Page 1


Raising Finance

A look at the wide range of funding choices for businesses


Spotlight on Canterbury

Big Interview with Gary Clarke of Golding Homes

Brexit: How can businesses prepare for a new customs regime?

HOW ARE YOU? Modern life makes it hard to be healthy. Help your employees find out how to improve their health by getting involved in One You Kent. Keeping your workforce healthy, can help maintain productivity. It’s also a great way to show your commitment to your workforce.

Visit kent.gov.uk/oneyouresources to get started with our free employer resources


Welcome & Contents


Rising to the challenge

Jo James

Chief Executive

Welcome to the latest edition of Thinking Business, which tells how some of the remarkable people working in our county have risen to a variety of challenges. The magazine appears at a crucial time as the UK enters a year of intense negotiations ahead of the transition period for Brexit. It is vital that our politicians do not let down a business community that is showing the kind of commitment and invention described in these pages.

Much as we would like the situation to be different, Brexit will continue to distract attention over the next twelve months so we welcome the agreement of a transition period by UK and EU Brexit negotiators.

Responding to the announcement, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “This is a milestone that many businesses across the UK have been waiting for. The agreement of a status quo transition period is great news for trading firms on both sides of the Channel, as it means that they will face little or no change in day-to-day business in the short term. While some companies would have liked to see copper-bottomed legal guarantees around the transition, the political agreement reached in Brussels is sufficient for most businesses to plan ahead with a greater degree of confidence.” That’s what we are hearing from our members, too. Business people may thrive on challenge and opportunity but they prefer to do so on ground that does not keep shifting beneath their feet.

Contents 4-5

Chamber Awards


Focus on Finance


Patron Focus


Spotlight on Canterbury


9-10 12-15

Members News Members News Members News

Our Patrons

22-23 24-28 30 32 33 35 36-37

The articles in this edition of Thinking Business focus on business people who have risen to the challenge. Our big interview on page 22 is with Gary Clark, who heads up housing association Golding Homes, which is taking on the challenge set by the Government, to create more homes for the South East. Another person ready to face the challenge is Jon Butt. When the entrepreneur gives talks or records podcasts about his business philosophy, one contention above all others provokes interest in his audience, the idea that a business can ‘self-manage’ itself. What Jon means is that owners need to be brave enough to resist the urge to micromanage their staff and instead trust them to do the job. In our Person Behind the Business feature on page 35, he explains what he means. Another person who likes a challenge is Mark McGill, who was made redundant from his City job so invested in a new trampoline park. Today, Flip Out Trampoline Park Chatham Medway is going from strength to strength and in our 24 Hours feature on page 41 he tells his story. Our area Spotlight on page 16 looks at how Canterbury is supporting a variety of exciting businesses through effective partnerships, our cover feature on page 24 delves into the world of finance and our Patrons page on page 11 looks at some of the companies who are shaping the Kent economy. Enjoy!

Big Interview Cover Feature Finance for Business The Economy & US Arts & Culture Ask the Expert The Person behind the Business Members News

38-39 41 42-43 44-45 46-47 48 49 50 50

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



Editorial and General Enquiries

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

Published April 2018 © Benham Publishing




Benham Publishing Limited, Aintree Building, Aintree Way, Aintree Business Park, Liverpool L9 5AQ Ian Fletcher Tel: 0151 236 4141 Fax: 0151 236 0440 admin@benhampublishing.com www.benhampublishing.com

Advertising and Features

Karen Hall Tel: 0151 236 4141 karen@benhampublishing.com Media No.1540

Production Manager

Mark Etherington Tel: 0151 236 4141 mark@benhampublishing.com

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. © 2018. 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.

Thinking Business


Chamber Business Awards

Chamber Business Awards 2018 - an evening of celebration

Chamber members joined together to celebrate business success at the Chamber Annual Business Awards Dinner on Thursday 22nd March at the prestigious Canterbury Cathedral Lodge.

Now in their 13th year, the Awards have been a great catalyst to promote excellence in business that is in abundance within the County.

Business of the Year 2018: Sponsor - University of Kent

The quality and quantity of applications continues to increase year on year, just going to show that Kent is truly an entrepreneurial County, demonstrating business at its best. The Awards were in 7 categories

BUSINESS OF THE YEAR 2018 (Sponsor: University of Kent)

ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR 2018 (Sponsor: Kent Innovation & Enterprise) MOST PROMISING NEW BUSINESS 2018 (Sponsor: Skills Hub Kent and Medway)

Winner - Infinity Group

Finalist - La De Da Boutique

Finalist - RIFT Group

Entrepreneur of the Year 2018: Sponsor - Kent Innovation and Enterprise


MANUFACTURER OF THE YEAR 2018 (Sponsor: Kent Manufacturing Focus Group) CONSTRUCTION PROJECT OF THE YEAR 2018 (Sponsor: Kent Construction Focus Group)

The Chamber would like to congratulate all of this year's Winners and very worthy Finalists. In addition to our category sponsors names above, we would like to thank Ashford Borough Council for supporting the event and helping us to make the evening a great success.


Thinking Business

Winner - Danny Lucas - Lucas Group

Finalist - Oliver Trailor - Runway Training

Most Promising New Business 2018: Sponsor - Skills Hub Kent and Medway

Winner - Convert Energy Ltd

Finalists - Pecunia (2016) Ltd and Scorpion Media

Chamber Business Awards

Exporter of the Year 2018: Sponsor - YOUR LONDON AIRPORT Gatwick

In My Opinion Amrita Bartram Partner Commercial Property

Winner - Bedfont Scientific Ltd

Finalist - Kemet International Ltd

Finalist - Jewelultra Ltd

Excellence In Customer Service 2018: Sponsor - Wilkins Kennedy LLP

Manufacturer of the Year 2018: Sponsor - Kent Manufacturing Focus Group

Finalist - Sunstone IP Systems

Why get legal advice which will be expensive and take forever, the landlord seems like a good sort? Maybe, 2 years later, your business isn’t doing so well and you can’t get out of your lease. Or maybe the business is doing great but the premises aren’t big enough anymore. The landlord said that it was normal to pay rent quarterly, but monthly would have eased cashflow. You didn’t think about the hidden extras that you have to budget for – your contribution towards repairs to the whole building is unlimited, you have to spend money putting your premises into a better state of repair when you leave than when you took them and you have to ‘strip-out your fit-out’, which will cost as much as the fit-out itself.

Finalist - La De Da Boutique

Winner - Waterloo Air Products plc

…people looking to trade in new premises often think they can sign a lease on the dotted line and pick up the keys and that little can go wrong.

Finalist - ITL Group

Construction Project of the Year 2018: Sponsor - Kent Construction Focus Group

You can break the lease after two years – brilliant! But the conditions to it render it useless. You can transfer the lease to someone else – great! But you stay on the hook because you have to guarantee the incoming tenant. You can’t sublet unless your subtenant pays the same rent and in a depressed market, why would someone rent from you when they can get a cheaper unit down the road? The wording of the permitted use clause means that your incoming tenant can only use the premises for the same specific use as you…pretty unlikely. The starting rent was reasonable but why will it stay the same when the market dips so that you’re paying 30% more than the going rate? If you’d asked for the landlord’s permission before signing about where to store your commercial waste, where to unload deliveries and where to park, would it have eased your business operation? Your annual rent x the number of years in the lease = the minimum of what your outlay will be. When you look at it like that, the question is, why would you not get a solicitor to help you?

Amrita can be contacted on 01227 768374 amritabartram@girlings.com

Winner - WW Martin Ltd

Finalist - Rap Interiors

Finalist - Jenner Group

girlings.com Thinking Business


Providing Company offers financial advice Ltd are Research & Development Tax Credits (R&D Tax Credits) peace of Fiscale advisors, headquartered in Suffolk. mind Members News

Absolute Electrical Fire and Security Ltd. was founded a year ago by myself, David Mckeown, coming from a background of installing, monitoring and maintaining alarms of all types and complexity in a variety of commercial sites throughout Southern England. Sites include hotels, preschools, retail units, banks and the MOD.

Since its inception, AEFS Ltd. has gone from strength to strength with us taking on more staff to manage the increasing workload and are currently looking for an apprentice to train to our exacting standards. AEFS Ltd. Is based near Maidstone and covers the South East of England and are able to cover any aspect of Electrical installation, maintenance or repair, whether a full rewire or the installation of extra sockets. With fire alarms we can plan and explain the new systems that use the latest alarm technology to fully meet the requirements of the latest Fire regulations. Insurance companies are far more likely these days to ask for a formal risk assessment before agreeing to cover commercial buildings. All too many organisations have neglected to update their fire systems and procedures, not perhaps realising that failure to comply could lead to insurers refusing to meet claims or withdrawing their cover. AEFS Ltd. also supply, install and maintain a variety of state of the art Security systems, from intruder alarms, door entry control systems and CCTV systems. For further information please visit www.aefs-uk.com


Thinking Business

Due to Fiscale’s success, Fiscale (South East) Ltd was formed in 2017 and is being led and managed by Hannah Tilson FCA CTA from the offices at The Innovation Centre, Medway. Hannah has considerable experience in the financial world and has spent many years in practice as a Chartered Tax Adviser. Hannah can advise during a short telephone call whether your company is likely to qualify for R&D Tax Credit claim.There is a common myth that only specialised Research and Development companies qualify for

a claim, but our clients include software companies, engineers, food production, manufacturing, service companies and many more. In short, if your company is improving products and services and facng scientific and technological uncertainty, there is a possibility of a successful claim; even if you have been told ‘no’ before. Once engaged, a technical meeting will be led by the Fiscale team to understand how the R&D works in your company. The outcome is a detailed report written by specialists

to evidence the improvements that have been made and making the case for the uncertainty encountered. The whole process is undertaken by Fiscale, who also re-work supporting tax computations. R&D Tax Credits may result in Corporation Tax refunds in cash, surrendered benefits, also in cash, or the choice of carrying forward tax losses against future Corporation tax liabilities. For further information visit: www.fiscale.com

KIMS Hospital announces new Charity of the Year partnership

KIMS Hospital, the largest independent hospital in Kent, is pleased to announce their Charity of the Year 2018 as the Samaritans Maidstone & Weald. Simon James, CEO KIMS Hospital comments, “KIMS Hospital is delighted to be supporting the Samaritans Maidstone & Weald. They play a pivotal role in mental health and wellbeing for our local community by providing 24-hour emotional support for people struggling to cope with suicidal thoughts. NHS England estimate that 1 in 4 adults experience mental illness in the UK. Both KIMS Hospital and the Samaritans Maidstone & Weald have a special role to play in caring for the people of Kent. The team at KIMS Hospital are looking forward to working together on some exciting

challenges to help raise funds for our Charity of the Year.”

As part of KIMS Hospital’s commitment to the local community, they partner and support a local charity every year. As part of the process, both charities and KIMS Hospital teams are encouraged to submit nominations. Once the nominations have been shortlisted, all teams from across the hospital vote for the charity they would like to support. The nomination for this year’s Charity of the Year came from a hospital team member who volunteers their time as a listener for the local branch.

This link adds further meaning and relevance to the partnership between KIMS Hospital and Samaritans Maidstone & Weald.

Sue Christmas, Director, Samaritans Maidstone & Weald says: “It is really exciting that the team at KIMS Hospital have chosen the Samaritans Maidstone & Weald as their charity of the year. We have a great selection of events lined up for 2018 as well as some amazing challenges the team have planned. It will be great to see everyone work together having fun, to help raise much needed funds for a very worthy cause.”

Celebrating Female-led business

With International Women’s Day on the 8th March and the Kent Women in Business Awards (KWIBA) on the 9th, there’s been a lot of focus lately on the role played by women in Kent’s business community. One of those women is Maidstone based designer Karen Davies. Karen is a KWIBA finalist and creator of branding and design studio Pink Lemon. Karen is all too familiar with the pressure to downplay one’s femininity in order to be seen a ‘serious’ business owner, but she was determined not to let it influence her too much:

“I came up with the name Pink Lemon because I have two little girls and pink is a big part of my life! Initially I had a few people tell me the name was too ‘girly’ and that it would alienate male clients, but luckily I stuck to my guns. Pink Lemon is all about creating your personal brand and really letting it shine. I have male and female clients who all love my work and know that I’m as serious about their business as I am about my own.

Being a business owner has taught me that there’s no such thing as ‘too girly’ – women need to be celebrated for their femininity no matter how they choose to express it and I’m so proud to be part of a business community that recognises that.”

If you’d like to know more about Pink Lemon please email Karen at hello@pink-lemondesign.co.uk

Focus on Finance

If it looks like an elephant and it sounds like an elephant… Rick Schofield

Tax Partner, Southern Region 01233 629255 (Ashford)

Rick.schofield@wilkinskennedy.com www.wilkinskennedy.com

Here at Wilkins Kennedy, our tax experts have encountered an endless variety of attempts to circumnavigate a common tax issue. Disaggregation, or the artificial separation of businesses, is where more than one entity is created to reduce what would otherwise be a higher turnover in one business solely to avoid VAT registration. There are a few ways in which businesses can legitimately use disaggregation, but the best way to check is for businesses to carry out a series of tests. This should prevent HMRC issuing a direction which enables them to look into the business and decide if the separation is legitimate. The tests most commonly cited by HMRC when attacking arrangements of this nature vary considerably but generally fall into three categories: • Financial links – for example, using the same bank account or accounting records • Economic links – such as the same circle of customers, using the same advertising or phone numbers • Organisational links – common management, staff or equipment. Whilst none of these in isolation are likely to be persuasive it can be very difficult to rebut accusations based on a combination of these factors. Even though the tests may be complex you can generally identify whether a situation really involves one or two businesses very early on.

But, beware, if it looks like one business and sounds like one business, HMRC will not be fooled!

We’ve come across a snooker hall with 21 limited companies running a table each. Then there was a nightclub operated by seven different companies, Monday Limited, Tuesday Limited – you get the picture. We’ve also experienced dozens of hairdressers and taxi driving arrangements as well as numerous pubs with one partner running the bar and the other the catering operations. I would like to have said these avoided the VAT net with varying degrees of success but this unfortunately would not be true; the vast majority which are genuinely not separate businesses are intercepted by HMRC. It should also be borne in mind that, for obvious reasons in light of the above tests, it is far easier for HMRC to challenge an existing business

effectively splitting as it approaches the VAT threshold (currently £85,000) than it would be for them to force two start-ups to merge together.

It just goes to show that sometimes it’s not a case of how imaginative you can be in planning your tax affairs, it’s simply that HMRC will get you in the end. Often with very painful consequences if this planning falls foul of their own interpretations of what’s allowable and what isn’t. The moral of the story is that danger lurks for anyone trying to be overly inventive and that, needless to say, there are expensive sanctions for getting it wrong. Perhaps a quick chat with a VAT adviser at Wilkins Kennedy in the first instance could save significant pain later on?

“It is far easier for HMRC to challenge an existing business effectively splitting as it approaches the VAT threshold (currently £85,000) than it would be for them to force two start-ups to merge together.” Thinking Business


Thinking Business - April 2018.qxp_Layout 1 03/04/2018 09:54 Page 8


Thinking Business

Are you entitled to a tax credit from HMRC or a reduction in your Corporation Tax?

Businesses are unknowingly undertaking research and development (R&D) in their businesses every day, so why not get some tax relief or a payable tax credit from HMRC. Sadly, R&D is often thought of by companies and their accountants as relating only to the science, manufacturing and technology sectors. However, R&D is often applicable to so many Companies due to the fact that so many of today’s businesses are reliant on technology in order to operate everyday. R&D tax credits were introduced as the government’s way to encourage businesses to invest in both scientific and technological advancements in processes, products, devices, services, materials or knowledge in their own sector.

Are you eligible?

• Do you own a UK Limited company trading for at least one year?

• Are you working on something innovative that you think a competitor would steal if they could?

If you have answered yes to the above then chances are you may well be entitled to R&D Tax Credits. This would either mitigate your tax liability or possibly provide access to extra finance to support the development of your project.

Members News

Lost in translation

Leigh Jones, FCCA Partner MFW Herne Bay 01227 373271

submit to HMRC along with the company tax return in support of the claim made. This can often provide a finance injection into the company, often providing vital funding to continue project development. So often, innovative companies can take years to get a product profitably to market, which makes the banks harder to turn to for finance. Venture capitalists and private investors often want high returns; however, R&D Tax Credit is free finance for companies that qualify. If you need more advice about R&D Tax Credits call us.

The business of decision making

At McCabe Ford Williams, we help our clients prepare a comprehensive R&D report to

Crispin Beale, Chief Executive of Facts International

Facts International, with roots in traditional data collection methodologies including telephone and face-to-face, has bucked the trend and gone from strength-to-strength. For over 30 years, the team at Facts International has been successfully asking the questions that help businesses and organisations at local, national and international levels, make clear decisions both strategically and commercially.

With the growth of digital data collection and ever reducing marketing spend on research, it’s no surprise that worldwide there has been a significant rise in the use of online and mobile surveys. With some of the biggest names in market research including WPP and GfK reporting recent difficulties,

The key reasons for our continued success are two-fold. Firstly, there is an art to identifying the best method to reach an audience and all too often digital is used because of cost, not because of compatibility. Facts International do conduct digital research of this nature, but only when it’s the right way to capture the data. Secondly, there is also an art to designing and delivering a questionnaire, and with robust results being paramount, often there is just no substitution for highly trained interviewers, asking well-crafted questions, in person.

This approach has stood Facts International in good stead, helping us to win two of the most influential national UK studies: one with the National Rail Passenger Survey, involving 700 stations and millions of rail users; as well as the British Chambers of Commerce and Federation of Small Businesses, Business Banking Insights programme, which looks at how well the UK’s SMEs are being served by banks.

For more information on how Facts International can help your business make great decisions, please contact Linda Marsh. Linda.marsh@facts.uk.com 01233 648 502 www.facts.uk.com

why does UK business appear not to value language skills?

by Alexandra Bone Your Online PA.

According to a recent British Chamber of Commerce survey (Thinking Business Feb/March issue) Western Europe is one of the two markets to which most businesses plan to start or continue exporting; yet in my professional experience, the fact that I am proficient in both Spanish and French and have an intermediate knowledge of Portuguese and Catalan has been of far less interest to any UK employer/client than the Microsoft Office and other skills I offer.

If UK businesses really want to get the best out of the future UK-EU relationship – never mind that with more distant markets such as Latin America -, then it is surely in their interests to be able to communicate effectively with these international partners. Or am I missing something? They should not rely on the fact that ‘everyone speaks English’, because, in my experience, this is not true. Outside northern Europe in particular, speakers of more than one language are not usually the gatekeepers, which makes it difficult to gain access to buyers and decision-makers. Therefore, any UK business that makes the effort to communicate in the local language will have the edge. During the 15-plus years I spent in mainland Europe, my greatest added value to any employer was the fact that I am a native English speaker. They understood the benefits of effective communication as an indispensable tool for relationship building, thus ensuring that messages were not lost in translation.


Thinking Business


Members News

Established by the Department for Work and Pensions, in partnership with the South-East Local Enterprise Partnership and the National Careers Service, the scheme offers a free service to local businesses to explore how the Service can provide employers with careers and skills advice to help retain, retrain and recruit older workers.

As part of the service, employers are offered an on-site visit to discuss how the National Careers Service can help them to manage and skill an ageing workforce. In addition, participating employees will be

Charity CXK launches project to support the older workforce

Charity CXK, through its National Careers Service programme, has launched the ‘Fuller Working Lives’ project across Kent, East Sussex and Essex to educate businesses about how to help the over-50s to remain in the workforce. provided with in-depth information, advice and guidance sessions on a variety of subjects, including a skills health check; mid-life career review and exploration of options; information about short courses/units; and information about Apprenticeships, including Higher Apprenticeships.

The service supports businesses and older workers to explore flexible working approaches and practices that encourage retention, in-work progression, improved work-life balance and improved productivity.

Silver anniversary of a silver lining

When MOT specialist Alan Crawford was made redundant on Christmas Eve 1992, Ashford garage owner Derek Pestridge was quick to spot the silver lining. Derek said: “Alan was really well known in Ashford. He was a very talented MOT tester and the chance to make him part of my newest venture was too good to miss.” That venture was the expansion of D&D Autos’ servicing and repairs operation in Victoria Road, Ashford, to include MOT testing. Twenty-five years later, staff at D&D Autos’ modern premises in Moat Way, Ashford, gathered to celebrate Alan’s quarter of a century with the family-owned business.


Thinking Business

D&D Autos relocated in 2009 to its current purpose-built premises on the Orbital Park. Alan said: “It’s great to work for a family firm that cares so much about its staff and is so focused on delivering great service for the customer. It’s a friendly place to work, it’s a great atmosphere and I have never even thought about looking elsewhere.” After 45 years in the motoring trade, Alan has seen many changes, particularly in the way that cars have become more reliable but at the same time less accessible to the home mechanic. Derek said: “It was clearly very distressing for Alan when he was made redundant but I knew he was a talented individual and I was keen to get him on board at D&D Autos. Twenty-five years on I’m really glad I did so.”

Debbie Lloyd, Assistant Director of Career Management at CXK, the charity which delivers the National Careers Service throughout Kent, East Sussex and Essex, said: “As the UK workforce ages and fewer young people enter the labour market, employers will increasingly need to rely on the skills and experience of older workers if they are to remain competitive, increase productivity and growth, and avoid skills shortages in the future. “In addition, working longer can improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and

bring the benefits of a multigenerational workforce to businesses. The Fuller Working Lives project aims to address these needs, and to help employers to best support their older workers.” CXK delivers The National Careers Service and the Fuller Working Lives project across Kent, East Sussex and Essex.

If you are an employer looking to get involved, you can contact CXK directly on 01233 224244, or via email: nationalcareers@cxk.org

Cripps raises funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust

Law firm Cripps raised more than £17,000 for its 2017 charity of the year – Teenage Cancer Trust – following a year of fundraising. Staff from the firm participated in a series of fundraising events throughout the year which included a highly competitive Christmas bake-off judged by Rosemary Shrager, a quiz night and a Tough Mudder’ 5-mile mud and obstacle course. One of the highlights of the collective effort was a Triathlon Challenge which saw staff cycling, swimming and running more than 7,000 miles. Senior partner Clare Hyland said: “We are proud to have raised so much for Teenage Cancer Trust. Every year our charity committee puts together a calendar of fundraising events and this year has seen a number of new ideas.” The Trust provides lifechanging care and support to young people living with cancer across the country. Sian Cooper, South East Regional Fundraiser at the

Trust, said: “We are so grateful to Cripps for raising such an incredible amount. For every young person we reach, there’s another that we can’t. We want every young person with cancer to have access to specialist support, no matter where they live and Cripps has helped us get steps closer to making this happen.” Cripps has offices in Tunbridge Wells, London and Kings Hill.

(L to r) Laura McMaster from the Cripps charity committee with Sian Cooper, South East Regional Fundraiser at Teenage Cancer Trust

Patron Focus

Chamber Patrons

shaping the future of the Kent business economy Members of the Kent Invicta Chamber Board, along with Chief Executive Jo James, gathered in March at Eastwell Manor near Ashford, now a Champneys Spa Hotel, to acknowledge and recognise the twelve businesses and organisations that will be the Kent Invicta Chamber Patrons for 2018. The Patron Scheme launched in 2017 with 9

2018 Patrons

inaugural Patrons all of which recommitted to the Scheme in 2018. They have been joined by 3 new Patrons this year which completes the Scheme. All Patrons get the opportunity of building an exclusive, mutually beneficial relationship with Kent Invicta Chamber and its members. The Patrons represent key sectors in the county and

AC Goatham & Son

One of the UK’s leading fruit growers, with 20 farms over 2,000 acres, that celebrated a heritage of 70 years in 2017. As a Patron, they represent the rural economy of Kent and are currently in the middle of an expansion plan which aims to plant over 1.5 million trees by 2020.

Ashford Borough Council

Ashford BC has had a strong partnership with the Chamber for a long time. Being a Patron is important within the context of Ashford’s flourishing inward investment programme and its desire to attract businesses that can contribute to the greater prosperity of the town.

Brachers LLP

A leading Kent law firm providing valuable legal support to individuals and businesses. Founded more than 100 years ago, being a Patron allows the firm to support the local business community and help deliver economic growth in the region.

Caxtons, Chartered Surveyors

Caxtons have had a long relationship with the Chamber and being a Patron is a great extension of that relationship. Caxtons is one of the largest independent property consultancies in the South East operating from offices throughout Kent.

Eastwell Manor (New)

organisations that support and service the local business community. Guests at the reception were welcomed by Darren Solomon, Front of House Operations Manager at Eastwell Manor. The hotel became one of the new Patrons for 2018. All of the attendees had the opportunity to tour the venue to see the stunning results of

Eastwell Manor has long been a premium location in Kent but has now been transformed into a luxury destination by a multi million refurbishment of the hotel and spa following its purchase by the Champneys Group. As a new Patron they look forward to welcoming the local community through its doors.

KIMS Hospital.

a multi million refurbishment of the hotel and spa following its recent purchase by the Champneys Group. Jo James, addressed the Patrons and thanked them for their commitment to the Chamber before presenting them with their prestigious certificates, designed by local agency, Oak Creative.

communities of Kent and Medway. Its passion is to see people equipped with the skills, qualifications and knowledge to support sustainability and growth of local businesses. Being a Patron allows the College to support our thriving business community and build a closer relationship with it.

Sleeping Giant Media (New)

MHA MacIntyre Hudson

A specialist search and social marketing agency based in Folkestone. They work with a large number of Kent businesses and hope to expand that further. They are a new Patron for 2018 and the Chamber will be looking for ways it can share their expertise with members. Something already under way with Giant Talks - a workshop programme.

Lee Evans Partnership (New)

Towergate in Kent comprises of more than 80 insurance professionals who excel in providing insurance solutions, expertise and support to businesses and individuals throughout Kent and the wider South East. Being a Patron shows their support of Kent’s business community and its desire to help it thrive.

KIMS Hospital is the largest independent hospital in Kent. Being a Patron helps to support its commitment to working with local businesses, including Chamber members, striving to keep staff healthy and in work. A Top 20 accountancy practice with offices in Canterbury and Maidstone. Being a Patron allows MHA to work closely with the Chamber to help members grow their businesses and protect the wealth they generate. Lee Evans Partnership LLP is an awardwinning architectural studio with offices in Canterbury and London. As a new Patron they hope to build awareness of their work which can be seen everywhere around Kent especially schools, village halls, leisure facilities and heritage buildings like churches.

MidKent College

A long time supporter of the Chamber this further education college serves the

Towergate Insurance Brokers

University of Kent

The University of Kent’s research, skills, knowledge and facilities promote growth and innovation in the business community within Kent, and also at a national and international level. Their Patronage helps to illustrate its commitment to supporting local businesses, of all sizes, to adopt innovative and creative approaches within their organisation. Photographs taken by Ali Kittermaster Thinking Business


Members News

Ashford garage owners Richard (left) and Matthew Pestridge with Lorraine Fuller

Ashford garage, D&D Autos, just misses out on repeat of 2017 success

A popular Ashford garage has narrowly missed out on repeating last year’s table-topping success at a major national awards show.

Getting it right Successful businesses need the right people, so the appropriate recruitment, remuneration and management policies are crucial. It all costs time and money if you get it wrong. Whitehead Monckton’s Employment Law team specialise in supporting businesses, helping them to develop their teams and manage staff performance, all against the background of ever changing legislation and procedures. So check out how we can help you to get it right – simply contact us today.

Tel: 01622 698047 E-mail employment@whitehead-monckton.co.uk www.whitehead-monckton.co.uk Whitehead Monckton Limited (no. 08366029), registered in England & Wales. Registered office 72 King Street, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 1BL. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under no. 608279. TB4/18


Thinking Business

D&D Autos, one of the town’s few remaining independents, was pipped at the post for the title of Large Garage of the Year in the prestigious CAT Awards 2018, run by the well-respected CAT magazine. Three members of the family – Workshop manager Matthew Pestridge, customer services manager Richard Pestridge and operations manager Lorraine Fuller attended the sparkling award ceremony in Manchester’s Lowry Hotel in the hope of repeating their 2017 win. Lorraine said: “Sadly, we were pipped at the post, but it was

very rewarding to have been nominated and to have made the final. The awards are decided on a public vote and we are delighted that so many of our customers voted for us. Our entire philosophyis based on giving great customer service and it is nice to have that recognised.” D&D Autos, which is now in its tenth year in its large, purpose-built premises in Moat Way, Ashford, was a runner up in the awards in 2016 before winning the ultimate prize last year. The family-run business employs 22 people and is continuing to grow.

Local family business needs your vote

Bedfont Scientific Ltd., based in Maidstone, needs the public to vote for them to become a European Public Winner and represent the UK in the European Business Awards. The European Business Awards, sponsored by RSM, is a cross-industry and cross-border business competition. First held in 2007, the Awards aims to recognise and reward companies that help tackle the major issues faced by Europe and the world; unemployment, climate and environmental challenges, conflict and widespread poverty. Bedfont, a second-generation family business that specialises in the design and manufacture of breath analysis medical devices, has submitted a video entry to represent the UK and now needs the help of the public to be voted the European Public Winner.

Eleven thousand businesses were considered for the European Business Awards this year and each company was heavily analysed until the number was whittled down to only 2,898 companies, creating Europe’s first ‘One’s To Watch’ list.

On this list, there were only 196 companies from the UK and Bedfont was named among them. Jason Smith, Managing Director at Bedfont, said: “We are only a small company of 40, with the niche concept of breath analysis, but we are proud to make a difference and save lives.”

To watch the video and vote for Bedfont, please go to www.businessawardseurope.com/vote/detail-new/28/23920

Why complacency is the greatest security threat of all

As a purveyor of IT services, one of the most common thoughts we hear from businesses is that hackers are only interested in attacking the big targets. Why, we’re asked, would criminals be interested in small-and medium-sized businesses in the UK, when they can go after mega-rich corporations and public sector organisations with deep pockets? It sounds like logical reasoning, but it’s born from a lack of understanding about how cyber crime works - and it’s a sign of the very complacency that makes businesses vulnerable.

As soon as you start thinking you won’t be affected by cyber crime, that’s when you’re most at risk. What these firms need to realise is that a lot of cyber crime is automated. When a victim downloads malware through an email link or attachment, the criminals that sent out that malware will be notified. There’s no need for them to target individual businesses beforehand. Instead, they can sit back and wait for their hacking tool to serve up another potential victim, and that’s when they’ll set about finding ways to extract money from them – perhaps with ransomware or targeted invoice fraud.

It’s also much easier to go after hundreds of smaller companies with weak defences than it is to attack one big one with top-notch cyber security. Plus high-profile hacks attract much more attention from the authorities. The fact is many SMEs make it too easy for hackers to attack and steal from them, by not taking security seriously. With cyber crime on the rise, that’s an attitude that can’t change soon enough.

Kent projects shortlisted by RICS


The RICS Awards showcase the most inspirational initiatives and developments in land, property, construction and infrastructure. The DIY SOS home designed for a Kent family with four adopted children, three of whom have very complex and life-limiting medical conditions in Brambledown on the Isle of Sheppey, has been shortlisted in the residential category. The project saw the demolition of a dilapidated bungalow and it being rebuilt to meet the specific needs of the Kent family. The end result was the biggest ever build project undertaken by the popular BBC television programme, led by presenter Nick Knowles and completed in October 2016.

build experts, including, surveyors Betteridge & Milsom, structural, mechanical and electrical engineers MLM Group and Jenners, the construction company based in Folkestone. The fourth shortlisting is for Hunterswood, which saw the Clague team sensitively redesign an historic building into a contemporary home. The building, set in the grounds of the former holiday home of Agatha Christie, overlooks the River Dart in Devon. If successful in the RICS South East awards ceremony in May, the projects will go forward to the national finals to be held in October in London.

Four buildings designed by Canterbury-based Clague Architects have been shortlisted for the 2018 RICS South East awards, with three of them being in Kent.

A building designed to support some of Britain’s bravest has been shortlisted in the residential category. The 24 apartments, each specially adapted to make the lives of disabled veterans easier, were built for Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) in Aylesford, near Maidstone.The successful application for the awards was undertaken jointly with Betteridge & Milsom, the quantity surveyor and cost consultants based in Canterbury. The new teaching block at Barton Court Grammar School in Canterbury has been shortlisted in the Community Benefit category. Led by Clague Architects, the project brought together a Kent-wide collaborative team of design and

Friend for life

Members News

Simpsons Wine Estate unveils The Glasshouse Tasting Room

Simpsons Wine Estate has completed the installation of their new Glasshouse Tasting Room at their winery in Barham in Kent.

This was the final stage in their renovation project, which has seen the conversion of their two barns into a winery, office space and visitor attraction. Owners Ruth and Charles Simpson commissioned Rap Interiors, a Kentbased Office Design Agency, to undertake the works. Ruth said: “We know that wine tourism is a huge growth area in the UK, so wanted to make sure we have a really special visitor experience for those interested in English wine. We’ve found that people in the local area and further afield are fascinated that the UK can now produce very high-quality wines and we hope that our vineyard and winery tours at this fantastic new facility will help visitors learn more about it.” Rap transformed the top floor of the mezzanine into a wine tasting room by encasing it in glass and implementing a number of bespoke design features. These include a custom-built bar, an integrated seating area with velvet sofas and cocktail chairs and a helter skelter slide which transports guests down to the ground floor winery. Scott Howard, of Rap Interiors said: “This has been a really great project to be involved in – we’re sure that visitors to the winery will enjoy the experience when they arrive.”

Starting as a dream in 2016 Jane Pearman a Metropolitan Police officer saw that there was a demand and a need for Kent to have its very own Assistance Dog Programme.

Unique in the fact that Hypo Hounds trains PET DOGS the charity started off of the legacy of Jane's own daughter Sophie and her amazing pet dog Scooby. Jane trained Scooby to detect the changes in Sophie's blood sugar levels, being a brittle Type 1 Diabetic Sophie would have no awareness of her bloods dropping and would frequently collapse and fall into a Diabetic Coma. Scooby saved her life daily and was nominated for the

prestigious Crufts Friends for Life award in 2016. Following all the publicity, Jane was inundated with requests from parents just like her, who wanted a Diabetic Alert Dog for their children. The Paula Carr Diabetes Trust heard of Jane's work and her dream to help others. They saw for themselves the impact that these amazing dogs have, not only on the child but also for the long-term health benefits, as well as the

potential to save the NHS millions. Now in its second year and retired from the police Jane is proud that Hypo Hounds has 16 dogs partnered with children in Kent and the South-East. It costs Hypo Hounds £12,000 to train one dog for one child and support it for life. Hypo Hounds is growing fast; it receives no government funding and is supported through donations and fundraising activities. The next step in the Hypo Hounds journey is

to have a property of their own to conduct training sessions from, as well as an office. The goal in the next 3 years is to become the centre of excellence for Scent Detection with dogs. As they continue to win numerous awards with their dogs, this dream may soon turn into a reality. For more information please go to www.hypohounds.co.uk Thinking Business


Members News

Charity marks 90th birthday

This year sees Maidstone based charity British Wireless for the Blind Fund celebrate a very special anniversary.

British Wireless for the Blind Fund has been providing visually impaired people with a lifeline to the world for 90 years. They provide free, specially adapted audio equipment to those living with sight loss across the UK who would not otherwise be able to afford it. Formed by a blinded Boer War veteran in 1928 and boosted by a Christmas Day fundraising appeal by Winston Churchill the following year, BWBF has a long history of being supported by the great British public. If your company is looking for a new Charity of the Year to support, or would you like to develop your corporate social responsibility policy, please get in contact to find out how a Charity Partnership with BWBF would be mutually beneficial. Please visit www.blind.org.uk

Overcoming organisational challenges with Agile

How many times have you started a project and halfway through had to accept that your requirements or your circumstances have changed, thus affecting your project delivery?

This is one of the situations that are brought to companies like Business Transformation consultancy Radtac to solve. Using an Agile approach, Radtac helps organisations overcome challenges such as getting products and services faster to market, cutting waste and costs, keeping staff happy and engaged, ensuring customer satisfaction through shorterfeedback loops, improving business processes, and, overall, achieving more with less. The Agile Business Transformation specialist originally started out in 1998 with an office in London. Peter Measey, Radtac Chairman and Founder, said: “The reason we created Radtac was to support organisations in getting better at what they do. “We believe that people can do great things if they are empowered and supported in the right ways - and this is what we started doing in 1998 through our Consultancy and Training services. Twenty years later, the fact that we’ve won three Agile Awards together with our clients just acts as a great recognition for us that we managed to help them.” What started out as a London-based business, is now a global company with UK offices in Kent, London, Leeds, and international offices in Asia Pakistan and UAE, USA - Silicon Valley, and Continental Europe - Portugal. Peter said: “Keeping up with the rapid pace of change, and the challenges implied by that, is, in essence, what brings our clients to us. And, in a post-Brexit world, it doesn’t seem that change will stop happening anytime soon. www.radtac.com


Thinking Business

Stagecoach puts gender on the agenda

Bus operator Stagecoach has been putting gender on the agenda by celebrating its female workforce. The bus company highlighted the role of women as part of this year’s International Women’s Day campaign – ‘Press for Progress’ on March 8. Stagecoach employs 192 female staff in the South East. There are 110 women employed as bus drivers in the region with one depot seeing a 450 per cent increase in the number of female drivers since 2015. Twenty two women are employed in admin or management roles and a further 47 in engineering. Stagecoach operations director Joanne Howe said, “For us, International Women’s Day is not just a celebration of our female staff, it’s also about empowering women to realise their ambitions.

At Stagecoach we have a range of careers open to anyone with advancement opportunities to match their skills and objectives. We want all our people to feel valued and included and able

to contribute fully according to their capabilities.” Stagecoach offers careers in operations or engineering with an award-winning apprenticeship scheme for aspiring engineers.

Girl power! Five bus drivers from the Herne Bay driving team with assistant operations manager Shelley Newman (second from left).

Leeds Castle Classical Concert celebrates its Ruby year

2018 is a special year for the Leeds Castle Classical Concert as this iconic Kent event celebrates its 40th anniversary. People in their thousands have attended the stunning setting of Leeds Castle across the last thirty-nine years to be entertained by this amazing open-air musical delight.

The first concert took place in 1978 and to celebrate, along with much loved classical favourites, the audience will be treated to a special finale including greatest hits from the 70s era. This special Ruby celebratory event on Saturday July 14 will

have a real birthday party atmosphere throughout the summer’s afternoon and evening.

Internationally respected conductor John Rigby will once again command the stage, this year not only conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra but also acting as compere and host, with special guests. John said: “This year, we will celebrate the heritage that this

unique experience has but springboard forward with a refreshed approach and programme. There will be more of a party flavour and we are guaranteed to have the audience singing and dancing into the summer night.”

The sponsor is Brachers LLP, an award-winning law firm offering legal services for business, organisations and private clients across Kent and the South East.

Winners announced for the Taste of Kent Awards 2018

The winners of Produced in Kent’s Taste of Kent Awards 2018 were revealed at a black-tie dinner at the Kent Event Centre. Stephanie Durling at Produced in Kent said: “Thousands of people and producers have taken part in the voting from all over the county and beyond. The people of Kent have chosen the flavours, products, produce and venues they have enjoyed the most over

the last 12 months. For the winners, these awards are the ultimate accolade from their customers and confirmation of their food and drink excellence.” Victoria Symons, head of the Food and Drink team at main

The winners are: Category: Garden of England Champion Top Fruit Sponsored by BTF Partnership Winners: Banfields Farm Horsmonden – Comice Pears A J Bray & Son Faversham – Jazz apples Category: Kent Beer of the Year Sponsored by Eurostar Winner: Gadds No.3 - Ramsgate Brewery Category: Garden of England Champion – Cherries and Soft Fruit Sponsored by Kent County Agricultural Society Winners: Brian Piper, Filmers Farm, Loose, Nr Maidstone – Cherry (Van variety) J Myatt & Co, Mockbegger Farm, Rochester Strawberry (Magnum variety) J Myatt & Co, Mockbegger Farm, Rochester Raspberry (Tulameen variety) Category: Kent Cider or Perry of the Year Sponsored by Wilkins Kennedy LLP Winner: Elderflower Cider - Turners Cider Marden Category: Kent Countryside Award Sponsored by Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Joint Winners: AC Goatham & Son, Medway Roundoak & Kings Oak Farm Sutton Valence Category: Kent Wine of the Year, Sponsored by NFU Mutual Winner: Bacchus 2016 - Chapel Down Tenterden Category: Kent Local Food Retailer of the Year Sponsored by Opies Winner: Austens of Rochester – Rochester Category: Kent Restaurant of the Year Sponsored by Thomson, Snell & Passmore Winner: The Buoy & Oyster - Margate Category: Kent Butcher Shop of the Year Winner: S.W.Doughty - Doddington

sponsor Cripps, said: “As you would expect, the standard of nominations has been exceedingly high and reflective of the rich and diverse range of food and drink businesses we are lucky enough to have on our doorstep.”

A wide range of products have also been entered for the Kent Food Product Classes Awards, sponsored by Shepherd Neame. These classes are not open to public vote and products are submitted by the businesses to an independent expert panel who then select an overall winner. Winner: Specialist Drinks: Craft Mead with Kent Golding Hops, Marourde – Mereworth Highly Commended: Canterbury Gin by Canterbury Brewers and Distillers Winner: Bakery and confectionery: Stoneground Wheat and Barley Flour, Pure Kent -Staplehurst Winner: Dairy Class: Pure Whole Milk, Plurenden Manor Farm - High Halden Winner: Prepared food: Habanero Chilli Biltong, North Downs Real Food Lenham Winner: Ambient: Oak Smoked Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil, Pure Kent - Staplehurst Category: Kent Tastiest Juice of the Year Sponsored by AC Goatham & Son Winner: Spiced Kent Apple Juice Owlets Fruit Juice Lamberhurst Category: Kent Dining Pub or Bistro of the Year Sponsored by University of Kent Winner: The Ferry House Inn, Isle of Sheppey Category: Kent Food Producer of the Year Sponsored by Shopper Anonymous Winners: Bessie's Tea Parlour - Broadstairs Category: Kent Food Product of the Year Winner: Craft Mead with Kent Goldings Hops, Marourde – Mereworth The Produced in Kent Award was made to William Opie, former Chairman of Produced in Kent and Director for his constant support as a founding member and a true ambassador for Kent food. He has been a champion for the whole independent food sector across Kent and helped Produced in Kent members grow to a combined turnover of £370m per year. The awards dinner was catered for by Jason Freedman at Curiously Kentish from Birchington and the drinks reception was sponsored by a new sponsor this year, Synecore, Detling.

Healthy Workplace Update

Healthcare for Business

No matter the size of your business, we are here to meet the healthcare needs of you and your staff. As the largest independent hospital in Kent, we offer prompt access to expert care in a clean, modern and peaceful environment.

Find out how your business could benefit from: • Private GP service • Prompt access to diagnostic tests • Access to highly experienced consultants across more than 35 specialties • Self-pay fixed price guarantees and finance packages

We accept private medical insurance, or you can pay for yourself and your staff. Contact us on:

01622 237 727 corporate@kims.org.uk

For a full list of our services Visit: kims.org.uk

Thinking Business


Spotlight on Canterbury

Spotlight on Canterbury

Building a business vision from historic city roots.

Artist impression of Canterbury Riverside development project

Think of Canterbury and the mind goes to its stunning Cathedral centrepiece, an unparalleled architectural attraction which contributes to it being one of the mostvisited cities in the UK –

Artist impression of Mountfield Park


Thinking Business

around 7.2m domestic and international visitors come to the district each year. It is upon these historic foundations that Canterbury and its wider district has built a reputation for enterprise and a thriving place to learn and do business. The area’s economy is currently worth £3 billion and growing with 60,000 people employed in the district. Local business success stories include manufacturers Crown Products and ICOM UK, accountants Kreston Reeves,

commercial developer George Wilson Holdings and software developer Bludel. Already a popular choice for diverse and growing businesses and professional services, STEM, digital industries, tourism and food and drink manufacture sectors, attracted by fast broadband and its strategic position between London and Europe. Canterbury is growing its reputation for science, technology and innovation.

Testament to this is the recent announcement of Kent’s first medical school coming to the city following a bid for funding by Canterbury Christ Church University and the University of Kent. It will be the first medical school in Kent, bringing together the existing centres of excellence in health and medical education. Canterbury City Council, working alongside Kent County Council and private sector developers, has enabled significant improvements to the

Spotlight on Canterbury district in recent years to ensure it is ‘match fit’ and future-proofed for forthcoming investment. Three major new road projects totalling £70m of investment, including the new £30 million Sturry Link Road, emphasise this. Around £320m of investment in infrastructure will be made up to 2031 making this an exciting growth phase for the district. Significant developments such as Altira Business Park, Herne Bay Commercial Quarter/Sports Hub and Mountfield Park are are either well underway or in the pipeline. 16,000 new homes will be built and enough new business space to support an anticipated 17,000 new employees from jobs created across a range of sectors. Schools, leisure and community facilities are also being built to meet the needs of the area’s growing population. This is all part of Canterbury City Council’s dynamic vision, encouraging businesses to choose Canterbury whether that means bringing a new business to the area, relocating or expanding existing operations. Simon Cook leader of Canterbury City Council said, “We are proactively targeting investors and promoting the Canterbury district as the best choice for business, focusing on four key attributes – knowledge and skills, investment and growth,

Canterbury innovation Centre connectivity - both digital and transport - and our vibrant lifestyle offer. We’re in a great place to offer investors the perfect combination of attributes in which to start, grow, or relocate their business and can offer all the support they need to maximise opportunities available to them.”

Location, location, location

Knowing that location can offer a vibrant lifestyle and attractive housing to its staff is important to businesses locating to the area, and Canterbury answers every wish list. The average price for property is £343,890 with a broad range of historic homes in the city to newer developments being built in the surrounding villages and the coastal towns of Whitstable and Herne Bay the latter was recently rated as the number one spot for house-hunting Londoners in the southeast.

This city’s got skills

Canterbury Christchurch University

Canterbury is clearly a great place to live and work but any business lives and dies on the quality of its workforce; Canterbury boasts a highly qualified working population, nearly half of whom are educated to degree level or above. World class teaching from four universities means 10,000 new graduates and postgraduates come onto the scene each year. EDGE (Engineering, Design, Growth and Enterprise Hub) is an innovative initiative from Canterbury Christ Church

University which will expand the region’s investment potential and allow Kent and Medway a competitive advantage over other areas of the UK. Based in Canterbury, it will provide access to technical and professional STEM education, progressing business-focussed research via PhD and Masters programmes.

and supporting business in the area include the Kent and Medway Growth Hub, Locate in Kent, Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Canterbury Connected Business Improvement District and Herne Bay Town Partners.

Where business ideas become reality

5,700 businesses call the Canterbury district ‘home’ and this number is rapidly growing - the Start-Up Cities Index 2017 named Canterbury as among the UK’s top 25 locations to start a business. The council’s Start My Biz and Grow My Biz are just two initiatives which are supporting new and developing businesses in the area. Their services include signposting firms to advice and information, as well as offering access to specialist mentoring, funding, training and local businesses networks. Other active organisations working with

Canterbury innovation Centre

Destination of choice

Canterbury’s proposition is compelling and companies wanting to view the district’s whole commercial property and site portfolio can access comprehensive information on these via a property search resource http://canterbury.gov.uk/ propertyportal

To find out more about Canterbury as a business location and local investment opportunities, contact Canterbury City Council’s Property and Regeneration team on business@canterbury.gov.uk and 01227 862530 Thinking Business


Spotlight on Canterbury

Mountfield Park

Developing a place to live, work and relax is the idea behind Mountfield Park, one of the south east’s largest new communities. This urban extension to Canterbury is set to get under construction in 2019. Covering 565 acres, it will comprise 4,000 new homes, 70,000 sq.m of new commercial space and two new primary schools,

Altira Park

healthcare facilities, local shops and a community centre. Flexible, modern and affordable are more than buzzwords for the business accommodation to be built on site, with scope to accommodate start-ups, expanding companies and corporate HQs. Once completed the development will add 3,700 local employment opportunities.

Altira Park

This is a 30-acre business park seven miles north of Canterbury, with easy access to London and Dover. It adjoins the junction of the dualled A299 Thanet Way and is 1.8 miles from Herne Bay railway station with direct services to London Victoria. Built by well-known developer Urban and Civic, the site can cater for uses including B1, B2 and B8 and ranges from 25,000 to 110,000 sq.ft.

The development incorporates green open spaces and parks, electric car charging points, cycle paths and bike storage; add to that an increase of 50 acres to the existing woodland with easy access to the A2 road and the city.

Herne Bay Commercial Quarter/Sports Hub

The 100-acre Herne Bay Sports Hub development represents one of the most signficant planning permissions ever granted in the district. The site will be a community of homes, office space, parkland and professional-standard sports facilities.

Joseph Wilson Business Park

This successful Whitstablebased business park already provides office and light industrial space, with an expansion plan in pipeline for an additional 9-acres to provide new commercial space.

Developing the Education Estate Artist impression of Mountfield Park

In a city with over 40,000 higher education students and a huge range of Primary and Secondary schools, Canterbury is a truly youthful city. However, the age of its older institutions and the oftensporadic nature of educational funding has led many institutions to have an ad-hoc response to the needs of their buildings and estate in meeting the demands of ever increasing student numbers and changes to teaching methods. With a core of listed historic structures requiring constant attention and a plethora of mid-20th century buildings which have reached the end of their life, its no wonder that some institutions don’t know where to turn in planning a strategy for the future. Hazle McCormack Young LLP have been very successful in


Thinking Business

working with St Edmunds School and Kent College as well as Canterbury Christ Church University to prepare strategic development plans as a first step to planning how the individual campuses might develop. A strategic plan is also preferred by the the City Council as it illustrates not only potential buildings, but the effect on transport, parking, infrastructure and landscape. HMY are also currently involved in projects for the University of Kent and Kings School as part of their site-wide strategies. Masterplans or development strategies must be “live” documents, constantly reviewed and altered at

each milestone to ensure that the objectives are still relevant and deliverable. We lead clients through the process and recognise financial as well as operational limitations, demonstrating the effects of a range of options,

balanced with potential effect of putting off decisions.

Gordon Young Partner Hazle McCormack Young gordony@hmy.uk.com 01227 454497




HOLD YOUR NEXT CONFERENCE OR EVENT AT THE SPITFIRE GROUND ST. LAWRENCE Book for May - June 2018 and receive our special day delegate package. Contact a member of our dedicated events team for more information. T: 01227 473 612 E: sales-thespitfireground@centerplate.co.uk W: thespitfiregroundsstlawrence.co.uk

DAY DELEGATE PACKAGE INCLUDES: Main meeting room hire • Unlimited tea and coffee throughout your event Lunch offer of sandwiches, tortilla chips, dips and fresh fruit • Jugs of iced water LCD projector, screen and Flipchart • Delegate stationery Complimentary car parking • Complimentary Wi-Fi TERMS & CONDITIONS OF BOOKING: Minimum numbers of 12, Subject to availability, Applies to new bookings only, Valid for bookings taking place in May – June 2018 only

Thinking Business


BoConcept Business BoConcept Canterbury is the first studio within the Kent Franchise of the leading interior and furniture brand, BoConcept. The brand is fast becoming the leading retail brand in interior design with over 260 stores in 60 countries, offering great solutions to both domestic customers and businesses. With over 65 years of experience of furniture and interiors, BoConcept respects heritage – but understands how important it is for today’s businesses to keep pace with rapidly changing environments. Rachel Sanders, the BoConcept Kent Franchisee, said “As a Chartered Surveyor I have always loved great design and enjoyed working on exciting projects and I hope to use my experience to create exceptional solutions for our local business clients. We understand that the physical environment of any business enhances the company brand, underlines its core values and reveals a lot about the company's attitude and approach to their customers.” The BoConcept business offer appeals to like-minded design professionals, property developers, landlords, and occupiers seeking to make more from their space by

adding demonstrable, bottom line benefits. In summary, they seek to empower local businesses to create the right surroundings for employees, customers and guests; this is the essence of BoConcept Business. Starting with the end in mind, their consultants firstly seek to understand the client’s needs and aspirations. Their aim is to deliver space that will provide measurable benefits for their clients. Some of the most frequently desired outcomes stated by businesses include: • creating the right surroundings for a perfect first impression • improving productivity • increasing team collaboration • reducing property costs • promoting staff retention • increasing room bookings or restaurant covers • or simply giving guests a place to unwind after a busy day. Whatever your goals, the talented team of professional Interior Designers at BoConcept Canterbury know how

to create perfect spaces across a number of sectors such as residential, offices, hotels and the leisure industry. Using the BoConcept furniture, designed for commercial application as a starting point, they can create indoor and outdoor solutions tailored to the client’s specific needs. Almost every BoConcept piece can be customised, and using their different types of leathers, fabrics, wood types and colours, they can mix and match until they find the perfect solution for their clients.

In addition, the ability to bring BoConcept’s global capability and experience to Kent means that they are perfectly placed to help with all your needs and challenges. Their turnkey offer includes design, project management, construction, supply and fit of furniture, fittings and accessories. They will even style the final space to complete the ideal look and feel. The team in Canterbury includes construction and property professionals with over 50 years of combined project experience; they know how to deliver successful

For more information on their services and products contact Rachel Sanders at BoConcept, 4-5 Orange Street, Canterbury, CT1 2JA rsan@boconcept.co.uk / 01227 455585 visit www.boconcept.com or www.linkedin.com/company/boconceptcanterbury/ or www.facebook.com/BoConceptCan/

projects and how to be part of a bigger development. Rachel says “we believe that our approach can provide a turnkey solution that creates stunning interiors whilst delivering effective procurement, cost savings and efficient delivery. Our team can either support your chosen Architect or Interior designer with their product knowledge or provide you with a full interior fit-out service.” The BoConcept team have the skills and the drive to help you make the most out of your space. Danish design is their legacy, but it is balanced by innovation and new ideas. With skilled professionals as well as furniture that features great design, high quality and craftsmanship, with extensive possibilities for customisation, they can create the right solution for their clients. When you choose BoConcept Canterbury, you choose a team that’s dedicated to delivering the best for your customers, employees and your business.

Enhancing Life Opportunities

Building the community of tomorrow

Golding Homes is a pro t for purpose housing association with 7,300 properties providing a home for over 20,000 people in Kent. We develop homes for a ordable rent, shared ownership, private rent and private sale. Our ambition is to grow, with a target to build at least 300 homes every year.

We are keen to hear from partners who share our vision and would like to work with us. For more information visit our website or call us today.

Established in 2004, we have: • Spent £150m in regenerating our homes and estates


• Built nearly 1,200 a ordable new homes


• Invest £500k every year in a community development programme through our community arm, Golding Vision.

0300 777 2600 Connect with us

Making a difference in the changing world of social housing

Big Interview

Gary Clark fell into the world of social housing ‘by accident’ at a time when he was seeking a career that was not obsessed with the bottom line but rather the potential to make a difference to people’s lives.

Now, almost twenty years after starting to work in the sector, he is heading up housing association Golding Homes, which is taking on the challenge, set by the Government, to create more homes for the South East.

He has been Chief Executive since June last year, in which time he has worked with the board and his management team to create a new vision for Golding’s future. Established in 2004 following the transfer of homes from Maidstone Borough Council, Golding Homes has invested more than £150m in improving and regenerating its existing homes, which house 20,000 residents, while also developing a portfolio of new homes for rent and sale. Gary came to social housing in 1999 after spending fourteen years as a senior retail manager in the supermarket business, then fulfilling a long held dream of taking a late gap year at the age of 31. He said: “I felt the time had come to take stock of my life so I did the usual tour, Asia, Bali, Australia and North and South America, and when I came back I was looking to work in a sector that was not just about profit but had more purpose to it. “At the time, I had three job possibilities, an opportunity in the Middle East, running an electricals superstore or joining a housing association in Kent.


Thinking Business

“Although the housing association was not the best paid, it was the organisation that best aligned to my own personal values.

“Many people in social housing will tell you that they get into it by accident then end up growing to love what they do.” Over the next eighteen years he worked for a number of social housing associations in the South East and London in increasingly senior roles before taking the top job at Golding, the biggest landlord in Maidstone. One of his big challenges has been embracing the increasingly commercial element of the sector, with the Government keen to see housing associations play their part as ministers seek to meet their target of building 300,000 new homes a year. Gary said: “The lines have become blurred. Go back twenty years and social housing providers were building mainly for social rent and some shared ownership because there were generous Government grants that allowed them to build these types of tenures. “Over the years, those grants have become less generous so social housing providers have had to become more commercial in order to generate higher profit to reinvest back into subsidising homes for affordable rent.”

“In our case, we have over 7,300 homes, which are mainly for social rent, but we also have a number of developments that are either shared ownership or for private sale market. ‘Those activities give us funds to plough back into the organisation, either to spend on our existing rented homes and neighbourhoods or on new developments. “Although we do make profit, we do not have shareholders like public companies, we do not pay exorbitant bonuses or dividends, it all goes back into what we do, we are a ‘profit for purpose’ company. “Obviously, there can be risks attached to building new homes when reliant on market forces but we always plan for the unknowns. If we feel that the time is wrong to sell we can keep the homes for rent until the market conditions are better.” Over the years, the Group has grown to include Golding Places to develop homes for sale and Golding Services, a wholly owned subsidiary which works in partnership with MITIE Property Services to deliver the repairs and maintenance service. Golding Vision is a branded strand of work which supports Golding Homes’ programme of community initiatives. For Gary, the work of Golding Vision is important because it maintains the association’s connection with the community and it supports a number of

different areas of important work. Each year the organisation invests about £500,000 across a number of key areas including; • Place Shaping • Safer Communities • Health and Wellbeing • Financial Inclusion That role has been recognised because Golding Homes has been selected as a finalist in the prestigious UK Housing Awards 2018 (UKHA), shortlisted in the Outstanding Approach to Equality and Diversity category for ‘Disability Eddie’, an animated film about normalising disability for preschool children. Disability Eddie, which is backed by Baroness GreyThompson, is an animated DVD aimed at helping preschool children understand and normalise disability. It features Tammi the Tortoise, voiced by Baroness Grey-Thompson, and is supported by an online educational portal with touch screen games and activities that preschools can access. Disability Eddie has been funded by Golding Vision in partnership with Wellbeing People and the RBLI and was rolled out free to more than 60 Maidstone preschools. Gary said: “We take the view that we should play a role in the community. I think that is one of the things that attracts people to work in the social housing sector and is definitively a big part of our ‘profit for purpose’ ethos.” “We are delighted to be a finalist in this prestigious housing awards and it is a fantastic achievement for all those who have been involved in this project.” The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in May in London. Considering Golding’s future, Gary said: “We will be focusing our efforts in four different areas that can best be summed up as growth, modernisation, and efficiency and being a great people business for our staff, customers and stakeholders. “With an appetite to grow, we are open to new business opportunities and keen to work with like-minded partners who share our vision.”

Big Interview

“We take the view that we should play a role in the community. I think that is one of the things that attracts people to work in the social housing sector and is definitively a big part of our ‘profit for purpose’ ethos.” Thinking Business



Raising finance Cover Feature

Mark Grady, partner and corporate

finance specialist at McBrides Chartered Accountants, looks at the wide range of

funding choices available to businesses today and poses the questions

business owners need to ask in order to find the right option for them.

1. Which funder is best?

The post credit crunch fallout led to an unprecedented number of providers of finance entering the market as a result of the mainstream banks retrenchment in the immediate aftermath of the banking crash. While the banks were nursing their own balance sheet positions, other providers came forward to fill the gap that opened up and now there are a broad range of alternatives to suit all types of funding requirements. And while there is a multitude of options available, there are a number of important considerations businesses should take into account when selecting a finance option:


Thinking Business

Current sources of finance range from mainstream “high street” banking, asset backed lenders (ABL), crowd funders, private equity and other specialist lenders. The most appropriate method of funding will generally depend on the reason why the funding is required. Longer term or start up funding might lend itself to equity investment. Asset purchases and working capital funding requirements might be best sourced through mainstream or ABL lending. Expect to be asked to make a contribution to the overall funding requirement as well.

2. Be prepared.

Understanding the core need for funding and setting out the business case for it is vitally important. Demonstrating the ability to repay the debt by preparing a well thought through business plan provides a funder with confidence in the lending proposition. Demonstrating the strengths of the management team and the ability to repay the debt through forecasts is essential to gaining the confidence of a funder. 3. Security.

Funders will expect a level of security against which

they will provide the funding. In the case of ABL funding, the security will be the asset against which the funding is provided. Working capital facilities may require the owners/directors to provide guarantees over their personal assets. Unsecured borrowing may form part of an overall package but the secured element will be the dominant proportion. 4. Involve advisers.

They can help steer you towards the most appropriate funder and help you build the business case through the preparation of the business plan. Higher risk propositions won’t sit well with mainstream banks so comparatively higher cost funding may be required in certain situations. 5. Ongoing monitoring. Ensure your accounting records remain up to date, both for management

purposes but also to support any ongoing reporting to the funder that might form a requirement of the funding package. It is not unusual for banks to set financial and non financial covenants and regular, accurate and timely management reporting will be essential in meeting these requirements.

6. Other funding sources. Consider also the use of the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and the Small Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) where tax reliefs for equity investors such as High Net Worth individuals and friends/family can provide a big incentive for them to provide free funding to your company. McBrides provide assistance with all aspects of corporate finance including raising finance and investment and offer realistic advice on the likelihood of success.

“While the banks were nursing their own balance sheet positions, other providers came forward to fill the gap that opened up and now there are a broad range of alternatives to suit all types of funding requirements.”


Finance Your Startup like Michael Dell and Bill Gates A long-held notion in entrepreneurial circles is that the way to start and grow a thriving business is to come up with a great “idea”, write a great business plan, raise capital from angels or VCs, flawlessly execute the plan, and (Voila!) get rich! But it hardly ever happens that way, really. And that’s not how Michael Dell and Bill Gates got started, either. Michael Dell’s Pay-in-Advance Origins These days, everybody knows that Michael Dell started Dell in 1983 in his University of Texas dorm room, selling made-to-order PCs mostly to small businesses. What most don’t realize, even today, is that a core precept in the business was that Dell always asked his customers to pay in advance. With his customers’ cash in hand, Dell was then able to buy the necessary parts, hire his college buddies to assemble them or add them to basic PCs that Dell would upgrade to meet its customers’ specs. With all this customer cash in hand, combined with the wellhoned selling skills he’d been developing as a teenager selling newspaper subscriptions to The Houston Post, Dell didn’t need a dime to start his business. It wasn’t until he wanted to develop a super-fast model to take on Compaq and IBM, well into his journey, that he raised $300,000 from his parents for some basic R&D.

Microsoft’s Origins: CustomerFunded, Too! At the dawn of the personal computing revolution, Gates and his buddy Paul Allen had the insight that the new-fangled PCs being developed by dozens of companies, including Ricoh and IBM, would be all but useless unless they had operating systems – software – so their users could tell the PCs’ hardware what to do. The long-time friends knew they were among the few who had the skills to write the software that the hardware makers needed. One PC-maker after another, Gates and Allen signed contracts to develop (or sometimes buy and adapt!) the operating systems

software, on pay-in-advance terms. Because the hardware makers paid them in advance for a significant chunk of the work, Gates and Allen had the necessary cash they needed – their customers’ cash! – to hire additional programmers to carry out their growing workload. Eventually, they figured out that, while doing pay-in-advance services work, one contract after another, was attractive, selling application software – Microsoft Word, Excel, and so on – in shrinkwrapped boxes was even more attractive. So they transitioned their software services business into a product business. The Genius of Gates and Dell What Gates and Dell, and many others like them, have figured out is that starting, financing, and growing a company with their customers’ cash, instead of investors’, is a far more appealing way to go. “Easy for the likes of Gates and Dell,” you’re wondering, perhaps, “but could I do it in my business?” In many cases, you can! Surprisingly, there are five ways – five tried-and-tested, customer-funded models – with which to do so. How? • Matchmaker models: By bringing together buyers and sellers, but not owning what is bought and sold, matchmakers build great companies with virtually no startup capital. For Airbnb, the initial investment in 2007 was for a couple of air mattresses on the founders’ San Francisco apartment floor. By narrowly focusing on conventions that were too big for the city’s hotel inventory, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia built their business one step at a time until

Cover Feature

By John Mullins they got noticed in 2008. VC funding followed, and the rest is history: 600,000 properties for rent in 192 countries! • Pay-in-advance models: Bangalore’s Vinay Gupta built Via into the “Intel Inside” of the Indian travel industry. How? By asking India’s mom-and-pop travel agents for a rolling $5,000 deposit in advance in return for real-time ticketing capability and better commissions than the airlines were giving them. Do the math: signing up 200 agents in the first few months gave Gupta $1 million in cash – his customers’ cash – with which to start and grow his business! Just like Michael Dell, but with a 21st century twist! • Subscription models: Krishnan Ganesh started TutorVista with three Indian teachers and a VoIP internet connection reaching American teens who needed help with their homework. He quickly learned that $100 per month for “all you can learn” – paid monthly in advance – was just what the teens’ parents wanted. When renewal rates after the trial subscription quickly materialized at north of 50 per cent, growing the business was simply a matter of adding more fuel. VC funds provided it, and Ganesh sold the business to Pearson in six short years for more than $200 million. • Scarcity models: Jean-Jacques Granjon and his partners created the flash-sales phenomenon by doing something simple for Parisian designer apparel makers who needed to move unwanted inventory. By collecting immediate credit card payment from his members who responded to the limited 3-day online sales and limited quantity

available at discounted prices, and paying his vendors long after the goods had been ordered and shipped, Granjon didn’t need any capital to sell their unwanted styles online and to start and grow what became one of France’s hottest fashion brands. • Service-to-product models (like Gates’ and Allen’s): Claus Moseholm and Jimmy Maymann of GoViral, a Danish company created in 2003 to harness the then-emerging power of the internet to deliver advertisers’ video content in viral fashion, funded their company’s startup and growth with the proceeds of one successful viral video campaign after another. In 2011, after having turned their service business (creating and hosting viral video campaigns) into a product platform that stood on its own, GoViral was sold for $97 million, having never taken a single krone or euro of investment capital. The Way Forward If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur lacking the startup capital you need, an early-stage entrepreneur trying to get your cash-starved venture into take-off mode, or an angel investor, mentor, or business accelerator or incubator professional who supports highpotential entrepreneurial ventures, a customer-funded approach may offer the most sure-footed path to starting, financing, or growing your business or one you support. In the words of Shanghai’s entrepreneur and angel investor Bernard Auyang, “The customer is not just king, he can be your VC too!”

John Mullins is Associate Professor of Management Practice at London Business School and author of The New Business Road Test. His newest book, The Customer-Funded Business: Start, Finance, or Grow Your Company with Your Customers’ Cash, debunks the widely held assumption that an angel investor or a VC fund should be every entrepreneur’s first port of call when starting a business. Thinking Business



Creating a business account becomes easier

Cover Feature

Small business owners preparing to open or switch to a new business current account can now do so more easily, as eighteen account providers now require the same basic set of information from new customers.

The streamlined checklist is included in a new online guide launched by UK Finance, providing the essential details and documents that most businesses will need to open an account, so those applying can be ready for their first bank meeting. UK Finance has worked with business bank account providers to agree the basic set of information that each bank needs from new customers to help them open or to switch a business current account.

Any small businesses wanting to open or to switch a UK business current account can now search ‘Business Account Checklist’ on their chosen bank’s website to access the guide or visit the UK Finance site. Stephen Pegge, Managing Director of Commercial Finance at UK Finance, said: “Opening a business current account is an important step for any business and we want to help ensure that the process is as simple as possible.

“The new guide we’ve developed with the banks aims to make the process easier for businesses, saving valuable time and effort by ensuring that all the information required is available so they are prepped and ready before the initial meeting takes place. We believe that this will in turn help to promote greater choice and competition in the business current account market.”

was a barrier to switching for some small and medium-sized businesses in its investigation into the retail banking market.

The Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) identified that the account opening process

The UK Finance website is https://www.ukfinance.org.uk

To address this issue, UK Finance developed the new online guide, which helps to standardise and simplify the information required to open or switch to a new business current account, in association with business bank account providers operating in the UK.

Thinking of retiring, closing down or are keen to raise capital for your B2B business? It will pay you to have a confidential conversation with us first.

Call 0208


Thinking Business

Our proposition, if accepted, will inject cash into your business!

846 0004 and ask for a member of the LPC team or email info@Lpcnow.co.uk


Growth Hub launches new business support for Kent and Medway

The latest performance report from the Kent and Medway Growth Hub shows that New Year’s resolutions to start a business, or grow an existing one, have resulted in an increase in enquiries to the business support service. The year got off to a great start, with January recording 193 enquiries from people considering setting up a business, a further 84 who had already started a business and 98 already established and looking to expand – all up on the previous three months. The Growth Hub project offers a single access point for local businesses, either online, via web chat, telephone, or faceto-face with an adviser. It provides a diagnostic and signposting service to kickstart the first, or next, phase of a company’s growth. The Kent & Medway Growth Hub is one of a network funded via the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) across Kent, Essex, East Sussex, Medway Southend and Thurrock. Delivered locally by the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and contracted through Kent County Council, the Growth Hub is designed to raise countywide awareness of local and national business support on offer. In terms of where the enquiries were coming from, Medway again had the most pre-starts and the most

start-up businesses, alongside Ashford, as well as the most established businesses, which is to be expected as it had the most overall enquiries by some margin in January.

Commerce, said: “The greatest number of enquiries for information relate to funding, with strong demand for legal, marketing and HR advice.

Thanet had the second most pre-start enquiries followed by Maidstone. Canterbury had the second most start-up enquiries, followed jointly in third by Shepway, Swale, Thanet, Tonbridge and Malling and Tunbridge Wells. Ashford had the second most established businesses enquiring to the hub, followed by Thanet and Maidstone jointly in third and then Swale.

“We’ve also seen growing demand for advice on premises, rising from 3 in December to 11 in January, which is probably caused

Geoff Miles, Kent Vice Chair of SELEP, said: “Given the national uncertainty over the economic ramifications of Brexit it is very good to see there’s a strong ambition across Kent and Medway to start-up a business and grow existing ones. “The Growth Hub is an important element of our work to strengthen the area’s economy by supporting the growth of small businesses.” Jo James, Chief Executive of Kent Invicta Chamber of

The Growth Hub can be accessed via www.kentandmedwaygrowthhub.org.uk or the dedicated helpline on 0300 456 3565

Cover Feature

by the loss of commercial office space to residential in many towns across Kent and Medway.” In addition to the direct enquiries received by the Growth Hub team, more than 1,600 unique visitors accessed the service’s website during January, up by 300 on December.

Working with YOU, not just for YOU Get in touch now to arrange your free consultation

Tel: 01233 630000

• • • • • •

Tax planning Pro t improvement strategies Business development advice Inheritance tax advice Succession planning Payroll


01233 630000

Assisting businesses and individuals since 1992.


Thinking Business


Cover Feature



How can businesses prepare for a new customs regime?

What do we know so far?

The UK will enter a transitional period on 29 March 2019 and the government has announced that there will be little change to current VAT and customs duty systems during the transitional period. The UK will continue to be part of the customs union of the EU during this time, able to move goods around the EU without borders or tariffs. During this time, the UK will try to negotiate trade agreements with the EU and other countries and these will govern trade when the transitional period ends. At that time, the UK will, we think, cease to be part of the EU customs union; from this time onwards, goods moving into or out of the UK will be subject to customs declarations, customs checks and duty rates negotiated with the EU and with non-EU countries. If there are no specific trade agreements, then the World Trade Organisation’s tariffs will apply.


Thinking Business

How can businesses prepare?

UK businesses have between 2-3 years to get ready for life outside of the EU – what can you do to reduce costs, avoid delays and ensure a problem free transition to trading outside the EU? Here are my recommendations: • Map out all movements of goods, including raw materials, finished products, equipment etc., which are currently involved in bringing your product or service to the market. You can then identify where there are likely to be changes, vulnerabilities or extra costs post Brexit. • Can you pass the additional costs on to customers, or should you make changes to your supply chains? Can you renegotiate contracts or use existing break clauses if you want to purchase elsewhere? Plan ahead if you are setting up contracts that will be running in 2021.

• From a logistics point of view, are you likely to suffer delays because there may be bottlenecks at ports for example? Do you need to have contingency plans in place including holding more stock, using alternative suppliers or alternative supply routes, or does your business need more warehouse space? Think about transportation requirements to identify changes in advance and be ready before the transitional period ends.

• If you are one of the estimated 130,000 businesses which will be making customs declarations for the first time post Brexit, make sure that your accounting system can

capture the right data and be able to interact with HMRC’s Customs Declaration Service.

There are also opportunities for customs duty reliefs and special Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status to reduce costs and speed your goods through the world.

Look for opportunities

It’s not all doom and gloom with supply chain problems, additional tax and customs duty costs. Changes postBrexit could create opportunity to explore and sell into previously untapped markets, which should become more accessible as a result of leaving the EU.

If you would like more information, please get in touch Sue Rathmell VAT Director MHA MacIntyre Hudson

03330 100 220


Nick Rowell

Director of Policy Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Direct line: 01622 753568 Email: nicktpbs@outlook.com A year ago I wrote here, in the light of angry citizens voting for Brexit and Trump: “Some of us feel we are on the cusp of major change, but have struggled to discern its key dimensions”. Today it’s painfully clear: ‘millennials’ growing up this century, the best-educated UK generation ever, face prospects that are the worst in living memory. Their wages have dropped, their degrees are among the most expensive globally, and they’re paying 6.1% on student debt. Pension auto-enrolment and minimum wage hikes have driven employers to marginalise staff into the gig economy, putting mortgages out of reach. It’s a perfect storm: the longterm insecurity of jobs, housing and pensions even as their parents struggle on poor retirement incomes. Most shocking, there is no current prospect of livelihoods improving for this generation, nor the next. Of the few millennials who own their own home, over 80% have home-owner parents. Comfort, evidently, is for the already-haves. But it need not be this way. In the humanist tradition that is our thousand year civilisation, Adam Smith wrote: “Political economy, the science of a statesman or legislator, proposes two distinct objects: first, to provide a plentiful


Thinking Business

The Economy & Us:

Time to repair and renew capitalism

“How long do you think your civilisation will last?”

Italian civilian to WWII US occupying army officer, “Catch-22” by Joseph Heller (1962)

revenue or subsistence for the people, or more properly to enable them to provide such a revenue or subsistence for themselves; and second, to supply the state or commonwealth with a revenue sufficient for the public services”. Smith foresaw the risks of crony capitalism: “when the regulation is in favour of the workmen, it is always just and equitable; but it is sometimes otherwise when in favour of the masters”. Accordingly, US anti-trust legislation is designed to regulate competition by blocking greedy monopolies. Hmm. To revive Smith’s economy, our government could have stimulated the Keynesian ‘multiplier’ by investing in cost-effective infrastructure and services such as doctors, nurses and social care. Instead, we have “austerity” because “there is no magic money tree” – from a government magicking £435bn in QE to reward bankers' irresponsible lending. If even £100bn of this had been cost-effectively invested, our public services would not now be shredded. The problem is, our civilisation got hijacked in the post-war boom years by industrialists and then bankers, see chart above. US President Eisenhower warned explicitly against “military-industrial” cronyism, as did Joseph Heller.

UK Money Supply 1870 - 2010

2500 2000 1500

£ Billions

The Economy & Us

1000 500 0








Notes and coins plus central bank reserves








Commercial bank created money


Source of chart: positivemoney.org NB: UK Money supply (M3) in 2018 is £2,800bn (source: Bank of England)

Today, 50% of the world’s wealth increase since 2000 has gone to the richest 1%. The Bank of England’s chief economist has counted himself among the 99%. Successive UK (and global) governments have colluded with greedy investors to inject cashflow and then boast about lower taxes, milking the public slowly. Think PFI, privatised Utilities and Railways, even state give-aways to boost mortgage demand (1980’s council homes; “Help to Buy”).

Today’s housing crisis is not due to supply-side failure. Far from it: 9 out of 10 developers’ applications get approved but then hoarded to cash in on debtfuelled speculation. Our home, for example, has risen 800% in 33 years – unaffordable today. What we need is a government that is serious about returning the finance industry to its proper function: funnelling capital into productive, competitive enterprise; not funding the richest 1% to milk us even more.

“When the regulation is in favour of the workmen, it is always just and equitable; but it is sometimes otherwise when in favour of the masters”.

Too Busy Busy For For IT? IT? Too Running a business is hard enough as it is, without having Running business hard enough it make is, without to worryaabout yourisIT needs. Why as not life a having bit to worry about your IT needs. Why not make life a bit of IT easier by giving TMB a call? We provide a wide range easier by giving TMB a call? We provide a wide range of IT services, including: services, including: • 24-hour support •• 24-hour support Cyber security •• Cyber security Software licensing •• Software Network licensing setups •• Network Technicalsetups consultancy •• Technical consultancy Bespoke applications •• Bespoke applications Accounting and payroll solutions • Accounting and payroll solutions To see our full range of services, head to www.tmb.co.uk. To see our full range of services, head to www.tmb.co.uk.

TMB provides high-quality TMB provides high-quality IT support and services to ITbusinesses support and services to and public sector businesses and public sector bodies across the whole of the

bodies theLondon. whole of the South across East and South East and London.

Call us on 0333 900 9050 to nd Call on we 0333 900 9050 to nd outus how can help you. out how we can help you.

50 years Arts and Culture

What have Will Smith, Daniel Craig, Catherine Tate and The Woodville all got in common? They have all starred in landmark film franchises? Nearly. They all look cute in a pair of budgie smugglers? So close! Unbelievably they are all turning 50 in 2018 and Gravesend’s iconic landmark theatre has not even had a facelift – not that we are saying…

The Woodville was officially opened on Friday 15th November 1968 by Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Kent. It was designed by architects H.T. Cadbury-Brown and Partners who were followers of the modernist school of architecture and heavily influenced by the work

of Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier. The building was state of the art at the time and was truly multi purpose and able to offer a gamut of events from pantomime to weddings, ballroom dancing to boxing and, of course, theatre. In the intervening years the Blake Gallery, the Paul Greengrass Cinema and Studio Theatre have all been added to the great range of creative opportunities that exist within the building on Community Square. To celebrate all things Woodville we are planning a whole year of events and parties so that all our patrons and partners can join in with us marking our half century. To name but some we are offering 50 babies who are born in 2018 unlimited theatre and cinema tickets until they are 18 years old in addition to a specially created Woodville Baby Box. In true Willy Wonka style we are offering Golden tickets on selected shows. These tickets will be hidden


underneath specific seats and the lucky winners can expect some really special prizes, from drinks at the bar to free tickets to other shows and events. There may even be opportunities to win a meet and greet with a favourite star when they visit Gravesend!

We want to share the glorious 50 celebrations with other friends who are having a significant birthday this year - so IF YOU live in Gravesham and, like The Woodville, you are celebrating your 50th birthday this year we would like to present you with the gift of unlimited FREE Cinema at The Paul Greengrass Cinema during 2018.




1968-2018 Entertaining Gravesend for 50 years



Fantastic new show featuring the best of George, Andrew, Pepsi and Shirley – so popular we have added an extra date Friday 28 September. £24.50

THE BOX OFFICE 08442 439 480 www.woodville.co.uk


Thinking Business



Icons - The Glam Rock Years

A new exhibition of abstract paintings inspired by the music of the 1970s.An exhibition of new contemporary paintings inspired by some of the world’s biggest names in music including David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed.


The HandleBards are the world’s first cycling theatre company. They have pedalled their “seriously silly” production of Romeo and Juliet 1500 miles around the UK by bicycle! Expect riotous amounts of energy, a fair whack of chaos, and a great deal of laughter. £15, under 16s - one free with each standard ticket sold.

FREE EVENING PARKING Woodville Place, Gravesend, FROM Kent, 6pmDA12 1DD

Like us on Facebook @WoodvilleGravesend Tweet us at @TheWoodville

Ask the Expert

Simon Ludden

Managing Director Tarvos Wealth Ltd of Canterbury

Due to the general economic uncertainty many companies are sitting on cash rather than investing in their business. Limitation on pension contributions and concerns over the new additional rates of dividend tax have also been contributing factors to this cautious approach. As a result, the cash stays on deposit or in a current account and, therefore, sits on the balance sheet but earning interest rates of between 0.5% and 1%. We believe it's not an ideal situation. Unquoted businesses are generally exempt from inheritance tax, because they benefit from Business Relief. However, business owners also need to be aware that

Ask the Expert

How can Inheritance Tax planning help companies and individuals? their company’s unused cash reserves could be liable for inheritance tax if a shareholder wants to pass on the business to their children when they die. For example, companies holding over 20% of turnover as cash or other non-trading assets can be regarded as investment companies by HMRC. This is subject to local assessment, so it will depend on their local inspector of taxes. Inheritance Tax is charged at a flat rate of 40%. This could land family members with a potentially large and unexpected tax liability. You may wish to speak with an accountant if concerned about this. There are some options available, however. Companies can consider using the surplus cash by investing into other investments such as trading partnerships, which have the effect of treating the money

used as trading. This is specialist and it is important that qualified advice is sought. Individuals looking to mitigate inheritance tax liabilities may wish to consider Business Relief as an option. In general, this means investing money into areas that qualify. These can be high risk areas such as AIM shares or other investment areas looking at targeted returns. The advantage is that ownership of these investments for only a two year period, provided they are held at death, ensures that the money is free of inheritance tax. Unusually, these types of investments are often particularly suitable for older people looking to reduce their taxable estate. Once again, speak to a suitably qualified independent financial adviser. If inheritance tax is not an issue, how can you make

your money work harder for your business? Companies can invest in peer to peer lending, which seems to get over this problem. This is a method of investing which is as old as banking itself but has generally not been available to the ordinary investor. There are a few options for investing into a diversified range of short term loans, with varying levels of return in the form of interest. While this is not quite the same as a deposit account from a risk perspective, in our view the added return and benefits would probably outweigh any risk that there may be and it is well worth considering. This form of investing is also available for individual investors. It is not suitable, however, for inheritance tax planning for individuals or companies.

We are chartered financial planners advising companies and individuals on how to invest their money more effectively.

We specialise in corporate pensions, shareholder protection and tax efficient investments.

Watling Chambers 18-19 Watling Street Canterbury CT1 2UA

Tarvos Wealth Ltd

Telephone: 01227


www.tarvoswealth.co.uk Thinking Business



Claim Your FREE Fire Safety Survey

One of our certified technicians will visit your premises (we do not employ sales people) and will survey the premises (anywhere, nationwide) in accordance with the latest British Standards, Fire Safety Order, and Health And Safety legislation for fire and safety equipment. This survey will be Free.

Call us FREE on 0800 321 3145 or email info@FireProtectionOnline.co.uk


Massive Discounts - Save Up to 79% FREE Next Day Delivery or Click & Collect from Canterbury All Fully Approved

and QUOTE "Thinking Business FREE OFFER"

If recommendations are made, there will be no obligation or conditions to purchase anything. Also, this survey does not replace a Fire Risk Assessment which is a legal requirement for the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order.

FREEPHONE 0800 321 3145 www.FireProtectionOnline.co.uk

Fire Protection Online Ltd, Merlin House, Claremont Way, Lakesview Industrial Park, Hersden, Canterbury CT3 4BF


Thinking Business

The Person behind the Business

It’s time to embrace the self-managing business When entrepreneur Jon Butt gives talks or records podcasts about his business philosophy, one contention above all others provokes interest in his audience, the idea that a business can ‘self-manage’ itself.

What Jon means is that owners need to be brave enough to resist the urge to micro-manage their staff and instead trust them to do the job. Jon owns two businesses, both trading online. Fire Protection Online supplies fire equipment with sales growing 35 per cent last year, and he has started Blue Coffee Box, which supplies speciality coffees by monthly subscription and is run with son Harvey. Fire Protection Online employs 13 people and Jon said: “I remember when I started up in business supplying fire protection equipment, I would take the orders, drive to the place where

I had them stored so I could pack, then wait for the carrier to arrive. It was all about me. “Then I had to go America and I thought ‘I can not do this, I need help’ so I took someone on and had to trust them to do the job while I was away. “These days, I spend quite a lot of time in Vancouver so I have to be able to trust the people I employ at Fire Protection Online to keep the business running. “Most small businesses are dependent on the person that owns them and they collapse if something happens to that person, maybe an accident or an illness which means that they cannot work for nine months.

“Or they work for years but when it comes to retirement they find that they cannot sell the business because it is all about them. “I take the view that Fire Protection Online can selfmanage itself. I have the staff that I need and they do not look to me for approval every time they need to make a decision. “I have not interviewed anyone, have not hired or fired anyone, for years. The business can function when I am away and I can always stay in touch online. “You often hear small business owners say ‘Yes, but by the time I have shown someone how to do the job I might as well have done it myself’. By the time you have done that 50 times you might think differently. “There is a tendency among some small business owners to micro-manage, to assume that no one can do the job as well as they can. They forget that they had to learn how to do it to begin with. “Staff are capable of learning the job and carrying out tasks as well as the owner, if not better, but in too many cases they are simply not being given the chance. “We also need to look to recruit more women. There are a lot of women who have taken time out to have children but are going stir crazy talking about nappies when

just a few months ago they were running their own department.

“With online trading the way it is, there is an opportunity for them to work from home and business owners need to trust them.

“It is a case of systemising things so that people know how to do the job. You hear business owners saying that they cannot write down everything they do for staff but they do not have to. They can video themselves doing the task, for example, and staff can watch the job being done.

“Take McDonalds as an example. That is a business that is systemised so that everyone knows how long to cook the chips and the like.

“What business owners have to do is be brave enough to give their staff the opportunity to show what they can do.

“When employees are trusted to use their initiative, the happiness increases, productivity increases and customer satisfaction increases. We can prove it.

“Most small business owners struggle with their work/life balance and stress but there are ways to run a business without them doing all the work.”

Thinking Business


Members News

Cripps supports successful merger of Kent colleges

Cripps advised East Kent College on its merger with Canterbury College.

The Cripps team, which was led by Salim Somjee and included Nick Rowe, Roberta Organ, Irfan Baluch and Phil Bilney, worked with the East Kent College merger team throughout the process, including due diligence, the merger mechanics and funding. Salim said: “It has been a pleasure working on this exciting project and great to have the opportunity to work with East Kent College again, having previously advised on their takeover of K College’s Dover and Folkestone campuses in 2014. EKC is passionate about providing its students with the best possible opportunities and being someone born and educated in Kent, from a personal perspective, it is rewarding to help support EKC through a transaction that will have a positive effect on education in the South East.” Paul Sayers, the Executive Director responsible for the merger, said: “I have worked closely with Cripps throughout the merger process. Salim and the team have been unfailingly supportive and their knowledge and understanding not only of the technical aspects of the process, but of our organisation and the education sector has helped us bring this strategically important project to a successful conclusion.”


Thinking Business

Brachers advises in merger of Kent colleges

Brachers’ commercial and commercial property teams have advised Canterbury College in its merger with East Kent College, which has resulted in the creation of the new EKC Group, a family of five separate colleges in Broadstairs, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone and Sheppey.

Canterbury College was established in 1947, growing to become one of the largest further and higher education colleges in the South East, with two campuses in Canterbury and Sheppey. The team from Brachers advised Canterbury College’s senior staff on the commercial, financial and property aspects of the deal.

The merger with East Kent College has created a group which now serves the needs of around 15,000 students spread across five districts, and with more than 1,000 staff and a turnover of some £55m. The group's principal and

chief executive, Graham Razey, said: "This merger will enable our colleges to deliver the finest technical and vocational education across the whole of East Kent. It’s great news for the many students we teach who now have unparalleled flexibility to progress through our range of provision, as well as the communities we serve which I hope will benefit from the skills training and services we deliver.” Erol Huseyin, Commercial Partner at Brachers, who led the work advising Canterbury College, said: “This merger opens an exciting new chapter for the new

EKC Group and indeed all of the colleges which form it. It is vital for the business community in Kent and the South East that there is a supply of skilled young people into the workforce with the best technical and specialist abilities, so the creation of the combined group with its clear vision for the future is good news for the local economy. We were delighted to advise Canterbury College in this merger.”

For more information about Brachers’ legal services for business visit www.brachers.co.uk/for-business

World Cup winner helps unveil waterfront spa & health club

The Waterfront Spa & Health Club has opened at the Best Western Plus Dover Marina Hotel – and Ben Cohen MBE, one of the heroes of England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup triumph, was on hand to cut the ribbon.

Ben – who won a legion of new admirers when he appeared on BBC TV’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2013 – joined a host of VIP guests to toast the launch of the luxurious new spa and also the unveiling of four new suites, including a stunning bridal suite. Another special guest at the opening ceremony was popular Indian singer Vijay Prakash, who is one of the artists credited for the Academy Award-winning song ‘ Jai Ho’, which featured in the hit movie Slumdog Millionaire. Vijay delighted guests by performing an impromptu song at the spa opening. The 85-bedroom hotel, a grade IIlisted Regency crescent terrace with an enviable beach-front location overlooking the harbour with views across the English Channel to France, is now home to one of the most luxurious boutique spas in the region. More than £1m has been invested to create seven beautifully appointed treatment rooms, new sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi, a bigger and more luxurious relaxation area, changing rooms

and showers. Extended opening hours are also offered for the convenience of clients. During the champagne unveiling, therapists demonstrated the Ayurveda treatments available at the spa, which are designed to promote mental and physical wellness. Award-winning ELEMIS products and treatments are on offer for the first time at The Waterfront and consultants from ELEMIS attended to provide guests with more information and to demonstrate the premium range of products now available there. Improvements to the gym include new state-of-the-art Technofit equipment, while personal trainers are on hand to assist guests and run fitness classes.

Managing Director Mr Kanagaratnam Rajaseelan said: “Everyone who has been involved in this exciting project deserves huge

credit. It has been a labour of love and we are delighted with the results.” He said that the investment had created about 25 jobs, including therapists, gym instructors and receptionists, and all had been appointed from the local area, so providing a major boost to the economy of Dover. Ben Cohen spoke about the importance of fitness and wellbeing to him as a professional sportsman and said he was hugely impressed with the new facilities at the spa.

The hotel is in Waterloo Crescent, a couple of minutes from the port and cruise terminals.

Members News

Facts International joins forces with Kent Crisps to inspire the next generation of Entrepreneurs

The Aspire Programme, launched and operated by the University of Kent’s Kent Business School, was set-up specifically to nurture and develop the talent, skills and knowledge of the next generation of business start-ups, ensuring that each new business starts with a culture of responsible entrepreneurship. Facts International, based in Ashford, is one of the UK’s leading market research agencies and was delighted to be invited to join the Aspire programme, alongside entrepreneur Laura Bounds, Owner and Managing Director of Ramsgate based Kent Crisps. Facts International’s vast expertise and experience in working with some of the world’s largest companies and brands to understand customers, plan

strategies and provide actionable insights, came to the fore across two sessions where market research was brought to life, thanks to a generous donation of six boxes of Kent Crisps by Laura Bounds. During the first session, Facts International’s Client services Director, Linda Marsh, and Senior Marketer, Dawn Chapman, showcased the importance of gaining first hand customer feedback through a live packaging and taste testing workshop. The story of the results was delivered to the students at a second session, where students were tasked with identifying solutions to some of the areas identified in the research. The full results of the research will also be conveyed to Laura at Kent Crisps, as she considers future product and market development strategies for the ever evolving

Facts International and Kent Crisps, two of Kent’s most highly acclaimed and influential SMEs, have joined forces to provide crucial market research expertise and guidance to more than 70 students from the University of Kent, who aspire to entrepreneurial and business greatness.

enterprise, that most recently launched sister brands Kentish Oils and Kentish Condiments. The collaboration proved a great success with Laura Bounds from Kent Crisps stating “It was fantastic to be invited to join the Aspire programme as I’m passionate about inspiring future generations of young people, through my personal experiences of making it in the business world. I’ve overcome a wide range of challenges since moving on from university and along with many other mentors and organisations on the programme, I have a wealth of experience to offer. Like Facts International, I firmly believe that there’s no substitute for a real-life experience, so it was a pleasure to be approached by Linda Marsh and help to provide a rich and engaging market research

workshop for the students; the resulting alliance has proven to be of huge benefit to the Aspire programme”. Of the sessions, University of Kent, Aspire Project Officer, Rebecca Smith said “It’s been fantastic to work with Facts International as part of the Business Start-Up Journey. Student entrepreneurship is really important to us and it’s vital to give our students a robust and practical grounding in all the elements that they need to consider when starting a business. For market research, Facts did this brilliantly and it was truly inspirational to see Facts International and Kent Crisps form a partnership to bring additional context to the sessions and really demonstrate market research in action”.

The new playing field really is a phenomenal gain for the local school and one that will benefit generations of children.” Matthew Green, Headteacher of Sandgate Primary School, said: “Sandgate Primary School is thrilled to have worked closely with Quinn Estates on this – the car park addresses a longstanding problem and coupled with the new playing field provides us with fantastic new facilities that help us to create happy and successful children.

“One of our key values is making a positive contribution to the local community and this is something that Quinn Estates have shown in spades and for which we are extremely grateful. Eversley Park is the now sold out conversion of a redundant boarding school into a stunning development of 23 apartments, 2 cottages and 17 new build houses set within a gated and landscaped setting close to the award winning beach at Sandgate and the bustling seaside town of Folkestone.

Quinn Estates unveil car park and playing field at Sandgate Primary School to ease parking problems

Quinn Estates has officially opened the new carpark and playing field at Sandgate Primary School, providing space for 36 cars, and tackling traffic congestion and parking issues associated with the school along Coolinge Lane and providing a crucial new area of open space. The carpark was gifted to the school by Quinn Estates as part of their nearby Eversley Park development, along with an additional three acres of land which Quinn Estates turned into a new playing field for the school. The event was marked by a ribbon cutting ceremony at the school on Friday (2/1), which was attended by local MP Damian Collins, Headteacher Matthew Green, and the school’s Chair of Governors. Mark Quinn said: “We were delighted to have the opportunity to be able to gift this carpark to Sandgate Primary School and help to address issues that both the school and local residents raised. “At a time when schools are losing playing fields to development, we have been able to buck this trend which we think is crucial, thus allowing children to get outside which is important for their physical and mental wellbeing resulting in a

higher level of attainment in the classroom.” “The school’s new car park and field was not a planning condition. It was our own initiative – and we hope demonstrates our desire to be a good neighbour and community minded, something we feel is fundamental to all of our projects across the South East.” Damian Collins, MP for Folkestone and Hythe, said: “It’s great to see a developer giving back to the school in this way and sharing their success with the wider community. The car park was vital toprovide additional off-street parking to serve the local school. “Sandgate Primary is a busy and Ofsted Outstanding school at the heart of the community with many parents and guardians dropping off and collecting children. Informal roadside parking presented road safety concerns for small children venturing by the road.

Thinking Business


More Kent Businesses Invited to Innovate, Connect and Explore across the EU

International Trade

SMEs in Kent and Medway are being invited to participate in an EU funded programme designed to help them review and adapt their products or services to enable international trade.

Kent County Council and the Chamber are working with EU Partners to deliver a funded programme of support that includes, • innovation workshops • 1-2-1 business advice • trade show visits across the EU • cross border sector-based networking events To date the programme has supported more than a hundred businesses from key sectors such as creative digital, food & drink, manufacturing & engineering and new materials. Businesses have participated in a range of workshops that


Thinking Business

have been delivered by sector specialists offering insight, future trends, practical advice as well as connections and new sources of information outside of the UK. The programme has also helped businesses attend some prestigious trade fairs including,

• Food Matters Live – Excel, London

• Video First Conference – Gent, Belgium

• MNE Fair – Kortrijk, Belgium • TAVOLA 2018 – Kortrijk, Belgium • Creative Blend @ Playgrounds – Breda, The Netherlands

The programme will run until September 2019 and we are now entering into a new phase where we will be developing sector-based networks across the regions. Participants will be encouraged to develop their business proposition under the guidance of sector experts and will be invited to attend trade shows and cross border workshops.

If you would like to be involved in this programme and fall within either the creative digital, food & drink or manufacturing and engineering sector, there’s still time to sign up.

Visit www.iseproject.eu and register your interest.

“Participants will be encouraged to develop their business proposition under the guidance of sector experts and will be invited to attend trade shows and cross border workshops.”

International Trade

Thinking Business




Do your employees fully understand what confidential paper work really is, do they know what should be disposed of in the correct and safe manner. Are your employee’s aware of their responsibility of handling confidential information in a safe and secure manner, how would your employee’s feel if information about themselves was handled incorrectly and fell into the wrong hands. Are you a company that wants to protect it’s own reputation and the reputation of the employees who make your company? Do you want to ensure your confidential paper work is handled, destroyed and put back into the recycling chain? CDDL offer a full audit of your business to allow you to fully understand and pass on the knowledge to your employees about what is actually happening to confidential paper work and what opportunities there are to increase your security inline with GDPR. CDDL can offer a full secure chain for your confidential paper work. We can offer all types and sizes of containers or bags to securely hold the paper work and we offer scheduled or ad hoc collections to keep your security risk to a minimum. The collections are carried out by certified employee’s and

in tracked vehicles. The information is transported back to our depot where the material is shredded beyond all recognition, the material is then put back into the paper industry to create more paper and cardboard. CDDL can offer one off archive collection and destruction, we can clear your office of the clutter you may have, and can offer support to organise and get ready all collections. CDDL can also offer archive storage to remove the pain of blocked cupboards and rooms with boxes of information poorly stored within your business.

About Confidential Document Destruction Ltd (CDDL) CDDL is a newly formed company to help businesses comply with the new GDPR legislation in the control, storage and destruction of confidential paper work. CDDL pride themselves in working with all sizes of business', very large to very small business. CDDL have a culture of “Do what we say we will Do.“ We enjoy working and helping our customers solve problems and reduce costs where possible. CDDL operate with a transparent culture. CDDL is in business to make a profit, but we like

to make a profit on an ongoing basis by putting our customer’s needs first and not one off large margins at the cost of our customers going elsewhere. We believe in our employee’s, as our employee’s make what we are, we believe in investing in our employee's and most of all, we want our employee’s to say, “they love working for CDDL.“

If we can help with your confidential documents, your GDPR compliance please contact us on tony.hughes@confidentialdocumentdestruction.org.uk or 07798 923622 or


Thinking Business


24 Hours with ...

24 Hours with ...

Mark McGill Flip Out Trampoline Park

Investment pays off as business goes from strength to strength When Mark McGill was made redundant from his City job at the age of 53, it heralded a new chapter in his life, one that now sees him employing 45 people through his own business. Mark and his wife took on a franchise for a trampoline park eighteen months ago and today Flip Out Trampoline Park Chatham Medway is going from strength to strength. Situated at the end of Pier 5 on the Dockside Retail Outlet, the park has 70 trampolines which are used by people of all ages, from very young children enjoying soft play to pensioners keeping fit and also groups on corporate teambuilding exercises. The park is open from 10am but Mark’s day starts much earlier. He said: “I have an office at home so I’ll start the day by checking on my emails then I’ll drop my son off at

school and I normally get into the park by about 8.45. “Other staff will be arriving at about that time and the first hour before we open our doors is crucial to us because we check every trampoline to make sure that there are not any tears or other problems. Safety is of paramount importance to us. “The first customers tend to arrive at our door by about 9.45 so we try to be finished our checks by then. I employ a general manager and three deputies so once we are open, they run the park. “My job is to support them and the staff and make sure that we are doing what we should be doing. I also act as a troubleshooter. “I love what I do. Before we set up the park, I worked in corporate banking for twenty years but was made redundant from my job as a

director in the City. I knew that I was unlikely to get another job at that level – it is a young person’s game and I was 53 – so I looked for something else. “One of my sons had been to a trampoline park in Guildford and came home raving about how good it was so I went to have a look. “I’d been thinking about setting up in business so we took on a Flip Out franchise and invested £1.2 million in setting up, which was a lot of money. There are 20 Flip Out Parks in the UK now but at the time we were the fifth to open. “We cater for everyone. For instance, we might have a very small child who wants to go in our soft play area or a fit seventy-year-old who wants to try trampolining. “One of my other jobs is to liaise with our suppliers to make sure that the park and the café have everything they

need. I also talk to the many organisations with whom we work, including Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and other business organisations. “Trampolining is great for teambuilding and we are building up our corporate activities so I attend events wherever I can to let people know what we can offer. “I also talk a lot to Medway Council, who are keen to encourage people to keep fit, and we work closely with them, including running activities for schoolchildren. “The park closes at 7pm but I tend to go home in the late afternoon and attend to some work in the office. In the evening, I keep my mobile phone switched on and I am regularly checking it. You never know what might happen and as anyone who has run their own business will tell you, the working day never really ends!”

Thinking Business


Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce South East North Kent Roadshow Asia Chambers visit Kent Events

Tuesday 22nd May 2018 Free to Members & Non-members 8.00am – 10.30am Shorne Woods Country Park, Brewers Road, Gravesend, Kent, DA12 3HX Your business can benefit from over 30 FREE and discounted business services. Be part of the Ultimate Business Support Network in Kent. Accredited to the British Chamber of Commerce we give you the best of both worlds, local, county and national support and representation. Are you making the most of your Membership, or looking for the many reasons why you should join or whether or not to renew, then come along and meet our Service Partners to ensure you are aware of all benefits available to you and your employees:-

Westfield Health: Healthcare packages, up to 40% discount AXA PPP: FREE access to 24 hour Healthcare AA breakdown: Up to 63% discounted Cargo Insurance: Referral Service QDOS: FREE - Tax, H&S, Legal & HR Assistance, up to £1 million legal expenses Export Documents: 50% discount on all documentation Utilitywise: Chamber energy savings advice & free bill analysis Conference Facilities: Discounted Rates Foreign Exchange: Reduced transfer fee – £5 per transfer compared to £30 for High Street banks The Fuel Card People: Up to 5p a litre off pump prices

There are more ways your business can benefit, here are just a few:

Member to Member offers, Membership Directory, Blogs, Advertising Opportunities, Networking, Sector Specific Events, Annual Business Awards, Thinking Business Magazine, Business Support, Start Up Workshops, Initiative & Local Funding Opportunities...

We really look forward to welcoming you to this exciting & informative Membership event, please register your attendance now to avoid disappointment.

Networking and a light breakfast from 8.00am followed by a short presentation and further networking.

World Garden Tour "Behind the Scenes"at Lullingstone Castle

Tuesday 19th June 2018 Members - £22.00 + VAT Non-members - £32.00 + VAT 11.00am – 1.30pm Lullingstone Castle, Eynsford, Kent, DA4 0JA Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce are pleased to announce an exciting visit to Lullingstone Castle, one of England’s oldest family estates, dating back to the time of Domesday. We have organised a private tour of The World Garden which combines plant heritage with cutting-edge horticulture with Tom Hart Dyke. Tom is a modern-day plant hunter who follows in the traditions of the plant hunters of old who risked life and limb in pursuit of fantastic blooms

and plants, he was kidnapped in the Colombian jungle for 9 months. Here the inspiration to plan a garden that would contain plants from around the globe planted in their respective continents of origin, every year adding more rare and important botanical plants to its collection.

After the tour join us for a delicious cheese ploughman's lunch along with refreshments served in the marquee within the grounds of Lullingstone Castle.

A substantial percentage of the admission fee will go towards the upkeep of this amazing garden.

For further information on all events please contact events@kentinvictachamber.co.uk 01233 503838

Friday 11th May 2018 9.00am – 3.30pm

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

BiSEA is the grouping of British Chambers and Business Groups in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

BiSEA, in co-operation with the UK - ASEAN Business Council, DIT, CBI and Chamber partners would like to invite you to meet our representatives of British Chambers to discuss export opportunities in each country. • Chris Wren, Executive Director British Chamber of Commerce Indonesia • Sridaran Sabapathy, Head of Trade British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce • Chris Nelson, Executive Director British Chamber of Commerce Philippines • Olivia Widen, Executive Director British Chamber of Commerce Singapore • Greg Watkins, Executive Director British Chamber of Commerce Thailand • Peter Rimmer, Executive Director British Business Group Vietnam South East Asia is a region where economic growth and development is expected to exceed the global average for the foreseeable future. With a wealth of natural resources, low-cost skilled labour and a regional free Trade Agreement, the great diversity of markets and opportunities are attractive across a wide range of sectors. By 2030, South East Asia’s economy is predicted to eclipse Japan’s and be the world’s 4th largest ‘singlemarket’ after the EU, US and China. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) predicts that the size of the middle class in emerging Asia will increase from 24% of the population in 2010 to 65% in 2030. All of this leads to a ‘Community of Opportunities’. South East Asia is comprised of markets with diverse social-cultural differences as well as different legal and regulatory environments but all offer opportunities for UK exporters and investors in practically every sector.

To arrange a one-2-one meeting and reserve a place to attend this event, please email: events@kentinvictachamber.co.uk www.bisea.org

Thinking Business


Thursday 4th October 2018 Kent Event Centre, Detling

Fresh Insights into Current Construction Industry Challenges, Opportunities and Innovations

The Kent Construction Expo is the largest gathering of construction industry professionals, contractors and suppliers in the south east. Produced by the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, the Expo delivers a multi-track conference programme, a wide range of exhibitors and a unique opportunity for the construction sector to come together for an invaluable day of networking and innovation.

Register now for your free ticket via the new website: KentConstructionExpo.com Fully inclusive stand packages start from just ÂŁ695, get in touch for the latest floorplan: Email or call Nick Litton - nick@revolution-events.com | 01892 820930 Produced by

Gold Sponsor

Silver Sponsor

Gala Dinner Sponsor

Event Partner

Event Partner

Media Partner

Managed by

Register for FREE at www.kent-b2b.co.uk



MEDWAY 2018 20 September, 2018 Chatham Historic Dockyard

ASHFORD 2018 7 June, 2018 Ashford International Hotel


Danny Windsor Ben Halks



Do you struggle to justify the time you spend on social media? Is it just your friends and family that like your posts? Social Media is a great tool for engaging with potential customers, but you must have a plan in place.

As the world of social media evolves, businesses are having to be more honest with their approach. Learn how you can engage with your audience and produce content that is uniquely yours.



Luke Quilter

Luke Quilter

OPTIMISING YOUR DIGITAL PRESENCE Writing posts on twitter or Facebook doesn’t mean you ‘do’ digital. To really embrace digital you have to review how each channel works with one another and how you can push people into and through each stage of the buying funnel.

USING DIGITAL TO BUILD YOUR BUSINESS LOCALLY Discover what strategies and tools you can use to effectively market your business locally. There’s a whole digital toolkit to help you grow your business in your local area.

The Kent B2B series brings you the latest insight from Kent’s biggest names. Join our free GIANT Talks programme, keynote speakers,networking, expo and more.



WANT TO EXHIBIT? Find opportunities: www.kent-b2b.co.uk

Business News

Kent’s villages could see more homes being built

A Kent planning expert believes a decision in Oxfordshire means a greater number of new homes will be built in and around the county’s villages over the next few years.

A planning inspector recently granted outline permission at appeal for 36 houses in a small Oxfordshire village. With just 325 homes in the countryside location it was ruled that a housing benefit outweighed the development plan as a whole. Steve Davies, Senior Planning Consultant at Hobbs Parker Property Consultants, said: “District councils are wrestling with the number of new homes already allocated, and the Government is determined to increase the quantity being delivered, meaning many villages will inevitably have to accept some of the new development alongside the towns.” In the Oxfordshire case, the inspector found on balance nothing to outweigh the benefit of the 36 new homes, including 40 per cent affordable, in contributing towards addressing the significant shortfall in housing numbers in the district, so they allowed the appeal. Steve added: “Increasingly, national planning policy will come up against the challenge of local delivery. Government policy now explicitly demands the presumption in favour of sustainable development in both plan making and decision taking. “In this case, the council wasn’t able to show it had enough housing space to accommodate five years of growth, and with no Local Plan it couldn’t resist the proposals. “The inspector also decided there would be only limited harm to the village’s rural character, that there was scope for retaining views of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in the final layout, and only minor harm to the setting of listed buildings and a conservation area. “The housebuilder had also addressed visibility concerns in relation to the AONB through its Section 106 agreement, by making provision for highways works.” With many Kent districts in a similar planning situation to those in Oxfordshire – in terms of housing supply and being situated close to AONBs – it is possible, says Steve, to see this decision being used to secure planning permission for more homes in Kent villages.


Thinking Business

Waterbrook master plan submitted

A new master plan for Waterbrook has been unveiled and a planning application to bring forward new commercial and residential development, near Junction 10 of the M20 in Ashford, has been submitted.

The planning application, submitted by GSE Group who own the land, will now be considered by Ashford Borough Council. At the heart of the Waterbrook proposals is the recognition that there is a need to create new places for people to work, as well as new homes, in order to sustain Ashford’s economy. The application also includes plans to develop new commercial space on 45 acres of the 140 acre site, alongside the existing Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency offices and planned Jaguar Land Rover dealership. When fully developed the commercial premises would provide employment for approximately 750 people. Waterbrook is currently home to the award-winning Ashford International Truckstop, and the proposal is to increase it in size to securely park 600 lorries an evening, helping to reduce the impact of unlawful overnight parking on the local community. To help Ashford meet the needs of its growing population, the Waterbrook proposals also include plans to develop 400 new homes, separated from the commercial property by a 13 acre linear park incorporating a small natural lake. A further 25 acres

of Waterbrook will be left undeveloped and schemes put in place to enhance the local ecology. Darrell Healey, Managing Director of GSE Group, said: “These proposals will help Ashford, and Kent, secure the jobs, secure parking for HGVs and houses that it needs. “Across Kent there is a growing shortage of high quality commercial property. Waterbrook will deliver for Ashford by supporting the growth of existing local businesses and helping attract new ones. “Ashford’s connectivity, thanks to

Probus Club of Ashford

high-speed rail and Eurostar, and the new junction 10a on the M20, will mean that Ashford is set for further economic growth and the outlook forthe borough is positive.” GSE Group has been working with local development experts including Clague Architects, DHA Planning, alongside Cannon Consulting Engineers, Corylus Ecology, PJC Consultancy and Grant Acoustics to finalise the plans for Waterbrook. GSE Group has also appointed property agents Sibley Pares and Knight Frank to promote Waterbrook.

The Probus Club of Ashford was founded in 1978 with the purpose of encouraging and fostering fellowship between members of the Club.

The Probus Club is a local association of retired professional and business people and others, aged 60 and over, who have an interest in meeting like-minded people – all with a common interest in participating in many activities arranged by the aforesaid Club.

The Club meets twice monthly – on the second Friday of each month there is a Coffee Morning with a speaker to which our wives and partners are invited. We also hold

a Lunch Meeting on the fourth Friday of each month which is for members only. We have a very active Bowls section, playing both in and outdoors depending on the season, with matches against other Probus Clubs in the area. We try and arrange two holidays a year, either on the Continent or in the UK. In addition, we have outings to places of interest as well as a theatre visits. We meet at Sandyacres, Sandyhurst Lane, Ashford. The coffee morning

commences at 10.30am for 11.00am, and the lunch meeting is 12.30pm for 1.00pm.

The subscription is £12.00 per year, the cost of the coffee morning with a speaker is £2.00 and lunch meeting is £15.00 inclusive of a three-course meal with coffee. Please contact Ron Fox on marron.tritton@talktalk.net or Bryan Strange on bstrange@btinternet.com for further information.

What can landowners and developers do to protect themselves against that sinking feeling?

Business News

No landlord likes voids – especially those that appear under your property. Sinkholes can be the result of history, geology or weather but, however they appear, they inevitably mean unexpected hazards, disruption and expense. As Liz Brady, Partner at leading Kent legal firm Furley Page, explains, landowners and developers can be left with serious headaches by sinkholes but there are a few prudent measures they can take to minimise their level of risk. Sinkholes are usually caused by rock which dissolves leaving a void into which the surface land collapses. The most common triggers for the appearance of a sinkhole are heavy rain or flooding, leaking pipes, changes to natural drainage by building works or climate change; and mining and tunnelling. They can turn up almost anywhere at any time of the year. Recent cases in Kent include in 2014, when a five metre deep hole suddenly appeared in the middle of the M2 motorway near Faversham; in 2015, when properties in Gravesham had to be evacuated following the collapse of 200-year-old chalk workings; and in 2017, in Thanet, when part of the car park at Westwood Cross sank into tunnels created by the Army for training exercises during the First World War.

If a sinkhole does appear on your land it’s important to cordon off the area and, if appropriate, contact the emergency services, as well as informing utility providers and the local authority, advises Liz. But what prudent steps can you take to minimise the risk of the problem occurring at all? “If you are buying or leasing land or buildings, you should carry out a desktop environmental survey which will look into the known history and geology of the site,” said Liz. “It will identify ground stability hazard risks and other matters and should be carried out as part of your due diligence in the conveyancing process.” She said builders and developers should consider whether to build a Sustainable

Drainage System (SuDS) which replicates natural drainage and reduces flooding and water build-up. It’s also worth doing some simple online research. The British Geological Survey website www.bgs.ac.uk offers useful information and advice and a map of UK subsidence hotspots since 2013 can be found at www.geobear.co.uk.

Liz concludes: “It seems likely that the incidence of sinkholes is set to increase substantially given climate change with sporadic heavy flooding events and increased population making heavier demands on land use. “As a consequence, we should all make checks on the ground beneath our feet.”

Liz is a member of Furley Page’s highlyregarded Real Estate team and she has extensive experience of advising clients on a range of property transactions. She is a member of the Commercial Real Estate Legal Association and the Kent Law Society.

Construction work under way for designer outlet expansion

McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Ashford has confirmed that McLaren Construction has been appointed on the 100,000 sq ft. extension to the centre.

This will be Ashford Designer Outlet's first extension since opening in 2000. The existing 185,000 sq ft. centre, which has the world's largest tented retail structure, was designed by the renowned architect Richard Rogers who is famous for the Lloyd's building in London as well as The O2 Arena. McArthurGlen first announced plans to expand the centre in 2014 and secured planning approval from Ashford Borough Council in September 2015. During that time the centre’s popularity has continued to soar and it now welcomes more than 3.6 million guests every year to take advantage of year-round savings of up to 60 per cent, with increasing numbers of London visitors and European and international tourists. Peter Corr, Centre Manager at McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Ashford, said: “After four years of meticulous planning we’re incredibly excited to confirm that building works on the new

extension will commence this January. Over the next 18 months we will be investing £90 million into the centre to elevate the whole shopping experience for our guests, while also working hard to ensure our visitor experience remains memorable and enjoyable during this time. Once the extension is complete Ashford Designer Outlet will become one of the UK’s flagship fashion, food and homeware destinations, with over 130 stores, restaurants and cafes.“ Scheduled to open in Autumn 2019, the extension will deliver up to 50 additional premium and luxury brands, a new food piazza, 725 further parking spaces as well as a new events space and redesigned children’s play area. The expansion will also include the installation of Europe’s largest living wall structure and many of the stores in the new phase will be clad in tens of thousands of plants, all stacked vertically.

The expansion of Ashford Designer Outlet is one of eight major projects highlighted by Ashford Borough Council and Kent County Council as key employment and economic drivers in the development of the area. Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council, said: “We are pleased to hear McArthurGlen announce its building contractor and confirm that building works will commence shortly. The expansion of the Designer Outlet will transform it into one of the UK’s premier outlet centres, enhancing the shopping experience and providing a complementary offer to our town centre. This news illustrates the confidence that major investors have in Ashford and the borough’s future. It is clear that we are gaining a growing reputation as a town attracting inward investment and high-calibre, quality brands.”


COMMUNICATIONS LTD Direct Marketing Specialists

Direct 2 Communications provides a comprehensive range of services to help organisations effectively communicate their message direct to relevant decision makers and influencers.

We provide high quality marketing lists covering every vertical market. Combine our lists with cost effective print solutions, traditional direct mail handling facilities and state of the art email broadcast services. We are a one stop shop for all things Direct Marketing related, with many years’ experience in delivering successful campaigns. Having recently joined Kent Invicta Chamber, we would like to extend an invitation to all its members. We warmly welcome enquiries from Kent based businesses and for a limited period are offering a free Marketing Consultation to Chamber members. What’s more, you can test 500 records from any of our inhouse databases for free, when you make contact with us in April or May 2018.

Please call or email for more details, we look forward to assisting you. • • • • •

Services Offered

GDPR Compliant Mailing Lists Direct Mail Fulfillment Email Marketing Print Solutions Marketing Consultancy

Direct 2 Communications Ltd

D4 Laser Quay, Culpeper Close, Medway City Estate, Rochester, Kent ME2 4HU

01634 263626 mark@direct2communications.com

www.direct2communications.com Thinking Business


New Members

Welcome to our new members

Absolute Electrical Fire & Security Ltd Maidstone 01622 437838 www.aefs-uk.com Electrical Contractor, Alarm, Security CCTV Aquafuel Research Ltd Ashford 01233 754901 www.aquafuelresearch.com Combined Heat and Power

Best Western Dover Marina Hotel & Spa Dover 01304 203633 www.dovermarinahotel.co.uk Hotel, Spa and Gym Bowden PR Dartford 01322 294736 www.bowdenpr.co.uk PR, Marketing and Events

Chart Hills Resort Biddenden 01580 292222 www.charthills.co.uk Golf Club, Events and Restaurant Chartway Group Ltd Maidstone 01622 740140 www.chartwaygroup.co.uk Construction and Development Clean Line Laundry Broadstairs 01843 609444 www.cleanlinelaundry.co.uk Laundry Cleaning Confidential Document Destruction Ltd Sittingbourne 01795 702310 www.confidentialdocument destruction.org.uk Document Destruction Contract Match Ltd West Malling 0300 124 5232 www.contractmatch.co.uk IT Recruitment

DCB (Kent) Limited Sittingbourne 0845 450 0515 www.dcbkent.co.uk Building and Refurbishment Contractor

Omiga Security Systems Ltd Sittingbourne 01795 883680 www.omigasecurity.co.uk Electronic Fire and Security Systems

Recruitment Solutions (Folkestone) Ltd Folkestone 01303 220844 www.rsfl.co.uk Recruitment Agency

Dynamica Labs London 020 8133 5685 www.dynamicalabs.com Consulting, Software Development

Phoenix Data Management Limited Chatham 01474 369099 www.phoenix-datamanagement.co.uk Data Archiving and Confidential Waste Management

Tecnis Sewright Embroidery Workshop Chatham 01634 786 889 www.tecnissewright.co.uk Embroidery Service

Dreamland Margate Margate 07760 922766 www.dreamland.co.uk Visitor Attraction

Eleanor Trenfield Landscape Architects Ltd Canterbury 01227 490485 www.etla.studio Landscape Architect Firmin Express Sittingbourne 0845 130 5050 www.trustfirmin.com Express Courier Service

Kent & Sussex Holiday Cottages Sandwich 01304 619444 www.kentandsussexcottages.co.uk Self Catering Holiday Cottages Marketing Agent Kent Space Ashford Ltd Ashford 01233 222233 www.kentspace.co.uk Self Storage and Office Space

Markerstudy Leisure Tunbridge Wells 01892 779650 www.timesoftunbridgewells.co.uk Media and Leisure Millennium Consulting Hythe 0845 604 4262 www.millenniumconsulting.co.uk Management Consultancy

Pavelka Ltd Canterbury 01304 843801 www.pavelka.co.uk Health and Wellbeing

Pink-Lemon Branding & Design Ltd Maidstone 07791 302940 www.pink-lemondesign.co.uk Branding and Design PJN and Associates Limited Rochester 07836 298476 www.thefdcentre.co.uk Finance and Real Estate Consultancy

Placebuilder Mechanical Northfleet 01474 338703 www.placebuildermechanical.co.uk Plumbing and Mechanical Services

Reelvision Print Limited Maidstone 07850 056646 www.reelvisionprint.com Pharmaceutical Secondary Packaging

The Legal Angel Ltd Dover 07922 042816 www.mybusinesscounsel.com /team/alyson-young Business Legal Services Transafrican Sky Ltd Ashford 07470 479151 Financial Services

Vanilla and Gold Ltd Redhill 01737 517488 Luxury Event and Wedding Planner

Print Junction Ltd Ashford 01233 624462 www.print-junction.co.uk Commercial Print and Work Wear

Victory Cleaning Ashford 0845 468 0985 www.commercialdomestic cleaners.co.uk Cleaning and Building Maintenance

Radtac Ltd Chatham 01634 566155 www.radtac.com Training and Consulting

Your Online PA Ashford 01227 392676 www.youronlinepa.net Remote Operational Support

Promotional Mailing Services Group Ltd Sevenoaks 01732 783600 www.pmsg.co.uk Promotional Material Fulfilment

Warp Design Ashford 01233 884761 www.warp-design.co.uk Digital Design and Marketing

Thinking Business


The Last Word Name: Chris Brightling Company:

Girlings Solicitors

Job title: Partner & Head of Corporate & Commercial

1. What was your first job and what was the pay packet?

Serving 99’s and Twisters at a Kent beach side café one summer. I was paid about £20 a day which wasn’t much but unlimited flakes and ice creams sweetened the deal! 2. What do you always carry with you to work?

A positive attitude and the ambition to help Kent businesses achieve their goals, but most importantly a good lunch and some (not often healthy) snacks to keep me going through the day. 3. What is the biggest challenge facing your business?

Nick takes up the gauntlet as new Executive Director at the Hythe Imperial

A new Executive Director has been appointed at the Hythe Imperial as the hotel nears the end of its multi-million pound, four-year refurbishment. Nick Gauntlett has been in the hotel business for more than 30 years, most recently as Managing Director of Galleon Hotels and Emina Estates where he had responsibility for six hotels with a combined turnover of £16.2m. He started out in the hospitality industry as Food & Beverage Cost Controller at the Copthorne Hotel, Gatwick, in the 1980s and his career has seen him manage and oversee the development of hotels and leisure attractions around the country. Nick, 51, from Addlestone in Surrey, said:

Helping businesses understand that as a lawyer the clock doesn’t start running as soon as they pick up the phone. I want to build long term relationships with clients and for them to feel able to get in touch to bounce ideas off me before making decisions that affect their business. 4. If you were Prime Minister, what one thing would you change to help business?

I would support start-ups with financial grants and more business support/ mentoring schemes to help them get off the ground and grow.

5. What can you see from your office window?

New developments in the Ashford Commercial Quarter. It is great to see so much activity in the town.

6. If you could do another job what would it be?

Growing up I loved my sport and representing my country at football or rugby would have been a dream come true. As it turns out I’m a better spectator than I am player! 7. As a business person what are your three main qualities?

Delivering exceptional client service, optimism and drive. 8. What was your biggest mistake in business?

Trying to be all things to all people when I first started out in my career.

9. What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

However hard you try things won’t always go your way but don’t give up. I have worked with businesses in a huge variety of sectors and resilience is one of the most important qualities that business owners share. 10. Who do you most admire in business?

My family have always been in business in Kent so I have witnessed first hand the blood, sweat and tears it takes to make a business succeed. I have huge admiration for them as a result.



Thinking Business

(L-R) Antony Donoghue and Colin Griffin of Blackbox Voice and DataSolutions

Donoghue joins Managing Director, Colin Griffin, to head up the sales team and oversee the implementation of business development initiatives for the company's corporate customers. With 30 years' experience in the office technology and business telecoms sector, Antony Donoghue joins Blackbox Voice and Data Solutions after 11 years at London-based Ethos Communication Solutions Limited. Commenting on his appointment, Donoghue said: "It is an exciting time to join Blackbox Voice and Data Solutions. The company has

“I am really looking forward to this new challenge and taking the Hythe Imperial to the next stage of its continued development. “I have a great team of people in place to help me do this and to continue to grow the business with exceptional service and customer care.” Nick joins the Hythe Imperial with the hotel in its final stages of a major refurbishment programme. Work has started on upgrading the final floor of rooms and with that floor closed, all guests now stay in

Movers and Shakers

fully refurbished rooms. The substantial investment in the hotel saw it retain its AA 4* status with an improved rating earlier this year, while its Coast restaurant holds a coveted AA rosette. “Nick’s track record in the hospitality industry is impressive and he brings with him a wealth of ideas and experience which will prove invaluable as we work to continually improve on our offer for our guests,” said Darrell Healey, Chairman of GSE Group, owners of the Hythe Imperial.

Experienced director joins fast-growing telecoms business to drive sales

Maidstone-based business telecoms provider, Blackbox Voice and Data Solutions, has appointed Antony Donoghue as its new Sales Director.

ambitious plans to grow its customer base and double in size over the next three years. "With established partnerships with some of the most innovative telecoms providers in the market, I know there is a huge opportunity to broaden the company's reach and tap into new sectors and technologies. I look forward to using my skills and experience to drive the company forward." Colin Griffin, Managing Director of Blackbox Voice and Data Solutions, said: "I am delighted to welcome Antony to the board. We are targeting ambitious growth across London and the

South East so it’s important that we have a strong senior management team in place. "Antony brings a wealth of knowledge and experience within the business telecoms sector that will help us to execute our strategic plan and accelerate our growth over the coming years.” The company has partnerships with some of the leading providers in the telephony industry, including Telco Switch, Gamma and Plan Mobile, to provide tailored business telecoms solutions to its customers.

MHA MacIntyre Hudson strengthens VAT and Indirect Tax team

Top 20 UK accountancy firm MHA MacIntyre Hudson, which has offices in Canterbury and Maidstone, has appointed Lucy Sutcliffe as a Senior Customs Duty Manager to its VAT and Indirect Tax Team Prior to joining the team, Lucy held a Senior Strategy Advisor role with HM Revenue & Customs. She will support the firm’s business clients to identify efficiencies when importing and exporting goods and provide guidance on real-world solutions to duty challenges. She will also advise businesses on how to navigate different customs

regimes and procedures resulting from Brexit. Prior to joining MHA MacIntyre Hudson Lucy worked at HMRC in a variety of roles. One of her key positions was as a senior manager within customs and international trade. Sue Rathmell, VAT Director at MHA MacIntyre Hudson in Kent,

said: “Many of our clients are looking to expand their trading internationally and Lucy’s breadth of experience and insight enables her to provide invaluable strategic advice. Her appointment means we’re ideally equipped to support our clients as they prepare for changes in customs procedures in the lead up to and during Brexit.”

EMPLOYABILITY POINTS REWARDS EVENING 2018 You are invited to join us in celebrating the successes of the Employability Points Scheme at our annual Rewards Evening. Tuesday 5th June 2018 6pm-9pm Royal Dockyard Church University of Kent The Historic Dockyard Chatham

The scheme encourages students to undertake activities, to complement their academic efforts, and gives business and organisations access to the best new talent the University has to offer. Through engaging with activities, such as volunteering, part-time work and attending events, students develop

This summer we would like you to join us in celebrating

valuable skills that they can apply to the workplace.

the sucesses of our Employability Points (EP) Scheme

Businesses and organisations can then make the most

by attending our rewards evening, recognising the year’s

of these skills by offering rewards and engaging with our

most dedicated participants. Meet our students and


representatives from other businesses and organisations who are taking part in the scheme in the beautiful and historic surroundings of the Royal Dockyard Church. Now in its eighth year, The University of

Kent’s EP

Scheme has seen over 7,800 students take part, with more than 145 external companies and organisations supporting the initiative.

There will be a light buffet and drinks reception, and free return transportation will be provided for all pre-registered guests from the Canterbury campus. To accept your invitation or to nd out how you can take part in the scheme please contact the team: e: employabilitypoints@kent.ac.uk t: +44 (0)1227 823263 w: www.kent.ac.uk/employabilitypoints

Profile for Benham Publishing Limited

Thinking Business April 18  

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Magazine, Latest Local Business Issues, National Business News, Accountancy and Fiscal Management, Business...

Thinking Business April 18  

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Magazine, Latest Local Business Issues, National Business News, Accountancy and Fiscal Management, Business...

Profile for benham