HOVIP - Heads of the Valleys Innovation Programme

Heads of the Valleys Innovation Programme

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Testimonials

"Extremely useful and practical advice which is very relevant and can be applied in many ways".

Wendy Locke, Virtual Assistance

News Archive

  1. News Archive for 2009

  2. 8 December 2009: Turning Heads Club event

    Members of the Turning Heads Club were treated to a Choc & Cheese event at the Blaenavon World Heritage Centre and sampled products from The Blaenavon Cheddar Cheese Company and Chocs Away. As well as plenty of opportunity to network and do business, Sam Macalister explained how members’ businesses can benefit from Finance Wales and Cardiff University provided feedback on their recent survey which has resulted in two marketing courses in the New Year specifically designed to meet the needs of businesses in the area.
    For more information see Turning Heads Club

  3. 18 November 2009: Equinox - HOVIP Challenge, Orbit Business Centre, Merthyr

    Equinox PR and HOVIP have joined forces to deliver an innovative initiative as part of Global Enterprise Week and Merthyr Tydfil Enterprise Group’s series of related events. The Equinox – HOVIP Challenge is an exciting initiative involving teams of Merthyr Tydfil College students developing imaginative means of marketing Parc Taf Bargoed Lakeside Activity Centre, the Welsh International Climbing Centre and related facilities. The initiaitive is loosely based on the Dragons’ Den concept. Download the Equinox-HOVIP Challenge press release.

  4. 11 November 2009: HOVIP's security cluster wins first order

    Five firms from the Heads of the Valleys and beyond are securing their future by working together to help boost business and increase awareness of the expertise available in the region (see www.securewales.co.uk). Download Living Wales HOVIP nov09

  5. June 2009: HOVIP helps Dischromatics Ltd

    With the support of the Welsh Assembly Government (Steve Jones), HOVIP helped Dischromatics Ltd obtain £15k grant for a new CD printing machine just before the deadline fo the former Technology Exploitation Grant. It is estimated that this will help the business increase turnover by at least 10% in one year. For more information, download this press release.

  6. 25 June 2009: Dowlais Engine House hosts winners of the 2009 Heads of the Valleys Innovation Awards

    The winners of the 2009 Heads of the Valleys Innovation Awards were recently announced in front of a capacity audience in the awe-inspiring surroundings of the Dowlais Engine House.

    For more information please access http://www.hovip.org.uk/innovation-awards.php or the attached press release.

  7. 26 May 2009: Creation of HOVIP Security Cluster and first successful application for the new National Enterprise Networks Fund to develop the cluster.

    A cluster of five firms in the Heads of the Valleys, including one social enterprise, is one of the spin-offs of the HOVIP Turning Heads Club. The five firms have come together to pursue a joint marketing campaign and potential opportunities for combined tenders including for the Ryder Cup 2010. The cluster is also the first successful application to the new National Enterprise Networks Fund from the Welsh Assembly Government. They will be using the funding to further develop the cluster and take advantage of additional opportunities.

  8. May 2009: HOVIP supports Merthyr Tydfil Business Awards

    Merthyr Tydfil celebrated the success of its local businesses and social enterprises in style at a gala evening hosted by BBC Wales Presenter Jason Mohammed at the conference centre of the brand new Orbit Business Centre. HOVIP worked closely with the organisers, Merthyr Tydfil Enterprise Group, providing support and resources for the awards process, as well as introducing a new Innovation award category.

    For more information see Merthyr Tydfil Business Awards press release

  9. 26 March 2009: HOVIP helps Torfaen Business Voice regain momentum

    A great example of the power of partnership is the link between HOVIP and Torfaen Business Voice. Torfaen Business Voice provides a valuable forum for local businesses to come together to discuss business related issues. The club had gained momentum in the last 12 months and seen an increase in membership. However, in the current challenging economic climate, membership had now levelled out. To help regain the momentum, HOVIP sponsored the first meeting of 2009, which helped secure a high profile keynote speaker, Professor Brian Morgan, Director of the Creative Leadership and Enterprise Centre at the Cardiff School of Management.

    Speaking on 'Change Management and Business Survival in a Recession', Professor Morgan attracted a record audience (30% higher than previous attendance) and stimulated extensive discussion.

    "We were delighted to support Torfaen Business Voice and to help them boost awareness and interest," says Phil Burkhard. "This is an excellent example of how working together produces results for everyone."

  10. 7 April 2009: Third Turning Heads Club and Launch of 2009 HoV Innovation Awards

    The third Turning Heads Club event was held at Llancaiach Fawr in Nelson and included the launch of the 2009 Heads of the Valleys Innovation Awards. Taste of Wales provided an arts and crafts showcase alongside a presentation from Leanne Turner on The Works Project in Ebbw Vale, a multi-million pound project to boost tourism in the Heads of the Valleys. Turning Heads Club members were urged to enter the 2009 HoV Innovation Awards launched by Richie Turner from The University of Wales Global Innovation Academy.

    For more information see 2009 HoV Innovation Awards launch press release

  11. 27 February 2009: HOVIP Manager is finalist in Leading Wales Awards

  12. 26 February 2009: University of Wales Global Academy Prince of Wales Initiative sponsors 2009 HoV Innovation Awards

  13. 29 January 2009: Second Turning Heads Club event

    The second Turning Heads Club event was held in the Cwmaman Miners Institute run by local Trustees and the Cwmaman Public Hall & Institute Ltd. This building was formerly a Reading Room for Miners but has been amazingly transformed into an Aladdin's cave of community facilities and resources. Turning Heads Club members were treated to succulent cuts of lamb and beef from the Welsh Mountain Meat Company and Award-winning samples of Rhymney Brewery's finest ales. John Edney (Caerphilly County Borough Council) spoke about the new Local Investment Fund and Lucy O'Donnell (Strategic Programme Manager for HoV Tourism) gave a personal insight to the HoV plans and opportunities for tourism.

    For more information see Turning Heads Club

  14. News Archive for 2008

  15. 31 December 2008: HOVIP helps Caerphilly-based business gain funding

    In the final quarter of 2008 Jeff Harris, Business Recruitment Consultant and Funding Advisor for the HOVIP helped Discromatics, a Caerphilly-based CD and DVD Duplication and Replication Company to gain funding of £15,000 to help in the purchase of a new state of the art CD printer and also a digital printer and finishing equipment that has the potential to change the face of their business. The Grant came through the Welsh Assembly Governments Technology Exploitation Award via the ITC for the Caerphilly area Mr Steve Jones. He was approached by Jeff after other funding routes proved unsuccessful and one of the last applications for this very successful program was made in late October and approved by 1st November in a very quick and successful stress-free process.

    Gareth Spencer, Director of Dischromatics, said “We are not sure what this will mean in terms of employment and turnover to be truthful, but once we are fully up and running the potential is huge, indeed if the ideas take off we may even invest in more machinery and construct more rooms on our premises to enclose it!  As a conservative estimate I see no reason why the machinery could not help us increase turnover by at least 10% over the next financial year, if not more, and if the printer can be run non-stop we almost certainly will need a new employee to solely operate it.”  

  16. 1 December 2008: HOVIP Newsletter 3

  17. 18 November 2008: First HOVIP2 Business Challenge Workshop

    This workshop was delivered at the stunning Orbit Business Centre, in Merthyr, which opened at the beginning of the month. The workshop brought together social enterprises and other businesses. Delegates worked together to obtain creative solutions to their challenges, new skills, new tools and new contacts.

    For more information see Business Challenge Workshops

  18. 29 October 2008: HOVIP wins a Wales National Training Award

    HEADS OF THE VALLEYS BUSINESS INITIATIVE IN AWARDS SPOTLIGHT

    On a packed evening at Cardiff City Hall, the Heads of the Valleys Innovation Programme (HOVIP) recently won a coveted Wales National Training Award. The National Training Awards are recognised as the most prestigious training awards in the UK.

    For more information, download the press release ( pdf).

  19. 27 November 2008: First Turning Heads Club meeting

    The first Turning Heads Club, for HoV Innovation Award winners and entrants, was held in a converted chapel in Tredegar at the amazing Venue 1, owned by Kidz R Us. Members were treated to a mouth-watering taster session from Blaenafon Cheddar and Mountain Tours Ltd. and Blaengawney Farm Cider. Innovative and unusual networking opportunities complemented the two brief presentations from JobMatch (an HoV employment initiative) and the University of Glamorgan Commercial Services / Merthyr Tydfil College (who spoke about their new Delivering Exceptional Customer Centre of Excellence and related services).

    For more information see the Turning Heads Club page.

  20. 23 October 2008: HOVIP wins a Wales National Training Award

    On a packed evening at Cardiff City Hall, HOVIP recently won a coveted Wales National Training Award. The National Training Awards are recognised as the most prestigious training awards in the UK.

    Download the press release ( pdf)

  21. 22 October 2008: HOVIP sponsors Merthyr launch of Enterprise Week

    HOVIP is delighted to support the launch of Merthyr’s contribution to National Enterprise Week. This includes a series of practical event for people thinking about starting a business, existing businesses and social enterprises.

    For information contact: Sharon Phillips, Orbit Business Development Manager (01685 725016).

  22. 26 June 2008: Second annual Heads of the Valleys Innovation Awards – winners announced.

    The winners were announced in front of a capacity audience at the Innovation Marketplace event at the Parkway Hotel in Cwmbran. 35 entries were received for this year’s Awards and the submissions were judged by an independent panel of high profile business professionals.

    The winners are:

    Most Innovative Social Enterprise -sponsored by NESTA:
    Cynon Valley Crime Reduction Services Ltd

    Most Innovative Sole Trader - sponsored by HSBC:
    Blaenafon Cheddar Company & Mountain Tours Ltd

    Most Innovative Business with less than 20 employees - sponsored by NGB2B – Newport Chamber of Commerce:
    Rhymney Brewery Ltd.

    Most Innovative Business with more than 20 employees - sponsored by BT:
    Joyner PA (Cymru) Ltd

  23. 23 April 2008:2008 Heads of the Valleys Innovation Awards launch

    The search is on for the most innovative businesses in the Heads of the Valleys region. Businesses throughout the region are being invited “Aim High” and enter the 2008 Heads of the Valleys Innovation Awards which have been launched today at Cyfartha Castle in Merthyr Tydfil by Alistair Neil, Chief Executive of Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council.

    Entries for the 2008 Awards are open to all businesses based in the Heads of the Valleys area. Closing date for entries is 6 June 2008.

    For full details and an entry form, please visit www.hovip.org.uk and click on Innovation Awards

    Download the press release ( pdf)

  24. 3 April 2008: Merthyr business owner and HOVIP team member, Wendy Locke, has become the first person in Wales to achieve the coveted standard of Master Virtual Assistant.

  25. 1 April 2008: HOVIP Newsletter 2

  26. 31 March 2008: Royvon Dog Training School became the first 2007 HoV Innovation Award winner, to be accepted as a host on the Wales Quality Centre administered Inside Welsh Industry best practice scheme.

    The Wales Quality Centre and WAG have agreed to extend the pan Wales Inside Welsh Industry best practice scheme (www.insidewelshindusrty.org.uk) to a pilot exclusively involving the 2007 HoV Innovation Award winners.

    Royvon is the first 2007 Award winner (with the exception of Penn Pharmaceuticals, who are already a host), to be approved as a host. Royvon will host best practice visits from September 2008. The visits will be focused on how a family owned SME has grown over 50 years and their multiple Award winning customer relationship management practices.

  27. 10 March 2008: HOVIP join with Design Wales to offer combined Branding Workshops and Creativity and Innovation Taster sessions.

    3 June 2008: St. Margarets Park, Aberbargoed.
    7 Oct 2008: Parc Bryn Bach, Tredegar.
    26 Feb 2009: Orbit Business Centre, Merthyr Tydfil.

  28. 3 March 2008: Started HOVIP2 which is partially funded by the WAG Heads of the Valleys Regeneration initiative and hosted by Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council.

  29. 15 January 2008: HOVIP entered for the 'Effective Partnership Working' category of the 2008 National Fforwm Awards.

  30. 10 January 2008: HoV Innovation Award winner, Royvon Dog Training achieves, Investors in People accreditation.

  31. 1 January 2008: HOVIP Newsletter 1

  32. 9 January 2008: Wales Quality Centre approve pilot to extend the existing Inside Welsh Industry best practice visit scheme to include the 2007 Heads of the Valleys Innovation Award winners.

  33. News Archive for 2007

  34. 19 November 2007: HoV Innovation Award winner, Purple Prose, launches 2008 Leading Ladies Calendar.

    Download Press Release

  35. 16 November 2007: Heads of the Valleys Regeneration Steering Group approve HOVIP2.

  36. 8 November 2007: Eleventh HOVIP Innovation Workshop delivered at the Springboard Innovation Centre, Cwmbran.

  37. 4 October 2007: Tenth HOVIP Innovation Workshop delivered at the Springboard Innovation Centre, Cwmbran.

  38. 25 September 2007: Nineth HOVIP Innovation Workshop delivered at St. Margaret's Park, Aberbargoed

  39. 28 June 2007: Winners of the first-ever Heads of the Valleys Innovation Awards!

    More than 120 people attended the first ever Heads of the Valleys Innovation Awards and Marketplace at the Parkway Hotel, Cwmbran. The winners were:

    • Most Innovative Social Enterprise (sponsored by NESTA): Garnsychan Partnership
    • Most Innovative Sole Trader (sponsored by HSBC): Purple Prose
    • Most Innovative Business with less than 20 employees (sponsored by KTS Owens Thomas): Royvon Dog Training Schools and International Technical Diving Agency Ltd.
    • Most Innovative Business with more than 20 employees (sponsored by BT): Penn Pharmaceutical Services Ltd.

    Emma Jones of My Little Angel, one of the Innovation Awards finalists commented: "These Awards help to promote businesses in the area to ensure that we continue to attract recognition and support. My Little Angel, a new business, will certainly be entering next year as there is nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain."

  40. 6 June 2007: Excellent response to the first-ever Heads of the Valleys Innovation Awards.

    "We are thrilled to have received so many entries for this inaugural Innovation Awards." said Phil Burkhard, HOVIP Programme Manager. "It is an excellent example of how much innovative activity is happening in the Heads of the Valleys area."

  41. 6 June 2007: Eighth HOVIP Innovation Workshop delivered at the Integrated Children's Centre, Pentrebach, Merthyr Tydfil College.

  42. 15 May 2007: Seventh HOVIP Innovation Workshop delivered at the Valleys Information, Technology and Communication Centre in Tredegar

  43. 8 May 2007: Business Eye Merthyr Account Managers Meeting breaks new ground thanks to HOVIP!

    In response to a request from the HOVIP team, the regular Merthyr Account Managers meeting, chaired by Business Eye, welcomed the first local business to present to the forum.

    Sarah Draper, Director of RoyvonDog Training Schools (a HOVIP SME) took up this opportunity to support Royvon's aim to raise their local profile even thought they have a UK-wide customer base.

    The aim of this 'business slot' is for local businesses to present an overview of their services and plans and highlight what support they are looking for from the assembled business support providers.

    Whilst Sarah found that it also provided a personal development opportunity, the Account Managers were sufficiently impressed with her presentation that they have agreed to continue to trial this new and innovative approach to helping their customer base.

  44. 27 April 2007: Heads of the Valleys Innovation Awards launch

    The search is on for the most innovative businesses in the Heads of the Valleys area. Businesses throughout the region are invited to enter the first ever Heads of the Valleys Innovation Awards which were launched in Merthyr Tydfil today. The Awards celebrate and reward the most innovative businesses in the area. Entry is open to all businesses, including social enterprises, trading in the Heads of the Valleys area.

    For full details and an entry form please visit www.merthyr.ac.uk/hovip and click on Innovation Awards

    Closing date for entries is Wednesday 6th June 2007.

  45. 26 April 2007: Sixth HOVIP workshop delivered at the University of Glamorgan Business Centre.

  46. 24 April 2007: Royvon continues to expand

    HOVIP participant Merthyr-based Royvon Dog Training Schools have invested over £800,000 in purchasing and refurbishing dog kennels in Esher, Surrey. The new Surrey premises opened late last year and has helped to confirm the company's position as the UK's leading residential dog training business. Because of the expansion of the business in Surrey, the Merthyr headquarters now has the capacity to offer a wider range of services. "Although we have grown in the last few years we continue to look for new opportunities," explains Royvon Director, Sarah Draper. "We have won a prestigious National Technology for Marketing (TFM) award which recognised innovations in the company, and two Royvon trainers have been selected to take part in the BBC's The Underdog Show."

  47. 19 April 2007: 25 years and local engineering firm is still going strong

    After a quarter of a century, Merthyr-based engineering firm Design and Manufacture Ltd is still youthful and ready to take on new challenges. Managing Director Phil Corke, who co-founded the company in 1982 is optimistic that his dedicated workforce have a role to play in a market which at first glance appears to be dominated by overseas providers. "In such a competitive market, it is essential that we stay ahead of the game," says Mr Corke. "Participating in the HOVIP programme has helped us to focus on what's important and find new ways of addressing our challenges. We pay particular attention to our customer's needs and offer a service that can't be achieved by overseas suppliers."

  48. 29 March 2007: Heads of the Valleys Innovation Awards launch announced

    The launch of the inaugural Heads of the Valleys Innovation Awards will take place on 27 April at 12:30 until 13:30 int eh Main Hall at Merthyr Tydfil College. The launch event will include an overview of HOVIP and progress to-date, as well as details about the Innovation Awards for businesses (including Social Enterprises). Please contact Wendy Locke on 01685 726061 or hovip@merthyr.ac.uk for more information.

  49. 27 March 2007: Fifth HOVIP Innovation Workshop delivered at the Integrated Children's Centre in Pentrebach, Merthyr Tydfil

  50. 8 March 2007: Fourth HOVIP Innovation Workshop delivered at University of Glamorgan Business Centre

  51. 27 Feb 2007: Third HOVIP Innovation Workshop delivered at the Integrated Children's Centre in Pentrebach, Merthyr Tydfil

  52. 22 March 2007: BT confirms HOVIP sponsorship

    BT has confirmed that it will sponsor the Heads of the Valleys Innovation Awards 2007. BT will sponsor the category for businesses with more than 20 employees. BT's Ceri Fitzpatrick said, "BT is delighted to act as sponsor to the Heads of the Valleys Innovation Programme. We believe Innovation is strategically important to all organisations that seek to develop their people, services or products and can be the key to unlocking the potential within any business, regardless of size. Innovation is one of the cornerstones to BT's approach to the market and we believe a flourishing and vibrant economy is one where typically innovation has been encouraged and nurtured. We welcome Merthyr College's proactive approach in this field through HOVIP and we are proud to be a sponsor."

  53. 21 March 2007: HSBC Bank plc confirms HOVIP sponsorship

    HSBC Bank plc has confirmed that it will sponsor the Heads of the Valleys Innovation Awards 2007. HSBC will sponsor the category for Sole Traders and ahs confirmed a prize package of £500 plus an innovative package of support for the winning company.

  54. 14 March 2007: Royvon Dog Training Schools to present at Business Eye meeting

    Royvon Dog Training Schools in Merthyr, one of the companies participating in the HOVIP Innovation Workshops is to present to the Merthyr Business Eye Account Managers Group. Royvon will be the first company to attend this meeting where they will explain what the business does, the support they have received and how it has contributed to their results, as well as outline their plans for the future and highlight the additional support they require to help achieve their aims. As Royvon Director Sarah Draper explains, "The opportunity to present to this group of people is in itself a step on our road to success. Royvon has a reasonably high profile throughout the UK, but is relatively unknown here in south Wales. One of our business challenges, and a key reason for participating in HOVIP, was to find ways to raise our profile locally. This is a great opportunity to do that and we are looking forward to meeting the Merthyr Business Eye Account Managers."

  55. 14 March 2007: HOVIP contributes towards Green credentials

    Williams Medical Supplies in Rhymney have made good use of the creative thinking techniques learned at the HOVIP Innovation Workshop. The techniques were shared with staff who had not attended the Innovation Workshop and resulted in the creation of an internal environmental awareness campaign. The "Go Green with Jennine" campaign has contributed towards the company's achievement of the Green Dragon Environmental Award Level 2.

  56. 12 March 2007: NESTA confirms HOVIP sponsorship

    NESTA, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts has confirmed that it will sponsor the Social Enterprise category in the Heads of the Valleys Innovation Awards 2007. NESTA is devoted exclusively to supporting talent, innovation and creativity in the UK. NESTA are providing a prize package of £1000 plus substantial marketing and promotional support for the winning organisation.

  57. 5 March 2007: Innovation Workshop participant runs to success

    Sarah Draper, a Director of Royvon Dog Training Schools in Merthyr and one of the participants in the Innovation Workshops is running in the London Marathon on 22 April 2007. Sarah is raising money for the NSPCC. To find out more visit Sarah's charity weblink at www.justgiving.com/svdraper

  58. 9 Feb 2007: 10th SME signs up to HOVIP Innovation Workshop programme

    Richard Evans of Jensen Blinds and Interiors in Caerphilly is the tenth company to sign-up for the HOVIP Innovation Workshops. With more than 18 years experience, Mr Evans started the business in February 2006. Offering curtains, blinds and interiors for the home or office, Jensen Blinds is building a reputation of providing high quality, distinctive designs at a competitive price. Currently employing just 2 people, Mr Evans says that his key challenges are winning new business and gaining a competitive edge based on more than just price. He is keen to grow the business and believes the HOVIP programme will help him achieve his aims.

  59. 30 Jan 2007: KTS Owens Thomas confirmed HOVIP sponsorship

    Craig Blackmore, Sales and Marketing Director for KTS Owens Thomas, confirmed their support of HOVIP with sponsorship of the Innovation Marketplace event on 28 June 2007 at the Parkway Hotel in Cwmbran. The company will also be sponsoring the Heads of the Valleys Innovation Award's category for businesses with less than 20 employees. Mr Blackmore said the company was delighted to support HOVIP, "As an accountancy practice, we are keen to innovate ourselves and go well beyond the usual services to help our clients grow their business. This is an excellent opportunity to show our support for other innovative businesses in the Heads of the Valleys area."

  60. 11 Jan 2007: Second Steering Group meeting held at ViTCC, Tredegar Business Park

    Chris Ashman from Heads of the Valleys Programme joins Steering Group

  61. News Archive for 2006

  62. 18 Dec 2006: David Phillips, Chief Executive, Wales Quality Centre confirmed HOVIP sponsorship

  63. 30 Nov 2006: Second HOVIP workshop delivered at the University of Glamorgan Business Centre

  64. 16 Nov 2006: HOVIP Programme Manager asked to participate in the first Heads of the Valleys Programme Business Development Strategy workshop

  65. 17 Oct 2006: First HOVIP workshop delivered at Parc Bryn Bach

  66. 5 Sept 2006: Formation of Steering Group and representatives

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Heads of the Valleys Innovation Programme (HOVIP) aims to increase the capacity for innovation in businesses in the region. Phase 1 was KEF ESF Funded and hosted by Merthyr Tydfil College. HOVIP2 and HOVIP3 is supported by the Welsh Assembly Government HoV Regeneration initiative with the 5 HoV local authorities and is hosted by Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council.

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