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

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:

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 or call 0300 456 0047.


For more details, contact Madelyn Hartnup on 01926 318216 or email:

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

Any business wishing to take part should go to the Rugby DRIVE website 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

For more information on the QES or the Chamber’s policy work, email


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.