Welcome from Strategic Director for Communities, Mark Ryder

Hello and welcome to the March edition of Warwickshire Means Business.

These remain challenging times for the business community with the increase in living and fuel costs adding to the pressures imposed by the pandemic and the well known challenges with many supply chains. As these pressures continue, so will Warwickshire County Council's commitment to supporting businesses in every way that we can.

During the last year, the County Council has awarded more than £2.28million in loans and grants to businesses across the county. We have made it our twin priorities to keep adapting our support to the evolving needs of businesses and to make the support available as swiftly as possible. I am proud to say, on both fronts, we have achieved that.

That support, in collaboration with our partners in the region, remains ongoing and, alongside a wide range of established programmes, new ones are coming on track all the time. In this edition of WMB we feature Warwickshire Brighter Futures, a programme which is giving young people the employability skills they need to start their careers, and at the same time helping employers find the talented young recruits they need.

We also report the launch of Business Futures, whereby Warwickshire entrepreneurs have a chance to receive £1,000 to help start their own business.

It is pleasing to report that the very successful Business Ready programme, which has stimulated so many start ups and small businesses, has been extended for another year. Meanwhile, our £140million Warwickshire Recovery Investment Fund (WRIF) is gathering momentum. The first project to be supported by the WRIF's Business Investment Growth strand will be announced soon, a very exciting development that we will cover in the April edition of WMB.

In this edition, we also preview the Foodie Awards which will showcase our county's wonderful food, drink and hospitality offer and we feature the inspiring community effort in Nuneaton, coordinated by Aneta, a tenant at the Centenary Business Centre, to gather support for the people Ukraine.

Finally from me, with the cricket season starting next week, we highlight the bond between the County Council and Warwickshire County Cricket Club (the reigning county champions). The Bears are keen to strengthen their links with our business community which is great news - as vividly shown throughout all the challenges of the last couple of years, working together is the best way forward.

Best wishes,


Featured News

WCC loan and grant payments to businesses pass £2.28million in last year

"The pandemic has been such a challenging time for many businesses and, at every point, we have tried to ensure that our support is tailored to what they need."

Warwickshire County Council's support for businesses during and post-Covid goes from strength to strength with the total loan and grant payments made by the council in the last year now past £2.28million.

The money has been directed to businesses at a time when they most need it through a range of access to finance programmes: Adapt & Diversify, Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Coventry and Warwickshire Duplex Fund, Retail and Hospitality, Small Capital Grants and the Survive, Sustain and Grow programme.

The Council's Business & Economy team has engaged with over 850 businesses on these programmes in the last two years, and the Council has funded loans and grants in excess of £5 million leading to the protection or creation of well over 1,500 jobs.

The Adapt & Diversity grants scheme proved phenomenally popular with both rounds fully subscribed within a day of opening for applications. It awarded a total of £1.5 million to 118 business.

That scheme, like the Retail & Hospitality grants and the Survive, Sustain and Grow programme, were created in response to the pandemic. They were part of the County Council's economic recovery response as the council sought to swiftly adapt its support to the evolving needs of the small business community .

The Duplex Fund, which is delivered by Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust, and the Small Capital Grants predate Covid but have continued to be available to businesses during the pandemic.

At a time of unprecedented challenge, businesses throughout the county have benefited as a result of these County Council schemes which have required much administration to process, sometimes to very tight deadlines.

Warwickshire County Council's Lead Commissioner (Business & Economy) Matthew Epps paid tribute to his team which has burned a lot of midnight oil to ensure that support reached businesses as quickly as possible.

"The pandemic has been such a challenging time for many businesses and, at every point, we have tried to ensure that our support is tailored to what they need," he said. "All along, we have also been very aware that, in many cases, time was of the essence and that business needed to access finance, whether loans or grants, as quickly as possible.

"That is where, more than ever, my team has risen to the occasion. They worked ridiculously long hours over a sustained period to assess applications and make sure claims were processed and the support was received. They have truly played their part in supporting and stabilising many businesses and jobs through Warwickshire and I am really proud of them. I am equally proud of the rest of the team who had to pick up other work because of the focus on these programmes."

Warwickshire County Council's Portfolio Holder for Economy & Place, Cllr Kam Kaur, said: "I am delighted that we have now paid more than £2.28 million in grants and loans to businesses during the last year as part of a £5 million investment by the Council in access to finance over the last two years.

"Throughout every phase of the pandemic we have sought to keep our support as relevant and quickly accessible as possible and I am very proud of our award-winning Business & Economy and wider Economy & Skills team for the way they have so often gone the extra mile to get support out to where it is needed as quickly as possible."

Foodie Awards offers chance to showcase excellence

"The whole point of the awards is to really focus on the producers and makers of food and drink that we all enjoy."

 Entries are now open for the 2022 Foodie Awards, created to celebrate the makers and providers of wonderful food, drinks and hospitality experiences across Coventry and Warwickshire.

Businesses have until April 30 to enter for the Awards which will be handed out at the Foodie Awards Night at The Box, Fargo Village, on June 16.www.foodieawards.co.uk 

The Awards will showcase the richness and diversity of the food, drink and hospitality sectors throughout the Coventry & Warwickshire region. They will highlight the collective quality of the region's food offer, while also giving individual businesses an opportunity to shine. 

One of last year's award-winners, Michael Price, has seen his spicy food business. Prices Spices, in Budbrooke, go from strength to strength. 

"I have always had a passion for chillies and started the business in 2012 when I grew too many of them!" he said. "Three years after starting the business I gave up my full-time job at Aston Martin Lagonda to focus on growing Prices Spices. Since then we have been selling in the area and attending food and drink festivals. The amazing food scene across Warwick and Leamington is what makes it special for us." 

Michael is proud to be part of that vibrant scene which is underpinned by hundreds of small businesses each excelling in their own particular area of expertise. 

"The local economy is like the food chain," he said. "You only need to take one or more parts out of the chain and it all collapses. Without small businesses, we would all buying the same things all over the country which would be a great shame. 

"Winning a Foodie Award was fantastic for us and really helped lift our profile. We are now in the midst of setting up a secondary business specialising in charcuterie. We will be pushing out more Italian style Coppa, French Saucisson Sec and Spanish style Chorizo among many more delicious, cured meats." 

Awards founder Jonathan Smith said: "I'm delighted that Prices Spices and all the other winners from last year have grown as a result of the raised profile from the awards. The whole point of the awards is to really focus on the producers and makers of food and drink that we all enjoy. I would encourage all producers to have a look at www.foodieawards.co.uk and get involved. 

"2022 will be an exciting year for the Foodie Awards. After two years of restrictions due to Covid, now we can start doing more and this year it is not just about one event, it will be a rolling programme. We are planning a show where people from the food and drink industry nationally can meet local buyers. We are also planning Sunday Showcase in the summer with things like Best Family Pub and Best Afternoon Tea." 

Warwickshire County Council's Portfolio Holder for Economy and Place, Cllr Kam Kaur, said: "The Foodie Awards are all about celebrating the best of Warwickshire and there is so much excellence in the food, drink and hospitality sector across our county, the competition is sure to be hot! 

"Throughout the last two very difficult years for this sector, at Warwickshire County Council, we have tried to constantly adapt our support to its evolving needs, as with our Retail & Hospitality Grants, and I am delighted to support the Foodie Awards. I urge all businesses to take this opportunity to showcase their particular expertise."  

For more details, please visit www.foodieawards.co.uk 

Therapy Centre moves to "another level" expands thanks to Small Capital Grant

"One of my clients suggested I contact the county council...he received some support which really made a difference to his business and said they were great to deal with and knew their stuff. I'm so glad I took his advice!"

A therapy centre in Warwickshire is growing as a business and expanding its benefit to the community after receiving a Small Capital Grant from Warwickshire County Council.

Therapy & Fitness Centre (formerly Leamington Therapy Centre) has increased its treatments room from two to five, taken on a podiatrist and a receptionist and will soon add another sports therapist to its staff.

The Centre has never been so busy, so it needed to expand and the grant enabled it to do that, moving into a newly-refurbished base in Warwick Street in February.

Business owner Lisa Moore hosted an open day there earlier this month to welcome potential new customers and thank those who have been treated by her and her staff for years.

After some inevitable difficulties caused by lockdowns and the pandemic, business is now booming - and the Small Capital Grant has played a significant role in that, said Lisa.

"The grant has helped take the business to another level," she said. "It enabled us to buy equipment so that we could move from two treatment rooms to five in our new base right in the heart of town.

"We are now in a great location. There has been a lot of change in the high street in the last year or two with some retailers moving out and that enabled us to us to move into the gap. Quite a lot of people in Leamington don't drive and now we are right where the footfall is greatest."

Lisa's clients, who undergo a wide range of massages and treatments to assist with pain relief, have much to be thankful to her for - and she is very grateful to them for their loyal support...and to one in particular for a piece of very good advice.

"It was one of my clients who suggested I contact the county council," she said. "He received some support which really made a difference to his business and said they were great to deal with and knew their stuff. I'm so glad I took his advice.

"We have had so much interest at the open day and since and I just want to say a big thank to the county council and all my wonderful staff and customers."

Warwickshire County County's Portfolio Holder for Economy & Place, Cllr Kam Kaur said: "Our Small Capital Grants have been phenomenally successful in supporting small businesses across the county since 2015 and Therapy & Fitness Centre is a great example. It is a resilient, enterprising small business which gives so much to its community and we are delighted to have played a part in its growth."

Laura Delahunty, business navigator at the Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Hub, added: “When we first spoke with Lisa, one of the main areas she was seeking support in was finding new premises to allow her to expand the business so we provided advice about accessing some financial support to carry out refurbishment work.

“She was also exploring options in relation to recruitment and we worked with Lisa to signpost her to the right support as well as introduced her to the team at Warwickshire County Council Small Capital Grant Fund which then led to her finding new premises and securing grant funding for the work that the site required.”

* For more information about the Small Capital Grants scheme, please visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/directory-record/1/warwickshire-county-council-growth-fund-small-capital-grants

Business Ready programme extended for another year

Since 2016, the programme has helped companies across the region raise more than £9 million in funding – either through grants or investment – and has seen the creation of more than 140 jobs.

A business support programme that helps companies across Coventry and Warwickshire to take the next steps to growth has been extended for another year.

Business Ready, which is run by University of Warwick Science Park and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Warwickshire County Council as part of the CW Business: Start, Grow & Scale Programme, has been helping ambitious, tech-based SME firms for more than six years.

Such has been the success of the programme, Business Ready has now been awarded a further £507,000 worth of funding to continue the work until at least June 2023.

Since 2016, the programme has helped companies across the region raise more than £9 million in funding – either through grants or investment – and has seen the creation of more than 140 jobs.

In the most recent phase, from 2019 to the end of 2021, the team at Business Ready has interacted with more than 600 companies and ventures and has delivered long term assistance to more than 100 businesses. It has also helped to nurture 27 high-growth potential companies through their first year of establishing themselves.

The team has also delivered 90 workshops for businesses with over 870 participants being upskilled through the events.

Ian McFarlane-Toms, Business Ready Programme Manager, said it was positive news for the regional economy.

He said: “We are very pleased that the Business Ready Programme has been extended until June 2023 to ensure that more companies across the region can benefit from the support.

“It has already had a very positive impact on individual companies across Coventry and Warwickshire and, therefore, the wider economy and this extension means that great work will continue.

“When the programme was started in 2016, it was with an understanding of what businesses really needed if they were going to grow quickly. We identified that they required access to finance, access to markets, access to skills and knowledge, and access to incubation space.

“Through our team of business advisors and our extensive connections across the region, we have worked with each individual company to tailor the help we’ve given them to their own needs.

“It has worked brilliantly and the feedback from the businesses we’ve helped has been extremely positive. We are looking forward to helping many more companies between now and the end of the programme.”

Warwickshire County Council's Portfolio Holder for Economy & Place, Cllr Kam Kaur, said: “The Business Ready programme has been an unqualified success in helping to support businesses through the pressures of the pandemic and enabling them to stabilise and grow.

"Warwickshire County Council is pleased to continue to support this programme and I urge all business to consider whether the Business Ready programme and the wider CW Business: Start, Grow & Scale Programme could benefit them."

For more information on Business Ready, please go to https://business-ready.co.uk/

Inspiring Aneta's efforts for Ukraine meet overwhelming response

"I asked the people of Nuneaton if they want to help as I know that they want to be part of this. The response has been amazing."

A collection point set up at the Centenary Business Centre, Nuneaton, for donations for families affected by the invasion of Ukraine has met with an "overwhelming" response.

Aneta Warlikowski has been a tenant at the Warwickshire County Council-run centre for five years with her photography business, ABW Studio & Event Media.

As the scale of suffering among Ukrainians emerged, she opened her unit as a base for donations that will be sent to the Poland-Ukraine border. The response from other businesses at the Centenary BC, from the staff there and members of the public, has been staggering.

"A lot of people have been touched by what is happening and want to do something," said Aneta. "We were approached by the Polish church in Coventry who have organised the transport over to the Polish border. They asked me if I could find some space in my studio to help collect the donations.

"I am Polish, we are brothers and sisters with those in the Ukraine. We have the same kind of history and roots and experience with Russia, so we wanted to show solidarity with Ukraine.

"I did a Facebook post and asked the people of Nuneaton if they want to help as I know that they want to be part of this. The response has been amazing."

In light of such a response, Aneta has now created a foundation charity along with Polish friends Karol Klecz and Joanna Szczesniewska. The three business owners are from different sectors and markets and hope that such collaboration will enable them to help even more people in Ukraine. For more information about the foundation please contact togetherorganizations@gmail.com or call 07542 848649 or 07511 322690.

WCC's business centres operations supervisor Lisa Smullen believes Aneta's efforts, and the response from other businesses at the centre and the people of Nuneaton, is truly inspiring.

"Aneta is an amazing person," Lisa said. "She has been the catalyst for so many other people, who wanted to  help, to be able to do so. The response  has been absolutely enormous. Other unit-holders have helped out by sorting donated goods and one of our companies runss a courier service so supplied one of his drivers and a van to ferry stuff to the main collection point.

"Donations have been so vast that larger premises have been secured, with help from WCC, at Unit 9, Bermuda Innovation Centre."

Volunteers from Centenary Business Centre & Hammond Business Centre included: John Canner (Nuneaton Podiatry Clinic), Ian Rowley (Letrix), Liz Taylor Lettings, Joel Technologies (mass supplier of boxes), Nuneaton Sameday Couriers (supplied driver and van), EN Tooling (supplied driver and van), InExpress, Oooh Fudge and BHR (all supplied boxes), Volksbolts, Parker Masters (printed hoodies) plus the staff from the Business Centres.

Donations are still being accepted.Required items are: sleeping bags, flashlights/ torches with batteries, bandages/dressings/plasters, protective equipment - kneepads/rubber gloves/hand warmers, first aid kits, medical supplies, Paracetamol, infant and children's liquid paracetamol, toothpaste and toothbrushes, toiletries, feminine hygiene, nappies, wipes, powdered babies milk, dummies, antiseptic cream, tinned food, crayons for children.

The dropping point is: Ukraine Humanitarian Help, Unit 9, Bermuda Park Innovation Centre, St. Davids Way, Bermuda Park, Nuneaton CV10 750. It is open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10am-5pm. If possible items to be placed in boxes with a description of contents.

Nuneaton in running to become HQ of Great British Railways

“We are proud to bid for this extraordinary opportunity, and believe with our partners in the public and private sector we can build a powerful case for this headquarters to be here in our borough, right at the heart of the country.”

The town of Nuneaton is among those towns and cities bidding to be the new home of Great British Railways (GBR).

Great British Railways is a public organisation announced in 2021 that will absorb Network Rail, bringing together track and train with the aim of delivering a more customer-focused railway, coming into existence in 2023.

It is due to have its headquarters outside London and Nuneaton is one of 42 towns and cities to have submitted a bid and will hope to make a shortlist that will be announced in May 2022. The organisation’s remit will include owning rail infrastructure, receiving fare revenue, running and planning the network and setting most fares and timetables.

Nuneaton is drawing on its many strengths as part of its bid as the largest town in Warwickshire, with one of the largest mainline stations in the Midlands outside of Birmingham New Street. It is also well located for road and air, with a short drive to East Midlands and Birmingham International Airports, and it is located within the logistics ‘golden triangle’ with unrivalled access to the motorway network.

Extensive use of the early railways was made to drive the coal industry in and around Nuneaton. Today, Nuneaton and Warwickshire is a major force in net zero carbon technologies, including rail and light rail technologies.

The relocation of this major HQ facility would provide Nuneaton with a transformational opportunity to regenerate and level up the town. In return, this growing Midlands town will provide Great British Railways with the perfect launching point to revolutionise and repurpose the country’s national railways, located at a central point on the rail network, to access the rail industry operating and design and manufacture eco-system across the Midlands and wider UK.

The HQ would also form a key part of the Transforming Nuneaton Programme, which has the vision to create a vibrant, attractive and prosperous town centre that offers a range of opportunities for everyone.

Councillor Wallace Redford, Portfolio Holder for Transport & Planning at Warwickshire County Council said: “I am fully supportive of this exciting bid with our Partners in Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council.

“Warwickshire boasts an enviable track record of rail innovation as home to the first battery train running on the UK network with Vivarail and the first UK mainline demonstrator for hydrogen fuel, the Hydroflex which was tested and developed at Long Marston. With these accomplishments in mind, I would be delighted to see Nuneaton take on mantle as headquarters of Great British Railways.”

Brent Davis, Chief Executive of Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, said: “We are absolutely committed to bringing the best opportunities we can to our borough, and playing our part in a dynamic and business-focused West Midlands.

“Nuneaton already has a comprehensive programme of transformation underway to help create a vibrant town centre. We have first class links here with the whole of the UK by both road and rail.

“We are proud to bid for this extraordinary opportunity, and believe with our partners in the public and private sector we can build a powerful case for this headquarters to be here in our borough, right at the heart of the country.”

Supporting the bid for Nuneaton rail business leader Colin Flack OBE from Motorail UK Limited, said: “It is my firm belief that for Great British Railways to succeed, it needs to mindful of its pedigree without being constrained in any way by its past.

“The opportunity to look to the future from a location that is not in any way impinged by its history is one that is not to be dismissed lightly. Nuneaton is such a location. Warwickshire is a great County with a dynamic and forward-looking approach to business, innovation and skills and all of these qualities are exemplified in the town of Nuneaton.

“I feel that Nuneaton is uniquely placed to bring a wide range of supply chain excellence to GBR from a location that is forward-looking, resting in a County with an enviable track record in its support to business and collectively a place to build a truly Great British Railway from.”

Residents can follow the campaign on social media using the #NuneatonGBRPlus hashtag.

More information about the Nuneaton Bid can be found on the website: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/NuneatonGBRHQPlus

£40,000 pot to help budding enterpreneurs launch their idea into business

"We have 40 grants available and want to give these to creative and sustainable businesses where £1,000 will make a real difference and support people to succeed."

A training provider with £40,000 in grant funding to distribute to budding Warwickshire entrepreneurs is calling on people to pitch their ideas for a chance to receive £1,000 to help start their own business.

PET-Xi is running their Business Futures programme, providing participants with a range of start-up business support and advice as well as the opportunity to take part in a Dragon’s Den-style pitch for the opportunity to receive a £1,000 grant to launch their idea.

The free, six-week online programme is open to Warwickshire residents who are unemployed and includes sessions on business structure, registration, developing a business plan, social media, marketing and competitor analysis.

The course content is pre-recorded, enabling participants to take part at a time that suits them. Those taking part are also invited to take part in live weekly webinars, are allocated a business mentor and receive a free logo design.

At the end of the programme, participants will be invited to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges and could be awarded one of 40 £1,000 grants.

PET-Xi founder Fleur Sexton is urging those with an idea to sign up.

Fleur said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for budding entrepreneurs in Warwickshire to learn more about setting up and running a business. The pandemic has resulted in a huge number of people having business ideas or re-evaluating their situations, and we want to support them.

“This could be someone who has recently launched their idea and is looking to develop this further, or someone who has an idea but doesn’t know where to start.

“We have 40 grants available and want to give these to creative and sustainable businesses where £1,000 will make a real difference and support people to succeed. We can’t wait to start hearing the pitches.”

Warwickshire County Council leader Cllr Seccombe said: "The Business Futures programme is an innovative and exciting initiative which will stimulate new businesses and provide people with much-needed support and opportunities in pursuing their business ideas. The County Coincil is proud to be the lead authority in this programme."

Business Futures is a government-funded programme through the UK Community Renewal Fund, which is allocated locally through Warwickshire County Council. Participants must be aged between 16 and 65, unemployed and living in Warwickshire.

Further information and details on how to apply is available by calling Gary Drake, of PET-Xi, by calling 07852 030334 or emailing gdrake@pet-xi.co.uk. 

* The Business Futures programme is part of a package of start-up support including Warwickshire County Council’s start-up service (delivered via the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce) and the JumpStart project, delivered via Coventry & Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust. For more information, please visit our business start-up pages. For information about other support, please contact the CWLEP Growth Hub. 

Bears reach out for business connections around Warwickshire

“Warwickshire County Council highly values our renewed and strong relationship with Warwickshire CCC and we are looking forward to building on this in future years.”

Warwickshire County Cricket Club has relaunched its Bears Business Club for the 2022 season.

Having first launched in 2021, the Bears Business Club is designed to bring together members of the business community through exclusive events and networking opportunities across the year.

It's launch arrives as the cricket club, based at Edgbaston, continues to build links with businesses in Warwickshire, where the club has its roots. It was founded at a meeting at the Regent Hotel, Leamington Spa, in 1882.

Warwickshire CCC today has a base at One Mill Street, a collaborative working space where Warwickshire County Council has strong links through sponsorship of the University of Warwick Creative Futures Programme and co-delivery of the Exchange Project.  

The 'Bears', who are reigning county champions, have announced they will bring their first team to Warwickshire for two friendly games this year. The Bears Roadshow will see the first team visit Kenilworth Wardens Cricket Club on Tuesday 31 May to take on a Birmingham & District Premier Cricket League (BDPCL) XI, before facing a Warwickshire County Cricket League (WCL) XI at Coventry & North Warwickshire Cricket Club on Tuesday 9 August.

Both fixtures, which will take place during the school holidays, will form part of a wider day of family fun and community activity, including a girls and boys tournament, junior coaching and an opportunity to meet the Bears players.

“We’re thrilled to be returning to the heart of our county for these two games,” said Director of Cricket Paul Farbrace. “The games have been in the making for the last three years, but sadly Covid has counted against it happening.

Warwickshire County Council Leader Cllr Seccombe said: “We warmly welcome the return of the Warwickshire's first team to its historical roots. These matches, coming at a time when the Bears are reigning County Champions, will be memorable events, encouraging participation and interest in this great game. 

“Warwickshire County Council highly values our renewed and strong relationship with Warwickshire CCC and we are looking forward to building on this in future years.”

The Bears Business Club packages include attendance at up to five exclusive events with the 2022 events calendar to start on the opening day of the County Championship at Edgbaston with a Season Launch Networking Lunch on Thursday 7 April.

Other events include a Bears Curry & Cricket Night (Friday 10 June), Warwickshire Golf Day (at Warwickshire Golf & Country Club, Friday 2 September) and the End of Season Player Awards Dinner (Saturday 1 October).

For further information on membership, please contact Scott Elstone on scottelstone@edgbaston.com.

Skills Hub support helps build new generation of firefighters

"Warwickshire Skills Hub did a fantastic job in getting our recruitment messages out into our communities."

Warwickshire Fire & Rescue Service have recruited 24 new  apprentices after a successful recruiting campaign supported by Warwickshire Skills Hub. 

Twenty-three apprentices have started in two cohorts, commencing last October and January, and ten are already fully functioning in roles in stations across the county.

To assist the recruitment campaign, the Fire & Rescue Service took part in the Skills Hub's Future Careers filming project.

Under the project, which is free, businesses have two videos made to showcase their current and future employment and career pathways.

One of the Fire & Rescue Service's films was shared with secondary schools to use as part of their careers activities. The second, a recruitment film, was shared on the county council's social media and via the Fire & Rescue Service's recruitment platforms.

As a result, the relevant messages got out there to all the right places and the new cohorts were comfortably filled. More films will be made a few months down the line when the new apprentices have settled in, for use in another recruitment drive later in the year.

Rob Hartrick, who oversaw the recruitment process for WFRS, said: "Warwickshire Skills Hub did a fantastic job in getting our recruitment messages out into our communities. Recruitment is so important to us and we really need to get our messages out to as many young people as possible. The Skills Hub helped us to do this in a really accomplished way."

WCC Senior Business Skills Advisor, Vicki Haslam, said: "It is great to support the Fire Service who provide such brilliant support for our communities in so many ways. They do very special work and we, at the Skills Hub, are delighted to have played a part in building the next generation of firefighters.

"The Future Careers Films programme has proved very beneficial to many small businesses and is still open, so any business interested in taking part should visit https://skillshub.warwickshire.gov.uk/businesses/vacanciesdigital-market-place/1

Find out how the Commonwealth Games can benefit your business

Wondering what impact will the Commonwealth Games have on your Warwickshire business? Join an upcoming online webinar to get all the details you need.

This online event is for local businesses or other organisations in the Warwick and Royal Leamington Spa area.

As the region ‘gets set’ for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, now is the perfect time to start planning so that your business and employees are ready.

With over one million spectators from around the globe expected to travel to the Games, there will be significant opportunities for local businesses to benefit. There will also be some impact on the local area, for which you need to be prepared.

Warwick and Royal Leamington Spa are playing host to two Commonwealth Games events in summer 2022: Victoria Park welcomes the Lawn Bowls and Para Lawn Bowls from 29th July to 6th August and Warwick sees the Women’s and Men’s Cycle Road Races on Sunday 7th August.

This one-hour online session will give you the opportunity to find out more about the impacts of these events on the local area and allow your business to Get Set for the Games.

Presentations will be given by the Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee, Warwick District Council and Warwickshire County Council. It will cover some of the exciting events taking place in the run-up to the Games from the Birmingham 2022 Festival and local Culture Fest, as well as information about the Live Sites in Royal Leamington Spa and Warwick where residents will be able to watch live coverage of the Games.

Book your place today: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/birmingham-commonwealth-games-get-set-for-the-games-for-local-businesses-tickets-306620118027

Find out more about the Commonwealth Games in Warwickshire here: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/Birmingham2022commonwealthgames

Awards recognise Coventry & Warwickshire as an FDI powerhouse

“These awards are recognition of the excellent partnership work taking place here between the public and private sector."

Coventry and Warwickshire is among the fastest growing Local Enterprise Partnership regions in the country as a location for foreign investment.

The Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Intelligence Magazine placed Coventry and Warwickshire in the top ten in three categories of its bi-annual FDI European Cities and Regions of the Future Awards.

The area is second for Foreign Direct Investment strategy, seventh for economic potential and ninth for overall winner. The awards were presented at MIPIM – the world’s biggest property development and investment show – which took place this month.

The awards recognise the work done over the last two years to bring forward major initiatives including Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Strategic Reset Framework and Warwickshire County Council’s Warwickshire Recovery and Investment Fund (WRIF).

They are also recognition of the quality of inward investment into key local sectors which include Zero Carbon Transport Technologies, Electric Vehicles and battery technology, and video games development.

In 2021, Coventry and Warwickshire saw major investments from REE Auto, Rimac, Classic Legends BSA motorcycles, Epic Games and Electronic Arts.

Official figures released last year showed that Coventry and Warwickshire continued to be a leading location for foreign investment with the creation of nearly 2,000 new jobs and almost 50 successful foreign direct investments being recorded in the area, representing a year-on-year increase of 10 per cent.

Cllr Kam Kaur, Warwickshire County Council’s portfolio holder for Economy and Place and CWLEP board director, said: “These awards are recognition of the excellent partnership work taking place here between the public and private sector, and the innovative and informed approach our teams are taking to attract and retain investment in the Coventry and Warwickshire area.

“The awards will provide an excellent profile for the area, and we hope will lead to further interest and investment.”

Sarah Windrum, Chair of CWLEP, said the superb results underlined the importance of Coventry and Warwickshire’s partnership approach.

She said: “During the pandemic, CWLEP developed a newly-focused partnership-led Strategic Reset Framework to re-set our economy and continuing to encourage inward investment is paramount in our key sectors.

“These results emphasise the resilience of businesses throughout Coventry and Warwickshire and that we are outperforming many other areas in England.

“That is largely due to the united private and public sector approach that we have always driven at CWLEP since it breaks down barriers and encourages companies to locate here, creating and safeguarding jobs which boosts our economy.”

Fire Protection Team working with businesses

Warwickshire Means Business is pleased to welcome a news series of regular, monthly articles from Warwickshire Fire & Rescue Service. Over the coming months, they will focus on all kinds of support and advice the service offers to businesses. 

Let us introduce: The Fire Protection Team... 

Turning up in a fire engine to fight fires is not the only job of Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service. Our work involves many different aspects, all with the purpose of keeping people safe from fire. 

For the first Warwickshire Means Business article we wanted to raise awareness of the role of our Fire Protection team. 

The Fire Protection team works with businesses and other premises open to the public to ensure that they meet fire safety requirements. This includes reducing the risk of fire as far as possible, as well as making sure that a safe escape can be made if a fire does occur.

You may at some point have had a visit from one of our inspectors. This was most likely a fire safety audit, which assesses compliance with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. We enforce this piece of legislation by auditing premises in accordance with a risk-based inspection programme. 

However, the team also do other work to improve fire safety standards in Warwickshire, such as consulting on Building Regulations, Planning and Licensing applications. Moreover, Fire Protection provide advice to members of the public on fire safety and legislative requirements, investigate complaints, and participate in Safety Advisory Groups for events throughout Warwickshire. 

For more information on Business Fire Safety visit https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/fire-safety-businesses  

Alternatively, if you have any fire safety related queries, please e-mail: firesafety@warwickshire.gov.uk or call 01926 466 263. 

Battery cell start up expands after Business Ready support

“Business Ready’s early advice was so important because it reassured us that there is a network of people outside our organisation that are prepared to help us achieve our goals"

A battery cell start-up  is set to expand and take the next step to scale-up its operation to bring its ideas to industry following support and advice from the Business Ready programme.

Global Nano Network's mission is to develop environmentally friendly battery components that can replace the limited raw materials contained in conventional batteries, such as nickel and cobalt, and improve the overall performance of lithium-ion batteries. The innovations have a broad range of applications such as electric vehicles, heavy machinery, and mobile phones, and can be adapted to work in many other practical applications.

Now support from the Warwickshire County Council-backed Business Ready programme, and also from Coventry City Council, has enabled GNN to reach a position to expand its team and further develop the technology.

GNN, based at the University of Warwick Science Park’s Venture Centre, moved to its current location in January 2021 after starting out from a makeshift lab in Costa Rica in 2017.

The team began researching how nanomaterials (tubes that can be up to 50,000 times thinner than a human hair) could be incorporated into their batteries to make them more efficient and easier to recycle. Inspired by its base in Costa Rica – the first country to pledge to become fully carbon-neutral – Global Nano Network was formed.

The team raised significant seed investment to kick-start its R&D. Now, following on from the significant progress GNN has made, the company is beginning its first scale-up phase.

GNN chief executive Ravi Daswani said: “It seemed like the perfect move considering the UK’s reputation for innovation-led R&D and the country’s investment into battery technology. Coventry and Warwickshire was the perfect location for us to get access to collaborative opportunities, superb connections and world class facilities such as the University of Warwick Science Park.”

GNN had big ideas, but needed funding to move its innovations forward and guidance on how best to apply for grants and raise capital. The team at Business Ready made contact with GNN even before they moved into UWSP, which was incredibly important to enable the team to hit the ground running.

Business Ready advisor Ian McFarlane-Toms provided invaluable advice on the funding landscape across the county and the country and ensuring they had a good relationship with the University of Warwick to utilising its facilities for R&D. With Ian’s help, the company was able to find an accounting firm from the region with the necessary start-up partnership mindset that the firm now retains.

Ian’s advice on grants applications and a later introduction to Coventry City Council proved vital for GNN to grow and develop.

Ravi said: “Business Ready’s early advice was so important because it reassured us that there is a network of people outside our organisation that are prepared to help us achieve our goals. Our integration with Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) was crucial to us and meant we were able to use the expertise and facilities to test our batteries and generate data to help us to consistently improve."

The SME business support teams from both Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council helped GNN access an ERDF Innovation Grant, and an ERDF capital asset grant allowing for the purchase of equipment for its laboratory. The company is pursuing an InnovateUK grant, which if successful, could enable them to expand further.

Ravi added: “I feel very fortunate to have the support of Business Ready and the public sector too. We’ve created a solid foundation on which we can build, and are looking forward to developing our technology even further and creating valuable partnerships within the industry and academia.”

Ian McFarlane Toms, of Business Ready, said: “When Global Nano Network moved to the Science Park from Costa Rica, it was an ambitious start-up that just needed a bit of guidance to move it in the right direction. The firm has progressed rapidly in the time they have been here, and it’s brilliant that they are close to expanding thanks to the grants they have accessed, and their proximity to world class facilities such as WMG.”

Cllr Kam Kaur, Warwickshire County Council Portfolio Holder for Economy and Place, said: “It’s great news that through the Business Ready Programme that is part-funded by this council, we are able to support forward-thinking and innovative businesses such as Global Nano Network to thrive and grow.

“We are fortunate that our region is already a standard-bearer of new and emergent technology and innovation and the continued success of GNN is the very latest example of that fact.”

"Still work to be done" to address gender pay gap

“Where we need to make progress is the gender pay gap because there is still a 15 or 16 per cent difference compared to men and women carrying out the same jobs."

The gender pay gap still needs to be addressed to get closer to equality in the workplace, one of the leading businesswomen in the region has told an audience in Warwickshire.

Louise Bennett, Chief Executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and High Sheriff of the West Midlands, was the guest speaker at its Women in Business Networking Lunch.

Around 60 businesswomen from Coventry and Warwickshire attended the networking lunch at the Billesley Manor Hotel & Spa in Stratford-upon-Avon on International Women’s Day which this year focused on the theme of ‘break the bias’.

Louise, who is set to step down after 19 years at the helm of the Chamber later this year, said there had been much positive progress for women in business throughout her career – but more could be done.

“We are making progress in terms of equality and one noticeable difference is the number of women who hold non-executive director roles,” she said.

“Ten years ago, the number of non-executive directors who were women was 12 per cent and there is now about a 40 per cent representation on the boards of national companies.

“Where we need to make progress is the gender pay gap because there is still a 15 or 16 per cent difference compared to men and women carrying out the same jobs.

“In Coventry and Warwickshire, we continue to champion our women in business and many of our key businesses or organisations are led by women.

“Sarah Windrum is Chair of Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, at Warwickshire County Council, Cllr Izzi Seccombe is the leader and Monica Fogarty is the Chief Executive, Angela Joyce is CEO of WCG (formerly Warwickshire College Group), Carol Thomas is the Principal and CEO of Coventry College, Trish Willetts is BID Director of Coventry Business Improvement District and Fleur Sexton is the Managing Director of PET-Xi and Deputy Lieutenant, representing Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands, to name but a few.

“We really are passionate about female leaders in the Chambers across the UK and we are fortunate to have a strong female leadership, but there is still work to be done for women in business at all levels.”

Keely Hancox, Operations Manager at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said International Women’s Day had been the perfect date to hold its latest Women in Business Networking Lunch.

“It was a different format to our usual line-up of three speakers because following Louise’s talk, she encouraged women in the audience to share their top tips or lessons learnt from their working life,” she said.

“There were some really interesting and thought-provoking answers and it was great to get everyone involved to share their knowledge and expertise.

“The importance of building a team, resilience, consistency, showing kindness to your colleagues and enjoying your job were messages which resonated with those attending.”

Webinar will advise how to reduce waste and increase profitability

Small to medium-sized businesses across Warwickshire are being supported by Warwickshire County Council, Warwick and Stratford District Councils to achieve Net Zero emissions as part of a new and free webinar series.

A series of webinars, delivered by Sustainability West Midlands, covers various aspects of sustainability and achieving Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The webinars follow feedback from businesses across the region that despite the frequency with which sustainability is being discussed there is still lack of clarity around how businesses should respond to it.

The UK Government has set a target to reach Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050.  It has also enshrined this in law, so the target will have to be met, and Warwickshire businesses will have to be part of this solution. In addition to this the County Council, Warwick District Council and Stratford District Council have set more ambitious targets they want to work fowards to achieve Net Zero by 2030.

There has never been a better time than right now for businesses across the county to start thinking about sustainability.

Webinar sessions will cover the following topics:

  • Reduce your waste, increase profitability - 5th April
  • Greener transport  - 26th April
  • Energy saving in your small business - 10th May
  • Engaging your employees and customers - 24th May

Businesses in Warwickshire who would like to book on to these webinars can visit: https://www.sustainabilitywestmidlands.org.uk/news/fuelling-sustainability-in-your-business/

Cllr Heather Timms, Portfolio Holder for Environment, Climate and Culture, said: “2050 may seem like it is a long way off, but rapid changes are required to achieve Net Zero and many customers will be demanding actions now from the businesses that they trade with.  

“These webinars, used elsewhere in the region, are already ensuring that businesses are making these changes and taking advantage of the short-term quick-wins that are available.

“Net Zero and sustainability are being hailed as the next industrial revolution, so I would advise all businesses to sign up to this webinar series today and to begin their journey to Net Zero, sustainability and a brighter future for all.”

SME businesses in Warwickshire can sign-up to this totally free webinar series today, by visiting: https://www.sustainabilitywestmidlands.org.uk/news/fuelling-sustainability-in-your-business/

For more information about how Warwickshire is facing the challenges of the climate change emergency, visit: https://www.warwickshireclimateemergency.org.uk/

Get the latest news about how Warwickshire County Council and partners are facing the challenge of the climate emergency and how you can get involved: http://eepurl.com/hrk-zf

For information about other WCC business support services and programmes, visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/businesssupport

For information about other support available to grow your business or general information and enquiries, contact the Coventry & Warwickshire Growth Hub on 0300 060 374.


Coventry & Warwickshire Automotive and E-Mobility in spotlight

Invest Coventry & Warwickshire is taking a powerful message about the strengths of the region in automotive and battery R&D and development to a local and international automotive and e-mobility audience.

The FPC 2022 Future of Propulsion Conference returned to the National Motorcycle Museum after a two-year hiatus brought about by the pandemic. It was one of the last trade shows to take place in the Midlands before lockdown, and there was a strong turnout from exhibitors and delegates keen to network and promote their products and services.

The Future Propulsion Conference is an annual two-day UK event created to bring together industry and academic experts within the powertrain development field.

Invest Coventry & Warwickshire was there to promote the local supply chain strengths and key development projects like West Midlands Gigafactory, UK Battery Industrialisation Centre and MIRA Technology Park, South Site.

It was also an opportunity for our new colleague Craig Barnes to join us for his first trade show as part of the Invest team.

The conference is sponsored by local auto testing company AVL, based at Ansty Technology Park. Other local exhibitors included Lyra Electronics, Coventry University, Mahle, FEV and the Advanced Propulsion Centre.

Invest Coventry & Warwickshire will be next at the Battery Technology Expo taking place at Silverstone on May 12th. The Battery Tech Expo 2022 will bring together the latest technologies and services involved in the battery technology covering battery storage, battery management systems, fuel cell technology, lithium-ion batteries, and combines trade expo and speaker seminars. More information here: www.batterytechexpo.co.uk/

Region promotes development opportunities at international property show

The MIPIM Property show took place in France earlier this month, bringing together developers, investors and intermediaries from across the globe to promote and discuss the global property market place.

MIPIM is Europe's largest and most successful International property exhibition and conference. The theme this year was “Driving Urban Change” – and once again Coventry and Warwickshire had a major presence at the four-day event.

20,000 delegates from over 80 countries gathered, heralding the return to face-to-face networking and in-person events for the international property industry as restrictions ease following the global pandemic.

The event featured over 360 speakers, with 2,400 exhibiting companies at more than 350 exhibition stands and pavilions across 18,500m² of exhibition area.

The Coventry & Warwickshire Partnership promoted six key projects from across the region, including the West Midlands Gigafactory, Creative Quarter Leamington Spa, Transforming Nuneaton promoted by Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council and Warwickshire County Council, and MIRA Technology Park, South Site, allocated by North Warwickshire Borough Council in their Local Plan.

The Coventry & Warwickshire Partnership also ran popular events around ‘Net Zero Carbon Technologies in Coventry & Warwickshire’ and ‘The New Vibe Future High Streets in Coventry & Warwickshire’ with Complex Development Projects and CoStar, to promote the R&D and technology led development taking place across the county and the city, and a round table event focused on opportunities in the Warwickshire area.

The UK Government Pavilion hosted a number of events during the week. Speaking at a special West Midlands event there, the Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, launched £15bn worth of housing, regeneration, commercial and infrastructure development in the West Midlands Investment Prospectus, updated for 2022, which also included the six local major projects.

MIPIM commercial partners this year included Evans Randall and MIRA Technology Park, who were promoting their new South Site. For more information on the Coventry & Warwickshire presence at MIPIM 2022, visit the Coventry & Warwickshire Champions website.

Special Feature

Sixteen to 24-year-olds supported by new Warwickshire Brighter Futures programme

Young people aged 16 to 24 will be equipped with the employability skills needed to embark upon productive careers by a new project - Warwickshire Brighter Futures - from Warwickshire County Council.

Warwickshire Brighter Futures, funded by the Community Renewal Fund (CRF), will run from January to December 2022 with the aim of supporting over 1,000 16-24 year olds across the county.

The Community Renewal Fund has been created by Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Warwickshire County Council were awarded £1million pounds at the end of last year to run the new project from the start of 2022.

Warwickshire Brighter Futures has five strands, each designed to focus on enhancing the employability skills of young people in Warwickshire, thereby helping them get closer to the job market whether that be through obtaining employment, moving to self employment, education or training.

To be eligible, participants must be: 16-24 years old; unemployed or economically inactive and a resident in Warwickshire. *Please note they can be in education*

The five strands are:

Break Away Camps

The Outward Bound Trust team will delivering the first three days of this camp at their Aberdovey site in Wales. Participants will be split into groups of 12 with an adult volunteer and an instructor from the Outward Bound Trust team. We will take two groups of 100 young people from Mon-Wed and Wed-Fri on a journey of self discovery through the outdoors, focusing onbbuilding confidence, team building and most importantly challenging themselves in a safe environment.

There will be a small gap to allow the young people to reflect on their experience of the breakaway camps in their home environment. Then we will run a fourth day for them to share their journey, build on the experience and learning from the camp and look at how this may help them in the world of work and in everyday life.

We will also ask those young people to present their experiences to employers to help them build confidence.

Future Sports

University of Warwick’s esports futures programme will work to re-engage young carers and NEETs in learning and skills development using esports as a catalyst to excite and entertain.

Over a two-day experience, the participants will form teams to create a sandbox tournament to explore all aspects of running and playing in an event. They will learn how to use recording software, format a tournament and plan the event, as well as gaining knowledge and experience in marketing, creating content and assets to promote it. These are essential skills in play and tactics, team building, communication, live-streaming, marketing and social media.

At the end of day two, the participants will meet with industry experts to share their experience, discuss the skills they’ve learned and explore the broad range of roles in industries such as computer games, esports, marketing agencies, events and hospitality.

Extra Ability Jobs Programme

This strand aims to support young people to navigate their way into work by inspiring and educating them and creating tailored support to remove the barriers that have prevented them from entering employment.

Support will be tailored to the young persons needs and will remove barriers that have prevented them from moving towards work. Young people will have access to both one to one and group sessions which may include the following:

• Use zoom and take part in online interviews

• Build confidence

• Support to complete CV & job applications

• Understanding work and benefits

• Develop basic skills & attend short training courses

There will also be a salary support scheme (still being shaped).

Let’s Go Rural

Let’s Go Rural invites young people on a tour of rural Warwickshire opportunities, stopping at a variety of businesses to explore what each business has to offer:

Career pathways


Individual job roles

Over lunchtime there will be a breakaway lunch activity with employability-focused activities, exploring what personal skills and attributes the businesses they have visited may look for and what they as individuals have to offer.

The afternoon will involve campus tours of local colleges and training providers to explore the routes into accessing the required knowledge and skills (Apprenticeships, Full time provision, industry placements).

Warwickshire Community Skills Hubs

We will create local Warwickshire Skills Hubs across the county, to be delivered in libraries in Atherstone, Bedworth, Rugby, Nuneaton & Leamington).

The Warwickshire Community Skills Hub’s will offer a safe space for young people to improve their employability skills through workshops to promote nearby, accessible job opportunities and employability skills support.

There will be regular employability focussed activities at fixed location with the opportunity for strategic partners to utilise the space to deliver pop up activities.


If you are a referral partner who would like to sign upa young person for any of the strands, please register their interest here.

Young people can sign up for their chosen strand here: 

Break Away Camps

Esports Futures

Extra Ability Jobs Programme

Let’s Go Rural

Warwickshire Community Skills Hubs

If you are not sure which strand the participant would like to attend please register your interest across the five strands.

If you have any questions around the strands please feel free to contact Nikita Takhar, Brighter Futures – Careers & Employability Programme Manager on nikitatakhar@warwickshire.gov.uk

The Warwickshire Brighter Futures project has received £1.1 million pound from the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund. The UK Community Renewal Fund is a UK Government programme for 2021/22. This aims to support people and communities most in need across the UK to pilot programmes and new approaches to prepare for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. It invests in skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people into employment. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-community-renewal-fundprospectus

Guest column

How esports can open up rewarding careers and change lives...

The professional pursuit of video games? Jack Fenton, the University of Warwick’s Head of Esports, talks us through what esports is, the opportunities for careers, and what how it’s changing lives in Warwickshire.

Since the start of the pandemic, ‘esports’ has been a buzzword in businesses and households alike, as many turned to video games to entertain them during a continuously difficult time. However, this concept and excitement is not a new development and not simply something that spun off from the pandemic’s housebound restrictions.

Importantly, esports is quite different to just ‘gaming’. An esports game, or to compete in esports, must mean there is a winner and a loser. The game is person vs person and often in teams of three to six players (five being the team size of most of the highest paying game titles). The buzz around esports is not just around playing or making games, but around watching, experiencing and being part of it in the same way a traditional sports fan would.

So, it’s not something that spawned due to household pandemic boredom. In fact, esports is comfortably in its third decade of established professional competition, with tournaments dating as far back as an Atari’s Space Invaders tournament in 1980. By 1996, championships such as ‘EVO’ had been born and continue to be a worldwide competition between professional athletes and watched by millions. For example, the League of Legends World Championship had a peak viewership of four million concurrent viewers, with each athlete sitting on six-digit salaries.

When the word ‘athlete’ is thrown into the mix, that often gets a sharp reaction, often a mix of frustration and confusion around the lack of physicality in playing video games. However, chess, darts, and many other largely static sports do exist and the players at the top of their game are considered athletes because of their training and professional commitment to the sport.

Top level esports professionals train for hours-on-hours each day, with a normal day starting with gym and sport conditioning coachinleading into structured training and drills. To support them, teams have a large backroom staff that consists of coaches, psychologists, nutritionists, physios, and everything else a traditional sports team would need.

To then support that ecosystem of teams, organisations need lawyers to negotiate contracts, marketers to develop and sell their brand, managers to coordinate the talent, video and content staff and any other job you can imagine.

This is why the University of Warwick has developed their Esports Centre, and why Warwickshire County Council are working with us to deliver our Esports Futures and Inspire Through Esports initiatives that use this growing industry and appetite for games to teach essential digital skills and educate people on the opportunities in such an exciting world of work.

The Esports Centre at the University of Warwick is a publicly accessible (yes, open to the public every single day) cutting-edge facility and social space that is built to adaptably support high-level esports performance while also being an educational space for outreach work with schools, colleges, and youth groups. We are home to the back-to-back-to-back university champions, as Warwick students have won (and continue to win) the British University Esports Championships every year. Between the students and the staff here, Warwick has become a national leader for esports innovation and our delivery as part of the Warwickshire Brighter Futures programme is a great showcase for how this platform can benefit Warwickshire more widely.

During the programme, the young people organise, take part in, and create content from an esports tournament. Along the two-day process of doing that, they learn essential graphic, video, and organisational skills as well as working in a communication-intensive in-person team environment. To top it all off, mentors from the esports industry attend each experience to share their pathway and to motivate the next generation of digital innovators.

There’s a lot happening at the Esports Centre and to everyone reading this, we’re sure there’s a way you can get involved and benefit! Whether that’s rocking up and playing, bringing your family, signing up for one of our youth programmes, or a business partnership, then get in touch! Come in and visit or reach out via our website, warwick.ac.uk/esports




Margin enhancing digital tools for SME Business owners - An introduction and demonstration of the benefits of digital transformation for SME business owners delivered by West Midlands Made Smarter

University of Warwick

08:30 - 11:30

University of Warwick

Weblink here


Let's Talk Business Stratford - Breakfast Networking: A live networking event over breakfast to chat and find out interesting information about events and changes that are going on in the area that affect local business.

Talk Business

07:30 - 09:00

The Farm, Snitterfield

Weblink here


Talk Manufacturing: Skills & Productivity - The Way Forward: Warwick & Leamington MP Matt Western is this quarter's guest speaker for local
business leaders to discuss electric vehicles and manufacturing.

Talk Business

12:00 - 14:00

Wellesbourne Campus, Univ. of Warwick

Weblink here


Help to Grow: Management Course - Find out how your business could boost performance, productivity, and growth from the national government-backed scheme

Natwest Group

09:30 - 11:00

Aston University

Weblink here


MACH - The four-day Inspiring, Innovating and Connecting Manufacturing event is back at the NEC as the manufacturing sector meets to see new technology, discover new processes and source innovative equipment.


 4 days        09:00 - 17:00 09:00 - 16:00 on the last day


Weblink here


Air-Tech Exhibition - Part of the Drives & Controls, Smart Industry Expo, Fluid Power & Systems, and Plant & Asset Management biannual events showcasing the best of British manufacturing and engineering.

DFA Media

3 days


Weblink here


Let's Talk Business Coventry - Brunch Networking: An opportunity to help create the Talk Business Coventry UNO group. The group will meet twice each month for brunch and build up contacts in the local area to boost business.

Talk Business

10:00 - 11:30

The Mulberry, Coventry

Weblink here


Clean Growth: Accelerate Your Journey to Net Zero - Launch Event - Access expertise from Coventry University academics and industry experts to achieve Net Zero goals through dedicated collaborative support.

CUE Business Solutions

12:00 - 15:00

Coventry University

Weblink here


Let's Talk Business Warwick - Breakfast Networking: An opportunity to help create the Talk Business Warwick UNO group. The group will meet twice each month for breakfast and build up contacts in the local area to boost business.

Talk Business

07:30 - 09:00

Delta Marriott, Warwick

Weblink here


Talk Property Coventry & Warwickshire - Brunch: The monthly meeting where 18 Property Professionals meeting for Brunch, one table, one conversation.... mostly around property is back.

Talk Business

10:00 - 11:00

The Almanack, Kenilworth

Weblink here


Dairy-Tech - An expo to help modernise the dairy professional, demonstrating new and exciting industry innovations despite a large variation in cost base and system.


08:00 - 17:30

Stoneleigh Park

Weblink here


Technology Business Start-Up - How to come up with a profitable business Learn several techniques to identify a profitable business idea, pinpoint opportunities and explore current thinking.

CUE Business Solutions



Weblink here


The Economic Transformation of Coventry City - A seminar exploring the social and economical Coventry has undergone in recent decades and a look at the city's future role as a living lab where innovative technical solutions are trialled.

Coventry University

13:00 - 14:15


Weblink here


Rugby Buzz - F2F: A face-to-face monthly networking event where like-minded local business folk meet to broaden their contacts and talk through issues they may have.

Business Buzz

10:00 onwards

Gallachers of Rugby

Weblink here


Insomnia Gaming Festival - Over 40,000 visitors are expected for a weekend of non-stop, 24-hour gaming. From the retro to the new, Insomnia is a celebration of all gaming, Esports and popular culture.

Player1 Events

4 days


Weblink here


Warwick Buzz - F2F: A face-to-face monthly networking event where like-minded local business folk meet to broaden their contacts and talk through issues they may have.

Business Buzz

10:00 onwards

The Globe, Warwick

Weblink here


Ten Point Plan for Green Growth - Low Carbon Hydrogen An interactive session focussing on how low carbon hydrogen can be increasingly commercialised to deliver hydrogen solutions. Supply chain opportunities and wider Midlands' business benefits will also be discussed.

Midlands Engine

10:00 - 12:00


Weblink here


Sketchup for Beginners to Intermediate

A two-day course that matches concise, straightforward explanations with hands-on exercises and tutorials to teach new users of SketchUp the software's core features and functions. All delegates will have access to a computer running a current version of SketchUp software for the duration of the course. Participants will gain practical hands on knowledge of the essential elements and will be given simple training exercises and examples to complete as part of the course.

CUE Business Solutions

  09:00 - 16:30


Weblink Here


Coventry & Warwickshire Technology Start-up Support The first of a six-week programme that explores the essentials of digital marketing and helps start-up businesses to grow.

CUE Business Solutions



Weblink here


Battery Tech Expo - 12th May 2002 - See the latest battery technologies and services, including battery storage, battery management systems, fuel cell technology and lithium-ion batteries

10four Media


The Wing, Silverstone

Weblink here


World Congress on Railway Research (WCRR) - 6th-10th June
RSSB and University of Birmingham will host, on behalf of the UK, the 13th World Congress on Railway Research (WCRR)

RSSB and University of Birmingham

5 days


Weblink here


Vehicle Electrification Expo 2021 - 29-30th June
Vehicle Electrification Expo enables automotive manufacturers to look at the latest powertrain solutions to improve vehicle efficiency. Sister event to Battery Cells & Systems Expo.

Event Partners

All Day


Weblink here


Our Future Moves - City of Culture 2021 The interactive and ambitious exhibition tells the stories of the objects on display provided by local businesses, envisioning how the future will look and exploring how pioneering developments in transport and technology could affect the environment and the way we live.

Culture Coventry



Weblink here

News in Brief

Latest news-in-brief from around the region...

InoBat puts down roots in Warwick  

European R&D battery technology and manufacturing company InoBat has launched its first UK office at the University of Warwick Science Park’s Warwick Innovation Centre as part of its global expansion plan. The Slovakian start-up is at the forefront of the battery industry and designs, develops and manufactures advanced battery cells for electric vehicles. It specialises in the aviation, automotive, light commercial and bus industries. 


R&D market leader in bus battery management heads to Coventry & Warwickshire 

Alliance Transport Technologies (ATT), has attracted funding from the UK investor, BGF, and announced the creation of a new R&D centre near Coventry. Alliance has won long term service contracts to manage EV batteries with five of the largest UK national bus groups and is now the largest provider of battery asset management services in the UK. Alliance has pioneered the use of remanufacturing electronic components to allow commercial vehicle operators to decarbonise the maintenance of their fleets. 


 JLR partnership gives I-PACE batteries a second life 

Jaguar’s engineering team has been working with Pramac, to develop a zero-emission energy storage unit powered by second-life Jaguar I-PACE batteries. The technology, which features lithium-ion cells from one-and-a-half second-life Jaguar I-PACE batteries, has helped Jaguar TCS Racing prepare for the 2022 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship during testing. Finding a second life for batteries following their removal from vehicles can avoid premature recycling and help create a secure supply of rate materials. Once the battery does finally come to the end of its usable life, it is 95% recyclable. 


 Aston Martin Lagonda boosted by overseas sales and sets out it’s green future 

Aston Martin Lagonda cut losses by 75% last year on the back of a boom in retail sales. The company saw its operating deficit drop from £323m in 2020 to £74.3m last year after “significant” growth in the Americas and record sales in China, driven by strong demand for Aston Martin’s DBX marque. Revenues shifted to £1.1bn – up almost 80% on 2020. Aston Martin have also revealed plans to move towards EVs, with its first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle planned for 2024 and a first battery electric vehicle to follow in 2025. 


Multimillion-pound agreement made by HORIBA MIRA 

Nuneaton-based HORIBA MIRA and the wider HORIBA group have announced a partnership with Ceres Power to help aid the UK’s delivery of new fuel cell and hydrogen technology to international markets. The multimillion-pound agreement will see the development of a new 2,580 sq ft test facility at HORIBA MIRA’s headquarters. There will be additional agreements to develop the next generation of testing infrastructure to support Ceres’ core technology and system development, resulting in new and valuable high skill employment opportunities.


 €2m Euro funding for University of Warwick project 

The COMPLEXthermMA project, based at the University of Warwick School of Engineering, has secured €2m in investment after being chosen as one of the winners of the European Research Council’s latest round of Consolidator Grants. The venture develops computational tools to calculate electronic properties of materials and investigate new possibilities for better energy efficiency. Their aim is to help design the next generation of thermoelectric materials. 


MTC Looks Towards Space 

The Manufacturing Technology Centre, based at Ansty Technology Park, has teamed up with Oxfordshire firm Satellite Applications Catapult to develop the next generation of space technology, underpinned by advanced manufacturing technologies in both earth and space. The two organisations will collaborate on exploring technologies and advanced manufacturing processes, including in-space assembly, and supply chain readiness. 


 Respected video game industry experts call for homegrown investment  

Two veterans of the video games industry have called for British firms to invest more in homegrown talent and prevent the loss of further UK-based companies to foreign buyers, after a year of frenzied dealmaking in the gaming industry, including the sale of Southam based Codemasters to Electronic Arts (EA). David Braben, who founded Frontier Developments, said it was a “real shame” to see so many British firms acquired by overseas groups, adding “we don’t celebrate success in this country in the same way the US does”. Sir Ian Livingstone, who helped bring to life Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft, also spoke about the urgent need for venture funding. 


LiveBuzz creates new hive in Coventry 

Award-winning company LiveBuzz – which provides high-tech software and digital services for event organisers around the globe – is moving into a new base at George House on Coventry Business Park. 


Prologis expands its West Midlands portfolio 

Construction is underway at two West Midlands logistic parks as Prologis expands its portfolio with three new units at Prologis Park Hams Hall and a further one at Prologis Park Ryton, near Coventry. All four sites are due to finish this summer and will boast a combined total of more than 800.000 sq ft as Prologis continues to invest in the local area and deliver logistics property in strategic locations for UK supply chains. 


Thriving Golden Triangle Warehouse acquired for £14.8m  

An 88,000 sq ft warehouse located in the UK's logistics ‘golden triangle’ has been purchased by The Property Income Trust for Charities (PITCH), for £14.8m. It will be managed by Mayfair Capital Investment Management, and subsequently let to logistics, ecommerce, and supply chain management specialist Woodland Global. 


 Coventry Railway Station transformation concluded  

The £82m overhaul of Coventry Railway Station is now complete, with new entrances, shops, a cycle hub and electric vehicle charging points among the new additions. There is also improved public space outside the station including, a new pedestrian boulevard and a visitor information pod, as well as additional vehicle drop off points. The regeneration of the Grade II listed station comes 60 years after it first opened in 1962. 


People Profile

Stacy is proud to support the region's vibrant Digital Creeatove Sector

"It helps so much that it is a really welcoming business community. Everyone is very generous with their time and have a real desire to see the area prosper through their collective success."

The Coventry & Warwickshire Digital Creative Sector is a globally-renowned powerhouse.

Particularly, the Video Games Sector. The Video Games Cluster anchored around the town of Leamington Spa employs over15% of the national workforce in the industry.

Small but mighty, is how Stacy O'Connor describes it.

Small, geographically, a mere dot compared to some of the sprawling clusters around the world, Mighty, in terms of the esteem in which it is held, its expertise and innovative skills and its economic and employment value to the region.

Stacy is well-qualified to give that description. As Warwickshire County Council's Digital Creative Industry Lead (also currently on part-time secondment to Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership), her role is to support digital creative companies across the region through advice, building connections and attracting companies to the area.

In recent years, companies have found the region's offer very appealing. Coventry & Warwickshire is home to one of the most concentrated cluster of video game development studios in the world, working on some of the world most notable IP, such as Forza Horizon, Fable, Sniper Elite, and last years biggest hit Fall Guys Ultimate Knockout to name but a few. The cluster is predominantly focused on entertainment creating successful titles for console, pc and mobile devices. There are also a significant number of AAA title developers which have multi-million pound budgets to develop their games, effectively Hollywood’s equivalent to a Blockbuster movie.

Leamington has a rich history of video game development spanning almost four decades, with Codemasters often credited as being the catalyst for this when they established themselves on a farm on the outskirts of the town in the early 1980 (and where the HQ remains). This long history has resulted in an organic growth of experienced veteran developers alongside new emerging talent which is no longer reliant on one big developer to sustain itself. There is a supportive eco-system in which to operate, which is also attractive for future employees who may choose to relocate as there is such a variety of opportunities. This also .means we are able to retain talent within the region

For Stacy, Leamington born and bred, talking up her beloved home patch is easy...a source of pride as well as pleasure.

"I love this area and it is wonderful to see so many employers wanting to come here and, when they have come, set down roots," she said. "It's not surprising - the Coventry & Warwickshire region is such a great place to live and work.

"I engage with the businesses and see what sort of support they want and need, and identify what sort of help the County Council and our partners in the region can offer. My role is really about making connections and being a translator between business, policy makers and service providers to ensure we have the best environment for our local businesses to thrive.

"There is also an element of bringing businesses together to collaborate and provide peer to peer support particularly around common themes such as recruitment and developing their future talent pipelines. That is very important because, of course, when businesses arrive in the area, they are new to it so its useful to have an engaged network to join facing similar challenges.

"It helps so much that it is a really welcoming business community. Everyone is very generous with their time and have a real desire to see the area prosper through their collective success. There is competition, of course, but alongside that is a real desire to help and support others in the sector and it provides a richer ecosystem for everyone to thrive in."

Stacy herself provides plenty of help and support in a role which perfectly suits her knowledge bank and communication and organisational skills. Those skills have been deployed in a number of roles for the county council over the years after she first joined on an apprenticeship straight from college.

"Education has always been hugely important to me, so it was a really difficult choice not to take up the university place I had been offered," she said, "but that’s where apprenticeships really come into their own. I feel very fortunate to have began my working life as an apprentice as it offers the best of both world by gaining real work experience as well as continued education.

"It has turned out brilliantly. I joined Warwickshire County Council aged 18, as an admin officer in the Road Safety team. Six months into a two-year apprenticeship, a job came up and I took it but was allowed to continue my education. Warwickshire County Council have been a brilliant employer and have provided lots of opportunities for me with continued professional development. After my apprenticeship they also supported me to return to college part time so soon I had a degree in Marketing Communications as well.

"After work in Road Safety across a number of projects I then joined the Regeneration team which provided the opportunity to engage and support communities in rural areas and initiatives around town centre management, helping to create vibrant town centres. I was also involved with Pride in Camp Hill which was a flagship Prince's Trust project.

"Then I made the move to Economic Development to become an Inward Investment Officer, promoting Warwickshire as a place to do business and progressed to Digital Creative Industry Lead, supporting the growth of the sector and overseeing inward investment in the region.

"I love what I do and the secondment to the CWLEP has been great because Coventry & Warwickshire is a real powerhouse of innovation and talent, with the two working together and complementing each other in so many ways. A collaborative approach strengthens all and I really enjoy being a part of that."

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