May 2021


Meet the team...

Matthew Epps

Lead Commissioner - Business and Economy 

I joined Warwickshire County Council in 2003 after working in Brussels, in a joint role for Lancashire County Council and Lancaster University, and then spending three years back in the UK for Buckinghamshire County Council.

I’ve had a number of roles at WCC, all in economic development – European Officer, Policy & Funding Manager and Projects, Programmes & Funding Team Leader, as well as two years on part-time secondment to Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Partnerships to co-ordinate a sub-regional regeneration programme. More recently, I took an interim role overseeing the wider operational work of our Economy & Skills team.

I have worked on Government and European funding projects and programmes worth well over £600 million during my time in Warwickshire. I was delighted to keep much of my old team in my new role of Lead Commissioner (Business & Economy) and have been just as thrilled with how the new recruits have settled into the team.  

In my spare time, I am Honorary Treasurer of the Chief Economic Development Officers’ Society (the voice of economic development professionals from local authorities across England)...and a passionate supporter of Sheffield Wednesday!

Gillian Dale 

Business Support Programme Manager (ERDF)

I have been with WCC for over four  years and currently manage the 'CW Business: Start, Grow and Scale' business support programme. This provides intensive bespoke support to businesses and is delivered both internally and with our delivery partner (University of Warwick Science Park) and suppliers (Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce).

We deliver to many different types of businesses from start ups all the way to the high tech and rapidly expanding businesses.

Since 2019 we have claimed grant income of over £600,000 from the from the European Regional Development Fund which has enabled us to help many more businesses than we could with just our own funding. We are currently adding a new strand to deliver to businesses in the Tourism and Leisure sector to help them to grow and thrive in a post-Covid world. This strand is due to start delivery in the summer.

Since the programme started, in Jan 2019, we have delivered over 12 hours bespoke support to well over 300 businesses, created almost 100 jobs and helped over 50 entrepreneurs achieve their dream and set up new businesses. The programme has now delivered over 6,000 hours of business support. 

I have recently been joined by Hayley and James and its fab to have such a valuable and experienced team in place.

Jon Stead 

Business Support Programme Manager

I joined Warwickshire County Council in January, having made the leap from Coventry City Council. I have worked in business support roles within local authorities for over seven years now, having joined straight out of University.

Since joining WCC, it’s been a whirlwind of learning, adapting, delivering and managing...and much more. I’m currently managing programmes including Survive, Sustain & Grow which is a key part of the county council’s economic recovery plan. Over 500 business have actively engaged on the programme which has already safeguarded over 300 jobs and created over 100.

I find the work I do at WCC very rewarding. It is challenging at times, but in a good way and, since joining my new team at Warwickshire, I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive and knowledgeable bunch of colleagues.

A number of new projects are in the pipeline that I am excited to manage and I'm also excited to see how they help Warwickshire's economy to grow and our brilliant businesses to prosper. 

Hayley Lineker 

Contract and Project Monitoring Officer (ERDF)

I started my new position at Warwickshire County Council in January and am finding it very enjoyable. My role is to support the management of the ERDF funded CW Business Start, Grow and Scale programme, leading on project monitoring to ensure our business support projects remain compliant with ERDF guidance.

I came from an adult education background, managing an ESF skills project for employed individuals in Coventry and Warwickshire and prior to that, supporting a Leadership and Management project for employed individuals in the roads sector, both of which supported business growth.

I was quite anxious about starting a new job virtually. I had no idea what to expect, but I am lucky to be surrounded by the friendliest team who always take the time to check in with each other throughout the day. I already feel like I have been here for years! I am so impressed with how much WCC leadership invest in their staff and care about their wellbeing and mental health - it makes you feel like a valued member of the organisation.

Louisa Smith 

Contract and Project Monitoring Officer

I primarily deal with our various business grant programmes. When I joined WCC in August 2019, my main focus was our Small Capital Grant programme, a capital investment programme funding up to £35,000 of capital investment with a maximum 30% intervention rate.

Prior to joining WCC, my background was in the private sector and quite varied, most recently four years as a Finance Manager/PMO in a manufacturing environment, so I really relished the challenge of helping to write a bid for further funding for our Small Capital Grant programme; as well as the introduction of our Retail & Hospitality grants and discretionary grants associated with our Survive, Sustain & Grow business support programme. This bid was successful and I am delighted that, in the grip of the pandemic, these programmes have greatly assisted many Warwickshire businesses.

I have also overseen our Adapt & Diversify grant scheme, a specific Covid Investment Recovery programme for the retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors. I can honestly say that the last 12-14 months have been the busiest I have ever experienced, but I am really enjoying working within the fabulous Economy & Skills Team and with some truly amazing Warwickshire businesses.

Simeon Lee 

Business Growth Advisor

My time is spent engaging with businesses in the county and supporting companies on their growth plans, helping them access the various support offered in the area and achieving their potential.

Day-to-day, I am one of the advisors on our European-funded support programme which provides free support to SMEs with a focus on access to finance. This can include support with applying for grants from a range of programmes including WCC’s Small Capital Grants programme. This is a Warwickshire County Council-funded grant scheme that part-funds capital investments that lead to business growth in the county, ultimately boosting the local Warwickshire economy.

There are so many great small businesses in Warwickshire, run by so many creative and talented people, and it is very rewarding to see that our support can help them to become established and grow. 

James Horne 

Project Officer (Business and Ecomomy)

After graduating from the University of Surrey with an Economics and Politics degree in 2018, I spent a wonderful year in Australia before returning to the UK in November 2019, feeling grateful, refreshed and energised. I got a job at a council in North Worcestershire, supporting economic development then, after a year, wanted to progress, and was lucky enough to get this great job at Warwickshire County Council.

My current role is to support the delivery of our business support programmes. Most programmes are funded by more than  one organisation so we often work closely with national government, our district and borough councils, Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, University of Warwick Science Park and other great partners to fund and deliver business support in Warwickshire.

All this requires a lot of work to make sure everything is running smoothly and we are getting the best value for money, so that is where my role comes in. It’s a very busy time but it's all great work. The team is passionate about supporting our businesses in these challenging times, to enable them to survive and sustain their business then grow into the future - it is a great team to be part of.


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