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Newsletter Spring 2012

Chirton Engineering scoops Business of the Year award Leading lights in the local business community have been honoured in the North Tyneside Business Awards Six awards were presented to a cross-section of businesses with Chirton Engineering in North Shields picking up two accolades. The company, which makes precision engineering components, won the overall award for Business of the Year and also took the Manufacturing category. The other winners were: • Opus Green – Business Start-up • Pots and Pancakes – Retail Business • Weigh Ahead – Service Sector • Custom Planet – Young Entrepreneur The awards, organised by the Business Forum and North Tyneside Council, were held at the Village Hotel in early December. They recognise the best firms in the borough and celebrate the massive

Forthcoming events We’re continuing to develop a range of events to help you extend your business networks and gain some lucrative leads.

Top team: Paul Stewart and colleagues from Chirton Engineering. contribution the business community makes to the local economy.

The company has also demonstrated a strong commitment to the area.

The judging panel were particularly impressed by Chirton Engineering’s track record on staff development.

Accepting the award, MD Paul Stewart urged other businesses to follow Chirton Engineering’s lead and support the training of young people, which would assist the development of the region’s engineering and manufacturing sector. For more words and pictures, see page 3.

Staff retention is exceptionally high, apprentices are given responsibility and new employees are ‘looked after’ by experienced engineers.

We’ll be emailing forum members with more details of the following events in due course. February 23 – Construction Supply Chain Opportunities at Backworth Club (7.30am – 9.30am). To register, either email (see below) or ring Sandra on (0191) 643 6000. March 22 – Open forum meeting for all Business Forum members.

April – Meet the Buyer. Come and talk to the buyers representing a range of large public and private sector organisations. Venues are to be confirmed but any suggestions are welcome as we’re always looking for new places. Ideas for venues in the north west of the borough (Forest Hall, Killingworth, Backworth etc) are particularly welcome.


In this edition North Tyneside Business Awards


Recession can’t stop N. Tyneside


Getting to know you


Reward your clients…


Putting Tynemouth on the map


Mentoring and motivating…


The Business Forum is here to help local businesses. To get in touch, phone (0191) 643 6000, email or visit the website

Ernie Nolan

David Rose

Ernie and David join the management group Become a Registered Member If you’re a business based in North Tyneside why not become a Registered Member of the North Tyneside Business Forum and see what’s in it for you? There’s no extra charge and you can access a range of additional benefits, including: • Online discussion forum • Trading post • ‘Ask an expert’ • ‘Open forums’ where you can meet other Registered Members You will also be able to take part in elections to the Business Forum Management Group. As a Registered Member, you can nominate a colleague, or be nominated yourself, as a candidate. Just fill in your details on the homepage. Once verified as a North Tyneside business, you’ll be given a Registered Membership number, a printable certificate of membership and you’ll be able to access the Registered Members’ pages of the site.


More than 300 businesses have now taken the plunge and become registered members of the forum. That means they can vote in management group elections which take place every two years. The first such election is due to take place in March 2013.

The Business Forum Events Schedule continues to be very popular with great turnouts at each event. Here are a couple of the comments we’ve received:

The forum wants to be open and inclusive – so all nominations are welcome.

“ The forum’s events have given me introductions I wouldn’t have otherwise got. They’ve allowed me to present myself to businesses to offer my services… exactly what I’d hoped for but didn’t know how to achieve.”

In the meantime, we’re very pleased to welcome two new members to the management group – Ernie Nolan of Acorn Computers and David Rose of FuDa Hobart Rose. Both Ernie and David have a wealth of experience in their respective sectors and are also members of other key business organisations (Wallsend Chamber of Trade and Cobalt & Silverlink Business Association). The forum’s interactive website offers a wide range of information and activities. If you’re not a member, visit www.northtynesidebusinessforum and sign up now – you’ve nothing to lose and you could help to make North Tyneside a better place for business, including your own.

Albert Watson, Albert Watson Accountants

“ We would like to thank you and all your team for such a wonderful evening at the Business Awards. From a networking perspective, we met two new potential clients and confidently expect some business wins in the not too distant future.” Jim McCarry, Paper Less Solutionss Why don’t you join the forum? If you’re already a member, why not work with us to improve conditions for local businesses. Please give us a call if you have an idea for a specific project you would like to be involved with. Ring Sandra on (0191) 643 6000.

North Tyneside Business Awards In addition to celebrating the success of local businesses, the theme of young people and entrepreneurship ran through the entire awards evening. Nicky Gray, owner of Fidget’s children’s hairdressing and Kiki’s Kabin soft play – a former winner of the Young Entrepreneur award – spoke about the necessity of engaging with young people to encourage an early understanding of entrepreneurship and its benefits. On the night, the highly contested Young Entrepreneur category was won by Custom Planet, screen printers and producers of promotional goods.

The Business Start-up award went to Opus Green, a building services company providing renewable energy solutions.

Based in North Shields, the café also offers a relaxed and informal setting for ceramic painting and pottery.

Competing in a difficult sector, the firm has secured a number of high-value contracts.

Weigh Ahead, which introduced the pre-check-in luggage weighing system, picked up the Service Sector award.

Pots and Pancakes, owned by Hayley Smith, won the Retail Business category.

The system was first launched at Newcastle Airport in 2009 and now operates at 11 UK airports.

The company – set up by Andy Dark and John Armstrong in 2008 – employs seven staff and is looking to provide apprenticeships for local young people.

Custom Planet winner of Young Entrepreneur category Dr Jane Delany, of the NT Learning Trust, presents the award to Holly Dark and John Armstrong.

Heart and soul Singer Jason Isaacs

Weigh Ahead winner of The Service Sector award

provides the entertainment.

David Hodgson, of the Business Forum steering group, with Carol and Gerard Stewart.


Recession can’t stop North Tyneside! Despite gloomy headlines about spending cuts and job losses, new businesses in North Tyneside are booming. Here are three local entrepreneurs who are making their dreams a reality.

When faced with redundancy, former children’s centre worker Suzanne Thompson decided to launch her own play centre – Squiggles & Giggles CIC. Setting up in business was a piece of cake for Lesley Booth. Her new cake and coffee shop, Cake-a-Licious on Farringdon Road, Cullercoats, has created a tasty profit for the single mum. Determined not to miss a chance to run her own business, Lesley decided to turn her cake-making talents into a successful enterprise.

The centre provides families with a space to enjoy messy and creative play. Based at the White Swan Centre in Killingworth, the centre provides indoor and outdoor spaces where children up to the age of eight can develop their imagination and creativity through play.

Now, as well as selling tea, coffee and cakes, the company also bakes celebration cakes for weddings and christenings. Even though they have only been open a few weeks, they have already amassed a loyal group of satisfied customers.

The business has been set up as a Community Interest Company (CIC) and also supports community groups through outreach programmes. Suzanne said: “I want to provide a service to the community, particularly families who do not normally have access to such activities.”

For more information, visit

For more information, visit

Aaron Philips, a performing arts graduate from Cullercoats, has taken centre stage and launched his new business venture, the Xpress Urself stage school. Located at Cullercoats Methodist Church, the school offers dance, drama and singing classes for children aged 5 -16. Aaron said: “The industry is hugely competitive but I am determined to stay here in the North Tyneside.” Classes are delivered by Aaron and a colleague – both experienced and qualified teachers. Initially, classes will run every Saturday morning but this is expected to increase as demand grows. For more information, visit

All three were supported by the Business Factory, which is funded by North Tyneside Council. The Business Factory offers free advice and guidance for anyone looking to start their own company. If you have any ideas for potential new businesses, can identify a gap in the local supply chain, or would like to work as a mentor to fledgling businesses, please get in touch with the Business Factory on (0191) 263 6092 or email


Getting to know you – Nazim Khan Nazim Khan is the proprietor of the Sangreela Restaurant in Benton.

1 What do you enjoy most about running your restaurant? Knowing that the food I serve to my customers is of the highest quality, cooked to perfection by expert chefs, and very healthy. I love to see local people enjoying the traditional dishes from my homeland of Bangladesh. 2 What are the perks of being your own boss? I am able to travel around India and Bangladesh, hunting out the best recipes and ingredients.

7 How important is new technology, particularly the internet, to your business? The internet is important to any business – we use it for advertising and taking bookings. Other than that however, it’s really not relevant at all – my food is all hand-made, completely natural and home cooked. And you can’t replace the human touch – qualities of courtesy, integrity and pride can’t be replaced by technology. 8 What advice would you give to anyone considering setting up a restaurant business in the North East? I have three pieces of advice:

3 Where do you eat out? What’s your favourite sort of cuisine? My kids want to eat at Sangreela as often as possible. They say ‘why eat elsewhere when you can have the best?’ So every weekend they come here when they’re not at school. However, once every three months or so the whole family will go to Nandos, where the chicken is particularly good.

Be very clear about your target market – are you catering for everyday tastes or for special occasions? Don’t mix the two.

4 How do you ensure your customers always come back? By ensuring outstanding service and the best ambience at all times. My staff are carefully chosen to ensure they will maintain my high standards if I’m not around. Having the right staff is critical and can’t be underestimated

Don’t always go for experienced staff – consider scouring local colleges and universities for up-andcoming talent, then train them. I have found many of my best staff this way.

Never stop learning – keep abreast of political, financial and social changes so that you can always be looking ahead and evolving to meet the future. If you’re not going forwards, you’re going backwards.

5 Do you feel creativity is important in business? Is it more or less important than business skills? You obviously need a balance between both, but creativity is perhaps more important in this business. However, these are not the only qualities needed for success – focus and dedication are equally important. 6 What was your biggest mistake? Not realising just how important the right advertising and promotion is. And being too modest about it – Sangreela doesn’t do everyday, low cost cooking – we’re the region’s most exclusive Indian restaurant and we provide special food for special occasions. If you believe in your product, don’t be afraid to blow your trumpet loudly.

9 What could the Business Forum do to help your business? The forum can help me to promote the business as a regional venue of the highest calibre. I think it’s in everyone’s interest to showcase North Tyneside’s businesses as the best in the region. The more visitors we can attract, the better for us all. 10 If you could start over again and choose a different career, what would it be? I’d go back to my original career in finance and insurance. It’s very different in many respects but the skill mix is still the same – the ability to build relationships with people and to serve customers from all walks of life.

For further details, contact Nazim by email:


Reward your clients and reap the benefits! Businesswoman Nicky Gray explains a simple technique to help businesses with similar customer bases work together. At a recent Business Forum event, Nicky got talking to a number of other local companies and realised they had the same clientele…

Bright idea: Nicky Gray outside her business, Fidgets.

The Rainbow Reward Card is designed for local businesses that target the same customers. The idea is very simple – around six businesses with the same customer profile get together and offer each other’s customers an exclusive discount.

shoe shop) and Squigglers (a painting fun club). They all offered each other’s customers 10% off their products or services. A customer comes in and buys from one of the businesses and the discount encourages them to use the others.

So as a thank you for buying from one company, you can go to a number of other businesses with a similar clientele and get a 10% discount. Each business can have separate terms and conditions but the main focus is getting your customers to go to each other.

There’s an easy way to monitor where the customers are coming from because each business signs the back of the card. Each business has 500 cards to give out and the cost (only £50 per business, which includes printing and design) is modest and affordable.

Here’s an example of how it works.

This simple idea makes customers feel valued by your business and feels like they are getting so much more from you.

Kiki’s Kabin, an indoor soft play area, got together with Fidgets (hair salon for children), Selling Smiles (toy shop), Puddleducks (children’s swimming club), Stomp (a children’s 6

The idea will only work if it is kept small scale with no more than six

businesses involved as this keeps it exclusive and manageable. The terms and conditions can vary to suit the needs of each business and is adaptable to any industry. The Rainbow Reward Card could work for like-minded services, such as a plumber, electrician, gardener etc, or the wedding industry – a bridal shop, wedding planner, cake shop, photographer etc. It would also work for a consortium targeting start-up businesses, including a web designer, printing company, designer and so on.

Would you like to know more? Contact Nicky Gray on (0191) 251 5175.

Committed: John Keddy.

Putting Tynemouth on the map Tynemouth Business Forum (TBF) is a support group for companies operating in and around the village. It’s been around for about a year and has one main objective – to promote Tynemouth as a place to live, work and shop. Members of the forum are committed to putting Tynemouth firmly on the map and are organising a series of annual events to attract shoppers to the area. John Keddy, the Chair of the TBF, says although Tynemouth has a stunning coastline, café culture, varied shops and a range of bars – the key to real success is to give people an extra reason to visit.

So in July, the TBF staged its first event – the Classic VW Rally. The council estimated an extra 4,000 people visited Tynemouth on the day and businesses reported record sales and a fantastic atmosphere. The forum followed that up with a traditional Christmas event in the centre of the village. As well as visiting Santa, children were able to feed his reindeer while mums and dads enjoyed a glass of mulled wine and a traditional hog roast. Local carol singers got everyone in a festive mood and there was a

range of stalls selling Christmas products. The Priory Theatre joined in – showing Polar Express and It’s a Wonderful Life. The TBF is planning to host the first Annual Tynemouth Food Festival in May and will be staging the VW Rally again during the summer. Members also have a few more ideas in the pipeline. Businesses in the Tynemouth area (including people who work from home) are welcome to join the TBF. The fee is £50 a year and the benefits include being part of the wider business community, making new contacts and friends, helping to shape the future of the village and knowing that what you are doing is making a positive difference to your business.

Interested? Then call John Keddy, Chair of the TBF, on 0772 504 1572.

Free support to make that winning bid Local businesses are being offered free one-to-one support to help them find, win and retain contracts. The council is working with B to B to offer support with: • Understanding the market and finding the right opportunities across the public and private sectors. • Getting ‘bid ready’ and cutting through the issues, such as getting policies sorted or updated.

• Reviewing previous bids and proposals to help put your business in a winning position. • Comprehensive ‘hands-on’ support with preparing any bid, including pre-qualification questionnaires, tenders, proposal writing or preparing presentations.

• Training and mentoring – sharing with you and your team what makes a winning bid. Advice can be given by phone, email or through one-to-one visits from B to B’s specialist support team.

To find out more, contact Garry Stone on (0191) 281 5777, 07917 658113 or email:


Mentoring and motivating the stars of the future The Young Business Forum is the new name for a partnership that has been forging links between businesses and schools for around 13 years. Businesses that get involved with the YBF as ‘business ambassadors’ can reap many rewards, including: • Benefiting from fresh ideas and a new perspective of your work The team, led by Joanna Lyons, carries out a range of activities and events to develop the employability, skills, knowledge and attributes that young people need to enter the world of work.

• Providing staff development opportunities and assisting with staff recruitment • Promoting your business to other businesses and enhancing your public profile

Bridging the gap between schools and businesses Education is the most powerful weapon we have to change the world and that’s why I chose to become a school governor – so I could use my business experience and expertise to make a meaningful and positive contribution. governor but being a school governor isn’t the only thing we have in common – we are both business people as well as members of the North Tyneside Business Forum. I’ve learnt over the last year that school governors are people who want to make a positive contribution to their communities through children’s education – maybe you could be that person who inspires one of our young people to succeed by bringing your professional expertise and enthusiasm into a local school?

I am a community governor at Churchill Community College and my colleague Trevor Dodds (of Moerman UK Ltd, the cleaning and laundry solutions company) is a parent

So what are you expected to do and why do we need more business people to become governors? The governing body have an absolutely key role in school improvement and a really important part to play in raising school standards.

• Helping you to achieve your corporate responsibility goals There are many ways to get involved, from one-hour sessions in schools to more in-depth projects. For more details, call Joanna Lyons on (0191) 643 8549. Below, Vivianne Buller gives her thoughts on working with young people as a school governor, through the North Tyneside Learning Trust.

The four key roles are: setting strategic direction, ensuring accountability, monitoring and evaluating school performance, and importantly, being a critical friend. You will have many transferable skills which schools would welcome. As a governor, you can help to create the right environment for good learning to take place and help our young people prepare for life and their transition beyond their school days into adulthood and the world of work. We could all play a crucial role in guiding and helping our students to find their way into the world of work and business – in the words of Malcolm X: “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” If you would like to hear more, contact me on 07795 414 555 Vivianne Buller Consultancy Catering Adviser & Service Development Consultant

This newsletter has been produced to raise awareness of North Tyneside Business Forum and its services to the borough’s business community. Copy produced in association with Ellen Brown, Newcastle University.

North Tyneside Business Forum Newsletter Spring 2012  

North Tyneside Business Forum Newsletter Spring 2012

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