Malvern Hills Business e-Bulletin - January 2020

Business e-Bulletin HEader Image


Prepare Your Business For EU Exit | 19th Feb & 19th March


With the United Kingdom planning to leave the European Union, Worcestershire Business Central have complied a range of resources and information provided by Government and partners which will help businesses understand and plan for the various scenarios of Brexit. If you need any more information on how your business could be impacted by Brexit, click here for the Government Website.

They are offering a series of FREE training events delivered by international trade consultancy Strong and Herd to help businesses prepare for the changes they will need to make before and after the UK leaves the European Union. We have been along to one of the sessions and they are very informative so if you export, use imported goods, travel or exhibit regularly in Europe you should make sure you attend.

The next training session will be held on the 19th February at The Bank House Hotel in Bransford - WR6 5JR. Click here for more information and to register. 

Apprenticeship Survey

MHDC logo

Malvern Hills District Council have created a survey  to collect business views on apprenticeships and how to boost the number of apprenticeships across the district.

We would like as many views and possible and the survey (even if you haven't or don't take on apprentices, we would still like to hear from you). The survey should take no more than 5 minutes to complete. Completing the survey will also enter you in a  draw with a chance to win a champagne afternoon tea for two at Stanbrook Abbey.

The deadline date for the survey is the 28th January.

Linked below:

Be The Business National Mentoring Programme

Be The Business

In business, making the right calls at the right time is easier said than done. One proven way of increasing your chances of driving effective change is to use what has already worked in another successful business and adapt it to work in your own company.

Be the Business is a national programme with a hand-picked team of senior-level mentors who want to share their experience, sector expertise and best practice with British small and medium-sized enterprises. Best of all, it’s completely fully-funded.

Click here for more information.

Worcestershire Parkway Update

Worcestershire Parkway

Construction is complete at the brand-new, landmark Worcestershire Parkway station – the first station to be opened in the county for over 100 years.

The station will benefit from the introduction of the new Cross Country and GWR timetable, the latter covering all GWR services across Western England and South Wales, representing the greatest change on the GWR network for over 30 years.

Some key peak services to and from London will take less than 2 hours, with a fastest time of 1 hour 49 minutes, and passengers will be able to get to Cardiff in 1 hour 23 minutes, to Nottingham in 1 hour 49 minutes.

The 500-space car park will ensure that passengers will have no difficulty parking

More details are available here.

Rail Industry partners and Worcestershire County Council have confirmed that the standard rigorous rail industry “Entry into Service” process is also nearing completion. The station is expected to open in February. 

Low Carbon Opportunities Programme

Low Carbon

If your business is looking to implement a large scale renewable energy project or has the potential for high-tech green growth, support may be available to help your business grow. 

Through their ERDF funded Low Carbon Opportunities Programme, small and medium sized businesses in Worcestershire may be eligible for feasibility support and grants to install renewable energy systems or launch low carbon projects. You can see how Bank Street Business Centre in Malvern benefited from the scheme here. 

From assessing your business, to helping you to commercialise your low carbon innovations and access funding, this programme is the gateway to your lower carbon future. For more information on the programme, please click here.

Aston's Coaches

Aston's Coaches

Planning permission has recently been granted for the Change of Use of the former Countrywide Stores warehouse at Defford Mill to use as a coach depot for Aston’s Coaches.

Aston’s Coaches is a well established local coach firm with a fleet of over 30 vehicles and a workforce of around 80 employees. Aside from private coach hire, Aston’s Coaches also provides local bus service provision as well as school coach hire.

Following the requirement to vacate their existing leased site, Aston’s Coaches have been actively looking for a new site over the past 18 – 24 months and the Economic Development and Planning teams have been working with the owner, Richard Conway, to identify suitable sites to meet their business needs and help them secure the necessary planning permission on their preferred site.

The outcome and timely decision has been supported by the proactive approach adopted by the applicants and both ED and planning teams. The decision also brings the associated buildings back into a positive economic use after they were vacated by Countrywide Stores. Astons anticipate being operational from the site in Spring 2020.

Sofico Opens In Malvern


The global market leader in mobility solutions, Sofico, is rapidly expanding its UK headquarters in Malvern, Worcestershire.

Established as a start-up in Belgium in 1988, Sofico now turns over €39m per year by developing mobility solutions for companies and leasing fleet management in 24 different countries.

The business chose to locate its UK headquarters in Worcestershire a year ago due to the county’s great location and reputation as a tech hub. Sofico were supported in expanding their UK headquarters by Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and the Department for International Trade, who connected the business with Worcestershire’s major recruiter, Hewett Recruitment, to support the early recruitment of Sofico’s workforce.

Click here for the article.

YAGRO Tech Check


Free expert assessment of farm businesses to understand how software could assist with improving productivity is now available via YAGRO.

Take part in YAGRO's rapid assessment through a series
of questions about your technology needs and uses.
They will give you a prioritised set of actions most likely
to have the biggest impact on your business efficiency,
and access to experts to support you.

This is research funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. Seeking ways to improve the productivity
of UK businesses through better adoption of software.

Click here for more information on the assessment.

Tech Accelerator BetaDen, Search for Cohort 3.0.

Cohort 3.0

BetaDen is offering cohort 3.0, an exclusive and unique package of business support, worth over £50,000 that will be awarded to between eight to ten MVP-ready entrepreneurs or companies. The 9 month accelerator programme, starting in May will include access to office space at BetaDen’s hub at Malvern Hills Science Park, investment coaching, marketing funding, business mentors and commercial meetings to offer companies a successful route to market.

BetaDen’s third cohort will aim to attract a range of technology creators, from tech entrepreneurs to small technology businesses that need dedicated offsite space and time to create next-generation solutions for their evolving supply chains. BetaDen is also open to companies with ideas that need ‘Proof of Concept’ funding and mentoring to rapidly form the MVP.

To apply for Cohort 3.0, please click here.

Funding for Innovation

Funding for Innovation

Worcestershire ‘Proof of Concept’ has been designed to support local businesses to develop innovative new products and processes. Support is offered to applicants that aim to investigate, advance, protect and commercialise early stage innovative business ideas. The principal objective of the Proof of Concept fund is to encourage SME investment in innovation, creating products and services that are new to the company or new to the market.

The programme offers grants of up to £30,000, representing 40% of the total project costs. All costs must be external to the company and are claimed retrospectively. Worcestershire County Council delivers the grant fund in partnership with Central Technology Belt. See how local businesses MAC Motorcycles, Sail GB and Xoptix benefited and find out more information here.

Rural Business Funding - Don’t miss out!


Rural businesses across the district could benefit from access to £35 million in government funding to create new jobs, boost tourism, and unlock growth in rural areas.  You could be eligible for an RDPE Growth Programme grant if your business is carrying out a project to create jobs or bring more money into the rural economy.

There are 3 types of grant:

- Business development (growth)

- Food processing

- Rural tourism infrastructure

The threshold for minimum grants has been lowered from £35,000 to £20,000, meaning that smaller projects could now be eligible. If the Rural Payments Agency (DEFRA) considers the project to be eligible, the applicant will then be invited to submit a full application. You must submit an Expression of Interest form before midnight on 16 February 2020.

For more information on how to apply to the Growth programme, click here. 


EU Exit Events

Worcestershire Business Central are offering a series of FREE training events to help businesses prepare for the changes they will need to make before and after the UK leaves the European Union.

Click here for a list of events to prepare your business for the EU Exit. 

Digital Security by Design - Keeping SMART Technology Safe - Malvern Hills Science Park | 21st Jan 2020

Internet of Things (IOT) is now an everyday part of our lives. However, with these benefits come greater cyber security risks and threats. These opportunities will provide the focus for BetaDen's first Tech Talk of 2020. Join BetaDen and partners on the 21st of January for an afternoon full of top industry speakers, funding opportunities and knowledge exchange!

Leading Industry speaker Bryan Lillie of Capgemini, will provide insights into the practical combinations of cyber security and IOT faced by all industries. Joining them will be Georgios Papadakis, Senior Innovation Lead at Innovate UK, and Richard Foggie, IOT lead from KTN (Knowledge Transfer Network). They will provide information on new funding for the ISCF Challenge: ‘Digital Security by Design’ and ‘Security of Digital Technology at the Periphery - Keeping our Smart Technology Safe’.

Click here for the official event link if you are interested.

For a full list of BetaDen Events, click here.

Yagro Tech Check - Cirencester Workshop | 23rd Jan 2020

Take part in our rapid assessment Technology Audit and attend a free half-day workshop with Technology Experts.

In September 2019, Yagro was awarded a grant by Innovate UK and BEIS to investigate different ways of improving farm productivity through better adoption of software and infield tools for arable farms. They have designed a Technology Audit in which they will ask a series of questions to understand your current technology use across a wide range of areas.

The Audit will be completed online ahead of the workshop and your personalised report and recommendations will be emailed directly to you. They will give you a prioritised set of actions most likely to have the biggest impact on your business efficiency, and access to experts to support you.

Stroud Road

For more details, click here.

Apprenticeship Careers Fair - The Chase, Malvern | 5th Feb 2020

The Chase are holding an event for their Year 11, 12 and 13 students to give employers and providers the opportunity to share any future apprenticeship vacancies and guidance on post 16 opportunities. They would be delighted if you were able to join them by taking a complimentary stand.

This would be a brilliant opportunity for local businesses to put themselves out there for the potential to have new apprentices in the future!

Click here to apply!

Save the date for the next Visit the Malverns Tourism Forum | 26th Feb 2020

Tourism Forum

The next Visit The Malverns Tourism Forum will be held in the Callow Great Hall at Stanbrook Abbey Hotel on Wednesday, 26 February 2020.

The afternoon event will start at 1.15pm with refreshments available on arrival. The agenda will include an update on the development at Stanbrook Abbey Hotel, Morgan Visitor Centre, guest speakers on hot tourism topics and a progress review on the new Visitor Economy Action Plan consultation.

Further event details will be sent out in the New Year. If you would like to reserve your space now, please email Victoria Carman

Start-Up QuickPitch - The Hive, Worcester| 26th Feb 2020

Students, start-ups and businesses trading up to 12 months will have up to 5 minutes to pitch their business idea to a small judging panel of local business experts, in front of a supportive entrepreneurial community. The event is designed to encourage those who are new to pitching to hone their personal selling skills, whilst providing a platform to promote and gain exposure for their business concepts.

It is free to enter and the winner’s prize of £250.00 has kindly been provided by the event’s main corporate sponsor, Wynne-Jones IP. Every shortlisted entrepreneur will receive a free year’s membership to the national business support platform Enterprise Nation – for more information please click here.

How to Apply

They will be accepting applications between now and January 24th 2020.

To register your interest, please send the following details to -

Trading status – pre-start individual or business less than 12 months old.

Overview of your business idea.

The rationale behind your idea.

What benefits your product or service will bring to your customers.

Pearls Conference - Elmslie House, Malvern | 29th Feb 2020

More often than not, women entrepreneurs find themselves juggling both their businesses and their personal commitments; it can be an isolating and lonely experience.

The Treasury commissioned Alison Rose to lead an independent review of female entrepreneurship. The review has shed renewed light on the barriers faced by women starting and growing businesses and identified ways of unlocking this untapped talent.

The review found that 46% of women business owners struggle with this balance. It also identified that one of the barriers that affect women at all stages in their entrepreneurial journey is that they are less likely than their male counterparts to know other entrepreneurs or to have access to mentors, sponsors and professional networks.

As a response to this, local businesswomen are invited to attend a one-day conference at the beautiful Elmslie House, in Malvern, in February.

The event is organised by Malvern Pearls, a professional networking group where businesses and charities can come together, connect, find out about each other, build relationships and learn new strategies for success.

For more information on this, and how to attend, please click here.

Worcestershire LEP’s Annual Conference - University Arena, Worcester | 31st March 2020

Businesses are being encouraged to save the date for Worcestershire LEP’s Annual Conference 2020, we suggest you do too!

Due to a number of major exciting changes to Worcestershire LEP’s usual conference format and content for businesses, the event will now be taking place early next year. 

Registrations and sponsorship opportunities are open. To stay up to date with any news or updates about the WLEP20 conference on social media follow the Worcestershire LEP Twitter account at @worcsLEP and use the hashtag #WLEP20

For further information about future sponsorship and collaboration opportunities, contact

Simon SmithChristine Butler Joel KellerVictoria Carman