Welcome from Strategic Director of Communities, Mark Ryder

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

This month we are delighted to celebrate a very special milestone for one of Warwickshire County Council's most successful business support schemes.

The Small Capital Grants programme, created in 2015 to assist small and micro businesses with their growth plans, recently supported its 100th business - NPF Bassetts Pole Adventure Park, in North Warwickshire.

The scheme is a real, enduring success story which over the years has awarded grants amounting to £2,288,844 which, in turn have triggered private sector match funding of £4,466,679. On top of this, a further £1.8million private sector investment is anticipated.

We have such a wonderful and diverse range of small businesses in Warwickshire and it is great to know that so many have been helped by this scheme to recruit and grow in the County. I congratulate every one of these enterprises and also our teams at WCC who have worked so hard and diligently to expedite the grants. A fantastic effort.

The Small Capital Grants scheme is just one element of the plethora of business support available from Warwickshire County Council and our partners in the region. In this edition of WMB, we report on the transformational impact of the Local Communities and Enterprise Fund on CAE Tech and how Project Warwickshire has galvanised growth for Barbell Training Complex. We hear how Community Skills Hubs are supporting jobseekers and we celebrate the great achievements of Accelerate to help those with disadvantages to enter the workplace.

Rugby is first to be featured in our new Talk Up Our Towns series which over the coming months will highlight the appeal of all our wonderful towns across the county. Would you like your town to be featured next? Please do let us know.

Despite the many challenges facing us, it was pleasing to hear at the recent Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce annual conference that, there remains a real sense of optimism among business leaders. Here at Warwickshire County Council we will continue to do everything we can to offer support. Please visit https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/business-support to see how we can help you.


Featured News

Small Capital Grants scheme raises distinguished century

"We are blessed by a wonderfully vibrant community of small businesses in our county and it is great to know that so many of them, their employees and their customers have benefited from this simple but hugely effective scheme."

A funding scheme created by Warwickshire County Council in 2015 to support small businesses has just awarded its 100th grant.

NPF Bassetts Pole Adventure Park, in north Warwickshire, has become the 100th business to be helped to grow with the assistance of a Small Capital Grant from the County Council.

The park installed a brand new Laser Clay Pigeon Shooting activity and renewed its fleet of quad bikes, thereby improving its customer experience and safeguarding existing jobs while leaving it well-equipped to create others.

The latest grant continues the resounding success of the Small Capital Grants scheme since it opened back in September 2015 with its first three recipients: Warwick-based Church Farm Brewery, Ag-Con machinery solutions in Shipston-on-Stour and Mudwalls Farm growers on the southern edge of the county.

Seven years later, those three businesses are all still flourishing - three of 100 to which the Small Capital Grants scheme has given vital impetus in order to grow, with a significant knock-on effect to the local economy.

Since September 2015, the County Council has awarded Small Capital Grants amounting to £2,288,844. This has triggered a private sector match of £4,466,679 so far with a further £1.8million private sector match forecasted.

Businesses supported come from the whole gamut of the Warwickshire economy including the Visitor Sector, Manufacturing, Food & Drink, Education, Automotive, Leisure, Events & Conference, Hospitality, Wellness, Retail, Engineering and Logistics. In total, the Small Capital Grants have supported 396 jobs and created 210 with a further 133 forecast to be created over the next two years.

Warwickshire County Council leader Cllr Izzi Seccombe said: "The Small Capital Grants scheme has proved a sustained, outstanding success in supporting small businesses and the local economy in all parts of Warwickshire and all sectors.vWe are blessed by a wonderfully vibrant community of small businesses in our county and it is great to know that so many of them, their employees and their customers, have benefited from this simple but hugely effective scheme.

"It is still going strong - I would urge all small businesses considering growth plans to think about whether a Small Capital Grant could assist them."

The small capital grants are part of the County Council’s package of loan and grant programmes for businesses also including the Warwickshire Recovery & Investment Fund and the Green Recovery Grants.

The County Council also provided £4.6 million of economic recovery loans and grants during the pandemic which helped 240 businesses and supported or safeguarded 1,762 jobs.

* For more information on Small Capital Grants please visit here or email business@warwickshire.gov.uk


"Brilliant" grant support enables Adventure Park expansion

"Warwickshire County Council's support has been brilliant for us and allowed us to carry out expansion which otherwise would probably not have happened, certainly not in the short term."

An adventure park in north Warwickshire is offering new and more inclusive attractions after becoming the 100th business to benefit from a Small Capital Grant from Warwickshire County Council.

NPF Bassetts Pole Adventure Park has installed a brand new activity - Laser Clay Pigeon Shooting - and renewed its fleet of 15 quad bikes at its base near the Warwickshire/Staffordshire border.

The Small Capital Grant enabled the company, which employs eight full-time staff and up to 35 part-time at its seasonal peak, to expand and refresh its offer for customers of all ages from ten upwards and all abilities. The injection of the Small Capital grant is also forecasted to increase the full time staff by five by 2025.

"The grant has been a huge help to us," said NPF director Fraser Colley. "It allowed us to purchase and set up a brand new activity, Laser Clay Pigeon Shooting, which has very broad appeal. It is accessible to all because, unlike regular clay pigeon shooting, it is not restricted by physicality. There is no recoil so it is comfortable for everyone, young or old, to have a go. It's competitive and fun, so really appealing to corporate customers, and very much the latest trend so it's brilliant to have it here.

"The grant also meant we could replace our quad bikes. We now have 15 brand new quad bikes of different powers for different age-groups so that young and old and take them round our 200-acre site in maximum safety and comfort. That is great for the customers but also a real saving for us because we were spending around £500/week, plus mechanics' costs, on maintaining the old ones. That £500/week plus we can now divert to other capital projects and further expansion.

"Warwickshire County Council's support has been brilliant for us and allowed us to carry out expansion which otherwise would probably not have happened, certainly not in the short term."

NPF Bassetts Pole Adventure Park is the latest beneficiary of a Small Capital Grants scheme which has, since 2015, supported small businesses across the spectrum of the Warwickshire economy. Grants have helped small businesses in the Visitor Sector, Manufacturing, Food & Drink, Education, Automotive, Leisure, Events & Conference, Hospitality, Wellness, Retail, Engineering and Logistics.

The scheme remains ongoing and the application process is simple with all the necessary advice to hand.

"It was very straightforward," said Fraser. "Coventry & Warwickshire Growth Hub, who have been very supportive of our business before, put me on to the Small Capital Grants and everyone I dealt with at Warwickshire County Council was very helpful. I would recommend that any small business which is thinking of expanding should apply and see how a grant can help them. It could make a huge difference."

Warwickshire County Council Business Support & Growth Programme Manager, Jon Stead, said: "I an delighted that a WCC Small Capital Grant has been so instrumental in enabling NPF Bassetts Pole Adventure Park to go ahead with their expansion plans. The Small Capital Grant scheme has now supported 100 small business with their aspirations to grow and remains an integral part of the package of business support offered by the County Council." 

* For more information on Small Capital Grants please visit here or email business@warwickshire.gov.uk

Job-seekers' options opened up by Community Skills Hubs

"Everyone we meet is different so we deliver a bespoke session to help the client with what they need."

An initiative to give young people a safe space in public libraries in which to improve their employability skills has met with great early success.

The Warwickshire Community Skills Hubs, delivered by Career Seekers Direct under the Warwickshire Brighter Futures programme, was launched in July.

The programme is designed to support individuals aged between 16 and 30 who are unemployed, economically inactive or at risk of being NEET.  The objective is to make clients aware of potential career opportunities that exist and to help equip them with the skills and confidence to pursue their chosen direction.

The programme offers young people 1:1 support in job coaching, careers advice and digital training and information about accessible job opportunities. Hubs are now operating at five libraries across Warwickshire - Leamington, Atherstone, Bedworth, Rugby and Nuneaton - and they are making "a huge difference" to the lives of their clients.  

"We have had some great success stories as clients have made positive steps to move closer to the job market," said Eva Harrison, chief executive of Career Seekers Direct. "Some of our clients have got jobs and others have been asked to interviews.

"We provide real practical support to the clients we meet. Everyone we meet is different so we deliver a bespoke session to help the client with what they need.  

"For some of our clients this has been helping them to identify the type of work they would like to do. For others it is a case of  identifying their skills, researching the current job and apprenticeship opportunities that are available, completing job application forms, writing their CV or having a practice interview session.  

"Our sessions have ensured they have all developed their personal confidence, skills and knowledge which will make a huge difference to their future opportunities. It is an honour to support this invaluable programme.”

Warwickshire County Council Portfolio Holder for Economy & Place, Cllr Martin Watson said: "This is a really valuable initiative which gives young people opportunities to kick-start their careers and also opens up their skills to employers who need them. I am delighted that the programme has made such a strong start and am sure that it will go from strength to strength."

If you have any questions around Warwickshire Brighter Futures, please contact Nikita Dhunna, Brighter Futures – Careers & Employability Programme Manager on nikitadhunna@warwickshire.gov.uk

The Warwickshire Brighter Futures project has received £500,000 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 

Multiply project set to take flight in 2023

"The aim is to increase numeracy levels for adults who are employed, unemployed or economically inactive, thereby benefiting employers by boosting the skills of their workforce. "

Three projects have now had funding approved by Warwickshire County Council to deliver a new Government programme to support adult numeracy.

The Multiply programme, part of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, is targeted at adults (aged 19+) who do not currently have a GCSE grade C/4 or equivalent in maths. The aim is to increase numeracy levels for adults who are employed, unemployed or economically inactive, thereby benefiting employers by boosting the skills of their workforce. 

WCC submitted an investment plan to the Department for Education, detailing how Multiply will be delivered in the county. This has now been approved in full and the funding is in place.

After a thorough application and assessment process, the first three organisations have been appointed to deliver Multiply in Warwickshire. 

Pet-Xi (Warwickshire Counts) 

Their programme is designed to help people to use maths in daily life. It will include personal tutoring, digital training and flexible courses that fit around their lives. Priority groups will be the over-50s, economically inactive & unemployed residents, adults with learning difficulties and disabilities. PET-XI will also work with employers to develop work specific programmes for the workforce 

Coventry & Warwickshire Co-operative Development Agency (Money, Money, Maths) 

CWCDA will use their existing community links to ensure local intervention to help demystify maths by using it in everyday, relatable situations. There will be a combination of one-to-one and group activities aimed at the hardest to reach that will not use formal standard educational settings. Money, Money, Maths workshops will run in community venues and online with clients offered support, including support with budgeting skills, and a skills assessment.

Warwickshire Adult & Community Learning (Multiply plus) 

The overarching aim is to provide innovative and accessible numeracy and maths activities that attract and engage residents with low or no numeracy/maths qualifications. Activities will include intensive individual support for residents who want to achieve a Functional Skills Qualification, targeting learners who can’t attend a traditional class as their work commitments are not at fixed times, or they are experiencing mental ill health; and those who are geographically isolated. The programme will include four strands of activity: Intensive support; Family Learning; Workshops and courses for adults with learning difficulties and/or disabilities;Vocational/practical courses. 

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Leader of Warwickshire County Council said: "The Multiply programme will be a force for good in multiple ways, supporting adults with their career aspirations which in turn will help employers fill their skills gaps. The first three approved projects will all reach out into our communities in Warwickshire in very positive ways and I looking forward to them making a real difference to people's lives in 2023. 

"I am also pleased to see the first three UK Shared Prosperity Fund projects being approved in Warwickshire.

More information about how to join the three projects will be available over the next few weeks as they are launched. Updates will be published on our Multiply web pages: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/multiply

LCE Fund a "great option" for small businesses seeking finance

Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust, through funding from Warwickshire County Council, has lent £383,700 to a variety of businesses within Warwickshire from the Local Communities and Enterprise Fund (LCE), part of the  County Council’s Warwickshire Recovery & Investment Fund. Among businesses to have benefited is Leamington-based software and technology provider CAE Tech...


 “LCE is a great option for businesses that might not be able to access finances through banks.”


The business...

CAE Tech, an innovative Leamington-based software and technology provider, has proven ability to mass customise designs for manufacturing and give customers the freedom of choice while allowing the manufacturer to use efficient production processes. With their solutions, design to manufacturing becomes a seamless process. Mass-customisation is a key trend in manufacturing, driven by demands of consumers for choice, and by sustainability factors - by enabling “build-to-order” processes, their solutions can reduce waste and allow multiple manufacturing locations to be closer to the consumer. Thus, bringing the manufacturing sector one step closer to Net Zero.

Why did you choose the Local Community and Enterprise Fund (LCE)?

As an SME, our finance needs combined cash flow, capital expenditure and investment in growth. Our experience with banks is that these mixed needs are not considered, luckily CWRT has a more considerate and holistic approach. The Local Community and Enterprise Fund was the perfect solution for our situation and is helping us to expand our existing projects and put our growth plans into practice.

How did it help you?

LCE is allowing us to start developing new industrial hardware. New improvements have added value to the current clients, increased clients' trust, and helped us secure future projects. The new equipment has helped us to define a clear path to our objectives, to bridge the gap between design and manufacturing and to make mass customisation achievable and accessible.


LCE is a great option for businesses that might not be able to access finance through banks. You shouldn’t shy away from LCE just because of the interest rates as it can help your business expand immensely. If you lack security, CWRT might be able to offer the Recovery Loan Scheme alongside LCE to help you secure finance.

* To apply for the LCE Fund, please call CWRT on 02476 551777 or enquire at https://www.cwrt.uk.com/applylce The LCE runs in parallel with the £90 million Business Investment Growth pillar of the Warwickshire Recovery and Investment Fund (WRIF) which offers debt finance to medium and larger businesses. For more information, please visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/wrif

Optimism shines through from business leaders at annual conference

“We don’t just look at the issues facing us, we look for the solutions and what we can do collectively to overcome them. That’s the great thing about Coventry and Warwickshire...our business community has real strength and resilience."

Coventry and Warwickshire can overcome the economic headwinds by looking forward and making the most of future opportunities - that was the overriding message from the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Business and Economic Conference at the Coventry Building Society Arena.

The conference – which was headline sponsored by PET-Xi and WCG, supported by WCG and Help To Grow, with PLMR Advent as media partner – was staged as the latest figures showed the UK economy shrank by 0.2 per cent in the third quarter of 2022.

Speakers and panellists addressed issues facing firms across the region including inflation, supply chain problems, recruitment, interest rate rises and energy prices. But optimism for the region also shone through thanks to the unity across public and private sector as well as the city and the county, and its ability to change and look forward.

Warwickshire County Council chief executive Monica Fogarty said: “There are challenges ahead, but there is also optimism in our sub-region because of the opportunities we have for the future.

“We don’t just look at the issues facing us, we look for the solutions and what we can do collectively to overcome them. That’s the great thing about Coventry and Warwickshire. Our business community has  real strength and resilience.

"There is also a great deal of support out there for businesses too and I would urge all companies who need support to get in touch with us at the County Council or our partners in the region.”

The conference, attended by more than 200 business people and regional stakeholders, heard how investing in areas such as future skills and green technology can help to provide the growth for the future.

It was opened and facilitated by Chamber chief executive Corin Crane before an address from president Tom Mongan. Andy Street CBE, the mayor the West Midlands, sent a video message saying Coventry and Warwickshire was one of the ‘bright spots’ for the economy.

An Economic Panel, including Steve Harcourt, of Prime Accountants Group; Angela Joyce, of WCG; Liam Conway, of Control Energy Costs; Tina Chander, of Wright Hassall; and Simon Evans of Birmingham Airport, delved into the economic issues and some of the solutions to them.

Fleur Sexton, of PET-Xi, then described how it was essential for the region to break down barriers to make the most of the talents of the whole population.

The Building Business Confidence Panel was chaired by Martin Reeves, of Coventry City Council and included Monica Fogarty, of Warwickshire County Council; Fleur Sexton; Martin Sutherland, of Coventry City of Culture Trust; and Timothy Tsang, of Players Entertainment. The panel explored how Coventry and Warwickshire could ‘look up and outwards’ to understand and make the most of opportunities that would come down the track.

Corin Crane, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We know that we are facing hugely challenging times as businesses and individuals and we had to address those at our conference. Our businesses are being hit by everything from inflation and rising interest rates through to supply chain and recruitment issues. We talked through those, but also some of the solutions.

“It shone through that firms are going to need more support with energy bills beyond March next year and that they need to hear that sooner rather than later. They also need incentives to invest in green technology and energy.

“We also looked at the fact that there are 100,000 vacancies in Coventry and Warwickshire and there are similar number of people who are out of work. It’s not as easy as saying as filling those roles with people who are out of work, we have to have a new plan around upskilling and reskilling to address the issue.

“Our Building Business Confidence Panel gave a great insight to how we work together as a region and how by looking ahead and reinventing ourselves, as Coventry and Warwickshire has always done, we can come through this period of uncertainty in a stronger position. Businesses can be a force for good and positive change and that’s what I hope everyone takes away from the conference.”

Campaign urges shoppers to look local this Christmas

"In Warwickshire, we are blessed with so many independent retailers who provide such a high level of service, quality and value, and Christmas is a crucial time for them."

A social media campaign to encourage Warwickshire’s residents to shop locally and support independent retailers this Christmas is set to return this year – and includes an endorsement from Father Christmas himself.

The Warwickshire Christmas campaign is being launched by Warwickshire County Council to highlight the quality businesses in the county’s towns and villages and to make people think twice before ordering all their gifts with much larger business online.

While businesses, organisations and local authorities will be getting behind the campaign across social media with the hashtag #WarwickshireChristmas, Father Christmas is also set to ask people to support their high street.

His voice will feature on a video showcasing some of the businesses around Warwickshire and their Christmas offerings.

The new campaign follows a similar support drive last year as businesses were dealing with Covid, which reached more than 70,000 people across social media.

Cllr Martin Watson, Portfolio Holder for Economy at Warwickshire County Council, said: “With pressures on household finances being incredibly high this year, many residents will be thinking very carefully about where they buy their Christmas gifts from.

"In Warwickshire, we are blessed with so many independent retailers who provide such a high level of service, quality and value, and Christmas is a crucial time for them. The increase in the cost-of-living has put a strain on many independent businesses, so we want to highlight as many as possible through our Warwickshire Christmas campaign and create a buzz around the county. So it’s fantastic to be launching this campaign and for Father Christmas to help us out too.

“We would urge people to get out into their local towns and support these businesses who are the lifeblood of our high streets by buying some of their Christmas gifts locally. And we’d also love it if residents shared their favourite businesses online with the hashtag #WarwickshireChristmas across social media – it all makes a difference.”

To follow the campaign, visit @WarksTN on Instagram or like Warwickshire Towns Network on Facebook.

Project Warwickshire enables powerlifter to raise the bar

"It is always wonderful to see a small business flourish and I am delighted that support from Project Warwickshire has helped Barbell to truly punch its weight."

A training club in Warwick which is putting the region on the powerlifting map is adding to its strengths after seeing its membership rocket by 40 per cent.

Barbell Training Complex, on Millers Road, was set up by Pete Grove as a personal trainer in 2017, before extending its premises and adding a gym in 2020.

He got into fitness almost a decade ago when he weighed 18 stone, smoked and had a chest infection.

Pete quit smoking, joined his local gym, and by the end of the year he lost seven stone – leading to him being offered a job by his gym as a weight-loss coach, and eventually setting up his own business after moving on to weight training.

Barbell has seen membership increase from 185 people at the start of the financial year to 265 – and is on track to hit 300 members by the end of the year. It now boasts top Team GB and Team Ireland athletes among its members and has become nationally recognised, being the only facility in Warwickshire to host powerlifting competitions.

On the back of its growing success, it has now launched its first ever classes to further build its growing powerlifting community.

Pete has been helped to grow his business by Project Warwickshire – a free support programme set up by Warwickshire County Council to help companies in the wake of the pandemic. Working with Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce business supervisor Russell Grant, Pete was given one-to-one support and training to develop his skills in finance, social media, website management, and running a business.

Pete said: “There’s lots you don’t know about when you start a business, and I reached a point at the start of the year where I just needed some help to get my head around things. Russell could just look at it with a blank slate and was fantastic. Although it sounds simple, it is so nice to have somebody step back and say ‘have you tried this?’.

“I’m dyslexic so the financial side of the business has always been a bit more difficult, so Russell was a great help with that. We’ve come a long way since we started. We’ve tried to change our image on social media, and membership has really taken off to the point where we’ve had such demand we’ve expanded with these new classes.

“It’s great that we have a really strong following online now. If we walk into any powerlifting gym in the country, people know us. We host the Varsity powerlifting competition between the University of Warwick and Coventry University, British Powerlifting Union (BPU) and Amateur British Powerlifting Union (ABPU) competitions and our own too. We’re the only gym in Warwickshire doing this - so we’re just about bringing something new and a friendly space to get fit in.”

Support provided by Project Warwickshire is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Warwickshire County Council, and delivered by Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with Shakespeare’s England and Northern Warwickshire Tourism, on behalf of Warwickshire County Council.

Russell added: “Pete’s done a fantastic job at nurturing his own passion into a business, and one that has not only weathered a pandemic, but is now really taking off. He’s helping to put Warwickshire on the map for powerlifting and, not only that, he’s helping to introduce new people from all ages to build their strength and fitness. It’s fantastic to see and I’m really pleased I could help.”

Warwickshire County Council Portfolio Holder for Economy & Place, Cllr Martin Watson, said: "It is always wonderful to see a small business flourish and I am delighted that support from Project Warwickshire has helped Barbell to truly punch its weight.

"Project Warwickshire exists to give small business owners like Pete the specialist advice and expertise they need and I would urge anyone who is contemplating growing their business to get in touch and see how we can help."  

The newly-launched classes at Barbell include a beginner lifting class, functional class, high-intensity circuits, and mobility class, with more details on www.barbelltraining.co.uk

Lighting business expands after WRIF support

“The LCE Fund has been crucial to the business because we had the orders but we didn’t really have the funds to buy the stock."

A specialist in off-grid lighting in Warwickshire is set to expand in 2023 after receiving support from the Warwickshire County Council Local Community and Enterprise Fund, a pillar of the Warwickshire Recovery Investment Fund.

Solar Vision Lighting Technologies, based in Ryton-on-Dunsmore, specialises in providing off-grid solar lighting for streets, residential developments, industrial parks, leisure clubs, schools and shopping centres.

Despite having a high demand for its services, the business was struggling with its cashflow  so Greg Ketteridge, managing director, contacted Richard Mason from Ricosta Capital who recommended he spoke to specialist finance provider, Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust (CWRT).

Andrew Scarborough, loans officer at CWRT, helped Greg to apply to the Local Community and Enterprise Fund (LCE) which was launched by Warwickshire County Council in spring to fill a gap in the loans market at a time when mainstream lending is difficult to access particularly for small and micro businesses.

Greg said the application process had been straightforward and they had received £50,000 from the LCE.

“We have many clients looking to use our products but what was stifling the business was cashflow which meant we were not able to expand,” said Greg. “The LCE Fund has been crucial to the business because we had the orders but we didn’t really have the funds to buy the stock. We will also be taking on a sales person in January and another three-person installation team in March in Coventry.

“It’s important to emphasise that small businesses like us need to know that we have access to these kinds of funds particularly in this economic environment. Without this kind of support, you might not be able to continue with an opportunity because it’s a very tough market out there at the moment so these kinds of schemes help small businesses like ourselves.”

Andrew Scarborough from CWRT, who helps to deliver the LCE for Warwickshire County Council, said the scheme was designed to support the economic recovery and future growth of Warwickshire.

He said: “It is great to support small businesses such as Solarvision Lighting Technologies which are benefiting the environment as we all help the Government meet its Net Zero targets. Greg and his team provide its wide-ranging customers with clean, efficient and renewable energy and they are now looking forward to 2023 with confidence.”

Cllr Martin Watson, Warwickshire County Council’s portfolio holder for economy, said: “One of the main priorities of the LCE was to stimulate growth in small local enterprises and create jobs in the area.

“We are especially interested in innovative projects such as Solarvision which are not only contributing to the local economy but also to the county’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions. This is a wonderful example of what the fund can achieve and we wish Solarvision every success.”

To apply call CWRT on 02476 551777 or enquire at https://www.cwrt.uk.com/applylce

* The LCE runs in parallel with the £90 million Business Investment Growth pillar of the Warwickshire Recovery and Investment Fund (WRIF) which offers debt finance to medium and larger businesses. For more information, please visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/wrif

Inspiring stories abound at Accelerate celebration

"Whatever the challenge facing an individual and whatever journey they are on, we are there with lots of support"

A project which has helped thousands of disadvantaged people build their confidence and find employment during the last six years was celebrated at an event this month.

The Accelerate project, managed by Coventry and Warwickshire CDA, is a partnership of local organisations which provides co-ordinated support for people who are at a disadvantage when looking for work.

Since its creation in 2016, it has supported 2,054 individuals (a 50/50 split of men and women) towards gaining employment. Those clients include 892 people with disabilities, 538 aged 50 or over, who are ineligible for many other sources of similar support which are aimed at younger people, and 688 from ethnic minorities.

Of those 2,054 clients, 1,411 said they ended the project with increased confidence and ready to embark on employment. But while every person helped towards work is celebrated, Accelerate is about much more than that.

Coventry and Warwickshire CDA Operations Manager, Mandy Bygrave, said: "We love it when clients enter employment and we are very proud of every one that achieves that, but success is measured in many other ways. It could be learning a new language or walking out of the front door for the first time in ages.

"Whatever the challenge facing an individual and whatever journey they are on, we are there with lots of support, whether that is mental health or wellbeing support, building confidence or through cooking, craft or online courses. Accelerate can adapt to help anybody. It is inspirational for staff, partners and participants."

The project, funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund, has also been supported by Warwickshire County Council.

WCC Portfolio Holder for Economy & Place, Cllr Martin Watson, said: “The Accelerate project has transformed many lives of people from our region. The achievements of both the clients and the people that support them are truly inspiring and I am pleased that the celebration event was justifiably well-attended.”

For more information about the Accelerate Project, to refer a client or to join Accelerate, please visit https://www.accelerate.org.uk/

For more information about Coventry & Warwickshire CDA, please visit http://www.cwcda.co.uk/home

To contact Mandy Bygrave please email: m.bygrave@cwcda.co.uk or call 024 7663 3911.

New Business Resources webpage accesssible through Libraries catalogue

“This is a great opportunity for current and prospective business owners to be equipped with the right knowledge through Warwickshire Libraries in order to both achieve and succeed in business.”

Warwickshire County Council’s libraries service has launched a new Business Resources webpage, which is available to access for free through the Warwickshire Libraries online catalogue.

The information and services available on the webpage have been carefully selected to provide support for anyone looking to start or develop a business, or for those who are considering self-employment, thinking about new career options, or preparing for a job interview.

The Business Resources webpage features COBRA, a brand new eResource offer by Warwickshire Libraries with more than 4,000 factsheets, market reports, contacts, and sources of funding and support. It also provides hundreds of practical guides to help start up more than 350 different types of business. COBRA is ideal for anyone looking to start a business, write a business or marketing plan, or conduct research into a new market.

The new webpage also provides access to a selection of research websites including the Oxford Dictionary of Business & Management, the Oxford Dictionary of Economics, the Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Business and Management, and Access to Research. All of these resources, including walk-in access to view academic articles in person at your local library, are free as a library member. To sign-up, you can speak to a member of staff at your local library or visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/jointhelibrary

Most of Warwickshire’s libraries offer free Wi-Fi, public computer access and workspaces, and printing and photocopying facilities. Nuneaton, Rugby, and Leamington libraries also offer Let’s Make spaces to get hands-on with the latest technologies from 3D printing and virtual reality to robotics. There are IT Help and support sessions available which take place regularly at libraries across the county, and Cyber Safe Warwickshire also deliver regular free sessions to raise awareness of how to protect yourself online.

Books on business related subjects are available to borrow for library members in person or through the online library catalogue, or by browsing the BorrowBox collection which includes a great range of eBooks and eAudiobooks. Newspapers and magazines are also available through Pressreader & Libby.

Cllr Andy Jenns, WCC Portfolio Holder for Customer and Transformation, said: “Supporting Warwickshire’s economy through free access to business knowledge and resources is vital, as it will help business owners across our county to not only survive, but to thrive. Warwickshire Libraries already provide vibrant and safe spaces to learn all about business with help from our friendly and welcoming staff, and the Business Resources webpage is a great online addition to the support services we provide.

“This is a great opportunity for current and prospective business owners to be equipped with the right knowledge through Warwickshire Libraries in order to both achieve and succeed in business.”

Visit the new Business Resources webpage at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/librarybusinessresources

To find out more about the range of library services available, please ask a member of staff in your local library or visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/libraries.

* The new Business Resources web page complements the wide range of business support services and programmes funded by the County Council. This includes support with starting or growing your business, business skills and employment support and a package of loans and grants. For more information, please visit Business Support – Warwickshire County Council

Princess Royal attends logistics conference in Warwick

"Logistics and transport are vital parts of Warwickshire’s infrastructure, and we value the issues raised in this conference so that we can make future improvements in our county."

HRH The Princess Royal visited Warwick last month to attend the annual Women in Logistics conference.

Warwickshire’s Lord Lieutenant, Mr Tim Cox, received HRH The Princess Royal to the county as she visited the conference at Volvo Trucks UK and Ireland, Wedgnock Lane, Warwick. The royal guest was also welcomed by Chief Executive of Warwickshire County Council, Monica Fogarty, alongside other key Warwickshire dignitaries.

The conference, titled “Use Us or Lose Us: Retaining and Upskilling your workforce”, discussed a variety of current and important issues surrounding the logistics industry. These ranged from challenges requiring workers to upskill or retrain, and worker productivity levels, to disruption to the labour market following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Princess Royal is a patron for the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (UK), also known as CILT UK, which is the chartered body for professionals involved in the movement of goods and people, and their associated supply chains. She listened attentively as a range of experienced speakers explored the different topics with attendees and encouraged discussions and conversations throughout the day on ways to make industry improvements.

Dignitaries in attendance included the High Sheriff of Warwickshire, David Kelham; the Mayor of Warwick, Councillor Parminder Singh Birdi; the Chair of Warwick District Council, Councillor Mini Mangat; and the Chairman of Warwickshire County Council, Councillor Dave Humphreys.

Tim Cox, His Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire, said: “It was a pleasure to receive HRH The Princess Royal to Warwickshire for the attendance of the Women in Logistics Conference. Logistics and transport play an important role in our county, especially as we are located so centrally within the UK.

“The conference provided a great opportunity for HRH The Princess Royal to engage with key figures within the industry as well as representatives of Warwickshire in order to better understand the current issues faced by this industry and how these issues can be addressed.”

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Leader of Warwickshire County Council, said: “Logistics and transport are vital parts of Warwickshire’s infrastructure, and we value the issues raised in this conference so that we can make future improvements in our county. It was a privilege to have HRH The Princess Royal visit Warwickshire for this conference, and we hope that the topics discussed will enable us to improve Warwickshire to make it the best it can be, now and for future generations.”

To find out more about the role of Warwickshire’s Lord Lieutenant, visit https://lordlieutenantofwarwickshire.co.uk/

To find out more about the life and work of The Princess Royal, visit www.royal.uk/the-princess-royal

For further information about the CILT UK, visit https://ciltuk.org.uk/

Range of subjects covered by CUE webinars

Coventry University Enterprises will deliver a range of webinars for small businesses in the coming month...

Sustainability, Your Business and Your Marketing

01/12/2022 9.30-11.30am

From this session you’ll take away an understanding of why all businesses need to play their part in contributing to the COP21 goal, and how this can positively impact your business through customer acquisition and retention and allowing customers to make positive choices.

You will also understand what The Green Claims Code is, and its importance in communicating with customer and stakeholders.


Google Business profile optimisation and management

02/12/2022 9.30-11.30am

Google Business Profile (or Google My Business as it was known) can have a great impact on a business’ SEO local search values. You’ll leave this session understanding how to use this free tool to add a dimension to your digital marketing and extend your reach locally.


How to come up with a profitable business idea

06/12/2022 10am-12pm

In this webinar, you'll learn several techniques that will help you identify a profitable business idea. We'll show you how to pinpoint business opportunities and go after them, then we'll explore your current thinking and help you move forward.


Cyber Security for Small Businesses

08/12/2022 9.30-11.30am

You'll come away from this session with a deeper understanding of the cyber severity threat as well as what you can do to improve the security and resiliency of your hardware and software infrastructure. Common Phishing scams and some of the tell-tale signs will be discussed to help you better identify these and exercise more caution with the information shared online. Additionally, resources and support on who to reach out should your business fall victim to a cyber-attack will be shared.


How to survive a Startup

13/12/2022, 10am-12pm

You’ll take away a better understanding of how to deal with the stresses that can accompany starting your own business.


Team shortlisted for another award

The Business & Economy team at Shire Hall has been shortlisted for a Star Award by Warwickshire County Council.

The team’s shortlisting follows the council’s double success in the recent Federation of Small Businesses in which they won in two regional categories; 'Programme of Business Support' and 'All-Round Small Business Friendly.'

The input of the Business & Economy team was heavily influential in earning those accolades and now its work has been further recognised, this time internally at the county council.

In the last 12 months, the Business & Economy team has led on the establishment of just under £20 million of new and extended activity.  During that period, the team moved quickly to establish four new business support and employment & skills programmes worth £16 million and to extend two existing programmes after securing a further £3.6 million of Government, private sector, partner and WCC funding. 

The four new schemes are:

Project Warwickshire – a new service, funded by WCC and ERDF, to support the recovery and future growth of the tourism & leisure industry in Warwickshire.

Community Renewal Fund – three new employment support projects selected by Government to support unemployed Warwickshire residents 

Local Communities & Enterprise Fund – a new fund opened to small business applicants as part of the Warwickshire Recovery Investment Fund.

Multiply - Funding from the Government’s new adult numeracy fund used to support adult numeracy in Warwickshire.

The Business & Economy team achieved the roll out of these schemes alongside continuing to manage and deliver a wide range of ongoing business support services and programmes and other economic recovery activities. For more information on all the support they offer please visit here.

Warwickshire business receives the Queen's Award for Enterprise

"There is no stronger accolade for a business, voluntary organisation, or charity than to achieve a Queen's Award."

Instarmac, who have a Head Office in Dordon, North Warwickshire, has received a Queens Award for Enterprise for International Trade in recognition for their outstanding overseas trading activities.

Tim Cox, His Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire, presented the award to the business which specialises in the manufacture of cement and bitumen-based products.

Since 1998, Instarmac have been working with their global partners to build their International presence which has gone from strength to strength.

Now in its 56th year, the QAE is the most prestigious business award in the country, with hundreds of businesses applying each year in the hope of receiving this coveted accolade which brings prestige, exposure, and credibility to a company, as well as pride and inspiration to employees.

Tim Cox, His Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire, said: “It’s always a pleasure and a privilege to visit some of the fabulous organisations we have in Warwickshire and meet those involved in achieving their awards. I was delighted to present a Queens Award for Enterprise to Instarmac; it is so important to reward and celebrate excellence in our county, whether that be in the field of voluntary service or enterprise.”

Cllr Heather Timms, Warwickshire County Council Portfolio Holder for Heritage, Culture and the Environment, said: “I would like to congratulate all organisations that have been presented with their Queen’s Awards. There is no stronger accolade for a business, voluntary organisation, or charity than to achieve a Queen's Award. It not only greatly enhances their reputation, but is also a real boost for staff.”

To find out more about The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, visit www.gov.uk/queens-awards-for-enterprise. You can also find out more about the QAE in Warwickshire here https://api.warwickshire.gov.uk/documents/WCCC-1980322935-2072

Help to deliver a sustainable future for Warwickshire

Business have been urged to have their say on Warwickshire County Council’s draft Sustainable Futures Strategy. 

Warwickshire County Council’s draft Sustainable Futures Strategy establishes our direction and priorities to reduce carbon emissions, support biodiversity and promote economic growth across the County. It directly addresses the significant challenges of climate change, which poses a direct risk to Warwickshire communities and economy, and declining biodiversity, which impacts on both our wellbeing and economic prosperity.  

The online survey has just been launched and will be open until 15 January 2023. To read the Strategy and complete the survey, please go to: https://ask.warwickshire.gov.uk/insights-service/sustainable-futures-strategy  

Our Strategy 

We have already started work towards our goals of reducing carbon emissions to net zero across the Council by 2030 and to support Warwickshire as a County to do the same by 2050 or earlier. But if we are to achieve these net zero goals, we need to do more and we need to do it faster.

Our objectives cover six key themes: 

Transport - We want to have zero emissions surface transport across the County, increasing the use of sustainable modes of transport, with every resident having access to zero carbon private, public and active transport options. 

Energy – We want to live and work in a County that is powered entirely by clean fuel or renewable sources. 

Built Environment - We want to live and work in buildings that are energy efficient, powered by clean energy sources and connected to nature. 

Resources, Waste & Circular Economy – We want a County where all waste is diverted from landfill and there is a circular economy that provides commercial opportunities and new jobs 

Sustainable Communities & Green Economy - We want to have a County that is measured by prosperity and health, where people have the skills and access to new green jobs, and where all the industries contribute to sustainable, equitable and healthy communities. 

Natural Capital and Biodiversity – We want a habitat-connected landscape for people to enjoy, and wildlife to thrive. 

Engagement and partnership are central to how our Strategy will work, because the actions that will have the biggest impact are not always within the gift of WCC. Many of them will instead be the responsibility of the District and Borough Councils, Town and Parish Councils, central government, other public service providers or with businesses, landowners and residents. Providing a partnership, supporting and coordinating role between the business sector and other organisations is going to be key for WCC and the draft Strategy invites you to give feedback on our collaboration and partnership approach.   

Last call for old laptops and tablets to support vulnerable residents

Local businesses and residents are being asked again to donate old tablets and laptops to be repurposed and delivered to vulnerable residents across Warwickshire and Coventry.

As the internet is increasingly used across all areas of life, a growing digital divide has evolved, leaving many households and individuals unable to access services and support. There are many reasons why people struggle to access technology, such as skills, motivation and trust. Now with the rising cost of living, affordability and access are additional reasons.

Coventry & Warwickshire Cooperative Development Agency has been commissioned by Warwickshire County Council and Coventry City Council, through the Wellbeing for Life programme, to deliver a programme which began during the initial lockdowns to support people isolating or unable to access equipment for educational needs. To date, they have supported over 100 applications across Coventry and Warwickshire, and have the capacity to continue until the end of 2022, but further donations and referrals are needed.

The offer has also been extended to include the following potential recipients:

  • families with children to support on-line learning
  • individuals with mental health needs to access healthcare support on-line
  • individuals who are long term unemployed, needing to job seek on-line
  • projects supporting refugees & asylum seekers

To donate, equipment must be in working order and able to run Windows 10. In order to repurpose the equipment for use in the home, the Co-operative Development Agency will be supporting the initiative by wiping clean the hard drive before installing a basic operating system. Onward support will also be offered to help residents get used to their new devices and access services online and the equipment is theirs to keep.

To donate, please contact the Coventry & Warwickshire Co-Operative Development Agency.

For more information please contact Alistair Rigby on alistairrigby@warwickshire.gov.uk for enquiries about the initiative, or contact Jo Southan on josouthan@warwickshire.gov.uk for more about Wellbeing for Life.


Please support the 'Warm Hubs' initiatives this winter

Businesses across Warwickshire have been asked to support two 'Warm Hubs' initiatives which are setting up in response to the Cost of Living crisi

Warwickshire Rural Community Council's 'Winter Warm Hubs' initiative aims to provide up to 80 voluntary/community groups with small grants, officer support and a toolkit to help establish warm hubs. 

The initiative covers all part of the county, rural and urban areas, and more information can be found here: https://www.wrccrural.org.uk/services/wrcc-warm-hubs/winter-warm-hubs/

Meanwhile, Warwick District Council is working in partnership with organisations across the community to set up Warm Hubs where people will be able to access warm spaces, if they cannot afford to heat their own homes. Here they will be able to receive advice and support including access to food banks and practical skills to help with the struggles they may be facing.

WDC is reaching out to the local businesses community to ask for any help they may be able to offer in terms of:

*  Financial contributions towards the running of Warm Hubs run by the Voluntary Community Services

*  Food provision for the ‘Warm Hubs’

*  Christmas food parcels for families and vulnerable adults

*  Contributions of new toys for families or gifts for vulnerable adults

*  Volunteers to help with distributing food parcels/ gifts leading up to Christmas

For further information and to offer support, please contact Bernadette Allen in WDC's Community Wellbeing Team on 07867 558144 or at bernadette.allen@warwickdc.gov.uk

Guest column

Challenging winter ahead but positive signs locally

"Despite the challenging outlook, there are some positive signs locally with many of the region’s small firms faring well in the past quarter," says Lee Osborne, Development Manager (Warwickshire and Coventry) at the Federation of Small Businesses

There are many things that keep small business owners awake at night. However, the cost-of-doing-business crisis, which has come to a crescendo in recent months - from energy costs and inflation to the highest tax burden for years - is the most toxic business environment in recent memory. And it comes on the back of the pandemic when many small business owners’ reserves (and morale) were wiped out.

Without support, the impact was starting to look very bleak; small firms downsizing, or even closing for good as the figures stopped adding up and the scale of price rises needed to offset these soaring costs were simply pie in the sky. Local businesses we heard from included fish & chip shops needing an extra £1,000 a week to pay for energy increases; pubs which would need to pump up prices to £10 a pint; manufacturers facing exorbitant price rises which simply couldn’t be passed on.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has been hard at work for months to succeed in getting this to top the top of the political agenda. We have been clear in advising Government that it is impossible to solve the cost-of-living crisis without tackling the cost-of-doing-business crisis. We have been successful in securing help for small businesses on energy bills with the recent Government announcement to cap wholesale rates for six months, plus other wins on reducing the tax burden including a reversal of the hike in National Insurance.

Despite this progress, small businesses across Warwickshire are still facing significantly higher bills than they were paying a few months ago. FSB’s most recent Small Business Confidence survey in the West Midlands reveals that 89 per cent of small businesses operating costs are up compared to 2021, with 64 per cent seeing a rise in utilities. On energy costs alone, price rises have either doubled or tripled and some businesses are worried about just how high their next energy bill will go.

Alongside this, inflation is still sky-high, especially for business inputs, where it is running at around twice the rate of that felt by consumers. And consumer confidence in October was only slightly above its all-time low in September, which spells worrying news for countless small firms relying on consumer spending in the so-called golden quarter running up to the festive season.

In speaking with small business owners across Warwickshire, there is huge concern about all these factors. For some, all of their focus is on surviving the toughest winter they have ever faced.

Small business entrepreneurs are optimistic, dynamic and innovative, which is why it is all the more stark to see this drop in confidence locally. They want to be driving growth and economic recovery, but the headwinds against them right now are gale-force.

Recent political and economic turmoil hasn’t helped, which is why it is vital that Government focuses on stability to allow small businesses to trade and plan with confidence. Beyond that, we need to see pro-growth measures such as taking more small firms out of business rates, which they’re clobbered with before they’ve earned a penny. This would be a seriously positive, pro-growth step. Action on late payment would also be a godsend for small firms, opening up flows of working capital to keep them able to trade.

Despite the challenging outlook, there are some positive signs locally with many of the region’s small firms faring well in the past quarter.

Across the West Midlands small firm’s revenue performance improved in Q3 of this year, with 6% more small businesses reporting an increase than those reporting a decrease. This is the strongest performance of all UK regions.

The region’s small businesses are also reporting net employment growth – the first time this has happened this year. When looking at investment aspirations, just under half of respondents expected to grow rapidly or moderately over the next year.

Small businesses can also continue to benefit from a strong local business support landscape across the region with grant schemes and webinars available to provide much-needed help and advice. The value of local support was further demonstrated at FSB’s recent inaugural Local Government awards, with Warwickshire County Council winning two regional awards for their help to the local small business community.

Other local authorities including North Warwickshire Borough Council, Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council and Coventry City Council were all shortlisted for awards for support and projects undertaken to help small businesses overcome current challenges or adapt to being future ready.

While it is still going to be a tough winter for many Warwickshire small businesses and the self-employed, the measures secured and local support available may prove to be a lifeline. At the same time FSB is working with other key partners - locally and nationally – and will continue to campaign to secure an environment in which entrepreneurs can flourish and drive economic recovery.




Motorcycle Live
The UK’s largest motorcycle show, supported by over 50 motorcycle and scooter manufacturers in 2021, both electric and combustion engine. (19-27 Nov)

MCIA Events 10:00-17:00
(9 days)
NEC Weblink here

Trading with the EU: Business Strategies For Foreign Exchange
Due to the value of currencies being extremely volatile, it is important to take stock on how businesses are protecting themselves from dangers in the market. At this event all global impacts that effect local businesses and how to navigate through these tough terrains will be covered.

CW Chamber of Commerce 14:00-15:30 Zoom Weblink here

Speakers Club
Welcome to come along to the  regular meetings for a special educational session on evaluation and impact of the spoken world. Part of the key attributes of a great Speaker is the ability to evaluate both your own and others' communication.

1 Mill St 20:00-22:00 1 Mill Street Weblink here

Supply Chain Digital Transformation: Driving Transport Technology
Join Made Smarter and industry experts at this West Midlands Special in November to hear how the adoption of technology is key to boosting the region’s advanced manufacturing and digital engineering sectors.

Made Smarter 08:30-12:00 Aston Villa Football Club, Holte Suite Weblink Here

Coventry & Warwickshire Champions
Regular speaker and networking event. November takes place at The Spa Centre, Leamington Spa. Speakers are Leanne Cahill, CEO for Bravissimo, David Guilding, Arts Manager for Warwick District Council's Arts Section, Mark Tock, Chief Operations Officer for University of Warwick's Science Park and
Ian Harrabin MBE MRICS, Managing Director for Complex Development Projects.

CW Champions 07:30-09:00 The Spa Centre, Leamington Spa Weblink Here

Employment Law and Health & Safety Seminar
Almost a 25% of workers are actively planning to change employers in the next few months. As your business adapts and grows, HR needs to be a key consideration. Without it, you open yourself up to tribunal claims, costly pay-outs, reputational damage, and in the most serious cases, business closure. Learning to adapt is key to business success, so make sure you get it right first time.

Croner 09:30-13:00 Chase Hotel, Nuneaton Weblink here

Sustainability, Your Business and Your Marketing
In this session sustainability is explored - and why it is important to your business.

CUE Business Solutions 09:30-11:30 Online Weblink here

Women Entrepreneurs Investment Competition
Join Innovate UK EDGE for the first Women Entrepreneurs Investment Competition on December 1st, 2022. The winner of this competition will benefit from up to £150k SEIS investment guaranteed by SFC Capital. This event will aim to showcase some of the best female start-ups and SME’s pitching their ideas live to a panel of experienced investors and entrepreneurs. In addition to observing live pitches, attendees will also learn what investors really look for when investing in new companies.

Innovate UK Edge 17:30-21:00 Colmore Row, Birmingham Weblink here

Recruitment & Skills Summit
CW Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Destination Coventry is organising a Recruitment & Skills Summit that will bring together a panel of experts to talk about the challenges around staffing, recruitment & skills, and offer advice and practical solutions for businesses.

CW Chamber of Commerce 09:30-12:00 Belgrade Theatre Weblink here

Business Buzz Leamington Spa
Business Buzz Leamington Spa is a fresh vibe in business networking. This Face to Face drop-in session is a great way to catch up with the local business community in Warwickshire.

Buzz Networks 10:00-12:00 1 Mill Street Weblink here

First Friday Networking at The Neighbourhood, Leamington Spa
The final First Friday networking lunch of 2022 will be an informal get together in a slightly different format to thier usual lunches. The Neighbourhood in Leamington is a mixed space venue including a foodhall, coffee shop and bar and is an ideal fit with the more relaxed, social theme. 

CW First Professionals 12:30-14:00 The Neighbourhood, Leamington Spa Weblink here

Automotive & Hydrogen Technologies Sector R&D Facilities Workshop
In-person workshop to address the current lack of UK R&D facilities for the adoption of hydrogen technologies and to scope out the need for a ‘Centre of Excellence’ in hydrogen technologies for the #automotive and hydrogen technologies sector.

HORIBA-MIRA 09:30-16:30 MIRA Technology Park Weblink here

Let's Talk Business Breakfast - Networking
Open networking with few event updates and Talk Business member introductions. Start time 8am but arrivals from 7:30 am for casual chat and an early coffee.

Talk Business UK 07:00-09:00 The Farm, Stratford-upon-Avon Weblink here

Chamber Networking at St John's House
CW Chamber Networking at St Johns House for the chance to meet new connections and catch up with existing ones.

CW Chamber of Commerce 16:30-18:30 St John's House Weblink here

Warwick Uno - Talk Business Networking
LIVE NETWORKING Twice a month - face 2 face. Come along and help create the Talk Business Warwick UNO group A 'single seat' business networking group - WHAT SEAT WILL YOU WANT?
Everyone has the opportunity to introduce themselves and their business.

Talk Business UK 07:30-09:00 Delta Marriott - Warwick Weblink here

Green Business Programme Winter Event
Green Business Network has got over 2200 members who regularly get together to discuss low carbon opportunities, share ideas and promote energy, resource, waste and water efficiency as well as engage on low carbon, environmental and green sustainability initiatives.
Join this event to hear more about Net Zero local initiatives, green transport and grants available for SMEs interested in reducing their carbon footprint.

Coventry City Council 08:30-11:30 MTC Weblink Here

Pitching for Finance
This session looks at content and effective strategies for making the most of a business’s content assets. We'll define content pillars, how a business can determine yours and why they are important when developing a strategic approach to content creation.

Business Ready 09:30-12:30 Binley Innovation Centre Weblink Here

Cyber Security for Small Businesses
This session is designed to raise a small businesses awareness of cybersecurity threats including supply chain and cloud threats that are increasing as the Internet of Things continues to grow.

CUE Business Solutions 09:30-11:30 Online Weblink here

Business Buzz Rugby
Business Buzz Rugby is a fresh vibe in business networking. This face-to-face drop-in session is a great way to catch up with the local business community in Warwickshire.

Buzz Networks 10:00-12:00 Gallachers of Rugby Weblink here

Trading with the EU: Incoterms
This workshop will provide you with a complete understanding of Incoterms and their relevance to your business. It explains the risk and cost responsibilities of each term for both the customer and the supplier. The course examines the potential consequences of using each particular term in an overseas supply contract and their implications for domestic trade.

CW Chamber of Commerce 09:30-12:00 Chamber House Weblink here

Business Buzz Stratford-upon-Avon
Business Buzz Stratford-upon-Avon is a fresh vibe in business networking. This Face to Face drop-in session is a great way to catch up with the local business community in Warwickshire.

Buzz Networks 10:00-12:00 Cork & Tile Portuguese Weblink here

FindaBiz Networking Nuneaton
FaB Networking with FindaBiz is a local business networking and business support organisation. Serious about helping you grow your business, in a positive and friendly setting with no scary rules. Help for business owners to make connections, build business relationships and find opportunities to do business.

FaB Networking 18:00-20:00 Coton Sports and Social Club Weblink here

Uno Leamington - Networking
UNO Networking in Leamington Single seat networking meetings, twice a month in Leamington Spa Talk Business UNO - Leamington.

Talk Business UK 07:30-09:00 Bar + Block Weblink here

How to survive a Startup
This session is aimed at very new startups. If you are trying to get your new business off the ground? But, you continuously hit obstacles: you experience ups and downs in; developing your startup; you worry about the impact on your mental health. Then please consider registering for this session.

CUE Business Solutions 1000-1200 Online Weblink here

AutoCAD for Beginners to Improvers
A two-day interactive course that matches concise, straightforward explanations with hands-on exercises and tutorials to teach new users of Autocad the software's core features and functions. 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 2 days Engineering and Computing Building, Coventry Weblink Here

Trading with the EU: Free Trade Agreements and the future including Rules of Origin
Rules of origin help you work out where your goods originate from, and which goods are covered in trade agreements. You’ll need to understand the rules of origin to claim tariff preference when you’re importing, prove the origin of goods you’re exporting. Training is fully funded by WMCA.

CW Chamber of Commerce 09:30-12:00 Chamber House Weblink Here

Business Buzz Warwick
Business Buzz Warwick is a fresh vibe in business networking. This face-to-face drop-in session is a great way to catch up with the local business community in Warwickshire.

Buzz Networks 10:00-12:00 The Globe Weblink here

Talk Manufacturing: Manufacturing - Growth and Innovation
Talk Manufacturing - a quarterly event for business leaders in Manufacturing and Production across the West Midlands, offering an opportunity to engage with sector thought leaders and network with your peers.

Talk Business UK 12:00-14:00 Wellesbourne Innovation Campus Weblink here

BAB Networking - Coleshill Breakfast
Face to Face Networking in Coleshill -Business at Breakfast. You will be welcomed, included and educated with like minded business entrepreneurs. By Networkers for Networkers. Including a 10 Minute Education slot 15 Min Spotlight and one to one Networking Opportunities.

BAB Networking 08:00-10:00 Coleshill Hotel Weblink here

LAMMA connects farmers and contractors from all sectors with companies who provide cutting-edge machinery, technology and equipment for the farming industry. (2 days)

LAMMA Ltd 08:30-16:30 NEC Weblink here

Business leaders policing and community safety budget consultation
Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe will be holding an online feedback session to enable the business community to share their views as he sets the budget for Warwickshire Police for 2023/24. What priorities should that budget look to fund, and what would make a difference to businesses in Warwickshire?

Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner 10:00-12:00 Online Weblink here

Trading with the EU: Letters of Credit
This course will provide information relating to the payment risk ladder, the importance of payment methods and letters of credit to ensure payments are received. On completion, delegates will recognise issues that can prevent payment or lead to delays when selling goods under Letters of Credit.

CW Chamber of Commerce 09:30-15:00 Chamber House Weblink here

Autosport International
A must-attend event for both motorsport fans and industry professionals, Autosport International uniquely incorporates two trade-only days with two public days. (4 days)

Autosport Media Uk Ltd 09:00-18:00 NEC Weblink here

Trading with the EU: Chief to CDS
Are you ready for the changes that are due to take place regarding customs clearances with the closure of the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight system (CHIEF) which will be replaced by the Customs Declaration Service (CDS). For all imports from the 1st October and Exports from the 31 March 2023.

CW Chamber of Commerce 09:30-11:00 Online Weblink Here

Low Carbon Agriculture 2023
Low Carbon Agriculture, the new event showcasing opportunities in low carbon energy, technological advances and Environmental Land Management (ELM), for a profitable and sustainable future in farming, will launch at the National Agriculture and Exhibition Centre (NAEC), Stoneleigh, on 7th-8th February 2023.

Energy Now 08:30-17:00
(2 days)
NAEC, Stoneleigh Park Weblink here

Race Retro
Race Retro brings together over 24,000 fans, drivers, preparers, traders and enthusiasts to enjoy a weekend of everything you need to preparing for the motorsport season ahead. (3 days)

Clarion Events 09:30-17:30
(3 days)
NAEC, Stoneleigh Park Weblink here

Bringing together the UK’s biggest and best geotechnical suppliers, manufacturers, contractors and clients. A single focussed event, helping to promote the very best specialist services, products and innovations the industry has to offer.

Equipe Group 09:00-17:00 Warwickshire Exhibition Centre Weblink here

Talk Up Our Towns

Resurgent Rugby on the rise and ready for bicentenary

From rugby football to Rupert Brooke and from Frank Whittle to Spiritualized, the town of Rugby has given the world much in the realms of sport, poetry, engineering and music. But while the town is rightly proud of its far-reaching impact on the wider world, it also has much to be proud of on a local level. In the first of a series highlighting the great offer of towns across Warwickshire, WMB features Rugby on the eve of a very special year for the town.

The last three years have been uniquely testing for all towns with businesses hit by a succession of blows - Brexit, the pandemic and now rising costs. It has been, and remains, a time of great challenge but small towns across Warwickshire have responded with immense resilience and enterprise.

They have weathered the storm and are advancing again. Rugby is a prime example.

Just as, in the sport which bears the town's name, the top players take the knocks and bounce back harder, so the town is bouncing back from one of the most turbulent eras in UK history.

Rugby is being rejuvenated, based upon a reputation as one of the safest and cleanest of town centres, says Linda Lowne, Business and Stakeholder Manager at Rugby First, the town's Business Improvement District.

"Like all towns, Rugby has been hit hard over the last few years." said Linda. "But the town is now bouncing back, and from the attendance that we have seen at our events this year, it’s clear that there is a real appetite for people to come to the town centre to enjoy what Rugby has to offer.

"Empty shops are now being filled again. You can see a wave of change in the town centre as people are taking up leases and spending money because the town is worth investing in.

"We at Rugby First pride ourselves in ensuring the town centre is both clean and safe. Our cleaners have been praised for their diligence during events, they keep the town litter free, and visitors have commented on this. We also employ Rangers, distinctive in their red uniform, who patrol the town centre ensuring we provide a friendly safe environment for visitors. Together with responding to any security issues our rangers are trained to use defibrillators and offer rapid first aid response before an ambulance arrives. They have literally been responsible for saving lives and we are so proud of them.

“The rangers also help us to ensure we have strong links with our businesses. Each of them do 12 business visits a day. Maintaining strong communication links is important to us and something we are working to improve even more.”

Part of the lure for businesses to come into, or back into, the town centre is the heavy footfall at events there. So successful was this year's Rugby Food and Drink Festival, with around 7,000 visitors, that Rugby First will be holding two in 2023. Rugby BikeFest attracted 9,000 people in May.

“The Rugby First Bikefest was a really lovely family day," said Linda. "Traders, visitors and the bikers all loved it and it epitomised what Rugby is - a diverse community coming together and enjoying themselves.

"At the Food and Drink Festival we offered our town centre businesses the opportunity to have a stall. Wherever possible, local businesses and producers get the first opportunity to have a presence at any of our events. In all our marketing we encourage Rugby residents to shop locally to support our fantastic, eclectic mix of businesses - both independents and nationals

"We had around 9,000 visitors for the Christmas Lights switch on this year. On December 3rd, there will be a Lantern Parade, a community project which Rugby First has brought together for both young and old. Cubs and brownies, community groups and churches will be amongst those taking part in the parade through the town centre. The parade will end at St Andrew's Church providing a lovely build up to their Manchester Carols held that evening. Lantern-making workshops will take place on the day at St Andrew’s but you don’t have to have made a lantern to take part. Just come along and be part of the event.

"Last year Rugby First was given a Challen piano, donated by Steve Droy Piano Services, The Piano Technology School - a local piano-tuning school and one of only three in the world. They have been amazing in allowing their very talented students to maintain and tune the piano and we are so grateful for all their help and support. Another Rugby firm, LSM, donated one of their own locally-made piano stools and a really talented artist Natasha Awuku covered the piano in a stunning array of hand-painted British butterflies, making it a piece of art in its own right.

“The piano was placed in the Rugby Central shopping centre and shoppers have been treated to some wonderful impromptu concerts. More special though are the number of children that you can hear tinkling away on it. It's gone away for a tune and clean at the moment but will be back in the New Year.

"Warwickshire County Council's 'Our Spaces' project brought the Butter Stones to town. Popular with people sitting out having their lunch or just watching the world go by, it’s added colour and green space to town and highlights the new gothic architecture of William Butterfield which is so prevalent in the town. We've got a lot of ideas of how we might expand what we do round them."

Next year will be a special one for Rugby as it is the bicentenary of the day when Rugby School boy William Webb-Ellis picked up the ball during a match and ran with it. That, the story goes, was how the game of rugby started and it led to the town lending its name to one of the world's biggest sports. Millions of times every day, across the globe, the name 'rugby' is uttered.

"We will have lots of events tied in with the bicentenary and our regular events such as Bikefest will have a rugby theme," said Linda. "We are working with Rugby School and Rugby Borough Council to commemorate 200 years of the game and the whole town will be dressed to celebrate this milestone. We want businesses to get involved, perhaps by providing special services, events or products. We know the bicentenary will attract additional visitors to the town to attend events offered by Rugby School, and it's important for those visitors to know that the town is a great place to visit with an extensive range of quality shops and restaurants."

Warwickshire County Council works with Business Improvement Districts (BIDS) in the county to ensure they are supported as key stakeholders within town centres. The council takes an active part in the Board and the place projects and partnerships team at the council are in regular communication with the BID around the placemaking agenda in the town centre.

You can find out more about the work of Rugby BID and upcoming events at https://rugbyfirst.org/

News in Brief

This month's round-up of news-in-brief from the county and region...

AC Lloyd Brings More SME Space to Warwick and Leamington 

Work is on track to open the new £5.5m Space Business Centre on Tachbrook Park. Sixty-one units are currently under construction ranging in size from 285 sq ft to 840 sq ft along with two facilities blocks containing a kitchen, toilets and shower room. One or two car-parking spaces will be allocated to each unit and there will be 12 electric car charging points installed along with solar panels on some of the roofs and a cycle shelter at the 35,000 sq ft scheme. 


Jaguar Land Rover CEO steps down 

Thierry Bolloré, Jaguar Land Rover’s CEO, has stepped down after just two years in the job. In January 2021, as part of the Reimagine Strategy, the Warwickshire headquartered car maker said that it would build six pure electric Land Rovers in the next five years and retain all of its core manufacturing facilities in the UK and worldwide. His interim replacement is CFO Adrian Mardell, a veteran of 32 years at the company. 


Warwick College adds £475k vehicle electrification facility 

A new £477,000 electric vehicle training facility has been completed to help train the next generation of motor vehicle specialists at Warwick Trident College. It features fully-converted workshops with specialist features for the training of skills associated with electric vehicles. The workshop is home to three electric vehicles, one hybrid, one plug-in hybrid and one fully electric – with specialist tools and diagnostics equipment also available. 


Motorcycle giant TVS funds new £1.5m Lord Bhattacharyya Chair in Engineering 

A substantial gift of £1.5 million from TVS Moto Company will help create a new Professorial post in WMG, University of Warwick – the Lord Bhattacharyya Chair in Engineering Education. The gift celebrates TVS Motor Company’s close relationship with WMG and will continue the legacy of the late Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya. Warwick has a close network of more than 5,500 alumni in India and is the most successful Russell Group university for recruiting students from India. 


Alcester light rail company acquires US tram company 

Severn Lamb, the Alcester based light urban, leisure and resort transport business has expanded with a US acquisition. The company has completed the asset purchase of Trams International, a US and global supplier of trams for the past 35 years. 


Wolston motorcycle firm to launch world first EV Neo-café Racer 

Jaguar Land Rover spin-out Arc is weeks away from bringing the world’s first fully electric neo-cafe racer – the Vector – to market. The ground-breaking motorcycle is believed to be the most advanced ever built and, by replacing the traditional chassis with the battery, delivers a dynamic experience which, says the firm, can sometimes be lost with electric vehicles. It takes just 40 minutes to charge, can reach 100kmh in just 3.2 seconds and has a range of over 430km, with a top speed limited to 200 mph. 


EVTEC confirms strategic partnership with US group 

Coventry-based Evtec Group has formed a strategic partnership with an American electric vehicle manufacturer focused on the essential services and urban e-mobility markets. The company has joined forces with ev Transportation Services (evTS) in a move that will involve electric vehicles being built in the Midlands and jobs being created. 


Warwick’s Contechs appoints ex-Ford Europe chief designer 

Leading Warwick-based design and engineering consultancy Contechs has made a prestigious new appointment aimed at boosting its global automotive design capabilities. 

Contechs has appointed former Ford of Europe chief designer  Chris Hamilton to head up its vehicle design studio team. His appointment is aimed at strengthening Contechs’ design studio capabilities and further enhancing the services Contechs provides to its OEM clients worldwide. 


Lloyds Bank extends support for manufacturing skills at Ansty’s MTC 

Lloyds Bank will continue to provide the Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre (AMTC) £1 million per year before 2030 as it extends its support for the centre and wider UK manufacturing sector. Lloyds Bank’s total sponsorship of the AMTC to £15 million. The AMTC, part of the Manufacturing Technology Centre Campus at Ansty Technology Park, has already trained more than 2,500 engineers, a figure set to rise to more than 5,000 by 2030. 


New funding recharges Britishvolt plans 

UK battery manufacturing start-up Britishvolt has been saved from administration after securing additional funding. Its future looked uncertain after it was reported that the Coventry-headquartered company had lost a £100 million government investment. 

Britishvolt plans to build a £3.8 billion gigafactory in the North East of England manufacturing lithium-ion batteries.. 


Skyfarer trial to create drone corridor between Coventry and Rugby hospitals 

A UK-first trial is underway with Coventry-based Skyfarer to connect two Midlands hospitals by a drone flight ‘corridor’ that will speed up medical deliveries. 

The Medical Logistics UK corridor connects 32km of airspace between the University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire Trust’s hospitals in Coventry and Rugby and will be in place for a three-month period from October until December 2022, to conduct a record-breaking number of routine and ad hoc medical drone deliveries. 


Silicon Spa pioneer honoured with WCG Fellowship 

A key architect of the UK video games industry has been honoured with a Fellowship from Warwickshire College and University Centre. David Darling, Founder & CEO of mobile game development studio and publisher Kwalee and co-founder of games development unicorn Codemasters, has been named a Fellow of the university. 


Nuneaton games developers seek funding for new game 

A Nuneaton-based gaming startup is seeking external investment to realise its ambition. Mammoth has developed Agartha, an MMORPG with both player versus environment (PvE) and player versus player (PvP) elements, similar to genre monolith World of Warcraft. 


Nuneaton’s Triton Showers recognised with national award 

Triton Showers has scooped the Bathroom Manufacturers Association Special Recognition in Driving Behaviour Change award, in acknowledgement of its ‘Every Drop Makes a Difference’ campaign. It reflects the company’s commitment to creating meaningful change, assisting consumers in reducing their impact on the environment while saving them water, energy, and money. 


Warwick law firm celebrates 175th Anniversary with £27,000 bursary  

Law firm Wright Hassall has marked its 175th anniversary by awarding a share of £27,000 to two students to fund their university tuition fees. The one-off award by Wright Hassall provides disadvantaged young people – who may otherwise struggle to afford university – the opportunity to study for their undergraduate law degree. 


Warwick Business School ranked second globally by Corporate Knights 

Warwick Business School has been ranked second in the world for teaching and researching sustainability. Clean capitalism magazine Corporate Knights revealed its annual Better World Full-time MBA ranking and named WBS top in the UK and Europe and second in the world after assessing 160 programmes across the globe. 


Landmark Ansty HQ office development scoops property award 

The new headquarters building for Cadent Gas, has scooped a major Midlands property award. The Insider Media Property Awards has awarded the development ‘Commercial Development of the Year’ award, seeing off competition from 103 Colmore Row in Birmingham and the new Faculty of Arts Building at University of Warwick. The judges cited the big focus on local supply chains, a determination to upskill and improve the wellbeing of local employees and great green credentials. 


Leamington is top-ranked Midlands town in retail study 

Commercial retail agent Harper Dennis Hobbs (HDH) has released its latest Vitality Rankings. The rankings  determine the health of high streets and shopping centres by analysing a number of factors, including vacancy rates, residents’ movement and suitability to local consumer demand. The rankings reveal the top 50 retail centres, compiled from a list of 1,000 by the strategic retail property consultancy. Leamington Spa was the only Midlands town placed in the top 50. 


Frasers Group buys CBS Arena in Coventry 

Coventry Arena, the former 32,600-seat home of Wasps Rugby Club, has been sold to Frasers Group, the company belonging to Sports Direct retailer Mike Ashley. It will now become a permanent home to Coventry City Football Club and has secured the future of 1,000 jobs in the stadium, which includes a hotel and casino. The purchase follows the release last month of plans by Frasers to create a major HQ campus in Ansty, at J2 of M6. 


Stoneleigh Arms pub is latest site to be redeveloped as part of new Creative Quarter in Leamington Spa 

The next steps in the ongoing project to revitalise Leamington’s Creative Quarter are set to get underway after planning permission was granted on the former Stoneleigh Arms pub, located on Clemens Street within Old Town. The pub has been derelict since the 1990s. 


Office Principles goes down to The Woods 

Office Principles North has completed a £4.5 million office refurbishment in Warwick on behalf of FI Real Estate Management (FIREM) on the IBM campus. Building 2 has been reimagined as The Woods, a flagship CAT A development where over 70% of the 70,000 sq ft building has already been let to firms in the medtech and engineering sectors. 


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