Driving Innovation & Growth Summit

Press Release

Published on 21 February 2023
Archived on 21 March 2023

From the left, Craig Humphrey (CWLEP Growth Hub), Cllr Tony Jefferson (Stratford-on-Avon District Council) and Professor Stuart Croft (University of Warwick)

Collaboration is the key to Stratford and South Warwickshire's long-term success in improving skills and the economy, business leaders heard at the inaugural Driving Innovation & Growth Summit.

Over 70 businesses from the automation, AI, electrification, agri-tech, and the digital and creative sectors attended the event at the University of Warwick Wellesbourne Campus Conference Centre.

The crucial message from the Summit, which was organised by Stratford-on-Avon District Council, the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub and the University of Warwick, was the importance of partnership working.

Cllr Tony Jefferson, Leader of Stratford-on-Avon District Council, said innovation and growth are fundamental to creating a prosperous future for the area - which would be achieved by working with key partners and stakeholders.

"From talking to businesses and hearing their stories at the Summit it is vital we focus on skills, creating clusters to generate growth, and building partnerships," he said.

"We will continue to collaborate with the Growth Hub the West Midlands Combined Authority, the West Midlands Growth Company, the University of Warwick and Warwickshire County Council, to initiate important conversations to encourage businesses to scale-up and locate in our area.

"Stratford District takes up 48 per cent of Warwickshire and we have space for companies to build their long-term futures here. Having infrastructure provision is an important asset for Warwickshire along with our unique range of assets and it means we can deliver on our economic plan.

"We initiated the Driving Innovation & Growth Summit because we recognise that we need to rebalance our local economy and support high tech, innovative and growth companies. It was a really successful event and we plan to use the valuable feedback in refreshing our economic plan."

Craig Humphrey, Managing Director of the CWLEP Growth Hub, said the event had been a great opportunity to highlight the strength of various economic sectors and to understand where further work needed to take place.

He said: "The Summit has helped to identify the barriers to growth and the future opportunities that lie ahead particularly to provide the foundations for businesses to scale-up to improve their economic futures which will benefit the area.

"It was also a chance to begin to signpost business to the support that is available because there is plenty available but when owners and senior management teams are busy running their day-to-day operations, they need easy access to make the most of the support."

Professor Stuart Croft, Vice-Chancellor, and President of the University of Warwick, announced the rebranding of the Innovation Campus at Wellesbourne.

He said: "Innovation was the catalyst for the creation of the University of Warwick in the region and we want to continue to have innovation at the heart of our high-growth programme.

"We want to build a high-profile innovation space in Wellesbourne to be an economic driver for the economy and as part of that our newly-named Innovation Campus Stratford-upon-Avon will help to drive inward investment which is critical to the regional and national economy. By working together, we can help to achieve that."

Adam Taylor, Co-Founder of e-commerce platform for pet food subscriptions petshop.co.uk, was the first keynote speaker followed by Nik Spencer, CEO of Mission HERU, the inventor of the HERU, a Hybrid Heat Pump that heats homes or businesses with previously discarded materials such as nappies, plastics and food, whilst reducing global warming pollution.

Chief Operating Officer Ben Ackroyd at Porterbrook which has developed the UK's first hydrogen-ready passenger train at the Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre at Station Road in Long Marston was the final speaker.

Irene Graham, CEO of the Scale-Up Institute, was among a panel session along with Professor Ken Young from the MTC, Huw Sparkes from Midven, and Tony Perks from Stratford-on-Avon District Council before the Summit was closed by Sir Jeremy Wright KC MP for Kenilworth and Southam.

Video of the Driving Innovation and Growth Summit

Contact details

Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Elizabeth House, Church Street,
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire,
CV37 6HX
Tel: 01789 267575

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Last updated on 28/02/2023