Warwickshire rides to economic success

Photo shows: Pictured: (from left to right) Heath Harvey, Simon Jones, Nic Erskine (CW Champions Manager), Steve Richards and Les Ratcliffe (CW Champions Chairman).
Heath Harvey- Champions July

The social and economic impact that top cycle races bring to Warwickshire were the key topics at the latest Warwickshire Champions networking event.

The CW Champions scheme is run by the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership to connect businesses, organisations, alumni and individuals in the region and influence the development of the area through ideas and fresh thinking.

Heath Harvey, CEO of SweetSpot Group – the organisers of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour and the OVO Energy Tour of Britain – was one of the keynote speakers at the summer Coventry and Warwickshire Champions event held at The Warwick Hall, Warwick School.

More than 150 business and organisations heard how SweetSpot Group works to get people from all backgrounds involved in cycling.

Harvey said: “The OVO Energy Women’s Tour came to Warwickshire in June, attracting massive crowds and showcasing the region to more than 98 countries worldwide, including every country in Europe.

“The Women’s Tour boosted the Warwickshire economy by an incredible £2million this year.

“The men’s event is even bigger and brings more tangible benefits. For example, each stage of the event requires 600 hotel beds and attracts almost 100,000 spectators, including tourists from outside the country.”

For the last three years, the third stage of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour has started and finished in Warwickshire. This year, the men’s tour will be coming to the county for the first time on September 5.

Simon Jones, Secretary of the Warwick Independent Schools Foundation, was also a keynote speaker on the morning. He spoke on the major £28 million development at King’s High School for Girls – also known as the Project One campus.

Steve Richards, Warwickshire-based CEO of Casual Dining Group – which includes Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Las Iguanas, gave an insight into the casual dining group trends, the growth of restaurant chains and the future of the high street.

Les Ratcliffe, Chairman of Coventry and Warwickshire Champions, said: “The turnout for this event was amazing. Since Coventry and Warwickshire Champions was founded in 2012, it has grown into something incredible and we are so pleased with how far we’ve come.

“These events are the perfect opportunity to bring businesses and organisations together to celebrate the all the amazing work going on in Coventry and Warwickshire.”

There are currently more than 140 Champions including Jaguar Land Rover, Celesio UK and Wasps rugby.