Thinking Business Feb/March 2015

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Kent gets Creative Also Inside: International Trade • Spotlight on Ashford • Big Interview • Getting Started • Last Word


Welcome A warm welcome to the first edition of 2015. I am quite excited about the year ahead and the opportunities that it can bring for your, our members.

You will see on page 5, that Kent Invicta now covers the whole of the County and with this brings greater business connections for you all. I am sure you will all join me in welcoming the former members of Kent Channel Chamber who have now joined us and will no doubt, start to explore opportunities for mutual benefit. This edition is packed with information, members news and great offers, making it quite difficult to highlight specific articles for your interest. But what I would draw your attention to is the article on page 5, where I cover the closure of the Kent Channel Chamber and the way forward for Kent Invicta as the single Accredited Chamber for Kent.

Additionally on page 40, there is all the information you need to enter the Chamber Awards. We have been through some very hard times over the past few years but so many of you have been telling me of the positive things that are now happening within your business. Let’s start shouting about success, the Awards are easy to enter, you can download the application forms from the Chamber website and even get some application support from your Membership Team. If you want to talk through any aspects of the Awards you can call Linda Marsh at the Chamber’s Head Office on 01233 503838 or email I look forward to receiving all of your applications and sharing business success with you at the Chamber Awards Dinner on the 24th March.

Kindest regards.





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Members Corner Chamber News Members News Focus on Finance International Trade Members News 24 hours with... Ask the Expert Spotlight On... Creative Industries Cover Feature Big Interview Members News

Editorial and General Enquiries Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford, Kent. TN24 0LH Tel: 01233 503 838 Fax: 01233 503 687 Email: Web: Chief Executive: Jo James Publisher Ian Fletcher Benham Publishing Limited 3tc House, 16 Crosby Road North, Crosby, Liverpool L22 0NY Tel: 0151 236 4141 Fax: 0151 236 0440 Email: Web: Published February 2015 © Benham Publishing Advertising and Features Karen Hall Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email:

The Economy & Us Members News Members News Business Awards Business News Chamber Events Chamber Exhibitions Regional News Getting Started New Members The Last Word Movers & Shakers

Production Manager Mark Etherington Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: Media No. 1371 Disclaimer Thinking Business is published for Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and is distributed without charge to Chamber members. All correspondence should be addressed to the Editor at Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. Views expressed in Thinking Business are not necessarily those of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. Reprinting in whole or part is forbidden except by permission. © 2015. 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.

February - March 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



Introducing Kent Invicta Chamber’s Board of Directors Andrew Metcalf Christopher Page President

Tim Allen

Members Corner

Chairman Managing Director: M J Allen Group

from Linda Marsh

I would like to welcome all those members previously from Kent Channel Chamber to Kent Invicta Chamber. You will find us all a friendly bunch and always happy to help. With this in mind why not make one of your resolutions to be more active and meet new business people, it can only improve prospects for more business during 2015. Over the coming months I am keen to read all the nominations for our prestigious business awards which will be held in March (closing date for applications is 20 February 2015). What do you have to lose? So have a look at our website for details on these and how to apply. If you are not sure, just call me for a chat, I am always happy to talk to you about your business. Other events to look out for this year are Kent Healthy Business Awards. These are all free events and KCC will advise you on how to take part in this FREE award for you and your staff, again more information can be found on our website. We are all very excited about the “Get Social Kent” event which is being planned for 27th February 2015. This event is being held at our offices in Ashford and is in partnership with Zoe Cairns social media. This is the first of its kind in Kent and YOUR Chamber invites you to attend FREE. You can also take an active part by exhibiting at this event, information on our website. Don’t forget the B2B’s which are being held across Kent, all info is available on our website, so don’t miss out, make 2015 YOUR year to take your business to new levels. Hope to see you all out and about across the next few months.


ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2015

Terry Botfield Chair: Ashford Economic Development Group Senior Partner: Botfield Associates

Simon Webster

Membership Development Manager With the festive season well and truly over we need to focus on the New Year. This is always a time for resolutions and plans.

Chair: West Kent Economic Development Group Director: Maxim PR

Michael Regenhardt Vice Chair General Manager: Tudor Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club

Chair: Finance, Audit & Risk Group Managing Director: Facts & Figures Financial Planning Ltd

Chris Hare Director of Development: KAFEC

Jo James Chief Executive Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce

John Bunnett Chief Executive: Ashford Borough Council

Henry Nydam Company Secretary

Consultant: Legal

David Edwards Director of Environment & Share Services: Maidstone Borough Council

Carole Barron Chair: Canterbury & District Economic Development Group Director of Innovation & Enterprise: University of Kent

Nick Hawley Human Resource Director: Groupe Eurotunnel

John Taylor Chair: Maidstone Economic Development Group Director: Page & Wells, Surveyors, Valuers & Estate Agents

Richard Lavender Chair: North Kent Economic Development Group Consultant: Facilities Management

Ian Brown Head of Regeneration & Economic Development: Canterbury City Council

Phil Beales Director, Client Coverage : Lloyds Bank Commercial Finance


Welcome to former Kent Channel Chamber Members

By Jo James, Chief Executive, Kent Invicta Chamber

I am sure all our readers are now aware that sadly the British Chambers of Commerce Accredited Chamber; Kent Channel Chamber, ceased trading on the 31 December 2014.

We have across the County local Economic Development Groups, which are made up of approximately 10 local businesses across a wide variety of sectors. Through these local groups we provide a business voice into local economic activity and give an active input into local authority economic development activity.

Kent Channel Chamber had worked with, and on behalf of, businesses in the Shepway area for over 100 years and in later years expanded its activities to cover the areas of Dover & Thanet. At the start of the new year, Kent Invicta officially applied to the British Chambers of Commerce to cover the area previously covered by Kent Channel Chamber. This application was successful, resulting in one Accredited area for the whole of the County. On behalf of our membership, I would like to officially welcome all of the Kent Channel Chamber members to the Kent Invicta Chamber. We have a very active membership of over 1250 Kent businesses and no doubt you will be meeting many of them over the coming months at various network events. Our Chamber team are here to offer you support to ensure that you maximise the Countywide opportunities that are now available to you as a Kent Invicta member.

We hold in excess of 120 networking events per year which will enable you to meet potential clients and suppliers from across the County. In addition, we hold four general business to business exhibitions a year and have already planned one to be held at the Discovery Park in Sandwich in November. Do take time to look at the Chamber’s website as all the events are listed, along with the services we provide to you as members. If you would like to meet up with one of our membership team to see how you can maximise what is on offer please email In addition to providing membership services, one of the key roles of Kent Invicta is to represent the needs of the business community at a local level, County level and also nationally. We have across the County local Economic Development Groups, which are made up of approximately 10 local businesses across a wide variety of sectors.

Through these local groups we provide a business voice into local economic activity and give an active input into local authority economic development activity. I am pleased to say that Ray Johnson, from Independent Insurance Services, based in Folkestone has agreed to chair a new Economic Development Group which will cover the area of Shepway, Dover & Thanet. I am sure you all know Ray, as he was the former Chairman of the Kent Channel Chamber. In his capacity as Chair of the group he will come onto the Kent Invicta main board to represent businesses within the areas. Although it is unfortunate when any organisation ceases to trade, I do feel that this is an opportunity for us to all build a very strong single Accredited Chamber for our County which will bring added benefits to you all as members. I look forward to meeting you all at some point at a Chamber event. Kind regards. Jo

At the start of the new year, Kent Invicta officially applied to the British Chambers of Commerce to cover the area previously covered by Kent Channel Chamber. This application was successful, resulting in one Accredited area for the whole of the County.

February - March 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



Budgeting, planning and analysis - get back control of your business

Mobile Bar Hire granted permission to use the Bexley Crest Since growing substantially and moving to their 5000sq foot warehouse and office space in Bexley from a garage in Dartford, Mobile Bar Hire Ltd have worked closely with the London Borough of Bexley on many occasions.

As many of us rush into 2015/16 and look to close down 2014/15 successfully, it’s the right time to seriously consider the value that a structured budgeting, planning and analysis process (as part of wider financial management) can bring to your business. A structured budgeting and planning process is the foundation for good business management, growth and development. Budgets and forecasts are some of the most important (yet under utilised) business management tools. It enables MD’s and business owners to effectively control their businesses by taking informed decisions based on relevant management information. Monthly financial statements are pretty meaningless in isolation. The real value is analysing and understanding the reasons for variances, relationships and trends i.e. the “what”, “how”, “where” & “why” and then applying that knowledge when updating your next forecast. Understanding how your business financials will behave through regularly updated planning and forecasts is crucial to success. Succinctly summarised comparisons of the latest business performance vs. the budget / latest forecast/prior month & year, should form the basis of regular board packs. Combined with the reasons for the variances and suggested corrective actions, reviewing the monthly results now becomes a proper control and value-added activity. The opportunity cost of the MD’s/owner’s time makes using a cost-effective part-time specialist to own the above processes (& wider financial management) worthwhile. Expert support in your business, all for less than a full-time junior member of staff. For a free discussion and exploratory meeting over a coffee on how a part-time Finance Director can support your business, contact Arno at 07917024057 or or visit our website .


ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2015

Since growing substantially and moving to their 5000sq foot warehouse and office space in Bexley from a garage in Dartford, Mobile Bar Hire Ltd have worked closely with the London Borough of Bexley on many occasions. The portable bar hire specialists have provided their services to the borough for events including their annual Mayor Making ceremony, their Tudor Banquet and a cocktail masterclass to raise funds for the Mayor’s Charity. The Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who has strong ties to Bexley, was invited to Mobile Bar Hire’s offices along with members of Bexley council to be shown around the premises and have a go at making his very own cocktail which he named ‘The Bexley

Breeze Block’. Bexley Council have now moved to their new, modern Civic Offices and Mobile Bar Hire are looking forward to working with them again in the future. This close relationship between the London Borough of Bexley and Mobile Bar Hire has led to a very proud moment and great opportunity for the bar providers – they have been granted permission to use the Bexley Crest along with the phrase ‘Made in the London Borough of Bexley’ on all of their manufactured bar counters. These bar counters are being manufactured and sold to hotels, sports clubs and leisure facilities throughout Kent and the South East as

well as being hired out to a range of European countries such as France, Germany and Latvia. Company director Rags Sandhu said “This is a great achievement for our company, although being in the service industry we’ve now moved slowly into the manufacturing sector. Employing local staff and contributing to the local economy we are proud to be the first business given permission to use the Bexley Crest. We are all looking forward to the crest going onto the first set of new bar counters”. To learn more about this event please Email:

• Vehicle Graphics • Digital Printing • Shop Signage • Banners & Posters • Exhibition Displays 01233 625383 • • Station House, Eastmead Trading Estate, Ashford, Kent. TN23 7RX


Plan Now to minimise your 2014/15 Tax Rick Schofield Tax Partner 01233 629255 (Ashford) 01689 827505 (Orpington)

The end of Tax Year 2014/2015 is looming, but there’s still time to make sure you’re on track to minimise tax for the current year.

The following tips should help you on the way to examining what you can potentially do to keep your tax bill as trim as possible. Your pension provision is important for your future and can reduce your tax burden today. Utilise your employer contributions to build a retirement fund. Personal contributions to pension schemes attract tax relief at your highest rate. For tax relief against your 2014/15 income, you must pay pension contributions on or before 5 April 2015. The basic annual allowance cap on pension savings is £40,000 for 2014/15. The basic annual allowance cap on pension savings is £40,000 for 2014/15. The proposed pension legislation changes, that at the time of writing have not yet been confirmed, may make a difference to the amount you can put into your pension scheme. It is proposed that if you start your draw down post 5th April 2015 your annual allowance for contributions will be capped at £10,000 however if you start prior to 5th April 2015, even drawing down a nominal amount, you retain the £40,000 annual allowance. You should speak to your IFA about this. Utilise your Capital Gains Tax allowance; when you dispose of assets, only the profit is taxable (the ‘gain’). For individuals, gains in 2014/15 under £11,000 are tax free. For married couples, that’s a total of £22,000 of tax free gains each year to take advantage of.

Interest earned on cash NISAs is tax-free - you don’t have to declare them on your tax return. Higher-rate taxpayers don’t have to pay any further tax on dividends from investments and there is no capital gains tax to pay when you sell shares or units held in a NISA.

Insurance number, employer’s name and your tax code are all correct.

From 1 July 2014 the New Individual Savings Account (NISA) allowance rose to £15,000. From 6 April 2015, it has increased again to £15,240 and can be utilised as all cash, all stocks and shares or alternatively, can be split between the two. This means married couples, for example, could put up to £30,000 between them into NISAs this tax year (before 5 April), and a further £30,480 from 6 April.

If you give to charities, be Gift Aid aware. The scheme enables charities to reclaims tax on any donations made by UK tax payers. In turn, there are benefits to certain individuals, for instance people over 65 and higher rate tax payers.

Parents can also utilise Junior NISAs which have replaced Child Trust Funds. Consider using them as a long-term savings option for a children’s future and a very tax efficient way of making gifts to them. In the tax year 2014/15, the Junior NISA allowance is £4,000. This will increase to £4,080 in April 2015. Married couples should consider transferring assets between them. The rules are complex and no one size fits all, but seek advice as there may be benefits for income tax, capital gains tax and even inheritance tax. HMRC can make mistakes, so check your payslip details. Check that your name, address, National

Don’t forget that age pays. If you were born before 6 April 1948, check if you are eligible for an increased personal allowance.

There’s scope to minimise Inheritance Tax (IHT) too. The current allowance is £325,000. IHT only applies above this threshold and at a rate of 40%. Transfers between married couples are exempt from inheritance tax, inter-spouse gifts made in the seven years prior to death can be ignored, and if the nilrate band is not used on the first death it can be used on the second death. Look into Gifting and Lifetime Transfers, as well as writing your assets into Trusts; the rules are complex so seek professional advice. Life assurance can be used as a way of removing value from an estate and also as a method of paying inheritance tax liabilities. But if it all seems like a maze, a good accountancy firm, like Wilkins Kennedy, can help you look at your particular circumstances and create a plan.

February - March 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



BitesizeNews A first rate result for Cripps Wide-ranging legal expertise has seen Cripps receive regional and national recognition in an annual guide to UK law firms and lawyers. In the 2015 edition of Chambers UK awards, Cripps top rankings in 14 different practice areas, highlighting the firm’s reputation in private client, real estate and corporate work as well as being recognised nationally for specialist areas such as healthcare and property disputes. Recognition is also given to 29 Cripps lawyers, who are named as leading individuals with expertise in specialisms as diverse as litigation, private client, real estate, information technology, agriculture In the 2015 edition of Chambers UK awards, Cripps top rankings in 14 different practice areas, highlighting theand corporate. Compiled by impartial and independent researchers, Chambers UK merges feedback from clients with input from other law firms as well as legal commentators. “I am delighted by the rankings we have received,” said Gavin Tyler, Cripps’ managing partner. “They confirm our position as a leading regional law firm able to offer expert advice across the board to both commercial and private clients. “To have 29 of our lawyers recognised by Chambers and to be ranked so highly in so many practice areas is a fantastic result, and one of which we are very proud.” Cripps has offices in Tunbridge Wells, London, Kings Hill, and Discovery Park.

Stream Walk Community Garden - a hidden Whitstable gem Stream Walk Community Garden takes its name from the footpath that has been built over the Gorrel Stream. Owned by Canterbury City Council and managed in partnership by Kent Enterprise Trust, Transition Town Whitstable and East Kent Voluntary Action Support, the garden is a half-acre triangular oasis on a previously neglected piece of land that has been transformed by volunteers into a garden for all to share. The garden is designed along Permaculture principles including consultation with the community and users. Principles used include maximum use of space, multifunctional features e.g. the outdoor roof shelter also collects water for irrigation, the pond breeds frogs to eat slugs and helps drainage in winter, green manure feeds soil and bees for pollination, edible hedge provides fruit and nuts as well as a screen for neighbours. It has disabled access paths. There is a pond, compost toilet, sheltered area, tea hut and a bore-hole with a water pump to keep everything growing. They are fundraising for tools and materials to build raised beds for disabled gardening. Donations can be made to ‘Kent Enterprise Trust’


ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2015

2015 set to be a landmark year for Airport After celebrating its 60th anniversary in summer 2014, London Ashford Airport, at Lydd is preparing for another momentous year ahead when construction work on the airport’s long-awaited runway extension will begin. Chief Executive Officer Charles Buchanan said: “We are in the final stages of preparing the project that will see the runway extended and ultimately a new terminal built. This will give a major boost to our ambitions, increasing the airport’s operational capabilities and attracting more aviation-related businesses.” Capita, part of the design team for London's £14.8bn Crossrail transport scheme, is managing and designing the 294m runway extension, plus a 150m starter extension. Tender documents have been prepared and pre-qualified contractors will be invited to submit offers. An announcement about the successful contractor will be made as soon as the airport completes the planning conditions attached to its consent which was granted in 2013. LAA is also working on a number of other projects which could see further announcements made about business developments at the Romney Marsh site. Charles explained that 2015 will also see the airport showcasing its £25m development plans at international aviation events.

He said: “We look forward to spreading the word about our ambitious investment plans with airlines, tour operators and other travel businesses attending these events. They represent a great opportunity to network with potential customers and to bring them up to date with the fantastic opportunities awaiting them in Kent. “These events attract high-level decision-makers and buyers from across the travel and aviation industries worldwide and provide an excellent platform for us to explore new business opportunities.

“London Ashford Airport is the perfect base for airline operators. Our runway extension will enable regional jet aircraft to fly a full payload of passengers to a wider range of destinations across Europe. We are also providing much-needed additional airport capacity in the South East of England.” The airport’s owners have spent £35m upgrading facilities over the past decade, including the installation of a state-of-the-art instrument landing system, a new executive terminal with VIP facilities, improved passenger check-in and security, and a new departure lounge.

Netbox Digital looking to expand further With more than 130% growth in turnover over the past four years, NETBOX Digital, the Rochester print, copy, scan business, has announced plans to expand further through the acquisition of copier and IT services companies. As one of the UK’s and Kent’s fastest growing companies, NETBOX Digital made it into the latest Top 10 of the Mega Growth 50, the definitive league table of successful businesses, published by Kent Business.The company’s latest accounts show sales of £3,028,000, with a pre tax profit of £244,000. It’s the second year running NETBOX Digital has made the Top 10 of the Mega Growth 50 - coming 2nd in 2013 and 9th in 2014.

NETBOX Digital, managing director Paul Crewe, said: “The next few years are critical for us and we are not going to rest on our proverbial laurels. To go to the next stage, where we are turning over £10 or £20 Million plus we need to acquire businesses and run them the NETBOX Digital way.” “As an independent privatelyowned business we recommend the best products available regardless of a business’ size or location. The company has

partnerships with global leaders in office technology, meaning NETBOX Digital can provide a business with the latest technology at the lowest cost.” NETBOX Digital is currently looking at acquiring in its own sector and also expanding into the highly lucrative IT Services sector offering IT solutions as well as copy, scan and print, making the company a true one stop shop for all office needs.


Floods, Clouds and Silver Linings I’m sure you remember images, like the one below, from this time last year. Many areas of Kent, including Maidstone and Tonbridge town centres, were badly damaged by the flooding that came so suddenly.

‘Make that Difference’ from ‘Drastic to Fantastic’ Clara Gibson, Life, Health and Wellbeing Coach, ACC ICF, Master Practitioner NLP, M.Sc. RGN, RHV

Many businesses, were faced with the damage to offices, with computer equipment, furniture,filing cabinets and precious documents all affected. What a lot of business owners don’t realise is that cloud computing technology can help them stay in business, even when disaster strikes. Cloud computing and, in particular Google Apps for Work, has the ability to keep your business running during an emergency. Your business and customer data is safe and accessible from anywhere, on any device. You can keep working even if your staff are in different locations, using integrated features like Google Drive for team

working, Google+ for social media marketing, Hangouts for video chat, webinars and meetings. Instead of being tied to one location, inefficient computers, unnecessary printing, or worrying that your office or business data are at risk, move your business to the cloud. Technology isn’t just about buying a new computer, it can make you more efficient, grow your business and also save your business regardless of what is thrown at you. For more information Contact Paul Goggin of Innovo Consulting at

Finding out about Kent

It is my pleasure to introduce Fact or Fiction Tours to you. My name is Sue Duckworth and I am a professional Tourist Guide. I can offer your company a Bespoke Guided Tour, a Walk or a Talk covering South East England. My services are ideal for the company wanting to offer a day out to important clients, or for a regular event such as a luncheon or evening club. I am based centrally in Ashford, Kent and can arrange transport if required, by coach or chauffeur-driven car for you and your clients, from a location of your choice. We can visit some of my favourite places such as The Churches of Romney Marsh,

Canterbury Cathedral, the White Cliffs of Dover, Hastings, Rye, Winchelsea or the South Downs National Park. Alternatively, I would be delighted to put together a tour, walk or talk to fit around your needs and show you some of the delights of Kent, Sussex and Surrey. I have previously worked with EDF Energy and the Ashford International Hotel. To find out how Fact or Fiction Tours can help your business visit

I work with men and women who want to get more out of their life, work, relationships, or to take control of their health. The fact is everyone can improve their lives, their happiness, their health, their effectiveness easily. So many people live their lives from day to day - at the best just ‘ok’. It is more usual for people to leave things be until they have fallen apart, or some crisis forces their hand to take action. Yet you can take action in your life and get so much more out of it before anything goes wrong. Coaching with me helps you to

experience your life in a fresh vibrant way, increasing your energy, your awareness, the possibilities in your life, improving your relationships, your sense of humour, your health and your effectiveness. Until you’ve had coaching with me, you will rarely have felt so alive! Contact me and book a FREE 30 minute consultation to make 2015 a year that is quite simply ‘GREAT!’ at

Have you got the right team on your side? Expert legal advice for all business issues. At Gullands we are able to assist all businesses from inception, through all stages of development, up to and including exit strategies and disposals.

Call us on 01622 689775 February - March 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



14 - 2015



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To book your meeting or event, please email quoting ‘KIC RH 2015’. Ashford International Hotel, Simone Weil Avenue, Ashford, TN24 8UX 10

ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2015


Bridgewood Manor, Walderslade Woods, Chatham, Kent, ME5 9AX



Tenant enjoys success at International Trade Fair Kent Science Park tenant AbBaltis has returned from exhibiting at the World’s largest medical trade fair. The biologic and diagnostic company attended the Medica Trade Fair, held in Düsseldorf, in partnership with Kent County Council and supported by UKTI (UK Trade and Investment). AbBaltis, who serve the In Vitro Diagnostic, Plasma and Clinical Samples markets, travelled to Germany with four members of staff. Visitors - all 130,000 of them travelled from 120 countries over four days to attend the trade fair which featured 4,831 exhibitors across themed industry sector halls. Speaking in a recent interview, AbBaltis found themselves in the top three recommended in vitro diagnostics companies at the trade fair,

exhibiting to major players in the field. Exhibiting has already resulted in sample distribution to an Asian based company from their headquarters at Kent Science Park. Giedre Brandao, Managing Director of AbBaltis, said: “We are extremely pleased with how our stand at Medica was received and we have a lot of people to thank at Kent County Council and UKTI. From simply attending the trade fair to showcasing a successful stand is an excellent way for our client base to recognise our success.” Steve Samson, Trade Development Manager at Kent County Council said: “Exporting can help individual businesses grow and

boost the local economy. In supporting local firms like AbBaltis to attend major international events, we are providing some of our most innovative companies with practical ways to meet new international customers and compete on a global scale.” Kent Science Park’s Site Director, James Speck, said: “AbBaltis is highly valued at KSP and is a real success story of our LaunchPad business support programme, helping small businesses to thrive and grow. Giedre has taken her diagnostics knowledge from a small, individual laboratory to a recognised, international trading company and we look forward to supporting her and her colleagues through future business ventures.” From left to right: Algidija Buginaite, Giedre Brandao, Katarzyna Hampleska and Emily Downs.

Helping businesses to succeed and grow You run a business, and it’s reached that stage when you need an external perspective and sound advice on what to do next, and how to grow most profitably. The answer? Call Botfield Associates. Following a successful career developing sales, marketing and customer service strategies for organisations ranging from Royal Mail to KimberlyClark and Kent Adult Education, Terry Botfield now provides experienced advice and support as an independent consultant to SMEs across the county. Terry works with start-up businesses, helping them with all the elements required to help a fledgling enterprise flourish and grow, to more mature businesses with up to about 30 employees, where owner-managers value his expertise in developing both growth and exit strategies. Terry is a fully registered and approved Growth Accelerator coach, delivering business development programmes and helping companies to access government grants specifically aimed at spurring business growth. With an eye to both short-and long-term goals, Terry is also available to act as a non-executive director and is currently the Chair of an Interim Executive Board at a large School as well as a trainer, delivering sales, marketing and customer service courses. If you would like an initial, no commitment session to discuss support for sustaining and growing your business, for a special low one off cost, Email

Quantum PR names chosen charity Quantum PR will raise funds for a fellow communications specialist throughout 2015 after naming Find a Voice as its charity of the year. The Ashford-based public relations agency will take part in a number of sponsored events throughout the year, with fundraisers varying from monthly dress down days to fun runs. Proceeds will help Find a Voice continue to support people of all ages across the country with speech, language and communication difficulties. Charlie Vavasour, Managing Director of Quantum PR, said he was hoping to surpass 2014’s fundraising efforts, which saw the team raise more than £200 for The Retreat Animal Rescue, a voluntary rescue centre that provides veterinary care and shelter for more than 1,000 animals at any one time.

He said: “We’ll be taking part in a number of sponsored activities both individually and collectively throughout the year and want to improve on our 2014 efforts as an absolute minimum.” Ann Chaplin, General Manager at Find a Voice, said: “We look forward to working with Quantum PR throughout 2015. We are about helping people communicate regardless of the inability to speak. “Whatever their disabilities, a lot of disabled people are remarkably creative and talented; we help them make the most of those skills and talents that would otherwise remain hidden.”

February - March 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



BitesizeNews Grab your slice of the Marsh Million

Discovery Park scores its 100th tenant

Discovery Park scored a century recently when it signed its 100th tenant.

Are you an organisation that can grow and diversify the Romney Marsh economy? Businesses in the Romney Marsh area have already been successful in getting valuable support for their rural business – now the Marsh Million is launching a further scheme to help fund organisations that create jobs and stimulate employment in the area. The Marsh Million is a £1m economic growth fund available for the Romney Marsh area, which has been funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) through the Magnox Socio-economic scheme, Kent County Council, Ashford Borough Council and Shepway District Council. The additional element to the growth fund is the Economic Projects Scheme (EPS), which is designed to help increase economic prosperity in the rural parts of the area and is available not only to small businesses but voluntary and community groups, charities, social enterprises and education organisations. The EPS offers grants between £10,000-£100,000 for projects looking to grow and diversify the Romney Marsh economy. Organisations that should come forward are those that support the objectives of the Romney Marsh Partnership (RMP), which are: • Supporting local employment • Strengthening our business base • A great place to live, work and visit The scheme is available within designated areas of the Borough of Ashford (Parishes of: Aldington, Appledore, Bilsington, Bonnington, Kenardin gton, Newenden, Orlestone, Ruckinge, Stone-CumEbony, Warehorne, Wittersham) and the District of Shepway (Parishes of: Brenzett; Brookland; Burmarsh; Dymchurch; Ivychurch; Lydd, Newchurch; New Romney; Old Romney; Snargate; St Mary in the Marsh). Applications can be submitted by small businesses, voluntary and community groups, charities, social enterprises and education organisations. For more information about the Marsh Million, visit:

Start-up healthcare technology company Quvium is the latest tenant for the Sandwich-based science and technology park, which is the UK’s most successful Enterprise Zone. The company develops and manufactures sensors worn by asthma sufferers, allowing the wearer or their carer to manage their condition. Based in Boston, US, Quvium secured a £500,000 loan from Expansion East Kent, part of the Regional Growth Fund programme, enabling it to bring the product to the UK market. The company worked closely with Locate in Kent throughout their decision-making process and 20 full time jobs will be created.

CEO and founder Steve Schmidt, said, “Bringing our sensors to the UK presents a huge opportunity for us and we’re delighted to make Sandwich our UK home. Like other manufacturing, science and tech industries, we feel we are ideally placed here to maximise our potential in the UK and Europe. Discovery Park provided the right mix of infrastructure, resources, and collaborative opportunities, making it the obvious choice.” Paul Barber, Discovery Park’s managing director, said, “Achieving our 100th tenant is a significant milestone, especially when you consider that the site only had five tenants when we took it over two years ago.

“Once again, our world-class facilities have attracted a really innovative company to locate with us, where they can benefit from their close proximity to likeminded industries.” The 220-acre business park is home to start-up companies right through to established international companies, and even boasts its own special start-up zone, with small-scale space available, offering benefits such as free wifi, shared breakout areas and printing facilities. As well as an excellent location between Sandwich and Ramsgate, there is a host of facilities on site, including cafes, a bakery and a gym.

Corporate partners top the county legal charts Locate in Kent corporate partners fill four of the top six places for Kent firms in the latest analysis of the UK’s two leading legal surveys. In a study combining the findings of the Chambers UK and Legal 500 surveys for 2015, conducted for the KM Group by Ross Cogan, former editor-in-chief of Chambers’ global directory, Locate in Kent corporate partner Cripps is the number one ranked Kent firm, while asb law comes in second, Brachers fourth and Furley Page sixth. Cripps’ gap over its nearest competitors in the county grew in the past year, largely


due to its merger with Vertex Law in 2013, which happened too late for the previous directories. Cogan’s study ranks the county’s firms for specific areas of work. In the Corporate Commercial sector, asb law and Cripps are ranked joint first, with Brachers coming third, while Cripps leads the field in Dispute Resolution.

ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2015

Cripps and Brachers head the rankings for the Property and public sector, while Cripps is second, asb law third, Brachers fourth and Furley Page fifth in the Private Client and Charities category. In further good news for Furley Page, Myfanwy McDonagh, a partner at the company, has been appointed vice-chair of a Law Society committee advising firms

across the UK on commercial, residential, landlord and tenant issues. Locate in Kent has 35 corporate partners who supplement the agency’s services to businesses by providing specialist services ranging from legal, financial, marketing and insurance support to construction, architecture and planning, as well as others.


Build your business on strong legal foundations The prospect of becoming your own boss and starting a new company is an exciting time for any.

Take notice of trademarks. Before naming your business, do a quick Internet search to make sure that no one else is using the name.

Now that you have your business ideas and objectives, it is important not to get carried away and overlook the key legal steps you need to take when setting up. Firstly, you need to consider how your business will be structured. Do you intend to operate as a sole trader, a traditional partnership, a limited liability partnership or a limited company? If you are going it alone, setting up as a sole trader may seem the easiest and most straightforward option. However, in the long run it could leave you vulnerable and if you decide to grow and expand you will be personally responsible if your business is sued or goes bankrupt.

them setting out matters such as how the business should be run, how the finances should be dealt with and what you may withdraw from the business. It is import to decide these matters at the start while you are still friends because, if things go wrong, it may be costly to extract yourself and your finances. For further advice or information on setting up a new business, Sarah Astley can be contacted at or visit

BitesizeNews Green ROI

The link between energy efficiency and employee productivity is driving the business case for its adoption, according to Graham Tarrant of Green Deal assessment company Green ROI. Whereas organisations have previously focused on costcutting savings Graham is seeing more business owners appreciating how energy efficiency increases sales and productivity through improved staff health and happier customers. “Studies have shown that adopting a simple measure such as individual temperature controls can increase staff productivity by up to 7%. Research into improved lighting designs is even more impressive, with organisations going on record as seeing 23% gains,” says Graham. A company’s starting point still remains an energy savings audit, which Green ROI offers as a free service to Chamber members. This identifies the opportunities for saving money through, for example, replacing inefficient heating systems or installing solar PV. An impartial Green Deal assessment then identifies the measures that deliver the greatest savings (both in pounds and CO2 tonnes), and the management actions that will optimise savings, such regular systems’ maintenance and energy use monitoring. Following that assessment Green ROI highlights the value-added impacts on employees’ comfort and motivation through improved heating, lighting, ventilation and noise pollution. Green ROI also helps companies source competitive quotes and calculate each measure’s payback, highlighting available grants or incentives such the Low Carbon Workspace Grant that provides up to £5,000 cashback on energy efficiency measures. For further information, or to book your free energy savings audit, visit

The great advantage of being a limited liability partnership or a limited company is that your personal assets are unlikely to be called upon to satisfy any of the business liabilities. You will, however, have to comply with the legal formalities of running such entities, which will have cost implications, and there will also be tax considerations to be addressed. Take notice of trademarks. Before naming your business, do a quick Internet search to make sure that no one else is using the name and that it will not be infringing on someone else’s trademark, as this can prevent potential disputes over who has rights to the name in the future. Equally, make sure you trademark any unique products or services to prevent others from supplying them without your consent. Find out if you will require a licence. Whilst most are aware that a licence is required to sell alcohol, taxi firms, pet shops, hairdressers, food outlets, tattooists and child-minders will also need to ensure they have appropriate licences before they can start running. Finally, if you are going into business with someone else, you should always enter into an agreement with

February - March 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



Europe let down by Digital 'Patchwork' Businesses and consumers across Europe are being let down by the “patchwork” approach to the digital economy in Europe, business secretary Vince Cable warned in a speech in Brussels this month. Europe has led the digital revolution in certain areas, such as Estonia’s use of digital government, the roll-out of highspeed broadband in some countries, or the ‘financial tech’ community in the UK. But the European digital economy remains 28 different markets, each with its own regulations. Speaking at the Lisbon Council’s Robert Schumann lecture, Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "In today’s world of smartphones and wi-fi, consumers who have paid for a service rightly expect to be able to use it across borders in the EU. But at the moment we have a patchwork quilt of digital content and services - very good in some places but threadbare in others. "That’s why I’m calling for the creation of a digital single market. Not only would this boost UK and Eurozone economies by €340 billion but it will make online prices fairer, enable startups to be formed within 24 hours, and help businesses sell throughout the EU." Available content on online streaming services such as Netflix varies wildly across the EU, and UK subscribers are often unable to stream content they have paid for when they are abroad. Where consumers are shopping online, they are often unable to access promotional offers available in other countries, such as 2-for-1 offers. An online single market should also give consumers confidence that they can buy digital products online with adequate protection, and that their data is not being misused. Currently, over half of British consumers choose to pay more to buy online in the UK rather than overseas, because they’re unclear whether they can get a refund if something goes wrong. The recommendations were published in ‘the UK’s vision for the EU’s digital economy’, which also highlights the benefits a digital single market would have for startups selling across the EU. In particular, businesses would not need a physical address in a country to register for a website with that domain name, startups would benefit from a single, online company law process allowing firms to be formed within 24 hours, and administrative processes could be completed once, not 28 times. The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has already identified a digital single market for consumers and businesses within his top 5 priorities for the Commission, and the UK government hopes the expertise of the Latvian Presidency will ensure significant progress is made toward establishing a digital single market in the EU.


British Chamber of Commerce Myanmar

The Myanmar Investment Summit in London on 19 February 2015.

In mid 2014, just over one year after EU sanctions against Myanmar were lifted, the first ever British Chamber of Commerce Myanmar was officially launched to support British companies operating in this frontier market. To date the Chamber has 137 members, over a third of which are British companies. Its website includes information about

business opportunities, guidance on doing business in Myanmar and details of events and membership. Find out more at: The Chamber is supporting the Myanmar Investment Summit in London on 19th February. An influential delegation of Myanmar Ministers and business representatives will discuss opportunities in

three main sectors: energy and electric power, vocational training and education as well as financial and professional services. British businesses that are already operating in Myanmar will also share their experiences of navigating the challenges of setting up and succeeding in the country. Executive Director, Stephanie Ashmore, said: “Myanmar is undergoing rapid reform after years of economic isolation and there are opportunities in almost every sector for those who are willing to take a long-term approach to doing business here”. Stephanie Ashmore Executive Director British Chamber of Commerce Myanmar

What is VK? Your guide to Russia’s largest social network Did you know that Russians are the most active social network users for anywhere in the world? More active even than Britain’s 15 year old girls who Tweet their every thought and Instagram every cat, food or sunset they see. And yet they aren’t on the globally popular sites like Facebook and Twitter, all 100 million users (yes one hundred million!) are on the social site VK.

What is VK? Put very simply, VK is a much larger and more efficient version of Facebook. If the more efficient comment made you quizzically raise your eyebrows, we’ll explain later. What VK seems to have managed to do, is capture an entire nation entirely - with almost exclusive Russian use and over 100 million users this is very obvious. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t available to everyone - in fact, you can log in using your existing Facebook details or simply entering in an email address and password.

Ahead of the Curve Two words: Search Function. VK’s search function is something that could happily rival Google. Unlike Facebook’s ability to

ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2015

search within its own Network, VK can pull up information from anywhere - including ‘adult content’ and the latest movies, pirated of course. And it doesn’t stop there. The search function allows you to find absolutely anyone by entering in a near-stalkerish level of information. You can find friends based on information such as: • Where they live • What School/ Uni they went to • Age range (from 14 up to 80) • Gender • Relationship status (you can specifically find single people) • Personal information like religious & political views - even whether they smoke or drink! • What company they work for • Even if they served in the military! It is this search function-ability that allows Russians (and others) to use VK as a complete dating service, rendering sites like Match and eHarmony useless thanks to its much larger number of users. Unlike Facebook, there are much fewer privacy options which makes hooking up very easy.

Using it For Business Just because many of VKs users are treating it like a dating site and finding pirated movies doesn’t mean that it can’t be used for business. In fact, many global brands like Coca-Cola and Samsung actively use it in their marketing plans which can be easily tracked through the platforms analytics - Socialbakers. These brand pages are called communities and it is possible to set up official brand communities just like on Twitter or Facebook. If you’re struggling to reach Russia and Europe then VK could be just what you need to give you that extra push. With over 50 million active users every day you can definitely harness some of this power to influence your marketing campaign and tap into new areas. It is important to consider the language you’re engaging with the audience with as well as local cultures and sense of humour - British humour for example is widely misunderstood beyond the British Isles.


JAPAN Find support in this market Capital Tokyo Largest city Tokyo Administrative divisions Japan consists of 47 administrative districts Currency Yen

Area 377,944km2 Population 126,659,683 (2012) Calling code +81 Official language Japanese

Ease of trading across borders Importing a standard container of goods into Japan requires:

5 documents 11 days £584

Introduction Japan in 2013 stood as the fourthlargest economy in the world after second-place China, which surpassed Japan in 2001, and third-place India, which edged out Japan in 2012. The new government will continue a longstanding restructuring of the

economy and reining in Japan's huge government debt, which exceeds 225% of GDP. Persistent deflation, reliance on exports to drive growth, and an aging and shrinking population are other major long-term challenges for the economy.

Economic snapshot (% annual growth rate) GDP Export of goods and services Import of goods and services Inflation Short-term interest rates (%) Exchange rate (per £) Population Unit Labour Costs

2011 1.4 -0.1 5.4 0 0.2 125 -0.2 -1.2

2012 1.6 1.6 3.3 0.4 0.2 145 -0.2 -0.8

2013-16 1.3 -6.7 -5.2 -1.5 0.6 159 0.6 -0.6

Source: Oxford Economics

Economic outlook GDP data for Q4 proved disappointing, with the 0.3% quarterly rise well below expectations. Japan is in the middle of a substantial monetary easing programme aimed at boosting its economy. The next big test comes in April 2014 with an increase in the

5% sales tax to 8% this will likely curb consumer spending and economic growth. Consumer spending, which accounts for more than 50 percent of GDP will be the main concern slowing the growth rate for 2014 to 1.5%.

Trade outlook Japan's most important trade partners are China and the US, followed by South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and Germany. Japanese export and import volumes have been slow to pick up. In the first three quarters of 2013 import volumes barely budged, although recent months have seen a stronger trend with Q4 2013 seeing import growth of around 9% on a year earlier. Japan’s large devaluation may also have a

negative impact in the short term at least on some of the lower-income countries in Asia, whose dependence on Japan as an export market is greater. Japan has a trade surplus. The most important import goods are raw materials such as oil, foodstuffs and wood. Major suppliers include China, followed by the US, Australia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates.

SWOT analysis Strengths

• Leading country in scientific and technological research and development. • Sophisticated consumers with high purchasing power.


• Declining birth rate

Opportunities • High dependence on exports. • Established home of innovation • Fiscal austerity programme. Threats • Natural disasters

Japan’s trade with the UK Food, beverages & tobacco Crude Materials & Fuel Chemicals & related products Manufactured goods Machinery & transport equipment

5% 1% 25% 26% 43%

Sector Segmentation Growth Sectors to watch • Utilities • Electronic components & boards • Motor vehicles

Manufacturing • General purpose machinery • Machine tools • Other electrical equipment

Opportunities for UK businesses Japan holds plenty of promise for businesses looking to operate in a large stable market. Japan remains the high-tech powerhouse economy of Asia - with the 2nd highest spend worldwide on R&D. With a population of 128 million, the Japanese market is characterised by consumers with high

levels of disposable income. The following sectors offer UK businesses great opportunities: services, technology, life sciences, manufacturing and with Japan hosting the Olympics in 2020 UK’s expertise are in great demand.

Did you know?

Japan has 82 of the 100 busiest train stations in the world! However, despite that congestion, Japan still has some of the most efficient and fast public transportation systems in the world. In the busiest station in the world, for example, trains stop every 2 minutes, and stop for just 40 seconds at a time. Leaves on the line?!?!

To find out what other trade missions or market visits are being organised by British Chambers go to

February - March 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



Go Dotty in 2015! Go Dotty Week is back for 2015 and we want to do things even bigger and better this year.

Solicitors warned over HMRC tax crackdown Solicitors could suffer serious damage to their reputations if they fail to declare any outstanding tax debts, DSH Chartered Accountants & Business Advisors has warned.

It’s Children’s Hospice Week from the 8th - 15th May and Demelza is Going Dotty in a huge way. So, what can you do? You can go as Dotty as you want to and do anything as long as it involves dots. You could: · Wear something Dotty to work - show you love of the Demelza dots · Be part of Team Dotty by buying some of our Dotty wristbands or badges

· Have a Dotty cake sale or tea party and Go Dot-tea for Demelza · You could even be completely Dotty and abseil down the Orbit Our mascot Dotty will be out on his roadshow throughout the week too, so you can book him to come along to your company if you are doing anything to fundraise. By supporting Go Dotty, you can help families like Katherine’s. “We made our own referral to Demelza and Joshua has now been going for over three years. “It has been our lifeline. “I can honestly say that without Demelza in our life I don’t know what we would do.

“It’s the only place Joshua can get 100% respite. “Please, please support Demelza so they can help other families like us have the break they desperately need.” Download a Dotty fundraising pack and let us know what you are planning to do to raise funds and make a difference during Go Dotty Week 2015. Contact the fundraising office on 01795 845288 or email

The advice comes as HMRC launches its latest campaign aimed at encouraging specific professions and trades to voluntarily get their tax affairs in order before they face enforcement action.

Become mobile friendly, or become Google’s enemy

These campaigns are launched when HMRC has evidence of large scale underpayment of tax in a particular sector of the economy.

With 58% of the UK’s population being mobile internet users, more people will soon be accessing your site via a mobile than desktop.

Under the new Solicitors’ Tax Campaign voluntary disclosure opportunity, solicitors have until March 9 to tell HMRC they would like to make a voluntary disclosure, and until June 9, 2015 to disclose and pay the tax they owe. “Solicitors who do not take advantage of the opportunity and fail to disclose their liabilities face far harsher penalties if or when HMRC subsequently finds they have outstanding tax to pay,” said Steve Carpenter, Director of Taxation of DSH’s Maidstone office. “In the most serious cases they could find themselves in court, running the risk of their names being published in the press and subsequent damage to their personal reputation and that of their firm.” Steve added that those solicitors most at risk are likely to be sole traders or part of a small partnership, but those in larger firms should also work closely with their accountants to ensure that their affairs are in order.


By Richard Coatsworth at

Many of our clients here at find that more than half of their traffic comes from mobile devices, and this number is continuing to grow on a daily basis. You may have noticed that since November, for searches that have been carried out on mobile devices, results from those sites which meet Google’s standards are labelled with ‘Mobile-friendly’. This allows users to make an informed decision by letting them know if a site is going to display correctly on their device before they’ve even clicked through. The importance of a mobile friendly site has been even more prevalent in recent weeks. Since mid-January, Google have been sending out notifications to webmasters who fail to meet their mobile usability standards. These messages warn that any pages (and in many cases, that means entire

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sites) that are not mobile-friendly will be “displayed and ranked appropriately for smartphone users” in search results. These recent notifications to webmasters are a clear warning that Google will soon be implementing an algorithm that takes into account a site’s mobile usability. As with all algorithm updates, this will

see those sites that meet Google’s standards be served to users, whilst those that don’t are set to fall down the rankings considerably. If you want your website to be accessible to, and actively used by, as many users as possible then you need to ensure that mobile-friendly is your focus in 2015.


24 HOURSWITH The satisfaction of supporting new businesses For Natalie Richards, the working day is all about helping to create new businesses, something which gives her great satisfaction.

Natalie Richards

We are not a company that says 'here is your franchise, now go and run a business.‘

Natalie is Managing Director of Kent-based Expertise Homecare, which is developing a franchise network offering care to a wide range of people in their homes. The business was established in May 2014 and most of Natalie’s time is taken up with preparing new franchisees for the challenges of running their own businesses in a demanding sector. Natalie said: "My working day tends to start at 8am and begins with reviewing queries from franchisees, responding to them on their queries and making sure that I am on top of the many issues that come across my desk. “I also receive a lot of calls from people who think they would like to take on a franchise so I spend time explaining what that entails. “Many of them have not run their own business before so there is a lot for me to explain. “My day is mostly taken up with meetings. I am generally out of the office 70% of the time, usually supporting franchisees and meeting potential franchisees.

"We are not a company that says 'here is your franchise, now go and run a business.‘ For me, it is about much more than that so I meet them to take them through the things that they need to consider about running a business. "One of the key elements that we provide is a two week training programme before anyone takes on a franchise. “Sometimes they come to the office but more often than not I go to visit them and take them through a multitude of items, including obtaining finance, ensuring that they have the right marketing approach and making sure that they understand the practicalities of running a business, such as where to set up their office and when to take on staff. "We are very hands-on and support them in any way we can as they prepare to take on the franchise but also afterwards as well. “I try to be disciplined about when I finish work for the day, usually aiming for 6pm, but if something is in my mind and needs to be done, I will work in the evening as well.”

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February - March 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS


Hear 7IM’s Justin Urquhart Stewar t, one of the key no te speakers at the West Kent B2B, River Centre, Tonbridge on 27 March 2015


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Name: Title:

Amanda Finn Partner and Head of Employment Company: Gullands Solicitors Web: Email: Tel: 01622 689700

Firstly you must consider what image you want to project and why. Tattoos and piercings may be considered out of place say in a doctor’s surgery but perhaps not so unusual in a media relations environment. Sweeping generalisations aside, it is reasonable for an employer to promote a certain image to ensure their client’s are not put off stepping through the door. You can tell the prospective employee that they will be required to cover up the tattoos and/or remove the piercings during work hours,

I am a small business owner looking to recruit a new receptionist who will be the first person a client sees when entering our office. I have found the perfect candidate, however, they have a number of visible piercings and tattoos, which I fear clients will find off putting. As an employer am I able to control my employees appearance? Can I offer the job on the condition that all body art is hidden during working hours? but make sure there are sound business reasons for doing so rather than just an impression of how clients might react. Although it will very much depend on the facts, a failure to employ someone with piercings may be considered age discrimination if it is considered that this is likely to be a characteristic of the younger generation. Ensure that there is a policy in place and the employee knows what is expected of them

in the job offer before they accept. If there are any transgressions, these need to be dealt with through the disciplinary process. If you are going to go one step further and impose a dress code you should ensure that these do not discriminate between sexes, or on religious grounds. You should also ensure that any issues arising from an employee’s disability are accommodated where possible through reasonable adjustments.

February - March 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



Ashford – best for business In August 2014 Ashford was named as the top business location in Kent. The results of the perception survey by Locate in Kent show that it is the number one location for developers, advisers and businesses – and firmly on the national radar. Ashford - the facts: • 38 minutes from London • 1 hour 52 minutes away from Paris • 7,600 new jobs created between 2001 and 2011 • The council’s Big 8 priority projects are large scale developments that will unlock major opportunities, deliver new jobs, housing, retail and cultural facilities • Unemployment in December 2014 was 1.3%, lower than the national average of 1.9% • 1.7 million employees live within a 60-minute drive of the town • 84,000m2 of employment floor space created between 2009 and 2012 • Office rents 73% lower than in London • More than £100 million of infrastructure investment planned within the town over the next five years • 71% of people who travel to London do so using High Speed 1 • Ashford International Station is in the top 6% of busy stations in Britain • Over 3.3 million passengers pass through Ashford International a year

Two-thirds of responders rated Ashford highly because of its rail links, while road links, location, available sites and the council’s proactive approach were also highly rated.

A competitive offer In December, the county’s international town was ranked 38th in the annual Halifax quality of life survey - the fourth time in the last five years Ashford has been included in the top 50. Indeed, a recent residents’ survey found that nine out of ten residents think Ashford is a great place to live.

Ashford has the lowest council tax in Kent and its picturesque villages and the delightful rural town of Tenterden add to the borough’s strong identity. There is a thriving tourism industry that contributes greatly to the Kent economy, with 3,600 related tourism jobs in the borough and award-winning vineyards among the attractions.


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Outline planning permission was granted in October

Leisure facilities across the borough include the Julie Rose Stadium, and Ashford and Tenterden’s excellent and well used swimming and leisure centres. We have an expanding arts programme featuring Revelation St Mary's, and the internationally renowned Jasmin Vardimon Company, soon to expand to create an International Dance Academy. A number of initiatives are creating a sense of vibrancy in Ashford’s town centre, alongside the £65m extension of County Square Shopping Centre - which has a footfall of five million visitors each year. Large-scale expansion plans for the Designer Outlet that could see up to seven million visitors each year, on top of the recently opened Waitrose and John Lewis at home stores, are an indication of the confidence of major investors.

Jasmin Vardimon - credit Tristram Kenton

A planning application is expected soon for Elwick Place, which will feature a town centre cinema, a new square and meeting place in the town centre, adding to the town’s offer both during the day and evening.

Artist impression of Elwick Place


Stour Centre

International House

County Square

National and international significance Ashford is certainly attracting large-scale investment. Funding is in place for the creation of a new Junction 10a of the M20, a nationally significant infrastructure project. Ashford’s connectivity and opportunity remain a major draw. The word international, once just associated with its railway station, is now the town’s unique selling point.

Artist impression of Chilmington Green

Outline planning permission was granted in October 2014 for a major new residential community at Chilmington Green that, subject to further planning consents, will see the development of up to 5,750 quality homes, with schools and infrastructure in the next 20 years. This includes major duelling of the A28 and the creation of over 1,000 jobs on the site in shops and education. With a buoyant property market, excellent grammar schools and plans for a post-16 education campus in the town centre that have been taken over by Ofsted rated ‘outstanding’ Hadlow College, Ashford has the best offer for businesses, their employees, and their families.

Additional Eurostar services from this May mean that passengers will be able to travel direct from Ashford to France’s three largest cities, Paris, Marseille and Lyon. French businesses are already locating in Ashford, taking advantage of start-up advice and business support as well as its proximity to London and Paris. The creation of the commercial quarter will therefore maximise the benefits of having a mixed-use development with a new office hub adjoining Ashford International Station. It has the potential to deliver up to 590,000 square feet of office space, 150 homes and thousands of jobs, increasing Ashford’s international business credentials further, while bringing spending power to the heart of the town. International House, directly opposite Ashford International Station, provides an excellent opportunity for businesses to significantly grow their potential on

the doorstep of London and Europe. At the heart of the vibrant town centre the first floor of the building is being refurbished and from the end of March will offer 5,200 square feet of prime location office space. International House was purchased by Ashford Borough Council in February 2014 - an entrepreneurial game changer for local government. Ashford is also a fertile environment for start-ups. Expansion East Kent, which is offering 0% loans to start-ups and expanding businesses, has provided excellent results, as have town centre initiatives and the popular Marsh Million scheme, which also offers 0% interest loans to help grow small or start-up businesses in the Romney Marsh area. For more information For business, property and investment opportunities, and to see Ashford’s success stories, visit Ashford Borough Council Expansion East Kent Marsh Million

February - March 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



Ashford named most improved recycler in the country Ashford Borough Council has been named as the most improved local authority for recycling in the latest Defra league table. The council, once referred to as ‘England’s worst recycler’, posted a recycling rate in 2011/12, but recorded a 42% recycling rate in 2013/14, an improvement of 30% points.

Cold store extension ready for business The £4 million extension to frozen fruit and vegetable specialist Ardo UK’s state-of-the-art cold store at Charing, near Ashford in Kent has been formally opened and is ready for business.

Project go ahead signifies start of Stour Centre regeneration A dedicated Spin Studio will be created at the Stour Centre in Ashford following approval from cabinet members. However, this is just the start of a significant project that will see the completion of the regeneration of leisure facilities at the Stour Centre and the enhancement of facilities for the internationally acclaimed Jasmin Vardimon Company. The Stour Centre regeneration project will see a full review of the sport and leisure facilities on the unremodelled side of the Stour Centre to ensure they meet the needs of the community both now and in the future. Improvements will include enhanced dry-side sports provision while creating performance, production and education spaces for Jasmin Vardimon Company in a unique academy. The new dedicated Spin Studio, which will be funded by the council, is much needed to enable the planned redevelopment of Contours gym, which will also see the introduction of functional training. This will be funded by Ashford Leisure Trust (ALT), the operator of the Stour Centre. It will also offer the potential to increase the number of spin bikes to cope with demand. Jasmin Vardimon Company’s creative home has been in Ashford since 2012. It tours nationally and internationally, performing at high profile theatres across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the USA. In June 2014 it swept the board at the East Kent Culture awards.

Praise for high speed link The UK’s only domestic high-speed rail service celebrated its fifth anniversary in December – and for one rapidly expanding Kent town, the 140mph train service “has transformed its economic fortunes”. High-speed 1 trains slashed journey times from Ashford to the capital by more than half to just 38 minutes when it launched in December 2009. Five years on and Ashford business leaders say HS1 has given the town a massive competitive edge. “It has transformed our economic fortunes,” said Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council. He says the fast train service has attracted businesses and created jobs, improved the quality of life of commuters, drawn more people to live in the Garden of England and has put Ashford in poll position as the place to access London and European markets.


ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2015

Jon Barnes speaks to the crowd of guests, with MP Damian Green, the Mayor and Mayoress of Ashford, and Ardo employees listening on

The 16,826 sq ft new cold store features new loading docks able to accommodate double-decker trailers, space-efficient mobile racking and sensor-controlled, lowenergy LED lighting. The extension takes the site’s overall storage capacity from 18,500 to 22,500 pallets covering a total of nearly 90,000 sg ft. It was formally opened November by local MP Damian Green and Cllr John Link, the Mayor of Ashford. Joining them at the opening ceremony were customers, suppliers, staff and representatives

of organisations such as the British Frozen Food Federation. Jon Barnes, Ardo UK’s Supply Chain and Inventory Director, said: “Completion of the project – which was carried out on time and on budget – means we now have both more space and improved handling facilities to offer customers who value our strategic location just off the M20 and close to the Port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel. “After a record performance by the business last year, added cold store capacity complements our successful frozen fruit and vegetable business as well as the ever-

expanding storage element of Ardo UK and positions us for further growth in 2015.” Ashford MP Damian Green said “I am delighted to see Ardo investing and expanding its operations in the area. It’s a great vote of confidence in the workforce and in Ashford as a location for successful international business.” Work on the new development began in January 2014 with the bulk of construction carried out by Chalcroft. Other suppliers included Ardo Group refrigeration specialist SKT and mobile racking from Storax.

Town centre bandstand to receive canopy Ashford Borough Council is installing a permanent canopy over the bandstand in the town centre. The new canopy will create a permanent sheltered performance space, providing the perfect platform for a range of events and activities, regardless of the weather and time of year. The bandstand is well used and has hosted many of Ashford’s key community and civic events such as the Christmas Lights Switch On, the Olympic Torch Relay and the Freedom of the Borough March Pasts, plus numerous music and charity events.


Town Centre Retailers enjoy booming trade While some town centres across the UK are still struggling to survive and flourish, Ashford’s renaissance is gathering momentum as it continues to attract big-name retailers. The quality and diversity of the retail offer in Kent’s market town is enticing a growing number of visitors to its rapidly evolving town centre – and new and expanding stores are reporting buoyant trading. The Entertainer, the fastest growing toy retailer in the UK, enjoyed one of the biggest opening days in the company’s 33-year history when it launched in Ashford’s County Square shopping centre in October, with early sales beating some of its larger more established stores in centres such as Birmingham’s The Bullring. Nationwide clothing brand Yours, which opened in September, is already outperforming some of its flagship stores across the UK, while Muffin Break – part of a rapidly-growing modern café bakery franchise – has seen sales growth rocket by 60% since almost doubling in size. County Square, which is home to major brands such as Debenhams, Dorothy Perkins, New Look, Next and River Island, has seen visitor numbers continue to rise in 2014 and is now well on target to beat its annual footfall of over five million visitors. Ashford’s high street is also enjoying a revival and earlier this year was singled out as a major success in the national Portas Pilot scheme by Mary Portas herself. Since receiving £100,000 in Portas funding, which was match-funded by Ashford Borough Council, the newly-formed Town

Team has forged ahead with a number of innovative projects – including opening a PopUp shop, launching a farmers’ market to drive footfall, transforming the town’s appearance, creating a dedicated website to galvanise businesses, and creating a ‘digital high street’. Ashford has been praised by the Government’s High Streets Minister, Brandon Lewis, who described the town’s ‘Love Ashford’ website as “an excellent example of how digital technology can be used to promote the high street”. "Ashford is clearly punching above its weight for a medium-sized town centre,” says Ashford Borough Council’s Leader, Cllr Gerry Clarkson. Meanwhile, John Lewis has just celebrated the first anniversary of its ‘At Home’ store, which opened in November last year on the outskirts of the town; and McArthurGlen has submitted a planning application to expand its Designer Outlet towards Ashford International Station, enhancing its links with the town centre. If approved, the expansion will add 100,000 sq ft of retail space, with the opening of 30 additional stores plus a range of cafes and restaurants. It currently offers 185,000 sq ft with more than 80 stores, including some of the most sought-after names in luxury, premium and designer fashion, such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Fossil, Jaeger, Ted Baker and Kurt Geiger.

February - March 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



Lemon Creative’s award-winning solution Kent design agency, Lemon Creative, has won a prestigious national print award for the UK graphics industry - with the company’s own brochure.

The people’s marketing agency

The Dudley Marketing portfolio continues to grow, as clients respond positively to the team’s exclusive focus on small and medium sized businesses and willingness to work with even the smallest of budgets. After years working in corporate backgrounds, Dudley Marketing was founded to overcome the perception that quality marketing is inaccessible and too expensive for local businesses. Fahad Khan, Business Development Manager for Dudley Marketing explains, ‘We found it hugely unfair that only big organisations, with big budgets, could afford the opportunity to market their services. How are small businesses expected to grow, if they cannot afford the essentials?’ Elizabeth Butcher, Marketing Manager for Dudley continues, ‘Good marketing costs, but knowing where to spend and where to save is essential for making budgets work harder. We always aim to extract best value from an idea, even if that means discouraging someone from investing altogether, and I think this honesty plays a big part in our success.” Dudley Marketing is known for their dedication to problem solving, educating and inspiring new and existing businesses in the market. They can regularly be found canvassing the Kent towns, holding meetings in independent coffee bars, chatting enthusiastically at local networking events, giving out freebies such as their current Website Audit and engaging with followers through their social media platforms. For more information on this unique marketing agency visit their new website to discuss in detail how they can help you reach your personal marketing goals.

Over the summer, Earth Island Publishing Ltd launched the national competition ‘The Solutions Awards’. It was open to everyone in the UK graphic arts industry. The judges were looking for exciting entries, showing new and innovative ideas - not just beautiful print - with a real-world solution to a customer problem. Drew Selman, Director of Lemon Creative, said, “We’d seen delegates at business fairs struggling with the typical large bags of cheap, disposable printed materials so we designed a neat, pocket-sized solution with vibrant imagery, explanatory text, client

testimonials and contrasting black and yellow brand colours which all help it stand out from other promotional material at shows.” Drew continued, “People are really thrilled to have one given to them; they comment on how creative it is and how they’ll keep it after the event. Most importantly, it has generated lots of new business leads for us - a totally successful solution to our own requirements.” Drew heard in October that the booklet was on the shortlist of five in the 'Books' category, subsequent online voting then

determined the final three that went to the awards ceremony in London in November, where after a glitzy ceremony it was announced Lemon Creative achieved the majority of the votes to win! “I’m very proud, and hope that our achievement inspires others to think creatively about solutions to a brief, and highlights Lemon Creative as one of Kent's leading (award winning) Graphic Design and Branding agencies.” Contact:

Using ‘EQ’ to Maximise Technical Expertise and Leadership Today’s workplace sees a new set of demands being placed on its workforce. Whilst gaining a promotion or setting up a business because we excel in specific skills, we are often faced with challenges for which we are considerably less well prepared. Building productive professional relationships; making strong independent decisions; seeing a way forward in difficult circumstances and being able to lead and influence others towards it are only a few of these such challenges. Research in this area has led to a new form of coaching - ‘emotional intelligence coaching’ that enhances all of these skills. It helps to


ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2015

build a strong foundation of behaviours and attitudes that support and make possible the effective execution of technical and business expertise. Performance Coaching UK has now incorporated the Emotional Capital Report into its coaching programme. A highly validated assessment tool, the ECR measures welldefined EQ competencies against top performing professionals worldwide. It provides a basis for self-assessment, feedback from others and the opportunity to develop areas of weakness and utilise strengths.

Businesses who would like to make better use of the technical expertise within their team or who seek to nurture emerging talent and new leaders would do well to consider helping their people develop such a strong foundation, increasing their ability to cope with environmental pressures present in today’s workplace.

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Orphan Works may now be used Claudine Lawrence Solicitor

Copyright holders of creative works are being urged to make their mark and claim their rights, following the launch of a new licensing scheme that will enable reproduction of so-called ‘orphan’ creative works and performances. Orphan works are copyright works where the right holder is unknown or cannot be traced and in the past this meant the works could not be reproduced. Now, anyone can apply to the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) for a licence to use an orphan work, if they can show they have made real efforts to identify or trace the holder of the copyright. They will have to pay a fee, and royalties will be held by the IPO for eight years in case rights holders come forward. The scheme will enable creative works and performances, such as diaries, photographs, films or pieces of music, to be reproduced on websites, in books and on TV, whether for commercial or non-commercial purposes. Without the licence, any reproduction would infringe copyright in the UK. Designed to give wider access to culturally valuable creative works, which may have previously remained out of public view because the rights holders cannot be identified, a licence will provide rights for up to seven years. Protection for copyright holders comes with the IPO holding all royalties it receives for orphan works in a ring-fenced account for eight years from the date of the licence. The IPO can also refuse to grant a licence, for example where any proposed use could have a negative impact on the value of the work. The announcement of the new licensing scheme coincides with the introduction of the EU Orphan Works Directive, which enables museums, galleries and other cultural institutions across the EU to digitise certain orphan works and display them on their websites. The objective is to increase access to Europe’s cultural heritage for works that are currently only available for viewing in a museum, archive or library. The UK licensing scheme and the directive are complementary but separate. Unlike the EU directive, the UK Orphan Works licensing scheme applies to all types of orphan works and provides for broader commercial as well as noncommercial use. It can be used by anyone and is not just restricted to cultural and heritage bodies.

Do you want to WIN Public Sector Contracts? If like many other businesses you’re thinking about selling your goods or services to the public or private sector then you’ll need to get ‘tender fit’ before you try to gain your first contract. We can assess your business readiness via our pre procurement fitness audit and support you through the process. We can find the right Public Sector contact to fit your business profile.

We can help you with our bespoke Contract Alert Service, Pre Qualification Questionnaire/Invitation to Tender and bid/tender management support.

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There are commercial opportunities for users of these orphan works under the new licensing scheme, and some people, such as photographers, have sounded their concerns about a licence being granted after a cursory attempt to find the original owner. But hopefully a combination of a fairly tough application process, and the fees that will be payable, will provide the required control. If copyright owners want to be sure that their works aren’t subject to any future licensing under this new regime, they should make sure that their identity is well known, ideally by inclusion on the work itself. That’s not always practical, but it’s another thing to bear in mind when authoring or holding such content.”

For further information please contact Claudine Lawrence on 01689 887880 or email

February - March 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



Kent gets

Andy Rayfield of Maxim takes a look at Kent’s fast-growing Creative Sector

Young designers will always be attracted to the bright lights of London. Having said that, if you offer the right company environment and treat your staff well then there really is no reason for employees to have to deal with the long commute to the city.

Eighteen months ago Kempt Ltd, one of the UK’s leading digital games development agencies, moved its entire operation to Canterbury from St Albans, bringing with it 12 staff and recruiting locally. It joined a thriving creative community, which, according to Kent County Council (KCC), includes about 4,500 businesses employing in the region of 14,000 people. “For a creative business like ours there are two key things as far as getting the best from your team is concerned,” said Chris Kempt. “Money is, of course, one, but the other is where they get to


ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2015

work and live, and the environment they are working in, and Canterbury is such a beautiful place to be. “It had always been a big ambition of mine to have access to a continual stream of interns and talent. That wasn’t the case in St Albans but very much is in Canterbury with the university on our doorstep.” Kempt received help from Locate in Kent, the County’s Investment Promotion Agency, which helped it find offices in the city and also put it in touch with the relevant council officers for business support and helping with recruitment plans.


Other clients, such as Medway-based Dovetail games, have enlisted the help of Locate in Kent to find larger offices in the County as they expand. Dovetail employs more than 60 staff at its Chatham head office, and in Godalming in Surrey, and Stirling in Scotland. Originally based in the Joiners Shop at Chatham Historic Dockyard, the Kent team had grown to the point where it was using five offices around the building. Locate in Kent helped find a first floor open plan office at the Observatory, Chatham, just 500 yards from their original home. “The majority of companies from the creative sector we receive inquiries from are from the PR and marketing, press and media, and digital industries fields, particularly gaming,” said Paul Wookey, Chief Executive of Locate in Kent. “The very nature of the work of these companies means that they can choose to operate from a wide variety of locations in Kent. “There is no large cluster of companies in any location, but for companies that like to locate close to other similar organisations or sources of suitable graduates, Canterbury, Medway and Folkestone are all popular.” Key to that flexibility in location is support for the creative industry from the public sector, both in terms of improving infrastructure and financial backing. Launched in March 2013, KCC’s Making Kent Quicker programme aims to see 95 per cent of all residential and business properties in Kent have access to highspeed fibre-based broadband by the end of this year. At the end of 2014, more than 60,000 homes and businesses had benefited from the first contract period, and KCC was in the middle of procurement for the second contract period. The website is updated as each area is connected and has details of the rollout timetable. In East Kent, businesses have benefitted from the SUCCESS (Southeast Urban Coast Creative Enterprise Support Scheme) scheme, designed to help creative businesses to start up and grow. SUCCESS, which runs to the end of February, is funded by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund and administered by Thanet Council. It provides grants of between £3,000 and £150,000 from a pot of £2 million, to support investment in new and growing creative businesses that safeguard existing and/or generate new jobs. Thanet Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Cllr David Green, said: “It’s fantastic that creative businesses in Thanet have capitalised on this

opportunity. Thanet has a great creative buzz.”By the end of 2014, 17 companies had successfully applied for SUCCESS funding. However, perhaps the biggest perceived challenge facing Kent’s creative sector is the draw of London competitors, for both potential clients and staff. But this is something of a myth according to many operating in the county.

looks good on them and their own portfolio. If an agency is winning interesting client projects then this reflects well on the designer working on them.” The view is the same from the south east of the County, according to Luke Quilter of Sleeping Giant Media in Folkestone. “There is a bit more time to step back from things and think more creatively,” he said. “London is exciting, with a lot of hustle and bustle, but sometimes that can work against creativity. “There is a good level of talented graduates within Kent and we have benefited from bringing them on board. We look for potential, and enthusiasm for learning in our staff and train them up with the digital skills they need. “Digital marketing is still quite new, and there are certainly more skills available in

“If you are a good solid agency offering exceptional and quality design at reasonable prices, then there really is no competition,” said Graeme Hall of ifour, a Tunbridge Wells-based digital design agency. “We work with a number of large Londonbased organisations and, being a boutique agency, we feel that we are given a greater rein when it comes to offering creative design rather than some large Londonbased companies who are often tied to corporate guidelines “Young designers will always be attracted to the bright lights of London. Having said that, if you offer the right company environment and treat your staff well then there really is no reason for employees to have to deal with the long commute to the city. “At ifour one of our senior designers travels from London to Tunbridge Wells and has done for many years. As mentioned, it’s about creating the right environment. “Although it’s not just that, as employees want to work for a successful agency as it

London, but we are seeing more and more people looking to move out of town to Kent which is bringing more experience into the area which is good for digital businesses, and businesses in general.” Among the professional practices providing advice to creative businesses is law firm Cripps, which has a dedicated Advertising Technology and Media (ATM) team to serve the sector. According to lawyer Pete Kenyon, a partner in the ATM team, technology is one of the key drivers behind the growth in Kent’s creative industries.He said: “These are exciting times as greater access to technology is enabling people with creative skills to break away from the large London agencies and to set up new practices in lower-cost areas such as Kent.

“It’s a trend fuelled by improving broadband provision and good transport links to the capital - so they can service both local and London clients - as well as a source of readily available talent in the form of the students coming out of institutions such as the University of Kent, East Kent College and West Kent and Ashford College. “These developments are empowering for the individuals concerned but are also good news for the broader business community as it gives us access to a greater offering in areas like design and website development, often at a significantly cheaper cost than going to London agencies with their higher overheads but without any compromise in quality. “However, one thing we at Cripps notice as lawyers is while some of these entrepreneurs are brilliant at what they do, they could sometimes improve their core business skills and focus more on the commercial framework in which they operate. “In addition to all the normal legal issues around contracts and making sure they get paid, people in the creative sector need to pay attention to matters such as their intellectual property and making sure it is both protected and exploited in the most commercially beneficial way for them.” Nowhere has the vibrancy of Kent’s creative and digital industries been better demonstrated than at October’s Digibury Weekender. Born out of the Digibury monthly event organised in Canterbury by digital agency Deeson, the Digibury Weekender attracted more than 200 delegates and 20 speakers to the University of Kent on a Saturday in October. “The event covered use of data and how it affects people in both the creative industries and day-to-day,” said Simon Wakeman of Deeson. “I feel it reflected a growing, new, diverse and vibrant industry in Kent. It reflects a community of creative and digital professionals and is a chance for us to meet and get involved with a whole range of people from many different walks of life and professions and exchange ideas.” A repeat event is planned for this year and, with the sector growing fast in the County, the chances are it will be even more popular.

February - March 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS





ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2015

A company that lives in the fast lane Kent-based digital company mso is a business that is on the fast track to success – literally.

The Dartford company which advises clients on all things digital, has been growing steadily over the years, a story which can trace at least some of its roots back to the high octane world of motor racing. Formed almost two decades ago by current directors Paul Lawrie and Adrian Brown, they embarked on a project to provide online information to Adrian’s Formula 3000 motor racing team at Edenbridge Racing. The entrepreneurial spirit in both led to the formation of mso as well as the development of websites for other teams, drivers and organisations - the British Racing Drivers’ Club and the Motorsport Industry Association being two. With steady growth over the years, mso has a diverse portfolio of clients boasting particular expertise within the motorsport, education, health and travel industries. Employing 25 people made up of developers, project managers, account managers and designers, this innovative agency delivers business solutions at the cutting edge of digital technology. For Account Director Sarah Pooley, the challenge is helping clients big and small to understand and embrace the opportunities that are being offered by a rapidly moving digital world.

We have become a successful digital agency based on the skill of our team underpinned by our holistic approach. It’s not enough to provide mere websites; you need to understand your customer.


Improving the user experience is our big focus for this year particularly now that mobile is overtaking desktop. It is about helping people understand what works best online.

She said: “We've been going for eighteen years now and, although we do still have clients in the motorsport sector, we work with all sorts of companies. “We have become a successful digital agency based on the skill of our team underpinned by our holistic approach. It’s not enough to provide mere websites; you need to understand your customer. “We start by asking the right questions: where does the company want to be? What is its aim and goals? What does it need in place to achieve those aspirations? We can then work back and see what needs to be done to get there. We are not afraid to say that we think an element of the business plan is not working and offer ways to navigate around that. “Digital technology is developing at such a rapid rate it’s our job to keep track and translate the impact of that change to our clients. “There are so many more considerations to thrash out – how will a site look and work on mobile, does it function perfectly on a tablet, is there a content strategy in place to ensure you hit your target audience – the list goes on. Maybe an online marketing campaign is needed so we devise a strategy that covers such elements as email marketing, social media and online advertising. We also take into account that offline activity is equally as important and has to be an intrinsic part of the marketing mix. “Our mantra for some time has been ‘you must be customer-centric’. We do a lot of work within education and our most popular product is our Parent Portal. We have developed a way for parents to have a two-way dialogue with their child’s school. They can access the information they need from one hub so it’s about bringing that data together in a way that works for them. “Improving the user experience is our big focus for this year particularly now that mobile is overtaking desktop. It is about helping people understand what works best online.

“Similarly, consider social media. A client may decide that a social media campaign is required; what we do is assess the target market and examine where that audience is going to be found. Establishing if your audience is actually present in your current arena of choice will ultimately dictate whether the right people are being found in the right place, at the right time. “A client may be spending time and effort posting items on Facebook, issuing Tweets, posting on Instagram etc. but if the target audience is active on LinkedIn, there’s not going to be any return on investment. “We advise on the likes of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, so whilst they’re excellent vehicles for clients, the adage ‘one size fits all’ is definitely not the way we work. Our end goal is to make sure that wherever an online voice is needed, the message hits the target. “The key thing in all of this is that inertia has to be avoided, you need to know where your customer base is active and respond. Without the right online

presence, there is the threat of being left behind in this climate of rapid innovation and change. “Today we’re used to having multiple devices around us, people still access information through desktop PCs, yes, but the majority are using mobile devices at home. “The TV is on but no-one is taking much notice of it, they’re browsing and researching online (particularly when shopping) so companies have to make sure that they know how, and by which method to reach customers. An online experience has to be seamless; our tech savvy Millennials (a generation born 1980 to about 2000) have been plugged into technology since they were babies and as a result expect it to serve them and focus on their own individual needs – it’s all about personalisation. ”Two of us here are currently on a digital marketing course with Squared Online, developed in association with Google. Running over the course of five modules, it’s helping us further our digital expertise. With online lectures and group projects, it’s also a great way to meet other digital professionals from all over the world.” Interestingly, for a company which is so involved in the field of communication, Sarah believes that there remains work to be done on raising its own profile. She said: “Since most of our work comes via word of mouth and recommendation, I did hear of us being described recently as ‘Kent’s best kept secret’. We are working to change that and 2015 looks set to be an exciting year for us.”

Sarah Pooley Account Director mso Email: Twitter: @Sarah__Pooley

February - March 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



Earning whilst learning When Medway Norse was formed, one of the company’s aims was, says Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Frontline Services, Councillor Phil Filmer, to “grow local employment, including the creation of apprenticeships for young people and the long term unemployed.”

The Top 5 mistakes Entrepreneurs make when going global Expanding your business abroad is a great way to target new markets and pull in fresh clients, but some business people who want to go international do it for all the wrong reasons. Katya Puyraud from company formation agency Euro Start Entreprises shares the top five mistakes that can bring down would-be global entrepreneurs. 1. Tax Breaks Many entrepreneurs come unstuck after opening a company in Ireland or Luxembourg only to find that they didn’t qualify for any of the tax breaks. If you want to open a business in a different country, there has to be a very good reason – such as clients, exports, staff or premises like factories or shops. Otherwise you’re likely to get a larger tax bill than you expected or a visit from the tax inspector. 2. Staff Recruitment Hiring employees can take a huge chunk from an annual budget but if you open a company in one country because the workforce is cheap – in Poland for example – but bus them into another country to work then your plan will backfire.

(L to R) Medway Norse apprentices, Aaron Broad, Matthew Taylor, Zoe Tolhurst and Hassan Cox’ Eighteen months into Council’s the joint venture with Norse Commercial Services, Medway Norse is now providing training and paid work experience for eight young adults. The apprenticeship positions reflect the broad range of departments and trades within Medway Norse: there are three in administrative roles; two in the grounds division, one in horticulture and the other as a fitter on the mechanical side; and one each in electrical, plumbing and catering disciplines. Each apprentice has their own reason for wanting to join the Medway Norse scheme, but the key benefit all agree on is that it provides the opportunity to gain real work experience whilst earning an income. “Personally, I wanted to gain experience and skills in an office based environment,” Zoe Tolhurst, 21, one of the Administrative Apprentices, said. For Plumbing Apprentice Conor Szalajko, 18, it was the opportunity to “learn more whilst in work,” and for 24 year old

Robert Woodman, an Apprentice Fitter in the company’s Grounds Division it was, “the best way to learn a trade.” And the practical, vocational aspects of the apprenticeships also proved an attraction: “You get to learn things hands-on, not just in classrooms,” commented 17 years old Horticultural Apprentice Jack Milledge. Aaron Broad, 18, an Apprentice Electrician agrees; “You’re working on different sites, so you learn more.” The work environment has also helped the apprentices in other ways as 23 years old Business Administration apprentice Matthew Taylor explains; “I’ve not only been learning new skills but also more about myself from the others in the office.” “It’s helped me pick up skills that will be of use with potential future jobs, and given me experiences that could help me in life in general,” adds Misha Taylor, 21, another Business Administration apprentice. For Hassan Cox, 17, a Catering Apprentice, the variety is giving

him the opportunity to find out what he might ultimately choose to do; “It’s obviously a step on the ladder to getting a career, and a chance to see which part of catering I’d really like to work in,” he says.

You have to abide by the labour laws of the country in which you OWN a business and also the country in which you are DOING business. 3. Accounting Unlike most countries where opening a company and receiving a VAT number takes at least a few weeks, Hungary can set you up with your business and give you a VAT number in a record-breaking 72 hours.

“Creating these opportunities for local people is a key part of Medway Norse’s pledge to add social value to the community,” says Operations Director Ian Price. “These young adults are gaining valuable experience of the work environment and about the responsibilities of earning a living. Some may well go on to find a future with Medway Norse, but they will all have transferable skills and hopefully a qualification at the end of their apprenticeship.”

But what many entrepreneurs don’t know is that you then have to deal with the Hungarian tax system which isn’t so easy. Always factor in the time and money you need to spend to get a solid and well-established local accountancy firm.

Cllr Filmer said: “Creating apprentice opportunities is so important and as we can see from the Medway Norse schemes, the young people are gaining invaluable experience which will bode them extremely well for the future.”

Always check what documentation and ID you’ll need to open a foreign bank account. Most banks need a face-to-face meeting and beware of websites that offer ‘easy’ bank accounts with minimal documentation as they are usually fraudsters. Go to a trusted company formation agent instead.

4. Language Company formation agents always have bilingual employees to help set up your business. But once their formative part is over, it’s always wise to have an employee who speaks the same language – otherwise you’ll be paying translator costs. 5. Banking

February - March 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



Meet Bessie the Bus! For those who haven’t seen her already, this innovative conversion for high-street fashion brand Oasis was completed by our parent company South East Coachworks.

Disputes Conflicts, failure failure to agr agree ee Not all business runs smoothly – disputes inevitably occur. These can be costly, sour long term relationships and impact future profitability. effectively fectively as So it’s important to resolve them as ef possible. Whitehead Monckton’s Dispute Resolution team can provide you with expert advice and strategies to resolve your business disputes. Ranked in Chambers and Legal 500, we have an enviable track record - achieving excellent agreements whilst preserving future relationships. Take the first important step before the gloves really come off – contact us today on

Tel: T el: 01622 698047 E-mail www Whitehead Whitehead Monckton Monckton Limited Limited ((no. no. 0 08366029), 8366029 ), rregistered egistered iin England nE ng l a nd & Wales. King Street, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 1BL. Authorised W ales. Registered Registered office of fice 72 72 K ing S treet, M aidstone, K ent, M E14 1 BL. A uthorised and a nd regulated regulated by by tthe he Solicitors Solicitors Regulation Regulation Authority Authority under under no. no. 608279. 608279.

TB 2/15


ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2015

As part of Oasis’ wider multi-million pound re-fit, Bessie the Bus is a mobile fashion hotspot for keen shoppers around the country and features the brand’s contemporary House of Oasis interior scheme with some exciting additions including; a retro fridge, a kitchen hob, a fireplace, a Welsh dresser and a breakfast bar, all of which double up to display Oasis’s latest clothing and accessory collections. SEC Signworks has been responsible for the interior graphics on-board, including the Welsh dresser & the kitchen area displays, as well as the hanging lightbulb design to the rear of the bus. We also had the opportunity to supply and install the House of Oasis full vinyl wrap on the bus exterior and supply a digitally printed awning that matches the roof tile design! We think the photos speak for themselves! Bessie the Bus even has her own website: featuring Bessie’s story, timetable, blog posts and an invitation to sign up and vote for her to visit a town near you. Follow Bessie @oasisfashion #BessieTheBus Following installation of some large 'Coming Soon' posters at the end of November we recently completed installation of the exterior signage

and frosted window graphics at Chez Joel, in St. Margaret's Street in Canterbury. Chez Joel will be a Bistro, Wine Bar & Café but anyone who has eaten the food of Joel Gross will know that the guy is a culinary genius so this is going to be a bit special. Please don’t tell anyone but we’ve had a sneak peek at the menu & can let you know that it includes dressed oysters, crustaceans, croques monsieur, salads, lobsters & crabs, shellfish, mussels, seasonal tartine, seafood platters, soups, baguettes, terrines, pates & much more. Please remember what else we have to offer. You can find details of our services at or by visiting our Facebook page


Skills agreement for Dover signed The Port of Dover and East Kent College have signed an important agreement, which will see them strengthen the local economy and deliver exciting career prospects for young people in Dover. Their Memorandum of Understanding, signed by Tim Waggott, Chief Executive at the Port of Dover and Graham Razey, Principal of East Kent College, focuses on how to develop the skills of local people to support the ongoing development and future success of the Port. The Port of Dover, as the major local employer, and East Kent College will now work closely to identify the skills needed by Europe’s busiest ferry port and its customers. Once the skills issues have been identified, the two organisations will develop joint training programmes. The agreement also focuses on the future skills required as part of Dover Western Docks Revival, a key transformational project bringing 600 new jobs, so the training can be put in place for local people to benefit from this significant opportunity. Graham Razey, Principal of East Kent College, said: “Since taking on the Dover campus from the former K College, and establishing a base at Discovery Park, we have worked hard to get to know the local business community and better understand their needs in terms of skills and training. (L-R): Apprentice Joe Ward; Tim Waggott, Chief Executive at the Port of Dover; Graham Razey, Principal of East Kent College; and apprentice Thomas Biggington

“It is clear from our conversations with Tim and his colleagues that we have a shared

vision for a stronger, more dynamic Dover economy with a greater emphasis on matching the skills needs of business with the vocational skills we are helping to deliver, particularly those of the Port. “This agreement is the first of what we hope will be a series of strategic alliances with the major businesses that are driving the economy of Dover, Shepway and Thanet forward.” Tim Waggott, Chief Executive of the Port of Dover, added: “Our plans for the revival of the Western Docks have been warmly welcomed by local residents and businesses. This agreement will help ensure that local people will be able to gain the necessary skills and be well placed to benefit from the future growth of the port. “As we invest in our future and that of Dover, there will be a greater demand for appropriately skilled people and we need to ensure that we can continue to and increasingly recruit them locally to support our growth. This agreement is therefore extremely important in ensuring our collective ability to help strengthen the economy of Dover, and East Kent more widely.”

Support for new awards scheme Three Kent organisations have pledged their support for local journalism by sponsoring a new awards scheme for the county’s media. Law firm Cripps, East Kent College and the Port of Dover are all sponsoring categories in the new Kent Press & Broadcast Awards. Organised by PR and marketing agency Maxim, the awards will be judged by an independent panel of experts including national journalist Susie Boniface, known as Fleet Street Fox, Haymarket’s Patrick Fuller, journalist and lecturer Dr Sarah Lonsdale and award-winning TV producer Martyn Gregory. Andrew Metcalf, director at Maxim, said: “We want the awards to be a celebration of the Kent media and a positive way to recognise the hard work that goes into providing a local news service. “We would not be able to do this without the support of our sponsors so we are extremely grateful to the companies that are getting behind the scheme.”

Cripps, a top 100 law firm which has offices in Tunbridge Wells, Kings Hill, Discovery Park and London, is sponsoring the ‘Best use of social media’ category; East Kent College, which now has campuses in Broadstairs, Dover and Folkestone, has chosen to support ‘Kent young journalist of the year’; and the Port of Dover will sponsor the ‘Kent journalist of the year’. Entries will be accepted soon with the scheme culminating in an awards ceremony in summer 2015. For more information visit National journalist Susie Boniface, who is better known as Fleet Street Fox, will be part of the judging panel for the Kent Press & Broadcast Awards.

February - March 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS


International trading

The UK is the 2nd largest exporter of commercial services in the world, the 2nd largest outward investor, and the 10th largest exporter of goods. Is your business interested in getting involved? You are in good company! The globalisation of commerce is the biggest driver of change in business practices in the last 50 years. There are real opportunities to be seized by expanding your operations. Indeed UKTI’s recent survey of their trade clients who were exporting found: • 85% reported that exporting led to a ‘level of growth not otherwise possible’ • 73% that exporting had increased the commercial lifespan of products or services • 79% that exporting had enabled them to achieve fuller utilisation of existing capacity These are surely advantages any business would like to boast of. Of course exporting, or expanding internationally, is not easy. Transacting overseas brings a different set of risks and opportunities compared to domestic operations. UKTI’s survey also found that 64% had experienced a significant barrier when trying to enter a new international market. The most significant barrier is legal and regulatory issues, followed by customs problems, and difficulty in forging the right local connections. In business, with any opportunity comes risk. It is prudent to take advice from both UKTI and from specialist advisers when either exporting for the first time or planning to establish a presence in a new country. My firm has many clients whose results have improved dramatically as their overseas strategy gets working. Unfortunately from time to time we have also had to pick up the pieces of overseas operations that ventured into inappropriate locations, failed to select the best local partners, or fell foul of local tax laws and regulations. In developing your international trading strategy, we believe that there are four key areas to focus on; planning and research, method of entry (simple export, branch office, local company etc), local partnership, and developing an understanding of risk and compliance.


ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2015

The fundamental question of where to expand is a complex decision, and although traditional destinations such as the US, France and Ireland still dominate exports, many of our clients are looking further afield. This may increase certain risks, although regulation such as the UK Bribery Act does encourage sensible business practice. It is certainly true that a well-run company with a wellplanned export or entry strategy has little to fear.

MHA MacIntyre Hudson is the sole UK member of Baker Tilly International, the 8th largest global association of leading professional service firms. This gives us access to experts on international issues, from banking, to finance, to intellectual property – and in all major locations around the world. We also work closely with UKTI, and are a member of UKTI’s Advisory Network. To give an idea of the reach of our network, we have: • 154 member firms • A presence in 133 countries • 27,000 people working from 693 offices

It costs nothing to find out more, and I am always happy to chat about your export and international trading plans. Contact details:

Duncan Cochrane-Dyet Partner Location: Canterbury and Maidstone T: 01227 464 991 (Canterbury) 01622 754033 (Maidstone) M: 07525 590 516 E:


The Economy & Us: To do Now The pollsters agree: many voters mistrust the politicians who promised in 2010 to balance the books by 2015. Our politics is fragmenting: “UKIP success is a howl at the modern economy”, Financial Times 14/10/2014. UK plc is growing again, but for the many disadvantaged this isn’t enough. “Austerity” choked off tax-generating growth in 2010, and has cut annual services spend by £25bn with a further, drastic £48bn cut due by 2020 (see chart). Britons are a fair-minded lot and can see that the have-nots are being exploited by the haves. We don’t like it. Consider. Using taxes levied on everyone, Help To Buy creates property-owners. It also raises the portfolio wealth of “haves” who can access a Buyto-Let mortgage – typically yielding over 6%pa (4%5% rent plus 2% appreciation) on a mortgage @ 3%. Likewise, pensions auto-enrolment presses the whole workforce – ie including the disadvantaged with life expectancy as low as 55 – to fund the retirement of those who, being already better-off, may well live 30 years longer. Not to mention QE – a handout both to financiers and to householders now paying very low mortgage interest.

It’s hardly surprising if many voters are turning away from the usual suspects and looking for alternative policies. Here are some. “Cuts”. Don’t further savage public spending. Rather: maintain GDP, jobs – and tax receipts! – by borrowing to create infrastructure. Cut services only where cost-effective to do so. The UK has just borrowed £2.75bn @ 1.622% over 10 years. Like householders with a mortgage, our government is sitting on an asset which investors recognize. Housing. Encourage Councils to build new carbonneutral homes on brownfield sites, using proven cost-effective materials/ techniques. Fund these via mortgage tranches offered to long-term investors, pump-primed if necessary by government “deposits” loaned @ under 2%pa. Taxation. Curb tax breaks on Buy-to-Let investments in the existing housing stock. We don’t get tax relief when we buy to occupy – so why on BtL? Keep raising the Personal Allowance each year. Reduce Employers’ NIC by (say) 3% on the first

£10,000 above the Personal Allowance. Above the Basic Income Tax threshold, charge 50%. Create new upper tax rate bands to levy higher rates on higher earnings. Celebrate our mostly safe, civilized multiculture, which is worth paying to belong to. Raise VAT, which is mostly on discretionary purchases to (say) 22%. Finally, allow access to budget-vetting by the Office of Budget Responsibility for any party polling above 20% of parliamentary votes. Professionally-vetted proposals are in the nation’s interest – not a perk for those in power. Such short-term economic measures, together with a gradual return to economic growth, can help us pay our way in the world again whilst avoiding a slide into social unrest – provided that mainstream politicians engage in reasoned, evidence-based debate. Otherwise, voters will all too soon let in the demagogues; and none of us want a re-run of the 1930s.

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

February - March 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



which builds on any specific learning outcomes or other requirements that you may have, such as business etiquette and custom. Services to business range from intensive short courses, to more specific one-to-one sessions or individualised support for meetings and events, including professional interpretation services. The multi-lingual survival service assists in the preparation for international travel and business encounters. Further details can be found at From ‘Language Express’ 10 and 20 week courses covering a range of 9 languages, to bespoke business courses including Languages in Presentations, Meetings and Emails, the Centre for English and World Languages offers solutions to ensure that your organisation can communicate and develop within the international market. The University offers a 20 week course in a variety of languages including Arabic, German, Italian, Portuguese and Russian starting in October 2015. The cost of the 10 week course is £170 for external candidates and £255 for the 20 week course. The University’s academic excellence and world leading research means bespoke courses and linguistic support can be designed specifically for your organisation. We can develop a package 36

ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2015

Of interest to non-native English speakers, who want or need a formal assessment of their English language level, the University also offers Pearson English Tests and Cambridge English Exams, widely recognised by employers worldwide. “Working with the University of Kent to deliver our [...] Business Language courses has offered a productive and cost effective solution” Natalia Sukhram, Transmanche Enterprise Network For further information, or to book your place on one of these courses, please contact Jackie Fotheringham at or on 01227 824 804


Demystifying the public sector Susan Rom and Graham Clarke are the Partners at BIZphit LL, the business development consultancy helping small businesses win Public Sector contracts.

DIRECTLINE structures delivers the WOW factor Award-winning design and build specialist Directline Structures has received plaudits from parents and students alike following the completion and opening of a sixth form centre at Claremont Senior School near Bodiam on the East Sussex-Kent border. Award-winning design and build specialist Directline Structures has received plaudits from parents and students alike following the completion and opening of a sixth form centre at Claremont Senior School near Bodiam on the East Sussex-Kent border.

With in excess of £220 billion pounds being spent by the public sector alone, selling products or services to public sector bodies is a significant opportunity for all businesses to increase turnover and raise profitability. The Government has pledged to promote small businesses through its spend on procured goods and services with an aspirational target of 25% of its spend to SMEs by 2015. Many small businesses aspire to

sell their goods or services to the Public Sector but find the process too daunting, BIZphit LL can demystify the process and help you win those lucrative contracts. They help by offering a flexible bespoke service where they can identify the contracts which best serve your business needs, ensuring you receive the contract notices as they occur. They are also able to carry out a robust gap analysis audit, bespoke

to your business. The audit report will serve to help identify those areas that are strong as well as those that are weaker in your business and need bringing to a level suitable for public sector procurement. Whether you are looking for public sector contract information or opportunities in supply chains, BIZphit has the support and expertise you need.

ArcelorMittal Kent Wire Ltd ArcelorMittal Kent Wire (AMKW) is a wholly owned subsidiary of ArcelorMittal Hamburg, one of Europe’s leading wire rod manufactures and a member of ArcelorMittal, the worlds largest steel producer. AMKW has grown to become the country's leading manufacturer of fabric reinforcement, supplied to the construction industry in the UK. Production began in 1988 with initial capacity of 20,000 tonnes per annum, after investments in 1998 and 2005, manufacturing capability has increased to a figure in excess of 130,000 tonnes per annum. AMKW also manufactures cold reduced wire for the concrete precast industry.

Complementing the experience and services offered by AMKW, is ArcelorMittal Construction Solutions (AMCS). This division of AMKW offers engineered and prefabricated steel reinforcement solutions. Products carry CARES certification, an internationally recognised accreditation standard set by the Certification Authority for Reinforced Steels. Steel products are shipped from Europe to our quayside in

Chatham, Kent. All vessels are arranged and handled by Total Ship Services (TSS) the shipping division of AMKW. Founded in 2000 TSS has had rapid growth handling over 400,000t per annum. The management team has created this unique company structure enabling AMKW, AMCS and TSS to offer a range of services and products that meet the demands and challenges required by its customers.

The team from Ashford-based Directline Structures were on hand to talk to parents and students when they were invited to tour the centre. Managing Director Duncan Murray said they were inundated with positive feedback, praising the design and sense of space created by high ceilings and abundance of natural daylight. He said: “It was gratifying to hear comments like ‘wow’ and ‘aren’t the students lucky’ and ‘we never had anything like this when I was at school’. To receive such an overwhelmingly positive reaction is wonderful and gives a real sense of satisfaction at a job well done.” The facility caters for up to 100 sixth form students and includes five classrooms and a meeting room. The two ‘stand-out’ features are the Common Room at the front of the building, where students can relax and socialise, and the Study Room at the rear which is for quiet independent study. The design incorporates a range of sizes of rooms to cater for the different subjects taught at Alevel, and each room has its own feature wall in a colour of the teacher’s choice.

February - March 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



3aaa “An Outstanding Apprenticeship Provider” A National Training Provider recently became the only independent training provider to achieve Ofsted Grade 1 Outstanding in all areas on a first inspection.

Dartford bathroom business finds help on tap from Locate in Kent A fast-growing Dartford company has moved into new and bigger premises and taken on more staff with the help of Locate in Kent.

3aaa, Founded by Peter Marples and Di McEvoy-Robinson in 2008, places a huge emphasis on employing high-quality, industry-experienced staff, delivering Outstanding Apprenticeship Programmes that are developed with a focus on providing industry led skills and experience. The team of eight inspectors judged all measures of success as Outstanding; Effectiveness of Leadership and Management, Outcomes for Learners, Quality of Teaching Learning and Assessment and Overall Effectiveness; in their report published today. In addition Grade 1 was awarded for all subject areas. With its Head office based in Derby and a training centre in Maidstone as well as all major cities or towns throughout England, 3aaa provides Apprenticeships in professional services including Accountancy, IT, Social Media, Business Administration, Financial Services and Technical Sales. Peter Marples, Founder, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have achieved Grade 1 - Outstanding, the highest possible across all areas of the business, in our first Ofsted Inspection. This is indeed a reflection of the sheer dedication, hard work and commitment of everyone; staff, employers and partners - we are so proud.” Di McEvoy-Robinson, Founder, added “We are so thrilled with the grading and hugely positive report. This will help inspire us all to continue to deliver our ‘Outstanding’ programmes and change more and more young people’s lives for the better. We have worked exceptionally hard to understand the needs of employers at a local level and fit those needs, so to be recognised by Ofsted for this is such an achievement”. The ‘Outstanding’ grading is unique in that 3aaa are the first to achieve Grade 1 across the board as a National Provider, covering multi sectors. Only 2% of all other providers have achieved an Outstanding Grade in total, 3aaa being the first to do so in a first inspection.


ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2015

Crosswater Limited, part of the Bathroom Brands Group, which designs, imports and distributes bathroom fixtures and fittings to the trade, moved from Charles Park, Crossways, to a new purpose built headquarters at Rennie Drive, The Bridge. Founded in 1998, the company moved to Crossways from Questor Estate, Dartford, in 2007. Its rapid growth saw it expand into two adjoining units two years later, but by 2011, it had run out of space once more. “We had a look around but found there were very few large premises available,” said Tim Powell, Group Finance Director of

Crosswater. “In the end we opted for a design and build project at The Bridge. “Our new headquarters occupies 132,000 square feet but at 14 metres high it means our cubic capacity has nearly trebled in size, which will help us grow our turnover to £100 million over the next five years.” Funding the £18 million building project meant the company was looking for financial help to support growth in other areas, such as staffing and exploiting new markets. Following advice from Locate in Kent, the county’s investment

promotion agency, Crossways applied for and received a £217,000 interest free loan from TIGER, the Regional Growth Fund scheme for the Thames Gateway. Since the move to The Bridge, 15 new staff have been taken on, bringing the total employed to 175. If the company continues to grow, that figure could reach 250. Some of those staff will join via the company’s apprenticeship scheme, with the TIGER loan helping it fund NVQ training for youngsters from the Dartford area, as well as some from across the river in Thurrock.

Getting connected Getting a usable broadband connection is challenging, especially for those businesses based in rural locations, as the commercial limitations of providing a network infrastructure to all parts of the county mean there are pockets of Kent that still receive little or no service. Fortunately though, despite the Some solutions can help single means you can be “virtually” “Digital Divide”, even if you can’t occupancy premises’, others are sat at your desk, even if you are obtain a broadband service from more suitable for multi-tenanted on the other side of the world. traditional providers there may still be buildings or clustered units where This won’t solve the lack of help available. the cost can be distributed through broadband at your core base, but it a service charge. There are different options that help will allow the flexibility for you to overcome a lack of mainstream For those that cannot receive operate from multiple locations where infrastructure, ranging from leased alternative networks, there are cloud you can pick up a reliable service. fibre-optic lines, through to wireless based solutions available that allow and line-of-sight networks. Over users to operate remotely but still 80% of businesses can benefit from have desktop visibility of their on-site If you would like more information or a free these technologies, and there are a office suite. Adding built-in consultation please email to variety of packages available resilience, up-to-date security and depending on location. digital telecommunication systems


Astro Communications celebrates 30 years of business success Astro Communications Limited celebrated 30 years of successful trading with the launch of its new website and a number of staff promotions as it re-structures itself.

£250,000 boost for The Wing A major fund-raising boost from the Government has been welcomed by the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust but the charity has warned that it still needs more help. The Trust, which is set to open its stunning new visitor centre at Capel-le-Ferne, was given £250,000 from the fines levied on the banks as a result of the LIBOR scandal. Founded by friends Steve Smith and Rob Trollope in 1984, who originally started out as apprentices at BT over 40 years ago, Astro Communications has continued to provide communications, connectivity and networking services to some of the UK’s leading organisations. Delivering complex solutions ranging from safety systems on Fortis Field oil rigs to satellite overlay networks at holiday parks around the UK coast, Astro has earned a reputation for achieving the seemingly impossible through the use of technology. Steve and Rob and still active employees of the business to this day. Developments in the industry have significantly changed the type of activities Astro has undertaken since the early days. Whilst the company now focuses predominantly on providing a high quality service wrap around more standard technical solutions, there are still opportunities from time to time to engage in the obscure or technically challenging.

These include delivering robust, EFT POS-supportable wireless connectivity to TGI Fridays in Bluewater or wireless connectivity on board Wightlink Ferries. Astro has recently completed the build of its new ISP grade core network and Virtual Data Centre offering to deliver niche ISP services to customers who are not getting the quality of service or level of support they need from the larger suppliers in the market who look after their business critical needs. Astro marked its birthday with the launch of its new website demonstrating its intention to remain fresh and current. Steve Smith, co –founder of the business, said: "it is not just important that we keep up to date with technology, we also need to keep our public facing image and content current in order to stay relevant and interesting. Our new website sends a clear message that while we may have been going since Bandaid was in the charts

the first time around, we are every bit as in touch with the market, our customers and our employees and will remain so long into the future.” The anniversary also brings with it some structural changes in the management team as Astro positions itself for the next phase of its growth and development. Steve Smith will take on the role of CTO and Adam Crocker-White will assume the position of Head of Delivery and Operations. Steve Hodges, Managing Director said: “While we are a relatively small company we now think and act with the underpinning processes and professional standards of a large business while maintaining the flexibility, agility and customer focus we have always had. Giving specific focus to key areas of the business as we realise our growth plans is key to maintaining that balance and the new positions that Steve and Adam take on will enable us to better achieve that.”

The cash means the Trust has raised the £3.5m capital cost of The Wing – without any other funding from central or local government – but chairman Richard Hunting CBE has stressed that the running costs of the site and the new building are significant. “Clearly we are delighted with the news that the Treasury has helped ensure we can open The Wing in 2015 by passing on £250,000 of LIBOR money, but that doesn’t mean we can stop our fund raising efforts,” he said. “The Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne costs around £70,000 a year to run and we also need to make sure we have sufficient funds to maintain The Wing, which will house our exciting new Scramble Experience visitor centre. “It is fantastic news that we will be able to complete the project, install the audio-visual experience and open The Wing during such an important year but we still need people to give generously to this great cause.”

February - March 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS




ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2015

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• Provide a young person with job specific skills and a recognised qualification • 85% of SME’s say Apprentices bring enthusiasm and fresh ideas to the workplace • Receive a grant for £1500 for taking on an Apprentice Why eTraining? • Full support in the recruitment and training of Apprentices • Over 15 years’ experience delivering Apprenticeships • 83% Learner success rate Delivering Apprenticeship Training in • Health and Social Care • Business Administration • Children and Young People’s Workforce

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Chamber Events, Seminars & Workshops BUSINESS BREAKFAST


Details (unless otherwise stated): Time: 8:00am - 9:30am Non-Members: £20.00 + VAT Members: £15.00 + VAT

Wednesday 25 March Ramada Encore Chatham Hotel, Western Avenue, Chatham, Kent, ME4 4NT This lunch time event slots neatly into the business day and provides the ideal opportunity for you to meet fellow professionals, grow the profile of your brand and to build

Join us for a delicious full English breakfast and lots of networking. Wednesday 11 February 2015 Holiday Inn Rochester, Maidstone Road, Rochester, ME5 9SF Thursday 12 February 2015 The Elwick Club, Church Road, Ashford, TN23 1RD Wednesday 18 February 2015 The Grand, The Leas, Folkestone, Kent, CT20 2XL Thursday 19 February 2015 Breakfast Netw orking Special - Hollywood Bowl Hollywood Bowl Maidstone, Lockmeadow Entertainment Centre, Barker Road, Maidstone, Kent, ME16 8SF Friday 27 February 2015 Best Western Coniston Hotel & Restaurant, 70 London Road, Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 1NT Friday 6 March 2015 Coolings Garden Centre, Knockholt, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN14 7LH Wednesday 18 March 2015 with guest speaker Terry Botfield Oakwood House, Oakwood Road, Maidstone, Kent, ME16 8AE Friday 20 March 2015 with guest speaker Andrew Priestley Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford, Kent, TN24 0LH Friday 10 April 2015 Best Western Manor Hotel, Hever Court Road, Singlewell, Gravesend. DA12 5UQ


ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2015

AFTER HOURS Time: 6.00pm - 7.30pm FREE to members and non-members The After Hours Club is a popular and highly successful 'casual' networking event. The informal atmosphere and relaxed environment is the ideal place to relax and chat to fellow business people. This event is open to Members and non-members. Come and join us for an evening of networking. Complimentary Tea and Coffee will be served. A Cash Bar is sometimes available.

new business relationships. Join us for a delicious two course hot buffet lunch (Mexican) - to include Nachos, Fajitas, Chilli, Rice, Salads and desert, PLUS lots of networking Time: Non Members Members

Tuesday 17 February Bridgewood Manor Hotel, Walderslade Woods, Chatham, Kent, ME5 9AX Tuesday 17 February with Canterbury Economic Development Group The Abbots Barton, 36 New Dover Road, Canterbury, Kent, CT1 3DU Wednesday 25 February with guest speaker Rebecca Robertson from Evolution for Women Best Western Coniston Hotel & Restaurant, 70 London Road, Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 1NT

‘Get Social’ Kent

12 noon - 2.00pm £25.00 + VAT £20.00 + VAT Tuesday 3 March The Conningbrook Hotel, Canterbury Road, Ashford, Kent, TN24 9QR Tuesday 3 March with guest speaker Ash Lawrence Nucleus Business & Innovation Centre, Brunel Way, Dartford, Kent, DA1 5GA Tuesday 17 March Ramada Encore Chatham, Western Avenue, Chatham Historic Dockyard, Chatham, Kent, ME4 4NT Tuesday 17 March The Abbots Barton, 36 New Dover Road, Canterbury, Kent, CT1 3DU

FREE Open Day

In partnership with

Build online business relationships; become Social! Friday 27 February 2015 Mercure Maidstone Great Danes, Ashford Road, Hollingbourne, Maidstone. ME17 1RE Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and ZC Social Media are bringing together a morning and afternoon session packed full of Social Media content, expert advice, tips and strategies for you to take and use straight away in your business.

This is going to be the BIGGEST Social Media Event in Kent! 'Get Social Kent' Exhibitors: 2 metre stands : £150 + VAT

9.00am - 3.30pm

The ‘Get Social’ Kent event will have a variety of ways in which you can learn: • Keynote Speakers will provide you with an insight and practical ways on how you can start being more social, get more engaged with your online community • Expert Q & A Panel will bring together Kent’s Social Media experts to answer your burning questions and challenges from the social media world • Social Media Clinics will enable you to get hands on experience in a workshop environment and start putting some ideas and tasks into place • The Social Media Exhibition Room will be full of Social Media and Digital experts where you can ask away your questions and find out more about their services and products • The day will also include refreshments and a light lunch. All you need to bring is your notebook, pen, plenty of business cards for networking and motivation to take action!


WORKSHOPS AND SEMINARS Getting Started and Progressing in Export or Import Friday 27 February 2015 Time:

8:30am - 12:30 noon


£75.00 + VAT

Non Members:

£90.00 + VAT

Chambers Exporting Network Lunch Friday 13 March 2015

Medway Innovation Centre, Maidstone Road, Rochester, Chatham, Kent, ME5 9FD This course is designed as an in depth workshop and yet, only requires you to commit a morning rather than the usual full day. It will address a wide range of tips and procedures to deal with the many requirements that can occur with international trade situations.


11:30am - 2:30pm


£10.00 + VAT

Non Members:

£15.00 + VAT

Medway Innovation Centre, Maidstone Road, Rochester, Chatham, Kent, ME5 9FD

Kent Healthy Business Awards

Intermediate International Trade Friday 19 March 2015

Time: Members: Non Members:

8:30am - 12:30 noon £75.00 + VAT £90.00 + VAT

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Kent, TN24 0LH Join us for an in depth workshop at intermediate level on International Trade - this is for those with some experience or wishing to improve their knowledge.

Time: 7:30am - 10:00am

Kent Invicta Chamber Business Awards 2015

“Improving economic performance through people and environment”

Tuesday 24 March 2015

(In partnership with Kent County Council)


7:00pm - 11:30pm


£37.00 + VAT

Non Members:

£37.00 + VAT

FREE Business Breakfast

According to research, UK employers pay an annual bill of £9billion for sick pay and associated costs* Workplace health and wellbeing programmes can increase employee job satisfaction and reduce staff turnover between 10 and 25%** Kent Healthy Business Award is Kent County Council’s free self-assessment framework. By demonstrating commitment to wellbeing and sustainability, your business could reap the rewards of a healthier workforce and automatically qualify for eligibility for the government’s Health at Work Award being launched in 2015.

Working towards the standard gives you access to: • A Kent Award linked to a nationally recognised award scheme • A local health at work advisor • Expertise in health and wellbeing programmes • FREE resources for a healthier business Tuesday 10 February 2015 Best Western Coniston Hotel & Restaurant, 70 London Road, Sittingbourne, ME10 1NT Thursday 26 February 2015 Mercure Tunbridge Wells Hotel, 8 Tonbridge Road, Pembury, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 4QL Wednesday 11 March 2015 Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel, Ashford Road, Hollingbourne, Maidstone, ME17 1RE

Canterbury Cathedral Lodge, The Precincts, Canterbury, Kent, CT1 2EH Share your successes and get the recognition you deserve by entering the Kent Invicta Chamber’s 2015 Awards. The Winners of the Chamber Awards 2015 will be announced at a Gala Dinner to be held at the Canterbury Cathedral Lodge on the 24 March 2015, in the precincts of the historic Canterbury Cathedral. Closing date to enter the Chamber Awards is 20 February 2015

To book either visit or email or call 01233 503838

February - March 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS





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HILARY STEEL Making the most of change


&ƌŽŵ ĂŶ /ŶƚĞƌŶĂƟ ŽŶĂů ďĂŶŬŝŶŐ ĐĂƌĞĞƌ ƚŽ DĂŐĂnjŝŶĞ Editor, Hilary explores ŚŽǁ ͚ĐŚĂŶŐĞ͛ ďĞĐŽŵĞƐ the friend of anyone with entrepreneurial spirit. Both ŝŶƚĞƌĂĐƟ ǀĞ ĂŶĚ ůŝǀĞůLJ ,ŝůĂƌLJ will have you challenging LJŽƵƌ ƚŚŽƵŐŚƚƐ ĂďŽƵƚ ƚŚĞ ǁĂLJ you are currently working.

• ^ƉĞĞĚ ŶĞƚǁŽƌŬŝŶŐ ƐĞƐƐŝŽŶƐ Ăůů ĚĂLJ ʹ ŵĞĞƚ ŵŽƌĞ ďƵƐŝŶĞƐƐĞƐ ŝŶ ŚĂůĨ an hour than you would in a month ͞/ Ăŵ ƚŽƚĂůůLJ ĐŽŶǀŝŶĐĞĚ ƚŚĂƚ ƉƌŽŵŽƟ ŶŐ ŵLJ ďƵƐŝŶĞƐƐ ďLJ ĞdžŚŝďŝƟ ŶŐ Ăƚ ƚŚĞ Ϯ ĞǀĞŶƚƐ ŝƐ Ă ƌĞĂůůLJ Ğī ĞĐƟ ǀĞ ǁĂLJ ŽĨ ŐĞŶĞƌĂƟ ŶŐ ŶĞǁ ĐŽŶƚĂĐƚƐ͕ ŚŝŐŚ ƋƵĂůŝƚLJ ůĞĂĚƐ ĂŶĚ ďƵƐŝŶĞƐƐ ŽƉƉŽƌƚƵŶŝƟ ĞƐ ǁŝƚŚ ĞdžĐĞůůĞŶƚ ZK/͞ David Gurton

Director, Caxtons Chartered Surveyors


Drew Selman

Understanding the digital-savvy customer in 2015

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£46.1M expansion deal boosts long term plan for South East economy An estimated 3,600 jobs could be en route to Kent and Medway after the South East Local Enterprise Partnership agreed an expansion to its Growth Deal with the Government with a further £19.4m from the Local Growth Fund for the area.

Over the lifetime of its Deal (2015-2021) South East Local Enterprise Partnership estimates that up to 45,000 new jobs could be created, 23,000 new homes built and the potential to generate up to £700m public and private investment.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Giving local communities the power and the money to unlock growth and development and make the spending decisions that work for them is a key part of our long-term economic plan to secure a brighter future for Britain and ensure a recovery for all. That’s what Growth Deals are all about, backing local people and investing in the infrastructure, housing and skills that Jackie Doyle-Price MP, Peter Jones, Rt Hon Michael Gove, Andrea Stark, will drive forward local economies, create more jobs and opportunities for A new lorry parking capacity in the The new funding, which is in addition hardworking people and supercharge all parts of our country”. M20 corridor, alleviating congestion, to the £442.2m of funding committed tackling Operation Stack, and by the Government on 7 July 2014, Over the lifetime of its Deal (2015facilitating new housing and up to will help to deliver: 2021) South East Local Enterprise 300 jobs Partnership estimates that up to Relocation of an existing marina and 45,000 new jobs could be created, Growth in the advanced manufacturing improved highway connections to 23,000 new homes built and the sector through the provision of new permit expansion of cargo-handling potential to generate up to £700m employment (up to 300 jobs) and facility and regeneration of waterfront public and private investment. innovation space at Rochester at Dover, leading to 100 new homes SE LEP Chair Peter Jones said: “This Airport in Medway and the creation of 500 jobs Growth Deal is a huge boost for the Mixed-use redevelopment of Investment in signalling at Ashford South East Economy - through our Deal Folkestone seafront to provide up to International railway station to help with Government almost half a billion 500 jobs, 300 homes, improved secure international rail services at pounds is now to be invested in local growth, supporting projects of national leisure facilities and public realm Ashford and up to 2000 jobs


ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2015

significance and of real importance to local areas, bringing new jobs, businesses and homes. “This funding builds on the earlier investment announced for transport infrastructure, reaches right across the South East from the Thames Gateway to our coastal towns and attracts new private sector support. By recognising the development of our SEFUND investment fund, it also offers the opportunity to fund future growth in new and different ways. “SE LEP has taken huge strides in recent months; our excellent businesses and councils across East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock are working together to make the South East the place for business and growth.” The South East LEP Growth Deal is part of a long term plan to devolve at least £12 billion from central government to local economies. The plan aims for every part of the country to be a motor of growth for the national economy – building on the strength of the South East.


SE LEP has taken huge strides in recent months; our excellent businesses and councils across East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock are working together to make the South East the place for business and growth.

Michael Gove and Peter Jones

“This is a boost for Kent. The announcement that key projects in Kent will receive Government funding is very good news for our economic prospects,” said Paul Carter, Leader of Kent County Council. He added: “We secured the funding package announced today by working with district councils, and local and regional partners in the private sector through the Kent and Medway Economic Partnership and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership. “It adds to the £127million allocated to Kent and Medway projects in the South East Local Enterprise Partnership ‘Growth Deal’ – which is set to support development of M20 Junction 10a, a new 'Thanet Parkway' railway station, the A28 Chart Road and Sturry Relief Road.

“We have already created thousands of new jobs and boosted business through the first wave of Government ‘Growth Fund’ money and are well set to reap the benefits of more jobs, a stronger economy and improved infrastructure from the latest round of funding.” Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council, said: “We are pleased the Ashford International Signalling project has received funding support and is recognised by the SELEP as an important one for not only Ashford but the whole of the South East. “This project is needed to provide a signalling solution for Ashford International Station, thus enabling next generation of Eurostar trains to continue to stop at the station, and will help the town continue to be one of the most connected places in the UK.

“This news follows Eurostar’s announcement last year that Ashford services will be expanded from May 2015 to include daily trains to Marseille and Lyon, meaning France’s three largest cities are within easy reach, reinforcing our view that Ashford is the UK’s international town.” Jo James, Chief Executive of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is fantastic news for Ashford and will ensure that it continues to capitalise on its international links. Since the introduction of the Eurostar service, the town has seen a significant growth in European businesses locating to the town and UK companies looking at Ashford as a key business location to service both the UK and International markets.

“With plans for more direct international connectivity from Ashford International, coupled with direct high speed services into London, Ashford's ambitious plans for business growth are on track.” Paul Wookey, Chief Executive of Locate in Kent, said: “The investment in Dover and Ashford, and the money to help tackle the problems of Operation Stack, are a real boost for the county’s links with Europe. “The High Speed Rail and motorway links to the channel tunnel and ports are already a big draw for companies looking to locate or expand in Kent, and the fact money has been allocated to these key projects can only help enhance that attraction.”

This Growth Deal is a huge boost for the South East Economy through our Deal with Government almost half a billion pounds is now to be invested in local growth, supporting projects of national significance and of real importance to local areas, bringing new jobs, businesses and homes.

February - March 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



Name: Company name: Start up date: Website:

Sunil Rupasinha Kent Traffic Law 01 September 2014

Q1: Tell us a bit about your business? I represent motorists and companies facing road traffic prosecution. I specialise in saving Driving Licenses by avoiding or minimising driving disqualifications. Q2: What gives your business ‘the x-factor’? I am a barrister with 25 years’ experience of advocacy at the criminal Bar. I have prosecuted and defended in the most famous courts in the land such as the Old Bailey and the Court of Appeal. I offer to bring this experience to bear for the benefit of the hard pressed motorist. Q3: What motivated you to set up the business? Relatively recent changes in the legal profession mean that the public can now access the expertise of a barrister without having to instruct a solicitor first. I wanted to offer the public an alternative to criminal defence solicitors who are used to monopolising direct access to the public in road traffic defence work.


ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2015

Q4: What do you like most about working for a start-up? I set my own goals and standards, organise my own diary and live my life the way I want. It is full-on but very rewarding. Q5: What has been your greatest business success to date? I defended a very successful businessman upon a Guilty plea.He had caused a headon crash requiring two people to be cut out of the wreckage of an oncoming car, left the scene and, when arrested, gave a reading 3.5 times the alcohol limit. I managed to keep this man out of prison to his, his family’s and his employees’ relief (some of whom would otherwise have been out of work). Q6: What has been your lowest moment? In the beginning I was uncertain as to whether the public would embrace the opportunity to instruct a barrister directly. I now realise it is simply a question of publicising the changes in the legal landscape.

Q7: In terms of business achievements, where do you want to be within the next 5 years? I would like to have built up my road traffic practice and then taken advantage of the liberalisation of the profession currently underway to leverage my business, perhaps by opening several outlets and employing other lawyers. Q8: What would be your top tip to someone thinking of starting up their own business? Be ambitious and maintain a positive mind-set. Whatever your skills and experiences remember they are unique and are probably more extensive, and therefore advantageous, than you yourself realise. Sunil has been invited by Paul Andrews to appear on the Business Bunker radio show on Channel Radio,, on February 17, which runs from 1-3pm


Welcome to new members Active Digital

Coldwell Construction Ltd

InXpress Tonbridge

Paddock Wood 01892 835522 Mobile Communications

Northfleet 01474 561000 Building Repairs/Maintenance, Disabled Adaptations, Extensions, Refurbishments, Conversions.

Sevenoaks Logistics Services

Apex Contractors Limited Bexley Village 08442 570000 Refurbishment and Fit Out Contractor

ArcelorMittal Kent Wire Ltd Chatham 01634 823604 Manufacturing & Port Operations

Dental Sky Wholesaler Ltd Ashford Dental/Medical Wholesaler

01233 502605

SK Brand Management Ltd 01959 788114

Kent & Sussex Holiday Cottages Sandwich 01580 720770 Premier Holiday Cottage Letting

Lite4life Ltd

Discovery Park Sandwich 01304 614060 Business Park

Minster-on Sea 07757 471740 Fire Safety, Products, Software, Risk Management.

Lumina Lighting Limited

AS North Ltd

Dyson Brown Gents Hairdressing

Sittingbourne 01795 476766 www.nor Electrical Contractor

Ashford 01233 626003 Gents Hairdressing

Sidcup 02034 789547 Sale of LED Lighting Products

Everett Macleod Ltd

Maidstone 01622 620850 Manufacturer, independent provider of print, document, IT and process technology

Fact or Fiction Tours

Basepoint Business Centre Chatham 01634 816000 Business Centre - Managed Office Space

Tonbridge Financial Planning

01732 366903

Smeeth 07546 595803 Tour Guide

Orpington 01689 877081 Accountants and Tax Advisers

Maidstone 01622 535259 Technology incubator. Software Research, design and development for mobile, desktop and the cloud.

Be My Marketing


Rainham 07513 130163 Marketing Consultancy/Professional Services

Bromley 02074 896480 Financial Professional & Strategy Services

Baxter & Co

Catering Naturally Limited Ashford 01233 220818 Catering

Tenterden Business Services Ltd Tenterden 01580 763930 Business Concierge Service - Marketing, advertising, poster/leaflet design, printing, copying.

Sevenoaks Sub Contract Machining

MCM Net Ltd

Ultim8 Nutrition and Wellness

Tonbridge Digital Marketing Agency

01732 368120

Hythe 01303 267441 Hotel

Opal Fabrication Ltd Gravesend 01474 568100 Metal Fabrications

Robinson Low Francis Brighton 01273 325781 Property and Construction Consultants

HDH Security Systems Ltd Chatham 01634 666300 Design & Manufacture of Security 'Cash In Transit' Equipment

Chatham 01634 812805 Art Gallery, Studios, Office Space, Tearoom, Functions

Tunbridge Wells 01892 779650 Aviation, Hospitality, Conferencing, Publishing

Mercure Hythe Imperial Hotel ForeMinds, Apps, Games & Cloud Software

Sun Pier House CIC

Turncircuit Ltd

Markerstudy Leisure Balreed Digitec (Group) Ltd

Canterbury 01227 714040 Manufacturer of Home Fragrance Products

Runway Training Tonbridge 01732 402402 Education & Training

01732 763140

Ashford 01233 739113 Nutrition, Health, Well Being, Weight Management

Universal Advisory Group Whitstable 01227 668200 Consulting

Wessex Archaeology Rochester 01634 868834 Archaeology Heritage Services

Your Travel Ltd Sheerness 01252 411081 www.your Luxury Travel Agency & Corporate/Business Travel Management

February - March 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS




Liz is the real deal Cripps managing associate Liz Barton has been selected as a winner in the Deal Maker of the Year Awards 2014. The accolade is in recognition for her role in the successful raising of £2.2m in funding for Silent Edge, an award-winning Tunbridge Wells talent management company that helps some the UK’s best known firms get the best possible performance from their staff.

The Last Word Name: Company: Job title:

Caroline Butterfield Oak Creative Advertising and Design Partner, Managing Director

Q. What was your first job and what was the pay packet? A. Working for an Advertising Agency on Gabriels’s Hill, in Maidstone, as a junior paste-up artist. These were the days before computers and my first wage packet was £25 per week. Q. What do you always carry with you to work? A. A B&Q 3m (10’) yellow tape measure. Q. What is the biggest challenge facing your business? A. Client expectation because it effects budgets. Q. If you were Prime Minister, what one thing would you change to help business? A. Lower VAT as this would benefit 'Start-ups'. Q. What can you see from your office window? A. A green field and lots of rabbits. Q. If you could do another job what would it be? A. Work in the Restaurant Industry. Q. As a business person, what are your three main qualities? A. Intuition, organisation skills, honesty with customer relationships. Q. What was your biggest mistake in business? A. Too obliging and not being able to say ‘no' to a customer. Q. What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs? A. Have achievable targets. Q. Who do you most admire in business? A. Richard Branson.


ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2015

Miss Barton, who has specialised in corporate law and mergers & acquisitions work for the past 11 years, said:

“Cripps has a strong corporate and commercial team that supplies a whole range of highly-rated services to our business clients. I am delighted to have won this award as it is a further endorsement of the expertise that we offer.” James Beatton, head of the Cripps corporate team, added: “Liz is a talented corporate lawyer who works extremely diligently to get the best possible deals for our clients. The Silent Edge fundraising was a typical example of her going the extra mile to make sure our client’s interests were well looked after.” The Deal Maker of the Year Awards are run by Finance Monthly magazine and recognise the year’s most impressive corporate transactions.

Furley Page lawyer appointed Vice Chair Furley Page Partner Myfanwy McDonagh has been appointed Vice Chair of a committee of property specialists who provide law firms across the UK with advice on commercial, residential and landlord and tenant law. Myfanwy, who heads Furley Page’s residential property team, is now a senior member of the Property Section Committee of the Law Society. The committee is made up of specialist residential, commercial, and landlord and tenant practitioner members, and their practical support and guidance

helps society members to achieve best practice when dealing with clients. Myfanwy trained with Furley Page, qualifying in 1985. She subsequently moved to London before moving to practice law in Hong Kong. On returning to England in 1997, Myfanwy rejoined Furley Page. She is a member of the Kent Law Society, the Strode Park Foundation Committee and the Rotary Club of Chestfield.

The importance of appointing Ernest GDM Architects, based in Maidstone, has appointed Gavin Ernest as Associate Director with the practice. The promotion follows Gavin’s four years with the architecture practice, during which time he has been responsible for projects ranging from offices and education to designs for a multi dental practice and a new church. Gavin has recently been involved in helping the firm to win a series of competitive commissions and taken the

lead on entering GDM projects for awards, which led to projects being shortlisted in the recent Kent Design & Development Awards. He said: “It’s a very exciting time for architects with a growing interest in not only the aesthetic form of new buildings but also their sustainability and environmental performance. GDM is seeing a growing demand for our services and I’m delighted to join the management team.” In his new role he will continue with his project responsibilities and assist the directors with client contact and future business development.

Vanessa joins the team The Ridler Report 2013, Trends in the use of Executive Coaching in collaboration with the EMCC UK, identified that 83% of its respondents cited the most important key quality in coaching as being able to raise awareness of ingrained patterns of behaviour. (April, 2013) New Level Results Ltd, the only company in the UK and Ireland to offer Best Year Yet, an exclusive transformational, web based coaching tool and successful international Results Generating programme with an unparalleled track record for success for transforming the lives of individuals, teams and any sized business. With more than 25 years’ experience working within the public and private sector, including education and children and families social care, Vanessa Austin has joined a team of Results Coaches in the South East who are able to

access and deliver the Best Year Yet coaching programme throughout Kent & Surrey. Vanessa supports independent professionals, business owners and private individuals to break down barriers to success with a view to generating extraordinary results, both for their companies and/or in their private lives. Often quoted for her ability to question and challenge any problem Vanessa is able to support clients move forward to having their Best Year Yet. Vanessa is offering Chamber of Commerce members a complimentary, no obligation introductory session to a Best Year Yet coaching programme. Please contact Vanessa by emailing her at

We want this year to be bigger and better than ever so please put a day aside during this week. You can wear something dotty to school or work, hold a dot-tea party, a cake sale or take part in our Go Dotty Walk generally any fundraising that involves dots!

To register your interest please email: or telephone: 01795 845 288 Registered Charity Number: 1039651

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