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THINKING

BUSINESS • OFFICIAL MAGAZINE FOR KENT INVICTA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE • April - May 2021 •

Keep Thinking Low Carbon Across the South East n n n n

The Big Interview with Andrew Theoff of Direction Law p18 Green economy to drive economic renewal for the South East p24 Taking your business global p33 Kent Invicta LIVE E-vents p42-43


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Welcome & Contents

Recovery is well underway

pushed to the brink by enforced closures and their cashflow has been severely dented. A recent British Chambers of Commerce survey showed that more than three in five businesses have seen their revenue from UK customers fall in the last three months, and one in four say they will need to make redundancies once financial support from the government stops. The bleak winter season is over and spring is here. The vaccination roll-out programme is steadily gathering pace and offers hope that we will finally beat this awful pandemic and get back to some sort of normality. This, hopefully, will be the last lockdown. Businesses have been

Contents 4

Chamber News

5

Legal Update

9

Members News

11

Patron News

12-14 Members News 18-19 The Big Interview 21

Members News

Our Patrons

However, although some businesses will sadly not survive, many others have been able to adapt and continue to grow. Canterbury-based Direction Law – the focus for our big interview feature in this edition – has increased its workforce to 170 people, and north Kentbased engineering firm Triple E

has expanded into new markets due to its innovative approach to problem-solving. Meanwhile, Ashford Borough Council’s approval of GSE Group’s planning application for a £34m distribution centre at Waterbrook Park looks set to create hundreds of jobs. Other firms are exploiting the commercial potential of the fastgrowing green economy – the focus for our cover feature in this edition. The importance of becoming more sustainable and improving the carbon footprint has not been lost on Kent businesses. They are seeing the multiple benefits of addressing these key issues: good PR for their brand, improved operational efficiency, a route to new markets and a sense

1824 22-25 Cover Feature Environment 32-33 International Trade 34 Economy 35-38 Members News 39 Ask the Expert 40-41 Members News 42-43 Events

of giving something back to the environment which shapes them. Along with advanced manufacturing and tech-led innovation, the green economy is a key sector that will fast-track the economic recovery. I’m confident that here in Kent, we have businesses that are well placed to capitalise on these opportunities.

Jo James OBE, Chief Executive, Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce

3234 45 Person behind the Business 46

Business News

47 News 48-49 New Members 50

Last Word

50

Movers & Shakers

Editorial and General Enquiries Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford, Kent. TN24 0LH Chief Executive: Jo James OBE Tel: 01233 503 838 Fax: 01233 503 687 info@kentinvictachamber.co.uk www.kentinvictachamber.co.uk Media No. 1794 Published April 2021 © Benham Publishing

Publisher

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

Editor

Jez Davison Tel 0151 236 4141 Jez@benhampublishing.com

Production Manager

Peter Wilkinson Tel: 0151 236 4141 peter@benhampublishing.com

Disclaimer

Thinking Business is published for Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and is distributed without charge to Chamber members. All correspondence should be addressed to the Editor at Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. Views expressed in Thinking Business are not necessarily those of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. Reprinting in whole or part is forbidden except by permission. © 2021. Please note that submitting an article does not guarantee publication. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of material published in this journal, Benham Publishing and its agents can accept no responsibility for the veracity of claims made by contributions in advertising or editorial content. Benham Publishing cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in web or email links supplied to us.

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Chamber News

Donations with a Difference, New Chamber Charity

There are so many ways both individuals and businesses can get involved, either through direct donations which can be made quickly and securely through our website, fundraising for us through a sporting challenge of some sort or ideally for businesses to select us as their charity of the year and host their own fundraising initiatives on our behalf.

As a small charity run by a team of 6 volunteer trustees, ‘Donations with a Difference’ are truly honoured to be chosen as the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce’s charity partner for the coming year. Established in 2013, Donations with a Difference are a charitable grant-making trust (reg. charity no. 1157927) working to improve the quality of life of people throughout Kent who are suffering with physical impairment, poor mental health or who find themselves destitute and homeless. We step in where the NHS are unable to assist, by funding specialist medical equipment including bespoke beds, lifting equipment and mobility items such as wheelchairs, buggies, and scooters to aid both children and adults living with ongoing health concerns and all of which make a huge difference by easing life for them and their carers whilst allowing greater freedom too. For many of our past recipients our assistance has been described as ‘completely life-changing’. As well as supporting those with physical or mental conditions we understand the challenges of deprivation and work to support local homeless organisations through additional provision of vital food and personal hygiene supplies for rough sleepers. Those in need can apply to us for a grant and over £150,000 has been raised through voluntary fundraising efforts since our

inception with every penny going to help others. In 2019 funds of over £34,000 were generated through a host of fundraising events and initiatives such as golf days, quizzes, cocktail masterclasses, fantasy football leagues and a spectacular gala ball but since the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic it has been incredibly difficult, and at times almost impossible, to raise funds due to the restrictions imposed upon us. This in turn limits the amount of help we can offer and makes the support of others vital for us to continue. Despite the challenges faced last year we were still able to support several smaller grant applications providing specialist seats and

buggies for autistic children which we are informed have revolutionised life for their parents and which goes to show that every little helps. Trustee Cheryl Causebrook who presented the charity to the team at the Kent Invicta Chamber for consideration as their chosen charity commented; “We are incredibly excited to be selected as the charity partner after such a challenging past year that has impacted our fundraising abilities beyond belief. We are wholly reliant upon the kindness of others and are calling upon the wider business community throughout Kent to support us. It really is needed, now more than ever, to allow us to continue the lifeenhancing work we do.”

Ella Brocklebank, a fellow Trustee and construction industry colleague of Cheryl added “we sincerely hope that being recognised as the Chamber’s charity partner will hugely boost our profile and raise awareness of our work across Kent. This is great kudos for such a small charity still very much in our infancy in terms of what we hope to achieve, and all administered through the voluntary efforts of the trustees. Working in construction, both Cheryl and I are so grateful for the huge generosity shown to us over recent years by our industry colleagues and we now have the ideal opportunity to promote the charity to a far wider ranging network of strong local businesses who may be able to support us in the future.” If you would like to learn more about Donations with a Difference please do visit our website www.dwad.org where you can find many examples of the amazing work we do, the ways we raise money and how you can get involved. With the help of others, we can continue to generate grants that can truly change the lives of those in need across our County. Your donations really do make a difference!

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce launches employment research project to highlight business challenges Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, working in partnership with one of its Patrons HRGO Recruitment, has today launched the Kent & Medway Employment Outlook, a research project seeking to identify the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic on the local employment market. With unemployment levels adversely affected by the pandemic, the survey results will enable the Chamber to better understand the current and future market position and identify where its support would be best placed. The survey’s findings will also be shared with the Kent & Medway

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Employment Task Force, a public/ private sector group set up by Kent County Council and led by Council Leader Roger Gough, who are looking at the interventions required to strengthen the employment market and to help local people get back into work.

will better understand the current and future needs of the business community. Working with partner’s we will seek to identify the best support measures to put in place for local businesses, as well as gaining a greater understanding of the skills needed to enable business growth."

Talking about the survey, Jo James, CEO of Kent Invicta Chamber said, “The employment landscape has shifted significantly over the past 12 months and with the Furlough Scheme due to come to an end at the end of September, we do anticipate further redundancies. By carrying out this research we

Julie Lewis Mackay, Regional Manager (Kent), HRGO Recruitment commented, “We have seen significant shifts in the recruitment landscape in 2020, the reverberations of which will no doubt last well into 2021 and beyond. As Kent’s largest recruitment agency, it is always our aim to work closely

with our clients to add value to their business with bespoke recruitment solutions. Partnering with the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce on the Kent & Medway Employment Outlook means we remain wellplaced to support local businesses with the recruitment strategies they need for future success." Employers are encouraged to take part in the survey at www.kentinvictachamber.co.uk/ kent-medway-employment-outlook/ before the end of April. Results from the survey will be published in May 2021.

Chamber Charity of the Year


Do Employers Face a Rise in Flexible Working?

Legal Update

With a predicted postpandemic surge in employee requests for remote and flexible working, Employment Law Solicitor, Will Chrusciel explores the law in this area.

When the time comes to return to normal working life, there will be staff who may not want to fully return to the office. Whilst experiences of working from home have varied, the benefits of radically-reduced commutes and an improved work-life balance will lead some employees to canvass their employers for more flexible working patterns. This may or may not be suitable for employers – so how do they address such requests to avoid falling foul of legislation? Informal v formal requests

Any individual employee is able to request changes to their working arrangements by asking their employer to agree changes and effecting any variation that has been agreed. An employer generally has “free-rein” to decide on these “informal” requests – though care should be taken to ensure that a refusal (or manner of refusal) is not discriminatory or runs the risk of a constructive dismissal claim. Eligible employees are also able to request flexible working under a formal statutory procedure – which places certain obligations on employers with penalties for non-compliance. A statutory request

Only an employee who has worked continuously for their employer for at least 26 weeks can make a request for flexible working via the statutory procedure, and they can only make one request in any 12-month period. An employee can request a change to their hours, times or place of work (permanent or temporary). There

are strict requirements on the form that the statutory request must take to trigger the process including that it must be in writing. The employer’s response

An employer must consider and deal with the request in a reasonable manner, tell the employee of their decision within 3 months (or within a longer period, if agreed), and if rejecting the request, only do so on one or more of eight specific grounds. Whilst the legislation only provides general wording, ACAS has stepped in and provided a Code of Practice on due process. Any agreed changes take effect as a variation to the employee’s contract, and at a minimum an employer must issue the employee a statement outlining changes within 1 month of them taking effect – specific legal advice should be taken on this. Thoughts for employers

Employers need to assess the impact of continued home-working for their business. However, in reality, employers do not usually face a high hurdle in justifying a refusal – provided the process is followed. Employers responding to requests should attempt to understand the reasoning behind the request from the get-go (to avoid discrimination), evidence compliance with the ACAS code (if the request is statutory), and generally keep an open mind in a radically-changed working world, whilst ensuring a consistent approach to all. For further advice on flexible working requests and other Employment Law issues, please contact Will.

Will Chrusciel

Assistant Solicitor, Employment Law

girlings.com

01233 664711

williamchrusciel@girlings.com Thinking Business

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MEMBERSHIP

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The new CGT rules for Property – Are you up to speed? The taxation of property investors has not exactly been a smooth journey in recent years. There has been increased SDLT for second home owners, the withdrawal of the “10% Wear & Tear allowance” and the mortgage interest restriction all introduced (although the current SDLT ‘holiday’ comes as a welcome relief!).

months of your ownership would always qualify for “Private Residence Relief” and be exempt from CGT even if you did not live in the property during this period.

However there has been some relatively recent but extremely important CGT rule changes that appear to have slipped under the radar a bit. These new CGT rules for property investors started from April 2020 and are the focus of this article.

From April 2020 if you sell property that triggers a CGT liability, you now must declare your gain to HMRC and pay your CGT within 30 days of sale. If you do not declare your gain within 30 days you will receive a late-filing penalty from HMRC. You still declare your gain as normal on your tax return and now you also declare the CGT you have paid.

In the ‘good old days’ prior to April 2020 you need only declare your property gain subject to CGT on your relevant tax return, and pay your CGT by the following 31 January. That meant for a property sold in say April / May, you effectively had around 20 months from selling your asset to having to pay your tax. You could also qualify for “Lettings Relief” (which can reduce your taxable gain by up to £40,000) if, during your entire ownership, you lived in the property as your main residence for a period and rented it to tenants for a different period. Finally, in a welcome “freebie”, if you lived in the property as your main residence, the last 18

Sadly all this has changed from April 2020….. and unsurprisingly it is not for the better.

In another blow to investors, from April 2020 the qualification for Lettings Relief has become all but impossible as you now must rent to a tenant at the same time as living in the property as your main residence to qualify. And before you ask……no, there is no dispensation for those who would have qualified for Lettings Relief before the new rules who sell property from April 2020, you simply lose all entitlement to the relief.

You may be selling or thinking of selling your investment properties, as with the current reduced SDLT rates you are best placed to find a buyer. With all of the above now more than ever it is vitally important that you do not fall foul of these new rules and declare the correct gain with the correct tax liability at the correct time. You may now pay more CGT than if you sold before April 2020, but appointing the correct accountant will mean you will not pay more tax than is necessary and you won’t breach any of these new laws. Adams & Moore are qualified UK accountants who act for over 2500 landlords in the UK, Asia and the Middle East.

And in one final swipe from HMRC, the 18 months of “free” Private Residence Relief mentioned above has been reduced to 9 months.

For more information or to enquire about our services please contact our Tax Manager Richard Jepson richard.jepson@adamsandmoore.co.uk. Thinking Business

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MidKent College Office Space MidKent College brings new office space to Maidstone!

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Members News

Christchurch Lodge, as the building has been renamed, follows the same blueprint adopted by the council when it created Christchurch House, a rundown property bought at auction for £278,000 in 2013. It was transformed into quality short-stay accommodation and was so successful that the money saved on placing homeless people in costly B&Bs meant that Christchurch House paid for itself in four years.

£1m homeless project launched

An innovative project that’s set to benefit homeless households and save local taxpayers money has opened in Ashford. Ashford Borough Council bought a large disused home in Beaver Road for £430,000 and has invested around £500,000 to convert it into eight homes capable of accommodating up to 25 people. An extensive refurbishment programme has been completed, with the installation of additional facilities including a communal kitchen, dining room and laundry room.

CXK launches The Big Apprenticeship Conversation – 10,000 voices CXK, a provider of the Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge (ASK) programme in the South of England, launched The Big Apprenticeship Conversation – 10,000 voices to coincide with National Apprenticeship Week. The Big Apprenticeship Conversation showcased a range of apprenticeship-themed events that took place across the week, connecting students, teachers, parents and jobseekers with apprenticeship information and opportunities. National Apprenticeship Week 2021 took place from February 8-14 to shine a light on the amazing work being done by employers and apprentices across the country. The

Cllr Bill Barrett, portfolio holder for housing, said tackling homelessness was a huge priority for the authority. He said: “Following the blueprint of Christchurch House is a win-win strategy. For six years it has offered households a better solution than the upheaval of living out of a B&B. It is also good news that the council has saved considerable sums of money it would have had to pay in B&B costs. We are proud of the proactive approach we take to delivering new housing projects.” Kent-based Jenner Contractors carried out the Christchurch Lodge conversion in what turned out to be a testing project due to the pandemic. Work recommenced in May 2020 after a month-long halt and contractors adopted new working practices to allow for social distancing guidelines on site. A feature of the project has been the commitment to using high-quality products and materials to ensure maximum build quality, environmental sustainability and energy efficiency.

week also recognised how employers of all sizes have stepped up to the challenge during this unprecedented time. The Big Apprenticeship Conversation involves the promotion of a multitude of events, accessible via an online calendar, that are taking place across the week. The calendar of events includes sector-specific talks from apprentices, teacher and staff CPD events, wellbeing and healthy mind sessions, and live ASK activities with schools. Hazel Allan, contract manager for ASK South, said: “We are really excited to be showcasing some of the amazing work carried out by apprentices who have an important role to play to build the future. The vision of the ASK programme is to ensure that all students, parents and teachers are better informed about the range of apprenticeship and traineeship opportunities available to them. Schools, colleges and organisations supporting young people can request apprenticeship activities from the ASK programme." see link below:

https://amazingapprenticeships.com/request-support/ For further information visit: cxk.org/national-apprenticeships-week-2021 Chamber Charity of the Year

Macknade’s five small changes

The team at Macknade, Kent’s favourite food hall, is encouraging customers to make five small changes to their shopping habits for the good of the planet. While the diets may have slipped and Dry January was scrapped soon after lockdown three was announced, there are some small changes we can easily embrace to make us feel good about our choices all year. Macknade is well-known for putting environmental considerations at the forefront of its decisionmaking, having already initiated a major reduction in plastic packaging, repurposing excess fruit and vegetables, and switching to renewable energy sources. It is these small changes in local business and community that are creating greater global shifts. Shop sustainably with Macknade with these five small changes: 1. Buy seasonal, buy loose – shop for seasonal produce and limit food waste 2. Sustainably sourced – choose pasture-fed British meat and sustainably caught fish from Macknade’s Faversham butchery 3. Unpackaged – use the dried goods dispensers in Faversham for your rice, pulses, nuts and muesli. This can reduce excess packaging, limit waste and save money 4. Yoghurt dispenser - for locally made, thick and creamy Ottie's yoghurt, try out the only yoghurt dispenser in the country, available from the deli at Macknade’s Faversham Food Hall 5. Refill – bring your own containers from home. You can visit either store and choose cold cuts of meat, cheeses, olives and salads to be weighed and placed in your own containers on the deli counters. There is also a refill station in Faversham for your oils and vinegar Shane Godwin, commercial director of Macknade, said: “There is no doubt that more of us are reflecting on our food choices, considering not only taste and quality, but also provenance, value and the environmental impact of our purchases. We are keen to demonstrate that it is possible to enjoy local and convenient shopping whilst also being conscious of the environment.” For recipes and more information visit www.macknade.com

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CONSTRUCTION INSURANCE CONSTRUCTION INSURANCE CONSTRUCTION INSURANCE CONSTRUCTION INSURANCE CONSTRUCTION At Towergate Insurance Brokers we understandINSURANCE that all construction is different. At Towergate Insurance Brokers we understand that all construction is different. At Towergate Insurance Brokers we understand that all construction isis different. At Towergate Insurance Brokers we understand that all construction In the Construction Sector risks are ever present and At Towergate Insurance Brokers we understand that all construction is different. different. 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For all your Construction Insurance requirements, please call For all your Construction Insurance requirements, please call For all your Construction Insurance requirements, please call Neill Clark on: 01795 597182 or email: neill.clark@towergate.co.uk For all your Construction Insurance requirements, please call Neill Clark on: 01795 597182 or email: neill.clark@towergate.co.uk For all your Construction Insurance requirements, please call Neill Clark on: 01795 597182 or email: neill.clark@towergate.co.uk Neill on: or neill.clark@towergate.co.uk For your Construction Insurance requirements, please call NeillallClark Clark on: 01795 01795 597182 597182 or email: email: neill.clark@towergate.co.uk Neill Clark on: 01795 597182 or email: neill.clark@towergate.co.uk

Towergate Insurance Brokers is a trading name of Towergate Underwriting Group Limited. Registered in England No.4043759. Registered MinsterisCourt, Mincing London EC3R 7AA. Authorised and regulated by the FinancialNo.4043759. Conduct Authority. Towergate Address: Insurance1Brokers a trading nameLane, of Towergate Underwriting Group Limited. Registered in England Registered MinsterisCourt, Mincing London EC3R 7AA. Authorised and regulated by the FinancialNo.4043759. Conduct Authority. Towergate Address: Insurance1Brokers a trading nameLane, of Towergate Underwriting Group Limited. Registered in England


Patron News

Air IT Major farm solar power installation completed in Kent announces its latest Apple and pear grower AC Goatham & Son and BeBa Energy have now completed the installation of one of the UK’s largest roof mounted solar panel arrays. Using the existing roof space of the buildings at two of Goatham’s 25 farms - Flanders Farm in Hoo and Howt Green Farm near Bobbing, the new solar array will provide all the power for the packing and cold storage operations.

installed on all of our available roof space both at Flanders Farm and Howt Green Farm. This is an important step for our business, as it is helping us to further reduce the carbon footprint of our growing and distribution operations.”

“Renewable energy is a crucial component in the UK’s plans to be a carbon neutral economy by 2050 and farming and the top fruit industry has an important

role to play in helping the Government to achieve this.”

Shaun Beattie, Director at BeBa Energy comments: “Working in partnership with the team at Goatham’s to develop this project was a pleasure. If the UK is to achieve its ambitions of net zero by 2050 then business must play their part; this investment from Goatham’s shows just how seriously they take their responsibilities”.

This solar array will generate enough power to run the equivalent of 317 4-bedroom homes for a year, reducing Goatham’s carbon emissions by 293,121kg’s per annum or the same as planting 7,328 trees each year.

The fast-growing IT MSP acquires Infotech Solutions, bringing its total number of acquisitions to six in the past six months

Air IT has today announced its latest acquisitions in a series of M&A deals led by CEO John Whitty. It has acquired Kent-based Infotech Solutions, effective 2nd March 2021, for undisclosed considerations. Backed by August Equity, this marks the sixth time the IT Managed Service Provider has acquired a new business in as many months. As a result of this acquisition the group has boosted its existing presence in the South East.

Ross Goatham comments: “This project began in the summer of 2020 and sees solar panels

Architects secure Green Light for major Kent Education Campus A substantial new education campus for Ebbsfleet Garden City, designed by architects Lee Evans Partnership LLP, has received planning approval. The 11-hectare site will provide more than 2,200 school places and will include a primary school, with nursery provision, and the areas first secondary school. The campus will also offer a well-equipped community sports facility.

acquisition

Lee Evans Partnership worked closely with landowner and client, Henley Camland, together with the local authority, Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, to design a campus which would address the needs of the growing Ebbsfleet population. The Campus will command a strategic position within the Whitecliffe area of Ebbsfleet, situated on a major transport route, Fastrack. Partner, Mark Nolan, of Lee Evans Partnership, said: “We have imagined the campus as both an educational and civic centre. Careful consideration has been given to access and circulation routes across the site's sloping landscape. The quality of this new learning environment will greatly benefit pupils and students as well as providing

Chamber Charity of the Year

Ebbsfleet with a state-of-the-art sports and community facility”. The campus will be operated by Aletheia Anglican Academies Trust. Stephen Carey, CEO, said: “The new buildings and facilities will allow us to provide a truly first-class education and social experience for the first generation of young people residing in the Garden City.” The scheme has a strong emphasis on sustainability and environmental performance, with the buildings designed to make the most of natural daylight, thermal comfort and air quality, whilst limiting the school’s energy use and carbon footprint. Construction work is expected to commence this summer, with the campus due for completion in readiness for the September 2023 school term.

“We are delighted to joining up with Air IT. Like Infotech, Air IT are committed to helping businesses use technology to their advantage. Being part of this select group will allow us to expand our service offering whilst we bring to the table our expertise in the financial, construction and manufacturing sectors”, says Jason Foord, Managing Director of Infotech. “After a period of steady growth, we are excited to take this next step in our journey whilst retaining the same culture and top-quality standard of service our clients are used to.” The addition of Infotech is part of Air IT’s ambitious stated plans to expand across the UK and will see the group’s headcount increase by 50 with an additional 250 customers. This highly regarded company shares the same client-centric approach that is valued throughout the Air IT group, and Infotech has seen impressive organic yearon-year growth. “Infotech has an outstanding reputation, and we are thrilled to have them on board. We know they will be a great fit for the Air IT group, considering their remarkable track record when it comes to customer service and satisfaction”, says John Whitty, CEO of Air IT. “We want to be regarded as the de facto MSP of choice for SMEs across the UK and these acquisitions allow us to expand our footprint and gain skilful, like-minded team members.”

Thinking Business

11


Members News

EKSDC expands business centre portfolio

To complete the works, EKSDC secured a Folkestone Community Works grant, part-funded by the European Structural and Investment Funds 2014-20. EKSDC’s portfolio includes Canterbury Innovation Centre, which is located on the University of Kent campus and offers highspec offices, workshops and studios primarily to high-tech companies but also to other types of companies that fit the criteria. The centre offers free parking, meeting room space and a café at a beautiful rural location.

East Kent Spatial Development Company (EKSDC) has announced the opening of a new business centre in the heart of Folkestone.

Clover House on the outskirts of Whitstable also offers high-spec offices and is ideally located with good access to the A299 motorway. It offers free parking, a reception and mail handling service and meeting room space.

Bouverie House Business Centre is set over four floors and offers modern, high-spec offices on flexible tenancy agreements. Providing the latest technology, meeting room and co-working space, the centre is in a fantastic location with the town centre just a walk away and the offices offer great views across this popular coastal town.

Don’t let Check, become Checkmate ACAS / Employment Tribunal Advice If your employee is making an Employment Tribunal claim against you, we can help. We’ll tell you where you stand and advise you of your options. We pride ourselves on providing no-nonsense costeffective advice. Whether you decide to seek a settlement or to defend the claim, our experienced team will be with you every step of the way.

Tel: 01580 767525 Email: employment@whitehead-monckton.co.uk

www.whitehead-monckton.co.uk www.whitehead-monckton.co.uk

Whitehead Monckton Limited (no. 08366029), registered in England & Wales. Registered office 5 Eclipse Park, Sittingbourne Road, Maidstone, Kent ME14 3EN. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under no. 608279. TB 2/20

12 Thinking Business

All EKSDC centres offer co-working and hot-desking space and virtual office agreements for companies choosing to work from home. We offer flexibility so you can use any of the EKSDC centres for these services.

For more information on Canterbury Innovation Centre or Clover House, visit www.canterburyinnovationcentre.co.uk and www.cloverhousewhitstable.co.uk

The Street Soccer Club Crawl Challenge National surveys have found that adult physical activity has fallen by a quarter since lockdown, with many people reporting a weight gain since restrictions were enforced. The impact of this can be farreaching, with many concerned about the impact little or no exercise will have on their health. We are therefore delighted to announce that we have launched The Street Soccer Club Crawl Challenge, which will last until the final day of the Premier League football season, on Sunday May 23. What is it? Together, we will all take part in a national virtual fitness challenge, where we will start at the London Stadium, home of West Ham United, and then tour the country. We’re aiming to visit every one of the 20 Premier League Club Stadiums, looking to finish together at The Amex Stadium, home of Brighton & Hove Albion by the end of the season.

How it will work: Each time you go out (or stay in!) and do some exercise such as walking, running, or cycling, you simply log each of your distances into our challenge page or through your smartphone app – and your progress along our national tour will be updated where you'll get to see just how far you've gone and how far you’ve got to go! Our challenge prize draw has a total of 20 prizes available, as well as a free t-shirt on completion. Keep an eye on our social channels and official website and get ready to enter the #clubcrawlchallenge!

Chamber Charity of the Year


Shepherd Neame shortlisted for major award

Shepherd Neame has been shortlisted in this year's Publican Awards in the Best Tenanted/Leased Pub Company (up to 500 sites) category. The company won the award last year. Britain’s oldest brewer, Shepherd Neame has been based in the market town of Faversham, Kent for more than 300 years. Perhaps best known for great British

Members News

classic ales such as Spitfire, which carries the Royal Warrant, its diverse portfolio includes Five Grain Lager, Bear Island East Coast Pale Ale and Bear Island Triple Hopped Lager, as well as the Whitstable Bay Collection. It also brews international lagers under licence including Samuel Adams Boston Lager, and is the sole UK distributor for premium Thai lager Singha. The independent family business boasts an award-winning visitor centre and 320 pubs and hotels throughout London and the south east, from the historic heart of the city to the Kent coastline.

More information on the awards is available at: https://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/ Article/2021/01/26/Who-s-a-finalist-in-the-Publican-Awards-2021

How to grow your business Ruth Ferreira is a business coach who is passionate about helping small and medium businesses vastly accelerate their business growth and success. She said: “I help clients implement simple tactics and strategies to maximise their results and drive their business forward. My longestterm client has grown from concept through to break even, winning multiple awards and now enjoys

millions in turnover. Shorter term clients have experienced team growth of up to 600% and profit increases of 380%.

“I work with small business owners who are excellent at what they do, but are not seeing the success they deserve as they are less strong on the business side.” Ruth’s clients range from startups and solo entrepreneurs to

As an example, Mental Health week is in May; if this relates to your business, you can plan in advance and be ahead of the game, rather than suddenly reacting to seeing other people’s content on the day. Content ideas Feedly.com and forekast.com are great tools to help you find ideas

to post about for your industry. They compile news from a variety of online sources so that you can keep your followers up to date with current industry news. You can choose to use it to help you create your own content or to share the content others have written. Get noticed Images and video attract more interaction than posts that simply have words. Canva.com is a start-to-finish design platform that allows you to easily create images and video to support and enhance your content ideas. Social media is a proven method used by many businesses to build trust with potential clients, retain existing clients, extend the reach of their brand and show

Chamber Charity of the Year

Hands up if you’re over 50 and have ever been made to feel ‘past your prime’ or ‘put out to pasture’? One group of people definitely not ready for retirement yet is new Chamber members BPC Advisory, who refer to themselves in friendly terms as ‘The Elders’.

multi-million-pound turnover organisations operating in the services, creative, administrative, hospitality, construction and care sectors.

A team of specialists in improving business performance, they range in age from 45-62; CVs include senior, top of the tree-type positions across many different sectors.

Ruth is an ex-corporate lawyer and worked for various FTSE and household name clients at a magic circle firm.

And they’re not in the minority - the working age 50 to 64 employment rate increased from 55.8% in 1984 to 72% in 2020.

For further information visit www.successcoaching.biz

Between them, the BPC Advisory team has around 350 working years between them, vast experience of managing businesses from 12 to 7,000 staff, projects and budgets of all sizes, and have all the knowhow to help others looking to change, grow, or indeed, survive a pandemic.

Save time creating social media

Plan your content Let’s face it, planning is the best way to organise every sector of your business. Whether it’s making sure you do your accounts, diarising appointments or arranging deliveries, it all has to be planned, and social media content is no different. To make sure you are in full control of your social media it’s best to plan at least one or two quarters in advance.

The business based on experience – the older you are, the more you have

themselves as leaders in their industry. It’s an opportunity to communicate with an audience that’s constantly using social media to research the products and services you offer.

Schedule your posts Booking out time to create your social media then scheduling when it’s posted saves you time. There are many free scheduling tools – Buffer and Hootsuite, for example. However, our chosen tool is ContentCal. These tools allow you to plan and work on your social media in advance rather than stressing over it every day.

For more information visit www.wedosocialmedia.co.uk

They review your business with fresh, outside eyes, making tangible recommendations for you to implement. BPC Advisory was started by five times CEO Andrew Dixon mid-way through the pandemic to support businesses who just didn’t know what to do and who to turn to on how to keep, save or grow their businesses. He said: “Change management and transformation, which is what was needed during the pandemic, is usually carefully planned but with this fluid situation, we realised a need for access to trusted, experience-backed quick help and advice. “Our experience means we can offer help with all aspects, from people, sales and marketing, operations and finance.” www.bpcadvisory.co.uk Thinking Business

13


Members News

What does ‘brand story’ mean?

When you speak to a marketing person, you don’t usually expect to be telling your life story – but speak to an Izzy PR client and you’ll find out that’s the norm, because their backgrounds are journalism. They love nothing more than asking a million questions! Your background, career, values and path to where you are now are the details that help build your brand story, - your who, what, why, when, where and how. What is a brand story? ‘Brand story’ is just a fancy way of describing how and why your business exists and what it stands for. It can help to create an emotional connection. Imagine you’re choosing a shampoo – one promises lustrous locks, the other promises lustrous locks but is also created locally and supports a children’s charity. Which one are you more drawn to? “I don’t have a brand story!” We promise you do! Why did you start your business? Maybe you wanted a better work/ life balance, invented a unique product, or spotted a glaring gap in the market? What are the values you won’t compromise on? Your audience may feel the same and will align with you. The answers to these questions are your story! How do I use my story? Weave it into all your communications - adverts, packaging, social media, marketing materials, or when you talk about your brand. You don’t need to repeat the same thing over and over – just find different ways to say it. hello@izzypr.co.uk

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Brachers sponsors Canterbury Rugby Club

Maidstone and Canterburybased law firm Brachers has signed up as a corporate sponsor of Canterbury Rugby Club to help safeguard its future against the negative impact of the pandemic. Canterbury Rugby Club, which plays in National League 2 South, usually has a busy schedule of league and international matches, with adult, youth and wheelchair teams playing at the club. The pandemic and subsequent restrictions have forced the club to cancel matches and fundraising events that they rely on

to raise much-needed funds. The investment from Brachers will help to subsidise the loss of income that they have experienced since the first lockdown in March 2020. Investment from sponsors has also allowed the club to remain open as a community facility whilst matches are unable to take place, with one pitch available to those who wish to use it for private exercise. This has ensured people within the local area have access to a dedicated open space in which they can exercise safely and in line with current restrictions.

Alexandra Gordon, partner at Brachers, said: “We know how important a facility such as the rugby club is to

Making a Difference – Quantity Surveyor Emma Hoad is championing the next generation to help influence the future of the construction industry for the better. Emma Hoad, founder of Hawk Surveying came to construction by accident, but she’s now hoping that the next generation, particularly young women, choose it rather than trip over it like she did. Here, she gives some advice on how to discover construction as a career. Ask people you know: Someone you already know will work in construction – it’s such a vast industry and many roles outside the immediate construction site are overlooked such as design

a community. The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have reaffirmed just how essential outdoor spaces and exercise are in supporting people’s physical and mental health. We are very happy that our sponsorship will help the club to remain open for the people who need it during this difficult time. Canterbury is host to a number of great community-led initiatives and we look forward to supporting more of them over the coming year.”

Giles Hilton, chairman of Canterbury Rugby Club, said: “Canterbury Rugby Club is delighted to welcome Brachers to the family of sponsors and supporters of CRFC. In these difficult times, support is very welcome to ensure the future of a great rugby club.” they enjoy these subjects too.

management, surveying, bid writing, construction law, accounting, finance and marketing … the list is endless! Ask people you know about what they do in construction and you might even be able arrange work experience or a summer placement. Look at what you’re good at: I really enjoyed maths and science at school. These subjects form the basis of my QS knowledge, training and continued development, but construction was never mentioned as an option. I would love for young adults to consider it if

Try it: It was during a summer temp job that I discovered construction as a career, having met so many different people in different roles. I started researching, and a friend suggested Quantity Surveying. It’s not all builders drinking tea and staring down a manhole at the side of the road. Behind construction’s front line are people planning that build – using maths and science to ensure the construction type is right, the design works, is sustainable, enhances the local environment and that the project runs to time and budget. For more information visit www.hawksurveying.co.uk

Businesses can get creative to protect mental wellbeing With businesses across the county adjusting to the realities of lockdown, an employment law specialist with Kent legal firm Furley Page has called on employers to focus on the mental wellbeing of their staff. In June 2020, the mental health charity, Mind, released figures showing that 60% of adults found that their mental health declined during the first national lockdown. With shorter days and potential lockdown fatigue, there are fears that these figures could be even higher during the latest period of COVID restrictions. Tessa Robinson, associate at Furley Page, said: “Although employers

may want to focus on messages around job security by stating it is business as usual, the pressures facing employees at the current time are unprecedented. Businesses need to communicate clearly with staff, admit that this period is extraordinary and make reasonable allowances to suit each individual’s specific circumstances during lockdown, including strategies to promote good mental health.” The closure of schools has left many parents with the dual responsibility of home-schooling children while trying to complete their work. Alongside the stresses of everyday work, there are concerns about offering the correct resources, time and attention to children who are forced to learn from home. Tessa continued: “One step in recognising these additional

pressures may be to offer flexibility in working practices. This could take many forms including flexible working hours or temporarily amending roles to suit individuals’ varying pressures.” Government guidance has clarified that members of staff may now be furloughed if they face caring or home-schooling demands. Tessa suggests that offering this option or additional annual leave to employees may improve their longterm mental health and productivity. Tessa also advises that consistent communication and reminders of the company’s support services are vital. This communication can range from emailing wellbeing information and sources to offering counselling services and advice on how employees should structure their working day.

Chamber Charity of the Year


Are your meetings having a negative impact on your people and productivity? Have you ever felt that you are spending too much time in meetings? Do you feel overwhelmed by the volume of meetings dominating your week, preventing you from being able to complete your “real” work during the working day? Have you ever left a meeting feeling sapped of energy, thinking “what a waste of time”? We can find ourselves trapped in a perpetual cycle of meetings, often leaving one to head straight into another. We reach the end of the day feeling frustrated wondering what we have actually achieved, particularly if the meetings have been unproductive or problematic. This problem occurs at all levels of an organisation and many leaders whose time should be spent working on improving their business, products and customer value, are instead pulled into managing day-today performance through attending endless meetings that have become a habit, and like all habits, it can be a difficult one to break. We seem to have an obsession with meetings in business and need to break the cycle and find alternative ways to collaborate. Here are some statistics to consider when thinking about the value of your next meeting. The average manager spends 18 hours every week preparing for and attending 10.4 meetings, with 4.6 of those meetings considered to be pointless. A survey of 2,000 organisations in the UK found that staff spent the equivalent of 28.5 days a year in unnecessary meetings. The average meeting will

have 7 attendees, which equates to annual costs per business of £35k based on average earnings. With 5.4 million businesses in the UK, this means the total staff cost per year of unnecessary meetings is more than £191 billion. In addition, 63% of meetings have no planned agenda and 79% of attendees were disappointed with the outcomes from their meetings (source, ONS).

analysis to realise the full impact meetings were having. They mapped out all regular meetings and calculated the total number of hours, assessing each meeting on its purpose, whether it added any value and then classifying it as either necessary or unnecessary. Unnecessary meetings were removed from the calendar and replaced with alternative ways of communicating the required information. Where possible, the remaining necessary meetings were reduced in frequency and length, and the team agreed who really needed to be at each one (too often people attend meetings because they are told to or it’s expected of them, yet if they aren’t able to add value or gain something from being present, it’s far better to allow them to get on with being productive elsewhere).

If we take a structured approach to looking at the way we currently hold meetings, we can work out how to change things for the better. A client we recently worked with was experiencing serious meeting overload that was negatively affecting productivity as people’s individual workflow was constantly being interrupted. As a result, a culture had formed over time of people coming in to work early, leaving late and often using weekends to catch up on their “real work”. The knock-on effect of this was an exhausted, demotivated and unhappy team with a poor work-life balance and the organisation was at risk of losing good people.

After implementing these changes, the company began to see an increase in productivity as lost time was refocused into value adding work. Subsequent staff surveys also showed a clear improvement in overall job satisfaction and work-life balance.

Things had to change, so a team of people from all levels and functions within the business carried out an

For a meeting to be effective, it is worth considering the following three elements:

Be clear: Set the agenda in advance, have a clear purpose for the meeting and stay focused. What are the inputs for success? How will the meeting run and how long will it last? What are the expected outputs and measures? Be concise: Have a simple structure and stick to it. Be connected: Create a safe environment where conversation can be free flowing. Ensure the meeting is not a broadcast of one-way communication, but an environment of openness and trust. So, next time you’re about to arrange another meeting, ask yourself, “will it add value? how much it will cost the business? could the time be better spent?” You might just find there are more productive alternatives to a meeting! The Lean Orange can help you create a daily performance management system that can increase your productivity and profits. If you would like to find out more please contact Steve Nicoll on 07976 608521 or email steve@theleanorange.com

INSPIRING THOUGHTFUL LEADERS, CURIOUS PEOPLE & SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS EXCELLENCE

www.theleanorange.com Thinking Business

15


Budget 2021

Corporate Tax changes announced By Steve Jacob, Tax Partner, Azets-Maidstone office

On Wednesday 3 March, Chancellor Rishi Sunak took to the podium to unveil his 2021 Spring Budget, almost exactly a year since delivering his first.

test previously used to identify which companies are required to pay tax by quarterly instalment. This may well increase the number of companies being required to pay tax by instalment and the cash flow impact of this will need to be considered.

The Chancellor took a measured approach in this Budget, providing extensions to Coronavirus support schemes and indeed new support being announced. Overall, we think businesses and their owners will generally be encouraged by the announcements.

This is a return to the days of 2014, when multiple rates of corporation tax were last in use. The difference now, is that the level at which the higher rates apply is much lower (£250,000) compared with £1,500,000 back in 2014. This means that more companies will be drawn into paying the higher rate of corporation tax, than in 2014. Retaining the lower rate will however be welcome relief for those companies recovering from the Pandemic, albeit that having multiple rates of corporation tax increases the complexity when forecasting tax costs of your business.

A welcome cash boost to taxpayers whose profits may have been fundamentally impacted by the COVID-19, which could provide an immediate cash-flow injection. This will need to be balanced with the potential additional benefit of carrying the losses forward where they could offset profits which would suffer corporation tax at the new higher rates. The measure also introduced more complexity to SMEs in managing their tax affairs with the interaction of the cash-flow boost, impact on R&D claims they may have made and the fact that there is now a small company corporation tax rate.

Temporary extension to carry back of trading losses for Corporation Tax

Super-deduction for companies investing in new plant and machinery

Below, we explore the key Corporate Tax announcements of the 2021 Budget in more detail. Increase in Corporation Tax rates The Chancellor in his Budget recognised that business has benefited from unprecedented support during the Coronavirus. In the spirit of fairness, it therefore recognises the role that business has in repaying the historical borrowing costs, by raising the level of corporation tax from 19% to 25% from 1 April 2023. This higher rate will apply where company profits are in excess of £250,000, with the low rate of 19% being retained for those with profits under £50,000. For those companies with profits between £50,000 and £250,000, there will be marginal relief applying to bridge the gap between the lower and upper limits. These limits will be divided by the number of associated companies; in other words, where one company controls another or both are under the same control. This associated company definition is also going to replace the 51% group company

16 Thinking Business

To maintain the penal nature of Diverted Profit Tax, the rate that this has been charged has been increased from 25% to 31%, to provide a differential to the corporation tax rates.

This is a welcomed cash-flow benefit for all companies and unincorporated businesses that may now be able to carry back losses, that have arisen recently due to reduced demand for their goods and services, to earlier years. The current rules are restricted to only offsetting losses against the previous 12 months’ profits. The measure applies to companies with accounting periods ending in the period 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2022, and for tax years 2020/21 and 2021/22 for unincorporated businesses. The effect of the measure will be to extend the period for which the trading loss can be carried back against earlier profits and will be extended from the current one year element to a period of three years, with losses being carried back against later years first. Although there are no restrictions on the amount of the loss to be carried back to the previous year, there will be restrictions on the amount

of losses to be carried back to the earlier two years, where a £2m cap will apply for each of the two year periods to 31 March 2022. The £2m cap will apply to groups, where the limit will be shared, and this will need to be considered in detail and the submission of a formal allocation statement. There are also measures introduced to allow certain loss carry backs to be claimed outside the company tax return.

The Chancellor has announced an enhanced tax deduction aimed to stimulate investment by UK companies. Between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2023, companies will be able to claim a corporation tax deduction for 130% of qualifying expenditure. This has not been extended to unincorporated businesses, or other structures such as LLPs. This measure only applies to main rate pool assets, but 50% deduction was also announced for expenditure on most new assets that would ordinarily qualify for 6% special rate pool. Although this is a welcome announcement, as with much of this Budget, the complexity is in the small print. This measure, in particular, is a supercomplex super-deduction. For example, certain assets are excluded, so it only applies to new assets and not second-hand purchases, which is a shame for businesses that may wish to sell assets to improve cash-flow during difficult times.


Further complexities arise where assets are sold having previously benefitted from the super-deduction. Timing for expenditure is going to be key. Whilst we would encourage companies to delay expenditure until April, contracts entered into before 3 March may not benefit from the super deduction even if the date of the expenditure is delayed. Whilst the rate of super deduction does not appear to be affected if expenditure is incurred in accounting periods which straddle 1 April 2021, the rate of deduction is reduced for periods straddling 1 April 2023. It may be worth considering changes to accounting periods to mitigate a loss in the deduction if expenditure is planned to be significant in late 2022 or early 2023. Additional conditions will be imposed on expenditure on assets acquired under hire purchase or similar contracts. From a cash flow perspective, the benefit of the enhanced deduction, whilst welcome, will not be felt until the company is due to pay its corporation tax liability and also again introduces increased complexity to the tax system.

Temporary increase in Annual Investment Allowance There was confirmation that the Annual Investment Allowance will increase from £200,000 to £1m from 1 January 2021, for expenditure on plant and machinery incurred during the year ended 31 December 2021. This is another boost for businesses who will be able to obtain a 100% tax deduct when they invest in plant and machinery. This temporary increase together with the announcement of the super deduction, could play an important factor to help kick-start business investment, and may also attract foreign companies to invest in the UK.

Corporate interest restriction Companies are generally allowed to claim tax relief for up to £2m of net interest costs in the

UK. Where the total interest cost is more than this, the maximum is computed by reference to the profitability of the company or the group. This measure is meant to restrict tax relief for companies with excessive debt particularly where groups lend money instead of injecting share capital. The Budget confirmed two previously announced minor technical changes to the rules. Each year a company may have to file an Interest Restriction return to HMRC. The Government have confirmed that there will be no penalties if there is a reasonable excuse for the late filing of that return. The second change clarifies the way the rules apply in the context of a Real Estate Investment Trust.

Hybrid and other mismatches Companies in the UK which are part of a multinational group will have many transactions between them, for example, interest payments, royalty payments or management charges. In certain cases, a payment made by a UK company may not be taxed in the recipient company based in another country because of the nature of the foreign entity or because of the way in which it is taxed. This would be a “mismatch”. Mismatches can involve either double deductions for the same expense, or deductions for an expense without any corresponding receipt being taxable. This Budget confirmed a number of technical changes to the hybrid and other mismatches regime. These changes are designed to ensure that the regime operates proportionately and as intended.

Repeal of provisions relating to the Interest and Royalties Directive With the UK’s recent withdrawal from the EU, the Budget announces the Government’s intention to repeal the effect of the EU Interest and Royalties directive from UK domestic legislation.

Where companies make or receive such payments, they should review their withholding tax exposure, as unless there is a lower rate provided for in specific country treaties, this would likely result in an additional tax burden. Advance clearances (to pay without withholding) made under the Directive may no longer be valid and need to be replaced with Treaty-based advance clearance. The new rates of withholding tax applicable will be dependent on which country the UK entity is making payment to / receiving payment from.

Change to Loss Reform rules In 2017, the UK implemented significant changes to the use of corporate tax losses. The operation of these rules has been evaluated since 2017, and a number of corrective amendments to the rules have been proposed. These changes are largely procedural but should be reviewed when making loss claims from 1 April 2021. The areas impacted include: s group relief for carried forward losses s amendment to correct a group relief circularity issue s amendments to the time limits and requirement to submit a group allowance allocation statement s the amendment of the formula for allocation of the deductions allowance.

Want to know more? To read more analysis of the Budget 2021, please visit https://www.azets.co.uk/news-insights.

Have you been affected by the Budget? If you have any queries regarding the Budget 2021 announcements and the impact they may have on you or your organisation, please get in touch with steve.jacob@azets.co.uk.

The repeal of these provisions will result in UK companies ceasing to benefit from withholding tax exemptions for interest and royalty payments between EU companies. Thinking Business

17


The Big Interview

Andrew sets Direction Law on route to success When Brian Sharratt set up his own law firm as a sole practitioner in Whitstable in 1976, he’s unlikely to have imagined how successful the firm would become. Fast forward 45 years to 2021 and the firm is now called Direction Law and has eight partners, 170 staff and offices in Canterbury, London, Wells and Birmingham.

Today the firm is headed up by managing partner Andrew Theoff, who has had an interesting career journey of his own. He joined the Canterbury office of the original firm just three years after qualifying as a solicitor and swiftly rose up the ranks, becoming a partner in 1999. In his early days there, Andrew acted for housing associations in the purchase of individual properties and land for development and later ran the plot sales team. In 2004 Andrew joined another company in Ramsgate where he dealt with more local clients as well as building an affordable housing team from scratch. After just 2 years, he left to set up his own business along with Wayne Moore-Read, who is now Direction Law’s senior partner and who he met initially in 1997 when they both worked in Canterbury. As fate would have it, they went full circle by merging their firm with the firm they had both started out with, to form what is now Direction Law. At the new, larger company, Andrew established Direction Law’s new build department, initially acting for private individuals buying shared ownership homes from housing associations, then expanding the department to encompass purchasers buying from private developers, finally splitting it into two distinct teams

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The Big Interview

We want to build more relationships with housing providers and developers in Kent; we feel that there’s a lot of potential in the local market.

and handing over the reigns to others when he became managing partner. Since the merger, Direction Law have experienced a period of unprecedented growth, with staff numbers increasing almost fivefold from 35 in 2010 to 170 today. Last year this growth was checked slightly by the coronavirus crisis but, with the vaccination rollout programme in full swing, preparations to kick-start the next phase of the firm’s expansion are well underway.

that specialises in new build shared ownership and another one that acts for individuals who buy new-build properties from private developers; the latter has particular expertise in dealing with cases involving the government’s Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme, which has helped to stimulate the market."

local presence by expanding our traditional residential conveyancing team, building on our growing relationships with local estate agents and mortgage brokers. The local market is buoyant in Kent as a lot of people are choosing to relocate to the county from London.”

“We want to build more relationships with housing providers and developers in Kent; we feel that there’s a lot of potential in the local market. We are also planning to increase our

Despite being predominantly a conveyancing firm, with several core specialisms within that field, Direction Law also has a private client team that deals with wills and probate, trusts and powers of attorney.

“As a company, you don’t last for 45 years if you’re not doing a lot of things right,” says Andrew. “I’m feeling genuinely optimistic about the future. Our strong local client base, reputation in the market and our core specialisms in affordable housing and new build will stand us in good stead as we move forward.”

For more information visit www.directionlaw.co.uk

Andrew says: “We had our best ever start to a year in 2020 but then COVID-19 hit the country. For a few months work dropped considerably but, when the housing market re-opened at the end of the first lockdown, instructions quickly picked up and we ended the year in an even stronger position than we started it. “There is pent-up demand in the housing market, fuelled by the stamp duty holiday, which has now been extended following the Chancellor’s recent budget. This is good for us, as we’ve built a solid reputation in this market, both locally and in our niche areas of affordable housing and new build. “For many years we’ve carved a niche within the affordable housing sector, acting for housing providers and those who are buying from them, completing over 3,000 shared ownership purchases in 2019/20. In addition to our rapidly expanding resales department we have a team

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medway.gov.uk/workplaceseminars


Council creates 130 jobs Ashford Borough Council is recruiting around 130 staff as it prepares to provide a port health service at the Sevington Inland Border Facility (IBF). The site will provide the customs and transit checks required for hauliers following Brexit.

Covering 93 hectares, Sevington is one of the biggest such facilities

in the UK, with the council set to play a vital role in making a success of the country’s new trading arrangements with the EU. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has given £14m to local authorities across England to help them maintain the UK’s high standards on imported animal products. Across the country, more than 500 new port health roles are being created to facilitate the new checks on imports of animal products from the EU from April 2021, with £8.8m invested in Ashford Borough Council and Dover District Council.

Members News with documentary checks starting on April 1 and physical checks three months later. These are different to customs checks, which are starting in February as planned. As a result of Brexit, the council will undertake checks on imports of products of animal origin (POAO), high-risk food not of animal origin (HRFNAO) and animal by-products (animal products not for human consumption) imported from the EU. Around 130 staff are likely to be directly employed/engaged by Ashford Borough Council, with local people recruited where possible. The recruitment drive has already begun, with posts on offer including roles in IT, legal, administration and HR as well as managerial, technical and environmental positions.

When Defra announced it was designating the Sevington site as a Border Control Post, the council became responsible for carrying out various port health controls. This is in conjunction with other agencies such as the Animal and Plant Health Agency.

Cllr Peter Feacey, the council’s portfolio holder for community safety and wellbeing, said: “The new service is an exciting challenge for us. While the scale of the task is testing, we are fully committed to implementing the changes that are necessary and meeting our responsibilities.”

The council service will be introduced in a phased approach,

For more information visit www.ashford.gov.uk

Lawyer urges parents to appoint legal guardian to protect children’s future their children. Yet still almost half of the nation’s parents do not have wills that state who will care for their children in the event of their death. “By incorporating such clauses into their will, parents can select a trusted individual who can take legal responsibility for a child in the event of their death.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a rise in enquiries about wills as people across the county have taken steps to put their affairs in order, according to south east law firm Furley Page. Luke Page, a solicitor who specialises in drafting wills with Furley Page, has offered advice to parents about appointing a legal guardian. Luke said: “For most parents, the greatest concern is the welfare of

While the process of choosing a legal guardian for a child often seems daunting, it can help to avoid a complicated legal proceeding after the parent’s death. Luke continued: “The consequence of not appointing a guardian for a minor is that, without the court’s involvement, no individual will have the same powers and authority which a parent would ordinarily have. “Therefore, even if an individual were to assume responsibility for caring for a child, they would not have

Chamber Charity of the Year

authority to make decisions over key aspects of the child’s life, such as their education or medical treatment, unless they are the child’s legal guardian.” If a legal guardian is not appointed before a parent’s death, the only alternative is to apply for a court order which confers such authority. However, this process can often be costly and take a long period of time.

Businesses invited to support dog training charity

Charity Hypo Hounds is training lifesaving puppies to help type 1 diabetic children. Through the method of scent detection, the puppies alert the child’s parents to the changes in the child’s blood sugar levels, preventing collapse and diabetic comas. It is imperative that the puppies’ training is varied and they get to meet a variety of people and venues as part of their public access training. A play date with one of Hypo Hounds’ wonderful puppies provides businesses with a unique opportunity to boost morale, increase productivity and improve the mental well-being of staff in the workplace. Head trainer Steve Dean said: “As part of an essential healthcare service, it is vital that our dogs’ training is not hindered by the pandemic as this would delay their training and delay them being partnered with their future child.” Chief executive Jane Pearman FRSM added: “We are calling out to local Kent businesses that feel that they would benefit from a visit from our team. We have seen an increase in demand for our services and we are seeking new venues with social distancing procedures in place.” If you feel that you could benefit from a visit from Hypo Hounds or even choose this amazing charity as your charity to support for 2021, visit https://hypohounds.co.uk/

In order to appoint a legal guardian, an individual must have “parental responsibility”. This is a legal term that denotes all of the rights, duties and powers which, by law, a parent has in relation to a child and their property. For further advice and support about wills and appointing legal guardians, please contact Luke Page  ltp@furleypage.co.uk Thinking Business

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ENVIRONMENT

Keep Thinking Low Carbon Across the South East For those of you who may have engaged with or received grant funding from the first phases of Low Carbon Across the South East (LoCASE) it should come as welcome news that the Low Carbon Kent team at Kent County Council have managed to secure significant funding for follow on projects taking us right up to late Spring 2023. Originally launched as far back as 2016, LoCASE helped a grand total of 1,278 SMEs across the SELEP region with support and much needed funds towards their sustainable business plans. In Kent and Medway alone, £3.4 million of ERDF grants were claimed by 480 SMEs, around 100 of these being Kent Invicta Chamber members. As you will see elsewhere in this and other linked articles, since the programme was started, there has been an ever-sharper focus and spotlight on many of the wider aspects of sustainability no matter where you sit in your supply chain. There now exists an ever-more demanding and empowered consumer movement, expecting more transparency in where their goods and services come from, whether it has recycled/ recyclable content or packaging, plus how ethical or traceable raw materials might be at point of source. However, by that same token, this same movement may be more open to spend a little more in buying local, advocating, or sharing positive experiences or ‘green’ solutions. At the same time, partly driven by legislation but also by that same ‘positive CSR’

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paradigm, there is the need to appease the requirements of large corporates and the public sector in delivering contracts with a strong eye on sustainable practices. This extends all the way down to the SME community who are being required to deliver to these same standards... often under the tightest of profit margins. So, what does this mean for you and the businesses or communities you work in? Well, the answer will not surprise you if you have got down this far. Quite simply, sustainable business makes

sense. Whether this is ensuring that your business operations are running as efficiently as possible in terms of energy, use of materials, logistics, product/process design and customer interface or innovating and developing what you do offer to incorporate some real positive environmental impacts. LoCASE can help bring through (and make viable) the changes that your business may need to make to thrive. This is largely in the form of 40% match funded EU grants which can cover up to £10,000 of eligible project costs but could also extend to fully funded provision of an


Cover Feature

Environment Management System (EMS) and signposting to other linked support available. How you benefit may depend on your business, your perspective, your budget, your ambitions and/or your networks. This is not just for the new start-up businesses (though LoCASE helped 87 of these with funding and targeted workshops). Nor is it only for the firms interested in help towards more efficient lighting, heating, insulation or equipment like compressors, motors, or heat pumps. This is as much about supporting those in the ‘green’ economy. In fact, if we take Kent and Medway as an example, we helped as many firms in the low carbon/renewable energy goods and services sector with business development funding as we did SMEs with energy or resource efficiency projects. We are keen to continue this trend but further the ‘localism’ ideals. An estimated £8.4M of projects approved were with suppliers of goods or services in the South East region. This could be a communications firm working with a local progressive architect client specialising in Passivhaus design, right through to an electrical contractor fitting a heat pump system in a nearby solicitor’s offices. Though a fair proportion of your business and markets don’t conform to geographical boundaries, if you have clients and customers locally then think about where they could fit in, share the benefits of this EU funding whilst we’ve still got access to it, for the good of our communities. Start by registering at locase.co.uk. We'll then discuss your options and opportunities and take you

through to the (tried and tested by 1,000 local firms) application process and/or link with one of our higher education partners for innovation projects.

The LoCASE offering has three main aims: Stimulating Demand

by improving business competitiveness through the implementation of energy and resource efficiency measures and reducing CO2 emissions Supporting Supply

by bringing together demand and local supply across the region and driving new low carbon/renewable energy products and services Innovation Support

by working with businesses to embed bespoke innovation into their products or processes using academic expertise

Low Carbon Kent are also delivering a range of other projects and initiatives throughout the county as part of the Kent Environment Strategy. Contact us at lowcarbon@kent.gov.uk to join in: • The Kent Realising Electric Van Scheme (REVS) allows organisations driving on the county’s major roads an opportunity to ‘try for free’ an electric van for up to 8 weeks. Simply e-mail revs@csltd.org.uk for a quick fleet survey. • Upcycle Your Waste is actively seeking firms keen to look at ways of turning their company’s waste into a resource. We will do a full waste scan and seek to match your needs with others in the area to come up with viable, collaborative business cases across Kent. Be part of the solution, form an ‘eco cluster’ with other businesses! • BLUEPRINT to a circular economy takes this concept wider, looking to partner with anyone seeking to increase recycling rates in the region and using social enterprises to help teach the benefits of the circular economy to our Kent and Medway communities. • Both Inn2POWER and Clean Growth South East seek to support the opportunities available to businesses in the low carbon and renewable energy sectors as we seek to transition to a green industrial revolution across the South East. • Our Steps To Environmental Management (STEM) scheme is being revised and refreshed (through LoCASE) to help all our firms benchmark their environmental performance and formalise plans to improve. This will again be a recognised standard to help with tender opportunities but also highlight opportunities to save money and resources in operations.

Woodpeckers of Kent are a community wood recycling social enterprise based just outside Ashford. They are a great example of how we can link our project delivery. LoCASE helped part-fund the PV system that is charging a Kent REVS loaned van at their workshop. In it, they have been making upcycled planters from old scaffold boards for a traffic calming scheme in nearby Cranbrook. We are working with them through BLUEPRINT and Upcycle Your Waste to help increase local wood surplus donations and recruit volunteers. If you are interested in seeing how we could help your business (and community) get in touch! Inspired? Check out Kent Green Action, you can use the quick link which is kent.gov.uk/kga to see how else to make a difference.

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ENVIRONMENT

Green economy to drive economic renewal for the South East The UK is moving towards a green and low carbon future. To help deliver this, the UK Government set out its 10-point-plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, focusing on the ways that industry can support green or clean growth. Working together for a faster, smarter and more sustainable economic recovery, the new Recovery and Renewal Strategy for the South East sets out a clear vision for growth, highlighting the importance of the green economy as a guiding principle for the future. SELEP Chair, Christian Brodie, said: “It is crucial that businesses and the public sector work closely together to understand the impacts on our economy and how best to act, influence and invest to ensure a swift recovery.

Low Carbon and Renewable Energy Economy. We will do this by: - Boosting local carbon industries while helping to cut carbon emissions and support the move to net-zero; - Supporting businesses to be more energy efficient and environmentally conscious;

- Collectively contributing and supporting the development of technology and innovative ideas which enable renewable energy; - Ensuring that place-making contributes to the transition to a net-zero carbon economy; - Increasing our understanding of our natural resources and

assets and how they can act as a driver for net-zero initiatives, spearheaded by our existing strengths in nuclear and offshore wind; and - Facilitating the drawdown of funding to help decarbonise. See southeastlep.com for more details.

“Climate change continues to force the urgency for real action to hit the UK’s 2050 net-zero carbon target, and we will put clean growth at the heart of our priorities, actions and future investments.”

These activities will also help to deliver our Tri-LEP South2East Local Energy Strategy, which we have been working on since 2018, to encourage the growth of the renewable energy sector and enabling the energy transition, supporting jobs, skills and innovation, which will help to deliver on the Government’s Ten Point Plan for a green industrial revolution.

The South East LEP will be supporting and advocating for the

Supporting Clean Growth across the South East

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Cover Feature

To help the sector grow, SELEP are funding a new pilot programme to map the green economy and deliver support to businesses to encourage supply chain growth. Our Sector Support Funded project, Clean Growth South East, is crucial in supporting our aims, and we hope to see as many businesses as possible involved to help build our knowledge and strengths in this sector. Initial work through this program indicates ‘Clean Growth’ – growing the economy whilst reducing carbon emissions - provides a huge opportunity for the South East and is forecasted to contribute approximately £60 million in capital investments for low carbon and renewable energy projects between now and 2050. The clean growth sector is broad and covers any company working in, or otherwise supplying products or services with a low carbon twist to: • Renewable energy; wind, solar, bioenergy, hydrogen • Nuclear • Manufacturing • Engineering suppliers of energy-efficient products • Environmental products and services • Waste management • Sustainable construction • Bioenergy, forestry and timber • Low carbon vehicles and transport infrastructure • Low carbon financial and advisory services

Across the South East there are thousands of companies who could benefit, with more than 12,400 businesses already active in sectors and industries that contribute to clean growth. These employ more than 84,800 people, which has grown by 19% since 2015, with the potential of thousands of new jobs by 2050. This has led to the development of a significant renewable energy generation capacity locally including 17 offshore wind projects, generating more than 5GWs of renewable energy, and a significant 134 onshore renewable energy projects contributing a further 1.3MW of electricity. Clean Growth South East are working with businesses of all sizes to support sector growth. The region can lead the way in the drive for a sustainable, low carbon future, capitalizing on the recent Freeports announcement, putting the South East on the map as a key region contributing to UK wide net zero targets. But the team need feedback from industry. Clean Growth South East are calling for information that highlights the current issues or blockers that companies see limiting their expansion in the Clean Growth sector, and the support they need to help their businesses grow. If you would like to find out more about the Clean Growth South East initiative including dates for upcoming events, and resources to download, please visit www. cleangrowthsoutheast.co.uk and register your details.

Ensure Environmental Consulting Ltd Ensure Environmental Consulting Ltd is a Kent based independent environmental company providing environmental and sustainability support across the South East. The firm was established in 2016 due to concerns that the large London consultancies were not providing adequate support to clients to deliver meaningful sustainability. Since then, Ensure have grown to support a range of local, national and international businesses in the resolution of environmental risk and liability issues and the development of a more sustainable future. One consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a growing recognition that companies which ignore major external risks, such as climate change, are unlikely to have the resilience to deliver a sustainable business future. It is also evident that the increasing pressure on business to address Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) concerns is coming from all directions, with the Government, Investors, Customers, Staff, Insurers and Suppliers all seeking reassurance that your business is sustainable. This, together with the impetus provided by the forthcoming COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, has accelerated a consensus that even small companies need to develop and implement ESG policies and procedures. Stakeholder and regulator expectations have moved beyond ‘not causing environmental damage’, to now include how a business is addressing Climate

Change risks and the inclusion of non-financial reporting on Carbon Emissions. Key criteria include the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) protocols, as well as an ever widening range of other environmental and social standards. Although initially thought of as a requirement for large firms, it is already evident that there is a cascade of ESG requirements down the supply chain and by investors and lenders. The challenge for many companies is to identify the ESG criteria that are relevant to them. From that point it is possible to develop and adopt meaningful processes that bring real benefit to both the business and the environment. Ensure have carried out comprehensive reviews of the ESG issues, challenges and opportunities that businesses face. This includes development of detailed plans for adoption of sustainable business strategies for companies, both in the UK and Internationally. In addition to this strategic and corporate ESG work, Ensure also assist clients by providing environmental support for day to day operations, often through partnership with Kent based Lawyers, Planning Consultants and other professionals. Services include: • Environmental Due Diligence for land and business acquisition, • Environmental Impact Assessments and support through the planning process, working closely with Planning professionals, • Environmental Permitting issues, • Contaminated Land Management (Phase 1 to remediation and sign off).

If you require any further information, please contact: Henry Lang, Director Mobile: 07772096744 Email: Henry.lang@ensureenvironmental.co.uk www.ensureenvironmental.co.uk

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IS YOUR BUSINESS DOING AMAZING THINGS FOR THE PLANET? THEN JOIN US! Businesses that put the environment at the forefront of their growth are the beating heart of the Thames Estuary. If this sounds like you, join our movement and apply to become an Estuary Visionary! Would you like to be a Visionary business? Benefits include: • Business promotion – through local, national and international marketing activities. • Exclusive events – when it is safe to do so, including our planned Parliamentary celebration in 2021. • Help from the Thames Estuary Growth Board – who have a wide range of expertise, are willing to support sustainable businesses like yours in the Thames Estuary region. • Shaping the Growth Board’s support - as a Visionary you will be able to help us develop our offer to sustainable businesses in the region to support good green growth. The Thames Estuary Growth Board – a government backed team – are working to make amazing things happen in this region, but we believe that growth should work in tandem with the environment. We call this ‘good green growth’. That’s why we’ve launched Estuary Visionaries. We want to celebrate and share stories from successful businesses who are making their growth green. The scheme is free to join and we’re seeking applications from businesses in North Kent, South Essex and East London.

Airport, Ashwells Reclaimed Timber and others, that are leading the charge in being more sustainable. From banks to hairdressers, multinationals to sole traders, there are many businesses in the Estuary that are reducing their environmental impact. By highlighting these innovative businesses, in the UK and internationally, the scheme hopes to share ideas and inspire others to grow in a more environmentally friendly way. Creating the greatest, greenest estuary in the world

Successful applicants will be championed on the Thames Estuary website, at events, including one at Parliament, where they can share good green practice with like-minded businesses, and as ambassadors integral to marketing the Estuary domestically and internationally. Moreover, they will work with Government-backed Estuary Envoy, Kate Willard OBE, to deliver her ambition of creating the greatest, greenest Estuary in the world.

The UK government identified the Estuary as the UK’s number one growth region, the Thames Estuary Growth Board committed in its ambitious ‘Green Blue’ plan to making this growth green. Across the region, the Board is looking to do this by facilitating projects to improve access to green and riverside spaces for all to enjoy, supporting clean energy production and supply, and greening transport, including moving freight from roads to river. This will support local and national net zero targets.

Businesses in any sector, any size can put themselves forward to join a growing number of current green visionary organisations, including Elvis and Kresse, The Kentish Soap Company, London City

Individual businesses can also do a lot to help create a world leading green estuary, and the Board want to recognise those that already are operating more sustainably.

• Working with Estuary Envoy, Kate Willard OBE, to deliver her ambition of creating the greatest, greenest Estuary in the world. How can I apply? Email us and tell us why your business should be an Estuary Visionary. We want to know what you do and how you ensure your business positively contributes to the Estuary environment. Please keep it brief (no more than 500 words) - you can use the form on our website or email enquiries@thamesestuary.org.uk To find our more visit thamesestuary.org.uk/ thames-estuary-visionaries Join Elvis & Kresse and become one of the growing number of businesses in the Estuary Visionaries scheme. Elvis & Kresse in Tonge, near Sittingbourne, prove that sustainable fashion is possible and profitable. They rescue materials that would otherwise go to landfill to make sustainable, luxury lifestyle accessories whilst donating 50% of their profits to charity. A 100% plastic free brand, they began with a negative carbon footprint, which it still maintains by running on renewable energy and has saved over 250 tonnes of waste from going to landfill. Find out more: elvisandkresse.com

“In the Thames Estuary, we are proud to be the home of such dynamic, innovative and resourceful businesses, of different sizes and sectors, that are pushing the boundaries by demonstrating an unwavering dedication to good, green growth. We are looking for more businesses like these in the region to become Estuary Visionaries so that we can share ideas, inspire learning, future-proof our environment and stand as an example to the rest of the UK of how to deliver stronger, greener growth.” Kate Willard OBE, Thames Estuary Envoy

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Overcoming adversity

If necessity is the mother of invention, then perhaps adversity is the father of re-invention. Since acquiring their business, Ardula Group Limited, in February 2017, owners Ricky Hemmings and Phil Brasier have had two years of Brexit uncertainty and a global pandemic to cope with, not to mention a very wet, if not snowy, winter this year. And yet the pair have called on their experience to re-invent and re-invigorate their business with a combination of good old fashioned customer service, and the establishment of a new business discipline. The construction industry has remained active throughout the pandemic period and has adapted well to the cultural changes needed to operate in a safe and secure environment. In fact, output has been steadily rising since late summer of 2020, and the increasing requirement for the core services of waste removal and supply of construction aggregate has driven the directors to adapt their business to meet customer needs. Inclement weather over the winter months has impacted on ground conditions and created a demand for recycled aggregates that currently outstrips supply. Rather than simply advise the customer that they are unable to service their requirements, the entrepreneurial directors have taken an established construction process of

soil stabilisation and integrated into their business model, providing groundworkers and civil engineering contractors across the south east with an almost unique offering. Under the trading name of Remediology, the Ardula team

identify suitable projects brought to them from long standing customers, and value engineer the re-use of soils by adding lime, cement, or other binders to convert the soil into an approved construction aggregate. This re-invention, or re-establishment of the process, initially to deal with adverse ground conditions and lack of recycled aggregates has now firmly established Ardula as a highly regarded ground remediation contractor in its own right – ‘cemented’ its position in the marketplace you might say. Allied to the on-site use of soils, is the associated use of recycled incinerator waste, also a key part of the Ardula offering. The commissioning of a new waste to energy plant at Ridham Dock, Sittingbourne, in late Autumn 2020, has allowed Ardula to establish a circular process by which it collects the incinerator waste by products, transports them to a state-of-the-art recycling facility, and then recovers the processed product back to Kent, for onward re-use as a construction aggregate, once again to offer an alternative to the traditional recycled aggregate market. Receiving sites are fully audited prior to use of the material, and the directors oversee a tight management process in the supply and delivery of the products known as Incinerator Bottom Ash Aggregates.

no nonsense feet on the ground approach is a good foil for Ricky’s enthusiasm, and although the post COVID economy remains difficult to call for the most experienced of business analysts, the two directors feel that they are doing all that they can to ensure that their business is a long term sustainable provider of goods, services, and importantly employment, as none of the group companies has reduced staff numbers since the onset of lockdown a year ago this month. It’s a testimony to old school values and new ways of working, which will stand the business in good stead moving forward.

Directors Ricky Hemmings and Phil Brasier have a combined 50 years in construction logistics, and whether by phone, email, or COVID managed meetings, have managed to use the adversity of lockdown to focus, review, re-invent, and re-establish their business, with their ‘hauling construction forward’ tagline very much in evidence. Phil’s

T: 01622 873300 | M:07738 803093 | www.ardula.co.uk


The Benefits to Businesses - EIRA-enabled collaborations in review University of Kent

Sarah Birch, Knowledge Exchange Lead The University of Kent has been working with businesses in the region on innovation projects through the Enabling Innovation: Research to Application (EIRA) consortium. With the EIRA project coming to its 3-year conclusion, we reflect on its impact, some of the most recent positive outcomes for Kent companies and how the University of Kent is continuing to support business innovation.

EIRA in Review

Since its establishment in 2018, EIRA has increased the combined contribution of East of England universities to address productivity and economic growth challenges, and provided a vehicle to deliver the Industrial Strategy aims of supporting business growth and increasing R&D capacity across the Eastern region. Through its three core themes (Biotechnology, Digital Creative and AI), EIRA has supported sectors traditionally less engaged with Knowledge Exchange (KE) and provided funding in areas with limited alternative funding routes, such as the Digital Creative sector.

Kent Business Impact Mindspire - Research and Development project

Mindspire are a company using technology and data science to improve mental health by treating the effects of chronic stress on the body and mind through Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS). The company were awarded an EIRA R&D grant to work with academics from the School of Computing at the University of Kent, whose expertise in sensor design for EEG (brain activity recordings) and

ECG (heart activity recordings) were used to demonstrate the positive effects of VNS. The introduction of a non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical treatment to alleviate the symptoms of stress and anxiety could have significant impact in terms of treatment, early detection and intervention. The goal to reduce the impact on mental and physical health risks posed by stress and anxiety offers the potential for huge savings to the NHS and the greater economy. This initial R&D project has enabled Mindspire to understand the complexities of stress detection using EEG and ECG and to find an effective means of VNS. The company are now seeking follow-on funding opportunities to continue their research into stress reduction. Sustainability Monitor – AI Innovation Voucher

Sustainability Monitor (SusMon) is a start-up research company providing competitive monitoring services in the business intelligence industry. They have completed work with Kent academics using an EIRA AI Innovation Voucher and Innovation Internships to research Digital Asset Management (DAM) systems that could use machine learning to simplify and automate some business processes. One of the initial stages of the project looked at features commonly


found in DAM systems and related software, and considered the relevance of these to the SusMon workflow. This was a consultation project and was successful in providing the business with information, guidance and insight. In addition, the company used the EIRA Innovation Internship scheme for students interested in various machine learning processes. “Data visualisation is key to Sustainability Monitor and fundamentally we are researchers, not designers. Having Stephanie in-house has enabled us to merge our research with design, which has allowed the company to move forward”– Ronnie McBryde, SusMon CEO AbBaltis – Biotechnology Internship in a pandemic AbBaltis supplies disease state human plasma and serum to in vitro diagnostic research and biotech facilities worldwide. Based in Kent, the company took part in EIRA’s Innovation Internship scheme in 2020. The SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic spiked demand for antibodies which are used to understand the human immunological response to Covid-19 and consequently develop vaccinations. In response, AbBaltis began testing all of their current stock in the hope of sourcing these incredibly research-valuable antibodies, as well as positive samples potentially containing the virus itself. AbBaltis also supplies many viral, autoimmune and allergen positive samples, other than SARS-CoV-2. This meant that the intern was able to lend an extra hand to keep on top of the routine testing, and could learn how to conduct a vast range of other immunological tests.

“We were delighted to host an intern at AbBaltis. As the pandemic is still ongoing, many businesses are once again hesitant to offer internships. I would urge them to reconsider this and give the internships a go. We will certainly be continuing with our program as I firmly believe such opportunities help companies grow.” - Giedre Brandao, Managing Director at AbBaltis.

and knowledge exchange professionals throughout the network to come together and celebrate all the project has achieved. We can't wait to share more details with you soon, so keep an eye on our Twitter and LinkedIn channels for more information on the programme as it's announced.

EIRA is excited to announce their 'Innovation Month'' taking place throughout June 2021. This programme of virtual events will include webinars, panel discussions and case studies that showcase the innovative projects supported through the EIRA consortium. There will be a training opportunity for early career academics who want to expand their commercialisation skills, and an opportunity for businesses, academics, students

support offered by EIRA, the University of Kent’s Knowledge Exchange and Innovation (KEI) department has launched its Recovery Innovation Fund which aims to support businesses to innovate and grow following the Covid-19 pandemic, by facilitating knowledge exchange via academic collaborations.

Recovery Innovation Fund EIRA Innovation for Businesses Month In continuation with the business

The Recovery Innovation Fund supports small or medium-sized

businesses with grants of up to £7,500 and the opportunity to engage with the University’s expertise and build a long-term partnership. The grants awarded will be equivalent to 50% of the total value of the businesses’ projects excluding VAT. Businesses will be partnered with academic experts to receive tailored advice and support. Carole Barron, Director of Knowledge Exchange and Innovation, said: ‘The University is committed to helping businesses innovate and grow, and there has never been a more important time to support our business community. Our Recovery Innovation Fund is an opportunity for businesses to gain access to the wealth of expertise, high quality research, and knowledge that resides within the University.’ The deadline for submission is at 23:59 on 2 May 2021, with projects to be completed by 30 June 2021. Contact the KEI team at Businessrelationships@kent.ac.uk to find out more.

"The University is committed to helping businesses innovate and grow, and there has never been a more important time to support our business community. Our Recovery Innovation Fund is an opportunity for businesses to gain access to the wealth of expertise, high quality research, and knowledge that resides within the University."

Carole Barron, Director of Knowledge Exchange and Innovation, University of Kent Thinking Business

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Keeping talent local At GradForce we want our local graduate talent to stay local and ensure that they are employed in graduate level roles. By helping to keep our local talent in the local region we hope to help to grow your businesses too, by supporting you to fill the skills gaps in your organisation from our graduate talent pool. It’s a myth that most graduates want to work in London or outside of Kent. Christ Church’s demographic of students show that over half are local to the area (53.9%) and the majority want to secure local jobs. With 69% of graduates in Kent going on to work in the region they were originally domiciled, although often not in graduate level roles, we have a clear talent pool for employers to meet their recruitment needs.

Why recruit a Canterbury Christ Church graduate?

Recruiting a local graduate can be a costeffective choice to bring new skills, innovation and bright ideas to your business! SME employment is more important than ever, as it nurtures local talent and can be a key step through the door for a graduate. Many SMEs do not have a specifically defined graduate scheme or programme, but are likely to have graduate-level positions to offer. What will you get from a graduate?

4 They will bring in new ideas and think creatively 4

They can fill existing or future skills gaps

4

You can gain skills from employees who have studied at degree-level

Kent and Medway have c66,000 local businesses in the private sector, covering a wide range of industries that would be a great match for our graduates that are looking for in their first role out of university.

4

They will have no preconceived ideas of what can and can’t be done

4

Graduates in their first job are less likely to bring bad habits!

Living and working locally can have many benefits for organisations and the individual, but the biggest rewards come for the community as you can also conserve energy, fuel, and resources and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time, when employing local.

When hiring a graduate, you can offer them a bigger scope and breadth of work which allows them to turn their hand to many different tasks.

What can you offer a graduate?

Instead of specialising in one particular area of work in a large organisation, a graduate will have the opportunity to quickly develop their skills across a variety of areas. What can GRADFORCE offer you?

GradForce offers a comprehensive bespoke recruitment service to local SMEs and CCCU graduates. We can save you time and money on the recruitment and retention of new graduate employees, with support throughout the process. We charge an Introductory fee of £600 for our full service. We work very closely with a cohort of final year students and recent graduates to prepare them with the skills employers need. We work with them to understand their own skills and aspirations so that we can confidently match them to graduate roles that are available. In working with you we will get to understand the skills needs of your business and the role requirements of vacancies you are looking to fill. We will aim to match your roles to our graduate talent pool to significantly reduce the time usually spent on the shortlisting and recruitment process as a whole. Please contact us at gradforce@canterbury.ac.uk to find out more.

Employees thrive on variety and many graduates have reported achieving higher levels of autonomy working for an SME.

GradForce is a project funded by the Office for Students (OfS) as part of the Challenge Competition to help local students transition into highly skilled graduate employment. Our aim is to to help local graduates from under- represented groups to progress into graduate employment in the local small and medium-sized enterprise sector, and to increase the number of graduate jobs in Kent and Medway overall.


Supporting local businesses and the community Since 1962, Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) has been a major contributor to regional and national public services, providing a strong foundation for diversification and growth into medicine, engineering, creative and digital to address regional skills shortages while narrowing gender and social participation gaps. We are proud to make a significant contribution to the cultural and social life of Kent and Medway and recognise the important role in protecting and enhancing our wider environment through our award-winning sustainability work.

Work in partnership with subject experts, benefiting from the latest research, new thinking and current trends 4

Discover more ways to grow your business through our wide-ranging consultancy services: from solving complex business problems, identifying manufacturing process efficiencies, digital transformation to providing access to skills, expertise and equipment that may not be available within your organisation.

Access specialist facilities, equipment and spaces supported by our highly skilled staff. 4

From large scale laboratories with simulation suites to photography studios, there are number of cost-effective ways to access the latest technology and equipment

In a world that is constantly changing, we are here to support organisations to reach their potential and drive innovation across a wide range of disciplines and sectors. Whether you are looking to commission research; tap into funding opportunities; find out more about hosting an event with us, or simply to grow your network, Christ Church has the resources and expertise to support you with a range of business solutions There are a variety of options and benefits to working with us: Reduce supply chain costs sourcing locally and support the environment and local community for greater control 4

We actively work with thousands of organisations, networks and associations making it easier for us to assist local businesses to find the right support and make the right connections.

“Thanks to CCCU, we have been linked in with a developer and the university who are helping us look at our options without any additional costs to the charity. We’re really excited about the relationship formed and the work we have started together”.

Verena Holmes Building

There are many further opportunities available to businesses. If would like to find out more about how you can work with the University, please contact the Enterprise and Engagement Team at: e: b2b@canterbury.ac.uk | www.canterbury.ac.uk/business


International Trade

Firms uncover difficulties in postBrexit trading

A new survey has revealed the true impact of Brexit, with almost one half of British exporters struggling to adapt to new trading rules since they went live at the start of this year. Almost one in three (30%) respondents to a new British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) survey reported difficulties adapting to changes to moving or trading goods in the first month of the year, while only 10% said they had found adjusting easy. However, the percentage of firms facing problems rose for exporters, with 49% reporting issues, and for manufacturers, with 51% facing difficulties. Only 16% of exporters and 19% of manufacturers said they had found it easy to adjust to changes to trading goods. Meanwhile, 14% of firms said they had faced difficulties in adapting to rule changes in the trade of services. Only 10% said they had found navigating the changes easy. The percentage facing difficulties rose for exporters, with 21% reporting issues. When asked about the specific difficulties that businesses were facing, respondents cited several common concerns including increased administration, costs, delays and confusion about which rules to follow. The BCC has called on the government to • identify the most significant blockages for businesses and immediately publish plans for resolving those problems

• create tax credits allowing firms to offset their spending on adaptation to the new UKEU requirements against their tax bill, helping businesses to navigate new burdens and requirements better • push back the imposition of additional Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) checks (from April) and full customs checks (from July) on imports into the UK. (SPS checks are scientific tests on animal and plant goods) • look at key areas of the new relationship and work with EU partners on easements to minimise unhelpful burdens, including on aspects of rules of origin and VAT BCC director general Adam Marshall said: “Trading businesses – and the UK’s chances of a strong economic recovery – are being hit hard by changes at the border. “The late agreement of a UK-EU trade deal left businesses in the dark on the detail right until the last minute, so it’s unsurprising to see that so many are now experiencing practical difficulties on the ground as the new arrangements go live. “For some firms, these concerns are existential and go well beyond mere

teething problems. It should not be the case that companies simply have to give up on selling their goods and services into the EU. Ministers must do everything they can to fix the problems that are within the UK’s own control, and increase their outreach to EU counterparts to solve the knotty issues that are stifling trade in both directions. “This situation could get worse if the UK sticks to its guns and introduces additional SPS checks in April and full customs checks on imports in July. These timescales need to change – and the support available for businesses that are battling to adapt to new trading conditions [must be] significantly increased.”

a significant squeeze, firms – particularly those which export – are inevitably encountering difficulties in adapting to the complexities of the new arrangements.

Meanwhile, the BCC has welcomed a new £20 million Brexit support fund for SMEs. Announced by the government, the fund allows businesses to apply for a grant of up to £2,000 to pay for practical support for importing and exporting. This includes help with adjusting to new customs, rules of origin, and VAT rules when trading with the EU.

“It is now crucial that the grants provide sufficient funds to make a real difference and the government should stand ready to increase their size if needed. We will continue working closely with government to make sure this scheme is delivered as quickly and smoothly as possible for firms still adapting to the new EU trading arrangements and the impact of the pandemic.

Suren Thiru, head of economics at the BCC, said: “This is a welcome first step in dealing with some of the major issues that small businesses trading with the EU are facing. With their finances already under

“The BCC will also continue to offer as much direct support as we can to SMEs, especially through ChamberCustoms – our dedicated customs advisory, training and brokerage service.”

“The late agreement of a UK-EU trade deal left businesses in the dark on the detail right until the last minute, so it’s unsurprising to see that so many are now experiencing practical difficulties on the ground as the new arrangements go live." 32 Thinking Business

Chamber Charity of the Year


INCOTERMS 2020 and their relationship with VAT since Brexit

For exporters and importers Workshop 14th April 2021

ONLINE

09:30 until 13:00 including breaks Brexit has changed the way we need to consider delivery terms for international trade with the EU. As international trade increases and becomes more complex with the rest of the world as well as Europe it is becoming more important to understand universally accepted rules. We shall be looking at the whole international trade function in respect of INCOTERMS 2020. This course serves well as a complete guide to all eleven recognised INCOTERMS as designed in 2019 and effective from January 2020. Delegates will be given a complete description of the risks and responsibilities for buyer and seller, of each one of the terms and an explanation of the practical and legal reasons for use. It provides a useful revision opportunity for experienced staff as well as those new to the shipping or export office and will be particularly relevant to businesses that are now exporters or importers for the first time due to the end of the EU transition period. By the end of this course delegates will be able to… • Understand why INCOTERMS were created and their purpose. • Understand the definitions of the INCOTERMS rules.

Introduction to Export Procedures and Documentation - Includes CDS Awareness

Workshop 22nd April 2021

ONLINE

09:30 until 13:00 including breaks Your company’s success in export markets is dependent upon the knowledge and expertise of the

export staff and their competence when dealing with your customers, bank and freight forwarders. The course creates and develops that competence. It gives a complete description of the documentation requirements, creates competence and proficiency through clarifying and educating on any export document. It provides a useful revision opportunity for experienced staff as well as being very useful training for those with a basic grounding in the shipping or export office. By the end of this course delegates will be able to:• Produce Export Documentation.

• Identify sources of international information and assistance.

• Identify each mode of transport and consider their various advantages and disadvantages. With our location in mind, attention in detail is paid to new requirements to facilitate trade with Europe, though not to the exclusion of the rest of the world. The course includes an awareness section on the new Customs Declaration Service (CDS) which is replacing the existing CHIEF system for import and export entries to HMRC. One of the 6 core subjects that make up the Foundation in International Trade Certificate which is awarded by the British Chambers of Commerce.

For full information, visit https://kentinvictachamber.lpages.co/customs-training-programme

• Appreciate the VAT implications of the use of each term. • Understand the effect of each INCOTERM on the export or import quotation.

• Appreciate the legal obligations of each INCOTERM as they relate to transport and handover/ownership of cargo. With our location in mind, attention in detail is paid to requirements to facilitate trade with Europe, though not to the exclusion of the rest of the world. One of the Core 6 courses accredited by the British Chambers of Commerce. Candidates achieving pass or merit in the course will receive a Foundation Award in International Trade Certificate. Thinking Business

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Economy

Cashflow remains critical,

BCC survey says

Businesses have been pushed to the brink by the effect of multiple lockdowns, according to the latest COVID-19 impact survey from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). Among the sobering findings from the survey of more than 1,100 businesses: • Three in every five firms (61%) have seen their revenue from UK customers fall in the last three months • Almost a third (31%) of business-toconsumer (B2C) firms say they will run out of cash in the next three months. Only onefifth (20%) of B2C firms have sufficient cash to last more than 12 months • A quarter of survey respondents (25%) say they will make staff redundant if financial support stops in March and April The results paint a bleak picture of a business landscape which has been severely squeezed by repeated lockdowns and massive changes in trading conditions. The survey results also

34 Thinking Business

suggest that without the huge amount of government support given to companies to date, that business failures and job losses could have been much worse. Crucially, more support is needed until firms can fully reopen, with just over a quarter (28%) of businesses indicating they have enough cash to last more than a year. When asked what their business might do if the government support schemes end according to published timetables in March and April, 25% of firms said they would “make staff redundant”, 25% would “reduce staff hours” and 19% would “cancel or reduce investment or recruitment plans”. The BCC has called on the UK government to set out a clear roadmap for reopening, advancing vaccination and workplace testing

plans and extending key financial support measures for businesses throughout 2021. BCC director general Dr Adam Marshall said: “The last year has taken a heavy toll on businesses across the UK. With cashflow still the top concern, it is vital that the UK government keeps financial support going until firms can reopen and rebuild. Pulling the plug now would be a huge mistake, and would be akin to writing off the billions already spent helping firms to survive. “Firms are desperate to start trading again so they can boost revenue and start thinking about the future. To do so, they need to see a clear, evidence-based plan for reopening and time to get back on their feet without unnecessary additional taxes. They also need the security of knowing that government will once again support them should we see additional restrictions imposed at any point. “In the meantime, support must remain in place for firms that need it until a full reopening of the economy is possible. With cashflow a major challenge for many businesses, we can expect to see further redundancies or business failures should government support end prematurely. “Alongside a clear roadmap for reopening, business confidence will also come from a commitment to further accelerate the vaccination programme and a wider workplace testing strategy that’s accessible to businesses of all sizes.” Chamber Charity of the Year


Members News

Kent child bereavement services

boosted by charity partnership Two Kent charities have teamed up to establish a £20,000 project with the aim of supporting bereaved children.

Sittingbourne-based Demelza Hospice Care for Children has brought Rochester-based Holding On Letting Go (HOLG) on board to work with families across Kent and provide training for Demelza staff in Kent, south east London and east Sussex. The 12-month partnership will offer: • Bereavement training for Demelza’s staff and volunteers • One-to-one bereavement care for Demelza’s families at their Sittingbourne and Eltham hospices

Do you have a social media strategy?

Abigail Stephenson, Novella Media. Social media can seem like a minefield when it comes to using it for business, but it is genuinely a fantastic digital marketing tool to amplify your efforts and to connect with your audience in a whole new way. For it to be effective and to

• Bereaved child and parent support programme • Development of online and face-to-face parent/carer support groups

• Resource packs full of useful bereavement information • Resource pack to create memory boxes and items for them – a huge part of bereavement care The collaboration will be led at HOLG by Debbie McSwiney, who until three years ago worked at Demelza and had been a trustee of HOLG for many years alongside her role. She said: “I’m really looking forward to helping Demelza to support their bereaved families because I have help achieve your goals, you need a plan. Or to be more precise, you need a social media strategy. This is where Novella Media can help. With so many social media platforms out there, and with it so many content possibilities and sales opportunities, it can seem that a marketing strategy seems like a huge job. But here is a secret – when used properly, social media can be a very cost-effective way to help you and your team achieve your business goals. Social media lets you talk directly to your customers, building relationships

Plans well advanced for future water resources The supply of top-quality drinking water to businesses across Kent and the south east is intrinsically linked to the environment around us.

With its head office in Kent and as one of the region’s key landowners, South East Water works tirelessly to protect its most precious resource to make sure there is enough for everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A large part of that work is preparing for the future, whether that’s the county’s future growth and development, or for periods when the amount of water available for treating and pumping to taps is not so plentiful – drought.

Plans are already underway to create the company’s next Water Resources Management Plan which is due for publication in 2023 and looks ahead to the year 2100. It outlines what it plans to do to maintain supply in the face of increased population and a changing climate. A key element of the document it will be consulting on soon is its Drought Plan. Lee Dance, Head of Water Resources at South East Water, said: “The Drought Plan is our tactical operational plan for dry weather and drought. It details the range of management, operational and communications actions we will consider as the severity of the drought increases and then recedes.

Chamber Charity of the Year

seen what a difference the right help makes. It’s an amazing opportunity for us to pool our skills and resources to help build resilience within those families that require our specialist help and support.” Jo Burton, Demelza’s therapeutic and bereavement lead, said: “This collaboration with HOLG could not have come at a better time. HOLG’s vast and specialist knowledge will help to implement the new Demelza bereavement model to support our current bereavement offering to families and to increase the skills and knowledge of our volunteer bereavement team.” For more information visit https://holdingonlettinggo.org.uk that result in people becoming brand advocates, and generate direct sales from social platforms. Social media is a blessing... but it is also a content pit hosting billions of images and videos, meaning that your content and your brand can easily get lost. A strategy will help to define your purpose, clarify your goals, narrow your audience down and even to put a plan in place that works for you. To find out about our social media strategy sessions visit www.novellamedia.co.uk “There are a number of new initiatives within this Drought Plan we have introduced following recent experience of heatwaves and feedback from our customers. A significant focus has been put on how we engage with our stakeholders to motivate them to champion water saving initiatives.” The plan is due to be submitted to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) following which it will be published for an eight-week consultation period on South East Water’s website. Further information on the company’s water resources management plan can be found at: southeastwater.co.uk/ yourwateryoursay The company also has lots of information and advice and top tips for businesses on its website: wholesale.southeastwater.co.uk

University honours pioneering female engineer Canterbury Christ Church University’s new multi-millionpound facility for science, technology, health, engineering and medicine – one of the largest STEM facilities in the county – will be named the Verena Holmes Building in honour of one of the country’s most pioneering female engineers.

Born in 1889 in Ashford, Verena became a trailblazer for women in the industry as arguably the first female in the UK to have a full-time career as a professional mechanical engineer. An advocate for women in engineering and dedicated to the development of female engineers, she represented a breakthrough for equal rights in the early twentieth century. In 1919 she was a founding member of the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), became the first female member elected to the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) in 1924 and in her own engineering firm, established in 1946, she employed only women. As a creative and talented mechanical engineer, Verena’s technical specialities included marine and locomotive engines, diesel and internal combustion engines. She was also a prolific inventor with strong medical links and took out a dozen patents for medical and safety devices and internal combustion engine improvements. Her inventions include a poppet valve for steam locomotives, a rotary valve for internal combustion engines and a pneumothorax apparatus for treating patients with tuberculosis. Her engineering firm also created the first practical safety guillotine for paper, making it suitable for introduction into schools. Professor Rama Thirunamachandran, vice-chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University, said: “We are delighted to announce that our new £65 million STEM building will be named in honour of one of the country’s, and Kent’s, most pioneering female engineers, Verena Holmes. “Verena led the way for women, creating a successful career not only for herself as a mechanical engineer, but also encouraging, advocating and training other female engineers at a time when the world of industry was dominated by men.” Thinking Business

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Members News

Making marketing easy for business owners By Matt Jennison, founder and CEO of One Zebra The time and money you invest in marketing should generate leads that result in sales. It should generate a return on your investment. The problem is, marketing for small and medium-sized businesses is often inconsistent or over-complicated, which leaves you as the business owner sceptical, confused, frustrated or all of the above! Of the last two companies I worked for, one was acquired by a major global brand, the other is still going strong after we quadrupled the revenue over a five-year period. This success was primarily driven by two things: establishing a clear strategy to generate marketing qualified leads and embedding a defined process to convert these leads into sales. We had great products, so when the marketing and sales engines were firing, everything else was easier. But we made mistakes along the way and, frustratingly, wasted money on marketing consultants who just didn’t help us generate the ROI we expected. Fast forward to 2021, and I’ve built a business that fills this gap. At One Zebra, our growth marketing guides work in partnership with our clients, providing chief marketing officer expertise at a fraction of the cost of hiring full time. Not only do we provide strategic guidance, we also offer practical implementation support, operating as an outsourced marketing function that you can ramp up and down as needed. We help you clarify your messaging, build websites, write content and we can manage your social media and content strategy. Check out our free marketing resources here: www.bit.ly/OneZebraYouTube

36 Thinking Business

Hundreds of new jobs secured for Ashford Hundreds of new jobs are heading for Ashford after the local council backed proposals for a multi-million-pound investment in a logistics and distribution centre.

GSE Group’s detailed planning application for a £34m distribution centre immediately off the A2070 at Waterbrook Park has been approved by Ashford Borough Council’s planning committee. Darrell Healey, chairman of GSE Group, said: “This is an important decision for Ashford as it will create much-needed jobs at a time of economic uncertainty which has seen local unemployment rise significantly during the current COVID-19 pandemic. “Waterbrook Park, close to junctions 10 and 10a and earmarked as a major site for jobs in Ashford, offers the perfect location for distribution

businesses. Work can now get started on the building and ensure Ashford is best placed for when the economy starts to pick up.”

The 7.5-hectare site already had outline planning permission as well as excellent transport links, with the occupier now able to bring forward its plans to create hundreds of jobs in a variety of warehousing, distribution, logistics, office and maintenance roles.

incorporated into the exterior design of the building, and significantly more space has been provided for landscaping along Waterbrook Avenue and the northern elevation adjacent to the A2070. GSE Group is a family-run business based at Willesborough. It employs 400 people and over the last 30 years has developed a track record of delivering major civil engineering projects and high-quality developments across Kent.

Having listened to the views of local residents and councillors, GSE Group made a number of design changes to enhance the landscaping and visual impact of the building. By turning the proposed building by 180 degrees, this means that HGV traffic will enter the site via Clover Road, not Arrowhead Lane as originally proposed. Additional windows with a solar shading system have been

Celebrities support charity’s online appeal High on Kent’s famous White Cliffs stands an enigmatic tribute to ‘the Few’, the men of the Royal Air Force who fought off the Luftwaffe in 1940 to keep this country safe from invasion and change the course of World War Two. The statue of a seated airman, looking contemplatively out over the Channel to France, is the National Memorial to ‘the Few’, which sits at the heart of the Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-leFerne, just outside Folkestone.

The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, which is responsible for the memorial and also operates The Wing, a hands-on visitor experience at the clifftop site, had planned various events last year to mark the 80th anniversary of the historic air battle, all of which had to be shelved because of the coronavirus pandemic.

With events cancelled, the shop, café and car park all closed and no visitors to The Scramble Experience in The Wing – the only paid-for part

of the otherwise free to visit site – the charity was hit hard by the lockdown but took inspiration from the men whose memory it honours. It launched an online appeal for donations, supported by celebrities and authors including Sue Holderness, Pam St Clement, John Challis and John Nichol, and is currently running a series of online talks by aviation authors including Dilip Sarkar and Paul Beaver. The site is always open to visitors on foot, and those who visit in the early evening can now enjoy the sight of the memorial lit up, thanks to a generous donation from businessman and trust supporter Alastair Kerr. For more information about the site, The Wing, the online shop and the current webinar series, see www.battleofbritainmemorial.org


Tech can revolutionise the way we live At Potters Home Digital, we deliver state-of-the-art technology that can revolutionise the way we live. Providing genuine convenience from technology at the touch of a button, as well as efficiently reducing energy consumption, offering intelligent lighting control, reliable networking and home entertainment possibilities where only your imagination is the limit.

Established in 1913, Potters Home Digital in Tenterden has been providing audio and visual products from the very beginning, priding ourselves on customer service, expert advice and delivering extraordinary experiences without compromise. Having worked on a variety of projects from luxury yachts to sports clubs, we possess real experience and insight that allows us to deliver a solution perfectly tailored to your needs.

Our solutions are a combination of creativity, people, technology and knowledge. We will take the time to understand your vision and work with you to create a brief to meet your needs. Once you’re happy, we’ll deliver a stylish, future-proof, smart solution to enhance your living space.

We manage everything on your behalf and every element is taken care of by us, from design inspiration to home installation. But we’ll not overwhelm you with the technical details; our goal is simply to make your home as smart as you are. Of course, we can talk you through all of our network options, technology platforms and brand choices – after all, we only work with the best. But if all you want is luxurious simplicity that keeps up with the modern world, we are your partner of choice. For more information visit www.home-digital.com

Triple E expands into new sectors A north Kent-based engineering firm has expanded into new markets with its innovative approach to solving problems.

fully compliant industrial access solution to enable various trades to access and manoeuvre around the work pieces during production.

Established in 1984, Triple E is one of the most trusted names in the entertainment industry for its innovative, reliable and durable stage engineering products, centred around its award-winning stage tracking.

With the COVID-19 crisis badly affecting Triple E’s primary industry by shutting theatres and concert venues and delaying TV and film productions for months, efforts to diversify the business paid off with a project and regular orders from a new client in the defence sector, keeping the company and staff in work through most of the pandemic.

Traditionally working across several sectors such as entertainment, education and construction, Triple E has recently branched out into the specialist military manufacturing sector. Tasked with providing a turnkey solution to a new production line that manufactures specialist, large-scale naval components, Triple E was able to provide a

project and show them how the ingenuity, creative thinking and diligence in the entertainment industry can achieve great things both on and off stage.

“Every department in the company was involved with this challenging project and directly contributed to our success. Working towards our ISO 9001 accreditation has pulled the team together and the results are clear.” https://triplee.ltd/contact/

Deputy director Lucy Edelstein said: “At Triple E, our team of designers and engineers are regularly tasked with making the impossible happen on stage. We were delighted to work with one of the world’s largest defence contractors on this most recent

Chamber Charity of the Year

opportunity to secure three-years funding for their running costs. In 2020 we surveyed charitable groups in Kent and Medway and the results demonstrated that core funding was the area where these groups really needed help. Setting up a new 20th Anniversary Fund with funding from

Why video could be your best sales tool Word of mouth recommendation has always been seen as the best form of marketing – but have you ever thought about video testimonials? New member David Proud from Proud Business Productions specialises in video testimonials and encourages all businesses, big or small, to use them to their marketing advantage. Word of mouth advertising has and always will be the best form of advertising or marketing – having someone else tell everyone how much your product or service is worth is so powerful. That power increases when it’s face to face. Nielson research found that 92% of people will trust a recommendation of someone they know, and 70% will trust one from someone they don’t know. Video gives you so much more than other review and testimonial methods: • Control: the review should include your key messages. • Trust: hearing from real people using their own words and talking from the heart. • More is more: written reviews can sometimes be as brief as “great company” or “I’d use them again”. A video review allows them to tell us why you’re a great company and why they’d come back to you.

Over the last 20 years Kent Community Foundation has distributed over £40 million to good causes. To celebrate this major milestone, the Foundation has created the 20th Anniversary Fund to distribute over £350,000 to organisations across Kent and Medway Josephine McCartney, Chief Executive, Kent Community Foundation, said, “This year Kent Community Foundation is celebrating its 20th anniversary as a grantmaker. As part of our celebrations, we are delighted to be able to give thirteen local organisations the

Members News

the John Swire 1989 Charitable Trust, seemed a really fitting way to celebrate our anniversary and we thank them for their support"

• Crafted story: video allows us to take the viewer through a carefully crafted story rather than a ramble through words as is often the case with written reviews. Once David has filmed and released your video, you’ll need to know if it’s working, and that’s also what he includes for his clients through promotion, tracking and making sure you get a return on your investment. For more information visit www.proudbusinessproductions.com

Thinking Business

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Members News

Council Kent sees wave of invests more COVID entrepreneurs than £9m in leisure facilities Kent has seen a wave of COVID entrepreneurs with 32% more businesses registered in 2020 than in 2019, a new study has found.

A major refurbishment of the Stour Leisure Centre, which will significantly improve the leisure offer for the local community, is on target to open this summer.

It is just one of several community and leisure facilities across the borough that are being improved. At a time when investment in leisure provision has been severely affected elsewhere by the pandemic, Ashford Borough Council is investing more than £9 million in total. The council in partnership with Freedom Leisure, which took over the running of the centre last September, are investing £6.5m in the Stour Centre, transforming the facilities and providing new spaces to boost participation and improve the health and wellbeing of the borough’s residents. In addition, a new fitness suite at the Julie Rose Stadium is planned while both reception areas and the catering offer will be improved with the introduction of Costa Coffee. Cllr Matthew Forest, portfolio holder for culture, tourism and leisure at Ashford Borough Council, said: “The Stour Centre improvements are progressing well and will open in the summer. We look forward to our residents being able to use them later this year. “The council and Freedom Leisure are investing heavily in improving the facilities on offer, including an extended gym with new equipment, a new soft play and clip and climb, a dedicated café area, upgraded reception, new leisure pool features targeted at younger children and major redecoration throughout including the dry and wet changing areas. “As the borough continues to grow, we feel passionately that our leisure offer must evolve to meet demand and expectation and ensure Ashford remains active. This is even more important given the effects of the pandemic, which is why we are investing more than £9m toward improving them.”

38 Thinking Business

The research from accountants, business and financial advisory firm Kreston Reeves is based on analysis of corporate databases that draw on information provided by Companies House in 2019 and 2020. In Kent, 24,951 new businesses were incorporated at Companies House, an increase of 32% on 2019 when just 18,826 new businesses were registered. Across the UK, 772,002 new businesses were incorporated at

businesses where the individual has taken time in 2020 to think about the direction they want to head. Some will remain small, operating from home, but others will grow and help build our post-COVID economy.

Companies House in 2020, an increase of 14%.

Mark Attwood, a partner and member of the growth advisory team at Kreston Reeves, said: “Times of crisis are often a source of inspiration for entrepreneurs as they look to capture an opportunity, and that is true of 2020. The south east has seen a wave of COVID entrepreneurs, far outstripping business start-ups across the rest of the UK. “It should, of course, be noted that many of these new incorporations will be subsidiaries of existing businesses looking to expand their offerings, but we believe that the majority of them will be new

Contract cleaning firm builds strong connections in Kent Here at ServiceMaster Mid Kent, we are looking to collaborate with local, talented and ambitious businesses.

Our local office in Kent is part of the ServiceMaster brand, one of the world’s largest cleaning companies. We are a personable, reliable, familyrun business with extensive expertise in contract cleaning, disaster restoration and reactive cleaning. Our office is situated in Orpington,

“Government support has focused to date on supporting existing businesses that have been impacted by the global pandemic, and that is as it should be. But government should also look at measures to support this new wave of entrepreneurialism to help them grow and become the engines of tomorrow’s economy.” There is a wealth of freely available advice and guidance on successfully growing a business. In addition to www.krestonreeves.com businesses may also wish to explore; www.locateinkent.com www.coast2capital.org.uk www.gov.uk/business-support-helpline business, we are keen to spread the “local spirit” and grow our cleaning company throughout the whole of Kent.

headed up and founded by our managing director, with his son and daughter working alongside him.

Our shared knowledge, management experience and skills allow us to work within different roles in our company as well as collaborating together as a family. Through our ten years’ experience in the cleaning industry, our knowledge, professionalism and execution can be recognised through our efficient and confident delivery of service. As a well-established family

We want to work with local businesses and communities to deliver a dependable, friendly, efficient service on which you can always rely. Not only are we excited to share our expertise, knowledge and experience, we are eager to recruit individuals locally who want to broaden their skillset and be part of our company. To find out more visit: www.servicemasterofficecleaning. co.uk/mid-kent

Grow Your Business Using Video Limewood Productions is located in Penshurst, close to Tonbridge, Kent, and works with SMEs and large enterprises. We offer a range of video production materials: case studies, promotions, “explainers”, events and interviews. In addition, we provide aerial filming, photography, motion graphics and live broadcast. We have a core team

who work locally within Kent, but also nationally and internationally. We have wide ranging experience and provide a ‘safe pair of hands' when it comes to your digital needs. Video production requires planning, and this is one of our strengths. We believe that effective video is crucial in helping to generate

conversions; case study videos help to facilitate this. We can provide the whole process. There are so many opportunities with video, and we have extensive experience as to how it may be opti¬mised throughout your multichannel marketing. For further information visit www.limewoodproductions.co.uk

Chamber Charity of the Year


asktheexpert

What are the business benefits of sending staff on Microsoft training courses? systems, capture information, and communicate with colleagues and customers. It’s assumed by employers that people will have these core skills when they join the company; those who don’t are at an immediate disadvantage. Lots of employees are not aware of many of the various functions of Microsoft programmes that they use every day. They might be adept at creating a spreadsheet that captures reams of customer data, for example, but they may not be able to highlight the important information by filtering out all of the data that they don’t need.

Aside from basic literacy and numeracy, one of the key skills that employers look for in a jobseeker or staff member is an ability to master Microsoft products. Programmes such as Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint and Outlook are used by millions of people daily to create presentations and databases, navigate new e-mail

Many companies are moving to the cloud, using packages such as Microsoft Office 365 to ensure they’re operating with the most up-todate versions of the software. As such, a good understanding of the software is essential. Pitman Training’s Microsoft Office courses provide fundamental computer skills for those who work in an office environment. Even industries that traditionally haven’t relied on IT – construction and manufacturing, for example – are now utilising it to make their business more efficient. At Pitman Training we don’t just focus on Microsoft products; we provide courses in a wide range of subject areas including software and web development, accounting, bookkeeping, marketing and IT. We also offer training in shorthand, speedwriting and touch-typing, which many people find very difficult to master!

I’m living proof that all of these skills matter; having them can change your life. After leaving the army, where I trained as an analyst and Arabic linguist, I studied spreadsheets, touch-typing and other core skills as part of my resettlement training. This has led to a long career at Pitman Training Dover, which celebrates its twentieth anniversary this May. I’ve worked with many businesses that have seen first-hand the value of staff training. It has helped them to identify skills gaps, increase productivity and grow their business. I’m keen to practise what I preach and I undertake training each year to ensure I can impart the latest knowledge to my students. Paula Elliott operates the Pitman training centre in Dover under a franchise agreement with Pitman Training Group. She sells courses and diplomas to current, new and returning students on a daily basis and supports colleagues with their own personal development. An experienced managing director with a strong track record in the e-learning industry, she is skilled in a variety of disciplines including coaching, public speaking, training delivery, general management and performance management. She is a Microsoft Office Master Instructor and holds the Advanced Certificate in Education from Christ Church University College. In addition, she has an NVQ Level 4 in Management, and is a qualified assessor and numeracy subject specialist. For more information visit https://www.pitman-training.com/ourcentres/south-east-england/dover/

Thinking Business

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Members News

CooperBurnett advises Pinden on refinancing and expansion package Tunbridge Wells law firm CooperBurnett recently advised its client, Dartford-based Pinden, during the completion of a refinance and expansion package worth £5.7 million. Brokered by Integritas Financial Solutions, the deal has allowed Pinden to move from its existing bank and positioned it to make further strategic acquisitions. Victoria Sampson, partner and head of corporate and commercial services, worked on the deal alongside commercial property partner Jonathan Rowe. She said: “It was a complex group refinancing transaction which involved both our corporate and commercial property teams and we worked closely as a team alongside Pinden, Integritas and the new bank’s legal team. The transaction threw up a number of hurdles which we navigated our client through.” Says Peter Osmond, head of finance at Pinden, said: “We have relied on the team at CooperBurnett for nearly two decades and, as ever, they got the job done for us in the most effective and stress-free way, breaking down the issues and advising in a clear, concise and commercial fashion.” Pinden approached Integritas Financial Solutions, which specialises in brokering acquisition and MBO funding for SME businesses, when the company felt it was being hampered by restrictions imposed on it by its existing lender. Martin White and Paul Saunders, directors at Integritas, were tasked with finding a more supportive bank that could support the Pinden team as it takes the business to the next stage of its development.

40 Thinking Business

Hit TV series shines spotlight on inheritance planning ITV’s hit mini-series, Finding Alice, has raised important questions for viewers on the topic of inheritance tax.

The series saw Alice (played by Keeley Hawes) struggling to juggle all the complications that followed the death of Harry, her long-term partner and father to her daughter Charlotte. Abigail Bartlett, who is training to be a solicitor at law firm Furley Page, said: “Finding Alice is certainly a great example of how things can go wrong without careful inheritance planning. The series emphasised the importance of succession planning and asset protection, whilst serving as a useful reminder of the steps that can be taken to protect the surviving partner for unmarried couples. “There can be major tax benefits to being married. If Harry and

afforded her the right to remain living in the property during her lifetime, whilst preserving the property (or its value) for the children.”

Alice were married, and made wills leaving their estates to the surviving spouse, the spouse exemption would have ensured Alice faced no inheritance tax bill. Even if Harry didn’t make a will, Alice would have had some legal inheritance entitlement under the intestacy rules.

A carefully drafted will for Harry could have:

“A crucial estate planning tool is the creation of a will, especially for unmarried couples. Without a will and being unmarried, Alice has no protection in regards to Harry’s estate. Had Harry made a will he could have protected Charlotte, and any other children, whilst also making provisions for Alice during her lifetime. “Alice could also have been protected through the creation of a Life Interest Trust. Naming Alice as the “Life Tenant” would have

April. Clare will continue as a real estate partner at the firm.

Mike joined Cripps as a trainee solicitor in 1994, becoming a partner in 2002 and head of real estate in 2015. He specialises in property dispute resolution, dealing with a wide range of property disputes, landlord and tenant issues and property insolvency.

Mike said: “It is an absolute honour and a privilege to be elected as senior partner. During my time with the firm, we have changed and grown significantly, especially over the last decade, having gone through two mergers, moving to our new Tunbridge Wells head office and expanding our presence in London. It is this ambition for growth and continuous improvement that will drive our future and ongoing success.

Mike takes on the role of senior partner from Clare Hyland, whose term of office expires at the end of

“In the last 12 months in particular, I have been immensely proud of how our people have adapted, innovated

Budget thoughts from Regional Accountancy Firm Azets

Matthew Hall “The furlough extension reflects the need to extend support to employing businesses and follows the “success”

• protected Alice’s occupation of the home, whilst still providing for any children • provided for Charlotte to receive her inheritance at a later date • reduced the inheritance bill down to zero (if combined with a marriage) • generally created more certainty for his family

New senior partner at Cripps Pemberton Greenish Cripps Pemberton Greenish has elected head of real estate, Mike Scott, as its new senior partner with effect from May 1.

• avoided the creation of tension between Alice and Harry’s parents

of the scheme to date. Unemployment is now expected to peak at 6.5% and not the projected 11.9%. This is a reduction in people terms of 1.3 million workers. This justifies the extension aimed at keeping people in work. The extension protects the employee whilst requiring gradually increasing contributions from the employer in July, August and September through to closure on September 30. Once businesses are required to contribute however, will this increase unemployment as the cost to employers grows? The number of employees kept on the books will depend on how quickly the economy picks up post lockdown.” “The extension of the 5% VAT relief for hospitality businesses and an interim rate of 12.5% is only of any value if the hospitality sector can reopen. The economy needs to reopen first, and hospitality

and gone the extra mile for our clients. The pandemic has tested our resilience and, having weathered the storm well, we are in a strong position to take the business forward into a future in which the pace of change is accelerating. “The use of technology is allpervasive, how we communicate is changing and businesses are recognising their role in addressing the social, environmental and economic challenges facing our society. It is an incredibly exciting time to be stepping into this role and I am looking forward to helping to shape the future direction of our firm.” Managing partner Gavin Tyler commented: “Mike is an excellent candidate to take over the role of senior partner. Having been an influential force for good over many years, he embodies the spirit of Cripps.” businesses allowed to trade so the sector can benefit – and we seem to be a long way from that point. Clarity is also needed on rules relating to advance bookings.” "From 1 April the National Living Wage will increase by 2.2% to £8.91, and will apply to workers aged 23 and over for the first time, down from aged 25 and over. The increase in the NLW is positive news for workers but will add to employer costs and could also impact, inadvertently, on jobs. Those sectors most impacted by COVID will be at particular risk. With more people coming into scope for NLW purposes and increased compliance activities by HMRC, there will be an increased risk to companies. Employers should review these changes to ensure they do comply.” www.azets.co.uk

Chamber Charity of the Year


New year, new office, and new employee Led by Kirstin Miller, Core Green has had a fantastic start to 2021. Not only have they moved into a new office at Dragon Coworking in Rochester, they have also taken on their first team member, Shakila Smith-Thompson. Shakila, who joined in February, is a valuable addition to the team. She has been developing her understanding of small

businesses together with Core Green’s valuable input to support their continuing success. In 2017, Kirstin identified the need for the provision of independent business support, which could be provided on an ad-hoc, project or scheduled basis. This gave her the foundation to develop a sound

HR contracts why you need them By Babette Powell, BPHR Consulting

problems – some of the them costly, others reputational if you find yourself at a tribunal. Babette Powell founded BPHR Consultancy to work with businesses across Kent as an outsourced HR, helping them to ensure they have policies and procedures in place in case of misunderstandings or disputes.

The first rule of employment is to ensure contracts are in place – and there’s never a reason not to. Even if you’re working in the family business, for a friend or someone else you know – a contract is essential. Without one, both the employee and employer can leave themselves wide open to

Why do you need a contract? Contracts are a legallybinding, compliant, up-to-date document and a “day one right” – you’re breaking the law if someone starts working for you and hasn’t got one. Salary, notice periods, disciplinary/grievance procedures and redundancy information is clearly stated to give transparency and fairness to both sides.

Chamber Charity of the Year

Members News

business model to benefit Kent based organisations. Clients outsource their time-consuming projects, administration and office responsibilities to Core Green enabling them to spend more time focusing on doing what they do best which generates more business in turn and increases profitability. Core Green tailors each of the business management services for their individual clients, recognising no two are the same and one size does not fit all. Their aim is to help small businesses succeed by nurturing long term relationships with clients whilst strengthening their systems of work and processes, which will enhance their reputation allowing them to develop by “doing what they do best and outsourcing the rest”. If your business is overwhelmed and you want to use your time more productively why not see what we can do to support you and your business. Visit www.coregreen.co.uk. Working time and place – if you don’t have a contract, an employee could work when they want and where they want. The employer could also take advantage, moving the employee’s times and place of work around. Babette said: “I’ve seen it many times: what can go wrong when contracts aren’t in place. Along with any financial or reputational issues, there is also the health and wellbeing side to consider – it can be very stressful and worrying for employers and employees when there is a dispute or allegation of breach of contract where there is no employment contract in place. Things can be that much easier to navigate and resolve when there is one.” Babette works with many businesses, large and small, to help them to write, review or refresh contracts, plus give advice on many other areas of HR too. For more information visit bphrconsultancy.co.uk

ON Architecture’s promotions show it has designs on growth

To support its ongoing growth, ON Architecture has made three significant promotions, including the appointment of Robert Towse as a director. The 44-strong team at ON Architecture, split between the firm’s studios in Canterbury, Kent, and Clerkenwell in London, has seen an increased level of activity, with strong demand for both its design and technical architecture services. In addition to Robert’s directorship, the firm has promoted Stephen Johnson from Associate to Partner, and Richard Philpott from Senior Architectural Technologist to Associate. Making the announcement, ON Architecture Director Luke Harrison said: “To recruit and retain high quality staff it is vital that everyone knows there is the real opportunity to progress within the firm. Each of these promotions typifies our commitment to creating a strong and dedicated team to serve our growing portfolio of clients. “All three are integral members of the team and these promotions recognise their ongoing contribution to ON’s success. Despite the economic impact of the pandemic we continue to grow, win more work and are confident for the future.” Robert joined award-winning ON Architecture as Practice Partner in 2018 following its merger with BDB, another firm of Kent architects. He joins ON Architecture founders Luke Harrison and David Weir as a director of the practice. The 38-year-old has more than 20 years of architectural experience, and successfully delivered award-winning major urban design and master planning projects for national house builders, as well as smaller scale residential developments. Stephen Johnson joined ON Architecture in 2019 with 15 years’ of experience, the latter half at London practices. Stephen has a focus on systemisation and workflow towards maintaining and improving the practice’s output. Having joined ON Architecture after its merger with BDB merger, Richard Philpott has 15 years’ experience based in Kent, predominantly working on mixed use, residential and retirement projects. He recently qualified Chartered Architectural Technologist with a demonstrated history of working in the architecture and planning industry. Commenting on his directorship, Robert said: “We are an ambitious team with a growing portfolio of clients who buy into our approach to design and architecture. Working closely with our clients, we take huge pride in delivering buildings that can transform a space, create a place and which excel in how they perform.” For further information about the practice and its projects visit: www.ONArchitecture.co.uk Thinking Business

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Events Events

Kent Invicta LIVE Kent Invicta LIVE Events

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u an eclectic mix of information sessions, workshops, me of the top local business professionals from an array Thursday 10:30 am* ed to Every mirror ourTuesday face-to-faceand events, offering invaluable TOwe CHANGE s and*SUBJECT needs. So far, have helped offer over 2,000 amme,Every offering support and through hardship. sessions, workshops, panel sessions and training week we bring youguidance an eclectic mix of information sessions with someand of the top local business professionals from an array industries. Each eventworksho Every Tuesday Thursday we bring you an eclectic mixofofdifferent information sessions, is designed to mirror face-to-face events,with offering invaluable information tailored to professionals our attendee’s wants panel sessions andourtraining sessions some of the top local business from an ar and needs. So far, we have helped offer over 8,000 attendees throughout our online event programme, of different industries. Each event is designed to mirror our face-to-face events, offering invalua offering support and guidance hardship. 9th Feb Virtual Business Networking information tailored to ourthrough attendee’s wants and needs. So far, we have helped offer over 2,0

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UPCOMING attendees throughout our online event programme, offering support EVENTS: and guidance through hards th 10 Feb

Get Ahead! – New Year, New Me

11th Feb

The Technology Challenges Your Business Will Face In 2021

18th Feb

Business Talks with Kaz Macklin

22nd Feb

Virtual Business Networking

25th Feb

Reflect, Reset And Return To Growth – Positive Steps For 2021

2nd Mar 4th

Mar

KCFG LIVE: Bringing The Construction Industry Together Business Chawner

Get Ahead! Series

Talks

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Kelly

‘Get Ahead!’ Series Networking

th Mar Are9you an SME in Kent and Medway? Virtual Business

Join us for our brand-new series of FREE webinars where we will provide additional business through theLet’s current COVID-19 10th support Mar for your Get Ahead! Talk About pandemic, and begin to break down the barriers related to employing Race groups. graduates from under-represented

Are you an SME in Kent and Medway? Join us for our brand new series of FREE webinars willissues provide additional We will rd be exploringwhere some of thewe important that employers face in the 23 Mar Virtual Business Networking current world, challenging your perceptions and arming you with skills that support for your business through the current your business needs to thrive! th 24 Mar pandemic, Get Ahead! and Unconscious Bias COVID-19 begin to break As part of this series, you can meet the GradForce team, learn how to build adown growth mind-set and your team, explore the world unconscious thefor you barriers related to ofemploying PLUS Many More… bias and more. graduates from under-represented groups.

n 7th April

Get Ahead! Supporting Visible and Invisible Disabilities in the Workplace

n 7th April

KICC Start Medway 3 Day Business Start-Up Web Course

n 8th th April 9 Feb

Kent Invicta LIVE: Pick N’ Mix of Virtual Business Networking Social Media Marketing

n 14th April 10th Feb

INCOTERMS 2020 and their Get Ahead! – New Year, relationship with VAT since Brexit

th Feb n 15th 11April

Business with Kaz Macklin The Talks Technology

n 21st April 18thApril Feb n 22nd 22nd Feb n 22nd April 25th Feb

Get Ahead! Recruitment Excellence

UPCOMING EVENTS:

n 20th April

Virtual Networking YourBusiness Business Will

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Challenge Face In 202

Business Talks with Kent Invicta LIVE: What are the Kaz Mackl Fastest Growing Companies Doing Online Virtual Business Networking

Introduction to Export Procedures and Documentation. Includes CDS Reflect, Reset And Return Awareness

n 29th April

T Growth – with Positive Steps For 202 Business Talks Kelly Chawner

n 4th nd May 2 Mar

KCFG LIVE: Bringing the KCFG LIVE: Bringing Construction Industry Together

n 5th May

Th Construction Industry Together Get Ahead! Healthier Minds at Work

n 6th th 4 May Mar

Kent Invicta LIVE: How to Build a Business Talks With Lead Generating Sales Funnel

n 12th May n 13th 9thMay Mar

Get Ahead! Agility and Strategic Planning

n 19th May th Mar 10May n 26th

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Business with Kaz Macklin VirtualTalks Business Networking

Get Ahead! Raising Your Marketing Profile

Get Ahead! Let’s Talk Abo Get Ahead! Where are we Now? Q&A We will be exploring some of the important Race Talks with Kelly Chawner Business issues that employers face in the current n 27th May world, challenging your perceptions and PLUS 23rdMany Mar More… Virtual Business Networking tal arming you with skills that your business “The Chamber has produced some extremely good Webinars this alk 24th Mar Get Ahead! Unconscious Bias year, myself and other members of the team have found them needs to thrive! or very useful indeed. So again, thank you to all involved.’’ Emily PLUS Rushton,Many ReginaldMore… Ames As part of this series, you can meet the For all events and to book your place: www.kentinvictachamber.co.uk/events/ er GradForce team, learn how to build a growth in42 Thinking mind-set for you and your team, explore the Business ty, For all events and to bookbias yourand place: world of unconscious more. Chamber Charity of the Year


Events

Kent Invicta LIVE: Pick N’ Mix of Social Media Marketing

Join us on 8th April, 10:30am – 12:00pm for this FREE interactive event led by the team at Giant Campus, a Folkestone-based digital marketing training provider. You will be asked to submit your questions during registration and have them answered live on the day! Your questions will drive the content, and there are no ‘silly’ questions either so feel free to submit anything that comes to mind.

Business Talks with Kaz Macklin / Kelly Chawner Join us for a morning of networking and meet individuals from local businesses. Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, and receive a warm welcome from your Chamber Membership Development Manager, who will be on hand to help you meet new members of the business community.

Each session we will kick-start the meeting with Business Walks, where we will take you on a virtual tour around a local business to see and hear first-hand how things are run and experience a ‘day in the life of.’ These highly interactive sessions will include: • Business Walks! A virtual tour around our guest’s business and chat with them afterwards • Breakout rooms to allow more in-depth conversations

Kent Construction Focus Group LIVE: Bringing the Construction Industry Together

The Kent Construction Focus Group (KCFG) brings local businesses together to discuss the future of Kent Development, giving companies access to local knowledge, contracts and expertise. KCFG promotes the future role of Kent land development and construction businesses in the growth and development of Kent and its environment. The first Tuesday of every month, 7:30am – 9:00am KCFG Members: Free to attend Non-KCFG Member: £10.00 + VAT

By utilising the breakout room facility, everyone has a chance to promote their business and make invaluable connections with local businesses in Kent. Members: Free to attend Non-Members: £10.00 + VAT

“We had high expectations for the session and were not disappointed! It was very well organised and kept us all engaged. Following Business Talks we received multiple connections through LinkedIn proving it to be a valuable tool for networking with other local businesses to discuss future opportunities.” Lauren MacKay, GSE Group

Virtual Business Networking

A bi-weekly, fun way of networking, which is highly interactive, sparking interesting conversations and aims to bring like-minded people together, guide forward new ideas and form new business relationships. With 3 breakout room sessions, you can meet and network with up to 15 new business connections. Members: Free to attend Non-Members: Free to attend

BOOK NOW: www.kentinvictachamber.co.uk/events Chamber Charity of the Year

Thinking Business

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Discreet mist Case Studies sprinkler systems & Testimonials for residential and domestic use You’d hardly know we were here!

Installing Firesprinkler systems throughout the South East and now Mist Sprinkler systems designed to be discrete and to fit cosmetically into any room, the systems are quick and clean to install, and provide a high level of fire protection in locations where adequate access by Fire Services is limited or time-consuming

RAD-Mist system for residential and domestic use www.radfiresprinklers.com/rad-mist/rad-mist-sprinklers/ RAD Fire Sprinklers 01892 680090 www.radfiresprinklers.com


Person behind the business

Paul pioneers RAD’s success as a high-pressure mist sprinkler. It controls, suppresses and, in most cases, extinguishes a fire in a domestic property by spraying small, fine amounts of water (mist) from the mist nozzle throughout the area, covering all surfaces. Mist sprinkler systems are widely recognised to be highly effective in suppressing fires; by some professional standards, the water mist produced is even considered to be the most efficient droplet size for controlling and fighting fires.

Paul Hummerston has spent more than 16 years helping clients to achieve fire regulation compliance by using residential fire sprinklers. In 2005 he took the plunge and launched RAD Fire Sprinkler Co, which specialises in the design, installation and testing of domestic and residential fire sprinkler systems. The company has worked directly with a host of high-profile developers including United Living, Berkeley Homes, Guinness Trust, Bellway Homes, Skillcrown, Purelake and indirectly with Galliard Homes, Wates, Redrow Homes, McKlaren, St William, London Square and St Georges, as well as many other small to medium-sized construction firms and developers.

RAD Fire Sprinkler Co and its experienced team of engineers operate throughout Kent and the wider south east England region, offering advice on a range of issues.

Paul is rightly proud of the company he has built up from the ground. He says: “My company has specialised exclusively in the design, installation and servicing of residential fire sprinkler systems longer than virtually any other company in its field. We work alongside homeowners, architects, developers, mechanical consultants and providers, plumbing firms, care providers and landlords and liaise with local authority building control departments. We also provide advice on mains water provision issues to ensure that your fire protection system will be fully functional. “My specialised knowledge of the residential fire sprinkler industry built up over 16 years of trading has enabled me to provide solutions to countless customers whose projects have failed to comply to rigorous fire standards.” Although there have been many companies involved in this industry, no other has specialised solely in the residential market. RAD Fire Sprinkler Co certainly has all of the

credentials; it’s regulated under the FIRAS and IFC third party certification scheme and is a member of the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BAFSA), Residential Fire Sprinkler Association (RSA) and the National Fire Sprinkler Network (NFSN).

“We have a very friendly outlook and we’re incredibly customer-focused,” says Paul. “We employ knowledgeable engineers rather than sales staff and we’re pleased to offer advice on anything from degrees of coverage to water supplies and suitability of system, or just an explanation of the pitfalls.”

For more information visit https://www.radfiresprinklers.com/

Paul says: “We’re equally comfortable working on anything from socially funded projects to very high-spec residential projects in the West End of London. Effectively, we’re well placed to work on a 42-storey high-rise development in Canary Wharf or a small terraced property in the suburbs. As well as the straightforward residential projects, we’ve installed residential fire sprinkler systems in water towers, listed buildings, converted barns, care homes, hostels, tree houses and public houses.” One of RAD’s most popular products is the water mist fire sprinkler system, also known Thinking Business

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Gatwick to implement vehicle charges at North Terminal forecourt

Gatwick Airport has confirmed, following an initial announcement of plans for the scheme in October 2020, that on March 8 2021 it will introduce a £5 charge for vehicles which drop off passengers directly outside its North Terminal. The charge will be extended to the South Terminal forecourt at a later date. The initiative will help to reduce traffic congestion and emissions for the surrounding area as well as being a deterrent for a car-led recovery once more regular travel resumes after the national lockdown. The charge will also create a vital new revenue stream for the airport, providing further protection for local jobs as the negative economic impacts of the pandemic continue. Anyone who does not wish to pay the charge will be able to drop off or collect passengers in the airport’s long-stay car parks with two hours’ free parking and a free shuttle bus to the terminal. Alternatively, passengers can arrive by public transport, taking advantage of the significant

Green light for 3,000 new jobs at Aylesford improvements to train and bus services to the airport in recent years. By encouraging other forms of journey to the airport, the charge will help Gatwick continue to meet its commitment to reduce ‘Kiss and Fly’ – the least sustainable type of journey to the airport as it involves two return car journeys. Jonathan Pollard, chief commercial officer at Gatwick Airport, said: “It is no secret that the airport is going through the most difficult period in its history and we have little choice but to explore new revenue streams that will us help us recover from the COVID-19 crisis and continue as an important provider of economic prosperity and jobs across the region. “This new scheme will also encourage passengers to consider more sustainable transport options, including taking advantage of our excellent public transport services.” For more information visit www.gatwickairport.com/dropoff

Campaign launched to help fight food waste

How customers think and behave towards shopping and sustainability is changing. Reverting to shopping locally for food during the height of the pandemic made people think more about where food comes from, how it is produced, and how its production impacts the environment. This has led not just to customers buying more local and sustainable products, but also to a changing attitude towards food itself. Produced in Kent, the trade organisation that supports and promotes local independent food and drink businesses in the county, is encouraging and supporting a more sustainable attitude to food by sharing helpful tips and advice on how to buy and eat smarter. There are simple changes that can be made which will have a much-needed positive impact on the local independent food and drink industry and the environment. Floortje Hoette, chief executive of Produced in Kent, knows that most people are more likely to change one thing at a time, which is why the organisation is challenging residents to “Change One Thing” – its latest campaign to help fight food waste and boost the local economy. Floortje Hoette said: “Produced in Kent wants residents of the county to look at how they can

46 Thinking Business

change the way they shop and the way they handle and consume food. Make a change, practise it ten times and that change becomes a habit; you don’t even think about it anymore. “It is through thousands of small changes that a bigger environmental impact will be seen. If everyone commits to Change One Thing, this will hugely benefit the county, its beautiful countryside and its residents.” For more information visit https://www.producedinkent.co.uk/

Three thousand jobs are on their way to Kent after planning permission was granted for a £180m investment in a warehousing and distribution facility by Panattoni, Europe's largest logistics developer Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council has approved plans for the redevelopment of the former Aylesford Newsprint site next to the River Medway, which has stood vacant since 2015. Detailed planning permission has been granted for the first two units and proposed new link road, with outline permission given for up to 177,000m2 of high-quality sustainable industrial development, with access, parking, landscaping and site remediation. Work is expected to get under way this spring on delivering the new road plus the first two units, with the final design of the remaining space to be determined by the needs of the tenants. Anthony Watkins, development director at Panattoni, said: “Aylesford will be our flagship development in the UK and we are committed to being a good neighbour to the local community and environment, and strengthening the local economy. “Since announcing our proposals at Panattoni Park Aylesford we have received very strong levels of interest at this stage in the project from potential tenants to take space here in Kent.” Panattoni’s first priority will be constructing a £7m public link road to connect Station Road and Bellingham Way, at the same time as building the first two commercial buildings on the site. This new road will restrict HGVs from entering Aylesford village from the site and reduce congestion between junctions 4 and 5 of the M20. Prior to the planning committee, Panattoni’s proposals received widespread support from the local community, businesses and local authorities. Nicolas Heslop, leader of Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, said: “This is a massive vote of confidence in our area and we can now look forward to breaking ground on this exciting development. “In the coming months we will be working with Panattoni to ensure this development delivers the maximum benefit to our borough and residents in terms of jobs, investment and the local transport network.”


Government Kickstart Scheme IS LIVE FOR BUSINESSES TO APPLY

If you are hiring or considering hiring, the Chamber can help you make the most of government funding to ease your wage bill.

The government’s Kickstart Scheme will subsidise sixmonth work placements for people aged 16-24 and on Universal Credit. The scheme is now open for employer applications – simply get in touch with us. The Scheme is a £2 billion fund to create hundreds of thousands of high quality 6-month work placements for young people. Through the scheme, you will be able to access a large pool of young people with potential, ready for an opportunity. Initially the scheme will prioritise young people aged between 16 and 24 who are ready for an opportunity and will be supported by their Jobcentre Plus work coach to enrol in the scheme. If you are an employer looking to create job placements for young people, you can do so in two ways: • If you are looking to create fewer than 30 placements, you can do this via the Chamber by visiting www.kickstartkent.co.uk • If you are looking to create more than 30 placements, you can apply by visiting www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-grantthrough-the-kickstart-scheme

News

How the scheme works You can use the Kickstart Scheme to create new 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. The job placements should support the participants to develop the skills and experience they need to find work after completing the scheme.

• Paid at least the National Minimum Wage for their age group

Funding is available for 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. There is also £1,500 per job placement available for setup costs, support and training.

• Support to look for long-term work, including career advice and setting goals

Businesses looking to offer fewer than 30 places, can apply through the Chamber. Funding is available following a successful application process. Simply contact the Chamber to apply. Kickstart is not an apprenticeship, but participants may move on to an apprenticeship at any time during, or after their job placement. Who can apply for funding? Any organisation, regardless of size, can apply for funding. The job placements created with Kickstart funding must be new jobs. They must not: • Replace existing or planned vacancies • Cause existing employees or contractors to lose or reduce their employment The roles you are applying for must be: • A minimum of 25 hours per week, for 6 months

• Should not require people to undertake extensive training before they begin the job placement Each application should include how you will help the participants to develop their skills and experience, including:

• Support with CV and interview preparations • Supporting the participant with basic skills, such as attendance, timekeeping and teamwork Once a job placement is created, it can be taken up by a second person once the first successful applicant has completed their 6-month term. How to apply If your organisation is creating fewer than 30 job placements, we can help you do this. With a network of partners, we can also deliver a package that will support you through the process. For further information and to submit your application through us as your chosen Gateway, follow the link: www.kickstartkent.co.uk If your organisation is creating more than 30 job placements as part of the Kickstart Scheme, you can submit your application directly on the Government Gateway: www.apply-kickstart-grant-employer.service.gov.uk If you have any questions, please email: kickstart@kentinvictachamber.co.uk

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www.ts-p.co.uk 01892 510000 Thinking Business 20/01/2021 10:46:51

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New Members

Welcome to our new members Airclean Ltd

DIY Homewares Ltd

Allteks Limited

Document Direct

Tonbridge 01622 832777 www.airclean.co.uk Air Filtration Products and IT Rochester 01622 804232 www.allteks.co.uk IT Consultancy Activities

Amron Architectural Limited Sittingbourne 01795 228583 www.amronarchitectural.co.uk Creative Mesh Solutions

BPC Advisory LLP Tenterden 07714 149899 www.bpcadvisory.co.uk Business Consultancy

BSI (British Standards Institution)

London 0345 080 9000 www.bsigroup.com/en-GB Training, Consultancy, Certification, Business Support

Craftship Enterprise t/a Made in Ashford Ashford 07584 134802 www.madeinashford.com Retail Craft Enterprise

Databox 360 Ltd

Canterbury 07738 219101 www.databox-360.com Cyber Consultancy and Security Products

DiveCo Marine Ltd

Rochester 01634 566560 www.diveco.co.uk Specialist Contractor/Engineering & Construction

48 Thinking Business

Chatham 07961 551644 www.DIYHomewares.co.uk Retail Sales in DIY, Car Care & Gardening and Other General Goods Liverpool 0151 832 7890 www.documentdirect.co.uk Secretarial Services

Dremur Ltd

Herne Bay 0330 127 3164 www.dremur.co.uk B2B Sales Consultancy

Eltham Export Ltd Sittingbourne 01322 424600 www.elthamexport.com Procurement

Europa Worldwide Ltd

Ashford 01233 504800 www.europa-worldwide.com/europa-contact-centre Logistics Call Centre

Express Van Centre Limited Sittingbourne 01795 500969 www.expressvancentre.co.uk Van Repairs, Servicing and MOT

Golden Leas Holiday Park Limited Isle of Sheppey 01795 874874 lovatparks.com Tourism

Halfway Hottubs

Sheerness-on-Sea 07958 134282 www.halfwayhottubs.co.uk Wellbeing and Spa

Howell & Hicks Creative Deal 07984 527686 www.hh-creative.com Graphic Designer

Hydraulic and Engineering Services Ltd Strood 01634 295650 www.hydraulicandengineering.co.uk Engineering Company Specialising in the Repair, Supply and Manufacture of Hydraulic Cylinders

Ingham Mitchell Cooling Ltd Whitstable 07432 091224 www.imcsolutions.com Air Conditioning

Judd Consultancy

Ashford 01233 877356 www.juddconsultancy.co.uk Construction Consultant

Kent Crisps Ltd

Canterbury 01843 621300 www.kentcrisps.com Crisps and Rapeseed Oil Producer

L Brown Associates Ltd

Chatham 01634 301082 lbrownassociates.co.uk Transportation, Planning and Building Control Submissions for Residential and Commercial Projects

Leeds Castle

Maidstone 01622 767817 www.leeds-castle.com Day Visitor Attraction, Function Venue & Accommodation, Golf Course

Liberty QS

East Malling 01732 445520 www.libertyqs.com Cost Consultants, Contract Administration & Pro Management

Chamber Charity of the Year


New Members

Enhance

Protect

Connect

Little Book of Locals Ltd

Proud Business Productions

Swift Accountancy Ltd

Nanny McPets t/a Sherlocks Endeavours Ltd

Quinn Estates Ltd

Thanet International Limited

Northfleet 01474 627026 www.littlebookoflocals.co.uk Advertising/Marketing

Ashford 07717 047255 www.nannymcpets.co.uk Pet Care/Animal Boarding

Walderslade 01634 775636 www.proudbusinessproductions.com Video Production Canterbury 01227 831212 www.quinn-estates.com Land and Building Developers

RS Piper (Piper Cams)

Folkestone 01303 245300 www.piperexhausts.co.uk Manufacturing Camshafts & Exhausts

NEC Associates Ltd

Canterbury 07581 442132 www.nec-associates.co.uk Health & Safety Consultant

Sarah Rose Virtual Assistant Services

New Wave AV

Tonbridge 01732 852500 www.newwaveav.co.uk Consumer Electronics (Smart Home & Automation)

Padstone Recruitment Ltd

Canterbury 01227 806801 www.padstonerecruitment.com Construction Recruitment, Recruitment Consultants

Pentalec Ltd

Maidstone 020 8080 2800 www.pentalec.co.uk Mechanical & Electrical Contractor

People + Place Architects Staplehurst 01580 447147 www.pplarchitects.co.uk RIBA Chartered Architects

Aylesford 07903 013634 www.srvas.co.uk Virtual Assistant

SEM Ltd

Dartford 01322 462647 www.sem.co.uk Manufacture of Electric Motors

ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services Mid-Kent

Crayford 01732 667708 www.servicemasterofficecleaning.co.uk/mid-kent Cleaning Company

Simple Advertising

Maidstone 01622 801460 www.simpleadvertising.co.uk Digital Marketing & Web Design

Stag Cricket

Profile Architects

Maidstone 07500 200346 www.stagcricket.co.uk Cricket Bat Makers, Cricket Equipment Retail, Cricket Academy & Coaching, Cricket Simulator

Folkestone 01303 767200 www.profilearchitects.com Architect

Chamber Charity of the Year

Ashford 07805 986046 www.swiftaccountancy.co.uk Accountants

Whitstable 01227 263763 www.thanet-international.com Suppliers of Packaging Components and Materials to the Cosmetics, Toiletry, Pharmaceutical and Food Industries

The Computer People Ltd New Romney 01797 363385 www.thecomputerpeopleltd.co.uk Computer and IT Support

The Decontaminator Ltd - Stop Infection Snodland 01622 370331 www.decontaminator.co.uk Disinfection Service

ThinkForward

London 020 3559 8390 www.thinkforward.org.uk Education Charity Operating in Kent

Thomas Mansfield Solicitors LLP London 020 7377 2829 www.tmfamilylaw.co.uk Expert Divorce & Family Law Solicitors

Total Accounting Kent Ltd Chatham 01634 560755 www.totalaccountingkent.co.uk Accountancy

West-O Hygiene Solutions Ltd Ramsgate 020 3907 9072 www.westohygienesolutions.com Hygiene Product Supplier

Thinking Business

49


Last Word Lucy Merrett Flair Performing Arts Founder and Principal I graduated from Loughborough Uni with a Sports Science degree and a certificate full of dreams. I have spent the past couple of decades realising them through the sheer joy of watching thousands of children pass through the doors of my performing arts school. I now have my own premises, 600 weekly students and a team of 18. Along the way I grew a little family of my own and have three young children who force me to focus on working smarter not harder! What was your first job and what was the pay packet? Age 13 I got a daily morning paper round earning £9/week. I soon added extra morning rounds and 2 evenings for another shop which bumped me up to a whopping £32/week! What do you always carry with you to work? A zip bag ‘Emergencies Kit’ comprising safety pins, needle and cotton, mini scissors, comb, travel size toiletries; toothbrush and paste, moisturiser, deodorant plus glasses wipes and a basic first aid kit!

Movers and Shakers

New hire at Ashford Borough Council Simon Cole has been appointed permanent head of planning and development at Ashford Borough Council. Simon has worked for the council for more than 30 years, most recently in the planning policy team.

What can you see from your office window? At the studios it’s an unexciting car park, but I’ve been WFH for over a year now so my view is our garden, some allotments and the River Len. If you could do another job what would it be? It has to be an interior designer. I’ve always indulged in creating mood boards for home design projects, I love how the styling of physical spaces cultivates atmosphere and inspires. As a business person, what are your three main qualities? Self-belief, perseverance and an open mind. Don’t stop to doubt yourself because others do that for you, just keep working hard and be open to your beliefs evolving as you grow and learn.

What was your biggest mistake in business? I took too many years to learn to delegate. Hiring experts in specialist key roles proved to be faster and more effective and enabled me to concentrate on the bigger picture. What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs? Splurge all of your ideas into a massive mind map, add to that when the mood takes, but work on just one idea at a time and don’t get distracted.

Who do you most admire in business? Rachael Taplin is an enormously successful businesswoman. First running an advertising & design agency, then founding her own magazine for working mums. She now runs Media Match Maker helping entrepreneurs with PR & advertising.

50 Thinking Business

In his time with the council, Simon has built up good working relationships with colleagues, partners, management and councillors.

Kreston Reeves makes senior appointment

Accountants, business and financial advisory firm Kreston Reeves has strengthened its senior management team with the appointment of Helen Bogie. Helen joined the firm as director of marketing and business development. She was previously BD and marketing executive manager at the global law firm Clifford Chance, leading its marketing and business development activity for South East Asia.

Helen brings to Kreston Reeves considerable strengths and expertise in professional services business development and marketing to clients. She will lead a team of ten. She replaces Andrew Pincott who retires after six years as director of marketing and business development. Andrew’s retirement will see him providing consultancy services on client care programmes for professional services firms and continue to support Two Wheels for Life, the official charity of MotoGP where he is director and trustee.

Charlie Goss marks five years with Charter Tax Client manager Charlie Goss recently celebrated five years with Charter Tax, where she is part of the corporate team.

She joined the firm having qualified as a chartered accountant in 2012. Charlie, who also completed her CTA qualification last year, said: “My background was

Copy Deadline: News items for the June-July issue to be submitted by 7th May.

For more information visit www.ashford.gov.uk

Andrew Griggs, senior partner at Kreston Reeves, said: “Our marketing and business development team is at the very heart of our business. It plays a critical role in every aspect of our business, driving growth, and Andrew’s strategic direction, support and counsel has been fundamental to the success of Kreston Reeves. Helen is a highly respected marketer with UK and global roles. We are excited by her joining the firm and look forward to the contributions she will make.” crosses over with our private client team and I enjoy this dual aspect.”

predominantly working with OMBs [owner managed businesses] and high net worth clients, looking after their accounting, tax compliance and tax planning opportunities. This is still one of my focuses, but my role also has an international element now, especially working with non-UK domiciled clients. I am also involved with corporate tax advice including restructuring and transactions.” “Being a chartered accountant and a chartered tax advisor, I look at both the accounting and tax angles of different situations. Although I am part of the corporate team, my work

Gilian Macinnes, who has been acting head of planning and development since April 2020, will remain with the council until the end of her contract in mid-April to ensure a smooth transition.

Helen said: “Kreston Reeves is one of the best accountancy firms for ambitious and fast-growing businesses. It has a fantastic collaborative culture and exciting growth plans. I am thrilled to return to the UK and join the Kreston Reeves team. I look forward to contributing my international client development experience to building on the great foundation and growth potential in the firm.”

Kreston Reeves is an awardwinning accountancy firm with 550 employees in offices across London and the south east. The firm acts for ambitious and fast-growing businesses, wealthy individuals and charities.

What is the biggest challenge facing your business? Besides surviving Covid it’s always been finding the right teachers to be part of our team. Industry performers bring an amazing dynamic but often land contracts which take them away for months. If you were Prime Minister, what one thing would you change to help business? Greater funding available for SMEs. I used my bounce back loan to create state of the art studios. Investment in us enables our growth and in turn adds revenue to the treasury.

He said: “It is a great honour for me and something I’m very much looking forward to doing, knowing that there is such a team of dedicated and professional people across the service.”

Part of Charlie’s role in the corporate team involves being part of the Charter Tax outsourced FD [finance department] service. She said: “It’s a wonderful feeling to be so involved with our clients and to help their businesses grow and succeed.” Charlie adds that Charter Tax – although a firm of fewer than 35 people – is an “extremely wellqualified team, with a huge amount of technical knowledge and experience under one roof”. “This, and the close-knit team, means that we are well prepared to tackle many complex issues to help our clients,” she said.

Chamber Charity of the Year


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SUPPORTing our natural NETWORK By continually working with our clients to achieve the best possible balance, we are able to monitor and enhance the relationship between our built environment and nature.

Actively encouraging gains in biodiversity and wildlife enhancement.

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Species mitigation, EPS licensing, baseline appraisals, impact assessments, habitat regulations assessments

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Habitat creation, pond creation, long term management schedules, mitigation enhancements works, scheme-wide environmental enabling

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• Residential and Commercial Conveyancing • Wills and Probate • Trusts and Powers of Attorney • New Build Specialists • Experts in Affordable Housing TO VIEW ALL OUR SERVICES

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Thinking Business Kent Invicta Chamber April 2021  

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Magazine, Includes the Latest Local and National Business news & Issues, with our local Regular Features on...

Thinking Business Kent Invicta Chamber April 2021  

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Magazine, Includes the Latest Local and National Business news & Issues, with our local Regular Features on...

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