Making businesses more productive is one of the biggest issues facing the UK economy today. But what is productivity and why should businesses in Cornwall care about it?
Why is productivity important?
In basic terms productivity is a measure of the amount of output a business produces per unit of input. That can be measured in lots of different ways.
If your business makes things then it might be a measure of how many things you make in the course of a day or week. Or if you’re a service business like an architectural practice or law firm it might be how much billable time your team invoices per month.
Productive businesses get more out of what they’ve got, which in turn can help boost profits, increase wages and allows them to reinvest. On a national level this can support economic growth and increase tax revenues, so productivity is not only good for your business, it’s good for the economy as a whole.
The UK’s problem is that we have low productivity compared to other parts of the world. You often hear the comparison that it takes a German worker four days to do what a British worker would do in five.
Working smarter, not harder
But productivity isn’t just about how hard you work. It’s also about working smarter and being more efficient. That could mean investing in new technology, upgrading equipment or changing your business model, all of which have been brought into sharp focus by the coronavirus crisis as businesses adapt to a new reality.
It remains to be seen what the long term impact of coronavirus will be on productivity. In the short term the pandemic has dealt a blow to economies everywhere, but longer term could actually change for the better the way many businesses work. A number of recent business surveys report productivity increasing while staff work remotely, with one showing that 61% of desk-based workers would prefer to work from home more often after lockdown.
That’s where the BIG Productivity fund could help. We provide grants to small and medium sized businesses in Cornwall that want to become more productive. We can offer grants of between £2,500 and £150,000 and can meet up to 45% of project costs, depending on the size of your business.
We can fund most types of expenditure (except business as usual activities or salaries), providing it supports the company’s growth and improves productivity. An applicant must be able to cash flow the project before the grant can be paid.
How we can help
Examples of projects for funding could be capital investment in new premises, relocation costs, refurbishment and fitting out of premises, machinery and equipment to improve efficiency, new IT systems, or developing an e-commerce platform to access new markets. Many businesses have turned to e-commerce during the pandemic and may now be thinking about how they can enhance that offer.
Projects will be accepted from start-ups, early stage businesses and social enterprises, as well as more established businesses. So if you’ve got an idea for improving the productivity of your business in Cornwall and could use some grant support to get there, talk to the BIG Productivity team today.