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Business leaders address immediate challenges facing the region at anniversary event

Business leaders and professionals from across Coventry and Warwickshire gathered at an anniversary networking event to reflect on ten years of progress and address immediate challenges facing the region.

Around 150 professionals and businesses celebrated the tenth anniversary of the creation of the Coventry and Warwickshire Champions and Place Board at the Coventry Building Society Arena.

Coventry and Warwickshire Champions, which is part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), has hosted 68 business networking events since 2012, bringing together 226 speakers and over 12,800 attendees to highlight major success in the region and forge new industry links.

Les Ratcliffe MBE, Chair of Coventry and Warwickshire Champions and Place Board, told the meeting that the organisation had a bigger part to play in the next decade.

“Champions was formed to tell the story of our city and county, to raise ambitions and to make sure the perceptions and ambitions of Coventry and Warwickshire were raised.

“It has been successful in that. Champions has led directly to the formation of two nationally and internationally acclaimed events in the Rising peace forum and MotoFest, has given business people across the area a reason to spread and shone the national media spotlight on our area.

“This event summed up what Champions is about. We heard from some inspiring, engaging speakers, with a great closing Q&A session to address the biggest concerns of key organisations across the region.

“Yes this was a celebration, but it was also a challenge in a changing world – how can we increase the impact and reach in what may well be testing times.

“There has been lots of progress, investment and positive change as a direct result of the Champions network and its meetings, and we hope it will continue to have a key role in the region’s future for the next decade.”

Guests heard from a quartet of guest speakers around some of the major successes of the last 10 years, and the challenges that lie ahead.

Mick Hogan, Revenue Director of Rugby League World Cup 2021 spoke of the intention for the tournament to be inclusive, inspiring, and have a positive impact on local communities as it begins this month and comes to Coventry.

Paul Noon, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Coventry University then took to the stage to discuss the growing reach and reputation of Coventry University – addressing its global ambition as well as its local civic duties. Before Rebecca Battman, Founder & Managing Director of rbl Brand Agency, gave an exclusive look into how her company helped to put Coventry and Warwickshire in the global spotlight this summer.

Martin Reeves, Chief Executive of Coventry City Council, then addressed a decade-long battle to raise Coventry’s ambitions, and reiterated the need to keep striving for progress to avoid stagnation.

Sarah Windrum, Chair of CWLEP, joined Martin and Paul as part of a panel session to discuss the future of the region and take questions from the floor and address topics such as graduate retention and start-up support.

Nic Erskine, Executive Director of Coventry and Warwickshire Champions and Place Board, said: “I’d like to say a huge thank you to our Champions members and Place Board directors for their commitment and support over the last 10 years.

“We’d love to continue to grow this amazing network of people and businesses. Our team is always an email or phone call away for anyone who wants to play a role in the future success of the region.”

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