Welcome from Warwickshire County Council leader Cllr Izzi Seccombe

Hello everybody and welcome to the January edition of Warwickshire Means Business.

One of Warwickshire County Council's top priorities is to grow the county's economy so that businesses within it can continue to flourish. We want people to feel confident and secure that Warwickshire remains a good place in which to do business.

A big part of our strategy towards this objective is our Small Capital Grants scheme which has helped more than 100 businesses in the last three years. Last week I had the pleasure of visiting one of them, Lab42 in Leamington Spa, and it was wonderful to see, first hand, how their expansion into bigger premises and their continued growth has been helped by the grant.

There are many similar stories around Warwickshire and I love getting out and about, visiting businesses, because I learn so much about the really broad base of businesses that exists around the county and see the different dynamics at work. We hear a lot about the automotive sector but our gaming sector is so strong and vibrant and growing by the year with so much more opportunity ahead.

Whatever the business, in whatever sector, the county council is here to offer support in all sorts of ways through our Economy & Skills team. I can't speak highly enough of  the team - they are fantastic and so proactive. They have a great range of knowledge and see many of the problems ahead before the businesses themselves. That foresight is invaluable.

Our small capital grants have enabled the creation of hundreds of jobs in recent years but our business support is about much more than funding.  I know the Economy & Skills team and love how passionate they are about what they do. They want Warwickshire's businesses success to mushroom and I am very proud of their work.

In this edition of Warwickshire Means Business please also read about two excellent events coming up. Our annual Skills Conference has become a standout event in the region's business calendar so do book early for this year's event on March 6.

The excellent Care Leaver Covenant scheme will be unveiled at a meeting on February 15th. Already up and running, meanwhile, is the Digital Schoolhouse programme which is doing brilliant work around the county to give primary school pupils a head start in digital skills.

I am proud to say that Warwickshire is ahead of the game in so many ways which is why our economy remains strong even in these uncertain times. The recent news from JLR is a concern, although there are some positives with Hams Hall chosen as the location for the battery production plant for the company's new electric cars. This follows the excellent news late last year that the partnership of Warwick Manufacturing Group and JLR has chosen the University of Warwick's site in Wellesbourne for the Research and Development of its Smart City Mobility Centre.

Warwickshire County Council will continue to do everything it can to support JLR, its workforce and supply chain as the technology sector evolves. Change always bring challenge - but history shows that Warwickshire is never daunted by progress. 

Featured News

Digital Schoolhouse sowing the seeds of our next generation of engineers

"The results have been spectacular with more than 90 per cent of primary school children in the programme in Warwickshire left feeling more confident about computing and programming."

Thousands of primary school children across Warwickshire are enjoying a head start in digital skills thanks to the groundbreaking Digital Schoolhouse programme.

Digital Schoolhouse is running in four secondary schools in the county - Campion School, Kineton High School, The Coleshill School and King Edward VI School, Stratford - and there is scope for more to join.

The programme, delivered by the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE), is backed Warwickshire County Council along with industry leaders PlayStation, Sega and Ubisoft.

It offers computing and digital skills training to secondary school teachers which they then pass on to local primary school staff and children. The focus is very much on fun-based learning with a range of inventive ways to engage youngsters in the subject.

The results have been spectacular with more than 90 per cent of primary school children in the programme in Warwickshire left feeling more confident about computing and programming.

Almost 3,000 children and more than 200 teachers in 32 schools across the county have benefited in the last academic year from the programme which also serves to strengthen links between secondary and primary schools.

Richard Barfoot, head of computer science at King Edward VI School, Stratford, said: "We get very positive feedback from the primary schools that come - they tend to come over and over again.

"The long-term aim is to get children thinking about computing careers and, even at this early age, show them the range of things there is to be interested in and eventually the range of career options when they move up to secondary school.

"The whole ethos of Digital Schoolhouse is computing with a bit of play. We want children to realise that it is not a dry subject. There is a lot of play and experimentation involved. We sometimes start off with a 'magic trick' where the kids work out that, as long as they follow the steps in the trick, the magic works. They don't necessarily need to understand how it works at first, but they understand the process behind it."

Richard Sandle-Keynes, a Year Five teacher at The Willows Primary School, said: "Every time we come to KES the children are really engaged by what they see and hear. We are really lucky to have this on our doorstep.

"Children now are much more interested in how computers work and what they can do and Digital Schoolhouse helps them develop so much more quickly. It can only help them become equipped for those careers, which is brilliant particularly in Warwickshire where the digital sector is so strong.

"It is a very creative programme. From one session we had children writing an algorithm for making a jam sandwich. You can't just say 'put the jam on the bread' because then you put a jar of jam on a loaf of bread and it doesn't work, so they have to be really specific which feeds into their writing skills and involves an element of maths.

"It feeds across the curriculum. For example, if they know how to publish information to a website, then they know that, if they go to a website they can't necessarily trust what's on there because it could have come from somebody like them just wanting to put up whatever they wanted. So they start understanding what is behind computers and become more savvy and safer on line."

Warwickshire County Council's foresight in supporting Digital Schoolhouse has been richly rewarded with thousands of children receiving a springboard towards careers which will help the county retain its place as a leader in the Digital Creative Sector.

Warwickshire County Council head of economy and skills Dave Ayton-Hill said: "In Warwickshire our need to keep skills in this sector coming through, in the next generation and the ones after that, is paramount. That key challenge is being addressed by our Skills for Employment programme which works constantly with schools, colleges and employers, but the additional input from Digital Schoolhouse gives our offer a new dimension.

"Many schools do not have the capabilities and resources to fully address and maximise the benefits from this key part of the curriculum. Digital Schoolhouse addresses this problem from within.

"Warwickshire County Council is delighted to have enabled four vibrant and impressive schools - Campion, Coleshill, Kineton and King Edward VI - to become involved and we would love to see more schools get involved."

The county would also welcome involvement of businesses from the county's digital sector. Any who would like to be involved are asked to contact stacyoconnor@warwickshire.gov.uk.

* If you would like your school to join the Digital Schoolhouse programme please contact: http://www.digitalschoolhouse.org.uk/articles/2019/01/applications-have-opened

Lab42 heading for further expansion after small capital grant

"It all leaves us well-placed for further growth and the grant was invaluable to us achieving this."

A game development studio in Leamington has grown its workforce from 11 to 23 in a year and is targeting further expansion following "invaluable" support from Warwickshire County Council.

Lab42 aims to employ 30 people by the end of 2019 after settling into bigger and better-equipped premises in William Street.

Last year, like many growing small businesses, they faced the challenges of an urgent need for expansion alongside all the financial commitment that requires.

They needed to grow, but were keen to stay within the heart of the district's vibrant gaming sector. A small capital grant, accompanied by ongoing expert business advice, from the county council has left them perfectly-placed to keep on expanding.

"We were extremely lucky to find the Malthouse but there was plenty of renovation work for us to do on the property to fit our needs," said Lab42 managing director Ed Blincoe. "The council funding enabled us to do work above and beyond what we had planned.

"We operate in a very competitive sector and need to attract the best people which means it's vitally important to have a great office environment for existing staff, our clients and potential new recruits to the business. It's fantastic that we have been able to put in spacious meeting-rooms, really nice reception and kitchen areas alongside an excellently-equipped open-plan office.

"It all leaves us well-placed for further growth and the grant was invaluable to us achieving this."

Alongside the funding, Lab42 had help from Jagdish Soor, business support advisor for the council.

“Jag helped us a lot throughout the application process which was fantastic because we could devote the time that he saved us to the business. He gave us some really good ideas about how we can scale up."

The growth of Lab42 adds another dimension to the incredible story of the rise of Leamington "Silicon" Spa as an internationally-renowned gaming cluster. But while there is an inevitable degree of competition within the region, alongside it is a spirit of collaboration to the benefit of all.

"We wouldn't be anywhere else," said Ed, formerly Director of Digital Publishing at Codemasters. "When we were initially looking at new premises, we considered moving out of the town centre but quickly realised this is the best place to be for our staff and clients.

"There is a real sense of collaboration in the sector along with the natural sense of competition. In our experience, studios work together, outsource projects locally and help each other. This is why Leamington has become such a brilliant hub for the sector - there is a huge amount of skill and expertise here but also fantastic cooperation. We sometimes compete for staff, however we are all focused on growing the local pool of talent and want each other to thrive."

Warwickshire County Council leader Cllr Izzi Seccombe said:"I recently had the pleasure of visiting Lab42 and it was wonderful to see how their expansion into bigger premises and continued growth has been helped by the small capital grant from the county council.

"Our support has allowed them the scope to get on with what they are good at, which is business. I am delighted that they are set to go from strength to strength as part of Warwickshire's buoyant digital sector."

 * The advice for the company was delivered as part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Warwickshire County Council. 

  • To find out more about the range of support available to grow your business, please contact the Growth Hub on 0300 060 3747.

Skills Conference will reveal latest data and offer solutions

"It is essential that we create and maintain a flow of highly-skilled young people into employment and we are pursuing a range of initiatives to make that happen."

Warwickshire County Council will reveal its latest forecast for higher-level skills shortages through to 2026 at its annual Skills Conference on Wednesday 6th March.

Delegates at the conference will be presented with all the latest skills forecasts specific to Warwickshire, compiled from new research undertaken by the county council.

The research underlines how workplaces and the skills required within them are changing rapidly in all sectors. During the coming years it is forecast that more than 60 per cent of new jobs to be created will require qualifications at degree-level - and 17 per cent at doctorate level.

The annual Skills Conference has become a highly-regarded event in the county's business calendar as it brings together a broad range of businesses and education-providers.

This year's event, to be held at the National Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh Park, will look at the latest labour market forecasts to highlight the likely future demand for occupations and skills in the area.

The conference will also explore ways of enabling local young people to move into higher-level jobs in the local workforce.

Warwickshire County Council's head of economy and skills Dave Ayton-Hill said: "Skills shortages is an issue which affects businesses in almost every sector and it is one which we, as a council, are working constantly to address.

"It is essential that we create and maintain a flow of highly-skilled young people into employment and we are pursuing a range of initiatives to make that happen. These include ongoing discussions with our three further education colleges about how we can increase the range of Degree and Higher Apprenticeships available to enable businesses to develop employees while they work.”

Among the key speakers at the Skills Conference will be representatives from Coventry University and the University of Warwick.

“We are delighted that the universities will be taking part,” said Glenn Robinson, Skills for Employment Manager at Warwickshire County Council. "We need to keep more of their talented graduates in Warwickshire to help tackle the higher-level skills shortages. The universities' speakers will explain how local employers can work with them to promote job opportunities. They will also outline the type of students they have coming through who may be interested in getting local jobs.

"For example, there is the Warwick Summer Internships Programme which fully funds undergraduates to work for six weeks in SMEs and charities."

Jayne Mourinho, Internships Development Officer at the University of Warwick, said: “The internships programme is a great opportunity for organisations to access additional resource or road-test talent."

Delegates at the conference will also find out about schools with ‘A’ level students who are interested in finding jobs with the potential for development to higher levels when they leave in the summer of 2019.

The Skills Conference is a key element of Warwickshire County Council's £3 million Skills for Employment programme which has funded more than 40,000 careers and employability activities in more than 600 local businesses during the last four years

To book your free place at the Skills Conference please visit here.

For further information please e-mail: skillsforemployment@warwickshire.gov.uk

Silicon Spa set to welcome its first ever international Games Festival

Leading lights of the UK and international games industry will visit Leamington Spa soon for the inaugural Interactive Futures Games Festival

The event, at the Royal Spa Centre from January 31st to February 2nd, will put 'Silicon Spa' right in the spotlight during a three day festival of games, culture and creativity.

The main conference on Thursday and Friday will provide a platform for the creative communities to showcase the latest developments and opportunities in this fast growing sector.

An important element of Interactive Futures is the opportunities for local independent studios and students to get their games or animations in front of the audience of professionals attending the festival, through competitions, or by submitting their portfolio for review by an industry expert.

Saturday 2nd February is tailored for aspiring games creators, enthusiasts, students and families. Sessions will include ‘Let’s Make,’ where you can explore virtual reality and create your own animation, a Raspberry Pi Minecraft workshop or the chance design your own video game character for a ‘Pixelheads Dash’.

For those interested in starting a career, there will be talks from leading games professionals including Ubisoft, Playground Games, Codemasters and Darbotron on the job roles available in the industry, or how to get your foot in the door at an AAA studio. 

BAFTA will also be holding workshops for parents and teachers and young game designers at the Town Hall which are completely free to attend, but need to be booked in advance.

Stacy O’Connor, Digital Skills Lead at the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This event is the perfect opportunity to showcase the innovative and growing gaming companies which are based in Leamington Spa.

“Interactive Futures will showcase the varied career opportunities available to young people across the region and will provide an economic boost to the area as we attract visitors from across the UK and build on our reputation as being a pioneer in this constantly evolving industry.”

Warwickshire County Council leader Cllr Izzi Seccombe commented: “The county council works very closely with schools and businesses to help to equip our young people with the skills they will need in the high tech economy.  With Silicon Spa growing, it is vital that we ensure that the businesses have the talent pipeline to enable them to continue to prosper in the county.

“Interactive Futures will showcase the industry to many young people and show them the career opportunities available to them in the county. “

The Leader of Warwick District Council Cllr Andrew Mobbs said: “I’m extremely proud that we have brought this completely unique event to Leamington Spa. Interactive Futures, not only supports the current generation of talent in our district, but also offers unrivalled access to the best in the business for a whole new generation, who with the right skills could become the future industry leaders in our growing Silicon Spa.”

An Interactive Futures pass for Saturday 2nd February is just £5, visit interactive-futures.com for tickets, session bookings and further information.

Businesses warned to look out for signs of 'County Lines'

Businesses in Warwickshire have been urged to be vigilant for signs that criminal gang members are operating 'County Lines' in the county.

The commute of gang members from major cities to nearby small rural urban areas for the purpose of enhancing their profit from drug distribution has come to be known as working County Lines.

This is a national problem involving drug gangs operating from major cities including Birmingham, London, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow. County lines criminals target youngsters and vulnerable people, getting them to deal drugs and involve them in further illicit activities.

Although Warwickshire is a safe place to live and is getting better at disrupting county lines gangs operating across the area, there is still a need for businesses and the public to look out for signs of county lines drug dealing and report it to the police.

Businesses are urged to look out for the following signs:

  • Changes in someone’s behaviour or wellbeing
  • Making unusual purchases or transactions
  • Socialising with unfamiliar people
  • Having access to money they can’t account for
  • Buying expensive goods they may not be able to afford
  • Having multiple phones, tablets or SIM cards

Anyone with any suspicions should call the police on 101. Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Further information on County Lines is available on the Business Watch website https://www.warwickshirebusinesswatch.co.uk/county-lines/ 

Transforming Nuneaton programme aims to exploit "tremendous potential" of town

“This conceptual project aims to maintain and build upon the existing potential and formulate a plan which will capture the huge possibilities for the future."

A prospectus showing plans to regenerate Nuneaton town centre and the surrounding area has gone live, launching the Transforming Nuneaton programme.

The visual representation shows the aspirations of Warwickshire County Council, Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council and other key partners including the Local Enterprise Partnership.

They are seeking, over the coming years, to create more of a vibrant and thriving town centre offering a wide range of opportunities for shopping, leisure, socialising, entertainment, education and, in time, a desirable place for town centre living.

The programme was kickstarted in the autumn with £7.5m of funding from the Government’s Local Growth Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

The prospectus, which was produced with the input of the commercial sector and other stakeholders, shows the tremendous potential of the town centre for developers. How attractive a proposition it presents for large scale private investment will be key to making the changes sustainable.

Attractive and easily-navigated entrance points to the town centre are essential to present the initial good impression to visitors and plans for public realm are within the prospectus. The work to tackle the congestion at Coton Arches is the first stage of the programme.

Town centre living will help to reinvigorate the area, increasing the footfall during the evening and increasing the market for restaurants, cafes and bars so the prospectus shows the plans for residential areas.

Although related to the ongoing regeneration opportunities specific to Vicarage Street and Abbey Street, this prospectus demonstrates that the ambition for the town stretches beyond even the town centre and surrounding area.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Leader of Warwickshire County Council and its portfolio holder for economic development, said:  “This is not a final version of how the town will look. Nor is it definitive. It is an aspiration, an ambition for the town that partners hope will be achieved over the next 30 years or so.

“But, even more than that, it shows that our aspiration for Nuneaton can and will match the town’s residents and businesses and we hope that they will join us on the journey over the coming years.”

Cllr Julie Jackson, Leader of Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council said: “Nuneaton has immense potential, the town already offers occupants a fantastic base to live and work providing impressive transport links, a rich cultural heritage, abundant parks and green spaces and an excellent retail mix.

“This conceptual project aims to maintain and build upon the existing potential and formulate a plan which will capture the huge possibilities for the future. The aspirational ideas are hugely exciting and we hope that everyone will be able to share our optimism for the future transformation of our town centre.”

Sean Farnell, a board director at the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), said: “This is a positive step forward to transform Nuneaton in the short and long-term for the benefit of residents, businesses and people visiting the town.

“The prospectus highlights the ambitions of everyone connected with the Transforming Nuneaton programme to make the most of the fantastic opportunities to regenerate the area.”


Warwickshire Food & Drink Expo 2019 coming in March

A second ‘meet the buyer and supplier’ event for the Food & Drink industry in Warwickshire will be hosted at Warwick Racecourse on Thursday 7th March 2019.

The event, organised by Warwickshire County Council, aims to build on the quality and vibrancy of local produce. Following the very successful inaugural Food & Drink Expo in 2017, it will again promote the county's diverse offer in this sector to buyers from across the region and beyond.

A broad range of food and drink will be showcased at the event which will provide producers, including breweries, cheesemakers, chocolatiers and coffee artisans, with  a great opportunity to connect directly with buyers. The event aims to be a catalyst for producers to connect with important and potentially game-changing new customers such as high-quality visitor attractions, independent stockists, supermarkets, restaurants and hotels.

The Expo will encourage businesses to discover and use local produce and suppliers and also foster new working relationships within the industry.

Warwickshire County Council leader Cllr Izzi Seccombe said: “I am delighted that we are continuing to support this sector as an important contributor to the Tourism and Leisure industry in Warwickshire.

"Our inaugural event in 2017 was a real success and feedback from attendees was that they wanted to see more of these events to highlight the unique offer within the county and where we can showcase the specialist food and drink that we have.”

Registration is free to buyers and inexpensive for suppliers wishing to reserve one of the coveted exhibitors' places. For further details please refer to the event website www.warwick-food-and-drink.co.uk

Chamber Means Business event will deliver latest info and insights on January 31

The latest business news, developments and insight from across Coventry & Warwickshire will be outlined at a brand new event for the region on Thursday January 31.

Organised by Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber Means Business event will offer the business community a chance to get right up to date with what is happening in the region and hear about the opportunities for economic growth.

The event will take place at from 11.30am to 2pm at DoubleTree by Hilton Coventry Paradise Way, Walsgrave Triangle, Coventry, CV2 2ST

Among subjects explored will the redevelopment of Rugby railway station. Guest speakers will include a representative of the company carrying out the work on this key gateway to our region.

There will also a full economic update including results of the most recent Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) which showed that business confidence in the region took a slight dip in the final quarter of 2018,.

The QES, conducted by the Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with Warwickshire County Council, measures the feeling among firms in the service and manufacturing sectors across the region.

Figures for the final three months of 2018 show that business confidence fell, particularly in the service sector where it dropped from 76.2 to 69.8 (50 is the halfway figure between positive and negative). In manufacturing, the fall was less marked, from 78.4 to 76.0 and, while  confidence in the region has dropped slightly, it still remains ahead of the national average.

David Ayton-Hill, head of economy & skills at Warwickshire County Council, said: “On the whole, it is a hesitant and pessimistic outlook this quarter which was to be expected. Key events taking place this quarter, including the EU Summit and parliamentary votes on the Brexit deal forecasted, made it a key time for business to be cautious and aware, waiting to discover what the economic future may look like for them.

“Until there is more clarity on the future for the UK in terms of Brexit, it is likely for this type of behaviour and attitude from businesses to continue.”

With this in mind business leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire have written to all the region's MPs warning that a ‘no deal’ Brexit could lead to cuts in investment and recruitment in the region.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce has joined the British Chambers of Commerce and other business groups in the UK to add its voice to the growing concerns over the uncertainty facing companies.

The letter, signed by Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber, outlined that “businesses need clarity, precision and reassurance to bring about the confidence needed in our UK economy. Businesses need to know who and how they will be able to hire staff in future; how we will pay VAT; whether goods will be stopped at borders; and whether the contracts we enter into will be enforceable.

“With such confusion and political in-fighting, by some, even basic business planning for next year has become difficult, if not impossible, for many firms and their investors.  Research from the British Chambers of Commerce shows that in a ‘no deal’ scenario, many businesses would cut investment and recruitment, or move some of their operations elsewhere."

To book a place at the Chamber Means Business event please visit https: www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/chamber-means-business-january/

Care Leaver Covenant event coming up in February

Businesses in Warwickshire are being encouraged to give young people a pathway into employment - and perhaps help fill their own skills gaps at the same time - under a new Care Leaver Covenant initiative.

Details of the scheme, which is managed by Warwickshire County Council, will be unveiled at a Care Leaver Covenant event at Old Shire Hall, Warwick, on Friday 15th February (1pm-3.30pm).

All employers will be welcome at the event at which the guest speaker will be Nadhim Zahawi, Conservative MP for Stratford Upon Avon. Full details of the scheme will be given and some care-leavers will tell their stories.

The Care Leaver Covenant is a key policy contained in the ‘Keep on Caring’ policy document published by the Government in July 2016. The Covenant is a promise made by the private, public and voluntary sectors to provide support for care leavers aged 16-25 to help them to live independently.

They need that support. Forty per cent of care leavers aged 19 to 21 are not in education, employment or training (NEET), compared to 13 per cent for this age group overall.

Under the Care Leaver Covenant, businesses provide those leaving care with a different type of support and expertise from that provided by local authorities. In return, the employers can encourage and tap into the skills and commitment to build a career which many care leavers possess.

"Whilst there is overwhelming evidence that care leavers can find themselves at the ‘thin end of the wedge,’ we also have first-hand knowledge of many success stories," said John Coleman, Head of Children & Families for Warwickshire County Council. "These show how care leavers can overcome adversity and succeed in spite of their circumstances.

"The Care Leaver Covenant is a kite mark for organisations who want to celebrate their contribution to helping care leavers have a greater chance at success. Businesses have a huge role to play. Drawing on the resourcefulness and imagination of their staff and their working environment, they can offer real opportunities and a new way of thinking to aid the care leavers in moving forward successfully to the next phase of their lives."

Business which sign up will provide care leavers with opportunities to enter employment, such as work experience or shadowing placements, internships, traineeships and apprenticeships.

Such placements mean that care leavers will be better prepared to live independently and have improved access to employment, education and training. They will also experience stability in their lives, have improved access to health and emotional support and can achieve financial stability.

The Care Leavers Covenant Event for Local Businesses in Warwickshire will be held on Friday 15th February at Old Shire Hall, 5-9 Northgate St, Warwick CV43 4SP

To book a place event please email Charity Miller at charitymiller@warwickshire.gov.uk

Briefing will outline business opportunities from 2022 Commonwealth Games

“The evidence from previous games shows that businesses in the area around the host city tend to win the majority of contracts.

Businesses in Warwickshire will be given an insight on how to go for Commonwealth Games gold at an event this March.

The senior team behind the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will visit NAEC Stoneleigh to deliver a briefing session on potential business and procurement opportunities that will be up for grabs  before and during the big event.

The briefing has been arranged by Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce as part of the programme for their 'Trade Local' Business Expo on Friday, March 15 at Stoneleigh Park when hundreds of firms from across the region will come together to network and do business.

Around 80 per cent of contracts for previous Games have been secured by firms in the region around the host city and firms across Coventry and Warwickshire are being urged to be alive to the opportunities.

Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Commonwealth Games coming to the region is huge and we want companies across Coventry and Warwickshire to understand what opportunities are already available and what there is in the pipeline.

“The evidence from previous games shows that businesses in the area around the host city tend to win the majority of contracts. Therefore we want to bring companies across our patch up to speed with the potential opportunities so we are delighted to have secured a briefing with the organisers at our Expo.

"Our Business and Trade Expos continue to attract hundreds of companies from across the region and preparations have been underway for the event in March for several weeks. Our Go For Growth: Trade Local campaign is all about getting companies across the patch doing business with one another and being more pro-active at events such as this when looking to land new work.

“We are also keen to promote major opportunities through the campaign with major public and private sector bodies.

The Business Briefing will take place between 8am-10am on Friday 15th March 2019 at NAEC Stoneleigh. The Chamber’s Trade Local Business Expo will then open at 10am and Business Briefing delegates are invited to join the Expo at the close of the briefing.

To find out more and register to attend, please go to www.cwexpo.co.uk

Accommodation Study will review supply and demand

"We encourage all local businesses to participate in this research which will support the growth of this vital sector in the future.”

A comprehensive study of accommodation across Warwickshire has been commissioned to help the county fully exploit the economic potential of a number of upcoming major events and projects in the region.

Warwickshire County Council, in partnership with the District and Borough Councils, has appointed leading consultants M-Assessment Services to conduct an accommodation study for the county.

The study will review existing supply and demand and create an action plan to encourage development and investment though to 2030.

A number of major events and projects will impact the county over the coming years including the Coventry City of Culture in 2021, the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022, and the development of the HS2 rail project.

The review will determine the levels of visitor accommodation already available in the county. It will focus on the traditional accommodation sector represented by hotels, B&Bs and self-catering and also developing products represented by the home stay sector, led by Airbnb and other operators.

Alex Holmes, Visitor Economy Manager at Warwickshire County Council said “This is an important and necessary review to plan effectively for these major events and also to understand the current demand from both UK and International visitors travelling for both leisure and business. 

"We encourage all local businesses to participate in this research which will support the growth of this vital sector in the future.”

Deborah Heather, Head of M-Assessment Services said: “We are delighted to be working with both the County and District and Borough Councils to deliver this important piece of work.  The visitor economy is hugely important to the region and we believe our work will support its ongoing development”.

The report will be delivered by the end of March.

New business units coming to Warwick

Planning permission has been secured for a development of up to 15 new business units in Warwick which could see 80 jobs attracted to the area.

Development and investment company AC Lloyd has obtained planning permission from Warwick District Council to provide 30,000 sq ft of premises for business, production and warehousing off Plato Close in Tachbrook Park.

The company, which is also based at Tachbrook Park, plans to start work in March to create up to 15 units for purchase or rental for a wide range of industries including hi-tech, engineering, light engineering and storage.

Mark Edwards, a director at AC Lloyd, said ten of the units had been snapped up before planning permission had been granted at the site it has owned since the 1980s.

“Warwick is a popular area for businesses however large or small because of its location and transport links and Tachbrook Park continues to thrive year-on-year,” he said.

“We have had significant interest in the scheme since we put forward the application to Warwick District Council and that will only grow now consent has been granted.

“There could be as many as 80 people working at this new development and the fact we have attracted the attention of a variety of businesses is another positive since it highlights the breadth of skills in the area as well as successful businesses wanting to expand or move to the area.

“We have agreed the sale of a further two units since receiving planning permission. Enquiries have remained strong, despite the wider economic challenges ahead of us, and we are confident the remaining units will be sold or rented in the near future and it would be great to have sold the remaining units before the business park is ready to open for trading.

“Construction will begin in March and we hope the units will be completed by the end of 2019 so that we can play our part in adding a further boost to the local economy.”

AC Lloyd bought the 132-acre site in the 1980s, initially in partnership with P&O, and the bustling area has attracted high-profile companies including Jaguar Land Rover, TATA, Holiday Inn, Ford, Renault, Bridgestone, Wright Hassall and Wolseley.

CW Connect created to keep businesses informed

Coventry and Warwickshire companies will be able to bid for new contracts with local and national organisations via a revolutionary new web platform for the region.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP Growth Hub to launch CW Connect to offer up-to-the-minute business opportunities to firms across the area.

The site will allow businesses of all sizes and sectors the chance to post new contract and tender opportunities, allowing companies with a CV postcode to pitch. Procurement opportunities from local authorities in the region will also be linked to the portal (as well as on the dedicated home for these opportunities: www.csw-jets.co.uk).

The platform has been developed by the same company that created the CompeteFor site for the London Olympics in 2012 and it will bring together tender opportunities from other websites

There will be a £199 charge per user to gain access to the opportunities showcased on the platform but existing Chamber of Commerce members will be given access for free, thanks to the collaboration between the Chamber and the CWLEP Growth Hub.

Craig Humphrey, managing director of the Growth Hub, said: “This is an incredible opportunity for companies across our region to bid for and win new business.

“We want large organisations to place their opportunities here – including everyone from local authorities through to HS2 – but we would also like smaller businesses to do likewise. Even if you just require new post-it notes, put that on the portal and see if you can find a local supplier.

“You don’t have to subscribe to advertise opportunities but you will need to sign-up if you want to be able to bid for work through the portal. And you have to be based in Coventry and Warwickshire if you want to subscribe and pitch for the work.”

Louise Bennett, the chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said the new CW Connect portal fitted perfectly with the Chamber’s Go For Growth: Trade Local campaign.

She said: “We launched Trade Local to get firms across the patch doing more business with one another and we want that to be everything from small orders to major contracts and everything in between.

“So we are delighted to be partnering with the CWLEP Growth Hub in this initiative because we can see the benefits it will bring to our members and to the wider economy.

“We are encouraging as many organisations as possible to post their opportunities on the portal so that it makes a positive start and gets companies trading locally.

“We have invested in it in order to be able to offer our existing members a free log-in so that they can use CW Connect to help them Go For Growth.”

Special Feature

Has Warwickshire bounced back from the 2008/09 crash?

"Warwickshire is better-placed than most to weather any economic turbulence ahead"

2018/19 marks ten years since the dark days of 'the crash' - the financial crisis which saw the UK economy hit by record unemployment, a collapse in house prices and a halt in productivity.

For consumers and businesses it was an extremely challenging time. So ten years on, is the UK still feeling the effects? And has Warwickshire, with its vibrant economy, managed to ‘bounce back’?

The answer to the both question, according to in-depth analysis by Warwickshire Economics, is: Yes.

In the first case, emphatically yes - the UK is still dealing with the ripples sent out by the crash a decade ago.

With regard to Warwickshire bouncing back, again yes - albeit to a degree limited by the inevitable pressures of recent years with the increased Consumer Price Index and sustained austerity.

Despite the considerable long-term fallout from the crash, as 2019 deepens, Warwickshire’s economy is doing well and better than most regions, with record low unemployment, the third-largest wage growth in the country and unparalleled productivity.

There is no room for complacency, however. Economic historian Charles Kindleberger argues that that a recession will occur every 10 years or so, in which case there is another one just round the corner.

But while increasing levels of debt combined with ongoing austerity suggests the UK as a whole is still suffering a hangover from '08/09, Warwickshire is better-placed than most to weather any economic turbulence ahead, according to exclusive research by Warwickshire County Council graduate economist Emily Newport.

To read her full report please visit: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/economicassessment  and find ‘10 Years since the Financial Crisis’ in the Latest Research section.


Guest column

TeenTech is coming to Warwickshire and the West Midlands

Warwickshire County Council works constantly with businesses and education-providers to ensure a flow of trained, motivated young people into the region's workforce. From 2019, it will have another ally in that mission - TeenTech.

For ten years, Teentech has run initiatives across the UK to help young people understand the opportunities offered by industry today - and equip them with the skills they need to take them. Former Tomorrow's World presenter Maggie Philbin OBE, co-founder of TeenTech, explains.

Hello everyone. I am delighted to have the opportunity, through Warwickshire Means Business, to introduce TeenTech, explain what we do and outline what we are very much looking forward to bringing to Warwickshire and the West Midlands.

I know that Warwickshire County Council's Economy & Skills team, along with partner organisations, already does loads of great work to tackle the Skills Gap which affects so many businesses in the tech-sector. Helping them to bridge that gap is what TeenTech is all about.

Since its formation in 2008, TeenTech has achieved great results in various parts of the country and now we are keen to work collaboratively with companies across Warwickshire and the West Midlands. With your help and support we will build a programme of activity which enhances opportunities for young people across the region.

The programme will be organised in partnership with local authorities and schools, as well as industry. It will consist of a series of carefully-planned initiatives to help young people (aged eight to 19) understand the opportunities available to them and, most importantly, highlight their own potential to participate. 

It will then culminate in an annual festival day which will showcase students’ work and the exciting businesses and opportunities available. TeenTech is not about suggesting a quick fix then moving on - it is about creating long-lasting benefits. We work carefully and respectfully across the region and are not here to compete with other organisations. When it comes to skills support we are all pulling in the same direction, so we will be pleased to promote and support existing activity and invite providers to participate in the festival to signpost their own opportunities. 

Working face-to-face with over 10,000 young people, and indirectly with tens of thousands more, every year we measure impact and, from this, we know our initiatives are particularly powerful in encouraging girls and students from disadvantaged backgrounds to consider careers in technology, engineering, construction and the applied sciences.

We provide these students and schools with a framework of activity and a network of useful contacts and opportunities helping them develop ‘STEM capital.’ TeenTech will provide support for organisations who may never have worked with young people before. 

Our aim is to provide a powerful network for schools and young people and increase their awareness of the needs of a fast-changing world of employment. So please do get involved.

Businesses of all sizes are welcome - whether you wish to act as an event sponsor, join the steering group for the region or provide industry volunteers/mentors or run activities on the festival day. We look forward to working with you as we build our programme for Warwickshire and the West Midlands over the coming months.

If you would like any more information, or would like to get involved, please do get in touch at maggie@teentechevent.com.

To find out more about TeenTech, please visit www.teentech.com.

Thank you.




Local Business Events

MTC Open Evening: Thurs 24th Jan, Manufacturing Technology Centre, Pilot Way, Ansty Park, Coventry, CV7 9JU (Free) https://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/event/mtc-open-evening-2

Cheltenham BIG Breakfast Meeting: Fri 25th Jan, 7:00-10:00am, The Wilson, Clarence Street, Cheltenham, GL50 3JT  


#FSBConnect Rugby Networking Breakfast: Fri 25th Jan, 7:00-9:00am, The Arnold House At Rugby, Elsee Rd, Rugby CV21 3BA


Working in new markets:Africa: Fri 25th Jan, 8:30-10:30am, Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, Commerce House, Festival Park, Stone-on-Trent ST1

5BE https://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/event/working-new-markets-africa

FREE Business Support Session:Warwick: Fri 25th Jan, The Old Clink,  The Halloway, Market Square, CV34 4SJ


Women in Business: Thurs 29th Jan, Village Hotel Club, Dolomite Avenue, Coventry Business Park, West Midlands, CV4 9GZ (Chamber Member:£35 + VAT, Non Chamber Member£45+ VAT)


Email Marketing that works: Tues 29th Jan, 09:30-16:00, Althorpe Enterprise Hub, Althorpe Street, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, CV31 2GB (TBC + VAT)


The City of Coventry Freeman’s Guild Apprentice of the Year Awards: Tues 29th Jan, 7:30pm-11:30pm, St Mary’s Hall


Guaranteed Business Growth Training Seminar: Tues 29th Jan, Birmingham City Football Club, St.Andrews Stadium, Cattell Rd, Birmingham, B9 4RL


FREE Business Support Session:Coventry: Tues 29th Jan, Coventry & Warwickshire Growth Hub, Enterprise Centre, Coventry University Technology Park, Puma Way, CV1 2TT


Ocean plastic solutions - consortium building workshop: Weds 30th Jan, Sandwell Business Solutions Centre, Sandwell College, 1 Spon Lane, West Bromwich, B70 6AW


Thinking of Starting a Business (Coventry) Session ¼: Weds 30th Jan, Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, chamber House, Cheetah Rd, CV1 2TL


An Introduction to Marketing (Coventry) Session 2/4: Weds 30th Jan, 1:00-4:00pm, Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Chamber House, Cheetah Rd, Coventry, CV1 2TL


West Midlands Process Monitoring Workshop: Thurs 31st Jan, 08:00am-1:00pm, School of Metallurgy and Materials, Elms Rd, Birmingham, B15 2SE


YouTube Video Workshop: Thurs 31st Jan, Serious Games Institute, Coventry, CV1


Branding - What is a brand and how to create one: Thurs 31st Jan, Althorpe Enterprise Hub, Althorpe Street, Leamington Spa, CV31 2GB


New Member Workshop: Thurs 31st Jan, 10:00-11:30, DoubleTree by Hilton, Coventry Paradise Way, Walsgrave Triangle, Coventry, West Midlands, CV2 2ST (Free)


The Henley Hub: Thurs 31st Jan, 11:30-14:00, UBCUK Henley-in-Arden, Forward House, 17 High Street, Henley-in-Arden, B95 5AA (Free)


Chamber Means Business: Thurs 31st Jan, 11:30-14:00, DoubleTree by Hilton Coventry, Paradise Way, Walsgrave Triangle, Coventry, West Midlands, CV2 2ST (Free)


Interactive Futures 2019: Wed 31st Jan - Sat 2nd Feb, Leamington Spa (From £free)



Midlands Business Network February expo 2019: Fri 1st Feb, 10:00am-3:00pm, Ricoh Arena, Judds Lane, Coventry, CV6 6GE


Companies House & The Business Support Helpline: First steps towards setting up your company: Fri 1st Feb, 10:00-11:00am


How to create your own footfall: 11th Feb, 25th Feb, 4th Mar, 25th Mar, 10:00 - 14:00, Bedworth Cricket Club, CV12 8JH (Free)

Email: towns@warwickshire.gov.uk

How to create your own footfall: 12th Feb, 26th Feb, 5th Mar, 26th Mar, 10:00 - 14:00, Peacock Hotel, Kenilworth, 149 Warwick Road, CV8 1HY (Free) 

Email: towns@warwickshire.gov.uk

FREE Business Support Session Coventry: Tues 5th Feb, 9:00am-2:00pm, Coventry & Warwickshire Growth Hub, Enterprise Centre, Coventry University Technology Park, Puma Way, CV1 2TT


Winning and Keeping Customers (Coleshill) Session: Tues 5th Feb, 09:30am-1:30pm, Coleshill Town Hall, Coleshill, Birmingham, B46 3BG


FSBConnect Stratford ‘First Wednesday’: Weds 6th Feb, 7:00-08:45am, El Greco, 27 Rother St, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6NE https://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/event/fsbconnect-stratford-first-wednesday-7

Getting the Most out of Google for your Business - SEO & Analytics: Weds 6th Feb, 09:30am-4:00pm, Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Chamber House, Cheetah Rd, Coventry, CV1 2TL


Winning and Keeping Customers (Leamington) Session: Weds 6th Feb, 09:30am-1:30pm, Althorpe Enterprise Hub, Althorpe Street, Leamington Spa, CV31 2GB


FREE Business Support Session: Atherstone: Weds 6th Feb, 10:00am-2:00pm, North Warwickshire Borough Council, Council House, South St, Atherstone, CV9 1DE


The Warwickshire Virtual Assistant Network Forum: Weds 6th Feb, 10:00am-12:00pm, The Fat Pug, 23 Guy’s Cliffe Rd, Leamington Spa, CV32 5BZ


Business Breakfast Meeting Briefing: Thurs 7th Feb, 08:00-10:00am, BMW Group Plant Hams Hall, Canton Ln, Coleshill, Birmingham, B46 1GB


The Warwickshire Virtual Assistant Network Forum & Training: Thurs 7th Feb, 10:00-2:00pm, The Fat Pug, 23 guy’s Cliffe Rd, Leamington Spa, CV32 5BZ


Time to Talk Day 2019: Thurs 7th Feb


 Update: International Trade & Customs Post - Brexit: Thurs 7th Feb, 09:00-11:00am, Holiday Inn Kenilworth, Abbey End, Kenilworth, CV8 1ED


Leamington Forum Big Breakfast: Fri 8th Jan, 07:00-09:00am


How to create your own footfall: 11th Feb, 25th Feb, 4th Mar, 25th Mar, 10:00 - 14:00, Bedworth Cricket Club, CV12 8JH (Free)

Email: towns@warwickshire.gov.uk

How to create your own footfall: 12th Feb, 26th Feb, 5th Mar, 26th Mar, 10:00 - 14:00, Peacock Hotel, Kenilworth, 149 Warwick Road, CV8 1HY (Free)

Email: towns@warwickshire.gov.uk

Social Enterprise Business Support Session in Atherstone: Tues 12th Feb, 09:00-12:00pm, North Warwickshire Borough Council, Council House, South St, Atherstone, CV9 1DE


Chamber Networking: Weds 13th Feb, 4:30pm-6:00pm, Venture House Business Centre, Avenue Farm Industrial Estate, Birmingham Rd, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 0HR 


Put your Social Media House in order: Thurs 14th feb,09:30am-4:00pm, Valiant Office Suites, Lumonics House, Valley Dr, Rugby, CV21 1TQ


Accountancy Made Easy for new startup businesses: Thurs 14th feb, 09:30am-1:30pm, Rural Innovation Centre, Avenue H, Stoneleigh Park, Stoneleigh, Kenilworth, CV8 2LG


FSB Small Business Awards: West Midlands: Fri 15th Feb, 12:00pm-4:00pm, Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country, Maxstoke Lane Meriden, Birmingham, Coventry CV7 7HR


35 under 35 Evening Warks: Mon 18th Feb, 5:30pm-7:30pm, Warwick Street Kitchen, 102 Warwick St, Leamington Spa, CV32 4QP


Brexit Planning for Importers & Exporters: Tues 19th Feb, 09:00-4:00pm


Consultancy for care: weds 20th Feb, 07:00am-08:30am, Southam Community Church, Coventry Street, Southam, CV47 0EP


Customs Compliance & AEO Workshop: Weds 20th Feb, 09:00am-4:00pm, Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Chamber House, Cheetah Rd, Coventry CV1 2TL


FSBConnect Rugby Networking Breakfast 4th Friday by FSB West Midlands: Fri 22nd Feb, 07:00-09:00am, The Arnold House At Rugby, Elsee Rd, Rugby, CV21 3BA


FREE Business Support Session:Warwick: Fri 22nd Feb, Coventry & Warks LEP, The Old Clink, Warwick, CV34 4SJ https://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/event/free-business-support-session-warwick-2


GrowthPlus: Mergers and acquisitions; preparing for sale or integration: Wed 13th March, 08:00 - 10:00, Warwick Innovation Centre, CV34 6UW (Free)

RSVP: ian.mcfarlanetoms@uwsp.co.uk

 Trade Local Business Expo 2019: Fri 15th March, 10:00 - 15:00, NAEC Stoneleigh, CV8 2LZ, (Free)



C&W Business Festival: https://www.cwbusinessfestival.com/

Tech Central: http://techcentraluk.com/events.html

Business Ready: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/business-ready-12629314668

Coventry University Enterprises: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/cue-business-solutions-13651209205

C&W Chamber of Commerce: https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/

C&W Growth Hub: http://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/events

CW Champions: https://www.coventry-warwickshire.co.uk/events

Midlands Business Network: http://themidlandsbusinessnetwork.co.uk/events/

Leamington Hour: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/leamington-hour-7578817945

Stratford Business Forum: http://www.stratford-business-forum.co.uk/

Leamington Business Forum: http://www.leamington-business-forum.co.uk/

The Henley Hub: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-henley-hub-tickets-51519328699

Southam Business Forum: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/southam-business-forum-8369172972

Warwickshire VA Network: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/the-warwickshire-virtual-assistant-network-16829545906

News in Brief

News in Brief

Turnover edges towards £400m at Tech giant

Turnover has edged closer to the £400m mark at a Warwick-based technology giant which counts Airbus, BT and Stagecoach among its clients.Telent Technology Services provides services to the defence, rail, traffic and public safety sectors.


Train battery deal signed  

A deal has been signed by two West Midlands companies to design and integrate batteries to power a new class of passenger train. Stratford-upon-Avon-based rolling stock manufacturer Vivarail and Hoppecke Industrial Batteries in Newcastle-under-Lyme are to work together on the project for the Warwickshire firm's Class 230 range. https://www.insidermedia.com/insider/midlands/train-battery-deal-signed

CWLEP searching for new board director

The Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) is searching for an energetic business leader to join its board of directors.The CWLEP, which was established in 2011, is led by a group of board members from the private, public and educational sectors in the area.The CWLEP is now seeking a non-executive director from the private sector and is encouraging applications from women and from across Coventry and Warwickshire’s diverse community. https://www.cwlep.com/news/cwlep-searching-new-board-director

Plans to transform town centre over next 30 years published                          

Plans to regenerate Nuneaton town centre and the surrounding area over the next 30 years have been published.Transforming Nuneaton programme has been launched showing the aspirations of Warwickshire County Council, Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council and other partners including the local enterprise partnership. https://www.insidermedia.com/insider/midlands/plans-to-transform-town-centre-of-30-years-published

Businessman hails University for start-up help                                                      

A Warwickshire businessman has paid tribute to the University of Warwick after it helped him transform a start-up idea into a £50m business which he sold last year. He enrolled on the Team Start programme for would-be entrepreneurs offered through the University of Warwick Science Park (UWSP) before setting out on his own. https://www.insidermedia.com/insider/midlands/businessman-hails-university-for-start-up-help

Double acquisition for BigChange                                                               

Workforce technology company BigChange has acquired two businesses based in the West Midlands.The company has bought Labyrinth Logistics Consulting, a supply chain and logistics consultancy based in Royal Leamington Spa. BigChange has also acquired Trace Systems, a provider of fleet, garage and workshop management software which works with fleet operators across the UK, including plant hire and haulage companies, local authorities and the emergency services. https://www.insidermedia.com/insider/yorkshire/double-acquisition-for-bigchange

RSC to help develop immersive technologies                                                      

The Royal Shakespeare Company is to take part in a £18m government scheme to develop immersive technologies such as virtual reality for audiences.The Stratford-upon-Avon organisation is to receive part of the funding to help develop the experiences and will lead a consortium of 15 specialist groups from the theatre, music, video production, gaming and research industries https://www.insidermedia.com/insider/midlands/rsc-to-help-develop-immersive-technologies

Raising awareness of County Lines.                                             

The commute of gang members from major cities to nearby small rural urban areas for the purpose of enhancing their profit from drug distribution has come to be known as working “County Lines”.Although Warwickshire is a safe place to live and is getting better at disrupting county lines gangs operating across the area, there is still a need for businesses and the public to look out for signs of county lines drug dealing and report it to the police. https://www.warwickshirebusinesswatch.co.uk/county-lines/

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