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The business magazine of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce Feb-Mar2014

Year of International Trade Practical advice on exporting and more...

pages 30-32

Inspiring Herts Awards Entry Deadline 7th March

pages 26-27

n Apprenticeships n Young Entrepreneurs

InspireContents Editorial and General Enquiries Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce MacLaurin Building, 4 Bishops Square, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL10 9NE 01707 398400 Tel: Fax: 01707 398430 Email: Web: Chief Executive: Yolanda Rugg Publisher Benham Publishing 3tc House, 16 Crosby Rd, Crosby, Liverpool L22 0NY 0151 236 4141 Tel: Fax: 0151 236 0440 Email: Web: Published February 2014 © Benham Publishing and Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce. Advertising and Features Karen Hall Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: Production Manager Fern Badman 0151 236 4141 Tel: Email: Media No. 1388 Disclaimer Inspire is published for Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and is distributed without charge to Chamber members. All correspondence should be addressed to Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce. Views expressed in Inspire are not necessarily those of Hertfordshire 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.

From the Chief Executive

Up Front


Member Benefits


Up Front


24 Hours


The British Chamber of Commerce’s Q4 reports shows welcomed growth in confidence in manufacturing and exports, and a positive increase in turnover and job creation in the construction and services sectors in this region.

Spotlight on Broxbourne


Getting Started


Ask the Expert


Women in Leadership


Inspiring Herts


Big Interview


International Trade


Chamber Policy


Business News


Forum News


Business News


Chamber Chatter


Chamber Events


New Members


Member Spotlight


Last Word


In the first fortnight of this year, we launched a similar working partnership with Broxbourne Borough Council. The point of Ambition Broxbourne is to drive business growth to generate 6,300 new jobs in the borough by 2030 by attracting knowledge-based blue chip companies into the area. We will work closely with local colleges and business on apprenticeship programmes. We are launching another major initiative this year: Women in Leadership. It is interesting that a good proportion of the Inspire Hertfordshire Awards winners over the last two years have been women. We need to celebrate this, and create situations where these winners can be role models for young women starting their careers.

“We are launching another major initiative this year: Women in Leadership.” This year will be a busy one. The Chamber has nominated 2014 as the Year of International Trade and is planning events for our Business is Good for Young People campaign. We are also launching new forums: Manufacturing & Engineering, Property & Construction and Exporters. This activity will do much for sector mentoring and help us raise the voice of industry. We wish everyone a great 2014, and hope we will be the vital nutrient to help many Herts businesses grow. Yolanda Rugg





A New Year... A renewed focus on rebalancing the UK economy I believe 2014 will be the year when we see accelerated growth in the UK economy in terms of jobs creation, investments and exports. Improved demand from Britain’s biggest trade partners globally, increased productivity, supported by the MPC’s steadfast approach to interest rates and keeping inflation low with more ease of money supply will all play their part to support the UK’s economic recovery. The latest British Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Economic Survey shows some really positive trends in business confidence. The East of England region highlights include a substantial increase in export sales reported in the manufacturing sector and increased employment expectations within the services sector. For the business community, 2013 was a year of reflection and recognition of the need to work differently to move out of the economic doldrums that have been the status quo for the last few years. It was definitely a time of digging deep to find the strength and confidence to make changes and plan for growth. I see this New Year as a real turning point in the local economy with many of the local business initiatives starting to deliver tangible results. Collaboration, such as our joint initiatives with the Dacorum and Broxbourne economic

development teams and hopefully working towards a more united/coordinated Chamber movement in Hertfordshire where Town Chambers can gain, for their members, the benefits of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) through affiliation / membership with Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, the BCC accredited Chamber of Commerce for Hertfordshire. The most recent BCC initiative is its contract with UKTI to deliver an International Business Network across several countries therefore potentially offering International support and relationships to the business community in Hertfordshire and could be of significant value. During 2014 we will introduce a more focussed approach to fora, networking events and so on, where like minded people from various business sectors such as Engineering and Manufacturing can relate more to their sector activities, all aimed at increasing the economic prosperity across Hertfordshire. Wherever possible we will work with the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) in Hertfordshire on this focussed approach.

Encouraging new businesses, improving the employment prospects of young people within the county and maintaining support for existing businesses to help them achieve their business goals through initiatives such as the Year of International Trade, will be the main aims of the Chamber in 2014. The Chamber team is working hard towards making the “Inspiring Awards” in May the third year yet more successful My best wishes Neville Reyner CBE DL Hon.DLitt Chairman

East Coast Mainline importance to Hertfordshire Herts Chamber participated in a business leader fact-finding forum — hosted by Stevenage Borough Council on 7 January 2014 — led by the East Coast Mainline Authorities (ECMA) to determine business and community needs for government rail infrastructure investment. “The future of the East Coast Mainline is extremely important to Stevenage, which, as a major business centre, is extremely important to Hertfordshire’s economy and further afield”,” said Neville Reyner, Chairman of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce. He said that Herts Chamber is lobbying the Government and insists that it, in reviewing rail infrastructure planning across Britain, should know how absolutely fundamental it is to have highly enhanced north-south intercity connectivity.” “Stevenage is less than three hours by train to Paris and Brussels and Britain exports 50 per cent of its goods and services to Europe.” It is also interesting to track the German (Inter City



Express Train) ICE plans for Brussels and St Pancras: last year an ICE train arrived at St Pancras as a pilot. This will have wider European implications and opportunities should it go ahead. He also pointed out that business-to-business connectivity with Edinburgh, Aberdeen, the North East, the large conurbations around Leeds/Bradford, Sheffield and other industrial centres along the great north route is essential to meaningful business growth, not just for Hertfordshire, but for the whole of the country. Although a direct rail link to Gatwick Airport, through Cross Rail will become a reality, we will also need good travel connectivity between Stansted and Luton Airports with Heathrow and City Airports already connected via London. All

this is crucial to support the large businesses in industries such as bioscience, technology, defence, space, ICT and others, and SMEs in and around Stevenage. Intercity commuting to Cambridge’s medical research centres, world-leading bioscience and technology industries is germane to this area’s future economic prosperity too, and greatly important to the success of the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, the hub for bioscience research and development. It was agreed that an enhanced East Coast Mainline development — dual track, longer trains, improved stations, an essential stop-off on the great north route — would serve the town’s economic drivers: its mid-way position in the Golden Triangle (Oxford, London, Cambridge), its pharmaceuticals (Stevenage, Welwyn Garden City), fast-growing IT industry, massive inward tourism (Knebworth House’s annual mass-scale events) and the myriad SMEs that selected Stevenage for its proximity to London, access to all of Hertfordshire and point of contact with the north of the country.



Chamber appointment Christine Faulkner joining the Chamber this month.

Are you a Chamber member and interested in taking part in a research project? Sulina Odwong is a student at University of Hertfordshire reading a MSc in Marketing and she is conducting an Integrated Research Project focusing on membership organisations and in particular Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce. This research project will be taking place from January to April and Sulina would like to interview as many chamber members as possible. If you are interested in participating please contact sulina at

Chris’s new role will focus mainly on supporting the Chief Executive and the board. She will also be helping to develop the Engineering and Manufacturing Network as in previous roles she has been heavily involved in promoting science and engineering as a career to young people. She is passionate about promoting the diversity of roles available in these fields. Chris also has experience in Risk Management and this, alongside her expertise in organisational management, editorial publishing and event marketing and management, will be a tremendous asset to the Chamber team as it expands its programme of events and campaigns to support local economic growth.




Hertfordshire Young Entrepreneurs off to a flying start Nearly 1,000 budding entrepreneurs from 45 schools in Hertfordshire have set up young enterprise companies since September.

Students have been busy allocating roles, selling shares ,designing products, opening bank accounts and marketing and selling their wares.

These students have been problem solving, team working, designing and creating brand new products, selling them and making a profit.

Christmas trading opportunities included the Harpenden and St Albans Christmas Market, the Ware Dickensian evening and Hitchin Town Square on the small business Saturday on 7th December.

The students will continue to develop their products and have further sales opportunities and will be invited to compete for national and European business awards, we will bring you news of their success throughout the year.

Innovation and enthusiasm were on display as students braved the cold to set up their stands and engage their customers. Some sold all their stock, others were invited to pitch to large suppliers. One group was invited to speak at the Chamber breakfast in December.

Young Enterprise also launched the 2014 Tenner Challenge on 2nd December, Britain’s biggest nationwide competition for young people. In 2013, more than 26,000 five to 19 year olds registered for this free Young Enterprise challenge. The rules are simple: schools and

youth organisations register online and receive £10 per head (up to an initial limit of £500) from the Tenner Bank to distribute to their students, who then have the month of March to make as much profit as possible. Tenner’s website has plenty of resources to get the creative juices flowing amongst teachers and students as they make their ideas happen. Hertfordshire students are already getting signed up and eager to begin! If you are interested in supporting our young entrepreneurs or would like to find out how you could get involved in these schemes please contact Catriona Austin, Area Manager for Young Enterprise East England at or on 07787 828783.




Better business for all Good regulation is important for both consumers and businesses. Regulation provides essential protection from risks posed by dayto-day business operation. It protects consumers from unsafe food and products, from public and occupational health risks, and from fraud and financial detriment. It also protects businesses, ensuring fair competition and a level playing field. It is sometime overlooked but good regulation is also good business. Regulation can reduce compliance costs by clarifying requirements, providing accessible advice about solutions, developing monitoring processes, and enabling recognition of investment in compliance. By supporting local and national businesses to grow, local authority regulators can also contribute to the development of economic wellbeing within communities, creating new jobs, raising levels of income and providing greater choice and availability of local services.

The Better Business for All partnership includes representatives from:

In short, the way in which regulation is delivered can support the growth aspirations of businesses and the Hertfordshire Better Business for All is a partnership between Hertfordshire Regulatory Services and local businesses which is intended to do exactly that. The partnership has been formed following a Herts Regulators’ event in February 2013 that was attended by a large number of interested stakeholders. The event was an opportunity to share good practice, ideas and initiatives to deliver both economic benefit and more effective regulatory services to businesses in Hertfordshire.

• Environmental Health

The event confirmed that to support growth, stronger relationships between businesses, local regulators and other interested parties like the Local Enterprise Partnership, Chambers of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses and Hertfordshire’s business community need to be built.

“We know that our local authority regulators do some great work...” 8


• The Local Enterprise Partnership, • Hertfordshire Chambers of Commerce, • Federation of Small Businesses, As well as local regulators: • Building control, • Planning, • Licensing,

• Trading Standards • Fire and Rescue Service

A work plan containing six strands of work has been agreed. Each strand is designed to support growth by identifying, and attempting to resolve, issues that face local businesses. Current priorities include: • The creation of a web page, hosted on the LEP website, that will signpost new or existing businesses to all the different types of regulation that they need. • A Regulators Charter, which all regulators will sign up to, is currently being drafted • Business awareness training for officers, to enable officers to have a good understanding of the complex nature of various businesses and why regulation should support, and not hinder, business growth.

Involvement of national regulators such as HMRC, Environment Agency, HSE, Food Standards Agency, ACAS is also being sought. In addition, two Chief Executives (St Albans City DC and East Herts. DC) have agreed to act as local authority Chief Executive ‘champions’ for the partnership:

For more information about the Better Business for All Programme or to respond to the invitation for examples, please contact John Boulter ( or Justine Hoy (

“We know that our local authority regulators do some great work to support business and enterprise but we recognise there’s still more we can do to learn from others, share good practice and work closer with Hertfordshire’s business community to support the Better Business for All initiative.”

As part of this work, the partnership would like to hear from Hertfordshire businesses with both good and bad examples of where local regulation has helped or hindered their business,

The partnership, which has been endorsed by all of the county’s local authority Leaders, has developed a programme of work and a steering group (who design the work plan) and a Regulators Forum (who facilitate development, co-ordination and delivery of the work plan).

These examples will help regulators to develop business awareness training, highlighting both good and bad practices, and better understand the impact regulators can have on a business.


Pioneer for business-facing universities awarded The University of Hertfordshire has awarded Professor Sir Tim Wilson an honorary Doctor of Education for his pioneering work in higher education, university/ business collaboration and for his outstanding contribution to the development of the University. “I am deeply honoured by this Award. I feel very privileged to have worked alongside so many talented people who were committed to our University; building on its history, not seeking to emulate other universities, but making it the premier university of its kind in the UK.” but making it the premier university of its kind in the UK.”

Sir Tim Wilson, the University of Hertfordshire’s former Vice-Chancellor, was one of the first to champion the concept of a business-facing university - the idea of universities collaborating with business and industry across their research, enterprise and teaching activities. The terminology is now firmly fixed into the education landscape and is widely accepted as a way of growing economic and social prosperity. Following the Government’s 2011 White Paper, Putting Students at the Heart of Higher Education, Sir Tim was asked to undertake a fundamental review of how to make the UK the best place in the world for university/industry collaboration. His review was published in February last year and many of his recommendations have already been implemented by Government, business and universities. Sir Tim Wilson said: “I am deeply honoured by this Award. I feel very privileged to have worked alongside so many talented people who were committed to our University; building on its history, not seeking to emulate other universities,


Did you know? 2014 is set to be the first full year where mobile internet browsing outweighs desktop PC browsing. This astonishing statistic means that your business could be missing out on vital sales if your website isn’t optimised and designed for viewing on mobile devices like iPhones, iPads and Android. Digital Results, based in Hertford, specialises in creating mobile optimised B2B and B2C websites. With great design and persuasive content they help their clients win more business through their websites. To speak about how you could significantly improve the results of your website and digital marketing strategy, speak to Elizabeth Crawford, Sales Executive at Digital Results today by calling 01920 444 797.

In reading the citation, Professor Quintin McKellar, Vice-Chancellor, University of Hertfordshire, said: “It was Sir Tim’s vision for our future together with his inspired leadership of an ambitious agenda that transformed our institution into the UK’s first and foremost business-facing university. His tireless campaigning has rightly earned him an international reputation as one of the most progressive thinkers in this field. I am delighted to present the award of honorary Doctor of Education to Professor Sir Tim Wilson.” After joining Hatfield Polytechnic in 1991 as Deputy Director, Sir Tim went on to serve as the University’s Vice-Chancellor between 2003 and 2010. At the ceremony on Wednesday 20 November – held in the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St. Albans – Sir Tim Wilson received his Doctor of Education alongside more than 4,400 new graduates celebrating academic success. The University has also shown its appreciation to nineteen other pillars of the community by awarding Honorary Degrees and Fellowships for outstanding contribution to academic disciplines, charity, professions or public service – presented by Lord Salisbury, Chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire; Professor Quintin McKellar, Vice-Chancellor; Professor Ian Campbell, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Richard Beazley, Pro Chancellor.




100 Apprenticeships in 100 days campaign An ambitious campaign to create more than a 100 new apprenticeships in just 100 days has been launched by North Hertfordshire College. Aimed at boosting the region’s businesses and creating career opportunities, the College is encouraging local businesses to offer employment opportunities to young people this New Year, by setting the challenge of providing 100 apprenticeships in 100 days, starting on 15th January. Apprenticeships are a great way for businesses to employ new staff, and a great way for young people

to enter the world of work. North Hertfordshire College offers Apprenticeship programmes at three levels and in a wide variety of subject areas. Nineteen year old Lucy Huckett works as an Apprentice Customer Experience Assistant at North Hertfordshire College and is studying for a Level 2 Business Administration Apprenticeship.

“I applied for the apprenticeship as it was a good opportunity to earn whilst I learn, and I think it’s brilliant that I can gain a qualification whilst earning money. As an apprentice I have had specialist software training and more in depth training on Microsoft Office programmes, I have built on my existing skills of customer service and learnt a lot about how the business works.”



Lucy said: “I applied for the apprenticeship as it was a good opportunity to earn whilst I learn, and I think it’s brilliant that I can gain a qualification whilst earning money. As an apprentice I have had specialist software training and more in depth training on Microsoft Office programmes, I have built on my existing skills of customer service and learnt a lot about how the business works. “My job is to answer any emails and calls, book coaches for student trips, organise trips, write letters to students and I help tutors with equipment bookings, timetables and student absences. I really enjoy my job and I am looking forward to completing my apprenticeship and gaining my qualifications. In the future I would like to progress further within the business industry.” The college works with a number of large local employers who have embraced apprenticeships as a great way to recruit new staff and develop home grown employee talent. Hertfordshire Constabulary regularly employs Business Administration Apprentices, LV has taken on a cohort of Customer Service Apprentices and Hertfordshire County Council employ Apprentices across a number of different sectors. This campaign is supporting The 250 Club, step up to employment in Stevenage campaign, and businesses either based in Stevenage or who employ an

apprentice from the town will be included in The 250 Club. Carrie Smith, Vice Principal Employer Engagement at NHC said: “The enthusiasm shown by the local employers who have backed this campaign will not only help to tackle youth unemployment but will also help to boost the region’s businesses. “For a strong and growing economy we must have a high level of skills to meet employer demand and Apprenticeships are a vital way of achieving this.” Find out more about Apprenticeships and keep up-todate with the progress of challenge at


Life saving Stevenage Leisure win prestigious award A team at Saxon Pool and Leisure, part of Stevenage Leisure Limited, have won a national award for saving a man’s life after he collapsed poolside; ultimately saving his life. The WOW! Awards scheme allows members of the public (customers) to nominate an organisation or individual employee they believe deserves recognition for excellent customer service – for going the extra mile. The scheme is specifically designed to help organisations make it easy for their customers to flag up brilliant service, and to reward employees who deliver that service. It is used by leading organisations around the world.

The team were nominated for a WOW award by the father of the man they saved. The team were announced as winners during a gala ceremony at the Brewery in London. The man’s father said: “I’m so thankful to all of the staff who helped my son after he collapsed. He is now back to work after a few days of rest but we hate to think of what would have happened to him if it hadn’t been for the team.”

Potters Bar company scoops award Potters Bar refrigeration, heating and air conditioning specialist Climate Control South East was named Business of the Year for East Anglia. The ActionCOACH UK Business Excellence Awards took place at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel, London, and were hosted by ActionCOACH Business Coaching. Climate Control SE was chosen as the overall winner from a field of more than 400 entrants, all of whom are ActionCOACH clients. This was the second award of 2013 for the Hertfordshire firm, which won Best Service Company of 2013 at the EMEA Business Excellence Awards, held in Portugal on February 8th. Climate Control South East Director Barry Fisk said: “2013 was a fantastic year for Climate Control SE.

“We saw our team grow in numbers and skill and the business really has gone from strength to strength, so to win yet another coveted award really is the icing on the cake for us. “We are extremely honoured to receive it and it is a true testament to the team and their relentless pursuit of quality and customer service.” In the coming months, Climate Control SE is partnering with a £2billion building company to provide air conditioning for projects of £250k and above, which will see a further recruitment drive for the service team to meet the increase in business.

How and why of exit strategy A sale without planning is unlikely to provide you with the right cash value for your business. You cannot build value overnight. A business being operated for long term income reward does not always give the same value as one with planned preparation for sale. Due Diligence. The process of due diligence requires that the buyer produce significant amounts of information to the buyer. This usually happens at the outset of the sale transaction and most often defines whether the original price offered is an accurate reflection of the value of the company or business. However, a serious buyer will use that information to check that the right operational processes exist and withstand close scrutiny. The Buyer will check what would happen if the Seller was taken out of the business. So, you must ensure that there is a strong second tier management team capable of taking over from the Seller. Why should that matter? If the business is incapable of operating without the Seller this means that when they leave business knowledge and value will not be lost. Then only same market purchasers will wish to buy the business. Applying the rules of supply and demand this means that price will necessarily be less. Financial Modelling. The Buyer will expect to model the financial performance of the business to include any fluctuations in future sales. Any serious seller will have a flexible model ready allowing the Buyer to build this themselves. To produce a document of this type requires a verbal demonstration of the channels to market, opportunities for extension of the core business, delivery and production, people and their integrations and finally the finance that might be required to maintain sufficient working capital. Most SME business owners work at the coal face and may not be able to see the business holistically. The planning process will require the business owner to create a two tier management structure in advance to enable them to spend time on the sale planning process including financial modelling, business planning and marketing strategies all of which must be resilient under the scrutiny of a professional Buyer or the Buyer’s professional advisers. The changes produced by this process are used to create a road map for growth, with specific key performance indicators and time lines, with exit at the right value as the final goal.




New era dawns for workers’ health Some of the biggest changes in the NHS’s history took place in 2013, raising questions around the future of treatment and care provision in the UK and causing a shift in how people will access healthcare in the future. From rising dental price bands, to growing waiting lists for surgical procedures such as cataracts and knee replacements, the signs of change are already clear. As the NHS takes a step closer to its deadline of saving £20 billion by 2015, further shifts in service provision are likely to become apparent. As the health service strives to make efficiency savings, services classed as ‘non-urgent’ are likely to be increasingly rationed as the NHS focuses its resources to the areas of most immediate need – cancer and heart treatment. For employers, this could spell an increase in staff sickness absence, as employees requiring ‘non-urgent’ procedures face a longer wait for treatment. Paul Shires, Executive Director at Westfield Health, said: “The NHS is undergoing a period of immense change and, as we move closer to the savings deadline, some of the biggest shifts in service provision could be yet to come. “People may need to become more accustomed to self-funding healthcare if they want to access treatment quickly and return to work, helping to ease some of the growing pressures facing the NHS, especially with public health problems predicted to rise in coming years.” Predictions made by The King’s Fund, an independent charity working to improve health in England, suggest that by 2018, 2.9 million people will be living with three or more long term health conditions – that’s a million more than in 2008 and at an additional care cost of an estimated £5 billion. And, as life expectancy continues to increase, age-related conditions will become more common, with one million people expected to have dementia by 2026, at an estimated cost of almost £35 billion. Forecasts also suggested that by 2031, 46 per cent of men and 41 per cent of women will be obese, and the number of people in Britain with arthritis will have increased by a staggering 100



per cent to 17 million, according to the charity’s ‘Future of Health and Social Care Timeline’.

help employers tackle the issues facing businesses as the NHS continues to evolve.

These shocking statistics may seem unimaginable now, but the huge strain that these sorts of health and social problems would place on both the country’s healthcare infrastructure and employers should be taken seriously today before it’s too late.

The product allows staff to avoid lengthy NHS waiting lists to receive ‘non-urgent’ treatment sooner. Combined with Westfield’s health cash plans, staff can also access pre and postoperative care such as physiotherapy and private consultations without worrying about the cost.

Paul added: “A rise in health problems, both physical and mental, would certainly result in more staff requiring time off work and, at a time when long-term sickness absence is already costing the UK’s private sector an estimated £3.1 billion every year, employers will inevitably need to take more responsibility for the health and wellbeing of their staff.” In 2012, Westfield Health launched Hospital Treatment Insurance (HTI), creating a new market in the health insurance sector in a bid to

Hospital Treatment Insurance is available to all members of Hertfordshire Chamber with five or more employees, either as a standalone product or, for more comprehensive cover, it can be used in conjunction with Westfield’s Chamber Primary Health Plan. For more information about the Chamber Plan, visit or call 0845 602 1629, available 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.


“There is no ‘silver bullet’ to effective absence management” Managers can be hesitant to tackle poor attendance. They might think there’s nothing they can do about it because the absence is covered by a doctor’s fit note, they might worry about getting it wrong or they are simply too busy to even begin to deal with the problem. It doesn’t help that the total cost of absence to a business is hard to quantify. Some costs, like sick pay, are obvious but others are not so clear. Employees may need to work longer hours to cover the absence, and incur overtime as a result, mistakes might be made and customer service may suffer. Sooner or later, employees will ask themselves why their manager seems to be unaware of the problem.

which is known and understood by employees and which is applied consistently. Then keep accurate, comprehensive absence records, because without the facts you risk making decisions you might not be able to defend if challenged later.

Managing absence effectively may feel daunting, and understandably so – it requires detailed and time-consuming work to get right and a firm commitment to keep momentum behind the process until the individual’s attendance has made a sustained improvement.

Even after all this, there is no silver bullet to bringing absence rates down to acceptable levels overnight. However, there is one tool that time and time again has ranked as the most successful method of managing absence – the ‘return to work’ interview. And it’s so simple! It works because, if handled correctly, it sends a clear message to the employee that their absence was noticed and it had an effect on the business.

The key to managing absence effectively is, first and foremost, to do the groundwork. Make sure you have a robust Absence & Sick Pay Policy,

For further advice about managing absence contact Helen Bell at Elite Edge HR on 07896 692433.




Chamber member wins BCC marketing campaign award St Albans firm Rayden Solicitors has won the coveted title of Marketing Campaign of the Year at a prestigious business awards ceremony. “We are absolutely thrilled to have won a national award. It was a great honour for the firm to represent the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce...”

The firm’s distinctive ‘Hot on Family Law’ campaign was selected as the country’s top marketing campaign by the British Chambers of Commerce. Partners, Katherine Rayden, Julian Bremner and Nadia Biles Davies picked up their award at a gala dinner at London’s The Brewery in front of an audience of over 500 guests.

its innovative ‘Hot on Family Law’ campaign which was designed to increase people’s understanding of family law and has generated a 53% increase in client referrals.

Katherine Rayden said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have won a national award. It was a great honour for the firm to represent the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce as a finalist and it has not yet sunk in that we won an award as well.”

“These awards are the perfect celebration for the fine work that businesses do up and down the country to help drive economic growth. I am constantly impressed by their determination, innovation and the contributions they make to their local communities. The firms honoured at the ceremony will no doubt become the wealth creators of tomorrow and play a crucial role in helping the UK economy move from being good, to being great, in the months and years ahead.”

Rayden Solicitors reached the national final, which was hosted by Olympic athlete Colin Jackson, having won both Outstanding Personal Achievement for Katherine Rayden, and Marketing Campaign of the Year categories at the Chamber’s East of England awards. Eighty five companies from all over the UK attended the national final competing in 14 categories.

Nora Senior, President of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

Over the past eight years, Rayden Solicitors has grown to be the largest family law firm in Hertfordshire.

Awarded to the organisation that “demonstrates that a marketing campaign has had a positive effect on their business,” the firm was praised for

Chance to take part in Expo The 10th Best Business Expo returns to Shendish Manor Hotel, Apsley, near Hemel Hempstead on Thursday 6th March. The prevailing theme of the day is “Sales Generation & Business Motivation” and, once again, the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce are partners for the event.

Gold Package x 2 £598 reduced to £500 Silver Package x 2 £398 reduced to £350

Exhibition early-bird Special Offer to Herts Chamber Members

For full details please visit the Exhibitor BOOK HERE page of our website

We’re offering a special early-bird price for Herts Chamber Members to exhibit. The exhibition Gold Package has been reduced from £299 to £275 and the Silver Package from £199 to £185. A second Best Business Expo will be held on 9th October 2014 at the Holiday Inn Elstree and we have a very special offer for any Chamber Members who would like to exhibit at both expos.




Keep the legacy alive – get your workforce moving! Last year, 172 million working days were lost due to employee absence. This cost UK employers £13 billion. However, those individuals who keep active take 27% fewer days off sick. Now, business is being urged to back a national initiative designed to get their workforces moving and improve the health and wellbeing of their organisation.

• view and search countywide leader boards of how fit they are in comparison to their colleagues or people from other businesses;

As part of this 2012 Olympic legacy, businesses in Hertfordshire are being invited to get involved with the Herts Workplace Challenge.

• view up to date information on physical activity news, events and competitions taking place in Hertfordshire;

Free for all organisations to use, the Herts Workplace Challenge website has been designed to create an online community of businesses that want to promote physical activity and sport to their employees.

• enter teams into our Active Offices after work sports competitions.

Designed as a one stop shop, your members of staff can sign up to take part in an annual activity challenge, which launched on 6 January.

How can the website benefit your organisation and staff? Your staff will be able to: • log how much physical activity and exercise they are doing on a daily basis (including active travel); • view how much CO2 they have saved through cycling or walking to work;

• take part in local activity campaigns run through the website;

The benefits of increasing physical activity levels amongst your workforce can be immediate. Having happy and healthy employees helps to increase morale, reduces absenteeism and staff turnover, improves productivity and leads to higher profits. There are easy and simple steps your business can take to promote the health and wellbeing of your employees and getting on board with the free Herts Workplace Challenge can do just that. For more information or an informal chat about this project please contact Joe Capon on 01707 281004 or email

Chamber of Commerce invites Hertfordshire Business School to join patron group Hertfordshire Business School has long been a strong supporter of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, the regional branch of the influential membership body representing local business interests.

ONE SENTENCE AND FIVE WORDS – THE BASIS FOR A STRONG BRAND When clients approach me for communication advice initial discussions often surround their brand. Apple, Virgin or Marks & Spencer are frequently cited as examples of the cohesive image that they would like to achieve. Putting budgetary constraints to one side, this does raise an issue at the heart of most companies’ communications that is often misunderstood, undervalued and overlooked: Do you know exactly who your company is and what you stand for? And almost more importantly, does your staff?

Your company’s personality is a key buying influencer Because companies, just like people, have personalities and that can be a key influence on whether people know you, remember you, and buy from you. And if that sounds like marketing ‘hoo doo’ from the 1980s, ask yourself this: 1 Do you know who your business is and what it stands for? 2 Can you summarise this in five words and a sentence? 3 Would your staff come up with the same vision and values for your business? Because you can bet that the major brands and their staff can. And their ability to do so has a direct bearing on the success of their business.

Choose words that describe the ethos and offer of your business And these can’t just be arbitrary words chosen because they sound cool or sexy. Your statement needs to concisely encapsulate your offer to customers – the very thing that makes you unique – and your values have to represent the ethos of your company and be alive in the actions of your staff.

Their relationship has recently stepped up another level since the School was invited to become a patron of the Chamber. Jerry Forrester, Dean of the Hertfordshire Business School, said “We are delighted for this opportunity to strengthen our partnership as one of Herts Chamber’s patrons. Working together, we can more effectively develop a range of joint initiatives to support the workforce development needs of businesses and social enterprises operating across the region. We look forward to delivering an exciting integrated platform of practical business and

management education programmes and tailored support for businesses in 2013-14.”

For an informal discussion about establishing your vision and values, call Jane at Artizan Communications on 01920 466678 or 07738 017313.






24.Hours Colin Smith Owner/Managing Director Smiths Coffee Company

“A big part of my working day is testing the latest coffees and teas which come in. This is a very technical business and I rely on my 35 years’ experience to assess which ones I think will appeal to our customers.”

“A big part of what we do is about the customer. We employ 26 people but we are a small company compared to the big names in the industry so catering for the customer is very important. “A customer might approach you asking for a small amount of coffee, which one of the larger companies would probably not supply, but we would.” Education remains important for the former teacher and plays a big part in his working day. He said: “Part of my day can be spent talking to people who visit our site. I am a big believer in education and I like to tell people about everything that goes into the coffee and tea business. Often, I will take visitors around the roasting plant to show them what we do. “To increase our service to customers we have recently expanded into supplying and servicing coffee machines. “I’ll also go to a café to train the staff in the background to the coffee and teas that they serve and I run courses for prisoners at The Mount Prison, giving them a certificate which they can use when they come out. “I give a lot of talks to community organisations, WIs and the like, telling them about the business. All the money I make from the talks goes to St Francis‘ Hospice.” He is also a key member of the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe and organises several trips a year to coffee-growing regions of the world. Colin said: “I do believe in visiting the places where coffees originate. Last year I went to three countries, this year trips will include Papua New Guinea, Burundi and Colombia. “My staff say I am off on holiday again, but to me it is important to meet the suppliers and check the quality of the coffee.”

Waking up and smelling the coffee a way of life for Colin A typical working day for Colin Smith begins at 8am, when he is not away meeting suppliers from around the world. Colin is the Managing Director of family company Smiths Coffee Company, the Hemel Hempstead-based coffee roasters and packers for the catering and retail market, which can trace its roots back to his grandfather in 1936. Colin, who joined the company in September 1979 after a short spell as a teacher, said: “I like to start before the other staff come in because you can get so much done before the phone starts ringing and people start asking you questions. “A big part of my working day is testing the latest coffees and teas which come in. This is a very technical business and I rely on my 35 years’ experience to assess which ones I think will appeal to our customers. “We recently added flavoured coffee to our large range of products and I am always looking out for products that will work.




A Space to Breathe... A Place to Grow... Working together: the key to Broxbourne’s plan Thousands of jobs will be created across the borough of Broxbourne by 2030, according to the team behind an exciting project that has been launched to breathe new life into the area. Ambition Broxbourne is a blueprint on how to boost the economic prospects of residents living in the borough and is set to define its development for the next two decades by bringing together a range of organisations. Co-ordinated and led by Borough of Broxbourne Council, Ambition Broxbourne has a target of generating 6,300 new jobs across the area over the next 16 years. At its heart is a desire to attract more knowledge-based blue chip companies and working towards a jobs market connected to, and shaped by, the needs of young people and their employers. The project utilises the concept of Smart Economic Growth, developed by the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, whose strategy envisages that by 2030 Hertfordshire will be the leading economy at the heart of the UK’s ‘Golden Triangle‘.

The project utilises the concept of Smart Economic Growth, developed by the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership... The LEP says that smart growth is not growth at any cost but growth based on knowledge and innovation. Areas included in the concept include sectors promoting a more resourceefficient, greener and competitive economy, among them: • Life Sciences; Hertfordshire has a strong bioscience and pharmaceutical cluster • Creative Industries, with the county home to some of the biggest names in Hollywood, with Warner Bros. Studios, Elstree Studios, and BBC Elstree Studios all based in the area • Advanced Engineering with the area’s strong cluster of firms • Business Services. Close to London and well connected to rest of the country, Hertfordshire offers a range of business services. Many of the high street and the web’s biggest names have their headquarters in Hertfordshire.




As part of the initiative, The Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and the Borough of Broxbourne have announced a new working relationship that will allow the team to better engage with business to bring the plan to fruition. Local educational institutions will be at tasked with meeting the current and future needs of the economy and Ambition Broxbourne will be working closely with organisations such as Hertford Regional College in driving apprenticeship schemes as well as encouraging entrepreneurship among young people. Other projects to nurture prosperity include the Broxbourne Enterprise Centre, Broxbourne Community Enterprise Hub Network and the Broxbourne Business Charter. The plan seeks to take advantage of the County’s excellent transport links and its close proximity to London, Cambridge and Oxford and also seen as offering advantages for the area is the proposed Crossrail 2, which could play a crucial role in linking Broxbourne to national and international markets. Among other priorities are a focus on the Broxbourne Lee Valley Enterprise Corridor, focusing on the A10 corridor and locations

such as Park Plaza, Greater Brookfield, Hoddesdon Business Park and the potential offered by concepts such as the Garden Science Park idea. Yolanda Rugg, Chief Executive of Herts Chamber, said: “Ambition Broxbourne will help to remove challenges and barriers to economic growth by having an economy that is underpinned by innovation, enterprise and growth.” Councillor Paul Mason, Leader of the Council, said: “It is important that businesses in Broxbourne influence council policies and services to ensure that investment helps the local economy grow and thrive. “I am looking forward to working closely with the Chamber and local businesses to embed innovation, enterprise and entrepreneurship at the heart of the local economy and improve the way in which the Council goes about its business.” The plan is currently undergoing consultation after which a detailed document will be drawn up, building on the capacity for the borough to make the most of its strategic location close to London, which makes it an attractive place to invest.

* The draft strategy can be found on the Council’s website at and_living/consultations.aspx Deadline for comments is 14 February. to submit feedback, members of the public can email or write to The Economic Development Team at Bishops’ College, Churchgate, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire EN8 9XQ. Hard copies can also be obtained by contacting the Economic Development Team.




Plan given a warm welcome at breakfast event The Ambition Broxbourne Strategy was the subject of discussion at a business breakfast held on 9 January 2014, hosted by the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce at Theobalds Park Hotel in Cheshunt. Forty five local organisations attended to discuss the plans and Leader of the Council Paul Mason said: “The involvement of businesses, public and voluntary sector organisations, residents, employees and investors is critical for success and, therefore, I encourage everyone to read and comment on the draft strategy to ensure we capture local views and aspirations in the final document which will be published in the spring”.

Photo taken at the business breakfast (showing Yolanda Rugg, of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, Paul Mason, Leader of Broxbourne Borough Council; Andy Forbes, Principal of Hertford Regional College and Mary Sykes, Business Development Manager at the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce.)

Mary Sykes, Business Development Manager at the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “It was extremely encouraging to have so many Chamber members and guests from across the private and public sector join us at the Ambition Broxbourne Consultation event. “We are delighted to be a partner with Broxbourne Council and are keen to work hard in the borough to engage businesses and support their growth. We will work with the council to look at accessing funding and grants for capital investment for SMEs to grow resources and jobs in Broxbourne.”

Broxbourne success story taken to London One of the Broxbourne success stories is Nonna’s Kitchen, which began with an idea that would bring generations of families together to enjoy traditional Sicilian food in the heart of Hoddesdon. Nonna’s is a family-run business and Nonna’s Kitchen translated means Grandmother’s Kitchen. The family opened in Hoddesdon in July 2013 and since then has opened a second restaurant in November 2013, in Panton Street, Leicester Square, London. Many celebrities including Rupert Grint, from the cast of Harry Potter, legendary Engelbert Humperdink and Sylvester Stallone have enjoyed meals at Nonna’s Kitchen.



Quotes from businesses who attended the business breakfast: “Very excited to hear about everything that is happening in the Broxbourne area.” Karen Risley – HB Accountants “Exciting times ahead for Broxbourne and I look forward to working with the council on Ambition Broxbourne.” Sarah Smits – Ashbourne Insurance “Great start to the day with like-minded can-do local businesses, which are passionate about the success of the Borough of Broxbourne.” Sarah Lebentz – Paradise Wildlife Park “Very excited to be collaborating and being a part of Ambition Broxbourne.” Barbara Stone – Herts Regional Collage “Another excellent networking event arranged by Herts Chamber who have gone out their way to facilitate business connections.” Craig Harrison – Longmores Solicitors

GettingStarted Name: Company name: Start up date: Website:

Paul Maguire MCIPR Magnite PR February 2011

Q1 Tell us a bit about your business? Magnite PR is an award-winning integrated PR and Communications agency. We help growing brands and businesses raise their profiles and build their reputations in highly competitive markets. We are restlessly ambitious to be the best at what we do and to deliver creative and commercially effective campaigns.

Q2: What gives your business ‘the xfactor’? We combine the energy and fresh thinking of a start up with the skills and expertise gained from some of the biggest and best communications agencies in the world.

Q3: What motivated you to set up the business? I want to be my own boss and to build an agency that inspires others to be ambitious.

Q4: What do you like most about working for a start-up? Every day we are driven by the knowledge that our future is in our own hands, which can be scary and exhilarating in equal measure.

Accelerate Your Business Success Niche Learning Programmes provides tailored learning and development programmes designed to maximise individual learning, which in turn maximises business success! By taking time to understand clients business needs and goals it can create and develop learning solutions which focus on achieving businesses objectives. Staff development can: • Increase profitability

Niche Learning Programmes can provide precisely the volume of training you require, from a ½ day session to a suite of programmes or the total facilities management of your company training. This may comprise ‘off the shelf’ modules or ones written specifically to your requirements.

• Increase loyalty to the organisation, • Increase feeling of staff wellbeing • Increase staff retention • Reduce recruitment costs • Allow for positive succession planning • Increase skill set of current mangers which leads to higher performing teams • Increase customers service levels • Increase clientele through customer recommendations • Reduce costs through staff use of best practice

All our courses and sessions are enhanced by Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). Using NLP throughout training sessions it will accelerate and enhance learning and understanding. To develop your staff and increase profitability take advantage of our initial FREE consultation, which is used to acquire a comprehensive understanding of your organisation’s training requirements and associated concerns. Using this information we will provide you with a unique training proposal to achieve your business goals.

Q5: What has been your greatest business success to date? We set up Magnite PR in a new location with no clients, external investment or base so winning our first creative brief from Stevenage Borough Council helped set us on our way.

Q6 What has been your lowest moment? I am always one project short of being happy so it is always a low moment if we don’t win a pitch or a tender. We always strive to learn from the disappointment and improve for the next opportunity.

Q7: In terms of business achievements, where do you want to be within the next five years? We want to be the leading integrated PR and Communications agency in Hertfordshire with a reputation for great work, sustained growth and for being a great place to work.

Q8: What would be your top tip to someone thinking of starting up their own business? Think big but start small. Be ambitious about what you want to achieve but develop a realistic step-by-step plan to get you there. Look for measurable results that give you a better understanding of what aspects of your marketing budget are working the hardest and what parts aren’t.

What our clients say: I’ve been on a number of professional development courses but I’ve never found any to be as beneficial as those designed and presented by Rachel. Liam Roberts Vision for Education Rachel’s high enthusiasm and ability to connect with consultants and managers and her talent at delivering important information, ideas and skills is truly exceptional. Connie Giorgi ANZUK Rachel is an incredible trainer who combines enthusiasm with extensive knowledge to provide brilliant training. When trained by Rachel I always left enthused, excited to use the skills and new techniques I had been taught and better equipped to do my role to the best of my ability. Jennie Frost Founder, Cocoon Rachel Brown Learning and Development Director Niche Learning Programmes Tel: 01279 777461 Mob: 07852 314881 Web:




Spreading the word about Dacorum Fire-breathing dragons, Turkish mud baths and famous palaces are just some of the creative ingredients that the Tourism Partnership led by Dacorum Borough Council is using to promote the West Hertfordshire location. Game of Thrones Dacorum embraces the new town of Hemel Hempstead and the historic market towns of Berkhamsted and Tring as well as a host of picturesque villages and rural hamlets. One such village is Kings Langley, which is set to be renamed as part of an unlikely link to a cult US fantasy series. Parish and borough councillors have been collaborating with HBO Home Entertainment, creators of the popular TV drama Game of Thrones, to change the village’s name to King’s Landing – the capital of the programme’s fictional Seven Kingdoms – for two weeks in February. The temporary transformation will see Kings Langley’s two main signs given a Game of Thrones makeover in a bid to boost tourism. The move will coincide with the DVD release of the Emmy Award-winning show’s third season. The programme is based on George R. R. Martin’s series of fantasy novels and has millions of fans worldwide. Borough and parish councillor Alan Anderson, who helped engineer the idea, pointed towards Kings Langley’s historic royal connections that gave it its regal-sounding name.

He said: “This re-naming is a great opportunity to put Kings Langley and Dacorum on the map. “You can’t ignore the parallels between Kings Langley’s own rich history and the themes in the show such as battling kings and warring families.” Businesses and restaurants in the village’s High Street are being encouraged to get involved by creating special offers for visiting fans, or introducing a themed item on their menus. Posters will also be displayed in shop windows to support the quirky idea. Fans of the show are being encouraged to visit the village and take their photo with the sign to have the chance to win a Blu-ray copy of all three Game of Thrones series, by tweeting the image to @HBO_UK using the hash tag #KingsLandingUK. Dacorum Borough Council has ensured that the production company covers the cost of changing the signs. Residents of Kings Langley will also be relieved to hear that the fantasy themed transformation of the town won’t include violence, bloodshed or the arrival of fiery-tongued dragons.

Globe trotting postcards Striking postcards of Dacorum designed to help more people to discover what the area has to enjoy have been taken around the world by adventurous residents. Local people were encouraged to take the postcards with them on trips to interesting locations or unique settings anywhere in the UK or abroad. More than seventy took part in the innovative postcard competition, which formed a key part of the Dacorum: Look no further campaign. Among the wide range of amazing entries were some from as far afield as Australia, New Zealand and even Hollywood. Overall, 19 people won prizes. The top three entries included Yvonne Richards for her photograph taken in a Turkish Dalyan Mud Bath. She won a voucher for Berkhamsted Golf Club. Kate Smethers won a family ski or snowboarding lesson at Hemel Hempstead’s Snow Centre for her picture at San Francisco’s notorious Alcatraz prison. Jenny Fallon picked up an all day family pass at the XC for her snap at Lands End in Cornwall.




Excursions Encouraging more group travel operators to add Dacorum to their itinerary as well as increasing the number of visitors to the area for day trips and short breaks is a key part of the Dacorum: Look no further campaign. That’s why the team is exhibiting at Alexandra Palace at the Excursions 2014 event. This one day event is the key date in the calendar for Group Travel Organisers and gives them the opportunity to discover what’s new and pick up great inspiration for future day trips and short breaks and longer group holidays. Excursions is the longest established group travel show in the UK and attracts just over 1000 visitors and more than 250 exhibitors. Later in the year the Dacorum Tourism Partnership team is planning a day trip for tour operators to come and see some of the many attractions in Dacorum with a view to encouraging more group travel. To discover more of what Dacorum has to offer, visit




How can organisations improve their customer service? Derek Williams, Chief Executive of The WOW! Awards – Inspiring people in organisations around the world to deliver great customer service. There are five key ingredients to improving your customer service:1 Leadership – the leaders of the organisation have to passionately believe that a servicebased strategy is the right thing to do. They need to be absolutely clear and consistent in their vision and purpose and must aspire to be the best. 2 Communication – let everyone inside and outside the organisation know what the business is about. Where is it going? How important are customers to achieving that vision? How seriously do you take your customers and how do you encourage them to be involved? 3 Systems – create simple systems that help people to do things in a consistent way that it is line with your customer values. Even things as simple as answering the phone would be done so much better if everyone followed the same system.



For new people coming into the organisation, it makes induction so much easier if there are clear well written systems to follow. If something goes wrong for a customer, then simply review and correct the system to make sure it does not happen again. 4 Catch people doing things right – having defined what it is that you want to achieve, look out for people doing things well and recognise those efforts. If you can involve customers in the process of catching people doing things right then that makes it even more powerful. Remember, simple recognition given promptly and in a sincere way is much more powerful than reward. 5 Have integrity in all that you do. Be honest and realistic about what you intend to do for customers then make sure that you deliver on your promises.


Hertfordshire Women in Leadership Hertfordshire Chamber is delighted to be launching Women in Leadership in 2014 a new initiative aimed at showcasing and celebrating Hertfordshire women’s leadership achievements and to inspire and inform young women beginning their working lives of the wider career opportunities available to them. The initiative will also be an important vehicle to facilitate a comprehensive mentoring and leadership skills programme to support members’ leadership aspirations, and to lead the way in the development of more gender diverse boardrooms and executive teams within the county.

INAUGURAL LUNCH The initiative will be launched with a lunch at Marriott Hanbury Manor Hotel in Ware on 14 March; the guest speaker is Nora Senior, the British Chamber of Commerce’s President.

INVITING WOMEN BUSINESS OWNERS, SENIOR MANAGERS, INDUSTRY EXPERTS Women business owners, senior managers and directors across public, private and the third sector, leaders in education and academia are invited to participate in this rally call to create greater gender diversity, build confidence and reduce role stereotyping in career path options and aspirations for women in Hertfordshire. The more we exemplify women carving out exceptional career paths, using their vision, resilience, talents and capabilities to contribute to Hertfordshire’s economy, the greater potential for the positive environment needed to nurture similar aspirations of young women for tomorrow’s economy.

GENDER DIVERSITY Like many other business organisations, the Chamber recognises that there are many challenges for women to overcome to be successful in their chosen field. Resolving some of these challenges such as the creation of gender equality, putting more women on executive boards, can only have a positive impact on corporate and organisational performance. The Chamber also believes that young girls could have much wider job and career options than before, within previously masculine environments, such as construction, engineering, agriculture and IT. It plans to promote these options fervently.

PROGRAMME DEVELOPMENT Herts Chamber will lead in the creation of a working group to plan and review the programme schedule for the network, based around the key issues underpinning this year’s programme. The group will be responsible for fostering ongoing discussions and sustaining the spirit of the network.

ACTIVITY SCHEDULE The lunch will be followed by a series of career management workshops and also open discussions beginning with gender diversity, relevant employee legislation, educational stereotyping and the real or imagined glass ceiling. However, this is not a women-exclusive rally — male colleagues have a great deal to contribute, based upon their own experiences and career success, and their participation and support is equally sought. Nora herself is a great example of extraordinary achievement, appointed to her position because of her influential role in the UK business community. Her list of accolades is impressive: Scottish Businesswoman of the Year, First Woman of Media UK Award, UK Outstanding Business Achiever, Global Women in Business Award and international presenter.




Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards 201 Dates to Note Entry closing date 7 March Awards gala dinner 17 May

Headline Sponsors

At the Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards 2014 launch in December at Marriott Hanbury Manor Hotel and Country Club in Ware, two new categories were introduced. New categories Awards Sponsors

The first ‘Made in Herts’ recognises manufacturing excellence in the county as an acknowledgement of the sector’s invaluable contribution to the UK economy. The second, ‘Young Herts’ is a tribute to the young entrepreneurial spirit flourishing in schools, colleges, the university and private sector in the county — reflecting the Chamber’s focus on young people and their campaign Britain is Good for Young People.

Supporting the awards Becoming a category or associate sponsor is your opportunity to endorse the organisational excellence and individual endeavour in the county. Involvement affirms a strong commitment to the local community and raises your organisation’s profile. Porsche Center Hatfield says: “… delighted to support the Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards 2014. Porsche has had a presence in Hatfield for over 25 years and is proud to once again host this year’s award ceremony in our fabulous showroom. As a local company we wish to be involved in our community and play our part in developing our people and attracting customers to Hatfield. We look forward to celebrating the many achievements of local businesses and their teams.”



There are still opportunities to sponsor some of the categories (Herts Chamber: 01707 398400).

Entering is Winning workshops Created to help businesses and organisations understand what makes a winning entries, Herts Chamber has been running a series of workshops.

Hatfield Wednesday 29 January Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce MacLaurin Building, 4 Bishops Square AL10 9NE

Hertford Wednesday 5 February Hertford Theatre, The Wash, Hertford SG14 1P

Dacorum Thursday 6 February Aubrey Park Hotel, Hemel Hempstead Rd, Redbourn, AL3 7AF

Workshop programme • Why enter? The benefits • Bottom line impact • Which category to choose • What makes a winning entry? • Interactive session: Finding your wow factor • Judges’ expectations • Q&A


4 Awards categories Achievement in International Business

Excellence in People Development

Sponsor: Breeze & Wyles Solicitors LLP

Sponsor: North Hertfordshire College

Recognising the business that best demonstrates exceptional performance in its export markets

Recognising an individual or organisation’s outstanding role in people skills or people development, and the impact on business or organisational success

Business of the Year Sponsor: University of Hertfordshire Honouring the business that manifests all-round achievement

Innovation through Technology

Community Champion

Recognising the organisation that demonstrates the most innovative use or development of technology

Sponsor: Aldwyck Housing Group Recognising the achievements of a business, organisation or individual that has made the most significant impact in their local community

Entrepreneur of the Year

Sponsor: ServerChoice

Made in Herts Sponsor: Lloyds Bank


Venerating the exceptional entrepreneurial efforts of an inspirational individual who has delivered high performance in his or her company

Celebrating the company that demonstrates resounding success in either its manufacturing operation or its business success

Excellence in Customer Service

Most Promising New Business

Sponsor: Porsche Centre Hatfield

Sponsor: Broxbourne Borough Council

Honouring the business or organisation that most demonstrates superior customer care or service

Honouring the most successful new business — trading less than three years — that demonstrates outstanding performance and future projections

Social Enterprise of the Year Distinguishing the social enterprise or charity that best demonstrates outstanding achievement.

“The Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards are now well and truly established as one of the county’s leading awards programmes. It gives the team at KISS Communications a great deal of pleasure to be involved with inspiring businesses across Hertfordshire.”

The Environmental Award Sponsor: Affinity Water Reflecting the outstanding work in creating, introducing or sustaining successful environment-friendly policies and practices in an organisation

The Tourism Award Sponsor: Dacorum Look No Further Recognising the most significant contribution to the development and growth of Hertfordshire tourism

Young Herts


Sponsor: Youth Connexions Venerating a young person (16 to 24 years), nominated by an organisation, who has shown particular entrepreneurial flare and a spirit of enterprise




Big.Interview Martino Picardo CEO Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst

Atmosphere of innovation that is driven by openness Few sectors in UK business possess such potential for rapid growth and life-changing innovation as bioscience and few, if any areas, are as well placed as Hertfordshire to take advantage of the opportunities available. One of the reasons is the success of the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, a campus which has forged strong links with its neighbour GSK which are now giving birth to new businesses and fostering exciting new ideas. Leading the campus is its first CEO Martino Picardo, who has seen it grow from nothing to more than thirty companies and counting, in the two years since he took the job. He is predicting an exciting future based on a spirit of collaboration between the companies incubated on campus and members of the 2,500-strong R and D team at neighbouring GSK. Martino, who has a PhD in Biochemistry, came to the job with more than 20 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors.

“How many people can say their neighbour is GSK with its 2,500 pharma team? It just does not happen anywhere else.”



He joined Amersham International in 1991 and went on to manage the R&D Technology Transfer Group, based in Cardiff, developing screening technologies for the pharmaceutical sector. Following the merger of Amersham with Pharmacia Biotech, Martino became the Science Director for the Cardiff site and was more recently Managing Director of the University of Manchester Innovation Company, a company set up by the university to manage all incubation facilities. In this role, Martino oversaw its development into a venture that housed in excess of 80 small and medium enterprises

and start-up companies, generating more than 500 jobs. He is now using that experience at the Stevenage campus, which has received funding from the Government via both Business Innovation and Skills as well as the Technology Strategy Board, both of which have identified bioscience as a key sector in the UK’s economic recovery. Martino, who also sits on the board of the local LEP, which has identified life sciences as key for the area, said: “I came here because of the opportunities it afforded. It offered the chance to develop something with a national profile and provided opportunities that nowhere else had, certainly not Manchester where I had been working.


“We want the companies in our incubators to stay in the area and we already have outline planning permission for six to eight new buildings.”

“How many people can say their neighbour is GSK with its 2,500 pharma team? It just does not happen anywhere else. “I often say that, when I arrived, it was just me and GSK but that has changed and we have thirty companies already, a mixture of start-ups and companies from outside who are setting up in the area. “Being close to London helps as well because it means companies can easily get in to the city to see potential investors, academic and clinical collaborators.” Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC) campus is a unique bioscience community created to provide small biotech and life sciences companies and start-ups with access to the expertise, networks and scientific facilities and equipment traditionally associated with multinational pharmaceutical companies. Also supported by business and the charitable sector, the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst campus is a joint venture, not for profit company between GSK and the Wellcome Trust and offers a fertile environment for scientific innovation and commercial success.

At its heart lies a policy of open innovation with companies sharing ideas to develop ideas.

is all about encouraging innovation on campus in an atmosphere of openness.”

Martino said: “Ten years ago, you would not get this happening. Then it was all about ivory towers, don’t talk to anyone, but that has changed.

To ensure that the companies stay in the area, there are long-term plans to expand the campus by five-fold from the first phase to the third phase.

“There is no obligation for companies on the campus to work with GSK, they do not sign anything to that effect, but it makes sense for our incubator companies to take advantage of the expertise on their doorstep.

Martino said: “We want the companies in our incubators to stay in the area and we already have outline planning permission for six to eight new buildings.

“They can run an idea past someone at GSK over a coffee and be told fairly quickly if it was done ten years ago or whether it won’t work, or on the other hand that it is something worth pursuing. “That means that decisions can be made quickly, something that businesses appreciate. Investors certainly do. “I think that everyone is mature enough to have those conversations without signing confidentiality agreements and that they can recognise when the time has come to take it to the next level. It

“The site has 25 acres of land which we can develop, which means that if a small company starts to grow, we can accommodate that rather than losing them. “Alternatively, if they do move on, we can help them find somewhere in the area.” He is also looking to the next generation of entrepreneur, saying: “We do a lot of work in schools, trying to enthuse young people about science. “We want to integrate what is happening here into the community. It is very exciting.”




2014 — Chamber’s Year of International Trade For Herts Chamber, business is about growing business locally, nationally and globally; 2014 is the Chamber’s Year of International Trade. Its partnership with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is a part of this commitment, and the Chamber will be increasing its programme of seminars on international county awareness. It has already run highly informative and insightful seminars on trade with India and Russia. Britain, for centuries, has paved its economy with trade routes near and far, and with what it buys from and sells to other countries. We’ve built our nation on international trading.

Boosting exports must be a national priority Boosting exports must be a national economic priority, says British Chamber of Commerce chief economist, David Kern, as he reviewed a slight improvement in November 2013’s UK deficit on trade in goods and services. He acknowledges that exporting to the slower growing economies of Europe, and the rest of the world, is tough work as the UK’s economy was growing at a faster pace. He says there is scope to diversify UK exports towards faster-growing economies outside Europe, and even inside, where some central and eastern economies, such as Poland, are growing faster than Britain’s traditional trading partners. David Kern admits that more support for SMEs looking to trade internationally is needed — giving UK businesses more resources in areas such as trade finance, insurance and promotion.

• One in four UK companies to export (the European average) up from the current one in five

Businesses in Hertfordshire are probably less concerned about published ONS statistics and more concerned with the realities of producing goods or providing services and getting them into markets in other countries to improve their bottom lines.

UKTI, here in Herts, there everywhere in the world At a Herts Chamber networking event in December, Michael Macartney of UKTI, a government agency, spoke to about 50 business men and women in Hertford about the kind of help they regularly give their exporting clients. He prefaced this with the UK Government’s ambitions: • UK exports to double to £1 trillion a year by 2020 • 100,000 more UK companies to be exporting by 2020



• UK’s position as the most favoured location in Europe for inward investment to be maintained

Businesses in Hertfordshire are probably less concerned about published ONS statistics and more concerned with the realities of producing goods or providing services...

• The UK becomes the prime location in Europe for investment from emerging markets

Practical support UKTI’s breadth and depth of practical support for any business embarking on market expansion into foreign territories is truly appealing. They have professional advisers across 110 international markets that provide local business data and local insight, critical for any decision making. A Hertfordshire manufacturer of medical products testified to the very good help they received at the time of their new market entry


and how impressed they were with the insight and quality and quantity of local market knowledge.

Framework of services The true value of UKTI is its hand-holding framework of services that provide advice, support, information, opportunities and a practical range of services that include:

“There is a real need for a culture change, particularly beginning at school with a renewed focus on language skills being taught, so that business communication, upon which business success is based, is in the future truly international, fluent and fluid to create better and long-lasting international business relationships.”

• Inward missions and ‘meet the buyer’ events • Sector-focused missions and trade events • Inward investment and joint venture opportunities For example, its Passport to Export programme helps the new exporter focus on exporting priorities and realities through a workshop that reviews exporting principles in general, conducts a SWOT analysis, formulates an action plan (with one year’s collaboration) and provides access to matched funding. Its Gateway to Global Growth is run in tandem with Cranfield Business School. A Hertfordshire furniture company on the Gateway programme has seen significant export growth as a result. It made use of the Trade Mission and, with the contribution from UKTI, has successfully located and sold to clients in the target region visited.

Overseas marketing introduction Its overseas marketing introduction service must surely be one of the most useful support lines for any business entering overseas markets, and has been used by giants like Tesco to start-ups. Its online facility provides: • an analysis of market entry strategies • identification of beneficial contacts, initial relationship building • competitor research • pricing, standards and regulations research • country demographics, statistics • itinerary service – setting up key appointments • use of embassy facilities – for meeting rooms, product launches, Ambassadorial receptions • press release service • in-market interpreters

18th February A Practical Guide to Export Documentation & Procedure

18th March A Practical Guide to Documentary Letters of Credit

• Market visit support • Trade show access programmes


15th April Matched funding and other finance arrangements Of course money makes the world go round, and UKTI works with partners to help matters: UK Export Finance, Growth Accelerator Programme, accountants and banks. They work through a professional and growing network of experts.

A Practical Guide to Import Documentation & Procedure

20th May A Practical Guide to Export

The agency is neither a bank nor an investor; they point exporters in the direction of financial investors.

Documentation & Procedure

Other partners

17th June

To ensure a complete a package of support as possible, UKTI also works with the Manufacturing Advisory Service, the Institute of Export, the China Britain Business Council, Chambers of Commerce and the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN).

Herts Chamber creates global links In recent months, Herts Chamber has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Rioja Chamber of Commerce & Produce and another with the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce to explore ways in which mutual international trade links and other advantages can be established, for the good of the respective Chamber’s business members. Yolanda Rugg, Herts Chamber CEO, also remarks that there is a real need for a culture change, particularly beginning at school with a renewed focus on language skills being taught, so that business communication, upon which business success is based, is in the future truly international, fluent and fluid to create better and long-lasting international business relationships.

A Practical Guide to Documentary Letters of Credit

24th June A Practical Guide to Import Documentation & Procedure

16th September A Practical Guide to Export Documentation & Procedure

21st October A Practical Guide to Documentary Letters of Credit

18th November A Practical Guide to Import Documentation & Procedure




Ask Alan Q1 We entered into a contract with an overseas buyer. The contract included a liquidated damages clause for late delivery. We received our first order which stated delivery no later than a certain date. The delivery term was C.FR named port of delivery. Subject to Incoterms 2010 the consignment was discharged eight days after the stated date of delivery. The buyer claimed liquidated damages. What is our position? A

You have delivered the goods within the time allowed according to Incoterms 2010 therefore you are not liable for liquidated damages. As both parties were trading under Incoterms 2010. Under ”delivery” C.FR subject to Incoterms 2010 The seller must DELIVER (my capital) the goods either by placing them ON BOARD (my capitals) the vessel or by procuring the goods so delivered.

Profile: Alan Bracken – Director of ABTS Logistics Consultants, has been associated with international trade for over twenty years. Alan has worked on both sides of the desk, as an export/import manager for many leading UK companies, as a director of his own freight forwarding company and also as a logistics consultant. His activities span worldwide, with clients in Pakistan, Djibouti, Kenya, Cote D’ Ivoire, Denmark, Norway and Switzerland. “We are proud to associate among our clients the United Nations and various Non Government Organisations (NGO). We specialise in installing a total logistics program from sourcing material to shipping, customs clearance and warehouse/stock control. If you have a logistics problem we have the solution”. Alan Bracken ABTS –Director. Q2 What is an Indemnity and should we enter such a deal? My company was advised by our shipping line that our container shipped from the Far East was standing in the UK docks awaiting the Bills of lading from us, and at the same time we were incurring rent and demurrage which was levied daily as long as the container remained in the dock.

If the buyer’s PO stated Delivery must take place by xxx date they cannot penalise you with liquidated damages as you delivered when the goods were placed ON BOARD the carrying vessel at the port of loading.

The contract with the supplier is C.I.F UK port and the terms of payment is 60 days from date on Bill of lading. We repeatedly requested the shipping line to release the cargo, but they refused to do so without an original Bill of Lading.

However if the buyer stated “by delivery we mean delivered quayside at port of discharge, which I assume they did not do, then you would be liable for liquidated damages. This is a common mistake made many buyers regarding delivery, they ASSUME that delivery point will be the port of discharge, not so if you are both trading under Incoterms 2010. To make the port of discharge the delivery point the buyer must alter Incoterms 2010 delivery terms and set up their own definition of delivery. NB: Incoterms 2010 rules do not prohibit such alterations.



The shipping line and my company finally agreed that the Bills of lading were lost. The shipping line then agreed to release the cargo under an Indemnity A

An Indemnity is a document issued by the Shipping line, signed either by your company or your bank. The signee agrees in writing to indemnify the shipping line, its servants and agents and to hold all of them innocent in respect of any liability, loss or damage which they may sustain by reason of delivering the cargo to you in absence of Bills of lading. The definition to indemnify is to promise to pay an amount

of money if a party suffers any damage or loss as a result of any action they take on behalf of a third party. By its nature signing an Indemnity involves your company or your bank setting aside a sum of money to cover the Indemnity which can play havoc with your cash flow!! There is another method you can use without committing yourself to a costly Indemnity. You could contact your supplier and request them to contact the shipping line and request the shipping line to release the cargo to you as they, the supplier, are not using the bills of lading as a lien against your payment of their invoice. Alternatively, you could use SEA WAYBILLS, which are not documents of title, that is you do not need to surrender them to the shipping line in order to gain possession of your cargo. You could also consider SURRENDERED Bills of lading. When the shipping line issues their Bills of lading, they retain them in their office and stamp them as Surrendered. The shipping line then issues a statement to their agent/office in the port of discharge stating that the cargo can be released to a certain party and that they are in possession of the original Bills of lading showing that party as the consignee. Both of these questions are addressed in our export training course A Practical Guide to Export Documentation & Procedure (18th Feb 2014).


Herts Chamber launches Business is Good for Young People campaign Just before Christmas, Herts Chamber launched its campaign Business is Good for Young People at a business breakfast at Knebworth House, using the passion and conviction of Stephen McPartland, MP and Councillor Sharon Taylor OBE for getting young people started on their careers. “It starts in Herts. So says Herts Chamber CEO, Yolanda Rugg, who also sits on the Hertfordshire LEP Employment and Skills Board and who is an ambassador for National Apprenticeship Service (NAS). “Today marks the catalyst of the launch of our campaign. We invite Hertfordshire businesses to share their success stories of employing young people on the Herts Chamber website, so that other companies may become motivated to follow to the same.” She said that the British Chamber of Commerce launched its national campaign at the Houses of Parliament last week on the basis of some unarguable facts. Firstly, apprenticeships are the key to the future employment of young people. Secondly, educational environments can’t provide students with all the skills and mind sets needed for the workplace, but work placements and work experience can. Yolanda reminded those present that young people today are tomorrow’s business leaders.

Herts Chamber has been running its own successful Young Chamber programme for a number of years, giving Hertfordshire school pupils the chance to devise their own activities to develop their entrepreneurial skills. Working with the Chamber and their school or college, students set their own framework for business engagement. The Chamber is also introducing a Young Herts Award to recognise the extraordinary business abilities of young people in the county. Referring to Astrium’s work in space science, Sharon Taylor quoted a declaration that Stevenage would become the Cape Canaveral of the UK (The Telegraph: 11 December 2013). It was very important, she said, to develop young people’s skills in areas related to the defence industry, pharmaceuticals and enterprise because local employment opportunities offered them their best starting chance. Stephen McPartland MP spoke about literacy. Educationalists explain literacy as reducing the

Yolanda Rugg, Herts Chamber CEO (R) Stephen McPartland MP gap between education and employability, but Stephen said businesses defined it differently; young people were ‘business literate’ only when they were comfortable in a business environment. He believed young people also need to be prepared for international mobility, and that languages were essential for globalisation. MBDA, a defence company in Stevenage, has its largest market in Europe, so speaking business-level French is a necessity. At Betfair, another substantial Stevenage-based company, 150 different languages are spoken every day. Europe, not China or Brazil, are the markets for many of the town’s big businesses. Herts Chamber will be setting up events and activities to support the Business is Good for Young People campaign throughout the year.

Business prospects for Hertfordshire business discussed at House of Commons dinner At a dinner at The House of Commons at the end of last year for Hertfordshire Chamber members and specially invited guests, British Chambers of Commerce’s (BCC) Director General, John Longworth, spoke on the future of British business within and outside of the European Union. Earlier in the year, BCC conducted a very broad-based survey of over 4,000 businesses across many sectors about the business merits of remaining in or leaving the EU. While over 60 per cent of businesses believed that leaving the EU would be detrimental to business and the economy on the whole, 42 per cent believed that remaining, with the current conditions and relationships unchanged, would have a negative impact. The most contentious areas for British businesses were unequivocally employment and health and safety laws. Their repatriation to Britain would be strongly supported. John Longworth pointed out that so much business trend was changing around the world at a fast pace. There were encouraging signs



that manufacturing elements were returning to Britain, which was highly valued for its quality in product design and concepts. Another area of fast-paced change was Britain’s export in the services sector, made more feasible with the functionality of technology. Yolanda Rugg, Chief Executive of Herts Chamber, said “We have a growing manufacturing and engineering sector in Hertfordshire and many of our members already export outside of Europe in high growth markets such as China, Russia, India and The Middle East.” She said, “We need to look to the next ten years and identify where the export opportunities for Herts businesses will be outside of Europe. We must create international trade strategies to

exploit opportunities in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America.” The House of Commons dinner was successful in bringing together leaders of some of Hertfordshire’s world-class businesses with public sector leaders, many of whom now plan to explore mutual business synergies. Herts Chamber members from manufacturing, communications, health, leisure, technologies, creative and professional sectors were hosted by Mike Penning MP (Hemel Hempstead) and were joined by Hertfordshire Members of Parliament David Gauke MP (South West Hertfordshire), Richard Harrington MP (Watford) and Charles Walker MP (Broxbourne).


Giving you a head start Head Start Recruitment has been established for more than 25 years and is based in the centre of Harpenden. Its clients cover a large geographical area within Herts, Beds and London and vary in industry and size, from one man bands to large corporate companies.

The Hertfordshire County Golf Partnership was formed in March 2008 when the HCLGA (Hertfordshire County Ladies Golf Association), the HGU (Hertfordshire Golf Union (Men)) and the PGA joined forces with the primary objective of growing the game of golf across the county of Hertfordshire and ensuring that there is a pathway available to any person that wishes to participate in this fantastic game.

They consider the company a “one stop agency”, whether they are recruiting for a Deputy Managing Director, Financial Controller or Sales Manager or a member of their warehouse staff, accounts department or administration. The clients understand that they will be given a personal service from start to finish. The company will place the position on a variety of job boards, interview suitable candidates then pass relevant CVs to them. Candidates trust that the company will endeavour to match them to their perfect job, ensuring that they have prepared a well written CV which highlights their skills. Sandra Oldfield, the branch manager, has more than 20 years’ experience in the industry and would be happy to visit your premises to discuss any recruiting you may be considering in the near future.

Many people may not take up the sport because of financial barriers or preconceived ideas about the sport, but getting into the sport now and in the future couldn’t be easier. We can now take golf into environments where it’s never been before. We can bring golf to your workplace, shopping center, city center and of course golf clubs. With the development of street golf, inflatable driving nets and putting mats we can bring the game to YOUR OFFICE! If you are looking for an activity to bring into your business, which can be a fun way to develop skills and teamwork, then get in touch. We can attend one off events or develop regular courses to learn the game and a small percentage of what you might think. As an introductory offer we will give the first 10 businesses who get in touch a taster session at your workplace and a FREE 4-week course of group coaching for up to 8 people at your local club. So what are you waiting for? Get in touch now. Emma Whitlock County Development Officer Hertfordshire Golf Partnership 07706005964 Twitter @golfinherts




Magic result for Warner Bros attraction Today TripAdvisor has announced that Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter was the most reviewed UK attraction in 2013, receiving more than 8,400 reviews.

Visitor feedback has been outstanding with 97% rating the attraction as ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’. Sarah Roots, Vice President, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, said: “We are delighted to have received such fantastic feedback from our visitors. It’s wonderful that so many people have reviewed the attraction and that the level of visitor satisfaction has remained consistently high. Since we opened the tour, every weekend and holiday has been sold out and we are thrilled with the tour’s continued popularity.” Warner Bros. Studios Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter opened its doors on 31st March 2012. This unique attraction offers visitors the ultimate chance to get up close to authentic sets, discover the magic behind spellbinding special effects and explore the behind-the-scenes secrets of the Harry Potter film series. Highlights include walking through the Great Hall where so many famous scenes were shot, seeing the treasures stored in Dumbledore’s office and strolling down Diagon Alley. Tickets must be prebooked and cannot be bought at the attraction. The Studio Tour was awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence in 2013.




Made in Hertfordshire – How the University and the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce partnered to bring growth to the property & construction sector in the county By Alex Mortimer

Good news, the UK construction sector growth continues to remain strong1. Nowhere is this truer than the south-east - it would take a very undiscerning London-dweller to overlook the increase in property & construction. But did you know the HQs of many large construction companies are based in Hertfordshire? The list is long, and includes the likes of Vinci, Willmott Dixon, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska, VolkerFitzpatrick and Bouygues.

Grant Thornton, in association with Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said in November 2013 of the property and construction sector in Hertfordshire “It is a sector which is highly important to the overall performance of the county’ and ‘only second to healthcare – the construction sector delivered particularly impressive turnover growth.” 2 How can we capitalise on this for our county and continue to support the construction sector? What could we do that was different and unique? I’ve done a lot of work in the construction sector, as part of my work with the FBE (Forum for the Built Environment) to create partnerships and learning & development partnerships with organisations such as Byrne Group, Mace, Ground Construction (GCL) and others – but most of my work has taken place in London. I ask myself, why do most of these organisations need to go to London to meet and network, instead of meeting in their home county of Hertfordshire? The Herts chamber is very forward-thinking, so when I asked their CEO Yolanda Rugg these questions we realised we should do something about it! We have set up this dedicated networking group, hosted by the National Centre for Project Management (NCPM) at the University of Hertfordshire, which aims to support organisations involved in property, building development, cost, planning, sustainability, design and construction by encouraging the development of an economic environment in which all businesses and their employees can prosper. Core team members currently include representatives from NCPM, Herts Chamber, Morgan Sindall, Willmott Dixon, Just Housing, Uniserve, Scott White & Hookins, Bouygues, SW



Bruce, Mitsubishi Electric, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The list is growing. The Property and Construction Network will be holding a series of five events, each featuring a relevant speaker from the industry. On 5th February there will be a talk on Sustainability linking to BIM, and then on 10th April a representative from Morgan Sindall will present a case study on Building Information Modelling (BIM). These events are open to both members and non-members of the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce.

Why attend? • Network with key players in the sector to promote and generate business for your organisation, including architects, building services, chartered surveyors, construction, developers, engineers • Meet local business in the county • Connect with senior decision makers; gain access to leading industry figures • Hear relevant talks from the sector • Keep up-to-date with trends and developments and exchange information with like-minded • professionals • Raise your profile, build relationships and strengthen strategic alliances

About NCPM The National Centre for Project Management is a centre of excellence at the University of Hertfordshire and is one of the UK’s leading providers of multi-disciplinary project management education. We work with all kinds of businesses, large and small, helping staff to manage and lead their projects more effectively in the workplace. Uniquely, we foster a trans-disciplinary perspective that covers all aspects of implementing successful projects, regardless of sector. We have developed Project Management Practice, the first UK university qualification which integrates the theory and practice of managing and leading projects. Uniquely, assessment is focused around how participants apply their skills to their work, making the learning highly relevant. More information:

How can we capitalise on this for our county and continue to support the construction sector? What could we do that was different and unique?

• Entertain your clients at these informative events If you would like to find out more about the Property and Construction Network please contact Alex Mortimer: 01707 28 4855

Footnotes 1 2 Hertfordshire Limited 2013: Investing for growth November 2013


HR Network Update Next HR Forum 20th March 2014 Matthew Pocock recently joined Herts Chamber of Commerce as the Employer Engagement Officer and will take over the role of managing the HR Network. As a Masters graduate in Human Resources Management, he was very keen to get involved in HR strategy and has a real interest in the challenges that face Hertfordshire businesses relating to the effective management of their people. This year’s HR Forum event will enable businesses to collaborate and seek support with their own HR challenges and offer services and support to fellow businesses. Last year’s Forum that took place in April 2013 investigated key issues and proposed solutions to hot topics including: Attracting and retaining key talent, the importance of unified messages surrounding organisational culture, and the need to motivate and engage Generation Y to utilise their full potential. As a result, the HR forum to date has provided businesses with excellent opportunities to share their own experiences. This year’s forum which is being held between on Thursday the 20th March will again be a chance to explore fresh people management challenges and will give organisation’s networking opportunities to both compare best practice and discuss areas that require improvement. If you are interested to come along to find out more or if you have a topic you would like to discuss, drop Matt an email at . We look forward to seeing you at the next forum.

Exporters Club Update With the launch of International Trade Year our Exporters Club has experienced high engagement this past month, with many of our members ready to take advantage of the increased opportunities to trade globally. Francis Harris, our export manager, receives plenty of enthusiastic emails from businesses looking to expand overseas, and provides them with all the information and support they need to help them take the first steps to International Trading. Next month, The Exporters Club will prioritise collaboration, with the creation of Herts Chamber’s third official Twitter account, focusing on International Trade. Alongside this, we have a number of collaborative events planned for this year which members can attend to meet International Trading experts, experienced exporters and representatives from other European and International Chambers to investigate mutual trading opportunities.

Going for growth Fostering a vibrant local economy is one of the main priorities of Dacorum Borough Council. Local businesses are seen to have a vital role to play in creating the conditions necessary for economic growth and prosperity in Dacorum, through their enterprise, innovation and entrepreneurship. The council is investing significant resources into making sure it continues to do what it can to help the local economy grow. It believes that by working together with local businesses it can help them grasp the economic opportunities available both now and in the future. The Dacorum Growth Forum was set up to encourage an ongoing dialogue between the local business community and Dacorum Borough Council. The council wanted to encourage feedback from local businesses on its proposals and for local businesses to have a channel through which they can influence the work it carries out in the local business community. Andrew Williams, leader of Dacorum Borough Council and portfolio holder for planning and regeneration, explained: “The relationship between the council and the businesses themselves has developed into a much more organised and proactive force in the area. “We have some things common to many areas around London – good proximity to the capital and major airports, good transport links. But we often discover from businesses that among their reasons for coming here is that the council are seen as people to do business with. We’re seen as finding a way to make things happen, not as a block to progress.”

to those represented in the businesses survey and asked for suggestions how the council could better engage with the local business community. Following the event, a working group has been set up and an action plan with key deliverables has been devised. This action plan will be delivered in partnership with local businesses. Dacorum businesses are also backing the launch of a new scheme to increase the number of Apprentices across the borough. Grants totalling £51,000 are available to encourage businesses in Dacorum to take on an Apprentice. So far 14 businesses have taken up the offer up and there are currently six more in the pipeline. Lisa Devayya, Learning and Skills Officer at Dacorum Borough Council, explained: “These grants will be in addition to other apprenticeship funding currently available and is designed to encourage employers to take on their first Apprentice.” Around 40 employers taking on their first Apprentice will receive a grant of £1,200 to help towards the Apprentice’s salary. This amount will rise to £2,700 if the person comes from a vulnerable background. Mike Penning MP for Hemel Hempstead who is supporting the scheme explained: “Every young person has dreams and apprenticeships can open up opportunities for them. For those who are unemployed with no skills, it is a failure of others.” For further information about the Dacorum Apprenticeship Scheme contact Lisa Devayya on 01442 228396 or email

Before the Forum, the council invited local businesses to complete an online survey into the support available to them and what areas could be improved. More than 65 businesses attended the Forum and took part in facilitated discussions on the three main topics highlighted by the survey. Representatives from local businesses, stakeholders and interested bodies from across Dacorum discussed whether their experiences were similar

Mike Penning MP being interviewed at the launch of a new Apprentice scheme in Dacorum.




Businesses club together to create employment opportunities Local businesses, partner organisations and employment specialists are being urged to help make it easier for those looking for work in Stevenage to find current opportunities by joining the 250 Club. The 250 Club will also help local companies such as OCS, an industrial laundry based in Stevenage, which employs 240 staff. The company cleans around 140,000 items of linen and blankets a day on behalf of Virgin Atlantic and British Airways. Over the last two years OCS have employed around 50 people from Stevenage, a high percentage of who are still with the company. Paul Simmonds, relief duty manager at OCS, said: “We have conducted open days where around 10 people would come in to the laundry, have a tour of the site to see what we do. “This has benefitted the applicant as they can see that they are not alone in their current situation. After an interview, successful applicants are offered a part time contract with the possibility of that going onto a full time contract.”

The 250 Club is an exciting new initiative that has been launched by Stevenage Borough Council to help create 250 new opportunities that can lead to employment. Its goal is to help boost the local business economy by making the process of filling vacancies easier for both employers and applicants. Members of the 250 Club, which is free to join and use, can post job vacancies, work experience or placement positions, graduate internships and apprenticeship opportunities while enhancing their own recruitment efforts. Sharon Taylor OBE, leader of Stevenage Borough Council, said: “For the first time all the information about the different schemes available will be together in one place along with practical support and assistance from the project team to help employers find the right option. “Evidence and recent case studies show that opportunities for people of all ages to gain



experience within the workplace increase their chances of securing a job in the future. The 250 Club will bring employers, students and partners together to create more opportunities than ever before.” Anulika Oligboh, a student from Stevenage, carried out her work experience with the regeneration team at Stevenage Borough Council and is now in full time employment. She said: “Work experience allows you to put what you have learnt into practice. I found my time working at Stevenage Borough Council an incredibly beneficial learning experience. “Though I had worked previously it gave me further insight into the world of work and gave me the opportunity to interact and network with various people and create some good working relationships.”

Stevenage Borough Council is working alongside Jobcentre Plus, Youth Connexions, North Hertfordshire College, Herts County Council, Stevenage BioScience Catalyst, Blue Arrow, Young Enterprise, Prince’s Trust and Magnite PR to deliver the scheme. Companies that have already joined the 250 Club include DocCentrics, Omega Commercial Solutions, Timely Recruitment, Solveway and Fortrus. Members of the 250 Club receive a certificate and use of the 250 Club brand for their own marketing purposes. For further information about the 250 Club please visit or email


Wenta crowned Local Enterprise Agency of the Year 2013 Local enterprise agency for Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, Wenta, was awarded the national award for Local Enterprise Agency of the Year at the National Enterprise Network’s (NEN) annual awards ceremony at the British Library in London. The awards, sponsored by Barclays, were presented by National Enterprise Network Chairman Paul McEldon and Rekha Mehr, Entrepreneur in Residence at The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills at the NEN’s Annual Conference. The awards are designed to recognise excellence in the delivery of enterprise support, encouraging the exchange of good practice and the development of improved services and organisations.

Wenta was founded in 1983 to encourage business start-ups and to support small businesses in South and West Hertfordshire. The agency is independently funded through the ownership and management of its two business centres in Watford and Potters Bar and management of two further centres in Stevenage. These business centres comprise workshops and offices with a combined space of 100,000 square feet, let on monthly licence terms to small businesses. To find out more about Wenta visit:

Fighting off strong competition from other business support organisations across the country, the NEN judging panel stated that Wenta took away the prestigious ‘Local Enterprise Agency of the Year’ award “due to its impressive efforts in providing a huge range of enterprise support services through its dedicated advisory services, bespoke education programme and business centres; as well as its new concept of business incubators and unique online advice portal – making itself approachable to clients whether face to face or using remote/social media channel.” The judging panel added, “Wenta has demonstrated its focus on serving customers, and investing in products and services is at the heart of its business strategy – an approach which has enabled Wenta to stand tall after 30 years in the sector.” Having received previous national awards for educations links, marketing, innovation and the future of enterprise support, this is the fifth award that Wenta has been awarded over the last few years. Head of Marketing for Wenta, Abi Hall said: “We are delighted to have received this accolade from the National Enterprise Network. We have just celebrated Wenta’s 30th Anniversary and it’s fantastic to be receiving this prestigious award in the same year. The whole team are extremely proud of this achievement.”




Each issue we will be sharing the most popular social media debates, what's trending and what's hot. Join our social media groups to share your views and activity. @hertschamber, @inspireherts and for linkedin and facebook, /hertschamber.







Chamber Events – February/March 2014 Women in Leadership – Speaker lunch Friday 14th March 12.00 - 14.30 Guest Speaker: Nora Senior, President of the British Chambers of Commerce Marriot Hanbury Manor, Ware, SG12 0SD

Thursday 20th March 08.00 – 10.00 International Trade Seminar: Emerging Markets, Emerging Opportunities BioPark, Welwyn Garden City, AL7 3AX

Wednesday 5th February

Thursday 6th February

07.30 – 09.00 Chamber Networking Breakfast Sponsored by Wilder Coe ‘Steering a Business through Difficult Times’ Holiday Inn, Stevenage, SG1 1HS

18.00 – 19.30 Entering is Winning – Award entry workshop Aubrey Park Hotel, Redbourn, AL3 7AF

Wednesday 5th February 17.30 – 20.30 Property and Construction Network Mitsubishi Electric, Hatfield, AL10 8XB

Thursday 20th March 09.30 – 11.30 Chamber HR Forum Aubrey Park Hotel, Redbourn, AL3 7AF

Wednesday 12th February 13.00 – 15.00 Networking Afternoon Tea Royal Chace Hotel, Enfield, EN2 8AR

Tuesday 25th March 07.30 – 10.00 Chamber Seminar - The Budget 2014 Beales Hotel, Hatfield, AL10 9NG

Friday 28th February 09.30 – 11.30 Ambition Broxbourne Networking Brunch Guest Speaker: Charles Walker MP Theobalds Park, Cheshunt, EN7 5HW

Best Business Expo Thursday 6th March Shendish Manor, Apsley, Hemel Hempstead HP3 0AA

Thursday 6th March 08.00 – 10.00 Chamber Networking Breakfast at Best Business Expo Shendish Manor, Apsley, Hemel Hempstead HP3 0AA

For full details on these events and to book, visit

Tuesday 18th March 11.45 – 14.00 Chamber Networking Lunch - Meet the Neighbours with Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce Imperial War Museum, Duxford, CB22 4QR




Welcome to new members 2 J Consulting Sales training, business coaching and mentoring consultancy 88 Pixmore Way, LETCHWORTH, SG6 3TP T: 07967 633945

Bug Storeys Interactive environmental experiences including education 29 Coombe Hill Road RICKMANSWORTH, WD3 8NE T: 07896 561001

Affinity Sutton Housing Association Social Housing Level 4, Imperial Place, Maxwell Road, BOREHAMWOOD, WD6 1JN T: 0800 1000303

Carers in Hertfordshire Independent carer-led charity dedicated to supporting carers. The Red House, 119 Fore Street, HERTFORD, SG14 1AX T: 01992 586969

Ardent ISYS Ltd Software Development 723 Capability Green, LUTON, LU1 3LU T: 01582 870180

Climate Control South East Air conditioining and refrigeration specialist 3 Station Close, POTTERS BAR, EN6 1TL T: 01707 852165

Ashridge Security Management Limited Security Management and Related Services Unit 68, The Maltings, Roydon Road, STANSTEAD ABBOTS, SG12 8HG T: 0800 0855022 Apollo Interiors Ltd Design and Build company specialising in Medical, Dental, Commercial and Residential Refurbishments. AGB Building, Astwick Road, Stotfold, HITCHEN, SG5 4BA T: 01462 732991 Apsley Paper Trail Recycled paper mill with visitor tour and education centre Frogmore Mill, Fourdrinier Way, Apsley, HEMEL HEMPSTEAD, HP3 9RY T: 01442 234600 Borough of Broxbourne (Ambition Broxbourne) Public sector delivering range of services to support local businesses Broxbourne Borough Council, Bishops College, Churchgate, CHESHUNT, EN8 9XB T: 01992 785621 Brasier Freeth LLP Property advisors to office, industrial and retail businesses The Edward Hyde Buildings, 38 Clarendon Road, WATFORD, WD17 1HP T: 01923 210810 Business HR Low cost quality HR support including compliance 55 Old Broad Street, LONDON, EC2M 1RX T: 07775 625203



Cloud Focus Assisting companies to make use of cloud technology 13 Thornbury, HARPENDEN, AL5 5SN T: 0203 289 2178

Get Connected CIC Leadership coach 12 West Street, WARE, SG12 9EE T: 01920 485552

Peninsula HR, Employment Law & H&S Services to SME’s 19 Meadowcroft, ST ALBANS, AL1 1UD T: 0777 2320511

Hit Training UK Personal training for business 1 Cygnet Close, BOREHAMWOOD, WD6 5NG T: 07811 948370

People Puzzles HR Consultancy Froghall Cottage, 20 Frogahll Lane, WALKERN, SG2 7PH T: 07958 227215

Julian Evetts & Associates Business development consultancy in the building and construction industry 20 Station Road, KNEBWORTH, SG3 6AP T: 01438 870603

Perfect Balance Clinic Health and wellbeing Clinic The Listed Hanger (inside David Lloyd) Mosquito Way, HATFIELD, AL10 9AX T: 01707 229871

KHCS Consultancy Ltd Business consultants and accountancy company Unit 2, Capital Business Park, Manor Way BOREHAMWOOD, WD6 1GW T: 020 8236 8500

Decisions Marketing Marketing Solutions 20 Mardley Avenue, WELWYN, AL6 0UD T: 01438 840040

MGP Express Freight Suite 1c, First Floor, Warren House 10/20 Main Road, HOCKLEY, SS5 4QS T: 01702 203525

Digital Results Web design and development Rush Green Hall, Rush Green, HERTFORD T: 01920 444784

Mary Gober International Ltd Training Saddlers Court, 96 Reading Road, YATELEY, GU46 8RX T: 01252 749940

Dragonfly Digital Design and printing 5 Porters Mews, CODICOTE, SG4 8US T: 01438 825574

Niche Learning Programmes Learning and development, specialising in sales, management Training and Coaching Comroston, Stocking Pelham, BUNTINGFORD, SG9 0HZ T: 01279 777461

Flow Communications (UK) Ltd Networking and security integrator Westside London Road, Aspley, HEMEL HEMPSTEAD, HP3 9TD T: 0844 414 5266 Gee Kay Farrah Group Limited Accountants and business advisors Units 8, Wilmington Close, WATFORD, WD18 0FQ T: 020 359 7800 Gerald Pepper Financial Management Limited Financial advisors 2nd Floor, Hanscombe House, 52A St Andrew Street, HERTFORD, SG14 1JA T: 01992 500261

On Tap Plumbers Plumbing and Heating 66 Woodland Drive, ST ALBANS, AL4 0ET T: 0800 316869 Optima Life Limited Health, performance and wellbeing 14 Waverley Road, ST ALBANS, AL3 5PA T: 0207 1352424 Parallel HR HR Consultancy and media service 2 Firs Walk, Tewin Wood, WELWYN, AL6 0NZ T: 01438 870544

Price Crusher Limited Online network club 63 Sparrow Drive, STEVENAGE, SG2 9FB T: 0844 6826510 RMG Networks Limited Global provider of intelligent visual communications 1 Enterprise Way, Maxted Close, HEMEL HEMPSTEAD, HP2 7YJ T: 01442 233222 Renault UK Ltd Sales of Renault and Dacia cars and light commercial vehicles Rivers Office Park, Denham Way, MAPLE CROSS, WD3 9YS T: 01923 895000 Ronnie Sunshines Leading the way to the great outdoors 4 Canalside, Northbridge, BERKHAMSTED, HP4 3PY T: 01442 872 829 Smyth & Co Ltd Chartered Accountants 4 High Street, Langford, BIGGLESWARE, SG18 9RR T: 01767 220214 Sustainability Services 53 Maycroft, LETCHWORTH, SG6 4QB T: 01462 604050 The Hemel Hempstead School School Heath Lane, HEMEL HEMPSTEAD, HP1 1TX T: 01442 390100 TSE Productions Event production & management for life events sector Unit 1, Oakengrove Yard, Red Lion Lane, HEMEL HEMPSTEAD, HP2 6EZ T: 01442 256254

MemberSpotlight The value of experience

TM Recruitment Ltd Recruitment services Aldbury House, 108 High Street, BERKHAMSTED, HP4 1DR T; 01442 894324

Sandra Oldfield, the branch manager of recruitment agency Head Start Recruitment, has more than 20 years’ experience in the industry, having started with a large corporate company before owning her own agency based in St Albans for 17 years.

Think Specialist Recruitment Support staff recruitment agency Maylands Business Centre, Redbourn Road, HEMEL HEMPSTEAD, HP2 7ES Training U IT Ltd IT software training Spectrum House, Dunstable Road, Redbourn, ST ALBANS, AL3 7PR T: 01582 620326

Ian Harding Property Agency Director Ian Harding is the Head of Agency at Bowyer Bryce, responsible for the company’s agency department and corporate marketing. Bowyer Bryce is an independent practice of Chartered Surveyors and industrial and commercial property agents. The two main offices are in Hertfordshire and also North London/North M25 so are well placed to serve clients throughout Hertfordshire and Greater London. The firm covers all the usual disciplines including professional services covering valuations, lease renewals, rent reviews, property management and of course agency services to name but a few.

Ventry Bay Ltd Provider of CRM and marketing solutions and expertise Suite 104, 17 Holywell Hill, ST ALBANS, AL1 1DT T: 020 3229 3770 Viva Business Networking Business development events and training in social media 10 Greenway, HEMEL HEMPSTEAD, HP2 4QE T: 01442 382682 Way Forward London Training consultancy specialising in leadership, communication, customer service 33 Calshot Way, ENFIELD, EN2 7BG T: 07581 368561 You Become Limited People development consultancy 24 Pennington Drive, WEYBRIDGE, KT13 9RU T: 01923 888489

benham publishing

Rachel has spent her entire career working within Learning and Development; whether as a teacher, in the financial sector or the recruitment sector. Her passion is working with people to aid their success and seeing businesses flourish as a result of tailored training and coaching.

Rachel is always looking for creative and cost effective ways to overcome specific learning issues that are hampering businesses. Her latest ventures include looking at computer based solutions as well as ‘value for money’ open courses for small business in the region.

She has been with Harpendenbased Head Start for two years as their Branch Development Manager. Working alongside her are Bobbie and Laura and they supply permanent and temporary staff to a large variety of companies in the local area. Sandra had the honour of being President of the St Albans District Chamber of Commerce from 2004 to 2009 which gave her a great insight into the needs of businesses in the local district.

Rachel Brown Learning and Development Director

We have an extensive knowledge of our local and regional market coupled with a reputation for achieving best results for clients.

In addition to standard, sales and, management training Rachel is also qualified to deliver the MyersBriggs Type Indicator assessment. This is superb in helping individuals understand the characteristics and complexities of the 16 personality types and is particularly helpful in understanding potential conflict within teams. It is yet another brilliant way to resolve business conflict or help individual growth!

Brasier Freeth are a firm of commercial property consultants advising on business premises (retail, Industrial/warehousing and offices) from the A10 to the M40 to the north west of London, but also increasingly on a national basis.

If you wish to promote your company in

INSPIRE please contact

Michele Keeler on

07809 301742 3tc House, 16 Crosby Rd, Crosby, Liverpool L22 0NY Telephone: 0151 236 4141 Facsimile: 0151 236 0440 @Benhammedia

Our primary function is to save clients time and money in relation to their commercial property. When acquiring premises for tenants (or freehold owner occupiers) we save money by optimising both financial terms, repairing obligations and flexibility. We advise many listed and multinational companies on these issues. Where a property no longer works because of size or other considerations, we can ensure that you are able to sell or lease in the shortest achievable timeframe. To underline this Brasier Freeth have held the Estate Gazette Most Active Agents Award in Hertfordshire for the past seven years. For further information and to discuss how we can help you please contact Peter Brown on 01923 205521 or




In 2013, Brendan was appointed Managing Director of the firm with the target to ensure that the firm becomes the foremost legal services provider in the south of England. Brendan specialises in Corporate Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions and Corporate Restructuring. Brendan graduated from Imperial College London in 1990 (with a degree in Physics) and University College London in 1995 (with a degree in Law). After spending 4 years with a major International Law Practice Brendan joined the Breeze & Wyles Solicitors LLP in 1996 and was appointed as a Partner in October 2000.

Q What was your first job and what was the pay packet?

Q What can you see from your office window? Clients and potential clients.

At University, during my holidays I did Block Paving for a small company in the London Docklands. Pay Packet £40 per day. Brendan O’Brien Managing Director Breeze & Wyles Solicitors LLP

Q As a business person, what are your three main qualities? Vision, Leadership and a customer service focus.

Q What do you always carry with you to work? My iPad. I need to be in contact with various people within my business and on hand for all

Q What was your biggest mistake in business? Not qualifying in the right subject first time.

of my clients as and when they need me even though I am regularly out of the office.

Q What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs? Q What is the biggest challenge in

demands of your market and tailor make your

Delivering great customer service consistently

products/service to fit those needs. Otherwise

across all work types.

you are playing catch up rather than leading.

Q If you were the Prime Minister, what one thing would you change

Q Who do you most admire in business?

to help business?

My team of managers and staff. These are

I would ensure that the education system

challenging times for the legal profession but

delivers skills and training that enables the

they have the skills, drive and dedication to

possible after they start work so that we can compete with the Far Eastern education systems.


students to be good employees as soon as


Make sure you understand the needs and

your business?

ensure that we continue to grow as we have done over the past three years.


The business magazine of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce - February/March 2014

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