Business & Innovation Magazine

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

Maximus has achieved a record Bromsgrove office rent at its landmark Topaz Business Park adjacent to Junction 1 of the M42.

Acting for Maximus in an off-market deal, Birmingham independent commercial property agency KWB secured a figure of £18psf on 3,125 sq ft of office space at Unit 5 Topaz Business Park, Bromsgrove, B61 0GD, on a new five year lease to building contractor MV Kelly.  

“Topaz offers the best office space in Bromsgrove, so it’s to be expected that it should set a new record rent. These self-contained, high specification, low density courtyard style offices in a managed, landscaped setting next to a major communications route quite rightly command a premium,” says Malcolm Jones, a senior member of KWB’s office agency team.  

“Such is the demand for space at Topaz, that as soon as the out-going tenant decided not to renew its lease on Unit 5, we were able to re-let the space immediately, without it going onto the market.

“There is a real lack of quality office space in Bromsgrove at present and a pent-up demand from organisations looking to expand their presence, or re-locate into the town.”

by Business & Innovation Magazine Reporter 21 Nov, 2017
A record 360 people attended this year’s Worcestershire Apprenticeship Awards 2017 final on 16 November where 30 of the county’s best apprentices, apprenticeship employers, schools and training providers were celebrated in a total of twelve categories at the Treetops Pavilion, West Midland Safari Park.

The prestigious Worcestershire Apprenticeship Awards, an initiative from Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and Worcestershire County Council, launched in 2014. This year, the audience were treated to a highly entertaining and funny awards ceremony thanks to the event host - Comedian and Radio 4 Star, Mark Watson.

The two top awards on the evening went to CP Foods UK from Kidderminster who won the Worcestershire Apprenticeship Employer of the Year award, sponsored by Yamazaki Mazak (UK) Ltd, and Ben Hyde from Sanctuary Group in Worcester who won the Worcestershire Apprentice of the Year, sponsored by Worcester Bosch Group.

Each of the event’s 10 winners were awarded with a crystal engraved trophy, which were sponsored by local business Fortis Living.

Mark Watson, Comedian, Radio 4 Star and host of the Worcestershire Apprenticeship Awards 2017, said: “Congratulations to all finalists and winners at this year’s Worcestershire Apprenticeship Awards, it was a privilege to have been able to share such an entertaining event and lively atmosphere with you all. It was a pleasure to host the awards and to celebrate the successes of all apprentices, as well as the employers, schools and training providers that dedicate their guidance and experience to them. It was great to see so much support for Worcestershire’s apprenticeships and I am very proud to have played a part in the awards.”

Gary Woodman, Chief Executive of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Well done to all of the finalists for the Worcestershire Apprenticeship Awards. As always, the awards were a fantastic celebration of the achievements of our county’s apprenticeships. “I would like to give my thanks to all of the sponsors who were involved in supporting the awards and to everyone across the county that help to make apprenticeships the success that they are.”

Cllr Marcus Hart, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Education and Skills at Worcestershire County Council, added: “It was fantastic to see so much enthusiasm and support for apprenticeships at the awards ceremony. “It is clear that apprenticeships benefit our local workforce in so many ways and I would urge all interested businesses and young people to find out more about Worcestershire’s apprenticeships on the website, www.worcsapprenticeships.org.uk

This year’s winner were…

School of the year – sponsored by The Careers & Enterprise Company

Droitwich Spa High School
The student is always put at the heart of everything at Droitwich Spa High School and they have been an active ambassador for apprenticeships for several years. Six years ago, in 2011, they took part in a pilot programme with the local training provider network to ensure all Year 10, Year 11 and sixth form students could find out more about apprenticeships. Since then Droitwich Spa High School’s programme has grown. They have regular assemblies with local and national experts informing years 10-12 about the opportunities available to them. They host “Apprenticeships Made Easy” workshops for students in years 11 -13 to inform or provide a reminder about apprenticeships. Their new apprenticeship programme has led to 50% of sixth formers expressing an interest in apprenticeships as an alternative to university.

Training Provider of the Year – sponsored by Worcestershire Training Providers Association
The Development Manager Ltd – Bewdley
The Development Manager believes they have had a hugely developmental and successful year in their history of serving employers across Worcestershire. They feel they truly care about the county’s needs and, as they mature as an organisation, they will look into expanding into the other Local Enterprise Partnership priority occupational sectors. TDM believe a number of their recent achievements have supported their nomination for this year’s awards, including being one of the first training providers to deliver against the “Trailblazer Standards” and by securing their own Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) delivery contract for apprenticeship delivery. They have outstanding achievement audit grades on both of their apprenticeship contracts and currently have a 95% achievement rate with over 90% of the apprentices they recruit and train remaining in employment with their original employer.

Apprenticeship Ambassador of the Year – sponsored by Heartbeat – The Training Academy
Faisal Zaib (Sanctuary Group) – Worcester
Since Faisal completed his higher level apprenticeship in accountancy with the Sanctuary group he has secured a full time position within the organisation. Faisal has become an ambassador for apprenticeships within Sanctuary and also the wider West Midlands area. Faisal regularly promotes the benefits and value of apprenticeships as part of his role as a member of the West Midlands Young Apprentice Ambassador Network (WMYAAN). Faisal has delivered apprenticeship workshops to students at his old school, Blessed Edward Oldcorne. Faisal was also selected by Sanctuary’s apprenticeship co-ordinator to support Worcestershire’s MP Robin Walker to advocate apprenticeships across the local community and he was also invited to the House of Commons by Minister Robert Halfon to champion the value of apprenticeships.

Newcomer Apprenticeship Employer of the Year – sponsored by The Community Housing Group
Hogarths Stone Manor Hotel – Kidderminster
When any hotel changes hands there is always the chance that this change in ownership could have a negative impact on the staff, their progression and future development opportunities. However, this is far from the case when Hogarths took over the running of the Stone Manor site in February 2016. Hogarths apprentices are very much involved in all aspects of the full operation and continued growth of the hotel. Apprentices are seen as key to developing employees and growing the business with 7 apprentices across a range of hospitality roles. The hotel’s apprenticeship programme has supported the hotel’s internal training and implementation of higher standards. Service standards have now improved, and two apprentices have been promoted as a result of their personal development. The hotel is now very busy and sales have increased.

Small Apprenticeship Employer of the year – sponsored by Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce
Green Lighting Ltd – Worcester
Green Lighting Ltd celebrates and encourages their apprentices and empowers them with opportunities to progress within the business. Their strategy is one of quality, loyalty and progression for the entire team. An apprentice is viewed as an integral part of the firm, valued in their own right. Green Lighting feels they have grown their company through their apprenticeship programme as it has enabled them to recruit new staff in a cost-effective manner. Green Lighting produced the Worcestershire Apprentice of the Year in 2014 and achieved finalist status within the small business category at the 2015 Worcestershire Apprenticeship Awards.

Medium Apprenticeship Employer of the year – sponsored by The Development Manager Ltd (TDM) WBL Consultancy
CP Foods UK Ltd – Kidderminster
CP Foods (UK) Ltd are committed to providing excellence in their apprenticeship delivery, covering many different areas of their business. The company decided to invest in apprenticeships not only to assist with succession planning, recognising that new ideas and a modern approach will change the status quo, but also because they are truly passionate about supporting and progressing the younger generation. The success of the approach to apprenticeships is clearly apparent as all individuals have progressed through promotion into permanent job roles within the business. To demonstrate further commitment, they have now volunteered as Enterprise Advisers to support local schools, taking the opportunity to influence young people at a critical decision making time in their lives and fully promote the apprenticeship route.

Large Apprenticeship Employer of the year – sponsored by Sanctuary Group
Amada UK – Kidderminster
At present Amada employs 13 apprentices offering Engineering and Accountancy schemes. This programme is being expanded to add a further 4 engineering apprenticeships and for the first time, a business Administration Apprenticeship. The Amada apprenticeship programme centres on the philosophy of “promotion within” and growing its own talent pool of well trained, professional Engineering, Accountancy and Administration staff. The success of each of Amada’s programmes is measured by the offer of permanent employment at the end of the scheme. Amada is proud to confirm that it has employed 100% of its graduated apprentices. Amada does not see its Apprenticeship programme as complete – it is constantly reviewing and developing the scheme to meet the ever changing needs of the industry, the business and the individuals.

Intermediate Level Apprentice of the year – sponsored by Titania
Ben Hyde – Sanctuary Group – Worcester
Ben works with Sanctuary Group’s finance department and has responsibility within the Group Procurement Card (GPC) team to further develop his finance skills. Ben helps Sanctuary by producing practical documents for the GPC team and financial accountants. Ben has learned about bookkeeping controls and transactions during his AAT studies and has sent data to the Financial Reporting Systems team. When a new member joined the GPC team in December 2016, Ben was responsible for their training. Ben has joined the West Midland Young Apprentice Ambassador Network and has since attended apprenticeship events at the House of Commons and the NEC to promote apprenticeships. Ben stated that his greatest personal achievement to date is passing all three of his Apprenticeship exams with a minimum of 87% pass rate.

Advanced Level Apprentice of the year – sponsored by Southco Manufacturing Ltd
Lauren Baker – Green Lighting Ltd – Worcester
Using the units from her level 3 apprenticeship that concentrated on marketing, Lauren has been able to identify opportunities, produce leads and book sales appointments for the team, and ensure targeted marketing activity can take place to generate new business. Lauren has evolved her role and is now working closely with the marketing department to develop creative pitches and propositions aimed at specific industry sectors, resulting in a 60% upturn in replies to email campaigns. Recently Lauren has progressed to running the online presence of the company and her marketing promotions have directly influenced sales with a 75% increase in certain products, significantly increasing profit to the company. When Green Lighting won the Queens award for industry in 2016, she took control of the reception party for the Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire and organised the presentation.

Higher Level Apprentice of the year – sponsored by Morgan Motor Company
Ellie Harrison – Titania – Worcester
Ellie is a developer in Titania’s software development department and works alongside other highly skilled developers and across quality control departments to design, implement and deploy features and fixes into award winning security solutions. A key project which was led by Ellie, was to start recording anonymous usage data from the end-usage of Titania’s software. This successful project involved using many technologies which are not standard within the day-to-day role. Ellie has been assigned as mentor for an upcoming new starter who is a recent graduate. Ellie is trusted with these responsibilities with great confidence, not just because of her high development skills, but also her mentoring abilities and being an advocate for learning whilst you work and continuous development.

Worcestershire Apprentice of the Year - sponsored by Worcester Bosch Group
Ben Hyde – Sanctuary Group – Worcester
Ben works with Sanctuary Group’s finance department and has responsibility within the Group Procurement Card (GPC) team to further develop his finance skills. Ben helps Sanctuary by producing practical documents for the GPC team and financial accountants. Ben has learned about bookkeeping controls and transactions during his AAT studies and has sent data to the Financial Reporting Systems team. When a new member joined the GPC team in December 2016, Ben was responsible for their training. Ben has joined the West Midland Young Apprentice Ambassador Network and has since attended apprenticeship events at the House of Commons and the NEC to promote apprenticeships. Ben stated that his greatest personal achievement to date is passing all three of his Apprenticeship exams with a minimum of 87% pass rate.

Worcestershire Apprenticeship Employer of the Year - sponsored by Yamazaki Mazak UK Ltd
CP Foods UK Ltd – Kidderminster
CP Foods (UK) Ltd are committed to providing excellence in their apprenticeship delivery, covering many different areas of their business. The company decided to invest in apprenticeships not only to assist with succession planning, recognising that new ideas and a modern approach will change the status quo, but also because they are truly passionate about supporting and progressing the younger generation. The success of the approach to apprenticeships is clearly apparent as all individuals have progressed through promotion into permanent job roles within the business. To demonstrate further commitment, they have now volunteered as Enterprise Advisers to support local schools, taking the opportunity to influence young people at a critical decision making time in their lives and fully promote the apprenticeship route.

For further information on the Worcestershire Apprenticeship Awards 2017, visit the Worcestershire Apprenticeships website, www.worcsapprentices.org.uk
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 new title from one of Worcestershire's leading figures in entrepreneurship and innovation has been described as " an ideal manual for ambitious entrepreneurs" by Luke Johnson of Risk Capital Partners and the London-based think tank Centre for Entrepreneurs.

Dr Adrian Burden is the author of Start to Exit: How to maximise the value in your start-up. The publication helps the entrepreneur, founder and small business management team to systemise their business processes efficiently from the outset. The aim is to avoid bureaucracy, facilitate rapid growth, secure investment when it is needed, and make the all important exit.

The book was inspired by the author’s own experience of spinning-off a high technology start-up from a research institute in Singapore and then taking the business, with his co-founder, to a multi-million-pound exit about two and half years later.

Dr Burden has since co-founded the Wyche Innovation Centre on the Malvern Hills and organises the annual Malvern Festival
of Innovation through the social enterprise Innovate Malvern CIC. He is also an Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Worcester’s Business School.

Dr Burden explains “Starting a new business is brave but not particularly difficult. Scaling up a small business so that it sells great products or services, employs more people and becomes profitable is tricky. Then positioning the business for an attractive trade sale or stock market listing is even more challenging, as you find yourself keeping so many balls in the air.”

Recent figures published in the Financial Times from the Centre for Entrepreneurs showed that nearly 660,000 companies were established in the UK during 2016, and forecasts for this year indicate that the record will be broken again. Hence, there are more small business owners than ever in the UK, many of whom could benefit from the hindsight of others’ experiences. Moreover, not all start-ups survive. Published figures showing that only about half of those formed in 2013 outlived three years of trading. Therefore, helping a business scale-up successfully is important for the economic growth, employment and value creation.

Emma Jones, co-founder of StartUp Britain and founder of Enterprise Nation said “Read this book before you start! Sound principles and strong advice on building a successful and exitable business. It's like having an angel/mentor/adviser in the palm of your hand from the get-go.”

The book is published by Novaro Publishing in association with the Growth Idea, and is available from Amazon. For more information, see www.starttoexit.biz
by Business & Innovation Magazine Reporter 25 Oct, 2017
The UK Midlands Engine Cyber initiative has returned to Baltimore, Maryland as part of a second trade delegation of cyber companies and partners. The Midlands Engine group visited the prestigious Cyber Maryland Conference in October, giving the delegates the opportunity to showcase their cyber products and solutions to the US market.

During the past 12 months, the Midlands Engine Cyber initiative has gone from strength to strength. The initial outward mission to Maryland in 2016 was a great success, resulting in a return visit from the US delegation in June of this year with Midlands businesses showcasing the region’s offer. Following the trade missions, both parties came together in the Houses of Parliament to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between Maryland and the Midlands Engine.

The 2017 visit comprises an 18 strong delegation from the Midlands region, with representation from Borwell, Data Solver, Deep Secure, Ice Blue, Immersive Labs, Intercede, Manager Enterprise Technologies, QinetiQ and the University of Wolverhampton in partnership with Skylon Park.
The mission, funded by the Department for International Trade, is offering a unique sector opportunity for Midlands-based businesses and organisations to enter the US market. The mission is also designed to identify US companies looking to invest in the UK and forms part of a three year programme aimed at encouraging trade and investment into the region.
Gary Woodman, Chief Executive of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The Midlands Engine is home to many impressive and innovative cyber companies, alongside several academic institutions offering cyber-specific training. We are looking forward to showcasing once more what the region has to offer in this sector, with Cyber-Security being a priority growth area.

“The Cyber Maryland Conference 2017 is another fantastic opportunity for companies to grow their presence in the US market. We believe this mission will be hugely beneficial to our companies and we are looking forward to discussing opportunities with US companies to further strengthen our ongoing relationship with Maryland.”

For businesses that are looking to participate in any future events, visit the website www.MidlandsEngineCyber.uk
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

Voneus, the rural community broadband specialist, has acquired Cotswold Wireless, the local high-speed broadband provider – its first acquisition since raising over £5 million in growth funding in June 2017.

Aiming to be the UK’s market leader in rural broadband provision, Voneus expects this acquisition to increase the company’s capacity to connect a further 3,000 homes and businesses – growing its reach while increasing its market credentials. Cotswold Wireless specialises in high speed broadband for the Cotswolds, helping over 400 homes and businesses in the local region. This purchase strengthens Voneus’ network and will help additional households and businesses in Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire become connected.

It is the first time either firm has undertaken a move of this scale. Part of the Voneus ‘buy and build’ strategy to accelerate its growth plan, this purchase is the first of many to ensure the business scales quickly and efficiently, while importantly ‘connecting the nation’.

Expanding the Voneus network throughout Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire, this purchase will connect more local families, enable remote-working and ensure enhanced access to education through heightened rural connectivity.

Cotswold Wireless was founded in 2004 and specialises in delivering fast, reliable broadband to the Costwolds. Voneus which first entered the market in 2011 has already scaled its expansion plans since raising £5.3m growth funding in June 2017. Specialising in Wireless ‘Air Fibre’, Voneus is accelerating its rapid growth to achieve a national footprint, while bringing parity between rural areas and city dwellers.

“Our mission is to rescue rural communities from the pain and indignity of slow broadband, without them having to wait years for Fibre”, says Steve Leighton, CEO, Voneus. “Buying Cotswold Wireless, helps accelerate this. The important thing is increased access to communities and we want to make sure the ‘digital divide’ between urban and rural areas drastically decreases so people can go about their everyday lives interruption-free”.

 Tristram Charnley, Founder, Cotswold Wireless says, “Being part of the bigger Voneus network will give our existing customers access to new products, increased service benefits and other opportunities over time”.  

New customers can be live and receive high speed broadband within months, not years, with no roads required to be dug up. Voneus works with supportive Tier 1 providers on initial connectivity to install broadband quickly and effectively to deliver speeds between 35Mbps and 50Mbps using an innovative Wireless Fibre To The Home (WFTTH) solution, rivalling other services in the industry.   The company   currently has ongoing installations in Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire.

by Business & Innovation Magazine Reporter 13 Oct, 2017

England’s Historic Cities consortium which includes Oxford through the local Destination Management Organisation (DMO) Experience Oxfordshire, and Worcester has secured a £1 million investment from the Discover England Fund for an innovative new project to encourage more US visitors to explore regional England.

The Collection brings history to life through story-telling enhanced by augmented reality and will feature itineraries that link the cities by rail, making it easy to plan and book a multi-destination trip. Delivered through the historic cities app, it will act as a central point for local information that highlights places to eat and stay alongside trips, tours and travel options. www.heritagecities.com .  

Marking the first time that England’s Historic Cities have collaborated in this way, The Collection is one of a number of successful projects to receive funding from the UK Government’s £40 million Discover England Fund. The Fund is administered by VisitEngland and aims to ensure that England stays competitive in the rapidly growing global tourism industry, by offering world-class English tourism products to the right customers at the right time. The Fund is a central government funded programme of activity, supported by match funding by partners in the public and private sectors.    

Hayley Beer-Gamage, CEO of Experience Oxfordshire, forms part of the Project Board for The Collection project and said “Heritage is a huge draw for US visitors to England. The Collection will enable Oxford and the wider County to share our amazing stories through cutting edge technology, and bring wider exposure to this important international market. This is a great opportunity for us to use new technology to attract visitors to our fantastic destination and a very exciting project for us to be part of.”  

 The project is being managed by a board chaired by consortium member Ruth Connor, CEO of Marketing Lancashire. Ruth said “We are thrilled to have secured investment from the Discover England Fund. England’s Historic Cities represents some of the best experiences that England has to offer to international visitors and we can’t wait to bring them to the attention of the US market. The consortium has a strong track record of working together but this is the most ambitious project we have tackled together. We are grateful for the support of our partners and look forward to showing the results of our work.” 

Joining the 13 members of England’s Historic Cities for this project are Truro and Worcester and the City of London. The project is also supported by London & Partners, English Heritage and UK Inbound.  

London & Partners Chief Operating Officer, Andrew Cooke, said "London & Partners is delighted to be partnering with England's Historic Cities' consortium to promote England's rich cultural heritage to an international audience. As both the gateway to these cities and a unique reflection of England's history in its own right, London is central to the visitor experience. We look forward to working with the consortium to help visitors to make the most of London and their onward journeys throughout England."

VisitEngland Chief Executive Sally Balcombe, said: “The calibre of submissions reflects the innovation in product development thriving across the country’s tourism landscape. The successful projects will boost international and domestic visitor growth creating a step-change in the industry and spreading the economic benefits of tourism across England. England’s Historic Cities winning project uses augmented reality to place the user at the heart of England’s history, making visiting a compelling proposition.”




by Business & Innovation Magazine Reporter 29 Sep, 2017
A farm in Worcestershire has received a £30,000 grant to enable it to plough on with a water and fertiliser application efficiency project.
Arnold Farms Ltd in Ombersley is a third generation farming business with a strong horticultural production heritage. It farms just over 800 acres with a diverse range of cropping. Cropping consists of outdoor and forced rhubarb, dried and fresh herbs, sweetcorn, potatoes and cereals.
The money it received from LEADER has helped bosses buy a highly accurate GPS fertiliser spreader, a 64metre wide irrigation boom which reduces the water pressure required to operate it over conventional methods and a highly efficient electric irrigation pump and associated pipe work to allow for efficient pumping of irrigation water over 300 acres.
The project will allow Arnold Farms to reduce weather/climate related risks to crop yield and quality allowing them to hopefully create a more robust profit margin and employment portfolio throughout the year.
John Baines, Farm Manager at Arnold Farms Ltd, said: "The LEADER grant process has been very efficient and straight forward. It has help Arnold Farms immensely by enabling an investment planned over 10 years to be completed in one year knowing that the full efficiency savings and decreased business risk will be felt straight away.
"Please don`t hesitate to enquire whether the LEADER grant is available to you, it`s defiantly worth a go."
LEADER is part of the Rural Development Programme for England and is delivered locally by Worcestershire County Council and the Worcestershire Local Action Group on behalf of Defra.
The focus of the LEADER programme is on growing the economies of rural communities by enabling local people to identify and implement solutions to local problems.
The project has received funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development under the Rural Development Programme for England. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is the Managing Authority for the Rural Development Programme for England.
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