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Worcestershire LEP Newsletter

Bulletin no: 35 - May 2014

Introduction from the WLEP Chair,
Peter Pawsey


The LEP’s bids for Government and European funding in future years are both currently being assessed and we are actively engaged in discussions and lobbying aimed at maximising the amounts coming to Worcestershire.  This period is also one for reflection and for catching up on a whole host of other activities that had to take second place during the hectic weeks and months of preparing the documents – particularly the Strategic Economic Plan (SEP).

But one thing emerged during that period.  The extensive consultations that were carried out across businesses large and small, local authorities and numerous other public bodies, and the voluntary sector, pulled the whole county so much closer together with a broadly shared vision and strategic plan for Worcestershire.  Even if money had not been involved, this process would have been and therefore will be invaluable in defining a common purpose, a clear direction and a medium to long term vision for our wonderful county – something that was previously missing.
 
We are fortunate in Worcestershire to have some of the lowest unemployment figures in the country but that must not hide specific areas of deprivation and difficulty.  It is great news therefore about the extended Assisted Areas support for such wards through European funding.  We are also working with our schools and colleges to recognise and address skills shortages, particularly in IT and engineering, which are limiting the growth, investment and therefore job creation of several of our key businesses as well as SMEs.
 
So there is much still to do but I am confident that we are getting there in Worcestershire.  However the LEP does not have a monopoly on good ideas or information, and I would welcome comments and contributions from business across the county, either through correspondence or through you offering your services onto one of our Boards or focused sub groups. 

Worcestershire set to benefit from ‘Assisted Area’ status

The Government has recently published its final ‘Assisted Areas’ map confirming areas in Worcestershire that will benefit from ‘Assisted Area’ status.  This means that businesses in these areas will be eligible for higher levels of grant support. 
 
The areas in Worcestershire recommended to benefit coincide with three of the four ‘Gamechanger’ sites recently included in our Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) and are located in Wyre Forest, Wychavon, Worcester City, Bromsgrove and Redditch.
 
Read the full news story here.
 

RGF available for Worcestershire Expansion Programme

Worcestershire has been awarded £2.5 million from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund to support businesses across the county.
 
The ‘Worcestershire Expansion Programme’ will run from April 2014.to March 2015 and will offer funding for expansion, capital equipment purchase, support for training and research and development.  Grants of £20,000 up to £1 million are available for eligible businesses.
 
Primarily targeted at small and medium sized private businesses, the Programme will target Worcestershire LEP’s key sectors comprising Advanced Manufacturing; Cyber Security, Defence and IT; and Agri-tech.
 
The Fund is now open for applications.  For further information and to check eligibility, please email James Lloyd at Worcestershire Business Central or call 0300 123 14 40.  The closing date for applications for this first round of funding is 13 June 2014.
 

New Board members – are you ready to join us?

Three years ago the Worcestershire LEP was established and its main Board and Business Board were set up.  The three year terms of office have now reached full term and although our rules of governance allow members to serve a second term, we are keen to bring in new talent and experience into both Boards. 
 
Applications are invited from those who have business-based experience at director level or above and are able to commit time each month to LEP activities and responsibilities. We are particularly keen to attract applications from women and ethnic minority groups, who are currently under-represented on the Boards.
 
The positions are non-executive and unpaid, however they provide an unparalleled opportunity to contribute to Worcestershire’s future economic priority and success.
 
Further information and details of the application process are available from the LEP office.
 

Tour of Britain - call for business support

We previously reported the exciting news that a Stage of this year’s Tour of Britain – one of the top ten Stage races in the world – will be starting in Worcestershire on 10 September.
 
The Tour has been brought to the county by Worcestershire LEP and is supported by Worcestershire County Council, Worcester City Council, Malvern Hills DC, Wychavon DC and Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce.  However, to really make the event a success and ensure that the county gains maximum benefit from this prestigious sporting event, we need more businesses to become involved.
 
It is estimated that at least 10,000 spectators will turn up on the day and the event will attract a huge amount of TV coverage: in excess of 1,000,000 viewers on ITV4 live and highlights programmes and 1,500,000 per day on Eurosport. So, it’s a great opportunity for you to raise awareness of your business – both with national and local audiences.
 
A number of options are available.  If you are interested in advertising and sponsoring, please contact Jan Bailey at the LEP office.
 

Worcestershire businesses win Queen’s Award 

Our congratulations go to Bromsgrove based business Viezu Techonologies and Worcester-based Postcode Anywhere, both of whom have been recognised in the recently announced Queen’s Awards for Enterprise. 
 
Viezu received an Award in the Innovation category in recognition of its Fuel Saving Tuning Solutions, Carbon Emissions Reduction, Software Development and Training. 
 
Meanwhile Guy Mucklow, Chief Executive at Postcode Anywhere, is celebrating a Queen’s Award in recognition of his voluntary work in promoting enterprise in Worcestershire and beyond.
 
We are delighted that two of the county’s businesses have been recognised in this way, which can only help to raise Worcestershire’s profile as an ideal location in which to do business.
 
Hopefully this will also encourage other county based businesses to enter for such prestigious awards next year.
 

Latest jobless figures

 
The number of people seeking Jobseekers Allowance fell by 461 in April  to a total of 7,104 or 2.0% of the 16-64 resident working population.
 
It was especially pleasing to see this drop mirrored in the 18-24 age group where the number of claimants fell by 150 to 1,830 or 4.1% of the population.
 
This is good news for Worcestershire.  We are performing well ahead of the West Midlands region, where claimant count rate is 3.4% of the 16-64 age group, and also better than England as a whole, where the figure is 2.7%.
 
Full details can be found here.
 

‘Proof of Concept’ fund

 
Worcestershire County Council has announced a new grant fund that can support SMEs to investigate, advance, commercialise and protect early stage innovative business ideas.
 
A partnership with the Central Technology Belt, the grant can fund different elements including market assessments, IPR Protection, accreditations and prototyping.
 
Grants of up to 50% of the total cost of a project (to a maximum contribution of £30,000) are available for businesses and universities to prove that their innovations have significant economic potential.
 
Please visit the Worcestershire Business Central website for more information or telephone 0300 123 1440.
 

Eckington Manor scoops VisitEngland Award


Our many congratulations to historic Eckington Manor which has recently been awarded a silver medal in the Bed and Breakfast/Accommodation category and a bronze in the Taste of England section of the VisitEngland Awards.

The awards are a great accolade for the Manor and a fitting tribute to founder and owner, Judy Garner, and her team.




 

 

 

 

Upcoming Events

Strictly Worcestershire
22 May
Chateau Impney, Droitwich
#WorcestershireHour
Festival of Business

31 May
Stanbrook Abbey
The Herefordshire and Worcestershire Business Awards 
10 July
Bank House Hotel, Bransford
The Tour of Britain - Stage 4
10 September
Starting from Worcester City Centre
Festival of Innovation
1-4 October
Malvern
WLEP Annual Conference
10 October
Chateau Impney, Droitwich Spa
WLEP Board Meetings:
17 June 2014
24 July 2014
23 September 2014
20 November 2014

WLEP Annual Conference

Save the date!

This year's Conference will take place on the morning of Friday 10 October at Chateau Impney, Droitwich Spa.

The theme will be 'Worldclass Worcestershire' and the conference will be hosted by Mary Rhodes, presenter of BBC Midlands Today & Inside Out.

Further details will be announced shortly.

 

List your events on the WLEP website

Worcestershire LEP’s website has recently been updated and revised.  We have made it easier to navigate the site and incorporated some new features, including a facility for you to upload your own events in our listings section.

Please take a look and let us know what you think – or why not add your forthcoming event!

 

New Foundation Degree in Cyber Security


Those interested in a career in cyber security may be interested in Worcester College of Technology’s new Foundation Degree in Cyber Security.  Available on either a part time or full time basis, more information is available from the College website.

 

Strategic Economic Plan ‘send off’ – the movie

At our SEP ‘send off ‘ event, held on 31 March at the Worcester Arena to mark the dispatch of Worcestershire’s SEP to Government, we asked attendees: “What does the SEP mean to you?”.
 
The results have now been compiled into a film that can be viewed here.
 
We’d love to hear what the SEP means to you and your business.  Please contribute to our blog or email us.

 

H & W Chamber – Business Awards
Get your entry in now!

 There’s still time to enter your business for one of the 11 categories in the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce Business Awards 2014.  But please hurry as entries close on Monday 19 May at 9.00 am.
 
Categories include ‘Excellence in Innovation’, ‘Sustainability’, ‘Technology’, ‘Exporter of the Year’, ‘Commitment to People Development’ and an award for ‘Health and Wellbeing’.
 
It’s free to enter and provides a great opportunity to raise the profile of your business.
 
Further information is available on the Chamber website.
 

Apply for your Growth Voucher today!


Hereford & Worcester Chamber of Commerce have asked us to remind local businesses to apply for the Growth Voucher Scheme.

The Chamber is one of three partners selected by Government to manage a new project to test the value of professional advice to small businesses.

Being awarded a Growth Voucher will mean that your business is eligible to receive a 50% subsidy towards the cost of obtaining advice.

Further information is available here.




 
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Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership.

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