Mobile coffee business on the move thanks to 'great advice'
“John worked through the whole business with me – from planning the idea through to branding – and was always a brilliant sounding board."
A former senior commercial figure at professional sports clubs in the Midlands has swapped kit launches for coffee beans after launching a new business.
Justin Tose has held senior roles at Coventry City Football Club, Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club and Leicestershire Country Cricket Club over the past 15 years but decided he wanted a change at the start of 2022.
Justin, who lives in Polesworth, in North Warwickshire, decided to launch a mobile coffee van, serving barista coffee, speciality teas and hot chocolate and approached the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce for support.
He was originally looking for funding but was offered one-to-one support with business adviser John Fitzgerald, which has proved to be instrumental in helping to get the new venture – JustinTime Coffee Co. – off the ground.
The support delivered by the Chamber, on behalf of Warwickshire County Council, forms part of the CW Business: Start, Grow and Scale programme which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Warwickshire County Council and all five District and Borough Councils.
Justin said: “I decided it was time for a change and I’d always wanted to start my own business. I have always been a lover of coffee but it was usually drinking it rather than making it!
“I called the Chamber to see if they could help and, if I am being honest, I was looking for some funding to support me in getting started but they offered business support instead and it’s the best thing that could have happened.I would have burned through any grant money really quickly but I was assigned a business adviser, John Fitzgerald, and that help has been invaluable.
“John worked through the whole business with me – from planning the idea through to branding – and was always a brilliant sounding board.
“It can be a lonely place starting a business and John was always a phone call away and gave me some great advice. Sometimes I would have a couple of options to go for when making a decision, with my preference to take the easy route, but John would challenge me to take the more difficult decision because he knew it was the right one for the future of the business.”
JustinTime Coffee Co. can now be seen regularly at Warwick Market, Lichfield Market and other one-off events across the region. Justin is also on the hunt for a more permanent pitch during the week.
He added: “The support from the Chamber meant I was coming into everything with my eyes open and that is really important when you are running a business. You want to avoid too many surprises.
“The business is based on everything being very high quality – I source by beans from Iron & Fire in Shropshire and all of my cups are fully recyclable. I am really enjoying it so far. It has been a steep learning curve but it is great to have been able to start something from scratch.”
John Fitzgerald said: “It was an absolute pleasure to work with Justin in helping to launch the business.
“My aim is to really inspire someone who is starting their own venture and to think of all of the possibilities that are open to them. I am also there to make sure that they understand what they are embarking on and the levels of hard work it is going to take to achieve their dream.
“It is great to see what a great start JustinTime Coffee Co. has made and I am sure the business will enjoy strong success in the future.”
Warwickshire County Council Portfolio Holder for Economy & Place, Cllr Martin Watson said: "It is always great to see a small business, created and driven by the passion and expertise of an individual like Justin, start up and flourish.
"I wish Justin all the very best in his exciting new venture and am delighted that the CW Business: Start, Grow and Scale programme has proved of such high value to him."
Green business grants for manufacturing, test and development equipment
Coventry University Enterprises are offering Capital Grants to SMEs in Coventry and Warwickshire to invest in manufacturing, test or development equipment that will enable process efficiencies.
Any business which is considering buying equipment to enable production efficiencies or to develop/manufacture Low Carbon products and services, is invited to apply to the scheme. CUE can fund up to 40% of the purchase (maximum £20,000 grant for a £50,000 project spend).
The process is quick and straightforward and support to help complete the application form is available.
Previously funded projects include: IT equipment to support development of new products; Robotic equipment for components used in vehicle production; CNC equipment for renewable energy components; Test equipment for electronic systems to reduce carbon emission; Manufacturing equipment to enable process efficiencies
* Revenue grants of up to £10,000 are also available to spend on consultancy for Prototype development, Web/mobile app development, Accreditations and IP Protection. Please click here and fill in your details and you will be contacted shortly.
The CUE grants are part of a package of loan and grant programmes for Warwickshire businesses including the County Council’s Small Capital Grants, Warwickshire Recovery & Investment Fund and Green Recovery Grants.
For information about the County Council’s package of loans and grants, please visit here or email email@example.com
To find out what other support is available to support your business, call CWLEP Growth Hub on 0300 060 3747.
Business Ready support "invaluable" to growing care business
“The seminars, which covered a number of topics, gave me plenty of advice and, crucially, also helped me build a local network of contacts."
A Leamington-based businessman is toasting the regional support he received after launching a successful care business as lockdown hit.
Barney Davis started his Caremark Warwick franchise at the start of 2020 after being made redundant from a 20-year career in the wine trade.
The company offers domiciliary care to people in Leamington, Warwick and Kenilworth either privately or through contracts with Warwickshire County Council and the NHS.
In November 2020, it was delivering four hours of care per week to clients in the area. Two years on, that has risen to well over 500 hours per week with 27 carers now working for the business supporting around 70 clients in mid-Warwickshire.
Barney received significant support in establishing the business from the franchisor, Caremark Limited, but also looked closer to home for help and was introduced to the Business Ready programme after contacting the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub.
Business Ready delivers support to expanding businesses managed by the business support team at the University of Warwick Science Park and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Warwickshire County Council as part of the CW Business: Start, Grow & Scale Programme.
Barney said: “I’d worked in the wine trade for 20 years which involved a lot of travel and a lot of tasting wine which I know sounds perfect! However, I was having thoughts about what else I could do – something more worthwhile plus I was keen to be in complete control of my own destiny – then I was made redundant so the decision was taken out of my hands.
“I opted to go down the franchise route and, having weighed up a few options, I really liked the Caremark offer. It ticked the boxes of doing something that would have a positive impact on people’s lives and I bought the franchise in January 2020. We all know what happened after that!
“I was sat there thinking, what on earth have I done? Caremark were and have continued to be hugely supportive but I also spoke to the Growth Hub to find out about local business support and they put me in touch with Business Ready.
“The support I received was invaluable. During the pandemic, when the full launch of the business was understandably delayed, I attended a number of online seminars as part of the Business Ready programme which helped me immensely as I was starting out as a business owner for the first time.
“These seminars, which covered a number of topics, gave me plenty of advice and, crucially, also helped me build a local network of contacts.”
Barney was then introduced to business coach, Helen Brewster, who acted as a sounding board and supported with plans for client and carer recruitment.
He added: “Helen was a huge help to me and my business. The work we did around the customer proposition was really useful especially as mine was a new business and, as I was new to care, it was especially important to get these building blocks in place from the start.”
Not only has it led to commercial success, the company was also named New Business of the Year 2021 at the Leamington Business Awards in March.
Caremark Warwick has also become a lifeline for its clients across the area – offering everything from personal care through to companionship.
Ian McFarlane-Toms, Business Ready manager at the University of Warwick Science Park, said: “Caremark Warwick is making a real difference to people’s lives in the Leamington, Warwick and Kenilworth area and that’s exactly what Barney wanted when he launched the business in 2020.
“He has navigated through the height of the pandemic to get to a point where the company is now employing 27 carers and supporting people with a range of needs.
“I am so pleased that the support of Business Ready has played such a key role in the development of Caremark Warwick and that the way we tailored our support to Barney’s new venture has worked so well for him.”
Cllr Martin Watson, portfolio holder for economy with Warwickshire County Council, said: “Caremark Warwick has not only created jobs, boosting the local economy but it has made the care workers market more resilient which helps the council in its provision of care. All credit to all involved and, from a county council perspective, we are delighted with the outcome.”
Campaign urges shoppers to look local this Christmas
"In Warwickshire, we are blessed with so many independent retailers who provide such a high level of service, quality and value, and Christmas is a crucial time for them."
A social media campaign to encourage Warwickshire’s residents to shop locally and support independent retailers this Christmas returns this year – including an endorsement from Father Christmas himself!
Warwickshire County Council has launched the Warwickshire Christmas campaign to shine a light on the brilliant businesses in the county’s towns and village and also make people think twice before doing all their Christmas shopping online.
Businesses, organisations and local authorities are getting behind the campaign across social media with the hashtag #WarwickshireChristmas.
Father Christmas is also supporting the campaign by featuring in a video showcasing some of the businesses around Warwickshire and their Christmas offerings.
“With Christmas lights shining, yuletide activities galore, and plenty of independent businesses selling their wares, it’s the perfect time to get out and about in our towns and spend local this Christmas.
“It’s easy to get the perfect Christmas gift for your loved ones here in Warwickshire. Whether you are looking for a beautifully hand-crafted ornament, a fabulous item of jewellery, or a delicious treat from the many fantastic food businesses, it’s all right on your doorstep.”
Father Christmas, Warwickshire Christmas video.
You can watch the video below:
The new campaign follows a similar support drive last year as businesses were dealing with Covid, which reached more than 70,000 people across social media.
It also tied in with Small Business Saturday on December 3, a day that encouraged residents to shop locally with independent stores in the run up to Christmas.
Cllr Martin Watson, Portfolio Holder for Economy at Warwickshire County Council, said: “With pressures on household finances being incredibly high this year, many residents will be thinking very carefully about where they buy their Christmas gifts from.
"In Warwickshire, we are blessed with so many independent retailers who provide such a high level of service, quality and value, and Christmas is a crucial time for them. The increase in the cost-of-living has put a strain on many independent businesses, so we want to highlight as many as possible through our Warwickshire Christmas campaign and create a buzz around the county. So it’s fantastic to be launching this campaign and for Father Christmas to help us out too.
“We would urge people to get out into their local towns and support these businesses who are the lifeblood of our high streets by buying some of their Christmas gifts locally. And we’d also love it if residents shared their favourite businesses online with the hashtag #WarwickshireChristmas across social media – it all makes a difference.”
To follow the Warwickshire Christmas campaign, visit @WarksTN on Instagram or like Warwickshire Towns Network on Facebook and follow the hashtag #WarwickshireChristmas.
Doubling growth in Year Two is Sam's target following business support
"Sam’s resilience and talent has shone through and I am delighted that the support of the CW Business: Start, Grow and Scale programme proved so valuable on his pathway to expansion."
An events company in Coventry and Warwickshire is on target to exceed £1 million turnover in its first 18 months – and is eyeing a new office to continue its impressive growth.
Above & Beyond Solutions was set up by Sam Stockmans in November last year after working in events for more than 15 years, before deciding to go it alone.
He has been supported in his venture by the start-up team at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, receiving advice from Business Coach Rita Booth.
Working 1-2-1 with Rita, Sam received free mentorship to help him develop his skills in financial management by looking at cash flows and forecasts, as well as strategy development and how to improve marketing of the business.
Sam, who was diagnosed with ADHD last year, has now seen his company grow to a team of 10 in its first year, with its client list including the likes of Gymshark, LookFantastic and Mateus Rose – and, closer to home – working on the likes of Godiva Festival and the International Children’s Games in Coventry.
It is on track to exceed £1m gross revenue by 18 months, with the company now looking to move from its hybrid working model to its own premises in 2023 which would create four new jobs.
The support received from the Chamber, on behalf of Warwickshire County Council, forms part of the CW Business: Start, Grow and Scale programme, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Warwickshire County Council and all five District and Borough Councils.
It is available to start-up companies in Warwickshire and provides mentorship from advisors who all also run their own business, so understand the challenges and complexities faced with starting a new business and making it a success.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better first year. It’s gone really well and we are looking at doubling growth within year two,” said Sam.
“I was diagnosed with ADHD a year ago now and before then I’d always felt like I wasn’t treated fairly and it frustrated me across my working career. I worked in the industry for more than 15 years but it resonated with me that I’d been dedicating myself to other people’s businesses for years, yet repeatedly felt underappreciated. I promised myself when I owned my own business, equality and inclusion would be part of the ethos and culture.
“Events is a hard climate to be in, especially after Covid hit, but I was very confident when I started the company that the team could deliver, I just knew I needed that additional support to help with the legalities and admin side of things as that’s what I struggle with the most.
“I started getting support from Rita after the first three or four months, helping manage my way through difficult decision making, and looking at grants and funding which will be a big investment for us to be able to buy new kit.
“The growth in the first year has been fantastic, so to already be looking at hitting £1m revenue in the coming months is great and the new office space will take us to the next level. We’re still looking at exactly where that office will be, but definitely want to stay local.”
Above & Beyond Solutions is a full-service brand experience agency that can help businesses with everything from event activation and sponsorship acquisition to exhibitions and ticketing.
Rita added: “Sam has shown real courage and entrepreneurial spirit to not only quit his job and go it alone, but make it a fantastic success in its first year. I wish him the best of luck as the company expands with its new office next year.”
Warwickshire County Council Portfolio Holder for Economy & Place, Cllr Martin Watson, said: “The growth of Above & Beyond Solutions is a real success story. Sam’s resilience and talent has shone through and I am delighted that the support of the CW Business: Start, Grow and Scale programme proved so valuable on his pathway to expansion.”
Armstrongs expand after receiving grant
A forward-thinking firm of chartered accountants and tax advisers in Coventry and Warwickshire is continuing its expansion and jobs growth after receiving a grant.
Armstrongs, which has offices at Bond Street in Nuneaton, Torwood Close, Westwood Business Park in Coventry and Station Road in Hinckley has acquired two other firms since October 2021 – Bishop Simmons in Bulkington and Dowsett Moore which had offices in Nuneaton and Hinckley – to take its number of employees to 50.
Following its move from Coton Road to Bond Street in Nuneaton, Business Development Manager Cheryl Stanley contacted Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub to find out if there was any grant funding available to help with the fit-out.
Cheryl worked with Gary Thyeson at the CWLEP Growth Hub and Richard Middleton at Coventry City Council, to successfully apply for a £24,900 grant from the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund to add to £24,900 invested by Armstrongs.
The result is an improved office with a reception area, meeting rooms for clients with presentation equipment for hosting online meetings and a better working environment in an open plan space for the 20 staff based in Nuneaton.
Muhammed Shabbir, Director at Armstrongs, said its stylish office in Nuneaton reflected the business’s image at its head office in Coventry.
He said: “We have been established for over 40 years and the recent acquisitions of Bishop Simmons and Dowsett Moore reflects our continued growth path.
“The support from the Growth Hub and Coventry City Council has been fantastic and the grant has enabled us to fit-out our premises to a high standard to benefit our clients and our staff.
“Since the move and investment, we have recruited three members of staff and we are currently going through a recruitment drive for another five people to ensure we have the resources internally to keep up with demand so the future is bright.”
Gary Thyeson, Operations Manager at CWLEP Growth Hub, said Armstrongs’ presence in Nuneaton had been enhanced by the funding support.
He said: “At the Growth Hub it is one of our priorities to really get to know businesses throughout Coventry and Warwickshire so that when funding like this becomes available, we can really make a difference.
“Armstrongs’ new base in Nuneaton perfectly suited their needs but it needed modernising and the grant has helped to transform the office which makes it much more welcoming for its wide-ranging client base.”
The ERDF grants are part of a package of loan and grant programmes for Warwickshire businesses including the County Council’s Small Capital Grants, Warwickshire Recovery & Investment Fund and Green Recovery Grants.
For information about the County Council’s package of loans and grants, please visit here or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out what other support is available to support your business, call CWLEP Growth Hub on 0300 060 3747.
Derelict pub reborn in rejuvenated Creative Quarter
Preliminary work is underway on the next projects for the partnership revitalising Leamington’s Creative Quarter.
Warwick District Council and their partners Complex Development Projects (CDP) have received planning permission for initial work on the former Stoneleigh Arms pub in Clemens Street within the Old Town.
The pub, which closed in the 1990s, is now derelict and completely inaccessible with much of the ground floor having collapsed into the basement. CDP plans to remove the rear of the building in order to gain safe access to clear the interior, retaining the façade and side gables.
The Old School, to the rear of the Stoneleigh Arms, is also derelict and CDP plans to clean-up the insides of the building and board up the roof to begin survey work.
The £60,000 project is taking place as part of a funding package with a grant from the Future High Streets Fund as part of the Government’s plan to renew and reshape town centres – making them a more attractive place to live, work and visit.
The initial enabling work will allow CDP and their team to begin working up plans for the long-term future reuse of the buildings.
A consultation exercise has recently been completed by CDP to ask local residents and businesses what they would like to see in the Creative Quarter, with a particular focus on Old Town.
The results of this work will be reflected in the scheme that the partnership brings forward, and further public engagement is planned for next year.
CDP is Warwick District Council’s Regeneration Partner in an overall 10-year Creative Quarter Initiative and this is among several projects which are set to regenerate this part of Leamington town centre.
Cllr Andrew Day, the Leader of Warwick District Council, said: “It’s great to see a further step being taken in the regeneration of Old Town; unlocking the potential of these previously derelict buildings and transforming them into exciting and vibrant new homes for our creative and digital industries.”
Katie Burn, Senior Development Executive at CDP, said it was important to start these enabling works at the two derelict buildings in the south of the town.
She said: “Stoneleigh Arms and the Old School have been boarded up for many years and have been a blight on the streetscape. Making both buildings safe to enter will enable us to really understand them to start reimagining what this area could become.
“We are excited to be making a start on the next phase of the Creative Quarter, following the commencement of works at Spencer Yard earlier this year. We will continue to work closely with our partners at Warwick District Council and other stakeholders to link all of the Creative Quarter projects together, including the planned revitalisation of the Town Hall.”
Opening doors to a career in construction
A large construction site in Warwickshire has welcomed college students for the national launch of Open Doors 2023, an initiative aimed at giving young people an insight into the industry.
HS2 Ltd hosted Build UK on a busy construction site in Warwickshire for the national launch of Open Doors 2023, which takes young people and those looking for a change of career behind the site hoardings to experience construction first-hand.
The launch was held at HS2’s Long Itchington Wood Tunnel north portal site near Leamington Spa and was attended by over 25 young people from Walsall and Warwickshire Colleges.
The site is managed by HS2’s contractor Balfour Beatty VINCI (BBV) and is where the tunnel boring machine – Dorothy – is being prepared to begin the second bore of the one-mile twin bore tunnel under woodland.
HS2 has partnered with Build UK – the leading representative organisation for the UK construction industry - to offer a number of construction sites for next year’s Open Doors event, which will run across the country from Monday 13 - Saturday 18 March 2023.
A wide range of organisations will be taking part, offering site visits across the UK, with projects ranging from tunnels to skyscrapers, as well as offices, factories and other facilities to demonstrate the off-site roles across the sector.
At the launch, the young people heard about the massive tunnelling operation currently taking place on the site. They also learned about the types of careers available on HS2, which is currently supporting nearly 30,000 jobs, including over 950 apprentices.
Warwickshire County Council is collaborating with HS2 Ltd to identify and promote future employment opportunities for young people in the area.
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Leader of Warwickshire County Council, said: “The scale of the construction of HS2 railway across Warwickshire presents an opportunity for young people in our county to gain a career in one of the wide range of roles which contribute to delivering national infrastructure.
“This initiative provides young people with a first-hand experience of industry and will hopefully inspire many to progress into construction and engineering roles.
“We are encouraging local schools and colleges to forge links with the HS2 project and the Open Doors scheme helps to provide that vital first step on the career journey.”
During the week-long programme of events next March, visitors will get a unique insight into a career in construction by going behind the site hoardings to experience the fantastic range of opportunities available in construction. In addition to familiar site-based construction roles, many of the positions available are based externally, with companies requiring a back-office support network, front-of-house sales teams, and cutting-edge technical roles.
With the construction industry needing to recruit over 53,000 new entrants every year for the next five years to maintain output, attracting young people to consider a career in the sector is essential. The event aims to challenge perceptions and encourage young people and those looking for a change of career to consider construction, Open Doors highlights the diverse range of opportunities available, including thousands of apprenticeship places.
Over 10 sites are already registered and available for visitors to explore throughout Open Doors Week. New sites will continue to be added until the end of February and will be available to book via the Open Doors website.
Organisations interested in opening a site to the public can email email@example.com to find out more.
Groups and individuals interested in visiting a site can book from 9 January 2023, but large groups should make contact early through the website.
Warwickshire County Council offers businesses energy advice amid cost of living crisis
Warwickshire County Council has been offering support to local businesses on how they can reduce their energy consumption.
With so many challenges facing businesses given the current energy situation, WCC recently ran a series of webinar sessions to help support businesses in the Agricultural Sector as well as the Retail, Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure sectors.
The sessions provide the opportunity to hear and learn from experts on how to reduce energy consumption, with practical tips on how to reduce businesses’ energy consumption, guidance on how to lower energy bills and information on further funding and business support.
The webinars are available to view on WCC’s YouTube channel now:
Agricultural webinar: https://youtu.be/1V98bdGyCZc
Retail, Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure webinar: https://youtu.be/WPKA2OSZWxA
Cllr Martin Watson, Portfolio Holder for Economy at Warwickshire County Council, said: “It’s important that we support our local businesses and help them navigate this difficult period as best we can.
“These energy webinars offer useful and practical advice to businesses across a variety of sectors, such as how to lower their energy costs and reduce energy consumption.
“I would highly recommend any business in Warwickshire that is concerned about the current situation to watch them and take advantage of the help on offer.”
For information about support from Warwickshire County Council, visit: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/business-support.
To find out what other support is available for your business, call CWLEP Growth Hub on 0300 060 3747.
Purple Planet urge fellow businesses to make the most of Business Ready support
An award-winning business in the Coventry and Warwickshire region has urged fellow firms to tap into support available as it targets £4 million in turnover.
Purple Planet Packaging supplies sustainable food and drinks packaging to a range of sectors including schools, the hospitality trade, and directly to consumers.
The company, based at the Seven Stars Industrial Estate in Coventry, works with manufacturers and suppliers to ‘close the loop’ as the vast majority of the 450 products it supplies are biodegradable material that can be composted.
The firm was bought by husband-and-wife team Mark and Joanna Farr in 2019 as a lifestyle business but the Covid lockdowns – and the sudden demand for takeaway packaging – saw an immediate and unexpected boom.
The couple, who have two young children, had to quickly adapt despite having no prior knowledge of how to run a business.
They looked into what support was available within the region and are now working with Steve Tipson from the Business Ready programme as they look to reach £4 million turnover by 2024.
Business Ready delivers support to expanding companies managed by the business support team at the University of Warwick Science Park and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Warwickshire County Council as part of the CW Business: Start, Grow & Scale Programme.
“The support we’ve had from Business Ready has been absolutely priceless,” said Mark. “We had not long bought the business when we went into the pandemic and when demand increased we just had to roll with it.
“We did everything to fulfill our orders and make sure that we kept customers happy but we were working really long hours and it takes its toll, especially with two young children in the house.
“We’ve had great support from lots of organisations – it really is out there if businesses are willing to look for it and ask for help.
“Working with Business Ready is helping to put things in place such as policies and procedures that we just didn’t have the awareness of before. You don’t know what you don’t know.
“Not only that, Steve and the team have some amazing contacts so he has put us in touch with different advisers who have been able to give us information and advice on matters such as HR and IP.
“I’d urge any business out there to get in touch and find out what help is on offer.”
As well as receiving one-to-one support from Steve, the company has also accessed online workshops on social media, accessing finance, and marketing to increase its knowledge of how to run the business effectively.
Steve said: “Mark and Joanna are developing an amazing business and it is not unusual to see a start-up grow very quickly without having everything in place in the background.
“Business Ready is there to help businesses when they hit some of those roadblocks to growth and help them to get processes in place to overcome them. Not only that, it’s about giving the business owners the room to have an overview of what they are doing rather than rushing around day to day making sure orders are being completed and cash is coming in.”
Cllr Martin Watson, portfolio holder for economy with Warwickshire County Council, said: “The Business Ready support in this instance was bespoke as it addressed specific needs brought about by the Covid pandemic. As well as supporting a local business, it also ties in with the council’s commitment to sustainability as so much of the packaging produced is biodegradable. I’m delighted that our support has been so helpful.”
Warwickshire in Global Spotlight for FDI
Inward investment and Foreign Direct Investment attraction performance in Warwickshire was again in the spotlight as a major new report shows the county as a leading destination for inward investment.
The County Council Network and EY recently released their new report ‘Global Britain, Global Counties: Attracting Foreign Direct Investment’. Foreign Direct Investment, or FDI, is where an overseas company invests in new or existing facilities in the UK.
FDI in England had a strong 2021, rebounding from the Coronavirus pandemic. FDI projects across the whole country rose by 1.8% year-on-year to 993 in 2021, whilst the total number of projects into England since 2018 stands at 3,480, with the creation of over 125,000 jobs announced.
According to the data presented by EY, Warwickshire County emerged as the strongest performer in 2021 of the 36 English counties, with 20 projects. Meanwhile for the study period of 2018-21, Warwickshire was the leading county for FDI of the 9 Midlands counties, and the third nationally out of the 36 English counties. There were 46 FDI projects between 2018-21 in Warwickshire, behind Cambridgeshire on 58 and Hampshire on 56.
Further analysis shows that per capita, the number of projects per head of population, Warwickshire comes out again third on 19, behind North Northamptonshire (22) and Cambridgeshire (21).
FDI creates significant value for the economy. For example, Department for International Trade estimates suggest that, from FDI projects between 2019-20, the UK economy has seen a GVA uplift of £2.8bn.
Warwickshire benefits from its central location and proximity to the West Midlands conurbation, but other factors are in play. According to EY, investors cite access to skills and talent (27.1%) and support from local economic bodies as among the top 5 criteria when considering investing in a location outside of London.
The full report can be found here.
Warwickshire County Council Portfolio Holder for Economy and Place, Cllr Martin Watson,said: “It’s great to see the combined efforts of agents and developers and our inward investment colleagues recognised in these excellent FDI figures for Warwickshire. Warwickshire has the skills and talent sought by overseas companies, the right commercial property as well as access to supply chains and connectivity. We have an excellent soft-landing support for business, and I would encourage potential investors to reach out to us for support.”
Warwickshire County Council works closely with Coventry City Council, via Invest Coventry & Warwickshire, to promote inward investment and support businesses setting up in the area. It works with regional partners like West Midlands Growth Company and Department for International Trade, promoting key sectors like Future Mobility and Digital Creative.
For companies considering investing in the UK and the Midlands area, more information on the Coventry & Warwickshire area can be found at www.investcw.co.uk.
Warwickshire Future Mobility Tech Potential Drives International Webinar Series
Delegates from around the world tune in to find out about Warwickshire and the UK’s leading role in autonomous vehicle technologies.
During November two international online webinars and a round-table took place to promote the UK’s strengths in Connected Automated Mobility, or CAM, and a key automotive offer available in the Coventry & Warwickshire area.
The webinars, titled ‘Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) Modelling & Simulation: Investment opportunities in the UK’s world-class CAM Testbed region’ drew delegates from across the globe, including Canada, China, Germany, Japan, the US and Turkey.
The webinars were organised as part of a series to promote the Department for International Trade ‘High Potential Opportunity’ or HPOs, which comprise detailed collateral designed to promote the UK inward investment offer in key technologies.
Invest Coventry & Warwickshire successfully bid for and developed two of these, one around Video Games Development, and a second around CAM Simulation and Modelling.
Coventry & Warwickshire forms a key part of the CAM Testbed UK ecosystem, with three of the six UK test sites located in the Coventry & Warwickshire area: Assured CAV at MIRA Technology Park, on the outskirts of Nuneaton; Midlands Future Mobility, a unique highway network running between Birmingham-Coventry-Solihull, and Convex, based out of the University of Warwick WMG.
The recent webinars included input from CCAV, the Centre for Connected and Automated Vehicles, Zenzic the Government organisation that created and funded Testbed UK, WMG at the University of Warwick and Bosch Mobility Solutions UK, based in Coventry.
Delegates tuning in could learn more about the UK eco-system and how they could set up here to benefit from world-class academic research, an established industry cluster and an impressive talent base that continues to grow.
In all there were 46 attendees for the webinars, with 23 of these from industry. In addition, the Midlands Engine DIT Investment Hub organised a Future Mobility Round Table in Hangzhou, China, with 20 in-person delegates and a further 40 online attendees. As well as accessing the CAM webinar, the round table also featured presentations from UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) and HORIBA-MIRA.
Department for International Trade colleagues will be following up on post event leads with Invest in Coventry & Warwickshire, to support those who accessed the webinar and round table, who would like to take further the opportunity to set up in the UK and the Coventry & Warwickshire area.
A recording of the November 30th webinar can be found via this link, using the password kTrVnym3.
The CAM Simulation and Modelling HPO can be found here.
Picture above: Delegates at the Future Mobility Round-table, organised by Midlands Engine in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China, tune in to the DIT Webinar on CAM Simulation and Modelling, on November 30.
Business owners urged to not avoid making tough decisions in 2023
Start-ups and small and medium business owners have been urged not to bury their heads in the sand in 2023 when tackling difficult decisions.
Craig Humphrey, Managing Director of the CWLEP Growth Hub, outlines in the latest Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub SmartRegion report that the biggest challenge for many businesses will be to continue surviving in a tough economic climate.
The report contains findings from the Growth Hub’s business engagements as well as from CWLEP, Warwickshire County Council, Coventry City Council, and other organisations.
He said: “The business community of Coventry and Warwickshire will have watched the Autumn Statement with a great deal of interest.
“We know that confidence across the economy is fragile, and work still needs to be done to remove barriers to future growth.
“Throughout the pandemic and the recovery phase, business support in Coventry and Warwickshire rallied together to ensure that start-ups and existing businesses within our region have the support they need from the Growth Hub, CWRT, the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, FSB, Warwickshire County Council and Coventry City Council as well as the District and Borough Councils.
“If we build on what we know works to create the long-term conditions for sustainable interventions deployed at a local level and connect our businesses to the talent, finance, and markets they require, then Coventry and Warwickshire will remain a great place to do business.”
Sheridan Sulskis, Chief Executive at Coventry & Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust (CWRT) said there were positives for business owners in the Autumn Statement in the shape of business rates, removal of tariffs on certain products, thresholds rising for the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, creative industry relief and a first-year allowance for electric vehicle charge points.
But looking ahead to 2023, Sheridan believes if new measures put people off wanting to become self-employed, starting up their own business, or result in the demise of existing businesses, then it will lead to dramatic negative economic and social impacts.
She said: “The biggest challenge that many businesses will continue to face into next year will be survival, and what that may look like.
“I can see businesses having to make some tough decisions about how they operate, what services and products they deliver and what investment they can make into their staff and growth, to ensure they balance the books.
“My biggest piece of advice to these start-ups and businesses is to reach out for support because there is a variety of different solutions, programmes, and contacts that can help them.
“I would urge start-ups and SMEs not to bury their heads in the sand when faced with these levels of uncertainty and difficulty but reach out for support.”