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The business magazine of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce March - April 2020

QUEEN’S AWARDS for Enterprise 2020 Launch p40

Also inside p16 •

Building on success p4 for generations to come p30 Stylish hotel is great for business - Hunton Park

SPOTLIGHT FOCUS Letchworth and Hitchin great places to do business


Reasons to be cheerful for savvy investors

• p25

CHAMBER EVENTS Forthcoming Business Events for 2020

p32 •

INSPIRING HERTFORDSHIRE AWARDS 2020 Meet the category judges

Chamber Charity 2020 The BraveHerts Children’s Appeal


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Positive start to the new decade! Whilst much uncertainty surrounds the country in the wake of Britain’s eventual exit from the European Union, there are still plenty of reasons to be cheerful in the business community. This is particularly true in Hertfordshire, where we’ve seen a hugely positive start to the year.

Briege Leahy Chief Executive Officer Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce

Every other day we hear stories of local businesses winning new contracts, hiring staff, growing revenues and finding lucrative new markets at home and abroad. It’s only right that these achievements should be celebrated – which is why we’re proud to launch our Inspiring Herts Awards for 2020. Now in their ninth year, the awards celebrate the expertise, achievements and outstanding contribution that businesses and individuals continually make to the growth of our great county. We’re also launching the 2020 Queen’s Awards for Enterprise with the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (see page 40) to recognise all of those businesses that set the benchmark

for innovation, international trade, sustainable development and the promotion of social mobility. At our launch event on March 31, we’ll be encouraging businesses to use these awards as a platform to shout about their key achievements in these areas. The success of these businesses depends largely on the talented people who work there. Increasingly companies are recognising the value of training and developing their workforce, either via the academic route or through technical and vocational qualifications such as apprenticeships.

Our newest member Lipeng Song,UK Link Express presenting Briege Leahy a letter of gratitude from The Mayor of Changle County, for our letter of sympathy and efforts to source products to combat the COVID-19 (Corona) virus

event to promote the vast array of apprenticeships on offer, as well as the Hertfordshire Opportunities Portal (HOP) – a valuable resource for students to find out about career options and employers to build a future talent pipeline for their business. The Chamber was also delighted to support a separate event held by the university to discuss the future and current provision of degree apprenticeships and, crucially, what can be done to improve them. It was also an appropriate time to flag up the work of the Hertfordshire Growth Hub, which offers our local SMEs a range of options and incentives to take on new apprentices.

It’s vital that businesses and education providers continue to work together to ensure that local employers have a workforce that’s fit for the future. In Hertfordshire there’s plenty of support out there to make this happen. Businesses that need advice on apprenticeships or other training needs can get in touch with Amy Rich at the Chamber on amyrich@hertschamber.com she will happily signpost you in the right direction!

Briege Leahy Chief Executive Officer Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce

This year’s annual Apprenticeship Week saw the University of Hertfordshire and Amazing Apprenticeships hold a special


Contents Family Business


Inspirational Leader Patron Focus Spotlight Focus


Members News


Inspiring Herts Awards



Building Connections


New Members

34-35 36-37




Members News

Herts Global


Chamber Charity



Queens Awards


Chamber Events


Skills & Development


Venue Focus


Last Word


Membership Benefits

Editorial and General Enquiries Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce MacLaurin Building, 4 Bishops Square, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL10 9NE Tel: 01707 502180 Email: enquiries@hertschamber.com Web: www.hertschamber.com


Publisher Ian Fletcher Benham Publishing Limited Aintree Building, Aintree Way, Aintree Business Park, Liverpool L9 5AQ Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: admin@benhampublishing.com Web: www.benhampublishing.com


39 Published March 2020 © Benham Publishing and Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce Advertising and Features Karen Hall Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: karen@benhampublishing.com

Disclaimer Inspire is published for Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and is distributed without charge to Chamber members. All correspondence should be addressed to Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce. Views expressed in Inspire are not necessarily those of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce. Reprinting in whole or part is forbidden except by permission. ©2020 Please note that submitting an article does not guarantee publication. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of material published in this journal, Benham Publishing and its agents can accept no responsibility for the veracity of claims made by contributions in advertising or editorial content. Benham Publishing cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in web or email links supplied to us.

Production Manager Mark Etherington Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: mark@benhampublishing.com

Media No. 1682




Building on success for generations to come Inspire magazine charts the progress of several long-established family firms that have stood the test of time…


hile many small firms fail within their first three years of trading, some family businesses are still going strong decades – and in some cases, centuries – later. They’re the bedrock of the UK economy, generating more than one quarter of UK GDP according to the Institute for Family Business (IFB). The IFB estimates that there are 4.8 million family businesses in the UK employing 13.4 million people, with more than 18,000 of these firms classified as medium and large businesses. Clearly, they’re an important driver of wealth creation in the UK, but what makes so many of them so successful?




“We’re renowned for providing more than 300 years of quality customer service. Our commitment to bereaved families has established Austin’s as Hertfordshire’s premier, family-owned and operated funeral director.”

Austin’s Family Funeral Directors Austin’s Family Funeral Directors, which has been trading for a staggering 320 years, believes that upholding strong family values and instilling them within future generations can be a useful approach to adopt. Claire Austin, managing director of the firm, says: “We’re renowned for providing more than 300 years of quality customer service. Our commitment to bereaved families has established Austin’s as Hertfordshire’s premier, family-owned and operated funeral director. The values of fairness, integrity and reliability run through our firm and have been passed down through the generations. It’s also important to instil these values in nonfamily members, too.” Originally established in 1700 as W Austin and Sons Limited, the company initially traded as a builder and undertaker, employing carpenters to make coffins, labourers for grave digging, and other members of the workforce who could double as pallbearers. Around 100 years later, the firm moved from Graveley to bigger premises in Old Stevenage, forging a reputation as a prominent builder as well as a funeral business and redeveloping many of the streets in the area. When Claire’s father, John, took over the reins in the 1960s, it marked a major stepchange in the direction of the company. He decided that there was a greater future in the funeral business and so the building division was sold, albeit not until 1978.

Thereafter, the growth of Stevenage as a new town helped to fuel the company’s expansion, with Claire and her husband Peter Hope coming into the business and new branches being opened across Hertfordshire. Now Austin’s has 11 sites, more than 50 staff and serves a customer base that stretches across the county. Claire says: “Over the years, the fundamentals of providing a brilliant, caring service haven’t changed. We’ve survived recessions before and seen the funeral industry becoming increasingly competitive. When times are tough, people tend to spend a bit less on flowers and limousines and that does affect the bottom line.” So, what of the future? Claire has two children – a 20-year-old daughter and a son, 16 – who may one day come into the business but is she prepared for the possibility that they may choose a different career path? “Absolutely”, she says. “I’d actually encourage them to get some experience elsewhere first before joining our

business. If they ultimately decide that they don’t want to come, that’s fine, but our philosophy is to keep the business within the family, even if some of the management team are non-family members. It allows us to retain an element of control over the future direction of the business but we’re always thinking ahead. In fact, if you’re a family business you probably need to take a longer-term view than other types of company.”

CS Recycling While other family firms in Hertfordshire have less longevity than Austin’s, their success has been no less notable. CS Recycling in Potters Bar has been providing recycling services to commercial businesses across the South East of England for 80 years. Launched by William Curtis in 1937, the fourth-generation family firm started life recycling metals before branching out into cardboard, paper and polythene recycling and 20 years ago began trading overseas after growing its footprint in the domestic market.

“Our next goal is to increase our service offering for our commercial customers. We’ll be starting off this decade with an exciting innovation of our services, offering our customers the total recycling package.” CS Recycling yard




“The main goal of a family business is to ensure the company is fit for future generations.” Charlotte Gatward

Charlotte Gatward

In 2004 the family added shredding services to its bow with the launch of CS Shredding – a smart move in hindsight, given the recent introduction of tougher data protection laws that force companies to have greater control over the storage and dissemination of corporate information. Emma Curtis, marketing manager and data protection officer at CS Recycling and CS Shredding, said: “Our next goal is to increase our service offering for our commercial customers. We’ll be starting off this decade with an exciting innovation of our services, offering our customers the total recycling package. Our recycling advisors will arrange the solutions for more recycling streams than ever before, taking control of the entire recycling management process. Our aim is to make it simple and easy for Hertfordshire businesses to organise their waste management, so they hit the highest possible recycling rates.” While CS Recycling and CS Shredding have benefited from firms’ growing desire to do their bit for the environment, Emma has also been proactive in looking at potential new markets. “We work with a lot of industrial customers, from printers and manufacturers to facilities management companies and NHS Trusts, and now



we want to target more office-based SMEs,” she says. “We’re always looking to the future. Sometimes in a family business succession planning is a difficult conversation to have but we’re keen to ensure our ethos and values permeate every level of the business. I don’t think we’d want to sell up to another company that perhaps didn’t share our ethos; we don’t want to lose the culture we’ve created over many years.”

Charlotte Gatward, who is driving forward the business as her mother Lisa and aunt Anna take a back seat, says: “We sell high-value heirlooms that can be passed down to future generations. While many retailers have ditched their physical stores and moved everything online, a lot of our customers want to come into our store to look at and feel the products before they buy. That said, we still have an e-commerce facility on our website for anyone who would prefer to buy online.”

Gatwards of Hitchin

While the company has enjoyed notable success, being a family business has not been without its challenges.

A clearly defined culture and strong values are also synonymous with Gatwards of Hitchin, which was established in 1760 and is the oldest family jewellers in the UK, having passed through seven generations of the Gatward family. Originally clock and watch makers, the company branched into highend, fashionable jewellery and is now recognised for beautiful fine diamonds and gem jewellery. It’s the stunning nature of these products that has helped Gatwards remain on the high street while scores of other retailers have disappeared.

“It can be harder to take risks,” says Charlotte, who represents the eighth generation of the firm. “Family members want to be consulted on key decisions and there’s often a lot of emotion involved. Decisions are made by consensus, whereas an entrepreneur in sole charge of his or her destiny might find it easier to go out and open three or four additional stores quickly. The main goal of a family business is to ensure the company is fit for future generations.” As part of this preparation, Gatwards has a trust in place to ensure that the business can be passed on to the ninth generation. Not for a while yet, though; Charlotte’s two children are under the age of five.


“With 340 shareholders, 600 suppliers and 1,800 staff to support, the weight of expectation lies heavily on Tom – but it’s a burden he and his management team are happy to take on.”

“The trust isn’t legally binding as things can change,” she says. “There’s no undue pressure on the children to take over the reins.”

With 340 shareholders, 600 suppliers and 1,800 staff to support, the weight of expectation lies heavily on Tom – but it’s a burden he and his management team are happy to take on.

McMullen & Sons

“A lot of people rely on us, including the Treasury,” he says. “In our long-term strategic planning we take into account how our decisions affect our current and future stakeholders. Unlike some businesses, we operate on cashflow and don’t take on debt. Eighty per cent of the profit we generate goes back into the business each year. We’re happy to make that commitment because we want our stakeholders to know we’re a responsible, sustainable business.

A healthy balance of family and non-family members of staff is a good way forward, according to Tom McMullen of McMullen & Sons. Tom, who is joint managing director of the brewer and pub operator, says: “We gradually introduce family members to the business; we don’t want too many or too few at any one time. Crucially, we also have a clear understanding of when they’re qualified to come into the business and carry out their jobs competently. “Ultimately, we take a long-term view; that’s why we’ve been able to survive intra-generationally. In the current corporate environment, it’s not uncommon for a company owner to build up a business and sell it on. With careful planning, we’re able to make business decisions based on long-term stability and growth rather than sacrificing that for short-term profit.”

“There are some good advantages of being a family-owned company. We don’t have to report to the banks or the markets and stakeholders can take heart from our long history and track record. Although we take a longterm view of things, we’re still balanced enough to make shorter-term decisions so we can react to new regulations or changing economic circumstances.” McMullen & Sons was founded in 1827 by Peter McMullen, Tom’s great-greatgreat grandfather, and has been brewing beer in Hertford ever since.

Throughout that time the company has evolved by acquiring and investing in managed pubs that provide an exclusive market for its beers. Tom’s first day of work experience in the company came when he was 16, followed by several school holidays spent helping out in the pubs. After university he joined the HALO Trust, conducting landmine-clearance and bomb disposal in various parts of the world. After an eventful 2001 in Afghanistan, Tom attended law school and eventually qualified and practised as a corporate tax lawyer with SJ Berwin. But the lure of the family business beat the financial perks of the City so, having completed an MBA at Imperial Business School, he joined McMullen & Sons on a permanent basis in 2010. He’s confident that the company, now an established brewer and diversified pub operator, is well placed to adapt to changing customer tastes and legislative challenges over the next 30 years or so. And after that? It’s a challenge his children and grandchildren will have to sort out!



Looking After Family Business Our speakers from Longmores Solicitors will be discussing the measures you can take to prepare for and avoid disputes within family businesses: Richard Horwood, Partner & Head of Private Client Team, will talk about family charters, what they are and why they are important John Wiblin, Partner & Head of Dispute Resolution, will share advice about how to resolve disputes between family business members

Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with Longmores Solicitors, invite you to a breakfast seminar for family business owners.*

Date: 21/04/20 Time: 08:00 – 10:00 Venue: Marriott Hanbury Manor Hotel & Country Club, Ware Price: Members £12.00 Non-Members £18.00

Daniel Burns, Partner & Head of Company Commercial, will tell you how to mitigate risk through good corporate governance

* Please note: This event is specifically for family businesses, and places are limited to two per organisation.


FIRE UP YOUR BUSINESS: HOW TO DEVELOP TALENT IN 2020 How will the Budget, to be delivered by the Chancellor on the 11th March, impact your business? And how is the skills landscape going to change now that we have left the EU?

Monday 16 March 2020

North Hertfordshire College, Cambridge Road, Hitchin SG4 0JD

Book your FREE place now: http://bit.ly/hartldeventbrite

ApprenticeshipEvent_2020_advert_112-190.indd 1



CONFIRMED SPEAKER: Bim Afolami MP for Hitchin and Harpenden You will also hear from: „ Adrian Hawkins, Deputy Chair Hertfordshire LEP „ Anna Morrison CBE, Founder of Amazing Apprenticeships „ Mary Sykes, Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce „ Plus our current apprentices who will share how an apprenticeship has benefited them

10/02/2020 10:45

And our employment team has a role to play too because family members may be employees of the business.


Are any legal problems unique to family businesses?

All businesses need to be set up correctly and any business can have a dispute with their employees or have its owners fall out between themselves. The family dimension can mean that there is a reluctance to talk about these issues before any problems arise. It means that if there are problems, the repercussions can be very difficult for everyone, even those family members that don’t work in the business because in these circumstances individuals tend to choose sides quickly.


John Wiblin, Partner and Head of Despite Resolution, talks about some of the legal issues that can arise within family businesses and how to avoid them.


How are you involved with family businesses?

I usually get involved when a dispute arises between the owners of the business. My other colleagues at Longmores may be involved in setting-up businesses, preparing their shareholder agreements and other corporate governance papers, and in succession planning for the business as older family members want to retire.


What legal problems are most common for businesses of this kind?

The most common issue is that insufficient plans have been made about who will take over the business when


older family members retire or if one of them passes away. In the case of a traditional partnership, unless measures have been put in place in advance, the partnership is liquidated automatically when one of the partners leaves or dies. With companies, shares may pass to the spouse of a director who worked in the company but the surviving spouse may have no experience of the business.


Can anything be done to prevent these problems?

A shareholder agreement or partnership deed entered into at the outset and updated regularly can address most of these issues. As can keeping stakeholders in the business apprised about what is likely to happen in future. Many difficulties have their roots in a difference between expectation and reality. And it’s hard on people when expectations that have been relied on for years are suddenly dashed. Harder still when it’s done by a family member.



What sort of ‘expectations’ do you mean?

That someone will become a director, or that the business will be sold or not, or that shareholders are guaranteed a consistent income. Any business can have a period of bad trading or when it needs to keep capital in reserve to meet a new challenge. In those circumstances, directors have a duty not to declare a dividend. That can be difficult when they have family members who rely on receiving those funds.



What is it like to act for family members in bitter disputes?

It is hard to avoid taking on some of the stress that clients feel when they are under pressure from other parts of their family. But it can be rewarding too because I know the input I provide makes a difference to people. I am often the only person outside of the family with whom my client can discuss matters and get a different perspective.


Please note the contents of this article are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.




From budding musician to super salesman Inspire editor Jez Davison discovers how Ian Benjamin ditched dreams of becoming a professional musician to launch two successful recruitment agencies… It wasn’t supposed to be like this for Ian Benjamin. Upon leaving school at 16, he embarked on a journey to become a professional drummer, landing decent gigs in theatres locally and around the UK. But his road to fame took an unexpected turn and now, more than 20 years later, he’s heading up two recruitment firms that put other people on the right career path. He says: “I learned to play the drums from the age of 11, starting out at school. I lived and breathed drums 24/7 and was fortunate enough to play and record with bands at a young age, gaining acknowledgement and recognition that I still experience to this day. “Going to college or university wasn’t of interest; my focus was a career playing drums professionally.” To fund his passion, he got a job for the JobMart newspaper, selling adverts to companies hiring staff. Although he didn’t know it at the time, this was the first step to a radical career change that would see him excel in sales and, ultimately, in recruitment. “This was my first exposure to sales and also to recruitment agencies who were some of my clients,” he says. “I excelled at sales and worked for leading trade and consumer publishers in London. This career path took me to Atlanta and Miami between 1997 and 2002, first as a sales director for a publishing company and then as a regional director for a media brokerage firm in Miami. This was an amazing period in my life.” The tragic events of September 11, 2001 sparked a global economic downturn and he returned to the UK in the summer of 2002. With the digital revolution gathering pace and print advertising in decline, he decided to go into recruitment, working for an agency in



St Albans and an executive search firm before taking the plunge and launching Digital Execs in 2010. Ian says: “We’re a boutique digital search firm that works with employers in the sector. We’re passionate about digital technology and now we’re marketers in our own right; we promote digital career opportunities as video job descriptions from some of the most exciting employers directly to digital professionals, not only through email and our website but direct to their smartphone or laptop device.” While Ian has the digital space covered, he’s also keen to ensure people get job opportunities in non-tech roles. That’s why he launched another recruitment agency, Taylor and Faith (the middle names of his two children),

in 2013 – to inspire people to better themselves, to further their career or perhaps change tack and try their hand in an unfamiliar sector. The company sources sales professionals for employers across the UK, Europe and even as far as Dubai. “Inspiration can come in many forms,” Ian says. “I want to help people realise their potential. Many employees hate their boss or their day job; my role is to help them find something that’s more appealing, give them the confidence to change the status quo and try something completely different. As my career path shows, I’m not afraid to try something new. That’s why I promote vacancies via video as well as via a written job description; it just brings them to life a bit more and helps employers attract the right staff.”

“We’re passionate about digital technology and now we’re marketers in our own right; we promote digital career opportunities as video job descriptions from some of the most exciting employers directly to digital professionals, not only through email and our website but direct to their smartphone or laptop device.”

READY 2020

Helping Hertfordshire’s SMEs get ready for change The beginning of a new decade means change ahead for every business. There is political change, as the effects of the UK’s departure from the European Union (EU) are felt by companies accustomed to a particular set of trading relations. There is technological change, as new tools become available that require new skills to deploy effectively. And there is social change, as the expectations of both customers and employees shift. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) are especially likely to be affected by these changes. When you have a small team, a concentrated customer base and little in the way of financial buffer, it’s easy to be blown off course by economic and political squalls. That makes it even more important that SMEs take the time to prepare for change, difficult as that might seem when day-today priorities are so pressing. It’s for that reason that the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), working with partners in London and the South East, has recently launched a new campaign to help businesses get ready for change. Delivered through the Hertfordshire Growth Hub, Ready2020 provides advice and resources to SMEs who are facing up to challenges and opportunities ahead. Through the campaign, businesses can benefit from advice, support and services across key areas and topics.

One is the impact of the UK’s EU exit - which formally took place at the end of January - and the effects of which will start to come into force at the beginning of next year, after the end of the transition period. This makes the remainder of 2020 an important time for any SME with EU-based customers, suppliers and/or employees to get ready for how those relationships will change. Businesses may need additional registrations, or to budget for additional customs requirements, and must become familiar with relevant laws as they apply in specific countries where they do business, not just the EU as a whole. The time to start planning for these changes is now. A second important area is hiring and employment. SME employers need to think hard about both present and future needs. In the short term they must ensure that any EU citizens on their team have gained the necessary Settled or Pre-Settled Status, retaining the right to live

and work in the UK. They should also pay close attention to how the Government shapes its future immigration policy and the impact that will have on their ability to hire temporary staff from outside the UK. Looking forward, every SME should be undertaking a skills audit to understand the additional capabilities it will need to take advantage of new technology over the next decade. Another critical area is risk management. Are SMEs reliant on a handful of core customers that are responsible for a disproportionate share of annual revenues? Are they aware of ways in which regulation could impact the products mad or services provided? How conscious are companies of the competitive landscape and how it is changing? Knowing these things is critical to ensuring businesses are resilient enough to survive and thrive in the decade ahead.

We urge every SME in Hertfordshire to think about these questions and to take advantage of the resources on offer through Hertfordshire Growth Hub and the Ready2020 campaign. Throughout March, the Growth Hub is running a series of fully-funded workshops led by business resilience advisers. They will look at how to get companies ready for change. There is also a telephone support service and for eligible businesses, the opportunity for one-to-one support. While the year and decade ahead holds its challenges for Hertfordshire’s SMEs, we should also be confident about the future. SMEs are vulnerable to change but also have the agility to turn it to their advantage. There is always an opportunity to put yourself ahead of the curve rather than behind it. But to be agile you also have to know what is coming and to be ready for change. That’s where we hope to be of help in the months ahead.

Sign up for a business resilience workshop at www.hertsgrowthhub.com/businessresilience Learn more about the campaign at www.ready2020.co.uk


11 11


Telecoms firm helps businesses get connected An ambitious Hertford-based business communications specialist is undergoing a major rebrand to kick-start the next phase of its expansion.

A key part of the plan to become more outward-facing is to get out and about more often and network with the business community. MAS recently became a patron of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, a move that has already given the company greater exposure to new contacts and potential customers.

It’s an exciting time for Mark Bramley. Having orchestrated the buy-out of Hertford-based Mobile Account Solutions (MAS) in December with business partner Ben Page, he’s now overseeing a major rebranding project that will see the company’s name change to Croft Communications. “We’re developing SEO and marketing campaigns and building a new website,” says Mark, CEO of MAS. “We’re trying to be more proactive and outward-facing. We’ve increased our sales team from two to six and our aim is to increase that number to double-figures.”



Mark says: “Being a Chamber patron allows us to learn how we might be able to help potential customers with their business problems and vice versa. We met with one of the members, Wagada, and now they’re helping us with our SEO and marketing campaigns. It’s a good chance for us to network; you never know what might come of the conversations you have with people.” MAS was established in 2006 with the aim of helping

businesses reduce their telecommunication costs, often by utilising the latest technologies to stay ahead of the competition. The company enjoyed stellar growth, rapidly growing its client base, and its success was highlighted by its listing in the top five of the ‘Sunday Times Fast Track 100’ on three separate occasions in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Now the company provides mobile packages and unified communications to more than 800 businesses across the UK and Ireland. It is one of the largest business partners of telecoms giants EE, Daisy Group and 9 Group. “We don’t just sell mobile phones”, says Mark. “We offer all manner of business telecommunications including Voice over Internet (VoI), Cyber Security, Super-Fast

“Being a Chamber patron allows us to learn how we might be able to help potential customers with their business problems and vice versa.”

Fibre Connectivity, Mobile Device Management and Mobile Voice & Data tariffs across all UK networks; essentially we provide all types of cloud technology that can connect people and companies wherever they’re based in the world. “With the telecommunication market developing rapidly, it can be difficult for business owners and managers to keep ahead which, in turn, can be extremely detrimental for business. “We aim to help UK businesses to overcome these issues by providing expert advice on the most advanced solutions whilst consistently providing real solutions to reduce costs, improve reliability and enhance communication speed and efficiency.” Mark has spent much of his career in financial technology and has built and scaled up businesses both in the UK and the US. He took up his current role at the end of 2019 after working in Boston for a software provider of solutions to the financial industry.


Wagada goes from strength to strength Cheryl Luzet, founder of digital marketing firm Wagada, explains how being a Chamber patron has given her company the chance to build on its growing network of contacts… Cheryl Luzet, founder and director of Wagada

It was last spring when Cheryl Luzet decided to take the plunge and become a Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce member. “We’re already members of St Albans Chamber but Hertfordshire is also a good catchment area for us,” she says. “It’s always good to go to Chamber events and grow our network by making new contacts.” Cheryl was so impressed that she jumped at the chance to take a higher level of membership at the Hertfordshire Chamber in November last year. Wagada, the digital marketing company she launched nine years ago, is now a proud patron of the Chamber – a move that has allowed the firm to build and grow its network of business contacts, Cheryl says: “Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce is a really proactive and

welcoming organisation, which is why we decided to invest in it. The Chamber team has been very supportive, and the members themselves are dynamic and forward-thinking, making it a powerful networking group to be associated with.” Wagada is becoming increasingly well known in the Hertfordshire business community and beyond. Cheryl originally established the firm in 2011, initially as a home-based business while she looked after her two young children. Since then the business has grown rapidly. With 14 staff on its books, it has worked on key projects for companies such as Britvic, Great Ormond Street and BBC Active. Over the last few years Wagada has expanded its range of services to encompass the full digital marketing spectrum, including search engine optimisation, social media monitoring and management, content marketing, traditional and online public relations, pay-per-click and Google Ads. All of these services are delivered by staff who uphold and practise the values of respect, honesty and integrity.

Cheryl says: “We treat our staff and our clients with the same values: human decency, flexibility, honesty and passion. It’s my wish to create a positive working environment for my staff so that they can flourish and therefore serve our clients better. “We won the Workplace Wellbeing award at the Inspiring Herts Awards in 2019, and we were also Highly Commended in the Excellence in People Development category in the same year. As a service-based company, the way we treat our staff is reflected in their passion for our clients. Flexible working has always been important to us as a business, and we have brought in initiatives such as a four-day week in the last week of the month to allow the team to have more time off. We really do value our employees and although we work hard, we also have fun.” Hear more from Cheryl at our Digital Marketing Bootcamp on 10th March! See page 25 for more detail. If you would like to get in touch with Wagada, please contact Cheryl at 01727 260187

“Over the last few years Wagada has expanded its range of services to encompass the full digital marketing spectrum, including search engine optimisation, social media monitoring and management, content marketing, traditional and online public relations, pay-per-click and Google Ads.” Wagada’s Office in St Albans



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e are a family owned “Everyone is so important to us. Lease of Life business so we can offer Home Care was created to improve the standard of our services comfortable care that I witnessed as a young carer. I wanted to in the knowledge that we do a better job. I wanted people to have a better treat our clients very well, with a personal and experience and I wanted people to stay living at dedicated approach, providing care to people who home where they wanted to be. I have dedicated are privately funding their service or are funded the last 16 years of my life to Lease of Life Home by Direct Payment. We are not part of a large Care and fortunately for me we now have a fantastic organisation or a franchise network. team that provides even better care to people living Lease of Life Home Care has been running for in Hertfordshire.” over 16 years. As a team we pride ourselves on our – Sarah Ciubotariu (Owner) dedicated approach to making people’s lives www.leaseoflifehomecare.co.uk Lease Lease of Life of Life Home Home CareCare has been has been running running for for ineasier. Hertfordshire.” in Hertfordshire.” We work out in the community 7 days a week 24 overover 16 years. 16 years. AsaaAs team a team we pride we pride ourselves ourselves on our on – Sarah – Sarah Ciubotariu Ciubotariu (Owner) (Owner) hours a day to supportMS, peopleParkinsons who need assistance Youour could be living with Cancer, We are family owned business with daily living. This enables people to stay living dedicated dedicated approach approach to making to making people’s people’s liveslives easier. easier. poor mobility Disease, due to falls or havingwww.leaseoflifehomecare.co.uk hadwww.leaseoflifehomecare.co.uk so we can offer our services at home for longer. We work We work out in outthe in community the community 7 days 7 days a week a week 24 24 You could be living with Cancer, MS, Parkinsons a stroke. Our serviceDisease, can poor help you with the daily comfortable in the mobility due to falls or having had hours hours a daya to daysupport to support people people whowho needneed assistance assistance stroke. frustratingly Our service can help you with the daily living tasks that are anow difficult. knowledge that we treat withwith dailydaily living. living. ThisThis enables enables people people to stay to stay living living living tasks that are now frustratingly difficult. Living with illnesses long or short term we can our clients very well, with at home at home for longer. for longer. Living with illnessessupport longyou. orWeshort term we care can also provide Palliative when a personal and dedicated YouYou could could be living be living withwith Cancer, Cancer, MS, MS, Parkinsons Parkinsons time comes. support you. We alsotheprovide Palliative care Each person is different and each care plan will Disease, Disease, poorpoor mobility mobility due due to falls to falls orcare having or having had had approach, providing reflect this. when the time comes. a stroke. a stroke. Our service service can can you you withwith the daily the daily We are here to help and to make a difference toOur people whohelp arehelp privately and most importantly keeping families together. We living living tasks tasks that that are now areservice now frustratingly frustratingly difficult. understand thateach it is no one’s choice to have care, funding their or aredifficult. Each person is different and care plan will sometimes it is unavoidable. Once you have got Living Living withwith illnesses illnesses longlong or short or short termterm we can we can reflect this. funded by Direct Payment. We are not part of a used to us coming in to help you, you actually look support support you.you. We also We also provide provide Palliative Palliative carecare when when forward to our visits. We can help take the strain off large organisation or acomes. franchise network. of daily living tasks that have become challenges. the time the time comes. We are here to help and make a good difference We like to to help you with humour and make EachEach person person is different is different and and eacheach carecare planplan will will you keeping feel relaxed. families together. and most importantly

Lease of Life Home Care has been running for reflect reflect this.this. We understand that it is no one’s choice to have over 16 years.We Asare a team we pride ourselves on our 70 FEBRUARY 2020 We here are here to help to help and and to make to make a difference a difference care, sometimes it is unavoidable. Once you dedicated approach to making people’s lives easier. and and mostmost importantly importantly keeping keeping families families together. together. We We have got used to us coming in to help you, you understand understand that that it is it noisone’s no one’s choice choice to have to have care,care, actually look forward to our visits. We can help We work out in the community 7 days a week sometimes sometimes it is it unavoidable. is unavoidable. Once Once you you havehave got got take the strain off of daily living tasks that have 24 hours aused dayused to support people who need to ustocoming us coming in toinhelp to help you,you, you you actually actually look look become assistanceforward with daily living. This enables people forward to our to visits. our visits. We can We help can help taketake the strain the strain off off challenges. We like to help you with good humour and make you feel relaxed. to stay living at home for of daily of daily living living taskslonger. tasks that that havehave become become challenges. challenges. We like We to likehelp to help you you withwith goodgood humour humour and and makemake you you feel feel relaxed. relaxed.

Please call for any help or information on 01707 246 552 or visit our website www.leaseoflifehomecare.co.uk

0 7F0E B FE RB UR AU RA Y R2Y0 2200 2 0

“Lease of Life Home Care has been running for over 16 years”

THE CYBER THE CYBER RISK CHALLENGE RISK CHALLENGE of biggest the biggest challengeswe weface faceisisconvincing convincing businesses in in “One“One of the challenges businessesthat that today’s world of hyper-connectivity investing in a comprehensive Cyber today’s world of hyper-connectivity investing in a comprehensive Cyber Insurance policy is essential.”- Rob - RobWakelam, Wakelam, Regional Regional Development Director Insurance policy is essential.” Development Director

Statistics indicate a significant cyber risk exposure:

Statistics indicate a significant cyber risk exposure:



In 2019, 32% of UK businesses experienced some type of Cyber breach2

In 2019, 32% of UK businesses experienced some type of Cyber breach2



However, worryingly evidence indicated that 89% of UK firms are still underinsured and therefore are financially unprotected against the threat of Cyber attack1

However, worryingly evidence indicated that 89% of UK DID YOU KNOW? GDPR May 2018) firms are still underinsured and(implemented therefore arein financially imposed strict liabilities on organisations handling unprotected against the threat of Cyber attack1 third party data.

DID YOU KNOW? GDPR (implemented in May 2018) imposed strict liabilities onitorganisations handling third Unfortunately, when comes to Cybercrime there party data. are some common misconceptions: Unfortunately, when it comes Cybercrime there “Cybercrime only happens to to bigger businesses, are some common misconceptions: it’s unlikely to affect us” “Cybercrime only happens to bigger businesses, We needit’s to unlikely be clear; to criminals affectdon’t us” care about the

size, ownership or structure of a target, what they care about is; Do they have money I can steal? Do they have personal, financial or intellectual property I can steal or leak? Do they have IT or operational systems I could We need to be clear;disrupt criminals don’t care about the for money?

size, ownership or structure of a target, what they care about is; Do they have money I can steal? Do they have lossesorincurred will beproperty covered Iunder my personal,“The financial intellectual can steal existing business insurance, won’t they?” or leak? Do they have IT or operational systems I could disrupt for money? Cyber protection is usually purchased as either an

“The lossesofincurred will becombined coveredinsurance under mypolicy extension a commercial existing business insurance, won’t or as a standalone policy. If you haven’tthey?” extended your

cover, you are likely to find your business unprotected.



We have witnessed some well publicised, high profile attacks on large businesses over the past few years, the most recent theattacks ransomware We have witnessed some well publicised, highbeing profile on large attack on Travelex. However, there are thousands of attacks which target businesses over the past few years, the most recent being the ransomware small to medium businesses each year that don’t make headline news. attack on Travelex. However, there are thousands of attacks which target Evidence indicates the likelihood of experiencing some type of Cyber Security small to mediumtobusinesses each year that don’t make headline news. breach continues grow.

Evidence indicates the likelihood of experiencing some type of Cyber Security

We would therefore advise all companies to consider the purchase of a breach continues to grow. policy that covers both Cyber and Crime. This is because the purpose of the protection can differ. Theallmain difference We wouldoffered therefore advise companies tois:consider the purchase of a

policy that covers both Cyber and Crime. This is because the purpose of the protection offered can differ. The main difference is: CRIME INSURANCE


Protects your business against the financial losses incurred CRIME INSURANCE because of fraudulent activity; Protects(including your business against criminals employees) the financial losses incurred taking or misappropriating because of fraudulent activity; money, securities or property.

Is designed to help your business offset the costsCYBER of recovery after INSURANCE a cyber related security breach, Is designed to help including both direct costsyour and business liabilityoffset to third theparties. costs However, of recovery after policies acan oftenrelated excludesecurity financialbreach, cyber or asset losses. including both direct costs and

criminals (including employees) liability to third parties. However, taking or misappropriating policies often Insurers’ policy wordings vary and the covers offered by can cyber and exclude crime financial money, securities or property. or asset policies may overlap. Tysers can help you find the right cover to suitlosses. your businesses operational needs.

Insurers’ policy wordings vary and the covers offered by cyber and crime policies may overlap. Tysers can help you find the right cover to suit your TYSERS CHALLENGE TO businesses operational needs.


Make 2020 the year in which you let Tysers help you financially protect your TYSERS CHALLENGE TOsample of the types of crime your Cyber Risk exposures. Here’s just a small business could fall victim to:


DATA BREACHES RANSOMWARE Make 2020 the yearATTACKS in which you let Tysers help you financially protect your Cyber Risk exposures. Here’s just a small sample of the types of crime your SOCIAL ENGINEERING DENIAL OF SERVICE ATTACKS business could fall victim to: FRAUD







tysersinsurance.com FRAUD


03330 112 288


1. Association of British Insurers Research quotes in ‘You talk insurance’ August 2019 Statista Proportion of businesses that have experienced cyber security breaches in the UK 2019 BE2. PREPARED, BE PROTECTED Cyber protection is usually purchased as either an Tysers is a trading name of Integro Insurance Brokers Ltd. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. extension of a commercial combinedRegistered insurance Office:policy 71 Fenchurch Street, London, EC3M03330 4BS. Registered Company No. 2957627 England. 112 288 hitchin@tysers.com or as a standalone policy. If you haven’t extended your tysersinsurance.com


Location has key benefits for business The district of North Hertfordshire is home to around 59,000 jobs and ambitious companies in key sectors including wholesale and retail, manufacturing, accommodation, food and services. Letchworth and Hitchin are very much a part of this mix and, according to local firms, great places to do business… Letchworth is ideally located for leisure and business travel, either by road or rail, be it up to Cambridge or down to London – and you can get to both in well under an hour.”

Often business decisions are made with cold-headed ruthlessness but sometimes sentiment plays a part. When Carina Balbo was searching for a home to base her fledgling business, she chose Letchworth Garden City because she became attached to her adoptive hometown after emigrating from Argentina in 2002. Carina believed that the picturesque Hertfordshire town was the ideal place to settle, raise her family and run My Language Hub (MLH), which provides translation and linguistic training to individuals and businesses. Originally, she had started the business from home, where she now lives with her husband and business partner, Hugh Ottewell, but needed bigger premises as the business grew.

A former British Army Infantry Officer, Hugh initially gained his experience and knowledge of all things Hispanic by means of a degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies and eight years as a secondary school languages teacher. In 2018 Hugh and Carina took the plunge and moved their work out of the home and into offices in the heart of Letchworth Garden City. Hugh says: “The country feel of the town, the fields and open spaces all around and the safe environment are all enhanced by the friendly people.

By trade, Carina is a linguist, a seasoned translator and a specialist in language acquisition. She has spent her career connecting people and companies through the medium of language, as well as promoting and supporting language learners. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees that support and demonstrate this passion.

My Language Hub offers foreign language



My Language Hub offers foreign language tuition and training for children


They are both Chartered Linguists with the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) and Carina also sits on the CIOL Council. MLH translates everything from marriage certificates to websites and, with its database of qualified linguists, can cope with almost any language in any industry.

& Associates Ltd. After a period of rapid expansion, the team subsequently moved to alternative offices in Letchworth, before finally relocating to Hitchin in 2003, when the company abbreviated its trading name to NPA. In 2015 the business was bought out, joining forces with one of the UK’s largest independent brokers. Today the company’s offices are based in central Hitchin on Park Street and it trades as Tysers, providing insurance and risk management services to clients. Bob and Cliff remain with the business and still lead the Hitchin team. Most of the staff live in the area and welcome the opportunity to be able to live and work locally.

Other translation-related services include localisation, interpreting and proofreading. The classroom provides the venue for the education element, with Spanish courses offered to children and adults. The company has also recently started an Italian course for children coming predominantly from bilingual families or where one parent is Italian. The natural progression from these Italian lessons for children is to also offer adult classes to support non-Italian speaking parents, and this will be launched in the next few months. The final branch of the business encompasses support to businesses looking to broaden their horizons and find new post-Brexit markets. MLH helps companies to understand the cultural, linguistic and business differences that exist when launching into new markets and provides staff with a basic understanding of the other language. Hugh says: “For us, the greatest advantage to being in Letchworth is that we’re in the middle of the town. Our office is opposite the railway station, which makes us even more accessible. We offer a depth of services under one roof and we tailor our activities to local demand.” Tysers is another business which has a history of trading in Letchworth. On September 11 1990, Bob Pybus and Cliff Nott opened the insurance broking business in the Pixmore Business Centre, originally trading as Nott, Pybus

Rob Wakelam, Regional Development Director at Tysers, says: “Hitchin and the wider Hertfordshire community is home to many thriving commercial, corporate and international businesses, each of which requires the expertise of an experienced insurance and risk management provider. “A good insurance and risk management provider should be viewed as an extension of your own business; always at hand when you require their specialist knowledge. “Having a team of highly qualified and specialist professionals, based right here in the Hertfordshire community, allows us to deliver the essential face-to-face consultancy required by local companies. “Our aim is to ensure that we’re accessible to our clients. They can call on us as their business evolves to ensure they remain fully protected. This requires that we work in close partnership; geographical proximity really helps. We also service clients in neighbouring counties so we appreciate Hitchin’s great transport connections.”

Raymond James Investment Services is another firm that enjoys the benefits of being located in Hitchin. The wealth management specialist relocated to bigger premises in the town 20 years ago after originally being established in Letchworth. Faye Silver, wealth manager and branch principal at the firm, says: “A lot of our team live nearby so it’s not a big commute for them. Having a good work-life balance is crucial. “The people behind the Hitchin Business Improvement District (BID) do some great work to promote the town, attract new businesses and increase visitors to Hitchin. “Hitchin is a melting pot of talent. Every six weeks or so, we meet up with like-minded professionals to share ideas. We also like to give something back to the community by supporting local sports clubs, for example.” While Hitchin benefits from a tightly knit business community, it also has the advantage of excellent transport links. Food coatings maker Bowman Ingredients, which recently invested £8 million in a new manufacturing facility in Poland, says good access to Heathrow Airport makes it easier to service overseas customers in Europe and worldwide. Ana Duta, customer services team leader at Bowman Ingredients, adds: “We also have many customers in London so it’s ideal that Hitchin is only half an hour away. It’s easy for our managers to hop on the train or take the car and see our customers. I suppose the only drawback of being based in Hitchin is that there’s really only one main route in and out of where we’re based in the town. A while back, the road was closed for a short period of time and that caused us a few problems. However, in general Hitchin is a great place to do business and we’re proud to call it our home.”

“The people behind the Hitchin Business Improvement District (BID) do some great work to promote the town, attract new businesses and increase visitors to Hitchin.” Bob Pybus (left) and Rob Wakelam (right)



Five tips for improving your

financial blueprint for the 20’s

By Shan Phoenix, Director Geneva Wealth

Hello everyone. Hope you are all back in the swing of things and your year is off to a good start. Here are some tips from a different angle, more focused on your mind and energy. Hopefully you’ll find something useful to help you in 2020.


Manage what you hear

On your drive to work or to a meeting, you can listen to music that makes you feel like you’re living the good life, or listen to music that makes you feel like you’ve lost the love of your life and it’s all over. You don’t have to be taken on a roller coaster by the radio or the shuffle setting. Choose the vibes that you want going in your ears. In the book Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss there is a chapter that goes into how many successful people have a playlist or song that gets them in the right state of mind before they start their day. Make a playlist that gets you in your ideal state of mind on demand.


Manage what you read

Try reading some books that will help you journey inwards and get to know yourself. In my opinion this is even more important than business books. Many people

charge through life making huge life decisions, expensive decisions, all the while never really stopping to consider who they are and why they are doing what they are doing. This is an inefficient use of energy and money. Living Dangerously by Osho and Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle are good examples.


Manage your circle

Most of you have probably already done this, but just to remind you, there are people that boost your energy and people that drain it. Stay around positive energy. Ultimately, we are all just fields of energy, but whether you see the

scientific or spiritual side of this, seek high vibrations and outcomes will be better than being around low vibrations.


Manage your energy

I can only best explain this with an example and hopefully you can apply it to other scenarios. If you get a chip on your windscreen, and the excess is £75 like what just happened to me, pay it, book the repair and move on. Never attach negative energy to the movement of money.


Manage your peace

Do not underestimate the power of doing nothing. Believe it or

not, inspiration and answers will come to you in silence as opposed to chaos. Schedule nothing in, no distractions, no music, just a cup of coffee on the sofa, alone. Whatever answers you need will come to you when you’re ready for it and are ‘still’ enough to hear it. If you want to take it to the next level, meditate and remove all that chaos from your mind. I highly recommend Michael Sealey on YouTube. If you have any questions, feel free to message me on Instagram @genevawealth or email hello@genevawealth.co.uk

Contact details: Shan Phoenix Director Geneva Wealth, Rivers Lodge, West Common, Harpenden, AL5 2JD 01582 967300 hello@genevawealth.co.uk This article should not be considered as advice and your individual circumstances need to be considered before implementing any financial plan.Investments move up and down in value and should be considered a long term strategy. Geneva Wealth Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority 807865

UH Venues, formerly ConferenceHertfordshire, boasts two modern university campuses and a bespoke day-conference centre in Hatfield. Based at the University of Hertfordshire, UH Venues offers excellent facilities for conferences, exhibitions, meetings, residential summer groups, and filming locations with large green areas and unique learning-focused facilities: • A 440-seat auditorium with a video link expansion to 680 • A 250-capacity off-campus day conference centre • Mock law court • 3,000 bedrooms during the summer • State of the art gym • Large tiered lecture theatres and flat-floored breakout spaces

UH Venues is also excited to announce the building of a new Enterprise Hub on the de Havilland campus. The Enterprise Hub contains a new meeting space on the ground floor suitable for large meetings and training groups. It will be available for bookings from May 2020. UH Venues offers year-round, transparent and competitive day delegate rates with the flexibility to build bespoke packages. UH Venues incorporates a range of delicious and nutritional menu options into the rates and can also cater for bowl food exhibitions, lighter salad menus, fully vegan conferences and full gala dinners. A personable, flexible and customer focused team allows UH Venues’ expert staff to work with you to deliver your event in a constantly changing world.

Chat to a member of the team today to discuss your event needs.

venues@herts.ac.uk | +44 (0)1707 285032 18



In Conversation... Tori Pearson - Partnerships & Development Leader

Donna Obstfeld

2020 VISION?

Managing Director of DOHR

Aysha Julie - Director

The Gifted is delighted to have received several enquiries and offers of support from business women who wish to share their skills with our girls on the Butterfly project. We thank the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce for helping us to achieve our vision and change the life circumstances of young people, in and near Hertfordshire, at a time when youth services continue to close and mental health issues amongst young people, continues to rise. Since our last column, we have moved into Harlow, to deliver our girls programme The Butterfly, alongside Enfield and West Essex. This came from a confirmed partnership with Nexus and after we secured funding from the Public Health Grant and PCC Funding. Our work across Hertfordshire goes from strength to strength, with a new cohort of delivery taking place in John Warner Foundation school and planned delivery for the West Herts districts. The role of our partnerships and development manager is vital to accessing new funds and partnerships and we are very grateful to a private donor for investing in this post, as it affords us the capacity and opportunity to grow as a Hertfordshire youth focussed charity, for Hertfordshire’s most hard to reach young people.

We have: •

Supported 300 young women over the last 12 months

Created onward training for 20% of our participants

Opened up partnerships with 11 new schools and youth settings since September 2019

Secured £76,000 of new funding and investment in our delivery, since September 2019

To change more lives and ensure our most vulnerable and at risk young people can access support, advice, intervention and spaces to feel cared for, we need to ensure them sustainability. As we grow in our impact and as a team, we turn to you, our community, to ask if you can help with our 2020 vision: “ to reduce the numbers of referrals we receive for girls experiencing poor mental health, or who are at risk of county lines grooming, unemployment, teenage pregnancy and/or exposure to violence.”

In this month’s edition, we are seeking: • • •

Skills and pro bono support in marketing and advocacy support Opportunities to pitch and share our work, as part of businesses’ corporate social responsibility Connectors - who will share what we do, with people who want to listen and help us make a difference.

If you can help us, help young people break the cycle of adversity, then please get in touch with Tori Pearson on: tori@thegifted.org.uk


If I’m a small business owner, do I really need HR? Most business owners do not perceive themselves as a manager of Human Resources (HR). The fact of the matter is that, if you employ staff in your business, then you are a manager of Human Resources, whether you want to be or not! You are 100% responsible for the people in your business, even if you delegate the responsibility to others. Most businesses can’t grow without utilising people. In many cases, these people are on payroll and are therefore employees, but it is possible that your human resources sit outside your business, either as outsourced suppliers or as freelancers and contractors. What is Human Resources? The term Human Resources is used to describe the people who make up the workforce of an organisation, business sector or economy. In addition, a human resources ‘department’ of an organisation performs human resource management, overseeing various aspects of employment.

onboarding processes and the probation period. Managing staff includes all of your policies and procedures (again they may not be documented, but you still have them) and making sure that your staff have the skills, knowledge and motivation to do the job you want done. One of the most difficult areas of managing your staff is terminating their employment if they can’t or won’t do the job you need them to do. What are the risks of getting it wrong? The risks of getting your HR wrong range from minor to catastrophic. The fall out could be reputational damage, but if could also be financial, including closure of your business. You could end up with an upset employee who leaves quietly, giving you nothing more than a short-term resourcing issue. However, you could also end up in an employment tribunal with a claim for constructive dismissal, bullying, harassment and / or discrimination.

In a small business where you have people, you will need to manage those people properly and legally, but you are unlikely to have a department within your business to do so, so, as the business owner, it is another hat you need to learn to wear.

Employment law has a big role to play in the management of your staff and employers ignore it at their peril. There is a mantra which can be used with almost all areas of HR and employers would be wise to apply this simple 4 step process in all aspects of people management: Document, Communicate, Train & Review.

Managing people starts from the time you identify a need for a particular role and takes the form of a job description (even if you don’t document it), continues throughout the recruitment and

As always, if you think there is even the slightest risk something could be contentious, seek advice BEFORE saying or doing the wrong thing, it will be cheaper in the long run!

Call DOHR today on 01923 866037 to discuss how we can save you time, money & stress!


www.thegifted.org.uk INSPIRE


Commercial Recycling Solutions for commercial businesses across Hertfordshire We are based in Potters Bar, but our services are available for businesses across South East England. Our mission is to source high quality recycling materials to supply mills in the UK and around the world. We are dedicated to diverting quality recyclables from landfill and work with our customers to ensure that where possible, this is completely eradicated.

Why choose CS Recycling?

 Free recycling audits for all prospective customers  Free Waste Transfer Notes for all our customers  Transparent pricing, there will be no hidden costs.

Would you like a quote?

Call our team for a quote on 01707 656261 Email our Sales Manager andre@csrecycling.co.uk

We also offer confidential shredding…

As an ISO accredited organisation, we understand the requirements for compliance and data protection. If you are having a big clear out of documents, we can provide you with a pack of our shredding bags. When you have filled the shredding bags, we will arrange the collection from you. We only charge you for the sacks that you fill at £4 + VAT per sack and a call out charge of £30 + VAT.


Why choose CS Shredding?

Would you like a quote?

We offer a 10% discount on our services for Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce members and for our CS Recycling customers.

Call our team for a quote on 01707 621431 Email our enquiries mailbox enquiries@csshredding.co.uk


Hertfordshire’s data destruction service provider

Thee carbon carbon Th benefitt hidden hidden in in benefi our clothing clothing our


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For business wanting reduce For aa business wanting toto reduce their carbon footprint, textiles may their carbon footprint, textiles may seem odd place focus. We seem anan odd place toto focus. We generally hear about the three big generally hear about the three big areas that affect climate change areas that affect climate change energy, transport and food. –– energy, transport and food. However, the textiles industry However, the textiles industry responsible for 10% global isis responsible for 10% ofof global carbon emissions. This means the carbon emissions. This means the clothes that we buy contributes clothes that we buy contributes toto climate change more than and climate change more than airair and sea travel combined. sea travel combined.

Why this relevant your business? Why is is this relevant toto your business? We might familiar with greener products We might bebe familiar with greener products and services – but looking inwards and services – but looking inwards to to thethe resources used another angle consider. resources used is is another angle to to consider. Changing more environmentally-friendly Changing to to more environmentally-friendly business practices save you money and business practices willwill save you money and provide a stronger selling proposition when provide a stronger selling proposition when pitching your goods and services your pitching your goods and services to to your target audience. target audience.

There are lots ways you can There are lots ofof ways you can reduce your organisation’s waste. reduce your organisation’s waste.

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events, consider a magnetic 1. 1.ForFor events, consider a magnetic / pin badge lanyard rather than / pin badge or or lanyard rather than branded goods, these branded goods, asas these areare easier replace a name/ logo easier to to replace if aif name/ logo changes. changes.

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fashion trends makes a positive impact fashion trends makes a positive impact onon thethe https://www.rapidformations.co.uk/blog/how-can-your-business-reduce-its-carbon-footprint/ https://www.rapidformations.co.uk/blog/how-can-your-business-reduce-its-carbon-footprint/ wasteaware.org.uk/reusables #RememberYourReusables: wasteaware.org.uk/reusables environment! For more see #RememberYourReusables: environment! For more see wasteaware.org.uk/reusables wasteaware.org.uk/reusables https://www.ecotricity.co.uk/news/news-archive/2018/the-carbon-footprint-of-getting-dressed https://www.ecotricity.co.uk/news/news-archive/2018/the-carbon-footprint-of-getting-dressed www.wasteaware.org.uk/textiles www.wasteaware.org.uk/textiles https://www.trustedclothes.com/blog/2016/02/23/fast-fashion-and-your-carbon-footprin/ https://www.trustedclothes.com/blog/2016/02/23/fast-fashion-and-your-carbon-footprin/ wasteaware.org.uk/reusables WasteAwarePartnership #RememberYourReusables: wasteaware.org.uk/reusables WasteAwarePartnership #RememberYourReusables:

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Reasons to be cheerful

Will Hobbs, Chief Investment Officer of Barclays Investment Solutions, says there are still plenty of opportunities for savvy investors despite uncertainty surrounding Brexit and weak growth in the UK economy… Last year was a volatile twelve months for financial markets as geopolitical uncertainties skewed opinions on prospects for economies around the world. In the UK, concerns over Brexit saw many commentators talk down chances of growth and, in some quarters, the dreaded “R” word was mentioned. With the new decade underway, are these negative sentiments clouding the reality of the situation? A closer look at the evidence suggests they might be. The UK has not tipped into recession, as some predicted, the economy is still growing (albeit weakly) and unemployment remains relatively low. Manufacturing is slowly finding its feet again after a challenging period and the service sector, which makes up the bulk of the UK economy, is weathering the storm well.

Further afield, consumption of goods and services in the US is strong and is generally healthy in other countries across the globe. Much has been made of the Coronavirus outbreak and while this will have an impact on some economies, the hit will be sharp but temporary. So, where do the best investment opportunities lie? For UK-based investors, stocks and equities look to be a more favourable bet than gold, gilts and the wider bond market. These perceived safe havens have become more popular and, as a result, more expensive in recent times as cautious investors have shunned risker options that potentially generate higher returns. However, the lower risk posed by gilts, for example, leads to paltry rewards; lending money to the UK government for ten years to get a return of less than one percent is hardly an attractive proposition.

Far better, then, to look at emerging equity markets, particularly in Asia. Whilst growth has slowed in China, which has also suffered from the ongoing trade war with the US, it is still one of the world’s most vibrant economies and the burgeoning tech supply chain in countries such as Taiwan and Korea make them ripe for investment.

routinely overplayed in the media and ignores key fundamentals, such as corporate earnings potential, financial performance, productivity, unemployment, inflation and levels of international trade. It also creates a culture of fear that can erode confidence and stunt investment.

In contrast, overseas investors remain lukewarm about UK equities, which are generally underrepresented in many international portfolios. However, some analysts believe that the UK market is undervalued and could hold opportunities for investors looking to buy equities on the cheap.

One thing that the UK needs to do this year is to up its productivity, which has been disappointing for the last decade at least. Andy Haldane, chief economist at the Bank of England, remarked that Britain is great at innovation but less good at disseminating it – and he has a point. UK catapult centres, which bring together businesses, scientists, tech specialists and engineers to commercialise new innovations, are a good starting point but more must be done in this area to help the UK narrow that problematic productivity gap.

Whether they do or not may depend, to an extent, on how much they are swayed by negative rhetoric surrounding Britain’s exit from the European Union. The impact of politics on markets and on the economy in general is

How to Avoid Breaking the Bank consider: how much you need, when and for how long, what security (if any) can be provided and whether you’re willing to give up some control (ownership) in return for investment. Determining the answer to these will help you decide the best source of finance for your business. There are a variety of different financial aids that help SMEs boost their business. Three of the most common options are:

Financial resources are the backbone of any business, and sometimes gaining access to finance can prove to be one of the biggest barriers to success. You may have the savviest, most technologically advanced, marketable idea and possess the skills and foresight to turn that idea into a successful business; but if you can’t raise the capital to stabilise and grow that business, its chances of success begin to dwindle. Ultimately, in this game of business, cash is king. But with all the requirements and planning involved in gaining access to finance, there are a few key questions that SMEs should



• Equity Finance

Equity finance is available through several different sources, such as business angels, venture capitalists and equity crowdfunding. Investors take a calculated risk when investing in your business and benefit from sharing in its future success. As a business, you not only benefit from the investment but also from the equity partners expertise or sector know-how.

• Loan Capital

A source of finance that offers businesses longer-term (i.e. bank loan) or shorter-term (i.e. bank overdraft) solutions. Loans are given for fixed periods of time, with a rate of interest and specified repayments. They can require security measures in the form of personal guarantees, but they are suitable for investment.

Overdrafts, however, are more flexible and suitable for seasonal fluctuations in cash flow.

• R&D Credits

Often, the time to market can be months or years away from an initial idea, which is where R&D Credits become useful. HMRC offer these credits based on specific rules. This option can enable businesses to continue product development, without running out of cash or having to consider staff redundancies, as well as help to bring the product to market earlier.


Grants may be suitable for smaller funding requirements, but it is worth bearing in mind that those that do exist are often aimed at very specific sectors and for specific purposes. It would be rare to find a grant that would cover

all of your project costs and many require you to match the grant with your own funding. SMEs can also investigate whether asset finance, retained profits or factoring are viable options for their business.

Hertfordshire Growth Hub

The Growth Hub provides SMEs with a wealth of support and guidance that is designed to help them grow. This includes support to explore appropriate funding options and advice to develop a sound business model. Regardless of which type of funding you seek, the Growth Hub can help you to get finance ready. As the central point of access to business support in the county, they can also introduce SMEs to other support organisations that could assist them in their journey to achieve meaningful, sustainable success.

For further information about how the Growth Hub can support your business, visit www.hertsgrowthhub.com or call 01707 398168


Export Events Our export documentation events include a certificate of attendance, all written materials, lunch and refreshments, PLUS a follow-up helpline to the lecturer. A Practical Guide to Export Documentation & Procedure

Stamp Duty Land Tax

This one-day seminar is designed to provide businesses with the essential knowledge to get their exports moving.

Date: 11/03/20 Time: 09:30 – 15:30 Venue: The Comet Hotel, Hatfield Price: Members £360.00 Non-Members £420.00 uuu

Stamp Duty Land Tax (“SDLT”) arises on most property transactions but we are noticing a significant number of people are contacting us as they have overpaid. Overpayment occurs because purchasers were unaware that their purchase was miss-classified or qualified for a relief. We’re sure you will have seen in the media a rise in the number of SDLT avoidance schemes and HMRC’s crackdown on those who purchased ‘off the shelf’ schemes. At Hillier Hopkins we do not offer schemes and we would never recommend that our clients enter into such arrangements. Instead, we offer a number of legitimate methods to reduce your SDLT bill in line with the current legislation. We have had considerable success with four methods and these have enabled our clients to either avoid overpaying SDLT in the first place or claim a repayment: 1. Avoidance of the Higher Rate Charge on additional property purchases; 2. Identifying when a purchase is Mixed-Use; 3. Multiple Dwellings Relief (“MDR”); and 4. Identifying an uninhabitable property.

The above are based on the application of the rules as set out in Finance Act 2003. The time frame to claim a refund of SDLT is relatively short - generally 12.5 months from the date the SDLT1 was submitted to HMRC. It is possible to extend this to 4 years in some cases, however, it can be difficult to argue the extension so it is best to deal with a claim within the normal 12 month window referred to above when possible. If you believe we will able to assist you with a claim please send us the information as soon as possible, before you are out of time. SDLT is a specialist area and advice should always be obtained before submitting a claim. Hillier Hopkins LLP have extensive experience here and can assist with determining if your purchase qualifies for a valuable relief and whether the claim will be successful. Get in touch with Natasha Heron on 01923 634 460.

“At Hillier Hopkins we do not offer schemes and we would never recommend that our clients enter into such arrangements. Instead, we offer a number of legitimate methods to reduce your SDLT bill in line with the current legislation.”

A Practical Guide to Documentary Letters of Credit

This one-day seminar provides a step-by-step guide on how to deal with Documentary Letters of Credit – from receipt of order to successful presentation.

Date: 29/04/20 Time: 09:30 – 15:30 Venue: Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, Hatfield Price: Members £360.00 Non-Members £420.00 uuu

A Practical Guide to Import Documentation & Procedure

This one-day seminar is designed to help business’ handle their imports more efficiently and with the minimum of financial expense.

Date: 15/05/20 Time: 09:30 – 15:30 Venue: Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, Hatfield Price: Members £360.00 Non-Members £420.00 uuu

A Practical Guide to Export Documentation & Procedure

This one-day seminar is designed to provide businesses with the essential knowledge to get their exports moving.

Date: 25/06/20 Time: 09:30 – 15:30 Venue: Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, Hatfield Price: Members £360.00 Non-Members £420.00




Chamber members benefit from energy partnership Businesses are saving money on their energy bills thanks to a unique partnership between My Energy Consultants and Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce… To remain ultra-competitive, businesses must make sure they’re as lean and efficient as possible. Trimming fat and reducing unnecessary spend and wastage can really make a significant difference to a company’s bottom line. My Energy Consultants (MEC), a procurement and cost management specialist, knows this only too well – which is why it has teamed up with Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce to offer its members the chance to slash their gas and electricity bills. A platinum member and benefits partner of the Chamber, MEC helps firms monitor and manage their energy usage. MEC not only finds the best energy deals for businesses, it makes sure they never overpay and helps them reduce energy wastage, meet energy legislation obligations and handle utility infrastructure projects. The company buys around £12 million of energy per year on behalf of its customers, which range from small firms to large multinationals.

Dewan Khaled Osman, head of sales and services at MEC, says: “I got in touch with the Chamber because I saw how we could benefit their members. Currently there’s no other business energy broker in their membership. “The Chamber is committed to supporting local businesses and developing an economic environment in which they and their employees can prosper – so it made sense to get together with the Chamber and develop a service that could really benefit these companies.” Member companies get a bespoke service that’s tailored to their individual needs, with a dedicated account manager who looks after all aspects of their business gas and electricity. Businesses with a minimum energy spend of £15,000 are entitled to a free site audit.Dewan says: “We don’t just look at the total amount that companies are spending on their electricity and gas. We also monitor exactly how and where the energy is being used, and put in place mechanisms that allow companies to better control

If you’re a member of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and need help with any aspect of business energy, get in touch with My Energy Consultants by telephoning 0203 499 3007 or emailing hertsmembers@myenergyconsultants.co.uk 24


their energy usage. We also provide a complete bill validation service; one in five business energy bills contain errors but spotting these mistakes can be difficult and time-consuming. We take that hassle away by doing the work for companies.”

Dewan is an experienced sales and business development specialist with vast experience of working in the energy industry. After working for an energy supplier for five years, he took the plunge and launched MEC in Welwyn Garden City in 2015. Since then he has built, grown and led a knowledgeable team of experts who have 20 years’ experience in the energy industry.


Forthcoming Business Events The Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce events programme includes over 70 events each year and caters for every person and business. Whether you are looking for training, networking, briefings on topical issues, or want to entertain clients, we have an event for you and your business.

Digital Marketing Bootcamp 2020 If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the time and energy your digital marketing is taking, and are unsure of the return on investment, this straighttalking seminar will answer your questions and provide actionable insights that allow you to make an impact right away.

Date: 10/03/20 Time: 08:00 – 10:00 Venue: Rothamsted Enterprises, Harpenden Price: Members £10.00 Non-Members £15.00

Presented by a panel of experts based in Hertfordshire: Following the success of our first event last September, we are returning to Rothamsted Enterprises on 10 March for a follow-up bootcamp in Digital Marketing and have brought back our team of experts for 2020.

• Laura Moxham, YBA PPC • Cheryl Luzet, Wagada • Simon Mercer and Denise Austin, Pearldrop

Property and Construction Forum: Digital Transformation in Construction Date: 12/03/20 Time: 17:30 – 19:30 Venue: VolkerWessels UK, Hoddesdon Price: Members £10.00 Non-Members £15.00

The Chamber Property & Construction Forums are held in partnership with Herts and Beds Constructing Excellence and will be particularly informative for businesses with an interest in construction, property or the built environments. This event is also kindly sponsored by Dobsons, who are kitchens, bathrooms and

glazing specialists, based in Cheshunt. At this event, Simon White, Chief Digital Officer for VolkerWessels UK, will explain why digital transformation is much more about people than technology, why we need to embrace technology and innovation rather than fear it and we can create value from the technology that we already have at our fingertips.




Forthcoming Business Events Business Growth and Barclays Date: 17/03/20 Time: 17:30 – 19:30 Venue: Barclays Bank, Watford Price: Members FREE Non-Members FREE

Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce have teamed up with Barclays Bank, Watford, for an evening of networking this Spring. This event is designed to bring the local community together, enjoy the powers of networking and meet like-minded businesses

who could be the connection your business needs to grow. Use this great opportunity to meet with members and non-members alike, make new business contacts and enjoy some refreshments. This event is free of charge for all members and non-members.

March Chamber Lunch

Join us on 19 March 2020 for our monthly networking lunch, being held at the picturesque Ware Priory, where the past and present unite.

Date: 19/03/20 Time: 12:00 – 14:00 Venue: Ware Priory, Ware Price: Members £37.95 Non-Members £49.95



These events provide a great opportunity for business networking with members and nonmembers alike. Each month we invite a guest speaker to inform and motivate you. We are delighted to announce that the speaker for this month’s lunch will be Tom McMullen, Joint Managing Director, McMullens & Sons. This lunch is brought to you in partnership with Steven Eagell Toyota, Lexus Hatfield and Nova Scotia Business Inc.


For more information on any event:

01707 502180

bookings@hertschamber.com or www.hertschamber.com

Build your Business Resilience Date: 20/03/20

Are we ready?

Time: 08:30 – 10:30

Ready for the opportunities of a new decade, technological changes, next generation consumers, employees and investors...

Venue: Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, Hatfield

Ready for trading with the EU, even...

Price: Members FREE Non-Members FREE

It’s a lot of change that no long-term business can afford to ignore.

It’s now time when every business Do you know what ready looks like? looking to protect itself, find new How do you even begin to find out what opportunities and grow during ready is? economic uncertainty, needs to ask itself:

This free-to-attend interactive breakfast workshop, led by experienced Business Resilience Advisers from the Growth Hub, will: • Identify issues affecting your business and associated risks • Understand business resilience and what it means for your business • Explain what affects business issues and provide you with tools to overcome them • Help you find resolutions to sustain and build your business, making it more responsive

This workshop is available to all SMEs based in Hertfordshire.

Bringing the Local Community Together MetroBank St Albans and Herts Chamber of Commerce Date: 02/04/20 Time: 17:30 – 19:30 Venue: Metro Bank, St Albans Price: Members FREE Non-Members FREE

Join us along with MetroBank – St Albans at their branch, for an evening of networking on Thursday 2nd April.

Enjoy the powers of networking and meet like-minded businesses who could be the connection your business needs to grow.

Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and MetroBank – St Albans have joined forces once again following the success of our previous events, to bring the local community together.

There is the opportunity to present a one minute pitch at this event, if you are interested please contact gemmarydqvist@hertschamber.com




Forthcoming Business Events Maximising Performance: It starts with You In the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world (VUCA world) that the 21st Century presents, change has become pandemic and the demands on minds and emotions are reaching hazardous capacity.

Date: 07/04/20

With the emerging levels of expectation accompanied by

Time: 08:30 – 10:30

decreasing levels of stability, it seems that people are facing significant challenge in the working world of the 21st Century. So, if performance, productivity, energy and focus are critical to you, and let’s face it when are they not, how are you and your organisation addressing

Venue: Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, Hatfield Price: Members £10.00 Non-Members £15.00

April Chamber Lunch Date: 23/04/20 Time: 12:00 – 14:00 Venue: Moor Park Golf Club, Rickmansworth

We are delighted to announce that this lunch is brought to you in partnership with Hillier Hopkins LLP, Chartered Accountants and Tax Advisers.

Price: Members £37.95 Our guest speaker for this month’s lunch is Luke Non-Members £49.95

Pierce of Barclays Wealth Management

Join us on 23 April 2020 for our monthly networking lunch, being held at the stunning Moor Park at Rickmansworth.



Luke joined Barclays in 2016 on the Graduate Programme, where he worked in Quantitative Finance for the Wealth business and later Investment Advisory, covering UK clients.

Since 2018, he has been part of the Asset Allocation Team in Barclays Wealth, where he is responsible for macroeconomic and quantitative research, which feeds into the firm’s Tactical Asset Allocation. Prior to this, he attended Lancaster University, and graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Financial Mathematics.

both the human and humane side of performance? Join us along with Simon Shepard, CEO, OptimaLife, an organisation that blends data and expert knowledge from the world of sport, health and business to create effective teams.

For more information on any event:


01707 502180

bookings@hertschamber.com or www.hertschamber.com

FLEX: A Practical Masterclass and

Guide to Leading with Resilience Join Herts Chamber and Pauline Kidd, Leadership Development Specialist, HR Blah Blah Blah, for a Masterclass in Resilience on April 28th at The Novotel, Stevenage. This is an opportunity to get underneath the term resilience and understand what it is and how to expand your capacity to adapt and work to build resilience as part of your personal performance strategy. In today’s world where change is the norm and essential to success, one of the priorities of a Business Leader is to look for ways to build and reinforce the capacity to adapt and grow.

Some areas we will cover are:

Date: 28/04/20

1. Diagnosing your resilience as it operates on a daily basis

Time: 08:30 – 12:30

2. Deepening your understanding of how to tap into personal resilience 3. Working on your flexibility, stability and stretch 4. Providing you with exercises and additional materials to take way and reflect on and use with your teams

Venue: The Novotel, Stevenage Price: Members £75.00 Non-Members £95.00



This Masterclass is aimed at: HR Specialists and Leaders looking for fresh ways to inspire their colleagues and teams in an environment where innovation, productivity and performance are central to growth plans as well as leaders facing structural changes in business strategies and direction. Pauline will also be joined by Pina Patane and Johanna Guerin.

This capacity applies to individuals, teams and the wider organisation – at the root of this capacity is the understanding and application of resilience. Without resilience, organisations, teams and individuals lose energy, focus and the ability to spot opportunities.

Amazon Tour Date: 30/04/20

LTN4 was the ninth to be opened in the UK and is named after the nearest international airport, London Luton (LTN) just over 6 miles away. The centre shipped its first order in September 2015 and has a footprint of approximately 300,000sq ft.

Time: 10:30 – 12:30 Venue: Amazon UK Services, Dunstable – LTN4 Price: Members £10.00 Non-Members £15.00

Join us on April 30 for a tour of the Amazon Fulfilment Centre, Dunstable.

It was the first Robotics site in the UK; currently using around 2,000 robots to help team members in the daily realization of customer orders.


Stylish hotel is great for business If you’re after a luxurious venue to host that special conference, business event or wedding, look no further than Hunton Park. Set within 22 acres of beautiful rural Hertfordshire parkland, the hotel is a stunning Queen Ann mansion house, approached by a sweeping driveway that is sure to take your breath away. The beautiful house, with its traditional Georgian proportions and striking tall white columns, exudes historic elegance and style and has played host to a number of landowners, lords and ladies over the past 190 years. In the 1970s, the house was even used as the location for the romantic film, Raging Moon! Hunton Park has a range of facilities to cater for everyone’s

needs. The hotel has 62 stunning bedrooms and also on site is the Huntsman’s Pantry & Bar, an indoor swimming pool, an 18-hole pitch and putt course, a croquet lawn and 24 event spaces including the beautiful Orangery, Terrace Marquee and new Garden Marquee. Whilst it is located in an idyllic country setting, the hotel is conveniently situated near main transport links. Based in Kings Langley near Watford, it is just a 15-minute train ride from Central London and in close proximity to the M1 and M25.

Alex Jones, sales director at Hunton Park, said: “This is the ideal venue for business events and conferences in an exceptional location. The splendour of the old house coupled with the refurbished areas create a comfortable and relaxed setting for your guests. The breathtaking grounds at Hunton Park, which are traditionally preserved, also provide a great photo opportunity! “Whilst this place has almost two centuries of history, we’ve evolved with the times. We’ve skilfully converted the beautiful Queen Anne house into a modern training and conference venue,

transforming it into the perfect space to think, talk and share ideas. We’re also in the process of installing 16 Tesla electric vehicle charging points at the site. “Our dedicated event coordinators are on hand to help you plan the perfect conference or business meeting for your guests. Alternatively, Hunton Park is also a great venue for team building activities – the ideal way to get your staff out of the office and inspire and motivate them to try new things.” For more information, visit www.huntonparkhotel.co.uk

The hotel where retro meets modern Inspire magazine takes a peek at a stunning historic hotel with the modern touch… Opening its doors in Hatfield in 1936, the original Comet Hotel took its name from the locally built de Havilland Comet DH.88 racing aeroplane, which had been developed specifically for the 1934 England-Australia MacRobertson Air Race. Having won this iconic race in world record time, the Comet aeroplane was hailed as an iconic trailblazer of cutting-edge, modern technology at a time when the world was opening up due to international high-speed travel. The eponymous hotel was actually designed around the footprint of the aircraft, which gives the building its unusual and iconic shape and reflects an Art Deco architecture and graphic design that emerged in the 1930s as a response to the new optimism inspired by technology. Fast forward more than seven decades and while the hotel still retains many eye-catching features of the original design, it has undergone a major refurbishment to cater for the needs of the twenty-first century customer. Francisco Ventura, relief general manager at the hotel, says: “Our refurbishment and extension is based on the rich heritage and period glamour of the original Comet Hotel, hearkening back



to this golden age of air travel, glitz and sleek design. By combining beautiful period architecture, classic design and future-facing technology, we’ve created a welcoming and exciting environment for our customers – and have overseen the rebirth for Hatfield’s most iconic building.” With 65 rooms, Comet appears to be the ideal place for the discerning business traveller. Two meeting and conference rooms – one of which is situated in the former Comet Tower – ooze comfort, elegance and practicality and are kitted out with the latest technology. Private dining is available in the stylish Element Bar & Kitchen, which can also be hired out for larger business functions, and free parking is available on site. Francisco Ventura says: “We offer a truly memorable experience for the discerning traveller or business customer. The refurbishment has been carried out to a very high standard and the hotel feels both retro and new. Add to this our unrivalled customer service and it really is a place you’d want to visit.” For more information, visit www.comethotel.co.uk



Meet and greet in style A visit to a Fairview Hotel offers a unique yet quintessentially classical experience of top-quality British hospitality… Hertfordshire is home to many stunning events and conference venues and among the most popular are those owned by Fairview Hotels. Established as a family business in the early 1980s, the company trades under a host of wellknown brands, including Mercure, Novotel, Ibis and Holiday Inn. With easy access to free WiFi and the latest technology, each of the 13 hotels within the group are ideal for corporate and team building events, meetings, exhibitions and presentations. Three of these hotels reside in picturesque Hertfordshire. Mercure Letchworth Hall is a fascinating manor house said to have been built by Sir William Lytton, Lord of the Manor of Knebworth during the reign of James I, on the site of an earlier house. It still retains many of its original features including a Minstrels Gallery, a glorious

Jacobean fireplace and mellow oak panelling in the magnificent Great Hall. This eye-catching countryside venue is not only the ideal place to relax and unwind; with six meeting rooms and conference facilities for up to 220 delegates, it’s also an ideal setting for getting down to business. The newly refurbished fourstar Novotel Stevenage is also extremely popular with corporate guests. Located next to the Knebworth House estate, it caters for up to 130 delegates and has seven well-equipped, light and airy meeting rooms as well as an attractive restaurant, outside terrace, bar and lounge area. Elsewhere in the town, Ibis Stevenage is a five-star venue that can accommodate up to 625 guests or delegates. It’s handily placed next to the stunning Forum Premier Conference and Banqueting Suites, which have

hosted dozens of high-profile exhibitions, trade fairs and conferences as well as private parties and family celebrations. Geraldine Mullins, commercial director at Fairview Hotels, says: “Each of our hotels has a warm, friendly feel with courteous staff who provide a professional service at all times. Our three hotels in Hertfordshire are conveniently situated near main transport routes; particularly Letchworth, which is not far from Luton and Stansted airports. “In addition, regular business guests can take advantage of our tremendous offers throughout the year. These include discounts on meeting and conference room hire and a membership scheme that offers preferential rates and incentives on food, drinks and other amenities.” For more information, visit https://www.fairviewhotels.com/

Infusion Group Kicks off 2020 with new brand Infusion Group, formally known as The Business Solutions Hub, has kicked off 2020 with an updated brand identity, bringing clarity on who we are & what we do today. Infusion are a team full of highly skilled business growth & restructuring experts, with a passion to help business leaders & teams transform & fulfil their potential. Our philosophy is to become an extension of our client’s business, providing handson support throughout their growth. We provide ambitious & growthoriented businesses with the necessary skills, knowledge & processes needed to scale & then transform safely & securely. Founders Danny and Graham head our team of growth experts, who between them have over 100 years’ proven experience in scaling, restructuring &

transforming businesses across the globe. We have delivered success to start-ups, established SME’s & PLC businesses including top 3 market share brands. “The re-brand is more than just a new brand ID, we’ve spent the best part of 24-months behind the scenes building, testing & refining a plethora of new, bespoke tools which we are rolling out to our clients & they can’t seem to get enough!” The new brand also signifies the new direction the business is taking, with core values & new services in place, we’re now positioned to deliver our own strategic goals for growth in 2020.

“Traditional consulting is not cheap, we get it. That’s why we’ve founded the Infusion growth programme to enable start-up & SME entrepreneurs to also benefit from our expertise, as too often small businesses fail simply because the right help was not readily available at the right time at an accessible price” The Infusion team plans to attend multiple chamber events throughout 2020, becoming a regular face within the Herts Chamber community. For more information on us, please visit https://infusion-group.co.uk

Why Isabel Hospice? “Imagine if the quality of your local maternity services depended on how much money had been raised by cake sales and marathons.” Owen Jones - The Guardian. This is, however, the funding model for the care we receive at the end of our lives. At Isabel Hospice we need to fundraise for two thirds of our income to meet our annual £6.2 million running costs. This is why we need the support of our local business community. Last year we cared for 1,855 people. Our specialist knowledge enabled them to live well at home and benefit from sessions to help them breathe more easily, have confidence in their ability to go out and, when the time comes, die, with dignity in the place of their choice. This could be at home, with family around them or at our In-Patient Unit, cared for by amazing staff. Each year our fundraising team develop local business partnerships to deliver the income we need to keep the hospice running. If you would like to support our work, we would love to hear from you! • Make us your Charity of the Year • Sponsor one of our mass participation events, golf days or remembrance ceremonies • Volunteer as a team, or gift us with specialist knowledge To find out more contact Adam Brockett (Isabel’s Head of Community and Events) T: 01707 382500 or E: fundraising@isabelhospice.org.uk



Business of the Year East Herts

Business of the Year North Herts

Sponsored by

Sponsored by

Richard Gvero

Mena Caldbeck Daniel Burns

Meet the Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards 2020 judges! Business of the Year These business leaders, entrepreneurs and experts West Herts will carefully score each application before Sponsored by deciding on the finalists. Judging commences from March 23rd. The finalists will be revealed from April 6th and the winners of each category Charlene along with the overall Inspiring Nayler Business of the Year winner are to be announced at the Awards Gala Dinner on June 4th at the Business of the Year magnificent St Albans Medium to Large Cathedral! Sponsored by

Tickets are on sale from April 6th and Helen are sure to sell Galloway so book your place soon! Education in Employment

Business of the Year South Herts Sponsored by

Sponsored by

Gordon Craft

Lisa Devayya

Cllr Bernard Sarson

Dan Jones

Best use of Technology

Maxine Taylor

Community Champion

Sponsored by

Sponsored by

Julie Goodyear



Eloise Hopes

Claudia Marcellis

Jenifer Greenslade

Excellence in Customer Commitment

Entrepreneur of the Year

Sponsored by

Business of the Year Small to Medium

Sponsored by

Excellence in People Development Sponsored by

Sponsored by

Nicole Sadd

Penny Carey

Claire Austin

Diana Kirsch

Export Business of the Year Sponsored by

Claire Flawn

Family Business of the Year

The Green Award

Most Promising New Business

Sponsored by

Sponsored by

Ian Taylor

Cllr David Holliday

Peter Smits

Anthony Chapman

Sarah Smits

Property & Construction Project of the Year

Sponsored by

Helen Dobson

Adrian ShahCundy

Year of Culture Award New for 2020! Sponsored by

Victoria Forsythe

Matthew Rowlandson


June Howard Sponsored by

32 32


Keely Rushmore

Neil Cundale



Inspiring Business of the Year

Elizabeth Wickes

Andy Webb

Melanie Miller

Workplace Wellbeing Award

Sponsored by

Lorraine Kokas

Peter Hope

Sponsored by

Paul Hill

Robyn Dawson

Vincent Billings



Building Connections The success of any company is built on a string of productive partnerships with other organisations. Forging those partnerships, and maintaining and nurturing them, can lead to lucrative business later down the line. That’s where business networking comes in. Events such as those organised by Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce allow business leaders to connect with and learn from each other, discover fresh perspectives and create new alliances. There’s no better evidence of this that the partnership between Hanbury Manor Marriott Hotel & Country Club and GovGrant, which helps firms commercialise their innovation by taking advantage of tax incentives. Dominic Bartholdi, head of business development at St Albans-based GovGrant,

Two organisations share the benefits of attending business networking events organised by Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce.

was looking for a suitable venue to host the organisation’s annual staff conference and met representatives from Hanbury Manor at a recent Chamber networking event. He said: “We needed a venue that would be big enough for our 60 staff as well as our agents and partners who we work with on an ongoing basis. Fortunately, through the Chamber event, I had a chat with Hanbury Manor representatives and discovered that it would be the ideal location for our event. Many of our staff live nearby and it has fantastic conference facilities in a stately home setting.” Based in Ware, Hanbury Manor is a Jacobean-style manor house set in 200 acres of beautiful countryside. Wood-panelled libraries and cosy fireplaces coexist with modern amenities, renovated event spaces and a top-class service.

Ideal for conferences and business awaydays, the hotel also offers a variety of treatments at its day spa, a championship 18-hole golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus II, as well as a leisure centre with heated indoor pool and state-of-the gym. Charlotte Ingham at Hanbury Manor said: “It was really useful for us to meet Dominic at the event. We are always looking to add to our strong portfolio of business clients and the Chamber event gave us the opportunity to do just that.” Dominic Bartholdi added: “These events organised by the Chamber are invaluable for organisations like ours. We’re a national organisation and work all over the country but we need to be present and visible in local areas. These networking opportunities enable us to achieve this.”

A creative approach to rehabilitation Pictora is a social enterprise using offender arts combined with the creativity of entrepreneurship in prisons and in the community to help the most disadvantaged break down the barriers holding them back. 2makeit is a charity that helps rehabilitate prisoners and ex-prisoners by offering them creative expression through programmes centred on music and the arts.

potential of artists regardless of their background by exhibiting the art for its own sake without the label of ‘offender’, bringing often hidden talent out to be ‘Made Visible’.

In 2019 Pictora worked together with 2makeit in a new project called Made Visible. This involved prisoners curating their own exhibition of their own art and poetry in HMP The Mount near Hemel Hempstead. Some of that art was then displayed in a similar exhibition in partnership with Probation and Jobcentreplus at the Open Door community arts space in Berkhamsted. This was a community event to celebrate the creative talents and employment

The project’s success led to Pictora Codirectors, Robert Morrall and Philip Emery presenting a summary of the Made Visible project at the Royal Society of Arts and an invitation to be part of the Festival of Ideas at the University of Cambridge in October.

Would you be interested in hosting an exhibition like Made Visible? Could you offer employment opportunities to one of our beneficiaries?

Presentation to artists at the Made Visible exhibition at Open Door in Berkhamsted

Pictora is a new member of the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce. If you would like to find out more about us we would love to hear from you. Robert Morrall, Director, Pictora robert@pictora.org Philip Emery, Director, Pictora philip@pictora.org www.pictora.org





Welcome to new members


Willmott Dixon Construction

Main contractor in construction for public & private sectors nationally Twitter: WillmottDixon Email: richard.davidson@willmottdixon.co.uk Website: www.willmottdixon.co.uk Tel: 01462 442200 Address: Willmott Dixon House 80 Wilbury Way Hitchin Hertfordshire SG4 0TP


Business coaching, mentoring, training and speaker Email: yiannisyianni@actioncoach.com Website: www.actioncoach.co.uk/coaches/yiannis-yianni Tel: 07426 401966 Address: The Granary Hammondstreet Road Cheshunt Hertfordshire EN7 6PQ

AK Consultants

Computer Consultant Email: arto@teknospec.co.uk Website: www.securityforyou.net Tel: 01923 681166 Address: 18 Wadham Road Abbots Langley Abbotts Langley Hertfordshire WD5 0NH

Aloe Michael

Health & Well being products Twitter: AloeMichaelUK Email: michael@aloemichael.co.uk Website: www.aloemichael.co.uk Tel: 07836 715603 Address: 3 Cumbrian Gardens London NW2 1EB

Bauxite Glazing Specialists Limited

We specialise in providing full professional turn-key project management, combined with technical advice, design, supply and installation for all commercial glazing projects ranging from new build, private residential to commercial and educational buildings Twitter: BauxiteGlazing Email: andy@bauxiteglazing.co.uk Website: www.bauxiteglazing.co.uk Tel: 01442 953888 Address: 19b John Dickinson Enterprise Centre London Road Hemel Hempstead Hertfordshire HP3 9QU

C&C Consulting Services Ltd

H&S Consultants and provider of online management system, VISION Website: www.ccconsulting.uk.com

Cesar’s Hygiene Ltd

Food safety and Health and Safety consultancy Twitter: cesarshygiene Email: dean@cesarshygiene.co.uk Website: www.cesarshygiene.co.uk Tel: 07905 340217 Address: 71 Howlands Welwyn Garden City Hertfordshire AL7 4RA

Chilli Pilates

Health and Fitness Twitter: chillipilates Email: cheryl.stone@chillipilates.co.uk Website: www.chillipilates.co.uk Tel: 07904 788156 Address: Suite 6B, Wentworth Lodge Great North Road Welwyn Garden City Hertfordshire AL8 7SR

CommsQuest Consulting Limited

Communication skills- coaching, training, work shops and Employee Engagment - planning and strategy development Email: david.norton@commsquest.com Website: www.commsquest.com Tel: 01992 551692 Address: 1 Mangrove Drive Hertford Hertfordshire SG13 8AW



Creditserve Business Information Ltd

John Kenny Coaching

Crisp Accountancy Ltd

Kao Data

Provider of quality credit services, which include online and bespoke credit reporting services along with debt recovery and legal services Twitter: creditserve1 Email: chris@creditserve.co.uk Website: www.creditserve.co.uk Tel: 07785 333824 Address: Lyric House St Andrew Steet Hertford Hertfordshire SG14 1JA We help Businesses grow by providing clarity over their finances. Full outsourced finance function for ambitious growing businesses Twitter: Crisp_Acc Email: info@crispaccountancy.co.uk Website: www.crispaccountancy.co.uk Tel: 01707 247044 Address: 5 Forum Place Fiddlebridge Lane Hatfield Hertfordshire AL10 0RN

Duffield Harrison LLP

A Law Firm specialising in commercial property, company and commercial dispute resolution, employment etc Twitter: DHLaw_LLP Email: admin@dhlaw.co.uk Website: www.duffieldharrison.co.uk/hertford Tel: 01992 587065 Address: Rathmore House 56 High Street Hoddesdon Hertfordshire EN11 8EX

Fox and Hounds

A modern European restaurant and pub in the Hertfordshire countryside Twitter: TheFoxHunsdon Email: info@foxandhounds-hunsdon.co.uk Website: www.foxandhounds-hunsdon.co.uk Tel: 07974 647874 Address: 2 High Street Hundsdon Hertfordshire SG12 8NH


Our network of ‘alternative embassies’ in over 170 countries enables us to connect UK organisations with rest of world Twitter: unleashingideas Email: egold@genglobal.og Website: www.genglobal.org Tel: 07756 522862 Address: 6 Antrobus Road London W4 5HY

Ground Construction Limited

Construction Email: trevordiviney@groundconstruction.com Website: www.groundconstruction.com Tel: 0208 2387000 Address: Ground House 2-3 Little Burrows Welwyn Garden City Hertfordshire AL7 4SP

Harmanie Marketing

Marketing consultancy and Management Email: nikki@harmaniemarketing.co.uk Website: www.harmaniemarketing.co.uk Tel: 07824 635665 Address: 67 Great Ashby Way Stevenage Hertfordshire SG1 6EJ

Herts Inclusive Theatre

Charity supporting learning and physically disabled children and adults through drama and wellbeing Twitter: HertsInclusive Email: liz@hit-theatre.org.uk Website: www.hit-theatre.org.uk Tel: 01923 216951 Address: Holywell Community Centre Chaffinch Lane Watford Hertfordshire WD18 9QD

Jazz Pitt Coaching Ltd

Life coaching and wellbeing for employees and professionals Email: hello@jazzpitt.com Website: www.jazzpitt.com Tel: 07863 122068 Address: 21 St Etheldredas Drive Hatfield Hertfordshire AL10 8BZ

Relationship Coaching helping people to be confident in Toxic/Ungealthy Relationships & overcome their personal blocks to success Twitter: johnkennycoach Email: john@johnkennycoaching.com Website: www.johnkennycoaching.com Tel: 07709 350019 Address: Studio House Delamare Road Cheshunt Hertfordshire EN8 9SH Data centre providing 150,000 sq ft technical space with 35 MW for IT equipment BREEAM certified Twitter: KaoDataDC Email: warwick.dunkley@kaodata.com Website: www.kaodata.com Tel: 01279 937400 Address: Kao Data Campus London Road Harlow London CM17 9NA

Kelly’s Storage

A family run independent Document and Data storage company for businesses across the UK. For domestic customers, storage units are delivered to their door Website: www.kellystorage.co.uk

Lean Caffeine Ltd

Online coffee and protein powder sales. All products lab tested for pesticides and mould toxins. Email: Jamie@leancaffeine.co.uk Website: www.leancaffeine.co.uk Tel: 01920 282222 Address: Room 6 Pelmark House 11 Amwell End Ware Hertfordshire SG12 9HP

Lease of Life Home Care Ltd

Providing home care in the community in Herts Twitter: LeaseofLifeHC Email: leaseoflife123@gmail.com Website: www.leaseoflifehomecare.co.uk Tel: 01707 246255 Address: Weltech Business Centre Ridgeway Welwyn Garden City Hertfordshire AL7 2AA

Lindford Consulting Ltd

Construction dispute avoidance Twitter: LindfordConsult Email: julie.carolan@lindfordconsulting.co.uk Website: www.lindfordconsulting.co.uk Tel: 07831 494141 Address: Brewmaster House St Albans Hertfordshire AL1 3HT

Liquid Corporate Finance Limited

A wholly independent Asset Finance Brokerage servicing SMEs throughout the UK Twitter: Liquid_CF Email: joebarbera@liquidcf.co.uk Website: www.liquidcf.co.uk Tel: 03337 721782 Address: Kemp House 152-160 City Road London EC1V 2NX

Lumin Wealth

Lumin Wealth Management Twitter: LuminWealth Email: joe.fisher@luminwealth.co.uk Website: www.luminwealth.co.uk Tel: 01727 893333 Address: First Floor 5 Sandridge Park St Albans Hertfordshire AL3 6PH

Mid Herts Golf Club

Private Members Golf Club with 18 hole golf course, clubhouse facilities and a pilates studio open to the general public Twitter: MidHertsGolf Email: gm@midhertsgolfclub.co.uk Website: www.midhertsgolfclub.co.uk Tel: 01582 832242 Address: 29 Bradway Whitwell Hitchin Hertfordshire SG4 8BE


Mind Fitness Learning Ltd

Wellbeing/Mental Health training Company. Mental health first aid England Instructor member Twitter: MindFitnessGB Email: andy@mindfitness.training Website: www.mindfitnesstraining.co.uk Tel: 07976 124826 Address: Lower Gustard Wood Lamer Lane Wheathamtead Hertfordshire AL4 8RS


Document Management and IT Services Email: daniel.ryan@misl.co.uk Website: www.misl.co.uk Tel: 07786 407081 Address: 19 Pindar Road Hoddesdon Hertfordshire EN11 0DE

Mr Mulligans

Indoor Golf course Email: manager.stevenage@mrmulligan.com Website: www.mrmulligan.com Tel: 01438 879579 Address: Lost World Golf Unit 3A Stevenage Leisure Park Stevenage Hertfordshire SG1 2UA

PLM Central Ltd

Next generation design and manufacturing software for everyone Twitter: plmcentral Email: niketh.s@plmcentral.co.uk Website: www.plmcentral.co.uk Tel: 07442 165661 Address: 2nd & 3rd Floors 103 -105 High Street Watford Hertfordshire WD17 2DQ

Reed Specialist Recruitment

Recruitment Agency Twitter: reedglobal Email: michael.jones@reedglobal.com Website: www.reed.co.uk Tel: 07949 777837 Address: 31a Howardsgate Welwyn Garden City Hertfordshire AL8 6AP

Reflexion Associates Limited

Professional Training and Coaching Website: www.jennygarrett.global

RO Trading Limited

Broad commercial property interests across land and buildings. Also investor in other businesses on venture capital/private equity basis Email: info@rogroup.co.uk Website: www.rogroup.co.uk Tel: 01707 601400 Address: Graham House 7 Wyllyotts Place Potters Bar Hertfordshire EN6 2JD

Rotech Machines Limited

Manufacturer and Distributor of coding and marking solutions for the packaging industry solutions Website: www.rotechmachines.com

RSPCA Hertfordshire East Branch

Local animal welfare charity Twitter: RSPCAhertseast Email: info@rspcahertseast.org.uk Website: www.rspca.org.uk/local/hertfordshire-east-branch Tel: 01462 672278 Address: Ground Floor Room 5 Units 11 & 12 Baldock Industrial Estate London Road Baldock Hertfordshire SG7 6NG

Specialist Cars Limited

BMW and Mini Retail Group in Herts, Beds and Bucks Twitter: SpecialistBMW Email: marketing@specialistcars.co.uk Website: www.specialistcars.co.uk Tel: 01438 760200 Address: Arlington Business Park Gunnels Wood Road Stevenage Hertfordshire SG1 2BE


Staffing solutions, business providing recruitment, employee benefits and wellbeing Twitter: STWOLifeWorks Email: mark@s-two.co.uk Website: www.s-two.co.uk Tel: 0203 961 6100 Address: Suite 7a, Building 6 Croxley Park Hatters Lane Watford Hertfordshire WD18 8YH

The Resource Centre

B2B Telemarketing and Lead Generation Twitter: 1ResourceCentre Email: sue@theresourcecentre.co.uk Website: www.theresourcecentre.co.uk Tel: 01920 412 000 Address: 96a High Street Ware Hertfordshire SG12 9AP

The Smart Working Revolution

Workforce, People and Leadership Transformation Experts Twitter: smartworkingrev Email: ot@oliverthompsontraining.co.uk Website: www.smartworkingrevolution.com Tel: 07976 509551 Address: The Stables Forge Mews 14-16 Church Street Rickmansworth Hertfordshire WD3 1DD

The Wellbeing Portal

Creative consultancy specialising in supporting the introduction of the Management Standards and incorporating an Explain Pain Strategy to meet the challenges of Stress and Musculoskeletal disorder simultaneously Twitter: wellbeingportal Email: contact@thewellbeingportal.com Website: www.thewellbeingportal.com Tel: 07788 545312 Address: 66 The Changing Room Bushey Hertfordshire WD23 3HE

Think Financial Wealth Management

Financial advice to Charities, Business owners, individuals. Protecting money, growing money, tax advice Email: katie.campbell@sjpp.co.uk Website: www.thinkfinancialwealthmanagement.co.uk Tel: 07971 018577 Address: 70 High Street Hoddesdon Hertfordshire EN11 8ET

Trend Finance Solutions

Finance Broker, arrange business and property loans Twitter: TrendFS Email: kirren@trendfinancesolutions.co.uk Website: www.trendfinancesolutions.co.uk Tel: 07872 832892 Address: Unit 1B, Focus 4 Fourth Avenue Letchworth Hertfordshire SG6 2TU

UK Link Express Ltd

Business, Education, Government Business visit between UK and China Email: topuklink@gmail.com Website: www.topuklink.com Tel: 01707 596220 Address: 2nd Floor MacLaurin Building Hatfield Hertfordshire AL10 9NE

ZENIS Limited

Management Consultancy and Mentoring Email: colin.spiller@zenis.co.uk Tel: 07770 465011 Address: 9 Welham Manor Welham Green Hatfield Hertfordshire AL9 7EL

Developing high-performing teams As any manager knows, it takes more than recruiting a mix of the right skills to develop a highperforming team. There are many factors that drive productivity and some of these will be unique to your particular business. However, there are common themes which can hold productivity back, so it makes sense to take a proactive approach rather than wait for performance to dip. Here are some areas to explore: • Good communication is central to a happy and thriving workforce. With clear and open dialogue and a culture of two-way communication, you can develop stronger relationships which fuel ownership, motivation and productivity. • Looking after employee wellbeing helps nurture and retain your best people, improve satisfaction and reduce staff absence. From health checks to Yoga, there’s plenty of choice but always involve your team to find out what would make a difference to them. • Employees want to feel they’re being paid fairly for the work they do, so do your research and make sure you’re not out of touch with going rates. • Employee benefits and rewards are a good way to help your staff feel more valued. There are many benefit providers but it’s often the simple, free touches which mean the most, such as acknowledging their contribution with a thank you note. • Check the structure of your teams to make sure you have the right people in the right jobs and that you are using the strengths of your employees to grow your business. • Leadership is crucial in all of this. Managers at all levels need to act as positive role models who inspire and engage their teams, so you may need to look at specific training. As experienced HR specialists for SMEs, we can help boost productivity in your business. Email sally.beckford@solutionshr.co.uk to arrange a chat. Tel : 01992 210256





JPA Workspaces Passionate about People and the Environment

Truly effective workspaces are about more than simply the furniture they are about people-centred environments where your teams engage and thrive, and in turn, support and drive business success.

Local Start-Up Business Wins National Award A Hertfordshire based business, only formed in April 2019, has won the top award at the first ever Home Staging Awards, hosted by the Home Staging Association UK & Ireland. The Property Presenters, owned by Leigh Davies and Amanda Green, were awarded Best Staging Project at the recent forum and awards ceremony at London’s Waldorf Hilton. Home Staging is a growing industry worldwide that brings together many different areas of expertise and professionals, such as estate agents, interior designers, architects and property developers, with the primary aim of preparing properties for sale or rental. Staged properties have more viewings and sell faster than non-staged properties, and in most cases sell for more money.* The 2019 awards were the first ever to be held in the UK, recognizing the industry and celebrating the successes. “The Property Presenters are delighted and proud to have won this award, which was decided by public vote, and we want to thank everyone who voted for us” said Amanda Green, “it’s amazing to be recognized at the first ever awards in the UK.” The Property Presenters work with homeowners, property developers and estate agents to prepare homes for sale. Their work includes consultations in occupied properties, furniture and accessory hire and designing and installing show homes, covering Hertfordshire, Essex and North London. The awardwinning project was a show home apartment for Sempra Homes at their Maplewood Court development in Basildon. Leigh Davies commented “Amanda and I have both been involved in home staging for a number of years and decided to join forces early in 2019. Our business has gone from strength to strength and we are looking forward to working on some exciting new projects in the New Year. The award is a great testament to what we’ve achieved so far, and to what the Home Staging Association has done to raise the profile of our industry.” *Source: 2019 Home Staging Profile Survey, carried out by The Home Staging Association UK & Ireland.



That’s why workspace design is our passion, it’s all about people and performance. We love every minute spent in pre-project planning stages with our clients as the consequences of getting it right will affect a wide range of business outcomes needed for success: These include productivity, employee satisfaction, wellbeing, engagement, inclusivity, talent recruitment and brand impact to name but a few. Aside from the furniture itself, key physical considerations influencing whether the new area is effective include space planning & ease of communication between teams; availability of power & connectivity; adequate acoustic provision (noise); ergonomic comfort; choices of how and where to work; provision of quiet and collaborative areas; away from the desk & social space and flexibility/future proofing – and we help you with this at every stage of the process. The long-term value from business performance will far outstrip any initial investment in infrastructure. Sustainability: We combine our passion for people with passion for the planet, delivering measurable improvements to our clients’ environmental performance and thus, additional value to each project. Sustainability is embedded across our services so our clients don’t have to think about it – we make it easy to procure and consume responsibly, actively lowering our clients’ carbon footprint and impact. Timber-based materials are FSC certified from responsibly managed forests. Products are sourced from ethical and sustainable supply chains with due diligence applied, and local operation ensures low scope 3 emissions. We offer Ska and BREEAM consultancy.

Waste: One of the easiest ways to improve organisational environmental performance is to reduce furniture waste. Pre-project waste & furniture audits replace the traditional linear approach of sending redundant items to landfill, using inventory tools to assess what elements can be re-used, repaired or re-purposed = zero waste. 100% products are recyclable and manufactured for decommissioning. Replacement parts are available to extend product lifespan and maximise resources. New products are generally supplied with 5-10 years warranties which JPA underwrite adding value over total cost of life – all recommendations identified in the UK Govt Waste Strategy 2018. To find out more simply get in touch for more details: 01727 840800 or email at hello@jpa-workspaces.com

A working community that encourages innovation Spaces The Maylands is a creative and flexible workplace of offices, meeting rooms, co-working and memberships based in The Maylands Building, Hemel Hempstead. We are a working community that encourage innovation, our brilliant centre team are here to support your business and thanks to our super-fast Wi-Fi, your productivity will never be better! As a team we organise at least 5 networking events a month - in-house as well as hosting events for third party companies. Once a month we host a fun After Work Drinks, with food, drinks and an activity - Februarys plan is a pub quiz paired with a curry and a pint! We host Coffee roulette for all in house tenants, so they can meet each other and get to know their neighbours as business is never too far away.

Every Monday to get everyone in the spirit of a new week we host Motivational Mondays – so this can either be an activity like a spinning, bootcamp or kettlebell class – or we may treat everyone to a breakfast, some healthy fruit or a smoothie from our on-site café Gather & Gather. In February we partnered with The Infusion Group to give our tenants and outside guests the opportunity to get involved in a Business Growth Seminar, we are always looking for a balance of business and pleasure. Any events that we host that are open to the public will always be on Eventbrite so keep an eye out, come along and join in!


Ready 2020:

business support campaign launches in Hertfordshire A new campaign launched on 31st January 2020 to help small and mediumsized businesses in Hertfordshire prepare for change, as the UK’s departure from the European Union is confirmed. Ready2020 is being managed by Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, working alongside the Greater London Authority (GLA) and South East Local Enterprise Partnership. The campaign is being delivered by their respective Growth Hubs to support smaller companies across London, the South East and Hertfordshire as they face wide-ranging changes in the business environment. The campaign will provide timely information across areas including recruitment and employment, trading relationships and regulation. It will also offer advice and support aimed to boost the resilience of SMEs, encouraging companies to think

about how to manage the risks and pursue the opportunities they will encounter in the coming year. Support will be provided by a combination of digital resources, events across the LEP catchment areas, and business advisors from local Growth Hubs. More information can be found on the campaign website: www.ready2020.co.uk Delivery partners for the campaign are the Greater London Authority, London Growth Hub, Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Hertfordshire Growth Hub, South East Local Enterprise Partnership, Business East Sussex Growth Hub, Kent & Medway Growth Hub and BEST Growth

Hub. The campaign will run until March 31st. Adrian Hawkins, Deputy Chair, Hertfordshire LEP, said: “At the beginning of a new decade, every Hertfordshire business should take the opportunity to think about how they can be resilient in the face of change. “Working with partners in London and the South East, we are launching the Ready2020 campaign to help SMEs understand how the commercial environment is changing, what this means for them and how best to prepare. “It is important that companies recognise the advice and support on offer, as they face up to both challenges and opportunities ahead.”

Little Hadham Village Hall gets green light Pardon Chambers Architects has announced it has received planning approval for the extension and refurbishment of Little Hadham Village Hall. The proposed development will create a new community hub whilst renovating the existing building and improving its energy efficiency. The new facilities will comprise an internet café, multi-purpose meeting rooms, gallery space and potentially a community shop. Despite its current condition the village hall

View towards the new community hub entrance

continues to provide vital local services, hosting the part-time doctor’s surgery and post office as well as many community events including a farmer’s market, indoor bowling, brownies and the ever-popular annual pantomime! The proposals, which are the product of extensive community consultation,

Ground floor plan seek to develop this popular and valued asset to provide a thriving, sustainable facility for local residents who are enthusiastic to see its continuation. Now that planning approval has been secured, the hard work of grant applications, fundraising and sponsorship begins in earnest – watch this space!



For space to expand, think Hertfordshire IQ. With 3 million sq. ft. of new commercial space under development, tax breaks for green businesses and opportunities to collaborate with industry experts, Herts IQ is the perfect place for your business to thrive. Find out more and get in touch at herts-iq.co.uk

Chamber Charity 2020


Research commissioned by Keech Hospice Care estimates that 400 children with a life-limiting condition living in Hertfordshire need hospice support. In 2018/19, 187 children from across Herts were cared for by hospice staff. This indicates only 1 in 3 children with life-limiting conditions get the hospice care they deserve.

Your support will help more children and their families across Hertfordshire.

and their families. The team at Keech Hospice Care want to reach every baby, child and family who needs them.

Keech Hospice Care is Hertfordshire‘s children’s hospice; it is uniquely positioned to address this shortfall in existing support, with the understanding and specialist knowledge to meet the medical, social, psychological, emotional and spiritual needs of children and their families, throughout their journey. The service is exceptional, making a real difference to the lives of everyone they work with. They just need the funds to do more. A recent YouGov survey, on behalf of

UK charity Together for Short Lives (the umbrella body for children’s hospices), reveals more than a third of people know someone caring for a child with a life-threatening condition – but they are too uncomfortable to talk to them about it. This widespread reluctance could compound the feelings of isolation and loneliness that these families routinely experience. The BraveHerts Children’s Appeal aims to increase awareness, understanding and support for Hertfordshire children

“We are delighted that the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce have adopted us as their current charity of choice – we need to raise £520,000 to complete the BraveHerts Children’s Appeal – every penny your business donates will make a difference to children in Hertfordshire.” The BraveHerts Children’s Appeal is led by the Hertfordshire Development Board, a group of volunteers working with Keech Hospice Care. Together our goal is; to raise the awareness of Keech Hospice Care’s role as the designated provider of hospice care for children in Hertfordshire; to understand the needs of children and their families and to raise significant funds for additional staff and research through introductions to individuals, trusts and corporates within the county.

For more information please contact

pscott@keech.org.uk or call 01582 707963




A Celebration of Hertfordshire Businesses Mark Bretton Chair of Hertfordshire LEP and the LEP Network The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are bestowed on truly outstanding UK businesses that set the benchmark for innovation, international trade, sustainable development, and the promotion of social mobility. This year, I have the great pleasure of helping launch this prestigious award in Hertfordshire with an event led by Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce where local businesses can learn more, hear from past winners, and be inspired to apply. As a county, we have a proud history of business excellence. Hertfordshire people and businesses have long made their mark across the globe,

from developing the first ever passenger jet, the Comet, which would go on to change the face of modern aviation, to bringing beloved characters like Harry Potter and Paddington Bear to life at some of the most sophisticated TV and film production studios in Europe. But sharing this limelight are the county’s 65,000 SMEs. Forming 99.6% of all Hertfordshire businesses, they are the backbone of our local economy and are bringing forth the innovations and success stories of tomorrow. To support them, Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is working hand in hand with public and private sector partners to create

an environment where all businesses, great and small, can thrive. LEP funding has supported the expansion of the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Manufacturing Centre in Stevenage, where cell and gene therapies - the living medicines of the future - are being developed, refined and brought to market. The Hertfordshire Science Partnership, our innovative collaboration with the University of Hertfordshire, gives agritechnology and life sciences SMEs invaluable access to research expertise and collaboration opportunities to accelerate their growth.

SMEs from all sectors can reach their full potential with fully-funded, expert advice from Hertfordshire Growth Hub. Funded by the LEP, the Growth Hub works collaboratively with Hertfordshire businesses to remove barriers to growth and plan for the future. Whether you are a growing firm or an industry leader, I hope you will join us on 31st March for what promises to be a celebration of Hertfordshire businesses.


Queen’s Awards for Enterprise 2020 Launch Date: Time: Venue: Price:

31/03/20 18:00 – 20:00 Brocket Hall, Welwyn Members FREE Non-Members FREE The 2020 Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are highly prestigious awards for outstanding achievement by UK businesses, in recognition of: • Innovation • International Trade • Sustainable Development • Promotion of social mobility This year the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce is hosting a launch event for these Awards to promote their importance and encourage businesses within Hertfordshire to submit entries. The launch event will take place on the evening of 31st March at the stunning Brocket Hall in Welwyn. This event is free to attend but please note places are limited to two per organisation.

Herts Chamber are delighted to bring you this event in association with Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership. 40 40


The event will be led by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, Robert Voss CBE. We will also hear from Mark Bretton, Chair, Hertfordshire LEP and other speakers will include Hertfordshire-based previous winners of these significant awards. This launch will be followed by workshops designed to assist companies with their entries.


Inspiring co-working spaces High-speed WiFi Wellbeing garden 2 minutes from Hatfield station Flexible membership scheme HatTech is your opportunity to meet new people and build connections as you work. Its light, spacious co-working areas give you the buzz of the city, with all the perks of keeping it local.

CONTACT US TODAY 01707 386123 | enquiries@hattech.org.uk

Designing Energy Efficient Buildings to meet Climate Emergency Goals By Simon Green, Director, Green Building Design Consultants Ltd. In November last year, over 11,000 scientists declared a climate emergency, putting pressure on countries around the world to reduce impact on global warming. In the UK, almost half of all greenhouse gas emissions come from generating heat for homes, offices and public buildings (DECC, 2010). So, with the government’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gases to net zero by 2050, reducing wasteful consumption of fossil fuels has to be a top priority for us all. The biggest opportunity to reduce wasted heat is by improving existing homes, which will account for over two-thirds of total housing stock in 2050 (BERR, 2007). It is possible to reduce energy in existing houses with carefully designed insulation and heat exchange. In fact, as design engineers working with UCL, the Sustainable Energy Academy and Camden Council in 2008, we

managed to reduce carbon emissions by more than 80% in a semi-detached Victorian terrace house. For most of us, the main obstacle to putting energy efficiency measures in place is the cost. Mandatory requirements are limited, except for requirements such as Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) in new homes and commercial offices and the government’s plans, announced last year, to ban gas boilers from all new homes in 2025. For those of us who want to make a difference, we can make dramatic savings with insulation, solar and Photovoltaic (PV) panels, air-source and ground-source heat pumps. We can model and forecast the length of time it takes to pay back the initial cost of each of these. Sustainable buildings are cheaper to run, so today’s investment usually pays back in financial terms as well as reducing the cost to the planet.




The power of sport and culture Sport and culture are playing an increasingly crucial role in the business community. Not only do these two sectors have the ability to inspire and unite countries and communities, acting as a vehicle for social change, they also generate commercial opportunities for companies keen to promote their products and services to a wider audience. These industries are also a significant driver of economic growth. Sports and physical activity contribute £39 billion to the UK’s economy, according to Sport England, with high-profile cultural events adding millions more to that total. In Hertfordshire, several organisations have tapped into the potential of these important sectors to lay on activities and events that will bring people together, improve their social



skills, health and wellbeing and encourage them to spend money with local companies. Events company Todd in the Hole has organised a fun-filled festival that will attract hundreds of revellers to Bury Wood near Stevenage on July 17-19. The family friendly music, food and drink extravaganza will be a celebration of the Hertfordshire countryside, good food, country shows and rockin’ live music. The company, which is benefiting from its new membership of the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Already the connections we’ve made have proved invaluable. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the networking events we’ve attended so far and hope to host as many Chamber members as possible at our

corporate hospitality day on July 17. This will be a fantastic opportunity for members to network informally, enjoy fantastic music and celebrate all that is great and good about Hertfordshire!” Businesses will also get the chance to mingle at The Jockey Club’s QIPCO Guineas Festival on May 2 and 3 at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile racecourse. They will be able to enjoy two days of top-quality flat racing and the delights of the Chez Roux experience in the Champions Gallery restaurant – with gourmet cuisine from esteemed chef Michel Roux. Speaking at a tasting event at the racecourse, he said: “I enjoy the challenge and I enjoy meeting and greeting all of our guests, because they are passionate not just about horseracing but about good food and wine.”


Saturday 2 - Sunday 3 May Savour mouth-watering dishes from the Michelin-starred Roux family, whilst watching some of the finest flat racing in the world.

Find out more 01638 675300 | thejockeyclub.co.uk/newmarket

HERTFORDSHIRE SPORTS VILLAGE With the latest fitness equipment and technology coupled with highly experienced staff members, Hertfordshire Sports Village is the perfect place to spend your precious leisure time. Open to both members and non-members, try something new and push the boundaries of fitness with our fantastic range of facilities, activities and courses.

Dedicated Health & Fitness Team

Why not exercise together? There are so many different gymbased activities at Hertfordshire Sports Village, you’ll never be short of options! We run over 60 group exercise classes, meaning that going to the gym doesn’t have to be done alone. Whether its strength-based, dance, combat or mind and body, you’ll find something that suits your needs. Our amazing program caters for all abilities, ages and fitness goals.

At Hertfordshire Sports Village our health and fitness team are on hand to give you any advice you need and will help you with your fitness journey. With a wide range of cardiovascular and resistance machines, the impressive rig and a large free weights area, you will reach your goals in no time.

Please contact Georgie Popham our Wellbeing Project Lead on 01707 284832 who will be happy to help if you have any further questions or find out more at www.hertssportsvillage.co.uk/

THE BEST FACILITIES AT THE RIGHT PRICE Access to our 110+ station gym Large free weights area Multi-functional training rig Over 60 classes 2 fully equipped studios 25 metre, 8 Lane Pool Performance and Bodybalance Physio Impressive 12 metre high wall Match-quality racquet courts New Generation Astro Pitches

Memb ers from o hips nly

£24.75 *price per m per person onth f , memb or group ership


www.twitter.com/HertsSV | www.facebook.com/HertsSportsVillage | www.instagram.com/HertsSV Our mission is to consistently deliver high quality sports facilities and services for students, staff and community users from first experience to elite performers


#RememberYourReusables wasteaware.org.uk/reusables

LET’S START TO REDEFINE HOW WORK IS DONE. An inspiring, high-end work environment where ideas develop, businesses build, and relationships evolve. A place where you can get down to business, check emails and hold meetings, all this while you can enjoy a great cup of coffee and a healthy lunch.

Now open in Hemel Hempstead. Why not stop by and visit us? Give us call on 0800 756 2509 or book a tour via spacesworks.com/hemel-hempstead

Offices, Coworking, Meeting Rooms.

Workplace 2020 The key trends for the future that are shaping the workplace today We take a deeper dive into the workplace trends set to dominate in 2020 Employee wellbeing is no longer a nice-to-have Employee wellbeing has been an area of increased focus for businesses in 2019. There has been an increased awareness of burnout at work and the detrimental effect this can have on physical and mental health. A recent Levell study found that 60% of workers experience performance drops as a result of chronic stress and burnout in the workplace, whilst Kronos research shows that 95% of HR leaders think that stress is “sabotaging workforce retention”. So how do businesses tackle burnout and re-engage employees? One method that has gained attention is practising mindfulness at work, with firms like McKinsey, Nike, Google and Apple all implementing programmes ranging from meditation to courses of cognitive behavioural training. These techniques can refocus and relax employees, with neurological studies showing that meditation can increase the areas of the brain that can regulate emotion, improve attention span, increase job performance and productivity as well as improving job satisfaction at work.

Workers worldwide demand flexibility Today, the option for flexible working is not just wanted by workers, but demanded, with 45% of firms implementing flexible working policies for this reason alone. Flexible working has emerged as a super trend, with 62% of businesses worldwide now offering a flexible working policy. Rapid technological advancements and the growing globalisation of the workplace have enabled this movement to expand. Flexible working embraces employees’ differences and allows them the freedom to work in a way that suits them, from starting earlier or later, to working from outside of the office. When firms allow their people more autonomy over their working day it increases employee satisfaction, workforce retention, loyalty and wellbeing. Flexible working policies benefit employers as well, with the IWG global workspace survey finding that most business leaders believe these policies improve workplace efficiency, with over two-thirds claiming they increase productivity by 20% or more. Not only this, but employees that

take advantage of flexible working policies are shown to be absent less often, as they are able to adjust their work schedule in line with their life outside of work.

Generation Z join the workforce Generation Z also have different outlooks and ideals compared to their predecessors. A recent Deloitte report stated that they place more emphasis on diversity, and particularly LGBT identity and religion, than their elders. Businesses can no longer rely on favourable reputation and social responsibility alone but need to demonstrate equality and care for their workforce to attract the top Gen Z talent.

5G speeds up the workplace Despite 5G still being in its infancy, those able to adapt and adopt ahead of the competition will reap the rewards in the future.

Flexible workspaces Flexibility has been the word of 2019, with flexible workspaces also growing in importance for businesses. They offer people the ability to work from an environment that suits them, whether that be an office closer to home to reduce their commute, or in a building that they love in their favourite city. Giving employees the chance to work from flexible workspaces has been shown to increase productivity, with 54% of employees saying that remote working enables them to get more done. Research from IWG’s annual Global Workspace Survey also revealed that 65% of people believe that being able to tailor their work environment makes them more productive. A win-win opportunity for organisations in 2020.

2020 opportunities By utilising technology, supporting wellbeing and encouraging flexible working, new generations are able to keep up with the evolution of the modern workplace. This will help benefit both businesses and their employees, by improving productivity, profitability and employee wellbeing. The pace of change across all aspects of our lives can seem incredible, especially in a world where 5G enables instant connections. Businesses must be alive to these changes and think about how they can exploit them to gain competitive advantage and attract the top talent. Those that don’t may not be around to see next year’s trends.

(pictured – Sammy rescued Sept 2019)

LOCAL ANIMAL CHARITY NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT Love animals? Want to make a difference and help end animal suffering? We aim to be a first-class provider and educator of animal welfare in our area. What do we do? • Assist those facing financial hardship with pets needing vital veterinary treatment. • Take in unwanted animals for rehoming. • Provide a helpline offering support with animal welfare issues. But we want to do more – lots more! We dream of….. • Opening a low-cost veterinary practice - desperately needed in our area! • Recruiting an Animal Welfare Officer – to travel around our area helping animals in need. Could you help turn our dreams into reality? What we need now… • Sponsorship • Volunteers • Trustees • Donations • Fundraisers • A van

To find out more please contact Vicky on 01462 672278 or vicky@rspcahertseast.org.uk An independently run branch of the RSPCA

Check out https://www.spacesworks.com/ for flexible office space solutions that can help your business keep up with the trends. INSPIRE


Cats Protection celebrating

20 years !!


We are part of Cats Protection, the United Kingdom’s largest feline charity, covering north Hertfordshire and are celebrating our twentieth birthday.

Sadly every year brings increased challenges and need for our services and support and every year brings different challenges as in any organisation.

for rodent control. We have placed these in factories, warehouses, industrial food storage areas, stables etc. Often the mice and rats move out when the cat moves in!

We help over 500 cats a year, through rehoming, neutering and advice, and we are SELF funded and rely on donations, fundraising and public generosity and valued kind support of local business supporters and the communities we serve.

Our biggest challenges are around public education and neutering to prevent unwanted or neglected cats and the kittens.

We are all volunteers and give many hours a week to help both people and cats, rescuing cats from difficult situation, vet runs, visiting needy families and much more and we hope that we can count on your continued support in 2020.


We deal with domestic cats as well as feral cats which are ideal if you are looking

Skills & Development

Strengthen your workforce, improve staff retention, upskill your staff Apprenticeships benefit businesses. There’s no getting away from it. They boost staff morale, enhance productivity, and improve return on investment. And with the government apprenticeship levy scheme, it’s now the most effective way to create and develop a highly skilled workforce. From April 2017, every public and private sector company in the UK with a pay bill of over £3million has had to contribute to the Apprenticeship Levy. 0.5% of an employer’s annual pay bill is payable monthly alongside income tax and National Insurance through PAYE to the HMRC. The levy payment is held in the employer’s digital account (DAS - Digital Apprenticeship Service) and once you open your digital apprenticeship account, you have 24 months to spend your levy. If your money isn’t spent it will start to expire, or in other words, you will start to lose it. On the other end of the scale, if you overspend your levy, you can access additional funding from the government paying just 5% towards additional apprenticeship training whilst the government co-invest or co-fund the other 95%.

The Apprenticeship Levy was introduced to raise employer’s investment in training and development in the face of worsening skills gap and to tackle the UK’s ongoing productivity crisis. Already there has been a notable increase in employee satisfaction, with 88% of those who have undertaken an apprenticeship happier in their job, as well as businesses seeing a decrease in staff turnover rates from staff who have, or are currently completing an apprenticeship. Historically, apprenticeships were either based on a framework or standard, but as of later this year, all new starters will be on an employer- designed standard. This means that employers can specify exactly what is required from each apprenticeship in each specific role. By taking a lead on the design of the apprenticeship standard, employers with the right pedigree and capacity ensure the skills, knowledge and behaviours apprentices need to develop are directly related to their job roles, their careers and

the success of the organisations they work for. This allows quality apprenticeships to be created by employers for employers. Michelle Lowe, who has just completed her Business Admin qualification with Tate, has already seen the benefits of upskilling herself in her current role. “Having worked as a PA/EA for more than 20 years, I wanted to ensure that my skills base was fit for today’s business environment. The level 3 Business Administration course has taught me how to enhance my skills and contribute to the business more effectively and efficiently.” Apprenticeships are an effective way to retain high-calibre talent in your business; training and up-skilling them so they are ready to face the future of work. For more information contact: Tate Apprenticeships Emma.Tarbox@tate.co.uk Tel: 01462 455181




The Last Word Julia Bunting Marketing and Communications Director, Support UK Q Who do you work for?

Q What you do get from it?

Support UK, an expert in business telecommunication solutions and services. We design, install and maintain voice and data infrastructures, contact centres and unified communications and offer professional and managed services. Although we have customers nationally and globally, we’re very keen to increase our customer base in Herts, Beds, Bucks, Cambridge and London.

Q What do you do?

We wanted to meet with like-minded individuals and businesses that really care about Hertfordshire’s economic future and the networking events are a fabulous way to make new connections. They also give you access to some fabulous workshops and training events that enable self development.



And work with integrity – always do the things that you say you’ll do because this goes a long way to building respect and trust.

Q What do you think is the biggest

challenge affecting running and growing a business?

On the flip side of the coin, it’s great to be able to help others too by making a recommendation. We have customers the length and breadth of the country so we have used Inspire magazine for a year to promote our services locally. There’s so much local talent that it’s a shame not to utilise it. It gives us a warm feeling – it’s like an extra family!

For a smaller company like ours, one of the biggest challenges is stepping away from the day-to-day running of the business to actually spend time on strategic growth plans. Then you have the old adage of “you have to speculate to accumulate” and sometimes a smaller company has budget constraints that impede growth.

My role is incredibly varied, which makes every day an exciting challenge. We are a small company so my responsibilities aren’t set in stone. Having grown organically over nearly Q What support do you want from 15 years, one of my biggest tasks is to develop government? our brand. I recently had a lot of fun and gained I think there are already some wonderful some news skills when designing our website. Q How has it helped your business network? support schemes available to us from the I manage our strategic partnerships and The Herts Chamber has allowed us to utilise maintain our accreditation and industry government. You just have to do your research. local skills and form partnerships that are standards. Customer experience is our At Support UK we had the privilege of working mutually beneficial. The Chamber employees primary driver and we’ve recently completed alongside Exemplas over a six-month period are also very good at making introductions. an implementation project to ensure we’re and have attended many of their workshops, constantly exceeding our service offering. Q What advice would you give someone which are always insightful and engaging

Q Why did you join the Chamber?

We are now really seeing the benefit of our platinum membership. Nobody should join the Chamber with the unrealistic hope of having work thrown at you after only attending one event. It takes time and effort but it’s a really lovely feeling when a fellow member recommends you or uses your service.


starting out?

Q How confident are you your business

Always write a business plan. Many people don’t feel it’s necessary when starting out small but it’s essential to have key goals to work towards. I also think it’s vital to have some good people around you who you can bounce ideas off – people who you can trust and who will be honest with you.

will grow in 2020?

Support UK dedicated a lot of time and money in 2019 to create growth opportunities in 2020. Some of these activities are already coming to fruition. I have no doubt that 2020 will be an exciting year for the entire Support UK team.

Big brands, Outlet prices

Located conveniently above the A1(M) between junctions 3 & 4









Chartered Accountants and Tax Advisers

“friendly expertise�

Helping Hertfordshire businesses to grow and prosper for more than 80 years.

44(0)330 024 3200 hillierhopkins.co.uk


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Inspire, Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce March 2020  

Inspire Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce magazine March 2020, Latest Local Business Issues, National Business News, Accountancy and Fiscal...

Inspire, Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce March 2020  

Inspire Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce magazine March 2020, Latest Local Business Issues, National Business News, Accountancy and Fiscal...

Profile for benham