Page 1



Spotlight on Kent’s coastal towns

Big Interview with Connect IT

The digital revolution

- keeping pace with progress

International Trade


Welcome & Contents


Optimism among the turbulence

Jo James

Chief Executive

Welcome to the latest edition of Thinking Business, which has its usual mix of news and views from around the county and was written as the nation prepared to go to the polls for the General Election. Whatever the outcome of the poll, coming so close after the Brexit referendum vote the election has meant even more uncertainty and if there is one thing that business hates it is uncertainty. What we need now is a period of calm – no shocks, no nasty surprises, just a time when business can get on with the job and Government ministers can negotiate the Brexit deal in a less febrile atmosphere than we have experienced in the past year since the country voted to leave the European Union. What has been remarkable about the past year is that, despite all the turmoil domestically and globally, our businesses continue to trade and invest and grow. Such a situation is a credit to everyone involved. We’re continuing the optimistic tone in our spotlight feature on page 17, which looks at the way Kent’s coastal areas are undergoing a resurgence with investment that is breathing new life into their communities. From tourism projects to technology undertakings, shops to manufacturers, the communities along the coast are enjoying encouraging times as investors seek out new opportunities.

Contents 4-5 6 7 9 10 11 12-14 15

Chamber News Members News Focus on Finance Healthy Workplace Members News Patron Comment Members News Getting Started

Our Patrons

As our piece makes clear, there remain challenges to overcome but the process is well under way and the outcome can only be positive for the county. Another big focus of the magazine is the way that technology is changing our lives. Few business sectors are as fast-moving as data and communications and for companies involved in the field that presents both challenge and opportunity as they keep up with the changing technology. Our technology focus starting on page 25 takes a look at everything from data management and communications to cyber security as we ask some of the sector’s experts for their thoughts on what is happening now and what we can expect to see in the future. One of those experts is the subject of our big interview starting on page 23. Kentbased Connect it Communications was started by CEO Bryan Davis as an independent consultancy advising clients on telecommunications, call centres and business telephone systems. In the article he looks at some of the technologies that are keeping us connected.



I hope you enjoy the magazine.

17-21 Spotlight on Kent's coastal towns 22-23 Big Interview 25-30 Cover Feature - The Digital Revolution 31 Industry Comment 33 Ask the Expert 35 The Economy & US 36 Members News

37-39 40-41 42-43 44-45 46 47 48 49 50

International Trade Business News Chamber Events Chamber Exhibitions Members News 24 Hours with... New Members Movers & Shakers Last Word

Editorial and General Enquiries

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford, Kent. TN24 0LH Chief Executive: Jo James Tel: 01233 503 838 Fax: 01233 503 687

Published June 2017 © Benham Publishing




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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. © 2017 Please note that submitting an article does not guarantee publication. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of material published in this journal, Benham Publishing and its agents can accept no responsibility for the veracity of claims made by contributions in advertising or editorial content. Benham Publishing cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in web or email links supplied to us.

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Chamber News

Free 3 Day Courses

Boost to Ashford’s economy as corporate plan delivers real progress

A Kent local authority’s five-year Corporate Plan is succeeding in delivering economic investment and growth, together with real improvements in living standards and services for its residents.

Leadership and Management

People and the talent they represent are the ultimate source of your competitive advantage, it makes sense that leadership and management are essential skills for your senior staff to master to support a successful and motivated workforce. • 12th, 19th & 20th June Royal Tunbridge Wells • 18th, 25th & 26th July Royal Tunbridge Wells

Social Media

Social Media should be at the heart of your marketing strategy. It’s a cost-effective way of building rapport and loyalty with your customer base. No modern business should be without it. • 21st, 28th & 29th June Canterbury • 3rd, 10th & 11th July Maidstone

Sales Techniques

We talk about individuals being ‘born sales people’ but at Ixion they believe that the principles of sales are a discipline that can be taught like any other. If you want to drive revenues and increase your bottom line, this is the course for you and your sales team. • 5th, 12th & 14th July Maidstone • 17th, 24th & 25th July Ashford • 18th, 25th & 26th July Royal Tunbridge Wells

Customer Service

By training your staff in customer service and communicating with customers we will equip them with the skills and know how to drive customer loyalty. • 4th, 11th & 12th July Royal Tunbridge Wells • 9th, 16th & 23rd July Ashford

Booking is available through the Chamber’s website. For any queries, please contact Guy Robinson at Ixion on 01245 254875.


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That’s the verdict of Ashford Borough Council after it carried out a review of its Corporate Plan as it approaches the halfway point. Councillors heard about the significant progress being made against the goals the council set itself when the plan was adopted in 2015. The priorities include: • Enterprising Ashford economic investment and growth • Living Ashford - quality housing and homes for all • Active & Creative Ashford healthy choices through physical, cultural and leisure engagement • Attractive Ashford countryside & townscape, heritage & conservation. Members heard how work is under way on the first major office building in the Commercial Quarter, the first of its type in the town centre for many years. Construction is also due to start on site in the coming months at Elwick Place with a new town centre cinema, restaurants and a hotel being built on a brownfield site. And the new £26 million Ashford College campus will open to students in September, providing a range of improved training opportunities for local people and helping to produce the skilled

workforce being demanded from employers in the fastest growing town between London and Continental Europe. Construction at Chilmington Green, a 5,750-home garden suburb on the south western outskirts of Ashford, is under way following the signing of a S106 agreement which will see developers contributing £125 million towards education, transport, community and sports facilities. And work on the Designer Shopping Outlet expansion is due to start later this year. Among the transport projects in the pipeline include a major signalling upgrade at Ashford International Station to ensure the next generation of Eurostar trains continue to serve Ashford, while funding has been secured for the new junction 10A on the M20, which will provide vital extra capacity to facilitate economic expansion planned in South Ashford. Councillors heard of exciting projects planned for the next two years, including further development in the Commercial Quarter, plans to rejuvenate Victoria Park, new commercial building acquisitions, the adoption of a new local plan, and additional investment at Conningbrook Lakes Country Park.

“Among the transport projects in the pipeline include a major signalling upgrade at Ashford International Station to ensure the next generation of Eurostar trains continue to serve Ashford.”

Labour market robust but inflation a worry

Chamber News

Recently-released statistics show mixed fortunes for the UK economy. Commenting on the labour market statistics for April 2017, released by the Office for National Statistics, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “With unemployment continuing to fall and employment levels rising, conditions in the UK labour market remain robust. “However, labour market indicators often lag behind the wider economy and it remains likely that employment growth will start to soften over the near-term, as more subdued economic conditions and the rising cost of doing business in the UK stifle firms’ ability to recruit. The BCC’s Quarterly Economic Survey shows the proportion of firms reporting recruitment difficulties remains close to a record high, which is undermining their productivity and growth. “With increases in regular pay slowing again, earnings growth is now comfortably trailing behind inflation. If the disparity between pay and price growth continues to increase as we

predict, household spending is likely to slow further, weakening overall economic activity. “The next government must do more to close the skills gap, including improving the transition from education to work by guaranteeing universal experience of work in all schools for under 16s, and delivering a future immigration regime based on economic need, rather than an arbitrary migration target. This will help firms compete on the global stage, boosting UK productivity and growth.” Inflation continues to be a worry. Suren said: “As expected, inflation resumed its upward trend in April, after holding steady in March. April’s increase was largely due to higher air fares, which were pushed up by the timing of Easter falling during the month. “While factory gate costs have moderated a little in recent months, businesses continue to report that the substantial increases in the cost of raw materials and other overheads over the past year are still filtering through the supply

“With increases in regular pay slowing again, earnings growth is now comfortably trailing behind inflation. If the disparity between pay and price growth continues to increase as we predict, household spending is likely to slow further, weakening overall economic activity.”

chain, and are therefore likely to lift consumer prices higher in the coming months. Our own Quarterly Economic Survey confirms that the pressure on firms to raise prices remains significant. Higher inflation is likely to be a drag on UK GDP growth over the coming quarters, as it erodes consumer spending power and dampens business activity and investment. “However, it remains probable that the current period of above target inflation is transitory in

nature, with little evidence that higher price growth is becoming entrenched in higher pay growth. This should give the Bank of England sufficient scope to keep interest rates on hold for some time yet, despite their recent warning. “Nonetheless, with the UK economy entering a weaker period as inflation continues to bite, more must be done to support growth and investment, including addressing the mounting burden of up-front taxes and costs faced by firms.” SOLICITORS

Clear-cut legal solutions when you need it for both your business and your personal life. Business Law

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Members News

Investment clock ticking for enterprising companies

The clock is ticking for ambitious young companies looking to attract investment, according to the Kent office of Crowe Clark Whitehill, the national audit, tax and advisory firm. Companies that secure Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) status can unlock up to £12 million of tax efficient investment to help fund their growth, at a time when access to finance is still seen by many companies as a challenge.

However, rule changes that were introduced in the 2015 Budget, mean that only companies with less than seven years trading can qualify for EIS status and therefore be eligible for investment. Thanks to the Governmentsupported EIS, investors can claim 30% income tax relief on up to £1 million if the shares are held for at least three years, and there is no minimum investment. EIS also enables investors to sell their shares without paying any capital gains tax. Any losses can also be set against the individual’s income tax obligation for the year. However, while the team at Crowe has seen an increase in interest from investors, it believes many young businesses are failing to make the most of the opportunities in their early years. Geert Struyven, a Partner at Crowe in Kent, said: “The time is right for many young businesses with the right product, plan and people in place. There are many investors, especially the Venture Capital Trusts who are sitting on large funds and eager to find profitable homes for investment. “EIS is an excellent route, especially for high-growth, yet capital intensive businesses, such as technology, consulting and life science companies, to unlock meaningful investment. “As long as the company secures EIS status before its seventh birthday, the eligibility is for life, and we have helped many companies secure funding to help ensure commercial success.


Thinking Business

Kent Medical Campus steps up to provide step-down care

Proposals for a 75-bed care home with facilities to provide step-down care for patients well enough to leave hospital but not yet ready to return home, have been submitted to Maidstone Borough Council.

Kent Medical Campus, near junction 7 of the M20, has been identified as the location for the proposed development, which, if permission is granted, would provide 24 hour nursing accommodation for the frail and elderly, providing a mix of rehabilitation, respite and dementia care. Gary Watson, Director at JLL, the company advising Kent Medical Campus on property matters, said: “The NHS has identified that there is a need for greater step-down care in the local area to reduce delayed discharges back into the community and making it possible to treat more patients. “With KIMS Hospital, the county’s largest independent hospital already on site, Kent Medical Campus is the ideal location for this important £10m healthcare investment, and a decision is expected later in the summer.”

The proposed 4,200m2 building would create more than 100 full-time equivalent jobs. The new facilities will form an integral part of the care services and pathways that will be developed within the Campus. This proposed development will contribute significantly to the local health and social care economy. It will be one of many new additions as part of Kent Medical Campus’s existing permission to develop 98,000m2 of floor space resulting in a centre of excellence for health,

science and education for the borough and county as whole. The proposals were submitted after the landowners and team worked closely with the crossparty Kent Medical Campus monitoring committee at Maidstone Borough Council. As well as being home to KIMS Hospital, construction is under way on a 64-bed hospital for Cygnet Health Care, one of the UK's largest independent providers of mental health support, following a £1.5m investment in a new link road.

Supporting a sustainable future with electric car charge points

Ashford Borough Council is supporting a sustainable future and green travel by maintaining its electric vehicle charging points across Ashford and Tenterden.

Cabinet members agreed recommendations to retain the five double electric vehicle charging points in the borough for another three years, with no additional charge for the electricity consumed. This means customers can continue to use the charging facilities without paying for the electricity used, but will still be required to pay for the use of the parking space by means of a permit or pay and display. The charge points are located in select car parks across the borough including the Civic Centre, Vicarage Lane, Julie Rose Stadium,

Tenterden Leisure Centre and Tenterden Station Road. The fast-charge facilities have proved successful with more than 1,800 charge sessions recorded from 2015 to 2016. Vicarage Lane and the Civic Centre car parks were shown to be the most popular locations. The charging facilities were installed in 2014 and at the time there were less than 50 electric vehicles registered in Kent. Three years on, there are more than 100 electric vehicles using the charging points in Ashford and Tenterden alone.

More than thirty years of success

As part of other government initiatives, drivers can have charge points fitted for free in their homes if they wish, and the fast chargers in Ashford can be used to top up vehicles when needed. Sheila Davison, Head of Health, Parking and Community Safety at Ashford Borough Council, said: “With the steady rise of electric vehicle sales, it’s important that the council supports drivers who choose to assist in providing a cleaner and more sustainable borough.”

Grosvenor International Systems, based in Orpington, has succeeded for more than 30 years in pioneering duty management systems to help importers and exporters throughout Britain and Europe to increase efficiency, improve cashflow and reduce costs. We provide superior Customs duty management solutions and software (Ricardo), coupled with the highest standards of implementation process, customer support, and specialist training. Through close liaison with HM Revenue & Customs and other industry specialists, we are always abreast of the latest legislation, changes and development. We combine this knowledge with our understanding of our clients’ operations to ensure that we can find the perfect solution to meet their Customs duty management requirements. Our active participation in various key HMRC committees - including, amongst others, one focussed on

the development of the new Customs Declaration system in the UK (CDS) – enables us to influence change and practical application of government policy, ensuring the post-BREXIT customs landscape is robust and sustainable. Our Ricardo duty management solutions encompass: • Customs compliance • High level of support • User friendly software • Management information • Known costs for implementations and consultancy Our software portfolio includes: Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP), Customs Warehousing, Inward Processing

(now encompassing the Processing Under Customs Control valuation processes) (IP), Outward Processing Relief (OPR), Intrastat Reporting, National Export System (NES), Multi- Channel Retail Solution, New Community Transit System (NCTS), Single Authorisation for Simplified Procedures (SASP). We have in excess 200 direct and indirect clients in the UK alone. Our customer base represent very diverse industry sectors, including the motor industry, aircraft industry, pharmaceutical companies, textiles, white goods, retail, hi-tech, heavy engineering, perishable foods, sportswear and logistics.

Three reasons why you should convert to the cloud

Focus on Finance

Cloud accounting seems to be the buzzword of the moment, but lots of people ask me what it actually is and what it can do for them. If this applies to you then you might want to listen in – and what better opportunity than the start of the new tax year to consider improving the management of your business finances. Simon Woodhams

Head of Cloud and Accounting Software 01233 629255 (Ashford)

Cloud accounting allows you to access and work on your accounts from any digital tool or location, and provides you with more flexibility than doing so with Excel or desktop software. Rather than slaving away over spreadsheets, or wasting time on finding those printed bank statements and used receipts. This is a new approach to financial management that enables you to stay on top of your business, get immediate insight and create invoices, leading to you getting paid faster, which in turn, improves your cash flow. Cloud accounting is more popular than ever with 78% of UK Small Businesses using at least two cloud based services already. Here are three reasons why you should consider making the switch.

1 – Time is money

If you run a small business, then you will know that your time is precious – and your priority, quite rightly, is in delivering client service, not worrying about your accounts, marketing etc. Cloud accounting can help you with a number of tasks from managing cash flow to maximising profit and they are

so easy to use. You don’t need a degree in IT or app-navigation to understand how they work. It can also provide a much cheaper alternative. Traditional desktop software can be costly to install and only work on one laptop or PC. Instead, when using cloud accounting software, you sign up to a subscription service and can access your account from any computer, tablet or mobile device. Finding an accountant as a partner in your business to help you is all the better when you both operate on a cloud accounting solution.

2 – Your time and money can be re-invested

Growing a business takes time and money, and one of the benefits of cloud accounting is the ability to work from anywhere. The simplicity and flexibility of the service means that you spend less time (and money) on invoicing and accounts, categorising transactions, payroll etc. Data from sales transactions, business expenses and inventory can all be uploaded to the cloud and automated, reducing manual data entry & costly

clerical errors. This time and money saved can be re-invested into your business.

3 – Peace of mind

The cloud is secure. It encrypts the data that you enter and is a much safer way of storing information than more traditional methods, which are often held offsite in data centres. Or, in some cases I have come across, on paper and filed in piles on the CEO’s desk! Cloud providers deal with cloud security full time and are prepared to combat any online security issues that might arise, so this is a much better and a much safer option for growing businesses. What’s not to like? Cloud accounting frees up your time and funds, plus it is secure – it’s just one less thing to worry about!

If you are interested in more information surrounding cloud services, speak to Wilkins Kennedy to see how we can help. You will find us at our offices in Ashford, Canterbury, Maidstone, Orpington and Sandwich. Thinking Business



Thinking Business

KIMS Hospital Win National Award as UK’s Best In-house Recruitment Team

Healthy Workplace Update

KIMS Hospital, the largest independent hospital in Kent, has been awarded the Best In-house Recruitment Team 2017 by the National Recruiter Awards.

This award recognises market insight, outstanding service and achievement by a UK in-house recruitment team. KIMS Hospital beat large national companies such as House of Fraser to be named winner at the awards ceremony. Simon James, CEO of KIMS Hospital said, “Winning this

award is no small feat and it recognises our expert in-house recruitment team and their innovative and caring approach. Ensuring we recruit the best people who put our patients at the heart of all we do is key. It’s all down to the great team we have here at KIMS Hospital that 99% of our patients recommend us.” Recruitment at KIMS Hospital was only brought in-house about 18 months ago and in that time the team have; reduced agency spend by 62% creating an efficient system for bank staff, increased their online presence through innovative social media campaigns to

attract potential new members of the team, focused on the candidate experience across all levels of the hospital and increased staff retention by employing staff not only for their skills and experience but also how well they fit with the values of the hospital and its current staff. Suzanne Stevens, Recruitment Manager at KIMS Hospital comments, “We are a small team who have worked incredibly hard to help meet the recruitment needs of a rapidly growing organisation. Our collaborative approach, not just between us but with the whole hospital, and our innovative strategies for recruitment helped us to secure the award. I couldn’t be prouder of my team and the Hospital.”

Kent collaboration delivers property company success at trade body awards

An Ashford-based property preservation company won an industry accolade at a national trade body awards event, with help from specialists across the county.

South East Timber and Damp took the Website of the Year (Small Company) title at the Property Care Association’s annual Best Practice awards event, held at The Slate, University of Warwick. Headed up by husband and wife team, Dean and Annabelle Webster, South East Timber and Damp, based in Brook Street, Woodchurch, specialises in damp proofing, wood preservation and waterproofing. Annabelle said: “This has been a big project for us. We launched our new site after 12 months of planning and designing, and we then spent three months developing and improving it further.

“We are over the moon that all the blood, sweat and even some tears have paid off. “We have had a fantastic team of specialists from across the county helping us achieve our vision, Digital Beans Canterbury, The Design Practice Maidstone and Sharp Minds Communications in Tunbridge Wells, and it has been a pleasure to work with them. It’s a true Kent achievement.” Leo Finnett and Lee Richardson from South East Timber and Damp collected the accolade from Stephen Hodgson, Chief Executive of the PCA.

Stephen said: “The judges said that this website jumped out to them as reflecting a personable and trustworthy team and the branding was clean, fresh and consistent throughout.”

Boost Your Performance

Reap the benefits of a private consultation with KIMS Hospital’s Sport and Exercise Medicine Consultant

Dr Laurence Gant, who is also a club doctor for Tottenham Hotspur and was clinical lead for the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics, offers private consultations, diagnostics and treatment plans to enable you to get fit or improve your performance. Based at KIMS Hospital, Maidstone, Dr Gant works with people who are looking to get active, through to amateur sports people who want to maximise their performance. He also advises individuals and organisations on muscular skeletal conditions and injuries.

An initial consultation with Dr Gant is from £75 depending on your requirements. To find out more call 01622 237 727 or email

The Benefits of Exercise*

It can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%. To stay healthy, adults should try to be active daily and aim to achieve at least 150 minutes of physical activity over a week in a variety of ways. For most people, the easiest way to get moving is to make activity part of everyday life, like walking or cycling instead of using the car to get around. However, the more you do, the better, and taking part in activities such as sports and exercise will: • Benefit your health • Improve sleep • Maintain healthy weight • Manage stress • Improve quality of life

To find out how we can help you at KIMS Hospital call 01622 237 727 or email *NHS Choices at

Thinking Business


Members News

Credit control health checks for ‘peace of mind’ and improved profits

Kent-based Pecunia (2016) Limited has been encouraging and working with firms to review some of their procedures for opening and managing customer accounts and the results have been quite staggering.

The inspiration for providing this service dates back to a case that Director, Kevin Artlett, was involved with last year where a recentlyformed business lost around £3,000, simply by not establishing the correct legal identity of the customer to whom they supplied goods on credit. As Kevin explains “I was then called in by the client to look at their processes for setting up accounts for customers and to recommend ways to prevent a similar occurrence in the future. As a result, an ‘Application for Credit Account’ form was designed and a one-to-one credit control training course was delivered to the staff member responsible for the accounts. “Our belief is that if firms make the ‘front end’ procedures more watertight, it will prevent many of the ‘back end’ problems arising such as invoice queries and late or non-payment”. These sorts of health checks can be interpreted quite quickly and are useful to ensure credit control systems are managed properly and they should not be undertaken only if something goes wrong. Evidence shows that taking an hour or so out of the day to analyse the effectiveness of opening and managing customer accounts can have a significant impact on the survival, growth and profitability of a business. Tracey Westell, Director, adds “Since the turn of the year, we have helped a number of firms in Kent, including a garage which was just about to extend £20,000 worth of credit to a potential rogue client. In addition, we have developed credit policy documents for a leading builders’ merchant and a chain of printers and also designed documents such as invoices and collection letters for other clients to make them more robust.” As the Pecunia motto says “see the credit in your business”! If you would like to find out more please contact:


Thinking Business

Celebrating forty years in business

To mark 40 years of sign making in Ashford, Medash Signs celebrated in style with a day out in London for their hard working, loyal workforce.

John Hobbs, who founded the company, left school at 15 and joined the Royal Engineers where he learnt his trade along with how to build bridges, lay booby traps and kill with his bare hands. On leaving the army after nine years he recognised that he had no future need of most of those skills so it was the signwriting and self discipline that won through. Fast forward to 1977 and John with his wife Rosemary decided to gamble their future and with just his signwriting brushes and a vision for that future they started their own company. The business started off in a small shed in Kingsnorth and over the years they invested in equipment and people and moved premises several times before settling in their present factory in South Stour Avenue. Over the years Medash have provided signs and displays for both local and multinational companies alike. Signs that have been made in their factory are on

the transport network around the country, in banks, schools, universities and hospitals. They are fitted outside of shops, factories and offices and their stylish graphics are visible on numerous vehicles that cris cross the country. The company has been built on trust and loyalty for both staff and customers. They have numerous customers and staff members that have been with Medash for over 30 years with one company buying signs from them continually for the full forty years and one staff member having clocked up 37 years man and boy. Realising the importance of networking Medash have been members of the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce for almost forty years. They are also members of the London Chamber and CRAFT and they were also previously members of the British Sign Association and BNI. All helping to build that special relationship that has seen the company go from strength to strength.

“Over the years Medash have provided signs and displays for both local and multinational companies alike.”

Folkestone recruitment firm Red Eagle set to create 12 new jobs

Red Eagle have big plans to grow their UK operation over the next 12 months. “A newly refurbished 5,000 sq ft head office in Folkestone is just the start,” said Wayne Hodgson, Managing Director of The Red Eagle Group. The head office provides administrative support for their other branches at Sittingbourne, Bexley and London, as well as their on-site operations in Dover and Thanet. The expansion plans will increase their existing staff to 50 by the end of the year. New jobs will include recruitment consultants, managers and administrators who are looking to join a progressive and pro-active team. The office is double the size of their existing office and represents a significant investment in their

future expansion plans. Refurbished to the highest standard it will provide an excellent working environment for their team. It will accommodate the Folkestone staff as well as their construction division, Site Labour Supplies and their chosen charity, Donations with a Difference.

A new training room will provide free training for their workers, offering courses in maths, english, manual handling, food safety and health and safety.

“New jobs will include recruitment consultants, managers and administrators who are looking to join a progressive and pro-active team.”

Top tips for recruiting The cyber-crime threat - and what you can do about it an apprentice

Patron Comment

Like many training providers, we have a dedicated team of staff who spend their time working with businesses to understand their staff development needs and develop appropriate training packages to suit their requirements. Over the last six months it’s become clear that the Government’s rhetoric around apprenticeships is starting to take hold; most of the businesses we speak to no longer need a ‘hard sell’ on the benefits that recruiting an apprentice can bring to their business. As we discuss training there’s an understanding of the tangible advantages that apprentices bring to an organisation, and an appreciation that the changes to design and delivery of apprenticeship training (through consultation with business leaders) is increasingly tailored to meet the needs of industry sectors. In fact, the most frequent question we’re asked is ‘I want to recruit an apprentice – where do I start?’ We recommend these simple steps:

• Identify a job role.

This could be a new role, or an existing one. At the moment apprenticeships can be used to train existing staff, though we expect it to be restricted to new hires in the future.

• Design the job.

An apprentice is a member of your team. The role should be planned into your structure, with a current job description and person specification and a contract of employment. You’ll need to make sure your insurance, health and safety and other policies are up to date too.

So we recommend putting all of this in place before you start recruiting.

• Talk to a training provider.

Once you’ve got a solid idea of the role and function of your apprentice, talk to a training provider about the qualifications your apprentice can gain and how their training will be delivered. Your chosen provider should also be able to confirm the cost of your training, and clarify any incentives or grants you can apply for. To protect you and your apprentice, make sure your provider is on the Government’s Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers.

• Advertise and recruit.

You can advertise directly, or your provider may be able to help you source a suitable candidate. Once you’ve interviewed and assessed your candidates, make an appointment and arrange a start date.

• Enrol.

Once your apprentice has started work, invite your training provider to come in and enrol them on their programme. There will be paperwork for you and the apprentice to complete.

• Reap the rewards!

Enjoy having a new member of your team who will bring new ideas, skills and energy into your business.

For an informal staff development discussion with one of our experts, call 01622 624900 or visit

With a recent government survey showing that nearly half of British businesses had at least one cybersecurity breach or attack in the last year, Erol Huseyin and Catherine Daw of Brachers discuss what businesses should be doing to protect themselves.

Cyber-security is an increasingly significant issue for many businesses. In an age where a vast quantity of personal data is collected, stored and processed electronically, the importance of securing data from cyber-crime should not be underestimated or ignored. The Data Protection Act 1998 currently regulates the control and processing of personal data in the UK but from May 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force, imposing even more onerous standards on organisations that control or process personal data. With the impending implementation of the GDPR, all businesses should now be looking at their current practices, processes and contracts to assess whether they are GDPR compliant and whether they are adequately safeguarding their organisation from the risk of cyber-crime. Steps businesses need to take to ensure they are effectively managing cyber risks can sometimes seem overwhelming: organisations often imagine that managers need to be IT experts before they can tackle the challenges faced. However, there are some straightforward steps which can be taken and that have the potential to substantially reduce business vulnerability. The Daily Telegraph reported in January that online fraud is now the most common crime in the country with almost one in ten people falling

Erol Huseyin

Catherine Daw

victim but in many cases, vulnerability arises as a result of human action that could have been prevented with greater training and awareness. Getting the basics in place can help to effectively reduce the risk. These include: • Raising employee awareness through training • Ensuring there are clear policies and procedures in place (including IT and social media policies, linking to disciplinary policies) • Including clear obligations in employment contracts to follow company protocols and maintain confidentiality of commercially sensitive data Phishing scams rely on individuals being taken in by bonus communications, so making employees aware of the need to look out for emails which do not sound as if they are written by the individual they are supposed to be from as well as thoroughly checking details before any money is transferred to a third party, are likely to help. In essence employees need to know what to look out for and be aware of their own responsibilities. And it is an employer’s job to help them do that. These are all issues that we will discuss and debate at a free breakfast event Brachers is jointly hosting at the Hilton Hotel in Maidstone on Tuesday 13 June – you can get full details and register at If you have any queries regarding cyber-crime please contact Catherine Daw, Head of Employment on 01622 655291, or Erol Huseyin, Corporate and Commercial Partner on 01622 776519 Thinking Business


Members News

Getting the best from Brexit

Kent companies must make their views known if the county and country are to make the best of Brexit.

That was the conclusion of a seminar jointly hosted by Kent’s leading law firm, Cripps, and Canterbury Christ Church University. The event saw the unveiling of a draft report being prepared by the university’s Centre for European Studies (CEFEUS) which draws on research commissioned by Cripps alongside data from the University of Kent and insights from HSBC. But, according to CEFEUS director Dr Amelia Hadfield, further market intelligence about the issues facing Kent businesses and what they want to see from Brexit is badly needed. She said: “There is a whole range of issues where we want to get a better understanding of business thinking – from the regulations they would like to see retained or scrapped and the possible impacts of a prolonged transition period to the kind of support companies would like to see from local and national government.” In its latest survey of regional business leaders, Cripps found that less than 40 per cent have reviewed their business plans with many adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach in terms of their strategy, investment and employment decisions. Managing partner Gavin Tyler said: “Although the reality of Brexit remains too uncertain for it to have significantly impacted


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on business planning, we are surprised that the majority of businesses have not yet started reviewing business strategies and mapping out alternative post-Brexit scenarios.” Also speaking at the seminar was Paul Winter of Sittingbournebased Wire Belt Ltd, which employs 80 people and exports all over the world from, in his words, Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. He outlined the worst case scenario planning the company had undertaken with regards the imposition of financial and logistical barriers – and how delays in delivering goods would be detrimental to the business.

“There is a whole range of issues where we want to get a better understanding of business thinking – from the regulations they would like to see retained or scrapped and the possible impacts of a prolonged transition period to the kind of support companies would like to see from local and national government.”

Three reasons to use an independent travel agent

Members News

In an age of online travel deals filling our inboxes to the brim, it often feels like great money saving offers are only one click away - but most of the times they turn out to be a normal run-of-the-mill holiday wrapped in overpriced marketing.

To contest this, this year saw the successful return of the new and improved high street travel consultant – the independent travel agent. Here are three expert approved reasons why using an independent travel agent can save you money:

1. Choose from a wide range of suppliers

Independent travel agents choose the operators they work with so will have an array of suppliers at the fingertips to make sure you get the best value for money.

2. Get more for your money

Travel consultants are generally very passionate about travelling and normally get to experience the resorts first hand. This means you get the best possible advice and guidance from fellow expert travellers. Independent travel agents rely on excellent customer service and will go the extra mile to ensure that you get the best possible holiday while saving you time and money.

Introducing Bokken Business Coaching

3. Check for ABTA credentials

ABTA is the Association of British Travel Agents and members are bonded so that any money you pay to them is protected if they go out of business. Booking through an ABTA member means you can travel with confidence, for your peace of mind. At Crosskeys Travel we offer a fully comprehensive service with a personal touch and we cover all your holiday necessities from travel insurance and foreign exchange to door to door travel.

Speaker, trainer and business coach David DiCara has created the new brand Bokken Business Coaching to demonstrate how the lessons he learned as a martial artist in a traditional Kendo dojo can be used to illustrate a range of business principles that all businesses, whether start-up, fledgling or mature can use in planning their future growth – starting with challenging their mindset. He said: “The biggest barriers we have to overcome in our business life are our own beliefs and yes, they can be changed.” David trained in traditional Kendo over a period of eight years gaining

his 1st dan grade and although he had to retire due to knee problems 28 years ago, he is still just as passionate about the art as he ever was.

With a college diploma in Chemistry, eight years in his family’s restaurant, his own online B2C business and a corporate career in B2B sales and marketing between the USA and Europe, he brings an extraordinary breadth to his work as a coach, trainer and speaker. David is a certified Motivational Maps™ trainer and SYSTEMS™ coach delivering the acclaimed Millionaire MindSet™ program as well as a level 7 business coach working 1:1 with business owners and senior managers. He said: “I delight in helping business men and women learn how to build better businesses to reap the rewards they desire.”

For further information visit

Introducing Women Who Count Ltd

Women Who Count provides bookkeeping and payroll services to local businesses. Sarah Palmer set the business up in 2010 and now has a strong team of six ladies supporting the local community.

Most business owners see auto-enrolment as yet another piece of legislation or business process that they are forced to deal with, but to Sarah, auto-enrolment is like the end of a disruptive period, which started, with HMRCs introduction of RTI. Sarah's view is that RTI is actually a regular delivery of what is essentially a mix of HR employee and pay data from payroll to HMRC. Autoenrolment will finish the job that RTI started. Hundreds of thousands of employers will effectively take on the surrogate role of HR. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates that there are over one million micro businesses employing between two to nine employees. Of these, The Pensions Regulator (TPR) estimates that 250,000 use the software, Basic PAYE Tools (BPT) to process payroll – the inference being

that there are a very large number of employers in the UK who are used to paying nothing for payroll software. However, none of those one million businesses are exempt from auto-enrolment. They will all hit their staging dates between 2016 and 2018. Critically, though, HMRC have no plans to upgrade BPT to handle assessment. Therefore, a large number of employers will incur costs related to software as well as the additional costs associated with training and implementation. Sarah predicts that an increasing number of employers will be outsourcing their payroll duties and administration of auto-enrolment, as shortly it will become too complex and expensive for employers to handle by themselves, while remaining too important to get wrong.

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Agreement signing signals start of new beginning for Chilmington Green

Members News

Council representatives and developers behind the Chilmington Green development have agreed and signed the section 106 agreement, which signals another major milestone in the building of one of the biggest new communities in the South East. with construction expected to start on site this spring.

Chilmington Green will be a standalone development of up to 5,750 quality homes, a district centre and community infrastructure which will create over 1,000 jobs in the next 20 years, coming forward in four main phases with around 300 homes delivered per year.

Standing from left to right: Alan Hodson – Hodson Developments, Paul Kitchingman – BDW Homes (Barratts/Ward Homes), Sue Yates – Ashford Borough Council, Tracey Kerly – Ashford Borough Council, Martin Hart – Pentland Homes and Lois Jarrett – Ashford Borough Council Seated from left to right: Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council and Cllr George Koowaree, Mayor of Ashford

Following several years of consultation and masterplanning, in October 2014, Ashford Borough Council’s planning committee approved, subject to the completion of a section 106 agreement, a hybrid outline

application for a mixed use development, applying nationally recognised Garden City principles for the 21st century.

With the section 106 now signed, the focus turns to delivering a really great place of high quality

The development will provide about £125m towards local amenities including five new schools, shops, healthcare, sports and leisure facilities community facilities, which will be created as the phases of development come forward. Part of the overall project also includes improving the A28 Chart Road to tackle congestion and create access to the development. Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council, said: “Chilmington Green is one of our Big 8 projects and its delivery is key to meeting the borough’s growth needs with masterplanning pointing firmly towards a high quality, carefully planned

Expansion on the drawing board for specialist

development with open spaces and quality public realm – a place where families and people of all ages will want to live, enjoy and call home.”

Kent County Council Leader Paul Carter said: “The collaboration between ourselves and Ashford Borough Council on this vitally important development shows how two tiers of local government can work together to deliver growth.” While Chilmington Green will not be a Garden City in terms of its size, it will reflect many of the design principles of the successful garden cities – treelined streets, a spacious layout with high quality public spaces and a strong local community managing local facilities. Alan Hodson, Managing Director at Hodson Developments, said: “This is a significant milestone in the project to develop a 21st century development based on Garden City principles. We now look forward to delivering the much needed housing at Chilmington Green.”

After nearly 30 years in business, Ashford design and build specialist Directline Structures is gearing up for further investment and expansion. Their innovative approach to construction – bringing together architect, engineer, project manager and contractor into one multi-disciplinary company – enables the firm to deliver the highest quality buildings while saving clients around 25% compared to the general market. This approach to designing and building sports hall and pavilions, sixth form centres, offices, industrial units and more has earned Directline Structures a mantle-piece full of awards and this summer the company may be about to receive more accolades. Construction industry body SECBE has shortlisted the company for SME of the Year in its annual Constructing Excellence Awards in London and the South East.


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Directline Structures impressed the judges with its commitment to staff training and development (45 hours a year per employee compared to an industry average of 12 hours), productivity driven by investment in 3D modeling systems, managing project costs, and collaboration with clients and suppliers. The future is looking bright for the company. A new generation is on board with Katy Barker, daughter of founder and Managing Director Duncan Murray, now a chartered Architect and director. An ambitious business plan is in place, with turnover targeted to triple by 2019. In addition to being shortlisted for the Constructing Excellence Awards on 29 June, Directline Structures is a finalist in the

Construction Project of the Year category in the Kent Excellence in Business Awards 2017, staged on 22 June at the Kent Event Centre. The project which has earned Directline Structures a place in the KEiBA finals is a sports pavilion at Langton Green, hailed by the President of the Football Foundation as “architecturally the most impressive” that he has ever opened. Lord Pendry heaped praise on the project when he launched the pavilion on behalf of the UK’s biggest sports charity. Duncan and Katy collaborated closely with the Langton Green Community Sports Association (LGCSA) throughout the eightmonth project to provide a bespoke pavilion that not only met their needs but exceeded the Football Foundation’s stringent

Katy Barker and Duncan Murray with Lord Pendry requirements – all within the £460,000 budget. Demonstrating that awards run in the family, Katy scooped the Young Achiever of the Year award in the 2016 Constructing Excellence Awards, and she was also a finalist in the Young Person in Business category at the Kent Invicta Chamber Awards 2017.

Getting Started Donna Smart

ScreenCancer UK

Q1: Tell us a bit about your business? ScreenCancer are a leading Cancer Screening Company from Norway and are developing their company and services within the UK. ScreenCancer UK is a private healthcare company with the goal of saving lives through early skin cancer diagnosis. The company was established in 2015, offering mole screening for skin cancer in the private and corporate market within Kent and the UK. Q2: What gives your business ‘the x-factor’? As a previous dermatology nurse specialist, I understand the importance of offering a very individual specialist service

Start date: March 2015

specific to the public’s needs. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the UK today and numbers continue to rise dramatically. We offer company screening to businesses and employees in Kent, particularly targeting outdoor workers and our team understand the importance of early detection of skin cancer to improve outcomes. Q3: What motivated you to set up the business? I was approached by Norway to set up the UK company. I have a passion for raising awareness of skin cancer and implementing a solution for early detection. I have years of experience in setting up dermatology departments and

Our Café is open for lunch from 12pm – 2pm

The Orchards East Malling

surrounded by 200 hectares of orchards, is a purpose-built event venue in Kent

Situated in a perfect location to escape the hustle and bustle of the office environment, allowing delegates to be more focused and meetings more productive. • Competitive rates you • FREE Wi-Fi can afford • Dedicated events team • Versatile rooms for 2 – 200 • On-Site Catering • AV Equipment included • FREE parking for 200 cars in rates • Team Building Activities Email:

Telephone: 01732 523781

Getting Started believed I could bring both my clinical and management expertise to the company. I have seen so much skin cancer through my nursing career and have seen the damaging devastation a ‘mole’ can have on individuals lives and that of their families. Malignant Melanoma (a type of skin cancer) kills if not detected and treated early. There is no national screening programme for skin cancer, unlike other cancers, but if people understood how to self-check their bodies regularly, we should see mortality rates reduce. Q4: What do you like most about working for a start-up No two days are the same. I may be visiting dermatologists, health and wellbeing managers at companies or traveling visiting pharmacy staff delivering our service in pharmacies. I might be running a sun awareness event, sending customer reports out or talking to customers regarding their mole scanning results. Q5: What has been your greatest business success to date? Our company offers a mole screening service within 100 Boots and Alphega pharmacies nationwide. ScreenCancer dermatology specialists analyse and report on customer’s moles/ pigmented lesions. In the last 2 years, we have seen many of our customers diagnosed with Malignant melanoma.

Thankfully, these have all been detected early enough and therefore their prognosis was good. Q6: What has been your lowest moment? There hasn’t been a low point per-se, however an aspect of my job which I find hard at times is the fact that I am a registered nurse. I am used to treating patients and being with them through their journey within hospital setting. When I explain results to customers over the phone on their consultations and explain the next steps for them, I am not able to see them through their journey and nurse or support them in person. Q7: In terms of business achievements, where do you want to be within the next 5 years? I would love our service to be commissioned by the NHS to enable more people with moles/ pigmented lesions of concern to be able to get a prompt early detection. Q8: What would be your top tip to someone thinking of starting up their own business? It has not been an easy journey, but if you believe in your business, have a passion for it, stay positive and never give up. Our company has recently joined the Chamber of Commerce and we are starting to network with other like-minded people. Sharing experiences and knowledge, I feel will benefit both my company and other businesses to grow and flourish.

Pecunia 2016 Ltd understands the importance of Credit Management in helping businesses to grow, increase cash flow and ensure your company has the best process systems in place to match your business needs. • • • • •

Credit Management Consultancy Health Check of Procedures & Policy External Training Courses Cash Flow Management In House Training

• Event Speakers

Website: Email:

Telephone: 07905 611186/07403 287595

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Spotlight on Kent

A new era dawns on the Kent coast

Ray Johnson

Kent’s coastal areas are undergoing a remarkable resurgence with millions of pounds being invested in breathing new life into their communities.

Among the business people expressing optimism for the future of Kent’s coastal towns is Ray Johnson, a Chamber Board Member and Chair of the Chamber’s independent East Kent Economic Development Group. Ray Johnson said: “Coastal areas like those in Kent have some challenges to overcome but a wealth of opportunity for the future.

“However, we are seeing progress being made in Kent’s coastal towns. Access is improving with the high-speed

rail link and the area has excellent links to Europe via Eurostar and the ports.”

Among encouraging factors he cites are the expansion of Lydd Airport, the development of the mixed residential and commercial Otterpool Park in the Shepway district, the investment

Viking Bay, Broadstairs - Thanet Tourism

of the Folkestone and Dover ports and the revival of Margate. He said: “There is a lot happening with investments being allocated to the area which means that the region can look forward to a bright future. Ten years ago, the picture was not as optimistic.

“There remain challenges. In Folkestone, for example, there is a shortage of good quality commercial space. It is encouraging that the space there is is occupied but the need for more is a priority. “There is also a concern about new talent coming through and more and more employers are getting the message that they have to invest in apprenticeships. “What is particularly encouraging is the way councils and businesses are working together, prepared to sit down round the table to discuss and solve problems.” Thinking Business


Shorncliffe Road campus with new facilities to support catering, the arts, construction and care. Local schools are amongst the best performing schools in the county, including Folkestone School for Girls, the Harvey Grammar and Folkestone Academy. Elsewhere along the coast, Hythe, Dymchurch, and New Romney Coastal Community Teams are busily working to deliver economic plans for their towns.

Resurgence the theme in Folkestone

The growing coastal town of Folkestone offers a high quality urban lifestyle and a great business location. It has excellent ‘under the hour’ connectivity to London and continental Europe thanks to two High Speed 1 railway stations, good access to the M20 via three motorway junctions and the Channel Tunnel terminal. It is also just 15 minutes away from the UK’s largest and busiest seaport at Dover. Folkestone is a growth hub for business, particularly for one of the UK’s fastest growing business sectors – creative and digital media. There is a cluster of successful arts and digital tech businesses around the Old Town and the Creative Quarter in high quality business space, such as at The Workshop on Tontine Street and at the Folkestone Business Hub in the town centre

Folkestone Folkestone’s birth as a modern town started in the 19th Century with the coming of the railway and planned development as a resort with crescents, grand hotels, and parks and gardens including the famous Leas. Today Folkestone is having a resurgence as a visitor destination, with attractions such as the awardwinning Coastal Park, which features in Trip Advisor’s top 10 things to do in Kent, and the newly opened Harbour Arm which draws in massive crowds to enjoy the views, food, drink, and entertainment. 2017 welcomes the town’s fourth Triennial festival, which has rapidly established itself on the international arts calendar and helps underpin the town’s reputation as a cultural destination. 2018 will see the opening of a new multi-storey indoor urban sports park, thought to be the world’s first. Looking towards a future skilled workforce East Kent College is currently completing a £4.4 million investment programme at its

A key element of Folkestone’s regeneration in the next few years will be the proposed development of the seafront. Outline planning permission has been granted for up to 1,000 homes, including beach houses, apartments and town houses, with a range of commercial spaces designed to serve the new community and to make a significant contribution towards Folkestone’s economy. Works have already started to establish site levels and sea defences and a detailed planning application will be submitted later this year. Over the longer term, there is also a new garden town settlement proposed for the district in the area around the junction 11 of the M20. Master planning work is underway for Otterpool Park, a settlement which will be based on ‘Garden City’ principles and will provide up to 12,000 new homes and 85 hectares of land for employment. If you would like to know more about Folkestone and its coastal towns as a location for your business to grow please click on to or contact the council’s Economic Development Team at

It’s time to take a fresh look at Dover! With multi-million pound investments in town centre and waterfront regeneration, new commercial, retail and leisure space, and the biggest house building programme in a generation, it’s time to take a fresh look at Dover.

St James Development

St James development in Dover town centre

Legal & General’s £53m St James development in the heart of Dover town centre includes 157,000 sq. ft. of new leisure and retail space due to open in the first quarter of 2018. The development includes a six-screen Cineworld cinema, five restaurants, 108-bed Travelodge hotel, along with a host of retailers such as M&S and Next.

Dover Waterfront

There are also exciting plans for Dover Waterfront with opportunities to invest in residential, hotel, leisure, and retail against the stunning backdrop of the Port of Dover, White Cliffs, and Dover Castle. Dover is just 21 miles from Calais and key to the UK’s future trading relationship with Europe. The Port of Dover handles 17% of the UK’s trade in goods. The Dover Western Docks Revival is now under way with construction of a £120m cargo terminal and logistics facility due to open in 2018.

Why we chose Folkestone as our base

I am pleased to have chosen Folkestone as the place to locate Red Eagle’s new head office. We have operated in the area since 2004 and it is beginning to see change, businesses are starting to invest and the government is keen to help regenerate the area.

Wayne Hodgson


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It is exciting to see the seafront community area taking the first steps to becoming a reality. This will bring an additional 1,000 homes, 10,000 sq m of commercial space and 500 new jobs. Red Eagle supply 1,000s of temporary workers to Kent businesses, who to date, have largely been unaffected by the Brexit situation. The main challenge facing employers both nationally and in the Kent coastal area, is a shortage of both candidates and skilled labour.

Employers are now finding they have to re-advertise jobs and increase pay rates to attract staff. The job market still seems buoyant with record employment and little sign of recruiting slowing down. With 100,000 businesses operating in Kent and with the South East having one of the lowest unemployment rates, the real challenge is attracting new candidates into Kent and keep them here - we do this by ensuring our workers welfare is paramount.

We treat our workers as our customers and as such, doing everything we can to attract and invest in our workers – we understand a new job can change a life. As well as health and safety courses we are offering free courses in Maths and English as well as specific industry training to ensure we can up skill candidates and increase employability. With continued investment, the future for the Kent coast is looking good for it’s people and businesses.

Spotlight on Kent There’s more to Dover than cross-Channel ferries! Dover is also the UK’s second busiest cruise port and hosts many of the world’s top cruise lines. Combine this with excellent links to central London - just an hour from Dover by high-speed train – and nowhere is better connected for doing business.

Discovery Park Enterprise Zone

Doing business in Dover makes financial sense too, with low business costs and incentives for new and growing businesses, including Enterprise Zone status at Discovery Park in Sandwich. Discovery Park is one of Europe’s leading science and technology business parks with 1.5 million sq. ft. of world-class R&D facilities, premium office space, and bespoke warehousing. It is home to over 150 companies, and employs 2,400 people. Alongside existing pilot plant manufacturing for scale-up and batch activity, Discovery Park is developing 70,000 sq. ft. of new high-tech manufacturing space, for tenants, including InstroPrecision, OFP Timber Frame Homes and FluteOffice.

Discovery Park Enterprise Zone

Construction is also under way on a £160m combined heat and power biomass plant, the first of its kind at a UK Science Park. The plant will produce enough power for the entire Discovery Park site plus a further 50,000 households.

Betteshanger Sustainable Parks

Complementing Discovery Park will be the Betteshanger Sustainable Parks project, a UK first for investment in green and sustainable technologies. The £40m project provides a unique commercial, educational and visitor environment in which to demonstrate new technologies to address the global challenges of renewable energy, sustainable land management, food security, and ecology. Betteshanger Sustainable Parks are part of the Hadlow Group, which includes Hadlow College and Produced in Kent. Drawing

Betteshanger Sustainable Parks

on the 121ha site’s heritage as the former Betteshanger Colliery, phase one of the project includes an £8m Visitor Centre, incorporating the Kent Mining Museum, Green Energy Centre, conferencing and events facilities. The new Visitor Centre is scheduled to open in 2018. Companies in the food security, environmental technology, life sciences (including agri-tech) and green technologies sectors will be the targets for a new, low carbon business park. Built to BREEAM excellent and zero carbon standard, including 6,000 sq. m. of commercial R&D and a business incubation hub with serviced accommodation for micro-businesses and start-ups. The Dover District saw a 15-year high in net additions to dwelling stock in 2015-16 with 726 new homes. This included 648 new build homes as Dover District Council’s strategy to improve the range of quality of housing starts to deliver with work underway on many of the sites identified for the district’s strategic housing allocations. Further growth is expected in the coming years with housing developments planned for Deal and Walmer, at the Discovery Park site in Sandwich, and at the Waterfront and former Connaught Barracks sites in Dover. Work is also underway on the first phase of the Whitfield Urban Expansion, including a new access road on the A256. A proposed new £26m leisure centre has also been proposed for Whitfield, and a new Lidl supermarket is under construction for a 2017 opening. For more information visit or follow us on Twitter @InvestInDover

Business the focus in Herne Bay and Whitstable

New initiatives to support businesses and boost the economies of Herne Bay and Whitstable are already having an impact – and there’s more on the way. Canterbury City Council is leading this work to provide specialist advice and help for independent retailers and marketing campaigns aimed at attracting more visitors to the area to spend their cash.

It kicked off last November with the launch of ‘Buy in the Bay, an initiative promoting the benefits of shopping in Herne Bay. So far, 150 businesses have signed up to the campaign by promoting themselves on the dedicated website,, and 23,000 residents have been reached through social media. Last month saw the creation of Hello Herne Bay, which involves the council, in conjunction with Kent marketing firm Pillory Barn, joining forces with the town’s businesses, attractions and community groups on a campaign to shout about its status as a top visitor destination. Both of these initiatives are funded by developer contributions from the planned Sainsbury’s development on the outskirts of Herne Bay and form part of wider business support work for the town centre. This includes a grants programme that has so far seen nine businesses benefit from funding totalling nearly £40,000. Help for local companies is also available in Whitstable, where the council will shortly launch the town’s own shop local campaign alongside a programme of business 1-2-1s and workshops. This follows on from a successful pilot last year with 10 of Whitstable’s independent traders. The council’s Head of Business and Regeneration, Caroline Hicks, said: “With the help of businesses and residents in both Herne Bay and Whitstable, we want to get tills ringing in shops and cafés and add to the growing buzz in our coastal towns. “The most recent focus has been on the launch of Hello Herne Bay, which is particularly special because it taps into the energy, creativity and positivity of local firms and community groups “This summer sees a great range of events in the town, such as the Air Show and Sci-5 by the Sea, and we’re hoping to see a big influx of visitors. The challenge is to encourage people to spend more time in the town centre shops as well as along the seafront. “It has been a really busy last few months and we’re looking forward to making the most of the summer season, so that businesses in Herne Bay and Whitstable see a significant boost in trade.”

Herne Bay Pier

Herne Bay community celebrates launch event More than 50 Herne Bay business people, retailers and local supporters came together to celebrate the official launch of Hello Herne Bay; a new tourism campaign aimed at putting the seaside town firmly on the map as a leading visitor destination.

The launch was held at community art gallery Beach Creative, a vibrant symbol of Herne Bay’s cultural scene, giving key local businesses a chance to find out about the new initiative and how they could get involved. The 18-month ‘Hello Herne Bay campaign’ is a Canterbury City Council initiative, funded through section 106 funding from the planned Sainsbury development at Altira Business Park. S106 ensure developers contribute towards community and social infrastructure. The campaign will team up with the town’s popular independent movement and shop local brand Buy in the Bay. This summer, Herne Bay is already set to be jam-packed with events, so there will be plenty of reasons for people to visit and discover something fresh. Events like Sci-5 by the Sea, the Herne Bay Carnival and the air show are expected to draw big crowds. As well as events, shops and cultural hotspots, the town is home to a number of unique cafés and eateries, including an Alice in Wonderland themed tearoom. Canterbury City Council's head of business and regeneration Caroline Hicks said: "Herne Bay is one of the forgotten jewels in Kent's crown and it is time we put the town back on the map. With everyone's help we will get tills ringing, create jobs and add to the already growing buzz about the town's future. “The Hello Herne Bay campaign will be instrumental in telling the rest of the world about all the town has to offer and then persuading people to come and visit. “This campaign is special because it taps into the energy, creativity and positivity of businesses and other groups in the town and shows off everything it has to offer.” The Hello Herne Bay brand was created by award-winning Kent creative agency Pillory Barn, which staged the launch event and will work closely with business and community groups to roll out the campaign over the coming months. The launch night was sponsored by Quinn Estates, the award-winning Kent based developer behind plans for the new Herne Bay sports hub, that will provide new housing plus state of the art facilities for Herne Bay Youth Football Club, Herne Bay Cricket Club, Herne Bay Tennis Club and Herne Bay Hockey Club. Thinking Business


Thanet’s tourism tide comes in

Spotlight on Kent

There has been a distinctive turn in the tide for Thanet’s tourism economy with trips to its popular and award-winning seaside resorts of Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate rising by 16% in 2015, despite visitors to England registering a 5% drop. Contemporary gallery has certainly aided national and international attention for the popular seaside resort. It recently welcomed its two millionth visitor far outstripping predictions. Reimagined Dreamland will attract yet more visitors and business opportunities to Thanet. Thanks to Thanet District Council’s bold decision to secure the Dreamland site after it had sat vacant with an uncertain future since 2003, a new era is now upon one of Britain’s oldest surviving amusement parks.

Botany Bay, Broadstairs - Thanet Tourism

A key catalyst for this was the arrival of HS1, which links the three main towns to central London in around 80 minutes, whilst other rail services link Thanet to various London stations and mainland Europe with ease. Thanet is also attracting new investment in the form of 21st Century boutique hotels, guest houses, restaurants, cafés and outdoor leisure attractions alongside new and relocating businesses. It’s not just the 19 miles of spectacular coastline that triggered some 3.9 million trips to the area in 2015 but also Thanet’s Cultural Revolution. Margate’s cultural resurgence

has helped regenerate the ‘Old Town’, comprising an array of independent shops, galleries and eateries which cater for any taste, and the renowned Turner

Turner Contemporary Gallery

Thanet’s unique selling points

The stunning Royal Harbour, Ramsgate - Thanet Tourism


Thinking Business

• 15 spectacular sandy beaches and bays – Six Blue Flag and Four Seaside Awards • North East Kent Marine Protected Area – the whole of Thanet’s coastline is covered by international and national designations for its marine and bird life • Longest continuous stretch of coastal chalk in Britain

But Margate is not going it alone. Its neighbouring Royal Harbour town of Ramsgate is also a popular tourist destination for visitors from the UK and abroad. The only Royal Harbour in Britain is a busy boating destination containing 700 leisure berths, with four gold anchors awarded by the Royal Yachting Association. It caters for visiting boats, as well as those based there all year round, and is home to the largest fishing fleet in Kent. Recently recognised as one of only ten national Heritage Action Zone’s (HAZ) by Historic England, promoting Ramsgate’s rich historic environment is top of the agenda! The Dickensian town of Broadstairs - which celebrates the 80th Anniversary of its annual Dicken’s Festival in June draws in the crowds with its famous retro ice cream parlours and quaint cottages all adding to its unique and timeless seaside charm. The town’s packed • The only ‘Royal’ Harbour in the country • Turner Contemporary – the largest purpose built gallery in the South East, outside London. • Dreamland, the UKs original pleasure park, reimagined and free to enter • Rich in historic connections and commemorations such as the evacuation of Dunkirk; helping hold the frontline in WWI

calendar of events throughout the year, including the annual ‘Broadstairs Folk Week’ and Food Festival, also keep the town firmly on any visitor’s itinerary.

It’s not hard to see the extent of revival in the area, and recent research commissioned by Visit Kent illustrates just how much resurgence Thanet is experiencing as a tourist destination – the value of tourism in the area has risen 19% to £293 million. And, what’s more, encouragingly for local people living and working in Thanet, the research identifies a 23.3% rise in the total number of jobs supported by tourism to 7,312. With the visitor economy growing extensively year on year, it is not only the biggest tourism success story in the county of Kent, but arguably the whole of the UK! * Cambridge Model Economic Impact Survey 2015. Comparisons are made against the Cambridge Model Economic Impact Survey 2013.

Margate Old Town - Thanet Tourism

and WWII; the arrival of the Saxons; the invasion of Hengist and Horsa and the arrival of England’s first Christian, St. Augustine • Famous connections such as Charles Dickens, JMW Turner, Augustus Pugin, and Tracey Emin • High Speed 1 from St. Pancras International – Margate (90 mins), Broadstairs (85 mins) and Ramsgate (75 mins).

Spotlight on Kent

Visit Kent launches Kent arm of European tourism project to support SME growth and innovation

Visit Kent has announced the launch of a new European tourism project to help empower small and medium businesses to be more innovative. The project comprises two key elements. The first focuses on gaining an in-depth understanding of each participating destination’s DNA. This includes looking at the qualities and traits of each location, helping to crystallise the destination’s unique story. The second part of the project centres on providing smaller businesses with tools and training on how to access and interpret big data on visitor behaviour and patterns. Very Vintage tearoom, Herne Bay The project, PROFIT, aims to stimulate innovation and revenue growth in the tourism and leisure sectors within the 2 Seas region, which brings together the North Sea and the Channel coastal areas. Visit Kent will lead on delivering the project to smaller leisure and tourism businesses serving the Kent coast and maritime destinations.

Sandra Matthews-Marsh MBE, chief executive of Visit Kent, said: “PROFIT provides a fantastic opportunity for smaller tourism businesses to access and interpret a large volume of data on visitors to their region in order to understand the customer narrative behind it.” The data sources will include information from all participating businesses as well as statistics available from local and national government sources, project partners and the wider supply

chain. This includes occupancy rates, footfall, customer reviews, social media engagement, event calendars and visitor profiles. The three-year PROFIT project is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund under the Interreg 2 Seas programme, with a grant of €1.7 million (around £1.48m), for the eight participating organisations in France, Belgium, Netherlands and England, including Visit Kent. This includes €355,000 (£308,000), of secured funding for businesses in Kent.

Sandra added: “The first step in this three-year project will focus on the maritime area of Medway, where we are working with other PROFIT partners and local businesses to deliver a series of workshops. This will be used to develop a range of business tools, including a vibrant and dynamic personalised information dashboard, as well as further coaching and training sessions.” Visit Kent will be extending the project to the rest of Kent during the next three years.

“PROFIT provides a fantastic opportunity for smaller tourism businesses to access and interpret a large volume of data on visitors to their region in order to understand the customer narrative behind it.”

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Big Interview

Big Interview

Bryan Davis

CEO - Connect IT Communications 22

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Keeping up with the technological revolution

Big Interview

Few business sectors are as fast-moving as communications and for companies involved in the field that presents both challenge and opportunity as they keep up with the changing technology. That is certainly the case for Kent-based Connect it Communications, which was started in 2009 by CEO Bryan Davis as an independent consultancy advising clients on telecommunications, call centres and business telephone systems.

Bryan has always appreciated the importance of embracing new technology; indeed, he left his last job before setting up his own business, following a difference of opinion with his managers who he felt were not willing to introduce technological change quickly enough. In the eight years since creating his company, and now employing 12 people, Bryan has witnessed dramatic changes which mean that today’s industry is barely recognisable from the one he knew in 2009. Bryan said: “This is an industry that is changing rapidly all the time. When we started up in 2009, people were mainly using Blackberries which used a very small amount of data. “Today, however, with the advent of the smartphone we are seeing devices that give users huge amounts of data at their disposal. “Also, when we set up the company, people were using ISDN lines for their businesses but now that has changed with the opportunities offered by mobiles and internet platforms and the Cloud. “As a company, we are constantly evolving to keep up with the technological advances. For example, back in 2009, we would receive our billing files monthly, now we receive them daily which allows our clients a clear and up to the moment view of their costs.” The key to everything that the company does is connectivity using technology that keeps teams in touch with each other with ways that are more flexible than ever before. One of the innovations that the company promotes is the Complete Phone in a Box, that allows business people to be ‘in the office’ wherever they are, rather than being tied to specific locations.

The flexibility of the Complete Phone in a Box means that remote or home-based workers can function as effectively as if they were on site. Advantages include:

• Intelligent call routing that minimises the danger of missing calls and provides cover at other locations or via a mobile • Disaster recovery plans ensure you are never out of reach: calls are automatically diverted to an alternative number (e.g. your mobile) • Phone features include multiple concurrent calls (so no-one has to hear the engaged tone), conference calling and full displays for effective call management • As the business expands, adding new users is simplicity itself – no need to consider additional telephone lines or expensive on-site PBX equipment • Plug & play functionality means phones can be moved to different locations and will operate instantly when connected to a broadband service • A range of handsets with features including conference calling, group pickup, multiple concurrent call traffic Another service, called Number in a Box, is ideal for home-based businesses because it means that they do not have to use their residential phone number for their business It also provides scope for other SMEs to increase their reach. It allows them to: • Improve professionalism: businesses can offer more than just a mobile number for contact • Use a different number for each catchment area • Expand the footprint of the business: be the “local contractor” in more than one area • Track the results of marketing activities more accurately • Direct calls to up to seven different devices or destinations • Use cloud- based recording of all calls, delivered by email or FTP • Receive messages as attachments, sent to specified email addresses

Bryan said: “Everywhere you look are examples of the way that technology is moving at a rapid pace. For instance, we are offering integrated telephone systems so that wherever you are, your customers can reach you by dialling one number because the system is able to track you down.

“We have supplied systems with phones all over the UK and as far away as Thailand, which is a change from the system when calls went into one building. Now your staff can be connected on any device, and at any location – worldwide”. All these changes are designed to make the way companies operate more efficient and Bryan does not think that the technological revolution is anywhere near finished yet. He said: “I think that technology will continue to evolve. One big change will be in the way we use our landlines. These days when your landline rings it is your mother or someone trying to sell you something but in the next couple of years the telephone is going to undergo the kind of changes that the television underwent when it moved from analogue to digital. “We will see the old phone systems phased out in favour of newer ones with much better connectivity. ‘There are no limits to technology. For example, I always had this idea that one day you will have just one phone number that you will carry with you throughout your life rather like a PIN number. We are edging closer to that.”

“The key to everything that the company does is communications made simple using technology that keeps teams in touch with each other in ways that are more flexible than ever before.” Thinking Business


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Keeping pace with progress

Cover Feature

By Matt Parkinson, Technical Director of VooServers

When it comes to progress, you can bet that technology has played its part in driving change.

From maritime instruments that helped sailors first circumnavigate the globe, to the first computers, these are the innovations that have shaped the age we’re in.

These innovations require businesses to be on the front foot; to have the flexibility to adapt in order to stay at the forefront of these changes, to remain relevant, to protect future growth and attract new business. The digital revolution – as some call it – seems like it’s been on-going forever but in terms of what is possible and where things go next, it’s still very much in its infancy. If you take customer service as an example, it wasn’t long ago that phone and snail mail were the only ways companies provided support. Now you have several means of social media, live chat, self-help but the real game-changer is a growing trend is to use machine learning. This type of artificial intelligence learns about a specific individual or company and automatically tailors a customer service experience to how that person wants to be served without them even telling you. Another example is the way in which you design something such as a kitchen and bathroom. At some US retailers it’s now possible to use a virtual reality headset, load your existing kitchen in, and then design your new kitchen as though you are already standing in it – giving a much more

realistic expectation of how it will look. No more will you have to sit with a sales person at a table to run through an endless number of colour shades and charges for samples taken home. Instead, you will be able to see it. It’s possible that many companies aren’t even aware these new advancements even exist and think it’s still a fabrication of films and fiction. This raises the question of how your average company is meant to embrace emerging technologies to enhance their own business. If you’re a small/medium kitchen designer could you have the competitive edge over B&Q by getting the virtual reality technology first? Could you gain extra business by increasing your customer service with machine learning? In fact, could you even avoid needing that extra customer service representative and put that money into other growth plans? At VooServers, part of the service we provide to our clients is to advise on new and emerging technologies that are going to be of interest. We’re big on helping our clients grow so they grow with us. New and emerging technologies are always a potential gateway for ourselves into new markets and that’s played a big part in launching new services over the past few years. This is steadily moving VooServers towards being a leader in the data centre and managed services industry.

A specific example of this trend is Skype for Business. VooServers has been a strong adopter of Skype for Business well before it picked up the Skype branding as Microsoft Office Communications Server. We are now quite a specialist at deploying it for our clients. Skype for Business was once an emerging technology and VooServers were quick to assess how we thought it would improve the day to day workings of our clients, increasing productivity and decreasing costs. Many years on it’s now one of Microsoft’s leading products and a rapidly growing area for us. Emerging technologies are always going to have an element of risk in adopting them as not every technology will take off or even last more than its initial launch phase. However, with business relying so heavily on technology these days it’s a very important investment as it could be the next big thing that takes you from being a small company to a multi-national one just like it has with VooServers. VooServers has been helping clients plan, implement and support their IT infrastructure internationally since 2005. Services include almost all aspects of cloud and managed IT as well as complete data centre solutions. The company was founded by Matt Parkinson while he was still at school and is primarily based in Maidstone, Kent, with additional datacentres in New York and Frankfurt. It is one of the only companies in the UK to offer highly available IT systems with entire IT infrastructure disaster recovery in less than 60 seconds. To find out more visit: or call 0800 0803 200 A key component of the digital revolution is the need for digital skills and now the British Chambers of Commerce has released survey results that show that 84% of companies believe that digital and IT skills are more important to their business than they were two years ago.

Three-quarters of the businesses said that they are facing a shortage in the skills, with 52% reporting a slight shortage, 21%, saying there was a significant shortage and 3% saying it was critical. The key findings of the survey are: • The skills most important to companies are basic computer skills (72%), communicating and connecting through digital channels (71%) and management of digital information (69%) • Skills shortages are having adverse effects on many firms including, increasing workload on existing staff (52%), higher operating costs (29%), and causing difficulties in meeting customer requirements (28%) • Businesses regard a lack of time for staff training (41%), difficulty in identifying appropriate training (32%), and the high cost of training (25%), as the leading barriers to rectifying these shortages. Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “The evidence is clear: better digital skills make firms more productive, and a lack of digital skills holds them back. “Businesses themselves need to do a lot more to tackle the digital skills shortages they face, and their leaders need to be alive to the fact that a failure to tackle this issue will have an impact on their bottom line. Too many firms are stuck in an unproductive cycle, where the failure to take action has serious consequences. “Training providers can give firms a helping hand, by engaging with companies on their digital needs and helping them to free up resources for growth. Government must help as well, by recognising that some of the high-level digital skills businesses need will come from overseas so a pragmatic immigration system needs to be in place to provide firms with access to the workers required to fill the gaps.” Thinking Business


Cover Feature

Is your IT and Cyber Security Strategy fit for purpose?

By Richard Shuker, Technical Director, TMB

In the first joint Annual Threat Assessment report published in March by the National Cyber Security Centre and the National Crime Agency, the cyber threat to UK business was described as ‘significant and growing’. While some of this criminal activity is perpetrated by ‘hacktivists’ for political purposes, the vast majority of the ‘actors’ in this space are focused on financial and intellectual property theft to generate sometimes huge amount of money.

What’s particularly chilling for every organisation is that while attacks are increasing in scale and boldness, the technical expertise to carry out such attacks is diminishing, for example through the easy availability of ‘off the shelf’ malware on the dark web. So how can businesses fight back? The temptation, particularly for small and medium sized enterprises, is to outsource cyber security and think ‘job done’. But effective protection comes from creating a much more holistic view of the threat posed and, in partnership with a specialist provider, such as TMB, should take account of three distinct areas – people, technology and processes. • People are often seen as the weakest link in the chain, but they should be the first line of defence…as long as they are given ongoing training to spot potential risks. For many businesses, a lack of usercentred security design makes them vulnerable, whereas ensuring everyone is sufficiently cyber savvy to flag up concerns can make a massive difference. Better education is critical for businesses that permit employees to access social media accounts at work, because there is growing evidence of malware campaigns being launched through Twitter and Instagram.


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• Technology is constantly evolving and can be used to defend against all but the most determined and technically capable attackers. Even so, companies continue to fall victim to the exploitation of basic and well known network vulnerabilities….or at an even more basic level by failing to install and update security patches.

Certainly the threat from ransomware – in which IT networks are effectively locked to extort money - means that businesses should maintain appropriate backups and defensive systems, for example automatically sandboxing email attachments. • Processes are ever more digitized because of the productivity gains that can be delivered, but organisations do not always take sufficient account of network vulnerabilities that can inadvertently be created… for example by leaving security holes that can be exploited by criminals to steal data or launch a distributed denial of service. However, while there are certainly serious challenges to consider, help is at hand. Although the battle lines are constantly being redrawn, the government’s Cyber Essentials scheme provides an excellent template for building a robust defence structure. As a Cyber Essentials trained and accredited assessor, TMB is currently helping a number of organisations of every size to audit their existing networks, plug any obvious weaknesses and implement a strategy that takes account of technology, people

and processes to maximise the opportunities presented by the digital era while mitigating any potential risk.

TMB has offices across the south and east and in London and can be contacted on 0333 900 9050 – or go to to find out more.

“The temptation, particularly for small and medium sized enterprises, is to outsource cyber security and think ‘job done’. But effective protection comes from creating a much more holistic view of the threat posed.”

Use of technology

By Tom Chown

Digitom is a multi-award winning video content agency, based in Tunbridge Wells. Founded in 2010 we’ve seen first-hand the growth of technology and use of video and animation online, as audiences shift from traditional advertising and marketing platforms to on demand and always on. Recently we’ve seen the invention of 360° video, cameras that film the entire 360° around the camera. Last year we were asked to produce a global first for the world of brewing, working with our client Shepherd Neame to tell the story of hops and the Kentish tradition of hop picking. We immersed the viewer in a hop field with a farmer telling us all about the history and the process; combining storytelling with new the latest technology.

Branded content has taken over from TV advertising, where brands fund their own programming content. Critical to this is making sure the messaging is strong messaging and that the story is at the heart of the video. With so many apps, platforms

and devices, the ways of reaching potential audiences has grown exponentially. That means it’s important to hook your viewers in, otherwise they will be distracted by their environment, and you’ve lost your audience.

With the advent of smart phones everyone carries a video camera around in their pocket. This is an amazingly powerful tool to give everyone a voice, and used properly the latest phones are capable of producing broadcast quality images.

Don’t panic but the machines are taking over! Artificial Intelligence (AI) used to be something from the movies, something that existed in the likes of Star Wars and Star Trek. But now it is increasingly part of everyday life. From self-driving cars to self-propelled lawn mowers, tasks that once took up so much time will soon become the responsibilities of intelligent tools. Such a revolution is presenting challenges and opportunities for businesses. Businesses that provide services face the threat of being replaced by artificial intelligence or will at the very least need to change the way they operate. For example, a store that once relied on staff observation to assess customers’ habits may now use AI devices which can analyse buying records to work out the most popular product placement on the shelves. Because analysing data is so time-consuming, many companies are turning to AI and the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT relates to the way technology talks to each other

and, for industry, that means creating the ‘smart factory’ in which systems communicate in real time via the Internet. At Industry 4.0’s heart is a growing realisation that huge amounts of time and effort is being wasted because too many production and back-office systems are not connected. That disconnect means that skilled personnel ranging from manufacturing teams to sales staff find themselves repeating the same tasks when, if managed properly, their IT could do it in a fraction of the time. For instance, it makes no sense if a machine is producing data that impacts on another piece of equipment but the information is not available to its operators without having to go through a complicated process to obtain it.

How much better, supporters of IoT argue, if the data from Machine One is automatically made available to Machine Two without the need for human interaction? The benefits for companies embracing the IoT is that more data integration results in better planning for production and logistics and makes them more costeffective.

Patent Protection Cover Feature

A patent is essentially a legal monopoly to stop competitors using your invention for up to 20 years.

It is a property right that may be licensed, sold or otherwise leveraged. A knowledge of patents is important for any business to ensure that opportunities to obtain a valuable property right are not overlooked, and to be aware of how competitors’ patents can affect your ability to compete. Patents protect technical innovation, for instance, a new product or process. An invention may be granted a patent if it is new, involves an inventive step and is not on a list of exclusions. These requirements are officially examined by comparison to pre-existing disclosures and, for this reason, it is extremely important that the new invention is not disclosed before filing your patent application. Whether an invention is new is relatively easy to prove, since a simple comparison will flag differences between existing techniques. However, whether an invention is inventive is more subjective, and may require persuasive argumentation to convince the Patent Office that the invention is non-obvious; in other words, the invention has to be clever to be patentable. It is widely known that there are statutory prohibitions to patents for computer programs and business methods in Europe. However, the exclusions are narrow and do not prevent patent protection for many developments in these fields. Microsoft, for example, currently have over 10000 European patents and clearly, consider there is patentable subject matter in this field. Inventors should, therefore, seek professional advice rather than being discouraged from trying to obtain patents in this field. Patents are a favourable form of protection over other intellectual property rights, such as copyright, as a patent provides protection of the underlying concept regardless of whether a competitor independently creates a product using the invention. Copyright protection only protects the specific expression of an idea that you can prove has been copied by the competitor. Graham Watt and Co are happy to advise on all areas of intellectual property and welcome new clients from sole traders to multinational corporations. For further information, please contact:

Nick Kirkham Partner

Sophie Warwicker Technical Assistant

Graham Watt & Co LLP Tel: +44 (0)1732 450055

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GENERAL DATA PROTECTION REGULATION Make sure your business is not caught out!

If your business trades in Europe or holds data on customers residing in a European country then you really need to know and be ready to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation when it comes into law here in the UK. Make sure your processes for securing customer data is up to scratch and avoid fines running into millions of pounds.

Contact 07935 567290


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Technology in business

By Dan Lawrence, Durty Media

Making use of tools and technology can have a massive impact on productivity for start-ups and small businesses. When launching a business on your own, or trying to manage a small business, many roles overlap and you often need quick solutions for day-to-day tasks. Searching email

Streamlining these tasks and making use of readily available technology can massively boost your productivity and make you more efficient and robust as a business. Being at the forefront of technology adoption, there are a number of tools we make use of at DURTY to ensure we’re as productive as we can be.


Dropbox is a cloud storage solution which integrates seamlessly with both Windows and Mac OSX. It backs up files as you save them to your Dropbox storage area, and synchronises all of your files across all your machines with Dropbox installed. It’s free, easy to setup and you won’t even know you’re using it. It behaves just like a normal documents folder on your computer (because it is), but empowers you to access your files from anywhere with an internet connection. It even has a handy app which you can use on your phone to email attachments to people. Because every time you save a file it stores a backup, it also acts as disaster recovery in case your document or file gets corrupted, or you need to recover a change from 2 hours ago. It doesn’t matter what file type it is, Dropbox will back it up every time you save it, and you can recover any version at any time from the Dropbox website. What’s more, it’s absolutely free for 2GB of storage which is more than enough for normal office documents (you can pay for more storage if you need it).

If you can get the hang of searching your email, it will save you hours of time! I’m sure everyone has had trouble trying to find that one email, and it becomes even more frustrating when you’re stalling a client on the phone whilst trying to locate their details! There are some useful tricks called “search operators” which make this a breeze. A Google search will provide a complete list, but the most common ones I use are “from:” and “to:”. If you know that someone called Tom sent you an email, and it was about an invoice, you can find it quickly by searching “invoice from:tom”. This will only show emails from anyone with “tom” in their email address, which contain the word “invoice”. Similarly, if you can’t remember the name but you know the company you can search “invoice from:company name”. It’s a game-changer!

Web browser plugins

Almost all businesses involve using the Internet in some fashion, and if you’re online then you’ll be using a web browser (like Google Chrome, Internet Explorer or Safari). Did you know that you can get plugins for your web browser to speed up common tasks and improve your workflows? If you use social media, if you want to save links for reading later, download YouTube videos, or even block adverts, there’s probably a plugin for that. We use Chrome and regularly browse the Chrome store to see what’s available. Our favourite plugin has to be AdBlock. It’s a free plugin which blocks all ads on all website pages, and it even stops the annoying adverts playing before YouTube videos (we’re not sure what black magic it is, but it’s amazing!). This saves you time, reduces page load times and makes your browsing more secure.


If you are regularly organising your upcoming projects or if you need to organise a team, Teamweek has an excellent tool for doing this. It’s essentially a drag and drop Gantt chart, where you can add upcoming tasks, colour them, and re-arrange them. It’s very fast and easy to use, plus everyone sees updates in real time. Very useful for maintaining a visibility of your upcoming work and quickly re-ordering it as necessary, with no fuss. Best of all, it’s free for a single user! We use this when on the phone to clients, to accurately predict when we can fit their projects in. It’s also useful for organising workloads for your team members, so they can check what’s on their list for the day/week.


Basecamp is a project management tool that is very accessible and exceptionally powerful. You can create projects for each job or task you have, and share this with a client or group of clients (or your internal team). Everyone can then post files, create to-do lists, engage in casual chats and open up discussions. It notifies everyone via email (if they want to be notified), and keeps everything in one central location. It takes communication away from email, and ensures things aren’t dropped when someone is off sick, or if a project needs to be moved from one person to another. We use it to manage projects with our client, post work and Dropbox links for feedback, create to-do lists and generally keep on top of the latest communication for our projects. And (you’ve guessed it!) they have a free option for you to create a single project.

Cover Feature

Digital skills ever more important to business

The British Chambers of Commerce has released survey results that show that 84% of companies believe that digital and IT skills are more important to their business than they were two years ago.

Three-quarters of the businesses said that they are facing a shortage in the skills, with 52% reporting a slight shortage, 21%, saying there was a significant shortage and 3% saying it was critical. The key findings of the survey are: • The skills most important to companies are basic computer skills (72%), communicating and connecting through digital channels (71%) and management of digital information (69%) • Skills shortages are having adverse effects on many firms including, increasing workload on existing staff (52%), higher operating costs (29%), and causing difficulties in meeting customer requirements (28%) • Businesses regard a lack of time for staff training (41%), difficulty in identifying appropriate training (32%), and the high cost of training (25%), as the leading barriers to rectifying these shortages. Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “The evidence is clear: better digital skills make firms more productive, and a lack of digital skills holds them back. “Businesses themselves need to do a lot more to tackle the digital skills shortages they face, and their leaders need to be alive to the fact that a failure to tackle this issue will have an impact on their bottom line. Too many firms are stuck in an unproductive cycle, where the failure to take action has serious consequences. “Training providers can give firms a helping hand, by engaging with companies on their digital needs and helping them to free up resources for growth. Government must help as well, by recognising that some of the high-level digital skills businesses need will come from overseas so a pragmatic immigration system needs to be in place to provide firms with access to the workers required to fill the gaps.”

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Survive and Thrive in an uncertain world

We live in an uncertain world, evidenced (if evidence was needed!) by political upheaval at home and abroad, ever-changing growth forecasts for the UK economy, changing market trends. Even our uncertain English weather, usually indulged with a wry smile, adds to the mix; consider the devastating impact the unseasonably severe late frost had on our local vineyards.

Business resilience is key for organisations to adapt quickly to changing environment/disruptions while maintaining operations. How can you strengthen your organisation so that it bends, not breaks, when the uncertain becomes the new reality? What are the key actions that you need to take so that you go beyond survival, and thrive? At Christ Church Business School we believe in the benefits of practical business experience. Our staff has more than 600 years of industry experience working in sectors as diverse as financial services, retail and manufacturing. Our advisory board draws senior industry figures from a range of sectors including banking, finance, risk management, venture capital,


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public sector, retain and social enterprise. We know that business is complex with organisations requiring expertise in many disciplines including foreign exchange, taxation and employment law. Our growing reputation for research includes pioneering work across sectors as diverse as shipping and the arts. • Through the Government’s national Innovate UK programme, the Business School was awarded funding to help local Kent manufacturer Cammegh expand its international business through improved social media and marketing activity. • Dr. Maria Kalli working in collaboration with East Kent Hospital University Trust developed a predictive mathematical model to determine the risk of Acute Kidney Injury.

• We were also part of a 14-strong European Consortium to develop pilot projects and to assess the impact assessment of the E-Maritime agenda. The resulting efficiency gains are expected to increase competitiveness and it is highly likely that e-collaboration and integration will lead to fewer accidents and errors.

• Dr. Andrew Jackson led a group investigating the social value created by Turner Contemporary. The evidence shows that Turner Contemporary has helped re-establish Margate as a destination town, encouraging two million visits in its first five years. Pursuing excellence in education is only part of Christ Church Business School. We are committed to supporting our local businesses. If you think we can help your business, why not come to our “Building Business Resilience” discussion on

19th July where you can book a one to one with an expert to discuss your particular issue.

To book your free place, and for more information contact 01227 92 3598 or email Suzanne O’Brien - an experienced non-executive director with extensive finance, accounting, taxation experience. She is Director Student Recruitment & Student Experience Christ Church Business School

Why new technology matters to you

Industry Comment

Innovations happen every day, brand new ideas strike like lightning. Every week there is a new product or software or service on the market that promises the world. Some are fantastic and some are not. All whilst taking into account your individual environmental and security risks. Future-proofing the system with updates can be exhaustive and time-consuming. Automatic updates need no thought or remembering, it's already scheduled. It’s not science fiction, it’s smart business. Take the famous iris scan. The crème-dela-crème of security is now included into security packages for all types of business. No ID cards required. Fingerprint and palm scanners are now commonplace. The technology is so cheap it’s in your smartphone and even some laptops. All this helps keep a secure reputation exactly that, secure.

When it comes to your business, you cannot take that risk. You may have grasped at new tech before only to suffer from it. Grasping the right tech at the right time, that's the trick. With advancements in software, we can do more with less. As time moves forwards, technology becomes cheaper. The features that you could only dream of are now well within your budget. Improvements in security mean that our buildings and businesses are safer. A comforting thought in an age where terror threats happen every day. Once limited to Hollywood films and security service watch lists, facial recognition can now be a tool for exceptional customer service. CCTV analysis in real time means your receptionist can know, and thus greet, guests by name. A valuable attribute to any business and a great way to improve your customer service. What about HR software, is it useful? There is a new way of managing visitors and contractors. The latest software can account for every employee without the need for a check-in book, in real time. It can provide dynamic and fast ID badge printing. It can tell you who is

in the building, where they are, and what access they do and do not have. It can tell you who is sick, who is late, who works overtime and more, without the need for tiresome paperwork. These systems ensure a full, auditable record of all attendees is available, at all times. Good quality tech can also help you meet your legal obligations. Yes, even health and safety is becoming a dynamic technological experience. What happens when a fire alarm goes off? With the latest technology, the assigned fire marshal can start an app. This app provides real-time information; including who is on site, who musters and where. It can tell you who is ‘safe’ and ‘not safe', stores images from photos, stream live CCTV feeds & even feeds from UAV drones. It can also print off a report that provides vital information such as activity, faults and how long it took. Vital information that would not go amiss during a HSE spot inspection. What about CCTV? Access control? Door entry systems and the wider range of security services? Electronic systems now cover all aspects of security and safety. These systems can protect your business and staff, day and night.

Specialising in on-site management systems, we combine all these technologies together. An all-in-one package to then scale to your business so that it works for you. What's more is that this is not just historical data, everything we do operates as the world happens. Real-time analytics and data provide you with the knowledge the instant you need it. All these individual pieces and benefits integrate with other software. The facial scanning for security is also for customer service. The biometrics for opening secure doors can tell you who has worked overtime. Technology is here to stay, like it or not. Embracing it can revamp your business. Use it to your advantage and tailor it to suit your needs. Invest in good quality technology and you will benefit.

CONTACT US TODAY T: 020 7100 4099 0800 468 1900 E: W:

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Ask the Expert

Why is having a good Wi-Fi solution vital for my business?

Neil Banks

Wi-Fi Project Manager RTF Networks DDI 01622 538 711

In an age of never sitting still, constant meetings, high end visits and the occasional desk move, your business’ wireless solution has never been more important than it is today. We have all accessed the web using a wireless network within our businesses, whether it was to check our emails, resolve

a customer issue or to have a cheeky peak at our social media accounts. But why has business Wi-Fi become so important. It is proven that having a fully functional wireless solution improves employee functionality. Simply put it allows your employees to connect to your network from anywhere within your building, meaning whether they are at their desk, in the lunch room or working at another desk for the day they never miss that important email

or update, nor will they have to return to their desk every time they wish to print a document, trust me there is nothing more frustrating than continually returning to a desk to print one paragraph. Further to this, meetings and presentations become so much smoother, no longer do we live in a world where we need to untangle meeting room cables to ensure everyone has network connectivity. But what if your current wireless solution is outdated? Having a fantastic wireless solution is great, but imagine trying to complete a high end meeting with clients and your wireless keeps dropping out? Imagine losing business on the fact your connectivity was insufficient during crucial negotiations? Sadly, all too often these things do happen, but you can avoid this happening to you. There are many factors which can create issues within your wireless network, and very rarely are any two issues exactly the same. The best way to ensure your wireless signal is working to its optimum capability is to get it surveyed by a specialist. This would ensure you are not suffering from issues such as blind sports, channel interference, funnelling or a lack of resilience on your wireless network.

Ask the Expert

Wired Networks were once the gold standard of network connectivity, but as Bob Dylan sang, the times they are a changing. With Wi-Fi Access Points now capable of higher speeds than ever before, and with more users per access point rising, Wi-Fi is taking over. Wi-Fi cuts the costs of rewiring and moving hardware every time you reshuffle your business, or if your attempting to create space for a new starter. In 2017, it has now become cheaper to purchase Wi-Fi access points than it is to purchase office standard trunking, so the biggest question of all now becomes, why wouldn’t you want a fully functional wireless solution? Look around your business, how many smart phones do you see? How many tablets are there? What about wireless scanning devices? All of these devices will work via Wi-Fi, however not all of them will work using your wired network connections. With technology it is imperative to never rest on your laurels, so ensure you do not get left behind believing your wired solution will last forever. If you are suffering with poor connectivity or have any concerns moving forward call us now to discuss your options.

Thinking Business


Is it time to outsource your business finance function? We can

• Advise you on the most suitable structure for your business

• Prepare cash flow forecasts and budgets, and monitor these against actual results

• Liaise with your bank or alternative funding providers to ensure any finance requirements are met • Set up PAYE scheme and run the business’ payroll, as well as providing support for Auto Enrolment as your business becomes obliged to join

• Assess the requirement for Making Tax Digital for Business and assist with the on boarding process • Prepare Self assessment Tax Returns and liaise with HMRC on your behalf • Deal with company secretarial issues, including registration at Companies House, statutory filing and share restructuring if necessary

As the owner of a growing business, your time is precious as you focus on building and marketing your product or service and becoming a successful entrepreneur. An hour spent on admin processes is an hour less spent on generating revenue. The MH Business Support and Outsourcing team can take the pain away of monthly bookkeeping and VAT, the burden of payroll and stress of annual accounts and tax compliance.

We have a specialised team with years’ of experience to assist with the day to day running of the finance function as well as to help with the financial and legal aspects of starting and running a new business.

Why choose MH Business Support and Outsourcing?

MHA Macintyre Hudson has 14 offices across the UK including Maidstone and Canterbury, enabling us able to offer a friendly, knowledgeable, local service.

Even better, as your successful business grows and you need more specialised advice, such as exploring overseas markets or looking at exit strategies, you will benefit from the expertise across the whole of MHA MacIntyre Hudson, allowing you to continue dealing with a team who have looked after your business from day one.

• Set up a Cloud based bookkeeping system which allows you to have full visibility over the current financial position of your business. We can tailor our approach to take away as much or as little of the bookkeeping and record keeping as you would prefer • Provide a dedicated personal service, face to face meetings and a tailored approach to suit you

For more information, please contact our MH Business Support and Outsourcing team at your local office: Canterbury: Margaret Deans

E: Maidstone: Hayley Kingsnorth


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 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.

The Economy & Us

Nick Rowell

Director of Policy Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Direct line: 01622 753568 Email:

Suppose you borrowed to invest in a Kent buy-to-let in 2010. By now a deposit of 25% would probably have earned you, annually, a (reinvested) yield of 15% pa, slightly less if your loan payments were interestonly; and a further capital appreciation @ 20%-25% pa on your initial deposit. Even better if you’d already built a strong credit rating with a building society: as mutuals, they tend to charge trusted members 1% or so less interest than for-profit banks. Probably 18%-19% pa yield then, plus the capital appreciation. Massive. You can see where I’m going with this. Those of us who can access enough cash for a deposit, and a loan to source the balance, are able to profit enormously from our fellow citizens who can’t. Globally, meanwhile, 50% of the world’s wealth increase since 2000 has gone to the richest 1% (source: Oxfam). An unregulated marketplace has always favoured the ‘haves’, but the automation of financial markets since the 1980s has boosted UK and global bankers’ retained profits and hence their capacity to lend (see chart). This pushes up all asset prices, not just houses, as prospective bidders have more to spend. Paying over the odds for assets drives managers, especially in cartels and big brands, to over-charge customers and maximise profits/dividends.

The Economy & Us

Who owns our Debt – and why is this getting urgent? Global Debt as a % of GDP: Debt's 35-year surge shrugs off Global Financial Crisis

240% 220% 200% 180% 160% 140% 120% 100%



The lenders, meanwhile, keep creating money/debt: the more they lend out the richer they get. This amounts to a surtax on us all, like tenants paying higher rents to fund their landlords’ bid-up mortgages. Perhaps by now you have noticed – unless you benefit from ‘a special situation’ – that you don’t seem to be getting any better-off; and that the next generation of your family face a lifetime worse off than you, unless bankrolled by Mum and Dad. No wonder many ‘havenots’ across the developed and developing world are getting downright fractious. On the steps of Downing Street last July Mrs May put this down to unequal sharing in the benefits of globalisation. But that isn’t the whole story.




The crucial innovation, and the reason why this is getting urgent, is that algorithm-led automation is displacing entire livelihoods, from hospitality (McDonalds, Airbnb, Uber) to insurance services. Sensible commentators are predicting that within 10 years half today’s jobs will disappear. People are already making painful changes, to take whatever work they can get and/or eke out a living by selfemployment (though see also my article on The 100-year Life in last October’s edition).

So as a society we need to find a way to balance the interests of ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ – soon, before labour productivity dwindles further and/or unrest erupts – to create a Britain that works for everybody.




I don’t know what that way is, but I do know that the first step is to recognise, and more deeply understand, the growing inequality that is already dividing us from one another.

“Perhaps by now you have noticed – unless you benefit from ‘a special situation’ – that you don’t seem to be getting any better-off.” Thinking Business


Members News

Coaching for success

e business coaching is the trading name of Geeforce Limited set up in 2011 by myself Paul McCartney MBA.

I started what was to become a very successful radio career at Invicta Radio in 1987 and have experience in press and digital having worked for various media companies throughout my career. The Geeforce name was inspired by the economist Joseph Schumpeter whose article ‘The Gales of Creative Destruction’, talked about innovation destroying what was only to rebuild into something new. Geeforce reflects the fact that change today, whether it be technological, social or political, the gales are G Force. Originally, the business was set up to help clients with their marketing, where I would demonstrate that a smaller budget used to target a niche audience (i.e. the people that most valued what the advertiser was offering) would not only be more cost effective but would also deliver better results. In 2015 a strategic decision was made to use the experience I’d gained working with more than 10,000 small business owners during my time in media, and the knowledge that I had from the MBA syllabus to launch e business coaching. By doing this I am now able to provide a combination of coaching, consultancy, training and mentoring, blended to suit individual clients. e business coaching charge for our time at a similar level to many other coaches and consultants. However, there is one big difference – our fees are value based. This means that up to 30% of our fee is paid when we have achieved the goals we agreed with our client at the start of our relationship. In doing so, we deliver one of our core values – accountability.


Thinking Business

Local branch of literacy charity celebrates 25 years of supporting children

Beanstalk Kent and Medway – a local branch of the national children’s literacy charity – is celebrating its 25th anniversary of helping to improve literacy levels across the county.

Beanstalk Kent and Medway placed its first volunteers in 1992, following success in London where the charity was founded 43 years ago by Susan Belgrave. Susan recognised that too many children were struggling with their reading, something that would limit their future prospects. Her determination to help these children continues to inspire Beanstalk today.

The charity recruits, trains and places volunteer reading helpers in primary schools, where they provide one-to-one support to children that need extra help. Since its beginnings, the charity has gone from strength-tostrength, growing from a handful of volunteers to a network of just over 350 trained reading helpers supporting more than 1,000 children in Kent and Medway alone! Malou Bengtsson-Wheeler, Area Manager at Beanstalk Kent and Medway, said: “We've achieved so much over the last 25 years, but we know that there is much more we can do. That's why

over the next four years we are aiming to significantly increase the number of schools and volunteers we work with in Kent and Medway, as well as stretching into East Sussex, so we can support more children that urgently need our help. “As we take the next steps on our journey, we are calling for more volunteers to come forward and join us so that every child leaves school with the reading ability and confidence they need to succeed in life.” If you would like to find out more about Beanstalk, either to volunteer as a reading helper in primary schools or becoming a Beanstalk partner school, please contact the Kent and Medway office on 01622 662026 or apply via the website

Brachers advises on MBO for leading healthcare business

The Corporate team at Kent-based law firm Brachers has advised on a management buyout (MBO) of UK Medical Ltd, from its US parent company Becton Dickinson & Co (“BD”), a $10billion revenue global medical technology group. UK Medical Ltd, a leading healthcare company based in Yorkshire, specialises in the supply of interventional medical devices to the NHS and the private healthcare sector. Speaking at the announcement of the buyout, Ian Aaron, MD of UK Medical, said: “This is a great deal for both companies and we look forward to a continued and long partnership with BD. “We have exciting plans to grow the business and to partner with

the NHS by supplying products that add value, improve patient care pathways and at the same time provide excellent value. We are very excited to be making a difference to patients and to the NHS.” James Bullock, who led the Brachers team, said: “Having worked with Ian and the UK Medical team for many years, I am personally delighted to see the successful completion of this MBO.” Don Gray and David Bellamy from BHP Corporate Finance acted as

lead advisors to the UK Medical management team.

Don Gray said: “We are absolutely delighted to have worked with Ian and his team to deliver the buyout from BD.” Funding for the transaction was provided by HSBC. Chris Alsop, Relationship director, said “This is a great business in a strong and growing sector – we are very pleased to support the management team in this buyout.’’

New chapter in law firm’s story

Robson & Co solicitors has been trading for the past 60 years with high standards of service and professionalism provided by friendly staff with local knowledge. We have a strong reputation and client following based around personal recommendation. Last year the practice was taken over. The new owners were insistent on keeping to the core values of the practice and providing a top rate service. We have spent the last 12 months restructuring back office resources at the practice.

We now offer the same forward facing service but with increased levels of efficiency and accessibility. We pride ourselves on traditional values delivered through up to the minute technology. We do however understand that the technology is there both to assist ourselves and our clients but will never replace face to face contact.

The new board of Directors headed by Keith Betts, consisting of Lisa Fitzgerald, Sophie Wakelin and Donna Trewerne, have many years’ experience in their chosen fields. As a company we plan to extend our presence and services throughout Kent and have recently opened an office in Ashford. We look forward to a further 60 years success in Kent.

Port of Dover struggles to avoid a Brexit cliff edge

International Trade

Almost a fifth of the goods imported and exported by the U.K. make their way through the port of Dover, so a tough Brexit deal threatens to leave the port hopelessly congested. Around 2.6 million trucks rumbled through the port in 2016, accounting for 17 percent of the U.K.’s trade in goods, worth £119 billion. Trucks take only seconds to clear the port, but if Brexit ends up creating regulatory and tariff barriers between the U.K. and the EU, the result could be a traffic nightmare. “The talks must achieve a frictionless border, and for Dover that means maintaining the rapid transit of goods through the crossings … post-Brexit,” said Tim Waggott, the port’s chief executive. The EU’s top Brexit negotiator recognizes the risk Brexit poses to the port. Michel Barnier warned of “lengthening lorry queues in Dover” in the event of “a no deal situation.” Dover is fully integrated into a frictionless single market customs checks were last carried out for U.K.-EU trade in 1992, and the industry will need time to adjust to what could be an extra 300 million declarations a year once outside the bloc, said James Hookham from the Freight Transport Association. “We need to avoid checks at port terminals. They are configured for arrive and drive, not wait and queue,” he said. Port spokesman Richard Christian, speaking from his office in the Victorian-era postcard-perfect townhouse that serves as the harbor headquarters, said custom checks at the port site are a “non-starter.” He instead wants to focus on solutions like digital customs clearance and rationalizing the more than 30 government agencies that currently have the right to stop traffic coming through the port.

The control tower overlooking Dover’s docks provide a good place to survey one of the U.K.’s key trade arteries, and the enormous task facing port authorities. Ships laden with freight vehicles bring in everything from car parts to consumer goods. Along the cramped two-tiered road system inside the port, trucks wait in bays for one of 60 cross-channel trips a day. On a busy day, some 10,000 trucks transit through Dover. If traffic were halted for a single day, those trucks would form a line 160-kilometers long stretching all the way around London to Stansted Airport. Dover has already had a taste of the impact of that kind of a disruption. In 2015, strikes in France prompted the U.K. government to trigger Operation Stack - lining the highway to Dover with trucks unable to make it through the port. But these stop-gap measures only provide buffer zones to manage temporary crises or peaks in demand. The highway capacity adds some spillover capacity for freight queueing, but Brexit threatens to make an infrequent situation chronic and bring traffic coming and going from Dover to a standstill. In recent years, the port has been trying to manage a steady increase in traffic. It has demolished old buildings on the strip of land between the white cliffs and the English Channel to pave more area for waiting trucks. Lanes on the highway running inland have also been set aside for something called “the Dover Tap” in case they’re needed to hold trucks.

There isn’t much space to do more, thanks to the iconic cliffs hemming in the eastern port at Dover where freight-carrying ships dock. Clearing out cargo sheds at the site where a quarter of the U.K.’s bananas arrive would free up a bit more space. Prime Minister Theresa May has promised to follow through on a commitment to build a truck park capable of getting 3,500 lorries off the road too. Even an old airfield has been used to ease pressure on the M20 highway during previous problem periods. “That gives us extra capacity out on the highway, and enables us to keep Dover clear of congestion and pulse it through to match capacity in the port,” said Christian, the port spokesman. “That gives us extra time, but anything beyond that and we are in Operation Stack territory.” Alternatives to Dover are in short supply. The nearby Eurotunnel takes about 40 percent of the freight vehicle traffic moving between the EU and U.K. each year, but the tunnel is expensive and can’t take over Dover’s capacity. On a clear day, the French coastline is visible from Dover, just 30 kilometers across the

Channel. Its proximity makes shipping efficient. Other U.K. ports require longer transit times at sea for the crossing from the Continent, adding costs for transporters. Despite that reliance on the Continent, voters in the port town opted to leave the EU by a margin of 62 percent last June, 10 percentage points more than the national average. The port itself is responsible for 5,000 jobs in a town of little over 30,000 people. Ensuring that freight continues to flow is a top priority, and Brexit backers see the chance to shift spending from the EU to Britain. Calais has taken the brunt of trade disruption over recent years, with the U.K. chipping in to cover the cost of new security measures at the site. “It’s clear that we need faster investment in Kent’s roads and infrastructure at the Channel ports,” said Charlie Elphicke, Conservative MP for Dover. “Over the past few years, we have handed over millions to strengthen Calais. It’s time we put Britain, and Britain’s border, first. We must invest in the Dover frontline.”

“Dover is fully integrated into a frictionless single market — customs checks were last carried out for U.K.-EU trade in 1992, and the industry will need time to adjust to what could be an extra 300 million declarations a year once outside the block.” Thinking Business


UK Importers & Exporters must use Customs Reliefs available now - to mitigate Brexit pain

International Trade

By their very nature, Customs processes are very physical – they revolve around the movement of goods. Intra-EU trade is, in the main and to coin a phrase, “frictionless” with no customs declarations being made or customs duty being paid. “Friction” occurs when you import from or export to countries outside the EU.

Our exit from the EU may well introduce that same friction into movements to and from our former EU colleagues. HMRC is currently planning on the ‘worst case scenario’ with substantial volume increases and subsequent potential delays into its import/export mechanisms. According to Lorenzo Rossetti, Customs Development Director at Grosvenor International Systems, who sits on a number of Joint Customs Consultative Committee working groups with HMRC, ‘HMRC has assessed that it needs to boost its capacity from 150 million declarations P/A – to about 350 million declarations P/A in order to deal with the anticipated, increased volume of when EU27 trade changes when we leave the EU.” It’s clear that HMRC is preparing that we have to treat the ‘EU27’ just as it currently treats the USA – as a ‘3rd Country’. The Treasury may well recognise the silver lining to this possible cloud – the fact that all customs duty

collected from imports will remain in the UK rather than the current 25%. The UK’s current obligations require us to send this share (circa 75%) to Brussels. Importers/Exporters can mitigate this additional pain by using Customs regimes and procedures that already exist. To quote Lorenzo again, ‘HMRC in the UK have always been facilitative – although on the ground it might not always feel that way! – and they realise that for the sake of “UK PLC” they have to make sure that their processes work even better in the post EU world.” So, the regimes and arrangements such as Customs Freight Simplified Procedures would benefit the UK importer by automating the tedium of the declaration process and move this procedure ‘in land’. We may also see a move towards a ‘SelfAssessment’ duty declaration system that HMRC is in the early

planning stages of and a system Grosvenor is currently engaged with - trying to move the concept and theory into a practical, working system, which will work for end users and will achieve HMRC’s objectives. Given this, it will be vital for any importer/exporter to have an efficient “digital” declaration process – to be ready to access the new systems on the horizon, but also to minimise the financial and procedural hit of the log jams in the process. The financial cost of our newly rigid border can be mitigated by the use of currently available regimes such as Customs Warehousing which allows the ability to hold imported stock, duty and VAT free, indefinitely – or Inward Processing allowing Duty and VAT relief on imported raw materials or components

used to manufacture goods that are then exported. The ‘wait and see’ approach should not be an option for UK Businesses – processes exist now that must be bedded in pre-EU Exit – waiting until closer to the “deadline” may mean that a very long queue is ahead. The good news is that regardless of the eventual outcome of BREXIT and possible impact on the Customs Union – if current HMRC regimes are acted on now, UK importers, manufacturers, distributors and exporters can be robustly prepared for the changes ahead and benefit from the reduction of duty and VAT burden, almost immediately. For more advice or information contact the Chamber's International Team on 01233 503838

“The ‘wait and see’ approach should not be an option for UK Businesses – processes exist now that must be bedded in pre-EU Exit – waiting until closer to the “deadline” may mean that a very long queue is ahead.“

Thinking Business


Business News

The North Kent Enterprise Zone opens for business

The North Kent Enterprise Zone has gone live, bringing with it financial incentives for those businesses that make it their home.

Carbon capture company secures Queen’s Award Paula Carey

Carbon8 Systems, the Kentbased world leader in the permanent capture of carbon dioxide using industrial waste and contaminated soils, has received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation 2017.

The company, formed in 2006 and a spin-out from the University of Greenwich, has successfully put its patented Accelerated Carbonisation Technology (ACT) into commercial operation to create the world’s first truly carbon-negative aggregate. The award will help Carbon8 Systems achieve its vision of creating a global portfolio of waste treatment plants that make a significant contribution to preserving the environment through the permanent capture of waste carbon dioxide (CO2). Carbon8 Systems’ ACT technology combines CO2 gas with industrial wastes, such as cement dusts, steel slags, oil shale ash, incinerator ash or paper ash, and contaminated soils to form new products. They can then be used as carbon negative construction materials by the building industry, thus protecting natural resources, removing the waste from landfill and promoting sustainable construction. ACT was developed by Professor Colin Hills, Technical Director of Carbon8 Systems, and Dr Paula Carey, the company’s Managing Director, in the School of Engineering and Science, at the Medway campus of the University of Greenwich. Dr Carey, said: “The Queen’s Awards are recognised around the world and provide customers with confidence of a company’s commercial and technological edge.


Thinking Business

CGI of Kent Medical Campus One of 12 new Enterprise Zones selected by Government, The North Kent Enterprise Zone (NKEZ) comes into being on 1 April, and is designed to stimulate business growth and the creation of new jobs. The Government will support business rates discounts of up to £55,000 per year for five years for companies that locate within an Enterprise Zone by 31 March 2022. Comprising three schemes in Ebbsfleet Garden City, Kent Medical Campus near Maidstone, and Rochester Airport Technology Park in Medway – the NKEZ is already taking shape and will welcome its first business occupiers next year. Bernard Spring, Chairman of the NKEZ Strategic Board, said:

“This is an important milestone in the development of the North Kent Enterprise Zone. A lot of hard work has gone into developing the proposals for the Zone and we have a strong group of partners committed to making these a reality.” The NKEZ is one of three zones championed by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), joining Harlow and Discovery Park, which were created in 2012. Christian Brodie, Chairman of SELEP, said: “We welcome the progress made at the North Kent Enterprise Zone and the excellent facilities this will provide to local business.” Over the next 8-10 years it is estimated the NKEZ will generate

about 9,000 new jobs and boost opportunities for highly skilled employment in North Kent. Paul Wookey, Chief Executive of Locate in Kent, said: “The development of the North Kent Enterprise Zone will give investors and businesses a great platform from which to grow and develop. Strategically located, the zone offers a wealth of opportunity and places the three key sites firmly on the Kent business map.” Kent Medical Campus, just off Junction 7 of the M20 at Maidstone, has planning permission to develop 98,000m2 of space to accommodate academic health and science related uses, and construction is under way on a 64-bed hospital for Cygnet Health Care, one of the UK's largest independent providers of mental health support, following a £1.5m investment in a new link road. The three sites at Ebbsfleet Garden City are expected to offer around 84,000m2 of commercial and innovation space, with the first coming on stream at Northfleet East where detailed outline plans are with Ebbsfleet Development Corporation for approval. Subject to planning, the two sites at Rochester Airport will offer over 47,000m2 of space for high tech engineering and manufacturing enterprises to create a vibrant technology park, establishing Medway as a centre of excellence for engineering, innovation and technology.

Canterbury Arts Conference 2017

Canterbury will be playing host to local and international visitors in July with the fourth annual Canterbury Arts Conference (CArtsCon). The theme for this year’s CArtsCon is “Art for Change”.

CArtsCon 2017 will be looking at whether or not art changes hearts and minds and how does money factor in this? The conference will take place at the Canterbury Baptist Church and

Warnborough College. It is open to artists in all arts disciplines and media, academics, historians, curators, students, researchers, policy makers, and professionals in artsrelated fields. Presenters will include local British experts and international participants from the USA, Sweden, Canada, Greece, Switzerland, France, Brazil, Malaysia, Turkey and Africa.

An industry panel will discuss how art can change society. July 19th will see a live preview of a new musical based on the life of Christopher Marlowe. A short film festival on July 20th will present selected short films from around the world. An art competition for Canterbury schoolchildren is being run, with prizes given out during the welcome reception. CArtsCon will take place from 18th to 21st July. The official CArtsCon website is at

Tunbridge Wells joins the Premier league

Business News

Proposals to bring a Premier Inn to Tunbridge Wells, and create more than 40 new jobs in the town have been given the go-ahead by the council’s planning committee.

Work can now progress on the development of the 110bedroomed hotel, replacing the five-storey Merevale House on London Road, formerly used as the Tunbridge Wells County Court and Family Court. Ashford-based planning advisers, Hobbs Parker Property Consultants, acted on behalf of Silvercoin Investments Ltd. Having completed a similar project in

Canterbury in 2013, this was Silvercoin Investments second project for Premier Inn. Concerns were raised by local residents over parking and the size of the proposed hotel which will be adjacent to two listed building. However, the planning committee recognised the economic value of bringing a Premier Inn to the town and were confident its guests would find spaces in the nearby Torrington Car Park. Steve Davies, Senior Planning Consultant at Hobbs Parker Property Consultants, said: “Hotels, such as Premier Inn, make a significant contribution to an area’s economy, whether

it’s visitors or business guests, with many spending money in local shops and attractions. The prospect of 40 new full-time equivalent jobs was compelling, as was the removal of a 1970s building, seen by many as not in keeping with the town’s heritage. “The close proximity of the hotel to public car parks and the nearby railway station, reassured councillors it would not have a detrimental impact on the parking for local residents.” Designed by BDB, the awardwinning Canterbury architects, the proposed building took its inspiration from Tweedale Terrace, the Edwardian building that stood on the site until it was replaced in the 1970s by Merevale House. Its design drew praise from a number of councillors and the council’s streetscape experts.

Why businesses should make a second opinion their first step

Harley Street’s London Vision Clinic saved thousands of pounds when they applied the first rule of medicine to their own business. The laser eye surgery specialists called on Kent-based heating company Swale Heating for a second opinion after being told by another firm that that the boiler installed only 18 months earlier was undersized. LVC administrator Grace Wright said: “Swale Heating was recommended as a reliable alternative and it took them j ust half an hour to identify a completely different – and much more cost effective – solution.”

Max Rowson, Swale Heating’s Commercial Installation Manager, said: “The boiler provided sufficient heat when it was installed

so it seemed unlikely that size was a problem. We took a different approach, getting a full history and investigating the system issues and recommended a full chemical flush.” Two weeks later, Max says, the system was working perfectly. He said: “The chemical flush revealed that the water in the system was extremely contaminated – full of

Fighter jet in Control Tower

to store the tanks has been redesigned and welded together to create the lamp’s upright. “We buy aircraft that are about to be scrapped and make something new and exciting out of them,” said Bertie. Kings Hill was formerly RAF West Malling, a key night-fighter station during World War II. The aircraft flown from the airfield in those days included Spitfires, Hurricanes and

A unique piece of history can be seen at the Battle of Britain Memorial in Kent following the presentation of the original nameplate and squadron badge from a classic steam locomotive. The Battle of Britain Locomotive Society presented the items from Battle of Britain class Pacific locomotive No 34081 at a ceremony at the Nene Valley Railway.

The nameplate and the badge of No 92 Squadron – famously based at Biggin Hill during the Battle of Britain in 1940 – will go on display at the Battle of Britain Memorial in Capel-le-Ferne, home to the National Memorial to the Few. sludge and material breakdown – so it’s no surprise the radiators weren’t heating up properly.” Swale Heating engineers also balanced the whole system to ensure adequate circulation to each radiator.

The only lamp in the world created from a Tornado fighter jet’s fuel tank is on show at the Control Tower in Kings Hill. It was created by Bertie Meeks of Staplehurst-based dVine Designs from the externally mounted auxiliary drop tank of a former RAF Tornado GR4 and took three weeks to complete. The tank, which would have held 2,250 litres of fuel, went through a 13 stage polishing process to create a glistening mirror finish. The racking used at the airbase

Historic loco nameplate given new home

Patrick Tootal and Ian Bowskill

Bristol Beaufighters – one of whose pilots was Dambuster Guy Gibson when he was stationed there.

The long-term loan of the historic items was suggested by the preservation society as a way of ensuring the items could be displayed “in a truly appropriate setting”. They were presented to Group Captain Patrick Tootal, Secretary of the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, and Wing Commander Andrew Simpson, one of the Trustees, by Ian Bowskill, Chairman of the Society, formerly known as the Battle of Britain Locomotive Preservation Society. The items will be displayed in The Wing, the Trust’s visitor centre, where the unique Scramble Experience brings the Battle of Britain to life and pays tribute to the men of the RAF who made sure this country emerged victorious in 1940.

Thinking Business



Kent Invicta Chamber Events

Visit Email Call 01233 503838

International Events

Part of the 10 core courses accredited by the British Chambers of Commerce.

Muesli Mafia Networking

Come along to these informal business 2 business events in a congenial and relaxed atmosphere. Local business people can get together, enjoy mutual fellowship, share their good news, views and discuss topics of mutual interest.

Muesli Mafia Breakfasts

22nd June Royal Wells Hotel 59 Mount Ephraim, Tunbridge Wells, TN4 8BE 28th June Ashford International Hotel Simone Weil Avenue, Ashford, TN24 8UX

27th July Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel Hollingbourne, Maidstone, ME17 1RE

10th August Royal Wells Hotel 59 Mount Ephraim, Tunbridge Wells, TN4 8BE 7:30am – 9:30am Member:


£24.00 inc VAT

£25.80 inc VAT

Full English Breakfast or muesli alternative included in cost.


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Muesli Mafia Afternoon Tea Special

6th July Mercure Dartford Brands Hatch Hotel West Kingsdown, Dartford, DA3 8PE 1:30pm – 3:30pm Member:


£26.40 inc VAT

£28.20 inc VAT

Afternoon Tea included in cost.

Kent Construction Focus Group (KCFG) Breakfasts

Join us for a KCFG meeting where future plans and developments in Kent are discussed with businesses involved in the construction industry. These events are only open to those in Kent and in the construction industry. 4th July and 1st August

Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel Hollingbourne, Maidstone, ME17 1RE 7:30am – 9:30am KCFG Member:

£18.00 inc VAT

KCFG Non-member: £30.00 inc VAT

Full English Breakfast included in cost.

Candidates achieving pass or in any of the courses will receive a certificate. Those who pass 6 courses will receive a nationally recognised Foundation Award in International Trade. Member:


£90.00 inc VAT

£108.00 inc VAT

Tea/Coffee & Light Breakfast included in cost.

Letters of Credit Demystified

An in depth workshop covering a range of issues that can arise with documentary letters of credit.

20th June Kent Invicta Chamber Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Ashford, TN24 0LH 8:30am – 1:30pm

Getting Started in International Trade

An in depth workshop covering the complexities involved with international trade.

12th July Kent Invicta Chamber Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Ashford, TN24 0LH 8:15am – 1:15pm

Rising Stars – How to Grow your Career Further

Bowling & Networking Lunch VIP

Join us for networking, bowling and a delicious lunch in the newly refurbished VIP suite at Hollywood Bowl.

13th June Hollywood Bowl Lockmeadow Entertainment Centre, Maidstone, ME16 8SF 12:00pm – 2:00pm Member:


£21.00 inc VAT

£25.20 inc VAT

Annual Networking Summer BBQ

Come along to our annual summer BBQ and enjoy plenty of networking opportunities in the venues’ tranquil orangery with panoramic views of the grounds. 20th June Chilston Park Sandway, Lenham, ME17 2BE 12:00pm – 2:00pm Member:


£26.40 inc VAT

£32.40 inc VAT

Networking Afternoon Tea Enjoy an afternoon tea and some relaxed networking while overlooking stunning sea views.

19th July Sands Hotel 16 Marine Drive, Margate, CT9 1DH 2:00pm – 3:30pm Member:


£10.20 inc VAT

£12.60 inc VAT

If you’re a young professional destined for a future leadership role, come along to this event to widen your contacts and develop your interpersonal and management skills. Guest speaker TBC. 15th June St. George Hotel 7-8 New Road Avenue, Chatham, ME4 6BB

12:30pm – 2:30pm Member: £15.00 inc VAT Non-member: £18.00 inc VAT

Business Coffee Hour

An opportunity to put your business in the spotlight to highlight its products/services and how these can help other businesses. You will make new contacts and generate business leads, whilst sharing ideas and experiences with like-minded business people.

29th June Holiday Inn Rochester-Chatham Maidstone Road, Chatham, ME5 9SF 10:30am – 12:00pm Member: £8.40 inc VAT Non-member: £10.20 inc VAT Tea/coffee and breakfast pastries included in cost.

ISE Project Workshop & DIT Exporters Forum: Kent Food & Drink

If you’re in the food industry and involved with importing and exporting, then this event is aimed at you. Come along and consider opportunities available in Europe, and hear from market experts from across the continent.

5th July Shepherd Neame Visitor Centre Court Street, Faversham, ME13 7AX 9:00am – 3:00pm

FREE to attend

After Hours Club


Come along to one of our popular ‘casual’ networking events. The informal atmosphere and relaxed environment is the ideal place to relax and chat to fellow business people. FREE to attend & no booking required. Just turn up! 6:00pm – 7:30pm 14th June Hythe Imperial Hotel & Spa Princess Parade, Hythe, CT21 6AE 14th June Canterbury College New Dover Road, Canterbury, CT1 3AJ 15th June The Business Terrace Maidstone Borough Council, King Street, Maidstone, ME15 6JQ 22nd June Holiday Inn Coniston Hotel 70 London Road, Sittingbourne, ME10 1NT 22nd June Royal Wells Hotel 59 Mount Ephraim, Tunbridge Wells, TN4 8BE 27th June Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel Hollingbourne, Maidstone, ME17 1RE 28th June Kent Wildlife Trust Tyland Barn, Chatham Road, Maidstone, ME14 3BD 4th July The Conningbrook Hotel Canterbury Road, Kennington, Ashford, TN24 9QR 6th July K Sports Cobdown Station Road, Maidstone, ME20 6AU 11th July Hotel Campanile Crossways Business Park, 1 Clipper Boulevard West, Dartford, DA2 6QN 12th July Hythe Imperial Hotel & Spa Princess Parade, Hythe, CT21 6AE 13th July Burlington Hotel 3-5 Earls Avenue, Folkestone, CT20 2HR 19th July Canterbury College New Dover Road, Canterbury, CT1 3AJ 25th July Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel Hollingbourne, Maidstone, ME17 1RE 1st August The Conningbrook Hotel Canterbury Road, Kennington, Ashford, TN24 9QR 9th August Hythe Imperial Hotel & Spa Princess Parade, Hythe, CT21 6AE 10th August The Business Terrace Maidstone Borough Council, King Street, Maidstone, ME15 6JQ

Thinking Business


“Relevant and inspirational” event brings schools together

Members News

Top speakers including a former Government minister and leading education specialists from across the country set the scene for an inspirational conference attended by almost 600 secondary school teachers.

The teachers who packed the sports hall at Westlands School in Sittingbourne for SwaleFest 2017 came from schools that are part of, or supported by, Swale Academies Trust. After hearing from renowned keynote speakers including former Minister of State Lord Jim Knight and leading educationalist Steve Munby, the delegates took part in a series of debates and workshops aimed at sharing best practice in schools and the teaching profession. The conference, described as “a showcase of excellence”, was set up as a celebration of teaching and learning for schools that

belong to the steadily expanding trust, together with a number of guests.A wealth of positive feedback from those who attended confirmed that staff from across the seven Kent and East Sussex secondary schools involved found it engaging, relevant and inspirational. The wide range of workshop topics including Be well, Teach well, Creativity, What if?, The power of the peer factor and Sticky teaching - getting revision to ‘stick’. Steve Munby, chief executive of Education Development Trust, shared his own philosophy around his love of teaching in a wellreceived speech.

He then joined panelists including Jon Whitcombe, chief executive of Swale Academies Trust and Kerry Jordan-Daus from Canterbury Christ Church University for a debate on the future of education chaired by Simon Cox, headteacher of Westlands School. Lord Jim Knight, Labour front bench spokesman for agricultural matters in the House of Lords as well as Chief Education Adviser to TES Global and a former Minister of State for Schools, closed the conference with a carefully considered look at the future of schools.

Heritage railways on track for more visitors

It’s all aboard Kent’s heritage railways this summer, thanks to a new campaign from Visit Kent which aims to increase the number of visitors taking trips on the county’s trains.

Department for Transport’s Heritage and Community Rail Tourism Innovation Fund to boost heritage railways.

Visit Kent has worked in partnership with Southeastern and five heritage railways on the campaign which aims to link ‘the old and the new’ by improving the heritage railways’ digital presence and forging closer links with the modern rail operator. Posters and leaflets are on display at mainline railway stations to encourage more people to head for the heritage railways for a unique day out. New pages on the Visit Kent and Southeastern websites showcase what these historic attractions have to offer too. The push for publicity is all part of Visit Kent’s Heritage Railways project, launched last December after a successful bid for £75,000 to the


Thinking Business

The heritage railways taking part in the campaign are: •

• • • •

East Kent Railway in the Dover district

Kent and East Sussex Railway between Tenterden and Bodiam Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway in Shepway Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway in Swale Spa Valley Railway in Tunbridge Wells

Derek Trimmer, the trust’s Director of Secondary, said SwaleFest 2017 had been “a celebration of exciting teaching and learning which brought together teachers from our family of schools and delivered some inspirational and challenging messages.” With planning already underway for next year’s SwaleFest 2018, the Trust is currently looking ahead to a student leadership conference planned for 23 June at Community College Whitstable. The event will bring together students to look at action research projects and student leadership with the support of teaching staff from around the Trust.

24 Hours with ...

Sacrifices, challenges and joys of running a Cathedral

The Very Reverend Dr Philip Hesketh, Dean of Rochester.

A brisk early morning walk from the Deanery to a Cathedral Business Guild meeting in the Historic Dockyard Chatham is interrupted. Spotting his dog collar, a distressed resident seeks solace and counsel. Philip Hesketh does his best to help and advise. The Dean of Rochester is always on call. So begins another busy day of preaching,

meetings, welcomes, engagements and faithful service to others and The Very Reverend Dr Philip Hesketh fulfils a job description to make many a corporate boss shudder. The Dean is in charge of cathedral management, operations and finance. Yet by virtue of his calling, he of course adds a spiritual dimension to secular concerns. The Cathedral is the Bishop’s seat in the Diocese. Effectively “company chairman,” Philip works with a chief executive (Chapter Clerk). He chairs the Chapter that looks after a £1.2 million budget, 80 employees and 400 volunteers, fund-raising, health and safety (terrorist threat included), repairs, insurance, disability access and marketing. Balancing the books is hard. Rochester is among a handful of England’s 42 cathedrals not to charge admission. Philip is adamant that “if we charged, local people would be disadvantaged.” Philip, 52, typically wakes at 6.30am, perhaps takes Morning Prayer. He chats to GP wife Sugina before she leaves for her Maidstone practice, and student daughter Laura, 16. His three other children Emma, 24, Luke, 23, Jenny, 20, are away from home, at work

or university. At the Guild, which Rochester pioneered, Philip hears the latest business issues over eggs and bacon. Afterwards, he walks to Garth House, the Cathedral office, for a meeting. Or there may be his regular one-to-one with Neil Davies, Medway Council chief executive; or a briefing with the Bishop. Philip welcomes VIPs, ambassadors, the LordLieutenant of Kent or university chancellor ahead of a special service or degree-awarding ceremony. Royal visitors are part of the life of the Cathedral. Philip also liaises with contractors renovating library, roof and crypt, multi-million pound projects financed by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Charitable Trusts, a successful outcome of complex bidding processes. The Cathedral is among the county’s top tourist attractions, with 200,000 visitors a year, a figure expected to rise with the unveiling of its remarkable 12th century Textus Roffensis heart of the Hidden Treasures Fresh Expressions project – to public view. Music is high up Philip’s agenda. Rochester enjoys a centuries-old choral tradition and seeks a £10m endowment fund to protect its future, partly involving City

24 Hours with ...

Livery Company support. These are golden times for the 36-strong boys’ and girls’ choir, with one named BBC Young Chorister of the Year 2016. He preaches beyond the Diocese, and attends gatherings of Deans in Westminster Abbey. Relaxation may mean visiting his “pretty” orchard-roaming pigs, Oxford and Sandy, or joining a fact-finding trip for fellow Kent Ambassadors. Then home at 6pm after taking Evening Prayer; Sugina is still at work – and there’s a charity or King’s School governors’ meeting to attend. Back by 10pm, he catches up with the news, cricket and rugby scores, and Sugina. They review the day’s highs and lows. Philip keeps a notepad beside the bed for ideas, a sermon always looms. This is a 24/7/365 life. A rent free Deanery and a £34,000 stipend (paid for by The Church Commissioner's) is small recompense for Philip’s workload and a work-life balance only achieved on family holidays. Why do it? “It’s a huge privilege to have a vocation and calling to serve God. I’m very fortunate.” And luckily, he sleeps “like a log.”

An Invitation

to join Rochester Cathedral’s Dean for Breakfast at The Historic Dockyard, Chatham.

The Guild exists to build a link between the Business Community and the Cathedral through Breakfast Meetings, Seminars and Networking Events. It is part of the Cathedral Trust, is not for profit, but any surplus funds are paid over to the Trust annually for Music and Education. To join please contact Lynne Bax on 01634 810074 or email for further information.

Thinking Business


New Members

Welcome to our new members

Adplan Group

Digitom Ltd

Artemis Recruitment


Maidstone 01622 962302 Signs, graphics & printing Margate 01843 294444 Recruitment

BEC Construction Ltd

Ramsgate 01843 852999 Principal contractor working on schools, colleges, universities, community centres, churches and village halls

Betteshanger Sustainable Parks Ltd Deal 01304 613144 Business Park

Business Stream

Edinburgh 07872 107778 Water Company – Utilities


Chatham 01634 673200 Printer and manufacturer of hard back and paperback books

D2 Fire & Security Ltd

Chatham 01634 713000 www.d2ďŹ Fire & Security

Denton Events Limited

Deal 01753 439289 Corporate Events and Videos. Supplier of Presenters/Voice-overs and Speakers


Thinking Business

Tunbridge Wells 01892 520697 Creative Services Hythe 07447 839925 Recording Studio


Ashford 01233 226420 Online bookkeeping and accounting

Ray and Dan Enterprises Ltd


Rochester 01634 926426 Marketing Consultancy

Eurobond Adhesives Ltd

Whitstable 01227 649030 Contruction Management and Development

G. S. Electrical (Kent)

Maidstone 07885 548594 Wellbeing Centre

Dartford 01474 320007 Charity: Hospice care for Children & Young People

Sittingbourne 01795 427888 High tech industrial adhesives Gillingham 01634 850010 Domestic, commercial, industrial

Grosvenor International Systems Ltd

Orpington 01689 818000 Design, development and maintenance of computerised customs duty management systems and provisions of related support and consultancy services

Ixion Holdings (Contracts) Ltd Chelmsford 01245 505630 Education & Training

Mirador Digital Limited

Chatham 01634 890182 Development of online trading: B2B and B2C. incuding personal data audits

Red Key Concepts

Restoring Health Ltd

ScreenCancer UK Ltd

Chatham 01634 931010 Skin Cancer Screening/Mole Scanning

SubTax Accounting Services Ltd

Chatham 01634 867234 Accountancy and Payroll

Superglass Maidstone

Maidstone 07719 973262 Windscreen repairs, glass scratch removal for vehicle, domestic and architectural glass

Thomas Mansfield Solicitors LLP

London 020 7377 2829 Family Law Solicitors

Furley Page solicitor wins Kent Law Society award

A talented young solicitor at Furley Page has been announced as Junior Lawyer of the Year at the annual Kent Law Society Awards.

Melanie Christodoulou, Private Trusts and Estates Solicitor, was one of just four solicitors to be shortlisted for the award from those nominated across the county. The Kent Law Society’s Awards, for the Junior Lawyer of the Year and the Outstanding Achievement Award, acknowledge lawyers whose professional activities over the past 12 months, whether paid or unpaid, were worthy of recognition. Nominees were judged in a number of areas, including notable achievements, innovation and creativity, and the highest standards of professionalism. Melanie, who specialises in Will drafting and inheritance tax planning, estate administration and Lasting Powers of Attorney, was nominated by Furley Page Partner Harvey Barrett, Head of Private Client, Trusts and Estates. Harvey said: “Melanie is a deserving winner. I am delighted she won and am very excited about her professional future. She is a very talented lawyer. She combines a keen legal mind with a practical approach to problem solving.” Melanie said: “I’m so proud and honoured that my legal community work with local universities, where I mentor eight students, has been recognised in this way. The win also recognises my cross-border development work within the Furley Page team.”

Nicola August, Partner and Head of the Vulnerable Client team at Furley Page, was also one of four lawyers to be shortlisted for the Outstanding Achievement Award. Melanie is not the first Furley Page solicitor to lift the Junior Lawyer of the Year Award – Alexandra Gordon won the category in 2014 when the awards were inaugurated and the firm’s Naomi Hayward was shortlisted in 2015. The winners of the awards, which

attracted strong nominations from law firms across the county, were announced at the Kent Law Society’s annual dinner, held at the Mercure Maidstone Great Danes last Friday (May 12). Trophies were presented by Nick Paterno, Managing Partner of the award sponsor McBrides Chartered Accountants.

“Melanie is a deserving winner. I am delighted she won and am very excited about her professional future. She is a very talented lawyer. She combines a keen legal mind with a practical approach to problem solving.”

Movers and Shakers

Cripps expands private client capability with hire of new disputes partner

Recognised as a leading authority on financial services mis-selling, Pradeep has appeared on the BBC as well as being quoted in a number of respected national news publications, including the Financial Times and the Investor’s Chronicle.

Law firm Cripps has completed the hire of specialist professional negligence partner, Pradeep Oliver. Pradeep joins from niche litigation law firm, Wixted & Co where he headed up the professional negligence department. He specialises in financial services negligence with a particular focus on claims arising from mis-sold or mismanaged financial arrangements including pensions, savings accounts and investments.

School’s top job in safe hands

Deputy head Anna Lawrence, whose expertise in teaching inspired Ashford North School’s best ever set of GCSE results last summer, is set to take on the top job in September. Anna has played a major part in the revival of the school’s fortunes and has been praised for her contribution to the North by the current head teacher, Nicki Hodges. Nicki will still be on hand to support the North but is taking on a new role with the Swale Academies Trust as its Director of Teaching Schools and Leadership Development. She promised that September’s handover to her current deputy would ensure ‘a smooth transition for everyone’, adding:

Myles McIntosh, head of Cripps’ private client department said: “Pradeep is highly respected professional negligence lawyer whose specialist expertise further enhances our private client capabilities. His appointment is part of our strategic growth plans to expand our services to clients and to ensure our clients have access to the very best talent in the industry. We are excited to have him on board.” Pradeep said: “Cripps has one of the largest and most established private client practices in the South East with a very strong professional negligence team. I am pleased to have become a part of it.”

“The students and staff know Mrs Lawrence well and her commitment to, and knowledge of, the school is very strong indeed. “Anna has been an essential part of the school’s improvement journey and contributed greatly to our excellent results last year and to our improvements in teaching and learning across the school. I am confident that the school will be in safe hands.” Thinking Business


The Last Word

Name: Wayne Hodgson Company: The Red Eagle Group Ltd

Job title: Managing Director

First started working in recruitment at the age of 21 as a trainee in August 1998. Was systematically promoted and became a director of the business in 2001. Left the business in October 2004 and with my previous employers blessing started my own company on November 2004, Red Eagle Ltd. The company has evolved and now encompasses a number of businesses within the group with total forecast turnover for 2017 at £29.5M. What was your first job and what was the pay packet? First job was at the age of 13 working for a busy café on Margate seafront earning £1.50 per hour, I worked most weekends and all through the summer holidays for two seasons. What do you always carry with you to work? Probably the same as everyone else, my phone. Can’t leave home without it! What is the biggest challenge facing your business? Candidate shortages, within increasing business and low unemployment the challenge is to keep attracting and retaining quality candidates. If you were Prime Minister, what one thing would you change to help business? In the light of Brexit, I'd work swiftly to agree new global trading arrangements to help all UK businesses get exporting as well as secure the rights of migrant workers. What can you see from your office window? Out of one window I can see down Sandgate road, out of the other I look over Holy Trinity Church and Gardens. If you could do another job what would it be? I couldn’t see myself doing anything other than recruitment, but I would have loved to have experienced being a stock market trader in my youth. As a business person, what are your three main qualities? Others have commented on my determination, attention to detail and willingness to take calculated risks. What was your biggest mistake in business? I’ve employed a few mistakes in the past, this has led to a different approach to our internal recruitment process, they must fit as an individual within our culture, it’s not just about past performance in our industry. What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs? Don’t be afraid to take risks, be prepared to work long hours and don’t be put off by early upsets or seemingly difficult challenges. Who do you most admire in business? There are so many inspiring business leaders, but Richard Branson and Alan Sugar in the generic business world have great business stories we can all learn from and implement within our own businesses.


Thinking Business

Businesses urged to unite for Dementia Awareness Week

A lawyer dedicated to helping the vulnerable is urging Kent businesses to raise awareness of dementia among their staff so they have a better understanding of what it is like for customers and clients who live with the condition.

As head of law firm Furley Page’s specialised Vulnerable Client team, Partner Nicola August knows only too well how frightening and difficult everyday tasks can be for people with dementia, which is set to affect more and more people and their families. “Activities such as shopping, banking and leisure pursuits all hold challenges for a person with dementia but with a little awareness, patience, good customer care and service, friendly

staff can make these experiences less of a challenge,” says Nicola who, as a Dementia Friends Champion, is part of a network of volunteers helping to create ‘dementiafriendly communities’ nationwide. “It’s important for businesses to look at how they can improve the experience for customers and clients living with dementia, as well as their families and carers, so that they can continue to be as independent as possible.”

Nicola will be working in partnership with fellow Dementia Friends Champion Ruth Dolan, a Chartered Financial Planner with Kent-based financial planning experts Tarvos Wealth, to offer businesses free Dementia Friends information sessions. If you would like your staff to attend an information session and become Dementia Friends, contact Nicola August at or call 01227 763939.

Business Secretary opens Cripps’ new office

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark formally opened the new Tunbridge Wells headquarters of law firm Cripps in March – the first substantial office to have been built in the town for more than 25 years.

The 40,000 sq ft building, which is on the site of the former Kent & Sussex Hospital, was built by Berkeley Homes as part of its major Royal Wells Park development and is occupied by about 300 of the firm’s staff over four

floors. Gavin Tyler, managing partner at Cripps, said: “The way we work has changed significantly over the years. Modern business requires modern premises and we have made very significant investments in the latest technology and office

systems to ensure that we can operate as collaboratively and efficiently as possible as well as ensuring that the client and visitor experience when visiting the office is memorable.”

New Arriva fleet arrives in Kent and Medway

Arriva has announced a significant investment in new buses for three routes in Kent. Service 700 from Chatham to Bluewater is to be upgraded to a Sapphire route, with seven new buses featuring eco leather seats, free 4G Wi-Fi, USB charging points, audio-visual route and stop displays, as well as a free Metro newspaper for every passenger. Angela Morris of Arriva said: “Sapphire is our highest level of service. The Chatham to Bluewater route is one of our most popular and this investment will mean customers using it

will have an even better journey on our premium standard buses, meaning more comfort with time to surf the net or read the paper while our highly trained drivers whisk them on their journeys.” In Maidstone, Service 82 between the town centre and Park Wood is to receive seven new single deck buses, while in Medway, Service 145 from Chatham bus station to Warren Wood will be boosted by five short single deckers.

The arrival of these all-new vehicles for some of Arriva’s traditional routes follows the launch of ArrivaClick in Sittingbourne, which saw the town become the first in the country to have an on-demand corner to corner bus service. Using the ArrivaClick app, customers can summon one of five minibuses, which will pick them up from their chosen location and drop them at a destination of their choice within the town.

Thinking Business June 2017  
Thinking Business June 2017  

Thinking Business Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce June 2017 - Latest Local Business Issues, National Business News, Accountancy and Financi...