Paraffin Ltd wins Queen’s Award for Enterprise

Paraffin Ltd has won The Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2021 for outstanding short term growth in the international trade category.  The awards are given to UK businesses every year to recognise outstanding achievements in four categories: innovation, international trade, sustainable development and promoting opportunity through social mobility.

Paraffin works with international companies to provide training and capability programmes, aiming to ‘supercharge people’ and helping businesses and individuals work better together to create positive change in the world.

The company has also worked with The Hive Portsmouth for the last five years to create a workshop method called Project Bridge, which brings together the local authority, the voluntary and community sector and cross-party elected members with local residents to solve some of their most important priorities.

The award was presented to Paraffin’s managing director Pam Hamilton by the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire Nigel Atkinson at a ceremony which took place at Portsmouth Guildhall.  The ceremony was also attended by the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Portsmouth.

Read more

Join the Big Climate Conversation

Be part of the discussion around how Portsmouth City Council is tackling climate change.

The Big Climate Conversation will take place at Portsmouth Guildhall on the 9th and 10th of November during COP 26, with guest speakers from the council and partner organisations. The event will showcase the work that already is underway.  Each day will feature 6 speakers, with exhibitors and opportunities for networking throughout the day.

This is a free event

9 & 10 November Portsmouth Guildhall 9am – 4pm

Book today

Latest data on Portsmouth’s economy

Here are the highlights from the latest economic snapshot that looks at business activity, jobs, sentiment and investment.

  • The Portsmouth economy is estimated to have expanded by 0.5% in August, faster than the national average (0.4%), and up on the previous month (0.3%). This reflects the first full month without Covid restrictions and an increase in ‘staycations’ boosting hospitality and tourism.
  • Business activity growth in the South East quickened in September, but local companies felt growth was being constrained by raw material and skilled labour shortages. According to business survey data, firms are seeing steep price rises for raw materials, energy, and transportation, with costs rising at second fastest pace in 25 years.
  • The number of online job postings in Portsmouth increased robustly by 13% in September after a small fall in August and are now 16% above pre-pandemic levels (Feb 2020).
  • Business investment grew in the second quarter, but it remains 12.8% lower than at the end of 2019.
  • However, there is cautious optimism from businesses despite business sentiment for September being the weakest since the start of the year, although the South East had the strongest level of sentiment according to a survey of purchasing managers.
  • Consumer confidence fell back amid growing worries over inflation, tax hikes, energy bills and the end of furlough. According to the ONS retail sales fell retail sales fell for the fifth month in a row

The primary data sources are from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and HMRC while additional data comes from several commercial sources such as IHS Markit, Emsi, GfK, CBI, BCC, HM Land Registry and the Bank of England.

COVID-19 Recovery Loans extended

COVID-19 Recovery Loans for UK SMEs have been extended to 30 June 2022. The Recovery Loan Scheme supports access to finance for UK businesses as they grow and recover from the disruption of the pandemic. The scheme is administered by the British Business Bank, with loans available through a network of accredited commercial lenders.

The following types of finance are currently available:

  • Term loans and overdrafts between £25,001 and £10 million per business.
  • Invoice finance and asset finance between £1,000 and £10 million per business.

However from 1 January 2022, the following changes will come into force:

  • The scheme will only be open to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
  • The maximum amount of finance available will be £2 million per business.
  • The guarantee coverage that the Government will provide to lenders will be reduced to 70%.

Applications can be made at any time until the scheme closes on 30 June 2022.

Find out more

Opening the door to Public Procurement

The Solent LEP Growth Hub are offering a series of FREE and valuable Bid Writing workshops for SME’s in the Solent.

Whether you have previous experience and knowledge or are completely new to bid writing, these workshops will give you insight into what to look for and how to write when applying for public contracts and much more.

These workshops will tackle the obstacles that SMEs face when supplying or contracting with government departments or agencies.  There are 3 workshops available: beginners, intermediate and advanced, with each course spreading over two consecutive mornings.

Register today

Free support for small businesses

Small Business Saturday returns on 4 December. In the run up to this annual event, Small Business Saturday are running a nationwide roadshow to support small businesses across the UK.

‘The Tour’ will for the first time deliver a hybrid format of online and in-person activity. This will include virtual workshops, webinars and mentoring on a range of small business topics, as well as on the ground visits and live-streamed interviews with local businesses.

These include:

  • Free 1-to-1 virtual small business mentoring sessions
  • Online workshops on a range of topics relevant to all small businesses

Find out more