Thousands of new jobs to be created as Warwickshire looks ahead to a tech-led sustainable future
“The news that there are so many significant investments in the county and surrounding region are very positive endorsements of our local economy. It’s hard to imagine that anywhere else in the UK has seen this level of activity and investment in future technologies, in the first two months of 2021."
Warwickshire County Council’s Leader and Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, has spoken of areas of growth that have blossomed in Warwickshire despite the economic downturn felt across the world as a consequence of the Covid pandemic with thousands of new jobs being created in and around the county across a range of sectors.
Warwickshire has had a high amount of positive activity and investment in the early stages of the year as Warwickshire, with large numbers of new jobs being created across the entire county.
Pointing out the numbers of new jobs in the automotive and future mobility, manufacturing and high-tech development sectors, as well as Warwickshire continuing to cement a growing reputation as a hub of the gaming industry, Cllr Seccombe has highlighted growing reason for optimism.
This is rooted not only in the numbers of jobs created but also their sustainability, with much of the development that is happening in Warwickshire being around green technologies.
Cllr Seccombe said: “The news that there are so many significant investments in the county and surrounding region are very positive endorsements of our local economy. It’s hard to imagine that anywhere else in the UK has seen this level of activity and investment in future technologies, in the first two months of 2021.
“This has not come about by coincidence. For years, the county council and our local partners have been working to create the best possible infrastructure and talent for the local economy to flourish. We have worked to make sites and premises available and accessible to businesses. We have forged strong links between companies and the local universities to establish a talent pipeline.
“We have invested heavily in high tech, low carbon industries locally and have fully supported the move in the automotive industry towards electric vehicles.
“We have talked about bouncing back stronger after the pandemic. Clearly there is a huge amount of work that remains to be done and we know that many small businesses have been hit particularly hard. The county has been helping them throughout with access to grants, digital training, encouraging local custom, business support specialists and a host of other activities. We will be announcing details of our plans for a £140m Warwickshire Recovery Investment Fund in the coming weeks which vividly shows our commitment to supporting local business.
“But for now, the news coming out of the high-tech sector is very encouraging. We will continue to work hard, with all our partners, to build on this and cement Warwickshire’s growing reputation as the place to do high tech, low carbon business. That has given us a very strong foundation on which to launch the county’s economic recovery.”
Further £500,000 from WCC will power more support for small businesses
The funding secured through the CWRT has been a lifeline to our business."
Warwickshire County Council continues to lead the way with its support for small businesses through the pandemic after approving the loan of a further £500,000 to Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust (CWRT).
The new funding will support CWRT's extension of the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
The £500,000 follows an initial £1million loaned by the Council to CWRT last May to support the CBILS in Warwickshire. That was followed by support from four other local authorities and the Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership. In November, the Council entered into a second loan agreement with CWRT for £1 million of CWLEP funding.
As a result, under the CBILS scheme so far, £2.7 million has been lent by CWRT to 25 businesses in Warwickshire, safeguarding 248 jobs with over 150 new jobs expected to be created.
Significant demand remains for the CBIL scheme and the further £500,000 loan from the Council will allow CWRT to support a further seven businesses in Warwickshire, safeguarding another 70 jobs.
CBILS loans are there to support otherwise viable small businesses who have been unable to secure sufficient (or any) finance from their bank or other mainstream lenders. The CRWT has long supported small businesses and individuals looking to start up, but the pressures caused by the pandemic caused a surged in demand from businesses having cash flow problems.
Demand would have far exceeded available lending capacity without additional financial backing, so Warwickshire County Council continues to take proactive and decisive action to support small businesses and safeguard jobs.
Among the businesses to have benefited from the CBILS funding is Stratford upon Avon-based Shakespuss & Co Ltd.
Melissa Mailer-Yates, owner of Shakespuss & Co Ltd, explains: “The pandemic has had a major impact on our book sales as many outlets were forced to close. In addition, we were on the verge of launching our concepts to broadcasters, film makers and other content providers, however, we have experienced significant delays in rolling this out due to a variety of issues caused by COVID.
“The funding secured through the CWRT has been a lifeline to our business. It has enabled us to meet our cash flow obligations, continue with our concept development and retain staff, not only internal staff, but we utilise the services of many freelance, local consultants and this funding has helped to safeguard their future too.”
Mark Ryder, Strategic Director for Communities at Warwickshire County Council, said: “Small businesses and the employment opportunities they offer locally are the lifeblood of our economy and we will do everything we can to support them through the pandemic.
"The loans provided by the CWRT will help small businesses stay solvent and enable them to remain part of the foundation for our economic recovery in the months and years ahead. We are very pleased to support the CRWT with further working capital so that it can provide financial assistance to as many businesses as possible.”
"This latest funding follows other significant WCC financial support measures for the local economy during the pandemic, including the Small Capital Grants scheme, Adapt & Diversify Grants scheme and our Survive, Sustain and Grow programme."
Sheridan Sulskis, Executive Director of the Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust, said: “Warwickshire County Council, together with CWRT, has responded to the needs of small business owners in the local area quickly which has had a direct, positive impact for companies in the area.
“Many businesses are facing a bleak future through no fault of their own, but by making this funding available, our collaborative interventions during these unprecedented times, have facilitated the survival of local businesses, protected local jobs and created new employment opportunities within Warwickshire.
“Together we are helping to create an environment for individuals and businesses to better position themselves to generate opportunities and withstand the impact of economic shocks by becoming more economically resilient.”
Louise Bennett, Chief Executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The support for businesses throughout the crisis has been crucial to their survival and we are delighted to see further money being made available in this way.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel for businesses because of the roll out of the vaccine but it’s still vitally important that the support continues to ensure as many viable businesses as possible can come through the crisis.”
Further details of the CBIL scheme are available at www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-the-coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme. Or at www.cwrt.uk.com/cbils
Inclusive Apprenticeships scheme opens up untapped source of skills
"The Inclusive Apprenticeships scheme is a win-win. At a time when businesses in a number of sectors are affected by serious skills shortages, this is a great opportunity for them to recruit young people with the potential and passion to learn."
Employers are being urged to take advantage of a talent pool largely untapped by getting involved with a groundbreaking new scheme from Warwickshire County Council.
The county council has added another strand to its ongoing support for people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities with the introduction of the Inclusive Apprenticeship programme.
The programme, which is specifically designed to offer flexibility in the access of the Apprenticeship, means training and qualification opportunities for young people with SEND become much broader and unlock new employment and career paths which may not have been accessible before.
The pilot scheme will initially support cohorts of young people into customer service apprenticeship roles as soon as June, but employers are asked now to consider how a talented person with SEND could enhance their business.
The County Council is working with MENCAP and DFN Project Search - a transition-to-work programme, committed to transforming the lives of young people with learning and disabilities and autism.
MENCAP has a dedicated employer engagement team to assist employers with any queries they may have around taking on talented young people with SEND. The programme also offers a dedicated job coach to work alongside each apprentice, supporting them to establish in their role until they are confident to work independently.
The Inclusive Apprenticeships scheme adds to the work already ongoing locally to support young people with SEND. In 2019, the Supportive Employer forum was created by Warwickshire County Council and the Careers Enterprise Company (CEC) to providing internships and work experience with businesses for learners at Warwickshire’s special schools and colleges.
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Leader of Warwickshire County Council and portfolio holder for economic development, said: "The Inclusive Apprenticeships scheme is a win-win. At a time when businesses in a number of sectors are affected by serious skills shortages, this is a great opportunity for them to recruit young people with the potential and passion to learn.
"For the apprentices, this scheme will open the door to careers which enables them to fulfil their potential and contribute greatly to businesses as much-valued employees. I would encourage all employers to think about how a talented young person with SEND could benefit their business."
For businesses wanting to explore Inclusive Apprenticeships, the Warwickshire Skills Hub and Education team is hosting a virtual event on Wednesday 3rd March from 12 noon to 1pm. During the event, business leaders will hear how Inclusive Apprenticeships could benefit their business and how to get involved.
Places can be booked via the eventbrite link or by contacting the Warwickshire Skills Hub Team on firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further.
Future Careers grant "invaluable" as school delivers full progamme in lockdown
"The grant was absolutely invaluable...it meant we could deliver everything we wanted to deliver for students and parents and we also have a lot of things ahead in the pipeline."
A secondary school in Rugby has adapted to deliver its entire careers programme successfully online through the pandemic with the support of a grant from Warwickshire County Council.
Harris Church of England Academy, in Rugby, was one of 32 schools across the county which took up a Future Careers grant from the council's Warwickshire Skills Hub.
Secondary schools have faced significant challenges caused by the pandemic, and lockdowns in particular, in terms of equipping students with careers information and advice they need at such a vital time in their education.
However, supported by the £2,000 grant, and with enthusiastic backing from a broad range of local businesses, Harris CofE Academy has continued to engage fully with students and parents.
Andrea O'Brien, Careers Advisor at Harris CofE Academy, said: "It was a lot harder with all the restrictions, so the grant was absolutely invaluable. It meant we could deliver everything we wanted to deliver for students and parents and we also have a lot of things ahead in the pipeline.
"We used the grant in two ways. Part of it went towards funding my work for an extra two and a half hours a week. That really took the pressure off and enabled me to arrange things that I would have struggled to fit in alongside my other duties.
"The biggest thing was the mock interviews which we always do on site, but this year, of course, we had to go virtual first time. That took some organising but we had brilliant support from businesses - about 20 employers, both locally and some nationally, volunteered to support us.
"Some were from or existing contacts, some came from a shout out from the Careers Hub and some from our alumni and social media. We had a great range, from small, independent businesses to big businesses in all sorts of sectors, and the University of Warwick, which was brilliant.
"We interviewed 119 Year 11 students over two days and it was fantastic. Without the grant, it would have been pretty much impossible to arrange. Those extra hours made all the difference.
"The other part of the funding went on SchoolCloud, a software system which we used to hold a series of five parents' evenings, one for each year group, online. They were really successful in allowing us to talk to parents individually and we couldn't have done that without the grant."
Emma Neale, Schools and careers co-ordinator at Warwickshire Skills Hub, said: "The Harris CoE Academy has a really positive and proactive approach to careers strategy and I am delighted that the Future Careers grant has proved so beneficial to them. It is wonderful to hear about the great support they have received from local employers.
"This has been such a difficult time for careers leaders but, across the county, our schools have risen to the challenge and we will continue to do all we can to support them."
* For more information on Future Careers and all the other support available to schools and colleges from Warwickshire Skills Hub, please visit https://skillshub.warwickshire.gov.uk/
£1,000 incentive for employers to invest in apprenticeships
“A strong economy needs a skilled workforce so I am delighted the Warwickshire Apprenticeship Progression programme is now available to SMEs wanting to upskill their staff. We hope as many micro businesses and SMEs as possible will apply."
Warwickshire County Council is offering Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) a £1,000 incentive, plus fully funded apprenticeship training to help businesses reshape their workforce to meet the demands presented by Covid-19.
The County Council’s Apprenticeship Progression programme has been designed to support Warwickshire businesses to progress apprentices onto a second qualification, one that must support both the needs of the business and the employee in their progression.
As a result of the pandemic, SMEs in particular, have reported they need to significantly develop and adapt the skills of their staff to cope with changing operational needs, and also to respond to emerging opportunities for future growth. They have had to introduce new products and processes; adopt new digital technologies and find new strategies to meet customer demand and pivot to new business models. As a result, current staff do not always have the skills needed.
The new Warwickshire Apprenticeship Progression programme - delivered via the Warwickshire Skills Hub and the Coventry and Warwickshire Apprenticeship Provider Network - gives micro businesses and SMEs the support they need to find the right apprenticeships to upskill their workforce.
Through the programme, businesses can progress apprentices by building upon a previous qualification ensuring the skill sets within their business continues to be relevant in a post-pandemic world. The programme offers a £1000 incentive per apprentice – maximum five apprentices per business.
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Leader of Warwickshire County Council and portfolio holder for economic development, said: “A strong economy needs a skilled workforce so I am delighted the Warwickshire Apprenticeship Progression programme is now available to SMEs wanting to upskill their staff. We hope as many micro businesses and SMEs as possible will apply.
"This project is part of a broader range of financial support to assist Warwickshire businesses adapt to the rapidly changing economic climate. The proposed Warwickshire Recovery Investment Fund is a package of support aimed at revitalising and repurposing Warwickshire’s economy over the next five years.”
This initiative sits alongside other schemes designed to boost Apprenticeships and work placements for young people such as the Government’s national Kickstart Scheme which provides funding to employers to create new job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment. For more information about Kickstart please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/kickstart-scheme
For further information or to discuss making an apprenticeship application, please contact the Warwickshire Skills Hub Team at email@example.com
CeraCon's offer captured perfectly on film by Digital Market Place scheme
"The filming was not disruptive to the business at all and the two films they made for are excellent."
A small engineering firm in Leamington Spa has captured its offer to talented potential recruits perfectly on film thanks to Warwickshire County Council's Future Careers Digital Market Place project.
CeraCon UK, based in Berrington Road, is looking to grow post-pandemic after a management buy-out at the foam sealing company safeguarded the future of its 20 staff.
Like all businesses, large and small, CeraCon is keen to attract the best possible young people into its workforce. So they engaged with the Future Careers project, through Warwickshire Skills Hub, and the result is two polished videos which showcase the firm's current and future employment and career pathways.
The four-hour slot produced two short films – one aimed at young people, particularly those still at schools or due to finish this year, and one aimed at those seeking employment or a career change.
For a small business, the films are a huge and much-appreciated boost in profile, said CeraCon's business administrator Megan Handler
"We were really pleased with the whole process," said Megan. "The finished product is brilliant. Niki and Josh who came and did the filming were so nice and so professional. Josh is clearly a very talented film-maker. The filming was not disruptive to the business at all and the two films they made for are excellent.
"One of them featured our apprentice, Jordan. We only have one apprentice at the moment, because we are a small business, but Jordan brings so much to the business. Because we are small, he is involved in a wide range of roles, and we are so lucky to have him.
"It is great to have these really well-made films of what we do and what we can offer young people. The films are on our website but, most importantly, they are also shared in education and careers settings. As a student you don't know about everything that is going on and all the options ahead for you, so this is a great way for us to get or name out there and raise our profile."
The Warwickshire Skills team are still on the lookout for more businesses, especially in the retail, IT and finance sectors, to get involved. If you are interested or would like to find out more, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
To keep right up to date with what the Skills team offers, please follow them on Twitter or connect with us at LinkedIn.
* For more details of the Future Careers Digital Market Place programme, or if you would like your business to join the programme, please visit here.
21in21 mentoring programme will nurture aspiring businesswomen
"Although some progress has been made, in the business world, just like elsewhere, women still encounter obstacles and challenges unique to them. It is important that we all share our knowledge and experience where it can help, even if it is sometimes as simple as assuring somebody, 'You can do this.'"
Aspiring businesswomen will benefit from the experience and expertise of 21 female leaders as part of a new programme from the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber has opened applications for its 21in21 Women in Business Mentoring Programme that will pair successful female business leaders with women who can tap into their knowledge to help them move up the career ladder, grow their own business or more generally provide support with professional development.
The new initiative, which will begin in March, builds on the Chamber’s successful Women in Business network which has provided networking opportunities and inspirational role models for businesswomen across the region over many years.
Mentors have been selected from a range of sectors and backgrounds from across the region – including manufacturing and logistics through to hospitality and professional services.
They will provide their mentees with one-to-one support including advice, guidance and inspiration to help drive forward with their ambitions either within an existing business or with their own venture.
Among the mentors is Warwickshire County Council's Strategy and Commissioning Manager (Economy & Skills) Alison Robinson, who joined the council last year after 20 years in a range of roles in the Energy industry.
"I am delighted to be involved with this excellent programme," said Alison. "I very much look forward to working with the mentees and offering whatever help and support I can.
"Although progress has been made, in the business world, just like elsewhere, women still encounter obstacles and challenges unique to them. It is important that we all share our knowledge and experience where it can help, even if it is sometimes as simple as assuring somebody, 'You can do this.'"
The initiative, which will launch on International Women’s Day on March 8, will also host additional events and workshops and will culminate in a celebration in March 2022. The new programme is being sponsored by the West Midland Reserve Forces and Cadets Association (WM RFCA).
Applications are now open and Keely Hancox, Operations Manager of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and Programme Lead for 21in21, said it is an incredible opportunity of aspiring businesswomen.
She said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be moving forward with our Women in Business network into a new kind of initiative that will make a massive difference to those who take part.
“Our 21in21 Women in Business Mentoring Programme has drawn some truly incredible women who will give their time as mentors to help guide and inspire others – whether they are looking to move into management, advance their own career or grow their own business.
“One of the key messages that we’ve heard time and time and again through our network over the past few years is how a lack of confidence or lack of role models can hold women back in their careers.
“We are, therefore, delighted to be able to support 21 women with this amazing opportunity to learn from some very experienced and knowledgeable leaders from across the region.”
Siamha Butt, Head of Engagement at the West Midland Reserve Forces and Cadets Association, said: “21in21 is a fantastic initiative to share experience and develop the skills of mentees, whilst enhancing the potential of the future stars in our region. The WM RFCA is looking forward to engaging with business leaders and working with both the Mentors and Mentees.”
Full details and a link to an online application form for the programme can be found at https://cw-chamber.co.uk/membership/21in21/
Call to businesses to donate old laptops and tablets
As part of Coventry and Warwickshire’s Wellbeing for Life campaign, Warwickshire County Council is putting out a call to businesses asking for donations of old laptops or tablets which can be repurposed and delivered to vulnerable residents across Warwickshire.
The internet is being used increasingly across all areas of life and yet there is a growing digital divide, leaving many households and individuals unable to access education services and support.
The offering of digital equipment and support will:
- contribute towards reducing social isolation, for example, those with mental health needs who require access to therapy
- increase accessibility to education platforms for the many children and families without access to a device or connectivity at home
- lower the risk of COVID-19 by offering other ways to interact aside from face-to-face.
To be donated, equipment must be in working order and able to run Windows 10. In order to repurpose the equipment for use in the home, Coventry & Warwickshire Co-operative Development Agency will be supporting the initiative by installing a new hard drive and basic operating system. Onward support will also be offered to help residents get used to their new devices and access services online.
For more information about the initiative or details on how to donate the equipment, please contact Alistair Rigby at email@example.com
Refocused IT will drive Campbell Marsh forward after SSG support
“The investment is helping us to replace work that disappeared, grow into new areas and take on additional staff.”
A Leamington-based public relations agency is looking ahead to the post-COVID landscape with a slicker and more focused IT operation, and is looking to recruit, following support from Warwickshire County Council's Survive, Sustain & Grow programme.
Since 2001, Campbell Marsh has created brands, designed websites and produced Google-friendly web content and videos to showcase organisations and social media campaigns. Its clients have included PLCs, SMEs, start-ups, government agencies, local authorities and not-for-profit organisations.
In early March 2020, communications director Natasha Marsh, was sitting in a hotel alongside St Pancras International Station in London, agreeing a contract to provide marketing services for a leading cyber security event in Europe. Within weeks, that event and others the team was working on were either postponed or cancelled as national governments introduced stringent lockdown measures.
Campbell Marsh joined the shift to working from home and, faced with the need to adapt quickly, began to support clients with the rapid adoption of digital technology to keep in touch and instil some normality in the new normal.
The firm then benefited from a Survive, Sustain and Grow grant to strengthen its IT connectivity and deliver seamless client communication, online conferencing and a new website.
“The most profound change of the Covid-19 months has been the way that businesses and local communities have grasped new technology to replace old fashioned ways of communicating," said Natasha. "For us to compete more effectively, we had to beef up our IT infrastructure.
"We got involved with the Survive, Sustain and Grow scheme which had the added bonus of coming with a specialist business adviser. Listening to a different voice helped us refocus, harness our core strengths, and move forward to take advantage of opportunities in a post-Covid-19 world, with more robust IT connectivity and improved capacity, all of which is thanks to SSG.
“The investment is helping us to replace work that disappeared, grow into new areas and take on additional staff.”
SSG advisor Anita Dinnes explained: “The pandemic has dramatically changed the way businesses work and interact with each other. I found engaging with Campbell Marsh Communications to be very rewarding and am delighted that the SSG intervention has enabled them to upgrade their IT infrastructure so they are now able to compete more effectively.”
Jagdish Soor, WCC Lead Consultant said: “The combination of focused business support and subsequent grant award has allowed Campbell Marsh to make an investment that has enabled them to diversify and continue trading through the pandemic. This has resulted in the safeguarding of its existing but are now seeking to take on additional staff.”
Online presence advice scheme extended to businesses in more sectors
“The feedback from our previous digital skills programmes has been incredible with so many businesses developing the way they market themselves online, which has helped them to not only survive but, in many cases, thrive."
More Warwickshire businesses are set to get help with improving their online presence after a successful scheme was extended and is now being offered to more sectors.
The advice and training is offered as part of a package of support from Warwickshire County Council to support economic recovery within the county. This includes the Survive, Sustain and Grow programme and Adapt and Diversify Grants as well as the business start-up programme.
Independent businesses in retail, hospitality and tourism can benefit from the new programme of workshops and one-to-one support delivered by Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the County Council through the Warwickshire Towns Network programme.
The Chamber is working with Stories Marketing to deliver the programme which includes a taster session, two three-hour workshops and one-to-one help. Previous programmes run in 2020 were aimed at independent retailers but, such was their success, they have been extended to incorporate hospitality and tourism which has been so badly hit during the Coronavirus crisis.
The taster session will give businesses an overview of what to expect, top tips and practical advice followed by the first workshop that will focus on the power of social media marketing to help businesses create an online community and connect with customers. The second workshop will focus on how to utilise online tools to blend with a ‘bricks and mortar’ business and drive customer footfall when they are able to reopen. The first taster session was held on February 23 with further workshops to follow throughout 2021.
Warwickshire County Council leader, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, stressed the importance of continuing to safely support local businesses across the county during the extended lockdown and then into 2021 as life can return to some sense of normal.
“We are continuing to see real success stories through the pandemic lockdown," she said. "These successes have been attributed to the increase in digital skills and innovation from Warwickshire businesses. In this climate of uncertainty, it’s wonderful to see small retailers and high street businesses embracing social media, changing the way they interact with customers and gaining new customers as they do so.
“Clearly as we emerge from the pandemic, we will be looking at our town centres and making sure that they provide safe, interesting, social and unique experiences for locals and visitors. But until then, and indeed after, it’s vital that our businesses embrace the possibilities that digital marketing offers to reach new markets and respond to consumers’ rapidly changing habits.
“We’re delighted to support with this. I would urge retailers to sign up for the workshops, to help improve their business resilience, as well as their town and trading environment.”
Keely Hancox, operations manager of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are delighted to be working with Warwickshire Towns Network and Stories Marketing to deliver a new phase of digital skills support for businesses. And that we are now able to extend that support to hospitality and tourism, sectors that have been one of the worst affected by the crisis.
“It includes businesses based in rural areas, such as farm shops or tourist attractions. This is very much about supporting businesses to develop their online presence but also driving footfall when they can open up again.
“The feedback from our previous digital skills programmes has been incredible with so many businesses developing the way they market themselves online, which has helped them to not only survive but, in many cases, thrive.
“So, we are very much looking forward to helping more businesses tap into the expertise and knowledge of Stories Marketing to help them now and also be in a much stronger place as the economy starts to reopen.”
To book your place on the digital taster session or a workshop go to: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/digital-town-centres-27905402961
More information on business support from Warwickshire County Council is available here: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/information-coronavirus/coronavirus-wcc-economic-recovery-programmes/1
Year-long Transport Innovation Showcase will celebrate the region's offer
Coventry City Council and its strategic partners are inviting regional transport innovators to take part in a year-long programme of activities designed to showcase the latest developments in transport and technology the city and region has to offer.
Coventry City Council has partnered with Coventry City of Culture Trust, Culture Coventry, Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Coventry University, Moto Fest, Transport for West Midlands, Warwickshire County Council and WMG at the University of Warwick to invite local organisations to take part in the programme which is being called the Transport Innovation Showcase.
The showcase will feature a wide range of activities throughout its run from targeted demonstrations of technology at key locations across our city and region to digital presentations that will be available worldwide. At the heart of the programme will be a dynamic and interactive exhibition that depicts the future of transport innovation and technology in the region.
The programme of activities, which will run from the middle of 2021 to the middle of 2022, will be an opportunity for the region’s transport innovators to take advantage of the increased attention that UK City of Culture 2021 and 2022 Commonwealth Games will bring to the region and to introduce their products to a global audience.
The showcase will enhance Coventry and Warwickshire’s increasing reputation as the heart of the UK’s green transport sector and will show how many of the city’s renowned manufacturers are shaping the sector’s future. In the spirit of shaping the sector’s future, the Council and its partners will be working with the businesses involved in the programme to develop opportunities for children and young people within the region.
Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration and CWLEP Board Member, said: “Here in Coventry and Warwickshire we have long been at the heart of the UK’s transport industry and currently we’re leading the charge in the green transport industry too, with pioneering projects such as Coventry Very Light Rail being built here.
“With our year as City of Culture in 2021 and the Commonwealth Games in 2022 bringing more attention to our region, it’s only right that we use the opportunity to show the tremendous talent we have here. We know many of our local businesses and manufacturers are at the cutting edge of their fields but it’s time to make sure the rest of the world knows too.
“We also want to inspire the next generation of school children and young people to believe that they could have an exciting future in this growing sector so we will focus on schools too.
“We are leading the green industrial revolution here in Coventry and Warwickshire so, I encourage any local business to get in touch with us so we can help promote the fantastic work you’re doing. We ask any local companies who are interested in this opportunity to contact us and we will discuss how best to feature your products and businesses in the showcase."
For further details, please email Helene.Toogood@Coventry.gov.uk
Tech Challenge supports town centre businesses in North Warwickshire
"We have a wealth of creative digital know-how and expertise in our region, which we can harness to support of our brilliant independent businesses. I’m delighted to see projects like Maybe* Loyalty Rewards carving the way forward.”
A project helping to revive town centres in Nuneaton and Bedworth has been given a boost by Warwickshire County Council’s £80k Town Centres Tech Challenge fund - part of the Council’s rapid response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Tech Challenge fund, launched by the County Council in November 2020, is supporting three digital initiatives (two in south Warwickshire, one in North Warwickshire) which boost support for town centre businesses.
The initiative is part of a broader range of financial support for business to stimulate economic recovery.
The project in the North of the county to receive funding is Maybe* - a social media management platform which uses town guides to promote local towns and their businesses.
Maybe* has created virtual High Street Guides for both Nuneaton and Bedworth. It showcases live content from local businesses. The Nuneaton and Bedworth Town Guides make it super simple to support local businesses.
For businesses that need help to increase their digital activity, Maybe* provides a huge resource bank of tools and training to support them. For those that are already good at social media, Maybe* helps them to improve their results.
Maybe* Loyalty Rewards, allows shoppers in Nuneaton and Bedworth to build loyalty points for purchases based on their credit, or debit card transactions in participating stores. Once, non-essential businesses have reopened, they will also allow businesses to connect with shoppers when they are nearby. Every purchase by a registered shopper in participating businesses reveals other nearby businesses. It does not require any apps to be downloaded and is completely free for shoppers to access.
Jonathan White, Manager of Nuneaton and Bedworth Town Centres says: “We are delighted to have been awarded funding from the Warwickshire County Council Tech Challenge to enable us to deliver the Maybe* Social Media Management Platform, Maybe* Town Guides and Maybe* Local Rewards to the Borough of Nuneaton and Bedworth to help with recovery, following the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Leader of Warwickshire County Council and portfolio holder for economic development, said: “Businesses in our town centres were already facing difficulties before the pandemic, but now those difficulties have dramatically increased. We need creative solutions to help invigorate our town centres when it’s safe for people to return, and to encourage online support during lockdown and beyond. The good news is, we have a wealth of creative digital know-how and expertise in our region, which we can harness to support of our brilliant independent businesses. I’m delighted to see projects like Maybe* Loyalty Rewards carving the way forward.”
The Town Centres Tech Challenge fund was set-up after a business survey undertaken by the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) identified the need for digital products which help support and promote town centres, engage existing and new customers and improve consumer confidence in returning following the end of the current national lockdown.
Assistance is also being given to South Warwickshire businesses to enhance their social media presence. The projects supported in the south of the county are LYT (Local Young Talent) and Myndy (My Independent).
Major strides already in 2021 for Transforming Nuneaton
The Transforming Nuneaton programme has hit 2021 running with major strides forward already this year.
Warwickshire County Council and Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council are working together on Transforming Nuneaton, a programme which will deliver the transformation of the town centre by implementing mixed-use regeneration to boost economic growth.
Already this year, significant advances have been made. January saw the formal submission of a planning application to regenerate the Abbey Street development sit, which includes living accommodation, foodhall, leisure facilities, cinema and car parking. This was followed by exciting news which saw leading global hospitality company, Hilton, commit to opening a 145-room hotel on the complex with construction expected to start late summer.
Meanwhile, in a move set to spark conversations with potential developers and key stakeholders, a masterplan for the Vicarage Street development site in Nuneaton has been unveiled. This plan details exciting possibilities for a comprehensive redevelopment, and sets out a range of innovative, potential new uses for the site which will help create jobs and boost economic development within the town.
In addition to the above, renovation of the former coop Art Deco building in Queens Road is progressing well with repairs to the exterior and interior refurbishment work commencing on the upper floors. This work will create brand new character office/workspace to accommodate new businesses in the town centre.
There is also an ongoing programme of work entitled ‘Transforming Bedworth’ which is looking into the potential for drawing greater inward investment to Bedworth town centre.
Abbey Street Planning Application
Vicarage Street Masterplan