Business Connexions, December 2019

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Official Magazine for Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce | Issue 8 | January 2020

Inside • Patron Focus Networking proves its worth for Chamber Patron Lanop Accountants. Page 11

• Spotlight on Tooting Why Tooting town thrives. Page 14

• Health & Wellbeing Guidelines to help tackle workplace stress. Page 29

• 5 Minutes with ... Professor Sunitha Narendran Page 34


Free Chamber membership scheme to help start-up businesses in the borough Page 6

Our business is understanding yours

At Kirk Rice we take time to understand you and your business so we can help you grow. With over 30 years experience working with large and small companies our team is here to guide you and your company to a successful future.

13 Princeton Court, 53 to 55 Felsham Road Putney, London, SW15 1AZ 0208 789 8588 |


Welcome to the latest Edition of the Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce Magazine Looking to the Future WELCOME to Business ConneXions, a quarterly magazine focused on promoting some of the best our businesses have to offer. Christmas is now behind us but on behalf of the Wandsworth Chamber board, I hope all our readers, members, sponsors and key stakeholders had a Merry Christmas and we wish you a very Happy and Prosperous New Year. This edition features the Tooting area of Wandsworth, an amazing area recognised in 2017 by Lonely Planet as one of the coolest neighbourhoods on Earth. We think it still is and our Business Awards in 2019 showcased some brilliant winner from Tooting. Congratulations to all our winners, to all our businesses for taking part and to our Sponsors who make the Awards possible. Will the year 2020 be another decade like the Roaring 20s a Century ago? What will your business be predicting? What will your new Year resolutions be?


2020 predictions include a growing trend to ‘Hyper Local’ where the focus is on larger businesses integrating into their local communities. This is something Chambers all over the World advocate and it will be great to see this trend flourish as it breathes back life to declining High Streets. Wandsworth Chamber will be focusing on helping businesses to be more sustainable, compliant and profitable. We will be offering a lot more encouragement to Start-Ups and in our New Year, New Member Drive, we have some great membership offers available, so now is a great time to be involved in Wandsworth’s largest business community. As this Business ConneXions goes to press, we will be coming out of a General Election which may


January 2020 4-5 6-7 8-9 11 12 13

Will 5G and AI take hold? When they do, it will be game changing for businesses and individual lifestyles globally. What are your strategies for making the most of the opportunities when this presents?

Business Awards Start-Ups News Patron Focus Legal News

change the UK’s economic future forever. Whatever the outcome, you may rest assured, Wandsworth Chamber will be here to help our local businesses. I hope you will enjoy this edition of Business ConneXions and thank you to all those who have contributed. If you’re business is not already a member, why not join your chamber and help us to create a better business environment. If you are a member, thank you for your support and belief in what we strive to achieve and please tell more businesses about us. We are stronger when we work together, and the journey can be so much easier when we help each other.

14 Spotlight on Tooting Our Patron Members

Skills News Economy Health & Wellbeing Chamber Events

Publisher Benham Publishing Limited, Aintree Building, Aintree Way, Aintree Business Park, Liverpool L9 5AQ t: 0151 236 4141 e: w: Published January 2020 © Benham Publishing Editor John Dean e:

Steve Pinto CEO

Advertising and Features Karen Hall e: t: 0151 236 4141

Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce


Starting Up


New Members


5 Minutes with..

Studio Mark Etherington e: Media No.1677 Disclaimer Business Connexions is mailed without charge to all Chamber members and distributed to businesses in the Borough. All correspondence should be addressed to the Editor at Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce. Views expressed in publication are not necessarily those of Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce. Reprinting in whole or part is forbidden except by permission of the Editor. © 2020.

Big Interview 20-25 26 27 29 32

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31 The People behind the business

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.

Business Connexions | 3


Glittering event reminds us why it makes good business sense to enter awards

The Wandsworth Business Awards, which were held recently, provide an excellent opportunity to acknowledge excellence. Organised by Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce, they are an exciting initiative developed to reward and celebrate the borough‘s many dynamic and innovative businesses. The awards culminated with a glittering dinner in October which showcased companies throughout the borough and gave them the opportunity to network and raise their profile. And at a time when Wandsworth is benefiting from considerable investment and business growth, what better time to be associated with Wandsworth’s business community? But is it worth the time you will spend pulling together all the information that you need to support your attempt to secure a prize? The answer is a resounding yes. The reason is that, if you are proud of what your business does, it makes sense to tell the world and entering competitions can be a good way of getting the word out there. Yes, putting together an entry can be time-consuming but it can lead to huge benefits if you win or are shortlisted.

chance to be talked about in the same breath. Success also testifies to credibility, and credibility can lead to more contract opportunities. In short, businesses are constantly up against stiff competition and award success allows you to stand out from the crowd.

Public relations opportunities The public relations (PR) opportunities that come with making an awards shortlist, or going on to win, are a great way to market your business as it puts you in the spotlight. The PR for awards tends to run for weeks before, during, and for a considerable length of time after, the event; it’s the gift that keeps on giving. And being able to put ‘award-winning’ in the opening line of your press releases delivers a powerful message.

The feel-good factor for employees

of telling people that the business is going in the right direction. They show clear evidence that yours is a business on the up and up.

A learning opportunity Even if you don’t win first time around, there is value in the process of preparing an entry because it allows you to step back and take a long, hard look at the business. The thought process involved can lead you to view your business in a different way and identify things that require improvement. Not winning should not be regarded as a failure, rather part of the process and you are bound to come back better and stronger next time. •••••

Handy awards hints

So what makes a good award entry? • Make sure your entry is free of typos and that you have provided the required information. It all gives an impression that you know what you are doing

Winning an award builds recognition for the work you and your team have been doing; it shows off the expertise that you have developed.

Your employees work day in, day out to support your business and they can find their morale boosted by an awards win. Awards are a great way to recognise teams and members of staff for their hard work. Plus, if your employees can tell their peers they work for an award-winning business, they will feel proud of the company – it makes it easier to hold on to them and to recruit the best people when you do have vacancies.

Some smaller businesses may struggle to have their voice heard in a competitive sector dominated by bigger rivals with big marketing budgets and an award win offers SMEs the

A sign of progress Award wins add value to the work being done in your business and, even though that may not have a monetary value, they’re a great way

• If you’re a claiming to be a top business within your sector, support the claim with evidence, including facts and figures and customer testimonials if you have them.

They include:

Greater Recognition

Entrepreneur of the Year Winner

Highly commended Commended

Go Natural Organic Skincare The Wild Hare Evergreen Growth

Best Charity or Social Enterprise Winner Highly commended

Results Business of the Year Winner

Highly commended Commended Minar Jewellers

SEN Talk Wandsworth Oasis and South Thames College Share Community BYO

Best New Business The Wild Hare Best Business for Marketing & Social Media Winner Highly commended Hetu Winner Aim Solutions Highly commended Aim Solutions Highly commended Poppy’s Funerals Commended Go Natural Highly commended Hetu Commended Evergreen Growth Commended Wandsworth Oasis Independent Business of the Year Best Business for Customer Service Winner Minar Jewellers Winner Minar Jewellers Highly commended Idea Space Highly commended Poppy’s Funerals Highly commended London Barberhood Commended TV Edwards Commended We Brought Beer Commended ReCentre Health

4 | Business Connexions

• Limit the jargon. Not everyone understands the terms that you use in your sector so do everything you can not to baffle the judges! • Be honest. Don’t attempt to cover up any weaknesses by edging around the truth. Judges have seen it all before

Innovator of the Year


Highly commended Commended

Wandsworth Oasis and South Thames College Dan & Angel Restaurant Poptata

Best Business with Under 50 Employees Winner Highly commended Commended

SEN Talk Poppy’s Funerals Under the Doormat

Best Business with Over 50 Employees Winner Highly commended

Best Eatery

Winner Highly Commended Highly Commended

Beaver Pest Control Inside Marketing Nazmins Ding Ding The Tapas Room

Employer of the Year Winner Highly Commended Highly Commended

Share Community MA&Y Inside Marketing

What award success means to me


By Anita T. Toth Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 Go Natural Organic Skincare ( When I joined the Chamber, I could never have imagined that I would win the coveted ‘Wandsworth Entrepreneur of the Year’ award 2019. When I entered, I did so without a thought for winning, but, rather, I wanted to challenge myself. Could I write numerous paragraphs on the entry form about what Go Natural Organic Skincare had achieved? Well, once I had recounted my business journey, I had a lot of material! For instance, I decided to go back to 2015 when I had that Eureka moment. My Mother-In-Law asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I told her I was running out of skincare, so I thought getting a new product would be a good idea. While I was searching to discover something new, I stumbled upon a book written by natural cosmetic experts. I knew in that moment that I wanted no creams or serums of any kind but to make my own. That year, I had plant oils, essential oils and tools of all kinds under the Christmas tree. Yet it was the meeting of minds at the Chamber which propelled me to take my business forward. When I met CEO Steve Pinto there

was immediate common ground. For instance, a shared desire to create a more environmentallyfriendly neighbourhood, alongside a commitment to sustainable and plastic free products, something which my business totally embraces. Winning the award has had a profound effect on me, as I feel excited to be the founder of a small business whose principles are not solely about profit. My focus is to share my morals, lifestyle choices and personal beliefs, all of which are reflected in my skincare products. Due to this, I have received celebrity endorsements from Renee J. Elliot, the founder of Planet Organic, award-winning actress, Jenny Seagrove and a Costa shortlisted novelist. The possibilities are now endless, thanks to the huge opportunities that winning a Chamber Award brings. I have made it my mission to prove that organic skincare is a very powerful tool which is capable of improving the physical appearance. The magic to winning an award is to be 100% passionate about what you do. Finally, my business call-to-action has received an official accolade. Press release by Narratorial

Winning Combination for Innovators of the Year 2019 – South Thames College and Wandsworth Oasis By Gill Perkins, CEO Wandsworth Oasis

We were delighted that our partnership won Innovator of the Year. This was the first time that the different departments at the college had worked together on such a large initiative and involving a resource strapped external partner! The project took a year to put together. The main event showcased Wandsworth Oasis’ key marketing campaign – Charity Shops are the ethical alternative to fast fashion. The students spent the year repurposing/upcycling the garments into high fashion outfits with some stunning results.

Fresh from a frustrating day attempting to find a venue for an event, I attended the Earlsfield Business Network monthly networking event at Burntwood School in July 2018. It was here that I met Chris Dodd, Head of Employability, from South Thames College. Those of you who know Chris will recognise that he is an extremely creative, solutions focused individual. I described our idea to position charity shops as the ethical alternative to fast fashion through hosting a fashion show – not because I thought he could help, but because he asked me how my day had been so far! He saw the big picture immediately and offered me South Thames College as a venue – free of charge – and the idea of the learners being involved in every step of the process was born. It really demonstrates the power of face to face marketing and collaboration with third parties and how important it is to include these in the marketing mix.

This is a very topical subject with retail brands continuously being scrutinised for fast fashion and the effect this has on the environment and workforces in the developing world. The glittering final show was combined with the Earlsfield Business Network monthly meeting one year on – a fitting tribute to a fantastic collaboration made possible by The Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce.

Support for charity that improves understanding of eating disorders

Julia Pittman, Head of Sales at Beaver Pest Control, is one of the Wandsworth Chamber members who have been raising money for SEED, a charity that helps people with eating disorders. In October, she walked two back to back marathons (52 miles in two days) in the Sahara Desert to raise awareness and funds for SEED. SEED is a Voluntary Organisation that was formed in September 2000 in Hull, East Yorkshire, and was initially known as the Eating Disorder Support Group. It became a Registered Charity in 2004 and became known as SEED Eating Disorder Support Services (Support and Empathy for People with Eating Disorders) in January 2008. The organisation is made up of two co–founders, five Trustees, 23 Volunteers and Gemma Oaten, the former Emmerdale actress with strong Wandsworth links, is the Patron. She herself has experience of suffering from the illness. Marg Oaten MBE, Secretary and Co-founder, said: “We are a group of ordinary people with firsthand experience of eating disorders, who make a difference to those people whose lives are blighted by this devastating illness. “We are all too aware that this illness has a profound psychological effect on anyone who is part of the sufferers’ life and they too need help to understand and support their loved ones. “An eating disorder has the highest mortality rate of any other mental health illness with a staggering 20% of people dying every year as a direct result of their illness or through suicide. “The lack of understanding contributes to high levels of medical risk in eating disorders and personal experience lends itself to this. SEED are passionate about raising awareness of medical risk in the hope this can save lives. “The onset of an eating disorder can be as young as 7/8 years of age. This is terrifying for carers who often face many years of turmoil as they watch helplessly as their child refuses to eat and becomes medically at risk, having to the admitted to hospital for their safety.” SEED have produced an educational toolkit aimed at academic Years 7 to 11/12, raising awareness amongst young people and training the trainer, who is able to deliver the resource with the help of a user guide. Not overlooking the carers, SEED run workshops called Walking on Eggshells, based on the Maudsley Method pioneered by Professor Janet Treasure. Julia Pittman said: “The story started when I met Gemma Oaten at a Wandsworth Chamber meeting and her story touched a nerve. Her experiences reminded me so much of my son’s. “There is still a huge amount of work to be done to help children with mental health struggles and their parents, so this is my small way of helping the process.” The total raised was £2,500.01 and Julia has continued to raise money. You can donate at Marg said that fundraising was a key part of their work, adding: “The endeavours of people like Julia Pittman are inspirational as we strive to fundraise and sustain our charity for the future.”

Business Business Connexions Connexions | 5| 5


Free Chamber membership scheme aims to help start-up businesses

Wandsworth is attracting ever increasing numbers of entrepreneurs seeking to start their own businesses in the borough. 6 | Business Connexions


Starting a new business can be a daunting prospect, which is why Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce has teamed up with Putney-based Lanop Accountants to help newly-created ventures.

Start-ups are being offered a year’s *free membership of the Chamber as well as free initial advice from the team at Lanop Accountants. Lanop Partner Aurangzaib Chawla, who in addition to being a tax specialist also deals with the firm’s business development, said: “We deal with a lot of start-ups and find that in the early months they are reluctant to invest money in opportunities like Chamber membership. “Our view is that, if the Chamber offers free membership for a year, coupled with our free advice, that helps them get through that initial period and in a year’s time they will be happy to pay for membership. “Obtaining the right professional advice, right from the beginning of a start-up is very important and in our role as a business advisor we can help them do that. “We are objective and approach a business idea with a fresh pair of eyes and help the person address what needs to be done. “That can mean giving the client some tough advice. For instance, we were approached by someone setting up an estate agency who told us that they had taken a unit on the second floor of a building. “We pointed out that estate agents take ground floor units to attract passing trade and that the idea was a recipe for disaster.

“He stormed out of the meeting but three months later, his business had collapsed without a single enquiry. He is still a client of ours, it’s just that he now runs a pub. “It was an example of the importance of receiving the right advice at the start of a business and we feel that offering free membership of the Chamber will help entrepreneurs become established. “From our point of view, those businesses may become clients of ours in the longer term but we do not see our input as a sales pitch, rather as a way of helping businesses survive and grow.”

Lanop can offer a lot of expertise in areas including how to: • Prepare a comprehensive business plan • Determine the best structure of your company: sole trader, partnership, limited liability partnership, or limited company • Asist with company formation and company secretarial duties • Register your new business with HM Revenue & Customs • Establish relationships with banks, insurers etc. • Prepare cashflow projections and assess finance needs • Submit finance applications • Sort bookkeeping, VAT, and payroll duties • Manage tax and annual account

“At Wandsworth Chamber, we understand the challenges and pains businesses go through and we are here to help. We are delighted to offer *free membership to start-ups to help them get through the critical early stages when almost 80% of new businesses fail. With over 60 business networking events annually, there are unrivalled opportunities for businesses to be informed, make new contacts, meet key stakeholders, find mentors, develop joint ventures/ partnerships, test ideas in a safe environment and find new customers. We are a friendly business community of likeminded individuals who are mutually supportive, eager to offer encouragement along the way and we invite you to join us.”

BREW-ing up business successes Women aged 50-plus who want to start or grow their own business have been invited to sign up to the BREW programme.

BREW, run by Wandsworth Council’s Lifelong Learning Team, stands for Building Enterprise and Resilience in Women and develops entrepreneurial and digital skills underpinned by coaching in resilience, confidence building and motivation. It was launched earlier this year and has already helped dozens of women, including Angela Senior, a self-employed consultant in the fashion industry. Although BREW focuses on the skills needed for setting up your own businesses, Angela used those skills to get back into full-time paid employment in an industry she loves. She went to the launch of BREW when she saw that Jenny Holloway, CEO of Fashion Enter, would be speaking. She now works for Fashion Enter creating patterns, prototype samples and small production runs for highend clients. Angela said: “Although I have a first-class honours degree in Fashion Design and 30 years relevant experience, BREW helped me focus on the business side of fashion. Prior to this position, I was working as a consultant using my extensive experience in the clothing industry. What I’ve ended up with is the most perfect job. “My advice to other women is that you’ve really got to put yourself out there. I know a number of other women in this industry who aren’t in work and would benefit from this kind of support.” You can get in touch to join the next training programme in January. Places are fully-funded and free. Upon completion, participants will gain nationally recognised qualifications in Understanding Employment, Business & Enterprise, Personal Behaviour for Success and Social Media. Everyone will also have the opportunity to become a member of the new BREW network to enable participants to continue to support and learn from each other. Register your interest online or for more information call (020) 8871 8055 or email

Steve Pinto, Chief Executive, Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce. “Wandsworth Council is keen to support business start-ups in the borough and is proud to sponsor the ‘Best New Business’ category in the Wandsworth Business Awards. We applaud the Chamber’s initiative to support new start-up business and encourage new businesses to become a member and benefit from services such as this.” Cllr. Jonathan Cook, Wandsworth Council, Deputy leader and cabinet member for economic development, skills and employment. *All memberships pay a small set up fee of £39 +VAT which allows our team to build a complete digital marketing page to generate leads for your products and services

Business Connexions | 7

Success for students


A ceremony has celebrated the success of students who completed the fourth Tooting Common Employment Skills and Learning Course.


Teasup is an independent speciality tea company based in Putney, South West London. Husband and wife team, Philip and Hanna Joseph are on a mission to seek out the best quality whole leaf teas from the top tea gardens across the globe, ethically sourced and in environmentally friendly packaging. “Let’s face it, as much as we all love Christmas, the build-up to the big day can prove stressful. We decided to share our top tea tips to ensure you thoroughly enjoy all the wonderful things the festive season brings. For example, the Teasup Breakfast Blend - which takes this classic to a new level and is a great way to get you going in the morning. It has the full-bodied quality of Assam, blended with the strength and briskness that comes from teas from Mt Kenya and the Gisovu Tea Estate in Rwanda. Likewise, it’s perfect when you need that pick-me-up to keep going through those Christmas shopping crowds. Mao Jian Green tea - green tea is renowned for its antioxidants and our top tip for most green teas including ours is to brew it at a lower temperature at ~ 80ºC. This will prevent it from becoming bitter and instead give it a delicate and silky taste that is great to drink throughout the day - if you don’t have a temperature-controlled kettle just add a quarter of the water cold when you’re brewing. It also goes great with cheese too as it makes the cheese even creamier and sweeter! One for the evenings when you’re looking to wind down, try the Good Night Infusion. It’s a blend of chamomile flowers with rose and lavender, is caffeine-free and great when you’re relaxing after wrapping up Christmas presents. Just before bedtime is the best time to unwind with this calming blend.”

The four-week course was run by idverde’s Greenspace Development Team in association with Wandsworth Council’s Tooting Common Heritage Project (TCHP) team and managing agents from Enable Leisure and Culture. Recruitment for the coursebegan in November 2018 with organisers working with a number of organisations, including Job centre plus in Wandsworth and London CRC probation. The course was developed with YMCA Training to award successful candidates with a City and Guilds Level 1 Award in Land Based Studies. The qualification focused on practical skills and also covered topics such as health and safety and personal development in the workplace. Course candidates also joined the TCHP team to help complete

ongoing work at the Tooting Common Lido woodlands. Candidates assisted in completing clearance work in order to form a safe path network through the woodland and constructing a hedge to provide habitat for nesting birds and invertebrates, as well as a range of practical horticulture and conservation tasks in other parts of the common. The course also included visits to other greenspaces in Wandsworth and other boroughs to give candidates a thorough rounded experience of what it takes to enter the grounds maintenance sector. All of the seven candidates who successfully completed the course have since found seasonal contract positions with idverde contracts or grounds maintenance apprenticeships in London.

New state of the art Branch for Barclays

Barclays is helping to further support the business community in Wandsworth with its brand new, state of the art Branch in Clapham Junction. Speaking to Christopher Dean, Managing Director for London ‘we know that there are many entrepreneurs thriving in Clapham but needing support from a Local Bank with experienced Relationship Managers who can offer guidance and connect up the eco system. We have therefore made a significant investment, designing a space with cutting edge digital capabilities supported by passionate colleagues. The renovation is part of an ongoing Barclays initiative to revolutionise its branch network and Clapham Junction is one of the first to feature

a small presentation theatre which is being used for businesses events. The events allow business owners to network and to hear from experts about issues and opportunities they face ranging from fraud awareness to preparing for Brexit. The branches across Wandsworth have experienced business managers to support businesses and Clapham Junction has extended opening hours to 7pm on weekdays to cater for the high demand from local entrepreneurs. The changes are already paying dividends with over 1700 new business accounts being opened across the Borough this year. Christopher states “We are committed to finding innovative ways of using our branch network, and the skills of our people, to help

New agreement to address mobile ‘not spots’ and make London 5G ready

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has published a new standard agreement to help commercial landlords and public property owners address poor areas of mobile phone coverage. He says that the new arrangement, driven in part by calls from businesses, will speed up the process which allows mobile providers access to rooftops and other sites to install kit to address mobile ‘not spots’. Access to mobile services is an important requirement for Londoners and businesses – with Londoners currently using 38 million gigabytes of mobile data – a fifth of all the mobile data in the UK. Each year the amount of data used rises by an estimated 25% to 42%. The standard agreement delivers on the Mayor’s manifesto commitment to better use public sector property for digital connectivity,

8 | Business Connexions

Councillor Steffi Sutters, Cabinet member for Community Services and Open Spaces. said: “Over the years, the Employment Skills and Learning Course has helped dozens of local people learn new skills and get into employment and their hard work and enthusiasm has been inspiring.” Gerald McEnery, TCHP Course Coordinator, idverde Greenspace Development, said: “This course has by far been the most successful to date. The candidates showed an exceptional level of commitment to completing the course and the quality of the work completed on all sites was beyond anything I expected from Level 1 learners. Two candidates received Passes and three candidates received Merits which is a fantastic achievement.”

and forms part of his Connected London programme, which aims to enhance mobile and fixed fibre connectivity in London through investment, new data and working with local authorities. The agreement has been developed in partnership with the British Standards Institution, with the support of City of London, and a steering committee made up of legal representatives of landowners and from the telecommunications sector. The move will support existing 4G mobile users in areas where connectivity is poor and assist the future roll out of 5G - which will also require access to buildings - by establishing a consistent

businesses across Wandsworth to thrive. We aim to create experiences beyond the provision of traditional banking services and invite people to visit the branch to see how we can support them.” The facilities at Clapham Junction compliment those offered at the other branches across the capital where the staff are focussed on helping customers thrive in a digital world.

approach to be followed across London. Leading business group London First has welcomed this agreement and released a report, Enhancing Digital Connectivity, arguing that steps must be taken now if full fibre is to become the norm across the capital. Theo Blackwell, London’s Chief Digital Officer said: “Today, good mobile coverage is an expectation for all those who live, work or visit London. This guidance is part of the Mayor’s commitment to enhance mobile and fixed connectivity in the Capital. It helps end uncertainty which has stopped or slowed infrastructure being put in place across London with a new, consistent approach.” Catherine McGuiness, Policy Chair at the City of London Corporation said: “This new mobile standard agreement is a landmark achievement in ensuring improved mobile coverage across London and the UK, eradicating ‘not spots’ and expediting roll out of new 5G networks.” Jasmine Whitbread, CEO of London First, said: “Making it easier to deliver the digital connectivity the capital needs is a critical part of keeping the city competitive now and into the future.”


Company credit control Join Us Tod ay and cash-flow management It’s the first working day of the month – your priority job should be chasing those invoices due to have been paid by the end of last month; the longer you leave it the bigger the problem will become, 100% guaranteed. Aged debt will expose your cash-flow , eventually running it dry and increase your susceptibility to bad debt. At the end of the day why should you subsidise another companies cash flow – in effect you are giving them a free loan, paid for by you. Outstanding debt is the nemesis of any Credit Department, putting a block on a customer can destroy a long-standing corporate relationship, and wreak havoc within the sales team. But aged debt will be the first thing your Manager, Director or Co-owner picks up on, and when asked the question, you will need to have straight and to the point answers. As a Credit Controller do you find yourself asking any of the following questions : • Is your Debtors List increasing? • Are your customers exceeding their agreed payment terms? • Is your cash flow starting to dry up?

• Do you spend time stressing about unpaid invoices? • Are you concerned about the financial position of a customer? • Have you not been paid for an invoice and are unsure what to do next. The simplest problem to deal with is the last one, simply pick up the phone and ask the customer what’s going on. More than likely, it’s a simple oversight – however it could just as easily be an imminent sign of what’s on the horizon. How tight are your new customer account opening procedures, do you Credit Check all new customers and adhere to the credit levels advised, or do you offer them credit ad hoc? They may be coming to you because they are on stop everywhere else. Are you monitoring your customers for any changes to their current credit ratings, and are you being informed of downgrades due to Late Payments and CCJs? Monarch and Carillion went bust with multiple notifications of both,

and yet companies still offered to open new accounts for them and to extend their credit. Do you know the exact entity you are trading with, and have you got the correct Company Number for them? Invoices to that exact company name and address, with the correct contact details will hugely increase your chances of being paid on time, and greatly increase you chance of success should you decide to go down the legal road to get paid in a Court of Law. If you, or your company, or you know of anyone who’s company has suffered, or is suffering from these Credit Control issues, Late Payments, or bad B2B Debt, we have the systems and procedures in place to help improve their cashflow dramatically, and to recover outstanding invoices at Zero Cost with no commission. David Barker can be contacted at AccountAssyst Direct Route email:

The heartbeat of the community award Luxury care home provider Signature Senior Lifestyle, who have recently opened the doors to their show-suites at their brand new care home in Wandsworth Common are launching an award to celebrate those in the local community who have gone above and beyond! The heartbeat of the community award will be presented at the grand opening of Signature’s new home in April 2020, where the winner will receive a donation of up to £1,000 towards their chosen charity. Hollie Lockhart, Client Liaison Manager for Signature at Wandsworth Common commented “We are delighted to be launching this award to recognise the people within the community who have given so much and been an inspiration to others. Please do get in touch with your nominations, we would love to hear from you!”.

To apply for this award please email or call 0208 1037010 Signature at Wandsworth Common is a purpose built 5-star care home with 97 individual suites offering residential care, nursing and dementia care opening to its first residents in April 2020. Facilities will include a concierge service, cinema, beauty salon, chauffer driven Mercedes and a sky bar with panoramic views. For all enquiries please call 0208 1037010

Camile Thai switches to compostables for takeaway food

Restaurant chain Camile Thai, which delivers healthy, sustainably-prepared hot Thai food, has launched its new compostable range of packaging across its restaurants in Battersea, Tooting Bec, Clapham and Croydon. They can go straight into the compost bin without washing and Camile Thai is among the first restaurant chains in Europe to make the move. Daniel Greene, Marketing Manager, said: “We are very conscious of our responsibility to lead the way for other food companies. We are responding to heightened customer concerns in recent months and years about the use of single use plastics.

“With this move, we switch our entire packaging range from going into black bins after use, to going into organic bins, where the items can be processed and composted in an approved facility.” With 29-plus restaurants in the UK and Ireland, the fast growing Camile chain has ambitious plans to develop further in the UK and in Ireland; the home delivery of hot food market is exploding in urban areas around the world, driven

Whether you are part of a large organisation or work from an office at home, there are many good reasons for joining the Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce. As the business hub of Wandsworth, your Chamber is influential in helping to create the right business environment for local companies to flourish. Through membership you have the ability to use our “business voice”, the opportunity to meet key stakeholders, network and do business with many other local businesses that you won’t find anywhere else. So, do it now, online, and start enjoying the many benefits on offer.

For more information or to discuss how we can help you, please contact us at: Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce

020 363 36575

by the rise of food aggregators like Deliveroo and Just Eat, and time-poor urban consumers. Daniel said: “While the new packaging is significantly more expensive than traditional plastic lined cups, we are happy to absorb the cost without putting prices up for our customers. We are confident that, over time, the price will fall and come into line with existing supplies.”

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0208 392 9375


Networking proves its worth for

Chamber Patron

Chamber Patron Lanop Accountants of Putney is finding that it is good to talk thanks to the excellent networking opportunities that membership of the organisation brings. The chance to meet fellow professionals in the Wandsworth area is a major attraction of being a Patron, according to Partner Aurangzaib Chawla, who in addition to being a tax specialists also deals with the firm’s business development. Lanop was set up in 2009 and opened its first office in Putney in 2010. Since then, it has served hundreds of businesses across London. The firm believes in reaching out to clients and, in addition to being a Chamber Patron, is a founding member of Putney Business Hub, which helps promote local businesses in Putney and surrounding areas. Over the past ten years, Lanop has developed a network of professionals from all walks of life and believes in the ethos of helping clients grow and to then grow with them. Clients include everyone from financiers to hairdressers. Chamber Patronage fits into the firm’s ethos, according to Aurangzaib, who said: “We are a member of the Chamber of Commerce because it gives us the opportunity to develop connections and the chance to meet professionals working in the Wandsworth area. “We like to find out what they are doing and to develop relationships with them. In many cases we have gone on to do work for them. “For us, it is important to develop a network of professionals who we can call on when the occasion arises and attending

Aurangzaib Chawla Chamber networking events brings us into contact with a wealth of untapped potential. “As an example, it was through attending such events that we developed a relationship with Barclays and we now carry out work for them, including tax clinics.” Although he is a specialist in Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Income Tax, VAT and HMRC Tax investigations, Aurangzaib sees the work of Lanop as much broader than that. He said: “We believe very strongly that it is not enough for an accountant to just do the books and offer advice on tax. Times have changed and being an accountant has become much more than that. “We see ourselves as business advisors as well. We believe in helping businesses and that often has nothing to do with tax or bookkeeping. As an example, one of our clients was someone setting up an Escape Room but their builder had pulled out. “The client came to us for help and we were able to assist. Builders are not keen to take on part-finished jobs because of the

problems associated with working on a job that someone else started. However, we talked to three or four builders who we had done work for, with the result that the work was completed and the Escape Room is now the most successful in the franchise. “It was an example of the value of building up a network and being a Patron of Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce puts us at the heart of the local business scene.” “We recently helped out a struggling eye vision clinic at Harley street. We reviewed all business procedures, eliminated non value adding activities, implemented strict cash flows with monthly variance reports. Negotiated payment terms with creditors, agreed payment plans for outstanding debts, helped hire new digital marketing company achieving same results as its predecessor for almost half price (saving £70k per annum) and turned business from loss making to £200k profit making business in one year. We helped the client from filing bankruptcy You can find out more about Lanop at

Chamber Patronage fits into the firm’s ethos, according to Aurangzaib, who said: “We are a member of the Chamber of Commerce because it gives us the opportunity to develop connections and the chance to meet professionals working in the Wandsworth area.” Business Connexions | 11


Release the lease – Let’s talk immigration bringing your commercial -

bringing a measure of clarity to Brexit tenancy to an end With all the uncertainty around Brexit, if your business relies on EU nationals as staff you will understandably be confused about the current UK immigration position relating to those staff. How will you meet your future staffing needs?

This article will hopefully bring some clarity to what is a very complex and fast-moving situation.

If there is a deal… If the draft Withdrawal Agreement is agreed by 31 January 2020 the Government has said that an “implementation period” will run from 31 January 2020 (the date the UK is due to leave the EU) to 31 December 2020. During this period the Government has committed to not changing the immigration rights of EU nationals and their family members. So on this basis there will be no immediate change in their circumstances. What’s more, they may be able to benefit from the EU Settlement Scheme. Since 30 March 2019, this scheme has been fully open for applications from eligible EU nationals and their eligible family members.

What is the EU Settlement Scheme? EU nationals and relevant family members who have been residing in the UK since 31 December 2020 or before, and have been reciding in the UK for at least five years, will normally be eligible to apply for settled status. Settled status gives holders the right to, for instance, “stay indefinitely” in the UK, to work here and to apply for UK citizenship. The five-year rule may not apply to “close family members” and children under the age of 21.

12 | Business Connexions

EU nationals who apply but do not meet the five-year rule will generally be given ‘pre-settled status’ instead. This allows them to, for instance, stay in the UK for a further five years, giving them a route to the five years’ continuous residence needed to apply for settled status.

What is the deadline to apply for settled or pre-settled status under EU Settlement Scheme? For EU nationals and relevant family members who started residing in the UK on or before 31 December 2020, the deadline to apply for settled status or pre-settled status is 30 June 2021.

If there is no deal… If the draft Withdrawal Agreement is not agreed and there is a “no-deal” Brexit from 31 January 2020, the right to apply under the EU Settlement would only apply to EU nationals (not necessarily to certain family members) who started to reside in the UK by 31 January 2020, rather than by 31 December 2020.

of EU nationals to enable them to start residing in the UK on or before 31 January 2020 to insure yourself against a risk of a no-deal Brexit. If that is not possible then you may wish to do this by 31 December 2020 (if the draft Withdrawal Agreement is agreed) so that their UK immigration rights can be governed by the EU Settlement Scheme regime rather than the new and more restrictive UK immigration system that is expected to be put in place from 1 January 2021. Sponsor licence: if your business possesses a sponsor licence you should ensure that the sponsor licence compliance systems are as robust as possible, not least because sponsor licences are at the core of the new and more restrictive UK immigration system expected from 1 January 2021. If your business does not hold a sponsor licence, you may now wish to apply for one.

Even if you don’t use it immediately, a new sponsor licence could be “held in reserve” for future use.

Can we rely on this regime? The position relating to EU nationals who are residing in the UK by 31 January 2020 has essentially been guaranteed by the Conservative-led Government in place at the time of writing (6 December 2019). However, with the impending General Election and current extreme political volatility as well as numerous variables relating to Brexit, we cannot be certain how UK immigration law will develop or how UK Government policy may change over time. For this reason, EU nationals and businesses who rely on them in their workforce should act now.

Edward Wanambwa Partner Russell-Cooke Solicitors

What steps can your business take to prepare for Brexit? Legal advice: suggest to your EU national staff that they should obtain immigration law advice as soon as possible if they have not already. In some cases that advice may include applying without delay for UK citizenship (if eligible), or, if not, for settled status or otherwise for pre-settled status. New staff: if you can, you may wish to bring forward any planned UK hires or transfers +44 (0)20 8789 9111


Wandsworth Bridge to undergo multi-million pound refurbishment

Major refurbishment work to Wandsworth Bridge will be carried out in the New Year, the council has confirmed.

The bridge will undergo a £6m upgrade and the works are expected to begin in February and last for about ten months. To ensure traffic is kept moving, at least two of the bridge’s four lanes will remain open at all times, allowing vehicles, buses and bikes to cross the river in both directions. The bridge will also remain open at all times to pedestrians. The works will include a series of structural repairs, carriageway resurfacing, waterproofing and corrosion protection. The bridge will also be repainted to significantly improve its appearance and protect its steel structure. Eco-friendly low energy LED floodlights will be installed underneath its arches so they can be lit at night, making it more of a landmark feature on the Thames, in a scheme similar to the one recently carried out upstream at Putney Bridge.

Its existing street lamps will be replaced with Victorianastyle architectural lights, further enhancing the appearance of this strategic river crossing. Transport spokesman Cllr Paul Ellis said: “This will be a major refurbishment scheme to ensure this important Thames bridge remains in full working order and open to the travelling public for many years to come. “We take our responsibilities for maintaining our bits of London’s vital transport infrastructure very seriously indeed which is why we have been planning the refurbishment for some time and why we set aside the funds to pay for it in June 2018.” About 40,000 vehicles cross the bridge every day. This number has increased since Hammersmith Bridge was suddenly closed without warning in April. Funding for the project is coming from the strategic community infrastructure levy (SCIL), which is money levied on property developers in the borough to help pay for important infrastructure projects.

Are you an employer and able to offer a valuable work experience placement? Wandsworth BEST EBP is looking for work experience placements for young people. We are Wandsworth BEST EBP and we bring schools, colleges and businesses together to prepare young people for the workplace. Our aim is to raise young people’s aspirations and to develop their employability skills through work experience. All of our students are from Wandsworth schools or colleges and are aged 14-19 years old. The placements last for 1 or 2 weeks. There are a lot of benefits to employers which include: • Getting alternative perspectives and insights from young people • Giving your staff supervisory experience • Training your future workforce

We are looking for employers who are willing to accept work experience students. If you are interested or would like more information then please email or call 0208 871 8633.

A thriving food quarter for London New Covent Garden Market is London’s original and largest wholesale fresh produce market. For almost 350 years, the market has supplied London’s leading restaurants and florists with the highest quality fruit, vegetables, flowers and fresh produce from the UK and around the world.

Based in Nine Elms since 1974, the iconic market is home to nearly 200 businesses with around 2,500 employees. It is currently undergoing an exciting redevelopment that will transform the site into a thriving, modern food quarter for London. Daniel Tomkinson, Chief Executive at the Covent Garden Market Authority, said: “The redevelopment of the market is essential to modernise the market’s infrastructure and create a thriving, modern wholesale market fit for the 21st Century. “We want to create a world-leading wholesale and distribution market, operating alongside innovative, next-generation food businesses.” The Fruit and Vegetable Market is what many people think of as the core of New Covent Garden Market. After 45 years, the market is being rebuilt to create new, contemporary, food grade units. The new units have a high specification base-build, but are flexible so businesses can fit them out to meet their own requirements.

As the UK’s oldest wholesale flower market, it supplies a large proportion of London’s event and contract florists as well as many of the high street florists, hence their claim to be the market ‘behind every great florist’. On the ground floor of the new Flower Market is a bright, modern Flower Hall, where London’s best flower wholesalers sell a wide variety of flowers, plants, foliage and sundries, while the first floor is home to a selection of contract florists. A vibrant new citrus fruit artwork by Israeli photographer Eyal Granit was unveiled on the Nine Elms Lane façade of the Flower Market in October, to showcase just some of the fresh produce that is available behind the market’s walls.

Next generation food businesses The Food Exchange, which opened at the market in January 2018, is a new home for London’s up-and-coming food entrepreneurs. With tenants including healthy ice-cream brand Oppo, food waste charity FoodCycle, and start-up community Young Foodies, it is an exciting space where next generation food businesses can network with each other, innovate and grow. Looking ahead, there are plans to transform New Covent Garden Market into a dedicated food quarter destination for Londoners, with the iconic wholesale market operating alongside an array of food and drink businesses that will be open to the public.

Visit for more information about the new food grade warehouse units and Food Exchange studio spaces available at New Covent Garden Market.

Business Connexions | 13


Why Tooting Town thrives By Brian Albuquerque, Tooting Town Centre Manager

The town has multi-generational appeal; there is pretty much something on offer for most people of all ages – a session or two at Buzz Bingo, pie and mash at Harringtons, a pint or coffee in one of the pubs or cafes, cocktails at one of our trendy bars, dinner at a fine Tooting eatery, live entertainment at the Tram & Social, poker or a trad session at the Ramble Inn. From the high street multiple retailers to those established specialists from the traditional to the quirky … we have it all. The indoor markets (Tooting Market and Broadway Market) both have a great balance and wide ranging appeal.

14 | Business Connexions

When internet shopping, business rates and commercial rents are at an all-time high, it’s truly comforting to know that despite these challenges, Tooting continues to flourish as one of Wandsworth’s most vibrant town centres. As the Tooting Town Centre Manager, I’d like to share my view on why Tooting thrives.

A diverse mix on our high streets bring more variety and choice. In Tooting it’s not just about retail. We have a great food and beverage offer, lots of wellbeing options - spas, barbers, gyms and of course community facilities – South Thames College, a thriving further education establishment in the centre our town, GP surgery health clinics etc. We couldn’t forget the places of worship reflective of our faith communities – it’s good that we have churches, mosques and temples on the high street. Tooting isn’t just a place for buying goods and services, it’s a place of learning, a place of worship, a place of healing, a

place to relax, eat and drink. Having such a mix of uses on our high streets coupled with two vibrant indoor markets collectively make the town buzz with energy. With many flats above shops, as well as a very large employer by way of St.George’s hospital, Tooting has a lot of people who live and work in the area and I think there is a pretty good offer available to meet the needs of the demographic. Footfall and spending power is good and our shop vacancy rate (the number of empty retail properties as a proportion of the total in the town) is less than 4%.


Lark gift shop Tooting

Live entertainment at the Tram and Social

The close proximity to Tooting Bec Common and the Lido, of course, also help, and for many who use these facilities, especially on weekends, the next logical stop is somewhere in the town, be it to make a purchase, have something to eat or wander through our streets. There’s true community spirit in Tooting. It is great to see this. I will highlight a few examples to illustrate what I mean. One of the shop owners paid for TfL to install a bench outside his shop because he felt many elderly people needed a place to sit and rest when needed. Tooting also is blessed with a group of volunteers called the Tooting Community Kitchen that feed the homeless every Saturday evening. The Graveney Canteen, set up by Be Enriched provides a community meal once a week (Fridays) to anyone in the local area who would like to enjoy a hot lunch together with others. We have an abundance of community groups such as Transition Town Tooting who regularly hold, amongst other things, recycle, upcycle and repair workshops, Tooting Healthy Streets who organise monthly community clean ups and Balham & Tooting Community Association (BATCA) who host an array of events for the benefit of the community. Great transport links help make the town easily accessible and walking and cycling is encouraged to relieve congestion caused by the car which contributes to the air pollution the town experiences. Right now we are investigating the use of electric cargo bikes which potentially could be shared by businesses for their deliveries in and around the town centre.

The Tapas Room in Broadway Market

One of the greatest strengths about Tooting town is its sheer diversity in terms of its ethnic mix and this is reflected in the array of specialist independent shops, eateries, pubs and services on our streets – Polish, Indian, Pakistani, Irish, Turkish, Lebanese to name but a few. This is a draw if you are looking for the authentic, the original and the unpretentious yet great quality, specialist knowledge and expertise. Town Centres are becoming very much about experience. Tooting offers some truly great experiences such as historical walks by Geoff from Summerstown182,

Taste of Tooting foodie tours run by Dipa, The Big London Bake (behind the garden of the Castle Pub), cooking demonstration classes by Seven106Kitchen, wine tasting from Unwined, Love Art classes, chocolate making workshops, etc. People come from far and wide for these and what is nice is that once they’ve been to Tooting, they usually come back again! In a nutshell, our town is blessed with many great reasons to come here. So for those of you who haven’t been, please come, try and taste our terrific Tooting! It’s full of flavour, very welcoming and authentic.

Okesh outside Istanbul Foodgate

“We have an abundance of community groups such as Transition Town Tooting who regularly hold, amongst other things, recycle, upcycle and repair workshops, Tooting Healthy Streets who organise monthly community clean ups and Balham & Tooting Community Association (BATCA) who host an array of events for the benefit of the community.” Business Connexions | 15


Jack Sutton and Adam Blake from V-Belly

Ajit Tacouri from Objext

Festive fayre

on offer at Tooting Market Christmas is coming to Tooting Market - London’s premier indoor market!

16 | Business Connexions

Tanya De Afonseca from BYO (Bring Your Own)

With more than 65 units from the renowned Brickwood Cafe, Franco Manca and Boom Bap Burger to independent street food vendors like Mina’s Grill and Koi Raman you’ll be able to dine at some of South London’s best eateries. While at the market, you can explore many of the unique boutiques like Love Art, My Old Girl & Me and Love Dhala. The market also has the traditional Standards Butcher, who can provide you with a great ‘turkey’ for the festive season and a slime bar to keep the kids busy. Experience a variety of culinary delights along with being able to invest in amazing unique gifts for your friends and family this Christmas. Tooting Market is a vital part of the local community. The Christmas spirit will be in the air so come join in the festive season and support local business. Pictures Credit : Cindy Sasha




on the Camile iOS or Android App

using the code 6RX39

T&C’S: £20 min spend. Valid on first order only. Valid on iOS /Android app only. Not Valid with any other offer. Valid until 31/03/2020 Business Connexions | 17


Susan Beverly

Partner at Kirk Rice LLP 18 | Business Connexions


Accounting beyond the numbers

There is a major difference between what is required to simply run a business versus what an owner or CEO must do to grow a business. That is the view of Susan Beverly, Partner at Kirk Rice LLP based in Putney. According to Susan, who has worked in accounting for nearly 20 years, when running a business, you focus on operations, employees and daily tasks. However, she contends, in order to grow your business, you must take a strategic and proactive approach in all areas maintaining a constant focus on your business’s future and goals. Here, Susan provides some useful guidance. Over the years, I have worked across all areas of business accounting but for much of the last 15 years I have focused on outsourcing and heading up the department. Currently, my main objective is to help businesses to grow. At Kirk Rice, we work closely and proactively with our entrepreneurial clients to grow their business by planning, forecasting, measuring and reporting for the future. We work with them to provide better information enabling them to achieve their business goals. Most small business owners and CEOs are not experts in accounting; they are too busy being experts in their own field. This can leave many businesses exposed to potential costly financial oversights, penalties and fines or even loss of revenue. Having a bookkeeper is great but there are limitations in how much information they can supply in a business’s growth stage. All businesses are required by law to produce statutory financial reports. However, management reporting provides real-time information and key performance indicators on which Directors can make timely informed decisions. As the CEO or business owner, your job needs to focus on your people and generating income, not the distraction of accounting.

When outsourcing your accounting function, you gain a dedicated team of professionals who act as your entire accounting department. For larger businesses they can complement your existing accounting staff to achieve greater productivity and separation of duties at a fraction of the cost of a full-time accounting department. Outsourced accounting experts make it their job to keep up to date with advancing technologies that can benefit your business. They devote time and energy to ongoing research, training and technology upgrades, keeping your business in mind. At Kirk Rice we can satisfy your tax and audit compliance requirements but in addition, our outsourcing department provide financial information you can rely on to make informed decisions. Compliance ensures the things that need to be done are done. Reliance provides actionable financial intelligence at your fingertips to make data-driven decisions. Turning accounting over to a team of experts ensures confidence in the accuracy and the quality of a business’s financial information. This enables you to spend less time working in your business and more time working on it. Outsourced accounting increases operational efficiencies for entities. The outsourced accounting team will optimise an IT based financial system with a combination of automation and integration to deliver greater financial reporting capabilities. Automating a business’s back office functions has many benefits which include: • Improving cash flow • Lowering the labour cost of accounting • Speeding up the time to produce reports • Reducing the risk of mistakes from human error

• Decreasing risk of fraud by providing more transparency and workflows Many business owners lie awake at night asking questions such as: • Is my pricing right? • Who are my most profitable clients? • Should I hire more employees? If so, how can I afford to pay for them? • Where should I invest my marketing budget? • Do I have enough cash to cover this month’s payroll? This suggests a lack of key financial knowledge leading them to feel out of control and unable to make sound business decisions. At Kirk Rice we go above and beyond bookkeeping and accounting. We provide critical oversight and account management to ensure the proper implementation of policies, procedures and systems, and the accurate production of financial and management reports. Growing your business by setting goals, optimising your back office, improving your numbers, motivating your workforce and implementing strategic marketing campaigns can be overwhelming. The foundation of it all is your numbers and having financial data at your fingertips in order to make better strategic decisions.

If you feel that your company needs help with the accounting function to get a better handle on the numbers, then please contact Susan Beverly on 0208 789 8588 or email

‘At Kirk Rice we can satisfy your tax and audit compliance requirements but in addition, our outsourcing department provide financial information you can rely on to make informed decisions.’ Business Connexions | 19

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Local, graduate talent Placement students available for HR, marketing, business, media and psychology roles Benefit from our part-funded internship programme, supported by Santander

For an informal discussion about these opportunities or to find out more about venue hire, training, supply chain and consultancy email

Workforce Training South Thames College works with local employers to support them with training and development needs.

Apprenticeships • We’ll identify how and where an apprentice can benefit your business. • We’ll help you recruit the right candidate. • We’ll assist you to access appropriate funding and grants.

Workforce skills We can help you identify skills gaps, recommend training and professional development for your staff, and help access funding where appropriate. We can design Government funded pre-employment courses to help you fill vacancies and support your recruitment.

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South Thames Colleges Group Celebrates

“The Best of Local Business” with Inaugural Awards Ceremony

Colleagues from across the 4 Colleges within the South Thames Colleges Group (STCG) came together on the evening of 5 December to celebrate and thank a number of the businesses that they work with each year to provide learners with the opportunity to develop and enhance their employability skills and make decisions about their future. These opportunities include work experience (35 hours), industry placements (45 days), careers talks, mock interviews, mentoring of students, industry projects and site visits. During the inaugural Employer Awards 2019, held at Merton College, the College Group’s Chief Executive, Peter MayhewSmith, spoke with great pride at all of the collaborative work taking place across the group with their relevant local business communities to ensure learners are much better prepared for the world of work once they finish their studies. There were 4 main awards presented on the evening: • Innovator of The Year – Rebound Gaming Hall ( • Social Action Project of The Year – Life Team @ London Fire Brigade ( community/young-people/lifeprogramme/) • Mentor of The Year – Marlon Commock (Pulse Social) ( • Award for Wide Range of Learner Opportunities – Morden Hall Park ( morden-hall-park). In addition to this, a number of other local business partners received Silver and Bronze Award certificates for a variety of opportunities that they have offered to learners over the last year. The evening concluded with networking and a buffet dinner. On receiving the Award, Paul Reynolds (Managing Director of Rebound Gaming Hall) said: “I am delighted to receive this award from South Thames College, we have formed a strong partnership together and have seen the benefits of working

with young dynamic individuals who want to make a positive impact. We look forward to future collaborations with the college.” Marlon Commock added: “This recognition represents another example of the tremendous support that you have given both to the McJones Group and Pulse Social Sports Group CIC throughout 2019. We are extremely fortunate to be affiliated with South Thames Colleges Group. A massive thank you to the College, and especially to Employability Manager, Chris Dodd for his support.” Organisations ranging from as large as the British Army (Irish Guards), to public companies such as British Airways, to local business such as Pearl Chemist and local charities including Royal Trinity Hospice have worked with the College in offering opportunities to students to help them prepare for the world of work.

• networking opportunities with other employers and stakeholders, • priority booking of the College Group’s conference and meeting rooms, and at the College’s hair and beauty salons, • competitive rates from the Print Services Department, • discount at the Tate Restaurant, run by professional chef students, • access to the College’s Sport England standard Sports Hall. In another article of this issue you will read of the success of the College’s collaboration with local charity Wandsworth Oasis in winning the Innovator of the Year Award at the 2019 Wandsworth Business Awards, yet another acknowledgment of how students, local business and the College can win together.

As the evening progressed employers, large and small, national and local, public, private, from the charitable sector committed to the ambition to extend their support of the College’s students planning for their future life aims, and achieve Gold and Platinum membership of the College’s Employer Advantage initiative. The College’s Employer Advantage (EA) scheme, which offers four levels of employer involvement – Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze offers the following benefits to employers joining; • access to the College’s talented pool of students, • advice with funding bids and interpreting latest Government employment policy,

To find out more about how you can work with South Thames College, help students fulfil their career aims, find employees of the future and benefit from the College’s Employer Advantage Scheme contact: Chris Dodd, Employability Manager, South Thames College, Wandsworth High Street, SW18 2PP - Business Connexions | 23

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Developing a culture of high performance By James Bargeron There are two important things that need to be addressed when looking to develop a culture of high performance in leaders and their teams, whether it is in business or in the sports arena, before adopting and putting any enhancement strategies into place. They are greater awareness and intention. Greater awareness means asking questions such as: • What makes a successful team or group? • Why do some people or teams seem to excel, whilst others faulter or fail? • What will make a positive difference? • What are our strengths? • Where are we lacking? • Who will make the difference? Gaining clarity is vital for everyone involved, from the top to the entry level of a team or organisation, to establish what you want to achieve, the desired outcome or the vision as it’s often used these days and the likely challenges and obstacles preventing it from happening. Developing the right culture means being intentional about change and improvements, rather than winging it and there must be something that John Maxwell, a world leading authority on leadership calls ‘The Law of Buy In’, which means that unless people buy into you and what you’re looking to achieve, they aren’t going to believe in it and that means they simply won’t trust you. Gaining trust is a critical factor as without it, there is no solidity or bond to the group or team; it’s the glue that holds people together and takes time to develop, as people have to get to know you as a leader and each other as part of the team. Often the tendency is to focus purely on how it will all work, to build a complex plan but it’s more about the ‘who’ rather than the ‘how’. A team will have a mixture of different people, but an excellent team will have a mixture of people who gel, who have a desire to perform at a higher level and who value being part of a unit. It’s about getting the right people and then finding the way to achieve the desired outcome.

Jim Collins, the author of ‘From good to Great’ put it succinctly when he said the idea is to “Get the right people on the bus, the wrong people off…. And the bus headed in the right direction”. Developing the culture means: Having people who value each other, the team and organisation as a whole, not just themselves. This is not only necessary but vital for the overall harmony of the team and success in developing the right culture. Insecurity can be a problem and can lead to people not wanting to have the best people or better people involved in decision making or in the team for fear of being left out or looking inferior. What makes a real difference is having people who aren’t afraid of helping and developing other leaders around them. Empathy. Taking time to understand your colleagues, their strengths, their weaknesses and their feelings, as well as your own and being open about them, helps to develop a much greater understanding between everyone involved and what affects their performance. Three important questions people will want to know from you as a leader and team member: 1) Can I trust you? 2) Can you help me? 3) Do you care about me? Communication. Maybe the most critical element of all. The real secret to success at any level is the ability to communicate effectively i.e. connect with other people as well as ourselves.

With so many different forms of communication available these days, it’s easy to misunderstand or be misunderstood, through body language, ambiguous email or text message or good old-fashioned talking. It’s well documented how more than 50 percent of our communication comes from our body language, both positive and negative. How often are we affected by someone who smirks, raises an eye brow or shakes their head in disbelief and at what cost to the individual’s self-belief and performance? Nurture a positive mindset. In the beginning of my corporate career, we were trained by fear; fear of making mistakes and failure and being penalised for doing so, which taught us to focus on negatives and stifled our development. If we encourage people to express themselves, to make mistakes and to see feedback as a way to learn, it will help inspire them to develop and fulfill their potential, rather than limiting them. It takes time and effort, as well as continuous adjustment to develop the right culture in the office, boardroom or on the sports field and it all starts with making a decision to do so. James Bargeron helps individuals, businesses and teams improve their results by developing culture of high performance, through speaking training and coaching. He can be found at

“Gaining trust is a critical factor as without it, there is no solidity or bond to the group or team; it’s the glue that holds people together and takes time to develop, as people have to get to know you as a leader and each other as part of the team.” Business Connexions | 25


Festive fun under the chimneys Battersea Power Station has launched The Winter Village, a new and exciting festive destination for London. Fancy trying something different this festive season? The Winter Village at Battersea Power Station is home to London’s only riverside curling lanes. Families can also try their hand at skating on The Winter Village’s ice rink with some friendly bear aids for little ones.

Encompassing Circus West Village, the first chapter in the regeneration of the Power Station, and The Coaling Jetty, an historic Grade II*-listed jetty which opened to the public for the first time in August, The Winter Village at Battersea Power Station is the place to be to eat, drink and be merry this Christmas.

Battersea Power Station’s weekly River Walk Market is getting into the festive spirit with Christmas favourites including artisan Panettone and mince pies from the Flour Station, mulled wine and spiced cider from A Glass of Joy and seasonal cheese such as Mont d’Or, Comté, Oude Beemster Gouda, Tome Fort St. Antone from Borough Cheese.

For more information on The Winter Village, please visit whats-on/detail/the-winter-village

Transformed with Christmas trees and festoon lighting, The Winter Village offers bar and food pop-ups serving festive inspired specials and cosy alpine huts to snuggle up in. Carlin Fier, Head of Brand at Battersea Power Station Development Company, said: “Following the success of the Summer Garden Party on The Coaling Jetty in August, we are excited to be creating a new festive destination for Londoners and visitors from further afield. With its prominent position on the River Thames, The Coaling Jetty provides a unique setting to launch the first Winter Village at Battersea Power Station and will complement the strong Christmas offering from the great mix of bars, restaurants and shops already open.”

“Following the success of the Summer Garden Party on The Coaling Jetty in August, The retailers and restaurants in Circus West Village are also offering special Christmas delights and menus throughout the festive period. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without seeing a festive play. Experience familyfriendly mischief at The Turbine Theatre with the acclaimed stage adaptation of Dr Seuss’, The Cat In The Hat. Running from 11th December – 11th January, this lively and engaging show is perfect for any little one’s first trip to the theatre. Boutique Archlight Cinema is showing all the classics, including Home Alone, Elf, Muppet Christmas Carol, It’s A Wonderful Life and Gremlins, as well as the highly anticipated Frozen 2. Birdies Crazy Golf Club has landed at Battersea Power Station. Challenge your

26 | Business Connexions

colleagues to putt their skills to the test on the 9-hole course. Birdies also has a cocktail bar and offer street food, fusing together broad culinary influences from Asia and Latin America.

we are excited to be creating a new festive destination for Londoners and visitors from further afield.”

A New Year, a new Government with a working majority. Will Brexit uncertainty for businesses finally end in 2020?


Continuing uncertainty over Brexit is helping to create difficult conditions both for companies trading solely in the UK and for those seeking to expand their international trade, according to a new report. Published a matter of days before the General Election was called and it became clear that the October 31 Brexit deadline would pass with the UK still in the European Union, the report by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and Bibby Financial Services revealed that uncertainty around Brexit, tariffs and exchange rate volatility is holding back the potential of many UK exporters. The survey included 1,140 internationally active UK businesses and found that general uncertainty around Brexit was considered the top barrier to export, listed by almost half (47%) of businesses, followed by specific concerns around tariffs and exchange rate volatility, listed by 35% and 33% respectively. Administrative requirements or regulation were considered a barrier by 30% of businesses and the lack of free trade agreements by 23%. Only 7% of internationally active businesses said that they do not face any exporting barriers. The report suggests that it is not only internationally active UK businesses that are being held back from exporting. Among businesses that currently only trade in the UK (338 respondents), just 17% say that they do not face any barriers to export. Therefore, 83% face barriers to reaching their potential. The lack of clarity around the UK’s future trading environment is clearly taking its toll, according to the report. General uncertainty around Brexit is considered the top barrier to export by UK-only businesses (listed by 31%) as well. As a result, amongst businesses currently trading only in the UK, just 7% expect to begin importing or exporting over the next three years. The research also highlighted the issues that businesses are increasingly facing in relation to stockpiling, payments and the transportation of goods. When asked about business changes experienced over the past 12 months: • a third (31%) of businesses reported that they had increased the volume of inventory held;

• 15% reported that it already takes longer to transport goods to and/or from overseas, even before the UK’s exit from the European Union; and • almost a third (29%) reported that it takes longer to get paid by customers. Dr Adam Marshall, BCC Director General, said: “UK businesses are facing unprecedented levels of uncertainty on multiple trading fronts and, unsurprisingly, they’re holding back on importing and exporting. “The Government has finally provided some certainty around tariffs but, the damage of uncertainty was already done for many firms. “While international trade always involves an element of risk for businesses, government should be working to lower barriers rather than increasing them. “Providing firms with clear and timely information about future trade processes would go a long way to removing unnecessary obstacles.” Edward Winterton, UK Chief Executive, Bibby Financial Services, said: “Chronic uncertainty resulting from Brexit is undoubtedly stifling international trade amongst UK SMEs. Importers and exporters are in limbo, and many are postponing investment decisions, while they await further information. Many others are focusing resources on ensuring they’re prepared to deal with the potential impacts of a no-deal scenario. SMEs are telling us that they need clarity.” Dr Marshall sees strong leadership as crucial in plotting a way ahead for the economy. Addressing the recent 2019 International Trade Summit in London, before the December General Election was called, Dr Marshall said that, despite problems with the likes of Brexit, protectionism and recruitment, international trade still offers a way for the UK economy to thrive. He said that leaders, including politicians, had a major responsibility to support business, adding: “Across the UK and around the world, businesses are hungry for real leadership and vision.

“Those countries that have had the most investing and exporting success are those whose leadership has demonstrated that they are backing businesses to the hilt. We want an optimistic vision for the future of the UK. “Too many people seem to forget that it is businesses that trade, not governments. In political and media circles, trade agreements are often touted as the be-all-and-end-all. But really, they are just the icing on the cake. “It is the trade deals between businesses which are the cake itself. It is business that unlocks new markets, creates jobs and boosts receipts to the Exchequer. It is business that builds links across borders and delivers prosperity not only across the UK, but also around the world. And, it is businesses that will lead the way in helping the UK rise to new challenges, including the global decarbonisation agenda, seize new opportunities and shape what comes next. “For the Government, maintaining a smooth trading relationship with our nearest and biggest trading partner – the EU – needs to be priority number one. Priority number two needs to be maintaining smooth trading relationships with countries where the UK could lose existing access because it will no longer be a part of the EU. “Helping businesses keep the market access that they have today is more important than providing additional access for tomorrow. “Our research consistently finds that internationally active businesses are more likely to grow and innovate than purely domestic businesses. Countries want to do trade with UK businesses. Our businesses have every chance to make a success of the future that lies ahead.”

“While international trade always involves an element of risk for businesses, government should be working to lower barriers rather than increasing them.” Business Connexions | 27








*Terms and conditions apply, please see website for more information - Participation and supervision ratios apply.


Acas produces guidelines to help tackle workplace stress

A report from workplace experts Acas has revealed that 66% of workers have felt stressed or anxious about work over the past year. To help tackle the problem, Acas has now produced a set of guidelines which will help managers and staff to improve the conditions within their business. The move comes after Acas commissioned YouGov to ask employees in Great Britain about their experiences of stress and anxiety in the workplace. The most common reasons given for the way they felt included workloads (60%), the way that they were managed (42%) and the difficulty of balancing home and work lives (35%). Acas Chief Executive Susan Clews said: “According to our poll, the majority of workers have felt stressed or anxious about work over the past year. “This is a cause for concern and it’s clear that active steps need to be taken to support the wellbeing of all staff. “Our study found that seven out of ten employees believe it is a line manager’s role to recognise and address stress or anxiety at work but only two fifths said that they would talk to their manager about it. “It is clear that many people feel unable to have these conversations with their managers or choose to struggle alone.

Acas has advice on how to create a positive mental health environment at work.” For the purpose of the survey, anxiety as defined a feeling of worry, fear, nervousness or unease about something. It may be caused by issues in the workplace, such as workload, performance or conflict with colleagues. Outside the workplace, factors such as relationship, family or debt problems can create anxiety. Stress was defined as the ‘adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them.’ Stress can affect the health of staff, reduce their productivity and lead to performance issues. Acas has produced a framework for positive mental health at work, which outlines the roles that employers,

managers and their staff can play to help make it happen. The advice includes suggestions such as employers leading on a wellbeing strategy at work; supporting and training managers to have the confidence and knowledge in managing mental health and workers identifying personal stress triggers, supporting colleagues and asking for help when needed. The framework and full policy paper Stress and anxiety at work: personal or cultural? is available at For Acas advice on managing anxiety at work, please see: For Acas advice on managing stress at work, please see:

“Acas has produced a framework for positive mental health at work, which outlines the roles that employers, managers and their staff can play to help make it happen.” Business Connexions | 29

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Changing property market is

good news for maintenance company Newly-created maintenance business Square Foot Property Rescue is going from strength to strength and driving much of its success has been a changing trend in the London property market. The business has been created by co-directors Jerry Fiore and Patrick O’Sullivan, who are taking advantage of the trend towards more people delaying plans to move house and deciding to improve their homes instead. Prior to the new venture, the duo had twenty five years’ experience involved in the building, refurbishment and fit-out of high-end properties in London with many of the projects largescale and running to well over a million pounds. Their new business, which is based in central London, carries out a large number of smaller pieces of work in its capacity as a building maintenance company working all across the Capital. Their team of professionals, which the business is seeking to expand, are able to help with all property maintenance needs, ranging from repairing flood damage, drain clearance, boiler repair and general carpentry to refurbishing or creating new rooms, and they are happy to help any time of the day. Jerry said: “We really started to develop the business at the start of 2019 having spotted a gap in the market caused by a slowdown in the number of house sales. “Although much of our work is to carry out maintenance and emergency jobs when things go wrong, we are also being

asked to do more work for people who are seeking to improve their homes. “That is because we had noticed that the housing market in London was pretty much blocked and that increasing numbers of people were putting on hold their plans to sell their homes, due to the economic uncertainty caused by Brexit. “The result was that they were looking again at their existing homes and deciding to improve them rather than place them on the market and we have taken advantage of the change. “It has meant that more people are looking at carrying out some of the smaller jobs that need doing in their homes, rather than putting their properties on the market.

“We plan to really step up our activities in the year to come and grow the company. At the moment, we employ five people to carry out the work but interest in our company is growing so quickly that very soon we hope to double that number. “I think our success is down to the conscientious approach that our people take. They are reliable and can be trusted to turn up when we say they will turn up and carry out the work in a reliable and safe manner.”

You can find out more about the business at

“Maybe they will decide to create a shower room or repair some of the things that are wrong with the property. The result is that our workload has been increasing steadily and we are carrying out jobs all across London.

“We really started to develop the business at the start of 2019 having spotted a gap in the market caused by a slowdown in the number of house sales.” Business Connexions | 31

E V Events SAdate the Chamber

For further details go to


The Wandsworth Chamber trusted business community in January 2020 and SAVE with these




The key benefits of joining the Wandsworth Chamber are:


Free membership for 12 months to help you through the difficult early stages of setting up your business. Open to all business who are less than two years old and not already a member.

Access to over 60 networking events annually where you can meet Key Stakeholders, potential customers, partners and suppliers

This offer is open to start-ups throughout 2020.

Editorial in Business ConneXions, our quarterly magazine


50% off 12 month’s membership if you have never been part of the Wandsworth Chamber Business Community.

Use of the ‘Trusted Chamber Member’ logo as a mark of credibility and inclusivity

Access to full system reporting features to track the ROI of your membership



RESTAURANTS, PUBS AND ALL CLUBS 50% off 12 month’s membership


LAPSED MEMBERS Re-join and save 20% off annual membership NOTE: All membership will incur a one off set up fee of £39 +VAT to create your digital marketing traffic catcher page. These pages are unique to Wandsworth Chamber Members and are designed to drive enquiries to your business.

o o o o o o o o o

Create a unique Marketing Landing Page to drive business leads Develop Social Media and Local online Networking channels Integrate Video Commercials Set up scrolling Photo Tours of your business Use the Member to Member Offers Post messages on a Member’s Message Board Post Classified Ads Give and get member to member referrals Get community to member referrals

If you would like more information email: or telephone 020 3663 6575 Business connexions Leaflet.indd 1

32 | Business Connexions

05/12/2019 14:06



to new members Camile Thai Kitchen

46 Battersea Park Road Battersea London SW11 4JP Caterina Liverani

Cascade Communications 26 Noel Street London W1F 8GY Emma Waterfall 020 7871 3565

Concept 3 Movement

49 Starfield Road Hammersmith London SW12 9SN Chucks Onwere 07747617816

Go Natural Organic Skincare 18A Eglantine Road Wandsworth London SW18 2DD Anita Toth

HomeWork Workspace

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Kirk Rice Accountants 13 Princeton Court, 53-55 Felsham Road Putney London SW15 1AZ Sarah Newell 0134487500

KZL Consulting Ltd 109 Taybridge Road Battersea London SW11 5PX Mark Kelly 020 3151 8838

Lacuna Coaching Ltd

Flat 2, Boswell House Fayland Avenue Streatham London SW16 1TA Adele Hartland 07913839932

Northcote Asset Management

2A Brussels Road Battersea London SW11 2AF Martin Baker

Pinder Wealth Management 30 Lombard Street London EC3V 9BQ Rob Pinder 07736845552

Quiznos Restaurant

Unit 45, Southside Shopping Centre Wandsworth SW18 4TF Baljinder Singh Rathour 020 8050 1093


24 Southwark Street South Bank London SE1 1TY Tola Adeola 07728733953

Simply Property Group Ltd 53 Havelock Road Wimbledon London SW19 8HE Margaret Maguire

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Start up business that led to great change By Reeta Minhas-Judd, NLP Life Coach and Company Director I only started my journey of NLP a few weeks ago as a secondary business to my main source of income, customer service training. I feel I have already evolved into a more positive and happier person very quickly. NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) can be used by everybody and the strategies are simple, but the outcome can be so effective. The impact can be life changing, and I speak from experience, as an article which I wrote on ‘Training within Businesses’ has been published in the Business Connexions magazine. I never believed that an article which I wrote would ever be printed, published and read by so many people. This is why I have followed my passion and have become a life coach, because the feeling of being able to help and support others is by far the most rewarding element within my role. NLP has made me believe that I can achieve anything I want through the power of the mind and simply by changing my perception. Through one simple advert on a local community website, since qualifying as an NLP Practitioner, I have been inundated with enquiries and I had 21 clients in the space of a month. This in itself speaks volumes. People are so busy with their lives, that the art of communication has become redundant in many circumstances. With the technology of mobile phones, social media, the internet etc, actually sitting down together in the same room and communicating face-to-face, has now become secondary to texting, emailing etc. There are millions of people in this world who just want to talk to somebody about their issues and concerns, and yet they refrain from sharing with others for fear of being judged, or because they feel ashamed. This is where NLP is so decisive, because it allows individuals to change their outlook and their mindset, by simply applying and practising daily strategies which will shift their current mindset and allow them to have their voice heard, without fear of judgement or ridicule. My passion for listening and helping others has made me appreciate my own life and I have learnt how others have been less fortunate than myself. Therefore, I show gratitude for everyday things which we all take for granted. We have one life and it is not a dress rehearsal, so it needs to be embraced with happiness and not be suffocated with sadness and negativity. I myself was once a “glass half empty” person, but now my glass is overflowing! We must try to live in the present and not the past, so any things which have previously angered me and festered a feeling of resentment within me, I have now addressed and allowed myself to move on. I now let the bad and negative emotion go, and see it as a part of my life which I no longer need to revisit. I have received flowers from clients and received many testimonials which have moved me to the core. My clients have expressed their gratitude to me with such warmth and passion, and this makes my job so worthwhile. I truly believe that I have finally found my vocation in life, and helping clients achieve their goals and aspirations is life changing, not only for themselves, but also for myself. I am currently offering all new clients a 50% discount on their first session until 31st December 2019. I am also hosting a workshop for Confidence Building and Positive Thinking on 27th January 2020 at Earlsfield Library. For more details please visit or email me on

Business Connexions | 33 Business Connexions | 33


5 Minutes with ...

Professor Sunitha Narendran BA, MA, MSc, PhD, FCipd, AFBPsS, FRSA, FCMI


Who are you?


Biggest gripe?

The Director of Roehampton Business School at the University of Roehampton.

No gripe. The world is a beautiful place.


What’s your business all about?


Your inspiration?

Being a Business School with a social conscience.

Maya Angelou.


Three words to describe yourself?


Philosophy in Business?

Hardworking, Friendly and Creative.

Being socially responsible in everything


Ideal Customer?

One who appreciates the value of being educated.


Biggest achievement?

Becoming a Professor – better late than never!

34 | Business Connexions

that we do.


Sporting Hero?

Ade Adepitan

Q10 Biggest tip for success?

Believe in yourself and never ever give up.


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