The inaugural Coventry & Warwickshire Business Festival officially got underway this morning (Monday 20 November) with an impressive launch at One Friargate – the first completed building in Coventry’s new Friargate re-development.
Over 100 guests joined Business Festival leads, Coventry & Warwickshire Growth Hub and the Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership to see key business and political figureheads take to the stage to launch the first Coventry & Warwickshire Business Festival.
Key note speakers included the Rt. Hon. Margot James, minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility; Jonathan Browning, Chair of the Coventry & Warwickshire LEP; Cllr. Jim O’Boyle, CWLEP Director and Coventry City Councillor; Fleur Sexton, Managing Director of PET Xi Training; Craig Humphrey, Managing Director of the CWLEP Growth Hub; and Ken Young, Technical Director of the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) – the Business Festival’s headline partner.
The Business Festival is running over the next two weeks and contains a staggering 114 events put on by local organisations to encourage collaboration, networking, innovation, learning and sharing opportunities.
With over one hundred events and thousands anticipated to attend over the fortnight, it has already become the region’s largest business event.
Jonathan Browning, chair of the Coventry & Warwickshire LEP, said: “The Business Festival is not only a celebration of Coventry and Warwickshire, but it underlines our ambition to keep growing our economy across all sectors, and emphasises our role as Knowledge Capital of the UK
“The Festival has attracted widespread support not only from sponsors but also the many companies who have organised events and it looks set to a great success.”
Headline partner, the MTC is playing an integral role in the Business Festival. In addition to running an event for manufacturing SMEs entitled ‘Increase Manufacturing Productivity’, the organisation is also hosting the Coventry & Warwickshire Small Business Conference organised by the FSB, as well as the closing event of the Festival.
Dr. Clive Hickman, chief executive of the MTC said: “Our strength lies in our people and as the region positions itself as the Knowledge Capital of the UK, the MTC can quite rightly add more weight to that claim. We have an opportunity to illustrate this during the Coventry & Warwickshire Business Festival, which we are proud to be sponsoring.
“This is a great opportunity for this hardworking and historic region to promote its talents and the business opportunities that are located here. I would urge everyone to take advantage of the range of events on offer.”
The Business Festival encompasses a wide range of events, including seminars, lectures, workshops, conferences, award ceremonies. There is a broad geographical spread with something in every district of the region from North Warwickshire, Nuneaton and Bedworth, Rugby, to Warwick, Stratford-on-Avon and Coventry.
An interesting and varied programme incorporates events in sectors from automotive and advanced manufacturing, construction and creative, to digital, culture and tourism, games development and serious gaming, professional and financial services and much more.
The Business Festival programme has something for everyone from micro-businesses through to large corporates and most events are completely free to attend.
Craig Humphrey, managing director of the Coventry & Warwickshire Growth Hub, said: “The momentum around the first Coventry & Warwickshire Business Festival has really been building and there is no more fitting place to launch this amazing two weeks than in one of the newest investment areas in our region.
“The Business Festival provides a fantastic stage to showcase our region, our diverse and innovative businesses and our potential as a beacon for investment.”
The Coventry & Warwickshire Business Festival is supported by a number of organisations which all understand the importance and relevance of the Festival and want to contribute to its success. Along with headline partner – the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), partners also include Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Coventry University, Jaguar Land Rover and the University of Warwick. Sponsors include CityFibre, Coventry University Enterprises, the Federation of Small Businesses and The Futureworks.
The Festival is also supported by Coventry’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021, Coventry City Council, Deeley Construction, North Warwickshire Borough Council, Nuneaton and BedworthBorough Council, Rugby Borough Council, Stratford-on-Avon District Council, Tisski, Warwickshire County Council and Warwick District Council.