WARWICKSHIRE MEANS BUSINESS

Welcome

Welcome from WCC chief executive Monica Fogarty

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

In this edition we again focus on some of the businesses that are growing, prospering and recruiting after accessing support from Warwickshire County Council and our partners. Our small businesses are the lifeblood of the local economy and every single one is to be valued and supported as they play their part in helping to strengthen our economy, power our communities and give our high streets the vibrancy and variety they need.

Please have a read about how Top of the Rock Tuition is drumming up success, Forest of Hearts is flourishing and Molly's Cotton Tails is breaking new ground after benefiting from business support.  A huge range of advice and support is available so please have a good read and see if any of it could help your business or, in the case of JumpStart, help someone you know turn their idea or passion into a business reality.  

In our Special Feature, we explore the excellent news that our world-renowned Games Sector continues to attract multi-million pound investment. We welcome Luke Pulford as our new Business Centres Manager and announce the launch of 'Project Warwickshire', a new support package to help small businesses in the hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors bounce back from the pandemic.

There is plenty of positive news around (Warwickshire's cricketers winning the County Championship, for example - well done The Bears!) but we do still have to recognise that, whilst there are some good high-level economic indicators, many challenges remain for our businesses, such as staff shortages and continuing complications with importing/exporting following the EU exit.

Panic buying of petrol this week perhaps shows that many people remain jittery following the challenges of the last two years, certainly in the short term, therefore the recovery will be fragile.

Warwickshire County Council's Economy & Skills will, of course, continue to look to support economic growth throughout all the twists and turns in the road ahead.

MONICA

Featured News

Project Warwickshire launches to help tourism, leisure and hospitality businesses

"I’m delighted that we will be working with such experienced partners as the Chamber to push out this package of innovative support.”

A £557,000 contract to help the county’s small businesses in the hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors bounce back from the Covid pandemic has been awarded by Warwickshire County Council to Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce.

The contract, with £320,000 of County Council funding supplemented by a further £230,000 of European Regional Development Fund money, will enable the Chamber to implement a wide range of support through to April 2024 to boost the sector and help small businesses take advantage of a potential rise in home vacations.

Project Warwickshire will provide a package of help across the sector, including 1:1 advice, networking and a range of masterclasses. The project will support businesses to seek and access grants and funding, as well as co-ordinating a series of networking events and webinars to share good practice and links.

The tourism, leisure and hospitality industry was among the hardest hit sectors when the country went into lockdown in 2020. Tourism previously translated into significant economic value for the local economy, with Warwickshire’s tourism sector contributing £858 million towards local GVA (approximating to 6.7% of the county’s total economic value) (Economic Modelling Specialist International, 2021).

Warwickshire’s tourism sector employed 22,123 people as of 2019, equating to 8% of Warwickshire’s total workforce (EMSI, 2021).

Many small businesses were supported through the crisis with the Government’s furlough scheme as well as a series of grants and business support schemes, including many funded by the County Council. Among these was the county council’s Survive, Sustain and Grow programme which engaged over 600 businesses and awarded over £400,000 of recovery grants to a selection of these businesses. It marked the shift in getting through the immediate crisis and focused instead on the bounce back, helping small businesses to review and adapt their practices to make themselves more sustainable in the future market.

Project Warwickshire will involve partners including Shakespeare’s England and Northern Warwickshire Tourism to look at the future wants and needs of the sector’s previous, current and potential customers and how businesses can best be advised to make changes to their practice, such as increase digital presence and engagement.

In all, Project Warwickshire will look to engage 300 businesses across Warwickshire in the sectors, supporting 1,200 jobs, safeguarding 100 and creating a further 50. It will deliver an increase of £1.29m in GVA (Gross Value Added) for Warwickshire and maintain £2.58m GVA in Warwickshire’s economy with a return yield of £7.51 for every £1 invested up to the end of March 2024.

Cllr Kam Kaur, Warwickshire County Council’s portfolio holder for economy and place said: “There has been money available to businesses through the Government’s Restart grants and there has been other short-term support available through the County Council and our partners.

"Project Warwickshire takes us beyond that point and will help small businesses to establish themselves in the changing market place so that they can do more than just get by but flourish, offer employment opportunities, particularly to our young people, and get back to the point where they were making such a significant contribution to our local economy. I’m delighted that we will be working with such experienced partners as the Chamber to push out this package of innovative support.”

Keely Hancox, Operations Manager for the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce is delighted to be working with Warwickshire County Council and our partners to deliver a comprehensive package of support for our Tourism, Hospitality and leisure businesses across Warwickshire. Our advisors are able to offer practical advice, technical support and that all important sounding board for Business owners within this sector. The aim to support businesses in their recovery, enabling them grow and thrive post pandemic.”

Jonathan Mountford, Northern Warwickshire Tourism, said: “Northern Warwickshire Tourism is delighted to be supporting this exciting opportunity to help businesses recover post pandemic as well as aiding the future growth of the leisure sector in the north of the county.”

Helen Peters, Chief Executive of Shakespeare’s England, said: “We are pleased to be working in partnership with the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce in identifying businesses across the county who will benefit from this support. In doing so we will ourselves have the opportunity to provide additional employment at the same time as ensuring that this sector that has been so affected by Covid-19 can re-emerge in a better and more sustainable position than before the pandemic struck.”

For further information, please email the Chamber on chamberbusinessprograms@cw-chamber.co.uk or call 02476 654321

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

* This project is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, forming part of the CW Business: Start, Grow and Scale Programme.

Kris is drumming up success after Adapt & Diversify grant

"There is no way the business would be where it is now without the council's support"

A small business in Warwick is drumming up success after accessing support from Warwickshire County Council's Adapt & Diversify grants scheme.

Professional drummer Kris Farrell opened Top of the Rock Tuition at the West End Centre in Hampton Road in the spring of 2020. Two days later, the country went into lockdown.

That came as a huge blow to the brand new business but Kris pivoted to deliver drumming tuition on line...and ended up increasing his customer base during lockdown.

Then, when some normality returned, came the challenge of how to grow the business - and the Adapt & Diversify scheme, created specifically to help SMEs mitigate the impact of Covid, has enabled him to do that to a point where he now employs four other tutors.

"There is no way the business would be where it is now without the council's support," said Kris, who grew up in Warwickshire before studying Music Performance in London.

"After three years of teaching on the road and saving up, we opened last year...and two days later came lockdown. It was a huge blow but we had put so much effort and planning into starting up we decided to grin and bear it - and the response from customers was amazing.

"We took the lessons online, not ideal but doable, and went from 40 customers to 120 during lockdown. Massive thanks go to Warwick Marching Band who were so generous with the lease during that time.

"We reached the stage where we were operating at full capacity so needed to invest in order to grow - so we applied for an Adapt & Diversify grant and it has proved invaluable. It went towards two new electric drum kits, a laptop, upgrading of our website and some recording equipment to enable our tutees to take their exams online.

"The council's support just put my mind at ease after all the challenges of the last year."

As well as providing employment and adding another vibrant small business to the Warwickshire economy, Kris and his team have offered their customers something else very precious at such a tough time for the country - fun!

"It's just great to see people come in and really enjoy themselves," he said. "Mostly it's youngsters but we also have some mums and dads who brought their kids in, had a look and then did it themselves! A lot of people have taken up our offer of half an hour free drumming to see what they make of it and then signed straight up!

"We have more demand than we can handle and a lot of exciting plans. We are looking at building a third room at our Warwick base and hopefully opening one in Stratford. The grant has enabled us to move forward so much faster and we are really grateful for it."

Filming project helps Forest of Hearts to flourish

Forest of Hearts

"The films are fantastic - they tell our story in a really positive way"

An organisation which promotes accessible and sustainable agroforestry, or 'Forest Gardens,' and also supports good causes has had its story told in a "really positive way" by Warwickshire County Council's Future Careers Filming project.

Forest of Hearts is an environmentally sustainable charity that delivers projects which boost biodiversity while supporting the wellbeing and employability of young people.

It’s excellent work in local communities includes the recent creation of a new garden at Stratford Hospital while similar projects are planned at other hospitals in Warwick and Leamington. The organisation is also creating a five-acre nature reserve with a wildflower meadow, ponds, woodland and a butterfly bank.

Forest of Hearts' projects are delivered by three paid staff and a team of more than 90 wonderful volunteers. It is a true community effort, but more engagement with the community is always welcome- and that is where the Future Careers filming came in.

Two films were produced to capture the essence of Forest of Hearts and which can now be used to promote the organisation to potential volunteers and supporters.

"The films are fantastic," said Forest of Hearts founder Carole Longden. "They tell our story in a really positive way.

"The filming was a really enjoyable process. Some of our volunteers and staff were a little bit nervous about appearing on camera but Niki and Josh, who came to us to do the filming, spoke to them and made it all very relaxed and easy. They really put everyone at their ease.

"The end result is a really polished product which is helping us to raise our profile and get our messages out there, including to the corporate world and potential supporters there."

The Forest of Hearts works in partnership with other charities and community organisations to create places of purpose and pleasure which help individuals to develop skills, confidence and friendships that can grow and thrive. Anyone who would like to can help them create edible gardens for good by becoming a corporate sponsor, please contact carolelongden@forestofhearts.com or call 02476 470382.

The Forest of Hearts videos can be viewed here: Apprentice - https://youtu.be/1ZRSfzXI4EU Recruitment - https://youtu.be/HX-9HqtvXOg

The Warwickshire Skills team are still on the lookout for more businesses, especially in the retail, IT and finance sectors, to benefit from Future Careers filming. If you are interested or would like to find out more, please contact nikitatakhar@warwickshire.gov.uk

Business and art communities grow together thanks to Local Young Talent

"We wanted to tap into the creative energy of the town and Local Young Talent was the perfect way to do that. The Tech Challenge funding from the council really enabled us to move forward."

Small businesses and the artistic community in Leamington Spa have forged links and are growing together thanks to a Town Centres Tech Challenge project funded by Warwickshire County Council.

The Local Young Talent project, delivered by production company Creative Leamington, held a month of events from May 1 to 31 this year - and its benefits will be long-lasting.

Twenty independent retailers were paired with local artists and featured their work in their premises. This meant that the artists' work reached new audiences while increasing footfall for the shops.

As the project gained momentum, links were forged with tech company RIVR, the University of Warwick and Leamington Art College. Estate agents Wareing & Co donated six empty units for the month while the Royal Priors Shopping Centre was also very supportive.

The project got the town buzzing - just as Martina Bussi and Chris Knight intended to do when they founded their small organisation, Creative Leamington, in 2019.

"When we moved to Leamington two years ago, at first we really missed the London vibe," said Martina. "But then we started to find out how much is going on in and around Leamington. It is an incredibly creative place and we set out on a mission to help bring that out.

"We wanted to tap into the creative energy of the town and Local Young Talent was the perfect way to do that. The Tech Challenge funding from the council really enabled us to move forward.

"We transformed the high street into a colourful showcase of creativity, highlighting local young creative voices and putting them at the heart of the commercial district. We used bold branding to attract attention to the windows and QR technology to maximise space and exposure.

"We blended traders and artists so that different people became involved with new things and it was brilliant to see. The connections that have been made will have long-lasting benefits for the town.

"As for us, we will just keep on trying to raise the artistic profile of this amazing area."

Warwickshire County Council's Digital Creative Lead Stacy O'Connor said: "I am delighted that the Local Young Talent project in Leamington was such a success. Creative Leamington did a great job in delivering the project and it was fantastic to see the way that businesses and artists bought into it.

"The Town Centres Tech Challenge has been designed to support digital initiatives across the county to promote our town centres as places to visit, enjoy and engage with safely. This will encourage the recovery of our town centres and help to stimulate the local economy."

To see some images from the Local Young Talent month in Leamington, please visit: https://www.creativeleamington.co.uk/lytfestival

JumpStart project team expands to meet demands of pandemic

"It’s a really exciting time to join JumpStart considering this is the highest level of interest we have seen in the workshops since they began five years ago."

A programme established to support people considering setting up their own business has recently expanded due to its ongoing success and the high demand during and since the start of the pandemic.

The JumpStart project, part-funded by Warwickshire County Council and delivered by Coventry & Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust (CWRT), is a series of informative and free workshops designed for individuals who are thinking of starting a business but are unsure of how to go about it.

Since the pandemic hit, many people have started to consider new career directions and JumpStart has assisted 65 individuals since March 2020, to find out whether being a business-owner is for them. A round of JumpStart workshops in September was over-subscribed so spaces have been released early for November’s workshops to ensure that maximum support is available to potential start ups.

The business support side of CWRT has dealt with a big influx of enquiries due to the pandemic, so has expanded to meet the increased demand with the addition of another member of staff to the project. Dominic Richards, who works within the start up loans side of CWRT, has been appointed to support JumpStart as a Project Officer alongside existing Project Officer, Keely Copson and to get all clients booked in to attend the workshops.

The high level of interest in the JumpStart project shows emphasises the need for a high level of pre-start support at this time, particularly in regards to the recovery from the pandemic where many of our clients have been affected through being made redundant or on furlough for a significant amount of time.

Dominic Richards said: "It’s a really exciting time to join JumpStart considering this is the highest level of interest we have seen in the workshops since they began five years ago. We are keen to assist as many people as possible in helping them understand how self-employment and being a business owner can be an alternative career route that many may be hesitant to consider."

The November workshops, which start on Wednesday November 17th, will cover a range of topics including:

• Action Planning to Achieve Your Goals; overcoming barriers, addressing your mindset and how to change your mindset to an entrepreneurial one

• Market Research; Establishing the viability of your business idea, how to conduct market research and find out who your target customers are

• Business Planning; Understanding the importance of a strong business plan and how this can be used as a tool to grow your business and set goals for the future

• Cashflow Forecasting; Finding out why a cashflow forecast is integral to your business, how to use one for both personal and for business use

• HMRC and How to Register: Everything you’ll need to know in your first 12 months of self-employment, including vital tax dates and different business structures

• Social Media Day: Basics of setting up business pages on social media, along with how to create engaging content and drive customers to your pages

• One to one mentoring: 3 confidential support sessions with a business support specialist

For more information on JumpStart, please call 02476 551777, or visit: www.cwrt.uk.com.

Retail & Hospitality Fund opens up new direction for Molly's Cotton Tails

"Jim and Simeon have both kept in touch and been really supportive"

An organic clothing and toy shop in Warwickshire has opened its expanded zero-waste food section after receiving a grant from Warwickshire County Council.

Molly’s Cotton Tails was launched five years ago in the High Street in Alcester to sell children’s organic clothes and fair trade wooden toys, and has a re-fill station for household and food products.

After re-opening in June 2020 following lockdown, owner Sara Palmer contacted Jim Clark at the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub to discuss any financial support available to increase its growing range of zero-waste products.

Jim put Sara in touch with Simeon Lee from Warwickshire County Council, and he helped her apply for a £7,500 grant from its Covid-19 Retail and Hospitality Recovery and Investment Fund. The application was successful, so a stock room has now been converted to create a re-fill room and the grant has also helped pay for scales, dispensers, a coffee grinder, cabinets and software for the till which now has a scanner.

Sara is thrilled with the new-look room which has also given her the opportunity to expand her business.

The mum-of-two said: “It was always our plan to open a re-fill shop and the wheels we had put in motion came to a grinding halt when the national lockdown was announced last March. While the shop was closed, I started volunteering as part of a community group in Alcester delivering meals to the vulnerable twice a week and I then started advertising our sustainable cleaning products online by working together with our brands which are other small local businesses.

“The response was really good so I re-visited our expansion plans last summer and discussed the possibility of any help with Jim at the Growth Hub. He organised for me to speak to Simeon and he helped me with filling out the application form for a grant, and Jim and Simeon have both kept in touch and been really supportive. When I found out I had been given the grant, they were as excited as I was.

“I’m really pleased with how this new part of the shop looks and previously I was running the shop by myself but I have just employed someone to help out. It all seemed like a pipedream to expand the zero-waste section because I was just talking about it but to see it become a reality is wonderful.”

Jim Clark, account manager at the CWLEP Growth Hub, said Molly’s Cotton Tails was an excellent business which is an important part of Alcester’s retail offer.

“The Growth Hub is here to help businesses of all sizes whatever their sector and in these difficult times, it has been great to help Sara make the most of a previously under-used room and transform it into a purpose which will benefit her business,” he said. "More and more people are thinking about the environment and this will be an ideal place to visit for zero-waste products.”

 Cllr Heather Timms, Warwickshire County Council’s portfolio holder for Environment, Climate and Culture, said the Retail and Hospitality Recovery and Investment Fund had provided grants between £2,000 to £7,500 to help micro and small businesses in the retail and hospitality sectors fund capital investment projects to sustain businesses, safeguard jobs and support future growth.

She said: “The scheme gave businesses the opportunity to put the grants towards refurbishing or refitting property to increase footfall or improve visitors’ experiences, create an online sales presence, invest in dedicated IT and computer software, and buy minor equipment.

“That is exactly what Sara at Molly’s Cotton Tails has done and the end result looks fantastic.As well as the stimulus to jobs that the grant has given, it also supports a business that has the reduction of waste at the heart of what it does so that is an exemplar of what we were looking for the grants to do. We wish them all the best as they go forwards.”

Games Bootcamp will offer guidance on setting up in thriving sector

"We are very excited to deliver Create Central's training scheme, developed in consultation with the local video game industry."

Applications are now open for a Video Games Production Bootcamp, due to start in October, for Warwickshire people who would like to start a new career in the Games industry.

Leamington Spa has one of the UK’s biggest games industry clusters outside London, over 10% of the UK total games development sector, and the sector continue to thrive as, during the pandemic, many people turned to games for entertainment.

Working closely with the games industry in the region, Create Central, the trade body set up to turbo-charge the region’s film, TV and games industries, is working with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), which is funding the training, to help the region’s video games industry discover new talent, or to encourage people from other careers to switch to the games industry.

The forthcoming Video Games Production Bootcamp, developed in partnership with the games industry and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is a great starting point to offer people a flavour of what to expect in the industry.  It will outline the basics of getting ready for the next step in your journey into this exciting career...and it is free for those who meet the entry requirements and live in a WMCA postcode.

The bootcamp will cover:

  • How do you produce a video game? Including schedule, measuring quality and controlling the budget
  • What is project management? Including methodologies, behaviours and contracts
  • Who makes up the development team and how to work with them? Including programmers, animators, artists, designers
  • What is involved in publishing? Including marketing and community building
  • How to get that job – support with your CV, applications, interviews, networks.

Alex Darby, Technical & Design Director of Darbotron Ltd and Create Central Member said, "We are very excited to deliver Create Central's training scheme, developed in consultation with the local video game industry. It has the potential not only to fix a talent shortage, but also to help address deeper industry issues by offering opportunity to a much wider and more diverse spectrum of people than existing pathways."

Entry requirements for the bootcamp:

  • You must be 19+ years of age
  • Have a permanent address with a WMCA area postcode
  • Have a passion for video games
  • Be IT literate to at least an intermediate level
  • Have strong organisational skills
  • Excellent communications skills, both written and verbal
  • Be available for the full 6 weeks of the course.

For more information and to sign up please visit https://www.createcentraluk.com/news/gamesbootcamp2021

Businesses' perspective will be much valued on Council Plan

"It is so vitally important that we connect with residents, as well as people who work and study in Warwickshire to understand more about what is important to them.”

Business are encouraged to have their say on the future by taking part in a survey in preparation for Warwickshire County Council's new Council Plan.

The council  wants to understand what is important to the people who live, work and study in the county as it continues with its ambition to make Warwickshire the best it can be.

The Council has launched a survey to capture this feedback which will feed into the development of a new Council Plan.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Leader of Warwickshire County Council said: “As we step forward from the pandemic we are refreshing our Council Plan to take account of the challenges ahead of us and in doing this we want to understand more about the things that are most important to the people of Warwickshire.

“We are firmly committed to our ambition to make Warwickshire the best it can be, now and for future generations.  And we know that we have much to celebrate in our county - strong, kind communities; a vibrant mix of towns and rural areas; world-class heritage and culture; one of the fastest growing economies in the UK in the decade to 2020; strong automotive and gaming sectors; and great connectivity. 

“As a council we continue to manage our finances responsibly and our staff are engaged, committed and passionate about delivering the best possible outcomes for our communities. But we know too that resources continue to be a challenge as we face increasing demand for services and the vulnerability of those we are supporting is increasing. It is therefore so vitally important that we connect with residents, as well as people who work and study in Warwickshire to understand more about what is important to them.”

The county council has identified three priorities which will provide the focus to its work over coming years:

  • Warwickshire will be a county with a vibrant economy and places, with the right jobs, skills, and infrastructure.
  • Warwickshire will be a place where people can live their best lives; where communities and individuals are supported to live safely, healthily, happily and independently.
  • Warwickshire will be a place with sustainable futures which means adapting to and mitigating climate change and meeting net zero commitments.

To achieve these priorities the council is committed to innovate and become even better at what it does, deliver value for money and ensure we are a great council and partner.

The survey sets out some proposed areas of focus under each of these goals, and asks how important they are. It also asks for ideas about the actions the council could take to deliver these areas of focus.

The survey can be completed online at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/ask; copies will also be available from Warwickshire Libraries and can be requested by calling 01926 410410 or emailing askwarwickshire@warwickshire.gov.uk

Country Parks hailed as 'Great Visitor Destinations'

"A lot of hard work, skill and expertise go into maintaining the parks from our staff and I thank them all for their hard work which is reflected in this award."

Warwickshire's visitor economy has received a big boost with the recognition of three of its country parks as "great visitor destinations."

Burton Dassett Hills Country ParkHartshill Hayes Country Park, and Kingsbury Water Park, which are run by Warwickshire County Council, have earned the accolade in 2021 Travellers’ Choice Award from travel platform Tripadvisor.

The 2021 Travellers’ Choice Award celebrates attractions that consistently deliver fantastic experiences to travellers around the globe, based upon positive reviews and ratings on Tripadvisor over the last 12 months.

More than ever in the past difficult year the three country parks have delighted visitors with their outdoor spaces, activities, and facilities.

The parks are maintained by the county council whose staff are out there in all weathers 365 days a year to keep the spaces safe, attractive and uplifting.

Cllr Heather Timms, Portfolio Holder for Environment, Climate & Culture, said: “We are very proud of our country parks and are delighted to have received this award. They are very special places and the county council is committed to keeping them that way so that visitors continue to enjoy them in the future.

"A lot of hard work, skill and expertise go into maintaining the parks from our staff and I thank them all for their hard work which is reflected in this award.

"Over the past 18 months outdoors spaces have played a crucial role in supporting residents’ mental health and wellbeing and this award underlines the importance of spending time outside to stay safe, well and connected.

"Warwickshire County Council will continue to maintain these parks so that they can be enjoyed by our local communities now and for future generations.”

Recent Tripadvisor reviews include Lousie’s comment about the Burton Dassett Hills as a “brilliant place to spend some quality family time outdoors.” Archie said Kingsbury Water Park is a “lovely place with loads of places to walk, and good play areas for the kids' while Sally comments that Hartshill Hayes is “wonderful for walks in spring when the bluebells are in blossom. Fantastic dog walking location for families.”

To read more travellers’ reviews and find out more about the popular features of Burton Dassett Hills Country Park, Hartshill Hayes Country Park, and Kingsbury Water Park, visit the following pages on Tripadvisor:

Women's Tour will bring huge economic benefit to Warwickshire

“Now we are looking to cautiously and safely open up our economy more broadly and welcome more visitors to the county, as well as being fantastic entertainment for spectators, this event will be of huge economic benefit to the area."

 

Warwickshire's visitor economy is set for a big boost next month when The Women’s Tour breaks new ground again as the county hosts the first individual time trial stage in race history.

Atherstone will host the time trial’s start and finish on day three of this year’s race (Wednesday 6 October), marking a record fourth time that the Women’s Tour will have visited the North Warwickshire market town. The anti-clockwise loop passes through Bentley, Birchley Heath and Mancetter before finishing in the heart of Atherstone itself.

Warwickshire County Council is supporting the event, which is the eighth major cycling event to visit the county in the last five years.

The county has hosted a stage of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour for four years and OVO Energy Tour of Britain for two years.

In 2019, neighbouring Bedworth saw the OVO Energy Women’s Tour pass through the town for the first time.

Nuneaton and Warwick also hosted a stage of the 2018 OVO Energy Tour of Britain, starting off in the town centre.

Councillor Izzi Seccombe said: "I am thrilled that Stage 3 route for the Women’s Tour will be taking in so much of historic Atherstone and surrounding villages as competitors race against the clock along the 10 mile long route.

“Now we are looking to cautiously and safely open up our economy more broadly and welcome more visitors to the county, as well as being fantastic entertainment for spectators, this event will be of huge economic benefit to the area.

"It’s an opportunity for local businesses in Atherstone to celebrate and embrace cycling as the race comes past their front door, as well as for others to maximise on business opportunities from increased customers and visitors to the county.

“Warwickshire has a rich history in hosting high-level cycling events having previously played host to legs of both the men's and women's Tour of Britain over the last few years and has also been selected as the location for the Commonwealth Games Road Race in 2022, demonstrating that the county is a world-class location for cycling and cyclists.

To coincide with the Tour, the High Sheriff of Warwickshire, Min Willoughby de Broke, will be cycling over 200 miles around the county with two key aims: To showcase the incredible people, organisations and independent businesses that make Warwickshire the best it can be to live, work and visit; and to raise £10k for the High Sheriff’s Fund, which supports small voluntary and community organisations across Warwickshire.

More information about the Women’s Tour can be found at: https://www.womenstour.co.uk/

Find out more about the Teams that will be taking part: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/news/article/2289/world-s-best-cycling-teams-announced-for-the-women-s-tour-coming-to-warwickshire-in-october-2021

University of Warwick rise to challenges of pandemic

The University of Warwick has been named the 'University of the Year for Teaching Quality' and runner-up for 'University of the Year' by the Sunday Times’ Good University Guide 2022.

The guide, which places Warwick as eighth in the UK overall, cites the University’s success in the 2021 National Student Survey (NSS) and its response to the COVID19 pandemic as key reasons for its achievements in this year’s awards.

“Winner of our University of the Year for Teaching Quality award, Warwick has never been outside the top ten in our academic ranking and moves up two places this year," the guide stated. "It landed our teaching prize, along with being runner-up for University of the Year, thanks to strong student endorsement of its Covid response, expressed through this year’s National Student Survey (NSS).”

The news follows the Guardian University Guide 2022 placing Warwick sixth in the UK, a rise of two places, and Times Higher Education placing Warwick 78th in the world.

Warwick’s success in this year’s NSS saw the university ranked third in the Russell Group and 13th in the UK for Overall Satisfaction.

The university’s response to COVID19 includes the work of researchers from the School of Life Sciences and the Mathematics Institute acting as members of the government’s SPI-M subcommittee - reporting to SAGE and playing a leading role in national response to the pandemic.

The guide states: “Warwick, our runner-up for University of the Year, is another institution that embraced the academic and research challenges presented by the pandemic. Academics from its School of Life Sciences and Mathematics are members of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, which provided the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies with models on the spread of the coronavirus.”

The Warwick community has also played a leading role in Coventry, Warwickshire ,and the West Midlands’ response to COVID19. Warwick Medical School students have worked on the front line in treating patients and have helped deliver the vaccine rollout, while Warwick scientists and engineers have produced PPE to support frontline care workers.

University of Warwick Vice Chancellor, Professor Stuart Croft, said: “This tremendous result is down to the tenacity, the integrity, and the sheer hard work of our entire Warwick community in the face of unprecedented global disruption and difficulty.

“Thank you to our students and staff who have pulled together this year, adapting to new ways of living, working, and learning, while continuing to provide the world-class teaching and research of which we are all so proud.”

Professor Chris Hughes, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Education), said: “Throughout this pandemic, staff and students at Warwick have listened and further built on the work of our Education Strategy, and co-developed innovative ways to deliver an extremely high quality of connected teaching and learning, despite the challenges and limitations felt by the entire world.

“To everyone at Warwick who has been a part of this, thank you so much. This achievement is a recognition of your resilience, your spirit of cooperation, and your commitment to education."

Businesses' views sought on council's pans for parking

Warwickshire County Council (WCC) is seeking the views of businesses regarding its potential plans to implement controlled parking zones to help restore football in town centres following the pandemic.

The council is keen to promote the economic recovery post-Covid and this is particularly the case in town centres which have seen a dramatic decrease in footfall and trade. 

One of the ways in which WCC is looking to help is to allow businesses to park on-street in controlled parking zones through the use of dedicated business permits, in much the same way that residents and their visitors currently do. 

To date, there has been no provision to allow business vehicles to park for long periods of time in areas where waiting is restricted. 

The Council is looking into the viability of offering a business permitting scheme, which will allow employees or business visitors to park on-street close to their trading premises.  

Permits would last for one year, be renewable and allow parking on-street in certain specified zones.

To see whether businesses are broadly in support of this idea the County Council has put together a short survey. The survey went live on September 20th and will run until October 18th.

To access the survey please click here: Business permitting survey.

Paul Sullivan brings his digital expertise to Warwickshire businesses

"We have some of the world’s leading R&D centres here in the Midlands and it is important to share their knowledge within the SME community to ensure they are operating with the latest machinery and software."

Digital technology specialists have been appointed across Warwickshire and the West Midlands to boost productivity and growth as part of the £1.9 million Made Smarter programme.

The five experienced digital experts will be sharing their knowledge to improve the digital skills of employees to make a difference to the day-to-day operations of small and medium sized manufacturing and engineering businesses. They will offer support through a variety of ways including reducing costs, improving manufacturing times or helping to win more overseas contracts.

The region is divided into six Growth Hub areas with the Coventry and Warwickshire region covered by Paul Sullivan. Paul’s 40-year career has been in business development across a variety of sectors working with some of the most iconic brands in the world – including Jaguar, Aston Martin and Bentley – and he has extensive experience in body structure and new vehicle development from concept design to product launch.

Paul has worked closely with many Government bodies especially in international trade and he has also worked with the UK Growth Hubs, The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders and the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce where he has been a board member and President for over 20 years.

“West Midlands SMEs are very enthusiastic about Made Smarter as it gives them a route to examine their strategy towards adopting digital technologies,” he said. “The majority of companies need support in developing a strategy in readiness for Industry 4.0 and want to just understand what that means.

“We have some of the world’s leading R&D centres here in the Midlands and it is important to share their knowledge within the SME community to ensure they are operating with the latest machinery and software. The impartial advice given is critical, as we find SMEs have differing needs in their digital journey.”

The Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub is leading the one-year Made Smarter scheme with the region’s other Growth Hubs in Greater Birmingham and Solihull, the Black Country, Worcestershire, The Marches, and Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire on behalf of the West Midlands Combined Authority and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The West Midlands Growth Hubs are working closely with the West Midlands Combined Authority and their strategic partners WMG, at the University of Warwick, and the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “There are tens of thousands of people employed by small and medium sized manufacturers in the West Midlands, and this digital support should help them and their employers adapt to new and smarter ways of working, securing jobs and businesses for the future.

“After the devasting impact of the pandemic on our economy, it’s exactly this kind of support that will help our region’s businesses and the people they employ, recover and seize the new opportunities that digital technology provides.”

Craig Humphrey, managing director of the CWLEP Growth Hub, said: “Made Smarter is a significant investment into our region’s manufacturing base aimed at making them more competitive, productive, resilient and efficient.

“We have put together a team with an excellent pedigree and deep understanding of manufacturing processes that covers the whole of the West Midlands. Their knowledge will support businesses with the adoption of digital technology and more importantly the ability to translate that technology into a language that the sector understands at a local level.”

To register and find out more information, please visit: http://bit.ly/MadeSmarterWestMidlands

Community Powered Warwickshire - open invite to businesses

You are invitedWarwickshire businesses are being encouraged to sign up to a major county-wide conference that will focus on harnessing the community power that has been so prevalent during the pandemic.

Keeping the spirit of community action alive is so vitally important as we move forward from the pandemic. With this in mind, Warwickshire County Council is joining forces with private, public and voluntary sector organisations from across the county for a conference on Thursday November 4th to apply the learning from COVID and create conditions in which strong community action can continue to thrive. 

The Coronavirus pandemic has been an incredibly challenging time, which has resulted in some enduring and significant changes to the way we all live and work.  One of the biggest changes has been around the role of our communities in response and recovery.  

During COVID, Warwickshire’s incredible communities, whether of place, faith, or other interest, have played a vital role, with the grass roots response crucial to our collective efforts across the county to support vulnerable people and our progress towards recovery. Warwickshire’s businesses too, have played a vital part in the Covid response, adapting to the changing and challenging circumstances. 

Now feels to be the right time to capitalise on this. Having experienced volumes of community action never seen before in peacetime, there is an imperative for organisations from across the sectors to work together to keep this spirit alive, creating even more favourable conditions in Warwickshire for successful community action, building  stronger, sustainable, and more equal places and communities, and ultimately enabling people to lead happier and healthier lives. 

The conference, which will include businesses, public services and voluntary and community sector organisations will provide a golden opportunity to reflect on the last 18 months, share learning and identify opportunities to build on the lessons we’ve learnt, and to discuss the actions required to make the most of the unique opportunity to continue to build and strengthen our diverse communities.   

Please click on the link below to register a place at the event taking place virtually via Microsoft Teams on 4 November 2021.  Ideally a maximum of 2 or 3 individuals per organisation. 

Register your interest for Community Powered Warwickshire Conference. 

Future transport and engineering technologies to be showcased in the region in coming months

With the return of in person events, it’s been a busy few weeks for the events industry, with more trade shows and conferences to come. As COP26 approaches, many of these events provide opportunities to promote zero carbon green future mobility. We take a look at what is coming up.

With its central location, the West Midlands has long been a centre of events and trade shows. Locally there is the National Agricultural Exhibition Centre (NAEC) at Stoneleigh Park and the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre for exhibitions, and conference venues include the British Motor Museum at Gaydon and Coombe Abbey in Rugby Borough.

Down the road in Coventry there is Warwick Conferences at the University of Warwick main campus, the Coventry Building Society Arena (formerly Ricoh Arena) and The National Motorcycle Museum and of course the NEC, the largest in the UK.

Put together with the cluster of automotive and transport technology R&D and manufacturing sites here, this is a great place to host conferences and trade shows for the auto, aero, rail and related industry. With the development of UK ‘gigafactories’, including plans for one at Coventry Airport, and the establishment here of the national UK Battery Industrialisation Centre at Baginton, near Coventry, the number of transport technology related events locally has been growing.

With COP26 coming up in November, the newly rebranded Coventry Building Society Arena (formerly ‘the Ricoh’) next month looks ahead to future green engineering and transport technologies. The Engineering Design Show returns on October 19th and 20th and is the UK's only event entirely dedicated to engineering, electronics and embedded design. The following week, the The Battery Technology Show on October 26th and 27th brings delegates to see and hear about the latest developments in battery technology.

Invest in Coventry & Warwickshire, with CWLEP, Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council is hosting a Vehicle Electrification Skills Panel at the Engineering Design Show on October 19th. The panel session will discuss the challenge and opportunities presented as the vehicle industry moves towards zero carbon, and what we need to do to make sure the region has the right skills going forward. Feedback and ideas from delegates at the show will be welcomed. Panelists will include Marion Plant OBE, CEO of North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College, and CWLEP Board member for skills, Prof Carl Perrin Director of the Institute for Clean Growth and Future Mobility and Steve Doyle CEO of EV company Evera. The panel is a forerunner to a larger electrification skills summit taking place in November at MIRA MTI.

Invest in Coventry & Warwickshire will  also be exhibiting at the show, so come and see us at stand F5.

Looking further ahead, here is a list of planned events in the area with some focus on transport technologies over the coming months:

Our Future Moves, Coventry Transport Museum, to October 31

Engineering Design Show, CBS Arena, 19-20 October

SMMT Meet the Buyer Event, CBS Arena, 19-20 October

Battery Technology Show, CBS Arena, 26-27 October

Advanced Engineering Show, NEC, 3-4 November

Motorcycle Live, NEC, 4-12 December

Autosport International 2022, NEC, 13-17 January 2022

FPC 2022 - Future Powertrains Conference, National Motorcycle Museum, 2-3 March 2022

Rail Live, Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre, 22-23 June 2022

Vehicle Electrification Expo 2022, NEC, 29-30 June 2022

AESIN Conference, National Motorcycle Museum, September 2022 tbc

Special Feature

Games Sector investment is equivalent to having a Hollywood blockbuster filmed in Warwickshire

The Creative and Cultural industries have been hit hard by Covid but one of Warwickshire's most vibrant sectors, Digital Creative, has broadly prospered with some areas seeing a boom and recruitment levels soaring. Warwickshire's vibrant Video Games sector has remained strong during the pandemic, as Warwickshire County Council's Digital Creative Lead, Stacy O'Connor explains.

Warwickshire’s long-established video game development sector is one of the largest and most prestigious clusters in the UK. Across Coventry & Warwickshire, there are over 80 games studios housing Entertainment, AR, VR & serious games specialists.

The main cluster of studios is anchored around Leamington Spa and many are within walking distance of the town centre, making it one of the most closely concentrated in the world. The cluster is predominantly focused on entertainment, creating successful game titles for console, pc & mobile devices, with a significant number of AAA title developers which have multi-million pound budgets to develop their games - this investment is equivalent to a Hollywood blockbuster movie being filmed in our county.

Leamington's long history of video game development has resulted in an organic growth of experienced veteran developers alongside new emerging talent which is no longer reliant on one big developer to sustain itself. This has built a supportive eco-system in which to operate, with a great mix of large, medium and indie developers, providing a rich mix of opportunity for any studios looking to establish themselves within the area. The thriving industry is also attractive for future employees who may choose to relocate to Warwickshire with its variety of career opportunities on offer.

The detrimental impact of the pandemic on large proportions of the economy is well-documented. Less reported is the positive news of the areas in which the economy has continued to grow and, in some cases, thrive. The video games sector is one of these sectors, particularly those developing for the entertainment market.

While 2020 was a difficult year for many, with impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic affecting nearly every aspect of daily life, homebound consumers turned to games for entertainment and as a way to virtually connect with friends and families. The UK market for video games reached a record £7bn in 2020, an increase of +29.9% from 2019, beating 2018’s previous record by more than £1bn.

Whilst we don’t have any official figures for the growth of the local sector, we do know that local businesses have experienced significant growth over the last 18 months. In February 2020 it was announced that the local studios collectively through new studios opening, and expansion were recruiting 500 new jobs over the next three years. The pandemic accelerated this growth significantly with the majority of the mid-sized studios (30–70 employees) increasing their headcounts during lockdown, and in several cases more than doubling it.

Due to restrictions and remote working, the sector has actually found recruitment easier in some cases, particularly where there have been high skills shortages, as the location of employees and relocation of overseas staff have not been the barrier they once were.

In January 2020, plans were announced for two new studios to join the 'Silicon Spa' cluster and, despite the pandemic, both studios have continued with their expansion plans and established studios within Leamington town centre bringing the prospect of 120 new jobs. We have been very pleased to welcome both Mediatonic and Electric Square to Leamington spa over recent months.

We have also seen an increase in enquiries to become part of the creative ecosystem within our region over the last 18 months. This was helped by the Department for International Trade highlighting the region as a High Potential Opportunity for Video Game Development, but we have also seen enquiries come directly to us based on the reputation of the cluster.

Due to the boom of the video game market there has also been an increase of overseas investors looking to take advantage of successful talent and IP being developed in the UK. A string of acquisitions has been announced in 2021 by some of the biggest global names in the sector which impact local studios.

  • Codemasters acquired by Electronic Arts for $1.2bn in March
  • Mediatonic acquired by Epic Games
  • Unit 2 Games acquired by Facebook Gaming
  • Sumo Digital acquired by Tencent for £900m in July

These four deals alone equate to over £2bn of overseas investment into the UK over a seven-month period. Adding to the acquisition of Playground Games by Microsoft Xbox in 2018 and Ubisoft acquiring Freestyle games, we have some of the biggest names associated with the industry based in the region, working on some of the most recognisable IP in the world.

It is a real success story though, of course, challenges remain. As studios consider how they return to offices, particularly with increased headcounts, demand for larger spaces within the town centres is proving to be a challenge for their expansion plans. Coupled with the increase in new businesses looking to locate within the town, we will need to work hard to ensure that we can continue to meet demand and maximise the opportunities this brings for the local economy. Smaller SMEs face challenges around R&D and attracting investment into their businesses, which is often misunderstood and deemed high risk.

We need to continue to support the wider eco–system, particularly for smaller studios who have the potential to grow. Continued investment into local infrastructure to support this growth is still needed, alongside the promotion of the cluster and maximising opportunities that arise. I am looking forward to continuing to work with and support this vibrant sector, and hope that the next 18 months are just as exciting.

Events

Latest events

2021.07.17 - 2021.10.31 Our Future Moves - City of Culture 2021
The interactive and ambitious exhibition tells the stories of the objects on display provided by local businesses,  envisioning how the future will look and exploring how pioneering developments in transport and technology could affect the environment and the way we live.
Culture Coventry 1000-1700 Coventry Transport Museum Weblink here
2021.09.30 What does Net Zero mean for SMEs?
Join this webinar to learn from experts, business leaders and their experiences on preparing, adapting and enhancing business resilience to the net zero transition.
CW Chamber of Commerce 1000-1130 Online Weblink here
2021.10.01 First Friday Networking Lunch
To kickstart the return of our First Friday networking lunch programme CW First will be visiting the Anglican Chapel within the London Road Cemetery.

Executive Director of HCT, Carol Pyrah will outline the work currently being carried out across a portfolio of heritage properties within Coventry. She will also speak about the varied future uses of the sites and other exciting developments.  There will be a short walk through the cemetery, taking in the two Chapels and arboretum.
CW First Professionals 1230-1400 Coventry Weblink here
2021.10.04 Mental Health First Aid
Live, online event, hosted by Coventry & Warwickshire Mind,
4th October 2021 - 7th October 2021
Drive performance. Save money. Improve staff retention. 
CW Mind 0900-1100 Online Weblink here
2021.10.06 Coventry & Warwickshire Next Generation Champions - Return to inperson networking
You are invited to bring along a graduate, apprentice or colleague under 30 for this panel event. The panel of speakers include Ben Amanna, Founder of BoxRaw, and Omeah Hancox, Advanced Apprentice at Jaguar Land Rover
CW Champions 1730-1930 Metropolis, Coventry Weblink here
2021.10.06 Industrial Energy Transformation Fund Phase 2 Competition Briefing
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), in collaboration with KTN, will be hosting an online competition briefing webinar on the 6th October 2021 to promote the £220m Phase 2 Industrial Energy Transformation Fund (IETF) and to share details of the new Autumn 2021 window of funding.
KTN 1000-1230 Online Weblink here
2021.10.06 Progressing to a Net Zero Business through Energy
This webinar will discuss the how-to and best practice for decarbonising and reducing business energy use. From simple steps to technological investments, through to strategic insight, join to improve your wherewithal to achieve practical, cost-saving and carbon-cutting energy measures.
CW Chamber of Commerce 1000-1130 Online Weblink here
2021.10.06 Wright Hassall Construction Networking Breakfast
Now that restrictions have eased we thought we would take the opportunity to host a construction networking breakfast to help the industry reconnect, meet old and new friends and share knowledge and opportunities
Wright Hassall 0800-0930 Leamington Spa Weblink here
2021.10.12 The Ultimate Utopia - the future of the workplace
Coventry University, in partnership with Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, invites you to join them as they discuss Utopia - the future of the workplace in Coventry & Warwickshire.
CW Chamber and Cov Uni 0930-1030 Online Weblink here
2021.10.12 Aerospace Sustainability and Procurement Workshop - Develop your own innovative approach to getting the most from sustainable aerospace supply chains. 12th and 13th October. The Institute for Aerospace Technology 10am-12pm Pride Park, Derby Weblink here
2021.10.13 TAAS Technology Conference - connecting, informing and inspiring the CAVs, EVs and Future Mobility industry Angel Business Communications All Day Online Weblink here
2021.10.14 Rugby Business Buzz - Networking for businesses in the Rugby area. Buzz Networking 10am-12pm Gallachers of Rugby Weblink here
2021.10.15 MADE Smarter - Making it Happen
An overview of what the Made Smarter rollout means to manufacturers in Yorkshire & the Humber, the North East and West Midlands.
MAKE UK 1000-1130 Online Weblink here
2021.10.15 PolicyHour: Meet Secretary of State Nadhim Zahawi MP - In this #PolicyHour we are joined by the Minister responsible for the UK's successful vaccine rollout Nadhim Zahawi MP will join Policy Hour with Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce to provide updates from Westminster and take questions from businesses across Coventry & Warwickshire.  CW Chamber 1000-1100 Zoom Weblink here
2021.10.19 COP26 - Global Investment Summit - Building a Green Future Together
The UK Government will be hosting a pre-COP26 Global Investment Summit aiming to galvanize foreign investment in the UK’s green industries. 
UK Govt 1 day London/ Windsor Castle Weblink here
2021.10.19 Engineering Design Show - The Engineering Design Show is the UK’s only event entirely dedicated to engineering, electronics and embedded design. The show provides the ideal environment for design engineers to benefit from direct access to the latest products, services and innovations available to the sector. MA Exhibitions 2 Day Event Coventry Building Society Arena Weblink here
2021.10.19 Future of Vehicle Electrification - Skills Panel with Coventry & Warwickshire
Join industry and education experts to discuss future skills needs as the auto industry progresses to full electrification post 2030.
Invest Coventry & Warwickshire 1015-1100 CBS Arena Weblink here
2021.10.19 SMMT Meet the Buyer Event
The event will match automotive buyers with suppliers to develop meaningful business connections during this key period of recovery and transition.
The event will be hosted physically at the Coventry Building Society Arena (formerly Ricoh Arena)
SMMT 0900-1700 CBS Arena Weblink here
2021.10.20 Progressing to a Net Zero Business through Transport
Improve your reputation, employee wellbeing and financial support, all whilst reducing your transport emissions.
CW Chamber of Commerce 1000-1130 Online Weblink here
2021.10.21 Warwick Business Buzz - Networking for businesses in the Warwick area. Buzz Networking 1000-1200 Old Coffee Tavern Weblink here
2021.10.26 Battery Technology Show - Oct 26th-27th 2021
The Battery Technology Show brings together thousands of delegates to discover the latest developments in the battery and EV industry.
Evolve Media Group 2 Days Coventry Building Society Arena Weblink here
2021.10.26 Hydrogen Technology Show - Oct 26th-27th 2021
The Hydrogen Technology Show brings together delegates to look at the latest low-carbon solutions and technologies
Evolve Media Group 2 Days Coventry Building Society Arena Weblink here
2021.10.31 COP26
The UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow. Until 12th November
United Nations/ UK Govt 12 days Various Weblink here
2021.11.02 FSB Small Business Virtual Conference: The Journey to Net Zero
As the COP26 climate talks take place in the UK this November, this gives us the perfect opportunity to explore the significant role small businesses will play in the transition to Net Zero. Join us for this free conference to find out what’s in it for you.
FSB 1000-1530 Online Weblink here
2021.11.03 The Sustainable Business Summit
The Sustainable Business Series: Net Zero campaign aims to share best practice, guidance and knowledge to improve business know-how and progress to net zero.
CW Chamber of Commerce 0900-1200 Online Weblink here
2021.11.03 Advanced Engineering Show 3-4th November
UK's leading annual engineering and manufacturing event for the entire engineering supply chain.
Easyfairs 3-4 Nov NEC Weblink here
2021.11.05 A Masterclass in Networking Skills CUE Business Solutions 0900-1200 Hill Farm Marina Weblink Here
2021.11.05 How to Save Money and Get More Customers CUE Business Solutions 1300-1600 Hill Farm Marina Weblink Here
2021.11.05 First Friday networking lunch - For the November First Friday CW First will be enjoying the hospitality of the chic boutique Telegraph Hotel in Coventry.  Following lunch we will hear about the phenomenal start that the Hotel has enjoyed since opening on 17th May, before we have a guided tour of the many facilities on offer. CW First Professionals 1230-1400 Telegraph Hotel Weblink here
2021.12.03 A Masterclass in Networking Skills CUE Business Solutions 0900-1200 Hill Farm Marina Weblink Here
2021.12.03 How to Save Money and Get More Customers CUE Business Solutions 1300-1600 Hill Farm Marina Weblink Here
2021.12.04 Motorcycle Show 4-12th December
The UK’s biggest motorcycle show, Motorcycle Live is back better than ever in 2021,
Motorcycle Live 4-12 Dec NEC Weblink here
2022.01.13 Autosport 2022
For over 30 years this event has brought together our industry and fans for a 4-day celebration of motorsport.
Autosport Magazine 3 Days NEC Weblink here
2022.01.15 Midlands Engine Green Summit - date tbc
A Midlands Engine-led event following on from COP26 in Glasgow. This will showcase the Midlands as a dynamic location for green growth and showcase regional expertise in areas like clean energy and sustainable transport.
Midlands Engine 1 day tbc Weblink here
2022.03.02 FPC2021 - Future Powertrain Conference 2022 - 2nd-3rd March
FPC2022 is a two day UK event created to bring together industry and academic experts within the powertrain development field.
LMG Events 8.30am-6pm National Motorcycle Museum Weblink here
2022.03.15 MIPIM 2022
Meet the most influential players of the international real estate industry in 4 days.
Reed Midem 4 days Palais des Festivals, Cannes Weblink here
2022.06.06 World Congress on Railway Research (WCRR) - RSSB and University of Birmingham will host, on behalf of the UK, the 13th World Congress on Railway Research (WCRR) RSSB and University of Birmingham 5 days ICC Weblink here
2022.06.29 Vehicle Electrification Expo 2021 - 29-30th June - LIVE EVENT
Vehicle Electrification Expo enables automotive manufacturers to look at the latest powertrain solutions to improve vehicle efficiency. Sister event to Battery Cells & Systems Expo.
Event Partners All Day NEC Weblink here

News in Brief

A round up of latest news in brief...

Conference and exhibition sector sees activity levels return

Business in the conference and exhibition sector has returned to pre-pandemic levels in Coventry and Warwickshire, according to three of the region’s leading venues. Coombe Abbey Hotel, Coventry Building Society Arena and Warwick Conferences all echo that there is a renewed confidence in the sector in the region as enquiries are up at the venues for business events of all sizes. The region’s largest venue is Coventry Building Society Arena and its main exhibition hall is currently running at over 90 per cent in occupancy – and is forecasting the same business levels as 2019. https://www.cwlep.com/news/confidence-soars-coventry-and-warwickshire-venues-business-returns-pre-pandemic-levels

Sales and employment grow at Atherstone-based Aldi Stores

Aldi plans to create 2,000 jobs next year as part of a £1.3bn investment plan. The German-owned retail giant will add 100 stores to its portfolio as well as a 1.3m sq ft logistics hub in Leicestershire. The news come as profits fell as the firm by 2.5% to £264.8m last year, but sales hit a new record of £13.51bn. https://www.thebusinessdesk.com/westmidlands/news/2055540-aldi-to-create-2000-jobs-next-year

Strong growth at automotive software company Eatron

Software developer and supplier based in Warwick has more than quadrupled its workforce in the last eight months thanks to strong global demand for its services. Eatron Technologies, based at the University of Warwick Science Park’s Warwick Innovation Centre, has grown its UK workforce from six before Christmas 2020 to 25 now. https://www.warwickshireworld.com/business/warwick-software-company-has-more-than-quadrupled-its-workforce-in-the-last-eight-months-as-demand-skyrockets-3385237

Profits rise at dealer group Rybrook

Pre-tax profits have risen at Warwick-based new and used car retailer group despite turnover dropping by more than £150m as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Rybrook developed its portfolio during the year, with a new Volvo dealership opening in Preston and its Stoke Land Rover business relocating to a new purpose-built premises. Additionally, the Lotus brand was added to the group's multi-franchise locations in Birmingham and Bristol. https://www.insidermedia.com/news/midlands/pre-tax-profits-rise-at-major-car-retailer

Architects award for major automotive R&D building

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has revealed the 54 winners of the 2021 RIBA National Awards for architecture, which includes the Professor Lord Bhattacharyya building, home to NAIC (National Automotive Innovation Centre) at WMG, University of Warwick. The NAIC is a partnership between WMG, University of Warwick, Jaguar Land Rover, and Tata Motors, and is the largest of its kind in Europe and is well timed, arriving when a global mobility revolution is underway, with a new age for transport mobility. https://www.businessinnovationmag.co.uk/prof-lord-bhattacharyya-building-named-one-of-the-uks-best-new-buildings-in-riba-2021-awards/

Local games studio director wins award

Games maker Sumo Leamington’s Operations Director, Harinder Sangha, has been crowned ‘Best Boss’ at the games industry’s 2021 GI.Biz Best Places to Work awards. Harinder, who began working for Sumo Leamington in 2019, beat competition from five international brands including PlayStation and Rare to be crowned ‘Best Boss’ at the awards which took place virtually. https://www.businessinnovationmag.co.uk/umo-leamington-wins-best-boss-award-at-national-games-industry-awards/

Computing skills in high demand at WCG

Local college group WCG is seeing heightened interest in its business and computing degree courses thanks to high demand from employers. These include BA Business and Management, BSc Computing Networks and Cyber Security and FdA Digital Media Content and are run out of the college group’s Royal Leamington Spa College. https://www.businessinnovationmag.co.uk/interest-in-business-and-computing-degrees-soar-at-warwickshire-college-group-thanks-to-employer-demand/

Emperor moves to Warwick

An employee-owned creative agency has moved into new offices at Warwick Technology Park. Emperor, which specialises in strategic communications and works with clients such as Greggs and Lloyds Banking Group, has moved into new facilities at the Innovation Centre, which is part of University of Warwick’s Science Park. The offices will be used as a creative hub, alongside its other bases in London, Edinburgh, Manchester and Dubai. Following a restructure of the business, the firm has closed offices in Birmingham and Bicester to move into the Warwick hub. https://www.insidermedia.com/news/midlands/employee-owned-agency-moves-to-warwick-technology-park

Local support unlocks growth for Percuro

A sustainable pet food brand has secured contracts with retailers in the UK and globally six months after securing support funding. Percuro Primal Pet Food Ltd, which has its headquarters in Henley-in-Aden in Warwickshire, secured funding from the European Regional Development Fund through the Innovate EDGE UK Proof-of-Concept programme, which is provided by Coventry University. The support enabled Percuro to carry out a full feasibility study for the product through consumer research among pet owners in the UK and Germany. https://www.insidermedia.com/news/midlands/sustainable-pet-food-brand-grows-after-receiving-funding

People Profile

Luke's mission is to make a real diffence to WCC's business centres

"I like to feel as though I am making a difference and really helping to support businesses and deliver value and that is my top objective in this role."

Luke Pulford is "very excited" by his new role as Business Centres Manager for Warwickshire County Council.

It is a role to which he has brought much relevant knowledge and experience from a track record of success in supporting small businesses and delivering value at business centres.

Luke is eminently qualified for the role - but that did not stop him putting in some serious extra research for it, from the inside, before he took it up after leaving his position as Workspaces Development Manager for Leicester City Council.

"I really wanted to get an insight into the role, so before I actually started the job I spent several days unpaid around our business centres just taking a good look at how they operate," he said. "I spent time with my predecessor Duncan Haldane and the teams around the centres. I was made really welcome and it was very useful.

"I am very excited by the role. It is a really different challenge for me - I think that was the main lure. At Leicester, I was basically given a brownfield site and told to build everything from scratch. Here, the business centres already exist and it is a question of seeing what we can improve. And while there is a lot about our centres that is very good, there is certainly scope for a lot of improvement.

"That's my challenge - to ensure that our tenants get the best possible value so that they are thriving and happy and remain in our centres and therefore give high value to the county council and the communities around them."

Born in Kettering, Northamptonshire, Luke studied at De Montfort University, Leicester for a degree in Entrepreneurship. Through his consultancy business, he then worked with over 200 start up and SME clients and helped them launch and grow businesses and created many jobs. He has worked in both public and private sectors, in start-ups, SMEs and PLCs

In Leicester, he was initially recruited to launch the City Council’s first centre to create, support and grow a cluster of technology-focused. His role quickly evolved and ultimately expanded to running the wider portfolio of workspace buildings for the Council.

"I really enjoyed my work in Leicester and am proud of it," said Luke. "I dealt with some fantastic people and businesses there.

"But I like to stretch myself and this role in Warwickshire is different. I like to feel as though I am making a difference and really helping to support businesses and deliver value and that is my top objective in this role."

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