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Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Finance project aims to help businesses soar ● THE business community in Lawrence Hill is to receive special focus for a new community finance initiative to support local enterprise. Working in partnership the Barton Hill Settlement, a new pilot programme called BOOST Neighbourhood Finance will aim to provide ethical and affordable finance for business, home and personal needs in the area. The initiative is being piloted in Bristol and will operate across the city, using innovative marketing and online methods to offer support. If it is successful, there is potential for it being rolled out nationwide from 2015/16. The pilot has received funding from the Department of Communities and Local Government and is being run by the Community Development Funding Association (CDFA), with support from the South West Investment Group (SWIG). SWIG fund manager Sarah Osborn said: “Through this project, the aim is to pull together, rebrand and market a package of financial services in order to make them visible and accessible to people and businesses in areas and ways the commercial sector do not reach.” Help will be offered for moving from unemployment into
“ Our vision is to increase the disposable income in local areas and increase the number of enterprises based there
Fund manager Sarah Osborn self-employment, backed up with business advice as well as support and finance for social enterprise in local communities. There is a plan to fill service cracks with a range of activities and opportunities to improve financial confidence and literacy, understand credit and how it works, access money advice, and look at ways of saving and dealing with a poor credit history. Partners will include the Barton Hill Settlement, a Community Development Trust in the heart of the city that has been working with local communities for over 100 years supporting the education, social and economic needs of local people. Bristol’s VOSCUR, the infrastructure organisation that supports, develops and represents the voluntary and community sector, is also playing an active role in the research and development phase of the Pilot Project before the launch of services in early September. Ben Hughes, chief executive at the Community Development Finance Association (CDFA) initiated the work and has a longer term goal in mind. He said: “We need to address the problems in communities and neighbourhoods across the country that are affected by decades of low economic activity and exclusion from financial services. “Our vision is to increase the disposable income in local areas, reduce the market for pay-day loans and doorstep finance and increase the number of and success of enterprises based there.”
● Operations manager Ashley Williams and sales and marketing manager Matthew Cains at Xercise4Less in Fishponds Pic: Barbara Evripidou BRBE20140509B-1
Expansion plan Budget gym chain going from strength to strength Gavin Thompson Assistant Editor (Business) email@example.com
HEN the bosses of fitness chain Xercise4Less decided to foray into Bristol, they thought it would be a success. But they had no idea how popular the budget gym would be. After nearly 6,000 members signed up, they went back to the drawing board and expanded the site by another 5,000 square feet and added a second floor. Ashley Williams has joined as operations director at the gym in Chan-
nons Hill, Fishponds, which opens at 6am on Friday. The 29-year-old, who started as a personal trainer and has since worked in management in the fitness industry, said they had been taken aback by the huge demand. He said: “Gym membership has been seen as a luxury but we are trying to provide a luxury service at a cheap rate and people have jumped on it.” Ashley explained the formula was for a budget gym that was fully staffed. About 40 people will be employed, in a mix of full and part-time roles. In some budget gyms you turn up and there is no member of staff except maybe a personal trainer,” he said. “We have a receptionist, train-
ers, sales team as well as myself and a facilities manager.” But the budget element comes from cutting out all the extras that many health clubs have – such as a pool or spa – and focusing on the gym. Ashley said: “At a health clubs you might pay £50 to 60 a month and you are not using some of the facilities you are paying for.” But starting at £9.99 a month has proved a good price point for the chain, which is rapidly expanding from its Yorkshire roots, and that has proved the case in Fishponds prompting the expansion before the doors even opened. Ashley said: “We acquired 30,000 square feet but due to the demand we have we were able to acquire an extra
5,000 square foot and we also decided to put in a complete second level instead of just over part of the site.” The gym, the group’s 17th but first in the South West, has 400 pieces of equipment – including a full size boxing ring – and members range in age from 16 to 80 plus. Chief executive Jon Wright added: “We’ve set out to create the people’s gym’ at each site, realising members use the facilities for lots of different reasons. We’re here to ensure people of all ages, and fitness levels, can benefit from great facilities, with cost not being a barrier. The fitness industry has become very greedy and there’s no need to charge members sky-high prices – a good gym can be run very economically.”
Experts guide you through pensions changes WELL-KNOWN business commentator Justin Urqhart Stewart will headline the speakers at next month’s Bristol Connected – Auto-enrolment: Are You Ready? The Bristol Post’s business networking event, which runs every other month, takes place at Bristol Zoo’s Clifton Pavilion on Wednesday, June 4. The evening is being staged in association with Clifton Asset Management. Bristol Post assistant editor (business) Gavin Thompson said: “Bristol Connected gives people a fantastic chance to meet, talk and
make connections, and there’ll be lots of time for that, and to meet our business team. We know, however, that auto-enrolment for workplace pensions is an issue causing many small and medium-sized businesses headaches so we decided to focus on this issue and see if we can help guide them through it.” The speakers, who will also be available to answer questions, are: ● Justin Urqhart Stewart, pictured left, of Seven Investment Management, a regular face on TV commentating on the markets ● Steve Bee, right, of jargonfreebene-
fits, a pensions expert, cartoonist and regular tweeter (@pensionsguru) ● And Morten Nilsson, chief executive of Now Pensions. Anthony Carty, of Clifton Asset Management, said: “We are delighted to be co-hosting the forthcoming Bristol Connected event with Bristol Post. Pensions automatic enrolment is now beginning to affect medium and smaller-size employers and is not without some significant challenges. “Until earlier this year the automatic enrolment journey has been travelled by large employers who typ-
ically have greater resources to deal with the compliance and administration aspects of this complex piece of pensions legislation. Smaller employers simply do not have these resources and most underestimate the effort required to comply. Our expert panel hope to share their experiences with our guests such that they leave with a greater understanding of their duties and some of the key considerations that need attending to.” Register for the event, which opens at 5.30pm for a 6.15pm start, by searching “Bristol Connected” on Eventbrite website.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
£1 to £500,000 Business booms for property management tycoon Rupert Janisch Business@b-nm.co.uk
BUSINESSMAN who bought his company for just £1 now enjoys a turnover of nearly £500,000 a year. Peter Ellis started out with little more than a telephone and desk when he set up his own letting agency 23 years ago. Today the owner of Accommodation Unlimited runs one of the largest independent letting and property management agents in the area – with branches in Bristol and North Somerset. The married father-of-two, who lives in Wrington, said: “I think I got a great deal when I bought it for £1 as it was a good-quality business.” Peter, 51, set up in Queen’s Road, Clifton, in 1991 with 15 landlords as his customer base. The company now manages more than 300 properties and still works with a dozen of its original customers. And over the years he has in fact bought his business for just £1 twice – in 2001 and 2008. He first bought it from Aspect Property Management Limited after the agency decided to focus on other areas of their business. Peter, a former pupil at Queen Elizabeth's Hospital School, said: “I got a call to say I could have the business for £1 if I bought it that day. I picked up the keys just hours later.” There was work to be done but it helped that Peter’s long-term colleague and friend, Nigel Scutt, had already worked for the company and had a good relationship with the customers. Peter was then bought out by Humberts, through CJ Hole, in June 2006 and kept on a consultancy basis. But during the crash of the stock market in 2008, Humberts went into liquidation. Peter then bought the company back from the receivers for £1. He managed to retain all of the staff and all bar one still work for him today. He said: “The agency was a small, successful part of a bigger business
Excalibur stages high-profile launch ● A COMMUNICATIONS and IT firm has opened an in Bristol as it looks to grow its customer base here. Excalibur Communications provides services for 5,500 businesses across the UK already but is looking to raise its profile in the business capital of the South West. Chief executive James Phipps said: “We’re extremely excited about our move into Bristol. It’s a city with an established and tight-knit business community that like us, is very forward thinking. “As a premier communications company, we want to become a big part of the business scene here, so we’re kicking off our move with a fun event that everyone can get involved in.” Representatives are urging shoppers in Cabot Circus this weekend to try to release a virtual Excalibur from the stone on a game on the Nokia Phablet, of which it has five to give away. The firm will be running two more business focussed events the next week, an Embracing Better Ways of Working seminar with guest speakers from Vodafone and Nokia at the Engine Shed, plus an evening networking event at the Milk Thistle.
Chance to pick up industry experience
● Peter Ellis, owner of Accommodation Unlimited which had been under delivering.” The Bristol City football fan has gone from a one-man band to a team of seven – and is looking to employ another full-time member of staff. Peter, who lives in Wrington, said: “I kept the staff on when Humberts went into liquidation because it was
not their fault and they’re good at their jobs. We all work hard and are fair to each other. We socialise together and have a good dynamic. “I am passionate about Bristol and about property. I think that comes across when I show people properties. I know the areas well and see
Picture: Michael Lloyd BRML20140508B-003 benefits to each place. “I believe the landlords are loyal because of our local knowledge and great customer service. We manage their properties so they don’t need to worry about anything – including calls at 3am from tenants who have locked themselves out.”
● A FOUR-STAR hotel has joined forces with BEST for tourism & hospitality, an initiative to provide those wanting a career in the hospitality sector the chance to gain hands-on experience The scheme, run by N-Gaged training, helps unemployed people get an insight into what it takes to run a hotel with applicants being given work placements at local businesses. The DoubleTree by Hilton, Bristol City Centre hotel in Redcliffe Way has taken on several people on placements. General manager John Dowling said: “We’re delighted to be part of this initiative. Hospitality is the fastest growing sector in the UK and in the next three years it will generate 250,000 new jobs, so it’s important that those considering a career in the sector get a better understanding of what’s involved.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Bristol Post Business Awards 2014
YOUR ENTRIES ARE IN – NOW THE After a last-minute flood of submissions, the deadline for the Bristol Post Business Awards 2014 has now passed. Gavin Thompson takes a look at the impressive field and what’s in store for the poor judges
OW! This is my first year involved in the Bristol Post Business Awards and, after the deadline for entries closed last week, “wow” about sums it up. I’d like to thank the 96 who invested the time to enter. I say invested because it is an investment in your business. Some of you will find yourselves featured in these pages, as Specsavers and Barber Brown are today. Many of you will be shortlisted for the awards and join us at Brunel’s Old Station for what I’m sure will be a great celebration of all that Bristol is achieving in business. And at least 15 of you will walk away winners. One will be crowned overall winner. Last year that honour went to Wessex Garages and, speaking at the launch of this year’s awards, managing director Keith Brock said they had calculated the PR value alone of the coverage at £30,000. But the bigger benefit was in the credibility the award lent his brand. So while it may have taken a little time – and yes one or two of you have mentioned to me how long the application took you to fill in – it should be worthwhile. We introduced a new creative and technology category this year and, personally, I’ve been delighted to see a great representation from the tech sector in the submissions across a number of categories. Companies such as Neighbourly, Webstart, Fundsurfer, Mubaloo and Meals.co.uk. It’s great to see the entrepreneurial spirit alive and well too. I love writing about entrepreneurs because they are always passionate about their work. People such as James Laing of fast expanding restaurant chain Hotcha or Tony and Bev Driffield who have grown Mama Bear’s Nursery in 10 years to 19 sites. Reflecting that, the start-up and small business categories look like being among the most competitive. Customer service will be hotly contested too. And in case you’re wondering, I feel safe naming names because I have no involvement in nor influence over the judges. I don’t envy their task though, not just because of all those detailed submissions we asked for, but primarily because, with so many first class candidates, it will be very tough to pick the winners.
● From left, Sammy Singh (manager), Agi Dalach (in-store trainer), Mark Walker (director) and Zoe Clark (optical assistant) at Specsavers, Broadmead; below, Pictures: Barbara Evripidou BRBE20140512C-2 Mr Singh with customer Laura Broadbent
We’re focused on giving best customer service Gavin Thompson Assistant Editor (Business) firstname.lastname@example.org
HEN Mark Walker bought the country’s original Specsavers store in 2012, he went in with his eyes open. He wanted to transform the Broadmead store’s customer service performance and reinvigorate his staff. Two years on, Mark, 48, is so pleased with the results he has entered the store into three categories of the Bristol Post Business Awards – retailer of the year, customer service and marketing campaign of the year. Mark and his team identified areas where customers thought they were going wrong – including the phone
Case study: Specsavers not being answered, no one being free to serve them, lack of appointments when they wanted them. Mark said: “After many months of hard work, and a new team of 40 members, 2013 was the year for us to begin to make our mark and push the store forward. “Our strategy to do this was two fold, to improve the development and knowledge of our team, and to put our customers at the forefront of everything that we do.” They did this by creating a “compliance and coms” team of three full-time and one part-time staff member to answer the phones, fill in NHS forms, call customers with reminders and rebook those who have not turned up – everything that pre-
viously stopped the sales and clinical staff from getting on with their jobs. Mark said: “This whole process took us three months to set up and get the team trained to the level required and, as you can imagine, has freed up time from everyone else in the store so that they can look after our customers.” The store opening hours have also changed. While most of Broadmead closes at
BID aims to raise awareness of shopping quarter
ECEIVING the ‘Yes’ vote from retailers for the third Broadmead Business Improvement District (BID) in November 2013 was a great result for Broadmead and Bristol Shopping Quarter as a whole. This will provide the funds for the BID team to continue to raise the profile of Bristol Shopping Quarter. The current BID will run for a five-year period and will focus once again on marketing the BID area and providing an enhanced level of cleansing and maintenance. The Broadmead BID team is com-
mitted to working closely with the retailers to ensure that the BID levy is used effectively to improve the retail area and to increase footfall into the area. Mark Walker, the director of Specsavers in Broadmead, has recently agreed to become the Chair of the BID management group. As a retailer who has been closely involved with the BID for several years Mark’s input and guidance will be a great asset. Mark is
keen to engage with other retailers to encourage them to become more involved with, and to benefit from, the BID. Marketing Bristol Shopping Quarter is the major focus of the BID and 2014 has already seen a number of campaigns undertaken – all aimed at increasing awareness of the shopping area and encouraging more customers. This Easter, BID-funded activity, included visits from Peppa Pig and Ben & Holly, advert-
6pm, Specsavers now opens to 7.30pm meaning people can get appointments after work. A staggered shift pattern also means more staff on duty over lunch. Finally, the store created a career path to help develop staff so they could see a future within the business, helping to retain and motivate them. Max said: “One of the main differences with optical retailing opposed to most other retail outlets is that we only see every customer on average every two years when they are due for their appointment, so we have to make their experience memorable. “This is even more of a challenge as there are now twelve Specsavers in Bristol, who are our main competition, so as we cannot beat them on the offer and pricing, we have to provide a better service.”
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
JUDGES FACE VERY TOUGH TASK Sponsors
New wave of clients welcomed Gavin Thompson Assistant Editor (Business) email@example.com
Case study: Barber Brown
NCE a men-only domain, one Bristol barber shop opened its doors to thrifty women feeling the cost-of-living squeeze. Barber Brown, which has its flagship store in Broadmead, saw the opportunity when more women started coming in as customers and has adapted its style and offering to suit. It’s not surprising from a business that says giving the customer what they want is at its heart. Owner Mark Brown, 40, said: “In reaction to the recession and the market, we were inundated with ladies’ haircuts. We have since grown with this, as has our price point. “We had an average client bill of around £10 in 2007/8 with around 60-70 clients per week. This has increased considerably and we now have a very diverse clientele, as well as staff. “We have grown our range of services from men’s and ladies’ haircuts and colour to bridal hair and advanced colour correction. “We have a growing and thriving clientele of funky individuals who wear their hair out of the norm. “We also service our traditional clients including men’s hairdressing, ladies’ and gents’ hairstyling, men’s barbering, treatments and colour.” Mark said the market was very competitive, so the shops had to stand out and they did that through customer service. “Every client should be in control of their haircut. Through our intense training we teach stylists to allow the client to get what they really want, rather than what the stylist can do. “We ask our stylists to read the news, be up-to-date on local issues and learn the local area and cultures. A Barber Brown stylist won’t ask,
● Above, Jerica Sternad, senior stylist, Sarah Roesli, senior stylist, and Claudia Mihai; left, Sarah with client Vicky Collins Pic: Barbara Evripidou BRBE2014 0513B-3
clients a month. The salons are pro-active in their marketing, using voucher websites, recommend-a-friend offers and staff can often be seen outside trying to hook potential customers in. Mark said: “We are quickly building a reputation for our excellence in customer service, the unique feel of our salons and the growing number of loyal staff who share the journey and vision of Barber Brown. “We believe if we look after our stylists and staff, they will look after us. Being a fair employer means loyal employees.”
ising campaigns in the Bristol Post and Metro and on Heart FM and competitions to win up to £2,000 to spend in Bristol Shopping Quarter. May half-term will see the Covent Garden tour return to Broadmead when six internationally acclaimed street performers will amaze customers with their acts on Thursday May 29. And a series of fam-
ily-friendly events and advertising campaigns are being planned for the summer school holidays. Ensuring that Bristol Shopping Quarter is clean and well-maintained is a priority for the BID team. The area is constantly monitored and, working in partnership with the cleansing team, all issues are dealt with very quickly. The BID team is delighted to be sponsoring two categories at the Post Business Awards again this year. The awards Retailer of the Year and Customer Service are both very relevant for our businesses within the BID area and we have encouraged our retailers to enter these prestigious awards. Jo Hawkins, Broadmead BID manager, pictured left
● Business of the Year Bristol, sponsored by UWE Bristol ● Young Entrepreneur of the Year ● Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Punter Southall ● Retailer of the Year, sponsored by Broadmead Bristol BID ● Customer Service Award, sponsored by Broadmead Bristol BID ● Family Business of the Year, sponsored by BOM Group ● Innovator of the Year ● Export Award, sponsored by Lloyds Banking Group ● Marketing Campaign of the Year ● Large Business of the Year, sponsored by Smith & Williamson ● Best Creative/Technological Award, sponsored by Ashfords Solicitors ● Leisure & Tourism Business of the Year, sponsored by QBE ● Small Business of the Year, sponsored by First Great Western ● Start-Up Business of the Year, sponsored by Jordans ● Environmental Business Award ● Contribution to the Community Award, sponsored by Renishaw
‘Are you going on holiday this year?’.” The first store opened in 2007 with two chairs and a £1,000 start-up fund. Now it has a flagship store in Broadmead as well as a branch in Bath and a new Bedminster branch in East Street, while the old Bedminster Parade salon has been re-branded Strongman Moustache. The business trains apprentices through its sister salon Bristol Hair Academy and has had 20 come through the ranks since 2011. The business is growing about 5-10 per cent a year and attracts about 300
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Know how James Phipps Chief executive Excalibur 0117 329 1002 firstname.lastname@example.org www.ex-c.co.uk
Helping businesses move to the cloud
HE term cloud computing can mean so many different things and covers such a wide area. However, the benefits it delivers are the same across business critical IT Systems “Work is what you do, not where you are”. At Excalibur we understand mobile working better than anyone else. As a truly converged IT business, our experience across mobile telephony, fixed line and IT is second to none, plus we use all our solutions ourselves. We’ve also achieved the highest levels of partnership leading global vendors such as Vodafone, Blackberry, VMWare and Microsoft. Our team of Cloud Technology Consultants can help you make the right choice when deciding on the smartphone, tablet and PC so your staff can be connected at all times. Employees will become more effective and be more responsive when dealing with any request. The days of having to wait for someone to check on their computer “when they get back” are gone. The overhead in developing, maintaining and investing in an IT network that is highly available and secure is a challenge every business faces. By moving to a cloud-based solution you are removing these issues together with costs of investment in infrastructure and maintenance, freeing you up to focus on your core business. We have designed and implemented a secure and highly available platform that delivers a range of services depending on your specific requirements. The cloud will help your business: ●Improve cash flow by moving to a monthly subscription service ●Ease of access from any internet connection across multiple devices ●Improve scalability and flexibility of your IT ●Increase revenue through greater sales, faster time-to-market and a more mature and simple to use application delivery channel ●You only pay for the services or infrastructure you require ●No issues with failure and associated downtime We can also store your data in the cloud and provide online back-up. If we store your data for you, you’ll be able to share and access data, more quickly, from multiple locations. This removes any issues office connectivity speeds and provides you with peace of mind that you won’t lose any of it if the worst should happen. As many companies worry about the cloud being secure, we ensure all data is encrypted with several layers of security. Our team of consultants will take your requirements and recommend a tailored solution for your business.
Stats: ● 76% of companies agreed that the move to the cloud “improved our ability to work from anywhere.” ● 77% said it had a “positive impact on our business.” ● 73% added it “made elements of people’s jobs easier”.
● Buddhist and former solicitor Jackie Hawken runs Mindfulness classes to help professional people cope with stress
Pic: Jon Kent BRJK20140428C-001
Beating stress Buddhist helping workers stay happy and healthy Chris Campbell Business@b-nm.co.uk
USINESSES are turning to unusual methods as they think about their employees’ minds as well as physical health. A Buddhist and former solicitor has stepped up her teaching in workplaces across Bristol after a rise in demand for her courses. Jackie Hawken, founder of Mindfulness Bristol, hopes to minimise levels of employee stress in the city using techniques taught by Buddha but geared towards individuals and professionals in the Bristol area. The 61-year-old has more than 100 clients, including directors, lawyers, politicians and teachers and runs sessions in offices, schools and in her home, in Woodgrove Road. “I want to go into more solicitor firms, more offices, more schools,”
she said. “Every company is encouraged to look after the wellbeing of their staff, to help them work in a happier and more productive way. “It has come up on the agenda in schools as well and I am being contacted by more and more firms in Bristol and the surrounding area.” The mother-of-two, pictured, who was born and grew up in Bristol, has lived in London, Greece and France. Jackie worked in the UK for 15 years as a lawyer for a private practice and later local government. She left her job as a solicitor to concentrate on Mindfulness five years ago. Jackie has a masters degree in Education from the University of the West of England and a post-graduate diploma in Mindfulness Compassion Insight and Wisdom. She has more than 30 years’ personal practice of meditation and Mindfulness and was taught by Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche, who founded the first Buddhist monas-
tery in the UK. Jackie runs three hour sessions for men and women of all ages, currently 16 to 74, in groups of eight at her home and larger groups when visiting workplaces. They cost £15 per person after a free introductory session. Group and one-on-one exercises aim to improve the wellbeing and
positivity of those that take part and to encourage living in the present moment. Jackie is looking to extend the number of people in her home groups from the summer. The courses are six weeks long and there are follow-up sessions on Sundays. Jackie also runs the Ladies Who Latte networking group at Goldbrick House on Park Street every second Wednesday of the month. Around 20 women meet and regulars include financial and health consultants, web designers, lawyers and coaches. There is no cost to attend. Jackie added: “It’s a brilliant way for women to get together and make connections and friendships. It is mainly women who run a business.” To find out more about Mindfulness and Ladies Who Latte, visit www.mindfulnessbristol.co.uk. You can listen to Jackie every Monday on The Steve Satan Show on BCfm from 1pm to 2pm.
Relief as city start-up adviser secures funding UNCERTAINTY has been put to one side for another year over the future of an organisation which supports start-up businesses in Bristol. Outset Bristol, which has provided business services in the city since 2011, has announced it has been given a further year of funding from the City Council, matched by Europe. Since it started three years ago, the Queen Square-based organisation has helped create 288 companies in Bristol, providing more than 300 new jobs, and adding more than £2.9 million to the city’s economy. But funding doubts had placed its future in the city at risk, until last week’s announcement of further city council and European Regional Development Fund money. Strong demand from budding entrepreneurs, aided by lobbying from
some of the hundreds of people who have benefited from the Outset service and support from local community leaders and councillors, is believed to have influenced the decision. Stephen Hilton, director of the Futures Group at Bristol City Council, said: “We are delighted that Outset will be continuing to support people, particularly from our deprived areas, to start their own businesses. “Bristol is a city made up of entrepreneurs and with Outset’s support, people from all parts of the city and all walks of life will have the opportunity to become self-employed, creating jobs and strengthening the local economy.”
The programme has also recently been expanded to include local access to government-funded start-up loans, delivered through Outset Bristol’s sister company, Outset Finance. Andy Dean, pictured, Outset Bristol’s programme director, said the new offering is a step towards delivering an end-to-end service for the city’s start up community. He said: “Outset Bristol has achieved some exceptional results over the past three years – transforming the lives of many of our clients. Offering this support for accessing finance is yet another example of how we remove barriers to setting up local businesses.”
Outset Bristol’s free advice, help and workshop sessions for 2014 are open to all, but particularly target those from disadvantaged sectors, including the long-term unemployed, women, ethnic minorities and disabled people. More than half of those helped by Outset Bristol are women, and over a quarter have been long-term unemployed. One start-up owner who has benefitted from the service is Christopher Driscoll. from aerial photography business Face In Space. He said: “Outset not only answers the questions you have when you start a business, but shows you things you never would have thought about.Outset gave us the confidence to take the steps needed to start Face In Space. It would have been bad for Bristol if Outset would have been lost.”
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
The Big Interview
THE DERREN BROWN OF BANKING If you’ve just sold your company to Twitter or turned your lounge bar or coffee shop into a multi-million pound empire, you need someone to help you handle the spoils. Gavin Thompson meets Greg Davies, the banker who wants to know who you are before advising where you invest.
F you’re one of Bristol’s growing rich, you might get a visit from the banker who knows what you’re thinking. It’s a frightening thought, particularly if you think what many people do about bankers these days. But don’t worry, Greg Davies’ insight is into how you might think as an investor. He has a PhD from Cambridge in behaviour finance and heads up behavioural finance unit at Barclays. That puts him somewhere between the Sigmund Freud and Derren Brown (below) of the banking world. Part of his job is to assess people to find out what kind of investor they really are and another part to “get them comfortable” with making investment decisions. “I’ve got to know customers better than they know themselves,” he says. “What kind of trade-offs are they prepared to make? They might think they know that but find out they are wrong when they hit a time of crisis.” It’s a line of work that is increasingly bringing him to Bristol, where the bank opened a wealth and investment management office in 2006, which last year moved to its new Bridgewater House office in Finzels Reach. The bank’s research shows one in five businesses here are classes as high growth, making it fertile ground for finding rich investors. Greg started the behavioural unit at Barclays seven years ago and for most of that time they have been the only dedicated team of behaviour scientists, although others are now following. He says: “We started just before the crash. That meant two things, one we were the only people there because none of our rivals were likely to launch something new at that time. And two, we have learned more in the past five years than we probably could have done in any other time.” The team’s existence is a recognition that people are emotional, not like robots, and decisions made for emotional reasons are valid. For example, while the market has been low it is the classic right time to invest. Buy low, sell high. Yet people have been reluctant, largely because they just aren’t feeling it.
Greg says: “There’s a huge amount of cash sitting on the sidelines, the investors are just not comfortable yet. They say they’ll go when X happens, but then X does happen and it doesn’t resolve anything so they still don’t invest. Sitting with cash doing nothing costs you. Over four to five years, our moderate risk asset allocation of investments has risen by 85 per cent. People who have been waiting for the magic right moment have been forgoing 14 per cent per year. “Classical finance says that’s irrational. Our position is it’s not irrational. You get something real in return – the emotional comfort to get on with your life. The question is should you be paying so much for the ability to sleep at night? There are cheaper ways to get a good night’s sleep.” Greg’s team assess the potential investors he meets on a number of areas to see how comfortable they are with risk, how anxious long term investments make them, how involved they want to be and more. They have designed frameworks to “ask the right questions” to understand their customers’ financial personality. Greg says: “The financial personality assessment looks are different aspects. One aspect is risk tolerance – how willing are you to trade off risk and return? “People think they are prepared to do that in the long run, the trouble is it takes a long time to get to the long run and along the way with the economic ups and downs they find themselves beset with anxiety. “We measure composure – the degree to which you feel comfortable with the journey. And market engagement or reluctance – there are people who are theoretically perfectly prepared to make long term trade offs but never quite get to the point where they will pull the trigger. “Our job is not just to tell you the right answer but to get you comfortable enough to get there.”
“ I’ve got to know customers better than they know themselves. What kind of trade-offs are they prepared to make? They might think they know that but find out they are wrong when they hit a time of crisis.” Greg Davies
The personality profile ● What kind of investor am I? The 36 questions of the financial personality test ranged from the financial to the emotional, Gavin Thompson writes. You are asked to agree or disagree with statements such as - “I get stressed easily”, (no) “I am willing to risk a significant amount of my investable wealth in order to get a good return”, (if only I had
any) “Uncertainty makes me uneasy, anxious or stressed” (sometimes) and “I enjoy making speculative investments in specific assets with portions of my wealth” (love to). Within minutes of submitting the answers, a detailed personality report arrives in my inbox. It reveals I have a moderate risk tolerance and composure (don’t
put the mortgage on 27 black) but a high market engagement (I’m willing to jump straight in) and high belief in skill (I trust professionals to make know what they are doing). Now all I need is the amount of investable wealth the team normally looks for. A mere £3-5 million. When’s my next pay review?
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Focus on start-ups | Sponsored by THEME SPONSOR’S NAME HERE.
Aerospace sector focus
CITY FIRMS SET FOR TAKE-OFF AS Aerospace is a vital sector in Bristol and the South West, which affects a vast range of companies from giants of the industry down to SMEs. Rupert Janisch found out more.
O YOU ever hear about a new aircraft being unveiled and wonder why it’s big news? Obviously there are large amounts of money sloshing around, with customers in airlines and sometimes air forces all over the world spending many millions or even billions of pounds. However what you might not appreciate is the sheer number of people affected, working for the many businesses that such news affects. Yes, there are the thousands employed by the giants of the industry – the companies like Airbus, Rolls and GKN. But there are also the many people involved in supplying these mega-firms with parts and expertise for the jets we see flying overhead. The UK boasts the world’s second largest aerospace sector, with around 3,000 companies serving the industry’s supply chain. Many of these companies are based in Bristol and the West Country. They are responsible for designing and manufacturing aircraft components, from fuel systems, wings and landing gear to specialist, individual parts. The South West’s aerospace supply chain provides 41,000 full-time jobs and generates an annual turnover of £5.5 billion. And it’s set to grow further, with SMEs in and around Bristol likely to benefit. Nick Golding is aerospace sector specialist at the Manufacturing Advisory Service and also sits on the Aerospace Growth Partnership working group for manufacturing and supply chains. His day-to-day activities therefore involve helping SMEs engage with the supply chain and also engaging with larger scale issues that the industry faces. He said: “Local companies are getting an increasing pick-up in the marketplace because of increasing volumes, particularly because of the A320 that’s launching and the new Bombardier aircraft. “The launch timescales are starting to be compressed and the production cycles of these aircraft are starting to overlap and that’s challenging for the supply chains that feed into them. “It puts additional pressure on these companies but it also creates additional opportunities in the supply chain. For single-aisle platform aircraft, short-haul aircraft with 100 to 150 seats, the production rate has jumped. “The industrial strategy focuses on these high volume aircraft, the next generation of these aircraft and what can we do to position the UK for it. “The high-value work is often linked to the wide-body aircraft, where although as a proportion the volume is lower but the cost is significantly higher. “Some of the companies in the supply chain have high growth potential and are already starting to grow very
rapidly. They have recently been awarded regional growth funding to make changes in their facilities and they’re under the sort of pressure where they’re at the point that they need to make significant business decisions to allow them to take advantage of the opportunities in the market. “So for them to develop for the future they need to understand what their technology needs, what their unique differentiators are and how they can finance their business to ensure they can continue to maximise their potential. “There’s no shying away from the fact that aerospace is a very competitive marketplace but we have some unique skills and capabilities in the South West. The region has the largest aerospace cluster in Europe and if we can pull that knowledge together in a collaborative fashion there has to be a competitive advantage in that.” So what do companies need to do to
“ There’s no shying away from the fact that aerospace is a very competitive marketplace but we have some unique skills and capabilities in the South West. Nick Golding, below capitalise on the opportunities? One of the major challenges is to find the right routes to market, according to Adrian Harding, head of business development at the West of England Aerospace Forum (WEAF). He said: “We ran one of our popular ‘Meet the Buyer’ events in May and predictably, everyone wanted to book meetings with the biggest companies, which included Airbus, AgustaWestland and Rolls-Royce – despite the fact that they really needed to be talking to those lower down the supply chain. This is where the opportunities are most likely to be. There is tremendous optimism in the industry as a whole but huge frustrations are being expressed by companies unable to tap into it. “With the industry set for significant and ongoing growth, we are encouraging suppliers to think carefully about where they ought to be targeting their goods and services. “We know, for example, that companies like Messier-Bugatti-Dowty, which manufacture aircraft landing gear, are looking to double their production for Airbus in the next 24 months and are keen to expand their supply chain to meet demand. Their
● Mark Summers, finance director, Avon Valley Precision Engineering
Pic: Simon Galloway BRSG20140509C-02
‘Government needs to help the next generation’ ● Avon Valley Precision Engineering (AVPE) was set up in 1997 and manufactures precision machined components for the aerospace and defence markets. The company, based in Bitton, employs 39 staff and is growing, currently supplying direct into prime and tier 1 partners in the aerospace supply chain. It makes parts for aircraft including the Airbus A380, A350, A340 and A320, the Bombardier Global 7000/8000 Series, as well as supplying the Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul (MRO)market via Airbus Spares and BAE Systems. Despite being relatively
existing suppliers will also be looking to bolster their resources.” Another ongoing challenge is skills. The West of England Aerospace Forum (WEAF) is working closely with UWE and Bridgwater College in association with local businesses to develop a new aerospace apprenticeship geared to the current and future needs of the sector. This is due to be unveiled later this year. The other crucial factor is access to working capital. With long procurement cycles, many businesses need help to keep their teams and projects
Case study unaffected by the recession, finance director Mark Summers says the company is benefiting from a strong improvement in confidence, which is helping AVPE grow. He said: “The UK aerospace industry is second in the world behind the US and is a world leader in wing, under carriage and propulsion systems. The global aerospace industry is growing strongly on the back of demand from South East Asia, China, India and South America and this gives
alive from the time a contract is agreed and development work begins to the point at which they start to generate revenues. This can take years. WEAF is holding a ‘Navigating the Grants, Loans and Funding Maze’ event at Leigh Court, Bristol, on June 5. Supported by accountancy and investment management group, Smith & Williamson, and HSBC, the event will feature 12 speakers offering advice and information. According to an HMRC Statistical Report issued in August 2013, only 9,900 SMEs claimed research and de-
excellent medium to long-term opportunities for the UK supply chain, if they are able to meet the prime demand for quality and delivery performance. “I would like to see better access to funding for the SME sector. Banks are holding back our growth opportunities and R&D programs for new generation aircraft technology. We also need to equip youngsters with more appropriate skills for the workplace. We are very committed to apprenticeship programs but more appropriate backing from Government in this area should assist the next generation of the workforce.”
velopment tax credits between 2011 and 2012. Paul Bray, right, a tax partner at the Bristol office of Smith & Williamson, who will be speaking at the event, said companies were missing out on opportunities to claim potentially significant cash rebates on their R&D activities. He said: “The Government has created a taxation environment, which offers some great incentives. This relief has been designed to encourage businesses to carry out research and development and they can improve cash flow by either reducing their tax
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Expert eye Richard Brown
REGION’S INDUSTRY SOARS
● Fowlers Engineering Sales and engineering director Gary White
Pic: Michael Lloyd BRML20140512C-001
Ex-motorbike workshop that has engineered major transformation
liabilities or providing tax repayments. “Many companies miss out by failing to claim R&D tax credits, possibly because they view their R&D activities as integral to their overall trade and not something they specifically identify or because they do not see themselves as carrying out research or advancing technology. “It is always worth asking a tax adviser to have a look, as you
Case study workshop but is now completely separate from Fowlers Motorcycles and recently celebrated its 50th anniversary as a limited and independent company. Employing 27 staff at its site in Montpelier, Fowlers provides sheet metal work, precision machining, fabrication and welding, press work and hand fitting for the industry –
generally in bracketry, making brackets for products like landing gear and turbine engines. Sales and engineering director Gary White, who has been with the company for 20 years, said: “We think our growth in the sector is going to continue and it’s more than likely that if this trend continues it will account for 100 per cent within the next five years. “We’ve invested quite a bit of
time and money into training and recruiting the right calibre of staff to serve the aerospace industry and that’s where we see our future. “We understand the customer requirements but we also have multiple accreditations and approvals. This past year Rolls-Royce gave us integrator status, so we are a preferred supplier and other suppliers have to go through us.”
may qualify without realising it.” Richard Brown, partner at law firm Veale Wasbrough Vizards based in Orchard Lane, Bristol, and board member of WEAF, said there was an “imbalance” between the big corporate firms and the smaller companies in the supply chain in the sector. He said: “The companies at the top of the supply chain have very long term contracts, often with governments, of 10,
20, even 30 years. But they issue much shorter contacts to their suppliers.” Mr Brown said that allows the big firms to get the best prices and keep suppliers competitive, but it causes difficulties when the smaller firms want to borrow money to invest in research or equipment. “The smaller companies don’t have long term contracts they can take to their bank manager and say ‘I’d like to borrow £X million for new kit.” The Government and WEAF are urging big players to move towards longer contracts for suppliers. The
hope is such a move would spur more innovation in the sector and help keep the UK and Bristol ahead of the game in such a key export market. Mr Brown added: “There is a need for innovation. Lots of the big companies are going to smaller suppliers saying ‘come to us with your ideas’ but the problem for the SMEs is how to work collaboratively with large corporate partners who could squash them. “That’s where they need help with things like contracts and intellectual property protection.”
Aerospace pioneer would be so proud
N 1910 George White established the Bristol Aeroplane Company in Filton. The man who started his career as a legal clerk in Bristol at the law firm that subsequently became Veale Wasbrough Vizards (VWV), created the foundations for the UK’s aerospace industry. The aerospace sector in the UK is now the largest in Europe with annual revenues of £24 billion. The South West has the highest concentration of aerospace suppliers in Europe and many of these are located here in Bristol. George White would be justly proud of the heritage that he created and also that VWV is a leading law firm in the aerospace sector. Like all sectors, aerospace has its own acronyms so let me try and de-mystify some of the jargon that you may come across: ●ADS: the industry association which represents aerospace suppliers nationally. The initials stand for Aerospace, Defence, Security (and Space). ●AGP: stands for Aerospace Growth Partnership, a £2bn initiative designed to provide growth, excellence and jobs for the aerospace sector. ●BAC: stands for the Bristol Aerospace Centre, a new industrial museum and learning centre in Filton that will house Concorde and is due to open in 2017. ●Clean Sky: is a public-private partnership designed to make aerospace greener and more environmentally friendly. ●Clusters: are the way that smaller aerospace suppliers collaborate to get a larger share of the market. ●Farnborough: is the air show due to take place in July 2014 where you will find everyone from the Bristol aerospace industry. ●Innovation: is the key to the aerospace industry’s global competitiveness. Legal protection is vital. ●NATEP: stands for the National Aerospace Technology Programme which will invest £40m in aerospace technology over the next 4 years. ● NCC: stands for the National Composites Centre located on the outskirts of Bristol, a key source of new technology and innovation. ●VWV: if you google “aerospace defence legal advice” or “aerospace defence lawyer” or “aerospace defence solicitor” you will find us at the top of the list. ●WEAF: stands for the West of England Aerospace Forum, a Bristol based trade association which represents aerospace suppliers in the South West. At VWV, we are lawyers to a diverse range of aerospace and defence clients, from large organisations, to the smallest link in the supply chain. If our sector knowledge and experience appeals to you, please contact Richard Brown, head of Aerospace and Defence on 0117 9252020 or email@example.com
● Fowlers Engineering’s involvement in the aerospace industry is growing. Five years ago it provided 40 per cent of the company’s turnover. Last financial year, it was 63 per cent of the £1.5 million the company turned over and the forecast for this year is £1.7 million, off the back of a buoyant aerospace sector. The company was originally set up in 1917 as a motorcycle
Head of aerospace & defence Veale Wasbrough Vizards 0117 9252020 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
BRISTOL’S BUSINESS COMMUNITY – The Bristol Distinguished Executive Address Series - Xavier Rolet
HE chief executive of the London Stock Exchange says Bristol is leading a technology revolution and called for investors to look no further for places to grow their capital. Xavier Rolet was speaking ahead of his talk in the Bristol Distinguished Address series, staged by the University of the West of England at Brunel’s Old Station, Temple Meads. He said: “Bristol is a remarkable success story. There is a new technology revolution and not everybody has noticed it yet. We are seeing it on the London Stock Exchange, it’s one of the reasons the UK is leading the world in terms of economic performance and job creation. “Investors always ask me where should they put their money. I say look right here at home at the technology revolution. “There are small and medium sized companies growing at 200, 300 even 500 per cent a year.” Xavier, who was born in France and raised on a “sink estate” in Paris, was full of praise for this adopted home country, where he has lived for 27 years. He praised the ability to marry a creative scientific community with a desire to be entre-
● Xavier Rolet, chief executive of London Stock Exchange Group speaks at The Passenger Shed
Pic Michael Lloyd
preneurial. He said: “The remarkable opportunity for university students and young scientists and the combination of financial expertise – how to raise capital – indeed the ability to produce world-class science that has gone unabated for 300 years, that combination is unique in Europe.” Of the 23 million small and medium sized companies in Europe, 4.8 million of them are in the UK, he said. But Xavier said the biggest challenge in future was to “learn lessons from the 1980s” and find a way to involve more people as investors in these growing companies, as a way of sharing the wealth. His comments were a nod to the rise of small share owners largely through privatisation of national industries such as British Gas and BT. Xavier believes finding ways for the main in street to buy into the technology revolution as shareholders would answer concerns about the capitalist economic system. The Distinguished Executive Address Series is delivered by the UWE Bristol Business School in partnership with ACCA, Bristol City Council, Bristol Post, Business West, CBI, CMI, FSB, IoD, and the West of England LEP.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
OUT AND ABOUT
FOR MORE PICTURES Check out our website at bristolpost.co.uk/business
CBI South West annual lunch at Explore At-Bristol
USINESS leaders from the South West came to Bristol for the CBI annual lunch, which took place in science centre At-Bristol. More than 150 leading figures from region’s business community and the political spectrum gathered to celebrate business achievement. They were addressed by two leading figures in Stephen Boyle, head of economics at RBS and Duncan Goodhew MBE, Olympian and motivational speaker. The event, sponsored by RBS and the University of the West of England, was exceptionally well received by all attendees and the event is now firmly established as an essential date in the South West business calendar. Andrew Jenkins, director of CBI South West, said: “The CBI Annual Lunch is a great occasion to celebrate and showcase the strength and diversity of the business community across the region. “Attendees were entertained and inspired by addresses from our speakers, Stephen Boyle of RBS and Duncan Goodhew. “The event also enables superb net-
Business diary Institute of Directors Bristol branch Wednesday @ 6: Informal networking from 6-8pm at Radisson Blu Hotel, tonight, Wednesday May 14. Free and open to non members but register by calling 0117 3707785. Achieve Faster Growth: Free event aimed at high growth potential companies giving a chance to meet like-minded people and find out about the Growth Accelerator scheme. 8am-10am, May 15, at Grant Thornton, Victoria Street.
working bringing together people from across industry, academia and the political world, providing the opportunity to mix and share experience and ideas to continue to create growth and opportunity across the region.” Bristol News & Media – publisher of the Bristol Post – was represented by managing director Sarah Pullen and newly installed Western Daily Press editor Ian Mean.
Meeting the Challenges charity seminar: For charity trustees, officers and key volunteers involved in charity management and administration. Burton Sweet event takes place at the M shed on May 15 from 8.45am-2pm. Email karen. email@example.com for booking inquiries. Gergg Latchams Business Club: Health and safety compliance is the subject of a seminar hosted by the Gregg Latchams Business Club on Thursday, May 15. The event takes place at the M shed on Princes Wharf and runs from 8am to 9.30am. ● Peaches Golding OBE, Professor Nicholas O’Regan and Venessa Moon Pics: Jon Kent BRJK20140508B-001
RICS South West Awards: Showcasing inspirational regional initiatives and developments in land, property, construction and the environment. At the Grand Thistle Hotel, Bristol, from 7pm. Bristol Junior Chamber Spring Drinks: The Bristol Junior Chamber’s summer social, at the RWA, Queen’s Road, Clifton, 6.30-8.30pm, Thursday, May 15.
● Katie Honeyfield and James Walters BRJK20140508B-028
● Stephen Boyle, RBS economist, Olympic gold medal winning swimmer Duncan Goodhew and BRJK20140508B-020 CBI chairman Graham Cole
Chartered Accountants of England and Wales West of England Annual Dinner: At the Marriot City Centre Hotel, from 6.45pm. Thursday, May 15. Black tie. ● Nigel Hardy and Kate Ried
FSB South Gloucestershire seminar: Wednesday, May 28, 6.45pm-9.45pm, Azec West Hotel, Almondsbury, BS32 4TS. Register at www.fsb.org.uk. IoD Bristol and Bath Young Business Forum dinner: Thursday, May 22, 6-8.30pm, at Waterhouse, Bath. Speaker is award-winning Lindsay Haselhurst, head of business development at Wincanton. Call 07771 772223 or email roger. firstname.lastname@example.org to book.
● Tom O‘Neill and Tommy Williams BRJK20140508B-029
● Steve West and Peter Elford
● Clive Lewis, Denton Clutterbuck and Graham BRJK20140508B-030 Cole
Institute of Directors Bristol branch Wednesday @ 6: Informal networking from 6-8pm at Radisson Blu Hotel, Wednesday May 28. Free and open to non members but please register by calling 0117 370 7785. Ready for business workshop: Introductory workshops for anyone who is exploring the concept of self-employment or starting a business. Leigh Court, Abbots Leigh, BS8 3RA, 10am-4pm, Tuesday, June 10. Contact readyforbusiness @businesswest.co.uk.
Email your business events to email@example.com. Events are sometimes cancelled without us being notified so please check with organisers before travelling.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
The back page
Your digest of the week in business
People ● Young commis chef Jodie Britton is the toast of her colleagues at the Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel after winning a national hospitality industry award. The 19-year-old was judged to be one of the best and brightest young people in the catering industry, receiving her accolade at the Hotelympia Hot Talent Award ceremony in London. Jodie, of Staple Hill, has been at the Marriott Royal for about 18 months and last year just missed out on a Hospitality Guild Apprenticeship Award. She became interested in cooking at the age of seven, when she used to help her postman dad, Chris, prepare meals at the family home. She said: “It was a big shock to win. We had to be nominated for the award scheme and I think I was the youngest of the finalists.” Jodie received her award from chef Ben Spalding and can now look forward to a two-week work placement at his bespoke event catering company, Creative Belly. ● Law firm Osborne Clarke has created four new partners in Bristol as part of its 2014 promotion round. They are Mark Wesker, corporate; Neil Bromwich, planning; Tom Bussy, banking; and Kate Topp, real estate. Managing partner Simon Beswick said: “Our clients demand the very best advice and service, so the process of becoming a partner at OC is deliberately challenging. Our new partners have all come through the process with flying colours and I’m confident that they will make a huge contribution to our ongoing success.” ● It’s promotions season in the city’s law firms. Ashfords LLP’s Brian Farrell has been made partner on the projects team. Elizabeth Gibson, who leads the team, said: “Brian is a key member of the team. His promotion to partner recognises the contribution he has made to the success of a team that is nationally rated.” ● And TLT has promoted four of its associates to partner too. The new partners are corporate solicitor Jon
● Jodie Britton, centre, pictured with executive chef Martyn Watkins and chef Danny Thomas and colleagues Gill; corporate recoveries and insolvency solicitor Abigail Hadfield; and banking and financial services litigators Richard Hall and Peter Richards-Gaskin. ● Away from law, HSBC has appointed Mark Self, below, as deputy area commercial director of its Bristol and Bath commercial team, focusing on companies with a turnover of £500,000 to £30 million. HSBC recently unveiled a £100 million SME Fund to support businesses locally to invest in growth, and Mark will play a key role in helping people access that fund. Bristol and Bath area commercial director James Jordan said: “Mark will play a key role in helping to drive the SME Fund across our patch, benefiting both businesses and the local economy.” ● Spire’s The Glen Hospital, Bristol has appointed Kate Hoffman, right, as matron and head of clinical services. With 28 years of experience, Kate will be responsible for providing leadership to all clinical areas. Kate said: “This new appointment is fantastic news for me. Spire is the largest private hospital in the area so my responsibilities will be very varied and I’m looking forward to
the challenge. “
Deals ● Space Engineering has sold a minority stake to US-based Hillphoenix. Headquartered in Bristol, the firm employs 580 people across the UK. It delivers refrigeration, mechanical and electrical and heating, ventilation and air conditioning services to the food retail sector. Richard Jones, corporate finance partner at EY – which advised shareholders on the deal – said: “We’ve enjoyed a close working relationship with Space Engineering since 2005 when advising on the original MBO and are now delighted to be helping the shareholders with its sale of a minority investment.” Meanwhile law firm Foot Anstey and accountants Baker Tilley advised the management team. Foot Anstey partner Matt Stoate said: “We were delighted to play our part in this deal involving a Bristol success story.” ● Trades training firm OLCI Construction Training, which has a centre in Bristol, has been sold for an undisclosed sum after going into administration.
Allan Graham from KPMG Restructuring was appointed administrator and immediately sold the business to the group that includes Engineering Real Results Ltd. All 77 employees transferred to the owner and students on courses will not be affected. Allan said: “After suffering an extended period of financial losses, OLCI was unable to meet its commitments to creditors and in early April had a winding-up petition presented against it. “The directors took the decision that insolvency was unavoidable and consulted KPMG to help find a solution that would best protect the interests of students, creditors and employees. KPMG conducted an accelerated sales and marketing campaign and the pre-pack sale secured ensures the best outcome for all parties.”
Places ● Housing association United Communities and IT services firm Softcat has moved into Eden House, at Eastgate Office Park. The deal, brokered by property consultants JLL on behalf of owner Summerfield Developments, sees more than 9,500 sq ft let at the park close to Ikea and the M32. United Communities, which has taken 6,300 sq ft, has relocated its finance, corporate services and business development teams. Oona Goldsworthy, chief executive of United Communities, said: “Eastgate Office Park is an ideal location for us as it lies right in the middle of our core communities in Bristol; Horfield, Easton and St Paul’s.” Dave Frank, facilities manager at Softcat, continued: “We hope to expand our team of 20 to 60 in the next two to three years so we knew we’d need a bigger space that was close to Bristol city centre but also far enough out that it provided a good number of onsite parking spaces. Eastgate was perfect.” Steve Lane, senior surveyor in JLL’s Bristol office commented: “We are finding that there is high demand for well positioned out-of-town locations that have good parking and amenities and are easily accessible to the motorway network.”
In numbers Inflation (CPI)
1.6 2.5 1.6 0.5 3.99
Base interest rate
N a recent column on this page, Gavin Thompson makes the point that Government ministers have been flooding into Bristol recently, ahead of forthcoming elections, to bask in the glow of a successful city region. In truth, most of that success is being driven by Greater Bristol’s private sector businesses, with little thanks to any Government action. If the Government is serious about doing something to help accelerate the growth potential in Greater Bristol, the answer is quite simple – instigate a root-and-branch reform of business rates. This is an iniquitous tax that is holding back privately owned businesses from boosting investment and
Matthew Lee Managing Partner Bishop Fleming
employment. Based on property rental values that have not been changed since the height of the property boom, it is the only tax that is guaranteed to rise in line with inflation. Right now, British businesses pay higher business rates than any competitor in Europe, so my firm is committed to campaigning for a total reform of this unfair tax which takes no account of business conditions or perfor mance. Business Secretary Vince Cable has already accepted that this is
what’s needed, and has charged his Private Parliamentary Secretary, Tessa Munt (MP for Wells in Somerset), to draft a new Bill. The Government cynically postponed the scheduled revaluation of commercial properties that would have reflected the decline in values and produced a reduction in business rates. The result, in the Greater Bristol area, is that rents have declined but business rates have continued to rise. Many West businesses are now paying as much or more in business rates as they pay in rent. Our recent survey of local businesses revealed that most West businesses (81 per cent) have seen their business rates increase over the past five years to become one
of their biggest costs. While more than half (50.5 per cent) have seen business rates rise to almost match their property rent, almost a fifth (18.1 per cent) report that they’re now paying as much or more in Business Rates as they pay in rent. This was never the intention: Business Rates were supposed to be less than half of rental values. Please join the call for a root-andbranch reform of business rates by signing the Downing Street e-petition: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/ petitions/57038 . Vince Cable is convinced, but he needs your support to combat resistance from the Treasury (they love the easy £25 billion that business rates generates).
Ave mortgage rate % Corporation tax % Main rate
Small profits rate – below £300,000
Business current accounts
1.01% State Bank £10,000 deposit of India 0.25% £1 deposit
Business savings accounts 1.36% National Counties BS £1,000 deposit Bank of 1.25% Cyprus UK £1,000 deposit Source:
The op-ed column
Rethink on unfair business rates badly needed
Petrol prices .64p
129 135 136 69
.39p Super unleaded