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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wirral’s Webtise relaunches website for cupcake company WIRRAL-BASED Webtise has launched and re-designed the first UK responsive cupcake website for the Peggy Porschen brand. The new Peggy Porschen website now allows customers to buy a freshly baked collection of cakes for next day delivery in central London. Webtise, based in Bromborough, has been working with Peggy Porschen since 2010. Peggy has built up a repu-

tation since it was founded in 2003 and has become one of the most prominent and pioneering names in contemporary cake design. The website is now fully responsive which allows customers to order products directly from their smartphones, tablets or PCs. The checkout system has been made easier. Daniel Clutterbuck, owner of Webtise, said: “We’re

delighted to have worked alongside Peggy Porschen and her team for three years – it’s been a real pleasure to have helped to transform such a prestigious, respected brand. “It’s been fantastic experience for the team and of course we’re pleased to have helped develop the unique cake ordering functions on the new site. Peggy Porschen is a welcome addition to our

growing client portfolio. “The Peggy Porschen website will enable the company to retain its position as a pioneering market leader in the cake and patisserie industry and we look forward to continuing to work with and enhance the brands web presence.” Peggy Porschen not only delivers directly but now allows customers to build bespoke cake assortments. also allows customers to personalise their cakes by adding hand-piped messages with the option of adding candles and gift tags. Managing director Bryn Morrow said: “It has been an exciting journey to work alongside Webtise to develop our new responsive website. “It’s been an amazing experience to introduce advanced functions.”

Additional funding enables MSIF to extend SME support by Neil Hodgson


VENTURE capital provider Merseyside Special Investment Fund (MSIF) has raised further funding to help firms across the region thrive. It means it can increase the amount of sub-£50,000 lending it can provide. The funding is made up of an award of £1.35m of Regional Growth Fund (RGF) money, which is matched by bank funding. The money can be used to fund start-ups and growth capital in smallto medium-sized businesses – less than 250 employees – operating in any sector, including retail and social enterprises. Businesses based in Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens, Wirral, Halton, Warrington, Skelmersdale and Ormskirk are all eligible and limited companies, partnerships and sole traders can all apply. The funding will be invested over a three-year period to October 2016. MSIF’s chief operating officer Lisa Greenhalgh said: “The £2.7m of additional funds will ensure that we can continue to support entrepreneurs and businesses that need small loans to start or grow. “Most importantly, it means that we have more money available to continue to provide finance to start-ups. “New businesses are crucial to the local economy, but they are the ones who find it most difficult to get funding from traditional sources. “It is extremely hard for anyone without a track record to get funding to start a business. “As many start-ups have not run a business previously, it becomes a Catch 22 situation when it comes to trying to raise finance to support an idea.” She added: “Alongside the RGF money we have our own legacy funds, meaning we have much more than £2.7m to invest at this level. We also

LESS than half of financial professionals believe their company’s financial forecasts are reliable, according to a new study by professional services firm PwC. Its Finance Effectiveness Benchmark study outlines the need for UK companies to overhaul their finance functions or suffer competitive disadvantage as the economy recovers and growth opportunities return. The annual review of more than 200 companies’ finance functions also suggests that a change of mindset by financial professionals could be essential, as Martin Heath, senior partner at PwC in Liverpool explains. “In the current economic climate it’s vital for the finance function to not only help business navigate any changes that lie ahead, but to have, and develop, the skills needed to communicate effectively with new groups of interested stakeholders. “Advances in technology and management tools in recent years have certainly helped the best finance functions become real-time sources of insight to the business.” Mr Heath added: “Nevertheless, the study shows that more still need to shift their mindset or run the risk of becoming a burden rather than a benefit to the business.”

POST BUSINESS DAILY Lisa Greenhalgh, of MSIF, says the new funds will ensure continued support for entrepreneurs have our Start-Up Loans Programme which offers finance from as little as £250 to people aged 30 and under who want to start a business, so we can offer lots of start up support.” MSIF investment managers Chris

Walters and Sue Chambers will continue to oversee the sub-£50,000 loans. This Regional Growth Fund programme is provided through the Community Development Finance Association which provides loans to small,

Weightmans appoints new partner LAW firm Weightmans has appointed Mark Poulston to the position of partner in its Liverpool office. Mr Poulston, who was a partner at DWF before joining Weight-

Report warns on financial forecasts

mans, specialises in pensions. He has a particular interest in advising on the implementation of cost control measures and the pensions aspects of all types of

transactions. He has gained considerable experience working in the pensions sector since 1990. His experience extends beyond just legal advice to include

pension scheme management and trusteeship. Mr Poulston said: “For both employers and scheme trustees there are challenging pensions issues to address.”

micro and social enterprises through the community finance sector. The Government’s Regional Growth Fund provides £30m, matched with a further £30m by the Co-operative Bank and Unity Trust Bank.

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Lack of skills A THIRD of employers are considering hiring staff from abroad because of a shortage of skilled workers in this country. Research by awards body City & Guilds showed that half of employers believed the education system did not meet the needs of business.

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Thursday, October 17, 2013


International medical conference set to give £5.7m boost MORE than 2,500 delegates attending a four-day medical conference in Liverpool are expected to boost the city’s economy by around £5.7m. People from more than 60 countries will attend the International Meeting of the European Society of Gynaecological Oncology (ESGO) at the ECHO Arena and BT Convention Centre.

The event, which starts on Saturday, comes just two weeks after the waterfront venue hosted another major international medical event. Eurospine saw a gathering of 3,500 top surgeons, healthcare experts and industry professionals from around the world, raising £5m in economic impact for the city. ESGO delegates, including

gynaecological oncologists, researchers and students, will descend on the city to learn about new developments in the prevention, treatment and study of gynaecological cancer. City ambassador, Dr John Green, senior lecturer at the University of Liverpool, consultant medical oncologist at Clatterbridge Cancer Centre

and ESGO board member, worked with the Liverpool Bidding Partnership to bring the society’s biennial conference to the venue. He said: “I’ve attended this important event in many worldwide locations but was eager to bring it to Liverpool to take advantage of the city’s assets as a world leader in cancer care.”

Kate Currie, interim manager of Liverpool Convention Bureau, added: “This is another coup for Liverpool and ACC Liverpool, when we can show off the best of the city to a large group of influential visitors. ““Liverpool’s city ambassadors are an essential element of our success as a business tourism destination.”

Matt McAlister, managing director of MSoft eSolutions

MSoft’s Bloodhound gadget unleashed on hospital wards by Neil Hodgson


A BROMBOROUGH-based healthcare technology company has unveiled the world’s first electronic blood-tracking system which allows nurses to use Apple iPods at the bedside. MSoft eSolutions has agreed a deal with Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust to implement the technology at Nottingham City Hospital and Queen’s Medical Centre. The Trust already has a strong working relationship with MSoft, which last year decided to introduce its Bloodhound technology after a rigorous tender process. Bloodhound controls access to, and from, all blood fridges, while a bedside management system allows each bar-coded blood unit to be matched with the patient’s bar-coded wristband in a matter of seconds. The systems provide further enhanced security and safety by ensuring that only approved staff are allowed to access blood. The firm’s blood-tracking solution

provides positive identification of users and patients and in-depth auditing of all bloods across each and every stage of the transfusion process – to help get the right blood into the right patient. The latest innovation will initially see 10 iPods used by staff across two sites. It is then likely to be rolled out further across the Trust. Matt McAlister, managing director of MSoft eSolutions, said: “Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust is at the forefront of patient safety and innovation. “The Trust believes in harnessing the very best in technology as part of its overall commitment to excellence in patient care.” He added: “We have been in discussions with a number of Trusts about the implementation of our world first Bloodhound application. “Nottingham has chosen to use Apple iPods, but the application also works with Windows or Google Android devices.” He said: “We are delighted that nurses and other staff will be taking advantage of our Bloodhound applic-

ation allowing them to access information and scan labels at the bedside. “We believe passionately about the importance of providing our customers with modern, innovative and flexible technology which enables them to enhance patient care and improve patienty safety. “Hospitals need to know that the technology they buy will provide them with the sophisticated, efficient and, most importantly, safe and secure systems they require. “We expect a number of other Trusts to follow Nottingham in implementing the Bloodhound application over the coming months.” MSoft is currently enjoying significant growth. It is on course to achieve a turnover of £3m this year, an increase of £800,000, and will increase staff numbers from 27 to more than 30 by the start of next year. Other MSoft customers include Mid-Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, East Cheshire NHS Trust, and Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust. Last year, the company won all 10 of the NHS Bloodhound tenders it applied for.

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People are less secure about job market

CONFIDENCE in job security has fallen over the past year, although few workers fear being unemployed for longer than six months if they were to be made redundant, according to new research. A study among more than 2,600 adults by Legal & General found that confidence levels had fallen by 6% to 72%. The report also showed that 25 to 34-year-olds were most confident about their job. Almost one in five workers said they worried about how they will maintain their current standard of living over the next three months. Mark Holweger, director of Legal & General’s general insurance business, said: “Our job security index paints a very different picture from a year ago, with confidence in job security falling from its highest level in October 2012 to its lowest level today. “However, it’s interesting that this low level of confidence in job security appears to be in conflict with the most recent labour market statistics, which show that the unemployment rate for the UK population is at a lower level than it was in October last year. “The reality could be that Britons are still cautious about the improving market outlook.”

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Bill Gleeson Chinese investment shows that regions can attract big deals IN THE spirit of the centuries old rivalry, it is a little bit irksome to hear that Manchester has won £800m of Chinese investment. After all, it was Liverpool that fronted the Shanghai World Expo back in 2010. It has been a long-standing ambition of Peel to attract Chinese money to its Liverpool and Wirral Waters ambitions. On the other hand, the decision by the Beijing Construction Engineering Group to invest huge sums of money in Manchester’s Enterprise Zone just goes to show what is possible. Manchester Airport, and indeed the rest of the city region, represents an obvious opportunity, offering plenty of potential for business growth in the years ahead. It’s certainly gratifying to see large scale foreign investment being attracted to British regions other than London. What can Merseyside offer to compare with the Manchester Airport proposition? Our own enterprise zone, based around Peel’s waterfront schemes, also offers a genuine opportunity for those with a sense of enterprise. There are some very obvious maritime trade opportunities. The International Trade Centre, which has attracted some, albeit more modest, Chinese investment, represents a useful foot in the door. Perhaps, as the economy picks up, some of the other schemes earmarked for the waterfront can be dusted down and brought back onto the front burner. One thing George Osborne did during his trade mission to the Chinese capital this week was to say that Britain’s doors are wide open to Chinese students and tourists. The former offers a realistic prospect for the city’s universities. Chinese students have already been big business for Liverpool. There is no reason why that trend shouldn't develop further. WE HAVE seen a huge focus on the sell-off of Royal Mail shares over the past couple of weeks. It’s easy to forget that

BT was once part of the same organisation. Almost three decades after privatisation, BT is very much seen as just another competitor in the fixed and mobile telephony, broadband, and, most recently, television markets. For some months BT customers have been able to access top football matches and now, following a deal announced yesterday, they will be able to watch the latest movies. BT said the agreement will mean customers can watch more than 700 films from major Hollywood studios by paying a monthly subscription. The deal represents another step along the way to creating a genuine competitor to Rupert Murdoch’s empire. It’s clearly an organisation with enough financial muscle to compete. It has yet to reveal how much customers will pay to watch Sky Movies over its YouView and BT Vision+ boxes. In all, 11 Sky Movies channels will be available to BT customers on a one-month contract, streamed live and also on-demand over the internet. BT already has the rights to show new movies on a pay-per-view basis and customers can also subscribe to a library of about 200 films, although these tend to be older. However, the new BT service won’t be available through Smartphones and tablets. Given the way BT has evolved over time, it raises the question how might the Royal Mail mutate now that it is free to explore the highways and by-ways of free enterprise? ONE sign that things are picking up is a renewed sense of economic health in Ireland. The last five years of stringent austerity have produced difficult and harsh times for the country but it looks set to hit all the bailout targets set for it by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. A return to economic growth will also help and a softening of the severity of its austerity programme is undoubtedly the right thing to do.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Rising energy A lack of Government action has been blamed for rising energy prices. Bill Gleeson reports


RITISH and European industry is suffering a worsening competitive disadvantage due to the rising cost of energy. It’s a fact that’s forcing manufacturers that use energy intensively to move to cheaper parts of the world with a consequent loss of jobs and output here. The cost of energy in Europe was similar to costs in the US and Japan just seven years ago. Now European energy costs 30% more than American and Japanese energy. As a result, BMW, among others, has relocated some operations to the US where gas costs have come tumbling down by a massive 80% as a result of the country’s exploitation of shale gas. Closer to home, the rising cost of energy lies behind an announcement last week by Cheshire-based Tata Chemicals Europe (TCE), which used to trade as Brunner Mond, that it was closing its Soda Ash production facility at Winnington, near Northwich. The closure and associated restructure was very firmly blamed on the rising price of energy, which the company says has doubled over the past two years. It will cost the jobs of more than 200 staff. The announcement said the move would “secure a sustainable and successful future” for the group. The proposed restructure would see TCE close its soda ash and calcium chloride factory in Winnington, retain and expand the sodium bicarbonate factory in Winnington and retain its soda ash and sodium bicarbonate factories in nearby Lostock. TCE’s sister company, Middlewich-based British Salt, is unaffected by the proposal. In a statement, the company said: “This action is in response to the serious threat posed by high and rising energy prices and it would result in around 220 redundancies across Winnington and Lostock operations and from support services. As such, TCE has commenced a 45-day period of statutory consultation with unions and employees about the proposal.” The firm’s products are used in a wide range of everyday household and industrial products. Examples include toothpaste, detergents and glass. The company explained that closure of Winnington’s soda ash plant would enable TCE to reconfigure the combined heat and power plant supplying power and steam to both Winnington and Lostock in order to make it more sustainable and cut its massive energy costs. TCE managing director, Martin Ashcroft, said: “It is hugely regrettable that we’ve had to announce proposed redundancies today, but it is necessary to secure a sustainable future for our business. “In the face of high and rising gas prices, we have to reconfigure our business to focus on higher-value products and reduce our energy bill in order to continue manufacturing in Northwich. We believe that this proposal will help TCE to achieve that.”

TCE is the UK’s sole manufacturer and supplier of soda ash and sodium bicarbonate. As Brunner Mond, the company was originally founded in 1873 and was a major constituent of Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) when it formed in 1926, making it an important part of the region’s industrial heritage. It was divested from ICI in 1991, when it floated on the London Stock Exchange. It became a private company again when it was acquired by Tata Chemicals in 2006. A spokesman for TCE said: “The price of gas has been rising dramatically for a number of years and it’s quite volatile.” The cause of last week’s announcement can be traced back to a deal struck with E.on in 2000 when TCE and the energy company formed a joint venture to build a combined heat and power plant at TCE’s Northwich site. As part of that deal, TCE is due to start paying the full market price for its gas from 2015 onwards. The spokesman explained: “The reason we are all of a sudden fixed with

‘We have to focus on higher value products’

this problem is because of changes in our energy agreement. It wasn’t a foreseeable problem when gas prices were much lower. For the last three or four years we’ve been seeking a resolution about it.” The Northwich power station also supplies the firm’s soda ash plant at Lostock via a two-mile long pipeline. TCE’s share of the cost of building the power plant was £140m. The chemicals group is due to take complete ownership of the plant in 2020. The closure of the Winnington soda ash plant will result in production being transferred to Lostock and to Wyoming in the US. The spokesman said: “By not doing that we would leave a huge hole in the market and be unable to supply our customers. “It’s true to say that in the US gas prices are only half to a third of our prices, nor are they subject to the same carbon emission taxation.” The spokesman pointed to other businesses that have had similar problems with rising energy prices, including Ineos. He said: “Other manufacturers,

big feature post business 5

Thursday, October 17, 2013

prices hit NW firms Martin Ashcroft, managing director of Tata Chemicals Europe, left, with P K Ghose, executive director of Tata Chemicals

CBI North West regional director Damian Waters

Could Far East investment in nuclear power solve Britain’s future energy supply worries?

not just chemical firms, have had similar problems. We are part of Tata Group and Tata Steel has similar problems. “It’s an issue government does recognise and we are having very positive interactions with them.” Both the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, have been complaining to government about the rising cost of energy for some years now. A recent CBI/KPMG report called Connect More found that energy has overtaken transport since 2012 as the biggest future concern for businesses and reveals 77% of respondents reported that they are not confident of improvements in energy infrastructure over the next five years, rising to 86% for manufacturers. 95% of firms are concerned about the cost of energy and 90% are concerned about security of supply. CBI director general John Cridland commented: “The huge number of businesses concerned about energy supply

and costs is alarming. “The Government must get the Energy Bill onto the statute books and bring forward secondary legislation to give potential investors the certainty to deliver the energy infrastructure we need to keep our lights on in the future.” CBI North West regional director Damian Waters, referring to the recent Labour Party announcement about a plan to cap domestic energy bills, said: “Energy prices are tough on families and firms alike. There has been a lot of political noise about prices, but not much movement from any political party to sit down with industry and address the problem in a sensible way. “We need to explore reasons why prices are going up and we need to look at what is driving Government policy. “There are lots of manufacturers in this region. That’s why the North West needs swift action. An example of the lack of Government action is the delays over new nuclear power stations.”

‘Energy prices are tough on families and firms’

BRITAIN is set to secure tens of billions of pounds in energy-related investment from the Far East, guaranteeing the UK’s power supply into the future. However, the energy secretary Ed Davey cautioned that consumers were in line for further price rises in the short-term to cover the soaring cost of gas on the international market. Mr Davey, who recently returned from a 10-day visit to China, said that he was encouraged by the interest in Britain’s nuclear sector. “The Chinese, along with the Koreans and the Japanese and other countries, are very interested in the opportunity in Britain’s nuclear sector,” he said in a TV interview. “I think it is possible that we will see massive Chinese investment, not just in nuclear but across the board. And I think we will see massive Japanese investment and Korean investment.” Mr Davey sought to play

down safety concerns over the involvement of Japanese firms in the UK nuclear sector in the light of the Fukushima disaster following the 2011 tsunami. “If and when I secure a deal, I will take personal responsibility for that deal,” he said. Mr Davey accepted that consumers were set to see more price rises after SSE announced last week that it was raising gas and electricity prices by an average of more than 8% “I think we will see more price rises. One of the reasons why we are seeing the big energy price rises is the cost of wholesale gas on international markets,” he said. However, opposition energy spokeswoman Caroline Flint warned that the Government is wrongly building expectations about the benefits of shale gas and posing it as an alternative to renewable energy. Ms Flint said Labour was

not opposed to shale gas extraction in Britain per se, but warned it was not yet known at what cost it could be produced. She said there were key environmental principles which had to be adhered to, adding: “What has worried me about the debate around shale gas, which the Government haven’t helped with, is the hyping up of expectations of what it could deliver.” “We know there is shale there but we don’t know how much it is going to cost to get it out of the ground and at potentially what environmental cost. “We’re not setting our face against it if the conditions are right and the environment is right, but what we do disagree with is polarising shale against renewables that we need as well. I’ve spoken to people in the shale gas sector and they’re pretty hacked off with the way that has been polarised by George Osborne and this Government.”

6 post business wealth management

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Can Olympics banish effects of tsunami and devastation? market analysis

by Derek Gawne


FOLLOWING on from my article on September 19, which looked at the banking crisis and fall of Lehman’s bank, I was asked recently what was the best-performing investment sector to be invested in from that date. I am grateful to a number of sources but the results are somewhat surprising. The usual suspects in a crisis would come to mind, such as gold. Maybe you’d think gilts: they have lagged equities since the market bottomed (which was almost six months later, at the start of March 2009), but the advantage gained in the preceding market carnage surely covers that? Or possibly you’d go for US equities, with their relative defensiveness in a crash combined with their recent strong run. I suspect that if we took a straw poll very few would be able to pluck the right answer out of thin air. It turns out, after searching performance tables, that the right sector to have bought on that day, and then held, was Japanese Smaller Companies. Never a sector that springs readily to mind, let alone in the midst of a financial crisis. The average fund, taken from the IMA’s own statistics, in this sector has generated a return of 97.9% since that day. This is an especially

Derek Gawne

impressive result given the following five years contained not only the Lehman bankruptcy, but also the country’s ongoing economic stagnation, the euro crisis, the Tohuku earthquake/tsunami/nuclear catastrophe, severe Thai floods that blew holes in Japanese supply chains and Tokyo’s prime ministerial merry-go-round. So how, against all expectations, have Japanese smaller companies performed so well? It’s down to a number of factors. First, currency helped, as while the yen has recently been weak, it’s still far stronger against sterling than it was in 2008. The currency’s safe- haven status helped all Japanese equities withstand the months after the Lehman bankruptcy for sterling investors. The starting valuation was also useful, as the hot money had been giving Japan a wide berth for macroeconomic reasons before the financial crisis kicked off. But what of the future for Japan? It was recently announced that Tokyo had won its bid for the 2020 Olympics. This should be a big positive for Japanese people and their economy. Just as in London, the Olympics are likely to increase the promotion of sports throughout the country and create something of a feelgood factor. However, the social impact is likely to be much more positive. Winning the Olympic bid may improve confidence among the Japanese and the feelgood factor should make Prime Minister Abe even more popular. This increased sense of confidence and purpose among Japanese people should also mean that Abe’s and Bank of Japan Governor Kuroda’s pro-growth policies will become much more effective. The Olympic bid decision will, hopefully, also give increased force to Abe’s ‘third arrow’ reform policy and further drive his initiatives for PFI (private finance initiative) and PPP (public private partnership) funding. So, just as the 1964 Olympics demonstrated that Japan had joined the ranks of industrialised nations, by 2020 the Olympics should enable Japan to show that their economy is back in shape following the 2011 tsunami and the decades-long economic crisis. So will Japan be the top performing sector over the next five years? Only time will tell, but the one thing investment markets should teach us is that you shouldn’t be surprised – but we always are.

notes ■

THE number of people taking their first step on to the housing ladder set another six year high in August, mortgage lenders have reported. Some 27,100 loans worth £3.8bn were handed out to first time buyers in August, marking a 7% increase on the month of July, when the number of first-time buyers was already running at its highest levels since 2007, according to Council of Mortgage Lenders’ figures. The CML figures showed that first-time buyers stretched their borrowing in relation to their income in August, borrowing 3.36 times their salary typically, which was a jump from 3.31 in July. The latest figure marks the highest borrowing ratio seen for first-time buyers since 2007.

Hopefully recovery can dispel the effects of the 2011 tsunami

AS many as one home in every street in some places of England are at risk of being repossessed, according to a housing and homelessness charity. Unemployment and the high cost of living are leaving many households on a “knife-edge”, Shelter said. The number of possession claims across England has increased, according to figures released by the charity which it says are based on a combination of Ministry of Justice statistics and 2011 census data. The figures relate to possession claims, which are applications made to a court by lenders and landlords to repossess a house, the first step to get a possession order. Outside of London, Wolverhampton has the highest claim rate for possessions at one in every 59 homes under threat.

PPI and RM shares offer festive boost

Housing ‘bubble’ hysteria

COMPENSATION pay-outs following insurance mis-selling scandals will help boost high street spending in the run-up to Christmas to £88.4bn, analysts say. The forecast of a 2.2% rise in retail spending during the last three months of the year is attributed to improving consumer confidence as well as one-off factors such as pay-outs over payment protection insurance (PPI). Banks have been forced to set aside billions to compensate cus-

EFFORTS to revive the mortgage market have been “well-timed” and will not lead to another housing market bubble, a leading forecaster has said. The EY ITEM Club boosted its estimate for GDP this year to 1.4%, a figure which compares with 1.1% a quarter earlier, due to the improving outlook for the housing market and the associated pick-up in consumer confidence. The group said initiatives such

tomers who may have been sold PPI products they did not need, and according to Verdict analysts it is one of the factors that will help consumers feel more confident about spending. Another is the Royal Mail share flotation, which has already seen nearly 700,000 ordinary retail investors see the value of their stakes rise by hundreds of pounds. The rise predicted by Verdict represents an extra £1.95bn for retailers to fight over in the run-up to

Christmas: “Consumer confidence drives spending and shoppers have far more reasons to be cheerful this year,” the analysts said. “The economic news is more positive; the housing market is moving with further initiatives being introduced to encourage buying. “Job creation is outpacing cuts; and though PPI refunds and the Post Office float do not affect everyone they have a further halo effect of boosting the view that at last things are getting better.”

as the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme would result in house prices rising by 3.5% this year and by 6.6% in 2014. But Peter Spencer, ITEM’s chief economic adviser, said “hysteria” that the latest phase of Help to Buy could lead to another housing bubble was unfounded. He added: “The Government’s efforts to revive the mortgage market have been well-timed and targeted, and will benefit most regions in England.”

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Landlords want an end to tied pubs PUB landlords want to call time on being “tied” to a large company for their beer and other supplies, according to a new study. A survey of 500 tenants tied to the so-called pubcos showed that most believed the firms were taking too much of their profits. Almost two-thirds of those questioned by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said they would stock a greater range of beers and nine out of 10 would approach microbreweries for products if they could. The FSB said the research showed that a statutory code being planned for the industry could not be brought in soon enough. Chairman John Allan said: “The big pubcos are as bad as each other and their tenants don’t feel they are getting a fair deal. “They want to give their punters more choice as well as interesting craft beers too. “The largest pub companies are able to control the relationships to their own advantage and are under pressure to reduce their debts by increasing income from rent and selling off pubs. “We believe that it is not possible for the large pub companies to operate credible voluntary regulation.”

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Gieves and Hawkes ready to raise another Trafalgar toast LIVERPOOL bespoke tailors Gieves and Hawkes will be leading Trafalgar Day celebrations again this weekend. The retailer, which has a shop in the MetQuarter, was tailor to Admiral Lord Nelson who triumphed against the French and Spanish Navies in the sea battle on October 21, 1805. He was fatally wounded and a monument in his honour was unveiled in the city’s Exchange Flags in 1813. Gieves and Hawkes celebrates the anniversary as close to the day as possible and this Saturday the latest salute will visit a range of city pubs with strong naval links to keep up the tradition. Previous tours have involved a meal at the city’s Athenaeum Club, before the elegantly-dressed party begins its visits, singing sea shanties and reading a section of the famous battle at each pub, toasting the readings as they go with traditional navy rum. Last time Surgeon Lieutenant Commander Rourke of Liverpool’s HMS Eaglet gave the first reading in the Athenaeum before visits to the Caernarfon Castle, Dr Duncan’s, Ship and Mitre, Rigby’s and The Liverpool. MetQuarter store manager Nick Collier said: “As we left the Ship and Mitre we had a following of locals to bolster the ‘fleet’ who wanted to hear how the battle ended. “We gave three cheers to Nelson as he closed his eyes for the final time with the battle won in the last reading. The men of Gieves and Hawkes then broke into impromptu song of ‘for he’s a jolly good fellow’, and the whole pub joined in. What a night.” He added: “On the business side of things, I think it’s a really good reflection on Liverpool that our branch continues to grow each year and also that a strong turn out of men, including a good amount of 20-somethings, make the effort in terms of time and dress to honour one of our country’s greatest heroes.”

The party on the Nelson monument in 2010

Students putting ‘eco’ issues in Birkenhead shop window by Neil Hodgson


DESIGN students from Bootle’s Hugh Baird College will be using store windows at Birkenhead’s Pyramids Shopping Centre to highlight messages about helping to save the planet. The group will be producing a series of powerful displays tailored to alerting shoppers to the importance of green issues, like recycling, biodiversity and controlling litter in our towns. Pyramids has joined forces with the college and Wirral Council’s Eco Schools Department to launch the Ten Shades of Green project, which will see 10 windows in the centre becoming the setting for the eyecatching displays, most of which will be created using recycled materials.

The project is the brainchild of Wirral’s Eco Schools Officer Lynn Struve who explained that while getting across the green message to younger schoolchildren and adults was relatively easy, persuading those in the age group in between to take notice was much more difficult. “We were looking at ways to reach the mid-teenagers and we decided that one thing they love to do is shop and they also understand brand marketing, so that’s why we came up with the Ten Shades of Green project.” Seventeen students are now working on designs for the displays, with 10 eventually being selected by a team of judges to produce the final creations. The top 10 designs will be put in place and showcased to the public in Pyramids Shopping Centre from Tuesday, November 19.

Lynn Struve, back left, Derek Millar (Pyramids Centre), back second right, with the Hugh Baird students

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8 post business the bottom line

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Profits rise despite squeeze on margins at personnel firm by Bill Gleeson


BIRKENHEAD-BASED recruitment agency Scantec Personnel enjoyed an 8% rise in turnover for the year to December 2012. The firm’s profit performance improved by almost 20%, topping £1m for the year. The specialist technical and engineering recruitment agency saw its topline figure rise to £53.9m for the year, compared to £49.5m for 2011, according to accounts filed last week at Companies House. Cost of sales was £49.9m versus £46m in the previous year, giving a gross profit of £4m, sharply up on the £3.4m recorded 12 months earlier. Administrative expenses were £2.8m for 2012, which compares to £2.6m in the previous year. Total operating profit was £1.1m versus 2011’s £831,000. Interest payable and similar charges was £145,516, compared to £131,622. That gave a profit on ordinary activities before tax of £1m versus £699,498. Tax was £255,038 versus the previous year’s £180,852. That gave a profit for the financial year of £756,921, compared to £518,646. Scantec’s balance sheet showed tangible assets of £66,863, down on the £87,137 in 2011. Debtors were £5.1m versus £4.9m. Cash was £68,881, up from £39,567. Creditors due within one year were £4.1m, up on the £4m recorded at the end of 2011. Total net assets were £1.2m versus the previous year’s £1m. In their report, the firm’s directors said that trading for the period “showed good growth in line with growing confidence over economic conditions. “The temporary contract staffing areas of the business grew by 5.9%, although gross margins continued to be squeezed due to tighter market conditions and low-margin, high-volume contracts. “Permanent placement sales increased significantly compared to the previous year and helped overall gross margins to improve by 6.9%. “Tight control was maintained over operating costs, although these did increase due to additional investment in new staff and IT infrastructure as well as increased business activity.” The company’s balance sheet and cashflow position remains strong. The directors report continues: “Taking into account the slow eco-

Scantec directors Peter Bates, left, and John Robinson and, inset, staff celebrating the firm’s 20th anniversary in 2010

nomic recovery and market conditions, the company’s performance has been very encouraging and has experienced good growth in 2012. “The company has continued to see growth in various sectors of the business as organisations show increasing confidence and numbers increase. “Early indications show a positive and much improved performance during 2013.” The report states that the perform-

ance of the business relies on the effectiveness of its staff to build successful client relationships and deliver quality services, both internal and external throughout the business. The report adds: “We aim to attract, develop and retain committed staff through career development programmes, on-going training, attractive remuneration packages and open, honest communication throughout all levels of the business.

“We strive to encourage employee satisfaction and mitigate the risk of non-retention. “With the recruitment industry being susceptible to changes in the economic and regulatory environment, through the increasing levels of regulation and legislation, the company seeks to manage this risk through the monitoring of our markets and its behaviour. A strict strategy of compliance will be adhered to providing our clients with a quality service. The financial impact on revenues and margins are reviewed regularly, with a focus on maintaining pricing strategy and improving gross margins.” Referring to prospects, the report concluded: “We expect to see increased growth in both permanent and temporary contract sales during 2013, which will improve both gross margins and net operating performance. The company also expects to invest in additional staff.”

Bellway benefits from improving housing market demand HOUSEBUILDER Bellway saw rises in all its figures for the year to July 31 as revenues and pre-tax profits improved. The firm, which has a regional base in Hunts Cross, reported turnover of £1.11bn, up 10.6%, and a pre-tax profit of £140.9m, which was a 33.8% improvement. The total dividend per share for

shareholders rose by 50% to 30p. The number of houses sold in the year rose by 8.2% to 5,652 and the average selling price of £193,025 was up by 3.4%. Bellway also increased its land bank from 31,136 plots a year ago to 32,991. Chairman John Watson said: “I am pleased to report in my first year as

chairman another strong performance by the group with profit before taxation increasing by almost 34% to £140.9m. “More favourable mortgage conditions, a gradual improvement in consumer confidence, together with a continuing programme of site openings, have allowed the group to deliver its fourth consecutive year of

earnings growth.” He added: “Basic earnings per share have increased by 36.3% to 89.3p and this has resulted in growth of 7.3% in the net asset value per share to 1,001p, at July 31.” Chief executive Ted Ayres said the group’s divisions in the North of the country have benefited from investment in new sites.

notes ■

RECRUITMENT group Michael Page International said it achieved a “robust performance” during the third quarter period this week. Gross profit for the three months was up 0.4% to £127m, which comprised £96.8m from permanent placements and £30.2m from temporary jobs. The group, which operates a legal, financial services and Michael Page Personnel operation from its Liverpool offices in Old Hall Street’s The Plaza Building, continues to invest in recruitment for its own operations in Greater China, South East Asia, Germany, Latin America and the US, which it says are its five high potential markets. Turnaround moves in its US base achieved a 35% increase in gross profits. In the UK, which represents 24% of group gross profit, it said its diversification and depth of management experience had enabled it to continue to underpin its improved performance.

HOME furnishings group Ikea said sales increased 3.1% to £23.7bn in its 2013 financial year, including an increase of 1.8% on a same-store basis. Ikea, which has 338 stores employing 154,000 people in more than 40 countries, said some of the strongest growth was in Russia and China. It has not released figures on the performance of UK outlets.

McBRIDE, which supplies own-label household goods to supermarkets, said group revenues declined by 3% in the period since July 1. The Manchesterbased firm blamed its previously announced wind-down of selected contract manufacturing and the impact of branded promotional activity in the UK.

JOHN Lewis said department store sales rose 2.8% to £71.9m after another week of unseasonably warm weather impacted on demand for autumn and winter clothing ranges. Electricals and home technology sales were up 15.1% against a year earlier, it added.

small business post business 9

Thursday, October 17, 2013



business of theweek

PEOPLE in the health and wellbeing professions who have taxable income that they have not told HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) about are being targeted in a new campaign. The Health and Wellbeing Tax Plan offers health professionals a time-limited opportunity to bring their tax affairs up to date on the best terms available. The new campaign covers physiotherapists, occupational therapists, chiropractors, osteopaths, chiropodists and podiatrists. Homeopaths, dieticians, nutritional therapists, reflexologists, acupuncturists, psychologists, and speech, language and art therapists and others are also covered. Health professionals have until December 31, 2013 to tell HMRC that they would like to take part in the campaign, and until April 6, 2014 to disclose and pay the tax owed. After December 31, HMRC will take a much closer look at the tax affairs of these health professionals. By using this campaign to come forward voluntarily, any penalty they might have to pay will be lower than if HMRC comes to them first. HMRC has launched a video on YouTube to help people who have undeclared tax, understand what their obligations are and what they need to do: www. v=hP6xMaiiYw4

by Neil Hodgson



OR someone who describes himself as a “professional eater”, restaurateur Peter Kinsella has definitely found the perfect calling. But his hunger to start his own business almost resulted in disaster even before his 180-cover Catalonian eaterie Lunya opened its doors in Liverpool One in March 2010. Kirkby-born Mr Kinsella, 50, acquired his passion for Spanish food in his previous life as a management consultant working in the spheres of health and social services. “I advised governments and did some work for the Catalan government and the people I was working for took me to some of the greatest bars and restaurants in Barcelona. That started my love affair with Spanish food,” he explained. He said he has always cooked: “Even when I was at university doing psychology I thought about making a living from cooking. I did party catering for 18 months after I finished university to pay off my debts.” However, despite building a successful international consultancy, the world of catering still called and at his 40th birthday party he vowed to open his own restaurant: “Next day, after I got over my hangover, I started planning. There was a bit of madness or stupidity to giving up a fantastic career. But I couldn’t face with living with the regret of not giving this a go. When I needed all my friends to say don’t do it, all my friends were going through their own mid-life crises and just said, do it.” He and wife Elaine had built up a variety of investments that would have paid for the opening of Lunya, but then 2008 happened and the value of their funds plummeted, so they remortgaged their house and sold pretty much everything, including the family car, which paid for decorating the restaurant. They also managed to cobble a couple of loans together: “NatWest said they didn’t loan to restaurants or people who had no knowledge of their industry, but we got money through the Enterprise Finance Guarantee, a Government-secured loan. “We almost went bust before we opened, but that loan enabled us to open.” He added: “We now employ 46 people and have paid almost £2m in taxes, so there must be great payback from that sort of scheme.” After opening Mr Kinsella said they had no working capital and had to survive on cashflow: “We were close to going bust, but then December happened and the Christmas parties started.” He acknowledged the precarious nature of the business: “Eighty eight per cent of new bars and restaurants go bust in the first year. We opened in a recession and I didn’t know anything about running a restaurant, but I had the knowledge of running a business.” Lunya now comprises four parts: the restaurant; a deli; online; and outside catering, which helps to spread the risk. Last year the deli grew by 50% as people bought to cook at home, but this year confidence is returning and

Peter Kinsella, with a selection of the range of Spanish dishes his Lunya restaurant creates

Creating enjoyment high on Peter’s menu the restaurant division has picked up. Mr Kinsella said: “This year trade is up 31.2% and we have doubled our turnover in the past two years to £1.85m. “Three years in it is going well. This is one of the most expensive bits of retail estate in the country, but we’re holding our own. Rents and rates are really high, but we have not gone under.” He added: “It is the most fantastic business to own. With a restaurant people come in to have a good time. “Most of my working life was trying to combat misery – the state and society treat people terribly. Everything I did was trying to eradicate misery, and here I am trying to create enjoyment.”

Lunya Restaurant, situated in Liverpool One’s College Lane

TV shows like The Apprentice and Dragons’ Den may be putting young people off setting up their own companies by portraying a caricature of business life, one of Britain’s leading entrepreneurs has warned. Luke Johnson, best known for his expansion of the Pizza Express restaurant chain and former chairmanship of Channel 4, called on the media to portray entrepreneurs in a more “positive and optimistic” fashion. Three-quarters of small businesspeople taking part in a survey for Mr Johnson’s Centre for Entrepreneurs were critical of the TV business shows, he said. Mr Johnson said the new Centre would provide a voice for small businesses and promote debate.

10 post business creative & digital



Hotspots driving our economy THE technology, media and telecoms (TMT) sector is incredibly important to the UK economy. Its businesses are inventive and innovative by their very nature, and the sky really is the limit for those that get it right. While London is being positioned by some as an alternative to Silicon Valley, the TMT sectors in the regions are making a name for themselves. For instance, MediaCity UK in Salford has attracted hundreds of young, hungry firms, while Sci-Tech Daresbury is going from strength to strength with exciting companies on its books and top-of-the-range facilities. Liverpool has an enviable array of innovative, ambitious TMT businesses too. Significantly, many of these firms have clustered together in specific areas throughout the city. These clusters, or hotspots, are incredibly important for growth. We recently looked at the performance of these hotspots in the North West. On average each had grown by 50% in the past year in terms of jobs and businesses supported, which is a truly enviable achievement. The hotspots identified in Liverpool were Liverpool Science Park and the Ropewalks/Baltic Triangle area. Both have markedly increased the number of companies they support in the last 12 months, growing job numbers and providing the local economy with a huge boost. These locations have quality infrastructure in place to support TMT businesses in their growth plans, through excellent digital and physical connectivity and modern, practical work spaces. Crucially, they also have the capacity to attract more organisations and help current tenants achieve their growth plans. These hotspots are playing a crucial role in making the TMT sector in Liverpool a shining light of the North West economy. ■ JODI BIRKETT is TMT partner at Deloitte in the North West

Thursday, October 17, 2013 IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Will Irish eyes smile on the North West’s technology sector?

Alistair Houghton hears from hi-tech firms from Ireland who joined a trade mission to Liverpool LIVERPOOL’S cultural links with Ireland are well-known and well-exploited – but now it’s time for trade links to grow too. Ireland may be the North West’s nearest neighbour, but it can sometimes be overlooked as a potential source of inward investment. But a trade mission last week aimed to remedy that by encouraging Irish technology firms to consider investing or opening offices in the North West. Trade body Enterprise Ireland brought representatives from 16 technology firms for a tour of Liverpool, Manchester and Warrington. Gavin McWhirter, of Enterprise Ireland, believes the mission will prove to have been a success. He told the Post: “We’ve heard from a couple of companies who two weeks ago said ‘yes, it’s going to be interesting but I’m not sure whether we should have any kind of presence in the North West’ and are now saying ‘you know what, maybe we should’. “There are clearly things going on here, there are more companies of scale than perhaps they realised, there are more opportunities, and there’s a definite sense that it’s an area that is ambitious and wanting to go places. “We wanted to hear from some of the commercial organisations in Manchester, Warrington and Liverpool who aspire to be successful – and we wanted that enthusiasm to permeate into the companies we’ve brought here. “We’ve brought them here to get a feeling for the fact that the region and the city is open for business and that there are opportunities here for them when they are considering where they may put a base into the UK. “I think we’ve achieved that. We’ve got some fantastic stories and heard from some really vibrant and successful companies – companies that are growing and have real ambition as well.” In Liverpool, those trade ambassadors took part in two debates at the Radisson, organised by the Commercial District BID and Downtown Liverpool in Business. The first was hosted by Frank McKenna, chief executive of lobby group Downtown in Business. He said: “I think Liverpool is a fantastic city to invest in if you’re looking to grow a business.” Liverpool cabinet member for

From left, Frank McKenna, Declan Morrin, Peter Lunt, Chris Brown and Cllr Nick Small employment and skills, Cllr Nick Small, said: “Liverpool is a really open city. It’s a city that wants to do business and wants to be open to investment.” He said the commercial district and Liverpool Waters combined offered the “biggest investment opportunity in the UK today”. But he said the city’s “social infrastructure” was also well-placed to attract investment, with an increasingly well-skilled workforce that is well-suited to incoming technology firms. Cllr Small praised the work of the city’s universities. And he said the creation of University Technical Colleges, as well as other specialist schools focusing on particular business areas, would upskill the city’s workforce well into the future. He said: “They will really revolutionise education and open up opportunities in areas like technology for many of our young people. “There’s an opportunity for businesses to take advantage of that. There’s a great opportunity for businesses in Ireland to invest in the city.” Chris Brown, director of Marketing Liverpool, said Liverpool’s strength in the digital sector still came as a surprise to some people outside the city. And he said his organisation would be looking to promote that success story in the future. He said: “We have a lot of techno-

logy businesses here, a lot of digital and creative businesses here, who are doing 70% of their business outside Liverpool. They’re using their Liverpool cost base and skills base to win contracts in London and elsewhere. “We don’t capture that story particularly well at the moment. But content marketing through digital channels gives us a better opportunity to do that.” Corporate finance specialist Peter Lunt said his years as a judge at the Merseyside Innovation Awards had shown him how strong the city’s digital sector was. He said: “Two things that continually surprise me are one, the quality of the applications, and two, the quantity. “Going back to 2000, we’d get about 50 applications and know straight away who the top one would be. Now, we see 50 and we think they’re all great quality.” Declan Morrin recently became Ireland’s economic counsellor to the UK after spending several years at the World Trade Organisation. Responding to Mr Brown’s comment that the strength of Liverpool’s economy was “surprising” to many, Mr Morrin said he was “shocked” at the scale of the changes in the city since he last visited some 40 years earlier. He said: “Liverpool is the closest city in the UK to Ireland physically. It’s an obvious staring point and jumping-off point.

“The perception even from afar is that London is a separate entity (to the rest of the UK). “From my point of view representing Ireland, I see Liverpool as an enormously important stepping stone and gateway in its own right to a market of more than 7m people in greater Liverpool and beyond. “There is an enormous market opportunity in Liverpool alone. “It’s a place where Irish businesses want to be and want to invest. “In short, the perceptions of Liverpool from outside the area are wrong. It’s a vibrant economy that we want to be investing in.” Mr Brown said the International Festival for Business in Liverpool next year also offered great opportunities to Irish firms. He said: “We will attract the type of people next year that would never normally have come here. We will have a global leadership summit, and Indian and Middle Eastern businesses will be coming here. That all gives us a great opportunity to promote not just the city region, but the North – and in my mind, the North is anywhere outside London.” Mr Morrin said he believed the Irish economy had “turned a corner” and that its tech firms were looking to expand again. He added: “It’s been a difficult four or five years in Ireland. But we are currently coming close to exiting from

creative & digital post business 11

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ben Hatton

Ciaran Rowsome, left, and Cillian Sweeney at the Enterprise Ireland event at Liverpool’s Radisson Hotel Pictures: ANDREW TEEBAY

Keep your potential customers

the troika measures (imposed by the European Union, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund), which in itself psychologically gives us a more positive mood than we’ve had in the past. “The UK is our biggest market for exports. We are right beside Liverpool, right beside a market of 7m people. “Whether the time is perfect now or not, the time is certainly better than it was.”


HE second panel debate saw Steve Smith, organiser of the Liverpool Software City digital events, quiz three representatives from Irish technology firms on their expansion plans. SoftCo, which specialises in business process automation and document management solutions, already has several clients in the UK including John Lewis, Experian and Argos. But now, its sales director Killian McCarthy said, SoftCo is debating whether it needed a new UK base to allow it to win more clients here.

He added: “This has been an extremely useful visit.” Mr Smith asked the panel whether it mattered where in the UK an office was based. Mr McCarthy said his company had been able to secure a major corporate client in the US without having a Stateside office anywhere near it. But he said: “In the UK, location, location, location appears to resonate more.” He said that, as he travelled the UK meeting potential clients, he saw that they valued working with companies that had offices near them. He added: “I don’t think it’s critical. But it would certainly be an advantage.” And Mr McCarthy said he was impressed with the North West, calling it a “vibrant area”. Cillian Sweeney, of Waterford Technology, already spends much of his time at the company’s Liverpool base

in Pall Mall. His company also has an office in Irvine, California, and another in Johnny Cash’s old home in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Mr Sweeney agreed British businesses seemed to want to deal with companies with UK offices, adding: “Every single meeting has ended ‘are you over here?’” Ciaran Rowsome, owner of Multitime Systems, explained that his company’s software helps organisations to manage staff time. Its clients include the University of Liverpool. He noted that while Ireland may be next to the UK, travelling between the two countries repeatedly can be exhausting. He added: “It’s difficult to run a business when your staff continually have to travel.” Mr Smith added: “In this digitally connected world, face-to-face still makes sense.” Máire Morkan, business development manager at Galway-based GPS tracking specialist Celtrak, later told the Post that she spent a week a

‘A vibrant economy that we want to invest in’

month working in the UK as her company does not yet have an office here. She said: “This has been a useful trip. “I do fly into Manchester all the time. I spend some time in Sheffield and some time in Warrington. So this is my corridor. It’s nice to flesh it out a bit more. “Hopefully we’ll get to a point where it will be beneficial to have an office. Up to this we’ve had sales presence for certain times over the years but it’s still been better to do it from home.” Karl Davis, head of sales at Dublin-based consultancy iQ Content, said his company was considering whether it should open a full North West office, rather than having a small satellite base in Manchester. He said: “It’s been a good visit. It’s been enlightening. “I think there are a lot of networking events we can tap into, and a lot of big organisations here that would be ideal candidates for us to work with, so it’s been very interesting and worthwhile.”

MAKING a final decision when shopping can be tricky. And often shoppers leave a store having changed their minds. So it comes as no surprise that a proportion of shoppers also have second thoughts when shopping online. An astonishing 67% of people abandon a transaction without completing the sale, according to research by the Baymard Institute. This is a huge number and these abandoned baskets cause online retailers a lot of grief. There are a variety of reasons an online shopper decides not to complete a transaction, and many have little to do with the customer simply changing their minds. But these potential customers needn’t be lost in the ether forever if the site is made a little more customer-friendly. Customers browsing a site from overseas could be put off if they don’t see the price of the product in the currency of their country. An option to view prices in the most popular countries which also view the site may help boost sales from international customers. The research also suggested they didn’t feel some sites were secure enough to buy from. This can be helped by placing a logo acknowledging the site has been recently security-tested to reassure customers. One of the most unpopular features on a website is forcing a customer to register before a purchase can be completed, extending the process and disrupting the transaction. By simply removing this step, sales could increase by up to 45%. Small changes to make the purchasing process smoother and more customer-focused should see the number of abandoned transactions fall, which is good news for any online retailer. ■ INTERNET entrepreneur Ben Hatton is founder and managing director of digital agency Rippleffect. Follow Rippleffect on Twitter @rippleffected

12 post business big interview

Alistair Houghton meets CHRIS WAINWRIGHT and ARTHUR MARLEY of The Beech Group


O MATTER what Miley Cyrus and her provocative video may have you believe, the days of the wrecking ball are numbered. The old-fashioned ball may be a great prop from which pop starlets can dangle, but Chris Wainwright and Arthur Marley say it’s old hat in the surprisingly cutting-edge world of demolition. They should know. After all, their company, Beech Group, has been working in the industry for 50 years and a fortnight. The duo bought out Bromborough-based Beech in 2009 and have defied the downturn by doubling its turnover to more than £4m. Today, “demolition” is about far more than just pulling buildings down. As the boardroom wall behind Marley and Wainwright showed, its work has ranged from delicately dismantling a chunk of an active oil refinery to removing asbestos or carrying out “remediation” to clear contaminated soil. “The demolition industry has changed out of all recognition,” recalled Childwall native Marley, who has worked his way up from a site worker to the company’s joint owner and contracts director. “The days of the demolition ball have gone. It’s all hydraulics, remote demolition, grabs and pulverisers. “It’s very mechanically-based, as against labour intensive. Normally the men will stand back and the machines will do the work. “Then, you’ve got the remediation. And again, we have the technology and the people to carry out those works.” Wainwright, Beech’s managing director, says the group’s highly-skilled staff have helped it win a strong reputation in the petrochemicals sector, particularly at the Stanlow refinery now owned by Essar. He said: “They’re trained and hugely experienced and that’s so important in petrochemicals, where you need to be totally familiar with what colour a live pipe is, for example. “You need experience. You can do as much desktop work as you want, studying, but you need to have been out there. It’s a very dangerous environment.” Marley added: “You need a lot of confidence in your men to do what we do. We spend a fortune on training. What we do is very, very technical. Some of the plants are very sensitive and you have to be very careful. You can’t just go in with a machine and rip them apart.” Beech was founded in September 1963 by John Beech – who, Marley recalls, had an unconventional approach to hiring. “I was headhunted in 1979 by John Beech from another company in Bromborough,” he said. “The interview was quite novel. “He asked me if I could start. I said I could. I was about to tell him all about me, and he said he knew all about me. “And it went on. I said, well, I’ll have to give a week’s notice, so I’ll finish on the Friday. He said ‘Good, start Saturday’. “I worked Saturday and Sunday and it just went from there.” Marley rose through the ranks, working closely with the founder

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Taking a wrecking ball to stereotypes of demolition work

Above, Beech Group crews work at the site of the Moss Side bus depot in Manchester. Left, Beech’s work in Great George Square, Liverpool and his son Chris as he rose from working “on the tools” to contracts manager and contracts director. Chartered accountant Wainwright, meanwhile, has had a varied career in the UK and abroad at companies from Ernst & Young to Iceland. In 1995, after getting to know

Marley and Chris Beech at Birkenhead Park Rugby Club, he became corporate secretary at Beech. By 2009, Mr Beech had decided he wanted to take a step back from the family business. And with his sons having moved from demolition into stockbroking, he agreed to sell the company to Wainwright and Marley.

q&a Age: 54 (Chris); 58 (Arthur) Best advice received Arthur: As John Beech himself told me, listen to the people around you that are actually doing the job Chris: I was given the same advice. And I was also advised never to go into business with friends and relatives, which I’ve ignored Still to achieve Arthur: I’d like the company to grow bigger and stronger so the people around me can share in the wealth. Chris: I’d like to see the company almost be able to run itself, as

people become empowered to take over the roles more and more Biggest business achievement Chris: Becoming co-owner of John Beech. Arthur: I’d have to agree with that – I’ve risen from the bottom to the top, Also, I was made chairman of the National Federation of Demolition Contractors for the North West region. Biggest regret Chris: Not being ambitious when I was a bit younger Arthur: I should have gone self-employed 30 years ago

“Chris still works as a consultant for us,” recalled Wainwright. “He’s got a huge amount of experience and he’s especially regarded highly on the petrochemicals side. “It’s one of those rare things – an MBO that went amicably.”


ARLEY and Wainwright seem to form a classic business double act, with each focusing on different parts of their company. The two are relaxed and friendly company, who have been working together so long they can almost finish each other’s sentences. So when they had the chance to buy the business together, they snapped it up. “Arthur in his own right could essentially run the business,” said Wainwright. “But it’s a good fit, in that I can run the other side of it – the finances, the insurance and suchlike. “We both run the other side that the other doesn’t understand.” Marley added: “I’m happy out there running the nitty gritty, talk-

ing to the men, sorting the jobs out, writing the jobs. And then I come in here and Chris has done the insurance and the admin. It works absolutely fabulously for me and Chris. “We try to make it fun. We invite the staff for nights out quite often. And we try to create a friendly atmosphere for work.” Wainwright – himself a father of six – chipped in: “We try to keep that family feel.” And, looking at Marley, he smiled: “You’re jealous of me on the rainy days and I’m jealous on the sunny days.” Since taking charge, Wainwright has focused on growing the company’s customer base. “The company didn’t do a lot of marketing in its first 46 years,” he said. “The phone would ring and there’d be another little job there. “We’ve broadened that and gone onto the tender lists of in excess of 20 of the main contractors in the UK to try and broaden our base.” Beech continues to focus on the petrochemicals industry. Wainwright said: “A good

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Thursday, October 17, 2013


Arthur Marley, left, and Chris Wainwright say the Beech Group is set for growth

Turner Art should capture the important THIS Monday it is exactly 200 years since the unveiling of the Nelson Monument, the imposing sculpture behind the Town Hall in Exchange Flags. It is possible to see things without ever paying them particular attention and this memorial to British naval might is as ignored as most. Much more subtly, it also marked Liverpool’s commercial confidence and strength – for as well as commemorating victory at Trafalgar, this was the first major piece of public sculpture in Liverpool. It celebrates a British hero and also naval supremacy that would allow merchants to trade without fear of attack on the oceans. The monument features a naked Admiral Nelson ascending to heaven – although he isn’t instantly recognisable as his missing arm is judiciously hidden behind a draped flag. Four seated and chained French prisoners are seated on the base, while there are four panels depicting moments from Nelson’s career. “England expects every man to do his duty” is the inscription that booms out, although I dare say that England’s expectations have lessened over time. Our expectations about public art have also changed, with a much greater emphasis on memorial rather than monument, and on the collective experience (often of disaster) rather than the celebration of an individual. We are also more backward-looking, marking moments from history, rather than trying to capture this moment in time. Liverpool’s history is littered throughout the city, from the buildings and monuments that still stand today through to the names of streets that describe the city of the past. Increasingly in the digital age, we are surrounded by a sense of rapid change and of impermanence. Our shared bonds are shallower and more temporary, which should demand a greater emphasis on what it is to work and live in this city and this time. We should take care, and take the time, to consider how we are shaping the history of tomorrow and whether the things we are creating and commemorating actually capture what it is important to us.

‘You can see things without paying attention’

example of that, with Shell, is last year we took down a bitumen refinery in Essex. “We worked for Shell in Stanlow for many, many years and we are so confident in doing that sort of thing that they quite often ask us to travel – to Essex or Scotland, for example. So we will travel if the work is the right work for us.” Another example of the complexity of Beech’s work was the demolition of the former tram and bus depot in Moss Side, Manchester, which had operated since the 1920s. Marley said: “Not only did we do the demolition, we did the site remediation afterwards. “As you can imagine from an old bus depot, there was lots of diesel and heavy oils in the soil.” The company’s remediation arm is led by the experienced Leon Stanger, a geo-environmental engineer who worked with Beech for many years before joining full-time three years ago. Wainwright said: “His work is a very important string to our bow because, to some clients, it can be a

very daunting side to any project. “He can deal with problems at a site, but he’s also very good at negotiating with the Environment Agency and understanding where they’re coming from.” Beech’s boardroom display also includes images of a brick facade held up by scaffolding. That, in turns out, was a project in Great George Square, in Liverpool’s Chinatown, in which Beech demolished all bar the facade of a row of Georgian houses so new flats could be built behind it. Beech has also worked with Sefton Council for the last four years to demolish derelict housing and commercial premises. Mr Wainwright said: “With projects like that, we deal with locals, liaison committees and traffic management – it’s so complex.” Such long-running contracts have helped Beech fend off the worst of the downturn. Wainwright said: “We were fortunate that our clients were not

affected. They soldiered on. They were still working and still busy – they were important sites.” Marley added: “We were so lucky. And it’s there but for the grace of God goes any company. “You need a certain of luck in business. The contracts were long-running contracts, and there were follow-on contracts, and they were signed, and away we went. “We’re growing, we’re employing more people, and we’re just about to take a couple more people onto the books, so things are looking good.” Now, the company is continuing its marketing push, and hopes to get added to more “preferred supplier” lists for future contracts. Marley said: “It’s all about having more irons in the fire. “The more jobs you tender for, the better chance you’ve got of picking them up.” Wainwright added: “We’ll see how that goes. Then we’ll start to

‘It’s about having more irons in the fire’

make decisions about whether we have a separate petrochemical team, an education team... that’s all in the future.” And Marley added: “In general, we’ve turned a corner. There are definitely more tenders coming in. “There seems to be definitely an upturn, and we’re on the tail of that.” Last month, Beech staff past and present joined forces to celebrate the group’s 50th anniversary. And Marley and Wainwright are convinced that, thanks to their work growing the business, the company will still be around to celebrateits centenary. Wainwright said: “It’s a good time to talk about the company because it’s 50 years old, and we’re looking to the next 50 years – and, looking at all the medical advances, we’ll be at the next party, won’t we?” Marley smiled: “We’re hoping to be there...” And Wainwright, finishing his sentence again, chipped in “Looking healthier than we are now.”

■ Alex Turner is the general manager of financial training firm Ambitious Minds

14 post business legal

Thursday, October 17, 2013

‘90 per cent of women face sexual harassment at work’ Elizabeth Cowhig won her sexual harassment case with the help of Michael McDonough, inset

by Helen Davies


COMPANIES should offer training to all employees on what constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace. That’s the view of Michael McDonough, an employment law consultant who recently acted for Elizabeth Cowhig, who claimed she was sexually harassed by her boss at the Kirkby call centre of Digital Maintenance Ltd (DML). In September she was awarded nearly £13,000 in damages from her former employers as a result of an employment tribunal. Mr McDonough, of McDonough & Associates, which has offices in Liverpool, London and Nottingham, claims 90% of women will experience some sort of sexual harassment

in their workplaces. He said: “On the face of it that’s really high but one remark can be sufficient to constitute harassment. “There’s lots of things which would legally be defined as harassment but most people wouldn’t think was, such as constantly asking a woman to go out with you when she had said she doesn’t want to.” Mr McDonough says there is a fine line between comments which are appropriate and those which are not. He said: “Banter is always used as a defence because they make these remarks to women and women often feel afraid to challenge them because they don’t want to be considered prudish and find it much easier just to let it go.

“Just because the woman doesn’t start crying or get very angry about the remark doesn’t mean they find it acceptable.” London-based Mr McDonough is advising employers to take steps to ensure they are not involved in an employment tribunal. These measures will also act as a defence should the employer ever find themselves at a tribunal. He said: “Managers should be accessible and make employees feel comfortable that their office door is always open for them to have an informal chat about what is bothering them. “That can also be a good defence in law to show you have taken steps to make sure employees do not behave in an inappropriate way.

‘It is best to try to resolve it in the workplace’

“You should also make sure proper training is in place so employees know what behaviour will not be tolerated, that also gives you a defence as an employer. “I think employers should have a strict policy and train not just managers but all staff that there are certain acts which the company will not consider acceptable.” He added: “If you can resolve it in the workplace then that’s best. “I think the first thing to do is to say to the person harassing you this is unacceptable and if it continues (as long as it’s not serious) then you should go to your manager and you should always make a record of the incident and the date and make a record of the complaint. “If they go and complain and suffer victimisation because of the complaint, then they should look at taking it to tribunal.”

Law Society speaks on legal aid The Law Society has warned the House of Commons Justice Select Committee about the damages that proposed changes to fees for criminal legal aid may cause. The society has told MPs that the Ministry of Justice’s planned fee cuts pose “significant risks” to the stability of the criminal justice system. The warning comes in a draft iteration of the society’s response to the Transforming Legal Aid: Next Steps consultation paper, which it has shared with the Justice Select Committee. While noting the Law Society and the Ministry agree over the structure for procuring criminal legal aid, the document says the society “opposes planned fee cuts and reiterates warnings about the damage these may cause”. Explaining the society’s concerns about the planned restructuring of fees, Law Society president Nicholas Fluck said: “The impact of a single national fixed fee will vary considerably across different areas. “This disparity – ranging from a small increase to a 47% cut – introduces new concerns about the viability of the cuts proposed, which will be even more acute in some areas than previously anticipated”.

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Family law expert backs High Court judge call A LIVERPOOL family law expert has welcomed calls by a High Court judge for an overhaul of divorce laws. Sir Paul Coleridge told a London conference that current family legislation, which is now 43 years old, should reflect society “as lived now –

not in the distant past”. Fiona Davidson, partner in the family law team at the Liverpool office of Weightmans, said: “It is extremely heartening to hear such a high profile member of the Judiciary voicing the concerns that family law prac-

titioners across the country face every day.” She described the current legislation as an “archaic labyrinth”. Ms Davidson added: “In a modern society can it be right that a couple can live together for 20 years, raise

children together, yet at the end of their relationship, one partner has no rights under the present law to share in the assets built up by their former partner during their time together?”

Fiona Davidson

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women in business post business 15

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Alison inspiring people to see and realise their full potential Alison Blackler spent several years in the NHS before setting up 2Minds NLP Picture: TONY McDONOUGH

by Tony McDonough


ALL that is stopping us reaching our true potential is our own limiting beliefs – or those that may have been instilled within us at an early age. Alison Blackler understands this as well as anyone, which is why she has now made it her life’s mission to help people break out of the crushing confines of the boxes they have found themselves trapped in. She is the founder of Wirral-based 2Minds NLP and works with both individuals and businesses using tools, techniques and concepts such as coaching, clean language coaching – a questioning and discussion technique designed to enhance awareness and self-understanding – and Neuro-Lingusitic Programming (NLP). “I help people realise their own potential,” she said. “They already know it but they don’t always know that they know it. “So I help them release barriers and find confidence and give people skills and tools that are appropriate to them.” Alison’s traditional upbringing in the North East of England saw her encouraged to seek a “practical job”. “I ended up in the NHS working alongside consultants,” she said. “I was actually quite good at motivating them and getting them to do things. I was a PA in hospitals and I worked in all kinds of specialities. “I found myself really enjoying the people side of the job. I couldn’t stand all the paperwork and the filing.” It was this connection with people that started an awakening within

Alison and from her early 20s onwards she began to become more curious. “I was doing more reading and opening my mind to new ideas,” she explained. Around 16 years ago, Alison relocated to Merseyside and saw the physical move as the opportunity to open a new chapter in her life. She said: “Moving here was almost like a cut-off point for me where I decided that I wasn’t going to do the same kind of work any more. “It felt like I had been freed of this pigeon-holed idea of what I should be doing.” She continued to work for the NHS but in much more people-focused roles, working in first in health promotion before qualifying as a counsellor and progressing to the much more challenging field of drug and alcohol addiction. It was during this phase of her career that she really started to recognise her potential for enabling people to change their lives for the better. “I noticed that there is always something good that comes out of everything – what people can learn in adversity and when they have to find resilience,” said Alison. “I became fascinated by how resilient we are. I started to get an idea that people had tools within them. “Unfortunately, people are labelled with ‘oh they are a waste’. I believe there are some people that don’t want to change but I also believe that everybody can.” After several years helping drug and alcohol addicts, Alison performed

a similar role in the domestic violence arena, rising to a senior level. However, she became frustrated as her work had once again become more administrative than people-focused. Then, thanks to a friend, she went through a truly life-changing transformation. She explained: “This friend introduced me to the world of NLP and hypnosis. She came and practised on me and I thought ‘this is amazing’.” Alison enrolled on an NLP course and her tutor recognised that she had already been applying the principles of NLP for several years without realising it. After gaining her qualification she made an instant decision to start her own business. For a while she did both her NHS job and ran her new venture. But in the summer of 2010, she finally took the plunge and gave up the job to go it alone. Said Alison: “It sounds a bit mad but I didn’t have any fear factor in leaving my job and setting up the business. I just knew it was going to be ok. I knew that I could not stay where I was. The NHS was a great employer but I knew being tied up in policies and red tape just wasn’t going to work for me any more.” At first Alison practised on friends, and then friends of friends, until one day she gained enough confidence to ask for money. “There is actually a lot of value in people paying for it. It is important for people to invest in themselves,” she added. Since then the business has flour-

‘This has evolved out of my own curiosity’

ished and she now works with individuals, businesses (including senior executives at Sainsbury’s) and she has recently started working with schools, helping teenagers cope with exam stress. “I think because there is so much more opportunity people put themselves under more pressure,” said Alison. “If you go back to the Industrial Revolution people were glad to get a job and they stuck at it. “Now we are seeing a revolution of the mind. We know that we can do more and now the speed of society makes people feel under pressure to keep up. “We have more experience of relationship breakdowns, of changing jobs and people end up wanting more but not knowing how they can help themselves get more. “There are lots of people doing life coaching and business coaching but I have all this experience of working with people using different models – it is this that people see as most valuable. “Many people who do life coaching have often done something else before. Having gone through the process of counselling and coaching and NLP it gives me a different toolbox. “This has evolved for me out of my own curiosity to know there is something else that I could do and my own journey has taken me to this career. “I have then done training to understand each of those changes. I do have this wealth of experience. “Part of me says that I would like to speak to as many people as I can and say to them ‘come on, you are powerful – let’s get going’. I want to be somebody who can make a difference.”

Chance to put an end to the juggling A WEST KIRBY entrepreneur hopes to help busy people find that mythical “25th hour” in the day. Nikki Hartley says her Pink Spaghetti franchise offers a “pick up and put down” personal assistant service for people who feel like they’re constantly “juggling spaghetti”. With 10 years’ personal assistant experience, Nikki is available as and when needed, to provide vital support to business owners of all kinds who don’t want to commit to a full-time assistant. She plans to help small businesses to grow by taking over their time-consuming tasks, which include research, organisation, accounts and social media. Nikki said: “Basically, I do everything a PA would. I’m always there at the end of the phone but my clients only pay for me when they need me. “I believe I offer the most cost-effective solution to small businesses and entrepreneurs who are struggling to manage their workload. “As a working mum, I’m well used to handling many competing tasks and I’m pretty much unflappable. Pink Spaghetti also provides clients with help at home, from finding a cleaner, to organising children’s parties and selling unwanted items on eBay.

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16 post business location

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Retail landlords and tenants need to adapt to the changing times

view point

by John Barker, a partner at Hitchcock Wright & Partners THE idea of a landlord and tenant working together for mutual benefit is a topic that is broached often, but can it and does it exist? In the good old days when the economy was booming and demand outstripped supply, landlords were

Capital values rising ALL UK commercial property continued to improve in September with total returns of 1.2% over the month, equating to 6.5% so far in 2013, according to CBRE’s latest Monthly Index. Capital values also continued to increase, growing 0.7% in September, which resulted in capital value growth of 1.4% so far this year. The improvement in the UK’s economic growth which started to come through in the first quarter of 2013 is now clearly feeding through into performance in the real estate sector, according to the firm. All retail capital values continued to increase, rising by 0.4% over the month with a total return of 0.9%.

in control, and were not necessarily being selective with their tenants. Landlords were happy they had fully let premises and were receiving a good income, as were tenants who were trading well and returning profits to their shareholders. All of which fuelled rents and values. However, the retail property sector has suffered since 2007 and the following financial meltdown led to a reversal of fortunes, putting tenants and occupiers in the driving seat as landlords fought to avoid empty shops and became burdened by rates liability, security and maintenance for the properties, while making sure they complied with the


time is not necessarily sustainable. While landlords or occupiers have, and continue to, suffer a long period of void properties and reducing incomes, the glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel is now shining, and now is the time to build relationships to secure a sustainable landlord/tenant relationship and remove the voids from our suffering high streets. This is by no means the only solution, but with a holistic approach and the management of our high streets to meet the ever-changing retail landscape and

‘Working together is now the way forward’

resultant challenges, it is a way forward. Working in partnership, I suggest that both landlords and tenants can benefit equally, with both parties co-operating and investing in the property as a business.

Empty shops have increased

Active signs up at Exchange by Tony McDonough


SPACE NORTH WEST has secured a tenant for its £5m Exchange Station development in Liverpool. PR and marketing agency, Active Profile, is taking 1,289 sq ft of newly-refurbished office space at the scheme. The firm is relocating from its present home at Liverpool Science Park. For 150 years up until its closure in 1977, the Tithebarn Street site was home to one of the biggest mainline railway stations in the North West. In 1985, the main station building was converted into an office complex and renamed Mercury Court. Space Northwest has brought back the previous name. Active Profile, which recently hit its annual target of a 37% increase in turnover for 2012/2013, will move in later this month.

Managing director, Anna Heyes, told Post Busines: “Liverpool Science Park has provided us with the perfect environment to develop the business. “The move to Exchange Station marks a new chapter in the Active Profile story and is one that we are very much looking forward to.” Emily Armstrong, asset manager for Exchange Station, said: “The team has played an integral role in the redevelopment of the building, having delivered its strategic PR, marketing and events programme. They know and understand the building inside out, so it seems only fitting for them to take office space here.” In August it was announced that Liverpool coffee shop operator, Bean, was to be the coffee shop operator in the Exchange Station entrance hall. A new “Bean at Exchange Station” brand has been developed for the coffee shop, which will be based in the main concourse.

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requirements of insurers. The tightening of the consumer belt and the economy in recession has led to a lack of demand fuelling a downward spiral of vacant high street and shopping centres. As the economy begins to recover, you would expect the landlords to recover their position of the upper hand, allowing the cycle to continue. The tenant currently has the ability to meet and work with the landlord, but simply letting premises at the best rent available for the longest period of


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Electrical wholesaler in at Gateway ONE of the UK’s largest distributors of wholesale electrical goods has chosen Langtree’s Gateway 49 Trade Park in Warrington as a new branch location. City Electrical Factors has taken a 4,140 sq ft unit at the park in Kerfoot Street, just off the A49, on a 10-year lease,

taking it to 97% occupancy. Ian Cooper, group manager at City Electrical Factors, said: “Trade is very healthy for us at present and we decided it was the right time to move to larger premises. “Our new unit is double the size of our previous space and allows us to offer a bigger and

better range to our customers.” Jan Brindle, regional manager at Langtree, added: “Given the success City Electrical Factors has seen, we hope their new space at the park will help them to continue to grow in the town and wider region.”

location post business 17

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Mixed-use premises on sale at £450,000 THE ES GROUP’S Liverpool office has been instructed to sell a mid-terrace mixed use property in Liverpool city centre with a guide price of £450,000. The 13,928 sq ft property comprises basement, ground and first floor commercial space and previously accommodated a bar, restaurant and nightclub. In addition, there are 17 one and two-bedroom apartments on the upper floors which have been sold long leasehold and produce a ground rent totalling £3,400 per annum. The property, located in Sir Thomas Street between Victoria Street and Whitechapel, is within close proximity of the city’s established bars and restaurants, the Liverpool One shopping centre and the main business district. Robert Diggle, partner at The ES Group’s Liverpool office, said: “This property represents a strong investment opportunity, particularly given the property holds a Premises Licence permitting the sale of alcohol which allows use as nightclub, bar or live music venue. “The property further benefits from storage rooms, dressing rooms and public toilets which means it requires little work for investors looking to open a new club or bar. “We have had strong interest in the building.”

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Capital & Centric promises ‘funky’ design for Tithebarn No 12 Tithebarn Street in Liverpool and, inset, Tim Heatley


DEVELOPER Capital & Centric is promising that its new office scheme in Liverpool city centre will have a “funky” design that will make it stand out from other space. Last week, the Manchester firm secured £2.4m from the European Regional Development Fund towards its No 12 Tithebarn Street project in central Liverpool. The scheme includes the speculative £6m renovation and conversion of the derelict 1970s offices into affordable office pods for small firms.

Once completed, it will provide 40,000 sq ft of space with a number of “unusual features” yet to be announced by Capital & Centric. Work is due to start in the next few weeks once detailed planning permission is granted. The firm acquired the derelict building and adjacent car park in April and announced plans to bring forward the speculative project. Capital & Centric director, Tim Heatley, is promising something a “little bit different” once the work is complete in about 18 months. He told Post Business: “If you look around Liverpool’s business district you will see brand new office space and cheaper refurbished space that

hasn’t yet been let. “We said ‘what can we do differently that will attract occupiers to this development?’. “So we are going to try to make sure we offer something different than the norm and create genuinely interesting space. “We think once it is complete it might raise an eyebrow or two.” The project will be Capital & Centric’s fourth speculative development in Liverpool in three years. It has planning approval for a further 300,000 sq ft of projects in Liverpool alone. Last year it completed the speculative 80,000 sq ft Estuary Banks next to Liverpool Airport, and is due to

Liverpool lots at Eddisons auction

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TENANTED residential properties across Liverpool are among the lots at the latest Eddisons auction in Manchester on October 29. These include an apartment block in Boswell Street in the Smithdown Road area. The property comprises six, one-bedroom apartments which produce annual income of £23,920.

It is being offered on the instructions of the Joint LPA Receivers at a guide of £120,000-plus, a potential return of almost 20%. And a semi-detached property in Hartington Road which is arranged as five self-contained flats producing income of £13,746, is guided at £100,000-plus, a potential return of nearly 14%. A house in Balfour Street

within the Anfield area which produces £4,740 and a flat in Fazakerley producing £4,440 per annum are guided individually at £30,000-plus. They are being offered on the instructions of the Joint LPA Receivers. Other lots include a vacant parcel of land at 2 Goodall Street, within the Kirkdale area which has full planning consent for four, two-bedroom apartments.

complete the development of its 60,000 sq ft Speke Business Park this year. The firm is also set to bring the Art Deco former Littlewoods building in Edge Lane back to life. Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said of the Tithebarn Street scheme: “This development will provide invaluable support to the SME’s which are so important to the economic future of our city. It’s refreshing to see a traditional city landmark being rejuvenated by innovative and creative design.” Mr Heatley added: “This innovative approach to funding, design and development means we can continue to develop speculatively, avoid having any bank debt.”

New members TWO members of the Sutton Kersh Auction team have achieved a key industry qualification. Ashleigh Moore and Katie Donohue, who are both administrators at Liverpool’s leading auction firm, are now Members of The National Association of Valuers and Auctioneers (MNAVA). Ms Moore has been with Sutton Kersh for more than four years and Ms Donohoe joined Sutton Kersh in 2010, having completed a degree in business management.

18 post business economic development

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Giving the world a taste of focus on

UKTI can help provide knowledge of cultural differences and nuances that are key to trading overseas




N THE next few weeks, the Merseyside-based maker of iconic soft-drink Vimto was due to launch a major marketing push in Kenya. Executives from Haydock-based Nichols were planning events such as taste tests in locations such as shopping centres and supermarkets. However, the September terrorist attack on the shopping mall in Nairobi in which 67 people were killed has caused the plan to be postponed. “We think in light of those events it would be insensitive to go ahead at the moment,” Nichols’ regional manager for Africa, Robert Hammersley, told Post Business. Such are the pitfalls of exporting to and trading with some of the less stable regions of the world. Nichols operates in around 70 countries across the world and is well-versed in the sometimes complex world of international trade. But not all firms wishing to export have that level of knowledge and experience and so the Government is launching a new drive to help them make that leap. It says 1,000 British food and drink firms can benefit from a new exports action plan which aims to deliver a £500m boost to the UK economy. The Food and Drink International Action Plan will be delivered by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), as part of the Government’s overall ambition to raise UK exports to £1 trillion and to get 100,000 more UK companies exporting. Food and drink is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, with a turnover of more than £90bn. The industry employs up to 400,000 workers. This represents 15% of the overall manufacturing workforce in the UK. However, there is huge untapped potential for export among small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) with 90% currently not exporting and primarily only with close European neighbours. The plan was launched by Environment Secretary Owen Paterson at Anuga, in Cologne, Germany, the world’s leading food and drink trade fair. At the same time food was officially launched as one of the GREAT marketing campaign pillars. The GREAT campaign showcases the very best of what Britain has to offer in order to encourage the world to visit, study and do business with the UK. Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson said: “Brand Britain is recognised and revered internationally. The Food and Drink Exports Action Plan and the launch of Food is GREAT are important, as they will give quality British produce an even higher profile, boost our eco-

nomy and create jobs.” Robert Hammersley of Nichols said the 110-year-old firm is looking for strong growth in both domestic and overseas markets over the next few years. “Our products are already very popular in the North West but we still see potential in other parts of the country,” he said. “We are still seeing double-digit growth in the UK.” However, the company is also targeting overseas expansion. At present, around 20% of its revenues come from overseas and Mr Hammersley says the plan is to increase that percentage. “In the Middle East and North East and West Africa I think the market is pretty mature,” he said. “However, in southern Africa and in South America there is a lot of

scope for growth.” Nichols alters the packaging and tweaks the product according to the market it is trading in and it prefers to set up bottling plants on the ground rather than going to the trouble and expense of exporting from the UK. Vimto is popular in the Muslim world and in particular during the holy month of Ramadan. Mr Hammersley added: “In the Muslim world they tend to like the drink quite sweet so we tend to use a bit more sugar than we would in product sold in the UK market. “Also the packaging we use in the UK is a bit brighter and jazzier whereas in the Middle East it is more traditional. “I think the UKTI campaign is a

‘In the Middle East the market is mature’

great idea. I have used them a lot in previous roles and find their advice very useful. “Because we do operate in unstable regions it can sometimes make planning ahead trickier. We always follow Foreign Office advice.” Another one of Merseyside’s major food and drink exporters is Typhoo Tea, based at Moreton in Wirral. Finance director Somnath Saha was also enthusiastic about the UKTI campaign. Typhoo is particularly keen to grow exports as Mr Saha said its UK market was now quite mature. “We already work quite closely with UKTI,” he added. “At the moment we export to around 40 countries and we do want to grow that figure. “In the last three or four years we have grown our international sales from £2.5m a year to £5.6m. “That is about 6% of our total

sales and we are looking to push that up to 8%. We are looking at places such as Canada, New Zealand, Nigeria and Hong Kong where drinking tea is becoming more popular because it is seen as healthier.” In its recently-published accounts, Typhoo identified volatility in raw tea and in foreign exchange as key risks for the business. But it added that in recent times its business model had proved its “strength and resilience to volatility”. “We are very much growing globally,” said Mr Saha. “One of our key areas of growth is British people who are living abroad. They are always looking to but British-made products. “We also see advantages to working in emerging markets and it is always better when the Government is there to help you establish contacts in those markets.”

economic development post business 19

Thursday, October 17, 2013

UK products

Typhoo, based in Moreton, Wirral, exports its tea to around 40 countries

diary of an entrepreneur THIS month we open the doors of a brand new “business hub” venture in Hamilton Square, Birkenhead, at the heart of Wirral’s professional business district. Four Seven Four Eight (4748) is a unique space and niche venue where guests can celebrate, work, eat, sleep and play. In my 27-year career as a European patent attorney and European trademark attorney, I have been fortunate to work with some leading entrepreneurs who have established fantastic businesses. In many cases, I have ridden the rollercoaster alongside them, from one-man bands to listed companies with market capitalisations of hundreds of millions of pounds. Whether protecting their ideas or brands, raising finance or in or out licensing technologies, my involvement has fuelled my love of enterprise and my enthusiasm for helping businesses to grow. My enthusiasm for business led me to complete an MBA at the University of Liverpool and set up the intellectual property commercialisation consultancy, Equipped 4 Limited. This provides intellectual property, business development and financial management support to technology businesses in sectors including pharmaceuticals, medical devices, material sciences and clean technology and in many cases, my passion for the people and/ or their technology has led me to either invest or take an active role in their businesses. As an entrepreneur, I passionately believe that dynamic, growing businesses need to be located

in high quality facilities, surrounded by like-minded individuals, and with access to other professional services if they are to reach their full potential. They also need a space for networking and relaxing. Providing this mixed-use space has been the key driver for the launch of 4748. It is housed in two newly-renovated Georgian Grade I-listed buildings, offering guests an impressive range of facilities and services – including private and corporate hospitality, a venue for weddings and other celebrations, serviced offices, meeting rooms and boutique accommodation. Later this year will see the opening of The Cellar Bar and Café (with access to walled gardens and stables) such that 4748 can truly serve as a focal point for businesses, charities, public sector organisations and the local community. 4748 has already attracted a number of high-calibre corporate tenants including technology financiers Radley Ventures and Infusion Tech Systems, a company with technology that could revolutionise 3D printing. The 4748 team is truly excited to be launching our mixed-use space, which will facilitate incubation of local businesses and benefit the Wirral and Merseyside economy. On Tuesday October 29, we are hosting our 4748 launch event and opening our doors for businesses to look around our impressive facilities. Do let us know if you would like to join us in our celebration. Dominic Schiller, Four Seven Four Eight

A map of the world showing the extent of Vimto exports

‘Days of sneering at British cuisine are gone’ ACCOUNTANCY firm Baker Tilly says the UKTI campaign could prove invaluable for smaller food and drink firms looking to export for the first time. Andy Capes, head of the firm’s Northern Food and Drink Group said there was a “growing respect” for British products across the world.

“The North West has a strong food and drink sector, and this action plan has the potential to provide significant support for local businesses,” he said “Strong, effective collaboration between the industry and the Government is vital to securing greater export growth for the UK’s agri-food and drink sec-

tor,” he added. “The days of sneering at British cuisine are in the past. “There is a growing respect in the international market for the variety and quality of British food and drink, and this is being reflected in increased sales in overseas markets. “There are a lot of positives in this plan.

Particularly welcome is a Defra proposal to secure Protected Food Name status for more UK products. “This will allow for more British products to join the likes of Stilton cheese, Welsh lamb and Scottish farmed salmon and be given legal protection against imitation throughout the EU.”

Dominic Schiller of Four Seven Four Eight

20 post business professional

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Virus is attacking firms, says expert

Derek Kelly believes Home Secretary Theresa May should take a stronger line against rogue employers

HR expert: Jail rogue bosses who hire illegal immigrants by Joshua Taylor


THE Government’s flagship Immigration Bill is a “missed opportunity” to clamp down on rogue employers, the owner of a company that carries out right-to-work checks has claimed. Derek Kelly, managing director of Warrington-based outsourced employment provider Parasol, said the newly published Bill would fail to stop the exploitation of illegal workers by unethical employers. He claimed tougher penalties outlined in the Bill for company owners and managers who use illegal labour would not be sufficient deterrents and called for more jail sentences. Mr Kelly said: “Doubling the maximum fine per illegal worker from £10,000 to £20,000 is all well and good, but it doesn’t get to the heart of the problem. Companies that exploit workers who aren’t legally entitled to work here will continue to do so.

“Financial penalties do not create a sufficient deterrent as the business owner can simply close the operation down and set up another firm. “In order to create a genuine deterrent, directors of rogue companies should face the threat of a jail term or having their personal assets seized. Only then will such individuals think twice before hiring an illegal worker.” The Immigration Bill, published by the Home Office last week, is designed by Home Secretary Theresa May to ensure a more robust response to rogue employers who exploit illegal labour, while reducing the administrative burden on compliant businesses. Unveiling the Bill, Immigration Minister Mark Harper said: “New legislation will increase the penalties for rogue businesses, make it easier to enforce payment, while also making it easier for legitimate businesses to verify individuals’ right to work.” However, Mr Kelly believes the

measures do not go far enough. He said: “I believe an opportunity to create a genuine deterrent has been missed. “Measures to make it easier to enforce the payment of fines are a step in the right direction, but it feels like the Government is tinkering around the edges rather than bringing about wholesale reform. We welcome efforts to simplify right-to-work checks for compliant, legitimate employers. “It should be noted, however, that no firm deadline seems to have been placed on proposals to reduce the number of documents needed for employers to conduct right-to-work checks. “The Bill simply states that this will take place ‘over time’. Derek Kelly

“Therefore, right- to-work checks look set to remain a fairly laborious process for employers for some time yet.” Parasol carries out thousands of right-to-work checks a year on behalf of client companies to determine the immigration status of prospective employees. The Immigration Bill is expected to come into force some time next year. Under the legislation, banks, doctors, landlords, employers and DVLA staff will all be expected to take part in checks for illegal immigrants. The Bill will also cut the number of grounds on which migrants can lodge an appeal against deportation, from the current 17 to four, in a move drawn up to prevent a repeat of the Abu Qatada scandal.

AINTRE-BASED business technology provider Stack Group is warning of a type of computer virus which has begun attacking professional firms in the last week. Known as Ransomware, the virus arrives via email inbox as an attachment to a message or as a link in it, initially from a well-known bank but later from any source. If the attachment is opened, there is no immediate indication that the virus has begun infecting the computer as it will behave normally. But it will begin automatically encrypting your Microsoft Office files, demanding you text a premium rate mobile number to release them. The files will never be released however as criminals collect the cash from the texts and do not respond. Stack Group chairman Jeff Orr said that businesses, particularly office-based firms, need to be very careful as there is no known anti-virus for these Ransomware programmes. “If you have data stored relating to clients or to commercially sensitive material then these Ransomware viruses can be deadly to your business.” he said. “These programmes, which are known in the industry as cryptolockers, have been around for some time but have never been used in a widespread way to target businesses. “We have begun receiving reports that firms are beginning to experience problems and we believe if these programmes begin to be traded, soon it could become an epidemic.”

on the move ■

A VENTURE capital company has hired a new investment director to work from its Liverpool office. Steve Fishburn has moved to Enterprise Ventures, which specialises in lending to small companies. He has been in banking for 35 years and has previously worked for the Co-operative Bank and HSBC. He said: “I’m looking

forward to being able to make a difference by helping companies secure the investment they need.”

INVOICE finance provider Bibby Financial Services has appointed Paul Cooney as corporate manager. Mr Cooney is currently head of operations for Bibby Financial Services in the North West, based at its Liverpool

office, where he has worked for the past three years. Prior to this he was head of factoring (North) at Venture Finance plc – now ABN Amro Commercial Finance – for 10 years.

MECHANICAL and electrical specialist, HE Simm, has strengthened its business in the South of England by appointing Steve

Hodgkiss as Southern regional director. Mr Hodgkiss has more than 30 years’ experience in the building services industry, working on projects including Gatwick Airport, Bvlgari Hotel and St Thomas’ Hospital. He will be based at HE Simm’s London offices and will work closely with managing director Gareth Simm and UK director John Lennie.

Steve Fishburn – at Enterprise Ventures

Paul Cooney – new corporate manager

Steve Hodgkiss – HE Simm London man

networker post business 21

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Downton Abbey ‘helping to lead to hat sales resurgence’

Joshua Taylor talks to a fashion buyer and a stylist about this year’s trends for hats

THE Post asked the business world’s views on winter clothing:

Robin Di Stefano, general manager of The Living Room, said: “I make a trip to Marks & Spencer for a quality smart dress coat, a new pair of leather gloves and a scarf for when that frost really kicks in. When it’s cold, get wrapped up, but in style.”

Moira Leonard, director of Sefton Park Palm House, said: “I know my wardrobe choices are changing with the weather – I’m going much more for layers in greens, burgundies and golds now. I like to create lots of texture with my clothes using lace, velvet and mohair. My warm scarves have been resurrected already, but so far I have resisted the hat and gloves.”


HE heavy rain and high winds of the past week have forced many Merseysiders to consider dusting off their winter coats, scarves and gloves for the first time in months. As autumn well and truly sets in and the long winter nights draw ever closer, office workers are having to consider once again what they need to wear in order to look the part in front of colleagues and clients while also remaining protected from the elements. There was once a time when hats were a staple of any man or woman’s wardrobe, but the quantity being bought and worn has fallen in recent years. However, we could now be on the cusp of a resurgence in hat-wearing, according to department store John Lewis, thanks to the trends set by celebrities, such as supermodel Cara Delevingne, and television shows like Downton Abbey. Sammi Rowe, a fashion accessories buying assistant for John Lewis, said: “Our hat range is performing very well for us this season and we’re beginning to see a strong resurgence of hat-wearing, with our popular styles reflecting current trends. “Fedora shapes have been much feted by the glossies and images of Cara Delevingne wearing beanie hats have spread via social media to cre-

How we wrap up

Claire Southern, assistant manager of The Brink Cafe, said: “When the clocks go back, I get all of my winter wardrobe sorted as soon as possible. I buy lots of layers, new gloves and scarves, get my winter coat out and turn the heating on.”

Downton Abbey is boosting sales of hats like John Lewis’s pleated cloche and tweed trapper ate a strong fashion following. Added to which, the return of Downton Abbey, now set in the roaring 1920s, has seen a rise in demand for cloche shapes.” Melanie Quayle, a personal stylist at John Lewis’s Liverpool store agreed, saying false fur and bowler-

style hats sat perfectly with workwear. She also predicted trapper hats, which feature fold-down ear flaps, would sell well this winter. Ms Quayle said: “Micro-trends like those for faux fur and bowler shapes look smart worn with work-style outerwear.

“Last year’s cold winter made trapper styles seem not just fashionable, but sensible too. We expect these warm looks to continue to sell well through autumn and winter 2013.” If the fashion pundits are correct, this could be the winter when the hat made a return to the office.

Candice Fonseca, owner of Delifonseca, said: “Layering is the way to go and thermal tops and vests are a godsend. Standard thermal long-sleeve vests can be worn as tops. Again I’m a fan of the humble cardigan. Thankfully they’ve made a real comeback.”

past business – nostalgia

Road improvements that meant curtains for a theatrical cold store

Williamson Square with the road ‘improvements’ almost complete

THE Union Cold Storage Company’s Williamson Square home may have had a proud history, but that counted for nothing when the bulldozers came calling. Union, part of the Vestey business empire, took over the old Theatre Royal in the late 19th century and converted it into a giant cold store, serving St John’s Market and fruit and vegetable traders in Queen Square. Its majestic curved Georgian frontage remained, even inspiring the curved Playhouse extension next door. But inside, the theatre that once hosted Charles Dickens and Niccolò Paganini was ripped apart. In the Post in 1970, the building’s superintendent Frank Hallaron mused: “It’s wonderful to think that Paganini once played here. Yet it’s difficult to see any semblance of a theatre in the place today. “I don’t think it would be possible to point out where the stage door was with any certainty. “But still distinctly recognisable at the back of the building are the stables where the animals were kept

when a circus show was on. There is still a tunnel from these stables to where the stage must have been.” In the end, the building disappeared with little fanfare. Liverpool Corporation agreed to pay the company £226,500 for the building to make way for a “road improvement scheme”. Liberal leader Cllr Cyril Carr, appears to have had little time for theatrical history. He told the transportation and basic services committee he felt they were paying a lot of money for “what appears to be a battered old building”. A Union spokesman, similarly unromantically, replied that it had a “tremendous storage capacity”. The purchase went ahead and the building was torn down, despite the protests of heritage campaigners. But one piece of the Theatre Royal remained defiant. In 1997, a retail shed was erected on site– and building workers discovered a chunk of stone from the theatre that somehow escaped the wrecking crews. It was, of course, donated to the Playhouse. ALISTAIR HOUGHTON The Theatre Royal comes down in April, 1971

22 post business networker

trading gossip ■

THE bosses of demolition firm Beech Group are proud that they’ve managed to keep the business’s relaxed, family atmosphere even after the founding Beech family sold it on. As reported on pages 12 & 13, directors Chris Wainwright and Arthur Marley are chatty and relaxed company, who are fond of a joke at their own expense. Beech Group’s relaxed attitude even extends to its website. Its account of the triathlon travails of fitness enthusiast Wainwright is billed “MD failure (again)”. Detailing his trip to the Bala triathlon, it says drily: “Back in November 2012 we reported with embarrassment the failings of our MD to achieve athletic greatness in the world of triathlon. We have more of the same news.” The story says Wainwright, below, was “bleating about breaking three hours” for the event, but

narrowly failed despite personal bests in each triathlon discipline. It carries on: “What went wrong, in his own words – ‘When I turned half way through the run stage and glanced at my watch I saw that I would succeed if I ran the last three miles in 27 minutes. But I had nothing left. Nothing. “Back to the drawing board. I had relatively new shoes (this is the excuse bit) and it was like I was running with tacks in them’ etc etc. Nothing changes.” There can’t be many Mersey bosses who’d be happy with being written about in that way, But then, that’s family.

KEVIN CASSIDY, of Allied Irish Bank, surprised the crowd meeting an Irish trade mission at Liverpool Town Hall last week when he declared he was a Tranmere Rovers fan. He also pleased the crowd by keeping his speech brief. He said, with a smile: “This feels like a Tranmere Rovers match – I’m only five minutes in and the crowd is getting restless.”

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Diversity leads to a world beyond Garth’s workplace

Garth Dallas, far right, at the One World Festival in September Picture: JEAN-PIERRE MAGLOIRE

myday off Garth Dallas is director of Global Diversity Partners, publishers and education consultants


IVERSITY is a lifestyle, it’s much more than just work. To me, diversity means embracing difference. We live and work in an increasingly diverse society and our working lives are more complex and more fluid than at any time in history. This presents us all with a new set of legal, business, ethical and social challenges and responsibilities … not

that everybody realises it. It’s because of the latter that I can’t help but get involved with projects outside of running my business. Merseyside Black History Month is a case in point. I’ve spent most of my time off this spring/summer getting involved with the project because, aside from being dear to my heart, there is so much opportunity to broaden the appeal of black culture in Liverpool. The month-long Festival is now in its ninth year and is approaching a decade of celebrations, because that’s what the month is about, I’m really keen to spread the word to a wider business audience on Merseyside. We already have good commercial support from the likes of Your Housing, Sanctuary Housing, LJMU, Liverpool Chamber, Emtas and the NHS via the Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen Hospitals – I get involved in this engagement and have drunk plenty of coffee in bars working in the business district on my days off but I get such a buzz seeing things move in the right direction. I also get to work with talented people like Stephen Principal Nze who is a huge role model for youth on Mer-

seyside via Tiber Liverpool. Africa Oye, Liverpool International Music Festival, Brouhaha International Festival – he’s at the centre of everything. Who wouldn’t want to spend time on their day off with someone so inspirational? Much of my time has also been centred on the biggest day and challenge for the small group of people volunteering to drive Merseyside Black History Month – the Black Achievers Awards 2013 on Saturday, October 26. That same group have generated additional support from organisations like Everton in the Community, Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust and Liverpool City Council, and just like everybody should, I get a lot of satisfaction from spending time away from work with volunteering colleagues. Believe me, it really doesn’t feel like business. And when we get to sit down on the big night, I’ll be having fun on my table with more supporters like Steve Biko, Spaine Music, Calderstones School and Liverpool Mutual Housing with whom I’ve become great friends. I’ve generated a very social network and all from wanting to do good

‘I’ll be having fun on my table’

things. One of the most sociable events to match this year’s awards was the One World Festival in late September just gone. We had a ball. We took over Bold Street and the Black-E and created a community-inspired event centring on dance, music, dialogue plus a children’s area incorporating Liverpool’s Irish, Chinese, Caribbean and West African Communities. Many of the stores created great offers and promotions and I got to work with One Latin Culture, a Liverpool-based company with talented artists from as far and wide as Costa Rica and Chile that reside in Liverpool. I’ve met so many people pursuing this pastime of mine. I know from the many conversations, too, that most people seem to only meet the diversity of people I do in terms of cultures when they’re on their holidays or travels abroad. That seems crazy in view of what goes on in Liverpool, who lives here, the diversity of cultures, events, initiatives … I guess that’s why I’m involved. We need to shout more about these facts, show the UK and the world and most importantly, the rest of the Merseyside region how diverse we actually are as a people and join together much more often.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

networker post business



Salt House Tapas in Liverpool city centre

Fazenda opening

BRAZILIAN restaurant Fazenda Rodizio Bar and Grill has opened in a £2m, investment in Exchange Flags and among guests at a taster event were Radio

City presenter Rossi, with Fiona and Simon Beer from the Epic Aparthotel, and Radio fellow City presenter Pete Price, with Denise Harris of SK Events.

Riverside recognised SPEKE social housing provider Riverside was a winner in the North West heats of the British Chamber of Commerce Awards. It won the Sustainability Award and will now represent the region in the

AUTHOR, speaker and consultant, Andy Bounds, address the latest Atlas Business Club meeting at Thornton Hall Hotel and Spa in Wirral. Pictured, left, are Atlas


places can be booked online at www. uk


THE Federation of Small Business (FSB) is holding a summit at Liverpool John Moores University’s John Lennon Art and Design Building, from 8.30am5.30pm which will showcase Liverpool City Region’s new Skills for Growth Bank, that

Q What is your favourite lunch venue? A Salt House Tapas

Q What is your favourite dish and why? A Outside of my love for tapas I always look for steak tartare – I’m sure it’s not for everyone but I’m a big fan. Not everywhere serves it for obvious reasons so if I’m on business in London it’s The Ivy, closer to home San Carlo does a mighty fine job of it.

Atlas gets together

THE October Curry Club Chester speaker will be the director of awardwinning Humphreys of Chester, Ashley Hope, who will be delivering his views on the state of the housing market. Chester Curry Club is the third Friday in the month and is held at the Siam Thai and Teppan-Yaki Restaurant, situated at 32 City Road, Chester, from 12.30pm. The lunch costs £20 and

Jon Aindow, sales director, LT Print Group Q Why is this your favourite venue? A I absolutely love the laid back style of eating tapas and Salt House Tapas do it so well. It’s a constant talking point when you’re all diving into sharing plates, great for avoiding stuffy business lunches.

national finals next month. Pictured right is, from left, Rachel Scott, of Utilitywise, presenting the award to Riverside’s Barbara Houghton, watched by Jenny Stewart, COO of Liverpool Chamber.

business diary

my favourite lunch

uniquely gives business owners control over the funding and design of skills training. The summit, which is being held as part of the legacy of Accelerate 2013 in Liverpool, will also include a series of workshops. More information and booking details are available at https://fsbsmallbusiness


A BREAKFAST event by accountants Mazars will look at the key tax and financial issues that must

founders, Alistair Gould, managing partner, McEwan Wallace, Emma Parker-Goff, director, Artemis Media Profile and Andrew Mills, managing director, Mills Media, at the latest event.

be addressed through the lifecycle of any business, at its offices in Old Hall Street’s Plaza building, from 8.30am to 10.15am. To register please email catherine.wareing@ or call 0151237 2200.


THE Employability and Skills Group of companies is holding a series of open days at its Liverpool operation, which is situated in the city centre’s Bold Street. It invites schools and pupils, parents, teach-

Q What is the best bit of business you have done over lunch? A I’m not really one for doing the hard sell over lunch. I much prefer informal business lunches so you can chat about anything from the weather to the football. Some of my clients actually take me for lunch, beans on toast at Sound on Duke Street is a popular choice.

ers, heads of departments and careers advisors, training providers, job centres, community agencies, and employers to its informal events which run from 10am to 4pm, on the second floor of Link 19 in Bold Street’s Central Village. Refreshments are included. The organisation says the open days provide a chance to find out how ESG staff can help individuals obtain full time jobs via the apprenticeship programme. For further details contact Jules Westbrook or Pauline O’Brien on 0151-702 6111.


HOPE Business Gateway, at the city’s Hope University, is hosting a workshop focusing on presentation skills, which will be delivered by business psychologist Paula Raper. For further details about the event please contact Carol Buckman on 0151- 291 3285 or at buckmac@


PROFESSIONAL Liverpool’s next network lunch offers a presentation by Michael Eakin (Royal Liverpool

Jon Aindow Q Who would you most like to have lunch with? A The wife of course! If she wasn’t available then I’d have to say Richard Branson. I’m sure the Virgin Group has plenty of print requirements to justify a beans on toast lunch, but I’d really like to know what keeps him motivated after achieving so much from a difficult start. Q Where else do you like to go? A If I’m not in and around Liverpool then I love L37 restaurant at Formby Hall Golf Resort or alternatively the gringo sushi is a must at The Vincent in Southport.

Philharmonic) and Iona Horsburgh (FACT) at the offices of city solicitors Weightmans in Old Hall Street’s The Plaza building, from 12.30pm-2pm. Their presentation is entitled ‘The Business of Culture.’ For further information please contact Marjorie Barrow on 0151-224 1855, or, alternatively, visit the www. site. ■ Send your diary events to neil.hodgson

Economic Outlook for 2014 Recovery at Last? Thursday 17 October at Rathbone Investment Management 2nd floor, Port of Liverpool Building, Pier Head, Liverpool L3 1NW Our three speakers will present their own perspective on the current economic situation and outlook for the future at this complimentary lunchtime event.

Topics for discussion • A strategic stockmarket view – from a UK perspective • The Asia Pacific economies – still Tigers or an endangered species? • Bonds – a sleep at night or nightmare asset classes?

Programme 11.30am

Registration tea and coffee


Welcome by James Hedley, Rathbone Investment Management


Julian Chillingworth, Rathbone Investment Management


Matthew Dobbs, Schroders


Claire McGuckin, Kames Capital



A sandwich lunch will be provided following the seminar.

To book your place, please contact Eleanor McCormack

0151 236 6666 Confirmation and directions to the venue will be sent to you upon receipt of booking.

Rathbone Investment Management is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Post business 17 10 13  

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