Rural Innovation Centre at Stoneleigh Park Expands Again

A booming hub for small businesses at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire is being expanded for a second time within four years to meet continuing demand.

The Rural Innovation Centre is being extended again by LaSalle Investment Management, which manages Stoneleigh Park, to create an additional ten serviced offices.

The centre was opened with 16 offices in September 2013 to provide a base for small and new businesses in rural parts of Warwickshire to grow and flourish.

It was originally part funded by DEFRA as part of the Warwickshire Rural Growth Network, aimed at boosting employment in rural areas, and led by Warwickshire County Council on behalf of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Due to its success, LaSalle converted an adjoining building to create a further 19 offices in 2016 as part of its on-going transformation of Stoneleigh Park into a leading centre for rural science, innovation and business.

LaSalle is now making a further investment in the conversion of a separate building, which backs onto the original centre, to take the total number of offices to 45.

Work is underway to adapt the two-storey building into a multi-office site and is due to be completed early in September.

Colin Hooper, estates director at Stoneleigh Park, said: “The Rural Innovation Centre continues to be a real success story and has provided a base for around 70 small and start-up businesses from a wide variety of sectors.

“LaSalle has responded to the continuing demand for this high-quality serviced office space by investing a total of around £1.3 million in the overall project.

“Five of the new offices within this latest extension are larger than the existing ones within the Rural Innovation Centre which broadens the range of space available and provides existing tenants an opportunity to expand.”

iVentiv, which organises international learning and development conferences for senior executives within global companies, moved into the Rural Innovation Centre in 2014 and will be relocating to the new building to accommodate its growing team.

Russell Butler, CEO of iVentiv, said: “Since being at the Rural Innovation Centre, our team has gone from three to seven due to sustained growth and increasing demand for our events around the world, and we are currently recruiting to take that figure to 10.

“The location, environment and facilities work really well for us and we’re delighted to be able to continue to grow our business here with the creation of larger offices.”

The Rural Innovation Centre provides fully-furnished offices with access to ultra-fast broadband as well as reception, meeting and conference facilities.

Amy Rogers, joint manager of the Rural Innovation Centre, said: “We receive enquiries on a daily basis from businesses interested in locating here and often have a reserve list.

“The offices are available on flexible short-term leases which is particularly attractive for start-ups.  There is a great sense of community among the businesses and we’re looking forward to welcoming more.”

Warwickshire-based JW Contracts and Services Ltd, the main contractor for refurbishment projects undertaken by LaSalle at Stoneleigh Park, is carrying out the work.

Rural Innovation Centre at Stoneleigh Park Expands Again was last updated on August 25, 2017.

Exports from Coventry & Warwickshire standing strong

Coventry and Warwickshire is responsible for the highest value of exports in the country, outside

of London, business leaders have been told.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce held its latest Business Outlook event with Warwickshire County Council (WCC) to assess how the region is faring and the prospects for growth over the next quarter and into 2018.

The event, held at Kenilworth’s Holiday Inn, attracted more than 100 people from businesses based across Coventry and Warwickshire – one of the largest economic briefings in the region.

The Chamber, alongside WCC, presented an analysis on the latest Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) and also heard from David Bharier, business insight manager from the British Chambers of Commerce.

Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s QES is now contributed to by more than 500 business people – making it one of the most comprehensive reports of its kind across the country.

Dave Ayton-Hill, Economy & Skills Manager at WCC, said the data is drawn from a good split of manufacturing and service sector organisations.

“This quarter we have seen a record number of respondents to the QES, and is firmly established as one of the leading surveys feeding into the national British Chambers of Commerce QES which influences key decision making at the highest level,” he said.

“The Coventry & Warwickshire economy remains strong and buoyant, and high levels of business confidence bodes well for the future months.

“Business confidence in the region is extremely high, with 73 per cent of manufacturers and 63 per cent of service sector respondents believing their turnover will increase in the next three months.

“Key to our economic performance is our strength in exporting. Coventry and Warwickshire has the largest value of goods exported overseas – £17.8bn last year – of all Local Enterprise Partnership areas in the country, aside from London, with two-thirds of this to non-EU countries.

“The area is performing well in comparison to other areas of the country against a backdrop of continued uncertainty, which is extremely positive to report for the region.”

Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “With more than 500 responses to this QES, it is a very accurate barometer of our regional economy.

“We’re delighted our Business Outlook events are also growing tremendously, and our latest event was one of the largest economic outlook events held in the area.

“The feeling within the room was that while we are still very much operating in uncertain times, particularly in regards to Brexit, the majority of businesses in the region are taking a business as usual approach, and this is reflected in the results of the QES.”

The full results can be downloaded here: https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/media/3233/qes-q2-2017-survey-results.pdf

The next Business Outlook event will take place in September and the next QES survey will go live on the Chamber website soon.

Exports from Coventry & Warwickshire standing strong was last updated on August 9, 2017.

New games company launches in Warwickshire’s Silicon Spa

The team behind a mobile game that has been downloaded more than 75 million times have launched their own business in Leamington’s ‘Silicon Spa’.

Well Played Games has been launched at Pure Offices in Tachbrook Road by colleagues who were all previously at Exient in Leamington.

Adam Wells and Rich McClaughry have headed up the establishment of the business but the formation of the company as very much a team effort by colleagues who were all made redundant when the firm scaled back its UK operation after the Brexit vote.

Their skills were so in demand – due to the high number of games developers in the area – that they could have landed jobs with existing firms.

But after they met the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, they decided to set-up Well Played Games and bring back together the team that previously worked on games such as Angry Birds Transformers, which has been downloaded more than 75 million times and generated more than $20m of revenue.

Rich said: “We had enjoyed great success with Exient and when we were all made redundant, we could have gone our separate ways.

“But we had worked together as a team for around four years and we knew we had a really good blend of people. It sounds corny, but we were like a family.

“Adam and I had the idea of setting up on our own and discussed it with the rest of the group. We had worked with Helena Bassett at the Chamber previously and decided to get in touch once we knew we wanted to set up in business.

“Helena, an adviser at the Chamber, gave us some great advice in getting started and she’s given us some really good opportunities to apply for grant funding. We attended events and really got to grips with the idea of launching on our own.

“On top of that, we’ve also spoken to Parminder Hayer in the international trade team and he’s helping us to access key international events to help take us overseas.

“The support has been really valuable and I am sure we will tap into it more and more as the business grows.”

In its first three months of trading, Well Played Games has turned over £200,000 and is now looking for further investment to help the company grow further.

Rich added: “We’ve been working with another local developer and we are confident that we can bid for and win new business right across the world because of our track record.”

Helena Bassett, a business adviser at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Leamington is popularly known as Silicon Spa because of the range of companies in the games development sector.

“The team are developing an exciting company but, like many others in different sectors, they just needed some guidance on business planning and operations – and that’s exactly what we are here for.

“The support we have given has helped to create ten, high-end jobs for the area and I wish them every success for the future.”

Well Played Games accessed support and advice through the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme. The programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, in partnership with Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council and the District and Borough Councils.

New games company launches in Warwickshire’s Silicon Spa was last updated on August 9, 2017.

Agents appointed to market “Oven Ready” Warwickshire development

KWB and Bromwich Hardy have been appointed as joint agents to market the first phase of a major Warwickshire office development which is expected to create some 350 new jobs.

 

The new 34,000 sq ft grade A office building at Abbey Park, an established business park at Stoneleigh in Warwickshire, will be the first phase of an eventual 128,000 sq ft office development.

 

The new high specification office building will be located on a 40 acre landscaped office campus, set within hundreds of acres of historic grade II listed parkland, almost equi-distant to Warwick, Leamington, Coventry and Kenilworth.  Nearby occupiers on Abbey Park include AGCO (formerly Massey Ferguson) and The British Horse Society.

 

Mark Robinson, Director in KWB’s Birmingham-based Office Agency Team, says: “Warwickshire is a highly sought after office location for international, national and regional occupiers, with many big name companies already based in the county.

 

“This new oven ready development at Abbey Park will provide the high quality and specification of building, and size and flexibility of floorplate required by major office occupiers.  Design, planning and procurement are all in place to start construction as soon as we sign an occupier,” he explains.

 

“Confidence in the county’s economy and business outlook is high, and this new development will tap into that.”

 

Abbey Park is just 15 minutes’ drive from Warwick, Leamington, Coventry, Kenilworth, and Junction 15 of the M40, and close to both Coventry railway station and Warwick Parkway railway station, which provide links to Birmingham and Coventry Airports.

 

“Abbey Park is a beautiful tranquil location, less than three miles from Jaguar Land Rover’s Global Headquarters, which offers high quality architecture coupled with everything a modern business requires, such as excellent IT connections.  With strong recent take-up, this area has a real shortage of available quality offices, so we expect interest to be strong,” says David Penn, Partner at Bromwich Hardy.

 

The new office building at Abbey Park is available leasehold at a quoting rent of £19.50psf, though freehold offers may be entertained.  Design and build opportunities from 15,000 sq ft are also available.

Further information is available from Mark Robinson at KWB on tel. 0121 212 5994 or email mrobinson@kwboffice.com or via www.kwboffice.com/property/abbey-park-offices/ or from David Penn at Bromwich Hardy on tel. 024 7630 8905 or email david.penn@bromwichhardy.com or via www.bromwichhardy.com.

 

With offices in Birmingham and Solihull, KWB is an independent firm of Chartered Surveyors which offers a comprehensive commercial property service and unrivalled market knowledge across the West Midlands.  KWB has been trading for more than 25 years and its senior management team has in excess of 200 years combined professional experience

 

Agents appointed to market “Oven Ready” Warwickshire development was last updated on August 9, 2017.

EEF Venues reports strong mid-year performance

Mid-year financial results for EEF Venues show 8% year-on-year growth across the group’s three venues; Broadway House in Westminster, Engineers’ House in Bristol and Woodland Grange in Leamington Spa.

Forward bookings are also strong, currently running 9% ahead of the corresponding period for last year.

David Vaughton, managing director of EEF Venues, said: “Despite the backdrop of what remains a challenging and competitive market, our three venues continue to perform well. A focused, relationship-driven sales approach, good repeat business, improved achieved rates and further penetration of weekend-related markets have all contributed to our performance to date.”

The three AIM Gold and BDRC Gold venues attract over 100,000 delegates each year, with clients ranging from commercial and training organisations to the manufacturing sector, healthcare, associations and government agencies.

“We are seeing a strong first quarter developing for 2018 already,” said David Vaughton.

“Bookers are drawn to EEF Venues because of our reputation, and they return because of our engaged and effective teams. Customer service excellence drives our business and it is heartening to know that this continues to have a direct impact on our financial performance.”

Ends

Issued on behalf of EEF Venues by Copylines PR. For further information please contact Patsy Atkinson at Copylines PR on 00 353 21 435 8517 or emailpatkinson@copylinespr.com

 

About EEF Venues

EEF Venues is a group of three conference venues dedicated to meetings, conferences, team building, training and corporate events: Engineers’ House in Bristol; Broadway House in Westminster, and Woodland Grange residential conference centre in Warwickshire.   For further information see https://www.eef.org.uk/venues

EEF Venues reports strong mid-year performance was last updated on July 25, 2017.

IC Solutions 24/7 are one of the first in their sector to receive ISO 9001:2015 Standard

IC Solutions 24/7 Limited are one of the first companies within their sector to be successfully audited against the ISO 9001: 2015 standard.

The Nuneaton based company delivers the latest infection control products and services to the United Kingdom and Europe. It was established in 2010 by Oliver Canty who had previously worked within the infection control sector.

"We are excited to be awarded the latest ISO 9001:2015 standard making us one of the first companies in Warwickshire to receive this International quality standard. This accolade follows the continued hard work and diligence of all the staff at IC Solutions 24/7 Limited" says Oliver Canty, Managing Director.
An ISO 9001: 2015 certification provides businesses several of benefits as it enables them to show their customers that they’re constantly striving towards quality and service. Not only that, an ISO 9001: 2015 certification can lead to increased productivity within the workplace.

The decision to work towards the new standard was agreed upon by Oliver and Sharon Burbidge, the Office Manager. Without it, their customers couldn’t be assured of continued quality. The standard has changed dramatically from the previous one, so took the team a lot of time and effort to ensure they conformed.
The company passed on first attempt.

Auditor Stuart Smith from CQS, carries these audits on a daily basis.

“Once the audit was completed we received a certificate to prove our compliance. It has taken pride of place hanging in our small reception area, so that customers and staff alike can see that we deliver quality” says Sharon Burbidge.

Notes to Editors:
Address: Centenary Business Centre, Hammond Close, Nuneaton, Warwickshire, CV11 6RY
Tel: 02476 347 722
Web: www.icsolutions247.com
Email: sales@icsolutions247.com
Photo: Ashley-Thomas Jones (Marketing Executive), Oliver Canty (Managing Director), Kerri Harris (Business Administrator) and Geoff Edwards (Senior Technician).

IC Solutions 24/7 are one of the first in their sector to receive ISO 9001:2015 Standard was last updated on July 24, 2017.

LEADER Grant Funding Open Call

The programme is aimed at boosting the rural economy across North Warwickshire and Hinckley and Bosworth area which was launched in 2015, has successfully awarded local businesses over £200,000  in grants.

 

Some of the successful applications which have been approved for funding in the area are beneficiaries such as Shustoke Village Hall Committee Ltd, Spotty Dog Communications and C J Springthorpe.  Shustoke Village Hall received a grant to transform the village hall into two usable rooms to use as an indoor tea room and space for the community to use.  Another successful beneficiary Spotty Dog Communications grant funded the creation of a studio production room through partitioning of offices; and fitting it out with new media production equipment.  And lastly, C J Springthorpe, a family run business markets and sells logs at framers markets but wanted to expand into kindling.  The grant will be used for the purchase of an auto split kindling machine that will enable the process of the wood easier to make kindling.

 

The Local Action Group (LAG), consisting of local public, private and voluntary sector representatives, have the job of assessing the applications and decide whether the projects will contribute to the overall aim of the programme. Chair of the LAG, Sharon Earp, who runs her own award winning rural tourism business said, “We are delighted that local rural businesses are continuing to benefit from these funds. This is making an important difference to the rural economy, creating new jobs, encouraging visitors to the area and having a positive impact on local people”.

 

The LEADER Programme is aimed at funding projects which will have a positive impact on the local economy and improve services for local people. The money will be allocated to businesses, groups or organisations that can contribute to the creation of jobs or the growth of businesses in rural areas.

Another call for projects opens 3rd July to 21st August 2017. This call is for projects from farmers looking at increasing productivity, micro and small businesses including farm diversification, rural tourism businesses, rural services, cultural and heritage activities and foresters.   Anyone who would like to know more about the programme or who would like an Expression of Interest form can contact The LEADER Programme Team based at North Warwickshire Borough Council on 01827 719271/318 or via email at leaderprojects@northwarks.gov.ukwww.englandsruralheart.org

 

LEADER Grant Funding Open Call was last updated on July 5, 2017.

Automotive agency grows in Leamington

A Warwickshire company’s fresh sales perspective and five decades of experience is being brought to firms in the automotive and motorsports industry.

The Tree Group, which is firmly rooted in Leamington, provides outsourced sales to companies, bringing a creative approach to spotting new opportunities which has led to growth just a year since it was started.

The brainchild of Steve Smith and James Walters, who collectively have 50 years’ experience working for leading firms, they decided to join forces and branch out together last year.

The company has been given support and mentoring advice since it began back in April 2016 from the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce through the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme.

“We offer businesses the chance to tap into an experienced sales team and add to their ranks on a subscription basis,” said Steve.

“Working with the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce has proven to be incredibly useful.

“Between James and I we have a lot of experience within the world of sales, but the Chamber was able to offer advice and support in starting a business and pushing it forward.”

The Tree group is made up of five team members including Steve and James, the others are Laura Hayward, Charlotte Simpson and Georgia McLaren.

Charlotte and Georgia were part of an expansion of the team after Steve and James decided to invest in apprentices.

James added: “We are a small team, but we are dedicated to working for the best of all of our partners and offer a unique perspective catering for individual business’s needs.

“We can see real value in investing in apprentices and passing on the knowledge and skills that they we have to offer.”

The Tree Group was given mentoring and offered support by Martyne Manning from the Chamber.

“It is this kind of outsourcing service that The Tree Group is providing that offers something new and dynamic to businesses,” said Martyne.

“It is firms like this that are bringing something new to an industry that the Chamber of Commerce and the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme can help.

“I am also pleased that Steve and James took on apprentices, this is something that the Chamber has been encouraging more businesses to do over many years.

“It’s a chance to invest in people and build up their skills and understanding, offering real experiences of different industries.

“We will continue to offer Steve and James as much support as we can, and we hope that they continue to grow and progress.”

The Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, in partnership with Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council and the District and Borough Councils.

For more information or to book on to the Business Support programme call the Chamber on 024 7665 4321 or log onto www.cw-chamber.co.uk.

ENDS

Photo caption (left to right): Martyne Manning (Chamber), Charlotte Simpson, Steve Smith, James Walters, Georgia McLaren (all Tree Group).

Notes to Editors:

The Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme is receiving £6.3 million of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for the ERDF. Established by the European Union ERDF, funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding

Automotive agency grows in Leamington was last updated on July 18, 2017.

Chinese investors showing increasing interest in Coventry & Warwickshire

Chinese investors are increasing their focus on Coventry and Warwickshire as a potential centre for investment.

A delegation of key dignitaries and senior business people visited the area and met a range of firms, decision makers and business organisations on a fact-finding mission.

Part of the visit included a tour of DIRFT, near Rugby, as their interest heightens in the logistics and e-commerce sectors.

Craig Humphrey, the managing director of the CWLEP Growth Hub, said enquiries from China were increasing.

He said: “I was delighted to be part of the group that welcomed the delegation from China to the region.

“There were a mix of managing directors, vice presidents, chair-people and owners of large corporations and they are all very interested in this region – Coventry, Warwickshire and the wider Midlands Engine area is seen as a very strong place to invest.

“Over the past couple of years, we have really seen this interest grow – we are speaking to potential Chinese investors all the time and when it gets very serious, they want to come out into the market and see the opportunities in the flesh.

“We’ve worked with companies already in this area which have benefitted from Chinese investment and the feedback from this visit has already been extremely positive.

“China already his billions invested in the UK but there is a real hunger to increase that – estimates are that they will have invested £100billion in UK infrastructure by 2025.

“So when we have the opportunity to meet key individuals and organisations from China in this way, it’s absolutely vital that we make the most of it.”

Gareth Edwards, the logistics lead for the CWLEP Growth Hub, added: “With the increased growth in logistics and, in particular e-commerce, the Midlands offers significant opportunities for businesses to invest and it is great that this delegation chose to visit this area.”

Chinese investors showing increasing interest in Coventry & Warwickshire was last updated on July 4, 2017.

Escape Live heading for Stratford

One of the UK’s most popular escape game brands is heading to Stratford – and it will be a treat for Shakespeare and Harry Potter fans.

Escape Live, which has venues in Birmingham, Essex and Coventry, will open two brand new rooms in Greenhill Street this summer with one based on Stratford’s most famous son while the other will be themed around wizards and spells.

Jas Sodhi and John Dalziel are the owners of Escape Live and, over the past two-and-a-half years, have made their Birmingham venue the highest-rated attraction in the city on TripAdvisor and has picked up awards for the venue.

Its success – attracting more than 50,000 visitors – saw them launch in Coventry in 2016 and they are already planning to expand there too.

The premise behind Escape Live games is teams of two to six people are given one hour to solve a series of clues to work out how to escape from the room.

They have proved popular with a wide-range of visitors from day-trippers, couples, families and friends through to corporate entities for either training or team-building purposes.

The team behind Escape Live are tailoring the Stratford venue to the town by creating a Shakespeare-themed room and have been working with Hazel Stenner, an expert on the Bard, to give it an educational twist.

Jas said: “We originally started the business because we were big fans of escape games. We’d played them in London and overseas and felt there should be something in the Midlands and Warwickshire.

“Birmingham has been a massive success – beyond our wildest dreams – particularly the constant positive feedback that we get from visitors through sites such as TripAdvisor and, of course, in person.

“That meant we started to look around to expand and Coventry came up first, but Stratford has been very much on our radar and we think this is going to very popular with tourists and local people.

“We are introducing two brand new rooms here in Stratford and it’s been great to work with Hazel Stenner because we are determined to get the Shakespeare room right because of his huge significance to the town.

“Our other room will be a real treat for Harry Potter fans but we can’t reveal too much more at this stage!

“We don’t have a confirmed opening date yet but the aim is to be open this summer but for those who can’t wait, go and try out Coventry or Birmingham to get a taste for Escape Live!”

Escape Live in Stratford will open from 10am until 10pm every day and will create between four and six new jobs.

The venue is registering interest now for those who wish to be among the first to play the rooms via www.escapelive.co.uk

Pictured: Jas Sodhi and John Dalziel plus images of the concept around the ‘wizard-themed’ room

Escape Live heading for Stratford was last updated on July 4, 2017.

Chamber survey says: manufacturing is thriving across Coventry & Warwickshire

Manufacturing in Coventry and Warwickshire is thriving – and it’s not just major companies such as Jaguar Land Rover that are seeing the benefit.

That’s the key finding of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) which it produces in partnership with Warwickshire County Council’s Economy and Skills team.

The survey feeds into the British Chambers of Commerce’s national QES and is used as a barometer for the whole economy.

Business confidence among manufacturers across Coventry and Warwickshire rose to a remarkable 82.9 – up by 6.9 points from the first quarter of 2016. In the service sector it dropped by 3.2 points to 75.6 but that is still way above the balance score of 50 which would mean there were an equal number of companies believing the economy was going to better or worse.

In manufacturing, companies are reporting rising orders domestically (up to a score of 69.9 from 61.3) and in exports (from 67.5 to 70.2) in the past quarter.

Domestic orders fell slightly in the service sector but held up better when it came to exports.

Dave Ayton-Hill, who heads Warwickshire County Council’s Economy and Skills team, said Brexit and the resulting fall in the pound had impacted on the regional economy.

He said: “The depreciation of the pound appears to be pulling the economy in two directions. On the one hand, businesses in the manufacturing sector are seeing strong growth both from overseas markets and on domestic orders.

“Those domestic orders could be increasing because their clients are seeing an upturn in exports.

“The service sector does, however, appear to be feeling the pinch slightly as price inflation is pushing past income growth and, therefore, reducing the spending power of consumers.

“The overall economic outlook index for the region is down slightly but is still significantly higher than regional and national comparators which means the Coventry and Warwickshire economy remains strong and buoyant.”

More findings and an economic outlook will be presented at an event at the Holiday Inn Kenilworth on Tuesday, July 25 between 8am and 10am. Speakers include Dave Ayton-Hill and David Bharier, of the British Chambers of Commerce, as well as Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce.

Louise said: “With more than 500 responses to this QES, it’s fair to say it’s a very accurate barometer of our regional economy.

“The results make fascinating reading and it’s great to see that manufacturing is growing in this area and is confident about its ability to grow in the future.

“The likes of Jaguar Land Rover are a big part of that but what we are seeing is many other manufacturers thriving in our area and growing their order books.

“We are very much looking forward to the event on July 25 which will feature expert speakers who will provide context for these results.”

Chamber survey says: manufacturing is thriving across Coventry & Warwickshire was last updated on September 11, 2017.

North Warwickshire Networking & Business Support Event

The Chamber will be holding a business support event at Atherstone Golf Club, Coleshill Road, Atherstone, CV9 2RL on Friday 7th Ju ly 8am - 10am.
This is an opportunity to find out how we can help your business grow with our free one to one coaching and access to finance and grants.

The event will provide excellent networking opportunities and the chance to hear more about what is available in North Warwickshire

This is a must attend event for those who are looking for:

Access to grant funding
Next steps for a start up business
Business growth advice
Developing a new marketing strategy
Effective networking

We do hope you can join us and please follow the link to reserve your place:

https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/north-warwickshire-networking-business-support-event/

North Warwickshire Networking & Business Support Event was last updated on July 3, 2017.

Midlands Engine Calling at Rail Live 2017

The Midlands Engine is gearing up to showcase the region’s capacity, capability and opportunities in the rail sector at Rail Live later this month, building on momentum gained from Railtex 2017 in May.

 

Rail Live takes place on 21st – 22nd June 2017 at Quinton Rail Technology Centre, Long Marston, near Stratford-upon-Avon and is one of the largest outdoor rail exhibitions in Europe, offering companies a unique opportunity to showcase products and services in a real rail setting.

 

Invest in Warwickshire, together with The Midlands Engine and the Department for International trade will collectively showcase all that UK rail has to offer, with a specific focus on the Midlands’ region.  The Midlands represents an ideal place for investment considering HS2 and the vast array of other rail projects coming to the UK over the next 15 years.

 

The Midlands is a core part of the UK’s £7bn rail manufacturing industry that employs over 80,000 people across the country and helps drive the UK advanced manufacturing and engineering sector.  Over 600,000 people in the Midlands work in manufacturing, delivering over 21% of the UK’s annual manufacturing output. Led by companies such as Bombardier, Siemens and Atkins, the region is home to the UK’s largest rail cluster and offers huge supply chain opportunities.

The region is at the heart of new UK rail projects including the £55bn HS2 rail network, mainline electrification, station redevelopments and extensions to light railway networks, along with the expansion of rail freight infrastructure. Overall the UK is investing in excess of £100bn in rail projects across the country. This makes the UK an attractive place to locate for overseas companies active in rail, and the Midlands, given its location and strong rail cluster, is the ideal location in the UK to invest in.

 

Visit www.raillive.events/ to register as a delegate for Rail Live 2017 and see us on stand BZ3 to find out more about the Midlands Engine Opportunities in Rail.

Midlands Engine Calling at Rail Live 2017 was last updated on June 19, 2017.

RCMA Group invests £25M in sustainable rapeseed processing facility in heart of England

First new large-scale rapeseed plant to be built since the 1980s responds to increasing market demand
for UK-sourced food ingredients

London, United Kingdom, 6 June 2017 - Independent commodities trading and supply chain
company, RCMA Group, today announced it is constructing a state-of-the-art rapeseed processing
plant in Atherstone on Stour, near Stratford-upon-Avon, investing £25million in the project and
creating in excess of 30 local jobs. The new facility will be operational in the autumn of 2017 to
process an annual seed crush of 100,000 tonnes, producing 40,000 tonnes of refined edible rapeseed
oil and 60,000 tonnes of high quality rape cake for the animal feed sector. The business will process
100% UK-grown seed to meet growing demand from UK buyers for a fully traceable supply chain and
high quality ingredients for the food industry. Rapeseed oil consumption continues to grow, fuelled by
health-conscious consumers, and RCMA sees a strong outlook for high quality vegetable oil with
traceable UK provenance from farm to table.

“This is a milestone in UK oilseed processing,” commented RCMA Group’s Chairman, Doug King. “Not
only are we adding the first brand-new large-scale rapeseed processing facility in the UK since the
1980s; we have commissioned a highly sustainable approach to processing, reflecting our
commitment to a more environmentally-friendly industry.”

The innovative design incorporates a biomass-fuelled Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant enabling
RCMA Stratford to be one of the most energy and carbon-efficient producers in the UK, generating its
own internal energy requirements from UK forestry residues and offcuts. Co-locating the business
alongside an established grain store, in the heart of the country, reduces the “food miles” associated
with transporting its raw materials into the facility and finished products to end customers.

RCMA Group CEO, Chris Pardey, has assembled a team with deep industry expertise to support the
new enterprise including commercial, technical and quality assurance experts with many decades of
combined service in oilseeds processing. “This is a fantastic team for the RCMA Group,” said Pardey,
“It brings a huge amount of global experience to the Stratford project, coupled with really strong local
market and product knowledge which will deliver exceptional value to our customers.” The company

is also working in close partnership with farmers’ co-operative, Camgrain, the grain store operator, to
build mutually beneficial relationships with UK seed growers.

- Ends -

 

ABOUT THE RCMA GROUP

The RCMA Group is an independent commodities trading and supply chain group with over 230 years of
history in the commodity markets. The strength of its commodity heritage, combined with the expertise
of its global teams and vast network of local operators, enable RCMA to deliver unrivalled value with a
local touch to clients globally. The Group is active in the polymer, cotton, sugar, coffee, vegetable oils,
energy and electricity retailing markets. The RCMA Group ships more than 1.2 million metric tons
worldwide and is headquartered in Singapore, with a growing presence in the Asia Pacific, Europe, the
Americas and Africa. We have over 250 employees across our 19 global locations.

***

For more information on the RCMA Group, please visit: www.rcma.com

For media queries, please contact Corporate Communications:

Karen Williams (United Kingdom)

Phone: +44 (0)7702 806365

Email: karenwilliams@crescendoconsultinguk.com

Carin Looi, Head of Corporate Communications and Marketing

Mobile +65 9382 3236

Email: carin.looi@rcma.com

RCMA GROUP INVESTS £25million IN SUSTAINABLE RAPESEED PROCESSING FACILITY IN
HEART OF ENGLAND

First new large-scale rapeseed plant to be built since the 1980s responds to increasing market demand
for UK-sourced food ingredients

London, United Kingdom, 6 June 2017 - Independent commodities trading and supply chain
company, RCMA Group, today announced it is constructing a state-of-the-art rapeseed processing
plant in Atherstone on Stour, near Stratford-upon-Avon, investing £25million in the project and
creating in excess of 30 local jobs. The new facility will be operational in the autumn of 2017 to
process an annual seed crush of 100,000 tonnes, producing 40,000 tonnes of refined edible rapeseed
oil and 60,000 tonnes of high quality rape cake for the animal feed sector. The business will process
100% UK-grown seed to meet growing demand from UK buyers for a fully traceable supply chain and
high quality ingredients for the food industry. Rapeseed oil consumption continues to grow, fuelled by
health-conscious consumers, and RCMA sees a strong outlook for high quality vegetable oil with
traceable UK provenance from farm to table.

“This is a milestone in UK oilseed processing,” commented RCMA Group’s Chairman, Doug King. “Not
only are we adding the first brand-new large-scale rapeseed processing facility in the UK since the
1980s; we have commissioned a highly sustainable approach to processing, reflecting our
commitment to a more environmentally-friendly industry.”

The innovative design incorporates a biomass-fuelled Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant enabling
RCMA Stratford to be one of the most energy and carbon-efficient producers in the UK, generating its
own internal energy requirements from UK forestry residues and offcuts. Co-locating the business
alongside an established grain store, in the heart of the country, reduces the “food miles” associated
with transporting its raw materials into the facility and finished products to end customers.

RCMA Group CEO, Chris Pardey, has assembled a team with deep industry expertise to support the
new enterprise including commercial, technical and quality assurance experts with many decades of
combined service in oilseeds processing. “This is a fantastic team for the RCMA Group,” said Pardey,
“It brings a huge amount of global experience to the Stratford project, coupled with really strong local
market and product knowledge which will deliver exceptional value to our customers.” The company

is also working in close partnership with farmers’ co-operative, Camgrain, the grain store operator, to
build mutually beneficial relationships with UK seed growers.

 

 

ABOUT THE RCMA GROUP

The RCMA Group is an independent commodities trading and supply chain group with over 230 years of
history in the commodity markets. The strength of its commodity heritage, combined with the expertise
of its global teams and vast network of local operators, enable RCMA to deliver unrivalled value with a
local touch to clients globally. The Group is active in the polymer, cotton, sugar, coffee, vegetable oils,
energy and electricity retailing markets. The RCMA Group ships more than 1.2 million metric tons
worldwide and is headquartered in Singapore, with a growing presence in the Asia Pacific, Europe, the
Americas and Africa. We have over 250 employees across our 19 global locations.

***

For more information on the RCMA Group, please visit: www.rcma.com

For media queries, please contact Corporate Communications:

Karen Williams (United Kingdom)

Phone: +44 (0)7702 806365

Email: karenwilliams@crescendoconsultinguk.com

Carin Looi, Head of Corporate Communications and Marketing

Mobile +65 9382 3236

Email: carin.looi@rcma.com

 

RCMA Group invests £25M in sustainable rapeseed processing facility in heart of England was last updated on June 9, 2017.

Digital Carboodle set to double it’s business

A South Warwickshire digital content agency is set to more than double its business as it enters the second year since it was formed.

Digital Caboodle was set-up by Jane Cull in June 2016 after she received free business advice and support from the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce through the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme.

The Alcester agency offers an end-to-end service in digital content production, social media training and website design.

Now an established business, Digital Caboodle is passing its expertise down to other start-ups and helping them set-up their own websites and self-manage them going forwards.

Over the past year, the business has attracted more than a dozen clients and aims to double its workload within the next 12 months.

Jane Cull, founder of Digital Caboodle, said: “Many of my clients are SMEs and I enjoy working with them to develop their digital media and online presence.

“A large part of what I offer is training clients to self-manage their websites and social media strategy so they are not left with online marketing platforms that they have no idea how to login or update for themselves.

“My mentor gave me a great overview of my business and helped me gain confidence to take the business forward. I highly recommend the Chamber’s services to anyone considering starting up their own business.”

Jane was given advice by Hardeep Sandhu and Tracy Benbow from the Chamber when starting up and developing Digital Caboodle.

Hardeep, a business adviser at the Chamber, said: “It is fantastic to see that Jane is now passing down her expertise to help other start-up businesses – we have a great business community here in Coventry and Warwickshire.

“I’m looking forward to following the development of Digital Caboodle and urge other businesses to take advantage of the support we offer here at the Chamber.”

The Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, in partnership with Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council and the District and Borough Councils.

For more information or to book on to the Business Support programme call the Chamber on 024 7665 4321 or log onto www.cw-chamber.co.uk

Digital Carboodle set to double it’s business was last updated on May 3, 2017.

Coventry & Warwickshire economy set to out perform rest of the UK

Coventry and Warwickshire’s economy is on course to outperform the rest of the UK over the course of the next year, a meeting has been told.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce held a Business Outlook event with Warwickshire County Council (WCC) to assess how the region is set to fair over the course of the next 12 months.

The Chamber, alongside WCC, presented analysis on the latest Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) at Mallory Court and the meeting also heard from Sean Farnell, of Burgis & Bullock and board member of the Local Enterprise Partnership, and Barrie Kilfeather, of Santander.

Dave Ayton-Hill, Economy & Skills Manager at WCC, said the data from the Chamber’s Quarterly Economic Survey suggested strong economic growth over the next year.

He said: “Figures on UK economic growth are retrospective so we are always looking behind us to know how the economy is performing. The national Purchasing Managing Index looks ahead and when you chart the two together, the PMI has proved to be a very good indicator of what actually follows with GDP.

“We have moved the QES analysis to a similar model that is used by PMI and the figures are very positive for the region – in terms of business confidence, Coventry and Warwickshire is in a strong position.

“Now, of course, there are a lot of factors that can affect whether that confidence is translated into economic performance but we can say with a good degree of certainty that the local economy will continue to grow strongly.”

One of the barriers to that growth, however, is a short supply of skilled labour in the region as unemployment in the region is low.

Dave said that 87 per cent of manufacturers which had tried to recruit in recent months had experienced difficulties in bringing in people with the right skills. In the service sector, the issue was less stark but was still a cause for concern.

Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is a very robust survey – especially as we had such a strong response from businesses in the region.

“Our first Quarterly Economic Survey of the year was very healthy and we are doing extremely well when you compare us to the rest of the UK – and the wider West Midlands – which bodes well for the next year and beyond.”

Sean said that he had analysed the figures across the different areas of Coventry and Warwickshire and they showed that, by and large, the economic growth was strong across the board.

He said: “It’s positive news across the region – from the very north of North Warwickshire and down past Stratford in the south.

“There are some quirks in certain areas. In the north, for example, there is a feeling that the strong sentiment among companies is down to the fact that they were less confident in 2016 and, therefore, they are coming from a lower base. That said, it’s still good news that they feel confident about the remainder of 2017.

“There is also some difference between the confidence of ‘Remainers’ and ‘Brexiteers’. Those who wanted Brexit are very buoyant while those who wanted to remain in Europe are still confident, but there is a caveat to that based on what might happen in the negotiations.”

The full results can be downloaded here: https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/media/2883/qes-q1-2017-cw-results-final-doc-3.pdf

Coventry & Warwickshire economy set to out perform rest of the UK was last updated on May 2, 2017.

Report shows huge impact of Warwickshire College Group on local economy

A study into the economic impact of WCG has shown that the college group makes a massive £705.8m contribution to the regional economy each year.

 

The report, by economic specialists Emsi, found that WCG - which has seven colleges across Warwickshire and Worcestershire - creates significant positive benefits for its main stakeholder groups including learners, society, taxpayers and the local business community.

 

Key highlights include:

  • For every £1 invested by a learner at WCG, they get back £4.40 in higher future wages

  • For every £1 businesses invest in apprenticeships, they receive a 41.3% average monthly rate of return

  • For every £1 invested by an apprentice at WCG, they get £7.70 back in future earnings

  • For every £1 invested by the taxpayer, WCG returns £3.90 in benefits

  • Taxpayers see an average annual return of 17.1% on their investment in WCG - higher than 71.4% of the 105 other institutions Emsi has analysed


WCG Principal and Chief Executive of WCG Angela Joyce said, “We have always believed that our colleges impact positively on the regional economy, so I’m delighted to see this success quantified by the report.

 

“The £706m contribution is a result of our commitment to the communities we serve, in terms of providing educational opportunities and business support, and it’s great to have this additional evidence of how we support job creation and the regional economy by spending our money locally.

 

“We’ve always felt that we have a positive contribution to make in terms of supporting businesses and developing apprenticeships across the region and the facts from this specially commissioned report really back that up.  It’s clear that it’s worth businesses and young people investing in apprenticeships and training.”

WCG offers a range of courses and apprenticeships at its seven colleges in Warwickshire in Worcestershire. For more information, go to www.wcg.ac.uk or call 0300 456 0047.

________________________________________________________

For more details, contact Madelyn Hartnup on 01926 318216 or email: mhartnup@warwickshire.ac.uk

Report shows huge impact of Warwickshire College Group on local economy was last updated on April 26, 2017.

Rugby Drive Launches

A new initiative has been launched to help Rugby businesses operate in the commercial fast lane.

Rugby Drive has been formed by a group of local business owners in partnership with the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP Growth Hub, with the aim promoting collaborative working between local businesses and delivering practical activities that help businesses thrive.

Around 100 company owners and managers attended the launch of Rugby Drive at the Benn Hall, which was organised by a group of local business people working together with the CW Growth Hub, Rugby Borough Council and Warwickshire County Council.

The event was to spark a series of masterclass sessions covering a range of issues all designed to help companies increase their trading – and form closer links with each other as well as informing them of the support already available to growing businesses.

Rich Warren, of the CWLEP Growth Hub, said Rugby Drive had come about as more companies realise the potential of Rugby as a place to do business.

“Rugby Drive is very much by the businesses of Rugby for the businesses of Rugby,” he said. “The Growth Hub, together with other organisations such as the FSB, are lending support to ensure that they get the help they need.

“There is a recognition that the town has a large number of successful and vibrant businesses, but quite often they work totally independently of each other and possibly miss out on potential work right on their doorstep.

“Rugby Drive will act as a platform for business to improve their knowledge of the local commercial market, share best practice and also add to their range of skills through a series of classes.

“But that has to be driven by them. The people who originated the idea of Rugby Drive are acting as Ambassadors and are keen to hear what businesses would most benefit from in terms of masterclasses. Our message is get involved!”

The first masterclass is on May 25 and will give tips on how companies can build a profitable client base in their local community.

Mickey Clarke, of Clarkes Consulting, is one of the Rugby Drive Ambassadors and was part of a business panel at the launch.

She said: “Rugby Drive was extremely well received and it was clear that there is a real appetite from local businesses to work with others in the area and I think we have got a very strong base to work from.

“But it will only work if that energy and momentum continues and we are encouraging businesses to give feedback on what information their business needs to grow their activities in this area.”

Stuart Mackintosh, of Rugby-based OpusVL, spoke about his experience of doing business in Rugby, while Craig Humphrey, Managing Director of the CWLEP Growth Hub closed

Details of the first masterclass can be found at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/building-a-local-community-for-profit-tickets-33499692482?aff=erelexpmlt

Any business wishing to take part should go to the Rugby DRIVE website www.rugbydrive.co.uk or contact Rugby DRIVE via the Growth Hub on 0300 060 3747

Rugby Drive Launches was last updated on April 26, 2017.

Results Reveal Confident Outlook: First Quarterly Economic Survey

Companies across Coventry and Warwickshire have delivered a confident outlook – despite international uncertainty.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Warwickshire County Council, have conducted the first Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) of 2017 and optimism in the area is stronger than it was at the end of 2016.

The QES results are now based on an Economic Outlook Index and will show whether respondents feel things are getting better or worse – with a score of 50 suggesting firms feel circumstances will stay exactly the same.

Overseas orders across the region are showing particular strength – with manufacturing and service sector companies reporting growth. In manufacturing, the Index stood at 67.5 – up more than 10 points compared to the turn of the year.

Services showed a more modest increase but the Index stands at 67.6, with the lower pound being credited as the main reason for exporters from the region seeing an increase in orders.

Domestically, the figures were not quite as strong in manufacturing with the Index showing at 61.3 – still up on the previous quarter – and in services it was at 67.6 which was higher than three months ago.

In terms of overall business confidence, both manufacturing (76.0) and services (78.9) are showing a very healthy outlook with turnover being forecast to rise.

In terms of increased employment, investment and cashflow, the Index is still positive in both sectors but there were slight dips in manufacturing compared to the previous quarter.

Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said companies across the patch were confident about the year ahead.

She said: “After the Brexit vote, there was a bit of a wobble in confidence but over the past few months, we are seeing companies look ahead with optimism.

“They are alert to the fact that there is uncertainty but with the outcome impossible to forecast and everything else is going on in the world, they are looking at their own businesses and their own plans for the future and they feel confident.

“We are delighted to be working with Warwickshire County Council in producing the QES and the new Economic Outlook Index makes it very easy to measure against sentiment on previous quarters.

“On nearly every indicator, manufacturers and service sector companies feel they are in a better place than three months ago, which bodes well.”

Dave Ayton-Hill, head of economy & skills at Warwickshire County Council, will present the findings alongside Louise Bennett at the Coventry and Warwickshire Outlook Breakfast at Mallory Court on Tuesday, April 25 from 8am.

Speakers will also include Sean Farnell, board member of CWLEP and partner at Burgis & Bullock, and Barrie Kilfeather, regional director of Santander.

For more information or to book onto that event log onto www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/the-coventry-warwickshire-business-outlook-breakfast/

For more information on the QES or the Chamber’s policy work, email martynem@cw-chamber.co.uk

 

Results Reveal Confident Outlook: First Quarterly Economic Survey was last updated on May 4, 2017.

Coventry and Warwickshire the entrepreneurial capital of England

Coventry and Warwickshire is the entrepreneurial capital of England, new figures have revealed.

The latest BankSearch survey has delved into which regions, defined by Local Enterprise Partnership areas, are performing best when it comes to the number of companies being established.

In England, the number of new business starts grew by 1.2 per cent in the year to February, yet in the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) area, it went up by a massive 11.9 per cent – so way above the national average.

And, according to the data, that makes Coventry and Warwickshire the fastest growing area in the country.

When broken down into individual districts, Warwick performed best with a 22.5 per cent increase in start-up activity, followed by Nuneaton and Bedworth which grew by 15 per cent and then Coventry which went up by 14.8 per cent.

There was still healthy growth elsewhere in the region with Rugby (3.7 per cent), North Warwickshire (3.6 per cent) and Stratford (3.2 per cent) all performing better than the national average.

Craig Humphrey, managing director of the CWLEP Growth Hub, said growing a business is a challenge but that help is available.

He said: “These figures bode very well for our regional economy. Of course, everyone knows some of the wonderful names we have in this region – from Jaguar Land Rover through to Holland & Barrett.

“And while they are key to our regional success, smaller companies account for a huge number of jobs and have a major economic impact on our area.

“So to see our LEP area coming out strongest when it comes to business start-ups over the past year is extremely positive news.

“We will continue to create the right conditions for entrepreneurs to flourish and we recognise the challenges involved in starting and then moving a business on to the next level.

“Moving into premises, taking on staff and then dealing with your company’s growth can be daunting and unfamiliar. We are not taught how to run a business at school.

“However, there is a great deal of help in this area – through the local authorities, through the two universities and through business support organisations – to help companies take their next steps.

“Here at the Growth Hub, our team of account managers help to ‘hide the wiring’ when it comes to support and can enlist the help of a range of organisations – in the public and private sector – to help companies move to the next stage of their development.”

For more information on the CWLEP Growth Hub, call 0300 060 3747.

Coventry and Warwickshire the entrepreneurial capital of England was last updated on April 20, 2017.

Aston Martin seeking new, local suppliers

The growth of Aston Martin could have a positive knock-on effect for companies in the supply chain in Coventry and Warwickshire, local businesses have been told.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce held a manufacturing sector networking event at the company’s headquarters in Gaydon and heard from purchasing director Richard Jesson.

He told the gathering of around 40 businesses that the company was investing £500 million and that it was planning to release a new model every nine months through to 2020.

“This could mean big opportunities for you,” said Richard. “We are investing heavily and we will need to find new supply partners.

“Currently, 34 per cent of our suppliers are in the UK and 40 per cent of those are in the Midlands and we’re always looking for the most competitive, receptive and innovative suppliers to work with.

“If those suppliers are local, it can make life easier logistically for us but there are several measures in place and, really, what we want to do is work in partnership with companies.

“We want them to come back to us with suggestions and innovation around products and parts – it is all about forging the right relationships.

“We want to invest in the local community and support the local economy so I would encourage potential suppliers to find out about opportunities available to them.”

Zoe Sweeney, of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, hosted the event and said many companies had already heeded Richard’s words.

She said: “We have relaunched our sector networks on the back of feedback from businesses – they wanted events tailored specifically to their sector and to be able to meet and speak to like-minded business people.

“Aston Martin was the perfect venue to stage our first event and it really was a great success.

“It was extremely positive to hear Richard saying that they are open to hear from local suppliers and I know several business cards were exchanged during the event as many companies were looking to strike while the iron was hot.

“Plans are already in place for our next event and I am sure it is going to be very popular after this great way to get started.”

Pictured: Zoe Sweeney and Richard Jesson (both front) with members of the Chamber’s manufacturing sector network behind.


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