Welcome from Mark Ryder, Warwickshire County Council head of transport and economy

Hello everyone and welcome to the February edition of Warwickshire Means Business.

The year began with some excellent news that Warwickshire has the fastest-growing economy in the country. Recently-released figures reveal that, since 2009, Warwickshire has recorded the biggest growth in productivity of any local authority area in England.

The region as a whole is buoyant with productivity in the Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership area having outgrown every other LEP in the country.

Here in Warwickshire, what the county's workforce produced in a 37.5-hour working week in 2009, it now produces in 29.3 hours - so what it generated in five days in 2009, it now generates in four.

That's brilliant news and testament to the breadth of expertise, enterprise and innovation, all underpinned by a load of hard work, of course, within our business community. But I am sure that nobody is sitting on any laurels and we at Warwickshire County Council are committed to doing everything we can, along with our partner organisations, to build on that momentum.

We are very proud of the work undertaken week-in and week-out by our Transport & Economy teams. The ongoing quest to keep roads clear and bring forward highways and public transport schemes plays a significant part in local productivity and our transport officers are constantly working towards that objective. Meanwhile, our business support team, with a broad range of skills and experience themselves, strive to help businesses already within our county and also attract investment from elsewhere. It was great to see two young members of the team, Steph Williams and Sim Lee, short-listed for the YoungPro 2018 awards - fully deserved recognition.

There is so much going on, driven by our team, to help keep Warwickshire at the top of the growth table. Creating a continuous pipeline of skilled and motivated young people into the business world is essential to future prosperity and our fourth Skills Conference, on March 7, will bring together many key local figures from business and education to discuss the best ways to  that happen. Last year's event was a sell-out so, if you wish to attend, please book now before it's too late.

Thank you for reading the latest Warwickshire Means Business, which is now issued monthly because there is so much going on! If you think there is something we should cover in a future edition, please email brianhalford@warwickshire.gov.uk.

Featured News

Buoyant Warwickshire is leading the country in productivity growth

Business in Warwickshire is increasingly booming with new figures revealing the county has the fastest-growing economy in the country.

Since the 2009 recession, Warwickshire has experienced the biggest growth in productivity of all local authority areas in England.

The region as a whole is performing strongly with productivity in the Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership area having outgrown every other LEP in the country.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that productivity within Warwickshire grew by 30.4% between 2009 and 2016, higher than any other area and nearly double the rate for the UK as a whole (16.5%).

That means that what the county's workforce produced in a typical 37.5-hour working week in 2009, it now produces in 29.3 hours - so the workforce as a whole now generates in four days what, in 2009, it generated in five.

It is great news for the local economy with annual growth for Warwickshire growing 2.5% between 2015/16, exceeding the UK average by 0.1%). The level of productivity is now above the national average (£53,447 of GVA per job filled, compared to £52,626) - a big improvement on the previous decade when it was more than 10% lower.

Raising productivity has been a key focus of economic development activity by Warwickshire County Council, the Coventry & Warwickshire LEP and partners in recent years.

The area has invested in a number of key initiatives to drive economic growth in recent years. These include new railway stations at Bermuda and Coventry Arena, the National Transport Design Centre (Coventry University), Venture House Business Centre (Stratford-upon-Avon) and Trident Business Park (Leamington Spa). Major investment also gone into road improvements at Tollbar Junction and the M40 junction 12 and business support programmes such as the Warwickshire Rural Growth Network.

This has helped to attract a range of high-profile investments with major companies such as Amazon, AVL,Brose, Geely, Jaguar Land Rover, SEGA, TATA Technologies, Ubisoft and Vitsoe choosing Coventry & Warwickshire as an ideal place to locate their business over the past few years.

Warwickshire County Council leader, and portfolio holder for economic growth, Cllr Izzi Seccombe said: "Warwickshire has meant business for a number of years now. Economic growth is up there amongst this council's top priorities and it is fantastic to see evidence of our partnership with business bearing fruit.

"It is great that Warwickshire is leading the way nationally in increasing levels of productivity and it is no surprise that businesses are increasingly looking to move to, or expand within, Warwickshire."

Jonathan Browning, chair of the Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “These figures are very good news for Warwickshire and our wider area. Driving up productivity and economic performance is a key priority for the CWLEP, working with partners.

“The aim now is to ensure that this growth continues right across our patch. We have so many assets and we have to continue to push forward on all economic fronts.

“We work very closely with the county and are delighted that the efforts are producing tangible improvements.” 

Skills and Employment – what businesses can do to fill their vacancies with the best people?

Attracting the right applicants for the vacancy in your business can be tough - but there are simple steps you can take to make the process easier. Here, Warwickshire County Council's business skills advisor Fay Winterburn answers some of the questions she often hears from businesses looming to recruit. 


My vacancy attracted only a small number of applicants - what can I do?

With unemployment levels at an all-time low, naturally the number of applicants for advertised roles will be lower. Businesses now need to “think outside the box” and consider new approaches to recruiting.

  • How appealing is my job advertisement?

The contents of job adverts have changed a lot recently as businesses promote non-salary benefits such as car-sharing schemes to show they are reputable employers who invest in their staff. Before posting your advert, take time to research how similar businesses are recruiting. What do they say about themselves? How do they appeal to potential applicants? Do include bigger companies in your research as they have designated marketing staff who use approaches that can be replicated in smaller businesses.


  • Are there social media platforms I could use?

Social media can be a great way to put your vacancy into the public domain but you need to be connected to a sufficiently large audience - and the right audience.

For example, a LINKEDIN page full of customers and suppliers is unlikely to be successful but if you use a Facebook sponsored post, for a small fee Facebook will place your advert into the news feed of relevant audiences. Have you ever googled something and then that same object or topic has mysteriously started to see appear in your news feed? That's technology! Why not make it work for you?


  • Would it help to offer flexible hours?

Yes - this could be very beneficial. Many people across the county are unable to work full-time due to family, caring or study commitments but they could have just the skills you need. So if you are recruiting to a business admin role, for example,  and could offer 9.30am-2.30pm, this could be very appealing, perhaps to mothers trying to return to work.


  • Would an apprentice be suitable for my vacancy?

It's definitely worth looking to see how apprenticeships can work for you. In over 50% of businesses, apprenticeships are a route to seriously consider.

Apprenticeships have undergone radical recent changes driven by trailblazing employer groups to ensure qualifications are relevant to current business demands. They are offered not only to school-leavers but are now available for all ages and various academic levels. Did you know that you can use apprenticeship programmes for team-leaders and management staff? There is now an apprenticeship opportunity for every business.


How can we build a solid skills force for the future?


  • How important is staff training and development?

Very. Providing training opportunities for employees has huge benefits so it is vital to invest in staff. Holding regular employee reviews, outlining training and development opportunities, will help create a loyal, motivated workforce. Talented employees who feel valued and secure in their roles, and can see there are credible future progression opportunities, are far more likely to stay with you.



  • Do I need a big budget for training?

Not necessarily. Developing your staff doesn’t need to cost the earth. Across Warwickshire there are many avenues of funding support, from apprenticeship programmes to partially or fully-funded short courses designed to fill current skills gaps. A few education and training providers offer “early bird” discounts so think about signing up to those deals as the savings over a year can make a big difference.



  • Where do I start in creating a training plan?

A training plan, like all plans, is as simple or complex as you make it. The most popular is a matrix-style document detailing each employee's training needs plotted throughout the year until the training is complete. Most businesses have core skills they wish to introduce as part of their sustainability or growth but it is the staff development reviews that play a crucial part in identifying who, when and how this will happen.


  • How do I access any training support and advice?

For any training and development questions please contact me on Faywinterburn@warwickshire.gov.uk and I will be more than happy to offer my support.


Business Ready helps We are Digital seize the moment

At a time when life, never mind business, is conducted increasingly on line, new opportunities are there for SMEs with the necessary ideas and expertise.

Warwick-based We are Digital is exactly such a business and is currently experiencing "phenomenal growth" - with grant support from Warwickshire County Council.

We are Digital is a digital and financial inclusion company which trains people how to best use the internet for business and leisure.

Even as day-to-day life turns more and more on-line, there remain more than ten million people in the UK still not on the internet. And this is a gap in the market which We are Digital is helping to fill by working with some of UK's largest housing associations, companies and charities to deliver basic digital skills group courses, workshops and one-to-one home training.

The company currently employs 18 people at its Warwick Technology Park base but is set to expand to meet the huge potential.And the scope for that essential expansion was smoothed by a £6,540.57 small capital grant from Warwickshire County Council.

"We have experienced phenomenal growth and the grant played a big part in that," said chief operating officer Stephen Burge. "It went into software development which was essential for us to meet the rising demand.

"We could not do what we do without that software and nobody else does what we do, so the development was critical. Wehave  employed people directly because of the grant and we will be employing more.

"The support we received stretched beyond the grant. Janette Pallas, a business advisor based at the University of Warwick Science Park, was excellent and gave us some really good advice on things like cyber-security and getting in further investment."

The recent expansion means that We are Digital staff are able to deliver more and more workshops in and around communities.

"We are a profit-making business but with a social conscience," said Mr Burge. "We work mainly with housing associations but have held workshops in community centres, churches, people's homes - we can do anywhere, really.

"We train people to understand how the internet can benefit them. There is so much you can do more cheaply and efficiently on line, from banking, in light of banks closing high street branches, to getting the best shopping deals, applying for jobs and using skype andebay."

Janette Pallas manages the Business Ready business growth programme which is part-funded by Warwickshire County Council, the European Regional Development Fund and the University of Warwick Science Park. She said, “We are seeing some great examples of business growth achieved by companies such as We are Digital. As companies grow they meet different challenges which they haven’t encountered before, including raising external funds, implementing new systems, recruiting staff and taking new products to market.

Through programmes such as Business Ready we can help businesses with planning for growth, access to highly experienced mentors and targeted workshops to help upskill the team.”

Broad spectrum of businesses booked in for Skills Conference

The local business and education worlds will gather in force next month for Warwickshire County Council's annual Skills Conference.

More than 100 businesses and more than 30 schools and colleges will be represented at the conference which, now in its fourth year, has become an important milestone in the county's business calendar.

It will take place at the National Agriculture & Exhibition Centre, Stoneleigh, on Wednesday 7th March from 8am-10am (free buffet breakfast from 7.30am).

All aspects of the vital issue of how to fill the skills gap affecting businesses in Warwickshire will be addressed and the mix of expertise and perspectives present will provide a perfect platform for honest and healthy discussion.

Businesses which have already booked to attend the conference are drawn from a wide range of sectors including construction, engineering, advanced manufacturing, tourism and legal services. Among those present will be Balfour Beatty, Aston Martin, QHotels, HORIBA MIRA, and Wright Hassall Ltd.

Warwickshire County Council's skills for employment manager Glenn Robinson said: "We are delighted to again be hosting this important event and it's great that so many business, schools and colleges have committed to attend.

"The range of delegates in attendance means we will have a really lively debate about how business and education can work effectively together to address skills shortages and prepare young people for the world of work."

Also at the conference, plans will be announced for further funding in Skills for Employment to follow the £2.4million already invested in the programme by Warwickshire County Council since 2015.

The conference is free to attend but places must be booked in advance in light of last year's sell-out attendance. A limited number of places is still available.

To obtain a full programme, please email skillsforemployment@warwickshire.gov.uk


Places at the conference can be booked at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-warwickshire-skills-challenge-how-can-we-meet-it-tickets-41276691696?aff=es2


Steph and Sim are "a credit to the team"

Two members of Warwickshire County Council's Invest in Warwickshire team were short-listed as finalists in the Coventry and Warwickshire First YoungPro 2018 awards.

Inward investment officers Steph Williams and Sim Lee were recognised for their excellent work on behalf of Warwickshire's business community at a gala reception at St Mary's Guildhall in Coventry.

They were finalists in the Business Services category of the awards.

Steph and Sim both joined the Invest in Warwickshire team in November 2016 since when many local businesses have benefited from their knowledge, enterprise and energy.

"It was fantastic to see both Sim and Steph shortlisted as Coventry & Warwickshire's Young Professional of the Year 2018," said Warwickshire County Council inward investment manager Ian Flynn. "It is recognition of the hard work and passion they bring to their marketing and commercial agency roles and for the work they have done to promote the Creative Industries and Advanced Manufacturing sectors respectively.

"They're a credit to the team and model employees for the county council."

Steph's role within the team is to support businesses with growth and expansion plans with a particular focus on key growth sectors such as automotive, rail, low carbon, intelligent mobility and jogistics & distribution. She also works with the Department for International Trade (DIT) to increase opportunities for Foreign Direct Investment.

"I am involved in a lot of really interesting projects, including promoting Warwickshire's fast-developing low-carbon vehicle sector," Steph said. "I love the job."

Sim is heavily involved in enabling new and existing businesses to set up operations in Warwickshire and works closely with the digital technology sector in particular.

"Our role is to help bring into the county investment that will provide jobs and help support communities," he said. "It is a really varied, stimulating role. which directly impacts on communities and I really enjoy it."

Grant funding lifts Labyrinth to another realm of business

Leamington Spa-based Labyrinth Logistics has taken its business reach to "another realm" with support from a Warwickshire County Council small capital grant.

Based in Harbury Lane in Leamington Spa, Labyrinth is a small business (with five employees including directors Ruth Waring and Jo Godsmark) punching far above its weight. Its client list includes national and international organisations such as MARS, Lego, Oxfam, the Salvation Army Trading Company and Wilko.

Founded in 2000, Labyrinth began as a specialist transport consultancy, advising big organisations how to get their goods safely, efficiently and economically around the country. Their work has traditionally focused on projects such as running transport tenders and ensuring that hauliers are fully compliant when working on and off the road, using traditional “paper and pen” audits.

But Labyrinth Logistics is growing. The company recently received the Innovation award at both Leamington Business Awards and Coventry and Warwickshire SME awards for their latest development - a unique web-based transport compliance management and audit tool, SilkThread®.

SilkThread® offered the company scope for significant further growth - and that is where the £29,744 county council grant proved invaluable.

"SilkThread® is basically a navigational aid in a very complex environment," said Ruth Waring. "It is named after the silk thread which Ariadne gave Theseus to help find his way out of the labyrinth in Greek mythology. Keeping a major transport operation compliant can be a pretty labyrinthine business so SilkThread® is designed to simplify that operation as much as possible.

"The software has evolved so that it can now be applied to any businesses requiring a compliance solution, not just those which own vehicles. We offer a full range of operational support, from helping gain the necessary operator's licence to mapping out how best to get goods around the country.

"SilkThread® is an exciting development and customer feedback shows it can transform compliance management for their businesses, improving standards and focusing effort and attention where it is most needed.

"We wanted to continue to develop our software to enable us to generate compliance modules for any compliance area, including sub-contractor management, Health & Safety, pharmaceutical compliance, dangerous goods and so on, but needed financial support to get this up and running - and the county council's small capital grant came at just the right time.

"We found out about the grant fund through the Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, spoke to Jaymie Thakordas at the Growth Hub and it was clear the grant was just the support we needed to  continue development of SilkThread®.

"It's been brilliant because getting these developments up and running has taken the business into a different realm. It has opened doors for us outside our traditional client base and enabled us to offer a broader range of compliance management services to our existing customers. 

"The grant really helped us take the steps we needed to grow our business."

Everybody benefits as Ocado's Liftshare scheme goes from strength to strength

A major North Warwickshire business and its employees alike are sharing the benefits of a collective commitment to the Liftshare scheme. 

Liftshare, a car share and transport website, offers commuters the chance to share transport in return for a voluntary contribution towards fuel costs.

Warwickshire County Council has been working in partnership with Liftshare since June 2014, encouraging employers to get on board with the scheme and Ocado, based at Birch Coppice Business Park, just off the M42, has bought into it brilliantly.

Since joining in 2014,Ocado have established the Midlands’ fastest growing car share scheme with over 1,400 members - more than 60 per cent of the workforce.

The scheme which has been a real success, has brought employees welcome reductions in both fuel costs and the stress of driving whilst also significantly reducing emissions and congestion. Some company on the daily commute can also be very welcome - and a happier, less-stressed workforce can only benefit an employer.

Ocado's scheme has been driven by its Project Manager Natasha Grogan, a member of the support team for the online supermarket. Ocado’s Customer Fulfilment Centre is based in the county and is a state-of-the-art hub from which hundreds of thousands of online grocery orders are shipped every week.

At a recent event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Birch Coppice Business Park, hosted by developer IM Properties, Natasha’s efforts to promote sustainable transport and links with local schools were recognised with a special award.

"It all started from a Sustainable Transport breakfast meeting," said Natasha. "The Liftshare scheme was discussed there and its benefits were obvious to our business with so many employees commuting from various areas.

We have a lot of employees in Coventry, Tamworth and North Warwickshire, but some are travelling from further afield too. So we are keen to do anything we can do to help make their journeys in and out of work easier and more pleasant.

"We were surprised at just how well it took off. We speak to new employees in their first week and ask them if they want to join. We then encourage them to participate by holding roadshows and members' competitions and prize draws. The community builds as we grow and having the car sharing app also improves ease of use too.

"Everybody benefits. Employees save time and money and have a happier commute. It is also greener and supports retention which is very important to us. We have also worked hard with Stagecoach, North Warwickshire Borough Council and Warwickshire County Council to improve bus services and other accessibility arrangements to our sites."

For more information about car sharing or to sign up, please visit the Liftshare Warwickshire website which is entirely free.

Labour Market Bulletin reveals thriving entrepreneurial culture in Warwickshire

Warwickshire continues to have a strong and stable labour market, the latest Quarterly Labour Market Bulletin (QLMB) from Warwickshire Means Business reveals.

While employment has again exceeded regional and national averages, our first QLMB edition of 2018 highlights that self-employment growth in the county has doubled the rate of growth across the country. This shows that Warwickshire has a thriving entrepreneurial culture, thanks to its strong business base.

Data drawn from a range of sources suggests this trend is fuelling a growing gig economy with the rise in flexible working and short term contracts becoming very clear in the labour market.

Earnings also look positive as residential incomes in Warwickshire have grown by 17% over the last decade, with the average resident earning £25,760 per annum. Alongside low unemployment and high GVA per head, the prospects for future growth look optimistic for the county as the labour market continues to strengthen and prosperity increases.

The QLMB, compiled by Natalie Maposa from Warwickshire County Council's Economy and Skills Group, can be viewed in full here. Part of our commitment to keep you fully updated on the very latest Labour Market trends in the county, it gives insights and analysis into employment and unemployment, economic activity and inactivity and real-time demand in the current labour market.

All labour market research is collected and released every February, May, August and November and brought to you in the QLMB as soon as we have it to keep you right up to speed with everything you need to know about employment trends in Warwickshire.

The latest issue includes a special article exploring if the pay squeeze is being driven by changes in the hours worked by men.

Our next Quarterly Labour Market Report will be published in May.

What Warwickshire can give to "Audiences of the Future"...

Shakespeare would have loved engaging with the "Audiences of the Future," says Tech Central's Sarah Windrum

Everyone working in Warwickshire's dynamic creative and digital sector is looking forward to the launch of the Government's next Industrial Challenge Strategy Fund: ‘Audiences of the Future’.

The ask is to “bring creative businesses, researchers and technologists together to create striking new experiences that are accessible to the general public” (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/industrial-strategy-challenge-fund-joint-research-and-innovation#audiences-of-the-future).

That's a theme that we in Warwickshire have been pushing for some time, of course, and further success has recently come to the region in the form of the £80million National Battery Technology Centre; but "Audiences of the Future" is another opportunity we should grasp with both hands.

Warwickshire is the home of Shakespeare and performance innovation and the great man would be busy experimenting with virtual, augmented, and mixed reality if he were alive today: Telling his stories in new ways and through new media.

True to this legacy, the RSC placed the first digital avatar on stage in 2016’s The Tempest. As the Founder of an IT company, I get very excited by the 20,000 data packets transferred in every performance.

Beyond the RSC, there is Motionhouse bringing the power of digital into their dance performances. The digital imagery is part of the set, the story, the action. Warwick Arts Centre also recently screened a series of theatrical performances watched by an audience through virtual reality headsets.

Add to this the growing reputation of ‘Silicon Spa’ as a cluster of high value high export games development studios and it seems clear that we are the natural home to explore who exactly are "The Audiences of the Future" and what they want to see.

What do VR, AR and mixed reality bring that we cannot already achieve through existing media of performance? I think of Shakespeare’s mass popularity and his ability to reflect, on stage, all the socio-economic groups in his audience. I think of John Osborne bringing the harsh reality of a one-room flat in the English Midlands to the Royal Court Theatre. It is widely acknowledged that virtual reality, in particular, brings a greater level of empathy.

We are part of the scene unfolding before us rather than merely observers. Technology will allow us not just to watch someone else’s reality but to actually experience life in someone else’s shoes.

If we look to the future, where and how will this new experience bring us greatest benefit? Will it help us to understand anti-social behaviour? Will it help us to address unconscious bias? Will it help us to create a more diverse, more socially inclusive society?

If we can experience the reality of others, we can feel how they feel. This will influence the way we behave. The decisions we make. The leaders we choose.

And that is the most powerful gift we can give to the future.

If you are interested in getting involved in the Audience of the Future project, please get in touch with me at sarah@emerald-group.co.uk

Dates set for 2018 business festival

The dates for the 2018 Coventry & Warwickshire Business Festival have been set with the annual two-week event set to run from 19 to 30 November this year.

The Business Festival, developed by the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) and the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP Growth Hub, is a fortnight of business events taking place right across the region. 

The 2017 Festival, supported by Warwickshire County Council, encompassed over 100 different events and even in its inaugural year, became the biggest business event in the region. More than 4,000 tickets were booked and nearly 25 per cent of attendees came from outside the region.

Jonathan Browning, chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The first year of the Business Festival laid down some very firm foundations and we hope that year two will see an even more vibrant fortnight of events.

“With the UK City of Culture 2021 win, the announcement that we have been selected to be the home of the National Battery Manufacturing Development Facility (NBMDF) and investments such as the creation of a new £120 million Meggitt campus at Ansty, we certainly have a great deal to show the world.

The CWLEP will work with the Business Festival to ensure even more companies and organisations are engaged and involved in 2018.”

Craig Humphrey, managing director of the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP Growth Hub, said: “One of our original objectives for the Business Festival was to stimulate business engagement and, importantly, re-engage with businesses which have not been as active in the business community recently.

"Our feedback shows that 56% of people who responded said the Festival was the first business event they have been to in the past six months. We also know that 99 per cent of businesses went on to rate the events they attended as ‘good to excellent’ and 86 per cent said that the Business Festival positively affected their business. We therefore know that the Business Festival is an excellent way to get the Coventry and Warwickshire business community interacting - and that it is having a positive effect.

“We meticulously review all feedback, looking closely at everything from the number, quality and location of events, alignment of key sectors and attendee data, so that the Business Festival continues to achieve its strategic objectives and supports the businesses in the Coventry and Warwicksire area."

“To ensure its continued success, subtle adjustments will be made this year, such as providing more information and assistance for event organisers, re-defining the sectors, and improving the process for booking onto events and cancellations.”

Businesses can apply to run events in the 2018 Festival via the website (www.cwbusinessfestival.com) from 5 March.
There are still opportunities to sponsor or partner the Business Festival - which could lead to substantial benefits such as extensive brand exposure, guaranteed connections, introductions and business lead prospects. To see a video about the Festival, click http://bit.ly/CWBF2017

For more information or to get involved in the Coventry & Warwickshire Business Festival 2018, visit: www.cwbusinessfestival.com or email hello@cwbusinessfestival.com

Thirty internships on offer at WMG in 2018

Expressions of interest are now being welcomed for the WMG SME Group 2018 Internship Programme

The WMG SME Group has developed a specialist internship programme for manufacturing businesses which are looking for additional resource and expertise to overcome technical and strategic business challenges.

Since the programme launched, over 130 internship projects have been completed. Many businesses have reported major transformational benefits which have helped inspire new product development, improve process efficiency and generate new ways of working.

The internships typically take place for eight weeks, over summer (July and August) and attract students and graduates from the University of Warwick and other local higher education establishments.

A further 30 internships will be on offer in the 2018 programme. Projects usually relate to the expertise covered by the WMG SME Group, including manufacturing, materials, product development, digital systems, factory 4.0, automation and business models. But this list is not exhaustive, so other project ideas that may fall outside these areas would be welcome.

Alongside the intern, SMEs on the programme will also benefit from having access to selective equipment at WMG and support with supervision from the WMG SME Group.
The WMG SME Group is able to pay 50% of the project costs (approximately £2500 exc. VAT) which covers the first four weeks of the internship. The business would then cover the remaining four weeks of the programme at the same cost.
To be eligible, a business must be:

* an SME (organisation with more than 250 employees or a turnover of more than €50 million). Larger businesses can also be supported through this programme.
* a manufacturing organisation in the UK or one which delivers activity that adds value to the UK manufacturing supply chain
If you are interested in securing a part-funded internship, please email wmgsme@warwick.ac.uk with a brief idea of the project you would like the intern to conduct. Intern projects will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.


Upcoming events

If you would like your event to be listed in a future edition of Warwickshire Means Business, please send details to invest@warwickshire.gov.uk


Business Essentials for Startups - Finance & Cash Flow: Sat 24th Feb, 10:00 - 13:00, Unit 6, Serious Games Institute, Coventry Innovation Village, Cheetah Road, Coventry, CV1 2TL (Free)



Getting the Most out of Google for your Business: Wed 28th Feb, 09:30 - 16:00, Venture House Business Centre, Avenue Farm Industrial Estatem Birmingham Road, Stratford upon Avon, CV37 0HR (Free)



Understanding your business’ energy bills: Wed 28th Feb, 08:00 - 12:00, Ansty Park, Coventry, CV7 9JU (Free)



Business Vision & Strategy: Tue 27th Feb, 09:30 - 13:30, Venture House Business Centre, Birmingham Road, Stratford upon Avon, CV37 0HR (Free)




Writing Your Business Plan: Thu 1st Mar, 09:15 - 12:30, Enterprise Centre, Wellesbourne Enterprise Park, Wellesbourne Campus, Wellesbourne, CV35 9EF (Free)



Effective Finance Tools: Thu 1st Mar, 12:15 - 16:30, Enterprise Centre, Wellesbourne Enterprise Park, Wellesbourne Campus, Wellesbourne, CV35 9EF (Free)



Car expenses for the self-employed (Webinar): Fri 2nd March, 09:00 - 10:00. (Free)



The Warwickshire Skills Challenge: How can we meet it? Wed 7th March, 07:30 - 10:00, NAEC Stoneleigh Park, Stoneleigh, CV8 2LZ. (Free)



Managing Your Finances when Trading Overseas: Weds 7th Mar, 8:30-10:00, Holiday Inn Kenilworth-Warwick 212 Abbey End Kenilworth Warwickshire CV8 1ED (Free)



Leamington Jobs and Careers Fair: Fri 9th Mar, 10:00 - 14:00, Leamington Spa Town Hall, Parade, Leamington Spa, CV32 4AT (Free)



Business Expo 2018 CW Rocks: Fri 9th March, 10:00-15:00, Ricoh Arena, Coventry (From Free)



Digital Marketing (Essentials) - How to Develop your Online Presence: Tue 13 Mar, 09:15 - 12:30, Eliot Park Innovation Centre, 4 Barling Way, Nuneaton, CV10 7RH (Free)



New Product Development Workshop: Tues 13th March, 09:00 - 16:00 Ramada Hotel Coventry, CV1 3GG (Free)



Communication Skills - Standing Out Front & Presenting: Tue 13th March, 13:15 - 16:30, Eliot Park Innovation Centre, 4 Barling Way, Nuneaton, CV10 7RH (Free)



Leamington Hour’s networking event: Wed 14th March, 19:00 - 21:00, The Star and Garter, Leamington Spa, CV32 5LL (£10 - £150)



China - The A - Z for doing business in China: Thu 15th March, 09:30 - 14:00, CWLEP Growth Hub, Enterprise Centre, Puma Way, Coventry, CV1 2TT (£7.50 - £45)



How to Build Assets for your Business Workshop: Mon 19th March, 09:30 - 16:30, Slate Art Gallery, 44 Oxford Street, Leamington Spa, CV32 4RA (£75)



Chamber Networking with Pet-Xi: Thu 22nd March, 08:30 - 10:30, Pet-Xi office, West Oak House, Westwood Way, Westwood Business Park, CV4 8LB. (Free)



Put your Social Media House in order: Thu 22nd March, 09:30 - 16:00, Althorpe Enterprise Hub, Althorpe Street, Leamington Spa, CV31 2GB. (Free)



Q1 North Warwickshire Branch 2018: Thu 22nd March, 08:30 - 10:00, SFB Group Manor Court Chambers, Townsend Drive, Nuneaton, CV11 6RU (Free)



In search of a second act? Find your superpower! Fri 23rd March, 09:30 - 12:30, Episode Hotel, 64 Upper Holly Walk, Leamington Spa, CV32 4JL (Free)



Q1 Mid Branch - Meet your MP Matt Western: Fri 23rd March, 09:00 - 09:30, Warwickshire College Trident Centre, Poseidon Way, CV34 6SW. (Free)



Business Breakfast with West Midlands Conservative MEP’s: Fri 23rd March, 07:30 - 09:30, Coombe Abbey Hotel, Brinklow Road, Binley, CV3 2AB (Chamber member event)



CW Champions: Wed 28th Mar, 07:30 - 09:30, Old Shire Hall, 5 - 9 Northgate Street, Warwick, CV34 4SP (Free)



IP and your business: Funding and Support: Wednesday 28th March, 8:30-13:00, Simulation Centre, Coventry University Technology Park, Puma way, Coventry, CV1 2TT (Free)




Revit for Beginners: Wednesday 4th April/Thursday 5th April, 9:00-16:00, Coventry University Engineering and Computing Building, Gulson Road,Coventry, CV1 2JH (Free)



Introduction to Energy Management Systems: ISO14001, ISO50001 and High Level Structure: Thursday 19th April/Friday 20th April, 13:00-16:00, Coventry University, Coventry, CV1 5PJ (Free)



User Testing Workshop: Thu 26th April, 09:00 - 16:00, Ramada Hotel Coventry, CV1 3GG. (Free)




Business Planning Workshop: Thu 24th May, Ramada Hotel Coventry, CV1 3GG



Other useful event pages to follow:

Tech Central


Business Ready:


Coventry University Enterprises


Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce


Coventry & Warwickshire Growth Hub


CW Champions


Midlands Business Network


Leamington Hour


News in Brief

News in brief

First Rural Growth Plan published

Warwickshire County Council have published their first Rural Growth Plan.

The document places emphasis on: improving support for rural businesses, identifying and addressing skills gaps, achieving 98% broadband coverage, and improving information flow between research and development to businesses. All of which aim to lower the barriers to business growth and success in Warwickshire.


Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Economic Survey - 2018 - Q1

The British Chamber of Commerce have just released their latest economic survey for 2018.

It is the largest and most representative business survey of it’s kind and it gives businesses the opportunity to communicate their views on a wide range of issues that affect day to day activities.

The data from the survey is used by the Bank of England to inform interest rate decisions, by the Treasury to formulate overall economic policy through the budget and by international finance institutions to assess the state of the UK economy. To take part in the survey, follow this link:


Video game developer Codemasters line up £250m floatation

One of the oldest names in Britain's video game industry is lining up City bankers to help launch a stock market flotation worth more than £250m, according to reports.


Garden design firm lays down roots at new home

Isola Garden Design has moved to Stoneleigh Park, which is home to a number of leading national organisations within the land-based sector including the British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI).

The company was founded by James Brash, from Leamington, in 2006 and over the years has worked on garden design and builds for private homes across Warwickshire, Solihull, Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds.


Global leader invests in first UK facility at MIRA Technology Park

Bharat Forge - India’s leading metal-forging company - has opened its first UK facility, the Electric Mobility Research and Development Centre, where it will be developing components and sub-systems for Electric Vehicles.


 Prince William visits Nuneaton’s cutting-edge technology park

Prince William will be seeing first-hand how HORIBA MIRA provides pioneering engineering, research and test services to the transport industry


Eight new appointments at Gallagher Estates

Warwickshire-based strategic land company Gallagher Estates has made eight new appointments.

Richard Edwards has been appointed planning director while Sarah Griffiths and Stuart Field have been named as associate planning directors.

Will Lombard and Bahadur Choongh are now strategic land managers while Will Neary has been made a project manager.

Richard Wilcox is now a business planning controller and Darren Mace has been appointed an engineering manager.


Aston Martin unveils new F1 car

The first Formula One car produced under the new Aston Martin-Red Bull Racing partnership has been unveiled.

The RB14 will compete in the upcoming 2018 season and its race-ready paint job will be unveiled at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain.


Stratford tech firm handed £60k grant

More than £60,000 has been awarded to a technology company looking to improve the day-to-day experience for commuters in Coventry and Warwickshire.

Enable iD, a subsidiary of software development team Enable International based in Stratford-upon-Avon, has been handed £62,675 by the Coventry and Warwickshire Innovation Programme to help tailor its ‘MyJrny’ intelligent mobility system for regional deployment.


Aston Martin signs latest China partnership

Luxury car maker Aston Martin has revealed it is set to invest in a new design and innovation partnership with The College of Design and Innovation at Tongji University in Shanghai.

Aston Martin’s executive vice-president and chief creative officer, Marek Reichman, will become a visiting professor.


Playground Games reaches Insider top 100

Leamington-based Playground Games who develop the hugely popular Forza series have reached the Insider Growth 100 companies, the only game studio to do so.


Rapid electric vehicle charging points coming to Bedworth and Nuneaton

A company which is on a mission to make the UK an easier place to charge electric vehicles is installing two rapid charging points in Bedworth and Nuneaton.

Charging point operator InstaVolt is working with Cornwall Garage Group as part of a determined drive to roll-out more charging points across the country as the infrastructure to support electric cars grows.


Britvic to create 80 jobs in Warwickshire

Britvic are creating the new jobs at its Rugby manufacturing site.

The roles are being created as part of expansion at the soft drinks company, which has seen the installation of three new production lines at the Warwickshire site.


Another new game studio for ‘Silicon Spa’

The team behind Avakin Life has opened a new studio in Leamington Spa.

Lockwood Publishing says the aim is to attract console and PC developers as it looks to grow its hit mobile project.


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