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NETWORK / / ENGAGE / / INSPIRE

BOARDROOM SESSIONS ENTREPRENEURIAL DEVELOPMENT SPOTLIGHT FEATURE

MAGAZINE ONLINEN TR A IN IN G A M E FRONTIERMAN

INTERVIEW WITH OLI HILLS, CEO OF UPDATES MEDIA WOODSHIRES BUSINESS SOLUTIONS

FEATURING: N A M E O F F E A T U R E JOHN LOVEDAY

AUGUST 2018 ISSUE #2

COMMON PURPOSE LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

HABAKUK RECRUITMENT HELPS CHARITY IN INDIA


WORKPLACE SKILLS TO ELEVATE YOUR CAREER: NEGOTIATION & INFLUENCE Join our professional development event to help you improve your negotiating skills, understand the power of influence, and how these attributes can open opportunities and move your career forward. Engage directly with young professionals as they share their experiences during our panel discussion. We will also be joined by industry leaders and senior-level professionals who will be sharing the importance of negotiation and influence skills for your personal & professional progression ?

? WEDNESDAY 22n d AUGUST 2018 6pm ? 8pm KPM G LLP, ONE SNOWHILL, SNOWHILL QUEENSWAY, BIRM INGHAM B4 6GH TICKETS FOR MEMBERS: FREE ENTRY / NON-MEMBERS: £5 BOOK YOUR PLACE>> t agn et w or k m idlan ds/ even t s


CONTENTS 04

TAGNETWORKMIDLANDS

SPOTLIGHT FEATURE Introducing Max Andrews, Apprentice Surveyor at GVA.

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TAG NETWORK'S BOARDROOM SESSIONS A sneak peek into the launch of TAG Network Midlands 'Boardroom Sessions' in partnership with iHub with a lineup of special guest hosts to help entrepreneurial development within the region.

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M EM BERSHIP Find out more about TAG Network's Membership opportunity for Individuals to invest in themselves & Corporates to invest in their team.

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HABAKUK RECRUITM ENT VOLUNTEERING IN INDIA Founder & CEO of Habakuk Recruitment, Lauren Valler travels across India for a month to help decorate schools for charity.

WOODSHIRES BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT: Woodshires Business Solutions Director, Stuart Wood talks to us about their new Birmingham office, wealth of opportunities in the Midlands, valuing great networks, and helping businesses within the region with tax advice.

BSEEN PROGRAM M E Applications are open for BSEEN's 12 month programme to help Graduate Start-Up's in Birmingham in partnership with Aston University

COM M ON PURPOSE Leadership Development Programme invites Birmingham based leaders to share their experiences and leadership journey with University students.

JOHN LOVEDAY The brummie entrepreneur shares news of his new Business Education App, Toppa and securing Steve Smith, Founder of Poundland & Leisure Tycoon David Lloyd as business partners.

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OLI HILLS A candid chat with CEO of Updates Media, Oli Hills about the re-launch of Coventry Updates, the Midlands bright future and opportunities for Entrepreneurs. TAG Net w or k M idlan ds Ph ot ogr aph er s Edwin Ladd & Sylvia Chan


SPOTLIGHT MAXANDREWS, APPRENTICESURVEYOR ATGVA

Wh ich in spir at ion al qu ot e descr ibes you best ?

Tell u s a lit t le bit abou t you r per son al an d car eer

?The only way to do great work is to love what you do? ? Steve Jobs

jou r n ey.

Wh at par t of t h e M idlan ds do you call h om e?

stuck in and started working in my local restaurant as a

Proud to be born & bred in Birmingham.

During school I always wanted to be working, so I got waiter. It turned out that I loved the hospitality industry, so I continued working in restaurants whilst completing

Tell u s abou t you r in t er est s an d h obbies.

my GCSEs & A-Levels. Post A-Levels, I wasn?t keen on

Anything that provides a sense of adventure or gets the

attending university so I continued with my job full time

adrenaline pumping I love. I?m a keen sailor currently

and started to look at options for careers in property.

working towards a RYA Day Skipper qualification. Growing up around boats with the family naturally draws me to it, but really nothing beats being on the water. I also love skiing in the winter - the adrenaline of throwing yourself down a mountain (not literally!), and obviously après drinks, makes it my holiday of choice. Wh at m ak es you ?u n iqu e?? I?m told my passion for industry is what sets me out from the crowd. I love the job, helping others and inspiring the next generation. Wh at h as been t h e h igh ligh t f or you so f ar ? It has to be starting my sailing courses towards my RYA Day Skipper qualification.

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During the search, I discovered most surveying jobs required a degree or long term property experience ? for a person who had little experience and little intent to attend university, it was a slight problem. I continued to tirelessly search for alternative pathways and this was where I stumbled across a ?Level 6 Chartered Surveying Apprenticeship?- a brand new scheme in the industry. This made trying to find a company offering the course very difficult, but after hours of searching, I found a job advert, applied and secured the job. In September 2017, I started an apprenticeship at a general practice surveying firm - White Rose Chartered Surveyors who specialise in Industrial agency. As part of the scheme, I also started a part time Real Estate degree at Birmingham City University whilst learning on the job.


Working at White Rose really gave me the foundations I needed for the start of my career journey and confirmed a property career was definitely for me. This is where I really got stuck in. Through university, I attended the RICS Matrics Pub Golf event and after some time, I eventually joined the Matrics board organising events. Six months in to my career, I was approached to continue my apprenticeship with GVA. The opportunity to work for an industry leading company was something I couldn?t turn down, so I joined the GVA Office Agency team in February 2018. Ever since, I have continued to love the career and now work with the RICS and GVA to promote careers in property and more particularly the apprenticeship scheme. Wh at ar e you r car eer goals / aspir at ion s? My short term aspiration is obviously to complete the 5 year apprenticeship and achieve Chartered Surveyor status. Long term, it has to be to climb the job ladder to a director position in a top UK surveying firm and leading a team. Wh at ch allen ges do you f ace on a daily basis? There are many challenges within the property industry however the most prominent for me is trying to answer the most unusual questions people can have during viewings. Can you t ell u s w h at is you r m ost f avou r it e aspect of you r r ole? Without being clichĂŠ, it?s the fact that no day is the same. One day I can be conducting viewings and the next day I could be working in a team providing advice to one of the company?s top clients. Wh at h as been you r gr eat est car eer m ilest on e t o dat e? It has to be securing my initial job at White Rose because it provided a solid foundation to my career and led to the opportunity to work for such a great company like GVA. Wh o h as been you r in spir at ion bot h per son ally an d pr of ession ally? My inspiration stems from the family around me and I?ve been lucky to grow up around some great people. Firstly, my Grandfather and Dad, who collaboratively created a leading business, have shown the work ethic needed to succeed and grow professionally. Secondly, my Mum has continuously developed my soft skills throughout my personal and professional journey. Collectively, they all inspire me on a day to day basis to never give up and keep pushing myself. Wh at w ou ld you lik e t o ach ieve in t h e f u t u r e? I would like to be providing top quality advice to clients of my own, hold a RYA Yachtmaster qualification and chairing the RICS Matrics committee. Wh at advice or t ips of posit ivit y w ou ld you lik e t o sh ar e w it h ot h er s? My best advice for people looking to join the working world is to get as much work experience as possible. It?s not only impressive on a CV but it will provide so much insight into different ways of working.

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TAGNETWORKMIDLANDS BOARDROOMSESSIONS

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TAG Network Midlands launched the first 'Boardroom Sessions' series in partnership with iHub, Birmingham. With a stellar line up of special guests heading up each informative session, business leader supporting this event included; award-winning CEO of Continuum Corporate Lawyers & Author of 'Grow, Sell and Retire' B.D Dalt on , MD of Marketing Engineer Rich ar d Fallon , Uber , Owner of Spearhead eLearning & Toppa Joh n Loveday, Co-Founder of LoveBrum & Chairman of Hollywood Monster Tim An dr ew s, Co-Founder/CEO of Pathway Group Saf ar az Ali, multi-Award winning Founder of Miss Macaroon C.I.C Rosie Gin day, multi

award-winning businessman Pau l Cadm an , CEO of Updates Media Oli Hills, Managing Director of Alternative Events Company Tr u Pow ell and Director of Woodshires Business Solutions St u ar t Wood. Den ise M or r is, Founder & CEO of TAG Network Midlands said, "It is vital to help enhance entrepreneurial development and skills within the region. Hosting a series of Boardroom Sessions delivered by business influencers and leaders has been a fantastic opportunity for both Start-Up's and established organisations to help improve their business which will have a positive impact on the region."

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TAGNETWORKMIDLANDS' SOCIAL A r ef r esh in g even in g of in f or m al n et w or k in g an d socialisin g w it h a r oom f u ll of m u lt i-sect or pr of ession als an d leader s w it h in t h e M idlan ds r egion . ? Welcom e dr in k s & can apés on ar r ival.

? WEDNESDAY 12t h SEPTEM BER 2018 6pm - 8pm JAILBIRD, 130 COLM ORE ROW, VICTORIA SQUARE, BIRM INGHAM , B3 3AP ?MEMBERS £5 / NON-MEMBERS £10 t agn et w or k m idlan ds.com / even t s 08 TAG Network Midlands Insider


JOIN TAGNETWORKMIDLANDS NETWORKINGCOMMUNITY We have a variety of Membership Packages available to CORPORATE ORGANISATIONS, SM E's & INDIVIDUALS

We offer a fantastic opportunity for you to join and gain access to TAG Network Midlands' community of professionals, entrepreneurs, graduates and change-makers within the Midlands region. We provide the tools and knowledge for you to develop or your employees to engage with various individuals within industry, and understand how to optimise commercial and reciprocal opportunities. BETTER BUSINESS, BETTER REGION!

FIND OUT MORE >> NOW <<

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ONTOPPATHE WORLD

MEETJOHNLOVEDAY,FOUNDEROFNEW BUSINESSEDUCATIONAPPBACKEDBYLEISURE TYCOONDAVIDLLOYD 10 TAG Network Midlands Insider


Since securing Poundland Founder Steve Smith and Leisure Tycoon David Lloyd as Business Partner 's, John Loveday is expecting to see his new online training venture become the fastest growing and most successful training company in the UK within 2 years of launch. The brummie Entrepreneur tells us more about the company's ambitious plans. Spearhead eLearning, a successful training company in the Midlands boasts some of the UK's largest organisations as clients. Launched just under four years ago, the company was setup by soldier turned entrepreneur John Loveday and his business partner Paul Hood. John and Paul launched the business in 2013 and have grown it into a multi-award-winning organisation. Both former squaddies now have their sights firmly set on a new venture called Toppa, and they are looking for you to join them!

INTODAY'SFAST-PACED&ALWAYS CONNECTEDWORLD,FINDINGTHE TIMETOLEARNNEWSKILLSORKEEP YOURSKILLSTOPPEDUPCANBE IMPOSSIBLE The new venture has already secured 11 heavyweight entrepreneurs on its executive board along with a list of 2.4 million potential subscribers waiting to get stuck in. The Toppa team are now looking for subject matter experts from all sectors to be part of their journey. John explains, " As passionate learners ourselves, we felt the world needed a solution to this problem. So we developed Toppa, for just £9.99 per month, Toppa makes professional learning fun by giving individuals unlimited access to hundreds of hours of bite-sized interactive business courses, mentoring and training from proven experts in their field. Our video's are mapped to a business MBA, However people are learning from those that have been there and done it, it is the experience over theory" Toppa will give individuals and corporates unlimited access to hundreds of video based courses and legally compliant document templates, enabling them to learn a plethora of new skills. Toppa also aims to fund the

university fees for 50 students by 2020. The team have secured pre orders of over 18,000 subscribers that will see revenues of over £1million in the first year alone! "Our aim is to reach 200,000 subscribers within 2 years of launching, we are now looking for Toppa Instructors that want to share their skills and knowledge via video tutorials and support us in our mission to give everyone the skills they need to succeed in life and business." Toppa will give individuals and corporates unlimited access to hundreds of video based courses and legally compliant document templates, enabling them to learn a plethora of new skills. Toppa also aims to fund the university fees for 50 students by 2020. The team have secured pre orders of over 18,000 subscribers that will see revenues of over £1million in the first year alone! John has already secured some business heavyweights to join his team, ranging from Marketing and branding experts, a CTO and CEO, serial entrepreneurs and even a professional video production company. David Lloyd made his millions after selling his leisure clubs and had this to say about Toppa "In my time within the leisure Industry, quality of staff is paramount to the brand, and it is vital that my staff were well trained but also develop as intrapreneurs. To be able to do that on-line at a very reasonable price is fantastic news to me. I am really pleased to be involved with such an exciting and revolutionary business" However, John has a clear standard in mind, even though individuals gain access for £9.99 per month he is adamant that only the best quality content will be added to the website, John told us " For me training must be engaging and of the highest quality, we are in talks with Universities and also some of the UK and world's largest organisations for endorsement and our content creators will be some of the best Subject Matter Experts within their sector " It doesn't end there for Toppa, John and the team are raising investment via Crowdfunding platform Seedrs. They aim to raise between £350,000 and £500,000 and they want to share the future success of Toppa with everyone. Individuals can invest as little as £10.00 up to any amount they wish and receive shares in Toppa. You can register your interest to get access to the Toppa campaign before anyone else by visiting www.toppa.io/seedrs

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HABAKUKRECRUITMENTVOLUNTEER TOHELPSCHOOLSININDIA

Habakuk Recruitment is a specialist marketing recruitment agency with an exciting, innovative and people focused ethos decided to take a risk this summer and really live out some of their core values by traveling to India to support AID Fuels This summer, Habakuk's Founder & CEO, Lauren Valler along with 360 Consultant, Molly Minshull took on the challenge of volunteering around India for a month. Lauren explains, 'With people at the heart of my business, whether that be employees, candidates or clients, I truly believe it is essential to have the ability to connect and engage with individuals from all walks of life.

"By embracing new cultures, listening to new stories and stepping out of our comfort zones we not only develop and enhance this skill set, but we change inwardly. As a service led business, I want our diverse range of customers to feel sincerely listened to and understood by myself and my the team." Habakuk Recruitment donate profits each month to charity, through corporate initiatives, workshops and various charitable projects. Although the majority of these have been Birmingham based, having an opportunity to serve those in India meant that Lauren and Molly could get their sleeves rolled up and see the immediate impact themselves whilst decorating schools. Lauren adds, "The experience so far has been absolutely incredible and also very humbling. I'm so thankful that our clients have made this possible through the successful placements and opportunities we have secured for our customers, we can share this experience with them, such as donating toys and ice cream to the school were we had the privilege of volunteering. Molly Minshull states, "My experience so far has been amazing as I have never experienced anything like this before. We have been right in the heart of the Indian culture, traveling, painting a school getting creative as well as playing with the children. I look forward to our next part of the journey & project volunteering in Goa. I'm so grateful for this opportunity and to be sharing this with Lauren. To me it has proved that you can travel & work at the same time and I hope this will encourage others to do the same" Lorraine Whittle from AID Fuels commented 'Lauren, It is an amazing achievement. Good Work both!

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THEJOURNEYOF LEADERSHIP Common Purpose works with universities and students around the world to develop the competencies and skills they will need to be successful and to tackle the complex challenges that they and the world face. At a time when many students are thinking about how they get the most value out of university and how they should prepare for the future, our programmes provide a chance to learn from leaders who know what it takes to succeed. This year, we?ve worked with 150 Birmingham City University students here in Birmingham, and have also taken 25 University of Birmingham students to Hong Kong. We believe this next generation of leaders need Cultural Intelligence (CQ): the ability to cross boundaries and thrive in multiple cultures, and our programmes are built with this in mind. Our participants are from a diverse range of subjects, backgrounds, generations and beliefs, and this diversity is what makes our programmes so special ? it enables them not just to learn from our speakers, but also to learn from each other ?s experiences. With everything that a university experience entails, it?s sometimes difficult to find the time to plan ahead and think about your next steps. I gained my degree in 2012, and whilst I loved studying Law, I knew early on that I

didn?t want to pursue a legal career but that it was going to be the basis for something else ? the question was, what? I reached my final year and realised that although I?d taken exams and written assessments and done lots of extra-curricular activities, I?d not developed a plan, I?d not built the networks that I would need ahead, I?d not got an idea of what opportunities might actually be out there. I was lucky in that I found something I was passionate about and ran with it, but for lots of students, it?s a hugely daunting experience. That?s why the leadership programmes we run can have a big impact: they give students the opportunity to interact with a diverse range of leaders and learn from their experience. For students it?s a chance to ask the questions they really want the answers to, to recognise that leaders come in all shapes and sizes and to interact with organizations in a way that goes much deeper than a recruitment event on campus. It?s a chance to find out what transferable skills they?ll need, what options are out there, and to develop the confidence, self-belief and resilience that will carry them through the meandering professional life ahead of them. What?s fantastic is that it?s not a one-way experience, so many of the speakers and organizations we involve in our programmes tell me how much they enjoy interacting

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with our students. For them, it?s more than a chance to give back, it?s an opportunity to learn from the next generation of leaders, to have their own thinking challenged and revitalised. Many organisations host visits to enable students to cut their teeth on some of the real problems organizations face, developing their skills and demystifying the world of work, but also bringing fresh innovative ideas that benefit these organisations. Denise Morris, CEO & Founder of TAG Network Midlands participated as a guest speaker explained, "I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking to a room full of 100 Birmingham City University students at Common Purpose's Leadership event. "To have the opportunity to equally inspire and share my leadership journey and experience with a fully engaged audience is the reason I am so passionate about supporting the next generation of leaders within the region. I look forward to seeing all of these outstanding future trailblazers thrive." Abou t Com m on Pu r pose: Common Purpose is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1989 that develops leaders who can cross boundaries. This enables them to solve complex problems both in organizations and in cities. We now run programmes in over 100 cities worldwide, and have more than 70,000 Alumni from over 100 countries and 6 continents.

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WOODSHIRES BUSINESSSPOTLIGHT BUSINESS SOLUTIONS Woodshires Business Solutions was created from the elements of good timing and mixed expertise between this dynamic father and son team, Paul and Stuart Wood. Stuart had been involved in the independent financial services industry for over 10 years and was specialising in tax efficient life insurance for business owners. Paul had been specialising in Capital Allowances on large commercial buildings for over six years. accountants, clients and niche specialists was the missing piece for UK companies of all sizes." We had a chat with Stuart Wood, Director of Woodshires to find out more about their new Birmingham office, the team behind the Woodshires as a brand was created purely to be adaptable for the ever changing UK tax landscape. To help UK companies with brand, and what is in store for the future of the company. any and all allowances that can and should be claimed within Stuart explains, "In the summer of 2014, we decided that having their industry; to ensure they received 100% correct advice and two tax tools would be beneficial for both our client based and most importantly tax relief. Woodshires was created. The concept was simple, help as many UK companies as possible with the multitude of specialist Woodshires as a team has grown from Stuart and Paul to a allowances the HMRC have created to reduce TAX liability. One internal team of four and external team of over thirty. The place that clients can receive holistic consultation and internal consultation team consists of Paul Wood, Stuart Wood introduction to very niche specialists to ensure that the claim is correctly calculated for their specific industry. We went from two and Tax Consultant, Helen Gordon. allowances to now consulting on up to fourteen." Stuart adds, "We also have our office manager Gemma Rainsford The gap in the market is in the way the HMRC have created these allowances and where advice is currently found. The largest accountancy firms such as KPMG and PWC can afford to have multiple in house specialist to give holistic advice, however event with this many things are missed and underclaimed. Along side this is multiple specialist firms who advise on one or two of the HCMC allowances claim well for clients but only look within the area they specialise in. Finally the every day accountant for clients, and smaller firms who have fantastic client banks; it is always best to understand accountants can't be all knowing and specialists in all areas and tend to either avoid the allowances all together or claim within what they understand.

who keeps us all in check. Externally Woodshires has a substantial team of Tax Specialists firms that help all our clients with specific advice. The firm's are industry leading in their specific sector and all have growing teams. "Over the past four years Woodshires has organically growN to what it is now. Over the next twelve months the plan is to expand our brand within Birmingham and become the best place for tax advice for all companies. In early 2019 we will look to expand our Consultancy team to assist more clients.

"Our uniqueness is giving holistic advice on a multitude of allowances. Rather than just focusing on one subject with a client we like to listen and understand their journey as a business. With the information that is given to us from the client Stuart continues, "With this information we quickly realised that we can talk about the most relevant allowances to fit their we can help both accountants and their clients with a multitude of businesses. We can then maximise the reliefs that are available allowances. We know that being the middleman between to them and in most cases create a substantial tax or cash relief

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to assist their growth moving forward. "What has set us apart from any competition is that we focus wholly on the client and are not bias on their current size. We look to make long term relationships to help them in any way we can. This means that in the short term we may not make a profit as a business from each client; however long term the more we help them grow, the more beneficial it will be for Woodshires both financially and most importantly as a brand. "The move into Birmingham was one that we had pondered for a while. What made the decision was that having an office close to home was too comfortable and if we were to grow, a move was necessary. Historically our clients have been London based, however having Birmingham on our doorstep and wanting to do more in the city, this was a necessity. Brum is booming at present due to many differing factors and we want to help as many Birmingham based companies grow at the same rate.

In Business have been fantastic for Woodshires for both expanding our brand recognition and new client relationships. We also take part in other free networking groups such as the fantastic local charity LoveBrum and other smaller free groups. Never underestimate free networking, it is often where the best opportunities are found. Stuart concludes, "We never stand on morals and will continue to adapt and grow Woodshires both internally and externally with the every changing tax landscape. As with all businesses, it is always hard to predict the future; however we will always stick to our model of putting the client first to help them in anyway we can. " Find out more about Woodshire Business Solutions>> SERVICES

"Since the move in May we have had more office visits than the entirety of our two years in Bromsgrove. With this, client introductions have increased and our referral pool has increased quickly. It has only been a short time in Brum, but nevertheless it has been a game changer and we hope it continues. "Birmingham's growth in the last couple of years has been a fantastic opportunity for us and has allowed us to consult and advise with clients that may normally be out of reach. This has allowed more companies look at how their businesses operate with the opportunity to become more efficient with their tax affairs. "We have been through a multitude of networking grounds since the inception of Woodshires and feel now we have a real sweet spot with the ones we operate in. Both TAG Network Midlands and Downtown

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MIDLANDSBRIGHTFUTURE

Has Coven t r y bein g n am ed 'Cit y Of Cu lt u r e?h elped bu ild m or e aw ar en ess t o t h e r egion ? Absolutely, having grown up in Nuneaton, just the other side of the M6 to Coventry, it was never really a place I visited, often opting to for Birmingham or Leicester. Now, however, Coventry is certainly on the map, not just in the UK but in Europe too. 2021 is obviously an exciting time for Coventry, but let?s not forget that they also hold the title of European City of Sport in 2019. The work of the West Midlands Combined Authority to bring exciting initiatives to the region such as being the test ground for autonomous vehicles in the UK has been fantastic for building this awareness. The region needs to continue to focus on such ground-breaking work to ensure we remain on the map. For me, the key thing is to make sure all of these great things happening in the city drive the local communities closer together and allow for great pride and inclusion in the city.

Oli Hills, CEO of Updates Media has been busy re-launching Coventry Updates, so TAG Network Midlands' Founder, Denise Morris caught up with the media entrepreneur to discuss the future of the region, how Birmingham and Coventry will play a key role in highlighting great new opportunities.

Tell u s abou t t h e r e-lau n ch of Coven t r y Updat es.

How h as t h at h ad an im pact on you r br an d? Our core values have always been to deliver up-to-date, factual information, with zero opinion ? just produce and publish content in an audience friendly way. The content available to us through these exciting initiatives is great for both Coventry and Birmingham Updates as the local audiences strive for the type of content we deliver. What?s more, with the region becoming an integral part of the UK, bigger companies are more likely to move to the Midlands, such as HSBC and possibly Channel 4. This leads to a greater talent pool for us to find fantastic and committed content producers, but also increase our slice of new and existing advertising budgets with companies more keen to target the region.

Vine It?s been a fantastic twelve months at Updates Andrew Media, with Birmingham Updates certainly turning heads when it comes to, what I believe, is the future of how local content will be laid out Finally, our business model is rather innovative, whereby, to and distributed. generate revenue we focus on delivering native content for our partner brands. That is, creating content on their behalf to One of our biggest challenges has always been whether or not bridge the gap between their core messages and our Birmingham is just a one off or can the model be replicated. audience. This is an innovative approach to revenue We originally launched Coventry Updates in January 2017 generation for a local online publication and with all the however; we pulled out in June 2017 to focus on driving exciting things happening; I sense that local businesses are revenues in Birmingham. We?re pleased to say revenues in more keen to explore and trial new things. This has led to us Birmingham are growing at a consistent rate and so in June signing long term advertising deals with the biggest and most 2018, we re-launched Coventry Updates. Our philosophy is well known brands locally as well as nationally. exactly the same as Birmingham, to deliver engaging and relevant local news, weather, travel and lifestyle updates with no frustrating adverts plastered over our website. There are so How does Coven t r y an d Bir m in gh am au dien ce many great things happening in the region, and Coventry in 'en gagem en t ' dif f er ? particular, that it was quite a simple decision to focus on the Engagement is absolutely the key word here. If anyone has city for our expansion. seen me present, they?ll know I like to link social media to golf. 18 TAG Network Midlands Insider

In golf, the well known phrase of ?driving is for show, putting is for


dough?is absolutely relevant to social media whereby ?reach is for show, engagement is for dough?.

scale their businesses.

Any social media manager, whether you control it in house or via a third party should only ever talk about engagement. Engagement is the act of somebody taking an action with your content ? something that is very challenging when you?re forever battling blooper videos or cat gifs.

How h ave you per son ally af f ect ed ch an ge w it h in you r in du st r y?

So far while there is a large difference in audience size between Coventry and Birmingham Updates, the data suggests that our engagement rates are consistent amongst pages and consistently higher than other local news publications. Is t h is an excit in g t im e f or Updat es M edia? I?ve never been more excited about the future of Updates Media. Unfortunately, in today?s society, trust in local media is at an all time low as their editorial values are overshadowed by revenue and website traffic focused, click-bait and sensationalist headlines. The media, in my opinion, always try to focus on the negatives and continue with unnecessary long coverage of stories to keep them alive, so they can maximise revenues from website adverts. In a society demanding instant access to information and attention spans dropping, the style and format of our content is certainly succeeding with our audience. While the launch of Coventry Updates is a huge stride forward for Updates Media, we?re not stopping there, with our vision to have an updates site in every major city in the UK. How w ill t h e r egion's act ivit y h elp lif e as an En t r epr en eu r ? Being an entrepreneur is by far the loneliest role ? constantly being challenged by incumbents who are concerned about being disrupted or breaking down doors to get that first deal ? at the end of the day, as the entrepreneur, there is nowhere to hide. Fortunately, the entrepreneurial networks in Birmingham and the Midlands are growing at a rate of knots with great support available. With the development of many local accelerator and support programmes such as those at Innovation Birmingham, NatWest Accelerator and STEAMhouse, there has never been a better time to start or grow a business in the region. Also, over the past few years, it has been extremely difficult to access funding to drive forward innovative ideas, with the default position to head north or south to access investment. Now, with the Midlands Engine Investment Fund live, it?s great to hear about the investments being made available to entrepreneurs looking to either start or

I can?t take any credit for the incredible growth of Birmingham Updates from an audience perspective ? this is fully down to our editor in chief, Luke Addis, who grew the audience organically from nothing to 570,000 after starting off dispelling myth and rumour spreading online about the riots in August 2011. Personally however, I have worked to transform the page into a sustainable and growing business. When I took over as CEO in January 2017, I had absolutely no experience of working in the media and was surprised to see how things worked. Trying to figure out how to pay the bills with the endless offers of free dinners or tickets in return for content on our channels was quite a challenge. Then trying to educate the market that advertising disguised as a press release just does not work in this day and age (granted, if I had loads of adverts on my website then sure, I?d publish every one as we?d be making money ? but we wouldn?t have the quality audience we do today!). I have been a huge advocate of how I believe the future of media works, with a focus on high quality rather than quantity of content, produced and delivered in a way suitable for a particular channel and audience to maximise engagement. I?m certainly excited to keep beating this drum and growing Updates Media into a nationally recognised brand with influential, engaging social media pages and website around the UK. Ar e t h er e an y pot en t ial ch allen ges t h at you / br an d m ay en cou n t er in t h e n ext 12 m on t h s? Yes, absolutely, there are always challenges ? but that's where entrepreneurs thrive. Despite having strong direct to website traffic, we do rely heavily on social media to distribute our content. With the recent algorithm changes seen at Facebook and the challenges around data privacy from the Cambridge Analytica controversy, we?re constantly looking at new ways of consistently reaching and engaging with audiences locally. While I don?t see social media going anywhere, we do need to ensure our content strategy continues to be innovative to maximise engagement in an ever-changing landscape. We?re also now looking forward to scaling up our operation into new cities around the UK, so I?m certain there will be some teething problems around that such as maintaining company culture when our teams are spread across the UK. Plus, accessing the right talent is always so crucial to the successful development of a company so I can imagine we?ll come across a number of challenges during the recruitment process ? all fun and games and something I am very much looking forward to challenging head on.

TAG Network Midlands Insider 19


TAG Network Midlands Insider Issue #2  
TAG Network Midlands Insider Issue #2  
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