The region’s largest Business Festival concluded on Thursday 21 November in a mist of celebrations, at the Coventry Telegraph Awards at the Ricoh Arena.
The 2019 Business Festival celebrated the success of the past two weeks, which saw over 3230+ attendees and 70+ events, champion quality over quantity. The Festival successfully showcased Coventry and Warwickshire’s diverse and strong business community, drew interest to the region and recognised sectors with large investment potential, across the area.
The Coventry and Warwickshire Business Festival was introduced to the region by the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP Growth Hub. The 2019 Festival managed to attract new attendees, with 42.9% of people reporting it was their first time attending a CWBF event and 61.6% of attendees had not been to a business event in the last six months.
Craig Humphrey, managing director of the CWLEP Growth Hub, presented a reflection of the 2019 Festival at the Coventry Telegraph Awards, to an audience of over 350 businessmen and women.
Jonathan Browning, chair of the CWLEP, said “The Coventry and Warwickshire Business Festival has once again, attracted a diverse range of businesses of all sizes and in all sectors to the events which have taken place across the area over the last two weeks.
"It has emphasised that we remain an attractive area for businesses to invest in Coventry and Warwickshire which will play a major part in our economy going from strength to strength.
“Businesses have shown their confidence in the area because there are a number of exciting developments on the horizon in the coming months, which will provide an integral part in attracting visitors when Coventry is UK City of Culture in 2021 and we host events when Birmingham holds the Commonwealth Games the following year.”
Leigh Mackey, managing director of Inspire Insurance said, “The Coventry & Warwickshire Business Festival has been a hugely successful event, and we’re proud to have been a part of it for the second year. The festival offers businesses from across the region excellent opportunities to learn and network, and we’ve been really impressed with the level of engagement we’ve seen from participating businesses.
"The team at Inspire Insurance has been out across the event taking advantage of a number of workshops, and it’s been an absolute pleasure learning about your businesses and working with you throughout the event. It’s now time for businesses to put some time aside to really focus and absorb the information shared from the event, to get maximum benefit. Thank you to everyone involved at the CWLEP Growth Hub, all of the event hosts and of course the attendees!”
Humphrey, managing director of the CWLEP Growth Hub, said, “The Coventry and Warwickshire Business Festival is a brilliant place for both businesses and the local community to come together and showcase the regions investment opportunities, skills, knowledge and growth potential.
“I am very happy to see that the Festival attracted individuals who had never attended previously, to come out to learn and network with businesses and people. This continued interest from individuals and organisations is why the festival continues to grow. Over the past two Festivals we’ve managed to refine the events and be more selective to what we put out to the general public.
“This year’s programme has contained an outstanding roster of events, that covered almost every sector and I am proud of what we have achieved this year. Thank you to the businesses, public sectors, university’s, sponsors, partners and many more, for helping put Coventry and Warwickshire firmly on the map, as the Knowledge Capital of the United Kingdom”
Over the two weeks the Festival saw many outstanding events, but business support and professional services proved most popular. These included the CWLEP Growth Hub’s, ‘North Warwickshire Start up Support & Networking Lunch’, which gave attendees information on receiving support from the Growth Hub; and an introduction into the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Start-up Programme, for those looking to start a business.
There were sell-out events such as, LinkedIn Powerful Profiles by Nomad HR & Recruitment and Adam Payne, Business Coach. ‘How to Massively Grow Your Business Using LinkedIn’ by Paul Bedford, was also well-attended and appealed to a wider and engaged audience.
Finance was on the forefront of attendee’s minds in, Jerroms Corporate Finance’s, sell-out workshop ‘Finance for Non-Financial Managers’, which explained how to interpret key financial statements, including profit and loss, balance sheets and cashflows.
Glued, curated an informative workshop for SMEs, ‘Is your business story compelling enough?’, to unify teams, drive leadership initiatives and compelling sales and marketing messages. The audience were enraptured by the interesting and topical content, and the overall enthusiasm from the speakers charmed the audience.
The feedback from the festival was fantastic with many organisers meeting potential clients, securing new business and raising their reputation. 88.1% of events were rated good to excellent and 100% of attendees said they or their business had benefited from attending the events.
Danielle Fletcher, social media coach of Lively Social Media, said, “This was the first time I spoke at the Business Festival. I wanted to teach business owners how to use Instagram as a free marketing tool in a non-jargon interactive workshop. I managed to secure new clients and make connections.
“As a business owner, this was a great experience for me. I met an array of business owners and individuals who all had different needs. This helped me understand what potential clients were looking for and what help they needed.”
Marcus Postlethwaite, Property Consultant of Wolford Wood, said, “2019 was our second year hosting an event in the Coventry & Warwickshire Business Festival, we showcased Wolford Wood’s 50+ acres of bio-diversity species enhancement land. Our events led to three new business trade sales and two new trade enquires for 2020!
“There are immediate business advantages gained by being part of the Festival. It’s exciting to hold an event and it adds a new dynamic. Everyone who attended our events, agreed they learnt a lot and made local contacts they didn’t have previously.”
The Coventry and Warwickshire Business Festival for the past three years has been successful managed by Associate Events.
Alongside Inspire Insurance, the Business Festival is supported by partners, CWLEP, CWLEP Growth Hub, Coventry University, Coventry University Enterprises, CW Connect and sponsors, the FSB. It is also supported by sponsors by Deeley Group, Growth Partners, Coventry UK City of Culture 2021, Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council and the district/borough councils of Nuneaton & Bedworth, Warwick, Rugby, North Warwickshire and Stratford on Avon. The CWBF2019 App was developed by App Partners; Infonote.