Page 1





Looking for a new job? Don’t miss our 8-page supplement – inside

Pair pool talents to find solution to a problem that dogs swimmers - page 4

‘I get a lot of satisfaction from helping distressed companies’ - page 11







GATHERING MOMENTUM Borrowing can power your business forward and there are more ways to get your hands on investment than you might realise EPB-E01-S3


Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Turtle Tots Grab your moment in the spotlight, urges Caroline Gavin Thompson Assistant Editor (Business)


N award-winning Bristol businesswoman is calling on others to grab themselves a moment in the spotlight by taking part in the Bristol and Bath Women in Business Awards. Caroline Sparks, co-owner of Turtle Tots, said: “It’s important to celebrate achievement in business.” She should know. Turtle Tots, which teaches children to swim starting before they are born, was runner-up in the New Business of the Year category in the Bristol Post Business Awards 2012 before going one better and winning the Start-Up category in 2013. And Caroline and business partner Gabrielle Lixton finished the year by winning the Mumpreneur of the Year title at the national Startups Awards. “It’s lovely to feel what you are doing is being recognised by other people,” said Caroline. “The reason we enter awards is it increases awareness of our brand and also it gives our licensees confidence.” Turtle Tots swimming lessons begin with aqua-natal yoga for mums-to-be, and continue once the baby is born with specialist and progressive swimming classes for babies and toddlers. It was started by Gabrielle who had run similar lessons in Oxford before moving back to Bristol. She joined with Caroline to launch a franchise model and there are now Turtle Tots sessions across the UK from Aberdeen to Exmouth. There are even plans to break into overseas markets, including Australia, Ireland and North America. It’s a business that has helped many women to become entrepreneurs after taking a career break to

Get in touch Assistant Editor (Business) Gavin Thompson Call 0117 934 3336 Email gavin.thompson Twitter @gavin_thompson1


Writer Rupert Janisch Email business@

Advertising Robert Rodgerson Call07828 941469 Email robert.rodgerson

● Turtle Tots partners Gabrielle Lixton and Caroline Spark

THE CATEGORIES ● Woman of the Year, sponsored by PPC ● Young Entrepreneur of the Year ● Mentor of the Year ● Contribution to the Community Award, for women who have made a difference to Bristol or Bath ● Women in the Workplace Award, sponsored by Crest Nicholson, for companies that show flexibility and adaptability to the employment of women ● New Business of the Year,

Advertising Jane Chapman Call 01179 343025 Email jane.chapman

Advertising Simon Coy, Media Sales Executive - Business Call 07736 900 705. Email simon.coy Advertising Shama Abokor, Regional Business Account Executive Call 0117 934 3426 Emailshama.abokor@

sponsored by HSBC Commercial Banking ● Business of the Year, sponsored by City of Bristol College ● Award for Innovation ● Marketing Campaign of the Year ● Female Apprentice Development Award, sponsored by the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership ● Outstanding Contribution to Business in Bristol or Bath sponsored by UWE Bristol

have a child. “Pretty much all our licensees are women who have had corporate jobs before they had children,” said Caroline. “Their old job isn’t flexible enough and child care is expensive so they need to find work they can do around their children.” But she said the longer lasting appeal was in working for themselves. She said: “Everything you put in you get out.” Awards also provide role models, something Caroline believes is very important, regardless of gender. She said: “We love the Innocent Drinks brand and try to emulate its success. We visited their office the other weekend to see how they work. Innocent gives 10 per cent of its profits to charity. That’s something we believe in too, so our licensees give one to five per cent of their revenue to children’s charities. It’s usually something local or relevant to them, so here in Bristol we support the Cots for Tots appeal.” Wherever the recipe came from, it’s working. Turtle Tots turned over £250,000 in the last year and has recently moved into its first offices, in Flax Bourton.

● To enter the Bristol and Bath Women in Business awards, go to Nominations close on February 21.

Best deals - How the numbers stack up Business current Business savings accounts accounts 1.01% State Bank £10,000 deposit of India 0.25% £1 deposit Co-operative Bank

0.12% £1 deposit

0.10% Unity Trust £25,000 deposit Bank Source: Business Moneyfacts

Cambridge 1.80% & Counties £1,000 deposit Bank United Trust Bank

1.55% £500 deposit

United Trust Bank

1.50% £500 deposit

1.50% Shawbrook £5,000 deposit Bank


Awards serve as inspiration ● Bristol Harbourside and Bath Riverside developer Crest Nicholson is pleased to be able to offer its support to the inaugural Bristol and Bath Women In Business Awards. The awards recognise and highlight the role of women within the Bath and Bristol business community, paying tribute to those excelling in their fields. The area has a thriving business community with women playing vital roles across a range of sectors including technology, professional services, hospitality and construction, among others. Bath and Bristol continue to produce exemplar companies at all levels, from bedroom start-ups that have turned into

international multi-million pound industries, to independent retailers helping to enhance the identity of the South West. These awards serve to highlight the roles of women at all levels of business, from shop attendant to chief executive. The businesses and individuals highlighted by this year’s awards will serve as an example to others, helping to promote and maintain the region’s aspirational business culture. Debbie Aplin, managing director of Crest Nicholson Regeneration said, “We are proud to be a sponsor of these awards which will pay tribute to women who continue to make a positive contribution to businesses throughout the region. “We very much hope that these awards will serve as an inspiration to many to strive for excellence, and to realise that gender need not be a barrier to success.”

Petrol prices .30p

129 136 137


.78 Diesel

.63p Super unleaded


Wednesday, February 5, 2014


New chapter Writer, musician, adviser and now coach Rupert Janisch


NOVELIST, guitarist and successful independent financial adviser from Backwell has joined one of the South West’s leading coaching companies. Chris Budd, who in 2000 set up Ovation Finance, now based in Whiteladies Road, will represent Tetbury-based coaching firm Quiver Management in the city region. As well as delivering training nationwide to major businesses, Quiver Management is also a registered provider of coaching and leadership training for GrowthAccelerator, a programme which helps high-growth SMEs across the South West to quickly grow to their potential. Mr Budd, 46, will combine his new role coaching business leaders across the business area with running Ovation Finance and a host of interesting extracurricular activities. These include writing novels – his latest effort, A Bridge of Straw, was launched at The Tunnels near Temple Meads Station last week – as well as playing guitar in his covers band, Mangetout. Mr Budd’s out-of-office activities are strongly linked to his business life. Ovation Finance, which has nine staff, was named after his guitar and he started writing after being asked to test the skills of a new business coach and realising how self-awareness can be crucial to success. He said: “I realised you have to understand yourself, what you want out of life and achieve it. “Speaking to the business coach I was so impressed that I trained as one myself. A few years later, I’m working with Quiver Management, which is one of the leading companies in the region. “And those early discussions made me realise that writing was my unfulfilled need, which I’d put to one side while making my business a success and bringing up the children. Now I take every Wednesday off to write. I’m thrilled to have my

“ I’m looking forward to getting feedback from readers. I’m halfway through the second novel Chris Budd



Evolutions opens first base outside capital TV post-production company Evolutions has established a new base in Bristol, close to the BBC in Whiteladies Road. The company has opened a full-service television post-production facility, taking a 10-year lease on the 7,007 sq ft period office building. Evolutions has invested £1 million to fit out the building, including editing suites, two sound dubbing theatres and a colour grading suite. It will employ at least 20 staff, most of whom will be new recruits. Evolutions is one of the largest independent post-pro-

● Simon Kanjee, left, with Andy Smith of Knight Frank

duction companies of its kind in Soho and chose Bristol as the location for its first base outside the capital. Managing director, Simon Kanjee, said: “Having had discussions with our existing clients in London, as well as local producers in Bristol, we believe there is a significant demand for the scale, speed and quality of post-production service that we can offer. “Being close to our clients and others from our industry was key to choosing a location. In addition, the layout of the building is critical to the set-up of the business.”

book out because it’s my dream come true. “I’m looking forward to getting feedback from readers and writing more. I’m half way through the second novel and have many other ideas since I’ve carved out the time to create them.” Jan Bowen-Nielsen, managing director of Quiver Management, said: “It’s great to have Chris on board. “He’s established his own highly successful business and has built a strong team behind him, allowing him to step back from daily operational management and focus more time on his other interests. “There are many business owners who I’m sure will value being coached by Chris and I’m delighted to have him as part of Quiver Management’s team of coaches.”


TLT eases the path to grand designs will be led by head of property development David Smithen, with support from the firm’s specialist plot-sales team. Mr Smithen said: “Our particular focus will be setting up and managing the plot sales process, but we are also looking forward to bringing to bear our extensive experience in all aspects of the development and sales process, working alongside HAB’s other consultants, to ensure a full integrated set of solutions to buyers selecting from the interesting range of house options HAB is devising.” TLT’s plot sales team is part of its 114-strong real estate group, which has advised on a range of development projects in the past, both commercial and residential.


HAB Housing, the sustainable homes builder set up by television presenter Kevin McCloud, is working with Bristol law firm TLT to try to make negotiating the legal pitfalls of the custom-build housing market a little easier. HAB – standing for Happiness Architecture Beauty – Housing, was set up by the Grand Designs presenter, right, to create houses that “make people happy” and fulfil what a house should, such as keeping warm in winter and cool in summer, and having spaces to play and chat. The work with TLT and other consultants will develop legal documents for site assembly, development and plot sales in the fledgling custom-build homes market. The TLT team


Know how

Wednesday, February 5, 2014



New firm with a name commanding respect

Paul Matthews Partner, Bruton Knowles Paul.matthews@ 0117 287 2101

Act now on good news



EWS that the UK economy is officially growing by its strongest rate since 2007 backs up what many businesses in the West Country have been feeling on the ground over recent months. The Office for National Statistics reports the economy grew by 1.9 per cent on average in 2013 and we all know there are many areas not performing as well as greater Bristol, so we can assume we may be doing slightly better than that. It is good news, but one effect the new optimism will have is to nudge the commercial property market more in favour of landlords than tenants. Since 2007, tenants have had the whip hand in the relationship with landlords. Unless the property was the best-located and best-specified, landlords feared they might not find a tenant in a market that was steadily getting worse year-on-year. That meant they would accept shorter leases, more frequent break clauses and lower rents and would give away long rent-free periods and other incentives to secure tenants. At Bruton Knowles, we anticipate landlords having the confidence to be more bullish in their negotiations, reducing incentives – and that translates into higher rents in real terms. Since 2007, three-year break clauses in leases have become very popular because many businesses lacked the confidence to sign up for a property for long periods. That means many break clauses can be actioned this year and with the improving market it is in the interests of tenants to negotiate early before the market picks up any more and landlords get even more confident. There is nothing to fear in exercising a break clause. Effectively, the negotiations can set one of the main overheads for a business for a long period. In the greater Bristol area, the second-hand office market with premises suitable for small businesses still has a range of space on offer for business, but better quality and larger offices in prime locations are in short supply. For small businesses that need to have warehouse and storage space alongside their offices there is a real lack of suitable small industrial units locally, so securing one of these at a good rental level could be a real competitive advantage. Of course, exercising a break clause and reconsidering your property needs can be fraught with traps, and that is where we can help. It is also worth considering a business’s own expansion plans – the size of a premises can either restrict growth or encourage expansion.

● David Nettleton and Andrew Cox have developed a chemical-free filtration process for swimming pools

Technology Clean pools, minus that chlorine smell Gavin Thompson Assistant Editor (Business)


FTER a trip to the swimming baths, it can be tough to shake off the odour of chlorine. But a Bristol company believes it has found the answer, a chemical-free filtration process. Montpelier-based Clear Water Revival secured a £90,000 innovation grant to develop the product in 2012. Now directors Andrew Cox, 38, and David Nettleton, 39, have launched a campaign to raise money to commercialise the product on crowdfunding site Crowdcube. David said: “This is a perfect ex-

ample of harnessing the power of the internet to fund an ecological technology which has huge potential to create wealth and jobs for the UK economy, and now anyone can invest in our technology from as little as £10.” Andrew said the company’s system uses natural processes instead of chemicals to control the algae and pathogens in the water. “It uses friendly microorganisms and minerals to control levels of phosphorus, nitrogen and acidity, resulting in a crystal clear, chemical free pool with drinkable water,” he said. He added that the long-term costs of natural filtration methods were up to 10 times lower than the ongoing cost of running a chlorine pool. CWR’s technology aims to provide an alternative to existing chemical-based methods in the water treat-

ment market for new swimming pools, which is estimated to be worth an annual £700 million in the EU and £1.2 billion in the US. The technology is being developed by CWR at Cranfield University’s Water Science Institute, which is conducting the pioneering freshwater research. CWR has built more than 60 natural swimming pools since 2006 when David and Andrew set up the company, and expects to build another 12 in 2014. The firm benefited from a £90,000 Smart grant from the Technology Strategy Board, which helps new small businesses carry out research and development on innovative products. The firm is hoping to raise £160,000 on Crowdcube in return for a 10 per cent equity stake in the business.


Former minister ‘honoured’ to launch centre ONE of the most influential education secretaries in British politics in recent years visited Weston College to open a facility named in his honour. Lord Baker of Dorking, who served in Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet in the 1980s, was at the college’s South West Skills Campus in Locking Road, Weston-super-Mare, to open the Lord Baker Innovation Centre, a facility dedicated to vocational education and skills training. It will help train the next generation of young people to become skilled in the workplace, and help unemployed people or those with other challenges get back into work. Lord Baker has supported the development of the centre since he first visited the college two years ago.

● Lord Baker, Level One plumbing student Miles Southey, lecturer Scott Austin and Dr Paul Phillips The Skills Campus is in the final phase of an £11 million renovation project, which has included the creation of an Automotive Technology Centre, a new and expanded home for the Business Enterprise Centre, plus a new library, canteen and classroom

facilities. The work is expected to be completed by September. After unveiling a plaque, Lord Baker said: “It is an honour to open a building named after me, at such a remarkable college. Weston is one of the best FE colleges in the country.”

● THE UK’s newest law firm has been launched in Bristol. But while the firm may be new, the name behind it belongs to a much older company. Jordans was established 150 years ago and is known in law and accountancy publishing, is a property search provider for UK conveyancers, forms more than 25,000 UK companies every year and provides compliance services. The firm employs 185 people at its Bristol HQ. New firm Jordans Corporate Law Limited has been established under new “alternative business structure” arrangements, designed to encourage new entrants into the legal market, and will offer a range of corporate legal, governance and compliance services. A team of lawyers, paralegals and corporate compliance experts has been recruited, led by a senior lawyer, Debbie Farman. The company celebrated its Bristol launch at the M Shed. Debbie said: “Jordans is a highly respected name nationally and internationally. It totally understands how the worlds of accountancy and law operate and it’s a company that people already trust and want to work with. That trust will be critical as we will be extending our offer and looking to provide a lot of additional support services – such as corporate and commercial legal advice, and non-contentious litigation work.” Jordans chief executive, Nick Rees, said: “We haven’t entered into this new arena lightly, not least because of the potential for conflict of interests with those clients who already offer similar services. We feel we can complement what they do because our role is to provide services they already cover, but where they need to work hard to manage their margins. We are here to continue to support businesses, not to compete with them.”


Missionly helps to link students and business ● MORE than 140 guests gathered in the city centre last night at the launch of innovative new company Missionly. Business owners, university representatives, business support organisations and students and local dignitaries were among those at the Bridewell Space on Nelson Street for the event. Missionly launches from within UWE as the brainchild of current students Chris Dalley and Will Duddell. The pair, who last year won the UWE Entrepreneurs of the Year award, have created a platform that allows students to gain work-based experiences with SMEs in Bristol. Missionly connects businesses with students at centres including the universities of Bristol and Bath, UWE and Bath Spa. The event was held in conjunction with Fridge Networking, a recentlyformed networking community for young entrepreneurs, running monthly events at The Famous Royal Navy Volunteer on King Street. Chris Dalley, founder of Missionly, said: “Missionly is hitting Bristol at exactly the right time. There are thousands of talented students that want to gain experience, whilst we have a business network who have loads of opportunities and tasks that need completing.”

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


New media


Profits soar for web designers

Pair use shelter for growing underground

AN innovative Bristol website design and management business has posted a 20 per cent increase in profits, taken on more staff and moved premises with a view to further expansion. The Smarter Web Company has been making a name for itself with a business model that allows it to deliver stylish, bespoke and responsive websites at bargain prices. Solid growth has now seen the business – started by Andrew Webley in 2009 and which has since given birth to more than 1,500 websites for customers – gear up for the future. “Due to growing demand we have taken on two more staff and are looking to recruit more during the year as we slowly take on more work,” said Mr Webley, a former IT manager for a leading South West financial services firm. “This has forced us to move from a small office to a larger services office in Aztec West with the flexibility to move from a 10-person suite to a 15 suite when the need arises. “Typically our clients are situated nationally, but we do well with the South West and do get around five per cent of sales from outside of the UK.” The business has moved away en-

● TWO Bristol entrepreneurs have taken on a Second World War tunnel and turned it into an underground farm. Steven Dring and Richard Ballard converted an old bomb shelter 33 meters below Clapham North tube station. Eco-friendly salads will be grown in a 2.5-acre garden beneath the Northern Line. Bristol-based law firm TLT helped them with the lease and corporate legal aspects of preparing for their crowdfunding campaign. Steven said: “As an entrepreneur you have to bring in people with the expertise to provide the advice you need and TLT translated the complexities into a language anyone could understand.” ● From left, Alex Wrench, Ed Franks, John Grigg, Paul Fassnage, Andrew Webley (centre), Mat Doidge and Olly Picture: Dave Betts BRDB20140203A-002 Calvert at The Smarter Web Company’s new Aztec West office tirely from self-build websites towards sites that it thinks are not just better for customers, but also a better business model. They start at £450 for a basic bespoke design to £2,400 for a responsive, e-commerce-ready platfor m. “The key thing that we have done is

really focus on the affordable, professionally designed aspect of our service, so while active websites have fallen quite dramatically over the last two years the revenue from on-going services has actually increased.” Mr Webley went on record when the company was founded as aiming

for £1m of profit in five years. He remains tight-lipped about how close to that goal The Smarter Web Company is, but the most recent accounts show a 20 per cent profit growth and he puts this down to affordability, a growing reputation and “first class support” once sites go live.

Get the bigger picture. Business news from Bristol, Bath, Gloucestershire and Somerset. Scan to sign up for news direct to your inbox


United front College looking for business partners to shape future Gavin Thompson Assistant Editor (Business)


ITY of Bristol College is declaring itself open for business and inviting firms to become partners in shaping its future courses. The college, which has 30,000 students, is launching Partners for Business on Tuesday night. The initiative is about building relationships with more businesses, not just as potential employers of its students but to provide tailored solutions to their training and recruitment needs.

The college already works with a number of businesses, but wants to grow that and change it. There will be one point of contact for businesses, with account managers to look after their needs. And they will tailor programmes, piecing together chunks from existing courses. It’s a much more business-like approach to its dealings with business. Will Cookson, pictured, director of Partners for Business, said, for example, a small business might need someone to learn photography, health and safety and computer aided-design. So the college could package that together from modules of its existing courses. He said: “It’s a big change for a large college, but allows us to make

our curriculum better meet the needs of our community. “We are focusing on where we can see growth in the local economy, where we know there are job vacancies for our students and where there is a specific need for training. “But any employer can contact us and we can come out and give them advice about their training and recruitment needs. They can engage with us as much or as little as they want to.” The college has set up a board to oversee the programme, which includes business names such as Thrings managing partner Simon Holdsworth, Bristol Institute of Directors chairman Rebecca Tregarthen and Peter Chivers, chief executive of the National Composites Centre. The new programme is part of an overhaul for the college following a

challenging Ofsted inspection last April, which saw it judged “inadequate”. It also follows changes in the way apprenticeships are funded, At some stage in the future, the money will be given directly to employers, not training providers, so the college will need to be on the ball with businesses or it could lose out. The Partners in Business launch takes place on Tuesday, February 11, at the Royal West of England VIDEO Academy, from ONLINE 6-8pm.

individual lifestyle, image, comfort and budget.” Despite big changes over the 80 years, Lynne and Gerald put the success of the business down to staying close to its values and roots.

● Lynne Fernandes, previous owner Michael Owen and Gerard Fernandes


Expert help for Coty ● LAW firm Thrings has advised global beauty firm Coty Inc on a deal to buy Lena White Limited, the biggest international distributor of cosmetics range OPI, for an undisclosed sum. Thrings, based at Paragon, off Victoria Street, Bristol, has enjoyed a strong year, with turnover up four per cent to £21.5 million in its latest accounts.

WILL COOKSON See him make his pitch to businesses:


Eighty years of seeing clearly said: “We’re very proud, after the worst-ever recession for the optical sector, to be a continuously growing, successful independent group. “Opticians have changed hugely in 80 years, with clinically trained optometrists now being highly skilled in the diagnosis of eye conditions. Our primary aim is always to offer the best possible standard of eye care and eyewear.” Gerald, also a director, said: “The other huge change in independent eye care is the understanding of retail. We explain clinically what would be the best product for each


AN opticians’ practice is celebrating being in business for 80 years and helping the sight of thousands of Bristolians. Now known as Lynne Fernandes Optometrists, the practice in Wells Road, Knowle, was opened by a Mr Cook in 1933 and was one of Bristol’s first independent opticians’. The company, now run by husband and wife team, Lynne and Gerard Fernandes, celebrated the anniversary with events at its branches in Knowle and Gloucester Road – the latter in business for 35 years. Lynne, director of the company,


Business diary Get Connected Bristol: The Bristol’s Post’s first regular business networking event. Today, 6-8pm, BDO offices, Finzels Reach, Bristol. FULLY BOOKED. Wednesday@6: Bristol Institute of Directors informal free networking at The Radisson Blu from 6-8pm today. Call 0117 370 7785 to register. The Set Social: Monthly informal networking night at The Set, a collaboration club at Bath Road Studios. First Wednesday of every month. Aims to bring together like-minded people in the south of Bristol to meet, think, create over drinks and canapés. From 6pm. Bristol Chamber of Commerce networking breakfast: Liaise with like-minded people and enjoy a full English breakfast in the contemporary setting of Goldbrick House. 7.30am-9.30am tomorrow. £11 members, £20 non-members. Contact events@ Ready for business workshop: Introductory workshops for anyone who is exploring the concept of self-employment or starting a business, at Leigh Court, Abbots Leigh BS8 3RA, 10am-4pm, Tuesday, February 11. Contact readyforbusiness@

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

In pictures Bristol’s business community Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors South West question time ● MORE than 100 people attended a Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors South West question time event to hear Bristol mayor George Ferguson call on city leaders to demand more local control over infrastructure spending. Mr Ferguson applauded the local branch of the RICS for “upping its game on infrastructure” and “setting the gold standard”. He went on to urge other cities to be bold in their discussions with government and make the argument for more authority over local expenditure for infrastructure. While Lord Heseltine had been champion for localism, the jury was “still out” on redistribution of local wealth, with the UK remaining one of the most centralised nations in the world. Following the mayor’s speech, RICS South West regional board chairman Tim Davis MRICS welcomed the panel, which included chartered surveyor and executive director of Bristol Chamber of Commerce, James Durie, and Ken Hall FRICS, of KJ Hall Chartered Surveyors. They took questions from the audience, including on the future development of a Bristol arena as well as Hinckley nuclear power plant. The event took place at the Holiday Inn, off St Stephen’s Roundabout.

Ready for business workshop: Introductory workshops for anyone who is exploring the concept of self-employment or starting a business at Brave, The Coach House, Upper York Street, Bristol, 10am-4pm, Tuesday, February 11. Free. Contact readyforbusiness@


Get in the picture Send us photos from your event, with names please, to business

● He ● Mayor George Ferguson; right and top, guests at the RICS event

Pics: Michael Lloyd BRML20140129B-004 (top)

Chinese New Year Reception: Bristol China Partnership welcomes the Year of the Horse with gala banquet at Zen restaurant on Wednesday, February 12. Tickets £40 for members and £50 for non-members. Contact Dianne.francombe@ or call 0117 956 7096. Wednesday@6: Bristol Institute of Directors informal free networking at The Radisson Blu from 6-8pm, February 19. Call 0117 3707785 to register. Ready for business workshop: Workshops for anyone who is exploring starting a business at Brave, The Coach House, Upper York Street, Bristol, 10am-4pm, Thursday, February 27. Free. Contact readyforbusiness

● Ma MD, B

● Ken Hall of KJ Hall

● Gavin Bridge, Cubex


● Guy Mansfield, CBRE Ltd

FOR MORE PICTURES Check out our website at

Averys wine tasting


Emerging Europe trade mission: Join Lord Livingstone, Trade Minister, on mission to discover benefits of exporting to a region with huge potential for novice and experienced exporters in Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia. March 3-7. Contact Angela.Maynard-Smith Email your business events to Events are sometimes cancelled without us being notified so please check with organisers before travelling.


● Jo

● BRISTOL wine specialists Averys held a business event with a kick – a tasting to showcase the Burgundy 2012 vintage. Mimi Avery said: “This was one of our ‘en-primeur’ tastings,

which is where you taste very young samples and have to make your best guess as to how the wines will be when actually drinkable in 15 years’ time. “It is the cheapest way to buy

these wines, but you do need the help of our buying and personal wine adviser team to guide you through, and we had seven of our French suppliers there, too, to help.

“The idea is that we have whittled down the vintage’s offering and are only showing the ones that we think are best.” The event took place in the cellars at Averys in Culver Street.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Which? Mortgage Advisers’ office opening ● WHICH? Mortgage Advisers welcomed politicians, business leaders and lending partners to celebrate the official opening of its new offices and the ongoing expansion of the service. Having launched to consumers in May 2011 with a team of just five advisers, Which? Mortgage Advisers now employs 65 brokers from its Bristol headquarters and a total personnel numbering almost 100 people. It has doubled its adviser and administration teams in the last six months alone and last September promoted a quarter of its advisers into either senior or management roles. Its main point of difference is it pays its advisers a salary, not commission, to help maintain their independence. The service occupies a floor of the

One Castlepark complex, recently annexing another wing of the building. The number of mortgages written by the business each month has increased tenfold since January 2012. Managing director, Mike Lawton, said: “Which? Mortgage Advisers has gone from strength to strength over the past few years. Bristol has proved to be the perfect base for our dedicated team and we are proud not only to have created so many jobs in the local area, but also to have helped consumers from all corners of the country.” Paul Wilson, chief executive of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, attended the event. He said: “It’s great to see an example of a flourishing business like this, creating jobs and growth in our region.”

Families in Business – Ask the Adviser

● Henry Williams, Richard Williams, Dani Saveker, Peter Doggett (FiB Regional Director South West)

● Matthew Tosh, Skyburst illuminations, left, and Greg Corrigan, MD, Burleigh Portishead Ltd



● Jon Hardwick, Grafton International ● Right, Karlee Jarvis, business develop- ment manager, University of Gloucestershire

“Our bank has £250m to lend owner managed businesses... and we’re getting our share.” Our bank has lent us the capital we need at a good rate, with no fees. We like dealing with a specialist business bank, especially as our local manager understands that owner managed businesses are the engine of the economy. Here in the engine room, our business is firing on all cylinders. Mark Cain, Director, Velvet Central Limited

0845 045 0900*

Visit our website or call 8am-8pm Monday to Friday to contact your local branch Jason Fleming, Senior Branch Manager, Bristol Branch, 19 Whiteladies Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1PB

Our business is business banking


● Left, Dani Saveker, CEO and Founder, Families in Business

● FAMILY businesses quizzed advisers in a speed dating-style event at Bristol’s family-owned Old Down Manor. The Ask the Adviser event was hosted by Families in Business (FiB), the independent support organisation for family businesses. Representatives of family-owned and run businesses based in Bristol and across the South West attended and voted it a highly useful experience, giving them the opportunity to meet advisers in sales, leadership, procurement, wealth planning, communication, marketing, insurance, finance, health and the law. Dani Saveker, chief executive and founder of FiB, and facilitator on the day, said: “The Bristol launch for our Ask the Adviser in the South West events was fast-paced and fun. “Feedback from the family businesses joining us in Bristol has been fantastic, with all of them agreeing the event’s concept is a time-efficient focused opportunity for them to gain succinct, impartial, relevant advice from advisers who have a tangible understanding and experience of the unique challenges facing family businesses.” Keynote speakers at the event were Richard and Henry Williams, of Williams Automobiles, a specialist dealership for British performance cars such as Morgan, and a 102-year-old, fourth generation family business. Richard said: “Families in Business is an innovative organisation. Every family business without a succession plan should be a member. Even if they have a plan to chat things over with an experienced business team that really understands, FiB is a must.”

*Telephone lines open from 8am-8pm Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays in England and Wales. Calls may be recorded and monitored for security and training purposes. BT landline calls to 0845 numbers will cost no more than 5 pence per minute. Charges from other service providers may vary and calls from mobiles usually cost more. Allied Irish Bank (GB) and Allied Irish Bank (GB) Savings Direct are trade marks used under licence by AIB Group (UK) p.l.c. (a wholly owned subsidiary of Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c.), incorporated in Northern Ireland. Registered Office 4 Queen’s Square, Belfast BT1 3DJ. Registered Number NI018800. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.



Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Focus on start-ups | Sponsored by THEME SPONSOR’S NAME HERE.

Corporate finance Expert eye Jason Fleming Senior branch manager Allied Irish Bank (GB) Bristol (0117) 973 1306

CRISIS, WHAT CRISIS? CASH Many firms have the desire to grow, but most can’t do it without some form of borrowing. Gavin Thompson looks at ways Bristol businesses can finance their ambitions

Planning and funding for future growth



HE main question we hear from our clients is, ‘What do I need to do to access finance and develop a funding plan that will help my business grow?’ The first step is to finalise your business plan, focusing on where you think growth is coming from, both internally and from within your industry. Next, what do you require to support this growth? Acquire premises, expanding your operation, or hire more people? Then, establish what type of financing you need to achieve this – short-term, medium-term or long-ter m. There are very effective, bespoke ways of financing each of these activities. Depending on what type of business you are – for instance, a construction contractor will have far more plant and equipment requirements than a professional services firm – you can create a customised solution that minimises the cost of funding and maximises your growth potential. For instance, asset finance allows you to borrow against the value of the equipment you purchase and may be more cost-effective than a normal loan. If you are a firm with few tangible assets, then invoice discounting might be a sensible way to fund your short-term liabilities. The key is having a bank with advisers that know your business and sector and can give you the time, advice and products to support the growth of your business. In Bristol, and nationwide, the businesses we see with the greatest potential for growth are indigenous owner-managed businesses. Many of these do not have the benefit of in-house corporate finance teams to influence their decision-making. It is important for these businesses to benefit from good relationships with their professional advisers, such as their bank manager and accountant. These advisers should be viewed as an extension of the business. Allied Irish Bank (GB) has positioned itself to treat owner-managed business clients like large corporates – giving them the time, attention and product range to help them realise their growth potential – and we have launched a specific Owner Managed Business Fund to assist with this growth. Should you wish to know more about this fund please contact our Bristol branch.


Winds of change as bank supports turbine project ● A BRISTOL firm that specialises in single wind turbine developments secured £1 million from the bank, but one you might not have heard of before. One Wind Renewables received the funding for a 500-kilowatt turbine on a farm in Devon from the Julian Hodge Bank. The bank, based in Cardiff, has been actively investing in property in recent years and has now started to look at renewable investments. Relationship manager, Paul Green, said: “From our point of

Case study view, well-conceived proposals and the feed-in tariff provide the incentive to make wind turbines a viable investment. “Fully-approved schemes, like this one in Holsworthy, meet all our lending requirements and we look forward to partnering similar projects in 2014.” One Wind Renewables was formed in 2011 by Rob Paul, Joe Winton and Simon Coles.

Experienced in large-scale energy developments in the UK and abroad, the firm now focuses on single-turbine schemes that generate around 500 kilowatts. “With planning permission for a number of other projects, we will be installing further turbines in the South West this year,” said Mr Paul. “The business has been built on our ability to advise on the planning, procurement, construction and operation of wind turbines, which produce no harmful emissions and are carbon neutral.”

HE financial crisis of 2008 left many businesses at the mercy of their bank manager. Credit was squeezed and crunched and was generally hard to get your hands on. In the years that followed, as the economy spluttered along, access to finance remained one of the main obstacles for firms. The Business West quarterly Barriers to Growth report consistently finds availability of finance one of the most commonly listed problems. Its 2013 fourth quarter report found it was the third biggest concern, behind lack of management time and lack of demand. But the problems of the banks have been an opportunity for others and many successful businesses have continued to get credit, just from different sources. Martyn Fraser, a partner at Smith & Williamson’s Bristol office, said there was a growing range of ways for smaller businesses to find finance as the market responded to the fallout of the economic crisis. “We are seeing a steady increase in the number of sensible deals being done with good, growing businesses,” he said. “At the smaller end of the market, the continuing development of a vibrant crowdfunding sector within the UK offers a welcome alternative for entrepreneurs looking for working capital finance, loans or even equity. “Although still in its infancy as a sector, the emergence of innovative platforms such as MarketInvoice enables smaller businesses to bypass the banks to access funding. “Similarly, platforms like Crowdcube connect entrepreneurs with investors who specialise in early stage and start-up businesses, which has always been a challenging area in which to raise funds. “By enabling businesses to deliver their pitch to hundreds of investors simultaneously, these platforms greatly increase their chances of attracting finance. “The internet has enabled crowdfunding platforms to flourish and many small businesses have reaped the benefits. For example, Crowdcube, a Smith & Williamson client, has raised over £16 million on behalf of 86 businesses since its launch in 2011. However, it’s a competitive environment, so it’s important that businesses do everything they can to stand out, including exploring whether they qualify for the tax incentives designed to encourage investment in private companies.” Mr Fraser said some SMEs could tap into the Business Growth Fund, which has a regional centre based in Bristol and has up to £2.5 billion to invest in growing companies, typically with a turnover between £5m and £100m. “The challenges of accessing finance in recent years have been well

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Know how Alastair Logan


Brewers raise a glass to deal that leads way

● BUSINESSES don’t have to borrow against physical assets, you could use your intellectual property (IP) instead. It’s an area that Vince Cable’s Department for Business, Innovation & Skills has been interested in of late. Mr Cable recently said that for creative businesses, IP is a big part of their assets and growth potential. But it can be hard to get your head around how much what’s in your head is actually worth. Adam Tavener, chairman of Clifton Asset Management which runs the resource, said: “I am astonished how few entrepreneurs realise the value that their knowledge, inventiveness and brand actual holds for them.” His firm had developed QuickIP, an online tool allowing business owners to find out the value of their IP, so they can decide if they want to use it back their business to grow.

Case study ● A PUB chain that built a bar out of shipping containers in Portishead has secured a 10-year, £20 million loan. Hall & Woodhouse, which owns pubs in Portishead, Bristol, Weston-super-Mare, Bitton and Congresbury, as well as others in the West Country, borrowed the money to continue its growth. The Dorset-based firm now has 200 pubs and 1,400 employees. It secured the long-term loan from M&G Investments, and the brewer’s finance director, Martin Scott, said: “The M&G direct lending team impressed us from the outset. They demonstrated a genuine passion for our business, flexibility in their approach and a willingness to invest heavily up front in getting to know everyone involved in taking us forward.” Fenton Burgin, partner in the debt advisory team at Deloitte, who advised Hall & Woodhouse on the deal, said: “This innovative and market-leading transaction is one of the first non-bank, long-term financings in the regional brewing sector since the

documented, but it is undoubtedly the case that this is beginning to reverse with new sources of finance being made available to ambitious, well-managed companies of all sizes,” he said. “But these may not be the ones people have become accustomed to and so businesses need to be prepared to explore the full range of options.” One of those options is the return of pension funds and insurance companies looking for more ways to invest their money, initially spurred by lower property prices. Asset manager M&G Investments has a £500m fund backed by Prudential to plough into businesses it believes will provide steady returns over the long haul. Although London-based, the fund wants to get out into the regions, where many of the well-established medium-sized firms with a £25m to £500m turnover it is targeting are based. Head of direct lending, James Pearce, said: “Before the financial

global financial crisis and reflects the strength of Hall & Woodhouse’s business. “Securing long-term, committed capital from one of the UK’s leading and longest

crash there was only one player in the market – the banks. We had been looking at this for some time, but the credit crunch created the opportunity. This type of lending has been a success In other markets, such as the US, and even across Europe we have seen a lot of pension funds and insurance companies lending to businesses, just not much in the UK before.” Rather than quick returns, the fund was playing a longer game. James said: “It’s actually more of an old-fashioned relationship. We want to understand the businesses we are lending to. We might have a 10-year arrangement, but we want to build relationships that last 30 or 40 years.” Another way for small and medium-sized firms to get their hands on cash is to borrow up to 90 per cent of the value against outstanding invoices. The 60-day wait to get paid can be a problem for smaller businesses, but it can be an opportunity to bor-

established asset managers provides the company with considerable financial flexibility, underpinning its continued success and the delivery of its long-term objectives.”

row in a way that is linked directly to a business’s sales success. Ultimate Finance, a Bristol-founded firm based in Aztec West, is one of a number of players in what is a growing market. Regional director, Alastair Logan, said the idea of businesses struggling to access funding was misleading. He said: “There is finance available. We have money to lend, but many businesses are still reluctant to take the risk to grow their business.” The firm offers a range of services, – from invoice discounting, where businesses borrow against outstanding invoices, to factoring, in which Ultimate chases the invoices and collects payment directly. “Some people love that,” he said. “Let’s say you are a wholesaler in Avonmouth with a £500,000 turnover. You don’t employ a full-time accounts team and you haven’t got the time to chase payment. Other people don’t want that because they have a great personal relationship with a client

Raising funds? Need to value your business assets? Our free QuickIP tool can help you identify if your business has Intellectual Property and provide the catalyst for obtaining an indicative IP value that could ultimately be used to help fund your business.

and don’t want a third party contacting them.” This style of lending is available from specialists, such as Ultimate, and the high street banks. And, according to Alastair, it’s becoming more popular. “There was a time when you could pick up the phone to the bank and get a £100,000 overdraft approved just like that,” he said. “That’s gone, but this is a way of getting secured finance on something other than bricks and mortar. And it’s not about short-term. We have relationships with customers over a number of years.” Alastair isn’t the only one keen to dismiss the notion that its hard to borrow. The banks also say they are already lending. Indeed, Lloyds’ SME banking team lent £16m to businesses in Bristol last year. Gary Himsworth, senior manager of the SME banking team for Bristol, said: “Unlike many other banks, local lending discretion is an important part of the service we offer our customers and we have senior managers nationwide with authority to lend up to £500,000. Business confidence has increased and our net lending to SMEs has grown by five per cent nationally in a declining market.” The bank launched a commitment to provide £1bn of new lending to SMEs and mid-sized manufacturers in the 12 months to September 2013, and beat it by 30 per cent, said Gary. He added: “We are well placed to further assist businesses to grow in line with their aspirations in 2014.” So the message from lenders is that, if your business is sound, there is finance out there. If you’re ready to take the leap.

Regional Director Ultimate Finance Group alogan@ultimate 0800 121 7757

The options for funding growth


ITH all the upbeat talk about the economy many SMEs are starting to think about how best to fund business growth. These are the main options. ● Overdraft: Only suitable for short-term needs but easy to arrange and flexible. You’ll be charged interest and may also have to pay a fee. Also, the bank can ask for the money back at any time. ● Investment finance: This option, also known as equity finance, involves selling part of your business to an investor who will take a share of any profits. It can be a demanding, expensive and time-consuming process to arrange, you’ll own a smaller share of your business and you lose some management control. ● A loan: Unlike an overdraft, a loan is not repayable on demand. But you have to keep up monthly repayments and you could lose your personal property or assets if you fall behind. There may be penalties if you repay early and the interest rate may change. ● Leasing and asset finance: Ideal for spreading the cost of acquiring machinery, vehicles and equipment. These contracts are readily available and enable you to get hold of better equipment than if you had to buy outright. The monthly instalments and interest rate are usually fixed, which helps with budgeting. If you fail to make the payments you lose the asset, not your home, and the leasing company carries the risk if the equipment breaks down. ● Invoice finance: A lender advances you up to 90 per cent of the money you have tied up in your unpaid invoices. Easy and quick to set up, it’s flexible, enabling you to vary the level of advance as required. You don’t go into debt in the way you do with a loan, and you don’t surrender any profits or management control. What’s more, the lender can provide professional, outsourced sales ledger management so you can concentrate on making money rather than chasing it. They can also provide credit checking of clients and debtor protection against bad debts. You have to decide which option best suits your particular requirements, but invoice finance is becoming increasingly popular with a wide range of SMEs for the reasons outlined above.

Clifton Asset Management Plc Registered No. 07206291. Registered office: The Pavilions, Eden Park, Ham Green, Bristol BS20 0DD. Advice on Pension-led Funding is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority . The advice is provided by Clifton Compliance Services Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Clifton Asset Management Plc.

Free to use at




Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Focus on start-ups | Sponsored by THEME SPONSOR’S NAME HERE.

Commercial feature

Hold-ups with MoTs drove us to set up our own vehicle test lane

Know how William Sanzo Director Eurotaxis

Gavin Thompson Assistant Editor (Business)


Further growth is very much achievable for us

YATE taxi and coach-hire company is opening its doors to other businesses after investing in a commercial vehicles MoT


lane. Eurotaxis has been a phenomenal success story since it was founded by Juan Sanzo in 1980. It has grown from a one-man operation, after Juan bought a “battered old” Austin for £200. Now the firm has 180 vehicles – taxis, buses and coaches – and a turnover of £5 million a year. It employs 95 people and uses a number of other self-employed taxi drivers. That growth, however, caused Juan a headache. Every commercial vehicle has to be MoT-tested each year. And unlike with a personal car, you cannot take it to many garages. There are a select number of specialised testing lanes in Au-

“ You can never get an appointment – it was a real problem. And when you did it was taking four hours to take a vehicle for testing and then bring it back. So we decided to invest £150,000 in building our own lane to do it in-house. Juan Sanzo thorised Testing Facilities. Difficulties in getting Juan’s fleet of vehicles to the nearest centre, and lack of available appointments, prompted Eurotaxis to come up with a radical solution. Juan said: “You can never get an appointment – it was a real problem. And when you did it was taking four hours to take a vehicle for testing and then bring it back. “So we decided to invest £150,000 in building our own lane to do it in-house.” It took six months to get through the red tape and logistical hurdles. But the lane finally opened for business in November, just before the firm’s 33rd birthday. The benefits for Eurotaxis are the time and cost savings in not having to get its vehicles to the test centre.

● Eurotaxis directors Keith and William Sanzo And to cover the running costs and eventually recoup the investment, the firm has opened up the lane to other companies. It has a VOSA tester on site three days a week, but is hoping to extend that to Monday to Saturday once it has enough customers coming in – that could add up to 80 tests each week. Juan says the MoT lane will never be a big profit-maker for the company, but has mutual benefits for his business and other firms in the area that can make use of it, paying just a small pit fee on top of the VOSA charges. The MoT lane is just one of the

services Eurotaxis offers over and above a typical taxi firm. It runs a commercial-vehicle recovery service for breakdowns, can carry out repairs and maintenance work, and can collect and return vehicles for their MoTs. And its coach hire arm takes people across the UK and Europe. Eurotaxis undertakes around 8,000 to 10,000 taxi journeys every week, and buses about 5,000 children to and from school. Juan said: “The key to growing the business has been hard work and family.” His wife Anne is the managing director, sons Keith and William are

directors and son-in-law Toby runs the workshop. Juan said: “It is very important that it is a family business. It gives you trust, and know how, from length of service. For example, Keith has been with the business for about 20 years.” As to his own involvement as company secretary, Juan, 63, has no plans to retire. He said: “I enjoy this too much.” And he still gets behind the wheel regularly. Juan said: “I still drive every day – buses, taxis, whatever. I enjoy the driving. There is no hassle. There is no stress. Driving is driving.”

ITH the Government’s continuing frugality, it may seem that the transport industry has been regulated an exponential

amount. Rising costs of fuel coupled with increasing traffic congestion mean that for many operators profits are being squeezed like never before. Established more than 33 years ago and still a family-run taxi and PCV operator, Eurotaxis has seen many changes, the largest of which was amalgamating two sites and moving to a purpose-built transport yard in Yate. Only last year we were based on a small, dusty yard in Westerleigh with our maintenance facilities based eight miles away, and our nearest VOSA Authorised Testing Facility 16 miles away in Avonmouth. If you think that some PCV vehicles will only do eight miles per gallon, we were wasting a small fortune in fuel and wages commuting daily between the sites. After 13 years, we finally found a suitable location and moved to a purpose-built transport yard in Yate with on-site facilities. However, we still had the 32-mile round trip nearly twice a week for a PCV vehicle to go to the ATF for its MoT. We have invested £150,000 in a new ATF lane at our depot in Yate. The ATF lane is now open to the public and to other operators. Since its opening day we have seen all kinds of vehicles on site, from horseboxes to coaches, from HGVs to buses. Some individuals or operators who do not have maintenance facilities have even brought their vehicle to us for its MoT preparation where we have guaranteed it will pass its MoT. Alongside our ATF lane we have invested in our vehicle-recovery infrastructure with a Mercedes Actros and a Mercedes Atego. So far there have been numerous HGV and PCV operators who have used our maintenance and recovery services as a one-stop shop for their vehicles. Our other significant investment last year was building a classroom and becoming an authorised centre to give the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence. We see that growth – although difficult at the moment – is, with the right infrastructure and commitment, very much achievable.

Not Just Taxis

EPB-E01-S3 0333 666 66 66

Recovery & Repairs

Mini Buses & Coaches

Taxis & Weddings


Wednesday, February 5, 2014


The Big Interview

KEEPING A FINGER ON THE PULSE Graham Randall is head of BDO in Bristol, which has launched the Business Pulse – a survey to find out what companies in the city really need for success. Rupert Janisch went to meet him.


Name: Graham Randall Age: 53 Place of birth: Farnborough, Kent School: The Ravensbourne School, Bromley First job: Sales assistant at a shoe shop in south London

My working day Wake up: 6am Breakfast? Porridge or a smoothie Start work: I check my emails from around 6.30am but am in the office for 7.45am Typical day: No two days are the same! But an average day would include catching up with my PA, reviewing and signing outgoing letters and reports, attending anything between one and five coffee meetings with banks, lawyers or clients across the region, conference calls with key stakeholders of distressed businesses, and generally reviewing the financial performance of the office and implementing the firm’s strategy at a local level. Hometime: I try to leave the office between 6.30pm and 7pm Do you take work home/attend evening functions? Yes. On average, I probably attend a couple of evening functions each week.

firm employed 40 people, but rapid expansion saw a move into larger offices in Victoria Street, just around the corner from where BDO is now based. And despite BDO’s current growth, Graham is keen to emphasise the fir m’s commitment to helping ambitious mid-market companies in Bristol and the surrounding area, as illustrated by the launch of a new twice-yearly survey in association with the Bristol Post this evening. “We are delighted to collaborate with the Bristol Post in creating the Business Pulse, which gives businesses in our region a powerful new voice,” he said. “The aim of the survey is to identify and examine the key issues affecting ambitious businesses in the city and greater Bristol region and look at the opportunities and challenges they face.” The initiative has the backing of the mayor, George Ferguson, the Chamber of Commerce and Colin Skellett, the chairman of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership.

My downtime My perfect weekend? A weekend break in the UK or Europe with my wife – anywhere with a poor mobile signal so I can get away from my Blackberry! What’s your favourite book or film or TV show? Film – Once Upon a Time in America; TV show – Line of Duty What are your hobbies (if any)? Travelling, music and sport – I’m a Leeds United fan. Access to finance is already identified as a big barrier to growth, particularly for those medium-sized businesses looking to export to new markets. “A recent report we conducted with the CBI revealed that about half of medium-sized businesses see exporting as key to achieving their growth strategy over the next three years, while over three-quarters expect to generate more revenues from invest-

ment abroad over the same period,” Graham says. The barriers? Understanding of how to export and support, both financially and in terms of implementing international growth plans. On the financial side, Graham believes too many businesses are “locked out” from the essential sources of growth finance and support they need to export and invest in foreign markets. His concern is that

this could hold back the economic recovery unless banks plug the gap. BDO also has several other projects in the pipeline and one Graham is particularly proud of is the drive to recruit trainees straight from school. He said: “Given my background, this is an area that I have particular resonance with. I was keen to start a career straight from school and come from a family where the importance of application and hard work were instilled – something that has always stayed with me. “While I would never discourage someone from going to university – my daughter went with my full support – I do think that a school leaver scheme is an excellent alternative.” Graham is also keen to emphasise the calibre of candidates from Bristol and the wider area. “Every year we take on more trainees and the standard never fails to impress me,” he said. “There are a lot of very talented and creative young people out there and it is fantastic to be able to give ambitious young people what is often their first chance in business.”


ESPITE the recession, Graham Randall has had his work cut out over the past few years. As partner and head of accountancy at business advisory firm BDO LLP in Bristol, it’s the challenge of helping struggling companies to formulate and implement strategies for restoring their businesses to growth that motivates him on a daily basis. That’s the day job – focusing on insolvency and restructuring work. But Graham also bears overall responsibility for an organisation that employs 140 people and covers the whole of the South West and South Wales. And on this front, the past 18 months have been extremely busy. In early 2012, BDO moved to its current offices at Bridgewater House, part of the Finzels Reach development. Last year, BDO bought accountancy firm PKF and plans are in place this year to expand further, into 6000sq ft of new space at Bridgewater House. As for his specialism, Graham himself never set out to focus on restructuring. “If you ask most people in my line of work,” he said, “they will tell you it was not their ambition to become an insolvency practitioner. In fact, I don’t think I’ve met anyone in over 30 years in the industry who has said it’s what they set out to become. “The very nature of the work means that I can be involved in some challenging and difficult situations, but despite this it really is my favourite part of the job. “I get a lot of personal and professional satisfaction from helping the owners of distressed companies come up with solutions and help them put strategies into practice that lead to preserving stakeholder value and safeguarding jobs.” Graham grew up in south east London with three sisters. But while each of them went to university, he was keen to start a career straight away. Aged 18, he followed his father, who had relocated to Cardiff, with the intention of returning to London if he couldn’t find a job. But after securing a position in the finance department of an insurance company, he never looked back. When the company was taken over five years later, he moved on, finding his first job in insolvency and business restructuring at an international accountancy firm. Three years later, he moved again, being taken on by a larger competitor and reaching manager level by the age of just 27. Graham stayed in Cardiff until 1994, then spent 18 months in Swansea before joining another accountancy firm in Hereford in 1996. It was in 1998 that he made the journey across the Severn Bridge to Bristol to set up an insolvency department for the firm. Following seven successful years, the opportunity to join a BDO predecessor firm arose. At the time, the

Vital statistics


Up and coming Surveyors

Graduate duo reach landmark in their career


TWO graduate surveyors at the Bristol office of a national commercial property consultancy have celebrated after achieving major milestones in their careers. Harry Goldsmid and Thomas Moore who are based at the Cheese Lane offices of Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) have passed the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) and are now looking forward to building on their experience at the company. A graduate of the College of Estate Management, where he attained a BSc in estate management, Harry (above) joined LSH in 2008 from King Sturge and worked in the office agency department before moving to telecoms in 2010. Tom (below) joined LSH in 2011 straight from the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester, where he studied for a degree in property agency and marketing. He has gained a wide range of experience across all departments at LSH and now works in the industrial and logistics agency team. Darren Sheward, head of office for Bristol and the South West, said: “Both Harry and Tom have proven themselves to be talented young surveyors who we are confident have great careers at LSH ahead of them.” LSH is a national commercial property consultancy that works with investors, developers and occupiers across the public and private sectors, and it is single-mindedly focused on UK and Irish property markets.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Movers & shake-ups The future of business

The latest appointments news. Send your news to


Safety of patients takes centre stage at Palladium

● Annette Marshall, left, and Nicola Henderson have set up the Palladium consultancy to improve patient safety

Rupert Janisch


WO former NHS nurses have set up a consultancy aimed at improving the safety of patients across the South West. Nicola Henderson and Annette Marshall have each spent 30 years working at hospital trusts, being based most recently at University Hospitals Bristol. Now the experts in patient safety have set up Palladium, a consultancy that provides services around com-

plaint and incident investigation, quality improvement and patient safety education. To set up their company, Nicola, from Failand, and Annette, from Henleaze, have had training with Outset Bristol, a city centre organisation that supports start-up businesses. And their business has developed to the extent that they are sponsoring the inaugural annual Bristol Patient Safety Conference, which will be held at Engineer’s House in Clifton on Friday, May 16. The event will share learning and will celebrate of some of the patient safety initiatives that have been put into place in healthcare settings

across the South West and beyond. Nicola and Annette said: “We feel passionately about patient and staff safety. “We have a wealth of enthusiastic and motivated teams in this region who are actively engaged in making things better through dedicated care and innovation.” Andrew Dean, programme director of Outset Bristol, said: “We are delighted with Nicola’s and Annette’s progress. “We wish Palladium all the very best for the future and we’ll continue working with them as part of the ongoing support and guidance we offer our clients.”


Training scheme

Costa helps youngsters into work

Fifteen colleagues pass key exam

A COFFEE shop chain has hired new staff members following a successful partnership with The Prince’s Trust in Bristol. Costa provided a practical 10-day in-store course with work experience for local unemployed young people. Each participant who completed the course was awarded a certificate. The scheme is part of Costa’s commitment to The Prince’s Trust’s Get Into programme, which offers short vocational courses to unemployed young people aged 16 to 25 in order for them to gain skills in a specific sector and improve their employability. Danielle Lentle, 18, from Withywood, was one of those offered a job at Costa following the course. After claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance for more than six months, she

A BRISTOL graduate is among 15 from property services firm DTZ to have passed a key exam after completing the company’s training scheme. Tom Alcock, pictured, who is in DTZ’s investment team based at Rivergate House in Redcliff Street, has passed his Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) exam. It means Tom and his colleagues are now qualified chartered surveyors and members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The APC is the practical training which, when combined with academic qualification, leads to membership

had begun to feel isolated. While looking for work online, she came across The Prince’s Trust and applied for the Get Into Hospitality programme. Danielle said: “The course did exactly what it said it would – it got me into hospitality. Within days of finishing the four-week scheme I was offered a permanent full-time role at my local Costa. “It was the type of training I’d been looking for. As well as helping me to pass my food safety assessments, it also made me feel sure of myself when talking to new people. “I’m really proud of my achievements because I’m exactly where I want to be – earning my own money by working in a job that I enjoy.” Costa will expand the trial to a full UK programme over the next year.

of the RICS. Tom and the other trainees at DTZ were placed on the two-year graduate scheme when they joined the company, which gave them specialised training and regular appraisals with agreed action points in preparation for the APC exams. Tim Davis, head of DTZ’s Bristol offices, said: “Each candidate has worked extremely hard to achieve this accreditation. “This success highlights the importance we place on professional development at DTZ. RICS status is the mark of property professionalism and this qualification is an important step in the career progression of each of the candidates.”

● PARTNER Imam Qazi, Islamic finance specialist at premier law firm Foot Anstey has been named by the industry magazine, The Lawyer, in its annual ‘Hot 100’. The list features legal practitioners, identified by independent research, who have made a difference to the legal world over the past 12 months. Imam leads the Bristol-based Islamic finance team. He said: “I am flattered that our work has been recognised by independent researchers. The demand for Islamic finance is continuing to grow, helped by clear messages of support from the UK Government.”

● ACCOUNTANCY and investment management group Smith & Williamson has promoted corporate tax specialist Paul Bray – who is based in the firm’s Bristol office – to partner. Paul has worked for Smith & Williamson since 1996 and heads up its small and medium-sized enterprises team based in Bristol, working closely with owner-managers and family-run businesses locally and across the South West. Paul said: “I am extremely pleased to have made partner, although from my clients’ point of view it’s business as usual. My client-facing role remains unchanged and I will continue to focus on meeting the needs of SMEs and owner-managed businesses.”

● A SITE manager working for Barratt in Bristol has been honoured in the national finals of the NHBC Price in the Job Awards. Bob Burgess, currently working at ND10@TheZone in the city centre, was runner-up in the multi-storey category of the awards for his work at the development. Bob is a senior project manager and has been working in the industry for more than 45 years. He said: “I’m thrilled to have been a runner-up in the multi-storey category. This recognises the efforts of the whole team.”

Business 5 February 2014  

Business Bristol Post, Business Finance. Gathering Momentum. Borrowing can power your business forward and there are more ways to get your...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you