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ISSUE 2: 2012 / 2013

Skill Exchange UK Ballymena Chairman Chris Wales talks to (L-R) DEL Minister Stephen Farry, Ballymena Mayor PJ McAvoy and Ian Paisley MP at the launch of the first Skill Exchange project in the UK.

Ballymena Launches First UK Hub ADVICE | INSIGHT | NEWS | FEATURES |


A4 glossy business magazine Tips & Advice on Starting and Growing a Business Local & National Contributions on Current Business Topics 3,000 Copies Per Issue and Online Readership Distributed to Local Businesses Stocked at Key Outlets and Public Venues



Into Business Magazine is produced and published by Ballymena Business Centre and distributed free of charge. Ballymena Business Centre is a Registered NI Charity and by supporting this publication you are supporting our aim to ‘Promote an Enterprise Culture’ in the Ballymena area.

Welcome... I am delighted to announce the launch of a new web site for Into Business Magazine. This web site will not only promote the magazine and online readership but will act as a promotional tool for businesses and organisations who have contributed towards the success of the magazine. Each edition of Into Business Magazine is packed full of interesting articles to inspire people to start their own business and provide tips and advice for those already in business. Despite the challenging economic climate there are many local stories of business success and I hope you will be encouraged with the stories featured in this edition. Into Business Magazine is produced and published by Ballymena Business Centre. The Business Centre is a local social enterprise and a registered Northern Ireland Charity. By supporting our magazine you are supporting the voluntary work we undertake and deliver throughout the community of Ballymena. I hope you enjoy reading this issue and remember to check out our new website!

Meet The Ballymena Business Centre Team

Stephen Scullion Manager

Patricia Elliott Business Advisor

Jenine McIlroy Business Advisor

Yvonne Marks Accounts Officer

Hilary McMillan Facilities Co-ordinator

Melanie Christie Boyle T: 02825658616 Leslie Lynn T: 07720464608 Ballymena Business Centre 62 Fenaghy Road, Galgorm, Ballymena, BT42 1FL Lynn Stewart Facilities Co-ordinator

Adeline Wright Receptionist

Material printed in this journal is not necessarily endorsed by Ballymena Business Centre. All rights reserved. Reproduction by any means in whole or in part without permission of the publisher is prohibited. Copyright 2012 Issue 2: 2012 / 2013 | Into Business | 3

Contents Issue 2: 2012 / 2013

Patricia Elliott, Business Advisor, Ballymena Business Centre, explores support available to those who are unemployed

New initiative seeks to drive employment, growth and competitiveness

Northern Regional College and Ballymena Business Centre host European Workshops

Stephen Scullion, Manager, Ballymena Business Centre, documents how businesses can adopt a more balanced approach

Rhonda Glenn local Chartered Accountant shares some top tips in selecting an Accountant that is right for your business

Business Inducation is a key driver for unlocking potential and socioeconomic growth according to Peter Harmer, Chief Executive, UK Business Incubation

Expert advice from the team at LOG ON-NI

Paul Livingstone, Partner, Samuel Cumming Solicitors and Son shares Legal Advice on how you can minimise the risk of not getting paid.

Niall McKeown, Managing Director, iON clarifies the first step when considering a Digital Marketing Strategy

Getting involved with Rotary could be one of the most important things you do!

Check out web sites for business support, advice, finance and networking

Skill Exchange UK Ballymena Launches First UK Hub See page 8

Starting A Business

Starting a Business Stepping out of Unemployment and Into Business!!!!

Patricia Elliott Business Advisor Ballymena Business Centre

If you are unemployed you could have the chance to try out your business idea for 6 months and continue to receive benefits. Have you ever thought… I could do that! There’s a great idea! Then asked yourself the questions …. But how do I go about starting up? how much would it cost? How do I Plan it? Can I afford to do it???

Sept 2012) the recruitment market is ever more competitive. We are focused on supporting our clients to develop a quality business plan and take their business idea forward.

If you are currently If you are unemployed you unemployed you have an could have the chance to opportunity to explore try out your business idea enterprise as a viable for 6 months and continue option. Self-employment to receive benefits and the does bring opportunity with options of flexibility, support of a business control, improved work life advisor. balance and fulfilment that Traditionally when you sign are often hard to find in on to benefits the focus is employment. on Jobsearch activities and not enterprise start However the Steps to up. If you would like the Work programme chance to become your changes this as own boss and give selfparticipants can explore a employment a go you can business idea with the do so with all the help, security of living on support and guidance of Benefits for a 6 month the Steps to Work Self ‘test trading period’ during Employment Option. which the business can develop and grow without the burden of drawing At Ballymena Business Centre we are contracted money from the business to live on. During Test to deliver support to anyone in Ballymena who Trading participants is participating in Steps to continue to receive the benefits they are entitled Work Self Employment to while receiving a benefit option. With 63,400 based top up of claiming benefits in £15.38/week. Northern Ireland (Nisra 6 | Into Business | Issue 2: 2012 /2013

Understandably there is a certain amount of risk involved in starting any business, but with the right research and planning carried out before you start you can minimise the risk and maximise your potential to be a success. The Steps to Work programme provides ongoing support and mentoring for the first six months to develop your business knowledge and management skills. With the current economic climate people may feel reluctant to entertain the idea starting a business, however changes in the economy does afford opportunities for smaller independent businesses to provide a more localised service. Business ideas can come from many opportunities, hobbies, interests, innovations, creations and services which often do not require a high capital investment to begin. Support is available through unsecured loans

and depending on your location grant assistance may be available. So if self-employment can give you a route ‘back to work’ the Steps to Work programme may be the option you were looking for. Steps to Work Programme is supported by the Department for Employment and Learning and delivered in the Ballymena area by A4e and Ballymena Business Centre. For further information on the Steps to Work Self Employment Option contact Patricia Elliott, Business Advisor, Ballymena Business Centre, on 02825658616 or email

For more information on the services offered by Ballymena Business Centre visit

Steps To Work Case Study Slemish Design Studio evolved from Steven Bell and Joe Magill. Having been made redundant in February 2012, they quickly decided to change this upheaval into an opportunity and make things happen for themselves. With the help of Ballymena Business Centre they formed an Architectural practice, Slemish Design Studio, based with E.A. Bell’s off the Woodside Road, Ballymena. Already having the skill sets as a Chartered Architect and Technician, they now needed to knit together the business acumen to help build their fledgling enterprise. Through mentoring sessions and advice on marketing, accounting etc. they were able to target their potential clientele and prioritise their business goals. By pursuing areas such as the company web site (recently finalist in the Ballymena Business awards) they have been able to reach a wider market place, illustrated by recent commissions throughout Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland. They now have a portfolio of existing and potential clients in the residential and commercial sectors with the prospective for steady growth throughout 2013. Maybe the reality of losing your job and deciding the best way is to make things happen for yourself, proves that the current economic climate doesn’t always have to be gloomy. Slemish Design Studio,12 Woodside Park, Woodside Road, Ballymena, BT42 4GH, telephone 07730595790 or 07842879059 email: web:

Issue 2: 2012 / 2013 | Into Business | 7

Business News

Ballymena First To Launch Skill Exchange UK

The funding partners and guests officially launch the Ballymena Hub of Skill Exchange UK

Skill Exchange UK Seeks to Drive Employment, Growth and Competitiveness, by Promoting Employer “Skill Recycling” through Localised Online Skill Exchanges. Launched in Michelin Tyre PLC, Ballymena, Skill Exchange UK is an independent, not for profit organisation developed in conjunction with Leading Employers, ACAS and the TUC. It provides a simple but highly innovative service aimed at local employer ‘skill recycling’, an efficient and more sensible alternative to skill wastage, by facilitating local placements for under used staff into other firms that can benefit from the ‘loan’ of skilled staff at low cost. 8 | Into Business | Issue 2: 2012 /2013

Through the MP for North Antrim Ian Paisley, Ballymena has been selected as the first location for a Skill Exchange UK hub, with three more arriving in Northern Ireland within the next 6 months. The other 3 locations are Belfast, Londonderry/Derry and Craigavon. By the end of 2013 there will be 35 Skill Exchange hubs across the UK. The funding partners for the Ballymena Hub are Michelin Tyre PLC, Wrightbus, JTI, Moy Park, Dunbia and the Northern Regional College. Because of the founding member’s contributions, all other businesses within Ballymena will be able to join and use the hub’s services free of charge. Supporting partners include Ballymena Council and Ballymena Borough Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Employers of any size from any sector will join together to create online local networks acting as a ‘clearing house’ for good ideas and developing local solutions to local challenges. The key objectives are to provide local customised skill exchange hubs to:  Stop skills wastage and redundancy  Develop and share skills locally  Generate and exchange new ideas  Champion new ways of working  Provide development opportunities

The Skill Exchange Local Hub Programme uses the internets ‘always open’ networking environment to facilitate connections between ‘member employers’. It provides introductions to employees made available for secondment or for development of careers and skills as well as an easy and safe way to exchange ideas and information. Both employers save by simply sharing the costs of the employee being exchanged.

This will impact on and expand the skills base, improve job markets and job opportunities locally and ultimately nationally. Employers & key influencers will be creating job opportunities by supporting and sponsoring work experience opportunities, apprenticeships, training and development in the workplace.

The Northern Regional College hopes to benefit by not only sending students on work placements within Ballymena businesses, but also by seconding staff and lecturers to learn new skills and processes that can be brought back to the College.

In cases where a temporary economic change results in under-utilised employees, then secondment can effectively share or transfer those skilled employees from their employer company to new roles in another company. Salary costs can be shared by both employers through the online service provided by Local Skill Exchange Hubs.

Ian Paisley the Member of Parliament for North Antrim commented

The Local Skill Exchange Hub Programme will operate across all industry sectors to provide employer members ways to cut costs but retain their key staff by lending or renting them out to other firms and sharing the costs. At the same time substantial benefit will flow up and down the supply chains as skills and experience develop, knowledge transfer takes place and information and best practice are genuinely shared. This initiative has been backed and supported by many of Northern Ireland’s main business and trade organisations. In attendance at the official launch was DEL Minister Stephen Farry, Invest NI, the CBI, the Chamber of Commerce, the NI Equality commission, the Labour Relations Agency, Ballymena Council and the Northern Ireland local Government Association.

Over the next three years a further 100 local skill exchange hubs will be created based on travel to work areas across the UK. This will enable employers to share skills, offer work experience opportunities, share information and practical ideas that will assist capacity issues, improve staff development and retention, allowing more efficient deployment of people and skills.

For further information about the Ballymena Hub of Skill Exchange UK, please visit

Issue 2: 2012 / 2013 | Into Business | 9



European Partners meet in Ballymena to explore Student Enterprise The Northern Regional College [NRC] and Ballymena Business Centre (BBC) have co-hosted a two and a half day European workshop as part of the Leonardo da Vinci funded programme. Partnership colleges from Spain, Portugal, Poland, NRC and BBC met in Ballymena to discuss the E3 project which explores new ways on how colleges can develop students as Enterprising - Citizens, Employees and Entrepreneurial New Ventures. Commenting on the workshop, Irvine Abraham Business Development Manager at NRC stated “Project E3 which runs for two year’s will provide NRC staff and students the excellent opportunity to meet with like minded staff across Europe. Each partner shares the common goal of increasing the entrepreneurial skills of students and promoting self employment as a viable career option. We are particularly delighted to have BBC as a partner on this exciting project and providing the group with the specialist support in ‘new venture creation’.” The first meeting of the project partners took place in Ballymena with the workshop delivered by NRC and BBC on 14th-16th November 2012. Over the next two years, students and staff from each partner will visit all four colleges to share ideas and learn from each other how student enterprise is delivered in different regions across the EU. Irvine added that “In the current economic climate it can be increasingly difficult for students to secure employment after their initial training and through this 10

| Into Business | Issue 2: 2012 / 2013

Pictured is Maria de las Mercedes Arraez Lopez (Spain), Ana Ribeiro (Portugal), Ald, PJ McAvoy Mayor of Ballymena, Irvine Abraham, Business Development Manager, NRC, Cllr. Audrey Wales, Director, BBC, Melanie Christie-Boyle, Chief Executive, BBC, Claudia Matos (Portugal), Silvia Royo Monsalve (Spain), Stephen Scullion, Manager, BBC, Martin Neill NRC student, Wojciech Wilko ( Poland), Joanna Bugdol (Poland) Carlos Gomez Hernandez (Spain).

project students are required to think more entrepreneurial about their career options”.

Each Enterprise Hub will explore and develop programmes that foster:

Each college partner in the E3 Project will develop an Enterprise Hub for staff and students, thus providing a focal point for the project, with the aim of showcasing current practice and collaboration on enterprise development across Europe. They will also exchange methodologies and good practices approaches with a view to improving the expertise of staff and trainers. Ballymena Business Centre will act as an additional “World of Work Partner” to provide an insight into new venture creation.

(employability, problem solving, critical thinking)

1. Enterprising Citizens

2. Enterprising Employees (team work, continuous improvement, R&D projects) 3. Entrepreneurial New Ventures (ideas generation, business planning, pre-incubation, project development, business start-up, enterprise competitions).


0800 206 1484

Growing Your Business

As the Market changes how can your business keep pace?

Stephen Scullion

Manager Ballymena Business Centre

We all know customer demand is rapidly changing. Customers require more innovative and quality products, with increased value add and of course, all at lower prices – not asking for much then! In the other direction outsourced supply chains may mean key business processes may be extended across several different companies, which can impact your ability to innovate new products or services. Thus it is difficult for individual companies to exist in isolation and businesses need to adopt more collaborative strategies with suppliers, or in some instances, their competitors.

This is the essence of the 3M Business Model, talked about in the last Into Business Issue, which illustrated how nonfinancial business drivers impact directly on financial results.

levels of employee knowledge are key drivers of the business value and therefore its financial results.

Leading measures track the things that drive future performance and help companies move from a Todays volatile trading purely financial focus to a conditions mean more balanced one and in traditional management doing so improve accounting systems are no longer seen as effective performance and stakeholder results. in providing a true or fair view of how a business is By adopting a more developing, as financial balanced approach information is often only companies need to available well after the properly identify the cause time has passed when it and effect relationships of could have been useful. system you have got to This is in radical contrast change the way you think’. They are seen as reactive different linkages. with the traditional management view where or lagging indicators that For instance: profits are for a long time businesses As a small business owner do not necessarily help declining – why? Profits were managed within improve performance. the success (or not) of stable markets with are declining because your business is mature products and existing customers are proportional to the ability, While good financial stable technologies, where skills and experience you leaving: existing customers the focus was solely results are ultimately have in business, where are leaving because the financial. paramount for an the talent lies in the service performance is choices you make. organisation operating in a lousy: service performance Understandably Today small business market economy, they only is lousy because owner/managers need to companies can find this show where the employees do not know change the way they think difficult to cope with, and organisation has been but how or what to do, or and cultivate the business unfortunately there is no one easy answer at hand. often don’t indicate what’s when best to do it. competencies, skills and driving the business relationships necessary so their business can learn The growth and continued results. By understanding these from experience and sustainability of any linkages companies can adapt and be flexible business depends on the Companies increasingly start to measure them toward the continuously business having a much realise that ‘soft’ assets and thus improve the changing marketplace. better understanding of usually associated with performance overall. the individual elements of leading indicators, such as their business, and John Seddon, a However in order to critically how these link management thinker team co-operation, together, and what impact customer performance states that, ‘to improve accomplish this managers they have on bottom line your performance you require information from a and satisfaction, process profitability. need to change the variety of perspectives in improvement and higher system and to change the


| Into Business | Issue 2: 2012 / 2013

Growing A Business

order to make more informed decisions based upon the key enablers of business performance.

lagging outcomes, such as financial results and focuses on the importance of managing all these The Balanced Scorecard components to achieve performance framework better overall Subsequently performance adds non-financial improvement is now high performance measures to performance. on the agenda of many traditional financial companies. metrics to give managers It does this by different types of measurements a more 'balanced' view of derived from four different Luckily a range of tools are the company organisational performance. available, such as perspectives. measurement frameworks Thus the Balanced like the Balanced (how do our Scorecard visually Scorecard (BSC) by customers perceive us). illustrates the links Rodger Kaplan and David between leading drivers (what are the Norton. and processes, and

business processes we should excel), (what should we learn to grow and prosper), and (how successful are we financially). For more information visit the following web site www.balancedscorecard. org

Diagram Source Adapted from Kaplan and Norton. The Balanced Scorecard. The Harvard Business Review. Jan / Feb 1996, pg 76 Issue 2: 2012 / 2013 | Into Business | 13

Business News

Business News, Events and Awards Pictured (L-R) are Oonagh Hinds, Invest NI’s Eastern Regional Manager; Michael Carlin, Regional Start Manager, Enterprise NI; Gordon Gough, Chief Executive, Enterprise NI; Bill Scott, Invest NI’s Executive Director of Regional Business and David Bradshaw, Client Executive, Invest NI.

Ballymena Business Centre Launches Regional Start Initiative Invest Northern Ireland’s Regional Start Initiative was launched recently for the Ballymena area at Ballymena Business Centre. The Regional Start Initiative will be delivered by Enterprise Northern Ireland and its network of regional delivery partners. The initiative is designed to support those who would like to start up their own business and will offer a comprehensive package of advisory and training support to individuals and business at the start-up stage. For more information on the Regional Start Initiative visit

Commitment to Ballymena Award Mayor of Ballymena Alderman PJ McAvoy of Ballymena Borough Council presents the Commitment to Ballymena Award to Counsellor Audrey Wales MBE at the tenth Ballymena Borough Business Excellence Awards in Tullyglass Hotel


| Into Business | Issue 2: 2012 / 2013

Business Advice

Rhonda Glenn, a local Accountant, who has recently moved into an office at Ballymena Business Centre explains the importance of choosing the correct Accountant and what sets her apart from the rest. Rhonda Glenn Chartered Accountant RN Glenn Chartered Accountants

Choosing an Accountant critical decision making in the business. It is Whether you are a new important that you explore business looking for your their track record to first Accountant or an ensure the experience established business they possess can provide considering if you have the you with the information correct Accountant there you require. are some fundamental I have been in the questions you need to Accountancy Profession consider. for 17 Years, including 7 What Qualifications do Years with they have? PricewaterhouseCoopers and 5 years in industry at Unfortunately anyone can Boardroom level. I have call them themselves an been running my own Accountant and you must practice now for over 5 remember you will divulge years. some very sensitive and personal information that Do they know anything you may not have even told about my type of to some of your closest business? family. You will be glad to Not all businesses are the hear that if you choose a same. It is important to Chartered Accountant there is a Regulated body quickly determine the key information that drives in place namely CARB to audit the practice, review your business forward and allows you to make the Professional Indemnity correct decisions. If the cover and most Accountant has importantly protect you experience in your specific the client. sector, although not What Experience do they essential, this can help in have? the selection of the key information required. Your accountant is employed to provide you I currently deal with Sole with accurate information traders, Partnership’s and regarding your business Limited Companies from whether it is year-end various sectors including accounts and VAT manufacturing, Returns for the Revenue construction, distribution, or key metrics to allow farming, retail and service Choosing an Accountant

In addition we offer: HMRC Compliance ; VAT, Payroll (RTI) and Tax; Key What services do they offer and do they add value Performance Indicators; Cash Flow Projections and to your business? Spreadsheet Models; It is important to match Periodic Management and your specific requirement Annual Statutory Accounts; to what the Accountant Book-keeping; Business can offer. So be clear Review Services including about what you are looking Customer Profiling, Supplier for and remember they Performance and Overhead are providing a service to Review. you not the Inland For further information Revenue. contact RN Glenn We provide a free 2 hour Chartered Accountants on assessment /review to 02825649171 or email identify business needs. rhonda@glennaccountants. Our key USP’s are: com industry sector.

1] To develop a tailored accounting system which records transactions once, satisfies HMRC requirements and ultimately provides key information to owners/directors to make decisions. 2) Is your business too big for preparing only year end accounts for tax but too small to employ a full-time accountant… we can bridge that gap. 3) We also provide the above services outside of normal business hours to minimise your time away from your business.

Issue 2: 2012 / 2013 | Into Business | 15

Ballymena Borough Council

Council Supports Local Businesses Ballymena Borough Council has championed the Borough’s Business Awards this year by being the principal sponsor for the event run by the Ballymena Borough Chamber of Commerce & Industry. As principal sponsor, Ballymena Borough Council is fully committed to creating an environment that commerce can operate in. Ballymena can be a place for business excellence and is proud to be the home of some great globally recognised organisations. The awards recognise those businesses that excel in their field and over 440 guests celebrated the commercial achievements of businesses and individuals that create the reputation of Ballymena as a great place with great people. Council’s facilitation and support role with local business has been a key priority of the Economic Development Strategy and to this end the Ballymena Town Centre Development Company was formed. This company has a role to introduce the Business Improvement District (BID) model to Ballymena and it brings together town centre businesses, who in turn develop actions that will assist in making Ballymena town centre a destination of choice.

Ballymena Council … backing business Mayor of Ballymena, Ald PJ McAvoy is pictured with Jacqueline Reid, Economic Development Officer; Anne Donaghy, Chief Executive and Trevor Robinson, Invest NI.

Ballymena Council … backing business Ballymena Borough Council’s Economic Development Unit has

designed a number of successful business support initiatives, aimed at helping local businesses thrive amid difficult economic times. They have included export programmes, business efficiency reviews, mentoring support, ICT solutions, product transfer programmes and town centre business development opportunities. That work is set to continue with funding in place from the Sustainable Competitiveness Programme (2007-2013) which provides up to 613m Euros from the EU’s Structural Funds to support economic development in Northern Ireland. Ballymena Borough Council will be participating in a series of Regional Collaborative Initiatives in partnership with its neighbouring councils and Invest NI over the next two years. One forthcoming initiative of . The programme seeks to work particular relevance is on the topic of with small business owners to make them aware of public sector tendering opportunities, including e-tendering, to build their capacity in using modern procurement systems and to encourage collaboration with other firms in a way that creates business networks and opens the possibility of developing supplier chains and clusters. Ballymena companies can benefit from information sessions, workshops and one-to-one mentoring support. Other programmes in the pipeline are: Raising Finance for Small Firms, Digital North East - Broadband Infrastructure and Development, Step Up to Export, Family Business Programme (Succession Planning), Business Advancement Programme, Building Your Business, Renewables Sustainability Development Programme, Sales Growth Programme and International Business Linkages Programme. For further information on any forthcoming initiatives, contact Jacqueline Reid at Ballymena Borough Council’s Economic Development Unit on 028 2563 3930 or e-mail


| Into Business | Issue 2: 2012 / 2013

Rural Development Programme Update

North-East Region (NER) Rural Development Programme which covers the council areas of Ballymena, Ballymoney, Coleraine, Larne and Moyle is assisting a whole range of businesses, farm diversification projects, tourism & community projects in the North-East area. NER is administered by Ballymena Borough Council and the overall programme has responsibility for £11m in grant-aid. At this stage most of the funds are, or are about to be, committed (over £10m). Over £3.5m is already on the ground assisting a wide variety of projects. Some examples include: James Currie (Kells) - £50,000 x 2 towards a recycling project Maeve Bird (Slemish) - £50,000 towards a camping barn David Stewart (Portglenone) - £15,424 and £38,315 towards and engineering project John McErlaine (Loughbeg Garage, Crosskeys) - £50,000 – construction of new workshop & equipment

Richard Reads (Broughshane) – Hydro Electric Scheme (£50,000) NER is also working with several village groups to help with a Village Renewal programme. In addition NER is working directly with Ballymena Borough Council on various tourism projects. At this stage the programme is nearly at full commitment and is unlikely to re-open this year. There are some possibilities that a further round for funding applications may open at the start of 2013.

Innovation – The Path To Growth NEED EXPERT HELP IN RAISING BUSINESS FINANCE? In partnership with Invest Northern Ireland, six local Councils in the North East are launching a Raising Finance for Small Firms Programme. The Programme will be delivered by Full Circle Management Solutions and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland. The Programme incorporates skills development workshops, tailored one to one consultancy support and launches with a series of Meet the Funder Events. These events will provide an excellent opportunity to meet with a range of financial providers and gain practical advice in accessing finance to develop and grow your Business. Meet the Funder Events will take place on: th

Wednesday 12 December 2012 14:00-18:00 Willowbank Business & Conference Centre, Larne th

14:00-18:00 The Braid Museum & Arts Centre, Ballymena


14:00-18:00 Sheskburn House, Moyle District Council Offices


14:00-18:00 The Bushtown Hotel, Coleraine

Wednesday 16 January 2013 Wednesday 23 January 2013 Wednesday 13 February 2013

To register your interest and for further information on the Programme, contact Claire Grant of Full Circle Management Solutions on 028 9069 1027

Businesses based in the north east region including the Ballymena area, are now able to benefit from a European funded cross border business support programme. The ERDF funded Innovation and Growth Project, which is being led by the North East Partnership, with Ballymena Borough Council as the lead administrative council; aims to encourage business growth through innovation. The initiative which operated as a successful pilot project a few years ago, will help local business here and across the border to identify, develop and realise opportunities for business expansion at the lowest possible cost and risk. Further details of the programme can be obtained from staff at the North East Partnership, on 028 2563 1605 or by emailing

Issue 2: 2012 / 2013 | Into Business | 17

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Business Property

Business Incubation A key driver for unlocking potential and socioeconomic growth Peter Harman Chief Executive UK Business Incubation

These continue to be challenging times for Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Start Up and Accelerated Growth across the UK and growing our economy through Business Incubation as well as creating new and better jobs and wealth - for the benefit of society as a whole - remains a priority for the public and private sectors. The ‘key to the door’ is undoubtedly to unlock the potential we have in terms of individuals, their ideas and their businesses. Business incubation can be a challenging concept for many but UKBI defines it as - a unique and highly flexible combination of people, processes and infrastructure designed to add value to new and small businesses by supporting them through the early stages of development, growth and change.

Hatcheries, Co-working spaces, Accelerators, Germinators, Managed Workspace, Business Development and Enterprise Centres, Cohorts/peer-peer learning and Science, Technology, Innovation Parks.

The process of business incubation is unique and ‘business incubation environments’ (BIEs) come in all shapes and sizes. The wider ‘business incubation ecosystem’ embraces a number of different operating models and components, including:

Business incubation is not new. Research suggests that the concept started in the US in 1959 in New York and that it was ‘born’ out of economic necessity, allowing tenants in a building to share the expense of various facilities and services. UKBI was formed in the late ‘90s to address the smaller scale of business incubation in the UK, primarily in comparison with the US. Since then, the number of ‘business incubation environments’ in the UK has grown from 25 to around 300. Globally there are estimated to be around 7-9000.

Business incubators (physical and/or virtual), Innovation centres, Hubs,

A ‘business incubation environment’ (BIE) usually focuses on knowledge-

This definition has changed over the years to reflect the industry UKBI serves - but the core elements - of ‘adding value’, people, process, infrastructure and growth - remain constant.

based businesses and/or the identified socioeconomic needs of the local community. BIEs embrace the following 4 ‘pillars’:

stakeholders and professionals actively involved in enterprise, innovation and sustainable economic growth, UKBI’s vision is to:

ENTREPRENEURSHIP and ENTERPRISE acting as a catalyst for economic change and development.

Play a key role in promoting the development of sustainable growth of UK and international business and thereby benefiting society as a whole.

INNOVATION facilitating linkages with the commercialisation of university or corporate research and new ideas utilising research and development expertise and proof of concept functions. START-UP enabling growing companies to become stand-alone and viable enterprises within the community. ACCELERATED GROWTH acting as a catalyst for business and economic growth, urban and rural regeneration. In addition to being a membership organisation for organisations, practitioners,

To be the independent voice of business incubation and accelerated growth, influencing policy at local, national, European and international levels. To work with its members supporting practitioners and stakeholders in the development of quality business growth environments in which their client businesses can succeed. To provide tangible benefits to its members, enhancing their ability to provide value added services to their clients.

Issue 2: 2012 / 2013 | Into Business | 19

Business Property

University, The RSA, The Information Technology Authority (ITA) in Oman, Aston University Business School, The Business Centres Association (BCA), ISBE and the World Bank.

available in support of business and business To promote the growth, national and development and devolved governments are application of best still maintaining some practice across the support for other industry. components such as coaching, mentoring, Key to UKBI’s success is funding of regional growth the representation on Although the ‘magic’ of and, through the active UKBI’s Board of individuals true business incubation - engagement and added and practitioners from and its wider ‘ecosystem’ value of the private sector, Northern Ireland, it leads - is sometimes still partnerships focused on Scotland, Wales and misunderstood, it is enterprise development at England. The representative from Northern Ireland is Ken Ken Nelson, CEO, Ledcom Nelson who is CEO of the Larne Enterprise Development Company (LEDCOM) and also a Board Member at Invest Northern Ireland (INI). During a visit to Northern Ireland a few weeks ago, Ken and I visited a wide range of stakeholders in the business incubation ecosystem including members of Enterprise Northern Ireland (ENI), Queen’s University, INI, the University of Ulster in order to improve our understanding of the ecosystem and explore how UKBI can add value to the people, processes and infrastructure that, together, make business incubation. UKBI works in partnership with other elements in - or related to - the ‘business incubation ecosystem’, whether they are membership organisations, institutions, or providers of managed workspace. In the past year the UKBI team has been engaging with and delivering workshops and projects with an increasingly wide range of partners in the UK and overseas including, for example, EBN, Coventry


interesting to note how it is, once again, being appreciated and recognised more widely. Key components in the ‘business incubation ecosystem’ - such as acceleration/Accelerator s/Growth Accelerator, ‘cohorts’/‘peer to peer learning’ and ‘co-working’ are all being championed, albeit often in isolation from each other. Growing our way out of our current economic and social challenges is perhaps (or should be) the most important element of our national strategies and, despite the rationalisation of public sector resources

| Into Business | Issue 2: 2012 / 2013

local level. Our role is to ensure that they are all seen in the context of a wider ‘business incubation ecosystem’ and, where appropriate, that the transition between them is as seamless as possible for the benefit of clients entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial individuals. These clients are not usually interested in what the ‘intervention’ is called, but how it adds value and what it does for them and their business. So, what do business incubation environments (BIEs) in the UK look like in 2012? BIEs usually

operate as not for profit organisations - only a small percentage of UK based business incubation environments are entirely private sector - with higher education and the public sector being the largest group of key stakeholders. BIEs often focus on specific industry sectors where client firms benefit from a ‘clustering effect’ alongside the benefits of sharing space, peer-topeer learning and receiving business and financial support that adds value. Infrastructure varies significantly from 100 square metres to over 22,000 square metres but the average gross area is around 3,500 square metres of which (as an average) 88% is lettable - i.e. 3,100 square metres. BIEs generally target start-ups and early stage businesses but 13% - of respondents to UKBI’s most recent mapping survey (2012) - were also open to more mature, established businesses as well as ‘anchor tenants’. Pre-incubation activities remain a growing trend but only 7% of respondents to the survey focus exclusively on ‘preincubation’. Whatever the specialisation, the true business incubation process - by its nature - is designed to fit the needs of start-ups and early stage businesses with growth potential. The wider activities of BIEs generally extend well beyond their core client base including SMEs more generally, HE and FE organisations and policy makers. These partners interact with and

gain value on a daily basis from BIEs which places them at the centre of industry and business clusters and the wider ‘business incubation ecosystem. Whatever the specialisation, the true business incubation process - by its nature - is designed to fit the needs of start-ups and early stage businesses with growth potential. The wider activities of BIEs generally extend well beyond their core client base including SMEs more generally, Higher and Further Education

Further Education organisations and policy makers. These partners interact with and gain value on a daily basis from BIEs which places them at the centre of industry and business clusters and the wider ‘business incubation ecosystem.

return on investment. However, business incubation works and recent figures, in our 2012 annual mapping survey, indicate the following:

Each business incubation environment provides an average of 167 jobs across a range of sectors Evaluating the full added and regions; over 81% of value of BIEs can be challenging as there is not client firms are still in a single operational model business after graduation and their impact depends (i.e. 3 year old businesses) on their defined strategic compared to a national average of around objectives and on their 30/40%; contribution of wider ecosystem. Equally BIEs to local and regional no standard set of indicators currently exists economies is not limited to ‘incubatees’. In fact, the for measuring a clear

estimated total number of businesses (incubatees + ad hoc client firms). currently ‘interacting’ with business incubation environments in the UK is around 42,500. Although focused on startups and early stage businesses business incubation is available to all: indigenous businesses, academic and corporate spin-outs, disadvantaged communities, social and community projects.


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Issue 2: 2012 / 2013 | Into Business | 21

Business Advice

Business Property

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| Into Business | Issue 2: 2012 / 2013

they will go elsewhere. If you think a website is too much hassle and too expensive, think again. There are many alternatives to getting your company online which are free, let us show you how.

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Issue 2: 2012 / 2013 | Into Business | 23

Legal Advice

Will Your Business Get Paid?

Paul Livingstone

Partner Samuel Cumming Solicitors & Son

Any business wants to ensure that they will get paid for any goods or services they have provided. This is obviously easier in a retail environment, where goods cannot be taken away unless they have been paid for or a finance agreement has been entered into. For manufacturing or service industries, where perhaps the goods or services provided are less tangible or where there is a time lag between the goods being provided and an invoice subsequently being raised, it can be more difficult. Businesses should consider written terms of business to ensure there is certainty between them and its customers as to the basics, and more, of the agreement between them, ensuring that the business and the customer are agreeing to the same things. Certainty will often be easier to achieve by committing terms to writing to avoid a dispute about who said what in a verbal exchange.

there are some basic terms to consider. A business needs to be sure as to what its customer is expecting it to deliver, in what time scale, for what price and when the agreed sum that customer will pay in return will be paid to you.

provided accords with what the customer wants is obviously crucial. A manufacturer cannot afford to have a customer refusing to pay because it has supplied the wrong specification, especially if it has incurred significant costs in commissioning a product to facilitate manufacture. As well as loss of income there is a potential for that business facing lengthy (and potentially costly) legal proceedings and further ancillary costs if its customer then claims its consequential losses which it says arose from the original error.

Even in the simple example, there may be potential for confusion. Is a cleaner required to carry out certain tasks during each three hour Some terms may be visit or are there tasks relatively simple a which done only once a customer wants a cleaner week? If these points are to clean his premises written down and agreed twice a week for three to can prevent difficulty. hours each time for a Any contract, whether Parties should also be in certain hourly rate. written or oral, needs, agreement about among other things, In other cases, it may timescale. Is the delivery certainty of terms. involve a specially date a crucial factor? Obviously a general article commissioned piece of What if a supplier, while cannot address all the machinery to carry out a agreeing to deliver goods necessary clauses in every specific task in an in six weeks, believes that type of agreement and engineering environment. it has some flexibility when different situations require Ensuring that what is its customer is absolutely different measures but 24

| Into Business | Issue 2: 2012 / 2013

relying on the item being there on the “agreed” day. As with the wrong specification being delivered, there may be costly implications for a supplier from late delivery. If its customer has arranged a contractor to fit the ordered item on a specific day, so the customer in turn can fulfil an obligation to a third party, the supplier may be responsible not only for the cost of the contractor but the customer’s subsequent losses if the part does not arrive? This may be on top of any penalties for late delivery in the contract. Of course delay may be due to matters beyond anyone’s control and may be covered by a “force majeure” clause that frees both parties from their obligations when an extraordinary event, such as war or catastrophe, prevents one or both parties from fulfilling their obligations. There may however be limits on this so beware. Certainty as to price would appear to be more straightforward than some terms in a contract. Care should still be taken however to document

It should also be clear what happens in the event of late or non-payment. Is interest payable? If so, at what rate? Can the supplier recover the goods on the basis that it retains title in the goods until payment in full?

Businesses should consider providing customers with standard Terms and Conditions. Advice can be sought in respect of any terms to A business may expect ensure the terms are payment on the date it appropriate and can be delivers items to a enforced. These terms customer, whereas the could be pre-printed on an This is a complex area and order form, so the customer expects that it needs more than a will receive an invoice on Customer is aware of that date and have further passing reference in this them at the time of the time to pay. Confusion can article as there are a order, or, if they relate to number of factors to be affect a business’ cash payment, on an invoice. considered and specific flow and therefore needs Changes can be made, if advice should be sought. to be clarified. applicable, by agreement payment arrangements and, in particular, terms which deal with time for payment and over due payments.

and changes documented. Even in less formal situations, businesses should consider committing basic terms to writing to avoid doubt, confusion and misunderstanding which can lead to disputes, non payment and costs. Speak to a solicitor about this.

The firm provides legal services, advice and assistance in a broad range of areas to clients from all backgrounds – private and commercial, young and old. While the firm maintains a strong link with its traditional client base within the farming community, and specialises in property matters, wills, administration of estates and estate planning, it also provides an effective general advice service to clients in many fields as well as a litigation service to clients in the field of personal injury, debt recovery, contractual or other disputes. The partners are happy to act for both private and commercial clients.

Issue 2: 2012 / 2013 | Into Business | 25

Business News

Onwards and upwards for Growing demand for affordable quality print sees continued expansion for the award winning design and print company. Ballyprint was founded in 2009 to fill an obvious gap in the market for top notch design and print at competitive and affordable prices. The team's enthusiasm, professionalism and one-to-one relationship with their customers has led to their success. offers graphic design and printing services to businesses and individuals, mostly in the UK and Ireland. The company was established by  associates Aaron Klewchuk  and Chris Atchison  and has gone from strength to strength, now employing 11 Staff over 2 locations. In 2012 the company invested over £100,000 into upgrading technology  and equipment and expanding their production facility based in Ballymena. The firm is committed to improving its customer service, and has invested in integrating its management information and production system to automate the flow of jobs. It also recently invested £40,000 in finishing and bindery equipment which includes a Duplo booklet making and stitching line, a Heidelberg Polar Guillotine, a Morgana Autocreaser and a Foliant 520 Automatic Laminator. Managing Partner Chris Atchison explains “this investment in our finishing department will keep production in house, making us more efficient while still keeping job quality high  and prices low for our customers.” The latest addition to their print room is a Xerox Digital 770 Printing Press. The new digital press will work alongside the firm’s existing Konica Minolta and Xerox Presses.

Issue 2: 2012 / 2013 | Into Business | 26

According to Business Partner Aaron Klewchuk "The new Xerox Press will increase our printing capacity by nearly another 100,000 pages per month, which will help deliver an even faster turnaround with affordable prices that our customers demand. However in the drive for efficiency, this beast doesn’t compromise on quality either."’s efforts have not gone unrecognized, recently picking up the award for Most Promising New Business at Ballymena's Business Awards. The company’s commitment to great customer service  and to providing quality products at competitive prices is unwavering.

Business Marketing

What Is A Digital Marketing Strategy? Niall McKeown Managing Director - iON

Richard Rumelt in his excellent book Good Strategy Bad Strategy states “Strategy comes from identifying one or two critical issues in the situation – the pivotal points that can multiply the effectiveness of effort – and then focusing and concentrating action and resources on them”. He’s keen to show that strategy isn’t an expression of how a business would like to be perceived by its customers nor is strategy a list of growth targets, tools, models or tactics used by marketers to translate their desires into words, images or videos. Michael E. Porter in a 1996 HBR white paper ‘What is Strategy?’ says that, “In many industries what some call is a self inflicted wound, not an inevitable outcome of a changing paradigm of competition. The root of the problem is the failure to distinguish between operational effectiveness and strategy”. In the world of digital marketing, it’s clear that many of us are failing to distinguish our operational effectiveness from strategy. We love spending time designing, posting, mailing and engaging – but this isn’t necessarily strategic and it’s usually not helping to tackle the ‘critical issue’. In Marty Neumeier’s best selling book ‘Zag’ – Strategy of High Performance Brands, he asks the reader many probing questions to help them self examine and find a ‘zag’ while the competition are all ‘zigging’. Those businesses that have an informed strategy will fill this in with ease. Those that don’t will struggle. Establishing a high performance digital strategy takes time and consideration but once complete, the correct digital marketing tools to use become obvious, the key performance indicators simple, and the time and cash requirement is calculable. With few exceptions, real success in digital marketing only happens when a business invests in a digital marketing strategy before it redesigns a single web page.

10 Year Support Recognised….. To mark the tenth anniversary of the Ballymena Business Awards presentations were made to the seven companies who have been sponsors of the awards during those ten years. Our picture shows representatives of those companies with Chamber of Commerce & Industry members Alison Moore and Chris Wales. Back, L-R, Wilton Crawford (Michelin Tyre plc), Geoff Wilson (JTI), Chris Wales (Chamber of Commerce), Trevor Robinson (Invest Northern Ireland), James Perry (Ballymena Business Centre). Front, L-R, Kevin McWilliams (First Trust Bank), Anne McCoy (Ulster Bank), Alison Moore (Chamber of Commerce), Alderman PJ McAvoy (Ballymena Borough Council). Issue 2: 2012 / 2013 | Into Business | 27

Community News

Ballymena Rotary Club The President of Ballymena Rotary Club, John Ramsey shares with the business community the benefits of the organisation. Membership of Rotary provides friendship and fellowship. It is one of the two reasons why Rotary began in 1905. Everyone needs to network. Rotary consists of a cross section of every business community. Its members come from all walks of life. Rotarians help each other and collectively help others. and personal development.

Membership in Rotary continues growth and education in human relations

Rotary is an organisation of leaders and successful people. Serving in various Rotary positions develops leadership skills – learning how to motivate, influence and lead people successful in their own fields. Every week and at various events and functions, Rotary develops personality, social skills and people skills. Rotary is for people who like people. Membership in a Rotary club makes members better community citizens. The average Rotary club consists of the most active citizens of any community. Every Rotarian wears a pin that says “Rotary International” There are few places in the world that do not have a Rotary club. Every Rotarian is welcome and indeed encouraged to attend any of the 32,000 clubs in 200 nations and geographical regions. This means instant friends in the local community and the worldwide community. Every Rotary club and District has parties, social and cultural events, functions and various activities that provide a diversion from business life. Rotary is fun, a lot of fun. The meetings are fun, the club projects are fun, the social activities are fun and the service is fun. Rotary is a service club. Rotarians provide community service to both local and international communities. This is probably the best reason for becoming a Rotarian – the chance to do something for those less fortunate. Rotary is a society of men and women who simply believe in helping others. It is richly rewarding.

SPECIAL OLYMPICS PROJECT Rotary Clubs from across Ireland have been organising fundraising events to support Special Olympics Ireland. This is an organisation which provides sport, training and competition opportunities in a whole range of sports for adults and young people with learning difficulties. The World Special Olympics are held every four years, the next being in Los Angeles in 2015. In order to help fund a team going from Ireland Rotarians have undertaken the challenge to make a significant contribution towards the team's costs. The Rotary Club of Ballymena, supported by members of the local Inner Wheel Club, recently held a fundraising event in Fairhill Shopping Centre. As a result the magnificent sum of £750 will be presented to the Special Olympics Regional Co-ordinator here in Northern Ireland. 28

| Into Business | Issue 2: 2012 /2013

Business News

Enterprise Northern Ireland Members celebrate Tradelinks 2 Programme

Small Business Support Programme celebrates the generation of over £15 Million in Cross-Border sales Tradelinks 2, an EU-funded cross-border business development programme, has generated just over £15 million new sales for firms in the cross-border region. The initiative, which was designed to assist and grow the important micro enterprise sector across Northern Ireland and the border counties of Louth, Monaghan, Cavan, Leitrim, Sligo and Donegal, held a celebration event on Friday 21st September to mark the end of the programme. The event took place at the Four Seasons Hotel in Monaghan.

Border County Enterprise Boards in the Republic. It is also supported by both governments, through the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. The programme’s principal aim was to assist 550 micro businesses on both sides of the border to identify and address barriers to cross border trade and development – the programme actually supported 580 firms, created over 250 new jobs, and helped secure over 1200 more jobs.

on increasing skills, knowledge, access to information, new contacts and new forms of doing business. Particular emphasis was placed in developing cross border trade opportunities and linkages.

Speaking about the Programme, Melanie Christie Boyle, Chief Executive of Ballymena Business Centre said: “This is the second Tradelinks programme delivered by the LEA/CEB network and we are delighted that it mirrored the successes of the first programme. The quality and the variety of support The Tradelinks which we believe Programme ran from Tradelinks 2, which Tradelinks 2 offered the October 2009 to received £2.98million September 2012 and was micro-enterprise sector is from the European Union’s available to any micro testament to the time, INTERREG IVA commitment and enterprise in Northern Programme, is a consideration that has Ireland or the border partnership initiative gone into providing a counties. Through a delivered by Enterprise NI combination of business programme which (the network of local benefits all those mentoring, research and Enterprise Agencies in companies who networking the Northern Ireland and the programme was focused participated. Although the

economic climate has changed significantly over the last number of years, Tradelinks 2 will have supported the participating companies, including businesses in the North East Region, to create 250 plus new jobs, secure over 1200 more jobs and increase sales by £15 million” Speaking at the event, Pat Colgan, Chief Executive of the Special EU Programmes Body, which manages the INTERREG IVA Programme, said: “The Tradelinks 2 programme is an excellent example of an EU supported initiative that has created direct benefits for micro-enterprises on a cross-border basis. Designed to help overcome many of the challenges faced by business owners, particularly in today’s tough economic landscape, it has enhanced their competitiveness by providing the support and assistance they needed to grow and develop.”

Issue 2: 2012 / 2013 | Into Business | 29

Web Links

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| Into Business | Issue 2: 2012 / 2013


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Into Business Magazine Issue 2 2012  
Into Business Magazine Issue 2 2012  

Into Business Magazine is published by Ballymena Business Centre to promote entrepreneurship in the Ballymena Borough Council area.