100 Events | 11 Sectors | 1000s of Attendees | Across the region
Meet our 2019 sector leads
The Coventry & Warwickshire Business Festival covers a total of 11 sectors, each one carefully selected to showcase the region's broad but strong economy. Each sector is led by an industry-specific professional who is well-known within their sectorial field.
Sector Leads are responsible for ensuring the CWBF is as successful as possible, using their extensive networks and industry links to encourage participants, businesses and investors to discover what Coventry & Warwickshire has to offer.
Automotive and Advanced Manufacturing
C.E.O. - Pressmark Pressings
"Automotive and Advanced Manufacturing is important to the business festival and the Coventry and Warwickshire region as it is the lifeblood of the region, creating well paid jobs, due to it historically being synonymous with innovations that helped shape the global market."
John Nollett is a Company Director with over 30 years of automotive manufacturing and engineering experience. Educated to Masters level at Coventry University in Engineering Business Management, John is also a fellow of the Institute of Directors, where he took his Chartered Directors course. Working across the globe, John has gained cultural knowledge that has allowed his business interests to flourish in many export markets. His companies have won many local, regional and national awards, as well as him being awarded International Entrepreneur of the Year, voted for by his peers.
Serving for 2 years as the President of Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, John has championed local businesses across our region, where he believes there is a plethora of knowledge and skill. As an advocate of British business, John continues to devote time and energy to the media, where he is happy to challenge the status quo and communicate his opinion on everyday matters, such as BREXIT. John Nollett lives in Coventry.
Coventry & Warwickshire LEP Growth Hub
"Business Support is crucial to all businesses, in particular, SMEs who are taking their business to the next level. The Growth Hub can offer that vital access to help whether this is raising capital, increasing your workforce, ramping up production or identifying export or supply chain opportunities.
"We provide tailored, commercially focused and joined-up advice that’s free, impartial and delivered with one goal in mind: growing your bottom line. The Business Festival is a fantastic fortnight for businesses of all sizes and a great way to explore what’s on offer in terms of business support, with hundreds of free events to providing opportunities to learn, share, network and engage and grow."
Communications and Marketing
Editor, CoventryLive and Coventry Telegraph
"Comms and Marketing are a vital part of the Coventry & Warwickshire Business Festival as all businesses need to know how to effectively communicate with their customer base and how to protect and enhance their brands - especially in a competitive, crowded and ever changing digital space."
Keith has been a journalist for 25 years and has been the Editor at Reach Plc's Coventry Canal Basin newsroom since February 2015, leading the transformation to a digital-first multi-media outlet. This has included re-branding the website as CoventryLive in 2018, providing a clear distinction between the print and digital brands.
The website has consistently seen considerable audience growth and the desktop and mobile site now averages more than two million unique visits each month, with more than seven million page views. It also records more than two million page views on its app every month. Together with its print brands - the Coventry, Nuneaton and Warwickshire editions of the Telegraph published six days a week - the total audience is now larger than it has been for decades.
Construction and Property
Managing Director, Deeley Group
"Our Region shows its confidence in the Construction, Housing and Property industries by its investments in new infrastructure, new employment opportunities and to provide new quality housing."
Peter joined the family owned construction company (established in Coventry in 1936) from school in 1958. He initially worked on site (a good carpenter’s mate), with the Surveyors Department in the office and then in 1961 acted as Site Manager for a new housing development in Balsall Common.
Peter took over Deeley Group upon the death of his father in 1986. The Deeley Group has become a highly successful construction, housing and property development company working on a wide range of projects across the region and beyond.
Creative and Digital
MD Net Visibility
"Creative and Digital is important to the Festival because it crosses every business in the region but also means something very different to everyone. Our aim will be to run sessions for start-ups who want an introduction to creative and digital in parallel with leading edge sessions for companies who simply want to know 'what’s next'.”
Neil Curtis setup Net Visibility in 2003 following a career in software marketing at IBM. Net Visibility specialises in Paid Search (Google Ads and Bing Advertising) and Paid Social (Facebook Ads, Google Display, LinkedIn and Twitter). Based in Kenilworth, Net Visibility are proud to be one of the most qualified Google Partners in Coventry and Warwickshire. A typical Net Visibility client is based locally and classes themselves as an SME spending between £1000 and £10,000 per month on online advertising.
Marion Plant OBE FCGI
Principal and Chief Executive, North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College
"The provision of relevant, high quality skills training through local universities, further education colleges and training providers is an absolute ‘game changer’ in respect of driving up productivity and prosperity within Coventry and Warwickshire."
Marion Plant is Principal and Chief Executive of a large FE College; North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College in Leicestershire and Warwickshire. She is also Chief Executive of the Midland Academies Trust which sponsors four secondary schools. Marion completed a 3 year term as a non-executive director at the Department for Education last year and in March 2018 she was awarded the ‘Business Woman of the Year Award’ by the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce.
She serves on several national/ regional bodies including:
Board member (Director) for the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) and skills lead
Member of the Leicester and Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Programme Board
Trustee of the National Society Council (Church of England)
Board member of Coventry University and co-chair of the Academic Affairs committee
Deputy-Chair and Trustee of WorldSkills UK
Member of the Education & Skills Funding Agency Advisory Group
Director, Enterprise and Innovation, Coventry University
'Now an established part of the calendar in our third year as sponsor, the Coventry & Warwickshire Business Festival remains an important showcase for the University. The festival provides a great opportunity to demonstrate our support for the local business community, and share an insight into our wealth of expertise and facilities – as illustrated in our hugely popular “Wellbeing & Productivity in the Workplace” event last year. The range of events running across the wider festival programme also provides the opportunity to learn best practice from other businesses, establish new contacts, and get a real sense of the exciting future for the region”
Games Development and Serious Gaming
Health and Wellbeing
Dr. Anne Coufopoulos
Director of Product, Enterprise & Innovation Organisation, Coventry University
"Coventry and Warwickshire has a diverse and innovative economy and in order to ensure this continues flourish we must take care of the health and well being of employers and employees in and around the region, therefore a focus on health and well-being for the festival is essential."
Dr Anne Coufopoulos is currently Director of Product at Coventry University, Enterprise & Innovation Organisation. Prior to this Anne has been employed in a number of academic and leadership roles across the course of her career, largely in the area of nutrition and public health.
In her current role at Coventry University Anne is largely responsible for leading innovation in Continuing Professional Development Education across a diverse range of disciplines. Alongside this Anne is a registered dietitian and has a keen interest in workplace health and nutrition.
Over the past couple of years, Anne has been the ‘Health & Well Being’ lead for the Coventry & Warwickshire business festival working closely with the Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) and small to medium size enterprises to promote workplace health and well-being. Anne is also Associate Editor of the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, with particular emphasis on nutrition in the workplace. Anne is also a Trustee of the Charity ‘Institute of Health Promotion and Education’ and the Charity ‘HENRY.’
Adrian de Courcey
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Travel de Courcey
"Logistics is a key employer and enabler of growth across the Coventry and Warwickshire region. The logistics sector is leading a number of exciting new technological innovations including electric and autonomous vehicle technologies and drone distribution."
Adrian de Courcey is CEO of Travel de Courcey, one of the largest independent bus and coach companies in the UK operating a fleet of 100+ vehicles from three depots across the West Midlands. Travel de Courcey was recently awarded a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise, the first bus and coach operator in the award’s history to receive a Queen’s Award. The company was the first operator of fast-charging electric buses in the UK and has been listed as one of the ‘Top 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain’ by the London Stock Exchange and British Growth Fund.
Professional and Financial Services
Corporate Account Manager
"The Professional and Financial Services sector within the Coventry and Warwickshire region boasts an enormous amount of talent and continues to grow at an exciting rate which exceeds the national average".
As Corporate Account Manager, Neil works with large and mid-corporate clients throughout the UK. Neil’s insurance career started at Inspire almost a decade ago during the company’s first year of trading. Within the early stages of his career Neil had been singled out by industry experts as a rising star. Since then he has helped the company to become one of the most recognised and specialist commercial insurance brokerages in the region.
Culture and Tourism
Chief Executive Shakespeare’s England
Helen Peters joined Shakespeare’s England as Chief Executive in December 2015, following a career spanning 30 years in Travel & Tourism. Starting with Horizon Holidays, in Broad Street, Birmingham in the early 1980, Helen went on to work for many of the key outbound travel companies over a period of 25 years, including The Intasun Group, Neilson Leisure Group and Thomas Cook, as Commercial Manager for Cruise & Long Haul. She joined Crystal Cruises in 2003 as their National Sales Manager, followed by 5 years as National Accounts Manager with Silversea.
In 2008 Helen joined Value Retail Ltd as Tourism Director for Bicester Village in Oxfordshire, promoting Bicester Village as “the” Designer Outlet centre in the UK, working closely with key source markets in China, SE Asia and the Middle East, which included regular travel to these areas.
Since becoming Chief Executive at Shakespeare’s England, she has sat on the Moreton Morrell College Advisory Board and is also an observer on the Stratforward Board. Helen was appointed as a NED to the CWLEP in March 2019.