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Find out what's happening at Worcestershire LEP in this month's ezine.
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Worcestershire LEP Newsletter

Bulletin no: 44 - February 2015

Introduction from the WLEP Chair - Peter Pawsey

2015 has proven to be a busy and productive year already. In January the inward investment event held at Birmingham's Hotel Du Vin was a huge success attracting over 90 investors and businesses interested in making Worcestershire their business base. Further information can be found here in the report by TheBusinessDesk.com who hosted the event.

As mentioned many times before, we recognise the importance of sport and culture and the benefits to local businesses as these events attract people to the County – in some cases from all over the world. I am pleased to say that the Worcestershire LEP is backing the European Wheelchair Basketball Championships alongside the University of Worcester, Worcester City Council and Worcestershire County Council. This high profile event will take place in late August and early September, and alongside our already excellent sporting programme, will put the spotlight firmly on the County for sport and provide many commercial opportunities.

With regards to arts and culture, congratulations to Worcester’s Harlequin Stage school who will be part of Team England at the Dance World Cup 2015 and details of sponsorship opportunities are available in this newsletter. A workshop also took place this morning where all interested parties had the opportunity to participate and understand fully what would be involved in putting together a bid for the City of Culture 2021, the cost implications and who would need to be involved, as it is clear that many organisations would need to fully participate for any bid to be successful. The economic benefits could be exceptional however, so work now needs to take place to analyse the feedback and to fully understand the overall commitment before a decision can be made.

Following Regional Growth week, which saw the County allocated an additional £7.2m as part of the Worcestershire Growth Deal, the Worcestershire LEP was able to announce that it is on track or exceeding its targets from the 2012/13 Business Plan. Please do read the full update in this newsletter as well as details of how businesses can have a say on the Business Plan for 2015/6 at the consultation event on 11 March – we look forward to seeing you there.

Finally, as mentioned in the last newsletter – I will be stepping down this year following four years in the role of Executive Chair. In this issue I am pleased to introduce Mark Stansfeld who will be the new Chair. It has been an honour to hold this position and I am proud of Worcestershire's collective achievements but the time is now right for the LEP to move onwards under fresh leadership and for me to focus on my other interests.  We have greatly strengthened both the main Board and the executive team under Gary Woodman during 2014 and in welcoming Mark I am confident that with him at its helm, Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and the county's wellbeing will go from strength to strength.
 

Mark Stansfeld to be the new Chair of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership
Earlier this month, it was announced that Mark Stansfeld will be the Worcestershire Local Enterprise’s new Chair as Peter Pawsey, will be stepping down at the end of his term.

Peter has held the voluntary position since the Worcestershire LEP was formed in 2011 and has seen many successes during this time.

Mark Stansfeld, who has extensive experience in the digital sector and helping companies make the transition, will take up the role on 1 March 2015. A transition period with the outgoing Chair, Peter Pawsey, will take place during March and a formal handover will take place at the LEP Board Meeting on 2 April 2015.

Mark’s career started in the food industry at Cadbury Schweppes and then Kraft Foods, but quickly moved into technology with positions at BT, T-mobile and as Commercial Director for O2, where he was part of the board team who brought the brand to market leadership.

Alongside his Executive Director roles, Mark held Non Executive roles on a number of boards spanning technology, finance and health. These included The Link Retail, West Bromwich Building Society, NHS West Midlands Strategic Health Authority, Ovo energy, and at O2 UK.

In addition to being Chair of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, Mark will continue with his roles as Chairman of Giffgaff, the fastest growing mobile network in the UK and as a digital consultant to major consumer brands and start-ups.

Gary Woodman, Executive Director of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Peter Pawsey for his dedication over the past four years. During that time, we have seen many successes which have benefitted Worcestershire’s economy.

“I am pleased to announce today that following a rigorous interview process, Mark Stansfeld will take up the position as Chair in March 2015. Mark’s extensive experience particularly in the technology field and working with start-up businesses makes him the perfect person to take up the position. I have every confidence that Mark will be a success in this important role and look forward to working together with him.”

Mark Stansfeld, the incoming Chair of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “I am delighted to have been appointed to this position and look forward to working with the team and partner organisations to continue to build the County’s long-term prosperity.

“I want to extend my thanks to Peter Pawsey for all his hard work and the many achievements under his leadership and I look forward to taking up this position in March 2015.”

To read the full announcement, visit the Worcestershire LEP website


Pictured: Mark Stansfeld
 
Devolution debate gets county businesses thinking about future priorities
Earlier this month, over 70 delegates attended the Devolution Debate at the Artrix Arts Centre in Bromsgrove to discuss the ways in which the decentralisation of government powers could impact business conditions in Worcestershire.
 
Mary Rhodes, BBC journalist and Midlands Today presenter, chaired the event, using her extensive knowledge of the devolution discussion in the Midlands to help steer the panel through the six succinct topics.
 
The debate took on a multifaceted approach to the devolution question, firstly examining Worcestershire's potential in gaining devolved powers and funds into a governance structure.  The debate looked at the potential to build on the partnerships in the county and how having decisions made locally could improve skills provision, transport, infrastructure and business support - all these issues could be impacted by adopting a devolved structure. 
 
The approach explored some of the uncertainties surrounding devolution and meant the local business community could have their say on what they see as priorities for Worcestershire moving forward. To ensure this could happen, attendees and non-attendees were invited to tweet queries and questions to #WorcsDevoDebate – the specific twitter hashtag for the event – which were then put to the panel by Mary Rhodes.
 
The panel were all agreed that Worcestershire is a county of economic strength, with certain sectors leading the way on a national scale, but, in certain circumstances, must look to further supplement this by co-operation with local and regional partners. 
 

Pictured Left to Right: Bob Brown, Branch Chairman at Institute of Directors, Mike Ashton, Chief Executive at Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, Judi Brazkiewicz, Worcestershire Chairman at Federation of Small Businesses, Mary Rhodes, BBC Broadcast Journalist, Gary Woodman, Executive Director at Worcestershire LEP and Stuart Laverick, Principal and Chief Executive  and Principal at Heart of Worcestershire College.
 
Further information is available on the our website here.
 
The "Artrix", which is where the Worcestershire Devolution Business Debate took place, is Bromsgrove's Theatre, Cinema, Comedy and Live Music Venue. The venue is available for staging events and conferences, having a 301 Seater Auditorium, a 60 seater studio space, both with comprehensive audio/visual facilities, four other meeting rooms and access to an extensive car park. Enquiries to hire Artrix should be made to the Director, Ros Robins, on 01527-572739 or by emailing director@artrix.co.uk.
 
Worcestershire Wednesday launch – 18 February 2015
The 18 February 2015 will see the launch of the first Worcestershire Innovation Wednesday event which is being held by Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, QinetiQ and Worcestershire.Business.Central.

The event will be held at QinetiQ in Malvern, from 5.30pm – 8pm, and will showcase innovation for the County, present new developments and opportunities and provide an excellent networking opportunity.

The event will begin with a networking session and light buffet, followed by talks from Mike Ashton of the Chamber of Commerce, Chris Walker of QinetiQ, Gary Woodman of the Worcestershire LEP and Linda Smith of UKTI, followed by a further networking session.

Those interested in attending the event are also advised to hold 18 March for a future Worcestershire Innovation Wednesday event.

To register for the February event please email Deborah Crowther at deborahc@hwchamber.co.uk by 16 February 2015.


 
Worcestershire's Growth Deal now stands at £54.2m
In January it was announced that the County has received an additional £7.2million from the Government for Worcestershire's Growth Deal.

This brings the total allocation to £54.2m as this new sum is on top of the £47million announced in July 2014.

The additional £7.2million will be available from 2016/17 and will fund:
 

  • Business Growth Grants  building on the successes of schemes such as the Worcestershire Expansion Programme and redundant building grants
  • Skills Capital Fund to invest in college capital programmes, new buildings and refurbishments
  • Commercial and Housing Infrastructure Fund to invest in opening up commercial and housing developments, as appropriate, with a particular focus on sites such as Vale Park, Evesham.
The additional £7.2m of funding alone will further promote business growth, create and safeguard an estimated 400-500 jobs and leverage £15-25m from the public and private sectors as well as further improve skills by 2020.

A quick reference table of the schemes that were already being funded by the Growth Deal, which was announced last year (£47m), is available on our website and the Worcestershire LEP is currently very much focused on delivery of these schemes:
 
The full announcement made by the Government in January 2015 is available on our website
 

Worcestershire LEP celebrates successes 
Earlier this month, we announced that we are on track or exceeding the long-term goals for the County’s economy as outlined in the 2012/3 Business Plan.

Ambitious targets had been set at that time but we were able to announce that Worcestershire has either already exceeded these targets or is on track to achieve them ahead of the target deadline.

Progress against these targets is outlined below:
 

  • Increase jobs by 5% by 2015: From June 2011 to September 2014, Worcestershire has seen an increase of over 8% in employment levels which compares favourably with a 4.7% increase in the West Midlands generally and 4.8% across England.
  • 10,000 apprenticeship places by 2015: During 2013/14 more than 10,000 people actively participated in an apprenticeship programme which is more than four times the number in 2011. Last year (2013/14) the number of engineering and manufacturing apprenticeships in Worcestershire also grew by almost 12%. The WLEP and partner organisations continue to work to increase opportunities to develop skills for young people.
  • £750m private sector investment by 2017: Between 2012 and the end of 2014, at least £600m of private sector investment has been made through a number of schemes, for example: the new development adjacent to Worcestershire County Cricket Club by Premier Inn, the new UK distribution centre for Vax at Droitwich, investment by Thorlux, Redditch in a new warehouse and distribution centre, and Evesham Vale Growers’ two anaerobic digester plants and a solar park at its sites in Fladbury and Throckmorton. In addition, Worcester Bosch has recently completed its new warehousing and distribution centre at Warndon, Robert Wiseman has built its milk processing and distribution centre also in Droitwich and Amtek are developing their new forge which could provide up to 500 jobs in Kidderminster. At least a further £200m is already committed to be invested before December 2017 on major projects including Worcester Technology Park and Redditch Eastern Gateway. Further work continues to take place to encourage additional investment in Worcestershire as the County is promoted regionally, nationally and internationally as a world class place to do business.
  • Grow Gross Value Added (GVA) by £2.9bn by 2025: GVA is a measure of the productive power of the county in terms of the value and quality of products and services. The GVA is showing improvement with the latest statistics released by the Office of National Statistics (2013) showing an increase of £1.2bn (12.1%) from £9.4bn in 2010 to stand at £10.6bn in 2013. This compares to an increase of 10% across the West Midlands and 9.3% across England during the same period.
The full announcement is available on the Worcestershire LEP's website

Consultation event for 2015/16 Worcestershire LEP Business Plan
Following the successes from the delivery of the previous Business Plan, we are currently in the process of developing the Business Plan for 2015/6 and will be hosting a Business Plan Consultation workshop.

The consultation workshop will take place on:
11 March 2015
8am – 10:30am
Worcestershire Cricket Club, New Road, Worcester, WR2 4QQ.

Worcestershire businesses are encouraged to attend, with members of the LEP Board and Business Board also in attendance.

Please advise if you are able to attend by emailing enquiries@wlep.co.uk by 27 February 2015.
 

Worcestershire ESIF Committee meets for the first time
The Worcestershire European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Committee met for the first time on 27 January 2015.

The ESIF Committee has been formed following guidance from Government that all Local Enterprise Partnership areas establish a specifically European focused committee.

Worcestershire’s ESIF Committee provides a strategic oversight of local programme and project investments funded through a combination of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), European Social Fund (ESF) and EAFRD (Rural Development). The Worcestershire ESIF Committee is also responsible for overseeing the operational development and delivery of an appropriate pipeline of proposals and monitoring performance.

The committee was formed through a rigorous recruitment process and includes representatives from voluntary, business and public sectors. The membership of the ESIF Committee can be seen here.

The next meeting will take place on 25 February and further updates will be provided in future newsletters.

Our Whitehall Sponsor Visits Worcestershire
Graham Pendlebury, who is Central Government’s ‘sponsor’ for the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership visited the County on 22 January.

Mr Pendlebury met with Peter Pawsey, Executive Chair of WLEP, members of the WLEP executive team and David Crook, from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).  During the visit, Mr Pendlebury was able to see first-hand the progress being made against the County’s ten year Strategic Economic Plan (SEP).

The visit included the locations of the proposed Worcester Technology Park, Worcestershire Parkway Station and the recently commenced expansion of Malvern Hills Science Park, each of which will progress with monies secured from Central Government by WLEP under its Growth Deal for Worcestershire.  Current construction works on the Worcester Southern Link Road were observed together with an explanation relating to further phases of the proposed improvements including the aspiration to duplicate Carrington Bridge across the River Severn flood plain.

As the County’s major growth sectors include Agri-Tech, the visit also included the cutting edge technologies being employed by Evesham Vale Growers at their Anaerobic Digester Plant in Fladbury.  He witnessed first-hand their innovation in biotechnology and the production of green energy (gas and electricity). 

Mr Pendlebury was also shown the major redevelopment and extensions to Pershore College which will further enhance and support business and training connections with the fruit and vegetable growing industries of the county, and some of the recent developments in Worcester City including The Hive and the University Arena.

Graham Pendlebury, Director for Local Transport at the Department for Transport, said: “This was my first visit to WLEP, and I was impressed that business leaders, local authorities and the LEP staff were working together with a clear vision, realistic priorities, and a great brand. I’m looking forward to regular return visits to see progress on the ground, and helping the LEP to develop its relationship with Central Government.”

The full story is available on our website.


Pictured left to right: Alan White, Malvern Hills Science Park, Graham Pendlebury, Department for Transport and Peter Pawsey, Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership.

 

Upcoming Events

WLEP Board Meetings
 2 April 2015
21 May 2015
23 July 2015
24 September 2015
19 November 2015

WLEP Business Board Meetings
 25 February 2015
22 April 2015
17 June 2015
9 September 2015
14 October 2015

Innovation Wednesday 
18 February 2015, 17:30 – 20:00 at QinetiQ, Malvern

ESIF Committee Meeting
25 February 2015

Worcestershire LEP Business Plan Consultation
11th March, 8am-10:30am, Worcestershire County Cricket Club

Apprenticeship Survey Deadline 
15 March 2015

Milan Expo 2015 at the Sustainability GREAT Week
15-19 June 2015

For other events, visit the events page on the Worcestershire LEP’s website

Apprenticeship survey reminder – have your say by 15 March 2015
Businesses across the County now have until 15 March to complete a short apprenticeship survey.

The surveys, run by the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and Worcestershire.Business.Central. have been created to understand employers’ experiences with apprenticeships, what employers look for when hiring apprentices, as well as to understand any support that could be provided to help increase the number of opportunities.

A number of businesses have already taken the opportunity to share their thoughts and experiences. The apprenticeship surveys will now be kept open until 15 March 2015 to allow others to do so.

The surveys can be completed at www.wlep.co.uk

Get involved in National Apprenticeship Week: 9 March to Friday 13 March 2015
Worcestershire organisations are being encouraged to get involved with a Twitter campaign during National Apprenticeship Week.

The national campaign, which runs from Monday 9 March until Friday 13 March, is being marked locally with the launching of a brand new website www.WorcsApprenticeships.org.uk

The new website provides a forum; for employers to post any vacancies, job seekers to find the apprenticeship programme which is right for them, as well as a host of other information including that for training providers.

Materials will soon be made available to be downloaded from the new website so that as well as the hashtag #WorcsApprentice, those taking part can post a photograph holding a sign with one of the following messages:
 

  • I am 1 of 10,000 Worcestershire apprentices
  • I am a Worcestershire apprenticeship employer
  • I support Worcestershire apprenticeships
  • Visit www.WorcsApprenticeships.org.uk #WorcsApprentice

If you are interested in taking part in the campaign, email enquiries@wlep.co.uk to be notified when the materials go live.

Magic Whiteboard in the running for National Best Exporter Award

Worcester based company, Magic Whiteboard, has been announced as the best West Midlands exporter in the Great Faces of British Business Competition and is consequently in the running for the national Best Exporter award.

Over 500 businesses entered the competition and the standard of entries was said to be extremely high. Magic Whiteboard is now one of ten entries competing to win the Best Exporter award.

A prize of £30,000 and government support awaits Magic Whiteboard if they are able to win the national final. With voting set to close on 23 February, people are being urged to submit their votes as soon as possible.

To cast your vote, visit www.greatbusinesscompetition.com and good luck to Magic Whiteboard from Worcestershire LEP.

Cyber security boost for UK firms
In January, new measures to help UK businesses face the cyber security challenge and help our cyber security companies tap into the US market were announced as the Prime Minister visited the United States.

The Prime Minister was in the US for talks with President Obama and cyber security is high on the agenda. In a bid to win more British business for the growing sector, a group of 12 UK cyber security firms were also travelling to Washington to meet a host of US businesses.

Cyber security, IT and defence is one of the priority growth sectors in the County and two Worcestershire companies were among the twelve firms who took their expertise to the US.
 

  • Deep-Secure (Malvern, Worcestershire) is a cyber-security software specialist with considerable technology track record for helping organisations in defence, security, private and public sectors to securely share information.
  • Titania (Worcester), launched commercially in 2010, has grown rapidly and now supplies to over 60 countries. Their multi-award-winning software (Nipper Studio and Paws Studio) automates network security and compliance audit reporting processes. It enables organisations to make substantial savings by achieving in seconds what typically takes days or weeks to carry out manually.

To read the full announcement, visit the .gov website here.

Pictured: Ian Whiting from Titania talking with the Prime Minister, David Cameron.

Dance World Cup 2015 - Team England sponsorship opportunity 
Over 38 countries from all over the world will be represented at the prestigious Dance World Finals in June. Local businesses now have the opportunity to back a Worcestershire dance school that are part of the England Team that will compete in Romania.

Harlequin Stage School, which is based in Worcester, will be competing in all disciplines of dance across all four age groups from 6yrs – 18yrs with a total of 81 students.

The England squad has been selected by a team of experts in their field. Harlequin was the largest school selected to represent their country and the Worcester-based school will now compete on the World’s stage.

A range of sponsorship opportunities exist for businesses and sponsors will be included in PR and promotion including in the media and on the dance school’s website. Larger sponsorship opportunities also exist, for example, sponsoring the England tracksuits that each of the 81 dancers will wear which can also profile a company’s logo.
 

If you are interested in sponsorship, please contact: Paula Dymock at either: Harlequinstageschool@hotmail.com or Perdiswell Young People's Leisure Club Tel: 01905 451372 who is also happy to discuss opportunities for some of the dancers to perform at Corporate/PR events.

Further information about the event and why the funds are being raised is also available here.


Pictured: Harlequin Stage School 

Cyber Security – vital for businesses and charities
Give01Day are working together with the Government’s Cyber Streetwise Campaign and Worcestershire-based IASME to certify and help all UK charities with their online safety.

The collaboration is designed to educate, inform and spread the word on Cyber Essentials as well as to help the charities to meet the standards for the UK Government’s Cyber Essentials Certification.

Give01Day and IASME will begin their campaign by hosting a series of free educational webinars for charities, from February onwards. These webinars will teach participants an overview of Cyber Essentials, the nature of cyber controls and how to self-assess, all of which leading to compliance and eligibility for a Cyber Essentials certificate.

Webinars will include a live question and answer session with top industry experts and will also be recorded so that they can be watched back later on demand. The first webinar of the series will begin on 15 February, with consecutive webinars held every two weeks thereafter.

Any UK-based charity, with an annual turnover of less than £20m per year, certified to Cyber Essentials by IASME will automatically receive free Cyber Liability insurance via Worcestershire broker Sutcliffe & Co. providing cover of up to £25k in the event of a cyber breach.

Amar Singh, internationally-recognised Founder of Give01Day and the Cyber Management Alliance said: “We are really excited about helping certify UK charities to the Cyber Essentials baseline certification. Given the increasing dependency on everything cyber, this certification and the accompanying awareness and education will help uplift the security posture of charities and help in protecting their sensitive personal data stores.”

Peter Pawsey, the Worcestershire LEP Chair, said: “Cyber Security and IT is one of the highest growth sectors within the county. Cyber security and protecting your digital information is a big issue for businesses who need to consider this very carefully but also for charities and the third sector.

"The Worcestershire LEP would therefore like to encourage Worcestershire’s charities to also consider how they keep their data secure and how they can benefit from this opportunity.”

For more details on Cyber Essentials Certification and to register your charity with Give01Day, visit www.give01day.com

Manufacturing firms have been invited to bid for a share of £1million to boost UK innovation
The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) has launched a new competition to challenge manufacturing firms, with £1m available.

The ‘Skills for Innovation in Manufacturing’ competition challenges firms to come up with new ways of developing the skills and business practices needed to maximise the value of innovation to the UK economy.

Employer-led proposals are being invited from businesses of all sizes in the manufacturing sector to run initiatives lasting 12 months that focus specifically on the skills required to manage an innovation process and exploit innovative products or services for commercial value. Proposals must be joint investments with employers investing in cash, in kind or both alongside a maximum government contribution of £150,000 per project.

The competition closes at midday on Wednesday 11 March 2015. Further information is available on the .gov website here and to apply, visit the competition page.

A great time to start a new business in the UK
The UK is the home of the entrepreneur. Over 2 million new businesses have launched since 2010 and 25,000 of them with government backed start up loans.

All of them have benefited from tax reliefs that attract investors, create jobs and secure futures.
BIS and No10 have produced a video for people who are considering starting a business.

View the video on YouTube here and visit www.greatbusiness.gov.uk/start for further information.



Join UKTI at Milan Expo 2015 at the Sustainability GREAT Week:  15-19 June 2015
The GREAT Weeks are a series of trade missions coinciding with this year’s World Expo in Milan.
 
Each mission is sector specific and represents an outstanding opportunity for UK companies to meet major buyers, potential partners and substantial business prospects from around the world.
 
Opportunities at GREAT Week Sustainability
 
Attend the global thought leadership conference on Sustainable Urbanisation, the Circular Economy and Smart Cities.
 
Delegates will have the opportunity to visit the World Expo for one day and will benefit from interactions with key stakeholders; not only from Italy but from all over the world, as well as gaining Fast Track entry to the UK Pavilion.
 
It is the world’s most prominent exhibition, lasting 6 months and is being held in Milan from May – October 2015. The Expo is attracting visitors from all over the world with an expected 20 million ticket sales.
 
GREAT Week Milan Expo will provide delegates with greater brand exposure under the wider GREAT campaign umbrella and the opportunity to take advantage of UKTI guidance on key projects to pursue.
 
UK businesses in the supply chain for SMART Cities and the Circular Economy including those in Software, Communications, Electronics and Consultancy Services are encouraged to attend.
 
Participation fee for the week is £336 (+ VAT)
To register for the expo visit the UKTI website.

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Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership.

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Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership
Unit 50-51
Malvern Hills Science Park, Geraldine Road
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