C&W in Business July 2022

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Issue 90 July - August 2022

DANIELLE WALMSLEY From apprentice to partner! Page 20


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Coventry & Warwickshire in business



July - August 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games Economy Comment Events

Dear Chamber of Commerce Member, I started the role as Chief Executive of your Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber at the beginning of July, and it is a real privilege to be following on from the mighty Louise Bennett OBE and great to be working with the brilliant staff at the Chamber of Commerce, Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training and Destination Coventry. Most importantly, this is an amazing opportunity to work with you, the dynamic, innovative and hardworking businesses of Coventry and Warwickshire. But what a time our economy is facing. Our local businesses are incredibly resilient and cope time and time again with the challenges thrown at them by national and global forces but they are facing an avalanche of issues – we have inflation in double figures and unlikely to return to the Bank of England’s targets soon, we have energy and fuel costs at record highs, a combination of high shipping and logistics costs, gaps in supply chains and complicated border rules making importing and exporting incredibly hard. We also have an increasing skills gap in our workforces, difficulties recruiting staff and wage negotiations that are pushing company finances hard. This is coupled with a feeling that the gaps between the haves and have not’s is increasing rapidly – we have the crazy situation of record numbers of vacancies and yet nearly twice the national rate of youth unemployment in some of our most deprived wards. But to only look at the problems the economy faces would do a disservice to you because there are a lot of opportunities out there for the businesses that are ready to win them, and we can help you do that. That is why it’s so important to be not only a Member of this

great, global network that the Chambers offer – but also to be engaged, work with us as much as you can, share your stories, come to our events and let us help you survive and grow during these tough times. We all need to show our entrepreneurial spirit and seize the opportunities that are out there. The colour and imagination shown during Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture will be carried through future generations of artists and makers as long as the support is there to help them grow. The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will shine a global light on our tourism businesses and incredible products, and we are taking a worldwide lead in our work around sustainability and Very Light Rail. Of course, most of the issues that businesses face are outside their control and so our role lobbying, campaigning and partnering with our public sector and decision making colleagues will be critical. We will be battling for game changing devolution that puts decisions and budgets within local control, we’ll be campaigning to make sure our infrastructure supports productivity, rather than reduces it, and putting the business voice at the heart of the skills debate. I’m very excited about my new role and I am looking forward to working with you all, supporting you to grow your businesses, train your staff and support the incredibly diverse communities that make this area so special.

Corin Crane Chief Executive

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putting imagination to work www.cw-chamber.co.uk


Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games The official publication of the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce ••••

CONTACTS 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. Send them to: news@cw-chamber.co.uk Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Chamber House Innovation Village Cheetah Road Coventry CV1 2TL T: 024 76 654321 F: 024 76 450242

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Businesses have been urged to ‘Get Set for the Games’ and take advantage of the economic benefits the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will bring to Coventry and Warwickshire.

“The economic success associated with a global event like this is a really important part of why regions invest in hosting events like the Commonwealth Games.

Representatives from Birmingham 2022 and Transport for West Midlands spoke with business leaders in the region as part of a Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce online event.

“We absolutely want the Games to kick start our region, put us on the map and be a catalyst for change.

The session was held to help businesses plan for the Commonwealth Games – with information on how to engage with the Games and how to mitigate for travel disruption generated by the extra people travelling to and from events. Coventry and Warwickshire will host a range of events over the course of the Games, with Coventry Stadium and Arena hosting Rugby 7s, Judo and Wrestling, while Lawn Bowls and Para Lawn Bowls will take place at Victoria Park in Leamington Spa and the Cycling Road Race taking place on roads around Warwickshire.

Production Manager Mark Etherington Accounts Director Joanne Casey Media Number 1883 © Benham Publishing 2022 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.

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Coventry & Warwickshire business told how to ‘get set’ for the Commonwealth Games!

David Grady, Chief Financial Officer at Birmingham 2022, spoke at the event. He said that more than a million tickets have already been sold and that the region has the opportunity to surpass the £282 million in tourism revenues generated by Glasgow in 2014. He said: “We’re all committed to helping our region grow and succeed. Businesses have a huge part to play in welcoming visitors and delivering the legacy of the Games.

“There will be a lot of visitors from outside the region, many of whom will stay over and do things other than the Games. There will be big tourism and retail opportunities arising from those people that stay over for a number of days. “This is a once in a generation event. There are precious few global events of this scale, and we are ready to enjoy a brilliant iteration of the Games. We hope to make our city and wider region proud of what we deliver this summer.” Businesses also heard from Adam Grinsell, from the Readiness Team at Birmingham 2022, and Sarah Crane, from Transport for West Midlands. The pair discussed the traffic management and parking restrictions that will be in place around venues when events are being held – and provided guidance to help businesses carry on as usual during the Games. Advice ranged from encouraging staff to travel by public transport during the Games and adjusting arrival and departure times to the workplace, to organising deliveries when venues don’t have events on and ensuring

delivery drivers have the correct documentation to pass through permit only areas. Chris Nagle said: “The event was a great platform for businesses to speak directly with organisers of Birmingham 2022 and find out more about the steps they will need to take to be ready for the Commonwealth Games. “At the Chamber of Commerce, we are huge supporters of the Games and recognise the economic benefit the event will bring to the region. Some incredible business opportunities will arise as a result of the Games and Coventry and Warwickshire is perfectly positioned to take advantage of those opportunities.”

Business owners are being encouraged to visit

www.birmingham2022.com/getset to ‘Get Set for the Games’. www.cw-chamber.co.uk

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games


in Warwickshire?

As the weeks tick by towards the start of the Commonwealth Games on July 28, Cllr Martin Watson, Warwickshire County Council’s portfolio holder for economy, gives his thoughts on the benefits of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Although it is officially titled the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, we should be in no doubt that the benefit to businesses will stretch far beyond both Birmingham and 2022. Although most activities will take place in Birmingham, there are to be events hosted across the West Midlands region, including two prestige sports in Warwickshire.

And Victoria Park, Leamington, which has hosted many international and county competitions over the years, will welcome the Lawn Bowls and Para Lawn Bowls from July 29 to August 6. The cycling races are expected to attract around 30,000 spectators while the bowls will also generate significant numbers, providing an

immense boost for the county's tourist and hospitality sector. However, because the events will attract a colossal global TV audience and bring the county and its attractions to the attention of millions of people, we’ll reap the rewards long after the duration of the Games. Our beautiful county has always had a vibrant visitor economy with

❛❛Our beautiful county has always had a vibrant visitor economy with many tourists

Having established itself as a venue for global cycling events in recent years, Warwickshire was a natural choice for the Women’s and Men’s road races to take place in and around Warwick on Sunday, August 7.

returning to us time and again. I know that this summer the traditional warm Warwickshire welcome will be extended to all the thousands of new visitors.


many tourists returning to us time and again. I know that this summer the traditional warm Warwickshire welcome will be extended to all the thousands of new visitors, many of whom will return and/or spread the word so the economic impact of this historic summer will be long-lasting. Earlier this year, Lord Coe, one of the drivers of the 2012 London Olympic Games, told a Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce event that, 'people should not underestimate the impact the West Midlands area connecting with the Commonwealth Games will have.' At Warwickshire County Council we have attached high priority to making sure businesses are well-informed about opportunities presented by the Games so they can take advantage of any opportunities. I wish all businesses who are getting involved with the Games every success.

WHAT’S ON in Coventry? Coventry Arena will host both wrestling and judo during the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Wrestling is a sport of technique, balance, strength and determination. Split into six weight categories each for men and women, athletes will use grapples, holds, throws and pins to control the contest, score points and ultimately defeat their opponent. Judo is a martial art in which opponents face each other in single combat in a tournament of elimination. Balance, mental focus and tactics meet technique, agility and leverage in this frenetic display of explosive throws.


Each fight is up to four minutes long but judo is all about achieving maximum efficiency through minimum effort so the competing judokas will be aiming for ippon which immediately finishes the contest. There are seven different judo weight categories for men and women to compete in at Birmingham 2022. Rugby Sevens is seven-a-side rugby played at lightning speed on a full-size rugby pitch. It is being staged at Coventry Stadium. It’s bone-crunching hits, silky ball skills, elusive running and dynamic teamwork packed into two thrilling halves of seven minutes.

With more room to roam and less time for play, the result is a version of the game of rugby that is shorter, faster and high scoring. On average, a try is scored every 70 seconds. Some of the world’s leading Rugby Sevens teams will compete at Birmingham 2022. There are sixteen teams in the men’s competition and eight teams in the women’s competition. In addition to the sport there will be plenty to see and do at the Coventry Arena. You can ‘Have a Go’ at the sport you are watching and maybe even meet an athlete or Perry the Bull, Birmingham 2022’s official mascot.


Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

Commonwealth Games to impact the whole region The Commonwealth Games was the spark that helped to ignite a young Dave Moorcroft’s athletic career – and he believes it can do the same for the whole region in 2022. As a 17-year-old, Moorcroft headed to watch the Games with a friend in Edinburgh in 1970. It was an experience that changed his life. “It was my first time away from home,” he said. “I was staying in a B&B with a mate and we went to watch the athletics. It had a massive impact on my life.

❛❛This will be the first multi-sport, international competition that will allow spectators in since Covid and so it’s going to be great for the whole region. I am really looking forward to it. I want it to inspire young athletes and I also want it to bring positivity for the region. 6


“I saw Kip Keino, one of my heroes, win the 1,500 metres and I thought that it was something I’d love to do. “At the time, I was a club runner. I was seen as a talented kid but there were others too. Being at the Games, seeing my heroes and being able to experience the atmosphere really gave me the spark to want to have a piece of it myself.” The rest, as they say, is history. Moorcroft, who was born and bred in Coventry, would go on to win gold medals in 1978 and 1982 in the 1,500 metres and 5,000 metres respectively, and also broke the world record in the 5,000 metres. “I watched the 1974 Games in Christchurch on TV and I saw another of my heroes, Filbert Bayi, win the gold medal and break the world record in the 1,500 metres. Fast forward four years and I was lining up against him in Edmonton and I managed to beat him by a whisker. “At that Games in Edmonton, I also saw the impact it could have on a place and the excitement and energy it could bring. “At the following Commonwealth Games in 1982 in Brisbane, I was the favourite in the 5,000 metres and that brought a different kind of pressure and expectation but I managed to win it. “I do look back on that moment going to watch the Games in 1970 and think that it was the moment that really made me feel that this is something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

Moorcroft, who has received the MBE and OBE for services to sport, became the High Sheriff of the West Midlands earlier this year – timed perfectly for the arrival of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, which begin in late July. And he wants the event to impact the whole region – from children through to businesses – in the same way that it did to him more than 50 years ago. He said: “This will be the first multi-sport, international competition that will allow spectators in since Covid and so it’s going to be great for the whole region. I am really looking forward to it. “I want it to inspire young athletes and I also want it to bring positivity for the region. “Scottish athletics has taken off since the Commonwealth Games were held there in 2014. In the recent British championships, Scottish athletes were first, second and third in the men’s 1,500 metres. “We also saw the impact that London 2012 had on the nation and the positive impact it had. “And I’ve seen down the years how sport and business in Coventry, Warwickshire and the wider West Midlands can bounce off each other and bring smiles to faces and good times to the region. “When manufacturing was booming, you could see the effect it had on local sports clubs. “There’s no question that times have been tough over the past couple of years but I think this region is at its best when it’s inventing, when it’s being pioneering and when it’s looking to the future. “Being UK City of Culture and now having the Commonwealth Games come to Birmingham, Coventry and Warwickshire can help to inspire us to look ahead to a brighter future.” www.cw-chamber.co.uk

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Birmingham 2022 Group Ticketing Programme

Are you a business or associated with a school, club or community group and want to experience a spectacular home Games together? Now is your time to secure tickets to the biggest multi-sport event to be staged in the UK for a decade. The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will create a fantastic legacy, especially for the next generation, and we want as many people as possible to experience the Games. Birmingham 2022 is pleased to offer the opportunity for businesses & larger groups to attend the Games. It’s easy to submit your request, all you need to do it complete the online form at https://www.birmingham2022.com/tickets/schools-groups www.cw-chamber.co.uk



Plan to supercharge West Midlands economy announced as true scale of Covid impact becomes clear “It must be a joint effort because while the public sector can use and is using its powers and funding to help lay the foundations for growth - think transport infrastructure, housing, urban regeneration and skills training - it will be the private sector that follows on with much greater investment and really drives delivery. Together, we will ensure we bounce back as a region.” The Plan flags the critical partnerships needed to secure a growing economy that is both environmentally cleaner and fairer to communities and highlights the crucial role of the private sector, working alongside public authorities, in creating the right conditions for investment and prosperity.

A plan to re-ignite the West Midlands economy and recapture its prepandemic success has been set out as the true scale of the impact of Covid was made clear. The West Midlands economy shrank by 11% in 2020 due, in part, to its large automotive sector and high number of exporting companies. And, despite having the highest level of Foreign Direct Investment outside London and a strong track record in getting people back into work, the regional economy was still 8% smaller at the end of last year than at the onset of Covid. The figures are in stark contrast to the decade up to 2019, when the West Midlands was the fastest growing region outside London, breaking through the £100 billion economic output mark. In response to the figures, business and political leaders gathered at the Light House in Wolverhampton to discuss their Plan for Growth aimed at bringing about a resurgent West Midlands that is both confident and prosperous. The roadmap, which has been drawn up by leading private sector figures working with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), local councils, universities and colleges, focuses action on igniting eight


economic clusters where the region already has a competitive advantage and in which businesses are confident to invest. It shows how, with the right interventions, growing clusters such as electric vehicle manufacture, health and medical technology and construction, can be supercharged to help grow the West Midlands economy by more than £3bn, creating up to 45,000 new jobs. Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “The West Midlands was very much the engine room driving a thriving UK economy pre pandemic but there's no hiding the harsh impact Covid has had on us. “Our natural strengths in exporting and manufacturing - particularly in automotive - have been hardest hit by recent challenges so it's no surprise we have more economic ground to make up than many others as we regain our momentum. “That’s why the private and public sectors have come together to set out a clear path for strong, clean and inclusive growth. Our focus is on driving investment to generate high value jobs and quality opportunities for local people that build on our traditional strong suits whilst looking to the growth sectors of the future.

The Plan proposes combining the power of the private and public sectors around eight clusters: 1. The manufacture of electric vehicles and battery storage devices 2. Modern and low carbon utilities such as solar and wind power technology 3. Logistics and distribution 4. The manufacture of the low carbon, factory-built homes of the future 5. Professional and financial services 6. Health and medical technology 7. Aerospace 8. Creative content production and video gaming Cllr Ian Brookfield, WMCA portfolio holder for economy and innovation and leader of City of Wolverhampton Council, said: “Ongoing global supply chain frictions, a tight labour market, spiking energy costs and high inflation mean it’s never been more important for the West Midlands to support local people into high-quality jobs by capitalising on our strengths, in particular those economic clusters that can power a regional and national recovery. “This Plan for Growth shows that by expanding those clusters, such as the development of low carbon modern methods of construction, and building a sustainable economy, we will be more diverse and resilient – and not so vulnerable to future shocks in one industry. “With the private and public sectors working together to deliver this roadmap we can put the West Midlands economy back on an upward trajectory, eventually shrinking the gap between our region and London.”

The plan sets out a number of actions to support the eight clusters. On the manufacture of electric vehicles and battery storage it points to: • Securing a new Gigafactory at Coventry, including energy networks and site support • An accelerated roll out of EV infrastructure, including charging • Support for supply chain transition and diversification, including the circular economy It says the actions set out for this cluster alone have the potential to boost output by £850m - £950m by 2030 and create a further 11,200 to 12,400 skilled jobs. Margot James, executive chair of WMG, which seeks to drive innovation in applied science, technology, and engineering and represents the cluster for manufacturing of electric vehicles, added: “The West Midlands is fortunate to have public and private sector leadership which understands the big issues facing our region and has come together to develop a clear, long-term plan that is focussed wholeheartedly on making the changes we need to transform our economy. “I’m pleased that the Plan for Growth has such a strong focus on the innovation, skills, infrastructure and supply chains needed for these eight clusters including, of course, for the electrification of the automotive cluster, which is already seeing significant private sector investment for future growth.” The audience heard how the WMCA and its partners were already laying the foundations for future success by investing more than £2bn in new transport, housing and skills schemes, using the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, CRSTS, Community Renewal Fund and other funding pots to drive growth and by securing new investment through an Innovation Accelerator. Some of the region’s most innovative companies operating in the eight priority clusters were also on hand at the event to showcase their cuttingedge products. These included Coventry-based Skyfarer who are developing drones capable of delivering medical supplies and other items, WM5G which has a 5G enabled camera in a pill that can detect bowl cancer without the need for an invasive endoscopy and WMG which showcased a robotic dog to demonstrate its research into automated manufacturing systems.


Coventry & Warwickshire in business


Corin Crane, front and centre, with members of the team at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce

Springboard for success The new chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce says the region’s businesses can set a national example ensuring all communities share in the success of the economy. Corin Crane has joined the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce after leading the Black Country Chamber for almost six years. He succeeds Louise Bennett OBE DL, who has run the organisation for 20 years and will remain with the Chamber for a brief period to handover to Corin. Crane said he was joining a very strong Chamber at a time when Coventry and Warwickshire had much to look forward to – despite difficult economic times. He said: “I'm incredibly honoured to be given this opportunity to lead the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber and will make sure that the brilliant work that Louise and the Chamber board have done over the last 20 years becomes the springboard for success in the future. “I have a long history of supporting Midlands businesses and they are facing some difficult times in the coming months as we negotiate spiralling inflation, huge hikes in energy and fuel costs, hard to fill vacancies, increased pay demands and supply chain issues. “But alongside the support many will need to survive and grow - I will be focused on celebrating the incredible stories of our local entrepreneurs and businesses that Coventry and Warwickshire is famous for, and making sure that every possible opportunity is seized.”


“Business confidence is high after the success of the brilliant City of Culture and we will want to ensure those arts and culture businesses keep on growing. “We will have the eyes of the world on our tourism offer as the Commonwealth Games is launched and huge opportunities will become available as we become global leaders in sustainability on the back of our Very Light Rail programme, Gigafactory proposal and ground-breaking research taking place within our innovative businesses and universities.


Most importantly, we want the businesses of Coventry and Warwickshire to become exemplars in the way we do business by putting ethics and strong, diverse leadership at the heart of everything we do.


“Most importantly, we want the businesses of Coventry and Warwickshire to become exemplars in the way we do business by putting ethics and strong, diverse leadership at the heart of everything we do. “We want an environment where everyone shares in the success of our economy - inclusive, dynamic and innovative businesses creating exciting and achievable jobs for our local residents. Successful businesses will be the bridge between the rural and urban areas that define the Chamber’s membership. “There are tough times ahead, but exciting times as well.” Tom Mongan, president of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are delighted to have Corin on board as our new chief executive. “Louise Bennett has done such an amazing job over the past 20 years and we are very pleased that she will remain with us for a few months to assist with the handover to Corin. “We are in a very uncertain period economically but, at the same time, have much to be excited about in Coventry and Warwickshire. “Myself, the board and the whole team at the Chamber are here to support Corin in ensuring we support those firms hardest hit by economic issues but also in making sure that we grasp every opportunity we can to grow individual businesses and the wider economy.”



Local firms swing back into action at golf event Tom Mongan, president of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, was there to present the winners with their prizes. Tom said: “It’s great to have the President’s Golf Day back on the Chamber calendar again – and to see everyone mixing on the golf course and enjoying the networking opportunities that a day like today always presents. “To raise over £100 for Cancer Research has made the day extra special. Congratulations to Kayb and Matthew for winning their respective prizes. “We’d like to thank Rick Cressman and the rest of the Nailcote Hall team for their hospitality, and we’re really grateful to our partners at BMW Rybook corporate department for their ongoing support and kind donation to the prize pot.

Regional businesses got back into the swing of things at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s annual golf day – which made a welcome return to the calendar for the first time since COVID-19. The President’s Golf Day event was held at Chamber member Nailcote Hall Hotel, the hosts of the upcoming 2022 British Par 3 Championship.

Thirty golfers of different abilities from across the region’s thriving business scene made their way around the nine-hole Cromwell Course. The main award went to ‘Kayb’, 28, of Coventry-based CP Coaching Academy, who carded a score of 18 points dressed in Tiger Woods’s signature red and black shirt. In the challenge event, the Chamber’s HR manager Matt Hammersley came out on top.

“I’m honoured to be embarking on my third year as president of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and look forward to welcoming you all to the President’s Golf Day next year.” Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce is looking to hold more golf days due to their ongoing popularity and would like to hear from venues and golf courses in the region who are interested in hosting future editions. To support your local Chamber and get involved, visit www.cw-chamber.co.uk/contact-us/


It’s great to have the President’s Golf Day back on the Chamber calendar again – and to see everyone mixing on the golf course and enjoying the networking opportunities that a day like today always presents.




Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Business Talent What a fantastic 6 months we have had as a Business Talent Membership – helping young professionals across our region to grow and develop.


ver the last two months, we supported Coventry UK City of Culture Trust by heading down to the Assembly Festival Garden to enjoy a magical evening of arts and culture, we have further explored and developed our communication skills with a leading media professional and we have welcomed the support of the West Midlands Reserve Force and Cadet Association who are showing the skills needed to lead not just in business but in your community too. We still have many more events to look forward to, from workshops on Thinking and Planning Strategically to a rooftop BBQ at one of the region's newest venues. These opportunities bring together

some of Coventry & Warwickshire's greatest Business Talent to connect, develop and build a strong network of peers. This programme is for the next generation of business leaders and it is designed by the members themselves to build the most desired key skills and develop lasting relationships with other like-minded individuals. There are opportunities to put yourself forward to take your seat on the Business Talent Board and help to lead this exciting membership and connect with even more talent in our region. Sean Rose Business Talent Programme Lead

Communication Skills for Effective Leadership by Lance Corporal Jordan Dawes, Royal Marines

When I think of my own experience with effective leaders the first ones that jump out to me are those that have a quality that is not often attributed to those who live a military life; the ability to adapt communication styles to gain the best out of their individuals. The Royal Marines, like everywhere else in life, holds a vast array of different personalities within their personnel. It is very easy to possess the naivety to believe that everyone within the Corps is a similar type of person, I did. However, it quickly becomes apparent how diverse people’s personalities truly are, albeit they will hold some of the same traits to complete the illustrious training that they are put through.

I would like to start off by saying that this is based off my own experience within the Naval Service and more specifically the Royal Marines. There are few organisations on earth that require effective and efficient leaders more than a nation’s Armed Forces.

When a leader realises this, they can get the best out of people. I have worked with Marines that need to be spoken to with firm tongue in order to set their desire to do well alight, and I have worked with people of higher rank that need to understand what they are working towards from a more holistic standpoint in order to spark theirs. That is where adaptability is paramount. Something that runs hand in hand with the aforementioned matter that is creeping into the modern-day military is emotional intelligence. The military is often a high-pressure environment and having the mental fortitude to not only execute

solutions, but also have those that you are leading believe in them because of your ability to communicate effectively and accordingly within these situations is something that rubs off on those around you. Conflict within a workplace is a barrier, and within situations that Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel are put into it could be an absolute showstopper, so by practicing the four quadrants of emotional intelligence, it allows for the best possible input of those being lead. (Self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, relationship). Something that does seem to come natural to those in the military is directiveness. If a leader isn’t direct then messages often don’t come across clearly, this is a risk that must be minimised as much as possible within the Corps and the Navy due to the complex nature of tasks at hand. Often the clearer the message, the more poignant it is likely to be with the essential and pertinent points being the key takeaways. There are far more avenues to explore with effective communication from leaders within the military, however I tried to focus on three that may be undertaken consciously, or subconsciously by some of the best leaders – commissioned and non-commissioned - our military has to offer. It is very important to remember, something can be learnt from everyone and implemented in effective leadership.

Business Talent



Tuesday 23rd August

5.30pm - 8.00pm


We're inviting all Business Talent Members, and all young professionals across Coventry & Warwickshire, to join us for a great evening of networking and fun on the hotel's rooftop terrace.

BOOK NOW: email chambertalent@cw-chamber.co.uk

The Business Talent Membership programme is sponsored by the West Midland Reserve Forces & Cadets Association www.cw-chamber.co.uk


Business Engage Profiles

Connecting across the region She said: “We’ve joined up as Business Engage members of the Chamber and we’re getting out to quite a few events to help raise our profile because we feel there is a really good opportunity to work with businesses in this area.

A Midlands-based telecommunications company is expanding its footprint across the region – helping more and more businesses stay connected with their customers and teams.

are becoming increasingly linked, and with more services shifting to the cloud, now is an ideal time for businesses to start laying the platform foundations that they can continue to build on.

dbfb is based in Northampton but has enhanced its presence in Coventry and Warwickshire after extending its partnership with CityFibre, the company rolling out a full-fibre network in Coventry.

Emma Mullings, the company’s head of marketing, said there were strong opportunities for growth in the region as Coventry and Warwickshire remains a buoyant economy.

dbfb, which employs around 45 people and celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2023, offers a range of communication solutions that are designed to keep businesses connected, talking, mobile, secure and supported. With businesses striving for more profitable growth, the integration of telecommunications and operating models

“We work with companies of all sizes and across all sectors. We’re commercially competitive, contractually flexible, provide better service and we give back to the local community." Emma added: “At the end of the day, we sell what large corporates do. But by choosing us as your communications partner, you’ll receive a more personalised and customised service. We know more and more businesses are making a digital investment, however, some are still choosing product silos from multiple large companies, rather than looking

“We work with companies of all sizes and across all sectors. We’re commercially competitive, contractually flexible, provide better service and we give back to the local community."

at integrated solutions. This results in disjointed customer service and higher operating costs but we’re here to help fix that.” Simon Pickering, managing director of dbfb said: “The truth is, some large companies aren’t servicing their customers correctly and we aren’t afraid to admit that service is something we do particularly well, with a 98.7% customer satisfaction rate. We invest in technology specialists who take the time to understand your business and map out the issues you’re trying to resolve. By taking this approach, you receive a solution that’s fit for purpose, rather than just ‘sold’, because they are the products that we sell. “Offering customers only what they truly need and by ensuring the highest levels of service has stood us in good stead over nearly a quarter of a century now and that is something that we will continue as we expand across the region.” For more information on dbfb go to https://www.dbfb.co.uk/

Leading the charge for greener energy in the region A business on the border of Rugby and Coventry is offering firms in the region the potential to tap into the renewable electricity it generates from farm crops. Channing Digester Ltd is based at Brandon Grange Farm and is run by brothers Alistair and Andrew Channing, having been a family farm for more than 100 years. Just over a decade ago, they decided to phase out the farming of potatoes and their dairy herd and took the decision to invest in an anaerobic digester, which can burn anything from manure to food waste, and turn it into electricity. They now farm around 900 acres worth of maize each year and also buy in maize from other local farms to feed into the digester. It generates 499 Kilowatts per hour and is fed back into the grid as well as powering the family home on the farm. They are keen to expand this by an extra 1MW, but the grid connection cost is making the expansion unviable.


Now Alistair believes there is the potential to sell direct to businesses in the local area and even create a battery charging centre on site for a regional transport operator. He said: “We decided about 12 years ago that traditional farming wasn’t the way we wanted to go and my wife was working in the anaerobic digestion industry, so we decided to look into it and made a significant investment. “This has been a family farm for around 110 years so it was a big step but we felt that it was the right time to move into a new area of business. “We grow the maize that we feed into the digester and also purchase some in from other farms, who use it as a break-crop for their wheat. It means as well as running our own business, we are contributing to the local rural business community too. “Everything we generate is sold back into the grid but we believe there is potential to do more. “We want to talk to businesses in the local area – say in Ansty or Binley – who may want to purchase electricity from

us direct because that could definitely be done and would offer them a greener, more sustainable source of electricity. “We would just need to connect them up to us via a cable, agree a cost and go from there. I am not sure businesses know that this opportunity is there for them but we would be happy to talk to companies about what we can provide. “We’d also consider creating an on-site charging centre for, say, a local bus or coach operator that use electric vehicles. We would create a new entrance and

install charging points, and then use the electricity generated by the digester to charge the vehicles. We also have a large amount of waste heat available for businesses who have a high energy requirement. “There is massive potential in what we do here and we just want to get the message out to businesses in the area of what we could do for them.” For more information or to get in touch with Channing Digester Ltd please contact Alistair on 07887 561202.

“We want to talk to businesses in the local area – say in Ansty or Binley – who may want to purchase electricity from us direct because that could definitely be done and would offer them a greener, more sustainable source of electricity. " www.cw-chamber.co.uk

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Business Engage Profiles

Local technology firm going for growth A Coventry-based software provider has reported record 30 per cent year-on-year global growth following the launch of its new Financial Statements, and Budgeting & Forecasting tools. Situated on the Middlemarch Business Park, Phocas Software is a cloud-based business planning and analytics solution that allows organisations to collect, share and analyse large amounts of data from across their operations. Serving hundreds of SMEs throughout the Midlands and beyond, its mission is simple - to make businesses feel good about data. UK Managing Director, Mike Hills, explained: “The likelihood is you’ll be generating huge amounts of data, whether you’re operating regionally, nationally or globally. All this data is also probably sat across multiple siloed systems such as your business’s ERP or CRM so you never have a complete picture of performance on which to base decisions.” Founded in 2001, the company believes its dynamic, purpose-built software relieves all these challenges by bringing data together from different sources to enable users to monitor KPIs on sales, stock and finance in real-time.

Mike added: “This means no more waiting for finance or IT to run static spreadsheetbased reports that are instantly out of date, open to error and potentially insecure. Instead, there is a single source of truth to empower decision-making. “Until 2020, we were solely a business intelligence platform. Recognising the integral role finance teams continue to play, we developed Phocas Financial Statements which sits as a user-friendly ‘skin’ over a business’s ERP system. The solution speeds up month-end reporting by up to 50 per cent and makes the numbers more accessible to the wider business. This empowers middle management to better serve customers or address inefficiencies in the business. “One of the biggest issues with static financial reports is when people have questions about the numbers, they have to go back to the finance team who need to investigate further and generate more static reports. For this reason, the budget process is often a dreaded task but, a necessary evil as we all know an accurate budget is the backbone of a well-run organisation.

“Designed to complement Phocas Financial Statements, our Budgeting and Forecasting tool saves valuable time and makes company-wide analysis and budgets easy-to-do tasks. The software enables finance teams to build budgets in a live data analytics environment with access to historical and current figures. “Inevitably the rapid growth of our product portfolio has seen our UK team grow rapidly too; with the Coventry office now home to a talented team of 58. Fostering our core values of ‘Fun. Fulfilling. Forever’, investing in our people remains our top priority and we look forward to continuing on this exciting growth journey together.”

More information about Phocas Software, including details of an exclusive introductory offer for CWCC members, can be found by visiting: www.phocassoftware.com/cwcc

"Recognising the integral role finance teams continue to play, we developed Phocas Financial Statements which sits as a user-friendly ‘skin’ over a business’s ERP system."

WM5G moves into Coventry To kickstart WM5G’s presence in the city, WM5G kicked off its journey to support SMEs in digital adoption by launching the region’s first Digital Festival, a two-day programme to help businesses in the Coventry and Warwickshire region discover the transformational benefits of digital technologies to drive efficiencies and growth. The interactive Digital Festival was designed to inspire and equip business owners and those interested in accelerating tech in their business, with the skills and knowledge to apply a range of tech solutions. West Midlands 5G (WM5G), a brand new innovation and digital acceleration company, has recently moved into offices in Coventry city centre. WM5G was born from a three-year DCMS funded programme to accelerate the roll out of 5G and be the lead partner of the DCMS 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme. West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) was awarded funding in March 2019 by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) to deliver a 5G Test & Trials Programme, a multi-million-pound programme to develop and deliver the UK’s first regional 5G test bed delivering a number of projects to speed up the launch of 5G networks and test, prove and scale-up new 5G products and services – for local


people, public services and businesses. In March 2022, the Government-funded project came to an end and WM5G is now a brand-new innovation and digital acceleration company using this established credibility and proven success and learnings from the testbed trials. Despite the company name, WM5G doesn’t only help accelerate the benefits of 5G in the West Midlands, it also helps businesses innovate and become future fit through connectivity solutions, Internet of Things and AI across the UK. Coventry was the first choice for the company’s new headquarters due to it being a fast-growing city, the legacy of UK City of Culture 2021, and connectivity by road and rail.

With over 40 organisations attending the two days, the event was a great success with not only supporting organisations on their journey in digital adoption but also to let Coventry and the wider regions know that WM5g is here to help simplify the benefits of tech and digitalisation. Robert Franks, Managing Director, said: “We started WM5G just over three years ago with two key objectives, to test, prove and scale new 5G services and accelerate

5G and fibre networks. This has resulted in some great successes including the West Midlands now being the bestconnected Combined Authority region for 5G in the UK. “In healthcare we’ve proven how 5G can transform patient care, and in transport we’ve proven how this improved connectivity can reduce congestion and pollution and improve passengers’ experiences. “We are now moving on to the next phase of our business, scaling-up these innovations by working in partnership with the West Midlands, other regions, government, and private sector companies from our new Coventry HQ.” WM5G is currently designing its next events and programmes. If you’d like to put forward any suggestions, please get in touch at www.wm5g.org.uk/contact The Digital Festival will also be held at the end of September in the Black Country region, for those who couldn’t make the Coventry and Warwickshire event. To register, again, go to www.wm5g.org.uk/contact

“In healthcare we’ve proven how 5G can transform patient care, and in transport we’ve proven how this improved connectivity can reduce congestion and pollution and improve passengers’ experiences." 13

Chamber Training

Maximising skills across the workforce experience in the workplace alongside vocational training to succeed and achieve their goals!” Commenting on how CWCCT has helped his career path, Jon said: “If it wasn’t for CWCCT, I wouldn’t be where I am today. For anyone who is leaving school, college or is unsure about whether to go to university, I would recommend taking the apprenticeship route. “An apprenticeship offers a great way for individuals to train, learn and gain invaluable experience.

L-R Dave Evans Brett Ketley Jonathan Townley and Sharon Miles

Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training (CWCCT) is working in partnership with Power Torque Engineering Ltd, a locally based engine and component distributor, to help maximise leadership and team skills across the firm’s management team. Established in 1926, Power Torque has 33 staff at their premises in Binley, Coventry, working nationally and internationally with well-known organisations such as the Ford Motor Company and Morgan.

Sharon Miles, a Trainer at CWCCT said: “Our initial involvement with Power Torque was over 35 years ago when Jon Townley, now Managing Director, approached our recruitment team exploring his own first steps onto the career ladder. Jon was quickly offered a role at Power Torque, supported by training with CWCCT. After gaining a wealth of knowledge and experience, Jon went on to become Managing Director at Power Torque in October 2020. He is a fantastic advocate for apprenticeships and it clearly demonstrates the value of combining

“Over the past 35 years, I have worked in every area of the business including production, parts, stores, sales and the offices. My hands-on experience has gained a lot of respect across the team as they know I would never ask them to do something I’m not willing to do myself. “Another two advocates of CWCCT are Dave Evans and Brett Ketley who have recently developed within their roles and have achieved the ILM Level 2 Award in Leadership and Team Skills with CWCCT. I wanted to add more value to Dave’s and Brett’s roles by giving them an opportunity to learn how to effectively manage and lead their own sections.

“The course has helped to build their confidence, enhance their team performance and focus on their leadership skills. “Dave came to Power Torque through the support of CWCCT 16 years ago, starting as a parts fitter. Since then he has been promoted to a workshop technician, service engineer and more recently a senior technician diagnosing and repairing machinery. “Brett was referred to Power Torque by CWCCT 10 years ago when he joined the company as a storeman. After being promoted to a supervisor in 2020, he is now a Warehouse Manager. “We work in partnership with CWCCT to develop the skills and knowledge of the team, improving organisational performance and efficiency.” Sharon Miles concluded: “Jon, Dave and Brett are great examples of how investment in training, including apprenticeships, can make a real difference within a business. We are delighted to see what a difference the leadership and management training has helped Dave and Brett to enhance their skills and apply the knowledge in the workplace.”

To find out more about the CWCCT’s apprenticeship programme, ILM qualifications and other training opportunities, please contact the business development team on 024 7623 1122 or enquiries@cw-chambertraining.co.uk

A rainbow of success for Chamber Training A children’s care apprenticeship through Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training (CWCCT) has proven to be a successful route for former student, Emma Miller, who qualified as an early years educator with Chamber Training in 2007. After building her experience, Emma is opening her own community provision, which will offer parents a welcome solution to their child care needs.

children’s centres started closing. I began offering Stay and Play sessions twice a week.

Emma came to Chamber Training over 16 years ago after realising that sixth form was not an avenue she wanted to pursue. After a chat with Chamber Training’s careers advisors, Emma’s plans started to come together with thoughts of a career path in children’s care.

Adding to Emma’s comments, Sarah Williams, Training Manager at Chamber Training said, “We are extremely proud of Emma’s career progression and wish her every success in her exciting new venture. It goes to show the value of apprenticeships in enabling individuals to gain skills which shape their futures.

After excelling at a children’s centre as a family support and outreach worker, Emma went on to have two children of her own. She was recruited as a family learning mentor at a local school and realised the importance of nurseries and childminders for working parents. Commenting on her success, Emma remarked: “After returning to work following maternity leave, I saw a gap in the market, particularly when


“After receiving lots of favourable comments from lots of parents, I decided that I really wanted to make a difference so I launched my own business called ‘Play Over the Rainbow’. I am so grateful to Chamber Training for supporting me into the world of children’s care as it’s enabled me to develop a rewarding career and now have my own business.”

“A children’s care apprenticeship is ideal for anyone who is passionate about working with children, providing care and education in settings such as nurseries, creches or schools. Individuals get high quality work experience in exciting jobs, learning new skills and knowledge whilst studying, gaining qualifications, earning a salary and enjoying the experience of working in a team.

L-R: Emma Nelson with her business partner Natalie Herbert.

“For anyone who has recently finished their GCSEs or A’ levels and are unsure of their next steps, there is no better place to build a career than through an apprenticeship.” To find out more about the Chamber Training’s apprenticeship programme, business courses and other training opportunities, please contact the business development team on 024 7623 1122 or enquiries@cw-chambertraining.co.uk


Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Chamber Training

Employability Skills for Young People Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training (CWCCT) is offering a series of short courses over the summer break, funded by the European Social Fund (ESF), designed to help young people gain the skills and confidence as they move into the world of work. With a strong track record of working in partnership with schools to raise awareness amongst young people of the workplace, Chamber Training is providing an invaluable pathway from education into employment.

CV6, with their career planning. By attending one day a week during the summer holiday break, young people will learn how to build their confidence and knowledge of what the local job market offers. “The courses include accountancy, which will give an insight into financial transactions, bookkeeping systems and business accounts. The child care course will give an insight into the childcare industry. Individuals will hear from apprentices who are following early year’s apprenticeships and also have the opportunity to participate in an interview with a nursery manager. “For those interested in hairdressing, the course offers an insight into the creative world of hairdressing along with an opportunity to work alongside junior stylists in a fully working salon.

The ‘Summer Schools’ consist of four short courses with options in employability, accountancy, hairdressing and children’s care. Aimed at helping young people to identify their strengths, transferable skills and aspirations, there will be particular emphasis on interview techniques, making successful job applications and CV development. The vocational tasters around accountancy, hairdressing and children’s care will give an insight into the opportunities and career paths available.

“The Summer Schools are ideal for anyone in Year 10 or Post-16 who are intending to return to school or college in September, but are considering options for the future. We can also help mature candidates wishing to make a career change or develop their skill-set.”

Commenting on the Summer Schools, Anita Tomsett, Apprenticeship Recruitment Lead at Chamber Training said, “The Summer Schools have been designed to support young people in Coventry, residing CV1 to

To find out more about Chamber Training’s ‘Summer Schools’ please contact our Recruitment Team on 024 7623 1122 or enquiries@cw-chambertraining.co.uk

Training Courses 2022

Chamber Non-Member Member Price Price + VAT + VAT

Anita Tomsett at Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber Training.


Jul 22

Aug 22

Sept 22

Understanding Workplace Stress





Resolving Workplace Conflict





Certificate in Awareness of Mental Health Problems - Level 2 Accredited



3 Days


Dealing with Under Performance





Motivating the Team







13 Days

Microsoft Excel Basic to Intermediate



1 Day

Microsoft Powerpoint





Microsoft Word





Social Media Advertising



1 Day


ILM Level 2 Award in Leadership and Team Skills



4 Days


Appraising People and Performance



1 Day


Understanding Sales - Level 2 Accredited



1 Day


Emergency First Aid in the Workplace (HSE Recommended)



1 Day


Microsoft Excel Intermediate to Advanced



1 Day


Social Media Analysis



1 Day


ILM 3 Certificate in Leadership and Management

Various - please contact Chamber Training for a full list of dates


Prices Subject to VAT




National Express board UK victory bus for employee wellness initiative conditions giving employees the chance to book follow-up appointments with their doctors and receive the treatment they need. The Health Bus also takes some pressure off the NHS as confidential advice is provided during visits. Operated by a health coach and coordinator, physical health checks onboard include BMI, body fat, visceral fat, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose. Confidential discussions also take place around levels of exercise, smoking, alcohol, satisfaction with daily energy levels, sleep, work-life balance and stress levels.

National Express has been named best in the UK for their employee wellness initiative at the British HR Awards held in London earlier this year. Showcasing two initiatives, National Express came out on the top spot amongst entries from over 100 different organisations across the country. Judges at the awards evening gave special praise for the transport company’s innovative Health Bus - a mobile health facility which travels across sites to allow employees with

varied working patterns to access medical checks. The National Express Health Bus was launched in 2014 and has reached over 11,700 employees. It was introduced following comments in an annual employee survey, which praised employee safety awareness and asked for similar support in health and wellbeing. It is no exaggeration to say that the Health Bus has saved lives – with early identification of potentially serious

National Express has also introduced a new ‘Mood Circles’ initiative as part of their mental health and wellbeing focus - to help normalise conversations around mental health. This initiative was again singled out for praise at the British HR Awards, for encouraging employees to openly communicate their day-today feelings and access support where needed.

have put into making these initiatives possible. “Both initiatives are a real credit to the teams who built and run them. With the backdrop of Covid-19, there has been an intensified need to take a more proactive approach towards employee health and wellbeing. It’s been great to see the positive impact that both strategies are having on our people.” Nate Harwood, Founder of New Possible and British HR Awards judge said: “The British HR Awards have a single aim, to recognise the organisations and individuals that are shaping a new possible for the future of work. “We believe that a great experience is essential to building a healthy business and we’re immensely proud to celebrate the leaders that are being bold, transforming the people experience and helping to showcase the best of British HR. Congratulations to all the Winners and Finalists.”

Rachel James, UK Human Resources Director for National Express, said: “We are delighted to have been named as having the Best UK Employee Wellness Initiative at the British HR Awards.

The British HR Awards is an annual campaign that sets out to discover and celebrate the organisations and individuals that are truly passionate about delivering a world-class people experience.

“Employee wellness is at the heart of everything we do and this award really recognises all the hard work the teams

For details of all vacancies and career opportunities at National Express, visit careers.nationalexpress.com

The value in customer research As an ambitious and growing organisation in the field of risk management Leamington based Risk Evolves need to demonstrate that they are achieving the same levels of compliance that they are encouraging and advising their clients to achieve. To this end Risk Evolves ascribe to the ISO9001 standard. This determines that they must understand whether they meet the requirements of their clients. What is more part of their strategy for growth is to be recognised as a thought leader in their field. As Helen Barge, MD of Risk Evolves says ‘We can only truly achieve that if we know that we’re not just meeting expectations, but exceeding them.’ The challenge is, that getting that honest feedback is difficult. Survey responses are low and offer limited insight into how things can be improved. Internally conducted customer research is compromised by the mutual desire to ‘not to offend’. So the independent and anonymous qualitative research that Engage Member Glued offers looked like a suitable methodology for getting the information to not only meet the requirements of ISO9001 but also to monitor the progress towards exceeding client expectations. Glued advised Rsk Evolves on how to approach a cross section of clients and prepared a set of questions as


the guide for questions. Glued gently approached the candidate respondents to set dates in the diary to have the conversation. At the appointed date Glued re-iterated the purpose of the call and the fact that the respondent’s feedback would be anonymous to allow for openness. The conversations were conducted in an open-ended manner allowing for exploration of unexpected topics and individual expression.

Helen Barge, Managing Director of Risk Evolves summed up the benefits as follows: “The qualitative approach is key. We’ve always said that we want a long term relationship with a client and don’t see them as just another ‘transaction’. If we did a multiple choice trustpilot / google type review, that’s transactional. Taking the time to want to listen to their feedback, I think, shows that we value and want to invest in the relationship and aren’t taking it for granted.”

Glued collated the results into categories formed by the themes that arose and presented those to Risk Evolves covering: • Style of service • Level of Performance • Areas for improvement • Reason for choosing Risk Evolves • Quotes • Comparison to competitors • Would they recommend Risk Evolves and why Risk Evolves has the evidence it needs for ISO9001, pointers on how to improve services and a rich source of testimonials which, subject to Glued securing specific approval to do so, can be attributed.


Coventry & Warwickshire in business


Coventry hotel which defied the Covid odds wins national acclaim A Coventry hotel which defied the Covid odds to open and has won national acclaim is marking its first birthday with an extra cause to celebrate.

Amy Windsor, General Manager of the Telegraph Hotel, said the commercial success was the ideal birthday gift at the end of the first year.

The Telegraph Hotel, a 4-star hotel situated in the city centre, opened in May 2021 after its original launch date was postponed several times because of the Coronavirus pandemic lockdowns and the tier system.

She said: “It’s been a whirlwind journey for us so far, and I can’t quite believe we’re celebrating our first birthday and to hit that figure is a real bonus.

The plight of the hotel was featured in national and international media as opening plans were repeatedly shelved, but the first year has proved a commercial success, Since then, the hotel, recently named as one of the prestigious Sunday Times 100 Best British Hotels, has taken 30,000 room bookings and welcomed 50,000 overnight guests - who have got through over 44,000 toilet rolls. The Generators outdoor rooftop bar at the Corporation Street-based hotel is proving to be a smash hit, with more than 16,000 cocktail lovers purchasing one of the hotel’s signature cocktails in the last 12 months. Those figures have seen it record in excess of £2 million in sales, surpassing targets and expectations – and cause for further celebration.

“We’re incredibly grateful for the great feedback we’ve received from visitors in our first year of inception and are delighted by the support shown by our fellow Coventrians and the rest of the public over the past twelve months. “To record over £2 million in sales, surpassing targets and expectations along the way, is something we’re proud of and indicates to us that our efforts to provide an elite level of service to all of our guests are bearing fruit. “Our cool Mid-Century style and 1950s theme has been received well– and we’re looking forward to welcoming Telegraph Hotel newbies, as well as old friends, to sample the atmosphere and immerse themselves in our hospitality.” The Telegraph Hotel, created by Complex Development Projects from the then-unused former Coventry Telegraph offices as part of a two-year, £20 million investment programme,

Brian Harrabin (CDP), Councillor Jim O’Boyle (Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change at Coventry City Council), Amy Windsor and Ian Harrabin (CDP)

have 88 individually designed air-conditioned bedrooms available to prospective guests, including loft style penthouse suites on two levels.

dining experience called Forme & Chase, a rooftop bar with unique views over Belgrade Plaza and versatile function rooms that can cater up to 140 delegates.

The hotel is operated by Bespoke Hotels, the largest independent hotel company in the UK, and features an all-day cocktail bar and restaurant

For further information about the Telegraph Hotel visit www.telegraph-hotel.com

What you need to know about Engineering patents What is a patent? A patent is granted by the government to the applicant. This gives the applicant the right for a limited period to stop others from making, using or selling an invention without the permission of the applicant.

What do you have to look out for when filing for an Engineering patent? • One of the important aspects of patenting an invention to remember is that once the marketing of a product begins, the public becomes aware of your invention. Although part of patenting an invention does include publicising the invention, the patent itself can protect your market share and give you legal grounds to pursue anyone who would copy your invention. • The difference between protecting your invention with a Patent or a Trade Secret is important information for engineers to understand. Whilst a Patent can protect your innovation, a Trade Secret protects valuable, secret information. Such as data client lists and software secret. To read the full article by Pure Ideas Ltd visit https://pure-ideas.co.uk/news




Alsters celebrates one year with new website It's been just over a year since we launched the Alsters Kelley brand refresh and new website. Looking back, it's incredible how much has changed in that time – both for the firm and the world at large. When we started the project, our website was at least five years old and didn't necessarily give visitors an accurate sense of who we were as a firm of solicitors. The firm had evolved; one significant progression being the expansion into Stratford-upon-Avon through the acquisition of Bonell & Co. We knew we needed a refresh to better reflect our values and position ourselves as the approachable and forward-thinking solicitors Alsters Kelley had grown to be. We also wanted to ensure a cohesive online experience for our clients, making it easy for them to find the information they needed no matter what device they're using. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded midway through the project, which presented some unique challenges. But thanks to the hard work of everyone involved, we were able to adapt and ultimately deliver an exceptional website that better meets the needs of our clients.

Law firm launches litigation funding with DBA option For the first time, Stratford-upon-Avon law firm Shakespeare Martineau is to offer damages-based agreements (DBAs) as part of its portfolio of litigation funding options called FeeManage. DBAs – a fairly new addition to English law – are contingency-based agreements where legal fees are payable as a percentage out of the damages received in the event a case is successful. Shakespeare Martineau is proud to be in a position to offer DBAs as part of its FeeManage proposition. If a DBA is entered into and the pre-determined success criteria is achieved but the recovery from the losing party is relatively low, the DBA percentage fee from recovered monies may be a sum significantly less than that which would have been payable by the client on a normal retainer basis or pursuant to a conditional fee arrangement (CFA) – meaning an increased shared risk between client and legal advisors.

In addition to DBAs, the firm is working with a variety of funders to offer third-party funding (TPF) and after the event (ATE) insurance in combination with CFAs as potential options. Unlike competitors, Shakespeare Martineau is not tied to a single funding provider to flex requirements and offer full or part funding for litigation claims. Barry Jervis, partner and litigation expert at Shakespeare Martineau, said: “Too often businesses are put off from pursuing debts and assets that are rightfully theirs due to the associated costs, impact on the balance sheet and risk. “Litigation was buoyant across the country before the pandemic and, as we emerge into a post-pandemic economy, we can expect disputes to increase further. However, the costs of litigation are climbing sharply, alongside increasing numbers of businesses experiencing cashflow issues as a fall-out from the pandemic.

For more information visit https://www.alsterskelley.com/


For more information visit https://www.shma.co.uk/

Regal rendezvous by residents for residents

Laura from Bear Bakes was on hand to tantalise everybody’s taste buds with her delicious, sweet treats whilst Emily and Ryan from The Warwickshire Wax Co bought along a vast array of luxury handmade candles, wax melts and burners.

We embarked on a brand refresh to better align our visual brand with our company values, which put the client first in everything we do. The new branding included a refreshed logo, a colour palette representing each department, an illustration for each office, and a refreshed website that’s easier for our clients to use. The new website is easier to navigate, faster to load, and adapts well to mobile and tablet devices. New content was written to help potential clients find us when searching for a local solicitor online. The department pages include frequently asked questions to help prospective clients make a decision about what steps they may need to take, and whether Alsters Kelley is the right firm for them. We are very pleased with the result of the refresh, which has better aligned our online and offline presence with our company values.

“Our new ‘FeeManage’ service helps to reduce the financial risk of litigation. Every individual and every business is unique and while traditional CFAs might work for one client, third party funding might be more appropriate for another. Whatever the size or complexity of the litigation, we have an option that will suit.”

Sophie from Oh My Gifts showcased her personalised selection of name gifts and Tracey from Trace on Paper shared her beautifully bespoke animal portraits for pet and wildlife lovers. Local band ‘The Intruders’ entertained crowds into the evening, playing rock covers and hits from across the decades which kept everybody up dancing and singing along together. Residents of Houlton in Rugby are reminiscing fondly on the community spirit that was showcased as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations and giving thanks to the team of residents who coordinated proceedings. Volunteers who form the Houlton Residents Events Group pulled out all the stops to bring the community together to mark the iconic celebrations. Shared spaces across the development, including Dolman Farm, The Barn and the playpark, were buzzing with residents, who

came together to commemorate the Queen’s 70 years on the throne. From sumo wrestling, football shootouts and traditional noughts and crosses, neighbours took part in a host of activities designed to bring people together and ignite a sense of community and competition amongst residents. A selection of Houlton residents, and neighbours who joined the celebrations from nearby Rugby, also set up shop to showcase crafts, art, handmade treats, and gifts for guests to peruse and purchase on the day.

Kyle Smith, communities and partnerships lead at Urban&Civic, said: “We’re lucky at Houlton to have a group of residents who truly support and champion one another and this event further reinforced that true community spirit!” Steve Ellard from Houlton’s Resident Group said: “My experience left me lost for words due to the hard work everyone had put in, not just on the day, but for all the weeks of dedicated time given prior to the event. It was also amazing to see what our Houlton residents had to offer.”


Coventry & Warwickshire in business


Houlton community supports new Ukrainian residents Residents of the Houlton development have joined forces for a community meet and greet with their new Ukrainian neighbours. The gathering, which took place at The Barn in Houlton, gave 25 women, young adults and children from Ukraine the opportunity to meet, make new friends and to share donations collected by the local community. Initiated by Houlton’s residents’ group, the event was created to bring together Ukrainian refugees with other Ukrainians who have moved in with UK host families as part of the Homes for Ukraine initiative. The community came together in their droves to make the event a success, donating clothes and toys, as well as providing and making refreshments for those in attendance.

The Urban&Civic community team donated refreshments and use of The Barn, whilst The Tuning Fork team provided cups for teas and coffees. Hannah Craig, office & community facilities coordinator at Urban&Civic, said “This event was a true showcase of what an amazing community we have here at Houlton. “The residents came to us to see how we could support in hosting a meet and greet event and within less than 24 hours, with the support of the wider community, we were able to pull off a great event that brought the neighbourhood together. “Everyone pulled together to make it a success and what a fantastic end result. It was heart-warming to see the coming together of friends and neighbours and the blossoming of new friendships too!”

"The community came together in their droves to make the event a success, donating clothes and toys, as well as providing and making refreshments for those in attendance."

Do I have to work if it’s too hot?

With many parts of the UK – including the West Midlands – likely to experience temperatures exceeding 30 degrees on occasions during the summer, Mike Hibbs, employment partner at law firm Shakespeare Martineau, discusses what businesses should be doing to ensure their employees stay cool – wherever they’re working. The fact that many employees are still working from home does not mean employers can suddenly forget their


health and safety responsibilities. Plus, if people are uncomfortable, it’s difficult to maintain a productive workplace.

far quicker than in an office. Therefore, it’s difficult to set an appropriate limit for all.

Employers usually rely on air conditioning and ventilation to regulate temperatures within the workplace. However, with many employees still working at home they may not have this option, with their only means of keeping cool to open windows.

Employers have no legal obligation to ensure suitable working temperatures. However, they do have a duty of care for their employees, so must provide a safe environment where staff are not at risk of falling ill from the heat.

This could lead to the potential disturbance from street noise and neighbours when trying to make telephone or video calls, and therefore can make this option impractical. Businesses should think about what else they can do to be of practical assistance; for example, by providing workers with electric fans if appropriate. For those employees who have returned to the workplace, although there is a minimum working temperature of 16 degrees, currently there is no maximum temperature. This is because some work environments, such as a bakery or foundry, will reach higher temperatures

With regards to the usual workplace, installing air conditioning or making sure there is always access to cold water could form part of this.

To protect workforce wellbeing when remote working is in place, employers should follow a sensible plan. This should involve line managers checking in with staff at least once a day and reminding employees to stay hydrated and take proper breaks. For those employees who’ve returned to the workplace, in hot weather, businesses should consider relaxing the rules around restrictive clothing, such as ties. For more information visit https://www.shma.co.uk/

"Employers have no legal obligation to ensure suitable working temperatures. However, they do have a duty of care for their employees, so must provide a safe environment where staff are not at risk of falling ill from the heat."


Profile: Danielle Walmsley

From apprentice to partner! Danielle Walmsley loves to travel the world – but when it comes to work, rest and day-to-day play, she’s rooted in Coventry and proud of it.

“Accountancy seemed liked a good fit and I’ve never looked back. It’s the perfect fit for me. “I was just focused on the apprenticeship to begin with, to get through the exams and then I’d have a qualification and an opportunity for a career. But I was 16 so, at the time, it was just a case of having more money in my pocket than my friends who had stayed at school! “My apprenticeship was through Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber Training and it was great and helped me through to the next phase of my career.

Danielle is a partner in the Coventry and Warwickshire office of accountancy firm Azets, which is based at Middlemarch – close to Coventry Airport.

“But, when I started, we had nine of us in our office and I had to make five rounds of tea a day – it doesn’t take an accountant to work out how much that is!

She joined the business (although in the guise of Fox Evans) as an apprentice after leaving school – Tile Hill Wood – at the age of 16, having just completed her GCSEs.

“I was the office junior so I did everything – as well as my main job – but I thought it was a brilliant grounding.”

Danielle was rising through the ranks at Fox Evans when the company was bought out by Baldwins in 2016, and that’s when her career really started to take off. Within three years, she was made an associate director and in January 2021, she became a partner. “When I left school at 16, I applied for an apprenticeship at a local firm in Coventry called Fox Evans,” said Danielle. “I trained through there and qualified when I just turned 21.


“I always liked numbers and maths at school. When I got to 16, I was going to stay on at school and do A-Levels but I just wanted to work and earn money so I looked at the apprenticeship route.

The takeover by Baldwins, and subsequently Cogital – which later rebranded to Azets, saw colleague numbers rise dramatically. From 22 staff when Danielle started with Fox Evans, she is now part of a company that employs 2,500 people across the country. The Coventry office is home to 53 staff and Danielle is playing a key role in helping to raise the profile of the business in the region. “It was when Fox Evans got bought out by Baldwins in 2016 that my career progression really started,” www.cw-chamber.co.uk

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Profile: Danielle Walmsley “But I’m Coventry born and bred and I’m very proud of my roots. As a Coventry girl that has been brought up in the city, it’s great to see how its transformed. There are bars and restaurants and a real hustle and bustle. I’d have previously gone for a night out in Birmingham but there’s so much here in Coventry that I stay here. “The regeneration has been great and I think the city will continue to thrive for many years to come. It feels like the city is on the map and not just for the old Sent To Coventry!” Azets, too, has modernised and its fresh new brand is being matched by a market-leading move into the world of digital accountancy. That’s mostly down to client demand but also matches the company’s plan to drive forward. “Our client base varies,” said Danielle. “We work with businesses including sole traders and SMEs right up to multi-national, multi-million pound companies. “The SME market is Azets’ niche. We don’t compete with the big four accountancy firms who will have minimum size of clients, we work with smaller firms which are the lifeblood of any economy and you really see that here in Coventry and Warwickshire.

said Danielle. “We became a bigger firm and I managed step into client portfolio management and started to progress quickly. “It’s gone step by step really and I became associate director at the start of 2019 and then became a partner in January 2021 – it’s really taken off. “Azets helped with that because of the size of the company, because of the ambitions and because of the growth, I’ve had the opportunity to develop too. That’s the case for people at all levels and all stages of their career. “It’s taken 12 years from coming in as an apprentice through to becoming a partner, which hopefully shows to everyone in the business what’s possible. “I am the lead partner when it comes to business development and it’s a key part of my role to be seen in Coventry and Warwickshire so it’s important that I get out to events and start talking to more and more people. “I enjoy the networking. I am a people person and I just enjoy getting to know businesses. The last thing they want is me to walk in and ask them who their accountant is and start selling. You need to get to know people and what they do.” So, if you meet Danielle at a Chamber networking event, what are you likely to find out? “I like the gym and I am quite a social person out of work too. You’ll find me in Coventry bars and restaurants, enjoying what the city has to offer. I love food and I love holidays," said Danielle. “I like city breaks and don’t like to go back to the same place every year. www.cw-chamber.co.uk

About Danielle Walmsley : Born: Coventry Live: Coventry

“We’re looking to grow in the market and looking at clients which are, themselves, in a growth phase and seeing how we can help them.

Married/Partner: Engaged – to be married July 2023

“We want to work with start-ups that are looking to grow and those entrepreneurs that want to push on.

Children: None

“The beauty of being a national firm is that we have really strong specialist services that we can offer to clients where required. We’ve got a breadth of expertise on offer for all client needs. For example, Brexit has made import, export duty and VAT much more complex so we can really call upon different expertise for local clients where needed.

Favourite Book: I don’t tend to have time to read, but if I do it’s usually an airport best seller purchase for the sun lounger!

“We aim to be a client’s trusted adviser. So not just offering statutory requirements but we are there to help businesses through whatever phase of the business they are going through – whether its growth, succession planning or the sale of a business. “We pride ourselves on being the Coventry and Warwickshire office and being local and getting to know clients personally is hugely important to us. “Azets has, also, really taken on the change in the accountancy environment. We’ve got a young, dynamic team and we work flexibly so we have to find ways that we maintain the growth of the team. “We’ve added social rooms, new artwork and spaces where we can collaborate. That really helps. “We rebranded to Azets in September 2020 in the midst of the pandemic so now we feel it’s time to really let people know how the business has evolved and changed and what the future holds. “We’ve continued to grow and invest in the team. We take on trainees every year – that could be graduates or school-leavers and people progress their career through this office. Our students have full study support to become fully qualified and continue their career progression with Azets. “We’ve got a new team and we’re really focusing on digital accounting and we like to call ourselves the market leaders in that.

Hobbies: Gym, walking & socialising

Favourite Film: Netflix boxsets have taken over, so I rarely get to see films, but I love a classic action movie! Last Holiday: Cornwall for a surprise 60th birthday (we even had some sunshine) Gadget: I’m not the biggest tech person but I love a new gadget. I’ve recently moved house and finding lots of gadgets I didn’t know existed – lightbulb speakers!

“Everything is becoming automated through software. HMRC is moving this way. There are so many ways we can help clients to work better using digital technology and we are really driving this forward.” But, ultimately, it’s people and their businesses that helps to keep each day fresh for Danielle. “I like the difference that every day brings,” she said. “We work with different clients across different sectors, which keeps the job exciting. “I love the client interaction and I like to be able to help people. There are lots of positive ways we can help a business and I really enjoy that element. “It’s rewarding to watch businesses grow and know that we have been part of that.”

Azets has really taken on the change in the ❛❛ accountancy environment. We’ve got a young, dynamic team and we work flexibly so we have to find ways that we maintain the growth of the team.

❜❜ 21

The Queen's Award for Enterprise

Royal award could be the perfect boost for business in part due to the rigorous requirements to receive one. The event followed the news that eight businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire recently received The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise – a very successful year for the region – and businesses were urged to follow in their footsteps. The day was introduced by John Crabtree OBE, Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands, and Johnnie Arkwright, Deputy Lieutenant of Warwickshire, who highlighted the prestige of winning a Queen’s Award.

From left to right: Liz McArdle (WMG), Emma Heathcote-James (Little Soap Company), Chris Robinson (Boost Awards), Karen Lynch, Andrew Firth DL Warwickshire, Louise Bennett OBE DL West Midlands, Ian Jamie (Staeger Packaging), John Crabtree OBE Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands, John Wood DL West Midlands, Johnnie Arkwright (DL Warwickshire), Tom Westley DL West Midlands, Tom Meredith (3P Innovation).

Companies from across Coventry and Warwickshire have been urged to apply for one of the business world’s most prestigious awards – and were given some top tips on how to do it – at a recent ‘masterclass’ in Leamington Spa. The Warwickshire Lieutenancy, working in collaboration with West Midlands Lieutenancy, Coventry and Warwickshire

Chamber of Commerce, Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Warwickshire County Council and WMG, ran a masterclass on The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise at Woodland Grange Conference Centre & Hotel. The awards are regarded by many firms to be the pinnacle of business accolades,

Attendees then heard from Chris Robinson, managing director of awards entry consultancy Boost Awards, about the four categories of award businesses can apply for – Innovation, International Trade, Sustainable Development, and Social Mobility – and the best tactics to get accepted. This was followed by a Q&A panel with four previous winners of a Queen’s Award – Emma Heathcote-James, CEO of Little Soap Company, Ian Jamie, CEO of Staeger Packaging, Karen Lynch, former CEO of Belu Water, and Tom Meredith, commercial director of 3P Innovation. Chamber of Commerce chief executive, and Deputy Lieutenant of the West

Midlands, Louise Bennett OBE chaired the presentations and later discussion, and fielded questions from the audience throughout. She said: “There are very few awards that carry the tangible prestige that The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise does, so it was brilliant to hear from those who have been successful and for our audience to receive informed advice. “Having a Queen’s Award makes such a big difference to the fortunes of a business – our panellists all found they were able to make deals much more quickly due to their clients spotting they had a Queen’s Award. “What we wanted to do as a Chamber is encourage more businesses to apply. Although the requirements are tougher than your average award, so many businesses in our region fit the criteria but aren’t applying. “We’re grateful to Chris and our panellists for giving great insight into the process and their experiences, which were very useful for our audience. “We hope it will mean we see even more Coventry and Warwickshire businesses earn themselves The Queen’s Award for Enterprise next year.”

For more information, head to https://www.gov.uk/queens-awards-for-enterprise


Wasps development day Coaches from Wasps Rugby are set to host a development camp in Kenilworth to help grow women and girls’ rugby participation in Warwickshire. The club will be hosting a free Women and Girls Development Day at Kenilworth Rugby Club on Saturday, July 23. The day will be split into two sessions, with girls aged 11 to 17 invited on the morning, and senior players over the age of 18 invited for the afternoon session. Giselle Mather, Director of Rugby at Wasps Women, will be among the coaches delivering the sessions on the day. Mather won the Rugby World Cup with England in 1994 and guided Wasps Women to back-to-back Premiership titles in 2003 and 2004. She will be joined by coaches Laura-Jane Lewis and Sarah Mitchelson. Adam Dowsett, Strength and Conditioning coach, and former Wasps star and forwards coach Richard Birkett will also be delivering at the session, alongside Wasps’ community coaches.


It follows the success of Wasps halfterm coaching camps for girls’ rugby across the region over the last 12 months – with one camp attracting more than 60 players. Wasps are hoping to attracting more than 80 people to the Kenilworth camp over the day, as the club continues to work with community rugby clubs across Coventry, Warwickshire and the wider Midlands to support the development of women and girls’ rugby programmes. Ian Isham, Head of Community, said: “We have seen great success with our camps for young girls in the last year and we are pleased to be able to offer this new camp, which include provision for senior players too. “Women’s rugby continues to grow swiftly across the country and that is only going to accelerate with the Women’s World Cup being held later this year. “We are committed to growing participation in rugby from all communities, and there is already a

strong women’s rugby community here in Warwickshire. “Giselle is one of the country’s top coaches and players that register will have the opportunity to enjoy a true masterclass in coaching. We’re delighted to be able to bring along so many

coaches from Wasps Women to support the development day. We wanted to make this camp free-of-charge to remove barriers and encourage as much participation as possible in the region. It’s set to be a fantastic day and we’re looking forward to welcoming girls and women from across Warwickshire.”

The event is free-to-attend but registration is required. To register go to https://www.eticketing.co.uk/wasps/Events. For more information visit www.wasps.co.uk/news/wasps-community-development-day


Coventry & Warwickshire in business


Accountancy firm shares how businesses can navigate the climate crisis Accountants at a leading Midlands practice are urging businesses in the region to re-evaluate processes and procedures to help tackle the burgeoning climate crisis. Kevin Johns, director at Prime Accountants Group, said government legislation on climate change is imminent and businesses in the Midlands need to act now to make changes to stay ahead of the curve. He said people are key to influencing meaningful change across businesses and by challenging the mindset on sustainability, they can implement small but impactful changes across the board. Prime, which has offices in Solihull, Coventry and Birmingham, has partnered with long-term customer Carbon Happy to help shake up its internal processes and working patterns to reduce its carbon footprint.

Measures Prime has invested in include all company cars being switched for electric vehicles, and a green incentive where team members are paid an extra £390 a year for not travelling to work by car. This is to encourage walking, cycling, getting the train and car sharing. Kevin said: “With the presence of more harmful gases than at any time in human history, it’s no surprise that pressure is growing on world governments to implement more environmentallyfriendly legislation for businesses. “The impending legislation will no doubt hit the bigger companies first, but it won’t be long before it travels down the supply chain to the smaller independent businesses. So enforcing change now will only help in the near future. “Some practical changes may appear more expensive in the short term,

but by investing now, businesses will be guaranteeing they remain at the forefront of their customers’ minds when the legislation hits.” Kevin said the learnings from Carbon Happy has enabled Prime to lay out more practical ways businesses can remain competitive, including investing in modern machinery, greener processes and automation. He added: “Since the pandemic, many people feel working from home has helped the environment, with fewer car journeys and office buildings remaining closed. “However, we have learned this isn’t always the case, as often you have groups of people working remotely, which means your heating requirements have doubled. So, in greener terms, heating the office may be cheaper than heating 50 individual homes.

“If you can combine office working with greener modes of transportation for employees like purchasing bikes, businesses will be well on the way to reducing their carbon footprint through just two small steps. “Locally manufacturing products is another useful avenue to consider. If you are importing foreign products currently, consider if it would be cheaper to bring production into the UK, something which can significantly reduce travel and the possibility of financial fines in the future.” For more information, visit www.primeaccountants.co.uk

£1 million expansion to create new jobs for the region An international manufacturing group is revving up its UK operations with a £1 million expansion of its headquarters in Rugby, creating new jobs for the region.

“It is great news for Rugby and the wider region to have a market leader in this sector right on their doorstep, and we look forward to starting work this summer.”

Warwickshire firm The Wigley Group has been contracted to carry out works to extend GYS’s 23,680 sq ft premises at Great Central Way, Rugby.

GYS is now the largest manufacturer of welding machines in Europe and a leader in car body repair equipment and automotive battery charging; employing around 850 people at sites in Rugby, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and China.

The French family-owned firm, which has a turnover of €125 million, is targeting further growth in the UK to satisfy its growing customer base. Works will provide an additional 4,671 sq ft of space across two storeys to increase warehouse capacity and open a dedicated Service Centre. A new welding robotics training centre and state-of-the-art aftersales facility will also be created.

Andrew Higham (The Wigley Group Construction Manager), Dean Mitchell (The Wigley Group Commercial Director), Chris Parsons (The Wigley Group Director of Group Operations), Jack Rombach (GYS UK Warehouse and Logistics Manager), Neil Pulsford (GYS Managing Director), and Bruno Bouygues (GYS CEO).


James Davies, Chief Executive Officer of property, development and construction company The Wigley Group, which is headquartered at nearby Stockton, said: “We’re delighted to have been appointed to deliver a key part of GYS’s UK growth plans.

Jack Rombach, Warehouse and Logistics Manager, said: “We have seen a huge growth year-on-year as a company and in the past 24 months there has been an emphasis on growing our subsidiaries in Germany, France and now right here in the UK. “Our UK customer base is continuing to grow and consequently we need more space to hold more stock. “This investment is key to our threestage expansion plan, investing in new facilities and equipment which will in turn allow us to take on more staff.”



New warning for firms as BCC makes its latest forecast Businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire have been warned that inflation will hit ten per cent before the end of the year. But, according to the latest forecast from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), the economy will grow by 3.5 per cent in 2022 which is just a slight revision down from its previous forecast of 3.6 per cent. According to the forecast, quarter-on-quarter GDP is expected to flatline with no growth expected in quarter two and quarter three before contracting by 0.2 per cent in quarter four. This negative outlook reflects a combination of soaring inflation, weak business investment, tax rises and the global economic shocks – initially caused by Covid and then compounded by the war in Ukraine. Annual UK economic growth is expected to slow sharply to 0.6 per cent for 2023 before recovering slightly to 1.2 per cent in 2024.

At the same time, the Bank of England interest rate is expected to rise to two per cent in 2022 and three per cent in 2023. These represent significant shifts from the one per cent and 1.5 per cent rates previously forecast in quarter one. Sean Rose, head of policy at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The latest figures shows a slight reduction in the forecast growth for 2022 but also the stark warning of inflation increasing to ten per cent before the end of the year. “There is a real feeling among businesses across the patch that there are lots of opportunities for growth but with fundamental issues around rising costs and recruitment, they are being held back. “It’s vital that they are given renewed confidence to invest and grow in order to drive the economy forward.”

Consumer spending is now forecast to grow at four per cent in 2022, a fall from the 4.4 per cent prediction in the first quarter. This reflects the historically high squeeze on real household incomes as inflation far outpaces the forecast five per cent growth in average earnings for the year.

Commenting on the forecast, Alex Veitch, Director of Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Our latest forecast indicates that the headwinds facing the UK economy show little sign of reducing with continued inflationary pressures and sluggish growth. The war in Ukraine came just as the UK was beginning a Covid recovery; placing a further squeeze on business profitability.

Business investment is forecast to grow at 1.8 per cent in 2022, a large downward revision from the previous forecast of 3.5 per cent. The downgrade reflects heightened political and economic uncertainty, and rising cost pressures which are limiting smaller firms’ abilities to invest.

“The forecast drop in business investment is especially concerning. It is vital that urgent action is taken here, and we are having constructive conversations with the government about its review of capital allowances and other policies to incentivise business investment.

The BCC’s survey data for business investment has shown no sign of recovery since the start of the Covid pandemic. Businesses and consumers face unprecedented inflationary pressures flowing from rising raw material costs, the increase in the energy price cap, and upward pressure on energy and commodity prices.

“With inflation forecast to race ahead of wages, we are concerned about a dip in consumer spending which would further impact businesses and hamper growth. We forecast that if trends continue, inflation will only return to the Bank of England’s target rate at the end of 2024, implying a prolonged period of difficulty for the UK.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate is expected to reach 10 per cent in quarter four of 2022. This would be the highest since CPI records began in their current form in 1989. CPI inflation is expected to finally fall back to the Bank of England’s two per cent target by the end of 2024.

“Against this backdrop, the government must put in place stable and supportive policies that help businesses pull the UK out of this economic quagmire. Firms must be given confidence to invest, only then can they drive the growth the economy so desperately needs.”


There is a real feeling among businesses across the patch that there are lots of opportunities for growth but with fundamental issues around rising costs and recruitment, they are being held back.



Key points in

the forecast: 3

UK GDP growth forecast for 2022 is 3.5%, 0.6% in 2023 and 1.2% in 2024


Following Q1 2022 growth of 0.8%, quarter-on-quarter GDP growth is forecast to come to a halt with zero growth in Q2 and Q3, before a 0.2% contraction in Q4 2022.


Household consumption forecast is for growth of 4% in 2022, growth of 0.6% for 2023 and 1.2% in 2024


Business investment forecast is to grow by 1.8% in 2022 before more than halving to 0.8% in 2023, amid the end of the super deduction and the corporation tax rise, and then rising to 1.5% in 2024


BCC expects export growth of 3% in 2022, 2.3% in 2023 and 1.6% in 2024, compared to import growth of 6.9%, -2.7% and 1.7%


BCC expects UK unemployment rate of 3.8% in 2022, 3.9% in 2023 and 2024


CPI inflation is forecast to peak at 10% in Q4 2022, before easing to 3.5% by the end of 2023. Inflation is expected to drop back to the Bank of England’s 2% target by Q4 2024


UK official interest rates are expected to rise to 2% by Q4 2022 and then to 3% in Q4 2023, ending 2024 at the same level.   www.cw-chamber.co.uk

Coventry & Warwickshire in business


Ease the squeeze says the Chamber The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce has backed calls to ‘ease the squeeze’ on firms as new figures revealed the economy took a dip in April. The latest GDP figures – which measure the UK economy – showed a 0.3 per cent fall in April on the back of a 0.2 per cent decrease in March. Factors such as surging inflation, supply chain disruption and skills shortages have been cited as reasons for the dip and the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce says businesses in the region need help. Sean Rose, head of policy at the Coventry

David Bharier, Head of Research at the BCC, said: “The fall of 0.3 per cent in April, following a 0.2 per cent decrease in March, highlights the increasing stress the UK economy is under. All main sectors have seen a fall in growth, the first time since January 2021. “This decline is the inevitable outcome of surging inflation, supply chain disruption and widespread skills shortages. “Businesses from all sectors are facing unprecedented rises in raw material costs, soaring energy bills, and wage pressures. The introduction of an increase to employer National Insurance Contributions in April has only further added to firms’ woes. “This declining output comes off the back

and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce,

of two years of significant damage sustained

said: “It’s been a tough few months for

by small businesses, whose weakened cash

businesses and consumers and with the

positions mean that they are in a far worse

British Chambers of Commerce (BCC)

position to stomach further pressure. The

forecasting that inflation will reach ten per

global aspects to all these problems mean

cent, it’s going to continue to be challenging.

they are likely to weigh heavily on the UK’s

“We’d all hoped that as Covid-19 restrictions eased, it would be an

prospects for growth for some time. “Output in consumer-facing services

opportunity for the whole economy to

increased by 2.6 per cent in the month,

flourish but there a range of factors that

reflecting increased consumer spend on

have seen GDP fall in both March and April.

hairdressing and food services. However,

“One of those factors is rising energy costs and the BCC is calling on Government to cut VAT on energy bills for firms to five per cent to help ease the cost of doing business, which we support.

the sector remains below pre-pandemic levels, highlighting the significant damage sustained from shutdowns and restrictions. “Declining business investment remains a serious cause for concern and urgent

unprecedented rises in raw material costs, soaring energy bills, and wage pressures. The introduction of an increase to employer National Insurance Contributions in April has only further added to firms’ woes.


Government action is needed to halt this

“I’d also strongly urge companies to get

fall. Cutting VAT on businesses’ energy bills

in touch with their Chamber of Commerce

to five per cent would ease the squeeze on

if they need support in coming through this

firms’ cashflow and give them some room

difficult period.”

for manoeuvre.”


Businesses from ❛❛ all sectors are facing



Low unemployment – the success story that could be holding back growth Low unemployment continues to be one of the success stories of the UK economy, according to business leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire. But the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce say the shortage of skilled people to fill vacant roles will continue to hold back growth. The unemployment rate stood at 3.8 per cent from February to April while vacancies reached a new high of 1.3 million across the UK. Sean Rose, the head of policy at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said firms across the patch are struggling to recruit. He said: “When you think back to the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a major concern that the unemployment rate was going to increase massively. “The interventions made by the Government and the incredible job that businesses did in the most testing of

circumstances helped to mitigate that and, thankfully, the rate has remained very low.

“With a new record set for the number of vacancies, and no easy way to fill them for many companies, labour shortages

“However, this is having a knock-on effect for businesses who are struggling to fill available roles which is hampering their ability to grow.

are likely to continue to damage the UK’s

“It’s vitally important that we find ways to get people back into the labour market – through flexibility and the opportunity to retrain – while also looking at how we can attract labour from overseas to fill vacant roles.”

inflation and rising national insurance

British Chambers of Commerce Head of People Policy, Jane Gratton, said: “An increasingly tight labour market means it’s much harder for employers to fill job vacancies – impacting on their ability to operate normally and retain skills in the business. “The further rise in the employment rate, together with drop in the unemployment rate are good news but they also reflect how little room for manoeuvre there is for unfilled vacancies on the ground.

growth prospects. “Despite recruitment difficulties, the damage to firms’ finances from soaring will limit the extent to which wages can continue rising.   “We need to find ways to bring people back into the UK labour market. Flexible working practices, rapid re-training opportunities and a focus on workplace health can support many economically inactive people to return to the workplace. “But for some roles, where there is clear evidence of a national shortage of skills and labour, firms need access to people, at all skill levels, from outside the UK. As well as issuing temporary and seasonal visas, the UK government needs to urgently review the Shortage Occupation List.”

❛❛ The further rise in the employment rate, together

with drop in the unemployment rate are good news but they also reflect how little room for manoeuvre there is for unfilled vacancies on the ground.


❜❜ www.cw-chamber.co.uk

Coventry & Warwickshire in business


‘Real life’ dinosaurs set to make a ROAR-some return to Hatton ‘Real life’ dinosaurs are set to make a ‘roar-some’ return to Hatton Adventure World this summer. Millions of years ago they ruled the earth, but now they are back! Families can venture to Hatton to admire these amazing pre-historic creatures from July 23- September 4. The primeval beasts will be brought back to life using state-of-the-art animatronics, puppetry and SFX. The event will feature Europe’s largest walking dinosaurs including the terrifying Tyrannosaurus Rex, towering Brontosaurus & ferocious Raptors. Visitors will be able to get up close and personal with the dinosaurs as well as learning how to tame them with the Dino Rangers interactive, hilarious and educational shows, plus other dinosaur activities. Johnnie Arkwright, owner of Hatton Country World, said: “We launched Dinosaurs Alive last summer, which was incredibly popular with children of all ages. This summer, Dinosaurs Alive will be even bigger and better than before with more dinosaurs and state-of-the-art

special effects! Hatton is such a great attraction for families to visit, especially being outside with plenty of space with so much to see and do over the summer holidays.” Older children can also enjoy a full programme of activities including three outdoor Laser Combat challenges; Death Match, Domination and Capture the Flag! There are also family shows featuring magic and puppetry each day. Visitors can also feed farm animals, handle exotic creatures in Scales and Tails, watch Falconry Displays and cheer on the famous Sheep Grand National. Plus, there’ll be Tractor Safari Rides, Funfair & Bouncy Castles, and the giant indoor soft play area, Snorty’s Superslide Mania. Dinosaurs Alive includes full entry to Hatton Adventure World. Tickets cost from £17.95 per child and adult. All day parking is £2. Hatton Adventure World is open every day throughout the year (excluding Christmas Day and Boxing Day) from 10am to 5.30pm. For more information visit https://adventure.hattonworld.com/

“We launched Dinosaurs Alive last summer, which was incredibly popular with children of all ages. This summer, Dinosaurs Alive will be even bigger and better than before with more dinosaurs and state-of-the-art special effects!"

Hospitality hub receives double award opened its doors in July 2021 and is now an award-winning bar and restaurant with 20 staff – with 50% of all profits going to community projects which restore buildings in Coventry. Kevin, 34, joined the Metropolis team as a kitchen porter after completing PET-Xi’s Level 2 Customer Service course, funded by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

A popular food and drink hub in Coventry has celebrated its first anniversary in style by winning two awards. Metropolis Bar and Restaurant received the Food Hero Community Award at the Foodie Awards – held at Fargo Village, Coventry – and one of its employees, Kevin Prior, was named Employee of the Year.


While training, Kevin was given CV support, tips on how to create a professional first impression, advice on how to develop customer relationships and shown different techniques to call upon when dealing with customer feedback. The popular bar and restaurant operates under the auspices of PET-Xi, a leading regional training provider, and is focused on supporting people who are not in employment, education or training (NEET) with the job opportunities that enable them to develop their hospitality skills. Metropolis, the result of a partnership with Historic Coventry Trust, first

Fleur Sexton, CEO and co-founder of PET-Xi Training, said: “Coming away from the esteemed Foodie Awards with the Food Hero Community Award and Employee of The Year prizes is a really special way to celebrate our first year as a bar and restaurant. We’re really proud to have been recognised by the Foodie Awards for our efforts. “When we first opened last June, our aim for Metropolis was to establish it as a casual, relaxed dining and drinking experience for all, while also providing a platform for young people to gain qualifications and some welcome hospitality experience.” For more information visit www.metropolis-restaurant.co.uk/

"Coming away from the esteemed Foodie Awards with the Food Hero Community Award and Employee of The Year prizes is a really special way to celebrate our first year as a bar and restaurant."



One-year milestone for business support scheme Lawyers to embark on bike ride for children’s charity Lawyers from Stratford firm Lodders are taking on a three-day,185-mile bike ride from York to Warwick to raise thousands of pounds for local children’s charity, Molly Ollys. Mike Wakeling and Alastair Frew, both partners at Lodders, are taking part in the charity’s fundraising cycle ride in July. The ride leaves York Castle and will finish at the Durham Ox in Shrewley near Warwick two days later.

A business programme run by a premier training provider which has helped fledgling Warwickshire entrepreneurs turn their business ideas into reality celebrated its first successful year at a special event showcasing the impact the funding is having in the region. The Business Futures Celebration Event, held at the Metropolis Bar and Restaurant in the heart of the city of Coventry, championed the budding businesses that have benefited from the Business Futures programme set up by the award-winning PET-Xi. PET-Xi is now looking to help more people who have a great idea for a business but need a helping hand in getting it started. At the event, several former PET-Xi trainees showcased their businesses, spoke about how they have benefited from PET-Xi’s Business Futures Programme, and how they applied the skills they picked up on the course to their business.

Fleur said: “I know what it’s like to be at the beginning of a business journey – and how essential it is to get out there and make connections and stay resilient when things go wrong. It’s so important that businesspeople surround themselves with a great support network and connect with as many like-minded entrepreneurs as possible.

that come with owning and running a business. “The Business Futures event was the perfect way for us to reflect on the progress we’ve made and shine a light on the amazing people and businesses in the region that we’ve worked with.” Business Futures is a governmentfunded programme through the UK Community Renewal Fund, which is allocated locally through Warwickshire County Council. Participants must be aged between 16 and 65, unemployed and living in Warwickshire.

Rachel Ollerenshaw and her husband, Tim, set up Molly Ollys not long after their daughter, Molly, sadly died from a rare kidney cancer.

PET-Xi founder, Fleur Sexton, led a talk on the firm itself, discussing how the next generation of local businessowners can use Business Futures to pick up a range of business and advice, enabling them to turn their business idea from concept to reality.

The charity, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, emotionally supports babies and children up to 18 who have life-threatening illnesses, and their families, to help with their emotional wellbeing. It provides gifts to individuals and donates therapeutic toys and books to children directly and to hospitals throughout the UK.

Bromwich Hardy scores with new sponsorship deal

“As a Warwickshire-based business, PET-Xi knows how to help facilitate these discussions – enabling innovators to share ideas and work together to deal with the unique trials and tribulations

activity, and it’s a pleasure to be involved with them.”

Lodders’ serial fundraising duo are no strangers to long-distance charity bike rides – Mike and Alastair were part of Lodders’ cycling team that completed a 310-mile London to Paris ride in 2019 that raised over £7,000 for children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent.

Matt Cannon, general manager from the club, said he was delighted to welcome Bromwich Hardy to the team. He said: “It’s fantastic to welcome Bromwich Hardy on board at Butts Park Arena – they have a fantastic reputation locally and I cannot wait to work with partner Dawn Cooper and Tom to drive the relationship forward.

Mike Wakeling said: The charity is very dear to me. Molly was at school with my son Ben, and I know her parents Tim and Rachel well. When I heard about the York to Warwick Bike Ride, I knew I wanted to take part and help raise funds to support Molly Olly and its team to continue their amazing work.” Rachel Ollerenshaw added: “The tenth anniversary cycle ride is an important moment for Molly Ollys and for us as Molly’s family. We are hugely grateful to the team at Lodders for participating, and their contribution will certainly make the dark days brighter for children facing extremely challenging circumstances.” For more information and to support Michael and Alastair with their fundraising for Molly Ollys, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/ fundraising/molly-ollys-lodders For more information on Lodders, visit: www.lodders.co.uk


Bromwich Hardy are sponsoring Coventry Rugby Club

Award-winning commercial property agency Bromwich Hardy has signed a new sponsorship deal with Coventry Rugby Club. Tom Bromwich, founding partner of the Coventry agency, said the deal was an excellent opportunity for the expanding firm to show its continuing support for its home city. “We’re very fortunate to be growing the business and now find ourselves working all across the country,” said Tom. “But Coventry remains our home and we’re delighted to be able to play our

part in supporting the city through this sponsorship deal. “Coventry Rugby Club has a proud tradition in the history of the sport in this country – with a long list of international players having represented the club – and is an ambitious and forward-looking club. “Last season they finished eighth in the Championship – the second tier of English rugby – and reached the final of the Championship Cup. Off the field, they play a huge role in the community through their foundation and outreach

“Their professionalism and work within the community is something we admire and we’re thrilled to announce this partnership and enjoy many match days together in the Platinum Marquee.” The deal widens Bromwich Hardy’s sporting sponsorships which also include being shirt sponsor for Kenilworth Rugby Club and support for Coventry Alvis Football Club and Cardiff Met Netball Club. Bromwich Hardy is one of the country’s largest independent commercial property agencies, regularly featuring in independent lists of the most active firms in the industry. For more information visit www.bromwichhardy.com


Coventry & Warwickshire in business


Directors and redundancy – can they claim it? A common question we are asked by directors is are they entitled to claim for redundancy as part of a restructuring or winding-up. The short answer is yes but there is a little more to it than that.


mployees can claim outstanding wages, unpaid holiday pay, notice pay and redundancy pay from the Redundancy Payments Service (RPS). Directors can also be employees of a company and therefore entitled to claim for the above entitlements but, given their dual role as officers and employees of the company, directors need to be able to demonstrate that they were indeed employees.

The RPS will apply additional scrutiny to claims from directors and will have the following expectations:• The company was trading for at least two years. • The director worked a minimum of 16 hours per week. • The director has a contract of employment or other agreement between them and the company which reflects their employment status. • The director was paid via PAYE. • The director will be able to provide documentation such as wage slips, P60’s, a P45, and any other information regarding any dividends or other remuneration they might have received from the company. • Evidence that a director has not forfeit any salary when other employees have been paid or evidence that a director has been taking their annual leave allowance. A director’s weekly wage for the purposes of calculating their entitlements will only be based on the salary they were paid via PAYE and will not include any other remuneration or dividends they might have received. Where there is a director’s loan account owed to the company, the RPS will take this into account when considering a director’s claim. Whilst there is clearly an added focus on directors’ claims as employees, as long a director is able to provide the above documentation and evidence their status as an employee, there should be no reason why the RPS will not meet their outstanding entitlements. This can certainly be of comfort to those concerned where a company ceases to trade and the directors have also potentially lost their only source of income. Please note that this article is intended as general guidance only and is not to be relied upon as formal advice. If you have any queries about this article, or any insolvency-related issue, please do not hesitate to contact John Rimmer or any other member of the management team at BRI Business Recovery and Insolvency on 02476 226839. All discussions are in complete confidence and without obligation.


Don’t know where to turn? We’ll give you our…


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Call now on 02476 226839 1160 Elliott Court, Herald Avenue, Coventry Business Park, Coventry. CV5 6UB

www.briuk.co.uk 29

Area Focus: Coventry - Mid Warks - North Warks - South Warks - Rugby

MotoFest Coventry is back for 2022 and looking to the future BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend x ESMEDIA On the 27th-28th June 2022, BBC Radio 1 sprung back into War Memorial Park, Coventry, for another series of the star-studded Big Weekend festival, a return since their debut event held back in 2018. Local photographer Esmé Spurling was selected directly from the Content Producer of Photography from the BBC, to attend and cover the event as Press Photographer. The Big Weekend was attended by 80,000 fans throughout the three days of the festival, which was fantastic for the city, shining a real spotlight on the most recent City of Culture. The BBC Creative team were conscious to select 10 press photographers who were from diverse backgrounds, nationalities, ages and gender. The decision of this inclusion was noted by Esmé as being a huge step forward and particularly highlights the significance of women working in the current and very competitive media industry. Esmé is the sole owner of the awardwinning media business “ESMEDIA”, with a range of services offered since opening in 2017. Sevices include social media content management, commercial photography and videography tailored for web and socials. Imagery was taken from the very heart of the festival, in the photography pit featuring stars from the likes of Ed Sheeran, Lorde, locally based artist Tom Grennan and the headliner to close the show to thousands of adoring fans - Harry Styles. The BBC Radio 1 event has since provided Esmé and her media business “ESMEDIA” with further work opportunities, such as working with local BBC Coventry & Warwickshire to create video highlights of the Commonwealth Games fringe-events and photography for Coventry-based design agency, ‘Jade Brand Agency’. Esmé is continuing to produce various local and national commissions whilst working full time teaching as Assistant Lecturer on the BA Photography (tons) course at Coventry University and is an active member of the Chamber of Commerce, Coventry & Warwickshire. For further information visit www.esmespurlingmedia.com


MotoFest Coventry is back for 2022, with the return of its unique Ring Road circuit in the heart of Coventry City centre. A new date and a fresh look into the motoring future are amongst the highlights for this year’s festival. There are some fantastic opportunities for local businesses to get involved. Following last year’s scaled down format due to Covid restrictions, MotoFest Coventry will return on Saturday 10th September and Sunday 11th September 2022, with its biggest and boldest festival yet. It will host a full events programme based around the past, present and future theme. This will include the return of the unique Sprint Circuit carved out of Coventry’s Ring Road and other devoted urban spaces showcasing dynamic, live motorsport across the city centre. The 2022 Festival will also provide the finale for ‘Our Future Moves’. A project involving Coventry City Council, Coventry MotoFest and other regional partners, dedicated to showcasing the region’s work in world leading transport innovation, though a year-long celebration of events and activities. James Noble, MotoFest Coventry Festival Director, said: “We are delighted to announce the full return of the MotoFest Coventry 2022 festival. “This year MotoFest Coventry will be back bigger and bolder than ever, with a non-stop cultural celebration of the city’s motoring past, present and future. With the support of even more local companies getting involved in the action. We will welcome the return of the traditional MotoFest favourites such as the unique Ring Road Sprint Circuit, live motorsport displays and motorcycles, both on and off the track, to name just a few of our most popular attractions. “What will be new are the event dates of the 10th and 11th September, replacing MotoFest’s traditional dates of the first weekend in June. The event will give the City and the surrounding areas the opportunity to enjoy the full, highoctane spectacle of the festival as it returns to its traditional one weekend format. “With this year’s MotoFest Coventry weekend providing the finale to the Our Future Moves year-long celebration of transport innovation, we again look forward to putting on the UK’s biggest and best, free to attend, motoring festival.”

MotoFest Coventry has grown year on year with attendance figures smashing previous events when the festival was last held in its full format in 2019, there was a staggering 229,292 visitors across just two days. A significant growth from 2018. An independent economic impact study was carried out by Coventry University and found that the 2019 festival brought a huge, £10,727,200 uplift for the local economy, much of which benefitted local, independent businesses. Councillor Abdul Salam Khan, Cabinet Member for Events, at Coventry City Council added: “I am delighted to hear about the return of MotoFest Coventry for 2022 as I know how popular this event is in both engaging Coventry residents and encouraging people from outside the city to visit and enjoy their weekend here in the city. “Coventry has an amazing history and ongoing exciting story to tell on transport, innovation and how we are at the forefront of automotive design and technology. “MotoFest is another great event for Coventry to host and I’m sure the weekend will be a roaring success later this year.” As part of MotoFest Coventry 2022’s past, present and future theme, there will be the traditional classic car and modern modified static car displays

across the City centre. There will also be a significant future technology focus, with a showcase of the latest alternatively fuelled vehicles, electric cars, and advanced automotive technology. MotoFest Coventry is a two-day festival dedicated to the City of Coventry’s motoring heritage, taking place on Saturday 10th September and Sunday 11th September 2022. It will feature a unique blend of racing demonstrations, static displays, live music, and anything else with a connection to Coventry, transport, culture and the city’s motoring heritage. Coventry MotoFest is a not for profit, community organisation who put on the annual MotoFest motoring festival to highlight the heritage and pioneering future of Coventry’s automotive industry. The festival has been designed to be created by and for the people and businesses of Coventry and the wider local region to inspire, motivate and celebrate the global love of motorised vehicles in all its forms. There are many ways to get involved with MotoFest Coventry, particularly for local businesses through trading and catering to thousands over the two-day festival to pushing awareness of your business through sponsorship at the UK’s largest urban motoring festival which truly celebrates Coventry, culture, and all things automotive.

More information about trading can be found at https://bit.ly/ExhibitatMF and information regarding sponsorship can be found at https://bit.ly/MFSponsorship2022


Area Focus: Coventry - Mid Warks - North Warks - South Warks - Rugby

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Coventry venue wins top industry award Coventry Building Society Arena has been crowned by one of the event industry’s most influential trade bodies. The venue landed the prestigious Venue of the Year under 20,000 square metres industry prize in the AEO Excellence Awards – organised by the Association of Event Organisers (AEO). The awards recognise the best that the events industry has to offer and Coventry Building Society Arena overcame competition from across the UK to win the honour – beating the likes of ACC Liverpool, Farnborough International and Business Design Centre. It comes on the back of a hugely successful year for the world-class exhibition, event and conference centre since the lifting of COVID restrictions, with more than 350 large conferences and meetings, over 55 exhibitions and ten new shows giving the arena its most successful year yet.

The venue has also attracted major concerts and events including the MOBO Awards and world-famous bands The Killers, Rammstein and The Specials. Coventry Building Society Arena has grown to a repeat business rate of 77 per cent and welcomed more than one-and-a-half million visitors. With the venue thriving, work continues behind-the-scenes to strengthen the arena as a market leader in the exhibition industry. Investment is being made to expand available space at the arena, giving organisers access to 7,750 square metres of conference and exhibition space, and also to enhance its digital capabilities.

David Stanley (Aztec Event Services, award sponsor), Paul Michael (Coventry Building Society Arena) and awards host Kevin Bridges.

The success of the venue has seen occupancy levels at its onsite hotel recover to pre-pandemic levels and the average room rate exceed the heights of 2019. Paul Michael, commercial director at Coventry Building Society Arena, said:

“We’re incredibly proud to have been named the top venue less than 20,000 square metres by the Association of Event Organisers."

“We’re incredibly proud to have been named the top venue less than 20,000 square metres by the Association of Event Organisers. “Coventry Building Society Arena has had a phenomenal year and we continue to go from strength to strength. The foundation of that success is the strength of our relationships with event organisers and that’s reflected in the continued growth of our repeat business rates.”

Businesses meet Coventry MP The MP said: “Small and medium sized businesses make a huge contribution to both the local economy and to the wider community. “One of the areas I would like to see them helped is through reform of the business rates system. The current system needs to be scrapped because it is outdated.

A Coventry MP has told firms in the city that she backs reform to business rates to help create a level playing field for companies. Taiwo Owatemi, MP for Coventry North West, met local firms at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s latest Coventry branch meeting. She heard from companies in manufacturing and the service sector on a range of issues such as the cost of doing business, recruitment and skills, as well as working from home.


“At a time when we want to get more people back to the high street, the current business rates system is holding smaller businesses back.” Taiwo Owatemi said she supported the Chamber’s call for an emergency budget to help companies across the patch deal with the cost of doing business which includes an easing of upfront costs of doing business by reversing the recently introduced National Insurance increase until at least 2023/24. The Chamber also wants help for firms to manage the impact of rising energy prices by cutting VAT on their energy bills from 20 per cent

to 5 per cent for a minimum of one year as well as assisting with labour shortages by reinstating free Covid tests for companies to ease the strain on productivity caused by persistent high absences. The MP added that there said there should be a renewed effort to ensure that young people were being equipped with skills that businesses in the region need to grow. Tim Squires, the chair of Chamber’s Coventry branch, said: “We were very grateful to Taiwo Owatemi for joining our branch meeting. “It’s important to businesses across the city that their voices are heard

by decision-makers and that issues are fed back to politicians locally, regionally and nationally and from all parties. “From my experience speaking to companies, there are so many businesses that are geared up to grow and have enough work to be profitable but it’s just all of the other issues surrounding them that are holding them back. “It’s up to decision-makers to set the right conditions and businesses will grow, take on staff and contribute positively to the economy and their communities.”

“It’s important to businesses across the city that their voices are heard by decisionmakers and that issues are fed back to politicians locally, regionally and nationally and from all parties." 31

Area Focus: Coventry - Mid Warks - North Warks - South Warks - Rugby

New visitor attraction creates local jobs A vacant space inside a boutique hotel in Coventry has been transformed into the UK’s first permanent, immersive digital art gallery. Leamington law firm Wright Hassall helped negotiate a lease for The Reel Store, which has been turned into a new state-of-the-art visitor attraction.

King of rock and roll test rides e-bike Nuneaton-based e-mobility company, Eskuta recently took part in The Big Lemon London to Brighton EV rally sponsored by EDF energy. Now in its second year, the rally was set up by Brighton-based electric bus company, The Big Lemon, to showcase the latest in electric vehicles and clean energy from the automotive, leisure

The 800m2 exhibition space is based in the old reel store at the former home of the Coventry Evening Telegraph newspaper – now home to the Telegraph Hotel. The deal was completed for Coventry City of Culture Trust and has seen more than 20 new jobs created. Nathan Hinks, associate in Wright Hassall’s commercial real estate team, who handled the lease, said: “I’m really pleased to have helped secure this for Coventry City of Culture Trust. “This is an original use of what was a disused, vacant space and will create a unique new visitor attraction for the region as well as jobs.” The site will feature innovative experiential art commissions.

Eskuta showcased its popular SX-250 e-bike and KS-450 e-scooter which hundreds of visitors to the event’s e-village on Madeira Drive, Brighton could take for a test ride, including nonother than Elvis – also known as Elvis tribute act, Ivor Potter! Communications manager for Eskuta, Gemma Chatt, said: “Fun events like Wendy Brown (left) with June Picken

popularity of electric vehicles and their increasing prevalence and popularity on our roads and cycle lanes. “For us here at Eskuta, it was brilliant to be able to showcase our e-bike and e-scooter to the people of Brighton and for them to have the opportunity to take a test ride. It was a fabulous day and we’d like to thank The Big Lemon for inviting us to take part.”


The Reel Store has been backed by funding from partners including the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport; Coventry City Council via the council’s Cultural Capital Investment Fund; the government’s Getting Building Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP); The Patrick Trust; The Linbury Trust; Edward Cadbury Charitable Trust and Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce.

Martin Sutherland, chief executive of Coventry City of Culture Trust, added: “The Reel Store is a hugely exciting venture, with Coventry becoming home to the UK’s only permanent, truly immersive digital art gallery – a major draw for Coventrians and visitors. “We’re delighted that our partners have backed the vision for this new visitor attraction, transforming old media into new media, as part of the legacy of our year as UK City of Culture.”

June celebrates special milestone

and manufacturing sectors.

these are testament to the growing

Wright Hassall associate Nathan Hinks and chief executive of Coventry City of Culture Trust, Martin Sutherland

A Coventry-based consultant to the hotel and leisure sector is marking her first year in business after receiving support to get started. June Picken is a well-known figure in the industry in Coventry and Warwickshire after stints at venues including, most recently, Coombe Abbey Hotel. June decided to take voluntary redundancy after uncertainty in the

sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She was unsure whether to take the plunge and set up her own consultancy but two contacts helped make her mind up.

It helped to give her the grounding in some of the fundamentals of business, including how to set up the business as a legal identity and get the relevant insurances in place.

“I received a call from a regional conference centre who asked if I was planning to do any consultancy work because they wanted to hire me for a couple of days,” said June.

Now June, who has set aside a number of days to the business per month, has now filled that time with work – including some with the Chamber.

“That made me think that there might be the work out there. I knew I had the skills but I didn’t have any experience of running a business.”

June said: “Thankfully, I’ve had lots of interest and have picked up some exciting contracts.

Then, through a contact at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, June was introduced to the start-up team who – through business adviser Wendy Brown – delivered one-to-one support. The support was delivered through the Coventry & Warwickshire Business Support Programme which is partfunded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

“Wendy at the Chamber has been brilliant. She’s completely understood what I want to get from the business and what I can offer to clients.” Wendy Brown added: “It can be quite daunting when you’ve reached a certain point in your career to take the plunge and start a business but, with our support, we can help people navigate their way through that and June is testament to that.”


Area Focus: Coventry - Mid Warks - North Warks - South Warks - Rugby

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Growth on the menu as local bar receives help A Leamington bar, which serves everything from brunch through to evening cocktails, is planning for growth after receiving support. Hart + Co, in Augusta Place, was opened by Louise Hart four years ago after she’d spent several years in the hospitality sector during her university days in Kent. The venue has established itself as a place that welcomes everyone, especially providing a safe space for women while its menu items are named after family and friends who have supported Louise’s venture along the way. It can cater for around 90 people at a time and the décor is very pink, including balloons, furballs, family photos – and even a bathtub! The business, which opens seven days a week and employs 12 people has been helped by Project Warwickshire – a free recovery and growth business support programme to help companies in the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors in the county, in the wake of the of the Covid-19 pandemic. Project Warwickshire is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Warwickshire County Council. The support is delivered by Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with Shakespeare’s England and Northern Warwickshire Tourism.

Louise said: “I always say that I owe this business and the fact we are here to the Chamber. “I was at a point a few years ago when it was my dream to open the venue but I knew I needed some help and I spoke to the council who pointed me in the direction of the Chamber. “The advice I received was amazing and really helped me to launch the business and get started in the right way. I’d worked in hospitality but I had no idea of all the things I’d need to know to start a business. “More recently, I’ve had some additional help on the back of the Covid-19 pandemic when Marie Stephenson from the Chamber has given me one-to-one help. “It’s been so helpful. Marie has helped me with everything from pricing to help us become more profitable right through to marketing. We are now, we believe, the most followed bar in Leamington on Instagram!” The business now offers a range of classes – from cocktail making through to jewellery making – and offers table-service cocktails from 6pm through to 10pm. Louise is also considering creating extra space to offer more opportunities for private hire.

Cllr Kam Kaur, Gillian Dale (both Warwickshire County Council), Caroline Trainor (Chamber), Louise Hart

Marie said: “I am so thrilled to see Hart + Co continuing to grow and we are really pleased to have supported her along the way. “As it’s a fantastic business, created in Louise’s image, she prides herself on giving great service and even ensures all members of staff are given lifts home to make sure they get back safely in an evening. “Our support has very much been about helping to Louise to be true to herself but ensure that she puts in place all of the fundamentals of running a business to help Hart & Co to thrive.”

Warwickshire County Council's Business Growth & Support Programme Manager, Gillian Dale, said: “Hart + Co is a great example of the innovative business, driven with real passion and energy by its management and staff, which makes Warwickshire's hospitality sector so vibrant. "I am delighted that Project Warwickshire has been such a great source of help to Louise. Warwickshire County Council is pleased and proud to have created and part-funded Project Warwickshire to support our wonderful tourism, leisure and hospitality sector."

Caludon District Scouts make a big splash at the Heart of England The Caludon District Scouts from Coventry were making a BIG splash at The Heart of England Conference & Events Centre this June with their spectacular ‘Water Weekend’ Event. The intrepid cubs and scouts camped lakeside overnight on the event fields 10th - 12th and 17th - 19th June. Stephen Hammon - The Managing Director and Owner of The Heart of England said: “It’s always a pleasure to welcome local groups to The Heart of England. Seeing happy smiling faces enjoying and making the most of the beautiful countryside, park and lake surroundings we have to offer at Heart of England is a joy. We look forward to welcoming the Caludon District Scouts back again soon.” For any groups looking to do something similar, please get in touch with The Heart of England by calling by emailing sales@heartofengland.co.uk



Area Focus: Coventry - Mid Warks - North Warks - South Warks - Rugby

On a roll after Chamber help The family-run business, which employs ten staff, has recently secured new work with Leicester Council and Brighton Council, with roller skating rinks planned in both cities for the summer months. Heath Stone, Founder and Events Manager at Sk8hire, said: “The contrast between today and the hospitality shutdown back in 2020 is remarkable. The business was hit hard and we were forced to strip operations right back to basics. “We are now looking optimistically to the postpandemic future. Securing a new vehicle was something we pinpointed as key to our strategy going forwards and we’re thankful to the Chamber for helping us achieve this through the funding they’ve supplied.” Heath first contacted the Chamber in 2010, when a £500 start-up grant took his roller disco venture from concept to reality – with the Chamber’s advice in setting up the business proving invaluable.

Heath Stone and Helena Bassett

A Midlands company has got it skates on when it comes to expansion thanks to an injection of new funding. Sk8hire, a mobile roller disco company based in Coventry, has been awarded a £26,000 business grant through the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Investment Fund after being supported by the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and its Accelerated Growth programme. It was the perfect boost to help the business expand after facing tough times during the Covid-19 crisis and, as well as the funding, received help and advice through the programme to keep it on the right path. The grant has gone towards a new vehicle which will help the companyin its work with schools, community projects and promotional events.

SK8hire is now hoping to win work with two further leisure centres in the coming months following on from its first weekly roller disco events outside of the Midlands in Andover and Plymouth. It is also looking to use the backing to relaunch its international operations, following on from projects in Dubai, Hungary and Spain. “We’ve been to Barcelona, Budapest and back again delivering roller discos to business functions, private events, after parties and festivals in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. It’s been a wonderful journey so far with ups and downs – which first began after our initial conversation with the Chamber twelve years ago”, said Heath. Business Advisor, Helena Bassett, has been Sk8hire’s contact through the Accelerated Growth Programme. This project forms part of the Coventry & Warwickshire Business Support Programme which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Stone added: “The Chamber have provided us with an amazing level of support over the years. Helena and her team believed in my business idea when others doubted me – which we are very thankful for. We have learned a great deal from the advice given to me about business operations, which has stood us in good stead over time as the business has developed, diversified and grown. “When grant funding has become available that Helena has thought would help Sk8 hit even greater heights, she’s put them to us straight away. Nothing has ever been too much – and I can’t recommend the Chamber’s services enough to fellow business owners. “We look forward to continuing our work with Helena and the Chamber and are particularly grateful to them for putting their heart and soul into our business over the years.” Helena Bassett, business adviser at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “It’s been great to support Heath and the team at Sk8hire and watch them progress into the diverse business they are today. “It’s been a very difficult time for many companies so to be able to help a local business establish itself and progress through the winning of new business and offering employment opportunities for local businesspeople is really important to us. “We’d encourage other businesses to get in touch with the Chamber to find out how we can support them and help to grow their company and the regional economy as a whole.” Contact the Accelerated Growth team by email on businesssupport@cw-chamber.co.uk to learn more about the programme. To find out more about the services provided by Sk8hire for both UK and international events, visit www.sk8hire.co.uk.

South Warwickshire Open for Business The need to increase the amount of affordable employment land in south Warwickshire and its role in allowing local start-ups to grow and thrive was discussed at a meeting of a key regional business organisation.

“Through our regular dialogue with the Chamber, we realised new startups, many of which started during the pandemic, are limited in their growth potential due to a lack of affordable business units for them to expand into.

Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s South Warwickshire Branch meeting brought together Chamber members, councillors, council officers and housing developer CALA Homes to discuss how businesses were being priced out of expansion due to a lack of affordable units to move into, and the best ways to address this.

“It is crucial that we collaborate with developers like CALA Homes to ensure the inclusion of affordable employment land is viable to them, and with business organisations like the Chamber to understand business’s needs on the ground.”

It was held at Long Marston Airfield, where 3,500 homes are set to be built over the coming years along with six hectares of dedicated affordable employment land. Attendees initially heard from Cllr Daren Pemberton, deputy leader of Stratford District Council, about how the council is looking to prioritise the creation of affordable employment land for new businesses and is working directly with developers in the area to facilitate it. He said: “The key message we want to get across as a council, especially post-pandemic, is that we are open for business.


Jonathan Thompson, Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Ambassador, then told attendees how the creation of affordable employment land would stimulate the local economy. “Delivering affordable employment land across the region is a key focus of the Chamber,” he said. “It had been overlooked by certain stakeholders in the past, but we are now working directly with local authorities and developers to pass on small business’s concerns and giving them avenues for growth. “It’s great to hear that Stratford District Council is taking the issue seriously, and is working proactively to deliver employment sites as quickly as possible.”

From left to right – Cllr Matt Jennings (Stratford District Council), Cllr Bill Tempest (Marston Sicca Parish Council), Emily Napier, Marie Stephenson, Phil Ingle, Jonathan Thompson, Charlie Budd, Chris Lawes, Larry Coltman, Cllr Daren Pemberton, Andrew Dicker, John Careford.

Further talks were given by Andrew Dicker, managing director of CALA Homes, and Chloe Millage of Warwickshire Skills Hub before South Warwickshire Chamber branch chairman Larry Coltman rounded off the talks.

“We relayed business concerns to Stratford District Council, who to their credit have listened and have actively put plans in place to address the lack of business space for fledgling companies to move into.

Larry added: “South Warwickshire was one of the biggest generators of start-ups in Coventry and Warwickshire during the pandemic, and it became clear quite quickly that many were unable to fulfil their potential for growth.

“We look forward to further positive discussions with the council around affordable employment land, and also around ensuring appropriate infrastructure is in place to serve the many people moving into the new homes being built in south Warwickshire.”


Area Focus: Coventry - Mid Warks - North Warks - South Warks - Rugby

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Funding helps business grow A thriving Stratford business that started – literally – at a kitchen table is seeing sales rise after moving into a new venue in the town and widening its customer-base. The Dough House was founded by Fulden Tur in her home four years ago after she gave up her corporate career to offer clients the chance to learn how to create their own traditional afternoon teas before getting to enjoy their creations. It has now moved into a quaint venue in Ely Street in the town centre and, as well as attracting bookings from individuals and private groups, it has become a hit with corporate clients too. Eighty per cent of its sales in May were from business customers, including a group from Aldi’s head office. The Dough House has also expanded its experiences to include pasta making, flatbread and meze making, sourdough pizza making and a Shakespearean cooking experience among others. The business survived the height of the pandemic by selling produce and emerged from it with plans for growth, including finding premises where it could bring together more people at one time. To support that growth, Fulden, who was trained by a range of organisations including Cordon Bleu in Paris, was introduced to the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce by a contact at Shakespeare’s England. The business was eligible for support through Project Warwickshire – a free recovery and growth business support programme to help companies in the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors in the county, in the wake of the of the Covid-19 pandemic. Project Warwickshire is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Warwickshire County Council. The support is delivered by Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with Shakespeare’s England and Northern Warwickshire Tourism, on behalf of Warwickshire County Council. Chamber business adviser Russell Grant worked with Fulden to create a business plan for growth and also supported an application for a capital grant towards the refurbishment of the property, which was formally a hair salon.

Robert Marshall-Lee (Chamber), Russell Grant (Chamber), Hayley Lineker (Warwickshire County Council), Fulden Tur (The Dough House)

The grant, for almost £15,000, was awarded through the Coventry & Warwickshire Business Support Programme which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Fulden, who employs four people and is looking to add to the team in the next few months, said: “It is amazing to have our own space in the town centre and the response has been wonderful. As soon as I walked through the door, I knew I wanted to bring the business here and it’s helping to take us to a new level. “I’d started to think about how I could grow at the end of last year and I put a post on social media. A contact at Shakespeare’s England got back to me and said I should speak to the Chamber. “Russell was really helpful and talked through my ideas and helped me to create a business plan for growth. He also identified that there was an opportunity for grant funding and, with his help, the application was successful. “Part of the plan was to really start to look at the corporate market and that is already proving to be huge for us. We had some major bookings in May with some very well-known companies bringing teams of people here to enjoy the experiences.

“That is an area of the business we feel we can continue to grow. “I also work with other local companies which is good for the regional economy, including Katherine Attreed-Atkat Marketing, who has helped to support me on my marketing plan.” Russell said: “It has been great to work with Fulden and to be able to support the business’s growth. “It really highlights how well the eco-system of business support works in the region – from the initial introduction through to all of the help we were able to give. “And the fact that it has helped the business move into new premises and also grow and diversify its client-base is testament to that.” Warwickshire County Council's Portfolio Holder for Economy & Place, Cllr Martin Watson, said: "The Dough House is exactly the sort of creative, talentdriven small business that makes our towns and our county such a joy to visit. I am delighted that Project Warwickshire, which Warwickshire County Council is proud to co-fund, has been so effective in helping Fulden to advance with her growth plans."

“Russell was really helpful and talked through my ideas and helped me to create a business plan for growth. He also identified that there was an opportunity for grant funding and, with his help, the application was successful." www.cw-chamber.co.uk


Area Focus: Coventry - Mid Warks - North Warks - South Warks - Rugby

Warwick and Leamington a hive of innovation £5.5 million Warwick scheme which is not due for completion until the first quarter of next year. Mark Edwards, Managing Director of AC Lloyd Commercial, said: “It is totally fitting that the final development to complete Tachbrook Park is designed to help companies grow and thrive as, over the last four decades, that is exactly what the park has done for the local and the region’s economy. “Our Space Business Centres are designed entirely to help companies grow. There are monthly licences rather than longer leases, and there is a range of spaces and uses which make them suitable for a wide variety of businesses.

Alistair Clark (AC Lloyd), Councillor John Cooke, Mark Edwards and Craig Humphrey.

The final development in a major business and industrial park in Warwickshire is set to create hundreds of jobs and scores of new companies in Warwick and Leamington. The Space Business Centre Warwick is being created by developer AC Lloyd Commercial and is designed to attract start-up and expanding enterprises and will be a mix of office, industrial and storage units and will provide short-

term flexible accommodation to help the businesses grow.

“We have found that they are the perfect springboard for young companies, many of which have been developed in people’s homes or garages, and they offer the first step on the commercial property ladder.

The scheme, which will feature 61 units ranging from 200 sq ft to 500 sq ft, is the final development at Tachbrook Park which was started by AC Lloyd in the early 1980s, and is now home to hundreds of companies.

“The Warwick and Leamington area has always been a hive of innovation and entrepreneurship and we have been really pleased with the level of interest, and hopefully many of the future tenants will thrive and grow to be employers on the park.”

AC Lloyd has successful Space Business Centres in Gloucester and Cheltenham and has already had strong interest in the

The completion of the steel frame work for the 35,000 sq ft development was marked by a visit from Warwick

District Council Planning Cabinet Member Councillor John Cooke and Craig Humphrey, managing director of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Hub. Humphrey said the post-pandemic timing of the development could be perfect for many young companies. He said: “Many people used the pandemic to re-evaluate their working lives and anecdotally many have started their own businesses. Two years down the line many of them will be ready to make the step from home into dedicated premises, and this scheme will allow them to do that without the long-term commitment of a more traditional route. “It is always really important for any area to have a pipeline of growing businesses, and the Space Business Centre will help feed that.” Councillor Cooke, who is also a county councillor, said: “Tachbook Park is a jewel in Warwickshire’s commercial crown and is home to some of our key companies, so it is great to think that the future generation of economic drivers may well be starting life at this scheme. “AC Lloyd has been shaping Tachbook Park across four decades, and this will ensure that continues well into the future.”

Green space in the heart of the city Three new outlets are bringing added flavour to one of the city’s most popular attractions after being unveiled following a significant investment. Coombe Abbey Park LACo, working with No Ordinary Hospitality Management (NOHM), which manages a host of venues and attractions across the region, including Coombe Abbey Hotel and St Mary’s Guildhall, undertook a £400,000 refurbishment programme to bring new tastes to the War Memorial Park. The firm has repurposed two existing cafés on site and added a new ice cream kiosk at the heart of the park. Twenty new jobs are being created for local people while current members of staff are staying within the organisation by moving across to the new outlets The Park Bistro, which sits adjacent to Kenilworth Road, is open from 8am for breakfast, and includes everything from a pain au chocolats and croissants to a Full English which available to eat in or take away until 11am. Freshly made snacks and other small plates are available as lunchtime tideme-overs and include everything from Scotch eggs with mustard relish through to vintage cheddar rarebit. That sits alongside a dual lunchtime and supper menu – which includes a special WMP Burger as well as a Sri Lankan sweet potato and chickpea curry. Afternoon teas, inspired by Coombe Abbey Hotel’s award-winning selection, are also on offer, featuring a daily


selection of delicious fresh cakes, which are served between 2pm and 6pm. The old café in the visitor centre has been given a 50s-themed makeover, and is now operating as a dessert diner, as NOHM has opened its second Sundae club after a successful launch at Coombe Abbey Park. Customers with a sweet tooth have a range of different flavoured milkshakes and ice creams to choose from, along with hot, fresh waffles and crepes. Richard Harrison, managing director of NOHM, said he was delighted with the new look hospitality offering at the park, and is sure that the new layout will set the 12-acre community space up for generations to come. He said: “The War Memorial Park has been a haven for Coventrians for over a century. To reflect its ongoing appeal and charm, the food and drink outlets have been designed to offer something to visitors from all walks of life each and every day, whilst staying true to the traditions of the park. “With summer on the way and the city still basking in the success of the BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend and the UK City of Culture celebrations, we’re looking forward to War Memorial Park’s new era, and are proud to have played a part in bringing it to fruition. “There’s something for everyone across our three new outlets from breakfast to evening meals right through to one of our indulgent sundaes.”

Lord Mayor of Coventry Cllr Kevin Maton, Lady Mayoress Angela Maton, Richard Harrison and Councillor Abdul Salam Khan at the bistro

Coventry City Councillor Abdul Salam Khan, Deputy leader of Coventry City Council with responsibility for parks, said: “The War Memorial Park is a wonderful venue that people of all ages can enjoy,

and the new cafes and ice cream kiosk will provide a great offer. It’s a well-loved park and - most importantly - a major green space in the heart of the city. So, this is very good news.”

More details on the park Bistro can be found at https://www.warmemorialparkbistro.co.uk/ and at https://www.facebook.com/thebistroatwarmemorialpark/ To get in touch with The Sundae Club and discover the amazing combinations you can create in-store, visit https://www.sundae-club.co.uk


Area Focus: Coventry - Mid Warks - North Warks - South Warks - Rugby

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Start, Grow and Scale programme helps Nuneaton business Two sisters with a wealth of experience in the construction industry have celebrated their Nuneaton business’s first anniversary by planning for future growth. Lisa and Julie Cartwright established Access Panel Shop at the Pool Road Business Centre in Pool Road in June 2021. The flourishing business is a stockist and distributor of access panels for the construction industry for walls and ceilings with a wide range of standard and bespoke products. Access Panel Shop was set-up after the sisters were made redundant at the same time and they approached the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce for assistance. This led to the Chamber providing free support on behalf of Warwickshire County Council, through the CW Business: Start, Grow and Scale programme, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Warwickshire County Council and all five District and Borough Councils. Lisa and Julie were assigned Rita Booth as their business coach and she provided free start-up business support through workshops and one-to-one coaching, which includes everything from advice on marketing through to business planning. This has helped the sisters to establish a UK-wide network of customers from London to Scotland as well as closer to home – and plans are underway to launch an e-commerce website this autumn. Julie said the Chamber’s support had been crucial in getting the business off to the right start. She said: “We have over 40 years’ experience between us in the construction industry so when we were both made redundant, it was only natural to set-up a business in this sector because we know the products and the industry. It is in our DNA. “Having our own business has given us greater financial freedom and an opportunity to make our own decisions and the first 12 months has flown by.


“In the last week, we have driven 1,000 miles to make site visits and deliveries and the customers we have built up have been brilliant because we can supply one item or hundreds depending on their requirements.” Lisa added that the Chamber has been really supportive of Access Panel Shop’s plans every step of the way. “It can be daunting launching a new business but Rita has really helped us with our confidence as well as practical advice,” she said. “From where we were to where we are now is amazing and Rita has helped us more than she will ever know. “She has also provided help with our online e-commerce site which is nearly ready to be launched where we will be selling our standard products because when it comes to the ordering of specialised products, we prefer to speak to our customers to make sure everything is just right. “We also have an upcoming expansion of our range including roof and floor access panels plus the development of a new product in the future. “From attending Chamber events, we have started going to women in construction events which we think is really important because we want more women to consider this as a career option. “The sector is definitely changing because when we go on site visits now there are more women there which is really encouraging for the future.” Rita Booth, Business Coach at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said she wanted to encourage other SMEs like the Access Panel Shop to become involved in the start-up programme. She said: “The funding for this programme finishes in June 2023 and the help and information available is really important for new businesses. “When I first met Lisa and Julie it took a few sessions to formulate a plan to make the most of all their experience in the construction industry. “We put together a strategy to target national companies first and they are now starting to attract more business in Coventry and Warwickshire.”

Lisa Cartwright, Julie Cartwright, Rita Booth.

Warwickshire County Council's Portfolio Holder for Economy & Place, Cllr Martin Watson, said: “I am delighted that the CW Business: Start, Grow and Scale programme has proved so beneficial to Lisa and Julie. The positive way they responded

to having been made redundant themselves is an inspiring example of the enterprise and adaptability that we see in so many of Warwickshire's wonderful small businesses. It is great that the programme has helped them so much.”

The Chamber has a range of support for start-up businesses, whether you want to make your business idea a reality, or require advice on how to build your new businesses. For more information go to https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/business-support/business-start-up/

"Rita has also provided help with our online e-commerce site which is nearly ready to be launched where we will be selling our standard products because when it comes to the ordering of specialised products, we prefer to speak to our customers to make sure everything is just right." 37


Supply chain specialist proudly attains Earned Recognition with TruTac How to grow a small business after year one The latest data from the ONS shows that around 10% of businesses fail after year one. Spotting the keys to growing your business after the first year is vital if you’re to escape this cycle and create lasting success. After a full year of trading, you should be able to use your sales data to identify which products have sold the best and what you’ve done to drive traffic to your website. Therefore, finding what’s most reliable and lucrative for your business should be relatively straightforward. If you’re confident you’re already well-positioned to meet your customers’ needs, you could investigate expanding your brand into new product categories. Growth from diversifying works on two fronts: existing customers recognise your brand in the new products they find, while new customers find an established and reputable brand available to them. Refining your marketing strategy can also be an effective way to grow your small business. You can generate revenue by making your advertising more targeted and effective at demonstrating your business’s value. Find more ways to grow a small business in domestic and international markets on the WorldFirst website. www.worldfirst.com/uk/marketplacesellers/e-commerce-guides/how-togrow-a-small-business/

Trucklink EU, the freight distribution and e-commerce supply chain specialists, have gained Earned Recognition status via the DVSA scheme and have officially become an ‘exemplary’ operator in the UK’s palletised freight sector. “For the most part, this has been made possible by TruTac,” says Depot Manager Paul Whelan. “We are able to apply the requisite monitoring and reporting procedures which demonstrate that our driver and vehicle performance consistently meet the high standards set by the DVSA scheme.” In a bid to gain tighter control over general fleet and driver data, Trucklink EU began using TruTac software products around three years ago. Since then and by switching compliance reporting processes from manual to digital, procedures are easier to implement and accurate real-time data regarding every driver and vehicle is immediately accessible, for auditing and ongoing management control. “We download remotely, all driver and vehicle info,” explains Paul “and then send the verified tacho data directly to TruTac for analysis, so we can view the results via automated email reporting. This gives us complete visibility and insight, enabling immediate corrective actions to be taken and forward planning to be done.” As part of TruTac’s integrated TruAnalysis package, Trucklink EU use TruChecks, TruLicence, TruView and TruFleet – each module playing a dedicated role in assisting with day-today vehicle and driver control.

“For example,” adds Paul, “using the TruTac app, our drivers can do their daily walk-round and vehicle checks and remotely report any defects as they arise. These are immediately logged and viewed by the workshop so repairs can be scheduled and then entered in the system once complete. Trucklink EU also point to the ‘very significant’ reduction in driver infringements achieved by enabling management and drivers alike to see exactly where and when mistakes have been made, so the appropriate consultation and advice can be given. “The system allows us to connect fully with our drivers and because of their own proactive input, each one is able to feel part of the solution rather than the problem. Plus,” adds Paul, “the easy-touse dashboards and screens have gone a long way to reducing driver stress.” With a mixed fleet of over sixty vehicles, driver hours and tacho data

could normally be difficult to monitor, interpret and retrieve, says Trucklink. However, with TruTac’s compliance control software and Earned Recognition under their belt, the company says it has never been so on top of compliancerelated data and is going from strength to strength. “Our reputation is built on consistently delivering trusted and efficient logistics solutions” sums up Paul Whelan. “TruTac has been instrumental in helping us to achieve our performance targets and are always there when we need them. We regard them as part of the Trucklink team.” As a share-holder member of the Pall-Ex network and using 170,000 sq. ft of strategically - located warehousing throughout the UK, Trucklink EU Limited provides end-toend supply chain solutions for local, national, and global freight movement.

Apex Pledges to Make Good Grow! Apex are delighted to have become a Make Good Grow Good Business. We’ve pledged to supply a free refurbished Konica Minolta copier to a Good Cause! We will deliver, install, and set it up. And there is an option for on-going service support.*

recognised that many of his team were happy to use their skills to help good causes solve their business problems but could not always find the right projects or opportunities. Hence Make Good Grow was born.

Fellow members of the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Make Good Grow is all about making a difference to Good Causes. The online Make Good Grow “Pledge Marketplace” enables Good Businesses to post products, services, and other support they can offer for the benefit of Good Causes. Good Causes (charities and community organisations) are then encouraged to browse the support on offer – and basically go shopping for free!

Initially launched in the Warwickshire and the West Midlands region, it has now started to branch out nationally. It has evolved considerably since the initial matchmaking concept. The Pledge Marketplace revolutionises the way that businesses can help and support Good Causes and since launching the e-commerce style platform in February 2022 they have already welcomed more than £320k worth of pledges to the site from altruistic businesses like Apex Connected.

Make Good Grow is the brainchild of Nigel Shanahan, who as the former business owner of Rant and Rave,

In addition is the Make Good Grow Podcast – Behind the Cause, which puts leaders of Good Causes in the spotlight,


looking at the highs and lows of running an organisation, personal achievements, and the biggest challenges in the sector today. Richard Lamb, Apex’s Sales Director commented; “When we heard about Make Good Grow, we knew it was right up our street! We are thrilled that we've already had two Pledge matches and are installing copiers for them both shortly. Apex has always been committed to giving back to good causes. Through Apex Action, our own funding and volunteer initiative, we’ve undertaken school garden makeover projects, bought football bibs, tickets for Lego Land, raised £1000’s for nominated charity Cheshire Without Abuse, and much more. We are delighted to be sitting alongside other Good Businesses such as Twycross Zoo, Coventry Building Society, Warwickshire County Cricket Club,

1 Mill Street, and Wasps sporting professionals. All with a common goal – to make good grow!” If you are a business who wants to Make Good Grow find out more and sign up via their website today www.makegoodgrow.com * Terms and conditions apply.


Coventry & Warwickshire in business


Women in Business Conference returns for a Fourth Year! A ‘Celebration of local women by local women’, business support network Socially Shared hosts their 4th annual women in business conference.

Roberts Dealer on the BBC’s Bidding Room and Marie Wicker of Certanovo, an Executive Coach for Women and Teams.

The headline event took place on 8th June 2022 at the Draycote Hotel, Rugby and celebrated the success and achievements of local women in business and employment. The theme for the day was ‘communication’ which acknowledged how businesses had to pivot, adapt and communicate differently during the pandemic, with many businesses flourishing and continuing on with this hybrid approach.

In addition, there were two interactive and informative workshops in the afternoon. The first led by Amy Hobson a Digital Marketing Consultant and a regular speaker at the NEC’s Spring and Autumn Fair and the second by Jules White, Award Winning International Sales and Business Consultant, aka The Dragon Slayer after her success on BBC’s Dragon’s Den.

The morning saw more than 100 guests hear from Ellen Manning Journalist, PR Consultant and Award Winning Blogger, TEDx and Public Speaking Coach Minnie MalinckrodtGrant, Adrianne Carter ‘The Face Whisperer’ UK’s Foremost Expert in Facial Expression and Emotions, Jo

The conference also welcomed the return of Joanna Tidman, BBC’s Assistant Editor for the Midlands, TV and Online as MC for the fourth year. The business support network that uniquely blends and facilitates networking, a learning opportunity and social support at each of their monthly sessions throughout its Midlands

network, has been thrilled with the feedback from guests.

and atmosphere that meeting face to face, and larger events creates!”

Karen Heap, Founder of Socially Shared Business Network said “The women that attended were genuinely thrilled to be able to meet up for this type of event, after the disruption caused by the pandemic. Online networking and events have been a lifeline for communicating during the pandemic, but nothing beats the vibe

Support was welcomed from headline sponsors Alsters Kelley Solicitors, Cube Accounting, The HR Dept and brand photographer and videographer, Libby Rees from Studio Forty-Six. For more information about this event or the Socially Shared Business Support Network for women visit www.sociallyshared.co.uk

Holiday Park Operators Haven join the electric mobility revolution with the Eskuta SX-250 e-bike across 9 sites The SX-250 e-bike from leading Nuneaton based e-mobility brand, Eskuta has proven to be a big hit with many Holiday Park Operators around the UK including Haven, who recently took delivery of 18 bikes across 9 UK sites.

Holiday Park Operators require flexible solutions to their mobility needs. The SX-250 offers this freedom of motion in an affordable, cost effective and sustainable package. “We are currently in the process of delivering 18 e-cargo bikes to various Haven sites across the UK who are using our Eskuta SX-250 as a sustainable and cost-effective way to deliver food and anything else for that matter on site and in and around the sites surrounding areas efficiently.

By combining the aesthetic of a moped with the cost saving benefits of an e-bike it’s not hard to see why the SX-250 has been so popular with both consumers and businesses alike who have praised it for its versatility of use. For Holiday Parks offering a takeaway or grocery service the SX-250 delivery bike with delivery box has enabled many operators including Haven to provide a great cost effective and sustainable delivery service direct to their guest’s doors and local area. Likewise, parks are also using the SX-250 to offer a bike rental service


allowing holiday makers to explore the local area with both ease and comfort. The bikes themselves can also be completely custom branded for a sleek and professional look which also ensures the park’s brand name

is always on display when the bike is out and about. Additional batteries can also be purchased. Managing Director of Eskuta, Ian O Connor said, “We know that

“Importantly, our bikes can be completely custom branded meaning your brand is always on display wherever the bike goes. We also do a consumer version of the bike which holiday park operators can use as part of a bike rental scheme for holidaymakers to further enhance their guest services on offer”



Sustainability - risks and rewards By Nick Reilly Sustainability has moved beyond the initial belief that it is ‘all about the environment’. Customer interest, investor pressure and tenders have been driving more emphasis on sustainability for businesses which includes employee’s wellbeing, supply chains and communities. With our clients, we see different approaches when they think about sustainability. Typically, they can be split into a risk or reward-based approaches. We encourage people to consider both perspectives as they bring different actions and targets. If you believe there is risk to your business, by not being more sustainable, and being able to authentically evidence it, you are not alone.

Environmental From an environmental perspective, many companies fear losing points on tender submissions as they had no credible carbon reduction plan. To resolve this, they typically,

By focussing on the benefits of a carbon

and collateral that supported recruitment

reduction plan, bottom line savings can be

initiatives. They are already getting more

made. One of our wholesale clients looked at

diverse candidates for vacancies and winning

their full Scope 3 emissions for opportunities

the ‘fight for talent’.

to improve. They saved significant carbon

Strategy and collaboration

for themselves AND their largest client by reducing the number of products they

A large proportion of business, follow a

repackaged from 82% to 43%. Carbon savings

‘me too’ Sustainability strategy. Doing just

came from less packaging, waste, vehicles

enough to comply. A facilities management

involved, and miles travelled. They have

client recognised that none of their direct

saved money and made demonstrable

competitors were doing anything other than

progress towards net zero while reinforcing

‘me to’ on sustainability. They invested time

their key client relationship.

to understand their impacts, benchmark

Diversity and inclusion

measurements and set targets to progress.

Diversity and inclusion are a big part of sustainability and a challenging issue for organisations. There is a risk to be being perceived as lacking diversity and just issuing a suite of statements and policies as a solution. Policies are not enough anymore. A client in financial services absolutely saw this as an opportunity to address talent gaps. They have set themselves ambitious targets for 2030 to get a genuine diversity of thought and cultures in the business. What did they do? They started with

take action to measure carbon footprint to

education, embraced a D&I calendar

scope 3 and create a plan to get to net zero

with communications and events to build

by 2050.

awareness. This continues to generate stories

They reached out to their key customers to understand what was important to them. One key account, responded enthusiastically, recognised the potential value add, and piloted a new sustainability program with them. This has led to additional business with this account, and a strong proposition for tenders going forward.

In conclusion The biggest risk we see - doing nothing. Sustainability is not going away. Being passive risks losing customers and staff. The good news is that there is still competitive advantage to be gained by early movers.


❛❛With our clients, we see different approaches when they think about sustainability. Typically, they can be split into a risk or reward-based approaches. We encourage people to consider both perspectives as they bring different actions and targets. 40



Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Education and Training

Research centre supports development of equine students Moreton Morrell College students have discovered the impact treatments can have on stress in horses after tapping into the expertise of a state-of-the-art research centre. Maya Grist and Kaya Wales are both studying degrees at the college and have been conducting research into cortisol in horses using saliva swab tests conducted at the Agri-Tech Research Centre at Pershore College – both part of college group WCG. The pair conducted separate research projects, with Maya researching the impact of cryotherapy on horse stress levels and Kaya focusing on the effect that the use of essential oils can have on the animal. Maya, 21 from Swindon, is studying a three-year degree in equine therapy and rehabilitation. Her research looked heart rates, behaviour and saliva swaps of cortisol. If a horse has long-term higher levels of cortisol production, it can affect the rate that an injury can heal.

Kaya, 25 from Stratford upon Avon, is in the final year of her equine science degree. She tested the effects of seven different essential oils on seven horses from Oxstalls farm and racing stud. Since essential oils have become a popular therapy, Kaya set out to study how these oils affected equine behaviour, heart rate and stress levels. Dr Anjana Patel and Professor Roy Kennedy at the Agri-Tech Research Centre supported Kaya and Maya in completing their tests and processing results. Dr Patel added: “We were pleased to be able to support Maya and Kaya with their projects. It shows the versatility of the equipment we have at Pershore College that we were able to carry out these tests for them.

Horse in stables at Moreton Morrell College

“We supported them both with measuring the cortisol levels in horse saliva. It was interesting for us to see other applications of our equipment and a pleasure to be able to support their research.”

For more information visit www.wcuc.ac.uk and https://wcg.ac.uk/page/486/agri-tech

“We were pleased to be able to support Maya and Kaya with their projects. It shows the versatility of the equipment we have at Pershore College that we were able to carry out these tests for them."

Skills hub plans gather pace The launch of a Digital Skills and Innovation Centre and training restaurant for North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College in Nuneaton town centre has progressed after approval was provided by the college’s board to move forward with the next steps in the planning process. The new facility will be built within the former Co-op building in Abbey Street with an £8M investment from the government’s Towns Fund.

It’s anticipated that the new stateof-the-art centre, due to open in 2024, will help to regenerate skills and careers opportunities in the town, enable access to digital skills training, and provide an incubation space for business start-ups. It will also support the hospitality sector through a training restaurant that will be open to the public. The facility is expected to serve over 2,600 students over the next ten years, supporting 290 business start-ups and delivering value to the economy worth £13.4M.

Plans for the additional campus will be developed in liaison with Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, the My Town Nuneaton Board, Warwickshire County Council and the Transforming Nuneaton project on its next steps.

Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, principal and chief executive of NWSLC, said: “This training restaurant will provide students with a wonderful chance to learn the skills needed in the catering and hospitality industry in a new building as well as having teaching


spaces for students. The demand for digital skills courses is increasing as more people are working from home or from retailers who want to develop their IT skills as their business has diversified. This will provide an opportunity to deliver on-site courses since not everyone has access to highquality technology at home.

people with their own micro or small

"The centre will also provide space and the facilities to support

For more information visit

business as well as those who have an idea to set up a business. It’s an amazing opportunity for current and future students and a really good example of collaboration between education and a local authority." www.nwslc.ac.uk

“This training restaurant will provide students with a wonderful chance to learn the skills needed in the catering and hospitality industry in a new building as well as having teaching spaces for students."


Education and Training

Warwick Trident College holds special celebration to mark arrival of Queen's Anniversary Prize works with a range of major companies to train their apprentices. Through its newly launched university centre - Warwickshire College and University Centre – the college is now delivering its own degree-level courses, including courses in Engineering. It comes after the college group became the first in the UK to gain Bachelor Degree Awarding Powers. Angela Joyce, CEO of WCG, said: “Warwick Trident College has been right at the heart of our continued success in engineering, so it was a pleasure to be able to bring the Queen’s Anniversary Prize to the college and share it with our staff and students.

Staff, students and apprentices at Warwick Trident College held a celebration event as a prestigious prize which recognises its innovative engineering training arrived at the college. The Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education prize was awarded to the college group for its pioneering work in the engineering sector, and Warwick Trident College is one of WCG’s three centres of engineering excellence – alongside Evesham College and Rugby College.

Angela Joyce, CEO of WCG, showed staff and students the prize which had been presented to her by His Royal Highness Prince Charles in a ceremony held at St James’s Palace. WCG has been a trailblazer for employercentric engineering provision for more than 25 years and has seen its engineering apprentice numbers grow from 40 in 1996 to 1,195 in 2021.

“The work we have done at Warwick Trident College over the last 25 years with our pioneering approach to employer-led engineering training was a vital aspect in winning the prize.” To find out more about engineering apprenticeships and courses at WCG visit wcg.ac.uk/study

Warwick Trident College was at the centre of the college group’s bespoke training programme with Jaguar Land Rover and now

Employment opportunities in rural hospitality businesses showcased WCG is working with Warwickshire Skills Hub to help promote opportunities with rural businesses through the ‘Let’s Go Rural’ initiative. The initiative – backed by the Community Renewal Fund - sees young people taken on a rural tour of Warwickshire, with visits to colleges and businesses, along with interactive sessions to discuss career opportunities. The first Let’s Go Rural tour has been held and saw 14 students visit Moreton Morrell College, before heading to Number 34 Garden and Grill Restaurant in Warwick. The sessions at the restaurant involved a presentation and discussion around the relationships between farming and hospitality, and the potential careers in the sector.


WCG will be running three more ‘Let’s Go Rural’ days in the coming months, with tours scheduled for June, September and October. The initiative is aiming to reach at least 200 young people aged 16 to 24 who are not in education, employment or training (NEET). It will also work with businesses to help better understand the barriers they face with employment and growth and advise on how to navigate those challenges. John Colclough, Business Development Manager at WCG, said: “WCG is delighted to have partnered with Warwickshire Skills Hub, through Warwickshire County Council, to deliver this initiative and open the eyes of young people to the career opportunities available with these businesses.”

Cllr Martin Watson, portfolio holder for economy at Warwickshire County Council, added: "With the fantastic support of WCG and the business and education-providers, this is an exciting initiative which could make a real difference to the rural economy and the lives of some young people around the county."

To find out more about Let’s Go Rural, visit skillshub.warwickshire.gov.uk


Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Education and Training

AIM Internet Supports UK AHR Government’s Kickstart Scheme Consultants to help people boost their skills, gain sustainable employment and accelerate their careers; the Kickstart Scheme facilitated us to do just that. Not only that, but as a business, we have also found the additional support invaluable as we get back on our feet following the pandemic.” AIM Internet is proud to assist young people on their path to a rewarding and successful career in the digital marketing industry through this means. And wherever possible, we support Government schemes for businesses.

More than 152,000 young people have gained key work experience to-date thanks to the Government’s Kickstart scheme. Kickstart is part of the UK Government’s wider Plan for Jobs initiative. It provides funding to employers to create jobs for 16 to 24 year olds who are on Universal Credit. The initiative is aimed at helping young people to gain vital skills and experience that will boost their employability, especially those affected by the economic fallout of Covid-19. Minister for Employment, Mims Davies MP said:“Kickstart has created fantastic opportunities in the face of extraordinary circumstances, as part of the Plan for Jobs. “From tourism to tech, sport and sales, PR, plumbing, hospitality and home working there have been inclusive, exciting starter roles created in all areas across the country because businesses

stepped up working with the government to make sure our young people progressed. “The scheme has created a truly life-changing legacy with thousands of young people better off than before the pandemic.” Mike Raybone, Director of AIM Internet, said: “It’s a phenomenal initiative that has enabled us as an employer to gain access to a large pool of talented young people whilst simultaneously supporting their growth. We’re able to provide a great quality experience to someone who needs it and at the same time, it opens our organisation up to fresh talent and innovative ways of thinking.” “It’s never been more important for us to support our young people. Through the Kickstart scheme we have seen the successes of those learning new skills and creating those all-important steppingstones for their future. As an organisation, we pride ourselves on the work we do

Although the scheme has now come to an end, we would urge young people to get in touch if they have any questions about how they might go a bout becoming the next generation of UK digital marketers. One young person to benefit from the scheme is Lucy who started her placement with AIM Internet in February 2022. Reflecting on her experience, she said: “Working for AIM through the kickstart scheme has been an incredibly valuable experience. It has really helped me improve a variety of skills from social media to SEO and gather more knowledge of the digital marketing industry.” We hope that in the future there will be more schemes like this so that we can offer more young people the opportunity to learn and expand their skill set in a safe environment through high quality roles that meet national minimum wage. The Kickstarter Scheme may be closed but businesses can still apply for an incentive payment of £3,000 for new apprentices who join their organisation. For further information email sarah.whitticase@aiminternet.co.uk

The Leadership Coaches Expand to a Team of Twenty Having launched in January 2020, The Leadership Coaches have recently expanded to a team of twenty strong and credible coaches.

To cater to clients' needs, The Leadership Coaches offer one-to-one


Compliance specialists AHR Consultants have launched a new range of E-Learning courses, adding to the firm’s existing portfolio of face-to-face training courses and on-site safety services. The new online sessions are accessible on desktop, laptop, and mobile devices, using a Learning Management System to deliver the content. Thanks to this ease of access, and with course durations starting from only 15 minutes, E-Learning has already proven valuable for existing clients of the firm. Over 60 courses are available, allowing employers to fulfil their legal duty for the provision of health and safety training, with popular options including Health and Safety Essentials, Fire Awareness, Risk Assessments, and First Aid. For businesses with more specific requirements, there are detailed courses on areas such as Manual Handling, Food Safety and Hygiene, Electrical Safety, and Infection Prevention. This also extends into individual sectors, with Care, Construction, and Education having tailored versions of key courses, further demonstrating the firm’s commitment towards delivering a client-focussed experience. Laurence Begley, Health and Safety Director at AHR Consultants, said: “We are delighted to launch a platform that makes it easier than ever to develop health and safety competence at work. Training, policies, and risk assessments provide businesses with three ‘pillars’ of defensibility in the event of an incident.”

Hand-picked by Director of Coaching Zoe Lewis, The Leadership Coaches have a wealth of experience and are passionate about supporting other people. Each coach has first-hand experience in leadership roles for both medium and large-scale national and international businesses. Having worked across industries including retail, healthcare, education, finance, hospitality, transport, and telecommunications, each coach understands the challenges that leaders often face within the workplace. For this reason, The Leadership Coaches are frequently chosen as partners for organisations that require either an external leadership coach or mentor.

launch new E-Learning courses for H&S

leadership coaching, team coaching, talent and graduate coaching, mentoring programmes, leadership programmes, and bespoke coaching. On their recent expansion, Zoe Lewis says, “We have been fortunate to grow from a start-up that was established in

January 2020 to a growth business now in our second year in 2022. It was essential for us to grow the capacity within our team to ensure that we meet the growing needs of our clients. I am thrilled that we are able to help our clients of all sizes from here in the United Kingdom to International services.”

“The provision of training should never feel like a burden, and with the help of our system, employers can feel confident in their efforts to protect staff and avoid enforcement action.” To explore AHR Consultants’ full range of E-Learning courses, visit www.ahrconsultants.co.uk/e-learning


President & People

Alsters Kelley celebrates a year since key acquisition

Tom Mongan, president of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and chair of its North Warwickshire branch. There has been plenty for this region to be proud of over recent weeks and there’s much more to look forward to. It was great to have the spotlight on the Miners Welfare Park in Bedworth as the wonderful structure that was Sanctuary was created and then burned, attracting crowds of people in a truly spectacular moment for the town. At the same time, Radio 1’s Big Weekend was happening down the road in Coventry, putting our region on the national airwaves over the course of several days, as the UK City of Culture came to an amazing close. And then there were the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations that seemed to really bring everyone together in celebration both regionally and nationally. I am delighted that the party isn’t over as the Commonwealth Games will be underway very soon bringing even more interest and excitement to our part of the world. Of course, there are issues remaining within the economy – we saw GDP drop by 0.3 per cent in April, which was a second successive monthly fall. Our colleagues at the British Chambers of Commerce revised their forecast for yearly growth down to 3.5 per cent. They also predicted that inflation will hit 10 per cent in the final quarter of 2022 and business investment is going to fall short of previous estimates. We’re all feeling these things in our daily lives, especially when we come to pay our energy bills or go to fill up with fuel. It’s exactly the same in the world of business where companies are become increasingly frustrated that the cost of doing business and the difficulties to recruit – as well as other issues within the economy – are holding back growth. Of course, we all hoped that as we came out of Covid-19 restrictions that it would be a chance to put our foot down and really accelerate the growth in the economy but, sadly, that’s not been the case and we’re all urging Government to help ease the burden of costs on business. I’d also urge firms across the region to make sure they stay in touch with the team at the Chamber to make the most of the support that’s available to help them get through this tricky period and look to grow. You can contact the Chamber Team on 024 7665 4321 or drop an email to info@cw-chamber.co.uk


After two years of effectively avoiding close contact with people and a general lack of face-to-face social interaction, it was good to finally be able to do something different. That’s why we were delighted recently to welcome nearly 100 people to Stratford Town Hall to help us celebrate a whole year since Bonell & Co became part of Alsters Kelley Solicitors. Julie McGarrigle, business development director at Alsters Kelley, said: “The event was primarily an opportunity for us to introduce ourselves and other members of the AK team, as well as officially welcome Andrew and other Stratford staff to the team. “We had a great turnout. Directors, staff, clients, suppliers and business contacts, and the

Mayor of Stratford, joined us for a wonderful evening of wine, canapes and plenty of chat. As well as a raffle to raise money for our nominated 2022 charities, there was a wonderfully designed and branded anniversary cake, which was expertly cut by Cathy Wahlberg and Andrew Bonell. We also had a professional photographer on hand, who captured some fantastic shots of everyone throughout the evening. “The evening was a huge success, and the setting was picture-perfect too. We were in the Ante-Room and Ballroom upstairs in the Stratford Town Hall which are both beautiful spaces and complimented the evening perfectly. We were also delighted to use all local suppliers including Wine Poole, Fabulous Suppers, Laurence Jones

Photography and KOVA Support for the bar, food, cake, photography and event planning.” Alsters Kelley Solicitors, one of Coventry and Warwickshire’s premier law firms, acquired Stratford-based Bonell & Co Solicitors in January 2021, when the country was in lockdown. Since then, the office in 2 Chestnut Walk, which traditionally dealt with conveyancing and family law, has seen a makeover. Not only has it been repainted, but it has expanded its range of legal services to include criminal litigation and motoring offences, dispute resolution, medical negligence, personal injury, wills, probate and trusts.

For more information visit www.alsterskelley.com

“The evening was a huge success, and the setting was picture-perfect too. We were in the Ante-Room and Ballroom upstairs in the Stratford Town Hall which are both beautiful spaces and complimented the evening perfectly." www.cw-chamber.co.uk

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

President & People

New appointment to drive innovation agenda at University of Warwick Science Park Mark Tock has been appointed Chief Operations Officer at the University of Warwick Science Park as part of a strategy to drive innovation across the West Midlands. Tock, a life scientist with a PhD in Biology and a Masters in Business Administration, has joined the University of Warwick Science Park from Nexus Leeds, the Innovation Hub of the University of Leeds. He previously sat on the board of the UK Science Park Association (UKSPA). The University of Warwick Science Park’s network includes its main site adjacent to the University’s main campus and sites at Blythe Valley in Solihull, Warwick, and Binley in Coventry. It works with businesses to support growth, innovation, job creation, and engagement with the University and works in partnership with the established Warwick Innovation District. The Science Park will continue to work with the University of Warwick to foster collaboration between business and academic research. This includes access for major initiatives such as

global innovation platform Plug & Play’s Mobility Platform, based at the National Automotive Innovation Centre (NAIC). Mark Tock, Chief Operations Officer at the University of Warwick Science Park said: “The University of Warwick Science Park is already highly regarded both as an institution and for the role it plays in the regional economy. “It acts as an innovation hub, bringing businesses across the West Midlands together with cutting-edge research and development, whether at Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), Warwick Business School or any other internationally leading department. “The world is changing at a rapid pace and there are some immediate and fundamental challenges before us – for example, Net Zero, economic growth and productivity, advanced manufacturing, and automation. These are challenges, but also exceptional opportunities. “It is therefore an exciting time for the Science Park, and I am looking forward to playing a key role in its future

development and contributing to solving these challenges across both Coventry and Warwickshire and the wider West Midlands.” Stuart Croft, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Warwick said: “Mark is a highly experienced operator, and his vision is completely aligned with the University’s ambitious innovation and growth agenda. “The University of Warwick Science Park is a unique proposition within the

West Midlands and an opportunity for local SMEs, start-ups, and established businesses to engage positively and productively with our world-leading academic institutions. “Under Mark’s leadership, those businesses based at the Science Park will continue to benefit from support to drive growth, innovation, job creation, and graduate retention across our region.”

Association appoints charity law expert to executive committee the third sector, providing a forum for members to exchange ideas and information as well as respond to consultations from government and regulators. Working alongside other leaders in the sector including advisors, academics and charity professionals, Catherine will share best practice with the association’s 900-plus members. Charity law and governance expert Catherine Rustomji has been elected to sit on the Charity Law Association executive committee. As head of charities at Midlands-based law firm Shakespeare Martineau, Catherine’s position on the executive committee will see her play a leading role in improving knowledge and awareness of charity law issues, as well as working closely with the Charity Commission to pursue technical and practical issues facing the sector. The role of the Charity Law Association is to help charities of all sizes navigate the legal landscape of


Catherine, who has more than 20 years’ experience in the charity sector, said: “I’m thrilled to have been elected to sit on the executive committee. I’m looking forward to getting back into the thick of developments in charity law and discussions with peers about the latest issues affecting charities, and working as a team to stand up for the sector and make a real difference. “This additional role will position me at the coalface of charity law, keeping me at the forefront of developments so that I can better support my clients too.”

For more than two decades, Catherine has been exclusively advising charities, social enterprises and not-for-profit organisations – specialising in charity law and governance, not-for-profit legal structures, trustee training and board development. Over the years, she has supported national, regional and local charities, not-for-profit organisations, community groups, schools, colleges, churches, welfare and professional associations – operating across the health, education, arts, public and private sectors. Nearly 1,000 members of the Charity Law Association were asked to vote for the executive committee, with appointments announced at the organisation’s recent AGM. Positions are voluntary and held for three years, subject to re-election by members.

For more information visit https://www.shma.co.uk/ and https://charitylawassociation.org.uk/


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The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes For Higher and Further Education


BOOST YOUR BUSINESS APPRENTICESHIPS Want to grow your own workforce? WCG is the largest provider of apprenticeship training in the West Midlands area, training more than 2500 apprentices each year in a variety of sectors, including Engineering, Accounting and Farriery.

T LEVELS Not ready to commit to an apprentice? The T Level programme allows you the opportunity to offer a 45-day industry placement to students looking to kickstart their careers. From September, WCG will be offering the following T Levels: • Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction • Digital Support Services • Engineering (Manufacturing, Design & Development) • Health

INDUSTRY PLACEMENTS Looking to recruit for the future? Offering an Industry Placement will allow you to trial the abilities of a potential employee or apprentice and are completely flexible, meaning you can vary them to suit your particular business needs.

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0330 135 6940 | employerenquiries@wcg.ac.uk Visit wcg.ac.uk/apprenticeships for more information. info@wcg.ac.uk