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Welcome Spring is in the air and people’s thoughts are inevitably turning to holidays, which is why in this edition of Thinking Business we have turned our attention to the subject of tourism. Travel and tourism are so important to the local economy, bringing investment to many different types of business, and in our feature starting on page 26 we take a look at the opportunities and the challenges presented by the sector. Staying with travel, in our International Trade section on pages 14 and 15 we outline some of the services available to help you export and also take a look at the commercial opportunities presented by Poland. Our Ask the Expert section on page 18 takes a look at business travel. What should you consider when planning a business trip? We offer some handy hints. This edition also sees us turn the spotlight on Maidstone, starting on page 20, in which we examine some of the plans for its future and urge you





to have your say. The area may be about to undergo significant changes and it is vital the business community is represented in the decision-making process. Elsewhere, there is the usual news and views and we also take a look at Auto-enrolment on page 6. It is something which will impact on so many businesses and cannot be ignored. As you already know, being in business presents so many different challenges and we try to address as many of them as we can in these pages so on page 23, Nick Rowell, the Chamber’s Director of Policy, takes look at the tricky issue of land use. I hope you enjoy reading this edition of Thinking Business.

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Chamber News Members News International Trade 24 hours with... Ask the Expert Policy Spotlight On... The Economy Cover Feature

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: Web: Chief Executive: Jo James Publisher Ian Fletcher Benham Publishing Limited 3tc House, 16 Crosby Rd, Crosby, Liverpool L22 0NY Tel: 0151 236 4141 Fax: 0151 236 0440 Email: Web: Published April 2014 © Benham Publishing

Cover Image Small boats on the beach at Broadstairs on the Isle of Thanet in Kent, Broadstairs, Kent, England. Additional Credit: Thanet District Council.

Advertising and Features Karen Hall Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email:

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Production Manager Fern Badman Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: Media No. 1343 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. © 2014. Please note that submitting an article does not guarantee publication. 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.

April-May 2014 ThinkingBUSINESS



Urgent appeal for monitors and mice Computers 4 Africa are appealing to the local community to help meet a shortage of second-hand IT equipment. Sharon Roberts, Head of Marketing, said: “We need you, your school, business, council, family or charity to help us bridge this short fall. We are looking for working TFT monitors (flat screen), mice, kettle and VGA leads to enable us to complete our next three shipments, which are due to leave imminently,(to Cameroon, Tanzania and Kenya respectively). Even one flat screen will make a difference as 100% of useable donations are sent to Africa where it is used to bring increased opportunities and transform lives.” If you can help, please call 03000 11 22 33 or email Alternatively you can turn up at their head offices with your items, address: 4, Priory Park, Mills Road, Aylesford, Kent, ME20 7PP.

New Youth Commissioner appointed Kerry Boyd, from Margate, has been appointed as the new Youth Commissioner. Kerry, aged 19, will start part-time as of the 5th March 2014, taking up the role full-time as of the beginning of April. The new Youth Commissioner will be taking a gap year from her degree in Education Studies and Business Studies to commence the role. In her spare time she is an active runner and a keen supporter of Chelsea FC. She also enjoys driving, music and was a London 2012 Olympic Torchbearer. The role will be a vital link between policing and young people with the job involving educating and deterring young people from committing crime, and promoting keeping safe online. Kerry will also work with Primary and Secondary Schools, as well as Colleges and Universities to deliver educational packages on wider issues such as knife crime, drugs, how to stay safe, as well as finding out policing priorities. Talking about her new role, Kerry Boyd said: “I’m very pleased indeed that I’ve got the job - it was a role that was calling out to me. For me this is about giving young people a voice in society and finding out what the younger generation want from the police and wider agencies. Like the Commissioner I will always be out and about in local communities”.

Ann Barnes, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Kerry really stood out for me as a strong minded young lady who has a hunger to make a difference. I’m confident that Kerry has lots of exciting ideas to make sure that young people are involved in future policing. I’d like to congratulate Kerry on securing the role and look forward to working with her”. Find out more here:

Survey highlights German investment in the UK The German-British Chamber of Industry & Commerce has published the results of its latest survey about direct investment by German subsidiary companies in the United Kingdom. German subsidiaries have an annual turnover of around GBP 200 billion and employ more than one per cent of the British workforce (around 370,000 people). The majority of German owned companies are active in the traditionally strong sectors of the German economy, such as mechanical engineering, automotive and the chemical industry. However, a growing number is now active in the service sector. As a consequence of this development, customer service has become a more 4

ThinkingBUSINESS April-May 2014

important selling proposition for German subsidiaries in recent years. On current trends, total employment in German subsidiaries is expected to rise by four per cent per annum over the next three years. Future investment of German companies will be driven by an increasingly positive economic outlook, future investment in infrastructure and the availability of certain skills in the market.


From humble beginnings Almost thirty years ago, on the morning of that very first soup run nobody turned up for the sandwiches and hot drinks that had been carefully prepared by teachers Patricia McCabe and Mary Harvey and pupils from Maidstone Girls’ Grammar School. Undaunted, they came back again and again and each week the numbers of people waiting in the churchyard and in the parks grew. In 1986 the charity Maidstone Christian Care was founded to support homeless and vulnerable people and as well as the soup runs, volunteers cooked hot meals each week at the United Reformed Church in Week Street. The first Maidstone Day Centre was opened in 1995 in a ground floor flat at Lenworth House and in 2004 we moved into our present home at 15 Knightrider Street. Goodsell House is a hostel for ten people that in 1976 was set up as trust by the founder of the local building firm to provide accommodation for those in need. Over the years many residents have been grateful for respite from the streets and a chance to turn their lives around. Just launched…. Homeless Care Homeless Care is the exciting new charity that joins the town’s leading homeless organisation, Maidstone Christian Care, with Goodsell House Hostel in a bid to offer an even better service to people whose lives have been affected by the economic downturn and the loss of jobs and homes. Initially little will change from the outside because Maidstone Day Centre for homeless and vulnerable people, Food for Thought, our community food share programme, Goodsell House and, Maidstone Christian Care will continue to operate as before but now under the banner of Homeless Care.

Homeless Care Chairman, Mike FitzGerald said, “this merger has been a long time coming. We have arrived here from humble beginnings but the strong support we have received from the local community over the years has made all this possible.” Working together… Maidstone Day Centre opens weekdays and Saturday mornings to provide hot showers, clean clothes and good home cooked food to those in need as well as referrals for health problems and help with benefit applications and housing applications. Food for Thought collects surplus food items from local traders and redistributes them to school breakfast clubs, hostels, clubs for elderly men and women and individuals and families in crisis. Goodsell House gives homeless people respite and a roof over their head while they prepare to move into independent living and a better future. Maidstone Christian Care continues to be our link with the churches who from the start have given us much support. We are always grateful for even the smallest donation and if you would like to help, please call our treasurer on 01622 202239 for details of how to give or see our newsletter online at The new branding bringing all our services under one name - Homeless Care.

First World War database unveiled A unique database of information on 42,000 soldiers, nurses and others who passed through Folkestone on their way to war between 1915 and 1919 has gone live. The educational and community charity Step Short has uploaded every page of eight visitors’ books that were kept at the Harbour Canteen and were signed by some of the millions of troops who passed through the port on their way into, or out of, the country. After Kent County Council funded the scanning of the hand-written pages, volunteers transcribed the details they contain – mainly name, rank and corps or unit – to create an online database at Those who signed the books included Major General Hugh Trenchard, war artist John Lavery, VC recipient

If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur - Red Adair How hard can it be to put together an advert, design a logo or create a leaflet? It’s easy to design your own website, we’ve all seen the television ads. ‘Doing-it-yourself’, or getting a mate to have a go can be very tempting - so why hire a professional? When a professional studio designs something for a client, whatever it is, they get an overview of the company first, its aims and expectations and they design for function - to do the job (and some!) It will look great too, but more importantly it will WORK. When you take a car to a garage for a service you don’t want it delivered back shiny and beautiful, it needs to work, not just for 5 minutes but for way into the future. That’s what designers are trained for years to do, they are not just creatives with fluffy ideas. They become an invaluable asset to your team. They will also come to workable solution infinitely quicker than any novice. If you have ever tried to fit carpet yourself you will understand this concept. Another very important point is that your customers are very discerning. The moment we open up a web page any one of us can tell if it was designed by the boss’ nephew who happens to be studying IT at college, or if it was built using one of the off-the-shelf templates - full of posed stock imagery, dragand-drop logos and limited colour schemes. How important is your public image to you? The question you should ask yourself is not “Can I afford to hire a professional?” but “Can I afford not to?”

George Sanders and Winston Churchill, at that time a Major. While the famous names are interesting, the value of the new resource lies in the thousands of ordinary men and women who left their mark on history while enjoying a last cuppa on the way to an uncertain future.

Oak Creative Advertising and Design Royal Oak Building, Hythe, Kent CT21 4JF

Their legacy will be invaluable to historians, family researchers and anyone with an interest in those who played a part in the First World War.

Tel: 01303 812848

The scanned pages will be free to access, while visitors will be able to pay a small fee to access the index and the transcript of the hand-written entries.

April-May 2014 ThinkingBUSINESS



Getting started – countdown to auto-enrolment Colin Bannister Director of Financial Planning, WK Financial Management 01622 238345

A new law means that every employer must automatically enrol staff into a workplace pension scheme in a government bid to help the UK save for retirement. This is called auto-enrolment. In the previous issue of Thinking Business, we set out an overview of auto-enrolment, what it means and how to find out when your staging date is. The staging date is the date by which the employer must meet their auto-enrolment obligations – in other words have a qualifying workplace pension in place. Between April and December 2014, 30,000 employers will reach their staging date. Those with at least 249 employees paid under PAYE (as at 6/4/12) will reach their staging date in April, reducing to a PAYE size of 59 in November. If you haven’t received a letter from the Pensions Regulator with your staging date, visit ers/tools/staging-date.aspx and enter your business’s PAYE reference number and you can find out what your staging date is. Remember though, auto-enrolment is not a one-off event; the process to assess your workforce for eligibility needs to be done at every pay cycle, even if your pay cycle is weekly. Some employers already offer a workplace pension scheme. This means that an employer has set up a pension scheme and employer or employee contributions are paid which is facilitated through payroll. However, this doesn’t automatically mean that the auto-enrolment requirements will be met. The pension scheme has to meet specific criteria, such as specific contribution levels and offering a default investment fund, in order to qualify. It is vital that businesses plan ahead. Whether there is a pension scheme in place or not, the Pensions Regulator suggests that an auto-enrolment plan can 6

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take about 12 months to set up. The Pensions Regulator has a handy project plan on its website that companies can print. See ers/planning-for-automatic-enrolment.aspx The Pensions Regulator breaks down the plan into manageable steps: Step 1 – Establish your staging date and nominate a single point of contact. Step 2 – Ensure that the staff data is up to date and begin to assess workforce Step 3 – Review existing pension arrangements Step 4 – Communicate with workers about the auto enrolment pension scheme you decide on Step 5 – At staging date – the options, e.g., do you want to use a waiting period? Step 6 – Register online with the Pensions Regulator Step 7 – Ongoing – the Pensions Regulator reporting and the three year cycle to re-enrol workers. Don’t panic if it looks like a lot to take in – we will cover each of the steps in more detail in future articles. What do you need to do now? Get started! Once you have established your staging date, you will also need to nominate a single point of contact i.e. a named individual within the business to receive any updates from the Pensions Regulator.

Notify the regulator of the contact by completing the form at placepensionsreform/nominate.aspx And then....? If you want to engage with or already use the services of a financial adviser who knows about auto enrolment, you should contact them sooner rather than later. They can help guide you through the auto enrolment journey. If you do not want to use an adviser then it’s time to get reading. The Pensions Regulator website is a great place to start with lots of guidance written for employers about how to get started and what the journey will mean. It’s important to remember that there will be costs involved in auto enrolment. It could be software you choose to install from a payroll provider or third party provider to carry out the staff assessment and record data. There will almost certainly be costs involved in making the minimum employer pension contributions. You will, of course, need to account for these when budgeting your costs for the business. In the next article we will look at why the staff data needs to up to date (such as date of birth, complete address, full National Insurance Number) and how you assess who needs to be automatically enrolled into the pension scheme. WK Financial Management Limited is an appointed representative of Ashcourt Rowan Financial Planning Limited (ARFP) which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.


Flooded with employment disputes?

Whitehead Monckton is here to help

Global software company recommits to Kings Hill Infor, one of the world’s largest providers of business software, has recommitted to Kent by renewing its lease on offices at Kings Hill, near Maidstone.

The recent flooding has had devastating consequences for many businesses in Kent. Below are some tips to help employers deal with adverse weather conditions.

Implement and follow a comprehensive adverse weather policy clarifying the responsibilities of staff and the procedure to follow if they genuinely cannot get into work. Ensure this is updated regularly and publicised internally. Clarify how absence is going to be recorded and dealt with. For example, will staff be able to take annual leave at short notice or have to make up time taken off? Employees who are absent because they cannot find appropriate childcare may take time off for dependants, which is usually unpaid unless there is alternative agreement. Be clear and consistent when deciding to pay (or not pay) absent employees. Check and comply with all contractual entitlements. Take reasonable steps to care for the health and safety of employees. Never force an employee to come into work if this will put their health and safety at risk. Ensure that employment contracts contain all appropriate and necessary provisions, for example authorising the business to tell employees to work from a different location or to withhold payments in some circumstances. An employee could be lying in order to avoid coming into work. Ensure you investigate the matter fully and always follow a fair procedure before taking any disciplinary action. For example, give reasonable information about the reasons for potential disciplinary action, allow the employee a reasonable opportunity to explain and to appeal against any decision. If you want to learn more about new employment law developments, come to one of our regular free seminars, which are next taking place on 22nd May 2014 in Maidstone and 5 June 2014 in Canterbury. For more details contact Emma Dickinson

The company, which is headquartered in New York and has more than 70,000 customers, employs 12,700 staff worldwide and has an annual revenue of $2.7billion. Infor (United Kingdom) Ltd moved to Kings Hill in 2004, where it occupies 5,259 sq ft in 39 Kings Hill Avenue. The company has already extended its lease once and has now signed for another five years. The company’s Kings Hill office employs 45 people Mary Trick, Senior Vice President of Infor said: “We have decided to extend our lease for another five years because Kings Hill is a great location, offers a very pleasant working environment, the local amenities are excellent and it has great motorway links.” Infor specialises in enterprise software ranging from financial systems and resource planning to supply chain and customer relationships. Its customers include 19 of the top 20 aerospace companies; 12 of the 13 top high tech companies; 10 of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies, 19 of the largest US states and 84 of the top 100 automotive suppliers “We have a very high rate of lease renewal at

Kings Hill which is great endorsement for the park,” said Andrew Blevins, managing director of Kings Hill developer Liberty Property Trust UK Ltd. “But it is especially encouraging when tenants renew their lease repeatedly and illustrates that we are providing what today’s successful business requires, which is modern, flexible accommodation. “I am delighted Infor will be staying with us for another five years, and, hopefully, many more to come.” Altus Edwin Hill, Knight Frank and Hanover Green acted for the landlord. Kings Hill is set in 800 acres near the county town of Maidstone and is just two miles from junction 4 of the M20. It was a former airfield and is now home to around 7,700 residents and more than 200 businesses employing some 5,000 people. There are also schools and a village centre with shops including Waitrose; Costa Coffee; Domino’s and restaurants, as well as a surgery, dry cleaners, shoe repairers, pharmacy and opticians. For more information visit

April-May 2014 ThinkingBUSINESS



BitesizeNews Getting noticed Chamber member and Medway-based commercial insurance broker, Breathe Insurance Brokers, is one of the Top 10 brokers to follow on Twitter, according to Zurich Insurance. The insurer looked all over Twitter for UK brokers that are informative and illuminating with their unique insight on the industry. Karen Thomas, who runs the company’s Twitter account, said: “A number of new clients have come on board after first seeing us on Twitter - it’s a great way to network and engage with business owners. I only signed up for Twitter last year and was sceptical at first. I didn’t know what to write & couldn’t really see the point, but with the help of fellow Chamber member, Zoe Cairns of ZC Social Media, I began to learn how to make it work.”

A few Chamber members take advantage of SEC Signworks services Clarkson Wright & Jakes in Oprington are thrilled with the premises we installed for them in February & we didn’t let a little bit of wind or rain get in the way… or sinkholes in the middle of the road! Here’s a nice little black number for Blue Chyp Ltd., Ashford based supplier of Air Curtains, Glass Balustrades & entrance technology. Blue Chyp have a ‘Y’ watermark on their stationery. Take a closer look & you will see this on the van in matt black wrap vinyl.


ThinkingBUSINESS April-May 2014

New allowance offers help with costs of employment DSH Chartered Accountants & Business Advisors is urging companies to check their payroll software is up to date in advance of the introduction of the new employment allowance. With effect from April 6, businesses, charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) may be entitled to an annual employment allowance of £2,000 to reduce their liability for Class 1 secondary National Insurance Contributions (NICs). To check eligibility, go to DSH’s Glen Thomas, based in Maidstone, said: “The new employment allowance is a welcome benefit, particularly to small businesses looking to grow and perhaps take on more staff, or even their first employee. “But employers will need to ensure their payroll software is updated in order to take advantage, and we would urge them to speak to their software provider as soon as possible.” For further guidance relating to the employment allowance, or for those thinking of taking the payroll burden away and using a bureau, visit or call the DSH Payroll Team on 01622 690666.

Oil change for Comma Comma Oil and Chemicals has moved its executive and commercial departments to Kings Hill, West Malling, to accommodate future growth. The company, which was acquired in 2012 by Cosan - one of Brazil’s largest oil producers manufactures, markets and distributes lubricating motor oils, car care products and associated seasonal and industrial chemicals for the UK and over 40 international markets. The executive and commercial teams, along with marketing and planning functions, are now occupying 7,147 sq ft in 30 Tower View and manufacturing and customer services will remain at the company’s current base in Gravesend. The company currently employs more than 200 staff globally. Comma spokesperson Mike Bewsey said: “We now need a great deal more space than is available to us on the Gravesend site to accommodate planned future growth in all departments, while sustaining the industry-leading levels of customer service and marketing support for which Comma is renowned.” Andrew Blevins, managing director of Kings Hill developer Liberty Property Trust UK Ltd, said: “Yet again, Kings Hill has proven to be the right choice for a brand that needs a prestigious location which reflects their status within their marketplace and is an ideal place for them to meet their customers.”

Locate in Kent finds right platform for growth for RailSimulator A small step to bigger offices has put a Kent software developer on track for future growth, thanks to the help of Locate in Kent. Ltd, trading as Dovetail Games, launched in 2009 to develop simulation products for train enthusiasts and started by acquiring the rights to an existing product called Rail Simulator. A fast-growing company, it employs more than 60 staff at its Chatham head office, and in Godalming in Surrey, and Stirling in Scotland. Originally based in the Joiners Shop at Chatham Historic Dockyard, the Kent team had grown to the point where it was using five offices around the building. “Early last year it became clear that we needed a new base,” said Gemma Johnson-Brown, Vice President of HR. “We had 40 employees and firm plans to add nine more in a short period of time, and even more over a longer period.” While searching for property online, Gemma followed a link to the website for Locate in Kent, the county’s investment promotion agency, that had originally help the company find its Joiners Shop base.

Eventually they found the solution on their doorstep, with a first floor open plan office at the Observatory, Chatham, just 500 yards from their original home.

Dovetail Games’ new head office at the Observatory, Chatham, allows for greater collaborative working


Chilmington Green wins prestigious industry award

Start-up businesses and charities given a helping hand

Chilmington Green has won the award for Strategic Planning at 2014’s Placemaking Awards.

A new business centre affordable to start-up businesses, social enterprises and charities has opened in Maidstone.

or will have, a positive impact on the physical or environmental quality of a place or the economic or social wellbeing of its community’. The Chilmington Green master plan sets out a vision for a garden suburb outside Ashford that will comprise 5,750 homes, with a high street and market square at the heart of the development. Clare San Martin, Partner at JTP collecting the award for Strategic Planning. The Strategic Planning category recognised Chilmington Green’s master plan, designed by architects John Thompson & Partners (JTP), as an entry which ‘demonstrated how a development plan or master plan has,

Clare San Martin, Partner at JTP, collected the award on behalf of her team and said: “We were delighted to receive the award for a master plan that reflects our client’s and Ashford Borough Council’s commitment to high quality sustainable design, and to working collaboratively with local people.” The Placemaking Awards were held at the British Museum in London.

Making a splash

The Maidstone Enterprise Centre opened on February 11th and during two open days, many people were welcomed in to see what’s on offer. Opened by The Enterprise Foundation, the Maidstone Centre, based in Medvale House, Mote Road, is the third the charity has opened in nine months - the first two were in Leeds and Birmingham. Maidstone will soon be home to startup businesses who want to leave isolated home-working behind and rent a desk or office at the centre to become a part of a vibrant community. They can also be helped by a grant from The Enterprise Foundation towards their desk rental, plus be supported by centre manager Roy Laming, who will offer signposting, training and mentoring to young businesses. The Enterprise Foundation is specifically hoping to help some of

the more under-represented groups in the locality, including the unemployed, under 30s, over 50s, those with disabilities and ex-service personnel. Meeting rooms, training room, breakout areas and kitchen are also included for use by tenants. If you missed the open days but would still like to find out more or have a look around, call Roy Laming on 07975 880549 or email

Brave swimmers, including many from local businesses, plunged into freezing water in February to help raise funds for Kent charity chYps Children’s Hospice at Home. Crowds descended on the icy outdoor pool at St Julian’s Club, Sevenoaks, as a daring bunch of 35 supporters took part in the charity’s annual sponsored Chilli Dip Cold Water Swim challenge. Seven members of the Sevenoaks Sharks Waterpolo Team, who have raised more than £2000 in sponsorship, were the first to take the plunge. They were counted in by TV News Presenter Ian Palmer from Langton Green, who dived in straight after to join them for a quick game of Waterpolo.

Rachel Holweger, Director of Fundraising at chYps, said: “I was so impressed with everyone who turned out to support the event and of course our brave Chilli’ Dippers. It was a very cold day, and the pool was a bitter seven degrees, but everyone was warmed by the fantastic atmosphere.”

April-May 2014 ThinkingBUSINESS



Quantum fundraising for The Retreat Animal Rescue Quantum PR will raise pounds for unwanted pets throughout 2014 after naming The Retreat Animal Rescue as its charity of the year. The Ashford-based public relations agency will take part in a number of sponsored events throughout the year, with fundraisers varying from monthly dress down days to fun runs and online auctions. Further to the inaugural Great Quantum Bake Off contest held in December last year, the Quantum team will also use their combined culinary skills to raise money through cake and bun bake sales. Proceeds will help The Retreat continue to care for sick, injured and unwanted animals. The Ashfordbased voluntary rescue centre currently provides veterinary care and shelter for more than 1,000 animals at any one time.

Quantum’s Sananur Meric, Jonathan Burch and Rebecca Keys with a one of The Retreat’s elderly residents.

Airport masterplan cleared for take-off Medway Council has endorsed a long-term masterplan for the future of Rochester Airport, which includes the creation of an 11.7 hectare hub for science and technology firms expected to create 1,000 jobs. The proposals will also see improved facilities at the airport itself, including replacing many of the existing buildings and facilities and a reconfiguration of the existing runways. Medway said that the runway changes would allow for the business hub to be developed on land adjacent to Rochester Airport Industrial Estate that is currently part of the airport site. Councillor Alan Jarrett, Medway’s deputy leader and finance lead, said the masterplan proposals would put the 1930s airport - which is owned by the

council but run by a private operator - on a solid footing for the long term. “Rochester Airport is an important asset for Medway and securing its future will help contribute to the regeneration and economic development of the area,” he said. “We want to ensure the future of the airport by maximising its potential for jobs and tourism and that’s what the masterplan does.The potential for new jobs here is just one of many benefits this masterplan brings.”

Visit Kent encourages public to nominate county’s best claims to fame VisitEngland has launched a search to establish England’s ultimate Hall of Fame. From Harry Potter to James Bond, the mini skirt to the tuxedo, The Beatles to punk music and the Magna Carta to the World Wide Web, the Hall of Fame will celebrate what England has brought to the world and what makes the country such a diverse and fascinating place to visit and explore. Visit England’s Hall of Fame app asks the public to submit their hometown’s greatest claim to fame under the following categories: The Great, The Good and the Notorious; Inventions & Discoveries; Food & Drink; History & Heritage; Culture & Entertainment and Sport & Leisure. Visit Kent is encouraging Kent residents to get involved and support the campaign by nominating some of the county’s claims to fame. For inspiration, have a look at the Visit Kent dedicated

The Accounting Experts The Accounting Experts (T.A.X) was formed to provide an exclusive service to SME’s in the UK. Based in Kent, we cater for sole traders, limited companies, LLPs and partnerships. The services we provide start from one off consultations providing tax planning advice to a full T & A package provided on a monthly basis. So what makes us different to your traditional practice? At T.A.X, we offer a traditional service whereby our clients can hand us their documents at the end of their accounting period and we will compile a set of financial statements for them. This is convenient for some clients as they can gather their information e.g receipts, invoices, bank statements etc into a file and pass it over to us. We also offer cloud accounting. Our online bookkeeping software, means that our clients have 24/7 access to their accounts. They have full control of the book keeping which means if they are updating regularly, the information is correct and is in real time. The reports that can be run off such as Vat, P & L, Trial balance will all be accurate and this gives our clients a chance to make any key decisions they need to. Our accountants also have access to this which means they can advise our clients throughout the financial year. Cloud accounting – keep in control. Cloud or Traditional Accounting – which one do you like the sound of? Please visit The Accounting Experts – Professional. Simple. Accounting

webpage Anyone that nominates or later votes, a claim will be automatically entered into a prize draw to win a weekend break away. The deadline for entries is 23 March 2014. A shortlist will then be open to public vote to establish the final Hall of Fame, which will be announced on 23 April, St George’s Day. The app is available at and on VisitEngland’s Facebook page

April-May 2014 ThinkingBUSINESS



BitesizeNews Group receives award Inkerman Group Screening Limited has been awarded Umbrella Body Status by the DBS, joining the list of companies that can do Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks on behalf of businesses and organisations (formerly Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks.

Annual Turner Lecture and Dinner Thursday 24 April 2014 Turner Contemporary has, in just three years, become one of the foremost galleries in the UK. We invite you to help us celebrate this achievement, pay tribute to Britain’s best-loved painter JMW Turner and help us raise funds to continue our outstanding work. Atmosphere. This will be followed by Andrew Graham-Dixon’s lecture at 6.45pm and a 3 course dinner overlooking, as Turner declared, ‘the loveliest skies in all Europe’ at 8pm. For companies interested in the event, Turner Contemporary is offering the following opportunities with a table booking of eight: • A tour of the exhibition with our Curator either on the night from 6-6.30pm or on a separate date at your convenience

The award of the DBS Umbrella Body Status is an important development for the company, both in terms of the services it can provide organisations in the future and in recognition of the quality of its screening delivery to date.

• A creative workshop that will provide you and your staff with a unique alternative to a more conventional team building opportunity Join us for the Annual Turner Lecture and Dinner, Thursday 24 April 2014.

Venomtech announces US distribution agreement Venomtech, the United Kingdom’s only commercial venom supplier, has announced that Mayflower Bioscience will distribute the Targeted Venom Discovery Array™ (T-VDA™) products in North America and Canada. This new format of biological libraries focuses on drug discovery targets to produce a venom library. The information enables researchers to use the Echo liquid handler Labcyte to enhance the safety and accuracy of venoms. “A variety of venoms have shown great utility in disease areas such as pain, cancer, antimicrobials, immunology, growth factors and haematology,” said Steven Trim, founder of Venomtech. “Scientific literature is rapidly growing around the use of venom components as novel leads and therapeutics for targets such as ion channels, enzymes, GPCRs and many others. We have, therefore, designed our libraries for finding new hits to these targets and also offer a full hit-to-lead development service based on our extensive drug discovery and venom experience.”


ThinkingBUSINESS April-May 2014

Art critic and broadcaster Andrew Graham-Dixon will share his extensive knowledge of the visual arts with you in an exclusive lecture. Andrew is one of the world’s leading art critics and is the presenter of numerous landmark series on art for the BBC, including the acclaimed A History of British Art, Renaissance and Art of Eternity and the Culture Show. The evening starts at 6pm with drinks in our beautiful Sunley Gallery, amongst Edmund de Waal’s striking new commission for the gallery,

The event will raise vital funds for Turner Contemporary’s future exhibitions, learning and community outreach programmes. Book now: Book by 31 March and you can benefit from our special ticket prices: £85 per person (full price £100) Table of 8 £600 (full price table £700) Call +44 (0) 1843 233020 Email: Elena Calin This event is supported by the KM Group

Will fortnight raises £10,000 for hospices More than £10,000 was raised for Pilgrim’s Hospices by firms of solicitors across east Kent who took part in the charity’s first Will-writing fortnight. Ninety one Wills were written during the two week period in late October when solicitors waived their usual fee and clients were able to make a donation to Pilgrim’s Hospices instead. People’s generosity didn’t end there as a number of bequests were included in the Wills themselves. These ranged from a legacy for £1,000 to an entire estate. The solicitors taking part in the Will-writing fortnight were: Davis Simmonds & Donaghey, Herne Bay Macalister White, Ramsgate Orchid Law, Bethersden and Ashford Mowll & Mowll, Dover Boys & Maughan, Margate Hardmans Solicitors, Deal Girlings, Canterbury Prospero, Broadstairs Whitehead Monckton, Canterbury

Pauline Donkin of Pilgrim’s Hospices counting cash donated by Boys and Maughan clients with the firm’s Marketing Manager Ian Priston.


New conference hall nears completion at event centre

County partnership wins bid to promote county

A new £1.5 million conference and events facility is due to open at the Kent Event Centre near Maidstone this spring, strengthening its position as the largest and most flexible venue in the region.

Kent has been awarded £330,599 to raise its profile as a cultural destination and grow its tourism industry by five per cent over the next three years. The successful bid to the Arts Council and VisitEngland for a share of their £3 million Cultural Destinations fund was led by Visit Kent and Turner Contemporary. The tourism champions and Turner Contemporary put forward their bid with the support of more than 20 Kent-based organisations representing a wide range of interests including tourism businesses, transport providers, education providers, local government, and arts and culture specialists. Sandra Matthews-Marsh, chief executive of Visit Kent, said: “This is great news for Kent and will help consolidate our county as a key cultural destination for visitors from home and overseas.”

The new single span building is already attracting business to the Detling site – the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce has chosen to use the space to host its annual Construction Expo in October 2014. Kent Event Centre manager Alison Wallington said: “This investment further enhances the already excellent range of facilities here and I’m delighted to have attracted this major regional exhibition for the construction and building sector. “The building is generating a lot of interest from prospective customers and I’m confident it will enable us to break into new markets in the years ahead.” The facility is 44 metres wide and 72 metres long and will seat up to 4,000 people in theatre style. Construction started in October and the building should be ready to start hosting events from the end of April. It will be officially opened by the Kent County Agricultural Society at the Kent County Show in July. Alison said the investment, boosting choice and capacity for clients, was already paying dividends in attracting more bookings. “By improving facilities and maintaining a clear focus on customer service, we are looking forward to a very successful future. “We are hosting more than 60 public events this year plus conferences, training courses and meetings, and this investment underlines our status as the premier venue in the region.” News that the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce’s annual Construction Expo is heading to Detling is a

real coup for the KEC. Chamber chief executive Jo James said: “The new building is a perfect setting for our exhibition and I’m delighted to see that Kent has a facility of such a high quality and calibre. “We are so confident that this will be a huge success at the Kent Event Centre that we are expanding the show to incorporate engineering and manufacturing sectors.” For more information visit and also or

Partnership organisations backing the bid included: Kent County Council; Canterbury City Council; Thanet Council; Discover Folkestone, Hythe and Romney Marsh; Visit Canterbury; Visit Thanet; The Creative Foundation; Whitstable Biennale; Dover Arts Development; University for the Creative Arts; University of Kent Business School, Canterbury Christchurch COAST project team; The Historic Dockyard Chatham; English Heritage; the Churches Conservation Trust; Shepherd Neame; Eurotunnel; P&O Ferries and Southeastern.

April-May 2014 ThinkingBUSINESS



Confidence at record high among exporters The British Chambers of Commerce has published research in conjunction with DHL Express looking at the health of the UK’s export market. The BCC/DHL Trade Confidence Index, which measures UK exporting activity and business confidence, shows that turnover confidence among exporters is at the highest level on record. Confidence was particularly strong among exporting manufacturers, with 69% believing that their turnover is likely to improve, compared with 66% last quarter. Businesses are confident, but if we are to reach the Government’s target of increasing exports to £1trillion by 2020, more must be done to help firms. The key findings from the report included: • Confidence among exporters about future turnover is at its highest level since 2007 (72%), with 69% of manufacturers expecting turnover to increase. • More than one third of exporting firms (34%) said that they expected to increase staff over the next quarter • Although the volume of exports in goods fell overall compared with the previous quarter, they increased for nearly half of service sector firms (47%) and for 42% of manufacturing firms in Q4 2013* • Nearly half of exporters (46%) said their export sales increased in Q4 2013, compared to only 7% who said that they decreased • More than half of exporters (62%) believe that their profitability will increase this year.

Mexico -

Did you know? In 2007, there were more than 6,500 people abducted in Mexico. As a result of these abductions, some Mexicans (those who could pay for it) are implanting microchips under their skins to be tracked in case of being abducted. The company that start these microchips implants in humans is Xega, whose own CEO was abducted in 2001.


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Kent Invicta Connects to Warsaw The launch of the oversees business network has got off to a flying start with a visit to Ashford from the British Polish Chamber of Commerce. Konrad and his team have a fantastic set of services to help Kent companies’ access new markets. Below is just a short list of the things they can provide.

Instant Demand Analysis from our special trade data engine.

BPCC Trade: Our Products in brief

Content Translation into technically perfect Polish (combine with 1 and 3 for low cost market entry).

We offer the following services for UK exporters: Bespoke Support Packages. Our Business Consultants put together bespoke packages of support to get the best outcomes for you as a client. Company Debt Check. Search Polish company

records on KRD, the national debt register.

British Polish Business Centre. Our chamber members offer a wider range of services for UK exporters – find out more by getting in touch: or contacting @BPCC_Trade.

South East exporters offered route to global business network An international trade expert has been appointed to help South East exporters reach high growth markets through an £8 million business-led partnership. Mark Baulch will work from the Fareham office of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce to connect firms with an accredited network of overseas business centres and support services. The network is being developed by British Chambers of Commerce, the Government’s export support department UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Mr Baulch’s appointment follows a successful bid by Hampshire Chamber to be the lead chamber in the South East for the initiative. As well as Hampshire, he will provide support to firms through the chambers serving Sussex, Surrey, Kent, Thames Valley, and the Isle of Wight. Mr Baulch, who was previously an international business development manager for global book distributor Ingram Coutts, said: “My role is to be a conduit. I will be working directly with local chamber members to put them in touch with accredited business networks abroad quickly and seamlessly.”

Mr Baulch is one of nine regional co-ordinators across the UK for the initiative. While he has been specifically tasked with driving one-to-one contacts in Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines, his wider remit is to help firms develop market reach in any country. Complementing the support from UKTI and chambers, accredited business centres will provide hot desking, PR and low-cost advice from experts on the ground across 40 high growth markets such as Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Poland. Mr Baulch added: “I want to ensure that local companies take full advantage of this powerful, global business-led initiative whatever their sector and wherever they want to trade.” Originally from Tunbridge Wells, Kent and a former student of Skinners School, Mr Baulch worked in a variety of sales and information services roles for blue chip firms such as Ingram Coutts. His territories included Europe, Scandinavia, Russia and the Middle East. For more information on the Overseas Business Networks initiative, visit



Poland’s trade with the UK

For support in this market we have a direct relationship with the British Polish Chamber of Commerce. Contact the Chamber for more information on the services available. Capital Warsaw

Area 312,679 km2

Largest city Warsaw

Population 38,544,513 (2012)

Administrative divisions 16 provinces

Calling code +48

Currency Zloty (PLN)

Official language Polish

Sector segmentation growth Sectors to watch: • Food • Utilities

Ease of trading across borders Importing a standard container of goods into Poland requires:

5 documents

16 days


Introduction Currently, Poland has one of the fastest growing economies in the EU. Having a strong domestic market, low private debt, a flexible currency, and not being dependent on a single export sector, Poland is the only European economy to have avoided the late-2000s recession. Although the Polish economy is currently undergoing economic development, there are many challenges ahead. The most notable task on the horizon is the preparation of the economy to allow Poland to meet the strict economic criteria for entry into the Eurozone. According to the Polish foreign minister Radosław Sikorski the country could join the eurozone before 2016.

Economic snapshot (% annual growth rate) GDP Exports of goods and services Import of goods and services Inflation Short-term interest rates (%) Exchange rate (per £) Population Unit labour cost Source: Oxford Economics

2011 4.5 7.9 5.5 4.2 4.8 0.4 -4.2

2012 2.0 1.9 -1.8 3.7 3.9 0.1 -3.6

• Metal products

Manufacturing • computers & office equipment • medical & surgical equipment • motor vehicles

2013-16 2.6 5.6 4.6 2.1 3.5 0.02 1.4

Fastest-growing exporters into Poland Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

2012 India Vietnam Korea Mexico Hong Kong Saudi Arabia Brazil Turkey Indonesia UAE

Total merchandise trade Leading import partners

Economic outlook GDP grew by 0.4% on the quarter in Q2. The recent improvement in conditions has centred on the manufacturing sector, with Polish firms taking advantage of the slightly less depressed situation in the Eurozone. Modest upward revisions to back data, together with recent positive surprises from the latest monthly indicators, have raised the forecast for growth in 2013 to 1.1% (from 0.9% previously) and to 2.4% in 2014.

Trade outlook The bulk of Poland’s goods exports will continue to be bought by large European countries like Germany, France and the UK as a result of the EU single market. However, although they are likely to remain a small proportion of total exports, the most dynamic trade relations will be with emerging Asia. This is forecast to be the case both in the short term, as the Asian economy recovers from its recent slowdown. China is anticipated to displace the US’s position among Poland’s principal non-EU export destinations in the longer term.

SWOT analysis Strengths Strong GDP growth

Opportunities Infrastructure development

Weaknesses Lack of transparency in government regulation

Threats Inflation

Opportunities for UK businesses One of the main reasons why investors tend to choose Poland is its location at the very heart of continental Europe, part of the trans European road network and easy access to 250 million consumers within a radius of 1000 kilometres. Poland is a significant market of 38 million consumers offering opportunities for UK businesses in particular opportunities within the following sectors, engineering, electronics, software, life sciences, transport, retail, food and environmental sectors.

April-May 2014 ThinkingBUSINESS



24 HOURSWITH He, alongside his parents, established Folkestonebased 1st Setting in 2002, with the express aim of putting together events of all types, offering only the highest quality products at checked best market prices. Justin said: “We tend to be seasonal. January, February and March allow time for forward planning but between April and December, we are really busy. “It goes crazy. We do 900 weddings a year and 1,200 other events and can start at 5.30 in the morning and not finish until midnight. “Our team comprises of ten people full time off season and up to twenty peak season. We have two secretaries, an in house accountant, wash up machine staff, order packers, loaders, drivers and cleaners. Our operation runs smoothly because our team truly believes in the company’s ethos. “We started the business because we all wanted to do something different. As a former chiropractor I constantly saw people in pain and difficulty. After a few years I decided I wanted to do something that could make people happy. “The idea of events appealed to me, as I wanted to make people’s big days even better. “I find it emotionally rewarding to meet a couple who are worried about what they can afford on their big day and go on to exceed all their expectations. “We have more than 25 years’ experience and deal

with everyone from caterers to organisers, from small garden parties to large events with excess of 2,000 people. “Our working day is flexible. We do pre-book events, sometimes two or three years ahead, but we also have to be able to react quickly. “As an example, we recently received a last minute call to put together an event for 600 people with just two days’ notice, which is a big undertaking. We managed it but it shows that no two days are the same. “A decade of reinvestment has resulted in us owning all of our own stock we are therefore not dictated to by the current market. This means we can consistently stand by our own ethos of providing the best service possible. “For us, long-term growth and customer satisfaction go hand in hand. When people come to us they realise they can get everything they need for an event. Confidence naturally grows as customers experience an all round efficient and genuinely caring approach in the form of a high quality one stop service. “Being part of the Chamber of Commerce is a great thing and I am hoping to make Chamber members and businesses small and large, aware that we can put together anything from small office get togethers, to building team skills or celebrations to extend thanks to their clients or staff.”

Justin Lysser Co-founder 1st Setting

Long hours that provide an emotional reward Ask Justin Lysser for his typical working hours and he will answer ’we work until the job is done.‘ 16

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Our working day is flexible. We do pre-book events, sometimes two or three years ahead, but we also have to be able to react quickly.


ChamberHR An essential member benefit ....offers members easy access to essential support for employment and human resource (HR) issues. The service is a national scheme, endorsed by the British Chambers of Commerce and delivered to Kent Invicta Chamber members in partnership with Qudos Consulting. ChamberHR is an employer focused service – it’s on your side! ChamberHR is included within your membership fee so you have nothing extra to pay! What is included? • HR advice line – 01455 852037 • Manned by specialist HR advisors offering advice and guidance • Unlimited calls • Available 24/7, 365 days a year • Assistance with using the ChamberHR website (you will need your login to download the documents, if you have forgotten this, just call the Chamber office) • A bank of hundreds of downloadable documents, policies and letters to download and edit • A description of the law and considerations relating to employment law • A compliant Contract of Employment • A complaint employee Handbook • An online HR health check

Why ChamberHR benefits your business Reduce risk – remove the fear of Employment Tribunals, which carry significant costs Save money – you have free access to experts when you need them so there is no need to pay for ad hoc advice from specialists or solicitors Peace of mind – if your business is threatened by Employment Tribunals it is distracting and stressful – with ChamberHR you have nothing to worry about

Why your business needs ChamberHR We all live in a climate of litigation and businesses are seen as easy targets. All businesses need access to support to protect themselves. People can be your biggest asset – they can help your business thrive... BUT they can also be your greatest liability. It doesn’t matter who you employ including friends or relatives, you are at risk.

You are not alone – with ChamberHR you have the confidence and knowledge that the guidance and support of experts is on hand whenever you need it Good practice – with ChamberHR you can be confident that your business operates good practice and professionally

......and it’s all free to Chamber Members!!

April-May 2014 ThinkingBUSINESS





Nick Marks

Title: Business Name: Web: Tel:

Director Baldwins Travel Group 01892 511999


Are you seeing a significant pick up in business travel and, if so, in which areas? We are experiencing a steady increase in business especially in the long haul sector and sell a lot of those seats to clients who like to turn left (Business and First Class). Despite the threat that Skype was going to revolutionise the world of business, we have actually seen a heightened growth in demand for face to face meetings. The power of meeting someone has never been greater. It’s certainly a way to ensure you are not forgotten by your clients, with so much of business being transacted online over emails etc. it seems to


ThinkingBUSINESS April-May 2014

be as important as ever to be able to put a face to name or email address. We are by nature after all designed to meet in person. We have a wide variety of clients who in turn have their own specialist network of clients, customers and suppliers worldwide so it really does can vary on each trip. We do manage the travel arrangements for clients travelling across the pond, into Africa, the Far East and of course the UAE. Not forgetting large corporate conferences in mainland Europe and the USA. Why would someone work through you instead of booking direct? We provide management reports, so companies can keep up to speed with their travel expenditure, also the personal knowledge and expertise of our business consultants cannot be found on the internet! There is a perception that the cheapest flights are available online and on occasions they will be but if a client requires anything further afield or a multi destination trip then that is where our team can really add value and save money and time for our clients. We handle all our clients travel needs from flights to hotels to car hire, we also have an emergency out of hour’s service. We are a member of the Focus Partnership which is part of the Advantage Travel Partnership which collectively spends nearly £3.7 Billion a year on travel and through that buying power we are able to get some excellent fares not available to the general public or indeed many of our competitors. It’s a bit of a cliché but we want our clients to think of us an extension to their business.


In Retail – Holiday Travel, we have seen significant growth with clients returning to using traditional high street travel agencies. January and February’s bookings were both over 40% up on last year (2013). I am constantly asked how do you compete against the internet? I always reply with the same answer “Extremely well thank you, we can offer the same prices that can be found on the internet but with reassurance that if, god forbid, anything goes wrong, be it an Ash Cloud situation or something else, we are always available on the phone and can add the personal touch to all bookings, being honest and making sure that our clients get the right trip that they not only deserve but have asked for” (I’m not sure you get this when booking on the internet). “We are fully bonded by ABTA, IATA and ATOL which allows our clients to feel that they are booking with confidence and peace of mind”.


South East exporters offered route to powerful global business network AN INTERNATIONAL trade expert has been appointed to help South East exporters reach high growth markets through an £8 million business-led partnership.

POWER TO CONNECT Based at Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, Mark Baulch will work to put South East exporters in touch with overseas markets.

Mark Baulch will be based at the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce and will also work with Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce to connect firms with an accredited network of overseas business centres and support services.

ground across 40 high growth markets such as Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Poland. The centres are intended to act as practical, vibrant spaces in which to land and get started in each market.

The network is being developed by British Chambers of Commerce, the government’s export support department UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Mr Baulch added: “I want to ensure that local companies take full advantage of this powerful, global business-led initiative whatever their sector and wherever they want to trade. People need practical help and advice when exporting. High growth markets are often seen by our SMEs as difficult to access, so it makes sense to provide more business-to-business support in these countries. In time, this will help position UK exporters at the forefront of global growth opportunities.”

The aim nationally is to help double the level of annual British exports to £1 trillion by 2020 and raise the number of UK exporters by 100,000. Mr Baulch, who was born in Kent and educated at The Skinners’ School in Tunbridge Wells, has worked across the region in towns such as Tonbridge and Maidstone and knows the area well. His most recent role was as an international business development manager for global book distributor Ingram Coutts and he said: “My role is to be a conduit. I will be working directly with businesses in Kent to put them in touch with accredited business networks abroad quickly and seamlessly. That means practical support, assessing particular target markets and advising where to find the best opportunities for exporting products and services.” Mr Baulch is one of nine regional co-ordinators across the UK for the initiative. While he has been specifically tasked with driving one-to-one contacts in Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines, his wider remit is to help firms develop market reach in any country. Complementing the support from UKTI and chambers, the accredited business centres will provide hot desking, PR and low-cost advice from experts on the

Jo James, Chief Executive of Kent Invicta Chamber, said: “Mark will play a vital role in building a global network of support for businesses in the South East. They already export all kinds of goods and services. Firms will now be seeking to increase trade as the economy improves at home and abroad and the chamber network here and overseas is ideally paced to help them.” During nine years at Ingram Coutts, Mr Baulch worked in a variety of sales and information services roles. His territories included Europe, Scandinavia, Russia and the Middle East. He has also held management posts in retail and events. In his own time, he is part of the media services team for the British Grand Prix and the UK round of the World Rally Championship. For more information on the Overseas Business Networks initiative, visit or email

April-May 2014 ThinkingBUSINESS



Maidstone borough tomorrow… Have your say today Maidstone’s local plan is now out for public consultation and will set the rules for how the area develops over the next twenty years. Maidstone Council Leader, Chris Garland, wants local people to help produce the final plan and hopes businesses will offer their views. Maidstone is the economic hub of Kent, with more businesses based in the borough than anywhere else in Kent, contributing more than £3 billion to the national economy. The local plan includes policies to protect businesses in Maidstone town centre, including new homes and leisure uses to stimulate demand. Employment policies and sites will create jobs in construction and in the longer term as businesses expand or move into the borough. Council Leader Chris Garland said: “The plan must reflect local people’s views of how they wish their community to develop. I urge everyone with an interest in their area to look at and comment on the draft plan.” The draft plan is based on the objectively assessed needs of the local area and sets out opportunities for development and clear policies on what will or won’t be permitted and where. It plans positively for the development and infrastructure required in the area and has a clear strategy for enhancing the natural, built and historic environment. A draft public transport policy sets out to improve journey times and reliability to make bus travel more attractive. There is a criteria for new and replacement park and ride facilities, and policies to provide a new service along the A229 Loose Road from Linton Crossroads, and to improve the service along the A249 Old Sittingbourne Road.


ThinkingBUSINESS April-May 2014

Measures to improve air quality are included. Proposals which will have an impact on air quality must incorporate appropriate mitigation measures. The plan includes proposed employment sites at Mote Road, Maidstone (8,000m2), South of Claygate, Pattenden Lane, Marden (6,800m2), West of Wheelbarrow Industrial Estate, Pattenden Lane, Marden (14,500m2), West of Barradale Farm, Maidstone Road, Headcorn (5,500m2) and mixed sites at - Newnham Park, Bearsted Road, Maidstone (15,000m2 retail, 100,000m2 employment), Maidstone East and sorting office, Sandling Road, Maidstone (210 homes, 10,000m2 retail), King Street car park and AMF Bowling site, Maidstone (70 homes, 1,400m2 retail), Clockhouse Farm, Heath Road, Coxheath (40 homes, 7,700m2 employment) and the Former Syngenta Works, Hampstead Lane, Yalding (200 homes, 8,600m2 employment) “The Local Plan will deliver the homes, jobs and

transport infrastructure needed for our growing population, whilst still protecting our local landscapes. We will be able to protect important countryside from unsuitable housing and co-ordinate the infrastructure that new housing needs to fit in;” said Cllr Garland.

How to get involved The consultation documents, together with supporting background material, can be viewed and downloaded from the council’s website - from where people will be able to submit comments on the plan. The documents are also available for inspection at Maidstone Gateway, King Street, Maidstone, Kent ME15 6JQ. The offices are open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5:30pm, and Saturday 9am to 1pm. In addition, copies of the documents will be available at all libraries in Maidstone Borough during normal opening hours. The public consultation runs until 5pm on 7 May 2014. The best way to submit comments is directly on the council’s web based consultation system via the link on Alternatively, comments and comment forms can be emailed to, or posted the Spatial Policy Team, Maidstone Borough Council, Maidstone House, King Street, Maidstone. ME15 6JQ The council will consider all comments made on the draft plan and publish an amended plan for public comment in winter 2014, before submitting the plan to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local


Maidstone Chamber leading the charge

Government in spring 2015. An inspector appointed by the Secretary of State will then conduct an ‘Examination in Public’, perhaps in summer 2015 before the plan is adopted later that year. Future development in Maidstone will be supported by improvements, such as new or safer road schemes, park improvements or new health centres, paid for by developers. An infrastructure delivery plan shows what is needed and where. The council has prepared a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) charging schedule. The levy is a mandatory charge applied across the borough on all new housing and out of town retail developments. The CIL, a separate document to the local plan, is also out for public comments until 7 May 2014 and can be viewed on the council’s website It can also be viewed at The Gateway, King Street, Maidstone and at all public libraries in Maidstone. Alternatively call 01622 602736 or email to get a free CD of the document, or to buy a printed copy for £2.50.

One of the Maidstone Chamber’s active Presidents in the nineties helped run several events in the town. In an effort to assist future event organisers, he created presentations to business with a team consisting of the Chamber President, the Mayor of Maidstone, Tourism officer of Maidstone Borough Council, Arts and Culture Officer from Maidstone Borough Council and the newly established Maidstone Town Centre Manager (then part funded by Maidstone Chamber of Commerce). Working together the group were able to help each other create some of the best events seen in the town to that point, including the Maidstone Carnival, the River Festival, the fireworks), the Penenden Heath Festival and The Festival of Europe. Forever bringing individuals and businesses of all sizes together the President created Marketing Maidstone - Town & Country which in 2012 became Maidstone Tourism Association with Kent Invicta Chamber, Maidstone Town Centre Management, Maidstone Borough Council, Federation of Small Business and a number of individuals from independent businesses all working together to make things happen. Maidstone Tourism Association was formed to: • promote and develop the interests of tourism in Maidstone and its surrounding area • bring together members with the aims and objectives of promoting the Association. • encourage the development of services, facilities and amenities for visitors within the area in co-operation with other interests. • extend the visitor season and to spread the economic benefits of tourism. • increase public understanding of the social, economic and cultural impact of tourism, particularly of the contribution which it can make towards full employment, and to regional and local development. • continue the long-term economic performance of the visitor economy in the area, and to benefit members of the Maidstone Tourism Association. • encourage growth in the membership of Maidstone Tourism Association. • raise the profile of the visitor economy and publicise the importance of tourism locally and regionally. • share and promote best practice in customer care and other initiatives aimed at improving the visitor experience and its related infrastructure. • If you’re a member, you’ll be in the Maidstone Pocket Guide. Organisations supporting tourism in the Maidstone area, and include Maidstone Borough Council, Visit England, Tourism South East, Kent County Council and Visit Kent. Anyone can join, see

April-May 2014 ThinkingBUSINESS



Maidstone’s growth and economic development Sarah Gaines, Head of Commercial Property at Brachers

As the county town of Kent, Maidstone has always been economically important to the region, and we can testify to the renewed development in the town in the last few years. Today, 70% of our firm’s work comes from the county. The state of the housing market is often an accurate reflection of a town’s economic standing, and in this respect Maidstone is thriving. In the national context, the economic recession has hugely impacted young families hoping to get on the property ladder. Maidstone has, however, largely avoided the housing bubble felt elsewhere, located as it is far enough from London prices. The numerous transport links connecting Maidstone and the capital have, however, encouraged young professionals and businesses to locate to the town. We anticipate an increase in residential development in the area over the next five years, buoyed by the imminent Maidstone Borough Local Plan. Land has already been identified through the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) report, and we are aware of major housebuilders stating their commitment to the area either in acquiring, or seeking to acquire, land for development. Similarly, commercial development has picked up noticeably. Fremlin Walk, the shopping centre which opened in 2005 on the former site of a despatch depot, is testament to the town’s commitment to rejuvenation. Rumours of further commercial development in the town, which would attract inward investment, serve to further confirm this positive outlook.

We have operated in the county for over a century, and our Head Office in Maidstone continues to be strategically important for our own growth.


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Maidstone is well placed to maintain its importance both strategically and geographically in the county, keeping business in Kent and drawing new business from London and this should continue to be reflected in the benefit this brings to local businesses and people who live and work here.


The Economy & Us: Green and Pleasant Land? Land use is an emotive topic. Rightly so. Land is our heritage, our here & now, and our tomorrow. Local Authority planning decisions can be... puzzling. In a way, you can’t blame vote-hungry politicians. For wise government, we need to inform ourselves of the key issues – then talk to the politicians, leaving them in no doubt that we watch what they do and will vote accordingly. Most of us understand by now that prosperity underpins our quality of life. With prosperity, good things happen that enhance our community, which in turn attracts wealth-creating individuals, a virtuous circle. But prosperity can’t be taken for granted. We must earn our own way in the world; and Authorities must find acceptable paths to support responsible entrepreneurs’ wealth-creation. The need for debate, and workable solutions, is urgent. For example, a Council that I know recently refused a greenfield development for two growing, world class local firms. The site, which the Council Officers themselves had identified as the only practicable location, is not far from an Area of

Outstanding Natural Beauty. One Councillor reportedly labelled the proposed development “grotesque”. The refusal (unless appealed) means that these firms must move away to keep growing. Most of their 450+ jobholders – their households, their ingenuity, their children and their spending power, will be gone; they, and the hundreds of new jobs set to accrue directly and indirectly from the development, will boost an economy elsewhere. Recently, again, a Planning Committee narrowly voted to let a national retailer build on an out-oftown site reserved mainly for (locally-owned) professional services. Such retailers add little to local prosperity, leeching disposable income out of their host economy. After VAT, Cost of Goods Sold, non-staff Overheads, Pensions & NIC, PAYE, and Profits taken as dividends – for every £1 taken at the tills such retailers typically return, via employees’ pay, only about 7p or at most 10p to be recycled, or ‘multiplied’, locally. Thinking of a community’s purchases as Imports and the employees’ earnings as Exports, such a negative Balance of Payments is

unhelpful. Owner-managers, in contrast, typically source locally and spend/ reinvest their Profits locally, too. We always want the competitive presence of world class businesses. They’re a benchmark for us to match, to exceed, or to differentiate ourselves. But our lasting prosperity depends also on nurturing and retaining excellent home-grown businesses. For evidence, just look at Germany’s ‘Mittelstand’: established, innovative, mostly family-owned firms, the backbone of post-war growth. Is it wise, or unaffordable self-indulgence, for Councillors to reject successful home-grown firms for the sake of nice but not AONB countryside, and/or the razzamatazz of national brands that maximise GDP but play hell with the local Balance of Payments? Do you consider, anyway, that local politicians’ remit includes finding a path to sustain wealth-creating entrepreneurs, not drive them and their fruitful businesses away? If so, please tell them. Leave them in no doubt.

Nick Rowell Director of Policy Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Direct line: 01622 753568 Email:

April-May 2014 ThinkingBUSINESS


April-May 2014 ThinkingBUSINESS



Tourism plays a key role in Tourism leads the field in boosting the economy and creating new jobs across the country and plays a vital role in growing the economy of the Garden of England. So says Sandra Matthews-Marsh, chief executive of the county’s destination management organisation Visit Kent. The most recent Cambridge Model research results for Kent, the standard measurement within the industry, reveal that tourism contributes more than £3.4 billion to the county economy, supports 3,000 businesses and 64,400 jobs as a result of entertaining more than 57 million visitors each year. And information gathered by Visit Kent indicates that 2014 has got off to a very encouraging start with a bumper half term when Canterbury Cathedral, Turner Contemporary and The Historic Dockyard Chatham clocked up outstanding visitor figures. Visit Kent, a not-for-profit public-private partnership organisation, has two key roles – promoting the county as a visitor destination both at home and overseas, and supporting the businesses that deliver Kent’s tourism, hospitality and leisure products. “Of course, the two aspects of our work are closely linked,” said Mrs Matthews-Marsh. “There is little point in promoting a destination unless the product behind the marketing is able to deliver the expectations you are creating. “Our Tourism Business Advisory Service provides personal support and training to businesses of all sizes and at all stages of their development from potential start-ups to long established favourites in the sector. “We undertake detailed research that ensures that all our businesses have the latest market information at

their fingertips – from our monthly Business Barometers to our major Cambridge Model initiatives. “And we are constantly bringing businesses together for innovative marketing campaigns at trade shows and events at home and overseas. Working in partnerships is key to helping all our businesses and our county punch well above their weight in a highly competitive marketplace. “Partnership working is also key to ensuring Kent has the transport infrastructure to benefit from our proximity to London and mainland Europe as well as enabling our visitors to visit a range of destinations – by car, train and bus as well as our many leisure cyclists and walkers. “We are particularly delighted to learn that the HS1 service is planning to expand services in terms of capacity and stations served to build on its success to date which has seen a 25 per cent increase in the number of people travelling into Kent from London and further afield. “Whether its our cross-channel service providers or the preservation of our heritage buildings as pubs and restaurants, everything that contributes to the

success of our visitor business also contributes to the quality of life we all enjoy in our county. And that quality of life is helping drive investment in all Kent’s business sectors, not just tourism.” Many businesses can take advantage of the raised profile. Deirdre Billing, Cluster General Manager for Ashford International Hotel & Bridgewood Manor, said: “Tourism is very important for Kent, particularly with all the local attractions from castles and gardens to shopping, zoos and seaside resorts. It’s important that we all work together to support each other. “Our business has done well through mainly local business, the spa particularly. Also rooms and conferences from both London and internationally. “Our location at the Gateway to Europe with excellent transport links such as the EuroStar, Le Shuttle and even HS1 are ideal for these customers. Also our size, with 179 contemporary bedrooms and 19 flexible meeting and event rooms, allows us to host large events. Our aim over the next five years is to maintain what we have grow by at least 2%.” * To find out more about business support and services available from Visit Kent, go to

Why it makes sense to keep investing Business travel management is a game of smoke and mirrors, according to Nigel Colley, MD of Sunways Business Travel in Longfield, Kent. Nigel, who has been in the business for 30 years, said: “The travel budget can be one of the biggest expenses some companies have and yet there is often a naivety in how money can be saved.

Photo by Janice McGuinness


ThinkingBUSINESS April-May 2014


Kent economy “For some travel managers, the first place they see that the axe should fall is their travel management company and the fees that are added to the net cost of flights since airlines stopped paying business travel agents’ commission. “There can be a simplistic approach whereby it’s perceived to be cheaper to get their corporate travellers to book online themselves. If you are travelling London to Aberdeen every week then that might be true, but with complex or long-haul itineraries there is no doubt that a good travel management company will have better rates, and they save time as well as money. “There is greater pressure than ever on travel managers to find innovative savings in their travel budgets.”

Feel-good factor created by partnership between arts and businesses Arts and culture in Kent helps raise the profile of the county as a tourist destination. Places with a strong cultural identity bring in more visitors and energise the local economy, supporting local businesses such as B&B, restaurants, cafes, shops. That was underlined when Whitstable residents taking part in 365 ‘A Year in the Life of Whitstable’ took more than 3,800 photographs in and around Whitstable during 2013. This will culminate into a unique photographic exhibition showing one photo for each day. It will open to the public in July for two months at the Whitstable Museum and Gallery.

Given the large number of visitors who attended previous 365 projects, the Whitstable exhibition is expected to welcome thousands of enthusiastic residents and visitors. A competition will take place with visitors voting for their favourite pictures. A book and a calendar will also be published. This year long project is endorsed by comedian and broadcaster Sandi Toksvig and internationally acclaimed celebrity photographer Brian Aris is part of the judging panel.

Visit Kent on a private jet Zenith Aviation is a Kent executive aircraft management company based at Biggin Hill Airport providing executive jet charter for private clients and businesses.

As well as organising fundraising events, the 365 team has been looking for businesses to enter in partnership with the project, raising their profile and generating awareness whilst supporting the arts in their community. Bill Croydon, CBE, patron of Kent Creative Arts, said: “Against all the stresses, strains and burdens of modern life, here is an initiative that focuses on all the good things in the town. Recognition produces feel-good factors and, undoubtedly, fosters loyalty and respect for the town and its people. “It’s a great community initiative, which can only be good for the town, its businesses and its people.“ For more information about corporate sponsorship for the project, visit

Stuart Mulholland, Zenith Aviation’s managing director, said: “We believe in taking the simple approach where others make things over complicated. That way we get our clients to their destinations safely, comfortably, cost effectively and quickly. We know it works because when clients fly with us once, they fly with us every time.” Stuart held management positions with several organisations ranging from air taxi companies to charter airlines, with roles including Chief Pilot, Flight Operations Director and Head of Ground Operations. He spent 10 years with BAE Systems and flew as a Training Captain on a variety of aircraft. Stuart is supported by a highly experienced team of aviation experts who have all held senior posts in leading aircraft and aircraft safety organisations. For private charter information please contact Jake Short at Zenith Aviation on 01892 739758.

Photo by Stephen Croft

Photo by Jane Bowell April-May 2014 ThinkingBUSINESS





ThinkingBUSINESS April-May 2014

Upturn in confidence keeps motor dealer on the right road One of the best ways to judge if an economy is truly recovering after hard times is look at the way its motor trade is faring. If the experience of dealer Wilmoth Citroen is anything to go by, then the signs are clear that the economy is on the up.

“Throughout their history, they have always been an innovative company and today they have cars or vans for just about any customer.”

The company, which has seven outlets, including four in Kent, has experienced a steady increase in sales over the past two years and says that it can see the confidence returning in both the domestic and business sectors.

It is also a brand that has allowed Wilmoth Citroen to come through the recent recession without making any redundancies.

Wilmoth Citroen can trace its beginnings back eighteen years when Managing Director James Wilmoth bought the Citroen side of the business from his father when he retired. Since then the company has expanded steadily by opening new showrooms with its most recent acquisition being the outlet at Crayford, which it bought in November last year when the owners retired. Today, the company has expanded to such an extent that its showrooms in Kent and Sussex employ 120 people. James said: “We have been opening new showrooms where the opportunities present themselves, which has allowed us to grow steadily. “As a company, we have always been with just one dealer and as Citroen has developed so have we. “Citroen started out as a somewhat niche, rather quirky brand, with a limited range of products. People associated it with the likes of city cars and the 2CV but over the years it has grown so that today I think it has probably got the widest range of any motor manufacturer. “It makes sense for us to deal with just one manufacturer. Manufacturers take a lot of your time and we have always been a lean company - we only have two directors, for example, so if, say, we had seven manufacturers that would be seven sets of meetings whereas this way there is just the one. It would be impossible for us to cope with multiple manufacturers. “You could argue that we are putting all our eggs in one basket but Citroen is a good company to be associated with.

We have been opening new showrooms where the opportunities present themselves, which has allowed us to grow steadily.

James said: “We are definitely seeing an upturn in the market and that has been happening over the past eighteen months to two years. “What normally happens in a recession is that people do not change their cars. Companies, for example, which usually work on a three-year cycle for changing their vehicles, tend to keep their vehicles on into the fifth year but then the bills start coming in and they have to change.


Now, we are definitely seeing an upturn in confidence in the market. A lot of our customers are small and medium sized businesses and they are more confident about the future and are prepared to invest in updating their cars and vans.

“What we found during the recession was that people did change their vehicles. Many of them changed from large vehicles that had become uneconomical to smaller ones which were more economical - some of ours do 82,83 miles to the gallon, for example. They saw downsizing as something worth investing in.

“I don’t think that we will go from famine to feast that rapidly, we are not going to go straight back to the boom years, but what we are seeing is much more confidence in the market. “Our strategy is to continue to grow steadily and we are definitely seeing the upturn in the market that will allow us to keep doing that.”

“The result was that we kept going through the difficult times. We did not need to make any redundancies, which is pretty much unheard of in the sector, and we also managed to keep growing steadily. “We opened at Crayford in November last year and the showroom we opened before that was eighteen months previously. “Now, we are definitely seeing an upturn in confidence in the market. A lot of our customers are small and medium sized businesses and they are more confident about the future and are prepared to invest in updating their cars and vans.

James Wilmoth Managing Director Wilmoth Citroen Email: Web:

April-May 2014 ThinkingBUSINESS



ThinkingBUSINESS April-May 2014


Overcoming challenges in a war zone Any member company operating an annual or monthly ‘chosen charity’ scheme, may be interested in this experience from the Medical Director of Safe Anaesthesia Worldwide (SAWW), Chamber member. “Dr. Eltringham?” came the phone enquiry. “This is Dr. (name withheld for security reasons). A consultant at a London Hospital, I’ve just returned from my native Syria. Two urgent questions regarding the Glostavent anaesthetic machine:- Can it function in the absence of oxygen, electricity and technical support? Can you despatch one to Syria today?” Receiving a ‘yes’ to both questions, she explained that the security in her native Homs was so bad that it was unsafe to perform operations in hospitals, as gunmen break in, shooting anyone treating casualties – including relatives and staff. The only safe place to operate was in private residences on makeshift tables. Instruments and staff were available, but no anaesthetic service. They had heard that the portable Glostavent might be suitable. The efficiency of manufacturers, Diamedica, helped SAWW despatch the machine immediately. No

direct Syrian flights meant it took a week to reach Homs. The Glostavent proved to be exactly as needed. Local teams performed seven emergency operations on the first day and has been in constant use ever since. It proved so successful that more were immediately requested. Other charities and donors ensured that 30 machines are now in use in Syria.

Chamber of Commerce Members Offer for tickets to this year Open Air Classical Concert at Leeds Castle This year’s Open Air Classical Concert at Leeds Castle, Kent, takes place on Saturday 12 July. We’ve secured a 10% discount for Chamber of Commerce members when purchasing tickets and quoting ICC14. Currently a ‘Spring Saver Ticket Offer’ is running until 31st May so you can secure Picnic Style tickets for just £31.50 and Seated tickets for just £40.50.

Formed three years ago, SAWW needs to raise funds to continue their three aims:- the provision of Glosavent equipment in difficult environments where oxygen and electricity supplies are unreliable; the training of local staff in the equipment’s use and maintenance and research into further such equipment for use in these areas of the world. If your business or staff can help, but you need more details, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Canterbury College – working with local businesses Could you, as a forward thinking local business, work with our Higher Education students? Could you come into the College and give talks on what you do in your industry? Could you offer site visits and work placements? The Higher Education Department at Canterbury College is helping students gain essential ‘employability skills’ by working with local businesses. The College is forging links with local employers to provide students with projects, internships and work placements as part of their courses. Students are studying Marketing, Finance, Law and Human Resource Management or Health and Social Care, Social Policy and the Health Industry. They have also learned about mechanical and electrical engineering, construction and the built environment, public services, animal science and conservation. Work placements are essential for students to convert the theory that they have learnt in the classroom into the employability skills which are essential to industry.

Dover-based company improve their marketing strategy. The company came into College to give a talk on the issues it faces with marketing and promotion. The company worked with staff to devise a project that will see students formulate detailed marketing plans, promotional ideas and other ways to take its marketing to the next level. This project enables students to work within the business to try out their ideas for real - an excellent example of bringing business challenges to life. Do you think you could help? If so, contact Linda Marsh, to find out how you could make a real difference to the future of young people in industry.

This ‘Best of British’ open air classical concert is a firm favourite with concert-goers from across the UK and beyond, and will feature the world famous Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by John Rigby. Set in a natural amphitheatre, the huge concert stage is set against the backdrop of Leeds Castle, said to be the loveliest castle in the world and the glorious Kent countryside. Chris Hollins will be narrating and special guests on this fantastic night of picnics and patriotic flag-waving will include the Military Wives Choir, The Patriot Girls, aerial displays, a military band, field guns and a stunning fireworks finale. For more information and to book tickets please visit

The Business department is currently helping a

April-May 2014 ThinkingBUSINESS



Zero hours: Friend or Foe?

Managing Growth

Zero hour contracts continue to grab headlines and spark considerable debate. Unlike some other European countries there is no restriction in the UK on an employer agreeing to a zero hour arrangement with employees, although many High Street businesses are currently being chastised in the press for using them.

Sue Billings, Centre Manager at Capital Space’s Churchill Square Business Centre, has worked tirelessly over her 9 years with the company to energise the Centre and create a perfect space for Kent’s businesses.

The key issues for employers who want this flexibility are: • Status: Not all those that are engaged under them will be employees. Employers need to assess the employment status of those zero hours workers at the start of the assignment. • Holiday: Given the irregular and unpredictable hours there can be considerable difficulties in managing accrual and taking of holiday. The practice of paying rolled up holiday pay is discouraged so those with substantial zero hours workforces will need complex systems to deal with this issue. • Pensions auto enrolment: Again the peaks and toughs of this sort of workforce cause difficulties in meeting the criteria for auto enrolment. Employers might be advised to vary contracts so that there is a contractual right to


ThinkingBUSINESS April-May 2014

make the deductions for all periods of time including those when their earnings drop below the qualifying threshold. • Never forget zero hours contracts could fall into the definition of part-time workers and therefore those engaged under them may be able to claim the protection of the part-time worker’s regulations. • There is also the possibility for employers facing indirect discrimination claims where the majority of the zero hours workforce share a protected characteristic. Anecdotal evidence suggests that women and young people feature disproportionately in zero hours/flexible work force. Contact Amanda Finn at Gullands Solicitors

Sue has seen Centre occupancy grow from just 47 businesses in 2004 to four times that now with 195 businesses! With a deep understanding of the needs of growing businesses, Sue’s background includes working for the British Trade Commission in Hong Kong and 17 years with the London Stock Exchange. Leading a dedicated management team Sue’s customers know they are in good hands at Churchill Square.


How to get your ‘Business Booming’ Thousands of businesses around the country are achieving improved profit and income figures each week due to the simple business ideas of ActionCOACH.

#BI2014 Helping Businesses Think Smarter!

Operational Accounting Systems (o-a-sys) are delighted to be hosting their first free annual Business Intelligence Event (#BI2014) this year. Aimed at small and medium sized businesses across the South East region, the event offers a host of workshops packed into one day. Guests can discover hints and tips and details about the products and services offered by oa-sys, including Pegasus accounting and business management software, and learn how it can help you enhance your business. In addition to this, there shall also be workshops from leading industry specialists about IT hardware, Social Media, Auto Enrolment, Apprenticeships and much more! Visitors are welcome to register for any number of our free workshops, which will run throughout the day, as well as visit our exhibition hall, to meet more of the local businesses. To drive social media into the mix, the quirky worldwide symbol of the hash-tag has been applied, as o-a-sys encourages individuals and businesses to put Kent on the map by supporting #BI2014. The event is free to attend, and will be taking place on Thursday 19th June 2014, at The Coniston Hotel, Sittingbourne, between 10:00 – 16:30. With the support from our sponsors, including the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, JTJ Workplace Solutions and Pegasus Software we look forward to welcoming you to the #BI2014 event. For more information about attending the event, or if you’re a business looking to participate in the day then either visit our website (, or call Jenna Daniels or Bruce Kidd on 01233 812050.

Katy Quinn, an accredited Business Coach for Kent, said: “Increasing your turnover figures is simple when you know what you’re looking for

programme that meets your needs you will be guaranteed results. Of course, you need to commit to working with your coach, too.”

“Far too many people go into business and instead of them running the business the business ends up running them. Owning your own business should give you a better lifestyle and NOT make you work harder and longer for less money.

Katy, together with the Worldwide team of other Action Coaches, has many simple and effective strategies to help business owners build their dream business and realise their personal goals and ambitions.

“Many people are experts in their area of work, not experts in business. That is where a business coach can help.

She is offering Chamber of Commerce members a complimentary, no obligation 1 hour business coaching session. Simply contact Katy by emailing her at

“Working with you on a fully personalised coaching

Athena launch new division Athena Recruitment Limited are expanding their team with the launch of Athena Recruitment – Kent. The new division will operate from Kings Hill and focus exclusively on the recruitment needs of the Kent business area. There are already two existing divisions - Athena Recruitment and Athena Executive Search. Daniel Brockhurst, Managing Director at Athena Recruitment Limited, said: “This is a very exciting launch for us and we look forward to becoming an integral part of Kent’s business and community life.” Athena have already started to increase their client base outside of their established Credit & Risk

sector, dealing with companies from Financial Services, Banking, Insurance, Pharmaceuticals and many other local companies in the Kent area. One of their current clients Philip Swift, Managing Director of Claims Management & Adjusting Ltd, said: “All companies need a recruitment partner who is prepared to take the time to understand their business but in the past we had to settle for this being undertaken by phone or email. “Not only did Athena take the time to come in and get to know us and our business first-hand prior to conducting the first search, they also managed to deliver a short list which left us spoilt for choice in terms of the calibre and capability of the candidates.”

April-May 2014 ThinkingBUSINESS



Is your construction project the next Rocksalt? The search is on to find the successor to Rocksalt, the current overall winner of Kent Design & Development Awards.

Mark Sargeant’s restaurant in Folkestone, designed by Guy Hollaway Architects, scooped Project of the Year when the biannual awards last took place, and now nominations are open for new construction projects to come forward. Jointly organised and sponsored by DHA Planning, Kent County Council, and PR and marketing agency Maxim, Kent Design & Development Awards take place every two years and celebrate the design excellence of the county’s property and construction industry. Projects are invited to enter one of five categories: Civils and Infrastructure; Commercial, Industrial and Retail; Environmental Performance; Public Buildings – Education and Community; and Residential – Major and Minor. Project of the Year is then selected from among the winners. In 2012, Hythe-based Guy Hollaway Architects’ design for Rocksalt saw the restaurant win the Commercial, Industrial and Retail category before going on to take the overall prize. Other winners were Dover Esplanade by Tonkin Liu, Hadlow College’s Rural Regeneration Centre by Eurobuild, Rosemary Gardens by Golding Homes, Hill House by Hampson Williams, Turner Contemporary by David Chipperfield Architects, and Clay Architecture Ltd’s Walderslade Primary School. The deadline for entering the Kent Design & Development Awards 2014 via is 16 June 2014. The awards are also supported by CTP Consulting Engineers; Kent Construction Focus Group; Liberty Property Trust UK, developers of Kings Hill; and construction and cost management consultants The Woodley Coles LLP.

Rocksalt, designed by Guy Hollaway Architects. Photographs courtesy of Paul Freeman.


ThinkingBUSINESS April-May 2014


Duke of York learns about the value of apprenticeships by Trevor Sturgess When Chamber member Nick Baster hired his first apprentice, he never imagined it would lead to a royal seal of approval. Prince Andrew celebrated the Kick Start Kent campaign launched by the KM Media Group and IPS training. Chris gave a five-minute presentation about his apprenticeship experience to a 60-strong audience. He said: “The idea of delivering a speech made me rather uneasy but I managed to calm my nerves. I told them that I chose to become Nick’s apprentice because he was offering a true career opportunity instead of just a job. Prince Andrew congratulated me on my speech and was very interested in what I was doing.” Nick, who has more than 20 years experience in the project management, fit-out and construction industry, was impressed. “It showed great courage. But I’m not surprised because Chris has already shown a lot of potential and I’m sure he can make a successful career in project management.”

But Chris Dembrey, 19, had shown so much promise that he was chosen to make a speech to HRH The Duke of York during a VIP event at the Maidstone Museum.

Nick now encourages other small firms to take on an apprentice. “It’s a highly cost-effective and beneficial resource – and it’s much easier than you think. You qualify for a contribution towards costs, and, most important, you benefit from fresh ideas.”

Nick, founder of Logic PM, a growing project management business, based in Maidstone, took on Chris to inject young thinking, to do his bit to ease high youth unemployment, and to “give something back.”

Helping businesses implement change Encouraging Solutions specialise in helping organisations go to the next level. So if accountants or other professional advisers have been being telling business owners they need to address anything from margins to products, or integration to management information systems then helping put ‘theory into practice’ is their ‘sweet spot’. Anthony Holmes heads up the company and has an MBA together with over 25 years experience in actually IMPLEMENTING as well as expertise in strategic analysis - which is often commented upon as being a rare combination. He has ‘been there and done it’ in both large plc’s and smaller SME’ s and in numerous arenas including manufacturing, professional services and creative sectors. Until recently most clients have been in London, however Encouraging Solutions took offices at East Malling Enterprise Centre in 2012 and have just joined the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce as they are looking to further grow relationships and their client base in Kent. So if you would benefit from some assistance to implement change in your organisation or have barriers that you need to overcome - why not contact Anthony and talk about

Encouraging Solutions personalised and sensitive approach to progressing projects and implementing change no matter what the scale or setting. For further information contact

April-May 2014 ThinkingBUSINESS



ThinkingBUSINESS April-May 2014


Chamber Events, Seminars & Workshops BUSINESS BREAKFAST



Details (unless otherwise stated): Time: 08:00 - 09:30 Non-Members: £20.00 + VAT Members: £15.00 + VAT

Details (unless otherwise stated): Time: 13:30 - 15:00 Non-Members: £20.00 + VAT Members: £15.00 + VAT During the afternoon, we will serve you a selection of finger sandwiches and a selection of cakes and a plain scone served with clotted cream and jam with a selection of teas. Friday 25 April Canterbury Cathedral Lodge, The Precincts, Canterbury, CT1 2EH Thursday 15 May Broome Park, The Broome Park Estate, Canterbury Road, Canterbury, CT4 6QX

No booking required. Just turn up! 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.

Join us for a delicious full English breakfast and lots of networking. Thursday 10 April Breakfast at the Maidstone Museum, Maidstone Museum & Bentlif Art Gallery, St Faith’s Street, Town Centre, Maidstone, ME14 1LH Tuesday 22 April Best Western Manor Hotel, Hever Court Road, Gravesend, DA12 5UQ Thursday 1 May Salomons, David Salomons Estate, Broomhill Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells, TN3 0TG Friday 23 May Includes Karting Buckmore Park Karting Ltd, Maidstone Road, Chatham, ME5 9QG Thursday 29 May Dartford Football Club, Grass Banks, Dartford, DA1 1RT

BUSINESS LUNCH Details (unless otherwise stated): Time: 12:00 - 14:00 Non-Members: £25.00 + VAT Members: £20.00 + VAT Come and enjoy a superb Nepalese fusion light lunch where the chefs prepare all of their own spices to ensure only the best flavours and highest quality is on offer. Wednesday 28 May Everest Inn Ashford, 113 Station Road, Ashford, TN23 1PJ

The After Hours Club is a popular and highly successful ‘casual’ networking event. The informal atmosphere and relaxed environment is the ideal place to relax and chat to fellow business people. Tuesday 8 April with Wilmoths Crayford Ltd Come and see the new Citroen DS3 range - staff from Wilmoths and Citroen UK will be there to assist you Wilmoths Crayford Ltd, 10-48 London Road, Crayford, DA1 4BH Tuesday 15 April The Abbots Barton, 36 New Dover Road, Canterbury, CT1 3DU Tuesday 15 April Guest Speaker Julie Stevens, Younique Designs Ltd F-Keys Ltd, Training Suite, Suite 1, Epsilon House, Laser Quay, Culpeper Close, Medway City Estate, Rochester, ME2 4HU

Tuesday 22 April The Russell Hotel, 136 Boxley Road, Penenden Heath, Maidstone, ME14 2AE Tuesday 6 May Guest Speaker Ian Sleeper The Conningbrook Hotel, Canterbury Road, Ashford, TN24 9QR Tuesday 6 May Guest Speaker Simon Morgan, The HR Dept Nucleus Business & Innovation Centre, Brunel Way, Dartford, DA1 5GA Tuesday 20 May The Abbots Barton, 36 New Dover Road, Canterbury, CT1 3DU Tuesday 20 May Guest Speaker Sarah Poole, SP Wedding Events F-Keys Ltd, Training Suite, Suite 1, Epsilon House, Laser Quay, Culpeper Close, Medway City Estate, Rochester, ME2 4HU Tuesday 27 May The Russell Hotel, 136 Boxley Road, Penenden Heath, Maidstone, ME14 2AE Wednesday 28 May Best Western Coniston Hotel & Restaurant, 70 London Road, Sittingbourne, ME10 1NT

SEMINARS Export Start Up 9.30am - 11.30am Tuesday 8 April Medway Innovation Centre, Maidstone Road, Rochester, Chatham, ME5 9FD Friday 11 April Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, The Gate House, Archbishop’s Palace, Mill Street, Maidstone, ME15 6YE Tuesday 15 April The Royal Oak Hotel, High Street, Sevenoaks, TN13 1HY Trading with the EU or further afield doesn’t have to be for big business only. For the vast majority of the small and medium sized businesses in Kent, there are some very simple things that can be done to broaden your customer base beyond our borders. This two hour seminar will outline the financial support, expertise and support available here in Kent & Medway that can help you trade internationally.

How to Find and Win Contracts in the Public Sector 9.00am - 1.00pm Friday 4 April Medway Innovation Centre, Maidstone Road, Rochester, Chatham, ME5 9FD Friday 2 May Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, The Gate House, Archbishop’s Palace, Mill Street, Maidstone, ME15 6YE One of the biggest challenges facing small and medium size business in the current economic climate is to know how to use their restricted resources to find work with public institutions. For instance, the way that Public Procurement works for contract below £100,000 has recently changed. Still, too many businesses new to public work rely on the main portal, missing other resource available to them.

Access to Finance – Grants, Loans and Investment 9.30am - 11.30am Friday 4 April Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, The Gate House, Archbishop’s Palace, Mill Street, Maidstone, ME15 6YE The range of Government initiatives can be confusing. This two hour seminar will guide you through the current funding opportunities available to businesses of all sizes here in Kent & Medway.

Debt Recovery 9.30am - 11.00am Friday 4 April St Georges Business Park, Castle Road, Sittingbourne, ME10 3TB Friday 11 April The Royal Oak Hotel, High Street, Sevenoaks, TN13 1HY Thursday 17 April Medway Innovation Centre, Maidstone Road, Rochester, Chatham, ME5 9FD

To book either visit or email or call 01233 503838

April-May 2014 ThinkingBUSINESS


CHAMBEREVENTS Tuesday 22 April Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, The Gate House, Archbishop’s Palace, Mill Street, Maidstone, ME15 6YE Friday 25 April Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Ashford, TN24 0LH To understand more about Debt Recovery, including the options available to you if you are in this situation, we are running a series of short seminars with Hatten Wyatt Solicitors and Bretts Business Recovery. The sessions will provide practical tips, advice and guidance and more importantly answer any concerns or issues you may have.

Understand the Food Information for Consumers Regulation 9.30am - 11.30am Friday 11 April St Georges Business Park, Castle Road, Sittingbourne, ME10 3TB Monday 28 April Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, The Gate House, Archbishop’s Palace, Mill Street, Maidstone, ME15 6YE Introduction to understanding the Food Information for Consumers Regulation (FIC) EU No. 1169/2011. This seminar aims to provide an introduction to the key changes to food labels which become mandatory in December 2014. The FIC Regulation applies directly across the EU and is aimed at updating and harmonising EU food labelling regulation , free movement of safe and wholesome food and ensuring consumers are able to make informed food choices.

Getting Started With Social Media Seminar 9.30am - 11.30am Tuesday 6 May Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford, TN24 0LH Not sure where to start with all the buzz Social Media. Join Zoe Cairns for a 2 hour seminar where she will give you a taster of how you can start using Social Media in your business and its features and benefits.


Social Media Strategy for 2014 Thursday 3 April 9.30am - 4.30pm Tudor Park, Bearsted, Maidstone, ME14 4NQ £140.00 + VAT This workshop will show you how to get started and how to increase your social media marketing to increase your online traffic. Zoe will set you your first three goals for your Social Media Journey. Zoe will help you develop your online awareness and presence, build your online social media communities and show you how to drive more traffic to your online websites. 38

ThinkingBUSINESS April-May 2014

We will be carrying out practical exercises, brainstorming sessions and given homework to help you put together your social media strategy plan.

Sage 50 Accounts - Refresher / New Businesses Workshop

Exporting - Understanding the Paperwork

Wednesday 23 April 9.00am - 12.30pm Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford, TN24 0LH £70.00 + VAT Just starting up in business and need bookkeeping knowledge, or returning to bookkeeping after being away?

Monday 7 April 9.30am - 4.30pm Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, The Gate House, Archbishops Palace, Mill Street, Maidstone, ME15 6YE Members £205.00 + VAT, Non-Members £225.00 + VAT Problems associated with Export? Export Documentation problems will often lead to delays in getting goods to customers, increased costs and charges, and a breakdown of goodwill between seller and buyer. Changes to regulations and requirements often pass unnoticed or are misunderstood. This export training course will address all these issues and more. It will examine all aspects of export documentation from first enquiry to arrival of the goods at destination and will seek to establish best practice, emphasising the need for a clear and coherent audit trail for each shipment to ensure customs compliance.

Online Marketing Workshop Wednesday 9 April 9.30am - 4.30pm Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford, TN24 0LH £140.00 + VAT Like all good marketing, online marketing starts with one question... “who is your customer”? From there things get a tad more complicated. This workshop however, will walk you through the process of how digital marketing can give you more insight into your customer but how the various channels can and should be used to reach them. After all, if you can truly connect with your customers online your business has the best chance of succeeding!

Sales & Marketing Workshop 9.30am - 4.30pm Thursday 17 April Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford, TN24 0LH Friday 16 May Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, The Gate House, Archbishops Palace, Mill Street, Maidstone, ME15 6YE £140.00 + VAT Without sales you don’t have any customers without any customers you won’t have any income and without any income you don’t have any profit and therefore no business. Come and learn why sales and marketing is crucial to the success of your business and learn the top tips for increasing your market presence and your sales to customers.

Pay Per Click (PPC) Workshop Wednesday 23 April 9.30am - 4.30pm Tudor Park Hotel, Ashford Road, Bearsted, Maidstone, ME14 4NQ £140.00 + VAT Pay Per click can be a very frightening thing to manage and at first glance can seem very daunting and complicated. In this workshop, we will cover what an Adwords account should look like and best practice for setting up an account and optimising it to give you better cost per acquisition.

Employment Law Update 2014 Thursday 24 April 8.30am - 12.00pm Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel, Hollingbourne, Maidstone, ME17 1RE Members £70.00 (Inc VAT), Non-Members £80.00 (Inc VAT) This workshop will be presented by two leading employment lawyers, who will be joined by a specialist pensioner adviser on the first lesson. • Recent developments in employment law and future changes • Practical guidance on how to prepare for changes • Effects on HR policies and procedures & people management • Covers new cases, employment reforms and implementation of European directives • The Coalition Government’s current and future programme for employment law

Mastering the Power of LinkedIn for your business Tuesday 29 April 9.30am - 4.30pm Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, TN24 0LH £140.00 + VAT This workshop will be a hands on session where you can come along and learn how to master Linkedin for your business and also make sure that your LinkedIn profile is set up and fully optimised to get noticed.

CHAMBEREVENTS We will be setting up your LinkedIn profiles and your company page on the day. We will also be going through some LinkedIn strategies on how you can effectively use LinkedIn for your business.

Investigating Discipline and Grievances in the Workplace Thursday 8 May 8.30am - 12.00pm Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel, Hollingbourne, Maidstone, ME17 1RE Members £70.00 (Inc VAT), Non-Members £80.00 (Inc VAT) The series is suited to all employers no matter the size of your workforce. These interactive workshops include extensive question and answer sessions. The workshops will be presented by two leading employment lawyers, who will be joined by a specialist pensioner adviser on the first lesson. • ‘Wrongful’, ‘unfair’ and ‘constructive’ dismissal examples • Practical guidance on how to prevent unnecessary and costly disputes • How to ensure that discipline is used early and positively • Best practise is disciplinary and grievance procedures • Changes to unfair dismissal law and Tribunal procedure • The increasing importance of social Media issues

Introduction to Importing

Advertising, Twitter Chats and Using Hashtags!

Friday 9 May 9.30am - 4.30pm Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, The Gate House, Archbishops Palace, Mill Street, Maidstone, ME15 6YE Members £205.00 + VAT, Non-Members £225.00 + VAT This import training course will offer practical guidance on the latest procedures, terminology and documentation required for successful importing. It will highlight some of the pitfalls that often cause importers to incur unnecessary costs and delays in arrival of goods and suggest some ways of avoiding these. It will increase understanding of Customs rules and compliance procedures and look briefly at some of the duty reliefs available. The import training course will include a summary of The New Incoterms® 2010 Rules.

Also Zoe will be providing the “Top Ten Twitter Tools” that you can use to help and manage your Twitter experience!

Twitter For Business Advanced Thursday 15 May 9.30am - 4.30pm Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, TN24 0LH £140.00 + VAT This workshop will go through some advanced strategies on how you can advance your social media activities and experience more features of Twitter for your business. We will be going through the benefits of Twitter

Managing Sickness Absence Thursday 22 May 8.30am - 12.00pm Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel, Hollingbourne, Maidstone, ME17 1RE Members £70.00 (Inc VAT), Non-Members £80.00 (Inc VAT) The series is suited to all employers no matter the size of your workforce. These interactive workshops include extensive question and answer sessions. The workshops will be presented by two leading employment lawyers, who will be joined by a specialist pensioner adviser on the first lesson. • Long term, short term absence management • How best to avoid potential claims • The increasing importance of disability discrimination law and recent cases • Pre-employment health questionnaires • Holiday pay and sickness

To book either visit or email or call 01233 503838

April-May 2014 ThinkingBUSINESS



Mission Training and Consultancy Mission Training and Consultancy was formed in 2001, specialising in training individuals to become SIA Licensed Security personnel to meet demands of new and existing legislation, including The Security Industry Authority (SIA) and the Licensing Act 2003. We are now recognised and highly regarded for providing various courses in the Licensed Trade and Hospitality sectors, the Nursing and Care Industry, and the Public Sector. Based in Canterbury, our Training centre has modern facilities hosting numerous courses for various industries. We also have field based trainers that provide training at numerous satellite centres.

How adverse weather conditions impact business Whenever climate extremities are experienced the media is full of headlines on how different commercial sectors are being affected. Some find it a struggle depending on the event, while others flourish from what is otherwise a bad situation. With the recent winds, new chamber member Glebe Fencing Ltd has seen a 400% increase compared to the same period in 2013 and has been tested to the limit to cope with demand.

“Now on top of the volume of incoming enquiries the true work begins in taking Glebe Fencing Ltd into new areas such as trade shows, business networking events and so on.”

Sales & Marketing Manager David Dadswell said: “Luckily, pre-Christmas we implemented new administrative procedures with a plan to grow the commercial sector of our business. These couldn’t have been better timed and I’m glad to say the system held up well.

Already strong in the commercial market working with companies such as Lidl, Persimmon Homes, Denton Home, Renault Motorline etc, 2014 will see Glebe Fencing Ltd expand their share further of the market.

“Stock control has been the real challenge; after major chain stores reported no available panels, we were able to continually meet demand and supply our customers as well as supporting fellow fencing companies.

Company Owner Jon Martin, has invested heavily into the business since starting as a sole trader just 12 years ago and is excited to see the business grow to serve the county of Kent and beyond, with both domestic and commercial fencing, decking and gate solutions.

Our training services include: • Door Supervision • Security Guarding • CCTV Operations • Close Protection • Conflict Management • Breakaway / Safety Training • Control and Restraint • First Aid • Fire Safety • Health and Safety • Food Safety Individuals that are employed in various industries can attend a range of programmes that will prepare them for future development. We encourage the unemployed to gain training and qualifications to prepare them for the work place. Although we cannot offer funding, sources of funding are available for some individuals who meet the relevant criteria. For those seeking funding we suggest you speak to local Job Centres who should be able to direct you to other organisations that may be able to provide you with funding. We offer a variety of courses aimed at educating security staff before embarking on a career in the security industry and leisure, licensed and entertainment sectors. We also offer bespoke training packages specially tailored to suit your needs. Take a look at our website

April-May 2014 ThinkingBUSINESS



ThinkingBUSINESS April-May 2014


Fields of Life opens office in Kent Debbie Cameron, formally of the Institute of Directors in Kent, has opened the doors of the first branch of international charity Fields of Life at Kent Science Park (KSP).

Debbie on one of her fundraising trips.

Fields of Life focuses its work across East Africa, where it brings about positive change through the provision of quality education, clean water, health promotion and other community based projects. The charity has been running for twenty years, with its head office in Northern Ireland home to a team of eight full time staff and further volunteers. Driven by the need to raise further funds, the decision to open an office at Kent Science Park was spearheaded by Debbie, who was involved with the charity for 15 months before being appointed as the Head of Development and Fundraising in GB. Debbie said: “I am incredibly excited to get started in the new office - I have a blank canvas to work from and so many interesting ideas to move forward with. Registering Fields of Life as a GB charity means that we can target a lot more people and reach a whole new audience. “We selected Kent Science Park as our first branch for many reasons. Having worked on the Park previously with the Institute of Directors, I know how passionate the team is about supporting its tenants, and they have been invaluable in helping me set up the first branch office.”

James Speck, Site Director at KSP, said, “KSP has been an avid supporter of Debbie’s fundraising projects for Fields of Life in the past, so it seems only natural that we would welcome them to the site with open arms. What Fields of Life is trying to achieve is phenomenal and the work that they do makes a real difference to people living in the poorest parts of East Africa.” For more information or to donate to Fields of Life, please visit

The positive impact Fields of Life has already had in Africa.

April-May 2014 ThinkingBUSINESS



App economy helping to create ‘entrepreneurial generation’ The growth of the app economy is helping to create an ‘entrepreneurial generation’ in the UK, with 27,000 people aged 21 or under now listed as directors of limited companies, says Wilkins Kennedy LLP, the Top-25 accountancy firm. Wilkins Kennedy says that the success of young people in fast growth sectors like app design is acting as a catalyst for people 21 and under to open businesses across all sectors of the economy. Wilkins Kennedy adds that young businesspeople like Jamie Oliver and Nick D’Aloisio – dubbed the UK’s answer to Mark Zuckerberg – have inspired a growing number

of young people across the country to start their own businesses. Adam Anstey, Partner at Wilkins Kennedy, said: “The UK has raised a generation of young entrepreneurs, who are making their mark across the economy, from restaurants to consumer goods and retail.” “The app economy is a particularly thriving

area for entrepreneurial activity for young people in the UK – a lot of them are finding that apps they create in their spare time can turn into lucrative business opportunities.” “There are huge sums of money out there for people who create world-class apps, and the UK’s young entrepreneurs have benefitted from the sector. Sometimes, all you need is ability, ambition and a computer to strike it rich in the app economy. That inspires young entrepreneurs to give it a go in other sectors as well.”

Why use an accountant?

Council to buy International House and surrounding land

Gary Robinson of AIMS Accountants for Business explains why you should use an accountant and benefit from their expertise.

Ashford Borough Council is to purchase International House.

When you’re in business an accountant may seem like an added expense that you could do without. What do you need one for? After all you’ve got a calculator, it can’t be that hard! Think again - A good accountant isn’t just a number cruncher, it’s someone who understands how to run a business in today’s economic climate, an experienced professional who will get to know you and your business and will provide you with essential support. Ultimately your accountant is someone you should regard as a trusted business advisor. Your accountant can help you plan for a

successful future and make sure you keep proper financial records. Don’t underestimate how important your accounts are, they are a representation of your company. At AIMS Accountants, we are able to support all sizes of business and have a wide range of accounting solutions to offer, from simple spreadsheets to traditional desktop systems, to mobile cloud accounting solutions. We have used our national strength to develop partnerships with leading accountancy software providers and are able to pass on these benefits to our clients.

This purchase, along with that of the former Crouch’s garage site, paves the way for the council to drive forward its bold plans for a comprehensive redevelopment of that area of the town, known as the Commercial Quarter. This will not only mean the creation of 4,000 jobs, 590,000 square feet of office space and 150 homes but bring spending power to the town centre, helping to sustain the best possible range of retail and leisure activity in the heart of the town. This type of approach is a game changer for local government. Although these acquisitions will trigger the take up of development opportunities in the Commercial Quarter – generating the new jobs for local people – it is actually a new business model. By adopting this attitude the council can sustain the income it needs to offset reducing government funding, without passing that burden onto local council tax payers. The Commercial Quarter is part of an ambitious programme that will deliver some major projects for the borough. Phase 1 already has planning permission and interest from a first major potential occupier. The Homes and Communities Agency has also committed money to the project. Cllr Graham Galpin, Ashford Borough Council’s portfolio holder for the town centre and urban economy, said: “This is a big step forward. It’s absolutely essential to the balanced growth of the town that we take advantage of our connections to London and Europe through HS1. This is an attractive factor when companies want to invest in Ashford.” Cllr Neil Shorter, the council’s portfolio holder for resource management and control, said: “By moving forward with these purchases and plans for the Commercial Quarter we are looking at the long-term financial stability of the council, securing services for residents, and the borough as a whole. It’s vital that in these challenging times, with central government funding reducing, we look at our revenue budget position and look at alternative revenue streams, which these acquisitions will deliver.” Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council, said: “With central government sharing our view that the Commercial Quarter is vital to the town’s future, the acquisition of International House and the former Crouch’s site are not only progressing these plans but are valuable assets for the council.”


ThinkingBUSINESS April-May 2014


South East LEP partners with Opensignal to highlight mobile ‘not spot’ coverage The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SE LEP) is collaborating with the mobile app provider, Opensignal, to help build a picture of mobile ‘not spots’ and to estimate the impact this has on local businesses. South East LEP undertook a small, successful survey in Spring/Summer 2013 which looked at the impact that poor mobile phone reception has on businesses in the area. The survey estimated that mobile ‘not spots’ cost the average small business £10,000 a year in lost contracts and increased running costs. Over 400 businesses of all sizes from across all areas responded to SE LEP’s call for evidence – 84% saying their business had suffered and continues to suffer from disruption due to mobile phone ‘not spots’. We wanted to build on the success of this small sample survey to develop a more comprehensive collection of evidence. By working with Opensignal’s mobile phone app, we can understand the extent of ‘not spots’ and downtime when businesses are unable to access their mobile networks. OpenSignal is an app which helps you get the best out of your phone by making sure you’re always well connected. The app helps you get better signal, find nearby WiFi networks and keep track of your usage. Once downloaded, the mobile phone app automatically collects geographical information, in a secure and private way, about ‘not spots’ without users having to log in or load any information. It also helps you to search for a signal if you are out and about on site, at meetings or in a new client location and you need to make that important phone call. There will be an opportunity for businesses to input additional information about how downtime impacts on their business, through a notes function, so the ‘cost’ to business can be collected real time.

This research will be undertaken in partnership with Chambers of Commerce. This data will be used to open up dialogue with the main mobile phone operators, Department for Communities Media and Sport and other organisations, including the Department for Transport with the aim of improving reception in key locations and on key transport routes - especially on trains where ‘not spots’ are a cause of significant frustration to business users. South East LEP has a mix of urban and rural business communities and mobile ‘not spots’ is a proven issue across the area. The South East LEP wants to work with businesses and technology partners, and with Government departments, to pioneer solutions to this issue through pilot programmes and by using innovation in this field to drive real solutions for business. More information is available on the South East LEP website Download the Opensignal app through the Apple App store, Google Play for Android or visit the Opensignal website If you have any questions or would like someone from the LEP to attend any meetings to explain this research or other LEP activity, we would welcome the opportunity; please contact Zoe Gordon, Business Engagement and Communications Manager on 07880 179 998 or

Zoe Gordon Business Engagement and Communications Manager, South East Local Enterprise Partnership

April-May 2014 ThinkingBUSINESS



Welcome to new members A4G Bookkeeping & Payroll LLP Gravesend 01474 501153 Bookkeeping & Payroll Action Coach - Quinn Business Coaching Faversham 01795 506219 Business Coaching Adherence Digital Folkstone 07460 426965 Online Marketing Aims Accountants For Business Egerton 01233 756148 _Number=435 Accountancy Services, Tax Planning, Payroll Amesis Ltd Ulcombe 01622 853683 Website Design & Hosting, CSR, Management Training AMF Bowling Ashford 01233 626644 Leisure Athena Recruitment Ltd Kings Hill 01732 447935 Recruitment Consultancy B3-2 Ltd Ashford Payroll Provider

01233 500442

Barnes Roffe LLP Dartford 01322 275335 Accountants Baxall Construction Ltd Paddock Wood 01892 833344 General Construction Company Bluefin Greenhithe 01638 782471 Insurance Broking Caxtons Chartered Surveyors Gravesend 01474 537733 Property Consultants Chequers Inn Crouch Ltd Basted 01732 668619 Freehouse & Restuarant

CMR Insurance Services Limited 02088 352567 Wallington Credit Insurance Speacialists, Debt Collection Experts, Credit Reports Constructive Innovation Ashford 01233 663584 Construction Business Development Consultant DMB Law Sevenoaks 01732 228813 Law Practice Ecomus Ltd Eynsford 01322 865792 Internet Development Encouraging Solutions Ltd East Malling 01732 897495 Experienced Business Consultants Helping Firms Go To The Next Level By Accelerating Change Enterprise Foundation Aylesford 03001 231060 Office Space and Support to Start Ups and Third Sector Fair Contract Associates Ltd Bromley 02086 957301 Contract Renegotiation, Arbitration & Procurement Services

Greenhorne Rodeo Maidstone 01622 609028 Premium Mechanical Rodeo Bull for all Corporate Events and Parties Hays Specialist Recruitment Maidstone 01622 235683 Recruitment Innovation Financial Planning West Malling 01732 424211 Independent Financial Advisers/Pension Specialist Insightful Minds Maidstone 01622 843798 Relaxation, Stress Management, Mediation, Coach & More! Karimix UK Ltd Selling 01277 733878 Food Manufacturing Leafit Maidstone 01622 246642 Business Marketing and Advertising Lucid Crystal Ltd Dartford 01322 303205 Web Design, Developments & Programming

Pirtek Ashford Ashford 01233 502090 Hydraulic Engineers Pure Document Solutions Ltd 08007 076618 West Malling Authorised Xerox Reseller Reeves & Co LLP Chatham 01634 899800 Accountants & Financial Advisers Safe Anaesthesia Worldwide (SAWW) Tonbridge 07527 506969 Fundraising to Supply Suitable Anaesthetic Machines to Developing Countries School of The Rose Institute of Language Whitstable 01227 276444 Translation - Interpreting - Tuition Surecare (East Kent) Canterbury 01227 200582 Care Swift House Cookery School Bethersden 01233 820040 Cookery School, Cake Decorator

Morlings Maidstone 01622 673081 Law Firm - Legal

The Accounting Experts Dartford 01322 290450 Accounting

Felix Limited Rochester 01634 724080 Prinitng, Graphic Design, Augmented Reality

Mulberry Cottages Ltd Canterbury 01227 464958 Holiday Lettings

Fish Hook Careers Southfleet 01474 834481 In-house Recruitment Specialists

Northfleet Technology College Northfleet 01474 533802 Traineeships, Work Experience

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NUSHE London 02031 300789 Social Enterprise & Human Resources

Garagetek Maidstone 07973 412775 Garage Storage Solutions Glebe Fencing Ltd Maidstone 01622 220054 Fencing, Decking, Gates

Paper Mountains Rochester 01634 298750 Document Scanning, Archiving, Service Distribution Performance Cars (Kent) Ltd Gravesend 08000 933293 Vehicle Sales, Wedding Cars, Supercar Hire

The Net Gillingham 01634 310011 Magazine Publishing Tidy Bond Dartford 01322 277776 Accountants & Tax Advisors Triple M Contract Services Ltd Ashford 01303 760458 Construction, Fencing, Landscaping Yesss Electrical Northfleet 01474 531098 Electrical Supplies

April-May 2014 ThinkingBUSINESS




The Last Word Name:

Nigel Colley


Sunways Travel

Job title:

Managing Director

Nigel Colley is Managing Director of Sunways Travel, an independent travel agency in Kent (UK) that has been in business for 40 years. Sunways has two very different divisions, one that deals with business travel management and a boutiquestyle travel agency, specialising in high end, personal travel solutions. Nigel has 30 years’ experience in the travel business and has now shared his knowledge in his first book ‘Tips to create a great corporate travel policy’ which also includes tips on how to appoint a travel management company.

Q.What was your first job and what was the pay packet? I started out as a junior travel agent in the family business at the (then) A.Bexley Heath office. I was probably on about £30 per week. What do you always carry with you to work?

Q. A.It’s got to be my iPhone, it goes everywhere with me. Q.What is the biggest challenge facing your business? Travel management is notoriously competitive so it is about weaving A. technological advances with the quality, personalised service of our travel experts knowledge. If you were Prime Minister, what one thing would you Q.change to help business? I’d make the school year more flexible so that families can take their A.children out of school all year round which would flatten high season pricing and avoid parent penalties. Q.What can you see from your office window? A.Dominos pizza, and they don’t even need to deliver. Q.If you could do another job what would it be? I can’t imagine doing another job as I love the travel business and its culture A. but otherwise I’d like to turn the tables and be on the receiving end of our service as a globe-trotting entrepreneur. Q.As a business person, what are your three main qualities? I’m always looking to innovate. I am not scared of change and I care, that A.means I work hard to make sure clients get the best service from us. What was your biggest mistake in business? Q. It cost us quite a bit to set ourselves up as an online tour operator to A. discover most clients valued the one-to-one input and a booking tool was not going to replace that. Q.What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs? It’s an exciting time to be in business but you need to hold on tight and be A.prepared for the twists and turns that technology brings. Who do you most admire in business? Q. I met the fascinating music producer and entrepreneur Chris Blackwell in A. Jamaica recently. He brought Bob Marley’s music into the mainstream and turned author Ian Fleming’s former home (where James Bond was inspired) into

a world class resort. Amazing man. 50

ThinkingBUSINESS April-May 2014

Law firm keeps young achiever

One of Furley Page’s talented and recently-qualified solicitors has become the latest addition to the Kent law firm’s highly-regarded real estate team. Simon Stempien, aged 26, spent two years training with Furley Page. He now advises on all aspects of property work, with particular focus on commercial property sales and purchases, dealing with a wide range of clients from large developers to individuals. Simon, who left the University of Kent with a first class degree and obtained a distinction in his legal practice course, joined Furley Page as a trainee solicitor in September 2011 and qualified in September last year. Author David Taylor joins Zoodikers as Head of Social Business Social media agency Zoodikers have appointed social media author and management consultant David Taylor to the position of Head of Social Business. For many years David has operated as a social media management consultant, helping organisations to manage change and preparing them to operate effectively in the social media age. He co-authored ‘Fusion - the new way of marketing’, which explains how businesses can increase their sales cost effectively by making use of all the different marketing tools that are available in today’s social media age. Andy Rudkin joins Buss Murton Law

Andy Rudkin has joined the Litigation team at Buss Murton Law, Tunbridge Wells. Andy will be specialising in commercial dispute resolution and insolvency related work. He will also assist private clients with property litigation, debt recovery and potential negligence claims. Andy has spent the last four years with Else Solicitors, based in the Midlands and prior to that worked in

Kent where he is originally from. Andy Rudkin comments: “Kent has a very strong local economy with many new start-up businesses and entrepreneurs and I look forward to working with a range of clients to help them resolve difficult issues.” Experienced business consultant Helen Topliss is the newest addition to the Business Services team at MidKent College Consisting of a group of training experts with the knowledge and experience to improve an organisation from top to bottom, Business Services continues to go from strength to strength. Helen said: “I’m delighted to have joined the team and look forward to further developing the four key services we currently offer to local employers – bespoke training, the Microsoft IT Academy, JobShop and apprenticeships. “I would be delighted to hear from anyone seeking solutions to their training and recruitment needs.” New Recruit joins JM Recruitment

JM Recruitment have supplied staff throughout Kent over the last 10 years, within the Industrial, Office/Admin and Catering sectors. As part of their continued growth plans, JM are pleased to welcome a new Driving Consultant to the team. Helen Banks has joined as their Transport Consultant; bringing with her 20 years of experience in the Transport Recruitment sector. Mike Bailey, Managing Director at JM Recruitment: “I welcome the wealth of experience that Helen brings to both the Transport and Industrial sectors of JM Recruitment.” Helen Banks: “I am really excited to join JM Recruitment on their 10 year anniversary. The team are really personable and have a great work ethic. I am looking forward to working with both new and existing clients and helping the business grow.”

Thinking Business  
Thinking Business  

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce business magazine. April/May 2014