NEW YEAR AND NEW BEGINNINGS ISSUE 08
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FOREWORD Shooting the rapids … Business is sitting on a knife edge, with Covid-19 support grants on one side and, yes, the ambitious growth plans and development initiatives so long planned on the other.
n this issue, Prof. Andy Neely, provice-chancellor for Enterprise and Business Relations at the University of Cambridge, takes heart from the fact his team of researchers has come across some extraordinary examples of collaboration within the renowned Cambridge Cluster of technology businesses.
And then there is the new TechEast 100 hall of fame, which has turned the national spotlight on the most innovative start-ups and scale-ups across Norfolk and Suffolk. Each one of them offers great potential for high growth, the judges agreed. Take heart!
He uses the words ‘rapid’ and ‘agile’ to describe those negotiating the rapids most successfully, and expands on new trains of thought in Beyond the Pandemic. In this, a series of expert opinion pieces, the authors consider “how the coronavirus is forcing us all to rethink what we do and how we do it and to ask if – amidst the devastation and uncertainty there are any positive lessons to be learnt.” We also take a look, this edition, at the Port of Great Yarmouth and the steps it has taken to support the government’s stated aim to power every home in the UK with offshore wind energy within a decade. A major entry point to the southern North Sea and the largest concentration of offshore wind projects in the world, the port has also been treated to a £12m infrastructure upgrade of late, ensuring it really is in an ideal position to help Boris Johnson meet his pledge.
Helen Compson Editor, East Anglia in Business
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Foreword 03 Shooting the rapids … Business is sitting on a knife edge, with Covid-19 support grants on one side and, yes, the ambitious growth plans and development initiatives so long planned on the other.
News Roundup 06|12 A Suffolk initiative that nurtures entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas has been awarded £45,000 in funding by the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.
Digital & Innovation 17|25 For almost a quarter of a century, React Computer Partnership in Woodbridge, Suffolk, has acted as the right-hand man for small to medium sized companies in need of an IT department.
Business Focus 26|29 Finance Focus 14|16 MHA Larking Gowen has announced the appointment this month of a new partner to boost its Private Client offering.
Rejuvenating the 11 market towns in his patch is a priority for the Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, James Palmer.
Energy & Environment 30|31 The Port of Great Yarmouth is ready to support Boris Johnson’s pledge to power every home in the UK with offshore wind energy within a decade.
CO N TENTS
Editor Helen Compson firstname.lastname@example.org
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Over the past four years, Indigo Swan has doubled turnover and continued to add steadily to its impressive collection of awards.
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Infrastructure 34|35 State-of-the-art laboratories being built at Norwich Research Park will enhance the regionâ€™s growing reputation for scientific innovation in the agri-food sector.
In response to COVID-19, we have seen some extraordinary examples of rapid and agile collaboration across the Cambridge Cluster. How can we capitalise on these experiences to do things better and faster in the future?
Apprenticeships & Training 44|45 Legal 36|37
Distinctive Publishing or East Anglia in Business 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 East Anglia in Business.
Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Gillian Keegan has announced that the 14th National Apprenticeship Week will take place from 8 to 14 February 2021.
Most directors of a limited company know that it is a solemn responsibility, and that they can have some personal liability.
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SUFFOLK HUB SUPPORTS ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS A Suffolk initiative that nurtures entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas has been awarded £45,000 in funding by the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.
nnovation Labs was launched in Stowmarket last year with the aim of fostering innovation, entrepreneurship, business growth and the development of an AI (Artificial Intelligence) Centre of Excellence.
pandemic has made many people assess their career aspirations. This initiative is a great opportunity for those who have long considered developing an innovative idea, but lacked the know-how, funds or confidence to take it further.
Under the scheme, start-up ventures in the region can apply for one of 25 free virtual memberships for 12 months. Each membership includes exclusive benefits such as high-level mentoring, access to funding advice, business and innovation training sessions, and support for business plan development.
“In what has been a very challenging year, Innovation Labs wants to play its part in offering hope and opportunity to Suffolk’s aspiring entrepreneurs. Our virtual memberships provide a unique blend of world leading support, advice, and skills, at a time when start-ups need them most.”
The scheme has been made possible after New Anglia LEP awarded funding of £45,000 from its Innovative Projects Fund, a revenue grant programme designed to further economic and industrial strategies.
Chris Starkie, Chief Executive of the LEP, added: “Norfolk and Suffolk have established an excellent reputation for innovation and supporting start-ups and fostering business growth, especially in such a challenging climate, will be vital to the recovery effort over the coming months.
New Anglia LEP brings together diversity of thought, valuable support and a continued ambition for sustainable economic growth in our regions.
Mid Suffolk District Council is also backing the initiative, which will form the focal point for developing Stowmarket’s world leading cluster of technology and manufacturing companies. Peter Brady, CEO at Orbital Global, said: “The
CHRIS STARKIE Chief Executive Innovation labs innovationlabsstowmarket.com
“This initiative represents an excellent opportunity to back those with great business concepts, but who don’t know how to take them to the next level.”
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LIFELINE COMMUNITY GRANTS WILL HELP DISADVANTAGED INTO WORK Thirteen voluntary and community organisations across Norfolk and Suffolk are celebrating after receiving grants of up to £20,000 and totalling £222,788 from the Community Challenge Fund.
elivered by Norfolk and Suffolk Community Foundations in partnership with New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, it is estimated the latest funding will result in 128 people securing training or employment and 466 being made ready for work. The fund actively encourages innovative projects that are not seen as “business as usual” and the grants are for one year. Adults and young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) will be the focus of these programmes, particularly those faced with barriers to entering employment, such as long-term unemployment, disability, homelessness, or a history of offending. Projects awarded funding this year are:
COMMUNITY CHALLENGE FUND www.norfolkfoundation.com www.suffolkcf.org.uk www.newanglia.co.uk
The Bread Kitchen, Great Yarmouth
Suffolk Refugee Support, Ipswich Sharing Parenting, West Suffolk Suffolk West Citizens Advice Bureau, Bury St Edmunds/Haverhill The Reader, Norwich/Suffolk Claire Cullens, chief executive of Norfolk Community Foundation, said: “Acquiring skills and finding a job, can be difficult for all of us. For some who are coping with significant life challenges too, it can feel overwhelming. This innovative programme works with our most vulnerable people to help them build confidence and brighter futures.
This funding programme continues to positively help some of the most vulnerable people in our communities seek meaningful employment.
Charles Burrell Centre, Thetford Benjamin Foundation, Norwich The Feed, Norwich REFA (Regular Forces Employment Association), Melton Constable NANSA, Norwich DANES (Disability Advice NE Suffolk), Lowestoft Future Female Society, Ipswich
Ipswich Community Media
“In the current economic climate, this programme has never been needed more and we are delighted to be partnering with the New Anglia LEP to help spark positive change and opportunity within our communities.” Stephen Singleton, chief executive of Suffolk Community Foundation, said: “This funding programme continues to positively help some of the most vulnerable people in our communities seek meaningful employment. It demonstrates time and time again that charitable organisations have a real ability to deliver frontline services effectively for the benefit of all.”
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NEW HAND TAKES THE HELM The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership has appointed business woman C-J Green as its new chair.
o-founder and executive director of BraveGoose, a technology-driven human resources advice solution, she succeeds Doug Field, who served in the role for three years. C-J joined the New Anglia LEP board in April, bringing with her a breadth of experience in private and public sector human resources disciplines. Before BraveGoose, she was chief people officer and subsequently CEO of a Suffolk company with a global workforce of 26,000. She is also a trustee of Pepal, which connects non-governmental organisations with global corporations with the aim of finding solutions to social issues.
“I am also looking forward to representing local businesses at this challenging time and using my expertise and experience to help drive forward the LEP’s work.” As she assumed the reins during the LEP’s virtual AGM, she acknowledged its businesses and local communities were facing some of their toughest challenges.
New Anglia LEP brings together diversity of thought, valuable support and a continued ambition for sustainable economic growth in our regions.
But, she said, it was times like this when strong collaboration could have the most impact. “As the end of the EU Exit transition period approaches, we know that even more uncertainty will be around the corner and it is important that we work alongside local private and public sector partners to focus on the commitments made in our Economic Recovery plan.
“I’m delighted to be taking on the role of chair of New Anglia LEP,” she said. “Since joining the board in April this year, I’ve already seen the impact that the LEP has on the local economy, from supporting our regional recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic to helping businesses reopen safely and secure vital funding.
“New Anglia LEP brings together diversity of thought, valuable support and a continued ambition for sustainable economic growth in our region.
“Having recently awarded an additional £32m to local projects as part of the national Getting Building Fund, I look forward to seeing those progress and to supporting the LEP’s work across our key sectors, skills initiatives, inward investment campaigns and our strategic work with local partners and Government.
“In today’s economy, growth is powered through knowledge, infrastructure, creativity and innovation and it is the role of the LEP to work with business, education and local authority partners to help to create the right platforms for that to happen.”
NEW ANGLIA LEP CJ Green, Chair
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TARGETED CHARGING REVIEW What is the Targeted charging Review (TCR)?
he way we generate and use Electricity is changing, so the government is reviewing how network charges are collected, with an added focus on recovering a fair share from each customer. As part of its ongoing work to create a fairer energy network, the industry regulator Ofgem launched the TCR in 2017, which assesses how network charges should be set and recovered in Great Britain. The current system allows some consumers to reduce their demand at peak times in exchange for lower network charges. This does place an additional financial burden on those that do not or cannot shift their usage to â€œcheaperâ€? times of day.
What are the changes? INDIGO SWAN www.indigoswan.co.uk
Going forwards there will be a greater emphasis on fixed charges based on the type of customer, metering and expected use. Banding will likely be whether the supply is for households, unmetered (e.g. streetlights) or for business customers. Business customer banding is likely to consider total Electricity consumption or Available Capacity (the maximum amount of load you can take from the network at a single point in time).
fixed price Electricity contracts being opened by suppliers from April 2021, to factor in these changes at short notice. However, until there is clarity, prices from April 2022 are unlikely to truly fixed. Additional changes are expected from 2023 to look at the remaining industry charges, based on when Electricity is used. For example, incentives to avoid periods when Electric Vehicles will be charged.
What it means for businesses If you have a fixed price Electricity contract that goes beyond March 2022, it may be that your energy supplier could review the charges. This is by no means certain and will depend on each supplierâ€™s view and the final details, which as of October 2020 have yet to be published.
If you have a fixed price Electricity contract that goes beyond March 2022, it may be that your energy supplier could review the charges.
Also, as this is intended to be a project to recover the fixed charges required for the Transmission and Distribution of Electricity, there will be those that see little change and of course those that will pay significantly more or less than they currently do.
Until further guidance is published, the industry is unable to say what the impact will be for individual customers.
Transmission charges were due to change April 2021, moving away from being collected via the consumption-based Triad periods over winter. Due to delays in issuing guidance to energy suppliers, this has moved to April 2022. Distribution charges will have a greater element of fixed costs, moving away from Red, Amber and Green time bands, with changes also planned for April 2022. Combined, these charges account for about 25% of the overall cost of your bill.
Please do not hesitate to contact us, as we can make sure you are informed as things develop or look for an energy supplier which is committing to honouring fixed prices through to April 2022.
This delay does avoid what was a high risk of
If you would like any more information, please feel free to contact Indigo Swan. Email: email@example.com Telephone: 01603 625522
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NEW PARTNER APPOINTED TO MHA LARKING GOWEN'S PRIVATE CLIENT TAX TEAM MHA Larking Gowen has announced the appointment this month of a new partner to boost its Private Client offering.
he leading regional chartered accountancy and business advisory firm described new appointee, Sally Farrow, as "a significant asset" to the business. Sally had originally joined the firm as a trainee and then left to work for a national firm of accountants. She rejoined the firm in 2018 with a specific focus on tax planning and tax compliance for private clients. Sally, who will be based in Norwich while covering all of the firm's seven regional offices, has over 20 years’ experience and is a Chartered Tax Adviser and a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. She will head up the newly formed Private Client tax team, with an emphasis on delivering private client services for individuals, trustees and executors, and growing the wider private client offering.
MHA LARKING GOWEN larking-gowen.co.uk
Managing Partner, Jon Woolston, said: "We are delighted to announce this important appointment. Sally brings with her wide experience and an invaluable perspective to this important part of our business. "Although we file more than 8,500 tax returns every year, our personal tax clients are all individuals with different needs, and we are careful to ensure we meet those needs with a personal and proactive approach. Our job is to see that our clients get the most from their wealth across all areas of taxation. "The taxation environment, both globally and in the UK, is constantly shifting. It's easy for people to pay the wrong amount of tax, so it's also our job to protect our clients from non-compliance and give them peace of mind in that respect." MHA Larking Gowen has a team of over 320 people across seven offices throughout East Anglia, making it a major regional independent accountancy partnership and one of the UK’s top 40 accountancy firms. Its private clients comprise individuals, trustees and executors, including British citizens who live abroad and foreign nationals living in the UK. Areas of expertise that the business offers include dealing with the complexity of inheritance tax, reducing or deferring capital gains tax bills and guiding landlords, both resident and non-resident, through UK tax reporting obligations.
The firm is experienced in dealing with HMRC enquiries and skilled at negotiating settlements, as well as offering a Tax Enquiry Protection Service. Other areas of expertise covered are divorce and separation, and trusts and estates, with services including attending trustees’ meetings, preparing accounts, annual tax returns and inheritance tax forms. The firm also offers probate services, as well as working closely with clients' financial advisors and planners to maximise family wealth. Sally commented: “I was delighted when I was asked to join the partnership. We have an excellent Private Client offering and I look forward to leading the team in the future. We will continue to focus on providing great client service and proactive advice.” Jon added: “Sally is a significant asset to this business and our clients. My fellow partners and I look forward to working with her as we continue to expand the firm.” For more information about how our Private Client Tax team can help you, please call 0330 024 0888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
CO N TENTS
Great relationships, great conversations and great futures
With our great people and your drive, MHA Larking Gowen will guide you through the ever-changing financial world, combining knowledge and relationships to help you succeed now and anticipate tomorrow.
T: 0330 024 0888 larking-gowen.co.uk
Now, for tomorrow 15
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SO 2020 IS ALMOST AT AN END! It has been rubbish hasn’t it, but there’s still time for a Christmas Bonus! Don’t let the opportunity pass your business by for another year. by which a company has to file their initial Tax Return for the year ended December 2019 and it is also the day before a company with a March 2019 year end has to pay their tax bill! It makes it the busiest time of the year for an R&D Tax Credits firm, but surprisingly as we enter into this period we find our selves a little bit ahead of the game for a change. If you are the owner or technical director of one of those companies with a December or March year end, you could enter 2021 with the prospect of a far healthier bank balance. If you were engaged in a project in 2018, 2019 or 2020 that had an element of a scientific, engineering or technological challenge and your own staff or someone else’s were working to try and solve that challenge then you could have the potential to claim for R&D Tax Credits.
020 should have been a decent year; it was the start of new decade; we should have got a final idea of our future trading relationship with the EU after months of not knowing; and there was going to be an election in the US and then COVID struck. For many it has been a significant challenge, some companies have thrived, the most unfortunate companies have failed and some of us have just plodded along.
COODEN TAX CONSULTING www.coodentaxconsulting.co.uk
We had high hopes for 2020, continued business growth, attending a number of business shows, finding new customers, and initially everything was great, 2020 started with a bang, we had our busiest first quarter, everything went according to plan, and then at the end of March, the lights went out and stayed out for most of April and much of May, and we had our worst second quarter for 4 years. They have slowly come back on in June and July and then in August when we all would have all been away for our summer holidays, they were burning bright, just like the sunshine for some of the month, and they have continued burning in September and October and should keep going now through the dark winter months, despite this second lockdown. As we begin to hear the death knell of this terrible year, it is also a time of frantic fiscal activity for many business. With a majority of companies having a December or March year end, the end of the calendar year marks a triple whammy for many. The 31st December is the deadline to amend a Tax Return for a financial year ended December 2018, it’s also the date
If that project was focused on developing a new, or significantly improving an existing; product; material; process; or device or delivering a new or improving a piece of technology essential for your business then you really should be talking to someone about your claim. Given that the tax savings for a company, or a group of companies employing less than 500 staff could generate a tax saving of up to 24.7% for a profitable company or 33.35% for a company that has made losses in prior year and could surrender those losses to HMRC for cash, it really should be a task that moves to the top of your to do list. If you are a larger concern with over 500 employees, or you have a balance sheet over €86m and turnover in excess of €100m then you will only be eligible for the Research and Development Expenditure Credit. Whilst not as generous, it still pays out a fairly healthy 9.72% for 2018 and 2019 and a better 10.53% from 1 April 2020. It sounds like you might have quite a lot to lose, would you like to find out once and for all whether your company might have the potential to claim. Our discovery calls take about 15 minutes. We’ll start off by asking a couple of pointed questions and then spend most of the time listening to your answers and maybe asking more questions to explore a particular avenue. Book a call at www.calendly.com/simonbulteel
Finally, whatever you do, stay positive, stay safe, don’t let COVID and lockdown 2.0 get the better of you or your business, have a cracking Christmas and see you on the other side, for what should be a slightly better 2021
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LET’S TALK ABOUT... 21 ST CENTURY CLOUD BASED SYSTEMS For almost a quarter of a century, React Computer Partnership in Woodbridge, Suffolk, has acted as the right-hand man for small to medium sized companies in need of an IT department.
pecialising in the supply, installation and support of business IT systems the family behind React, The Pledgers, were last year crowned ‘Family Business of the Year’ at The East of England FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards. One of the most common matters React has helped clients with, certainly this summer, is document management. Every day businesses carry out dayto-day tasks the way they’ve always done them and rely on legacy systems without a second thought. It’s only when something changes or a problem arises that we stop to analyse. React Computer Partnership Director Francis Pledger says, “it’s then that you discover there are better ways of doing things: there are solutions to things that have started to become a problem.” As staff have moved to home-working, businesses have had to consider who has access to documents and how employees can access them from anywhere. Francis said “if they take the physical documents, no-one else can use them or see any changes made and basically the business loses control of those documents. Then there’s the whole question of security and data protection that simply putting them in Dropbox or on your hard drive doesn’t address. Are the documents being backed up properly? Are the correct security settings in place so that people who shouldn’t see them don’t?” Francis recommends using a cloud storage system. This means all nominated staff have access safely and securely and allows for collaborative working whether team members are in the same building or miles apart. “You tend to find the larger an organisation becomes the more people they have working on a project,” he said “this way sharing documents is straightforward and everybody can see what’s been done and keep abreast of developments.” A cloud-based system also provides a much swifter and more efficient means of doing all those incidental but time-consuming jobs that could so easily clutter up a day. Managers can spend an inordinate amount of time on tasks that can
be done electronically like holiday requests or expenses. Francis explains, “if the right IT solution is adopted there is no need for offices to still have all these bits of paper flying around, it can all be done electronically.” A cloud-based system can easily automate processes like these. “If someone wants to book a holiday, ideally they should be able to simply go on a website, click on a calendar and submit their request. An email goes to their boss, who approves it and they get a reply back - easy! It’s a couple of minutes work at one end and a minute at the other.” Many such tasks could be automated, collectively saving a significant amount of time over the working week.
REACT COMPUTER PARTNERSHIP 01394 387337 email@example.com www.reactcp.co.uk
When having conversations with clients about their current processes around document management, they would often begin, “I don’t know why, but …” explains Francis “until that dialogue was initiated though, we couldn’t start to work on solutions. Ultimately, when working with clients we want to understand what the problems with their current systems are so we can provide answers to their questions and suggest appropriate solutions”.
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TRAINING SCHEME FOR FUTURE SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS RECEIVES £100,000 GRANT A programme designed to train the software developers of the future has been awarded £100,000 by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership’s Innovative Projects Fund.
he Scion Scheme, created by Wymondhambased digital agency Netmatters, enables people to develop the technical skills necessary to become a junior developer in as little as six months as well as providing career mentoring and help with employability skills. At the end of the programme, candidates are ‘jobready’ and fully supported with their transition into employment. Scion Plus will extend the scheme into Suffolk and aims to train 48 learners to developer level and move 36 of them into jobs. A total of 5,000 training days will be delivered and 100 businesses engaged in a Digital Employer Network.
Chris Starkie, Chief Executive of the LEP, said: “Skills development is crucial to Norfolk and Suffolk’s future prosperity and Scion Plus will not only help train the software developers of the future, but ensure they are ‘job-ready’. “The tech industry is one of our key sectors and it needs that constant pipeline of people coming through if it is to respond to its rapidly changing demands.”
The tech industry is one of our key sectors and it needs that constant pipeline of people coming through if it is to respond to its rapidly changing demands.
The award of £100,000 from the LEP’s Innovative Projects Fund comes after Netmatters became the first Norfolk business to receive a Princess Royal Training Award. It was one of just 43 organisations to be named in the fifth year of the awards scheme. The Innovative Projects Fund is a revenue grant programme that provides funding towards innovative projects that support the delivery of the themes and activities identified in the region’s Economic and Industrial Strategies.
James Gulliver, Managing Director of Netmatters, said: “The Scion Scheme gives future developers more than just the skills they need, it also helps them find the confidence to secure a role in this everchanging industry. Our Scions are working with us full time whilst they undertake the training and they get involved with life at Netmatters. We’re thrilled to be working with the LEP to bring this opportunity to people in Suffolk as well.”
SCION PLUS TRAINING SCHEME www.
Netmatters in Norwich began its Scion Scheme three years ago after realising that while there was no shortage of talented people, making the transition into the world of tech was difficult. The scheme not only provides intensive technical training but supplements it with support in securing a role – providing the softer skills developers need to sell themselves to a potential employer.
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MAJORITY OF SMALL FIRMS PLAN TO INCREASE DIGITAL SKILLS TO BOOST RESILIENCE, SURVEY REVEALS The research*, conducted amongst small business support network Enterprise Nationâ€™s members, found 69 per cent of small firms were planning to introduce more digital services such as contactless payment devices, e-commerce and selling their products via digital marketplaces.
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Lisa Brennan & Maji Daburch Tattoo Bear, BB Retailery
hen asked how open they were to broadening their business offering to avoid disruption to trade, 81 per cent said they were already working on it. Another 68% of small firms said they planned to increase business knowledge and skills. The most popular skill to improve was sales and marketing with 58 per cent saying this was something they felt they needed help with. In the East of England, 72 per cent said they planned to diversify following the pandemic. Emma Jones, founder Enterprise Nation, said: “Companies have demonstrated that they can act fast and change their operations in response to external conditions. What is clear is that we’re seeing a decade’s worth of change happening almost overnight, with clearly more to come.
“Entrepreneurs are taking swift action to futureproof their business, not just from unpredictable lockdowns but for the longer term. Many will need support to do so. The message is that there is support out there, much of it free such as the Amazon Small Business Accelerator e-learning programme we’re running and the Government-backed Recovery Advice for Business initiative that sees small firms access up to an hour of free one-to-one advice a month from a trusted adviser. “Rather than looking to government for support, we are now focused on keeping the economy as open as possible by coordinating support that can be delivered by the private sector, including the major digital platforms that small businesses rapidly need to master in order to keep trading into Christmas and beyond.”
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Taking advice to expand skills and continue to learn is a trend Enterprise Nation has seen increasing. Since the first lockdown, the firm has been running two free initiatives to support SMEs. The first is the Amazon Small Business Accelerator, a free e-learning programme created by 30 business experts in and delivered in 218 bite-size videos. The programme aims to support 200,000 businesses over the coming months, with regular sector-specific boot camps. The other is the Recovery Advice for Business scheme which sees small firms get one-to-one advice from an adviser that has offered an hour a month to support small firms affected by the pandemic.
insurances etc. “There are only two of us and therefore we have to be extremely careful how we spend our time. Burnout is a real danger, particularly for female entrepreneurs like us who are balancing work life with bringing up both our families. I’m lucky enough that my kids are becoming older and more independent, but Lisa still has little ones. We can’t work all hours any more or travel overseas for weeks at a drop of a hat for trade shows. “What we can do is work smarter not harder.” The business partners outlined some and there are a number of time-saving software solutions that we love: Calendly: (https://calendly.com/)
Romford wallpaper firm Brennan and Birch was created by school friends Lisa Brennan and Majida Burch. The pair have continually looked for new opportunities and ways to learn new skills during their two decades in business. Their latest activity was taking part in a boot camp for homewares companies through the free Amazon Small Business Accelerator.
Capsule CRM (https://capsulecrm.com/ invite/?friend=dXMxIzM1MDg2OA ) (link is a referral link from Brennan & Burch)
After a week of training, Brennan & Burch will soon be selling products on Amazon’s online store as well as via their website.
Majida said: “There were great tips on making our website design more concise and a checklist to look at specific areas, which we have downloaded for review. “Cash is king and cash flow is a challenge for most micro enterprises like us. We have always been self-funded, which means our business growth has been slower and more organic than some of our contemporaries. “As our business grows, we have made changes such as being a limited company, being VAT registered, finding a good accountant, making sure all returns are filed on time with HMRC and Companies House, taking out trade specific
Ninety EOS: (https://www.ninety.io/ Receiptbank: (https://www.receipt-bank.com/uk/) Shopify: (https://www.shopify.co.uk/)
They have also clued up on the digital world by taking advice from Norfolk-based Kathy Ennis, founder of Little Piggy and Brentwood-based Emma Goode, founder of social media firms 24 Fingers. Both are advisers on the Enterprise Nation platform and Emma runs an Enterprise Nation Local Leaders group in Essex. Kathy is also a Facebook She Means Business trainer. Majida said: “A lot of our work is business to business so we network like our life depends on it. We prefer to network locally where possible. Taking digital advice has also been key to being adaptable and pivot to more online sales over lockdown.”
EMMA JONES Founder www.enterprisenation.com
*The research polled 315 small business members and was carried out in August/September.
A lot of our work is business to business so we network like our life depends on it. We prefer to network locally where possible. Taking digital advice has also been key to being adaptable and pivot to more online sales over lockdown.
DI GI TAL & I N N OVAT IO N Te che a s t 100
NEW INITIATIVE IDENTIFIES THE TECH COMPANIES TO KEEP AN EYE ON The most innovative digital companies in Norfolk and Suffolk stepped into the national spotlight recently with the launch of the new profile-raising initiative TechEast 100.
ech East, the cluster-focused organisation established to drive the expansion of the East of Englandâ€™s tech economy, identified
the top 100 start-ups and scale-ups with the greatest potential for high growth.
It was helped by a panel of judges comprising industry experts from organisations such as Tech Nation, Barclays Eagle Labs, Anglia Capital Group, UEA and New Anglia Growth Hub.
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A spokesperson for Tech East said: “Our tech community here in the East is diverse and broad ranging and we wanted the Tech East 100 to reflect this. “We asked our judges to identify our most exciting start-ups, the scale ups with high growth potential and the established national companies bringing in significant investment successes. “We wanted them to recognise local businesses pioneering new technologies or carving out new market niches, as well as community players creating jobs for our local economy or new products and services to help make the world a better place.” Tech East’s overarching mission is to help the local tech community thrive, to create new jobs and to attract and retain tech talent, all the while emphasizing what a great place East Anglia was to do business, she added. The unveiling of the list of those who had made the final cut – livestreamed from Adastral Park in Martlesham – was attended virtually by Minister for Digital and Culture Caroline Dinenage, as well as actor, broadcaster and all round techenthusiast Stephen Fry. Speaking to an invited audience of tech industry executives, investors, educators and policy makers, the minister said: “You are the most exciting and ambitious tech companies in the East of England and can be very proud of that.” She also praised the region’s contribution to the tech economy as a whole, pointing out the UK had the largest one in Europe. “A supportive, open collaborative tech ecosystem is vital to foster new start-ups and scale-ups, and to attract the best talent,” she said. “You have this here.” Fry, in what was a surprise appearance for the audience, described the region as “a secret garden...and the door is not locked.”
“Suffolk and Norfolk really are exciting places to work and great places to start and to grow a tech business.
We wanted them to recognise local businesses pioneering new technologies or carving out new market niches, as well as community players creating jobs for our local economy or new products and services to help make the world a better place.
Prof. Tim Whitley, managing director of Research and Innovation for BT Group, which owns Adastral Park, said: “BT is hugely proud to be here in the East of England.
“The region is often viewed as a hidden gem, but in reality it is already at the heart of innovation in the UK, with national and indeed global significance.” Email from Brigette Currin: You may be interested in the Tech East 100 which we launched in September. This new programme outlines the most innovative 100 tech businesses within Norfolk and Suffolk.
TECHEAST 100 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.techeast.com
The launch was a great success. Guest speakers included Stephen Fry, Digital Minister Caroline Dineage and Prof Tim Whitley from BT. You can watch the event on our YouTube channel.
BU S I N ES S FOC U S
C a m br id ge s h i re & Pe terb oro u g h
BU SIN ESS FOCUS
C ambr id geshire & Pe terb oro u g h
NEW ROUTES TO MARKET FOR HISTORIC HUBS Rejuvenating the 11 market towns in his patch is a priority for the Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, James Palmer.
BU S I N ES S FOC U S
C a m br id ge s h i re & Pe terb oro u g h
he market towns, an integral part of the local combined authority’s industrial strategy, now stand to share in a £13m fund designed to help each of them put their growth master plans into action. Here, the Mayor tells us more … I recently joined a group of partners to ‘switch on’ public access WiFi in St Neots, the latest in a raft of market towns within our Combined Authority area to get the free service. One of my top priorities for Cambridgeshire, indeed one of the top ambitions for East Anglia, and for the whole country, is to see everybody connected, both by ultrafast broadband and by seamless mobile coverage, into a modern way of communicating, learning, and doing business.
MAYOR JAMES PALMER cambridgeshirepeterborough-ca.gov.uk
Covid-19, with its paralyzing lockdowns and uncertainty, with the disruption to life and livelihood it causes, is further proof that digital connectivity is a key driver of social and economic development, and never more so than in St Neots and market towns like it. From mediaeval days, these historic hubs have formed the backbone of Cambridgeshire, of East Anglia and of the country itself but many have lost out over time as businesses and young people have opted for a future in the city.
Market towns are now squarely on the government’s radar, with initiatives like the future High Streets Fund. And rightly so. Many of my priorities are those designed to benefit market towns and redress decades of underinvestment – like getting Wisbech reconnected to the rail network, building a new railway station at Soham, unblocking the bottleneck junction at Ely so that passengers and freight can move more freely through East Anglia and beyond - including to and from Felixstowe port. And on the roads, I’m working to get the A47 dualled from Peterborough to Norwich, to fix up the A10, and commissioning CAM – the Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro - to link many communities into a smooth transport system, connecting homes to jobs and unlocking retail and leisure activity for consumers in a way not seen before.
When Covid-19 struck, market towns were already facing many pressures, from lack of investment, poor transport links, the decline of their high streets, the ageing of their populations, to the reduction of in-town employment that led to more outward commuting.
But a third of the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough population lives in market towns, with nearly as many again living in surrounding areas. And although cities are the big beasts, there’s a growing understanding that both industry and successive governments have failed to explore the enormous opportunity market towns offer.
When Covid-19 struck, market towns were already facing many pressures, from lack of investment, poor transport links, the decline of their high streets, the ageing of their populations, to the reduction of in-town employment that led to more outward commuting. This is where Combined Authorities can come in and make a real difference. Made up of key county, city and district councils, and, in Cambridgeshire & Peterborough’s case, backed by a strong local enterprise partnership, our
Business Board, Combined Authorities can pinpoint local infrastructure need, secure funding from various sources, and then help push the work through.
And through all my plans runs the red thread of connectivity – whether road, rail or digital. Free wifi in town centres is just one part of a broad spectrum of measures we’re funding or championing, all designed to help market towns get back on the map.
Get back in the market This November, I hope that the Combined Authority I lead will agree the second tranche of bids from Cambridgeshire’s eleven market towns for a share of the £13 million we’ve allocated to help these unique communities get to grips with the impact of Covid and build the future they want. And that brings me back to St Neots. The Combined Authority is investing in digital connectivity because secure internet access an important part to play in supporting struggling high streets. It will help bolster economic recovery from Covid-19 by encouraging people to shop nearby, not just online, but it is more widereaching than that.
BU SIN ESS FOCUS
C ambr id geshire & Pe terb oro u g h
Far more. Covid-19 has shown us that many businesses can work anywhere, provided they have reliable connections, and that many workers can work from home. In a strange quirk, it is possible that the ‘new normal’ of Covid may actually help unlock the potential of market towns, even as it puts cities under stress. There’s already a feeling that some of the flightto-the-city impulse is being reversed with many people rethinking how they live and work. Home working has become not just possible but practical and sometimes preferable. Businesses are questioning whether they need to pay city rates, or whether a move to a green and pleasant town could work for them, with fresh air, active travel, and good schools, along with better value business premises and more spacious homes. The first lockdown taught us many things, not least that trade doesn’t begin and end in the big stores and in the big cities, or even online. Far from it. Trade happens in every corner shop and local business, wherever people can make or buy and sell goods and services in any form.
And while many city businesses suffered sorely during the first lockdown, local traders in market towns found support from their community and a customer loyalty that grew.
March Broad St
We know that Covid-19 is expected to produce lasting changes in behaviour – less use of public transport, altered shopping and socialising patterns, more home and agile working, and greater appetite for digital connectivity and mobile coverage. In the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority, we’ve doubled the market town funding on offer to help them adapt – to help them create new cycleways and footpaths for ‘active travel’ and respond to the changed use of community and commercial space. My vision is for the future prosperity and success of every market town in the county and helping make this a reality by investing in them as vibrant economic and social hubs which attract new types of business. Online shopping may have strangled the old-style high street, but digital connectivity will help create the new one, and with it, a whole new breed of market town.
E N E R GY & E N V IRO NM E NT Pe e l Por t s Gre at Ya r mo uth
GREAT YARMOUTH PORT FLIES THE FLAG FOR WIND POWER The Port of Great Yarmouth is ready to support Boris Johnson’s pledge to power every home in the UK with offshore wind energy within a decade.
t the Conservative party conference this month, the prime minister announced that the UK would become “the world leader in clean wind energy”. He committed £160m to upgrade ports and factories for building turbines to help the country "build back greener".
Its location close to the Southern North Sea which has the largest concentration of offshore wind projects in the world – the majority of which sit within 100 miles of the deep water port – makes it ideally positioned to deliver large-scale offshore projects to meet government targets.
The Port of Great Yarmouth, which has more than 50 years’ experience in delivering major offshore projects, has already invested approximately £12 million upgrading its quays, equipment and storage areas to support the industry.
It’s situated in close proximity to two of the largest windfarms by Vattenfall and Scottish Power, where there is a combined 6.4GW capacity still to be installed. That capacity would power in the region of 5.6 million UK homes with green energy.
EN ERGY & EN V IRO N MENT
Pe el Por t s Gre at Yar mo ut h
Richard Goffin, Port Director at Peel Ports Great Yarmouth, said: “We welcome the PM’s announcement that he is planning to invest in a sector that we have always identified as key to meeting targets for greener energy production.
In close proximity to the Southern North Sea Offshore Energy developments, the campus will reduce O&M costs and maximise efficiency of supporting activities, as well as provide access to deep water and the river port for O&M businesses.
“At Great Yarmouth, we have already invested significantly in our facilities to support the sector and we have a proven track record of delivering big offshore energy projects. We were selected to act as the marshalling harbour for the Galloper Windfarm and more recently the EA1 windfarm that became fully operational this year.”
Richard Goffin added: “We’re already capable of supporting all windfarm industry port operations, including surveying, manufacturing, pre-assembly, installation and commissioning, operational and maintenance, and decommissioning. However, we are continually investing in our site, quays and facilities to ensure we can host any scale of offshore projects.
Boris Johnson’s initial commitment is the first stage of a 10-point plan for a "green industrial revolution". The government will reveal more detail later this year to "accelerate our progress towards net zero emissions by 2050". To meet these targets, Peel Ports Great Yarmouth is continuing to invest in its facilities, with significant development plans in the pipeline, including the possibility to expand the port’s footprint by land reclamation.
At Great Yarmouth, we have already invested significantly in our facilities to support the sector and we have a proven track record of delivering big offshore energy projects.
In September, Norfolk County Council (NCC) announced £6 million of funding to deliver an offshore energy Operations and Maintenance (O&M) campus at the port. This investment will rejuvenate parts of land owned by Great Yarmouth Borough Council and Peel Ports Great Yarmouth to create a campus located at the entrance of the River Yare.
“As well as the creation of the O&M campus, there is also the potential for us to add further land for development including a Southern terminal creating an extra 10 hectares of outside storage space, an additional 350m quay, a new heavy lift pad area and options for both RoRo and LoLo operations.
“We believe Great Yarmouth is at the forefront of the offshore sector and with our continued investment, the Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Norfolk County Council’s and the Government’s, it should be a major player in meeting the clean energy targets set out by the PM.”
Port Director Peel Ports Great Yarmouth www.peelports.com
BIG I N T E RVI E W I ndi go S wa n
FAMILY OF SWANS PRIZE STRONG BONDS WITH CLIENTS Over the past four years, Indigo Swan has doubled turnover and continued to add steadily to its impressive collection of awards.
ecognised last year as the ‘Most Trusted UK Energy Consultancy (SME)’ at The Energy Live Consultancy Awards and as one of the UK’s top three employers at the Employee Experience Awards, this Norwich-based company has also continued to grow in the eye of the pandemic. A new start-up in 2009, a family affair comprising founder Emily Groves and her cousins James Groves and Sarah Groves, amongst others, today the company has 20 employees and an annual turnover of over £1m. Managing director, James explains the secret of its success with ease and succinctness. “It’s all down to honesty,” he said. “It’s about explaining everything in simple terms to clients, being transparent about
how much it is going to cost them and setting realistic expectations.” Being an open book was all the more important in an industry that was largely unregulated, he added. Integrity and the subsequent trust earned were essential to thrive in this most competitive of environments. “Before Emily started Indigo Swan in 2009, she worked for a company on the technology side of the energy sector and it wasn’t for her. “She did believe however, that there was a better way to help clients manage their energy contracts – by achieving a better price for them and improving on the service they received – and that was the inspiration for starting this company.”
BIG IN TERVI EW
I ndi go S wa n
Emily takes something of a back seat nowadays, having returned to education and a psychology degree course at the University of East Anglia. Indigo Swan is still very much a family affair though, with James at the helm. “I think my success as MD is measured in how much time Emily has been able to take out to do the other things she’s wanted to do,” James laughs. A people person to his core, his success can also be measured by the calibre of the team he has built. “We call them, affectionately, The Swans,” he said, “and much of the success is down to them. “They are great team – they are all very different and we really do celebrate their individuality. Every one of them brings different strengths and perspectives to Indigo Swan.” The company invested heavily in both personal and professional development and it reaped the rewards. “I take a lot of pride looking after the team from a wellbeing point of view,” he said. “Our first value as a company is happiness. We want everyone to be happy and to enjoy what they do and then do the best possible job they can as a result.” The knock-on effect was a 90% client retention rate every year for the past decade, an achievement James ascribes to another percentage-cumequation. “25% of what we do is about going out to get a good price for the client and 75% is the great after-care service we provide,” he said. “I think we have a wonderful personality as a team – I think we have a likeability factor which has really allowed us to grow – but we also have a very fine focus on our existing clients. “A lot of companies forget that, in their determination to keep winning new contracts, whereas our primary strategy is ‘let’s make sure we really look after our existing customers first’. That is what’s important to us.”
“We’ve worked with a lot of tourism and hospitality sector businesses these past six months – life has just been so difficult for them, we’ve wanted to offer our support. “Sometimes that has meant negotiating a wider spread of payments so they’ve had, say, three months to pay a bill instead of a month.”
A lot of companies forget that, in their determination to keep winning new contracts, whereas our primary strategy is ‘let’s make sure we really look after our existing customers first’. That is what’s important to us.
Currently, Indigo Swan has around 550 clients with somewhere in the region of 10,000 individual energy supplies to be managed. Its clients are largely in the property management, education and manufacturing sectors and generally possess multiple-property portfolios, although, as James stresses, they never turn anybody away. “We do what we can to help, regardless,” he said.
One area the company is keen to expand into is energy management more specifically tailored to manufacturing clients. Several members of staff are now undergoing training courses to that end.
James Groves, managing director of Indigo Swan
INDIGO SWAN www.indigoswan.co.uk
As this year and the shift to home working has demonstrated, The Swans are nothing if not adaptable.
“We had never worked remotely before this, but they have adapted remarkably well,” said James. “We have been able to maintain both our engagement with each other across the team, and a high level of engagement with our clients too. “Every year we go into the new year saying ‘right, this is going to be our best one yet’. “Some years we have great growth and some a smaller level, but for me, so long as we have this happy, positive, truly engaged team and some growth, I know we’re going in the right direction.”
IN FRAST RUCTU R E Nor w ich R e s e a rch Park
NEW SHOWCASE FOR REGION’S SCIENTIFIC INNOVATION State-of-the-art laboratories being built at Norwich Research Park will enhance the region’s growing reputation for scientific innovation in the agri-food sector.
he £5m development is expected to unlock further investment at the Enterprise Zone site and eventually create up to 150 jobs.
Norwich Research Park is renowned as one of the largest single-site concentrations of research in food, health and life sciences in Europe. South Norfolk Council has invested in the region of £2.75m in the 19,000 sq ft building in Zone 4 and more than £550,000 in the road infrastructure. New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has contributed £2.5m towards the building and £1.5m to the road infrastructure work. Some of the LEP’s investment has been drawn from its Enterprise Zone Accelerator Fund, which in turn is funded through its £290m Growth Deal from Government.
NORWICH RESEARCH PARK www.norwichresearchpark.com
The Space to Innovate Enterprise Zone comprises 10 key sites across Norfolk and Suffolk, including part of Norwich Research Park. This multi-site zone will help to create 18,500 jobs over the next 25 years.
“Some of the most exciting new technologies around agri-food sector are being discovered here in Norfolk and Suffolk and this development will create another centre of excellence and enhance our growing international reputation.” John Fuller, leader of South Norfolk Council, said: “As we support the recovery of our local economy, following our initial battle with Covid-19, this is an example of how we are supplying much-needed investment in our commercial infrastructure. “I’m pleased that we are playing our part in ensuring our local economy does not miss a beat and the construction of this building, during these challenging times, has provided direct employment and we have used local suppliers for much of the building materials.”
Science has become a mainstream topic and it is now recognised as a vital cog in the country’s ability to cope with healthrelated issues and also its economy.
Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government Simon Clarke MP said: “The Government has invested £2.5 million through our Local Growth Fund in this important project which, once complete, will attract investment, unlock new jobs and further cement Norwich’s reputation for research and innovation in the agri-food sector.
“Norwich Research Park already has an international reputation as a key centre of expertise in food, health and life sciences, and so I am delighted to see this ambitious development is making good progress.” Chris Starkie, chief executive of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said Norwich Research Park was a Priority Area and this development represented an excellent opportunity to unlock further investment there. “If the region is to recover in the long-term from the devastating effects of Covid-19, we must continue
to attract investment and build on our strengths,” he said.
David Parfrey, executive chair of Norwich Research Park, said: “Norwich Research Park has proved itself to be a hugely valuable resource in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. It has highlighted the scale of global challenges that are being addressed here, whether that’s to do with the world’s future food supply, healthier ageing or dealing with climate change. “Science has become a mainstream topic and it is now recognised as a vital cog in the country’s ability to cope with health-related issues and also its economy. “Having more space for research on the park is very welcome and very much needed. Not only does our park host four world-leading research institutes, the UEA and the hospital, who all need more facilities, we also have a thriving business community that translates the science into real-life applications that will positively change people’s lives both in the UK and across the globe.”
IN F RASTRU CTURE
Nor w ich R es e arch Pa r k
LEGAL Pa l adi n
DIRECTORS' PERSONAL LIABILITY Most directors of a limited company know that it is a solemn responsibility, and that they can have some personal liability.
owever, few people bother to look into or understand what that actually means and assume that the risks are more theoretical than real. That is a mistake as personal liability for a director comes in many guises. The below is a summary of some to watch out for.
General Directorsâ€™ Duties Directors (and in some cases shadow directors) owe duties to the company itself. Many of the key duties are enshrined in the Companies Act 2006, and are as follows:
the duty to act within powers; the duty to promote the success of the company; the duty to exercise independent judgment; the duty to exercise reasonably skill, care and diligence; the duty to avoid conflicts of interest; the duty not to accept benefits from third parties; and the duty to declare interests in proposed transactions or arrangements.
L EGAL Pa l adi n
As the above duties are owed to the company only the company can enforce them, not just a random person. For example, the board of directors may take an action against a director for breach of duty on behalf of the company. Alternatively, a derivative claim may be brought, which is a claim brought by one or more of the members of a company, on behalf of the company. Some of the possible consequences of such a claim by the company are an order against the director for damages or compensation, an account of profits made by the director, an injunction or recission of a contract. This could in theory be a pretty hefty sum of money that the director has to personally fine. These are also possible consequences for a claim for breach of any of the equitable duties held by a director, such as breach of fiduciary duty. In certain circumstances, a director can be protected from liability for breach of the general duties by a policy of insurance or an indemnity, however this must be a qualifying indemnity and a general provision/indemnity exempting liability from negligence, default, breach of duty or a breach of trust is void. The best thing to do is have an insurance policy, but also try not to breach any duties!
Companies in financial difficulties Many directors have heard of the concept of trading whilst insolvent, but what does this actually mean? Where a company is in financial difficulty, and formal insolvency proceedings become likely, a director is obliged to act in the interests of the company’s creditors as a whole. This means trying to preserve the value of the company in order to maximise the likely return for creditors, rather than continuing to trade as usual. This duty survives the appointment of a liquidator or administrator and should not be taken lightly. Directors also have potential personal liability under the Insolvency Act 1986 for misfeasance, fraudulent trading, wrongful trading and voidable transactions. In addition to personal liability to compensate/repay monies, fraudulent trading is also a criminal offence with up to 10 years in prison as a penalty.
The Finance Act 2020 makes is possible for directors, and others, to be made jointly and severally liable for the tax liabilities of a company in situations of tax avoidance and evasion, repeated insolvency, or where a penalty has been issued for facilitating avoidance or evasion.
Criminal Liability Some examples of where a criminal liability may arise are: Director Disqualification - If a person is disqualified from acting as a director, and then operates as a director in breach of the disqualification order, that person commits a criminal offence and is personally liable for the debts of the company. Insider Dealing. Misleading Statements – an offence under the Financial Services Act 2012. Bribery – an offence under the Bribery Act 2010. Health & Safety – employers have health & safety obligations and if an offence is found to have been committed with the consent or contrivance of the directors or to be as a result of negligence of the directors, then the directors as well as the company may be prosecuted.
Environmental crime – liability may arise where directors if they cause or knowingly permit environmental damage. Offences under the Fraud Act 2006. Offences under the Data Protection Act 2018. The above is only a summary, and unsurprisingly this is a complex area. Acting responsibly, ethically, within the law and in accordance with the duties enshrined in the Companies Act is an excellent start for any director. If you are concerned that you may have personal liability/you are unsure if a proposed action may expose you or the company; or if you are a company seeking to bring a claim, then specialist legal advice should be sought.
If a person is disqualified from acting as a director, and then operates as a director in breach of the disqualification order, that person commits a criminal offence and is personally liable for the debts of the company. 37
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COVI D-1 9 C a m br id ge Uni ve rs i t y
COVI D-19 C ambr id ge Un i ve rsi t y
LESSONS LEARNT FROM A PANDEMIC In response to COVID-19, we have seen some extraordinary examples of rapid and agile collaboration across the Cambridge Cluster. How can we capitalise on these experiences to do things better and faster in the future?
COVI D-1 9 C a m br id ge Uni ve rs i t y
Dept of Engineering award winners, credit Jude Palmer, Royal Academy of Engineering
recently introduced Beyond the pandemic, a new series of opinion pieces from Cambridge researchers on how the coronavirus is forcing us all to rethink what we do and how we do it and to ask if – amidst the devastation and uncertainty there are any positive lessons to be learnt. I have been thinking about this from the perspective of the Cambridge innovation ecosystem and its response to the pandemic. The cluster has always been characterised by its ability to embrace change. One of the reasons for this, I believe, is its dispersed but deceptively coherent nature.
The University responded by offering equipment from its own labs. But offers of help immediately arrived from Cambridge’s friends and alumni around the globe as well as from local companies and schools. Within days, donations of surgical masks, gloves and gowns started to flood in. It quickly became apparent that managing this influx would be a significant task.
In 2020 it has demonstrated its ability to slip into new configurations with ease and with remarkable results. I’ve noticed three key – and connected dimensions to its response to the pandemic.
Homerton, the college closest to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, offered storage space. Researchers and students from the Institute for Manufacturing applied their knowledge of factory logistics and, using tracking technology developed by university spinout, RedBite, created a highly efficient warehousing operation. Staff from the Strategic Partnerships Office took on the task of triaging offers of help as they came in. Students volunteered to process the deliveries. In five days, a brand new logistics hub was up and running.
Collaboration. COVID-19 created an environment in which new and unexpected alliances were formed to solve problems with collective drive and urgency. We saw this first-hand at the start of the
Speed. This was by no means the only example of rapid mobilisation – and collaboration. It took just five weeks for Cambridge’s life sciences community to repurpose a building and set up
It is a kaleidoscope of activity with people and organisations coming together in different patterns and combinations to do new things, all within a structured, supportive framework.
pandemic when GP surgeries, clinics and hospitals were experiencing shortages of PPE.
COVI D-19 and commercial partners both in the UK and Africa to refine the thinking and develop a prototype. The ventilator is now on the next stage of its journey with a manufacturer in South Africa preparing for mass production.
C ambr id ge Un i ve rsi t y
Collaboration, speed and creativity are not new: they have always been at the heart of Cambridge’s dynamic ecosystem. The pandemic has amplified those characteristics partly through an adrenalinfuelled but largely unsustainable crisis response, but partly as a result of remote working. Swapping face-to-face meetings for Zoom or Teams, while it undoubtedly has its drawbacks, has played a perhaps unexpected role as an enabler of change. Pre-pandemic, there was an assumption that meeting in person – where possible – was the gold standard for communication. But cutting out the need to travel – even by bicycle across Cambridge - has made it faster and easier to reach people, to form new groups quickly and to coalesce around a shared vision. It is, of course, important to acknowledge that the pandemic has had – and will continue to have – a calamitous effect on many businesses, and on the people who work in them. But if there are some positive lessons to be learnt it is that the experience of these intense collaborations, enabled by remote working, has shown us what can be achieved in a very short space of time. This is something that we can take with us into the future, whatever it may hold.
a state-of-the-art, highly automated COVID-19 testing centre – a task that could take anything up to two years to plan and deliver in more normal times. Teams from the university and our strategic partners AstraZeneca and GSK worked together to achieve this mammoth feat of organisation and commitment. They were, in turn, supported by a whole host of other organisations: construction firms who built a new walkway at short notice and waived their fees for doing so; and manufacturers who developed complex scientific equipment in a fraction of the time it would usually have taken. Creativity. Early on in the pandemic, it became clear that ventilators were going to play a critical part in patient care. Across the UK, manufacturers of all shapes and size scrambled to adapt their production lines to manufacture modified designs or completely new ones. But conventional ventilators are expensive to produce and difficult to fix. A team of Cambridge engineers and clinicians saw a need for an affordable version that could be manufactured using readily available components for use in low and middle-income countries. The project to come up with a new design quickly gained momentum, bringing on board other universities
Today, Cambridge is home to Europe's largest technology cluster. Around 61,000 people are employed by the more than 5,000 knowledgeintensive firms in what has become known as the Cambridge Cluster. They have a combined annual revenue of more than £15.5bn.
PROF. ANDY NEELY www.v-c.admin.cam.ac.uk
Much of the cluster’s rapid growth in the 1970s can be attributed to the foundation of the Cambridge Science Park by Cambridge University Trinity College in 1970. The university has also been a driving force behind much of the key infrastructure that has allowed the cluster to flourish, including the St John’s Innovation Centre, Peterhouse Technology Park, the Cambridge Judge Entrepreneurship Centre and the ideaSpace Enterprise Accelerator. University people and ideas are at the heart of many of the companies in the cluster, whether the company is based on university research (spin-out), or founded by a member of the university (start-up). More than 1000 IP licensing, consultancy and equity contracts are currently under management by Cambridge Enterprise, the university’s commercialisation group.
AP P R E N T I C ES H IPS & T RA ININ G Nat ion a l A p pre nt ice shi p We e k 2021
NATIONAL CELEBRATION OF APPRENTICESHIPS MARKED ON THE CALENDAR Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Gillian Keegan has announced that the 14th National Apprenticeship Week will take place from 8 to 14 February 2021.
he annual celebration of apprenticeships will shine a light on the tremendous work being done by employers and apprentices across the country, while at the same time recognising how employers of all sizes have stepped up to the plate during these unprecedented times.
NATIONAL APPRENTICESHIP WEEK 2021 nationalapprenticeshipweek.co.uk
National Apprenticeship Week 2020 included: More than 900 events across England
Employers are being encouraged to promote the great work of their apprentices, whilst highlighting the many benefits apprenticeships bring to their business.
Research commissioned with Mumsnet that revealed outdated views of apprenticeships holding young people back, subsequently covered in over 60 media articles
Apprentices at all stages of learning will also be celebrated over the course of the week during events that will bring together apprenticeship ambassadors, MPs, training providers, employers, parents and the apprentices themselves.
More than 1700 articles, features and interviews about apprenticeships carried by the press nationwide
Gillian Keegan said: “National Apprenticeship Week is a great opportunity to highlight the amazing opportunities that an apprenticeship brings to employers, individuals and the economy.
National Apprenticeship Week is a great opportunity to highlight the amazing opportunities that an apprenticeship brings to employers, individuals and the economy.
“It has been fantastic to see how employers of all sizes have gone above and beyond to ensure apprentices can continue their studies during this unprecedented time. “The week is also an opportunity to shine a light on how apprentices of all ages and backgrounds are helping to transform businesses across the country. “As a former apprentice I know what a life changing experience it can be, and I’m looking forward to being part of National Apprenticeship Week
2021 and seeing first-hand the inspiring ways apprentices and their employers continue to deliver.”
The downloading of more than 16,000 stakeholder toolkits for use during the week.
Peter Mucklow, Further Education Director, Education and Skills Funding Agency said: “I encourage employers, providers, partners and apprentices to start planning for National Apprenticeship Week 2021 now, so we can spend the week collectively celebrating the impact of apprenticeships on individuals and our great businesses and public services. “In the coming months we will release more details for National Apprenticeship Week 2021. “By sharing the date in advance, I am hopeful that our many partners will start to plan some fresh and inspiring activity that they will run during the week.”
APPREN TIC ESHIPS & TRAINI NG
Nat ion al A p prent iceship We e k 2 0 2 1
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East Anglia in Business is designed to generate collaboration, sustainable growth, competitive advantage and to build links with businesses...
Published on Nov 30, 2020
East Anglia in Business is designed to generate collaboration, sustainable growth, competitive advantage and to build links with businesses...