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Green technologies provide glimpse of the future Also Inside: • Spotlight on Medway • Big Interview with KKB Group • The Economy & US • Ask the Expert • Getting Started







Ending the year on a high The Growth Hub will become a central point for businesses to access all publicly funded business support and advice, no more having to have endless searches on the web, all the information will be one call, email or click away.

Welcome to the last edition of Thinking Business for 2015. I could start by saying where has the year gone, but if I look back on what has been achieved over the past 12 months there certainly has been a tremendous amount, which has had us all on a bit of a roller-coaster. Still, the Christmas break will shortly be upon us and we can all sit back, relax and take stock before we start all over again in 2016. 2015 has been a good year for your Chamber and we end on a high having been shortlisted for the second year running in the British Chambers of Commerce National Awards for our Excellence in Membership Services. This is certainly a testament to the excellent work that your Chamber team do on your behalf and more importantly, the active role you all take in your Chamber. Together we are certainly becoming a winning combination and we will continue to work, on your behalf and with you, next year to develop your Chamber further. Reading through this edition you can see some of the many areas that your Chamber is getting involved in for 2016. On page 4 you can read about the long awaited Kent & Medway Growth Hub and I am delighted that your Chamber successfully won the tender to set up and run the pilot for this important project.

It is important that we continue to support not only our existing members, but those that are looking at setting up in business. I am delighted to announce that in addition to the work that we do with local authorities, we have now signed a 5 year Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Kent to continue the provision of business advice and guidance to their start-up businesses (see page 35). Reading through this edition, there is a lot of good news from so many of you. There has of course been lows for us all, business might be picking up and the economy gaining some momentum, but there is no doubt about it, business is tough - it’s out there, but you have to go that extra mile to get it. Reading the many celebration stories that you have sent to us throughout the year, brings a song to mind, and this is certainly showing my age When the going gets tough, the tough get going (Billy Ocean 1986). You have all certainly risen to the challenges of 2015 and hopefully you are now in a stronger position for it. I hope you all have a fantastic break over Christmas and wish you all every success and happiness for 2016. So, to end in the words of Winston Churchill “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” Kindest regards.

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Members Corner Chamber News Members News Focus on Finance Members News International Trade Spotlight On.... Members News 24 hours with... Members News Cover Feature Industry Comment

Editorial and General Enquiries Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford, Kent. TN24 0LH Tel: 01233 503 838 Fax: 01233 503 687 Email: Web: Chief Executive: Jo James Publisher Ian Fletcher Benham Publishing Limited 3tc House, 16 Crosby Road North, Crosby, Liverpool L22 0NY Tel: 0151 236 4141 Fax: 0151 236 0440 Email: Web: Published December 2015 © Benham Publishing Advertising and Features Karen Hall Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email:

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Big Interview The Economy Members News Ask the Expert Getting Started Chamber Events Chamber Exhibitions Business News New Members Mover & Shakers The Last Word

Production Manager Mark Etherington Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: Media No. 1428 Disclaimer Thinking Business is published for Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and is distributed without charge to Chamber members. All correspondence should be addressed to the Editor at Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. Views expressed in Thinking Business are not necessarily those of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. Reprinting in whole or part is forbidden except by permission. © 2015. 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.

December 2015 - January 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



Members Corner from

Linda Marsh Director of Membership Services

Another busy few months have passed with events in membership. The AGM, B2B in Sandwich. Canterbury College played host to The Winning Bid and Get Social. Both these events were a real showcase of Kent Business with opportunities in procurement and tendering to Get Social with a total Twitter reach of 7,964,803 followers on the day, amazing! These events have been a fantastic way for YOU, our members, to meet new contacts and share ideas. In recognition of all this hard work YOUR CHAMBER has been shortlisted, for the second year running, for the BCC Excellence in Membership Services Award. We all have fingers crossed here and wait to hear on 26th November in London. This brings me nicely on to The Kent Invicta Business Awards for 2016. We are about to launch our own awards again, look out for the flyer and download the application forms from the Chamber website. This has to be a real highlight for all businesses’ to celebrate with staff the achievements over the year, recognition for all the hard work and the chance to show Kent what great businesses we have here, so come on, start thinking about your application! With Christmas only weeks away perhaps you might like to look out for the Christmas Luncheon at Chilston Park on 17th December, always a great event and a chance to catch-up with fellow members and share your thoughts from the year. Lastly, we are having our Annual Christmas Jumper day on 18th December, we want you all to send in your photos of the day via our Facebook page, we can’t wait to see them so please do take part.

If you want more information about any of our events, contact us or check out the website:


ThinkingBUSINESS December 2015 - January 2016

Is Kent Social? - you bet it is

The 29th of October saw Canterbury College play host to the “Get Social Kent” conference that is fast becoming a countywide phenomenon. The Autumn conference staged an impressive line-up of respected industry experts such as Adam Waters from the Ministry of Defence, Luke Quilter, Sleeping Giant Media, J Wimble-Groves, Active Digital and Amanda Okill from Furley Page. Their insight and experience was further enhanced by a suite of high value workshops that included content advice on marketing strategy, SEO for local businesses, social media trends for 2016 and much more. And if that wasn’t enough value in one day for the four hundred plus attendees, the event was supported by exhibitors and industry leaders such as Google, Linkedin and other dynamic local businesses. All this was topped off by an excellent lunch catered by the College and some buzzing networking sessions. “Get Social” is the partnership brand between Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and ZC Social Media. The idea for a conference style event was first proposed in early 2015 after a discussion around the demand for Social Media knowledge amongst Kent Businesses. The team put together an outline event and began to gauge interest amongst Business. It soon became clear

that a small scale event was out of the question and that it needed to be much bigger! The first “Get Social Kent” event was held in February 2015 at the Mercure Hotel Maidstone and attracted more than 350 Kent Businesses all keen to learn more about the use of social media and digital technologies. The success of the event gave rise to a number of follow-on workshops that addressed specific issues in more depth. These workshops have now evolved further in to a series of “Get Social

Kent Academies” that will continue to run throughout the year. ZC Social Media, in partnership with Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce are busy planning the next event for 2016 and will be bringing together more social savvy Kent Businesses to network, learn, inspire and profit from insightful speakers, dynamic workshops and practical skills that will open up the opportunities of social media. To be part of this landmark event please contact

Kent & Medway Growth Hub

Free service launched to help Business navigate the maze of publicly funded business support. Across the UK a new entity is emerging thanks to the collaborative foresight of Chambers, Business, Government and Partners. Growth Hubs are being established in regions across the country to help Businesses find out what publicly funded support is available to them both locally and nationally. Each Growth Hub operates slightly differently but their remit is the same and all of them will offer

a business savvy, friendly voice at the end of the phone or face to face, to help you access the right type of support. With so much on offer from such a wide range of public sector providers and in diverse industry sectors, it’s been a long-standing lament by business that programmes, grants and other Government support initiatives seem impossible to find.

And when they do hear about them, they’re just about to end. The Kent & Medway Growth Hub, will be delivered by Kent Invicta Chamber and we’re passionate about making sure the Businesses of Kent & Medway take full advantage of what’s on offer from the public purse.


Businesses and schools ‘still worlds apart’ on readiness for work

Two-thirds of businesses (69%) believe that secondary schools are not effective at preparing young people for work, according to a major new UK-wide survey of more than 3,500 business and education leaders published by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). Business leaders surveyed think that secondary schools could do more to help students get on the career ladder - with three key actions needed to bridge the gap between the worlds of education and work:  Embed key skills for work in the curriculum. The top five entry level skills that firms value most are communication (88%), literacy (69%), numeracy (64%), computer literacy (56%) and teamwork (53%).  Hold lessons around recruitment and interview techniques. Most business people think schools should teach students how to conduct themselves in an interview (78%), demonstrate transferable skills (54%) and communicate lessons learned from work experience (46%).  Put direct contact with local businesses at the heart of careers guidance. Firms think careers advice should include workplace experiences (64%), encounters with employers and employees (62%), and link curriculum learning to careers (45%).

With youth unemployment rates still stubbornly three times the overall unemployment rate, the BCC is calling for action not just from ministers and schools - but also from businesses, more of whom need to work with local schools to plug skills gaps and help young people make a successful transition from education to work.

John Longworth, BCC Director General, said: “Our latest research shows that businesses and schools are still worlds apart when it comes to getting young people ready for the world of work. “It doesn’t need to be like this. Preparing students to face potential employers should be given the same level of priority as academic achievement in schools across the UK.”

Efforts to bridge the gap and secure new Lower Thames Crossing

The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SE LEP) has thrown its weight behind a call for George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, to reaffirm his support for a new Lower Thames Crossing. A group of major businesses on either side of the Thames in Kent and Essex have come together to argue that the Lower Thames Crossing is one of the most important infrastructure projects in the South East, and is of national significance. George Kieffer, Interim Chairman of SE LEP, said: “It’s a truly transformational project for the economy of the Thames Estuary, and beyond. When the existing Dartford River Crossing is closed or heavily congested there’s a knock-on effect that can impact on businesses across the country,

including those in the much vaunted Northern Powerhouse. “At the moment, the possible location of a new crossing point are two vague outlines on a map. There’s no commitment to funding or delivery, which we need to see to progress our plans for further long-term investment in the area.” Jo James, SE LEP board member and Chief Executive of Kent Invicta Chamber, said: “The Lower Thames Crossing is much more than just a new bridge or tunnel to relieve congestion. It represents a once in a generation opportunity to reinvigorate local development,

create new jobs and stimulate investment by supporting nationally important industries. “It would improve our connectivity to Europe and competitiveness, and at the same time regenerate an overlooked part of southern England.” The organisations in Kent backing the call included: Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Eurotunnel and Port of Dover, alongside national organisations Freight Transport Association and Road Haulage Association, plus the London Chamber of Commerce.

In My Opinion Louise Purcell Senior Associate Solicitor Employment Law It took visits from three ghosts, one hellish mid-winter night before Mr Ebenezer Scrooge decided to embrace the Christmas spirit and treat his long suffering clerk, poor Bob Cratchet, with a little more cheer. Things have changed a little since then and these days most employers lay on some sort of Christmas party or meal for their staff. However, employers should not forget that employment law still applies at work social events, even where these take place outside of the usual workplace. Employers could, for example, be liable for acts of harassment between employees during a night out. Alcohol is involved in the majority of Christmas parties. However, it is often the alcohol which can make things turn sour. Alcohol tends to make people lose their inhibitions, more likely to be aggressive, to speak their mind and fall out. There are some practical ways in which you might seek to limit alcohol consumption. If the event is likely to go on late into the evening, consider whether you really want everyone to start drinking at lunchtime. Would a later start time be more appropriate? If you usually start off with afternoon drinks at your Christmas do, letting staff go home at lunchtime to get ready may encourage them to accept the new format. Including food as part of the event may also result in people drinking less. Employers should also try to make the celebration as inclusive as possible. Some people choose not to drink due to personal, cultural or religious reasons. Employers should do what they can to allow everyone to take part and enjoy themselves. In my opinion, employers should embrace Christmas festivities as an opportunity to get everyone together and build rapport. Research shows that happier employees are, generally, more productive employees. With a little forward planning you should be able to ensure that everyone has a great time and that no one accuses you of being “Bah Humbug”.

Louise Purcell can be contacted on 01233 664711

December 2015 - January 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



New lab will give students and graduates unrivalled access to industry The School of Human and Life Sciences at Canterbury Christ Church University are opening a cutting edge industry liaison laboratory at Discovery Park, Sandwich. The School will be the first tenants to move into Building 500, one of the most iconic locations at Discovery Park and the latest to undergo a major refurbishment. The industry liaison laboratory will provide the University and its students with first class facilities for science and research, with access to a diverse and dynamic range of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Dr Simon Harvey, Director of Life Sciences at Canterbury Christ Church University, said: “This lab will allow us to work directly with industry and support their research and development needs. “Our staff and students are already working directly with companies at Discovery Park on research that addresses their specific challenges. The industry liaison lab will expand these partnerships, and also allow our undergraduates to experience work in an industry setting and to build the skills needed to work in the sector. “The University is proud to support research that has contemporary relevance to today’s society and we are delighted to be entering into this exciting new phase for Christ Church Life Sciences at Discovery Park.” Discovery Park, which is based at the former Pfizer site at Sandwich, is Europe’s leading science and technology park. Providing world class facilities, a host of international companies from the life science, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, science and technology sectors are now based on the site. Paul Barber, Managing Director for Discovery Park, said: “The opening of Canterbury Christ Church University’s new facility at Discovery Park is fantastic news – not least for the next generation of scientists who, we hope, will go on to great careers here on site. “The new laboratory is the first to open in the restored Building 500, helping to continue the story of scientific discovery that this site has been famous for over the decades.” The Life Sciences Industry Liaison Lab’s initial working partnerships include: Genea Biomedx, a world leading company that creates and manufactures practical, accessible and precise fertility technologies that help standardise and automate fertility treatment, and Venomtech, a British company that produces products specifically designed to help solve significant challenges in the discovery of new drug treatments. Canterbury Christ Church University is supporting the partnerships with Genea Biomedx and Venomtech by funding PhD students who will work with them on specific research projects within their area of expertise at the Discovery Park laboratory.


ThinkingBUSINESS December 2015 - January 2016

Astro apprentice wins the 2015 ITP SME Apprentice of the Year Award Astro apprentices take centre stage at the 2015 Institute of Telecommunications Professionals Apprentice of the Year Award with both selected as finalists and one winning the coveted award in the SME Category.

Dartford-based Astro Communications apprentice James Tuck was presented with the 2015 ITP SME Apprentice of the Year Award last night at the prestigious Radisson Blu Hotel, Portman Square, London. Adam Oliver, ITP CEO announced the results last night at the spectacular annual ITP Gala Dinner in front of a packed audience. It was a double celebration for Astro as James was closely followed by runner-up Joe Wing, a fellow Astro apprentice. Astro launched its apprenticeship scheme with James and Joe in March 2014 enrolling both apprentices on a scheme devised and operated by the Institute of Telecommunications Professionals (ITP), the UKs leading independent body for people working in the telecommunications industry with 8,000 members worldwide. Astro

chose the ITP Apprenticeship due to the ITPs close ties with existing Professional Registration standards combined with the course content delivered by City College Coventry. Steve Smith, Astro co-founder and CTO said “I am thrilled that James won the Apprentice of the Year Award. He is a great asset to Astro and thoroughly deserves the title. It has been a long term ambition of mine to launch a successful apprenticeship. Working with the ITP has made this possible and James winning the award with Joe a close runner-up is absolute proof it has been a success. I am extremely proud of them both.” James said. “My greatest achievement before the award was finding an apprenticeship in the industry I love with a brilliant company, surrounded by an excellent team of people who want

to help me succeed. Winning the award is just the icing on the cake and is recognition of a fantastic team effort with excellent support from Astro and the ITP staff, who have been amazing.” Steve Hodges, Astro MD said. “We are delighted that both our apprentices made it through to the finals and that they were so close either of them could have won the award. James and Joe have both worked very hard having to fit their studies around their duties and deserve the recognition they received last night. I am sure they will both enjoy long and rewarding careers in our industry.” For further information, please contact: Steve Hodges or Steve Smith,


The dangers of vishing to small businesses cannot be ignored Paul Nixon Partner 01233 629255 (Ashford)

Wilkins Kennedy and Natwest recently held a joint seminar, on cyber security and fraud awareness, where we introduced to the world of ‘vishing’ and ‘phishing’ and the perils of scammers who target large and small businesses every day. The word ‘phishing’ is used to describe the attempted acquisition of sensitive information by electronic means and vishing is that by telephone. Fraudsters will try any means to get you to give them information. Anyone can be targeted but small businesses are particularly vulnerable as there are not normally the controls in place where you have a process to go through before making a payment. An SME business may also rely on off the shelf products for internet protection with the use of firewalls and spam filters, and this is where fraudsters can gain an advantage. The additional danger with vishing, is that it relies on the good nature of the person on the other end of the phone to believe that who they are talking to is genuine. Unfortunately when most people speak on the telephone they give away personal information

without knowing it. A fraudster may ring you a number of times before asking for the sensitive information. In the calls they have made before they will know you have been on holiday, the names and ages of your children maybe even that it’s your birthday. All of this information is gathered so that you have trust in the person who rings you, so when they ask for the sensitive data in respect of passwords and user identification you can quite easily give this information out without thinking about it. The threats to your bank account are: 1. You give the fraudster information that means that they can access your bank account and pay money out without your knowledge 2. The fraudster gives you incorrect details of a change in bank account for one of your suppliers and instead of paying the supplier you pay the fraudster.

There are some golden rules that can help you beat the fraudster: 1. Treat every phone call as a knock on the door. You would not give a complete stranger details about you or your family just because they rang your door bell! 2. If you are advised of a new bank account (by telephone or by email) for a supplier or someone you pay regularly, make sure that you have hung up the phone call and ring the company or business you are dealing with back. If possible use a different number and ask for accounts and not just the person whose name you have been given. Confirm the details of the payment you are about to make and the destination bank account 3. Never click any links to online banking via email - always log on to a website directly

4. Most importantly, remember that legitimate companies will never ask you for your full PIN number or any passwords, so if anyone call you and asks for these hang up immediately and report the incident to Action Fraud 5. And finally if it does not feel right and you have any concerns about what you are being asked to do DO NOT DO IT - most victims of fraud admit to it not feeling quite right about what they were being asked to do but could not quite put their finger on why! Our September seminar was so popular we are re-running the event on 23rd February 2016 with details appearing on our website If you want to keep on top of the latest reported scams, you can also visit the Metropolitan Police Fraud Alert website at or

December 2015 - January 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



Local Business Collaborates with ITV for Chatty Man Local Dartford and Crayford based business Mobile Bar Hire Ltd have teamed up with ITV for a third time as they worked on Friday’s (20th November) episode of Alan Carr Chatty Man.

The portable bar providers were contacted by ITV representatives on Tuesday, the day before the show is shot, and were asked to provide a draught beer system that would fit into Alan’s iconic drinks globe.

The team got to work straight away designing a tap that would not just fit into the Chatty Man host’s globe, but one that would also look the part. The finished product was a golden glitter beer tap which was fully functional for the show.

The day of filming saw the Mobile Bar Hire team arrive early at ITV’s London Southbank studios to test the cooling equipment and to fit the tap. The beer of choice for the event was Peroni, a premium Italian lager and was enjoyed by actor Danny Dyer and Comedian Josh Widdicombe. It was clear that Alan needed to brush up on his pouring skills as his beers for Danny and Josh came out more foam than beer. Rita Ora tried her hand at pouring the smooth lager which came out perfect. The local Kent based business have worked with ITV on more than one occasion with previous events seeing them team up with Swanscombe based brewers Caveman Brewery to provide Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and Gino and Mel Do Lunch with ale and dispensing equipment.

Mobile Bar Hire Ltd Director Rags Sandhu said, ‘it was a pleasure to work with ITV again. Being a Kent based business, it is great to be flying the county’s flag and collaborating with other businesses in the area to provide the TV giants with the best services possible. Look out for future projects between us and ITV!’ For more information visit

Going places with YMS Travel

YMS Travel has seen a huge growth in recent years during the recession, progressing from a single vehicle operation to a medium sized fleet of 15 vehicles operating private hire for economy and executive clients. YMS operates all sizes of vehicles from basic minibuses, single and double deck buses for our economy capacity requirements together with executive minibuses and coaches with 16, 49 and 71 seats for clients that travel long distance or want the extra comfort and facilities on board. The company was founded in 1999 with just the one vehicle operation and was set up purely for our sister company, Your Music School Canterbury, bringing children in from local schools for promotional purposes and occasional social outings for customers. This led to some of the local schools wanting to go to local destinations without paying the price from larger established operators.


Eventually the demand for the vehicle was so high there was a need to look at a second vehicle, so in 2012 YMS identified a gap in the local market! Since then YMS has grown even more and ran an operator’s licence for four vehicles in 2013-14 and has since revised that again in 2015, now operating up to ten on the road at any one time. The owner has been raised with a family of driving instructors and his parents run a very successful driver training school for all commercial vehicles and as a result, there is a very strong element of support and training within YMS. “Recruiting good people is always a challenge but I have been very fortunate to choose great people throughout my years in business

ThinkingBUSINESS December 2015 - January 2016

which has made the journey as pleasurable as possible using the skill set of many people to achieve our goals,” says James Wilford, the Managing Director of the YMS Group of Companies. The growth in recent years has been amazing, despite the recession, and the expansion of the fleet and customers has been testament to the loyalty of local schools and businesses that already had strong connections to Your Music School Canterbury (hence the YMS name) since James launched that business at the age of 19 in 1995 YMS Travel now operate 3 minibuses, 7 buses, 4 coaches and a Routemaster, with plans next year to extend their coach fleet and upgrade their bus fleet to complete DDA compliance.


Driving your business forward, creating events to remember

Acting as an outsourced marketing department for clients in Kent, Surrey and London, DRIVE Marketing works at board level with business owners and within SMEs to develop and implement strategic and practical marketing solutions of the highest standard. Anna Bailey, DRIVE Director, said “We understand the importance of driving a business forward, so we take the time to get to know why our clients do what they do, what they are passionate about; essentially what makes them get up in the morning! We get right to the heart of the business to tailor marketing initiatives that are not only relevant for your product or service, but that are also aligned with your corporate objectives, , target audiences and - most importantly - budgets.” DRIVE Events brings high quality professional events to life, regularly organising parties, promotional launches, corporate events and large scale

conferences at such prestigious venues as the Royal Institution, the Royal College of Physicians and the IET Savoy Place. DRIVE Director, Clare Grove, said “We’ve been running events for over 20 years and pride ourselves on balancing creativity and flair with project management skills to create high quality and unique events. We work with a variety of clients, budgets and themes to bring events of every scale to life

As we say goodbye to 2015 and look to 2016, what do we foresee will have a big impact?

- in our time we’ve faced every possible scenario, including unexpected guests arriving in helicopters!” The DRIVE team is based at The Workshop in Folkestone’s Creative Quarter.

Adapting to a changing world BRD Associates has been an established photography and video business for more than 30 years, covering everything from annual reports to events and PR shoots for major blue chip clients and government departments. But all things change in time and proprietor Brian Russell felt in need of a refocusing of the business into something much more accessible to the local market. So in April the was launched, with a dedication to producing cost effective video blogs for small and medium size companies. The aim is to keep it simple, come to the studio, record up to 5 short video blogs in a 30 minute filming slot and have material to promote your web site on the second most important search engine in the western world - You Tube. The goal is to find clients that understand the benefit of regular blogging and move that medium

on to the video platform with its higher response rates. Contract prices keep the whole thing very cost effective for clients with price per blog of £10.00 plus vat achievable. But keeping it simple doesn’t mean the results are all the same, with green screen techniques available every video blog can be unique with client’s own images or logos as a backdrop. And for the shy people out there actors are on offer to read

Digital transformation is going to gain momentum in 2016

your scripts and those who don’t like travelling will even come to your premises. This is a great resource for PR companies, web designers and marketing organisations to offer their clients value for money.

Many digital analysts are predicting that digital transformation (DX) will drive everything that matters in IT. The IDC (International Data Corporation), a leading provider of marketing intelligence and spanning 110 countries globally has published its top 10 predictions and the overriding message to businesses is that to succeed and to gain competitive advantage, you will need to commit totally to DX. The IDC's chief analyst, Frank Gens reports that this emerging DX economy will disrupt every industry as CEOs focus on growth and profitability strategies with DX at the helm. Gens predicts that organisations adopting DX initiatives will more than double and only those with 'innovation capacity' will have the ability to grow and compete. Eight years ago, the IDC identified the 3rd Platform (technology based around mobile, cloud services, big data analytics and social networking) which would steer innovation and growth. As this gains momentum over the next 3 to 5 years, the IDC foresees that enterprises will need to 'flip the switch', (particularly embracing the Cloud) and look hard at customer engagement as pricing gets tighter and tighter. The necessary ingredient crucial to success is this: differentiate yourself from the competition by offering a more personalised service. So how do you keep up? • Analyse the data you have and establish data pipelines that flow in and out of your organisation. • Use cognitive software to help steer customer personalisation as data becomes increasingly difficult to manage • Consider Internet of Things development since this is going to be a key player in gaining competitive advantage. Remember that digital transformation is an opportunity for you to gain access to many more potential customers than ever before but equally every new face will be looking for a better service than what they are currently receiving. Start a review today for ways in which you can improve your customer experience. Sarah Pooley Digital Marketing Consultant 01474-704400

December 2015 - January 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



ThinkingBusiness August - September


Variety is good

Here at SEC Signworks we like variety, over the past few months we’ve been doing everything from van wraps to Perspex plaques! Take a look at just a few of our recent projects…

Recruiting the best talent around Our parent company, South East Coachworks converted this Mercedes Sprinter van into a mobile gaming unit for Games on Wheels Kent. The vehicle has WiFi, three PS4’s, a Wii, four 40” HD screens and custom made games seating trimmed in house. They also fitted

A little bit of rain doesn’t scare off our sign fitters! We installed vinyl wall logo, vinyl window graphics and a tray fascia, for the wonderful people at All Tyres Faversham.

air conditioning, CCTV, multiple sockets with USB points and LED lighting throughout. SEC Signworks completed a vinyl wrap and interior graphics. To find out more about hiring the vehicle visit

Naturally, those clever people at Construction Composites can fabricate their own GRP sign tray. Here it is, 6 metres long x 1.2mm high x 50mm deep & complete with a bespoke, shaped end, no panel joins and perfectly finished. Vinyl wrapping by Team SEC.

We recently installed post mounted road signs, wall graphics, window frosting and some rather posh looking Perspex plaques for the reception, board room and even the toilets - all for those lovely people at Priority Freight at Whitfield, Dover.

SEC love doing fleet graphics and over a two year period we have supplied and installed graphics for no less than seventeen vans for CA Drillers as well as vinyl wrapping a generator and supplying magnetic graphic panels.

Please remember you can find details of all our services at or by visiting our Facebook page

Paramount is important says survey

A survey of visitors to the recent North Kent B2B Exhibition gave a unanimous vote of support for the positive impact that London Paramount would have on Kent’s business community. Each of the 45 businesses who responded to the survey, conducted by Crowe Clark Whitehill, the national audit, tax and advisory firm with offices in Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells, agreed that London Paramount would boost the local economy when it opens. Darren Rigden, Partner at Crowe Clark Whitehill, said: “Despite recent news that the planning for London Paramount has been delayed there

remains a massive groundswell of support for the development and what it will hopefully bring in terms of jobs and business opportunities to North Kent. “Paramount was one of many issues raised by visitors to our stand. Others recognised the importance of London as a market for their services, development at Ebbsfleet, as well as the need to have another crossing connecting Kent and Essex to help

boost business and improve the county’s connectivity with the rest of the UK and mainland Europe. “North Kent companies are showing real signs of growth and for many there will be a need to make sure they have their financial and tax management in good order. Over recent months we have seen a rise in enquiries from North Kent-based businesses asking us to ensure they are operating effectively.”

Unitemps is Christ Church University's recruitment service.

This is a unique campus-based franchise that gives Unitemps access to a large resource of high-calibre candidates from the student population, as well as graduates and workers from the wider community. Unitemps offers recruitment solutions which include temporary, permanent, full and part-time, roles. From one-hour shifts to full-time work, we have the network and truly unique candidate base to fill assignments with suitable individuals. Our proven systems help streamline the recruitment process on your behalf; handling everything from job adverts, interviews and applications to online timesheets, payroll and legislative compliance. By choosing Unitemps, it means that you can gain access to outstanding candidates and benefit from the experience of service-based consultants, but you also contribute to the local community and help educate the workforce of tomorrow. We provide a consultancy service to offer the best recruitment solution to you and we offer a diverse candidate pool of intelligent, reliable and motivated workers that are keen to make an impact. We always aim to ensure continuity of temporary workers, which will help to reduce training costs. Subsequently, this will increase productivity and provide a seamless route to recruiting candidates! We also have competitive and negotiable rates for external organisations, so whether you are looking to advertise a role with us or use our payroll service to recruit a candidate, please contact email us on

December 2015 - January 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS




Land Rover enthusiasts support Battle of Britain Memorial Trust

A giant cheque for more than £7,500 has been presented to the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust by a group of Land Rover enthusiasts.

This year’s annual Charity Land Rover Run from Kent to Brugge began at the Trust’s home, the National Memorial to the Few at Capel-le-Ferne, on 6 June, before heading across the Channel. Organised by Land Rover enthusiasts in Kent, the event featured more than 40 classic Land Rovers registered between 1948 and 1975. The organisers decided to donate the proceeds of the event to the Trust to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Receiving the cheque from organiser Peter Wales, site manager Jules Gomez thanked the enthusiasts for their support and said the Trust was looking forward to welcoming them back to Capel-le-Ferne in 2016.

Let Lesley help you “Escape”

As a child I was lucky enough to travel quite a bit with my family and it wasn’t long before I was announcing that I wanted to be a Holiday Rep. At 20 years old I spent my first year working overseas in Northern Portugal and loved it so much that I went on to work in other countries such as Greece, Cyprus, Canaries, Egypt, Dubai and the Maldives, I loved it and learnt so much but there came a time when I felt I had to come home and grow up. After a few years outside of the Travel Industry I felt drawn back into it and moved into the Luxury Travel market, specialising in Destination Weddings & Honeymoon’s during which time I was lucky enough to sample the delights of many destinations and love exploring new places, specialising in the Indian Ocean, Arabia and Caribbean After working for a number of other companies over the years, I decided it was time to launch my own company, offering the kind of service and quality I believe my clients deserve. I wanted to offer my clients a very personal service catering to all their travel needs from a Local Independent Travel Agent and so together with my friend Nick Escapes by Travel Designers was born. Nick and I have over 40 years of travel experience between us and we have covered most of the world. Exceptional Holidays, created by us, enjoyed by you! Escapes by Travel Designers F: escapesbytraveldesigners T: @EscapesTD


ThinkingBUSINESS December 2015 - January 2016

Award Winning CWJ praised at national event

The prize for Best Community Contribution at this year’s LawNet awards went to Orpington’s Clarkson Wright & Jakes for a bigger-picture CSR strategy that is putting them at the heart of their local community, with fundraising and skills-sharing that’s both supporting their community partners and also boosting staff morale internally including an initiative to make the community more dementia-friendly. Andrew Wright, senior partner at CWJ, said: “It’s a real boost for everyone at CWJ to receive national recognition in this way, especially after all of the consistent hard work put in by the team to become involved in our community at many levels - from supporting character-building mini rugby festivals to creating dementia-friendly workplaces.” Chris Marston, chief executive of LawNet, said: “Independent law firms such as CWJ are ideally placed to demonstrate what it means to be innovative in the legal sector. That, combined with a commitment to excellence, is what our awards recognise.” “Results like this give real purpose to annual awards. Our members want to benchmark themselves against other forwardthinking firms.

Our awards allow us to recognise the people behind these exceptional initiatives.” He added: “People sometimes assume that innovation starts at the top in the legal sector, amongst the major multi-national

players, but our members consistently demonstrate that they can be more nimble, quicker to react and implement, and because of that they generate outstanding performance as a result.”

Highbank Communications Limited

What is the one defining element in business today, pivotal to the success of every organisation and yet so often is taken for granted? Communication. With the evolution of social media, we all find ourselves operating more openly. We also need to deliver strong commercial performance within increasingly competitive markets and want to position ourselves as market leader. The importance of using effective communication techniques to achieve these goals cannot be under-estimated. Highbank Communications advise organisations on ways to strengthen company / product awareness, advance reputation and maximise business performance with their key audiences.

We focus on embedding leadership communication, integrating internal and external messaging, strengthening employee engagement and aligning communication delivery with business targets. Director, Clive Hawkins, held senior communication positions in the UK and globally for National Grid plc throughout its transformation into one of the largest energy companies in the world. Clive has extensive leadership experience and directed national and international

communication programmes under intense government, regulatory, media and public scrutiny.


Energy Efficiency changes

Apprenticeship is launched

Business Services at MidKent College, If you own commercial premises that have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) in partnership with the Sales Academy, has announced the rating of “F” or “G”, you will find it very hard to let your property in 3 years. launch of a 12-month "Sales and

Apprenticeship refusal of planning/listed Telesales What penalties are involved? permission; • The apprentice will are gainthe twopenalty industryrates recognised Below for renting the ISMM to demonstrate theira • Cost-effectiveness exemption: qualifications outfrom a non-compliant property for sales knowledge landlords will have to demonstrate periodandof:competency - the 'Certificate in the Principles of Selling' and the 'NVQ Diploma both that there is no Green Deal in Sales' • Less than 3 months- the greater of available for the relevant £5,000provides and 10% of the rateable Work-based learning apprentice with improvement works; and that•the of thetheir property, and in the the opportunityvalue to develop sales skills works would not pay for themselves of the breach; own sales environment over 7 years, based on energycontext bill of theirpublication • Tailored 1-2-1 coaching allows the greater apprentice savings; • 3sales months or more - the of to receive tactical guidance to their specific £10,000 andrelated 20% of the rateable • Devaluation exemption: landlords role, not generic training in aproperty, classroomwith a value of the will have to demonstrate that the Flexible aroundmaximum work/personal commitments over and penalty of £150,000 relevant improvement works •would no time outofof the the breach. office reduce the market value of the12 months withpublication • Suitable for all sales roles - telemarketing, telesales, property by over 5%. Additional information

Equally if you are a commercial tenant, you may be interested to read about the energy efficiency changes that will be needed by law. By 2018 regulations will come into force making it unlawful to let properties in England and Wales which do not meet a prescribed minimum energy performance standard (MEPS).

How will this work? From 1st April 2018, if you lease or rent a property, that building will need at least an “E” rating on its EPC before the contract is agreed and signed.

From 1st April 2023 all privately rented commercial properties will need at least an EPC rating of “E”. This includes properties already leased and an existing tenant occupies the premises.

Who does it apply to? All rental properties, which require an EPC, will be within scope. Exemptions include: • Third party consents exemptions: landlords will have to demonstrate lack of required consent e.g. from tenants, from superior landlords, or

business development and account management Depending onfrom the terms of the lease, • Sales Simulation available any desktop A landlord will have six months toor mobile browser the landlord maySafari, be able to recover the (includes Chrome & comply with the regulations where, costs of works necessary to bring the Internet Explorer) for example: property up to the required standard, as of its dilapidations claim. • The tenancy is granted by operation apprenticeship-academy/ of law- e.g. renewal under the In addition, theFor college is offeringon a mobile learning and information this legislation Landlord and tenant Act 1954. T coachingplease sales packagesee: as the most flexible way to gain he 6 months runs from the date of 3 a Level Diploma qualification. the new lease; With content delivered in bite-sized modules from any /16/contents/enacted desktop or mobile browser, this flexible approach to • A non-compliant property occupied For information on EPCs for sales training allows you to learn "any time, any place". by a tenant is sold, or is transferred properties please see: selling skills video tutorial demonstrates to a lender in the case of A face-to-facecommercial real-life examples of good and bad sales meeting The 6 months runs techniques. certificate-commercialfrom the date the new landlord property/overview acquires the property.

What are the timescales?

Helping smokers to quit

Sync-box success in using their mobile phones QuittingDragon’s smoking has neverDen been easy but the it is a habit that more and more people are

Entrepreneurs Steve Noyes and trying to give up, especially with more Duncan ofbanning technology laws thanSummers ever before smoking in company Eyestones, the public places and now inbased the UKatfrom Enterprise Foundation’s Maidstone October 2015 in cars. Enterprise Centre, secured Kent company Bedfont Scientific Ltd, aanoffer pioneer in of smoking cessation has Deborah combined the drive £55,000 frommonitors, investor to quit smoking with the ever-growing use of Meaden on applications the BBC’sto Dragons Den. technology and create the latest

InCOthe episode the showto broadcast on Sunday monitor thatofconnects your smartphone or tablet. 26th July, duo pitched their innovative Bedfont hastheproduced the Smokerlyzer® for Sync30 years Box socket allows to be flush which offerswhich an easy to useTVs hand-held and fitted nonagainst It has application invasivethe waywall. to test the widespread level of Carbon Monoxide (CO)isinalready a patient’s blood. recognise that mobile and being usedThey in luxury housing phones and tablets playand a significant in developments, hotels high end part offices. consumers’ lives and wanted to adapt the technology Deborah’s will enable theaccessible further to so that CO investment monitoring could be more development acrossa specialist, those who do of notbusiness have the channels time to consult international markets. and so iCO was born. Staff fromSmokerlyzer the Enterprise Foundation, a not-forThe iCO is small, sleek and portable. profit start-ups, Once organisation you have the supporting app, the monitor is easyand to Live use and instant readings can Enterprise be downloaded to user, your personal and social, another Centre assisted profile, meaning youwith can ‘dry-run’rehearsals track your progress, and and be the Sync-box team motivated, anytime, preparations for theiranywhere. day behind the cameras.

December 2015 - January 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



Four things you need to know about the Union Customs Code

On 1 May 2016 the Union Customs Code comes into force, replacing the Community Customs Code.

Abu Dhabi’s burgeoning retail sector by Tamreez Inam, British Centres for Business UAE

While Dubai’s retail market reaches maturity, Abu Dhabi has seen unprecedented growth in recent years.

Abu Dhabi emerged as the #3 most targeted city in the world as 55 new brands were launched last year. While we hear of Dubai’s market reaching saturation (second only to London for brand penetration globally), it is interesting to note that Dubai still remains a preferred destination for new brands and emerged #5 on the list with 45 new brands opening shop in 2014.

This European-wide legislation will impact businesses involved in global trade in goods. Businesses need to act now. Here are four significant changes that you should be aware of. 1. Financial guarantee required Any UK company operating a customsauthorised duty relief or suspension regime (such as customs warehousing or inward processing), will need to provide a financial guarantee to cover the annual amount of potential duty that could be due. This requirement does not exist in the UK today, so will introduce additional costs for the guarantee provision, as well as any potential restriction on working capital in providing security to the guarantor (typically a bank). 2. Guarantee waivers Guarantee waivers will be introduced, but only for those businesses that fulfil the criteria for Authorised Economic Operator (AEO). This is a supply chain security accreditation, approved by Customs for companies that demonstrate that their internal processes fully support customs compliance. It can take six months or more to obtain AEO authorisation, so this should be considered as soon as possible. 3. Customs valuation changes The basis of customs valuation will also change, with the removal of the current provision that allows an importer to attest to the value of an earlier sale in a chain of sales leading to import. Instead, customs valuation will be based on the final sale before import. This change could increase customs duty costs significantly. 4. Duty liability of royalty payments Customs duty currently applies to royalty payments only where they relate to imported goods, and are payable as a condition of sale of those goods. These restrictions will be removed, so that many more royalty payments will be subject to customs duty. Any agreements which give rise to the payment of a royalty should be reviewed to determine whether reconstruction might be necessary to avoid exposure to a future duty cost. The Chamber will be delivering training sessions on this forthcoming change in the new year. Please check our events page for details.


ThinkingBUSINESS December 2015 - January 2016

The growing young population, high disposable incomes and recent growth in tourist attractions such as the Grand Prix have contributed to the growth of Abu Dhabi’s retail sector. Recent innovative mall developments such as Yas Mall and The Galleria, have also created opportunities for developers, retailers and franchises. After its opening in November 2014, Yas Mall is now the second largest mall in the UAE (after Dubai Mall) with 235,000 sq m of GLA. House of Fraser, a premium department store from the UK,

opened its first ever international store at the World Trade Center Mall in Abu Dhabi in 2013 and proceeded to then open its second store again in Abu Dhabi (and not Dubai) at the Yas Mall earlier this year. Al Tayer Group has announced plans to open the first Macy’s in the UAE in Abu Dhabi as well as the second Bloomingdale’s (the first one is in Dubai Mall) by 2017-2018. CBRE’s 2015 report titled ‘How Global is the Business of Retail?” looked at the hottest markets being targeted by brands in 2014.

With the Expo2020 arriving in Dubai and the city projecting 20 million visitors in 2020, Abu Dhabi will also benefit from the influx of visitors because of the close proximity of the Expo site and the adjacent new Al Maktoum International Airport (on the far end of Dubai, closer to Abu Dhabi). While Dubai remains the retail hub for the Middle East, Abu Dhabi is also cementing its position as a sought-after tourism and retail destination, especially for the more affluent clientele.

UK companies will benefit from a unique programme presenting real-time export opportunities in all sectors, across the world UK companies are set to benefit from a unique new 5 year programme presenting real-time export opportunities that businesses can apply for online. This is part of a move to get 100,000 additional companies exporting by 2020. Launched 9 November 2015 in Gateshead, Exporting is GREAT is part of the GREAT campaign. It presents live export opportunities to businesses, across a range of media outlets and digital channels. Hundreds of these export opportunities, with a potential total value of more than £300 million, are hosted on a new platform,, with many more set to come online each month. Speaking at today at Sage Gateshead, Minister for Trade and Investment, Lord Francis Maude, said: Travelling overseas in my capacity as Minister for Trade, I see first-hand the demand that exists for UK products and

services but many companies don’t realise this demand exists. We are confident that through this campaign, by raising awareness of and providing access to these opportunities, together with giving companies the practical advice and guidance they need, we will inspire and support thousands of new companies in an exciting new venture of selling overseas. Stephen Kelly, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sage, which is supporting Exporting is GREAT said: We’re passionate about supporting businesses at every stage of their growth. Exporting is a significant step on the journey - one that many small and medium businesses don’t

feel they have the support or knowledge to take. Our customers tell us that awareness of the opportunities and more government and industry support would help them make the move, so we are thrilled to be supporting Exporting is GREAT. Exporting is GREAT will provide dvice and expertise to support businesses at every step on their exporting journey, from initial interest to selling in market. This will include a year-long roadshow that will travel the UK, giving face-toface assistance to potential exporters. It will use the latest technology to connect these businesses with live export opportunities.


Iran sanctions: is the end in sight?

Progress continues to be made in implementing the various parties’ obligations pursuant to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with a view to the lifting of the majority of EU sanctions and US extra-territorial sanctions at some point in 2016. On 18 October 2015 the EU and the US issued legislative documents, as the first stage towards implementing their respective sanctions relief commitments pursuant to the JCPOA. The EU measures comprise two amending Regulations and an authorising Decision. On the US side, two documents were published - a set of contingent waivers and a memorandum from the President to the Secretaries of State, the Treasury, Commerce, and Energy. Importantly, these changes do not have any immediate effect on the existing sanctions and will only come into effect on “Implementation Day” namely once Iran has implemented its key nuclear-related commitments described in the JCPOA and this has been verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The exact date of Implementation Day is not yet know but is expected to occur some time in the second half of 2016.

EU legislation On 18 October 2015 the EU published a Decision1 and two Regulations2. These documents set out in detail the EU Iran sanctions landscape which will apply after Implementation Day. In particular, on that date most of the sanctions in the current EU Decision3 will be suspended and most of the sanctions in the current EU Regulation4 will be terminated or modified. The asset freeze measures will stay in place, but the list of asset freeze targets will be substantially reduced. Only 29 individuals and 94 entities will remain on the list, in line with the EU’s de-listing obligation under the JCPOA. The position should be contrasted with the current EU Iran (Nuclear Proliferation) list, which contained 93 individuals and 467 entities on 23 October 2015, including the likes of NITC, IRISL and IOTC, all of which will be de-listed on Implementation Day.

The remaining asset freeze targets, including Tidewater Middle East, are due to be de-listed by the EU on Transition Day in 2023. It is worth highlighting that, notwithstanding the de-listing of some Iranian banks on Implementation Day, EU financial institutions will still be prohibited from supplying SWIFT services to Bank Saderat, Ansar Bank and Mehr Bank until Transition Day. In addition, notwithstanding the EU de-listing, certain entities will remain on the US Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list at the relevant times, such that ongoing vigilance and due diligence will be required. EU businesses will need to comply with the continuing asset freeze and the other restrictions which remain in place in the EU, as set out below. They will also need to comply with certain continuing US extra-territorial sanctions. Provided they do so, EU businesses will once again be able to engage in the following activities once Iran’s performance of its obligations under the JCPOA has been certified by the IAEA: • Transactions relating to the supply to Iran of key equipment and technologies for the Iranian oil and gas industries. • Transactions relating to the supply to Iran of key naval equipment or technology. • Transactions relating to the purchase, import or transport of crude oil, petroleum products, petrochemical products and natural gas of Iranian origin. • Transactions relating to the supply to Iran or purchase from Iran of gold, precious metals and diamonds. • Transactions relating to the supply to Iran of Iranian banknotes and minted coinage. • Investment in the Iranian oil, gas and petrochemical industry.

• Transfers of funds to and from Iranian persons, entities or bodies without the need for prior notification or authorisation. • Transactions with Iranian banks. • Purchase or sale of Iranian public or public-guaranteed bonds. • Provision of insurance and reinsurance to Iran, its government and public bodies, and Iranian companies. • Provision of services to Iranian flagged vessels. • Provisions of vessels for the transportation and storage of Iranian oil and petrochemical products. The following restrictions will remain in place: • A prior authorisation will be required for the supply of software designed specifically for use in Iran’s nuclear or military industries – restrictions in respect of software designed for use in gas, oil, navy, aircraft, financial and construction industries are lifted. • A prior authorisation will be required for the supply to Iran of graphite, raw and semi-finished metals. The authorisation will not be granted if there are reasonable grounds to determine that the material will be used in connection with reprocessing or enrichment related, heavy water related, or other nuclear related activities inconsistent with the JCPOA, Iran’s military or ballistic missile programme or for the direct or indirect benefit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. • Restrictions on the transportation of goods covered by the EU Common Military list, Missile Technology Control Regime List, the Nuclear Suppliers Group List, or other items that could contribute to reprocessing or enrichment-related or heavy water-related activities and prohibited supplies of graphite, raw and semi-finished metals.

For various nuclear-related materials, and ancillary services such as financing, transportation and brokering, the regulations create three different regimes which will apply depending on how a particular item is classified. If the item falls under the Missile Technology Control Regime List, supply and various related services will be prohibited. If the item falls under the Nuclear Suppliers Group List an authorisation will be required. If the item falls under “other items that could contribute to reprocessing- or enrichment-related or heavy water-related or other activities inconsistent with the JCPOA” list an authorisation will be required on a case-by-case basis. The Decision and the Regulations also clarify, at least to some extent, the EU’s position in respect of “grandfathering”, namely whether there will be an exemption for pre-existing contracts if sanctions are re-imposed due to Iran’s breach of its commitments under the JCPOA. It does now appear that there will be some exemptions for such contracts: all three documents note that in case of the re-introduction of the EU sanctions, the EU will provide “adequate protection” for the execution of contracts concluded in accordance with the JCPOA while sanctions relief was in force. Those businesses which are considering opportunities in Iran should carefully review the latest legislative measures from the EU and US to determine whether their intended activities will be permitted after Implementation Day. They should consider carefully what ongoing due diligence will be required after Implementation Day, and also keep a close eye on developments, in order to be sure of when sanctions relief will commence.

Who is the CEE Business Portal?

The CEE Business Portal is your go-to source of market sector, event and business opportunity information for British business in Central and Eastern Europe. The CEE Business Portal serves as a central point of contact for the UK government, Export Britain, and the six CEE Chambers of Commerce involved in the BCC Global Business Networks. We seamlessly connect British business and investors to mid- and

high-value business opportunities, British Chamber of Commerce members abroad, valuable market sector information, and integral events, news, and business resources. By working with our partners in the United Kingdom and the CEE alike, we

aim to provide a streamlined extra layer of support for British business looking to expand abroad. We are dedicated to assisting British companies enter the CEE market or solidify their presence therein by connecting them to key players in the

region. The CEE Business Portal aims to facilitate the distinctive roles of the UK government, Chambers of Commerce and SMEs in today's business market. For more details visit:

December 2015 - January 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



Medway’s history helps Medway is harnessing its rich heritage to build a dynamic and prosperous future.

The largest urban area in the South East outside London is pairing a glittering cultural offer with its story of growth and regeneration to put Medway firmly on the map. A bold 20-year regeneration programme is dedicated to boosting the area’s economic growth and creating sustainable communities. Already Medway Council spends more than £20m on green spaces, heritage, libraries, arts, theatres, leisure, sports and tourism. Of the four million people who visit annually, many experience heritage riches such as historic Rochester with its cathedral, tallest Norman castle in the country and 13th century high street. Nearby Chatham Historic Dockyard dates from the age of sail and is the best preserved in the world. And nearly 150 years after his death Charles Dickens’ many links with Medway attract some 120,000 people who visit two annual Dickens festivals in June and December. The author’s stature as one of English literature’s greatest


ThinkingBUSINESS December 2015 - January 2016

writers is an integral part of Medway’s cultural offer that establishes the area as Dickens Country. Due to its proximity to London and the addition of a fast train line – a new £26 million station opens at Rochester in December 2015 – Medway is growing significantly. Over the coming years the population is expected to expand to more than 300,000. With great connections to Europe, one of the most exciting regeneration zones in the Thames Gateway, four universities, and a thriving economy, Medway is emerging as an even more desirable place to live, visit, work and learn.


forge its future Medway in numbers • 5 mainline stations with HS1 high-speed trains to London in just 35 minutes • 40 minutes to the channel ports at Dover and Ramsgate • 1 hour from London’s Gatwick and Stansted Airports • 13,000 small and medium sized enterprises • 4,000,000 visitors every year • 800,000 annual visits to Medway Park, the regional centre of sporting excellence in Gillingham • 4 universities - Greenwich, Kent, Christ Church (Canterbury) and the University of Creative Arts • £86m Mid Kent College further education provision • New UTC (University Technical College) • 50% of Medway is rural and includes sites of special scientific interest such as part of the Hoo Peninsula In 1998, the area suffered from under investment, lack of a distinct identity, low aspirations and high unemployment following the disparate towns of Strood, Rochester, Gillingham, Chatham and Rainham, as well as a significant rural area. Medway Council had a vision to unite the area, promote its heritage, lead its regeneration and protect its unique environmental assets. This it has done, and the journey continues as there are further ambitious plans for the future. Taking its name from the famous river that runs through the North Kent borough, Medway is emerging as an even more desirable place to live, visit, work and learn. And while many parts of the Home Counties can use connectivity to London as a selling point to prospective residents and investors alike, few can marry that with a heritage offer to match Medway.

Spreading the benefits Rochester and Chatham’s historic dockyard together put Medway on the map as a destination.

They are a major reason why the area attracts millions of people each year, generating £300m and supporting 6,000 jobs in the process. It’s a sector on the up and combined with Medway’s growing creative sector it equates to about 15% of the local economy. These sectors, together with the area’s sporting offer are at the heart of the council’s strategy to raise Medway’s profile, draw in investment and establish it as an excellent place to live and work. Key to its success will be the degree to which the benefits enjoyed by Rochester and Chatham can be spread further afield. Both have seen regeneration investment in recent years, the most prominent being Rochester Riverside. The 32 hectare site is being transformed to create a new community including 1,500 homes, a primary school, shops and leisure facilities. These are well connected to the heart of Rochester via the new station to the north of the site.

Chatham Waters, an ongoing £650m development will transform part of the dockyard with homes, business premises, shops, restaurants and a ‘waterfront boulevard’ to make the most of riverside views. Medway University Technical College, which opened on the site in September, provides specialist training in engineering, construction and design for 14-19 year olds alongside traditional qualifications. Adjacent Gillingham will also benefit from the Chatham Waters investment. It has also seen regeneration in its town centre and the Victory Pier scheme will transform its riverside area with homes, shops, offices and a hotel.

Medway’s next chapter The area has changed significantly over the last 20 years, with the presence of higher education playing a major role. Medway has become a central hub for further and higher education and is now home of the Universities at Medway - University of Greenwich,

December 2015 - January 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University are all based on a single campus in Chatham. Some 12,000 undergraduates study there. A fourth university, University of the Creative Arts, is located just outside Rochester and, not forgetting the Medway campus of MidKent College the largest further education provision in the county. As a result, an increasing number of students are now setting up businesses in Medway.

With one of the largest free event and festival programmes in the country, there’s plenty to do in Medway. There are more than 30 days of free festivals each year providing an opportunity to engage local people in the arts, celebrate the area’s long history and literary connections and draw in visitors from afar. Many of these events take place within seven Medway parks which have Green Flag status. Regeneration is under way across Medway, bringing new homes, business accommodation,

leisure facilities and better infrastructure. The council’s ambitious 20-year regeneration programme (2006-2026) is dedicated to boosting the area’s economic growth, creating sustainable communities, expanding Medway’s cultural offer and regaining the use of the river for local people through various waterfront projects. It’s all part of Medway Council’s wider strategy to ensure Medway is in a strong position to benefit from many opportunities that surround it. Paramount Park, a £3.2bn entertainment resort twice the size of the Olympic Park, is being built on nearby Swanscombe Peninsula. Medway Council’s Leader, Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: ‘We are perfectly placed, we have superb transport links, towns with unique identities, we are an ambitious local authority and know that Medway has so much growth potential. ‘We have exciting regeneration plans along six to seven miles of riverside and want to attract the best development – top class design, good quality buildings. We are growing Medway but in a way that makes the most of its greatest assets -culture, heritage, sport and leisure - to create a unique place to live, work, visit and study.’

Getting people active in Medway • Medway Mile - first held in 2007 with 500 runners and walkers taking to the one-mile course around Rochester it has grown into a mini-festival with 3,000 people now taking part. • The Big Splash - a weekend long event including pool parties for families and ‘the big swim challenge’, a combined effort to see how far local swimmers can collectively cover in two days. This year they managed 71 miles. • The Big Ride - launched at the Medway Festival of Sport in 2014, the 5km ride along closed roads is the centrepiece of a day of activities including children’s sprint races, BMX displays, an off-road treasure trail ride for families and coaching sessions.

We have exciting regeneration plans along six to seven miles of riverside and want to attract the best development - top class design, good quality buildings. We are growing Medway but in a way that makes the most of its greatest assets – culture, heritage, sport and leisure - to create a unique place to live, work, visit and study.


ThinkingBUSINESS December 2015 - January 2016


Helping hand

MRS take the stress out of Property Management

MRS (CIC) Limited in partnership with Second Chance, the Housing Support Charity, promote independent living in the community, by supporting the homeless, those threatened with homelessness and halting the revolving door of evictions. MRS/Second Chance case studies…. An Ex-Serviceman arrived at our local offices looking for accommodation, he had nowhere to live and no available funds, MRS with the assistance of the British Legion, housed the young man. He was given furniture by a local homeless group, had his deposit and rent in advance paid by the British Legion, had food supplied for, a cooker to cook it on, a table to sit at and a bed to sleep in, and a few pounds in his pocket. The man settled at the property, finding employment and settled back into the community. Second Chance had a referral from the local Police Station for a young lady

with a 4 month old baby who housing assistance via the local authorities had been refused as she had no local connections to the area and had been also refused assistance by Social Services; who had found her to be a good mother and the baby to be in good health and wellbeing. At this stage, with nowhere else to turn she approached the local Police, who in turn contacted Second Chance. Second Chance paid for her to stay in a Bed and Breakfast for three nights whilst organising accommodation for her. She was found a property and furniture which she is more than grateful for and believes Second Chance to be her ‘guardian angels’.

“Thanks to MRS and Second Chance, we are able to start again, giving us hope that there really are people on this earth with good hearts. Thanks to MRS and Second Chance, we no longer have to worry about where we will be the next day and also with our lives. MRS and Second Chance are a great group of people, and we hope to be able to return what they have done for us in the near future. Thank you to you all for everything you have done.” MC & JS (previously living in a car; rehoused by MRS & SC 20/11/15)

MRS offer Guaranteed Rents with Zero Costs and No Voids

100% Guaranteed

... because we are more than Letting Agents Tel: 01634 408840

361 High Street Rochester ME1 1DA

Our ethos is to ensure we provide a client-focused, face-to-face, holistic advice service providing security now, prosperity in the future and the highest level of client care in the rapidly evolving world of financial markets. • • • • • • •

Corporate Pensions Personal Pensions Investments Life Protection Inheritance Planning Later Life advice Tax Saving Strategies

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December 2015 - January 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



BAM Construction wins £10.8m Ashford College contract

The formal contract for the construction of Ashford College’s new campus at Elwick Road has been completed.

The £10.8m contract has been awarded to BAM Construction. The contract was signed on behalf of the Hadlow Group, of which Ashford College is part, by Mark LumsdonTaylor, Director of Finance and Resources. Adam Harding, South East Regional Director, signed on behalf of BAM Construction. The £10.8m contract covers stage one of the project, which will cost a total of £16m. Part two will involve a second contract enabling the new build to be ready for the student intake in September 2017. Mark Lumsdon-Taylor said: “The Hadlow Group is committed to bringing the long-awaited new campus to Ashford, an aspiration shared by Governors, students, staff and our many stakeholders. “We are looking forward to working with BAM, a company with an impeccable reputation. The new-build project is a vitally important part of our commitment to developing educational provision for Ashford. The new college will be located in the vibrant centre of Ashford town where so many exciting developments are taking place, a wonderful location for our students. “Ashford College is committed to working with employers and other stakeholders to ensure our students leave with the qualifications and


ThinkingBUSINESS December 2015 - January 2016

skillset needed by the industries of their choice.” Adam Harding said: “We’re delighted to be working with the Hadlow Group to create Ashford College and build on our excellent track record in Kent that includes projects such as the Bluewater Events Centre. We will look to use the opportunity of building Ashford College to engage students and the local community. “It isn’t just what we build but how we build that matters. As a county, Kent is a very important economic centre for us and our well-developed supply chain means that we can return a lot of investment back to the local economy.” The ambitious project is one of Ashford’s key development aims and will play a major part in the town’s future growth and prosperity. Ashford Borough Council Leader Cllr Gerry Clarkson said: “At last we can realise our vision for a further education and higher education college right in the heart of the town at Elwick Road, adjacent to the International Station. A highly skilled workforce is fundamental to the success of our versatile economic growth and this will make a vital contribution to rejuvenating the town centre.


Caxtons celebrates quarter century & raises funds for HOKH Founded in a back room of The Bull in Wrotham, and with its roots firmly planted in Kent, Caxtons Chartered Surveyors is now one of the largest independent property consultants in the south east. Throughout 2015, Kent based Caxtons Chartered Surveyors has been celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary year, entertaining staff and clients at events in different Kentish venues. Held on a lovely early autumnal day in The Orangery at Turkey Mill, Maidstone, the latest occasion was a celebration lunch where directors and staff were joined by 120 clients and business associates. This marked not only their quarter century, but also the opening of a new Caxtons’ office at Turkey Mill. Guest speaker at the lunch was Ed Smith who was born and educated in Kent, then attended Cambridge University before playing first-class cricket for Kent, Middlesex and England. Sadly injury ended his career prematurely and he retired from professional cricket at the age of just 31. Undaunted, Ed discovered a talent for writing and is a published author of several books and writes for The Times, Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, The Sunday Telegraph, the New Statesman as well as other publications. He joined the BBC's Test

Match Special as a commentator for The Ashes series against Australia and during England’s tour of New Zealand provided ballby-ball commentary. David Gurton, a founder director who was instrumental in organising the celebration said: “Caxtons has weathered two recessions; grown the firm from 12 partners and 40 staff to more than 100 employees across Kent in Canterbury, Gillingham, Gravesend, Crossways and now Maidstone offices. We count ourselves extremely fortunate to have built an enviable and loyal client list, and our staff have been at the heart of that. We are very grateful to everyone for their support and loyalty and this is our way of saying a big thank you.” During the lunch, Caxtons organised a Champagne Draw at which guests and staff raised £660 for this year’s chosen charity, Heart of Kent Hospice.

£700,000 Hangar completed at Lydd Airport Director David Gurton and Associate Director Charlotte Bland were delighted to present a cheque to HOKH Chief Executive Sarah Pugh. Charlotte, who is head of Caxtons’ Social Committee said: “We were really pleased by the generosity of guests at our 25th Anniversary Lunch and delighted to pass this on to Heart of Kent Hospice. So many members of staff and guests at the lunch have faced illness with families, friends and colleagues. Many have been supported by the hospice movement, so this was a very personal - as well as worthy - cause for them.”

The 5th Asian Curry Awards 2015

Everest Inn executive chef Shanker Pandey was awarded “Chef of the year 2015 –South East England “by Asian Curry Awards.

For the last few years Everest Inn group has been awarded Best Restaurant in UK by Asian Curry Award. The restaurant was also the winner of Kent Invicta business award 2014. Over 800 leading Asian restaurateurs, VIPs and embassy dignitaries and celebrities gathered for a glittering gala dinner at the London Hilton to

honour the winners of Asian Curry Awards 2015 on Sunday 15th November. The awards are a joint venture organized by the Asian Catering Federation and the Federation of Bangladeshi Caterers. Designed to recognize excellence in the Asian catering industry, the awards encourage positive competition towards ever higher standards in the industry. In association with Noqu and the Asian Curry Club, the 5th Asian Curry Awards 2015 was hosted by TV presenter and Strictly Come Dancing winner, Natasha Kaplinsky. The evening’s entertainment included the spectacular Shiamak dance troupe and the renowned musician Shahid

Abbas Khan. Guests were treated to an exquisite menu from the awardwinning caterers, Madhu’s caterers of Southall, London In his keynote speech, the Asian Curry Awards’ Chairman Yawar Khan described the event as a “truly momentous occasion” and reported that this year’s awards had attracted record numbers of public nominations. Standing in for Pat Chapman, editor of the Cobra Good Curry Guide and chairman of the awards’ judging panel, who was unable to attend, fellow judge George Shaw reported “a strong industry trend towards more high quality, authentic, regional dishes, with a modern gastronomic twist and healthier, light options on menus.” For more details of the event and a complete list of winner, visit and

Work on a new hangar costing £700,000 has been completed at London Ashford Airport, at Lydd in Kent. The decision to invest in additional hangar space has been driven by a rise in business and general aviation traffic using the airport and a substantial increase in demand for extra aircraft hangar facilities. The new 29m by 73m unit has been built alongside existing hangars. The airport has spent £35m upgrading facilities over the past decade, including the installation of an instrument landing system, a new executive terminal with VIP facilities, improved passenger check-in and security, and a new departure lounge. The airport caters for a range of aircraft operations and provides extensive services, including air traffic control and navigational aids, an FBO with 24-hour operating capability, full terminal services and engineering and cargo facilities. In line with the airport’s policy of working with Kent-based suppliers whenever possible, the new 2,100sqm hangar was constructed by Civils Contracting Ltd, based at East Peckham, near Tonbridge. The news that London Ashford Airport has invested heavily in new hangar facilities comes at a time when it is undertaking preparation work for its multimillion-pound runway extension programme.

December 2015 - January 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



Colleges back call for funding boost Kent Association of Further Education Colleges (KAFEC) has welcomed calls for the Government to increase funding for professional and technical skills in Further Education (FE). The Higher, Further, Faster, More report, published by think tank Policy Exchange, has called on the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) to redirect £532m of funding from Universities towards FE Colleges. The report highlights that the country’s Higher Education (HE) sector currently holds £12.3bn of discretionary reserves in its coffers at a time when the funding gap between FE and HE has been getting wider. In stark contrast to the relatively healthy finances of the HE sector, the National Audit Office, the body responsible for scrutinising public spending for Parliament, has reported

that one in four of the entire FE College network in the country face bankruptcy within a year. KAFEC champions the FE sector in Kent, which is responsible for training more than 73,000 students at the colleges of Ashford, Canterbury, East Kent, Hadlow, Mid Kent, North Kent, and West Kent. Graham Razey, Chairman of KAFEC, and Principal of East Kent College, said: “We welcome a greater focus on the funding of the FE sector and the importance of developing the skills of our young people. “As the Government wrestles with the difficult challenge of getting our

national debt under control, the FE sector has seen significant, some would say savage, cuts. “If the Government is to achieve its welfare into work strategy and tackle the skills gaps in many of our technical industries, it must make the training of the current generation a national priority. It needs to rebalance the funding of training to post-19 years.” The report highlights that since the introduction of tuition fees in 2009/10, HE has seen an overall rise in income of 26 per cent, while FE Colleges have seen funding fall, with the adult skills budget being cut by 24 per cent during the same period.

Graham Razey added: “The Government wants to improve skills, create three million Apprenticeships, and boost the Maths and English performance of school leavers. To do this it needs to ensure the FE sector is properly funded and recognised alongside education for post-16 year students and those at HE institutions.” The report also called for FE to be treated as equal to HE, with student loans being extended to FE students aged 19-24 years and maintenance support being introduced in the sector. Currently advanced learning loans are only available for learners aged 24 and over, studying for a Level three or four qualification.

North Kent's new co-working space and venue for hire No.34 High Street is Sittingbourne's new creative business space supporting local creative and digital start-ups and entrepreneurs. We offer:

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• Low cost desk space all week from £99 per month • Free wifi and access to our business support programme

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ThinkingBUSINESS December 2015 - January 2016


Helping young people with life-changing opportunities

As Academy Manager of 3aaa’s Maidstone office, Trayciegh Hendy has a demanding but rewarding job.

Trayciegh Hendy

Apprentices benefit from highly interesting and motivational training in superb educational environments, equipped with industry standards and networks.

3aaa is a training provider specialising in the delivery of apprenticeships such as technology, web and social media, digital marketing, accountancy, financial services and business administration. It is a national company offering a local service in more than 40 locations across England, driven by a desire to work with employers to help young people to find a pathway into the career of their dreams and the Maidstone office specialises in IT placements with companies across Kent. Trayciegh said: “My working day begins at 8.30 but, in truth, is a 24 hours a day job because we are such a big company. “The first thing I do is check my emails, which is important because we deal with Government funding and need to make sure that our compliance is up to date. “I am office-based and the job can be very varied. One moment I can be recruiting, another interviewing, another sorting out problems. No two day is the same.

“What drives everything we do is quality. We are not just about bums on seats, we are looking for young people who want to learn. “That means talking to them and ensuring that, when they are placed, they gain experience not just of the job but of the social side of work, how to behave. My job, and that of my team, is to ensure that both company and young person benefits from the experience.” That reputation for quality has allowed the company to grow rapidly. Founded by Peter Marples and Di McEvoy–Robinson in 2008, 3aaa places a huge emphasis on employing high-quality staff with experience of industry so that they can deliver outstanding programmes. Indeed, 3aaa was recently praised by Ofsted, which said in its report: “Apprentices benefit from highly interesting and motivational training in superb educational environments, equipped with industry standards and networks”. They also commented that the trainers and assessors are inspirational.”

To ensure that happens, the company’s Recruitment Executives work closely with partnering employers to understand the requirements of their business and help them to select the best possible candidate to suit their needs. Trayciegh said: “The Government is putting its weight behind the idea of apprenticeships and I think that people realise the wide range of apprenticeships that are available these days. For instance, we specialise in IT at Maidstone but that does not mean just placing the young people in IT companies. They can go to all sorts of businesses. “We are helping the young people get on the first rung of the ladder. There may not initially be full-time jobs available but apprenticeships allow them to gain experience and be ready to take advantage of opportunities when they arise. “Our apprentices are often buzzing about what they are doing and, although it can make for a long day, sometimes not finishing until after seven at night, it really is a very rewarding job.”

December 2015 - January 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



Unique partnership awarded for health check project A unique and innovative partnership that takes NHS Health Checks into the heart of Kent communities has been recognised with an award. The Health MOT Roadshow is a collaborative partnership between Golding Homes and Mitie, Wellbeing People, Kent County Council and Kent Community Health NHS Foundation. The partnership was presented the ‘Innovation in Partnering using TPC2005 Award’ at the PPC/TPC Awards 2015. Caroline McBride, Golding Homes’ Head of Community Development said: “Taking an adapted bus to shops and offices is a unique method to connect with hard to reach people. This innovative partnership has made this possible.” Mat Bishop, Director of Housing at Mitie, added: “This exciting project really shows the benefits of working in partnerships to deliver social value in an innovative way. We’re delighted to be involved and really happy with the results.” Ben McGannan, Managing Director of Wellbeing People said “This project simply would not be possible without any single partner. We’ve brought together public, private and not-for-profit sector organisations to solve a public health challenge. The initial results are encouraging and we’re looking forward to working on the next steps together”. The Health Check outreach programme provides a convenient, approachable and engaging way to have a NHS Health Check. The project aims to increase the detection of cardiovascular disease (CVD), especially in areas of deprivation. In addition, the programme provides referral pathways to locally commissioned services in order to enhance patient and service outcomes. The Health MOT Roadshow has successfully demonstrated the concept of tri-sector integration with regard to developing and operating a public health outreach project. Over 191 operational days, the Health MOT Roadshow delivered 1,384 NHS Health Checks, 4,405 Health MOTs, 103 referrals to the NHS Health Check programme and 563 referrals to locally commissioned services. 24.3% of NHS Health Checks and 29.6% of Health MOTs were carried out for individuals from deprived areas. By providing signposting and referrals to locally commissioned public health services to those requiring further support following a NHS Health Check or Health MOT, the Health MOT Roadshow is working not only to detect health problems but also to actively and directly improve health and wellbeing of the individual and the community at large. In addition to working directly to improve health and wellbeing in areas of deprivation, the project sets a model for collaborative working that can be extended and replicated in other settings. The PPC/TPC Awards 2015 were held in Oxfordshire on 15 October, and celebrate innovation and excellence in collaborative working.


ThinkingBUSINESS December 2015 - January 2016

Market research agency celebrates 30 years of success with top industry award Leading UK market research provider and local employer Facts International is celebrating once more after winning the Market Research Society (MRS) Operations Award for Best Data Collection in the Computer Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI) category, at a gala event held at Revolution in London. The judges were unanimous in their decision citing “Using an innovative in-house technical solution to guide interviewer probing, Facts International demonstrated how their highly-trained interviewers are able to gather more relevant and insightful verbatim.” The telecommunications centre which is now based in Henwood was established in 1985 and employs over 1000 professional interviewers from across the area. Interviewers range from young people currently attending local schools to seasoned long-service and B2B specialists, some of whom have been with Facts International for 20 years or more. Ashford resident and Telephone Operations Director Kerry Ovenden said “We are delighted to have been recognised as the best telephone interviewing providers in the industry and that our interviewing team has been given the reward they so richly deserve. We have worked incredibly hard over the last 30 years to build a reputation for

efficient, innovative work on an international scale and that would not have been possible without access to the professional skills that are available across Kent.” Managing Director Emily Kettle added “I couldn’t be more proud of everyone involved in the operation

of the telephone centre. It is our flagship service, employing local people who work tirelessly and professionally as brand ambassadors for our clients. I personally started my career as an interviewer in the telephone centre, so I am especially thrilled with this win.”

We Focus on You

The partners of Bowden & Lowe opticians, Tim Bowden and Elisabeth Lowe, opened their first practice in Gravesend (1983) and Herne Bay (1986). They now practise on Watling Street Gillingham (2006). The partners believe in putting their patients at the forefront of everything they do. They offer a full range of services including the use of the Optomap Twin Laser Retinal Screener. This allows a more extensive examination of the retina without the need to dilate the pupil, maintains a permanent record of what was seen and allows the patient to see what’s happening. A wonderful eye examination can be ruined by the quality of the spectacles supplied; therefore all spectacles are properly measured

and adjusted to ensure the best vision, fit and comfort. Contact lenses are their speciality including Overnight Vision Correction (OVC) and Myopia Control. OVC is a technique for short-sighted (myopic) people where lenses are worn only at night, allowing clear vision throughout the day, especially attractive to children as all activities are undertaken without worrying about their contact lenses. Evidence confirms that OVC with children helps reduce the

progression of myopia. The World Health Organisation considers the global increase in myopia an “epidemic.” High myopia increases the risks of retinal detachments, cataract, glaucoma and myopic maculopathy with associated personal and social costs. Most prescriptions can be fitted with contact lenses with ages ranging from 6 - 85. They also run Low Vision clinics for the severely visually impaired and Dry Eye clinics to improve ocular comfort.

We don't do R&D... Do we??

When Research & Development (R&D) is mentioned, most people imagine people in white coats in a lab surrounded by test tubes and Bunsen burners. However for tax purposes it is much, much wider than that.

R&D tax relief provides an additional tax deduction for costs incurred on certain development activities. It has been in existence since 2000, but since 2010 the benefits have been substantially increased, and from 1 April 2015 for every £1,000 spent on R&D by Small and Mediumsized Enterprise’s (SME’s), in addition to the normal tax relief for expenditure, there is an additional £260 tax saving for profitable companies, or a £326 cash payment from HMRC if loss making. For larger companies, generally those with greater than 500 employees, the cash benefits are lower, but after 1 April 2013 there are currently two ways in which large companies may obtain relief. The relief is either claimed as an additional 30% deduction for qualifying R&D expenditure, or the new ‘above the line’ credit. The new credit is accounted for within operating profit (i.e. it will increase the accounting profit) rather than in the tax charge – as well as increasing the benefit to profitable companies (to 8%), it will make the relief more visible to the board and shareholders, and also provides for an 8% cash refund for non tax paying companies. For qualifying expenditure incurred on or after 1 April 2016, the only claim which can be made is for the new ‘above the line’ credit. A company can also be defined as large if it’s turnover exceeds €100m or it’s gross assets exceed €86m.

R&D includes any project that aims to achieve an advance in science or technology through the resolution of scientific or technological uncertainties, i.e. something that is new and difficult. The definition is therefore very broad and is likely to encompass some element of the work undertaken not just by technology companies but also a number of businesses in almost every other sector.

Examples of projects that would qualify are:

• Development of a new, bespoke software system for the business (either with or without assistance from a software development firm) • Development of a new, or appreciably improved, product • Design and implementation of a new process

R&D claims are commonly made by businesses in the engineering, pharmaceutical, software development, manufacturing and biotechnology fields, but successful claims have also been made by some of our architect, design engineers and construction clients too

The benefits of R&D tax relief reduce the cost of carrying out R&D in the UK but they are still very much under claimed, mainly due to a lack of awareness. It is estimated that only 20% of the businesses that could claim are actually claiming, and if you are part of the 80%, you are missing out on funding that your competitors may be benefitting from. Whilst HMRC have dramatically improved their processes to streamline R&D claims, it is essential to obtain the support of an experienced tax adviser, who is able to understand how the relief interacts with your commercial objectives and is able to work with you to arrive at the most effective way to obtain the relevant information. In many cases, as supporting documents are only required for the first claim, and every few years thereafter, you will be left with a process that enables you to make subsequent claims with only a high level review by your adviser.

Glen Thomas Tax Partner 31 St George’s Place Canterbury CT1 1XD Tel: 01227 464991 Email:

MHA MacIntyre Hudson is the trading name of MHA MacIntyre Hudson (Kent) LLP, a limited liability partnership, registered in England with registered number OC385090. A list of partners’ names is open for inspection at its registered office, 201 Silbury Boulevard, Milton Keynes MK9 1LZ. MacIntyre Hudson LLP which also trades under the name of MHA MacIntyre Hudson, controls MHA MacIntyre Hudson (Kent) LLP and is an independent member of MHA, a national association of UK accountancy firms. The term ‘partner’ or ‘partners’ indicates that the person (or persons) in question is (or are) a member(s) of MHA MacIntyre Hudson (Kent) LLP or a member, an employee or consultant of its affiliated businesses with equivalent standing and qualifications. Further information can be found via our website MHA MacIntyre Hudson (Kent) LLP is registered to carry on audit work in the United Kingdom and Ireland and is regulated for a range of investment business activities by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. MHA MacIntyre Hudson is an independent member of Baker Tilly International. Baker Tilly International Limited is an English company. Baker Tilly International provides no professional services to clients. Each member firm is a separate and independent legal entity and each describes itself as such. Baker Tilly UK Group LLP is the owner of the Baker Tilly trademark. MHA MacIntyre Hudson is not Baker Tilly International’s agent and does not have the authority to bind Baker Tilly International or act on Baker Tilly International’s behalf. None of Baker Tilly International, MHA MacIntyre Hudson, nor any of the other member firms of Baker Tilly International has any liability for each other’s acts or omissions.


Green technologies provide glimpse of the future

Businesses are being encouraged to do more to reduce the damaging effects of climate change.

At the heart of the drive towards a greener future are companies that are coming up with new ways to reduce waste and generate ‘green’ power. A number of technologies are attracting interest, not least the most established of them all, wind power, which continues to contribute to the nation’s energy needs.

Then there are biofuels, where the race to invent fuels that do not produce pollutants has created a new industry. Anaerobic digestion and biomass are also becoming more popular with companies investigating ways of turning organic materials into energy. Anaerobic digestion (AD), for example,

uses bacteria to break down waste to produce ‘biogas’, which can be used to generate energy. Its advantage is that the use of bugs means it is a natural process which lends itself as easily to back-yard concerns as it does to industrial-scale operators.

In the UK, more and more AD plants are being created and the same is true for biomass, where power stations generate power by burning waste wood and the likes of specially grown willow trees. Waste minimisation is also important. In addition to finding new ways of generating energy, many companies are experts in the reduction of waste.

Greener pastures - Utilitas Solutions on cuts to renewable energy

Businesses buying renewably-sourced energy have traditionally been exempt from Climate Change Levy (CCL), a tax on UK business energy use. Energy companies have typically compensated for this by charging more for “green plans”, meaning that, as a rule, they will be cost-neutral when compared with non-renewables. However, as of August 2015, electricity generated from most renewable and combined heat and power (CHP) sources is no longer CCL exempt. Some businesses may well have fallen into the


trap of buying green, only to find that they are now paying CCL, potentially making the cost of going green prohibitive for some. Combined with forecasted cuts of up to 87% to the Feed-In Tariff Scheme (FITS), a program which incentivises small-scale renewable energy production for business use, businesses

ThinkingBUSINESS December 2015 - January 2016

of all sizes may be deterred from seeking out methods to reduce their carbon footprint. Bearing in mind that the European Commission’s target is to achieve a 40% cut in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 levels by 2030, why is it becoming so difficult for businesses, which account for more than half of the UK’s overall energy consumption, to go green?

At this stage, it is too soon to say whether governments will offer a viable incentive to seek out green plans. In the meantime, Utilitas Solutions is on-hand to help. Our considerable experience in energy procurement means that, if there are cost-effective green energy plans still out there, we will find them.


Energy from Waste in Kent

By Diana Lock, Environmental Consultant, One Earth Resources Ltd.

Much of Kent’s domestic and business waste is used to generate energy from the items that people throw away.

Landfill sites are gradually being phased out and energy from waste (EFW) plants are the primary alternative to landfill with new facilities being developed across the UK. This change to the treatment of waste has resulted in a new, partially renewable, low carbon energy source for electricity generation which many regard as being more sustainable than fossil fuels. EFW is generated from rubbish that is not considered worthwhile (environmentally or economically) to separate and clean e.g. mixed plastics, food, paper and wood. This material is sent to an EFW facility to generate steam produced by burning the waste and turning it into electricity that can be used to heat businesses and homes. This process is carefully monitored and EFW combustion gases are treated prior to being released into the surrounding air though a stack. Emissions are measured on an ongoing basis and checks are also made by the Environment Agency to make sure that these comply with EU regulations. In Kent an integrated waste management facility is operated at Allington Quarry (near Maidstone) by Kent Enviropower Limited, a subsidiary of FCC Environment. This facility operates as an EFW plant but also acts as a waste transfer station for recyclable waste that has already been separated by householders and businesses through kerbside collections, recycling banks or commercial waste transfer facilities. Non-recyclable waste is used to produce electricity which powers the plant and sends electricity to the National Grid. The plant at Allington can accept up to 500,000 tonnes a year of

waste from households and businesses for energy production. A further 65,000 tonnes of food waste and mixed recyclable waste are transferred to other sites for composting or additional separation. Waste is accepted at this facility from Kent and other areas in the South East of England. Source: Kent Enviropower. Another facility in the South East is the Newhaven Energy Recovery Facility which processes about half the household waste in the South Downs area (approximately 210,000 tonnes of waste per year). Other plants include the Selchp plant in South Bermondsey, London (operated by Veolia) and the Ardley EFW facility in Oxfordshire operated by Viridor. Energy from Tyres Energy can also be extracted from specific waste streams such as tyres. Since tyres were banned from landfill in 2003, this waste stream has found a new use. Shredded tyres are incinerated as an alternative fuel to coal in cement kilns resulting in a new highly lucrative industry. Instead of going to landfill, cement companies have been burning rubber tyres as part of the cementmaking process for 20 years. The landfill ban on tyres significantly accelerated this process. Companies such as Michelin, the world's largest tyre manufacturer, and Lafarge (formerly Blue Circle), the world's largest cement company teamed up to work together on this process through a venture known as Sapphire Energy Recovery. This company is responsible for shredding 1,300 tyres or 10 tonnes an hour for use in energy production. The consultancy Environmental Data Services (Ends) states that the UK

produced 475,232 tonnes of waste tyres in 2004. Of this, 34% was recycled, 26% reused, 15% burnt as a fuel, 7% exported and 6% buried in landfills. Source: The Guardian Combined heat and power Whilst the largest proportion of energy from waste is produced in the form of electricity, increasingly EFW companies are looking to directly use the heat generated from the burning process (known as combined heat and power). An example of this type of plant is the Slough combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Berkshire (acquired by SSE in January 2008) which is the UK's largest dedicated biomass plant, burning wood chips, biomass and waste paper. The plant supplies steam and hot water to local businesses. Source: SSE The environmental benefits from energy from waste versus landfill Climate change is a big factor to consider in any discussion about the benefits of energy from waste in comparison to landfill. Greenhouse gases would be released in different amounts depending on whether the same waste was burned or buried. As a rule of thumb the more efficient the EFW plant is at converting waste into energy, the less impact this process will have on the environment and climate change. In addition a higher renewable (biodegradable) content in residual waste makes energy from waste a better option than landfill. New technologies are now being developed which can transform waste into other energy products such as transport fuels or alternatives to natural gas. The UK Government offers a number of financial incentives to assist in the development of EFW technologies for energy, heat and fuel production which will help to achieve the Government’s aim to produce greater amounts of energy from the waste produced by homes and businesses.

References: 1. 2. newhaven-energy-recovery-facility 3. 4. travelsenvironmentalimpact.travelnews1 5. 6. business-and-commercial-waste

No cost energy efficiency?

Despite a clear business case and tangible benefits, upgrading energy hungry buildings is still often overlooked due to prohibitive upfront costs.

This lack of capital means businesses miss out on cost effective sustainability solutions, such as LED lights or on-site energy generation systems. This perceived ‘funding gap’ is particularly acute for independent businesses, especially in the retail, warehouse, distribution and logistics sectors. Increasingly, however there are funding packages which put these cost saving sustainability improvements within reach. You just need to know where to look and how to apply. The right funding package can make LED upgrades (and other sustainability programmes) free at the point of installation, with finance payments significantly less than the savings achieved. System costs and installation is paid from a proportion of the savings made, with the remainder going straight on your bottom line. This win-win delivers a free infrastructure upgrade – with ongoing benefits of lower cost energy bills into the bargain. Larger projects (£2m+) can be funded off balance sheet through an Energy Services Agreement (ESA). When considering an LED upgrade, there are three primary ESA requirements that will make investors more comfortable with your application. These are: granular energy data; a reliable technology proposal; and a reasonable credit rating accompanied by a detailed credit history. If accepted, an ESA will give you energy cost savings from day one. Smaller upgrades (starting at around £50,000) can be financed through a simple hire purchase arrangement. While on balance sheet, you will qualify for an Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) which provides a tax break on energy saving products. Good quality LEDs fall within this category. Businesses can currently count 100% of the value of the asset as a capital write down in the first year. Projects with smaller costs and lower savings, can apply for SME energy efficiency funding through our in-house package. This funds projects starting at £10,000. With the right help, costs shouldn’t be a barrier to sustainability. You just need to know where and how to put the finance in place. Andrew Shortis is Managing Director of Minimise Group.

December 2015 - January 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



Big business energy saving scheme could be an opportunity for smaller competitors, says Utilitas Solutions The Environment Agency’s Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme (ESOS), the compliance deadline for which is rapidly approaching. Organisations employing over 250 employees are obliged to review their energy use and devise more efficient, costeffective plans for the future. The long-term savings, in most cases, will outweigh the initial cost of hiring lead assessors to audit their energy consumption, meaning that large businesses could be getting a considerable leg-up on their smaller competitors. How, then, are businesses with fewer than 250 employees to take advantage of this? The answer is simpler than you’d imagine. External lead assessors, who will have been in extremely high demand over the past year, may well find that this demand lessens somewhat by February 2016. Smaller undertakings, therefore, are ideally placed to enlist their services, potentially uncovering comparable proportional savings at a reduced rate. Given that there is no obligation for smaller businesses to comply with ESOS, the auditing process can likely be streamlined and simplified as external lead assessors will not be reporting to the Environment Agency. It is entirely plausible that smaller businesses, rather than the larger ones, will benefit most from ESOS. Utilitas Solutions urges owners of businesses with fewer than 250 employees to get in touch for a free consultation. Our experience in the procurement industry and excellent track record allow us to analyse smaller enterprises’ energy consumption and find the best solutions for streamlining their energy plans.


Plenty of change as industry develops It has been over ten years since the first turbines appeared off Kent’s coast with the construction of Vattenfall’s Kentish Flats offshore wind farm in 2005.

At the time it was the largest wind farm in the UK and consisted of 30 turbines with an overall capacity of 90MW. So, what has changed in the intervening period? In short, there has been the development of an additional two wind farms, an extension to Kentish Flats, associated onshore development and the creation of a new supply chain of Kent businesses to serve this emerging industry. The first of the new wind farms, Thanet Offshore Wind, was built seven miles off Ramsgate. Its 100 turbines and 300MW capacity made it the largest offshore wind farm in the world when it was completed in 2010. That title is now held by the nearby 630MW London Array, which became fully operational in April 2013. Formally inaugurated by Prime Minister David Cameron, London Array is sited 12 miles off the north Kent coast in the outer Thames Estuary and features 175 3.6MW turbines. Together, these three wind farms off Kent’s coastline have 320 turbines and a capacity in excess of 1,000MW, putting their output on a par with many conventional power stations. The clean electricity they produce is enough to meet the needs of nearly 780,000 homes – equivalent to every household in Kent and Medway. The power from the wind farms comes ashore on the north Kent coast, where it is received at onshore substations before being fed into the national grid and transmitted along the 400kV pylon route that runs to London. Construction of the wind farms was an estuary-wide affair. Together, London

ThinkingBUSINESS December 2015 - January 2016

Array and Vattenfall had up to 120 vessels working on their respective projects, operating from ports on both sides of the estuary as well as mainland Europe. Whitstable, Ramsgate and Sheerness all played a part in this energy revolution, with local skippers contributing vital maritime knowledge and residents helping to build and then run the wind farms. Vattenfall and London Array continue to invest in their skills base locally and across the UK. The wind farms’ Kent teams play an important role in the industry and are now seen as some of the most experienced in the UK. Wind is a fast-developing industry and each offshore wind farm paves the way for the next generation of bigger projects. It is a close-knit industry with developers, manufacturers and specialist contractors working together and sharing the lessons they have learned. Many of the people who helped build the two Vattenfall wind farms subsequently worked on London Array. This growing expertise enables developers to tackle ever more ambitious projects while helping to cut costs and increase efficiency. Both Vattenfall and London Array are significant investors in Kent and the wider UK, and are committed to ensuring their approach to project procurement and investment supports local businesses to enter and prosper in the renewable energy sector. Ahead of construction, both companies held meet the buyer events to give local businesses the opportunity to bid for work. In the case of London Array, some 120 Kent companies are believed to have taken part in its construction and

maintenance. Vattenfall have also been a regular attendee (three years) in the Low Carbon section at Kent2020 at Kent Showground. It has also taken part in the Manufacturing Expo. Together, London Array and Vattenfall joined forces to sponsor the Kent Wind Energy website. This was established in partnership with Kent County Council and Locate in Kent to help the county’s businesses promote themselves to offshore wind developers and contractors. All three wind farms - including the extension at Kentish Flats - are now fully operational, bringing an end to the large scale activity seen during construction. However, local ports continue to benefit from this new industry, with Ramsgate housing offices and maintenance facilities for Vattenfall – owner of Kentish Flats and Thanet Offshore Wind – and London Array. Together the two companies employ over 200 local people. There are also significant other benefits for local residents. Vattenfall and London Array are actively engaged in the communities where they operate. Vattenfall, for example, have supported communities to enjoy a healthy way of life – from cultural and arts activities to sports and recreation, in addition to educational initiatives. London Array’s community programme extends to the area around its onshore substation at Cleve Hill, near Faversham, where in addition to establishing a community fund and an environmental fund there is an ongoing package of educational support for both local schools and individual students. This commitment to community relations dates right back to the start of construction – both invested a lot of time and resource into developing and maintaining close liaison with local stakeholders with the aim of achieving maximum safety and minimum disruption. The companies remain very aware of their responsibilities with regards the Kent shoreline and the wider Thames Estuary, ensuring the safety of other sea users and the local environment is not compromised. Kent now has ten years’ experience in offshore wind and both Vattenfall and London Array want the county to continue to benefit as much as possible from having this emerging industry operating in the area.


Vacant Property Security Solutions Vacant office space is becoming a huge issue within the City of London, a trend likely to be matched in most UK cities. KM Security Solutions have provided a case study on a recent project undertaken for a client whose vacant property was damaged by intruders taking over the building.

KM Security Solutions Case Study – Securing vacant property from intruders KM Security Solutions PLC secures a high end refurbished property in the heart of the West End of London for a well renowned client.

There are a number of risks and costs associated with vacant properties that can be mitigated against if preventative action is taken. Obvious threats are fire, theft and criminal damage which can be extremely costly. Damaged properties devalue significantly, and this in turn can affect the sale or lease value. KM Security Solutions PLC are experienced in dealing with issues arising from vacant properties and have provided a valuable insight into what you can do in order to protect yourselves from the risk of having intruders break into your property. Paul Stanger, Sales & Operations Director at KM Security Solutions says “in order to deliver a cost effective means of securing vacant premises, you need to combine electronic security and remote monitoring with key holding and response services. Our company’s fleet of vehicles and licenced officers would provide inspection visits, visitor escorting, and rapid response to an emergency, as well as remedial action. The electronic equipment can be installed as a temporary measure

using a battery electronic solution encompassing a range of CCTV and intruder alarm systems. It allows for rapid deployment and no need for expensive installation costs or remedial work to be done. There would be no need for power or phone lines to be used meaning that all utilities could be shut down, therefore saving costs. Furthermore, the systems could be linked back to our 24 hour Surveillance Centre for remote monitoring. We would also suggest a physical presence to patrol the building internally and externally to maintain the security integrity. Regular mobile inspections are a cost effective means of making would be intruders aware that the building has a security awareness and these visits could be performed throughout a 24 hour period. We believe it is necessary to undertake a risk assessment to identify the most cost effective method of securing the property for any potential client. It is usual that an amalgamation of physical and electronic security are required to appropriately secure the building.

One evening, our Security personnel, having just completed an external patrol of the property noticed that the lift was moving between the upper floors of the 6 story building. This was unusual because the building had recently been re-furbished and was unoccupied. Having gone to the 5th floor to investigate they were confronted at the lifts by 3 people, who when challenged, claimed that they lived there! Our Security personnel asked them to leave the premises but they declined to do so our staff returned to Reception to call the Police. The Police arrived and informed our personnel that the property had been ‘legally’ taken over by the “squatters”. The Police could do nothing about it and in fact asked our security personnel to leave the building and remain outside until a court injunction was gained by the owners of the property. The Police confirmed that as

long as one of the intruders remained in the building it was theirs and if anyone tried to regain entry whilst they were in situ they would be arrested for trespassing! Upon a full inspection by our team, it later transpired that the intruders gained entry by crossing the roof of a neighbouring property, breaking into the 5th floor of the building via the fire escape door. We decided to place a Security Officer on the outside of the building to observe the situation and after 2 days, the intruders finally left the building. This allowed us the opportunity to regain control of the property and re-secure it with additional manpower and trained dog-handlers. In summary, when a property has been either totally vacated or is newly built or refurbished and is completely empty of tenants it is very prone to being invaded by squatters and in most cases it can take up to a week to get a court order to remove them. The damage caused in this case would extend to over £50,000 to be spent by the landlord in rectifying. It also left them with concerns about the security integrity of this property in the future. KM Security Solutions were there to advise them of the best course of action, having experienced this before.

Our security solutions are tailor-made to our customers’ needs and are totally adaptable to the size and sector of your business. We’ll listen carefully to all your requirements and carry out a full risk assessment as we create the right security solution for you. We have experience of working with a wide range of sectors including education, media, finance, managing agents, hospitality and construction. For a free risk assessment of your vacant property call us on 0800 468 1900 or visit our website

December 2015 - January 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS





ThinkingBUSINESS December 2015 - January 2016

Breathing new life into some of the UK’s most challenging sites As the UK economy continues to recover and the population rises, the need for development will rise with it, particularly when it comes to housebuilding.

Responsible for planning the company’s significant growth aspirations is Sally Pearson, the recently-appointed Director of Business Development, who is optimistic that the demand for the business’s service will grow rapidly.

That means the requirement for land will never be greater but also that the desire to protect the green belt will persuade developers to increasingly look at previously-developed sites which need to be cleaned up and brought back into use. That is where a company like the fastgrowing Kent-based KKB Group comes into its own, using its expertise to restore some of the country’s most challenging sites.


We have very ambitious plans for growth which would see the remediation business grow substantially over the coming years. I think that with the increasing need for land to develop, and the range of specialist skills that we have built up, you can see our business continuing to grow for the next 25-35 years.

Responsible for planning the company’s significant growth aspirations is Sally Pearson, the recently-appointed Director of Business Development, who is optimistic that the demand for the business’s service will grow rapidly. Sally started out her career as a civil engineer, an interest that began when she worked as a Saturday Girl helping an engineering company to prepare its tender documents. Having started out her full-time career as a Highways and Drainage Projects Engineer at Dartford Borough Council, Sally proceeded to gather experience with some of the engineering industry’s biggest names, working her way up to a Director position for a tier 1 Contractual organisation. After studying civil engineering, she gained her IEng and later became a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. In the late summer of 2015, she took on her latest challenge, coming to work for KKB Group with her initial focus being to drive growth within the KKB Remediation sector of the group. Based in Rochester, Kent, KKB Group has built its reputation on providing niche services to the construction, recycling and regeneration sector. For more than twenty years they have been providing practical solutions for the development of brownfield sites, everything from surveying to land remediation, waste recycling,

aggregate production, civil engineering and plant hire. Their experienced management team is supported by a range of technical experts, surveyors, chemists and a team of operatives all of whom carry CPCS or CSCS qualifications. For Sally, that range of skills among the 80-strong workforce is crucial. She said: “Our strength as a Group is that we combine a series of specialisms, ranging from remediation work to recycling, demolition, civil engineering and plant hire. “That range means that we can offer a unique service either to the companies who contract us to work for them or on the sites that we own ourselves as part of our land bank and wish to bring forward for development. “With the growing desire to protect the green belt there is a real need to bring back sites that have previously been used, especially as the economy recovers and the requirement for more housebuilding increases. “We work on a variety of sites, not all of them are contaminated and include a fair mix of brownfield and greenfield”. “Because we have specialists in many areas, everything from bio-remediation to sorting rubble and removing asbestos to larger earthworks and infrastructure works, we know that our market segmentation will grow in the years to come.”

Typical of the projects the company undertakes was the redevelopment of the Unwins Depot in Dartford, Kent. The 2.4-hectare site was being regenerated by the HCA to create a mixed-use development of retail outlets, business units and housing. KKB Remediation Limited was commissioned to remediate several hotspots contaminated with hydrocarbons and excavation of the hotspots involved the breakout and processing of 15,000 cubic metres of concrete slab and foundations. KKB Remediation excavated to a depth of 1.5m and removed the upper 500mm of contaminated material for on-site screening, sorting and treatment using cement stabilisation. The remediated material was redeposited. which involved installing a 250mm crushed concrete cap over the site and 250 cubic metres of contaminated groundwater was pumped to an on-site treatment facility where it was cleaned using an oil-water separator, sand and carbon filters. Sally said: “We are always on the lookout for parcels of land that could benefit from our remediation skills and knowledge of the regularity process. We are licensed by the Environment Agency to establish mobile treatment facilities for ex-situ and in-situ remediation and we are

able to provide expert advice and value-engineering to ensure the most suitable and cost-effective remediation methodology is used. “We are also in the process of a major recruitment drive in line with our growth plans with the emphasis of employing local people. We have also inwardly invested in buying more of our own plant which allows us flexibility and cost savings back to our clients making us more commercially competitive.” “We are already carrying out work all over the UK, including into Scotland, and into Europe as well. Our view is that if we have a good client we will support and follow them where the work is and we are certainly looking at more projects abroad. “We have always had a very strong belief in collaboration. For us, the best way to work is to develop strong partnerships with other companies. It is all about creating and maintaining relationships.” Sally is currently executing the first phase of the company’s growth strategy and said: “We have very ambitious plans for growth which would see the remediation business grow substantially over the coming years. “I think that with the increasing need for land to develop, and the range of specialist skills that we have built up, you can see our business continuing to grow for the next 25-35 years.”

December 2015 - January 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS


KKB Group provides niche services to the construction, recycling & regeneration sector.

We deliver practical solutions for the development of brownfield sites,

from surveying to land remediation, waste recycling, aggregate

production, demolition, civil engineering and plant hire.

We are able to combine our technical expertise and knowledge of the

regulatory process with hands-on practical experience, to provide value engineered, innovative solutions allowing us to increase the value and

environmental performance of the regeneration process for our clients.

Head Office: KKB Group, Alpha House, Culpeper Close, Medway City Estate, Rochester, Kent, ME2 4HU Depot: KKB House, Arnolde Close, Medway City Estate, Rochester, Kent, ME2 4QW Tel: +44 (0)1634 717712 Fax: +44 (0)1634 717647 Web:

Services we provide: Remediation: • Bio remediation • Soil stabilization • Screen sort • Soil washing • Pump and treat • Asbestos remediation • Specialist demolition Recycling: • Asphalt • Concrete hardcore • Track ballast • Timber • Glass • Metals • Salt • Plasterboard

Civil engineering: • Ground works • Infrastructure • Foundations • Drainage • Utilities • Street lighting • Asphalt surfacing Plant Hire: • Excavators • Screeners • Crushers • Dumpers • Attachments • Stabilisation facilities • Loading shovels • Haulage


The Economy & Us: Peace dividends

“The Spartans, from their earliest boyhood, are submitted to the most laborious training in courage. We pass our lives without these restrictions, and yet are just as ready to face the same dangers… Our love of what is beautiful does not lead to extravagance; our love of the things of the mind does not make us soft. We regard wealth as something to be properly used, rather than as something to boast about.” Pericles’ funeral speech for the fallen, Athens, 430 BC

Thus Pericles describes the culture of his people: frequently at war, yet enjoying – and using – the fruits of peace. These values have inspired many in the West, including Britons. Maybe, with both the world’s rich and the world’s poor keen to live here, we’re doing something right. And yet, with the tide of international violence rising again, how sustainable really are these peace dividends? The distinguished World War II veteran Laurens van der Post, later an adviser to Margaret Thatcher, wrestled like many to assess how far Europe’s descent into mayhem could really be attributed to one demented German. He concluded the catastrophe was also down to “how the rest of us lived what we chose to call the Peace”. Today, for example, whilst the government boasts the ‘triple lock’ on state pensions, from 2009/10 to 2013/14 local authority spending on social care for older people fell in real terms by 17%, even as the number aged 85 and over rose by almost 9% (source: Kings Fund). With the new ‘living wage’ most care homes will struggle and many must close, turning their residents into NHS patients - at triple the cost of care.

Likewise, whilst keen to cut tax on the highest incomes, our government sought deeper in-work benefit cuts for just those ‘hard-working families’ that the Prime Minister (and Pericles) praises. Only intervention by the House of Lords has confined this to some 'universal benefits'. At the national level, the ONS calculates 134,000,000 days lost due to sickness in 2014 (2013: 132m), i.e. 4.4 days per worker, annually. In contrast, days lost to labour disputes since 2009 have averaged 603,000pa, i.e. 0.02 days: so, sickness directly impacts the economy 220 times more than labour disputes! Compared with the planned legislation to restrict unions, it should be blindingly obvious that a well-publicised campaign for citizens to take better care of themselves is a far greater priority. As with reduced drink driving and smoking, this just requires us to redirect some of the advertising heft that has hooked us on salty, fatty, sugary processed foods. Pericles describes a society at ease with itself, the goal of former Prime Minister John Major, where those in charge show care for those in need – not, as one Minister of Health wrote in youth: “I hate the ugly, hate the old, I hate the lame and weak”. He later predicted “rivers of blood”, potentially a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Arguably, do-as-you-would-be-done-by is not only our healthiest domestic policy, but our most sustainable foreign/military policy, too. And in our economy, what might UK productivity become if our government shed the austerity ethos of Spartan public schools, regarding wealth instead as “something to be properly used” – for the good of all?

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

December 2015 - January 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



Hotel maintains its Midas touch with latest results Ashford International Hotel is celebrating again after achieving another VenueVerdict Gold Standard Accreditation for the third quarter of 2015. The latest results by BDRC Continental, the UK’s largest independent research consultancy, show how Ashford International Hotel continues to uphold its reputation for delivering memorable experiences, inspired by its conference and events customers. The Gold Standard Accreditation is the highest tier a hotel can achieve from VenueVerdict and is based on how likely event hosts are to recommend a venue for a conference or event. Veronica Kingham, at Ashford International Hotel said: “VenueVerdict gives us valuable insight into our customers’ journeys with us, helping us measure and understand their experiences, so that we can continue to improve our approach, inspired by their feedback. “We are delighted to maintain yet another VenueVerdict Gold Standard Accreditation this quarter, reflecting our focus on consistency and offering the very best to our conference and events customers, who visit us time and time again and recommend us to their peers.” Other QHotels venues receiving the VenueVerdict Gold Standard Accreditation in Q3 are: • Forest Pines Hotel & Golf Resort • The Cheltenham Chase Hotel • The Midland • The Nottingham Belfry • The Oxford Belfry • The Stratford • The Westerwood Hotel & Golf Resort • Belton Woods James Bland, Director – Hotels and Hospitality at BDRC Continental, said: “QHotels has maintained its strong performance this year and it’s clear that the feedback we collate for them from their customers is integral, helping the group to continually review and enhance its conferences and events offering. “VenueVerdict gives hotels and meetings venues impartial and independent insight that we hope will help them assess customer experiences, and help them go on to deliver service of the highest standard.”


ThinkingBUSINESS December 2015 - January 2016

Designer Outlet expansion approved by Ashford Borough Council Ashford Borough Council lapproved plans to expand the Ashford Designer Outlet Centre. The 100,000 sq ft extension will add 40 new stores, six restaurants and cafes as well as creating up to an additional 700 jobs. This is the first expansion since the centre, designed by Sir Richard Rogers, opened in 2000. The plans include the largest vertical ‘green wall’ built in the UK. The existing outlet comprises 90 stores and currently attracts nearly three million visitors a year. The expanded outlet centre has the potential to further Ashford’s international appeal, while creating stronger links to the station and having an offer that complements the town centre with different, branded retailers. Phase two is planned to open in 2018. The expansion will look to create the next generation of designer outlet, reflecting the quality of flagship McArthurGlen Designer Outlets in Continental Europe, taking the customer experience to a new level, bringing in exciting new brands, as well as café and restaurant concepts.

The expansion will create jobs, benefit the economy and establish it as a major shopping destination with several million more visitors a year predicted. Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council, said: “The expansion will bring an additional 40 stores including more of the best names in luxury, premium and designer fashion as well as creating a further 700 jobs, enhancing the whole shopping

experience and providing stronger links with the town centre.” Gary Bond, McArthurGlen’s Managing Director of Development, said: “With many major brands wanting to open at Ashford Designer Outlet, we are delighted to have obtained the support of Ashford Borough Council to deliver an even more compelling shopping experience to our customers in the Kent and London areas and the substantial number of tourists who visit.”

Accolade for Garry

Garry Evans, of Sittingbourne-based electrical contractor AS North, was recognised as one of the first Energy Efficiency Advisors (EEA) during a ceremony held in Sevenoaks. The EEA badge is awarded to individuals within a Electrical Contractors' Association (ECA) company and gives clients more confidence that they will benefit from expert knowledge on how to boost their energy efficiency, reduce their businesses carbon footprint and save money too. The ECA represents the best in electrical engineering and building services in the UK and the aim of the new ECA Energy Efficiency Advisor scheme is to help its members, many of whom already have extensive practical expertise with cost-effective energy solutions. AS North specialises in First class industrial electrical testing and installation services and was

established in 1952. It is a thirdgeneration family business that embraces the constantly changing electrical industry to offer its clients expert knowledge and advice through experience. The Energy Efficiency Advisor accreditation began earlier this year, and is being run by Schneider Electric alongside the ECA across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. One of the first businesses to benefit from AS North's accreditation was Reads Restaurant in Faversham. Owner Rona Pitchford said "The energy efficiency survey carried out by Garry from AS North highlighted a number of ways we can reduce our energy consumption.

We are implementing a number of initiatives as part of our ongoing maintenance programme.” Hannah Evans, Managing Director at AS North Ltd, said: “Getting Energy Efficiency Advisor is a great achievement for Garry and a great benefit for my company and its clients in order to help make significant cost savings through better use of energy at the premises, whatever type of commercial operation they have.”


Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce signs Insolvency memorandum to support the University's Practitioners; their value to Hub for Innovation & Enterprise The University of Kent have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce to support the University’s Hub for Innovation & Enterprise (HIVE).

(Left to right) Carole Barron, Director of Innovation & Enterprise and Jo James, Chief Executive of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce

Based at the Canterbury Innovation Centre (CIC), HIVE is the University of Kent's dedicated hub for student entrepreneurship, start-up support and incubation. This strategic support was originally launched in the University in 2004. Carole Barron, Director of Innovation & Enterprise said: ‘The University has a long standing relationship with the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce

and I am delighted they have committed long term support for our entrepreneurs. The Chamber is ideally placed to connect our students with Chamber entrepreneurs, help them tap into vital funding available to start-ups and offer a suite of hands on workshops’. Jo James, Chief Executive of the Chamber said: ‘We are delighted to sign this long term Memorandum of

Understanding to show our commitment to supporting the University’s student and staff entrepreneurs. The MoU builds on our existing relationship by offering further support to entrepreneurs wishing to start-up a business’. HIVE is supported by two key strands - Student Enterprise to support students with their entrepreneurial ideas and Start-Up for potential business owners looking to take their innovative ideas forward. Since 2010, HIVE has launched 86 new businesses who have progressed on to recruit 146 staff and make a £4 million impact to the economy. 69 HIVE start-ups have been students and alumni whilst 17 have been academics looking to commercialise their research and in some cases spin a business out of the University. Working with over 440 students during 2015, student enterprise and entrepreneurship is a growing attraction for students keen to explore alternative career paths.

Law firm Furley Page celebrates excellent results in the legal 500 rankings Kent law firm Furley Page is celebrating an excellent set of results in the annual rankings published by The Legal 500 UK Awards 2015, a top independent national guide to excellence in the legal sector. Furley Page is recommended in 11 practice areas, while seven outstanding individual performances over the past year are also highlighted, compared to four lawyers who were named in the 2014 rankings. The seven recommended are David Hall and Jeremy Ferris (real estate - property litigation), Andrew Masters (employment), Aaron Spencer (charities and not-for-profit; and also for his work in personal tax, trust and probate), and Harvey Barrett, Nicola August and Sarah Bogard (all personal tax, trust and probate).

The Legal 500 has elevated Canterbury-based David Hall, Partner and Head of Property Dispute Resolution at Furley Page, into the elite ‘Leading Lawyers’ list. In announcing this personal achievement, the guide comments “David brings a lifetime of experience to cases, and sees matters from many different angles”. Furley Page is recommended in the practice areas of corporate and commercial, commercial litigation, debt recovery, employment, professional negligence, agriculture and estates, commercial property, and property litigation. Also highly

rated are the private client teams specialising in personal injury, charities and not-for-profit, and personal tax, trust and probate.

the UK economy

Vince Green, a licenced insolvency practitioner and a partner of Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells-based accountancy firm, Crowe Clark Whitehill, has commented on the findings of the insolvency trade body R3, The Association of Business Recovery Professionals.

Vince explained that often Insolvency Practitioners are subjected to adverse media coverage and poor public perception due to articles in the media regarding the closure of businesses resulting in redundancies, or ‘pre-pack’ sales of businesses. However, he is keen to report on the positive achievements of the profession, supported by a recently published report by R3. Contrary to popular belief, there have been substantially fewer insolvencies in recent years than expected, with business failures reducing by 30% between 2009 and 2014 (26,000 down to 18,000), with a significant number of other companies avoiding insolvency altogether as they worked with insolvency practitioners to work through financial difficulties. It is reported that in 2013/14 the insolvency profession rescued around 6,700 businesses (41% of formal insolvencies) through formal insolvency procedures, saving around 230,000 jobs, while another 3,700 businesses continued operating after informal advice, employing around 310,000 people after receiving the advice. Vince, who has more than 39 years’ insolvency experience, stated that in his day to day work he regularly sees the human cost of business failure and that, as in most things in life, the sooner advice is sought the greater the options available and the likelihood there is of a business rescue. In Vince’s experience directors often continue with struggling businesses in the belief that liquidation is the only option. Once they have spoken to an insolvency practitioner, they are often surprised that there are other options which include Company Voluntary Arrangements and Administrations which can lead to the continuation of the business or leading to a sale of the business as a going concern. There are approximately 1,750 insolvency practitioners in the UK, of which there are about 20 based in Kent. CCW Recovery Solutions is part of Crowe Clark Whitehill Chartered Accountants and they have local offices in Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells. The local Insolvency Practitioners and partners are Vince Green and Mark Newman.

December 2015 - January 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



Wellbeing symposium event says ‘time for talking has come to an end’ A packed room of delegates heard from key speakers at the Wellbeing Symposium, about how health and wellbeing is an essential topic of debate that needs action as society is confronted with challenging questions that continue to grow. The UK’s leading event dedicated to health and wellbeing for work and the individual returned for its fourth year to debate the latest trends and topics and was headlined by Baroness Tanni GreyThompson, Paralympic champion, Lord Hunt shadow health spokesman from House of Lords and Eve Pollard, Fleet Street legend. Lord Hunt, who is also President of the Royal Society for Public Health, said: “Wellbeing needs to be the focus of everything we do together. Health and wellbeing has been talked about for years; the time for talking has come to an end.” Baroness Grey-Thompson delivered an inspiring headline speech about her career as Britain’s greatest Paralympic athlete and her current role in the House of Lords. She said: “Sport helps you figure out your strengths and weaknesses and I apply what I learnt as an athlete in my new role, it’s the same rules, just a different game.” The Question and Answer panel, chaired by Eve Pollard OBE, former newspaper editor and trustee of charity Wellbeing of Women, identified how

empowerment, collaboration and motivation are essentials to helping society as a whole improve its responsibility and actions towards its health and wellbeing. The morning plenary session was rounded up by Roger Gough, KCC Cabinet Member for Education and Health Reform who finished by saying, “No one has the answer in full, wellbeing is down to all of us.” As the morning came to an end, the day moved onto the line-up of eight workshops and the exhibition opened to the public with its interactive health zone. Ben McGannan from organisers, The Wellbeing People, said: “We aspire year on year to put on an event that is bigger and better each time. We certainly delivered that this year with a great line up of speakers.” Canterbury Christchurch University were a key sponsor of the symposium. The fifth wellbeing symposium date for 2016 is 16th November. For blogs and news updates following the symposium, please visit:

Sport helps you figure out your strengths and weaknesses and I apply what I learnt as an athlete in my new role, it’s the same rules, just a different game.

National Recognition for Chamber

Kent Invicta Chamber celebrated National recognition for its excellent work in supporting its Members at the British Chambers of Commerce Awards held at the Brewery in London on the 26th November. Of the 54 Accredited Chambers across England, Scotland, Wales & Ireland, Kent Invicta came a very respectable third. This is the second year running that the Chamber has been shortlisted for the Excellence In Membership Services category and is a testament to the excellent work that the Chamber

does on behalf of its Members and the wider business community in Kent & Medway. Jo James, Chief Executive said, “We were delighted and very proud to be shortlisted, particularly when you look up and down the County at the Chamber network and the excellent work that is going on on behalf

of the Business Community. We will continue to develop the support that we offer to our members and who knows, next year we could be first. I do feel we have a perfect mix, a great team of people, a wide ranging support package for business and importantly, a fantastic membership who make Kent Invicta the active Chamber it is.”

December 2015 - January 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



The Stop Hunter are Finalists at KIT Awards 2015 A fabulous night was had by all at the KIT Awards 2015 held at The Great Danes Hotel in Maidstone, Kent. The Stop Hunter were thrilled to be attending the black tie event after reaching the finals in the 'Start Up Business of the Year' category. The fourth annual Kent Independent Traders Awards, sponsored by The Federation of Small Business, were hosted by founder Hilary Steel, and are a celebration of the entrepreneurial businesses thriving in Kent. Hilary said: “We had over 50 entries in some categories this year, so just reaching finalist status is a great achievement. We have seen winners from previous years go on to achieve incredible things, and looking at the standard of entrants, I’ve no doubt that this year is no exception.” Although disappointed not to win the 'Start Up' category, Clair Hoad, Commercial Director at The Stop Hunter said “We were so thrilled just to be shortlisted, as we are such a new business. It was a fabulous honour and justification for all the sleepless nights and hard work we’ve put in so far. “We’ve achieved so much already: established the brand, written and delivered training courses, built a website, built partnerships with a major City broker and Christ Church University. Our clients across Kent are already trading the financial markets and making money. The last few months have been a bit of a whirlwind, but so exciting, and for our achievements to be recognised is fantastic!”


Maidstone provides solution for expanding Blackbox A rapidly-expanding provider of cost-cutting office equipment and services is relocating its Kent headquarters after outgrowing its current premises. Blackbox Solutions, which provides a wide range of copy, print, scan and IT hardware/software and support, is moving from Medway City Estate to The Old Printworks, in Maidstone town centre. The new offices will provide a base for all of Blackbox Solutions’ Kent-based sales, servicing and client support staff. It will also include a drop-in print, scan and copying service. The offices are undergoing a major re-fit and are expected to be completed by December. Colin Griffin, Managing Director of Blackbox Solutions, said: “When we started three years ago we were certain that businesses would recognise the various benefits of our offer, which provides them with the most cost effective and efficient copying/print and IT solutions for their needs. “By delivering on this promise, and backing it up with reliable and responsive support services, we’ve experienced in excess of 100 per cent growth every year. We now have a client-base of 170 businesses across the South East - built largely

thanks to word-of-mouth from satisfied customers - and demand continues to grow. “With our new Maidstone office we’re now well-placed to meet this demand. All 16 members of our Rochesterbased staff are coming with us and we will be looking to recruit additional staff in Maidstone.”

Blackbox Solutions offers businesses a flexible and full-turnkey solution for all their print, copy and computer networking needs, tailored to meet their individual requirements. For more information visit

Tudor Oak Chairs and James Bond

Craftsmen-built, hand-made chairs by the Kent-based bespoke furniture maker Tudor Oak will receive global exposure when they appear in the new James Bond film, Spectre. Dedicated to making luxury furniture for more than 45 years, the master craftsmen at Tudor Oak produce finest oak furniture of all styles, as well as a range of period oak doors, windows, solid flooring and other architectural joinery, all made to the finest standards and timeless in design. The company is proud to continue the British tradition of making bespoke, hand-made products, despite the ever-present threat of cheaper, mass-produced competition. For Spectre, the team at Tudor Oak produced 40 of their best chairs and carvers, which appear in one of the central scenes of the film. Made to a traditional 17th Century “Early English” design, they feature turned underframes and are upholstered in the finest coffee brown hide. The designs were adapted to

ThinkingBUSINESS December 2015 - January 2016

an exacting specification provided by the film’s Oscar-winning Set Designer, Anna Pinnock. Tudor Oak Managing Director Sasha Kamenetski said:- “We were honoured to be approached by Anna with such an exciting and high-profile commission. “When the film’s production team announced that the furniture was needed in double-quick time, the whole company set to work to make sure we didn’t let them down. Along with everyone else playing a part in such a famous project, we were sworn to secrecy, so it’s fantastic to now be able to talk openly about our links to the famous James Bond brand. Who knows, maybe, one day, Tudor Oak furniture will become as synonymous with high quality and tradition as Bond’s Aston Martin and his love of all things British?

“I would like to personally thank everyone involved in this project, and especially our 2nd Year Apprentice Haydn Potter, for all the hard work and dedication they showed in delivering these chairs within the extremely tight timelines we were set. They are a credit to Tudor Oak and to themselves.”


Ask the Expert Q

How do you choose a recruitment agency? And why it matters.

Amanda Barnett Managing Director New Appointments Group

Many companies have a negative view of recruitment agencies, often as a result of a bad experience or because of what they have heard from others. However, there are many good quality recruitment agencies out there, providing valuable services to their clients. To increase your chances of finding these good agencies, here are a few things to consider when making your choice. First and foremost, how long has the agency been established and does it have a good reputation? Although a new or young agency should not be discounted automatically, a well established agency with a good reputation will be able to demonstrate a track record of delivering results. The recruitment industry is highly regulated and you must be confident that any recruitment agency you engage is compliant with the requirements of The Conduct Regulations, which regulate the UK recruitment industry. One way an agency can demonstrate this is through membership of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), the professional body for the UK recruitment industry. REC members must comply with the REC Code of Professional Practice, which lists statutory compliance, high ethical standards and good recruitment

practice amongst its key principles. REC members are regularly compliance assessed to ensure their understanding of the Conduct Regulations. Another criterion for selection is the agency’s approach to quality - is its service quality assured by an effective, customer focused quality management system? An agency may demonstrate this by having a system that is certified to ISO 9001, the international standard that specifies the requirements of quality management systems. In order to be compliant with the Conduct Regulations, agencies must conduct right-to-work checks on all temporary workers it supplies. Checks must be conducted in accordance with Home Office guidelines, which require the agency to have examined original documents at a face-to-face interview. Unless supplying temporary workers to work with vulnerable people, there is no legal requirement for an agency to obtain references on temporary workers, but some do, and this demonstrates a commitment by the agency to providing quality temporary staff with a proven work history. With compliance taken care of, you need to be confident the agency can find you the right people. How does an agency source its candidates? Where does it advertise the jobs it handles?

Does it utilise specialist jobs boards? The larger the pool of talent from which the agency can select, the more likely it is to submit suitable candidates. It is important that an agency takes time to develop a thorough understanding of a client’s business and culture in the early stages of the relationship. This enables the agency to identify candidates who will be a good fit for the client and the role it seeks to fill, and allows the agency to communicate quickly and effectively with potential candidates. Communication between agency and client must be maintained throughout the recruitment process and beyond, ensuring the successful candidate settles into their permanent position or temporary assignment and that both parties are happy. You may have noticed that I have yet to talk about price. This is not because it is a minor factor, but because price should always be seen in relation to what you get for it. There are many agencies that charge rock bottom prices. If you are considering using one, please also consider whether or not you will get everything, or indeed anything, I have mentioned here. With recruitment agencies, as with many things in life, you more often than not get what you pay for.

December 2015 - January 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



Getting Started Names:

Diana and Debbie

Company Name: Dom Education Group Start up Date:



Q1: Tell us a bit about your business? Two sisters - One idea Dom Education Group is Diana and Debbie - two sisters with some big ideas. It was Debbie's son who first embedded the concept of financial education into their minds. As a professional sportsman he needed some good advice on finances – quickly. It seems that school didn't teach this stuff. (84% of adults said they never received any financial education at school) By taking control, Debbie was able to secure his future, but she would have preferred it if he understood it for himself. Domeg was born; beginning its life as innovators in Financial Capability Training called Money Matters. Debbie soon realised that her own experience as a qualified advisor, banking experience and mortgage broker would work perfectly with those of her sister Diana. Diana was a compelling Training Course Developer & Quantity Assurance Manager with more than eight years in the field and a number of high profile courses under her belt.

Together they have built on Domeg's beginnings and developed courses to suit all age groups from primary school aged children through to those entering retirement. Q2: What gives your business ‘the x-factor’? With our combined skills ‘Finance’ & ‘Education’ we are on a mission to succeed to reduce future debt through education, confidence and money skills. We specialise in addressing the underpinning behaviours, confidence and practical skills to enhance financial capability. All our clients work is customised to meet their needs and wants. Q3: What motivated you to set up the business? Debbie’s experience as a mortgage broker highlighted how important financial habits are and how they can impact on your future life. We both have shared values in helping and supporting other people to better their life opportunities. Our aim is to empower young people (and older age groups) with financial capability to eliminate future financial exclusion. • 7 is the age we begin to form our financial habits • 50% of 17 year olds are in debt

• 95% of adults feel financial education should be provided in schools • 1 in 20 teenagers feel they do not have to pay back a credit card at all • £7,242 average debt 16-24 year olds • 37 is the average age of the first time buyer • 60+ age group were the highest group to seek debt advice in 2012/2013 (CAB) Q4: What do you like most about working for a start-up? Taking the best experiences of over 50 combined years of working in commercial, corporate companies. • Ability to adapt at short notice • Decision making and risk vs benefits • Flexibility - having a work/life balance • In charge of own destiny Q5: What has been your greatest business success to date? After 3 months marketing secured a large contract with a sports company with turnover of £319m

Q6: What has been your lowest moment? We have been fortunate with our clients and our business model has been well received. Being optimistic we can honestly say we haven’t had a low moment! Q7: In terms of business achievements, where do you want to be within the next 5 years? • Accredited Qualification Courses • Increase staff turnover to 15 • Expand overseas • Franchise possibility • Take on Apprentices Q8: What would be your top tip to someone thinking of starting up their own business? • Aim high – aim for big goals (with smaller milestones along the way) • Ensure you get your back office in place from the beginning • To keep set-up costs down use services on People Per Hour • Go the extra mile - be professional and exceed your clients expectations • Networking & follow up - always

December 2015 - January 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



Chamber Events, Seminars & Workshops Rising Stars Breakfast: Calling those in the Professional Services "Rising Stars" is the new networking support forum for rising stars in professional services within the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce.

Business Breakfast Details (unless otherwise stated): Time: 8:00am - 9:30am Non-Members: £20.00 + VAT Members: £15.00 + VAT An opportunity to put your business in the spotlight to highlight its products/services and how these can help other businesses. You will make new contacts and generate business leads, whilst sharing ideas, and experiences with like-minded business people. Join us for a delicious full English breakfast and lots of networking.

25 February 2016 Time: 8:30am - 10:30am Thistle Hotel Brands Hatch Brands Hatch, Fawkham, Dartford, DA3 8PE Non-Members: Members:

£20.00 + VAT £15.00 + VAT

To include tea/coffee and full English Breakfast. Sponsored by CWJ, BBR and Barnes Roffe LLP

Come and hear from Guest Speaker Deborah Turner from YOU Image Consultancy doing a short presentation on 'The importance of First Impressions & Personal Branding'. You will come away with an understanding of: • The Power of first impressions. • How to introduce your personal brand. • The key steps to personal appearance. • The impact personal image has. Rising Stars is aimed at non business owners and directors in the professions such as accountants, bankers, financial advisors, insolvency practitioners, solicitors and surveyors. This forum aims to help those destined for future leadership roles to develop their management and interpersonal skills, expertise and contacts so that they have the skills and peer group when they break through that glass ceiling!

Networking Lunch

Come and join us at The Kent Cookery School and enjoy a Tapas Style lunch.

14 January 2016 Sun Pier House Sun Pier House, Sun Pier, Medway Street, Chatham, ME4 4HF

During this lunch you will have the opportunity to see some cooking demonstrations from the staff whilst networking with other guests. Time: 12:00pm - 2:00pm Non Members: £25.00 + VAT Members: £20.00 + VAT

21 January 2016 The Marlowe Theatre 28-30 St Peter's Street, Canterbury, Kent, CT1 2BL 22 January 2016 Pembury Mercure Hotel 8 Tonbridge Road, Pembury, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN2 4QL

Afternoon Tea

28 January 2016 Basepoint Centres Ltd Folkestone Enterprise Centre, Shearway Business Park, Folkestone, CT19 4HR

4 February 2016 The Alexander Centre Trust The Alexander Centre, 15-17 Preston Street, Faversham, ME13 8NZ

11 February 2016 Chilston Park Hotel Sandway, Lenham, Maidstone, ME17 2BE 18 February 2016 The Spitfire Ground The St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury, Kent, CT1 3NZ 23 February 2016 Rare Breeds Centre, Highlands Farm, Woodchurch, Ashford, TN26 3RJ


14 January 2016 The Kent Cookery School Hythe Road, Ashford, TN25 6NH

10 February 2016 Hythe Imperial Hotel Prince's Parade, Hythe, Kent, CT21 6AE During the afternoon, we will serve you a selection of sandwiches, cakes and a scone with clotted cream and jam to go with your tea or coffee. Time: 1:30pm - 3:00pm Non Members: £20.00 + VAT Members: £15.00 + VAT

ThinkingBUSINESS December 2015 - January 2016


After Hours Time: 6.00pm - 7.30pm

The After Hours Club is a popular and highly successful 'casual' networking event. The informal atmosphere and relaxed environment is the ideal place to relax and chat to fellow business people. Come and join us for an evening of networking. Complimentary Tea and Coffee will be served. A Cash Bar is also available.

FREE to members and non-members

No booking required. Just turn up!

5 January 2016 Nucleus Business & Innovation Centre Brunel Way, Dartford, DA1 5GA •••

20 January 2016 Royal Wells Hotel 59 Mount Ephraim, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN4 8BE •••

2 February 2016 The Conningbrook Hotel Canterbury Road, Kennington, Ashford, Kent, TN24 9QR •••

5 January 2016 The Conningbrook Hotel Canterbury Road, Kennington, Ashford, Kent, TN24 9QR •••

26 January 2016 Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel Ashford Road, Hollingbourne, Maidstone, ME17 1RE •••

9 February 2016 Hythe Imperial Hotel Prince's Parade, Hythe, Kent, CT21 6AE •••

12 January 2016 Hythe Imperial Hotel Prince's Parade, Hythe, Kent, CT21 6AE •••

2 February 2016 Nucleus Business & Innovation Centre Brunel Way, Dartford, DA1 5GA •••

9 February 2016 The Farm House 97-99 High Street, West Malling, Maidstone, ME19 6NA •••

Take it to the Next Level : Enhance your offer and make it competitive 27 January 2016 Time: 08:30am - 11:00am Abbots Barton Hotel 36 New Dover Road, Canterbury, Kent, CT1 3DU Non Members: £20.00 + VAT Members: £15.00 + VAT Our experts will take you on a journey to better bids and tenders across these two activities. They will introduce you to techniques and winning methodologies that will ensure your business has the competitive edge when bidding for supply chain opportunities Each workshop is deliberately kept to a small number of attendees to allow each business the chance to bring their particular challenges or concerns to the table.

Further your skills and enhance your winning potential through these intensive practical workshops.

This tailored approach will deliver maximum return on investment and support the overall objectives of the “Winning Bid” initiative to see Kent & Medway businesses succeed. This event slots neatly into the business day and provides the ideal opportunity for you to meet fellow professionals, grow the profile of your brand and to build new business relationships.

10 February 2016 Royal Wells Hotel 59 Mount Ephraim, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN4 8BE ••• 11 February 2016 Best Western Coniston Hotel & Restaurant 70 London Road, Sittingbourne, ME10 1NT ••• 23 February 2016 Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel Ashford Road, Hollingbourne, Maidstone, ME17 1RE •••

New to Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce

Muesli Mafia Breakfast To provide an informal business 2 business networking breakfast in a congenial and relaxed atmosphere where local business people can get together, enjoy mutual fellowship, share their good news, views and discuss topics of mutual interest. Members are from all types of businesses. “The Meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances. If there is any reaction, both are transformed.” Carl Gustav Jung, The Aims of Muesli Mafia 28 January 2016 Time: 07:30am - 09:30am Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel Ashford Road, Hollingbourne, Maidstone, ME17 1RE Non Members: £20.00 + VAT Members: £20.00 + VAT

25 February 2016 Time:

07:30am - 09:30am

The Royal Wells Hotel 59 Mount Ephram, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN4 8BE Non Members: £20.00 + VAT Members:

£20.00 + VAT

To book either visit or email or call 01233 503838

December 2015 - January 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



Announcing No.34 High Street:

Keeping things green When it comes to caring for the environment, Bowden Digitec’s takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously.

a new business start-up space for North Kent

This month sees the launch of an exciting new flexible business space in Sittingbourne, backed by Swale Borough Council and the Spirit of Sittingbourne. No.34 High Street offers free and low cost venue hire and co-working space alongside a programme of business support, aimed at creative and digital business entrepreneurs and start-ups. Jon Pratty is the Creative Network Programme Manager for Ideas Test, the grassroots arts organisation running the space, with additional support from Kent County Council. He says: ‘We know there are quite a few people living in Sittingbourne and the surrounding area who are already working in the creative industries but have to travel to London to do that. ‘No.34 offers the space and the support - at competitive subsidised rates - to encourage those people to locate and develop their businesses in Sittingbourne, thus retaining skills locally and boosting the economic regeneration of the area.’ The business support on offer includes business development surgeries, ‘skills in a day’ events enabling people to develop their own websites and social media presence, and drop-in surgeries and hack events with creative industry business specialist Brian Condon. No.34 is also available to hire for meetings, events and so-working, with desk space all week starting at £99 per month, including free wifi and access to the business support programme. Jon continues: ‘‘We want to hear from local entrepreneurs and business people to involve them in discussions about what they feel should happen in Sittingbourne in order to meet their needs.’ Anyone interested in getting involved and finding out more should contact Jon at: , sign up to the Ideas Test mailing list at: and follow Ideas Test on twitter @ideastest #No34. For hire enquiries email


ThinkingBUSINESS December 2015 - January 2016

Bowden Digitec’s company cars are all electric vehicles which goes quite some way to reducing carbon emissions and general pollution in the area. As a keen recycler, Managing Director, Kevin Bowden, makes sure all paper, boxes, toners, parts, photocopiers and printers are recycled properly, through the international WEEE recycling system and makes donations to charity wherever possible. Bowden Digitec is committed to ensuring its products are as green as possible and seeks new ways, through its partners, Olivetti, for whom Bowden Digitec are a “Best for Colour” Dealer, and software

solutions providers YSoft, to enhance the printing experience for customers, developing initiatives that prompt them to think about what and how they are printing. Olivetti and YSoft’s Managed Print Services and Solutions provide a complete printing management model for a wide range of Olivetti’s mono and colour printers and multifunctional products (MFPs). This approach is designed to cost effectively meet companies’ entire printing needs. Olivetti devices offer low running costs, due to very low energy consumption, low fuser temperatures and environmentally

sound polymerised toner designed to improve print quality and reduce waste. The YSoft Safe Q5 system offers Rules-based Printing where customers can set rules such as restricting colour usage, printing emails in mono only, force duplexing or routing certain files to devices with a lower cost per print. Olivetti MFPs also feature a preview function that allows users to proof-read and approve the document on the machine’s operator panel before printing, rather than checking it as it comes out of the machine; ensuring that only the exact number of pages need to be printed for the job.

Company making progress J&N Refunds Ltd is making headway. Founded in 2012 J&N Refunds has started to pick up momentum and is growing rapidly through its loyal client base. Managing director Nathan Cotton founded the company after working for many years within Personal Taxation with the aim to provide a friendly approachable Taxation Company. J&N Refunds assists many industries from Construction, Armed Forces Personnel, Sports, Healthcare and many more to reclaim tax paid. This helps towards the cost of travel to multiple workplaces which dependant on mileage can be quite costly for many.

Nathan said: “There are many industries where relief would be available for travel, however workers across the UK are not aware of their entitlements and are losing out. When every penny counts for families in the UK, J&N Refunds aims to identify industries and inform individuals of what they are entitled, too. “Since the company was founded we have successfully reclaimed over £1 million and this will grow rapidly over the coming years.“ Nathan is proud to have grown a loyal client base, which is proved

through the amount of client referrals we receive. He said: “I am very pleased our clients have been more than happy to pass on our details and have been so impressed with the service they have received. J&N Refunds has entered a very exciting time, with continued growth and new office space we endeavour to always provide an excellent service which our clients will continue to shout about too their family, friends and colleagues. “


Belvedere firm backs apprenticeships Time enough Paula Roberts, a Belvedere-based company director, joined forces with MPs and apprentices in Parliament to back construction apprenticeships, who are essential to meeting the required 220,000 new workers it is estimated the industry needs in the next five years.

The Director of Swiftcure Limited, who specialise in Damp Proofing and Timber Preservation, attended the Construction Industry Training Board’s (CITB) I’m Backing Apprenticeships

campaign launch to hear from apprentices, employers and the Skills Minister on what can be done to increase the number of businesses and people starting apprenticeships.

Speakers at the event included Skills Minister Nick Boles and CITB Chairman James Wates. Paula said: “Apprenticeships are incredibly important to the success of Swiftcure and our industry as a whole, and I’m very happy to lend my support to CITB’s I’m Backing Apprenticeships campaign.” She was accompanied by Jack McCarthy and Sam Bellamy, two apprentices at Swiftcure Limited. Both youngsters are in their second year at college achieving their Level 2 NVQ in Maintenance Operations. Swiftcure who have been trading for almost forty years, are supporting their technicians and labourers through their Level 2 NVQ’s in Insulation and Building Treatments (Construction) Wood Preserving and Damp Proofing.

Plans for two million archive boxes in Sittingbourne The Document Warehouse (TDW), an international document management company who entered the UK marketplace in 2011, have relocated from Ashford to larger premises in Sittingbourne. The new records centre is 60,000 sq ft and can currently store 850,000 archive boxes. This is just the first stage as the new site has development potential to add another 100,000 sq ft and enable TDW to store nearly two million boxes for its clients. Document Management covers the whole lifecycle of business records from creation to destruction not just the storage of old business records. TDW helps advise many business in Kent as well as the rest of the country

on the whole document management process; starting with outsourced Mailroom services and scanning operations through document data capture, live file tracking, offsite document storage and completing the document lifecycle with secure document destruction. Ryan Hughes, Managing Director, said; “We are really excited to be able to offer our Document Management Services from our new facilities in Sittingbourne.”

Data Protection is regularly in the news with companies being fined large sums of money for Data breaches of customers’ personal information. Data breaches can increase the risk of ‘identity theft’, where a person’s data is used fraudulently - for example, to open bank accounts or take out credit cards. TDW new high security facilities include security fencing, CCTV, fingerprint scanning access control to ensure the security of businesses’ document and data.

for safety?

Business owners and directors ask yourselves a couple of questions. All businesses have to some degree to abide by health and safety legislation, do you fully understand what legislation is relevant to you and your business, and how do you deal with changing legislation Can you afford the cost of accidents to your workforce? They can really hurt your bottom line. Your professional and company image can be decimated if convicted of health and safety breaches, is this important to you? Invicta Safety was established to assist business owners and directors in meeting their statutory health and safety obligations, duties and establish procedures and policies which reduce accidents, which in turn saves you money and loss of productivity. Health and Safety doesn’t have to be complicated We usually start a project by carrying out an audit of your premises, policies and procedures (what we like to call the 3Ps). From the initial audit we produce an extensive report which clearly identifies compliance issues and recommends actions to be taken, we will then help you to achieve full legal compliance. We have systems and software which we can provide to make managing safety quick, easy, effective and cost efficient, allowing you to concentrate on your core business whilst we take care of your day to day safety requirements. For further information please visit

Do business owners need time to reflect? By Neil Williams I started NVW Solutions nearly 10 years ago to focus on supporting companies and individuals to get to wherever they want to get to. Success has many different definitions and is very personal. As a business coach or mentor I have the skills and also the experience to help them get there. So what have I found in the last decade? For smaller companies the owner doesn’t normally challenge themselves. They are an expert in their own field so why do they need support (coach) or advice (mentor).

Once I came out of corporate life I was astonished at how many excellent experts there are in the local area but as a small business owner you can’t be an expert at everything. If you are covering all of the operation yourself how much more could you be earning if you focus on what you are good at? To stop once a month or even once a quarter and reflect on where you are now and plan for the next period of time makes a world of difference to both you and your business. For growing companies the problem can be a lack of structure or having people who

may have been fine originally but are not of the quality to take the company forward. This can be particularly difficult in family companies where nobody wants to upset anybody but as the roles/job descriptions /KPIs haven’t been set up properly it causes even bigger problems later. There are plenty of excellent business advisors out there consider what you need and select somebody who suits your needs. I am an accredited coach who helps you find the answers for yourself because, of course, you know your own business best.

December 2015 - January 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



Welcome to new members Alluxi Consulting Ltd

Crisis Mitigation Solutions

Galahad SMS Ltd

Modus Film Productions

Ashford 07717 221368 Business Performance Consultancy Continuous Improvement

Harrietsham 0203 287 6434 Creating Bespoke Crisis Management Solutions

Oxted 01883 712401 Drug, Alcohol, Education/Training

Ashford 01233 500964 Wedding, Corporate and Event Videos. Video Blogs. Video Advice.

Antipodean Action Ltd

Dale Carnegie South East

Faversham 07468 339450 Business Coach

Croydon 0208 166 5845 Personal Development & Business Improvement

Ashford 01303 474101 Estate Agency & Residential Sales

Appataxi Margate 01843 296444 Taxi Booking Service App

Architects Atelier Ltd Dartford 020 3290 6675 Architectural Design

Ardula Limited Laddingford Construction Haulage

01622 873300

Deli Deluxe UK Greenhithe 07841 335562 Food

DeRock Wellness Cafes Ashford 01233 629066 Provide Healthier Alternatives to Products - Health, Wellness & Lifestyle Coaching

Diligence (PM) Services Ltd

Bowden Digitec Sittingbourne 01795 411550 Photocopier Sales and Servicing

Boys & Maughan Solicitors Margate 01843 234000 Solicitors

Business Doctors West Malling 0845 163 1482 Management Consultancy

Bexleyheath 07961 781981 Professional Management Consultancy

DMS Property Maintenance Folkestone 01303 248828 Quality Property Maintenance, Installation, Support Services, Repairs

Drive Marketing Limited Folkestone 01303 760670 Agency Providing Strategic and Practical Marketing Solutions

Employment Law 4U

Graham John

GW Associates Ltd Folkestone 01303 891490 Business Utility Advisors

Hardigg UK Ltd Ashford Manufacturing

01233 895895

Highbank Communications Wilmington 01322 319318 Communications Consultancy

J & N Refunds Ltd Ashford 01233 639945 Taxation & Paye Travel Claims Crowborough 01884 849051 Health & Safety Advice, Consultancy & Professional Development

KKB Remediation Limited Rochester 01634 717712 Remediation of Contaminated Land

Lambert & Foster LLP

Tunbridge Wells 03452 222999 Outsourced IT Department

Paddock Wood 01892 832325 Chartered Surveyors, Estate Agents, Planning Consultants, Autioneers & Valuers

Campanile Dartford

ETM Cars

Luxus Buan

Ashford 01233 629551 Chauffeur, Business Trips, Airport Runs

Sevenoaks Construction

First Learners' Nursery & Training

Marcus James Office Solutions Ltd

Folkestone 01303 277886 Children's Nursery & First Aid Training

Ashford 01233 733267 Photocopier Sales and Service

Dartford Hospitality

01322 278925

Colsan Woodchurch 01233 860760 Brewery Supply - Calibration of Industrial Instrumentation


ThinkingBUSINESS December 2015 - January 2016

Bury 07468 710492 Payroll, HR, Auto Enrolment, Employment Law, Health & Safety, Time & Attendance

Morgan Jones Recruitment Broadstairs 0808 168 1474 Recruitment Services

NCS Office Systems (England) Ltd Purfleet 01708 891891 Document Solutions, Telecoms, IT Solutions, Mail Room Solutions

Nisus Consulting Limited Sevenoaks Management Consulting - Market Research

Orchard Employment Law Kent Health & Safety Group

Herne Bay 01227 649022 Legal Services, Employment Law Specialists

Bytesweb = IT

Moorepay Limited

01732 746691

Hoo 01634 564136 Employment Law and HR Consultancy

Oyster Training Group Ltd London 020 8293 7911 Training

P B Aromatherapy Maidstone 07580 467975 Holistic Therapist

Prism Alarms & Security Ltd Maidstone 01622 880751 Security Systems Installers

SNS Group LLP - Sahota Newcomb Scott Maidstone Solicitors

01622 807867

South East Timber & Damp Ltd Ashford 01732 884535 Damp proofing, wood preservation, waterproofing

MOVERS&SHAKERS Tailored Fire and Security Ltd Chatham 01634 790750 Security and Fire Installation / Maintenance Company

Ten2Two Sevenoaks Recruitment

07824 628669

CWJ Welcome Laura Claridge Orpington solicitors CWJ has welcomed Laura Claridge into its Employment Law team. Laura trained and qualified in Kent and acts for a range of businesses and charities in all aspects of employment law. Laura advises businesses on dayto-day matters including grievances,

sickness issues, disciplinary and capability procedures as well as defending Employment Tribunal claims. She has recently advised a Kent business on how to effectively and legally introduce changes to the terms and conditions of employment across its entire workforce.

Thackray Williams LLP Bromley 020 8290 0440 Legal Services

The Bay Trust St Margarets Bay Conference Centres

01304 851737

The Body Therapy Company Chatham 01634 649009 100% Natural Sports Therapy Oils

Tonbridge School Events Tonbridge 01732 304268 Events and Venue Hire

Transpeed London IT Support

020 7394 2247

Trimnet Ltd Rochester 01634 244844 Marine + Commercial Upholstry

Twenty23 Marketing Ltd Maidstone 07896 174491 Marketing Consultancy

Westridge Construction Ltd Bodiam 01580 830600 Construction - Main Contractor

Wonderful Creative Agency Maidstone 01622 686228 Digital Creative Agency

WPA Healthcare Rye 07758 115082 Private Medical Insurance Sales

YMS Travel Canterbury Coach Operators

01227 456331

Lauren Webster signs Dartford Football Club Dartford FC were delighted to announce the appointment of Lauren Webster as Commercial Manager of the Football Club back in July 2015. Lauren joined the club from an extensive commercial background within the football industry, having previously worked for Notts County, Preston North End, Leeds United and Tottenham Hotspur to name a few. She brings with her sales knowledge which the club believes will be very beneficial to the development of the Club over the coming seasons. Lauren said ‘ I am very pleased to be appointed as Commercial Manager for

Dartford FC and I am really looking forward to helping build and strengthen the Club’s commercial department further. I’ve come from a footballing background, with over 10 years’ experience in the sales field. A lower division club like Dartford has always been an attraction to me as I can make the job my own and introduce new ideas to the club to generate revenue. In my first managerial role I have already been met with plenty of challenges, however I’m very much enjoying my role and I’m excited to be part of the Club’s continuing growth on and off the pitch’.

Leading Kent Law Firm keeps talented achiever As part of its commitment to retaining promising young talent, leading Kent law firm Furley Page has appointed one of its newly-qualified solicitors to its highly regarded Private Trusts and Estates Team. Eleanor McCabe, aged 30, spent two years training with the firm, which is recognised by independent legal

guides Chambers UK and The Legal 500. She now specialises in all areas of private client work and trust administration, including Will drafting and Lasting Powers of Attorney. Eleanor is currently working towards a qualification with The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

New addition to the management team Ashford based Chartered Accountants Magee Gammon is pleased to announce the recent arrival of Dan Edwards. Dan joins the firm as a Senior Manager and has considerable expertise in accounting and tax for companies, partnerships and sole traders and Solicitors Accounts Rules examinations. Dan says, “I am delighted to have joined such a forward looking firm and welcome the opportunity to

use and build upon the skills and knowledge I have gained to date”. Magee Gammon’s Staff Partner, Antony Tutt, comments “We are delighted to welcome Dan to the firm, his extensive skills and experience in a range of business and accounting issues will further strengthen our management team and will help to continue to service the needs of our existing and new clients”.

December 2015 - January 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



The Last Word Name: Rebecca Smith Company: Social Enterprise Kent Job title: Director of Community Enterprise After studying Hotel Management at university, I began my career at Australian services organisation Spotless Group. I journeyed over to the UK as many Aussies do, but ended up marrying a local and staying in the Garden of England. At Social Enterprise Kent (SEK), I help achieve its mission of improving lives and building strong communities in Kent and each year we train and develop over 4000 local people and organisations. I have since completed a Masters of Human Resources at Christ Church University and have been with SEK for 10 years in a variety of roles. Q. What was your first job and what was the pay packet? A. HR coordinator for the Spotless Group, working on the Sydney 2000 Olympics to recruit, train and roster the 3000 staff needed to service the Athletes and Media Villages - I was definitely plunged in the deep end! Seeing as I was working 12 hour days I can’t imagine the pay was near enough! Q. What do you always carry with you to work? A. My smartphone. What did we do before we could quickly just check our calendar, or ask Google for the answer to something random? Q. What is the biggest challenge facing your business? A. Government funding cuts. But on a day-to-day level, there are never enough hours as I’m sure most people will relate to. Q. If you were Prime Minister, what one thing would you change to help business? A. Investment in the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector as a way of helping the NHS, Social Services and other government departments with a solution to their continual spending cuts. Q. What can you see from your office window? A. Lovely trees with the last of some orange Autumn leaves ready to fall. Q. If you could do another job what would it be? A. Being an Aussie, I’m a bit of a sports fanatic and always fancied being a physio within a professional sports club. Q. As a business person, what are your three main qualities? A. Hardworking, approachable and strategic thinking Q. What was your biggest mistake in business? A. Thankfully there haven’t been any whoppers, but I come from the school of thought that you need to make mistakes (hopefully small ones) in order to grow and succeed. Q. What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs? A. As Nike says, “Just do it!” Make sure you’ve got a plan, and make that plan happen. Don’t live your life wondering what could have been. Q. Who do you most admire in business? A. I very much admire women who have managed to successfully juggle professional careers and motherhood as it is a difficult balance to strike. There are so many women I know doing this, so it would be difficult to name just one.


ThinkingBUSINESS December 2015 - January 2016

Greg Clark outlines Government priorities to Kent Developers Group Kent Developers Group (KDG), the organisation championing the cause of residential and commercial property companies in the county, welcomed the Rt Hon Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Department of Communities and Local Government, to its recent meeting. Attended by more than 40 members of KDG, including representatives from the county and district councils, the meeting focused on the major issues around the need to build more residential and commercial property. Communities Secretary and Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark said: “We’re determined to pull out all the stops to keep the country building, with a clear ambition to deliver one million new homes by 2020. “So I was pleased to meet with the Kent Developers Group and hear how they are working to deliver the homes and business premises that communities across Kent want and need.” During the meeting, the Secretary of State took the opportunity to discuss the Government’s recent announcements on the National Infrastructure Commission, the extension of Permitted Development Rights; the move to build 200,000 starter homes by the end of the Parliament; releasing government owned land for development; the role of Housing Associations, the need to ensure employment land was made available and the brownfield land register.

Nick Fenton, Chairman of Kent Developers Group, said: “Getting planning permission and the necessary finance to develop new homes and commercial property remains challenging, and all at a time when demand has never been higher. “The meeting was an excellent opportunity for us to highlight how recent changes to Government policy such as permitted development rights are impacting on the work we do to deliver more homes and commercial properties across the county. “We look forward to further meetings with the Secretary of

State and working more closely with his ministerial colleagues and officials.” Paul Wookey, Chief Executive of Locate in Kent added: “We have seen a marked increase in demand for commercial property over the past 12 months across the county. “We now urgently need new commercial space to come to the market so we can play our part in maintaining Kent’s economic upturn.” The meeting was co-hosted by DHA Planning, at its offices at Eclipse Park, Maidstone.

Dartford Football Club

Dartford Football Club were founded in 1888, and celebrated their 127th birthday in September. The National League South club have been working hard on and off the field to produce results - and the recruitment of a new Commercial Manager, Lauren Webster, in the close season has seen the club go from strength to strength in the past few months. Sponsorship, advertising and marketing are all ways in which Dartford FC can help promote your

business, and the newly launched Matchday Hospitality packages are a great way to entertain your clients and friends whist enjoying the entertainment of a Matchday at Princes Park. The club works closely with local and national businesses who want to gain exposure for their business and also support the club in working towards a better future.

With a plan in place to take the club full time hopefully within the next three years, the club is constantly looking for new businesses to come on board and be part of the movement. The club has standard and bespoke package to cater to all your business needs and works with businesses of all different backgrounds.

Thinking Business Magazine December 2015  
Thinking Business Magazine December 2015  

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce official business magazine December 2015