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means Start-ups - Entrepreneurs - Enterprise



makes the perfect company car


Tour de France comes to Yorkshire | What to do if you’re kidnapped | Samsung Galaxy S5 review | Sir Steve Redgrave talks leadership | Gareth Thomas talks life after sport | Fresh Business Thinking LIVE! | International Trade Expo | International Festival of Business | Great British Entrepreneur Awards | Naked Wines

means Start-ups - Entrepreneurs - Enterprise

Britain means business. I’m not recalling the title of this magazine, it’s a statement. Great Britain really is a great nation for business. And there is no greater symbol of British business than the MINI. When we were meeting about the content for this magazine, it didn’t take long to decide on the main feature. Since it was first manufactured under the subsidiary of BMW in 2001, MINI has maintained its good ‘ole Britishness

whilst taking advantage of 21st century British engineering. We’ve got fantastic features for you in this edition of Britain Means Business. If you spent your childhood pretending to be James Bond, or a Bond girl, ‘I SPY’ is an absolute must read. Trust me! I take a look at the Samsung Galaxy S5 and see whether or not it’s good for business. And, we preview four great British business events coming up in 2014; Fresh Business Thinking LIVE!, International Trade Expo, International Festival for Business and Great British Entrepreneur Awards.

Britain most certainly means business. Do you mean business as well? Jonathan Davies Editor

Managing Editor Francesca James, Editor Jonathan Davies, Features Editor, Marcus Leach, Marketing Manager Alex Shea, Marketing Executive Piers Thompson, Advertising Manager Jonathan Walker, Art Director Suzanne Ault, Design and Layout Design with Home A Freshly Made Content publication

Contents 2 Sir Steve Redgrave; Taking Leadership from Boat to Business Marcus Leach talks to Sir Steve Redgrave about leadership skills in the boat and in business.

5 Making the Most of Hospitality at Le Tour de France The world's biggest bicycle race kicks off in Yorkshire this year. The Essential Cyclist looks at the finer ways to enjoy the Grand Depart.

10 Samsung Galaxy S5 Review Does

Samsung's latest Galaxy installment mean business? Find out on page 10.

12 The Future of Social Media Social Media is

ever changing and evolving. But what does the future hold?

15 I SPY Ever wondered what to do if you were kidnapped?

20 International Trade Expo 24 Fresh Business Thinking We preview this

summer's two must-attend events for business owners and entrepreneurs.

27 Travel Tips Business travel can be tough. These 10 tips will help.

28 International Festival for Business (IFB 2014) Britain's biggest business festival comes to the North West in June/July. Britain Means Business caught up with two of the driving forces behind it.

31 Naked Wines - Wine Review Three white. Three red. Six bottles. Six reviews.

33 Why MINI Makes the Perfect Company Car Jonathan Davies takes a look at the brand new MINI Cooper D Hatch.

36 Getting Greatness from your Employees The boss of Kaspersky Lab give his tips on getting greatness from your staff.

39 GBEA Preview With the Great British

Entrepreneur Awards in London for a second time this year, we spoke to its founder.

40 Boosting Exports Born out of the campaign to boost exports, now helping to boost exports.

42 The Rise and Rise of Crowdfunding

Crowdcube's founder explains the modern method of raising finance.

44 Life After Sport Welsh and British & Irish

Lions rugby legend, Gareth Thomas discusses his life after sport.

Sir Steve Redgrave Taking Leadership from Boat to Business For many years now the worlds of sport and business have been linked. At first it was through sponsorship, but now, as more and more ex-professional sports men and women transist from sport to a career in business, we are learning that skills honed in sporting environments are hugely valuable in business. None more so than leadership skills. But what is leadership? Are leaders born or are they nurtured through circumstance? Should one lead by example or through their words? These are all questions that can, depending on who you ask, prompt very different answers, as all leaders are different. One of British sport’s most iconic leaders of recent years is five time Olympic gold medalist, Sir Steve Redgrave. We caught up with the man who himself now applies the skills he learnt in the boat to a business context through the work he does with Athlete Career Transition (ACT). 2

What is Leadership to you? In a sporting context it’s leading by example. It’s showing everybody that’s involved in the group that everyone is virtually equal, and that everyone has got to stand up and do their bit. Within that, if everyone is doing that process then the unit is going to be stronger for it.

In your opinion, should leaders lead through their actions or their words? I think that if you look at a rowing environment, because the role you do is very similar - the process of rowing is that everybody is doing exactly the same movements at exactly the same time, and that is part of the sport in someways - it’s being able to coordinate and do it together. So your experienced athletes are going to have more knowledge from

that process because they have done it more often, and thus have the potential to feed more back into the group. But then you also have young people coming in with something to offer. Everything always moves on, so you have to take people’s views of what they put in to the whole process. Just because you may be a first year international, that doesn’t make it that they don’t know everything about moving a boat, or moving a boat faster. So leading by actions is important, but also by words. What we used to have was a system where we would have a briefing before each water-based training session, and then a de-brief at the end. They were both conducted on an equal basis - if you’ve got a little bit more status I suppose you’re given the opportunity to guide that process a little bit more. But everybody had an equal footing to get their input into that environment.

Is it down to a captain then, to make newcomers feel like they have an equal voice? It depends on the group itself. If you take our Sydney four, James Cracknell used to get very frustrsted with almost every training session we did. So when we did a debrief, having put the boat back onto the rack he would be first to speak as he had to get off his chest the frustrations he had. It would then go through the group, where our coach would join us. We didn’t really have a captain as such, and I suppose if we did have a captain I would have been classed as that person, but the way I wanted that group to run and evolve was that everybody was there on an equal footing and we are all trying to ahceive the same thing. As long as everyone was having their say and having their input, then I think that works well as a unit. James would be the first to speak, Matthew and I would be more a case of sometimes we would speak, sometimes we wouldn’t. Tim would be the last to speak normally, he was a very laid back character, whereas James is very negative on his views, Tim was always very positive. So you would be leading the discusion taking on the low points, but walking away with the positives, as well.

Do leaders grow out of circumstance, or are they born? I think you can be nurtured into the role. I wouldn’t have classed myself as a born leader. I wouldn’t have said “boo” to a goose in my early days. Then when you build up not just your conifdence, but your ability, some very, very quiet people tend to make more of a verbal role once they’re in the thickness of competitive sport. Somebody out of the boat who might hide themselves away, sometimes can be very motivating and a leadership type of person due to their passion and desire of the common goal and what they are trying to get out of the unit. By transferring that through to business, I feel that everybody has a role to play and views on where things should move forward. I think in a business structure you tend to have more layers of management, so people who are supposed to be guiding influences, the better ones at that have an open door policy. That will involve discussion, taking on people’s views who may be very novice in the set up.

Can leaders from the sporting world be good leaders in a business context? The skills you learn in the sporting world are very relevant in the business world, it is just about transferring them over. At the end of the day you are a part of a team in both worlds and it is about leaders in business helping to nurture those who have come in from a professional sporting world and the two parties learning from each other. I think the two are very similar; the drive, the determination, the passion. I think there is a lot of planning, there is a lot of structure involved. If you arrive without that passion, without that desire, without that focus, without that bloody mindedness, you are not going to achieve, or are unlikely to achieve, what you set out to do. It takes hard work and determination to achieve, and that’s the same with business. Marcus Leach Website: Twitter: @actpathway



Making the Most of

Hospitality at Le Tour de France

Major sporting events are big business, and with one of the world’s most iconic coming to our shores this summer there is money to be made.

Ever since it was announced that the first three stages of this year’s Tour de France would be held in England, there has been plenty of excitement at the prospect, not least amongst those firms who are offering hospitality packages. Chief amongst them is the Dare 2b Yorkshire Festival of Cycling, a celebration of all things two-wheeled that will

offer a unique opportunity for anyone who loves cycling to be part of the Grand Depart. The Essential Cyclist caught up with Emily Challis, Project Manager for the Festival of Cycling, to find out a little more about why hospitality is such big business and why it isn’t just aimed at the big corporate these days.


The Essential Cyclist is about the person, not the machine. The Essential Cyclist is the go to publication for the active, successful professional who has a keen interest in cyclist lifestyle, health, fitness, food, travel and fashion. The Essential Cyclist features intelligent content and in-depth features for those who know that cycling is indeed, the new golf. 6

Why is hospitality such big business at sporting events? When an international sporting event, such as the Tour de France, comes to the UK, guests want to ensure they get the best possible experience of the day. As such, people are often willing to pay extra to guarantee themselves a good view, a little luxury, first class service and a day out to remember.

Those who can’t afford hospitality might see it purely as a money-making tool for event organisers. Is this the case? Not at all. We want to offer a first class experience for all our guests, but for those wanting to pay a little more, hospitality offers something different and at Harewood House, something unique. We see that a lot of our guests are looking to add something to make their weekend special, whether that be camping, glamping or hospitality and it makes sense to offer different package levels. We work with the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), who put on the Tour, and Welcome to Yorkshire to ensure our hospitality offerings are approved and recognised.

Is there a danger that hospitality ends up being used by businesses looking to impress clients? I don’t think there is a danger necessarily in this happening. If there is forward thinking and events are well prepared and

have options in place for both corporate and private guests to enjoy the day, then genuine fans can come along without being priced out.

What about the ‘real’ fans, is hospitality a viable option for them? Our bookings indicate that ‘real’ fans are excited about coming to the festival and have been booking hospitality steadily since release. We have a separate package for private bookings which is priced lower than our corporate package so that private parties can see that they are very much welcome to the festival along with our business clients.

How much interest has there been in the Festival of Cycling’s hospitality packages? There has been a fantastic level of interest from both private parties coming along with the family and friends,

as well as from local and national businesses wanting to experience the Tour with their staff and clients. We have been really pleased with the uptake of the packages which indicates the packages are well positioned for the target market.

What is the Festival of Cycling doing to ensure their hospitality packages are both of a high quality and value for money? Our prices are in line with other major UK sporting events and we did look at what other high quality sporting events were offering their clients in hospitality packages. The Tour is a one day event for us at Harewood so it’s a lot of work to build an entire hospitality village for a single day. Our prices reflect the high quality service we will provide at one of England’s finest estates.

Does the fact that the Tour de France is seldom in England make it more popular than other events? Absolutely. This is potentially a once in a lifetime experience and people are definitely wanting to make the most of it! ‘Olympic fever’ has meant that hard-core Tour de France fans are being joined by general sporting fans wanting to get in on the action.

Has the increased profile of cycling over recent years helped boost sales of hospitality packages? Difficult question to answer as this is our inaugural event, but undoubtedly so. Cycling has grown so much in the last few years with the success of British riders in the Tour and the Olympics, that it’s now very well supported in the UK. To find out more about the Dare 2b Yorkshire Festival of Cycling visit


Samsung Galaxy S5

Business Gadgets A business always wants its products to be a huge success. But given that in April, Samsung forecast a dip in its profits for a second consecutive month, the Korean giant will be particularly keen for the latest in its line of smartphones to be the one everyone wants. Samsung’s problem is that despite being the world’s largest manufacturer of smartphones, the smartphone market has become increasingly saturated with new manufacturers and new models. That means the prices of high-end smartphones, like the Samsung Galaxy S5 have been driven down. The latest Samsung and Apple devices are always high on people’s wish lists. But does the latest installment of the Galaxy range offer anything that makes it stand out from the crowd? The first things you notice when turning on the S5 are the vibrancy and colour of the screen. You’re greeted with


the default lock screen which perfectly boasts this; a rainbow coloured mosaic with an explosion of small bubbles.

Unfortunately the inferior camera on my own phone doesn’t do it justice. But the vibrancy continues throughout the rest of the phone. None of the colour or crisp detail is lost anywhere else. The operating system is one of the smoothest and most fluid I’ve ever used. Switching between home screens is quick, easy and seamless. And apps appear to come to life, jumping out at you when the icon is pressed; no hint of even the slightest bit of lag.

Business features The S5 has a few features which I think make this phone the most appealing for business use. Top of the bill for me is the ‘Ultra Power Saving Mode’. Do your ‘always on’ apps drain your battery,

leaving you with 10% left to make those crucial, contract winning phone calls? Of course they do. ‘Ultra Power Saving Mode’ does everything it can to reduce the chances of this happening. It turns off all nonessential features and services and turns the screen black and white. This feature can make even 10% of the battery last up to 24 hours. You can even customise which apps are left on. So if your battery is dwindling and you’re due to take part in a Twitter chat in 5 minutes, you’ve got the battery life to do it. It also turns off mobile data when the screen turns off and switches off connectivity features such as WiFi and Bluetooth. I turned on ‘Ultra Power Saving Mode’ when the battery was at 57%, it estimated the maximum standby time would be 7.1 days! ‘Download booster’ is another feature businesspeople will find useful. As you might imagine, download booster boosts your download speeds. It combines a WiFi signal with your mobile data to download your files quicker – which should be pretty quick if you’re on 4G! If you do a lot of driving, you can still make use of the S5 on the road. ‘Car mode’ uses S Voice, Samsung’s voice recognition feature, to allow drivers to use some essential services whilst driving. Following the words, “Hi

Not showerproof. Not splashproof. Waterproof. Galaxy” you can make calls, send texts, play music and operate the navigation. It also comes with cloud storage apps Dropbox and Google Drive pre-installed and has a built-in ‘Killswitch’ which ‘breaks’ the device if it’s stolen. Speaking of stealing...! The S5 has a fingerprint scanner aimed at making online payments more secure.

S Health If you like to stay healthy outside of work, the S5 comes ready with a new app called ‘S Health’. It can help set fitness goals, check your progress and keep track of your overall health. If you don’t want to sign in with your Samsung account, simply enter your basic details (name, gender, date of birth, height, weight) and it gives you your BMI. You can monitor your heart rate and set walking, running and cycling exercises.

Camera With businesses increasingly creating content and sharing it via social media, everyone needs a quality camera on their smartphone. That’s exactly what you get with the S5. The camera doesn’t lose any of the vibrancy or crisp detail you get beaming out of the screen. There’s also a feature which allows you to see what the image will look like in HD. And you can even select certain areas of the image to focus on.

Waterproof The S5’s party piece involves getting wet. In addition to being ‘dustproof’, the device is waterproof. Not showerproof. Not splashproof. Waterproof. Samsung says the S5 will work for 30 minutes in 1 metre of water. You just have to make sure the USB port is closed and the battery cover is shut (there’s even a warning when one is open!). Does it really work? Well, this rather reluctant journalist filled the office kitchen sink with water and went for it. And it works! I even took an underwater selfie! (above right) And the proof it’s underwater (right). A word of warning though, when you pull the phone out of the water it’s a good idea to lock the phone and unlock it, otherwise it can be a little slow to operate.

The Specs Screen size 5.1” Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen. Screen resolution 1080 x 1920 pixels. Dimensions 142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm (5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 in) Memory 16/32 GB internal storage, 2 GB RAM. microSD, up to 128 GB. Camera 16 MP, 5312 x 2988 pixels, face detection autofocus, LED flash. Operating System Android 4.4 (KitKat) Processor Quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 400

Jonathan Davies


The Future of

Social Media Social media has become a staple of business. It has become almost essential for a business to be active on at least one social platform.

And as we look to harness it as a tool for growth, we must look to the future. What is the future of social media? I travelled to New York in February for Social Media Week. Since my return, I’ve noticed a number of trends that were spoken about which embody what the future holds for social media.

Quality not quantity You can reach too many people. Surely the holy grail of social media or any form of digital marketing is as wide a reach as possible, right? No, says Jonah Peretti, CEO and co-founder of Buzzfeed. His 45-minute keynote interview was one of the highlights of Social Media Week. Peretti’s message was if your content is in front of the wrong people it could actually damage your brand. No one


wants a ‘so what?’ response. This all boils down to audience research and targeting content. He also stressed the importance of taking time to get your content right – the quizzes on Buzzfeed that are so popular right now actually evolved over six years of experimentation and tweaking. I’ve been talking to friends, colleagues and social media managers at other businesses since listening to Peretti. This idea is already taking shape. Quality content is also fundamental to the trendsetting Millennials or Gen Y audience, the 20-somethings who embrace new platforms and bring them to the fore. Markham Nolan, Managing Editor of the Gen Y global social news network Vocativ. com, pointed out that one of the biggest misconceptions about this demographic is that they prefer “shallow or simple content”. “At Vocativ, we don’t have as much content as other sites but we go into stories much deeper,” he countered.

Vanity metrics A much-used phrase – vanity metrics is a term used to describe the idea of getting as many Facebook likes, Twitter followers or +1s as possible. Think about when Facebook landed in 2004, if you were into it then it was almost a competition to see who could get the most friends. Same with Twitter followers. But did you really know who 90% of those

people were? It was the same story for brands and companies when they first dipped their toes into the social media pool – brand awareness meant getting as many likes as possible. It’s quite clear that the focus has shifted and it comes back to quality not quantity. The onus is on top quality content targeted at the right audience who will engage with it, the aim being to build a lasting relationship that’s going to translate into brand advocacy or loyalty.

Get optimised for mobile! If your site is not mobileoptimised, then you are missing out on a serious amount of traffic generated, not only by unique visits, but social media shares too. Did you know that 45% of Mashable’s visitors view the site on a mobile? And that number is growing, according to Mashable’s Chief Strategy Officer, Adam Ostrow. As businesses continue to use social media to share content, the article page will become the new homepage, where the vast majority of traffic comes from articles that have been shared on social.

Video, video, video It’s been received wisdom that on social, rich content that includes video does best – a stat from HubSpot, The Science of Facebook (2011) revealed that posts with

the word ‘video’ in them are shared 30% more on Facebook than posts that do not. In the future, this is set to increase. Buzzfeed has just set up its own production studio in Los Angeles to make its own entertainment videos – where one goes, others will follow.

Dark sharing Speaking just a day before Facebook announced its $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp on 19 February, Jonah Peretti suggested that messaging apps would be the future of social media as early adopters who once flocked to Facebook and other more ‘visible’ platforms get sick of sharing their lives openly and opt instead for private messaging, or ‘dark sharing’ between closed groups. Mark Zuckerberg’s move, which according to a Forbes article, began with a courtship dating back two years, suggests that he thinks so too. Are we really going to ignore Mark Zuckerberg when it comes to the future of social media? Platforms like WhatsApp and Snapchat are the future of ‘dark sharing’ and the future of social media. So there you have it. Even though it’s a quickly evolving world, the future of social media lies in quality content (not quantity!), vanity metrics, mobile, video and ‘dark sharing’. Angela Everitt, Social Media Guru for Southerly.



I SPY... It’s hard work being a spy. On a freezing January afternoon somewhere outside London I discretely run up a hill to keep pace with my target. If noticed, I might look like someone torn between the idea of a brisk walk or some gentle cardio as I alternate quick runs with purposeful strides. Not that it matters, so long as the target stays in sight and I remain unseen.

Thirty metres ahead a casually dressed, middleaged man approaches the high-street carrying a plastic bag in his left hand. Inside the bag is a package I have earlier observed being passed to him on a park bench. The package has proved to be a game-changer in the two hours since we first identified the target and as such, the man has progressed from being

‘suspicious’ to ‘potentially dangerous’. I say ‘we’ because I am not alone. With me are two former Secret Intelligence Service officers who are coaching me and another woman in the basics of operational surveillance. As this is our first ‘field op’, we are paired with an agent and must follow and memorise his movements. Street surveillance has its own rules and it takes patience tracking a target unseen. Radios and ear-pieces help us with the task. ‘Keep painting the picture’ the agent tells us. This is surveillance-speak for providing a narrative of what the target is doing: everything must be accurately described for the backup team to visualise a scene they can’t yet see. The target takes us on a relentless journey up and down streets, along alleyways, through a housing estate and finally to a car-park where I spot him examining something in the boot of a car. When I hear the words ‘explosive devices’ our foot-chase ends. A speedy and discrete vehicle pursuit plays out and leads us to a farm. The denouement

is loud, aggressive and final. At the height of the shouting the target gets down on his knees and an agent beckons me to search him. My adrenalin is everywhere and I start fumbling with the man’s jacket. Then he looks me dead in the eyes: ‘It’s ok, you can stop now’ he says, with a smile. I heard about Secret Me, a spy training school run by former Special Forces and Intelligence agents in a short newspaper review. At first, I thought it was a joke. Spy schools are not generally advertised, though I have occasionally seen full-page, MI6 recruitment advertisements. MI6 outlines the practice of spy craft (surveillance; team-work and secrecy) but their advertising bats off any suggestion that the job resembles James Bond and his hedonistic life style: instead the agency describes spying as a career ‘that fits in with family life’. Secret Me caught my attention because “We train people to keep their heads when all about them are losing theirs”. They describe themselves as working “with clients from a broad range of professional and personal backgrounds to better


understand their limits and help them build the emotional and mental resilience required to extend them”. The course is by invitation and was described as a luxury weekend experience at an unnamed location with a curriculum offering Combat Skills (live shooting with pistols and rifles), Surveillance Techniques, Kidnap & Escapology, Cyber Skills, Threat Recognition (martial arts) and some glamorous Bond-esque, add-ons such as: Seduction & Persuasion, Drinks & Poisons, Poker & Hustling and Appearance & Style. Equally tantalising was a description of the weekend as the first part of a spytraining process: the weekend - known as The Camp - can be followed by Phase 2, a five day experience with further training in core skills and ‘scenario based’ work in Europe; then graduates from Phase 2 who make the grade can go forward to Phase 3 for a week-long mission overseas.


I sent an email through the Secret Me website and penned a rambling thesis about my suitability as a trainee spy. Not having a precedent for this I listed my favourite spy authors (Fleming; Le Carre & Graham Greene); and nominated Three Days of the Condor, The Bourne Identity and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold as the best spy movies ever made. I probably should have left it there but warming to the theme I included an anecdote about a time in my early 30s when I created aliases as a means of surviving dinner parties where your neighbour asks ‘what do you do for a living’ as the first course touches down and intuitively you know it’s going to be a long haul to the coffee. I used to memorise the details of someone else’s life and paid scrupulous attention to the jargon of a job description. I should add that this was pre 9/11 so it would be less than appropriate to say some of these things now but with my

best poker face, I sometimes described working as an arms dealer or as a senior research scientist for Boeing. I failed once - and spectacularly - when having introduced myself as a special advisor to the Ukrainian Ambassador, my companion replied in fluent Ukraine. A week later I meet the cofounder and CEO, Sara Fazlali for breakfast at a London hotel. I have received an invitation to join Phase 1 of the course - subject to security vetting - and I will shortly receive a confidential questionnaire I have been asked to answer honestly. ‘Have people lied on their application form?’ I ask. ‘We have turned people away for lying. It’s an absolute no-go for us to ensure the safety of our clients.’ Since Secret Me launched, participants have included business leaders, entrepreneurs, CEOs, celebrities and high net-worth individuals from around the globe. Counter-intuitively, could the course attract the

wrong sort of applicant? ‘That’s why we have a solid vetting procedure. We check everyone very carefully’. Breakfast is mainly for me to ask questions about the weekend, but my instinct as a film executive with a career in logistics is to quiz Sara about the legality of the course. So I ask about licensing and permissions (in relation to the firearms training), health and safety, insurance, staff profiles and qualifications -‘yes, all the instructors are former SAS, SBS and secret service personnel’, Sara confirms. But I am still curious. The thinking behind the business

The course is by invitation and was described as a luxury weekend experience at an unnamed location.

I SPY...

fascinates me. There can’t be that many people with Special Forces and secret service contacts in their phone book who can go out and set up a commercial personal development business. We order more coffee and I wonder about the chic and obviously youthful woman sat opposite me. I start by guessing her age, she is 31. First there are the Degrees: she holds four including a Masters from Oxford; a Masters from Kings College, London and currently she is half way through a PhD in War Studies. After Oxford, she worked for the UK government, the United Nations and then with development programs and human rights projects, often in Africa. She seems incredibly young to have packed all this in but then military entrepreneurs don’t tend to hug the spotlight like digital geniuses, so why shouldn’t she have done all this by her mid twenties? What was the inspiration, I ask? ‘Working in war zones and difficult situations, I discovered that you become very honest with yourself about what you can and cannot do. In Africa the pressures were different to anything I had previously encountered. I found a selfconfidence that challenged who I thought I was. So much of our perceived confidence is built around peer review – what our colleagues and friends think – and the bravado that comes from that’. As Sara worked increasingly with leaders and CEOs she was often surprised how unaware they were about their personal security ‘and I

mean security in the broadest sense, not just physical security but how a general ignorance about technology can compromise someone’s safety. Today it’s not just companies who are vulnerable but business leaders have become targets’. Spotting a gap in the market, Sara and her business partner realised there didn’t seem to be anything of substance to help wealthy and influential people look after themselves. ‘Outside of the military, if someone wants to do something about their personal protection they either hire a team to look after them or they can go on a hostile environment training course’. With a luxurious approach in mind, Sara and her business partner knew they wanted to do something of quality, with discretion, in a safe and comfortable setting. ‘We had many ideas when we started but we whittled the list down to ten areas of training and then made a wish list of our best-ofthe-best instructors’. ‘Is Secret Me an expensive, personal protection

training course?’ ‘We are offering protection training but that on its own would be dull so we have made it slightly tongue in cheek. We thought if you are a spy you can be everything and nothing; you can choose who you are, try on different identities and maybe even find out more about yourself’. ‘From the start I wanted to infuse some old-fashioned glamour into the experience so we have been deliberately playful with the Bond elements for our clients to have fun. And these aspects have a purpose because they explore the subliminal side of strength. As a business woman I have never been able to understand why women have to suppress their femininity to be powerful, so I wanted some Audrey Hepburn in the mix to counterpoint Bond’. What happened when you went out and pitched this to your ‘best of the best’ military and intelligence contacts? ‘Well, we were very lucky; everyone we approached said yes’. Five of us share a helicopter out of Battersea

Heliport one Friday lunchtime - destination unknown. Our group includes a Russian couple, resident in London; a scion of one of England’s wealthiest families, a city financier and me. This information has flowed from introductions and small talk shared over champagne and canapes prior to our departure. It will also prove to be the extent of what we know officially about each other over the weekend. Forty five minutes later we set down on the lawn of a substantial, country house in a valley bordered by snowcapped mountains. The instructors begin the sessions by introducing themselves with a short resume of their careers. This has the effect of creating an atmosphere of instant reverence: everyone is highly trained and experienced and all have seen conflict in different ways, whether in Regiments posted to Iraq and Afghanistan or chasing down people who have chosen chaos and destruction as a way of life.


I SPY...

Our first session is three hours of martial arts and self defence: we are shown, then practice, smart escapology movements, designed to save our lives should we find a knife at our throat or a gun at the back of the head. The physical challenges – martial arts, pistol shooting, live rifles and the surveillance detail – are scheduled from the morning until 5pm and are punctuated inbetween with talks, often in the library next to an open fire. A former communications agent illustrates with ease how detailed information can be found about each of us in the public domain. We are offered some digital tools to use in our lives. In another talk, a professional hostage negotiator works through the psychology of decision making under stress and the value of emotional intelligence. The men on the course have all shot before but I have never picked up a pistol or rifle in my life. In the pistol class I am pleased to discover that I have no problem hitting the target given how badly I throw a ball. But what remained with me even to this day was my ability to stay calm and focused despite any distractions around; the ability to control my breathing and relax muscles on demand. Useful for anyone in highstress situations. By day we dress for warmth but in the evenings we have been asked to wear cocktail dress on the first night and black tie on the second. The evenings are comfortable and I wonder how seriously we will be able to explore ‘the subliminal side of strength’.


The physical challenges – martial arts, pistol shooting, live rifles and the surveillance detail – are scheduled from the morning until 5pm and are punctuated with talks On the first night, a mixologist blends Martinis and talks about poisons. A Burlesque artiste invites us to complete a psychological profile that is as revealing as I can remember. Formal dinners are held in a candle lit Elizabethan dining hall. We play poker with an expert and I am gutted to discover my ‘tell’ is so obvious; not for nothing is a game of poker a dramatic set piece in a Bond film. The drama of the evening is contagious and a current of electricity charges the atmosphere. We discuss playing into the night but Sara reminds us of the challenges ahead in the morning. On the second day I learn that it is physically impossible for anyone to point and fire an MP5 semi-automatic rifle with their right hand and at the same time hold and fire a 9mm pistol with the left. This is a myth manufactured by Hollywood and countless movie stars. My reality is

this: a semi automatic rifle is heavy and cumbersome for anyone untrained to handle it. For me the experience is strange and stressful. Surrounded by three former special forces officers - one of whom crouches next to me and coaches me throughout - I am taken through a field in a simulated attack and shoot at surprise targets. Standing when I should be taking cover, I realise that in a real scenario I am a dead woman. For the first time in the weekend I want to be somewhere else, somewhere warm. I make it to end and slightly redeem myself as I am complimented on my peripheral vision and ability to spot suitable cover. ‘Welcome to the Safe House’. In London, four days after the weekend I sit in a café with Sara reflecting on the experience. I have shared anecdotes about the weekend with friends, but apart from my husband no one can really get their head round what I have been doing. ‘The idea of the Safe House is to give clients access to anything you might want, whether it’s asking us to run anti-surveillance or counter surveillance courses for your business, or spending a day doing defensive and evasive driving or perhaps just spending an evening drinking cocktails and playing poker’. The Safe House is probably one of the more original private clubs and its exclusivity is a step on from the luxury of the first weekend. ‘The number of courses are tightly controlled, and discretion

will always be important to us’, says Sara. I ask how much Phase 2 costs. ‘Five figures’. And Phase 3? ‘Expensive’. I ask Sara to describe a Phase 3 scenario. Sara leans in. ‘Think about everything you know from a classic spy action drama – the yachts, private planes and fast cars. Then imagine that’s just the start. The adventure of Phase 3 is about drawing on everything you have been taught - guns, knives, physical combat, counter intelligence, the psychology of your enemy… It’s the ultimate survival experience’. Again I ask about safety, though I acknowledge the weekend was impeccable. ‘You have to pass Phase 1 to do Phase 2. And we would never let anyone go into Phase 3 without ensuring they have the training to get through it’, says Sara. I ask what Sara is afraid of in life. ‘You can be targeted by people around you and live in fear; someone could rip your bank card and steal your identity. But if you become fearful then you aren’t really living. I say live and be selfaware but don’t be afraid. I don’t see the point of fear’. Helen de Winter Website:



International Trade Expo 10/11 June 2014, ACC Liverpool

The International Trade Expo is running as part of the International Festival for Business 2014 (IFB 2014).


The International Trade Expo provides a one-stop shop for UK businesses, small, medium or big, who trade internationally or want to start. It provides a platform for businesses to showcase themselves, their cities and their regions to potential international investors. Attracting 3,000 decision makers with an appetite for information, advice and inspiration, businesses are provided the chance to present direct foreign investment opportunities. And it brings together exporting experts, opportunities, products and services all targeted at helping you to trade internationally. With economic growth high on almost everyone’s agenda, the government’s desire is for the UK’s exports to be worth £1 trillion by 2020. But in March, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggested that the country is far from reaching that target. The trade deficit widened from £7.7bn to £9.8bn in January as the volume of imports grew and the volume and value of exports fell. The ONS said the value of UK exports in January was

£24.248bn following a 4% drop. The total value for 2013 was around £500bn; some way off the £1trillion government target. With such a long way to go to reach that goal, the International Trade Expo will tackle key issues that businesses face when trading internationally. On offer will be deep insight and solutions into key problem areas such as e-commerce, logistics, foreign exchange and payments, legal, HR and insurance issues and language, culture and translation. Using case studies from successful organisations to explain what has worked and what hasn’t, the International Trade Expo will provide up-to-the-minute advice, knowledge and information on international trade for exporters. At the heart of the International Trade Expo will be its range of seminars, geared towards helping the UK’s businesses trade and expand overseas. Experts in trading internationally will be on hand to share their in-depth knowledge on exporting right

across the world. And regional specialists will provide specific, regional experiences and advice on Europe, Middle East, Eastern Europe, North America and South America. Emerging markets is a key topic of interest for international traders. And it’s important to learn the basics about trading in these markets. You’ll be able to gain the knowledge and understanding on managing the risk, the cultural differences, the different tax rules and regulations, how to raise finance and what government support is available. The importance of exploring different markets has been pointed out by several experts. Carl Hasty, Director of international money transfers specialist, Smart Currency Business, said: “the Eurozone accounts for nearly half of UK exports, but its economic health has been lacklustre. UK businesses need to explore new markets to be able to grow their export functions.” If you’re lucky enough to secure an invite, CEO round tables will provide platforms for senior executives to hold open discussions on the current and future challenges facing

WE CREATE... Social Campaigns Shareable Blog Posts Videos Social Media Profiles Whitepapers Research Websites Infographics Digital Media We create fresh content for businesses. Fresh Content Creation delivers companies and brands engagement with prospects, customers and partners through relevant content creation and social media. @freshcontentteam 21

Increasing the number of UK business who sell overseas is a fundamental building block of the government’s plan for growth. Worldwide there is a growing appetite and appreciation for British goods and services and awareness of Brand GB remains very high following the success of London 2012 and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

– Lord Green, Trade and Investment Minister.


 overnment target UK exports to be • Gworth £1trillion by 2020. Exports worth £500bn • Uin K2013. of exports drops to £22.248bn • Vin alue January 2014.  ver half (£12.3bn) of exports in • OJanuary 2014 went to EU member states.

 6% of ‘Born Global’ businesses • 4operate in 6 markets.


international traders, along with country specific experts. But what if your business isn’t ready to export? The one-day, intensive ‘Fast Track International’ seminar, will lead attendees through a short series of lectures and Q&A sessions allowing you to understand whether or not the business is ready to trade overseas. To succeed in exporting, you must first identify the most profitable international markets for your products or services and this session with sign post you in the right direction. The ‘Fast Track International’ will help you to identify markets for your business, how to finance it, how to handle shipments and order, and how to market yourself overseas. Marketing is a vital aspect of international trade, as it is when trading in a business’ home country. Whilst a business may have a longestablished reputation and good brand visibility at home,

this may not be the case in new markets. It’s essential to focus extra energy and resources into ensuring that a business’ brand values, ethics and identity come across strongly in international markets to help them stand out from the crowd. When your business relies on trading with companies internationally, business travel is bound to play a vital role in your continued success. That’s where the Business Travel Lounge comes in. In the current economic climate when companies are having to tighten their belts, it is vital to ensure that any money spent on business travel is being spent wisely. The Business Travel Lounge brings together experts who have a wealth of experience travelling the skills and are able to offer plenty of money saving tips and advice. To find out more ITE visit Follow us on twitter @IntTrade


10/11 June 2014, ACC Liverpool

Fresh Business Thinking LIVE! is running alongside the International Trade Expo as part of the International Festival for Business (IFB2014). Fresh Business Thinking LIVE! will attract 3,000 business owners, decision makers and entrepreneurs to Liverpool for a one-stop shop filled with the latest and most innovative advice for businesses of all sizes. Whether you’re a small business just starting out, or a large multi-national with years of experience, Fresh Business Thinking LIVE! will provide the information, advice and inspiration you need to help your business grow. After years of economic crisis, the UK economy is showing signs of powering ahead. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Bank of England upgraded their growth forecasts for the UK economy. Unemployment has fallen below the Bank of England’s target of 7%. Small businesses are expected to go on a hiring spree in the coming months as confidence surges. The trade deficit is coming down as the continued push on exports takes effect. And, the growth of retail sales reached a 10 year high in April. All signs are pointing to economic recovery and confidence, particularly amongst the UK’s smaller businesses. And you need to harness the latest advice to take advantage of the economic recovery. Fresh Business Thinking LIVE! will provide you with the insight and solutions into key areas to help your business grow. You will learn about things like how to run your business in 24

an efficient way, how to successfully promote your business, improving customer communications, finance and technology solutions, how to get the most from your team, how to secure investment and much, much more.

Seminars & Workshops

Seminars and workshops are the heart and soul of Fresh Business Thinking Live! With 40 business experts and success stories across the two days, you’ll never be short of the latest information and tips to give your business the edge. But business isn’t just about the good times. Fresh Business Thinking LIVE! will be drawing on all of the experience of its experts to make sure you know what works, and perhaps more importantly, what doesn’t.

Digital Marketing Theatre

At Fresh Business Thinking, we think digital marketing is an absolutely vital necessity for any business of any size. And that’s why we’ve dedicated an entire theatre to digital marketing. With technology and trends changing all the time, the Digital Marketing theatre at Fresh Business Thinking LIVE! will open your eyes to marketing strategies you should be implementing. It’s not a case of if your business should be marketing digitally. It’s a case of how your business should be marketing digitally. Our Fresh Business Thinking LIVE! digital experts will be bringing

etail sales up 6.9% in April, the largest • Rannual growth for 10 years. • Unemployment down to 6.8% in Q1. economy to grow by 3.4% in 2014 • U– KBank of England. more billionaires per head than • UanyK has other country. astest factory output growth for 15 • Fyears in Q1. K to grow faster than any other G7 • Ucountry in 2014 – International Monetary fund (IMF).

• Business investment up 8.7% in Q1. • Rising confidence for UK exporters. umber of graduates starting their own • Nbusiness up 97%

you up-to-speed on the latest trends in social media, email marketing, advertising, search engine optimisation (SEO), content marketing, big data and mobile marketing.


With all this new and wonderful advice and tips at your disposal, it can be difficult to know what to do with them. You might not know how to implement them, or even have the tools to do it. Fresh Business Thinking LIVE! is on hand not only to provide you with the information you need, but to provide you with the tools you need to implement it, as well. Fresh Business Thinking LIVE! will host 100 exhibitors, all ready to offer you the latest

technology and solutions to help your business grow. You and your business will have access to key organisations such as the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and Liverpool & Sefton Chambers of Commerce. Fresh Business Thinking LIVE! will be the place to go to meet potential customers and partners, share best practices and keep up to speed on the latest business opportunities. Are you a small business owner with an appetite for information, advice and inspiration? Fresh Business Thinking LIVE! is the event for you. Claire West To find out more, visit Follow us on twitter @freshbusiness


Business Travel

Top 10 Tech Tips

Business travel can often be a stressful thing. But it needn’t be. There are so many ways in which you can make your trip easier and therefore, more enjoyable for yourself. Here are 10 tech tips you can use to ensure your business trip runs as smooth as possible. 1. Book transport in advance with a chauffeur app Planning ahead will make life less stressful when moving from A to B on a business trip in an unknown city. Book open tickets where possible, as meetings can change at the last minute. If you have a lot of meetings back to back, it can be more economical and less stressful to book a chauffeur to take you between meetings. Using a chauffeur service, you can organise simple transfers from A-B as well as an hourly service to take you from one meeting to the next in comfort. 2. Network effectively with conference apps If you’re heading to a conference, technology can help you make the most of networking opportunities. However, connecting with the right people can prove difficult. One app that can help with this is Bizzabo, which allows you to connect with and chat to other people attending the same conference. Alternatively, try Unsocial, which looks to connect you with people around you, according to their professional profile. 3. Bring the latest hardware to keep your devices charged One of the easiest things to forget when dashing out of the house is chargers. Before you go, make sure your chargers and adapters are in your bag, but also pack an external battery pack, for when there is no mains electricity available. Anker produces external battery packs and battery

attachments for laptops and mobile phones. The only thing you need to remember is to keep the battery pack charged! 4. Keep in control of your expenses Claiming expenses after a business trip can be time time-consuming – especially given it’s so easy to misplace receipts. If you’re looking for a tech solution to make claiming back expenses simpler, try the Concur app, which specifically helps with business travel and expensing. 5. Transfer funds internationally without paying extortionate rates If you need to make international money transfers abroad, there is a risk of paying large hidden fees when sending funds through banks. Tech-savvy business travellers use Transferwise or WorldRemit to transfer money internationally to friends and contacts at a low cost. 6. Make cheap international calls Making international calls is still expensive. Where possible, connect to wifi and use Skype, Viber, Google Hangouts or UberConference on your mobile to make free voice calls instead of dialling international numbers and incurring hefty roaming charges. WhatsApp is releasing a voice call feature soon too, which is good news for business travellers. If you will need to call international numbers directly, research international calling plans to

bolt on to your normal phone contract ahead of your trip. Some providers allow you to pay a set fixed cost to make as many calls as you like, whereas with other providers, you pay a lower fixed cost and then benefit from reduced rates for each international call you make. 7. Boost your language skills with translation apps If travelling abroad, it’s obviously a huge advantage to speak the local lingo. However, this won’t always be feasible. It is great to travel with a translation app, which can help you with key words and phrases abroad. The Languages app offers a full dictionary in a range of languages and is available in offline mode. If you have internet access on the move and are looking for an app with built-in voice recognition, SayHi Translate or Voice Translate Pro might be useful tools. 8. Don’t forget loyalty schemes If you’re always on the move, it can be prudent to make all you bookings with the same company. Many airlines offer frequent flyer points and air miles, for example. Although the headline price may be lower for an alternative airline, avoid the temptation of short-term savings – in the long-run, you may make far greater savings through reward schemes. A useful app for monitoring points earned travelling is AwardWallet. This allows you to keep track of flight, hotel and credit card points.

9. An app for last-minute hotel bookings Staying in the right hotel on business travel is key. Firstly, ensure it is centrally located. Secondly, make sure it has appropriate business facilities available – if you will need to make use of a meeting room during your trip, make sure you book one in advance to avoid disappointment or embarrassment. If you turn up without anything booked, you can always resort to Hotel Tonight to find out what’s available and make a lastminute booking. 10. Decide on the right international data plan Wireless hotspots can be a godsend when travelling, as they can save you a fortune on overseas data charges. However, with wireless hotspots, there are security risks. Firstly, keep your devices up-to-date with the latest anti-virus protection. In addition, avoid internet banking and entering sensitive information on an open network. One alternative to wireless hotspots is an internet dongle. There are many different options out there, depending on your data requirements, but it may be worth investigating a plan with your phone provider that compliments your existing phone contract. In the UK, EE allows you to select your phone provider (Orange/ T-mobile) and the country you will be travelling to, and it will calculate the data, text and talk bundles available for your trip. Jens Wohltorf Website:


International Festival for Business JUNE-JULY LIVERPOOL


With the International Festival of Business (IFB 2014) kicking off in June, Daniel Hunter caught up with IFB Chairman, Max Steinberg and Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson OBE.

Max Steinberg There’s not long to go now, how are preparations going? Preparations are going very well for IFB 2014, as a result of the hard work the team is putting in to deliver a project in probably half the time expected of it. It’s the largest concentration of business events anywhere in the world in 2014 and it is a massive undertaking. Currently there are well over 200 high-value business events that make up the festival and already more than 900 live business opportunities for IFB Business Club members. So what is IFB and what are the objectives? IFB2014 is a 50-day business


festival hosted in Liverpool during June-July 2014. It will be a global showcase for great British industry across multiple sectors, and will champion UK businesses to new markets, new products and new partners. The festival is a key part of the government’s ambition to promote economic growth, rebalance the economy and double UK exports by 2020. Backed by UK government, IFB 2014 will showcase the spheres of commercial endeavour that are transforming the new economies and business landscapes of Britain and beyond. Key themes of the festival include: manufacturing, science & technology; maritime, logistics & energy; knowledge, professional & financial services; higher & further education & research; low carbon & renewables; cities, enterprise & urban business; knowledge, creative & digital. IFB 2014 is expected to attract tens of thousands of visitors, from SMEs, corporates and entrepreneurs, to business delegations from across the world.

This festival, while being for the UK, will draw attention to Liverpool city region and our excellence, it will help foster growth and prosperity in all parts of the country including the North and in Liverpool and will therefore contribute to the rebalancing of the economy. What would you say if someone said “I’m a business owner. Why should I come to IFB?” My first response would be “are you interested in attracting new business?” I would bet most would respond in the affirmative, and then I’d point out that IFB2014 is by no means just for large businesses or one particular sector. The programme is deliberately tailored to benefit small companies as well as large ones and the festival will provide a platform for business owners to identify the strategies and partnerships they need to get where they want to be. This summer will provide all businesses with the means to tap into markets that could fuel their growth for decades.

What are you most looking forward to about the event? I am looking forward to seeing IFB business club members doing deals in our hub or getting advice from our partners on how they can trade abroad. I’m looking forward to seeing our hotels, restaurants and bars doing a roaring trade as people flock to the region for the Open Championship golf in Hoylake or the International Tennis in South Liverpool or the massive cultural programme we are putting on to complement the business festival. The government is targeting UK exports to be worth £1trillion in six years’ time. Last year it was half of that. How much do you think IFB will help in achieving that goal? It is an ambitious target but one I think which can be achieved, as long as the onus is not completely on London but spread across the UK. I believe that in 2020, IFB 2014 will be viewed as a turning point which opened up new markets and showed the world that the Liverpool City Region,

and the rest of the north, is home to outstanding business opportunities from sectors as diverse as biosciences, advanced manufacturing and digital media. And it’s not just about the business is it? Tell me a bit about the cultural side of things. Liverpool is a city that is tremendously proud of its culture, and as well as being home to more museums and galleries than any other UK city outside London, it has gained a reputation for special one-off events. As such, we wanted to show delegates that it is much more than just a premier business destination – it’s also somewhere to enjoy and live. The IFB cultural programme is specially designed to compliment the main business programme, with more than 70 elements such as Liverpool Biennial, Piet Mondrian at Tate Liverpool, Brazilica, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Memories of August 1914 – the UK’s flagship WWI memorial which will see the giant puppets return to the streets of Liverpool. And finally, why Liverpool? Why not London? The question is: ‘Why not Liverpool?’ This city was built on trade and commerce and the international relationships we forged. The fact that the UK’s first ever International Festival for Business is here is a reflection of the pace of our development. On a logistical level, business tourism is huge in Liverpool city region and it has every facility you could possibly need to stage an event such as IFB. There are world-class conference facilities able to welcome thousands of people, such as ACC Liverpool, The Rum Warehouse and Aintree Racecourse.

Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool You’ll soon be welcoming the world to Liverpool for IFB, how excited are you? As Mayor of Liverpool, I am proud that we are hosting an event of such significance and scale, not least because it reflects the pace of the city’s development, but also because IFB will mean a great deal to the UK. It is a massive vote of confidence in the city. Perhaps the obvious choice of host-city would have been London, how did Liverpool become the host city? And why is it more beneficial to have it here instead of the capital? We have held this ambition since returning from World Expo in 2010 and I thought that by hosting a similar large scale exhibition we could showcase the continuing development of the city and the city region. In recent years we have made great strides forging new international relationships and trade partnerships, but the challenge is to inspire more businesses to grow, to export and to innovate and to open up new markets, both here and across the country. When Lord Heseltine and Sir Terry Leahy recommended in their independent report on Rebalancing Britain that there should be an expo event in the north, we were quick to react and developed IFB as a

way, not only of highlighting business and industry excellence in the north of England, but also of showcasing the ‘best of British’. In a globally competitive market place for investment, northern city leaders, businesses and universities need to innovate and collaborate if we are going to sustain economic recovery and IFB 2014 is an opportunity to show off our business acumen and excellence. England’s major cities are economic power houses in our own right and we are determined to lead from the front in boosting the UK’s prospects. Obviously, there is a UK-wide focus for the Festival. But what are you hoping it will do for the city and the region? We anticipate that hosting IFB will project a positive image of the region’s business landscape to potential investors and partners in the same way securing European Capital of Culture in 2008 changed perceptions about Liverpool and our world class attractions. IFB will highlight the region’s transformation as a dynamic economic location – it’s not just about London and the South East. Our transformation is in line with that of the UK’s need to evolve and redefine its own global standing in terms of business and trade. For us, IFB is not something that has happened in isolation but within a wider vision incorporating heritage, retail, biotech, energy, tourism, transport and logistics. We’ve got the general objectives of IFB, but what are your personal objectives ahead of the Festival? “I’m basing myself throughout IFB in the International Trade Hub which is the festival’s

“In recent years we have made great strides forging new international relationships and trade partnerships”

nerve centre, the place where businesses will meet UK and international buyers and potential investors. Already we have secured hundreds of business opportunities from more than 70 countries all available at If businesses are serious about growing and exporting they need to register for free Business Club membership and take advantage today. I want to be there to see and hear about great business success and deals done and to help play a role in ensuring our city makes new relationships around the country and overseas. And I want IFB to show the trade and export potential of the north of England to investors as well as the outstanding cultural and visitor attractions, and the quality of life. I’m determined the festival will take the UK further, that Liverpool and the UK’s other great cities will ensure our country is not left behind in the economic race. In short to help make sure that rebalancing Britain becomes Government policy and not just a sound bite. To find out more International Festival For Business visit Follow us on twitter @IntTrade



Wine Review Benjamin Darnault Minervois 2012

A & R Gentil 2013

Benjamin Darnault has taken the Minervois and put it on the map with his winemaking wizardry, and this multi-medal-winning beauty is the perfect embodiment of why he’s a winemaking superstar. It’s a deep, rich, ripe, fruit bomb of blackcurrants and mulberries that explodes on your tongue. No wonder 91% of over 40,000 Naked Angels love the stuff.

Adrian and Rebecca, a trailblazing winemaker couple, have switched up a few favourite oldworld styles with this delicate, semi-dry blend of Gewurztraminer, Riesling and Pinot Gris. Bursting with juicy citrus and tropical fruit, with a refreshing mineral edge and a little sweet spice in the finish. It’s fragrant, delicate and full of finesse. Whatever you do, don’t over chill this one – you’ll lose the subtle flavours that make the wine so special.

Colour: Red // From: France // Wine type: Easy Drinking Red // Grape: Grenache & Syrah Serving advice: Serve at 16 °C, Open/decant 1 hour before serving // Drink between: Now and 2015 // Great with: a rustic sausge and lentil casserole.

Lay of the Land Ben Morven Farm Pinot Noir 2012

Colour: White // From: Australia // Wine Type: Sweet & exotic // Grape: Gewruztraminer Serving Advice: Serve chilled at 10-12°C // Drink between: Now and 2015 // Great with: A Thai chicken lemongrass curry.

Lay of the Land Marlborough Pinot Gris 2013

Mike loves his Pinot, and even when working for a top New Zealand winery, yearned to make his very own. Thanks to funding from Naked Angels, he’s gone it alone – and produced this classic NZ Pinot. Think ripe black cherry with a hint of raspberry, a little bit of liquorice and a bundle of juicy sweetness in the centre finished off with a kick of black pepper and hey presto! The perfect Pinot.

This is New Zealand winemaking legend Mike Paterson’s first Pinot Gris and it’s a belter! With cool, crisp nights and bags of Kiwi sunshine, Marlborough has THE perfect conditions for Pinot Gris. Throw in Mike’s meticulous attention and TLC and you get an absolute hum-dinger of a wine. Insanely tropical, tongue-tingly and rich... with that super-crisp tropical fruitiness New Zealand is famous for. Pure gold.

Colour: Red // From: New Zealand // Wine Type: Classic red // Grape: Pinot noir // Serving Advice: Serve at 16-18°C. Open/decant 1-2 hours before serving // Drink between: Now and 2024 // Great with: Lamb and game dishes.

Colour: White // From: New Zealand // Wine Type: Clean & crisp // Grape: Pinot Gris // Serving Advice: Serve chilled at 8-10°C or at room temparature. Open/ decant 15 minutes before serving // Drink between: Now and 2016 // Great with: Fresh Marlborough scallops.

Dominic Hentall Malbec 2013

Dominic Hentall Bourgogne Chardonnay Cote Chalonnaise 2012

This is a proper ‘knock yer socks off’ Malbec. Seriously elegant and as deep and rich as Barry White – it’s a must-try for Malbec lovers. Intense, dark and plummy fruit with a silky, smooth velvety finish that’ll leave you licking your lips between sips. Find the biggest, juiciest steak in town – buy it, and serve it with a bottle of this. Cracking. Colour: Red // From: Argentina // Wine Type: Big red // Grape: Malbec // Serving Advice: Serve at 16-18°C. Open/decant 1-2 hours before serving // Drink between: Now and 2018 // Great with: A steak or ribs.

Dom is a roaming expert winemaker, with more talent, know-how and passion than you can shake a vine at! His Chardonnay is to a traditional oaky Supermarket Chardonnay what Saville Row is to Primark. Positively jam-packed with refreshing citrus lifts, lavish layers of juicy pear and a beautifully crisp minerality. It’s elegant, it’s refined and it’s sumptuous – the perfect balance between richness and elegance. Colour: White // From: France // Wine type: Classic white // Grape: Chardonnay // Serving advice: Serve chilled at 8-10°C. Open/decant 1 hour before serving // Drink between: Now and 2017 // Great with: Salmon drizzled with a hollandaise sauce.

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makes the Perfect Company Car If you asked a large group of people to name one British product, a large portion of those, whether they’re from the UK or not, will say MINI.


Why MINI makes the Perfect Company Car

The Mini Cooper has been a symbol of British manufacturing and engineering since the original model was first released in 1959. It’s the British icon of the 60s that was voted the second most influential car of the 20th century, second only to the Ford Model T. Now manufactured under the subsidiary of German manufacturer, BMW, it hasn’t lost any of its Britishness. Referred to as ‘BMW MINI’, ‘the new MINI’ or just ‘MINI’, the designs are based on the classic model with the addition of everything that modern British engineering has to offer. MINI has just launched its latest model, the new MINI Cooper D Hatch. I spoke with MINI’s Corporate Development Manager, James Morrison, about why MINI makes the perfect company car.

James, people are hearing different variations of “lease” all the time. What is leasing and how does it work? Car Leasing, simply put, is the process by which businesses can obtain the use of a vehicle, in exchange for a series of contractual, periodic and tax deductible payments. The most popular form of leasing vehicles in the UK is called ‘Contract Hire.’

What are the benefits of buying vs leasing? Leasing is VAT-friendly, the monthly rentals are fixed and businesses do not have to worry about the vehicle’s value at the end of the contract. Specifically, with Contract Hire leasing, it is also off [the] balance sheet, which means it’s good for [the] business’s gearing and liquidity.

In a nutshell, key benefits of leasing over buying include: fixed monthly rentals, no depreciation risk on vehicle disposal, improves financial gearing, releases capital for investment elsewhere, flexibility to add maintenance products, and the ability to claim back VAT back if the company is VAT registered.

Are there benefits for the employee as well as the employer? There are numerous other benefits specifically for the employer and employee. The benefits to employers are; financial savings on employer’s National Insurance Contribution, risk free depreciation, demonstrates a commitment to your staff – helps to recruit, retain and motivate your people – duty of care benefit (new car, Bluetooth etc), fixed monthly

The new MINI Cooper D Hatch is better than ever, and almost certainly one of the best choices of company car.


payments which include Road Fund Licensing and Roadside Assistance. Fixed monthly payments can include all servicing, maintenance and tyres, and access to a Local Business specialist at a MINI dealership – affiliated by the Institute of Car Fleet Management (ICFM) – you can trust these individuals to know about business. The benefits to employees are; a brand new car! choice of vehicle at corporate fleet discount rates, no risk for the employee and can form an integral part of their remuneration package.

There has been a huge sense of ‘Britishness’ since the Olympics and Queen’s jubilee. Is there a more British way to travel on business than in a MINI?

Absolutely not. MINIs are about as British as they come – the engines built in Birmingham, panels that are pressed in Swindon and the final cars are born out of a state of the art manufacturing facility, MINI Plant Oxford. Since 2001, we have built nearly 3 million MINIs in Oxford and exported them to every corner of the globe. MINI also has upwards of 8,000 associates in the UK both in our manufacturing, sales, marketing and retail operations. All of this, before you even consider the iconic 1959 Classic Mini, which is still recognised the world over as a British icon, and of which over 5 million were built during its 40 years of production.

So, the new MINI Cooper D is the latest model. What is great about it?

The Specs Fuel type Diesel Top speed 127mph Acceleration (0-62mph) 9.2s Fuel consumption (urban) 65.7mpg Fuel consumption (extra-urban) 91.1mpg Fuel consumption (combined) 80.7mpg CO2 emissions 92 g/km Boot space 211 litres – 731 litres Fuel capacity 44 litres

The new MINI Cooper D Hatch is better than ever, and almost certainly one of the best choices of company car. It is more efficient and faster thanks to all-new high-tech engines, features classleading refinement and more gadgets than ever for work and pleasure. It is available to businesses for £159 a month (6 months initial rental) which includes the road fund licence. All of this means low benefit in kind (BIK) payments for employees and low ongoing running costs thanks to the MINI Cooper D Hatch’s 80.7mpg. What’s more, the MINI Hatch has been named Business Car magazine’s ‘Supermini of the Year’ for the last 12 years! MINI is a great proposition for businesses’ customers. Here’s just a few other reasons: MINI offers a range of bodystyles including Hatch, Countryman, Coupe, Roadster & Convertible, relatively low capital cost, low running costs & high residual values mean that MINI is appealing to fleet managers and small businesses. MINIMALISM technology means strong performance whilst reducing fuel consumption and emissions – appealing to drivers!

As businesses give greater focus to saving money and their ‘green’ responsibilities, how much did fuel efficiency play in the design of the new model? Fuel efficiency has been designed into every level of the new MINI Hatch, and new features have been introduced specifically to help reduce fuel consumption and emissions whilst retaining MINI’s iconic handling capabilities. In addition to the brand new and highly efficient engines, features such as ‘MINI Driving Modes’ have been introduced which let the driver select from ‘Sport, Mid or Green.’ In green mode, the car slows acceleration and improves all systems (such as air conditioning) with optimum efficiency in mind. MINIMALISM environmental technologies continue to feature on all MINI vehicles, and the new Hatch is no exception. Designed to reduce fuel consumption, the suite of standard features includes a shift-point display function on manual cars and optimised preheating process on the diesel. Brake energy recuperation and need-oriented control of the fuel pump, coolant pump and other ancillary units feature on all models, again help to reduce emissions and fuel consumption.


Getting Greatness from your Employees by Eugene Kaspersky In the Spring of 2013 the Tolbachik volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula became active, after having woken from a long sleep at the end of 2012.

So what’s that got to do with business at Kaspersky Lab, you might ask. Well, it doesn’t affect KL at all, but that’s the point. Confused? Let me explain… As a hardcore devotee of exotic and extreme travel, and having a particular fondness for all things volcanic, when


I first heard the news about Tolbachik I decided there and then that I had to get myself over there to see it in the flesh. After all, Tolbachik blowing its top only occurs once in a blue moon (the last time was in the mid-70s). So I dropped everything and flew off to Kamchatka later that day. The next day I was stood right next to a crack in the volcano’s crater and observing the lava flow. Meanwhile back at Kaspersky Lab, it was just another working day, all systems go, as if its CEO was still sat in his office. The system of management at Kaspersky Lab is set up in such a way that I don’t need to interfere in its workings every day. I look for the right people and distribute tasks appropriately so that I don’t need to keep track of how everything’s going. I don’t get

bogged down in details. I rarely ever sign papers – only when I really have to. But that’s OK as I’ve issued powers of attorney to all the key senior managers. One thing I know for sure is that if I did get into the nitty gritty of details – and for a firm the size of KL that’s a lot of details – then nothing good would come of it. I’d burn myself out at the same time too. Instead, I operate at KL in a flexible and as-and-when fashion, focusing on particular issues that actually would do well in having my direct input on them. Otherwise, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Back before KL was founded I came up with a single guiding rule for how I should conduct myself professionally (and not long ago I read somewhere that Richard Branson established the same rule for himself): To

find the right people, trust them, and give them freedom to act. I have always asked the same from my managers too: that they in turn find the right team members and give them freedom based on trust. And who are the right people? Those whose main motivator is professional interest – for example, the complexity and originality of the tasks at hand; while remuneration comes from successfully solving those tasks.

When you trust folks, they’re happier. When you control constantly, they stop taking decisions and lose a sense of responsibility over what they do.

Find the right people, trust them, and give them freedom to act.

The win-win for me in giving people freedom to act is that, well, I don’t have to spend time – lots of it – looking over folks’ shoulders. Just as well, since I’ve always had enough work to be getting on with as it is. Let me give you a few examples of how. Around the late 1990s and early 2000s I worked on a task that was vital for the survival of the company – maintaining the quality of technologies. No quality – no business. We’d created the world’s best antivirus engine and started licensing it out, with business partners appearing fast. I then started preparing and signing contracts, but quickly got tired of that. Thus, the company needed a general director – so

that I could get back to fiddling with technologies. But we didn’t have enough money to pay one! So my thenwife took on the day-to-day management responsibilities. Then, in 2003–05, I switched over to product development. I didn’t write the code myself – I just oversaw and monitored the work of the teams working on ‘breakthrough’ products. At this time I also retired from antivirus research after ushering in a new generation of experts who could do this work better than me. I’ve always taken part in all key strategic decisions of the company. It’s in operational management I’ve become less and less involved. So it was logical that I became KL CEO in 2007. At that time we set

ourselves an ambitious goal – to be among the top-three world leaders of the antivirus market in three years. To reach that goal a few changes were needed in terms of both the team and structure of the company, or more precisely – zones of responsibility. Since then the structure of the company has significantly altered quite a few times. I think of it as soup. For the soup to come out good, it needs a good stirring. Naturally, we sometimes suffer some mess-ups. Only in February 2013 we had some problems with a product. Turned out it wasn’t a programmer’s mistake but a systemic one. We were thus forced to make a few adjustments: to adjust zones of

We’d created the world’s best antivirus engine and started licensing it out


responsibility, and to do a bit of reshuffling to get some folks into more suitable positions. Sometimes foul-ups lead to some folks getting fired, but this time we didn’t resort to that; the goof was the first of its kind. At KL we have a rule: don’t make the same mistake twice. If you do, it’s goodbye. To make different mistakes once – that’s fine. It’s impossible not to make some mistakes when you’re creating something new and solving new problems. I myself make mistakes, always have, always will; and I keep telling others: keep trying and don’t be afraid of the odd slip-up!

Anyway, back to my rule of giving the troops freedom to act, based on trust: how does it work? First off, it doesn’t mean anarchy; if it did we’d stop applying the rule. How it works is by leaving the ‘how’ of getting to predetermined common goals to the people in the various working roles actually doing the various tasks involved. A member of the team might combine several roles, or a role may sometimes be spread among several individuals. As I see it, in organising any project there are normally seven main roles that can reside behind a number of different titles.

These fundamental roles are as follows: 1. The architect (the one who sees the whole picture of the creation of a product, controlling the development from start to finish). 2. The investor (the one who promotes the project to the management of the company, secures the budget, and creates the right conditions for a smooth and fruitful team effort). 3. The technical designer (the one who knows how and how no to put into practice the ideas of the architect). 4. The product manager (the product needs to meet the demands of the customer, and this individual is the one who brings product and customer together). 5. The project manager (who keeps on top of deadlines, maintains the tempo of the work, and if necessary administers kicks up backsides). 6. The psychologist (a very important and often underrated role: to oversee the microclimate in the team and solve any conflicts). 7. The documenter (another important and sometimes overlooked role: this person documents each step in the chain of work processes – to be clear.

Of course, accounting keeps track of things, including a system for the collection and recording of information on current projects. I get regular reports, but hardly daily ones. I normally just go by how wide the CFO’s smile is! You’d be surprised at how accurate it is. I can check on financial matters at any moment, but hardly need to, since if there’s something up those in charge will be the first to know about it and will be dealing with it effectively. I don’t even ask for a report on mistakes – as long as they’re corrected. But my laissez-faire has its limits. Everyone in the company knows that I can approach anyone at any time to get information on this or that aspect of work. There’s a clause on it in the charter! It’s basically my keeping tabs on what I see as the very most important things that make up the wider picture. And they change all the time. I can wake up one morning and want to look at how things are doing in this or that respect. The next day – something totally different. But this roving overview never involves summoning anyone to my office. I always go see the respective people at their working place, have a chat, and a get a good look and feel of the matter.

Of course, sometimes I might not be in the office, or in Moscow, or even in Russia (half of my working time I spend on business trips all around the world speaking at conferences, attending exhibitions, conducting negotiations, and meeting partners). But that in no way affects the work of KL: roles have been determined, the appropriate authorities distributed. An apotheosis of this: when I say to someone at work: “We need to do that this way,” and the reply comes: “We’ve been doing that for a week already!” I understand that at some point in the future I’ll need to move away from management completely and my place will be taken by someone else. It’s most likely that with him or her running things the company will change. But I’m fine with that. If the person who replaces me wants to change something, that’s their right. The main thing will be my being able to trust them – completely. No half measures. As Ralph Waldo Emerson put it: “Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly and they will show themselves great.” Eugene Kaspersky To find out more visit: Follow us on twitter @kaspersky


Interview with founder, Simon Burton

The Great British Entrepreneur Awards Wednesday 19th November Old Billingsgate, London What is the Great British Entrepreneur Awards? The Great British Entrepreneur Awards launched last year to celebrate and acknowledge the inspiring entrepreneurs who drive the British economy; the people who innovate, challenge the received wisdom and bet on themselves to succeed. We believe that entrepreneurs are a force for good and that the best way to inspire future entrepreneurs is to celebrate inspiring entrepreneurs. How did the Great British Entrepreneur Awards come about? How do all the best ideas come about? Brainstorming over a cup of coffee! The original idea was written on the back of a restaurant napkin! It was really about recognising that many great entrepreneurs work outside the corporate eco-system. We wanted to run some awards that had an entrepreneurial, rather than corporate, mindset.

Who is rewarded? Is it the big entrepreneurs like Sir Richard Branson? Haha I’d be delighted if Sir Richard wanted to enter but the awards are open to anyone. We passionately believe in entrepreneurs’ stories rather than their balance sheet. Last year winners included names like Julie Deane of Cambridge Satchel Company and Rowan Gormley of Naked Wines, but there plenty of lesser known entrepreneurs across the categories, many running relatively small businesses but driven with flair, imagination and a desire to innovate. Are they nominated by a third party or do they put themselves forward? Entrepreneurs put themselves forward, but if you know a great entrepreneur please encourage them to enter. It’s free to enter and there’s a straightforward entry process. A panel of judges from a huge variety of backgrounds; entrepreneurs,

some amazing brands working with us; BizCrowd, NatWest, Dell, Kaspersky, XLN, Exact, Croner, Kingston Smith. They are all clearly committed to working with and supporting entrepreneurs. They’re not just interested in their logos everywhere they want to engage. And we’ve just agreed a partnership deal with MINI which is hugely exciting.

corporates, Cities, academia and politics then deliberate and select the shortlist and winners. It’s the great stories that capture the imagination. What is your favourite thing about entrepreneurialism? I love the fact that entrepreneurialism has failure so often as a pre-condition of success. We don’t acknowledge that enough in the UK. Entrepreneurs are always challenging the received wisdom, upsetting the status quo. Their disruptive influence improves markets and more often than not they are the creators of wealth and jobs that benefit us all. How are plans going for this year’s event? What’s been so exciting about this year’s event is that the enthusiasm and energy all of our partners have shown. It’s true to say that big business is increasingly interested in the entrepreneurial mindset and endeavours. We’ve got

What’s new for this year? We’ve refined some of the categories and added a couple of new ones including urban, rural and social enterprise. Many of the judges wanted to be involved again and we’ve added a few new names. You can see who they are on the awards website. We’ve got a new venue for this year’s awards. The Great British Entrepreneur Awards will be at a super glamorous central London venue and it will be another spectacular evening. Given the economic climate of recent years, and now as the economy shows signs of recovery, how important is it to reward and recognise entrepreneurialism? Entrepreneurs drive the economy, they disrupt inefficient markets and the create innovation. SME’s (ie businesses up to 250 employees) account for close to 50% of all UK employment. All of our futures depend on a flourishing and exciting entrepreneurial sector. To find out more visit: Follow us on twitter @Entrepreneursgb


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It wanted 100,000 more businesses to be exporting and it wanted UK exports to be worth £1 trillion by 2020. It was a call heard by Morgan Goodwin, an Edinburgh based software application specialist. Having been born out of the call to boost exports, Morgan Goodwin is now helping other companies to boost exports. EdgeDocs and EDGE export solutions are the key brands developed by Morgan Goodwin. EDGE is an-all-inone, online, sales-orientated, exporting solution designed to simplify exporting process and help to grow businesses internationally. “Aimed at SMEs with international ambition or experience, it empowers companies who have outgrown the domestic market to expand their business overseas,” said Geoff Runcie, Morgan Goodwin’s Managing Director. “It was conceived to address the lack of an easy-to-use and very cost effective online software package that helps small to medium sized companies with their basic business and sales process,” he said. “We heard the Government’s call to British business to ‘get exporting’ to help get the country going again economically but also to address the trade imbalance.” Morgan Goodwin didn’t benefit from any support from government organisations such as UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and Geoff explained that businesses need more than government help to grow overseas. He said: “Their huge challenge effort – 100,000 more exporters by 2020 – needs more than just 40

Born out of the campaign to boost exports; Helping to boost exports ‘Get Britain exporting’, it’s the call that the UK government hoped, and still hopes, will galvanise the economy. Government agencies with a helping hand. It needs real world tools to be brought into play. So we brought our trade and documentation specialists with our own software geniuses and mapped out what we thought was needed to demystify the export process.” I asked Geoff how it all works. He said: “We immediately recognised that exporting is much like any other type of sale with some bells and whistles. We built a super simple sales process tool with six easy steps. We

linked these into the export stuff and tested this with a number of SMEs. They liked it and so did we! “We then did some more clever stuff behind the scenes and created a business process management tool that will appeal to every business because it will reduce your staff costs and, at the same time, improve the control you have on your business.” When asked what needs to be done to help boost exports, Geoff said businesses need more government funding, there needs to be greater investment

in new technologies. He said: “The key is to excite and empower business to see export as an extension of their regular business and to be able to access tools that help achieve this.” The government has been putting a huge amount of time and effort into boosting UK exports. In Morgan Goodwin, it already has one company born out of the campaign, and one that is joining the efforts to boost exports. Daniel Hunter


The Rise and Rise of

Crowdfunding Popular myth has it that crowdfunding in the modern era started in 1997 with the rock band Marillion who raised £36,000 to stage a US tour. Following on from their success, the band subsequently raised funds to produce three more albums. Fast forward to 2012 and there were a whopping 500 crowdfunding sites and every month sees new ones springing up across the globe to address a burning issue; access to finance. Crowdfunding offers a fresh new way of raising money that has many benefits over the traditional methods of raising finance and is suitable for many different industries and markets. By spreading


an investment between many smaller amounts, the entity, whether it is a business, a social enterprise or individual, can tap into a bigger pool of talent that will have a vested interest in that entity’s success. There are three main methods of crowdfunding – Rewards, Debt and Equity.

Rewards Crowdfunding Rewards based crowdfunding is traditionally more suitable for creative based businesses, community projects and charities – companies tending to raise smaller amounts whose backers are generally willing to offer up money in return for a signed piece of art, a copy of a CD or tickets to a show. In short, it is an altruistic activity; backers put their money in because they believe in the cause. Digital innovation is something that is being seen more often in rewards based platforms. There are specific pitches that have bucked the trend and have raised millions; typically businesses in the high-tech sector raising funds to create their product by

pre-launch product sales – such as the Pebble Watch which raised £6.12 million or the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, which having raised £1.5million was subsequently purchased by Facebook for £1.5bn in March. Oculus Rift raises the question, if the founders had such faith in their product, should they have sought their initial funding on an equity crowdfunding site? Enabling their investors to see a good return on minimal investment. US based Indiegogo and Kickstarter have been flying the flag for reward based crowdfunding for some years. Indiegogo launched in 2007 and both sites are now international, pushing the crowdfunding industry forward evermore. The leading UK based site is Crowdfunder, although Kickstarter still holds 61% market share.

Debt crowdfunding Also called peer-to-peer (p2p) lending, investors lend money to either a company or an individual and receive their money back with interest. It allows for the lending of money

while bypassing traditional banks. Zopa led the way in this industry, lending over £515 million since 2005 whilst Funding Circle, which focuses on business lending has loaned over £264.5 million since their inception in 2010. Debt crowdfunding could be deemed an alternative to bank lending. The harsh reality for many start-ups and early stage businesses is that finance from the bank has never really been an option due to the high risk nature of the investment required. This, combined with traditional business angels being more reticent to part with their cash has stifled the growth of many businesses and sectors. Debt crowdfunding and Equity crowdfunding websites, like Crowdcube, tackle this perennial funding gap by democratising investment, giving ordinary people, not just the wealthy, the chance to invest in UK businesses in return for share equity.

Equity Crowdfunding The newcomer to the industry, Equity Crowdfunding, enables all investors in a

specific company to become a shareholder. It differs from traditional forms of business finance by allowing ordinary people to back and support exciting start-up and early stage businesses. Democratising investment in this way enables entrepreneurs to access ‘new money’ from the masses to finance their business, without having to rely on the whim of one or two wealthy individuals. This paradigm shift means that investing in start-ups has become more accessible and affordable for ordinary people as the personal wealth required to join a traditional business network is prohibitive to all except the upper percentiles of the population. Crowdfunding overcomes these barriers, allowing people to invest from as little as £10, although the average amount invested through crowdfunding websites is much higher, over £2,500 on for instance. Traditional business angels are also seeing the benefits as they can spread their investments further and more easily to create a more

diversified portfolio in unlisted businesses. The first ever equity crowdfunding site to be launched was UK-based Crowdcube, which opened its doors in 2011, and is now being emulated across the globe. Crowdcube has raised over £22.5million for 114 businesses since it launched and is now operating in seven other countries. Crowdfunding has helped to give entrepreneurs, communities and charities more optimism. Finance has always been a frustrating barrier when getting ideas off the ground. Crowdfunding is by no means a Shangri-La, it still takes a good idea, hard work and tenacity, but it does give a vast range of industries renewed hope that they can secure the cash they need to turn their dream into reality. Figures recently released by innovation charity Nesta, in association with the University of Cambridge and the

Traditional business angels are also seeing the benefits as they can spread their investments further University of California, showed that the alternative lending market was forecast to hit £1.6 billion by 2014. The growth of alternative finance was 91% since 2012. In 2013, equity crowdfunding raised £28 million and reward based crowdfunding raised £20.5 million. Crowdfunding is coming of age. Luke Lang Co-Founder and Marketing Director of Crowdcube To find out more visit: Follow us on twitter @Crowdcube

Estates estatesdirect-com-15048 becomes prime property for investors Launched by Poundland founder Steve Smith and entrepreneur Darren Richards two years ago, the company bridges the gap between online and high street estate agents saving customers £1,000s in traditional estate agent commissions. EstatesDirect .com successfully raised £495,000 from 191 investors within fourteen days, enabling the company to expand nationally. Total Funded £495,000 (198%) Equity offered; 9.90% Total Investors; 191 EIS and SEIS


Gareth Thomas There comes a time in any successful athlete’s career when they must start to think about life after professional sport. For a lucky few there is an easy transition into media work or a highlevel coaching role. However, for the rest there are serious considerations to be made, for whilst all they may have known is sport there is a lot of life left to live once they finally call it a day.

Given the very nature of professional sport - talent is identified at a young age and fast-tracked to the very top of the sport often at the expense of further education or the sort of qualifications that are needed to forge a successful career - many sportsmen and women retiring can lack direction. However, with firms such as Athlete Career Transition (ACT) now providing athletes with the smooth move from sport to the world of business, the prospect of retiring is not so daunting, as former Welsh international Gareth Thomas found out. 44

As a rugby player, Thomas had a glittering career; 100 caps for Wales, including captaining them to the 2005 Grand Slam, he captained the British and Irish Lions and went on to win four caps for Wales in rugby league before finally hanging his boots up.

Life after Sport

“It’s nice to have people who are able to advise you on what is probably going to happen and where you are going to next.”

But arguably his biggest achievement, whilst still playing the sport at the highest level, was coming out as the first openly gay rugby player; a decision that has helped his transition out of the sport he has known and loved for much of his life. Not that it has been an easy transition, but one that he has slowly come to embrace and appreciate. “When you dedicate your life to something and one day it is there and the next day it is gone, it really is scary,” Thomas said. “You’ve spent so long on one career trying to be the best of the best and when your friends around you are climbing the ladder, you’ve all of a sudden finished and have to go right back to the bottom of the ladder once again. You have to swallow a lot of pride and you have to enter the real world, which is a lot scarier than the rugby world.” Thomas will be the first to admit that his work through ACT has been some of the most rewarding and enabled him to make the transition without ever feeling alienated or out of touch - which in part comes down to the extensive

process ACT put athletes through, not to mention the training and skills development they offer. “The partnership sees me doing something that I’m really passionate about,” he said. “I go into schools and deliver help with motivation, depression, even homophobic bullying. I work with them with rugby, sports, teaching them about nutrition. Basically, all of the lessons that I have learnt in my life. It has really taken over as another passion and is something that I am really, really enjoying.” If missing out on a further education is one of the downsides of professional sport, at least that is compensated by the fact many of the skills and lessons learnt from a career at the highest level can be transferred over to what is seen as ‘the real world’. “Although I felt at one point that everything rugby had gone, I soon realised it hadn’t as the skills I picked up and developed whilst in that rugby world would stay with me forever,” Thomas explained. “These skills are the skills that will help me to survive and

perform well in the real world. Whatever I do I make sure that I enjoy it and that I am committed to doing it and that’s a skill that I had before sport but that sport helped me to really solidify.” Thomas’ sporting career was an eventful one, and his life since retiring has been exactly the same - he will soon release a book, then there is the small matter of the film of his life, not to mention pantomime appearances and his work with ACT. But for the man who is now seen as a legend not only in Welsh rugby, but world rugby, life is still very much the same, regardless of what he is doing. “In sport I wanted to get up every day and achieve something, whether it was to lift heavier weights or make bigger tackles,” he said. “Now, although the goals are completely different, it is very much the same. Now I want to get up every day and ensure that I’m constantly learning and that I’m always better at my job than I was the day before.” And there is no doubt in Thomas’ mind that opting to make the transition out of professional sport with the help of ACT was the right one. “Working with Athlete Career Transition means that I can ask the questions and lean on someone for support when I need to (which I do) because I am totally new to this world,” he said. “It’s nice to have people who are able to advise you on what is probably going to happen and where you are going to next. For me, more than anything it is the security that I need and also the constant communication between us gives me an understanding of where I should be going and what I should be aiming and striving for. “In addition to the day-to-day support, through the extensive profiling that ACT do, I’ve learnt an awful lot about myself. It really helped me to understand what I could take from the sporting world in order to be successful in the working world as well.” Francesca James and Marcus Leach Website: Twitter: @actpathway



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