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OFFICIAL MAGAZINE FOR KENT INVICTA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE • October - November 2016

It’s a big world

so embrace the international trade opportunities - page 20 Also Inside: • International Trade • 24 Hours with... • Spotlight on Ashford • Big Interview with J&N Refunds


CONTENTS

Welcome

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The opportunities are there in a post-Referendum world From China to India, the United States to Europe, there is business to be done and our article offers some insights on making a success of international trade. We also have a strong focus on Ashford starting on page 16 in our regular Spotlight feature. There is a remarkable range of activities happening in the area and we examine some of the projects that are bringing investment and jobs.

Welcome to the latest edition of Thinking Business, which has its usual mix of news and views from around the county. One of our features, starting on page 20, examines the importance of global trading which is an important theme, particularly at a time like this. What has become clear since June 23 is that the departure from the European Union will not happen immediately which means that many business ventures under consideration before the vote will be able to continue in this new climate. Also, many companies see new opportunities in the trade deals which the UK will be drawing up with European nations and countries elsewhere in the world. Export is very much seen as key to helping the economy to thrive. As our feature points out, companies need to embrace global trade because, uncertainty over Europe or not, a lot of countries want to keep doing business with the UK.

You will also see that the Chamber has signed an agreement with the council in Ashford so that we can support the economic growth of the area. We are delighted to have done so because we are strong believers in partnership as a way of achieving success. Our big interview on page 32 stays in Ashford and reminds us that customer service must be at the heart of everything you do - that’s the belief of our subject Nathan Cotton, founder of J&N Refunds. It’s a philosophy that has stood Nathan in good stead since he started the company four years ago and which has taken the business from his spare bedroom to ever-expanding premises in Ashford.

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Members Corner Chamber News Members News Focus on Finance Members News 24 Hours with.... Spotlight On.... Members News International Trade Industry Comment Members News Big Interview The Economy & Us

Editorial and General Enquiries Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford, Kent. TN24 0LH Tel: 01233 503 838 Fax: 01233 503 687 Email: info@kentinvictachamber.co.uk Web: www.kentinvictachamber.co.uk Chief Executive: Jo James Publisher Ian Fletcher Benham Publishing Limited 3tc House, 16 Crosby Road North, Crosby, Liverpool L22 0NY Tel: 0151 236 4141 Fax: 0151 236 0440 Email: admin@benhampublishing.com Web: www.benhampublishing.com Published October 2016 © Benham Publishing Advertising and Features Karen Hall Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: karen@benhampublishing.com

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Members News Business News Members News Ask the Expert Members News Getting Started Chamber Events Chamber Exhibitions Low Carbon Economy Business News New Members Movers & Shakers The Last Word

Production Manager Mark Etherington Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: mark@benhampublishing.com Media No. 1485 Disclaimer Thinking Business is published for Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and is distributed without charge to Chamber members. All correspondence should be addressed to the Editor at Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. Views expressed in Thinking Business are not necessarily those of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. Reprinting in whole or part is forbidden except by permission. © 2016 Please note that submitting an article does not guarantee publication. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of material published in this journal, Benham Publishing and its agents can accept no responsibility for the veracity of claims made by contributions in advertising or editorial content. Benham Publishing cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in web or email links supplied to us.

October - November 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS CHAMBER PATRON

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MEMBERSCORNER

Young Chamber – Raising aspirations for our young people of Kent Young Chamber, a programme run through Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce has started the new academic year with a full suite of events specifically designed to be that all important link between business and education.

Members Corner from

Linda Marsh

Director of Membership Services

A busy Autumn ahead Lots has been happening here at the Chamber. Bryan Hall has retired, but I am sure you will still see him out and about at the events. Paula Weeks, from our Medway office, has moved on, likewise has Paul Brooks from the events team, we will miss them all but wish them well in their futures. So what’s in store for the Autumn with your Chamber? Well, lots of great events are planned starting with the relaunch of the very successful programme “Rising Stars.” This is a network support forum for those in professional services. Then how could we forget “Get Social”? This has to be the biggest Social Media Event in Kent. This year it promises to be bigger and better, being held at Longfield Academy. Facebook are headline speakers this year, so not to be missed. Crosskeys in Folkestone are sponsors, along with The Leigh Academy Trust as venue sponsors. We are looking forward to the East Kent B2B to be held at the Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone. The event is on 1st November. Within the event, you can expect all the high quality exhibitors to be attendance, but also “Get Social” with top workshops and talks to help with your social media challenges. There will also be the “Winning Bid,” which this year has a great line up of workshops to help your business with compliance worries and some great tips on the tender process. We are able to bring you the procurement team from Shepway Council, Ashford Borough Council, Thanet Earth, Nims Crisps and Tesco. So don’t miss this event! Lastly, do you consider yourself a real Chamber Champion? Someone who likes networking, meets lots of people through your own business? We could have the ideal opportunity for you to earn some extra money whilst going about your normal, everyday networking; interested in finding out more? Give me a call 01233 503838.

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ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2016

This is a unique programme which has seen a positive impact on Kent’s young people by providing informative career options, real business challenges and practical help with interviews and cv’s with actual employers. Such is the success of this programme that many businesses have willingly signed up to take part in the new programme for 2017. Homewood School and Sixth Form Centre in Tenterden have just kicked off their new term with a team of businesses led by Richard Lavender,

Graham Card, Louise Carter, Grant Longfield and Kevin Artlett to assist Years 10 &12 students with a business project. Students were given the task of setting up and running a German style Christmas Market in November aimed at 250 year 5 & 6 students from local primary schools. The business team were more than impressed with the enthusiasm the students had shown and how well the two different years worked together to come up with some very good ideas.

The Young Chamber programme can really inspire Young People to aim high, if you would like to find out more information contact linda@kentinvictachamber.co.uk

Furley Page Workshop will examine Brexit With Britain heading for the EU exit door, leading law firm Furley Page will be examining the implications for employment law and human resource management and planning at a workshop in Kent. The Employment Law Update 2016-17 – Post Brexit event, run in partnership with Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce on 20 October, will explain how the UK’s employment laws may change following our departure from the European Union and how employers could be affected. The workshop, which is open to chamber members and non-members whatever the size of their workforce, will be led by Andrew Masters, Partner and Head of Employment at Furley Page.

Andrew will be joined by Amanda Okill, a Senior Associate who specialises in employment law.

How to attend The Employment Law Update 2016-17 – Post Brexit workshop will be held at

Bridgewood Manor Hotel, Walderslade Woods, Chatham. Registration is from 8am, starting at 8.30am and finishing at noon. Workshop costs, including bacon rolls and coffee, are £80 (including VAT) to chamber members and £90 (inc VAT) to non-members.

Call the booking hotline on 01233 503838 or email events@kentinvictachamber.co.uk To book online visit the Events section of the chamber website or visit www.kentinvictachamber.co.uk/furley-page

25 years of servicing the local community

Local insurance broker Independent Insurance Services, recently celebrated 25 years in business with a dinner and tour held at Dover Castle attended by many guests including local business owners and clients. Independent Insurance Services was established in Dover in September 1991 before moving to Folkestone a year later, and has been a major presence in the town ever since. It has a long-standing reputation for environmental awareness, having won many awards and becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral insurance broker. The company has also achieved great success with its Insure Green product, aimed towards environmentally-friendly customers. In addition the company continues to expand by providing a first-class, award-winning service to clients for all types of insurance for personal, business and corporate clients, risk management and financial services.

Ray Johnson, proprietor of the company, said, “It is wonderful to look back on two and a half decades which has been most enjoyable. My team are great and we often receive excellent feedback, our clients are not just numbers. After 25 years, we must be doing something right – in fact, we’re the

longest-running insurance broker in Folkestone! “Most of our business comes from the local area and over the years we have tried to integrate with the community, supporting many local causes including sports events.” Picture shows guests within the Throne Room of Dover Castle.


CHAMBERNEWS

A strong partnership for In My Opinion strong local businesses Ashford Borough Council has extended its close-working relationship with the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce into a 15th year.

The ongoing service level agreement between the two organisations strengthens further the coordinated approach to supporting businesses in the borough, which is vital to maintaining Ashford’s coveted position as the number one location for business in Kent. The partnership is enhanced by Ashford Borough Council now having patron status of the Chamber – raising its profile further among the business community and enabling it to increase its opportunities to stand shoulder-toshoulder with the Chamber and network with key stakeholders, including MPs, established businesses in the county and the borough’s young entrepreneurs of the future. Under the agreement, the Chamber provides support and guidance for local Kent businesses and has more than 1,200 members. It has a growing reputation in the south east and beyond as a proactive and successful accredited Chamber.

The service level agreement will see crucial one-to-one business advice and business start-up workshops free of charge to Ashford residents, as well as courses aimed at improving many aspects of businesses, such as administration, marketing and time management. It also acts decisively in supporting businesses that need critical assistance in tougher times. To access these support services, businesses should contact the chamber through its website at www.kentinvictachamber.co.uk Achieving patron status is important within the context of Ashford’s flourishing inward investment programme, which is seeing key priority projects such as Ashford College to increase the skills of our workforce, Elwick Place and Victoria Way all gaining real momentum. Furthermore, a commitment to supporting specialisms such as digitalisation and manufacturing indicate the tailored approach to Ashford, particularly in view of the businesses expected to be within the Commercial Quarter, work on which is under way.

In addition to attracting tens of millions of pounds of investment to the borough on its priority projects, the transformation of Park Mall is an excellent example of the council illustrating how businesses both big and small are essential to creating the fabric of the town centre. Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council, said: “I am delighted that we have increased our involvement with the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. We are fortunate to have such an active and strong Chamber and formalising this relationship can only help businesses in the borough. I see our partnership as a key building block in our vision to achieve greater economic prosperity for Ashford.” Jo James, Chief Executive of the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, said: “I have been a firm advocate of Ashford Borough Council’s approach to economic investment and growth. The way in which it works with public and private sector stakeholders of any size to realise Ashford’s potential is clear for all to see. “The fact that the council now has patron status should signal to everyone the strength of the council’s resolve to both deliver on its aspirations and make Ashford truly successful in the long-term. I can only commend the borough council on its proactive and tireless pursuit of achieving its economic development goals for the betterment of the borough.”

Andrew Watson Managing Partner

The Government has made it clear that Brexit means Brexit and is now pushing ahead with plans to leave the EU. Although there are conflicting messages about how the economy has responded to Brexit the UK's services sector which accounts for around 80% of the UK economy saw a record rise in August, according to a closely-watched survey. In addition a recent poll commissioned by the BBC suggests that almost two-thirds of UK adults are now positive about a post-Brexit Britain. The British Chamber of Commerce is more cautious stating that although the UK is on course to avoid a double dip recession economic growth will be slow. However, the overwhelming message from UK Business is that we are where we are and we need to get on and make a success of it. I agree. Whilst we will be leaving the EU, Britain is still part of Europe and always will be; it is of paramount importance that we remain an outward looking nation. Girlings Solicitors is a founder member of Girlings Europe, an established alliance of well-respected law firms in Belgium, France and the UK which provides specialist European legal services to companies and individuals seeking advice and assistance with matters in mainland Europe.

BCC comments on Apprenticeship Levy funding guidance Commenting on the funding guidance for the Apprenticeship Levy, Mike Spicer, Director of Research at the BCC, said: “Businesses will welcome the news that the government will fully-fund 16-18-year-old apprentices, and that the co-investment rate for non-levy payers will be set at 10%.

“It is disappointing however that businesses will have to wait until October, just six months before the proposed implementation date of the Levy, for details of the technical rules. Indeed, the timescale seems very compressed for a complex policy that relies on a major IT set-up.

see them as a vital way of narrowing the skills gap. But the focus must be on high-quality apprenticeships rather than purely as a numbers game. We look forward to inputting our member views in this complex area going forward.”

“The government’s apprenticeship target is laudable, and businesses

For more information, visit: www.britishchambers.org.uk

europe.girlings.com For further information on Girlings Europe's services visit our new website.

www.girlings.com October - November 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS

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MEMBERSNEWS

Furley Page Foundation urges community to get behind Pilgrims Hospices fundraiser The Furley Page Foundation, a charitable organisation set up by leading Kent law firm Furley Page, is encouraging walkers and runners of all ages to turn out in force this autumn for the sixth Light Up the City event, in support of Pilgrims Hospices. Last year the Foundation, which is the main sponsor of the event for the second successive year, helped galvanise more than 800 people to take to the streets, raising £20,500. This year, members of Furley Page will once again be among the enthusiastic supporters who will be grabbing glow-in-the-dark accessories and donning luminous outfits to walk or run around Canterbury. The event, which takes place on Saturday October 22, is set to be the best and brightest yet, with a novel new night-time 3km lantern walk or 5km run around the city walls. For the first time walkers will be given a paper lantern which they can decorate in advance and carry in memory of a loved one.

Furley Page Foundation Trustee Aaron Spencer, a Partner at the Canterburybased law firm who took part in last year’s 5km run, says: “This is the fifth year that Furley Page Solicitors has supported Light Up the City and the Furley Page Foundation is proud to be sponsoring this fantastic event again. Participants are also welcome to bring head torches, light sabres and fairy lights, and flashing merchandise will be available to buy on the night. Light Up the City begins and ends in Canterbury’s Dane John Gardens,

Watling Street, and takes walkers and runners past some of Canterbury’s most iconic historic landmarks. The 3km stroll starts at 6.30pm (registration 5.45pm) and costs £7.50 in advance, including a lantern, or £10 on the night (under-fives and dogs go free), with optional lanterns at £2.50 each. A £25 advance family ticket (two adults and two children) includes two lanterns. The 5km run begins at 7.45pm (registration 6.45pm) and costs £10 in advance or £15 on the night.

To register for the walk or run, visit www.pilgrimshospices.org and download the information sheet or email Deborah.Kellond@pilgrimshospices.org.

Nexus PSL’S Andy Lapham takes homes exceptional Award

The Diligence Difference

Outsourcing Project Management has proven to be the success for many large businesses as this enables the temporary team on a project to focus and achieve an end goal which may not be part of the Client’s ‘business as usual’. Diligence has been involved in some pretty high profile projects in south east London and Kent, where we have enabled our Client to deliver their Regulatory Body responsibilities through the provision of infrastructure. Examples include: • UKPN high profile, London 2012 Olympics resilience project (Project Value £36m) 24/7 working and delivered in 6 months • Thames Water on their TTQI project (Project Value £220m) • UKPN Major Connections project for Crossness 33kV supply Barking West to Abbey Wood (Project £12m) The best news is that you don't have to be a huge utilities company to engage us, nor do you need to have on multi-million pound projects. Whatever your need from engagement to completion, Diligence will make a positive difference.

Please call 01322 838004 email Nicola@diligence-pm-services.co.uk or contact us through our website www.diligence-pm-services.co.uk

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ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2016

Nexus PSL director of operations Andy Lapham has picked up a top award for Exceptional Contribution to Relocation. He was presented with the accolade at this year’s Relocate Awards which were announced at an exclusive black-tie event at the acclaimed City of London events venue The Brewery. The Nexus PSL team were also named as finalists in the Best Relocation Management Company 2015/2016. Fred Rademeyer, chief executive officer for Nexus PSL, said: “We’re all really proud to be recognised at such a high profile awards, in particular Andy, who is a fantastic ambassador for Nexus PSL and is a beacon for our innovation, hard work and level of care within the industry. We’re incredibly excited for the future.” HR directors and the leading companies, specialists and professionals from the global mobility industry gathered for the annual gala dinner and presentation ceremony. This, the ninth year of the awards, attracted the largest numbers of

attendees with senior representatives from more than 100 companies across the international relocation sector. The Relocate Awards are highly regarded as a prestigious recognition of excellence.


FOCUSONFINANCE

Keeping on top of Bookkeeping

Simon Woodhams Head of Cloud and Accounting Software 01233 629255 (Ashford) Simon.Woodhams@wilkinskennedy.com www.wilkinskennedy.com

Fearful of filing? Panicked by paperwork? Beware – a failure to keep on top of the accounts has been the downfall of many a fledgling company. Whatever your level of expertise, there are two simple steps that should set you and your business on the path to accounting peace-of-mind. Step One: Realise its importance Why are you running your business? It may be a life-long ambition. You may be enthusiastic about your service or products. You may be bringing experience and expertise to your offering. Fine. But you are not running it for fun. It’s a business. If it doesn’t make money, it ends. So it’s vital to keep on top of the finances.

Step Two: Get help from those in the know No matter who you are, you will need professional help to handle the bulk of the accounting work, deal with HMRC and prepare accounts and tax returns. It is worth investing the time to find an accounting or bookkeeping service that suits you and your business.

Key to success will then be a cooperative working relationship with clearly defined roles so that you know how much you will need to do yourself, and how much will be handled by your bookkeeper. In other words, you need to work with your bookkeeper and avoid the temptation to delegate everything, believing you can forget about it until you have to sign off the annual accounts. You need to stay in the loop as it remains your overall responsibility and you should always have an up-to-date overview of your financial position at your fingertips. There is readily-available software out there which can help you to do just this and can help you save time in the process, so that you will always know where you stand.

Getting it done Cloud software is a great way to do this and is also a solution to keeping the paperwork in order, especially for small items of expenditure. The software can also help you with any outstanding creditors who have yet to pay, big items on the horizon such as an annual subscription or even a new computer. Accurate, up to date cash flow information and forecasting are necessary in order to get this done. At Wilkins Kennedy, we have a range of experts who can help you set up an accounting solution and have just launched a new service, called myWK, geared up for businesses looking to move to the cloud. It is safer, more secure and can save you time. Above all, we can tailor a service to your particular requirements, keeping you involved and informed as much as you require.

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MEMBERSNEWS

Proud day for Facts International At the grand old age of 30, Facts International wanted to celebrate its anniversary in style. With a ‘go big or go home’ attitude firmly in place, an application for a Royal visit was submitted. One Royal visit by HRH The Countess of Wessex, one pro bono research gift, one piece of groundbreaking sexting research and one presentation at Buckingham Palace later, the ‘Facts’ hit the headlines creating a huge media buzz. Following a competitive round of presentations from Her Royal Highness’ charities, all vying to be awarded the pro bono research gift - the NSPCC won the project on behalf of ChildLine. Stepping into unchartered territory, Facts International conducted a nationally representative survey with parents of children between 11 and 18 years of age, the results of which raised great concerns for the NSPCC. Peter Wanless, Chief Executive of the NSPCC warned parents that “Sharing nude selfies can put young people at risk of bullying or being targeted by paedophiles”. Shocked by the level of ignorance surrounding sexting, he went on to say “It’s vital that parents talk to their children and that young people feel empowered to say no to sexting requests”. Tuesday 16th August 2016 saw the research results make top news stories across the UK, with coverage by Sky News, The Telegraph, The Times and ITV’s Good Morning Britain to name a few. The insight actions, which the NSPCC used to create vital support and guidance for parents on the subject, was also picked up by websites such as BT.com, the Huffington Post, and AOL. Independently assessed by Facts International’s sister PR Agency Teamspirit, the research, which cost in the region of £49,000, has contributed to the ChildLine research receiving more than £1.5 million in media coverage. Managing Director of Facts International, Emily Kettle said of the research “The team at Facts International was especially pleased that Her Royal Highness chose the ChildLine project, as it was an area where we felt we could do the most good. I’m hugely proud of everyone at Facts International for their dedication to this project and delighted that our efforts have been so successful in helping the NSPCC raise awareness of this important issue”.

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Funding support agreed for new Ashford college in Kent A new further and higher education campus in the heart of Ashford town centre has moved a stage closer after Ashford Borough Council agreed to provide additional funding support to help speed up the delivery of the new campus. The council will provide a further secured bridging loan of up to £1m, in addition to the £2m already approved in February 2015. Both loans will also be converted into a grant of up to £3m upon delivery of phase 1 and 1a of the Elwick Road campus. This would allow the £16m college to complete both phases of the new development by September 2017 and move all of their operations from the Jemmett Road site to the Elwick Road site. The creation of a new Ashford International College Campus within Ashford town centre has been an aspiration for all partners for the last 10 years. Planning consent for phases 1 and 1a was granted in October 2015. Demolition was undertaken at the end of 2015 and development work started in January 2016. Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council, said: “This is one of our Big 8 projects, identified as a priority within the council’s Corporate Plan. One of the key challenges to economic growth and greater prosperity within the borough is the improvement of the relatively low skills base.”

Mark Lumsdon-Taylor, Hadlow Group Director of Finance and Resources, said: “We are delighted that ABC are engaged and supporting this key project for Ashford. This is more than just a project for education; this is a symbol for the significant regeneration for the town and is a fundamental part of the Big 8 programme. “The new campus is designed to fulfil the current and future needs of students, staff and our many

stakeholders. I’d like to pay tribute to the co-operation, help, advice and support received from the council leader and his team – a superb example of sectors working together effectively to fulfil a much-needed project.” Paul Hannan, Hadlow Group Principal and Chief Executive, said: “The new campus will play a very significant part in ensuring our provision complies with the high standards we set ourselves.”

Offering a nationwide service Situated in Aylesford, CSP was founded in 1975. Part of the Delga Group, which includes Delga Press and Martin Paper Sales, CSP is a supplier of creative design and print. Originally established to provide business forms and stationery to the NHS, CSP has not lost sight of its roots and now provides print and printing services to over 100 NHS Trusts nationwide. Over the years this model has developed further and now local authorities, county councils and regional police forces benefit from this un-paralleled printing, storage management and delivery solution. Conscious not to be pigeon holed solely as a public sector provider, CSP has evolved in recent years to

enable to us to diversify our customer base and printing solutions. We now offer a full design and creative innovation for all our printing services which allows our customers to bring their imagination to life. This has been supported by a significant continuous investment program. This change in dynamic has allowed CSP to expand its service offering. Our new fresh approach has recently been supported by

a full rebranding of company literature. Out went a dated logo and in came a sharp, crisp, minimalistic design which has received excellent feedback from customers and suppliers alike. CSP operates 24 hours a day and boosts a staffing level of over 50 skilled and committed employees, each one having a wealth of industry experience. This knowledge is on hand to support and encourage customers through their experience.


MEMBERSNEWS

Rural economy will rise to the challenge with Government support With many in the rural community facing a period of business uncertainty, Hobbs Parker Property Consultants believes the industry is set for challenging times ahead of Brexit but will face them head-on. Hobbs Parker Property Consultants (HPPC), the chartered surveyors and planning practice based in Ashford, has joined the call for Government to support the rural economy by taking a more pragmatic approach to planning, recognising the countryside needs to diversify and be open to investment and development. With Brexit trade negotiations not having started, uncertainty is continuing to impact on farmers. With producers struggling with volatility and a general downward pressure on prices, HPPC believes the outlook will be concerning for many. Across the South East, many producers continue to be worried about the uncertainty of the seasonal and long-term employment rights of EU workers already here, especially among soft and top fruit growers. Sam Snart, Managing Director of HPPC, said: “While we expect the next few years to be difficult, the industry is resilient. Rural businesses must now look for new ways of improving productivity and performance, and using their assets better, especially land and buildings. “To bolster confidence in our rural communities we urgently need a planning system that supports, rather than hinders, sustainable development, whether it be a farm shop, new homes, barn conversions,

polytunnels or a farm-based reservoir.” Chancellor Philip Hammond recently guaranteed the Basic Payments Scheme (BPS), the biggest of the EU’s rural grants and payments to the farming industry until 2020, which was welcomed by UK farmers and landowners. Sam Snart added: “The rural community needs the Government to deliver positive results on international trade deals and access to the single market as well as income support and what system replaces the EU’s BPS. “It also needs to quickly address concerns about seasonal EU workers and find a practical and simple solution in order to support a balanced economy, and recognise the vital role of those who help put food on our tables.” Looking beyond 2020, Jon Rimmer, Chairman of Hobbs Parker, said: “The outlook for financial support is still very much unknown, and has longterm implications for the agricultural industry. “Like all industry in the UK, it is important to the agricultural sector that these fundamental issues are addressed and communicated to ensure that businesses can continue to plan and invest for the future.”

Top advice and inspirational ideas to enjoy retirement

If you are retired or looking to finish work in the next few years, an inspirational event full of good planning advice and ideas to make your time fulfilling is being organised by Furley Page Solicitors this autumn. The leading Kent law firm is teaming up with The Marlowe Theatre, and Tarvos Wealth Financial Planners in Canterbury, to host a friendly, informal day at the theatre's Marlowe Studio, to explore aspects of life after work. Sarah Bogard, a Partner and Chartered Tax Adviser in Furley Page's Private Client team, saids: "This event is a chance to explore the wealth of choices available while also focusing on the importance of getting your affairs, such as your Will and finances, in order." Joining Sarah will be Furley Page colleague Val Prosser, a Chartered Legal Executive who is part of the firm's Elderly and Vulnerable Client Team; and Ruth Dolan, a Chartered Financial Planner from Tarvos Wealth Ltd, along with representatives from some local organisations who will explain what they can offer. The Planning Your Happy Retirement event, which is open to everyone, takes

place from 10am to 4pm on Monday October 3 at The Marlowe Theatre, The Friars, Canterbury. The cost is £24.50, which includes refreshments and a light lunch. The Marlowe Friends and Corporate Members can claim a £5 discount. Attendees who instruct Furley Page or Tarvos Wealth for advice within three months of the event will have their ticket price deducted from fees charged. Places can be booked through The Marlowe Theatre box office on 01227 787787 or online at www.marlowetheatre.com (booking fees apply).

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MEMBERSNEWS

The Rise and Rise of Open Source A club within a club

Many years ago, the phrase ‘open source’ or ‘Linux’ conjured up images of bearded computer boffins sporting Grateful Dead T-shirts and a faint whiff of patchouli. But not anymore.

Open source is now considered to be the most secure software on the market. It is exposed to extreme scrutiny, with problems being found and fixed instead of being hidden until the wrong person discovers them. We have been replacing Microsoft and other proprietary systems with open source alternatives for a few years now and the result for our clients has been 100% positive. We also build private cloud systems using open source software, which has been taken up by a Kent based Clinical Commissioning Group.

Organisations – big and small – love it because they can continue to use whatever operating system and applications they choose on their local devices, be it OS X, Microsoft or Linux. Today everyone including IT professionals, small organisations as well as “the big guys,” value open source for business continuity, quality, support, and control. Open source technology has emerged as a dominant force, challenging traditional models put in place by past sellers offering expensive exclusive programs. With open source, organisations gain access to interoperable, reliable, and secure software that helps keep costs low both during implementation and over the long term. With these key assets, open source software can offer compelling benefits. Why not find out more about the future of computing and how open source can help your business? Invicta Linux Ltd www.invictalinux.co.uk

The Team Kent Business Club at Kent Cricket gives you the opportunity to get behind-the-scenes access to Kent County Cricket Club and meet some of the county’s movers and shakers at Team Kent Business Club events. The Business Club package is tailored to suit each business’s needs and incorporates advertising, tickets, corporate hospitality and use of the venue on non-match days in addition to a range of networking events. Members can get up close and personal with the Kent first team players at the Breakfast with the Boys at the beginning of the season, at events throughout the playing season and the Spitfire Kent Cricket Awards. Businesses big and small are part of the Kent Cricket family including one of the club’s newest partners, Geerings. Jessica May, Marketing Manager of Geerings who are an Ashford-based company, who supply and are service providers of printers and

managed print services, said: ‘The Team Kent Business Club networking events are a great platform for Geerings to meet the other sponsors and partners of Kent Cricket Club and we have already begun to work with a number of them. “We are planning to use the club’s facilities to hold our annual Technology Day where we showcase our products and services to our customers and prospective customers, it’s a great location for events, even on non-cricket days. “In April we held our company kick off meeting in the club’s board room which was a great change to having it in one of our own meeting rooms.”

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MEMBERSNEWS

The Rise of Online Video According to leading IT provider Cisco, video comprised 72% of all internet traffic in 2015.

What’s more, they expect the figure to Using video means that your customers rise to 82% by 2020. So what does will not only be more engaged but also this tell us? Simply put, people are be more likely to retain information moving away from reading big blocks about your company and its products. of text and are looking to engage Not too long ago, you had a to pay through video instead. handsomely to have videos hosted on There are numerous advantages video your website. With the rise of YouTube, has to offer over text; as well as making video hosting has become practically your website look sleeker and more free. YouTube is owned by Google, professional, video is also more meaning that (if you set up your video personal. Potential customers can learn correctly) as well as reaching about, and connect with your business customers through YouTube, your and staff before even getting in contact videos can also help boost your with you, making it easier to build a website’s SEO, pushing you to the top relationship. of search results. A recent study by the Social Science As we move forward through the new Research Network found that 65% of internet age, make sure your business people are visual learners. doesn’t get left behind. If you would like help with improving your website through video you can visit www.proudbusinessproductions.com

Introducing The Stacey's Smiles Charity We are a Gravesend registered “zero profit” charity entitled 'Stacey's Smiles' which has evolved from 'The Stacey Mowle Appeal just over a year ago since nine year old Stacey sadly passed away after bravely fighting Neuroblastoma Cancer for five years. Now her memory lives on in the form of Stacey's Smiles – a perfect legacy that intends to further enhance the constant awareness of Neuroblastoma Cancer for the future as well as support other children and their families fighting this tragic illness. We will be offering our own experiences of Neuroblastoma Cancer and create an ongoing series of 'special memories' through treats and personal wishes of families with the intention of putting smiles on children's faces as a happy child will also response more positively to treatment. These treats will provide the ultimate treasured memory of their child. Stacey's

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ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2016

Smiles will also effectively liaise with other leading children's cancer charities including CLIC Sargent & Specialist Children's Cancer Hospitals such as The Royal Marsden & GOSH. Leading the Charity are Stacey's parents, Warren and Samantha Mowle, who offer a completely 'Open Door' approach to all Neuroblastoma families and are backed by an established network of loyal supporters, extensive patronage including many household personalities and supportive partners. We collaborate with big businesses with a business slogan of 'Partners not Pockets' – We are primarily not looking for financial support and would rather receive business time, experience, knowledge and skills. We feel that Charity is a two way street and we look for Partner engagement whereby we can give something back in terms of promotion to Businesses who support us. For more information visit www.staceyssmiles.org.uk


MEMBERSNEWS

Golding’s Growing Buddies help residents to get growing A disused play space in Wallis Avenue on the Park Wood estate will soon be transformed into a new community garden, thanks to the help of local Golding Homes’ resident James O’Sullivan and his family.

James is one of a team of ‘Growing Buddies’ who have been specially trained to encourage residents to get growing and gardening across estates in Maidstone. This new initiative, which has been funded by the Golding Homes in collaboration with national charity Garden Organics, aims to help Golding tenants get involved in

growing food as part of a healthy, active lifestyle. Passionate about gardening James is looking forward to inspiring others to have a go at growing their own fruit and vegetables. He said: “I would like to encourage local families that it’s not as hard as they think to grow food and to show what can be achieved within a small space.”

Golding Homes has been working with national charity Garden Organic to create a network of Growing Buddies to champion the benefits of healthy, home grown food. Since April, seven Growing Buddies have been recruited to bring the food-growing message to their neighbourhoods and attending local community events. Two further locations, owned by Golding Homes, have been selected for a ‘community garden makeover’ including Harbledown House and the YMCA community centre in Tovil. Volunteer Helen Collingwood is a resident at Harbledown House and a Growing Buddy. She said: “I wanted to take part because I love gardening so thought becoming a Growing Buddy would be ideal for me.” Head of Community Development for Golding Homes, Caroline McBride said: “This is a fantastic project which really engages with our residents and inspires them to grow their own food, eat more healthily and get active.”

If you would like to find out more about becoming a Growing Buddy, please contact Liza Scholefield via email at lscholefield@gardenorganic.org.uk or call 07584 474778.

Company with a long-standing commitment to quality Hatten Wyatt is a well-established, independent law firm with more than 170 years’ experience offering expert legal advice to the local community on a huge range of business and individual services. With its establishment dating back to 1844, Hatten Wyatt has gone from strength to strength in the Gravesham area, and since Senior Partner, Jasvinder Singh Gill, joined the Firm in 2003, he has gone on to successfully lead and develop the practice during the incorporation of Church Bruce (2008), Morlings (2013), Nigel Edwards & Company (2014), and most

recently in August 2016, Pengelly & Rylands in Tenterden. With offices situated in Windmill Street, Gravesend; King Street, Maidstone; and High Street, Tenterden, Hatten Wyatt is securely rooted at the heart of the local communities. The Firm provides expertise in several areas of law, and the incorporation of Pengelly & Rylands has now created a

team of 10 Partners and 18 solicitors and fee earners, resulting in total staff numbers exceeding 60 across the three offices. In addition, the Firm has an associated office in New Delhi. Clients can also obtain independent financial advice and wealth management services via Hatten Wyatt Wealth Management LLP, which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Company prepares to celebrate 30th anniversary

New members of KICC the Partnership will celebrate 30 years in business in 2017.

The firm coach and mentor company Board members, C-level executives, senior professionals and their teams. CEO Peter Grundy said that the approach taken by him and his team is based on a view that businesses thrive because inspired and committed people will elevate the treatment of customers and deliver exceptional results. He said that means that the business’s leaders have to have enhanced leadership capability and uncover what the Partnership call the ‘genius’ in individuals and in teams. The firm operates from a base in Chatham's Historic Dockyard and an office in Bahrain, having worked extensively across the Gulf for the past 15 years. The emphasis of working with CEOs, Sales Leaders or Managing Partners is to benefit their businesses with pragmatic and sustainable improvements which can be measured over time. Peter said: “We don't do therapy and we don't do life coaching. It’s all about enabling our clients to deliver the most effective leadership for their business, their people and their customers." With a team of highly qualified consultants and coaches, the Partnership prides itself on learning from its people, its’ successes and from membership of the International Coaching Federation and the European Mentoring and Coaching Council. The current priority is the next delivery of “The Coaching Leader”, a business development programme endorsed by Anglia Ruskin Cambridge University.

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MEMBERSNEWS

Who can afford a lawyer? Our General Counsel, reshaping the legal market. OurGeneralCounsel provides an innovative concept in the legal marketplace, changing the legal scene, and providing dedicated legal experts to assist with business or commercial law queries. Belinda Naiken-Payne recognised in 2012 that the way in which legal services were provided needed to change and founded Naiken-Payne Legal. Four years on, she has launched OurGeneralCounsel to improve the range of services on offer: “I set up NPL to provide legal consultants and lawyers on an interim basis to businesses. As things evolved, I noticed that there was a gap in the market for a service that offered complete flexibility to the client. Here, the focus is on the client, which is why OurGeneralCounsel differentiates itself from the legal marketplace. With our structure, the client can choose whether to retain us for an hour, or for an entire project, for a day, whether to have someone on the end of a phone for ad-hoc advice, or whether a lawyer is required to attend a board meeting and advise the board on legal matters. Clients do not need to worry about spending their yearly earnings on oneoff legal costs! As a means to reduce costs, an innovative Californian business is using artificial intelligence instead of junior lawyers to carry out research. But there are excellent lawyers who can provide you with tailored, cost effective advice.” To discuss your specific requirements confidentially with an experienced lawyer, email info@ourgeneralcounsel.co.uk

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Sharing problems reaps rewards A problem shared is a problem halved - so goes the old maxim. But it is one that remains relevant to a growing band of local business bosses coping with ever increasing pressures and challenges. They are members of The Alternative Board (TAB) - a US concept now celebrating its 26th anniversary. There is one TAB group within Kent, with more planned; these are facilitated by Simon Chapman, a former Investment Manager who has come into contact with many business owners throughout his 24 year career. TAB enables owners and managers of SME firms to join peer groups to help them achieve their goals and improve the performance of their businesses. Through monthly meetings, supplemented by one-to-one advice, company bosses who may be feeling isolated and sometimes overwhelmed

by the challenges they face can discuss their business issues and exchange experiences with like-minded people. Simon said: "Experience in the boards is a transformative experience. I have many years of experience in meeting with SME business owners and thought I had a lot of the answers. But when you sit down with eight other business owners there can be 250 years of experience in the room. The quality of advice and insight that they bring to any issue is incredible." “The aim of TAB is to give smaller businesses access to the sort of advice non-executive directors give to large companies. The range of issues dealt with is very wide and varied. Members are surrounded by people from similar sized organisations and advice and mutual support comes from real life experience not from theory. Members

bounce ideas off each other and discuss issues frankly.” TAB's UK base is in Harrogate and the organisation now has around 100 local boards involving more than 1,300 businesses managers with international expansion across 4 continents.

Park Wood Regeneration Scheme shortlisted in Top 60 Development Awards Golding Homes’ major regeneration scheme at Park Wood has been shortlisted in Inside Housing’s Top 60 Development Awards, in the ‘Regeneration Scheme of the Year’ category. The Top 60 Development Awards celebrates the supply of affordable homes and showcases the very best new build projects within the housing sector. Phases 1 and 2 of this major £50million regeneration project to transform the heart of Park Wood was completed at the end of 2015, and has provided more than 150 high quality affordable homes, as well as the development of a new local retail and community centre. The modern, well designed homes have been inspired by the traditions

ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2016

of Kentish architecture, with cladding, weather boarding and a mix of roof designs. As part of this scheme, improvements have also been made to Parkwood Park including the creation of a park walkway, additional planting and a £30,000 contribution towards the development of a new skate park and outside gym. The final phase of the development is due to start in September with the demolition of the old shopping parade and flats to make way for 56 new homes, which include 18 family

houses and 38 flats for affordable rent, market rent and shared ownership. The overall regeneration of the area is due to be completed in early 2018. This scheme has been led by Maidstone based housing association Golding Homes in collaboration with Calfordseaden LLP and PCKO Architects, with funding from the Homes and Communities Agency. Chris Blundell, Director of Development and Regeneration at Golding Homes said: “We are very proud that Wallis Fields has made the shortlist for the top 60 developments across the country.”


24HOURS

24 HOURSWITH Busy days but getting the work-life balance is important Simon Webster Initially they worked from home - it suited their family lifestyle. But in 2010 with the children all gone they decided to develop the business and purchased offices in Ashford. The company now has turnover in excess of £1m; its nine staff support 13 advisers and the company has more than £100 million of client money “under advice.” It also lets its surplus accommodation to a wide variety of other businesses. Simon and Pam normally arrive at the office at around 9am when the first coffee of the day “magically” appears but once a week there’s usually some sort of networking breakfast which makes the day start rather earlier. Simon’s radio show “Money Talk” goes out on www.channelradio.co.uk live on Fridays at 1pm.

“Money Talk” host Simon Webster founded Facts & Figures with his wife Pam in 1994 with a mission to help clients make smart decisions about their money and future plans. The show, its website & social media feeds require time most days. He says that if he had his way he would spend his entire working day talking with clients about their hopes and dreams. On any given day, he could be advising on the financial implications of raising children, protecting the family, buying a house, retiring, selling a business, building or distributing wealth. Everyone is different and that’s what makes his job both interesting and rewarding. Even after 35 years he says he learns new things most days! Simon’s working day contains an average of four client or in house meetings and six coffees. These days he tries to get out of the office

by 6.30pm and avoids working from home. He said: “Work life balance is increasingly important to me and as I get older I have come to realise that all those extra hours of work deliver diminishing returns.So when we get home we eat, unwind and spend a bit of time in the hot tub. There’s nothing like contemplating the stars on a cloudless night to bring some perspective. Simon is also a church treasurer so one evening a week there is usually some sort of church meeting to attend. He faces the same issues as any business owner: the “stuff” he wants to do (spend time with clients) is rarely the same as the stuff he has to do; and as MD supervisory functions intrude into every working day.

smarter financial moves • Auto enrolment

Fine tuning Facts & Figures groundbreaking software is an ongoing battle, as is keeping up with the ever increasing demands of their regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority. Clients and advisers phone in every day for help and advice so it is a daily challenge to juggle phone calls, emails and face to face meetings. “As we have grown I have tried to delegate more but ultimately someone still has to review and sign work off and that’s Pam or me.” The financial world continues to evolve at breakneck speed so while the internet is full of information (some of it way out of date) it actually contains very little advice, so Simon sees a great future for face to face financial advice and for Facts & Figures.

01233 722 922 www.fffp.co.uk

• Wealth management • Pension freedom Stoke House, Church Road, Ashford, Kent. TN23 1RD

October - November 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS

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SPOTLIGHTON...

Ashford powers ahead with ambitious growth plans The international town of Ashford is renowned for its unrivalled location – only 38 minutes from London St Pancras and with direct connections to mainland Europe’s major cities via Eurostar. Pictured: Elwick Place Currently ranked as the best business location in Kent, Ashford remains the number one choice for inward investment in the county and a commercial powerhouse in the South East. Having enjoyed dynamic growth in 2015, with more than 1,000 homes completed last year and new commercial developments taking shape, Ashford Borough Council’s hands-on approach continues to drive forward key development opportunities in 2016, attracting a wealth of investors from across Kent and beyond. In the heart of the town centre, multi-million-pound plans to breathe new life into a vacant 2.6 hectare (6.42 acre) brownfield site are set to deliver new leisure facilities that will transform the town’s night-time economy.

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Work is expected to start soon on phase one of the flagship Elwick Place scheme and includes a six-screen cinema, hotel, and eight restaurant/bars. The development represents a £75 million investment by UK developer Stanhope PLC. Phase two will consist of about 200 apartments. Cineworld have also announced plans for an extension to their cinema complex at the Eureka Leisure Park near J9 of the M20 in Ashford. The application, by Land Securities, is for a further three screens at the site, including an IMAX screen and was approved by the council in September. Quinn Estates, working alongside George Wilson Holdings, are due to start work on a new town centre

ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2016

office building next to Ashford International Station. The 80,000 sq ft office block, along Station Road, will be part of Ashford’s exciting new business hub. Located in a prime position the Commercial Quarter is stimulating major investment opportunities and will create several thousand jobs, 590,000 sq ft of office space and 150 homes. Curious Drinks Limited, the beer and cider subsidiary of Ashford’s Chapel Down winery, is planning to build a state-of-the-art brewery and visitor attraction right in the centre of Ashford, enabling it to grow its domestic and international distribution. There are ambitious plans to build a model railway education centre which will boost Ashford’s tourism offer.

McArthurGlen, Europe's leading owner, developer and manager of designer outlets, has also signalled its intention to add 40 new stores and six restaurant/cafes totalling around 100,000 sq ft to Ashford Designer Outlet. This is set to bring in more of the best names in luxury, premium and designer fashion as well as enhancing the shopping experience, providing a stronger link with Ashford town centre and creating a further 950 jobs. All of this commercial and retail development is being complemented by major housing developments across Ashford. Leading property regeneration company U+I is planning 800 homes and new amenities across two sites in Ashford, bringing over 200 jobs to the area in the process and creating a new


SPOTLIGHTON...

Former factory project given approval Work can begin on redeveloping the former Rimmel factory site at Cobbs Wood Industrial Estate, Ashford, after Ashford Borough Council granted planning permission to Gallagher Properties Ltd. At least 200 jobs can now be created on the site, which has been derelict for nearly a decade after it was destroyed by fire. It is close to the high speed rail line and not far from junction 9 of the M20. Gallagher Properties, based in Maidstone, acquired the five-acre site late in 2015 from the Homes & Communities Agency, and this represents the company’s first property venture in the Ashford area. Nick Yandle, of Gallagher Properties, said: “The decision sends a very positive message that Ashford Council is keen to promote employment opportunities and bring forward modern, new business premises in the town to support the growing local population.”

Construction work has already started on site and will be carried out in phases over the next couple of years. Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council, said: “We are pleased that this site will be brought back into use and welcome these sustainable construction jobs. “Ashford is the number one business location in Kent and this endorsement of Ashford’s success in encouraging investment and economic growth should emphasise to all that our borough is a real draw to significant stakeholders.” Gallagher Group employs more than 300 people in Kent, and has carried out construction work in, and supplied construction materials to, the Ashford area for many years.

TO LET Ashford Commercial Quarter Brand new offices 1,600 sq. ft. to 55,000 sq. ft.

Pictured: Ashford College

community on Victoria Way; while Crest Nicholson’s prime Finberry development, a brand new community on the south eastern outskirts of Ashford, continues to take shape. First-rate education provision is also a key priority for Ashford, and construction work on a new multimillion state-of-the-art Ashford College Campus is expected to be complete next year, with the first students joining in September 2017. With major developments continuing apace, Ashford remains the fastest growing town between London and the Continent, making infrastructure improvements vital. The future development of Ashford has depended on new motorway junction capacity – specifically J10a of the M20. The Government’s

decision to fund the long-awaited junction will be a catalyst for economic and commercial development in Ashford, creating job opportunities and improving the infrastructure of the town.The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) has secured substantial funding from the Government to help deliver the junction which it is hoped will be open by 2018/19. This diverse portfolio of development will continue to transform the Ashford landscape in 2016 and beyond – and with more than £100 million of infrastructure planned in the near future, there are many more opportunities to invest in Kent’s largest borough and become part of the Ashford success story as it continues to look to the future.

Ashford’s newest office development. Due for completion in 2017. Close proximity to Ashford International station.

Rent: Dependent on terms •••

Elwick Road, Ashford

New & refurbished retail units. Prominently located in Ashford’s Elwick Square Development

Units 13/14 will directly face the new cinema complex across Elwick Square. 700/1400/2100 sq. ft. and 1,940 sq. ft. retail units. A1, A3, A4 and A5 planning consent.

Rents from: £17,500 per annum

Tel: 01233 629281 www.taylorriley.co.uk

October - November 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS

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MEMBERSNEWS

Pilot’s medals return home

The wartime medals of a Battle of Britain pilot have found a new home at the Battle of Britain Memorial in Kent, thanks to the generosity of an Australian couple who flew them half way around the world.

Flight Lieutenant Charles “Tich” Palliser DFC, one of ‘the Few’, died in 2011 after spending the last decades of his life in Australia. His daughter Gill, one of the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust’s 32,300 supporters on Facebook, felt his medals should be returned to Britain and so she asked the Trust if it would keep them safe for future generations. The medals include the DFC and the Battle of Britain Clasp reserved for ‘the Few’.

The Trust already has Tich’s uniform jacket and a set of replica medals on display at the end of The Scramble Experience in The Wing at Capel-leFerne, near Folkestone, and welcomed the chance the chance to care for the real medals. The practicalities were daunting though. Gill, who lives in Melbourne, didn’t want to trust the post with her precious cargo and even consulted the British Consulate for advice on sending the medals safely to Kent.

At that point her good friends Colin and Faye Murphy, who had also known Tich well, revealed that they were planning a golden wedding anniversary trip to Britain and Europe and offered to bring the medals with them. With the medals still wrapped in the three handkerchiefs Tich himself had used to keep them safe inside their leather pouch, the couple brought the package to London. They met Trust chairman Richard Hunting CBE in, appropriately, the RAF Club in London and handed the medals over to him for safekeeping. “This was a splendid gesture by Gill to offer the Trust her father’s medals, which I know meant a great deal to her,” Richard said. “We are also incredibly grateful to Colin and Faye for bringing this precious cargo half way around the world.” Faye said it had been “a pleasure to help make Gill’s dream become a reality and an absolute privilege to bring Tich’s medals back home to England.”

Quality commercial development is a winner Strong confidence by SMEs in the West Kent economy is evident after most of the industrial units at Nepicar Park, on the A20 near Wrotham, were sold prior to completion of the development. In February 2015 Gallagher Properties secured planning permission to develop 15 industrial warehouse units totaling 42,000ft2, close to Junction 2a of the M26. Nick Yandle of Gallagher Properties, which is part of the Maidstone based Gallagher Group, said: “It is a fantastic achievement to have nearly all the units sold prior to completion of the project, only 18 months from securing planning permission. “It clearly shows that there is demand for well-designed, high specification and well located industrial units that are close to the motorways in Kent.

“Speculative development in the county over the past few years has been rare, but we were confident we had come to understand the market and had the right product, in the right place, at the right time and so we committed to the development entirely speculatively.” The purchasers include Insight Systems, Smart Group, Dransfield, ISS, TCW solutions, Pensdown and Akita Systems. Three have been

bought by investors who intend to rent the units. The units at Nepicar Park are mostly 2,500ft2, and are built around a steel portal frame with feature cladding, curtain walling and brick elevations.

Why your business needs Social Media

Social media is the most effective way of communicating with your customers and gaining new leads and prospects. Whether your business has adopted the use of social media or not, most companies can benefit from “upping their game”.

Social media is huge and here to stay. Facebook alone has more than 1.5 billion monthly active users. The six crucial reasons your business should make the most of social media are:1. Social media is where you find your customers (and your competition) 2. Social networking helps attract new customers 3. Sharing news to your customers is cheaper, faster and easier 4. Find out who your audience is and target them effectively 5. It’s the world’s best shop window to help you showcase your brand 6. Social signals boost search rank and traffic The key to an effective social media presence is time and consistency, two things that are hard to find for most small businesses. Using a dedicated social media agency or freelancer is an investment worth making. Social media has a treasure trove of benefits to help you grow your business. By using it to learn more about your customers, engage with your audience, and extend your brand reach, you can reap huge benefits. Alan is the CEO & Founder of Sprint Social and holds a Professional Certificate in Social Media and has also recently completed Twitter’s own ‘Flight School’ online marketing program. www.sprintsocial.co.uk

October - November 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS

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INTERNATIONAL

It’s a big world so embrace the international trade opportunities With all the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, it would be easy for companies to shy away from international trade until things have settled down but, in fact, there are plenty of opportunities on offer right now. Yes, Europe remains a major market for UK companies and always will be but it is a big world and the UK remains attractive to many other markets. Indeed, Britain has benefitted from record-breaking inward investment by foreign companies. Across the country, 2,213 inward investment projects were secured in 2015 to 2016, an 11% increase on the previous year. This lead to 116,000 jobs being created or safeguarded - the second highest number on record. UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), now part of the Department for International Trade (DIT), helped to secure four out of five of the projects that created these jobs and since 2010, nearly 390,000 new jobs have been created through foreign direct investment in the UK. The USA remained the UK’s largest source of inward investment providing 570 projects. This was followed by China (including Hong Kong) with 156 and India with 140. Investments originated from a record 79 countries

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and the UK became the top European destination for projects from emerging markets. Projects from Latin America rose by 240% and those from Central and Eastern Europe surged by 131%. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said: “These impressive results show the UK continues to be the place to do business. “We’ve broadened our reach with emerging markets across the world to cement our position as the number one destination in Europe for investment. This continued vote of confidence in the UK will help attract foreign investment to create jobs, security and opportunities for people across the UK.” Among countries being targeted for increased international trade is India. Home to more than a billion people, India is projected to become the world’s third largest economy by 2050. International Development Secretary Priti Patel said after a recent visit to the country: “The UK and India have a strategic partnership built on a shared

ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2016

history, immensely strong people-topeople ties and democratic values. “The Government wants to deepen these bonds further, to grow our economies and boost trade and investment in both our countries. “As India develops into a major and growing economy, it is absolutely right that UK support, including that provided by my department, has moved away from traditional financial aid – which ended last year – to technical assistance and sharing skills and expertise.” During a discussion with India’s Finance Minister, Ms Patel outlined how the UK is supporting India’s economic agenda by building smart cities, boosting skills, making it easier to do business, improving energy infrastructure and harnessing the financing power of the City of London. The UK support for India’s ‘Smart Cities Mission’ will see Britain share expertise in finance, infrastructure, governance and security to strengthen urban development in India by helping to plan, design and

build smart cities, which will in turn boost jobs, growth and prosperity for both India and the UK. Hong Kong and China is an important growth area as well. After his recent visit to the region, Trade and Investment Minister Lord Price said: “A number of countries have already expressed interest in the idea of trade talks with the UK. We face the exciting prospect of continuing trading relations with Europe and enhancing trading relationships East and West, providing us with an opportunity to be a super-connected trading hub.” The minister reported positive outcomes of his discussions including: • Fosun, China’s largest conglomerate, announced their commitment to increase their investments in UK infrastructure and energy • Bailian, China’s largest retail group, is seeking to bring more British brands to China • JD.com, one of the largest online shopping platforms in China and the world, is exploring options for investing in China-UK e-commerce


INTERNATIONAL

• Huawei, a leading global communications provider, confirmed they will go ahead with their planned £1.3bn UK investment • the Wanda Group, one of China’s most successful companies, are looking for further UK land and property investments • the China Insurance Regulatory Commission wants to invest in the UK and also help UK insurers gain access to the Chinese market • the China National Nuclear Corporation remains fully committed to their investment in UK programmes • the Bank of China is enthusiastic about maintaining current UK investment and securing new sources To support companies seeking to trade internationally, the UK’s five major high street banks have signed up to work with the Department for International Trade to revolutionise the way businesses access international markets. Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, NatWest and Santander are getting behind the Government’s drive to populate a new Directory of Exporters to link UK companies with contacts from around the world.

The UK Government recently launched its Exporting is GREAT campaign. The campaign is designed to encourage more British businesses to export their goods and services overseas. Over the next five years, the aim is to inspire and support 100,000 new UK exporters by 2020. You can find out more at www.exportingisgreat.gov.uk

Top ten tips for exporting 1. Know your overseas markets – understand the potential for growth, consider the competition and how you should price your goods 2. Tackle one new market at a time – focus your efforts and investment in the one market you’re confident you can succeed in rather than trying a lot at the same time 3. Get to know your overseas customers – understand their customs and culture 4. Be prepared for different documentation requirements – understand what is needed as countries differ in their demands

Potential customers and buyers from global markets will be able to search for companies from across the whole of the UK which are ready to supply the products, services and skills they need.

5. When starting out it may be easier to look for a partner that understands the market. For example, you can sell to a distributor, or use a sales agent

Business customers of the banks will be encouraged to join the directory and take advantage of this exciting opportunity to promote themselves in lucrative global markets.

6. Patents and trademarks are only recognised and protected in their country of origin so consider securing additional protection in the countries you choose to export to

Dr Fox said: “We want to help UK businesses scale up and take advantage of the global appetite for British goods and services, as well as to demonstrate that there has never been a better time for international companies to partner with UK suppliers.

7. Check your customer’s ability to pay – if you have concerns, you may ask a customer for an export letter of credit or even cash up front

“The first of its kind, this directory will deliver a unique and new route to global markets, promoting British goods and services on an unprecedented scale. With this kind of creativity and collaborative working between government and industry, I’m confident that we can make the whole of the UK a beacon for open trade around the world.”

8. Customise your marketing – research countries’ different rules around marketing, advertising and promotion 9. It is vital that your goods are insured, whether by you or the importer 10. Build relationships – connect regularly with your customers, agents or partners and keep a close eye on the economic and political position

The art of translation Communicating can be an art, but most of the time it is a necessity, especially when we wish to do business. When it comes to dealing in a foreign country, we need: • To make a market study • To be knowledgeable about the do’s and the don’ts in International Trade • To prepare an advertisement campaign • To sometimes travel abroad to attend conferences, exhibitions All those preparations are fine. However, you cannot do them efficiently if you do not comprehend the language of the country where you wish to trade or establish your business. AT MERLIN TRANSLATION SERVICES we can help you achieve your goals. We are specialists in the translation of Legal Forms, websites, advertising documents, subtitles/voice over on videos. All our translations are performed by native speakers of the languages in which texts must be translated in. It means that you will always present documents in foreign language which appear to have been written originally in the said language. This is what makes MERLIN TRANSLATION SERVICES unique. Should you wish to trade abroad, do not forget that you are not the only company willing to do so. If you want to be certain to attract the attention of a prospect, you must be prepared to be considered as a real professional in your field. The first approach is to perform it in an excellent written document, hence the importance to employ a translator. We also offer interpretation services when needed in meetings, conferences, exhibitions and private matters. Please do not hesitate to contact us, should you feel that we can assist you.

How will Brexit affect trade mark protection for my business? Alison Cole Partner As with most other areas, leaving the EU has no immediate effect on trade mark law and practice and it will take several years for our exit and any relevant changes to occur. If you are already the owner of a European Union Trade mark (EUTM), you will be aware that the office that handles EUTM applications and registrations, the EUIPO (European Union Intellectual Property Office), is an EU body. As such there will have to be changes when we leave the EU, but no mechanism or timetable for this is in place. Much of future UK trade mark law and practice will be determined by the agreements we reach with the rest of the EU regarding our ongoing trading relationships. Many questions will need to be answered before this can become a reality and this will inevitably have a knock-on effect to trade mark protection. EU and UK rights, which are currently intertwined, will need to be “consciously uncoupled”. As with other areas up for discussion, there are various options for this uncoupling based on existing relationships which the EU has with other territories such as Jersey, Montenegro, Norway and Switzerland. If you currently, or are planning to do business in the UK and the rest of the EU, an EUTM is still the most cost-effective way of protecting your rights in all EU countries. However, although there are obviously cost implications, our advice at present would be to also file a UK application. The worst thing that will happen is that you will end up with duplicate protection in the UK, however in the meantime you will have peace of mind that your home market is securely covered. If you already have UK and EU trade mark protection, you may in the past have considered not renewing your UK rights as duplicate protection was not required. Clearly the situation is no longer so straightforward. We would therefore caution against allowing any UK registrations to lapse. In terms of your existing EU application or registration, no action is required at present. If you would like us to let you know what action may be required as matters become clearer, please get in touch. Currently, use of an EUTM in one EU member state can be sufficient to maintain an EUTM registration and rebut any challenges from third parties, however if all of your use to date has been in the UK, there is a risk that the remainder of your EU rights will be vulnerable after the “uncoupling”. In addition, a UK right has, to date, often been sufficient for challenging the use or registration of an EUTM application, however this is also unlikely to remain the case. If you have any concerns in this area, please contact us. Graham Watt & Co LLP Tel: +44 (0)1732 450055 Alison.Cole@grahamwatt.co.uk www.grahamwatt.co.uk

Tel: 01233 46398 /07958 117 341 www.merlintranslationservices.com

October - November 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS

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INTERNATIONAL

European business leaders get a taste of Kent

Thom Morris

Kent has welcomed a delegation of European business leaders to help develop trade links.

The delegation consisted of Chambers of Commerce and regional development agencies from France, Spain, Italy, Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. As part of the trip, funded by Interreg, a programme to stimulate cooperation between regions in the European Union, delegates visited the county to learn about how Kent County Council and its partners help businesses with exporting.

The two-day trip saw them visit the Kent Science Park in Sittingbourne where they met with AbBaltis, a company that supplies blood plasma to disease-testing firms overseas. It won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade in 2015. Like many other companies in Kent, AbBaltis was able to benefit from support to attend an international trade fair as part of a Kent stand.

Whilst in the town, delegates heard from Richard Bond, an international trade adviser from UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) South East about the challenges faced by Kent exporters. KCC’s Trade Development Manager Steve Samson then explained how the Kent International Businesses programme brings together a range of support services to help them. The first day was rounded off with a visit to Shepherd Neame in Faversham where the company explained how its award-winning products are sold to over 35 countries. The second day was filled with presentations from Rob Lewtas, Strategic Partnership Manager at UKTI on UK Government support for exports and Valérie Pondaven, a business partnership consultant from Enterprise Europe Network on how Kent companies can find business contacts across Europe and beyond. Head of business development at Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce

Tudor Price spoke on the role of British chambers in helping with export documentation. Kent County Council officers explained the role of securing external funding for trade development using the ‘GREAT Food from Kent’ project alongside ‘2 Seas Trade’, ‘Innovative Sector Exchange’ and ‘Boost4Health’ as examples. Global relationship director at HSBC Corporate Banking Iain Hawthorn rounded the afternoon off with a presentation on the importance of public/private sector co-operation to support exporters. A final visit to Scarab Sweepers in Marden showcased another of Kent’s flagship international businesses which won a KEiBA award back in 2013 in recognition of its export success. Return visits by Kent representatives will be made to the delegates’ regions later in the project to see how they support companies and how we can improve what we do in Kent.

Britain is open for business as international payments double after Brexit Total business overseas payments for existing clients who had traded in both the lead up to and post Brexit increased by 102% • Foreign exchange deals were up 106% in the eight weeks following the EU Referendum from the same period in 2015 • Internationally trading companies haven’t been fazed by Brexit as EU payments increased by 100% in the eight weeks following the EU Referendum compared to the eight weeks before for clients that traded in both periods • There’s been an even bigger boost outside of Europe, as non-euro transactions increased by 211% in the eight weeks following the EU Referendum compared to the eight weeks before for clients that traded in both periods

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ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2016

Internationally trading businesses appear to be bouncing back after the EU Referendum, according to new data from the foreign exchange and international payments specialist, moneycorp. In the two months after the EU Referendum, corporate clients more than doubled (102%) the volume of their overseas payments transacted in the two months prior to the landmark vote on June 23rd. Moneycorp data of corporate clients that traded in both the eight weeks preceding and the eight weeks following the EU Referendum vote suggests that UK business confidence is high with international trade booming compared to the same period last year. Total foreign exchange deals were up by 106% in the eight weeks following the Referendum from the same period in 2015.

Despite the Brexit result, appetite for British business within the Eurozone still appears to be strong, with EU currency transactions increasing 100% in the eight weeks following the EU Referendum compared to the eight weeks before the vote. The figures are even more encouraging for non-euro deals, as trading businesses in both the two months pre and post-EU Referendum increased non-euro transactions by 211% in the eight weeks following the EU Referendum compared to the eight weeks before, as well as an 89% increase on the same period in 2015. Make sure you take full advantage of your Chamber FX member offer.


INTERNATIONAL

Post Referendum talk is all about Trade Agreements. But what are they? A trade agreement is any contractual arrangement between states concerning their trade relationships. Trade agreements may be bilateral or multilateral - that is, between two states or more than two states. For most countries international trade is regulated by unilateral barriers of several types, including tariffs, nontariff barriers, and outright prohibitions. Trade agreements are one way to reduce these barriers, thereby opening all parties to the benefits of increased trade. In most modern economies the possible coalitions of interested groups are numerous, and the variety of possible unilateral barriers is great. Further, some trade barriers are created for other, noneconomic reasons, such as national security or the desire to preserve or insulate local culture from foreign influences. Thus, it is not surprising that successful trade agreements are very complicated. Some common features of trade agreements are (1) reciprocity, (2) a most-favourednation (MFN) clause, and (3) national treatment of nontariff barriers. 1. Reciprocity is a necessary feature of any agreement. If each required party does not gain by the agreement as a whole, there is no incentive to agree to it. If agreement takes place, it may be assumed that each party to the agreement expects to gain at least as much as it loses. Thus, for example, Country A, in exchange for reducing barriers to Country B’s products, which thereby benefit A’s consumers and B’s producers, will insist that Country B reduce barriers to Country A’s products, thereby benefiting Country A’s producers and perhaps B’s consumers. 2. The most-favoured-nation clause prevents one of the parties to the current agreement from further lowering barriers to another country. For example, Country A might agree to reduce tariffs on some goods from Country B in exchange for reciprocal concessions. Without a most-favoured-nation clause, Country A could then further reduce tariffs for the same goods from Country C in exchange for other concessions. As a result, Country

A’s consumers would be able to purchase the goods in question more cheaply from Country C because of the tariff difference, while Country B would get nothing for its concessions. Most-favoured-nation status means that A is required to extend the lowest existing tariff on specified goods to all its trading partners having such status. Thus, if A agrees to a lower tariff later with C, B automatically gets the same lower tariff. 3. A “national treatment of nontariff restrictions” clause is necessary because most of the properties of tariffs can be easily duplicated with an appropriately designed set of nontariff restrictions. These can include discriminatory regulations, selective excise or sales taxes, special “health” requirements, quotas, “voluntary” restraints on importing, special licensing requirements, etc., not to mention outright prohibitions. Instead of trying to list and disallow all of the possible types of nontariff restrictions, signatories to an agreement demand treatment similar to that given to domestically produced goods of the same type (for example, steel). Even without the constraints imposed by most-favoured-nation and national treatment clauses, sometimes general multilateral agreements are easier to reach than separate bilateral agreements. In many cases the possible loss from a concession to one country is almost as great as that which would result from a similar concession to many countries. The gains that the most efficient producers realize from worldwide tariff reductions are large enough to warrant substantial concessions. Since the institution of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT, implemented in 1948) and its successor, the World Trade Organization (WTO, created in 1995), world tariff levels have dropped substantially and world trade has expanded. The WTO includes

provisions for reciprocity, mostfavoured-nation status, and national treatment of nontariff restrictions. It has had a hand in the architecture of the most comprehensive and important multilateral trade agreements in modern times.

Examples of these trade agreements and their representative institutions include the North American Free Trade Agreement (1993) and the European Free Trade Association (1995).

Sometimes general multilateral agreements are easier to reach than separate bilateral agreements

Translation & Interpretation in any language by Native speakers of the requested language

Tel

0044(0)1233 463 985

Mobile 0044(0)7958 117 341 Email

olivia@merlintranslationservices.com www.merlintranslationservices.com

Our speciality and our passion is to build bridges between people in order for them to communicate! October - November 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS

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INTERNATIONAL

BCC Global Business Network No one understands business needs better than other businesses – and few organisations can draw on as much practical expertise as the British Chambers of Commerce. A powerful and reliable B2B network that includes Accredited Chambers of Commerce in every UK town and city, all linked to British Chambers around the world. If you want to start doing business internationally, the BCC Global Business Network is here to help you. Visit the Chamber website to download the 2nd Edition of the Network Directory. As a Chamber member, you have access to the BCC Global Business Network in the following markets:

ASIA Vietnam, Indonesia,Taipei, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, China, India, Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar, South Korea and Hong Kong. AFRICA Morocco, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Zambia. EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Romania, Turkey, Slovenia, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait. SOUTH AMERICA Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Brazil and Caribbean.

International Trade presents many challenges for exporters and importers International shipping can be difficult even for bigger companies but the new starters and small businesses, which don’t have resources or knowledge, can find the idea of exporting or importing particularly daunting. Customs procedures and nuances of international shipping in general can put off many business owners from dealing in an international environment, which in turn can seriously limit their competitiveness and profits. But with the help of a professional freight forwarder you will find that for most of the time and for most shipments, international transport works smoothly and on time. But there are occasions when complexities arise. For instance, this month the Korean shipping line Hanjin Shipping declared bankruptcy. There are many containers on ships which are staying at sea for fear that the ships will be confiscated if they come into port. It is a major problem for the cargo owners. Better to let your freight forwarder take care of all the associated communications and arrangements. It is very important to be paying a competitive price for international transport to make sure your products get to market at the best delivered cost available. But freight rates in some areas can fluctuate widely with market forces. Your freight forwarder will be aware of this, providing you with the correct price.

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Unipac Shipping, the Staplehurst based company has been offering a quality service to their customers since 1993. “Our aim is to provide the best possible service for import and export, and the bottom line is that we take the hassle away from the customer and just get on with the job,” said Robert Coales, the Managing Director of Unipac. “We find a way through whatever problems are facing the industry so that our customer doesn’t have to. Unipac provides freight services worldwide, arranging to move high-grade stainless steel from Sheffield to customers as far afield as China, Korea and Taiwan, as well as moving manufactured goods from all over the UK to all over the world. Big part of Unipac’s operations includes offering transport and customs

ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2016

solutions to UK based importers in co-operation with a well-established network of overseas agents. “At Unipac we make sure we stay abreast of the market situation and our strong connections with shipping lines and overseas partners help us provide

good service at competitive cost”. Robert will be glad to answer any questions you might have related to your shipping enquiry.

Call 01580 893 481 or email sales@unipacshipping.co.uk


International business in the light of Brexit ln today’s global marketplace, more and more businesses are extending their trade across borders. It is hard however to give serious consideration to international trade without taking into account the obvious uncertainties of Brexit. It is of course common knowledge that it will take two years following the UK’s notification of Article 50 before we leave the EU. So whilst the financial markets seem now to have settled, there will continue to be a period of economic and business uncertainty as the details of our exit from the EU are worked out.

Short-term concerns have been largely allayed; the Bank of England has made it clear it would do whatever is necessary to provide liquidity to the banking system and preserve financial stability. On August 4th, it cut the base rate of interest to 0.25%, the lowest level in its 322 year history, and announced a new round of quantitative easing. The fall in the value of the pound will result in increased import charges however it will also help exports as the price of goods becomes cheaper.

The UK is a strong economy. We have a lot to offer the international markets. We have clear strengths in many industries such as financial and business services, creative industries, tourism, higher education and high value manufacturing. There is clearly hunger in the wider global economy, China and Australia to name a couple of countries, to get in place the right trade agreements.

Trade within the EU

The EU is still the UK’s main trade partner. EU membership meant that goods and services were cheaper for UK consumers and it allowed UK businesses to export more. Brexit is likely to result in lower EU-UK trade unless the UK manages to negotiate favourable trade agreements with all of the EU member states.

Assuming a close relationship with the EU as a whole is desired, then remaining a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) is one option. For example Norway is bound by EU legislation in a number of policy areas, however it retains its own agricultural and fisheries policy and also has the freedom to negotiate its own free trade agreements with non-EU countries. While this seems attractive, the ability to vote or be involved in any decision making process within the EU is removed in the absence of full EU membership. The Swiss have an alternative model. Switzerland vetoed membership to the EEA and its exports to the EU (which constitute 50% of total exports) have been achieved through 120 bilateral agreements with Brussels. It took many years for Switzerland to negotiate its trade agreements so if the UK was to seek this approach, we would be in it for the long haul.

Trade outside the EU

EU membership has prevented the UK negotiating free trade deals – and the EU had negotiated few deals for us: none with China, India, Australia, or Brazil.

What next?

Regardless of Brexit, many of our clients are looking overseas to realise greater returns or lower their costs. Transacting overseas brings a different set of risks and opportunities compared to domestic operations - whether a serial investor, an experienced multinational or a company entering into its first experience of international trading.

Our mantra is research, research and research again. We work regularly with organisations and individuals considering aspects such as market entry plans, expansion strategies, and tax and regulation. Critically, we provide access to networks from banking and finance through to intellectual property. Via our membership of Baker Tilly International – the 8th largest global association of independent accountants, tax advisers, and business consultants – we can introduce clients to professional advisers anywhere in the world. So wherever you intend to operate you will get the best possible commercial and tax efficient advice.

To a certain extent, Britain’s links with the EU have held back its focus on emerging markets. Leaving now allows the UK to diversify its international links. That is of course as long as the UK does not vie for membership of the EEA and has the patience to sit through the often lengthy negotiation process – it took nine rounds of negotiations for Switzerland and China to reach an agreement.

Duncan Cochrane-Dyet

Partner 31 St George's Place Canterbury CT1 1XD Tel: 01227 464 991 Email: Duncan.Cochrane-Dyet@mhllp.co.uk

www.macintyrehudson.co.uk

MHA MacIntyre Hudson is the trading name of MHA MacIntyre Hudson (Kent) LLP, a limited liability partnership, registered in England with registered number OC385090. A list of partners’ names is open for inspection at its registered office, 201 Silbury Boulevard, Milton Keynes MK9 1LZ. MacIntyre Hudson LLP which also trades under the name of MHA MacIntyre Hudson, controls MHA MacIntyre Hudson (Kent) LLP and is an independent member of MHA, a national association of UK accountancy firms. The term ‘partner’ or ‘partners’ indicates that the person (or persons) in question is (or are) a member(s) of MHA MacIntyre Hudson (Kent) LLP or a member, an employee or consultant of its affiliated businesses with equivalent standing and qualifications. Further information can be found via our website www.macintyrehudson.co.uk/information.html MHA MacIntyre Hudson (Kent) LLP is registered to carry on audit work in the United Kingdom and Ireland and is regulated for a range of investment business activities by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. MHA MacIntyre Hudson is an independent member of Baker Tilly International. Baker Tilly International Limited is an English company. Baker Tilly International provides no professional services to clients. Each member firm is a separate and independent legal entity and each describes itself as such. Baker Tilly UK Group LLP is the owner of the Baker Tilly trademark. MHA MacIntyre Hudson is not Baker Tilly International’s agent and does not have the authority to bind Baker Tilly International or act on Baker Tilly International’s behalf. None of Baker Tilly International, MHA MacIntyre Hudson, nor any of the other member firms of Baker Tilly International has any liability for each other’s acts or omissions.


FINANCE

Outlook for Sterling For anyone involved in international trade, the recent fall in the value of sterling will have had a significant impact.

Clearly a weaker currency is positive for exports priced in sterling making UK goods cheaper for overseas buyers, but the opposite is true for imports, as evidenced recently by concerns about the Ministry of Defence’s exposure to future military equipment orders from the USA, fix-priced in US$, for which the £ cost has increased by an estimated £700mio compared to pre-Brexit exchange rate assumptions.

before the Brexit vote in June, but the sharp fall on 24thJune of around 8% caught most in the market by surprise, and the currency has continued to trade nervously in a range ever since, with lows being probed every time there are any further negative indicators. Even the unexpectedly rapid installation of a new post-Brexit UK government did little to reassure the markets or bolster sterling sentiment.

The weakness of sterling is a wider cause for concern as it has had inflationary implications for the UK, ramping up the price of imported goods, raw materials and commodities at a time of eroding confidence in the UK economy and decreasing interest rates, which are normally raised to stave off inflation.

An interest rate cut and quantitative easing by the Bank of England have further undermined sterling, not least because it comes against a background of increasingly negative economic data and forecasts. Ironically, low interest rates meant that the bank of England had trouble finding sellers of longdated Gilts that it could buy back, these being the only ‘safe’ assets for institutional investors offering anything like a meaningful yield.

Uncertainty about the UK economy has dominated currency sentiment since

Business sentiment is negative, housing market indicators are causing concern and overseas investors are loathe to invest into such an uncertain environment. In many ways the currency seems to have become the leading indicator reflecting concerns about the UK economy whilst others still remain mixed about the long-term impact of the UK leaving the European Union.

rather than wait for better levels. An alternative strategy is to buy some currency now to decrease exposure to a potentially worse rate in the future and hope to buy the rest on a shortterm rally. However, waiting can be costly in such a volatile market. On 24 June, for example, £10,000 would buy Euro 13,100. A very short time later it would buy only Euro 11,800, a difference of Euro 1,300.

The question is whether current sterling weakness is a temporary phenomenon or a long-term trend and the answer to this lies largely in the performance of the UK economy, post Brexit, for which we still await more data. In the long term, nothing can be certain and the currency may ultimately benefit from prolonged weakness in the Euro zone, political concerns in the US, or indeed some future reversal of the current declining trend in UK interest rates.

For those needing to convert foreign currency receipts into sterling, there may yet be scope for better levels, but risk of short-term spikes, so this exposure needs to be carefully managed.

In the short term, however, it is hard to be bullish and there is a more obvious risk of further declines in the value of the currency. In view of this, we are recommending those needing to buy Euros and US$ in the coming months to do so as soon as possible, either spot or forward,

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Call: 01737 735 064 • Email: reigate@premierfx.com • www.premierfx.com Premier FX is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and this can be verified on the FCA website at www.FCA.gov.uk. Our firm's reference number (FRN) is 530712.

ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2016

If we can be of any help with this please contact Gary Owen on 01737 735064 gary.owen@premierfx.com PremierFX Castle Court 41 London Road Reigate RH2 9RJ

A weaker currency is positive for exports priced in sterling making UK goods cheaper for overseas buyers

Currency Exchange Solutions for International Business

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PremierFX offers customer focused and bespoke support to individuals and companies with foreign currency exposures to help them manage currency risk and reduce exchange and currency transfer costs.


INDUSTRYCOMMENT

Recruiters face the Brexit uncertainty

On June 23 2016 Britain decided to leave the EU with a 52/48 split. The campaign was very divisive with arguments and statistics being launched at the public in every which way. Now that it is September you would have thought the news would have died down, but the effect this vote has had lives on. Why? Britain leaving the EU brings about uncertainty as we would be the first member state to enact Article 50 and leave the union. Arguably the most affected sector from the decision is that of recruitment. With a potential unemployment crisis at that time and potentially limited access to Europe, the recruitment industry waited to see what would happen. The current verdict? Not much has happened. There seems to have been no significant impact as of yet, if anything the UK has improved. Although this may still be due to Britain still being in the EU currently, the short term impact seems to have been negligible. Recruiter.co.uk recently held a Brexit Summit that gathered some of the recruitment industry’s leading experts. Tony Goodwin, group chief executive and chairman, Antal International & Antal International Network, told the audience that “Commercially the vote has had very little impact,” he said. “The overall response had been middling to fairly positive.” Gethin Roberts, managing director of driver recruitment agency Drivers Direct Recruitment, told the audience that although business hated uncertainty because it stymied investment, it also provided recruiters with opportunity, at least in the short term. “If companies are not investing in their own staff, they will invest in our staff. We have to be ready so that when the certainty comes along, we are able to grow.” Even according to Reed there has been an uptake in job vacancies with the construction and property, education, and accountancy sectors seeing that largest portion of vacancies. In the eight weeks that followed

the referendum vote, Reed posted 30,000 more vacancies than at the same time in 2015. Meanwhile, the Office for National Statistics reported that UK unemployment was continuing to fall with the number of people in work growing by 478,000 year-on-year by January this year, driving UK employment to 31.42 million. Britain’s current unemployment rate of 5.3% now equals what it was before the global economic crisis hit in late 2007. Could all of this have nothing to do with the Brexit vote? It certainly is possible; however, the potential long-term effect of Brexit cannot be ignored and will need to be monitored closely, particularly in light of the impact of Brexit on the UK economy and the continuing discussions about how the UK intends to control immigration from within the EU. Other considerations are trade links with the EU and further afield. Any significant decrease in quantity or increase in costs can cause a negative ‘ripple’ effect that will affect most industries. As a result they may not have the funds or ability to take on new staff. To summarise; recruiters may be uncertain because business and industry is uncertain. Another aspect not considered is business confidence, with the increase in vacancies you would think that this would rise, however it seems to have dropped. According to the latest JobsOutlook survey by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) shows that business confidence has weakened month on month since the EU referendum. In August, 34% of respondents said that economic conditions are “getting worse”, compared to 22% in July and 13% in June. Skills shortages are the major concern in many sectors, one that will only get worse if the supply of skilled EU workers is in any way impeded.

Employer confidence has fallen significantly, suggesting that while vacancies are on the rise, there is a lot of anxiety about what the future holds. These two factors would have a significant impact on the recruitment industry as skills shortages would greatly affect the amount of candidates and a lack of business confidence the amount of business clients. To take an example, the construction industry is currently facing a skill shortage with a lack of workers holding the relevant skills and qualifications to perform the tasks needed, yet vacancies are on the rise. As a result, these roles may not be filled, and with a potential increase in import costs of raw materials along with implementation of the living wage and auto-enrolment, it could mean business could simply not have the funds to hire more staff. How are recruiters supposed to manage meeting these expectations without the right people and limited spaces?

To reinforce my previous point; recruiters may be uncertain because business and industry is uncertain. Whatever the future may hold for the recruitment industry, Brexit will have an impact but until Article 50 is enacted there is little more than uncertainty and speculation. Although there seems to be a positive impact thus far, confidence remains low and this could be problematic should the freedom of movement for workers be restricted too much. Qube Recruitment continues to monitor the outcome of Brexit and will keep you informed of any major changes or trends. ‘Recruiters Face the Brexit Uncertainty’ by Freddie Chirgwin-Bell, available on the Qube Recruitment Blog. For further information please contact 0800 468 1400 www.quberecruitment.co.uk

In the eight weeks that followed the referendum vote, Reed posted 30,000 more vacancies than at the same time in 2015.

October - November 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS

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Ad Kent Chamber

October - November 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS

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MEMBERSNEWS

School’s best ever GCSE results Ashford’s North School has praised the dedication of staff, the support of parents and the determination of its students after achieving its best ever set of GCSE results. The North has seen what Headteacher Nicki Hodges described as “a huge improvement” in results across the board, with one vital indicator doubling over the past year. She praised the “colossal” efforts of staff and “100 per cent buy in” from the current cohort of GCSE students, who more than doubled last year’s haul of A* to C grades in English and maths by taking it to 54 per cent. She believes one of the success factors is that this was the first group of students to benefit fully from a new approach to learning introduced after the established team at the North

Local Member of Parliament Visits KIMS Hospital, Maidstone Helen Whately, Member of Parliament (MP) for Faversham and Mid Kent visited KIMS Hospital, the largest independent hospital in Kent, to understand the role the hospital plays in delivering increasing levels of healthcare for local people; both private and NHS patients. During her full tour of the hospital on 20th September, Helen met front line staff along with members of the Executive team. “I was impressed by the facilities at KIMS Hospital, particularly the diagnostic technology as well as the environment for patients. I spoke to front line staff who were clearly committed to caring for their patients and enjoying the opportunity to do so at KIMS Hospital. I am glad they are treating NHS patients as well as those with private insurance, so more people get the benefit of having a new hospital on our doorstep. As so much investment has gone into KIMS Hospital and there's such a need for healthcare, I’m keen to see the most made of its facilities for the community.” Simon James, CEO of KIMS Hospital commented, “I was delighted to welcome Helen to KIMS Hospital and to have the opportunity to show how we care for local people today and plan to do so in the future. Part of our commitment to delivering healthcare for more people is demonstrated by our continued level of investment; in particular the recent £250,000 investment in a new state of

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the art clean air flow system in an additional, our fifth, operating theatre. This investment enables us to create additional capacity to treat patients requiring orthopaedic surgery, one of our fields of expertise here at KIMS Hospital. We take very seriously our commitment to supporting local people and being part of the local healthcare community.”

ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2016

started working closely with the Swale Academies Trust. Nicki said: “The trust was brought in to help the school out of special measures, something that it achieved in record time. The current cohort benefited from a new approach, worked incredibly hard over the two years and took responsibility for working at home as well as at school. “There are six periods during the normal school day but we introduced ‘period seven’, optional after-school classes which most of the year elevens attended - and the results speak for themselves.”

The percentage of pupils achieving five A* to C grades including English and maths also improved dramatically, rising to 46 per cent this year and making it far and away the best set of results the North School has seen. Among the many pupils who did exceptionally well were Jasmine Baker (5As, 4Bs, 1C), Charlie Barden (4As, 5Bs, 1C), Rosie Driscoll (4As, 6Bs), Adam Frudenberg (3As, 6Bs, 2Cs) Sonam Gorung (2A*s, 1 Distinction*, 4 As, 4 Bs) Josh Dodd (3As, 7Bs), Kathryn Hobbs (4As, 5Bs, 1C), Haydyn Martin (2As, 7Bs, 1C) and Salina Rai (1A*, 4As, 4Bs).

Flexible working nomination for LR Legal Recruitment LR Legal have been shortlisted for Most flexible working strategy for The Recruiter Investing in Talent Awards 2016. The Flexible working category is the perfect fit for the company. Our director, Leilani Reader set up LR Legal Recruitment in 2002 after experiencing the difficulties of raising a young child whilst trying to maintain a highly competitive career as an InHouse lawyer. She wanted to employ her talent for people and combine it with her extensive knowledge within the legal sector whilst maintaining an even work life balance. Flexible working is at the heart of our company. LR Legal is made up of predominantly female fee earners and support staff all with children ranging from age 6 months to 17 years. Leilani employs ambitious, talented staff who are highly experienced not just in the legal and recruitment sectors but in life. Flexible working has allowed Leilani to find the best people for the job, the ones who have the honed skills, the most passion, who will help grow the business and deliver targets.

This business model is relatively rare in the recruitment industry and until recently almost unheard of in most law firms. There have been many lessons “confirmed” over the years, staff are very committed and the versatility offered makes the juggling of family life and working life more productive, enjoyable and manageable. Offering flexible working has been a great way to retain talent in a downturn. In the recession, part time salaries enabled employers to keep some of their best workers – at a fraction of the cost. We encourage all of our clients to be open minded to flexible working and we are starting to see a definite change in even the most ‘traditional’ law firms attitude to recruitment.


BIGINTERVIEW

BIGINTERVIEW

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ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2016

Growth the theme for expanding company Customer service must be at the heart of everything you do - that’s the belief of Nathan Cotton, founder of J&N Refunds. It’s a philosophy that has stood Nathan in good stead since he started the company four years ago and which has taken the business from his spare bedroom to ever-expanding premises in Ashford. After working in personal taxation for eight years, Nathan dreamed of creating his own business founded on friendly, approachable staff and exceptional customer service. “The first year was tough and I did wonder if the business might not survive,” Nathan said candidly.

“But I knew that it was a great idea with massive potential. So I kept on and all the hard work has really paid off. We’ve grown by 130% year on year and in 2015, we were able to say that we’d claimed back £1 million for our clients. I’m very proud of what J&N Refunds has achieved.” J&N Refunds helps employed people from many industries to make PAYE travel claims on their expenses. Many employed workers don’t realise that they are entitled to claim against travel expenses if they have to go to multiple work sites.

Having helped about 1,300 workers from a wide variety of sectors, including construction, the Armed Forces, sports, healthcare and the travel industry, Nathan was keen to make people aware of their rights. “There are many industries where relief would be available for travel, however, workers across the UK are not aware of their entitlements and are losing out,” Nathan said. “HMRC is sitting on millions of pounds of unclaimed cash, so more needs to be done to get the message out.

If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers – it’s that simple.


BIGINTERVIEW

I’m a tax specialist, not an accountant and I didn’t want J&N Refunds to feel corporate or stuffy.

When every penny counts for families, we aim to identify all the industries that are affected by this and let individuals know that they could be in line for a refund.” When setting up the company’s pricing strategy, Nathan knew that his approach had to be fair and reasonable to the client. This approach has also led to the Company forming some important business partnerships with employers, who work with J&N Refunds to ensure the best deal for their employees. “Our pricing is our unique selling point, really,” he said. “There’s no charge for someone to enquire as to whether they are eligible to claim; if the process goes ahead, we charge a flat fee of 15%, regardless of the size of the refund. We’ve also kept value for money in mind when setting our fees for Tax Returns – we charge just £118 + VAT, which offers clients a significant saving compared to other companies.”

In the past 12 months, Nathan’s team has grown from one person to a dozen. With decades of experience between them, the team’s focus is on giving clients outstanding service and they have already seen the benefits of this approach. To date, most of J&N Refunds’ business has been prompted by word of mouth recommendations, not expensive advertising campaigns. “I’m a tax specialist, not an accountant and I didn’t want J&N Refunds to feel corporate or stuffy,” Nathan said. “All our clients are on first name terms with my team and no matter how big the company gets, I never want to lose that family feel. Bigger companies can often lose sight of the huge contribution that their staff make to the success of the business, but we really are like a family here and that’s hugely important to me, not least because that mutual respect comes across to the clients. It has definitely helped us to build a loyal client base.

“Sir Richard Branson once said “If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers – it’s that simple.” I absolutely agree. We are currently in the process of formulating a training & development plan to ensure that there are opportunities for our staff to reach their full potential and be well equipped for promotion opportunities. On the softer side, this year our Christmas ‘do’ will be a trip to Iceland for all the team – it’s just my way of saying ‘thank you’ for all their hard work.” With happy clients doing the marketing for him, you’d think Nathan could recline on his laurels for a while. But there’s no rest for the ambitious – currently in the process of expanding his office space in Wotton Road, Ashford, Nathan has big plans for J&N Refunds. There are exciting developments afoot that cannot yet be revealed, but the overarching message is: watch this space!

“We’ve enjoyed tremendous growth so far and I want the company to continue to expand,” he said. “My dream was to provide our clients with great customer service at a fair price and now I want J&N Refunds to reach the pinnacle of the taxation profession. We’re seeing new markets emerging as people become more aware of PAYE travel claims, such as those working for the Ministry of Defence, in professional sport and travelrelated occupations such as flight attendants. Even students could claim against expenses incurred for their summer jobs – who doesn’t need a windfall when they’re just starting out in life? We make it easy for people to get a tax refund that they don’t even know they’re owed.”

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ECONOMY&US

The Economy & Us THE 100-YEAR LIFE: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity “We wrote this for people who want to maximise their chances of making a long life Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott, London Business School 2016 a gift rather than a curse.” This thoughtful book, shortlisted as a Financial Times Business Book of the Year, stems from many years exploring the Future of Work. Brexit and other uncertainties make it even more timely today, as recent Chamber surveys show.

Our traditional 3-stage life – education, work, retirement – is plainly no longer sustainable. Historical trends show life expectancy rising by more than two years every decade. This rising curve shows no sign of flattening. Across the developed world, half of those aged 60 today should live to over 90; half of 20-year olds should live to 100 (same curve in the developing world, from a lower base).

Financially, very few of us save/invest enough to fund 2-3-4 decades of retirement. The book offers guidelines for finding our own strategy to best resolve this bind…. Central to generating the “Tangible Assets” to live on are “Intangible Assets”: our knowledge, friendships, health & fitness. Combining these whole-life assets may lead us through several “careers” as we match our evolving assets with our emerging opportunities. The authors suggest finding/making the right opportunities depends on sharing stuff with friends, both new and old: “Are you taking on enough new projects and activities that enable you to explore who you might be in the future? This is important because people tend to act their way into change rather than think their way into it”. Finding the opportunities is one thing, the knowledge to take them quite another. It involves openness to new, unfamiliar ways and a readiness to learn from them. This isn’t just for suits. My window cleaner, for example, has an NVQ in engineering and a partner who like him already had a child (they also have a young one of their own). He has invested in kit that speeds up the work rate to 20 jobs a day, without danger to life and limb. He has thus created flexible work for his partner and others in their extended family, which he says pays better than employment. With a profitable, flexible enterprise and openmindedness this family’s members may well adapt through the decades ahead.

Self-knowledge isn’t a static property: to be sure it includes knowing our strengths and weaknesses, but also our propensities

The key here is trust – and sustainable trust depends on self-knowledge: we earn trust by promising what we are going to deliver. Self-knowledge isn’t a static property: to be sure it includes knowing our strengths and weaknesses, but also our propensities – what we’re up for, what we value as worth most, or “worship”. Through different life stages this partly persists and partly alters. All this takes time: “You can buy a house in the country to start a new life, but not new friends. The consequences of the allocation of time at any moment are cumulative – so we have to think more carefully about the consequences”. The book is readable, full of powerful insights; the DIY questionnaire at www.100yearlife.com/diagnostic gives an excellent overview.

Nick Rowell Director of Policy Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Direct line: 01622 753568 Email: nick@tpbs.co.uk

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MEMBERSNEWS

High quality support Connecting with your customers

Catch IT is a leading Kent-based Managed Services Provider and IT Solution Specialist serving the South East of England. Experts in implementing and supporting IT infrastructures for businesses from 5 to 250 users on an enterprise scale, the Catch IT team specialises in the design, support and supply of technology solutions to SME businesses.

With more than 90% of consumers expecting Wi-Fi in public spaces, it is rapidly becoming an essential tool in the marketing mix for retailers, hoteliers and anyone with space where customers spend some time. More businesses offer Wi-Fi, but some do so only reluctantly as a means of keeping up with competitors, yet they see no benefit themselves as it has become a commodity. Connect it Communications have a Wi-Fi on demand service that not only allows the business to provide free, secure Wi-Fi to its guests, it also generates valuable analytics that help the business to gain a full understanding of who exactly uses the service. Consumers log in to the Wi-Fi using either a social media profile, or with an email address. The log-in process includes permission for the service provider to gather demographic data that can then be used to communicate with that customer. For example, if the user returns to the same branch and logs in again, this will be flagged in the CRM and they can receive a “welcome back!” message, such as a voucher. If they go to another branch of the same business where the Wi-Fi is linked, they could receive a similar loyalty bonus or other incentive. Bryan Davis, CEO of Connect it Communications, said “This is an excellent way for businesses to connect with their customers on a more personal level. It offers the customer a free and valued service, in return for the opportunity to engage with that customer in a more meaningful way that enhances loyalty and satisfaction with the service. In addition, analysis of the data gathered enables the business to understand and anticipate their customers’ needs more effectively, and so increase profits.”

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Our wealth of knowledge and unique approach provides our customers with a reliable and trustworthy resource for all of their technology requirements. With over 50 years of combined industry experience we provide

understanding and expertise for any technology requirements in the SME market place. Our team of qualified engineers are all Microsoft certified and highly trained specialists in their particular fields.

With real industry experience, Catch IT offers a consultative approach to service and solution delivery, and works closely with each customer to establish a clear understanding of their business requirements. We strive to ensure that our clients consistently experience high levels of service and are provided with the best technical solutions from both an operational and financial perspective. Catch IT has two dedicated Tier 3 data centres in London, providing a complete private cloud-based hosted service. This means that companies don’t necessarily need to buy servers, upgrade their equipment or use different providers for online support. Catch IT can provide all essential IT services as well as their privately hosted infrastructure platform, which is underpinned and supported by their 24/7 IT Helpdesk.

Major investment for Tunbridge Wells

The keys to the first office building to be constructed in Tunbridge Wells for more than 25 years have been handed over to its new tenant. Cripps, one of the largest law firms in the South East, will be moving into the 40,000 sq ft state of the art building in Royal Wells Park on the former Kent and Sussex hospital site in November. Developer Berkeley Homes has formally handed over the keys to Gavin Tyler, Cripps' managing partner, who said, "This is a really exciting time for us and another major step in the long history of the firm. We have had a base in Tunbridge Wells since 1852 and whilst we outgrew our offices here some time ago and have been looking for new premises for the last ten years, we were always determined to remain within the town and continue to invest in its future." As one of the largest employers in Tunbridge Wells, Cripps currently occupies five buildings in Mount Ephraim Road. The firm had almost given up on its goal of finding an office large enough to accommodate everyone under one roof so, when the premises at Royal Wells Park became available less than

ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2016

400 metres from their current location, it was seen as a fantastic opportunity. During November, the entire Tunbridge Wells workforce will move into the new purpose-built office which is situated over four floors. The building has a central atrium with client facilities on the ground floor and open plan working areas on the floors above. Berkeley Homes Eastern Counties’ managing director, Peter Smith said: “Royal Wells Park is a key development within Tunbridge Wells and we are, therefore, delighted that such a high profile employer as Cripps has decided to remain within the town and occupy this very prestigious office space." The firm is investing in state-of-the-art technology for the new office and new systems together with everyone being located in one building mean that the business will be more streamlined and able to operate more effectively going forward. As the furniture and most of the

IT equipment will be new, Cripps will be donating various items to a number of charitable groups and organisations, including Computers 4 Africa and the Wells Free School, whose brand new school building, also built by Berkeley Homes, is situated next door to the office.

For more information on Cripps please visit www.cripps.co.uk


BUSINESSNEWS

Developer announces plans for new homes in Tunbridge Wells

Property developer Panfile Limited has announced that it is to create 14 new homes in Tunbridge Wells. The new development is located on Park Road and sees the resurrection of a prominent site which was previously used by rubber extrusion company Baines and had stood derelict for over nine years before it was destroyed by a fire two years ago. Panfile Limited has purchased the site which is known notoriously for being victim of one the largest local fires in Tunbridge Wells which saw the former Victorian warehouse completely burnt down. Panfile Limited plan to build seven, three-bedroom town houses on the Park Road site. The company will recreate the warehouse, and build seven additional two bedroom apartments in a similar style on the site. A seven figure funding deal has been provided by Royal Bank of

Scotland to support Panfile Limited’s development plans. David Graves, Director of Panfile Limited said: “We anticipate that the homes will be ready to move into by the start of 2017. “The support we have received from Royal Bank of Scotland for this project has been excellent. We have worked with the bank’s Real Estate Finance team

The tale goes this way. One evening 50 years ago, while in Chatham on business, George Stanley was stuck in traffic.

on a number of developments over the course of the last few years and we find their approach extremely helpful.” Mike Flannery, Relationship Director at Royal Bank of Scotland Real Estate Finance said: “The company has built up an excellent reputation in the region for delivering high quality homes and we are looking forward to continuing to support the company on this development.”

New vision for Sittingbourne’s Bell House site

A longstanding derelict site in the centre of Sittingbourne could disappear if plans to redevelop the former Bell House Shopping Centre and refurbish Bell House are given the go-ahead by Swale Borough Council. The Aria Group is preparing to submit a planning application which, if approved, would deliver a mixed-use scheme of 152 residential apartments in two self contained buildings set around a central courtyard with parking. A medical centre and pharmacy retail unit, with 12 residential units above, is also proposed on the site of the former shopping centre buildings. Residents can give their views on the proposals at www.ariagroup.co.uk. The £30m investment will complement proposed development projects in other parts of the town, including around the

railway station and land next to the Forum. Aria Group, the Croydon-based development company, owned by the Kassam family, has been involved in development projects in the UK, Ireland, India and China. Kain Kassam, Director, will be responsible for the day-to-day delivery of the Bell House project. He said: “This flagship development will be a significant step forward in the council’s efforts to revitalise central Sittingbourne. It will create new jobs and be a catalyst for the wider regeneration of the area.

The legend of St George started with a traffic jam

“Our plans are designed to bring people back into this part of town by providing new homes which will support local businesses and the town centre as a whole.” Aria Group has worked with Wye-based architects OSG Architecture and chartered surveyors Harrisons to develop the plans, which have been shared with the local community through a leaflet drop, exhibition in the shop front next to 15 High Street, and with Swale Borough Council.

As George was inching his way along the New Road he came level with 2 houses and an idea occurred to him. He parked up, knocked at the door of the first house and was invited in. By the end of the evening he owned both houses. Now he was ready to build his hotel. The St George Hotel. George’s original vision of an independent, friendly, family run hotel still burns bright thanks to his grandson, Roland Stanley. Roland has invested 20 years of his career in building on the work of his grandfather and manages to infuse the handpicked staff with a “customer first” culture. When you check into the St George you are a name not a number; a comfortable compromise between the chain hotels and the home-from-home of Airbnb. St George is able to offer local businesses and event organisers a wide range of conference and event facilities. With free onsite parking, Wi-Fi and four dedicated function rooms the hotel is the natural venue choice for anything from a job interview to an awards ceremony.

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MEMBERSNEWS

Conferences with Cats

Are you looking for something different for your organisation's event? Take a break from the norm and hold your business event in the boundaries of our sanctuary. It’s a guaranteed way to inspire your guests.

Our spacious corporate building, which is adjoining the tiger enclosure, can cater for all types of events for 15-100 people. We will offer a bespoke solution to suit your needs to make sure your event runs like a dream and your delegates enjoy a productive day they will never forget. You will have the exclusive use of the fully equipped conference facility, with drop down screen and surround sound, free wifi and full use of the adjoining patio, where your guests might get a little distracted by the magnificent cats!

Your day will be overseen by our team of dedicated professionals who will ensure your day runs to plan. There is also the option to include a walking tour of the full site at a pre-arranged time. The Big Cat Sanctuary is a conservation charity dedicated to the breeding of endangered cats as well as offering sanctuary for retired cats. It is situated in the heart of the Kent countryside in over 30 acres, between Ashford and Maidstone and is home to over 50 cats. With ample free parking and easy access - 15 minutes from the M20 junction 8, plus Headcorn train station just 5 minutes down the road, it makes for simple travelling. Conference facilities available MondaySaturday - minimum 15 delegates. Subject to availability.

The Big Cat Sanctuary

The corporate facility with a difference

Adjoining our tiger enclosure is our purpose built conference centre, meet our specialised team and see the cats to host an event to remember. • Unique corporate events and team building days • Events catered for 15-100 people • Fully equipped conference facility • Optional walking tour of the site • Tailor-made team building days

• Ample free parking and free access

Contact us on 01233 771915 for more information enquiries@whf.org.uk

Headcorn Road, Smarden, Ashford, Kent, TN27 8PJ

Looking for an innovative entrepreneurial community offering flexible & affordable workspace with a 100MB internet connection? Home to three of Kent’s “Top 30 under 30” entrepreneurs along with 20 other innovative start-ups from all backgrounds and age groups, The Business Terrace in Maidstone provides a dynamic, inspiring and highly supportive environment where you can chat, connect and collaborate with like-minded people.

• Flexible office accommodation • Modern workspace • Unlimited fast internet included in affordable hot-desking tariffs • Private meeting room for up to six • 40-seat seminar room with ceiling mounted projector • Onsite business support events & mentoring • Direct link to the Government’s Start-up Loans Company

Drop in between 9am and 4.30pm Monday - Friday to look around and see what The Business Terrace can offer you and your business.

T: 01622 239300

E: info@businessinmaidstone.co.uk

W: www.businessinmaidstone.co.uk

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ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2016

@BizInMaidstone


ASKTHEEXPERT

Ask the Expert What does your data selfie look like?

Gina Bicknell Partner Thomson Snell & Passmore LLP Corporate & Commercial D +44 (0)1892 701279 E gina.bicknell@ts-p.co.uk www.ts-p.co.uk

Regardless of Brexit, the UK will need to comply with the GDPR while it is still in the EU.

Most businesses are aware of their obligations under the Data Protection Act of 1998 (the Act). However, it is a good idea to take regular “data selfies” to make sure your practices are up-to-date. The Act focuses on the following general principles: 1. use personal data fairly and lawfully; 2. only collect and use personal data for the purpose stated in your privacy notice/registration/consents; 3. only collect relevant information, and only as much as you need; 4. the data you collect must be accurate, and up-to-date; 5. only keep data for as long as you need it; 6. the data subject must be allowed to see the information you collected on request; 7. keep the data secure; and 8. do not transfer personal data outside of the EEA unless that country has an adequate level of protection.

To assist businesses with assessing their compliance with the Act, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) offers an on-line self-assessment toolkit. You can tailor your selfassessment by choosing questions from the following areas -- data protection assurance, records management, information security, data sharing and subject access, and direct marketing. At the end of the assessment, you will receive an on-line report about your current practices and how you can improve them. If you were to take a data selfie now, how would you answer these questions? 1. Have you registered with the ICO, and is the registration current? 2. Do you have data protection and information security policies? 3. Who heads up data protection in your business? 4. Do you provide staff training on data protection?

5. Do you have privacy notices, and do you have a process to respond to individuals’ requests for information? 6. If you outsource overseas, do you know how the vendor protects your data? Taking a data selfie now will help you to prepare for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force across the EU in May 2018. The GDPR will have stricter requirements for data protection, and heavier fines for noncompliance. Regardless of Brexit, the UK will need to comply with the GDPR while it is still in the EU. Businesses should also plan to comply with the GDPR postBrexit because the UK will likely implement a similar law, and if a UK business has operations in the EU or uses data from EU citizens, then it will need to comply with the GDPR anyway.

October - November 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS

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MEMBERSNEWS

Supporting Spitfire crowd reminded of its heritage Spectators who cheered the Kent Spitfires on to a seven-wicket win young against Gloucestershire at the start of Canterbury Cricket Week were also reminded of the legendary aircraft behind the team’s name. people YouCan is a charity who support young people aged 10 to 30, whose lives have been impacted by cancer. We offer a range of workshops, wellbeing weekends and activities and support focused on regaining confidence; increasing knowledge of good nutrition and fitness in improving and protecting health, therapeutic support and counselling, as well as activities encouraging peer interaction and friendship. YouCan work with experienced health professionals, qualified therapists and business experts to design specific programmes for young people. Having cancer at a young age can be a lonely and isolating experience and the important part of our ‘Get Together’ workshop programme is to bring young people together so they can share their experiences with others who really ‘get it’. YouCan has also purchased a House by the Coast in Thanet where we will be able to offer short breaks, well-being weekends and holidays for any young person with their family or friends to enjoy. We need your support and there are many ways to get involved in this new and exciting charity project that will make a huge difference to the lives of young people affected by cancer: • Adopt YouCan as Charity of the Year • Staff Fundraising including the You Can Leave your Hat on Day. • Gifts in Kind • Cause-related marketing • Employee volunteering projects • Mentoring for young people looking to improve their future • Payroll Giving • Take part in a challenge event Contact the Fundraising office on 01732 844874 or e-mail Natalie Tegg: natalie@you-can.org.uk

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The Royal London One-Day Cup game was dedicated to the heroes of the Battle of Britain and included a short interval talk on the importance of the battle given by Geoff Simpson, historical consultant with the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust. The Trust, which looks after the Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne, just outside Folkestone, was presented with £780, the result of a generous donation

from the club for each T20 Blast shirt sold over the past year. The Trust’s logo features on the collar of the shirts, thanks to the generosity of brewer and club sponsor Shepherd Neame, which also sponsored a lunch for Trust donors in the boardroom during the game. The match marked the fourth time Kent County Cricket Club and Shepherd Neame has backed the Trust in this

way. Volunteers also raised several hundred pounds thanks to a bucket collection and merchandise sales on the day.

Are you meeting the new First Aid at Work Guidelines? In 2013, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) issued new First Aid at Work Guidelines for employers, as well as a new type of first aid needs assessment. With the new guidelines affecting every workplace in Great Britain, it is imperative that you every business checks its first aid policy. Every workplace should have a first aid policy in place. Even a low-risk workplace such as an office should have a first-aid box and a person appointed to take charge of first-aid arrangements. Provision for first aid needs to be available at all working times. It is your responsibility to ensure that your employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill. One of the more complicated areas of the new first aid needs assessment is considering ‘the nature of the work,

the hazards and the risks’. As an employer, you should consider the risks and identify possible injuries that could occur. There are now two levels of workplace first aider, the Emergency First Aider at Work (EFAW) and a First Aider at Work (FAW). Not all workplaces will need both but you should ensure that your first aiders are trained to deal with the injuries and illnesses that could occur. What should I put in the first-aid box? There is no mandatory list of first-aid items. The minimum level of first aid equipment is a suitably stocked first aid box, which varies depending on the size of the business.

What information should I provide for employees? It is imperative that you inform your employees of the first aid arrangements you have put in place. Many employers find it useful to put up notices telling staff who and where the first aiders or appointed persons are, and where the first aid box is. To find out how S.E. Medical can help you with this new guidelines set out by the Health and Safety Executive, download our first aid at work guidelines from www.semedical.co.uk/ first-aid-at-work-guidelines

When the going gets tough…. When Orion Future Technology, an Ashford-based research & development company which manufactures and supplies safe, effective, eco-friendly products to the agricultural market, was asked by a client with a large export business in Kenya to sponsor Rhino Charge they didn’t hesitate. The Rhino Charge is an annual off-road competition held in Kenya in which entrants are required to visit 13 points (guard posts) scattered over approximately 100 km² of rough terrain within a 10 hour period. The event is organised in order to raise funds to support the activities of the Rhino Ark Charitable Trust, an NGO, which works towards the conservation and protection of Kenya’s mountain range ecosystems, the so-called “Water Towers”.

ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2016

Orion supplies Flamingo Fresh Produce based in Stevenage and they supply massive amounts of fresh produce including Flowers to M&S, Tesco, Sainsbury and Morrisons in the UK. All the produce is grown in Kenya plus other countries in Africa. The farmers use Orion’s products because they are environmentally friendly and reduce pesticide use and residue levels. The team, pictured, finished the race, which given the terrain is not guaranteed, and raised the fantastic sum of £20,000.


GETTINGSTARTED

Getting Started

Our first ZC Social Media Diploma course

Name:

Zoe Cairns

Company: ZC Digital Academy – ZC Social Media Start up date:

1 July 2016

Website: www.zcsocialmedia.com

Q1: Tell us a bit about your business? The ZC Digital Academy is a new educational arm to the ZC Social Media brand where we are going to be offering social media workshops, qualifications and apprenticeships. We have various hubs being established over the Kent area.

COMMERCIAL

PERSONAL

s Contact u E for a FRE review

Q2: What gives your business ‘the x-factor’? ZC Digital Academy will deliver the latest digital industry strategies and updates in an engaging and interactive way. The courses and workshops are delivered in fun places. This week we are training our learners in a hosted “Stopwatch Suite” at Brands Hatch. Q3: What motivated you to set up the business? When looking at research and reports from the Government, IOD and other various sources we discovered that there is a digital skills shortage and there will be a gap in the digital skills industry. We are motivated to share our knowledge and help more people in Kent become digitally skilled. Q4: What do you like most about working for a start-up? We love building the new arm of the business profile and building the exposure of the company, making

FINANCIAL SERVICES

RISK MANAGEMENT

Our dedicated team are able to advise and offer a range of specialist products for all types of insurance

www.independentinsuranceservices.co.uk

01303 221188 www.insuregreen.co.uk

Church House,136 Sandgate Road, Folkestone, Kent CT20 2BN

people aware of our new initiative of the company.

Q5: What has been your greatest business success to date? Our greatest success to date is launching our first Social Media For Business Diploma qualification in July which was a huge success. We are looking forward to our second group starting in October. We also have some great influencers in Kent that have agreed to partner with us on the Academy, too.

Q7: In terms of business achievements, where do you want to be within the next 5 years? We would love to have our own Academy building in the next 5 years along with an apprenticeship school. Q8: What would be your top tip to someone thinking of starting up their own business? Our top tip for someone thinking to start up their own business is to make sure that you persevere with any challenges and obstacles. Always look towards your main vision and your reason WHY you are doing what you are doing.

Q6: What has been your lowest moment? Our lowest moment was when we first initially started the Academy and not having the available resources at hand to help us make this a success. However with perseverance and dedication after our first social media diploma course it has enabled us to obtain the required resources needed to go forward with the Academy and take it to the next level.

Bringing fun into learning

Getting your business to do the things it has to do… While leaving you free to do the things you want to do

The benefits to you Our team includes: Our service is designed to work • Bookkeepers remotely from your business • Employment Law specialist without the need for: • Office space/equipment • Marketeers • Contracts • Business Coaches • Employers Contributions • Business Administrators and Pensions We offer per minute billing. • Sick and Holiday Pay Our service operates 52 weeks a year your business need never suffer the disruptions associated with ‘downtime’.

Remote Management Solutions Ltd Tel : 0333 9398 3333 Email : office@rmsolutions.uk

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CHAMBEREVENTS

Chamber Events, Seminars & Workshops Muesli Mafia Breakfast Networking 7:30 am - 9:30 am £20.00 + VAT This provides an informal business 2 business networking breakfast in a congenial and relaxed atmosphere where local business people can get together, enjoy mutual fellowship, and share topics of mutual interest. 20th October 2016 The Royal Wells Hotel 59 Mount Ephraim, Tunbridge Wells TN4 8BE 27th October 2016 Ashford International Hotel Simone Weil Avenue, Ashford TN24 8UX 9th November 2016 The Warren Metropolitan Police Club Hayes Ltd Croydon Road, Bromley Kent BR2 7AL 24th November 2016 The Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel Hollingbourne, Maidstone ME17 1RE 1st December 2016 The Royal Wells Hotel 59 Mount Ephraim, Tunbridge Wells Kent TN4 8BE

Breakfast Networking

Business Breakfast

KCFG Breakfast

with Guest Speaker Smart Support Tendering for Success workshop

with Guest Speaker: Sue Eadon-Butler LEBC

with Guest Speaker Marc Baines from the South East Consortium and Bibby Financial Services

13th October 2016 Member : Non-member :

Our Tendering for Success workshop helps businesses understand how they can be effective in this key area which with Government initiatives encouraging public bodies to spend locally is becoming increasingly important. Together we will review how you can find the market opportunities and techniques to ensure that your business is best placed to competitively tender. Including full English breakfast. St. George Hotel 7-8 New Road Avenue, Chatham ME4 6BB

Free Networking Breakfast with Cripps Guest Speaker Thomas Evans. 13th October 2016

Free for Members and Non-Members

LEBC Group Ltd are an award winning firm of Independent Financial Advisers with an excellent reputation for creating impartial financial solutions for both individuals and companies. Join us for a delicious full English breakfast and lots of networking. Sun Pier House, Medway St, Chatham, Kent ME4 4HF

Business Breakfast Free Event sponsored by Cripps LLP with guest speaker Irfan Baluch. 22nd November 2016 8:00 am - 10:00 am

Established in 2005 to achieve procurement savings for social housing providers SEC have since expanded their services and membership and are much more than a procurement consortium. Their members now collectively manage over 140,000 properties.

with Guest Speaker TBA

8:00 am - 10:00 am £15.00 + VAT £20.00 + VAT

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue Sevington, Ashford TN24 0LH

Perfect opportunity to put your business in the spotlight to highlight its products/services and how these can help other businesses. Join us for Tea / Coffee and breakfast pastries. Holiday Inn Rochester-Chatham Maidstone Road, Chatham. ME5 9SF

SEC are a not for profit organisation delivering efficiency savings to the South East social housing sector.

Canterbury College, New Dover Road, Canterbury, Kent CT1 3AJ

Come along and enjoy a hot breakfast roll with a hot drink, perfect start to a business morning.

£7.00 + VAT £8.50 + VAT

7:30 am - 9:30 am £15.00 + VAT £25.00 + VAT

Mercure Maidstone Hotel Great Danes, Hollingbourne, Maidstone, Kent ME17 1RE

with Andrew Priestley - Your Numbers 21st October 2016 Member : Non-member :

1st November 2016 KCFG Member : KCFG Non-member :

Attendees will leave with a better understanding of the key issues to consider when thinking about the intellectual property in their business, which will help them to better protect some of their most valuable business assets. Including full English breakfast

Business Breakfast

27th October 2016 24th November 2016 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

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8:00 am - 9:30 am

Top 10 tips for business tenants – managing your business’s biggest capital investment. Essentially this will cover the main issues that business tenants need to be aware of when entering into a lease. Canterbury College New Dover Road, Canterbury, Kent CT1 3AJ

Business Coffee Hour Member : Non-member :

8:00 am - 10:30 am £15.00 + VAT £20.00 + VAT

10th November 2016 9:30 am - 8:00 am £15.00 + VAT Member : Non-member : £20.00 + VAT

KCFG Breakfast 6th December 2016 KCFG Member : KCFG Non-member :

7:30 am - 9:30 am £15.00 + VAT £25.00 + VAT

Full English buffet style breakfast with Guest Speaker; the event will take place at the Village Urban Resort. This will be an excellent opportunity for you to entertain both clients, staff and partners, as well as network with existing members, in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. Village Urban Resort Maidstone, Kent, ME14 3AQ

AGM with FREE Annual Networking Networking Lunch Christmas Luncheon (Members Only)

4th November 2016 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm This event is an opportunity for members to have their say about who represents them on the Board and to raise any relevant issues. Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Ashford Business Point Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford TN24 0LH

ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2016

15th December 2016 12:00 pm - 2:30 pm Non-member : £34.50 + VAT Member : £29.50 + VAT The event will take place at the elegant Chilston Park. This will be an excellent opportunity for you to entertain both clients, staff and partners, as well as network with existing members, in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. Chilston Park Hotel Sandway, Lenham Kent ME17 2BE


CHAMBEREVENTS

International Events China Business Clinic (Ashford) 9:30 am - 5:00 pm 19th October 2016 Are you doing business in China? Find out how we can help you tackle this important market and support your business expansion? UKTI South East will be hosting a series of 40 minute one-to-one appointments, giving companies the opportunity to meet with China market specialists. Please note that these are pre-booked one-to-one appointments only. Register www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/china-business-clinicashford-191016-tickets-25570779891 Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Waterbrook Avenue, Ashford, Kent TN24 0LH

Kick-Start Your Export Success (Maidstone) 9:00 am - 5:00 pm 25th October 2016 The Department for International Trade (DIT) South East are running a series of interactive events to provide you with all the essential information and practical tools you will need to take the first steps towards exporting success. Register www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/kick-start-your-export-successmaidstone-tickets-26780451050 Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel, Maidstone ME17 1RE

Export Documentation 8:30 am - 12:45 pm 28th October 2016 Member : £75.00 + VAT Non-member : £90.00 + VAT This course creates and develops that competence. It gives a complete description of the documentation requirements, creates competence and proficiency on any export document. Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford TN24 0LH

Social Media for Business Diploma - Level 3 (QCF) 15th October 2016

9:00am - 5:00pm

This Social Media Diploma course will provide you with the knowledge, understanding and skills to work with social media to increase sales, potential leads and drive improved customer communication. Medway Innovation Centre Maidstone Road. Rochester, Chatham. ME5 9FD

Employment Law Update 2016/2017 - Post Brexit

9:30 am - 5:00 pm 10th November 2016 Are you doing business in India? Find out how we can help you tackle this important market and support your business expansion? UKTI South East will be hosting a series of 40 minute one-to-one appointments, giving companies the opportunity to meet with an India market specialist. Please note these are pre-booked one-to-one appointments only. Register www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/india-business-clinic-ashford101116-tickets-26148328354 Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Waterbrook Avenue, Ashford, Kent TN24 0LH

Methods of Payment in International Trade 8:30 am - 12:45 pm 25th November 2016 Member : £75.00 + VAT £90.00 + VAT Non-member : Accredited by and leading to the National Accredited Trade Training qualification of the British Chambers of Commerce. The course will be presented by Graham Card MIEx (Grad) International Trade Adviser at the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. To include Tea/Coffee, Bacon Rolls. Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue Sevington, Ashford TN24 0LH

International Trade Taster Session 8:30 am - 11:00 am 1st December 2016 Member : £20.00 + VAT £25.00 + VAT Non-member : If you are new to importing or exporting, or perhaps only just dealing with your first few orders or enquiries you may well be interested to come along to our taster session during which we will let you know about the sources of help and advice available from the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, We’ll talk you through the typical international trade payment terms, import and export procedures, and some of the tricks of the trade and much more. To include Tea/Coffee, Bacon Rolls. Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford TN24 0LH

Rising Stars Develop your Network as you Grow your Career 25th October 2016 7:30 am - 9:30 am Member : £15.00 + VAT Non-member : £20.00 + VAT Rising Stars is aimed at non business owners and directors in the professions such as accountants, bankers, financial advisors, insolvency practitioners, solicitors and surveyors. This forum aims to help those destined for future leadership roles to develop their management and interpersonal skills. Côte Brasserie - Bluewater The Village Bluewater Shopping Centre, Dartford, DA9 9SE

Get Social Kent 2016

20th October 2016 8:30 am - 12:00 pm Member : £80.00 (inc VAT) Non-member : £90.00 (inc VAT) Leading regional law firm Furley Page, highly ranked by Chambers and The Legal 500, is presenting this practical interactive workshop on employment law for Kent Invicta Chamber members and non-members. The workshop is suited to all employers no matter the size of your workforce and includes an extensive question and answer session. Cost includes bacon roll, tea or coffee Bridgewood Manor Hotel Walderslade Woods, Chatham, Medway, Kent ME5 9AX

Kent Manufacturing Focus Group KMFG organise an annual programme of site visits to Kent's key manufacturers. BAE Systems Site Visit: 8th December 2016

India Business Clinic (Ashford)

10:00 am - 4:30 pm

3rd November 2016 9:00 am - 3:30 pm Free to attend or VIP ticket for £99.00 + VAT Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and ZC Social Media are bringing together a day packed full of Social Media content, expert advice, tips and strategies for you to take and use straight away in your business. This is going to be the BIGGEST Social Media Event in Kent! Longfield Academy, Main Road, Longfield, Kent DA3 7PH We would like to invite you to join us for the next KMFG meeting where we will be taking a site visit to BAE Systems to learn all about Lean tools & techniques, world class manufacturing and more. BAE Systems, Import/Export Dept MF15 Airport Works, Rochester ME1 2XX

To book either visit www.kentinvictachamber.co.uk/events or email events@kentinvictachamber.co.uk or call 01233 503838

After hours club Come and unwind after work with a hot drink, while socialising with other big business. No need to book, just turn up. 6:00pm to 7:30pm 18th October 2016 UK Vending Ltd Fort Bridgewood Rochester ME1 3DQ 19th October 2016 Canterbury College New Dover Rd Canterbury CT1 3AJ 20th October 2016 Holiday Inn Coniston Hotel & Restaurant 70 London Road Sittingbourne ME10 1NT 25th October 2016 Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel Ashford Road Hollingbourne Maidstone ME17 1RE 25th October 2016 The Enterprise Foundation Hub Aspen House West Terrace Folkestone CT20 1TH 1st November 2016 Nucleus Business & Innovation Centre Brunel Way Dartford DA1 5GA 1st November 2016 The Conningbrook Canterbury Road Kennington Ashford TN24 9QR 8th November 2016 Hythe Imperial Hotel Prince's Parade Hythe CT21 6AE 9th November 2016 Royal Wells Hotel 59 Mount Ephraim Tunbridge Wells TN4 8BE

16th November 2016 Canterbury College New Dover Rd Canterbury CT1 3AJ 22nd November 2016 Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel Ashford Road Hollingbourne Maidstone, ME17 1RE 22nd November 2016 The Enterprise Foundation Hub Aspen House West Terrace Folkestone, CT20 1TH 6th December 2016 Nucleus Business & Innovation Centre Brunel Way Dartford DA1 5GA 6th December 2016 The Conningbrook Canterbury Road Kennington Ashford TN24 9QR 13th December 2016 Best Western Coniston Hotel & Restaurant 70 London Road Sittingbourne ME10 1NT 13th December 2016 Hythe Imperial Hotel Prince's Parade Hythe CT21 6AE 14th December 2016 Royal Wells Hotel 59 Mount Ephraim Tunbridge Wells TN4 8BE

FREE to members and non-members October - November 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS

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LOWCARBONECONOMY

The Low Carbon economy is an opportunity Chris Seamark, Sustainable Business Programme Manager at Kent County Council Kent County Council, through the delivery vehicle Low Carbon Kent, have been supporting businesses across many different sectors in Kent and Medway, whilst at the same time cutting costs and cutting carbon as well as growing and developing as we all undertake the transition to a low carbon, more resource efficient economy. While many businesses may initially experience low carbon drivers as threats, they also represent significant opportunities, particularly for businesses whose operations are already on a more sustainable basis and those that are able to respond more innovatively and opportunistically. Every company can benefit, big or small, irrespective of budget, and more and more clients are asking to see just how green their suppliers are. Our Low Carbon Kent Network continues to go from strength to strength, numbering over 1800 members we bring together likeminded businesses that want to reap the rewards of improving their environmental performance not just for their good of their souls, but for their bottom line too! Over the years we have developed strong relationships with businesses in the low carbon sector and as a result have gained an understanding of the challenges they face. The support delivered through

Low Carbon Kent is tailored to meet those needs and will continue to develop and adapt to address future challenges -just tell us what you need and we will see how we can help. One of the ways in which we deliver this tailored support is through bidding for European Union funding to provide access to finance and free business support to SME’s across Kent and Medway. Following the hugely successful Low Carbon Plus project which focused on providing grant funding, we are pleased to announce the launch of a new three year EU funded programme called ‘Low Carbon Across the South East’ (LoCASE). Totalling over £18.5 million and funded by the European Regional Development Fund 2014-2020, our partners which include Essex County Council, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, Thurrock Council, East Sussex County Council and the University of Brighton have developed an excellent offering which will provide support to your business in a number of ways: 1. The provision of two types of grant funding (up to a maximum of £10k) that can be awarded to your organisation to improve business performance in terms of profitability, resilience and competitiveness, at the same time as contributing to the protection and preservation of the environment. This grant funding

Every company can benefit, big or small, irrespective of budget, and more and more clients are asking to see just how green their suppliers are.

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ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2016

will form 40% of the cost of your eligible project, with the remaining 60% matched by your business. 2. The Steps To Environmental Management (STEM) scheme can help your business to build an environmental management system aligned with the requirements of ISO 14001, or redesign an existing system using provided tools and templates. Workshops will be laid on free of charge which focus on each of the three stages of the scheme, so you are able to progress at your own speed. This longstanding scheme is being updated to ensure it stays relevant with the new formulation of ISO 14001 and also incorporates business resilience information. 3. The potential for your business to have a graduate to work with your company on an appropriate project, bringing their technical and academic knowledge to bear whilst receiving experience from working within your business. 4. A number of events and conferences will be supported by the project to help share information about the low carbon market including technologies and procurement whilst also providing you the chance to network with other businesses.

The LoCASE Programme brings together three key requirements for the growth of a successful low carbon economy - “Stimulating Demand”, “Supporting Supply” and “Transferring Knowledge”. This work will offer focused, individual support to SMEs, including social enterprises, across the whole South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) area improving competiveness and creating jobs through increased resource efficiency and new low carbon business. SMEs will be able to seamlessly access the programme through multiple routes. This will include local authority referral, Growth Hub referral, engagement at awareness raising events and through word of mouth. The continued work of the Low Carbon Kent network, coupled with securing of large scale funds for projects such as LoCASE is just the beginning… it is our vision to continue to create an attractive county for low carbon businesses, where consumers are using resources efficiently and opting for low carbon products and where suppliers are developing and selling innovative green products. We want to work with you, help you to address future challenges and provide support for your low carbon business to grow and be more competitive. Please contact us on; lowcarbon@kent.gov.uk or telephone 03000 415111


BUSINESSNEWS

Ashford outperforms rest of the Country

Ashford Borough Council’s bold decision to buy a struggling shopping mall and turn it around is paying dividends just one year on. Most of the vacant units in the international town’s Park Mall have already been filled and footfall has risen by around seven per cent. The authority stepped in to acquire the long leasehold in June 2015, in direct response to calls from residents to reinvigorate the run-down shopping centre. Since then, it has been attracting an increasing number of quality independent retailers, thanks largely to its flexibility with licences and huge support for newcomers. This has ranged from practical advice and help with social media to promotion through LoveAshford.com, the UK’s first digital high street. The turnaround of Park Mall’s fortunes has also encouraged many existing traders to extend their leases. The first new retailers moved into the shopping centre in July 2015. Three months later, a number of local independent start-up businesses came together as a collective to showcase their products within Made in Ashford, a shop run by Ashford council and LoveAshford.com and the next stage of the Pop-Up Ashford project which offers retailers access to one-to-one support. Three more quality independents arrived in December – including Happy & Glorious, which sells a range of British-made products and has praised the council for its “support, advice and encouragement”.

Park Mall’s versatility became evident in January this year, attracting top creative agency Recursive Media from its former base in Brighton. The leading audio-visual, multi-media and acoustics company, which boasts clients including the Royal Society of Arts, Harrods, the 2012 Olympic Park and the Dubai Mall, cites Ashford’s great links with Europe and London as a key reason for the move. CEO David Yates said: “Park Mall is a good creative space for our business. We employ a freelance workforce from all over the UK, so a base only 38 minutes from St Pancras is very attractive indeed. What sealed the deal for us was the unwavering enthusiasm and warm welcome of Ashford Borough Council and its ambition to develop a dynamic new business hub in the Commercial Quarter.”

Independent retailers who have made the move to Park Mall are not the only ones benefiting from its rejuvenation. Neighbouring stores are also reporting a positive impact on business – including Wilko, which says improvements have driven around 500 more customers through its doors every week over the past 12 months. Ashford has also just been accepted on to the third year of the national Business in the Community’s Healthy High Streets programme in recognition of its successful delivery of projects such as Park Mall. The programme aims to provide intensive corporate support to 100 High Streets, connecting corporate businesses with established Town Teams to support town centre regeneration and growth.

Southern Water is counting down to competition The water industry in England is preparing for the introduction of retail competition which will enable all non-household customers including businesses such as factories and shops, churches, charities, and public sector organisations, to switch retailers. From April 2017, these customers will be able to choose which company provides their water and sewerage retail services – things like customer services and meter reading. More than 100,000 of Southern Water’s non-household customers will be affected although in the vast majority of cases, non-household customers will not need to take any action unless they are directly contacted. Southern Water’s Head of Retail, Mark Field, said: “The purpose of market reform in the water sector is to stimulate innovation and deliver

a choice to non-household customers of who provides their retail service. “Our market reform readiness programme is well under way to deliver the business changes needed to meet the challenge of a new market and continue to deliver our customer promises.” Southern Water will continue to serve non-household customers until April 2017 when Business Stream - a specialist retailer who has been at the forefront of the competitive market in Scotland for eight years - will take over these accounts.

Jo Dow, Chief Executive of Business Stream, added: “We are looking forward to offering Southern Water’s customers the service levels, innovations and competitive rates that our other customers have benefited from over many years.” Southern Water will continue to look after the pipes and infrastructure for all its customers across Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. For more information: www.southernwater.co.uk/ countdown

£229 million bid is submitted The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) has recently submitted a £229m bid to Government. The bid follows a call for applications to Round 3 of the Local Growth Fund made by Rt Hon Greg Clark MP earlier this year. The £229m bid puts forward 41 projects from across East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock. If approved by Government, it would help to create 73,672 jobs and secure the construction of 31,052 homes. The bid would lever £756m of third party investment into the area, mainly from the private sector. The bid also recognises the importance of improving the future skills of the area’s young people to help support the economy, with plans to support 12,195 learners. A decision on the bid is expected around the time of the Autumn Statement in December. Christian Brodie, Chairman of SELEP, said: “Our bid delivers against the Government’s priorities of delivering more jobs, homes and improving skills. Support for it will send a very positive message to existing businesses and inward investors that there is an ambition and appetite to grow the economy of the South East.” “Sitting between mainland Europe and the rest of the UK, our area is perfectly placed to deliver for the country as a whole. The bid is timely as it will ensure we have a strong economy as we move towards our new relationship with Europe.” For details of the projects and to view the South East LEP bid document visit the South East LEP website. www.southeastlep.com • The South East Creative Economy Network has launched a ‘space audit’ in order to understand the current provision of managed workspace of all kinds for the Creative and Digital Sector across the SELEP area. This work is designed to help understand the future needs to facilitate the growth and expansion of these industry sectors in future. The audit is being facilitated by Colchester Borough Council. We would be grateful if anyone who has an interest in the development and delivery of incubator space, innovation space, maker space, grow-on space and managed workspace could help provide feedback. Please contact Luiza.Sandru@colchester.gov.uk for more information.

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NEWMEMBERS

Welcome to new members

524 Jobs Ltd

Maidstone 01622 809464 www.524jobs.co.uk Recruitment Agency

Acas Fleet 01252 360732 www.acas.org.uk Conciliation & Training

Athena Horizons Ltd Ashford 01233 330055 www.athena-horizons.co.uk Structural Engineering Software, CAD, 2D Drafting, CFD Steel Connections

Bullfinch Properties Ltd Medway 01634 926029 www.bullfinchproperties.co.uk Letting Agent

Capital Wireless Ltd Sevenoaks 01959 447456 www.capitalwireless.co.uk Aerial Filming & Photography

Certa MPS Limited Maidstone 01622 808902 www.certamps.co.uk Printers & Publishers

Chums4Pets Medway 08456 432911 www.chums4pets.co.uk An introductory facility 4 pet owners & local animals to meet so that no pet is ever lonely

Construction Site Products Ltd Ashford 01233 877258 www.railwayppe.com Supplier of all construction & site products

CSM Projects Medway 01634 887282 www.csm-projects.co.uk Project Managment & Construction

CSP Ltd Medway 01622 716636 www.csp.co.uk Print, Design, Digital Print & Creative Services

DE Management Solutions Ltd Dartford 07902 454278 www.demgmt.co.uk Executive Coaching, Business Transformation & Change, Project & Programme Management 48

Diamond Communications (UK) Ltd

Medway 01634 290879 www.diamondcommunications.co.uk Telecommunications

EC Safety Solutions Ltd Medway 01634 790207 www.ecsafetysolutions.com Safety Solutions

Evans & Langford LLP Maidstone 01622 621977 www.evanslangford.co.uk Construction Consultants

Eyemats Limited Canterbury 01227 650126 www.eyemats.co.uk Conservation Flooring Systems

Freelance Accounting Limited Medway 01634 567394 www.freelanceaccountingltd.co.uk Accounting

GPM Partnership Ltd Thanet 01843 853443 www.gpm-partnership.co.uk Quantity Surveying, Building Surveying, Employers Agents, Contract Admin and Bank Monitering

Graham Watt & Co. LLP Sevenoaks 01732 450055 www.grahamwatt.co.uk Law Services

Hulbert Smith Ltd

Konnect Apps Limited

Reina Group

Medway 01795 480769 www.konnectapps.com Social Networking App

Shepway 01303 248648 www.reinagroup.co.uk Contract Mechanical Services

Medway Food Bank Medway 01634 757057 www.medway.foodbank.org.uk Food Bank

Moka Studio Medway 01634 287167 www.mokastudio.co.uk Visual Communications and Web Development

More-Tech Engineers Surveyors Medway 07914 423646 www.more-tech.co.uk Health & Safety Consultancy/Training

Nationwide Radio Supplies Ltd Canterbury 03300 881780 www.nationwide-radio-supplies.co.uk Two-way Radio Specialists

NCS Technology Ltd Maidstone 01622 769692 www.ncstechnology.co.uk Data Cabling, Wired & Wireless Networking, AV Solutions, Interactive Touchscreens, IP CCTV & More

NOxBOX Ltd Sittingbourne 01795 859430 www.noxboxltd.com Medical Device Manufacturer & supplier of Nitric Oxide products

Dartford 020 8320 1071 www.hulbertsmith.com Property Investment and Developments

Passe Partout Consulting Ltd

Impact Ltd

Proud Business Productions

Tonbridge 01622 833880 www.createwithimpact.com Creative, Design, Marketing

Intelligent Linking Consulting Ltd Maidstone 07951 057840 www.intelligentlinking.co.uk Management Consultancy

K Sports Ltd Maidstone 08448 800048 www.ksports.pro Sports Club Venue

ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2016

Maidstone 01634 844944 www.passe-partout.com Leadership and Change Consultancy

Scarlett Financial Services Ashford 01233 800555 www.scarlettfs.com Mortgage and Insurance for Individuals and Business

Shrieve Products International Ltd Tonbridge 01732 520600 www.shrieve.com Distribution of speciality chemicals

Splat Web Works Dartford 01622 370771 www.splatwebworks.co.uk Web Design

Sunley Solicitors Canterbury 07415 306300 www.sunleysolicitors.co.uk Provision of Employment Law, HR & Mediation Service

Thanet Earth Birchington 01843 844700 www.thanetearth.com Leading supplier of salad producetomatoes, peppers and cucumbers

The Marketing Link Dartford 01322 305533 www.themarketinglink.co.uk Direct Marketing

Victorias Cabaret Club Ltd

Medway 07740 357507 www.proudbusinessproductions.com Video Production

Maidstone 01622 859331 www.victoriasvenuehire.com Cabaret, Night Club and Restaurant

RedSprout Ltd

West Kent Mind

Canterbury 01227 250115 www.redsprout.co.uk Recruitment

Sevenoaks 01732 744950 www.westkentmind.org.uk Mental Health Charity

Regus (UK) Ltd

Yourworld In Print Ltd

Ashford 01233 225500 www.regus.co.uk Fully Serviced office, Virtual Offices & Co-Working Desks

Orpington 07960 001919 www.yourworldinprint.co.uk Printers & Publishers


MOVERS&SHAKERS

Cripps COO to lead Law Society with Employer of the Year Award

Christina Blacklaws, Chief Operating Officer of top 100 law firm Cripps, has officially taken office as Deputy Vice President of the Law Society and will become its President in two years’ time.

The Law Society represents the interests of the public together with 165,000 solicitors in England and Wales and Christina’s appointment is the result of an election by the Law Society Council. She will be Deputy Vice President for a year and will progress to Vice President in 2017 and President in 2018. “I am honoured, delighted and humbled to have been elected,” she said. “These are challenging times and I look forward to engaging with the Law Society’s diverse membership and working to ensure the organisation is a relevant and effective representative body in a changing professional landscape.”

Christina is a long standing member of the Law Society’s Council with an impressive record of high profile representative roles and is currently an executive member of the Family Justice Council. Before joining Cripps in 2014 she successfully ran and managed an innovative hybrid (part virtual, part high street) firm and was most recently Director of Policy at the Co-operative Legal Services. At Cripps, Oxford educated Christina plays a pivotal role in helping the firm develop innovative and efficient ways to respond to changes in a fast moving

star hotels including the Ritz Hotel London, the Conrad International Hotel in Hong Kong and Claridges, London. Marcus said: “I’m really delighted to be utilising my experience to help the people of Kent. KIMS Hospital has some of the most advanced medical technology and leading Consultants in the county. I’m joining a great team of people who care passionately about their patients.” Simon James, CEO of KIMS Hospital, said: “Marcus’ experience and credentials complement an already strong team and will take us from strength to strength.”

Nick relishes first year Having recently celebrated his first year at J&N Refunds in Ashford, Nick Taylor is one of the county’s most promising young tax professionals. Nick was just 19 when he joined his previous employer, where he gained four years’ experience in Personal taxation and also qualified as an associate will writer. Since joining the J&N Refunds team as Senior Claims Handler last August, Nick has not looked back. He said: “What I love most about this company is feeling valued and

Cripps Managing Partner Gavin Tyler said: “We are delighted by Christina’s appointment and this prestigious role will make her one of the legal profession’s most influential ambassadors at a time when it is going through a great period of very significant change.” The firm has offices in Tunbridge Wells, London, Kings Hill and Sandwich.

Jane helps celebrate a year of growth

Local man appointed Chief Operating Officer at KIMS Hospital, Maidstone Marcus Whiteley, from Staplehust in Kent, has joined the Senior Management Team of KIMS Hospital as Chief Operating Officer, bringing with him more than 30 years’ hospitality experience from the independent healthcare sector and luxury hotels. Most recently, he was Director of Operations at the prestigious King Edward VII’s Hospital in London, prior to which he held senior management positions at the Harley Street Clinic and London Clinic. Earlier in his career, he served in operational roles at a number of five

and highly competitive market and ensure clients receive the best possible service. She will continue in this role throughout her time as an office holder.

knowing that there will be opportunities for me to develop and enhance my professional skills further, with an exciting career ahead of me. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my first year here working with a close-knit ‘family’ of knowledgeable and experienced colleagues. Previously I’d worked in a large department, so I’ve had to adapt to working with a smaller team. But this has been of great benefit to me, as I have much more responsibility in this role and this means I’m now more organised than I’ve ever been.”

After nearly 12 years’ experience in the taxation industry, Jane Dickson joined J&N Refunds in Ashford as General Manager just under a year ago. Jane had built up a broad skillset, including three years as a face-to-face sales representative, so she had developed a solid understanding of how to deliver the best service to clients needing help with tax refunds. She said: “It’s been exciting to watch as the company has grown. I’m thrilled to have had the chance to join the company when we had just three people in the team – now we have twelve - and I’m looking forward to the future, with even more clients.”

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LASTWORD

INBRIEF

The Last Word Name: Ray Johnson Company: Independent Insurance Services Job title: Proprietor I set up Independent Insurance Services 25 years ago and we handle all types of insurance, predominately in Kent and London. I am involved in various professional bodies including the Chartered Insurance Institute and chair the East Kent Economic Development Group for the Chamber. I am a keen runner and participate in the London Marathon, and am an active member of the Rotary club. Q What was your first job and what was the pay packet? A KFC. I became the manager at 17 and earned £55 per week which was mainly spent on vinyl records. Q What do you always carry with you to work? A Picture of my wife and kids in my wallet – if I get pickpocketed, I’d like them to get a nice picture as well! Q What is the biggest challenge facing your business? A Compliance and regulation - too much red tape for our sector compared to other nations. Q If you were Prime Minister, what one thing would you change to help business? A Encourage business to embrace work experience and offer visits for year 8 or 9 to begin to understand what work is about. And let’s have another bank holiday! Q What can you see from your office window? A Remnants of a church bombed in the war with the Gurkha Memorial statue in the background, plus the bright sunshine. Q If you could do another job what would it be? A Be a train driver, that’s what I always wanted to be when I was a kid so it’d be nice to live the dream. Q As a business person, what are your three main qualities? A When meeting anyone or attending a function I am always sure to look, listen, and respond. People appreciate contact, and quite frankly it’s rude not to do so. Look after your staff and assist the local community. Q What was your biggest mistake in business? A Heading into a partnership naively many years ago – it wasn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Q What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs? A Take the plunge, network, use the Chamber and the many benefits associated – get stuck in and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Q Who do you most admire in business? A My dad and grandfather – they taught me if a job is worth doing then do it well.

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ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2016

Old Dairy Brewery

The Old Dairy Brewery, started in 2009 in an old dairy in Rolvenden, Kent, is nestled deep in the heart of the ‘Garden of England’ just moments from the High Street in the picturesque market town of Tenterden in Kent.

They moved to their new site in Tenterden in 2014 due to expansion. With glorious views over rolling countryside, the brewery is housed in two old World War II Nissen buildings next to the Kent & East Sussex Steam Railway. One has been converted into a new 30 barrel brewery, complete with shop (10% discount for Tenterden Loyalty card holders and CAMRA members), bar and

meeting room (‘The Parlour’) while the second plays host to offices and the warehousing operation. Production at the new Brewery is focused on ODB’s core beer range plus new and seasonal and speciality beers to satisfy the demanding palates of its growing fan base. The Brewery shop is open: Mon-Fri: 10am 4pm. Sat: 10am – 2pm. Brewery Tours are available, as well as an on-line shop. They are now actively looking to export their beers and are on the UKTI Passport to Export, but are very keen to discuss working with UK Consolidators or beer distributors.

Ashford’S ITL at the double

Ashford-based Integrated Technologies Limited (ITL) scooped Manufacturing Business of the Year and Large Business of the Year, at the Kent Excellence in Business Awards (KEiBA) 2016. This is the second time the medical device manufacturer has won two coveted titles, after being named Best Science and Technology Business and Manufacturing Business of the Year back in 2014. ITL, a design and manufacturing partner for leading life-saving medical technology, diagnostic devices and analytical instruments, were thrilled to regain the title and be recognised for their excellence and expertise in the manufacturing industry. Nearly 600 guests attended the gala dinner at the Kent Showground. Tom Cole, CEO of ITL, said: “We’re over the moon to have won two KEiBA Awards once again, especially when you consider we were up against some very diverse and strong competition. We have a number of new designs coming to market this year and our order book is strong. Things are really looking positive for the future at ITL.”

Work starts on Kent Medical Campus access road

Work to create a new access road has heralded the start of the next phase of Kent Medical Campus in Maidstone. When complete, the 30-acre site will be the county’s first Academic, Health and Science Centre (AHSC), creating up to more than 4,000 jobs and providing 98,000m2 of accommodation for medical and life‐science companies, specialist residential and rehabilitation care, as well as higher education training

facilities for the medical and healthcare professions. Work began at the end of July on the £1.5m, 330m long access road, which will run from Newnham Court Way to the far side of the KMC site. “We will be working hard to keep disturbance to local residents and

road users to a minimum,” said Gary Watson of JLL, sole selling agent for the site. Granted Enterprise Zone status by the Government last autumn, the 30-acre site is located at Junction 7 of the M20. The first phase is the recently‐opened Kent Institute of Medicine and Surgery (KIMS), the 92 bed independent hospital.

MHA MacIntyre Hudson shortlisted in British Accountancy Awards 2016

Accountancy firm MHA MacIntyre Hudson, which has offices in Maidstone, Canterbury and Folkstone, has been shortlisted in two categories for the British Accountancy Awards 2016. MHA MacIntyre Hudson’s tax team is one of six firms nominated for the Top 50 Tax Team of the Year and is also on a shortlist of four firms for the Top 50 Audit Team of the Year. In a fantastic week for the firm, MHA MacIntyre Hudson also moved up the national accountancy firm rankings,

as compiled by Accountancy Age, advancing from 17th to 16th place with growth of 13% compared to 2015 figures. The British Accountancy Award winners will be announced on 29 November 2016 at an evening event in London. James Gransby, Partner at the Maidstone office said:

“We are delighted to have been shortlisted in two categories for these prestigious awards. The nominations reflect the consistent hard work and achievements of the partners and staff at our firm. The benefits of these achievements will be seen locally amongst our existing and future clients as we grow our practice in Kent. ”


Thinking Business October 2016  
Thinking Business October 2016  

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