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‘Spreadsheets aren’t from Planet Zog’

Start Survive Thrive

Green firm is creating jobs



Nursery in award success CRESSINGTON Manor childcare facility in Aigburth has won the Nursery Management Today Best Designed Nursery Award of the past five years. The facility includes open plan spaces, under floor heating and integrated sound systems and a delighted nursery manager Gill Lord said: “We are extremely proud to be the winner of this prestigious national award.”

AWARD JOY: Compere Ortis Deley, Gill Lord, Chris Reid of award sponsor Connect Technologies and Richard Carmichael, of Ashbury Care Solutions


Business Reporter RECYCLING company Environmental Waste Controls says floating on the stock market means it will be able to attract more investment and win bigger contracts. Knowsley-based EWC, which offers waste management services to the public sector and to hundreds of private firms, hopes to raise £4m from its placing on London’s Alternative Investment Market.

EWC says float will help it to continue growth

That cash will help it to fund its growth plans, including opening more recycling centres around the UK. EWC, which employs 370 people,

operates household waste recycling centres for seven UK local authorities. Its Commercial Waste Management division collects and sorts waste from companies across the UK. In the year to last August, EWC posted sales of £23.8m, with a pre-tax profit of £2.1m. EWC’s chief executive Bill Shaw said the placing would also help raise the company’s profile and would give it the financial clout to bid for bigger tenders. He said: “We’ve got a fairly aggressive business plan to grow our organisation quite rapidly.

“Being quoted has a lot of benefits. There’s a kudos in being quoted. It will help us by giving us more credibility when we bid for tenders. “Being a quoted company makes it easier to attract talent, and that’s something we’re keen on. EWC plans to open three more large Material Recycling Facilities (MRF) centres, which sort waste that would otherwise go to landfill and then sell it other recyclers. It already has MRF sites in Knowsley, South Wales and London and has bought another site near Glasgow.

When exceptional people come together, great things happen. When Weightmans and Mace & Jones merged to become one firm on 1 May something special developed. Weightmans and Mace & Jones. Together we are stronger. Find out more at www.weightmans.com

THE next free event in the 60 Really Useful Minutes series hosted by Liverpool Chamber of Commerce in Old Hall Street is An Investment Ready Master Class this Friday, May 6, between 9am and 10am aimed at testing the viability of business ideas and offering advice on how to present them in ways relevant to corporate financiers and potential investors, with the aid of chamber member Funding Enterprise. Book online at Liverpoolchamber.org. uk

HOUSING group ● Plus Dane has provided a free self-

esteem course for tenants which has inspired several to start their own businesses, including Barbara Price, 66, who is setting up a book-keeping business. Steps to Excellence was provided by Plus Dane Group guidance officer Ian Brereton in partnership with the Liverpool Jobs, Education and Training Service.

TONIGHT’S Fish! networking event organised by Ubiquity PR, and sponsored by the Liverpool International Tennis Tournament has changed venue to the Salt House Tapas, Church House, in Hanover Street, starting at 5.30pm until 8pm. Contact joel@ubiquitypr. co.uk

STEVE Bennett has ● replaced Len Collinson as head of north west business group Private Sector Partners which speaks for 25 business groups representing 140,000 businesses.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011



A KNOWSLEY firm which develops and makes innovative concrete mixers has launched a new eco-friendly machine which will help the construction industry reduce CO2 outputs and landfill waste. Nurock’s latest model, the NUVM 1.5 compact volumetric machine, or baby mixer, uses a highly energy-efficient process to mix precise volumes of concrete on site, reducing pollutants in transportation and production and cutting down waste. The mixers can also recycle excavated waste, which would normally be destined for landfill, into reusable cement. Nurock has recently been commissioned by Powys county council in Wales to supply mixers for use on its Counties Highways and Infrastructure projects in a contract worth up to £200,000 during 2011. The firm is also in talks with several other councils, together with some civil engineering and utility companies. Nurock was set up in 2001 by Graham Jones and his father, Anthony. In 2008 it received funding from the Merseyside Special Investment Fund and last year the company, which employs 10 staff, grew turnover from £315,000 to £930,000.Turnover this year is expected to reach £1.8m.


SCAFFOLDING firm NSG UK has been awarded a Gold Medal for its sustained excellence in safety. The medal was presented by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), after NSG achieved six Gold Awards in a row. Earlier this year Deeside-based NSG celebrated one million working hours without a lost time accident, and in September 2010 it achieved the British Safety Council Five Star Award.


BUSINESS of the Week


RACI Williams’s school careers advisor told her she wasn’t intelligent enough to do A levels – but today she runs her own business explaining to bosses of small and large firms alike how they can harness computer skills that, to most people are from the “Planet Zog”, to save valuable time and money. The 33-year-old from Bidston is the queen of Excel, the Microsoft spreadsheet software that can be a boon to bosses, but can be as equally daunting to those less computer savvy in the workplace. She explained: “An Excel spreadsheet is basically like a piece of paper and you can write into different boxes information on anything from accounts to ordering materials, a work rota or stock control.” But she said most people haven’t a clue just how much capability the Excel programme can offer a business. Traci discovered her personal flair for Excel as a trainee accountant. After her careers advisor’s damning assessment she took a GNVQ in business finance. “I really enjoyed the finance and legal side,” said Traci. The course involved a week of work experience and when a list was circulated she said it was full of solicitors but only one accountant: “I saw that as a sign so went there, and loved it.” The firm, Hirst Alderson, has since merged with two others, but Traci said: “I was doing filing and making the tea and if I was good they would let me do a trial balance, which is basically the first snapshot of a balance sheet. “I preferred the analysis side of accountancy, rather than the finance bit.” She was able to develop her analytical skills over nearly eight years at Unilever in Port Sunlight where she produced data for three factories, such as calculating price variances on materials purchasing. From there she spent a year at foods group John West in Liverpool: “I was doing sales accounting on the theme of telling the stories of the numbers.” But she said she began to find the task too repetitive and was eager for a new challenge. “I realised I would have to go out into the big bad world. So I asked myself, ‘what do you enjoy doing and what could you adapt?’. “Everyone I worked with used Excel, but they didn’t use it the same way I did. I wondered if there was a business in it. “I was aware of functions and

Traci excels at true art of bringing numbers to vivid life Neil Hodgson talks spreadsheets with Excel Ace founder Traci Williams shortcuts that to me were obvious, but hardly anybody else was aware of. “For example, I absolutely love Pivot Tables – a function that can save you a massive amount of time if you are doing monthly statistics.” So, in February 2008, Excel Ace sprung from Traci’s kitchen table. “At the time I was temping with Blue Orchid in Liverpool and they said they would guarantee me three days a week for six months. “I did a lot of networking and Blue

Orchid referred me to companies they knew, so I picked up clients in the first six months. Most of my clients are from networking or referrals.” However, three years on, Traci says her original business plan has changed and evolved: “I thought I would go into businesses, look at their existing spreadsheets and make them more simple. “But I realised not many business owners are comfortable with managing their own numbers. So I

developed a bookkeeping model.” The majority of computers around the world have Microsoft so people already use Excel. But Traci has tailored the model for each individual business. “I will sit down with them and understand how they work and build it specific to them.” Clients also get continuing support: “Every month they can send me their files and I will double check them. I can also check things like whether they have put a receipt in for an item on their banking account. “It helps improve things when they give their accounts to their accountant at the end of the year.” But she says there is much, much more to an Excel spreadsheet than people realise: “They learn the basic Excel but then go back to their office and their spreadsheets and don’t know how to apply what they have learned.

Encouraging signs on finance and red tape for SMEs AN organisation that represents the manufacturing sector has welcomed signs of progress in two areas it says are vital to small firms. EEF says small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the bedrock of supply chains which feed into larger companies, accounting for 60% of the private sector

workforce, with 97% of companies employing less than 20 people. EEF regional director David Ost said: “They tend to be highly agile, have close relationships with their customers and for that reason are quick to respond to market needs. For this reason their needs must be at the

forefront of policymakers’ minds in terms of issues such as tax regulation, access to finance and ensuring they can get the skills they need.” He added: “Two critical issues are regulation and access to finance where there are some promising signs.” He said as banks have sought to rebuild their

balance sheets SMEs have found it difficult to get access to finance and when they do the terms and conditions can be prohibitive. “Tackling this is crucial if companies are to invest and grow and create the jobs we urgently need. The Independent Banking Commission report provides a

welcome first start and the government must now be bold and use this opportunity to bring greater competition to the sector. “There have also been positive signs on regulation with government absolving SMEs from new regulations and setting up the red tape challenge.”


Wednesday, May 4, 2011



STAT ATTACK: A ‘dashboard’ which translates numbers into a graphic showing business trends

Do you want to be our Business of the Week? Contact Neil Hodgson 0151 472 2451 or email neil.hodgson @liverpool.com

“Generally people use about 10% of Excel’s capabilities. “I only use 50% and am learning stuff all the time. But I try to bridge the gap between the 10% and my 50%. I always say ‘it is easy when you know how’.” Her shortcuts have cut the time some clients used to spend on their spreadsheets by 75%. And she said programmes unknown to many Excel users can help bring huge clarity to a business. “People aren’t aware of functions like a dashboard that shows all the information on a normal spreadsheet but in a series of charts and graphs. “A bar chart of people who owe money and the longest outstanding account allows people to see straight away who they need to be chasing. “People hate a page of numbers, but if they can see a graph it makes things easier to follow.” Her clients range from one-man bands to Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, but no matter how big or small, her aim is to make processes more efficient, slick and easy. Some of the more unusual spreadsheets she has helped create include a holiday and sickness tracker, a book of remembrance and a scoring system for a pub crawl. She added: “Even my karaoke machine at home has an Excel spreadsheet for all the artists and songs – but it can’t make coffee yet, which is a bit of a pain.”

ST HELENS Chamber of Commerce is helping Mandy Gaskell prove ‘where there’s muck there’s brass’. It has helped horse lover Mandy launch her equine care company Muck Out, providing essential care, grooming, exercise and mucking out services to horse owners. Mandy said: “I’m so passionate about horses and starting my own equine care business has always been a dream for me. “Many horse owners can find it difficult to juggle work and family commitments as well as giving their pride and joy all the love and care they need. “I noticed a real gap in the market for providing tailored care for people who may be going on holiday, having a baby, or who might just be really busy at work. “As a horse owner myself I thought it would be great if there was someone I could trust to look after him on those occasions when it’s difficult to devote the time to keeping him in top condition. This is where the idea for the business came from.” Chamber business start up adviser Craig Lawrenson said: “Mandy knew her industry inside out and with some support I could see that she had everything it takes to succeed. We secured funding which, with her savings, helped get the business started.”


TRUSTY LAPTOP: Traci Williams says most people use just 10% of Excel’s capabilities

SPEEDY HIRE, the Newton-le-Willows plant hire group, has been appointed as official supplier for this year’s Manchester International Festival, featuring artists such as Snoop Dogg and Björk. Speedy will supply equipment including generators, crowdcontrol barriers and radios to the biennial event based in and around Manchester city centre which is an artist-led festival of original work including performing arts, visual arts and popular culture. It will take place between June 30 and July 17.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Business to Business


Commercial Premises




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For Further Details Please call 0151 521 3080 (Press Option 3)

PARTNERSHIP: Trust chief executive Cate Murphy (centre) with Jeff Goldsmith and Lesley Bartley of Sefton Re-Use

by NEIL HODGSON Industry Reporter A SOUTH Sefton furniture recycling company which only opened 12 months ago has already created six new jobs for local people. Social enterprise Sefton Re-Use sells pre-owned furniture and other household goods at affordable prices from its Wakefield Road warehouse in Bootle, working closely with housing organisations and charities to help those in need to furnish their homes. And the business has also developed a lucrative sideline in making one-off recycled ‘designer’ pieces, ranging from tables made from reclaimed floorboards to plant holders created out of stainless steel washing machine drums. Among other outlets the company has landed a contract to supply these items to 37 Old London Road in Kingston-upon-Thames, a

New hope for long-term unemployed stylish upcycling retailer recently featured on TV’s popular Mary Queen of Shops makeover show. Sefton Re-Use – part of the Skelmersdale-based Exsel CIC recycling group – set up in the borough with the help of social enterprise business support specialists South Sefton Development Trust. As well as offering general business advice the Trust helped the company obtain a grant from the government’s Stepclever programme to pay for its website and other marketing materials. One year on, Sefton Re-Use is successfully achieving its key objective of finding new homes and new uses for hundreds of items otherwise

destined for landfill. The company has also been appointed as a preferred supplier by housing association One Vision Housing and works closely with Sefton council’s housing advice and homelessness team to help needy members of the community. Sefton Re-Use manager Jeff Goldsmith said: “South Sefton Development Trust played a vital role in helping us to set up in the borough. “Thanks to their help we’ve launched the business successfully and created job and training opportunities for local residents, four of them previously long-term unemployed.” Trust business adviser Eve Money said: “Sefton Re-Use is a textbook example of the benefits a social enterprise can generate. As well as providing a useful service to residents and creating jobs, the company makes a strong environmental impact and helps to keep wealth in the local community.”

OFFICE/INDUSTRIAL UNITS TO LET AINTREE 24 hr access. Security provided. Excellent Rates. Call Kenny 0151 524 0033 INDUSTRIAL UNITS To Let. South L’pool 500 to 4000 sqft, monthly tenancy, competitive rents. From £50pw Tel: 0151 427 5051

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WELLINGTON RD L15 Variety of Industrial units available now 0151 227 2875 TO LET Industrial Units L’pool City Centre 0151 227 9191 PENNY LANE Small office to let. £60pw. 07836 369919

Business For Sale

MORE than 20 firms have signed up to a new initiative to create jobs and apprenticeships for long-term unemployed or hard to reach adults. Employer Pool was launched by Huyton social enterprise Fusion21 aimed at firms in the housing sector and north

west business sector and more than 70 companies attended the event. Firms signing up to the charter will adopt socially responsible recruitment schemes for their local communities. Any surplus will be reinvested back into the project to create more job

opportunities. Jan Agger, head of training and employment at Fusion21, said Employer Pool will create work opportunities to prevent people getting caught in long periods of economic inactivity. “We feel that it is about going that

extra mile to not only help people find employment, but to also build upon their experience to positively shape their futures,” she said. More than 20 firms signed up to the charter on the day and a commitment was made to create in excess of 14 apprenticeships.

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LIVERPOOL PLATE for sale. £33,000 ono. 07502 089448

BUILDERS MERCHANTS & DIY Aigurth Vale. Large warehouse, shop, yard & stores s/c flat above, owner retiring, freehold. Long est, tipping truck & fork lift truck £440,000. 0151 727 2231 or 427 9653

LONG COLLAR £280pw, 03 Cab, Nissan 07919 401622

HAIR & BEAUTY Longmoor Lane. Offers over £1,000 for quick sale. 07751 754363

Business For Rent CAFETERIA OR RETAIL SHOP FOR RENT In West derby. 07773 292063 40 COVERS RESTAURANT Waterloo area to let. Fully fitted 0151 707 2141

Firms dive into Employer Pool

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Building Trade FRAMELINE TRADE SUPPLY COMPOSITE DOORS DOORS, WINDOWS, CONSERVATORIES. 5 Day Turnaround Tel 0151 546 5577 Fax 0151 546 5588 ACCREDITED WITH BS7412 & BS7950


KITCHEN & BEDROOM FITTINGS from a hinge to a full kitchen/bedroom. 3D plans now available. Showroom & Trade Counter at 3 Rockley Street, Kirkdale, L4 0151−207 0008. www.brosna.co.uk


A-L TEL: 0151 472 2746 K-Z TEL: 0151 472 2573

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Profile for Liverpool Post & Echo

Echo Business 04.05.11  

Weekly business supplement from the Liverpool Echo

Echo Business 04.05.11  

Weekly business supplement from the Liverpool Echo

Profile for liverpool

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