have an impact on the local community.”

The refreshed offer is also underpinned by the council’s community wealth building work which aims to tackle economic inequality and create a fairer borough with greater opportunities for all.

Coun Keith Cunliffe, deputy leader, added: “The new deal is a brilliant example of community wealth building – supporting the local economy to retain wealth in the borough and ensure benefits for local people.

“We’re asking all businesses that engage with us to sign up to The Deal for Business and embrace our ambitions for a prosperous and competitive Wigan.”

To sign up for the Deal for Business and to register your interest in becoming part of the Business Consortium please visit www.wigan.gov.uk/thedealforbusiness

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