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Welcome Thank you all for your positive feedback on the first edition of our new style Thinking Business and like you, we were delighted with the style, feel and quality of content. The past few months have been a busy and exciting time for your Chamber. We have successfully won a number of Business Support contracts, which will see us delivering advice to both existing and start up businesses across the County. In the next edition we will be highlighting how members can get involved in adding value to these new contracts. We have recently had the annual Benchmarking Report from the British Chambers of Commerce and I am pleased to say that last year your Chamber was the 6th fastest growing Accredited Chamber in the UK, which now makes Kent Invicta the 19th largest Accredited Chamber in the country. The Benchmarking survey covers all areas of activity and is a great opportunity for Chambers to learn from each other. I will be looking closely at the document to see where other Chambers are excelling and see what we can learn to ultimately benefit you all, our members.

Looking through this edition, you will see that we have some fantastic events lined up for you over the coming months. You have been telling us for some time now that you want to see more business to business exhibition opportunities, as so many of you have continued to benefit from the annual event in Ashford. Responding to this, we have organised one in Canterbury in September with a further event planned for North Kent in October. Last month we held an exhibition specifically for the Engineering & Manufacturing sectors, which was well received by both exhibitors and visitors. In November we will be staging the Construction Expo, building on from last year’s successful event. Details of all these events can be found within the magazine, please do make the most of what your Chamber has to offer you. Enjoy reading!

Jo James Chief Executive

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Chamber News Members News International Trade 24 hours with... Membership Benefits Policy Regional Focus Cover Feature Big Interview The Economy

Editorial and General Enquiries Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford, Kent. TN24 0LH Tel: 01233 503 838 Fax: 01233 503 687 Email: info@kentinvictachamber.co.uk Web: www.kentinvictachamber.co.uk Chief Executive: Jo James Publisher Benham Publishing 4th Floor, Orleans House, Edmund St, Liverpool L3 9NG Tel: 0151 236 4141 Fax: 0151 236 0440 Email: admin@benhampublishing.com Web: www.benhampublishing.com Published August 2013 © Benham Publishing Advertising and Features Karen Hall Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: karen@benhampublishing.com

Ask the Expert Getting Started Members News Chamber Chatter Chamber Events Chamber Exhibitions Regional News New Members Movers & Shakers The Last Word

Production Manager Fern Badman Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: studio@benhampublishing.com Media No. 1339 Disclaimer Thinking Business is published for Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and is distributed without charge to Chamber members. All correspondence should be addressed to the Editor at Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. Views expressed in Thinking Business are not necessarily those of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. Reprinting in whole or part is forbidden except by permission. © 2013. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of material published in this journal, Benham Publishing and its agents can accept no responsibility for the veracity of claims made by contributions in advertising or editorial content. Benham Publishing cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in web or email links supplied to us.

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CHAMBERNEWS

BitesizeNews Your chance to become a school governor Schools across Kent are looking for skilled volunteers from the business community to ensure that their governing bodies are delivering high standards in education. Recent changes in the education system mean greater autonomy for schools as they gradually inherit power from local authorities and it is essential that there are skilled professionals on governing bodies to manage this increased responsibility.

New President of the British

Chambers of Commerce

For more information, visit www.becomeagovernor.com or contact Andy on 020 7288 9533 or email andy.matfield@sgoss.org.uk.

My Chamber Membership is FREE – is Yours! McCabe Ford Williams has been a long standing Member of the Kent Invicta Chamber, in fact we joined in 1954. As with any businesses, we are always looking at how we can maximise return on investment and our Chamber Membership is no different. As a local Accountancy Practice, we regularly hold Seminars both for staff development and for our clients, along with another fellow Member. We make use of the meeting and conference facilities that are available at the Chamber offices, they are perfectly positioned, just off Junction 10 of the M20 and have ample free parking. With the discount we get on the facilities as a Member, we save in excess of £500 per year, far more than what our membership costs. Are you maximising your Membership. Luke Rouse McCabe Ford Williams www.mfw.co.uk

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ThinkingBUSINESS August-September 2013

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has announced the appointment of Nora Senior as its new President, succeeding Martyn Pellew who stands down after two years in post.

Nora, who will be the business group’s first female President for ten years, was officially appointed at the BCC’s Annual General Meeting after serving as Vice President since June 2011. She is the Executive Chair for UK Regions of global PR agency Weber Shandwick and has more than 20 years’ experience in the public relations and government affairs sector.


CHAMBERNEWS

MP launches new energy service for Kent’s SMEs Government Minister Michael Fallon visited vehicle dealership Hayward to launch Lumina, a new free brokerage service brought to SMEs by Kent Count Council. Lumina is a sister organisation to LASER Energy Buying Group, which brokers energy on behalf of more than 110 local authorities every year. It is a service specifically for SMEs and its profits are returned to the local authority. Mr Fallon, Minister of State at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Minister of State at the Department for Energy and Climate Change, said: “With my ministerial responsibility for business and energy, I am delighted to launch a service that encompasses both agendas. SMEs are the UKs economic backbone and we need to help them find lower energy tariffs so they can compete effectively at home and abroad.” Derek Hayward, Managing Director of Haywards, said: “It has been a difficult couple of years for the economy and, like most businesses, we have had to work hard to bring in new clients. It has also prompted us to look at our costs and overheads, bringing them down where possible. “In 2012 the total gas bill for our sites in Medway and Sevenoaks was nearly £4,500. Lumina analysed

one of our gas meters and recommended switching to a new supplier which will save us over 50 per cent on our estimated gas bill for 2013.” He said the electricity bill was also under review with more savings predicted. Rob Morgan, LASER director of energy, said: “Between October 2012 and March 2013 we saved businesses around £150,000 – an average of £450 per meter pa - and we have a growing list of over 1,000 potential clients who have asked us to test the market a few weeks before their current renewal date and present the most competitive options available.” Bryan Sweetland, KCC Cabinet Member for Commercial and Traded Services, said: “With the launch of Lumina, we have a win-win situation – businesses can pass on the savings from lower cost energy to their customers while any profits that we make are reinvested within the local Kent community for the benefit of our residents”. For further information about Lumina, please call 0845 872 4200 or visit www.luminaenergy.co.uk.

Furley Page promotes outstanding insolvency expert A highly regarded insolvency expert, ranked at the highest level in the latest Chambers UK guide, has been promoted to associate by leading south east law firm Furley Page. Richard Ludlow joined Furley Page as the new head of the firm’s insolvency and debt recovery team, to oversee and manage the growth of Furley Page’s work in this specialised area. His expertise has quickly helped Furley Page to build on its reputation for delivering highquality insolvency and bankruptcy services to clients. Richard’s outstanding work has earned him special praise as a leading individual in the latest Chambers UK rankings, which describe him as ‘extremely knowledgeable and very experienced’. His team is also singled out for its communication skills and technical knowledge. He advises clients across Kent, the South East and London on a range of issues concerning insolvency and debt recovery, from small claims in the local county court to hearings in the companies court at London’s High Court. He also offers clients advice on personal bankruptcy. Peter Hawkes, Senior Partner and Head of Dispute Resolution at Furley Page, said: “Richard is a great asset to the firm and, thanks to his expertise and background, the insolvency team continues to go from strength to strength.”

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FOCUSONFINANCE

Attracting investment – it starts with a seed A company can consider a number of ways to raise finance. In the article we examine the concept of raising funds by way of issue of shares under a tax initiative called Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (“SEIS”).

What tax relief is available to an investor? SEIS is about turning a small company into an attractive investment proposition for a prospective investor. The reliefs include: • Income tax relief • Capital gains re-investment relief • Capital gains disposal relief

Income tax relief Income tax relief is available to individuals who subscribe for qualifying shares in a qualifying company. The relief is extremely valuable and equated to 50% of the cost of the shares, on a maximum annual investment of £100,000. The relief is given by the way of a reduction in an individual’s tax bill. For example, an investment of £50,000 can result in a £25,000 reduction in an investor’s income tax liability. The relief can be claimed in either the year of investment or in the prior period, and shares must be held for a minimum period of three years from the date of issue for the relief to be retained.

SEIS is aimed at small, early-stage companies as a means of making them more attractive to outside investors. The scheme works by offering investors significant tax reliefs for purchasing new shares in a qualifying company.

Which companies qualify for SEIS? In order to qualify under SEIS, a company must meet a number of conditions, some of which apply only at the time the relevant shares are issued and some of which must be met continuously. Broadly, the key qualifying conditions for a company can be summarised as follows: At the time that the shares are issued: • The company must be unquoted • The company (or its group if it is a parent company) must have fewer than 25 employees and no more than £200,000 in gross assets. • The company must not have had any investment from Venture Capital Trust (VCT), or issued and share under the Enterprise Investment Scheme (“EIS”). • Any trade being carried on by the company at the date of issue of the relevant shares must be less than two years old; and

• The company can raise a maximum of £150,000 under SEIS (Although it may subsequently be able to raise further funds under EIS). From the date of incorporation onwards: • There are restrictions relating to control of the company, in essence meaning that the company must not be controlled by another company; • The company must not be a member of a partnership; and • The company may have subsidiaries, but if it does, then it must hold more than 50% of the ordinary share capital of those companies and each subsidiary must itself be ‘qualifying’. From the date of the share issue onwards: • The company must be a UK resident, or have a permanent establishment in the UK. • The company (or its group if it is a parent company), must exist wholly for the purpose of carrying on a qualifying trade, which includes preparing to carry on such a trade or carrying on R&D which will lead to or benefit a qualifying trade. A qualifying trade is one which is conducted on a commercial basis with a view to the realisation of profit. Most trades qualify, but some do not and a trade must not include substantial ‘excluded activities’. It is also important to note that all the monies raised under SEIS must be spent for the purpose of a qualifying business activity within three years of the date of the relevant share issue. If this condition is not met, it will impact upon an investor’s tax relief.

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Capital Gains Re-investment Relief In 2013-2014, some relief is available from capital gains tax which would otherwise have been payable on a disposal of chargeable assets. Where an individual re-invests up to £100,000 in 2013-2014 or 2014-2015 into an SEIS qualifying investment, 50% of the capital gains tax which would have been suffered in connection with the amount re-invested will be fully exempt from tax. This can equate to relief of up to £14,000.

Capital Gains Disposal Relief If an investor has been entitled to income tax relief (which has not subsequently been withdrawn), and the shares are eventually sold at a gain, that gain is fully exempt from capital gains tax. There is also some further tax relief available to investors if the qualifying shares are sold at a loss. It should be noted that there are further conditions to be met by a prospective investor in order to qualify for the tax reliefs available under SEIS, particularly with regard to their connection to a qualifying company; however, those rules are beyond the scope of this article. Please contact Wilkins Kennedy if you would like to discuss the matter further. Please seek professional advice before entering the scheme above.

Wilkins Kennedy FKC

Stourside Place, 35-41 Station Road, Ashford, Kent TN23 1PP Tel: 01233 629255 Email: ashford@wilkinskennedy.com Website: www.wilkinskennedy.com


MEMBERSNEWS

Canterbury Festival 19 October - 2 November 2013

2013 marks the 30th anniversary of the Canterbury Festival in its current form (the original Festival started in the 1920s) and comprises over 200 events across two weeks in a wide variety of genres including world music, theatre, dance, literature, comedy and visual arts. Highlights this year include the Tallis Scholars in Canterbury Cathedral, The Faulty Towers Dining Experience at the Abode and folk legends Oysterband at the Marlowe Theatre. This year the Festival is also bringing a Spiegeltent (a highly decorative, 1920s travelling dance hall) to Canterbury which will host a packed programme of

Conningbrook Lakes gets planning permission Planning permission has officially been given for a stunning new country park in Ashford. Approval was given to the Conningbrook Lakes project following two years of hard work and detailed consultation by landowners The Brett Group and Ashford Borough Council. The site by the Julie Rose Stadium, formerly used for quarrying sand and gravel, will eventually be transformed into a vibrant country park with water-based activities for groups and individuals, foot and cyclepaths, nature trails, a water-front restaurant, and a lakeside village of 300 homes

theatre, music and cabaret. The highlight is four nights with Australian circus company Casus who will be presenting their new show Knee Deep. The Tent will be sited at The Spitfire Ground, St. Lawrence and will play host to up to four events a day. The full programme is available to view at www.canterburyfestival.co.uk.

How to establish employment status The employment status of an individual is important because some legal rights only apply to employees, including the right to bring a claim for unfair dismissal. In a recent case, the Supreme Court found that a Methodist minister was not an employee, overturning Court of Appeal and Employment Appeal decisions that she was. There are lots of factors which indicate employment and some that don’t. Three of the key characteristics of employment are mutual obligations, personal service and control. This means that the company is obliged to provide regular work and the individual is under an obligation to make themselves available and provide their services personally.

company is relevant as well, for example a company e-mail address or business card. A power of substitution in the contract implies selfemployment although the situation is less clear where the company has the power to veto the choice of substitute. The tax position can be an indication but the fact that an individual is paid without deductions is not conclusive that the individual is self-employed.

The company controls what the individual does, how and when they do it and the individual is expected to conform to the standards of, say, dress expected of others within the same workplace. If the company is not obliged to offer work on a regular basis and the individual has no obligation to accept work, this points to self-employment.

We are often instructed to draft contracts ensuring that an individual is self-employed and, whilst the contract is an important starting point, if the reality is different, then regardless of the position on paper, the individual may still be an employee.

There are other elements indicating employment status such as exclusivity, where the individual is not free to work elsewhere without permission. Pay and benefits are also significant. Integration into the

Gullands Solicitors is offering Gullands Sentinel to help businesses minimise the potential for employment disputes. For details, contact Laura Claridge at l.claridge@gullands.com.

Ashford Borough Council has also been granted planning permission for initial use of the land prior to the houses being built, meaning work can now start to make some sections of the park available for sports clubs and the general public early next year. Further development of the long-term facilities will be linked to funding from the phased housing development.

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MEMBERSNEWS

BitesizeNews Ladies Charity Lunch to take place The Heart of Kent Hospice, in Aylesford, is to host a charity lunch at Chilston Park Hotel on Thursday 21st November. The tickets are £35 per head for a reception drink and a two course meal. The guest speaker is Janet Goode, Partner at Whitehead Monckton, a local firm of solicitors. A silent auction for designer handbags will be on offer so the hospice is appealing for ladies to have a wardrobe clearance and donate that bag that they no longer use. For more details call 01622 790195 or e-mail fundraising@hokh.co.uk or book online www.hokh.org

Care home recognised for commitment to its service users A care home for people living with dementia has been recognised for its commitment to supporting meaningful lives for its service users. Perrygrove in Charlton, in the Borough of Greenwich, now has an ‘Eden Tree’ plaque and certificate in recognition of being included on the Eden Alternative UK Register of Homes. The Eden Alternative is based on the core belief that ageing should be a continued stage of development and growth, rather than a period of decline. Sonia Williamson, Home Manager, said: “We are very proud of the achievement. The staff and service users have made it happen.”

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ThinkingBUSINESS August-September 2013

Football boots inspire brighter future A simple pair of football boots paid for by West Kent Extra’s Rising Stars bursary was enough to turn life around for a teenager who faced being excluded from school and dropping out of society. Paul was on the verge of giving up after problems at home and at school saw him drifting towards an uncertain future with few achievements and no real ambition. His one passion was football, but he couldn’t afford the trainers he needed to play properly and his home life was such that there was no chance of anyone else buying them for him.

“Paul began to take an interest in life and in his future again, and he made it clear that he wanted to study sport rather than the construction course he was not enjoying,” said Jill. “We helped persuade the school to let him switch courses, but he was a long way behind with the work at that stage and it was down to him to catch up.”

That changed, though, when he found himself being supported by CXK (formerly Connexions Kent) personal adviser Jill Brett, whose experience in supporting young people in difficult circumstances helped her to recognise a way forward for Paul.

Not only did Paul catch up and complete the course, he was asked to deliver training sessions to younger team players, he helped others take part in sporting activities and he went on to win a place on a college course.

Jill realised that football could hold the key to giving Paul back some self-esteem and confidence and so she asked West Kent Extra’s Colleen Coode, who administers the Kent-wide bursary, if the charity could help him.

He is now studying an Activity Leadership Certificate in Football (NVQ Level 2) to add to the BTEC Level 2 Sports Diploma he earned at school after turning his life around.

Before long Paul was showing off his skills in trainers he could never otherwise have afforded. The transformation had begun, but it was far from complete.

His own efforts – including catching up on the backlog of work he had missed – persuaded Jill to put Paul forward for a Kent County Council Try Angle Personal Development Award.

Haines Watts wins excellence award for second year Accountancy firm, Haines Watts, which has been in Kent since 2005, won Auditor of the Year in the SME category for a second time at the annual FDs Excellence Awards. The awards recognise the service providers that support Britain’s finance community using the results of an annual survey, in which 1,380 FDs and financial decision-makers recorded their opinion. The prestigious awards ceremony was held in Grosvenor Square, London and hosted by Real Business in association with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and supported by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). Haines Watts won the award last year and beat competition from other UK firms such as Baker Tilly, Crowe Clark Whitehill, Deloitte, RSM Tenon and Saffery Champness.

Andrew Minifie, National Managing Partner at Haines Watts, said: “It’s great to see Haines Watts win such a prestigious award for the second year in succession. This type of award really matters to us because it’s voted for by business people and not by an academic panel of experts.” Anthony Brand, Partner of Haines Watts Kent whose offices are in Maidstone, said: “Our core client base is owner managed businesses, so to get this endorsement from SME businesses means a great deal to us. We are proud of all of our staff who do an outstanding job for our clients day to day and who have contributed towards us winning this award.”


MEMBERSNEWS

Visit shines a spotlight on business success story The Rt. Hon Damian Green MP and Jo James, Chief Executive of the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce visited Kenhire Limited at their Henwood site in Ashford.

The Rt. Hon Damian Green MP, Jo James CEO Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce with Paul Kennedy. Kenhire have been providing vehicle rental and garage services to the Ashford area and beyond since 1949, and have occupied their current site since 1972. It has been expanded several times since to keep up with customer demand. As well as rentals and garage services they also provide a range of contract hire and vehicles sales, bodyshop facilities, vinyl vehicle graphics and, the most recent

addition to the portfolio, an MOT testing station. Damian and Jo met with Managing Director Paul Kennedy and the Kenhire staff team, as well as undertaking a tour of the site where they saw firsthand what goes on in the workshops located behind the busy reception area.

to see exactly what we do; the range of which often surprises people. In fact, Kenhire has been providing most of these services since my father, Don, started the business 64 years ago.”

Open for business In case you have been hearing rumours that The River Centre is not going to be running as a conference centre anymore, I wanted to set the story straight… Yes we are!! We are re-launching our state-of-theart venue with new management under a new and recapitalised Harvester Conferences Ltd. We are really excited about the new future of The River Centre and we will be holding some launch events soon for you to come and view our stunning venue for yourselves. Keep an eye on our website www.therivercentre.org for the dates, or why not follow us on twitter to keep up to date with what events are happening that you might be interested in @therivercentre. If you haven’t heard of us before, we are located in the centre of Tonbridge and offer some of the largest and most versatile facilities in the South of England. The River Centre should be your first choice as a venue, with over 400sqm of space on the ground floor and an auditorium that is over 500sqm and can seat up to 750 people, we can cater for major conferences, exhibitions, training, meetings, product launches and much more. You have to see it to believe it, so please contact us and book a time to come and have a private viewing of the centre, we look forward to welcoming you soon! Holly Strang Marketing and Conference Manager holly.strang@therivercentre.org

Paul Kennedy said of the visit “As a long established Ashford business, it was nice for Damian and Jo to be able

Square & Level Practise - Architectural Services The company supplies the service of providing “Planning & Building control services” in a complete package to its clients, be they residential (i.e. the home owner), builders looking for a professional to supply these services or that of a property developer. Within this package it provides Planning & Building control drawings, deal with all the application forms and other documentation for the planning application, together with liaising with the relevant local authority members for each project. The company liaises with a private building control company who specialise just in dealing with the building control application. The reason for using this company is they have many years’ experience in the field and their turnaround time is also usually quicker & fees lower than the local authority. The can also help by following the project through to conclusion. E-mail: barry@squarelevelpractise.co.uk Web: http://www.squarelevelpractise.co.uk

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MEMBERSNEWS

Research reveals impact of Kent Enterprise Hub on local economy New figures have shown that the University of Kent’s Enterprise Hub has to date made a £3.87m impact on the local economy. The figures – based on National Council of Graduate Employment modelling for determining impact follow the announcement of three new businesses joining the Hub in the last three months. As well as assisting almost 60 new start-up businesses and helping to create more than 110 new jobs since it opened in 2010, the Hub continues to attract a host of start-ups at its base at the University’s Canterbury campus. The Kent Enterprise Hub is a dedicated support for student, graduate and staff start-up businesses. Companies can operate from within the Hub’s facilities, whilst accessing advice, support and knowledge from business experts. Existing companies at the Hub range from staff and student start-ups that include various high-tech and cutting edge science research organisations, which have attracted East Kent expansion funding and large amounts of private capital investment, alongside smaller life-style businesses. One business which was based at the Hub sold for almost £6 million. Carole Barron, Director of Innovation & Enterprise, said: “These figures are a testament to the quality of innovation and creativity of Hub-based businesses, and the aspirations they have for making their mark on the business world, both locally and further afield. “There have been predictions that almost half of students in the next three years will consider setting up their own businesses beyond graduation, so we

Business Proposal Service In today’s business world, companies find themselves spending hours upon hours submitting business proposals to potential clients, and not getting any results. Business proposals are perhaps one of the most critical documents you need to submit. It is what provides the difference between success and failure, no matter where in the SME’ market your company may be. Having identified the product or service, considered the solution and prepared a price, you are finally ready to start writing the business proposal. But where do you start? How do you include issues such as? • Description and Pricing Tables • Technical Qualification • Pricing Assumptions • Compliance Matrix • Risk Assessment • Terms and Conditions of Sale Although business proposals present the same information, it is important to take time and make each one unique. It must outline your unique selling points (USP’s) to ensure that you capture the interest of a potential client. Remember; the business proposal is your invisible salesman, it forms part of your business development plan, it’s your opening line of communication.

hope the Hub will encourage students to experiment with enterprise, as well as provide graduates and staff with the opportunities to explore the options of spinning out a new company.”

Breathe Telecom Limited Breathe Telecom is an independent business-to-business mobile communications specialist offering bespoke solutions to suit your needs. All our offers are billed directly by Breathe so we have complete control to enable us to service your requirements and at the same time offering quality coverage as all our offers are powered by O2 and Vodafone.

BPS

We listen to our client’s needs and pride ourselves on offering not only the most costeffective solution but also the most appropriate devices and applications to increase efficiency, productivity and profit. These are the main reasons Breathe Telecom is one of the fastest growing communication providers in Kent. Please call 01322 470264, email enquiries@breathetelecom.co.uk or visit our website www.breathetelecom.co.uk.

Capturing cost of labour, materials and other direct costs and aligning these with sales prices to calculate gross margins have to be mandatory functions. These calculations are the indicator to the accountability of profit and loss on which your company is dependant for survival in today’s economic climate. With more than 30 years of experience, skills and knowledge gained in all areas outlined and working as a part of your team, BPS can provide assistance in delivering the following. • Contract review and advice • Cost engineering and cost control • Price appraisal and review • Proposal preparation and writing • Sales promotion and business development Time is money. If you have sufficient of both, then you have succeeded in business… or have you? For contact details and more info please go to: www.bpskent.co.uk

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MEMBERSNEWS

BitesizeNews Business lounge is part of airport refurbishment JBH Refurbishments and Harts of Maidstone have completed another project in Kent. Manston, Kent’s International Airport, has been undergoing major changes and the new business lounge that has been created fits in with the overall look. The lounge area has workstations for those wishing to work whilst they wait and Wi-Fi access and printers. Complimentary refreshments will be on offer for passengers. A TV is also installed for those wishing to relax before their flight.

Recognition for company Clarkson Wright & Jakes [CWJ] of Orpington has been awarded a national Mark of Excellence in client service, specifically designed for law firms. CWJ, which employs more than 80 staff, now carries the LawNet Mark of Excellence, as a sign of its commitment to delivering excellent service to clients, which is audited as part of the LawNet ISO 9001:2008 quality standard.

Risk and intelligence company encourages personal career development Operations Co-ordinator Jill Watson, from Ashford-based specialist business risk and intelligence company The Inkerman Group, has been awarded a Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Security Management, having passed with distinction. As an advocate of personal career development, The Inkerman Group encourages and supports all of its employees to attend industry-related courses and conferences wherever possible to enhance their existing qualifications. Issued by Stonebridge Associated Colleges and accredited by NCFE, the UK’s longest established awarding body, the course covered 15 modules. Jill has worked with The Inkerman Group for four years and is responsible for co-ordinating the 24/7 Operations team, as well as essential management and administration of the company’s international client base.

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ThinkingBUSINESS August-September 2013

Research reveals tax figures Residents of Tonbridge and Malling pay an average of £7,000 income tax a year, the ninth highest figure in the UK, according to a survey. This is 59% higher than the UK average of £4,398, says UHY Hacker Young, an accounting firm with offices in Sittingbourne. By contrast, residents in Maidstone and Medway have the 23rd and 55th highest average tax bills respectively. UHY Hacker Young claims that high income tax payments in Tonbridge and Malling are down to the borough’s proximity to London, and an attractive country setting which is a magnet for many commuters with high-paid jobs in the City. UHY Hacker Young adds that the latest income tax statistics show that the UK is increasingly reliant on a handful of wealthy towns for revenue. The district with the highest average payers is Elmbridge in Surrey (£16,100), the home to Russian

A chance for business to support literacy campaign Illiteracy is a major problem affecting many thousands of children and adults, often with catastrophic consequences. Last July, 2,835 children left primary school in Kent unable to read to the required standard. At Beanstalk, they think that this is an avoidable tragedy and that’s why they are working with the KM Group to Get Kent Reading.

oligarchs, entertainers, and Premiership footballers. The next highest tax paying areas are St Albans (£10,900), Windsor and Maidenhead (£10,200), Guildford (£9,830) and London (£8,580). Allan Hickie, Sittingbourne-based partner at UHY Hacker Young, said: “Tonbridge is a key community base for City workers, and it is also the home to a growing financial services sector in its own right. There is a growing regional mismatch within the UK, with wealth and tax bills becoming concentrated within a handful of cities, suburbs or towns like Tonbridge, where residents subsidise the tax payments from other towns.”

Transformed Whitstable Hotel signals boost for local tourism The Marine Hotel, Tankerton has received a £1.6m transformation by Britain’s oldest brewer, Shepherd Neame.

The aim of the campaign is to support more local children who are struggling with their reading and to give them the literacy skills they need to be successful in life.

The hotel, which has been transformed inside and out, enjoys impressive sea views from its prime location above Tankerton slopes.

This is achieved through the sustained commitment of volunteers, who are trained to work with those local primary school children aged six to 11 years who find reading a challenge.

All 30 bedrooms and bathrooms, plus the function rooms, restaurant, and bar area have been transformed to create a destination hotel with period detail, modern comfort and contemporary interior style. There is the addition of a light and airy orangery, an attractive complement to the coffee shop.

There are many ways your company can help Beanstalk to help more children across Kent. You can set up a company reading scheme to provide inspirational volunteering opportunities for your employees as Beanstalk reading helpers in a local school. Or you could take part in the Beanstalk Corporate Challenge to offer your staff learning and development opportunities while at the same time raising funds for Beanstalk. For more information, please contact Liz Bennett – 0207 749 7972 or liz.bennett@beanstalkcharity.org.uk

The hotel’s elegantly-styled function rooms – the Ballroom and the Galley Suite – are both ideal for parties, conferences, meetings and celebrations. The restaurant offers a high quality menu using local produce, with an emphasis on seafood. Shepherd Neame chief executive Jonathan Neame said: “This significant refurbishment is not just about investing in The Marine Hotel, but the coastal area of east Kent, too.”


MEMBERSNEWS

Companies set up by council Ashford Borough Council’s cabinet members have approved the creation of two local authority companies. Local authorities have had the power to charge and trade with private sector organisations and individuals in areas related to their own services since the 1970s but the 2011 Localism Act gave councils more encouragement and scope to work in this way to undertake important work that matters to people at a local level. Through an approach that is believed to be the first embarked on by a district authority in Kent, two new companies – ‘A Better Choice for Property Ltd’ and ‘A Better Choice for Building Consultancy Ltd’ are being created in Ashford to enable the council to deliver on its corporate priorities and trade in a way that makes the most of its resources. The companies will create income for the council that will be an effective way of increasing the council’s financial resilience. They will be wholly owned by the council and will see council staff working on an hourly basis to undertake commissioned work.

Double celebration for travel company Baldwins Travel received two prestigious awards at the recent travel industry’s Agent Achievement Awards. Ron Marks, Chairman and Managing Director of the Baldwins Travel Group, received a Lifetime Achievement Award for his ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Travel Industry’. Ron said: “It was a very pleasant surprise to receive this award and I would like to pay tribute to my fantastic, highly experienced team. We have played to our strengths in terms of offering a high level of personal and knowledgeable service. I am very proud of the Baldwins Travel team.” Ron has more than 50 years’ experience in the travel industry and is also the current Chairman of Advantage Travel Centres, which is a national

grouping of independent travel agents, of which Baldwins Travel Group are a member. Baldwins Travel was also voted Top Travel Agency for London and the South East for the 6th year running. Director Nick Marks said: “Our success at this year’s awards can be put down to the hard work of our experienced team, who are simply outstanding. Our customers are served by the best in the business!” Baldwins Travel (incorporating Sevenoaks Travel) established in 1895, is a family owned business with an annual turnover of £19 million. Offices are located in Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge, Maidstone, Sevenoaks Travel and Uckfield.

The Southern Model Show comes to Headcorn Aerodrome The Southern Model Show is expecting more than 12,000 visitors to its new event location at Headcorn Aerodrome in Kent, on the 14th & 15th September, making it one of the largest shows of its type in the country.

This is an ideal family show, with something for everyone; aeroplanes, helicopters, boats, cars, tanks and a full size aero display on both days. Doors open at 10am on both days and tickets are priced at £10 per adult, £8 per child, or £30 for a family ticket (2+2). Two-day tickets are available from £14 for a child and £18 for an adult, family ticket £52. Overnight camping is available at the aerodrome site from £8 per night. Tickets and camping can be booked at www.heritage-events.co.uk

The property company will build on the expertise within the current housing service to provide a range of high-quality housing for rent to meet the needs of the people of the borough, provide suitable accommodation for vulnerable residents and be the landlord for tenants in these properties. The building consultancy company will provide all of the discretionary services that the building control service currently provides, such as thermal modelling of buildings and specialist design advice.

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INTERNATIONALTRADE

UK exports reach highest level since the recession, according to report by British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and DHL The latest DHL/BCC Trade Confidence Index report – which measures UK exporting activity (Export Index) and business confidence (Confidence Index) – shows that exporting activity is at its highest level since 2007. Responses from more than 1,700 businesses show that export orders and sales have increased, with confidence levels in both future turnover and future profitability also remaining high. More businesses have taken on new staff in the second quarter of this year, with many expecting to hire further in Q3. The index number, which is calculated from the volume of export documents issued to businesses by Chambers of Commerce, now stands at 118.12. This represents an increase of 2.85% on Q1 2013 and is 2.94% higher compared with the same quarter last year. The key findings from the report are: • Export orders for service sector businesses increased for 50% of firms to the highest figure on record. 44% of manufacturing firms increased their export orders resulting in the highest figure since Q1 2012. • Nearly half of exporters (48%) said their export sales increased in Q2 2013, compared to 10% who said that they decreased. • 42% of manufacturing firms reported an increase in export sales – up from 36% of firms in Q1. In the services sector, 52% saw export sales increase – up from 44% of firms in Q1. • More than half of exporters (51%) believe that their profitability will increase this year, and 60% believe they will see an increase in turnover. • Nearly a third of firms (31%) said that they expected to increase staff this year, up from 28% in Q1 2013. • The number of businesses claiming that raw material costs were adding to price pressures fell from 42% to 33% in Q2 2013. However, when broken down by size, it appears that micro firms within the service sector are still experiencing price pressures, with 46% citing this as an issue compared with only 25% in the previous quarter. 14

ThinkingBUSINESS August-September 2013

John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “For the first time on record, these results are positive across the board. Export sales and orders have gone up, confidence is high and expectations around profitability have increased. Even more businesses have taken on new staff this quarter, with many expecting to hire again next quarter which is really encouraging. This is a tribute to UK exporters who are working tirelessly to drive growth and lead the economic recovery.

“But we mustn’t take our foot off the gas. We still need more companies to take the plunge on international trade and for those who export already, to try and diversify into new markets. For this to happen, businesses need real, on the ground support to help them take their goods and services overseas. We must seize this momentum and strive towards an economy that is more than just ‘ok’, but which is truly great and outperforms our competitors.”


INTERNATIONALTRADE

GermanContractors – Match-making for the construction industry GermanContractors (www.germancontractors.co.uk) is an online construction directory designed for British construction companies and developers, architects, project planners and specifiers. The easy to use database encompasses more than 100 companies working in a variety of industries from general construction and building installation to specialised architectural services, machinery installation and fixtures & fittings. Information about the companies also includes company size and references, where available. British companies can search for a partner that best fulfils their requirements and contact them directly. “German contractors are highly skilled and have undergone extensive practical and theoretical training over a number of years”, said Dr Ulrich Hoppe, Director General of the German-British Chamber. “Our online construction directory aims to gather German companies, making it easier to choose an ideal partner.” “GermanContractors” is administered by the German-British Chamber of Industry & Commerce as part of our mission of promoting German-British business relations and free to use. For more information, please contact Katja Ludwigs on 020 7976 4146 or email info@germancontractors.co.uk, web: www.germancontractors.co.uk.

Advice and Support from UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) Passport to Export A 12-18 month flexible programme designed to help new and inexperienced exporters to understand and target international customers. The package includes a free two-day Export Strategy Workshop, additional subsidised training, development of an export action plan, advice and guidance from an experienced International Trade Adviser (ITA), access to a whole range of UKTI services and up to £3,000 matched funding to help you implement your export plans in agreement with your ITA. Passport to Export costs many thousands of pounds to provide; its value to companies that participate is considerably more. However if you are selected for Passport to Export, all that is asked of you is a £500 + VAT commitment fee. Gateway to Global Growth UKTI also offers more experienced exporters a programme that provides an extensive range of guidance and support to help expand your international business further. The Gateway programme, as with Passport to Export, includes regular tailored one to one advice from an experienced ITA over a 12 month period. This support is entirely driven by your business needs and could include skills development, help to identify new market opportunities as well as providing funding and in-market support. Gateway also provides access to sector and market specialists, as well as experts covering wider business issues from within UKTI’s partner network. UKTI offers a range of services for both new and existing exporters, full details of their services can be found at www.ukti.gov.uk.

Export Training The Chamber runs a number of training events designed to meet the needs of those individuals working in the export sector. Courses are run at convenient locations across the county throughout the year. We also provide two online interactive guides produced by HMRC for those new to exporting. To find out more, or to book, visit www.kentivictachamber and see our events and training calendar for 2013.

Upcoming International Training Events Introduction to Export Operations 12th September 2013 – 9:30 – 16:30 Innovation Centre Medway £205+ VAT for Members Letters of Credit 15th October 2013 – 9:30 – 16:30 Innovation Centre Medway

Chamber FX – helping import and export members grow their profits

£205+ VAT for Members

Kent Invicta Chamber has teamed up with Moneycorp to bring you a new, unique foreign exchange offer that will save you time, hassle and money.

Innovation Centre Medway

Member benefits are: • Competitive Exchange rates – save up to £3,250 extra per transfer when compared to the top four High Street banks • Expert Market guidance – Automatic rate alerts and market updates from your personal qualified Dealer • Peace of Mind – Moneycorp are fully regulated by the FSA and endorsed by the British Chamber of Commerce • Fast, secure online transactions – Easy access to a web based system to make payments and trade foreign exchange

Exclusive Member offer: • Reduced transfer fee – £5 per transfer compared to £30 for High Street banks • Free online currency account • Free foreign exchange health check to help you improve your bottom line For full details, or a quote, visit www.moneycorp.com/chamberfx then choose the South East Region then Kent Invicta. Just one way your Chamber can save you money.

Exporting – Understanding the Paperwork 19th November 2013 – 9:30 – 16:30 £205 + VAT for Members Revised Incoterms – Rules 2010 16th December 2013 – 9:30 – 12:15 Kent Invicta Chamber Offices, Ashford £145 + VAT for Members Classification of Goods – Using Commodity and Tariff Codes 16th December 2013 – 13:15 – 16:00 Kent Invicta Chamber Offices, Ashford £145 + VAT for Members

August-September 2013 ThinkingBUSINESS

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24HOURSWITH

24 HOURSWITH Paul Andrews Entrepreneur www.jobsinkent.com “I have a range of business interests in Kent so during the day I‘ll perhaps pop into one of the offices and meet some of the staff, or I may attend networking events. No two days are ever the same. “I do a lot of driving around Kent, doing many different things and meeting many different people.” Except Tuesdays, which is the day Paul devotes to his radio work. He presents and produces shows for Kentbusinessradio at Dymchurch, including his popular programme, The Business Bunker.

Paul Andrews in action

No day the same for entrepreneur No day is ever the same for Paul Andrews and that’s just the way he likes it. This busy entrepreneur is involved in many businesses in Kent, including running the successful jobs website www.jobsinkent.com, which focusses on recruitment in Kent and Medway and has its headquarters in Maidstone. He said: “My typical working day starts around 6am when I check what

jobs have been posted overnight on the website.

have to keep an eye out for spam that may slip through.

“There can be twenty or thirty of them and I need to check that they are legal and neat and tidy because, as the publisher, we are liable.

“The checking does not take too long then I am normally out on the road. I spend most of my time on the road, perhaps first attending a breakfast networking meeting then having meetings with clients or prospective clients during the rest of the day.

“Every one of them has to be vetted. Most of them are from existing clients with the occasional new one but you

I do a lot of driving round Kent, do a lot of things and meet a lot of people. No day is ever the same. 16

ThinkingBUSINESS August-September 2013

He said: “Most Monday afternoons will see me visiting the studio, preparing for the next day, then I spend every Tuesday at the station, presenting my own shows and producing others. “Normally, I will not finish work until past midnight when it‘s a radio day and I do that every Tuesday. “Away from the station and the jobs site, I am also involved in encouraging business start-ups and as an Angel Investor I will maybe have a meeting with someone who wants to persuade me to invest in their idea.” All of which does not leave much spare time. However, Paul said: “My children are grown up and I am a single man so I tend to work most evenings and most weekends as well, including speaking engagements or meeting up with people. “A lot of the people I do business with are friends as well so I often meet them over dinner in the evening and combine business with pleasure. Work and my social life overlap. One bleeds into the other.”


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MEMBERSHIPBENEFITS

ways to get the most out of events We host a variety of events all year round which are attended by members and non-members alike. Here are our top five tips to help you get the most of the events you attend. 1.

Be prepared:

The opportunity to speak at events might fill you with dread but if you go in prepared it needn’t be that way. Know what you want to achieve out of each event and take a minute to prepare what you’re going to say; you’ll feel more confident and people will learn more about you.

2.

Get Connected:

We run a variety of networking events, from our formal Annual Dinner through to networking breakfasts, business lunches and our very popular After Hours Clubs, there is something to suit everyone; it’s important to come along to a couple of each to find out what works best for you and your business. Most importantly don’t be afraid to approach someone who you think could be a great contact – we’re all there to meet more people and to keep businesses well connected.

3.

Follow up:

For networking events we email all delegates, providing them with contact details of all attendees. Use that email as a prompt to remind you to contact those you connected with at the event, those you might not have managed to connect with and to follow up all those leads you picked up!

4.

Give it time:

Attending Chamber events should be seen as an investment in your business, you may not see immediate results but you will see some further down the line. It’s important to give others the opportunity to learn more about you, your business and what you do. Remember, networking is not just about who is in the room, it’s about the wider network that everyone knows outside of the room.

5.

It’s not all about sales:

Some connections you make at our events may not result in a sale, instead you may find that other attendees help you through engaging in problem solving and networking events are great opportunities to share best practice and pick up a few new tips and tricks! To discuss any of these or other ways you can get noticed, contact one of our Membership Team.

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ThinkingBUSINESS August-September 2013


POLICY

Clamour for APD reform growing as 300 businesses back online campaign Over the last four weeks more than 400 businesses have backed a new campaign calling for lower Air Passenger Duty (APD). Large or small, these businesses recognise the damaging impact of APD on their potential for growth and development, particularly in these challenging economic times. Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce is delighted to add our own support to this campaign and would encourage businesses to add their support too. Members can visit www.afairtaxonflying.org/business and it takes just one minute to sign the petition. Last year as some of you may know A Fair Tax on Flying won the support of 200,000 people who wrote to their local MP to voice their concerns about the impact of APD on their families. But of course it’s not just consumers who are affected by APD – British businesses are also suffering as a result of the world’s highest air passenger tax being levied on all flights departing UK airports. That’s why this campaign was launched and the early signs are encouraging. A total of 17 regional Chambers of Commerce and business groups have now added their support to the campaign – a significant indication that APD is a tax that affects businesses across many different sectors of the economy who depend on international travel to grow and expand into new markets.

review APD or its view of the PwC report. Disappointingly even the Secretary of State for Transport keeps dodging questions about his own Department’s views of APD, despite the fact that it’s hurting those businesses that DfT represents, most acutely. So it is vital that every business affected by APD makes their voice heard and joins the movement for change. We urge you to spend just one minute at www.afairtaxonflying.org/business and help make the case for fairer, lower APD.

We have spoken with campaign organisers and the feedback is that opposition to APD coming from both small and large businesses alike, some are worried about the lost business due to investors simply not wanting to fly to Britain while others highlight loss of custom caused by people being priced out of visiting the UK. From travel agents to export companies, business associations to chambers of commerce, all are asking for a review of the current system of APD. One campaign-backer is typical when he says: “After wages, travel costs are our biggest overhead. If we could see more prospects and clients, at home and abroad, we could grow our business more quickly but APD prevents us from maximising the opportunities to get in front of people. This government claims to be the government of business and growth but APD is just another tax that stifles small businesses.” Growing support from businesses for APD reform mirrors the growing body of research quantifying both the damaging impacts of APD and the benefits of reform. Most recently, PwC’s report published in February found that abolition would result in around a 0.45% boost to UK GDP in the first 12 months, averaging at 0.3% for the two and a half years after. Or to put it another way, scrapping APD would bring about a larger amount of growth in the economy for each of the next two years than we saw in the entire UK economy last year (according to the ONS). They predict that the economic benefit of any cut would be permanent and would create almost 60,000 jobs. It might seem counter-intuitive to reduce a tax in order to increase overall Government tax revenues but the economic stimulus generated by reducing or abolishing APD is exactly what PwC’s economic modelling suggests will happen. The report found that any reduction in APD would increase tax receipts for key indirect taxes (such as VAT) resulting in a net gain of £0.25bn per annum for the Treasury! What’s more, against the backdrop of the IMF’s recent downgrading of the UK’s growth forecast for 2013/14 by 0.3% – to just 0.7% this year and 1.5% in 2014 – it’s clear that the Government needs to look at other options to kick-start the economy. APD should clearly be one of them. That’s why A Fair Tax on Flying is making sure that the Government does not ignore the voice of businesses: they are planning on taking the petition to the Chancellor later this year. It’s vital that the Chancellor understands the affect APD is having upon companies throughout the UK, across all sectors and in all industries. To date the Treasury has stonewalled when asked about its plans to

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REGIONALFOCUS

Exciting plans for fast-growing town Ashford is one of the fastest growing towns between London and the Continent with an ambitious development strategy to make it an exciting, prosperous and sustainable place to do businesses.

The strategy, involving the borough council and organisations including the Chamber, is designed to emphasise both the borough’s business benefits and also its high quality of life as a way of attracting inward investment. Companies looking to relocate or upgrade their business find that Ashford has the value, connections and quality to give the area an edge. Ashford already offers outstanding business accommodation at competitive prices, from its 16 existing business parks to its planned commercial quarter, and with two trains an hour all day, every day, connecting Ashford to London in just 38 minutes, it’s easy to see why the town is so popular. Companies moving into Ashford also benefit from up to 68% lower office property costs than London, a strong skills base and a quality of life unmatched by city dwelling. With two major shopping centres, excellent sports and leisure facilities, a choice of grammar, private and state schools, and beautiful surroundings, Ashford is already one of the hottest property spots in the country. Recently delivered benefits include: • Improvements to junction 9 M20 and Drovers roundabout, and a new link road through south Ashford

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ThinkingBUSINESS August-September 2013

• An iconic new foot and cycle bridge over the M20 • The creation of a new cultural performance venue in St Mary’s Church in the heart of the town centre. Further plans to revitalise Ashford include: • An exciting mix of new shops, cafes, leisure and high quality town houses with the Elwick Place development • Stunning new office and commercial space in the town centre Commercial Quarter • The creation of a new country park at Conningbrook Lakes, featuring a host of water and land based leisure activities for all the family Cllr Graham Galpin, Portfolio Holder for the Town Centre and Urban Economy for Ashford Borough Council, said: “Our strategy is devised around developing the town centre. “We have a changing society and it is important that our strategy underlines the advantages of living and doing business in Ashford, stressing that the town and its centre is a good place to live and that this part of Kent has a high quality of life. “Ashford is only 38 minutes from London and we are constantly working to attract investors who find that an advantage. “Supporting the town centre is important. We need to attract more shops and that is why, although we are working hard to make sure that we support the needs of the McArthur Glen development, we also make sure that it complements the existing offer in the town centre.” One of the key business strategies is to support the construction and housing sector, using them as a key driver for the regeneration of the borough. Ashford Borough Council recently announced that it was one of only six local authorities outside London that has been successful in gaining an exemption from the Government that will protect a potential 5,000 jobs in the borough. Ashford will have an area of its borough that will be exempt from plans to allow offices to be converted into homes without the need for planning permission. The council applied to the Department for Communities and Local Government in March to have an area of the town centre designated for the Commercial Quarter be exempt from what is known as permitted development rights. The new Government policy change removes the need for applications to be submitted to the local planning

authority for any premises to have its use changed from office to residential. Ashford Borough Council already takes a proactive approach to considering the conversion of underused commercial premises to residential use but, given its commitment to the Commercial Quarter, which could create 5,000 jobs within easy reach of Ashford International station, the authority proposed that the area and its surrounding office buildings be exempt so that the project was not jeopardised. Cllr Galpin said: “It was very important that we gained the exemption. We have potentially very exciting developments in the town centre and we have great expectations for it so it was important that we obtained the exemption so that we can protect it. “The council has a proven track record in identifying every opportunity for business growth and to continually develop the borough’s retail and leisure offers, giving residents an excellent quality of life. We are already delivering projects that are making our bold ambitions a reality and have more plans for enhancing the town for the future.”


REGIONALFOCUS

Giving Ashford business a voice The Ashford Economic Development Group, (AEDG), like the other area Groups, is considered the engine room of the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. It is our objective to represent the interests of LOCAL businesses, whether it is on local or national Government issues. We, in Ashford, have twelve members of the local business community together with the Economic Development Manager from Ashford Borough Council and an elected councillor. So what has the Ashford engine room been dealing with recently? Several planning and development issues have been discussed with group members and Ashford Borough Council, some controversial, others not so, but our aim is try and give an unbiased business perspective which we hope is for the benefit of Ashford’s future. We openly support the ABC Local Plan and are pleased to see that the New Town Railway development is under way at last, together with Waterbrook and Cheeseman’s Green. Also good news for John Lewis fans, we did support trying to get them to the town centre; however, having them in their current location is better than not at all.

An exceptional commercial opportunity Ashford’s landmark building, Charter House, is being brought back to life with the launch of The Panorama. Located just off the High Street, The Panorama’s retail and leisure opportunities look set to revitalise Ashford’s commercial appeal.

This outstanding town centre retail, leisure and office opportunity will provide 17,500 sq ft of brand new ground floor commercial space. In addition, The Panorama will be home to 234 high specification apartments – 50% of which have already been sold. With an extensive customer base within the development, The Panorama will be the most sought after commercial location in Ashford with units available from summer 2014. Retailers interested in learning more about the exciting commercial opportunities should call 01892 707505 or visit www.thepanorama-ashford.com

Other areas that we are involved with, and having a say in, are a new M20 Junction 10a to support the Sevington and other south east Ashford developments. We are maintaining pressure to keep Dungeness Nuclear Power Station an effective part of the nuclear generating supply chain. Lydd Airport has gained our support regarding limited expansion to help local employment. Operation Stack and lorry parking on our industrial and housing estates are constantly being hammered away at. Eurostar and HS1 have had our attention on several matters, which we are proud to say proved beneficial to the Town. There are some much wider issues that affect us here in Ashford, but are happening on other people’s door step. I will mention one of those as being the New Lower Thames Crossing Proposal. We all know that the current Dartford crossing can no longer cope with current traffic volumes and that it will only get worse in the immediate and long term future. The Highways Agency has proposed three options and all three options have issues for the local businesses and residential communities. Here in Ashford we want a solution and perhaps do not feel the fear and insecurity of those in North Kent, as we have been through our own upheavals with HS1 and can now see, feel and touch the benefits that the outcome brought to us. Have faith and embrace the future. Here in Ashford our option is C with Variant, plus why not a tunnel? In conclusion, your problem can become our action, but unless you tell us about it, we will not know. You are also welcome to serve on the AEDG, we need to represent all business, so when a vacancy occurs we can fill it immediately with good sound business knowledge. Call and discuss your issues or proposals, email richard@kentinvictachamber.co.uk

August-September 2013 ThinkingBUSINESS

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EUROPEANPARTNERS

Enterprise Europe South EastUK

helps small businesses grow by providing easy access to European markets, technology partners and researchers Enterprise Europe South EastUK is a free service delivered by the University of Greenwich and partners in south-east England and is the local office of Enterprise Europe Network, a vast conglomerate of 600 business support offices in more than 50 countries. project led from the region. Professor Harvey said “EEN were brilliant in being able to help find partners - and more importantly step in at the 11th hour to fill gaps with partners who fell by the way side.” Based in Tonbridge, Complete Printing Group (CPG) sought a European partner for a printing project that required specific expertise and contacted EEN. A request sent via the Network’s intranet to contacts in Italy resulted in an introduction to Italian firm Rubbettino. Paul said “we have been delighted with the help and guidance we have received during the Enterprise Europe Network process… My client provides a multinational service and these books have been sent out to their members all over the world… I am now actively looking for this kind of work with a view to working with Rubbettino again.” Enterprise Europe South EastUK has offices in Rochester, Chatham, Southampton and Oxford, and is a partnership between the University of Greenwich, Business Support Kent CiC, The European Info Services Centre and Oxford Innovation. For more information call 0844 724 2244, e-mail info@enterpriseeurope-se.eu Here are just a few examples of how the team has supported businesses and innovators in Kent: Rochester-based Veetee Rice sought new European markets for their microwaveable rice products and contacted EEN. Market research from network partners helped identify France as a suitable target market and following a pilot launch Veetee signed a lucrative contract with French supermarket chain Casino and is now selling to Germany, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Belgium. Kirit Patel, Business Development Manager at Veetee, said EEN “gave us the confidence to approach other countries and break into new markets. The insider knowledge has been invaluable.” Professor Pat Harvey of the University of Greenwich in Medway sought international partners to join a bid for major European funding to develop a world-leading biorefinery. The D-Factory project will use salt water and CO2 to cultivate biomass from microalgae, a process key to the sustainable production of food supplements, biofuels and biochemicals. Professor Harvey contacted EEN’s Andy Hebb who introduced her to Portuguese company iBET and UK firm Dynamic Extractions Ltd, who both joined the consortium. The application was successful, bringing around €10.5 million worth of funding to an international 22

ThinkingBUSINESS August-September 2013

or visit www.enterpriseeurope-se.eu.


MEMBERSNEWS

MHA MacIntyre Hudson boosts Kent presence with merger MHA MacIntyre Hudson has announced its merger with Larkings, an independent accountancy practice with offices in Canterbury and Maidstone. Larkings provides audit, accounting, personal and business tax advice to clients in Kent and the South East of England. The merger will see six partners and 40 staff operating under the name of MHA MacIntyre Hudson from their current office locations. The firm has clients in a number of sectors including not for profit, legal, healthcare, agriculture and construction. Rakesh Shaunak, Chairman of MHA MacIntyre Hudson,said: “Kent is an exciting market place and we have long seen it as a growth area. Our Rochester office has provided us with a small presence in the region for several years. However, with Larkings, we now have the opportunity to work much more closely with businesses across the county and take advantage of the opportunities on offer.” Michael Moore, partner at Larkings, said: “Both firms have a similar outlook and are a good cultural fit and we’re confident that we’ll continue to deliver our services to a high level. The merger coincides with Larkings’ 125 year anniversary so it is a fantastic way to celebrate and move the firm forward.”

The tax accounting side of buying that new company car The choice of a new car can be a difficult decision, but how to acquire it can also be quite a complex decision. With a variety of tax implications based on the type of car, the way it is financed, and whether it is better to own the car yourself and claim mileage it is all too easy to get confused. This article will presuppose that you are acquiring the car through the company. Let’s be clear that as a Director you will be taxed on having personal use of a company car, and HMRC don’t much care how it is funded, so far as you are concerned. It is a benefit in kind and the taxable amount is based on the car’s CO2 Emissions and original list price. So a car listing at £30,000 with any element of private use would, with CO2 emissions of between 95 and 100Kg result in tax being due for you on the “benefit” of 11% x 30,000 = £3,300 (say £1320 for a 40% taxpayer), regardless of how the vehicle has been financed. From your Company’s point of view, however, it can make a difference, because the company can either buy or lease the car. This gets a bit technical since a “Finance Lease” is treated as HP and indicates purchase whereas an “operating lease” or contract hire acts as a rental, but let’s say the choice is purchase or hire. With ownership, you can claim capital allowances on the full cost over time. The tax allowances vary with the type of car, however returning to the above example a £30,000 car would generate capital allowances (HMRC’s version of depreciation) at 8% which would give you a deduction of £2,400 from profit in year one, a deduction of (£30,000 - £2400) x 8% = £2208 in year two, and so on. Theoretically, in 20 years’ time you’ll still be claiming a very small and ever reducing balance! Of course, by choosing a car with lower CO2 emissions you can get 18%per

year if emissions are less than 130g/km, or even up to 100% for cars of less than 95Kg/m (and there are some). There are so further options with electric cars or classics, but these have limited applications. Lease “rental” entitles the company to claim the actual rental cost, or 80% if the CO2 emissions are 130 or more. Of course with this alternative there is no asset owned, no balance sheet value, and no potential trade-in value later. At the risk of de-mystifying the decision you will rarely go far wrong if you simply decide on a cash flow basis, although Purchase tends to be better than lease/hire if you are acquiring later in the year. Of course, as indicated above, you may also need to consider the comparison between using your own car and claiming mileage and having a company car, and that is a variation of the “cash flow” theme that you might want to talk to your advisors about.

2013/14 5% of list price

1-75g/km

10% of list price

76-94g/km

11% of list price 1% addition Max 35% benefit

95g/km-99g/km 100,105, 110 etc Over 214g/km

Give your employees an opportunity to enjoy REAL Socialising REAL Socialising was created after hearing a statistic that 26% of people now ‘sofalise’ instead of socialise. With the growth of home entertainment, and social media; fewer people enjoy real social activity. REAL Socialising offers a new spin on the old ‘social club’ ethos for companies of any size. The encouragement of social interaction outside working hours is an important contributor in building better teams in the workplace. REAL Socialising can also add support to existing social committees and offers a service to plan or assist planning of your company /corporate events. 24

ThinkingBUSINESS August-September 2013

Contact info@realsocialising.co.uk to register your company and receive a FREE monthly enewsletter, sharing a range of day trips, short breaks and ticket only events all at great value prices. From Buckingham Palace to Brugge; Harry Potter to Hampton Court the possibilities are endless as members of REAL Socialising are also encouraged to put forward ideas for new events.

REAL Socialising 122 Foord Road, Folkestone, Kent CT19 5AB 0792 6939002 info@realsocialising.co.uk www.realsocialising.co.uk


LEGALCLINIC

Protecting both you and your business Employment Tribunal Fees what does this mean? Selwan Yousif, Partner There was previously no charge for an applicant to bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal or Employment Appeal Tribunal. However law has changed. As from the 29th July the UK Government announced that the new fee regime came into effect. As of this date, those wishing to bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal now have to pay an “issue” fee when they file their claim and a “hearing” fee before the hearing date. There are two types of claims “Type A” and “Type B” and the fee payable will vary depending on the type the claimant wishes to bring. Type A claims are those complaints that are generally considered to be more straightforward such as unlawful deductions from wages and type B claims are therefore those that are more complicated, such as unfair dismissal and discrimination claims. Fees are payable in advance by the person bringing the claim, however the Employment Tribunal will have the power to order the unsuccessful party to reimburse any fees and cases which are settled will likely deal with the issue as part of any settlement agreement.

You do have a right to choose your own solicitor when moving Karen du Rocher, Partner For many of us, buying or selling a property can be the single biggest and most stressful financial responsibility we ever undertake so it is essential we have access to the most reliable and accurate information. However we are witnessing an increasing number of estate agents recommending their clients use one of their panel solicitors or conveyancers. Why? Well in most cases the estate agent will have a referral agreement with a particular solicitor meaning they will receive commission for recommendations. Recommendations are not a bad thing but they may not be necessarily the best choice for you. Some estate agents will recommend a solicitor whose fees are lower than most but are rarely the best quality and in some cases we have seen clients paying a cheaper rate for a firm that are one of the busiest and most difficult to contact. On the other hand estate agents may recommend using their preferred solicitor whose fees are expensive or even with minimum experience, however there is no reassurance that the quality of service is of a higher standard or personal to you. No one is saying that you should not use the solicitors recommended by your estate agent. However we will stress that you are under no obligation to use their preferred solicitor. Your priority is to ensure the process runs as smooth as possible so it is important to use a firm that meet your exact needs and requirements. To find out more about Hatten Wyatt please contact us: www.hatten-wyatt.com emma.harraden@hatten-wyatt.com 01474 35 11 99 51/54 Windmill Street, Gravesend, Kent, DA12 1BD Hatten Wyatt is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. SRA No. 50875

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COVERFEATURE

Social media: time to inject some strategy

By Katie King, Managing Director of Zoodikers Consulting

It’s official: There is now no excuse not to be familiar with the main social media platforms available to us. We’re talking Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, amongst many emerging others. Along with your website, these platforms are the online (and main) face of most businesses, and need to be tended to as often as your emails. Social Media platforms have been adopted at an extraordinary pace, with more than 80% of the world’s online population using social networks on a regular basis. It is crucial to remember that social media is not a virtual magic wand, but instead a very effective ingredient of a business-goal potion. Change doesn’t just happen overnight, and it can take as long as six months to see a conversion. Having said this, conversions do happen successfully, and frequently, if the game is played correctly.

Aligning social media activity with business goals So you’ve worked out how to login, how to post an update, and even how to expand your network but are you aligning social media strategy with your business goals? Without examining your overall business strategy, most social media activity is rendered somewhat ineffective. Measuring the achievement of your social media activity in line with these specific business goals is perhaps the greatest key performance indicator (KPI). KPIs can be anything from the sales revenue directly generated

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COVERFEATURE

from each social media platform, network size, and click-through rates. It is imperative to identify key target audiences, and the ways in which they are likely to be influenced. This could be via a LinkedIn Group, at a networking event or directly. Once this information has been established, you can then start to adapt your social media activity to create hype amongst your target audiences. At the same time, most activity can, and should, be used to drive traffic to the company website or blog. This is where your brand can be sold shamelessly, as the lead has already been generated. As with all leads, they need to be followed up, nurtured and converted in order to ensure positive strategic impact.

Social Media lead generation Nearly 70% of respondents believe that social media needs to be more rooted in data but less than 25% are leveraging social data to optimise their marketing strategies. Using existing data collected from customers and other audiences can help to shape a company’s social media strategy. You’ve got to ask yourself: if I were to profile my top 20 (50, or 1000) customers, what would that profile look like? Simple demographics is key in pointing your audience in the direction of the channels that will shout out to a wider audience of similar people, targeting their communications. Reaching your target market’s contacts and customers through retweets, Facebook comments and LinkedIn contacts engages a whole new audience who respect your customer and their opinions. Testimonials are, of course, invaluable but engaging in a ‘conversation’ which others are free to join and contribute to is much more powerful.

Analyse, analyse, analyse Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are becoming increasingly noisy places to market; whilst this is, of course, a positive factor when allocating marketing budget and time, it can be tempting to simply aim for high traffic and good following stats. Again, these are all positive factors to consider but it is vital to set goals for consistent measurement, and to go beyond common vanity stats.

About three quarters of client-side respondents thought that measuring the impact of social is ‘very difficult’. The good news is that there are numerous tools at your disposal to measure the impact of your social media pages. Google Analytics is a free, easy-to-use service that allows you to track the sources of traffic to your website, and therefore the effectiveness of your social media exposure. It also provides detailed statistics about all visitors, enabling you to sharpen up on targeting the right people. Once 30 likes have accumulated on your Facebook page, Facebook Insights becomes available, which enables you to access your audience’s age, gender and location. At a glance, one is able to see the success of each post through its reach and virality. Similarly, YouTube Analytics can be examined. Something as simple as what time you tweet, can have dramatic effects on the success and quality of exposure. This is one of the many aspects of social media success that Follower Wonk and Tweet Reach can help you with. If you have numerous social media pages to manage, Hootsuite is a fantastic free service from which multiple networks and profiles can be managed by scheduling tweets and Facebook posts, tracking brand mentions, and analysing social media traffic. Social media is more exciting than ever; new platforms are constantly emerging with innovative ways to communicate to your market. Some social media experts are of the view that social will replace emails in years to come. Although it is indeed a very cost-effective and time-saving marketing tool, it’s vital to define a social media strategy that is in line with your business objectives. Follow them closely and you’ll be sure to reap the wealth of rewards that social media has to offer.

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BIGINTERVIEW

BIGINTERVIEW

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ThinkingBUSINESS August-September 2013

The exponential growth of social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Youtube (among others) is no doubt the media phenomenon of the millennium. The speed at which social media reaches huge audiences has undoubtedly changed the way in which employees share information. In the UK alone, Twitter has 10 million active users and Facebook has 31 million, the global figures are 200 million and 1 billion respectively. Whilst social media presents employers and employees with a wealth of opportunities and benefits, the immediacy and transparency of social media present its own challenges. The company picnic and client summer party, for example, just got bigger and riskier with social media snapshots landing on Facebook, and employees now have a forum which enables them to speak much more quickly and with greater impact. Remember the HMV employees who in January Tweeted live the firing of 60 staff? Front page news and PR nightmare! As it’s popularity grows, businesses small and large must understand social media’s impact, and adopt, policies for the use of social media in the workplace. Getting good advice (and I know someone!) is important to enable the specific aspects of an employer’s own business needs to fit with a policy for its employees. Don’t ignore the issue - Get a social media policy. It serves to send a clear message regarding the company’s expectations of employee use. Remind employees that social media use is NOT private and that certain conduct can lead to an employee being disciplined. Some of the areas to consider in compiling a policy are restrictions covering:• employee use of company IT resources; • employee use of company intellectual property assets and confidential and privileged information; • employee use of third-party intellectual property; • protection of third-party confidentiality and privacy; • prohibition on harassment or bullying of other employees; • prohibition on discrimination; and • prohibition on negative comments about the company, its employees, business contacts or competitors. Ensure that the social media policy is consistent with the other policies of the company (eg bullying and harassment, use of electronic communications etc). It is equally important to train employees regarding the issues that any social media policy is trying to address. Get employees to understand that social media messages may reflect on the company. A statement on a blog or social media postings that their views are not necessarily the views of the company, may be important. Employees should understand the consequences of disclosing the

above already but it is worth repeating in a social media context given the immediacy and the ease of dissemination of postings. Make clear that it can cause breach of their employment contracts or a breach of contract between the company and a third party. It could cause issues with the ability for the company to protect its intellectual property rights and create embarrassment or confusion with company clients and/or employees. A photograph of a client at a firm’s party, which is posted to Facebook, is a breach of confidentiality for the client. Would they be happy with the world knowing that they are a client of your firm?

Get employees to understand that social media messages may reflect on the company. By opening up the social media forum to employees, the issue of bullying and harassment has to be considered and there are numerous stories of this kind of behaviour where employees have been found to be making derogatory comments about their colleagues. Companies need to be able to enforce their own policies generally, but need to include these matters in a social media context. It is also important to make certain that the Company response to these issues is consistent with the general policy. Although all of the above matters should be considered, it is also worth remembering that overreaching can result in employees disregarding the policy. This is especially where the company is


BIGINTERVIEW

Whilst social media presents employers and employees with a wealth of opportunities and benefits, the immediacy and transparency of social media present its own challenges. considering setting out guidelines as to how they represent the company in such circumstances. The following are some examples of the matters that need to be addressed in such guidelines. • Know your subject - The credibility of the postings or blogs can reflect on the credibility of the company • Add value - Is the post adding value to the community that the company is seeking to create with its customer base? • Be respectful - And recognise that what you might want to talk about might be a sensitive issue, or easily cause offence • Don’t engage in provocative postings - And particularly don’t be argumentative. This never works out well for anyone, least of all the company’s reputation. • Comply with company policies. • Be protective of the company’s customers, suppliers, and investors. - It is better not to refer to them specifically • Do not discuss confidential information regarding plans, customer lists, financial performance. The last issue in this area is to be certain to train employees and make certain that there is a clear approval process for posts or blogs. Make sure that all of the above is made clear in writing when permission is given for employees to make posts or blogs on behalf of the company or its business, and the consequences. Finally, if you are any in doubt about how your company should be handling social media, then seek information and get good advice. Social media mistakes, even ones that on the face of it seem trivial, can be both costly and embarrassing for your business. They could escalate quickly and seriously damage your business. Is it worth the risk? seeking protection where there is no real benefit for it. Employees will make a point of second guessing the policy, with the result that there is a large degree of non-compliance. Social media is also a phenomenon that can reduce the necessity for people to think. As a result they might say things that are not in their own interest. For example, and this is a true example: a personal assistant who recently joined a company was still in her 3 month probation period. She posted on a site, essentially moaning about her awful (in her eyes) boss and how put upon she was. She didn’t mince her words. She received an email from her boss

saying that she seemed to have forgotten that she had “friended” him on this site so he had seen her post. The email concluded that she should pack her things and leave immediately…. As already discussed, social media posts and blogs can offer businesses a new, immediate and, properly used, valuable method to engage with its customers and potential customers. Companies may wish to use social media as a tool for corporate communications, marketing or promoting itself or its products and services. Identifying the right people within an organisation to undertake this work can be tricky but having identified such people, it is worth

Alex Lee Partner, Company & Commercial at Buss Murton Law With a background in media, Alex Lee worked for Channel 4 and Freemantle media. He was also Jamie Oliver’s Lawyer across all of his business interests as General Counsel. He is now a Partner at Buss Murton Law specialising in Company & Commercial.

August-September 2013 ThinkingBUSINESS

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THEECONOMY

Us: d n a y ay m o W n r o u o y d n i The Ec nd F a – y a S r u o Have y s To: The Bos !) rvey (short u s r e b m a h Subject: C

to g you a link rvey, emailinkey facts at their su ce er m m e Co th Chambers of se will have the South East. e in a British (for a boss – nobody el from at s ip se ic on rt sp pa re e s months, w 3-4 minute 20-30% of Every three estionnaire. It takes regularly accounts for qu r e overnment be lin am on the victa Ch er Majesty’s G H In t g in en rm K fo ). in ps t perity. ts abou fingerti sustained pros idence as it se C with hard ev help lead the country into BC e th ps ui ey eq s may d what policie Economic Surv identifying long This Quarterly happening to businesses an d threats and an ly s al tie re ni is t rtu ha w rm oppo otting short-te u ters, depends on sp s es Benefits to Yo cc su strategic poin ss ways contains e that busine in which you operate. al re , ag ge ly pa ab e m ob r’s ho rrain You’d pr m the Chambe at shape the te ss wnloadable fro term trends th do d an export busine up n w report their ly global markets. rvey, writte no su rs rly te te ar ar qu qu etru This d thre g into again risen an ms are tappin such as: s been export has yet t mean that many Kent fir at th s nt ar . Cashflow ha de on lo us this m of resp rtant Cashf wbusiness. It’s usually the yethe po im lal d The proportion en the eurozone problems, an s, of of le t e Sa ou on t g g in in no iv in you’re r by go rt decl increasing. G stomers ng off the rada too fast. So, if sinesses repo a quarter of buany of these must be droppirely survived try to recover aching newly-neglected cu t ou ab , rly la re ba m e Regu by at ’v th ss ho ne w ng si e lo thos s’ bu r so problematic fon that insolvencies peak, asyou can pick up competitor after recessio e may be a good chance strugglers, therer servicing. businesses that need prop survey reveals s bothered 2) (Q st te la e te ge Ra Q1, th After a dip in At the same time, Exchan ree years, and strengthening.ondents than for the past thache (no-one far fewer resp me a less widespread head If you believe Inflation beca erials as a cost pressure). prices r cited Raw Mat trade has led to commodity ay wish to offe slacker global this trend will last, you m today’s prices. d at softening, an able long-term contract to find a customers a st not just HMG,mber home u, yo lp he l el Cha ay w This survey m ard. View it by visiting the sure you invest good way forw the boss, please do make k is next emailed page. If you’re to complete it when the lin is article to the three minutes ber; if not, please draw thhe is on the in early Septemur boss, and make sure s/ attention of yo ’s own mailing list. Chamber CEO Policy Director of Nick Rowell, erce m hamber of Com Kent Invicta C 622 753568 Direct line 01 tpbs.co.uk Email nick@

August-September 2013 ThinkingBUSINESS

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BUSINESSISSUES

Annette Bunn Ambassador for Female Travel Safety Burravoe Translation Services (a subsidiary company of The Inkerman Group)

As our business continues to grow into new areas, we are finding that our employees, who are mostly women, are spending more time travelling to client meetings alone and sometimes abroad. What can we do to make sure they are safe and enhance our duty of care? You wouldn’t set off on a car journey to somewhere you are not familiar with without doing some research and planning your route first, or relying on technology, be it a Sat Nav or your mobile device, as well as having a form of roadside recovery in place, so why would you send your employees to an unknown area, be it the UK or abroad, without doing the same thing. As Europe continues to face economic challenges, companies appear increasingly willing to enter new and emerging markets, resulting in employees entering unfamiliar and often challenging operating environments. In the UK alone, business trips accounted for 19% of all international travel in 2011, and this number is increasing year-on-year. Employers have a legal duty of care to ensure their employees’ health, safety and wellbeing, and not only is this obligation a far cry from the simple ‘health & safety’ aspect it used to be, it now encompasses increasingly complex safety and security requirements for international travellers too. Having provided clients with business travel risk management solutions for more than 20 years, we understand that women have different travel challenges, particularly in countries with different cultural, religious, economic and political backgrounds, and where women are often more vulnerable, even more so when they are travelling alone. There are a number of measures you can take to enhance your employee’s safety, such as providing information about their destination, keeping them informed of real-time news/travel/security alerts during their trip, providing a 24/7 emergency response helpline, having contingency plans in place, providing them with location tracking / panic alarm devices and safety awareness and personal protection training. The Inkerman Group offers a wide range of Female Travel Safety training, tracking, advice and support services, including annual support packages and single trip country briefing reports from just £25.00. For more information contact The Inkerman Group by e-mail at enquiries@inkerman.com, phone 01233 646940 or visit www.inkerman.com

ASK THE

EXPERT 32

ThinkingBUSINESS August-September 2013

Name: OLIVIA JC MERLIN Company Name: MERLIN TRANSLATION SERVICES Q1 – Tell us a bit about your business? Primarily, it is a translation business (English/French or French/English) dealing with documents related to the estate, medical, touristic and personal businesses. This list is not exhaustive. Due to the fact that I have been working in the estate business for 17 years, I have added the possibility of researching properties for English people willing to invest in French, and vice versa. I can also assume the interpretation aspect of a business discussion. Q2 – What gives your business ‘the x-factor’? The fact that, having dealt with many types of clients in the past, allows me to be convinced that I have the know-how to communicate with potential customers. Q3 – What motivated you to set up the business? The fact that I had been made redundant twice during the last two years but had not been able to find a job where potential employers recognised my expertise. I decided to become self employed and provide the said expertise to potential customers. Q4 – What do you like most about working for a start-up? The challenge of being able to transfer the message I want, to customers. The fact that I can manage “ the adventure “ of becoming the most prominent possible on my field of expertise. Q5 – What has been your greatest business success to date? At the present time with MERLIN TRANSLATION SERVICES, which is a new business. I have been able to build some new contact with people I used to work with 15 years ago and attract their business. Q6 – What has been your lowest moment? The doubt I had before joining the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce to be able to build a new network of professionals. Q7 – In terms of business achievements, where do you want to be within the next 5 years? I wish to become the business reference in my field and be recognised by many prospective customers. I also hope that I shall be able to enlarge my field of expertise, by adding new languages using the expertise of free lance translators. Q8 – What would be your top tip to someone thinking of starting up their own business? 1. Make sure that the service you want to promote is in relation with your field of expertise. 2. Do not try to do too much as a start. 3. Join a Chamber of Commerce, and associations related to your business. MERLIN TRANSLATION SERVICES 15 FORUM WAY, KINGSNORTH, ASHFORD, KENT TN23 3RJ tel: 01233 463 985 mobile: 07958 117 341 email: olivia@merlintranslationservices.com web: http://www.merlintranslationservices.com


MEMBERSNEWS

Website business helps It all adds up conference centre for Will A Canterbury-based digital marketing agency is helping a local charity grow its presence on the internet. uTargeting, run by Piperis Filippaios, is helping the Ann Robertson Centre meeting and conference venue, run by Pilgrims Hospices, to raise its profile. Piperis, who formed uTargeting in 2010 and employs three people full time at offices on the University of Kent’s Enterprise Park, said: “I’m delighted to be able to help the Ann Robertson Centre and, ultimately, help Pilgrims Hospices tell more people about the great meeting rooms it has to hire out to businesses.”

Piperis Filippaios of uTargeting

Further information from marketing and communications Nick Evans on 01227 782061 or email nick.evans@pilgrimshospices.org.

A Chamber member has set up a company that puts flexible working at the heart of its business. Entrepreneur Will Wood, 36, of Maidstone, was inspired to launch an online bookkeeping service after noticing that significant parts of the workforce were increasingly favouring flexibility. Yourbooksonline.co.uk uses the latest cloud-based accounting software to allow bookkeepers to work from any device, in any location, at any time. Will, who is a chartered accountant, said: “In my view, providing flexible working will help plug any skills gaps we have in the UK and will be a core requirement of the modern workplace.” For more information on bookkeeping services, or if you would like further details on becoming a bookkeeper, visit www.yourbooksonline.co.uk, telephone 01622 238333 or alternatively via Twitter @yourbooksonline

Company celebrates 55TH anniversary Kent Recruitment Group HR GO plc, supported by its high street recruitment division HR GO Recruitment, is arranging a balloon race to mark its 55th anniversary and raise £10,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation UK. Make-A-Wish grants magical wishes to children and young people with life threatening illnesses and HR GO is looking to raise funds through the sales of tickets for the balloon race in Ashford on 22nd August. The tickets are £2 each and there are prizes for the furthest travelling balloons, and finders of the balloons, which include a top prize of £1,000 cash. Donations can be made to the charity and balloon tickets purchased at: www.justgiving.com/HRGOballoonrace. Paul Broderick, HR GO plc Managing Director, said: “After working with communities all over the UK for over 55 years in a professional capacity, HR GO plc wanted to give something back and do something really special and worthwhile for charity in this, our anniversary year.”

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CORPORATETRAVEL

Exciting arrivals at Manston It has been a busy few months at Manston which have seen the airport welcome the Prime Minister, the world’s largest commercial passenger aircraft, the Red Arrows and even some international rugby stars for a glamorous British Airways photoshoot – all while twice daily KLM flights continued to take passengers to and from hub airport Schiphol. David Cameron flew into Manston when he officially opened the London Array wind farm and, according to Charles Buchanan, chief executive of the airport, Manston’s potential did not go unnoticed. It was the beginning of an exciting summer as the next big arrival was British Airways’ first Airbus A380 which was based at Manston for three weeks as part of the airline’s training for its pilots, flight crew and cabin staff, before the A380s enter service in September. Charles Buchanan commented: “It was an honour for us to welcome the first of our national flag carrier’s A380s and the team at Manston was very proud to play a part in bringing this fantastic aircraft into service for British Airways. “With the debate over the future provision of airport capacity in the South East currently raging, the decision by British Airways to use Manston for training graphically illustrates the capability, flexibility and capacity of the longest underutilised runway in the region.” “The feedback we receive from people, the majority of which would have had to tackle the M25 to go via the London airports previously, is overwhelmingly positive.” Manston’s new executive lounge includes comfortable seating areas, dedicated workstations, Wi-Fi and complimentary refreshments and newspapers – perfect for business passengers. The route to hub airport Schiphol in Amsterdam runs to and from Manston twice a day, every day of the week with outbound flights at 6:20am and 10:35am. Passengers are carried in a Fokker 70 aircraft, which seats up to 80 travellers. Return flights are available from £79 return, including tax. KLM offer seamless connections over Amsterdam to over 130 destinations including The Middle East from £335, Asia from £527, Africa from £530 and South America from £592, all return fares including taxes from Manston Airport. For more information on KLM flights from Manston, to book and check in online, visit www.klm.com or call 0871 231 0000. Each A380 aircraft can carry 469 passengers over two decks with four cabins. The A380 is rated as producing a quarter of the noise level of the Boeing 747400 when landing. It also produces 10 per cent fewer NOx emissions. The arrival of the A380 coincided with a visit to the airport of two of the world’s leading aerobatic display team and ambassadors for the RAF, the Red Arrows, which later flew in formation with the A380 over the English Channel. More recently, British Airways officially launched the A380 at Manston when it invited rugby giants Chris Robshaw, Bryan Habana and Jean De Villiers to pull the aircraft down the runway, overseen by model Georgia May Jagger. “Everyone who visits the airport is always amazed at how easy it is to park, what a short walk to the terminal it is and how quick the check in process is,” added Charles. “As well as our high profile arrivals, we have continued to welcome many passengers on the KLM flights which link Kent residents to 130 destinations worldwide. 34

ThinkingBUSINESS August-September 2013


CHAMBERCHATTER

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Big #shoutout for @UKHSE for providing some really great help to a fellow @InvictaChamber member today- well done chaps!

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MEMBERSNEWS

Visit Kent business advice helps grow glamping plans Having left Cyprus when his career ended with the Yorkshire Regiment, Captain Gareth Fulton and his wife Georgina, decided to launch a new tourism business at Elmley National Nature Reserve on the Isle of Sheppey. They have worked with the Visit Kent Tourism Business Advisory Service to assess demand for different styles of upmarket outdoor accommodation and develop plans to restore a 17th Century farmhouse. The couple are planning to live on site while they start their new business with glamping style accommodation, to be followed, they hope, with bed and breakfast accommodation and possibly a boutique hotel. Georgina said: “There is clearly a need for more holiday accommodation in the area. We have high numbers of visitors who love to come to the reserve and enjoy the peace and wilderness as well as the abundant wildlife on the marsh.” Ruth Wood, of Visit Kent Tourism Business Advisory Service, said: “This is an ambitious proposal with exciting potential as we are seeing growing numbers of visitors wishing to experience our incredible coast and countryside close up. Glamping in high spec, quirky but comfortable accommodation adds to the exciting offer that is available within Kent.” Visit Kent has also helped Chris and Nicki Conrath,

Elmley who bought the 300-year-old Crown Inn, at Stone in Oxney, which had been closed for three years and needed restoration before re-opening. Peter Birnie, former chief hotel and restaurant inspector for the AA guides and more recently hotel consultant on the popular Channel 4 television series The Hotel, heads the quality advice team for Visit Kent.

His suggestions for marketing for The Crown Inn country bistro included expanding the wine list to match the growing range of dishes now on offer, streamlining the website, creating a customer contacts database and seeking accreditations from AA and Michelin guides amongst others. Find out more at www.visitkentbusiness.co.uk or call 01227 812900.

Free business advise puts B&B on the road to success Mandy Webb, who runs Eggpie B&B at Pond Cottage, Sevenoaks Weald, says she is delighted with the free advice that she received from Visit Kent Tourism Business Advisory Service. She said: “Fifteen years ago we did some B&B but so much has changed and visitors’ expectations are much higher today. They really want their accommodation to be a major part of their experience”. “When we decided to use our spare rooms for B&B we had lots of ideas and Visit Kent helped us build on these to take us to a high, professional standard.” “Peter Birnie, the accommodation and quality expert at Visit Kent Tourism Business Advisory Service, talked us through so many aspects of the business from upgrading the bathrooms through to the range of teas and even glasses of sherry guests would like to enjoy.” Sharon Resner and her partner, Laurie, only opened their B&B at Minnis Bay, near Birchington, in May but already they have had bookings from across England, Ireland and even the US.

Eggpie B&B at Weald

Sharon was previously head of training for major catering franchises including SpuduLike. Since then she has renovated a house in France, launched Stitch’nBitch groups and also run her own newspaper. But not one of her ventures has taken off as fast as the Minnis Whitehouse B&B.

She puts her early success down to the help she received from the Visit Kent Tourism Business Advisory Service, headed by Peter Birnie, and the local producers who ensure she has top quality Kent produce to serve her guests.

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MEMBERSNEWS

Do you have land for development in the borough?

Helping the motor trade grow

Landowners in the Ashford borough are being asked to speak to the council about sites they own which might be suitable for potential development.

Peacock Recruitment is the motor trade’s leading personal recruiter in the South East.

The council’s adopted Core Strategy (2008), which sets the strategic vision and planned growth for housing and jobs within the borough to 2021, is being formally reviewed and will be replaced by the Local Plan to 2030.

The health of the UK car market stands in a stark contrast to Europe, where sales slumped by more than 10% in March, so Peacock’s clients are growing and are looking for good quality candidates to push their growth even further.

The new plan will need to identify sufficient land to provide for any new jobs and homes in the borough to 2030, as well as places for leisure and retail uses, visitor and tourism facilities and for Gypsy and Travellers accommodation. Cllr David Robey, portfolio holder for planning and development, said: “As part of the review of our adopted Core Strategy and the creation of our new Local Plan, we need to know what potential sites there are in the borough which could be developed in the future. That’s why we are asking landowners to come forward and let us know if they have any land which they would like to be considered for inclusion in the plan.” To be considered for residential development, sites should be over 0.4 hectares in size in the Ashford urban area or over 0.2 hectares elsewhere, or be able to accommodate 10 dwellings or more. If the

New website for Gullands solicitors Maidstone solicitors Gullands has launched a new website at www.gullands.com. The new website is designed to offer information on the firm and the services it offers and to provide a resource for clients, keeping them up to date and informed on changes that might affect their own legal position.

proposal is for over 100 dwellings, an additional form will need to be completed. The deadline for completed forms to be submitted is Friday 27th September 2013. Site Submission Forms can be completed electronically or in hard copy and can be obtained by: • Visiting: www.ashford.gov.uk/shlaa • Emailing: planningpolicy@ashford.gov.uk • Writing to: Planning Policy, Planning and Development, Ashford Borough Council, Civic Centre, Tannery Lane, Ashford, Kent, TN23 1PL

Reeves win Accountancy Firm of the Year Reeves, one of the major financial services firms practising in the South East of England, won the Accountancy Firm of the Year award at the annual M&A Awards. The winners were announced at the Millennium Hotel in London and Reeves won for its work on a range of outstanding and innovative deals in a challenging economic climate. The judges felt Reeves excelled at strategic input, quality of financial modelling and speed of execution. Clive Stevens, Managing Partner at Reeves, said: “This is a tremendous achievement and I would like to thank the corporate team for their collective work over the last year. A huge vote of thanks goes to everyone at Reeves and I am so proud that our work has been recognised in this way.” Reeves also recently announced a partnership with Chemmy Alcott, Olympic skier and television commentator. Chemmy said: “I am delighted to be in partnership with the award winning accountancy firm Reeves. With their help I hope to continue the good luck at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.”

To ensure it achieves this, Peacock offers the following services to motor trade employers: • Monthly contact to keep up to date with your business • Site visits to fully understand how your business operates • Meeting with your existing employees to gauge what candidates will fit in well within your organisation • Pre-interview all candidates before sending them for their consideration • If required, writing detailed job descriptions and person specifications • HR advice and assistance. Peacock Recruitment help employers within the motor trade by providing high quality candidates for positions including: • Dealer Principals • General Sales Managers • After Sales Managers • Service Managers • Sales Consultants • Technicians • Sales Co-Ordinators • Service Advisors • Parts Advisors • Sales Administrators More information at www.peacockrecruitment.co.uk/blog

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MEMBERSNEWS

Building confidence On the right road? through quality In June the Nova IT Solutions team were Magenta Imaging Solutions (MIS) has been helping organisations gain a competitive edge since 1988, providing them with top quality business systems backed up by an unparalleled level of service. MIS is a Kent-based company and prides itself on the ‘small business’ mentality and a very high level of service. MIS understands that the dynamic business world means its clients demand solutions that they can always rely on. This is why MIS chose to partner with the world leaders in business systems technology, Konica Minolta Develop, to provide its customers with document solutions that always meet their needs, no matter how demanding they are. In addition to hardware, MIS has an extensive business partner network which means it is able to offer a wide range of innovative software solutions. From data capture to electronic document management, its software transforms the way businesses work. Omin Limbu, Sales Account Manager, said: “Running through the heart of everything we do is a firm belief that exceptional customer service is what truly sets us apart. Our experienced, dedicated team provide an unprecedented level of advice, service, and complete attention to detail. “From the first point of contact, we ensure that the complex needs of our customers are matched to the right solution for them, and our service continues on an on going basis by ensuring that everything runs smoothly over what we believe should be a long term partnership”. Limbu went on “We believe that whatever the customers requirements are, we can provide the right solution, whilst making the experience of dealing with MIS a pleasant one. We look forward to meeting fellow members of the Chamber, and we hope to build a rewarding, long-lasting relationship with our future new clients”.

invited to attend the Mini Festival at Brands Hatch, an exciting event stretching over a weekend which featured 3 races in the Mini Challenge, a driving championship consisting of 20 different races over 7 weekends.

For the 2013 season Nova IT Solutions have sponsored a young independent driver in the Mini Challenge, Ben Gridley. Ben who is 18 discovered a love of racing in 2002 after a go karting birthday party. Ben began racing in the Mini Challenge in 2011 and achieved 3 podium finishes and one fastest lap in that first season. In the 2013 season Ben has been entirely self-funded, relying on the generosity of his parents and sponsors like Nova IT Solutions to allow him to race. As sponsors of Ben, Nova’s logo appears prominently on the side of Ben’s car and throughout his website www.bengridley.co.uk and Twitter @BenSamualRacing page. Ben is always on the lookout for additional sponsors to support his racing costs to help him compete with the other teams. Despite the rain, unseasonably chilly weather and early start the team had an exciting day and were overjoyed when Ben achieved excellent results in both races - finishing in 5th and 4th place respectively in his class. For more information on Nova IT Solutions please visit www.novaitsolutions.com. For more information on Ben Gridley and sponsorship please visit www.bengridley.co.uk.

Keeping it confidential C&M Confidential is a family-owned shredding company operating across London and the South East as a member of the C&M Waste Management group of companies since 2007. The company has many years of experience in the Recycling and Confidential Waste Shredding sectors, managing many blue chip company contracts both locally and nationally throughout the UK including Ireland.

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Charity of Year Partnership Comes to End The Heart of Kent Hospice has spent the past twelve months as Charity of the Year with Sainsbury’s Larkfield. The Partnership has been extremely beneficial to the Aylesford based hospice with Sainsbury’s providing a ploughman’s lunch for the 1200 participants at the Bluebell Walk. The customers of Sainsbury’s have also contributed £2500.00 by donating change into our collection tins. Events Manager Gavin Wenborn said: “It is been fantastic to work with Sainsbury’s on this local level. Members of their team have consistently taken part in events whilst championing our cause in branch. We are also incredibly grateful to all the customers of Sainsbury’s Larkfield for their valuable contribution and continued support.”


CHAMBEREVENTS

Chamber Events Breakfast Networking with Business An opportunity to put your business in the spotlight to highlight its products/services and how these can help other businesses. You will make new contacts and generate business leads, whilst sharing ideas, and experiences with like-minded business people. Details (unless otherwise stated): Time: 08:00 - 09:30 Non-Members: £20.00 + VAT Members: £15.00 + VAT Join us for a delicious full English breakfast and lots of networking. Maidstone 7th August 2013 Mercure Maidstone, Hollingbourne, Maidstone, ME17 1RE Hosted by Colin Davies Canterbury 8th August 2013 Best Western Abbots Barton Hotel, 36 New Dover Road, Canterbury, CT1 3DU Hosted by Sezen Zeki Rochester 21st August 2013 Holiday Inn, Maidstone Road, Rochester, ME5 9SF Hosted by Louisa Felstead Singlewell 6th September 2013 Best Western Manor Hotel, Hever Court Road, Singlewell, DA12 5UQ Hosted by Louisa Felstead Tonbridge 12th September 2013 Mercure Tunbridge Wells, 8 Tonbridge Road, Pembury, Tonbridge, TN2 4QL Hosted by Colin Davies

Lunch Networking with Business

Special Networking Events

This lunch time event slots neatly into the business day and provides the ideal opportunity for you to meet

Kent Invicta Chamber of

fellow professionals, grow the profile

Commerce Annual Summer

of your brand and to build new

BBQ

business relationships.

15th August 2013

Details (unless otherwise stated):

12:00 - 14:00

Time: 12:00 - 14:00

Canterbury Cathedral Lodge,

Non-Members: £25.00 + VAT

The Precincts, CT1 2EH

Members: £20.00 + VAT Join us for a delicious two course lunch and lots of networking.

BIG Breakfast with Guest Speaker Damian Green MP

Gravesend

13th September 2013

9th August 2013

07:30 - 09:00

The Clarendon Royal Hotel, Royal Pier Road, DA12 2BE

Eastwell Manor, Eastwell Park, Boughton Lees, Ashford, TN25 4HR

Tonbridge 20th August 2013

Canterbury - Lunch

The River Centre,

Networking with Business -

Medway Wharf Road, TN9 1RE

Shooting Special

Ashford 29th August 2013

25th September 2013 12:00 - 14:00

The Conningbrook,

Greenfield Shooting Grounds,

Canterbury Road,

Sturry Hill,

Kennington, TN24 9QR

Sturry, CT2 0NG

Maidstone

After Hours

No booking required. Just turn up! The After Hours Club is a popular and highly successful ‘casual’ networking event. Details (unless otherwise stated): Time: 18:00 - 19:30 Free to Members and Non-members. Complimentary Tea and Coffee will be served. A Cash Bar is often available. Ashford - Cineworld Special 1st August 2013 Cineworld Ashford 6th August 2013 The Conningbrook Hotel Dartford 6th August 2013 Nucleus Business & Innovation Centre Tonbridge 13th August 2013 The River Centre Canterbury 20th August 2013 The Abbots Barton Maidstone 27th August 2013 The Russell Hotel Sittingbourne 28th August 2013 Best Western Plus Coniston Hotel & Restaurant Ashford 3rd September 2013 The Conningbrook Hotel Dartford 3rd September 2013 Nucleus Business & Innovation Centre Tonbridge 10th September 2013 The River Centre Medway 17th September 2013 F-Keys Ltd

19th September 2013 Best Western Russell Hotel, 136 Boxley Road, ME14 2AE

Maidstone 24th September 2013 The Russell Hotel

To book either visit www.kentinvictachamber.co.uk/events or email events@kentinvictachamber.co.uk or call 01233 503838

August-September 2013 ThinkingBUSINESS

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ThinkingBUSINESS August-September 2013


EDUCATION

Celebration at Norton Knatchbull School Students, staff and parents at the Norton Knatchbull School celebrated after receiving record results for the International Baccalaureate (IB).

IB students Charles Barker and Thomas Hitchcock

The Headteacher and school staff with several of their IB students Assistant Headteacher Jamie MacLean said: “At Norton Knatchbull School, we offer the IB Diploma curriculum because we believe that it provides an exciting and challenging education and is an excellent preparation for university study. “Our IB students not only maintain breadth of study and exploration but also learn vital skills of communication, analysis, enquiry and organisation. We believe strongly that this will give them an excellent chance of success at university and beyond.” Headteacher Susanne Staab said: “We are delighted with our International Baccalaureate results this year,

IB students Ian Balfour with his parents

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which are the best the school has had since the programme was first introduced at NKS in 2006.” A new record was set by Julian Gray, who gained the full 45 points in the IB Diploma. He is looking forward to taking up a place at Oxford University to study Chinese. Three further students have gained places at Cambridge University: Daniel Stanyon achieved 44 points and will read Philosophy. Thomas Hitchcock gained 42 points and will study Natural Sciences; Charles Barker achieved 41 points and will take up Human, Social and Political Science.

IB student Timothy Wiese with his parents

IB student Daniel Stanyon with his parents

From left to right: IB students Deshan Hewavidana, Luke Geeson, Sam Gray, Jack Rowson and Ryan-Sin Maloney


REGIONALNEWS

Leading the drive to be better connected

Lower Thames Crossing Survey Results

Poor or no mobile phone coverage is costing business thousands of pounds across Kent limiting their ability to maximise their growth and create new jobs. Thanks to the responses from you and other companies across the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SE LEP) area to our call for evidence, we now know that this is far more than just a mild irritation for business. You have highlighted that this is having a real impact on your business performance and, as a consequence, on the local and national economy. Almost half of more than 400 responses we received to the research, carried out in partnership with the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, came from business in Kent. The overall findings have provided us with the basis of a very compelling case to take to the mobile network providers to explore ways of solving this issue.

While the survey’s findings help us build our case, we will be working with the Chamber and others to explore if there are new technologies that can be used to boost and enhance signals. We will also offer the SE LEP area as a pilot to test new methods and these technologies. We will also be taking the issue to government departments in a bid to encourage greater investment in mobile technology. To keep in touch with progress we make, contact the SELEP secretariat on lep@essex.gov.uk

I would like to thank those members who took part in our recent survey on the options for a third Thames Crossing. In line with the Government’s Consultation, the survey gave three preferred options: • option A: at the site of the existing A282 Dartford-Thurrock river crossing

Businesses have told us that mobile phone ‘cold spots’ are causing lost sales, damage to their reputation, and stifling opportunities for them to expand and create new jobs. Frequently losses of around £10,000 were quoted by companies who replied. Other impacts raised included:

• option B: connecting the A2 with the A1089

• the need to put specific structures in place to reflect inconsistent coverage - including taking account of the limited activity field sales or engineering teams working across large sites can undertake

• option C: connecting the M2 with the A13 and the M25 between junctions 29 and 30 • a variant for option C would additionally widen the A229 between the M2 and M20 The Chamber has now submitted a response to the consultation to the Department of Transport on behalf of the membership in line with the survey results, which were:

• difficulty in making strong contingency arrangements • the inability to have flexible business models and working practices which prevents them from achieving savings by modernising their organisation. Our area is rich with business and investment opportunities. However, comprehensive network coverage is needed to ensure we maximise these opportunities and create an environment where businesses can grow and flourish. We conclude that the effort of SE LEP and our partners in stimulating growth is certainly being hampered as a result of poor mobile phone connectivity. In Kent the key ‘cold spots’ identified were the A228 – Merworth/East Malling area; North of Folkestone up to Canterbury; Sittingbourne up to Isle of Sheppey; and along the coastal routes from Dover to Deal. 46

ThinkingBUSINESS August-September 2013

• Option A 6% in favour

Susan Priest Director, South East Local Enterprise Partnership

• Option B 10% in favour • Option C + Variant 70% KCC’s proposal regarding a tunnel in place of a bridge at the Option C site plus upgrading of the A249 between the M2 and M20 have been received favourably but final agreements of Option C are not conditional on these two points. Although the consultation is now closed, if you would like to discuss the above please do get in touch via email at Richard@kentinvictachamber.co.uk Richard Lavender Director Kent Invicta Chamber


MEMBERSNEWS

University of Kent part of new county alliance to promote IT innovation The University of Kent is one of three universities to join forces with Kent Connects, a public sector partnership which links councils with the emergency services and NHS, to promote IT innovation.

KITA will offer students from the universities of Kent, Greenwich and Canterbury Christ Church the opportunity to undertake IT placements and projects for Kent Connects’ organisations.

Carole Barron, Director of Innovation and Enterprise at the University of Kent, said: “The Kent IT Alliance will support collaboration and promote cutting-edge development based on up-to-date research-based expertise. “It will also provide an excellent opportunity to enrich our students’ employability skills whilst working on a range of projects for the Kent Connects partners. We are delighted to be able to support our students and the wider Kent community in this way.” Carol Patrick, Head of ICT Partnerships for Kent Connects said: “Technology changes so quickly we want to make sure we keep abreast of latest thinking and skills. Young people will bring vibrancy to the work we do and will help us to develop solutions while gaining valuable experience in the workplace.” Kent Connects is a partnership of all of the county’s councils as well as Kent Police and Kent Fire and Rescue, and Kent and Medway Commissioning Support Unit, which works with Kent and Medway’s NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups.

Prictured from left to right: Rob Neil, Head of Business Change and Technology, Ashford Borough Council Peter Bole, Director of ICT, Kent County Council Carol Patrick, Head of ICT Partnerships, KCC/Kent Connects Carole Barron, Director, Kent Innovation and Enterprise, University of Kent William Benson, CEO Head of Paid Services, Tunbridge Wells Professor Liz Bacon, Dean of Computing & Mathematical Sciences, University of Greenwich Audrey Songhurst, Director for the Research and Enterprise Development Centre, CCCU Professor Simon Thompson, Head of Research and Enterprise, School of Computing, University of Kent Lesley Chater, Business Development Manager, Kent Innovation and Enterprise, University of Kent

The Best Connection Group Opens in Dartford Flexible workforce solutions company The Best Connection has opened its doors in Dartford. This isn’t its first foray into Kent as it has an established presence in Maidstone where the new team has been gearing up for regional expansion. The Sunday Times Fast Track 250 business serves the burgeoning industrial, driving, warehouse & distribution, retail and healthcare sectors and operates 65 branches across the UK. The Group employs 550 permanent staff, 7,000 temporary workers and services around 6,000 clients in the markets served. The Best Connection is recognised as one of the UK’s top performers in its key vertical sectors.

The KM Charity Team has some fantastic ways for you to aid the corporate social responsibility of your company or even act as a great team building exercise. You could get involved in entering our great challenge events such as Abseiling, Assault Course Challenge or Big Charity Quiz? You can take on your business rivals, win some great prizes and most importantly raise a large amount of money for charity.

Launched at the University’s Canterbury campus, the Kent IT Alliance (KITA) will support collaboration and provide opportunities for knowledge transfer, joint funding and research and development.

Students will have an opportunity to work on projects such as developing apps for mobile devices, cybercrime, and information governance. Placements will be available for up to one year.

Are you feeling adventurous?

Neil Yorke, director, said: “We are delighted to be opening a branch in Dartford. The area is benefitting from significant investment and redevelopment which places demands on maintaining adequate staffing levels. We will be working very hard with local businesses to find the right people for their operational needs.”

The KM Charity Team has given Invicta Chamber of Commerce members a unique discount code (ICC2013) which saves you money and our shop is now open. Click here to see our upcoming exciting events. http://www.kmcharityteam.co.uk/Shop/ tabid/900/Default.aspx We have some great sponsorship packages for our events which start at £100 that can give you branding opportunities, logos on up to 30,000 newspaper inserts and even stories in the local newspapers. For more information please contact dcomins@thekmgroup.co.uk or 08442 640291.

Cool approach to boost rural tourism Rural tourism businesses in Kent are in line for additional support following the official launch of the £2.9 million EU-funded COOL project. Visit Kent and KCC joined forces with UK and French partners to bid for the cash and help rural businesses identify new approaches to marketing and take advantage of the latest technology to promote their services. Visit Kent will be working in partnership with the Pas de Calais and the Somme, Exmoor National Park, Somerset, Norfolk and Essex, to undertake research, run workshops and develop themed marketing campaigns. To find out more about opportunities available through COOL and the Visit Kent Tourism Business Advisory Service, go to www.visitkentbusiness.co.uk or call 01227 812900.

www.thebestconnection.co.uk

August-September 2013 ThinkingBUSINESS

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NEWMEMBERS

Welcome to new members Adecco - Dartford Dartford 01322 287701 www.adecco.co.uk AM Aerial Installations Deal 07914 147335 www.am-aerials.co.uk Arista Tubes Limited Swanley 01322 613136 www.esselpropack.com Baycix Ashford 07429 805013 www.baycix.co.uk BBS Green Roofing Ltd South Darenth 02076 226225 www.green-roofing.co.uk Beanstalk London 02077 497975 www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk Berwick Devoil Healthcare Ltd Lamberhurst 01892 891900 www.bdhl.co.uk Best Connection, The Dartford 07500 027127 www.thebestconnection.co.uk Breathe Telecom Limited Crockenhill 01322 470264 www.breathetelecom.co.uk Bridgewood Manor Chatham 01634 201333 www.qhotels.co.uk Brown Europe Ltd Chatham 01634 201110 www.browneuropeltd.com Business Computer Solutions Ltd Ramsgate 01843 572600 www.365itsupport.co.uk Business Proposal Service Sittingbourne 01795 477043 www.bpskent.co.uk Clocktower Childcare Limited Snodland 01634 240530 www.colcktowerchildcare.co.uk Corporate Liquidity Partners Tenterden 01580 766066 www.corporateliquidity.com Crayford Motors Citroen Ltd Crayford 01322 429150 www.crayfordmotors.co.uk Feature Design Ltd Herne Bay 01227 743730 www.featuredesign.co.uk Filehurst Associates West Hythe 01303 239990 www.filehurst.co.uk Future Insight Accounting Ltd Bexley Village 01322 554733 www.futureinsight.org.uk 48

ThinkingBUSINESS August-September 2013

G4S Care and Justice Rochester 01634 823300 Graffiti Magic Ltd West Hythe 01303 260900 www.graffitimagic.com Green Growth Consulting London 08008 047156 www.greengrowthconsulting.com HR Experts Limited Tunbridge Wells 01892 557630 www.hrexperts.co.uk Integrated CCTV Security Ltd Gravesend 07949 498911 www.integratedcctvsecurity.co.uk Interface Financial Group, The Benenden 01580 241087 Interserve Construction Limited Dover 01304 219981 www.interserve.com Kentish Times Newspapers (Archant London) Dartford 01322 303110 www.gravesendreporter.co.uk Kim Brett Photography Sevenoaks 07899 044862 www.kimbrett.co.uk Lawns One Ltd Ashford 01233 330751 www.lawnsone.co.uk Leonard Curtis Ltd London 07860 400079 www.lcbsg.co.uk Leviathan Water Treatment Tonbridge 01732 838331 Maracom Ltd London 02079 878550 www.maracom.co.uk Mercedes-Benz Maidstone Maidstone 01622 623713 www.mercedes-benzofmaidstone.co.uk Merlin Translation Services Ashford 01233 661519 www.merlintranslationservices.com Michelle Maynard Communications Gravesend 07732 042328 www.michellemaynard.co.uk Orchard Garage Limited Dartford 01322 271000 www.orchardgarageltd.co.uk Orchard Spot Ltd, The Maidstone 01622 861500 www.orchardsport.co.uk PDD Mounting Co Maidstone 01622 678324 www.pddmounting.co.uk RARK Solutions East Malling 01732 875338 www.rarksolutions.com

Rawlison Butler LLP West Malling www.rawlisonbutler.com

01732 424049

Restoration and Protection 01622 232619 Maidstone www.restorationandprotection.com Roko Health Clubs Gillingham www.roko.co.uk

01634 233348

Royal Bank of Scotland Commercial Banking Maidstone 01622 691461 www.rbs.com Sears Business Centre Ltd Sittingbourne 01795 508844 Sellective Headcorn www.sellective.co.uk

01622 892186

Seniors Helping Seniors Canterbury 01227 454900 www.seniorshelpingseniors.co.uk Spell It Right Limited Pluckley www.spellitright.co.uk

01233 840056

Stead & Wilkins Ltd Dartford www.steadandwilkins.co.uk

01322 529134

Ten Intelligence Limited Maidstone www.tenintel.com

08000 778810

Thamesview School Gravesend 01474 566552 www.thamesview.kent.sch.uk Travelpack Wembley www.travelpack.com

02085 854135

Virtually More Time Sheppey www.virtuallymoretime.com

01795 870939

White Rose Finance (Rochester) Rochester 01634 402064 www.whiteroserochester.co.uk Wrotham School Sevenoaks www.wrothamschool.com

01732 884207

Xtremia Limited Gillingham www.xtremia.co.uk Your Books Online Ltd Maidstone www.yourbooksonline.co.uk

01622 238333

Zoodikers Consulting Ltd Tunbridge Wells www.zoodikers.com

01892 520123


MOVERS&SHAKERS

New Partner: Simon Crooks at Brachers, Kent Simon Crooks has joined Kent-based Brachers as a partner in the Private Client team. He comes from East Anglian firm Ashton KCJ (formerly Kester Cunningham John), responsible for the leadership and management of the Lifetime Planning team. Simon will bring to Brachers, specialism and expertise in estate and tax planning, probate, wills and trusts, lasting powers of attorney and mental capacity/court protection. One of his most recent cases involved advising on a multi-million pound estate administration, incorporating Inheritance Tax planning and future estate planning, wills and lasting powers of attorney across three generations of a family. He is also currently a member of the Consultant Editorial Board of Lexis PSL Private Client. Simon said: “There are significant changes occurring in the Private Client landscape and it is essential for lawyers to adapt to ensure they meet changing client needs and expectations. “Brachers is one of the few firms that really understand this and I look forward to working with them to meet these challenges.” Simon Palmer, who heads up the Private Client department, said: “We very much welcome Simon to the team, bringing a wealth of experience and innovation with him.” Simon is the firm’s third new starter in 2013. The firm has also welcomed Associate Mei-Ling McNab (Family) and Legal Executive Kerry Carter (Residential Conveyancing). To contact Brachers, call 01622 690691 or email info@brachers.co.uk

New face at Brachers Charlotte Mosdell has qualified into the Corporate and Commercial team at Brachers, having completed her training contract with the law firm. She has joined as a Commercial Litigation Solicitor dealing mainly with disputes connected with Kent based companies. CLARKSON WRIGHT & JAKES strengthens its employment team Clarkson Wright & Jakes, Orpington, Kent announce the arrival of Henry Doswell as an Associate in their Employment Department. Henry qualified in 2003 and has since specialised exclusively in UK employment law. He has previously worked in the City, Canary Wharf and the West End, latterly at Thomas Mansfield, a specialist employment law firm where he advised employers and Senior Executives on all aspects of UK employment law. He has particular experience in High Court employment litigation and is also accredited by the ADR Group to mediate workplace and employment disputes.

Appointment strengthens corporate team Leading Kent law firm Furley Page has expanded its Corporate Team to meet increasing client demand. With the firm’s company and commercial law specialists handling a growing number of multi-million-pound transactions, solicitor Sonel Martin has been appointed to join the Thames Gateway office at Chatham’s Historic Dockyard. Sonel, 37, from Kings Hill, West Malling, moves to Furley Page from another prominent niche corporate and commercial law firm in Kent where she spent more than five years specialising in company and commercial law, working with businesses across all sectors advising them on starting up, including structuring, shareholders’ or partnership/LLP agreements, customer and supplier contracts and reorganisations. HOSPICE CHARITY EMPLOYS YOUNG FUNDRAISER chYps, which provides Hospice at Home Care to sick children in Kent, has recruited a new area fundraiser. Amie Madgett, 20, of Bishops Oak Ride, Tonbridge, who joined as the new fundraiser for South West Kent, is looking forward to building relationships with local businesses to meet the ever-increasing demand for chYps services in Maidstone, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks and surrounding villages. If your business would like to support chYps please email amie.madgett@chyps.org

New job for Neal Lookers Mercedes-Benz in Kent has recruited a new Fleet Sales Manager. Neal Page, who is based in the Maidstone branch, has eight years’ experience in a similar role in a Mercedes dealer group in Surrey and previous to that more than 20 years experience in the finance and leasing industry.

Firm makes two key appointments Chartered accountancy and business advisory firm Wilkins Kennedy LLP has announced two internal promotions, Rob Reynolds as Southern Region Managing Partner and Adam Merrett as Branch Managing Partner for Orpington. Rob will continue to service his diverse client portfolio across the region whilst also overseeing regional operations and new business development for the Ashford and Orpington offices. Forensic Specialist Partner Adam Merrett will continue to offer partner-led services to his client portfolio whilst overseeing the operations and growth of the Orpington office.

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LASTWORD

The Last Word Name: Steve Fish Company: Ashford Leisure Trust Job title: Marketing Manager I joined Ashford Leisure Trust in the summer of 2011 after a career in telecommunications and education. I have a degree in Business Studies from what was Coventry Polytechnic back in the early 80’s, and am a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. I was lucky enough to work internationally with BT’s Global Service Division, being based in Paris and Geneva for over 6 years. I am currently responsible for all marketing and sales and customer service activity on behalf of the Trust, based at the Stour Centre.

Q.What was your first job and what was the pay packet? My job was a six month industrial placement as part of my degree course. I A. started as Marketing Assistant with Office & Electronic Machines Limited in Borough, South London. That was back in 1982 and I was paid £30 a week (Gross!) Q.What do you always carry with you to work? Apart from the obvious things such as pens and a name badge, it would be A. a warm feeling that what the Trust is doing is really helping a lot of people across the local community access healthier lifestyles.

Q.What is the biggest challenge facing your business? Convincing the wider public that initiating a more active lifestyle needn’t A. cost the earth, is easy to do and is one of the most important things they can do to ensure a healthy long term life.

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ThinkingBUSINESS August-September 2013

you were Prime Minister, what one thing would you Q.Ifchange to help business? Find a way to make start up capital more readily available (at non exorbitant A.interest rates) to would be entrepreneurs. Possibly a seedcorn budget funded by more successful organisations - that can be controlled/distributed

through non profit making local “New business” agencies to encourage entrepreneurs at a really local level to take the first steps into running their own businesses. What can you see from your office window?

Q. A.The brand new kids play area in front of the Stour Centre Q.If you could do another job what would it be I’d love to have been born with the talent to be a better guitarist. Whilst I A. appreciate that it’s a very tough industry for the majority of people working in it, I can’t imagine anything better than hearing other people singing a song I wrote! Q.As a business person, what are your three main qualities? Empathy, Customer Focus and an understanding of the mechanics of A.business. Q.What was your biggest mistake in business? Luckily nothing too drastic but never underestimate the importance of A. researching rather than just assuming! Even limited research is better than nothing! Q.What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs? Research your business idea as best you possibly can before investing A.everything into it. If the idea proves sound give it everything you’ve got! Who do you most admire in business? Q. I know he’s become a bit cliche’d since so many people cite him, but for A. me it would be Richard Branson. Ruthless within his office walls but able to come across as a people’s champion and very down to earth in public.


Thinking Business  
Thinking Business  

August-September 2013. Official magazine for Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce.