Page 1

Issue 59

May / June 2017

David Burbidge is leading the charge for Coventry to become UK City of Culture in 2021 - page 20 43




Coventry & Warwickshire in business



Seeking continuity among the uncertainty



Dear Chamber of Commerce Member,



I was certainly pleased to read the results of our latest quarterly economic survey (quarter 1, 2017) which evidences a very upbeat local economy, with a strong, positive outlook by both the manufacturing and service sectors. With Theresa May surprising us all with a snap-election on Thursday 8th June, my message to you is to ‘get on with business as usual’ and do not allow this latest -and another - period of political instability to disturb your outlook and your business success. We all suspect that the Prime Minister is seeking to capitalise on her high standing in the polls to gain a personal mandate to carry out her programme for government and, I guess, her political logic is entirely understandable. A thumping election win, if it materialises, would end her razor-thin parliamentary majority, temper critical voices within her own party, and has the potential to dramatically weaken some of the opposition. Yet from a business perspective, the economic logic is less clear! While there are sure to be some voices in business who believe that an ample political mandate could strengthen the PM’s position in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations, and allow her to undertake a bolder domestic reform programme, I am willing to bet that in business communities across the UK, an election will generally be seen as a new source of distraction and uncertainty. Two months of election fever could mean less attention paid to the domestic economic agenda and the detailed preparations for Brexit. At best, six weeks of vital preparation time will be lost; at worst, post-election ministerial changes could make the period of transition much longer. Three questions will be on the minds of many businesses over the coming days — questions which Mrs May, and indeed the leaders of the other political parties, will need to address. First, what does the election mean for the terms and path of Brexit? Second, what happens to the domestic business agenda? For the vast majority of companies in our local business community, Brexit feels far away and far off — whereas the high upfront cost of doing business, poor

May/June 2017

broadband, the inability to recruit successfully for vacancies and/or transport gridlock are what matters.

Go for Growth




Corporate Profiles


International Trade


Third, what about the nations and regions? Business Leaders in the West Midlands might be thinking about what all this means for devolution when the polls open on 4th May, Mayoral Election. Your Chamber of Commerce is determined that you have your say in this latest opportunity to influence local and national politicians and, therefore, will be organising a Hustings event, with Members of Parliament, on 19th May at the Holiday Inn Coventry - so book your place by visiting our website.

Corporate Profiles


Chamber Training


Referring again to our latest quarterly economic survey - which is fantastically supported by Warwickshire County Council - we took the opportunity to, again, ask our respondents (400+ Business Leaders) to identify growth opportunities and the kinds of support needed to assist growth in our local economy.

Business Support


You - the business community - say that you would like more support in the following areas - networking and connectivity; skills and apprenticeship support; accessible business advice; financial advice; export support; supply chain opportunities and events; finding space and property solutions; economic updates and outlooks; university support; and lean and productivity support.





Your Chamber of Commerce can support your business in all of these areas through our own experienced team of professional staff (including our very own Coventry Warwickshire Chamber Training) or through our great networks of partners such as Coventry University, Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council. So, if you need support, get in touch with me on or phone us on 02476 654321 - we are fundamentally here - and have been for over one hundred and ten years - to serve and support the local business base. Kind regards, Louise, Mrs L Bennett-Bayliss OBE, DL Chief Executive

Legal & Finance Property Profile

Around the region Construction

16-17 18 20-21

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Conference & Events


President & People


New Members


Training & Events



Go for Growth


Overseas students say Bonjour to Coventry

At the Chamber

News desk

Members are encouraged to send any news about their firm - new orders, staff, new products, expansions or relocations - for publication in C&W in business. Whilst every effort will be made to publish submitted articles, we cannot guarantee inclusion.

Pupils from Finham Park School and Grenoble at Coventry Cathedral

Finham Park School pupils played host to 60 French students as part of their introduction to Coventry.

opportunity to practice and develop their language skills before splitting off to complete challenges. Breaking off into small groups and pairs, they worked together to complete tasks, including a treasure hunt around the city. Afterwards, they all exchanged contact details so they could keep continue to grow their new international friendships. The French contingent were made up of students from a school near Grenoble, Lycee Pierre Beghin in Moirans. They also had the chance to visit the Ricoh Arena and Wasps Rugby during their trip, take a tour of the stadium and see the honour-filled Wasps trophy cabinet. Additionally, the students were treated to a programme from Coventry University’s faculty of Engineering to close their visit to the city. Former president of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Doug Squires helped to organise the trip – after meeting the French group leader Patrick Robin-Brosse at Coventry University 25 years ago. Doug said: “It was fantastic to see all the students getting along so well

Send them to: Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Chamber House Innovation Village Cheetah Road Coventry CV1 2TL T: 024 76 654321 F: 024 76 450242

The French contingent took a 16-hour coach journey from Grenoble to Coventry and were treated to a visit to Wasps Rugby, Coventry University and met Finham Park pupils at Coventry Cathedral. Before meeting face-to-face for the first time, the youngsters had already exchanged e-mails and letters to get to know each other. The students convened on the steps of Coventry Cathedral, giving them an

At the publishers

New business aiming for top marks


Ian Fletcher

Benham Publishing Limited 3tc House, 16 Crosby Road North, Crosby, Liverpool L22 0NY 0151 236 4141

Advertising Contact Karen Hall 07801 788880 Production Manager Mark Etherington Accounts Director Joanne Casey Media Number 1496 © Benham Publishing 2017 C&W in Business is produced on behalf of Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce by Benham Publishing Limited and is distributed to members free of charge. Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of information contained in C&W in Business, neither Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, nor the publisher can accept responsibility for any omissions or inaccuracies it contains. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Chamber. The official publication of the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce

The official publication of the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce 4

A former deputy head teacher has swapped the classroom for the world of commerce by helping Coventry and Warwickshire business people realise their potential. North and Nimble, based in Nuneaton, was launched in early 2016 to help business people reach their development goals, following free advice and support from the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce. The business offers services ranging from business development groups for women to personal coaching circles and one-to-one sessions. Marguerite Farmer set-up the business after developing professional development skills through 20 years’ teaching experience and her background in school senior leadership roles. She helps people work on a variety of issues such as confidence and motivation, supplying a service which can often be a cross between personal coaching and business support. The name North and Nimble stems from ideas around direction and agility – looking to push upwards and forward toward goals.

North and Nimble continues to grow its customer base and has recently begun working with The Bird Table – a national cohort of professional coaches who provide coaching to businesswomen in SMEs. Marguerite has ambitions to expand the business, build the customer base and develop a team of coaches under the banner of North and Nimble. She said: “Seeing people make progress when they’ve been completely stuck, seeing how much more focused they are and how it sets them onto a new path – that’s why I love doing this and decided to set-up North and Nimble last year. “It has been fantastic so far, helping people get past those blocks that are sometimes stopping them from making the progress they want. Coaching is growing in popularity as individuals and companies see how empowering it can be in goal achievement and how much time it can save. “The support provided by the Chamber has been invaluable, with the start-up phase and even more so as the business grows. I have even gained some new customers through Chamber connections, which has been brilliant.”

when they had only just met for the first time at Coventry Cathedral. “They mixed and integrated really well and it only took a few minutes before each group were trying out their language skills on each other – everyone was smiling, having fun and making new friends “Visiting the Ricoh was a jaw-dropping experience for them, Grenoble has a strong rugby culture and thanks to Nick Eastwood and Verity Brown at Wasps we were able to give them an experience they’ll never forget.” Students from Grenoble plan to return to Coventry again in the next couple of years. Mark Bailie, Executive Head Teacher of Finham Park School, said: “As part of our International School status we are continually seeking opportunities for our students to make new friendships with their peers from other parts of the world. “Every time we welcome partners from abroad it is a real opportunity for young people from Coventry to develop their language skills, cultural understanding and to show a sense of pride in our great city!”

Marguerite Farmer, Director of North and Nimble, and Margaret Bull.

Margaret Bull, business advisor at the Chamber, said: “I was really impressed by the passion that Marguerite showed in wanting to set up this business and I’m delighted that North and Nimble is continuing to grow. “Coaching like this is crucial in helping some business people reach their goals, I look forward to following the progress of North and Nimble in the future.” 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

Minister listens to Chamber’s calls on land

A Government minister has thanked business leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire for bringing the region’s acute employment land shortage to his attention.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce is actively raising the issue of a lack of sites being set aside for new employment in Local Plans and the damage that will have on future growth for the area. As well as writing to and discussing the matter with local MPs, the Chamber has also written to Gavin Barwell, the Minister of State for Housing and Planning, to ask for his intervention, along with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The Chamber say that the housing targets in Local Plans for councils across the area are roughly correct but the shortage of space set aside for commercial property will lead to issues of unemployment in the area in the future. In his letter, Mr Barwell acknowledged the issue. He wrote: “I am pleased to hear that the Chamber of Commerce is actively engaged and influencing the preparation of the Local Plan in the sub-region, supporting planning that can bring sustainable growth to the area.

“Local Plans are key to ensuring that land is available to meet the objectively assessed needs of a local area and we wish to ensure everywhere has a Plan, and that these are in place at the earliest opportunity. “Local Plans are required to be supported by robust evidence that can justify plan proposals. The policies and proposals set out within a Plan, including scale of growth, will be tested at examination. “I can, therefore, reassure you that any representations made by the Chamber to a published Local Plan will be considered by the Inspector as part of the examination process. “The Neighbourhood Planning Bill currently progressing through Parliament is seeking to bring forward greater flexibility in planmaking. My officials will be willing to discuss this further with the authorities concerned and have already met with the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and wish to maintain constructive dialogue with them. I would encourage the Chamber of Commerce to actively engage in this work. “I am grateful to you for bringing these issues to my attention and hope that the Chamber will continue to play an active role in Local Plan-making.” Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said she was grateful for the

response and believes it gives the green light to local authorities in the area to set aside more employment land as it will stand up to scrutiny from the Inspector. She said: “This is a matter of huge importance for the region and that is why we are taking such a strong stance. “We are grateful to the minister for writing back and, while we appreciate he cannot go into detail, we believe his comments suggest that the authorities can set aside more employment land because there is evidence to show it is required. “We are hearing from businesses across Coventry and Warwickshire that they want to expand but can’t find the space and we know that if a major inward investor came calling we would struggle to find suitable land set aside to house them. “If the issue is not addressed now as the 2011-2031 Local Plans are being finalised, we could see ourselves with a shortage of employment sites and will struggle to provide jobs for the growing number of people who live on the patch. “We want to work with our Local Authorities and the Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership to help establish a common sense approach to address this issue in the current round of local plans.”

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Policy Economy

Optimistic outlook for economy

Dave Ayton-Hill, Barrie Kilfeather, Louise Bennett, Sean Farnell, Ajay Desai

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 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.” Q.2 survey starts this month and the second in our series of events will be in July. All are invited to take part in the survey and attend the briefing. The full results can be downloaded here: media/2883/qes-q1-2017-cw-resultsfinal-doc-3.pdf

Positive outlook for the region 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.”


News sponsored column

Your new & improved Chamber website

Your new Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce website is live and it’s full of new features to help your business grow. Not only does it look clean and fresh, it’s full of new pages, content and functions that will keep you updated on the latest from the Chamber but also help you manage your own business on a day-to-day basis.

Don’t be held to ransomware Ever since the internet became an indispensable tool in the business world, security risks have continued to grow more profound. Today, malware—specifically ransomware— is the biggest money-maker for cybercriminals in history. These types of attacks are real threats that no business can afford to ignore, especially small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). In past years, many SMBs downplayed the possibility of security threats because they believed that they were too small for hackers to target. However, SMBs have become more self-aware in recent years, realizing that being under-protected and under-funded has made them attractive targets for cybercriminals. According to a recent Internet Security Threat Report by Symantec, 60 percent of all targeted cyberattacks last year struck SMBs, and approximately 75 percent of all spear-phishing scams were directed at SMBs. Managed IT and security services are exactly what SMBs need to remain protected and avoid becoming just another statistic. The reality for many SMBs is that they don't have the resources to deal with threats that large enterprises can afford. However, keeping the organization secure is critical, as a data breach is an expensive ordeal that could ultimately cause them to go out of business. With less employees comes a greater responsibility to build and solidify an IT security plan. Many SMBs do not have an IT department—which means that data storage, access permissions, data processing, and security controls should be effectively documented. Because SMBs are working with less, it is critical that conscious decisions on security controls are made in relation to risk. This type of planning also lays the foundation for other security needs, like a backup and disaster recovery plan. In the wake of these hurdles, SMBs are turning to companies like WholeServ for security guidance and support. We can help, contact us today.

Call us on 01676 925 141 or email for more information. WholeServ: providing IT support and technology services to businesses across the Midlands.


Online Member Directory

Corporate/Strategic Members:

We are delighted to be able to offer our members a free listing in our online member’s directory, which was launched last week. The directory will give your business an extra online presence and allow you to search for businesses by classification or location to help you find potential clients or suppliers. Not only that, other business can use this tool to search for credible, reliable suppliers amongst our members via keywords. It is therefore really important that you provide us with as many relevant keywords for the services your business provides, to ensure your business is included in any relevant service provider searches.

For our Corporate and Strategic members your directory listing will also show any marketplace opportunities you are currently promoting via our website, which include member offers, top tips, vacancies and events you are hosting. Essential members will soon be able to upgrade their directory listing. Please let us know if this is something you might be interested in.

Member Profile Page Last week we also launched our new members profile page which will allow primary contacts for each member company to review their company details, access all benefits and submit:

Programme is a success

Toby’s a winner The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel & Cocktail Lounge has announced that Toby Heap, their youngest bartender, was successful in The Ysabel Regina Fusion Competition held at Ysabel Regina Bodega in Jerez Spain. There were 12 finalists, three from each of the four countries taking part: the U.K, Portugal, Italy and Spain. The competition focused on the fusion of drinks and music. Bartenders were requested to design a drink which came under the following three categories: Jazz Pop, Jazz Rock and Jazz Blues. Toby was the winner of the Jazz Pop category creating a

Member offers News items Vacancies to promote Credit report requests Grant & funding report requests Events to promote Inter-trade opportunities If you are not a primary contact and wish to access this area, please call the membership team. On top of that, you will be able to: • Book and pay for events • Renew your membership • View our new ‘top tips’ section or submit your own

• • • • • • • •

long drink, called ‘Love in Vain’ for which he was inspired by the song ‘Layla, Unplugged’ by Eric Clapton. His recipe for the drink was: • 45 ml Ysabel Regina • 30 ml Sauternes Wine • 10 ml of Homemade Apricot Shrub Rinsed with an infusion of Pedro Ximenez with oak and finished with 1724 Tonic Water. Toby is now looking forward to his prize of a trip to New Orleans in July to attend Tales of The Cocktail, an industry cocktail festival. He said "I am truly amazed and proud to have achieved victory at the Ysabel Regina Fusion competition.”

ALS Environmental have announced that Scottish Water have agreed to extend their CIP2 contract until December. The Chemical Investigation Programme (CIP2) is a project being undertaken by the Water Utility providers and the United Kingdom Water Industry Research (UKWIR) in response to the requirements of European Union Water Framework Directive (WFD) under framework 2000/60/EC. This Directive aims to classify each surface water body (rivers) within the EU as ‘good’ or above and in order to do so, levels of chemicals in each water system cannot breach set ‘Environmental Quality Standard’ (EQS) levels. Additionally, the CIP sludge programme was completed by

ALS Environmental in January, well ahead of the reporting deadline of April. ALS analysed sludge samples for seven of the 10 participating English and Welsh Water and Sewerage Companies, as well as continuing to analyse Scottish Water’s sludge samples throughout 2017. The analysis was split between the Wakefield and Coventry laboratories to run Metals and Emerging Organic contaminants respectively. Aaron Lewis, CIP Project Coordinator at ALS Environmental, said: “The progress made so far and the high level of quality of the analytical results are testament to the dedication and knowledge of all the staff involved in the CIP2 project at ALS.”

Sketchley grange helps future-proof staff careers Sketchley Grange Hotel & Spa, in Hinckley, Leicestershire, is doing its bit to help progress the careers of seven staff members who are currently taking part in its apprenticeship programme. Due to the nature of the hotel, Sketchley Grange has been able to offer a diverse range of apprenticeships for its staff, leading to qualifications in catering, hospitality and supervisory roles, with members of staff well on their way to progressing their careers with the hotel. Paul Noble, General Manager, said: “Doing an apprenticeship is a great way of gaining on-the-job experience with the added bonus of getting a qualification, too.

“Our staff are a vital part of running the hotel and we feel that it’s important to invest in them. We want everyone who works here to receive the appreciation they deserve and enjoy a long, productive career with us.” It’s commonly perceived that apprenticeships are for those fresh out of school, however that is not necessarily the case at Sketchley Grange. Tabitha Smith, 23, and Hristina Stojanova, 31, have been working at the hotel for several years and have both recently signed up to gain supervisory qualifications under the company’s apprenticeship programme. Not all the apprentices at Sketchley Grange have been there for as long

Hristina and Tabitha. Lorna Scattergood and Joe Long, for example, are both 17 and have recently taken their first step on the career ladder by opting to take apprenticeships at the hotel.

The entire team at Sketchley Grange Hotel & Spa are really proud of their Apprentices, seen here with General Manager Paul Noble.

Coventry & Warwickshire in business


Reverence and stillness at heart of memorial garden epd, part of Parkwood Consultancy Services, responded to a design competition and won the opportunity to design and deliver a memorial garden for the Lincolnshire Police. John Nuttall, Director of Landscape at epd, said: “The Landscape Architecture team at epd were delighted to win this nationally advertised memorial competition and worked as a team on it’s concept and design. “Each team member contributed to the various ideas included in the overall finished design. It was very rewarding to see a concept grow and change into the masterplan and then be selected as the one Lincolnshire Constabulary wanted to see implemented.

“We, as a team, felt that at the forefront of the design should be a ‘reverence’ and ‘stillness’ appropriate for occasions of contemplation and remembrance. The memorial will also create a strong sense of place to visit for the police staff, relatives and visitors to the HQ, whilst contributing to the landscape of the area and become a visual landmark for people simply passing by.” An official opening ceremony in January was attended by The Bishop of Lincoln, The Rt Revd Christopher Lowson, the Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire, Mr Toby Dennis, Lincolnshire Police current and former staff, the families of those who lost their lives during service with the force and those involved in creating the memorial.

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Chief Constable Neil Rhodes said: “epd has done an outstanding job in bringing the design to life. The professionalism and quality of the workmanship is a testament to the dedication that was invested.”

Understanding WCG awarded The Planet Mark™ for third year new surcharge

WCG, one of the largest further and higher education providers in the Midlands, has been awarded The Planet Mark™ in recognition of its commitment to continuous improvement in sustainability. The college group reported a 3.7% cut in its total carbon footprint in the year ending July 2016. The certification marks the third consecutive year WCG has retained The Planet Mark™; over that

period the college group has managed to slash its carbon footprint by 25%. The Planet Mark™ Certificate was awarded to WCG for showing good practice in sustainability, including: • measuring its carbon footprint including natural gas, onsite building fuel, electricity, water and waste • reducing its carbon footprint by 3.7% in tonnes of CO2e (tCO2e) to 4,800.4 tCO2e

The National Association of Memorial Masons returns to the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre

Tradex 2017 taking place on 15th + 16th June, will offer retail memorial masons the chance to view new products, materials, machinery and services from over 30 companies, as well as networking opportunities.

The Craftex Awards, a national competition for letter cutters, etchers, sculptors, engravers and others working with natural stone will also be awarded at the show. The trade show is returning to the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre following their 2015 event when they were “truly delighted by the excellent service that the centre provided.’ For further information go to tradex-2017

• reducing its carbon footprint per staff and pupil by 11.3% • investing in the Eden Project to support education on climate change • storing 260 tCO2e by protecting one acre of endangered rainforest through the charity Cool Earth • committing to engage employees and suppliers to drive improvements Angela Joyce, Group Principal and CEO at WCG, said: “Achieving and maintaining The Planet Mark™ demonstrates our commitment to reducing our carbon emissions and improving our environmental, social and related economic performance. Our staff and students are a major part of this activity, helping to make the changes happen, and this is something we will continue to support and encourage.” One of the first actions following The Planet Mark™ certification award has been the creation of a ‘green team’ at WCG to influence behaviour change and to action further sustainability measures across the college group.

From 1 April 2016 a Stamp Duty Land Tax 3% surcharge was introduced for people purchasing an additional residential property. Although on the surface the rules behind this appear straight forward, this is far from the case. It is best to assume that every purchase of a dwelling is surcharged until you can prove that it is not relevant. Purchases by companies will always be surcharged. There are two exemptions for individuals, being: 1. the bought dwelling is not an additional dwelling (i.e. when purchasing a dwelling, by the end of the day of the transaction you have a major interest in only one property).

Exhibition company signs deal

2. the bought dwelling is to replace your main home; it does not matter how many other dwellings are owned.

Family-run exhibition stand contractor Exhibition Equipment UK Ltd exhibited at International Confex for the second year running and met many new contacts interested in the services and products available.

When assessing the eligibility of these exemptions the position of spouses, civil partners and children under 18 need to be assessed. If any of these people already own additional dwellings, even through a trust, you may be caught.

None more so than Broden Media, the organisers of The Emergency Services Show, the only UK event for all emergency responders. After successful talks, Exhibition Equipment announced that they have been appointed as one of the official event contractors for the Emergency Services Show 2017, running from the 20th – 21st September at the NEC. Broden Media have chosen to use Exhibition Equipment’s

Mighty Pods to offer those looking to exhibit on a smaller scale, the benefit of a customised look to their stand space. Lesley Stevenson, Emergency Services Show Manager, said: “As soon as I saw The Mighty Pod, I knew that was for us.”

Individuals wishing to discuss this further should contact Paul Spencer or David Thomas on 02476 257481 or / For more information please visit our website



Firms benefit from Expo-sure

Dr Adam Marshall, Corin Crane (Black Country Chamber of Commerce), Lord Bridges, Louise Bennett

Tap into new markets to make Brexit a success Firms in the Midlands have been urged to keep expanding their international horizons after Brexit – by one of the leading figures involved in the UK’s exit from the EU. Minister for Exiting the European Union, Lord Bridges, was the guest speaker at a Midlands Chamber of Commerce discussion at the Midlands Engine Trade Summit at the Vox Conference Centre at Resorts World, Birmingham. Around 100 strategic, patron and corporate partners from the nine Chambers of Commerce across the region attended the event and also heard from Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce. The discussion was based around the priorities for businesses across the Midlands ahead of the EU negotiations. Lord Bridges said: “The Midlands is leading the way on global trade, with exports from here growing more than any other UK region over the last three years. More than half of these exports are already going to countries outside the EU. “I had a very productive meeting with Midlands business leaders to discuss the future opportunities that will be created by our EU departure. We also looked at how the government can further support industries in the region, as we become a truly global trading nation.” Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the BCC, said: “This is an important time for UK exporters, and improving our export performance will be key to driving wider economic growth in the years to come. “The Chambers of Commerce in the Midlands provide businesses with practical, on-the-ground support to help them take the ambitious step of getting their goods and services out to the world.” Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “It was great to bring all of the Midlands Chambers together for this event and to hear from Dr Adam Marshall and Lord Bridges. “In our patch in Coventry and Warwickshire, we have launched a Brexit Club which is designed to detach businesses from the noise surrounding our EU departure, to be ready for Brexit and to help them take advantage of opportunities that will arise.”


Hundreds of companies crossed county boundaries to create new business links in the region. The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and Solihull Chamber of Commerce held a joint Business & Trade Expo at the Heart of England Conference Centre in Fillongley, in the north of Warwickshire. More than 100 exhibitors – from a range of sectors – were joined by hundreds more visitors at the event, which was sponsored by WarwickNet and Microsoft. John Nollett, the president of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber, said: “Business has never really recognised boundaries. We will work together for the good of our own companies and for the good of the economy. “Events like this are a great way of meeting potential new customers and suppliers and also sharing information with one another.” Kevin Johns, the new president of the Solihull Chamber, added: “The advent of the WMCA and the new metro mayor is helping to break down barriers at a political level in the region. But companies from across the entire West Midlands region have always done business together and it would be great if the new political horizon led to that happening even more.”

Another inspiring event The youngest ever chief executive in further education has explained the values that drive her at a business networking event in Warwickshire. Angela Joyce, Group Principal and Chief Executive at Warwickshire College Group (WCG), was one of the guest speakers at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s Business is Good for Women event, held at Ansty Hall. Angela spoke about WCG, which is made up of seven colleges, and her position as well as the importance of education and training. She said: “We have 2,500 apprentices serving 1,100 businesses. It is our job to train the future. “I’m delighted that the education industry has many strong leadership role models and I feel privileged to lead WCG. “I have a number of key values that drive me, and making a difference has always been the first on my list of drivers. I also enjoy change. I think when you work in education, young people teach you how to embrace change. “I also believe in my team and my organisation and I am always striving to lead by example and motivate people. “We must live and demonstrate our values as leaders and look for opportunities and seize them. We also need lots of role models, and I would urge you to be role models particularly for young women.” Angela was joined by Co-Founder and Joint MD of PET-Xi Training Fleur Sexton; Managing Director of The HR Dept Tracey Hudson; and Founder and MD of Independent Freight Solutions Jenny Hooper

(Left to right): Founder and MD of Independent Freight Solutions Jenny Hooper, Group Principal and Chief Executive at WCG Angela Joyce, Debbie Harper from HSBC, Managing Director of The HR Dept Tracey Hudson, Julie De Thierry of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Co-Founder and Joint MD of PET-Xi Training Fleur Sexton and Hazel Pilling of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce.

who also spoke at the event, which was sponsored by HSBC. They each gave the audience an insight into how they built their businesses, the challenges they have faced and what drives them, as well as their future goals. Hazel Pilling, of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “It was great to welcome such inspirational speakers to our Business is Good for Women event. “Each of them gave an insight into their industry fields and how they have got to

where they are today, as well as some of the challenges they have faced along the way. “Our events are always very popular and give delegates the opportunity to celebrate successes as well as provide valuable networking opportunities.” Debbie Harper, from HSBC, hosted the event. She said: “We were delighted to sponsor the Chamber’s Business is Good for Women event. “It was another inspiring event with some excellent speakers who had very interesting stories to tell.”

Coventry & Warwickshire in business


sponsored column

Aston Martin wants to drive more 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 likeminded 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.”

We’ll make Brexit work say firms “We are listening to business – from Business leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire have vowed to ‘make Brexit manufacturing, from logistics, from tourism, work’ – but will still hold the government from universities and from a range of other to account on many of the fears firms have sectors. They are looking for answers to a range of questions. as the UK leaves the EU. “As a Chamber, through our work with The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce launched a Brexit Club earlier the British Chambers of Commerce, we are this year and unveiled a manifesto for exiting here to put those questions to minister and to help Whitehall understand what the the EU at a breakfast with its corporate issues are. members at its Business & Trade Expo. “Those questions fall into five key topics – Alan Durham, a senior figure at the trade, labour, EU funding, regulation & Chamber for many years, is leading the taxation and customs. organisation’s work on Brexit and he said business was being practical rather than “Will there still be free and frictionless political in its demands to government. trade with the EU once Brexit has He said: “We will leave the political debates happened? Will a hotelier still be free to to others – we have no interest in re-running bring in staff from the EU or risk not being able to fill vacancies? These are the very the referendum or trying to change the practical questions that we will continue to process but business must continue to make representations to ministers on Brexit. ask government and continue to press home as they negotiate our exit.” “Unlike the government, we were Dave Ayton-Hill, who heads Warwickshire prepared for Brexit from day one – County Council’s economic development we launched a helpline for companies on team – which has partnered with the June 24 and have set about looking into Chamber on its Quarterly Economic Survey, the practicalities of what leaving the also presented at the event. EU will mean.

He said there had been some positive signs since the referendum but admitted that the future was still uncertain. He said: “None of us know what the deal is going to look like and, therefore, we cannot be certain about the future. “However, we do know that the decision to leave the EU has caused the pound to be devalued and has, therefore, caused inflationary pressures which make imports, energy and food more expensive. “However, in the short term, it is good news for exporters because it makes our goods and services more competitive overseas. “A major area of concern leading up to the referendum was whether it would put off foreign investment into the UK, including this region, but we have seen no sign of that yet.In fact, we are still seeing significant interest and enquiries to our inward investment team. “It will remain a concern until we know what the deal is but, at this stage, it is holding up very well.”

Chamber members meet Bank of England The Bank of England has been given an insight into the economy of Coventry and Warwickshire. Graeme Chaplin, the Bank of England’s agent for the West Midlands, met members of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce at Coombe Abbey. He gave an economic outlook and indicated that future interest rate rises would be slow and gradual, as and when the Bank felt that the UK economy was ready for less stimulus. Graeme said that the Bank of England did not want to ‘spook’ businesses and individuals with interest rate rises at a time of uncertainty around Brexit. Firms fed back that there were a variety of pressures on growth including the rising costs of raw materials, shortages of skilled staff – exacerbated by Brexit – and, in this region, a lack of new employment land.

Ajay Desai, of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber, said: “Our members provide an insight into what is happening in the real world of business. “The Bank, of course, looks at the statistics and the trends but I know Graeme finds it extremely useful to meet companies from a range of sectors to hear how they are growing and what, if any pressures, could be holding that back. “The general mood is positive but, of course, there is a big unknown on the

New Business Ventures – What you need to look for When a new business commences, cash flow is one of the top priorities. Prompt invoicing and good credit control are critical. There are also tax reliefs that can help.

Pre-trading expenditure Individuals may have been planning to launch their business for some time - perhaps even buying equipment over a long time in anticipation of their new business venture. Pre-trading expenditure is treated as being incurred on the first day of trading. This will reduce the profits of the business and in turn reduce tax liabilities. Pre-trading expenditure may create or increase a loss, which can result in a tax refund – providing a valuable cash injection for the business.

Pre-Registration VAT An early decision for any new business to make is whether to register for VAT. There are compulsory registration requirements which mean the business has no choice. If this is not the case, the business can voluntarily register for VAT. This may then enable pre-registration input VAT to be reclaimed. There are time limits for recovering VAT on goods and services incurred before the business started. So you need to consider the date of VAT registration so you do not miss out on maximising your VAT recovery. By registering for VAT you will have to charge your customers VAT as well. But if your customers are VAT registered they should be able to recover this.

Strategy For any business start-up, a review should be carried out of pre-trading expenditure which can lead to a tax repayment if this results in a loss as well as a VAT refund. This can certainly prove very useful in terms of cash flow for any new business venture.

Graeme Chaplin (front, second left) with members of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce

If you wish to discuss any tax issues for starting a business please contact Brian King on 024 7622 1046 or e-mail

horizon. Brexit hasn’t affected short term decisions being made by companies across the patch but we will watch closely to see as and when that starts to kick in.”


Corporate Profiles

Zenzero give a helping hand to business continuity platform for home care specialists

IP Tip of the Month: Lego Each month, attorneys from Chamber member Marks & Clerk will use a wellknown product or brand to give you tips on how to develop your Intellectual Property (IP) strategy. In this issue, they discuss how you can use different types of IP registration to protect a single product, using the example of the well-loved children’s building blocks—“Lego”. The Lego Company began in Denmark in 1932 when carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen started to produce wooden toys. The company name was inspired by the Danish phrase "leg godt", meaning, "play well." Christiansen expanded his product range to include plastic toys, and the first Lego bricks were sold in Denmark in 1949. In January 1958, Christiansen’s son, Godtfred, filed the first patent application covering the stud and hole plastic brick in Denmark, followed in July by a US application. The drawings in the application show Lego bricks that are virtually identical to those sold today. Since then, the Lego Company has also built up a large portfolio of trade mark registrations around the world, including of course the eponymous word mark LEGO and the famous logo. Even the shape of the Lego brick has been registered as a ‘non-standard’ trade mark in some countries. As trade marks can last indefinitely, providing registrations are renewed every 10 years, this gives Lego a broad monopoly right it can enforce against third parties, including counterfeiters, even though the original patent for the ‘basic’ brick expired in 1989. Third parties disagreeing with the Lego Company having such a monopoly have challenged these non-traditional trade marks with varying degrees of success. No-one can deny that the Lego’s comprehensive IP portfolio and fairly rigorous enforcement of its IP rights have been a key factor in the company’s success, with the result that it is still the largest toy company in the world. Registering a combination of patents, trade marks, and designs can be an effective way to ensure thorough, lasting protection for a single product. It is a good idea to consult qualified and reputable Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys, who can advise whether this strategy would be suitable for you. Article by Susan Bradley, Patent Attorney, and Samantha Collins, Trade Mark Attorney, from Marks & Clerk. Look out for next month’s IP tip on the chamber website:


Helping Hands Home Care is an awardwinning provider of bespoke care packages from private live-in care to hourly visiting care, across England and Wales. With over 25 years of experience and expertise, the organisation employs nearly 3,000 staff, and provides care to over 3,000 people, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The organisation’s head office is in Alcester, near Stratford upon Avon; local services are managed from the growing number of branch offices, nationwide. Helping Hands has been a Zenzero customer since 2015. THE CHALLENGE In 2016, Helping Hands experienced a period of significant growth; a further 15 branches were opened, increasing the number of IT users by over 30%. At the same time, the server infrastructure supporting the business was approaching 5 years’ old. This presented an opportunity for the business to appraise its current IT infrastructure; it was clear that having all their systems running exclusively out of their head office was no longer a feasible option. There was also a requirement to ensure that robust business continuity (BC) and disaster recovery (DR) plans were up to date. The challenge was to explore alternative options including moving everything to the cloud, various hybrid options, and using multiple Helping Hands offices to host hardware. As well as standard Microsoft Office tools, users rely on several business-critical applications, which sit on a combination of Windows Server 2012VMs and SQL servers.

THE SOLUTION After a comprehensive appraisal of all the available options, it was agreed that the most appropriate solution was to replace the existing servers and SAN. Microsoft Hyper-V replication was then used to mirror the environment to dedicated infrastructure hosted in the Zenzero datacentre, providing the DR environment. There were two challenges that needed to be considered: firstly, the main line of business application could not be off line during the project; and secondly there was limited rack space at Helping Hands’ head office, which meant it was not possible to run the old and new infrastructure in parallel during a transition phase. The project was broken down into several key phases: 1. Build the DR environment and copy across the data 2. Perform several controlled tests of the system 3. Build the replacement servers and SAN with new hardware and upgrade to Windows Server 2016 4. Switch over to the DR environment while the physical hardware is swapped in the server rack 5. Swap back to the primary environment THE BENEFITS Andrew Wood, Finance Director at Helping Hands said, “We are now confident that our key business systems are resilient and in the event of any issue in Alcester, our operations will not be compromised. The project was planned to ensure that it did not to disrupt users, therefore ensuring the service we provide clients was not impacted.”

In the event of a disaster, Helping Hands now have the following plans in place to ensure business continuity: • Almost instant failover if there are issues with the Helping Hands server room • Data replicated every 30 seconds between the primary and DR servers • Faster more powerful hardware to support continued business growth and resulted in existing business applications running faster • The extra capacity provides system flexibility for testing and maintenance Darren Barrick, Technical Director at Zenzero explains, “We worked with Andrew and the team at Helping Hands to explore the different cloud options that were available. In the end it was the complexity of their main line of business application, Coldharbour, that led us settle on the architecture that we did. Effectively this solution gives Helping Hands their own private cloud DR platform that is fully managed by us.” THE TECHNOLOGY Zenzero utilised market leading technologies from their partners Dell, Microsoft and StorageCraft, to deliver the Helping Hands solution. • Microsoft Windows Server 2016 • Microsoft Hyper-V, including Failover Cluster Manager • Dell PowerEdge R730 XD with 30TB of storage (DR platform) • 3x Dell PowerEdge R730 connected to a Dell SVC SAN with 28TB of capacity • StorageCraft ShadowProtect

Zenzero awarded cyber essentials certification Zenzero Solutions have been awarded the Cyber Essentials certification. Cyber Essentials is a government-backed, industry supported scheme to help organisations protect themselves against common cyber-attacks. Ken Baxter, Managing Director at Zenzero, said: “The scheme outlines basic cyber security measures that all types

of organisations can implement and potentially build upon. “By ensuring these basic elements are applied, an organisation can significantly reduce its vulnerability to cyberattacks.” Zenzero are working in partnership with Risk Evolves, a risk evaluation and management company, to give customers affordable and additional support in achieving

the Cyber Essentials accreditations. Risk Evolves provides businesses with guidance through the certification process, as well as training and education for their staff. Zenzero also worked with Risk Evolves to get through the Cyber Essentials certification process themselves. Helen Barge, Managing Director at Risk Evolves, said: “We are really excited to be

working with Zenzero to help businesses be more cyber aware, and moreover protect and prepare themselves for the future. It was great working with them to achieve their Cyber Essentials certificate – they were one of the very first organisations to go through the new question set and they passed with flying colours.”

Superfast connectivity as Warwicknet goes live with a site every day

Internet service provider (ISP) WarwickNet has been busy transforming productivity for businesses across the Midlands, going live with 32 sites in a single month.

With an average month usually seeing around six sites going live, WarwickNet increased this five-fold in the lead-up to Easter, taking its total number of live sites to 168 serving more than 5500 business premises across the country (with over 1,400 customers already signed up). As part of its offering, WarwickNet delivers fibre-tothe-cabinet (FTTC) and fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technologies, with firms benefitting from businessgrade broadband of up to 100 Mbit/s, uncontended Premium Internet Access with unlimited data transfer allowance, gigabit dedicated leased lines, as well

as hosted voice over IP solutions. In order to help deliver FTTP, the company is one of only five ISPs across the country to be deploying Physical Infrastructure Access (PIA) commercially, allowing them to build their own infrastructure faster and more efficiently, without seeking permission from BT’s Openreach. Areas covered by the March roll-out include Milton Keynes, Northampton, Coventry, Leicester and the country’s second city, Birmingham. WarwickNet founder Ben King said: “March has been an extremely busy period for us, with WarwickNet building five

times the average monthly number of sites across the Midlands. This investment was much-needed in the areas where we have connected customers. “With a rapidly-evolving marketplace for many industries, suffering with inadequate broadband can cripple productivity in what is now a lean business generation. We are happy to help industrial estates and business parks get up to speed with a broadband service every business should expect.” To find out more information about WarwickNet, visit

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

International Trade

sponsored column

College celebrates a decade of working with Coventry University

An Oman higher education college specialising in engineering, computing and technology courses, and where half the student body are women, has doubled in size over the past ten years. Middle East College (MEC) in Muscat has more than 5,000 students (of whom 53% are women) - and is celebrating a decade of delivering courses in partnership with Coventry University in the UK.More than 3,000 students across all years are enrolled

on Coventry-validated programmes focused on engineering, computing and technology. Explaining MEC’s success and its commitment to quality and equality, Dr Kiran GR (Acting Dean) said: “We are a visible expression of higher education in 21st Century Oman and dedicated to supporting all students with quality education which prepares them for professional work within a modern learning environment.”

Coventry and MEC staff work together on projects to enhance teaching at the two organisations and in both organisations all academic staff are supported to secure teaching qualifications and membership of the Higher Education Academy. Dr David Pilsbury, Coventry University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International) said: “This is a truly excellent example of two organisations working together in a largescale and sustainable partnership that delivers high quality education experiences and makes a major contribution to the economy by providing the skills that industry needs. “It is a shared ambition of Coventry and MEC to open up access to HE to underrepresented groups.” As part of the partnership, a number of MEC academics are also pursuing research studies in collaboration with Coventry and it is intended to establish a joint MEC/CU Doctoral Training Centre in Muscat.

Forever ranked as one of the fastest growing companies in Coventry and Warwickshire Forever, the aloe vera company, has been ranked No. 4 in the Top 50 companies in Coventry & Warwickshire Growth Barometer. The 2017 Growth Barometer produced by global accountancy and business advisory firm BDO, recognises the Top 50 fastest growing companies in the region based on annual turnover in the last year. At number four, Forever saw growth of 75.2% narrowly missing third place by just 0.2%. Collectively the Top 50 companies generate £11bn in revenues, an increase of 17% on the previous year. Bob Parker, Forever UK’s Country Manager said: “The growth is a result of a combination of factors. We are in a growing

marketplace; the increasing health issues that we face through sedentary lifestyles and obesity as well as an ageing population looking to stay healthy and active means there is growing demand for our products. We’ve also seen the demographic of our business owners change over recent years; we’re seeing younger people in their 20s and 30s developing significant businesses. “Finally, more people are looking to start their own businesses; we are certainly seeing people looking to have more control over their own destiny and work-life balance.” Forever is represented in 159 countries and the UK has been the No.1 performer for the past two years. Rather than retailing through the traditional ‘High Street’

Bob Parker, Forever's UK country manager (2nd from the right) outside Longbridge Manor, Forever's UK Head Office in Warwick

Forever is a ‘direct selling’ company providing people with an opportunity to start their own business under the umbrella and with the support of a global brand.

IT export help leads Phil into new countries

Kineton-based training consultant Phil Ingle from Phil Ingle Associates has worked across the UK and into Middle East, especially following some help from Brian Mountford from DIT, formerly UKTI.

Their work lead to Phil delivering a number of programmes in Dubai, which in early Match lead him to a new destination and market: Palestine. Phil landed this work through a connection he made in Dubai, another trainer who also worked across the region. Unfortunately for the other trainer, he could not fulfill a commitment to the Bank of Palestine due to ill health, and called upon Phil to take over. The training session on Advanced Financial Statement Analysis was delivered to a group of 14 Lending Officers form the bank in Ramallah,

and simultaneously to another group of 10 by video conference in Gaza. The training was enthusiastically received, especially as Phil tailored the content to some of their customers financial situations. Phil has now been asked to provide details of other training programmes which may help the bank. Phil said "This was an unusual opportunity which came out of the blue, but was the result of following up on export plans and continuously networking. You never know where or when opportunities may arise, but keep doing the basics and they will come."

looks for additional trading partners after it exits the European Union. But there is more to the venture than the master franchise fee and working capital, that Mr Adams has invested for the Master Franchise and shareholding in the new company. HR expert Pia Engstrom has been appointed as the company’s first independent franchisee and has also become a shareholder in the company. And in a true business partnership, The HR Dept in the UK has also invested working capital to support Mr Adams, in return for

management service fee and shareholder dividends. Gemma said: “In some ways Australia was an obvious new market for us, despite the distance. The language, cultural and business similarities and the legislative crossover meant that we have a lot in common. This common ground greatly helps us to provide up-front and ongoing support to Brad’s new venture. “As the UK looks to leave the European Union it is important that businesses of all sizes look further abroad for ways to achieve growth and success.”

As I grew up watching the Olympics, Team GB won barely a hand full of medals, we were ‘at leasters’, ‘At least we turned up’ winning very few medals decade after decade. They continued to be ‘just good enough’ for there not to be a perceived need to change. However, that all changed at the 1996 Atlanta games when team GB only won 1 gold medal. Atlanta was the pivotal low point that forced change and from that point we can look back on Team GB having gone from ‘at leasters’ to ‘true winners’. They could have made the investments in new facilities and training practices 50 years earlier but things never got so bad until 1996 – a typical example of reactive change! Reactive change occurs when an organisation makes changes in its practices after some threat or opportunity has already occurred. To undertake reactive change, old activities must be realized and a new concept introduced whilst establishing a sense of urgency. Form a guiding team, create a vision, communicate the vision, empower others to act on the vision, plan for and create short-term wins, consolidate improvements and produce still more change, making sure that you institutionalise new approaches. Proactive change involves actively attempting to make alterations to the work place and its practices. Companies that take a proactive approach to change are often trying to avoid a potential future threat or to capitalize on a potential future opportunity. Work on the following equation in the situation of proactive or reactive change: C = [ABD] > X,

Where C = change, A = level of dissatisfaction with the status quo, B = Desirability of the proposed change or end state, D = practicality of the change, and X = cost of changing. Remember - start small; grow the change steadily; don't plan everything and expect challenges.

The HR Dept signs deal to launch in Australia Nationwide UK outsourced human resources company The HR Dept has signed a deal to launch its services into Australia, in a master franchise with a difference. Gemma Tumelty, managing director of The HR Dept, which was founded by her mother Sue in Bristol in 2002, has signed the agreement with Sydney businessman Brad Adams for taking the brand Down Under. The deal represents the culmination of a two-year project which she believes could be the first of many similar SME deals as Britain

Are You Reactive or Proactive?

Language professional invited to European conference The founder of a Midlands based translation company was invited to speak at the EU Association of Translation Companies conference. Isabella Moore, CBE and Director at Comtec Translations in Leamington Spa, was invited to Berlin for the annual event, which attracts hundreds of language service professionals from around the world.

Need to know more? Attend a CEO Breakfast on 8th June 2017 at Hogarths Hotel, Dorridge, Solihull 7.30am – 9.30am. To book your place call Neil Liddell on 0845 0573 563. ••• Written by Neil Liddell of Sandler Training. Providers of Sales and Management Training E: T: 0845 0573563 M: 07547 227442 •••


Corporate Profiles

Coventry hotel and leisure facility has Business ‘cautious’ seen significant growth in demand after over water undergoing a futuristic refurbishment changes

Businesses appear to be dipping their toe rather than diving into the newly competitive water market, according to Coventry-based Utility Team.

The leading utilities consultancy, which works with businesses around the UK to manage their utility contracts and reduce their consumption, says official figures indicate a cautious welcome of the deregulation of the water market in England. Statistics from market operator MOSL reveal that nearly 9,000 premises made the switch to a different water supplier during the first week of deregulation, which came into effect on April 1. Deregulation means around 1.2 million businesses, charities and public sector customers can now choose a water retailer, rather than having to buy from their regional provider. Rob Cook, business development manager at Utility Team, said: “The figures show there is clearly an appetite for a competitive water market and we would expect that appetite to grow and be better served as the market matures. “It is early days and there is a degree of uncertainty on pricing with some suppliers still trying to place themselves in the market and new companies lining up to enter the market which may explain the cautious start. “With the market still very much in its infancy, eligible customers would be well advised to keep abreast of developments and speak to their consultant to reach a decision on the switch that would be best for them.” It has been estimated that switching customers could see around a 14 per cent reduction in their water bills, although Utility Team says early indications suggest that prediction is a longer term goal. The real gains are still expected to be enjoyed by those with multiple sites across the country who stand to benefit both financially and administratively by consolidating their water supply. “The lack of actively entering the electricity market to source the best deals is said to be losing business £1.7 billion a year across the country,” said Rob. “The loss for water would be lower as the national spend is lower, but nonetheless it is important for business not to end up in the same boat and miss out on the savings achievable. “Our experience of working in other deregulated markets such as electricity, gas and telecoms means we are well placed to help businesses analyse their requirements and make savings in terms of what they spend and use.” To contact Utility Team call 024 7699 7901 or visit


Village Hotel Club Coventry, part of the Village Hotel Club group which was taken over by American investment firm KSL Capital Partners in 2014, was selected to pilot a new scheme to modernise all 28 hotels in the group. The 146-bedroom hotel, located at Coventry Business Park in Canley, has undergone a full £3 million refurbishment of the hotel and on-site leisure facilities. The refurbishment has introduced a hi-tech self-check-in service, which enables customers to check-in to the hotel before they have even arrived – using a smartphone as a room key via an innovative app. Occupancy levels at the hotel are in excess of 80 per cent following the refurbishment which included all rooms and public spaces. Leisure membership numbers are also at an all-time high, with nearly 5,000 people signed up for the comprehensive leisure services.

The hotel includes a full 25m swimming pool, large gym, squash courts, weekly class programme and a spa facility with seven treatment rooms, with top of the range ESPA products used in the spa. Other facilities include a Starbucks and the Village Pub, alongside a business provision including 13 conference rooms, ranging from small rooms to functions for 300 people. Stephen Cresswell, Senior General Manager at Village Hotel Club Coventry, says the hotel’s facilities cater for business and leisure customers and that this is a great time to be doing business in the region. He said: “Our Coventry hotel was specifically chosen as the first hotel in the group to implement the new technology and we have seen a significant response in terms of demand and popularity since the full-refurbishment. “We still have lobby managers but you don’t check in with a receptionist anymore, we send over your room key digitally as

soon as your room is ready and it’s as simple as that. “Coventry as an area draws a large audience, especially with the success that the city is enjoying at the moment. There is a real interest nationally from people wanting to do business here and we want to tap into that.” Village Hotel Club Coventry is a corporate member of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, which helps the hotel showcase what it can offer to business across the region. Stephen added: “Being a corporate member of the Chamber give us a great opportunity to promote our services to a wider business audience, as we know the hotelier network is crucial in supporting business in the city. “We’re situated near the city centre and not far from institutions like the University of Warwick, with nearly 400 free parking spaces and free super-fast Wi-Fi. “We believe the facilities we have here make it the perfect location for business people looking for meeting venues.”

Two key appointments for leading IT company A Warwick-based leader in IT has appointed two new directors to spearhead ambitious development plans following an exciting three years of growth for the company Zenzero, based at the University of Warwick Science Park’s Warwick Innovation Centre, is the leading provider of managed IT services and support for small and medium sized businesses. Established in 2004, the company uses technology to deliver integrated infrastructure, workplace transformation and security information and compliance solutions. It has now welcomed Ken Baxter as managing director and Laurence Ansell as sales and marketing director after experiencing a considerable period of growth. Zenzero founder Anne Tasker said: “We are dedicated to helping our customers succeed in achieving their goals - whatever challenge they face, IT won’t be one of them. “We employ more than 40 people out of two offices, our head office in Warwick and a second office in Chelmsford, looking after 135 organisations, 2,900 users, 400 servers and 100TB of data.

“Our approach ensures our customers have maximum protection and support when they need it. We are proud to be our customers’ first port of call for all IT issues. “We have seen growth in our client base and it has been excellent to welcome Ken and Laurence on board. We have worked extremely hard to build a fantastic company, with exceptional people bound together by great values. “We have founded a strong reputation for delivering excellent levels of service and it is vital that we do not lose sight of this as we grow.” As part of that growth, Zenzero have been looking at ways in which they can continue to add value to the products and services to their customers. One way is to address the increasing cyber security threats facing organisations. Zenzero is now set to help organisations protect themselves against common cyber-attacks after being awarded the ‘Cyber Essentials’ certification. Cyber Essentials is a governmentbacked, industry-supported scheme to help organisations protect themselves against common cyber-attacks.

Ken Baxter said: “The scheme outlines basic cyber security measures that all types of organisations can implement and potentially build upon. By ensuring these basic elements are applied, an organisation can significantly reduce its vulnerability to cyber-attacks. “We are working in partnership with Risk Evolves – a risk evaluation and management company, to give customers affordable and additional support in achieving the Cyber Essentials accreditations. “We are responsible for advising our customers on how to defend their businesses from cyber criminals. By holding this accreditation, we are walking the walk, not just talking the talk.” Zenzero is a corporate member of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce which will give the company the opportunity to connect with more businesses across the area.

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Corporate Profiles

Accolades for growing training business A training and education provider in Coventry has quadrupled in size and has collected two national awards in two years. SCCU was established by Scott Riddell in 2010 and recently became a corporate member of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce. After finishing his football science degree at Liverpool John Moores University and working within the sports development sector, Scott established SCCU on the initial premise the company would offer PE and extra-curricular provision and teacher mentoring programmes to schools. As the company grew, more opportunities soon arose, and to meet the needs of those schools using SCCU’s services, they began to offer leadership and coaching qualifications, followed by apprenticeships. The company now works across the region with schools, sports clubs and businesses by tailoring training and learning to the needs of the organisation it is working with. SCCU has quadrupled in size in the past two years and now employs 30 staff directly, supporting more than 500 learners in programmes across Coventry, Solihull, Warwickshire and the wider Midlands area. The company, which is on the New National Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers, has also recently expanded into new offices – including a purpose-built training facility – at Orchard

Court in Binley, Coventry, and there is still plenty of scope for expansion, according to Scott. He said: “Up until two and a half years ago, I was still running the company whilst in full time employment, and coaching in the evening. We have grown significantly as a provider since I went full time and the team has been incredible in getting us to where we are now. “We have developed new services as we have grown to meet the needs of our clients, we have moved into new areas to meet those needs and now deliver 20 apprenticeship vocations. We are a trusted provider as both the public and private sector clients see the added value and tangible benefits we bring to their organisations. “With winning subsequent awards, last year and this in the small and large provider categories at the National Apprenticeships 4 England Awards, it shows how much we have grown, but also, that the quality of what we offer has continued to be of the highest standard.” The introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy will not only have an influence on the company as a provider but will also affect its clients. In the long run, Scott believes it will bring benefits however there will be a bedding in period. “It’s a big change but, ultimately, it will allow businesses and other organisations to decide their own training needs and which provider they want to use from the national register,” he said.

“Companies with a payroll over £3m will pay the levy and will have access to an online account where they can make informed decisions on the training they require and by whom to meet their needs and will have greater control over what they want. “Non-Levy paying organisations, will have access to the digital account in due course however, this won’t be for another 12 to 18 months. “But, in the long run, it will give a company like ours creative licence and the ability to access an even bigger market were we believe the quality and creativity of our education offer will shine through and help to differentiate us from others.

“However, if anyone is unsure regarding the Levy or apprenticeships and would like support we would be more than happy to help” For more information on SCCU log onto or call 024 7693 6969.

A financial advice practice is working with business owners to help align tax-efficiency with business growth F. D. (Midlands) Ltd, Senior Partner Practice of St. James’s Place Wealth Management, specialises in providing personal advice on many aspects of wealth management, advising clients about a wide range of financial resources. Additionally, the firm assists businesses in the increasingly complex area of corporate financial planning, providing guidance on pensions, protection for directors, key employees or shareholders, tax reliefs and aspects of exit strategy planning. Michael Atkins, of F. D. (Midlands) Ltd, said he has witnessed a substantial increase in enquiries regarding the opportunities presented by pensions legislation. “It’s now two years since the changes to the pensions landscape announced by George Osborne during his 2014 budget went live,” said Mike. “Whilst the headlines at the time focussed upon the ability to cash in your pension and buy a Lamborghini, the more interesting changes included the ability to leave your Pension Funds to your children, free of Inheritance Tax. “As such, we now have an excellent planning tool for business owners who are increasingly keen to explore the tax

advantages of owning business premises in their pension fund, or building an investment fund as an asset removed from business trading risk. To paraphrase one of our clients – it’s like having a tax-free second balance sheet. “Whilst growing awareness of these changes is prompting increased enquiries, our role working with clients is unchanged. We are focussed upon the business leader’s financial objectives, for the business, for themselves, for their family - everything from start-up to exit as sale or MBO. “We can build efficiency by paying attention to the tax opportunities available. It is also important to understand what can go wrong and take steps to protect where appropriate. “In this sense we look to become part of our clients’ teams over time to truly understand their business. There is no short-cut on this – to achieve this we need to invest time with our clients and they need to invest time with us.” Mike was introduced to the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce by clients who were impressed with a range of tax-efficient ideas shared. “It’s early days but I’ve already met some great people through the Chamber.

People with great ideas and great businesses,” added Mike. “There’s a lot of value in being a corporate member - like most of us, we work in a bubble. For example, the changes to Pension Legislation are huge in our world. “After a while you imagine that everybody must be aware of them. But people really aren’t, or they’ve heard the headline but don’t understand what that can mean to them. Others are well appraised but need someone to delegate the action too – they’re just too busy. Being a Corporate Member is a great platform from which to communicate ideas.” Mike Atkins

“Whilst growing awareness of these changes is prompting increased enquiries, our role working with clients is unchanged. We are focussed upon the business leader’s financial objectives, for the business, for themselves, for their family - everything from start-up to exit as sale or MBO.” 13

Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training

Diploma Success for Jessica Cotton From left to right: Jan Ryan, Operations Director at CWCT presents the Employer of the Year Award to Yvonne Moore from Carers Trust Heart of England.

Celebrating the best achievers in the workplace

Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training (CWCT) recently hosted an awards evening to identify and reward high achieving businesses and professionals across the region. Hosted by CWCT in Coventry, the awards ceremony took place at Commerce House recently when over 70 local businesses attended. The evening recognised outstanding Apprentices studying in categories such as: Business Administration, Customer Service, Team Leading and Management. With over 30 years’ experience in providing vocational training and development in Coventry and Warwickshire, CWCT has over 1,200 people engaged in work based learning. The firm’s advisers plan and organise the delivery of learning around the needs of a business in order to develop the skills and knowledge of the individual. They will also ensure that national quality standards are met. Commenting on the huge success of the awards evening, Jan Ryan, Operations Director at Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training said: “We are extremely proud of our apprenticeship award winners. Apprentices were selected from a highly competitive number of entrants, all of whom demonstrated a strong ability and desire to achieve. We know they have a bright future ahead of them. “We are also reminding employers of the changes to apprenticeships. From 1st May 2017 employers will be required to contribute to an apprenticeship levy which will require all employers in the UK with a pay bill over £3million each year, to make an investment in apprenticeships. Non-levy paying employers will also be required to make a 10% contribution to the cost of apprenticeship training and the government will pay the rest (90%).” Jan concludes. To find out more about apprenticeships, please contact Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training on 024 7623 1122 or email


Congratulations to Jessica Cotton who has achieved a Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for Health and Social Care. She will now proudly use her qualification and the skills she has gained in her current role as a Registered Manager for Dignus Health Care in Birmingham. At the age of 16, Jessica originally began studying Level 2 in Health and Social Care and then naturally progressed to her previous role in another firm as a Team Leader. She embarked on Level 5 in Leadership for Health and Social Care Apprenticeship in 2014 within her current role and found it extremely fulfilling. At each stage of her Apprenticeship training, CWCT worked closely with her to ensure she had the right level of support and guidance. The Level 5 Diploma is a highly recognized qualification designed to offer students an opportunity to build both their managerial and care skills. The Apprenticeships fulfils the regulatory requirement for those looking to become managers of children’s homes, adult’s residential and domiciliary services.

It is aimed at people already working in health and social care, assistant or deputy managers or managers. Diana Jackson, Health and Social Care Sector Lead at CWCT said: “We are extremely proud of Jessica’s achievements and we wish her the best of luck in her next stages of her career. At CWCT we pride ourselves in being able to support our students with a high quality of service with the on and off job learning in order to maximize the quality of the skills they gain. “An Apprenticeship is a real job which is supported by an individually designed skill set and development programme. Throughout all Apprenticeships, new or existing staff of any age can gain the knowledge, practical experience and wider skills to make a real difference in the workplace. However, the way the government funds apprenticeships in England is changing as some employers will be required to contribute to an Apprenticeship Levy. “Currently, there is also an incentive of £1,000 available for employers who recruit a young person aged 16 to 18, so please get

Jessica Cotton is presented with the certificate for Level 5 in Leadership for Health and Social Care Apprenticeship by Diana Jackson, Health & Social Care Sector Lead at CWCT.

in touch with us to find out how Apprenticeships can help in the future growth of your business.” Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training is one of the largest providers of apprenticeships with over 30 years’ experience in providing vocational training for the business community. With the team’s wealth of knowledge and experience in designing and delivery high quality apprenticeships, we make the journey easy for you.

Congratulations to Tic Toc Nursery A big congratulations to Hannah Warren, one of our Level 3 learners from Tic Toc Day Nursery who has just completed her Advanced Apprenticeship in Early Years Care. Hannah has been working at Tic Toc since starting her Level 2 Apprenticeship in Early Years. She has always been really passionate about working with children and is thoroughly enjoying her role within a nursery environment. Pictured alongside Hannah is one of the owners of Tic Toc nursery, Claire Spencer who has just won an amazing accolade from Ofsted for the outstanding nursery setting. Tic Toc has worked in partnership with Chamber Training for a number of years and has supported lots of young people from the firm with employment opportunities. As Training Provider of the Year, the team at CWCT are always happy to work with such reputable companies!

Commenting on the Tic Toc’s success, Kate Glazzard, Account Manager for CWT said: “Apprenticeships are designed around the needs of employers, so you can ensure that your workforce has the practical skills your organisation needs by training both new and existing employees. Research shows that 80% of employees who take on Apprentices agree that they make their workplace more productive and 83% of employers rely on Apprenticeships to provide the skilled workers of the future. “There is excellent scope for progression following an Apprenticeship including opportunities to move onto Higher Education. So, as an employer you can include Apprenticeships in your company development programme and succession planning strategy. If you are thinking of taking on Apprenticeships, speak to us today and we can steer you in the right direction.”

“Tic Toc has worked in partnership with Chamber Training for a number of years and has supported lots of young people from the firm with employment opportunities.” From the left, Owner of Tic Toc Nursery, Claire Spencer is seen congratulating Hannah Warren.

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Business Support

Turning customers into fans

Paul Martin with Tanya King

A Warwickshire start-up company is aiming to help its clients turn their customers into fans. Warwick entrepreneur Paul Martin has called upon his experience across a range of industries – including telecoms, media, semi-conductors and automotive – to launch FanBase Consulting Limited. His career has been divided between the USA and the UK and he has, therefore, seen a wide variety of customer service and experiences. Following support from the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Paul is now drawing on that experience in a bid to help companies to improve their service to achieve business growth. “Our work is based on the concept that businesses that want to be very successful should aim to develop a fan-base not ‘just’ a customer-base,” said Paul.

“While all businesses have customers that buy from them – some more than others – not many have fans that help their business grow and develop. Those that do are industry leaders and reaping the biggest rewards. “To develop fans, businesses need to perform excellently for customers. Customer excellence is a capability that can be defined and improved so, by definition, it is possible for any business to control its own destiny.” He added: “I have started my own business because I felt strongly that the disciplines of customer excellence, if applied to British SMEs, could lead to world-class performance, market leadership and the knock-on effect of economic prosperity, which is something everyone in the UK cares about. “At this time of economic uncertainty there is one thing that I feel certain about – customers will buy from the companies they respect, trust and value the most.” Paul warns, however, that companies across the region are in a global race for ‘fans’ not just a local one. “Being the best in the world at what you do is incredibly challenging,” he said, “just ask any top CEO or sportsperson. “The good news is that with the right focus, structure and desire, it is truly possible to be the best.”

FanBase Consulting received start-up support from the Chamber, through the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, in partnership with Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council and the District and Borough Councils. Paul was assigned a business coach – Tanya King – and received one-to-one support across areas such as the creation of a website, local contacts and access to finance to help get the company started. “I have run businesses before, but it was different this time. Tanya helped me figure out some of those practical matters,” Paul said. “Now I am benefitting from the growing network of other businesses I am meeting through the Chamber.” Tanya said: “Paul has lots of experience in business so he understood the benefit of accessing start-up support through the Chamber. “We would urge anyone thinking of starting a business to get in touch.” For more information or to book on to the Business Support programme call the Chamber on 024 7665 4321 or log onto

Entrepreneur raises a glass to Chamber support A Nuneaton entrepreneur has proved that you can make your hobbies valuable after starting a bespoke wineglass business with a personal touch. ‘Handmade with Love by Debs’ was set-up by Debbie Stevens earlier this year, with free advice and support from Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce. The business specialises in making personalised bespoke glassware, taking individual orders as well as catering for weddings and other special occasions. Debbie started making the glassware after one of her favourite shops in Birmingham, which sold a similar product, closed down. After starting to design the glasses in her spare time as a hobby, Debbie saw the high demand for her product with family and friends and decided to turn her pastime into a business. Debbie attended a range of business advice sessions and courses with the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and was assigned a personal mentor to help her business take the next step. The entrepreneur is now focused on targeting the wedding and special occasion industry and

can regularly be found promoting her products at wedding and craft fairs across the region. Debbie said: “I just couldn’t find anything quirky or bespoke that was quite to my taste, so I thought I’d have a little go at doing it myself and I have managed to develop it into a small business! “I love it when people send in their own designs and I can create them, it’s all about making these glasses mean something to the individual person. “I had already started to set-up the business when I met Wendy Brown from the Chamber. She really helped me work out how to move forward, giving me the ideas to help me to turn my hobby into a successful business.” Debbie plans to turn what was just a hobby into a full-time occupation over the next year, as she takes her first steps into the business world. She is now offering a unique range of barbecue products, allowing people to match their outdoor cooking areas with quirky glassware. Wendy Brown, business advisor at the Chamber, said: “Debbie has found a great way of making any gift special with the addition of a personal message, and the range of examples on her website of what she has done in the past are brilliant.

Wendy Brown with Debbie Stevens and her glassware

“We helped her explore how to take that next step and target the special occasion industry. I’m looking forward to following the progress of Debbie’s business going forward.” 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

Tackling big issues as business grows

Daksha Piparia, of Piparia Consultancy, and Margaret Bull

A new project management consultancy says it will prioritise tackling social issues over profit as it continues to grow. Piparia Consulting, based in Coventry, is approaching its first anniversary since going into business, following free advice and support from the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce. The consultancy offers comprehensive project and programme management services – with a drive to pursue projects that help people and can make a difference in communities. Daksha Piparia, director and founder of Piparia Consulting Ltd, has already established a track record in projects that tackle fuel poverty, lack of financial capability and help low-income households to manage their water bills. More recently, the business has moved into assisting with process management, data

protection and translating regulation into easy to understand advice - ensuring businesses adhere to regulatory requirements. Daksha set up the business after accumulating more than 15 years’ experience in project management. As well as running Piparia, Daksha continues in her role as Head of Campaigns and Targeted Services for Coventry Citizens Advice. Daksha said: “Whilst I get very excited about managing projects, my real reward is being able to see how well delivered projects not only drive value but change lives. “We like to pursue projects with a social value, of course we have to cover our costs but profit isn’t a big driver. We aim to manage change and drive performance and quality in what people do. “When setting up a business there is a lot of uncertainty, to be a small business you have to be super relevant and the help I received from the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce helped me to do that. “My business mentor, Margaret Bull, was fantastic in helping me realise where I wanted to go and what I needed to do next, she gave me the confidence that I had the necessary skills to be a success and get Piparia Consultancy where I want it to be.

“Being able to give back to community and make a difference in the world is really important to me and I’m looking forward to working with local organisations that need that little bit of help.” Daksha hopes to eventually be able to dedicate all of her time to Piparia Consultancy, as she continues to grow the business and take on more projects Margaret Bull, business advisor at the Chamber, said: “We help a lot of people in starting up their businesses and working with Daksha has been a pleasure, her vision for the business is truly inspiring. “It’s great to see a business that wants to make a positive impact on the local community and I wish Daksha the best of luck as she continues to build Piparia Consultancy.” 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 agency’s double delight

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 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



Brethertons has had a SpecialEffect Brethertons has raised more than £8,500 for the firm’s Charity of the Year – SpecialEffect. Based near Witney in Oxfordshire, SpecialEffect puts fun and inclusion back into the lives of people with physical disabilities by helping them to play video games’. The team work with people of all ages to inspire and motivate them in a unique way, by providing a friendly and inclusive environment in which people can enjoy themselves doing what they love.

SpecialEffect Director and CEO, Dr Mick Donegan, said: “It has been an incredible partnership with Brethertons Solicitors. On top of supporting and being the winners of our 2016 Twin Town Challenge - a points based fundraising event, travelling from Witney to its twin town of Le Touquet in Northern France which raised over £300k; the team has worked tirelessly to raise as much funds and awareness for SpecialEffect and we simply cannot thank them enough.”

Lodders leads Sovereign to save jobs and business Law firm tops in under 24-hours £232 million in deals

Major Robert Lee, Head of Corporate at Wright Hassall include the sale of

Midlands law firm Wright Hassall has completed a major deals milestone, having acted on transactions totalling more than £232 million in the past year.

The Leamington firm’s 20-strong corporate team represented companies, banks and borrowers on a range of acquisitions, sales, MBOs, investment and refinancing transactions involving organisations across the UK. Major transactions include the sale of manufacturer Camloc Motion Control, investment into motor leasing specialist XL Cars, along with the sale of care homes and investment into a major packaging company. Robert Lee, Head of Corporate at Wright Hassall, said: “To complete deals in excess of £232 million is extremely positive. “Deals activity has been across a wide range of sectors and has seen us act on many sizeable transactions and the strong relationship we have with banks and investment companies has been key in driving the increased level of deals. “The demand for finance to enable businesses to expand through growth and acquisition has continued to gather pace into this year, which is very encouraging, and we look forward to building on this momentum in the year ahead.” Wright Hassall has expanded its senior team across the firm following strong growth. The firm now employs nearly 300 staff, including 101 lawyers and 47 partners.

The business and staff of a leading manufacturer of lodges and leisure homes have been saved with minutes to spare, in a deal led by commercial property partner at law firm Lodders, Alastair Frew. Mr Frew led Lodders’ team instructed by Sovereign Park & Leisure Homes in Coventry, to ensure the purchase of Cambrian Park and Leisure Homes from administrators in under 24-hours of being appointed, and 30 minutes ahead of the 6pm deadline on Friday 17th March.

“The deal is an excellent example of how through cooperation by all parties, in particular the extremely helpful administrators, a manufacturer that needed to be saved and a buyer who wanted to preserve it, its jobs and skills, that a realistic deal can be done to achieve a common objective,” he said. He was supported on the deal by the firm’s Krishna Ubhi, solicitor in Lodders’ business group, and Ravinder Heer, paralegal in its real estate practice. Lodders team worked closely with Ben Woolrych and Lila Thomas, partners at FRP Advisory, who were appointed administrators by the owners of Cambrian Park and Leisure Homes, to facilitate the purchase of the business and assets by the owners of Sovereign Park. Lodders also supported the buyers on the creation of a new business known as Cambrian and Sovereign Holding Group Ltd.

Over the course of the partnership, Brethertons staff carried out a number of fundraising driven projects to help raise these vital funds, including dress down days, bake-offs and cake sales, a quiz night, running the Oxford half marathon and hosting an evening of stand-up comedy. Shaun Jardine, CEO at Brethertons, said:

“It’s a terrific achievement by all of our staff having raised this amount of money.”

Office opens

Kundert Solicitors LLP have announced the opening of their new office at Regent Place Rugby. Offering the full range of services to private individuals and businesses alike, the firm hopes to forge good working relationships with other local professionals and businesses. Paul Hughes, the firm’s managing partner said “It is an exciting opportunity to bring our specialist skills to the people and

businesses of Rugby and we look forward to working with them. We hope our competitive pricing structure, our ability to provide a bespoke and personal legal service and our reputation for “exceeding expectations” will benefit as many as possible”. The firm which has been in existence for more than 50 years and has four partners, already has two successful offices in Coventry, one in the City Centre and one in Bell Green.

Alsters Kelley Southam celebrates first anniversary Law firm Alsters Kelley LLP celebrated the first anniversary of the opening of their office in Daventry Street, Southam. To mark the occasion, local businesses and clients were invited to join the Members and some of the staff for afternoon tea and cake. Alsters Kelley LLP has also raised a record-breaking sum for charity through the annual Will Aid scheme. The Private Client Department raised £5,910 last year; this is an all-

time high for the firm and brings their total to £31,169 for the monthlong fundraiser, which asks lawyers to write Wills for local people in exchange for a donation. Their achievement places them in the top 30 fundraisers for Will Aid 2016. Neil Raiseborough, Head of the Private Client department at the firm, said: “We are thrilled to have raised an incredible amount for a great cause which we are proud to support.” John Cooper from Christian Aid, one of nine charities who benefit from Will Aid, paid the firm a visit to

Can we help you find a ? e r u t u f r e t h brig

present them with a certificate to celebrate their achievement. Alsters Kelley has confirmed that they will continue as headline sponsor of recently relaunched Ladies First Professional Development for a fourth year. Catherine Wahlberg Operations & Finance Member at Alsters Kelley, said: “We firmly believe that women need to be given more confidence to make a difference and our decision to continue with the sponsorship is to build on the relationships we have already established over the last three

years and to reinforce our ethos around helping women to achieve their potential.” Ladies First Co-founder Tracey McAtamney said: “The aim of the organisation is to introduce, inspire and inform women by opening the door to opportunities.” Details are available at on how to get tickets for the Champagne & Canape Launch at Warwick Castle, which is being hosted by BBC’s Joanne Malin with guest speakers including the Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP

Sound advice in an uncertain world VAT Question: A client buys a dilapidated warehouse for £500,000 with the intention of converting it to high spec offices and workspace. The vendor has charged him VAT. He is going to opt to tax and charge VAT on the rents but he hasn’t registered for VAT yet. Can he claim the VAT back?

Answer: Yes, but not on his first return. In fact it could take him up to 10 years to get it back under the Capital Goods Scheme! This is because the property cost him more than £250,000 and he wasn’t registered for VAT when he bought it.

A simple matter of timing but so easy to get wrong. VAT is complex. At Burgis & Bullock we have the specialist knowledge to help you and your clients

Contact us today or visit our website for more information.



Tel: 0845 177 5500 Offices in Leamington Spa, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Nuneaton, Leicester, London and Rugby.

Coventry & Warwickshire in business


Only 59% of SME owners confident about general outlook for 2017

Mark Lamb (Moore Stephens), Darren Ruane (Investec Wealth and Investment), and Suk Aulak (Moore Stephens)

Only 59% of SME owners are confident about the general outlook for this year, according to a survey by Top Ten accounting firm Moore Stephens. Moore Stephens’ survey of owner managed businesses (OMBs) found that confidence levels, and performance against key business metrics have fallen to three year lows. OMB confidence about the general outlook for 2017 is down from 77% last year, and 80% two years ago. Confidence in meeting revenue and profit targets have also fallen to 69% and 62% respectively – down from 73% and 68% last year. The survey also identifies a continuing downward trend in terms of year-on-year improvement, with 59% of OMBs expecting 2017 to be a better year than 2016 – down from 66% last year, 68% two years ago, and 76% three years ago. Many OMBs performed better than expected over the last year, despite the uncertainty caused by the EU referendum. Among those surveyed, 40% said their

business performed better than expected in 2016 – reversing the downward trend seen in Moore Stephens’ previous two surveys. One in five OMBs did, however, perform worse than expected, with the 20% figure representing a three year high – up from 18% last year and 14% two years ago. Despite the fall in confidence for the coming year, OMBs plan to continue to invest in their businesses in 2017, with more than half (51%) certain or very likely to expand their UK customer base, while only 17% intend to increase export activity. Investing in staff training and launching new products or services (both 44%) are also among the investment priorities identified by business owners.

Suk Aulak, partner at Moore Stephens in Birmingham, said: “General uncertainty over the future has resulted in OMBs’ outlook and business performance potential falling to a three year low in our survey. “How OMBs perform is vital to the national economy, and the good news is that OMBs are still confident about hitting profit and revenue targets in the medium term, with the majority expecting turnover and net profitability to increase in the next three to five years. “However, our survey finds continued uncertainty amongst OMBs, particularly about the strength of the UK economy post-Brexit and the on-going UK skills shortage. “Nearly a quarter of those surveyed also report concerns about cyber security and data privacy, recognising that breaches can have damaging consequences, not just for their own business but for their customers too. “Even so, business owners appear pragmatic about the UK’s economic prospects over the next 12 months. Although many OMBs will seek continued cost reduction, many will be creating new products, expanding their UK customer base and spending more money on staff training and marketing.” Moore Stephens revealed the findings at its OMB report launch event at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Birmingham. The launch included an economic outlook report from Darren Ruane, Head of Fixed Interest at Investec Wealth and Investment.

“General uncertainty over the future has resulted in OMBs’ outlook and business performance potential falling to a three year low in our survey.”

MP helps company celebrate expansion An Alcester based insurance brokers, Morrison Insurance Solutions, celebrated their office expansion on Friday 21st April with a visit from Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi. After growing out of their current office, the company who now employs 47 people purchased additional space within Springfield Business Park to accommodate their growing work force. The new space means that the staff can enjoy a new staff room, as well as a state of the art training room facility to aid their continual commitment to development. This includes their successful apprenticeship scheme, which has now been running for 3 years. The official opening was a great morning enjoyed by all, giving the chance for staff to talk to Nadhim about Insurance Premium Tax, apprenticeships, and the upcoming election! Ian Millard Managing Director summed the morning up by saying, “Listening to Nadhim’s own experience as a previous adviser to the Prime Minster on apprenticeships was invaluable to ourselves as keen supporters of the programme. In addition we were able to share some useful dialogue about our work in assisting businesses protect themselves against cyber-attacks as well as our continued success in The Property Investor / Manager sector which had helped us achieve the current title of Broker of the Year at the UK Broker Awards. We certainly much appreciated Nadhim’s time in joining us.” The Team look forward to the ongoing success of the company.

Fast-growth local companies reveal £11bn revenue boost

Coventry and Warwickshire’s fastest growing companies have boosted the local economy, increasing revenues by 17% to £11bn, according to the Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Barometer published today by accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LLP.

Rugby giant Wasps has been named the fastest growing business having experienced 118% average growth (in revenues) over the past three years following its move to Coventry’s Ricoh Arena. The exhibition division of Wasps Holding Limited has grown by 18% in the last year alone. Vice Chairman of Wasps, Nick Eastwood, who was interviewed in the BDO report, said the move to Coventry was “a fantastic step for the club”. “Our new region has exceeded our expectations in terms of the welcome we have received and the support given to our organisation and it is fantastic for us to be recognised as the fastest growing company considering we are still relatively new here,” he said. “I see Coventry and Warwickshire as a hidden gem with so much more to offer than initially meets the eye.” The Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Barometer, published at the Coventry Economic Forum event at Coventry University, identifies the 50 fastest growing companies within the region based on turnover.

Businesses from nine different sectors appeared on the list, with manufacturing and engineering companies making up 14 of the top 50. However it was real estate and construction that experienced the fastest growth, with a 50% average increase in turnover in the last year. The hospitality and leisure sector was close behind (44%), while technology and media companies reported a 23% increase in revenues. Fast-growth companies featured in the list include well-known retailers such as Holland & Barrett and Aldi Stores, as well as energy supplier First Utility, which has experienced huge growth during a three year period, making utilities the fastestgrowing sector within the top 50. As well as the top 50 list, the BDO Growth Barometer also includes articles and interviews from local business leaders and influencers touching upon key themes within the region, such as the impact of the so-called fourth industrial revolution and how Coventry is proving tough competition for tourism hotspots Warwick and Stratford.

Roger Buckley, partner at BDO, said: “It is well-known that this is a region built upon manufacturing and, considering the first British car was built here 120 years ago, this should not be an industry that is overlooked for the contribution it makes, particularly in local employment levels. “Nonetheless it is great to see the impressive growth of real estate and construction in our analysis. Not only does this highlight the demand for both commercial and residential space in the current environment, it gives us confidence in the long-term economic success of the region. “It is also extremely promising to see the continued development of the technology and gaming sector, leading to Leamington Spa being dubbed ‘Silicon Spa’ with gaming businesses alone employing over 1,200 people in the area.” He added: “Fast-growth businesses are the economic engine of our region and it is important we continue to celebrate the best of Coventry and Warwickshire.”



Office market makes strong comeback “The office market in Stratford has been extremely buoyant inrecent months. We have seen a rapid increase in the number of enquiries lookingfor good quality office space in the town.”

Speculative development at Europark Richard Utley Ltd, the landlords of the Europark Industrial estate in Rugby, is constructing a 20,000 sq ft industrial unit with ancillary offices. The building will be located on the main Europark industrial estate and will complement the existing commercial offer. This is the first speculative-build industrial unit to be constructed in Rugby since before the crash of 2008. Christopher Utley of Europark said “We are excited to be starting this new project and expanding the estate, which will in turn increase employment in Rugby. We have already seen a lot of interest from occupiers. “Rugby and Warwickshire as a whole remain incredibly buoyant despite the seismic events of the past 12 months, driven by a strong advanced manufacturing sector and the ever present logistics sector and we are looking to capitalise on this.”

Simon Hain (left), a director of ehB Commercial, with ehB surveyor Jon Blood

Demand for businesses premises in Stratford-upon-Avon is experiencing a resurgence, according to Warwickshire-based commercial property consultants ehB Commercial. Despite fears surrounding the uncertain economic climate and the implementation of Brexit, the market has seen a dramatic increase in activity. Jon Blood, a surveyor at Leamingtonbased property consultants ehB

Commercial, said: “The office market in Stratford has been extremely buoyant in recent months. We have seen a rapid increase in the number of enquiries looking for good quality office space in the town. This has been proven in the number of leases and sales we have agreed recently.” Mr Blood said ehB Commercial had been acting for clients in respect of five units at Cygnet Court with a total

combined floor area of nearly 9,000 square feet, within a development of self-contained offices off Timothy’s Bridge Road. All of these office units have now either been let or are under offer. Furthermore, an offer has been accepted for the freehold on 14 The Courtyard, also located off Timothy’s Bridge Road.

Property Investment Market Bright-White Hot! This time last year, May/June edition, I reported a ‘White Hot’ commercial investment property market, with stock markets anchored by a forthcoming Brexit vote and concerns over economic data coming out of China. I could not find an adjective to express intense market heat this year, other than bright-white hot! Suggestions to add a better adjective to my limited vocabulary will be welcome and the best, given due credit on our social media!!

Martyn Howard Director at Drake Howard Property Limited


Demand for stock continues to outstrip supply. Prices have been pushed to levels which do not look competitive against recent highs of the FTSE and may not look prudent in comparison to company bonds, as yields begin to adjust from postrecession ‘safe haven’ lows.

Yet, the appetite for commercial property investment is ravenous. It is increasingly difficult to source stock which outperforms the market, but Drake Howard Property is achieving successes for client’s willing to adopt alternative strategies, including the risk of buying empty property. Search fundamentals for empty units are location and type/character to fit the market. If the location is right and the basics of the site and buildings are more or less in place, facilities and condition can be remedied. Given these fundamentals, the risk and cost of a property remaining empty is much reduced in Coventry and Warwickshire currently, due to an extreme shortage of land and buildings to rent.

As an example, we recently purchased a 7,000 sq. ft. former joinery workshop on Binley Industrial Estate, with forecourt parking, good size yard and external store. The client investor was persuaded to risk purchase at a price of £450,000, with a 3 month refurbishment programme, estimated at £85,000. The site and building has been transformed and a letting agreed prior to completion of works. An established automotive service sector company has taken a 10 year lease, without break option, at an average rent to show the investor a return of 6.95%, after all costs! For the full story with ‘before & after’ pictures and details of our investment acquisition and disposal service, see our web-site

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Coventry & Warwickshire in business

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Coventry’s time to shine “I think businesses get it and can see the benefits it will bring to Coventry. There will be benefits to them of making the city a better place to live – particularly from a recruitment point of view – and some will get direct benefits, especially those in the leisure and tourism industry. ”

It’s already been quite a year for David Burbidge. The family business, Burbidge & Son – a Coventry-based manufacturer of highquality kitchens – is celebrating its 150th anniversary. That follows David picking up his CBE from HRH Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace after being recognised in last year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to cultural philanthropy. But as the man leading the charge for Coventry to become UK City of Culture in 2021, he says winning that prize would be the pinnacle of an illustrious career. “Winning City of Culture would top all of that, big time,” he said. “It would be amazing. I’ve been working at this fulltime for nearly three years and I’ve become very dull with all my family and friends because it is all I talk about.


“Let’s hope they have to hear about it for another four or five years! It’s a huge personal ambition of mine. I want us to win.” David was always the perfect person to chair the city’s bid to be UK City of Culture, bringing an unrivalled blend of skills and experience taken from the world of business and culture. He was MD of Burbidge & Son for 50 years before his son, Ben, took on the mantle – the fifth generation of the family to run the company – and has held a range of roles with the likes of the Belgrade Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company and Compton Verney.

around for 150 years – it’s quite remarkable. “I’m very proud of the origins of the business coming from a master craftsman, artisan background, which my great grandfather was. “We have a fantastic heritage and while we are not making the same things that he made, quality remains just as important to us as it was to him. “We’ve had to diversify massively and the mistake many businesses make is not seeing that things move on. We’ve seen classic examples of that locally.

And the lessons he’s learned from business – including the ability to pounce on an opportunity when it arises – have guided David, aged 73, in his latest role.

“The background of the company when I came into it was a sub-contracting business, making parts of cars, parts of bowling alley equipment and a big customer was Black & Decker, making the plywood tops of their Workmates!

He said: “It means a huge amount to me and the family that our business has been

“We were shipping those all over the world but all the time we were

subservient as a sub-contractor and never knew when we were going to get a renewed contract or not, and there would always be a discussion about price. “There was no long-term security for the business – we were dependent on four or five customers as a lot of subcontractors tend to be. “I wanted us to make our own products that had a wider range of customers. We got into making kitchen cabinet doors as a sub-contractor and I spotted the opportunity when the craze began in Germany in the 1970s and we were the first company in the UK to start making wooden kitchen cabinet doors on an industrial scale. “I had the thought that there were hundreds and hundreds of smaller kitchen manufacturers that didn’t have the capability of making their own wooden doors.

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Profile: David Burbridge

“I have always been interested in culture – I go to the theatre, I paint, I know the arts. I saw what happened in Liverpool in 2008 and the benefits they saw from being European Capital of Culture, it was extraordinary.”

“So it was an opportunity to supply them. We took the plunge and designed a range of our own and we sold them a kitchen at a time whilst manufacturing in bulk and keeping stock. “It took off like crazy in the 1980s and we’ve now got around 400 customers of that type – the majority of which are in the UK. “We used to do a lot more exporting and I hope we can do it again – when the pound got really strong around the turn of the Millennium, we became uncompetitive at that time, particularly in the Scandinavian markets. “But it’s back on the agenda again as the exchange rate makes us more competitive. You always have to be looking for the next opportunity. As a family business, you can plan a long time ahead and you take the knocks as we have done and come back. “The business has transformed itself a number of times over the course of the 150 years.” The City of Culture opportunity presented itself in the spring of 2014. David was tipped off that Coventry was considering a bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021 and, at a time when another door was closing, he felt his experience and skills could benefit any effort. “It was about three years ago,” he said. “I was on the board of the Royal Shakespeare Company at the time and the executive director Catherine Mallyon mentioned to me that she’d heard that Coventry might be thinking of bidding. “It was just at the time when I was coming to the end of my term on the board at the RSC and it interested me, as a Coventry boy. “I’d previously chaired the board at the Belgrade Theatre so I am very much embedded in the arts world and thought I may have something to offer, so I put my hand up.

“I have always been interested in culture – I go to the theatre, I paint, I know the arts. I saw what happened in Liverpool in 2008 and the benefits they saw from being European Capital of Culture, it was extraordinary.

In terms of funding and running the bid, he’s also been keen to ensure that business plays a major role alongside Coventry City Council, Coventry University and the University of Warwick who are all known as Principal Partners.

“I knew it was important and could be really beneficial for Coventry but I thought the role might be a day-and-a-half a week, but it turns out I don’t even get a day-and-a-half a week off – it’s eight days a week! That’s fine, I am really enjoying it.”

“As a businessman, I was aware that these bids are normally funded by local councils and operated by the local authority too,” he said. “I thought it may be a different angle to run it as a business person, with the support of the council and also getting the universities on board.

Coventry submitted its initial bid to the Department for Culture, Media & Sport just before this edition of C&W In Business went to press. A further ten cities from across the country expressed an interest in bidding earlier in the year and they will all be whittled down to a shortlist of four this summer. The winner will be announced in Hull – this year’s UK City of Culture – in December and as well as dominating his conversation with friends, David admits it’s the thing that occasionally keeps him awake at night. “I do feel a bit of pressure,” he said. “I used to wake up in the middle of the night worried about a business deal that I was doing, now I wake up worrying about City of Culture. “With the bid going in, it brings everything to the front of your mind and it does bring a bit of extra pressure. “I’ve had the sort of life where I’ve had to deal with the pressure of business and things do prey on your mind, and you learn to manage that.” A way of relieving that pressure, is to build a strong team and David has done just that. The Coventry City of Culture Trust – the organisation behind the bid – is a small, talented young team and the city also has the benefit of advice from Andrew Dixon, who played a major role in Hull’s success, as well as a range of businesses in the city.

“I believed we could do it differently to the way it has been done in the past. In a smaller way, we’ve all come together but nothing on this scale has brought Coventry together before. “The two universities, particularly, have come together on this and I have to commend Stuart Croft and John Latham, the respective vice chancellors, who have been incredibly positive all the way along, which has been really important. “The business support has been amazing. I’ve done fundraising in the past – for Coventry Cathedral, at the Belgrade and at the RSC – and raising money for cultural activity from the corporate sector can be really difficult so most money comes from public funds or trusts and foundations.

“I thought this was a way of establishing a new model of raising money to pay for the bid. I learnt from Hull’s example – they made some very good steps – and I wanted to build on that and do it even bigger. “We’ve already got 70 members of our 2021 Club and then several other bigger sponsors. I would like to commend the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce because getting their involvement at a high level very early on made an important statement. “The Chamber represents the business community so to get them on board was a strong message. “I think businesses get it and can see the benefits it will bring to Coventry. There will be benefits to them of making the city a better place to live – particularly from a recruitment point of view – and some will get direct benefits, especially those in the leisure and tourism industry. “Many have come on board out of pride for their city but the financial benefits will be incredible. The leader of Hull City Council has said publicly that the value to their economy of being UK City of Culture in 2017 is over £1 billion. It’s huge!”

Coventry City Council, The University of Warwick and Coventry University are Principal Partners of the bid and are providing significant support. The Ricoh Arena is Bid Sponsor while Jaguar Land Rover, Adient, Friargate, Coventry Building Society, the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Birmingham Airport, PET-Xi, SCC, Pertemps and CEF (City Electrical Factors) are Bid Development Sponsors.



College seeks to support land-based sector

Combined Universities welcomes launch of Productivity and Skills Commission West Midlands Combined Universities has welcomed the launch of the Productivity and Skills Commission which will place skills and training at the centre of the regional economy. The Commission was formally launched by the West Midlands Combined Authority with a focus on boosting skills across the region to create jobs and support growth. Leaders at Coventry University, Birmingham City University and the University of Wolverhampton – which make up West Midlands Combined Universities – believe the launch shows the right ambition and emphasis in tackling skills gaps and raising productivity. John Latham, Vice-Chancellor of Coventry University, said:“Universities are perfectly positioned to support the combined authority deliver the highskilled economy that will help the West Midlands to prosper. We are the places where academia, teaching and industry come together to foster skills, research, innovation and enterprise. “And we are also here to help raise aspirations and create opportunities and growth within our region. But we’re not solely focused on training the next generation of work-ready graduates through of course that’s vital - we are also looking at ways to re-train the workforce already earning with flexible degree options and partnering with businesses in the development of Degree Apprenticeships. “Developing skills is a natural fit for us so we are pleased to see the launch of the commission and are ready and willing to help deliver on its objectives.”

A new national ‘virtual college’ to champion skills development for land based industries has launched a digital hub from its base in Warwickshire. The National Land Based College (NLBC) at Stoneleigh Park has gone live with a new website which will be central to achieving its aim of improving workforce skills and promoting careers within the sector. It sets out the NLBC’s strategy to promote the land based sector as a professional and progressive career, increase industry engagement in the skills agenda, develop qualifications to deliver the skills employers need, and maximise digital and flexible learning opportunities. The site also enables people registering with NLBC to be kept up-to-date with careers, education and training and professional development information within farming and industries connected to the land and environment. The NLBC has been founded as an employer-led virtual college to help address the need to improve workforce skills and the industry’s overall quality and productivity. It will work closely with land based industries and 30 member specialist land based colleges and universities operating from 67 campuses across the UK, their membership organisation Landex and awarding body partner City & Guilds.

Since being formally launched by George Eustice, Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, at the House of Lords in May last year, a core team of four headed by CEO Leigh Morris has established an office within the Rural Innovation Centre at Stoneleigh Park. Leigh said: (L to R) Leigh Morris (CEO of NLBC), Luke Harmer (Digital Manager at NLBC), “Stoneleigh Park is the Sarah Purdell (Programme Development Manager at NLBC), and Liz Burkinshaw (Manager of Rural Innovation Centre at Stoneleigh Park). heart of the land based sector with leading within the land based sector and is a organisations including the NFU, AHDB, BALI and Lantra on site and so it was central golden opportunity for industry to have a massive steer on how training and skills to our plan to run our operations from here. are developed and by doing that, we can “The NLBC is very much employer-led and make a huge difference.” will work collaboratively through a hub and Liz Burkinshaw, manager of the Rural spoke model, linking industry with specialist Innovation Centre, said: “With its strong land based colleges and universities and providing a focal point for skills development. association with agriculture and other land based industries, Stoneleigh Park is a “The website has been developed as natural home for the NLBC. a go-to place for land based skills, from “The Rural Innovation Centre provides career guidance and information on apprenticeships and qualifications to a serviced office for its core team from online teaching. where the NLBC has the potential to make “The NLBC has the potential and ambition a tremendous impact within the land based sector.” to be game changing for skills development

Business support needed as programme is launched

(L to R) Simon Fitzgerald, Clare Edwards, Jeo Da Cruz, Tee Mutasa, Fleur Sexton, Mark Goulden and Simona Abaidoo.

A leading educational organisation has launched a new programme to support unemployed and disengaged young people in Warwickshire after securing £1.1 million of funding. PET-Xi has launched its ‘Positive Futures’ programme to support 15 to 24-year-olds who are not currently in education, employment or training, or at risk of becoming so. The project will run over the next three years, providing support, guidance and training to help up to 780 young people take the next steps in their career path.

Young people will have the opportunity to gain qualifications, employability skills and motivational support to help them progress onto a traineeship, apprenticeship, further training or a job. PET-Xi, a family-run business set up in 1995, works with 18,000 young people every year. It was awarded the £1.1 million contract, part funded by the European Social Fund, to deliver the scheme by the Department for Work and Pensions. An event to launch the programme was held at Coombe Abbey Hotel which welcomed PET-Xi partners, supporters, learners and parents to find out more about the project and the difference it will make. Host John Dalziel, better known as Free Radio’s JD, praised the organisation as well as learners who have received support. Fleur Sexton, PET-Xi joint managing director, said: “We are very proud to launch our Positive Futures programme which will provide vital support and assistance to young people across Warwickshire who have generally become disengaged from education and are furthest from the job market. “The programme has been designed around the specific needs of young people in the community and focuses on the skills needed to gain employment or return to education or training, along with the support required to maintain a happy and healthy lifestyle, creating a long term positive future.

“Whatever their problem we will help. Young people who have become disengaged and fallen off their educational path are often facing huge challenges in their lives, such as debt or addiction or single parenthood and therefore have huge barriers to overcome. “Everyone has a place in their community and it's just a matter of helping them to find it and feel proud to be part of it.” Developed in conjunction with strategic partner Warwickshire County Council, Positive Futures will be delivered by PET-Xi and delivery partners Acorn Training and Pathway First. It will offer tailored qualifications as well as support with CV and cover letter writing, perfecting interview skills and obtaining work placements or voluntary positions to gain experience. For those unable to travel, training will be delivered in community venues across Warwickshire and support will also be available for those requiring childcare. Simon Fitzgerald, head of funding at PET-Xi, said: “We are now looking for businesses to help support the programme by offering work placements or company visits to participants to help further enhance their employability skills.” Anyone interesting in participating in or supporting the scheme is asked to contact Lyn Watson at PET-Xi on 02476 420310.

Skills for Employment Conference tackles the skills shortage Warwickshire County Council was joined by the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership as well as members of local businesses and senior representatives from local schools and colleges at a Skills for Employment Conference to discuss how the skills shortage in the workplace can be tackled. The county council's £2.4 million Skills for Employment programme, now in its third year, brought together the business world with education and training to ensure that young people enter the workplace with the


requisite skills. The programme provides small grants to schools and colleges to help them to provide careers opportunities while larger major grants have been awarded to partnerships between schools and businesses where innovative schemes will give young people the chance to have valuable work experience. An announcement was made that grants of up to £40,000 would be available later this year for partnerships between schools and businesses to tackle skills issues in specific sectors.

Expressions of interest can be made via skillsforemployment Smaller grants of up to £3,000, available to schools, will also be made available again in June. Delegates at the conference heard how 11,000 careers and employability opportunities were provided to the county's young people in 2015 and 2016 after the launch of the programme ranging from additional careers guidance through to work experience. More than 300 businesses

were engaged in that period. It is estimated the grants awarded in October 2016 are funding a further 8,000 opportunities in the current academic year. Cllr Philip Johnson, chair of the Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee, said: "Skills for Employment is playing a key role in creating opportunities for young people in Warwickshire to make themselves more work-ready. It is vital to both the businesses and the young people that links are made at an early age to skill young people up for the workplace."

Coventry & Warwickshire in business


West Midlands Mayor Andy Street to help shape regional economy

Business leaders have urged the new West Midlands mayor to stand up for the whole region to help drive investment and create jobs. Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said growth, jobs and prosperity should be at the heart of Andy Street’s focus for the region. She also urged him to stay true to his pre-election promise of backing Coventry’s bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021. Louise said: “We congratulate Andy on his victory and, as a Chamber, we look forward to working with him in the

coming weeks, months and years to help shape the regional economy to get the best for the people and the businesses on our own patch. “Many haven’t engaged with the process and over the next few years it will be the role of the mayor to convince the people of the region that this position can bring tangible benefits to the whole area, not just part of it. “But whatever you think of the concept of a regional mayor, this is going to be a key role for the region so it’s now absolutely vital that our voice is heard in Westminster and we are always striving

to secure the best possible deal for Coventry, Warwickshire and the wider region – and that means ensuring we get the funding we need to grow. “With every decision that is taken by the new mayor, investment and jobs for our patch must be at the heart of it. Whether that’s around improving infrastructure or upskilling our people, economic growth is going to be key to the overall wellbeing of the West Midlands. “Andy knows that our door, as a Chamber, is always open and we will, of course, be representing the views of businesses in our area to ensure we get the best deal for Coventry and Warwickshire. “Ahead of the election, Andy promised – like all of the candidates – to help with Coventry’s bid to be UK City of Culture and we have absolutely no doubt that he will be true to his word.

Louise Bennet, Chief Executive of Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce with newly elected West Midlands Mayor Andy Street

“We all know just how big that would be for the city and the region – culturally, socially and economically – and it would have a major impact for many years to come.”

“With every decision that is taken by the new mayor, investment and jobs for our patch must be at the heart of it. Whether that’s around improving infrastructure or upskilling our people, economic growth is going to be key to the over all wellbeing of the West Midlands.”


Area Focus: Coventry

Culture bid is complete It’s over 30 pages long, contains over 20,000 words and has been in the planning for more than a year and a half – Coventry’s initial bid document to be UK City of Culture in 2021 is complete. The document outlines why Coventry should follow on from Hull and bring the prestigious title to the city in 2021. It has been produced by the Coventry City of Culture Trust and has been submitted to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. Coventry is expected to find out before the summer whether it has made the shortlist for the prize. To celebrate its completion and submission, the Trust welcomed a whole host of individuals, groups and organisations from across the city to an event at Coventry Cathedral.

As well as setting out a programme of events that would take place right across the city and would include a range of communities in 2021, the bid document also shows how a successful bid would leave a lasting, positive impact on Coventry. Coventry 2021 will reimagine the place of culture in a diverse, modern Britain. It has been based heavily on research into the social and economic make-up of Coventry along with evidence on the number of visitors the city attracts, from where and for what types of activity.

Laura McMillan, manager of the Coventry City of Culture Trust, said 18 months’ of work has been building to this moment. She said; “Every community visit, every workshop, every event, every media

Tayyibah Mota, David Burbidge CBE, DL, Louis Lewinson, Laura McMillan, Emma Harrabin and Juliet Colley, with the initial bid

interview and every meeting has been all about this document and making it the best it can possibly be to reflect what Coventry is and everything it could be if we are successful. “There have been some very long hours and some massive decisions along the way but we couldn’t be happier with the bid. “It recognises the challenges that Coventry faces but also some of the great things that are going on under the surface. The The crowd gathers at Coventry Cathedral to wave off the initial bid evidence we’ve gathered from the research - such as Coventry being a very young, diverse city Coventry’s bid themes include ‘moving’, has had a huge bearing on the bid. ‘underground’, ‘reinvention’ and ‘being “The support we’ve had along the way – human’ and will help to form the from the public, from key local programme that would run throughout organisations, from businesses and from 2021 and could include up to 1,000 events the media in the region – has been nothing during the year. short of incredible. “Coventry is right behind its bid to be UK City of Culture and I have no doubt that seeing the fantastic start that Hull has had and the economic benefits it is already achieving has helped to show, again, what it could do for Coventry. “We are very excited to be submitting this bid and we believe we have done Coventry proud. We wish all the other bidding cities the very best of luck but, of course, we believe that we’ve got the best case to be UK City of Culture in 2021.”

Coventry City Council, The University of Warwick, and Coventry University are Principal Partners of the bid and are providing significant support. The Ricoh Arena is Bid Sponsor while Jaguar Land Rover, Adient, Friargate, Coventry Building Society, the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Birmingham Airport, PET-Xi, SCC, Pertemps, and CEF (City Electrical Factors) are also Bid Development Sponsors.

• The 0.8 acre site is situated on St Nicholas Street and just 0.5 miles North of Coventry city centre. The surrounding area is mixed in use and comprises both residential and commercial occupiers. • Occupying the site is Highfield House, an 8,242 sq ft, locally listed period office building providing a range of both cellular and open plan accommodation over 4 floors. • Externally, the property includes lawned and landscaped areas as well as tarmacadam car parking for approximately 48 spaces, including four disabled. • Potential for conversion / redevelopment to a range of uses subject to the necessary consents.

Redevelopment Opportunity

Guide price: £1,300,000

Coventry City


Contact: ALEX TROSS Director

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Area Focus: Coventry

Pupils look forward to play time

Playtimes at a Coventry special school are a lot more exciting these days thanks to a collaborative effort between corporate events company Garlands Corporate and logistics firm GEFCO. A 20-strong team from GEFCO not only built a pirate ship for the children at Exhall Grange Specialist School in Exhall, but also tidied the school’s grounds – clearing the sports pitch and wooded area, building a path for wheelchair users and planting some flowers. The project was put together by Garlands Corporate, an Atherstone-based corporate

events company whose specialist areas include team building, team development and reward days. It began with a presentation from the children, led by year eight pupil John Moseley, who told the team exactly what the pupils were after. The team of employees – who came from across the country – then set to work, putting the whole project together in less than 11 hours over two days. The scheme was the brainchild of Andie Brazewell, Business Development Manager of Garlands Corporate.

He said: “It has been a massively rewarding exercise for GEFCO and the school on both a physical and emotional level. The project is all about people performance and certainly everyone here really bonded. What they did in such a short space of time is just fantastic.” Among those taking part was Zsolt Vecsera, Managing Director of GEFCO UK, who said: “This has been a fantastic experience for our employees – very different to what we do day to day. It has been great to see the teams take on the challenge as they now realise what they can do.”

Coventry 4 Good grants awarded Voluntary Action Coventry has announced that nine Coventry- based voluntary groups have benefitted from the Coventry 4 Good Grant Fund which provides small grants to local good causes within Coventry. This is the second round of the awards which are funded entirely from donations raised by volunteers and supporters at events, through on-line giving and through contributions from businesses and local organisations such as Coventry University who have made a donation for this round. Groups awarded include: • International Children Future Power – they will purchase a percussion pack to encourage children that are underperforming in school to experience and experiment with musical instruments from different cultures. • Trinjen – to pay for room hire for the Knitting for a Purpose project which aims to address the social isolation and loneliness experienced by older people. • Hadiza Foundation – to produce leaflets to educate and raise awareness of the dangers of excess consumption of salt in traditional African and Caribbean food which can cause high blood pressure that may lead to stroke and kidney failure. • Timeout Counselling – who will use funds to pay for specialist LGBTQ counsellor training enabling them to extend their provision. • God’s Coffee Shop – for 30 stainless steel travelling mugs with sliders and an insulated bag to extend the period food can be kept hot or cool for longer. God’s Coffee Shop provides a meal and

fellowship to homeless, vulnerable, lonely people on the streets of Coventry. • Friends of Longford Park – to pay for DBS checks for volunteers to enable the Friends of Longford Park to expand their successful work with local schools and to enable them to independently bring children from seven city schools into the park to take part in organised activities. • Coventry Iqraa Trust – to take children to the nature reserve at Brandon Marsh with their families; encouraging families at risk of family breakdown to spend time learning together whilst in a supervised environment.

• Coventry Soul – to produce 5000 business cards with a list of key support services in Coventry that people could carry to give to homeless people on the street which would signpost them to sources of support. • 26th City of Coventry Brownies – to cover fees for volunteers and 16 Brownies to attend a day camp and funds to buy food so they can make their own healthy packed lunch and prepare a hot meal. Coventry 4 Good was launched by Voluntary Action Coventry in July 2014: it aims to increase the help given to Coventry’s good causes, through volunteering, sharing of resources, and fundraising.

Garlands corporate teams up with GEFCO to help children with special needs A team development exercise between Warwickshire corporate events company Garlands Corporate and Coventry-based logistics firm GEFCO has been hailed a major success. Garlands, based in Atherstone, teamed up with GEFCO senior managers from across the country to transform the playground at Exhall Grange School in Coventry – making it more wheelchairfriendly and giving it a facelift. As part of the project they built a pirate ship for the children, built a path for wheelchair users, cleared the sports pitch and wooded areas, and planted flowers. The project was the brainchild of Andie Brazewell, Business Development Manager of Garlands Corporate, who worked closely with Helen Grover, GEFCO HR Director and Exhall Grange School over several months to discuss ideas for the grounds. He said that as well as fulfilling the school’s needs the main aim of the project was to meet GEFCO’s training and business development needs through a corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme. He said: “We looked at what the school needed out of the project and what GEFCO wanted for their employees also. “It was a massively rewarding exercise for GEFCO and the school on both a physical and emotional level. The project was all about people performance and certainly everyone there on the day really bonded. “From a business point of view the ultimate aim of the project was to drive change throughout GEFCO Among those taking part was Zsolt Vecsera, Managing Director of GEFCO UK, whose UK Head Office is based at Pro Logis Park in Coventry, close to the school. He said: “It was a fantastic experience for our employees – very different to what we do day to day, but it was great to see the teams take on the challenge as it helped them realise everything they can achieve.

Coventry 4 Good Grant recipients receive their cheques at the VAC Funding Fair 16th March 2017

“Along the way we helped the children and the community. It was a really lovely project which left us feeling proud not only of ourselves, but of the children we worked with whose input helped us deliver the scheme.”


Area Focus: Coventry

Fundraisers seek more success vital respite and palliative care for young terminally ill children and their families.” Peter Jarvis, Managing Director of Warwick based Contechs is Chairman of the Zoë’s Place Business Group – a group of business and community leaders from across Coventry and Warwickshire who joined forces early last year to help swell the coffers of the charity to help keep its doors open 24/7.

Martin Gallagher (left) with Rob Talliss

Hat-trick for construction company A Coventry-based construction firm is set to complete a hat-trick of refurbishment projects for Coventry University in less than a year. Deeley Construction has begun work on a £1.1 million refurbishment programme which will see a row of properties in Whitefriars Lane transformed into a new Enterprise Hub, a reprographics centre and shop. The project will take six months to complete. The scheme comes hot on the heels of a refurbishment project on Alma Building, to create a new home for the University’s IT department, and the major improvements to the Alan Berry Building in University Square which is its main administration centre. Both projects, which totalled in excess of £1.3 million, were finished on time and in budget. Martin Gallagher, Managing Director of Deeley Construction, said: “We work right across the UK but we are very much a Coventry company so it is always pleasing to take on projects which made a tangible improvement to the city centre and that has certainly been the case with these three contracts.” Rob Talliss, director of estates for the university, said: “Of course, our large landmark projects grab attention, but we have a very progressive on-going programme of refurbishments which adapt our existing stock to make it suitable for modern learning methods and other relevant contemporary uses.”

He said: “Our aim as a business group is to establish this ball as the premier event in Coventry and Warwickshire’s social calendar – all in aid of this fantastic cause Zoë’s Place.” Muna Chauhan, Corporate Fundraising Manager at the hospice added: “Members of the Business Group went above and beyond last year to ensure their first event was a major success. already confirmed as guests at the Ball. The Zoë’s Place Patron Lady Daventry and her husband Lord Daventry will also be in attendance.

Elegance, style and sophistication will feature highly at this year’s Zoe’s Place Ball, which is set to take place at Coventry’s prestigious Coombe Abbey Hotel in May. It will be the second year that the Zoe’s Place Business Group has organised this spectacular event which last year raised more than £60,000 for the Coventry baby hospice and they are hoping to smash through that target with this year’s event.

Headline sponsor of the event is Arden Foods who have been long term supporters of Zoe’s Place.

Celebrities are also lining up to attend with Coventry soul singer and star of The Voice, Letitia George and UB40 founder member and saxophonist Brian Travers and a huge supporter of the hospice are

Gary Barr , Managing Director – Arden Fine Foods said: “It’s always a fantastic night and the money it raises contributes to enabling the team to continue the indispensable work that they do, providing

Every penny raised on the night will go to Zoë’s Place annual running costs of £1.3 million per year.

“Many attendees have already snapped up their tables for this year’s event and already it is shaping up to be even bigger and better than before.” The black tie event takes place on Friday, May 19th. Individual tickets for the event are priced at £55. There are also Gold, Platinum and Diamond packages available for tables of 10 at £550, £950 and £1,500. Sponsorship packages are also available at £2,000 or £3,000 for main sponsors. To book tickets, or to find out more, contact the hospice on or call 024 7636 1675.

Coventry college is part of parliamentary advisory group Hereward College in Coventry is one of the founding members of a newly formed All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Assistive Technology and will be at the forefront of changes in policy in this area. APPGs are an informal group of members of both Houses of Parliament who join together to pursue a particular topic or interest. Members of the group

will be advocates in parliament, act as ambassadors, and raise awareness of the assistive technology agenda in the UK. The APPG for Assistive Technology was launched on Monday 6th March by Speaker of the House, Rt Hon John Bercrow and included contributions from Seema Malhotra MP, Lord (Chris) Holmes of Richmond MBE, Hannah Rose – an assistive

technology user, and Neil Heslop OBE – Chief Executive of Leonard Cheshire Disability. The College, which caters for young people with disabilities and additional needs, has extensive research and development expertise specifically related to the users of assistive technology and will be advising the group on education and training. Paul Doyle, Access Research

and Development Manager at Hereward College said: “We are delighted to be a founder member of the APPG for assistive technology. Using assistive technology effectively is a key element to creating a more inclusive world which enables people to participate fully in education, employment, live more independent lives and play a valuable role in society.”

Praise for Tim as he retires

From left, Carol Bull, Tim Powell, Jane Powell, David Grindrod


A Coventry man who has helped 60 high-tech, start-up companies to secure more than £8 million of angel funding has retired. Tim Powell has run Minerva the University of Warwick Science Park’s Business Angel Network since 2009, giving companies in a variety of sectors the opportunity to bolster their chances of growth with angel investor backing. Enterprises supported across the Midlands have ranged from innovative scientific and medical devices and technologies to every day apps and digital based services. Tim, an ardent Coventry City fan who has followed the club through thick and thin since 1961, was presented with a CCFC cake and was given a send-off by colleagues, investors and businesses that he has supported over the years.

David Grindrod, Chief Operating Officer of the University of Warwick Science Park, said: “I can say with some confidence that there aren't many tech based start-up or early stage companies in the region that Tim has not seen, spoken to, known about or reviewed over the past ten 10 years. “This is recognition not just of Tim’s networking skills but also the acknowledgement by our friends, associates and partners of the value he has offered to these companies.” Tim said: “I have so much respect for entrepreneurs starting out on their own - it has got to be one of the hardest things you can do - but it's been a privilege and I have really enjoyed helping people grow or turn their business idea into a flourishing enterprise.”

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Area Focus: Coventry

Boost for arts organisations as new business support project kicks off

A new £400,000 initiative led by Creative United and supported by Coventry University’s Centre for Business in Society will provide free business advice to culture and arts organisations, companies and entrepreneurs around the UK. The Arts Council England-funded ‘Prosper’ programme aims to support

about 70 organisations in the arts, museum and library sectors by offering one-to-one guidance, masterclasses and webinars in a bid to boost cultural organisations’ abilities to attract new investment and audiences. As part of the initiative, academics in the university’s Centre for Business in Society are carrying out a wider investigation into the current provision of, and demand for, business support for arts and cultural organisations in England and Scotland. The centre’s research – which will make recommendations on future investment and business support programmes – will be made available via the Arts Marketing Association’s online hub,, alongside a series of resources such as blogs and

toolkits which are designed to further support the creative sectors. Additional funding for the programme is provided by Access – the Foundation for Social Investment, and Creative Scotland (for research activities in Scotland). Dr Nick Henry, co-director of the Centre for Business in Society, said: “The creative and cultural industries are worth well over £80 billion a year to the UK economy, and they represent a major growth sector for the country.” Those interested in finding out more about the programme, how to apply, or to register to attend a briefing event, should visit programme/prosper.

University named among world’s elite ‘young’ universities Coventry University has been listed by the Times Higher Education (THE) magazine as one of the world's top 200 young universities. At a launch at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, Coventry was ranked globally in the top 200, putting it among an international elite of dynamic, game-changing institutions less than 50 years old. The university is also highlighted as being in the top 50 young universities for ‘Generation Y’ (those with birth years between the 1980s and early 2000s).

Former City College students follow lifelong dream The pair, who completed a BTEC Diploma and Extended Diploma in Dance (Performing Arts) at the Coventry campus, have launched the Akademy Dance Company at City College. Following a series of workshops providing a fusion of fitness and dance for individuals aged between six and 19, weekly classes are now in full swing. Carly said: “Our goal is to provide exciting, challenging and innovative dance classes to the general public. We chose the City College Coventry as a venue because we wanted to give something back as we really Ever since they were little girls, best enjoyed our time there. friends Carly Kane and Laura Adams “Studying dance at City College allowed have dreamed of opening their own us to experiment with new techniques within dance academy. dance and explore innovative forms of After first performing together at the age choreography. Throughout the years at City of three, the girls have grown up with the College, Laura and I have developed a great goal of turning their love of dancing into a partnership and the support we received successful career. from the college was amazing.” And now – almost 20 years on – the dancing The twenty-two year old from Binley, duo have turned their lifelong dream into a who went on to complete a dance degree reality by returning to City College Coventry at Leicester De Monfort University, believes where they gained their dancing qualifications the college will be a fantastic base for four years ago. the new venture.

She said: “City College Coventry was our first choice for a studio. The facilities are absolutely fantastic and the studio space looks professional. We are excited to be working with City College Coventry to launch our new business venture.” The classes focus on fitness, contemporary and modern and the pair aim to cover creative and exciting choreography each week. Laura, aged 23 – who after City College Coventry went on to gain her personal training qualification, said: “I am so honoured

to have this opportunity, it’s quite overwhelming. When we were children, Carly and I joked about running a dance school together when we were older. You have these plans when you are young, but you never really believe it will actually happen. “For both of us, the Akademy Dance Company is a dream come true and we are incredibly grateful for the support we have received from our families and from City College Coventry.”

Software designers raise funds for baby hospice TruTac, the transport and logistics software designers, raised £1,060 or Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice, a registered charity who provide palliative care, respite and end-of-life care for babies and infants aged from birth to five years. Mary Hodges, who is an analyst with TruTac, raised the funds at the company’s Coventry headquarters by running a tuck shop and various other activities, including raffles and competitions. Zoë’s Place Receptionist and Maintenance Manager Debra Lacey accepted a special cheque from TruTac on behalf of the Fundraising Team. Muna Chauhan, Corporate Manager, thanked Mandy and her colleagues for

their fund-raising efforts, saying: “Everybody from TruTac has been very supportive and generous towards Zoë’s Place and the care we provide.” The first Hospice was opened in Liverpool followed by a second in Middlesbrough and in 2011 the third in Coventry.


Area Focus: Coventry

University lends its expertise to specialist machine measuring firm

Experts in precision manufacturing techniques at Coventry University will be working with a Warwickshire firm that specialises in the design and manufacture of hi-tech multi-coordinate machinery on a new project that will help boost the company’s competiveness while strengthening the University’s research profile.

The University will be joining forces with the Rugby-based ITP Group through a government-backed Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), which will see academics from its Centre for Manufacturing and Materials (MME) working with engineers at the company to develop a measuring and control system for measurement in open space.

ITP Group manufactures specialist multi-coordinate milling machines and coordinate measuring machines (CMMs), largely for the production of full-scale automotive models produced in clay or foam which allow major automotive clients to effectively evaluate their designs. But the company is also in the business of producing similar equipment for other sectors, for example designing and manufacturing multi-coordinate machinery used in the aerospace and satellite industries. The large-scale machines required for such work require careful calibration and achieving precision movement with this equipment is difficult. Generally speaking, the larger the machine the greater the challenge in ensuring precise positions. This is where the partnership with Coventry University comes into play. The 31 month project, worth almost £200,000, will see the University’s experts in metrology - the science of measurement - work with ITP in the development of a new multi-coordinate control and measuring system for large machine tools and measuring machines. Combining engineering excellence with the latest knowledge and research in modern metrology and control instrumentation, the aim of the project

is to help ITP achieve greater penetration of the existing automotive market and increase its reach in other sectors within the aerospace, rail transport and marine technologies.

Hotel strikes gold

(L to R) James Brookes, Associate Partner at Bromwich Hardy, Paul Wrightman, managing director of Red Kangaroo, James Davies, director of The Wigley Group, and Alan Greenway, facilities manager at The Wigley Group, at the site of the new trampoline park.

Trampoline park being created A prime commercial location on the edge of Coventry is to be transformed into a £2.2 million trampoline park. The new leisure attraction, which will be the first trampoline park in the Coventry and North Warwickshire area, is being created at industrial warehousing in School Lane, Exhall, previously occupied by car components manufacturer RSM Industries. Leading Midlands commercial property company The Wigley Group acquired the site in early 2016. It has now agreed a long lease through commercial property


agents Bromwich Hardy for the 53,525 sqft unit with new trampoline park operator Red Kangaroo after planning permission for change of use was granted by Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council. The park with 75 trampolines is due to open in July following an extensive fivemonth refurbishment and will create around 80 jobs. Paul Wrightman, managing director of Red Kangaroo, expects it to attract about 2,000 visitors during a typical week. Red Kangaroo were advised by Richard Morris Associates.

A historic hotel in the heart of Warwickshire has scooped a trio of national awards. Coombe Abbey Hotel has been officially recognised at the M&IT Awards 2017, which celebrates talent within the events industry. The Brinklow-based 12th Century venue picked up two golds and one silver award in a glittering ceremony held at Battersea Evolution in London. Coombe Abbey secured Gold in the Best UK Unusual Venue category, beating the likes of Alton Towers Resort and Brighton Dome for the top prize. But it didn’t stop there, as the hotel also won Gold in the Best Value for Money Conference Venue section and a Silver for Best Conferencing and Banqueting Staff. Although they did not actually win the category, the independently-owned venue was also shortlisted in the illustrious Best UK Hotel section. Coombe Abbey went head-to-head with iconic and exclusive hotels including Chewton Glen and Cliveden Hotels, the Midland Hotel in Manchester and The Belfry which has recently undergone a multi-million pound refurbishment. The eventual winner was the luxurious fivestar Celtic Manor Hotel and Resort. Ron Terry, general manager of Coombe Abbey, said: “To have been merely shortlisted for the awards was a major achievement but to have walked away

with two Golds and one Silver is more than anyone at the hotel could have ever wished for.” What has made winning even sweeter is the fact that Coombe Abbey was nominated for the exact same three titles in 2016, eventually coming out with a Silver and a Bronze. Organised by trade and events magazine M&IT, a total of 19 trophies were presented at the ceremony recognising a number of industry firms from venues to airlines.

(L to R) Coombe Abbey Hotel general manager, Ron Terry, director of sales, June Picken, sales manager, Nicola Felton and operations manager Fraser Doyne-Ditmus with the trophies the venue picked up at the M&IT Awards.

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Area Focus: Mid Warwickshire

Hard Brexit unlikely, branch told

Businesses in Mid-Warwickshire have been told that a ‘hard’ Brexit is unlikely but not impossible. The Mid-Warwickshire branch of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce were given an insight into the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union by the Attorney General Jeremy Wright, MP for Kenilworth and Southam. Wright, who campaigned to stay in the EU, told the gathered businesses that the prereferendum arguments should not be ‘re-run’ and that politicians would lose credibility if they didn’t accept the outcome. He told the meeting that there was a huge amount of work in unpicking 40 years’ of legislation drawn up alongside the EU and that the Government was working hard to ensure there wasn’t a ‘cliff edge’ moment on the day of Brexit. Wright said the aim was to offer ‘as little change as possible’ for business and to provide as much certainty during the process.

He added: “So what will Brexit mean for investment into our economy? We all have concerns about that but, since the referendum, the signals have been pretty good. “Several major companies have announced decisions to invest in the UK despite Brexit including Jaguar Land Rover, which announced that the new Range Rover would be built in Solihull. “Of course, none of us can say for sure how negotiations will go and what the final outcome will be because it’s not just us involved – there are 28 member states who will have their say. “My reading of it is that, in all probability, we will not see a so-called hard Brexit but, because of the reasons I’ve mentioned, it’s not impossible. “I don’t believe it is in the interests of the UK or the rest of Europe for it to happen but that will come down to the final deal that gets struck.” The meeting also heard from Dave AytonHill of Warwickshire County Council – which

is partnering with the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce on its Quarterly Economic Survey – who explained the strength of the economy in the region. He said that demand for labour in the region would grow rapidly between now and 2030 and there would be a potential 74,000 shortfall in supply. David Myskow, chair of the MidWarwickshire branch of the Chamber, said: “It was a fascinating and very informative branch meeting and we are very grateful to Jeremy Wright and Dave Ayton-Hill for their insight. “It was a great opportunity to put concerns to Jeremy Wright about Brexit and, while he did his utmost to answer questions, we have to understand that there will be a great deal of uncertainty in the coming months and years. “That’s why the Chamber has launched a Brexit Club because we want to be able to give our members the facts as and when they emerge but also explore the opportunities available to them.”

Accountants go “Back to the Future”

One hundred and eleven years ago, Messrs Burgis & Bullock relocated their Chartered Accountancy firm to Waterloo Place in Leamington Spa, remaining in residence there until 1991.

Now the present Burgis & Bullock Chartered Accountancy firm has just kicked off celebrations for its 130 year anniversary with a DeLorean Time Machine highlighting their return back to Waterloo Place where the firm’s future now begins again. At a launch event for its clients, staff and contacts the firm recently opened its doors to reveal its newly refurbished head office accommodation. Managing Partner Wende Hubbard said, “The move represents an exciting time in the firm’s 130-year history.

Midlands translation company records strong growth in manufacturing sector Language service provider Comtec Translations has recorded a 52% year-on-year increase in the work undertaken for a number of their key UK manufacturing clients. The Midlands-based translation company, which specialises in enabling organisations maximise their export potential, provides support for manufacturers across a wide variety of sectors including machinery, automotive and luxury goods. The one thing which unites them, according to Comtec Director Sophie Howe is their continued confidence and determination to drive their own future success, regardless of the political and economic climate. Sophie said: “It is very exciting to see such positive performance across the sector. Research shows that organisations which have made the conscious decision to invest in professional language services achieve a far higher export to turnover ratio. “We are, therefore, delighted to see that the value of translation services in maximising export sales is being recognised by such a broad cross section of our manufacturing clients.” One such client which is using translation services to further its success is global manufacturer of digital coding and printing technologies, Domino Printing Sciences Group. Supplying its coding and marking solutions to 120 countries worldwide, the ability to develop product and marketing materials across a broad range of languages is key for this Cambridge headquartered global organisation.

Distribution marketing manager for Domino, Sheila Richardson, said: “We have been working with Comtec for four years and have been very pleased with their services. They really do operate as an extension of our team and we look forward to working alongside them on many more successful launches moving forward.” Partnership working has also been key for another of Comtec’s manufacturing clients, Tool Connection. Based in Southam, the automotive tool specialist operates five brands across multiple European markets and has drawn on the translation expertise of Comtec to support the expansion of its international export business. Marketing manager for Tool Connection, Wendy Braybrook, said: “We have a very aggressive marketing strategy with the launch of approximately 40 new products across our portfolio of brands every month. “Comtec are instrumental in supporting those launches, not only translating very technical content into 10 different languages but also working as an extension of our inhouse design team by laying out the artwork in each language. “As we continue to expand the territories in which we operate, having recently added Poland, Russia, Romania and Hungary to our distribution network, the support of a quality and efficient translation company will only become more important.”

“Since Mr Burgis and Mr Bullock first got together in 1887 the firm has lived through many changes and events, as have the Waterloo Place buildings since their construction in 1829. Between us we have a lot of history to look back on but we also plan to create even more in the future. “Having outgrown our previous office it seemed that our only option was to move out of the town centre so when the opportunity to move back to Waterloo Place presented itself we were delighted. The building provides us with modern working facilities whilst still retaining a number of period architectural features and has enabled us to remain in a prime location in the town centre. The historical connection to the location was an added bonus and it would be good to think that the firm might remain here for another 130 years.”

Left Rachel Menary, right, Joy May

Company added to training register Are you looking to take on new enthusiastic team members or would you like your existing staff to develop their skills? Then Apprenticeships may provide you with the training solution you are looking for. With effect from May 2017, the Government has introduced a Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP). The scheme has been designed to help you to find the right Apprentice for your business needs and your approved training provider will give you assurance that they have the capacity and capability to deliver good quality apprenticeship training. Kenilworth-based Absolute Works has been advised that they have met the requirements of this new Government scheme and have been added to the UK Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers. Joy May, Chief Executive, at Absolute Works, said: “This is excellent news for our growing business. Our team will guide businesses through the process of taking on Apprentices, from accessing funding to understanding what is expected during the training period. “We will provide tailored programmes, flexible training and we will help with the recruitment process. Our aim is to ensure that employers make the most of the Apprenticeship Programme.”

Sarah Perry announced as winner of FirstPro 2017 Sarah Perry, Managing Partner of Wright Hassall Solicitors, was named FirstPro 2017, at a gala dinner held at the Ricoh Arena. Michael Durkin, Relationship Director at Santander and chair of Coventry & Warwickshire First, said: “With a strong national reputation and leading a key firm in Coventry and (L to R) Tim Powell, Vangeya Mhone Murphy, Michael Durkin, Warwickshire, Sarah is an Sarah Perry, Deborah Austin, Jason Strain and Mark Lewis incredibly worthy winner. She embodies the professional Investment Readiness Programme, helped services capabilities of our region deliver the Advanced Growth Fund and has and as such is an excellent ambassador been personally involved in the delivery to for our sector.” support more than 650 SMEs. As one of only eight female managing The category winners are: partners of law firms in England, Sarah has Legal Professional: been identified as a ‘Hot 100’ lawyer by the Sarah Perry, Wright Hassall Solicitors industry leading publication, The Lawyer. (Legal Professional Highly Commended: Tim Powell, one of the region’s leading Mark Lewis, Lodders Solicitors) business consultants, was recognised for Finance & Banking Professional: his Outstanding Contribution to business in Deborah Austin, Dafferns Chartered Coventry and Warwickshire. Accountants He began his career in the banking sector, Business Services (including Property) supporting SMEs. Then, as Managing Professional: Jason Strain, Director of DBM Direct, he grew the Harrison Beale & Owen Financial Services company from six people and a turnover of £275,000 to 22 people and a turnover of Young Professional: £2.2 million. He went on to join Warwick Vangeya Mhone Murphy, University Science Park to deliver a pilot Shakespeare Martineau


Area Focus: North Warwickshire

New vision for Warwickshire towns outlined

Day is judged a success Venues and event organisers had the chance to quiz agents and build better connections at the Meetings Industry Association (mia)’s biannual Agents Day. Taking place at Mythe Barn in Leicestershire, the sell-out event was attended by 100 event professionals from across the country as well as 15 agents, representing Capita Travel and Events, Pandora Events, tobook Ltd, arrangeMY, Sundial SOS, Off Limits, Inntel, HRG and Primary Live. The day started with an interactive Q&A session hosted by Petra Clayton of Custard Communications, giving guests the chance to put their burning questions to the panel of agents. Over lunch, agents circulated between tables to meet with as many venue representatives as possible, before moving onto the afternoon’s team building activity. The delegates took part in the soap box racing challenge, provided by Garlands Corporate, gathering materials to build their cars before taking part in a time-trial race. Sian Sayward from Inntel took part in the Agents Day and sat on the panel for the Q&A. Speaking after the event, Sian said: “I thought the session was the best one yet. I enjoyed being involved in the panel session very much and found that although I was there to answer questions from the venues – which proved very interesting and worthwhile in itself – I also gained valuable insight from the other agents involved, all of which I can take back to the business. “ Jane Longhurst, chief executive of the mia, said: “The day provided an excellent opportunity for venues and agents to network and discuss potential future partnerships, and the mia is proud to help facilitate that for its members.”

Warwickshire County Council was joined by local businesses and town centre experts at a conference designed to help boost Warwickshire’s towns. The ‘Warwickshire Together’ conference took place at the Holiday Inn, Kenilworth and focused on a range of initiatives to help invigorate the region’s town centres in the face of increasing competition from the internet and out of town shopping. A key project launched at the conference is a new collaboration between Warwickshire County Council and a crowdfunding platform Spacehive. Through the platform, the County Council is providing a new £134,000 capital fund to support civic projects in Warwickshire’s Towns.

Delegates heard about how the crowdfunding platform could be used to encourage town centre communities to generate and fund civic initiatives that they would like to see in their town centres. Aoife Herr of Spacehive spoke about how the platform has helped to transform other town centres in the country with projects that have generated footfall in the towns. Initiatives are paid for by contributions from the public, businesses and agencies including local authorities where pledges are made via Spacehive. She said: "A crowdfunding idea has to have local appeal and be accessible if it is to succeed. It empowers people to make change in their area. It creates the kind of atmosphere that will make a town centre sustainable."

Delegates heard from a number of experts including Ojay McDonald, Head of Public Policy for the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM); Xav Anderson of Clockwork City, specialists in helping businesses increase their profits through better online promotion and effective use of social media; Alison Read of Decisions by Design, whose expertise has been used by large multinational firms and small independent retailers to become more successful; and Dr Fiona EllisChadwick, Senior Lecturer in Retail at Loughborough University. One of the Guest Speakers, Councillor Johnny Hayes MBE, from York City Council, inspired delegates with the story of Bishopthorpe Road, known as ‘Bishy Road’ with his story behind the transformation of an otherwise unassuming, run down high street. Winner of ‘The Great British High Street 2015’, Bishopthorpe Road has now become a hive of popular independent businesses that brings personality and local charm to what is now a destination in its own right. The Warwickshire Together conference was organised by the County Council’s Town Centres and Tourism Team dedicated to supporting economic growth in town centres. The team has set up the Warwickshire Towns Network which consists of representatives from local authorities, Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), and town centre business partnerships, to share ideas and develop joint initiatives to help support each other.

Solar power specialist sees internet speeds light up

A Nuneaton solar power specialist has reported a ‘significant and immediate’ improvement in internet connectivity since making the switch to national ISP WarwickNet. Based at Hemdale Business Park, SolaX Power Europe manufactures solar inverters and battery storage systems which are distributed worldwide to installers of renewable energy solutions. Craig Woollaston, global product manager at SolaX, said: “Our head office is in China, so a reliable, high-speed internet connection is vital for our video conferencing and cloud-based services. “Our new connection is a complete contrast to the poor service we were previously receiving and is 100 per cent reliable.”


SolaX was previously experiencing slow and unreliable download speeds as low as just 1 Mbit/s – a problem which was detrimental to the business and made communications with global partners virtually impossible. Francis Parker, business development manager at WarwickNet, based in Coventry, said: “We specialise in connecting businesses in out-of-town areas and see these kinds of problems far too often. “It is completely unacceptable for organisations such as SolaX which operate internationally to be experiencing download speeds of just 1 Mbit/s, so we’re thrilled to have been able to offer a solution.”

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Area Focus: South Warwickshire

Helping sufferers get through health difficulties By Greg Sutcliffe of Miromedia

For many years before 2016, the Bladder and Bowel Foundation provided an invaluable support to many of those suffering from bladder or bowel conditions, including our Community Director Blake Beckford. Unfortunately, in the Summer of 2016, the Bladder and Bowel Foundation had to close its doors. However, thanks to Blake and his tenacious desire to give back to the community, the Bladder and Bowel Community was founded from the ashes of its previous incarnation, and a resource that reaches hundreds of thousands of people every month was given a lifeline. The partnership between the Bladder & Bowel Community and Miromedia spans a number of years, through working relationships, but also through several fundraising efforts.

So when Blake approached Miromedia asking how best to revive the website, we saw an opportunity to not only rescue a vital resource, but to invest on behalf of the bladder and bowel community, and make sure that the website was the go to place for all stakeholders whether patients, carers, or clinicians Since the amalgamation of Miromedia and the B&BC into an ‘in-house’ relationship, the Community and website have gone from strength to strength. The dedication and effort that has gone into this regeneration has been astounding. Our team has worked tirelessly, but the driving force behind us has been the awe-inspiring Blake Beckford, backed up by Ian Hancock, Director at Miromedia. Deservedly, this humbling passion for making a difference was identified at the Touch FM Pride of Stratford Awards, where Blake and Ian were awarded Businessmen of the Year. Sadly, Blake was in hospital for surgery at the time of the ceremony, but Ian summarised the sentiment of the whole team behind the B&BC in his acceptance speech, where he described Blake as an unrelenting source of inspiration At the centre of it all is our website this is the first point of contact that people have with our Community. We receive a

staggering 180,000 visitors to the website each month - an increase of 39% since we took ownership of the site. With approximately 14 million people in the UK suffering from some form of bladder and bowel condition in the UK, it’s our aim to be the place for people to come and find information. Beyond information, however, we want to be able to help in a tangible way. There’s not much, if any, joy in being diagnosed with a bladder or bowel affliction. We want to be able to create a new equilibrium between the person being diagnosed, and the condition they suffer with. We therefore create partnerships with businesses that we think offer products that can help people in living their day-to-day lives. One such example is our partnership with Silentnight. We all know sleep is imperative to health, so we thought that 20% off a new mattress and/or bed might help our Community Members sleep more soundly. Our other partners include a home-delivery health screening company, an online doctors consultancy, a vehicle finance company, nationally recognised clinical negligence lawyers, a fresh food produce delivery service, and an insurance company. If you believe your business could offer value to our highly engaged and interested audience, please get in touch with us.

Apprentices celebrated at graduation ceremony Apprentices, employers, family and friends celebrated National Apprenticeship Week 2017 at WCG’s Apprenticeship Graduation and Celebration of Awards ceremony at Old Shire Hall, Warwick. The apprentices were celebrating completing a range of apprenticeships from engineering and social media to horticulture and welding at businesses large and small, local and national. The ceremony began with a drinks reception at the Grade 1 listed Old Shire Hall before guest of honour, Chris White MP, gave a keynote speech. The apprentices then took to the stage to receive their official scrolls from WCG Group Principal and CEO, Angela Joyce. Awards were also made to Outstanding Apprentices in three industry sectors. • Colin Hankinson, Apprentice in Engineering Maintenance for DHL Supply Chain won the award for Outstanding Apprentice in Engineering and Construction

• Adam Barnes, Apprentice in Production Horticulture at Cotswold Garden Flowers won the award for Outstanding Apprentice in Land-based Industries • Ella Jackson, Apprentice in Business Administration at Robert Welch won the award for Outstanding Apprentice in Service Industries Mark Treadwell, 21 from Stratford-uponAvon, was one of the apprentices graduating, and also stepped in to organise the event when a colleague was taken ill. Mark completed his Level 3 Apprenticeship in Social Media, before securing a role as Event and Marketing Assistant at WCG. Adam Barnes, 27 from Worcester was celebrating graduating from his apprenticeship in production horticulture with Cotswold Garden Flowers and also won the Outstanding Apprentice Award for Land-based Industries. Ella Jackson, 20, from Stratford-upon-Avon won the Service Industries Outstanding

School project under way

(L to R) Mike Hawley (Bursar), Bennet Carr (Headmaster), Martin Gallagher and Site Manager Graham Hill

Work is under way on a major new building at a school in Stratford-upon-Avon. Deeley Construction, part of the Coventry-based Deeley Group, is creating a new £1.5 million threestorey building at King Edward VI School that will include new classrooms, a library, a sixth form study and IT suites. The company is also converting two classrooms in the main building into laboratories and the

project will see the new facilities opened in the autumn. Martin Gallagher, managing director of Deeley Construction, said: “It’s been a positive start to 2017 for Deeley Construction and we are winning a great deal of repeat work as well as projects such as this where it is for a new client at competitive tender.” Bennet Carr, Headmaster, King Edward VI School, said: “This is a vital development in the evolution of the School.”

Apprentice Award. She completed her Level 2 Apprenticeship in Business Administration with Robert Welch Design in Chipping Campden. Chris White MP said: “I will continue to support such a fantastic institution and wish all those that have completed an apprenticeship every success in their future roles. They can be justifiably proud of their achievement.”

Warwick Conferences celebrates Silver award at the M&IT Awards Warwick Conferences is celebrating another year of success at the Meetings & Incentive Travel (M&IT) Awards 2017, after picking up the Silver award for Best Academic Venue. The collection of meeting venues based on the University of Warwick campus was awarded the Silver award in a category which also featured Imago, Oxford University, Robinson College Cambridge, The Moller Centre and the University of Manchester Conferences and Venues. Warwick Conferences was also shortlisted in the Best UK Management Training Centre and Best Value for Money Conference Venue categories. The awards are voted for by event organisers and readers of M&IT magazine with this year’s ceremony taking place at Battersea Evolution and attended

by more than 1,000 meetings and events professionals to reward excellence in service. Rachael Bartlett, Head of Sales and Marketing at Warwick Conferences, said: “It is an honour to receive this award, especially as it is voted for by our customers who have first-hand experience of our facilities.”

It’s cheers all round as agency Director leads the way in campaign to save village pub Leader Communications Client Services Director Lucy Boyes is the toast of her village after playing a leading role in a campaign to save their local pub from closure. As the Communications Lead for The New Inn Salvation Squad – the steering group assembled to save the pub – Lucy has been able to bring her 20 years of marketing expertise into play to raise the profile of the campaign to save the New Inn pub in Norton Lindsey, Warwickshire. Having been first established as a coaching inn in 1750, The New Inn ‘s near 270 year existence came under threat in July last year, when its owners Enterprise Inns put it up for sale on the open market exposing the pub to developer interest. The prospect of sale led Norton Lindsey residents to form the Salvation Squad, with a plan to purchase the pub for £312,500 having agreed the price with the pub’s owners. An investment share offer, crowdfunding campaign and even forming a choir to record their own version of the Christmas classic ‘The Holly and The Ivy’ were all part of the fundraising activities launched by the Salvation Squad as they set set out to achieve their target. Lucy in her role as Communications Team Leader helped create the identity, development and design of a range of marketing collateral which included the Salvation Squad website, generating publicity and raising the profile of the campaign through traditional print, broadcast and social media. She secured high profile coverage in local and regional print and broadcast media including the Coventry Telegraph, ITV Central News, BBC Coventry and Warwickshire and ITV Tonight. Lucy said: "The vision all along has been to not only save the pub but to turn it into a thriving hub for the local community. “It’s been a really positive experience to use my design and communication skills for such a worthy campaign, ensuring that the village community has a 'hub’ for all to enjoy today and for the future.” James Holden, Managing Director of Leader Communications, said: "Lucy and the whole Salvation Squad team have worked really hard to secure a key resource for the village community. The whole area owes them a very big thank you indeed.”


Area Focus: Rugby

Hefty fines for businesses if security is not up to standard

Darren Webb, Stepnell joiner helps family give disabled daughter her independence

In an article for Computer Weekly, Jeremy King, International Director at the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) said “Companies, both large and small, need to act now and start putting in place robust standards and procedures to counter the cyber security threat, or face the prospect of paying astronomical costs in regulatory fines and reputational harm to their brand.” Coventry and Warwickshire businesses accepting card payments have a duty of care to be PCI compliant, currently compliance is best practise, but from 1 February 2018 compliance will be mandatory. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI

DSS) applies to businesses of all sizes and is in place to protect cardholder data. If your business takes card payments and is the victim of a security breach after 1 February 2018 you will face a substantial fine and security breaches are becoming more commonplace. In 2015 the UK Government’s information security breaches survey reported that 90% of large organisations and 74% of SMEs were a victim of a security breach. This would equate to an estimated total of £1.4bn in regulatory fines. To become PCI Compliant your business needs to demonstrate your IT networks (both internal and internet connections) are secure and that you have the correct defences in

place to protect cardholder data. HBT Communications, Coventry’s leading IT and Telecoms supplier, provides a complimentary PCI compliance review and will design a security solution to ensure your business meets the required regulations and avoids hefty penalties.

Stepnell joiner Practical Action wins prestigious global energy prize helps family give disabled daughter her independence Rugby-based joiner and Stepnell employee Darren Webb volunteered his services to help transform the home of a family in Bidford-on-Avon, featured in the BBC One series ‘DIY SOS: The Big Build’, to improve the independence of their disabled daughter Chloe. This episode of DIY SOS is now available to view on BBC iPlayer.

Rugby-based international development charity, Practical Action, has been awarded the Zayed Future Energy Prize in recognition of its pioneering approach to renewable energy. Chief Executive Paul Smith Lomas picked up the award during a presentation ceremony at the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2017, which recognises individuals and

Twenty-year old Chloe, who has Aspergers and Mastocytosis as well as other debilitating diseases, struggles to get around and access everyday items in the home. Darren volunteered as a design carpenter and was tasked with the job of helping the project team make two units as part of an accessible craft area for Chloe to house her art materials. He also assisted with the design and build of a bespoke Welsh dresser to accommodate a microwave and a fridge.

Locally-based construction company Stepnell has been appointed to carry out refurbishment work taking place through a major upgrade programme for Rugby’s Clock Towers Shopping Centre. Stepnell, a national construction and civil engineering business which has its head office in Lawford Road, Rugby, has started work on a significant contract to install new granite flooring throughout the shopping precinct, replace the fascias and panelling to all shop fronts, redecorate painted areas and replace the centre’s lighting with a brand-new energy-efficient LED lighting system. The work is due to be finished towards the end of October.

Other works to the property included the remodelling of the entire downstairs area to make it open plan, including the installation of a hoist and remote controlled doors to help Chloe to move around. The entire remodelling was completed within nine days. Darren said: “This was quite an emotional experience and I was really proud to be part of this local project. I’m a father to two young children and it really meant a lot to me to be able to contribute to giving Chloe a space where she can have some independence and enjoy being a part of the family.”


Paul Smith Lomas said, “At Practical Action, we are incredibly excited about being named a winner. We have the experience to know what the best sustainability solutions are, and the research to back that knowledge up. “Winning this award means that we are be able to demonstrate how renewable, off-grid energy, such as micro-hydro plants, solarpowered irrigation and even wind can transform not just single villages, but entire districts, thereby bringing about real change at a large scale” Established by the UAE government in 2008, the Zayed Future Energy Prize has recognised 57 pioneers from around the world and created a growing community, committed to finding solutions that will meet the challenges of climate change, energy security and the environment.

organisations that demonstrate impact, innovation, leadership and long-term vision. Dr Nawal Al-Hosany, Director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, said: “We welcome them to our international community of winners that are transforming the lives of hundreds of millions of people across the globe through advancements in renewable energy and sustainable development.” Judges said that Practical Action not only demonstrated the transformative effects of energy access through projects on the ground in Africa, Asia and Latin America, but also through changing the global approach to solving energy poverty, whether through increasing access to finance, improving market conditions for energy entrepreneurs or by convincing Governments to reduce subsidies to fossil fuels and large grid extensions.

Stepnell chosen to work on major upgrade The improvements, designed by architects IDP Group, form part of a large-scale programme of work by owners CT Properties who are transforming the Centre in Market Mall, giving the precinct a more modern look and making it a more attractive place to shop. Stepnell construction director Bill Haynes said: “As a Rugby-based company, it means a great deal to our team to be working on this major project in our home town. The Clock Towers Shopping Centre has a vital role in keeping the town centre vibrant and attractive to shoppers and we’re excited to be involved in helping create its brand-new look.” Stepnell has a strong record of delivering state-of-theart retail and commercial facilities for clients.”

Computer-generated artist’s impression showing the new-look Clock Towers Shopping Centre. Image courtesy of IDP Group.

Houlton’s first homes available as sales begin April saw a major milestone in the development of Houlton, as premium housebuilder Davidson’s Homes released the first phase of new homes for Rugby’s brand new community. A range of 3, 4 and 5 bedroom properties, designed with character and to a high specification, complement the heritage of Houlton and match the commitment to quality of master-developers Urban&Civic. Stephanie King, Sales Director for Davidson’s Homes said, “We’ve been inundated with enquiries about the homes at Houlton ever since we announced our plans to build here. There are options for first-time buyers as well as large executive-style homes.”

A number of reservations have already been taken, with homebuyers keen to take their ‘pick of the plots’. Details of the latest availability can be found by searching ‘Rugby’ at The Davidson’s Sales Centre is open at Houlton from Thursday to Monday, between 10.30am and 5.30pm. In addition to the new homes at Houlton, the first phase of the development has also seen extensive natural planting and the creation of wildlife habitat. Over the past year, three acres of wildflower grasslands and three kilometres of hedgerows have been added, alongside 15 acres of bespoke habitat to shelter great crested newts, curlews and owls.

More than 500 trees have been planted, among them the large, semi-mature specimens standing at the heart of Dollman Common. Two huge willows bordering the pond were the largest available in Europe, while 215 orchard trees have been added, beyond those planned for this stage. Over 300 more trees are scheduled for the coming months – half of them semimature stock – with a large area preserved for ridge and furrow farmland. A sense of open space will always be a cornerstone of Houlton living. Stay up to date with all the latest at or by signing up to the e-newsletter.


New training scheme is announced

The Construction Industry Training Board has announced that it will fund a new £600,000 programme to help hundreds of people to become qualified onsite training assessors. The Assessor Infrastructure project is designed to increase the number of on-site training assessors available across Great Britain. This will increase the number of construction workers holding nationally-recognised qualifications. On-site training assessments are targeted at construction workers who have the skills, experience and training but no formal qualifications. Assessors visit construction sites to confirm workers’ skills and test their ability in the workplace and, if successful, award them a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) or Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ). The new programme follows the results of research undertaken by CITB last year in which small and micro-sized construction firms highlighted an increasing need for on-site training assessors. Richard Miller, Assessment & Verification Manager at CITB, said: “Small and micro-sized firms have told us they need on-site training assessors to help qualify more construction workers across the UK. The Assessor Infrastructure project will give workers with the right skills and experience the opportunity to become qualified and get the recognition they deserve without being away from the job.”

West Midlands on road to construction jobs and growth A boom in infrastructure projects is set to keep output in the West Midlands construction industry growing over the next five years, according to a report. The forecast from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) says that road and rail projects will see output in the infrastructure sector soaring by more than 10% each year over the 2017-2021 period. The massive £11 billion High Speed 2 rail link will make a substantial contribution to the gain, says CITB’s Construction Skills Network report. A £1.8bn road improvement programme will also give the sector a boost, with works including the £335m motorway upgrades to the M6. The CITB says that these big projects mean that overall construction output is forecast to grow at an annual average rate of 1.3% per year for the next five years, with 14,000 jobs created. Its report forecasts that the most in-demand roles in the West Midlands construction sector between 2017-21 include carpenters, electricians, and construction process managers (+1,550). There will also be significant demand for scaffolders, construction trades supervisors, labourers and surveyors. One of our region's companies the Deeley Group - which specialises in construction and property development – has been in business for more than eight decades in Coventry and Warwickshire. Not only does that provide the company with a fine pedigree in all sectors of industry but also allows it to be an accurate judge of the area’s economy. The Deeley Group is currently undertaking projects for HORIBA MIRA in the very north of the county through to a new 82-bed private rental apartment scheme for Orbit in Stratford-upon-Avon – with lots in between. That not only underlines the expertise of the Deeley Group but, according to managing director Peter Deeley, shows that industry in Coventry and Warwickshire is doing well. He said: “Economically we are the home to a myriad of successful companies and certainly our advanced manufacturing and engineering firms – many involved in automotive – are leading the way. “That has been fuelled by several factors. Clearly expanding markets have played a part, but Jaguar Land Rover is now a global brand and has clearly upped its game in terms of design, engineering and build quality. “With Aston Martin, Geely, BMW and HORIBA MIRA – and many of their supply chain – also in Coventry and Warwickshire, we are undoubtedly a global force in that sector and that fuels inward investment and, consequently, development.”

Construction Industry comments: •


The construction sector continues to be an active market, with competition remaining high on tendered projects. The CPA (Construction Products Association) has forecast a mixed picture for Construction in 2017 and 2018 due to the impact of uncertainty…. ….however a West Midlands infrastructure boom is set to keep the region’s construction output growing over the next five years. Large projects such as HS2 and upgrades to the M6 mean overall construction output is forecast to grow at an annual average rate of 1.3% per year for the next five years, with 14,000 jobs created. The public non-housing sector is forecast to grow at an annual average rate of 3.6% in the short-term. A number of large projects will support expansion including the £500m Birmingham University campus redevelopment and a £37m science and health building at Coventry University, due for completion this year.

Warwick Hall, the new 1,000-seat theatre at the centre of the Warwick School campus

Deeley has performed strongly in the education sector in recent years undertaking projects for both The University of Warwick and Coventry University, Warwick School, Warwickshire College Group and various academies. One project – the creation of student accommodation at Warwickshire College Group’s Royal Leamington Spa College campus – only came to fruition because of Deeley’s contacts and experience in dealing with pension and investment funds. Peter added: “The college was looking to a development team in the private sector to fund such a scale of operation. So we put forward a structured package of funding, designing and building of the units. After talks with the college, the fund we introduced purchased 100 existing student units and we are building 100 now. “So the funder will end with an investment of 200 student units in a very good location in the centre of Leamington, where property values make that an attractive investment proposition. “The significance is that it really shows what local companies can provide when it comes to need. In short, if you have the requirement for a new building or housing there are always ways of providing funding and the ability to deliver. “It is a specialised area but we understand the way the funds need to be structured. We believe we have an overall view of development that allows us to structure a package so all requirements are met. The college has its student accommodation, Deeley Construction is completing a sizeable building contract and the funder has a good investment.” The CITB public non-housing sector is forecast to grow at an annual average rate of 3.6% in the short-term. A number of large projects will support expansion including the £500m Birmingham University campus redevelopment

and a £37m science and health building at Coventry University, due for completion this year, says the CITB. Lorraine Gregory, CITB Partnerships Manager for the West Midlands, said: “Although there is economic uncertainty, the West Midlands construction sector is set for growth, particularly in infrastructure. “The outlook is positive because of a number of major projects either under way or in the pipeline. The biggest is HS2 which will provide multiple spin-offs in housing, business and recruitment opportunities. “These projects and the job opportunities contractors are telling us about means this is a very good time to pursue a career in the construction industry. “CITB will continue working with employers to attract new talent into the construction industry and to train them for rewarding careers in the sector.”

Who are the Deeley Group? The Deeley Group is an award-winning construction and development company, based in the Coventry and operating across the UK for 80 years, delivering lasting value to users and clients. Our approach brings total commitment to achieving those promises made at the time of initial discussions – to bring contracts to a satisfactory conclusion on time and on budget. Our success is reflected in the volume of repeat business from satisfied customers who have appreciated our efforts to make business relationships lasting, pleasant, rewarding and successful.

Deeley Group current activity: • • •

• •

To maintain our growth we continue to nurture existing relationships with key clients. We are currently delivering more than £46 million of projects in the Coventry & Warwickshire area alone We are leading in the following sectors: • residential: design & build of an 82-bed key worker apartment scheme in Stratford-upon-Avon and 147 houses in Leamington Spa both for Orbit and a 100-bed student for Warwickshire College Group in Leamington Spa • commercial: we have recently delivered Holland & Barrett's 52,000 sq. ft. extension to their International Headquarters in Nuneaton • industrial: a new £5 million engineering hub and bus depot has been handed over to Stagecoach in Warwick Peter Deeley, • education: construction of a £1.5 million teaching block and library for MD Deeley Group King Edward VI School in Stratford-upon-Avon has begun We can offer our clients a bespoke package and deliver an 'end to end' solution by sourcing land, acquiring funding and providing a design & build service for homes and buildings. Deeley are as yet to see any significant impact from Brexit, however the Construction Industry must continue to promote itself to the future generations. With potentially fewer workers arriving from the EU, we must encourage schools and colleges to promote what is an excellent and rewarding industry to pupils to ensure we do not see a skills gap which stunts our industry’s growth. Coventry & Warwickshire has two universities (Coventry and Warwick) who are investing heavily into their campuses and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Focus on Conference and Event Venues

Conference venues across Coventry and Warwickshire continue to thrive

The continuing confidence in the economy despite all the turbulence in the world suggests that 2017 could be a good year for the Midlands conference, exhibitions and events sector. Venues across the region are constantly coming up with new and improved ways of staging events which linger long in the minds of those who attend them. From the use of technology ranging from lighting and interactive display boards to staging events in unusual and landmark buildings, the sector is showing itself to be as competitive as ever.


The Midlands conference, exhibitions and events sector has always been resilient, even during economic downturns, thanks to the ability of providers to constantly try out new things while never losing touch with the needs of clients, namely the desire to network and develop personal relationships with their clients. Coventry and Warwickshire has a particularly buoyant events sector with plenty of fine venues from hotels and conference centres, historic buildings to riverside attractions. One trend increasingly being observed is the arrival in the market of venues which were not always considered for such events.

Hotels and business centres have always hosted conferences and exhibitions but increasingly other venues are becoming involved. From sports stadiums to cathedrals and churches, such venues offer something a little different in terms of visitor experience and enrich the sector. Many companies can see the value in taking a client to an event like a football or cricket match or day at the races or maybe a concert, events which allow for mixing in a relaxed atmosphere. And it’s a big market both for the Midlands and the wider UK PLC. Recent research into the UK’s conference and business events sector revealed that, in 2015, more business events were held at UK venues than the previous year. The UK Conference and Meeting Survey 2016, produced by UKCAMS, estimated that the sector nationally was worth an estimated £19.2 billion in venue and destination direct spend in 2015.

The findings showed that the overall number of business events in 2015 (an estimated 1.34 million) rose by 600,000 compared with the 2014 figure of 1.28 million. However, a decrease in the average size of events (70 delegates per event as against 81 in 2014) led to a fall of 10 million in the total number of delegates, with 94.1 million delegates generating approximately 144 million business event days in 2015. The average event duration was 1.5 days, although most events (67 per cent) lasted a day or less. Average duration varied from 1.4 days for non-residential events to two days for residential events. According to the authors, there is good cause for continuing optimism in the market, and to believe that growth is possible, which was reflected in sustained levels of investment by venues. The proportion of venues investing more than £500,000 was up on 2013 and 2014 levels, with purpose-built convention centres being the heaviest investors.

“Venues across the region are constantly coming up with new and improved ways of staging events which linger long in the minds of those who attend them.”

Focus on Conference and Event Venues

Coventry – right at the heart of it

If you want your business right at the very heart of it all – just take a trip to Coventry and Warwickshire. The dynamic destination is a unique, vibrant and bustling region ideally suited for conferences, events and business get-togethers.

The central location is a great plus for business, with Birmingham right on the doorstep, London just an hour away by train and fantastic road, rail and air links that bring the rest of the country within easy reach.

The region is perfectly suited to meet a whole variety of business and conference needs and make sure your delegates have an amazing experience. There are inner city venues and boutique settings that lie in beautiful countryside alongside world famous attractions ready to cater for events of all sizes. And they don’t come much bigger than the Ricoh Arena - a hub of sport, business and entertainment, with over 80 versatile conference and exhibition suites. The Arena has 20,000 square metres of flexible event space, including the Premier Lounge, the Midlands’ largest 1,000 seat column-free conference and banqueting suite, and the sound-proofed Ericsson Exhibition Hall.

It also boasts an onsite Grosvenor Casino, a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, 2,000 car parking spaces and even its own train station. In the centre of Coventry, Fargo Village – inspired by the Camden and Brick Lane areas of London – and Coventry Transport Museum are among a wide range of venues, with more being added all the time. At CoventryConferences at Coventry University’s Technology Park, event organisers have a choice of more than 30 multi-functional spaces in a perfect environment designed to inspire innovation. And the Manufacturing Technology Centre at nearby Ansty offers meeting rooms, exhibition spaces and lecture theatres, with the latest technology and a skilled team on hand. If your tastes are a little more historic, the majestic Coombe Abbey has a 500-seater marquee and a range of beautiful meeting rooms – as well as being one of the region’s many fantastic hotels that provide a perfect place to rest after a hard day’s work. And if your delegates do get some spare time, they won’t be lost for things to see and do – from the history of Shakespeare and Lady Godiva to top level sport, big name concerts and so much more. And there’s even more to come. A new-look business district called Friargate is being created; there are plans for a major new shopping centre and water park; and the rail station is in line for £89m of improvements. So, whether you’re travelling by train, flying in to Birmingham Airport, or using one of the many motorways and main roads that serve our region, call in and take a look for yourself – you’ll be guaranteed a warm welcome. There’s so much on offer for any business or conference organiser – and it’s getting better all the time!

For further information contact Conference Coventry and Warwickshire on 024 7683 1385 / 2758, at or visit

“Whether you’re travelling by train, flying in to Birmingham Airport, or using one of the many motorways and main roads that serve our region, call in and take a look for yourself – you’ll be guaranteed a warm welcome.”


Focus on Conference and Event Venues

The Coventry and Warwickshire region has the hallmarks of a top event destination, with great locations. Whatever your budget or requirements, formal or informal, historic or modern Coventry and Warwickshire has some world class offerings to choose from.

Coombe Abbey Hotel

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Coombe Abbey Hotel is set in the tranquil Warwickshire countryside. With 500 acres of parkland, formal gardens and a peaceful lake, you can explore the outdoors and then retire to our restaurant, bar or relax back in your bedchamber. Experience a touch of something different, with candlelit corridors, medieval entertainment, four poster beds, individually designed bedchambers, and more. With 119 rooms and wedding, conference and banqueting facilities, you can stay with us for a relaxing weekend away or celebrate the most special of occasions. The history, charm and ambience of Coombe Abbey makes every visit one to remember. For more information about Coombe Abbey, please visit or call 02476 450 450.

Some of the best are featured here: Compton Verney

Looking for an inspirational venue for your corporate event? Set in the heart of the Warwickshire countryside, Compton Verney’s stunning Georgian mansion and 'Capability' Brown landscape provides a versatile location suitable for meetings, product launches and gala events of all sizes. An award-winning art gallery, we offer a choice of beautiful rooms and gallery space all of which can be dressed and equipped to meet your needs by our dedicated staff. Whether you’re planning a stimulating away day or a sumptuous corporate reception for 350 guests, Compton Verney is the perfect location for a memorable event. Contact our experienced events team. T: 01926 645 521 E: W: Compton Verney, CV35 9HZ. 9 miles east of Stratford-upon-Avon and 6 miles from the M40


Focus on Conference and Event Venues DBPoloClub

Dallas Burston Polo Club Stoneythorpe Estate Southam Warwickshire CV47 2DL

01926 811 111

QEII Jubilee Marquee

IXL Events Centre

This light and spacious

room can cater for up to

300 guests in theatre style

and 250 guests in banquet

style. Flexible, functional,

and ready for use.

The Drawing Room

With a capacity of 150 standing guests, the

Millstone Hare’s upstairs

drawing room is perfect for smaller, more

intimate functions.

IXL Events Ltd

The magnificent IXL Events Centre is the largest onsite multipurpose venue offering an immensely versatile space for up to 3,000 standing guests, 750 in banquet style and 800 theatre style. 4 lounges provide ample space for guests to enjoy welcome drinks and refreshment breaks. The wrap-around balcony offers panoramic views of the Club and surroundings.

COVENTRY CENTRAL HALL 8 5 th An n i ve rs a r y 1 9 3 2 - 2 0 1 7

Conferences • Live Events • Exhibitions • Meetings Adaptable space from our lounge suite to our 730 seater Main Hall theatre. New hotdesk service launching end of June.

Suite of 8 hot desks available for hire - £10 for half day hire, £60 for 5 days flexible booking and £150 for a dedicated desk. We also offer a virtual office with post forwarding and call answering. C o v e n tr y C e n tr a l H a l l , Wa r w i c k L a n e , C o v e n tr y C V1 2 H A b o o ki n g s @ co v e n try ce n tr a l h a l l .co .u k 024 7625 2410 w w v e n tr yce n tr a l h a l l .c o .u k 40

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Focus on Conference and Event Venues Conference Coventry & Warwickshire

The size of our venue gives us the opportunity to seat up to 730 people in a theatre style, 180 in a banquet style or host up to 33 exhibition stands. Coventry Central Hall is also proud to launch our new hotdesk service. Details can be provided on request. 024 7622 3564

Dallas Burston Polo Club

Coventry and Warwickshire is an established conference, business and event destination in the very heart of the country. Known as a global leader in innovation, technology, enterprise and learning, the region is perfect for business. Just an hour from London by train and at the centre of the motorway network, we have an incredible variety of high quality residential and non-residential venues to suit any needs - and with beautiful countryside and fascinating history and heritage, you’re guaranteed a memorable stay that delivers great results. Call us now and we’ll make sure you find just what you’re looking for 024 7683 1385 / 2758, at or visit

Coventry Central Hall Coventry Central Hall has been a beacon and a major events venue for Coventry since our opening in 1932. We are situated in the heart of Coventry City Centre with a variety of spaces available for hire. Our dedicated team are there to assist you, and to ensure your event goes as planned. We always aim to be flexible and available, tailoring our services to your needs. We have a variety of spaces that range from intimate conferencing suites through to our exhibition halls and auditorium.

Whether you are looking for a top-notch venue to host a celebration, organising a high-profile conference or simply keen to learn a new sport, Dallas Burston Polo Club is the place to be. Nestled in the heart of England, our supreme destination venue in Southam is an award-winning facility that couples first-class service with a picturesque location.

an abundance of opportunities to add value to your event or conference through free parking, easy access, team building events and experiences, or simply good old fashioned fresh air. Telephone number: 02476 696969 Email: Weblink:

Nettle Hill

Home to many popular annual events in Warwickshire including the glamorous Ladies Day, the family favourite Polo in the Park and the prestigious Fine & Country, our Club is more than just one of the country’s most impressive sports facilities. Our 600-acre estate consists of indoor and outdoor event space, offering a choice of unique venues for conferences, team-building days, sporting spectacles and a whole range of live entertainment. For further information call 01926 811 111 email:

Nettle Hill is a top-tier venue based in 7 acres of countryside between Coventry, Birmingham and Leicester. With easy access from the M6, M1 and M69 you feel miles away from the city but yet you’re just around the corner. We try to keep the grounds as natural as possible to encourage the wildlife to grow all around the site, making Nettle Hill a beautiful retreat away from the busy city. We offer a range of rooms that will meet all your meeting and event requirements. Working with you to provide the right set-up for your event and giving you an experience you will never forget. With rooms varying in sizes for groups of 2- 100 to accommodate your individual business and meeting needs. With Day delegate rates starting from £25.00 and room hire from £60.00 we are able to cater for all budget requirements. For further information call 02476 621 899 or visit

NAEC Stoneleigh The NAEC Stoneleigh has quickly established a reputation for flexibility and service which is second to none. A number of purpose built indoor spaces can accommodate as few as 10 meeting delegates and as many as 3000, while exhibition organisers new and old return year after year to benefit from the unique mixture of indoor and outdoor space. Boasting in excess of 21000 square metres of indoor space and 800 acres of adaptable outdoor areas all serviced by private roads and hard-standing, there is


Focus on Conference and Event Venues

Small & friendly National Hunt track

• Perfect for workshops, conferences, meetings, exhibitions, weddings, dinners, dances. • Private box hire/Corporate hospitality - 10-250 people • Restaurants

• Sponsorship

Luddington Rd, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire CV37 9SE Stratford Racecourse is situated off the B439 Evesham Road out of Stratford-on-Avon.

... a little bit of something different … Me e t • D in e • R e la x • In flu e n c e

• 10 distinctive meeting and syndicate rooms • Free parking • Bar facilities • Free Wifi

• Stunning Warwickshire countryside view • Excellent customer service • Convenient location close to M6, M1, M69 & A45

Get in touch:- 02476 621 899

Nettle Hill Brinklow Road Ansty Coventry CV7 9JL

Tel: 01789 267949 Email:


Focus on Conference and Event Venues

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Ricoh Arena

Stratford Racecourse

The Ricoh Arena is a hub of sport, business and entertainment – home to Wasps Rugby Club and Netball Team; it has over 80 versatile suites for conference, exhibition, meetings and banqueting and includes the 6,000 sqm Ericsson Exhibition Hall. The 1,305sqm Premier Lounge is the Midlands’ largest 1,000 seat column- free conference and banqueting suite with natural daylight and great views over the stadium. We can cater for meetings from 10 to 6000 delegates. We are perfectly located with 75% of the UK’s population within a two hour ar drive. We have an onsite recently refurbished 121 bedroom DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Grosvenor Casino, perfect for post event entertainment, 2,000 car parking spaces and even our own train station. Find out more at

Stratford Racecourse is one of the country’s leading small jumps racecourses. You can escape the noise and bustle of the town and use our facilities for your conference, workshop, dinner dance, trade fair, outdoor event or wedding reception. Stratford Racecourse is host to 19 thrilling horseracing fixtures. Racing takes place regularly between March and November, with many top trainers and jockeys attending. The summer racedays attract family and groups who can picnic in the centre of the course. We have catering and free parking available. Our rates offer superb value. Room prices start from £50 + VAT per day. Prices for outdoor events depend upon the area used. All or part of the site is available for hire on non-racedays. For more information and prices please contact the Racecourse Office on 01789 267949 or email Di Conway on

A flexible event space The Warwickshire Exhibition Centre is set in picturesque countryside in |the heart of beautiful Warwickshire. The venue offers an adaptable canvas for a whole range of public and trade events as well as exclusive use – which is very rare at a venue ensuring a secure and confidential environment if that is required. In 2017 nearly 40,000 visitors will visit the centre across the 19 events being hosted. The current portfolio of events includes public exhibitions, trade and conference events, product launches and team building events. The 2,280m2 exhibition hall is one large flexible space set in 50 acres of land, offering both indoor and outdoor opportunities. The outdoor space can also be used for temporary structures and marquees if additional covered space is required for an event. Free visitor car parking for 2000+ vehicles is provided, as well as a dedicated exhibitor parking area for easy unloading/loading during events. Facilities include disability access, high standard toilet facilities, first aid room and organisers’ offices.

The centre is centrally located within the Midlands and is easily accessible from all major motorways and primary routes, as well as enjoying easy access to various rail services and Birmingham airport. If an overnight stay is required the Centre has a variety of local accommodation nearby, from guest houses to 4 star hotels all within a 5-mile radius. With a 200 seat, fully licensed mezzanine restaurant, a range of quality catering options are available. The Warwickshire Exhibition Centre (WEC) is managed by Meridienne Exhibitions Ltd, who have over 40 years’ event management experience across a wide range of events whether trade, public or corporate. Avril Spence, Event Manager at The Warwickshire Exhibition Centre, said: “Our event space is flexible and easily adapted and can comfortably host anything from a corporate showcase to a large-scale industry exhibition with 3000+ attendees. We are excited to be part of the Chamber of Commerce and look forward to meeting other members.”

Contact Details: Avril Spence, Event Manager, Warwickshire Exhibition Centre Tel: 01926 613887 Web: Email:

“In 2017 nearly 40,000 visitors will visit the centre across the 19 events being hosted. The current portfolio of events includes public exhibitions, trade and conference events, product launches and team building events.” 43

President & People

Bad books, office relations and military background inspires first novel

Doing business at a time of change Dear member, It’s fair to say that quite a lot has changed since I drafted my previous column for this magazine, although I will probably be saying that every time I come to write it – if a week is a long time in politics, two months are almost an age! The announcement of a snap General Election came very much out of the blue and follows on from the Mayor Elections that are taking place in this region. The Chamber, as always, remains non-partisan and a-political when it comes to elections. In fact, our stance is very much to urge our members to carry on with a ‘business-as-usual’ attitude. I think we have all become used to a degree of uncertainty over the past year with the EU referendum, Trump, hard or soft Brexit and now the General Election. Of course, business is not immune from the politics of the day and it’s vital that Government sets the best conditions possible for firms to grow. It is business that creates wealth, which creates jobs and taxes for vital public services. So, whatever the result of the election, a businessfriendly attitude is vital for the good of the UK. I mention Brexit, most businesses I have spoken to are reporting a positive previous six months and that air of confidence came out in the Chamber’s latest Quarterly Economic Survey, which we now work on in partnership with Warwickshire County Council. The survey showed that, in both manufacturing and the service sector, the majority of companies are looking ahead to the next year in confident mood. Of course, there are issues, which the Chamber continues to highlight with key decision makers at local, regional and national levels, such as employment land and skills, alongside red tape and taxation policy. One issue that I am hearing more and more is the effects of cyber-crime and companies not properly protecting themselves against it and, therefore, suffering a loss of data that has severely hindered their ability to do business on a day-to-day basis. I know there are many IT companies that are members of the Chamber and I’d urge firms of all shapes and sizes to ensure that they have the best procedures and defences in place and seek advice from professionals. If you are considering a new supplier – for IT or any other goods or services - the membership directory of the new Chamber website is now up and running. Companies should be using this to work with likeminded local business people, as there are so many great businesses out there in Coventry and Warwickshire that most of us just don’t know about. Another way of discovering new contacts is by attending some of the great events the Chamber puts on throughout the year – the recent Expo was a huge success and, also, our relaunched sector network is back up-and-running with a great many businesses attending. The manufacturing event at Aston Martin was particularly well-attended and it was great to hear from a company of that size that they are looking for new, local suppliers – again that’s another door your Chamber helps to open for you. Finally, I would like to wish Coventry every success with its bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021. The bid has gone in and we await the shortlist to be announced and, as the Chamber has backed it from very early on in the process, we are confident that Coventry has a great chance of winning. It would further highlight what a great region we live and work in!

When Domestic & General employee Andy Blackman finished a particularly poor book during his regular lunchtime reading sessions, it left him feeling assured he could do better. It was shortly afterwards he sat down to write his first novel. Andy, who works in I.T. desktop support at the appliance care company’s Bedworth office, said he felt inspired by the interactions he was having with his fellow employees, as well as his experiences from his 26-year military career, to write ‘For the Love of Grace.’ The book is the first in a trilogy of novels from the emerging author. He said: “I began writing my novel during lunch breaks at my day job at Domestic & General. It became a labour o f love and took me over a year to complete, but it was a fantastic experience and I am so pleased that I did it.

“Working in a large company which has offices and contact centres across the country, you encounter so many people with different backgrounds, interests and personalities, and I certainly took inspiration from that in a range of ways as I was writing. If I overheard an event taking place, I would jot the notes down and elaborate on them when I had a spare moment. “I finished the novel at the end of 2015 but it took a couple of months before I began to issue it to publishers. It took a bit of courage to do so because at that point, you are under the scrutiny of other people and their opinions rather than your own self-reflection. But they enjoyed it and it was released to the public.” Caroline Huggett, UK HR director at Domestic & General, said: “We are proud to have such a fantastic array of talented people across our company, from authors to singers and performers, and we are

pleased to support their external activities where we can.” Domestic & General provides appliance care services for UK and International clients and comprehensive product protection for more than 12 million customers. It has three further UK offices, in Brighton and Bedworth with its headquarters in Wimbledon. For the Love of Grace is available for purchase on Amazon.

BDO attracts five new partners in five weeks Accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LLP is on a recruitment spree, appointing five new partners since the start of the year and taking its new partner intake to 23 in the first half of its financial year. The new hires demonstrate the depth and breadth of BDO’s offering, with the

appointments across its tax, audit and advisory teams and in specialist areas including Public Interest Entities (PIEs), restructuring, forensics, cyber security and private equity. Included in the five new partners is Nick Toone who joins BDO’s Corporate Advisory team from a private equity firm, with a national remit and will have particular focus on manufacturing business of which there are a large number in Coventry and Warwickshire. Beginning his career in engineering before taking a role with McKinsey and then spending four years as a director at Midlands-based Prodrive,

Nick has operational experience across a wide range of sectors. Paul Eagland, managing partner at BDO, said: “Our ambitious, entrepreneuriallyminded clients want to work with likeminded, commercial advisers. These new appointments are reflective of our own growth intentions, as well as those of the businesses we work with.” BDO recently announced it was recruiting 350 new trainees across its school leaver and graduate programmes. The new intake will take the firm’s trainee total to 1,100 by the end of 2017.

Willsons new addition to their private client department

Willsons have welcomed Davina Charlton, a new Solicitor, to their private client department. Davina has been working in Wills and Probate/private client department for the

past four years and has just made the move to work in Nuneaton with Willsons Solicitors to bring her range of knowledge to the firm. Davina brings with her a great deal of experience in drafting Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and dealing with Estates. She said: “I feel that I am helping people at a sensitive time in their lives and I aim to try and make the matter easy and straightforward for them whilst offering much empathy as I possibly can.” Davina is a dementia friends champion, a trained volunteer who encourages others to make a positive difference to people living with dementia in their community.

Sophie shortlisted for award Sophie Howe, managing director at Comtec Translations has been announced as a finalist in the West Midlands IoD Director of the Year Awards 2017. She has been shortlisted in no less than three categories; Director of the Year, the IoD Young Director of the Year and Family Business Director of the Year. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on 22nd June.

Tara Goodwin (right) has joined Lodders’ Dispute Resolution team, headed by partner Jane Senior (left).

Lodders hires Dispute Resolution solicitor from international firm Midlands law firm Lodders has boosted its Dispute Resolution team with the appointment of property litigation specialist, Tara Goodwin. Tara joins the firm’s growing team, led by partner and dispute resolution expert Jane Senior, from global legal business DAC Beachcroft, which she joined in 2012, and was most recently a solicitor in its Birmingham-based Property Risk Solutions sector team. She previously worked in the Intellectual Property and Corporate Law departments at Nottingham firm, Freeth Cartwright LLP, and during the Legal Practice Course at Nottingham Law School, Tara was a member of the mentoring scheme of national law firm Browne Jacobson and completed a placement with niche licensing law firm Poppleston Allen.

John Nollett


Coventry & Warwickshire in business

President & People

Chris steps up to new role Connor’s the best bricklayer in the region

A Moreton Morrell College apprentice has followed in his father’s footsteps by winning the regional Guild of Bricklayers junior competition and becoming officially the best at bricklaying in the West Midlands. Connor Keyte, 17, from Southam is currently studying Level 2 Brickwork at Moreton Morrell College and is an apprentice at Noralle Country

Homes. He impressed the judges to beat the competitors from other West Midlands colleges to lift the trophy at the competition, which took place at Bourneville College. Brian Medcraft, a Level 2 Brickwork Apprentice from Rugby College came second in the same competition. The Guild of Bricklayers was founded in 1932 with the aims of promoting and maintaining the highest standards of craftsmanship in brickwork. The competition involved the students undertaking a five hour brickwork test which was then judged by industry professionals. Connor received a trophy and shield as well as a selection of equipment, and will go on to represent the West Midlands in the national final which takes place in Derby in June.

New job for Matt

(Left to right): Peter Harthill, Pat Moroney, Andrew Brazier, Andrew Cann and Peter Deeley welcome Matt Parry

A Midlands property company is setting its sights on expansion with a senior appointment. Matt Parry has joined Deeley Properties – part of the Coventry-based Deeley Group – as development manager and will be scouring the UK for new opportunities and sites for the company. Matt, formerly of King Sturge and RPS, has moved to the company from Cranford

Developments in Staffordshire. He said: “The company is looking to grow and that is where I come in. I believe there are some great opportunities but you have to get out there, get in front of people and grab those opportunities with both hands.” Peter Deeley, managing director of the Deeley Group, said: “We believe the market is showing strength and that is why we wanted to grow the development team.”

FEC Energy has appointed Chris Plackett as Managing Director to take over from Andrew Kneeshaw who, after 17 years in the post, is stepping down to take a general directorial role prior to his retirement later this year. Andrew said: “I’ve worked with Chris for more than 20 years and together we’ve structured a carefully planned handover to ensure that the business will continue with no interruption. I’m confident that Chris will lead the business to continued growth and success.” Chris started with FEC Energy in 1993 and has held the post of

Commercial Director for 11 years. Prior to that, he worked with ADAS and the energy utility Powergen. He said: “Andrew is handing over at a time when FEC Energy is in a very strong position and this is going to allow us to capitalise on the opportunities that the UK Energy market presents.”

Growing virtual finance service sparks new appointments A Midlands accountancy firm has made two senior appointments to meet demand from firms in the region for a service launched just over 12 months ago. Hannah Roe has been appointed as Virtual Finance Office manager at Leamington-based accountants and financial advisers Harrison Beale & Owen (HB&O), and will be responsible for growing the department and developing efficient processes. Gary Clamp, a former financial director, has been appointed as contractors manager within the Virtual Finance team, providing a specialist service to help contractors manage and plan

Gary Clamp and Hannah Roe

for tax payments and dividend allowances. HB&O’s Virtual Finance Office removes some of the administrative burdens of running a business by looking after aspects such as payroll, bookkeeping, cash flow forecasting, HR support and IT services using cloud accounting software. Since the launch of the service the service has expanded to eight staff members, and has consistently grown by 50 per cent month-on-month with clients ranging from microbusinesses to SMES and national chains.

Jemma James, Director of Commerce

analysing over 1.7 million tachograph charts every month. Our fleet management software solutions are widely used throughout the HGV and PSV sectors by over 4,000 customers, which not only contributes to a record financial result over the last 12 months but also has contributed to five years’ consecutive growth.” In July 2016 TruTac doubled the size of its existing premises in Westward Business Park, Coventry and launched a recruitment campaign to strengthen its fastexpanding team. Since then a number of key appointments in have been made in both IT and customer support. Technical Director, Chris Williams brings a long pedigree

Domestic & General, in Talbot Street Nottingham, was one of 11 contact centres across the country taking donation calls as part of the annual event on 24 March - which raised more than £71 million on the night. More than 120 volunteers from its Nottingham, Brighton and Bedworth call centres came together in Nottingham and worked throughout the evening and into the night taking generous pledge donations from people all over the country. Kirsty Peasley, Domestic & General head of communications and volunteer, said: “All of our volunteers, who included a mix of employees, friends, family and other businesses, did such an amazing job. We hope to take part in future call taking for Comic Relief, it has been brilliant.” Players from Nottingham Rugby Club attended to take some of the first calls and Marcellus Baz, who founded Switch Up in St Ann’s and was the winner of the BBC’s Sports Personality 2016, Unsung Hero Award, tried out some sparring with volunteers.

Senior role at Lodders for agricultural law specialist Agricultural and rural commercial property law specialist Catherine Strickland has joined law firm Lodders as Associate in the firm’s market-leading and top ranking Agriculture and Estates team. Catherine will work with farming and landowning clients, and joins Lodders after ten years with Thrings LLP, where she had been an Associate in the firm’s Agricultural Team, in particular developing an expertise acting for landowners and farmers entering into solar and other renewable energy projects.

Growth plan on track as software developer hits 26-year high Compliance and tachograph analysis experts TruTac have announced record results and five years’ consecutive growth as new personnel come aboard. TruTac’s Director of Commercial Operations and Marketing, Jemma James, said: “We are now

Contact Centre rings in donations for Comic Relief

of software development from senior positions with blue chip companies such as Barclays Bank, Capita and Mintec. He will oversee TruTac’s current and new technology strategy across the company’s target markets. In customer and helpdesk support, Luke Callen, new Support Supervisor, brings a wealth of knowledge in client relationshipbuilding and help-desk management; gained from positions at Warwick University and Warwick Business School. Also, joining the support and helpdesk team is Marilyn Venson, new Customer Support, having previously worked at Celisio UK and new Support Apprentice, Callum Poultney, who previously worked in the retail sector.

TruTac Managing Director Terry Ramsey said: “Our success lies in our people and these latest appointments will help bolster the high standard of compliance management and fleet control solutions we continue to provide.”

Terry Ramsey, Managing Director

Accolade for company Purple Monster Training were Class Winners in the ‘Stand Out Communications’ category at the Institute of Internal Communications Central and North Awards. The win was for a virtual conference they designed and facilitated, where they were able to demonstrate a tangible impact on engagement following the event, in spite of it being held entirely online. The awards ceremony was held at the National Railway Museum in York.

College welcomes new leadership Stratford-upon-Avon College has introduced changes to its senior management team. Principal Nicola Mannock has left, having worked tirelessly over the past few years to put the College on the map. The College welcomes Andrew Cropley as its new Principal and CEO. He has worked in senior positions at Sheffield College and Warwickshire College.


New Members

Welcome to new members Strategic Partner

Corporate Members

HSBC Bank Plc - Corporation Street branch 55 Corporation Street Coventry CV1 1QJ 03455 854084

Croner Group Limited Croner House Wheatfield Way Hinckley LE10 1YG 01455 897044

SCCU Ltd 7 Orchard Court Harry Wesern Road Binley Business Park Coventry CV3 2TQ 02476 936969

St. Modwen 17 High Street Longbridge Birmingham B31 2UQ 01216 471000

Santander Corporate Banking 1 Cornwall Street 3rd Floor Birmingham B3 2DX 07885 223642

St. James's Place Wealth Management St. James's Place House Central Boulevard Blyhe Valley Solihull B90 8AR 01212 330099

Stratford Racecourse Co Ltd Luddington Road Stratford-upon-avon CV37 9SE 01789 267949

52 Global Consulting Limited Cheylesmore House Coventry CV1 2WT 02477 719788 Action Coach Coventry & Warwickshire The Cottage Tanworth In Arden Solihull B94 5AR 07970 566390 Andmar Machinery Services Ltd 26 Slingsby Close Attleborough Fields Industrial Estate Nuneaton CV11 6RP 02476 375442 Annie Johnston Photography 2 The Crescent Cawston Bilton Rugby CV22 7FG 07973 518770 Axiom Cyber Intelligence 83 Mickelton Road Earlsdon Coventry CV5 6PP 07738 468011 Boost My Profit Ltd 19 Aqua Place Rugby CV21 1BY 07852 802914 Contract HRM Ltd The Conifers 43 Warwick Road Wellesbourne CV35 9NA 07736 281079 Creative Network Consulting Ltd CITIBASE 101 Lockhurst Lane Coventry CV6 5SF 02076 822836


Dave Sharpe Ltd t/a Business Success Magazine 12 Greville House Yeomanry Close Warwick CV34 4UJ 07917 833737 Energy Innovators Ltd 22 Little London Lane Newton CV23 0DT 07413 989777 Erskine Murray Ltd 51 Chaytor Drive Nuneaton CV10 9SU 07836 719358 Giga Solutions Ltd Enterprise House Courtaulds Way Coventry CV6 5NX 02476 666228 Ingram Marriott Consulting Limited 6 The Yard Bearley CV37 0SN 07939 362971 JC Cleaning Services Ltd 15 Allesley Old Road Coventry CV5 8BU 02477 672660 JK Landscapes Ltd t/a The New Driveway Co Coventry 15 Allesley Old Road Allesley Coventry CV5 8BU 02477 672660 Ludgate Business Finance Ltd Edmund House 12-22 Newhall Street Birmingham B3 3AS 08450 710854

MCS Corporate 10 Station Road Kenilworth CV8 1JJ 01926 512475 Milben Accounts 35-37 Ludgate Hill London EC4M 7JN 02036 375841 Minnie Von Coaching 336 Myton Road Leamington Spa CV31 3NY 01926 711496 Motors Pumps & Gearboxes UK Ltd Unit B14 Little Heath Industrial Estate Coventry CV6 7NB 02477 220635 Online Business School Ltd Shillingwood House Westwood Way Westwood Business Park Coventry CV4 8JZ 02476 465763 Passey Creative Word & Design Ltd 20 Nuthurst Crescent Ansley Village Nuneaton CV10 9PJ 07555 580722 Pillings & Co Ltd 69 Trenance Road Coventry CV7 9FJ 02476 735674

Q Networks Ltd Binley Innovation Centre Binley Business Park Harry Weston Road Coventry CV3 2TX 02476 889191 Saru Image Limited 42 Sheelin Crescent Nuneaton CV10 0HZ 07411 943157 Studio L Photography 1 Thoresby Place Cawston Rugby CV22 7TF 07746 909401 TFJ Private GP Services 40 Beverley Road Leamington Spa CV32 6PJ 07786 063345 Total PA Services Ltd 87 Tonbridge Road Whitley Coventry CV3 4AX 07570 795834 Virocast (UK) Ltd 62 Russell Terrace Leamington Spa CV31 1HE 07557 043632 Voluntary Action Coventry 29 Warwick Road Coventry CV1 2ES 02476 220381 Webpropol Ltd Lumonics House Valiant Office Suites Valley Dr Rugby CV21 1TQ 01788 833881

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Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Training & Events Chamber Member Price +VAT

Non-Member Price +VAT



Working with a Budget



Half day - am


Problem Solving Skills



Half day - pm


First Aid at Work (Accreditation for First Aiders)



3 full days

7, 14 , 21

Communicating Assertively



Half day - am


Complaint Handling



Half day - pm


Project Management - The Basics for Success



Full day


Preparing for Leadership - What it Takes to Lead



Full day


Microsoft Excel - Basic to Intermediate



Full day


Managing Change Successfully



Full day


Microsoft Excel - Intermediate to Advanced



Full day

Understanding Import and Export Procedures



Full day


Professional Telephone Techniques



Half day - am


Business Email Writing



Half day - pm


Health & Safety in the Workplace



Full day


Customer Service Essentials



Half day - am


Account Management



Half day - pm


Telesales - Getting Results



Full day


Microsoft Excel - Advanced Plus



Full day


Managing Effective Meetings



Half day - am


Marketing - Your Action Plan to Success



Full day


Emergency First Aid in the Workplace (EFAW) HSE Approved



Full day


Google Analytics



Full day


C&W Chamber Training Seminars




Course dates for the quarter are shown above, please contact C&W Chamber Training on 024 7623 1122 or visit for other course dates and further information


Networking & Lunch with MPs Friday 19th May 2017 12:00-14:00 Holiday Inn Coventry Hinckley Road Walsgrave Coventry CV2 2HP Free of charge This luncheon will be your opportunity to hear how candidates standing for Coventry & Warwickshire constituencies would support businesses in the years to come.

Marketing Top Tips for your Business Friday 26th May 2017 08:00-10:00 Study Inn Group 175 Corporation Street Coventry CV1 1GU Charges apply This event will provide businesses the opportunity to learn from successful professionals within the marketing industry. You can benefit from tips & ideas from local marketers on improving your online presence, maximising your impact with digital & print marketing materials, cost-effective PR solutions and much more.

Meet Your Chamber Monday 5th June 2017 11:00-14:00 Ardencote Manor Hotel Country Club & Warwick CV35 8LT Free of charge This event offers members a fantastic chance to network with local companies and expand their business networks over lunch.

Queen’s Award for Enterprise Masterclass Tuesday 13th June 2017 08:30-12:00 Warwick Business School WBS Scarman House University of Warwick CV4 7AL Free of charge The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are for outstanding achievement by UK businesses. Invitation from Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenants of the West Midlands and Warwickshire in partnership with Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce

North Warwickshire Networking & Business Support Event Friday 07th July 2017 08:00-10:00 Athertsone Golf Club Atherstone Golf Club The Outwoods Coleshill Road Warwickshire CV9 2RL Chamber events are a must if you are a looking to expand your network and grow your professional contacts. Share your expertise and get talking to the businesses you really want to meet! You will also have the opportunity to hear from a panel of finance, cost saving and grant specialists who will share their top tips for your businesses. If you are starting a new business then there will also be an opportunity to find out if there are any grants and support for your ideas.

As a Chamber member you can exhibit at any of our events for just £50 + VAT. Stand out from the crowd and book your stand today. Find out more information or to book a place please see the events pages at or contact


Profile for Benham Publishing Limited

C&W May 2017  

Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce business magazine May 2017, Chamber of Commerce, Latest Local Business Issues, National Busine...

C&W May 2017  

Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce business magazine May 2017, Chamber of Commerce, Latest Local Business Issues, National Busine...

Profile for benham