Worcestershire LEP Newsletter
Bulletin no: 41
Introduction from WLEP Chair - Peter Pawsey
I have recently returned from China and Indonesia where I was part of the business delegation taking our message ‘World Class Worcestershire’ overseas. The purpose of the trip was to further business relationships, building on those forged initially through the University of Worcester, and to seek specific trading and investment opportunities.
In Hezhou, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between our two cities was signed by Worcester City Leader, Cllr Simon Geraghty and the Mayor of Hezhou, and witnessed by City MP, Robin Walker, providing a close link for the future. The main delegation continued on to Huizhou, a larger city, where opportunities were explored in a similar way, whilst I journeyed on to Jakarta to meet with key Embassy and Government officials and to make presentations to audiences at both the British and Indonesian Chamber of Commerce. The overall delegation was successful in developing business and trade opportunities and a number of leads were identified and are being followed up.
In the UK, we also continue to forge greater working relationships. We have signed an agreement to work more closely with Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership. This is building on current successes such as the alignment of the Growing Places Funding to support the Hoobrook Link Road in Kidderminster to alleviate traffic congestion and open up significant employment and housing land opportunities on the South Kidderminster Enterprise Park. We are currently identifying other opportunities, such as Redditch Eastern Gateway, to benefit both LEP areas. Further information is available in the full announcement
We are now looking forward to the high profile World Class Worcestershire inward investment event. This is taking place in London next week aimed at potential investors, developers and employers who are considering relocating to the County. I am sure we will see the returns many times over as we continue to raise the profile of Worcestershire regionally, nationally and internationally.
Tour of Britain £1m boost for Worcestershire
Earlier this month, the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership was pleased to announce that the Friends Life Tour of Britain provided a boost of almost £1m to the local economy. The latest analysis showed that £995,849 was spent by visitors to Worcestershire who arrived in their thousands on 10 September 2014.
Around 160,000 people attended Stage Four of the Tour from Worcester to Bristol with 75,000 people lining the roadside within Worcestershire to see world class riders, including reigning champions, Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish.
The Worcestershire LEP worked alongside local authorities to bring the event to the County. Worcestershire County Council, Worcester City Council, Malvern Hills District Council and Wychavon District Council as well as Sanctuary Group, Heart of Worcestershire College, University of Worcester and Blue Earth Foods Limited were all key sponsors.
Recognising the significant positive economic impact, the Worcestershire LEP will support further opportunities for sporting events within the County. To read the full announcement, visit the WLEP website.
LEP Annual Conference: Feedback and survey results
Thank you to everyone who took part in both the electronic voting and the feedback survey relating to the LEP's Annual Conference 2014.
The electronic voting was incredibly helpful to receive feedback from businesses and it provided an insight into a number of areas. For example, 39% of those responding had recommended Worcestershire as a business location in the last month. This is to be applauded and has been seen by the number of businesses backing the World Class Worcestershire campaign e.g. on Twitter using #WorldClassWorcs. If you haven’t already – please do tell your supply chains and your contacts about the opportunities available within the County. The room was also very positive with the majority of attendees being very optimistic or optimistic about Worcestershire’s future growth prospects.
The voting also provided an important insight that will help with business planning for the WLEP and those providing support services. For example, attendees indicated their plans to export, revealed what is important to businesses when planning to locate here and where one seeks business advice.
The results also indicated whether improvements had been made to the County as a business location, with the majority suggesting they had, and that the most important factors that would benefit businesses would be improving the development of people, skills and infrastructure.
The voting also suggested the top two ways to keep in contact with businesses is face to face and via e-publications. We will therefore continue with this e-zine and please send any suggestions for content to firstname.lastname@example.org Based on this feedback, we will once again be holding the Annual Conference next year taking on board the responses to the survey by attendees. Thank you for your comments, which were overwhelmingly positive, but did provide some areas which can be developed next year.
You may also wish to view the photo gallery from 2014’s conference. The LEP hopes to welcome more businesses next year.
Artist, Laura Broderick, captured the conference in picture form.
Apprenticeship Awards 2014
The National Apprenticeship Awards 2014, which took place on 13 November, saw two Worcestershire businesses and their apprentices being recognised.
Firstly, congratulations to Blue Moon Creative Ltd of Creative Alliance and to the young people that they have recruited. They won the DHL Express Award for Small Employer of the Year. This is a fantastic achievement and recognises the fact that apprenticeships have been integral to their local growing team. Their success shows the value that apprentices can bring to the workplace and Worcestershire LEP hopes many others will follow their lead.
Also, congratulations to Evangelene Brookes in the Learndirect Award for Intermediate Apprentice of the Year category. Having won the West Midlands stage of the competition, Evangelene, an apprentice with the Community Housing Group in Kidderminster, was selected as a national finalist and was awarded 3rd place.
The Worcestershire Apprenticeship Awards on 27 November are also nearly here and the event at the West Midland Safari Park is fully booked. The awards are the first of their kind and will recognise the hard work and success across the County. Hosted by Nick Hewer of BBC’s ‘The Apprentice’, winners of the 12 awards will each be given a special trophy designed by students at De Montfort School (formerly Evesham School) and created by Worcester-based company Yamazaki Mazak.
The shortlist followed an overwhelming amount of nominations and is available to view here.
Any businesses that would like to be further involved with apprenticeships in the County can view further details on Worcestershire.Business.Central. and further information on the awards will follow in the next newsletter.
Business awards – £30,000 prize
Business is GREAT Britain, is holding a competition for small UK-based businesses.
The competition, in association with BT, is designed to discover and showcase the small companies who have recently grown their business and boosted profits.
Companies will be competing in the following categories:
- Best exporter
- Most innovative small business
- Best growth story.
The competition will be run in two stages, with the first round running regionally until December, before the national final judging takes place in the New Year. Regional winners will be shortlisted for entry into the national competition to find an overall ‘GREAT Face of British Business’.
The overall national winner will be announced in March and will receive an exclusive prize package for their business worth £30,000, including the chance for it to star in a nationwide advertising campaign.
The prize also includes: an iPad and free Wi-Fi for a year courtesy of BT and national and local media coverage for your business. In addition, the winner will also receive a package of export support from UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), one of the Government Departments currently supporting the Business is GREAT Britain campaign with the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS).
The closing date for entries is Monday 15 December 2014. Companies interested in entering the competition can enter here.
Earlier this month, 10 – 14 November, saw the UK Trade & Investment’s sixth export week. Many businesses participated, attending events such as that held on 12 November at the ICC, Birmingham.
Export Week provided an opportunity to highlight the wealth of export support and knowledge available.
Two Worcestershire businesses were recently recognised for their exporting successes in the Midlands International Trade Awards 2014.
Bromsgrove-based, Viezu Technologies, won the Technology award. Insider Media wrote, ‘Viezu’s performance-improving software for engines impressed the judges: cutting fuel costs and emissions meant its products had clear appeal for businesses across the world.'
Meanwhile Diglis-based, Postcode Anywhere, won the Rapid Export Growth Award. Insider Media noted, ‘Postcode Anywhere showed an export culture allied with a well thought-out strategy. The result was that exports of its international address data systems grew from almost nothing to 15 per cent of turnover in just three years’.
For more information visit Insider Media Ltd’s website
Vote in this year’s Startups Awards
The news that local business Driver Hire Hereford and Worcester has been nominated for 'Franchise of the Year' in this year’s Startups Awards has been welcomed by Robin Walker MP.
Now in their eleventh year, the Startups Awards, which this year will be held on 27 November at London’s Kensington Roof Gardens, have the reputation of unearthing some of the UK’s finest entrepreneurial businesses and shining a spotlight on the start-up market.
Robin Walker MP is urging local people and businesses to vote for Driver Hire Hereford and Worcester whilst recognising that the owners, Vance and Sue Parsons, offered support to flood or storm-affected businesses in the recent flooding event. They provided their recruitment expertise and contacts to try to identify and co-ordinate workers who were prepared to volunteer their time for free to support Worcester’s flood effort.
To vote in the Startups awards, visit the website
For more information on Driver Hire Hereford and Worcester’s nomination, visit their page.
Expected economic boost for Worcester at the Victorian Fayre
This year's Worcester Victorian Christmas Fayre, taking place from Thursday 27 to Sunday 30 November, will be the 22nd of its kind.
Set to be bigger and better than ever before, and featuring in the Daily Mirror’s Britain’s 16 best festive fayres, it provides a tremendous amount of support for local businesses, bringing an estimated influx of around £5m to the local economy.
Approximately 250 coaches and 100,000 people from across the country are expected to visit. This provides a great demand for hotels and eateries with local traders also reporting a huge boost to their business due to the high volume of sales.
For more information visit www.visitworcestershire.org/christmasfayre
Crowds have gathered at the Worcester Victorian Fayre in previous years.