Kingston Borough Business August 2022

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BUSINESS The voice of Kingston’s business community


Free to attend

23 June 2022 EN RE

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Issue 25: Summer 2022

Kingston University Business School

Supporting • Inspiring Connecting

Headline Sponsors

The Big Interview

Katerina Damcova Founding Partner and Managing Director of IQ in IT

Silent Stage Sponsor

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Professional training and development programmes to meet your business needs. At Kingston College we are committed to working in partnership to support your organisation’s skills, employment, Apprenticeship and training strategies. For a FREE skills assessment or for more information please contact: 020 8546 2151. Part of the South Thames Colleges Group

contents Welcome to New Members Skills Patron News Ask the Expert Richard Burge LCCI News Skills Profile Kingston Business Expo The Big Interview News Health and Wellbeing Starting Up

4 7 8-10 13 14 15 18-21 23 24-25 26-27 30-31 32-33 34

Editorial and General Enquiries Guildhall, High Street Kingston upon Thames. KT1 1EU. 020 8541 4441 Email: Web: Chief Executive: Forbes Low Publisher: Ian Fletcher Benham Publishing Limited Aintree Building, Aintree Way, Aintree Business Park, Liverpool L9 5AQ Tel: 0151 236 4141 Fax: 0151 236 0440 Email: Web: Published Summer 22 © Benham Publishing and Kingston Chamber of Commerce Advertising and Features Karen Hall Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: Production Manager Peter Wilkinson Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: Media No. 1899 Disclaimer

Borough Business is published for Kingston Chamber of Commerce and is distributed without charge to Chamber members. All correspondence should be addressed to Kingston Chamber of Commerce. Views expressed in Borough Business are not necessarily those of Kingston Chamber of Commerce. Reprinting in whole or part is forbidden except by permission. © 2022. 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.

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BOROUGH BUSINESS The Kingston Chamber of Commerce magazine for all Businesses in Kingston As I write, we are in a particularly warm weather period which, for those who do not work in air conditioned offices, is quite hard work to concentrate. You could argue that this mirrors the general political climate which has seen heated discussions and changes in the past weeks. Despite this noise, there are some areas of business life that we can control and be positive about. The Kingston Business Expo on June 23rd was a successful return to Kingston and the University Business School. The event attracted over 370 attendees which was an encouraging endorsement of what was on offer at the Expo, but also the desire for people from around the Borough to connect together again. Our thanks go to all our headline sponsors; Kingston University, Kingston Council and HSBC; our Silent stage partners, Business Clan and all the wonderful exhibitors who offered so much professional advice to attendees. The Chamber has been busy in many other ways too. Our Women in Business, in collaboration with Time & Leisure, relaunched at Cento



Uno in Surbiton. With Katie Lovatt, from Holland Hahn & Wills, providing insightful financial and pension advice, it was a thoroughly enjoyable lunch. The New Malden Business Forum in June was well attended and we were joined by Sir Ed Davey. This Forum is beginning to take shape and creating it‘s own identity which is encouraging. The Chamber is keen to support the many diverse businesses in New Malden. The Chamber has been working with the Council on two exciting new initiatives. Booster+ will be a mentoring support programme (more details on p25) and the Kingston Green Business Community. This will provide a central platform to bring together like-minded businesses who are practising green initiatives (read more on p16). These, we hope, will start in late September. Finally, we are beginning to put together the programme for the Chessington Business Expo on October 26th at Chessington School so please watch out for details in the coming month!


I am very aware that we are heading to another challenging period in the Autumn months for businesses, employees, individuals and families with the cost of living. Many people have been so resilient and adapted to the past two years but our mental resilience is going to be challenged once again. The Chamber will do our very best to support and make events cost effective (and beneficial) to our members. At the moment, there does not appear to be any Government steps to support businesses, but the one area we can all do, as employers, is talk with your staff. Ask how they are, can the business help in any way, listen and offer advice, be it financial or health. Take that lead, step up and do not wait for the employee to come forward; that could be hard for them. Thank you for all your enthusiasm and support at our events, and take care.

Forbes Low CEO Kingston Chamber of Commerce

32 Cover image: designed by Dooder / Freepik

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join us The Royal Borough of


Chamber of Commerce Michelle was wasn’t going to let any barriers get in the way of her networking and enjoying Chamber events

Welcome to our new members Strictly Banners

United Business Group

Barclays Bank


The Smith

Branduin Business Support Ltd

Ruth McChesney Mahindika Siriwardena Richard Lyall

Simon Vine Chandeep Khosa Nauzar Manekshaw

Reasons to join... “ We have been able to see - first hand - how the Kingston Chamber of Commerce helps businesses to network, grow and thrive. Especially during the lockdown when they showed resilience and innovation connecting everybody online. They really stepped up, lead the community and showed strength during such difficult times for businesses which ultimately gave people hope. There is a quote that says “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build the door.” I believe this represents what the Chamber does in our community.” John Zapata Restrepo

Managing Director & Co-Founder, Avatar Cleaning Services Ltd For more information or to discuss how we can help you, please contact us at:

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Membership of Kingston Chamber of Commerce brings a wealth of immediate benefits to your business.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Welcoming, professional and supportive environment Two successful business Expos; Kingston and Chessington Regular networking events and business webinars Local supply chain opportunities and excellent links to the wider local community Advocacy for businesses to Kingston Council, strategic partners and MPs in the borough Business learning opportunities with the New Malden Business forum, Women in Business and THINK GREEN webinars Hosts of the Kingston Borough Business Awards, celebrating and promoting the positive impact of local businesses in the Borough

Find out how to join and learn how others are benefiting from their membership.

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hr dept

Events of 2022

Porter the Sorter Ask our resident HR expert, Sandra Porter of The HR Dept for advice on your workplace worries.

across the stage and silent stage were held with topics such as Future Skills led by Kingston University and the Transition to Net Zero presented by HSBC. I would like to thank the Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Yogan Yoganathan, and Sir Ed Davey MP, for taking the time out of their busy schedules to open the event with their impactful speeches.

Help! Someone is stealing from the honesty box! Employee misconduct is an issue that we receive phone calls on every single day. Recent examples: -

The financial controller that was stealing cash from the honesty box


The carpenter that was using the company van for excessive personal mileage


The barista that stole the new Dyson hoover from the back office


The accountant that was stealing clients to offer work privately


The junior salesperson that told a Client to “Fxxx off” at a work event

As I always say… HR we see the best of people (at interview) and the worst of people (at disciplinary)! Top Three things that you can do to protect yourself from the impact of employee misconduct? -

Update your policy to make sure that it is tailored to your environment. Listing potential misconduct offences that are relevant to your workplace can be helpful to be transparent regarding what you deem to be misconduct.


Ensure that you have provided every employee with a copy of your Disciplinary and Grievance Policy. It is now the law that this has to be provided by day one of their employment.


Where you may want to short cut the disciplinary process during an initial two years’ of service, make sure that this is made clear in the contract of employment and employee handbook (after seeking legal advice from an expert)

Once you have your house in order, then remember the following: -

Monitor employee activity appropriately so that you are reassured of their conduct and can identify anything that might not be right


Be consistent with how you apply the rules – otherwise you will end up with a case of victimisation or discrimination


Explain why your rules make a difference to the business, your customers and their colleagues. Sometimes employees are more likely to adhere to the rules if they understand why they make a difference – although I think the junior salesperson probably could have worked it out for themselves (while they were sober, anyway!).

The HR Dept are an outsourced HR services provider supporting local SMEs with their people issues and strategy. For advice on conduct and disciplinaries, or for a free HR audit please call 0345 208 1290. Always seek employment law advice regarding management of your people issues to ensure that you and your business are well protected from potential litigation risks. The Royal Borough of


Chamber of Commerce

With the incredible business awards in the rear view mirror, the Chamber has just delivered the first Kingston Expo since the pandemic. I am extremely proud of the Chamber team pulling together and of Ilona Saliev settling in quickly and stepping up to the challenge. Kingston Business Expo went incredibly well and was a huge success. The event was bustling with excitement, a flurry of visitors intrigued to learn what each business there had to share. Having the famous speed networking, visitors and exhibitors were able to talk to each other and exchange details quickly and efficiently, making those valuable connections. Many seminars

Some exciting future events to look forward to include our monthly online speeding networking, and our August networking breakfast at The Mitre Hotel. For those that joined us here back in January, you know what to expect from this excellent venue. Later in August, a Spirit Masterclass will be hosted at Bone Idyll. It will be a great way to network and just have a little chat with local businesses in a very relaxed environment. The spirit masterclass includes: a welcome cocktail, taste & create 3 spirits (vodka, gin & rum) and finishes with a mini martini and sharing platters (charcuterie & cheese boards). Although the pandemic seems like a distant memory, cases have gone up and it is best to continue keeping each other safe regardless. Remember to stay safe and hydrated. Enjoy the summer. Katerina Damcova Chamber President

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


5% SaveB1 ird

Early on your Offer stand Expo e fo r e 2 0 2 2 Book b t 31st Au g u s

Getting Back to Business Make the most of your Chessington Business Expo experience …. network with attendees, meet our exhibitors and enjoy a great programme of business Seminars and speed networking. If you’d like to showcase your company at the Expo as an exhibitor, stands are available from as little as £295. For more information,



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Bringing Careers Education to Life

The South London Careers Hub was launched earlier this year and is the latest addition to a national network of Careers Hubs across England. The Hub supports secondary schools and colleges across 5 boroughs (Kingston, Richmond, Merton, Sutton & Croydon) with the broad aim to link businesses to secondary schools and colleges to help support and create better jobs and pathways for young people, helping to ensure a pipeline of homegrown talent, meet skills gaps and promote careers in growth sectors. On Wednesday 8th June, the careers hub partnered with Kingston & Merton Chamber of commerce to host an in-person networking event for local careers leaders, stakeholders and businesses at the fabulous Warren House Hotel. It was great to see the passion and support for careers and employability is so strong, with over 60 attendees, the event was opened by the new Mayor of Kingston Cllr Yogan Yoganathan with speeches from the careers hub team and the CEO of Kingston Chamber, Forbes Low. The aim of the event was to create a platform to improve links between local businesses and schools and colleges to create lasting connections that will ultimately improve the local careers provision, increasing opportunity and ensuring sustainable employment across the Borough. For the schools and colleges that attend, these networking opportunities allow careers leaders to widen their network and make new connections with local businesses and employers.The businesses get to increase their local network, raise awareness of their business, and play an active role in improving the employability and work readiness of young people. One of the ways that the Hub supports local careers provision is by recruiting Enterprise Advisors to work directly with a school or college in their local area to help bridge the gap between the world of work and education. Enterprise Advisors are business professionals The Royal Borough of


Chamber of Commerce

who volunteer their time to strategically support a school or colleges senior leadership team to develop and evaluate their careers plan. Forbes Low, Chief Executive of Kingston Chamber of Commerce has volunteered to join the Hub network as an Enterprise Advisor and is working with Chessington School. The value of this relationships was clearly visible at the recent whole school careers day at Chessington school, held on 13th July. Not only did Forbes attend the day, he joined forces with another chamber member, Claire Harrison of West 9 Design to deliver a workshops on careers in the creative sector. Along with Kingston’s local Enterprise Coordinator Amanda McLoughlin, they also used their existing network to connect the school with other businesses who provided workshops and attended the careers fair.

“Our team has enjoyed Chessington School today. Being young them self they were soon past their initial nervousness and we’re talking to the students passionately about IT and apprenticeships.” Katerina Damcova, IQ in IT If you would like to support local careers education in the South London Area, join in with events, share your career journey or become an Enterprise Advisor, please do get in touch with Amanda on Amanda.McLoughlin@

Forbes said ‘It was my pleasure to work with the Careers Leader, Patrick Browne and the school. They worked so hard to give their students a glimpse of what business sectors are available. Be it the NHS, the Royal Navy, to banking, IT, construction, and police (the use of the handcuffs was particularly popular!). These are early days of the programme but it was encouraging seeing the various business sectors wanting to reach out to students.’ Other businesses who supported also shared their feedback and enthusiasm for the event

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


patron news New Faces at Fountain House Well, not exactly ”new”, but certainly newsworthy!

Alex Copson

Elena Mitejko

Congratulations to former trainee Elena Mitejko, who has completed her training and is now a fully qualified solicitor. Elena was admitted as a solicitor on 4 June and will continue to work in the Family Law department, where she deals with all aspects family issues. The partners are particularly delighted that Elena has now qualified, as she started her training just as the first lockdown happened and it was a struggle for her to overcome the difficulties that lockdown presented. The partners are confident that Elena will show the same drive and perseverance in helping her clients deal with the challenges that they face. Elena has lived in a number of different countries around the world and is fluent in three languages. She is passionate about social justice and Womens’ Rights. For a time she worked as a volunteer intern in Vienna, focusing on domestic violence in Europe and Womens’ Rights generally. She is a keen runner and recently completed a half marathon in Richmond raising funds for charity. Those of our clients who have made wills recently are likely to have met Alex Copson, who joined us as a paralegal in September 2021. The partners are delighted to announce that Alex has agreed to enter into a training contract with the firm, starting in September. Alex will continue to work in the Wealth Management department until that time. Alex completed a Masters in Law at the University of Law in London before starting his paralegal role with us. Alex lives locally and is a former student at Kingston Grammar School. He has a wide range of interests, ranging from 20th Century history, acting as a volunteer at the Imperial War Museum and his local nursing home to travelling the globe with family and friends. Sadly, he has shown a lack of judgment in choosing to support Manchester United, but no one’s perfect!


Bringing live performances to the riverside Over the first couple of weekends in July, the riverside had musicians performing as part of Fuse Festival (formerly IYAF), the amazing international multi-arts festival for young and emerging creative artists organised by @creativeyouthUK. There were over 50 events across film, music, theatre visual arts and more over ten days.

into Kingston whilst people struggle with the cost of living crisis and this is an approach we are keen to continue supporting. Keep watching the riverside as we will are planning more live music throughout the summer. photographer Yue Wang

Riverside Walk was at the heart of the event hosting live music from young and emerging artists on the roof of our 60ft narrow boat, The Seven Saxons, moored right outside our restaurants. These were very successful, with the music really complementing a vibrant and buzzing riverside and even the sunny weather turned up and played its part. All performances were free to the public. Free events are increasingly important to tempt people

Five pieces of advice I would give to my 16year old self

Love what you do There are a million careers out there and even more jobs. But if you really LOVE what you do, then that passion will lead to success and happiness. Interviews go two ways Remember you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Ask questions about the culture of the business, and really dig into the opportunity. Be willing to pivot I started as a carer. I worked on a ferry. I ended up in sales – banking, recruitment and now technology. That’s not a bad thing – sometimes transferable skills make you stand out.

Phil Hobden, Head of Digital, Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting UK

Education is important but it’s also a choice University is the right journey for some. However, if you don’t get the grades or you are one of those people in life that does not flourish in an educational establishment, it doesn’t mean you won’t or can’t be successful. It just means you need to follow a different path.

As a leader with a few years’ experience in business, I’m often asked what tips I’d give to those starting their careers. Here are a few things I’ve learned:

Your difference is your strength I’m dyslexic. I talk about this openly and even have it on my LinkedIn profile! Why? Workplaces are now embracing neurodiversity, as they should, and are even actively looking to hire those who ‘see things in a different way.’

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

Kingston College Adult ESOL learners are recognised at Kingston Rotary Club Adult Achievers Awards Kingston Rotary Club held their annual award ceremony on June 7th to honour adults who have achieved in further education despite overcoming personal difficulties. Adult ESOL learners and tutors from Kingston College were invited to attend the event which took place at Guildhall and were presented with certificates by the Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Yogan Yoganathan MBE. Tutor Alison Westenberger commented: “It was a wonderful ceremony which recognises the fantastic achievement of our students often in the face of great odds. They so richly deserved their awards; their stories are incredibly moving and it was wonderful to see them recognised in this way.”

IQ in IT- Inspiring the local youth to follow their interest in IT IQ in IT had a fantastic time at the Kingston Business Expo, holding two raffles with one of the prizes being a brand-new Lenovo Tablet (the winner being someone very familiar to us all, Amanda McLoughlin!). With the success of the Expo, IQ in IT had gone on to be at a mini “expo” at Chessington school.

lies. Our own team consists of many apprentices and showing the students that there is another option can be very reassuring. At such a young age you don’t know how the workforce is, only pictures painted at schools which are not always accurate.

Chessington School held a careers fair for all the students, giving them the opportunity to see what jobs are out there and could possibly go into in the future. IQ in IT were invited to be one of the exhibitors at the fair and it went incredibly well!

With inspiring the future generation wanting to go into IT, we especially wanted to encourage females

Being at the event gave us the opportunity to inspire and show young people that regardless of how well you do in school, if you have the passion and drive for it you can go into what YOU want to do. We discussed with many students interested in technology in any The Royal Borough of


Chamber of Commerce

sense, encouraging them that they should go forth with their interest no matter where their current skillset

interested in tech. The industry can be very intimidating when you’re a newcomer, but there’s an element of intimidation that only women face when joining the industry. Our managing director, Katerina Damcova, has faced many such issues, she delved more into her feelings regarding this in our blog ‘ Women in Tech ’ on our website. Nobody should be discouraged to go follow their ambitions simply because they are not in the majority. We strive to continue encouraging people, especially if they desire to go into the technological field.

Find out more about IQ in IT email us:


patron news

Holland Hahn & Wills go back to College At the end of June, Katie Lovatt & Amyr Rocha-Lima delivered a Financial Literacy workshop to students in Year 11 at Eton College. It was a huge success, focusing on budgeting - as an enabler rather than a chore.

think (1 in 5 students are on bursaries, with 90 at the school paying no fees at all), and the morning definitely ignited interest in finance. Holland Hahn & Wills formed part of a carousel of discussions - City Pay It Forward delivered a lecture on student debt and Brewin Dolphin presented on the power of compounding.

Kingston Business Expo On 23rd June Kingston welcomed back the Business Expo. Held at Kingston University School of Business, the event brings together local businesses to share ideas and promote their services. Holland Hahn & Wills donated stands to local charities: Kingston Hospital Foundation Trust and Kingston Charitable Foundation.

It was particularly pleasing to receive the following feedback from David Anderson, Head of Year 11 “Thank you for the amazing morning you put together on Wednesday. I know the boys took a huge amount from it and the conversations I have had with boys (and staff!) since make it really clear this is an area that they really value some guidance in. The feeling was that the material was well-balanced across the three sessions and pitched at just the right level.”

Both charities were extremely appreciative of the gesture, and managed to raise awareness of their causes. Chris and Katie enjoyed the energy of the room as the networking was in full swing.

The workshop was interactive (we made the boys do the work!) so they were engaged and embarked on animated discussions about their ideal lifestyle and required budget! Some future plans were more modest than you would

Kingston School of Art students’ creative ingenuity enhances Unilever’s Four Acres learning and leadership centre Visitors to multi-national consumer goods company Unilever’s Kingston-based leadership retreat, Four Acres, are getting an added dash of inspiration thanks to creative Kingston School of Art students. A selected group of students and recent graduates specialising in subjects ranging from ceramics to illustration and photography have combined their talents to produce a collection of artwork based on a number of Unilever’s brands for Four Acres’ break-out rooms. The high-profile commission came about after Unilever invited Kingston University’s creative agency, Studio KT1, to pitch proposals for the bespoke pieces as part of work to remodel the Four Acres site, a former country home set in spacious surrounds that serves as Unilever’s flagship leadership and learning centre.


Nine successful students and recent graduates worked in collaboration with leading art and design studio Acrylicize, which had been entrusted with sourcing and curating works for the Four Acres site. Each student was assigned a specific brand and asked to create a piece that prompted curiosity, posed questions, provided answers and inspired. The up-and-coming artists created sculpture, artificial intelligence imaging, illustrations, fine art and photography in response, working to the brand guidelines of such household names as Marmite, Lynx, Persil, Vaseline, Surf, Knorr, Hellmann’s and Lifebuoy. Studio KT1 enterprise projects lead Claire Selby said the initiative had given the young artists an invaluable opportunity to work on a live brief, applying skills from their degree courses. “Studio KT1 gives our students a flavour of both

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

the corporate and art commissioning worlds. Contending with the challenges of the pandemic throughout the process, our students have gained confidence, experience and resilience, while working with different stakeholders, including world class brands,” she said.

WHAT ...when construction TO DO projects go wrong LEGAL

Businesses embark on construction projects for a number of reasons, including fitting-out a new unit and undertaking renovations to commercial premises. Building projects can be expensive, complicated and time critical. They may also be impacted by factors outside the control of the business or the building contractor. It is therefore common for disputes to arise on construction projects. Common disputes include delay, defective work, and disputes about payment (including disputes about the value of the work completed). This article addresses several of the key issues to consider when such a dispute arises, and provides some guidance on how to navigate the process. Assess the importance of the dispute It is important to assess the importance of any dispute and to understand your leverage. This will allow you to make decisions that fit with your objectives and that align with the commercial and practical reality. An obvious starting place is the financial impact the dispute will potentially have. The fact that a dispute has arisen often means that either the employer or the contractor will suffer some financial loss. This may mean that the contractor needs to undertake additional work that it will not be paid for. Alternatively, it could mean that the employer needs to incur additional costs that it did not budget for. The impact on the parties’ cash-flows is often a key consideration in any construction dispute. Many contractors operate on thin margins, and if they are pushed too hard to undertake additional work without payment, this can lead to their insolvency, or their abandonment of the project. Similarly, a business undertaking a construction project may be relying on incoming revenue to finance the works on an ongoing basis, and an unexpected rise in costs in the short term can disrupt its overall business activities. Another important consideration is resourcing. Disputes require time and effort to resolve. This inevitably diverts the parties’ attention and resources away from their other responsibilities and activities.

Ricky Cella

Consider: •

how much management time is likely to be absorbed in dealing with a dispute.

the extent to which you will require third party input/expertise, whether from a construction professional (such as a surveyor) or a lawyer.

the impact that the dispute could have on the future of your project, if it is likely that the dispute will result in you needing to hire a replacement contractor, if so, how easy is that likely to be, and what will the additional cost be?

Understand your position Construction disputes often leave parties with a series of less-than-ideal options in respect of which they have to choose the least worst. You therefore need to have sufficient information available to inform your decisionmaking, and to identify and understand the different options available to you. At the outset of disputes, parties will generally need more information about the events that have led to the dispute in order to decide how to respond, and to understand what evidence might be available if the dispute escalates. Gathering the key documents and other evidence will usually involve a review of your own records, in addition to requesting documents from third parties, including any construction professional engaged on your behalf.

Direct: Phone +44 (0)20 8394 6479 Email:

If the dispute relates to defective work, make sure that the issues are well-documented (by taking photographs, site-notes, etc.), and consider engaging an independent expert to prepare a report, which you can later refer to and rely on. If the dispute relates to the valuation of the works, you should seek input from the project quantity surveyor, or consider hiring one to review the account.

Deal with the dispute Often the most cost-effective way of dealing with construction disputes is through commercial negotiation. However, if this cannot be achieved then parties have a number of options available to them, including litigation through the courts, and other formal dispute resolution processes, such as mediation. Parties to construction projects will often also have the right to refer disputes to adjudication, which is an expedited dispute resolution process, and which can often produce a decision which allows the parties to get on with the project, whilst not finally determining matters. In any event, unless and until the dispute is finally resolved, you should continually review your options and strategy. If you would like assistance with this, please feel free to contact the Russell-Cooke dispute resolution team. +44 (0)20 8789 9111

ask the expert

How can art improve your health & wellbeing? By China Jordan

Art has so many benefits for your mental wellbeing. It helps to make you feel less stressed, stimulate your creative side, and improve your concentration. Studies show that 70% of people who create art feel less anxious and in this modern environment, that’s exactly what we need! If you’re like me and find your brain usually runs 100mph, then something like meditation may not work for you but drawing might. Art helps me to switch off and recentre myself. Time can literally fly by when I’m creating something and then I find I’ve missed a meal without even realising it! I may be hungry but my head space is so much better. When you can see where you started and where you’ve come, that’s when the real fun kicks in. A lot of people are terrified of starting because of how ‘bad’ they are as an artist. They will say they ‘can’t even draw a stick man!’ As Ralph Waldo once said, ‘every artist was once an armature’ and it’s true. No-one is born with the skills to paint a portrait. You need to work on it and give yourself a break. I think starting from scratch is a brilliant place to be because you get to enjoy the process, you can see your achievements build up week by week and within a short amount of time you will see your progression and feel proud. We’ve worked with hundreds of people who can achieve this feeling in just an hour, that’s all it takes to start.

How businesses/individuals can get involved on forthcoming art days/weekends, wellbeing workshops. Drawing starts with as little as a pencil and piece of paper at home. There are so many brilliant resources out there and at ArtistAnd we try to provide as many as we can. A lot of people feel intimidated about going to a weekly art class, so we bring the workshops to offices (or virtually) where more likely than not, everyone is in the same boat and a timid beginner. These sessions are designed for beginners, and you can check out our services from Drink & Draw to Paint Like Van Gogh. These are great social activities for the team so if you’re tired of the normal teambuilding events, get in touch and let’s see how we improve your group’s wellbeing at work. If your work doesn’t offer wellbeing incentives, then you can always check out what events we have running on our website. We host weekly drop-in sessions online every Tuesday from 7:30pm where you’ll learn a new style each week. We also like to collaborate with other activities and often host pop-up sessions like SUP & Sketch and weekend Art Retreats. If a group class really isn’t your thing, then you can find our video content on Skillshare. You can find more info at

Win a free art workshop for your team worth £250 Max capacity - 20 Sign up using the QR code by August 31st Online or In Person (within London) Winner selected at random

Improving Wellbeing Using Art The Royal Borough of


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Hand drawn infographic vector created by freepik -

Overseas trade can get economy back on track Richard Burge is used to travelling the world, sometimes for business, sometimes for pleasure. In the last few months, his business trips have taken in Washington, Ottowa, New York and Toronto, as he seeks to build relationships with Chambers of Commerce and other key organisations in these localities. Richard, who’s the CEO of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), says: “Toronto in particular is very impressive. It’s a city on the up with a global outlook, very much like London. It’s amazing that when you travel the world, you discover synergies between London and other places – synergies that might not otherwise have been apparent from a distance. “That’s the advantage of going to these places; you can build links and find people you want to invest in and vice-versa. From an international


trade perspective, you need to eye-ball people and not just spend your days on Zoom calls.” Richard is currently on a mission to strike formal agreements with Chambers of Commerce in 30-35 cities around the world. The idea is to sign memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with each Chamber and then embark on three-year engagement plans that will, hopefully, boost trade between London and each of these overseas cities. The current trading environment will make this task more challenging, with soaring inflation heaping cost pressures on businesses and the war in Ukraine exacerbating already sky-high energy prices. “The immediate effect of the Ukraine crisis is that many businesses are looking at the strengths and weaknesses in their supply chains,” says Richard. “It has taught businesses the need to be resilient, to know their markets and understand the vulnerabilities in their supply chains. “With inflation going through the roof, it’s good to see that the UK government has made a u-turn and imposed a windfall tax on oil and gas companies. I’d also remove all planned tax increases because consumers are already nervous and starting to hoard money, which will inevitably have an adverse impact on the economy.” Despite a highly uncertain trading climate, with many analysts predicting that the UK will tip into

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

recession, Richard believes that opportunities provided by international trade can help to boost economic growth. “We’ll continue to build bridges globally,” he says. “Just because there’s a war going on and the economic situation is difficult, international trade doesn’t stop. London is still viewed as a global destination and already holds a strong appeal to many individuals and businesses across the world. “In my role as CEO of LCCI, it’s my job to seek new opportunities for London businesses to trade with other companies across the world. If anything, building overseas trade connections makes war less likely. It demonstrates that the world of free, equitable trade should continue. “The world is in a parlous state but we’re out of the pandemic now. Economic long COVID is fading and the impacts of economic long Brexit and economic long Russia are becoming clearer. There are still many challenges in ensuring that barriers to trading with the EU are removed. “The one thing that Brexit has done is encourage companies to look further afield. The world doesn’t stop at the borders of Europe. Many London companies are trading successfully with companies in places such as the US, Asia and South America. “We have to keep our collective chins up and look outwards, not inwards. A tough economic climate can provide just as many trading opportunities as challenges.”

Council leader urges ministers to empower local authorities to boost economy In the wake of the Queen’s Speech, Councillor Andreas Kirsch has called on the government to do more to enable local authorities to help families and support businesses in their communities. The leader of Kingston Council wants ministers to empower local authorities to address the cost of living crisis and turbocharge the local economy. Cllr Kirsch said: “I give a cautious welcome to the government’s priority to grow and strengthen the economy but efforts to help ease the cost of living crisis fall woefully below what is needed. There is a lack of vision and ambition to support people in their local areas.

news “It is disappointing that there are no further solid commitments for action to address climate change, beyond investing in low-carbon and energy-efficient homes. We work hard to drive down carbon emissions locally, committing to a fully electric waste fleet, more charging points, a district heating network and more. We must have more national commitment to tackle this critical agenda and support our actions at a local level. “While more devolution of planning powers to local authorities is cautiously welcomed, I would challenge the meaningfulness of these bills to truly put local citizens at the heart of decisionmaking in their communities. “Despite recognition that councils worked hard – alongside local communities and partners – in responding to the pandemic, this has not been reflected in the legislation coming forward. Sadly, the government has missed a trick nationally that enables councils and partners to deliver locally.”

New Night Time Enterprise Zones to boost high streets

“The proposal of a British Bill of Rights is worrying. Human rights are universal; they should not be watered down. Instead of establishing laws that limit people’s rights, we need funding for police forces that enable them to enforce already existing laws to keep people safe. The Royal Borough of


Chamber of Commerce

The funding, in partnership with the London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP), will create at least three zones across the capital where boroughs will work with businesses and local communities to develop ideas to make their high streets more accessible, inclusive and welcoming at night. They will be supported to develop a range of ideas, such as extending opening hours or holding special events, taking measures to improve women’s safety and supporting good work standards for those working at night. It follows the success of a Night Time Enterprise Zone pilot in Waltham Forest in 2019 where extended opening times, events, increased promotion and repurposing of council-owned buildings helped to increase footfall on Walthamstow High Street by 22 per cent. The initiative also improved safety perceptions and widened local participation. Sadiq Khan said: “High streets are the lifeblood of our communities and have a key role to play in our economic recovery from the pandemic. Our Night Time Enterprise Zone pilot showed what is possible for our town centres at night and by expanding the zones to more areas we will help local authorities and businesses make their high streets more welcoming and inclusive after 6pm.” Amy Lamé, Night Czar, said: “Our city is incredibly active at night, but too often our high streets shut down from 6pm, offering no reason for people to be there. We have an opportunity to work in partnership to boost local businesses, communities and the wellbeing of night workers across the capital.” Ojay McDonald, CEO, Association of Town and City Management, said: “With town centres evolving, being able to bring the best out of them after dark is critical to sustaining vibrant and strong local economies. This certainly applies to London, a city with such a rich culture and enterprising spirit that it has the potential to be the greatest 24-hour city in the world. But it needs focus, coordination and leadership, especially in the wake of the damage done by the pandemic. Night Time Enterprise Zones provide a platform for this to take place.”

“It is a shame that the much-needed reform of local government finances, which could provide support for thousands of cash-strapped families, was nowhere to be seen. We need this now more than ever before. “Throughout recent weeks, people were telling us time and time again that the cost of living was their biggest worry. We need powers to support families and local businesses, creating jobs in our communities. It’s so important that all local authorities should be able to fully retain business rates to boost enterprise, incentivise growth and deliver longer term financial sustainability.

The pandemic has had a devastating impact on the capital as businesses and cultural venues faced months of temporary closures and restrictions, but the new Night Time Enterprise Zones will enable boroughs to encourage more people to use their high streets after 6pm and boost the local economy.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced a new £500,000 programme to create Night Time Enterprise Zones in the capital to help support London’s economic recovery.

Kate Nicholls, CEO of UK Hospitality and former chair of the London Night Time Commission, said: “I’m delighted the mayor’s announcement builds on one of the key recommendations of the London Night Time Commission’s Think Night Report. A diverse and vibrant night time offer, rooted in the local community, is something the commission recognised as being essential in ensuring our high streets are seen as attractive destinations for everyone after 6pm.”

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

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The Royal Borough of


Chamber of Commerce

IT’S COMING! KINGSTON GREEN BUSINESS COMMUNITY Kingston Council is working with partners to provide a forum for businesses and organisations that are committed to reducing their environmental impact and to promoting sustainability in pursuit of environmental excellence.

KINGSTON GREEN BUSINESS COMMUNITY Our Vision Do you want to make your business more sustainable but not sure how to start? Do you want to connect and learn from, or support, other like minded organisations? Then we can help you. The Kingston Green Business Community will be a free-to-join community of Kingstonbased businesses of all sizes, sectors, from well-established to start ups. Themain aim is quite simple; to share knowledge, skills and bring together people driven to make a stronger environmental impact. Collaborative work with academia, experts and other organisations will lead to co-creation of solutions to reduce local emissions and access funding. Instrumental will be the role of ‘green champions’ with a focus on particular industries or locations (i.e. a high-street, or an industrial park).

Functions ● Networking - connecting all businesses and organisations with an interest in achieving net zero emissions; opportunities to bring businesses together with academics, planners and eco and social entrepreneurs; share peer-to-peer best practice and ideas, knowledge and intelligence,resource savings and business opportunities. ● Pledging - to publicly show their commitment to environmental sustainability and net zero emissions and receive support and recognition for their achievements ● Recognition - online database of members and case studies; promotion of projects/ businesses that make a positive impact on the environment

● Matchmaking platform - for complementary skill sets, capacity and expertise ● Mentoring - business to business mentoring ● Intelligence - providing information and insight into the net zero economy ● Capability - workshops, training and information of net zero principles ● Accreditation - achieving an accreditation certificate ● Business growth - identifying new clients / markets and utilising the green economy as an opportunity for innovation and growth.

Membership Membership will be free and the community will be open to all businesses and organisations based in Kingston. The Kingston Green Business Community will be linked with other existing and future green and wider business communities with similar objectives and/or supply chain relations in South London, London-wide and Surrey. It will also enable businesses to take advantage of the commercial opportunities created from the green economy and net zero emissions commitments The formation of the Community is supported and championed by the following businesses and organisations: ● Aviva ● Bentall Centre ● Energy Group/Transition Town Kingston ● Genuine Solutions ● Imperial College ● Kingston Chamber of Commerce ● Kingston Council ● Kingston First ● Kingston Hospital ● Kingston University ● Lidl ● South London Partnership ● South Thames Colleges Group ● United Business Group ● WSP

If you are interested and would like to be involved in the formation of the Kingston Green Business Community contact:


New report by Kingston University highlights importance of skills for innovation in driving a thriving national economy Calls for the establishment of a Future Skills Council bringing together industry, universities and policymakers to tackle the nation’s skills shortages and help the UK’s economy prosper have been made within a major report published by Kingston University. The 2022 Future Skills report – the second phase of a campaign spearheaded by the University to address the workforce skills challenge – surveyed 2,000 businesses and 1,000 students on the skills most important to future careers and the economy. It found attracting and retaining talent in the global marketplace was the greatest threat to the nation’s economy, with Coca Cola, TikTok and Mastercard among leading firms sharing their views on what matters most in the graduates they recruit. The report was launched during a House of Commons event attended by Government Ministers, MPs, peers, business leaders and Kingston staff and students. It proposes a roadmap for delivery, bringing together government, industry and education providers to create a new Future Skills Council, modelled on the Creative Industries Council. Co-chaired by Business and Education Ministers, it would focus on solving the workforce skills challenge, meeting future needs as well as supporting the Levelling Up agenda.


What businesses said they needed in terms of graduate skills could not have been more emphatic, ViceChancellor Professor Steven Spier said. “The findings show just how quickly the world of work is changing, where future skills will be essential to the nation’s prosperity. There is a growing imperative to broaden higher education to ensure graduates keep learning and adapting to meet changing demands. What we’re doing in embedding future skills across our courses is proof higher education can pivot in this way and deliver what the economy needs.” The study, commissioned by Kingston University in partnership with YouGov, follows on from a similar survey carried out last year. Building on those findings, the 2022 results show the ability

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

Students with Skills Minister Alex Burghart at the House

skills to communicate, analyse, adapt, problem solve and think creatively remain the key skills leading businesses want from employees. Students also identified these as the attributes they most value. The most pressing challenges the UK workforce faced in the medium term included a lack of ‘future-proofed’ skills, a lack of adoption of lifelong learning and keeping up with digital capability, according to the firms surveyed. The report also highlighted the key areas industry felt should be prioritised by the government – investing in a workforce that is both skilled and adaptable, developing the UK’s social infrastructure, and investment in research and development and innovation. The report also called for a new model of higher education, building on the traditional degree to deliver future skills, as well as increasing the provision of lifelong learning. Alongside embedding skills for innovation across its curriculum, Kingston University is developing new metrics around employability as part of its new Town House Strategy.

Professor Spier speaks at the House of Commons Future Skills report launch

of Commons launch

There is a growing imperative to broaden higher education to ensure graduates keep learning and adapting to meet changing demands. What we’re doing in embedding future skills across our courses is proof higher education can pivot in this way and deliver what the economy needs.

Visit to find about more about the Future Skills campaign and download the report.

The Royal Borough of


Chamber of Commerce

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


Innovate and grow your business Work with Kingston University

We help transform businesses and organisations of all sizes and from all sectors with a range of innovative solutions and services to suit your needs. We can help you: – gain access to academic expertise and student/graduate talent – access problem-solving and creative thinking – increase your business’s innovative capability – upskill your workforce – test and develop new concepts and products – network and learn from other businesses Find out more Contact us

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Boost your business with an Apprenticeship Apprentices revitalise organisations

Apprentices often bring a fresh approach and a positive attitude into the workplace, which can have a knock-on effect on existing staff. By embarking on an Apprenticeship, employees are showing themselves to be willing to learn and can bring new ideas into the company. At Kingston College we support organisations in obtaining the best apprentices for their individual business requirements through our Apprenticeship Recruitment Service. We promote vacancies online and facilitate the screening of applications. We will also liaise with employers throughout the process. To find out more please email

Apprenticeships are an excellent way to enhance skills and build capability within an organisation. This can either be employing a new member of staff as an apprentice or encouraging an existing employee to further their career by taking up an Apprenticeship. You can employ apprentices at different levels, from school leavers and university graduates, to people who want to further their careers or change career direction completely. Apprenticeships allow an individual to study for a work-based qualification that can significantly improve their future earning power and career enjoyment. Alongside employee benefits, Apprenticeships also provide many benefits for the employer including funding from government to help pay for Apprenticeship training. Providing skilled workers for the future Apprenticeship training helps employees to improve their skills, which will benefit the company in the long term. An Apprenticeship also ensures that the skills developed are in line with the company’s future needs, in a recent government survey 86% of employers said that Apprenticeships helped develop skills relevant to their organisation. This will help fill any skills gaps and allow the business to source future managers and leaders from within the organisation. The Royal Borough of


Chamber of Commerce

Increase staff loyalty and retention Employees who have been trained in-house tend to be highly motivated, committed to the company and supportive of its business objectives. Apprenticeships encourage employees to think of their job as a career and to stay with the company for longer, thereby reducing recruitment costs. Offering an Apprenticeship to an existing member of staff allows them to see themselves as an integral part of the workforce. Apprenticeships increase a company’s bottom line Investing in staff trained through Apprenticeships has a positive effect on a company’s finances, making it more competitive. In a recent government survey 78% of employers said that Apprenticeships helped them to improve productivity and to be more competitive.

Case Study “The course has made me think in different ways, analyse data and information, plan better and be more self aware.” Pippa King, Lead Nurse for Safer Staffing at Epsom & St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, who graduated with a First Class Honours Degree and Distinction in our Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


020 3409 4733 020 3409 4733

We deliver Water We deliver Water Coolers, Bottled Water Coolers, Bottled Water and Water packs to and Water packsand to homes, offices homes, offices and warehouses warehouses

The energetic entrepreneur! “As orders increased rapidly, I hired two drivers to help with deliveries. In December 2019 we were delivering 20 bottles a week; now that figure has risen to 500 per week. I’m confident that we’re going to exceed the 2019 turnover figure this year.” The fact that both businesses are doing so well is testament to Ricky’s energy, drive and commitment to achieving success in the corporate world. He arrived in the UK from South Africa at the tender age of 18 because he wanted to “explore another part of the world to see what it had to offer”.

There’s not much that Ricky van der Linde hasn’t done. The South African-born entrepreneur has tried his hand at everything from selling ice-cream in Hyde Park to managing commercial property portfolios in Waterloo. Now he’s running two very different businesses: London Water Delivery and London Spit Roast. The former specialises in the supply and delivery of water coolers, bottled water and water packs for home, office and warehouse use. Meanwhile, the latter has developed into one of the capital’s premier diners and provides loin spit roasts, hog roasts, lamb roasts and barbeques for private parties, weddings and corporate events. Ricky says: “We opened London Spit Roast in 2014 and bought Big Roast in 2019, which was a great year for us. Things were going so well but then the pandemic hit and we went from hero to zero. By then I was already dabbing in the water business; I had registered it in 2018 but initially didn’t have that much time for it because we were so busy dealing with London Spit Roast. In 2020, we had more time on our hands; the barbecue business had to close temporarily and we got a huge influx of people asking for water deliveries. About 95% of these customers were people working from home and then, as things began to open up again in 2021, we got more enquiries from businesses.

“I actually came for a working holiday”, he says. “I’d never even been on a plane before. I’d enjoyed growing up in South Africa but the world is a big place. I thought: let’s get out there and explore it.“I found everything easier in the UK than in South Africa. I did bits and bobs of everything; I sold ice-cream in Hyde Park and worked at the retailer H&M for a short while. “Then got my first proper job at Bourne Capital, a property development company. They wanted me to work on their commercial properties in Waterloo. I was ambitious – I started as a facilities manager and worked my way up to become operations manager.” Having stayed at the company for almost eight years, Ricky moved on to serviced office provider Regus but the move didn’t work out. “I wasn’t keen so I decided to leave after four months,” he says. “At that point, I decided I didn’t want to work for anyone else anymore.” He hasn’t needed to ever since. The last two years have been challenging, particularly for London Spit Roast, but with the worst of the pandemic behind us, Ricky is confident about the future prospects for both of his businesses. “In June 2021 we reopened London Spit Roast and we were busy quite quickly. I employed someone in the office to take bookings and we were operating at about 80% of pre-pandemic levels of business. Now we’re hoping to exceed 2019 levels – we’ve taken a lot of forward bookings. “The water business kept us afloat during the pandemic and now it’s very strong. Orders are coming in thick and fast and there are no limits to its potential.”

profile Having lived in the UK for most of his adult life, Ricky feels at home in London. “The London business scene is good,” he says. “If you want to make money, you should start a venture here. It’s the place to be; it’s so diverse. You could sell anything here – even snow or gravel – and you’ll find someone who’ll buy it.” Now an experienced entrepreneur, Ricky knows what it takes to succeed in business. So, what’s his advice for any young aspiring entrepreneur? “Have energy and stick to your guns. If you have an idea, see it through. Like anything, you might go through hard times but if you know your product and your market, you’ll come through the tough times. “Also, don’t stretch yourself too thin. I’ve seen people try to diversify too quickly and neglect the good products they had when they started their business. Keep it simple, focus on your core product and make sure that it’s selling well before you diversify into other areas.” For more information visit and

THE INSIDE TRACK Favourite food? Steak Favourite tipple? Rum and coke Favourite holiday? Maldives Describe your family life. Not without its challenges How do you spend your downtime? Watching sport and playing golf What are your key strengths as a manager? Continual learning And your limitations? Coming to terms with delegating responsibility Best thing about doing business in the borough? Access to a diverse, skilled workforce Famous person you’d most like to spend dinner with? Richard Branson Most interesting fact about yourself? I came to the UK with £200 in my pocket and grasped the opportunities presented by London with both hands. I’m also very passionate about rhino conservation.

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


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KingstonBusiness KingstonBusiness

Kingston Chamber of Commerce is delighted to say that the Kingston Business Kingston Chamber of Commerce Expo 2022, held on June 23rd, wasisa delighted to say that the Kingston Business successful day, bringing many businesses Expo 2022, held on June 23rd, was a together, to showcase their profession, successful day, bringing businesses connect with each, learnmany and network. together, to showcase their profession, connect each, learn and anetwork. With over with 370 attendees (despite national train strike), it proved that Kingston is committed, With 370 (despiteencouraging a national and on allover levels, toattendees keep connecting, train strike), it proved that Kingston committed, supporting our diverse and resilient is business on all levels, to keep connecting, encouraging and community. supporting our diverse and resilient business community. The official opening was launched by the Mayor of Kingston, Yogan Yoganathan, Ed Davey MP for The official opening wasand launched by the Corporate Mayor of Kingston and Surbiton, Sean Gillen, Kingston, Yogan Yoganathan, Ed Davey MP for Head of Employment, Skills and Enterprise, Kingston and Surbiton, and Sean Gillen, Corporate Council. They all recognised the ways Head of Employment, Skills and Enterprise, that businesses have adapted and persevered in Kingston Council. They all recognised the ways the past two years. that businesses have adapted and persevered in the past two We would likeyears. to thank our Headline sponsors, Kingston University, Kingston Council and HSBC We would like to thank Headline sponsors, for their generosity and our engagement for the Expo Kingston University, Kingston CouncilThank and HSBC and broader Kingston business sector. you for their generosity and engagement for the Expo to Business Clan for sponsoring the Silent Stage and broader business sector. you seminars andKingston Omni Local for the speedThank networking. to Business Clan for sponsoring the Silent Stage seminars Omni for the networking. Thank youand to all our Local exhibitors andspeed visitors who made this such a special and enjoyable day. Thank you to all exhibitors and visitors The Chamber of our Commerce can host this, who made this such a special and enjoyable day. but it is all of you who make it come alive. The Chamber of Commerce can host this, but it is all of you who make it come alive. Headline Sponsors Headline Sponsors


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BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

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BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


the big interview

photo created by -

Time for women to take a leading role in IT It is fair to say that Katerina Damcova, founding partner and managing director of Kingston-based IQ in IT likes to keep herself busy.

In addition to running the IT support services business she set up in 2009 with technical director Luke Whitelock, she is also the current president of the Kingston Chamber of Commerce. Katerina took over the role in 2020 and due to the pandemic is the only one to be elected via a virtual AGM! But before we look at her role within the Kingston Chamber, let’s just rewind to when she first developed an interest in IT and how her career has taken shape since.


Brought up in the Czech Republic, Katerina’s grandfather was an electrician and from her early teens she developed a fascination with electronics. This led to an interest in computers and IT which in turn resulted in Katerina studying for a degree in information technology. She moved to the UK in 2005 and found work as an IT manager for a London-based firm. Just four years later and Katerina was setting up her own business in Kingston upon Thames.

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

What was the motivation behind this? “The reason I started the business was because I wanted to provide a better service to customers than the company I was working for (at that time) was doing. “I always strive to do things better and provide my clients and my employees a best possible experience. Going the extra mile in supporting my clients as well as being a flexible and supportive employer is important for me in building long term relationships”.

Women in IT The lack of women entering IT is something Katerina is determined to change. Encouraging young women to take up IT as a career is clearly an important commitment for her but she is under no illusions of the challenges involved. “People, and women in particular, are discouraged from taking it up and studying it. The reality is that we should be talking about ‘reading, writing and IT’, it is that important.” She argues strongly that IT should be seen as a core subject which it undoubtedly is not. “The school system is letting people down in terms of providing a good understanding of IT. Every sector you might work in involves IT now – even for instance, farming when you need to measure carbon in the soil”. As far as Katerina is concerned, IT needs to be front and centre of a national curriculum and there needs to be a clear nationwide strategy to ensure this is achieved. In the meantime, she is doing her bit getting involved in the local community through charity, education and business events. Engaging with young talent through the apprenticeship scheme or Young Enterprise allows her to share knowledge as well as help younger generations decide on future careers.

Keeping businesses safe When IQ in IT hit the ground running in 2009, cybersecurity was not at the forefront of every company’s mind. But the landscape has changed considerably over the years. Katerina explains: “When we started the business over

a decade ago, cybersecurity was not a major concern for many of our clients. But since 2009 its’ importance has grown exponentially, with Covid and the work-from-home culture an additional factor”. While companies may be more aware of cybersecurity, they do not always understand the nature of risk and therefore the costs if they fail to act sufficiently. “There is a degree of handholding to make sure we can fully protect our clients’ data and reputation. We provide an onboarding service for all our new clients detailing how and when to contact us if something doesn’t look right”. Katerina adds: We work in partnership with our clients to understand exactly what their vision is regarding their company. We then aim to help them achieve their business goals, keep them connected, and optimise productivity all whilst keeping them secure and resilient to losses and damages that come in association with cybercrime”. Of course, companies don’t always understand what a security breach could mean – and learn the hard way. Yes, cyber protection will cost you money but the cost in terms of reputational damage if you don’t invest in it is potentially huge. “By the time a company’s customers or suppliers have all been sent phishing emails, they then realise they underestimated the impact. By then it is too late, the damage has been done”.

Chamber role We touched earlier upon Katerina’s role as president of the Kingston Chamber of Commerce, where she has been a director

since 2015. When did the connection with Chamber start and how has it developed over the years? Location plays a big part in the initial contact as IQ in IT’s first office in Kingston was very close to the Chamber’s HQ. In 2010, just a year after the business was set up, an informal conversation with the then CEO Jerry Irving, persuaded Katerina that the Chamber had a great deal to offer IQ in IT in terms of networking and recommendations. “Like a lot of tech people I am quite introverted and standard sales calls are not something I am good at. The Chamber was hugely helpful in providing introductions and networking opportunities. And a few years later, when we moved officers (within Kingston), the Chamber helped us in negotiating business rates with the council.” Now as president of the Chamber, what does Katerina hope to achieve as part of the leadership team? “The Chamber has been pivotal in supporting local business and we are part of the Economic Recovery Task force with the council”. (The task force has been set up to help businesses trying to get back on track after the pandemic). She adds: “The Chamber has always been about businesses helping each other and I think one of the key areas I am looking to develop is a ‘virtual community’ so rather than just meeting face-to-face, there are online meetings were people from all different types of business can share tips and experiences – and learn how to deal with an issue. “It could be anything; for instance, ‘how do you become carbon neutral? The important thing is ideas are shared and potential solutions offered.”

We work in partnership with our clients to understand exactly what their vision is regarding their company. We then aim to help them achieve their business goals, keep them connected, and optimise productivity all whilst keeping them secure and resilient to losses and damages that come in association with cybercrime

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


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SUPPORTING AND PROMOTING MUSIC AND EDUCATION IN THE BOROUGH SINCE 1961 Thames Concerts is a charitable company, founded in 1961, which promotes and presents an annual series of high-quality concerts, workshops, and masterclasses predominantly within the RBK. The company brings world-class musicians to the Borough and provides an opportunity for local young musicians to perform in its annual programme of music and other events. The company’s profile and reputation for unrivalled artistic quality for over sixty years within the Borough helps to raise the ‘brand’ and profile of the RBK as a cultural destination. Thames Concerts remains the only long-established company in the Borough ensuring that professional, value-for-money performances (on a par with Wigmore Hall) may be heard in the RBK, without the cost of a journey into central London, and the high concert ticket prices often found. The company’s activities are centered mainly at St Andrew’s Church, Surbiton, a beautiful church with excellent acoustics and facilities, but performances may take place across the Borough. Thames Concerts recognizes all forms of artistic expression and is continually seeking to reach out and nurture future generations of musicians. In 2015 the present Artistic Director Ben Costello (pictured, left) introduced admissionfree morning coffee concerts into each series, promoting young up-and-coming local talent from the RBK’s schools and colleges. So far, many hundreds of children from over twelve local schools have taken part. Thames Concerts is run by a committee of volunteer director-trustees who bring together support from patrons and donors, and sponsorship from local businesses. The company receives no local government funding. Thames Concerts works closely with the Worshipful Company of Musicians, local businesses, local schools, the RBK, and numerous professional and amateur artistic groups and individuals within and without the Borough. The Thames Concerts brand is trademarked, and the company joined Kingston Chamber of Commerce in 2021. Distinguished international baritone and composer Roderick Williams was appointed Thames Concerts’ President in 2020.


The respected musical director, pianist and adjudicator Ben Costello has been Artistic Director of Thames Concerts since 2013. Born in central London, he has lived in Surbiton since 1997 and knows the local arts scene well. Ben is looking forward to forging new friendships and partnerships through Kingston Chamber of Commerce and said “We at Thames Concerts feel we have something exciting to offer local businesses, from our attractive sponsorship packages, through to the shop-floor musical and educational support we can facilitate, be it in the form of formal performances, workshops, and training, or simply sourcing excellent background musicians for a corporate function. This is coupled with our unrivalled expertise and connections in the field”.

Thames Concerts’ main series runs annually from October to February, with events also taking place outside that time. More details may be found at or by emailing THE 2022/23 SERIES AT A GLANCE: Saturday Evenings, 7.30pm 15 October 2022

Manu Brazo (saxophone), Prajna Indrawati (piano)

12 November 2022

Ferrier-Award Winner Hugh Cutting (countertenor), Rebecca Leggett (mezzosoprano), Ben Costello (piano)

10 December 2022

Ben Tarlton (solo cello)

14 January 2023

Francesca Massey (organ)

4 February 2023

Lotte Betts-Dean (mezzo-soprano), Michael Butten (guitar)

18 February 2023

The Ducasse Trio (clarinet, violin, piano)

Farmers’ Market Day Coffee Concerts,10.30am, showcasing local young talent

Admission is free (no ticket required) to these 50-minute morning concerts. Saturday 15 October

Tiffin Girls’ School

Saturday 17 December

Kingston Music Service

Saturday 14 January



London sees highest rise in business confidence

Businesses reported a rise in confidence for the first time since February and the start of the war in Ukraine, according to the latest Lloyds Bank Business Barometer. Confidence increased five percentage points to 38% in May, the highest since February 2022 and 10 points above the long-term historical average of 28%. Confidence in the retail sector, however, fell two points to 27%, its lowest level since March last year amid widely held concerns on the squeeze on household incomes and despite fading worries about COVID-19. Eight of the UK’s twelve regions or nations reported higher business confidence during the month, with businesses the most positive in London (up 23 points to 63%), and the West Midlands (up 11 points to 53%). Despite the increase in overall business confidence, 46% of businesses cited higher costs as one of their

Barwell welcomes new occupiers and refreshes brand Barwell Business Park has welcomed two new occupiers– Pure White Accessories (Aavion Ltd) and The Juice Smith. Hackney-based Pure White Accessories, a wholesaler of Italian leather handbags, cashmere scarves, wool scarves and bag straps, has moved to Unit 21. The company has been supplying UK accessories retailers since 2010. Unit B’s new occupier The Juice Smith has just opened a new restaurant in Cobham offering plant-based food and organic coffee. They have expanded to Barwell to manufacture and distribute health drinks. Ken Butcher, Asset Manager, Aviva Investors said: “A lot of work has gone into Barwell’s refurbishment programme and in promoting the asset’s uniqueness as a business location and we are delighted that as well as retaining long-standing occupiers, we are able to attract young companies from a diverse range of sectors such as retail,


biggest concerns over the next six months, while 34% cited economic slowdown. In contrast, COVID-19 concerns have decreased to 20% since 45% at the start of the year. As a result, businesses said they were likely to respond by focusing on building in financial and operational resilience via strong working capital management and optimisation of inventory levels, while working closely with their suppliers and customers. According to the barometer, employment intentions increased for the first time in three months, with 53% of firms expecting to increase their workforce. This is the second highest level seen since the start of the pandemic.

Iconic p theatre i Kingsto cultural

For the fifth month in a row, the proportion of businesses planning to increase their prices continued to rise, with more than half of firms (57%) anticipating higher prices for their products or services. Hann-Ju Ho, senior economist at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Business confidence improved in the month and firms in general seem able to rebuild some of their margins through price increases. However, they also report several challenges ahead, including concerns around higher costs and an economic slowdown. More immediately, consumer-facing industries, such as retail, are not feeling the same confidence uplift amid widespread reports of a squeeze on household incomes.” and food and drink. We wish our new occupiers the very best as they expand their operations.” In line with the ongoing unit refurbishments, the park has refreshed its brand and website and relaunched its in-house publication Barwell Today – from a newspaper to visually-led, magazine style. It will remain sustainably-printed using vegetable inks on recycled paper with the print edition delivered by electric vehicle. Interactive brochures have also been produced for available premises. Ken said: “As the park is rejuvenated through refurbishment activities, attracts a diversified occupier base and continues to place sustainability as an operational priority, we have created a new brand identity and embraced the latest technology to market units. “The refresh of Barwell Today will make it more readerfriendly and help to increase engagement with – and between – occupiers.” As part of its commitment to the local community, the business park is sponsoring kits for the under 8s and under 9s at Chessington & Hook United, and also invested in the Kingston International Film Festival last month. “Barwell Business Park is a key employer in Chessington and the wider Kingston area. As we broaden our approach to sustainability and outreach in 2022, we are pleased to be able to support grassroots sport along with the borough’s wider cultural offer,” Ken said.

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

One of the most iconic venues of the Edinburgh Festival arrived in Kingston this summer with an exciting programme of three brand new plays, including a family show. Roundabout, the award-winning portable pop-up venue from acclaimed touring theatre company Paines Plough, touched down in Memorial Gardens for a two-week run of shows. The programme featured world premieres of three new plays by some of the UK’s most exciting upcoming playwrights. Kingston has a proud history of supporting the arts and a strong


pop-up ignites on’s scene

£18m Skills Bootcamps to support Londoners into work Eighteen million pounds of funding has been made available to support Londoners into jobs. The funding will be invested in Skills Bootcamps – short, flexible courses up to 16 weeks to help fast-track Londoners into good jobs. The focus will be on sectors key to London’s recovery and longterm economic success, including green, digital and construction. The bootcamps will give people the opportunity to build up sector-

cultural and community heritage. Organised as a new creative venture between the Rose Theatre and Paines Plough, and supported by Kingston Council, Roundabout is another new exciting addition aimed at boosting the local economy. Alongside Fuse International and Kingston’s first International Film Festival, Paines Plough’s, Roundabout demonstrates the council’s commitment to supporting arts and culture on the high street. Leader of Kingston Council, Cllr Andreas Kirsch, said before the festivities took place: “I’m hugely excited that families across our borough and beyond will be able to experience Roundabout’s pop-up theatre this summer. It will provide a unique space in the heart of the town for community events and performances, as well as theatre

The Royal Borough of


Chamber of Commerce

specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer. The aim is to help employers in these sectors fill their vacancies with skilled talent by training unemployed Londoners and those with lower-level skills or in lowincome jobs. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has provided the funding as part of the London Recovery Programme. He said: “These Skills Bootcamps will help us to continue building a better London for everyone, giving unemployed adults or those in lowincome work a chance to learn or retrain and then go on to get good, future-proof jobs and careers. “Upskilling and accessible, affordable education are crucial to tackling the cost of living crisis and aiding the post-COVID recovery. This additional funding will help even more Londoners to access free training and gain the skills they need to succeed in key industries of our economy.”


skills workshops for schools, groups and local artists.


“We want our town centres and high streets to be places people visit for a whole host of cultural, leisure and entertainment experiences, as well as shopping. The pop-up theatre will be a wonderful draw to Kingston town centre.” The Rose’s artistic director, Chris Haydon, said: “The Rose plays an essential role in the creative lives of the people of Kingston and its surrounding areas, and we want to reach ever deeper into the heart of the communities we serve. Paines Plough is an internationally renowned company and our partnership with them presents an exciting opportunity to entertain and delight audiences of all ages in the welcoming and lively Roundabout venue. The year 2022 will be a fantastic summer of culture in the town.”

Unit 50 14,136 sq ft Fully refurbished industrial/ R&D and office property 14,136 sq ft (1,313 sqm) – Gross Internal Area approx

Jonathan Hillman M: +44 (0)7713 643904

Prestigious reception

Dedicated loading area

Passenger Lift

Flexible ground floor space

Generous parking allocation

Two EV charging points

Robert Bradley-Smith M: +44 (0)7469 854799

@BarwellBP @barwellbp

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community Barwell advert for Kingston Chamber_June.indd 1


22/06/2022 10:36:18

health and wellbeing

Let’s Talk About Therapy! By Reeta Minhas-Judd

parents never promoted talking openly about your feelings and mental health. From their parents teaching them to show no emotion and just get on with it attitude, this was filtered down to my parents who as loving as they were, did not encourage my siblings and I to share their issues or concerns. To then carry this mindset onto the next generation is heart breaking because this pattern will continue unless it is addressed and spoken about. I was bullied throughout the whole of my secondary school and because I was never encouraged to express emotion I suffered with this trauma for a large proportion of my life and this was very detrimental to my wellbeing. It can also be a gender issue where again men were told “to be a man” and not to talk about how their feeling etc. My clientele currently is predominantly male. I hope this will continue and more males will learn from their peers that it is not a sign of weakness to express emotion and to seek help when they feel they need it. This is why today, as a Life Therapist of my own company RMJ Wellbeing, I encourage everybody to talk. However, “trivial” or petty you may think your concerns are, I would implore you to speak to a professional. It is far better to deal with a what you may categorise as petty now, rather than have to deal with a major disaster further down the line. Mostly it is when somebody reaches crisis point, that is when they will seek therapy, however why not address it at an earlier stage and this way your able to work through it before it reaches the point of no return.

For many years if you spoke of having any form of therapy, many people would use the term “Mentally Unstable” to describe you. However, nowadays that perceived stigma is much less prevalent. With so many forms of media promoting wellbeing and mental health, therapy is now at the forefront of most people’s minds, especially since the pandemic. However, there is still a minority who believe that they don’t need any form of therapy and that their coping


mechanism is all they need in order to survive on a daily basis. This said, the coping mechanism I refer to is not sustainable and therefore this is when you hear of people having mental breakdowns because they are unable to cope with the pressure of suppressing their emotions and feelings for a lengthy period of time. Suppressing ones emotions can be a cultural thing as being a British born Asian myself, my

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

Reeta Minhas-Judd is a Life Therapist who runs her own wellbeing company, RMJ Wellbeing.Whether you are a business or an individual struggling mentally, Reeta can help you to enjoy a happy existence. If you would like a taster, why not book a FREE 90 minute Life Therapy Session and make your dreams a reality! For more information either visit or email

Photo by Cadeau Maestro

health and wellbeing

COVID response plan needed to help businesses The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is urging government to provide a clear framework for businesses on living with COVID as high levels of absence rates and infections continue to disrupt firms. Now that free testing in England has been removed, businesses are still reporting absence rates of up 20% and say advice on how to protect vulnerable staff and customers, including pregnant women, is still far too vague. Hannah Essex, co-executive director of the BCC, said: “Research by our Chamber Network has found that many firms are still struggling to get to grips with the way ahead.

The Royal Borough of


Chamber of Commerce

“Business leaders are keen to get back to prepandemic trading conditions and full capacity in the workplace, but they are worried about their legal responsibilities and liabilities once the working safely guidance is removed and replaced with general public health guidance. “Businesses need crystal clear guidance, especially smaller firms who don’t have their own HR departments to help them manage these sorts of issues. “For many firms, living with COVID really means living with disruption. One positive COVID case in a workplace has the potential to be hugely disruptive if it causes several other colleagues to become ill and need time off work. “Firms are also concerned about how to protect their vulnerable members of staff when the removal of free testing means either not being able to identify COVID cases or incurring additional costs for tests that they can ill-afford in the current climate. “If the government is not prepared to provide tests for the workplace, then it must at least look to

secure low-cost options for hard-pressed firms that are already facing a rising costs crisis. “Businesses also need to understand how the government will respond to further variants of concern – or any future pandemic – and what support would be put in place if new guidance or mandatory restrictions are introduced that have a negative impact on the economy. “Firms will only truly be able to live with COVID when they are confident that a plan is in place for future outbreaks. Otherwise, uncertainty will put a brake on investment and the shadow of the pandemic could continue to loom over our economy for months to come.” Companies have been hit by soaring energy bills as the war in Ukraine intensifies, as well as higher raw material costs in some cases. They have also had to cope with a rise in employer national insurance contributions, from 13.8% to 15.05%. Research conducted by the BCC shows that more than four out of five employers (81%) say they have been impacted by the increase in national insurance contributions.

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


starting up

STAY FINANCIALLY AFLOAT IN A TOUGH FUNDING MARKET By David Pattison tech brands have lost value in line with the market at around 25%, but some of the newer tech businesses that were valued at anything up to 50x ARR have lost up to 80% of their value. Potentially storing up very big problems for fundraising in the future. Most market watchers would argue that it is just a market correction and that these stocks are now priced at around the right level. They are used to markets correcting themselves and then building again once the sentiment moves from bearish to bullish. But the current tightening in the fundraising market feels a little different. Corporate Finance houses are warning start-ups looking for investment that now is not the time to do it and if you can wait then you should. There are lots of things that young businesses can do to stay financially afloat during this tough funding period and here are a few options: It would be fair to say that up until very recently tech businesses have fared well through the pandemic. The massive hike in the publicly listed stock prices of tech businesses and the successful IPO’s that have taken place at eyewatering valuations are testament to that. The NASDAQ Composite Index which has most of the large American tech businesses in it grew by 100% between April 2020, when the effects of the pandemic first hit, and January 2022. Half of those gains have been given back with the majority happening in the last month. It’s not a dissimilar picture in most of the public markets around the world. What is hidden within the broad numbers are some significant differences in the price swings. The established


Discuss a lower raise with your current investors and shareholders Linked to the above point, your current investors and shareholders should be your first port of call when it comes to a lower raise. They may well have dismissed the idea of investing again into a larger round, but a lower level might be attractive to them particularly if you can offer an advantageous deal, and they are precisely the people who should get an advantageous deal. It will also look very good to any future investors who have seen your current shareholders invest in difficult times.

All the signs are that a tougher time is coming for start-ups seeking investment. How businesses conduct themselves during these times is much more important than when everything is stable. Being prepared for this is the best thing young businesses can do to stay financially afloat.

Be ready to make your business either break even or profitable Look very hard at your business and see if you can get to a financial strategy that gets the company to self-sufficiency. It can mean some real tough choices and it may mean slower growth. But you will still be in business, have an element of control and be able to make choices as time goes on.

Don’t look for a big raise Buy yourself some time. Instead of going for the big raise look at a lower level, interim raise that will get you to the next stage of business growth. You will have more data for the next raise and will not have had to give away too much of the company to get there.

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

David Pattison is a start-up funding expert, business chair and mentor, and author of The Money Train: 10 Things Young Businesses Need to Know About Investors. The book won best Startup / Scaleup book at the Business Book Awards 2022.









YOU N EED TO MA K E YO U R E VE N T A S U CCE SS . A r ef i n ed y et r el ax ed b o u t i q u e h o t el o n t h e b an k s o f t h e R i v e r T h am es . Wi t h 3 6 ro o m s , 2 res t a u r a n t s a n d 3 t er r a ces , TH E M I TR E i s w h er e q u i r k y B r i t i s h s en s i b i l i t y m eet s el ega nt au t h en t i c l u x u r y. We b l en d t h e ol d w i t h t h e n ew, t h e r ef i n ed w i t h t h e co m f o r t ab l e, an d t h e l o cal w i t h t h e w o r l d l y.