Island Business March / April 2024

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IOW Espresso Co.

Go For Growth

Real Employment

Law Advice

Isle of Wight Lottery

Visit Isle of Wight


Mission Zero



While every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of Island Business magazine the


It’s a packed issue, once again reflecting the success of our local businesses, as well as the way in which they engage with the wider Island community.

There’s something of a brewing theme to this month’s edition, as we hear from Wight Knuckle Brewery about their expansion, supported by a £50,000 interest free loan from the Isle of Wight Lottery. It’s a great story of family and an award winning product, enabled by a Lottery loan.

And from ales we move to coffee, and another business with a flourishing success story – the IW Espresso Co. share their own tale of growth, with new premises in Newport.


Elsewhere we find out more about the Go For Growth programme, which can now offer businesses free membership of the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce. Alison Colley from Real Employment Law Advice provides a timely reflection on the Post Office scandal; we have coverage too of Visit Isle of Wight’s recent Visitor Economy Conference.

We also check in with how Island businesses are helping others – from WightFibre’s community support, to the recent series of WightAID grants.

As ever, I hope you enjoy your magazine.

Island Business Magazine Published by the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce Editor Tom Stroud
of Wight Chamber of Commerce Unit S1, Branstone Business Park, Stockmans Close,
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kind, expressed or implied, with regard to the information supplied. The views of contributors do not necessarily represent those of the IW Chamber of Commerce. The IW Chamber of Commerce and its employees and contractors shall not be liable in the event of incidental or consequential damages in connection with, or arising out of, the providing of the information offered here. Contains material sourced from responsibly managed forests, certified in accordance with the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council). isleofwightchamber @iwchamber Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce Please recycle this magazine
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News Visit Isle of Wight Go For Growth Real Employment Law Advice The IOW Espresso Co. Wight Knuckle Brewery Isle of Wight Lottery Mission Zero WightFibre 02 08 10 12 14 16 18 21 23 16 WIGHT KNUCKLE BREWERY 14 THE IOW ESPRESSO CO. To bring the Island business community together. Helping organisations of all sizes achieve more than they could alone. 25 26 28 29 30 32 36 WightAid IW Chamber Awards 2024 Red Funnel Business Startup Courses BCC Economic Forecast Events New Members IW Chamber President CONTENTS MARCH | APRIL 2024 1

Mermaid Atlantic trio complete World’s Toughest Row

After 42 days, 17 hours and 58 minutes, three Island friends reached the finish point of the World’s Toughest Row Atlantic Challenge. Chris Mannion, Paul Berry and Xavier Baker, the cofounder of the Isle of Wight Distillery, rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, from La Gomera to Antigua.

Through generous donations from sponsors, friends and colleagues, the crew have raised more than £1,500 for charities Surfers Against Sewage, The Seahorse Project and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust so far. Gold sponsors Visit Isle

of Wight, Vetro Elite, Hinton Group and Compass pledged their support for the charity initiative.

The mission was two-fold, firstly to communicate the detrimental effect of waste items on the ocean. The second was to raise awareness of the power of seagrass and the role it plays in combating the climate crisis. Its survival is threatened by human intervention, including mooring anchors, buoys and pollution.

STEM inspiration at Junior Engineer challenge

The Junior Engineer annual robotics challenge has been hosted at Ryde Academy and Priory School, helping young people enjoy a STEM-related workshop – including assembling Johnson Electric’s own unique “J-Bot” toy cars!

Students were provided with a “J-Bot” kit of components, including battery cells, motors, and controller boards. The students enjoyed assembling the J-Bot toy car step by step. Once assembled, the students could decorate the car and have fun by directing the car in specific directions and distance movements. This hands-on experience allowed the students to develop valuable engineering and technology skills such as how to wire and assemble motors and batteries along with programming and understanding the materials used.

Dominic Ward, Head of Parlex, Johnson Electric commented: “Junior Engineer has been a tremendous success since its first launch in 2016. It serves as an excellent gateway for introducing young people to the world of Engineering and Technology. We strongly believe that fostering STEM-related activities can inspire young people to pursue careers in engineering and technology.”

Preziosa Dachsunds qualifies for Crufts

Island dog breeder Preziosa Dachsunds will be attending Crufts in March with two of their three dogs qualifying for the Kennel Club’s show at Birmingham’s NEC.

“What makes us particularly respected within our industry is the constant desire to be the best version of ourselves,” says Preziosa Dachsunds’ Louise Rippon. “Following our breeding programme’s recognition within the professional dog business awards in 2023, where we placed second in the UK; we set our sights on success within the

showing arena. To do this we needed to expand our team and we were thrilled to bring in Charlotte Ratsey-Woodroffe as our show team lead. We had our sights set on big things and usually this takes time to achieve whilst handler and dog build a bond that allows them to work in unison; you can imagine our delight when our two of our two of our show team dogs, qualified for Crufts 2024 at their second ever show! Todd, our Standard stud and Sybil our homebred miniature smooth, will be strutting their stuff and we are thrilled.”


Go For Growth with free membership of IW Chamber

Red Funnel sponsors Island ambassadors

Red Funnel’s Proud to Support initiative is sponsoring 11 Island Ambassadors in 2024, including a pro kite surfer and British kickboxing champion; six Junior Ambassadors featuring a nineyear-old dressage rider and 11-year-old competitive dancer, as well as nine Supported Teams, all of which will receive travel support to enable them to compete and perform at national events and venues.

The talented Islanders have been shortlisted for their aptitude, brilliance, and dedication to their respective vocation. After receiving an unprecedented number of applicants, Red Funnel will also provide support to a further 9 talented applicants outside of the main scheme, to aid their transition from local to national competition and status.

Talking about his selection for the 2024 cohort, Clint Gardner, Special Olympics Athlete, said: “Red Funnel’s support means that I can now further my chance to play Badminton nationally for my country, moving me closer to my goal of becoming a World Champion in my field. I’m proud to represent the Island in my sport and hope I can inspire others to follow their dream.”

The Go For Growth business support programme returns for 2024, working in partnership with the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce for the first time.

Go for Growth is part of a wider IW Council programme called Innovation Wight, with most support activity being delivered at Building 41 in Northwood.

Businesses can benefit from a comprehensive 1:1 business health-check, conducted by an experienced business advisor, resulting in a Growth Action Plan. The programme also includes a one-day training workshop covering essential business pillars: Marketing,

Technology, People, and Finance.

For businesses with 10 or fewer employees, Go for Growth also includes a free 12-month membership with the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce, subject to availability and terms and conditions. This offers the opportunity for Island businesses to benefit from everything that the Chamber has to offer, plus a package of fully funded training and one-to-one business advice, all for free. For full information about the Go For Growth programme see page 20.

Oyster regeneration education at UKSA

Following the launch of the Isle of Wight’s first oyster regeneration project in October last year, UKSA has now made it part of the sustainability modules on its education courses. The Cowes based charity, which provides life-enhancing waterbased adventures, education, and world-leading maritime training, worked in partnership with Blue Marine Foundation and Cowes Harbour Commission to get the baskets and the initial oyster stock to Cowes in the River Medina. This initiative would not have been possible without the generous funding support provided by Cowes Harbour Commission. The project will facilitate the release of millions of larvae into the Solent, while also providing refuge for other marine life including endangered European eels, young seahorse and sea bass.

Ben Willows, CEO of UKSA said: “The project is a step forward for sustainability on the Island and the students having such a local reference while learning about sustainability is fantastic. The students have thoroughly enjoyed their work with the oysters so far and making their regular check-ups on the newest members to the UKSA team.”


Wightlink is honoured for its environmental and ethical initiatives

Wightlink has been named Best Ferry Operator for Vegan Food in PETA’s Travel Awards, which celebrate the travel companies, hotels, attractions, and other industry leaders that are meeting the increasing demand for vegan and animal-friendly travel. Wightlink is one of 11 companies recognised by PETA, others include British Airways, P&O Cruises and Malmaison hotels.


Vectis names Mountbatten as corporate charity for 2024 and 2025

Southern Vectis is throwing its support behind Mountbatten Isle of Wight - by naming the charity as its official good cause for 2024 and 2025. The local bus operator will spend the next two years raising funds and awareness to help the hospice provide care and support for local people with life limiting illnesses, and their loved ones.

“This is a crucial local resource, supporting people with death and dying, and also offering relatives and friends free bereavement support,” said Southern Vectis general manager, Richard Tyldsley. “Our corporate charity is voted for by the Southern Vectis team. Many of my colleagues have benefited directly from the support Mountbatten provides, so we are delighted to be backing this very worthy cause, and raising as much money as possible over the coming years.”

Claire Treasure, Mountbatten’s corporate partnerships fundraiser, added: “We are thrilled to be chosen as Southern Vectis’s corporate charity, and very much look forward to working closely with them. Mountbatten currently supports over

“Catching a Wightlink ferry is the perfect way to start your Isle of Wight holiday, with onboard offerings that promote kindness to animals,” says PETA Corporate Projects Manager Dr Carys Bennett. “The good people at Wightlink have set the industry standard for promoting vegan-friendly food and travel and awarding them is our way of saying thank you”.

The Green Parent magazine has named Wightlink as a Highly Commended Travel Brand in its sustainability awards. Wightlink’s Green Solent Project introduces the latest energysaving technologies with lowered emissions while tackling single-use plastic, reducing waste, maximising recycling, providing marine habitats at ports, sourcing goods from local suppliers and other projects.

The company’s flagship, Victoria of Wight, is the first large hybrid energy ferry in England and uses 17 per cent less fuel than the next largest ship in the fleet. Solar panels are being installed to generate electricity and EV charging points are available at ports, supporting both customers and local people who use electric vehicles.

Wightlink Commercial Director Phil Delaney says:

“Sustainability and customer service are among our key values and we are pleased our initiatives have been recognised in these national awards.

We are looking to the future, focused on achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and will be launching further projects later this year.”

2,000 people everyday, and demand for our services continues to grow. We rely so much on the generosity of our Island community to ensure we can continue caring for local people. Working with Southern Vectis gives us a great boost, both in raising money and awareness about the support and services Mountbatten can provide.”

Successful year for Island company start-ups

Recently published figures show that more new businesses were established on the Isle of Wight during 2023 than in the previous year – making the county one of the most successful in the UK.

A total of 757 new formations were registered in the Isle of Wight during the last 12 months, an increase of 16.1% on 2022 when 652 were recorded. This brings the number of registered companies in the county to an all-time high of 6,580.

The statistics are taken from the ‘Inform Direct Review of Company Formations’, using data from Companies House and the Office for National Statistics.


Time to bid for Isle of Wight Foundation grant support

Charities and community led organisations working to tackle social exclusion on the Island are once again being invited to bid for grant support from the Isle of Wight Foundation.

Now in its tenth year, the foundation –comprising the companies behind Island Roads – has awarded grants of between £3,000 and £16,000 for projects involved in helping build better communities or supporting people to access employment or housing.  To date, it has awarded grants totalling around £800,000 for such projects.

Having recently announced grant awards to nine local groups including Wessex Cancer Support, Ability Dogs 4 Young People, Vectis Radio, and The Way Forward Programme, the foundation is now seeking applications for the next round of funding.

Any applications that meet the foundations criteria are encouraged whether from a group applying for the first time or having previously applied.

The companies making up the foundation are Ringway Island Roads, Island Roads Services, Vinci Concessions and Meridiam.

Chairman Rob Gillespie said: “Since 2014 it has been a real pleasure not just to support the work of so many good causes but also to establish really strong links with the groups we have helped.

“Once again, we would like to encourage

community interest companies and not-for-profit organisations involved in bringing communities together or supporting people with training, to apply for the next round of funding from our foundation.”

One group to have established really close links with the Foundation is The Way Forward. Based in Newport but with clients from across the Island, the organisation which provides support and sessions, training and employment for people with disabilities and autism has received four grants totalling over £33,000 from the foundation.

Chief executive Tracey Hill said: “We cannot thank the IW Foundation enough for all the fantastic support they have given us over many years – they along

with the staff at Island Roads have made such a difference to the lives of so many of our clients.”

As well as grant funding, eligible projects are supported by Island Roads employees who are given the opportunity to be project sponsors and give their time to share their specialist skills with grant recipients to help them deliver their projects.

Funding applications can be made until midday on Monday 6 May 2023.

To find out more and make an application visit: how-to-apply-for-funding/

Solent economy creativity and culture boost

Exciting progress is being made on the Solent Cultural Plan that is set to boost the cultural and creative economies. Consultation events held in February followed an initial round of workshops, where a range of businesses and organisations involved in arts and culture in the Solent region took part.

Solent Partners aim to share an initial insights report with all creative and cultural stakeholders to ensure that it reflects an accurate picture of current challenges and opportunities in the region.

Solent Partners Chair, Rachael Randall, said: “We are delighted to be working with Arts Council England to create the Solent Cultural Plan, bringing together our rich culture and exceptional local talent to build a stronger, more integrated and

visible cultural presence. The creative industries and cultural sector are a significant contributor to the Solent economy and are vitally important in creating a place where people want to live, work and visit. We hope to see even more organisations connected with the cultural and creative sectors in the Solent region take part in this second round of workshops, building on connections made so far, and driving development, investment, and best practice in the future.”

The Solent Cultural Plan will be produced by Solent Partners in close collaboration with Arts Council England and the region’s creative networks. The plan will generate a new era of creative excellence and stimulate the cultural economy for many years to come.

The Way Forward receiving money for a new minibus after bidding successfully last year.



Visit Isle of Wight’s first visitor economy conference saw over 120 representatives of business head to Newport’s Medina Theatre to hear from a wide range of speakers.

“I’d like to thank all of our speakers at the Visitor Economy Conference and those who attended,” says Will Myles, MD at Visit Isle of Wight. “It was an encouraging day, with plenty of interaction between speakers and attendees. The opportunity for networking at lunch time gave everyone a chance to talk. We all work hard to make sure that visitors to the Island enjoy their stay, so an event like the Visitor Economy Conference is vital to give people the chance to talk to each other, catch up with old friends, make new connections and hopefully everyone came away with new information that will help them in their businsess.”

The conference was hosted by Island Business editor Tom Stroud. The day included an overview of Visit Isle of Wight’s current marketing strategy, the success of the recent Twixmas campaign, with examples of how businesses can get involved with the marketing team. It was followed by an early sneak-peak at an ongoing branding analysis of how the Isle of

“The thing that has really impressed me most about the Visit Isle of Wight Visitor Economy Conference is, absolutely written all over it, is working in partnership. The way that they’re approaching some of the major strategic interventions around accessibility and sustainability is really top notch and you don’t get that everywhere. It has a really nice individual feel to it.”

Wight is viewed and ways that this can be distilled to project a strong image of the Island for visitors.

Andrew Stokes OBE, Director of VisitEngland spoke about the recent Local Visitor Economy Partnership (LVEP) status awarded to Visit Isle of Wight, emphasising the importance of working together.

The drive towards more sustainable tourism was addressed by Rebecca Armstrong from the Travel Foundation, with Amy Summers, Sustainable Travel manager from Visit Isle of Wight providing key insights into approaches from businesses across the world.

HTP Apprenticeship College’s Rachael Randall addressed ways to tackle the growing problem of staffing in the hospitality sector, from attracting recruits and retaining staff, providing examples of strategies that have worked for businesses, including clear career progression, improving the employee experience and rewarding staff members.

Accessibility spotlight

Ross Calladine, Accessibility and Lead Inclusion at Visit England & the Government appointed Disability & Access Ambassador for Tourism gave a presentation with Neil Chapman, MD at Hovertravel, highlighting the importance of promoting accessibility.

“I think there is a natural fear factor,” Ross explains. “Businesses don’t want to get accessibility wrong, but there are a lot of low or no-cost changes that businesses can make. Some of those are to do with physical adjustments, but actually more to do with the welcome - training yourself and your staff to be disability aware.

“This isn’t a one size fits all, businesses can go on a journey with their accessibility, and they can make improvements over a long period of time, so you want to keep that information up to date.’

Visit Isle of Wight will be hosting two webinars in February, working with the HD Sunflower organisation and encouraging Island businesses to become more aware of non-visible disabilities and how to make the Isle of Wight a welcoming and inclusive location for all.

All presentations are available to view on the Visit Isle of Wight industry website Visit Wight Pro.

Top: Visit Isle of Wight’s Amy Summers talks sustainability. Below: From left, host Tom Stroud, Ross Calladine from VisitEngland Neil Chapman from Hovertravel Above: Visit Isle of Wight’s Will Myles

Following the successful delivery of the Go for Growth programme in 2023, Digital Islands is now set to run an exciting new business support programme in 2024, launching on 26th February 2024.


in partnership with the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce

“I’ve been leading Go for Growth for 18 months now, and I’m very excited about the plans we have for 2024,” Gavin McWhirter, who runs the programme, explains. “Having provided advice, training and expertise for well over 100 business owners on the Island in 2023, we are taking things to the next level this year.”

The main difference for 2024 is that Go for Growth will be run in partnership with the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce. This offers the opportunity for Island businesses to benefit from everything that the Chamber has to offer, plus a package of fully funded training and one-to-one business advice, all for free.

Go for Growth is part of the wider council programme called Innovation Wight, with most support activity being delivered at Building 41 in Northwood. Cllr Julie Jones-Evans, Cabinet Member for Economy, Regeneration, Culture and Leisure, praises the initiative:

“The collaboration between Go for Growth and the Isle of Wight Chamber is a fantastic opportunity for Island businesses. The Council has supported this project with funding from the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund”.

Gavin McWhirter
Businesses engage with the Go For Growth programme at Building 41

What to expect

Participants will benefit from a comprehensive 1:1 business health-check, conducted by an experienced business advisor, resulting in a Growth Action Plan. To help achieve the Action Plan, the initiative provides 3 hours of expert guidance in a chosen specialism, enhancing the practical knowledge of participants.

The programme also includes a one-day training workshop covering essential business pillars: Marketing, Technology, People, and Finance. As well as access to six bespoke e-learning courses, specifically developed for Isle of Wight business owners.

Regular networking events and additional workshops will offer valuable opportunities for community engagement and skill development. Participants will also receive frequent updates on relevant business events, available grants, and other growth opportunities, ensuring they are well-equipped to thrive in the dynamic business environment.

Helen Cunningham, who runs an Island business Tiny Homes Holidays, participated in Go for Growth last year.

She comments:

“I was a bit hesitant at first, but then I thought ‘Well why not, it’s free, I’ll give it a go’, and I was really surprised. Go for Growth had a really positive impact on me, and I was able to see a clear marketing plan going forward. It was so refreshing to talk to other people about the business and not be trying to sell them anything!”

Whereas for Leigh Jackman, from The Isle of Wight Gin Co, Go for Growth has; “...really helped us focus on where we’re going as a brand, it’s brilliant. Also, through the networking, we’ve met some fantastic companies on the Island. The peerto-peer information has been phenomenal and it’s given us the chance to build confidence.”

For businesses with 10 or fewer employees, Go for Growth also includes a valuable addition: a 12-month membership with the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce. This membership grants unlimited access to HR and legal experts, specialist advice on tax and VAT issues, and essential legal coverage. Members will have access to an extensive range of resources for employment, health & safety management, and comprehensive insurance for managing HMRC enquiries.

Steven Holbrook, CEO of the Isle of Wight Chamber is excited about the opportunity this creates for businesses on the Island:

“We’re very pleased to be working with the Go For Growth programme, and to be able to offer the many benefits of IW Chamber membership to businesses that are looking to grow and progress. Plugging into the Chamber’s wide network gives businesses a much broader reach, and the support on offer as part of their membership gives them the confidence to think bigger.”

How to get involved

Full details of the Go for Growth programme, along with the application form, are available on the Go for Growth Business Hub website, which is open to business owners from across the Island.

The website also provides access to a range of training videos, as well as a space for members to continue conversations after networking events, find connections, make introductions, and identify business partners.

Scan the QR code to visit the Go for Growth website


ITV’s recent drama brought the 20 year Post Office scandal to the attention of the general public. Described as “a devastating tale of one of the worst miscarriages of justice in British history,” the tv show captured hearts and minds and provoked new debate at Westminster. But what lessons can we take away from this shameful episode?

What can businesses learn from Mr Bates vs The Post Office?

The ITV dramatisation of the Bates v Post Office case is a gripping but very hard watch. It provides us with an insight into the events that have taken place over the last 15-20 years and with my Solicitor’s hat on I could not help but reflect on how badly a variety of professionals behaved over many years.

I have picked out the key things that in my view all organisations can learn from Bates v The Post Office.

1. How you handle internal investigations.

When an allegation or issue arises you should have an internal process that sets out how you will deal with it. Normally this involves some form of internal investigation.

All too often though managers try to skim over or ignore the investigation process altogether, assuming the conclusion themselves, and jumping straight to the end of the process. The investigation stage is however critical to a fair process and to ensuring that you get all of the facts about the issue.

The number one mistake investigators make is to start the investigation from the point of guilt, when in fact the investigators job is to take a balanced view of the situation and seek evidence that may prove or disprove the issue.

For most businesses there is not a requirement to handle internal investigations in the same way as a criminal investigation, where the test is ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ but investigators should be thorough in their approach. Questioning the evidence and following up on information provided.

Investigators need to be satisfied that on the balance of probabilities it is the correct outcome, a lower test than criminal law, but still one that requires careful consideration and analysis.

Alison Colley

2. The importance of obtaining feedback from staff

Unless an issue arises or an employee raises a formal complaint or grievance it can take time for internal issues to come to your attention, and by the time they do the damage has been done. This is why regular communication with staff is important at all levels.

It can be difficult, particularly in large organisations for employers to know what is going on at ground level, but there are ways of obtaining feedback, including staff surveys, morale barometers, employee committees or representatives. In addition to proactively seeking feedback, it is important to have a robust whistleblowing procedure in place that is communicated to everyone in the organisation so that serious issues are recorded and reported.

3. The use of Settlement Agreements

If your organisation is in the habit of resolving internal disputes by way of a Settlement Agreement, then this could be a clear sign that there is an issue.

Whilst Settlement Agreements are useful for preventing protracted disputes, the overuse of such confidential agreements can be covering up an issue. A regular review by senior management and HR should be undertaken of the number of Settlement Agreements used and the circumstances in which they are being used.

There has been much in the news recently about certain industry’s where sexual harassment and discrimination is still commonplace because whenever anyone speaks out their complaint is ‘settled away’, meaning no investigation is undertaken and no resolution to the cause of the problem. It also gives carte blanche to others to behave badly with little or no repercussion.

Alison Colley is a solicitor and founder of Real Employment Law Advice. Alison specialises in providing advice to Employers and Employees on all aspects of Employment Law and HR, including mediation and dispute resolution within the workplace.

4. The importance of independent review

In certain circumstances external audit and review is mandatory because of an accreditation, legal requirement, or standard that you are required to meet, but in many organisations, there is no such external review that takes place.

The result is that there is no challenge or perspective on the working practices and behaviours within the organisation.

Having someone independently look at your organisations practices on a regular basis can provide senior management and/or the Board with an insight into what is really happening and offers the opportunity to reflect. It is not just about identifying the problems but can help in identifying new practices and processes that can be beneficial to the organisation.

Getting an independent view is critical to complex internal disputes and in my experience can help bring issues to a conclusion much quicker than seeking to resolve internally. It is also very helpful if you find yourself defending a claim in the Court or Employment Tribunal at a later date.

5. Culture comes from the top

Probably the most important lesson from Bates V Post office is that culture, attitudes, and behaviours in your organisation spread from the top down. If the culture at senior level is such that negative behaviours and attitudes are the norm or things are ‘swept under the carpet’ then this will spread, to the detriment of the organisation.

In the Post Office case it is clear that from the top level, the culture was of denial and unwillingness to recognise or acknowledge any potential failings in the IT system.

There was also a hard line taken on the sub-post master’s which spread downwards to the investigators who blindly blamed the individuals without the first thought that in fact there could be another cause of the shortfalls in cash.

It is an old cliché, but managers and leaders lead from the front, and those around will follow, be that good or bad, you have the choice.

ITV’s ‘Mr Bates vs. the Post Office’ drama was a massive ratings hit at the start of 2024.

Image: ITV


For many of us, coffee is an integral part of the day. On the high street, the coffee shop is now an anchor, bringing in customers and increasing dwell time. And for many Island businesses their coffee was roasted by Dan Burgess and his team at their new purpose built warehouse in Newport, on the bank of the Medina.


The Isle of Wight Espresso Co. expands with more capacity and wider range

Co-founder of the Isle of Wight Espresso Co. Dan Burgess talks beans, blends and machines to Tom Stroud

“We’re now roasting around 40 tonnes of coffee a year, which is a big number for a business like ours,” Dan explains. “There are two sides to our operation. Caffe Isola is our retail side, on Nodehill in Newport which has come a long way since our first shop in Watchbell Lane which launched in 2006. But the larger side of our business is less obvious, and that’s the IOW Espresso Co, our wholesale arm.”

Dan and his family have been working with coffee for more than 20 years, initially importing coffee machines and beans from Italy and roasting their own coffee since 2010. Today they provide a range of services to businesses on and off-Island, from machines to branded, bespoke speciality coffee blends.

“We started out with Italian, traditional coffee, and as we progressed into roasting, moved into speciality coffee so we have a lot of knowledge of both markets. We wouldn’t pitch a niche speciality light roast coffee to a traditional customer, who wouldn’t recognise the taste, or vice versa. But we have customers spanning both ends of the taste spectrum.”

Dan and his team roast almost a tonne of coffee each week, at their new warehouse at Blackhouse Quay. The purpose built 18m by 12m site has given the business the space to expand, with plenty more capacity for future growth.

“It’s where we do all our production, from pallet to packing,” Dan explains. “Green coffee beans arrive in 60 to 70kg sacks from all over the world. We use a lot of central and south American beans from Brazil, Honduras and El Salvador which are good core coffees for our blends. We have strong direct relationships with these farms, some of which we have worked with for over 9 years. We also use a lot of African coffees, particularly for single origins, from places like Ethiopia, Rwanda and Burundi. We’re currently running two different sized roasters as each is suited to a different range of coffees.

“We have a big communal table that we use for testing and cupping our production coffees. Every batch we roast, we will test and score the following day. We might find slight changes as the coffee changes with the seasons, so we will then tweak the production profile. We’ve also invested in technology to monitor data, with state-of-the-art updates to older machines which were actually built better. It’s the best of both worlds really. Smart technology, great machines, still managed by humans.”

As well as attention to detail, their production runs like a just-in-time process, whereby they roast this week what they anticipate to be required next week, to maintain freshness.

Dan points out that chain brands often receive coffee to their supply chain which is already 3 months old. Despite having lots of room in his new warehouse, he doesn’t want it full of old product.

IOW Espresso Co. co-founder Dan Burgess

“Anyone can go out and buy a bit of kit, buy some green coffee, chuck it in and wait until it comes out brown and looking like coffee. But it’s all about the taste – getting the flavour right and tasting good. That’s a challenge in itself. But the next stage is replicating that consistently from batch to batch, across the year. And that’s one of our fortes too.”

Although the Island Roasted brand is familiar to customers across the Isle of Wight, customers may also be drinking Dan’s coffee under their Wight Label branding or without realising, at businesses who order their own branded coffee blend from the IOW Espresso Co.

“Cafes and restaurants are the core of our business,” Dan says. “We also supply quite a lot of the tourist destinations and Wightlink’s ferries and terminals. Tapnell Farm, the Garlic Farm and Quarr Abbey are just some of the examples of businesses who see the value in using a local producer and tapping into the Isle of Wight ‘food destination’ brand. Off Island, we supply along the South coast and up to London. Guest coffees are quite big in the speciality world, so we’ll often supply small quantities that can open up new markets for us and then drive retail sales back to the website.”

Dan and his team haven’t given up on the line that got them started either – they still supply and service coffee machines to venues across the Island. It’s an evolving market too.

“If you’re looking for a coffee related solution we can give you good, honest advice and options. Our equipment is typically traditional barista espresso machines, requiring the training that we supply. We’re also taking on the Victoria Arduino brand to compliment our offerings to the upper-end speciality market. In the past we had shied away from push-button beanto-cup machines, but the quality of coffee they produce has improved over the years. At the other end of the scale, we’re also able to offer unmanned, contactless machines, where customers tap their card or device and collect their drink. There’s definitely a market there and we always have an eye on the future.”

Room to roast: IW Espresso Co’s new warehouse in Newport



rides the waves of the craft ale revolution

Tom Stroud talks to the family business behind the Island’s new and expanding microbrewery.

In just over three years, a drunken idea has become a reality for George Bristow and his sons Fergus and Edward. George was running the Pilot Boat Inn in Bembridge, and during Christmas 2020, a discussion about how exciting it would be to launch a microbrewery picked up speed. If you pop in for a pint at the Pilot Boat today, you’ll find four locally brewed ales on tap.

“We ultimately want to be in every single pub on the Island and at all of the big events. We know that when people taste our beers they want to buy them, and 2024 is all about getting people to try our beers.”

Initially the beers were made in the outbuildings of the pub. As demand grew, the father and sons team knew they had to expand. In January this year they officially opened their purpose built micro-brewery at Nunwell Farm on the outskirts of Brading.

“Our idea was to do something that we felt the Isle of Wight was missing,” says Fergus Bristow. We wanted to launch a craft brewery that was as creative as the ones you see on the mainland, with much more punchy flavours, higher hop profiles and varying styles in line with the modern era of craft beer.”

The business was launched in the dark depths of January 2021 when Fergus bought a second hand 300 litre capacity brewery, from Facebook marketplace. Their first IPA was poured a few months later.

“It was a totally new world for us,” Fergus says. “Edward and I have a lot of interest in beer, and we’ve effectively grown up in the pub, as my dad has been running them since I was eight years old. But we’d never run a commercial brewery before and we had a lot to learn.”

Fergus & Edward Bristow

Using natural ingredients, Wight Knuckle’s beers are completely natural and brewed in a sustainable way: unfiltered, unfined, unpasteurised, and 100% vegan. There’s a choice of four brews – Wight Knuckle’s Pale Ale, an IPA, a Faux Lager and a Black IPA. The Pale Ale has gone on to receive high praise, clinching the prestigious Gold Award in the South East of England Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) Independent Beer Awards 2023.

“Early on in our business, we decided to put our beer into mini kegs as a balance between having something customers can take away, without the significant investment in a canning or bottling plant,” Fergus says. “The mini kegs were a fantastic way to get us started and we started driving sales on all fronts.”

Early supporters included the Old Fort in Seaview, Yarbridge Inn in Brading, Culver Haven in Bembridge, Seaview Deli and Norris Family Grocers, who all showcased the nascent Wight Knuckle brand to their customers. Demand grew steadily, leading to the need for new premises.

“We hit our capacity at the Pilot Boat and we couldn’t take on new customers. Moving to the new brewery at Nunwell Farm has seen our brewing space grow from just 400sq ft to almost 6,000sq ft, with capacity increased 8-fold. We don’t have to turn people down now and the team really pulled it off. Our staff have worked non stop and are absolutely passionate about everything that we produce. We’ve moved from literally a barn that had grain stored in it to having a fully working commercial brewery. We did it with no disruption to our trade, despite most of the work happening during the summer, our busiest time.”

Their expansion was significantly supported by the Isle of Wight Lottery, with a £50,000 interest free loan, enabling the business to invest confidently in the new premises, swelling the number of staff to nine people across two sites. The brewery might now be based outside Brading but the Pilot Boat is still the spiritual home of Wight Knuckle, with four beers and some experimental ales on eight taps. More than 60% of the beer is sold in Bembridge too, direct to consumer, from the tap room.

“Our customers at the Pilot Boat are the guinea pigs really, getting to taste our testers and limited scale brews, as well as our main brands. Then around 30% of our output goes to the wholesale trade, with a few pubs that take both cask and keg beer. We’re looking to change that ratio though and our #1 ambition is to be in more pubs, hopefully up to 20 more by the summer.”

They’ve grown their business by selling canned beers to farm shops across the Island and opening the brewery with a launch event in January provided the Bristow team with an opportunity to celebrate as well as promote their beers. They picked up three new wholesale customers on the night.

“We’ve even been approached by Wetherspoons which is huge kudos for us,” Fergus says. “They only ask you if they’ve been recommended by one of their customers. We know we’re still relatively unknown to a certain extent, but people are definitely starting to hear about us. We can provide beer to the whole of the Island now and we’re really announcing our arrival now. 2024 is our launchpad year.”

Above top: Fergus and Ed pick hops planted in Brading in 2021, for use in their annual “green-hop” beer.

Middle: Wight Knuckle Brewery’s range of ales, IPAs and faux lager. Left: Launching the new brewery at Nunwell Farm.



The Isle of Wight Lottery is an independent not-for-profit organisation, founded in partnership with the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce back in 2001. If your business is looking to expand and grow, the Lottery can help, with an interest free loan.


115 businesses have received loans so far, totalling a whopping £1,268,431

Over 435 Island jobs created £100,000 of funding to Island businesses in interest free loans in 2023

More than 540 prizes paid out in 2023, with £118,000 paid out in prizes

It’s just £1 to play

Find out more about the Isle of Wight Lottery by heading to:

Island entrepreneurs can borrow up to £50,000 to invest in their business provided that the expansion will create jobs or sustain employment. Well known Island businesses including Rapanui, Nosy Design, Vehicle Consulting Solent, The Island Holiday Company, Jack Thompson, Wed & Prosper, Ann Ginger Soft Furnishings, Brightbulb Design, Bump Express, Crossfit Valentis and West Wight Sports Centre have all been helped with interest free loans from the Isle of Wight Lottery.

The Lottery FAQ with Sharon Whiten, Head of Finance for the IW Chamber and the IW Lottery

How can an Isle of Wight Lottery loan help my business?

If you are serious about starting up a business and think you can create and sustain Island jobs, or if you’re a business looking to grow, the Isle of Wight Lottery loan is a great opportunity to access interest free funds.

What sort of business applies for an Isle of Wight Lottery loan?

It’s a variety of businesses who have borrowed from us so far, from brand new start-ups who have never traded before, to well established businesses who are looking to expand and create new jobs. That’s the purpose of the loan –to enable Island businesses to create new employment, or sustain jobs, so it doesn’t matter what size or shape the business is.

So how much can I borrow – and how flexible is the loan?

We can lend anything between £1,000 to £50,000, interest free. It will have to be paid back within three years.

Sounds great! Where do I sign up?

I think a lot of people literally think we’re just going to write a cheque there and then, but we do have an ethical responsibility to lend responsibly. There’s a detailed application process, which ensures that our applicants are capable of repaying the loan and that we’re not going to put them under any financial distress. We also don’t want to lend people that are then going to go out of business. We’re not a bank, but like a bank, we’re going to do the necessary checks to make sure that the business idea is sound. Unlike a bank, we won’t be doing credit checks or looking at credit history. Traditionally the IW Lottery has been the lender of last resort, and we have helped many Island businesses to grow who had previously been turned down by a bank. That’s not the case with every loan – and there’s certainly no stigma attached to an Isle of Wight Lottery loan.

So what makes a strong application? How does it work?

Your loan will be assessed by a panel of business experts and Isle of Wight Lottery board members. It’s not like Dragons Den, but you will be grilled on your numbers and your plans. You’ll need a business plan, budgets and to be able to convince the panel that you will be able to repay the funds and create the jobs. If you’re already in business, we would want to see previous sets of actual annual accounts so that we can see that your business is financially sound.

How quickly your loan is approved will depend on the quality of the application and my advice is always to “give me everything”. We need the numbers that


show how the loan will add value to the business and help to grow or sustain jobs.

There’s obviously a lot of work involved in the process but it must be very rewarding – to able to present businesses with funds, as well as when the final repayment is made?

I love being able to help people and then seeing what they achieve as a result of the lottery loan. In more than twenty years we’ve helped Island businesses to create hundreds of jobs. We’ve pumped more than £1million into the Island economy. We’ve also been able to save businesses from the brink, keeping people in work, as well as nurturing brand new start ups. The most painful part for me is when the Lottery doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. I hope that anyone who has benefited from a lottery loan remembers the support and assistance they received from us in the past.


How the Isle of Wight Lottery helped Wight Knuckle Brewery to expand

“We couldn’t possibly have grown to this stage without the IW Lottery – it’s helped us so much”

We borrowed £50,000 from the Isle of Wight Lottery a year ago, and we used the money to help fund the construction process which transformed a barn to a fully-fledged operating brewery. The increased capacity means we now have 9 members of staff working for us at the brewery and at the Pilot Boat.

We’d been researching funding options and by using Island builders and employing Islanders, we are putting the money straight back into the Isle of Wight.

The IW Lottery funding panel were extremely kind and I think they were quite excited by our project. When we spoke to the directors they were very encouraging and I think they must have seen how excited we are about the future. I don’t think we could have possibly have grown to this stage as a business without the loan.

The funding we have means that we haven’t had to compromise, which in turn would have affected the way we would have been able to produce beer. We had a concrete floor, as an example, which is fine to brew on, but eventually it will crack and start to wear away.

The loan allowed us to afford to get a proper sloping floor which can be wiped down and cleaned much more easily, and from a sanitary perspective, means we’re able to clean the whole brewery. If you know anything about brewing, it is 90% cleaning, and 10% brewing!

We’ve also got a new canning line too, which is semi-automatic and a huge step up from what was basically homebrewing and manual filling. That’s an upgrade that the Lottery funding enabled us to invest in, which increases our quality because it stops the oxygen getting in. It also allows you to actually make some money on your cans and not just effectively give them away for cost, which is what we were doing before and it was hampering our ability to grow.

The flooring and the canning machine were two things that were definitely optional in the construction phase, but with the loan behind us, we were able to think bigger. We were also able to bring our old brewery over from the Pilot Boat, which we had been planning to sell. By keeping it we can still do 200 litre batches and experiment with bespoke brews. It enormously expands our capacity to be creative as you can’t always afford to do a new recipe on a on a huge kit.

When you’re on a bit of a shoestring budget, which we were at the very beginning, you can’t do everything that you would like. But the Isle of Wight Lottery loan helped us grow much faster. It was enormously generous and enormously beneficial for us, and it’s helped us so much.

From left, Wight Knuckle Brewery’s Edward, George and Fergus Bristow with the IW Lottery’s Sharon Whiten

In 2023, global temperatures rose above the 1.5°C key limit for the entire year. It was also the hottest year on record (ever). Prof Sir Bob Watson, former UN climate chair, highlighted the severe weather events this warming has already triggered worldwide:

“Look what’s happened this year with only 1.5C - we’ve seen floods, we’ve seen droughts, we’ve seen heatwaves and wildfires all over the world.”

All this signals that businesses will soon face increased pressure to cut down on their greenhouse gas emissions, from both the government and all parts of their supply chain, including suppliers and customers.

Simply put, lowering emissions is not just good for the planet; it’s good for business too. If you don’t reduce your organisation’s emissions, you could face a variety of challenges: paying more taxes, finding it harder to win new contracts, struggling to attract the best employees, and having fewer choices for suppliers and partners.

So, where can you start your emission reduction journey?


1. Understand Your Emission Scopes

3. Begin Collecting Data

Emissions are typically categorised into three scopes. Understanding these categories will help you when you begin measuring and making a reduction plan:

• Scope 1: Direct emissions from owned sources, such as company vehicles or boilers.

• Scope 2: Indirect emissions from purchased electricity, steam, heating and cooling.

• Scope 3: This is where it gets more complicated, as scope 3 includes emissions from purchased goods and services, employee commuting, waste disposal, use of sold products, transportation and distribution, investments, and so on. For many small businesses, scope 3 is the highest source of emissions.

2. Choose the Right Emissions Calculator

Due to the complexity of scope 3, you’ll find it challenging to calculate emissions without the help of 3rd party tools. Our business has used Compare Your Footprint and Ecologi Zero, both of which have positives and negatives. I’d encourage you to carry out your own research and find an emissions calculator to suit your business needs. Some considerations include:

• Accuracy: Check if the tool is compliant with global emission standards.

• Ease of Use: Make an account or book a demo, ensuring the tool is usable.

• Integration: Consider what your calculator should integrate with. For us, it was important that the calculator connected with our accounting software (Xero).

• Cost-Effectiveness: Weight features against costs, to ensure value for money.

• Reporting: Check for the availability of clear and detailed emissions reports.

• Real Experience: If possible, seek feedback from current users to gauge the tool’s effectiveness and user satisfaction.

After choosing your calculator, initiate the collection of your initial emissions data. Attention to detail is crucial, and additional measurements might be required based on the software’s needs. Being granular is important if you’d like to improve. Try to complete all the actions your calculator sets you and seek assistance when necessary.

4. Analyse and Plan Reductions

Once you have collected your emissions data, it’s time to analyse it to pinpoint areas where improvements can be made. For instance, you might consider transitioning to a renewable energy provider or optimising logistics and delivery routes, especially for products moving to and from the mainland. Another effective strategy includes enhancing your waste management practices and adopting a more circular approach to how you manufacture products.

5. Repeat, Improve and Offset

Keep checking your emissions regularly to find new ways to do better. This cycle of checking and improving can also help cut costs and make your operations run smoother. For the emissions you can’t get rid of (yet!), consider offsetting by supporting environmental projects, such as woodland restoration, or renewable energy investments. Just make sure these projects are properly certified, to ensure they’re making a real difference.

6. Engage with the Community

The Isle of Wight business community includes many organisations and individuals who really care about the environment. I’d encourage you to share your emission reduction efforts, learning from others, and working together on sustainable initiatives in the area.

To get involved in the Mission Zero Business Hub, visit:



At the heart of the Island’s community

At WightFibre we believe in giving back to our Island community. This goes beyond simply providing full-fibre broadband across the Island. We support a host of local charities, community groups and community sports through our Connected Communities Programme, helping bridge the digital divide in our community. We’re not just building a new state of the art network for the Island, we’re helping build a stronger, more inclusive community.

Lizzie Westbrook, PE lead at Lanesend Primary

We were really lucky to receive sponsorship from WightFibre for multiple sports kits. This is the first time we have been offered sponsorship in this volume and it has led to lots of really good things happening. We’ve got over 400 children and lots of children have wanted to be in teams because they’ve seen the kit. It’s a lift for them to wear a shiny new kit which has our values on.

When we arrive at games, the children are proud and are aware that other people looking at them for a really good reason and it’s given them almost a brand identity. They have respect for themselves as well as each other. We are Lanesend and we are proud the children are wearing their kits.

Sam Flux, Vice chairman of Sandown & Shanklin Rugby Club

The support WightFibre has provided for essentially a low level community club like ourselves in the whole pyramid of the rugby world has been absolutely fantastic. It gives us a professional feel and we feel

the love! We recently celebrated our 60th anniversary year and at that time we had started our partnership with WightFibre. There’s a number of projects that we’ve always had in our wish list that the club never had the capacity to do. WightFibre helped us put things in like our perimeter fencing. Our pitches are now 100 times better. Their support elevates our presence and position as a rugby club and helps us establish ourselves across the Isle of Wight and Hampshire again.

The Test the Water programme is all about giving children at an early age an experience on the water that might just open up a passion, experience and an opportunity to think about how they can change their lives going forwards. This programme is not possible without the fantastic support of companies like WightFibre who’ve stepped forward to sponsor the programme. It makes a huge, huge difference.

There are over 1,400 kids in Year 6 on the Isle of Wight almost every year, and the support that WightFibre provides is really

fundamental in getting many of those on the water. Over 30% of children here on the Island live in poverty, and that’s a shocking statistic, which is one of the key reasons we started our Test the Water programme, which is about giving every Year 6 student here the opportunity to have water experience at UKSA.

We set WightAID up back in 2016 because we wanted to find a way of making it easier for businesses to give to local organisations and charities on the Isle of Wight.

Two years ago we had a coming-outof-lockdown ball at the Royal Yacht Squadron and WightFibre generously sponsored that. That help allowed us to raise over £30,000 on the day.

This year we had a garden party. WightFibre again supported us really generously and that raised nearly £35,000. And all of that money goes straight back to local charities. To date, we’ve managed to grant over £600,000 to more than 180 charities on the Island.


From young rugby players to family events and Christmas gifts for older people, WightAID’s recent grants had all the bases covered. The latest grant round awarded £6,742 to eight different charities and organisations. Other projects which received cash included AIM Autism Inclusion Matters, two Isle of Wight primary schools, a Christian group in Newport and Sight for Wight (formerly the Isle of Wight Society for the Blind).

Amy Underwood, WightAID administrator, said: “The latest round of giving shows the diversity of organisations needing our support. We are delighted to have helped these eight groups.”

The full list of grants is:

• Isle of Wight Society for the Blind received £3,242 for a range of activities, including their project Be Wise to your Eyes, an education programme. Its aim is to educate every Isle of Wight primary school child in protecting their eyes and how they can help those already living with less vision.

• AIM Autism Inclusion Matters — an autistic-led charity, organised and ran by autistic adults. They were granted £500 for putting in bifold doors into a large group room to divide it into two during busier groups or drop-in sessions.

• Vectis Rugby Club (under 6s and 7s) received £500 towards new kit for its 40


WightAID grants support budding rugby stars to care home residents, with the help of business donations

members in this age group.

• Sandown Family Events were granted £500 for their Bringing Christmas Back to Sandown — A free event that was held on December 16 in the town.

• Embracing Age UK is a charity dedicated to improving lives of older people with a focus on those living within a care home setting. They received £500 towards their Christmas Box Project which enabled them to give every resident they have contact with a gift.

• St Mary`s Catholic Primary School, Ryde, are putting the £500 granted towards creating their Woodland Room

and providing a safe sensory place.

• St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School — £500 towards their Sensory Room, The Hive, to help with pupils’ emotional regulation.

• Revive Newport IW — This Christian centre/café will put the £500 towards a new dishwasher. This will enable the volunteers/team to have more opportunities to sit down and listen to people and offer support and sign posting.

Geoff Underwood, chair of WightAID trustees, said: “Don’t forget you or your business can make tax-efficient donations to WightAID and, in turn, allow us to keep on giving to these incredible groups here on the Isle of Wight.”

If anyone is interested in becoming a donor or is a charity/organisation who would like to apply for a grant, visit:

Top: Pete from Revive, Bex and Ben from Vectis Rugby Club, with Mavis, the WightAID dog, Zoe Findon, donor, from Purple Patch; Kristy Skelly on behalf of St Mary’s and St Thomas`s schools, Rebecca Savage from Embracing Age, Ruth Hollingshead with her guide dog and Lisa Holyhead, from the IW Society for the Blind/ Sight for Wight. Far left: Embracing Age volunteers distributing gifts to older people. Left: The Christmas event in Sandown organised by Sandown Family Events.

COMING SOON: THE 2024 IW Chamber Business Awards

with WightFibre

The Island’s business community is gearing up to celebrate success and achievement in 2023. Entries closed at the end of January and now the tension mounts whilst a panel of impartial, independent judges assesses the submissions received for the 16 categories.

Presented at Cowes Yacht Haven on May 10th, and sponsored once again by WightFibre, this year sees the launch of the brand new Creative Impact Award. The Hospitality Business of the year category is now joined by the Tourism & Leisure Award.

“We’re set for yet another amazing night,” says Chamber CEO Steven Holbrook. “Every year these awards are hotly contested and this year we have received a great number of entries across the range of categories, from a wide selection of Island businesses. It’s a thrill to see so many of our businesses engaging with the awards and sharing their successes.

“Our panel of independent judges, who are based on the Island, on the mainland and internationally, will be scrutinising the entries and will be using their business expertise to pick the best of the submissions. It’s a huge endeavour and I’m very grateful to our judges for their time and our commitment. As always we’re also massively grateful for the support of our sponsors and partners, without whom we couldn’t run this event.

“Each year we set the bar high for the standard of entertainment on the night, with fine dining, talented performers and an incredible party to match the high calibre of our winners. We’ve welcomed hosts including Shappi Khorsandi, Anneka Rice and Fred Dinenage; we’ve provided magic, music and games. We don’t like to repeat ourselves and we enjoy surprising our attendees. This year, as always, we’re working hard to do something different once again.”

Nominations will be published soon for the Island’s most prestigious awards

Sponsored by WightFibre, the trophies will be handed out in May

WightFibre CEO John Irvine adds:

“WightFibre is delighted to support the Chamber in making the Chamber Business Awards THE highlight of the Island business calendar. This is the third year of our sponsorship and the Awards get bigger and better every year.”



Start Up Business of the Year

Sponsored by PC Consultants

Entrepreneurship Award

Sponsored by Liz Earle

Customer Service Award

Sponsored by Red Funnel

Community Award

Sponsored by Moore (South) LLP

Employer of the Year

Sponsored by Diametric Technical Ltd

Training and Development Award

Sponsored by JR Zone

Environment and Sustainability Award

Sponsored by IFPL

Technology and Innovation Award

Sponsored by Lifeline Alarms

The shortlist of nominees will be published in March, when tickets will go on sale.

Tourism and Leisure Business of the Year

Sponsored by Visit Isle of Wight

Hospitality Business of the Year

Sponsored by Cherry Godfrey

Manufacturing and Export Business of the Year

Sponsored by GKN

Creative Impact Award

Sponsored by Medina Publishing

Business Social Impact Award

Sponsored by WightFibre

Growth Business of the Year

Sponsored by WRS Systems

Micro Business of the Year

Sponsored by Gurit UK

Small Business of the Year

Sponsored by Wightlink

Find out more at:

Looking to start your own business? Need help getting moving? We can help!

The Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce is providing monthly, one-day business start up courses, sponsored by Red Funnel. Our friendly courses will help you to get started on the road to being your own boss.

Our expert business mentors will give you an overview of running your own business, operating as sole trader or company, bookkeeping, insurance, professional services, marketing and more.

The Red Funnel Business Start Up Course is a great way to learn more about the world of business and how to get moving in the right direction. The informal environment is also a friendly place to ask questions and learn with like-minded people.

The Red Funnel Business Start Up Course is only £5 to attend, thanks to the support of Red Funnel. The courses are promoted by the Isle of Wight Lottery, as part of the Lottery’s work to create and sustain employment on the Isle of Wight.

Sign up today!

Wednesday 20 March, 9.30am - 4.00pm

Wednesday 24 April, 9.30am - 4.00pm



• BCC’s Trade Confidence Outlook for Q4 2023 sees SME exports continuing to languish

• Half of all SME exporters (50%) saw no change in overseas sales, and 24% reported a decrease.

• Only a quarter of exporting SME firms (26%) saw their overseas sales rise in Q4

• BCC indicators show exports have consistently underperformed compared to domestic sales since the pandemic

The Trade Confidence Outlook, conducted by the BCC’s Insights Unit, is a survey of more than 2,000 UK SME exporters.

It shows SME exports have been broadly static since the pandemic and remain far less likely to see improvements when compared to the pre-pandemic and pre-Brexit period.

In Q4 2018, 28% of SME exporters reported an increase (5 points higher than Q4 2023) and 16% reported a decrease (8 points lower than Q4 2023).

Post-pandemic, there has also been a noticeable divergence between domestic trade performance and exports. As the economy reopened in 2021 there was a sharp increase in UK sales, but overseas orders saw no corresponding rise, indicating that SME exporters have been disproportionately impacted by headwinds in global trade caused by Covid lockdowns and new trade barriers with the EU.

The proportion of firms seeing increased UK trade in Q4 2023 stood at 34%, an eight percentage point difference over the 26% of exporters.

The proportion of businesses reporting decreased overseas sales began to rise in the run up to Brexit and has remained stubbornly higher ever since.

The situation remains more volatile for SME manufacturers than other sectors, with 28% reporting an increase in exports, 44% no change and 28% a decrease.

This compares to SME services exporters where 25% saw an increase, 53% remained constant and 22% saw a decrease. However, firms supplying services to other businesses (B2B) saw the most stable performance – with only 20% reporting decreased sales, against 27% of businesses supplying end customers (B2C).

William Bain, Head of Trade Policy at the BCC, said:

“The global outlook was already looking fragile for 2024, but with increasing disruption to Red Sea shipping routes and continued geo-political uncertainty, it appears even more brittle.

“The reality is if we want to remain one of the world’s largest economies, then we need to get more firms selling goods and services internationally.

“This is not easily done in the aftermath of a pandemic, supply chain disruption, Brexit, increased non-tariff trade barriers and further global headwinds.

“But the UK’s brand remains strong, so we must lean more heavily into the advantages we possess. We are already a world-leader when it comes to digital trade, and we must make more of the opportunities that provides.

“The UK has great strengths in our exports – services (including professional, business and travel services), renewable energy, green finance, engineering, advanced manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, automotive, food and drink, and R&D.

“Business needs to work with Government to put in place a framework that makes use of all the advantages the UK has, to keep us at the top table, and to access incentives for our exports overseas.

“Finally, we need to look again at ways of improving trade with the EU. It is still our biggest trading partner, but firms continue to express huge frustration with the complexity and costs involved - which go way beyond what they face elsewhere.”



Being part of the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce means you’re well connected and welcome to take part in a wide range of events and training courses. We know that networking is essential to business growth, particularly in a marketplace like the Island. Make new connections and promote your products and services by attending our events.

Our annual Business Expo returns in July and is a must for all Island businesses. Our flagship Business Awards will take place in May. We offer much more too, with informal, free-toattend events which are great for those new to networking.

New for 2024, we’re also expanding our range of networking events. In March we’re holding our first Business Brunch, at the Garlic Farm. In May we launch Coffee & Cake at Caffe Isola, a free-to-attend event similar to Tea & Toast, but offering afternoon networking.


Liz Earle, Nicholson Road, Ryde

Friday 1 March 2024, 7.30am – 9.00am

IW Chamber members - £16 per person

Non-Members - £32 per person

Join us for a hot breakfast and the opportunity to network with other members, with a rare opportunity to visit Liz Earle’s Isle of Wight HQ The Green House.


Wednesday 20 March, 9.30am - 4.00pm

Wednesday 24 April, 9.30am - 4.00pm

IW Chamber Office, Branstone Business Park

Available to non-members, £5 admin fee

We offer new businesses the opportunity to take their ideas from paper into practice. We offer a business seminar aimed at people who are starting a business. Get the tools you need to take your idea from the drawing board to the real world. This course is designed for those with a business idea through to those who have been in business for six months.


The Garlic Farm

Wednesday 27 March, 9am-11am

IW Chamber members - £16 per person

Something different for Chamber members – join us for a networking brunch at The Garlic Farm. If breakfast is too early for you, why not take part in some informal networking (with a garlicy flavour) from 9am at one of our favourite venues


Bluebells at Briddlesford

Friday 12 April, 7.30am-9am

IW Chamber members - £16 per person

Join us for an excellent networking opportunity in the fine setting of Bluebells at Briddlesford, with a hot breakfast and a great start to the business day, networking with other Chamber members.


Delivered by Good Skills Training at YMCA, Shanklin

Monday 15 April, 9am–4pm

IW Chamber members - £74+VAT per person

This one-day course is designed to give delegates the knowledge, skills, and confidence to help those that have become unconscious, and those with minor injuries. The Emergency First Aid at Work Course also looks at the responsibilities of the Emergency First Aider. On successfully completing this course, attendees will be confident, safe, prompt, and effective emergency first aiders. The certificate will be emailed after completion.

Liz Earle
The Garlic Farm

Fired up:

IW Chamber’s Emma Spinelli and Kathryn Morey are recently qualified Fire Marshals


Delivered by Good Skills Training at YMCA, Shanklin

Monday 13 May, 9am–12.30pm

IW Chamber members - £65+VAT per person

This half day course is designed specifically for those who have been designated with the responsibilities of Fire Marshal or Fire Warden. The course will look at the legal responsibilities of both the company and the individual. By the end of this course learners will understand what their duties as a fire marshal are. The certificate will be emailed after completion.


Friday 10 May

Cowes Yacht Haven

BY TICKET ONLY – Tickets will initially be available to nominated businesses as priority.

Tickets for the IW Chamber Business Awards will be available to purchase later in March, following the publication of the shortlist of nominees. Tickets will be available to nominated businesses as priority initially.


Caffe Isola, Newport

Wednesday 15 May, 3.30pm-5pm

IW Chamber members–FREE

Another new event for 2024 – join us for afternoon networking and a superb way to meet other members informally, in the great setting of Chamber patrons Caffe Isola. If you’re new to networking, it’s a brilliant way to get started and promote your business. Bolstered by fine coffee and hot drinks, with cakes and nibbles, don’t miss Coffee & Cake, which is free to attend for IW Chamber members.

Go to or Email



AIMS Isle of Wight

Stephen Webster 01983 522899

ASAP Taxis

Shaun Wadham 01983 244444

Barlow Financial

Peter Barlow 01983 654340


Louise Howell 01983 562681

The Blacksmiths

Rachel Burrows 01983 529263

Bfit4life with Krysia

Krysia Pullan 07391 215415

CCPM (IW) Ltd 01983 531727

Cowes Movers Ltd

Colin Smith 01983 507971

Dimbola Museum & Galleries (Julia Margaret Cameron Trust)

Elissa Blizzard 01983 756814

Diverse Marine ltd

Matt Chessell 01983 300656

Isle of Wight Blinds

Bruce Holland 07535 578751

Just Mortgages

Philip Bransgrove philip-bransgrove/ philip.bransgrove@justmortgages. 07758 511551

Phoenix Flooring Projects Limited

Kevin Wetherick 07967 015544.

Rayner Jones Employment Lawyers

Rayner Jones 07515 444143


Rocket Ronnies ltd

Ronnie Keates

01983 520230 (Newport) 01983 722715 (Ryde)


Keith Trigg 01983 525710

The Waterfront

Adrian Bolton 01983 756969

The Wellness Barn

Tammie Faithfull 07899 898257

Wightbike Eco Solutions Limited

Jeffrey Smith 01983 303322

Yesss Electrical

Eddie Newland 01983 828918

Want to join the Chamber? Call the team on 01983 520777 or online
33 MARCH | APRIL 2024 IW CHAMBER These services give you unlimited access to no less than five business advice lines and a website which features over 750 free downloadable template documents. Not only that but you are protected by £1,000,000 of legal expenses insurance which includes employment cover and tax enquiry cover. All these services are included in your membership fee. Join the CHAMBER! Being a member of the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce is a great business decision! Membership starts at little more than £3 a week and entitles you to a huge range of business support, exclusive events and member discounts. IW Chamber members have access to these four essential services: ChamberHealth & Safety ChamberHR ChamberTax ChamberLegal Don’t delay…join today!


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NEWS THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE FOR THE ISLE OF WIGHT 34 Helpingyour peoplesave moneyon theirhealth Forhelpwithyourwellbeingstrategyorafreeconsultation,getintouch: 03456021629 AvailableexclusivelytoChamberofCommercemembers,ourChamber PrimaryHealthPlangivesyouremployeescashback,uptosetlimits,on essentialhealthcareandaccesstovaluablehealthandwellbeingservices. WestfieldContributoryHealthSchemeLtd(companynumber303523),WestfieldHealth&WellbeingLtd(companynumber9871093)and WestfieldEmploymentServicesLtd(companynumber9870326)arecollectivelyreferredtoasWestfieldHealthandareregisteredin England&Wales.AdditionallyWestfieldContributoryHealthSchemeLtdisauthorisedbythePrudentialRegulationAuthorityand regulatedbytheFinancialConductAuthorityandthePrudentialRegulationAuthority.Ourfinancialservicesregistrationnumberis202609. From£6.74 peremployee permonth

















Nurturing talent through training is essential for personal growth, enhancing workforce skills, and driving success. By investing in training and development, businesses ensure they have the skilled workforce needed to thrive in today’s competitive landscape.

Island Business Insights: Nurturing Talent



To provide value and benefits for our members through listening, representation, support and collaboration.

In my role as Chamber President, I get invited to many events. It’s a great opportunity to see businesses on the Island and to see examples of what those businesses have to offer. At the beginning of February, for National Apprenticeship Week, I was invited to a breakfast at the Isle of Wight College to hear about their plans for work and the expansion of their apprenticeship programmes.

I was delighted to meet some of the students on those courses and one student who stood out had completed her apprenticeship at GKN. She was from the Island and wanted to stay on the Island to work and the scheme has had a transformative effect on her life by allowing her to get into business and to become a real ambassador for apprenticeships. It was a great example of how she had progressed through the company via an apprenticeship and how that company was supporting her in return. Linking this back to the Chamber, we have a great membership, and if you want to learn about business, then come and speak to one of those brand ambassadors either at the new Branstone Farm offices where the Chamber team is always on hand, or at a networking event.

Apprenticeships are a great way to sit down with the Isle of Wight College, HTP Apprenticeship College and other training providers to find out what your business needs, what your team requires, and how it can help your business to thrive. It’s also an investment in your company. You can also help younger people through the Young Enterprise programme which works closely with local schools, businesses, and volunteers. It inspires, empowers, and ensures that young people are equipped with essential life skills, knowledge, and confidence necessary to thrive in the evolving landscape of employment. After all, these are the employees and business owners of the future.

We’ve got past the January blues but there are still stresses for businesses and business owners in particular. Looking at how we can support each other is very important, to build and keep resilience. I’ve been pleased to see that businesses are supporting staff and are still providing opportunities despite challenging times. To assist with that, the Chamber is now providing new networking events at different times of day to facilitate different companies’ needs and to be as accommodating as possible, and we welcome guests to these events where they can get a real taste of what the Chamber is all about and how it can benefit them. We also provide training courses across a wide range of subjects from first aid and business start-up advice to the recent sessions with TED speaker Tim Sissons. The knock-on effect is a happy team providing better customer service and an overall improvement of services on the Island.

Apprenticeships stand as a beacon of opportunity for both businesses and individuals for skills development and bolstering the workforce. The Chamber remains committed to supporting businesses through training, networking, and advocacy, ensuring a resilient and thriving business community on the Isle of Wight.

Full-fibre, ultrafast, future-proofavailable now, only from WightFibre. A Different Kind of Broadband Resilient, High Availability Broadband for your business and your customers
Phone Systems: Truly flexible for home and office working Made on the Isle of Wight: Island engineers, Island call centre, Island staff Rated 4.8 / 5 ‘Excellent’ A Different Kind of Broadband • Full-fibre • Ultrafast • Future-proof 01983 300 000
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