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The firm creating a buzz on the streets about Temple Quay – page 2

Primary teacher goes into business... with the help of her children – page 5

In-house or outsourced? How businesses approach the IT question – page 10




JAN 2014


FOLLOW MY LEAD Mitie chief executive Ruby McGregor-Smith urges young women to set their sights high as we launch our Women in Business Awards




Transport plans ‘big boost to south Bristol’ ● Two major transport schemes soon to get under way in Bristol could finally open the south of the city for major development, according to regeneration experts. Both the South Bristol Link Road and the first part of the Metrobus system, linking Ashton Vale to the city centre, were approved at the end of 2013 and with the financial support already in place, work on both schemes is expected to start soon. The southern side of Bristol has always struggled to attract big investors, while Avonmouth and the northern fringe along the M4 have seen large-scale investment in recent years. Philip Morton, above, from property firm CBRE Bristol, believes that could all be about to change. He said: “Despite the recession, we have continued to see plenty of activity in Avonmouth, which has become a major distribution centre. “Some of the biggest players in the industry, such as John Lewis, Tesco and the Cooperative, have centred their distribution networks for the South West and Wales in Avonmouth because of its position and access to the M5 and M4.” Traffic congestion and poor transport links have long been seen as hampering growth in the south. Mr Morton added: “There have been schemes suggested in the past but they have never really got off the ground. This time things are different and all the necessary factors are now in place. “It is a really encouraging sign that the work is about to progress and there should be some really interesting prospects opening up in South Bristol.”

Investors in People


Award spurs on TLT to further progress ● LAW firm TLT has been accredited with the Investors in People bronze standard. The standard is awarded to only five per cent of Investors in People accredited organisations in the UK. It acknowledges its commitment and focused strategy for growth based on client needs, effective firm management, motivation of employees and its positive contribution to the local community. David Pester, managing partner at TLT, based in Redcliff Street, said, “We’re in a competitive market when it comes to attracting and retaining the best talent. This external recognition is therefore exceptionally important. It shows our commitment to continuous improvement and best practice in how we engage with and support our people. “More importantly, it is a work in progress. By taking part in the Investors in People process we will always be improving our working environment, supporting our people so that they can be successful at what they do.” TLT was “best managed national firm” at the MPF Awards 2013.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


New website lets tenants report housing problems via tablets

Gavin Thompson Assistant Editor (Business)


HOUSANDS of people living in flats in the Bristol area can now report any problems with their property and manage their household affairs from their mobile phone or tablet. Some 200 residential blocks managed by BNS Management Services in Bristol, Weston-super-Mare and Portishead can now use the system to notify their managing agent of issues at their property. The firm, based in Downend, introduced the tool two years ago for laptops and PCs and has now developed a second generation that runs from tablets and mobile phones. Leaseholders and tenants can use touch screens to report problems with maintenance, door entry systems, television signal, standards of service and even blown light bulbs in the apartment blocks in which they live or own. Other residents and the property management company can see what has been reported and track the way it is being dealt with. The system, called MyBNS, is also being tweaked so leaseholders can access more accounts information to give them more control over budgets. Everyone can log in and see what problems have been reported and what is being done about them. They can also obtain access to the most recent inspection reports at the properties in which they live or invest. The company developed the system and has introduced it across all of the properties it manages. Managing director, Andrew Simmonds, said: “When MyBNS was first introduced most people wanted to manage their properties on a PC or a laptop. It shows how quickly technology is moving on that today most people want to use a tablet or mobile.

● Managing director Andrew Simmonds; below, the website being accessed on a mobile phone block under one feed, saving everyone time, telephone calls and hassle. In addition it means that we can be held to account by the people who live or have invested in the blocks we look after.” MyBNS is thought to be the only one of its kind in the UK. NEW WEBSITE LETS TENANTS REPORT PROBLEMS VIA TABLETS

“We have introduced a much more user-friendly interface and there are a lot of back office changes that have been made in this second generation

of the system. It makes managing a property much more transparent and for BNS means that we can communicate with all residents in one

BUSINESS NEWS Our reporters file on the move, and you can keep up to date out and about via the mobile versions of our website


Bristol’s technology promotion firm wound up as funding ends A COMPANY aimed at promoting Bristol as a hotspot for science and technology has been wound up. Science City Bristol (SCB) was set up as a limited company when the South West Regional Development Agency, which had run the scheme previously, folded back in 2010. The initiative itself began in 2005 after then Prime Minister Gordon Brown designated Bristol as one of six Science Cities nationwide, alongside Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and York. Funded for the past three years by the University of Bristol, the University of Bath and UWE, the scheme has aimed to develop links between business and the science base, to ensure that science and technology are an engine room of growth. Up until the end of last year the company employed four staff part-time and their activities involved organising the Venturefest

event held last November. But in a company newsletter sent shortly before Christmas, it was confirmed that Science City Bristol will cease to exist this month. Venturefest will continue under SCB director Alastair Watson’s company Tesseract Ltd and staff are being found work elsewhere. The newsletter said: “Times are changing for the technology innovation ecosystem in the West of England region. In January of the New Year, Science City Bristol Limited will cease to exist. This is due to funding coming to an end.” Mr Watson said: “I was slightly disappointed that we couldn’t find additional funding to keep it going because it was performing a function which no other organisations in the area are doing, linking business and science and promoting technology. “But these things come to an end. With no funding from central Gov-

“ Bristol as a science city and as a hotspot of innovation is still very much a part of the key message of this city Neil Bradshaw, director of enterprise, University of Bristol ernment it was difficult to keep it going, so it was inevitable, really. “There are new groups now, like the LEP, the Low Carbon Group and Invest in Bristol & Bath, who are promoting the area, so in a way other things have overtaken us and it’s time to move on. “I really want to keep Venturefest going – it’s in important innovation

exhibition and it brings together entrepreneurs and investors and academics. It went very well last year and we’re hoping that it carries on.” Neil Bradshaw, director of enterprise at the University of Bristol and one of the board members of the company, said the winding up of Science City Bristol was due to “the world moving on”. He said: “We’re in the world of an LEP now and there’s a different political environment. “The LEP will continue using the brand value and we as a university will continue to deliver the core parts of what SCB was delivering. “It’s just natural evolution. “The city region has been raised in profile and we are moving on to the next phase. “Bristol as a science city and as a hotspot of innovation is still very much a part of the key message of this city.”

Wednesday, January 15, 2014




Family firms

Finnamore bought out by competitor firm

Guests gain advice in ‘speed dating format’

● A SOUTH Gloucestershire-based healthcare firm has been acquired by a competitor. Finnamore Limited, the largest specialist health and social care consultancy in the UK, has been bought by GE Healthcare. The acquisition of Finnamore Limited will see GE Healthcare’s UK consultancy arm, Performance Solutions UK, become GE Healthcare Finnamore. Finnamore is based in Badminton, South Gloucestershire. It was founded in 1991 and merged with The Health Works and The Change Works in 2009 to form the largest independent health and social care consultancy in the UK. The new firm will be led by John Deverill, former managing director of Finnamore Limited, and will expand its employee base to 70, many of whom are former clinicians, engineers and management consultants. Bristol law firm Gregg Latchams LLP advised the shareholders of Finnamore on the deal. Its corporate and commercial team, led by John Dalby and assisted by Ed Boal, Simon Kenneally, Alex Rossiter and Harriet Broughton, advised the individual shareholders of Finnamore. Finnamore founder Bruce Finnamore praised the work of Mr Dalby and his team on the sale, describing it as “outstanding”.

● A FATHER and son who are at the wheel of family business Williams Automobiles are helping launch a new event for family and ownermanaged businesses in Bristol. The Ask the Adviser event is the idea of Families in Business (FiB), a support organisation. The networking event will be held at Bristol’s Old Down Manor on Friday, January 24. Richard Williams and his son Henry, the fourth generation of the family to head the 102-year-old business Williams Automobiles, a specialist dealership for British performance cars such as Morgan and Lotus, will be guest speakers. According to FiB’s latest research, the South West is home to almost 250,000 family-owned businesses, representing almost two-thirds of all the private enterprises in the region. The organisation’s founder Dani Saveker said: “The Ask the Adviser event is our fast-paced networking-based concept specifically designed for busy family business owners, leaders and key team members. The format is a little like speed dating, in that our family business guests can meet three or four advisers for a 20-minute, one-to-one appointment. “This is a time-efficient, focused opportunity for them to gain valuable advice from our carefully selected advisers who are experienced in the unique challenges facing family businesses and who can provide succinct, impartial and relevant guidance.” There will be advisers from a number of firms, including Harbour Key LLP, JLT, Cass Stephens, Expense Reduction Analysts and Jonathan Lee Recruitment. Dani added: “The event will be a great opportunity to meet other family businesses and share experiences, and challenges. Richard and Henry Williams are our guest speakers and will tell their own story of being a family in business, from the viewpoint of two generations.” The event is free for family businesses and takes place from 8.30am to 1pm. For more information and to reserve a place, visit or email:

● Stallholder Nick Higgs from Pizza Monkey is pictured with Alex Keep (back left) and Fran Hales (front right) from The Real Adventure Company, based at Temple Quay, Victoria Lane, GVA (left) and Vicki Williams, GVA (centre)

Markets prove a hit and bring buzz to Temple Quay

Fitted kitchens

In-Toto in running for customer service prize ● CLIFTON kitchen business In-Toto has been nominated for a national customer service award. The store is a finalist in the Kitchen Customer Service of the Year category in the kbbreview awards. Director Clinton Patey said: “We see providing excellent customer service as a core principal of our business at In-Toto, Bristol, so it is fantastic news to have that recognised by the judges.” Winners will be announced by the traditional opening of an envelope at a black tie gala dinner on Tuesday, March 4 at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole.

Gavin Thompson Assistant Editor (Business)


PROPERTY management firm has taken to the streets to do all it can to make its offices attractive to clients – by organising markets. GVA, the managing agents at Temple Quay, launched street markets to help bring a bit of life to the largely corporate area. And they proved so popular, the markets have become a regular fixture which will continue this year. GVA associate Vicki Williams said: “With Temple Quay being home to 5,000 people in more than 30 businesses, as well as Temple Meads station being close by, this has been a prime opportunity to create

something new and varied for the area.” She said the markets had a dual benefit, giving people passing through a nice place to shop and local traders another business opportunity. “The markets take place on the first, second and fourth Thursday of every month. With street food increasing in popularity, and so many influences here in the city, our stalls have included Agnes Spencer’s amazing Jamaican cuisine; Niang’s Thai Snacks; She Sells Sushi; American Kitchen; Jacob’s finest falafel and hummus dishes, as well as Sue’s Cakes. “As managing agents, part of our role is to help make Temple Quay a destination with a sense of community, and with a limited permanent retail and leisure facility, the markets have certainly helped create

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23 20 13 10

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Small profits rate – below £300,000

Base interest rate Employer NI rates .8% % Standard rate on Ave mortgage rate %

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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 Advertising Jane Chapman Call 01179 343025 Email jane.chapman Advertising Simon Coy Media Sales Executive - Business Call 07736 900 705. Email simon.coy


Source: Business Moneyfacts

2.0 1.1 0.5 3.99


a buzz Temple Quay. “We make sure all our traders are of the highest quality and they have all proven hugely successful with customers.” Vicki Gazzard works at Bond Dickinson in Temple Quay and said the market was a great lunchtime distraction. “I love it when the food market comes to Temple Quay – it’s really convenient for work and there is a wonderful variety of food to try at lunchtime,” she said. “I know lots of others at Bond Dickinson look forward to it too.” The markets were originally planned as a temporary event but have become a popular and established part of life at Temple Quay. GVA works with David Pyne of Square Route, as well as the BEATS food collective, to put on the markets.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

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

Commercial feature

Know how Hannah Mainstone Chartered Financial Planner Trigon Pensions

SMEs need to act on auto enrolment


● The Trigon Pensions team lines up ahead of the Bristol 10k, one of 25 races members of staff undertook as part of its fundraising efforts

We’ve raised £25k for charity to celebrate our 25th birthday Gavin Thompson Assistant Editor (Business)


BRISTOL pensions specialist is celebrating 25 years in business by raising £25,000 for charities. Trigon Pensions started small and has achieved impressive consistent growth to the point where it now employs 48 people across two offices based in Bristol and Redditch in the West Midlands. Administration and human resources director Deborah Clarke said: “We decided to divide the money we raise between six charities, all of which are great causes and have special meanings to members of staff at Trigon.” The chosen charities are the Children’s Hospice South West, Alzheimer’s Society, Cancer Research UK, Help for Heroes, Meningitis UK and the RNLI. So far the firm has raised about £23,296.10, and expects to reach the tally in time for the end of its 25th year. Employees have taken on a range of challenges, including abseiling down the Avon Gorge

which raised over £1,000, and a silent auction held at a garden party in Leigh Court which raised over £1,200 in donations. Running has been a key part of the fundraising, with 33 staff taking on the Bristol 10k, managing director David Gascoigne running the London Marathon, a smaller group tackling the Bath Half Marathon and in total the team have taken part in 25 races, culminating in the Weston Christmas Cracker 10k in December. The birthday celebrations have coincided with another achievement for Trigon, winning Investors in People recognition in May 2013. “We are always committed to developing and investing in our staff,” said Deborah. “We successfully achieved Investors in People accreditation in recognition of our training and development processes and systems. “This represents external acknowledgement of the significant investment we have always made in our key asset – our people! We are very proud of this achievement.” Trigon’s story has been one of steady and consistent growth,

built on developing strong relationships with its customers, which mean it retains clients and wins work through referrals and recommendations. Deborah said: “We have built

“ We are committed to developing and investing in our staff. We successfully achieved Investors in People accreditation in recognition of our training and development processes and systems. Deborah Clarke up an excellent reputation and have built strong relationships with professional service companies, accountants, lawyers, with whom we work.” The firm’s business is providing guidance to trustees and companies on the running of their

pension schemes and financial services to both individual and corporate clients. It’s a sector that has seen massive change over the 25 years Trigon has been in business, and it’s a testament to the firm’s customer service under the leadership of managing director David Gascoigne that it continues to thrive. “We operate a boutique service to both corporate and individual clients,” said Deborah. “We offer a full range of professional services including investment consultancy, actuarial and administration.” While Trigon is a Bristol firm with strong roots in the local community, of which its fundraising work is an example, customers come from across the UK. Trigon has adapted to changes in the market, the most recent being automatic enrolment of employees into workplace pension schemes. Deborah added: “We tailor services to meet our clients’ specific needs and always aim to offer a professional but personal service and this is an approach that has served us well over the 25 years.”


Providing an expert auto enrolment solution for your individual business needs 0117 369 3663

Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

HIS year sparks the next wave of UK businesses to take on the auto enrolment challenge. With over 95 per cent of UK businesses yet to reach their staging date, the new Government initiative should be at the forefront of all small and medium-sized enterprises’ minds because companies with fewer than 250 employees must comply with the legislation from this year. While larger companies tend to be more versed when it comes to workplace pension schemes, with many typically offering a pension as part of an employee’s benefit package, our experience at Trigon Pensions has shown that SMEs tend to require additional support and guidance to prepare for auto enrolment. If you haven’t already done so, you are urged to determine your company’s staging date at the first opportunity. This can be done via the Pensions Regulator’s online tool and is based on your PAYE reference as at April 1, 2012. Undoubtedly, the key to implementing a valuable auto enrolment scheme is timely planning. The sooner preparations begin, the more time SMEs will have to negotiate reasonable charges with providers and set up a worthwhile scheme in time for their staging date. It will also allow time to budget for the impending additional costs the changes will bring. With thousands of firms requiring a suitable qualifying arrangement for auto enrolment, providers can afford to be pickier over the schemes they choose to take on. SMEs may therefore experience difficulty in obtaining attractive terms, and some providers may even decline to quote at all. Specialist assistance can be invaluable in these circumstances and can significantly affect the outcome of new scheme inquiries. Although the financial strain of auto enrolment is likely to fall more heavily on SMEs than larger companies, the changes can present an opportunity to extend employee benefits and demonstrate employer engagement for recruitment and staff retention purposes. Levels of employer contribution, for instance, should be given considerable thought, in order to strike a balance between commitment to the scheme and affordability. Trigon Pensions have produced an auto enrolment video to give an overview of the statutory framework and the comprehensive service we deliver to guide you through the process and beyond. This video can be found at and by clicking on the Auto Enrolment Advice link.

● For more information on how Trigon Pensions can help your business to set up a meaningful auto enrolment scheme, contact me on 0117 369 3663 or

Wednesday, January 15, 2014




Grants available for construction training

● Sarah Ubhi with her girls, Naveen, 8, buying assistant, Kiran, 10, creative director, and Priya, 12, business adviser; below, Sarah and her shop

Teacher’s fresh start – with help of her children Gavin Thompson Assistant Editor (Business)

AFTER 18 years as a primary school teacher, Sarah Ubhi believes she has the inside track on what parents want from children’s clothes. That’s why the 42-year-old has switched career to open a shop, Moodles, in Gloucester Road. And if her own knowledge wasn’t enough, she has hired a team of specialists to help – her three children. “Priya, 12, is my business adviser – she handles my emails, Kiran, 10, is my creative director and planned the shop layout, and Naveen, eight, is my buying assistant,” said Sarah.

The former Stoke Bishop Primary teacher has always sewn and knitted and started selling clothes and other items at craft fairs. On Saturday, she opened her new children’s clothes shop in Gloucester Road... only a week after collecting the keys. After leaving teaching in the summer, she attended courses run by start-up support organisation Brave, secured a business loan from HSBC and, with the credit cards a little weighed down by the start-up costs, was simply keen to get started. Sarah said: “HSBC have been brilliant. As well as the loan I’ve had lots of help and advice from them, and from Brave.” The shop’s selling point is that everything is British made.

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Sarah was keen to use British goods as it’s greener, cutting the carbon footprint, because of ethical concerns about working conditions in factories in countries such as Bangladesh, and for quality reasons. She said: “As a mum, I’m happy to pay a little bit more if you are getting quality for it. “When people see and feel the garments, they notice the better quality compared with what we have been clothing our children in. “It had been hard as a parent to find clothes I was willing to dress my children in as so many brands are just adult clothes in smaller sizes that aren’t appropriate.”

Before opening, Sarah set out on a quest to find British manufacturers, though she didn’t have to travel too far for everything. “We are selling some items from Belle and Boo in Montpelier,” she said. “Actually we have found quite a lot of suppliers in the South West. “It’s been quite a journey and there are some amazing stories. Lots of companies are new or are bringing manufacturing back to the UK.” She has so far sourced 55 suppliers. “These companies are out there but they are often quite difficult to find. I want to create a place parents can get these clothes on the high street.”

Planning for growth

Firms invited to be part of the ‘skills solution’ The LEP is organising a series of workshops with employers, further education, higher education and Government-funded private training providers. Skills adviser Becca Thurston said: “The LEP will support partners to come together to create new innovations in curriculum content and delivery models.” The LEP wants businesses to: ● Voice business opinion ● Influence and shape training

● Improve recruitment from education ● Meet skills providers in the region. Ms Thurston added: “The LEP would like to invite all local businesses, large and small, to come and immerse themselves in the future of training for the local economy and become part of the skills solution.” The LEP skills team is funded through the Growth Innovation Fund to provide free skills and training

advice to employers in the Bristol and Bath area. Workshops are being held around the West of England throughout January and February, each focusing on a different sector, including professional services, small businesses, the creative industries and engineering.

● Visit www.westofenglandlep. for details.

Estate agencies

‘Fantastic’ team earns Ocean three awards ● A BRISTOL estate agency group is celebrating after winning three prizes at a national awards. Ocean, which has eight sales and five lettings offices in the city, won gold as the best medium-sized agent in the South West, and silver nationally in the categories for best customer service and best financial services provider. Director Chris McLaughlin said: “Accepting the awards on behalf of our fantastic team was a very proud moment and a testament to the hard work and dedication shown by all who work for us. We have been working very hard throughout the year to ensure we have the best, most knowledgeable and best-trained staff in the city.”


A NEW drive has been launched to tackle the skills gap in Bristol. Last year the skills team from the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership met with local businesses to identify skills gaps and shortages that are preventing sustainable growth in the area. Now the next phase is getting under way to address those issues and find business-led solutions to ensure skills development is at the heart of the West’s growth.

● CONSTRUCTION businesses are being encouraged to apply for training grants to help ensure the industry is not left with a big skills gap in the near future. In December, more then 1,700 construction employers in the South West benefited from the Exceptional Training Grant from Construction Industry Training Board, to reward their commitment to staff training. Recent Office for National Statistic figures show that 22 per cent of construction workers are due to retire in the next decade. To encourage training and upskilling, CITB launched the Exceptional Training Grant. It works as an incentive as the money is given automatically based on a percentage of all training grants claimed by firms and £13 million was paid in December. Douglas Matthew, head of levy and grant at the CITB, said: “CITB offers grants to support a wide range of training and qualifications, from apprenticeships to management and supervisory qualifications, and other schemes that help support the industry. “The Exceptional Training Grant is designed to add a real stimulus to employers to encourage training. “We urge all eligible construction employers in The South West to take advantage of the ETG, in this final year, to ensure they’re being rewarded for their commitment to training their workforce.” Find out more at


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

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

Commercial feature

Know how William Sanzo Director Eurotaxis

Further growth is very much achievable for us


● Eurotaxis has come up with a radical solution to its MOT delays – it spent £150,000 on building its own testing lane

Taxi firm with £5m turnover offers MOT tests for commercial vehicles Gavin Thompson Assistant Editor (Business)


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 commer-

cial 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 Authorised 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.

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 who 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 Ateygo. 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-S4 0333 666 66 66

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Taxis & Weddings


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

In pictures Bristol’s business theGetpicture in community out and about Send us photos from your event, with names please, to business

Business West Bristol Chamber of Commerce Networking Breakfast ● MORE than 40 businesspeople attended the Bristol Chamber Networking Breakfast. The event, which is held on the second Thursday of each month, took place at Goldbrick House. Attendees took part in relaxed speed networking, giving them the chance to pitch their business to at least 15 people. Greg Cooper, of Front of Mind Coaching, said: “The breakfast is a great way to meet and learn about other businesses in a friendly and

open atmosphere. It was a very good investment of my time.” Ben Groom, of Bluefin Insurance Services, who also attended, said: “As a chamber member and regular attendee of this breakfast event, the format is excellent and provides an ideal opportunity to network with local businesses and forge some positive, working relationships.” The event is open to both members of Business West Chambers of Commerce and the local business community.

Business diary North Somerset Business Club meeting: Speaker Andrew Brown, partner at Albert Goodman Chartered Financial Planners, explains workplace pensions. Tonight (Wednesday, January 15), at North Somerset Enterprise Agency, Olmixon Crescent in Weston-super-Mare, 6pm, costs £6.00 including buffet. Call 01934 418118 or email Grant Thornton FD Club: Focus on financing growth and mastering risk, 8am-9.30am, Thursday, January 16 at Grant Thornton offices, Hartwell House, Victoria Street. Email

● Grant Tamarind

● From left, Martin Vines, Sharon Smith, Rob Sergent, Ben Groom, Michelle Beddoe and Stephen Grove BRDR2014 0109A-005


Doing Business in Germany: Seminar to help you become successful in entering and trading in Germany. Leigh Court, Abbots Leigh, BS8 3RA, 1.30pm-4pm, Tuesday, January 21. Free.

● Chas Walton

● From left, Angela Fumpson, Paula Horton, Katherine Buck, Richard Tidswell and Rebecca Mittins BRDR201401 09A-004

Access all areas Territorial Army evening: Business networking event and a chance to see what it’s like to be an Army Reservist. Meet with Commanding Officers and reservists and find out a bit more about why they and their employers find service training valuable to their businesses. 7pm-9.45pm, Tuesday, January 21, Horfield Army Centre, 39 Signal Regiment, Dorian Road, Horfield, Bristol, BS7 0XL. Wednesday@6: Bristol Institute of Directors informal free networking at The Radisson Blu from 6-8pm, January 22. Call 0117 3707785 to register. Ask the advisor: Free speed-dating style event for family businesses to meet specialist advisors, from 8.30am to 1pm on Friday, January 24, at Old Down Manor. Visit or email:

● From left, Rob Harris, Laura Cunningham, Hayley Chiba, Duncan Snook, Pics: Dan Regan BRDR20140109A-002 Paul Williams and Juliette Randall

● From left, Kieran Hart, Maxine Williams, Phil Bridgeman, Felix Spender, BRDR20140109A-001 Pete Marshall and Chas Walton

Email your business events to Events are sometimes cancelled without us being notified so please check with organisers before travelling.

Netwalking South West

● From left, Charlotte Raynes-Hawthorn, who works in commercial design and building for Amarelle; Rosalind Turner; Sarah Bird, who runs Vala Publishing; and Nicola Shelley, a life coach Pictures: Clare Green


● Rosalind Turner, left, and Charlotte Raynes-Hawthorn

● MUDDY boots replace business suits, but the talk is still of work at one of the more unusual networking events in Bristol. Rosalind Turner organises Netwalking events for professionals, the most recent of which took place in and around Leigh Woods. Ros, who previously worked in events management, said: “I’m a trained facilitator, so I structure the walk to ensure that those taking part are able to discuss business matters in a relaxed way. “I might ask the group a business-related question, such as what is the overall view that they have for their businesses in 2014, and people can discuss that as they walk along.”


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

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

Focus on Information Technology (IT)

GETTING IT RIGHT: FINDING BEST How do businesses manage their IT, from data storage to security? Rupert Janisch weighs up the pros and cons of outsourcing or in-house solutions and why the right technology is so important



NYONE who uses a tablet, a mobile phone, a laptop or a desktop computer for work will know the importance of IT to modern business. Most of the time we take 21st-century technology for granted, perhaps marvelling at the speed at which it is revolutionising our lives. It’s only when something goes wrong that we appreciate our dependence on it. From major corporations right down to one-man-bands, in the last 20 years IT has become an integral part of every business. And according to Ryan Jones, of Ashton-based IT solutions firm Versacom, it’s only going to become more important. “Businesses do really need to think about future proofing,” he says. “Before too long, everything is going to go to fibre broadband and if you don’t prepare yourself you will struggle. “I’m not saying that everyone needs to change what they’ve got right now but it needs to be in their plans and thought processes. “For example with phones – there are great efficiencies in the functionality of new technology which will mean businesses don’t need to miss calls which are potentially new customers. “This technology starts off at FTSE companies and then filters down to SMEs and then the one-man-bands. “But even the smallest companies will have bigger clients which they need to keep pace with and if you’re not operating on the same level then you risk losing the contract. “A good thing to do is set a target market and a vision for the next three years, and look at what you need to implement in terms of technology to get there.” Many of us will balk at the idea of having to shell out large sums of cash on IT, in a time when businesses face a challenge making ends meet. But Mr Jones believes there are ways of economising. “Not all of the solutions have to be really expensive,” he says. “You can have a balance such as keeping mission-critical data on-site on your own servers and back-up data stored every week off-site. That way you don’t need so much kit on-site and it keeps the costs down.” Whether a company’s IT consists of a couple of PCs and a printer, or a host of bespoke systems, cloud-based servers and databases – the question of whether to do it in-house or to outsource still applies. Many sole traders and small businesses won’t have the need for permanent in-house IT staff and will outsource their requirements to one of many small IT companies which offer business support. Either that, or they’ll have a member or staff – perhaps a director – who

“ Before too long, everything is going to go to fibre broadband and if you don’t prepare yourself you will struggle. I’m not saying that everyone needs to change what they’ve got right now but it needs to be in their plans and thought processes Ryan Jones, of IT solutions firm Versacom

knows a bit about IT and, while spending most of his time actually doing the job, helps out with the computers when something goes wrong. The problem with this approach is that said member of staff may end up spending a disproportionate amount

of time on computers, to the detriment of the role he was actually employed to do. Strategically, it’s not a sensible solution and the company will usually end up with an inferior IT system which may actually hamper the growth of the business.

So for small, owner-managed companies, outsourcing the IT is definitely worth doing. It’s one classic example of letting go an aspect of the business, enabling you to spend time more productively on turning over some revenue. But as they grow further, most com-

panies will find that there is a point at which employing an IT engineer in-house becomes more cost effective. Permanent staff will be able to work instantly when required, with first-hand knowledge of machines and a proximity to the problem which an outsourced solution wouldn’t be

Wednesday, January 15, 2014



Trust is crucial for non IT-literate company heads ● COLIN White doesn’t profess to understand IT. And he wonders whether the fact that he can now work at weekends with his new home workstation is a good thing, or a bad one. He employs a small team of four staff at his UK branch of German smoke extraction equipment firm Aumuller, in Avonmouth. But he still realises that IT is responsible for significant aspects of his business, from the in-house email server to the link up with the parent company systems. But lacking expertise in computing means that trust in his IT consultant – Tetbury-based Jireh

Solutions – is a key factor. “I’m not a big user of IT systems but I realise they’re important,” he said. “What’s important to me is that it is explained to me what is being done. “A little while ago Andy from Jireh told me that our Windows XP systems were going to stop being supported and that we needed to replace them with Office 365. “That was fine but I wanted it done quickly. I couldn’t see why it would take very long. “Andy told me it was like trying to replace the foundations of a house without taking down the walls. That made sense to me.

“So much of IT is communicated in language no one understands – there’s a lot of techno babble out there and people trying to convince us that we need certain things. “I’m sure there are a lot of IT literate companies out there these days but there are also an awful lot that aren’t. “I don’t need to know what’s going on inside the box – I just need to know that my IT consultant is acting in the best interests of my business. That’s what’s really important.” ● Colin White, of Aumuller Pic: Jon Kent BRJK20140110B-003

internally and externally to then understand what’s worth investing in IT and telecoms infrastructure.” The other issue is data hosting – where a business stores often sensitive records and information. Again, times are changing. “Servers have come on a lot now and you don’t necessarily have a PC or a laptop on every desk,” says Mr Jones. “You can host a virtual environment internally with a cabinet which everyone links back to. “A lot of companies are quite apprehensive about having their data hosted off site – it’s a natural concern and it’s not going to go away overnight. But security concerns aren’t confined to external sources – they can happen on your own premises as well. “In an ideal world you would have everything backed up off-site. That

Case study

At our size, it makes sense to outsource ● RECRUITMENT firm Opus is growing quickly. The firm started in 2013 with 30 employees and finished it with 50. Along the way it moved to bigger offices in Castlemead, close to Cabot Circus in Bristol, and aims to have 90 staff by the end of 2014. Such growth could be an IT nightmare but Opus lets someone else worry about that. Business development manager Sam Jenkinson said: “We use an outsourcing model because that gives us the flexibility to scale up quite quickly.” The firm’s IT is handled by Bristol IT Company, conveniently based in the office next door. “If we have a problem there’s a helpline and they can access our systems remotely, both here or in our London office,” said Sam. “We do invest in IT, our

business is cutting edge so we need to have the latest software upgrades, but we invest in that rather than an in-house IT team. “We are specialists in recruitment, not in IT. “Using Bristol IT Company

Castiglione, but outsources much of its requirement to Exeter-based Nexus. “There are lots of issues to consider,” says Mr Castiglione. “Especially with a law firm where data confidentiality is so important. “So for example the Solicitors Regulation Authority says that if we are using cloud-based hosting, the servers have to be based in the EU so that they can be audited. “They can’t be in the US. “Nexus built our system so they know it inside out and help us out if there are any problems with the server. They’re so big that they can either do it remotely or send an engineer out

gives us access to more expertise from their team than we would have if we employed one or two people in-house. If we need new computers, new user licences and so on, we just call them.” Opus also outsources its

at very short notice. “They’re great at providing cover when I’m off and sometimes we need a little more expertise than I can offer, so they’re there for back-up as well.” So what are the key issues facing a company which wants to avoid getting left trailing in the wake of the digitally empowered? According to Ryan Jones, getting good broadband links is crucial: “Connectivity is the key thing – it’s really key for a company to understand how they connect to the outside world, both in terms of speaking to their own staff and clients,” he says. “It affects everything – phone calls, sending files, email – it can have a

telephone system and website platforms through other firms. It’s a model the firm finds successful. Sam added: “At our size, it makes much more sense to have experts on call than bring in our own team.”

massive business impact if you’re only on traditional ADSL broadband. “Often we see that companies find a great property for an office, which suits their business plan, but they overlook connectivity and they move in before they realise that they’re going to struggle with the inferior service which is there. “Within a business, internal networks are important too. You can have the best grade cabling in the world in your office but if you send it to a bad broadband connection then you’ve wasted your money. “So a business needs to assess how much they are using networks

“ Connectivity is the key thing – it’s really key for a company to understand how they connect to the outside world, both in terms of speaking to their staff and clients Ryan Jones of Versacom way you’re protected if something goes wrong at your site and your business doesn’t have to stop. “If you don’t plan something like that then you really are putting your business at risk. “But people see the expenditure like an insurance policy – they think accidents will never happen but if they do, it can be a disaster.” It’s a great deal to consider and of course many businesses can survive perfectly well for the time being without indulging in the latest technology. But times are moving fast and for a company which wants serious growth in a digital age, there’s no hiding from the fact that IT is a critical factor to take into consideration.


able to manage. But there are other issues to consider. What functions will a relatively lowly qualified in-house engineer be able to carry out and which will be beyond his capability? What about sickness, holiday cover and training? The solution, then, tends to be that many SMEs use a combination of IT support, employing a small IT staff permanently for day-to-day management and out-sourcing the bigger issues to a company with more expertise. For example Gregg Latchams, a city centre law firm with a team of 55 staff, has an IT manager, Andrew

● Lord Mayor Faruk Choudhury and Opus CEO Darren Ryemill cut the ribbon to open the new Opus office in Castlemead, watched by staff from Opus


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Big Interview

‘FOCUS ON YOUR GOALS NOT HOW Mitie chief executive Ruby McGregor-Smith is one of the most powerful businesswomen in the country. She tells Gavin Thompson what drives her to success and how she hopes to blaze a trail for others to follow


LOVE what I do,” exclaims Ruby McGregor-Smith. Outsourcing may not sound the sexiest industry, but after six years as chief executive of one of Britain’s top specialists in the field, Ruby has lost none of her enthusiasm for her work. She believes the reasons for her success – she is one of just a handful of women in the top job at a FTSE 250 firm – are that passion for the job and simply hard work. “I work really hard. I never really dwelt on it (being a woman chief executive) too deeply. I have always taken the view that if you work hard and you deliver you will do well. “I am female and Asian. Yes, I am different, but people should focus on talent.” Ruby says she didn’t realise how unusual she was – Britain’s first Asian woman to lead a FTSE 250 firm – until she got the job. “I think that’s the best way to be,” she says. “To focus on your goals, not the fact there are not many people who look like you.” The success she has enjoyed has seen Ruby linked to the top job at larger rival firm Serco, which has had a vacuum at the top since chief executive Chris Hyman left following a series of scandals at the company. But she says her future remains with Bristol-founded Mitie. “I left Serco 14 years ago,” says Ruby. “I don’t know why it came up but I am hugely committed to the organisation which has really supported me and that is Mitie.” Ruby qualified as a chartered accountant then moved to Serco, where she stayed for nine years in a range of roles, before having children, and taking a break. “I took some time out when I had children because I found combining being a mother a big career really tough,” she says. Many women find a break during the early years of parenting sets back their career, but when Ruby joined Mitie after her son started school, there was no holding her back. As her career really took off, husband Graham, who worked in private equity, decided to stay at home and look after the children. “Graham stopped working when I become chief executive and that naturally really helped,” says Ruby. “There are times when it is important that one of you is around for the children. “We both had really big careers, but if you want to have children you have to spend the time with them and we have managed pretty well.” For people not so far up the ladder, it can be harder to take that time off for either parent, which is one of the reasons Ruby wants to see more support such as tax breaks to make childcare more affordable. It’s one of the measures she thinks would help get more women in the boardroom.

Vital statistics Name: Ruby McGregor-Smith Age: 49 Place of birth: Lucknow, India Education: Bentley Wood High School, Kingston University (economics) First job: Trained as an accountant at BDO Stoy Hayward

“I don’t believe in quotas,” says Ruby. “Forced change is not going to give us what we want.” She believes promoting business and entrepreneurship to schoolgirls and offering more support and mentoring for women both at the start of their careers and upon return to work after taking maternity leave is the way forward. “We need to make sure that when they are schoolgirls and boys that they believe being an entrepreneur is a great thing to do. “I want young girls to believe they can run a business like Mitie. Why can’t they? If they follow the right career path, of course they can get there. “We won’t have a problem with the pipeline of women into the boardroom if people have that belief. “At the moment we have a system where not every girl has the confidence to put herself forward.” Ruby believes supportive companies and mentoring around key phases in women’s careers will pay dividends. She chairs the Women in Business Council, which works to address such issues as the 2.4 million women not working who want to be in work and contributing to the economy. “It’s about making sure they can find a way back,” she says. That means financial support through childcare tax breaks and businesses being alive to the opportunities of this skilled workforce. Role models are vital, too, and Ruby says she is “hugely supportive” of the Bristol & Bath Women in Business Awards, run by the Bristol Post and Bath Chronicle. “Celebrating with awards to showcase successes really matters,” she says. “It helps break down barriers as people realise that could be them. “It’s hugely worthwhile. I look forward to the day when we don’t have these awards because we no longer need them, but we aren’t there yet.” Ruby believes in celebrating her own businesses’ successes, too, and gets frustrated by the way the industry is reported. Mitie’s business is outsourcing, looking at parts of other businesses


“I work really hard. I never really dwelt on it (being a woman chief executive) too deeply. I have always taken the view that if you work hard and you deliver you will do well.”

that are not core functions, taking them off their hands and, hopefully, doing them better. And allowing them to focus on what they are best at. It’s not an industry that garners much positive PR, however, as the word “outsourcing” is often used in place of “cost-cutting” or “redundancy”. Ruby is unrepentant: “The Business Services Association did a report about the value of outsourcing contracts and found they contribute about eight per cent of GDP now,” she says. “It is a mainstream part of the economy. “It’s not just about saving money. It’s about innovation, fresh ideas and how you can do things differently. “Recession or no recession, outsourcing will continue to grow.”

My downtime

Weekends: I try to keep my weekends free of work. Hobbies: I enjoy running, exercise, gardening and doing stuff with the kids. Going to the cinema.

She also believes staff moving over to a firm like Mitie, should relish the opportunities it presents. Ruby admits if you work for a company and the work you do is being outsourced, it is “frightening”, but points to the wider career opportunities a firm such as Mitie can offer. And while your company might not see cleaning, for example, as a core part of its work, Mitie does. Part of the Mitie story is the belief in share ownership by employees, and using that to encourage entrepreneurial spirit among staff. “It’s about people getting stuck in and ensuring those who deliver success are rewarded with shares. “It’s been a massive success. “We have had more than 100 busi-

Wednesday, January 15, 2014



New awards to place spotlight on top women Gavin Thompson Assistant Editor (Business)


HE Bristol Post and sister title the Bath Chronicle are launching our inaugural Women in Business Awards today. They will celebrate the remarkable achievements of businesswomen in the two cities. The nominees will be great role models for future business leaders as well as inspire those already making their way in the business world to even greater heights. Sarah Pullen, managing director of both Bath and Bristol News and Media, publishers of the Post and Bath Chronicle, said: “This is the first year we have run the Women in Business awards and I am delighted that we have been able to launch them. “We are looking forward to some outstanding entries as we recognise the businesswomen whose drive and determination makes such a difference. “In these challenging economic times it is good to focus on the women whose business success is helping to lead us out of recession.” More than 400 people attended last year’s annual Bristol Post Business Awards at Brunel’s Old Station, Temple Meads.

And with a growing sense of optimism in the region’s economy, now is the right time to build on that success by launching these new awards, which will shine a spotlight on the women at the heart of the region’s business community. The awards are part of the Post’s agenda to champion and celebrate business, with winners announced at a gala dinner in April. There are ten categories, from Woman of the Year to an award for contribution to the community. Several companies have already signed up to proudly sponsor award categories, including HSBC, City of Bristol College, Crest Nicholson, print and promotions company PPC, and the West of England Enterprise Partnership. The deadline is February 21, so there are only a few weeks to submit your entry. To enter, simply visit, choose your category and fill in the form online.

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

My working day Wake up: 6-6.30am Go to work: 7.30am Typical day: We don’t have just one site, so I could be in London, Reading or Bristol or visiting clients. Go home: 7pm Take work home? I carry on working once the children have gone to bed. It’s a big help to able to do emails on my phone. that red tape is threatening that approach. “Every year there is more and more regulation and guidance around share ownership,” she says.

● 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


nesses started up and more than 90 per cent have been very successful.” Ruby believes in employees having a stake in their business, but warns

“We need less regulation, not more. I would like more tax breaks for people who invest in my business and for them to feel the UK is behind them.” Although it now reaches far beyond the West, Mitie was founded in Bristol and remains tied to the city. “Bristol is where the roots of the group are and it is our heritage,” says Ruby. “Many of the people who work for us in Bristol have done so for a long time. I am regularly in Bristol. “This is a big group now, but Bristol is still very important. We have a lot of people in the city, primarily at our Emersons Green campus.” Hopefully those roots and Ruby as a role model will inspire more Bristol schoolgirls to flourish as businesswomen.

● New Business of the Year, sponsored by HSBC Commercial Banking


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Up and coming

Movers & shake-ups The latest appointments news. Send your news to

The future of business


Join me in pioneering venture Rupert Janisch


N entrepreneur is seeking collaborators for his new venture Entrelancer, a ground-breaking, webbased company aimed at solving the funding crisis for start-up companies. The new business, set up by 36-year-old John Rees, is aimed at entrepreneur owners of new businesses who lack the start-up capital to pay the fees for the required products or services. The innovative aspect of Entrelancer is its method of growing new businesses out of ideas – a collaboration-based approach where everyone involved shares the risks and profits. Mr Rees aims to validate this innovative business model by building Entrelancer under the very method that it promotes. So the first live listing on the platform is an invitation for people to collaborate with the build of Entrelancer. He said: “Entrelancer is a business based around facilitating collaboration. “My vision is to help a greater number of businesses to get started and achieve growth, by reducing their dependency on capital during the early stages. The main reason start-ups fail is due to a lack of funding. Entrelancer addresses this by reducing the dependency on funding. “The unique aspect of the business is that it enables entrepreneurs and SMEs to quickly find freelancers that are willing to work on a profit-share arrangement basis, and facilitates a standardised profit-sharing legal contract between the parties.

● DARREN Tozer from Colliers International’s Bristol office has been appointed to head up the firm’s facilities management team across the UK. Based in the Broad Quay office for the past seven years, Darren will now be tasked with building on the market leading facilities management service that Colliers International provides, with particular emphasis on tenant engagement and sustainability. Head of investment property management, Mike Bull, said: “Darren is recognised as a driver of new ideas and both tenants and clients respond to his enthusiasm as well as his operational insights.”

● JOSH Gunn has joined the Knight Frank industrial property team in Bristol as a graduate surveyor. He joins from Plymouth property consultant Vickery Holman, where he spent two years in the agency department after graduating from Oxford Brookes University in real estate management. Josh, aged 25, said: “I am delighted to be joining the industrial team of one of the most respected specialist property firms in the South West.”

Approx 450sq ft (max 5 persons), excellent order in good location £550+ VAT pcm, Close to City Centre, local train line & communal parking tel: 0117 9232222 or 07768 993280



Attractive Self Contained Office to Rent inc kitchen/toilet

● John Rees seeks collaborators to work with him on the setting up of his venture, Entrelancer “In today’s world of dysfunctional banks, start-up businesses will likely be trying to bootstrap the business through the very early stages; initially relying on their own funds or those of friends and family to reach the stage where the business becomes investment ready. “There are many good business ideas that never get off the ground, either due to a lack of funding or a lack of relevant skills.

Promoting the idea to the crowd of freelancers and engaging them in a profit-sharing framework solves both of these problems. “I also think it is a good way for UK freelancers to compete globally. While we may not be able to beat competitors on price, a willingness to collaborate and share risk will add a competitive edge.” Entrelancer is part-funded by Innovation Vouchers and Mr Rees is using researchers from the Uni-

versity of the West of England to determine the specifics of the contracts that Entrelancer will facilitate for its customers. Entrelancer has recently been accepted on to the incubator programme at the University of Bath’s Innovation Centre, as well as receiving business coaching from Kim Jones of the High Growth Knowledge Company, as part of the High Growth programme run by Business West.


Business advice

Rise in new businesses set up

US delegates see our success

BUSINESS support organisation the North Somerset Enterprise Agency helped 39 new companies launch in October and November – 39 per cent up on the same period in 2012. The increase, along with the creation of 46 jobs, offers encouraging signs of growth in the region. Business start-ups in recent months have ranged from a digital animation company to online pet supplies, a tea room to an equine physiotherapy service and a school of performing arts to a home maintenance company. The statistics follow a successful summer in which 51 new businesses launched and 71 new jobs were created with the help of the Enterprise Agency from July to September.

A GROUP from Westminster visited Bristol to see the success of businesses after help from the South West Investment Group. US delegates from the Global Entrepreneurship Collective in Milwaukee came to the city, following an invitation to the UK by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Ian Duncan Smith, to discuss the innovative model of support provided to enterprises. SWIG Finance managing director John Peters, executive director Peter Casey and fund manager Sarah Osborn introduced the delegates to Bristol entrepreneurs who have received loans and business advice to get their businesses up and running. Melody Beard, Thomas Coppen and Karen Gould started their businesses after applying for

This again marks a significant increase on the same period last year, when 32 businesses were launched and 55 jobs created. North Somerset Enterprise Agency chief executive Angela Hicks, pictured, said: “We are thrilled that once again we can report an increase year-on-year in business start-up activity. This is good news for the area, as successful new companies will create jobs, both now and in the future, as well as bring money to the economy. “Having the right information, advice and support is crucial in the early stages of running a business, so we are delighted that the numbers of people taking advantage of our free or low-cost services continue to grow.”

SWIG loans and continue to be supported by their mentors. Ms Beard opened The Hungry Caterpillar Play Cafe in Bedminster at the end of November after becoming frustrated by the time constraints of playgroups, and instead turned to cafes to meet with other mums. A first-time entrepreneur, she received business advice from BRAVE in putting together her application for a start-up loan and is continuing to receive mentoring from adviser John Hector. Mr Peters said: “We were keen to show the delegates the effect on people of support for businesses and entrepreneurs. We have helped many businesses in Bristol which have flourished thanks to access to business finance and advice from organisations like BRAVE and Outset.”

Business Bristol Post 15 January 2014  

Women in Business. Follow my lead. Mitie chief executive Ruby McGregor-Smith urges young women to set their sights high as we launch our W...