Funding has been secured to develop small businesses in the Cotswolds.

Cotswolds Tourism has revealed that funding will be received for the 'Help to Thrive' project from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).

The plan is to assist businesses in the region to create and market new experiences, with a focus on the online space.


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The project breaks down into two components.

First, businesses, irrespective of their traditional ties to tourism, will be identified to create engaging experiences through their products or services.

An example provided was collaborating with a nearby cheese shop to create a cheese-tasting experience, featuring both local cheeses and wines.

Secondly, the initiative involves training businesses to make the new experiences available to a broader audience.

Companies will receive guidance on advertising online and identifying prospective clientele.

To prepare and support businesses in these challenges, specialist training workshops are planned for later this year.

The workshops will cover how to develop a bookable tourism experience, access new markets, and become more familiar with various booking platforms.

Further support is available through a one-to-one mentoring programme.

Three authorities across the region have endorsed the project, including Cotswold District Council, West Oxfordshire District Council and Tewkesbury Borough Council.

Businesses within these regions are now eligible to see if they can participate in the programme.

Paul James, economic development lead at Cotswold District Council, said: "Tourism is a hugely important sector for us, and I’m delighted that we’re able to work with Cotswolds Tourism to help businesses serving the visitor economy to succeed by adapting as consumer behaviour changes."

Andy Barge, assistant director for communities at West Oxfordshire District Council, said: "This is a unique opportunity for visitor economy businesses or local town groups to come together to learn how to develop an immersive visitor experience and drive visitors to less well-known places around the region.

"We look forward to working closely with the Cotswolds Tourism team."

Likewise, Andy Sanders, head of community and economic development at Tewkesbury Borough Council, said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for businesses in Tewkesbury Borough as the draw of the Cotswolds helps to drive visitors to the district."