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THE Lanarkshire CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

EK-OK il b r id e K t s a E n o s u c fo

also inside Get HMRC to pay your business for innovation Investing in our young people’s future Life sciences drive in Lanarkshire

ISSUE 11


Realise the full potential of your business with UK Steel Enterprise We want to hear

SECURING FUNDING CAN be one of the Since engaging with UKSE, SST has established from other ambitious companies most challenging aspects of setting up and its position at the forefront of its sector and, we can help support which will developing a business unless of course you through increased R&D expertise, has contribute to the future success know where to look and who to approach. increased sales of its own intellectual of the Lanarkshire economy. UK Steel Enterprise (UKSE), the Tata property from 25% to 80% of overall trade. Steel subsidiary tasked with regenerating The company recently moved into its own areas affected by changes in the steel premises at a new facility in Coatbridge. If you would like further information on UKSE industry, has helped hundreds of Lanarkshire UKSE helped the business to secure and the support it can offer then please visit businesses realise their potential. a £500,000 funding package through joint www.uksteelenterprise.co.uk Offering flexible support tailored to UKSE, private investment and Scottish or call 01698 845045. individual business circumstances, including a Enterprise support. mixture of share capital and lending, UKSE provides Anne Clyde, area manager for UKSE, said: “Over early stage and growth funding for business start-ups, the last three decades, UKSE has helped hundreds of expansions and management buy outs. Lanarkshire businesses maximise their potential through use of Business finance from UKSE has so far enabled the creation of our services. 17,000 new jobs across 1,434 Scottish businesses - with 8,500 of these “Following the launch of SST, UKSE was able to provide Keith with new jobs in Lanarkshire. equity and loan funding to support R&D, develop new sales channels One company to benefit from UKSE support is SST Sensing Limited and maintain growth. (SST), launched in 2002 by managing director Keith Wight, with “In addition to financial investment, SST also benefited at start ambitions to become the leading global supplier of choice for liquid and up, from managed workspace on flexible terms at our Grovewood gas sensing products. Business Centre on Strathclyde Business Park.”

Realise the full potential of your business With Business Finance from UK Steel Enterprise We are passionate about regenerating local economies. We do this by supporting growing companies in a wide range of sectors to realise their full potential. If you are looking for finance to help you grow your business, get in touch. We will look at your business plan and, if we think we can help, we will offer you an investment of up to £750,000. We can also offer unsecured loans of up to £100,000 through our ”fast-forward” scheme. Contact me, Anne Clyde, for an informal chat about your development plans, and see how we can help you. Call: 01698 845 045 or email: scot@uksteelenterprise.co.uk

Grovewood Business Centre, Strathclyde Business Park, Bellshill, Lanarkshire ML4 3NQ www.uksteelenterprise.co.uk UK Steel Enterprise is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Steel Europe


Contents Welcome...................................... 3 News in Brief.............................4-7 BioCity Scotland heads drive for Life Sciences in Lanarkshire.... 9 Start-up business to get a step-up in North Lanarkshire..... 10 EK – Sir Patrick would be proud................................12-13 Chamber Members’ News....16-18

Watch out employers! Auto enrolment is coming!.................. 25 Horses and Best Dressed Ladies draw the crowds............. 29 I didn’t get to where I am today.... 33 Sector feature: The science of making money...................34-35 Ask The Professionals................. 36 The Political Column.................. 38

Lanarkshire Chamber of Commerce Suite 4, West Stand New Douglas Park Cadzow Avenue Hamilton ML3 0FT t: 01698 426882 f: 01698 424699 e: info@lanarkshirechamber.org

For advertising contact DTech on T: 01436 678808 E: sales@incommerce.biz Editorial management by Blueprint Media www.blueprintmedia.co.uk E: editor.lanarkshire@incommerce.biz Publisher: DTech

PRESIDENT’S WELCOME

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K-OK” has long been the unofficial slogan of the highly successful south Lanarkshire town which started life in the austerityridden days after the Second World War. Since then East Kilbride has flourished, and as one of Scotland’s most vibrant and industrious towns, we have decided to feature EK as the first in a series, planned over subsequent issues, which will celebrate the business vitality, as well as the idiosyncrasies, of all our main Lanarkshire towns. None of them, admittedly, has found things easy over the last four or five years but with more and more Chamber members reporting a near-tangible increase in business optimism across Lanarkshire in particular and Scotland in general, we say, let’s celebrate our successes. Also in this issue is a bit of valuable guidance on how Lanarkshire businesses can get some money back from HMRC. Yes that’s right, despite the huge amounts businesses pay each year in PAYE, VAT and corporation tax, the taxman is prepared to refund literally billions of pounds each year to companies which can demonstrate their engagement in research and development. R&D tax credits are at the centre of our feature which looks at how many Lanarkshire businesses are taking advantage of the legislation on R&D and how they can get help from a Scottish Chambers of Commerce partner, Jumpstart, which

has already clawed back tens of millions of pounds from HMRC on behalf of UK companies. Talking of money, elsewhere in this issue of the new-look In Commerce magazine, we bring you news of how businesses in Lanarkshire are making it, spending it and donating it to worthy charities such as Spina Bifida, as well as in the developing world and, as a result, are making a real difference to people’s lives. And we report also on how Chamber members continue to have fun by putting on the style at Hamilton Racecourse, at our excellent hotels and restaurants, or even at the golf course. There is a lot to talk about and to get excited about in Lanarkshire; let’s go out and make a difference.

Maurice Logie President, Lanarkshire Chamber of Commerce.

Distribution: DTech Distribution InCommerce is published by DTech. 20 East Argyle Street, Helensburgh G84 7RR. Telephone 01436 678808. E-mail: info@dtechuk.com. Editorial management by Blueprint Media www.blueprintmedia.co.uk. E: editor.lanarkshire@incommerce.biz. InCommerce is fully protected by copyright and nothing may be printed wholly or in part without the written permission of the publishers. The proprietors of this magazine are publishers and not agents, or sub-agents of those who advertise therein. They cannot be held liable for any loss suffered as a result of information gained from this publication. The views expressed by authors of articles published in this magazine are solely those of the author and are not necessarily the views of or shared by the editor, nor the publisher or the directors, shareholders and/or employees of DTech Publishing Ltd.

The Chamber is grateful to our partners for their financial support.

lifeSKILLS c e n t r e s

Lanarkshire CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

£4.6 million help scheme............ 22

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SSE Powering-up for 2014 Commonwealth Games Sponsorship...............20-21

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News in Brief... The Property Store moves into estate agency

Get in touch with your stories incommerce@lanarkshirechamber.org

Coatbridge-based 802 Event WiFi brokers Rangers WiFi deal with Chinese telecoms giant

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he Lanarkshire property market is beginning to make a comeback according to the pundits. And one local business which aims to make the most of that revival is The Property Store which has been serving Strathaven and East Kilbride as a trusted local lettings agent since 2000. Now, said Lorraine Robb, owner of the Property Store, the business is moving into estate agency. “We began selling homes at the beginning of the year with a leaflet drop and billboard campaign. East Kilbride and Strathaven are dynamic housing markets and we believe we have something unique to offer. “The idea of moving into estate agency came from clients. Landlords told us they wanted our help with every aspect of their properties including buying and selling and we were delighted to oblige. “We used to be known as ‘your friendly letting expert’, now we want to be known as ‘your friendly property expert’”.

Felix Gibson: ready to connect people

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Lanarkshire CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

oatbridge-based 802 Event WiFi has brokered a groundbreaking seven-figure investment deal between Rangers Football Club, and Huawei, the world’s largest telecoms equipment maker to provide one of football’s first fully-converged stadium-wide WiFi deployments. The set-up will remove the connectivity problems of 3G in high-density areas and allow 50,000 and more fans access to club competitions, merchandising, Rangers Media, voting rights, Team Talk discussions, forthcoming events and more fan/club engagement. Felix Gibson, chief executive of 802 Event WiFi, said: “The deal is Huawei’s first project with a major club in Europe but we do not expect it to be its last. The high capacity of WiFi to be provided will allow fans to use social networks to share their experiences and will allow the club to establish a digital dialogue with them. “More and more people are using smart devices as a primary means of communication and our business aims to be at the forefront of providing the public with the means to consume digital media, not simply while watching live events but also anywhere they gather including town centres, shopping centres and transport hubs.” For further information, contact Felix Gibson, chief executive, 802 Event WiFi. E: info@802eventwifi.co.uk. W: www.802eventwifi.co.uk.

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Lorraine Robb and Morag Allen.


New college: corridors of learning

lifeSKILLS and ILAs can help open the door to employment opportunities

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any people seeking to improve their chances of success in Scotland’s highly competitive employment market are keen to enhance their skills but are constrained by the costs of signing up for valuable courses. They could benefit substantially by applying for an Individual Learning Account (ILA) which could provide them with up to £200 to spend towards learning or training. One company which offers an extensive menu of fully accredited and industry recognised courses where an ILA can help is lifeSKILLS, a Lanarkshire based provider of employer focused training with a network of centres across the UK. lifeSKILLS has supported over 2,200 employees and jobseekers to upgrade and acquire new employer recognised skills through its ILA provision in the past 12 months. lifeSKILLS’ regular ILA courses include accredited and certificated training in sectors such as retail, hospitality, customer services, care, security industry and the licensed trade. It also provides ILA funded provision in accounts and bookkeeping, food hygiene, marketing, health and safety, first aid, paediatric first aid and ADR explosives and radioactives. All ILA activity is focused on either upskilling existing employees or helping unemployed people acquire the relevant training and qualifications with which to enter and sustain employment. These are the key drivers for all lifeSKILLS provision. They great thing is that the money isn’t a loan and it doesn’t have to be paid back. ILA funding is provided by Skills Development Scotland and is accessed on an individual basis by people over the age of 16 if they have an income of £22,000 or less or are in receipt of benefits. If you think you may meet the criteria and have an interest in acquiring some key industry recognised accredited qualifications lifeSKILLS would like to hear from you. For further information about ILAs, call lifeSKILLS on 01698 456800 or find lifeSKILLS on Facebook.

lifeSKILLS c e n t r e s

Lanarkshire CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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ew College Lanarkshire is getting ever closer to opening its doors. Created out of the merger of Cumbernauld and Motherwell Colleges, New College, which vests on November 1 this year, will operate more effectively within Lanarkshire and East Dunbartonshire, across Scotland, nationally and internationally. Coatbridge College will join the new entity in April next year. The merged college will provide almost 80% of further education in Lanarkshire and deliver qualifications to more than 25,000 learners. It will also create an enhanced facility for local learners. The merger proposal aims to improve the student experience by maximising opportunities and raising aspirations. It will create greater choice, higher quality, better progression opportunities and enhanced employer engagement. New College will be driven by effectiveness and efficiency, not cost reductions. It will allow the development of resources in ways not possible for individual colleges. It will be more able to tackle the social and economic challenges facing the region and help the local economy to recover. Lanarkshire’s institutions have a wealth of experience and a range of high quality strengths which benefit the region’s learners. The merger is the next step on this journey.

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New College Lanarkshire

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News in Brief...

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Inside and out:

how Shotts Prison is working with the Lanarkshire business community

“The Big Hoose”, Shotts

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Lanarkshire CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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M Prison Shotts is forging new bonds with local businesses and the wider Lanarkshire community by innovative and creative use of its production workshops and state-of-the-art manufacturing machinery facilities. The maximum security prison, in the Lanarkshire countryside just south of the M8, houses more than 500 adult males serving from four years to life. It was built in 1978, extended in 1987 and has since been completely rebuilt on the same site. Shotts has three large production workshops which make wood products such as garden benches and picnic benches and engineering and metal craft facilities which manufacture items such as waste skips and iron gates. Rachel McRae, Head of Offender Outcomes at the prison, said: “All establishments have some workshops through Prison Industries, but what we are trying to do at Shotts is expand our work with the community. “We currently have contracts to make wood products and smaller local contracts for metal work. We also have a textile workshop which mainly manufactures products for internal use within the prison, such as curtains for prisoners’ cells.” The prison also has charity work spaces where inmates work with organisations such as Bike Station Scotland to repair and recondition bicycles in order to promote cycling and sustainable

Wood assembly workshop showing components of garden benches for a commercial contract.

transport. Through their work, the prisoners can gain valuable qualifications such as SQA, during this financial year 294 SQAs have already been awarded. Mrs McRae added: “Although contacts with local companies have been on the go for a number of years, we want to engage in more enterprises with external partners. We have just moved into our new build, which has been populated since last October, and we are keen to take advantage of it.” Nick Welsh, Skills and Employability Unit Manager, said: “In the new facility, the machinery we have is bang up to date, and we can give the prisoners meaningful and gainful employment while they are here, increasing their skills base in the process. Research has shown that this is instrumental in reducing reoffending rates. “Many of the men we have in Shotts have never been employed in their lives so, looking to their future release; we are trying to build a CV, starting from fresh, with evidence of an increase in the skill base, which leads to greater employability.” The workshop team are keen in the future to expand and formalise their relationships with the business community, and are actively exploring initiatives such as giving SMEs the opportunity to access workspace working in mid-long term relationships with the prison.


Healthcare Environmental Services turns to Lanarkshire’s Eureka for a Sage solution

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ealthcare Environmental Services Group, the largest independent medical waste company in the UK, has turned to another Lanarkshire company to provide it with a new business information system to accommodate its rapid growth trajectory. The Shotts-based full facilities waste management company, which employs more than 200 people, called on Eureka Solutions, based in the SE Technology Park in East Eureka’s Aileen Primrose Kilbride, to install the robust, reliable solution Sage 200. Privately owned Healthcare Environmental, which has been established for more than 20 years, has been undergoing strong and sustainable growth. From its depots in Lanarkshire, Dundee, Aberdeen, Inverness,

Liverpool, Yorkshire, London and Wales, it services more than 35,000 locations each month and has a portfolio of more than 1000 customers. Aileen Primrose, of Eureka, said: “Healthcare Environmental had been operating on Sage 50, but its UK-wide expansion meant that it needed a system with speed and reliability which would streamline its business processes. “Sage 200 is ideal for growing companies who need choice and flexibility as their business changes and grows. It allows closer adherence to KPIs, it is far more scalable and it allows dynamic firms to better serve their customers’ needs.” Eureka Solutions is an award-winning provider of business systems specialising in Sage, NetSuite and QlikView. Our primary aim is to provide our clients with the information they need to run their business more profitably, both when and where they need it. For further information, contact Eureka Solutions (Scotland) Ltd. T: 01355 581 960. F: 0844 225 0846. W: www.eurekasolutions.co.uk

East Kilbride’s Bruce Hotel returns to its Halcyon days

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A major element in hotels nowadays is wedding ceremonies and receptions and the Bruce Hotel offer is firmly-based on providing a range of choices for the brides of tomorrow. All weddings are individually tailored to meet the needs of each couple. The hotel can accommodate up to 300 guests and there is also a specialised self-catering package for Asian weddings. A variety of events are planned over the festive period and bookings are now being taken for the Grand Buffet on Christmas Day and Boxing Day respectively, party nights, tribute acts and the Hogmanay Grand Ball. For more information phone 01355 229771 or visit www.thebrucehotel.co.uk.

Dine and party at The Bruce

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Lanarkshire CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

former hotel porter has returned to oversee the operation of the iconic, and now newly-refurbished, Bruce Hotel in East Kilbride as its new managing director. Douglas Douglas, who first worked in the hotel as a teenager and is now the owner of Halcyon Hotels, said: “we have invested a great deal of time money and effort to bring the Bruce Hotel back to its former glory”. Most of the hotel, including its reception area, bedrooms and function suites, has had a facelift while the restaurant has been refurbished and re-opened as Guys. “Our nightclub has also been refitted and upgraded. It’s now called Skye, and we’ll be staging a lot of exciting events in there in the months to come”, said Douglas.

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The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise What are The Queen’s Awards? The UK’s most prestigious business Awards, recognising the most outstanding companies in the categories of: • International Trade • •

Innovation

Sustainable Development

Who can enter? • • • • •

Any UK-based company with 2 or more full-time (or equivalent) employees

Established businesses with a minimum of 2 or 3 years’ trading figure, depending on Award category

For International Trade, a minimum of £100k overseas sales for the first year of entry Evidence of substantial, continuous growth over the period of entry

We welcome entries from all types of business and industry

Why should I enter? • • • • • • •

You’ll receive global recognition that your company is outstanding in its field You’ll gain an edge over the competition

You’ll benefit from a boost to staff morale and company pride

You’ll be invited to a Buckingham Palace reception and a presentation of your Award at your workplace by a Royal representative You’ll have use of the Queen’s Award emblem on all advertising and merchandise for 5 years

You’ll receive a commemorative, engraved crystal bowl and hand-signed scroll Non-winners receive detailed feedback from our

independent assessors which may be used to improve their business

How do I enter or nominate •

Entries and nominations must be made online

The Awards are free to enter

• •

All forms are available at www.queensawards.org.uk The closing date is the last working day of September

Contact Lanarkshire John Brown DL 01698 456800 07951 419584

Contact us

The Queen’s Award Office Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) Enterprise Directorate 1 Victoria Street London SW1H 0ET Email: info@queensawards.org.uk www.queensawards.org.uk


BioCity Scotland heads drive for Life Sciences in Lanarkshire

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Several new jobs have been created on site and some very talented people who used to work on the premises have been drawn back to Newhouse. Scientist Gina Hanlon, who is now working on the IMI project at BioCity, said: “I am thrilled to be back where I used to work, albeit for a new employer.” Dr Subhasis Banerjee, whose firm Origin Biomarkers is developing novel clinical applications for its pregnancy diagnostic kit, said: “We like the thriving, upbeat atmosphere here. The co-operation and networking possibilities are quite unique and the team at BioCity Scotland couldn’t have been more helpful with our set-up plans.” Corporate “partners” brought in by BioCity Scotland provide the support a growing business needs - IT, HR, Patent, legal, recruitment, accountancy – often available as “free” advice on the premises, over a cup of coffee. Successful training days and seminars delivering key advice on issues such as funding for start-up or growth from venture capitalists and angel investors are well attended and open to those across life sciences in Scotland. Lanarkshire Chamber of Commerce is currently developing an industry focus group for Life Sciences. For more information, visit www.biocity-scotland.co.uk.

Lanarkshire CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

BioCity Scotland: getting the right formula

Dr David Lightbody, from Biogelx with Fraser Black, MD at BioCity

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ioCity Scotland, by the M8 in Newhouse, Lanarkshire, is a new facility for the life sciences sector in Scotland. It provides 130,000 sq ft of flexible, highly equipped, high quality labs suitable for pharmaceutical firms and scientists developing new products. The former premises of pharmaceutical giant MSD, BioCity Scotland is a collaboration between the successful BioCity Nottingham and Roslin Biocentre outside Edinburgh. Ambitious life sciences firms who need good laboratory facilities often have to decide whether to locate within the universities where they began their projects or to step out of the academic world into a more commercial environment. Fraser Black, BioCity managing director, said: “Our tenants appreciate they have clean, secure facilities here as well as the use of office space, a shared boardroom, potential conference facilities, presentation suites and a whole host of other services that fledging businesses need to achieve their best. And hire-based arrangements mean they don’t have to invest fully in all the kit they need.”

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A smart working environment is an aid to success

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Lanarkshire CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

Start-up business to get a step-up in North Lanarkshire

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“We know there is hard work ahead, but we are excited about watching the journey unfold in front of us.”

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tarting Point is an exciting new development coming to North Lanarkshire which aims to support businesses at the crucial, initial stage of start-up. The new initiative, in Airdrie, aims to provide space, advice and support to new start and fledgling businesses, creating the potential for future town centre-based incubation units in all seven of the area’s main population centres. The Starting Point project is facilitated by TCA Ltd and is supported by the European Regional Development Fund and North Lanarkshire Council. Tonia McBurnie is assistant company manager of TCA Ltd and a leading figure at Starting Point. She said: “Town centres are a hot topic at the moment, with the government looking at how best they can be regenerated. TCA, as the town centre management company for North Lanarkshire, has been closely monitoring the activities of town centres in the area, including footfall and vacancy rates. “Everyone has an opinion on what will help, but as a company we believe that business support is critical to the future of our town centres. “Research shows that small businesses with mentors are more likely to survive. By creating an incubation unit in the heart of Airdrie town centre, for example, which provides support, advice and encouragement to business at the early stages of their development, Starting Point will be a key driver in growing the sustainable town centre businesses of the future. This is an ideal opportunity for new businesses to test the market.” “Starting Point will bring a variety of businesses under one roof and participants will benefit not only from the no-cost, fully comprehensive business training package available, but will also get moral support from sharing a workspace with other like-minded entrepreneurs. “This is a completely new, unique scheme and there is no doubt that it is highly ambitious. It will take a lot of dedication, not only from the team delivering the project, but also from the participants who, we hope, will take full advantage of this opportunity and show that they have the drive and passion to move their businesses forward. “We know there is hard work ahead, but we are excited about watching the journey unfold in front of us. It really is the Starting Point, and it all starts here.” If you’d like to be a part of Starting Point, whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or a mentor keen to pass on your experience of business, you can find out more information about Starting Point by visiting www.startingpoint.org.uk.


Running a growing business? Make us part of your plans. For any successful business a network of trusted advisers is vital. Business Gateway provides practical support and advice to hundreds of Lanarkshire businesses every year.

01236 702020 www.bgateway.com/lanarkshire

Business Gateway services are delivered by Local Authorities, Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Government with the support of associated partner organisations. Maximum call charge from BT landline is 3p a minute.


Cover story

EK

Get in touch if you have a cover story idea incommerce@lanarkshirechamber.org

Sir Patrick would be proud of the town that’s still punching well above its weight

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Lanarkshire CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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t was a close run thing in the Glasgow of the fifties when the patrician Sir Patrick Abercrombie’s Clyde Valley Plan to create new towns finally triumphed over the social engineer Robert Bruce’s vision of razing the city to the ground and building a Corbusier-inspired brutalist Utopia. The city fathers had hesitantly backed the proposal to move thousands of citizens to greenfield sites but, as Sir Patrick prepared to board the sleeper back to London, one of them plucked up the courage to ask him: “Where will the new towns be?” In a story which is now apocryphal in architectural circles, the monocled aristocrat demanded a taxi and instructed it to drive several miles out of Glasgow and keep going right. When he reached East Kilbride, he said: “There”, and made his way back to the sleeper. Had he seen what his peremptory command created - one of the most enterprising and successful towns in Scotland, a thriving hub of science parks, shopping malls, modern housing and purposeful traffic - Sir Patrick would doubtless have felt perfectly justified in his quest for change. Change is not always for the better, but it is hard to argue that, in East Kilbride’s case, the town has not fared reasonably well out of the many incarnations it has undergone since it was a sleepy village of 3000 souls at the end of the Second World War. Now with a population of 73,796, according to the latest census - the vast majority living in a high standard of housing and owning cars - it is clear that the decision to designate it as the first of Scotland’s ambitious post-war New Towns has paid off in spades. From the start, East Kilbride has been open for business and the private sector has enthusiastically embraced the opportunities offered by a highly-educated and motivated workforce, enviable infrastructure and excellent transport links with fast access to the motorway network.

Private enterprise has been ably partnered by a proactive, imaginative public sector fronted by South and North Lanarkshire councils, both of whom have gone out of their way to streamline processes and planning in the interest of bringing high quality jobs and investment to the town. For decades, the jewel in the crown has been the Scottish Enterprise Technology Park, born out of the old National Engineering Laboratory - 34 hectares of buzzing, blue-sky, high-tech innovation which has hosted some of Scotland’s most exciting companies. Now home to around 100 enterprises and employing more than 1200 skilled staff, the park has attracted an increasing number of SMEs keen to take advantage of its excellent facilities and flexible lease terms. A fine example of a company which is making the most of what East Kilbride has to offer is Clansman Dynamics, under the leadership of chairman Dick Philbrick, which is experiencing rapid growth and soaring turnover since it became employeeowned in late 2009. Founded in 1994, Clansman designs and develops robotic mechanical handling equipment for the international auto industry. Its robust, technologically adept solutions for tough manufacturing environments has won it high-end clients such as Mercedes, DaimlerChrysler, Fiat, Volvo, Renault and Ferrari. Exports account for 90% of sales, with 30% bound for China. Mr Philbrick said last year: “The business has really blossomed, and the employees have taken the company well beyond its growth ambitions. Productivity, profitability and innovation have all flourished, but importantly, the employees have prospered and that is the key reason for the success of the business.” The technology park is also home to ambitious enterprises such as Gael, the business software designers, Ecebs, which specialises in smartcard software development and a host of


Whirlies, an EK landmark

Iain Duff, business development manager at the Clydesdale Bank in East Kilbride, said: “The excellent facilities in East Kilbride’s business and technology parks have allowed it to fare better than most as the country emerges from recession. “There is still a good variety of industrial property available and we are seeing an increase in the number of companies who are looking to expand into the town or are considering East Kilbride as a location for inward investment. “It is an ideal environment for start-up as well as established enterprises and there is no doubt that private sector interaction with the public sector is greatly benefitted by pro-active local authorities who are extremely keen to continue to attract investment to the area.” Of course, it would be unrealistic to pretend that East Kilbride has not taken its share of body blows in the bleak years of the UK’s latest economic downturn. Freescale was probably the hardest blow, when the computerchip factory shut its doors in 2008 with the loss of 850 jobs, effectively ending the town’s association with the international semi-conductor industry; Rolls Royce was a further bitter disappointment in 2012 when 600 jobs were transferred to Renfrewshire; and, most recently, 110 jobs disappeared when Jeyes, the cleaning products firm, closed its doors earlier this year. But according to observers like the Clydesdale’s Iain Duff, when one door closes, another quickly opens. He said: “Of course, it’s sad to see firms like Rolls Royce go, but the space they occupied in the town is now available for incoming firms, and there are still plenty of business people who want to be part of this community.” That includes people like entrepreneur Jim McColl and his Clyde Blowers Capital, which is based in Peel Park as well as China and Switzerland. It has quite a ring to it, doesn’t it - a dynamic, world renowned organisation operating from Beijing, Zurich…and East Kilbride?

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others in sectors such as advanced engineering and electronics, environmental technology, medical and pharmaceutical and, more recently, renewables. Other commercial and industrial sites in East Kilbride are thriving too. In College Milton, Konecranes, part of a worldleading group of lifting businesses, is manufacturing cranes which can lift up to 1000 tons. Known for its culture of safety, reliability and productivityenhancing innovation, Konecranes builds everything from standard overhead cranes to explosion-proof models and components for the demanding nuclear industry. Langlands Business Park also offers expanding companies unique opportunities in a mix of modern industrial units in terraced form with very pleasant external appearances and set in a quality landscaped environment.

Lanarkshire CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

Beautifully presented, SLC HQ

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Savings, Loans and Life Insurance BSL Credit Union is a not-for-profit organisation Membership is open to all who live, work or volunteer in Lanarkshire If you would like further information about our products and services please contact the number below. We would also be very happy to visit any business that would like a presentation on the benefits of credit union membership and the services / products we provide. People helping people, plain and simple

Telephone 01698 711112 Blantyre & South L anarkshire Credit Union Ltd

Blantyre & South Lanarkshire Credit Union is a trading name for Blantyre Credit Union. Registered Office 252 Glasgow Road, Blantyre, Glasgow G72 0YH. Tel 01698 711112 Blantyre Credit Union Ltd is Authorised & Regulated by the Financial Services Authority Firm Ref No 213669


Chamber Members’ News…

Livingstone memorial to bravery

The son of Lanarkshire

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It’s a foreign exchange jungle out there

who brought an end to the misery of slavery

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Lanarkshire CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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hen David Livingstone, fearless explorer, missionary, medical pioneer and vociferous campaigner against slavery, was found dead in his tent in May 1873, he was kneeling beside his bed in an attitude of prayer. It was perhaps a fitting end for the son of Lanarkshire whose birth in a Blantyre tenement 200 years ago has been celebrated this year with a series of events both in Scotland and internationally. It is little wonder that the undaunted determination of the visionary Scot caught not only the imagination of Britain’s Victorian empire, but resonates as strongly for very different audiences today. The mill boy who rose at six to work 14 hours a day went on to secure a medical training before going to Africa in the belief that science could join with religion to help those most in need. By listening to local medicine men, he found that quinine could help ease the blight of malaria. And he became convinced that the “foul blot” of the slave trade would be eradicated if “mercantile men” came to Africa to establish legitimate commercial trade. He is remembered for a life well-lived. Further information about the year of celebration is available at www.davidlivingstone200.org

Homage in Blantyre

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cottish Chambers FX is a Chamber of Commerce partner which assists Scottish businesses, including many exporters in Lanarkshire, to find their way through the foreign exchange jungle. Whether the issue is the current fluctuations in currency markets - the pound has fallen by 7.5% against the US$ and 5.4 per cent against the Euro since the start of this year - or whether there will be more fundamental changes in the future, companies need to protect themselves against currency fluctuations and the associated costs. And while no one can predict where currencies – whether sterling, the Euro, the US dollar or the Yen - are going, foreign exchange planning can help companies to protect themselves from volatile currency fluctuations. By using the services of a specialist broker exporters can manage their foreign exchange exposure. No one knows what the picture will be like in 10 years’ time. We can only speculate. Will Scotland vote to leave the UK? And will what remains of the UK vote to leave the EU? Whatever happens, every business needs to plan for the future and needs as much stability as possible to allow it to manage its future growth. More details are our website, www.scot-fx.com.


Doing well and doing good MCD brings on local talent Fun in the sun for deserving kids

Big-hearted business folk needed to help Lanarkshire’s spina bifida kids

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ith the highest incidence of spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus in Scotland, Lanarkshire is home to over 650 people affected by the condition. They, their carers, and their families are supported by the Scottish Spina Bifida Association (SSBA). Theirs is a condition which can affect any pregnancy, has no known cure and results in lifelong difficulties. In Lanarkshire, the SSBA provides family support, wheelchair training, befriending, health check clinics, support groups for children and adults, an inclusive play area and an intensive programme of support for 0-5 year olds. The SSBA has been building connections with the Lanarkshire business community since establishing its Family Support Centre in Cumbernauld in 2006. Seven years on, the SSBA is asking local businesses to join its ‘Give a Little’ Appeal. Deborah Roe, Director of Fundraising, said, “We should love your support, whether by volunteering, choosing us as a nominated charity for 2014, holding a Christmas raffle or assisting our efforts by contributing to our annual £1 million appeal”. Can your business help the SSBA to provide Lanarkshire families with the reassurance, advocacy, information and support they need most? If you can ‘Give a Little’ to help, please contact fundraising on 01236 794500 or email fundraising@ssba.org.uk

Lanarkshire CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

ith over 60 employees, East Kilbride-based MCD is widely-regarded as a local success story. From formation just 20 years ago when local man Eddie Johnston founded Merchant City Distributors Ltd as a supplier, distributor and installer of builtin and freestanding domestic appliances, MCD has established itself as one of Scotland’s main distributors of quality white goods brands including AEG, Electrolux, Zanussi, Smeg and many more. Boasting a customer base which includes regional and national house builders, building contractors, kitchen manufacturers and trade and studio clients, MCD had seen significant sales growth in its business over the years. This growth was reinforced further four years ago when the company entered into partnership with two companies, Boltonbased Reldown Services and KAI in London to offer its customers a genuinely UK-wide service. In 2012 a satellite branch was opened in Weston-super-Mare to service south west England. Just as it began in 1993, however, MCD continues to recruit locally and its management team is enthusiastic about offering opportunities to local people. For the last eight years the company has been working in partnership with South Lanarkshire College to offer local young people and school leavers the chance to gain valuable experience through work placements, many of which lead to employment in the company. In the last year alone seven young people have been employed by MCD within its warehousing and installation departments. MD Eddie Johnston said: “We work very closely with Diane Ashwood and Ann McCracken from the Training & Employment Team at South Lanarkshire College and it’s great to know that we can always pick up the phone and tell them what opportunities we have available. “They quickly identify and select the young people they think should come along to see us. “Young people nowadays often get a bad press but most of the ones we see are well prepared for work and are keen to get a job. “Diane and Ann can also advise on help with financial incentives and it’s good to be able to work together to help youngsters on their first steps into employment”. Further information on MCD can be found on the company’s website www.mcduk.co.uk. Anyone interested in finding out more about work placements for young people please contact diane.ashwood@slc.ac.uk.

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Eddie Johnston: close links

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At Dalziel Park we mean business, as well as pleasure

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et in the peace and tranquillity of mature woodlands with a 9 hole golf course, ten room hotel, bar, brasserie and stylish restaurant, Dalziel Park Hotel is your top one stop destination when you want to mix business with pleasure. Dalziel Park, Motherwell is situated just a short distance from the M74 and the M8 so it is easily accessible from Edinburgh or Glasgow, thus making it an ideal location for any business meeting. Whether you are planning an event for just 3 or as many as 350 people, you can rest assured Dalziel Park can provide the perfect meeting space for any meeting, conference or private event. With a variety of day delegate packages or individual room hire and half day / full day rates, whatever the event, Dalziel Park has the facilities to suit your needs. All suites are wired with complementary WIFI and there is ample parking in the grounds.  If you would like to combine your meeting with overnight accommodation, we offer preferential rates for overnight stays. Why not mix business with pleasure by taking advantage of our great golf and dine packages to unwind with after a productive business session? Looking for a reason to visit Dalziel Park? You have got it in one! There is also an introductory offer for Chamber Members to try our meeting facilities: free room hire for all conferences with ten delegates or more, with food or drink purchased per delegate. Please call 01698 862 862 quoting Chamber Offer to find out more. This offer expires on 31st of October 2013, so don’t delay.

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SSE Powering-up for 2014 Commonwealth Games Sponsorship

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ith just under a year to go until the opening ceremony of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, SSE, developer and operator of the Clyde Wind Farm near Abingdon in South Lanarkshire, is powering up for its sponsorship of the world’s second largest multi-sports event. SSE is a Tier 1 partner of The Games and through its regional electricity supply brands, it is also Official Partner of Team Scotland (Scottish Hydro), Team England (Southern Electric), Team Wales (SWALEC) and Team Northern Ireland (Airtricity).

THE

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Sponsorship efforts keep you fit

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But will we still be smiling at the finish line?

*^SSE is a trading name of SSE Energy Supply Limited, voted Best for Customer Service every year since 2006 in the uSwitch Customer Satisfaction Reports.

We’ve taken gold in the pretend shooting team contest!

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Lanarkshire CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

Having achieved the uSwitch* award for best customer service from an energy supplier seven years running, SSE will use its sponsorship to continue to engage and motivate its staff in a meaningful manner, encourage dialogue with customers and communities about the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, as well as asking staff to help during Games Time through volunteer opportunities. Following on from the success of London 2012 and how brands engaged with their customers through their sponsorships, the partnerships with Glasgow 2014 and the four home nation teams, will allow SSE to activate its sponsorship across the UK, reaching as many account holders as possible while delivering core messages and experiences to SSE communities in the UK. Wendy Barbour, SSE Director of Commonwealth Games and Sponsorship stated: “At SSE, value and service for our customers and a great place to work for our staff are hugely important to us and as such, we are proud to sponsor the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. “Hosting the Games is a cause of great celebration for the city of Glasgow, Scotland and the UK and we are looking forward to contributing to a fun and active environment surrounding the event in offering opportunities to our customers, staff and the general public to join in and support their home nations.” For further information on SSE please visit: www.sse.com.

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Space to be themselves, learning together.

Strong academic results Equestrian and sporting academies Continued investment New Science Centre opens in August

Kilgraston, Bridge of Earn, Perth PH2 9BQ Telephone: 01738 812257. Fax: 01738 813410 email: headoffice@kilgraston.com www.kilgraston.com Kilgraston School Trust is a charity. Scottish Charity Number SC029664


£4.6 million scheme will help struggling graduates and small businesses in Lanarkshire

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Lanarkshire CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

anarkshire will be a major beneficiary of a bold new £4.6 million scheme involving the Scottish Government and the Scottish Chambers of Commerce to put more than 1000 graduates into work over the next three years. The plan will also be a major boost for small to medium-sized enterprises, which will benefit from help with recruiting future talent from a wide pool to help their businesses grow and prosper. The new policy initiative, called Make Young People Your Business, will have two components. The first will be the £1.2 million Graduate Recruitment Incentive and Adopt an Intern schemes to place unemployed or underemployed graduates in either fixed positions or internships with small businesses over the following year. Evidence suggests that the employment prospects of candidates who have undertaken an internship are significantly improved. Firms with fewer than 50 employees will be eligible under the schemes for specially tailored assistance with the recruitment process, with the aim of creating 270 new vacancies by March next year, 60 of which are earmarked for Lanarkshire.

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The second part of the initiative, which will attract £3.4 million in funding, will go towards the ScotGrad scheme, which supports businesses as they grow and create opportunities for university leavers. Businesses which sign up for the scheme will receive £1500 for each position created as well as, if required, recruitment support relating to the creation of job specifications and advertising. After the position is filled, business support will be available to assist with induction and embedding. Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “This is a win-win for all. The potential of these graduates, coupled with entrepreneurial spirit of small businesses brings innovation and fresh thinking to Scotland’s firms. “A career that starts in a small business can be a great move for a young graduate and make a tangible contribution to that company’s growth.”  Joy Lewis, chief executive of Adopt an Intern, said: “It is imperative that those that work hard in their education are given real opportunities to transfer this drive and enthusiasm to places of employment.” For more information contact Lanarkshire Chamber of Commerce on 01698 426882.


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f you have always aspired to join your admired friends and colleagues in driving a shiny Stuttgartbuilt car with a three pointed star there has hardly been a better time. Offering both class and cost efficiency, not a combination business folk regularly get to consider, two new offerings from Mercedes Benz West of Scotland, are more than likely to impress the neighbours. The C220 CDI Executive SE saloon (see picture) is currently available from £350 a month, while the E200 CDI SE Saloon (also pictured) can be yours from just £335 a month. Both vehicles offer an impressive fuel consumption rating of 68.9 mpg as well as low CO2 figures, just 109g/km for the C220 and 125g/km for the E200. The specification of the C220 boasts a range of features including 16” Alloy wheels, Bluetooth interface for hands-free telephony, Agility Control Suspension and Cruise Control. On the E200 there is, as well as a Bluetooth Interface for hands-free telephony, 17” Alloy Wheels, leather upholstery with heated front seats, Parktronic facility with Active Park Assist and MB’s COMMAND Online System. For more information please contact Eddie McLean, 07971 309574 or Lauren Bowman, 07736 362068 at Stratstone Mercedes Benz West of Scotland.

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By Malcolm Southern

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ME employers in Lanarkshire are now receiving a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions telling them precisely when their organisations must have statutory pension arrangement in place. Known as “auto enrolment”, a number have been turning to pensions’ professionals such as ourselves to help them ensure they don’t fall foul of the planned regulations. And since virtually all workplaces will be affected by the new rules over the next few years, we have added consulting and backroom capacity to cope with existing and new clients’ needs in what we anticipate will prove an extremely busy period. If there is one thing Lanarkshire business owners need to take recognise it is that all employers, large and small, are required to identify their so-called “staging date” as the compulsory legislation impacts upon them.  And since it can take a lengthy “lead in” time to organise a pension arrangement that suits the structure of each organisation’s work force, not to mention the possible additional oncosts to the business,  all employers are urged not to leave things to the last minute. Malcolm Southern (pictured) is Managing Director of Southern Financial Services For advice on auto – enrolment requirements, call 01698 269977 E-mail: msouthern@southernfinancialservices.com

Lanarkshire CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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THE

LCM Environmental Consultants Limited

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School Bus, St. Catherine’s School, Sierra Leone.

Lanarkshire reaches out to Sierra Leone Inside the classroom at St. Catherine’s School, Sierra Leone.

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cotia Aid is a Belshill-based charity and is looking for items to send over to Sierra Leone for schools and medical centres. It is seeking old and unwanted furniture, stationary, uniforms, learning tools, and building equipment which would otherwise go to waste. Anything should be considered: City Building made a valued contribution when it donated old toilets which had been stripped out then cleaned, ready to be re-installed in Africa. For more information please contact 01698 740041 or visit www.scotiaaid.org.

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Advice & Support for Lanarkshire Businesses Business Gateway Lanarkshire works with hundreds of existing businesses each year to support them to achieve their growth ambitions. Operating from headquarters in Coatbridge, we offer a range of support services that includes free expert advice, access to detailed market and business information, a catalogue of free training and business events and links to local authority and partner business support programmes. As part of the service, Business Gateway runs a series of surgeries where business owners and managers can discuss particular issues and opportunities with an expert adviser. Following the meeting a detailed action plan will be produced with practical solutions to the issues discussed. A number of surgeries are planned over the coming months including; • Specialist consultancy for your ICT needs • Tendering & Procurement

• Marketing and digital marketing • Legal advice for businesses

One Lanarkshire business owner who has benefited from the surgeries is Alistair Macneil from Healthy Websites. Alistair commented: “I found the time I spent in the surgery to be very beneficial. It was quickly understood where the company is at in regards to marketing with some immediate action points being identified and a view of what should be considered over the longer term.” To find out how Business Gateway Lanarkshire can help your business, please call us today on 01236

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Top five – Cara Drummond (fifth and from Houston), Judith Beckett (third and from Chesterfield, Derbyshire) Alison MacAulay (first from Whitburn), Gemma Robertson (second and from Houston) and Lauren Gaston (fourth and from Larkhall)

Lanarkshire CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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housands of visitors ensured that a successful Ladies’ Night 2013 at Hamilton Park Racecourse in August was a racing certainty. The Super Six fixture, one of the biggest in the Lanarkshire venue’s 18-event season, drew crowds from across Scotland and beyond with a heady mix of high-stakes racing and haute couture style. The evening’s hugely popular Best Dressed Lady competition, hosted this year by Clyde 1’s Romeo and Knoxy, attracted more than 250 entrants eager to compete for a share of the £3000 overall prize fund. Competition was both friendly and fierce before Alison MacAuley, of Whitburn, was crowned Best Dressed Lady, scooping a £1000 cash prize and a host of other great gifts. Hamilton Park chief executive Vivien Kyles said: “Our Ladies’ Night 2013 was another fantastic evening at the racecourse with more than 7,000 people enjoying the mix of high fashion and racing including the usual intense competition for the Best Dressed Lady title. “Alison MacAulay was a deserving winner on the night and we look forward to welcoming her back to Hamilton Park as special guest at our Fabulous Christmas Ladies’ Lunch on Friday, December 6.” To book any forthcoming race days or night visit: www.hamilton-park.co.uk.

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Horses and Best Dressed Ladies draw the crowds to Hamilton Racecourse

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I Didn’t Get W here I Am Today… Name: Martin McDonald Age:33 What is your company called?  Blacktongue Management Systems What does it do? It provides in-house recruitment servi ces to businesses which don’t have their own recruitment team s. What prompted you to choose this particular activity in which to create a business? I have 12 years in recruitment and I believed there is a better offering that can be provided to SMEs. How did you get started? I was frustrated in my job at a recruitme nt agency. I had been thinking about becoming my own boss for a few years and felt it was “now or never”.

How did you deal with initial setbacks ? I’ve got a pretty thick skin after 12 year s. Was there a particular moment when you realised you were on the path to success? Securing my first pieces of retained work gave me confidence. What constitutes a typical day? Up at 7am, then check the laptop, deal with emails, action to do list for projects and some busin ess development. Then, interviews in clients’ premises or carry ing out Skype interviews with candidates. What keeps you going? The desire to improve my family’s lifest yle.

Who is your ideal employee? People who stay calm and get the job done

.

Who is your nightmare employee? Flash Harry types who promise and don’

t deliver.

What’s the best advice you’ve had over the course of building a business? Keep costs as low as possible. And the worst? Nothing negative springs to mind. If you suddenly attained executive power in Scotland, what would be the first thing you’ d change? Dual the A9. If you could pack it all in tom orrow, and still be comfortably off, would you? Yes, for a while at least.

What’s the best part of your day? Between 10am and 1pm I get a lot done, more than I ever imagined when I worked in a busy office .

If you did, what would be your next move? Go back into business or do some kind of volunteer work.

What’s the bit that really irritates you? Anything which slows me down.

Any regrets? Not having gone to University.

Lanarkshire CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

Were there any sticky moments in the early stages? Not so far.

Have you had help from enterpris e agencies? Yes, great advice from Ronnie Smith at Business Gateway.

THE

How quickly did the business take off? Reasonably quickly; we’re not expensive so companies aren’t taking a huge gamble trying me out.

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Sector feature

Feature your sector. Get in touch with your stories incommerce@lanarkshirechamber.org

The science of making money: R&D TAX CREDITS IN LANARKSHIRE

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And it is not just companies involved in the white heat of technological progress who are coming up with new ideas in Lanarkshire. Sectors such as food, business systems, manufacturing and education are on top of their game as well. This is something of which Lanarkshire can be justifiably proud. With exports of £2.3 billion each year - 12% of Scotland’s total - and a business growth rate of double that of Scotland as a whole, the area has come out of recession and hit the ground running. It is also exactly the kind of home-based, innovative, value-enhancing and job-creating growth that governments past and present have been keen to encourage as UK plc faces exponentially increasing pressure from emerging economies as well as traditional competitors.

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Lanarkshire CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

Google search for Lanarkshire technology companies returns 279,000 results in a creditable 0.26 seconds. A further search for Lanarkshire science companies takes slightly longer, at 0.30 seconds, but comes up with an impressive 424,000 results. It would be encouraging to think that the ancient county was now so full of cutting edge enterprises that you couldn’t turn a corner without tripping over one, but we have to reluctantly accept that these results may contain an element of duplication. That said, there is no doubt that Lanarkshire continues to punch above its weight as the technological revolution continues to gather pace, playing host to firms large and small who are pushing the boundaries of change in our working and personal lives.

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Opening the R&D tax credit money box


For further information about Jumpstart, phone 0131 240 2900. E-mail: helpinghand@jumpstartuk.co.uk or visit www.jumpstartuk.co.uk.

THE

More than 60 companies in North and South Lanarkshire have received R&D tax relief totalling nearly £11 million between 2007 and 2012. This is a direct result of submissions made to HMRC by Jumpstart on their behalf. By far the greatest activity has taken place from 2009, when Jumpstart’s business model began to achieve critical mass. A number of companies have achieved enhancements every year for five years, with some annual reliefs in excess of £530,000. Credits vary greatly between companies, depending on their circumstances and the nature of their R&D claim. Total credits for individual firms over the period range from £14,612 to £1,219,000. Individual annual reliefs vary from £13,300 to £533,000. Jumpstart is a Scottish Chambers of Commerce partner.

“That leaves the rest: manufacturers, engineers, software makers, designers, science consultancies - virtually anyone who can demonstrate that they have discovered a new and better way of doing something. “And therein lies the problem - getting companies to recognise and realise the worth of what they are doing, even if, to them, their operations seem like everyday activities which are just part and parcel of the business.” Mr Williamson said that the reasons company executives fail to investigate the full potential of R&D tax credits are many and varied. Some believe that it just isn’t worth it, because they don’t think they do enough R&D. Some simply don’t want HMRC knowing more about their business than absolutely necessary. Some even think it’s a loan, which will eventually have to be repaid. Some argue that they have claimed unsuccessfully in the past, or that they are already claiming, but this ignores that a fresh investigation may uncover new or additional qualifying criteria. Other misconceptions include the belief that a company is disbarred from tax relief if it is not currently paying any tax; that it is ineligible because it is already obtaining grant funding (this may reduce relief, but would not disqualify it); or that its research was not a commercial or technical success. This last is a common misconception. To qualify, the outcome of research must be uncertain, and there is no surer indicator of uncertainty than failure. The fact remains that, while Lanarkshire businesses have a lot going for them at the moment, there are very few who would be in the happy position of being able to turn down the opportunity of a significant tax concession or even a very welcome lump sum. R&D relief may not apply to everyone, but it is certainly worth finding out if it applies to you.

Lanarkshire CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

Technology businesses can win big on R&D tax credits

In order to maintain the UK’s competitive edge, research and development (R&D) tax credits were introduced for SMEs in 2000 and extended to large companies the following year. They have continued to evolve and develop to take account of changing circumstances. The attraction to government in terms of an economic catalyst is quite clear. Analyses of UK claims indicate that every £1 of tax foregone by the schemes stimulates £3 of R&D expenditure. The attraction to companies is even clearer. A properly submitted and successful claim provides a relief which either reduces a company’s tax bill or, for some small or medium sized companies, provides a cash sum. The rewards have become even greater recently. The 2011 Budget increased relief for small companies - under 500 employees to 200% of qualifying R&D expenditure and to 225% last year. Even loss-making SMEs may be entitled to a cash payment worth 25% of their qualifying spend. But what business people must bear in mind is that R&D tax relief does not apply solely to companies where the employees wear white coats and bubble up strange concoctions in test tubes and Petri dishes. It is not a reward for scattergun, blue-sky thinking. This is a common misunderstanding and it goes a long way towards explaining why so many businesses, despite the fact that they might benefit from such reliefs, simply do not see themselves as the type of organisation which is involved in R&D. In fact, the range of qualifying activities is astonishingly wide, and boils down to a simple principle: that if you change the state of something or the way something is done, you may be eligible. That applies to business systems and administrative processes as well as making the next technological quantum leap. There is no doubt that the submission process for an R&D tax relief claim is complex and time-consuming, and that is why specialist companies have developed in recent years to guide applicants through the process. The leading Scottish specialist and a major UK player is Edinburghbased Jumpstart, which has increased its staff from three in 2008 to more than 100 now and currently is pushing ahead with a vigorous internationalisation strategy. Brian Williamson, managing director of Jumpstart, said that in the five years he has been involved with the company, one of his greatest difficulties has been persuading exciting, innovative companies that they are eligible for sums that could, quite literally, keep them afloat. He said: “As far as who is eligible for R&D tax relief, it is easier to list who is not - that is, companies in the financial sector, retail, real estate and hospitality, all of whom are users of technology, rather than initiators.

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Knowing your terrain…

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THE

Lanarkshire CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

Scullion Law’s Martin Carey

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or a business, our economic climate dictates that the ‘penny saved is a penny earned’ view makes perfect sense, but it overlooks the crucial insight a lawyer can give into knowing your terrain. This does not mean knowing your market, it means knowing what is required in order to avoid problems that are of greater expense than the legal fee you will be asked for. How will you set-up your business? A lawyer can talk you through the pros and cons of structuring your company as a partnership, a limited liability partnership, a limited company or as a sole trader. How will you split the profits of your company? Having a concise partnership agreement or share agreement ensures no owner need be misunderstood about their stake. Suppose you are rolling out a franchise, a license agreement tailormade to your needs will ensure protection of your rights. If your business is a franchise, confusing legal language will often need to be translated. To be forearmed is to be forewarned. For most businesses premises will be fundamental. A property lawyer can guide you through purchasing a premises or ensuring a fair tenancy agreement. If it is not fair, then at the very least your lawyer will ensure you fully understand the dangers. Consulting your lawyer on the formation of a contract will minimise contentious contractual issues further down the road. For example employment issues may arise and assistance will be required with hiring and firing processes: neglecting the laws in this area can cost a business dearly. No matter the integrity of a contract however, business can’t escape bad debt. If your customers can pay, a lawyer will make sure they do. If they can’t pay, a lawyer will make sure you can ‘claw back’ through insolvency processes. If you cannot pay, your lawyer will assist you with managing your position. There is always a temptation to scour a search engine for your answer, but the legal profession urges you not to. Legal costs of a small and recurring nature to keep your business happily ticking over are preferable for both you and your lawyer than one big fee to solve a difficult matter, a matter which could have been avoided with prudent professional spending. All businesses will hit stormy seas, the difference between sailing them and sinking in them is in your power with a call to a local solicitor today.


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Christina Mckelvie, MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse

We’re up for achieving career success!

Give youngsters the skills to flourish

THE

Lanarkshire CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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t’s a funny old world. Struggling companies, unemployment, pressure on benefits across the country, and yet Scotland’s economy is in far better health than many of us realise. The Office for National Statistics has just shown that Scottish unemployment has fallen for the seventh month in a row. That means our unemployment is actually lower than anywhere else in the four nations of the UK. At the core of growth and economic regeneration lies investment in people, especially in young people. This is where everyone’s future prosperity lies. So it was great to see an announcement of an investment package worth nearly £90 million to support jobs for young people in the South Lanarkshire at the end of July. This is funding that will help young people like the graduates I recently joined at the University of the West of Scotland, held in Hamilton Town Hall. As I looked around that hall, I saw young people full of hope and with fantastic aspirations, ready to carry on learning in the workplace and building great careers for themselves. They are our future, and we need to give them every opportunity to flourish. Employers constantly tell training providers that they need young people with life skills, who understand what it means to work as part of a team, be responsible for one another and to the company.

Learning the job skills, they say, is crucial but not the most difficult part once you have enthusiastic talent in place. That there are now 25,000 apprenticeships available in Scotland each year is a smart response to that demand. Lanarkshire is getting a fair bite of the cherry. This is something that was made very evident when Scottish Power began investing in my constituency recently. The company will open a brand new office complex in Hamilton that will create up to 900 jobs. It’s a massive vote of confidence in this area. As I said at the opening ceremony, this is a great testament to the skills, drive and determination of our local people. We have seen 3,909 commercial rate-payers in South Lanarkshire benefiting from the Small Business Bonus Scheme to the tune of rates relief worth £7,772,679 in the last year. Now, that’s a rebate that counts for business growth. Renewable energy is developing rapidly and South Lanarkshire’s wind is growing in value. The Spirit of Lanarkshire Wind Cooperative launched its share issue early in July, aiming to raise up to £2.7 million for two wind farm developments in the area. If the share issue is over-subscribed, priority will be given to local residents. Here’s to a future of fresh investment and development of our human resources here.


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Lanarkshire InCommerce - Issue 11