BUSINESS • OFFICIAL MAGAZINE FOR KENT INVICTA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE • June - July 2021 •
Enhance, secure and enable your technology for the new normal
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Government Kickstart Scheme p4 The Big Interview with Wesley Baker of Canterbury AI p18 International Trade - Chamber Customs/Export Import Services - BiSEA Online Roadshow p32-33 Chamber Events p41-43 New Chamber Members p48-49
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Welcome & Contents
Technology can engineer an economic recovery
As we move into the summer months, the COVID vaccination programme continues to gather pace. Businesses, including the hard-hit hospitality, retail and leisure sectors, have reopened again and while we must remain vigilant in the face of emerging new variants of the virus, there’s a sense that the worst is behind us.
Now the emphasis is on economic renewal and recovery. The Bank of England has revised its economic growth forecast for this year to 7.25% – a significant increase from the 5% predicted a few months ago. If this latest estimate comes true, it would effectively mean that the country would return to pre-pandemic levels of economic activity by the end of this year. Kent will have a major role to play in rebuilding the UK’s battered economy. With key strengths in the life sciences, manufacturing, creative and digital sectors, allied to our entrepreneurial spirit and ability to innovate, our county is well placed to drive forward the economic recovery.
24-29 Cover Feature Technology
32-33 International Trade 34-35 Economy
18-19 The Big Interview
36-38 Members News
20-21 Members News
However, while the benefits of technology have been well documented, there are several key challenges. The rise of cybercrime, for example (documented in our cover feature this month) is a major problem and it’s vital that businesses do all they can to protect themselves
12-14 Members News
The success of this mission depends to some extent on how successfully businesses capitalise on the latest technological innovations. Technology has become increasingly important during the pandemic, with many people swapping the office for remote-working. It has enabled people to communicate and explore new ideas with colleagues and customers, to innovate and find new business opportunities wherever they are in the world.
Ask the Expert
from unscrupulous cybercriminals to keep their business, and the economic recovery, on track.
At the Chamber we’re continuing to innovate and adapt to ensure our support for local businesses is fit for purpose. Everything we do – from online discussion forums on key business issues to supporting the skills needs of companies through the government’s Kickstart scheme – is geared towards helping local firms engineer a way out of the COVID crisis.
Jo James OBE, Chief Executive, Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce
41-43 Events 46-47 Business News 48-49 New Members 50
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Government Kickstart Scheme - Give young people the core workplace skills needed to succeed. The Chamber can help you submit an application to the Kickstart Scheme with very little hassle. The Government’s Kickstart Scheme will subsidise the wages at National Minimum/Living Wage for six-months, for people aged 16-24 and on Universal Credit. The scheme is now open for employer applications – simply get in touch with us. Kickstart is a £2 billion funded scheme created by the Department for Work and Pensions to create hundreds of thousands of high quality work placements for a young person, with the aim young people will be more able to enter long-term employment once their placement ends. Through the scheme, you will be able to access a large pool of young people with potential, ready for an opportunity to learn and upskill. Young people will be supported by their Jobcentre Plus work coach to enrol in the scheme. If you are an employer looking to create a job placement/s for young people, please submit your interest via the link below, and a member of our Kickstart Team will be in touch with an introductory call to explain the scheme in greater detail, and answer any questions you may have: www.kentinvictachamber.co.uk/kickstartscheme/ Please do not hesitate to look at the Chambers FAQ pages for further details via the link below: www.kentinvictachamber.co.uk/kickstartscheme-faqs/ 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 placement/s a Business provides should support a participant
in on-the-job training to carry out the role, teach Employability Skills Training, as well as support the participant to find work after the placement has ended. Funding is available for 100% of the relevant National Minimum/Living 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 for providing Employability Skills Training* (please see more detail below). 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? An organisation who:
• Is listed on Companies House and has a Companies House Number • Has at least a years’ worth of trading figures
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 • Paid at least the National Minimum Wage for their age group • Should not require people to undertake extensive training before they begin the job placement • For the organisation on the application only, the roles cannot be outsourced to a third party *Each application should include how you will provide Employability training, so that the young person has both 6-months’ worth of on the job experience AND careers advice to better access employment going forward. Employability Skills Training includes:
• Support to look for long-term work, including career advice and setting goals • Support with CV and interview preparations
• Has PAYE set up
• Supporting the participant with basic skills, such as attendance, timekeeping and teamwork
• Has no active furlough applications
• Help with job searches e.g. through LinkedIn
How to apply
The Chamber can help guide you in making a successful application to the Kickstart Scheme. With a network of trusted partners we can also deliver a package that will support you through the process as a whole. For further information and for next steps in applying to the scheme, please submit your interest by following the link here: www.kentinvictachamber.co.uk/kickstart-scheme/ If you are a Sole Trader or Partnership, the scheme is soon to be opening up to you. Please also submit an expression of interest following the same link above, and a member of our Kickstart Team will be in touch with an introductory call.
Social Media Influencers - Are You Protected?
Commercial Solicitor, Jonathan Masucci looks at the benefits of Brand Ambassador/ Influencer Agreements and ways to structure an Influencer/Brand Owner relationship.
If you are an influencer building a following and looking for ways to monetise your social media influence or a brand that wants to access and make more use of the benefits of social media marketing you need to think about how to protect yourself legally. Digital Celebrities Today we are exposed to a wide variety of marketing and increasingly we tend to look to individuals we trust and identify with to assist with our decision making. If a business is able to find and engage with an influencer aligned with its target demographic who can act as their brand ambassador and promote their products, this can be the start of a very successful and mutually beneficial business relationship. Legal Agreements It is becoming common practice for influencers and brand owners to enter into a Social Media Brand Ambassador/Influencer Agreement to clearly document the legal obligations of each party. Key terms for the influencer will focus on the extent of the marketing commitment, and how much the influencer will be paid to provide their services over the course of a single post or advertising campaign. The brand owner’s terms will focus on issues such as defining what the influencer is required to do to promote the brand (e.g. the frequency of posts) and how this will tie in with the influencer’s other commitments, as well as confirmation of the territory and social media platforms the influencer will be using to provide their marketing services. They will also
want to make sure that they obtain any intellectual property rights created by the influencer during the contractual term and ensure that any third party intellectual property rights are not used without the appropriate consents (e.g. a video of an influencer which features music from a popular artist). Other structures Although a Social Media Brand Ambassador/Influencer Agreement is likely to be the most appropriate contract for influencers and brand owners, this presumption is based on a social media model. Where brand owners require public appearances from influencers at promotional events or televised appearances as the focus of the commercial arrangement instead of social media posts, it may be more appropriate, for the parties to enter into a Celebrity Endorsement Agreement (which is similar but tailored more towards public figures in mediums outside of social media), or even a combination of the two types of agreement, to accurately record what the brand owner requires of the influencer. Where brands require assistance from the influencer to develop a product or service that is for a particular demographic, the relationship might go beyond a mere advertising/promotional role for the influencer and as a result, a more comprehensive business structure such as a joint venture, may be more appropriate in adequately protecting both parties’ interests. For further legal advice on how best to proceed with an influencer and brand owner relationship agreement, please contact Jonathan.
Assistant Solicitor, Corporate & Commercial
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Corporate Finance review By David Ellis, Director of Corporate Finance, Azets, Maidstone office
It is difficult to summarise and assess the last year and, at the same time, sound like a fresh voice delivering new and not previously expressed opinions and thoughts. So, I won’t try and do that. It has, frankly, been a pretty awful year for almost everyone. The impact of COVID-19 and the repeating cycles of lockdowns have certainly persisted for longer than most of us would have anticipated and I dare say that most people – like me – are well and truly fed up with it now!
Thinking Thinking Business Business
However, as I write this in April 2021, there is very much a cause for optimism in the world of business acquisitions and business sales. More of that shortly. Firstly though, what have the last 12 months been like for deals?
The consequence of the above dynamics and market conditions was that in the SME and owner-managed space, deal volumes reduced fairly significantly from the period after the March 2020 Budget and persisted for many months.
A year ago, when the first national lock-down took place, professional advisors, accountants and lawyers all rapidly set up their computers at home and – in my experience – were well equipped to be able to use technology such as Teams or Zoom to be able to move transactions forwards at a pace. I was actually involved in a software deal that completed early April thanks to some excellent Tunbridge Wells based solicitors, a very keen and pragmatic international buyer and, of course, a fantastic business made in Kent.
Then, two things happened.
However, if you cast your minds back to March 2020, you may recall that there were strong rumours that Entrepreneur’s Relief might be impacted in the Spring budget. And indeed it was - with the individual lifetime allowance reducing from £10m to £1m. Those rumours, though, led to an acceleration of deals getting done ahead of the budget. So, as we headed into April, May and June 2020, there were a reduced number of potential deals in the pipeline. Then, when the national lockdown hit, business owners had – frankly – more important matters to focus on (closing premises, facilitating homeworking, furloughing staff and managing cash-flow to name just a few) and big strategic matters such as buying or selling businesses simply got put on hold.
Firstly, business owners who could, reacted positively. For some this was simply a reaction to sectors that have actually performed exceptionally strongly throughout the last 12 months such as home improvements, building materials or businesses involved in the consumer goods supply chain. For others, it was a determination to return to business as usual as fast as possible. My favourite example was a Kent based office print and scan solutions group where the owner, whose acquisition was put back on hold in March, was determined to kickstart his year again so we renegotiated and completed his deal in October. Then, secondly, the rumours of further reforms to the Capital Gains Tax regime started (again). Initially, this was ahead of the planned Autumn Statement, although that was eventually cancelled, but the rumours persisted right up to the Spring budget a few weeks ago. These two factors also combined with the fact that deal activity had generally been low throughout Spring and Summer 2020 and so, as we headed into late 2020 and early 2021, deal activity rocketed. At Azets, where we would typically advise on around 100 deals in a year, we completed 50 deals in the 10 weeks running up to the March 2021 budget.
"Right now, many businesses are fortunate to operate in sectors that have proven to be resilient throughout COVID-19 and, for the owners of such businesses, now would appear to be a very good time to speak to Corporate Finance advisers" So, in the end, deal activity over the last 12 months has been very concentrated into short periods of time, but in overall volume terms, it has been a pretty strong year. It probably didn’t escape your attention, however, that this time round the Chancellor didn’t make any reforms to the Capital Gains Tax landscape. So, what might that mean for the future? Increasing Capital Gains Tax on share sales for business owners is, politically, a relatively soft target and so it feels like there is an inevitability that the rates will rise sooner rather than later. Perhaps in the Autumn of 2021, or perhaps in the Spring 2022 Budget. Right now, many businesses are fortunate to operate in sectors that have proven to be resilient throughout COVID-19 and, for the owners of such businesses, now would appear to be a very good time to speak to Corporate Finance advisers such as myself.
Borrowing remains at historically cheap levels, the banks are now more willing to consider acquisition finance lending than at any time in the last 12 months, and private equity funds are awash with cash looking for a good home. In our experience business owners have also shifted their value expectations slightly – with the last year teaching us that, if nothing else, nothing in life is guaranteed. At Azets, therefore, we are optimistic that the market for business sales and business acquisitions will be buoyant this year. But, a word of warning. Time flies. The window to conclude acquisitions or sales ahead of the Autumn is starting to close already. The Autumn Statement could be as soon as only six months away, and the ability to complete a trade sale in that timeframe is starting to become limited.
The Accountants and Business Advisory team here to save your precious time.
There are other, potentially more rapidly achieved, options, such as the use of Employee Ownership Trusts or Management Buy-Outs, but nonetheless, time remains of the essence.
Conclusion It has been a very strange last 12 months, but right now the dynamics suggest that we can expect a buoyant year ahead – as long as business owners don’t look to try and launch a process too late in the day and as long as the Chancellor doesn’t do anything too draconian when the time eventually comes.
Contact us For further information please feel free to get in touch with David Ellis on 01622 690 666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. www.azets.co.uk
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Brachers recognises rising stars with promotion
professionalism and abilities of staff, the promotions reflect the firm’s focus on staff development and supporting career progression, with many of those promoted having risen through the ranks during their career at Brachers.
Brachers has recognised the hard work of its staff and shown its commitment to nurturing and developing talent by announcing several promotions across the firm.
Katherine Morgan in commercial property and Sara Smith in residential conveyancing have been promoted to senior associate. Five members of staff have also been promoted to associate: Emma Hegarty in wills, trust and probate; Rebecca Jones in family; Sarah Wimsett in employment and Ben Gallafant and Helen Stonham, both in commercial property.
The firm, which has offices in Maidstone and Canterbury, has made 11 promotions in total. As well as acknowledging the
Awards – what they can do for your business After the year we’ve all had, a little pat on the back for our efforts would be nice, wouldn’t it?!
Sarah Hawes from Izzy PR tells us what’s to be gained from entering awards. Raising your profile: Entering awards shows your ambition and showcases your business as experts.
RW Coaching: How to fill in forms successfully How do you fill in a form properly? Is there a special knack? In business, forms will be inevitable – especially at the moment with grants, loans, bids, tenders, awards entries and job applications. RW Coaching is run by Rosemary Williams, who has been assisting
Libbie Deans and Wendy Philips in debt recovery have taken up senior customer executive roles and Angela Jarvis in wills, trust and probate has been promoted to trust It lets people know you’ve been nominated on your social media, through your customer database and amongst your peers too. Social media content: Awards will give you something to share on your socials. Your content can include you writing the form, sending it in, plus any news of the shortlist should you get through. Connect with others involved such as sponsors, organisers and other entrants. Networking: You can network even before you get to the awards ceremony. By sharing content, commenting and interacting, you never know who you might meet. You might meet peers to collaborate with, suppliers to use or other businesses you might not usually have done. Try and meet them on the night too like a mini meeting! businesses through coaching and mentoring to grow. One area that often comes up, is filling in forms. Here is some of the advice that Rosemary gives her clients on how to complete forms properly: • Use the right form for the right job • Preparation – allow time, and have information to hand • Be sure of what the question is asking – read it a few times to understand • Think about why the particular questions are asked – what do they want to know? • Find the best way to answer the questions – does it need full sentences, bullet points, a lot of information or a summary?
manager. Sian Pattenden in the Marketing team has been appointed digital marketing manager. Joanna Worby, managing partner at Brachers, said: “These promotions are very well deserved and are a reflection of the hard work and dedication of our staff in a particularly difficult year. It is their commitment to our clients that has enabled us to continue to deliver the highest standards of service over the past 12 months and I’m really pleased that they have been recognised for this. “Nurturing talent is really important to us, so it’s always a pleasure to be able to support our staff as they develop in their career. I would like to congratulate all those promoted and thank them for their valuable contribution to the business.” Success: If you are a winner, this brings with it, credibility and endorsement. Use the awards logo on your website and email sign-off, social media and any other literature you produce that you share with customers, peers and suppliers. Always share the news on your website news page too, plus let your database know – they already know you and might be galvanised to look again, buy again or recommend you. It’s a chance to re-connect with them but also lets them know that they’re buying from an awardwinning company too! izzypr.co.uk • Word counts – use them up! If 500 words is allowed, they are asking for more than what you can write in 100. The wordcount is a steer on how much information to give. • Evidence – do you need to send attachments?
• Fill in every question – even if the answer is ‘N/A’ or ‘zero’ • Follow-up once the form has been sent off. Keep a note of the date for next steps and follow-up. Rosemary has a series of workshops to help – search RW Coaching on Eventbrite. She offers free places for charities and discounted places for Chamber members.
Council shortlisted for top housing award
Ashford Borough Council has been shortlisted in the “Best Development Team (South)” category in the Inside Housing Development Awards 2021. The council is one of six shortlisted for the prestigious annual award, with the winner announced on November 4 at London’s InterContinental Hotel. The organisers said the judging process this year proved to be one of the toughest as 2021 saw a record year for entries, with more than 300 entrants. Ashford’s dedicated development team spans both the housing team and the corporate project delivery team and is achieving an impressive programme of affordable housing across the borough. Its new-build homes and acquisitions (including conversions for temporary accommodation) are seeing Ashford deliver strong numbers. The acquisitions include an off-plan purchase (the New Quarter development in Ashford town centre) that represents the single biggest handover of homes to the council in its history. Despite the challenges relating to the council’s wider response around the pandemic, the team has delivered excellent housing numbers since May 2019. Through its own new-build programme, a variety of off-plan and open market acquisitions and through close enabling work with registered providers, the council has completions on 321 homes since May 2019. In addition, there are more than 400 homes of the council’s own builds and acquisitions in the pipeline. Explaining why Ashford deserves to win the award, Cllr Bill Barrett, portfolio holder for housing, said: “At Ashford we do things differently. We began building again in 2011 when the Localism Act gave us the power to do so and we continue to raise the bar. We are now onto the sixth phase of our affordable homes programme and have on site two independent living schemes (delivering 60 homes for people aged over 60 with a housing need) and a general needs apartment block. We have a multiplicity of sites in our pipeline at various stages of the planning process or community consultation. “We build purely affordable rent homes and we make the best use of our resources. Our schemes have Homes England grant funding, recognising our status as a trusted delivery partner.” Thinking Business
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Kent Invicta Chamber Patrons appointed
This year’s Kent Invicta Chamber Patrons have been appointed. They represent key sectors in the county and organisations that support and service the local business community. Eleven Patrons have continued in their role from last year and are joined by new Patron, Stagecoach South East. Stagecoach South East provides the biggest mode of passenger transport within the county with over 40 million passenger trips made on their buses each year before the pandemic. As a big commercial employer in the region, they play a key role in the local economy – connecting people with work, education, skills, retail, health and other public services, as well as bringing friends and families together. Their vision to become the transport provider of choice in the South East is based on a culture of working in partnership with the communities they serve.
Matthew Arnold, Business Development Director “Working together and sustaining partnerships is hugely important, especially as we emerge from the impact of Covid. We're excited to be partnering with the Chamber at this critical time; working to rebuild people's confidence and maximise the potential of buses to help our local economy build back.” Patrons have taken delivery of their prestigious certificates which were designed and produced by local businesses Oak Creative and Frameworx.
"I would like to thank all twelve Patrons for their commitment to the Chamber for the coming year. I am delighted to welcome Stagecoach South East to the scheme and look forward to building a closer relationship with them." Jo James OBE, Chief Executive , Kent Invicta Chamber
Kent Invicta Chamber Patrons 2021/22
For more details about our Patrons visit www.kentinvictachamber.co.uk/our-patrons/ Thinking Business
From army Victoria celebrates life to 25 years at CooperBurnett residential property I’m John Murray, an Ashford and Kent residential estate agent working for eXp UK.
Victoria Sampson, partner and head of corporate and commercial services at CooperBurnett, has celebrated 25 years with the firm.
Victoria discovered early on in her career that she really enjoyed working within corporate and commercial services – the department that she now heads up.
I joined the Royal Signals in the British Army aged 16 years, serving throughout the world for 24 years and working my way through every rank a soldier may hold. I then became a commissioned officer in the intelligence corps, and all of this taught me certain life skills and the core values of honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, teamwork and going the extra mile. It also taught me the value of putting others before myself and having pride in a work ethic based upon excellence. Now I’ve carried these life skills over into my work as a business-owning independent and personal residential estate agent. I fully appreciate that selling a home, for many their most valuable asset, and choosing an estate agent they can trust to help them do so, is a huge decision. Get it right and people move into their dream home. Get it wrong, and it causes huge amounts of stress, anxiety and heartache – and can cost thousands of pounds in lost fees. Now, with more than 17 years’ experience in residential property sales, and renowned for having trained over 500 professional agents throughout England and Wales for two of the country’s largest and most successful independent estate agencies, I hope you’ll trust me with your dream move. If you know of anyone who’s thinking of selling their home in Kent, then please introduce me. I don’t charge any upfront fees and there’s no marketing costs – simply a fee on completion of sale. For more information visit www.johnmurray.exp.uk.com
12 Thinking Business
Having joined as a trainee solicitor, Victoria qualified two years later and became a partner in 2001. She sits on the management board and helps to lead the development and implementation of the firm’s strategy and plan.
She said: “I love working with business owners and entrepreneurs, supporting businesses as they grow, buy or sell. We’re lucky that Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding area has such a healthy business community and it’s great to have been part of that for 25 years.”
Victoria said she is happy to have been given the opportunity to join CooperBurnett. “If I was a stick of rock, you’d see the words CooperBurnett written down the middle of me,” she said. “This firm is pretty much all I’ve known and I love it. CooperBurnett is a firm which people join and stay with, so I have worked alongside some of my colleagues for as long as I’ve been here, which is wonderful.” Victoria has been president of Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge & District Law Society, and president of West Kent Chamber of Commerce and Industry on two occasions. She is an ambassador for the hospice charity ellenor and has also supported fundraising initiatives for the firm’s chosen charities over the years.
Magpie Accessories helps to create the perfect wedding Magpie Accessories is a South East-based, family-run business supplying bridal wedding tiaras, jewellery and wedding accessories.
Our bridal collections provide brides with a glittering range of stunning designs and finishes to suit all styles and budgets. The collections we offer also include veils, garters, bridal belts and flower girl dresses as well as hats and fascinators for the hair. As well as operating a thriving e-commerce site, Magpie Accessories also runs a private bridal showroom based in Barming for brides to visit. Our showroom offers a one-to-one personalised service where brides may browse the collections on offer and try on designs in an unhurried and relaxed environment.
Our showroom is safely operated via an appointments-only system.
We’re also regular attendees at many of the larger wedding fairs in the county, where we’re able to showcase a large selection of our designs. Brides may browse, try on and purchase goods directly. These shows are always an exciting opportunity to see our latest arrivals and special offers. Magpie Accessories has received numerous awards for its quality products and customer service, scooping the Best Wedding Tiaras and Accessories Supplier Award at the Kent Wedding Awards on three separate occasions. We pride ourselves on our attention to detail and making sure every bride will look and feel like a princess on her big day.
To view our latest designs or find out more about booking an appointment, please visit our website at www.magpieaccessories.co.uk
Boys & Maughan appoints new senior partner Andrew Baker has become the new senior partner of Thanet and Canterbury solicitors Boys & Maughan. He succeeds Robert Moulsdale who has stepped back from leading the firm and become a consultant partner as he enters his final year before retirement. A litigation specialist who is firmly rooted in the local business community, Andrew has worked his way up to overseeing Boys & Maughan’s senior management team over a 28-year career with the firm. He now combines the role with leading the practice’s team of litigation, employment law and personal injury specialists.
expanded to meet demand. Last year we also took a major step in respect of how we run our business when we converted to LLP status. “It is a huge privilege to have been appointed as senior partner. Our staff are Boys & Maughan’s enduring strength. They are instrumental to our success and the manner in which they have continued to provide exceptional levels of service throughout the pandemic is second to none.
“When the threats posed by the crisis ease, we intend to further grow our presence in the county and increase our investment in staff, technology and enhancements to our services.” Dawn Cole is a commercial property solicitor who helps businesses buy, sell, lease and develop all types of land and buildings. She said: “Joining the partnership is a major milestone in my career with Boys & Maughan. It’s a fresh challenge and one that I relish embracing.”
Brachers named as Leeds Castle Concert headline sponsor
Award-winning law firm Brachers has sponsored the Leeds Castle Concert for the last four years and is once again supporting this iconic Kent event.
The firm’s sponsorship will help thousands reunite to celebrate and enjoy a much-needed outdoor music concert this summer. Organiser Heritage Events continues to make plans to bring concert-goers a safe but spectacular event that so many are looking forward to. The organisation has been overwhelmed by the love shown by its loyal audience who were happy to carry their tickets over to this year’s event being held Saturday, July 10.
Boys & Maughan has also promoted Dawn Cole from its Margate branch to the partnership. Both Andrew and Dawn took up their new roles in April. Andrew Baker said: “Under Robert’s stewardship we opened a flagship office in Canterbury and increased our headcount by 40% as we
New business is a dream come true for Ibrahim When Ibrahim Awad, his wife and three children arrived in Ashford a few days before Christmas 2015 under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, he was determined to forge a new life for his family far away from his war-torn homeland. Today Ibrahim’s dream has come true. In partnership with local businessman and entrepreneur Kalim Dogan, they have opened a grocery and Halal butchers to meet
the needs of the Ashford community, converting a derelict shop at the town end of Beaver Road. In Syria, Ibrahim worked as a highly skilled monumental stone mason on historic building restorations and new buildings, so he had to retrain before launching his business with friend and partner Kalim. Ibrahim said: “Many people in Ashford wanted a new shop where they could buy foods not easily available unless you travel to London. I want to work hard to support my family but also provide a good service for others in the Ashford community, a place that welcomed me and my family.”
Anne Forbes BEM, refugee resettlement co-ordinator at Ashford Borough Council, said: “Ibrahim’s incredible strength of character, ambition, indomitable good humour and sheer determination has brought his dream to reality. “From the moment I met him at Stansted Airport it was clear that Ibrahim had huge determination to create a new and successful life in Ashford. “He took any employment available and soon bought himself a car. Struck by the lack of Middle Eastern (and specifically Syrian) foods available locally, it wasn’t long before he started driving back and forth to London wholesalers to supply familiar and comforting produce to all the resettled families and many other eager customers whom he had found in the Ashford area. “Now, after phenomenal hard work and despite all the additional challenges that COVID has brought, Ibrahim has a little shop of beauty, packed full of culinary delights.”
Brachers, which last year celebrated its 125th anniversary, offers a wide range of legal services for business, organisations and private clients across Kent and south east England. The company has weathered the COVID storm and expanded into new offices in Canterbury and wanted to continue its association with an event that will be more needed this year than ever before. Joanna Worby, managing partner at Brachers, said: “We are so pleased to be returning as headline sponsor of this year’s Leeds Castle Concert and to be supporting Heritage Events and Leeds Castle after what has been a very difficult time for the tourism industry. “The concert is a wonderful event and I’m sure this year will be more of a celebration than ever before. We are very happy to be involved and look forward to enjoying a great evening of music and entertainment.” Visit LeedsCastleConcert.co.uk for tickets and more information.
UK’s SME powerhouse is “too big to fail”
movement restrictions and changed attitudes; manufacturers and exporters struggling with supply chain restrictions and wholesale Brexit uncertainty; technology and global businesses facing decreased demand and investment as the globe plunges through recession; and skills shortages through Brexit and COVIDinduced international immobility.”
Non-essential retail, gyms, hairdressers and outdoor hospitality have now reopened as the UK eases out of lockdown. Rick Schofield, partner in Azets’ Ashford office and SME specialist at the company – the UK's largest regional accountancy and business advisor to SMEs – said: “In 2008 certain banks were too big to fail. Now the SME powerhouse of the UK is too big to fail as a result of the pandemic. We’re all breathing a sigh of relief as some semblance of normality resumes, but businesses reopening face many uncertainties. “We hear from SME clients across all industries that their main worries include: retail desperately trying to transition from bricks and mortar to omnichannel while demand has tanked; hospitality and tourism dealing with a customer demand wasteland through social distancing,
“CBILs, Bounceback, HMRC deferral, JRS and JSS continue to support COVID-affected businesses. However, this support will fall away and businesses will have to find a way of servicing debt levels during a deep recession. Many previously viable businesses will topple over the edge because of this debt burden. The logical next step to support viable businesses struggling under the pressure of debt, unable to refinance or invest for growth, would be to turn the government's passive equity stake into a real one. CBILS, and perhaps some HMRC debt, could be converted into equity under the umbrella of a state-backed investor. This would allow viable debt-burdened businesses to raise additional debt or equity, provide an eventual return to the taxpayer and encourage and deliver investment for growth as a partner investor to private equity and banks. The time for government and businesses to work together in a focused, agile way has never been so pressing.”
Your Businesses Visibility Affects its Credibility and Profitability Why do large companies like Apple and CocaCola invest in being constantly visible?
Many smaller businesses would say because they have the money and big corporates can afford to pay for advertising on buses, radio, in
14 Thinking Business
magazines, on the TV and have a constant social media presence on all platforms. Their customers expect them to have a presence and if they were not able to find any content from the business, then their existing and potential customers would be disappointed. The corporation's reputation is the preconceived opinion of a collection of people from a variety of backgrounds so with no social media presence their client base would start losing
Travel the world with Macknade’s food village If you’re bored of the same old takeaways, then get your family to Macknade to enjoy some really unusual tastes and experiences from its new food village in Faversham.
Come and experience the world through your tastebuds with a range of exciting dishes available to eat outside on the deck at Macknade Faversham. From authentic Italian pizza to home-cooked Indian cuisine, you can be sure to find something for everyone in the family to enjoy. All are welcome, including well behaved four-legged family members! Macknade’s food village is open every day for authentic wood-fired pizza, light lunches and hot and cold drinks. New to the menu is a special sweet pizza topped with hazelnut spread, mascarpone and brownie crumbs, guaranteed to be a hit with children of all ages! Every Thursday to Sunday, The Food Village is also home to Kent’s most vibrant independent traders, who showcase authentic, traditional dishes and modern, fusion delights including; trust in the company and their products. What opportunities does a social media presence offer a business?
Social media can give businesses the same opportunities to expand their market as TV, radio and magazine advertising all in one. You set up in business to earn money whilst enjoying what you do, so marketing and sales may not come naturally to you. With social media you can simply share what you love doing by taking pictures or doing a video. Set up your mobile phone to film you whilst you work or take before and after pictures, then share your knowledge and your passion with your audience.
• California Cravings, a delicious selection of Mexican street food with a Californian twist, including veggie, vegan and gluten-free options. • Karara, a range of authentic and aromatic food, created by Kent’s much-loved Indian chef Paul Babra. Even though Karara means spicy; there are dishes for all the family. • Silver Birch Fine Foods, ready to stimulate the senses with its fusion menu which takes inspiration from Jamaican and Japanese influences. Shane Godwin, Macknade’s commercial director, said: “Our ethos here at Macknade has always been to discover and embrace new foods, flavours and experiences, and we are thrilled to take this to the next level through our food village. We are also delighted to be supporting a talented group of local independent traders, creating a platform for them to share their passion with our customers.” For more information visit www.macknade.com
Building any type of meaningful relationship takes time whether it is business or personal and social media is about building relationships so it is not something that will happen overnight. Just as we have to learn how to do our own accounts, interview and discipline staff or put together a client contract we also have to learn how to market our business in an effective manner. Social media is an extremely cost-effective way to market your business and once you learn how to enhance its power you will see the positive impact on your businesses bottom line. For more information contact Linda@wedosocialmedia.co.uk
Director & Business Excellence Coach, The Lean Orange
What lessons can we learn from the characteristics of organisations of excellence?
The Oxford Dictionary defines excellence as “the quality of being outstanding or extremely good” and businesses that are identified as organisations of excellence are associated with continued success through ideal behaviours. This is not just about reducing costs or increasing productivity, it’s also about creating the company culture that will allow us to produce valuable products and services for our customers and achieve sustainable growth of people and profits. The key word here is “sustainable”. If we really want our businesses to become excellent and enjoy the growth and competitive edge within our marketplace that comes with this, we must accept that it can only be achieved with a longterm strategy. Approaching it as a quick-fix project, program or one-off event is doomed to failure (sadly I have seen this happen all too often), as employees will inevitably perceive it as the latest faddy idea being forced upon them by their boss. Exploring the characteristics of organisations who have achieved business excellence allows us to see what sets them apart from others. There are some common attributes that help them sustain growth and consistency, irrespective of their industry, size, or function. Most notable is how they invest in creating a positive culture and environment that enables people to participate in the business with a strong sense of belonging and purpose. A successful organisation is likely to have the following: • Strong leadership that provides high levels of individual support to people at every level. • Likeminded and passionate people who have adopted simple, yet powerful principles and who are aligned to the ethics of the organisation. • Training and development paths aligned to the goals of the company. • A culture of sharing and learning.
• High levels of employee engagement and a sense of belonging where success is celebrated together. • A team that has been selected on behavioural fit as much as talent, and the right people in the right roles. • A focus on customer satisfaction. Being aware of these characteristics is extremely useful as we can use them as a benchmarking tool for identifying possible improvements within our own businesses. When I work with or observe organisations of excellence, both in the business and sporting worlds, I notice five common principles that are embedded within the heart of these organisations which have served as a strong foundation for their success. These principles are: Shared Purpose: Having a clear purpose and strategy that is communicated across all levels results in everyone working together and pulling in the same direction. Principled Leadership: Principled leaders are guided by their ethics and understand the value of their people. They trust, coach, inspire and empower them to make decisions and build a collective leadership capability that spans the whole organisation. Measurable Improvement: Without understanding the nature of a problem, it cannot be improved. Measuring the things that matter
the most helps to establish a successful culture of organisational excellence. Integrated Business Systems: By identifying and improving key processes and systems, organisations clearly understand the entire value flow from customer order to customer satisfaction. Shared Learning: The sharing of knowledge means that everyone within the organisation can collectively learn and grow, which transfers into positive operational results. The pace of today’s business world means that consciously focusing on the long-term can often be sidelined by short-term firefighting or distractions. But as we begin to rebuild after the last year and the challenges of Covid-19 and lockdown, it is even more important that we look at the character of our organisations to ensure we are best positioning our businesses and our people for the sustainable success we all desire.
Here at the Lean Orange, we have worked extensively with organisations to create and implement their business excellence strategies through hands-on coaching and support. If you would like to speak to us to find out if we can help you, please contact email@example.com or call 07976 608521.
INSPIRING THOUGHTFUL LEADERS, CURIOUS PEOPLE & SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS EXCELLENCE www.theleanorange.com
Urging Business Owners to Act Now:
2 in 5 Businesses Fell Victim to Cyber Attacks In the Past 12 Months new security solutions like cloud security to decrease the chance of falling victim to an attack. Nevertheless, there is still a significant number of organisations that aren’t taking any action to prevent future data breaches. 36% have taken no action since their most disruptive breach, meaning they are likely to remain at high risk of falling victim to future data breaches. Business Owners Can Better Prepare One of the critical factors in helping to reduce the risk of being attacked is to prepare for future uncertainties. Only 15% of those surveyed had done an audit of their cyber security vulnerabilities - an essential action for assessing the strength of your cyber security and resilience to potential threats.
The Department of Digital, Culture, Media
and Sport (DCMS) recently published the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2021 report. Measuring how UK organisations approach cyber security and the impact of breaches and attacks, the report presents a unique opportunity to see how business’ cyber security has fared during the pandemic and reveals some startling statistics. The Threat Landscape The report revealed that four in ten businesses (39%) reported a cyber security breach or attack in the last 12 months, with over a quarter (27%) experiencing them at least once a week. Where a breach has resulted in a loss of data or assets, the average cost of a cyber attack on a business is estimated at £8,460. The number of businesses that reported incidents is down 7% from the previous year. Although this may seem positive, the findings from the study indicate that organisations are struggling to monitor employees as they work from home and are perhaps less aware of the breaches and attacks they are facing. Phishing attempts were the most common type of threat encountered - staff receiving fraudulent emails or being directed to fraudulent websites. The pattern of responses leading from previous surveys indicates an evolution of the types of breaches that businesses face, one which is likely to continue. • 83% experienced phishing attempts • 27% experienced individuals impersonating an organisation in emails or online • 9% experienced viruses, spyware, or malware (including ransomware)
COVID-19 Has Made Cyber Security Harder The rapid move toward remote working during the pandemic has caused issues around implementing adequate cyber security controls. Many businesses reported large-scale remote working had made user monitoring, and hardware and software upgrades significantly harder. Securing digital environments was challenging as in-house IT resources were stretched, leading to competing priorities in IT with a perceived conflict between prioritising business continuity and cyber security. The survey findings suggest that many organisations are not necessarily set up in the most secure manner for home working, with 47% of staff using personal devices for work, and only 34% of businesses having employees use a VPN whilst working from home. Developing a strong security policy and implementing it consistently across the company is crucial for improving cyber resilience. However, only 31% of businesses surveyed had a business continuity plan that covered cyber security, and less than a quarter (23%) had cyber security policies that covered home working. Cyber Security Remains a Priority One of the most significant themes of the survey was that the COVID-19 pandemic hadn’t weakened organisations’ attitudes toward cyber security, with 77% of businesses confirming cyber security to be a high priority for their directors or senior managers. Many businesses have increased IT and cyber security investment to adapt to the post-COVID threat landscape, adopting
Business owners must take steps to improve their cyber resilience, especially as many organisations shift to a long-term flexible working solution. Humans are still the weak point in any good cyber security strategy and to successfully mitigate risk, organisations need to treat internal and external security with equal weight and ensure that it is seen as a shared responsibility by everyone in the organisation. However, as business owners battle to recover from the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it’s no surprise that implementing the proper security controls can often be a challenge. Cantium is working to support businesses to adapt to the evolving threat landscape, assessing their security posture and providing affordable security measures to protect their assets. With a focus on building cyber resilience, we help provide business owners with peace of mind in knowing the future of their business is better protected, allowing them to concentrate on what they’re best at. If you would like to discuss how we could help protect your business, speak to one of our ICT experts today.
t: 03000 415555 e: firstname.lastname@example.org www.cantium.solutions
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Going for growth The Big Interview
While many company owner-managers have been cutting back during the COVID pandemic, Wesley Baker has been going for growth. The serial entrepreneur co-founded Canterbury AI last year to capitalise on the boom in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Essentially there are two main strands to the business. Canterbury AI develops its own software as a service (SaaS) using cutting-edge AI and machine learning software products – tapping into one of the largest and fastestgrowing global market segments. The second strand sees the company develop AI and machine learning-powered software solutions that mine vast amounts of data and enable large corporates and SMEs to solve real-world issues. This could be anything from helping an ophthalmologist to detect a medical condition to monitoring variations in pollution levels in a large city.
The Big Interview
We have very ambitious expansion plans and it’s not unreasonable to expect that within 24-36 months we’ll be running at £60 million-£100 million turnover
The company’s latest innovation is the colourfully named Blue Strawberry, which enables organisations to create a comprehensive digital social media strategy powered by AI. The innovation can quickly build up to 18 months of social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn from a single blog post or website page, enabling the organisation to gain maximum reach for minimum effort. There’s a human involvement, too; an organisation can vet all posts and add or remove text, images or even video to ensure that the promotion is specifically tailored to its needs. Wesley is excited about Blue Strawberry, which he believes will kick-start a period of rapid expansion at his fledgling company.
He says: “We have very ambitious expansion plans and it’s not unreasonable to expect that within 24-36 months we’ll be running at £60 million-£100 million turnover. I try to surround myself with the most talented people and cherrypick the best staff from around the world. We’ve just taken on a head of programming from Hong Kong. “We’re preparing to move into new premises in Discovery Park, a world-class science park in Sandwich, which I think could put Kent on the AI map. My aim is to bring an international AI event to Discovery Park.” A quick glance at Wesley’s CV suggests that he could make it happen. An experienced
INSIDE STORY: Wesley Baker
Favourite food? If I had to narrow it down, I’d say I enjoy nicely prepared Mediterraneanstyle fish. Having spent a lot of time living in Minnesota, USA, I like the Walleye, a local fish speciality. Favourite tipple? I like excellent rose wine and enjoy the summer with pimms and mojito cocktails. A quality brandy with water is my winter tipple. Favourite holiday? A nice surfing trip overseas in warm water at Cocoa Beach in Florida.
entrepreneur, he has launched businesses in a wide range of industries, including package travel, SaaS software, space tech, medical device, air quality, software, surfing, airlines, media, distribution and manufacturing. With a diverse perspective, a proven ability to drive organisations forward across the globe and three decades of travel industry experience, he possesses the kind of leadership that can only be gained through a varied and dedicated career. Crucially he has developed a canny knack of developing a vision to identify ideas and how to execute them. His entrepreneurial instincts kicked in when he was just 14. He developed software for Acorn Electron computers in the 1980s
Describe your family life? We value family time. We love to see historical places, go
out in the car for a drink of tea or coffee, do
adventures and travel. However, we have to
plan our excursions carefully due to my son,
who was diagnosed with a life-changing illness in 2017, aged just 12, while I was away on a business trip.
How do you spend your downtime? I’ve been surfing for more than 40 years and love it. I
also enjoy golf, walking, kayaking and visiting
historical places. Travel overseas and in the UK is always top of my list, and even more so if I can catch a wave somewhere too.
What are your key strengths as a manager? Having a vision and motivating my team to follow this vision. My management style is based on openness, loyalty and trust.
and sold it to customers across the country. The travel industry was always his preferred industry, however, and he made several efforts to break into this sector. “I wrote to 257 Tour Operators – that’s how many there were in the UK back then – and asked them for a job,” he recalls. “Thomsons kept knocking me back but I persisted and eventually they took me on. I got to know all of the directors and that helped me to quickly climb the career ladder there.” A lot has happened since then and now Wesley is preparing to embark on the next stage of his entrepreneurial journey. Don’t bet against him making a success of it.
And your limitations? Recognising that you have them in the first place! It’s better to place your trust in the expertise of those around you. Best thing about doing business in the borough? Kent has a great deal to offer geographically, with its coastline and close proximity to London. Also, our new location at Discovery Park, Sandwich, is an excellent development for the county. However, Kent is not technologically advanced enough yet and councils and business leaders could do more to capitalise on the region's true potential. Famous person you’d most like to spend dinner with? It would have been amazing to sit down for a dinner party with Nelson Mandela, Sir Richard Branson, Barack Obama, Sir Freddie Laker and Elon Musk – what a combination that would be! Most interesting fact about yourself? I played for an outstanding school basketball team for five years.
£10 million to help Children in Kent
Gemmology Rocks seeks to build bridges with businesses
Arun Estates, the parent company of Wards Estate Agents in Kent, has given financial support to ill children for eighteen years and in that time has awarded more than £10 million.
“We’re Gemmology Rocks, which delivers affordable, accessible and commercially relevant gemmology education and support to individuals and small businesses outside London and Birmingham.
a marketing, sales or legal team; we’re all of those roles combined but we do our best to provide the best service we can. It’s like you wouldn't even know there's only three of us!
Josephine McCartney, chief executive of Kent Community Foundation, said: “Kent Community Foundation has been administering charitable funds for Arun Estates since 2003 and we are delighted to have distributed an incredible £10 million on their behalf to children with physical disabilities, long term illnesses and or life-limiting conditions. The £10 million awarded from the Wards Charitable Fund and The Rooney Foundation Fund has made a huge difference to the lives of hundreds of children and their families in Kent and Medway. We are so grateful to them for donating such an amazing sum of money to help so many children over the last eighteen years.”
“I’m Kerry Gregory, head of all things shiny and our small team, Office Gem and Media Gem. We’re so excited to be part of this growing community.
“Yes, it costs money to call in the experts, but we know that this means higher standards, efficiency and, most importantly, a better relationship between our customers. We offer one-to-one services and “Tea & Chat” services so we can personally get to know your business needs and you as an individual. One of our most valued services, which is free, is Gin & Gemstones on Facebook every Friday at 6pm.
David Lench, group managing director of Arun Estates, said: “We’ve worked with Kent Community Foundation since 2003 and they have helped manage our charitable funds so that they go to the causes we believe in and want to support.” Josephine McCartney added: “The Wards Charitable Fund and The Rooney Foundation Fund are just two of the eighty-plus philanthropic funds that we manage. We would love to connect with other individuals or businesses who might be considering charitable giving. There are thousands of small charities, families and individuals in Kent and Medway who need financial support and where a small grant will make a huge difference.” For more information visit www.kentcf.org.uk/give/corporates
20 Thinking Business
“As a small business, we’re looking forward to getting to know more about other local businesses, learn from their experiences and hopefully collaborate with some of them in the future. We don’t have
Kent Space welcomes charity Diagrama to Chatham Diagrama, which supports vulnerable people through residential care, adoption and fostering across the south east, has recently moved its head office to Kent Space in Chatham.
The new office will house Diagrama’s finance, HR, fostering and adoption administration, marketing and communication teams. Sue McGowan, director of Kent Space, said: “When Diagrama approached Kent Space about their requirements for an office in Chatham, we did not initially have
the space the charity needed. However, my team worked with other organisations to reconfigure the layout of one of our floors to create a fabulous bespoke office and archive space for the charity, while improving storage and office layouts for our existing clients.” David McGuire, chief executive of Diagrama, said: “Kent Space could not have been more helpful in assisting us to create a new office which will enable the Diagrama team to combine hotdesking with working from home, for a better life-work balance.”
“One of our most important values, as a company, is customer care. We enjoy working with people. We spend time getting to know them and help them find solutions to problems. We aren’t always the right people for the job, but we know many people in the business and can usually always make recommendations and point them in the right direction for help. We only work with the right people for us, the people that we know we can help and add value. Each company’s needs are individual to them and it’s important to get it right!” For more information visit www.gemmologyrocks.com
Kent Space currently has availability for storage or office space at Chatham, Ashford and Ebbsfleet. Diagrama has three small care homes for adults with learning disabilities, a 48-bed care home for elderly with nursing and dementia needs, three homes for vulnerable young people and a supported living service. For more information visit www.kentspace.co.uk and www.diagramafoundation.org.uk
How a quantity surveyor can save you money Often, clients or project managers will question whether they can afford to hire a quantity surveyor.
The right suppliers at the right price A QS can source quotes and will:
But, the real question is, can you afford not to?
• Ensure all possible costs are covered, including those you hadn’t anticipated. • Break down elements into manageable packages to ensure competitive pricing. • Scrutinise suppliers, ensuring compliance with brief.
This is how a QS can get you more value from your budget: Budgeting experts Involve a QS at the start of your project and they’ll save you money by: • Ensuring you get the best value. • Spotting any potential gaps early. • Identifying possible risks and opportunities. • Monitoring expenditure and recommending areas to cut back on.
Water-tight contracts They have extensive legal and financial expertise and can: • Prepare and check legal documents before you sign. • Challenge the terms and negotiate a mutually beneficial position.
How to use nature for everyday healing
pandemic, will now be launching her range of natural food supplements, Kyoor. Aimed at elevating mood, reducing pain and building immunity, the products are based on using nature. The launch date has been set for July 31.
The last year may have left us feeling a bit low, flat and worn out but if you turn to nature, you will find just what you need to perk up and build immunity. Shifa Uddin, after being delayed throughout 2020 due to the
Members News • Ensure compliance with your tender and the brief. Project management A QS can forecast issues before they become a problem and will: • Offer solutions to get back on track should the unexpected arise. • Forecast costs of different scenarios and help reallocate funds or make compromises. • Manage deadlines and help to manage delays if they do occur. Mediation With numerous parties involved in a project, not everyone will always see eye to eye. Involving a QS will help to: • Minimise disagreements with upfront involvement at contract award stage • Act as a neutral third-party mediator if necessary. • Help pursue settlement through alternative procedures if a resolution is not possible. firstname.lastname@example.org Soothing: ginger Great for relieving a sore throat or stopping a cough. It won’t stop the symptoms completely but it will give you some respite. Slice some raw ginger and place it into hot water, letting the flavour infuse for around two minutes. When you drink it, you may experience a burning sensation but this is normal – it will draw the soreness out. Pain: clove An amazing and instant remedy for toothache. Simply take a clove and clamp it down onto the tooth that hurts. When the oils are released, it starts to ease the pain by calming the bacteria causing it. Ideal for night time use, or if using in the day, change the clove every two hours.
Shifa has been using natural remedies all her life and shares with us the benefits of some.
Cloves can also be used as a lovely air freshener, placed in small pots around your home.
Immunity: nigella seeds Sprinkle them onto breads or cheese, into savoury pastries, or add them to meat as you cook it to bring out the flavour.
Find out more about natural remedies and Safaa & Kyoor natural food supplements at www.safaainnovations.com
New Partners at Girlings Girlings is delighted to announce that Gemma Purt, Louise Wilson and Paul McAleavey have accepted invitations to become Partners in the Firm.
Gemma, is an experienced Family Law specialist. She is a Resolution member (formerly known as the Solicitors Family Law Association) and has also achieved Law Society family law panel membership. A Legal 500 Recommended Lawyer, Louise specialises in all aspects relating to Wills, probate, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Declarations of Trust. Employment Law expert, Paul joined the Employment Law team in 2017 from Tier-1 ranked City of London employment practice BDBF LLP, having trained and qualified at leading Westminster firm Bircham Dyson Bell LLP. Managing Partner, Andrew Watson said, ‘These are well deserved promotions and I join with the rest of the Firm in congratulating Gemma, Louise and Paul on this significant career milestone and wishing them every success in their future endeavours.’
NEED REFRESHMENTS? Call us on 01634 726163 to discuss your needs
A GREAT SELECTION OF REFRESHMENT PRODUCTS AND SOLUTIONS TO MEET EVERY NEED AND BUDGET We live in a changing world due to the impact of Covid-19, and the impact on businesses has been huge. Amongst the key challenges is the need to provide refreshments to customers and staff in a Covid secure manner, giving both peace of mind and showing that you, the business owner, have their best interests at heart. At Fairtrade Vending we have yet to find any business that has not been affected, and our role is to help you look after both customers and staff.
Investing in the Future - To support our growth plans and make it easier for businesses to make the right choices for them, their customers and staff, Fairtrade Vending moved into larger premises in January this year and invested over £50,000 in a luxury vending showroom, where visitors can view a wide range of machines and sample high quality ‘espresso bean to cup’ beverages in a covid safe environment. Visits are currently by appointment to meet our Covid protocols.
New Innovation – To address the problem of Fairtrade Vending, based in Medway and Visual 2 providing meal options ‘24/7’ we businesses supporting businesses throughout the South EastDesign Food Vending Visual have developed a cost-effective ready meal for over 13 years, have provided vending and vending solution. This solution was originally beverage solutions throughout the pandemic, developed to support our NHS staff, and assisting businesses in catering and adapting allowed them to access meals at any time of to these changes, introducing coronavirus safe day. So, when the catering facilities closed staff technology such as “air touch” distance selection are able to access our ‘Flavours of the World” (simply hold your finger 2cm away from your range which provides everything from all day desired hot drink choice), antimicrobial shields breakfast, Chicken Tikka and Rice to Cottage on touch keypads (which kills 99.9% of all know Pie and vegetarian options. bacteria) and hands-free water coolers. Managing Director Mike Steel says “it has been a challenging 15 months, and no doubt we face more to come, yet despite many of our customers closing down or working to a reduced capacity, we have been awarded several new vending contracts and increased the workforce and our premises. We have also introduced a showroom which allows customers to see the services first-hand – we’ll also make sure they have a great cup of coffee or tea! We are speaking with many potential new clients as they review their requirements looking for new machines, user safe machines, cost savings or just want to treat their loyal customers and staff to better quality coffee.”
We have found this service has much wider appeal, for example where contract catering, particularly in manufacturing or educational facilities, has been reduced or closed down altogether, our ready meals vendors fill that void. Also, as the machines involved are ambient and energy efficient, it supports businesses to positively affect their carbon handprint. Contactless Payment Solutions - All of our machines have the option of providing contactless payment. Aside from the implications of Covid, less and less people are carrying cash (Mastercard recently announced that 78% of all low value purchases are by card) and we can support businesses with this shift.
Contact me – if you’d like to speak about your business and how we might be able to help or arrange a visit to see what we can offer at our showroom, please call me and I’ll be happy to speak with you. My contact details are:
Tel: 01634 726163 | email: email@example.com | www.fairtradevending.co.uk
All Health Matters enters the world of employee ownership Occupational Health service provider All Health Matters has become the latest company to embrace the increasingly popular business model of employee ownership.
The organisation has created an employee ownership trust (EOT), which now owns 100% of the shares in the £1.5m business set up by Gill Monk in 2010. The trust will be governed by five directors, three of whom are employees. All direct employees of the business have become beneficiaries of the trust and are able to receive tax free bonuses of up to £3,600 each year. Each
employee will directly benefit from the work they do and from the success of the company.
As part of the growth strategy of the trading company, managing director Gill Monk has promoted four existing department managers to the board, and two members of staff to the management team. The new senior leadership team is designed to drive the business forward. Whilst Gill remains the managing director, she is joined by Rachel Day - HR and client services director; Andrew Llewellyn-Davis, operations director; Dr Frixos Kopsacheilis, clinical director;
Brachers advises on Carpetright deal
Flooring has a focus on wholesale to the trade flooring sector. The businesses are supported by a purpose-built design studio and distribution centre in Aylesford.
Kent law firm Brachers has acted on behalf of Flooring Megastore and Contemporary Trade Flooring on the sale of both businesses to home flooring retailer Carpetright. Flooring Megastore and Contemporary Trade Flooring are Kent-based businesses owned by the Canning family. The companies offer a wide range of carpets and flooring, with Flooring Megastore a predominantly online retailer while Contemporary
The deal was of strategic importance to Carpetright as it has provided the company with an online presence and broadened its retail offering, enabling it to reach to a wider customer base. Under Carpetright’s ownership the businesses can grow and develop, giving customers more and providing the transferring employees with all of the opportunities that come from working for a nationwide retailer. The Canning family continues to be involved with the businesses, with Mark Canning being appointed as head of digital for Flooring Megastore.
Members News and Alice Monk, director of communications. Sue Avery is the company’s new finance manager, and Kim Boggins takes on a new role as clinical manager. Gill Monk said: “This realises my dream of rewarding the employees for making AHM as great as it is. I am surrounded by an amazing team. Every one of them is totally committed to making sure that AHM leads the way in service delivery, innovation and sustainability, and every one of them deserves to benefit from their hard work. “This is a milestone in the life of the business and I am thrilled that I am able to express my appreciation in this way.” An employee ownership trust holds shares in a business for the benefit of the employees. The employees become indirect owners of the business and share in its success. Research shows employeeowned companies perform better than traditional businesses with improved employee engagement and productivity. www.allhealthmatters.co.uk The deal was led by Brachers’ corporate partner Claire Williams, with support from corporate solicitor Raul Hernandez, commercial property partner Emma Andersen, employment partner Antonio Fletcher and employment senior associate Louise Brenlund. Womble Bond Dickinson acted for Carpetright. Alongside the corporate aspect of the deal, the team was also required to advise on the TUPE transfer of staff and the arrangements for the premises. Additionally, challenges were brought about by the pandemic and lockdown restrictions, which meant the deal was completed entirely remotely. Claire Williams said: “We’re really pleased to have advised Mark and Patrizia on the sale of their family businesses. There are specific intricacies to consider when bringing together a large corporate and a family business and we are delighted that we were able to secure a successful sale for them.” www.brachers.co.uk
App set to boost businesses and improve customer safety An app that tells you how busy your favourite shops and restaurants are in real-time is set to boost businesses as they reopen. Canterbury City Council will be the first local authority in the south to roll out The Locale app, which is free for customers and businesses to use. Cllr Jeanette Stockley, the council's lead councillor for economic development and tourism, said: “The app will help consumers choose where to shop or dine and also help businesses to promote what offers they have available. “Now is a great time for businesses to get on board and join the 90 already signed up. “The app also draws information straight from Google business pages and informs users of venue opening times, COVID-safe measures, queues, locations and reviews.” The Locale is expected to be more valuable than ever as the district reopens, and the app team has been busy building a more comprehensive selection of categories for businesses and venues to select. The Locale was first launched in Durham and Sunderland in 2020 and is rapidly growing nationwide. The app – which can be downloaded from the app store or via the website at https://thelocale.info/ – is currently free for both customers and businesses and anyone wanting to sign their venue up should contact firstname.lastname@example.org. QR codes to download the app have already featured on Canterbury’s student maps and shopping maps in Whitstable, Tankerton and Herne Bay along with a series of adverts promoting the hard work of businesses to make the high street safe. If businesses want to find out more, they should contact the local economy team email@example.com.
Future-proof business success Enhance, secure and enable your technology for the new normal Nick Potter, Director at Select Technology With over 25 years’ experience in IT, Nick has a strong technical background and extensive business knowledge of the technology sector. He is instrumental in helping clients get the most out of their technology and embedding it within their business strategy to enable success Since March 2020, technology has become more entwined in our lives than ever before. Connecting with friends and loved ones on video calls, home-schooling children on laptops, and being entertained via Netflix and Disney Plus – who didn’t watch Tiger King or The Mandalorian last year?! Unsurprisingly online retail sales grew by 36% in 2020, the highest annual growth since 2007, according to the IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, and social media usage increased exponentially. In a time where we were apart, technology enabled us to come together. One of the greatest and quickest changes was seeing ‘anyone who could work from home’ take effect overnight; office workers across the country downed tools to set-up home offices and more than a year later many of us are still at our dining room tables. While normality may be on the horizon, the world around us has changed and has forced changes to how we do business. Although there will be some travel back to ‘normal’,
24 Thinking Business
it’s clear that some, perhaps most, of that change is here to stay. Technology and digital tools have become more important than ever for us to work and communicate effectively. The laptop has gone from being a tool in the office to being, for many of us, the entire office. As we reflect on the past year, we take a look at what businesses will need to consider for the new normal when it comes to technology in the workplace. There’s much more to it than just digital, it’s about how to enable people, communication and relationships in business to be more effective and productive.
Right at the start of the first ‘Stay at Home’ lockdown, the biggest challenge was for organisations that were not set-up to work remotely. Many employees only had desktops, so at Select Technology we experienced an influx of hardware requests for laptops, cables and keyboards from
companies scrambling to get their workforces set-up, and to keeping businesses running from home. Some companies even requested that their employees use their own devices, which has both security and capability implications. Although no one could have predicted the effects of the pandemic, the organisations that were more agile and could remain productive were those who had already adopted a work from anywhere strategy. As a company this is something we implemented a few years ago, so most of our staff already had laptops. This made the overnight transition of working from home much smoother.
Enhance your IT infrastructure
If your IT infrastructure wasn’t ready for that journey, try not to get caught on the backfoot again. Ensure that your employees can easily work from home should that need to happen, and that’s not just providing the right physical equipment.
Using a cloud-based solution for your data and systems, such as Microsoft 365, rather than less secure on-premise servers and VPN will mean your team can access documents, applications and data from anywhere, securely and quickly.
Make security a priority
Working remotely has security implications for businesses. Employees using unsecured wireless networks or saving files and data to their desktops are just a couple of examples of how business information can be at risk. In addition, according to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), cyber scams have increased 15-fold since the pandemic began. With all this in mind it is more important than ever to keep your business data and systems safe from ransomware, malware, and other cyber-attacks. A solution like Microsoft 365 has advanced security features, such as setting restrictions on who documents can be shared with, stops employees saving files to their device or desktop, and provides multi-factor authentication. It’s worthwhile ensuring you have this or something similar in place to ensure peace of mind.
Collaborate from anywhere
One of the biggest challenges faced throughout the pandemic has been the loss of seeing co-workers, clients and partners face-to-face. Zoom, Google and Microsoft all quickly evolved their video call solutions to replicate in-person meetings, presentations and events digitally. For us, Microsoft Teams became our go-to application and has enabled our working lives while working remotely. It has become so much more than a video call tool, with new features that allow colleagues and stakeholders to work collaboratively on documents and projects, as well as reaching much larger audiences via webinars and conferences. Previously, most of our interactions would have been in person, on the phone or on email. These tools have transformed and streamlined the way in which business is conducted. We have even won new business
As we reflect on the past year, we take a look at what businesses will need to consider for the new normal when it comes to technology in the workplace. There’s much more to it than just digital, it’s about how to enable people, communication and relationships in business to be more effective and productive. without having ever met our new clients in person! I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – migrating to the cloud makes it possible for your workforce to work anywhere and is a worthwhile investment for any organisation that continues to adopt remote working.
If the pandemic has taught us anything it is that people can work effectively from anywhere, so moving forward technology will need to enable the individual. Businesses will need to support their staff whether they are working from home, in a co-working space or in the office. Ensuring employees have laptops instead of desktops, setting up hot desks in the office and installing docking stations are fantastic solutions that businesses can implement fairly easily. Microsoft offers a hot desk booking application and there are many other tools and apps available to help with the return to the office. Although we can soon start heading back into the office, hybrid working is likely to be preferred for many employees (and employers). In fact, according to a recent ONS survey, 55% of people favoured a hybrid model of splitting their time between working from home and being in the office. Businesses will need to embed this in their culture to stay competitive or employees may vote with their feet.
Larger corporations, such as Nationwide and BP, have already announced that all their employees will be able to work from home. We are confident that we will see small to medium sized businesses also leading the way to adopt hybrid working as it will be on a more manageable scale and could decrease overhead costs.
Get ready for the new normal
The past year has forced many organisations to go through digital transformation very quickly to ensure they can still do business productively and profitably, which has resulted in a shift change of how technology is viewed: that technology is seen as more than just a necessary cost.
Get your business ready for the new normal Whether you’re hybrid working, back in the office, or working remotely, Microsoft 365 Business Premium ensures your business stays secure, connected and productive. As a Microsoft Gold Partner we have the knowledge and the know-how to migrate you to the cloud swiftly and efficiently without any fuss.
Intelligent cloud services Edit and share documents, photos, and more from anywhere, on all your devices
Collaborate Connect with customers and co-workers from anywhere using Outlook, Exchange, and Teams
Advanced security Get best-in-class, comprehensive security for your data and devices
Sounds good, doesn’t it? Talk to us today and begin your Microsoft 365 Business Premium journey
Businesses that view digital technology and business transformation as an investment and embed it into their overall business strategy will ensure they create a sustained competitive advantage. The consequences of the pandemic are huge and farreaching, and the good news is that technology continues to evolve to support these new ways of working. By embracing what technology can do for your business and with a willingness to work differently you will enable business success, not just for now, but for the long-term.
Visit us at select-technology.co.uk Call us on 01892 830 111 Thinking Business
How to spot fake crowdfunding pages Cyber crime is on the rise. The COVID pandemic has spawned a new generation of unscrupulous cyber criminals who are hell bent on making money from other people’s misfortune. UK businesses lost more than £6.2 million to cyber scams over the past year, according to police data analysed by cyber security company Nexor – with a 31% increase in cases during the height of the pandemic in May and June last year. One of the ways in which fraudsters have tried to con people is through fake crowdfunding pages. The charity Tree of Hope has recently been discussing the issue of fraudulent crowdfunding pages, so the recent headline “Cancer faker Nicole Elkabbas jailed after Gofundme scam” immediately caught the organisation’s eye. Ms Elkabbas pretended she had cancer and used a picture of herself which was taken when she had a routine operation, to try to add validity to her story. The scam was spotted by medical staff and Ms Elkabbas received a custodial sentence, having spent the money raised on gambling, holidays and dining out. Particularly nowadays, money is scarcer than usual, so potential donors want reassurance that the cause they’re donating to is genuine and that their money will fund the specified needs. In Ms Elkabbas case, none of the facts were checked and the faker scammed more than 700 unsuspecting donors. Although many crowdfunding sites have put in place measures to combat fraud, for those who fall victim to fake pages, the damage is done and credibility for all campaigns is called into question. That’s why fundraising with a registered charity such as Tree of Hope provides significant donor reassurance, as the organisation is regulated and adheres to strict standards of fundraising best practice.
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The charity said: “When approached by a family wishing to fundraise through us, we check that the family exists, that the child has the condition, and that their needs are fully specified. Donor reassurance is why so many trusts, foundations and supporters come through Tree of Hope’s site to make donations to campaigns they do not know personally. Charity linked pages will contain a logo and weblink – if they are not there, ask yourself, is this campaign real? “So, don’t let this put you off donating, but rather let our thoughts make you stop and think before donating, to ensure that your money will make a difference to a real person with a real need.” Despite the risk of cyber crime, the digital age is dictating the way in which we do business. Having a website with engaging content is vital to attract and retain customers.
Supersonic Playground designs and builds highperforming websites for business owners across the south east to help them remain visible to potential customers. Here the company outlines five key signs that indicate that you may need a new website.
Your website isn’t responsive If your website is not responsive, then a new website is critical. Consumers want to access your site from any device with ease, and it’s also a key ranking factor that could negatively impact your search rankings.
You’re not getting conversions If you’re getting traffic but not leads, then you might need to rethink your user experience, including calls-to-action, page layout and navigation. Try installing a free tool such as HotJar to determine where users are dropping off on your site. If you’ve noticed a
complete decline, it might also be worth investing in some advanced user research.
Your website is slow With bounce rates increasing by 90% when a site takes longer than five seconds to load, speed can make or break your website. We recommend using a Page Speed checker to monitor your site’s speed and fixing any immediate issues to boost speed.
Your branding has changed Strong branding is vital for building loyalty and recognition, so your website must reflect this. As your company grows, your branding may evolve or undergo a complete rebrand. Either way, a new website is a no-brainer.
It’s hard to update your content If you can’t effortlessly update and manage your website without the support of an agency or freelancer, then we strongly recommend a new site. However, keep this in mind when choosing your new partner to avoid the same issue later down the line. For information visit www.supersonicplayground.com
The Computer People
The Computer Lady, established by Alison Gordon in January 2014 and Red Boot Tech Services, owned and run by Dave Turnbull since February 2019 have now officially joined forces to become 'The Computer People'. The company ethos is based on a strong belief in putting the client and exceptional service first, with this in mind the aim is to bring good value, jargon-free technical support to all customers. Between them, they have 60 years relevant experience working in the IT field, covering both small businesses and major PLC’s. They endorse repairing, updating, rejuvenating, and re-using equipment wherever possible and then recycling your IT when it reaches the end of its serviceable life. The shop is conveniently placed, just off the High Street in New Romney. A call out service is available when necessary. A dedicated workshop has recently been added to provide repairs and upgrades to laptops, desktops, phones and computers. Using cloud-based technology, the range of services offered include proactive remote monitoring and maintenance for both domestic and business users. Support and advice for Microsoft, Apple and Android devices is freely available.
It pays to be savvy about cyber crime Jorges Geddes of cloud communications specialist Glemnet says investing in cyber security can save businesses a small fortune…
and risks to businesses has contributed to a general lack of investment towards cyber security defences for many. Many businesses do not understand the perceived threats and some claim it’s too expensive. Others believe – erroneously – that they’re too small to be targeted by a cyber-criminal. Some even think that their anti-virus software will protect them from a cyber attack, when it probably offers only around 15% protection. They may be unaware, for example, that they should have a firewall in place and a method of encrypting their data.
“Cyber-criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are looking for new ways of exploiting unsuspecting victims – through COVID-related scams, for example, or fake crowdfunding platforms. Those who are caught potentially stand to lose a lot of money. A cyber attack has even forced some companies to go out of business. “Every other day we hear horror stories of companies losing vast amounts of money because they haven’t got their cyber security house in order. It’s a big problem for individuals and companies of all sizes – not just the large organisations. “So, why do companies not heed the warnings?” Lack of education on cyber security threats
“Some organisations have tried to recruit a cyber security expert – but they are in short supply. There are an estimated four million unfilled vacancies in this field, which shows that not enough people have the right skills. The other option is to do nothing, which leaves your business at great risk, or enlist the services of a cyber security partner such as Glemnet.
“Our recent acquisition of Cyber Secure, an independent provider of cyber security and risk mitigation services, enables us to offer a full suite of cyber security products, services and training in various areas. These include end point security, data loss prevention and compliance, managed threat response, GDPR provisioning, and vulnerability and penetration testing. “Essentially, we help businesses to be more secure, productive and efficient, free to work from anywhere, with any device, at any time, safely and securely. This frees up time for company owner-managers to do what they do best: run their own business.”
Glemnet is an independent service provider of cloud-based telephony systems and IT services to businesses. The Glemnet team has more than 19 years’ experience in determining the perfect solution for companies’ various communications needs – bringing the latest, most cost-effective cloud, unified communications and mobile technology to customers, together with exceptional technical service. Services range from cyber security expertise to IT support, help with GDPR compliance and cloud-based and hybrid telephony solutions. For more information visit www.glemnet.com
Back to Business
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14/05/2021 11:43 Thinking Business
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TOP TECH TALENT COMING SOON! As technology continues to move at pace and businesses endeavour to keep up, the need to onboard fresh talent, skilled in emerging and existing technologies, is becoming increasingly urgent. Recent research carried out by World Skills UK in partnership with the Learning and Work Institute, and Enginuity, shows that 60 per cent of businesses believe that their reliance on advanced digital skills is set to increase over the next five years. However, only 48 percent of UK employers believe young people are leaving full-time education with sufficient advanced digital skills. The burgeoning gap between the demand and supply of skilled specialists in areas such as programming, web development, digital marketing, artificial intelligence, and data analysis, makes for an uncertain future for many businesses struggling to recruit. However, a brand-new qualification designed by business and backed by Government is aiming to tackle the skills gap within the sector. T Levels have been created with employers in mind, serving up the skills business needs to continue to flourish in the future. Across East Kent, T Levels are being delivered by EKC Group’s family of colleges. At the Group’s Broadstairs College, they’re aiming to tackle the skills gap in the digital sector, providing cutting-edge specialist training in digital technologies to talented young residents, and offering local businesses an exciting new pipeline of highly skilled tech professionals. The T Level in Digital Production, Design and Development has been designed by sector leading businesses such as Cisco, Acer, and Siemens, in collaboration with the Government.
The unique two-year qualification gives the region’s most promising young talent the opportunity to develop comprehensive skills in areas including: software design; programming; project management; data analysis; technology ethics; and emerging innovations. Broadstairs College is encouraging East Kent businesses to participate in the T Levels programme, making the most of the opportunity to engage with brightest and the best of Kent’s home-grown talent before they enter the job market, through the provision of a work placement. The placements are your opportunity to help shape the next generation and promote careers in your sector to a new demographic. This can prove to be an effective way of boosting your local public profile, whilst addressing any recruitment or skills gaps in your business, safeguarding your talent pipeline. Businesses from all sectors are encouraged to take part. To learn more about T Levels and how your business can benefit from offering a work placement, contact EKC Group at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ekcgroup.ac.uk
Our world is changing at a rapid pace, with the scale and scope of technological advancement set to change the way we fundamentally live our lives. This, of course, is nothing new and whilst nobody truly knows how this will unfold, we do know one thing- current students and graduates are the next generation workforce who have grown with technology and had to adapt to new technological advances at an unparalleled pace, helping shape their education and future careers.
enabled management of their studies. Training in relevant specialist software for their industry is built into the curriculum, from systems such as Sage for students studying Accounting, through to Design and Creative students using software including digital SLRs, Adobe Creative Suite and Photoshop. Embedding accessible, cutting-edge technology as part of our degree courses is crucial to ensure our enterprising students have the skills, confidence, and experience to begin work in industry.
Digital technology embedded into the student journey
Housing the latest facilities and technologies, we have invested in multiple, new state-ofthe-art spaces, aimed to cultivate digital skills and build a talent pipeline based on the needs of the local and regional economy. Our new Creative Arts Building ‘Daphne Oram’ has created a vibrant digital learning culture encouraging students to generate and share ideas. Similarly, the EDGE Hub, based in
Our Digital Capabilities Strategy helps us to nurture digitally skilled students. From accessing learning resources, submitting assignments, to using video conferencing software for lectures and seminars, our students are engaging with tools for remote working, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and digitally
the University’s new £65m Verena Holmes Building is equipped with specialist Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine facilities and has been developed to support regional growth, through a sustainable pipeline of new Engineering and Technology graduates and an innovative industry offering. “From R&D and consultancy, to accessing student talent through projects or placements, businesses can benefit from the injection of expertise and innovation in a range of different ways. EDGE HUB brings together cutting-edge equipment across digital, industry 4.0 and industry 5.0, all in the heart of our Canterbury campus.”- Maxine Owen, Kent and Medway EDGE Hub Project Manager Recruitment and selection in a digital world Preparing our students for the world of work in a digital age is nuanced. Our Future 360 framework is designed to provide a holistic employability education that prepares our students to be adaptable, enterprising professionals. The University has a dedicated Careers and Enterprise service to support students with the skills they need to secure graduate
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.
positions, extending beyond academia and preparing them for their careers in industry. We asked Susannah Gilbert, Employability and Skills Officer, what resources are available to students to support them with their employability skills in a digital world:
Whilst this poses a challenge for businesses and students, Fielding does offer some helpful solutions, one being, encouraging organisations to utilise university partnerships with a diverse student population6.
“We have a range of tools and technologies to support students for interviews in both physical and virtual settings. CV360 and Interview360 are great online tools that prepare students for the modern recruitment process.”
GradForce, an Office for Students (OFS) funded project, offers a unique service which aims to help local graduates from under-represented groups, progress into graduate employment in local SMEs.
“We deliver standard Interview Preparation workshops and have recently weaved in employer-led workshops on Digital Interviews too”. The tools available are reflective of the virtual recruitment shift. CV360 assesses the quality of CVs in seconds, looking at elements such as colours, fonts, and keywords, emulating the initial automated screening process. Interview360 is an AI, mock interview system that provides feedback on a simulated interview. The software detects how much a person smiles or uses filler words such as ‘um’ offering feedback on how to improve interview technique in real time. Interview360 tunes into the latest screening trend in recruitment- the pre-recorded video interview1. Digitalisation and diversity – what are the impacts?
The acceleration towards digital recruitment due to the pandemic has meant that businesses have been forced to reassess their existing processes. A SELEP survey in July 2020 identified that 40% of regional businesses are looking to diversify their organisation and are turning to digital technologies to do this2. Recent research conducted by HandshakeUK explores some of challenges faced with the digitalisation of recruitment and selection. According to the report 63% of employers said they relied heavily on existing digital networks and relationships suggesting a possible bias towards already established connections3. If we take this further, it poses the question as to whether students with fewer connections are at a significant disadvantage, which has led to a newly coined term, ‘net-potism’: ‘The danger of recruiting from the same closed networks virtually and eschewing the opportunity of broader access’4. Rebecca Fielding goes on to highlight some key statistics detailing why digital recruitment isn’t always representative: •
‘22% of students don’t have the technology required to access online career services
• 18% do not have access to a tablet or laptop •
91% have experienced some kind of problem relating to the new way of conducting interviews during the pandemic
23% don’t have the room at home to interview via video’5
37% of CCCU’s students are from low participation areas, 12.6% have a declared disability and 10.5% identify as black. Progression rates into graduate employment for these groups are consistently lower and GradForce aims to significantly improve their outcomes by working closely with these students. One strand to the GradForce project is the ‘GetHired!’ programme, designed to enable students to secure their first graduate role. Offering unique guidance, workshops and specialist training, it offers a bespoke headhunting and matching service for businesses, with diversity being at the heart of its ethos.
Interested? If would like to find out more about how you can work with the University and our students and graduates, please get in contact with the Enterprise and Engagement team or the GradForce team directly at: e: email@example.com www.canterbury.ac.uk/business
If your organisation is one of the 40% of regional businesses looking to diversify your organisation and you’re considering digital technologies to do this, we have a range of options to support you in finding the talent you need, with the skills to innovate and adapt in a digital world. As research has shown, the more diverse the team, the greater business economic growth and success. https://www.360resourcing.co.uk/video-interview-fad-or-here-to-stay/ Businesses diversifying as digital emerges as frontrunner for post-COVID economic recovery – The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (southeastlep.com), July 2020). 3 ttps://www.linkedin.com/pulse/net-potism-what-means-graduate-recruitment-rebecca-fielding/ 4 Netpotism (joinhandshake.co.uk); https://www.joinhandshake.co.uk/netpotism 5 https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/net-potism-what-means-graduate-recruitment-rebecca-fielding/ 6 https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/net-potism-what-means-graduate-recruitment-rebecca-fielding/ 1 2
Four in ten exporters report falling sales in first quarter
The British Chambers of Commerce’s Trade Confidence Outlook for Q1 has revealed the stark issues facing UK exporters in the first months of this year. The survey of more than 2,900 UK exporters showed that the percentage of firms reporting lower export sales had increased to 41%, up from 38% in the previous quarter. The percentage of businesses reporting increased export sales fell to 20%, down from 22% in Q4 2020. Four in ten respondents said they had seen no change in their export sales. The historical percentage balance data for this indicator shows that the proportion of firms reporting increased export sales remains at a historically low level and has, in fact, worsened compared to the previous quarter. The balance of manufacturers reporting increased overseas sales was down to -9% from -8%, while the balance of services firms for this indicator dropped to -26% from -22%. For advance orders from overseas customers, the picture remained broadly the same. More than eight in ten (81%) hotels and catering firms reporting decreased advance exports sales, alongside 59% of
32 Thinking Business
Exporters want desperately to play their part in the UK economic recovery from COVID-19, but they are currently being hampered by issues outside of their control. Government must take further steps to bolster the UK export sector retail and wholesale businesses. Worryingly, this suggests that exporters are not seeing signs of the situation improving in the short term. A further sectoral breakdown reveals that hotels and catering firms and retail and wholesale companies were the worst hit, with 81% and 60% of respondents respectively reporting a decrease in export sales in the first quarter. Just 4% of hotels and catering firms reported an increase in export sales, with only 14% doing so in retail and wholesale. Among production, manufacturing, and construction firms, 36% reported
decreased export sales, with 27% reporting an increase and 37% reporting no change. Respondents cited Brexit and the impact of COVID-19 as the biggest causes of problems in trade. Firms told of issues such as shipping delays, increased cost of transporting goods and extensive paperwork requirements, with many seeing the problems they were facing as structural in nature rather than short-term issues likely to alleviate as companies adjusted to the changes in the UK-EU trading relationship.
Responding to the findings, coexecutive director of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), Hannah Essex, said: “Given that export sales are at some of the lowest levels ever recorded in the history of our data, the fact that this situation is continuing to deteriorate is concerning. These new figures show that UK exporters are currently facing a range of issues that go beyond just those that have been created by the pandemic. “Whilst our Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) earlier this month demonstrated that domestic sales had continued to recover towards pre-pandemic levels, these findings show that exports are not only failing to recover but are falling back. Many businesses are telling us that their ability to continue trading is at risk due to issues arising from the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). In response, government has taken a step in the right
direction with the establishment of the £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund, although we believe the scale of ambition needs to be much greater. “The message is loud and clear that the difficulties exporters are facing are not just teething problems. They are structural issues that, if they continue to go unaddressed, could lead to long-term, potentially irreversible weakness in the UK export sector. We are calling on both the UK and EU to get back around the table and produce solutions that reduce trade barriers and give exporters a fighting chance. “Exporters want desperately to play their part in the UK economic recovery from COVID-19, but they are currently being hampered by issues outside of their control. Government must take further steps to bolster the UK export sector and unleash its potential to help power economic growth in the aftermath of the current crisis.”
Book your FREE places here: www.kentinvictachamber.co.uk/events/bisea
Firms fight for survival but see route out of crisis
British Chambers of Commerce’s Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) found that business conditions remained historically poor in the first quarter of 2021 as the third lockdown severely limited activity.
34 Thinking Business
The marked improvement in business confidence suggests that the expected first quarter contraction in output will be the nadir for the UK economy in 2021 However, the bellwether survey of 6,103 firms also revealed that business confidence was boosted in the first three months of the year amid the strong vaccine roll-out and the government’s roadmap, which provided some ability for companies to forward plan. Overall, indicators of immediate business conditions remained troubling in Q1, with some deterioration from Q4 2020 and all key indicators still well below pre-COVID 19 levels. A total of 40% of firms reported a decrease in domestic sales in Q1, with business-to-consumer (B2C) firms seeing the largest falls in domestic sales in the quarter. Sectors with more scope to continue their operations during the pandemic – such as those that could shift to remote working – saw some improvement, albeit not close to pre-pandemic levels. More than a third (35%) of professional services and marketing & media firms reported increased sales in Q1, up from 29% and 28% respectively in Q4 2020. Cashflow continued to deteriorate for 41% of firms in Q1. One in five firms reported an improvement in cashflow, while 39% reported no change. Levels are broadly unchanged from Q4, which itself showed little improvement from Q3 following the historic lows in Q2 2020. Cashflow indicators continue to worsen most severely for hotels and catering firms. More than eight in ten (81%) of these firms reported a decrease in cashflow in Q1, up from 77% the previous quarter, with only 7% reporting an increase. Just under a third of firms (30%) continued to report reduced investment in plant, machinery and equipment. This is a small improvement from Q4, when 35% reported a decrease, and follows
Q2, which had the largest proportion of firms revising down investment in the history of the survey. Just 19% of firms said they were planning to invest, a marginal improvement from 17% in Q3. Overall, 55% of firms said they expected their turnover to increase over the next 12 months – the highest since Q1 2020 (the last pre-pandemic quarter) as more confidence returned to the market. More than one in five (22%) expected it to decrease, a fall from the 34% recorded in the previous quarter, and 23% expected no change. Suren Thiru, head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “Our latest survey indicates a particularly difficult first quarter of the year for the UK economy, as a third lockdown and post-Brexit border disruption weighed heavily on key indicators of activity. “We are currently witnessing a twospeed services sector. Consumerfocused services companies, where activity is most limited by lockdown controls, suffered an especially damaging quarter. In contrast, business and professional services firms, where adapting to operate under restrictions is more straightforward, fared markedly better. “Manufacturers had a challenging three months, with delays to supply chains caused by the ongoing disruption to post-Brexit trade weighing on the sector. “The marked improvement in business confidence suggests that the expected first quarter contraction in output will be the nadir for the UK economy in 2021. However, the economic scarring from COVID may mean that the recovery is dramatically uneven across different sectors, locations and cohorts of people.”
Nigel champions business success
Lewis & Co celebrates 35th anniversary
I’m a business consultant with more than 40 years’ experience in the utility, construction and engineering sectors, from the shop floor to the boardroom.
I have experience of project management, training, business unit management, coaching and all areas of health, safety, environment, and quality (HSEQ), including building and development of an integrated management system (IMS) for ISO 9001, 14001 & 45001, identification and control of risk, monitoring including auditing and inspections, accident reporting and investigation and safety culture improvement programmes.
Southborough-based accountancy firm Lewis & Co – which was founded by Barney Lewis - celebrates its 35th anniversary this May.
and approachable, and it is a culture which managing director Gary Cornwell, who joined the firm in 2003, continues to this day.
Gary Cornwell first met Barney when he was sent to Lewis & Co for two weeks of work experience while still at school.
Barney qualified as a chartered accountant in 1971 and then embarked on a career which took him to Singapore, Borneo and New Zealand, before returning to London where he worked for firms including Wedgewood. This was followed by a spell as chief accountant at Swiss Life in Sevenoaks.
Gary said: “We’ve remained fairly small and used that to our advantage. Our clients know who they are speaking to when they call us and we are always prompt in replying to any enquiries. We continue to be that friendly practice which Barney created all those years ago and a lot of our new business comes from word-of-mouth referrals.”
Then, 35 years ago, Barney decided to set up his own business and Lewis & Co was born. The firm grew in 1991 when he purchased an accountancy practice in Chatham, and again in 1995 when Barney bought part of a Tonbridge-based practice.
Barney said: “I often speak to Gary to see how things are going and I love to see the Lewis & Co name when I drive through Southborough; it makes me proud to think it’s something I created.”
Here are some examples of areas where I may be able to help your business:
Barney built a firm which prides itself on being personable, friendly
• Does your business have an IMS? If not, would it benefit from having an effective one to help improve efficiency and increase sales opportunities?
Motorline Audi Group wins top awards
• If your business has an IMS, are you maximising the value from it? If not, would you like to know how you might be able to maximise the value? • Do you have a shortterm requirement for project management support? • Do you have new staff members who would benefit from some external coaching/mentoring? • If your business HSEQ performance is causing concern, would you like to know how you could make improvements? • If you are not sure your business is satisfying all of your legal and moral obligations in terms of HSEQ, would you like to know how to go about doing so? If you have answered yes to any of the above, then there is a good chance I may be able to help you and your business – so please get in touch. For more information visit www.nec-associates.co.uk
36 Thinking Business
The Audi division within Canterbury-based Motorline Group has claimed two of the most prestigious awards from Audi UK: the Audi Improvement Q Power Award 2020 and Audi Aftersales Achievement Q Power Award 2020. Announced at the virtual annual Audi UK Q Power awards, which celebrates the efforts of Audi retailer network members who have performed at the highest level in sales, after-sales and customer experience, Motorline Audi Group received the Progression for Improvement 2020 accolade.
visit: www.lewisandco.biz to find out more.
The award recognised the outstanding level of performance and improvements made by the Canterbury, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells businesses in the last 12 months, with Motorline rising 14 places in the Audi Group league and placing the Kent-based Audi retailer group in the top ten of key partners within Audi.
Tunbridge Wells Audi – led by head of business Miles Sixsmith and aftersales manager Jim Wood, along with parts manager Mark Jones – won the 2020 Aftersales Achievement Award, which recognises their outstanding performance and agility in delivering outstanding results in challenging conditions.
Colin Jackson, Audi operations director at Motorline, said: “It’s wonderful to receive these awards as recognition for the outstanding efforts of our Audi management team and they are testament to the dedication and focus of all of our staff.”
Andrew Doyle, Audi UK managing director, said: “The whole Audi network has shown incredible resilience during the past 12 months. It’s hard to believe that only a year ago, we were largely unimpacted by COVID-19 and mostly unaware of the disruption that would follow to our lives and our business. This years’ awards are therefore all the more poignant, and on behalf of everyone at Audi UK, I would like to take the opportunity to say a huge thank you to each and every member of the Motorline Audi team for their commitment, passion and continued efforts.” www.motorline.co.uk/audi/centres/
Smart home system specialist makes waves in the market New Wave AV creates bespoke smart home systems and multi-room audio visual solutions for any style of property or business within Kent, Surrey, Essex and London.
Since we were first established in 2003, we have specialised in the design and installation of smart home automation, multi-room audio visual, home cinema and lighting control. The systems we install can be for a single room, the whole house or an entire multi-dwelling development.
quality service at every stage of the project cycle from the first consultation, design stages, site installation and post-completion support. With our headquarters located just outside of Tonbridge, this enables us to offer customers and trade professionals a full demonstration of the technology
we install. Our meeting space also allows us to consult with clients, architects, interior designers and construction companies and we regularly provide educational continued professional development (CPD) courses to these professional partners. You can entrust your client to us, and our goal will be to exceed their smart home technology and audio-visual expectations. That’s why professionals from across the south east have consistently recommended New Wave AV to their customers for home cinemas, multi-room and wholehome systems for nearly 20 years. www.newwaveav.co.uk
Our talented team of more than ten employees has some of the best training and experience that the industry can offer. This investment of time and effort means we remain at the forefront of new home technologies. We are all committed to delivering
Securitatem renews Chamber membership Securitatem Installations, part of the Securitatem Group, has renewed its membership of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. Established in 2012, the company is insuranceapproved to design, supply, install and maintain security systems including intruder/ burglar alarms, access control and CCTV systems. Based in Harrietsham in Kent, the company predominantly covers Kent, London, the home counties and the south east. Led by ex-law enforcement professionals with a lifetime of experience in providing security
and security advice, Securitatem Installations is NSI NACOSS Gold, ISO9001-approved. The company aims to provide safety through security, delivering the highest public service standards for clients, and is an Alcumus Safe Contractor and Alcumus Safe PQQ contractor.
Securitatem Installations holds a bronze armed forces covenant and supports the armed forces community. A company spokesperson said: “We believe passionately that everyone has a right to feel safe and secure at home and are reassured that businesses and other valuable assets are
protected from attack. We have an expert team of technicians with many years of experience designing, installing and maintaining bespoke security systems across complex and straightforward situations for commercial, domestic and government customers.
“Using the latest smart technologies across a range of manufacturers, suppliers and products, we will undertake a no-obligation free survey to provide your perfect security solution based on your property and circumstances. “All of our staff are security screened and employed.” www.securitateminstallations.com
Lawyer outlines landlords’ options amid eviction ban extension A property lawyer has said landlords still have the opportunity to remove tenants in certain circumstances, despite the government’s recent decision to extend a ban on bailiff evictions and the forfeiture of commercial leases.
Property litigation expert Sarah Woolnough, an associate with law firm Furley Page, said: “During the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has been quick to introduce legislation and regulations to protect both commercial and residential tenants from being evicted when, often through no fault of their own, they have accumulated rent arrears. “This has created challenges for commercial and residential landlords, many of whom have also suffered financially. In fact, landlords can still issue notices to seek possession in residential cases and can still take court proceedings to get a possession order. It is just going to take longer than usual to actually obtain possession if a bailiff eviction is required. “Commercial landlords also have a limited number of other avenues open to them if the tenant is not paying the rent. Forfeiture for reasons other than non-payment of rent is also permitted.” The government has said that bailiffs will not evict tenants unless there is a “serious reason”, such as if someone is living in the property illegally, in instances of antisocial behaviour, where false statements have been used to secure the tenancy, or if the tenant owes six months’ rent or more. Sarah continued: “For commercial landlords the government has announced that the restrictions on forfeiture for non-payment of rent arrears has been pushed back from March 31 2021 to June 30 2021. “Meanwhile, residential landlords are still going to have to issue notices to seek possession of their rental properties by giving tenants six months’ notice, while the current ban on bailiff evictions of residential tenants has been pushed back from March 31 2021 to at least May 31 2021, which leaves the door open for further extensions.” For more information visit www.furleypage.co.uk
Just two little words Some of our favourite phrases consist of three little words. The ever-joyful “I love you”, the fading popularity of “happy new year”, the long-time-ago “what’s your drink?” and the infuriatingly amusing one of “you’re on mute”.
They convey a short, sharp message which needs little else to explain its meaning. We all actually know a two-word phrase that would be amongst the most popular uttered by the thousands of lawyers who send us their dictation to transcribe. “Dear Sir…” Short, simple to understand, inoffensive, and very clear in its message – one would think. But is it one we should now reflect upon? Was this term just a stereotypical relic from a legal sector once dominated by white, middle-class men? Was it because when writing to firms, companies and the courts, one might have expected the reader to be male? Perhaps that part of the useful clause, “words denoting any gender include all genders” deals very wisely with the matter? So, the two-word subject of my article is probably not the worst example we can think of regarding any sort of gender bias, but it may make us ponder a little bit about some of the ostensibly non-contentious phrases we use each day, and whether they do have any underlying sentiment attached to them.
Unità 4 launches in Ashford We are delighted to announce the launch of Unità 4 (Unita Quattro), a family-friendly restaurant serving the freshest pasta and pizza in Ashford!
This May, in line with the easing of lockdown restrictions, head chef and restauranteur Damiano Vecchio will be welcoming diners to his new restaurant in Elwick Place. We know that everyone is eager to meet friends and family, to share food and laugher together again. Unità 4 will offer a destination on your doorstep, combining an authentic Italian
dining experience with the warmth and welcome of his native Puglia – the heel of Italy’s boot! Set to become an exciting new attraction for pasta and pizza lovers, Unità 4 features a purposebuilt Pasta Workshop kitchen. Our chefs will be seen kneading, stretching and turning fresh dough into delicious pasta, ready to be drenched in tasty homemade tasty Italian sauces. Alongside familiar favourites, our menu includes seasonal dishes including our Pappardelle duck
and rosemary ragout with smoked Scamorza cheese, fusilli with smoked salmon, leeks & walnuts, and Gnocchetti sardi with prawns, pumpkin and sage. Vegetarians and vegans will discover an array of tempting dishes, such as our Orecchiette pasta with locally sourced wild broccoli, garlic and chilli, and our Strascinati pasta with Spello lentils, mixed wild mushrooms and truffle oil. As well as trying new dishes at Unità 4, visitors will be able to learn new skills in our pasta workshop kitchen. Damiano and his team will host interactive cooking classes where guests can learn the art of artisanal pastamaking from scratch. Damiano said: “I’m very excited to be in Ashford. My aim is to create a happy and welcoming environment for guests to enjoy freshly made pasta while feeling the positive Italian vibes.” For more information visit www.unita4.com
Charitable foundation seeks Chamber member support Canterbury-based Warnborough Foundation, a new member of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, is calling on fellow members to become involved in a new employability and entrepreneurship project.
The foundation is the charitable arm of Warnborough College, which has a long history of providing education and charitable services to the community. Working alongside local agencies and community partners, the foundation has developed rapid-access training through a dynamic, new, fully-mentored, two-
stage programme, HELM (Help, Earn, Learn, Master).
This training will assist marginalised people with the support of the county’s business community. Both stages include work placements and volunteering. Stage one, Compass, will help people who have never had a job or who are unemployed. Participants will be paired with personal mentors and learn up-todate workplace skills.
opportunities for people who have the skills and desire to become entrepreneurs as they take the steps needed to begin the journey towards running stable, successful businesses. The programme includes inspirational start-up and development advice sessions from experienced entrepreneurs, as well as training in areas such as financing, marketing, systems and processes.
(*I hope you appreciate my entirely non-gender specific sign-off.)
The foundation invites Chamber members to become part of a task-force of willing businesses to help empower people for a better future. For both stages, we are seeking subject specialists and mentors, together with opportunities for work experience, internships and voluntary activities. Donations and sponsorships are also welcomed.
For more information visit www.documentdirect.co.uk
For more information visit warnborough.foundation
Dear reader*, I wish you well in your future greetings.
38 Thinking Business
Stage two, HELM, is an all-inclusive innovation hub with training and
asktheexpert What are the benefits of outsourcing your business administration?
progress on tasks at 7.30 in the morning, that’s not a problem for the VA. • Cost – you only pay for the hours you need. Taking on an employee to do the work can often be much more expensive and if it doesn’t work out, it could cost even more to replace this person. With a VA, you can offer a few hours or a few days per week depending on your needs, and if your requirements fluctuate you can simply amend your agreement with the VA.
This time last year, the thought of outsourcing your admin tasks to a virtual assistant might have seemed as likely as flying to the moon. Back then, the world was different; people used to go into the office regularly, there was less remote-working and most companies had a dedicated staff member who would carry out basic, but essential, admin tasks. Now, however, this may not be the case. The COVID crisis has spawned a wave of redundancies, working from home has become the norm and managers have less time on their hands as they attempt to recover losses and find new business.
In this tumultuous trading environment, more managers are seeking a low-cost, flexible service that can help them with everyday admin tasks on an ad hoc basis – and that’s where the virtual assistant comes in. Virtual assistants, or VAs for short, can take on the tasks that release valuable time for managers to do the things they need to keep their business in good shape. These tasks can be anything from research and report writing to proofreading or simply responding to e-mails. There are multiple commercial benefits of outsourcing your business administration: • No overheads – there’s no need to provide an office/ desk/ computer as a VA comes ready prepared. • Flexibility – VAs work around your business needs. If you need to discuss workloads or
• Time tracking/ budgeting – you’ll quickly get an idea of how long it takes a VA to do routine tasks so you can easily budget moving forward. • Efficiency – By outsourcing admin work, you can concentrate on running your business. Effectively you’re buying back your time. • Structure – a VA can help you to add structure to your working week, organising your diary, responding to emails and structuring your inbox. Over the past three decades, Sarah Rose has provided dedicated administrative support to managers and directors in dozens of businesses. Based from a home office in Kent, she’s able to offer a range of cost-effective, flexible VA services including data entry, electronic filing, research and report-writing, and preparation of invoices. For more information visit www.srvas.co.uk
SMASH YOUR ADMIN MOUNTAIN get things done with a VA
firstname.lastname@example.org Thinking Business
Pandemic prompts rise in enquiries about Lasting Powers of Attorney Kent law firm Furley Page has seen an increase in enquiries about Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic leads more people to put arrangements in place now in case they become ill. LPAs allow an individual to make provisions in advance of a deterioration in their health, ensuring that someone they trust is able to deal with their affairs should they become incapable of managing their own finances or personal welfare.
CooperBurnett celebrates 40 years in business Tunbridge Wells-based law firm CooperBurnett, has celebrated its 40th anniversary.
Victoria Sampson, partner and head of the corporate and commercial services team, who has spent 25 years with the firm herself, said: “We are so proud to be celebrating this significant milestone and it’s particularly touching that there are many of us who have been with
The importance of LPAs was recently highlighted in a documentary about the challenges TV presenter Kate Garraway has faced since her husband was admitted to hospital with COVID-19 over a year ago.
Val said: “Kate Garraway’s situation was complicated by the lack of legal protection she and Derek had in place. Kate was unable to access funds to manage her husband’s care or refinance her mortgage. She didn’t even have the legal right to see his medical notes, owing to data protection. “Recent research by Solicitors for the Elderly shows that 65% of us think our next-of-kin will make medical and care decisions for us if we are no longer able to. In reality, this isn’t the case unless a health and welfare LPA is in place. Whilst there’s been a rise in the number of enquiries made about Lasting Power of Attorneys (LPAs) during the pandemic, only 22% of people in the UK actually have one. “To avoid this difficult kind of legal situation it’s important to use a specialist lawyer who is experienced in this area of the law, and is trained to support people making these crucial, complex and difficult decisions.” For more information visit www.furleypage.co.uk
40 Thinking Business
The longest-serving member of the team is Debbie Charman, who joined CooperBurnett in July 1985, aged 17. Debbie, who progressed to trainee secretary and eventually to PA/secretary, said: “Initially
it was just to do a two-week holiday cover for general office, but I was offered a full-time job at the end. The firm has always had a family feel to it; you don’t feel like just an employee.” Hazel Cullen has been with CooperBurnett for 33 years, having joined aged 15 a week after leaving school. Hazel started in the general office team, progressing to a PA role. She worked in the commercial department for nine years, then directly for the then senior partner and now works in residential property.
Partner Joseph Oates said: “We are delighted to be celebrating 40 years this month and are proud of what we have achieved over those years. As a team we are confident that we have a brilliant future ahead of us and are embarking on our next 40 years with much confidence and excitement.”
In the documentary, “Kate Garraway: Finding Derek”, Kate openly discusses the difficulties she has faced since her husband, Derek Draper, was admitted to hospital in March 2020. Val Prosser, a senior associate with Furley Page, is an accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly.
CooperBurnett for a significant amount of that time. This really says something about us as a firm and our people. We are proud to be #TeamCB.”
Environmental Decontamination Services ticks the boxes
Duty of care, risk assessments, infection prevention and control are paramount for all businesses. Should anyone test positive for COVID-19 or another condition, go into isolation and we will make your property safe for you and your other colleagues. This is achieved by providing a thorough and speedy decontamination service; we will provide proof of treatment (we deal with invisible viruses, bacteria mould and yeast that deep cleaning alone is unlikely to eradicate) and certification for audit reporting. The Countess of Chester NHS Foundation Trust has selected the Decontaminator to provide services on their decontamination solutions framework. This is to provide services to NHS central and local government, schools and a variety of other authorising bodies.
STOP infection is our app. Simply enter the scope of work required by sizes and a price will be offered. Should you wish to progress to booking, the form is then made available. The Health and Safety Executive has recently posted this on its website; we use the same methods suggested in the text: www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/ disinfecting-premisesduring-coronavirus-outbreak. htm#cleaning_premises If you have need of our services and want to tick the boxes, please get in touch.
New Date! 7th October 2021
Kent Event Centre, Detling
New date confirmed for the major annual event for the Construction Industry
With Government pilot events in full swing and early findings showing that conference and business events can run successfully and as close to normal as you could expect, we look forward to welcoming you back to the Kent Event Centre on 7th October 2021. Opening Keynote from Oliver Heath:
Valuing & Implementing Health and Wellbeing in the Built Environment
Programme topics include: • Bouncing Back from Covid-19: Resilience, recovery and key learnings for the future
• Local Update: Major infrastructure developments in Kent & the South East
• Sustainable Innovation: Moving towards a Circular Construction Economy
• Build, Build, Build: How the government wants construction to kickstart the UK economy
• Health & Safety: Adapting to the post-Covid and postGrenfell world
• Brexit Planning: The effects of Brexit on UK Construction
• Construction Futures: Key trends & technologies
• Legal Matters: The new Corporate Insolvency & Governance Bill and other headaches
• BIM & Digitisation: Tackling the pain points to unlock the benefits
• Mental Health Awareness: Has lockdown helped or hindered? • Construction Pathways: Mapping out a professional career in the industry
We are committed to providing highly productive opportunities for decision makers to learn, meet and do business together in a safe environment, we look forward to bringing you together again this October. Event Partner
Gala Dinner Sponsor
For more information on exhibiting or visiting please visit
Kent Invicta LIVE Events Every Tuesday and Thursday 10:30am* *SUBJECT TO CHANGE
Every week we bring you an eclectic mix of information sessions, workshops, panel sessions and training sessions with some of the top local business professionals from an array of different industries. Each event is designed to mirror our face-to-face events, offering invaluable information tailored to our attendee’s wants and needs. So far, we have helped offer over 8,000 attendees throughout our online event programme, offering support and guidance through hardship.
SME Brexit Support Training Programme
UPCOMING EVENTS: n 8th June
Kent Invicta LIVE: 5 Vital Metrics To Measure To Ensure Your Business Is Growing Online
n 10th June
Business Talks with Kaz Macklin
n 15th June
Virtual Business Networking
n 22nd June
How To Become an Employer of Choice
n 24th June
Business Talks with Kelly Chawner
n 29th June
Virtual Business Networking
n 29th June
The Future of Work Roundtable
n 30th June
Furley Page - Employment Law Webinar
n 1st July
Broadcast Your Business
n 6th July
KCFG LIVE: Bringing the Construction Industry Together
n 8th July
Business Talks with Kaz Macklin
n 13th July
Virtual Business Networking
n 15th July
SheMeansBusiness - Turn Your Business International
n 22nd July
Business Talks with Kelly Chawner
PLUS Many More…
Qualify for the BCC Foundation Award in International Trade. Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce has a number of nationally accredited international trade courses delivered by the Accredited Chamber Network that together form an import and export curriculum. These courses are a Level 2 British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) Accredited International Training Course: 9th June 15th June 7th July 14th July 21st July
Inward and Outward Processing Customs Procedures and Documentation INCOTERMS 2020 Introduction to Export Procedures and Documentation Importing Procedures
Time: 9:30 am – 1 pm
Members: £300.00 + VAT Non-Members: £350.00 + VAT (Grant available - contact: email@example.com )
For all events and to book your place:
www.kentinvictachamber.co.uk/events 42 Thinking Business
Britain in South East Asia (BiSEA) Conference and Roadshow Thinking about growing your business and exporting to South East Asia? Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce brings you this FREE online event which will provide you with the opportunity to meet in-market representatives and discuss export opportunities specific to your business. Monday 21st June - Conference 9:00 am - 12:00 pm Tuesday 22nd, Wednesday 23rd June – Booking Slots Open Thursday 24th, Friday 25th 1-2-1 Appointments 9:00am – 12:00pm www.kentinvictachamber.lpages.co/bisea-conference-2021
Kent Construction Focus Group LIVE: Bringing the Construction Industry Together
Business Talks with Kaz Macklin and Kelly Chawner
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.
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 to your Chamber Membership Development Manager, who will be on hand to help you meet new members of the business community.
The first Tuesday of every month, 7:30am – 9:00am.
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:
KCFG Members: Free to attend Non-KCFG Member: £10.00 + VAT
• Business Walks!: A virtual tour around our guest’s business and chat with them afterwards • Breakout rooms to allow more in-depth conversations 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
BCC Global Annual Conference 2021 – Return to Prosperity and Growth How can we break through the difficult legacy left by the pandemic and move to a brighter future for the UK economy, leading to growth, resilient businesses and jobs? Both days will feature an impressive roster of senior political figures, Leader to Leader ‘In Conversation’ sessions, panels, interactive workshops and essential keynotes, exploring how we can restore confidence and build a more resilient sustainable future that supports businesses to recover, grow, invest and thrive. 16th June - 17th June, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm Members: Free to attend Non-Members: Free to attend Follow the link to register: www.kentinvictachamber.co.uk/events/
“The Chamber has produced some extremely good Webinars this year, myself and other members of the team have found them very useful indeed. So again, thank you to all involved.’’ Emily Rushton, Reginald Ames
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
For all events and to book your place:
www.kentinvictachamber.co.uk/events Thinking Business
Hauling Construction forward with IBA Aggregate
As the post COVID economic recovery gathers pace, Ardula Limited, a key provider of construction logistics, waste management, soil stabilisation, and land remediation, has been building supply chain relationships that will see the company, and it’s subsidiary PTC (South East) Limited, cement their position as providers of solutions for aggregate and waste requirements across Kent and Sussex.
Ardula Limited directors Ricky Hemmings and Phil Brasier are well known for their hands on approach to business, and like each supply opportunity to have their thumb print, by way of close involvement with the product stakeholders, from aggregate producer through to end user.
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. With Ardula and PTC already supplying over 250,000 tonnes of aggregate into Kent each year, the addition of a further 50,000 tonnes will compliment the company’s aggregate offerings and boost it’s already established environmental credentials, with this tonnage set to grow organically in the coming months and years. The product, due to it’s origins, requires a high degree of understanding, and this is where the Ardula reputation for customer service comes to the fore. 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 formally as Incinerator Bottom Ash Aggregates So, what exactly is IBA? Incinerator Bottom Ash (IBA) is generated from the Kemsley EfW in Kent and is processed by Fortis IBA Ltd, a leading IBA Processor. Fortis’s processes recover ferrous and nonferrous metals which are re-used worldwide to relieve the burden on mass extraction of low yielding virgin metal ores such as copper. The other main part of the process produces a secondary aggregate that is used as an alternative to primary or quarried aggregate in the construction industry, IBA Aggregate. The processing and subsequent use of IBA Aggregate across Kent demonstrates a clear and powerful commitment by the county to both regional and global sustainability. The provision of sustainable secondary aggregate from Kent’s own EfW reduces the requirement for locally sourced primary aggregate and avoids the import of aggregate from further afield. The country is facing a limited availability of primary aggregates and the use of alternative sustainable construction materials such as IBA Aggregate are now becoming essential to the future of construction. The need to maintain supplies of minerals for the growing economy and construction industry has been driving the development of IBA Aggregate through advancements in technology and innovation.
The combined positive impact on the environment is quite profound when also considering that for every one tonne of IBA Aggregate used in construction, approximately 400 black bin bags that are generated by Kent residents, are successfully diverted from landfill. Fortis has seen significant demand for its IBA Aggregate within the construction industry over recent years, and as a result it is now recognised as a high performing alternative to primary aggregates with established end markets. Offering another solution which specifies the use of readily available secondary aggregates over primary aggregates demonstrates significant cost savings to everyone involved as well as protecting tonnes of natural resources and diverting our waste from landfill. Investment in waste treatment infrastructure has resulted in significant growth within the energy from waste sector and as a result the processing of IBA to recover aggregates and metals is important in achieving recycling targets and meeting the aims and objectives of the circular economy. IBA Aggregate has a key part to play in providing the building blocks for highways and construction projects as well as being part of the solution for the country’s waste. It deserves to be recognised as one of the most sustainable and essential resources. As the country moves out of lockdown and the economy gathers momentum, Ardula will once again be ‘hauling construction forward’ by having a key supply role in this innovative and sustainable product, not only from direct sales to end users, but by technical liaison with developers, road designers, and statutory authorities, important in establishing the longevity of IBA as a preferred recycled aggregate. Ardula Limited directors Ricky Hemmings and Phil Brasier are well known for their hands on approach to business, and like each supply opportunity to have their thumb print, by way of close involvement with the product stakeholders, from aggregate producer through to end user. This includes Brett Aggregates, one of the county’s oldest aggregate producers, and now playing an integral part in the sales, development, compliance, and environmental management processes associated with IBA aggregates and other recycled products.
IBA aggregate is most commonly used in road construction, as a replacement for structural aggregate layers underneath tarmac, but has other applications as a structural fill material or drainage aggregate. Customer feedback is very positive, in an often fickle and set in its way construction industry, with traditionalist site workers becoming increasingly aware that IBA is a modern sustainable material that’s easy to work with and does the job they need it to. Waste to Energy facilities continue to be built and in time, the Ardula Limited directors see this product becoming the normal construction material. Certainly the investment being made by Fortis IBA would underline that thought, and as long as we continue to generate nonrecyclable waste as a society, it’s fair to say that IBA is here to stay.
T: 01622 873300 M:07738 803093 www.ardula.co.uk
SEVENOAKS MEDICAL CENTRE MARKS FIRST YEAR UNDER KIMS HOSPITAL OWNERSHIP A private Sevenoaks-based medical centre, that opened its doors under new ownership at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, is celebrating its first anniversary, 12 months after being acquired by KIMS Hospital, the largest independent hospital in Kent.
KIMS Hospital’s CEO Simon James, along with Chief Nurse Jackie Groom, visited the centre on Tuesday 16 March to recognise the achievements of its first year. Most recently, the centre has played a vital community role as a vaccination hub, enabling the local Primary Care Network’s vaccination service rollout. To date 13,000 people have been vaccinated at the centre. Simon James said, “No-one could have predicted the challenges of the past year, but we are delighted to have been able to play our part in protecting the health of the Sevenoaks community. We are extremely proud of how we have been able to respond and support the vaccine rollout. “16 March marked one year since the first patient attended Sevenoaks Medical Centre. As COVID-19 cases continue to decline across the county, we are pleased to be able to open our doors again to private patients wanting fast access to healthcare close to where they live and continuing our support to the local community.”
More than 2,300 private consultant appointments and over 1,000 imaging scans, including CT, mammography, MRI, ultrasound and x-ray, have been achieved at Sevenoaks Medical Centre in its first year. Simon continued, “We are committed to offering exceptional, affordable private healthcare in a welcoming and comfortable environment. Our services enable our patients to undertake all their treatment within Kent, whether here in Sevenoaks or via our pathway to KIMS Hospital in Maidstone, rather than having to go into London for their healthcare.”
In celebration of the anniversary, the team of 15 staff working at Sevenoaks Medical Centre were joined by Adam Bowman, Director of Rugby and Senior Team Head Coach from Sevenoaks Rugby Club, who are sponsored by Sevenoaks Medical Centre, to personally thank them with celebratory cupcakes. For more information about Sevenoaks Medical Centre, part of KIMS Hospital, please visit: sevenoaksmedicalcentre.com
46 Thinking Business
Canterbury high street reopens for business Non-essential businesses in Canterbury city centre have reopened and partnershipworking has prepared the streets to welcome visitors with 2.5 kilometres of bunting, safety messaging, free WiFi and cleaner streets. Through the Reopening of the High Streets Safely (RHSS) project, Canterbury City Council, Canterbury BID and the Canterbury School of Visual Arts
(CSVA) at EKC Group’s Canterbury College have teamed up to ensure safety messages reminding visitors to maintain social distancing are clear and visible to support the transition out of lockdown, whilst offering a warm welcome back. The safety messaging is being displayed on 400 pavement vinyls within the city, 50 lamp posts signs on the approach into the city, high street banners and bollard covers. Caroline Hicks, head of property and regeneration at Canterbury City Council said: “We are hugely excited that our businesses can start to reopen once again and we can welcome visitors back to Canterbury. In support of our town and city centres, it is vital that we proceed with caution. Our aim is to ensure that everybody is completely clear on the latest government
guidance and it is paramount that safety rules are still followed so we can proceed along the roadmap. “To that end, we asked students from Canterbury School of Visual Arts at Canterbury College to design our safety pavement vinyls, which can be seen throughout the city. This eye-catching design unites the city’s personality with a serious underlying message and is also a reflection of our community working together.” Lockdown has also been put to good use with deep street cleans, installation of free WiFi across the city and £700k investment in improved CCTV. Lisa Carlson, chief executive of the BID said: “We have welcomed 23 new businesses over the past year and we are feeling positive and energised about the year ahead. We’re confident that we can encourage visitors and residents alike to shop and dine in Canterbury, within a safe and welcoming environment.”
Photo L-R: Caroline Hicks (Head of Regeneration and Property at Canterbury City Council), Lisa Carlson (CEO of the Canterbury BID), John Korzeniewski (Chair of the Board at East Kent College Group), Bianca Albeanu (Canterbury College), Amber Fielding (Canterbury College) and Ben Kidger, (Head of CSVA at Canterbury College).
More Kent strawberries on the shelves than ever before A Kent-bred strawberry variety has been chosen to be at the heart of a major investment in a state of the art glasshouse by inventor and entrepreneur Sir James Dyson’s farming operation, Dyson Farming.
Malling CentenaryTM, an early season strawberry variety bred at NIAB EMR in East Malling, was selected to be the only one grown in a new 15-acre glasshouse in Carrington, Lincolnshire, by Dyson Farming as part of its commitment to highly efficient, sustainable farming. Dyson Farming expects to grow 750 tonnes of Malling CentenaryTM strawberries each year for UK consumption. The first crop has been harvested, and delivered to
M&S, Waitrose and Tesco, meaning that British grown strawberries can replace imported varieties and minimise food miles.
The strawberries are being grown in a giant 424m long state-of-the-art glasshouse, with 700,000 Malling CentenaryTM strawberry plants laid out in 832 rows . Renewable electricity and heat to grow the crop was provided by Dyson Farming’s adjacent anaerobic digester, which also powers the equivalent of more than 10,000 homes. Professor Mario Caccamo, Managing Director of NIAB EMR, said: “Our breeding programme which created the Malling CentenaryTM variety epitomises the approach taken by Dyson Farming, using science
and innovation to improve the horticultural industry’s productivity and environmental performance.”
Dyson Farming has adopted a circular approach to farming. In the case of strawberry production, energy crops are put through an anaerobic digester to produce gas which drives turbines to generate heat and power for the glasshouses. The residual digestate produced during the process is used to grow other crops. Dyson Farming has also been supported at its Lincolnshire farm by Kent-based Berry Gardens, a longstanding industry partner of NIAB EMR. Berry Gardens provided industry leading and specialist genetics, technical and marketing support services to help bring the first Dyson strawberries to market.
Green light for 16-storey residential development Ambitious plans to build a landmark residential development on a prominent brownfield site in Ashford have been approved. To mark the granting of permission by Ashford Borough Council’s planning committee, the developer has announced that the scheme has been called Infinity Ashford in honour of John Wallis (1616-1703). Born and raised in Ashford, Mr Wallis became one of the world’s most eminent mathematicians and was best known for his pioneering work into infinity. The multi-million-pound scheme will be built at the junction of Beaver Road and Avenue Jacques Faucheux, a short walk south of the town centre and opposite Ashford International Station. Key features include:
• 216 homes including 207 apartments and nine riverside townhouses, plus three commercial units on the ground floor in Beaver Road.
• A rooftop restaurant providing 360 degree views over the town.
The developer, A Better Choice for Property, said a two-year build time is expected for Infinity Ashford before the units are available for occupation. It bought the land from the Southern Housing Group in 2019.
• Four main buildings plus townhouses fronting the River Stour, dominated by a 16-storey tower (18 storeys including parking levels).
Keith Hollidge, commercial development manager at ABC for Property, said: “We are delighted that the committee endorsed our exciting vision for this
• The homes are made up of 66 x 1 bed apartments, 117 x 2 bed apartments, 24 x 3 bed apartments and 9 x 3 bed townhouses.
£5 million pandemic support for Kent Kent Community Foundation has announced it has given out £5,100,000 to charities, community groups and families facing financial crisis during the pandemic.
The foundation partnered with the National Emergencies Trust and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Kent County Council and Medway Council to distribute emergency money from central government and privately raised money from National Emergencies Trust, as well as raising more than £1m from its own supporters and fund-holders. Josephine McCartney, chief executive of Kent Community Foundation, said: “As we mark the anniversary of a year in lockdown, I am delighted to be able to announce that we have been able to support good causes and
• An attractive elevated landscaped courtyard set in the middle of the buildings.
families who have been adversely affected by the pandemic with over £5million in grants.
“We are delighted that the committee endorsed our exciting vision for this development, which is destined to set a new quality benchmark for the residential market in Ashford." development, which is destined to set a new quality benchmark for the residential market in Ashford. “We will be able to offer an unrivalled location opposite the railway station, with its 38-minute connection to central London via high-speed services, and local facilities including the newly-expanded Ashford Designer Outlet. We will now waste no time in turning our vision for this fantastic development into a reality.”
PROFESSIONAL LEGAL SERVICES Residential conveyancing
Direction Law has a
“The effect of the pandemic on charitable organisations and families throughout Kent has been sizeable. The £5 million in grants has made a significant difference to the survival of many charities and has eased the financial strain for many families. Although this is not necessarily an anniversary that we want to celebrate, it is certainly one that we want to mark as the most remarkable in our history. I must extend my thanks to everyone who has donated to help others throughout the pandemic and especially to our own supporters and fund-holders who have donated an amazing £1million. For more information visit www.kentcf.org.uk/coronaviruscase-studies
strong local client base of both private individuals and
Experts in New Build
businesses to whom we
provide a range of services.
Housing For over 45 years our growth has been borne from our relationships with clients, peers, agents and staff alike.
Wills and Probate
Trusts and Powers of Attorney
FOR AN INSTANT QUOTE, CONTACT: www.directionlaw.co.uk
0800 158 82 81
South East Office:
South West Office:
31 Watling Street
21 Gloucester Place
32 Chamberlain Street
11 Cannon Street
Canterbury CT1 2UD
London W1U 8HR
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Welcome to our new members 2 Moons Computing
Elite Appointments Ltd
iTrust Assurance Ltd
Clare Reeves Voiceovers
John Murray, powered by eXp
East Grinstead 01342 444040 www.2moons.uk Managed IT Services
Ramsgate 0333 577 9813 www.adanisystems.com Security Systems Manufacturer
Akita Systems Ltd
Sheerness 020 3146 0722 www.cddlrecycling.co.uk Recycling
Folkestone 07980 589742 www.clarereevesvoiceovers.com Voiceover/Media
Collier Pickard Ltd
Wrotham 01732 762675 www.akita.co.uk Information Technology
Sevenoaks 01959 560410 www.collierpickard.co.uk CRM consultancy, Supply, Training & Support
Alex Hare Photography
Whitstable 01227 639515 www.alexharephotography.com Photography & Videography
Big Orange Media Ltd Tunbridge Wells 01892 541111 www.bigorangemedia.co.uk Media/Marketing
Carbis Loadtec Group Ltd Ashford 01303 813030 www.carbisloadtec.com Design/Supply Freight Loading Systems/Fall Prevention Systems
Castle Water Ltd Blairgowrie 01250 718718 castlewater.co.uk Water Retailer
48 Thinking Business
Tunbridge Wells 07812 468918 croner.co.uk Employment Law, HR, Health and Safety
Margate 01843 821555 www.dds-demolition.co.uk Demolition Contractor
Diamond Search Recruitment
Ashford 01233 225524 www.diamond-search.co.uk Recruitment Consultant
Doggy Doo Da Da Ashford 07775 674028 doggydoodada.co.uk Day Care for Dogs
Ashford 07795 430326 www.elite-appointments.co.uk Recruitment Agency
Bexley 07889 022358 www.emd-group.co.uk Construction
Tunbridge Wells 01892 351209 itrustassurance.co.uk HR Consultancy
Ashford 01233 885180 www.johnmurray.exp.uk.com Estate Agent
KW Consulting Services Ltd
eXroid Technology Ltd
Link Supply Chain, Logistics and Freight Consultancy Ltd
Canterbury 0800 328 8331 www.etraining-uk.com Training Provider
Sandwich 01304 809814 www.exroid.com Manufacturer and Clinical Service Provider
Sheerness 07570 777018 www.kwconsultingservices.co.uk Consulting Services
Glasgow 07780 073008 www.linkslfconsultancy.com Supply Chain, Logistics & Freight Consultancy
Aylesford 0844 800 6586 www.fluesupplies.com Manufacture & Distributor of Chimney Products
LTR Welding Services Ltd
Marley Plumbing & Drainage (DHM)
Romney Marsh 01233 515031 www.fosteringtogether.co.uk Independent Fostering Agency
Maidstone 01622 753662 www.glensound.co.uk Audio Systems Design & Manufacture
Ashford 01233 277103 ltrws.co.uk Construction/Welding Services Tenterden 020 7692 7470 opportunecareers.co.uk Coaching and Consultancy
Maidstone 01622 858888 www.marleyplumbinganddrainage.com Manufacture & Supply of Plumbing Items
Enhance Michael Dennis Consultancy Ltd Herne Bay
www.secureinheritance.co.uk Wills and Estate Planning
My Tenterden Tenterden
www.mytenterden.co.uk Business Directory
North Hill Chartered Accountants & Business Advisors Greenhithe
0333 303 0988
Chartered Accounting & Business Advisory
Olympic Glass Queenborough 01795 668333
www.olympicglass.co.uk Manufacturer of Sealed Glass Units
ON Pizza Ashford
Protect PCValet Ltd
Ramsgate 01843 585325 www.pcvalet.co.uk Internet Retail
Philip Baston Architects Ltd Whitstable 07467 953886 www.bastonuk.com Architects
Project Centre Ltd
London 0330 135 8950 www.projectcentre.co.uk Design & Engineering Consultancy
Sharp Relations Ltd Ashford
07973 301188 www.sharprelations.com Food & Drink Creative
Sevenoaks 01732 806202 www.reuthes.com Hospitality, Events, Horticulture
Rocket Haus Studios
Waterham 07712 049443 www.sanzi.co.uk Hygiene Distribution/Supplier
The Video News Company Ltd Chatham
020 8004 9200
Video/TV Production & Training
TMA Business Services Ashford
Professional HR and Business
Shumi Ashford Ltd
Transcover Systems Limited
01233 721621 Hair & Beauty
0800 783 2545
Reuthes - The Lost Gardens of Sevenoaks
Paragon Skills Bournemouth
Smart Brokerage International Ltd
Margate 07939 220227 www.questaecollective.com Business Wellbeing & Coaching
Ramsgate 07590 509524 www.rockethausstudios.co.uk CGI Visualisation
SDM Training Services
01303 264130 Customs Clearance Brokerage & Warehousing
T3 Training & Development Ltd Rochester
01226 610201 www.t3-training.com Education/Training
The Farmer's Den Pinocchio's Canterbury
01227 457538 www.pinocchioscanterbury.com Fully Licenced Restaurant
Manufacturing Sheeting Systems
Tribeca Technology Group Ltd Sittingbourne
0800 012 2225
Specialist IT Managed Services
& Consultancy to the Alternative Investment Industry
Water Babies Kent East Farleigh
Infant Aquatics Provider
Westfield Health Scheme Sheffield
0345 602 1629
www.westfieldhealth.com Health Plans
Last Word Gill Gibb Tree of Hope Children’s Charity CEO
I have run the charity Tree of Hope for almost 6 years, helping families to raise funds for operations, equipment and therapies not freely supplied by the NHS. We are based in Tonbridge and our small team of 9 help over 850 families nationally, so we are super busy but hugely enthusiastic. I am a keen runner and when we are together in the office our Head of Finance runs lunchtime HIIT sessions which we all miss now we are mainly WFH. What was your first job and what was the pay packet? I served in the staff canteen at the Co-Op but was made redundant aged 15 when they replaced me with a cheaper vending machine. I think I earned £5 a day! What do you always carry with you to work? A thermal mug filled with tea. I LOVE tea from Lapsang Souchong to Earl Grey. What is the biggest challenge facing your business? We have little marketing budget so getting our name and what we do out there to families that need our help is a constant challenge. If you were Prime Minister, what one thing would you change to help business? Make it really tax efficient to support staff volunteering and being seconded to charities and social enterprises. What can you see from your office window? When at Tree of Hope, the Lidl carpark in Tonbridge and the comings and goings of all the customers of the Tattoo parlour below our offices. If you could do another job what would it be? I always wanted to run charities so am in the best job I could have as it matches my values and we get to meet and help amazing children and young people every day. As a businessperson, what are your three main qualities? Integrity, collaborative and financially savvy. What was your biggest mistake in business? Staying too long in banking rather than pursuing my ideal job- I did learn lots though and that stands me in good stead as a charity CEO now. What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs? Make sure you make a differencegive young people a chance, support a local charity or social enterprise and the local community, to give some examples. Who do you most admire in business? My Chairman, despite a full-time and incredibly busy job, he supports us as well as another two charities and is a volunteer First Responder and Coastguard. Thank you Kevin!
50 Thinking Business
Movers and Shakers
Emma joins team at Charter Tax Client tax manager Emma Cheeseman has recently joined the private client team at Charter Tax. Emma was most recently at a London-based firm, where she spent ten years working with a varied client base of high net worth families and managing their business interests.
She said: “My background is in mixed practice, supporting clients with all their accounting and tax needs – whether this is their annual self-assessment tax return, their company accounts or their trust’s inheritance tax returns. Having this breadth of experience is particularly useful when advising families who hold their assets in a variety of entities, being able to holistically consider their structure and needs, and ensure that advising on one aspect does not create an issue in another area.”
Kreston Reeves strengthens wills, trusts and probate team
Accountancy, business, legal and financial advisor Kreston Reeves has strengthened its growing legal services team with the appointment of senior solicitor Catalina Lowe. Catalina joined the firm from a well-established Sussex law firm. Her appointment follows Simon Levine’s arrival as a legal services director in November 2020.
Catalina brings to Kreston Reeves more than seven years’ experience in advising individuals on their wills, probate, trusts and estate planning including powers of attorney. She is a solicitor and member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). The Kreston Reeves 14-strong legal services team works across offices in Kent, Sussex and London, advising individuals and their families on estate and inheritance planning, wills and probate, trusts and powers of attorney. The firm employs in
Law firm hires new Court of Protection partner South east law firm Thomson Snell & Passmore has appointed Tom Hall as a partner to its Court of Protection department.
Tom specialises in Court of Protection work together with the creation and administration of personal injury trusts, in particular for those who have experienced catastrophic head injuries. He is also experienced in acting for clients with capacity issues as a result of other medical concerns, such as dementia, and has a growing reputation for securing
statutory funding towards the cost of care, both from local authorities and the NHS.
His appointment will further strengthen the firm’s Court of Protection team, which is already renowned for its expertise in property and financial affairs cases, especially high-value catastrophic injury claims. Through its trust corporation and partners, Thomson Snell & Passmore currently acts as deputy in more than 250 cases with an estimated value of over £300 million in assets. Tom joins from Hyphen Law (formerly part of Thrings), where he has spent the last eleven and a half years. Here, he acted as
Copy Deadline: News items for the June-July issue to be submitted by 9th July.
Emma says that, from a client’s perspective, Charter Tax stands out as having highly qualified and professional teams who are able to provide personalised advice, tailored to their specific needs. She added: “From an employee perspective, I have been overwhelmed by how supportive everyone has been since I joined. Even though I have only worked from home so far, there is an evident culture of openness and collaboration, which has helped me to settle in. I just can’t wait to be able to meet my new colleagues in person.” excess of 550 people including more than 50 partners. Commenting on her appointment, Catalina said: “Kreston Reeves has an enviable reputation across the region for advising businesses and private individuals. I am thrilled to be joining the firm and contributing to its continued growth.” Philip Lansberry, partner and head of legal at Kreston Reeves, said: “The demand for our private client legal services continues to grow across Kent, Sussex and London. We are delighted to welcome Catalina to our expanding team and look forward to working alongside her.” For more information visit www.krestonreeves.com the relationship holder for a busy caseload of deputyship and personal injury trust clients and their wider networks. He was also responsible for the day-today management of high-value and often complex deputyship and personal injury trust matters, commissioning and overseeing the work of large, sophisticated multi-disciplinary teams supporting clients with severe brain injuries. Tom said: “I’m delighted to be joining Thomson Snell & Passmore’s already outstanding team. They have a well-deserved reputation as one of the preeminent Court of Protection departments in the country, being one of only two firms to be ranked in the top tier for Court of Protection work UK-wide in both Chambers and the Legal 500. I’m looking forward to bringing my experience to a firm with a strong record of providing quality service to its clients.”
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.
Species mitigation, EPS licensing, baseline appraisals, impact assessments, habitat regulations assessments
BS5837 surveys, impact assessments, tree removal plans, root investigation, anti-compaction systems, tree inspections
Habitat creation, pond creation, long term management schedules, mitigation enhancements works, scheme-wide environmental enabling
Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Magazine, Includes the Latest Local and National Business news & Issues, with our local Regular Features on...
Published on Jun 1, 2021
Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Magazine, Includes the Latest Local and National Business news & Issues, with our local Regular Features on...