Autumn Statement 2014
Businesses will have already seen the many reports on the Chancellor's Autumn Statement, which took place on 3 December 2014. This will have a number of implications for companies as it provides a focus on business growth, for example, with smaller businesses being able to access finance and support for exporting.
The announcement regarding the removal of National Insurance contributions for young apprentices has been welcomed by the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership as this will help employers to offer further placements.
The improvements announced for the motorway Junctions 5, 6 and 7 on the M5 will improve capacity and speed up journey times along with the Smart Motorway planned between Junctions 4a and 6. These developments will particularly open up the Worcester Technology Park and further enhance Worcestershire’s connectivity. The County will also benefit from other improvements announced, such as the improvements to the A417 near the Air Balloon in Gloucestershire, which will reduce journey times to and from London and the South East.
In addition, local businesses will benefit from the investment in Worcester that will protect homes and businesses and keep the County moving during flooding, this being in addition to the road improvements included in our Growth Deal for the alleviation of flooded highways.
Worcestershire is already delivering against other key infrastructure programmes for the Growth Deal. We will continue to work with our partners to strive for a share of additional funding for schemes not already included, such as the Carrington Bridge, as we look towards the second part of the Growth Deal which the Chancellor announced during the Autumn Statement.
A helpful ‘at a glance’ summary of the Autumn Statement is available on the BBC’s website
Worcestershire businesses celebrate success
Five Worcestershire businesses were toasting their success, as winners at the first ever Worcestershire Business Awards, last month.
The event, at the Sixways Stadium in Worcester, was a celebration of Enterprising Worcestershire, a free programme of business support provided by Worcestershire County Council in partnership with the local district councils and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
Winners on the night were Deli@Pershore (Growth Business and High Street Business); Bubblicious Soaps, Droitwich (Creative Business); Greengineering Ltd, Kidderminster (Ethical Trading Business); The Sunday Girl Company Ltd, Kidderminster (Most Innovative Business) and Seven Mile Cookery & Events, Redditch (New Start Up Business).
After receiving an impressive 45 nominations, the shortlist and winners were decided by a panel of five judges and public vote, which attracted over 1,000 votes.
Over 150 guests heard a keynote speech from David Hyner (FSPA), Director of Stretch Development Ltd, and also had the opportunity to network with over 20 Worcestershire businesses exhibiting at the event’s Marketplace.
For more information and a full list of the winners, visit the County Council's website
Pictured left: Bubblicious Soaps, pictured right: Deli@Pershore.
Awards Celebrate the County’s Top Apprentices
Over 300 employers and individuals from across the county gathered for an evening of celebration and recognition at the Worcestershire Apprentice Awards 2014.
Six apprentices, five employers and one school picked up awards at the inaugural event held at the West Midlands Safari Park on 27 November 2014.
Worcestershire’s outstanding apprentices and employers were presented with trophies by event host, BBC’s The Apprentice star, Nick Hewer. The awards had been designed by De Montfort School and created by Yamazaki Mazak.
The prestigious Worcestershire Apprentice Awards were launched this year as an initiative from Worcestershire.Business.Central. and Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership.
In the last three years, the number of young people participating in apprenticeship schemes has increased to more than 10,000 and that number is still rising. Congratulations to all the young people, schools and businesses that have been recognised for their achievements at the awards.
For the full announcement, including a full list of the winners, visit our website
and further information and photos can be found on Twitter using #WorcsApprentice14.
Any businesses that would like to be further involved with apprenticeships in the County can get information on employing apprenticeships on Worcestershire.Business.Central.’s website
Pictured: Nick Hewer with the Worcestershire Apprenticeship Award Winners.
Apprenticeship Survey – have your say
Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and Worcestershire.Business.Central. are now asking businesses to complete a short survey before the end of January 2015 in a bid to increase the number of excellent placements available across the County.
The surveys are designed to further understand the experiences of employers, what they look for when hiring apprentices, as well as any support that could be provided to help increase the Worcestershire apprenticeship opportunities available.
There are two surveys available: one survey is for companies who currently employ apprentices so that a greater understanding of their experiences can be gained. Another survey is aimed at businesses who do not currently employ apprentices, or have previously employed apprentices, to understand what could help these businesses to offer placements.
The surveys take a few minutes to complete and are available on the Worcestershire LEP's website.
Congratulations to Driver Hire Hereford and Worcester
Congratulations to Driver Hire Hereford and Worcester
who won the ‘Franchisee of the Year’ in this year’s Startups Awards.
As mentioned in last month’s newsletter, Driver Hire Hereford and Worcester
was nominated in the eleventh year of the Startups Awards, which has a reputation of unearthing some of the UK’s finest businesses. Robin Walker MP urged local people and businesses to vote for Driver Hire Hereford and Worcester
recognising that the owners, Vance and Sue Parsons, offered 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 recent flood effort.
Having received hundreds of entries, the winners were selected by a judging panel of 22 business leaders and announced at the prestigious awards on 27 November at London’s Kensington Roof Gardens.
For more information on Driver Hire Hereford and Worcester’s
achievement and the other Startups awards, visit their website
Estate Agency of the Year Awards 2014
A huge congratulations goes to HomeXperts who received accolades in the Sunday Times Estate Agency of the Year Awards, sponsored by Zoopla.
The prestigious awards ceremony, held earlier this month on 5 December 2014 at the Lancaster London Hotel, attract the very best agents from throughout the UK gather to find out who has been judged to be the best of the best.
HomeXperts, who have an office in Worcester, scooped both the Gold - Franchise "Estate Agency of the Year 2014" and Bronze - Franchise "Lettings Agency of the Year 2014" awards.
The judges recognised the measures that the company had taken to ensure quality including strict recruitment processes and training standards, access to marketing materials as well as state of the art franchise software to benefit both customers and suppliers. They said: “The directors at HomeXperts have a clear desire to raise the standards of franchising through excellent customer service coupled with continued investment and a great infrastructure. This business is growing at an impressive rate and they are expanding the services on offer, and the hours of operation in order to further delight customers.”
HomeXperts were further praised in recently launching their lettings service in response to the changing property market and on awarding the Bronze award, the judges commented: “The panel is pleased to see this dynamic business jump from shortlist in 2013 to the bronze award this year and there is no doubt that it will continue to shine.”
For more information on the awards, visit the Sunday Times website HomeXperts' website is available at www.homexpertsuk.com
Titania tops the charts in National Chamber Awards
Congratulations to Titania Ltd, who in addition to being recognised as a cyber security supplier to HM Government, the Worcester business has also topped the charts in the Small Business of the Year category at the prestigious national Chamber Awards ceremony held in London. This was much to the delight of the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, of which Titania are a member.
Titania produce security and compliance auditing software for a range of customers and on 27 November 2014 received their award at the black tie event held at the historic Towers of London which was attended by over 550 people. The awards are the national centrepiece for Chambers of Commerce across the country and the culmination of local and then regional rounds of awards.
The team from Titania were joined by representatives from the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, who were nominated for the Member Services Award, and three other local businesses, who were also nominated for awards on the night. Pulsar Process Measurement, based in Malvern, were highly commended in the Excellence in Innovation category, whilst Kingspan Insulation, based in Leominster, were finalists in the Sustainability and Manufacturer of the Year category. In addition, Associated Spring Raymond and Hannah Haffield, were also finalists at the exclusive ceremony.
Congratulations to all.
Pictured left to right: Ruth Inglis from Titania with a representative of award sponsor NFU Mutual, Ian Whiting, and Ruth Whiting of Titania.
Worcestershire companies selected in cyber security supplier to Government scheme
Congratulations to five Worcestershire businesses that have been recognised as cyber security suppliers to HM Government having successfully applied to the department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS):
- Borwell Ltd
- Deep-Secure Ltd
- Encription Ltd
- QinetiQ Ltd
- Titania Ltd.
Cyber Security, defence and IT is one of the top three key sectors within the County alongside Agri-Tech and Advanced Manufacturing. BIS is administering the scheme which is intended to support UK companies in increasing and pursuing export business opportunities worldwide in cyber security.
Peter Pawsey, Executive Chair of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said:
“Worcestershire is recognised for excellence in this field as security, defence and IT is one of the top three industries within the County. In addition the National Cyber Skills Centre is housed in Malvern.
“I am delighted that the Government has recognised these skills and chosen these companies as suppliers. I am sure these five Worcestershire businesses will do an excellent job in helping to protect the country’s digital information as well as achieving the objective of increasing exports from the UK.”
Growing Cyber - tailored package of business assistance, consultation advice and training
Worcestershire.Business.Central.'s Growing Cyber project can help your business to better understand your cyber risks and contribute to making Worcestershire the most secure place to do business online.
Growing Cyber has a tailored package of business assistance, consultation advice and training that helps improve the cyber security posture of SMEs in Worcestershire with up to 12 hours of free support, guidance and business grants between £1,000 - £40,000 (50% matched funded).
Contact the team on 0300 123 14 40 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Growing Cyber is a part funded European Regional Development Fund Project.
Final chance to access grants to transform redundant buildings
Time is running out to take advantage of the grants available to transform redundant and underutilised buildings.
Those interested in accessing Government-funding must apply as soon as possible for the Redundant Building Grant scheme, before the deadline of the end of January 2015. All building projects also need to be complete by June 2015.
Many businesses have already benefitted from the scheme including Indy Ltd, which specialises in mobility equipment and has a head office in Evesham and a satellite branch in Redditch. Owner, David Badham, was looking to expand the business and open a third outlet in Worcester city centre. After consideration, Mr Badham chose to move into a Grade II listed, 18th
century four storey building on Broad Street, which had been closed for some time after Skipton Building Society vacated it.
After contacting Worcestershire.Business.Central. (WBC), Mr Badham received expert advice, footfall figures for Broad Street, Pump Street and High Street, as well as help with the application itself, which was successful. Indy Ltd was awarded £8,667 towards the refurbishment through the Redundant Building Grant scheme.
“WBC were excellent and made the whole process very smooth – I’m very grateful for all their help” said Mr Badham.
“The grant was really useful; it gave us a comfort zone, a buffer, and allowed us to make sure the refurbishment was done properly. Everything has gone to plan and allowed us to open as fast as possible.”
For further details on the scheme and eligibility criteria, visit our website