Business & Innovation Magazine

by Business & Innovation Magazine Reporter 15 Dec, 2017

Coventry and Warwickshire’s automotive excellence has been shown off to key figures from the industry from across Europe.

Delegations from France, Catalonia and Sweden visited the Manufacturing Technology Centre to find out about the work being undertaken across the city and the county.

They met Coventry City Council, London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC), Aston Martin and Penso and heard about the innovation and developments taking place by the businesses and others in the area.

The delegation also gave presentations on their work and how they could potentially tie-in with the sector in Coventry and Warwickshire.

Delegates from CCI International Hauts-de-France – a body from the north of France – also visited MIRA, the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering and Jaguar Land Rover and have already written to Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce in a bid to develop long-term relationships.

James Ahearne, the International Trade Commercial Executive at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “This was an extremely positive couple of days and really helped to raise the profile of Coventry and Warwickshire’s automotive expertise with some key regions across Europe.

“The Automotive Summit gave companies from our patch the chance to find out more about the capabilities and potential partnerships they could strike with the organisations who visited from France, Sweden and Catalonia.

“They were also very keen to hear more about our businesses too.

“It really showed that, despite Brexit, there is a very positive outlook towards Coventry and Warwickshire and there is still huge potential for growth and investment here.

“Within just a couple of days of the visit, we received a note from CCI International Hauts-de-France saying how impressed they were with what they had seen in Coventry and Warwickshire and the real depth we have here.

“They are very keen to strike up new partnerships and relationships with companies here in the city and the county and that is extremely encouraging for us.”

He added: “We have a great story to tell when it comes to the automotive sector in our region and the Summit provided a great opportunity to hear about some of the investments taking place in Coventry & Warwickshire and the fantastic innovative work going on here.

“We’re now looking at how we can take this forward and plan future trade missions and events in 2018 and beyond.”

by Business & Innovation Magazine Reporter 23 Nov, 2017
Hazlewoods take a look at the Chancellor’s first Autumn Budget. The gloomy downgrading of the UK’s growth forecasts was offset, during his speech, by some positive announcements about increased spending for education, housing, the NHS and to improve productivity. However, with a distinct lack of tax raising measures, you have to question where the money is going to come from.

On top of the £3.5 billion previously scheduled increase in funding for the NHS, Mr Hammond announced an additional, exceptional £2.8 billion with £350 million available immediately to help improve A&E waiting times.

In an attempt to assist the next generation with the new digital economy, investment is to be made into education or, more specifically, into maths. Schools and colleges, who support their students to study Maths, will be rewarded by giving them £600 for every extra pupil who decides to take Maths or Further Maths A Levels, or Core Maths.

It was widely predicted that housing would be at the heart of this Budget and the Chancellor didn’t disappoint, with wide ranging plans aimed at achieving 300,000 new homes per year, but only by the mid 2020s.

One of his major tax announcements also related to the housing market, where first time buyers of houses worth up to £300,000 will be exempt from Stamp Duty Land Tax. Those acquiring higher valued properties of up to £500,000 will receive a nil rate band on the first £300,000, the aim being to assist 95% of first time buyers and help turn their dreams of home ownership into a reality.

The Chancellor announced that there is to be an increase in the tax free personal allowance in 2018/19 to £11,850 and for the higher rate band to £46,350.

Companies took a hit with the announcement that ‘indexation allowance’ will be frozen from 1 January 2018, meaning companies will no longer benefit from relief for inflationary rises when selling chargeable assets, which individuals lost back in 2008.

There was relief that the VAT threshold was not reduced, as had been talked about in advance of the Budget, although the registration threshold of £85,000 is to be frozen for the next two years.

It is perhaps of no surprise that there were no controversial measures announced from the Chancellor of a minority Government. The last thing they need at the moment is a Finance Bill that is not passed by the House.

It remains to be seen as to whether the measures announced appeal to the youth that appear to have deserted the Conservatives in droves. Regardless, the Government appears to be committed to giving them every opportunity of watching the next election from their own home.

by Business & Innovation Magazine Reporter 21 Nov, 2017
The inaugural Coventry & Warwickshire Business Festival officially got underway this week with an impressive launch at One Friargate, the first completed building in Coventry’s new Friargate re-development.

Over 100 guests joined Business Festival leads, Coventry & Warwickshire Growth Hub and the Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership to see key business and political figureheads take to the stage to launch the first Coventry & Warwickshire Business Festival.

Keynote speakers included the Rt. Hon. Margot James, minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility; Jonathan Browning, Chair of the Coventry & Warwickshire LEP; Cllr. Jim O’Boyle, CWLEP Director and Coventry City Councillor; Fleur Sexton, Managing Director of PET Xi Training; Craig Humphrey, Managing Director of the CWLEP Growth Hub; and Ken Young, Technical Director of the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) - the Business Festival’s headline partner.

The Business Festival is running until the 1st December, offers a staggering 114 events put on by local organisations to encourage collaboration, networking, innovation, learning and sharing opportunities. With over one hundred events and thousands anticipated to attend over the fortnight, it has already become the region’s largest business event.

Jonathan Browning, chair of the Coventry & Warwickshire LEP, said: “The Business Festival is not only a celebration of Coventry and Warwickshire, but it underlines our ambition to keep growing our economy across all sectors, and emphasises our role as Knowledge Capital of the UK. “The Festival has attracted widespread support not only from sponsors but also the many companies who have organised events and it looks set to a great success.”

Headline partner, the MTC is playing an integral role in the Business Festival. In addition to running an event for manufacturing SMEs entitled ‘Increase Manufacturing Productivity’, the organisation is also hosting the Coventry & Warwickshire Small Business Conference organised by the FSB, as well as the closing event of the Festival. Dr. Clive Hickman, chief executive of the MTC said: “Our strength lies in our people and as the region positions itself as the Knowledge Capital of the UK, the MTC can quite rightly add more weight to that claim. We have an opportunity to illustrate this during the Coventry & Warwickshire Business Festival, which we are proud to be sponsoring. “This is a great opportunity for this hardworking and historic region to promote its talents and the business opportunities that are located here. I would urge everyone to take advantage of the range of events on offer.”

The Business Festival encompasses a wide range of events, including seminars, lectures, workshops, conferences, award ceremonies. There is a broad geographical spread with something in every district of the region from North Warwickshire, Nuneaton and Bedworth, Rugby, to Warwick, Stratford-on-Avon and Coventry.

An interesting and varied programme incorporates events in sectors from automotive and advanced manufacturing, construction and creative, to digital, culture and tourism, games development and serious gaming, professional and financial services and much more.

The Business Festival programme has something for everyone from micro-businesses through to large corporates and most events are completely free to attend.

Craig Humphrey, managing director of the Coventry & Warwickshire Growth Hub, said: “The momentum around the first Coventry & Warwickshire Business Festival has really been building and there is no more fitting place to launch this amazing two weeks than in one of the newest investment areas in our region.

“The Business Festival provides a fantastic stage to showcase our region, our diverse and innovative businesses and our potential as a beacon for investment.”

The Coventry & Warwickshire Business Festival is supported by a number of organisations which all understand the importance and relevance of the Festival and want to contribute to its success. Along with headline partner - the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), partners also include Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Coventry University, Jaguar Land Rover and the University of Warwick. Sponsors include CityFibre, Coventry University Enterprises, the Federation of Small Businesses and The Futureworks.The Festival is also supported by Coventry’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021, Coventry City Council, Deeley Construction, North Warwickshire Borough Council, Nuneaton and BedworthBorough Council, Rugby Borough Council, Stratford-on-Avon District Council, Tisski, Warwickshire County Council and Warwick District Council.

Remaining event tickets are still available to book through the Business Festival website so to find out more information about these events and even more during the festival, click below


by Business & Innovation Magazine Reporter 26 Oct, 2017
We’re launching a brand-new campaign to find talented business people who have the confidence, ambition and skill to put themselves in the driving seat of this region’s economy. We’re calling it The Talent 2018…

You can nominate yourself, someone you admire, a friend or colleague, or even the boss. If you’re an employer, then nominate a promising member of your staff.

We’re keeping the entry criteria as loose as we can, because who knows where and when talent will reveal itself, but it’s likely that most of those who make our Talent list will be under 40, making a real impact in their chosen field of work, and have ambition and determination in bucket loads.

You can be an entrepreneur or in the corporate world. Or perhaps you’re working hard in the charity sector, a leading light in the creative industries – or just doing what you do brilliantly in a more administrative or professional role. Apprentices, graduates are also eligible, if they’ve been quick off the mark to demonstrate their talent.

Just get in touch. Whatever our Talent is doing, they’ll stand out from the crowd. Better than all the rest.

We want to hear from you…

We’ll kick off the New Year by showcasing The Talent 2018 in our January issue and we’ll be hosting a special event to celebrate the list. We’ll add to the list each year, making a unique and growing networking group which has the potential to make a huge impact on this region, and the UK’s economy.

Are you better than anyone we’ve ever met?

To nominate, send us the following information:

  • The name of the person you wish to nominate (you can nominate yourself)
  • Your/their age in 2018
  • The company you/they work for (if any)
  • Your/their job title (or what you do)
  • Your 30-word pitch for inclusion in The Talent
  • A photograph if you have it

Email us at  enquiries@nkmedia.co.uk  with THE TALENT in the subject line.

Nominations close on 8 December.

Good Luck!


What is Talent?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines Talent as  ‘natural aptitude and skill’,  but we think talent can also be developed through commitment and hard work.

Are leaders born or made?

Bookshop shelves are weighted down by heavy tomes on the topic. Some people are born leaders, others are savvy enough to gain confidence, learn through experience and rise to leadership roles later in life. And some just aren’t ever going to be leaders. That’s life, get over it (and it doesn’t make them less valuable in a team. After all, not everyone can be the engine driver).

What is an entrepreneur?

There are probably more entrepreneurs today than before the industrial revolution.  The growth of the ‘gig’ economy has meant an increasing acceptance that it’s OK to try things, not succeed and try again. As long as you learn from what went wrong. Leaders and Entrepreneurs see opportunities which others miss, and often use their business to capitalise on them.  But entrepreneurial flair can sometimes only take a business so far and some individuals often don’t make good CEOs where other skill sets are required. However, it’s used, Talent is never wasted. Whether you’re leading a business, or inspiring others through your creativity, Talent can take you, and your business to the very top.

by Business & Innovation Magazine Reporter 26 Oct, 2017
A brand-new centre has been officially opened at Royal Leamington Spa College to inspire young people in the vital STEM subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

The centre has been funded by the Government’s Local Growth Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) was officially opened by CWLEP board member and CEO of Leamington-based technology group The Emerald Group, Sarah Windrum.

Staff and students from the college showcased the range of technology at the event, including:
  • Reaction Wall - to test student (and teacher) reaction times as part of investigations into fitness, health and sport.
  • Nao Robots - can be programmed to perform a number of tasks including dance routines, face recognition, movement, reciting poems and scripts Infrared 
  • Spectrometer - used to analyse chemical evidence at crime scenes or other locations as well as the composition of various substances Virtual Reality 
  • Technology - software and goggles to explore various virtual worlds and simulations

Engineering technology including 3D printer, pneumatics trainer and self-assembly robots Dual Projection Facility - for large scale demonstrations of computer games and other interactive screen based projects. The centre is designed to be used by pupils from local primary and secondary schools, as well as students at WCG.

Angela Joyce, Group Principal and CEO of WCG, said: “We are delighted to officially launch the new STEM centre at Royal Leamington Spa College. Our vision is to support local and regional schools in getting young people excited about science, technology, engineering and maths, so thanks to the funding from the Local Growth Fund, we can make this a reality.

“By capturing their attention early, we can spark their interest in these vital subjects, guide them towards suitable qualifications and help to secure the talent that our country and region needs for the future. “We want to work with schools to provide activities that directly enrich and support their teaching for the benefit of all our local young people.”

Sarah Windrum, CWLEP board director and CEO of Leamington business The Emerald Group, said: “Encouraging the next generation of young people to learn Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths is really important and this fantastic facility is certain to be inspiring. “The Local Growth Fund has many aims including improving skills and talent and the STEM Centre will provide a range of exciting ways of learning for students of all ages in Coventry and Warwickshire to develop a love of STEM subjects which they will hopefully pursue as future careers.”

For teachers and schools interested in using the STEM Centre, please email stem@warwickshire.ac.uk.

Royal Leamington Spa College offers a wide range of courses in STEM-related subjects. For more information, go to www.wcg.ac.uk
by Business & Innovation Magazine Reporter 25 Oct, 2017
The first ever Coventry & Warwickshire Business Festival is set to ignite the local business scene.

From 20th November to 1st December the region will come alive with a fortnight of exciting business events put on by local organisations from right across the region.

From small networking workshops or seminars to large trade shows or national conferences – there will be an abundance of opportunities to grow your business, as well as to drive economic growth and inward investment for the region.

Whether you need information on starting a new company, developing your supply chain or exporting to new markets, there will be something for everyone.

There are many ways for Coventry & Warwickshire businesses to get involved in this unique opportunity - whether that be through running an event, offering venue space or attending any number of the events taking place across the Business Festival fortnight.

Get involved in the Coventry & Warwickshire Business Festival and help to place our region as the centre of UK business.

The Coventry & Warwickshire Business Festival has been developed by the Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the Coventry & Warwickshire Growth Hub, and it is managed by Associate Events Limited.

The inaugural Festival will take place between 20th November and 1st December 2017 and will include a wide-ranging programme of business events hosted by local organisations from across the region.

The aim of the Festival is to bring Coventry & Warwickshire businesses together on an annual basis under one unified banner to encourage collaboration, networking, innovation, learning and sharing opportunities. Similarly, the Business Festival will provide a great platform to show the rest of the world Coventry & Warwickshire’s strengths and investment potential and will place our region at the heart of UK business.

​The Business Festival is run by business, for business. It is a unique opportunity for local organisations to get involved in a completely new concept whether this is becoming a Festival sponsor or sector lead, by hosting an event, offering venue space or attending one, two or several events in the programme.

Every event will provide many ways to grow or enhance your business. This could include sourcing new supply chains; spotting cross-selling opportunities, through to trade shows, learning how to export for the first time or targeting new markets. The possibilities are endless. Businesses of any size can apply to run an event - which can take any shape from a small networking workshop or seminar to a large trade show or national conference.

by Business & Innovation Magazine Reporter 25 Oct, 2017
The new accommodation, named Wood Hall after WCG’s Chair Stephen Wood, and he officially opened the halls with Matt Western, MP for Warwick and Leamington. Invited guests enjoyed a tour of the facilities.

The new accommodation consists of 98 ensuite rooms with shared kitchens and a warden flat. Students and apprentices have already moved into the accommodation which was built by Deeley Construction.

The new £4.5 million development came about when WCG was in discussion with Deeley Properties, the development division of the Deeley Group, on its need for more student residences. The company came up with an innovative way of funding the scheme by inviting a pension fund to invest in the development, allowing Deeley Properties to take care of the design, build, finance and land package.

Stephen Wood, Chair of the WCG Governing Body said, “I was absolutely delighted to officially open Wood Hall today. The new accommodation is fantastic for our students and apprentices, especially being on the college site, and it shows we are committed to investing in the best facilities for the benefit of our students and the local area.”

John Vickery, Director of Estates for WCG said, “The demand is high for student accommodation, so it has been great to work with Deeley and their contractors on this project. I’d like to thank them and all of the college staff from the estates and accommodation teams who have been involved and delivered the project on time.”

Matt Western, MP said, “It was great to visit the Leamington campus of Warwickshire College Group and view first-hand the impressive new residential blocks. The new student accommodation is spacious, high quality and is a welcome addition in encouraging students from further afield to come and study at one of the UK’s best FE colleges. I congratulate Deeley Construction and WCG on this exemplar development.”

Peter Deeley, Managing Director, Deeley Group said, “The way this development evolved has shown how we, as a Group, can offer much more than construction alone. By working with WCG, we helped to secure funding and then drew up a scheme that fitted its needs the best. “On the construction side, we’ve worked with WCG before and it is always a great testament to us to win repeat business with a client in this way.”

The Deeley Group also donated 99 branded mugs to the new residents and encouraged them to ‘share a brew with their neighbour’.

For more information about accommodation at WCG, go to www.wcg.ac.uk/accommodation
by Business & Innovation Magazine Reporter 25 Oct, 2017

£17 million of new funding has been announced for the UK’s Life Sciences sector. The Government says the money, as part of its ambitious industrial strategy , will help new drug discovery and support mental health treatment, translating the UK’s scientific expertise into real life treatments.

The life sciences industry provides medical treatments which the NHS and its 60 million patients rely on every year. The industry is also critical to the UK economy - with over 5,000 companies employing nearly 235,000 workers and generating £63.5 billion turnover.

Read our full report on the Life Sciences sector across the region in our November issue of Business & Innovation Magazine, out on 3rd November , including an interview with Dr Gordon Sanghera, CEO of the £1 billion-valued Oxford Nanopore.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond said: “My focus now, and going into the Budget, is on boosting productivity so that we can deliver higher-wage jobs and a better standard of living for people across the country.”

Science minister, Jo Johnson said: “The UK is home to world-leading expertise in life sciences and the government is committed to continuing to help this sector go from strength to strength.

He added: “Through the recently-published Life Sciences Industrial Strategy and our progress towards a Life Sciences Sector Deal, we are determined to cement the UK’s position as a global leader and capitalise on its strengths to encourage both economic growth and improve health outcomes for patients.”

The Chancellor announced funding for three new areas:

1.  Cryo-electron microscope – £5 million for a state of the art microscope to build 3D models of biological components. This can help drug discovery become faster and cheaper

2.  Innovation hub – £7 million to set up a new lab with state of the art equipment and research scientists. This lab will establish the UK Centre for Engineering Biology, Metrology and Standards

3.  Business catalyst – £5 million to expand the ‘Confidence in Concept’ business catalyst scheme and boost treatment for mental health. This scheme has already produced 26 business spin-outs, 70 patents and £277 million of follow-on funding from the private sector


The UK is a world-leader in the life sciences. The UK represents just 0.9% of the global population but produces 15.2% of the world’s most highly-cited articles. Research productivity in this sector is twice as great as the United States and almost three times greater than in Germany. We have an internationally-recognised life sciences cluster in the South East of England, comprising Oxford, Cambridge and London and the area between them. It houses four of the world’s top twenty universities (three in the top ten), four of the top ten medical sciences faculties in the world and some of the world’s largest research institutes – the Sanger Institute, the Francis Crick Institute and Harwell. The government is supporting the sector by increasing investment in R&D by an extra £2 billion a year  by the end of this Parliament.

The Life Sciences Industrial Strategy  was published in August. It is an industry led project bringing together businesses, from across the medical technology, biopharmaceutical, and digital sectors, as well as charities, academia and the NHS.


by Business & Innovation Magazine Reporter 18 Oct, 2017
19 businesses and entrepreneurs from across the Midlands have won places to showcase their game-changing products at the UK’s leading innovation show – Innovate 2017 – which takes place on November 8 and 9 at the NEC in Birmingham.

They have been selected from over 300 applications by hosts Innovate UK – the UK’s innovation agency – to be part of an exhibition of 96 shortlisted companies, with several of these very best of British innovators launching new products.


The annual event is expected to attract 2,500 businesses to the West Midlands. It offers attendees a chance to network with investors, hear from pioneering thinkers and find out about a range of expertise and government support.


West Midlands Mayor Andy Street is a keynote speaker, while Birmingham Innovation Hub and the Midlands Engine are also involved.


In the past year, Innovate UK has provided £30.4 million in core grant funding to 240 organisations in the West Midlands – this includes 160 SMEs.


Mr Street said: “Innovation is what drives the economy and our region's future prosperity is focused on key growth sectors. Innovate UK brings the best of innovation to the West Midlands and I am delighted with the opportunity to be involved in something that showcases this and our region.”


Through a programme of speakers, Innovate 2017 will explore major themes relevant to the region such as smart cities and urban planning and what this means for the individual, businesses and government. Other topics include artificial intelligence, robotics, alternative food sources and space exploration.


Innovate UK Chief Executive Ruth McKernan said: “We are very excited to be taking our annual flagship innovation showcase to the Midlands this year. Innovate 2017 will be an excellent platform for showcasing the strength of Midlands innovation to a national and international audience.”


West Midlands businesses taking part include:

·         Warwick Music Limited,   www.warwickmusicgroup.com , the company behind pTrumpet – a hybrid innovation in trumpet manufacture using the very latest in plastic technology, which is lightweight and robust with a high quality performance compared to an equivalent brass trumpet (Tamworth).

·         Adelan,   www.adelan.co.uk   ,   who are developing a prototype fuel cell generator for the high-value leisure market, which includes campervans, barges and sail boats.   (Birmingham).

·         Daden,   www.daden.co.uk   ,   who use 3D and VR products to support the latest training and learning in both corporate and educational environments (Birmingham).

·         MOVONIx,   www.movoball.com   ,   who have invented and patented MOVOBall, a product that transforms   a gym ball as a joystick and directional motion controller.   (Birmingham).

by Business & Innovation Magazine Reporter 18 Oct, 2017

A south Warwickshire software company, which has grown its staff levels, turnover and international markets in the past year, has been recognised with a major award.

Vectric, which moved to Alcester in 2016, makes software for CNC machines that is used both in industry and by hobbyists, and the company now boasts 70,000 customers worldwide.

It exports into more than 70 countries across the globe – with North America being its biggest overseas market – and its achievements have seen the firm recognised as the Export Business of the Year for the region in the Chamber Business Awards.

Vectric will now go forward to represent the West Midlands in the national finals, which take place in London in November.

Brian Moran, the owner and managing director of the company, accepted the regional award from Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce.

Brian, who set up Vectric in 2005, said: “We are very pleased to be recognised in this way. The company is growing – we’ve just risen to 20 staff and turnover is forecast to be up by more than 30 per cent this year.

“We are exporting all over the world and we believe one of the secrets to our success is just how easy it is to use the software.

“Many of the CNC machine manufacturers supply their customers with our software but we are also very popular with hobbyists. In the US, there is a growing culture of people buying their own machine to use in their home workshop and our software is used to help them create woodwork that would be extremely complicated to do by hand. 

“We are also very popular in Germany and Spain as well as having a presence in China and India – but we still feel there is plenty of potential to grow internationally and will be tapping into the support available from the Chamber’s international trade hub.

“It’s a proud moment to be representing the West Midlands in the national finals and, fingers crossed, we can bring home the national prize.”

Louise said: “Vectric are an incredible success story and they very much deserve this honour.

“We look forward to finding out if they pick up the national award and also working with them on their growth plans for the future.”

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