Inspire January 2022

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INSPIRE.48 The business magazine of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce

January - February 2022


Area Focus

Business is buzzing in central Herts


Inspirational Leader Good all-rounders make great leaders


Hertfordshire Global

Changes for International Trade


Skills & Development State-of-the-art facilities help drive the region’s economic recovery and growth

PROPERTY AND CONSTRUCTION can drive economic recovery p4

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Land of opportunity! Briege Leahy Chief Executive Officer Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce an unprecedented number of businesses applied to become supporters of the foundation, we’ve also had some lovely feedback from companies that got involved during the first year.

WELCOME to the latest edition of Inspire and a Happy New Year to all of our readers! Recently the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, Robert Voss CBE CStJ, aptly described the county as a land of opportunity, entrepreneurship and diversity. These traits have shone through during the most testing periods of the pandemic. The entrepreneurial culture in Hertfordshire is reflected in the support we’ve had for our Entrepreneur Foundation, which enters its second year in February. Not only have

As we head into the new year, businesses still face numerous challenges – notably, a paucity of skills in certain industries, supply chain issues arising from Brexit and, of course, uncertainty surrounding any future COVIDrelated restrictions imposed by the UK government. On the point about skills, however, there are many job vacancies across our county and beyond, which should generate employment opportunities for those who do have the right attributes.

At Hertfordshire Chamber, we’re continuing to provide much-needed support to local businesses in the form of practical advice and networking events. Our Chamber lunches are well attended and have sold out very quickly, and our Women in Leadership Conference next month will celebrate the resilience of females who’ve overcome tough challenges to achieve business success. Also, following on from COP26, we’re attending a sustainability event in February at the Fielder Centre, Hatfield, where experts will be explaining how to make your business greener, increase your productivity, and all the while working towards net carbon goals to increase your sustainability and competitiveness.

We’re also continuing to promote our Let’s Keep the Heart in Hertfordshire campaign, which encourages individuals and companies in the county to buy local and trade with each other. Finally, we’re celebrating the recent achievements of local firms via our Inspiring Herts Awards. The 2022 awards will be launched on January 27 and have already attracted high-profile sponsors including SA Law and Willmott Dixon. Further sponsorship opportunities are available at inspiring-herts-awards

Briege Leahy

Chief Executive Officer Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce

Our support for businesses is helping them to maintain resilience as they navigate today’s challenging trading environment.

Contents Property & Construction Patron Focus Area Focus Members News Chamber Events

4-8 9 16-18 21 24-27

Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards 28 Women In Leadership


Inspirational Leader


Inspirational Leader of the future


Entrepreneur Foundation 34-35 Keeping the Heart in Hertfordshire Editorial and General Enquiries Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce York House, Salisbury Square, Old Hatfield, Herts, AL9 5AD Tel: 01707 502180 Email: Web:


Stevenage Regeneration 38-39 Tourism & Hospitality







Members News


New Members


Members News


Hertfordshire Global


Long Standing Members 54-55 Membership Benefits


Skills & Development


Hertfordshire Growth Hub


Last Word


Publisher Ian Fletcher Benham Publishing Limited Aintree Building, Aintree Way, Aintree Business Park, Liverpool L9 5AQ Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: Web:



52 Published January 2022 © Benham Publishing and Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce Advertising and Features Karen Hall Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email:

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. ©2022 Please note that submitting an article does not guarantee publication. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of material published in this journal, Benham Publishing and its agents can accept no responsibility for the veracity of claims made by contributions in advertising or editorial content. Benham Publishing cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in web or email links supplied to us.

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Media No. 1874




Property and construction can drive economic recovery




If there are two industries that can underpin a sustained economic recovery in Hertfordshire, they are the construction and property sectors.

An important development is the increased use of modern methods of construction (MMC), which are seen as vital in helping the industry to tackle a chronic shortage of housing.


he county is home to nationally and internationally recognised names such as Willmott Dixon in Letchworth Garden City, Skanska in Rickmansworth and VolkerFitzpatrick in Hoddesdon. It also has a major research centre in Watford in the form of the BRE Academy, which offers built environment education and training delivered by world-leading experts on fire safety, building information modelling (BIM) and sustainable construction methods. The Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has earmarked construction as a critical driver of future economic growth as the county seeks to complete its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Hertfordshire’s Innovation Quarter – which focuses on innovation in the industry and the development of offsite manufacturing – is a critical element of this, connecting growth of the smart construction sector with the delivery of garden towns at Hemel Hempstead and Gilston through sustainable offsite methods. Another important development is the increased use of modern methods of construction (MMC), which are seen as vital in helping the industry to tackle a chronic shortage of housing. The Hertfordshire Innovation Quarter is working with a consortium of housing providers with the aim of developing an offsite manufacturing hub for the county. This is designed to accelerate the delivery of housing and provide new employment and innovation opportunities for the smart construction sector. As well as using MMC, many construction firms are adopting new and emerging technologies to make their operations more efficient.

Carol Massay helps firms in the industry to utilise technology to improve construction back office and field processes. With more than 30 years’ experience in construction, she previously worked for a UK top five housebuilder before joining an established Irish civil engineering and building contractor. With technology at the forefront of her passion for the sector, Carol was then appointed CEO of construction software enterprise resource planning (ERP) specialist EasyBuild. With a strong team behind her, she grew the firm and increased its market presence by promoting the benefits of the latest technology to construction firms. In December 2020, EasyBuild was acquired by The Access Group, which already has its estimating software platform, ConQuest. This led to the formation of Access Construction, which Carol now heads up. She says: “Access is the biggest tech house in the UK. We have a compelling offer for the construction industry. We’re adding to our portfolio and we’re on an exciting journey. Cont. >>>




Attracting and retaining skills in the sector is going to be one of the biggest challenges. We need 300,000 new homes in this country and the government is pumping a lot of money into this, but to achieve this goal we need a continual pipeline of skills. “Technology is now widely acknowledged as an essential tool in construction firms’ armoury. Nowadays it’s difficult to win work, or even qualify for new bids, if you can’t demonstrate that you’re using technology. “At Access Construction, we listen to the needs of the industry. We develop and sell software solutions so that we can help companies to capitalise on market opportunities.” Designed specifically to meet the needs of the building sector, Access Construction’s two core products – award-winning Easybuild ERP and ConQuest estimating software – are guaranteed to make life a lot easier for construction firms and their staff.

Carol says: “Attracting and retaining skills in the sector is going to be one of the biggest challenges. We need 300,000 new homes in this country and the government is pumping a lot of money into this, but to achieve this goal we need a continual pipeline of skills.

A much slicker alternative to using spreadsheets to capture vital data on construction projects, these software solutions enable companies to have visibility of projects in real-time, as well as better control over costs and accuracy on estimates.

“It’s an exciting sector to be in; I should know as I’ve spent three decades in it! We need to go out to schools and universities to educate people that this is a great career choice.”

While technology is driving growth in construction, the industry faces some tough challenges – notably, price hikes in the supply chain and a shortage of materials and skills.



Anna West also promotes the benefits of property and construction-related careers in her role as Director of Talent and Relationships at MCP Property Services in Hertford – a position she has held for the last four years. Established in 1978, MCP is a privately owned family

business that delivers professional services to the social housing sector. These include responsive repairs, maintenance roofing repairs, adaptations, installations, servicing of equipment, and compliance with current health and safety legislation. With around 140 employees on its books, MCP completes in excess of 72,000 orders every year. Anna says: “Our engineers and operatives are often the face of the housing provider when visiting residents in their homes and are uniquely placed to listen to their concerns and improve their quality of life. We are committed to sustaining high levels of service through reliability, quality and value, believing that we should always provide the same quality of workmanship to a resident’s home as we would our own.


We’re gradually moving into a more environmentally friendly world and housing is a big part of this. For example, many people are switching from traditional gas boilers to the hydrogen equivalent. “The cost of both is going up,” says Anna. “We can’t control material costs but we can do our best to retain staff so we’re not having to go through the expensive process of replacing them. “We’re confident about the future. There’s an opportunity to do things differently and make a positive difference to people’s lives. We’re well placed to do this as we’ve been around for four decades and know the market inside out.

“We were affected by COVID as many of our housing association clients limited us to essential repairs only. Now we’re dealing with the backlog so we have a lot of work on the go! “There has been much media attention on the quality of stock run by some housing associations but the properties that we work on are of a high standard. The government has produced a White Paper on housing, with the basic message that everyone should be able to live in a safe, warm and dry home. We share this view and we’re very much part of the solution; our excellent repair and maintenance teams work tirelessly to improve housing standards across London and South East England.”

Sustainability is a big buzz word in the property and construction industries, and homes are now expected to conform to more stringent environmental standards. Anna says: “We’re gradually moving into a more environmentally friendly world and housing is a big part of this. For example, many people are switching from traditional gas boilers to the hydrogen equivalent. There’s a general desire among the public to do their bit to tackle climate change and government legislation is also pushing the sustainability agenda, particularly in relation to the property sector.” The sector is currently grappling with various supply chain issues, with spiralling material costs and people shortages two of the biggest challenges.

“We’re proud of our long heritage and the high quality of our workmanship. At our core, we respect and care for people, their homes and their communities and we demonstrate this through the consistently high standards of our work and the values that we uphold. We believe that everyone should feel at their safest when at home. That’s why we’re passionate about delivering an outstanding service to our clients and customers, working in partnership with them to strengthen relationships and support residents.” Hertfordshire Building Control (HBC) is another company that demonstrates an unwavering commitment to offering a first-class customer service. Providing a complete local authority statutory building control approval service across Hertfordshire, HBC’s team of qualified surveyors work with builders, architects and agents to ensure that every building project achieves approval with minimum disruption. Cont. >>>




Building surveyors will need to do things differently and become licenced to work on high-rise buildings, for example. They’ll need to be assessed for their competency to work on these types of projects. Naturally, COVID-19 caused some disruption, both to HBC and many of its projects, but the company says it is recovering nicely from what was a testing period. Simon Heywood, MD of HBC, says: “We lost 70% of our work during the COVID crisis but things have gone well for us since then. In our 2020-21 financial year, work levels were at 115% compared to levels seen in 2019-20. “Many people who remained in work during lockdown built up a pot of disposable income and are using it to fund building projects. If they’re now working from home, for example, they

might need additional space and decide to convert their loft into an office. “There’s lots of movement in the housing sector, particularly in Hertfordshire, where there are 100,000 new homes planned. There’s also a skills shortage within our industry, but hopefully with modern methods of construction becoming more popular this can be offset to an extent, as it requires fewer people to build properties. Also, more firms are using technology to automate processes, so again another potential way of getting around the skills problem. The industry still needs to invest in talent though, especially as some construction workers went back home to their home countries after Brexit and haven’t returned. At HBC, we’re recruiting surveyors at undergraduate level and sponsoring them through both degree and professional level courses because we see the value in developing our skills base for the future.” Those who work in the industry will need to be aware of draft regulations aimed at identifying, preventing, managing and regulating higher-risk buildings and building safety risks. Hailed as the most radical change to building safety regulations in a generation, the Building Safety Bill is a response to the Grenfell Tower disaster and is likely to receive royal assent in 2022.



Simon says: “Building surveyors will need to do things differently and become licenced to work on all types of buildings, for example. They’ll need to be assessed for their competency to work on different types of projects. After Grenfell, the majority of people who work in building control support these changes. There’s a recognition that we need to equip people with skills to work on high-rise tower blocks as well as small domestic buildings. “As well as keeping abreast of legislative changes, HBC is also looking at ways of becoming more sustainable. We aim to become zero carbon within the next couple of years in terms of how we deliver our services, and part of that will be planning to use electric vehicles and reduce unnecessary travel. “We’ve adapted well to all of these changes and we’ve expanded our business, despite the challenges of the pandemic. Now we have 80 staff including 50 surveyors; five years ago, we had just 26 surveyors. That’s an impressive growth rate, especially at a time when recruitment in the industry has been difficult. With all of the changes going on, it’s an exciting industry to join.”


Hertfordshire: shaping a future of opportunity HERTFORDSHIRE GROWTH BOARD is the way the county is now working together to manage growth. With the Hertfordshire population expected to rise by up to 175,000 by the mid-2030s, at least 100,000 new homes and jobs will need to be created over the same period to address those needs. This brings opportunities and challenges. Hertfordshire Growth Board is ready to respond. Hertfordshire Growth Board is made up of the County Council, the 10 district and borough councils, the NHS Integrated Care System, Homes England and Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership. Working together is how we continue our ‘joint’ success and create opportunities for everyone, now and in the future. Formed in 2018, Hertfordshire Growth Board brings political, civic, health and business leadership together to take a long-term place leadership perspective for Hertfordshire’s growth. The Growth Board is a statutory body that speaks for Hertfordshire and operates with the aim to deliver the high-quality, sustainable and inclusive places and infrastructure needed by our residents and businesses over the next 15 years and beyond. A history of partnership working has been formalised through the Growth Board and its main purpose is to plan appropriately and respond effectively to key challenges through strong, clear leadership and governance.

The scale of growth facing Hertfordshire is significant as our population grows. The Growth Board is perfectly placed to ensure that this hugely significant longterm countywide development is delivered in a fully collaborative and planned way so that sustainable, well-designed and thriving communities are created, maintained and strengthened, while our environment is respected and nurtured. Over 2022 we will continue to support Hertfordshire’s economic recovery and the Growth Board will be instrumental in: • supporting the growth of our key economic sectors in film and TV; advanced manufacturing and cell and gene therapeutics; • influencing the pace of delivery and the quality of development across the county; • setting a long-term place-based vision; • continuing to engage with the development and construction sector to deliver positive growth across the region.

The Hertfordshire Infrastructure & Development Board has been established to create a meaningful link between the Growth Board’s constituent local authorities and the development and construction sector, with the primary aim of working in partnership to deliver sustainable economic growth and high quality placemaking.

Richard Roberts, Chair of Hertfordshire Growth Board and Leader of Hertfordshire County Council, said: “Our ambition is to create a cleaner, greener and healthier county, to nurture and maintain thriving communities in which everyone can learn, work and live well. The creation of the Hertfordshire Infrastructure and Development Board is also vital to this, as we look to work as closely and as effectively as possible with the development and construction industry to make that ambition a reality.”

Keep up with our progress and find out about our programme of events at Join the conversation on Twitter: @hertsgoodgrowth

Hertfordshire a sustainable future Hertfordshire Growth Board brings political, civic, health and business leadership together to manage future growth. Working to create thriving, greener and healthier communities. Overcoming today’s challenges and shaping opportunities for tomorrow. Find out how we are building a sustainable future for all of our residents and businesses: Twitter: @hertsgoodgrowth




Longmores enjoys benefits of Chamber Patron status RICHARD GVERO Joint Senior Partner and

Head of Commercial and Employment at Longmores Solicitors, explains how being a patron of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce is creating new networking opportunities for the firm… How long have you been a Chamber Patron? Longmores has been a member for 25 years and patron for the last seven so we feel part of the family these days.

Why did you sign up for Patron status? We were already very involved in Chamber events but wanted to support and get closer to such an important business group and play a greater part in our local business community. The Chamber is the premier business organisation in the county.

What benefits do you get from it? The Patronage provides us with many business development opportunities, including the webinars and seminars that we put on for members to assist them with some of the key legal issues they face. We are proud to support and judge the prestigious Inspiring Herts Awards, which brings to the forefront the best of Hertfordshire businesses.



The “peer to peer” introductions are also a valuable way of building relationships with other Chamber members, as are the special networking opportunities afforded to Patrons.

How do you find working with the Chamber? As I say, the Chamber is the premier business group in the county. It is led by an inspirational CEO, Briege Leahy and the first-class Chamber team, including Mary Sykes and Alison White. They have been so very supportive and are why the Chamber is now such an important and successful body with fast-growing membership.

How is Longmores recovering from the pandemic? Are you confident about your prospects for 2022? We are grateful that business has been extremely strong throughout the pandemic thanks to our fantastic staff and clients. We feel privileged to have been able to help our clients during these extremely difficult times and are proud of the part that we have played in their continued success. We are quietly confident that next year will be just as successful for us, although we appreciate that these are uncertain times and one should be cautious about making predictions!

The Patronage provides us with many business development opportunities, including the webinars and seminars that we put on for members to assist them with some of the key legal issues they face.


Q Do I need a Will?

A A question often

asked by clients is whether they need a Will if they intend to leave everything to their surviving spouse. The simple answer to this is “yes”. Assets that qualify for Business Property Relief should be left as specific legacies in your Will in order to maximise the tax advantages.

Q Should I leave business assets

Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney for Business Owners CHARLES FRASER, Head of the Older and Vulnerable Clients team at Longmores, has 25 years’ experience of advising families and their businesses. Here he answers some typical questions about Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney for business owners. 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.

in a trust or give them to my spouse or children?

A Much will depend on the circumstances of your particular family and what you would like to achieve. Gifting assets that qualify for Business Property Relief (BPR) to a discretionary trust enables assets to pass into the trust without paying Inheritance Tax. These assets can then be bought from the residue so that the business assets are then in the survivor’s estate. On the survivor’s death BPR would be available on the business assets again. The assets in the discretionary trust, however, will be subject to a much lower rate of Inheritance Tax. This is often known as “double-dipping”.

necessary appointing different Attorneys. This type of LPA has grown in popularity over recent years and ensures that your business needs are met. If you are the sole decision maker in relation to your business, having a back-up may be a necessity, especially if you employ staff.

Q Who can run the payroll if I am not around?

A Much will depend on how your business

is set up, what authority is given to your bookkeeper or accountant, and what arrangements you have in place now. If you are temporarily incapacitated your Attorney will be able to make decisions on your behalf and authorise payments if you are a sole trader.

Q Do I need a Shareholder Agreement?

Q What is a Business Lasting Power A If you own shares with others you may of Attorney?

A Many clients will have considered having

a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs (LPA) in relation to their personal assets. You may, however, want to deal with your business assets differently. There may be regulatory reasons which prevent your spouse being your attorney for your business, but you would not want your business partner to deal with your personal matters. In order to achieve this, a separate LPA is

wish to consider having a Shareholder Agreement which limits who the shares can be sold to, and who may be entitled to inherit shares. The agreement may also specify whether shares must be offered to other shareholders or family members before being sold to somebody else. Lastly, Shareholder Agreements may limit who may be the beneficiary of your shares under your Will and therefore it is important that you look at your Will and Shareholder Agreement at the same time.

Tried and trusted since 1819 A progressive firm of specialist solicitors advising individuals, families and businesses

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Huge opportunities for Hertfordshire SMEs in the wake of COP26 With the highly-anticipated United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) all wrapped up, what has been the takeaway for Hertfordshire businesses and where does the local economy go from here? At November’s conference in Glasgow, Britain’s largest businesses were demonstrably leading the global transition to net zero emissions, significant in itself but also in how these changes will filter through the whole supply chain. Opportunities for Hertfordshire businesses to attract investment, create jobs and lower costs in the green economy are immense. Confederation of British Industry Director General Tony Danker said: “Record levels of CEO attendance at COP26 indicates that net zero is no longer about reputation, but about commercial opportunity. Businesses are ready, willing and able to deliver a net zero world. Those who fail to embrace net zero will get left behind.”

Race to Zero Already, 60 FTSE 100 companies and 2,000 small businesses have signed up to the United Nation’s Race to Zero campaign, a global alliance committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Business and Industry Minister Lee Rowley said: “With over 2,500 UK companies joining the Race to Zero, including the majority of our largest firms, the UK is leading the way in showing how going green doesn’t just make sense for the planet - it makes business sense too.”

This is welcome news to Herts IQ who, in partnership with Prologis, secured a visit from the Planet Mark ‘Carbon Battle Bus’ which toured the UK to drum up support for Race to Zero ahead of COP26. To coincide with the visit, Herts IQ published 10 tips to help your business reach net zero carbon including calculating your carbon footprint and reducing waste.

Finance and Pensions On Finance Day at COP26, the Chancellor of the Exchequer unveiled plans for the UK to become the first “Net Zero Aligned Financial Centre” where financial institutions and listed companies would be legally required to publish net zero transition plans. Pensions also came under the spotlight with Work and Pensions Secretary of State Thérèse Coffey saying they could be a superpower that delivers prosperity for people and the planet in the race to net zero. Therefore, businesses who are looking for, and supported by, pension and investment funds, will increasingly need to demonstrate a real and positive social and environmental impact with regards to their investment decisions.

Clean energy UK-led efforts at COP26 signalled the end of the fossil fuel era with more

than 40 countries pledging to phase out coal power while scaling up clean power generation. Chris Stark, chief executive of the Climate Change Committee, said: “The writing is on the wall for fossil fuels now. We are in a new period of action and if that is the legacy of Glasgow, I will be delighted.” Under the Government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy, carbon emissions from the UK’s 30 million homes and workplaces will be significantly cut in simple, low-cost and green ways. Initiatives include a Boiler Upgrade Scheme and heat pump grants of up to £5,000. Initiatives will not only save money on energy bills and improve lives but support green skills. Hertfordshire Growth Hub’s Low Carbon Workspace scheme provides grants to SMEs for measures including insulation, LED lighting, boilers, heat pumps, solar PV and electric vehicles to help SMEs improve energy efficiency. In addition, the Government’s Energy Technology List names over 14,000 energy efficient plant and machinery products that businesses might want to check out before making a new purchase.

Government policy COP26 builds on Government strategies, including the Prime Minister’s

10 Point Plan, which will mobilise £12 billion of government investment to create up to 250,000 highly skilled green jobs. The UK Net Zero Strategy sets out a clear path to net zero emissions by 2050, leveraging up to £90 billion of private investment by 2030 and securing 440,000 well-paid jobs. Exporting is encouraged through the Clean Growth programme while bidders for major public sector contracts must now publish a plan to achieve net zero by 2050. To date, the UK has decarbonised faster than any other G7 country and was the first major economy to commit in law to net zero by 2050. Let’s keep the momentum going!

Herts IQ Stats


of business energy consumption happens outside of normal working hours. It is worth/buying leasing an Electrical Vehicle if you travel more than

5,000 business miles per year UK carbon dioxide emissions from transport were almost

20% lower in 2020 than in 2019. With a correctly-sized and properlyinstalled solar photovoltaics system, your investment should pay for itself in 4-5 years.


of people want to work for a company with a strong social conscience, a PWC survey found.

Planet Mark’s Carbon Battle Bus visit to Hemel Hempstead The electricpowered Carbon Battle Bus visited 120 towns and cities across the UK, including Hemel Hempstead, in the lead up to COP26, finishing at the conference’s host city, Glasgow. Over 7,500 people have attended Zero Carbon Tour workshop events. Businesses shared their success stories to inspire others to join the Race to Zero make the pledge to cut carbon, take practical actions to achieve this and communicate the results. Sign-up to Race to Zero by visiting Nearly 200 Carbon Stories gather so far. Visit

Race to Zero Businesses commit to halve emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050 at the very latest. A coalition of 733 cities, 31 regions, 3,067 businesses, 173 of the biggest investors, and 622 Higher Education Institutions, 120 countries.

SME net zero tools The SME Climate Change Hub ( and The Carbon Trust Guide ( the-journey-to-net-zero-for-smes) have lots of advice to help SMEs halve emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero. Hertfordshire Growth Hub’s ondemand YouTube video (www. helps businesses demonstrate their sustainability measures. SMEs can access funding from Eastern New Energy for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects via Hertfordshire Growth Hub ( news-blogs/50089-Grant-FundingAvailable-for-Small-Businesses-toHelp-Deliver-Cost-Savings). Herts IQ’s 10 tips (www.herts-iq. on reaching net zero include only buying from businesses taking action on climate change to switching to a green energy supplier.



Chamber Patrons

Wagada Digital Scoop Second Win at UK Search Awards

St Albans based digital marketing agency WAGADA DIGITAL are celebrating after winning the UK Search Awards accolade for Best Low Budget Campaign (SEO) at the 2021 ceremony held in London on the 16th November.


he awards, which have been recognising the search industry’s expertise, talent, and achievements for over a decade, are regarded as the biggest celebration of SEO, PPC, and Content Marketing in the UK. The standard of entries is notoriously high and the judging panel of leading industry experts has rigorous criteria when selecting their finalists and winners, including looking for evidence of clear objectives, creative implementation, and tangible results. Wagada Digital were finalists in three categories including Best Use of Search (Health) for their work with B&M Care which saw them supporting the elderly care home group to more than double their weekly enquiries during the pandemic, and Best Small SEO Agency. In the Best Low Budget Campaign (SEO) category, it was their results for another Hertfordshire company, Entertainment Effects Group, that impressed. The ambitious campaign propelled their site to the top of Google search for the competitive “fireworks” search term and generated an additional 300 leads for the business. Cheryl Luzet, CEO of Wagada Digital says: “Huge congratulations to all the finalists and winners at this year’s UK Search Awards.



“The whole team at Wagada Digital is delighted to receive this Award which highlights our SEO skills and expertise. “For our client to get these amazing results shows that you don’t need to spend a huge amount of money for a digital marketing campaign to be truly effective.” This is the second UK Search Award for Wagada Digital after they won the Best Use of Search (Health) category in 2018 and comes off the back of a successful night at the Chamber’s Inspiring Herts Awards in September, where they picked up prizes in the Digital Campaign of the Year and Workplace Wellbeing categories. Cheryl added, “2021 was our 10th anniversary year and we are so proud of what we have achieved. The team are dedicated to getting results and we are grateful to have been able to work with some fantastic clients as well as for all the support from the Hertfordshire Chamber and our partners. We’re looking forward to 2022!” Wagada Digital work with ambitious businesses that are looking to grow. They offer a full range of digital marketing services including Strategy, SEO, Content Marketing, Social Media and PR. They are also Google and HubSpot Certified Partners.

Find out more at

The whole team at Wagada Digital is delighted to receive this Award which highlights our SEO skills and expertise. For our client to get these amazing results shows that you don’t need to spend a huge amount of money for a digital marketing campaign to be truly effective.


MANAGING & MITIGATING EXPOSURES Chris Jackson of Tysers Insurance Brokers reflects on 2021 and identifies key future challenges and exposures for Hertfordshire Businesses.

THE IMPACT OF THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted a significant shift in traditional working models. While lockdown forced many companies to implement remote working for employees, research indicates that remote working is here to stay with business leaders preparing to adopt a hybrid working model (which usually, combines both on-site and remote working). With more employees located offsite traditional perils, while still a risk, are less likely to result in a total loss or disruption to business. This is due to the wider geographical spread of risk, as employees and IT equipment are no longer concentrated in one location. However, there are new, less tangible, risks associated with remote working which mean it is more important than ever that companies work with a knowledgeable business insurance broker to fully assess the extent of their risk exposures. The risk profile of every company is different as how it operates and is structured is unique. By working with a trusted insurance expert companies can ensure that their risks have been fully assessed and, where appropriate, protected.

ABOUT US Tysers is a leading independent Lloyd’s insurance broker, with over 200 years of insurance expertise. Headquartered in London with offices and associates around the world, Tysers trades in 140 countries across the globe. Tysers has over 1,000 experienced and talented employees who handle in excess of £2.75bn of premium annually. For more information, visit

 CYBER RISKS A cyber attack is a major risk and can affect the bottom line, as well as the reputation, of a business. As workforces come to rely increasingly on secure, smart technology, the thousands of WiFi routers in employees’ homes exposes new, vulnerable access points for cyber criminals. According to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), 2021 saw a record number of cyber incidents in the UK, with ransomware attacks originating from Russia dominating activities. It is, therefore, crucial that employers consider their exposure to this risk.

NAVIGATING A HARD INSURANCE MARKET The insurance markets had begun to harden, driving up premiums and increasing the cost of insurance for businesses before the coronavirus pandemic lockdown of March 2020. In a hardening market insurers have less desire for growth and lose their appetite for certain types of risk. This results in an increase in premiums. Therefore, businesses should start their renewal process as early as possible to allow their broker time to secure the best value coverage. And by using a well-established broker, businesses can be assured that they will have access to a wide variety of markets and products.

SUPPORT WHEN YOU NEED IT THE MOST In the event of a loss occurrence, the increasingly intense scrutiny of claims by insurers means that businesses benefit from a broker’s support and expertise. Working with a broker who employs in-house claims expertise and has long, wellestablished relationships with insurers often provides valuable leverage. Tysers’ dedicated claims teams and expert employees help our clients navigate their claims journey to achieve the best possible outcomes.

 OPERATING IN EUROPE Since the UK completed its exit from the European Union in December 2020, it has become more challenging for companies looking to expand and insure assets overseas. Working with a broker with established subsidiaries in other European Economic States is essential to ensure businesses can retain a single continuous point of contact for all their operations.

GET IN TOUCH... Chris leads the Hertfordshire development team at Tysers from their offices in Hitchin and works with a wide range of businesses across the region. Tysers’ clients range from small local businesses through to large global business operations. 

01462 439 842

07964 921 589

R. 136.12.21.V.1.0 Tysers Insurance Brokers Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered office: 71 Fenchurch Street, London EC3M 4BS. Registered Company No. 2957627 England.





n recent years, Hatfield has come on leaps and bounds having developed a thriving retail hub, a wide range of educational facilities and popular restaurants and pubs. St Albans is one of Hertfordshire’s main tourist attractions, boasting several museums, galleries, picturesque walks and, of course, its famous eleventh century cathedral. Welwyn Garden City, meanwhile, combines the benefits of the city and countryside and is full of imaginatively designed homes with green spaces, as well as a strong cultural, recreational and retail offering that attracts people from all over the county and beyond. Businesses, too, find central Herts a great base from which to operate. From its offices in Curo Park near St Albans, Boston has spent the last 30-plus years helping businesses capitalise on new and emerging technologies so they can achieve their business goals. Alisha Howard, HR Manager at Boston, says: “We see great advantages of doing business in this locality. We operate at the cutting edge of technology in the enterprise segment of IT. Our products are used in high-performance computing (HPC), visual effects (VFX), security, genomics research and defence, to name but a few. We have a wide range of competencies in areas such as HPC, private cloud, VFX, artificial intelligence (AI) and scale-out storage.

Business is buzzing in central Herts

CENTRAL HERTFORDSHIRE is an eclectic mix of vibrant communities, quaint villages and bustling towns and cities. An important area for the county’s economy, it takes in the historical cathedral city of St Albans, one of the first garden cities in England (Welwyn) and one of the key new towns built in England following the Second World War (Hatfield).



“Going forward, the market will continue to be competitive. Global supply shortages, salary increases, energy costs and general price increases linked to inflation are all challenges that our business will have to deal with but we’re generally very optimistic about the future. There are huge opportunities as the digital transformation continues, businesses are more ready to address security concerns and demand for tech-based solutions continues to rise.”


One major advantage we have is the strong sense of community here. Our ethos is to create, support and develop opportunities not only for Realm Partners, but also for other businesses and members of the community. We’re proud to align our values with Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce’s Keeping the Heart in Hertfordshire campaign and we look to generate and Thomas Mizon

retain business within our county wherever possible.

Realm Partners in Welwyn Garden City also operates in the technology and business growth spheres. The company has helped many public and private sector clients navigate through some of the most challenging healthcare, clinical systems and IT transformations during the past two decades.

opportunities not only for Realm Partners, but also for other businesses and members of the community. We’re proud to align our values with Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce’s Keeping the Heart in Hertfordshire campaign and we look to generate and retain business within our county wherever possible.”

Thomas Mizon, Director of Business Operations at Realm Partners, says: “Our unique approach and ethos sets us apart from traditional consultancy models. Our standards, values and ethics are crucial in creating real partnerships, reliability and benefit for our clients and the people they affect. This approach has a proven positive impact and benefit for our clients, and we look to bring this to other organisations in our borough and county.

Forging local connections is an approach also favoured by Viatris, a novel healthcare company located in Hatfield. The local business eco-system and collaborative culture in Hertfordshire is allowing the company to bring to life its inspiring healthcare mission: to empower people worldwide to live healthier at every stage of life, regardless of geography or circumstance.

“There are many things in our borough of Welwyn and Hatfield that have huge value. There’s a large well-educated workforce in a desirable place to live, a diverse range of businesses to network and collaborate with, a highly accessible location on the border of London and great travel links connecting to London and Cambridge. There’s also a strong connection with education establishments – a key value of Realm Partners – with the University of Hertfordshire, local colleges, schools and apprenticeship providers within the borough.

Andrew Mooney, Head of External Affairs at Viatris, says: “Although we’re a global company, we take a local approach, with a deep understanding of how best to serve our patients and customers. We’re proud to have a location in Hatfield.

“One major advantage we have is the strong sense of community here. Our ethos is to create, support and develop

“In our Hatfield location we can attract and retain the best people in the industry with the capabilities and expertise required to maintain and strengthen our position as a leading UK healthcare company. We’re proud to be the second largest volume supplier to the NHS in the UK. Our portfolio of medicines covers every stage of life and treats more than six million UK patients annually.

We see great advantages of doing business in this locality. We operate at the cutting edge of technology in the enterprise segment of IT. Our products are used in highperformance computing (HPC), visual effects (VFX), security, genomics research and defence, to name but a few. We have a wide range of competencies in areas such as HPC, private cloud, VFX, artificial intelligence (AI) and scale-out storage.

“Some great opportunities have come our way through Herts Chamber since we became a Patron this year, and we’ve really benefited from their networking and education events. Their connections have helped us to enable our employee volunteering program and the transfer of our apprenticeship levy to facilitate the training of ambulance drivers, potentially bringing much-needed key worker resource into a vital but challenged sector.” As a new company in a fast-evolving industry, Viatris is inevitably facing a myriad of challenges – notably, how to protect people’s health and well-being and adapt to new ways of working. Andrew says: “We are positioning Viatris as a new kind of healthcare company because improving everyone’s ability to gain access to sustainable and high-quality healthcare is our relentless pursuit, we believe that we can help improve population health and address health inequalities. Our support of the NHS is fundamental to our cause as well as empowering and supporting Community Pharmacy to be recognised as a key pillar of the NHS family.

Andrew Mooney




Dominic Bartholdi

“We see significant opportunity to support health improvements as we deliver our mission of healthcare not as it is, but as it should be. This nicely aligns to the NHS’s long-term plan through the prioritisation and investment in health, NHS system recovery and transformation. “Collaboration and not competition is the only way to solve complex health challenges and backlogs. We see the development of cross sectoral value-based partnerships as the only approach that will bring all the pieces of the puzzle together and shape a brighter future for health, care and well-being.” In such a challenging environment across a myriad of sectors, businesses often need support and guidance such as that offered by Herts Chamber. Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, too, is assisting firms through its economic recovery plan, which outlines the council’s aim of helping businesses survive, adapt and thrive in the new economy. Lisa Devayya, Economic Development Officer at the Council, says: “Our aim is to reset our economy and not simply return to what we had beforehand. We continue to work with our partners across the borough

Lisa Devayya



and wider region – such as Hertfordshire LEP, Herts Chamber and Herts Growth Hub – to ensure that Welwyn Hatfield is getting its fair share of support. This will create a place where businesses see opportunities to develop and grow; it will also harness the talents and skills of our residents to provide a workforce fit for the future, and develop our town centres and communities to provide places for sustainable growth.” The council has a dedicated business support website,, which provides information on available grants, commercial premises, and importing and exporting in the post-Brexit era. The council is also there to help businesses deal with other challenges, such as managing cashflow, keeping staff and customers safe in the pandemic, and training, upskilling and developing staff. Lisa says: “Welwyn Hatfield benefits from a well-educated and skilled workforce, as well as exceptional transport links. That’s why some of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies have established a base here, along with companies in other growth sectors.

Dominic Bartholdi, Chief Commercial Officer at GovGrant, says: “The financial benefits of maximising R&D tax credits and claiming patent box tax relief are essential as we build back after the pandemic. GovGrant has a thorough understanding of the R&D ecosystem in the UK. Through our technical capability, we create value for our clients by recognising their R&D and maximising the value of their intellectual property. “Every day we see the wonderful work that goes on in UK businesses up and down the country. It’s work that often remains unacknowledged and, in some cases, may not even be recognised as innovation. Our clients often say ‘it’s just what we do’, but it’s so much more than that. This day-to-day innovation is the driving force behind so much of the UK’s economic growth. “Over the past two years we’ve been working with hundreds of companies across the UK. We didn’t have to furlough any staff, which was a huge relief. Indeed, we were actually able to recruit new people into technical, tax and business development roles. We’re in a continued period of growth and we’ve been fortunate to get skilled people on board.” GovGrant typically prepares around 1,000 claims a year and this level of work continued throughout the pandemic, with clients receiving an average benefit of more than £50,000.

“The area is overflowing with rich history, whilst continuing to be a hub of activity with a thriving entrepreneurial culture. This makes Welwyn Hatfield an attractive place in which to live, work and invest. Many businesses are also attracted to the area due to its close proximity to the City of London, whilst they can still enjoy the idyllic rural surroundings of Hertfordshire.”

Dominic says: “We were able to get R&D tax relief claims sorted whilst working around our clients’ other priorities. Our incredible team moved to 100% remote working, it wasn’t new to us and we had the technology, processes and resources to carry on. It didn’t slow down for a second but it has made us think harder about how important the worklife balance is.

One of the longest-established innovation tax specialists in the UK, GovGrant, is also providing invaluable support to local businesses in central Herts. The St Albansbased organisation employs industry experts such as scientists, engineers and IT specialists who work alongside qualified tax professionals to help firms develop robust R&D or patent box claims.

“Innovation in the UK continues to shine through as we deal with the ongoing challenges of the pandemic. These challenges range from using cutting-edge medical research to find a vaccine, through to changing production lines to deliver what Britain needs. It’s been our privilege to champion and take pride in the work of our fellow UK businesses.”

Is WFH working for ME ? There have always been advantages to Working From Home, including: flexibility (e.g. to fit the school run or caring for others), low cost, no commuting, simplicity. Under Covid, customers and suppliers all started using Zoom, but this highlighted new challenges: upgrading your internet and PC, maybe your home (“Homebarassment”), and background interruptions such as dogs barking, kids yelling, traffic and doorbells.

• What if your partner needs to Zoom at the same time? • Is your family happy that the World can easily see your address, Streetview, even occupant names? • Does it all give the right impression for a successful business? • Are you comfortable having clients meet you in your family home? • What about unhappy clients (or debt collectors!) turning up unexpectedly?

• How do you cope with missed deliveries, and missed calls? • Do you have space for helpers at home? Are you happy to give them access, even when you are away?

An established Business Centre can provide cost-effective solutions to improve the whole WFH experience for you, your clients and your partner and family, including: • REGISTERED ADDRESS – have your post set to your virtual office, to collect when it suits you, and let Google to show a proper business address. • CALL HANDLING SERVICE – calls professionally answered in your business name, with details sent to you immediately, to answer when it suits. • MEETING ROOMS – impress your clients with formal setting and refreshments served to you, and no worries about them finding a parking space. • FLEXIBLE SERVICED OFFICES – short term, ready to move in, no long-term commitments, try working away from home, or extra space for specific projects. WFH may indeed be for you, and at GNBC we can help you explore the possibilities to help make your business more professional and successful than ever!

01707 24 54 24 • •


Great North Business Centre, 82 Great North Road, Hatfield, AL9 5BL


The Council is a delivery partner of the Eastern New Energy ERDF project. This is a large low carbon project across 3 LEP areas. As a delivery partner, the Council is keen to support businesses to reduce their carbon footprint and save on their energy bills.

The Council is a delivery partner of the Eastern New Energy ERDF project.

will3therefore to change your lighting at your This is a large low carbon projectWe across LEP Asoffering a deliverygrants partner, business to premises to LED. the Council is keen to support businesses reduce their carbon footprint and save on their energy bills. We will therefore offering grants reduces to change your at your Did you knowbeLED lighting yourlighting energy bills, improves safety as it emits less business premises to LED. heat and produces virtually zero UV emissions?

If your business is based in Welwyn Hatfield register your interest in receiving a 100% council grant to replace your lighting. To register your interest please email or telephone 01707 357 269

Did you know LED lighting reduces your energy bills, improves safety as it emits less heat and produces

Did you know LED lighting reduces your energy bills,



Empowering People to Live Healthier at Every Stage of Life VIATRIS is a new kind of healthcare company formed in November 2020 whose purpose is to empower people to live healthier at every stage of life, regardless of geography or circumstance. We already being recognised internationally and have been listed by Fortune magazine on their “CHANGE THE WORLD” list and were one of the top five companies to have a positive impact on the world. We were also named by Forbes magazine as one of 2021’s world’s best employers. All in our first year! In the UK, we have four locations and a diverse and talented team of almost 500 people from commercial colleagues, regulatory and pharmacovigilance professionals to global and regional leaders and research & development scientists. Ultimately, we all work towards the same mission, which is to provide access to medicines. We have many exciting career opportunities, so visit our website for more information and to see if we have any roles that are of interest to you. We update it weekly so keep in touch!



launched to help Watford Businesses

reduce Carbon use and improve sustainability

Watford Borough Council and Sustainable X have launched the Watford Sustainable Business Programme, a ground-breaking programme that provides free, practical support to help Watford businesses take action in the fight against climate change and become more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.


rom now until Spring 2022, Watford-based businesses can take part in this programme free of charge. With a mix of workshops and oneto-one support, they will receive practical advice and information to help lower their carbon use and build sustainable practices into their business.

Participants will be guided through a structured programme that starts by measuring their carbon footprint and current practices, then uses businessfocused tools and resources to identify actions and create achievable, long term plans. Programme leaders Sustainable X will work with each business on a one-to-one basis.

ATT: SUSTAINABILITY OFFICER Trying to convince SMEs in your supply chain to measure their carbon footprint and get on the net zero journey?

WE CAN HELP. Leverage our turn-key 3rd party-accredited


solution for smaller businesses. Find out how: Contact: Loreta Lingyte (Director) Sustainability Made Easy Ltd

Email: Mobile: +44 7464 892 681

They will also identify additional schemes or grants - up to the value of £5,000 - for projects that support ongoing improvements to the sustainable practices of the business. On completion of the programme, businesses will be awarded with a Sustainable Watford Certificate. They’ll also become part of a community of like-minded local businesses, keen to collaborate and learn from each other as they lead the way as sustainable businesses across Watford. Elected Mayor Peter Taylor explains why this programme is so important for Watford, “We have a clear goal for Watford to be carbon neutral by 2030 and we know that local businesses want to help us reach this target. This programme is an incredible opportunity for Watford businesses to transform their approach to sustainability and take tangible steps to reduce their carbon footprint, making cost savings at the same time.” Rondi Allan, Director at Sustainable X, said, “In our changing world, businesses want to be socially and environmentally responsible and customers, staff and suppliers expect them to do the right thing. This programme will help Watford businesses make positive changes that will benefit both the environment and their business, standing out as leaders in carbon reduction and sustainability.”

We have a clear goal for Watford to be carbon neutral by 2030 and we know that local businesses want to help us reach this target. This programme is an incredible opportunity for Watford businesses to transform their approach to sustainability. Nick Reilly, also Director at Sustainable X, added, “As well as helping tackle climate change, sustainable businesses have a competitive edge. Through this initiative, local businesses are going to learn how to reduce costs through energy and waste savings and even drive productivity by increasing efficiency.” Businesses can find out more at sustainable-business-programme or sign up directly by emailing




Portfolio Serviced Apartments offer corporate stays and short to midterm accommodation for business travellers, contractors, or families seeking emergency temporary accommodation in Hertfordshire.


We offer: • A luxury alternative to hotels - bigger space at better value, providing a home-away-from-home • Contemporary apartments in Welwyn Garden City, Hatfield, St Albans & Stevenage • Fully equipped kitchens. Prepare home cooked meals rather than settling for takeaways or hotel room service • Unlimited Fibre Optic Broadband • Smart TVs with full Sky package including movies & sport • Linen & towels provided • Weekly house cleaning service • Car Parking available • 24/7 Guest services team • Luxury Welcome Pack on arrival • The only accredited & regulated serviced apartment provider in our locations

Call: 0800 0248 914 Email: * Discount available to Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce members

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UNDERINSURANCE PETER SMITS Managing Director of Ashbourne Insurance

We have seen a dramatic rise in claims to buildings over the past 18-months and a link to the current global pandemic cannot be ignored.

In addition to the increase in the number of claims, we can also report an increase in the number of properties that are being under-insured, resulting in “average” being applied to any claim settlement (more about average later in this article).

• Permanent high-tech fixtures and fittings, such as audio or visual systems should also be taken into account, unique or ornate external features can be expensive to replicate or repair. • Many pre-1920’s buildings will include period features for example like staircases or windows; these should be considered for full reinstatement valuation. • Property extensions are often valued in isolation and as a cost to build rather than the impact to the overall property value. • The building location could increase the cost of site clearance or rebuilding, difficult to access areas or town centre locations could involve additional expenditure. • The re-build value of a building may not take into account other features of the property, such as carparks or pavements. • Index linking is an average, different buildings in different parts of the country will have different reinstatement costs.

A 2019 survey of 2000 properties by a leading insurance valuations company found that 85% were under insured and that there is an increased risk of underinsurance if the property has never been professionally valued.

Finally, you should remember that the reinstatement cost of any property should not be limited to just the re-build value. Other costs, including site clearance and professional fees should also be included in any calculation to avoid underinsurance.

Looking at several case studies, we’ve identified the most common ways to spot ‘the likely suspects’ of where underinsurance is sure to be found.

In the event that the property is under insured, the insurer can reserve the right to apply “average”, meaning that if you only insured 75% of the buildings value, they would only pay 75% of the insured claim, regardless of whether that claim falls within the overall limit or not.

• Listed buildings should be professionally valued at least every 3 years, often the cost of reinstatement can exceed the re-sale value of the property. • Non-listed premises should be revalued at least every 5-years. • Consideration should be given to non-standard building materials or Eco-buildings; these can dramatically alter any re-building cost.

Alternatively if the insurer believes that the under-insurance is an innocent over-sight, they might recalculate the original premium asking you to pay the difference before settling any claim. The worst-case scenario is that the increased buildings insurance costs fall outside the insurers “appetite” and they

then “null & void” your policy backdating cancellation to inception and refunding any paid premiums. The costs of hiring a professional surveyor is not inexpensive, although neither is the result of under insurance, but I can see why this may be a barrier to some. Most take a figure from purchase or change of ownership and then rely on indexation calculations to keep them on track. There are some very cost-effective desk-top surveys’ that can be purchased and whilst not as thorough as an on-site surveyor, it will give you a much better starting point and demonstrate that you have engaged with a professional service before placing the risk on cover. Underinsurance as a genuine mistake will make a more elongated claim process, under-insurance as an attempt to save money on your insurance premium is a false economy. Regardless of the premium you pay; £250 or £2,500, if you are going to take the pain to pay, don’t double the pain by not getting your claim paid. Ashbourne Insurance is a third-generation family-run general, independent insurance broker, established over 40-years, authorised and regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority.

50 Amwell Street, Hoddesdon EN11 8UA

01992 471001 INSPIRE



Upcoming Events

Over the past year, Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce have slowly been returning to live events alongside our webinars. We will continue to do so as long as it is safe and in accordance with current government guidelines, in order to continue supporting our members and non-members, and to provide vital information that businesses may need. If the decision is made to postpone any of our events or to move them online, you will be notified as soon as possible. With our members and benefit partners we have designed our events programme to cover a variety of topics:

Virtual Networking Opportunity Join us on Wednesday 12th January at 11am and enjoy the powers of networking, providing the chance to meet with a variety of different business people in an informal atmosphere, to listen and share experiences whilst working remotely. Each participant will be given the opportunity to introduce themselves and their business.

Date: 12/01/22 Time: 11:00 – 12:00 Venue: Zoom Price: Members FREE Non-Members £15.00 +VAT

N.B. Any non-member attending this meeting who subsequently signs up for Chamber membership within one week (i.e. by 19/01/2022) will receive a full refund of the cost of attending this webinar.

January Chamber Lunch The first Chamber Lunch of 2022, taking place at the proudly independent Aubrey Park Hotel, Redbourn on the 20 January 2022. Use this opportunity to network and meet with new business contacts, whilst enjoying a delicious lunch. Our speaker, David Harold, Chief Marketing Officer at Imagination Technologies, will discuss some of the company’s latest product developments and also touch upon their CSR campaign, which includes support of a local charity based in Hemel Hempstead.

Date: 20/01/22 Time: 12:00 – 14:00 Venue: Aubrey Park Hotel, Redbourn Price: Members £33.00 +VAT Non-Members £43.00 +VAT



David is responsible for marketing and communications across all Imagination’s business units. He joined Imagination to lead its communications in 1998. During that time he developed the PowerVR GPU brand; promoted the successful VideoLogic and Kyro PC GPU board brands; launched PURE Digital, a leading UK consumer audio brand; helped transition Imagination to an IP business model; and managed corporate and marketing communications, internal communications, digital transformation, public affairs, and analyst relations. This lunch is proudly sponsored by Foresight Cyber.



For more information on any event:

01707 502180 or

Create your employer BRAND STORY Looking to recruit the best staff? Frustrated by the recruitment crisis?

Attend this workshop on how to use digital marketing to develop and transmit your employer branding and attract the best talent. Date: 25/01/22 Time: 10:00 – 12:00 Venue: Rothamsted Enterprises, Harpenden Price: Members £15.00 +VAT Non-Members £22.00 +VAT In these post-covid/post-Brexit days, many companies are struggling to recruit. Attracting, hiring and retaining the strongest candidates is key to delivering the best service to your customers, and ensuring that your business is built to scale. So how do you make sure that the best talent is coming to you, and not sending their CVs off to your competitors?

Join us on Tuesday 25th January 2022 at Rothamsted Conference Centre, with Cheryl Luzet, CEO of Wagada, to find out how to: • Write an employer branding marketing strategy which tracks the success of your campaign • Identify the key ‘hooks’ that potential candidates respond to • Make sure that your website gets found online using the key terms/words job seekers are putting into Google, in the locations that you operate in

• Use organic social media to give your current staff a compelling voice to share with future team members, as well as convey your values and benefits over the channels that are most likely to resonate • Understand how paid Google and social media ads can support your goals of getting the right messages out to the right people

This workshop is ideal for any business looking to grow by hiring and retaining the best staff and is ideal for HR managers, marketing teams tasked with supporting recruitment, operations directors and business owners.

Building your talent pipeline: How to engage with education Date: 03/02/2022 Time: 11:00-12:00 Venue: Zoom Price: FREE

Is your organisation struggling to find new talent to fill vacant roles? Are there misconceptions and myths about the roles available within your sector? Are you able to recruit from your local community? Employers can work to tackle the skills shortages they face and future protect their organisations by engaging more effectively with education. Employers need to be at the heart of inspiring, informing and communicating with the next generation of employees in our county. This free to attend webinar will help you to assess the ways in which your business can engage with our future generation – whether that be young people within schools, further education institutions or universities:

• Hear from employers who have successfully engaged with education and brought young talent into their organisations • Learn how to work with the Careers Hubs and the Careers and Enterprise Company to shape school careers education programmes • Understand the Further and Technical Education pathways – do you know what your local college/training provider has to offer? Hertfordshire LEP is proud to partner with Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce in delivering this event to help employers at every stage of their recruitment process, by providing practical advice and digital toolkits via its skills and employment portal, HOP (Hertfordshire Opportunities Portal).





Upcoming Events

Date: 27/01/22 Time: 18:00 – 20:00 Venue: Hatfield House Riding School Price: Members £12.50 +VAT Non-Members £12.50 +VAT

Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards 2022 Launch We invite you to join us on 27th January 2022 for the

If you’re interested in entering these awards, we are hosting two, free to attend, ‘Entering is Winning’ workshops, taking place at the Riding School, Hatfield House: Entering is Winning - IHA Entry Workshop Date: 02/02/22 Time: 10:00 – 12:00

launch of our Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards 2022!

Entering is Winning - IHA Entry Workshop Date: 11/02/22 Time: 10:00 – 12:00

Now in their eleventh year, these awards are set to be the best yet. This launch event is being held in the Riding School at the beautiful and historic Hatfield House, associate sponsor of IHA 2022!

If you are considering entering the Inspiring Herts Awards 2022, and would like some advice on where to start, why not come along to this free to attend event to find out what makes a winning entry.

Come along to the launch, enjoy a glass of fizz and some nibbles, meet the category sponsors, past winners and finalists, and find out more about these prestigious awards, which are designed to showcase and celebrate best practice across Hertfordshire businesses. Make sure you save the date and join us for what promises to be an exciting and informative evening, providing excellent networking opportunities with other Hertfordshire businesses and organisations. Please note, places are strictly limited to two per organisation. This event always sells out, so we advise you to reserve your places early.

The workshops will include: • Reasons for entering the Inspiring Herts Awards, provided by past winners • Guidance on what makes a winning entry • Hints and tips with Do’s and Don’ts • Practical, tailored advice with your entry/entries

Many of our award categories have already been sponsored, but if you are interested in sponsoring one of the remaining awards, please contact for more information.



For more information on any event:


01707 502180 or

February Chamber Lunch Date: 10/02/22

Time: 12:00 – 14:00 Venue: Needham House Hotel Price: Members £33.00 +VAT Non-Members £43.00 +VAT

Join us for our next popular Chamber Lunch event, taking place on the 10 February 2022 at Needham House Hotel & Spa, sponsored by Realm Partners. Use this opportunity to network and meet with new business contacts, whilst enjoying a delicious lunch. We will be joined by Richard Roberts, Conservative Leader of Hertfordshire County Council. Richard will provide an update on the areas which the Council are focused on for Hertfordshire in 2022. Richard was first elected to the County Council in 2003 as the member for Kings Langley and has previously served as the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care during the Covid-19 Pandemic, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Cabinet Member for Partnerships and Performance. He is Chairman of the Health and Wellbeing Board and became Leader of the Council in May 2021.

STEVENAGE FOOTBALL CLUB Match & Dinner Date: 08/02/22 Time: 16:30 – 21:30 Venue: Stevenage Football Club Price: Members £39.50 +VAT Non-Members £39.50 +VAT

Join us for this EFL League Two fixture between Stevenage Football Club and Bradford City, and enjoy hospitality in the smart new 76 Lounge, including a two course seated meal, followed by the match and hosted player interview. A great chance to network with others while enjoying the hospitality offered and the football match.




Inspiring Business of the Year SA Law NEW! Apprenticeship Champion Willmott Dixon Construction Business of the Year Small to Medium Redwood Bank

INSPIRING HERTFORDSHIRE AWARDS 2022 The Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards were launched in 2012 to focus on, and celebrate, the expertise, achievements and outstanding contribution that businesses and individuals continually make to the growth of our County. These Awards enable Hertfordshire businesses to showcase their performance and achievements to clients, customers, suppliers, stakeholders and to all of the Hertfordshire business community. We would like to thank SA Law, the Headline Sponsor for this years' awards! Now in their eleventh year, these awards are set to be the best yet, and we invite you to join us for our 2022 launch event at the beautiful and historic Hatfield House Riding School, on the 27th January 2022, from 18:00-20:00.

ENTRIES OPEN JANUARY 28TH 2022 There are 19 categories available to enter, plus two special recognition awards which will be awarded at the gala dinner and ceremony in June. You can download the entry forms from our website: following the launch event. These awards are free to enter for both Chamber members and non-members, there is no limit on how many categories can be entered. This year Herts Chamber have introduced two new categories: Apprenticeship Champion Diversity and Inclusion Award Entries will remain open until 11th March 2022. Best of luck!

Business of the Year Medium to Large Croft Communications Business of the Year West Herts Porsche Centre Hatfield Best use of Technology CAE Technology Community Champion Ocado Group Entrepreneur of the Year Longmores Solicitors Excellence in International Trade Chapman Ventilation Family Business of the Year Ashbourne Insurance Services Most Promising New Business Cleveland Scott York Green Award Ambition Broxbourne Workplace Wellbeing Award VolkerWessels UK Associate Sponsors: Hatfield Park Heart Hertfordshire Pealrdrop Video Production

STILL AVAILABLE TO SPONSOR... Outstanding Contribution to Business Business of the Year East Herts Business of the Year North Herts Business of the Year South Herts NEW! Diversity and Inclusion Award Excellence in Customer Commitment Excellence in People Development Property & Construction Project of the Year If you require any information regarding sponsorship or the awards, please contact the team on 01707 502180 or email



@InspiringHerts #InspiringHerts22


Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce are holding our second Women in Leadership Conference, taking place at Sopwell House, St Albans on Friday 25th February 2022, from 09:00 to 16:00 Members £125.00 +VAT Non-Members £150.00 +VAT The theme for this conference is

RESILIENCE: “The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.” We all face challenges, whether in our working lives and careers, in our personal lives and activities, or indeed across both areas. These situations force us to draw on our strengths, and use our resilience to cope with challenges as they arise. At this conference we will look at the ways that women in leadership from diverse backgrounds and industries have faced difficult circumstances and made tough choices. Resilience has been key to their success and we will use this opportunity to highlight their stories and celebrate their achievements. Our keynote speakers at this conference will be Shevaun Haviland, Director General at the British Chambers of Commerce and Camilla Tominey, Journalist, Broadcaster and Associate Editor at Telegraph Media Group. Our conference programme includes: • Keynote speakers • A choice of breakout sessions • Panel discussions • An exhibition offering products and services • Networking opportunities


Director General, British Chambers of Commerce

Shevaun will share an overview of her career to date, including some of the challenges and opportunities she has faced in the workplace and highlights from her journey.


Journalist, Broadcaster and Associate Editor at Telegraph Media Group During her 20 year career, Camilla has covered major news events, including: 9/11, six general elections and Brexit, alongside being one of the world’s leading Royal commentators. In this keynote, she will share some of the highs and lows of her career and the importance of being resilient through all this.


• Camilla Tominey, Associate Editor, Telegraph Media Group • Emma Cameron, Partner, VWV • Jean Freeman, Managing Director, Sharp-AX • Erika Percival, Chief Executive, Beyond Governance

Breakout Sessions include:

• Career progression, employee engagement and promotions Donna Obstfeld, DOHR • Self promotion in the workplace Jo Phillips, Fresh Futures Coaching • The impact of your personal life on your ability to do business John Kenny, John Kenny Coaching

More breakout sessions are to be announced.

Sponsorship Opportunities HEADLINE SPONSORSHIP The headline package includes: 4 Four free places at the event (equivalent to £500 +VAT) 4 The opportunity to give a ten minute introductory presentation 4 Your logo featured on the event webpage 4 Your logo featured on all marketing regarding the event 4 Your company featured in an edition of Inspire magazine as the sponsor 4 The opportunity to host your own exhibition stand during the event 4 The opportunity to display your own collateral and banner in the main conference hall 4 Inclusion in the social media campaign


Cost: £6,000 + VAT

The breakout package includes: 4 Two free places at the event (equivalent to £250 +VAT) 4 The opportunity to deliver a 50 minute breakout session (topic to be agreed with HCoC) 4 Your session featured on the event webpage 4 Your session featured in an edition of Inspire magazine •4 Opportunity to display your own collateral and banner at the event 4 Inclusions in the social media campaign 4 Your logo and session description featured in the programme


Cost: £1,500 + VAT

The exhibitor package includes: 4 One free place at the event (equivalent to £125 +VAT) 4 Your logo and description featured in the programme 4 Opportunity to display your own collateral and banner at the event 4 Inclusion in the social media campaign

Cost: £249 + VAT




Educating the world on how KETO and LOW CARB is exploding BIG REVEAL. ‘Keto’ (ketosis) is the worlds most Googled food related word (2019 and 2020). Take a look at the UK, Europe and the Middle East and this trend continues to explode. Continually emphasised by the post-Christmas health & weight loss goals so many of us are striving for in 2022. by ANDY WELCH Keeto Life CEO and Brand owner of Seriously Low Carb What is Keto? The ketogenic lifestyle or diet is a reduced carb, higher fat approach to nutrition. The reduction in carbohydrate puts your body into the metabolic state (ketosis) through which your body becomes highly efficient at burning fat. Endorsed by the NHS. A Keto or Low Carb lifestyle has been seen to help manage weight loss, diabetes, epilepsy and other neuromuscular inflammatory conditions. The lifestyle has also been shown to benefit endurance sport performance.

What is driving Keto and how is the UK responding? How quickly will the Keto industry move from niche to mainstream and what are UK businesses doing to capitalise on the opportunity? There is already one major premium retailer whose Keto revenues match their Gluten free. • Global market is expected to exceed $26B in 4 years • CAGR 7.1% • Penetrating established industries of bakery, pasta and ready meals - $250B combined market

What’s driving the Keto and Low Carb industry? The amazing success of Keto can be broken into four tasty slices of the low carb pie. First, Keto is a nutritional lifestyle change providing daily benefit. Keto is not a traditional weight loss diet focusing on a destination, be that time or weight.

Second, is the thriving press Keto is currently getting from diverse high profile personalities. Professional athletes, politicians, Doctors and celebs. Most influentially the NHS has endorsed and invested in Low Carb Nutrition. A few advocates include Dr Michael Mosley, Dancer & TV personality Oti Mabuse, Olympian Michael Andrew, Politicians Tom Watson & Matt Hancock, NBA Lebron James, Sports Presenter Adam Smith, other TV stars including Katie Couric, Kourtney Kardashian, Halle Berry and Gwyneth Paltrow.

epidemic of Type 2 Diabetes that has seen the greatest rewards of Keto & Low Carb nutrition. The NHS now has over 40 Ketogenic clinicians and private Keto practices are appearing across the country. Thrive Diabetes UK in Redbourn Hertfordshire is preventing the progression and even reversing Type 2 diabetes and other associated lifestyle conditions.

Third, is one size does appear to fit all. Netflix called their show about Keto ‘The Magic Pill’. Keto & Low Carb appears as an answer to so many diverse problems. From mental health, weight loss, endurance performance, to treating Epilepsy in Children, reduced blood pressure, suppressed appetite, and the further role it may play in disease prevention and treatment. There are small, but fruitful studies treating metabolic syndrome, Bipolar disorder, Dementia and Alzheimer. But it is probably the study and the

• 4.5 Million people have Type 2 Diabetes in the UK, 422 Million worldwide


• 9% of the NHS budget is spent on Type 2 Diabetes £8.8B/ year

• A third of Covid patients that died in England had Diabetes Forth, it’s a working solution that is becoming less and less invasive. Gone are the days when you had to forego that glass of wine on a Friday or eat 27 lemons to stay on target. With some minor adjustments to nutrition the convenience of life can continue but be healthier (and for some it can start again)

The first documented use of Keto, although not then coined as keto, was in the late 1800’s by William Banting, a wealthy Londoner, who went on to write three books on the subject. The diet was not medically documented until the 1920’s where it was used in the study to manage epilepsy. This life saving approach is still practiced today, and families across the UK are being helped by amazing charities including &

I started my Keto business from my garage a few months before the Covid epidemic. Without having time to advertise we’ve now sold over two million equivalent meals across our fresh bake range. We won a food innovation award this autumn, we’re #1 & #2 on Amazon Fresh Bake category and have a 96% Customer Satisfaction score. Oh, and if you’re wondering, we’re not in the garage anymore. I love to help wherever I can and I always need help and love to learn. Please give me a call and let’s break some Low Carb bread together. Thank you for reading.



Andy Welch, CEO, Keeto Life Ltd.

How is UK Business responding? The Keto opportunity is being led by the F&B sector, Not with the big players as they continue to respond slowly, with inferior or not well targeted products. The real leaders are small businesses appearing all over the country. With new innovative ingredients and manufacturing methods young companies are able to produce some amazing results. Until recently Keto friendly bread, rice and pasta was totally off the menu. Can you imagine? Other industries are taking note. Medical practices, the NHS, quickly followed by the health & fitness sectors offering bespoke meals and fitness plans. Now in 2022 demand continues to outweigh supply and some early established young companies are taking further advantage by offering additional services outside their core business. We’re seeing low carb supermarkets introduce meal plans, fitness clubs open up low carb cafes, influencers building support groups and bread companies taking on pizza, pasta, cereal and ready meals. The more established are also being drawn into the middle east and Europe.

Can these small companies achieve substantial growth before they are acquired? Will our UK companies scale the Brexit borders and go internationally? Nothing is for certain in the fragile world we live in, but if you are passing the book makers and fancy a punt, bet Keto. If the results don’t pay for your children’s education, it’s sure to give you a wonderful health advantage.


Good all-rounders make great leaders

To be an effective business leader, you need a multitude of good qualities, skills and aptitudes. That’s the view of BRIEGE LEAHY, the forward-thinking, can-do CEO of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce.

It’s a position she’s held for almost three years after a highly successful career in sales and business development – which included creating, growing and ultimately selling a technologybased logistics business. She says: “Whatever business you’re leading, the fundamentals are the same. You need to have self-confidence and a positive attitude, an inherent belief in yourself that makes others want to follow you. “It can be lonely. If things are not going well, you cannot always share with your staff as they will worry too. You’ve got to think strategically to get out of trouble and solve problems. “A leader must also have integrity, honesty and a strong moral compass – every single day. You gain respect by doing what you say you’re going to do. That said, you can’t be dictatorial and just bark out orders; this approach rarely works. You have to listen. If you let staff have their say and deliver something that they can be proud of, you will gain more in the long run. Employees are a company’s most important asset; in my current role, we would not have achieved as much as we have without my team and our members.” Briege cites an ability to communicate, plan, create and innovate as other key attributes that a leader must possess. “Essentially, you need to be a good all-rounder,” she says. “Delegation is key; a good leader needs to entrust others to do certain tasks, especially as the business grows. Many CEOs find this difficult, but you can’t do everything, and you need to employ people who are as good or better than yourself. “Another important trait in a business leader is humility. Not every decision you make is the right one, so you need to acknowledge this and be able to change tact if you realise you’ve gone down the wrong path.” Briege is busy putting all of these qualities to good use in her current role at the Chamber, where despite the challenges of the pandemic she and the team have grown the membership (with an impressive

retention rate of 92%) and staff numbers to 14. She has also driven forward several successful initiatives including the Entrepreneur Foundation, which provides training and advice by connecting budding entrepreneurs with experienced mentors, and Let’s Keep the Heart in Hertfordshire, a scheme that encourages businesses and individuals to connect, collaborate and buy local to boost the county’s economy. Prior to this she built up an impressive track record in industry, helping to build a £3m logistics business before being headhunted for a sales role at a leading international logistics corporation. There she played a major role in growing revenues and preparing the company for a successful acquisition, and then in 2010 she decided the time was right to launch her own venture, Luna Logistics. The company provided specialist logistics services to the banking/ATM, data centre, digital imaging, healthcare, retail, leisure and telecommunications sectors over the course of eight years before it was acquired. “It was not without its challenges,” recalls Briege. “The roller coaster of starting a business and building it into a successful enterprise is both consuming and joyful. It takes courage, hard work, self-belief and a bit of luck at times. It is however a very rewarding personal achievement.” A few months later, the Chamber opportunity came knocking and Briege embarked on the latest chapter of a colourful career. Having kept staff motivated and supported businesses during the pandemic, her next challenge is to grow the membership base, develop her team of staff, and find innovative ways to further improve the Chamber’s services.

Essentially, you need to be a good all-rounder, delegation is key; a good leader needs to entrust others to do certain tasks, especially as the business grows. Many CEOs find this difficult but you can’t do everything if you’re a £10m turnover business with 100 staff.

“There are opportunities out there and we’ll be ready to help businesses exploit them,” says Briege. “There will be challenges, too, but the resilience of Hertfordshire’s business community was evident during the pandemic. This quality will hold businesses in good stead as they navigate future unexpected events.” “The world is changing fast and it’s an exciting time to be in business – and for me to be leading Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce in this fantastic county.”



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Leading by example

According to Jack Smits, a future leader of family run Ashbourne Insurance, the true mark of an inspirational leader is someone who’s willing to take responsibility and lead by example. “I always have respect for people who are honest, upfront and prepared to own their mistakes,” says Jack, who currently plies his trade as a commercial account executive for Hoddesdon-based Ashbourne Insurance. Although he wanted to be a footballer or MI6 spy when he was younger, he landed his first job as a farm shop butcher before turning to a career in the fast-changing insurance industry.

Jack says: “I joined Ashbourne at the best or worst time, depending on your opinion! It was around six months before the pandemic started so it has been a whirlwind couple of years. We’ve done our best to look after the interests of our clients during this period and it has been challenging. “The key to it all was good communication. Early on in the pandemic, people who weren’t even insured with us were asking for advice because they couldn’t get through to their existing provider. We made a point of letting everyone know that we were still open for business and I think people appreciated that.” A family-run, independent insurance broker, Ashbourne has more than 40 years’ experience in the provision of insurance solutions to local residents and businesses. A range of insurance options are offered including business, car, home and travel insurance. The company tailors each offer to the needs of each client and is committed to providing a first-class personal and professional service before, during and after the life of the policy. Not surprisingly, this close attention to detail and willingness to go the extra mile led to the company

receiving a “Service Excellence” award from the Federation of Small Businesses. “We have a diverse client base, from one-man bands to multi-million-pound companies,” says Jack. “No two days are the same. Having survived the pandemic, we’ve emerged from it in good shape and we want to build our client base in Hertfordshire and beyond. Our membership of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce will help us in that respect. We have a good relationship with the Chamber; they’ve been very supportive and proactive. We’d like to reach out to more of their members to see if we can help with their insurance needs.” Ashbourne is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and, as an independent insurance broker, i s free to search all of the leading insurers to source cover that’s tailored to clients’ needs, at a price to suit their budget. The company does not operate call centres or force clients to trade online; trained professionals are on hand when clients call or visit the Hoddesdon office to discuss their insurance needs.

For more information visit

The key to it all was good communication. Early on in the pandemic, people who weren’t even insured with us were asking for advice because they couldn’t get through to their existing provider. We made a point of letting everyone know that we were still open for business and I think people appreciated that. Jack Smits, Commercial Account Executive, Ashbourne Insurance




Hertfordshire Entrepreneurs showcase success Herts Chamber’s Entrepreneur Foundation is designed to nurture and grow the next generation of entrepreneurs through a variety of training courses and one-to-one mentoring. Having now completed their first year of the initiative, our 2021 entrepreneurs are already flourishing:

Entrepreneur Foundation Member and QEST scholars to create sculptures for Royal Albert Hall Her Majesty The Queen and Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh for the South Porch. These will be cast in bronze and unveiled in Summer 2022 alongside stone figures of Victoria and Albert carved in stone by Tom Brown, Tom Nicholls and Josh Locksmith of London Stone Carving.

As part of its 150th anniversary celebrations, the Royal Albert Hall has commissioned sculptures to fill the empty niches of the North and South Porches. Following a competition process which involved a shortlist of seven QEST sculptors, a member of Herts Chamber Entrepreneur Foundation, Poppy Field has been selected to sculpt



Poppy Field took inspiration from Dorothy Wilding’s portraits of the couple ahead of their wedding. “One of Dorothy Wilding’s particularly poignant July 1947 photographs captures Prince Philip looking over to the Queen, who looks directly out to the viewer. Taken just a few months before their marriage, this image symbolises Prince Philip’s faithful devotion to the Queen and the Queen’s promise to the nation.

GeoSmartPro, a Hertfordshirebased start-up and member of the Herts Chamber Entrepreneur Foundation, has launched AirLit - the ultimate accessory for video creation, remote working and online beauty tutorials. The AirLit is a portable smart ring light, fan and mirror, providing users with confidence, comfort and convenience on screen, all from the tap of a button - perfect for influencers and people working from home. Uzzi Rafi, GeoSmartPro Founder, said: “After seeing ourselves on video more than ever before, many of us are ready to up our screen appearance game and the AirLit does just that! GeoSmartPro have products are available in the UK, online and at major retailers like Currys, Selfridges, Robert Dyas, Homebase and many more.

For more information on GeoSmartPro products, email us on Uzair Rafi, CEO, GeoSmartPro

valuable discussions with experts in their fields which enable us to focus our plans and activities effectively.


We were recently crowned a Hero of Net Zero at COP26 in recognition of our sustainable business initiatives. Helping us to expand our network, The Entrepreneur Foundation have provided us with introductions to certification experts, key distributors, marketing, legal and financial advice, all of which contributed to our success. Combining expertise in multiple areas, the Entrepreneur Foundation offers mentoring and guidance, designed to increase productivity and grow our business. We thoroughly recommend the Foundation to any aspiring entrepreneurs who want to turn their concept into a reality, meet like-minded businesspeople and expand their start-up with a strong support network.

The Herts Chamber Entrepreneur Foundation has supported our design and manufacturing company from day one. Offering an array of workshops and events plus personal one-to-one discussions, we have held

Dean Ezekiel, CEO and Co-Founder, Design Abled Ltd’

My Language Hub (MLH) prides itself on its expertise in language services and our

excellent customer satisfaction.

Between late 2019 and early 2020, we received a threefold project: translation of a manual for a military communications system, interpreting and delivery of a training for a very technical installation and maintenance course delivered on-site at our client’s premises in Spain.

We have found our involvement in the Entrepreneur Foundation at an early stage of our venture development to be invaluable. This is predominantly for two reasons, firstly the expert advice on areas such as angel investment, and secondly the networks that the Foundation opened up for us through the Chamber. Both areas of support are already paying dividends for us and have informed our strategic thinking and accelerated our route to market. We are now looking to speak to employers in the region, both large and small, to better understand their recruitment and retention challenges and to present our unique solution to a problem that costs UK businesses £50bn every year.

If you are interested in learning more please contact Wouter Schuitemaker, CEO at

The Entrepreneur Foundation has been a great organisation to be part of! It’s been really helpful to meet likeminded ambitious entrepreneurs whilst also tapping into the expertise of the Founders and supporters who are always on hand to give advice. Johnny Johnson Founder, UNLTD The Alcohol Free Brewing Co.

The highly technical aspect of this project meant that we had to attend on-site training in English for the system at their offices in the UK. Later, Covid-19 hit, and a week before we were due to deliver the training, Spain and world went into lockdown. In the middle of so much uncertainty, we remained contactable, positive and very understanding of the situation. We used the time to focus on translating the manual, the slides for the presentation, and producing a glossary of technical terms. Eventually, the training re-surfaced and metamorphosed into delivery online from the UK to Spain. This played to our strengths, due to years of previous experience in e-learning and remote video conference platforms. “Through the very difficult period of Covid-19, MLH remained positive and flexible”, our client recalls. “I personally very much appreciated how easy it was to deal with MLH and how pro-active they proved in handling our technical content and differing requirements in the midst of a very strange global pandemic.” Being part of the Entrepreneur Foundation has been hugely beneficial. We attended webinars in disparate areas such as apprenticeships, overseas trade, business after Brexit and Covid, and the importance of wellbeing for our business. The 1:1 sessions helped us get an objective view of what we do and how we do things. As a consequence, we now feel further prepared to take on an even greater range of work.

Joining the Entrepreneur Foundation has been invaluable to my start-up business. Attending workshops by highly reputable local businesses in Legal, Marketing, IP, Finance has helped create some key foundation learning. Asking questions to highly qualified partners helps provide an initial direction for any immediate problems we had been encountering. Bob Gokani, MD EziDrops

To find out more about the Entrepreneur Foundation, visit our website:



The Raw Natural Beef Co’s

Guide to The Perfect Steak

The Main Event: Choosing Your Steak Fillet

Cut from the tenderloin, fillet, or filet mignon is, in terms of steak, about as good as it gets as it is the most premium and expensive cut. It’s, therefore, best left to shine on its own with minimal accompaniment, so no heavy sauces. Simply cook it in a flat-bottomed pan with a splash of oil and then finish with thyme and garlic with a butter finish and then be sure to let it rest for half its cooking time. From £45 (pack of 4)


With BBQ season coming to end (although our fingers are crossed for a prolonged summer), steak season is an all-year round dining experience.

Rib-eye steak, also known as scotch fillet or entrecôte, comes off the rib and is ideal for fast cooking. If you’re a steak expert you’ll know the ribeye is the ‘Butcher’s Favourite’ steak. The sign of good quality ribeye is a characteristic marbling of fat that adds succulence and richness. From £17.95 (pack of 2)

Take advantage of our exclusive 15% discount for readers, using code INSPIRE15 when you spend a minimum of £30. 36 INSPIRE

At 22mm thick and a weighty 500g, our dryaged, grass-fed rump steaks are cut from the hindquarters of the animal, without external fat and are well textured with plenty of deep flavour and a meaty bite that allows them to hold a rich sauce. From £12.49 (pack of 2)

Sirloin Sirloin steak is characterised by the layer of fat that runs along its length. This gives it a rich, deep taste making it more strongly flavoured than fillet, so it takes sauces very nicely. From £16.95 (pack of 2)

Top Tip: When cooking steak many people tend to overcook it and end up disliking it due to it being chewy and tasteless, so remember, the rarer, the more tender. The Perfect Cooking Times Blue: Fry for 1 minute each side Rare: Fry for 2 minutes each side

But sometimes its hard to choose which steak to go for and how to cook it perfectly. But not to worry, here’s our guide to the ideal steak dinner.


The Raw Steak Dry Rub The best way to get the most flavour out of your steak is the dry rub, which most people tend to go lightly on and stick to the usual salt and pepper. This recipe is enough for 4-6 steaks (depending on how generous you want to be!) • • • • • •

3 tbsp Salt 3 tbsp Smoked Paprika 2 tbsp Onion Powder 2 tbsp Garlic Powder 2 tbsp Dried Oregano 1 tbsp Light Brown Sugar • 1 tbsp Ground Cumin

Medium Rare: Fry for 3 minutes each side Medium: Fry for 4 minutes each side Well Done: Fry for 5 minutes each side

We are Raw

The Raw Natural Beef Co was founded to provide you with the finest grass-fed, open range beef. We believe in traditional Uruguayan farming, which is why our cattle are raised by experience Gauchos.

to hormones, antibiotics, or gain. Our cattle are able to spend their entire lives outside, enjoying 100s of square miles of Uruguayan countryside. Raised by traditional Gauchos, the cattle drink from the fresh springs and only eat the freshest grass and pastures.

Why Grass-fed Is Better

Choose Uruguayan

The world is on a mission to eat less meat, but of a higher quality. Research shows that grass-fed beef contains a lower fat content than grain-fed a nd a better combination of hearty, healthy fatty acids such as Omega 3.

Know Your Beef

We believe it is important that you know where your beef comes from. Our beef never has any exposure

There is a greater awareness around the importance of food traceability and Uruguay has the highest traceability standards in the world. Over 80% of Uruguay’s land can be used for agriculture, and with its temperate climate and natural grasslands, it becomes the ideal location for breeding and raising cattle. We are committing to the highest food safety standards and supply chain transparency.

Tel: +44 1992 350132 Email:


Chamber Patrons collaborate on

‘Grassroots Initiative’ video

Three Patrons of the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce: digital marketing agency Wagada, business telecoms company Croft Communications and video production company Pearldrop, have continued to collaborate together with the production and launch of a new video on YouTube.


he video promotes Croft Communication’s Grassroots Initiative to a wider audience, and since its release across social media channels, it has been seen more than 1,600 times across Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. As Denise Austin, Director at Pearldrop explains: “Working collaboratively with two other Patrons meant we combined our expertise to bring Croft’s Grassroots campaign to life. It’s always inspiring to work together with Croft Communications and Wagada – real experts in their fields. “We love that Croft are open to our creative ideas. We always know that Wagada will use their digital skills and knowledge to ensure the animations attain the best possible reach.” This new initiative came about after Wagada and Croft Communications worked together on a comprehensive marketing campaign, following a management buyout of Croft Communications in 2019, as Croft sought to grow their presence across the UK. Full-service video production agency Pearldrop were brought into the mix

to produce two animated videos to communicate the message that Croft remained open for business throughout the pandemic. In 2021, Croft launched their Grassroots Initiative, at a challenging time for many sports clubs, helping generate additional income and allow grassroots-level sport to flourish. Since then, it has attracted the support of sports stars Mike Tindall and Jonathan Davies, and the backing of the Welsh Sports Association and Herts Sports Partnership, to encourage members to sign-up for the scheme. Cassie Peasnell, Marketing Manager at Croft Communications explains further: “The Initiative, which is all about supporting your local community, aims to make a real difference to sports clubs in need, with us giving a % of any business’ communications spend with Croft back to sports clubs across the UK. “After a successful partnership last year and when looking to further promote our Grassroots Initiative, it was a no-brainer to partner with Pearldrop and Wagada again. We’re delighted with the results of the campaign and the use of video to convey the simplicity of the Initiative.”

The collaboration between the three Patrons is a continuation of their support for HCoC’s ‘Keeping the Heart in Hertfordshire’ campaign to promote the economic recovery and stability of the county. As Dee Overfield, Head of Digital at Wagada says: “Over the last couple of years, Pearldrop, Croft Communications and Wagada have collaborated on a number of projects and the relationship has developed massively. There’s a real respect and trust between us which means working together is always fun and we learn something new from each other every time. Denise Austin, Director at Pearldrop concludes: “We’re not only keeping the heart in Hertfordshire but making it beat stronger by working with other Hertfordshire-based companies.”

To find out more about Croft Communication’s GRASSROOTS INITIATIVE email @croftcomms

croftcommunications INSPIRE



Stevenage Regeneration programme continues to transform town centre Over the last six months, regeneration plans for Stevenage have continued on an upward trajectory. A number of schemes have been delivered or are underway, with news of further development and significant progress being made to support Stevenage town centre to become an even better place to live, work, visit and relax in. 38



tevenage Better are determined to reach the target of net zero emissions by 2030, reducing the carbon footprint for the town and by ensuring all future development is wholly sustainable. Alongside this crucial target, there are also plans in place to connect local transport facilities and maximise the potential offered by Stevenage’s strategic location, to support local communities and businesses who are based in and around the town. Sustainability is at the heart of future development to support employment opportunities but also essential in meeting the needs of local communities. It’s strategic location, with first class connectivity, highly skilled workforce and world class business community, supporting sectors of national and global significance are key components in supporting Stevenage’s sustainability goals and aspirations. These factors are also crucial in supporting future regeneration plans and brining the town into the 21st century.

Stevenage is already renowned for its Biopharmaceutical research and Development activities and is part of a life sciences super-cluster across the Golden Triangle between Oxford, Cambridge and London. The town’s world-leading science part and capabilities support a thriving life sciences ecosystem, which is at the centre of Europe’s largest cluster of Cell and Gene therapy companies and is of global significance.

Activities at the Stevenage Biosciences are supporting the acceleration of the translation of cutting edge science discoveries to support improvements in the health and quality of people’s lives. As a result, the town is seeing a surge of investment and growth to advance the sectors’ national and international business base supporting employment space and regeneration activities. This is also trickling into the town centre where the revitalisations of significant spaces are bringing forward stunning new employment spaces, supporting a prime business destination for any investor.


Sustainability is at the heart of future development to support employment opportunities but also essential in meeting the needs of local communities. This includes the former Marshgate car park site, where work has begun on a £66 million sustainable development of the European Manufacturing Headquarters of Autolus. Autolus, a NASDAQ listed biopharmaceutical company have developed a pipeline of highly active T-cell products to support the advancement in care for the treatment of cancer patients. They are a significant contributor to the Cell and Gene therapy cluster formed around Stevenage. As the first company to enter the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult’s Manufacturing Centre, they have been instrumental in supporting collaborative activities at the centre, supporting the clusters growth in the UK and on a global arena. Their town centre investment supports Autolus’s ambitions for growth, as well as accelerating the growth of the Cell and Gene therapy cluster in and around Stevenage. Leader of Stevenage Borough Council, Cllr Sharon Taylor OBE welcomes the development and adds: “Autolus’s £66m development in the town centre will bring a number of key benefits to the town including new jobs for local people, apprenticeships for young people and footfall to our town centre to support the local economy. Through Stevenage Works, we are also exploring opportunities for employment for local people during the construction phase.” The Autolus investment will fully support Stevenage’s commitment towards sustainability, with the development supporting a BREAM excellent rating through its net zero carbon emission design, by utilising heat source pumps and heat recovery systems. It also aims to significantly reduce waste through the use of 5D BIM technology and support the use of hybrid construction, supporting offsite manufacturing content which will result in reduced carbon emissions.

Sustainable Transport Approval has been received from the Stevenage Borough Council Executive to utilise around £8m. from the Towns Fund to develop a Sustainable Travel Hub at the railway station, which will connect the Railway Station and the new Bus Interchange to give communities a choice of travel options. This includes a brand new travel hub supporting a new car park, with electric charging points, secure cycle storage along with a number of blue badge bays at the railway station. The new Bus Interchange is also due to open in Spring 2022 and will provide high quality modern facilities to support bus users and connectivity across the town and beyond. It has been built with sustainability at the core of development and supports climate controlled seating areas, powered by roof mounted solar panels and sustainable drainage through planting. As well as supporting sustainable transport, Stevenage businesses are also delivering key infrastructure to enable industry to adopt sustainable modes of transport and reduce their overall carbon footprint. This includes ElectrAsssure, who design, install and operate intelligent electric vehicle charging systems and are currently rolling out over 1400 EV Chargers to 300 National Grid sites across the UK. This will enable the National Grid to migrate 60% of their operational fleet to EVs by 2026. Supporting the National Grid with their ambitions is an example for other UK businesses and industries to follow. This clearly demonstrates opportunities for businesses in the sustainability sector.

Transformation of Queensway North Block Co Space The much anticipated Co Space flexible co working space facility is now open to meet the wider needs of businesses and budding entrepreneurs. It brings highly attractive modern accommodation in a central part of the town centre, to support modern working needs and offers a unique opportunity for businesses, residents and visitors to the town. Supporting Stevenage’s first roof top terrace, Co Space also provides some superb space for meetings, events and stunning exhibition space with a difference.

Opening of M&S Stevenage will also be welcoming back one of the UK’s quintessentially British Brands to the ever successful Roaring Meg Retail Park which is great news for the town and the wider economy. M&S will complement the existing stores on the established retail park, as well as the national and many independent stores which feature in the town centre and distinct Historic High Street. News of one of the UK’s leading anchor stores returning to Stevenage has also stimulated further enquiries to support additional investment into the town. The new store will bring quality products and jobs to local residents, as well as increase further confidence in Stevenage as a primary investment location.




Winning name announced for new stages at A name for Elstree Studios’ landmark new stages has been chosen after more than 400 suggestions were submitted by residents and film and television fans nationwide. We really feel that Platinum Stages embodies the borough’s prestigious film and television connections, while also pointing to the exciting possibilities of its future. It’s also a wonderful way to celebrate our Queen and her many years of service to our country. 40



Elstree Studios

ntries inspired by icons of the silver screen and leading lights in the TV and film industry, as well as those honouring local heroes and based on filmic references to screen classics such as Star Wars, Big Brother and Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, all produced on-site, were submitted during a two-week public competition we ran, in partnership with Elstree Studios. The winning entry, PLATINUM STAGES was submitted by Matt Payne, aged 43, of London and chosen by the Board of Directors of Elstree Studios and the Mayor of Hertsmere, Councillor Anne Swerling.

Matt will receive two VIP passes to the launch of the new stages next spring, a tour of the studios and lunch at the on-site Rushes restaurant. He will also receive an Elstree Studios hoodie, goodie bag and range of merchandise. Councillor Morris Bright MBE, Leader of the Council and Chairman of the Elstree Studios board, said: “We had some really quite imaginative and very note-worthy suggestions. “Among those shortlisted were The Skywalker Stages, Kubrick’s Overlook Stages, The Paul Welsh Stages in honour of one of our foremost studio champions, and The Centenary Stages, in recognition of the studios’ near 100 year history. “The reason the board and Mayor of Hertsmere chose Platinum is because it works on so many levels. Obviously platinum has connotations of high value and exclusivity - which aligns perfectly with the cutting edge technology and state-of-the-art specifications of this facility. “But it’s also appropriate because the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is taking place next year, just when these new stages will

be opening. This auspicious occasion will be a moment for the whole nation to come together and celebrate all that has been and all that is to come for the country. “Locally, it makes absolute sense to use the new stages to pay tribute to our monarch and the many years of her reign, while looking to the future for TV and film production in Hertsmere that this new addition to our studios represents.” Cllr Swerling, said: “I want to thank everyone who took the time to submit their entry to our competition. We were delighted with and quite overwhelmed by the sheer number of entries received. It really is testimony to the genuine public affection out there for Elstree Studios and Hertsmere. “We really feel that Platinum Stages embodies the borough’s prestigious film and television connections, while also pointing to the exciting possibilities of its future. It’s also a wonderful way to celebrate our Queen and her many years of service to our country.” Work to build two new stages and ancillary workshops began earlier this year and is set to finish in spring next year. The state-of-the-art facility will sit next to The George Lucas stages on the site of the former Big Brother house, which 50 years before that also served as the site for an outdoor effects tank for the film, Moby Dick. Once operational, the facility will create at least 800 new jobs, plus apprenticeship and other learning opportunities for local school leavers and the unemployed. The £15.6 million project has been part-funded by us and the government’s Getting Building Fund via the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership. As part of the deal, £100,000 per year from the rental income we receive will be invested locally into creative industries, including local media and creative enterprise and initiatives.



opens fifth restaurant in Hertfordshire


ussmanns has opened in its fifth location in Berkhamsted in the grade II-listed property in the centre of the town. In recent years, it has been home to Bill’s restaurant.

Andrei Lussmann, Managing Director, said he has been overwhelmed by the support of the Berkhamsted community. “Our new Berkhamsted restaurant is a great addition to our existing portfolio of restaurants and we have been warmly welcomed by the local community. We are looking forward to bringing Lussmanns’ exceptional food, excellent service and our commitment to a set of ethical values that place the treatment of our planet, and of our people, at the top of the agenda.

The multi-award-winning Hertfordshire restaurant group Lussmanns Sustainable Kitchen is gearing up for a busy festive period following the launch of its newest restaurant.

“Also, 2002 marks the 20th anniversary of when the Lussmanns’ journey began so watch this space for a number of celebrations to mark this occasion.” The Berkhamsted opening follows hot on the heels of award’s success for Lussmanns after the restaurant group was named the Restaurant

of the Year at the St Albans Chamber of Commerce Community Awards in November. Like many hospitality businesses, the pandemic has been very challenging for Lussmanns but in the first lockdown, the restaurant group launched a Food To Go service overnight to support Hertfordshire communities. By the time lockdown had ended this year, Lussmanns had delivered 500,000 items and raised £2,000 for the St Albans Foodbank charity along the way. And all of these items were delivered in 100% recyclable cartons. “We wanted to ensure we never lost sight of our sustainability beliefs so ensuring the cartons we delivered the food in were 100% recyclable was a must,” said Andrei. But this is just a drop in the ocean for a restaurant group that has put its heart and soul into making sustainable dining accessible to all. “We have set ourselves a bold target of being one of the UK’s first completely carbon-neutral restaurant group by the end of 2023. We are really passionate about it and are prepared to work as hard as we need to achieve this.”

Offley Place a luxury Country House Hotel set in Hertfordshire Offley Place is a luxury Country House Hotel set in Hertfordshire. The 27-acre parkland is home to a gorgeous 17th-century manor house at the end of a sweeping drive in the quaint village of Great Offley.

Weddings are their speciality with the aim to provide the perfect backdrop to your special day. With the guidance of a specialised weddings team, it truly is the ideal start to your happily ever after. Offley Place have a variety of venues to suit each celebration, be it grand or intimate, and can ensure that you will never be short of stunning options for your big day.


he Manor House with stunning Conservatory, Salusbury and Hughes Lounges and Oriental bar, are the perfect location for your day to begin: the ceremony. Or alternatively, if you’d prefer a more intimate affair, your reception can take place here too. On the other side of the house is the pièce de résistance: The grand Hester Ballroom.

Perfect for up to 250 guests this incredible space is a flawless setting for your wedding breakfast and evening reception. Dance the night away under the sparkling chandeliers and drink from our Hester and Gabriel bars. The Offley team like to be as flexible as possible with their packages in order to ensure you have the most seamless experience planning. Choose from an all-inclusive package, to include a 3-course wedding breakfast prepared for by

talented chefs, as well as use of the bars and other equipment. Alternatively, you can choose to design your own wedding completely from scratch with the dry-hire option. Offley Place have a number of trusted suppliers they can recommend to you, but here you have free reign to design your perfect day! As well as weddings, they also cater to many other functions such as awards evenings, proms and company parties and events - just ask!




BCC Forecast: Trade to

drag on the recovery as supply disruption weakens outlook The UK economy will grow at a slower pace than expected with trade set to lag significantly behind the wider recovery, according to the British Chambers of Commerce’s (BCC) latest economic forecast. UK Economic Outlook - 2021

UK Economic Outlook - 2022


The leading business group has downgraded its expectations for UK GDP growth in 2021 from 7.1% to 6.8%. The downgrade reflects the expectation that the UK’s economic recovery will stall in the final quarter of 2021.

GDP growth is now projected to slow down by more than expected to 4.2% in 2022, from our previous forecast of 5.2%.

Trade is forecast to make a negative contribution to UK GDP over the forecast period.

The 2022 downgrade largely reflects a softer outlook for consumer spending as the squeeze on incomes from high inflation limits the gains from an increasingly robust labour market and the anticipated running down of household savings built-up during lockdowns. That said, consumer spending is still expected to be the main driver of the UK economy next year.

UK exports are forecast to decline by 2.8% this year and remain 14.9% (£27.7 billion) lower than their pre-pandemic level by the end of the forecast period in Q4 2023. In contrast, overall UK GDP is projected to be 3.4% higher than its pre-pandemic level by the end of the forecast period.

However, GDP growth of 6.8% would still be the strongest outturn since official records began in 1949.1 following the historic contraction of 9.7% in 2020. Following GDP growth of 1.3% in Q3, UK GDP growth is forecast to slow to 0.5% in Q4 2021, as staff shortages, supply chain disruption and rising inflation stifle activity. Concern over the Omicron variant is also expected to weigh on Q4 growth by triggering some hesitancy among consumers to socialise and spend. Consequently, the UK economy is only expected to return to its pre-pandemic level in Q2 2022, one quarter later than predicted in the BCC’s previous forecast.



The downgrade also reflects the anticipated squeeze on activity from ongoing staff shortages, supply chain disruption and rising cost pressures. Manufacturing is expected to be the worst hit with output growth revised downwards by 2.1 percentage points for 2022, followed by construction (revised down by 0.9 percentage points).

This reflects the challenging outlook for UK exporters amid the ongoing disruption to international trade flows from Covid and continued post-Brexit disruption to trade with the EU.

Inflation and Interest Rates The rising cost of imported raw materials and higher energy prices, are expected to lift CPI inflation to a peak of 5.2% in Q2 2022, which if realised would be the highest rate since September 2011.


However, if the current global supply chain disruption eases in the second half of 2022 as assumed in the BCC’s latest forecast, inflation is expected to drift back towards the Bank of England’s 2% target by the middle of 2023. UK interest rates are projected to remain on hold at next week’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting with concerns over the impact of the Omicron variant on the economy likely to delay the anticipated rate hike. Two interest rate rises are forecast over 2022 – 15 percentage points in February 2022 and 25 percentage points in November 2022. A further 25 percentage points interest rate rise is expected in 2023, thereby fully reversing the pandemic response interest rate cuts in March 2020. The BCC forecast assumes no renewal of lockdown restrictions. The reintroduction of such measures would lead to revisions in the BCC’s next forecast. Commenting on the forecast, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Our latest outlook suggests that the loss of momentum in the third quarter was more than just a temporary blip, with UK growth forecast to be more subdued for a sustained period as supply disruption, staff shortages and surging inflation limits activity. “The downgrades to our forecast reflect a moderating outlook for key areas of the UK economy, including consumer spending and trade. Consumer spending is likely to be more restrained than expected over the near term from a combination of negative real wage growth and stretched household finances amid rising inflation. “Trading conditions for UK exporters are expected to remain difficult over the forecast period with the lingering impact of Covid and Brexit expected to weigh on trade flows for some time to come. “While our latest forecast suggests that interest rates will rise sooner rather than later, with the current inflationary surge largely driven by supply side constraints and global price pressures, raising rates is likely to do little to curb the current spike in consumer prices.

“The risks to the outlook remain tilted to the downside. The Omicron variant could stall the recovery if it triggers a prolonged reluctance among consumers to spend or a renewed supply shock by exacerbating current staff shortages through a new ‘pingdemic’ and driving more supply chain disruption.” Responding to the forecast, Hannah Essex, Co-Executive Director the British Chambers of Commerce, added: “It’s clear that the UK economy is not out of the woods yet. There remains a great deal of uncertainty for businesses as the arrival of the Omicron variant adds to the difficulties they face alongside rising costs, supply chain disruption and labour shortages. “Since the summer, we have been calling for the Government to give firms a clear contingency plan should restrictions once again become necessary to protect public health. If firms are to weather more challenging conditions in the next few months, they need to have confidence that support will be provided to those facing a significant impact on their ability to trade, including reduced footfall. “It is also more vital than ever that the Government’s Supply Chain Advisory Group and Industry Taskforce start to provide some practical solutions to the supply and labour shortages that are continuing to weigh down on the economic recovery. “Our disappointing forecast for exports underscores the need to address the key pressures facing traders. The UKEU trade agreement needs to be built upon and applied in ways which cut the current red tape, costs and burdens on businesses. Significant issues must be resolved so that exports can become a driving force in our recovery from the pandemic. “With the planned rise in National Insurance yet to take effect businesses are facing a continuing squeeze on their cashflow. There should be no further policy measures that add to the upfront cost of doing business for the remainder of this Parliament to give firms room to recover.”

Key points in the forecast: •

• •

temporary blip, with UK growth forecast to be more subdued for a sustained period as supply disruption, staff shortages and surging inflation limits activity.

Following the Q3 2021 growth of 1.3%, quarter-on-quarter GDP growth forecast at 0.5% in Q4, (down from our previous forecast of 1.6%)  Household consumption is now forecast to grow at 4.0% in 2021, 6.9% in 2022 and 2.7% in 2023, down from 5.5% in 2021, 7.6% for 2022 and 2.8% in 2023 in our previous forecast BCC expects UK exports to decline by 2.8% in 2021, before growth of 4.9% in 2022 and 2.7% in 2023, compared to import growth of 1.2%, 6.2% and 3.1%  Business investment forecast is for a decline of 0.6% in 2021, before growth of 5.1% in 2022 and 2.6% in 2023  BCC expects a UK unemployment rate of 4.5% in 2021, 4.1% in 2022 and 3.8% in 2023, compared to the previous forecast of 4.9%, 4.7% and 4.4% respectively CPI inflation is expected to peak at 5.2% in Q2 2022. Inflation is then expected to drop back to the Bank of England’s 2% target in Q2 2023  UK official interest rates are expected to start rising in February 2022 (15 ppts), followed by a second-rate rise (25 ppts) in November 2022. A further interest rate rise (25 ppts) is expected in 2023

In terms of sectors:

Our latest outlook suggests that the loss of momentum in the third quarter was more than just a

UK GDP growth forecasts for 2021 and 2022 downgraded from 7.1% to 6.8%, and 5.2% to 4.2% respectively. UK GDP growth forecast for 2023 has been upgraded from 2.1% to 2.3%

Growth in manufacturing output has been downgraded from 8.6% to 6.8% for 2021 and from 5.1% to 3.0% in 2022. Expected growth in 2023 has been upgraded from 2.0% to 2.5% Growth in construction output has been downgraded from 13.8% to 13.7% for 2021 and from 3.8% to 2.9% in 2022. Expected growth in 2023 is unchanged at 2.8% Growth in services output is forecast at 7.0% in 2021 and 2.0% in 2023, unchanged from previous forecast. Expected growth in 2022 has been downgraded from 5.6% to 4.8%



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PROTECT YOUR CRITICAL DATA FROM CYBER THREATS with a Dell Digital Vault Solution delivered by CAE Ransomware attacks have risen 4000% in the last year. So, it’s never been more important to have a robust data recovery method should the worst happen. Ransomware is commonplace with, an estimated, third of the profits reinvested to improve attack sophistication and technology. It’s a serious, well-funded business. CAE is working with customers to provide cyber recovery solutions that deliver an immutable, vaulted copy of their most critical data for fast recovery in the event of a cyber-attack. We use smart analytics software that examines the data entering the vault and detects suspicious behaviour that could indicate an infection. The cyber vault provides a fast and simple method to recover your data; data that you can rely on to get your organisation up and running quickly.

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A straightforward solution in a world which is anything but If the last couple of years has taught us anything, it’s that businesses need to expect the unexpected.

A period of massive political and economic change has meant trading has been extremely difficult, in particular for small- and medium-sized firms, who will have seen their cash flow significantly hit.

Some certainty in uncertain times Recent times have been anything but straightforward for businesses and many are looking for ways to take control of their finances. The good news is that getting a smart meter for your business is a small change that could make a big difference. A smart meter allows businesses to wave goodbye to estimated billing by securely and automatically sending meter readings to your energy supplier. That means that you receive accurate bills, rather than estimated bills, allowing you the certainly of paying for exactly what you are using. Plus you can also wave goodbye to time spent submitting regular meter readings, allowing you to focus on bigger things.

Doing your bit for the environment The COP26 Conference which took place in Glasgow, from 31 October to 13 November 2021, acts as a reminder of everyone’s responsibility to become more conscious of their environmental impact. Regardless of whether your business has three employees, or three thousand, we all should be aware of how much energy we’re using, and a smart meter is a step in the right direction. From the moment your smart meter is installed, you’re helping create a smart energy system which could ultimately help reduce all our carbon emissions. A smart meter is a positive step in taking control of business outgoings and if your firm has 10 employees or less your business could be eligible. To find out more you can contact your energy supplier or broker. It could be one of the best calls you make this week.



CAE wins triple honours

at Cisco’s annual partner summit

At Cisco’s annual partner summit, CAE received awards for its innovation, leadership, and best practice as a Cisco business partner across UKI & EMEAR. CAE is the recipient of three awards:

- Cisco Partner Summit 2021 EMEAR UKI Theatre Award for Enterprise Networking & Meraki Partner of the Year

Theatre Award for Software Partner of the Year and Cisco Partner Summit 2021 EMEAR UKI Theatre Award for Enterprise Networking & Meraki Partner of the Year, further underscoring its outstanding accomplishments in EMEAR.”

Cisco announced the winners during its annual partner conference, held digitally in 2021. Awarded to channel partners who rise to business challenges, the Cisco Partner Summit Global awards are designed to recognise superior business practices and reward best-inclass methodologies. Areas of consideration include innovative processes, architecture-led successes, strategic business outcomefocused programs, seizing new opportunities, and sales approaches.

Justin Harling, CEO, CAE comments: “These awards are a fantastic indictment of our approach to core networking and our alignment to how Cisco sees the future of infrastructure. That future is based on having people across sales, technical services and commercial services who embrace a new way of thinking, translate it into cutting edge solutions and make it relevant to customers. Right now, we do this better than anyone else in EMEA, which is a huge statement. Long may it continue.”

- Cisco® Partner Summit Region award for Enterprise Networking & Meraki Partner of the Year - Cisco Partner Summit 2021 EMEAR UKI Theatre Award for Software Partner of the Year

“Cisco is proud to work together with leading partners to drive the digital transformation, creating powerful solutions and fresh approaches to meet the needs of our customers,” said Elisabeth De Dobbeleer - Vice President, EMEAR Partner Lead at Cisco. “It’s a privilege to recognise CAE with a Cisco Partner Summit Geo-Region award as Enterprise Networking & Meraki Partner of the Year, as well as Cisco Partner Summit 2021 EMEAR UKI

These awards are a fantastic indictment of our approach to core networking and our alignment to how Cisco sees the future of infrastructure.


St Albans Residents empowered to act for Wildlife through Wilder Actions Map

Wilder St Albans, a project delivered by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust in partnership with St Albans City and District Council, has launched the Wilder Actions Map.

The map welcomes residents, businesses and community groups to plot actions they have taken for wildlife to create a Wilder St Albans. Actions may include cutting a hole in a garden fence to create a hedgehog highway, building a pond or planting a hedgerow along your field. The map has already received over 60 submissions of actions taken to make our area just a little wilder.

Heidi Carruthers, People and Wildlife Officer for Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, said: “Every step we take matters, and we want to show how all our individual actions are working together to improve the nature network across our District. Small actions add up and can make a huge difference for wildlife. Anyone can contribute to the interactive map and plot actions that they are taking right now.” Anthony Rowlands, Chair of the Public Realm Committee of St Albans City and District Council, said: “Wilder St Albans is one of the many actions we are undertaking to improve the District’s environment and has been well received by our residents.

“The mapping project is a great way to encourage people to take an active part in this exciting project. I am impressed that more than 60 entries have already been made and I’d urge residents, businesses, schools and community groups to join in and show the rest of the District what you’ve done to help our wildlife thrive.” Collectively, the Wildlife Trusts across the UK are campaigning for 30% of land and seas to be managed and restored for nature by 2030. In Hertfordshire, towns and urban areas make up 17% of the land area, according to the Hertfordshire State of Nature report. This figure is double the national average, which means nature needs even more help to thrive in the county. Nature travels through corridors such as hedgerows and

gardens, and the more connected we can make these areas, the higher the chance our wild species will survive. Visit the Wilder Actions map at wilderstalbans/wilderactions to see how and where people are acting for wildlife across the St Albans District and to share your own wild actions. When you submit and entry you will be sent a wooden plaque to display, to let everyone know that you are helping to create a wilder St Albans. Residents will also be able to see proposals by St Albans City and District Council to increase biodiversity across their parks and green spaces and can press a link on the map to comments on these proposals.

New Home & Outdoor Showroom Coming Soon

SWR Home & Outdoor are proud to announce a new 8000 sq. ft. showroom is coming to Hemel Hempstead in 2022. This follows the introduction of new product lines and a recent change to their name and logo.

The current showroom first opened its doors 24 years ago at the SWR offices on Eastman Way Industrial Estate in Hemel Hempstead. Created to exhibit their range of home improvement products in a friendly environment, it’s been a central part of the company’s success. James Munnelly, Managing Director, said: “We started off only supplying and installing garage doors but our range has expanded to include awnings, bi-folding doors, outdoor lifestyle products, and other items. “Space is now limited, which means customers can’t see everything that we offer in the current showroom. The new venue is just a short walk from our offices and will be the most inspiring showcase for home improvements in the region. The announcement follows a busy two years that also included extensive rebranding across their marketing

channels. Previously known as “SWR Installations”, they rebranded this autumn due to internal discussions regarding the company’s image. The outcome was not just a new look but an intention to bring SWR values to the fore. James said: “We concluded that our company was built around people. That includes members of staff, our customers and the people in our local community. We try to make sure everything we do honours that tradition. “These are the same values SWR was founded upon when first established 30 years ago. It’s important to stress that we’re proud to serve the community and be a local company.” “We hope the showroom will bring new visitors to our town and become a hub of inspiration for people who want to improve their homes.”

For more details,, get in touch and quote INSPIRE48




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Opportunities in a Changed World WHAT AN 18 MONTHS IT HAS BEEN!

The UK’s life sciences sector has come into its own leading society out of the pandemic, with tremendous opportunities through innovation and collaboration which can be applied for a better future for all.


he UK has taken the lead with the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, the MHRA being the first regulator to approve a COVID-19 vaccine, vaccinating the first patient, global-leading genomic sequencing, and use of healthcare data that has established treatments saving over a million lives around the world. It is now about bottling the advances that have been made and applying them to the other great health challenges, for the good of all.

Turning Policies Into Action Speaking at this year’s 12th Pharmaceutical Industry Network Group (PING) Conference, held virtually in conjunction with IQVIA and supported by Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Pfizer UK’s Country Manager and ABPI President, Ben Osborn, shared his inspirational journey and vision around innovation and collaboration over the last two years. Ben emphasised the importance of having a shared mission and direction, healthcare equitable access, understanding the concept of risk and the need to ensure that science is valued at all levels. In reality, innovation is “all about bringing together science, data and technology” whilst keeping the patient at the heart of it all. Ben stated that “there has never been a more exciting time for life sciences and the opportunity to bring breakthroughs to change patients’ lives. The Government’s ‘Life Sciences Vision’ gives a bold ambition, so we must all now partner and translate words into meaningful action.” The UK Government’s ‘Life Sciences Vision’ published this year provides a 10 year blueprint to act as the key driver for sector growth in the 21st century and keep the UK ahead of the field. The Office



for Life Sciences Head of Strategy, Alex Mclaughlin, explained that “the Life Sciences Vision sets out how through working in partnership, Government, NHS, the Sector and academia can create real value for industry and better treatments and technologies for patients. It’s an exciting time for life sciences, and the UK is uniquely placed to innovate and lead the way. The Government is determined to work with partners from right across the sector to realise the ambitions of the Vision.” Building on the NHS Long Term Plan with a focus on population health and working with Integrated Care Systems, the NHS can be a driver for innovation. The Innovative Medicines Fund is another committed Government manifesto to fast-track promising new drugs. Meanwhile, repurposing medicines, as was seen with the discovery within the NHS of the use of the steroid dexamethasone to treat COVID-19 patients during the pandemic, shows what opportunities there are. These are areas that Claire Foreman, Director of Medicines Policy and Strategy at NHS England and Improvement, will be focusing on, to explore what can be done through innovation and also through working with what we already have, thus improving the life sciences sector’s delivery of treatments for patients. Not only is the Government focusing on UK life sciences plans and policies, it is also prioritising rolling over existing international agreements as well as entering into new ones. Deals with Indo-Pacific life sciences relations including Singapore, Vietnam, Canada and Mexico are being prioritised, while new post-Brexit agreements with Australia and New Zealand are now in place. Andrew Howard, Deputy Director for Trade, Regulation and Analysis at The Office for Life Sciences, talked about the UK’s priorities in trade deals, as well as

the challenges and opportunities for Britain. He mentioned how “the last few years have been a time of great change, but there are many opportunities for Global Britain in life sciences. The UK has a pioneering regulator, leading academia, a single healthcare system and a strong biopharma sector, as well as a coherent vision for the sector that supports exciting new specialist areas. Having built on existing global relationships, we’re now fully focused on nurturing new ones.”

Cultivating Scientific Collaboration Collaborations have been important for some time, but the vaccination roll-out has shown how collaborations have come of age. There are more happening, with bigger plans and larger projects. Collaboration is key to accelerating the innovations, and allowing people to benefit from each others’ strengths by working together. Relationships are key to a successful collaboration. All stakeholders involved must consider the importance of generosity, have a clear structure and code of practice, and shared vision/values, with an ability to trust and be transparent in sharing knowledge and data. CEO of the Institute for Collaborative Working, Claire Ward, stated that “the value of structured collaborative working is having a plan that can support organisations to build sustainable relationships. During COVID-19, the pharmaceutical sector has shown the value of working together; the task now is to embed attitudes and behaviours that can sustain long term collaborative relationships across all parts of the industry.” From an academia perspective, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Innovation at University of Oxford, Chas Bountra OBE, expressed that “we’re facing many global healthcare challenges. No one institution has all the necessary expertise or

infrastructure or resources. The only way we are going to tackle these is through collaboration - collaboration amongst universities, with industry, with governments, with regulators, with policy makers and with other countries.” GlaxoSmithKline’s Director Academic Liaison, Malcolm Skingle CBE, also mentioned that “I’ve seen for years that collaborations are the way to go for pharma - whether with others in pharma or with academia. The pandemic has shown the importance of collaborations. The Vaccine Taskforce achieved their incredible feats through collaborating. Working together to get the best skills together has never been more important.” VWV’s Corporate Partner, Richard Phillips, stated “what a great panel session at the PING 2021 Conference on collaboration with inciteful views on how far it has come, with mindset and attitude instrumental in making collaborative working a success. Getting the contract structure right are tremendously important, though, to ensure parties are clear on their roles and objectives and to plan for the future at the outset. There were some great examples of how effective collaboration can be.”

The Role of Health Data in Drug Discovery There has been increased importance placed on genomic and real-world health data in the life sciences sector and working creatively together to manage the data in the most effective and efficient way. The diversity of the data is a key challenge, whilst at the same time decreasing health inequalities. The sector needs to get smarter by looking to work with and check cohorts in other countries globally. It is important to gain and maintain the trust and transparency with all involved and bring the public along to help with health data outcomes. UK Biobank


has achieved tremendous things by being a global leader in genomic sequencing, and Our Future Health is a good example of an exciting UK health research programme, to bring people together to develop new ways to detect, prevent and treat diseases. Professor Joanne Hackett, Head of Genomic and Precision Medicine at IQVIA, highlighted that “the future for data is a game changer - both genomic and healthcare data. However, the key will be making sure the data is well curated in order to achieve the potential.” Health Data Research UK’s CEO, Caroline Cake, explained how “health data research has enabled some of the most important discoveries about COVID-19 and been a key component of the UK’s understanding of and response to the pandemic. There is now a fantastic opportunity to build on this momentum and collaboration in the sector to accelerate our work, making large scale datasets safely available for research, to enable discoveries across the spectrum of health conditions, from cancer to rare diseases.” Founder & CEO of Genomics PLC, Sir Peter Donnelly, commented how “it’s 21 years this year since the announcement of the completion of the draft human genome. I’m now really excited that the field has matured so it can have a major impact on drug discovery and healthcare. It’s great to see the UK at the forefront of these opportunities.”

Regulatory The COVID-19 vaccine regulators led by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA),have also worked in innovative ways to approve medicines much quicker than normal, while not compromising on assessing safety and efficacy. The MHRA is continuing to build on adopting innovation and be seen as a world leading regulator. Dr Kirsty Wydenbach, Expert Medical Assessor at the MHRA, stressed that “the MHRA ambition is about putting patients first, becoming a truly world-leading, enabling regulator and protecting public health through excellence in regulation and science. Support for innovation is a key part

of that ambition. We want to hear from researchers and developers early so we can help them stay on track, and so we can learn and become an even more industryfriendly regulator.”

Summing up the PING 2021 IQVIA’s Vice President, Strategic Planning Northern Europe, Angela McFarlane, stated: “What a conference. It’s left us in no doubt that our next mission as a life science community is to collaborate on the seven ‘Healthcare Missions’ in the Government Life Sciences Vision, combining the ‘best of British’ - our unique health data, our worldleading genomics, transformative real world research and innovation in research. If we embrace a missionled culture in medicines discovery and access, with collaboration being the new norm the UK could become the life sciences.” VWV’s PING Chair and Partner and Head of Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences sector, Paul Gershlick, concluded: “The UK has led the way in so many areas through the pandemic through innovation and collaboration. With a forward-looking life sciences Vision, which gives a clear blueprint for continuing to do that and take a lead in addressing the other great health challenges, including through the strengths of the UK’s world class academia, life sciences industry, regulator, and financial centre, Global Britain can continue to be at the hub of leading the way, including in the exciting opportunities through use of health and genomic data.” Nitin Dahad, Hertfordshire LEP Board Member and Chair, Enterprise and Innovation Board, said: “Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership is very proud of its long association with this event it sends out a clear message that Hertfordshire and the UK is a very attractive place for our diverse life sciences industry to grow. The scale of that global ambition and the clear vision for the future was evidenced in today’s hugely exciting programme. We are proud to have played our part in bring considerable investment into the county to support the growth of its world-class cell and gene cluster which was celebrated today.”

For more information about the Pharmaceutical Industry Network Group (PING) and Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences Law, please contact Paul Gershlick on 07795 570 072 or email on

Hybrid working challenges By Connor Vincent, Sales Director, Lewcon Audio Visual

A recent report into hybrid work challenges and opportunities by workplace consultants Frost & Sullivan indicated that the key emerging themes for business leaders were: 1. THE FUTURE OF THE WORKPLACE – creating borderless working environments 2. DELIVERING MEETING EQUITY – facilitating a level playing field for remote and in-office employees 3. INTEROPERABLE SOLUTIONS – ensuring that technology brings people together across multiple platforms 4. FACILITATING BETTER EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCES – environments that cope effectively with physical, emotional, and motivational fatigue


hen considering what the Future of Work will look like, it can be daunting for employers. What steps should you take to create environments that facilitate truly hybrid working? How can organisations deliver technology that enables people to move seamlessly from remote to in-person meetings? Above all, how can companies allow workspaces that create value and are worth the commute? Working closely with a network of partners and customers, Lewcon Audio Visual have developed a framework of solutions designed to accelerate hybrid working. Working with leading collaboration and unified communications brands to deliver meeting equity for all. Delivering meeting equity is incredibly important as

businesses begin to return in some capacity to offices in 2022. The ability for people to have the same meeting experience regardless of their location should be a paramount consideration for employers, particularly as seeing meeting participants clearly when they are remotely accessing meetings has become the norm. Returning to an office environment where in-person meeting delegates struggle to hear or an environment where people can’t be seen leads to a poor meeting experience, reducing productive outcomes. Whatever you are considering for your post COVID workspaces, Lewcon’s team of experts are on hand throughout the lifecycle of your project, providing advice and guidance to create a solution that meets your needs and budgets.

For more information, please contact the team today on 01462 457886 or visit



TRAINING We have for some years run a series of training courses covering themes such as Introduction to Export and Incoterms. Always well received and they have played a vital part in ensuring Herts companies understand the complexities of international trade.

2022: Changes for International Trade By John Woodruffe Head of International Trade and Policy

I hope you all had a happy and safe Christmas. For the past two years Covid has disrupted our daily lives and we enter the New Year still with an element of uncertainty. But business continues and in the last year the export team helped local companies export over £23 million worth of goods. The aftermath of Brexit continues apace. As many of you know, from 1 January 2022 more of the temporary Customs and VAT easements, introduced on 1 January 2021, will be removed. Changes include: • Requirement for full customs import declarations for all goods at the time businesses or their courier/freight forwarder bring them into Great Britain, except if they are non-controlled goods imported from Ireland to Great Britain

We are always looking to offer more to local companies and as a result we are planning a revamp of our training this coming year. 52


• Customs controls at all ports and other border locations • Requirement for a suppliers’ declaration proving the origin of goods (either UK or EU) if they are using the zero tariffs agreed in the UK’s trade deal with the EU. If you export goods to the EU and you provide the EU importer with a statement on origin, you may also need to have a supplier declaration in place. These are needed to confirm the origin of the goods you’re exporting when the manufacturer alone is not enough to meet the product specific rules of origin. • Commodity codes, which are used to classify goods for customs declarations, are changing We can assist with Certificates of Origin going to the EU. If you have any queries concerning the changes please do not hesitate to contact us.

We are always looking to offer more to local companies and as a result we are planning a revamp of our training this coming year, with more courses (and BCC accredited) with successful candidates achieving a Foundation Award in International Trade - equivalent to an NVQ2 qualification. We are also happy to run tailor made courses, so do please let us know if there is anything specific you would like.

Export Documentation & Procedure - A Practical Guide

Date: 04/02/2022 Time: 10:00 – 16:00 Price: Members £300.00 +VAT Non-Members £350.00 +VAT This one-day, on-line course is designed to provide businesses with the essential knowledge to get their exports moving. Specific focus on Export procedures gives delegates the opportunity to increase the awareness and skills of the requirements involved with overseas trade.

Documentary Letters of Credit - A Practical Guide

Date: 01/04/2022 Time: 10:00 – 16:00 Price: Members £300.00 +VAT Non-Members £350.00 +VAT This one-day, on-line course provides a step-by-step guide on how to deal with Documentary Letters of Credit – from receipt of order to successful presentation. The course tutor, Alan Bracken, has over 30 years practical experience working with Letters of Credit.

Import Documentation & Procedure - A Practical Guide

Date: 24/06/2022 Time: 10:00 – 16:00 Price: Members £300.00 +VAT Non-Members £350.00 +VAT This one-day, on-line course is designed to help businesses handle their imports more efficiently and with the minimum of financial expense.

Legal Property Experts BUSINESS GROWTH

by Winning Public Sector Contracts By SHARON SLADE, Marketing Manager, Complete Tenders

Choosing to respond to public sector tender opportunities should be a considered business decision; they require an investment of time and resources but the successes from doing it right can catapult your business to the next level and provide stability and cash flow for years to come. It can be somewhat overwhelming if tendering is new to you, particularly when buying authorities make the process overly complex, but using our years of experience crafting successful bids we have created our top tips for setting your business up to win public sector contracts:


Make sure you have a system to find new opportunities. This will ensure you are on top of what is coming to market, so you don’t miss vital opportunities and you have the time to respond.


Take time to read properly. You may not be ready to tender but looking through the documents carefully will give you a good insight into what buyers are really looking for.


Analyse awarded contracts in your sector. This will help you build up an understanding of the types of contracts being won along with their duration and value. You’ll also be able to size up the competition.


Identify your actions to get your business tender-ready. Don’t jump straight in to writing your tender, step back and check you have all the case studies, processes, policies and accreditations needed.


Identify your internal stakeholders. It could just be you but, if you have a larger team you will want to manage the work most effectively by spreading the work across your subject matter experts.


Be clear and evidence your offering. Buyers are risk averse, so don’t simply say you’re an outstanding cleaning company, prove it, by showing them the outcomes you have delivered previously.

If you’d like to find out more about winning more public sector contracts visit You will find lots of hints, tips, blogs and services to give you the best chance of success.

in association with Penman Sedgwick LLP Lava Taha – Solicitor

2022: Conveyancing,

COVID and SDLT Conveyancers and others working in the residential property market have had a challenging time in 2020/1, working through the various lockdowns, and dealing with the huge transactional pressures that came with the SDLT holiday. Added to this is the ‘race for space’, triggered by the shift towards working from home. We have seen huge growth in the housing market during this period house prices in 2021 have shown the fastest growth for 15 years. The SDLT holiday that had been introduced in July 2020 had encouraged many owners to bring forward their house purchase to avoid additional tax, but this concession came to an end on 30 September 2021. The property market has not shown much sign of slowing down since then, but (at the time of writing anyway) it remains to be seen what impact the recent interest rate rise will have – and any further interest rate rises that may follow in 2022.

The impact of COVID-19 is continuing to cause insecurity in the property market, especially as a result of the surge in cases flowing from the Omicron variant. If you are concerned about the impact of COVID on your conveyancing contract we can help you settle contract terms which allow the parties to defer completion dates more easily if completion needs to be delayed, plan your move safely and deal with potential issues should a party be impacted by the virus. A return to a more stable path in 2022 may be welcomed by many who have experienced issues resulting from the overloaded conveyancing process over the last year or two. Managing our clients’ expectations about the timescale of their transaction is very important, but difficult at times when there are so many factors that could delay a transaction which are outside the control of the conveyancer: the time it takes to obtain searches, secure a mortgage offer, and delays in the chain being the most significant.

If you are looking for legal advice, we can help.

Problem Solved e: t: 01923 225212

5 George Street, Watford, Herts WD18 0SQ INSPIRE INSPIRE 53 53




20 - 24




Hertfordshire Chamber Celebrates its Long-Standing Members



As we approach 100 years in business, Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce would like to express our sincere gratitude for our members. In particular those who have been with us the longest, for their continued support in contributing towards our chamber; from attending our events to sharing news on the website. Over the last two years, Hertfordshire businesses have battled their way through the COVID-19 pandemic, and have come out on top through resilience, tenacity and adaptability.

The 10th Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards took place in September at Warner Bros Studios in Watford, where we celebrated the successes of our members and non-members alike with a fantastic ceremony, and in excellent company. We value the trust that our members have put in us to support their business through good times and bad. It is a pleasure to serve you


Airbus Defence and Space LTD


Austin’s Family Funeral Directors


Reserve Forces and Cadets Association (MOD)


Learning & Development



and we certainly look forward to continue doing so.From Bronze members to Patrons, we could not function without our members, so, on behalf of everyone at Herts Chamber, thank you. Briege Leahy CEO Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce

Austin’s has been a member of the Herts Chamber for a number of years, through which, we have established close relationships with other likeminded, independent businesses throughout Hertfordshire. We have enjoyed the recognition of achieving a number of business awards through the Chamber. These have been hugely beneficial to the marketing and general exposure of the services Austin’s provide to bereaved families throughout the County. As Patrons, we are pleased to support the Chamber in their endeavours to assist the development of other businesses, particularly through the recently established Entrepreneur Foundation. Claire Austin, Managing Director, Austin’s Family Funeral Directors


As a member of the Chamber for over two decades, Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust has stayed connected to the business community. We’ve been able to develop skills through training, and found great business and personal networking through connections made at Chamber events. As we launch our new strategy to 2030, working with the business community will be an important strand to achieving our aims of securing nature’s recovery and involving the local community in taking action to give wildlife a better future. I’d welcome businesses getting in touch to see how we can work together. Lesley Davies, CEO, Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust u

Abbey Stationers Limited


ABL Circuits


AGS Oilfield Services Limited



Albion Applications a division of Albion 4C Limited Archant Regional Limited


Corteva Agriscience UK Limited (previously known as Dow AgroSciences Limited)


Curwens LLP Solicitors


Datasound Laboratories Limited


Davies Industrial Supplies


Dietex International Limited




Fluorocarbon Co Limited


Fore Street Employment Agency Limited


FT Gearing Landscape Services Ltd


George Hay


Gilbertson & Page Limited


Groundwork Hertfordshire


Guardforce Security Services Limited


Hardcastle Burton LLP


Hertfordshire Agricultural Society


Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust

(The Comet Series)


Down Hall Hotel and Spa

Aromco Limited


Epson (UK) Limited


Herts Storage Limited

Austin Trueman Associates


European Flavours & Fragrances Plc


HTC Group Limited


Baker Watkin Accounting Limited


Ewart Price


Isabel Hospice


Brasier Freeth LLP


Brown & Lee Chartered Surveyors

u u


Cannon Travel Limited


Cook & Partners

Being integrated with the Herts Chamber of Commerce has enabled us to complement our business with fellow local businesses. Rory Dear, Managing Director, DataSound Laboratories



Membership Benefits

Business Breakdown Cover Which vehicles can be covered? Whether you just have a single vehicle or run a whole fleet, the AA can cover your cars, vans, trucks and more – as long as they’re 3.5 tonnes or under.

If you’re not sure if your vehicle would be eligible, you can call the AA on 0800 55 11 88 to check.

What does cover include? You can choose from the following options for your company’s vehicles:

• Roadside

Repair or recovery to the AA’s choice of appropriate local repairer.

• Relay

Running a company with vehicles at its heart means that staying still isn’t an option THE AA’S BUSINESS BREAKDOWN COVER will make sure your drivers get back on the road quickly – and with minimum disruption – if the worst happens.

All you need to do is choose the right level of cover for you.

† Savings based on Fleetwide 3 Standard rates for 3-6 vehicles. Fleetwide cover does not apply to: specialist vehicles, ie: taxis, mini cabs, hire vehicles, ambulances, police vehicles, vehicles on tradeplates, minibuses, privately owned vehicles (unless used for business purposes), motorcycles and courier vehicles (all of whichcan be covered on Specialist rates, call 0800 55 11 88 for details), or any vehicles over 3.5 tonnes gvw. Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Offer prices are only available while your Chamber membership is current. We reserve the right to review pricing at any time. Full terms and conditions available on request by calling 0800 55 11 88.

Transportation of vehicle, driver and up to 7 passengers to a UK mainland address if prompt local repair not possible.

• Relay Plus

Extended Relay service to include one of three alternative arrangements for driver and passengers; car hire, accommodation or public transport services.

• Home Start

For breakdowns at or within ¼ mile of your home address.

• Accident Management

Takes the hassle out of arranging repair, recovery and insurance claims after an accident or vandalism.

Up to

78% off

Business Breakdown Cover for Chamber members†

Visit and ask for a quote, using reference code 0360







Skills Knowledge Confidence. Training and development to help build your business back better. The pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on our economy - to truly build back better many businesses need to rapidly upskill and reskill their employees. Skills and training are at the heart of this rebuild and your local College is here to help you maximise your businesses potential. Take advantage of opportunities to modernise the skills and knowledge of your workforce and to help you start building a talent pipeline. Scan the QR code to contact West Herts College and find out how we can help your business grow.


University of Hertfordshire: powering skills and driving economic growth

THE UNIVERSITY OF HERTFORDSHIRE provides vital support for businesses in the region, regardless of their size or sector. Recognised as a University Enterprise Zone, the institution offers a wide range of business support including 1:1 mentoring, peer-support networks, access to commercial, creative, and research expertise, and use of the University’s state-of-the-art facilities – helping drive the region’s economic recovery and growth.


s businesses look to capitalise on the opportunities ahead, the University is now developing its programmes further, including higher and degree apprenticeships, CPD courses, an accelerator to support early-stage research and development, and leadership and management mentorship. To help drive this, the University is partnering on two projects powered by the Community Renewal Fund, both of which aim to improve innovation and productivity, and create employment opportunities in Hertfordshire. The first, led by Visit Herts, will embrace the county’s flourishing film and TV industry. It will provide additional expert-led support for businesses in the creative industry supply chain, delivering a bespoke campaign to drive ‘screen tourism’ in the region. The University will invest in future skills for the creative industry through new CPD programmes, business support for creative entrepreneurs, and other knowledge exchange initiatives between the sector and academia.

The second project, led by Exemplas, will pilot four new programmes to address shortcomings in Hertfordshire’s business support ecosystem, with a focus on boosting sustainable recovery, growth, and innovation. These programmes will include 1:1 mentorship for those looking to adjust their business plans, consultancy for SMEs adopting new technology, and a series of webinars for SMEs on net-zero and sustainability. As part of this, the University will launch a new accelerator scheme at the beginning of 2022 to support businesses with an innovative and sustainable idea with scale-up potential. Businesses will be able to access a tailored support package including commercial consultancy, access to labs and specialist equipment, prototyping support, and small-scale funding for material costs. The University of Hertfordshire will also soon be launching a new 12-week management course as part of the Help to Grow scheme. Delivered by leading small business experts at Hertfordshire Business School, the programme will help boost business’s performance, resilience, and growth prospects in the county and beyond. Designed for senior managers in SMEs, it is 90% governmentfunded, meaning participants only pay £750. Learners will also have access to 1:1 mentorship.

The University of Hertfordshire will invest in future skills for the creative industry through new CPD programmes, business support for creative entrepreneurs, and other knowledge exchange initiatives between the sector and academia.

As the University continues to enhance and expand the support it provides for businesses, the team is looking to meet more entrepreneurs in the region and beyond. If you need support and guidance or would like to meet the team in person at the University’s Enterprise Hub, email Please quote the title of this article in your email. INSPIRE



Future-proofing your business by managing risk Businesses deal with many day-to-day challenges that are just part of daily life, but it seems that lately, they are also having to contend with events that have the potential to become disruptive.

Events such as the COVID-19 pandemic continue to cause disruption and impact our way of life and the economy. Some of the changes we have seen due to the pandemic, including the increase in remote and hybrid working, along with digital adoption, will continue long after the current restrictions are lifted. These are some of the challenges businesses are now facing. New import control measures have recently come into force and from 1st January 2022 businesses must now complete customs declarations on imports from the EU to GB at the time that they bring them into GB. This means businesses will no longer be able to delay making import customs declarations. Risks come in many guises including financial, strategic, compliance, reputational, and operational. It is therefore crucial that key personnel within a business are aware of the part that they each play in identifying these risks so that they can be effectively managed.

What is Risk Management?

Risk management, simply put, is about identifying risks, and predicting how probable how serious they are or might become and putting steps in place to deal with them. Determining the risks that could undermine your business in time is critical to building a sustainable business. Horizon scanning can be made easier using analysis tools such as PESTLE (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental) to gain a macro overview of factors which may pose a risk to your business.

What is a Risk Assessment? Risk assessments vary depending on the sector a business operates within and the activity that it is involved in. It is a process of identifying hazards and evaluating any associated risks within a workplace, then implementing reasonable control measures to remove or reduce them. The most common types of risk assessments in workplaces include fire, manual handling, display screen, and COSHH, but since 2020, a COVID risk assessment has become an essential part of a businesses’ duty to its employees and customers. For businesses with fewer than five employees there isn’t a requirement to have a written risk assessment, but it’s certainly best practice to have carried one out.

Support to manage risk

Support is available from Hertfordshire Growth Hub to help businesses in the County plan for the future. The website’s Knowledge Bank contains a wealth of videos, templates, and articles. The Stay Safe, Stay Open package of support, delivered in partnership with Hertfordshire with Visit Herts and Better Business for All, offers eligible businessesfully funded 1:1 support with health and safety advice and updating risk assessments to ensure that they can continue to trade safely and plan for future.

Grow with us





Hertfordshire Corporate Business Business HertfordshireChamber's Chamber's Diamond Diamond Club Club for for Corporate Hertfordshire Chamber's Diamond Club for Corporate Business Leaders, is a fantastic forum for the county’s largest businesses, with Leaders, is a fantastic forum for the county’s largest businesses, with Leaders, is a fantastic forum forother the county’s largest businesses, opportunities to with likeminded senior leaders. with opportunities to connect connect with other senior leaders. opportunities to connect with other likeminded senior leaders. The private sector sector TheDiamond DiamondClub Club is is aimed aimed at at both both public and private The Diamond Club is aimed at both public and private sector organisations with a vested interest in the county and beyond. organisations with a vested interest and beyond. organisations with a vested interest in the county and beyond.

BENEFITS BENEFITS BENEFITS Thisexclusive exclusivemembership membership is is dedicated dedicated to the needs This needs and and support support

This exclusive membership to the needs and support ofC-Suite C-Suite Senior Leadershipis& &dedicated Directors and includes: of Senior Leadership Directors includes: of C-Suite Senior Leadership & Directors and includes: Thought-provoking, content content led led discussions with Thought-provoking, with influential influential Thought-provoking, content led discussions with influential speakers, on topics such as: speakers, on topics such as: speakers, on topics such as: Understanding and and addressing addressing ESG (environmental, (environmental, social - -Understanding social and and -governance) Understanding and addressing ESG (environmental, social and and climate change governance) and climate change governance) and climate change Addressingworkforce workforce skills gaps - -Addressing skills gaps -- Addressing workforce skills gaps Principles of running more efficient operations - Principles of running more efficient operations - Principles of running more efficient operations Invitationsto to three three high-profile high-profile lunches lunches at Invitations at prestigious prestigious venues venues Invitations to three high-profile lunches at prestigious venues throughout the year. throughout the year. throughout rates the year. Discounted to attend attend aa Chamber Chamber Golf Golf Day Discounted rates to Day in in Summer Summer 2022. 2022. Discounted rates to attend a Chamber Golfyour Day business in Summer 2022. Be part of wider conversations and ensure voice Be part of wider conversations and ensure your business voice is is Be part of wider conversations and ensure your business voice is heard. heard. heard. Membership of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) Premier Premier Membership of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) Premier Membership of the British 53 Chambers of Commerce (BCC) accredited network, incorporating incorporating UK Chambers accredited network, 53 UK Chambers accredited network, incorporating 53 UK Chambers Businessevent event invitations invitations which which are are tailored tailored to Business to specific specific Business event invitations which are tailored to specific audiences & industries. audiences & industries. audiences & industries. Four vouchers to attend a Chamber Lunch, Breakfast or Summit Four vouchers to attend a Chamber Lunch, Breakfast or Summit Four vouchers of your choice to attend a Chamber Lunch, Breakfast or Summit of your choice of your choice CEO Support and local intelligence Herts Chamber Herts Chamber CEO Support and local intelligence Herts Chamber CEO Support and local intelligence Marketing opportunities Marketing opportunities Marketing opportunities Access to online global marketplace Access to online Access to online global global marketplace marketplace And much more! And much more! And much more!

GET IN TOUCH GET IN TOUCH GET IN TOUCH To find out more about becoming a Member of the To find out more about becoming a Member of the

To find out more about becoming a Member of the Diamond Club please contact: Diamond Club please contact: Diamond Club please contact:

Gemma Rydqvist Gemma Rydqvist Gemma Rydqvist Head of Membership Head of Membership Head of Membership Email: Email: Email: Mob: 07377 361609 Mob: 07377 361609 Mob: 07377 Office: 01707 502185 Office: Office: 01707 01707 502185

“Inbecoming becomingaarecent recentPatron Patronofof “In Hertfordshire Chamber Commerce, “In becoming a recent Patron of Hertfordshire Chamber ofofCommerce, itit wasaanatural naturalChamber stepfor forCAE CAE get Hertfordshire of Commerce, it was step totoget was a natural step for CAE to get involved more and sponsor Herts involved more and sponsor Herts involved more and membership sponsor Hertsoffering Chamber’s newest membership offering Chamber’s newest Chamber’s newest membership offering – the Diamond Club. CAE has over 300 – the Diamond Club. CAE has over 300 –staff the with Diamond Club. CAE has 300 withaavested vested interest thecounty, county, staff interest ininover the staff with a vested interest in the county, so what better way to give something so what better way to give something so what better way to give something back bysupporting supporting the region’s most back by the region’s most back by supporting the region’s most influentialbusiness businessleaders leadersand and influential influential business leaders and organisations togrow grow theirknowledge, knowledge, organisations to their organisations grow their knowledge, influenceand andto connectivity. amreally really influence connectivity. I Iam influence and connectivity. am really lookingforward forward tohelp helpthe theIChamber Chamber looking to looking forward to help the Chamber enhance thecounty’s county’s business enhance the business enhance the county’s business environment and working environment andencourage encourage working environment and encourage working together togetheras asaaregion.” region.” together as a region.” Richard RichardBehan Behan Richard Behan Development Chief ChiefCorporate Corporate DevelopmentOfficer Officer Chief Corporate Development Officer CAE Technology Services CAE Technology Services CAE Technology Services

The Thenext nextlunch lunchwill willbe betaking takingplace placeon on The next lunch will be taking place on Thursday Thursday10th 10thMarch March2022, 2022,atat Thursday 10th March 2022, at Knebworth KnebworthBarns. Barns. Knebworth Barns. We Weare aredelighted delightedto to We are delighted to have Paul Graham, have Paul Graham, have Paul Graham, GB GBManaging ManagingDirector Director GB Managing Director at Britvic speaking at Britvic speakingatat at Britvic speaking at this thislunch lunchon onthe thetopic topic this lunch on the topic of ofdiversity diversityand and of diversity and impact on his business. inclusion inclusionand andits its impact on his business. inclusion and its impact on his business. Following a variety of commercial roles Following a variety of commercial roles Following a variety of commercial at both United Biscuits and Mars roles at both United Biscuits and Mars at both United Biscuits and Mars Confectionery, Paul Graham joined Confectionery, Paul Graham joined Confectionery, Paul Graham joined Britvic as GB General Manager in Britvicas asGB GBGeneral GeneralManager Managerinin Britvic September 2012. He was then appointed September2012. 2012.He Hewas wasthen thenappointed appointed September GB Managing Director in July 2013. GB Managing Director in July 2013. GB Managing Director in July 2013. With over 25 years’ experience working Withover over25 25years’ years’experience experienceworking working With with major FMCG companies, Paul leads withmajor majorFMCG FMCGcompanies, companies, Paulleads leads with the business in identifying thePaul right the business in identifying the right the business in identifying thetoright trends and consumer insight create a trendsand andconsumer consumerinsight insighttotocreate create a trends broad and relevant soft drinks portfolioa broad and relevant soft drinks portfolio broad relevant soft drinks that is and fit for purpose today andportfolio in years thatisisfit fitfor forpurpose purposetoday todayand andininyears years that to come. Paul has a BSc in Management to come. Paul has a BSc in Management to come. Paul a BSc in Management Sciences from has Manchester University Sciences from Manchester University Sciences from Manchester and is President of the The University British Soft andisisPresident Presidentofofthe theThe TheBritish BritishSoft Soft and Drinks Association. DrinksAssociation. Association. Drinks INSPIRE 61


The Last Word

Simon Littlewood CEO


Q Why did you join the Chamber?

Membership of the Chamber feels like a partnership. We’ve already been welcomed to events and introduced to some great people in the county who also have an ambitious growth mindset.

Q What do you do?

I’m the Chief Executive of Estu, which means I spend my time with the team and some of the world’s top academics and industry experts. We develop effective leadership programmes that deliver proven business results and personal growth for our learners.

Q Who do you work for?

Estu is a training and development business that links individuals’ learning journeys directly to organisational impact. Great programmes mean motivated, engaged teams and positive results. We’re lucky to have fantastic collaborators from leading universities and organisations such as Google X, McKinsey, Adidas and Pfizer.




Hertfordshire is exploding with opportunities for organisations at the moment and we recognise the value of the Chamber’s role in connecting businesses and individuals across the county. Part of our commitment is to play as full a part as we can, working together with local businesses to help ensure that everyone benefits.

Q What do you get from it?

Membership of the Chamber feels like a partnership. We’ve already been welcomed to events and introduced to some great people in the county who also have an ambitious growth mindset. The team provides a thoughtful and curated approach to ensure that everyone gets the most out of their activities.

Q How has it helped your network?

By providing direct and indirect introductions, the Chamber has helped to promote the Service Innovation programme specifically for businesses in Hertfordshire. We’re running this with the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the Royal College of Art. It’s an exceptional opportunity for businesses to increase sales, innovate successfully and build value with some of the world’s top commercial designers. For more information visit https://www.hertfordshirelep. com/business/service-innovation/

Q What advice would you give to someone starting out in business?

Always do the right thing with quality, integrity and for the right reasons. A lot of success is about collaborating well and developing

meaningful relationships with customers and partners. Also, we’re shifting from defining business viability only in terms of profitability to operating sustainable business models, which has a much wider impact.

Q What’s the biggest challenge in running and growing a business?

Growth comes from engaging new customers and/or partnerships and then delivering quality at scale. This means really thinking about the processes that support your activities and empowering the team to deliver great customer experiences.

Q What support do you

want from government?

Clarity and policy consistency from government help businesses to plan with confidence. There are some excellent publicly funded programmes available across Hertfordshire. I’d say: use the Chamber, the Hertfordshire Growth Hub and the University, and find out what’s there to help you.

Q How confident are you that your business will grow in the future?

I’m confident and never complacent. We’re constantly building the team and connections to help us continue to grow. Our Net Zero Leaders programme, which can be funded by the apprenticeship levy, is a good example of a big growth area for us. Similar to Service Innovation, we’re supporting organisations to develop their people and their business for the future.

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08/03/2021 12:08