The West Midlands Cluster
The transition period has ended and new rules came into force on the 1st January 2021. The UK now enjoys a zero tariffs, zero quotas relationship with the EU as an independent trading nation.
Following the signing of the UK – EU Free Trade Agreement, there are new rules for businesses, which require immediate action in order to continue trading and ensure business operations are uninterrupted.
To help guide businesses through the changes that affect them the West Midlands Growth Hubs are working together to ensure businesses across the region can access free, impartial, expert advice on the key areas of change and challenges arising from the UK’s new trading status, and to help businesses take advantage of the new opportunities available to them.
The network of 38 Growth Hubs are local public/private sector partnerships led by the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). They join up national and local business support so it is easy for businesses to find the help they need. The West Midlands Cluster of Growth Hubs includes:
- Coventry & Warwickshire LEP Growth Hub
- Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP Growth Hub
- The Black Country Growth Hub
- Worcestershire Business Central
- Marches Growth Hub
- Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire Growth Hub
The West Midlands Growth Hubs are working with a number of general business advisors who have experience in supporting businesses with the challenges that EU Exit presents and have an in-depth understanding of the business support landscape. Our business advisors are available to help diagnose the issues businesses are facing and refer businesses to free specialist support and/or programmes and initiatives designed to help businesses navigate this period of change.
West Midlands EU Support Business Advisors
Coventry & Warwickshire – Nigel Davis
Nigel works with owners and senior executives to restore the proper balance amongst firms faced with new challenges that require a complex understanding of each of their intricacies, resulting in unwelcome delays and risking the gradual removal of any competitive advantage. Nigel formed Genesis DM Ltd in 2003 and has since been voted one of Britain’s top 50 small business advisors. He has also become a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and a non-executive director. Recently he has been appointed an Ambassador to a London corporate finance firm and is now helping businesses prosper as they transition from the EU. Working with Royal Warrant holding clients, manufacturers, industrial processors, national and independent leisure retailers and professional services, he has acted as the catalyst for strategic change across, operational, technological, financial and human resource issues as firms build growth and progress towards a lucrative exit.
The Marches – Matthew Woodhead
Matthew is a true entrepreneur having started a number of his own businesses and serving as a non-executive director for others; he runs a consultancy and accountancy making his taxation, accounting and business knowledge a valuable combination. His breadth of experience is useful in quickly understanding a sector and its requirements during the EU Transition Period and beyond. He has extensive experience in taxation and specialisms in advanced manufacturing, digital, automotive, aerospace, services and the professions. In addition to running his own businesses he has worked as a Senior Growth Business Advisor for twenty-five years and is often able to add value to an intervention using his knowledge of support and networks. Matthew has worked in the EU, in The Middle east and in the past exported automotive product around the world.
Greater Birmingham & Solihull Area - Mike Allen
Business Doctor, Mike, has 30 years’ experience in Board/leadership positions, with two businesses of his own and through Private Equity to the FTSE 250 club. He has seen many of the challenges faced by business owners. This includes tough times as well as good – although what businesses face today is unprecedented. He has led in a variety of sectors, including manufacturing, professional services, B2C and B2B, and in businesses small and large ranging from start-ups, through growth phase to turn-around emergencies. Businesses Mike has worked with include Cadbury, Camelot, Croner Group, Arco and RM Education plc.
Worcestershire Area - Jason French
Jason French became a Business Doctor after a career as an Officer in the British Army. Over that career, Jason led, trained and developed teams and organisations from 8 to 120 people, moving them across the world and working in a number of challenging environments. Jason’s expertise in planning, organisation design and leadership are underpinned by a BSc in Business and an MBA. These have been applied in helping businesses varying from single person - all the way to £50M T/O. Businesses helped have been in diverse sectors including manufacturing, accountancy, marketing and video production, mortgage and estate agency, cyber security, recycling, quantity surveying, coaching and skin demographics and many others. He has also been a lecturer at the University of Worcester Business School since 2019.
Business Doctor, Graham, provides sustainable solutions helping businesses expand and scale their operations, overcoming barriers and challenges. He takes a ‘holistic’ view of products, markets and operations and builds simple, focused plans that deliver all important momentum. Graham has a very strong knowledge and experience of international trade practice and documentation built in the banking sector. He holds the International Trade Qualification from the Chartered Institute of Bankers. As Director of South Wales Chamber of Commerce Graham developed current knowledge of International Trade Documentation as processed by his International Documentation Team and also held contracts for delivering International Trade Training and International Trade Development support under contract from Welsh Government.
Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire Area - Matthew Preece
Business Doctor, Matt, is an advisor and trouble shooter to business owners and their teams, with experience of 25 years working across retail in a number of businesses, spending time in West & South Wales, Milton Keynes, across to Wiltshire and the South West of England. He prides himself on utilising the relationships that has and continues to develop to find solutions for any challenge faced by the modern-day business owner. Matt identifies with the common challenges that businesses face across sometimes quite different, sectors providing much needed support in strategic planning and implementation.
The Black Country Area - Shane Stark
Business Doctor, Shane, has over 30 years’ experience working with and managing businesses in a wide variety of sectors in the US and the UK. He has helped organisations develop from start-ups to global organisations with over £250m in turnover and everything in between. He uses his experiences and hard earned business knowledge to provide practical advice, support and coaching to ambitious businesses. The ability to craft ideas, develop leaders, develop products and to develop markets has underpinned his career.
EU Transition Specialist Support
The West Midlands Growth Hubs have procured a range of sector specialists to advise businesses on key issues resulting from EU Exit. Find out more.
Department for International Trade
Firms that are inexperienced in export processes can access support from the Department for International Trade’s Export Academy including one-to-one support, free training workshops and webinars on relevant topics including post-transition export procedures. To find out more about the Export Academy click here >
Experienced Exporters can access support from DIT through their locally based International Trade Adviser (ITA), including access to specialist advisers.
Chambers of Commerce
Your local Chamber of Commerce can offer a variety of support including export documentation, customs brokerage and training courses on key issues relating to EU Exit.
To contact your local Chamber visit West Midlands Chambers of Commerce or contact the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce to be referred to the right support for your business’ requirements. T: 02476 654321 E: firstname.lastname@example.org