Hundreds more business will benefit from £2.6million support programme
"With the new ERDF funding, matched by ourselves and our partner organisations, the programme will go from strength to strength and help many more small businesses become established and grow."
Warwickshire County Council will deliver a new £2.6million Business Support Programme over the next three years after securing another £1.3million from the European Regional Development Fund.
The ERDF investment, match-funded locally, is excellent news for Warwickshire's business community after the previous programme exceeded all its targets and received very positive feedback during its first three years, ending in December 2018.
The programme, managed by Warwickshire County Council's Economy & Skills Group, supported 411 businesses, helped 159 people to start a business and created over 250 new jobs.
Independent research found that 95% of respondents said they would recommend the project to other organisations while 75% thought the project would deliver a positive financial impact within the next 12 months.
The vast majority of businesses agreed that they received the right type (85%) and right amount (82%) of help at the right time (84%).
That help will now remain available to Warwickshire businesses after the new injection of another £1.3 million ERDF investment, match-funded locally by Warwickshire County Council and partners. The county council will provide £716,000, with the district/borough councils, University of Warwick Science Park (UWSP) and Coventry & Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust (CWRT) providing a further £600,000 between them.
This collective effort means the council can continue to deliver a comprehensive, county-wide support programme.
Support available includes a start-up service (delivered by the Chamber of Commerce), a programme for tech-based businesses (Business Ready, delivered by UWSP), a dedicated programme for the creative sector (Creative Springboard delivered by CWRT) and access-to-finance advice, as well as many other support services for businesses looking to grow or invest in Warwickshire (delivered by the county council itself).
In the next three years the new programme is expected to support a further 475 businesses and help another 150 people to start a business.
Warwickshire County Council's strategic director for communities Mark Ryder said: "For the amount of money we, as a council, have put into the programme the payback is huge, so it is great that it will continue for another three years.
"I am sure that with the new ERDF funding, matched by ourselves and our partner organisations, the programme will go from strength to strength and help many more small businesses become established and grow.
"Here at the county council we have a great business support team. They have so much knowledge and so many contacts that, no matter what you throw at them, they respond. Working hand in hand with the Growth Hub, Chamber, the universities and other partners they do brilliant work and I am delighted that this new funding will ensure that business will continue to benefit from that support and advice over the next three years.
"The county council is as passionate as ever about supporting small businesses. While we do a lot of work with the big employers, and it's great that so many big companies choose to locate in Warwickshire, those flourishing small businesses are absolutely integral to a strong economy."
- Both previous and new programmes are part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
- For more information about this and other support to grow your business, contact the Growth Hub on 0300 060 3747.
NOTE TO EDITORS:
Business to have benefited from the range of support available include:
R53 Engineering (Warwick). "The support given by Warwickshire County Council has been has been absolutely outstanding."
ITP Group (Rugby) "The grant was a great help - as a result, we are in a position to continue our expansion and will be looking to take on further staff."
ATHAG LTD (Atherstone). "The council support was absolutely vital. Our ageing kit had become a barrier to growth but that barrier is now removed and we can look ahead to the next 55 years."
Vehicle Repowering Solutions (Alcester). "Previously I was disappointed by business advice and support offered in other areas but in Warwickshire it has been everything we could have wanted."
Can-do approach creates brilliant link between Specialist School and hotel chain
"The students have been welcomed so warmly by staff at the hotel and truly feel what they are - valued members of the team."
A groundbreaking internship scheme between Exhall Grange Specialist School in Bedworth and MacDonald Hotels & Resorts (Ansty Hall) has proved a spectacular success.
Under the scheme, which sprung from contacts made through Warwickshire County Council business skills advisor Fay Winterburn, three students from Exhall Grange Specialist School and Woodlands Special School began a 12-month internship at the hotel last September.
Following the resounding success of the initiative, more pupils are expected to join the programme later this year.
The students learned a range of skills which can be used as a platform for future careers in hospitality. Their first taste of the working world also helped them increase their confidence and self-esteem. Meanwhile, the four-star hotel benefited from the input of three capable and popular employees.
"The internships have been amazing for our students," said Caroline Parkhouse, assistant headteacher at Exhall Grange Specialist School. "I first met Kelly Westwood from MacDonald Hotels & Resorts at a meeting set up by Fay, and Kelly's openness and enthusiasm for us to start the internships was inspiring.
"Straight away it was a case of 'yes we can do this.' So much so that within a couple of months it was up and running for the term starting in September. The students settled quickly and soon became valued employees in a range of roles in which they have learned all the required skills and delivered them well.
"You can see the way, during the internships, they have grown and matured as people, as well as learning a range of skills alongside studying for BTEC qualifications. The students have been welcomed so warmly by staff at the hotel and truly feel what they are - valued members of the team."
With the first round of internships having gone so well, the programme is set to be repeated and expanded. Exhall Grange Specialist School sets up and manages the programme but other students can access the programme. Supported internships are available to all students with an Education, Health and Care Plan.
Kelly Westwood, group talent manager, Macdonald Hotel & Resorts, said: "As soon as we had our initial discussion, everybody recognised it was a great idea and we got the project off the ground really quickly. The students worked in various roles, from housekeeping and food & beverage to the kitchen and reception. We’ve seen what they can do, and they’ve all been fantastic.
"The initiative was also a great benefit to the hotel, not just because of the high standard of work by the students, but because of the engagement we had from the individual managers. They really bought into their young colleagues, and many of them became good friends.
“Warwickshire County Council’s involvement was instrumental, and they really helped to support the project.”
Fay Winterburn said: "It is fantastic that the internship scheme has worked so well from everybody's point of view. From the first meeting there was a real can-do approach from Caroline and Kelly and the students and the hotel have both benefited as a result.
"The students are collecting invaluable experience towards their future careers while the hotel has three more excellent members of staff. Connections such as this can really help bridge the skills gap and I am delighted that the council's input was the catalyst for a scheme which will hopefully run and run.
"As a continuation of the county’s support to our specialist schools we will be launching a Supported Employer Group with its first event on Friday 10 May. We would love to see more employers like Macdonald Hotels & Resorts come along to explore how such internship programmes and work placements can work for them and their organisations.
"Every day we see businesses amazed by these students' work ethic, enthusiasm and passion to acquire new skills and we are keen to support employers in learning more and taking those first exploratory steps.”
Supportive Employers group launched to help businesses tap into talent
Warwickshire currently has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. That is good news but a side-effect for employers is that, with so few people unemployed, businesses are having to broaden their talent searches to tackle skills gaps.
Across the county we have a rich talent pool of young people with special educational needs and disabilities who are proving that they can add real value to the workplace.
Young adults who train for work through a Supported Internship programme are being described by business leaders as ‘Untapped Talent.’ Businesses tell us that these young people really flourish and are highly valued, hardworking, reliable, conscientious members of the workforce.
Over 80% of businesses consulted by Warwickshire County Council were unaware of Supported Internships and the skills and abilities these young people bring. With a whole host of support available, sharing good practice and demonstrating the benefits could be invaluable to the sustainability and growth of your business.
An event has been organised for Friday May 10th, 8am at Stratford Manor Hotel. This will be the first of a series around Warwickshire and is designed to bring supportive, inclusive employers in Warwickshire together to form Supportive Employers Inc..
We will provide training opportunities, develop key networking opportunities and explore how employers can benefit from this regular talent stream.
At the launch event you will hear from employers and supportive organisations who have incorporated Supported Internships into their recruitment process, the impact it has had on their organisations and the benefits they have enjoyed. Guest speakers will include National Grid. GEFCO, the Royal Shakespeare Company and MacDonald Hotels & Resorts
If you would like to attend the event, please follow this link and sign up. We hope to see you there.
Business support pivotal to growth as R53 Engineering moves into top gear
"The support given by Warwickshire County Council has been has been absolutely outstanding"
A small business specialising in high-performance engineering is growing its list of prestige clients after receiving "absolutely outstanding" support from Warwickshire County Council.
R53 Engineering, in Warwick, first received a £100,000 Coventry & Warwickshire Innovation Programme (part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund) grant in 2017 to develop a new innovative high-performance shock absorber.
That funding, accessed through county council business & investment officer Kai Cott, helped the company improve its offer to a client-list which already included the likes of McLaren and Bentley. R53 was able to take a new product to market, at the same time generating new skilled jobs within Warwickshire.
The company was then awarded a small capital grant by Warwickshire County Council to equip a new quality control room and prototype shop at their premises on the Heathcote Industrial Estate.
The council's support, however, far transcends funding. Other members of the Invest in Warwickshire team also got involved with inward investment officer Steph Williams helping R53 managing director Roger Estrada to locate the right premises and business skills advisor Fay Winterburn offering advice on recruiting.
With more than 15 years experience at the top level of motorsport, Mr Estrada already possessed all the expertise and knowledge needed to power an SME. Now he also has all the required business support.
"The support given by Warwickshire County Council has been has been absolutely outstanding," Roger said. "It has been pivotal to our projected growth.
"The Coventry & Warwickshire Innovation Programme funding, which we received thanks to Kai's support, helped us to create the product at a very exciting time for the business. That helped us to attract high-profile customers like McLaren and Bentley.
"Then Steph assisted us with getting a small capital grant towards our premises. That gave us a quality control area and an attractive place where we can see clients and they are assured we are good business and they are in safe hands.
"All this support means that we can keep growing. We employ six people which will hopefully rise to ten by end of year. Fay has been great in helping us recruit. We require very specific, high-level skills and, for an SME, competition in this region is fierce. It is hard to find experienced engineers with the level of skills we require so Fay's guidance is invaluable."
Kai Cott said: "R53 is a vibrant, forward-thinking business which is growing and thereby helping to keep Warwickshire's economy strong. I am delighted that they are making such good progress and have taken full advantage of the broad range of business support offered by the team at Warwickshire County Council."
* The advice for the company was delivered as part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Warwickshire County Council.
- To find out more about the range of support available to grow your business, please contact the Growth Hub on 0300 060 3747.
Towns Conference abuzz with energy and ideas
"One of the most relevant and interesting events I have attended for a long time"
‘The Future High Street’ was the theme of a very successful 2019 Warwickshire Towns Conference, attended by businesses and place practitioners throughout the county.
Delegates gathered at Warwick Racecourse to discuss how Warwickshire's towns can be proactive in adapting to the changing outlook for retail and the high streets.
There is no hiding from the challenges faced by high streets but those challenges can be met - and the positive, can-do approach shown by delegates was reflected by post-conference feedback which included "one of the most relevant and interesting events I have attended for a long time" and "one of the best conferences I’ve attended in recent years.”
Chaired by Ojay MacDonald, Chief Executive of the Association of Town and City Management, the conference highlighted what can be done to help high streets to continue to thrive. Ideas discussed are now being put into practice, as they were following the previous two Towns Conferences in 2017 and 2018.
At those, a number of initiatives and themes were introduced, including the digital high street, place-making and civic crowdfunding, as well as town centre partnerships and the enabling of greater collaboration between town centre businesses to create stronger networks.
The 2019 Conference was split into four Key Strands.
First was ‘Accessibility’ and how our high streets need to recognise the business benefits of ensuring places are open to all. Mike Adams OBE from ‘We Are Purple’ revealed that The Purple Pound is worth £249 billion/year and growing by 14% per annum, yet 75% of disabled people have left a store, building or website due to poor access and/or customer service. Half the UK population has a connection to a person with accessibility needs so by neglecting this area means missing out on an economic opportunity.
The second topic discussed was Culture, on which delegates heard from Martin Sutherland, Chief Executive of Coventry City of Culture 2021 Trust, and Lewis Smith, Chair of Kenilworth Arts Festival. They explained how using culture, festivals and novel business venues can heighten a town's experiential offer.
Jeremy Rucker from City Dressing, sponsor of this year’s conference, provided an interactive presentation on how we should be utilising spaces within our places, including the transient spaces. For example, the clever use of umbrellas in a different environment can add joy to a place.
In session three, Spacehive, the civic crowdfunding platform, gave an update on projects and how the Warwickshire Placemaking Fund has progressed. Some amazing projects have been funded and more are in the pipeline.
Communities can play a big part in shaping the future of our high streets and £152k of local money has been levered from £52k of the placemaking fund. Delegates heard from Sian Smith, who represents the 'Studley on the Map' project. Sian explained the highs and lows of crowdfunding and how it created new community links on which Studley is now capitalising.
Diane Whelre from SpringBoard explained how footfall rates, online sales and conversion rates are all changing on our high streets nationally - but it is far from all doom and gloom.
Tim Lewis rounded the session off with a presentation on Place Branding and broke some of the myths about the subject. Ownership and authenticity, through sharing a place’s values and people’s beliefs, is what really matters and makes up a place’s brand.
The final panel of the day gave the floor to local businesses and place makers, with JoCo Gift Shop owner Jo Williams and Ropewalk Shopping Centre Manager Tony Wilkes, from Nuneaton, sitting on a panel with Sarah Bassett from Alcester Chamber of Trade and Save The High Street. The discussion centred on the importance of the Brand of each place and also of a partnership approach to each. The only way our places can thrive is through close collaboration between public and private sectors.
To find out more about the work of the Warwickshire Towns Network, please visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/towncentres and on social media with our handle @WarksTN.
Atherstone firm with proud history looks to exciting future
"Our ageing kit had become a barrier to growth. That barrier is now removed and we can look ahead to the next 55 years."
A longstanding family firm in North Warwickshire is targeting further growth after receiving "vital" business support from Warwickshire County Council.
Athag Ltd was set up by Ray Sharpe in Atherstone 55 years ago as a metalworking company dealing largely in agricultural products.
But it was when Ray decided to specialise in in-vehicle dog cages and guards that the business really took off. Now run by Ray's son Nick and fellow director Sean Davies, it is still going strong, employing 30 at its base in the Carlyon Road Industrial Estate.
Athag trades heavily in Europe with many customers in Sweden and Norway as well as in Germany, France and Netherlands. In the UK their customers include many of the major car-makers - JLR, Mitsubishi, Bentley, Hyundai, Kia and Vauxhall - as well as the Dogs Trust and Guide Dogs for the Blind.
But last year, some machinery integral to their very specialist manufacturing work was starting to show its age. Without replacement kit, Athag would be hard-pressed to continue its expansion - and that is where the business support, including a £35,000 small capital grant, from Warwickshire County Council came in.
An initial 12-hour business assist from WCC business support advisor Jagdish Soor pinpointed exactly what the firm needed to do in order to continue to grow. Jagdish pointed them in the right directions and the grant was soon secured, meaning that productivity could increase, customers need not be turned away and further growth could follow. Four new staff have been employed this year.
"The council support was absolutely vital," said Sean. "Our factory is very busy and two of our tube-manipulators were simply wearing out. The grant enabled us to replace them which meant that we could bring the process completely in-house. That is brilliant because it means that we are more efficient and not reliant on anyone from outside.
"Every year in engineering the specifications get tighter and tighter and that it essential that we meet them so our ageing kit had become a barrier to growth. That barrier is now removed and we can look ahead to the next 55 years."
Jag Soor commented: "Athag operate within the highly competitive automotive engineering sector where the OEM’s are constantly seeking cost-reductions. To remain profitable, they are implementing more efficient, automated manufacturing techniques and, through the support of the WCC grant scheme, have now installed a new state-of-the-art CNC pipe-bending machine. This has enabled them to be more productive and will allow them to successfully continue through the next growth phase."
* The advice for the company was delivered as part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Warwickshire County Council.
- To find out more about the range of support available to grow your business, please contact the Growth Hub on 0300 060 3747.
Council initiative to stem "brain drain"
"We will work with businesses to increase their recruitment from the pool of around 50,000 potential employees on their doorstep at university in Coventry and Warwick."
Warwickshire County Council has launched an initiative designed to stem the "brain drain" of graduates from the county.
In light of research revealing that only one third of University of Warwick graduates stay in the West Midlands to work, the council is helping to build bridges between universities and employers to ensure graduates are fully aware of local work opportunities.
It is matter of high importance that the region tries to retain more of its graduates. It is forecast that, in the next few years, demand for jobs requiring higher-level skills and qualifications will grow more in Coventry & Warwickshire than in the rest of the West Midlands region and England. The jobs forecast to grow most include engineers, scientists, production managers and quality professionals.
To address this, an initiative is now underway to develop digital resources which will enable Warwick and other local universities to showcase the benefits of living and working in the county to students who may not have considered staying here after graduating.
The county council will also assist businesses to be more proactive in attracting this talent.
Warwickshire County Council's Skills for Employment Manager Glenn Robinson said: "Warwickshire is clearly a great place to live and work as shown by the record employment rate and the number of people who travel from elsewhere to be here. But students coming through college and university often look first for career opportunities in other areas without realising there might be very good opportunities nearby. We want to make them aware of those.
"We will also work with businesses to increase their recruitment from the pool of around 50,000 potential employees on their doorstep at university in Coventry and Warwick."
Warwickshire is a victim of its own success in a way with its employment rate at a record high. That means that graduates sometimes have to look elsewhere, but businesses in the county do share the recruitment issues of those nationally, so more can be done to match local graduates with local vacancies.
At the Council’s recent Skills Conference, Professor Pat Tissington, Academic Director Employability and Skills at the University of Warwick, said:
"At present, 40 per cent of our graduates recruited on to 'graduate schemes' go to London. Only a third of our graduates staying in the West Midlands region but these graduates have a great deal to offer businesses in our region. They are creative, energetic, ambitious, questioning and digitally adroit - major assets to any employer.
"Along with Warwickshire County Council, we are encouraging businesses to develop partnership relationships with universities. Such a partnership can work in many forms, including work experience, placements, internships, summer projects and many more."
In recent years, many businesses have switched the focus of recruitment from graduates to school and college-leavers aged 17 and 18 with the aim of developing these employees to higher levels internally using degree or higher apprenticeships.
In the May edition of WMB we will explore this issue further by examining how businesses can recruit from the talent pool of young people aged 18+ who are completing A Levels and vocational qualifications at Warwickshire schools and Further Education colleges this summer.
First North Warwickshire Business Expo is a great success
“This area is a hidden gem but we need it to be less hidden."
The Coventry & Warwickshire Growth Hub hosted the first North Warwickshire Business Support Expo on 2nd April, to raise the profile of the services, information and advice it provides to help businesses throughout the area to grow.
Around 40 business owners and representatives of business support programmes attended the event at Atherstone Memorial Hall in Long Street.
Steve Maxey, acting chief executive of North Warwickshire Borough Council, said the area was home to a good mix of well-known names such as Aldi and HORIBA MIRA as well as a range of SMEs.
“North Warwickshire’s economy is doing very well,” he said. “We are one of the driving forces in the region in terms of economic development and closing the productivity gap. We have the advantage of being a large borough and we have a fantastic location. Our economy is growing and over 20,000 people from across the West Midlands come into our area for work each day.
“This area is a hidden gem but we need it to be less hidden. Productivity is high and we are increasing the number of high-value jobs that are attracting investment to the area.
“The CWLEP Growth Hub is perfectly positioned to help businesses to grow or move to North Warwickshire and I would encourage business owners to get in touch with them to see how they can help.
Bill Blincoe, of the CWLEP Growth Hub, who introduced the event, said the Growth Hub was set up to help entrepreneurs as well as large companies in all sectors.
“We are very keen to raise the profile of the business services that we provide to companies in North Warwickshire,” he said. “We are a one-stop shop to provide access to everything, ranging from access to finance and property to grants and mentors. Each business we work with is given a key Growth Hub contact who will work with them to assess their business and identify the right support available – whether they are wanting to expand, buy new machinery or relocate.
“This was the first Expo we have held in North Warwickshire with the support of North Warwickshire Borough Council, Warwickshire County Council and the European Regional Development Fund."
The event was attended by support providers and advisers from Warwickshire County Council, the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Coventry City Council, the Coventry & Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust, Coventry University, the University of Warwick and North Warwickshire Borough Council who explained the business support services they provide.
The Coventry & Warwickshire Growth Hub is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, and supported by the local authorities of Coventry & Warwickshire. The Growth Hub provide a one-stop shop to advise and signpost businesses to the full range of business support that is available in the area. Contact them on: T: 0300 060 3747 / E: firstname.lastname@example.org / W: www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk
Business Advice for community groups and Social Enterprises
Free, professional support for communities to start and sustainably grow all types of not-for-profit organisation is available from Coventry and Warwickshire CDA.
A leading provider of Social Enterprise business support, Coventry and Warwickshire CDA's Business Outreach staff have been setting up and supporting community organisations throughout the region for over 25 years.
All their support, which is provided free of charge, is fully funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Warwickshire County Council.
Among organisations to have benefited from that support is Family Intervention Counselling Service CIC.
Family Intervention Counselling Service CIC takes a whole-family approach to Domestic Abuse, working with the perpetrators, victims and children of Domestic Abuse on a one-to-one and group basis.
Donna, Bev and Sue, from Family Intervention Counselling Service CIC, first met with Coventry and Warwickshire CDA at initial meetings in 2016. CDA staff led the group through the complex process of business planning, preparing the Community Interest Statement, Articles of Association and registering a Community Interest Company for the inception of their new organisation.
Following incorporation, Coventry and Warwickshire CDA continued to work closely with the group, assisting in all areas of Business Start-up. They advised on a broad range of areas including banking, policy and procedures and governance as well as writing tenders and grant applications.
Donna and Bev are fully qualified and hugely knowledgeable in their specialist areas of Domestic Abuse Counselling. With bespoke business support from Coventry and Warwickshire CDA, they are now able to provide an outreach service throughout the area, following successful funding from Kelly Family Trust, Police, Lottery, Smart Start and Children in Need whilst also providing privately-financed sessions.
Family Intervention Counselling Service CIC can make a huge difference in confidence, self-esteem and behaviour, impact on family life, school performance/attendance by having a positive impact on mental well-being and repairing the damage caused by Domestic Abuse.
For more details about their work please visit https://www.interventionservice.co.uk/what-we-do
Coventry and Warwickshire CDA continues to support the group in all areas to ensure their long term longevity and sustainability e.g. strategy, contracts, Companies House filings and advocacy.
If you would like assistance from CDA or futher information please visit email@example.com or call 02476 633911.
Green Business Programme up and running
Businesses in the region have access to a wide range of advice about energy and resource efficiency from a three-year Coventry and Warwickshire Green Business Programme.
The programme (2019-2021) will support businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire to develop Low Carbon technologies and implement improvements to energy and resource efficiency. Under it, Coventry University Enterprises Business Solutions will provide businesses with grant funding and access to expertise from the university to support the development of Low Carbon products and services.
Grants are available to support the development and commercialisation of Low Carbon products and services. Sectors supported include Low Carbon transport, Low Carbon heat & electricity, waste processing and recycling, energy efficient/sustainable products and buildings and materials.
Revenue grants (external services and consultancy). Grants up to £10K (40% funded).
Examples of grants provided in phase one of the programme include:
* Resilience testing and accreditation costs of an energy efficient modular housing product
* Trademark and Design Rights application and filing for an innovative software application to optimise renewable energy connectivity to the grid
* Prototype design and manufacture for hydrogen fuel cell vehicle
* Process improvement to lower manufacturing costs and carbon footprint of components produced for aerospace products
* Software application development for an App to enable carbon reduction by promoting car sharing.
Capital Grants (Equipment) Grants up to £20K (40% Funded).
Examples of items funded include:
* Test equipment to support development or manufacture of new Low Carbon products
* Equipment to manufacture new Low Carbon products
* Equipment to support introduction of new Green services including recycling and waste processing.
Testing and Research Support
Through the programme, SMEs are able to access the expertise and testing capabilities of Coventry University. This includes access to research support on specific sustainability challenges and access to environmental and product-testing facilities.
Examples of support provided on the programme include:
* Thermal performance characterisation of new materials using dual environmental chambers
* Environmental testing of new low carbon products to confirm operational performance and resilience through accelerated weathering
* Thermal measurements using IR camera and thermal sensors
* Material testing of new efficient & sustainable products
* Extensive research collaboration available to solve sustainability related challenges.
For further information please contact the Green Business Programme at Coventry University Enterprises by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or telephone on 07392 096006
The Coventry & Warwickshire Green Business Programme is also holding a workshop - How to organise your workspace to save money and improve productivity - on 16th May, 9am to 2pm. At this short session, businesses can access free consultancy to help you create a workplace that reduces costs, increases productivity and results in improved energy efficiency, simply by managing space and activities in a more creative and innovative way. This will be beneficial to SMEs who have business premises including offices, manufacturing sites and factories.
More information and details can be found on the Eventbrite booking page:
Warwickshire leading the way, followed by The Orkney Islands
In difficult economic times - don't mention the B-word! - Warwickshire's economy continues to perform powerfully. Data contained in our exclusive Quarterly Labour Market Bulletin reveals that the county has the lowest unemployment rate in the UK. Warwickshire County Council economist Emily Newport reports.
"In these difficult times, Warwickshire is showing its economic strength in depth."
Warwickshire’s unemployment rate is within the top 5 lowest in the country, suggesting a growing economy within the county that continues to cope well with these tentative economic times.
With uncertainties caused by Brexit set to remain for some time to come, businesses across the UK are resigned to having to continue to deal with that difficult backdrop. But the evidence shows that Warwickshire businesses are displaying the necessary resilience to keep the county's economy strong.
According to the most recent figures, Warwickshire now has an unemployment rate of 2.2%, with only 6,400 of the population unemployed. Furthermore, it is within the lowest unemployment rates in the country.
To look deeper into the figures, in times of uncertainty, of which the UK is currently filled, the flexibility of labour means businesses are more likely to recruit workers than invest in capital. Consequently, between June 2016 and December 2018 (the latest data), there was a 15% reduction in the number of people who are considered unemployed.
In contrast, the number of people who were considered unemployed in the UK grew by 20% from January 2004 until the results of the referendum announcing the UK’s departure from the EU in June 2016.
In times when the labour market is extremely tight, it has to open up to allow other ages, who ordinarily would struggle for employment, particularly the 50-64 category, the chance to work. This is then further coupled with an increase in wages to the national average of £29,800 per year, with more people than ever benefiting from a wage.
In Warwickshire, this unemployment rate goes hand-in-hand with an over 10% increase in the employment rate for those aged 50-64. This supports the earlier mentioned statement that the tightness of the labour market is enhancing opportunities for other groups of population.
In addition, the annual wage in Warwickshire is £30,549, above that of the national average, which when re-circulated in to the local economy, results in the growth driven by businesses, which in turn continue to employ. In these difficult times, Warwickshire is showing its economic strength in depth.
Leamington's new community stadium set to be important business hub
"This could be a big draw for local business people who would like a clean, modern work place with good links and adequate parking.”
The new community stadium project for Leamington Football Club could also prove to be a hub for commerce according to a leading business membership organisation.
The proposed new development off Gallows Hill in Warwick could include an eight-lane running track, schools, a health centre, hotel, local store and car showroom alongside a 5,000-capacity stadium - and construction work could begin next year.
The scheme is the result of nine years planning by the football club, which plays at National League North level, and Warwick District Council and includes a new spine road to ease congestion in and around the site.
Club chairman Jim Scott told the mid Warwickshire Branch of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce that the development could make the dream of Football League status a reality.
“Our club effectively folded in 1988 and lay dormant for 12 years, but since 2000 we have won seven promotions and suffered just one relegation," he said. "I truly believe that we can one day achieve league status. Certainly, the conurbation of Leamington and Warwick is sufficient to support that ambition.
"People laughed when I first suggested that, but I think through planning, hard work and some inspiration – along with local co-operation – we have already shown what can be achieved and this exciting development is a major step forward in that process.
“There are still details to be decided, but we think a 5,000-capacity stadium with an artificial pitch and the potential to expand will be perfect for our ambitions.”
The new ground will also be the focus of The Brakes’ community programme which sees them run 34 teams with 450 players and hold 24 events a week with an over-arching theme of health and well-being.
Sarah Windrum, of the Emerald Group and also a CWLEP board member, chaired the meeting at the Old Shire Hall, and said the centre was likely to appeal to the huge number of small businesses and self-employed workers in and around the town.
“It is inspirational to hear how the club has not let its ambition wither even when things seemed stacked against it. Looking at how Jim and his fellow officials have now got to within touching distance of their dream of a new home, the odds are with them succeeding.
“Designing a multi-faceted community site like this from a clear slate really does open up some fantastic opportunities, and there was certainly a feeling that businesses would really make full use of the complex both in terms of formal conference space but also drop-in areas such as a community cafe.
“So much work can now be done remotely, especially in some sectors which prosper in Leamington and Warwick, that this could be a big draw for local business people who would like a clean, modern work place with good links and adequate parking.”
Corporate Games coming to Coventry in August
Coventry is all set to welcome and host the 2019 Corporate Games - and all businesses in the region are invited to take part.
Founded in 1988 the Corporate Games are the world’s largest multisport festivals for businesses with a range of sports and celebrations for everyone to enjoy regardless of age, ability or level of fitness.
The event takes place on the weekend of 1 to 4 of August when more than 4,000 people, representing a variety of firms from across Europe, will compete.
The event features 23 sports ranging from badminton and cricket to volleyball and football. To find our more and to sign up, please visit www.corporate-games.com.
Speed Conference: Mentors & Business Owners: Fri 26th April, 08:30-13:00, 280 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 4RB (£10-21.55) http://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/event/speed-conference-mentors-business-owners
FREE Business Support Session Warwick: Fri 26th April, CWLEP, The Old Clink, The Holloway, Warwick, CV34 4SJ (Free) https://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/event/free-business-support-session-warwick-4
FREE Business Support Session Bedworth: Mon 29th April, The Mayor’s Cafe, The Miners Welfare Park, Bedworth, CV12 8JT (Free) https://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/event/free-business-support-session-bedworth
Wordpress your Business: Tues 30th April, 09:30-16:00, Oxygen Graphics, 33 Albert Street, Warwickshire, CV21 2SQ (Free) https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/wordpress-your-business-30th-april-2019/
YouTube Video Workshop: Tues 30th April, 09:00-16:30, Ramada Hotel & Suites Coventry, The Butts, Coventry, CV1 3GG (Free) https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/youtube-video-workshop-tickets-56802772622
The Warwickshire Virtual Assistant Network Forum: Weds 1st May, 10:00-12:00, The Fat Pug, 6 Guys Cliffe Road, Leamington Spa, CV32 5DA (Free) https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-warwickshire-virtual-assistant-network-forum-tickets-54060273734?janus_fv=exp_eb_86972_related_events_v2%3DA
12@12 Professionals Lunch Stratford: Thurs 2nd May, 12:00-14:00, El Greco (£12.50 exc VAT @ 20%) http://www.stratford-business-forum.co.uk/catalogue_item.php?catID=6761&prodID=58686
Made for space: new manufacturing opportunities: Thurs 2nd May - Fri 3rd May, 09:00-16:30, The MTC Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre, Ansty Park, Coventry, CV7 9JU https://www.coventry-warwickshire.co.uk/event/made-space-new-manufacturing-opportunities
Pitchfest: Pitch Preparation: 2nd May, 8th May, 16th May 2019, Judging panels: 27th May, 5th June, 11th June 2019, Pitchfest Final at NEC Birmingham: 4th July 2019. For more information visit https://www2.aston.ac.uk/aston-business-school/business/centre-for-growth/pitchfest-2019
Joint Networking with Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber: Thurs 2nd May, 08:00-09:30, Warwickshire College Group, Pershore College, Avonbank, Pershore, Worcestershire, WR10 3JP (Free) https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/joint-networking-with-the-herefordshire-worcestershire-chamber/
Cheltenham BIG Breakfast: Fri 3rd May, arrivals from 7, John Lewis, Cheltenham (£12.50 exc VAT @ 20%) http://www.stratford-business-forum.co.uk/catalogue_item.php?catID=13439&prodID=87166
One to One Business Support Session in Coventry: Tues 7th May, 10:00-14:00, CWLEP Growth Hub, Coventry University Technology Park, Puma Way, Coventry, CV1 2TT (Free) http://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/event/one-one-business-support-session-coventry
Getting the most out of Google for your Business: SEO & Analytics: Thurs 9th May, 09:30 - 16:00, Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Chamber House, Innovation Village, West Midlands, CV1 2TL (Free) https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/getting-the-most-out-of-google-for-your-business-seo-analytics-9th-may-2019/
Leamington Forum Big Breakfast: Fri 10th May, 7:00-9:00, location TBC (£12.50 exc VAT @ 20%) http://www.leamington-business-forum.co.uk/news_item.php?wnID=4213
How to monetise your side hustle: Tues 14th May, 18:00-20:00, Serious Games Institute (Floor 1), 6 Coventry Innovation Village, Cheetah Road, Coventry, CV1 2TL (Free) https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/how-to-monetise-your-side-hustle-registration-59939095448
Warwickshire Property Forum - ‘CURRY’ CLUB: Weds 15th May, 12:00-14:00, Vivaanta, West Street, Warwick, CV34 6AN (£20.00 exc VAT @ 20%) http://www.stratford-business-forum.co.uk/catalogue_item.php?catID=13382&prodID=86959
Being a Paraolympian: Weds 15th May, 07:00-08:30, Southam Community Church, Coventry Street, Southam, CV47 0EP (Free) https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/being-a-paraolympian-tickets-58261230910
YouTube Video Workshop: Thurs 16th May, 09:00-16:30, Telford Innovation Campus, Shifnal Road, Priorslee, Telford, TF2 9NT (Free) https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/youtube-video-workshop-tickets-59215467056
Put your Social Media House in order: Thurs 16th May, 09:30-16:00, Althorpe Enterprise Hub, Althorpe, Street, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, CV31 2GB (Free) https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/put-your-social-media-house-in-order-16th-may-2019/
How to organise your workspace to save money and improve productivity: Thurs 16th May, 09:00-14:00, Coventry University: Engineering & Computing Building, Gulson Road, Coventry, CV1 2JH (Free) http://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/event/how-organise-your-workspace-save-money-and-improve-productivity
Property Brunch - Gloucestershire Property Forum Brunch: Thurs 16th May, 10:00-11:30, No131 The Prom, Cheltenham GL50 1NW (£16.66 exc VAT @ 20%)
MTC Open Evening: Thurs 16th May, 17:00-19:30, Manufacturing Technology Centre, Pilot Way, Ansty Park, Coventry, CV7 9JU (Free) http://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/event/mtc-open-evening-4
Midlands Business Network May Expo: Fri 17th May, 10:00-15:00, Filbert Way, Leicester, LE2 7FL https://themidlandsbusinessnetwork.co.uk/events/midlands-business-network-may-expo-2019/
Stratford Business Forum BIG breakfast: Fri 17th May, 7:00-9:00am, Ettington Park Hotel (£12.50 exc VAT at 20%) http://www.stratford-business-forum.co.uk/catalogue_item.php?catID=6760&prodID=58684
YouTube Video Workshop: Tues 21st May, 09:00-16:30, Telford Innovation Campus, Shifnal Road, Priorslee, Telford, TF2 9NT (Free) https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/youtube-video-workshop-tickets-59215845187
Customs Declaration Training: Tues 21st May, 09:00-16:30, Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce House, Unit 8&9, Innovation Village, Cheetah Road, West Midlands, CV1 2TL (Chamber Member: £280 +VAT,, Non-Chamber Member: £350 + VAT) https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/customs-declaration-training/
Email Marketing that Work: Thurs 23rd May, 09:30-16:00, Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Chamber House, Unit 8&9, Innovation Village, Cheetah Road, West Midlands, CV1 2TL ( Free) https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/email-marketing-that-works-23rd-may-2019/
FREE Business Support Session:Warwick: Fri 24th May, 10:00-14:00, CWLEP The Old Clink, The Holloway, Warwick, CV34 4SJ http://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/event/free-business-support-session-warwick-5
FREE Business Support Session: Bedworth: Mon 27th May, 10:00-14:00, The Mayor’s Cafe, The Miners Welfare Park, Bedworth, CV12 8JT http://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/event/free-business-support-session-bedworth-0
Legal Support Clinic: Thurs 30th May, 10:00-14:00, CWLEP Growth Hub, Enterprise Centre, Puma Way, Coventry, CV1 2TT (Free) http://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/event/legal-support-clinic-0
The Henley Hub: Thurs 30th May, 11:30, UBCUK Henley-in-Arden, Forward House, 17 High Street, Henley-in-Arden, B95 5AA (Free) https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-henley-hub-tickets-58080003855
35 under 35 Evening: Mon 3rd June, 17:00-19:00, Spice Lodge, GL50 1TY (£20.00 exc VAT @ 20%%) http://www.stratford-business-forum.co.uk/catalogue_item.php?catID=6761&prodID=88072
Chamber Networking:Behind the Scenes at Amazon BHX4: Tues 4th June, 13:30-15:00, Amazon UK Services Ltd BHX4, Lyons Park, Sayer Drive, Allesley, Coventry, West Midlands, CV5 9DR (Free) https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/chamber-networking-behind-the-scenes-at-amazon-bhx4/
Customs Declaration Training: Tues 4th June, 09:00-16:30, Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce House, Unit 8&9, Innovation Village, Cheetah Road, West Midlands, CV1 2TL (Chamber Member: £280 +VAT,, Non-Chamber Member: £350 + VAT) https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/customs-declaration-training-1/
One to One Business Support Session in Coventry: Tues 4th June, 10:00-14:00, CWLEP Growth Hub, Coventry University Technology Centre, Puma Way, Coventry, CV1 2TT (Free) http://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/event/one-one-business-support-session-coventry-1
The Warwickshire Virtual Assistant Network Forum & Training: Weds 5th June, 10:00, The Fat Pug, 23 Guy’s Cliffe Road, Leamington Spa, CV32 5BZ (£25) https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-warwickshire-virtual-assistant-network-forum-training-tickets-54060205530
Digital Photography / Video Workshop: Weds 5th June, 09:00-16:30, Telford Innovation Campus, Shifnal Road, Priorslee, Telford, TF2 9NT (Free) https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/digital-photographyvideo-workshop-tickets-59216183198
Wordpress your Business: Weds 5th June, 09:30-16:00, Venture House Business Centre, Avenue Farm Industrial Estate, Birmingham Road, Stratford Upon Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 0HR (Free) https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/wordpress-your-business-5th-june-2019/
One to One Business Support Session: Atherstone: Thurs 6th June, 10:00-13:00, North Warwickshire Borough Council, Council House South St, Atherstone, CV9 1DE (Free) http://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/event/one-one-business-support-sessions-atherstone-june
35 under 3 ‘Feastival’ Evening Warks: Mon 10th June, 17:00-19:00, Venture House, CV37 0HR (£20.00 exc VAT @ 20%) http://www.stratford-business-forum.co.uk/catalogue_item.php?catID=6761&prodID=88051
Business Breakfast Briefing: Weds 12th June, 08:00-10:00, University of Warwick, Sport & Wellness Hub, Leighfield Road, Coventry, West Midlands CV4 7EU (Free) https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/business-breakfast-briefing-june-2019/
Getting the Most out of Google for your Business - SEO & Analytics: Weds 12th June, 09:30-16:00, Eliot Park Innovation Centre, 4 Barling Way, Nuneaton, Warwickshire, CV10 7RH (Free) https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/getting-the-most-out-of-google-for-your-business-seo-analytics-12th-june-2019/
Warwickshire Property Forum Brunch: Weds 12th June, 10:00 - 11:30, Temperance, 33 Bath Street, Leamington Spa, CV31 3AF (£16.66 exc VAT @ 20%)
FREE Business Support Session:Warwick: Fri 21st June, 10:00-14:00, CWLEP, The Old Clink, The Halloway, Warwick, CV34 4SJ http://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/event/free-business-support-session-warwick-6
FREE Business Support Session:Bedworth: Mon 24th June, 10:00-14:00, The Mayor’s Cafe, The Miners Welfare Park, Bedworth, CV12 8JT http://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/event/free-business-support-session-bedworth-1
OTHER USEFUL EVENT PAGES TO FOLLOW
C&W Business Festival: https://www.cwbusinessfestival.com/
Tech Central: https://techcentraluk.com/events
Business Ready: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/business-ready-12629314668
Coventry University Enterprises: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/cue-business-solutions-13651209205
C&W Chamber of Commerce: https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/
C&W Growth Hub: http://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/events
CW Champions: https://www.coventry-warwickshire.co.uk/events
Midlands Business Network: http://themidlandsbusinessnetwork.co.uk/events/
Leamington Hour: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/leamington-hour-7578817945
Stratford Business Forum: http://www.stratford-business-forum.co.uk/
Leamington Business Forum: http://www.leamington-business-forum.co.uk/
The Henley Hub: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-henley-hub-tickets-51519328699
Southam Business Forum: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/southam-business-forum-8369172972
Warwickshire VA Network: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/the-warwickshire-virtual-assistant-network-16829545906