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businessmatters Quarterly Magazine of West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce

Chamber News


The Big Interview


Work Based Learning

Looking forward to 2012 with optimism

Patrons News

Development plans to maximise benefits


West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce


businessmatters West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce Riverside Innovation Centre, Castle Drive Chester CH1 1SL Telephone 01244 669988 Fax 01244 669989






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Contributing Editor John Dean & Francis Griss

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Disclaimer Distinctive Publishing or West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies that may occur, individual products or services advertised or late entries. No part of this publication may be reproduced or scanned without prior written permission of the publishers and West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce.



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West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Magazine



With a cold bite in the air and the festive season approaching, welcome to the final Business Matters of 2011. The past four months have been extremely busy and successful for West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce, and with the holiday ahead it’s a great opportunity to look back at the quarter, as well as ahead to the New Year. Back in October we threw open the doors to our new home, the state of the art Riverside Innovation Centre, Chester for the first two of our free Business Social networking events. More than 60 people, representing businesses from across the region descended on Chester for the evening and took the opportunity to discuss local supply chain. In November we did it again, this time focusing on procurement and tendering. Both events were received superbly, so keep an eye on the Chamber’s website, our Twitter feed (@chamberwcnw) and LinkedIn Group in 2012 for news of all our future events. We were also delighted and privileged to welcome Paul Fisher, a member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) and Executive Director for Markets to a special briefing open to members at the Holiday Inn Chester South. Members of the MPC make regular visits around the UK in order to hear directly from businesses how they are finding economic conditions. Paul was on hand for a special question and answer session, as well as sharing with delegates the latest thinking of the UK’s top economists on issues ranging from the Eurozone crisis, to the state of the US economy, and the challenges facing China. Speaking of which, the difficult economic outlook continued through the Autumn months, with the situation involving Greece and possible ramifications across the news agenda. With headlines dominated by talk of another severe recession and austerity measures, Chamber members are reminded there’s never been a better opportunity to make use of our expertise and support. Whether you need networking opportunities, help in communicating your marketing and PR messages, or even representational support with issues you’re facing as a business; we are here to help. With 2012 fast approaching, now is a great time to get to grips with your business plan for the New Year. It’s vital to have a realistic, robust and clear strategy for how you are going to do business going forward; detailing how you will develop it, when you are going to do it, who will play what part and how finances will be managed. Clarity on these issues will be vital if you’re looking for investment, whilst the process of building your plan will focus your mind on how your organisation will need to operate to give it the best chance of success. On a lighter note, we’ve included a large spread of pictures the Chamber’s annual dinner at the world renowned Grosvenor Hotel, Chester on October 14th. More than 130 guests enjoyed fine dining, as well as our special guest speaker, businesswoman and Apprentice candidate Ruth Badger. The Chamber was also presented with its accreditation by Martin Pellew, President of the British Chambers of Commerce.


Developing Stronger Connections Between Local Business and Community Chester Voluntary Action (CVA) has linked up with the Chamber to help launch a programme supporting charities and community groups across the borough of Cheshire West and Chester. The scheme, called SkillShare, has been devised to strengthen the links between businesses and charities by offering free, professional business skills for use within the community. CVA act as an independent broker, helping charities identify where they could benefit from specialised expertise, before matching their needs to a database of professionals who have agreed to supply their skills voluntarily. The concept has been developed by CVA in association with the Chamber as well as David Briggs, the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Bank of America, Ellis Whittam, Jets Foundation, and CVA’s Chief Officer Carol Berry said: “This is an important programme offering local charities free access to vital professional expertise. This could be anything from legal advice, accountancy or business planning to training and website design. “Our aim is to match the passion and energy of the voluntary sector with the knowledge and experience of local businesses. By doing this, we can help create a more effective, successful and sustainable voluntary and community sector in Chester.” Martin Supple, from Bank of America and Iain Barr from Cheshire West and Chester Council have both been seconded to CVA to help develop the project and make an initial connection between the parties involved. Martin said: “There are a number of businesses and professional people around Chester who are willing to offer their expert support to local groups, but previously there has been no clear route for companies to get involved. SkillShare is changing that. “The programme offers a perfect opportunity for local businesses to become more actively involved within their community. It is a dynamic approach to providing important services and supporting the sustainability of charities and community organisations.” Mrs Berry added: “We are delighted to have received support from a number of locally based businesses already and we hope additional companies will offer their services too. These are excellent examples of how businesses can make a tangible and significant contribution within their community."

All that remains is for me to thank the Chamber’s membership for their support throughout 2011. May we wish you and your families a very happy festive period and a prosperous New Year!

If you are in business or a local professional and would like to become involved by using your skills to help a local charity please contact Martin directly at Chester Voluntary Action on 01244 401900 or email

Colin Brew General Manager

Or if you are involved with a charity which could benefit from free business expertise then please also contact Martin to arrange an initial discussion regarding the skills you are looking for.

West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Magazine


Work Based Learning Work based learning (WBL) has formed a successful part of the University of Chester undergraduate curriculum for over 20 years and the University is proud of the partnership it has developed with numerous local, national and international employers. WBL offers students the opportunity to work with an organisation for five weeks and is performed at the end of the second year of an undergraduate degree programme. For 2012 the placement dates are 8th May to 8th June.

Second year undergraduates on BA/BSc degree programmes are studying the following subjects: n Accounting and Finance, Business, Marketing, Management, Tourism Management, Events Management

n Early Childhood Studies, Education Studies

n Sport and Exercise Sciences, Sport Development

n English, Creative Writing

n Religious Studies, Theology.

n Fine Art, Photography, Graphic Design

The placement may take the form of a particular project or piece of research, organisation of a special event, production of promotional DVDs or may involve the student in the daily routine and running of an organisation or department. The details of the placement are up to the organisation to negotiate with the student with the intended outcome that all parties benefit from the experience. Due to health and safety and assessment requirements we ask that all placement providers have business premises.

n Geography, Natural Hazard Management, International Development Studies n Health and Social Care n Journalism, PR, Advertising, Communication Studies n Languages (French, Spanish, German)

n Animal Behaviour/Welfare, Animal Management, Zoo Management

n Law

n Biology, Forensic Biology, Biomedical Sciences, Human Nutrition

n Media Studies, Film Studies, Popular Music Performance

n Computer Science, Information Systems Management, Internet Technologies, Multimedia Technologies

n Commercial Music Production, TV Production, Radio Production

n Drama, Dance, Theatre Studies

n Mathematics

n Sociology, Politics, Criminology, Counselling Skills, Psychology

The University of Chester has dedicated WBL offices in Chester and Warrington to oversee the whole of the placement process together with tutor support. If you would be interested in participating in the scheme or if you are unsure whether a placement will be suitable, please contact 01244 512100 or for more information.

BCC says Reforms to the Energy Market Will Benefit Business In November the energy regulator Ofgem announced a number of proposals designed to reform the non-domestic energy market to help businesses. They include: n Expansion of protections to small businesses (those with less than 50 employees) n Enforcement action against suppliers who are ‘not playing it straight’ with businesses when trying to change supplier n A new licence condition to regulate how non-domestic business suppliers interact with business customers n Stronger and broader Standards of Conduct to give consumers greater confidence.

Commenting on the proposals, Dr Adam Marshall, Director of Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce said: “The proposals announced by Ofgem are welcome and should be implemented quickly so businesses can get the best possible deal for their energy supplies.

This is especially important for smaller firms, as they are often the most vulnerable energy users. At a time when energy prices continue to soar, measures such as making it easier to switch providers are crucial to helping improve business’ experience of the energy market.

“Business has been calling for reforms to the energy market for some time, so these moves are encouraging. Firms want to see simpler processes in place and more safeguards to protect them from difficulties when dealing with suppliers.

“These proposals must be clearly communicated so companies are aware of the changes. Ofgem must continue to monitor the market closely and be prepared to consider extending measures of protection even further.”

West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Magazine



Time is Running Out to Enter the High Sheriff’s Awards for Enterprise The High Sheriff’s Awards for Enterprise is in partnership with the University of Chester. The awards are your opportunity to shine and demonstrate you are an outstanding business from Cheshire. If your company has turnover of at least £500,000 and between five and 250 employees you are eligible to enter.

Why enter the High Sheriff's Awards for Enterprise? The High Sheriff’s Awards for Enterprise is Cheshire’s premier recognition platform for businesses of all sizes, from the private sector. The benefits of entering the High Sheriff’s Awards for Enterprise extend far beyond winning one of the prestigious awards. Outlined below are three reasons why your organisation should consider entering this year:

3. Impress partners, clients and investors The cachet and recognition of winning one of the High Sheriff’s Awards for Enterprise categories demonstrates a commitment to enterprise, innovation and corporate social responsibility.

The Awards Ceremony The High Sheriff’s Awards for Enterprise in partnership with the University of Chester, will be held at the University of Chester on Thursday 29th March 2012. The awards will host Cheshire’s leading entrepreneurs and business leaders to celebrate outstanding business achievement across private sector organisations of all shapes and sizes. The Guest Speaker for the ceremony is Dr Pete Waterman OBE, DL, Record Producer and lifelong entrepreneur. Network and socialise with business leaders, entrepreneurs and reward your employees for their hard work and dedication in 2011.

1. Raise your profile The winner and finalists gain from regional exposure through a coordinated PR campaign, raising profile among some of the most influential people in business and government, many of whom will attend the award ceremony on 29th March 2012. In 2011, the High Sheriff’s Awards for Enterprise can offer unique marketing and PR promotion through bespoke video footage of winners and finalists at the awards ceremony. A variety of advertising opportunities are also available to organisations wishing to align with the awards.

2. Acknowledge your team's efforts In the busy environment of day to day business, achievements can be easily forgotten. The process of completing the entry form allows you to pause and consider what (and who) contributed to your success and where you can go from here. A representative of all shortlisted finalists is invited to attend the Award Ceremony and Dinner free of charge and you will have priority on table bookings so the team can celebrate their recognition on the night.


West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Magazine

How to enter, entrants must: n Have an annual turnover of at least £500,000 n Employ between five and 250 members of staff n

Demonstrate outstanding performance and explain their strategy to ensure that the company will continue to expand and flourish in the future

n You may include any relevant company brochures to support your entry. If you meet these criteria, do consider nominating your business for the awards by completing the application form along with a supporting statement on no more than two sides of A4 paper. Entrants should include accounts and any other information to support their entry, for example business brochures. Please view the award categories and select those you wish to enter. You can enter as many categories as you wish.The Awards are open for entries and nominations until 5pm on Tuesday, 3rd January 2012. Visit highsheriffsaward2011 to enter. For more information or to discuss your entry further, please contact Catherine Menzies on 01244 511844 or alternatively email


Prestigious Restoration Project from Powell Williams Powell Williams is managing the project on behalf of the Indian government, which leases the property from the Crown Estate. More than 150 litres of Regent’s Park Cream Gloss paint (the specific shade used for all Crown Estate Properties) will be applied to the 2,500 square foot property during the six week contract, which is to be carried out by specialist heritage contractor, Isis Restoration. Powell Williams was appointed to manage the scheme following a competitive tender. Andy Williams, Powell Williams’ lead partner in Chester, believes the firm’s expertise in sensitive restoration and heritage projects, particularly within the Crown Estate’s Regent’s Park area, was key to securing the contract, he said: “This is an important historic building in the heart of Kensington Palace Gardens. Any work carried out to the property is, rightfully, subject to a variety of restrictions and standards. “Specialist knowledge of the particular sensitivities and requirements of restoring heritage buildings is vitally important to ensure that buildings are sympathetically maintained in line with the demands of occupiers, owners and local community.”

The residence of the High Commissioner of India in London is receiving special attention from Powell Williams’ historic buildings team, who have been appointed to manage external refurbishment of this stunning Georgian building in Kensington Palace Gardens. One of the most exclusive addresses in the country, Kensington Palace Gardens is owned by the Crown Estate. The Indian High

Powell Williams has completed a number of heritage restoration projects, including those involving liaison with conservation officers, English Heritage, and contractors, for Grade II listed buildings in Chester, Shrewsbury and Edinburgh.

Commissioner’s residence is a Grade II listed building, so all internal and external works are subject to strict guidelines.

Does Your Website Really Do You Justice? Consistency is a good thing, right? In all areas of our business, we want to convey the same message, leaving our customers with the same exacting service and delivering our finest standards. So why then do I frequently witness to the failure of companies to apply this to their online presence? A case in point, when visiting an elite jeweller recently, I was very impressed with the beautiful interior, excellent service and demonstrable knowledge and expertise of the staff. The shopping experience was exceptional and I searched for their website the following day to send a recommendation on to a colleague. I decided to never send that recommendation. You see, I simply couldn’t reconcile the two experiences. I was confused

that what I had experienced in person could be so poorly represented online… should I really have to preface each comment with ‘please ignore their website, it’s not like that when you visit’? This is neither mine, nor any other customer’s responsibility. Quality is in the detail, and for websites this means some serious thinking. What sort of devices does your online presence work with; tablets, phones, Macs or PCs? Is your site fast and intuitive to navigate? Is it programmed well and does it pass W3C validation? For one day imagine you’re a customer; browse your site then look at your competitors and consider how to be better than them. Ask customers for feedback and study your statistics package, look at what point your visitors leave the site and understand why. Most importantly, have fun!

James Crane, Managing Director of Overbyte Interactive Ltd

West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Magazine



New economic survey points to increased risks The British Chambers of Commerce’s Quarterly Economic Survey (QES), released on October 11th highlights the risks facing Britain’s recovery. The survey, comprising 6,700 responses from businesses across the UK shows that while many balances are still in positive territory, indicating growth, this is weaker than in previous quarters. Figures for the domestic market, exports, business confidence, cash flow and investment in plant and machinery have weakened over the last quarter.

Read the full report at

Economic climate The Q3 results point to a deterioration in the economic situation, with concerning signs of stagnation in the domestic economy. Cash flow remains a real concern for businesses, indicating they are under financial pressures. Disappointing balances for exports, and for investment in plant and machinery, suggest that the much needed rebalancing of the UK economy is not yet occurring.

Domestic orders The domestic balances in the survey signal minimal growth or stagnation, with declines in both manufacturing and services. The manufacturing balance for home deliveries fell to +3% (from +18%) the lowest since Q1 2010 and in services to 0%, from +10%. For forward-looking home orders, in manufacturing the balance fell 13 points to -4%, the worst level since Q4 2009, and in services dropped 12 points to -3%, the worst level since Q4 2010.

Exports For both manufacturing and service sectors, export balances worsened in Q3. Exporting activity among manufacturers is stronger than in services and also outperforms domestic activity. The export figures, which have fallen to weak levels last seen in 2009, show that the rebalancing of the economy towards exports is not happening. While they remain in positive territory, export sales for the last three months fell eight points in manufacturing (to +18%) and by 14 points in services (to +4%). Asked about future orders, the export orders balance for manufacturing was the worst level since Q3 2009 (down eight points to +14%). In the service sector, businesses reported a contraction, with a balance of -2% (down 18 points, the weakest level since Q2 2009).

Employment Figures for the last three months showed a fall in the balance of manufacturers expanding their workforce and in services there was only a marginal increase. Firms in both sectors do not seem to be much more optimistic about future recruitment. In manufacturing the employment expectations balance was down five points to +10%, and in services down six points to +6%.

Cash flow and price pressures Businesses are still facing real difficulties in managing cashflow (the movement of cash in and out of the business). Both balances are in negative territory, with a fall in manufacturing (down seven points to -8%), and no change in services, at -6%. Despite balances falling since the last quarter, businesses’ intentions to raise prices are still relatively high (likely due to rising raw material costs).The balance of manufacturing firms reporting pressure to increase prices fell seven points, to +31%, and in services fell five points, to +22%.


West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Magazine

Country Insurance n

facing UK recovery Business confidence and investment Business confidence among manufacturers fell in the last quarter. The balance measuring manufacturers’ confidence in turnover fell by seven points (to +33%), and in profitability the balance was down six points to 16% In the service sector, the turnover confidence balance fell six points to 24%, and profitability confidence stayed unchanged, at +10%, still a disappointingly weak level. In both sectors, the level of confidence in turnover and profitability is inadequate. While both service sector and manufacturing businesses intend to invest Dr John Williams, Director at Nu-Instruments slightly more in training, investment in plant machinery fell in both sectors. Commenting on the results, John Longworth, Director General of the BCC, said: “The results of our latest survey are concerning, but not entirely surprising. Many of the balances are in positive territory, but they are not as strong as we'd like to see. The survey shows the real risks facing the economy and the need for the government to act now in putting business growth at the heart of all its policies. For example, cash flow remains a real concern for businesses, indicating they are under financial pressures. Many businesses are faced with unfavourable payment terms and a lack of access to capital. “The pace of the UK recovery will remain slow. We can avoid a recession, but this relies on the government making some tough policy choices. While it is imperative that the government perseveres with its deficitcutting plan, there must be a significant reallocation of priorities within the overall spending envelope. We need a much greater focus on those policies that will help businesses expand, take on more staff, export and invest. “Businesses need continuous reassurance that there is a plan for fiscal stability and a clear road map which will steer us towards a strong recovery. Government must recognise that business is good for Britain, and put in place measures to bolster confidence and support those companies that have the potential to grow. That includes a commitment to a Plan A+ for growth, with alternative paths at the ready in case of further shocks from foreign shores.” David Kern, BCC Chief Economist, said: "The Q3 QES results point to a deterioration in the economic situation, with concerning signs of stagnation in the domestic economy. The disappointing Q3 balances for exports, and for investment in plant and machinery, suggest that the much needed rebalancing of the UK economy is not yet occurring. Negative cash flow balances indicate that firms are facing real financial pressures. “The forward-looking home order balances moved into negative territory, for both manufacturing and services, pointing to risks of recession. Although recession can be avoided, on the basis of these results our growth forecasts issued early in September will likely be revised downwards for both 2011 and 2012. “Given the worsening international situation and the acute problems facing the Eurozone, there is a clear need for the MPC and the government to make every effort to avert risks of recession. The recent increase in the QE programme to £275 billion is welcomed, but more radical measures are needed. These should be mainly concentrated on purchasing securitised SME loans and other private sector assets. On its part, the government must reprioritise its spending plans to promote growth and wealth creation.”

County Insurance Consultants have a warm feeling about business this winter!             Since opening a new branch on Chester Business Park earlier this year, County Insurance have received a far from frosty reception from businesses in the local community! Louise Lindenblatt from County Insurance comments “We’ve had a great response!  We understand that both time and money are very limited for businesses in the current economic climate.  We save our customers time by searching the market on their behalf and achieve the best price possible. ” “A contributing factor was attending the Flintshire Business Week in October, where we were pleased to make so many new connections.” If you would like County Insurance to shop around for you, contact them now with your renewal date and insurance requirements on 0800 781 8606 or visit It’s free, there’s no obligation and their experienced advisors could save you lots of money! West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Magazine



Businesses Make the Link Between Foreign Language Skills and Success With Wales propping up the league table in terms of UK export performance, there is a growing awareness that foreign language skills can have a key role to play in terms of employability, competitiveness and profitability. In combination with a new Business Languages NVQ course developed by CILT Cymru, the Business Language Champions (BLC) scheme is opening young people’s eyes to the relevance of modern foreign language (MFL) skills in the business world.

BLC is a CILT Cymru initiative which forges partnerships between MFL departments in schools and businesses that are trading internationally in Wales. Feedback from both businesses and schools has been extremely positive. John Curwen of Eriez

Magnetics Europe Ltd said: “Over 75% of our orders so far this year are from overseas. The aggressive growth that we demand of our business would not be achievable if we did not have employees with language skills. Simple as that.” If you would like to find out more about the BCL scheme or how languages can enhance your business, please contact one of CILT Cymru’s advisers. Business case studies will be available on Carolyn Goodwin (BLC Project Manager) Bethan Enticott (BLC Coordinator) Tel: 02920 265400

Untidy Links are a Thing of the Past It’s a common problem; you find a link to an important document online and need to share it in a printed report with colleagues, but instead of being able to click on it they’ll have to reproduce around 100 characters just to read the document. ‘Untidy links’ are generally copied and pasted straight out of your Internet browser’s address bar and directly into documents, frequently using awkward characters and are overly long and difficult to replicate. In order to work correctly, links need to be accurate as they point at a direct page; so one mistake


means you’ll receive error messages and be forced to retype the whole thing again. This is where link shortening services come in. Websites like will take your link and let you either shorten or customise it to a neater, more manageable address that is easily replicated

West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Magazine

in documents so this: policy/press-releases_1/bcc-deficit-cuttingprogramme-remains-on-course.html Can become this:

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A recent survey revealed that the average time it takes before a financial adviser starts talking to a new client about financial products is 82 seconds!


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West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Magazine


New Members Fibrax Limited Queensway, Wrexham, LL13 8YR 01978 356744 Ms Linda Jones TW Languages Caidan House, Canal Road, Altricham, WA14 1TD 0161 975 4907 Ms Janet Perkins Days Hotel Sealand, Nr Chester, Flint, CH5 2HX 01244830332 Mr John Brown Rosewood Management Services Unit 3, Solaris Centre, Harrow Side, South Promonade, Blackpool, FY4 1RW 0844 8157765 Mr John Keen Practical Lean 29 St Johns Way, Sandiway, Northwich, CW8 2LX 07850507657 Mrs Janice Twidale Betsi Cadwaladr University Local Health Board Trust Head Quarters, Croesnewydd Road, Wrexham, LL13 7TD 01978 725262 Ms Joanna Garrigan Money Advice & Planning Ltd 8 Alderberry Road, Deeside, CH5 3JS 07845 218487/01244 535971 Mr Steve Caloe G Perch Ltd 67 Cae Gwastad, Harlech, LL46 2GY 07866599860 Mr Graham Perch QSL Solutions Ltd 4 Hawthorn View, Penycae, Wrexham, LL14 2PQ 077153 59125 Dr Ashley Darby Nexus Point Ltd 14 Mallard Way, Winsford, CW7 1PD 01606 869859 Mr Chris Webb Engagewealth Ltd 22 Kensington Grove, Box Lane, Wrexham, LL12 8AJ 0161 8481478 Mr Darren Long

For more information on chamber membership contact 01244 669988 or visit

Avanta Block 1, Henry Square, St Petersfield, Ashton-UnderLyne, OL6 7SR 07876 397424 Ms Sandra Smith

Dorothy Evans 78 Mornant Avenue, Hartford, Northwich, CW8 2FQ 07866 092220 Ms Dorothy Evans

Internet Entrepreneur 4 Castle Gate, Wrexham Road, Holt, Wrexham, LL13 9TS 01829 271720 Mr Bill Jones Leapfrog Corporation 44 Granary Warf, Steam Mill Street, Chester, CH3 5AN 0777 9990003 Mr Darren Griffiths Picturehouse Films Ltd Jupiter House, High Street, Tattenhall, Chester, CH3 9PX 01829 770066 Mr Malcolm Oldfield iMap Centre Limited Forest Road, Cuddington, CW8 2EH 01606 301514 Mr Mark Coup Transformation Training 49 Upton Drive, Chester, CH2 1BY 01244 375510 Ms Zoya Zuvcenko Enterprise House Aber Park, Flint, CH6 5EX 01352 731009 Ms Liz Soutter The Group Ltd Vauxhall Industrial Estate, Ruabon, Wrexham, LL14 6HA 01978 822222 Mr Paul Tinkler

Promo Bikes Made Easy 13 Mayfield Avenue, Macclesfield, SK11 7SS 01625 262077 Mr Robert Wellings

Direct Collections Ltd The Old Workshop, Winington Avenue, Winington, Northwich, CW8 4EE 01606 855841 Mr Paul Delmare New City Contract Cleaning 16 Barkhill Road, Vickers Cross, Chester, CH3 5JJ 07717 700144 Mr Peter Christopher Traveline Cymru Po Box 83, Cardiff, CF11 1NA 02920 382563 Ms Adrienne Harries LDF Dee House, St Davids Park, Deeside, CH5 3XF 01244 527300 Ms Natalie Powell First Choice 4-5 The Cross, Mold, CH7 1ER 01352 757000 Ms Cheryl Reid Pentra Services Limited Waterloo Buildings, 23-31 Bridge Street, Birkenhead, CH41 1AS 0151 6662066 Ms Marie Lazarz

Catherine Skates Catering Unit C22, Aber Road, Flint, CH6 5YL 07866 385659 Ms Catherine Skates

Groundwork North Wales Plas Power, 3-4 Plas Power Road, Tanyfron, Wrexham, LL11 5SZ 01978 757524 Ms Karen Balmer

Integral Life Centre 1 Tyn Y Pwll, Cefn, St. Asaph, LL17 0HB 01745 582444 Mr Ian McDonald

Ryan Martinez PR Llynon Lodge, Llandeussant, Holyhead, LL65 4DS 07854 985240 Mr Ryan Martinez

West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Magazine


Personal advice for all your business insurance needs

With over 100 years’ experience of providing expert advice and great value insurance to businesses and individuals in the North West, County Insurance are making it easier than ever for you to get a great deal on your business or personal insurance. Available online, over the phone or face to face; the professional and friendly service is second to none! Visit for competitive ‘internet’ prices, instant cover and self-print documents, meaning that you can arrange your business insurance at a time to suit you. Alternatively, call the dedicated team on (freephone) 0800 980 3465 or pop into one of the offices in Crewe, Chester or Southport. For a specialist business fleet insurance quote, visit Substantial premium savings are delivered to you through strong insurer relationships with further discounts available for Chamber members. Private car, home and van insurance is also available, just visit or call 0800 781 8606. Winner of Professional Service Provider of the Year 2011

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West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Magazine

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Exporting in Figures So you’ve decided it’s a good idea to have a look at exporting but need a bit of context to understand why it’s potentially beneficial to your firm? Up and down the country small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are asking themselves the same questions. Before I give you good news on how exporting benefits your productivity and competitiveness, let’s examine something of the context.

How big is the UK market? The UK has a population of 62 million compared to a world population which has just passed the 7 billion mark, making it roughly 0.8% of the world’s people. If you use GDP as a measure of wealth the UK accounts for roughly 4.5% of it. Our exports of goods make up 3% and services 7.5% of world trade.

How many different countries are there? Arguably there are 196 countries in the world although there are other territories and principalities that technically are not different countries but may have a separate profile. There are around 160 different currencies in use but all but a very small amount of world trade is transacted in the top eight or 10 currencies.

How big is the European Union The 27 countries of the EU comprise of 502 million people, making the UK c.12%. We have a similar percentage of the EU’s total GDP. UK firms have tariff free access for goods and services to the entire bloc.

What about other trading blocs? The EU is the world’s biggest trading bloc but there are three other major regional blocs; NAFTA in North America, ASEAN in South East Asia and MERCOSUR in Latin America. There are about a dozen others such as SADC in Southern Africa and CARICOM in the Caribbean but these are the most significant. Countries within the blocs will have preferential access to their markets.

What are tariffs? Within the EU none apply, but exporting outside of the EU may incur a tariff or tax on imports into those countries. You can find out which ones may apply to you on the EU Market Access Database website: When exporting, your customer will have to pay these and you will need to understand how it affects your costings.

How many languages will I need? There are in the region of 6500 languages spoken in the world. The 30 most common however are spoken by around 90% of the world’s population. English is spoken as either a first or second language by around 2 billion people. You will of course encounter many cultural differences. Respect the differences and you will benefit in the long run.

I’m a service company, can I export? For the last 30 years the ratio of goods to services exports around the world has been consistently in the region of 80:20. The UK’s export of services has been much higher with a ratio of 60:40. The simple answer, therefore, is that of course you can and indeed the UK has been pretty good at it. With the continued rise of the internet many of the distance barriers that may have existed are disappearing.

Clive Drinkwater, Regional Director of UK Trade and Investment North West

But what are the benefits? Sum it up for me Limiting yourself to selling to less than 1% of the world’s population (the UK) doesn’t seem like an ambitious plan for growth. You can look at the European Union as your extended home market, but even that accounts for only 7% of world population. The world is a huge place but you can make it more manageable. With careful planning and taking appropriate advice communication, payment and technical issues can all be overcome. Two thirds of recent growth in world trade has come from new firms entering the export market rather than through existing exporters increasing their export flows. The clear message is that around the world businesses are starting their export journey for the first time and are in the vanguard of the growth in world trade. UK firms need to get started or risk being left behind.

By learning about export markets you grow your ability to adapt and become more competitive. Evidence shows that exporting firms gain a 34% boost to their productivity in the first year of trading internationally and are around 12% more resilient or, put another way, more likely to survive through difficult times. Exporters in fact contribute 60% of total UK productivity growth, they are 75% more likely to invest in research and development, they achieve economies of scale not possible in the UK alone, they extend the life cycles of their products and significantly improve their financial performance. Even better news is that exporting companies learn lessons on adaptability which they take into their domestic markets and as their export sales grow their home sales grow too! There’s no better time than today to get started. Where in the world will your company be in 12 months time?

West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Magazine



to listen and read at the same time. Use a maximum of five bullet points on a page, with no more than five words per point. If more detail is required, continue on the next slide.

3. Reading each word A sure sign of an unconfident or ineffective presenter is one who reads their text word for word, making the audience think they could just read your slides back at the office. A great tip is to write your whole presentation as a base ‘script’ to work from, then produce your slides as an overview of your points. Paired down, you can then determine which points to expand on at the presentation itself.

4. Abusing the bells and whistles

No More ‘Death by Powerpoint’ We’ve all been there; signed up as an event delegate, arrived at the venue and sat down only to find the speaker read their 150 slide Microsoft PowerPoint presentation word for word. This is the exact scenario the unkind term ‘death by PowerPoint’ grew up from. A catch all expression covering presenters who remembered the application’s ‘fun’ and ‘crazy’ animations, before thinking about how their content could truly inspire and entertain their audience.

You know those ‘hilarious’ animations and sound effects? Well like an old joke, so do your audience. When presenting, you’re there to impress them with your knowledge of the subject, not how to make your text disappear in a pretty pattern. The bells and whistles exist to enhance your verbal presentation, not the other way around. It doesn’t have to be this way though. Technology and productivity website www. has suggested six simple tips to help you make the most of your opportunity to sell your products or services to clients or colleagues.

1. Text too small Before the presentation, check your text is readable (35 to 40 point size) from the farthest seat in the room when projected on a screen. Use a clear sans serif font like Arial, rather than serif fonts like Times New Roman

5. Poor use of images All newspapers and magazines will tell you the key to using images is to sum up the story without making the reader look at the text. The same is true here. Only use a single, effective image per slide. Avoid clipart and cartoons, but also be careful to not use copyrighted images from Google.

6. Keep backups handy

2. Too much text

Ensure you have a backup of your presentation on a USB drive, or in the event of total technical failure, be prepared to deliver without slides.

Don’t cram too much text into a single slide, it makes it difficult for audience members

Read the full article at:

Businesses Set to Benefit from Roadworks Data Arriving late for meetings or complaints from customers over slow deliveries could be a thing of the past thanks to new data published weekly by the Government.


providing more useful, transparent information to businesses and the general public.

With an estimated 2 billion hours wasted in traffic jams across the UK every year, comprehensive information on current and planned roadworks is now be available to download.

The roadwork data includes start date and expected end date, expected delays as well as other information like speed limits and lane closures. The information may be useful in helping businesses provide staff with alternative, efficient routes when performing deliveries or attending meetings.

Together with other documents on parking locations and cycle routes, the data is being released under the Government’s aim of

The information is available mapped on the Daily Telegraph, as well as raw XML format for reuse by web developers. It can currently be

West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Magazine

obtained on the Daily Telegraph website here:


New Arrivals in Chester The team of expert lawyers at Hill Dickinson Chester is stronger than ever thanks to an influx of specialist fee earners into the office. During recent months the Chester team has been bolstered by the addition of several lawyers to its ranks. Sally Wightman’s corporate team has been enhanced by the addition of solicitor Natalie McNeill, who returns to the Chester office following an eleven month secondment to the in-house legal team of a major international food and beverage company. Also joining Chester’s corporate team is experienced corporate lawyer, Alexandra Mason, who was previously based at the firm’s Liverpool office. Alexandra will work with the existing corporate team on corporate transactional and advisory work for companies and organisations throughout the region. Sally Wightman said: “The combined experience and expertise of the team will enable us, not only to provide existing clients with continued service excellence but will also allow us to develop our business further in the regional marketplace.” Hill Dickinson’s commercial credentials are further boosted by expert commerce and technology lawyer, Shelley Thomas, who is now basing herself out of the firm’s Chester office on a regular basis, again in response to marketplace demand. Shelley brings with her a wealth of specialist knowledge in areas including commercial contracts, copyright, design and trademarks, e-commerce, intellectual property, patents and data protection. Chester’s regulatory team has also grown significantly, with the addition of assistant solicitors Liam Doherty, Daniel Watkins and Natasha Brownhill, along with trainee solicitor, Rowan Nattrass. The development of the regulatory teams comes in response to increasing client demand and an influx of inquiry based work. Lachlan Nisbet, head of the regulatory team, which specialises in criminal and civil regulatory investigations, inquests and inquiries, trading standards, and heath and safety, said: “The fact that we have made four additions to the team in a relatively short space of time is indicative of the volume

L-R; Natalie McNeill, Daniel Watkins, Natasha Brownhill, Philippa Lewis, Liam Doherty and Helen Owen

and nature of the work coming into the team. Having Liam, Daniel, Natasha and Rowan in place will also free up more time for me to further develop existing clients and to look for new business opportunities.” The firm’s private client offering has been strengthened by the arrival of solicitor, Philippa Lewis, who, along with private client partner, Ian Sydenham is providing high quality advice to clients in all areas of private client work including wills, trusts, lasting powers of attorney, probate administration, Court of Protection matters and personal tax planning. Summing up the impact that Chester’s new team members will have for Hill Dickinson, Robin Jones, Head of the Chester office said: “We always strive to provide clients in the region with access to a broad range of commercial legal advice, provided by local experts who have the weight of an international law firm behind them. Our team has been strengthened to ensure that we continue to exceed client expectations whilst supporting and nurturing young legal talent. We are very happy to welcome such high calibre new recruits to the team.”

Our team has been strengthened to ensure that we continue to exceed client expectations whilst supporting and nurturing young legal talent

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Glittering Annual Dinner More than 130 members enjoyed West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Dinner on Friday, October 14th at the world renowned Grosvenor Hotel, Chester. Businesswoman and Apprentice runner up Ruth Badger provided entertainment, whilst the Chamber was awarded its Accreditation for Chamber Excellence by Martin Pellew, President of the British Chambers of Commerce. The generosity of members on the night helped


raise over £600 for the Chamber’s chosen charities. A small selection of photos from the event are located below, however you can view and download the full album at

West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Magazine


Exclusive Bank of England Briefing for Chamber Businesspeople from across the region attended a Chamber-organised seminar delivered by Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Paul Fisher.

Weather Fails to Dampen Successful Business Social More than 60 guests from businesses across the region braved a cold, wet evening to enjoy West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce’s final free Business Social event of 2011 on 3rd November. Despite the weather, spirits were warmed by the theme of procurement and tendering, as well as an excellent opportunity to network at the state of the art Riverside Innovation Centre, Chester. Held between 4pm and 6.30pm, the event was highlighted by a detailed presentation from Andrew Williams, Head of Procurement and Claire Booth, Category Buyer from Cheshire West and Chester Council, supported by Andrew Donaldson, partner of BiG Storage.

The off-the-record briefing, held at the Holiday Inn Chester South on October 19th, featured a presentation and question and answer session on the state of the UK, European and global economies. Paul has been the Bank of England’s executive director for markets since March 2009. Colin Brew, the Chamber’s general manager, said: “To be able to offer Chamber members access to an influential policymaker such as Paul was extremely pleasing.

Their talk discussed how companies can tender for public sector contracts using the online opportunities portal ‘The Chest’. Find out more at

“Paul shared with us the latest thinking of the UK’s top economists on issues ranging from the Eurozone crisis, to the state of the US economy, and the challenges facing China.” Members of the MPC make regular visits around the UK in order to hear first hand from businesses how they are finding economic conditions. This year the Bank has focused on the north west of England. Paul’s presentation followed a keynote address by Sir Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, at St George’s Hall in Liverpool.

West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Magazine


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Y Busnes Cymraeg ’ma Gyda’r dirwasgiad yn gwasgu mae’r gystadleuaeth i gadw cwsmeriaid ac i ddenu cwsmeriaid newydd yn bwysicach nag erioed. Beth bynnag bo natur y busnes a beth bynnag bo’r trosiant blynyddol, er mwyn llwyddo mae’n rhaid i fusnesau fod yn effro i sefyllfaoedd cymdeithasol o’u cwmpas ac ymateb yn bositif iddynt. Dros y blynyddoedd diwethaf mae yna ewyllys da cynyddol wedi ei ddangos tuag at y Gymraeg. Dangosodd canlyniadau arolwg diweddar a gomisiynwyd gan Fwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg fod 76% o bobl Cymru, yn siaradwyr Cymraeg ac yn ddi-Gymraeg, yn meddwl ei bod hi’n bwysig i fusnesau ddefnyddio’r iaith mewn ymgyrchoedd marchnata ac mewn hysbysebion. Mae gan Fwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg dîm ymroddedig o Swyddogion Busnes sy’n darparu arweiniad arbenigol a chymorth ymarferol i helpu busnesau i lunio a datblygu polisïau iaith ac i gynyddu eu defnydd o’r Gymraeg.

Teimlo’r fraint Un cwmni sydd wedi adnabod gwerth cynnig gwasanaeth Cymraeg i’w gleientiaid yw’r ymgynghorwyr addysg, iechyd a gofal cymdeithasol yn yr Wyddgrug, Just ONE.

Mae Just ONE yn fusnes ymgynghori iechyd a gofal cymdeithasol sy’n delio â nifer o wahanol sectorau, gan gynnwys y sector tai ac addysg. Maent yn darparu datrysiadau arloesol i faterion dyrys yn ymwneud â iechyd a gofal cymdeithasol, ac mae’r datrysiadau hynny bob amser yn cael eu harwain gan anghenion y cleient. Mae’r gwasanaethau mae Just ONE yn eu cynnig yn cynnwys: n Recriwtio n Gofal cartref n Cymorth fel bo’i angen

In Wales, responding to the growth of the Welsh language is key to the success of abusiness. A recent survey commissioned by the Welsh Language Board showed that76% of the people of Wales, regardless of whether they could speak the language ornot, think that it’s important to use the Welsh language in marketing and adverts. The Welsh Language Board has a dedicated team of Business Officers who provide expert guidance and practical support to help businesses to write and develop a language policy and to increase their use of Welsh.

An honour One company which has recognised the value of offering Welsh-language services to its existing clients and attracting new ones is the

“Mae Swyddogion Busnes Bwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg wedi bod yn help mawr i ni ac maen nhw wedi darparu tomen o gyngor ac arweiniad i ni. Rydyn ni’n edrych mlaen i ddechrau defnyddio mwy ar y Gymraeg yn ein cyhoeddiadau a’n gwaith gyda’r gymuned.”

Yno i chi

n Gofal pobl sy’n gadael gofal a phobl ifanc

Dywedodd Greg Price, Rheolwr Datblygu Busnes Just ONE:

Mae Swyddogion Busnes Bwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg yn gweithio gyda phob math o fusnesau, o’r busnesau mawrion rhyngwladol i’r busnesau bach lleol.

“Mae hi’n fraint gweithio yng Nghymru a thrwy ddod â’r Gymraeg i mewn i’n busnes rydan ni’n adeiladu ar ein perthynas gref gyda’r gymuned leol.

I wybod sut gallwch chi ddefnyddio mwy ar y Gymraeg yn eich busnes, cysylltwch â busnes@ neu ffoniwch swyddfa ganolog y Bwrdd ar 029 2087 8000.

“Mae gennym fwy o waith i’w wneud o ran datblygu ein defnydd o’r Gymraeg, ond mae’r polisi yn gam yn y cyfeiriad cywir.

Am fwy o wybodaeth ewch i neu sganiwch y cod

n Hyfforddiant

This Welsh language business As the recession looms the competition to keep customers and to attract new customers is more important than ever. Whatever the nature of the business, whatever the annual turnover, in order to succeed, businesses must be awake to social situations and events around them and respond positively to them.

Greg Price

“We have more to do, but the Welsh Language Policy is a small step in the right direction.

Mold-based education, health and social care consultancy, Just ONE. Just ONE is a truly multi-disciplinary health & social care consultancy that covers a number of sectors including housing and education. They deliver professional, client-led, innovative solutions to complex health & social care issues across a broad range of service provisions including: n Recruitment

“The Business Officers at the Welsh Language Board have been really helpful and provided tonnes of advice and guidance. We look forward to adopting the Welsh language as much as possible in our relevant literature and community work”.

There for you The Business Officers of the Welsh Language Board work with all types of businesses, from large international businesses to small local businesses. To find out how you can make develop the use of Welsh in your business, contact business@ or call the Board’s central office on 029 2087 8000.

n Domiciliary care n Floating Support n Care Leavers & Young People Support

For more information go to or scan the code:

n Training Greg Price, Business Development Manager at Just ONE, said: “We’re genuinely honoured to be working in Wales and we feel that by integrating the Welsh language into our business we can build on our already strong relationship with the local community.

West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Magazine



big the


Phil Ryan

Managing Director of The Management Centre

Looking Forward to 2012 with Optimism


West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Magazine


facilitated a really close look at our mission and vision of success – and then let them contribute their expertise to the achievement of these. With hindsight, this incredible resource had remained untapped previously and the changes we have implemented to our sales and marketing processes, our quality of course content and materials and the menu of income earning opportunities that we offer has really made the difference. “Finally, our ability to access and signpost available funding for local businesses to subsidise their investment in development has made our portfolio even more successful”. “One powerful example of this ‘change in thinking’ was the introduction of a hugely successful ‘Grad-start’ programme which offers employability skills to new graduates – over £2000 worth of training at no cost to the graduate. This was possible because we ‘thought outside the box’ in respect of where our business experience could be focused to add value.”

Phil Ryan

Phil Ryan is a man who likes challenges, which is why he has set himself the task of working to make the Management Centre an internationallyrecognised training centre in one of the world’s most turbulent sectors. The Centre, which operates primarily in the financial sector, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bangor University which provides training and education to full-time business people not just in the UK but, increasingly abroad. His background is finance. Phil said: “My career spans 30 years, the great majority of which was in Small Business and Retail Branch Banking in my native Midlands and then at various centres across South, Mid and North Wales. “However, my passion has always been growing and developing my teams – regardless of the industry - and this led me to be approached to run the branch network for a large regional building society. It was during this period that I began to realise that my previous experience allowed me to operate at Board level.” That realisation saw him, having completed his banking exams in 1986, enrol in an Executive (Part Time) MBA in 2001. He said: “I wanted to prove that I could operate at this level and to make good the emotional deficit I had created by not going to University at 18, and thank goodness I did! If I hadn’t been an experienced banker with an MBA and Board level capability I would never have been considered for my current role in Bangor University.” Building on the Business School’s reputation as the No1 Business School in the UK in Accounting, Finance and Banking, Phil has directed the launch of the Chartered Banker MBA, a new professional qualification which is quickly becoming the Gold Standard for senior managers and executives in banking world-wide.

He believes there is a need for such continuing education, saying: “Putting aside the Global banking population – who remain in turmoil but who are hungry to reestablish professional benchmarks in their industry in the wake of the global crisis -the work of The Management Centre is subject to the same vagaries and challenges as any business based in North Wales, particularly those in the ‘service’ rather than product, sales or manufacturing arena. “Small and medium enterprises and public sector bodies form the majority of prospects in this part of the world – and both are cashstrapped for different reasons. However, I remain powerfully optimistic about what we do. Working closely with the new Vice Chancellor we have remodelled the business and we go into our new financial year with some realistic but substantive growth plans. There aren’t many businesses (particularly in the training arena) who would be so bullish.” The Centre itself has had to take some tough decisions. Phil said: “We are here today because, as Jim Collins commends in his book ‘Good to Great’, we ‘confronted the brutal realities’. “Our survival required a serious ‘rethink’ of our offering, our structure and our systems. We stopped offering loss-making products which had previously ‘slipped under the radar’ because of poor day-to-day management of cost centres. We undertook a complete overhaul of our cost structure and, in particular, we tightened our financial management and the key performance indicators that underpinned it. “I knew the process was going to work when I got the top team together for 48 hours and

But he knows the challenge is not over as he looks forward to 2012. Phil said: “The biggest issue we face is finding ample numbers of prospects for our local programmes who will benefit from focusing on their Leadership, Coaching Skills or other professional development. Many of these business owners are having a tough time and are often cash-poor and time-poor – our expertise in winning funding clearly helps the former whilst developing more and more blended learning packages which combine traditional faceto-face sessions with on-line video sessions and web-ex live tutorials supports the later. Companies throughout the UK and beyond can now access our training and take advantage of our beautiful 57-bedroom residential training facility which stages the face-to-face elements in ‘short blocks’ rather than the traditional x1 day a month style of delivery. “Our turnover will be up 150-200% in 2012 and our margins maintained or improved – and a huge part of that comes because we are ‘walking our talk’ and applying what we teach to our own business practices – now there’s a unique concept! “ He regards his work with the Chamber as important. He said: “The Chamber serve North Wales members from a distance and we are absolutely committed to giving them ‘physical support’ in any way they would like to lever using our beautiful Grade two listed buildings and state of the art meeting rooms. We see ourselves as their North Wales ‘business partner’ and recognise the tremendous value they bring to the businesses on our doorstep and our associated University Business Club.” 

West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Magazine



Established health services – new identity – Be part of it

The Cronfa Betsi Fund is being launched as the new name of the charitable arm of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, serving a population of some 676,000 people across the six counties of North Wales (Anglesey, Gwynedd, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham) as well as some parts of Mid Wales, Cheshire and Shropshire. The Health Board is the largest in Wales, employing about 14,000 staff and has an annual budget of £1.1 billion The Health Board is currently responsible for the operation of three district general hospitals (Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor; Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, Bodelwyddan, Nr Rhyl; and Wrexham Maelor hospital) plus 22 other community hospitals along with a network of over 90 health centres, clinics and acute and forensic mental health units.

The vision of the Cronfa Betsi Fund is stated as:

companies throughout the region. The Charity has adopted several major schemes and has also supported many smaller projects to the tune of £1.3 million in the year. Companies have offered help and support to the Charity in a number of ways – be that through sponsoring specific clinical areas, new equipment, upgrades and renovations; by volunteering company staff; or by enabling staff to give to the Charity through payroll giving. This income offers huge benefits to patients, but also affords promotional opportunities for the donors. The new identity of Cronfa Betsi Fund (Cronfa being Welsh for Fund) offers a great opportunity for companies and organisations in the region to be part of exciting new developments and services and be involved in partnership working, allowing great brand / name visibility to the hundreds of thousands of

“To use Charitable Funds to make a real difference to our patients, their families, and our staff across North Wales in the delivery of safe and effective healthcare” The Charity raises money to pay for things that would not normally be paid for from funds provided by the Welsh Government, things like additional high-tech equipment, paying for additional specialist staff training, funding innovative services, funding research projects and contribute to more attractive and welcoming surroundings in the many hospitals and clinics in the area. In 2010 over £3 million was raised or donated by loyal individuals, support groups and


West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Magazine

staff, patients and visitors that pass through our doors daily. For an informal discussion about the opportunities available to promote your company and to enhance healthcare provision for the people of North Wales contact the Cronfa Betsi Fund Office on 01248 384395 or email us on If you want any further information we have a brand new web site where you can see some examples of the good work the Charity has done recently and any upcoming events. Our address is

Welcome to Days Hotel Chester North - The Gateway to Wales!

Our unique location on the North Wales border, close proximity to Chester City Centre and the M53 / M56 motorway network means we are ideally placed to explore the local area and beyond, with Liverpool, Manchester and The Wirral in easy reach. From weddings, family celebrations, private and corporate dinners, to meetings, seminars or training events, our function rooms offer some of the most spacious and flexible conference and banqueting facilities in North Chester.

• Free High Speed Wi-Fi • Modern, comfortable bedrooms. • Gym, Heated Pool • Jacuzzi, Sauna & Steam room. • Ideal venue for business meetings & events.

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Prestigious Regeneration award for RHYL By Mark Dixon, Strategic Regeneration Manager Denbighshire County Council Denbighshire County Council’s regeneration of the seaside town of Rhyl received a major plaudit in May when one of the Council’s flagship projects was declared the winner of the regeneration category of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors’ awards for Wales 2011. The project concerned was the restoration of a derelict property in Edward Henry Street in the heart of the town’s west ward which in the last few years had made a regular appearance at the top of the Welsh Government’s “Index of Multiple Deprivation”. In its heyday, the 1865 built property had been split into a pair of prominent four storey villas which featured in a painting by the Salford born artist L S Lowry who used to spend his holidays in Rhyl. By the time the Council acquired them in 2005, they had fallen on hard times: they were in a crime hot spot, had been subject to incidents of arson, and the only residents were pigeons who gained


access through where the bay windows had once been at the rear of the premises. With financial assistance from the European Regional Development Fund, the Welsh Government and the Heritage Lottery Fund, the villas were restored and converted into one unit with offices available to rent which are now all fully occupied. Although not Listed, the building was considered to be sufficiently important to deserve the Heritage Lottery Fund grant provide through Rhyl’s Townscape Heritage Initiative. The general layout of the building has been retained in accordance with conservation principles but nevertheless

provides all the facilities expected of a modern office building including lift access to upper floors, IT cabling, security features and high energy efficiency. RICS said that they decided that the project deserved to win the award because of its impact on the wider area and because it represented a “beacon of hope” in this once very elegant part of Rhyl. This is not the first time that the Council’s regeneration work in Rhyl has been acknowledged by RICS: the new Drift Park on the town’s western seafront just a few metres from Edward Henry Street was runner up for the same award in 2008.


Are Talent and Skills Shortages Keeping You Awake at Night?

Off the shelf programmes are not always the solution. We are individuals; organisations are unique, and these needs may be unique to your sector too. Whatever your management and team building requirements are, the Chamber can work with you to ensure the right skills and talents are learnt, and more importantly are focused on increasing success in your company. If you want to be more productive and increase quality outputs, make the most of your team’s talents. Building a winning team and retaining your top talents will allow your organisation to be more flexible and adaptable – these are the competencies required in today’s corporate climate.

According to the latest Economist Intelligence Unit survey commissioned by Royal Bank of Scotland*, 32% of Chief Executive Officers are worried about talent and skills shortages. Being a successful manager and leader is hard work, and an arduous task when charged with executing the organisational strategy with less and less resources. Successful organisations therefore rely upon every team member to do their part. In today’s competitive business climate, it’s

not enough to be just goal focused. Successful managers need to tap and enhance the rich source of energy and commitment from every member of staff; we need to have everyone fully engaged in their work.

As part of this work, RIL has developed a number of unique and innovative training courses on earthquake preparedness, which

*Risk Survey of 2011

More information about earthquake preparedness and contingency planning is available from http://www.reynolds-international.

Get Social (Media) with the Chamber Whilst you can stay up to date on the Chamber’s website, why not become part of the conversation on Twitter on LinkedIn?

Natural disasters have seemed all too prevalent recently, following the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand, and most recently in Van, Turkey.

Reynolds International Ltd (RIL), a Mold-based company is the UK’s leading engineering geophysics consultancy and is an international pioneer in earthquake preparedness and geohazard assessment and risk mitigation. The company has recently co-published a booklet on Earthquake preparedness in Romania and two advisory posters for children in conjunction with the British Embassy in Bucharest. This came about following work with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and a number of British Embassies on earthquake contingency planning.

For more information, contact Helen Smith, the Chamber’s Training Manager on 01606 883347 or 07855 311393

Successful managers build a workforce with the confidence and ability to function on their own.

Reducing Risk Through Innovation Many lives were cost in the main quakes and also during the strong aftershocks.

We would love to be instrumental in your success. Call us to discuss the right solutions for you. We are here to listen and support.

All the latest news from our members, the British Chambers of Commerce and of course the Chamber itself is available through our constantly growing social media sites.

are available to organisations and private companies worldwide. The recent natural disasters have emphasised the need for appropriate training, not only for the people who live in areas affected by the risk of earthquakes every day but also for people who visit these places. Earthquake preparedness should feature in health and safety risk assessments by companies who send their staff to seismically active regions.

You can follow us on Twitter by searching for our username @chamberwcnw, and on LinkedIn by searching for ‘West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce’. You’ll be able to reach more than 700 people through our LinkedIn group, plus a further 180 on Twitter.

See you online!

We offer a range of marketing support, please call 01244 669988 or 07855 311393 and we’ll be happy to help you reach your customers too.

West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Magazine



Hill Dickinson Achieves Top Tier Industry Recognition and Over £1.2bn of Corporate Deals Chester’s leading commercial law firm Hill Dickinson continues to clock up achievements as it further enhances its client offering and range of expertise. The firm has just been ranked in the top tier of prestigious industry bible, The Legal 500 in each of the specialist areas of law that it practises out of its Chester office. Overall, Hill Dickinson is described as having made ‘tremendous strides Hill Dickinson’s John Holmes (l) in the North West… providing a full service to a and Robin Jones (centre) with Igloo broad mix of private and public sector clients’. Regeneration Fund’s Chris Brown (right). This comes in the last quarter of a year that has seen the firm’s Corporate North team advise on more than 100 deals in 2011, representing a combined value of over £1.2bn.

Among the deals were the £26m disposal of Amco Group Holdings Limited to Renew Holdings plc in February, the £120m fundraising by Stobart Group Limited in April and the £25m Class 1 disposal of Carrs Fertilisers by Carr’s Milling Industries plc in July this year. On the increased deal flow, partner and head of the corporate team in Chester, Sally Wightman, said: “Despite the economic uncertainty, Hill Dickinson in Chester has firmly established itself as the legal adviser of

choice for numerous reputable and high value regional businesses and we have fantastic links with the local corporate finance and funding communities. I am very pleased to say that our commercial and pragmatic approach to dealmaking is a winning formula, especially in a period of austerity. “With a number of high profile deals in the pipeline we hope to continue this success for the rest of 2011 and beyond.” The Chester team of Hill Dickinson has grown significantly in 2011, with a number of expert lawyers transferring into the office. This is enabling the firm to provide clients with a broader variety of high calibre legal advice than ever before.

Despite the economic uncertainty, Hill Dickinson in Chester has firmly established itself as the legal adviser of choice for numerous reputable and high value regional businesses and we have fantastic links with the local corporate finance and funding communities. 30

West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Magazine


Development plans to maximise benefits

framework for the town’s future – capable of stimulating and channelling future investment and development to maximise benefits for the town, its residents and businesses. “These are exciting time for Ellesmere Port, the town has a lot to offer potential business investors, including its fantastic transport links, and we will continue to work to create new opportunities for growth and development for the benefit of all who live, work and visit Ellesmere Port.”

The Ellesmere Port Development Board wants to hear from innovative businesses and investors to encourage them to take advantage of the town’s great location and commercial land and property availability. Within the past year work has commenced on the largest flagship Marks and Spencer store outside of London, along with a new Travelodge and restaurant.

The opening of a modern college campus has added greatly to the town centre, which will be further enhanced by new retail outlets at the Port Arcades and a new University Academy.

The town has also welcomed Regatta Clothing, along with a new Alfa Romeo dealership and several other new business ventures.

Chairman of the Ellesmere Port Development Board, Robert Mee, said: “One of the first issues recognised by the Board was a need for a clear and over-arching vision and strategic

Supported by Supported by Cheshire West and Chester Council, the Vision and Strategic Regeneration Framework for Ellesmere Port sets out economic, social and physical improvements to be made over the next ten years. Ellesmere Port is open for business and we want to hear from you. Please contact the Business Location Service at Cheshire West and Chester Council on 0151 356 6609 or email

West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Magazine



New Media...with Knobs On Business needs new media to stay in the game these days. No-one would argue with that. There’s on-demand access to content anytime, anywhere and on any digital device. Search engines love video. And consumers expect immediate answers. Research has shown that when someone lands on your site they’re unlikely to stay long. They won’t wade through text and stills but they will stay long enough to click on a video. In fact as bandwidth is increasing and production costs are decreasing - video is the primary method of communication. It’s engaging, persuasive, informative and commercially versatile - if it’s produced properly - and that’s where PictureHouse comes in. PictureHouse Films Ltd is based locally in Tattenhall but the company has made films all over the country and all over the world and their clients include many household names from Marks & Spencer to the BBC. What’s different about PictureHouse though, is that they are specialist film makers. They know how to make sure your video is as professional and outstanding as your business has to be. They’re a small team - Mal’s the lighting cameraman, Steve’s the editor, Phil’s the production manager and Kate is the writer/ director - but between them they’ve worked on countless broadcast and corporate films which have earned a clutch of Baftas, RTS awards and Emmy nominations.


We interviewed them in their studios and found out just what goes into making effective films for business. “Some companies think it all starts with a camera and everything will fall into place when you shout ‘turnover’ “ says Mal from PictureHouse. “But it isn’t like that at all. You must establish the intellectual content first.” “We bring added value to our films because we have a considered, reflective approach” adds Kate. “It’s not all about images flying around the screen and a relentless base line. We understand the grammar of film making and apply it to your web film or mobile app or plasma screen. The end result is a film that works. All this is an inextricable part of the specialist PictureHouse service but it’s something you don’t really get if you go to an events company or a web designer to have your film made.” “Our films are stories well told” says Steve. “We understand structure and narrative - and we leave our audiences knowing what to think and do, whether that’s buying your product or remembering the right induction processes.” Phil has more than twenty years experience as Operations Director at the BBC, “At PictureHouse we make budgets work really hard. We understand the importance of good planning and we consistently meet and exceed client expectations.” Mal agrees “The internet’s hungry for content - once you have your film there’s outlets in all sorts of places these days...You Tube, Vimeo and you an excellent return for your investment.” “And great videos just aren’t expensive - our costs start from only £1500 for a finished film.”

West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Magazine

PictureHouse make budgets work really hard and we consistently meet and exceed customer expectations The economic climate today is tough and you have to stand out from the crowd - video is such an effective way of broadcasting yourself and your service locally and all over the world wide web. New media is undoubtably exciting, but PictureHouse recognise that a medium is only a way of delivering a message -it’s not the actual message. And if the production company don’t get it right, you’ve really just wasted your money. That’s why PictureHouse offer all the advantages of new media with all the values of traditional media. For further facts and information on films for business, log on to the BusinessMattersForum at or call PictureHouse on 01829 770066


New Face at B2B CM Outsource telemarketing company B2B CM is pleased to announce that Oli Rhys has joined as Head of IT and Analytics.

involves complex data management and Oli’s skills are already helping B2B CM’s clients reach their goals more efficiently.”

Oli comes to B2B CM with more than 15 years’ experience of helping businesses drive their growth. He has worked for both Flintshire County Council as ICT Business Advisor and the Welsh Government as Business Support Manager, offering support, guidance and insight into how companies can best structure their ICT requirements to deliver on business objectives.

Oli said: “I’m proud to be joining the B2B CM team. The opportunity to help make sure B2B CM continue delivering client’s telemarketing campaigns effectively, plus provide our customers with the information and resources they need to achieve their business goals is something I’m really looking forward to.”

Stella Jones, Managing Director of B2B CM said: “Oli is a hugely talented individual and his appointment will further strengthen our senior team. Successful B2B telemarketing

B2B CM are an outsource B2B telemarketing agency, specialising in appointment setting, lead generation, data cleansing and list building. For more details visit or call 0845 345 0545.

Creative image events Creative Image Events has been created with ladies style and fashion in mind.

de Winter Warmer Welcome for Dianne Chester based marketing agency de Winter welcomes leading integrated marketing specialist Dianne Parrish as the latest addition to its award winning team. Dianne, who lives near Chester, takes on the role of Director, spearheading the agency’s strategic growth programme. As well as drawing on her extensive experience managing a nationally recognised portfolio of ‘blue chip’ clients, she will also be responsible for developing and implementing new systems that will maintain de Winter as one of the region’s most respected marketing and PR agencies. Dianne has a 25-year track record of success spanning sectors that include financial services, renewable energy, construction, tourism and leisure, retail, public and not-for-profit organisations. On what she brings to de Winter, Dianne said; “I look forward to working with the existing team to form a cohesive, fully integrated marketing and public relations strategy which will enable us to ensure that our clients flourish in these very demanding times.” Announcing the appointment, Managing Director Kate Cox said: “Dianne’s wealth of experience makes her the perfect addition to the team and the ideal person to enhance our continued expansion – the future’s bright at de Winter.”

Denise McGowan from Evanji, Jane Rudd from Accentz and Ruth Othen from Ruth Othen Marketing and Media Consultants are the brains behind the events. They bring along their unique style of creativity. Jane has a wonderful selection of feminine clothes to compliment any age, figure or size, and Denise and Ruth provide make up and skincare from the natural range of Arbonne to enhance grace and beauty.

All the proceeds go to a local charity and local traders are invited to sell their products at the events. A VIP launch event was held recently with many ladies attending and being enthrauled with the theme and pace of the evening. There are many tips about skincare, make up and dressing yourself in a most effective way. The company are planning to stage one event per month next year all over the country.

‘Facilitators Of Peoples Dreams’ l Commercial Mortgages l Business IT / Software Finance l Professional Tax Funding l Asset Finance l Cash Flow Finance


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20 Questions Interview Name: Charlie Woodcock Job Title: Executive Director Company: University of Chester Lives: Chester 1. What brings you to the industry? I’ve evolved into my present position via a career in lecturing, further education management and then higher education. The challenge of finding and securing funding for the University in an ever changing environment drew me to my current role. 2. What advice would you give anybody wanting to get into this industry?

Securing a £6m Lifelong Learning Network bid that delivered foundation degrees to 890 students. 8. What do you always carry with you to work? Two phones and a sense of humour.

14. If you could choose to work for any company in the world which would it be and why? Apple: they are creative, innovative and don’t care about perceived parameters or obstructions to success. 15. If you won the lottery would you retire? Definitely! Then travel the world.

9. Would you say you live for work or work to live?

16. Do you make time for lunch every day?

Depends who you ask! I would say that I work to live, but my family don’t agree.

I usually arrange working lunches, or stay in the office.

3. What is the most important thing you look for in a new recruit?

10. Who is the most famous person you have ever met – what were they like?

17. What is a normal day for you?

Energy and a ‘can do’ attitude; skills can be taught but you need the right attitude for every challenge.

Sophia Loren at the Grand National about 15 years ago, she was stunning.

Be prepared for change; things never stay the same and you will have to reprioritise and adjust your activities daily.

4. If you could employ anybody from the world of business who would it be and why? It would have been the late Steve Jobs. He was creative and always thinking outside of the box, despite what people said about him or his ideas. 5. As a business person, describe your three main qualities? Determination, pragmatism in the face of change and being driven to achieve no matter what happens. 6. And your worst quality? Output focused sometimes at the cost of necessary bureaucracy along the way!


7. What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Magazine

11. Who in your view is your industry’s role model and why? That’s difficult to answer. Given the current challenges for higher education institutions I think it will be whoever steers their university most successfully through the monumental changes the sector faces. 12. What is your biggest achievement? Securing funding for Riverside Innovation Centre; the University’s new business focused facility. In the current climate the University’s ability and capacity to work with the private sector will be crucial. 13. What was your first job and the amount in your first pay packet? At the age of 11 I started two jobs; a milk round and a paper round. Together they paid 23 shillings.

I’m up at 5.15am to feed the animals on my small holding. I get into work at about 7.30am, get as much done each day as I can (mainly meetings with potential partners and updating/discussing developments with my team) then home in time to feed my animals before it gets dark. 18. If you could work in a completely different field what would it be? My field at home! Concentrating on animal rescue and all my animals. 19. If you could turn the clock back what would you have changed about your business career? I would’ve gone to work in America when I was offered the opportunity to do so at the age of 26. 20. What hobbies do you have? Animal rescue, going to the theatre, cooking and travelling.

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Business Matters #08  

Business Matters #08

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