Inspire January 2023

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54 January - February 2023 p4 The business magazine of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce INSIDE Skills Skills shortages are impacting businesses across all sectors Profile Baroness Martha Lane Fox new President of the British Chambers of Commerce Patron Focus Denise Austin, co-owner of Pearldrop Ltd Spotlight Focus Area Welwyn Hatfield supporting local economic growth worldwide p6 p10 p13 p16 WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP

Viatris, Proud Sponsor of the Women in Leadership Conference

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Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce

The Herts Chamber has achieved some amazing things in 2022 and we would just like to reflect on how great this year has been.

It is impressive that the international trade department of the Chamber helped export over £600m. It processed 4,000 documents this year alone and assisted 223 companies to export to over 121 countries!

The events team at the Chamber have had a year to remember too. They managed to pull off


111 events including their first sustainability conference.

The Membership team has helped to expand the Chamber, our patrons have grown to 27 and the Chamber has now surpassed a thousand members!

Herts Chamber is possibly more visible than it has ever been – we now have over 30k followers across all social media; and each edition of our Inspire Magazine has an excess of 10k readers.

We are proud of our involvement in the Hertfordshire Local Skills Improvement Plan.

We hope organisations, particularly SMEs, will be given a much stronger voice in local skills planning with colleges, universities and other training providers.

Of course, there is no time to rest on any laurels, the Chamber has many goals for 2023.

We would like to continue to support Hertfordshire businesses and grow the community even further by encouraging businesses to #KeeptheHeartinHerts and collaborate with other businesses in the county.

The plan is to further expand the Chamber and retain current members by continuing to provide networking opportunities, fantastic events and great service.

Talking of great events, our hugely popular Women in Leadership Conference will again be taking place on Friday 3rd March 2023, at the luxurious Sopwell House, St Albans.

The conference this year will highlight the importance of skills and the part role models play in inspiring girls and women to follow their career aspirations. Plenty to look forward to!

Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce York House, Salisbury Square, Old Hatfield, Herts, AL9 5AD

Tel: 01707 502180



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Reflecting proudly on an eventful year Briege
WELCOME to the latest edition of Inspire. Women in Leadership 4-5 Skills 6-8 Profile 10-11 Patron Focus 13 Inspirational Leader 14 Spotlight Focus Area 16-17 Chamber Events 24-27 Keeping the Heart 28-29 in Hertfordshire Entrepreneur Foundation 34 News 35 Net Zero Champions 36-37 Hertfordshire Global 39 Venues 40-41 Environment 42-43 Members News 46 New Members 48-49 Chamber News 50 Health & Wellbeing 51 Members News 52-53 Long Standing 54-55 Members Skills & Development 56 Membership Benefits 59 Economy 61 Last Word 62

WOMEN in Leadership

The Herts Chamber aims to

In 2022, the Chamber held its second women in leadership conference and it will be hosting its third conference on Friday 3rd March 2023, at the luxurious Sopwell House in St Albans. The Chamber continues to work with many women in leadership to inspire, motivate and empower other women and male allies.

The Women in Leadership events are exceptionally popular with the Herts Chamber Members and Non-Members, encouraging others to follow their career dreams and aspirations.

Sally Burton DL High Sheriff of Hertfordshire 2022-2023

Sally Burton DL was declared High Sheriff of Hertfordshire in April 2022. It is a role held for one year.

There have been High Sheriffs for at least 1,000 years. Appointed by the Monarch to be their representative in the county in matters relating to law and order, High Sheriffs are independent, non-political and privately funded, but are hugely influential despite also playing a ceremonial role. The first lady High Sheriff was appointed in 1967, and in 2022 for the first time there are equal numbers of men and women High Sheriffs.

The traditional role of High Sheriff is to support the Judiciary, Police, emergency services and all other agencies involved in crime prevention and the administration of justice. But there is also the opportunity to recognise, promote and thank those who work in the charitable and voluntary organisations, to make a difference to people’s lives, listening, reassuring and supporting, even inspiring them.

Sally’s main focus has been to raise awareness of the challenges created by the pandemic, especially to the vulnerable and those affected by problems caused by addiction to drugs and alcohol. As High Sheriff she has been able to bring agencies together, linking the Courts and Judges, Police, Crown Prosecution Service, Probation, Social Services, charities and voluntary groups, encouraging dialogue and actions which will help to make Hertfordshire a better and safer place in which to live.

A Symposium on Drugs and Alcohol in Hatfield on 7th and 8th February 2023 is intended to launch a platform for debate, understanding and ideas on the way forward.

Now over halfway through her year, Sally has attended nearly 300 events, using each one as an opportunity to make lives better where she can. Her determination to highlight the needs of the vulnerable, the suffering of those caught up in the cycle of addiction to drink and drugs and the recognition of the heroes in Hertfordshire will continue.

The traditional role of High Sheriff is to support the Judiciary, Police, emergency services and all other agencies involved in crime prevention and the administration of justice.
inspire all leaders through the voices of women in leadership.

Resilience is a word often heard when it comes to leadership, but I don’t think I understood what that meant until I started NxSteps Group Ltd, a company aiming to solve the global multi £billion burden of lower-limb MSK injuries and chronic diseases through validated IoT wearable technology.

In 2021, amid a pandemic and facing the woes of product development, I wondered “Is it possible to be too resilient?” Since then I have learnt that time and patience are great teachers. In the moment the struggles and disappointments can be overwhelming, but with perseverance, they can also be great tools for self-reflection and development.

Self-acceptance and being my authentic self has been an important part of this.

Sometimes it’s easy to fall into the traps of being a female founder and what that looks like through the lens of others, but knowing and being myself allows for better connections and relationships which in turn has a net positive impact on business growth.

Finding communities that can provide guidance and support is just as important. Being a part of communities like Hertfordshire Chambers and University Business Incubator and TechNation has kept me accountable, helped with problemsolving, and opened many doors.

It has also been crucial to find circles with similar backgrounds, that can understand the nuances of being a black woman in tech and have the experiences and knowledge to navigate difficult situations.

Building NxSteps has been a great learning and growth opportunity, however, without tuning and strengthening my internal self in preparation to face the needs of the external world it felt like being at sea without a sail to guide my decisions. I now understand that resilience is a muscle that as a leader I need to continuously build in order to guide myself, team and others.

The position of Sales Director is a much coveted role for a sales professional but when you consider that this position is held by just 12% of females it feels like a small but exclusive club.

The role I have within Cawleys - the region’s largest independent recycling and waste management specialists - is to make my team as successful as they can be, with a highly personal managing style, I challenge and praise where necessary.

My journey into sales began with a customer service role for another waste management company, facing regular challenges, I celebrated some very quick wins by being there for the customers and giving feedback to management on how they could improve.

Providing feedback in an open forum, seeing it acted on, and directly impacting the bottom line, gave me confidence. Ever curious of expanding my skills, I went from this role to a field-based customer facing role, quickly progressing to managing an operational depot within two years.

Proving extremely successful, this role enabled me to develop my skills in managing my piece of a large multinational company. Inspired by strong female role models in various aspects of the business pushed me further, without these it may well have been a different story.

Attracted to Cawleys by its strong reputation for nurturing talent and clear career progression, I continue to work with inspirational female leaders and be inspired daily by their achievements. Providing an incredibly supportive working environment, my role at Cawleys has developed my skills and experience further, always striving to be the best, stay humble and listen to others.

There are various barriers for Women in Leadership and one sometimes has to navigate around these in order to move upward but believe in your abilities and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Six tips to successful leadership

As the Foundation Director for Hertfordshire Community Foundation, Hertfordshire’s largest non-statutory grant making charity, it is humbling and rewarding on every level to meet with businesses and individuals who wish to give back to their communities.

Reflecting on my job, and what I have learnt as a women in leadership I would share the following tips:

1 Recognise the talents within your team

I don’t profess to be an expert in everything, and I know colleagues are more knowledgeable on certain topics than I am. I have learnt to recognise the broad range of skills within our team, and I regularly tap into expertise when required.

2 Create an open culture

Almost by stealth, HCF’s culture has evolved in recent years, in part due to growth and team changes. Making a more conscious effort to influence and shape culture can create a more productive, more engaged and higher performing team.

3 Seek continual development

At a time when recruitment is so challenging, investing in your most valuable resource is key. Targeted training has the potential to reduce staff turnover and increase job satisfaction.

4 Admit when you are wrong.

No one is perfect and I am convinced it is much better to speak up. It isn’t a sign of weakness and it helps to create a trusted and open culture.

5 Be confident in your own abilities. When someone challenges you, be prepared to stand up for what you believe and don’t assume that other people’s opinions are more valuable than your own.

6 Celebrate success.

This is something I need to develop! When everyone is so busy it is even more important to step back and acknowledge successes.

Is it possible to be too resilient?
Strive to be the best and learn new skills along the way
Kathryn Wright Sales Director for Cawleys Ltd

Skills shortages are impacting businesses across all sectors

The Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce has been awarded the government-funded program LSIP, Local Skills Improvement Plan. LSIP is designed to bring together businesses and education providers to discuss the skills needed now and for the future. Organisations, particularly SMEs, will be given a much stronger voice in local skills planning with colleges, universities, and other training providers.

Herts Chamber is calling out to all businesses! Skills shortages are impacting businesses in all sectors and at all levels. If you would like to be part of the skills shortage solution, please complete the LSIP survey using the QR code. By completing the survey, you have the potential to benefit all businesses and future employees as well as help the growth of our county’s economy.

Together we can help address the challenge in matching the skills people can offer with the skills that are needed.

So, what might you do?

• Create in-house training programmes to inspire and attract employees and new talent who wish to switch careers.

• Offer apprenticeship schemes (related to in-demand skills) that appeal to the over-50’s. This is a great way to use your Apprenticeship Levy since Apprenticeship Schemes are appropriate to all age groups.

• Develop returner programmes to promote ‘unretirement’ while providing refresher industry training encouraging expertise back into your business.

Step to Your Success

Step2Skills provide Hertfordshire residents aged 18+ with a wide variety of courses and opportunities to learn, upskill and improve their wellbeing and employability. We are part-funded by the Education and Skills Funding Agency and European Social Fund and as such the courses we provide are primarily low-cost.

Our offer includes ICT and digital skills, Employability and work skills courses and workshops and we provide accredited learning including English and maths for those that would like to gain qualifications.

Our Employment Support service helps people with diagnosed or undiagnosed disabilities (covering neurodiversity, mental health, sensory needs or learning and physical disabilities) to find sustainable paid employment, education or training. Specialist advisors work closely with each individual, adapting the service to their needs and providing ongoing personal support until they are fully established in their roles.

We also work alongside businesses to provide tailored support in helping individuals reach their potential as valuable employees and team members. Working together, we can promote greater diversity and opportunity throughout Hertfordshire and help our communities and local businesses become more inclusive and Disability Confident..

To find out more about Step2Skills visit our website: or email us on

Population growth is slowing due to people living longer and a declining birth rate. The result is a seismic shift in our working-age population. As the ageing population takes hold, it forces perceptions of getting older to change as we battle an ongoing talent crisis.

Being in our mid-50s is merely midlife and, for many, still mid-career. With UK job vacancy levels around 1.2 million presently, it does not make economic, business, or logical sense to ignore the potential of older workers as a solution towards the UK’s significant talent shortage.

A 2021 ageism report by Social Values business 55/Redefined quoted that 42% of those over 55 would consider retraining or reskilling to further their work prospects or change career.

• Adapt your employer brand, training opportunities and job vacancy promotions to social media platforms that are more frequented by this demographic audience.

• Become an age-friendly companyadapt your employer brand and ED&I, encouraging access to new or enhanced opportunities.

Hertfordshire Chamber Patrons Tate Recruitment will work closely with 55/Redefined and Career Consultancy Positive Career Advice in 2023 to promote the benefits of training and retaining this valuable generation to businesses while encouraging and inspiring their candidates to upskill and progress their careers. After all, they say life begins at 50.

For more details: or email

Hear from one of our participants: “I’d happily recommend Step2Skills to anyone who needs it, they’ve been really helpful and supportive, and they’ve worked to get me a position that’s right for me and have made me more confident and helped me over the hurdles that I had in the process.”

Almost half of UK workers will be aged 50+ within the next two years!

The structure is proven to be successful, however, there is room to flex the offer to suit the individual who may discover specific interests such as in tax or management accountancy.

It is exciting to see the apprentices supporting each other and for our Level 4 apprentices mentoring the Level 2’s. All apprentices are considered part of the team, joining us at every event, meeting clients, and joining in with our charity and community work. It’s this sense of team that really sets the HB scheme apart.

What Does HB Accountants’ Apprenticeship Scheme offer?

It’s important to know that we are passionate about our apprenticeship scheme and invest heavily into this training as these young people are our future. We want to help them learn all the skills they need but it’s more than this. Despite working with numbers, we’re a peoplefocused business and once someone joins us as an apprentice, we not only care about their education, we care about them as people and their lives outside of work. They become part of the HB family.

This passion is shown in the development of the bespoke HB Accountants Apprenticeship Scheme, which is curated specifically to deliver the skills needed by our apprentices to maximise their future careers and to meet the needs of our clients. We run three schemes covering accountancy, marketing and office management: each one offering the perfect balance of knowledge, behaviours and skills alongside personal development and wellbeing. As well as experience, we support each individual to gain a valuable qualification. For example, our accounting apprentices can study for Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) qualifications and may choose to continue training to become a Chartered Accountant.

Each scheme works closely with the relevant training provider: delivering opportunities to put newly acquired skills into practice and to broaden this knowledge through real-life experience with a cross-section of our clients.

What we do

We work in collaboration with local and national construction industry professionals. We lead the building compliance process, checking plans and inspecting work on site, ensuring our customers and communities benefit from good quality, safe and sustainable buildings.

Our values

Our values highlight that we are in business for the public good and not purely to make a profit. We acknowledge the importance of developing our people both as a business and as a social imperative.

What we give

We want to give our people the qualifications they need to build a successful career. Whether that be young people or older people re-training; we want to give exceptional development opportunities.

OurApprentice Building Control Surveyors undertake a training programme partly based in the office and partly on-site. They work and learn alongside experienced surveyors as they undertake their degree. We also sponsor our graduates to take their professional level qualifications.

Our commitment

To show our commitment we were recently audited by the 5% club. This organisation works with UK employers to inspire positive action for increased and accessible workplace learning. We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded GOLD accreditation!

We’re proud of our investment in our people and this award recognises our significant contribution to their continued development through our ‘earn-and-learn’ schemes

Simon Heywood, Managing Director says “We are delighted to be awarded Gold accreditation! This recognises our people that show a willingness to develop their careers and realise their full potential. Apprenticeship support for all people, no matter their age or previous educational background, is tremendous. I would recommend the apprentice route, to any forward-thinking organisation, attempting to develop a dedicated and knowledgeable team.”

Having just recruited our next cohort of apprentices, we look forward to them joining us in July 2023.

Fresh from receiving their Gold Accreditation at the House of Lords, Hertfordshire Building Control tell us why ‘earn-andlearn’schemes are a great fit in their organisation.
All apprentices are considered part of the team, joining us at every event, meeting clients, and joining in with our charity and community work.

Collaborative approach needed to address skills shortage

Engaging with colleges and universities will play a key role in tackling the skills shortage in the manufacturing sector.

Director Philip Martin said: “The manufacturing sector in general is facing severe recruitment challenges – 82 per cent of businesses report having a problem. And we are in the same boat.

“We have found that there is a lack of courses tailored around what we do as an industry–especially in schools and colleges. Courses that do cover our area are more tailored towards the film industry, whereas we are more about prototyping and engineering.

“The colleges and universities we have spoken to have said their intakes have reduced and fewer people are doing this type of work.”

Philip has already completed the Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) questionnaire that is being shared by the Herts Chamber and encourages other businesses to follow suit.

“We have an excellent culture at Ogle, with a diverse range of projects to work on. We provide the opportunity to work with some of the biggest companies in the world, creating prototypes of projects before they come to market. For the right person, we can provide an incredible career.”

Ogle has invested almost £2m in equipment over the past three years to enable the company to offer the highest quality products for customers ranging from car manufacturers to airlines.

The Letchworth-based company, with a history stretching back almost 70 years, has a highly skilled team but is facing hurdles in finding new talent.

“This is our opportunity to have our voices heard and be able to help shape training provision for the future.

Rigging Team puts training in the spotlight

“We are at the forefront of producing models, prototypes and low volume production parts, and investments such as this help us to maintain our leading market position. But it is important that we have the right talent to help us. We can’t do that alone. Businesses and colleges and universities need to work together for the future.”

For more information about Ogle, visit

Rigging Team launched its 30-month Entertainment Rigger Training Scheme earlier this year to help address the shortage of qualified workers. Trainees will be provided with the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and confidence to enable them to undertake the role of an entertainment rigger and to achieve their National Rigging Certificate (NRC) Level 2.

Adam Searle, Managing Director at Rigging Team, said: “We’re always eager to invest in what will be the next generation of people in our industry. We know it’s still early days, but the trainees we already have on the programme are showing great promise.

“Once the scheme is fully established, I believe it will create a pipeline of new talent for the live events sector.

“We are passionate about providing opportunities for young people and actively work to inspire individuals to not only exemplify our company values, but also to recognise and achieve their full potential.”

Jake Field, the first trainee hired for the scheme, said: “I’m looking forward to developing my experience and knowledge. I’m excited to be able to utilise my core skills and interests and am confident that Rigging Team is the best environment for me to further my career in rigging.”

The initiative has been introduced as part of Rigging Team’s long-term aim of developing

new talent, particularly during what is a severe skills shortage within the industry.

Founded in 2010, Rigging Team works internationally, providing rigging and professional services to the live events, TV and film industries.

For more information about this opportunity, visit:

A Stevenage-based rigging specialist is confident its training scheme will “create a pipeline of new talent for the live events sector”.
Ogle Models and Prototypes is already working closely with training providers to guide course content, as well as offering placements and graduate opportunities.

Is inheritance tax the most contentious tax?

It brought in over £6bn for the government in the last tax year and our research shows it’s as unpopular as ever. Mark Collins, Head of Tax at Handelsbanken Wealth and Asset Management looks at why it’s going to catch out more of us.

Inheritance tax (IHT) is a highly emotive topic. With the IHT threshold (the point at which estates become liable for IHT) frozen until 2028, and inflation rising, an increasing number of estates will be required to pay IHT in the coming years. Little surprise, then, that more than half (52%) of UK adults would like to see IHT scrapped, or at least reduced, according to our research1

As part of the recent Autumn Statement, the UK government made the decision to maintain the IHT ‘nil rate’ band threshold at £325,000 until 2028. To reiterate, this is the point at which estates become large enough to be deemed liable to pay IHT (currently payable at a rate of 40% of the estate’s value). Meanwhile, asset prices (including property prices) have been rising: as more estates rise in value, more will move beyond the threshold for IHT, further increasing government income from this unique tax avenue.

Indeed, HMRC figures show that income from IHT for the 2021/22 tax year reached a record £6.1bn. This marked a 14% (£729m) increase on the previous tax year – the largest single-year increase since 2015/16.

What did our survey tell us about views on IHT?

Our survey covered 2,000 adults around the country, and revealed strong feelings about IHT, as you can see below. While there was plenty of common ground, we also saw divergence by age and gender groups, and by location around the country.

Will IHT ever be scrapped?

It’s clear that cutting or dropping IHT would be a popular move, but it’s probably safe to rule out the scrapping/reduction of IHT in the short term, given the current debate about government spending and tax cuts.

IHT income for the government is at an all-time high (both in terms of the total amount received, and as a percentage of GDP), underlining its importance to government funding. Indeed, forecasts indicate that the government’s income from IHT will rise to more than £6.7bn in the current tax year (2022/2023) – a potentially critical resource as the government looks to reduce its spending and make back some of the funding paid out over the COVID-19 era.

How should I manage my exposure to IHT liabilities?

Like much of the tax system, IHT rules are not especially straightforward. Besides the £325,000 nil rate band, anyone leaving their property to direct descendants is entitled to an extra £175,000 ‘residential nil rate band’, assuming their estate does not exceed £2m. This enables an estate to reach £500,000 before becoming liable for IHT. Further, if one partner dies and leaves their estate to their spouse or civil partner, their partner will not pay IHT on this inheritance. Indeed, they will then be able to add the unused percentage of their allowance to their partner’s, enabling them to pass on up to a combined £1m before IHT kicks in.

We believe that the nuanced detail around IHT legislation only serves to further highlight the importance of seeking good financial advice. As ever, we recommend regularly reviewing your affairs to ensure that you are managing your wealth in the most tax-efficient way possible, and keeping your long-term needs at the forefront of your plan.

More than a quarter of men (27%) think it should be kept the same, compared to just 17% of women

Those aged 50-64 were the most likely to believe it should be scrapped completely

Those aged 18-35 were the most likely to believe it should be kept the same

Mark Collins, Head of Tax Handelsbanken Wealth and Asset Management

Handelsbanken Hertford

Ground Floor, Sherwood House, 5 Bluecoats Avenue, Hertford, SG14 1PB

T. 01992 538916


1. Study conducted by independent research company Opinion among a nationally and politically representative sample of 2,000 UK adults aged 18-plus between 21-23 September 2022 using an online methodology

31% 25%
Over half of UK adults think inheritance tax should be reduced or removed completely.
52% 27% 17%

A sit-down with Baroness Martha Lane Fox, new President of the British Chambers of Commerce

Given your vast and varied experience, what advice can you offer to entrepreneurs?

Firstly, being an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone. We’ve created an incredible respect and understanding of entrepreneurship, way more in this country even than when we were starting lastminute. com. Businesses are being started way more frequently and if you look at the numbers, we have many, many more entrepreneurs or people that call themselves entrepreneurs in the country. But I don’t think everybody needs to be one. It’s hard starting your own business. It’s not for everybody.

Back at the dawn of the dot-com era, Martha Lane Fox founded with her business partner Brent Hoberman. After growing the business to become one of the leading e-commerce brands in Europe with a valuation of $1 billion, they took the business public in 2000. This experience set the tone for the rest of Martha’s working life, which has ‘always encompassed something digital or something entrepreneurial’.

A catastrophic car accident in 2004 resulted in the complete reorganisation of Martha’s working life, leading her to work across the public, private and governmental sectors in the years since. Martha has sat on boards for a range of organisations, including Channel 4, Marks and Spencer, Twitter and Chanel. She has worked in Government for Gordon Brown and David Cameron, helping to set up the Government Digital Service and, and sits in the House of Lords as a crossbench peer. She has also set up a karaoke business called Lucky Voice, founded the Doteveryone think-tank and currently chairs WeTransfer.

Her varied experience highlights the fact that Martha doesn’t fit into just one box. She enjoys pulling the threads between her work across sectors and looks forward to bringing this wealth of knowledge to the British Chambers of Commerce in her new role as President.

That doesn’t mean you can’t think like one, it doesn’t mean you can’t use the skills of an entrepreneur in whatever you’re doing. That to me means being able to ask good questions constantly, not feel as though anything’s off limits in terms of understanding, being persistent. Often work is boring. And no more boring work happens than when you’re starting a business. You have to do every job, some of which are boring. You have to go to people hundreds of times to get them to say yes to one thing.

The second thing is, if you are starting your own business and you can find somebody to work with, it’s immensely rewarding. These are tough times, but if you can share that burden, you can see around more corners. I think that’s the thing that I come back to again and again – if you find that right partner, it can be immensely rewarding.

As the new president of the BCC, what excites you about the future of British businesses, and also the BCC and the Chamber Network across the UK?

One of the reasons that I was thrilled to join the BCC is because it does seem to represent the best of British. It’s got an amazing voice and punches way above its weight. I respect how Chambers, on an individual level but also at a national level, have built a real force to be reckoned with, that the Government takes seriously which is no mean feat.

I think on a more personal level for me, I was very excited to become President because I hope to be able not only to learn, which I’m sure I will from all of the Chambers, but also, because I’ve got this slightly strange and eclectic mix of experience, I hope I can add something into the mix as well and bring some of that to bear.


It would be insane of me to sit here and say that we weren’t in a tough spot. This is not an ideal moment. We’re facing some very strong headwinds; at the individual business level whether it’s rising costs and supply chains, but also at the national level. We have massive skills problems. We have rising inflation. We have challenges. But I’m sure that this country has incredible innovation and immense potential to keep reinventing itself and keep building business.

We need different voices being raised up. We need to make sure that different voices are embedded in the heart of policymaking. And that is what the BCC is doing, what I know the businesses that work in the Chamber Network are doing and what I want to help do as well.

What area do you think holds significant potential to grow the British economy and businesses over the coming years?

Firstly, we haven’t even begun to digitise yet. Everything that can be digitised is going to be. The software revolution is only just starting. I’m sure some of the businesses in the Network think ‘oh my god, I can’t cope with any more technology’ but I’m sorry, I have to tell you that we haven’t even seen the beginning of it. And there are therefore still massive opportunities not only to reinvent your own business, but also to reinvent us as a country and the skills we have and services we offer.

The second area just has to be climaterelated innovation. Whether it’s energyrelated innovation or whether it’s climate tech-related innovation, or food reinvention, there are so many opportunities. I think we, as a country, have huge heritage in manufacturing, in agriculture, in all the things that need to be reinvented. So those are areas that I think are very exciting, and those are going to be the trillion-pound businesses of the future, so we want to be able to gobble up as much of them as possible - improving the planet and our profits in the process.

What will the digital revolution of the coming years look like for businesses?

We need to encourage all businesses to constantly think of themselves as digital businesses in order to be able to survive by 2030. And that means investing in infrastructure, reimagining processes, upskilling, reimagining their products and services.

The challenge with this is it doesn’t stop, it’s not like a checkbox. Digital transformation is a never-ending process, which again, probably will fill many of our members with horror because they think ‘oh I’ve just completed that IT project’. But the truth is, we don’t take enough advantage of the digital world in this country.

When I started my business in the 90’s, I imagined that by the mid 2020s we’d have digital entrepreneurs everywhere, in all shapes, sizes, colours, backgrounds, and we haven’t, so there’s a massive opportunity in upskilling more of our general population. More women, more people of colour, more people from different socioeconomic backgrounds, if they’ve got different technical skills, I believe they will be able to start better businesses and grow the whole pie for everyone. So, from every angle, there’s still work to do, but I’m hugely optimistic. We’re a small country. We’ve got so many of the factors. We just need to keep pushing.

You started the Lucky Voice chain of karaoke bars – where did the inspiration for this business stem from?

It came from a love of Japan. I love travelling to Japan. I went a couple of times when I was younger. And then two friends said, ‘why has nobody ever done karaoke like the Japanese?’ So, we did, we started it. And now we’ve got about 12 venues, some in franchises around the country, and it’s going gangbusters. I think people more than ever after COVID want to spend money on things that feel more meaningful than just going to the pub or eating food that’s way overpriced.

I’m not running it, but I’m close to it. I have a hand in small business. I do understand

the challenges of a cash flow. We’re thinking constantly about what does this mean looking into the next year, not knowing whether people are going to have cash in their pockets to want to go and enjoy our services. So, I feel that very keenly and I look forward to sharing those experiences with members.

I really am looking forward to coming around the country and meeting businesses. I feel I’m so lucky to have a small voice in this country, and I want to deploy it by understanding what’s going on. One of the absolute joys of doing the work I did in Government in the past was getting the opportunity to go around and get a fast track into different parts of the country. And I’m really looking forward to doing that again. I’m going to Manchester soon, to Poole, to Birmingham and I plan to be in other places too. I’m really looking forward to meeting Chambers and their members.

What are your interests outside of your very busy working life?

I love reading. I read all the time. I was absolutely thrilled last year to chair the Women’s Prize for Fiction judges. The winner was a novel called Hamlet by Maggie O’Farrell which is completely astonishing. I love that. But for non-fiction, I’ve just finished reading a book called The Changing World Order, by a private equity expert called Ray Dalio. He’s American. He’s very famous, he founded Bridgewater. But he’s written about how empires rise and fall and what the economics behind that is and how it can predict the future and what it means for business.

Basically, my time is taken up by reading, in the karaoke bars or with my two six-yearolds – and that’s enough!

I really am looking forward to coming around the country and meeting businesses. I feel I’m so lucky to have a small voice in this country, and I want to deploy it by understanding what’s going on.

AYes and no. Long Covid could amount to a disability for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010. “Disability” is one of the protected characteristics under the Act imposing added duties upon the employer.

Can an employer assess the employee’s ability to work and take appropriate action?





Covid is still here, although under much better control. However, there are increasing numbers of us living with Long Covid with long-term symptoms and debilitating effects. How does this impact on an employer’s duties in the workplace?

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.

AThe condition is not automatically a disability but if it amounts to a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on an employee’s ability to carry out day-to-day activities, it will come within the protection of the Act.

adverse effect” mean?

AThe “adverse effect” needs to be more than minor or trivial and needs to affect one’s day-to-day functioning whether physically or mentally. “Long-term” means a condition that has, or is likely to last, 12 months or more.

A No, the employer must obtain appropriate medical input whether from occupational health or a specialist before making any decisions. The obtaining of such medical input also amounts to a “reasonable adjustment”.

Q What are the consequences of discriminating against a disabled employee with Long Covid?

AWith discrimination claims, there is no compensation limit. The employee can claim for uncapped future losses, including loss of earnings. They can also claim for injury to feelings, which in extreme cases can be up to £49,300.

AAn employer is required to make reasonable adjustments to facilitate the continuing employment of the disabled employee. This may mean, for example, being prepared to adjust working times, allow rest breaks or working from home, if feasible. Also, an employer must not discriminate directly or indirectly against the disabled person. This is in addition to the usual fairness and reasonableness requirements in respect of an ill employee and their absence.

Q An employee with Long Covid has been absent for six months. Can I just dismiss them?

AYes and no. Yes, if you have conducted a fair process within which you have obtained proper medical input. The prognosis would need to be that the employee will be unable to return to work in the foreseeable future and the impact on the business is such that the employer cannot reasonably sustain further absence. No, if you simply dismiss them.

• • 01992 300333 • • 24 Castle Street Hertford SG14 1HP
Q Does it not impact in the same way as any other medical condition and the need to manage absence?
Q When would Long Covid amount to a “disability”?
Q What does “long-term
Q What additional duties does the Equality Act 2010 impose in respect of a disabled employee?
Tried and trusted since 1819 A progressive firm of specialist solicitors advising individuals, families and businesses LEGAL MATTERS If you have staff who have Long Covid or a disability and have any questions about your obligations as an employer, please get in touch for advice.

Hollywood-quality corporate films - in Hertfordshire!

“The days of the dull corporate video are long gone, and good riddance to them,” says Denise Austin, co-owner of Pearldrop Ltd “People are digesting content differently to how they were 15 years ago. They’re watching high-quality, engaging films and tv on Netflix, so why shouldn’t they expect the same when watching corporate videos, too?”

Video has long been one of the most powerful weapons in the marketeer’s arsenal – a video on your landing page can boost your conversion rates by over 80%, according to one study – but post-Pandemic, it’s become even more important. Got a product to sell? Get a video about it on your website. Got staff training to carry out? Don’t get everyone in one place, wasting time and resources – create a video-based training package and let everyone learn at their own pace. Got a case study to highlight? Make a film about it. The science says that people are far more likely to watch than read.

Founded in 2003, Pearldrop has evolved with the market. “Today,” says Denise, “we’re making content for more platforms than ever before, each with its own language and style. Instagram, for example, is perfect for releasing short, sharp, digestible video messages in portrait format. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is fast becoming the video platform of choice for companies who want to market products to their customers in a more thoughtful way. A video on LinkedIn is a potent way of catching people’s attention as they scroll through their timelines.”

Pearldrop, whose clients include some of the world’s largest blue-chip companies as well as Hertfordshire-based SMEs, is very conscious of providing video content in multiple formats. Whenever possible, they’ll look to create Instagram and Twitter shorts to go along with a company’s main film. It’s all about maximising the amount of content that can be created at one time and squeezing every penny out of the budget. And even though Hertfordshire is fast overtaking Hollywood - thanks to the arrival of so many big studios in the area –companies don’t need to worry that a high-quality corporate film is going to come with a blockbuster-sized price tag. Pearldrop is able to use many of the same cameras, sound and lighting equipment as the big Hollywood studios, but they recognise that their content needs to be affordable as part of wider marketing strategy.

Over the years, Pearldrop has grown mostly through delivering top-notch content and developing strong relationships with their customers. Being a Patron of the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce has helped them develop those relationships in the local area. Denise says, “We have just created a suite of content for Sherrards Solicitors, based in St Albans, and over the last few years we’ve produced work for many of the Hertfordshire Borough Councils, Hertfordshire County Council and a variety of Hertfordshire-based charities

like Herts Young Homeless. Being a Patron of the Chamber has really helped us open the door to these companies and build strong relationships with them.”

Denise is excited about the future and the opportunities to develop the business further. “There is a flourishing creative sector, with all the new studios being built in Hertfordshire, and we aim to be right at the heart of it.”

And even though Hertfordshire is fast overtaking Hollywoodthanks to the arrival of so many big studios in the area – companies don’t need to worry that a high-quality corporate film is going to come with a blockbuster-sized price tag.

Taking the Hogwarts experience around the world

“Our business is constantly moving and developing and becoming more engaging and interactive (with many new photo opportunities for example) as we bring the film making process to life, this is especially true for our localization to the Japanese market.”

As the Studio Tours and Retail business has grown, so has Sarah’s role.

“In addition to Leavesden, I now have teams in LA, New York and Tokyo. I really enjoy the opportunity to work with other cultures, adapt communication styles and build a cohesive, international team. Although, working across three time zones comes with its challenges!”

Sarah’s approach is to be honest/ be herself, trust others and treat everyone as she would like to be treated “The reality is that every workplace needs everyone. The best performance comes from a diverse team, who bring to the table different ideas and perspectives and are prepared to step forward in the good times and the tough”.

Local relationships

From a local perspective and as an employer how has the studio engaged with the community to the mutual benefit of both parties?

She was tempted away from a job she loved at the Royal Maritime Museum in Greenwich by the opportunity to set up a new attraction featuring one of the world’s most loved brands - Harry Potter.

It’s a challenge Sarah has relished. Over the years her role has grown to include Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood; Harry Potter store in New York and the new Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo, opening in Japan next year.

“I feel very lucky to have such an interesting and challenging role – I think it’s the best job in the world!”

Sarah continues: “As part of the my original interview I was asked how I would deliver a very special, high-quality experience, and I had the opportunity to create something new and ground breaking with the support and enthusiasm of such a wonderful team at the Tour – I think our exceptional visitor enjoyment and satisfaction scores tell the best story”.

High standards and excellent service

In terms of leadership, one of the most valuable things Sarah has learnt over the years is that without happy, engaged staff delivering exceptional customer service and consistent high standards, no amount of spellbinding content will make it a success. “We know that visitors will rate their experience much higher if they have had an interaction with a member of staff”, she says.

When Sarah joined the company, her role focused on creating and launching Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, after a few years there was a Studio Tour in Hollywood, and then Harry Potter New York in 2021, taking elements of the Tour into a retail setting. Now the focus is on Tokyo.

“It’s been a fascinating process to work with the original filmmakers to recreate the sets –this authentic attraction will be even bigger and have many new sets and interactives that are unique to Japan”.

“We are lucky to work in such a wellconnected, vibrant and diverse district. Around 80% of our staff live in the local area so the business is very much grounded in the community”.

Sarah explains that from the start the studio has built lasting, meaningful relationships with a broad range of local charities, schools and organisations many of which have a connection to its staff.

“As a company we offer sponsorship, fundraising, volunteering and skills sharing, importantly it’s a two-way partnership. We’ll ask for help from subject experts on a wide range of things from reviewing Tour accessibility for visitors and to sourcing new recruits”.

She concludes: “We also see a commercial connection with the ripple effect of the Tour on the local area as we work with and support local suppliers and visitors want to use local hotels, restaurants and taxis”.

Sarah Roots joined Warner Bros. Studio Tour London –The Making of Harry Potter over 12 years ago.


5 important statistics that all business owners should know

Cyber attacks are on the rise, and businesses of all sizes are being targeted more frequently. Cyber criminals are also employing increasingly sophisticated tactics to bypass cybersecurity measures, meaning it is more important than ever for businesses to protect against cyber attacks.

1) 95 percent of cybersecurity breaches are caused by human error.

This could be the unintentional action, or lack of action taken by employees and users that cause, spread or allow a security breach to take place.

2) There were over 400,000 reports of fraud and cybercrime in the UK last year.

This figure does not account for breaches caused by human error, so the total number will be much higher.

3) In 2021 UK Businesses lost more than £736m through business cyber crime.

The cost of a cyber breach can range from thousands up to millions. It’s important to understand your cyber risk and invest in adequate cyber insurance to protect your business.

4) Four in ten businesses (39%) and a quarter of charities (26%) report having experienced cyber security breaches or attacks in the last 12 months. Sectors that are at increased risk of cyber crime include banking and financial companies, healthcare and hospitality providers, legal firms and small businesses.

5) In 2021 there were, on average, 270 attacks (unauthorized access of data, applications, services, networks or devices) per company over the year, an increase of 31% compared with 2020.

Cyber criminals are becoming increasingly persistent, and often a business will be subject to a range of different cyber attacks.


and Training

Robust cybersecurity is an essential investment to protect your business, regardless of size or industry. Cyber insurance policies also require businesses to have adequate cybersecurity measures in place.

It is also important to provide frequent employee training to stay ahead of the increasingly sophisticated methods used by cyber criminals. Some cyber policies even offer employee cybersecurity training, to help reduce the risk of claims caused by human error.

Cyber Insurance

Cyber insurance cover helps your business offset the costs of recovery after a cyber-related security breach, loss of data, a ransomware attack or a similar event.

A comprehensive cyber and crime policy will provide financial compensation for the direct costs incurred to the business and any liabilities payable to third parties following a cyber attack or data breach.

Many policies also offer Cyber Breach Response Support, an invaluable resource when dealing with cyber-attacks. These services can include crisis containment, PR and reputation management and independent legal advice.

Contact Us

Rebecca Sugden 01462 439 849 | 07971 501 757

For the full article and references, please visit
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How can I protect my business from cyber-attacks?


Welwyn Hatfield

What attracts business to Welwyn Hatfield?

A skilled and ready workforce, excellent transport links, and a business-friendly environment are just a few of the reasons why many businesses proudly call Welwyn Hatfield their home. Strategically located for easy access to the whole of Hertfordshire, London, Oxford and Cambridge, businesses know they will be able to attract and retain the people needed to make their businesses thrive. There are a wide range of facilities available, from SME and start-up office space in HatTech and WelTech business centres, to a mix of industrial and campus facilities, the historic Towns of Welwyn Garden City, Hatfield and the Villages provide a unique backdrop for business.

In what way do you work with/help

local businesses?

Working in partnership is key to success, ensuring the public sector can unlock any barriers preventing businesses from growing. At HatTech and WelTech, two Council-operated business centres, smaller organisations are given an environment to collaborate and thrive, with popular workshops hosted on key topics. The Council also has a dedicated Economic Development Officer, who is able to act as a first point of contact and provide support. Our approach is typified by our Welwyn Hatfield business forum, where businesses are encouraged to participate in a Forum with other businesses, supported by the Council, to influence decisions affecting businesses in the area and find out how to access training and support. The Council also works in

The Council has also given out £31m of grants to businesses using COVID related funding from the Government.

What skills/talent are available locally and what impact do they have on the region?

With national and regional training providers such as the University of Hertfordshire and Oaklands College located within the Borough, there is a diverse workforce with a range of skills and experience. This is reflected through the businesses located here, with large supermarket head office campuses, pharmaceutical, technology and public service providers utilising a breadth of skills and talent coming through and to the Borough. Opportunities for collaboration and training are at the heart of this, with strong connections between the University and College and many of the employers.

In what areas are there shortages of skills and what can be done about it?

Businesses across the UK are experiencing skills shortages and for many of the borough’s SME businesses this could pose a threat to their growth. Improving the employability of all our residents is critical if we are to achieve local growth, reduce welfare dependency and boost productivity. We recognise that to support people furthest from the labour market into sustained work, much more is needed beyond employment support alone. Working with the borough’s key stakeholders we are addressing specific needs such as physical and mental health – recognising good health improves chances of finding and staying in work.

We are working closely with the Hertfordshire LEPs Careers Hub to support young people to be work ready and linking them in with the business community to help them to understand the skills they will need to meet future demand. Generation Welwyn Hatfield Careers Fair takes place on Friday 24 February 2023 and throughout the day we are expecting over 1,000 students, giving them the opportunity to network with over 40 local businesses.

Reskilling and upskilling are vital aspects of future strategy for businesses looking to avoid skills shortages. We work with partners including the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce to deliver and promote training opportunities for existing employees which support increased motivation, effectiveness, and productivity.

Are there any new developments locally that are providing new jobs/ opportunities for the area?

Like many areas, pressure to make land available for residential development has never been greater, and the past few years have seen landowners utilise a relaxation of the planning system to redevelop commercial sites. That is why it is so important that the Council protects and grows sustainable employment spaces, allocating sites within the emerging Local Plan, and utilising Article 4 Direction powers to restrict the loss of important employment centres.

The Borough has a diverse range of urban and employment sites, from large campuses, to converted agricultural buildings, and it is important that we support and encourage a diverse economy, supporting all sectors. The Garden City and New Town principles of ensuring sustainable local training and employment opportunities, and job growth, alongside the delivery of new housing, is at the heart of the Council’s emerging Local Plan, and the creative re-use of historic buildings for employment purposes has seen positive developments delivered by the Gascoyne Estates.

collaboration with Welwyn Garden City Business Improvement District and businesses in Hatfield to support the vibrancy of our town centres.

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council has been proactive in trying to support businesses in dealing with major challenges, including the coronavirus pandemic, climate emergency and cost of living crisis. From providing grants and advice, to signposting organisations to sources of support, we have tried to actively support our business community wherever possible. One example of this is the LED lighting scheme, which has seen Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, in partnership with Eastern Energy Network, able to offer grants to businesses of up to £5,000 to fully fund projects to reduce their energy bills and become more environmentally sustainable. This includes the opportunity to have a free, energy audit carried out which will identify key energy efficiency improvement opportunities. Businesses receive a concise report outlining key recommendations. Where the energy audit report demonstrates that the business would benefit by changing to LED lighting, the council can provide grant funding for these works to be delivered, reducing costs and tackling climate change.

The Council has also been investing heavily on the public infrastructure and installed significant number of electric vehicle charging points throughout the borough. In fact, the council has the highest growth in the number of EV charging points in the country.

If you had to pick out a priority over the next few years for Welwyn Hatfield –what would that be?

With the range of challenges facing businesses and communities, it has never been harder to pickout only one priority, as it is hard to look at issues in isolation. One of the key priorities for the Council will be increasing the opportunities to collaborate with and listen to our businesses, to ensure that we can adapt our offer to their needs, ensuring that decisions we make place our residents and businesses at the centre, supporting local economic growth.

Datum’s creative use of Hertfordshire space

For 30 years Datum Creative Media has been providing marketing and brand campaign services to clients across a broad range of sectors.

Initially based in Shoreditch in London, in 2000 Datum moved to Hertfordshire, after its biggest client at the time relocated there.

As managing partner Mark Gamble explains, the move out of London worked well and the company hasn’t looked back since.

After 21 years in Hatfield, Datum moved again –but this time just a few miles down the road to Cuffley.

Mark explains that the studio they have in Cuffley is a great facility and the area is surrounded by restaurants, gyms and bars. “The location is fantastic and something similar in Central London would be a lot more expensive.”

Is a location not far from London still important to companies like Datum in an age of virtual meetings?

“Yes, it is still important. A lot of our bigger clients are based in London so I am probably in the city once a week. Most if us (Datum staff) live on the outskirts of London so it is easy travelling. Our office is just a few minutes from the train station and the M25 is close too – it is a good place to be based.”

Recruiting pressures

What about recruiting talent – is it challenging? “To a degree yes,” Mark says. “It is not always easy getting the right people.

A lot of ‘creatives’ want to be based in London and this means you are often competing against London wages. But I think in the last few years people have become less worried about working further away – especially if the working conditions are as good as they are in Cuffley!”

In addition to major clients Datum have worked for over the years, from the likes of Waitrose and Adidas to The Royal Bank of Canada, Mark says there is a good weight of business from locallybased SMEs who have consistently turned to Datums for their marketing and branding needs.

In terms of new business links, Mark says the local Chamber of Commerce has been enormously helpful. “We joined the Chamber about a year ago – we had been a member previously but that was years before. I have been really impressed with the network and training events offered – they are so varied”.

Mark adds: “If you want to know about tax accounting in the Middle East, there is probably a course on it!”

“Training is important to us and this is well provided for by the Chamber.”

The networking opportunities are also welcomed at Datum. “We have been given introductions to some large companies across a broad range of industries at Chamber events – and that is hugely beneficial.”

Welwyn Garden City company with a growing export footprint

Liquidsun is a UK (United Kingdom) manufacturer of dietary supplements and food products –tablets, capsules, liquids, powders, and herbal products.

Founded in 2016, the company has grown significantly over the years. Based in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, it is conveniently close to the city of London and major motorways with its manufacturing operations sited at Essendine, in Rutland county, located in the midlands.

Our facility is audited and accredited by the SGS for Good Manufacturing Practice. We also have ISO, Organic, Kosher & Halal certifications. We offer a flexible and agile approach to delivering on our client’s needs.

The company is an Equal opportunities employer, employing over 40 personnel. It is currently set out over a working area of 4,000 sqm.

Our brand ‘VitaThrive’ is growing organically both in domestic and export markets. Recently our company had successfully launched on Amazon and is receiving very good response from our users. We now have a growing export footprint with clients in the Middle east, Europe, and America.

Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce has been a great asset to our growing business. They assist us in guidance and preparation of export documents in an expeditious manner. They provide us access to valuable resources and seminars that will benefit the skills of our employees. Through lobbying activities, Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce has helped us improve our business’ visibility and credibility.

In terms of business sustainability how is the council supporting local firms to respond to the changing climate?
Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce has been a great asset to our growing business. They assist us in guidance and preparation of export documents in an expeditious manner. They provide us access to valuable resources and seminars that will benefit the skills of our employees.

While the word Estate may evoke images of a sprawling country house and grounds, or millionaires and their yachts, this is a misconception. Everybody has an estate. Whether it is your home, car, other property, savings, investments, personal possessions, we all have one rule we cannot avoid – you cannot take it with you when you die.

You probably want to make sure your estate goes to family, friends or organisations you support, known as Beneficiaries and wish to leave instructions to action this. This is estate planning

Estate Planning and Trusts

- why setting one up would help you and your family

For over 20 years Steve Bish has helped thousands of families with their Estate Planning needs. He is a full member of the Society of Will Writers and a Fellow of the Institute of Paralegals. As well as being fully insured to provide a professional and personal service.

– anticipating, planning and arranging, during a person’s life, how you would like to protect and preserve your assets for loved ones.

A correctly drafted Will could protect your children’s inheritance from future events such as re-marriage after the death of a spouse or care fees in later life.

A Trust is often an essential part of Estate Planning. Lifetime Trusts are made between the Settlor and the Trustees and are used to hold assets for one or more Beneficiaries. As the name suggests, this type of Trust is active during the lifetime of the person making it. A simpler form of Trust is known as a Will Trust

which comes into effect with the passing of the Testator.

Five common reasons why you may need a Trust in your Will are:

• You have children under the age of 18.

• You have children from previous relationships and you want to ensure they receive an inheritance.

• You have a child with a disability or a vulnerable adult as a beneficiary.

• You are concerned about care fees in later life.

• The possibility of a remarriage after the death of a spouse. Nobody likes to think about death but you have worked hard

all your life to provide the best for your family. Making sure you consider their future once you have gone ensures your life’s work is appreciated and not gone to waste. There is also a peace of mind knowing your Beneficiaries are protected and taken care of if the unforeseeable happens.

With any Estate Planning of any size or nature, considering the legal implications of making sure your wishes are carried out to the letter, there is only one common rule –speak to an expert!

Covering all of Hertfordshire and adjoining counties my aim is to give a tailored service addressing the individual needs of my clients.

ESTATE PLANNING TRUSTS WILLS PROBATE LASTING POWER OF ATTORNEY Contact us: 01727 220 930 S Bish Estate Planning Arquen House, 4-6 Spicer Street, St Albans AL3 4PQ

Women in Hertfordshire that are leading the way for growth

The theme for International Women’s Day in 2022 was ‘Break the Bias’, and our county has been and continues to be committed to doing just that.

Here, the Hertfordshire Growth Board is proud to showcase four women – in councillor, officer and housing association senior roles – making a valuable contribution in the development sector and beyond and, ultimately, helping to make our residents’ lives even better…

They would each also highlight the value of working collaboratively across the county, be that with the Hertfordshire Growth Board, the Local Enterprise Partnership, or other organisations supporting economic and place based partnership.

Linda Haysey has been at the forefront of steering strategic growth across Hertfordshire for nearly a decade.

Linda has a wealth of financial and management experience drawn from a successful 25-year career in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, culminating at an English investment bank, running European mergers and acquisitions.

A board-level leader at several key public and private partnerships, Linda has a particular interest in ensuring that different organisations work together to deliver growth in a way that best supports new and existing communities. As Leader of East Herts Council since 2015, she oversaw the adoption of the district’s Local Plan – a piece of work that will shape the future growth of an area spanning a third of Hertfordshire.

Through her contributions to the master planning of major housing sites and as a founding board member for the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town – one of the largest development proposals underway in the country – Linda is committed to delivering highquality new homes and supporting infrastructure to meet the needs of our current and future generations.

Tina Barnard is Chief Executive of Watford Community Housing Association.

“It is my responsibility to ensure that we keep delivering on behalf of our customers.

“Now, more than ever, we need to be creating and maintaining affordable, modern family homes and providing as much support as we can across Hertfordshire’s many communities.

“Having a place to call home is something that everyone in the UK should have access to – I can confidently say that this is what drives me and the wider Watford Community Housing team to keep improving our services, building strong partnerships and advocating for positive, sustainable change within the housing sector.”

Amanda Foley is Chief Executive of St Albans City and District Council, having been appointed in 2017.

She was previously the council’s Head of Corporate Services and, before that, worked in the retail and banking sectors, and the Civil Service. Amanda is currently leading the council through a major transformation programme. This follows lessons learned during the pandemic.

“At work, what is important to me is positive change and collaborative working - change that impacts and directly supports the lives of local residents, particularly those who are most in need, and collaborative working with other local Hertfordshire authorities and our partners where there are opportunities to improve value for money of public services, and to encourage investment in this part of the country.”

Sara Saunders is Head of Planning and Building Control at East Herts Council, with responsibility for overseeing the council’s planning service which includes planning policy, development management, planning enforcement and conservation and urban design.

“The valuable contribution that planners make in solving problems and balancing competing objectives in order to facilitate good growth and placemaking can often be overlooked.

“I believe in strong place-based leadership, and the skills that come with this are critical. The landscape of local government and the planning sector is constantly changing and, while flexibility alongside the need to be visionary and entrepreneurial is important, a willingness to work collaboratively and bring people together is key. I value investing the time in collaborative partnerships and believe that, when you get it right, it can make a real difference to communities and lead to successful outcomes.

“I am keen to ensure that the next generation of planners can continue to make a positive difference on the ground and that there are opportunities within local government for them to grow and develop their careers.”

Hertfordshire is working hard to improve the visibility of women in leadership roles – and many play a vital part across the public and private sectors.
Linda Haysey Tina Barnard Amanda Foley Sara Saunders
Now, more than ever, we need to be creating and maintaining affordable, modern family homes and providing as much support as we can across Hertfordshire’s many communities.

INSPIRE, IGNITE, INNOVATE Opportunity Hertfordshire 2022 leads way forward

Nearly 300 people registered to attend Hertfordshire LEP’s Annual Conference on Thursday 8 December to help inspire and ignite new ideas and fresh ways of thinking.

Speakers drawn from all elements of the local economy –policing, social care, business, government, charities and education – took part in a series of high-octane debates to help drive tomorrow’s innovation and create a greener, fairer society.

Opportunity Hertfordshire 2022, sponsored by Rothamsted Enterprises and University of Hertfordshire, was shaped around the LEP’s key themes for its new economic vision - stimulating innovation and delivering sustainable and inclusive growth.

And in his last Annual Conference as Hertfordshire LEP Chair, Mark Bretton, who is also Chair of the national LEP Network, paid tribute to his fellow Board Members who are also stepping down - Tina Barnard, Cllr Linda Haysey and Baroness Taylor of Stevenage, who recently took up her seat in the House of Lords. Mark took over as Chair of the LEP Board in June 2016 and became Chair of the LEP Network in September 2019. An announcement on his successor and a phased transition period for the Chair Elect will be made in the New Year.

Setting the scene for Opportunity Hertfordshire 2022, presenter John Darin, Heart Radio, said: “Today is not a case of saying this is what we have done – what do you think about it? Instead, we are reframing that conversation by going out to the community to ask what sort of future do you want and how can we shape this together.”

The first debate on innovation was chaired by Dr. Nick de Leon, Executive Education and Knowledge Exchange Lead, Royal College of Art (RCA), the leading university for art and design globally. Nick talked about how the RCA has helped shaped the world around us and how local businesses benefited from the Service Innovation programme piloted by the LEP in 2022 in partnership with RCA and ESTU. Simon Hemington, director of The Boffin Lab, talked about how as a result of the programme he had won an Innovate UK grant to develop a circular economy app.

Sharing the stage with Simon were Linda Chandler from Microsoft, William Stokes from Co-Space and Professor Julie Newlan MBE from the University of Hertfordshire who debated how the county can be more innovative and thrive in the 6,800 or so working days to 2050.

The second debate focused on sustainability, with keynote speaker Nicole Sadd, CEO of Rothamsted Enterprises, joined on stage by Bim Afolami MP from the Parliamentary Renewable & Sustainable Energy Group (PRASEG); Hertfordshire LEP Board member Chris Hulatt from Octopus Group; Tommie Eaton from @BambuuBrush and Raynee De Zoysa from Collida.

In the final debate on inclusive growth, Victoria Hobson, CEO, Mudlarks, talked about how the Hertford charity was positively impacting the lives of adults and young people with learning disabilities and mental health issues.

Other panellists debating this hugely important topic included Daisy Cooper MP, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for

Health and Social Care; Cllr. Lewis Cocking, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire and Sarah Wren OBE, Hertfordshire Independent Living Service.

Delegates also heard about the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise and how businesses can apply from Robert Voss CBE CStJ, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire and Dr. John Howie DL, co-founder of premium natural pet supplements Lintbells and two-time Queen’s Awards winner.

Mark Bretton said: “We heard from a diverse range of speakers about how Hertfordshire LEP is working in partnership to develop an inclusive and sustainable economy that stimulates enterprise and innovation.

Delegates try out the VR headset courtesy of West Herts College

This is in lockstep with the Chancellor’s three growth priorities set out in his Autumn Statement: low carbon economic growth, increasing vital infrastructure, and working with universities to turn innovation into viable businesses by refocussing the Investment Zones programme on R&D.

“If the past few years have taught us anything it is that all elements of the economy must work together if we are to provide a credible route to a brighter, fairer and more sustainable vision for our economy. That starting point is now – as we set down the key aspirations and principles that partners and stakeholders want and the evidence that supports this.”

Neil Hayes, CEO, Hertfordshire LEP, then set out the timescales for developing a new economic strategy structured around the key themes and how this will be taken forward in partnership over 2023.

Delegates were also invited to visit Opportunity Zones which highlighted some of the great work being done locally to support Sustainability, Next Generation/Skills, and Business Acceleration (sponsored by Co-Space).

Sustainable workspace designers JPA Workspaces provided a range of stage furniture made from recycled coffee sacks, cardboard, army fatigues and plastic bottles. Rothamsted Enterprises Head Chef Jeremy Beasley addressed the conference on the importance of food sustainability and provenance, with a specially designed lunch made with ingredients sourced from within a 30-mile radius.

Delegates were welcomed by a festive choir of performing arts students from Oaklands College, with students from Elstree Screen Arts Academy helping to create the Opportunity Hertfordshire showreel and offered valuable work experience on the day. View the video here.

The Opportunity Hertfordshire prospectus set out the county’s global potential across our key sectors, how we are powering enterprise and innovation and creating a high performing, highly skilled economy. View the prospectus.

If the past few years have taught us anything it is that all elements of the economy must work together if we are to provide a credible route to a brighter, fairer and more sustainable vision for our economy. That starting point is now.
Mark Bretton, Chair Hertfordshire LEP and LEP Network
Oaklands College Performing Arts Students

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At LEB we developed this Master’s level apprenticeship programme based on our experience of running MBA programmes and pathways for our learners with universities in the UK, USA, Australia and Europe. We are an international training provider with overseas centres in Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Macau, Hong Kong and Mainland China.


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This is a 16 month free programme if you are currently in a supervisory or management role.
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UPSKILL or RESKILL your existing employees with data skills and create analysts for the modern-day workplace

London Examinations Board will be delivering a new Data Analyst apprenticeship from early 2023.

The principles of data analytics are being applied across just about every industry. Data analysts help organisations make important insight-based decisions and drives customer value across every team and function - including operations, finance, sales and marketing.

The broad purpose of the data analyst apprenticeship is to ascertain how data can be used in order to answer questions and solve problems. Data analysis is a process of requirement-gathering, inspecting, cleansing, transforming and modelling data with the goal of discovering useful information, informing conclusions and supporting decision-making. In today’s world, data analysis plays a crucial

role in making decisions more evidence-based and helping organisations operate more effectively. For example: a data analyst may investigate social media trends and their impact on the organisation.

In retail, a data analyst may break down sales figures to make recommendations on product placement and development. In HR a data analyst may investigate staff retention rates, in order to decide on recruitment strategy.

The data analyst will be responsible for working within the data architecture of the organisation and ensuring that the data is handled in a compliant, safe and appropriately secure manner. Data analysis is a fast-moving and changing environment, and data analysts need to continue to stay abreast of, and engaged with, changes and trends in the wider industry including data languages, tools and software.


Hollywood coming to Hertfordshire - students told to reach for the Sky

Hollywood is coming to Hertfordshire, and the opportunities are there for the grabbing. That was the inspirational message given to almost 200 students at Oaklands College at a talk and Q&A given by Sky Studios Elstree Talent Manager Lauren Christy.

The talk is part of the latest outreach from Sky Studios Elstree to Hertfordshire based students as they look to inspire local talent to pursue a career in film and TV. Oaklands College holds a range of practical and inspirational talks for their students and invited Sky along for the latest session.

Lauren Christy, Talent Manager, Sky Studios Elstree said “There are more job opportunities in the UK Film and TV industry than ever before and we’re excited about the placements, graduate programmes and job roles we can offer to local talent through Sky Studios Elstree.”

Elstree and Borehamwood already has an impressive history in film and TV production, but the new state-of-the-art, and highly sustainable, Sky Studios Elstree, will launch the county into Hollywood production territory, Lauren told the students at the college’s Welwyn Garden City campus. It has already been confirmed that the Universal Pictures’ film adaptation of Wicked, starring Ariana Grande and Cynthia Avrio, will be the first production to film on site.

The audience, many of them studying media, were given a masterclass in how the industry works, with Lauren explaining the range of roles, and skills, needed at a world class production studio, and, crucially, giving them a valuable

insight into which are in greatest demand. As well as roles associated with filmmaking, such as assistant directors and production managers, there is also a need for production accountants, location managers, and a whole range of technical roles from grips to make-up artists.

The opportunities are endless, said Lauren, and students from Oaklands St Albans and across Hertfordshire, are perfectly placed to take advantage.

“We are introducing new opportunities for training at Sky Studios Elstree, as well as enhancing current training opportunities at our West London sites,” said Lauren. “We are even ring-fencing some opportunities in London for Hertfordshire students and college leavers, as well as offering fully paid placements for graduates and school leavers at the new Elstree site.”

Claire Dolan, Deputy Principal, said: “Oaklands is incredibly excited to work with key partners in the Film and TV industry and Lauren has been brilliantly engaged in supporting us to make sure our curriculum is exactly what the industry needs.

“Our CREATIVE Industry Group has been working hard to develop a soft skills matrix which would enable Oaklands students to be first in line for the emerging jobs in this exciting sector. We start building works on our brand-new ‘Creative Gateway’ building in April 2023 and the partnerships we are creating with industry are

informing our building plans, ensuring that we replicate industry to ultimately give our students the very best opportunities to secure jobs in this sector.”

Lewis, one of the attendees at the talk, said: “It was so inspiring. And knowing that what I am currently studying is so relevant to some of Sky’s job opportunities, I feel even more excited about the future.”

Young people interested in the Sky Content Academy placements at Sky Studios Elstree are encouraged to apply through Sky Early Careers in spring for placements starting in October.

For more information:

At London Examinations Board they offer flexible learning with scheduled, interactive live online classes involving lots of practical discussion and application. This is combined with additional online learning that can be completed at the apprentices own Lauren Murkin - Head of Business Development. Lauren Christy - Talent Manager, Sky Studios Elstree, Claire Dolan - Deputy Principal, Oaklands College

Upcoming Events

JANUARY Chamber Lunch

Our January Chamber Lunch, sponsored by Xpertex, will be taking place at Brocket Hall, Welwyn on Thursday 19th January 2023. We will be joined by our guest speaker Robert Voss CBE CStJ Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, who will talk about the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire’s Entrepreneurs Challenge.

After its successful debut at the 2019 Hertfordshire County Show, The Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire’s Entrepreneurs Challenge is back for its third year, giving new entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch to local leaders of industry, with the winning entrepreneurs receiving thousands of pounds worth of financial, legal, marketing and branding advice.

Date: 19/01/2023

Brocket Hall, Welwyn

With our members and benefit partners we have designed our events programme to cover a variety of topics:
LSIP SECTOR Focus Groups
Time: 12:00 - 14:00 Venue:
Members: £39.00 +VAT Non-Members: £49.00 +VAT We would like to invite you to attend the #HertsLSIP sector focus groups from the week commencing 6 February 2023 at the Riding School - Hatfield Park, to discuss the skills shortages our county is facing. We will be hosting a range of employer focus groups with representatives from Further Education (FE) colleges, University of Hertfordshire, and other independent training providers. Dates are as follows: 06/02/23 Hospitality and Tourism Focus Group 06/02/23 Property & Construction Focus Group 07/02/23 Community Focus Group 07/02/23 Creative Industries Focus Group 08/02/23 Sustainability and Environment Focus Group 08/02/23 Life Sciences Focus Group 09/02/23 Digital IT and Technology Focus Group 09/02/23 Professional Services Focus Group 10/02/23 Advanced Engineering, Manufacturing and Logistics Focus Group Venue: Riding School - Hatfield Park Members: FREE Non-Members: FREE


Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards Entry Workshop

As the Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards 2023 Launch has now sold out, and with applications opening on 27th January, come along to this free to attend workshop where you can get some advice on where to start with your entry, and find out what makes a winning entry.

This workshop will be taking place on Tuesday 14th February, from 10:00 - 12:00, at Knebworth Barns, and will cover:

• Reasons for entering the Inspiring Herts Awards

• Guidance on what makes a winning entry

• Hints and tips with Do’s and Don’ts

• Practical, tailored advice with your entry/entries

Please note: Applications close on 10th March 2023.

Date: 14/02/2023

Time: 10:00 - 12:00

Venue: Knebworth Barns Conference & Banqueting Centre, Knebworth Members: FREE Non-Members: FREE

VIRTUAL Networking Opportunity

Join us on Wednesday 15th February 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.

Date: 15/02/2023

Time: 11:00 - 12:00

Venue: Virtual Members: FREE

Non-Members: £15.00 +VAT

Each participant will be given the opportunity to introduce themselves and their business.

N.B. Any non-member attending this meeting who subsequently signs up for Chamber membership within one week (i.e. by 22/02/2023) will receive a full refund of the cost of attending this webinar.

INSPIRE 25 For more information on any event: 01707 502180 or CHAMBER EVENTS

Upcoming Events


Join us at the February Chamber Lunch, sponsored by Veale Wasbrough Vizards (VWV) taking place at Shendish Manor Hotel, Hemel Hempstead, on Thursday 23rd February 2023.

We will be joined by our guest speaker, Joe Ganley, Deputy Agent for Financial Stability at the Bank of England, who will present an overview of the Bank’s forecast for inflation, activity growth and the labour market, with an update on the latest interest rate decision.

Date: 23/02/2023

Time: 12:00 - 14:00

Venue: Shendish Manor Hotel, Hemel Hempstead

Members: £39.00 +VAT Non-Members: £49.00 +VAT


Join us on Tuesday 14th March, from 10.0012:00, at Fujitsu General Air Conditioning (UK) in Elstree.

Fujitsu General Air Conditioning (UK) Limited has been trading in the UK since 1986 and has UK headquarters based in Elstree, Borehamwood. Offering a comprehensive range of Split, Multi Split, VRF, Ventilation and applied products, Fujitsu General Air Conditioning (UK) Limited are a total solution provider to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning sectors as well as providing sustainable & renewable heating solutions for residential and commercial applications.

Date: 14/03/2023

Time: 12:00 - 14:00

Venue: Fujitsu General Air Conditioning (UK), Elstree

Members: FREE Non-Members: £15.00 +VAT

BOOK YOUR PLACE AT THIS EVENT, SPONSORED BY FUJITSU GENERAL AIR CONDITIONING, which includes a buffet breakfast and refreshments, followed by a networking opportunity, providing the chance to meet with a variety of different business people in an informal atmosphere, to listen and share experiences.



Our exceptionally popular Women in Leadership Conference will again be taking place on Friday 3rd March 2023, at the luxurious Sopwell House, St Alban, sponsored by Viatris.

For this, our third annual conference, will highlight the importance of skills and the part that role models play in inspiring girls and women to follow their career dreams and aspirations.


We are delighted to be joined by our first keynote speaker of the event, Kresse Wesling CBE, who is an multi-award winning environmental entrepreneur. After first meeting the London Fire Brigade in 2005, Kresse launched Elvis & Kresse, which rescues and transforms decommissioned fire hose into innovative lifestyle products and returns 50% of profits to the Fire Fighters Charity. The company now collects 12 different waste streams and has several charitable partnerships and collaborations across industries.

In 2021 Elvis & Kresse also took on a farm in order to establish a regenerative agriculture project, generate their own renewables and implement a host of environmental initiatives.

Kresse will tell her story of how to build a values laden business which does better than harm, and how doing good and doing well are not mutually exclusive. She will also touch upon her experience as a woman in business.

Date: 03/03/2023

Time: 09.00 – 15.45

Venue: Sopwell House, St Albans Members: £125.00 + VAT

Non-Members: £150 + VAT


to attend

this conference:

Understand from our Keynote Speakers and sponsors the importance of skills and the part that role models play

Receive practical advice on how you can achieve this and use the opportunity to question speakers during the Q&A discussion with the panel

Attend in-depth breakout sessions

Visit the exhibition, offering a range of products and services

Connect with like-minded businesses using the networking opportunities available

more information on any event: 01707 502180 or
#WomeninLeadership For further details regarding the
please see our
We will also hear from a
of panellists from different sectors who will
and how they can inspire other
and younger
come, including: Further details to be announced shortly.
Rachel Budge, Head of Mid Corporate Hertfordshire, Barclays Corporate Lucy Marangos FCIPD, Head of Group Operations, The RO Group

Helping Herts is the Unsung Hero at the Bishops Stortford Indie Awards 2022

Helping Herts, the official charity of the Stort Valley Rotary Club, has been announced as the winner of the Unsung Hero Award at the Bishop’s Stortford Independent Community, Sport and Business Awards 2022. The awards ceremony took place on Thursday November 24 at South Mill Arts Centre.

Working together to build a healthy partnership

Oaklands College, one of the leading colleges in Hertfordshire for Sports, have partnered up with Hertfordshire’s largest up and coming health focused food brand, SRSLY low carb. Working together to build a healthy partnership, utilising nutritional science to provide better nutrition for thousands of students and their spectators.

SRSLY are looking forward to hosting a Nutritional Industry Insight event at Oaklands in 2023 with the aim to inspire, educate and develop student’s knowledge on a low carb lifestyle and how it impacts the body and its performance through their sport, to focus and engage at a higher mental ability.

Oaklands college and SRSLY low carb are excited about their upcoming ventures to develop future healthy living projects, ‘Healthy Mind, Healthy Body’ the primary goal to create the next generation of athletes.

The awards were overwhelmed with nominations as the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and the challenges of the current costof-living crisis have emphasised the extraordinary work carried out by people leading ordinary lives.

The Unsung Hero award, sponsored by Stort Chemicals, was created to celebrate the individuals and organisations who beaver away behind the scenes to make life better for others.

Gordon Morrison and Jim Tatchell, founders of Helping Herts, attended to collect the award which was presented by Mathew Sanderson, Sales Manager at Stort Chemicals.

At the ceremony Gordon and Jim were credited as being “an unstoppable fundraising team through combining their business acumen with philanthropy”.

They launched Helping Herts, a countywide campaign, with the backing of Stort Valley Rotary Club, to support good causes after the Covid-19 pandemic, when many charities were struggling to survive.

Though focussing their efforts on twelve organisations dedicated to child welfare, the Helping Herts campaign raised an impressive £210,000 in 2021 and £126,000 in 2022 so far. As well as coming up with innovative ideas to generate money for the charities, Gordon and Jim organised

two intrepid charity walks in 2022. Earlier this year they walked 180 miles of the Hertfordshire Way together over two weeks, before inviting supporters of their sponsored charities to complete a leg each as part of a wider event.

As they drive Helping Herts forward, both Gordon and Jim are drawing on a wealth of experience in the business and charity sectors.

Gordon, the president of Stort Valley Rotary, has been awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Hertfordshire in recognition of his charitable work and has also chaired two charities to improve outcomes for children with cancer. After a successful career in construction, Gordon established the Chaldean Group of Companies to manage the Chaldean estate at Much Hadham.

Jim is also a Rotarian and a member of the Stort Valley council in addition to his

MEMBER TO MEMBER collaboration

We were introduced to Insight MCL by Mary Sykes from the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce because we were looking at exploring video for use in our own marketing.

As a creative print agency, not only do we have a lot to talk about, but we have a lot to show too, so video seemed like the ideal medium to reach a wider audience, increase engagement, and help us tell our story.

We kicked things off with a face-to-face meeting and a Teams exploration call to learn a bit more about each other’s businesses. I’d met with a few video production agencies before this meeting, but I was completely blown away with the team’s creativity and passion,

Abby (Director at Insight MCL) totally understood what we were trying to achieve, making the decision to work with them a very easy one.

Next came a creative brainstorming session, where Graham (MD at KGK Genix) and I met with the Insight MCL team to hammer out the objectives and key messaging for each video project and start to draft the storyboards for our content.

After outlining a list of seven potential content pieces, we decided to start with a video dedicated to our focus on everything ECO which would consist of a mix of senior staff interviews and office/ production b-roll on both our production sites in Thundridge, Herts, and Harlow, Essex. Animations in our brand style

guide were also added to explain and enhance key points whilst keeping viewers engaged.

Whilst we had the camera crew on site, we decided to maximise the opportunity and capture some footage from around the business to update the four existing brand showreels on our website, as these were now out of date and in need of a refresh. We’re absolutely thrilled with what we have achieved so far with the help of the team at Insight MCL, updating our brand reels is in full swing and the ECO showreel is now proudly placed on our website. A huge thank you to the Herts Chamber for introducing us!

Abby said: “Working with the KGK Genix team has been a fantastic introduction to the Chamber, so thank you for connecting

work as a hands-on trustee of Bishop’s Stortford Food Bank. He uses his business experience as founder of a clutch of companies, including Circadian FX, to lead Exidex, which stands for the Experienced Individuals Ideas Exchange. Before the pandemic, Jim was a founder member of English O’Clock, a language-speaking group to welcome people of other nationalities to the town.

Gordon Morrison said: “Stort Valley Rotary created the Helping Herts initiative to gain interest from the people of Hertfordshire in the work that our partnering charities deliver. It is wonderful that our efforts have been recognised.”

Jim Tatchell said: “I was genuinely shocked and delighted to receive the award on behalf of Helping Herts. It’s great to see the recogntition of the work put in by the whole team to create something that is making a real difference across the county”.

us! They are a fabulous team with a great story to tell, so we were thrilled to be asked to help them communicate it. As a communications company specialising in video and event production, we are proud of our collaborative creative process – it is key to understanding what our clients are trying to achieve as well as ensuring the outcomes meet their needs and add value to their business. We are very much looking forward to the next project.”

Briege Leahy Herts Chamber CEO, captured with Home-Start Hertfordshire volunteer, Lyn Moore, who won A ‘Helping Herts Hero’ award for an amazing 34 years of supporting families and helping children have brighter futures.

The Queen’s Award - Our Journey

Everyone will remember 2022 for war in Ukraine, global supply issues and high energy costs.

Most will remember 2022 as the year of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, her death and proclamation of our new King.

KANE will also remember 2022 as the year we won the Queen’s Award for Innovation for KANE CARE - Our promise to never let you down or your money back.

• Backing British Business

The Queen’s Award is the highest honour a British business can win, first proposed by Prince Phillip in 1965 to celebrate British Industry - A year later the first awards were made.

Today, there are Queen’s Awards for innovation, international trade, sustainable development and opportunity through social mobility - A parallel Award for voluntary service is the equivalent of receiving an MBE.

In it to win it

KANE celebrates 60 years as a family business but never considered applying - A chance conversation with our Chamber made us think again.

Why? Unlike the Oscars and other awards, we were told you win if you’re good enough, but not at the expense of others. This meant we’d be judged on merit - but little did we know what would happen next.

• Two checks better than one

The Queen’s Award is the only award requiring two audits of your application.

We were interviewed by one set of experts asking many questions and giving nothing away - Think Dragon’s Den & the Apprentice combined.

Another group reviewed how KANE CARE guarantees same day analyser service & recertification or your money back with a 10 year warranty & 20 year all inclusive pricing.

Thanks to 3 years of 5 Star customer comments on trustpilot and a forensic investigation of our accounts, turnaround times and refunds, we proved our claims were true.

• Celebration

The Queen’s Awards were announced every year on her birthday and published in the London Gazette, a little known daily publication.

This year, in small print on page 2, was KANE – one of 51 Queen’s Award winners for Innovation. It meant we could advertise the Queen’s Award for 5 years, meet the Royal family at Buckingham Palace and receive our award in person from Her Majesty’s representative, the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire.

The Lord Lieutenant’s visit was a great moment for our team –everyone now realised we really were delivering the right promises to our customers for the right reasons.

• Your turn

We should have applied years ago – our colleagues now understand the significance of our innovation and can better explain to customers why they should choose KANE.

Although it took time to apply, the award’s prestige, fabulous logo and rarity mean we’re now seen as a business that delivers on its promise. It also makes staff & customer recruitment just that little bit easier.

While we’ll never be complacent, it’s great to see innovation and hard work truly rewarded – if in doubt, go for it.

The Queen’s Award

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious awards for UK business and recognise and encourage outstanding achievements in:

• innovation

• international trade

• sustainable development

• promoting opportunity (through social mobility)

The Queen’s Awards scheme was instituted by Royal Warrant in 1965 with the first Awards in 1966 (Gazette issue 43953) known as The Queen’s Award to Industry.

In 1975 it became the Queen’s Awards for Export and Technology, with Environmental Achievement added in 1992. In 1999 it was renamed The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise with ‘international trade’, ‘innovation’ & ‘sustainable development’ categories.

In 2017, ‘promoting opportunity (through social mobility)’ was introduced.

In 2022, 232 businesses were recognised by Her Majesty on her birthday as among the best in the country.

• International Trade (141 winners)

• Innovation (51)

• Sustainable Development (31)

• Promoting Opportunity (9)

It’s now up to our King whether the awards stay in our late Majesty’s name or his.

KANE & University of Hertfordshire Lean boosts productivity

Recently voted Hertfordshire’s Best Business and winner of a Queen’s Award for Innovation, KANE is the UK’s largest family business making portable analysers & test equipment helping heating engineers worldwide keep our homes & workplaces safe and warm.

KANE designs and delivers essential instruments with award winning service from its 25,000 sq ft home in Welwyn Garden City. 2 years ago KANE asked University of Hertfordshire to help introduce Lean – a tried and tested method to boost productivity first used by Toyota Japan over

70 years ago. UH’s team led by Marzia Milan and Thomas Baker explained how previously unfamiliar techniques such as KANBAN, KAIZAN, 1 piece flow, 5 Ys and Root Cause Analysis would actually work in KANE.

The outcome was transformational – KANE dramatically improved delivery times and product quality, freeing capacity to grow sales.

It also reduced stock levels, freeing cash to reinvest in product and sales development.

It’s also created cultural change – the daily walk around quickly identifies output and quality problems impacting colleagues and, since the first discipline of Lean is to respect your team, they soon see how quickly issues are addressed with daily feedback.

For KANE, Lean is a winner –customers only see upside and colleagues become converts.

As Jonathan Kane, CEO, said: “Lean is great – motivated colleagues, few problems, happier customers and double the capacity to grow sales. Thanks to UH, Lean has transformed our business.”

L-R Jonathan Hoole, KANE Managing Director, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire Robert Voss CBE and Jonathan Kane, KANE CEO

How the Employee Ownership Trust Offers the Ideal Exit Strategy at ZERO Tax

Craddock, M.A. (Oxon.) is a recognised authority

UK and worldwide on employee share schemes and

author of Tolley’s Guide to Employee Share Schemes.

The Latest Triumph for Employee Ownership

The initiative to introduce the EOT through Schedule 37 of Finance Act 2014 emerged from the Coalition Government as the single most significant triumph in the development of employee ownership since Enterprise Management Incentives (EMI) and the Share Incentive Plan (SIP) were introduced by New Labour in 2000. Unlike EMI and the SIP, which deliver direct employee share ownership to individual employees, the EOT offers indirect employee share ownership.

The unique feature of the EOT is that the sponsoring company’s shares are held in a discretionary trust as a collective arrangement for the long-term benefit of the company’s total workforce in stabilising the company’s ownership structure and securing its independence.

Although different in kind from EMI and the SIP, either of these two scheme arrangements can, if the company so chooses, operate alongside the EOT and offer direct employee share ownership to complement the collective ownership by the EOT.

Notably, the grant of EMI options to senior employees, properly implemented and communicated, can act as a motivational empowerment for executives, thereby ensuring that the shareholder succession is matched by a management succession that is so essential for a successful exit. Nevertheless, the EOT can operate without any accompanying taxadvantaged (tax-approved) employee share schemes, and still offer, courtesy of its own 2014 legislation, if the company so decrees, tax-free bonuses to its employees.

The Headline Capital Gains Tax Exemption: ZERO Tax Charge for the Selling Shareholders

Under Section 236M, TCGA 1992, the Controlling Interest Requirement secures a complete exemption from capital gains tax for the seller of the shares for the sale of the 51% (or more, up to 100%) controlling share interest to the EOT in a defined single tax year. This exemption is available for persons who are not companies.

Provided the statutory requirements are met, notably that the shares are in a trading company or the parent company of a trading group, then the capital gains tax exemption is available to an unlimited extent. The fact that the exemption is unlimited is a particularly attractive feature, even if the seller has access to Business Asset Disposal Relief, for the simple reason that the sale of shares to the EOT attracts zero capital gains tax on an unlimited amount of value.

The Income Tax Exemption for Qualifying Bonus Payments to Employees

Chapter 10A within Part 4 of ITEPA 2003, introduced as a new EOT insertion, is devoted to the rules for the tax-free status which accord to qualifying bonus payments to employees. The tax-free status is given as an exemption from income tax for up to £3,600 for each employee in any given tax year, operated for all employees on a same-terms basis.

Although it is the establishment of the EOT that provides the opportunity for the company to introduce qualifying bonus payments, it is the company that pays the qualifying bonus payments to the employees and not the EOT trustees.

The Deferred Consideration

The Sale and Purchase Agreement for the sale of the shares is between the existing shareholders and the EOT trustees acting on behalf of the EOT. Although the company is not a party to this agreement, it is the company that funds the EOT through an arrangement that must be non-binding in order to ensure that monies received by the EOT from the company are not subject to income tax.

The whole of the sale proceeds, linked to the whole company value, will be paid to the existing shareholders immediately following the sale if the EOT has the available funds, albeit supplied by the company. Alternatively, though, the sale proceeds may be paid as a series of deferred consideration payments over whatever time-period is manageable for the company to fund the EOT.

Given that the deferred consideration does not have to appear on the balance sheet, the creditworthy status of the company is protected in the eyes of the business community. This piecemeal payment profile is an appealing feature for a company that, at the actual date of the sale transaction, does not have the full amount of the available cash to fund the EOT.

The Growing Popularity

Since 2014, 1,030 companies have taken the EOT route to a company sale. The ownership by the EOT of the shares of the company in perpetuity stabilizes the independence of the company and reinforces the employees’ confidence of continuing employment. In a consultation on exit, as well as discussing the advantages of the EOT, discussion should also be given to the Employee Share Trust (“EST”) which allows a more gradual sale approach over several years. The capital gains tax rate for the sale of shares to the EST (as distinct from the EOT) is the Business Asset Disposal Relief rate of 10%.

in the
In this article, David identifies the role that the Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) can fulfil in facilitating the ideal tax-efficient and cost-effective exit strategy as an alternative to a trade sale or an initial public offering.

David Craddock is one of those rare people who has not only a first class grasp of legal and technical issues but also the ability to explain and advise on them in a practical way. ❜❜

employee share schemes and reward management
Craddock has been advising on employee share schemes and employee share trust arrangements for over 35 years. He
the implementation process, working
the client
each stage, and offering solutions and expertise
If you are interested in speaking with David with a view to engaging his expert services for a NO OBLIGATION FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION in Employee Share Schemes, Share Valuations or for the delivery of seminars or courses, then please contact: T: 01782 519925 • M: 07831 572615 E-mail: Visit: MAKE IT YOUR BUSINESS Employee Ownership Trust Offers the Ideal Exit Strategy at ZERO Tax JUNE 2022 WREOC EMPLOYEE OWNERSHIP PROFILE - JUNE 2022 WHITE ROSE EMPLOYEE OWNERSHIP CENTRE FIGURES ARE PROVIDED BY PROF A. ROBINSON (UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS) AND PROF A.PENDLETON (UNSW). *INC PROFESSIONAL, SCIENTIFIC & TECHNICAL ACTIVITIES AND ADMIN & SUPPORT SERVICES *INC PROFESSIONAL, SCIENTIFIC & TECHNICAL ACTIVITIES AND ADMIN & SUPPORT SERVICES TOP TOP SECTORS CONVERSIONS SINCE 2020 5 5 13.2% CONSTRUCTION 18.3% CONSTRUCTION 38.2% PROFESSIONAL SERVICES* 33% PROFESSIONAL SERVICES* 10.5% RETAIL AND WHOLESALE 11.6% RETAIL AND WHOLESALE 12.8% MANUFACTURING 10.2 % MANUFACTURING EMPLOYEE OWNED UK EO SECTOR 1030 DOUBLED SINCE 2020 RECORD YEAR 2021 NEW EO BUSINESSES 285 X 2 10 YEARS OF TRANSITIONS 2016 2018 2021 TRANSITIONS BY YEAR Specialist in Employee Share Ownership and Reward Management, Share Valuation, Management Buyouts, Employee Ownership Trusts (EOTs) and Investment Education ❛❛ Image: Pixabay
Specialists in
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A Corporate Venue with a difference New for 2023 ROTHAMSTED MANOR

A corporate events venue with a difference

Hosted at our Grade I* listed Manor

Rothamsted Manor offers you the chance to make your next corporate meeting, training event, conference, private dinner or awards ceremony unique.

The Grade I* listed manor house offers three rooms for hire; The Great Drawing Room, The Library or The Lounge for parties of 30-100 delegates. All rooms offer extensive natural light, sweeping country views and historically elegant style.

The venue has a range of breakout and catering rooms to support your main event. You will have an experienced event co-ordinator assigned to you to make sure there is one point of contact at all times.

Everyone gets access to complimentary Wi-Fi and a flexible in-house catering team who can offer standing buffets, sit down dinners and lunches, afternoon teas and canape receptions. We offer...

• Main meeting room hire.

• Locally sourced sustainable lunch served with juice.

• A selection of Fairtrade teas and artisan bean to cup coffees available from arrival and throughout the day with biscuits and a variety of home baked goodies.

• Still and sparkling mineral water in the meeting room.

• Fresh fruit.

• Notepads and pens.

• Dedicated event manager.

• Free on-site car parking.

• Free Wi-Fi access for all delegates.

Day Delegate rates from £59pp +VAT

Rothamsted Enterprises West Common, Harpenden, Hertfordshire AL5 2JQ

Enhancing social relations through collaborative tasks Team building is about providing the skills, training and resources that your people need, so that they can work in harmony. Prices start from* Indoor Activities £35pp + VAT Outdoor Activities £59pp + VAT *Minimum numbers apply. Call us now on 01582 938500 or email Visit our website for further information

Turning great ideas into great businesses


Robert set up the annual Lord-Lieutenant’s Entrepreneurs Challenge in 2019. He explains the thinking behind the competition and why it is attracting increasing interest.

“The Lord-Lieutenant’s Entrepreneurs Challenge provides an ideal forum for new and young businesses to promote themselves at the Hertfordshire County Show. The winner receives thousands of pounds worth of financial, legal, marketing and branding advice.”

Turning a concept into a profitable firm

Often young entrepreneurs have fantastic ideas but their vision is lost because they have no idea how to take it to market. The concept may be fabulous but when it comes to staffing, business plans, funding and marketing – the skills sets are just not present.

This is where the Entrepreneur Challenge support system comes into its own. Advice is provided by those who have succeeded in business but who have also learned from making mistakes along the way.

The Lord-Lieutenant’s Entrepreneurs Challenge continues to attract entrants from a broad range of businesses from soap manufacturers and micro-breweries to a range of service providers.

“I have noticed when young companies have a chance to present at the County Show, that potential investors are impressed and make contact with them afterwards. It is not only the eventual winner that benefits,” Robert says.

“Any successful entrepreneur will tell you that you have to listen to those with experience.

The Lord-Lieutenant’s Entrepreneurs Challenge provides all entrants not only with an opportunity to impress potential backers but also receive guidance from well-established and respected business people.”

Hertfordshire has a population of around 1.2 million people and around 100,000 business of which about 96% are SMEs. As Robert explains they have all had to start from somewhere and there is a real duty to support the next crop of great new ideas coming through.

UK backing for exiting start-ups?

He believes the UK is generally more supportive of entrepreneurs now than ever before. The idea that we are light years behind the US in terms of backing fledgling companies may have been true a couple of decades ago, but not now.

Robert believes the gap between the US and UK has closed significantly in recent years. “Would the likes of Mark Zuckerberg have succeeded getting a business off the ground in the UK – probably not, as there was too much of the ‘old boys network’ then but things have changed a lot on these shores since.”

He points to entrepreneurial hubs that have been set up both nationally and locally (for instance an Enterprise Zone at Hertfordshire University).

“There are also local hot-desking hubs, Robert says, “so rather than working from a front room or garage, entrepreneurs can use offices in creative hubs where there is the opportunity to cross-fertilise ideas.”

There is plenty to be positive about judging by the growing numbers signing up to The Lord-Lieutenant’s Entrepreneurs Challenge and the prominence it now has at the County Show. “The important thing is to encourage those with great ideas that they can make a success of things – they just need a bit of advice and support to guide them on their way,” Robert concludes.

To find out more about the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire’s Entrepreneurs Challenge, join us at the January Chamber Lunch, sponsored by Xpertex, on Thursday 19th January 2023 taking place at Brocket Hall, Welwyn.

2023 Entrepreneur Foundation Recruitment

Are you an ambitious entrepreneur looking to scale your business to the next level? The Chamber are now recruiting for their third cohort of Hertfordshire based Entrepreneurs for their Foundation.

A great initiative launched by Herts Chamber has been designed to nurture and grow a new network of enterprising individuals, offering a two-year initiative of mentoring, training, and support.

If you want your business to thrive, please contact the Chamber at for application forms and more information.

Applications close on Friday 10th February 2023

an effort to help more local entrepreneurs get their business up and running,
How many great business ideas make it from concept to full-functioning and profitable business? Not enough, according to Robert Voss, HM Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire.
Any successful entrepreneur will tell you that you have to listen to those with experience.

CEO’s ‘enthusiasm, dedication and tenacity’ recognised at festive lunch

The “enthusiasm, dedication and tenacity” of the Chamber’s CEO were recognised at the Christmas lunch where she was presented with a special award.

Briege Leahy was thanked by the Chamber’s chairman, Jeremy Bishop, for her “drive and hard work in helping make our organisation what it is – a shining beacon of encouragement and hope for all our members”.

The special recognition award was a surprise inclusion at the festive gathering at Tewin Bury Farm Hotel where members and guests gathered to celebrate.

Jeremy said: “The past couple of years have been incredibly challenging for us all, as businesses and as individuals we have had to find new ways to work, new ways to engage with our clients and, even more importantly, new ways to manage our teams.

“We have a really fantastic team at the Chamber who deliver amazing events – like this one – keep our members updated, encourage networking and always promote the best interests of our business community.

“As business owners, business managers, we all know the value of a genuine word of thanks, not just in the private meeting but also in front of our teams.

“This particular season is always a good time to express our thanks to the people that work with us, and as Chairman of the


Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce

I would like to single someone out for a very public thank you on behalf of the Board.”

After receiving the framed certificate, Briege said: “This award isn’t just for me, but for everyone in the room and Herts Chamber as a whole. Without all of you I could not do what I do.

“We have an amazing business community in the county and, with your support, we can continue to grow and continue to make a difference for our members.”

Speakers at the annual event, where the London Community Gospel Choir entertained guests, were Richard Behan, Chief Corporate Officer, CAE Technology Services; Rakesh Dua, Chief Executive, DUA Accountancy & Consultancy; and Cheryl Luzet, Chief Executive, Wagada Digital.

We have a really fantastic team at the Chamber who deliver amazing events – like this one – keep our members updated, encourage networking and always promote the best interests of our business community.

Herts Chamber Members Pledge to Net Zero

Herts Go Green and Grow Update

It was lovely so see so many of the group in person at the Herts Chambers Sustainability Conference at Rothamsted in October which included a variety of sessions, activities and perspectives.

• Estu Global, NetZero International and JPA Workspaces planted 200 trees, one for each delegate at the Conference and are seen here presenting the certificate to Chamber CEO, Briege Leahy.

The group, launched by Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce in 2022, continues to meet monthly on-line, increasingly bumping into each other at networking and conference events and starting to form more meaningful relationships. New members include Viatris, Insight MCL, EFF Group, Debenhams Ottaway, SA Law, the LEP and Braceys Accountants and Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust.

The purpose of the group is simply to work together, sharing information and resources to help each other tackle environmental, social and economic challenges. We’re a cross industry mix of organisations of varying sizes and with varying expertise, but the point is that everyone has something to offer, and collaboration is key to future success.

HGG&G group founders Simon Littlewood from Estu Global, David Hawes from Net Zero International and Fiona Edwards from JPA Workspaces ran a practical workshop physically showing delegates how to calculate scope 1 & 2 emissions to begin their NetZero journeys. Some of the delegates even brought utility bills with them so calculations could be made during the session, sharing the process, and giving delegates the confidence to go away and have a go themselves.

Our latest HGG&G meeting in November covered a variety of subjects from current and coming legislation, COP27 purpose, challenges and expectations, simple

CSR activities including the multiple benefits of litter picking from Karen at Hillier Hopkins (who knew!), noticeable procurement changes, tree planting and re-wilding. Details of up-and-coming events of potential interest were circulated and shared, such as the Hertfordshire Climate Change Sustainability Conference (HCCSP) annual event in Potters Bar on 9th November and Opportunity Herts at Rothamsted on 8th December.

Ten members of the HGG&G group attended the annual HCCSP event on 9th November to gain an understanding of regional strategies and to ensure the plans we’re all making dovetail with and consolidate the key messaging. We’ll be sharing our learnings at the next HGG&G meeting on 5th December - looking forwards to it already!

NET ZERO CHAMPIONS 36 INSPIRE #keeptheheartinherts #hertsgogreenandgrow
• HGG&G members Simon Hemington, Simon Littlewood, Graham Pitts, David Hawes, Elena Lewendon and Fiona Edwards at the HCCSP Annual event on November 9th.

New ECO recycling scheme for schools

KGK Genix have recently implemented a new ECO recycling scheme by partnering with local high schools to supply waste off-cut materials that students can repurpose and upcycle in creative, design and technology classes.

The schools they’ve partnered with so far are Mark Hall Academy, Burnt Mill Academy and Presdales Academy which are all local to their production sites in both Harlow, Essex and Thundridge, Herts.

Materials included in the initiative are fabrics, foam boards, cardboard, papers, and vinyl. Students are able to repurpose these materials, and design and make other products, as part of their school classes and projects.

The idea was formed and developed by Operations Director, Matt Walsh. He said “As a business we’re always looking for ways to be more sustainable and I really wanted to find a use for some of the materials that was

left from the projects we create. Being able to upcycle waste materials in this way and have it form an important part of the curriculum for students in the local area seemed like a win-win for everyone involved.”

Mr Noel Lysons, Head of Art Design and Technology at Mark Hall Academy in Harlow said “The materials supplied through this scheme will allow students to model their designs and enable them to prototype and test ideas. The materials supplied are high quality and will mean that their models are a higher quality. The alternative is either using corrugated card which isn’t as easy to work with and isn’t great aesthetically. We will also be able to use these materials with younger students now because of the availability. We were unable to do this previously because the cost was

prohibitive. We were paying approximately £12 for a box of 20 A4 sheets of foam board.”

This new upcycling initiative is something KGK Genix plan to expand and offer to other educational institutions in the local area.

Graham Pitts, Group Managing Director said about the initiative “This is a fantastic initiative and a fine example of the investment in sustainability made by the KGK Genix team. It’s great to be able to give something back to the local areas in which our business operates.”

This begs the question… what are you as a business discarding that could be re-used or recycled and valued by others?

Wombling is a win-win

Karen Winrow Hillier Hopkins Chartered Accountants & Tax Advisers

Litter-picks help engage our team in our Environmental Policy and our initiatives to improve our impact on the world. They are easy to organise, benefit the local community and have positive impact on staff well-being.

As Wombles well know, litter in our towns is not only unsightly and hazardous but can also damage ecosystems in our parks and green spaces.

Councils in England spend around £700m a year cleaning litter, so to do our bit to help clean up our neighbourhood, the staff and Principals at Hillier Hopkins run litter-picks. Over the past year our volunteers have collected around 150 bags of refuse and recycling (plus numerous abandoned bike frames!) from parkland, playing fields and pavements around our offices in Watford, Milton Keynes and London.

We wholeheartedly recommend other businesses consider organising litter picks, so here are our top tips:

• Local knowledge helps in knowing where the litter blackspots are. It’s worthwhile checking there isn’t already a local group looking after your chosen location.

• Use black bags for general rubbish and see-through bags for recyclables (cans, bottles, plastic, card). We each collect a full bag of recycling and one of refuse in a 2-hour litter pick.

• Contact your local council refuse and recycling team to tell them where you

are doing your litter pick and to arrange collection of your bags.

• You’ll need to provide your team with equipment, it cost us approximately £80 for 12 litter pickers, hi-vis vests and thick gloves, however, you can often borrow kits from your local council (although you will still need to provide gloves). Recommend your team wear sensible footwear and weather appropriate clothing.

• Check your insurance covers your employees for this activity and carry out a risk assessment – there are plenty of templates and helpful advice online.

Happy wombling!

Hillier Hopkins is a member of the Herts Go Green & Grow group.

38 INSPIRE Recycling solutions for commercial businesses across the South East • Cardboard • Paper • Polythene We collect, bale and transport, making commercial recycling quick and easy. Confidential shredding services also available. Contact us for more information 01707 656261 / Quote ‘Inspire10’ on booking to receive a 10% discount 1202917 CS Recycling Herts Chamber Advert V4.indd 1 19/12/2022 10:14


Ihope you all had a good Christmas and are looking forward to a busy and profitable New Year.

Following the Autumn Statement of last November, the British Chamber of Commerce Director General, Shevaun Haviland, commented at the time that the Chancellor had stayed true to his word in focusing on financial stability and targeting support for the most vulnerable in society. But in the teeth of a recession, this statement will not increase business confidence.

Although businesses will welcome support with business rates and the retention of employment allowance the reduction in the dividend allowance will impact many smaller firms. With almost half of all businesses struggling to pay their energy bills once the Government’s Energy Bill Relief Scheme ends on 31 March 2023. The sooner we get clarity on where future support will be targeted the better.

The Chancellor’s Statement is light on green innovation, doesn’t address current labour shortages and has nothing on boosting export led-growth.

These are difficult times and perhaps more to come before the light at the end of the tunnel is seen again, Exporting is a proven method in improving profits and increasing productivity. We are here to help and give advice on exporting to both old and new exporters. With our vast network of Chambers across the world plus access to various experts across the exporting spectrum, do please ask us if you are wishing to export but need assistance.


As you know we issue export documents on behalf of HMRC. We have been advised of several immediate changes in the completion of the forms.

For example;

We can no longer accept handwritten forms.

Certificate of Origin forms must have both the invoice umber and date of the invoice clearly annotated.

Description of goods must be clearly stated.

Please see the completed example CoO form for future use. If you have any queries do please refer to: How to Guides - Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce ( or alternatively do contact Frances or myself. Going forward we will be obliged to reject any incomplete forms which may lead to delays in your documents being processed.

We are also looking to push more and more documents on to our digital website ecert. Certificate of Origin Online - Home | eCert UK ( Currently over 90% of our documentation is processed this way. It is a lot quicker, cuts down on postage and of course is much better for the environment. Any questions on how to use this system do also please contact us.



Many of you who deal with export documentation over the years would have been trained by Alan Bracken. Sadly, Alan, after 36 years’ service to the Chamber, has decided to hang up his export hat.

I know that Alan did want a quiet send-off, but we could not let him go with saying both our goodbyes and a huge thanks to Alan’s professionalism, incredible knowledge and expertise, all combined with his patient and understanding way in which he taught the subject. Alan also happily made himself available after the courses to answer any burning questions.

He will be missed going forward and I am sure you will all join in with me to wish Alan a very happy, fulfilled, long and healthy retirement.

Of course, this certainly does not mean the end of training. Our courses will continue, and we have several lined up for this year.

Please refer to our website for more details. How to Guides - Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce International Trade Documentation How to Guides

I have been asked by HMRC to advise the following:

After you’ve registered for VAT, it’s important to let HMRC know if your details change.

You must inform us of any change to your Business Tax Account, within 30 days of the change taking place. If you can’t change your details online, use the VAT484 form to make the change.


The LSIP survey is still up and running for a few more weeks. If you haven’t yet completed this, it only takes a few minutes of your time and is invaluable in helping us to help you in your recruitment plans over the coming years.

The link to the survey can be found on our website:

LSIP - Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce (

John Woodruffe

Head of International Trade & Policy

Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce

Image: Pixabay

New Foodie Destination to re-open

Under the direction of new Head Chef John Barber, Auberge du Lac will re-open its doors in March 2023.

At just 32 years old, John has already had an incredible career, having spent the last 12 years working in London at the Mandarin Oriental and more recently, opening the 14 Hills Restaurant with the D&D Group.

The opportunity to put Auberge back on the map as a foodie destination, has seen John relocate to Hertfordshire with his young family and start an exciting new chapter.

With his pedigree and passion, John will be creating a whole new dining experience for guests.

His vision? To make fine dining more accessible and relaxed,

without any compromise on quality or taste.

With a soil-to-plate approach, John’s menu will make best use of crops growing in the new kitchen garden, literally within metres of the tables where they will be served.

To give you a flavour of what’s to come, John will be hosting a series of pop-up events ahead of the official opening. These evenings are a delicious opportunity to try his modern British style of cuisine.

In January, he will be celebrating ‘Veganuary’, utilising ingredients grown on-site to create inspiring vegan dishes full of texture and flavour.

John Barber isn’t alone, he’s bringing a whole new team of talents together for the re-opening of the beautiful lakeside restaurant, which will offer al fresco dining in the summer and more intimate dining in the winter months.

Pastry sous chef Ariana Machado learnt her craft at iconic London brasserie, The Wolseley. With traditional techniques and innovative recipes, Ariana is creating the most delicate and delicious afternoon teas and desserts.

Hertfordshire’s hidden jewels

Often described as one of Hertfordshire’s hidden jewels, Dyrham Park Golf & Country Park never disappoints.

For the golfer, the estate offers a challenging 18-hole golf course, full-size driving range, short game practice area and hitech indoor teaching facility.

For those seeking a slightly slower pace the estate has an outside heated swimming pool sat within a stunning lawn area, two all-weather tennis courts, and let’s not forget the children’s play area.

Within the beautiful listed clubhouse, you will find a snooker room with two full-size tables and a thriving Bridge section, all supported by an expert catering team offering everything from a pot of tea to a full

meal. Members enjoy a great family atmosphere with social events running throughout the year ranging from theatre trips, quizzes and musical evenings to the fabulous annual fireworks evening.

Golf is at the centre of Dyrham life, for those struggling and in need of a few lessons our two full-time professionals are around to help, and if you have never swung a club in anger why not enrol for the Golf Academy? The Junior Academy is also run by one of the club professionals, offering group tuition and golf camps during selected school holidays.

Dyrham is proud to be a member of the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and is delighted to offer fellow members a 10% discount off either an individual’s first year annual fees or from one of our corporate memberships.

Interested; why not arrange a visit? Enjoy a complimentary hot drink and tour of the estate, we may even throw in a biscuit. Email with your contact details.


Hanbury Manor Marriott Hotel & Country Club unveils new fitness centre

Hanbury Manor Marriott Hotel & Country Club has launched a state-of-the-art fitness centre equipped with new technology offering personalised training to hotel guests and fitness centre members.

The club, located within the impressive 17th century country retreat, is set within 200 acres of Hertfordshire countryside.

The gym boasts an extensive range of Technogym equipment, from treadmills and exercise bikes to multi-stations and rowing machines - the equipment and accessories are not only modern and sleek but also functional and interactive. Technogym features digital live and on-demand solutions and connectivity, in addition to real-time biofeedback, designed for a bespoke workout and optimum fitness experience for guests and members. The cardio space includes a professional segmental body composition monitor, in partnership with TANITA, offering the best in class to track health and fitness progress.

The fitness club offers 30 studio classes per week and a group cycling studio, and is led by one of the hotel’s fitness trainers. The cycling class combines music, lighting and performance data for the ultimate immersive experience, complete with a projector screen displaying individual metrics, keeping guests motivated and engaged. On-site professional fitness trainers are committed to supporting members with fitness focused tailored programmes, with private and group training sessions available that include Spin, Zumba, Pilates, Yoga, Aqua Aerobics and more.

The hotel’s fitness centre is complemented by warm and inviting spa and wellness facilities including seven spa treatment rooms, a heated indoor swimming pool, whirlpool, sauna and steam rooms, with separate ladies and gentlemen changing rooms. Fitness and spa facilities are open daily from 6am to 10pm.

Memberships are available with exclusive 6-week trials available for £149 per person. Subject to availability. To learn more, please email

A truly unique venue

The magnificent Tudor Old Palace, childhood home of Elizabeth I, features stunning medieval brickwork and original beams surrounding your guests in history.

Attached to the Old Palace, the Knot Garden, designed with Elizabethan patterns offers exquisite photo opportunities, whilst the Raised Lawn offers breath-taking views of Hatfield House and is perfect for blessings, drinks receptions and lawn games.

The Riding School blends history with modern architecture offering a contemporary alternative venue. The glass roof floods the space with natural daylight, and the mezzanine level adds a versatile aesthetic, perfect for dining or breakout sessions.

New for 2023 is the Ground Events and Summer Experiences, an outdoor venue set in stunning, tranquil parkland, perfectly designed for large

events. Events can be bespoke and carefully curated to create a truly memorable occasion for your guests, and can be combined with unique experiences such as tours of the House and Gardens, Bee Keeping, and Clay Pigeon Shooting.

Venues are licensed for indoor civil ceremonies, have ample free parking and direct train links via Hatfield Station.

Our award-winning team pride themselves on offering delicious food and beverages combined with superb service and have dedicated event planners and operational staff on hand to help seamlessly plan and deliver your special occasion. With a range of packages on offer for private celebrations, weddings, conferences, events and festival themed experiences, Hatfield Park offers outstanding choice for your next event.

For more information, visit

Hatfield House offers a choice of unique venues and spaces for a truly memorable occasion, catering for parties of 30 to 500 plus.
Photo: Laura Williams Photography Photo: Nick Ray

WASTE and the Journey to Net Zero

are going to be collected on schedule and then genuinely recycled into feedstocks or new products. The initiative seeks to provide as much information as possible about the Final Destinations, the point where material collected for recycling ceases to be waste and becomes either a feedstock for new products or a new product in itself.

Traditional waste recycling has been seen as a means of reducing the need for landfill, of conserving finite resources, of protecting habitats, and of reducing energy costs. Now, advancing climate science allows us to understand with greater certainty the role of reducing and recycling waste in striving towards Carbon Net Zero. And at the same time there is growing awareness that achieving Net Zero cannot rely entirely on transforming energy generation to renewable forms and to the replacement of the internal combustion engine in transport with electric and hydrogen alternatives.

In this short piece we consider the potential of Tackling Food Waste and of Recycling More in moving towards Net Zero, and how Hertfordshire WasteAware ( uk/services/recycling-waste-and-environment/ recycling-and-waste/wasteaware-campaigns/ wasteaware-campaigns.aspx), the campaigning partnership of all eleven Hertfordshire Councils on household waste matters, is working towards these objectives.

According to Government funded charity WRAP, in their 2021 report Net Zero: Why Resource Efficiency holds the Answers ( uk/sites/default/files/2021-03/WRAP-Net-zerowhy-resource-efficiency-holds-the-answers. pdf), edible food waste worldwide contributes 8% of total manmade CO2 emissions (some estimates suggest 10%). This is because when edible food is wasted, all the energy intensive resources used in food production – land, fertiliser, machinery, irrigation, rearing, harvesting, butchering, preparing, packaging, storing, transporting, refrigerating, and retailing – are wasted too.

Wasting edible food is a problem in Hertfordshire. A representative sample survey of the contents of waste bins across Hertfordshire in 2020 found that nearly a quarter of the weight of the bin was edible food waste – not scraps and skins, but

food thrown away instead of being eaten. And of course, during a cost-of-living crisis there is a serious financial dimension as well, with WRAP estimating that the average family may waste over £700 worth of edible food per annum.

WasteAware will be launching a campaign to address the waste of edible food with its environmental and financial consequences head on.

This new initiative is being trialled in Three Rivers Council. Consisting of easy-to-follow steps on buying and using food without wasting it and an exciting challenge with a great prize, the campaign will be available on line and WasteAware will also reach out to residents groups, schools and community events to broaden engagement. After evaluation in Spring 2023, the initiative will be rolled out across Hertfordshire later in the year.

As WRAP’s report Net Zero: Why Resource Efficiency holds the Answers ( uk/sites/default/files/2021-03/WRAP-Net-zerowhy-resource-efficiency-holds-the-answers.pdf) indicates “By increasing the amount of materials recycled, and increasing the proportion of these recycled in the UK, greater carbon reductions can be achieved.” The latest update to What happens to your recycling? shows that both of these are happening in Hertfordshire. The overall Recycling Rate increased from 52.4% in 2020/21 to 52.7% of total household waste in 2021/22. At the same time, the proportion of dry materials (plastics, cans, paper, cardboard, glass) recycled at Final Destinations in the UK has increased from 72.55% in 2020/21 to 74.34% in 2021/22.

A second WasteAware initiative What happens to your recycling? ( uk/services/recycling-waste-and-environment/ recycling-and-waste/wasteaware-campaigns/ what-happens-to-your-recycling.aspx ) aims to boost recycling confidence, the knowledge that materials set out correctly by householders

100% of Glass, Wood, Scrap Metal, Waste Electricals and Steel Cans collected in Hertfordshire were transformed at Final Destinations in the UK. What’s more, 92% of the 17,500 tonnes of plastics collected in Hertfordshire went to Final Destinations in the UK. Note also that 100% of organic material (garden waste and recycled food waste) collected in Hertfordshire is treated at composting and Anaerobic Digestion facilities in Hertfordshire itself or in adjacent counties.

Why not check out the Hertfordshire WasteAware webpages ( services/recycling-waste-and-environment/ recycling-and-waste/wasteaware-campaigns/ wasteaware-campaigns.aspx) for more information on campaigns aimed at reducing and recycling waste, all in their way helping along the road to Net Zero.

ENVIRONMENT Keep in touch Sign up to our monthly e-bulletin @HertsWasteAware @HertsWasteAware
For some time, the notion that reducing the amount of waste and recycling as much as possible is beneficial to the environment has been widely accepted, as demonstrated by the willingness of so many householders to participate in council recycling schemes.

Smart meters are a smart decision for your business this winter

Firms of all sizes are currently confronted by a host of challenges, from soaring energy bills, labour shortages, spiralling inflation, and climbing interest rates.

As a business owner, you need to ensure that your doors stay open and that your business can thrive no matter what the season brings.

Did you know that a smart meter could help your business this winter and beyond? Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters currently being rolled out in homes and small businesses across Great Britain by energy suppliers.

If you are looking for practical advice to help tackle these challenges, a smart meter could be a positive step for your business.

Make informed choices about your firm’s energy usage

A smart meter could give you valuable insights into how your business uses energy, day and night, helping you to identify ways to reduce your energy use.

Close the door on estimated bills

Installing a smart meter is a positive step in taking control of business outgoings. Once installed, smart meters digitally measure how much energy you’re using and send your meter reading directly to your energy supplier at agreed intervals, putting an end to estimated bills.

Don’t let energy costs keep you awake at night

Installing a smart meter can help you closely monitor where you spend your money, helping with planning and projection of costs in the short, medium, and long term. They allow you to spend less time worrying about cash flow and more time running your business.

Find out if you are eligible for a smart meter

Whether you rent or own your business premises, you could still be eligible. If you don’t have your own gas and/or electricity meter, ask your landlord if they plan to get one for your building.

Half of eligible businesses across Great Britain already have a smart or advanced meter installed.

Firms with ten employees or less could be eligible for a smart meter. Visit the link below to find out whether you are eligible. You can also contact your energy supplier or broker. medium=Partner&utm_source=Chamberofcommerce&utm_campaign=Partnership&utm_content=Chamber-Printed-digital-publication


So many great ways to volunteer

time with Age UK


Our befriending service connects volunteers to those most in need of a kind ear and time to spare. By giving as little as an hour of your time you could make a whole world of difference to those lonely and isolated in our community.

By Phone ... spending an hour a week as a phone buddy could brighten the lives of those effected by loneliness. For a Coffee ... popping to a local coffee shop for a cuppa and a chat would tackle the social isolation so many can feel.

At a Home ... visiting an older persons home can lift their spirits no end, improving their quality of life.

find out more please
Tel: 0300 345 3446 Email:
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Set up your Lasting Power of Attorney with Age UK Hertfordshire

1. Initial phone conversation with I&A to decide which option is best for you.

2. The LPA information pack, including our terms and conditions, would be emailed or posted to you.

3. You sign your T&C’s and gather all the paperwork and information needed for the LPA visit.

4. Home visit and first stage of the application is completed.

5. Payment to Age UK Hertfordshire taken at this point.

6. Forms returned to you by post with written instructions for signatures, OPG registration fee payment and how to register the forms, which will also be discussed at the meeting.

To find out more please email, call or visit Tel: 0300 345 3446 Email:

New Broxbourne Nursing Care Home

Broxbourne Care Home takes care to the next level, with luxury accommodation, excellent amenities and exceptional care creating a safe, happy and fulfilling living environment.

It is delivered over two floors with household groups surrounding a central courtyard garden and lounges, cafe, activity room and hair salon opening out over amenity gardens, terraces and balconies enabling residents to retain their day-to-day independence.

Strand PR celebrates adecade of delivering results

An agency that started out with just one client and now boasts a huge portfolio of Hertfordshirebased companies and Chamber members has just celebrated its 10th anniversary in business.

RDT Architects are proud to have played a key role in the design and development of this new purpose built 77-bedroom care home for Hertfordshire County Council.

Part of a 3.6acre redevelopment on a former school site with RDT being part of the wider masterplan design including 13 residential dwellings.

RDT were involved throughout the conceptual design, planning and construction phases and retained as architectural design advisors on behalf of the Council during the construction.

The home owned by Hertfordshire County Council and operated by Gold Care Homes, was built with sustainability and innovation at the forefront and designed to cater for residents living with a variety of cogitative and physically challenging conditions.

Private bedrooms offer spacious living environments with modern wet room ensuites, retaining dignity and privacy for residents. The home also offers bariatric care within specialist rooms and equipment.

The architecture was carefully designed to reflect the needs of a modern care home in terms of function whilst respecting the suburban context. The New River setting allows residents to engage with nature and wildlife from the variety of external gardens and first floor balconies.

One of the key factors within this new care home development was to provide flexible design in the spaces created, allowing the architecture to respond to changing needs identified by the care operator, while enabling the home to deliver modern forms of care as innovation in the sector continues.

Founded in 2012, Strand PR has fast become one of the top-rated PR and marketing agencies in the county, recently featuring at number 14 of The Drum’s top 50 digital companies in 2022.

Known for its no-nonsense marketing and clear communications, the firm has gone from strength to strength achieving national and regional coverage for many of its clients.

Reflecting on the growth of the business within the last decade, Founder and Managing Director Laura Pearce, said: “There’s no doubt about it, running a business is tough. “In a decade of Strand PR I’ve steered us through a recession, Brexit and a pandemic. There’s some tough decisions along the way, and it hasn’t always been fun, but the benefits far outweigh the negatives.”

In addition to running a successful company, Laura, who supports the Chamber’s Entrepreneur Foundation, has worked hard to create opportunities for the next generation.

their service, achieving £40,000 worth of coverage in just six months, which was outstanding considering what our fee was.

Vacancies in construction related businesses are at an all time high and we, like our industry colleagues are facing a skills shortage right now and over the next 10+ years.

MCP is a repairs and maintenance, family business based in Hertford, caring for our customers since 1978.

We are committed to ensuring our people make a positive difference to our residents and their homes.

l We focus on attracting people who match our values first and foremost

l We encourage people with little or no experience to come and ‘have a go’ through our work experience programme

l Our own experienced people love to be mentors and share their experience

l We are working with Herts LEP to partner with local schools, CTP to retrain ex-services personnel and in collaboration with other industry colleagues

l We are starting an Academy to train and upskill apprentices and trainees

She said: “Employing people who are brimming with ideas and champing at the bit to make their mark in the world is what Strand PR is all about, which is why I have employed a couple of young entrepreneurs who are all about finding solutions in a way that no one else thought of. “I started my business aged just 22 and people believed in me, which is what has got me here today. It’s important to me to continue to use the influence I’ve built to lift up as many people as I can, inspiring young people and giving them the platform to express their ideas and try new things.”

Strand PR’s services to the Chamber began back in September 2021 soon after the organisation realised it needed to raise its profile and required some PR of its own.

Chamber CEO Briege Leahy said: “When we first engaged with Strand PR we were at a crucial point as we needed to get our name out there. Laura and her team were clear with what they were going to deliver and went above and beyond with

“Securing the level of coverage they did in such a short space of time exceeded all our expectations and has led to other things. We would like to wish Strand PR a very solvent, profitable and rewarding 10th birthday and here’s to the next decade.”

Laura and her team also work with other Chamber members, who have all experienced the same first-class service and excellent results. Laura said: “I am very grateful to the Chamber and all the opportunities it has put before me. There’s no doubt that its support has definitely given Strand PR a huge boost, which is why we always go that extra mile to ensure the Chamber and all its members are well looked after.

“As it’s our 10th year in business, I would like to start working with another 10 Chamber organisations, so I am offering 10 per cent off our fees for their first service. We’re calling it our ‘decade of delivering’ package. Just quote that when approaching and we’ll take it from there. I have high hopes for the future and I hope the Chamber members are coming with me.”

For more information, visit

Earn while you learn!
Registered Charity No. 295257 Make positive connections for your business, whilst supporting local hospice care. We have membership packages to suit sole traders and businesses of all sizes. Business Member Premier Member Executive Member £33 per month or £396 per year £59 per month or £708 per year £81 per month or £972 per year Includes an invitation to all quarterly events plus socials Includes social media messaging for your business and free places for your staff at Hospice events Includes opportunities to host a dedicated area and provide business branding at events For more information on our membership packages, visit or email

WELCOME to new members

u A&D Electrical Services (Herts) Limited

Electrical Services

Email: Web: Tel: 07792 536357

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HR Consultant

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u Allison Pearlman - Nutrition Coach

Nutrition Coach Web:

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House clearance services

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Avica UK Ltd

Wholesale suppliers of cleaning and hygiene, catering and hospitality and healthcare products

Email: Web: Tel: 01923 210009

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Bee Responsible...Beehive Management Service

Providing Professional Beekeeping arrangement service

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u Cocoa Canopy

Hot chocolate Twitter: cocoacanopy Email: Web: Tel: 01932 366366

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Eclipse Sports Promotions

Delivering a unique sporting experience for corporate client base since 2004, presenting a exclusive group of sporting legends to create unique participation and dining events, tailored specifically to your requirements

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u First Thought Financial Services

Mortgage and insurance specialists

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Brand-led and digital marketing agency

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Marketing consultancy

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Sustainable managed print and document solutions

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Email: Web: Tel: 07576 346994

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H & A Lopata Limited

Author, Professional Speaker & Professional Relationships Strategist Twitter: andylopata Email: Web: Tel: 0333 123 0233

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Training and Consultancy Email: Web: Tel: 01992 629531

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K.K. Digital Marketing

Creative Digital Marketing Agency

Twitter: kkd1gital Email: Web: Tel: 07950 140599

Add: 163 Fairview Road Stevenage Hertfordshire SG1 2NE

Images: Pixabay

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Developing the networking skills of clients to ensure they are confident and effective when attending events

Twitter: kintishltd

Email: Web: Tel: 01617 733727

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Nicholas James Mortgage & Financial Services Ltd

Mortgages and protection

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Herbal tea


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Logistics and Removals

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R&D Tax Relief Support for Business

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Creators of places

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Empowering you to create impactful performances in business conversations Twitter: superstarcomms Email: Web: Tel: 01438 718509

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Manufacturing smart lighting control and smart hotel automation Web:


TCHC offers practical training and development solutions

Twitter: tchcgroupltd Email: Web: Tel: 01923 698430

Add: 21 Station Road Watford Hertfordshire WD17 1AP

u The Business Train Ltd

Provide IT Support, Marketing, Branding, Finance, HR & Payroll, Health & Safety, Development and Strategy

Twitter: thbusinesstrain

Email: Web: Tel: 020 3633 1967

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Mental Health Counselling

Twitter: Counselling_Fdn

Email: Web: Tel: 0300 3036690

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Therapies and Wellness Centre

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IT and Management consultancy Web:

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Help organisations to establish channel partnerships and create effective routes for sales, supply and support outside their owned business Email: Web: Tel: 07836 389389

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u Workwell

We provide accounting and payroll support to individuals and businesses across the UK and internationally

Email: Web: Tel: 020 7078 0212

Add: 4th Floor Radius House 51 Clarendon Road Hertfordshire WD17 1HP


Celebrating a decade

Reflections from a decade of service to Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce… Mary C Sykes, BA MCIPR

From introducing Angus Thirwell, Co-founder of Hotel Chocolat (to say he is passionate about chocolate is an understatement!) at the Christmas lunch in 2014 to visiting the planet Mars at Airbus, supporting Stevenage Biocatalyst when it first opened and helping share the significant news about Sunset Studios (Hollywood!) coming to Broxbourne in 2022, my time at the Chamber has been a tremendous journey of showcasing a wide range of outstanding businesses and organisations.

It has been my absolute pleasure to work alongside the talented and dedicated team with unimaginable passion at Herts Chamber to help so many varied businesses.

A few of the several hundred highlights from the past ten years have included:

• attending the celebration of the Queen’s awards for London Examination Board 2021

• representing Briege Leahy at the High Sheriff Awards 2022

• supporting Ukrainian refugees via Chamber network

Chamber signs its 1,000th member

Herts Chamber has welcomed a Stevenage accountancy firm as its 1,000th member.

CEO Briege Leahy, who was given a Special Recognition award at the Chamber’s festive lunch, said:

“I am delighted that we have reached this incredible landmark. We have seen our membership grow steadily over the past months as businesses appreciate the important role we can play.

• interviewing Kelly Smith MBE at Women in Leadership Conference 2020

• attending The Inspiring Herts Business Awards (every one of them since launch in 2013)

• hosting members at the British Chamber of Commerce Annual Conferences where we have met so many inspirational business

and political leaders over the years.

• Supporting Patrons, charities, members & the brilliant team!

Mary Sykes, Corporate Relations started representing Herts Chamber in January 2013 and she has been helping businesses ‘connect, collaborate and grow’ throughout the past ten years.

When Wagstaffs

Chartered Accountants completed their membership application, it marked a significant milestone in the growth of the Chamber.

Hailed as the fastest growing Chamber in the UK by the British Chambers of Commerce, the increasing membership is a positive indication of the Chamber’s reputation.

“We are an ambitious Chamber, and we are keen to play a major role in the future of business in the county. After the challenges businesses have faced over recent years, it is testament to the work we do that are turning to us for advice and support.

“We welcome new members and encourage them to take part in our events and initiatives, to extend their own networks, and make the most of the opportunities we can provide.”

Until recently, Wagstaffs had played an important role in the Chamber for 30 years as its accountants and tax advisors, which precluded it from becoming a member.

Partner Mark Hubbocks said: “An opportunity arose following a change of advisors for us to become a member – and it was perfect that we became the 1,000th member.

“We are looking forward to having a platform where we can exchange knowledge and ideas with likeminded professionals and business owners.”

The practice was founded by Ralph Wagstaffs in 1948.

It is a general accountancy practice that offers a full range of services, including audit, year-end accounts, corporation tax compliance, personal tax planning, business consultancy, corporate finance and outsourced management accounting and payroll.

Its client base is mainly ownermanaged businesses, although it does have a large number of overseas clients with a UK-based operation.

Wagstaffs is a member of an international accounting association that gives us access to professional contacts throughout the world, with Mark a board director.

Mark Hubbocks and Briege Leahy
Mark Hubbocks and the Chamber Team

Take back your time at the one-of-a-kind wellness destination

And breathe. With the chaos of Christmas behind us, 2023 welcomes a new era of wellness, where physical and mental wellbeing is the ultimate passion project. So, with mindfulness your motivation, it is time to discover the perfect space to start putting yourself first.

Enter: The Oak House. Nestled amongst the lush 42-acre grounds of Hertfordshire’s Hatfield Park, The Oak House is a 360-degree wellness destination like no other. Offering a holistic experience in a truly unique setting, the space boasts a fitness studio, therapy rooms under one roof, meaning you can start your day with a Pilates class, treat your aches and pains with acupuncture and take part intraditional Gong bath meditationwithout having to step foot out the door. Whether you’re looking for a calming

space to take a timeout or get your endorphins flowing,there’s an impressive list of treatments and classes brought to you by a passionate team ofhealing hands.

Inside the breathtaking 1869-built old church hall, you’ll find state-of-the-art equipment for both group and 1 to 1 fitness classes, including reformer and mat Pilates, Yin and Hatha Yoga and the ever growingly popular Barre.

Alongside the studio are tranquil treatment rooms complete with soothing candles and luxury scents to aid bespoke energy healing sessions, physiotherapy

Supporting the NHS on its digital journey: The Vanguard Innovation Programme

Healthcare organisations are facing exceptional demand as a result of a number of growing challenges.

Here at BT, we’re committed to helping you overcome these challenges with cutting-edge technology that enables real-time, datadriven decision making and collaboration.

By innovating together, we can transform healthcare delivery to meet increasing expectations and create a sustainable model for the future. In partnership, building a Connected Community of Care.

The Vanguard Innovation Programme will reset the relationship between the NHS and BT Health. We’re pivoting our approach to one that identifies the NHS’s challenges and issues first, and then solves them by developing and innovating solutions together.

We believe this approach is the future of healthcare digital transformation. With the Vanguard Innovation Programme, BT Health is opening up its resources, spaces, people and technology to the NHS, empowering it to build the healthcare solutions of tomorrow. Working together, we can identify the challenges in a particular location or trust, before creating scalable technologies to overcome them.

Following successful trials, solutions can then be rolled out further throughout the NHS at reduced rates. This approach provides the NHS a chance to fully assess the value of new solutions, whilst enabling healthcare professionals and patients to benefit from them immediately.

Innovation has always been at the forefront of the NHS, utilising new technology to improve outcomes and experience for patients. With the Vanguard Innovation Programme, we want to continue that record of innovation. We’ve aligned the programme to the NHS’s ‘What Good Looks Like’ framework. And we’ve brought together a worldclass team of senior healthcare, digital and clinical leaders to support our partnership ambitions with the NHS. Our team are from within the NHS, for the NHS.

The Vanguard Innovation Programme will see the NHS and BT working together towards a shared ambition and strategic objectives: to create a better digital experience for patients across a joined-up healthcare system. Being the digital glue between primary, secondary and community services. We can support the NHS to digitise, connect and transform. Bringing the

treatments, acupuncture and meditation. Aside from taking me-time very seriously, The Oak House provides a place for likeminded people to come together and be part of a community that shares the same passion for wellness.

Grab a coffee with friends in the onsite restaurant, visit Hatfield Park’s Stable Yard, where you’ll find an eclectic mix of independent retailers throughout the year. With easy access by car, bus and train (just 500m from Hatfield station) and free parking.

The only thing left for you to do? Relax.

What Waters you?

As we enter a new year, I wonder how you are feeling?

With everything that has and is happening in the world right on our doorstep or indeed in the wider world it is ok to have dips in your energy levels. It’s ok to feel a bit sad or indeed lost in it all.

I joined the Herts Chamber of Commerce after being encouraged to do so by the team who had kindly asked me to deliver a talk to their original Women In Leadership Lunch. It was well received and at the end of it I gave everyone a pink rose to take home with them.

best of digital innovation and infrastructure to shift care closer to the home; using technology to tackle patient backlogs by improving hospital flow; and raising the level of digital maturity across the entire NHS. Big ambitions, for sure. But that’s what the Vanguard Innovation Programme is about. Being bold, refusing to be held back by old ways of working, traditional thinking and yesterday’s ideas. It’s about a structured partnership all the way from our initial engagement, through deployment and adoption, and on to scale.

As a member of our Vanguard Innovation Programme, you’ll benefit from many perks that will help you improve healthcare for staff and for patients. This includes, being part of a network of trusts and partners sharing their knowledge, collaborating and coming together at exclusive events. And, boosting your work with our investment and access to facilities like our DigiHealth Innovation Hub at Adastral Park. By working as true partners, we can close the gap between the technology industry and healthcare, improving patient outcomes and transforming care.

For more information and to get in touch, head to

In this short article I just wanted to share the message I shared then with that room full of women (and one man who was attending from Barclays if my memory serves be correctly). The message is simple. It’s that whatever is happening in your life right now you MUST remember to take the greatest care of YOU.

I call this ‘watering’. If you were a flower, herb, shrub, tree or indeed something else in the garden and you weren’t fully watered what would happen? Yes, you would begin to wilt, fade, and eventually die.

I now live in a beautiful cottage in South Bedfordshire and am getting to know the importance of watering my real garden. I am seeing the beauty of the growth from our hard work. It is the same with life. We MUST think about what we need physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

And ensure we practice this on a daily basis.

I often work with people going through difficult and sometimes traumatic life change and remembering to do this can be tough, so I get them to remember and practice the simple phrase: ‘Eat, Sleep, breathe REPEAT’.

Maybe you could use this yourself and share it with those people you love and care about.

Happy Watering YOU in 2023 and beyond. For more information visit:


Home-Start Herts raises £15,600 to support vulnerable families in Hertfordshire

Home-Start Hertfordshire’s guests recently celebrated an elaborate Masquerade Ball at St Michael’s Manor and raised £15,600 to support struggling families.

Every year, Home-Start Hertfordshire host a themed fundraising event and this year once again they pulled out all the stops with the masquerade theme. Guests donned their masks and enjoyed an evening packed with entertainment, including a magician, singer and fabulous auction.

Suzy Moody, CEO of Home-Start Herts commented: This is always a fabulous event and every year, guests go to great efforts to dress up for the occasion. There were some amazing masks ranging from elegant Venetian masks to the more sultry arabesque styles!

It’s great to see the local community and businesses pulling together to support us in raising funds to support families with young children, who are struggling to cope.

Referrals for support have doubled and the challenges families are facing are only getting harder in the current economic climate, so we are delighted to have raised a fabulous £15,600, enough to support 12-15 families.

The evening also featured a presentation by Suzy Moody (CEO) on behalf of the charity, to their Patron, Ken Follett, (worldwide, award winning author, based in Stevenage).

The award was in recognition of his dedication and commitment to Home-Start over the last 17 years, in his role as Patron of the charity.

Herts Inclusive Theatre win a National Award

Herts Inclusive Theatre (HIT) aims to improve the well-being of people, particularly children and young people and those who are disadvantaged or disabled.

Since its inception in 2001, HIT has used the theatre and the arts to build confidence, improve well-being and develop skills in an inclusive, fun, creative space. Led by experienced practitioners, their activities are open to all and are especially welcoming to those with learning and physical disabilities.

They believe that everyone should have opportunities to enhance their lives through creative and educational activities in environments that are positive and welcoming to all, regardless of people’s background or abilities. Their termly theatre sessions take place at a variety of locations across Hertfordshire and one group in North London.

Now in its 21st year, Herts Inclusive Theatre is established as one of Hertfordshire’s

leading inclusive companies; HIT were delighted to pick up the award for Diversity and Inclusion at the Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards in June 2022.

Following this, they were delighted to be put forward for the British Chamber of Commerce Business Awards 2022, before winning the Equality Trailblazer Award, sponsored by British Business Bank. The Equality Trailblazer Award recognises the work of an organisation that champions diversity and promotes inclusion - in their workforce, their customers and any community outreach work.

HIT Director Caroline Stevens says, “To be recognised as a national leader in inclusion and diversity for a small charity based in Hertfordshire is absolutely fantastic. We were delighted to be recognised this year at the

We are particularly grateful to our sponsors, Musterhubs Bushells, Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, Steve Charles Electrical and Holiday Inn Express, whose support enabled more of the money raised to go directly to the families.

Rebecca De Pledge from Steve Charles Electricals said “Steve Charles Electrical is a family run company and we are honoured to be given the opportunity to help vulnerable families - as ‘family’ is such a big value within our business.”

Home-Start have been supporting families for over 30 years across Hertfordshire but state that in that time they have not faced the level of challenges that they are experiencing now.

They offer one to one support from a trained Volunteer Family Mentor, in the family home, as well as running eight family groups across Hertfordshire.

Due to the increase in needs, and number for families waiting for support, HomeStart Herts are appealing for volunteers –if you are interested please email them at:

Hertfordshire Chamber Awards but to then be put forward and go on to win the National Award has just blown us away. Inclusion is at our core and embedded in every part of the organisation, which was highlighted in our application.”

Herts Inclusive Theatre will be celebrating their 21st anniversary through a series of fully inclusive and creative events and activities taking place throughout the year, including two large scale productions of Matilda and Hairspray. Summer 2023 will be kicked off by their annual ‘Heart of HIT’ Awards ceremony which celebrates their participants and achievements from the year.

For more information, please visit

PHOTO CREDIT- Stephanie Belton
It was glitzy and glamorous and was most definitely a night to remember!

DENS supporters brave a cold night outside for the Sleepout

On Friday 25th November, over 100 local people endured a winter’s night outside on the cold, hard ground for the DENS Sponsored Sleepout.

Keeping your business in shape for the future

As 2022 draws to a close, now is a good time to review your business and plan to ensure that 2023 is a year of growth for your business.

For many, the past few years has been a rollercoaster of events that have tested their ability to adapt and respond to change.

There is no doubt that in this current climate there is much to navigate, but with the new year will also come new opportunities and getting your business ‘in shape’ can help you to take advantage of these.

Make time to take stock

Taking a pause for thought and reflection can seem a luxury out of reach to many business leaders, but placing the importance on this that it deserves will stand you in good stead to cope with what 2023 could have in store:

Your offer - A good starting point is to evaluate your offering and whether it still meets your customers’ needs. Do you need to adapt what you do and the way you do it to benefit from the changes in the market?

Even through periods of rapid and unforeseen change, business fundamentals remain the same. It is important to be able to understand and answer key questions about your business,and be able to take actions that will correct any problems you identify. It may make you feel uneasy about the answers but accepting and addressing any issues will improve your performance.

Constant review of each area of the business will ensure that you are continually improving, giving you more confidence to progress and become more successful.

The Growth Hub can help

If you need help to answer some of these questions or do not know where to start, then look no further for impartial and fully funded support.

Friends, families, businesses and groups from around the community came together at Hobbs Hill Wood Primary School, or their homes and offices, to share the experience of sleeping rough in support of the charity.

The hugely successful event has so far raised over an incredible £30,000 – with every penny helping local, vulnerable individuals and families facing homelessness and poverty.

The night kicked off in style with a screening of the England vs USA football match, before attendees had fun dancing at a glow silent disco.

Participants, wrapped up in thick layers and sleeping bags, then braved a humbling night sleeping under the stars with only cardboard boxes for shelter, kindly provided by local removal company, JamVans.

Hot drinks served up by DENS’ social enterprise, the Coffee Project, helped to keep participants warm.

In the morning, participants celebrated their fantastic achievement with a welldeserved breakfast generously provided by the local Rapid Relief Team.

Imagination Technologies, the semiconductor company based in Kings Langley, kindly sponsored the event.

Nicky Maxwell-Braithwaite, Corporate & Community Fundraising Manager at DENS, said: “Thank you to everyone who took part in the Sleepout, and all our supporters who were key in making the event a big success. We are so grateful for the incredible total raised, which is more important than ever as our services face unprecedented demand during these difficult times.”

Donations can still be made towards the event by visiting:

Operations - Are you able to deliver what your customers need, when they want it and at a price they are prepared to pay?

Marketing - Is your marketing creating the enquiries that you need to generate more sales?

Sales - Does your sales team ensure that you are able to convert ‘interest’ into orders?

Your Team - You and your team would have dealt with a considerable amount of change and uncertainty over the last year. Supporting wellbeing in the workplace can reduce absenteeism, presenteeism, improve motivation and staff retention. What skills will your business need for 2023? Can you upskill existing staff and/or will you need to recruit?

Finance - Look back at your finances to identify any trends, including both peaks and troughs. This will help you to prepare for the costs you will face in the year ahead and help avoid any unwanted surprises. Do you truly understand where you make money and where you spend money?

At Hertfordshire Growth Hub we have in-house experienced Business Advisers who are here to listen, make suggestions and provide advice about resources and schemes that are available and could help keep you on track, or even exploit new opportunities. In addition, we are well connected with access to both the public and private sector – so now would be a good time to get in contact and see what we can do to help.

Here is what CEO of Crisp Accountancy Luke Desmond had to say about the Hertfordshire Growth Hubs help: “It’s not just the one-to-one coaching, which is really great, but whatever the particular problem is in my business at that moment in time, and over the years it’s been many different types of problems, there’s always been a solution, or help to find a solution available for it”.

For further information about how the Growth Hub can support your business, visit


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 the chamber; from attending events, being ambassadors, 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.

Lumina has greatly benefitted from the energy and entrepreneurial mindset that drives the Herts Chamber of Commerce. Through meeting local business leaders, we’ve been able to exchange wisdom with each other and have been given a chance to showcase our expertise across the county. We have been proud to support the entrepreneurial foundation and the Hertfordshire community.


MEMBERS 5 - 9 Years

In such a challenging trading environment, it is important to recognise the achievements of local businesses and that is exactly what we have just done at the sold-out 11th Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards that we celebrated in June at Warner Bros Studios in Leavesden. With a record number of finalists this year, the team enjoyed celebrating with all those involved at what was a truly magical event.

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 and we certainly look forward to continuing to do so. From Bronze members to Patrons, we could not function without our members, so, on behalf of everyone at Herts Chamber, thank you.

u One Hatfield Hospital u Pangaea Laboratories Limited u Parallel HR Ltd u Partners in Export UK u POhWER u Prism Power Limited u Proactive Block Management Ltd u Queen’s House Consulting u RIS Products u Robert A Harris & Co u Leonard Curtis Limited u Lewcon Audio Visual Ltd u Linde Material Handling (UK) Ltd u London Luton Airport Operations Limited u Lumina Technologies Ltd u LW Developments u Marlowes Hemel Ltd u Metro Bank u My Language Hub Ltd u Nexcape Pharmaceuticals Ltd

VolkerWessels UK is founded on great relationships and networks, so being part of the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce has enabled us to build stronger networks within the local community. The events we have attended over the years have been beneficial to a wide range of people and we have also been given the opportunity to share some of our business knowledge with other members. The team at the Chamber have always been very personable and helpful and we look forward to many more successful years as members.

VolkerWessels UK

Being a patron of the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce has been hugely valuable to us in expanding our network in the community, linking in with innovative companies, and providing us support, particularly through the early days of the pandemic. As we collaborate more broadly with the business community in Hertfordshire, and seek to support the wider economic development of the county, we look forward to growing our relationship with both the Chamber and its members.

As a local law firm, VWV is delighted to be a platinum member of the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce. Our membership has allowed us to strengthen our relationships with businesses all over the county as the Chamber does a great job of introducing members to each other and proactively thinking of referral opportunities. We particularly enjoy the monthly lunches and are looking forward to sponsoring the February lunch.

INSPIRE 55 LONG STANDING MEMBERS u SEC Group u Sharp-aX Computer Systems Ltd u Strand PR u Strive Development Limited u SWCO Financial Planning u Synchrony Law u Synergy in Trade Ltd u Tanner Pharma UK u Tate Recruitment u Tender Assist Limited u The Automation Partnership (Sartorius) u Towers and Co u Trinity Wealth Management u Tusker u Veale Wasbrough Vizards (VWV) u Via Properties u Victory Lighting (UK) Limited u VolkerWessels UK Ltd u Ware Priory u Waste2 Environmental Systems Limited u WDE Consulting u Zoocha

Hertfordshire’s Independent Training Providers offering outstanding skills solutions

Hertfordshire is home to a number of outstanding Independent Training Providers (ITPs) providing a wide range of skills training to businesses and individuals.

Working hand-in-hand with the Chamber to serve the needs of the County, our Independent Training Provider base is working hard to ensure that the provision they offer meets the emerging needs of the businesses they serve.

So, what is an Independent Training Provider (ITP) and how are they different to a college?

ITPs may offer fully-funded or subsidised training through the Department for Education. This could be through traineeships, apprenticeships or other adult-education programmes. They may also work in private or bespoke arrangements with employers, offering commercial (or paid-for) training solutions too. ITPs typically operate independently from state-run institutions such as colleges and schools, and as such

can often provide a great deal of variety and flexibility in the services and products that they offer.

For any government funded provision, ITPs are inspected by Ofsted in exactly the same way that schools or colleges would be, and are held to account to the same high standards. Additionally, they undergo rigorous financial and governance assurance processes through government to ensure that the funded programmes that they offer to young people, adults and businesses are robust and high-quality. Many of our training providers in Hertfordshire hold ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’, the highest awards that Ofsted can grade. This means that they are amongst the leading training providers in the country –and many are based right here in our County.

We have a wide range of ITP provision here in Hertfordshire, covering many specialist subjects and job roles. We also have a number of ITPs that can offer

training within Hertfordshire, but who are not Headquartered here. They are still a valuable part of our skills offer for the county, as it’s important that we can provide a mix of skills solutions to our businesses.

• Learn Trade Skills

• Sporting Futures Training

• Skillnet

• SPS Training

• Together Training

• Performance Learning Group


find out more about the Independent Training Providers who are based or represented in
please visit the Hop portal
Hertfordshire, Image:

Regarded as the best annual outdoor event in the county, The Hertfordshire County Show presents the perfect opportunity to engage customers both old and new. As such we offer packages to suit every budget and can make bespoke adaptions to accommodate your needs.

● Build your company profile and brand awareness

● The Show gives the chance to invest in the county and spread your positive brand message ● Supporting a charity and local community network

● Entertain clients, associates and employees within our dedicated Members Marquee and Lawn, taking away the best of the Show experience

● Reach your target visitor audience within the Hertfordshire and Greater London region

● Add credibility to your brand by aligning with an event that has been running for 142 years

27th & 28th May 2023
Why sponsor us Benefits of sponsorship
boastsTheShow attendanceanannual of32,000visitors overtwodays inMay Get Involved 2023! The Showground, Dunstable Road, Redbourn, Hertfordshire, AL3 7PT Many packages available to suit individual requirements email: Call the Show Office: 01582 792626


AXA Health working with the British Chambers of Commerce

At AXA Health, we’ll help you get the expert healthcare you need, when you need it.

Our in-house team of healthcare professionals will keep you in the know. Supporting you to get where you want to be with wellbeing inspiration and guidance. We’ll be your health and wellbeing partner. With you every step of the way. Helping you focus on your health. It’s what we do every day.


You know your business best. That’s why it makes sense to let you choose the cover benefits that are right for you.

Whether it’s speedy access to diagnosis and treatment, or mental health support1 to help you and your people when you feel under pressure, you can create a plan that suits your business, your people, and your budget.

1 Please note our mental health option is subject to your previous medical conditions



We’ll get you access to see the right specialist quickly when you include our Outpatient or Diagnostics Only cover options in your plan. Because the sooner you see someone, the sooner you can get a diagnosis and start treatment. And the sooner you can start getting better. You just need to ask the GP for an open referral.


Taking time out for GP appointments can be inconvenient when you’re running a business. Access to a 24/7 online GP service via the AXA Doctor at Hand app powered by Doctor Care Anywhere (DCA) makes it easy. Book a video or phone appointment with a fully qualified GP, whenever you want, wherever you are: before work, in your lunch break or when the kids are in bed.

Appointments are available usually within a few hours, so you can find one that fits in with you. Subject to availability and DCA’s fair-use policy.



Up to 40% off monthly Nuffield Health, Fitness and Wellbeing centre membership and Hussle Monthly+ pass fees for you and all your employees. So, your team can find their motivation, whether they’re training for a marathon or just getting started.

For terms and conditions, visit


Trouble with muscles, bones and joints is the second most common reason for being absent from work2. With AXA Health, you can book a phone or video appointment with a physiotherapist as soon as you need it.

There’s no need for a GP referral first, saving you time and worry. This service is for members aged 18 and over.

2 Source:, 2020

We may record and/or monitor calls for training, quality assurance and as a record of our conversation. Lines are open Mon - Fri 8:30am – 5:30pm

* There are terms and conditions attached to this offer:

- This offer is only available to members of participating Chambers

- This offer is available to direct new customers of AXA Health only

- 50% off Chamber membership is up to the value of £125 per employee they cover each year

- 50% off Chamber membership can be claimed each year for up to three years as long as a current Business Health or Business Protect policy remains in force on a direct basis

- AXA Health reserves the right to change or remove this offer at any time

- This offer shall only be available to members who opt to purchase at a minimum, either the Treatment option or the Diagnostics Only option of the Business Health or Business Protect policy

- This offer shall not be available to persons who cease to be the legal holder of or beneficiary under a Business Health or Business Protect policy and who subsequently re-join the scheme

British Chambers of Commerce Limited is an introducer appointed representative of AXA PPP healthcare Limited. AXA Health is a trading name of AXA PPP healthcare Limited, authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Services purchased in addition to your insurance cover are not regulated either by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority. The private healthcare insurance plans are underwritten by AXA PPP healthcare Limited. Registered office: 20 Gracechurch Street, London EC3V 0BG. Registered in England and Wales number 3148119. Write to us at: AXA Health, Phillips House, Crescent Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 2PL. For information about AXA Health, visit

And as a Chambers of Commerce member, if you take out small business healthcare cover with us, you’ll get: 50% off your Chamber of Commerce membership for three years.* GET IN TOUCH TODAY To find out what is and isn’t covered, and to get a quote call us at AXA Health on 0800 389 7413 and mention that you’re a member of the Chambers of Commerce.

To meet this demand, we need the help of local businesses through corporate partnerships. Age UK Hertfordshire’s vision is to ensure older people are valued, able to live well, age well and retain their independence throughout later life. We can make this possible with your corporate support, whilst providing a fulfilling and rewarding impact for your employees.

A partnership with us could be beneficial for your business by helping you meet your corporate social responsibility objectives. It’s a great way to motivate employees, gain insight into the over-50s market, get some great PR and help Age UK Hertfordshire to support vulnerable people in the local community.

Help us to make a difference in later life

Age UK Hertfordshire provides vital support for older people across the County.

By 2040 there will be over one quarter of a million people over the age of 65 living in Hertfordshire, that’s 36% more than we have today. It is estimated that over 90,000 will be living alone, over 128,000 will have limited daily activity and nearly 23,000 will have a diagnosis of dementia. Age UK Hertfordshire’s services are already in high demand, and these forecasts suggest that will only get higher!

Ways you can support us

There are a variety of ways you can support us, including:

Charity of the Year - consider choosing Age UK Hertfordshire as your business Charity of the Year. Whether this is for one-year, multiple years or as part of a wider CSR strategy choosing a Charity of the Year has been proven to improve employee satisfaction and retention.

Payroll Giving - there are lots of benefits to offering a Payroll Giving scheme for your employees and every employer in the UK can start a scheme regardless of your size. Donating to charities tax-free directly through your salary, Payroll Giving, is the most tax-efficient way to give. Donations are taken from pay after National Insurance but before tax.

Gifts in Kind - these provide us with the use of products or services that may otherwise cost us money. This can include the use of a facility or donating a product or service for us the use at a raffle, or as a prize.

Cause Relating Marketing - this allows a donation to be made to Age UK Hertfordshire from the sale of a specific item or service.

Challenge Central - we have teamed up with Challenge Central who organise private bespoke group events for those who enjoy taking on a physical challenge.

Collection 4 Clothes (C4C) - clothes and bric-a-brac are donated by your employees, taken away to be recycled by C4C and Age UK Hertfordshire receives a donation from these items depending on the weight of the bags.

Volunteering your Time - As little as an hour a week will make a huge difference to an older person in Hertfordshire. We have a variety of volunteering roles to suit everyone.

To find out more information please contact, call 01707 323272 or visit our website:


Wagada Digital sees Strong Business Growth in 2022

St Albans and Cheltenhambased digital marketing agency Wagada Digital has seen strong growth in the past year with an increase in turnover of 55%, recruiting an additional 8 staff members.

The growth has been achieved by working closely with companies to support their business growth goals and offering targeted marketing with a tangible return on investment. One of the key benefits of digital marketing is the ability to be able to quantify the number of leads coming into a business and their source, meaning that marketing budgets can be used more efficiently and directed to the activities that offer the best return.

Wagada builds trust and strong longterm relationships with its clients. 12% of its clients have worked with the company for between 3 and 5 years and 45% between 1 and 3 years.

Cheryl Luzet, CEO, says “As patrons of the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, we benefit enormously from the relationship building and visibility that it offers us and we now work with many chamber members, supporting them to grow their businesses and see success from their marketing.”

Recruitment is an issue for many businesses at the present time, and as well as supporting clients with growing their customer base, Wagada also offers employer branding and recruitment marketing, meaning that its clients’ growth is never stunted by recruitment challenges.

A popular service offering this year for the B2B market has been successful Account Based Marketing projects. This service allows businesses to bring their sales and marketing more inline to work together more efficiently, ensuring that the marketing spend is directed at the exact customers that the sales teams are targeting.

The company became HubSpot partners 2 years ago and the added value this offers to their client base has benefited the business to be able to offer comprehensive Hubspot onboarding and training and consultancy, to ensure that businesses make the most out of this fantastic time saving tool. Wagada’s MD Nick Silverstone says, “Our HubSpot offering has been the cornerstone of our growth for the year, supporting a range of clients to understand their business and the best way to set up the tool to support their growth and marketing efforts.”

Every project that Wagada works on starts with a strategy, allowing the team to really get to know the company, its strengths and weaknesses as well as its growth goals. This document identifies the key messages that resonate with the target audience and the tactics that its customers will respond to. This becomes the roadmap for the next 6 months to a year and includes KPIs to measure the success of the work.

Wagada works hard to identify the needs of the businesses that it serves and to formulate a strong offering around solving these problems. Many businesses are struggling with the move from Google’s Universal Analytics to GA4 which is set to take place next year. Wagada has developed a strong service offering around GA4 migration and training to put its clients in the best possible position for the change.

Twice winners of the Inspiring Herts Workplace Wellbeing award, the management team at Wagada Digital works hard to promote a strong culture and create a positive working environment of experts who are passionate about serving its clients and developing their knowledge of digital marketing.

The company has always conducted its business development through sharing expertise and building relationships and will continue to do so across their two office locations. However, these sorts of growth numbers will require more targeted business development to ensure that the company is attracting the right type of client to boost profitability and offer the most value.

It does not stop here, the company is targeting further growth for 2023 of 50% of its turnover and plans to achieve this through a combination of tactics, including more HubSpot projects in the pipeline, and a series of web development projects designed to streamline their clients’ online presence, improve the messaging and raise brand visibility.

Cheryl says, “Whilst we don’t know what the next year brings in terms of the impact of a recession, we learnt during covid how important it is for companies to remain active in their marketing during a downturn. As trading conditions become more difficult, businesses need to protect themselves and take control of their business development in order to futureproof their growth and put themselves in the best possible position as we come out of the other side.”


The Last Word

Q Why did you join the Chamber?

I joined the Chamber because I see it as a fantastic opportunity to meet more of the local business leaders in Hertfordshire given the extensive number of members. It is also important to me to be able to give something back to the local community through offering our support and experience. My team and I have broad and deep experience across a wide range of commercial and financial situations, and it gives us a genuine sense of job satisfaction to help leaders or businesses who may be experiencing something for the first time that they are unsure about or about which they need guidance.

Q What do you do?

I lead a team of 8 Relationship Directors in Hertfordshire who support local corporate clients in achieving their growth ambitions through cash management, payments, deposits, foreign exchange as well as all forms of trade facilities, working capital facilities and commercial lending. We are really passionate about having a trusted advisor relationship with mainly owner managed businesses in the local community and my team focus on specific industry specialisms to help them to truly understand the challenges and opportunities businesses are experiencing.

Q Who do you work for?

I work in the Mid Corporate segment in Barclays Bank which comprises regional teams across the UK all building relationships with owner managed businesses in their local communities.


Q What do you get from it?

My team and I really enjoy meeting new businesses and understanding their ambitions, the chamber events are a perfect platform for this. Personally, I find the Women in Leadership events truly inspiring –we have such amazing women leaders in Hertfordshire! I started my role nearly 2 years ago when in lockdown, so joining the Chamber has really helped me raise my profile, and increase Barclays’ visibility across Hertfordshire through all of the fantastic events.

Q How has it helped you network?

Along with my Barclays colleagues Micky Kosowycz and Melanie Williams, we look after businesses from start up to public float and are all very proud of the number of successful businesses in Hertfordshire and passionate about how we can support them on their journey. Briege, Mary and the Chamber think and act very commercially and are excellent in putting the right people in front of each other to build on successes.

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

Surround yourself with good people whether that is your team or advisors or shareholders or financial service providers – the most successful leaders are the ones that have a successful team around them! Make sure they know and share your vision in a way that they can buy in to. Be agile and finally, being a banker, I would have to say stay close to your numbers and “Cash is King!”

Q What is the biggest challenge in your business life?

As a female leader I would have to say imposter syndrome! Many of us have it and we just learn to deal with it better the more experienced we become! I have been fortunate enough in my career to have a number of male allies who have and continue to support me on my career journey. Without them my imposter syndrome would definitely have got the better of me!

Our clients are telling us that their outlook is generally positive for the future. Appreciating that there is some uncertainty around the macro environment with supply chains, cost inflation, rising interest rates, and staff churn etc.They have reacted to this quickly and decisively and have planned, adapted and budgeted accordingly. After the nervousness of the last couple of years they are starting to invest again to build their businesses as they see opportunities for growth in the future.

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