MAKE CONNECTION ISSUE 11 MAR 2009 - MAY 2009
WEATHER THE STORM
How to find opportunities in a recession
+ GOING FOR GOLD
Olympic openings for SMEs to CompeteFor
GET INTO ‘SHAPE’
UEL delivers on strategic planning tool for NHS
£10K competition reaches the final stage
Four easy steps to help improve your company’s website
ROB MOSS DIRECTOR OF KNOWLEDGE DOCK
LOOKING FOREWORD Rob Moss looks back at some of the highlights from the previous quarter
It is official; the UK economy has fallen into recession since the last issue of Dockside. From reading all the press you get the impression that the economy will remain in a state of contraction for a prolonged period. Unemployment is on the rise, stalwarts of the British High Street are filing for bankruptcy and the UK’s industrial output is in decline. It is a worrying time for many people in the UK, especially business owners. However, different market conditions also present opportunities for companies. For example Aldi’s retail sales are on the rise, their slogan of ‘spend a little and live a lot’ seems to capture the public’s mood. Whilst this recession is like no other before, if there is one thing I am certain off, it is that the economy will recover, it always does. In my working life I have witnessed two recessions and a common theme that emerges during times of recession is that, poorly run and stagnant companies are usually the first to fall victim to difficult trading conditions. One of Knowledge Dock’s core strengths is its ability to connect people to the expertise and resources they need to help develop their business. In our main feature this month our resident Business Adviser, Adrian Birtwell, discusses how SMEs can weather the current storm and highlights some of the support services and grants that SMEs can access via Knowledge Dock. A recent publication ‘Standing together – Universities helping business through the downturn’ published by Universities UK highlighted how universities are supporting UK companies to become more innovative and competitive. In this latest edition we highlight a number of academics transferring their knowledge into industry to help their client organisations on a wide range of issues.
Knowledge Dock, in partnership with the School of Computing, Information Technology and Engineering (CITE) recently held an event to promote how SMEs can access new technologies to help them become more innovative and grow. On the day, we heard a number of SME owners talk about their experiences of working with UEL academics and the benefits it has brought to their business. One thing to emerge from this event was that all the companies who presented at the event were proactive in looking for innovative ways to develop their business, and as a result they are all well prepared to weather the current financial crisis. In fact most of the speakers informed me that that their companies are still experiencing strong growth. The moral of this story is that markets are always evolving and if companies are to remain competitive, they too must evolve. During the networking event many of the delegates I spoke to were surprised about the range of support that universities can offer to business and many of these delegates are in the process of accessing support services as we speak. The event reinforced my opinion that universities must be more effective at promoting their services to the public, as many are unaware of the support they can access. There will be SME owners who will need to look for new and innovative ways to help their company become more competitive to not only help it emerge from the crisis, but also ensure that they are well placed to take advantage of the opportunities that will emerge when the economy recovers. At the same time there will be people who have been made unemployed who have harboured ambitions to start up their own business and now might be the time for them to take steps towards realising this dream. Universities are packed full of resources and expertise that
can help such people and our task is to let these people know that they can support them. This is a challenge that I have set my Communication Team and they have been extremely busy redeveloping Knowledge Dock’s brand to be more business friendly, as well as devising a series of business engagement events. I am delighted that for the third year in a row, Knowledge Dock has launched E-Factor, our annual business plan competition where students compete to win £10k to turn their business idea into a reality. There are an interesting range of business ideas in this year’s competition and I am delighted to report that we received over 200 applications to the competition this year, proving that there is a strong culture of entrepreneurship amongst our students. On behalf of all the team at Knowledge Dock I would like to congratulate Carole Snee, former Director of the External and Strategic Development Service at UEL, who will receive an OBE for her services to urban regeneration in east London. Carole was the one who originated Knowledge Dock and the driving force behind UEL’s Docklands Campus and no one has done more to promote the economic and social regeneration of east London, I am delighted to see that her efforts have been recognised. As always I would like to thank my team for their hard work and they are busy working on some new exciting projects which I look forward to telling more about in the next issue of Dockside.
THE MAGAZINE OF KNOWLEDGE DOCK - CONNECTING ENTERPRISE AND UNIVERSITY EXPERTISE. NEWS 04 04 04 05 05 06 06 06 07
A PASSPORT TO SUCCESS - Knowledge Dock accesses EU opportunities for young entrepreneurs. WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA? - Local inventors given the chance to showcase their concepts. TOILET TEST - UEL Students showcase their concept to industry leaders. QUITE A LADY - Knowledge Dock pioneer to receive OBE. WORLD CLASS RANKING - UEL research ranks amongst some of the best in the world. WELCOME HOME - East London philanthropist returns to east London to open new entrepreneurship centre. CONGRATULATIONS - Thames Gateway Business Award winners STEP INTO THE LAIR - BBC Dragons’ Den are seeking fresh blood. FROM BIO SENSORS TO BABY’S BOTTLES - Knowledge Dock Business Centre licensees go from strength to strength.
If you are interested in any of the services provided by Knowledge Dock please contact us on 020 8223 3301. Alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org. Knowledge Dock University of East London Knowledge Dock Centre University Way London E16 2RD www.knowledgedock.com Knowledge Dock is supported by:
ENTERPRISE 08 10 12 14 15 16
GOING FOR GOLD - East London companies find out how to CompeteFor London Olympic opportunities. FACTOR 10 - The final ten entrants compete for their place in the sun as this year’s E-Factor hots up. PRECIOUS PROVES PRICELESS - Knowledge Dock student placements are proving lucrative for a variety of businesses. TURNING UP THE HEAT - Hotnet delivered free workshops to help broaden start-up business knowledge. BUSINESS BRAINS - UEL students win accolade at prestigious enterprise competition. LIKE MOTHER, LIKE DAUGHTER - We meet a mother and daughter double act who prove success can run in the family.
WEATHER THE STORM - How to find opportunities in a recession.
ACADEMIA IN ACTION 22 23 24 26 28
GET INTO ‘SHAPE’ - Professor Allan Brimicombe introduces an enhanced strategic planning tool for health professionals. EX-CITE-ING OPPORTUNITIES - Advances in Technology Conference raises awareness and interest amongst local SMEs. WEB WONDERS - Gaurav Malik highlights some simple steps that can help your website get the attention it deserves. TASTE SENSATION - UEL expertise helps catering company to re-evaluate its position. SCHOOL DAZE - Leading psychologists create wellbeing classes for today’s challenged children.
EXPERT CENTRES 30 31 31
COLOURS TO DYE FOR - New photo chromatic ink technology could open a whole spectrum of opportunities. A DIFFERENT CLASS - FabPad evening class will help you get to grips with digital print. ALL SYSTEMS ARE INDI-GO - Fabpad exhibit at Indigo apparel trade fair in Paris.
Printed lithographically using 75% recyled stock manufactured from a combination of certified fibre originating from an FSC accredited mill.
ERASMUS FOR YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS
A PASSPORT TO SUCCESS Knowledge Dock accesses EU opportunities for young entrepreneurs. Knowledge Dock has embarked on its first European project – the ‘Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs’ Exchange Programme, which is a pilot scheme, officially launched on Thursday 19th February.
The Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme is a direct response to the European wide interest in stimulating entrepreneurship and encouraging crossborder business co-operation in Europe.
The programme has been financed by the European Commission, and will enable hundreds of new entrepreneurs to work for up to 6 months within an SME in another EU country. The new entrepreneur will be in an ideal position to access new markets and business partners, whilst acquiring information on managing, financing, marketing and developing a business.
Knowledge Dock will be primarily participating with exchange programmes in Spain, Italy and Finland as part of a new consortium recently established, called ‘Columbus,’ which follows the principles of the Erasmus scheme and is a route to which like-minded enterprising individuals, across borders can make business connections.
Knowledge Dock is one of over 100 business support organisations in the EU facilitating the Exchange Programmes. Rob Moss, Director of Knowledge Dock said:“Erasmus is the beginning of an exciting new era for Knowledge Dock. Following our recent European accreditation as a Business Innovation Centre, we are now firmly focused on extending our reach to Europe and connecting our entrepreneurs to the range of opportunities that will arise from our new partnerships.”
WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA? Local inventors given the chance to showcase their concepts. An exhibition run by the East London Inventors Club (ELIC) for inventors will be held at Vicarage Field Shopping Centre, Barking on Thursday 26th February, 12.00pm - 6.00pm. This will be an opportunity to see the work of local inventors and to gain advice on how to develop and commercialise ideas. For further information, contact Terry Jennings, Chairman on, 01945 450 814, or email email@example.com For details about the East London Inventors Club (ELIC) visit www.eastlondoninventorsclub.com
TOILET TEST UEL Students showcase their concept to industry leaders. Product Design students from UEL were invited to the ‘Loo of the Year Awards 2008’ as guests of Albany Washrooms, a Knowledge Dock client, and the British Toilet Association. Students were invited to present their Final Design for an Environmentally Conscious concept for ‘Public Washrooms of the Future’ to a crowd of the Industry’s leading experts and governing authorities. Participation in the event has resulted in a number of opportunities for the students to present their designs to companies specialising in washroom design development. Ron Cutler, an academic in Health and Bioscience, was also at the event representing the hand hygiene research he carried out for Albany. His research was conducted through Knowledge Dock academic consultancy last year, with support from MSc students, and an Enterprise Bureau project in 2007, also facilitated by Knowledge Dock.
CAROL SNEE, OBE
QUITE A LADY Knowledge Dock pioneer to receive OBE Carole Snee, founder of Knowledge Dock and the driving force behind the development of the UEL Docklands Campus, has reached the New Years Honours list, and will receive an OBE for her services to urban regeneration in east London. Carole, former Director of the University of East London’s (UEL) External and Strategic Development Services (ESDS), who retired from UEL in August 2008 after 17 years service, said:"The award of the OBE is a well-deserved recognition of the fantastic effort put in by a whole team of colleagues at UEL over many years and their work with many great partners. I have always been passionate about the role of education in transforming people's lives. The Docklands campus and other developments were never just about iconic architecture, but about the opportunity for people to participate in and succeed through higher education. Breaking the cycle of low aspiration and under-achievement is what has motivated me throughout my time at UEL. I am immensely proud of the opportunities we have created for east Londoners."
Director of ESDS, Selena Bolingbroke, said that the team are delighted that Carole’s achievements have been acknowledged in this way:“Carole has been a pioneer in forging a strong relationship between higher education and regeneration. She has established a number of important partnership forums to influence policymakers and ensure that the important role that HE can play in regenerating communities and improving people's life chances is best captured. Carole built a strong team at UEL to help deliver on this and we all take great pride in her achievements.” Carole will be awarded this prestigious accolade by the Queen, at an event to be held in Buckingham Palace. Over 100 other people will be presented various Honours in Buckingham Palace’s Grand Ballroom, for their outstanding achievements and services to the community.
WORLD CLASS RANKING UEL research ranks amongst some of the best in the world. The University of East London’s (UEL) research activity, across a wide range of disciplines, has been recognised as internationally excellent, according to the government’s 2008 ‘Research Assessment Exercise’ (RAE). The RAE is conducted every seven years by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to assess the quality of research in UK universities. The results for UEL were outstanding, with 78% of its research submission rated of
‘internationally recognised’ quality, and a significant percentage was ranked as ‘world-leading’ in terms of originality, significance and rigour. The University of East London has also been rated among the top 10 ‘modern’ (post 1992) universities in the UK for research, and the second highest in London. For more information on how your business can benefit from academic research, please contact Knowledge Dock on 020 8223 3301 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
JACK PETCHEY CENTRE FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP
WELCOME HOME East London philanthropist returns to east London to open new entrepreneurship centre. The Jack Petchey Centre for Entrepreneurship, based in the HotHatch hot-desking facility at the Knowledge Dock Business Centre, will be officially opened on Wednesday 25th March 2009. The event will coincide with the E-Factor Grand Finale in which one University of East London (UEL) student will be awarded £10,000 to start their own business. A total of £500,000 was donated by The Jack Petchey Foundation to establish the ‘Centre for Entrepreneurship’ at Knowledge Dock, and Jack Petchey himself will be at the event to officially open the Centre and to announce the E-Factor winner. Jack Petchey, a successful businessman, has been involved in many charitable enterprises through his Foundation, established in 1999. He was born and brought up in east London.
1) 2) 3) 4)
Jack Petchey Knowledge Dock Business Cntre HotHatch E-Factor
STEP INTO THE LAIR
Thames Gateway Business Award winners
BBC Dragons’ Den are seeking fresh blood.
Knowledge Dock would like to congratulate a few key business contacts - Powerchex, Newton Equipment and PQ2, for receiving awards at last year’s Thames Gateway Business Awards in November 2008.
Entrepreneurs from across the country once again have a chance to make their business dreams come true by appearing on Dragons’ Den. If you are seeking investment for your business idea or invention, you can send for an application form via an e-mail to email@example.com, telephone 0871 200 3003, or visit www.bbc.co.uk/dragonsden
Powerchex won ‘Business of the Year’ and ‘Highly Commended’ in the Innovation category; PQ2 won ‘New Business/Start up’ for their Creative Inc business; and Newton Equipment won ‘Excellence in Marketing’ and the winner for ‘Innovation.’ This adds to their success at the Barking and Dagenham Business Enterprise Awards, where they won ‘Business of the Year’ and the ‘Award for Marketing Excellence.’
In the most recent series, 14 entrepreneurs received offers of investment in the Den, with many more going on to find success, even without the backing of the dragons.
FROM BIO SENSORS TO BABY’S BOTTLES Knowledge Dock Business Centre licensees go from strength to strength. Crown Bio
Feed Me Bottles
Crown Bio has gained international recognition for their Bio Sensor technology. The company has received interest from French, German and Swedish organisations and a Chinese Delegation regarding their Safe Soil tester (SST), which detects pollution on brownfield sites.
Congratulations to XOR Ltd for reaching the Finals of the e-Government National Awards, which took place on 22nd January 2009. The awards highlighted the UK’s most effective services and innovative technology in improving citizen and business transactions with councils, central government departments and other public sector organisations.
The company, Feed Me Bottles, was awarded 'Winner of the Design and Engineering Sector' at last year's London Technology Fund Competition.
This has facilitated the first sales of the SST and Crown Bio’s Biosensor kits and the forming of an important collaboration with the National Laboratories Services/ Environment Agency (NLS/EA) in 2008. The company is currently seeking investment funding to enable them to manufacture more SST's, hire more staff and also develop additional Biosensors. Crown Bio Technology came to Knowledge Dock in June 2006, seeking not only an office in the Thames Gateway but advice, partnership and help to get their newly invented product to market. Knowledge Dock helped the business secure funding, via the SME Innovation Award, to industrialise their products, and provided a well equipped laboratory. The facilities at Knowledge Dock have enabled the company to entertain large corporate clients and visitors.
XOR Ltd, which specialises in designing, developing and implementing large scale and bespoke e-Learning projects, is delighted by their achievement, having been chosen from a record 527 nominations submitted by senior professionals working across the public sector. Founder of XOR Ltd, John O’Sullivan, said:“We were amongst a range of big companies and institutions chosen, and as a result XOR Ltd got a mention on the cabinet office website, which is great because 60% of our business is from government organisations.”
The competition, which took place in October 2008, is an annual event which acknowledges innovation in business. Feed Me Bottles was recognized for their unique and innovative feeding bottle that enables parents to provide warmed feed for their babies within seconds of activation. Feed Me Bottles, based in KDBC, has also received business advice and student support through Knowledge Dock.
LONDON 2012 OLYMPIC GAMES
GOING FOR GOLD East London companies find out how to CompeteFor London Olympic opportunities.
A wide range of companies attended a breakfast event held at the Knowledge Dock Business Centre, to find out more about the Olympic business opportunities available to them.
The audience were introduced to a website ‘CompeteFor’, designed to enable the business community to compete for contract opportunities linked to the 2012 Games.
about big businesses making money, it actually also benefited smaller companies, because of the large sub contracts from large organisations taking part.
Key speaker, Kevin Ma, explained that there was space for absolutely everyone to be involved, both now and during the Games. CompeteFor is a government backed initiative that acts as a brokerage service between potential suppliers and buyers, throughout the London 2012 supply chain.
The topical event was well received by the audience, who were enthused by the insight given into how they could profit from the Olympics. Every business can play a specific role, as Michael Owens, from ‘adapt’ a software solutions company, discovered:-
To help illustrate the business opportunities generated by the Olympics, Jason Choy, from security firm Welcome Gate, presented his success story, following a contract he secured during the Sydney Olympics. He explained how he discovered that the Olympics wasn’t just
“The event has been very interesting, and I can clearly see where ‘adapt’ can play a role. We can help companies to compete with other companies by providing innovative ideas that will give them a competitive edge. With this in mind, I shall be using CompeteFor to find companies that are bidding, and offer them advice on how to streamline their business.”
The Knowledge Dock Business Alumni is a free networking and information group that regularly discusses topical subjects, whilst identifying areas for business growth. Martin Chan, Communications Manager at Knowledge Dock, said:-
“As the University of East London’s enterprise development service, we play a key role in connecting businesses in the Thames Gateway to enterprise opportunities. The Knowledge Dock Business Alumni is a free service that we provide for our clients and any other local companies who would like to take part. We use the events to highlight the various business opportunities companies can take advantage of. Knowledge
Dock works to help businesses develop, and the KD Business Alumni is one of the many ways we do this. ” The event concluded with a talk from Jackie Connelly, from London Borough of Newham and East London Business Place project, who talked about the procurement opportunities available in the Thames Gateway. Steve Howey also talked about the support Business Link for London can offer to help local companies see where their business can fit into the Olympics supply chain.
FACTOR 10 The final ten entrants compete for their place in the sun as this year’s E-Factor hots up.
The countdown to the E-Factor Business Plan Competition Final, run by Knowledge Dock has begun. The annual event offers enterprising students from UEL the opportunity to win a £10,000 business start-up grant to transform their business concept into a fully operational company. The winning student will also receive one year’s free mentoring from an industry professional and a year’s tenancy at HotHatch - Knowledge Dock’s hotdesking facility.
The competition was launched in November 2008 and will culminate in the Grand Final event to coincide with the launch of the Jack Petchey Centre for Entrepreneurship on 25th March 2009. From an entry list of nearly 200 students at the University, a short list of 10 finalists were announced at an event held on Thursday 18th December 2008, in the Knowledge Dock Business Centre, Showcase Suite. The jury of business specialists at Knowledge Dock carefully selected entries which came from both undergraduates and graduates from the University. Sustainable businesses, social enterprises, and cost effective solutions were a strong theme this year. Business ideas from the top ten finalists included a sustainable fashion company, a clothes swapping service, farming with renewable energy, an online rehabilitation support service, a music club to enhance the development of children, a sophisticated memory stick, a date reminder service, and design resources to support the communications needs of civil society organisations.
Martin Chan, Communications Manager at Knowledge Dock, is delighted with the business proposals this year. Martin said:-
“The calibre of entrants for this year's competition were exceptionally good. The judges found it extremely difficult to choose ten applicants to progress to the final stage of the competition, which is testament not only to the quality of the applications we received this year, but also to the strong entrepreneurial spirit amongst UEL students. There are some exciting and innovative ideas amongst the top 10 finalists all with great potential and I am really excited to see these ideas develop into viable commercial opportunities.”
The evening was a buzz of activity as the winning students spoke of their excitement about going through to the next stage of the competition, in which they will participate in a series of business workshops and receive mentoring from industry professionals, with the aim of helping them gain a better understanding of the business start-up process. One of the 10 finalists, Lauren Garwood, who is studying Printed Textiles at UEL and championing her fashion business idea, spoke of her enthusiasm for the competition process:“I’ve never done anything business-wise before, because I’m more of a creative person, so this is a great opportunity for me. I did market research prior to my E-Factor application, so I know there is definitely a market there, and I’m really looking forward to learning essential skills over the coming weeks, which will help me develop into the entrepreneur I need to be to drive my business idea forward.”
Other short-listed finalists Clara Brekke and Lyndsay Segall, both studying Fine Art at UEL, joined forces with part time International Development Lecturer at UEL, Ryan Okane, to create their design business, The Inktank. Ryan said:“For us it would be great to win the £10,000, but it’s not just about the money, the whole structure of the E-Factor competition is a winning formula where we will gain valuable business advice and mentorship from industry experts. If we do win the £10,000 we will be able to promote our company and create a website.”
The winner of last year’s E-Factor, Rachel Cosford, successfully launched her interactive, online fashion brand ‘Connected Generation.’ Her female target audience have the opportunity to become part of an online community, responsible for choosing which clothing designs should be produced. For more information please see www.connectedgeneration.co.uk
PRECIOUS PROVES PRICELESS Knowledge Dock student placements are proving lucrative for a variety of businesses.
Ellie Precious, Student Enterprise Co-ordinator at Knowledge Dock, successfully placed over 60 undergraduates and graduates, from a range of different academic disciplines, into work placements last year. Work placement schemes available for businesses to participate in include The London Innovation Placement Programme and Shell Step. Projects can be anything from delivering new marketing techniques to developing a new product. A couple of companies, who took on a work placement student via Knowledge Dock, explain how their business has benefited from the valuable extra resource…
LONDON INNOVATION PLACEMENT PROGRAMME
Bookkeeping Service, Boogles Ltd, wanted to create a more tangible product for the company. They decided that an effective way of doing this would be to create a maths game for children. Lisa Newton, owner of Boogles Ltd, explains her experience of the London Innovation Placement Programme…
1st Glass & Mirror Ltd was established over 15 years ago, selling to trade and the general public. The company was keen to update their website, as part of their rebranding exercise. Jo Martin, Operations Manager at 1st Glass & Mirror Ltd, explains how a work placement student took on the task of re-designing their website…
“Ellie Precious from Knowledge Dock explained that this was a project which could be taken on by a work placement student, and she provided us with Nancy, who was responsible and diligent. I asked Nancy to design a maths related game for 5-11 year olds. I wanted the game to give children more maths practice, by using fun activities for them to engage in. Nancy was keen to complete the project to the best of her ability, so she asked me questions, and regularly gave me screen shots to make sure that she was on the right path. We bought the flash software for Nancy to use and she effectively designed the game and made it work. I am over the moon with Nancy's efforts. The printer has designed the CD and cover for the game, and now I've added over 150 worksheets and a report for parents and guardians, about how to help their child with numbers. In addition, we have also added a couple of videos, which explain various aspects of maths, e.g. a short 3 minute clip on 'how to work out a percentage increase/ decrease.' We're planning to distribute the game online via outlets like Amazon & Clickbank. Clickbank works on a distributor basis, and each sale earns the seller a commission - so we'll get onto more websites as a result.”
“Our original website simply had a presence on the internet. It did not reflect in any way the sort of company image and profile we wanted to promote. To be extremely frank it was actually quite “boring” and not user friendly at all. At the time it was originally created it suited our needs as we were still working in an environment where IT and the web was still a relatively new concept and was only being used by much by larger companies. This is definitely not the case now and the world web is definitely used by most companies and households and is the way forward in business. By creating this new website, it has given us the opportunity to reinvent our company image and market our business in a new professional, high level way. We did not have the resources internally to do this and did not want to use outside web design consultants. Jean Bean, acting on behalf of the LEGI scheme, referred us to Ellie Precious at Knowledge Dock, who was extremely helpful in sourcing an appropriate student to plan, research, design and implement the website. We were also happy to give an undergraduate the opportunity to gain work experience within our company and work on a worthwhile stand alone project from start to finish.
The project enabled us to have a newly designed corporate website, which is extremely professional and user friendly. This has definitely raised our company profile and corporate image. The work which the student Bola did for us exceeded all of our expectations. He was very polite and extremely conscientious. He worked well on his own thinking up ideas and implementing them accordingly. He also worked well within our team. We are receiving extremely positive feedback from all our customers, new and old, and we definitely feel it was the way forward. We strongly feel that by using modern IT technology we have developed ourselves enormously and now confidently believe we are at the forefront of the glass processing industry. We hope that the work Bola did on this project will enable him to reach his long term future career goals. If you would like to view our new website and the work of Bola, please visit www.1stglassandmirror.co.ukâ€?
TURNING UP THE HEAT Hotnet delivered free workshops to help broaden start-up business knowledge.
Entrepreneurs throughout Barking and Dagenham have received guidance on where to access hotdesking facilities and free business advice, as part of the Hotnet project, which completes this month.
Project managed by Sujata Vaishnav at Knowledge Dock, Hotnet has helped many individuals and start-up businesses connect to the resources they need to progress. As part of the scheme, Sujata has been running a series of themed workshops, covering topics such as marketing and IP. Emmanuel Yankson, of E N Yankson Ltd, a real estate investment business, is one of the startups to have benefited from the Hotnet workshops. He said:“The Hotnet workshops gave me important information for my company. I particularly enjoyed the topic on time management, which gave me a broader range of understanding into this subject. I have also benefited from associating with other business owners.” Hotnet was a LEGI (Local Enterprise Growth Initiative) funded programme, officially launched in April 2008 at an event in Barking, which included a guitar performance and presentation by Levi Roots, the entrepreneur made famous after pitching his Reggae Reggae sauce to the BBC1 Dragons’ Den investors.
Sujata has been running the Hotnet project since it’s inception, and in that time she has met a range of business-minded individuals, who realise the importance of seeking advice to grow their company. Sujata said:“Hotnet offered advice on affordable office space and business support services available in Barking & Dagenham, but also provided free ongoing support and networking opportunities for those working on their own. This created a platform for individuals to network and grow their contact base. It was found that regular attendees developed their confidence and skills and engaged well with each other, making all those important contacts needed to grow their business.”
BUSINESS BRAINS UEL students win accolade at prestigious enterprise competition.
Students from the University of East London (UEL), with the support of Knowledge Dock, were awarded 2nd place in the Xing Enterprise Competition, which took place at Goldsmiths, University of London, on 18 November 2008. The Xing event, hosted by the Knowledge East Consortium of Universities Enterprise Network, was designed to act as a forum for students to share business ideas, build teams and compete against each other.
Therefore the students had to decide, as part of a team, how to best utilise the money for business success. They formulated a strategy from idea to goal, considering important areas, such as finance and people management.
Groups of students from UEL, Queen Mary, Ravensbourne, and London Metropolitan University, were presented with a scenario, based on a famous smoothie company and given ÂŁ250,000 to start up.
Students spent the day developing and refining their business plan, before pitching their idea to a panel of industry experts.
Knowledge Dock's Business Incubation Manager, Thorsten Klein, who was at the event, said:"Xing is an exciting tool to engage students in a business start-up strategy. We had a great team and the plans they came up with demonstrated a lot of entrepreneurial spirit." The game helped to improve the students commercial awareness by using the creative tool of a board game, in which they organised their business strategy using different parts of a jigsaw, which included all the essential components for business success. The key challenge was deciding what to do first, prioritising activities and devising a novel and creative strategy that would give them a competitive edge.
One of the students from the UEL team, Godwill Bindeeba, a 20 year old BA Accounting & Finance student from Barking, explained how he and his team benefited from the event:"As a business student, it's very useful to try and put the theory that I've learnt into a real life business situation. By representing UEL at the XING competition it enabled me and my fellow team-members to work together and try to develop a proper business strategy. For example, we decided that we were going to produce a healthy smoothie that also contains caffeine with the aim of providing a replacement for the typical coffee drinkers and those people who are conscious about their health. With this in mind, we developed a strategy on how we are actually going to do this, for example do we produce and supply to supermarkets, or do we produce and sell directly to customers, what type of financing would we need, and what are our financial targets?"
Godwill continued:"I would encourange more students to try and get more from university, not just the degree but involvement in various business competitions for example the E-factor business plan competition, run by Knowledge Dock, where a student will win ÂŁ10,000 to start up their own business." Ravensbourne College of Design & Communication was awarded 1st place, with Queen Mary coming after UEL in third place.
KNOWLEDGE DOCK BUSINESS CENTRE
LIKE MOTHER, LIKE DAUGHTER We meet a mother and daughter double act who prove success can run in the family.
What is inspiring an increasing number of women to choose self employment and start their own business? Adrian Birtwell, Business Advisor at the Knowledge Dock Business Centre, has seen an influx of female entrepreneurs come to the HotHatch, whom he describes as “determined and driven, blazing forward with their ideas.” Knowledge Dock interviewed KDBC tenant Mavis Wenham of ANKH Services and her daughter Crystal of 'Celebrity Parties PR & Crys-Style Creations,' about their separate business ventures, and how they have supported one another in establishing successful companies….
1) What is your area of business and what gave you the inspiration for starting your company? Mavis I started as a freelance social care consultant, back in 1997, and then in 2005 I decided to start my own social care consultancy, ANKH Services, and moved to Knowledge Dock to get a professional office address and business advice. I was spurred on to start my own business by my passion to be more creative and daring, and to allow me to spend more time with my family, by recruiting freelancers. I knew I had the capacity to start my own business, because I’d already experimented with my own small business when I set up a book distribution service in Tower Hamlets, prior to my career as a social care consultant. I was a youth worker at the time and saw an opportunity to supply local schools with books containing images of black families, because at that time virtually all children’s books just had white families portrayed. With regards to ANKH Services, I knew there was a strong demand for social care consultants, and I have been successful on the back of that. Crystal ‘Celebrity Parties PR’ is the music, fashion and film industries PR and promotions section of the company. We deal with, promote and do PR for events within these industries throughout the UK, and give the public the opportunity to buy tickets and be on the guest lists for such events. ‘Crys-Style Creations’ is the Modelling and Entertainment Agency and we provide professional models, hosts, and entertainers to our clients within these industries.
When I finished college I knew that I wanted to be independent and that I didn't like working for other people! I was already getting into modelling and had been singing for many years, so it was a natural transition for my business to flow in that direction. I went to New York to explore the modelling and music industry out there and I did many fashions shows, and networked with many influential people from the music, fashion and film industries. At this point I knew that I could really take my business to the next level, with the contacts and resources that I had made. So I always knew I wanted to do it, but getting out there and being a part of it, is what really inspired me to take the next steps and see the bigger picture for Celebrity Parties PR and Crys-Style Creations.
2) What do you think has been the key to your success? Mavis I am a natural leader and I have good project management skills. When I was a child I spent several years at drama school which I think built my confidence and ability to speak and present in any situation. I believe strongly in what I do, and see my role as empowering people so that they can reach their full potential. Crystal Networking has been the key to my success. I am the face of my business, so in effect people buy me, because they trust my ability to deliver. I have always been a very creative, independent and motivated individual. So the fact that I enjoy what I am doing and thrive on it is what makes it successful, because I am always putting my all into it.
3) How have you supported one another in growing your businesses?
4) What are your plans going forward?
Mavis Crystal deals with the admin side of my business, for example typing letters, following up emails, whilst I manage Crystal with her business arrangements and deadlines.
Mavis I have already piloted a meditation class at the Knowledge Dock Business Centre, which is the first step in my ambition to have â€˜Wellbeing Centresâ€™. I am hoping this branch of the business will be fully functional by 2010. The idea behind the Wellbeing Centre is to address dysfunction in a personâ€™s life and find a resolution to that. This business venture draws on my knowledge of head massage, aromatherapy and reiki, which started as a hobby at home, but now I really believe that I can make a business success out of it.
Crystal My mum is my Manager for my personal music and modelling career, and I know that she has my best interests at heart so she is the best person to take on that role. Mum has been a great help in terms of making decisions regarding registering the business and offering business advice when I need it, as did Adrian Birtwell at Knowledge Dock. My mum also reads through my contracts and negotiates the deals on my behalf.
Crystal I have many new ideas for the expansion of both Celebrity Parties PR and the Crys-Style Creations Agency. We have just taken on a number of new models from all ethnicities and backgrounds and we are preparing for our next Crys-Style Creations Models shoot days where we are really helping our models to create the best portfolios and images for themselves in 2009. The celebrity and industry events that we have worked on recently have been on a very high scale and of a much higher calibre than the year before and we will continue in this directionand continue to deliver access to our clients and our growing database, to the biggest and best events taking place in throughout the U.K.
RESOURCES IN A RECESSION
YOU’RE FEELING THE IMPACT OF THE RECESSION, AND AS A BUSINESS OWNER YOU ASK – WHAT CAN I DO TO ENSURE MY COMPANY SURVIVES?
AS AN ENTERPRISE IN ‘SURVIVAL-MODE’ YOU MAY BE CUTTING TOO DEEP AND PUTTING YOUR BUSINESS IN A WEAKER POSITION FOR WHEN THE ECONOMY IMPROVES.
INSTEAD, A SAVVY BUSINESS OWNER NEEDS TO BE AWARE OF THE OPPORTUNITIES THAT ACTUALLY ARISE FROM A RECESSION….
UNIVERSITY RESOURCES AND EXPERTISE The government is urging businesses to make use of the resources available at universities, as a means to support them through the economic downturn. David Lammy, Minister of State for Higher Education and Intellectual Property, said:“Higher education can play a central role in supporting businesses and individuals with skills, advice, knowledge and know-how. I know that business leaders recognise that their enterprises are more likely to survive if they continue to invest for the long term but they need help. Higher education can support them through the difficult times to emerge in a stronger position.” Keeping your business operations both up to date and innovative is also important in helping your business overcome the current economic turbulence and maintain a competitive edge. Knowledge Dock, as a key proponent of innovation in business is actively connecting enterprise to the University of East London expertise. The specialist knowledge available comes in the form of business advice, academic consultancy, product or service development and training or work placement schemes – all of which provide businesses with a cost effective resource. Knowledge Dock is also delivering grants to SMEs and start-up business via a number of government funded initiatives, including:-
KNOWLEDGE CONNECT: • London-based companies only – funding to purchase academic expertise. • £3k Mini Voucher (proof of concept/feasibility). • £10k Maxi Voucher (in-depth development). To do what?... • Scope the potential for franchising a business (mini). • Map your current business processes and then model potential improvements (e.g. cost savings - maxi). KNOWLEDGE CATALYST • 3 month – 15 month graduate placement scheme. • Supports a partnership between a university and non-academic partner (any - company, charity or not-for-profit organisation). • 60% funded by the AHRC, so the academic input must be related to arts and humanities (e.g. visual arts, media, modern languages, librarianship, law). http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/FundingOpportunities/Pages/KnowledgeCatalystScheme.aspx# EUREKA • SMEs can access knowledge from an Environmental Technologies network, which consists of UEL’s Sustainability Research Institute and key partners Knowledge East Kingston University and WestFocus and elsewhere. • The network offers advice, peer support and supply chain connections, to help SMEs access new market opportunities. INNOVATION ASSOCIATES • An SME can access the skills of a student or recent graduate to work within their company as an ‘Innovation Associate.’ • The ‘Innovation Associate’ will be supported by academics or other experts working in the universities who are partners to this project (e.g. UEL, Kingston University and Goldsmiths). • The project has to be in an area of activity where the company needs to innovate or develop, but is unable to source the necessary expertise from amongst its own workforce. • The total project cost is £800 (which is the equivalent of £3,500 worth of consultancy). LIGHTBULB EXPRESS • Experimental project to support inventors and innovation. • Support via a bespoke set of tools (e.g. distance and e-resources) to provide a roadmap for inventors and inventors' clubs and advisors to follow as they take their innovative ideas through to development. INNOVATION 4 GROWTH • Free 12 day consultancy for businesses that have previously had very little experience of undertaking innovation or engaging with the knowledge base. • Particularly applicable to business sectors which do not traditionally innovate and also work with BAME and female owned businesses. • Each business will be guided through a tailored ‘Innovation Assessment’ addressing all aspects of their businesses’ functions, including product range, processes, routes to market and environmental impact.
RESOURCES IN A RECESSION
LONDON INNOVATION PLACEMENT PROGRAMME • SMEs, social enterprises and charities across London can access students and graduates with the necessary skills to take on an innovative project within the company. • Students can take on a range of projects ranging from prototype design, to creating new products, to researching new markets and developing new software. Students specially selected to meet the business’ requirements. • Project costs £250 per week for up to 12 weeks, although there are opportunities to bid for funding, and businesses can try to get a subsidy towards the cost. SHELL STEP • An 8 week summer placement, in which a student works at a company as an additional resource to tackle short-term project. • The project costs £210 per week. TECHNOLOGY STRATEGY BOARD FUNDING • TSB will give £1 billion over the next 3 years to support innovation in business, through engaging with universities. • Key areas include Knowledge Transfer Partnerships in which a recent graduate and an academic work on a particular business challenge, and collaborative research which utilises the expertise of academics. OTHER GRANTS • Collaborative R&D - www.innovateuk.org • Grant for R&D - see individual RDA websites. • Small Business Research Initiative - www.innovateuk.org • Framework 7 - www.fp7uk.co.uk • Trust Applied Research funding for CO2 Reduction www.carbontrust.co.uk/technology/applied research LOANS • Enterprise Finance Guarantee - www.businessslink.org.uk • Regional Loan Transition Fund - individual RDAs. • GLE One London - www.gle.co.uk/onelondon/loans • London Loan Fund - www.lda.org.uk • Transition Fund - www.financesoutheast.com EQUITY • Accelerator Fund - www.seeda.org.uk • Capital for Enterprise Fund - 0845 459 9780 • Enterprise Capital Funds - www.berr.gov.uk • NESTA - www.nesta.org.uk • Creative Capital Fund - www.ccfund.co.uk • London Technology Fund - www.londontechnologyfund.com
WEATHER THE STORM MAINTAINING STAFF The automatic reaction for many businesses, in times of recession, is to find ways to save money, such as losing staff and cutting spending on marketing, but Adrian Birtwell, Business Advisor at Knowledge Dock, warns that in times of pressure you must ensure that your plan of action is not detrimental to the long-term stability of your business:“Your organisation is your staff, so if you do decide to let go of some of your team, you will be losing essential expertise, and therefore setting your business back, hindering your development and putting your company at a disadvantage. It’s also worth bearing in mind that if you’ve made someone redundant they might create their own business in competition with you.” ADVICE, SUPPORT AND LEGISLATION Your response is likely to be – how can I possibly hold on to all my staff, when I’m struggling to keep my business above the water? Adrian’s advice is to have a positive mindset and seek information about the support that is available to you, and ways in which your business could actually capitalise on the affects from the recession:“You need to take constructive steps, because when the economy improves, your company will need to be in a position to take advantage of this. You should be talking to your bank manager and finance advisors about the support available to you, and keep track of new government legislation that will affect you, bearing in mind how you could benefit from the changes. If you find out what’s happening externally this will help you shuffle your business internally.”
ADAPTING TO CHANGE
Knowledge Dock Business Centre tenant, CAD Management, is an example of a business which has seen a recent change in fortune. When their major client, Lehman Brothers went into administration they lost a huge income stream. The business took immediate action and pitched their reputable services to a new client. In the words of Managing Director Alan Rose:-
Adrian Birtwell emphasises that you should take another look at your competitors and how they are responding to the recession, and how you can rise above the pack:-
“We expected Lehman Brothers to be 75% of our quarter 4 income for 2008. When the company collapsed, all of our licenses and maintenance contracts disappeared. We immediately contacted Price Waterhouse Coopers to find out the situation, and saw a possible opportunity with the global investment bank, Nomura, following their acquisition of the European and Asian arms of Lehman Brothers. We successfully secured a contract with Nomura and the word spread about our systems. The service we provide is proving to be popular in times of recession, as companies reflect on the allocation and organisation of space in their office and ways they can downsize or use areas more effectively. We also have an advantage over our main competitor Archibus because our service provides a faster turnaround, so we are working on our strengths and have a good understanding of our market.”
“Compare your business to your competitors, asking how do they promote themselves, what is their pricing policy, who are their customers and suppliers and where are their strengths and weaknesses? You can find this information through marketing material, press releases, websites and company accounts. Many of your competitors will go out of business, but when the time comes for an upturn in the economy most of their clients will need services again to strengthen their own business. If you’re in a good position these clients could be yours.”
“Your organisation is your staff, so if you do decide to let go of some of your team, you will be losing essential expertise, and therefore setting your business back, hindering your development and putting your company at a disadvantage.”
ACADEMIA IN ACTION
PROFESSOR ALLAN BRIMICOMBE
GET INTO ‘SHAPE’ Professor Allan Brimicombe introduces an enhanced strategic planning tool for health professionals.
The bridge between supply and demand in the health service is a hot topic of discussion and one in which Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) across the country need to resolve in planning their health services.
Dr Yang Li, will help enhance the application through GIS (Geographic Information Systems) mapping features and up-to-date demographic information. Dr Li said:“SHAPE is a strategic planning database, which gives insights into opportunities or actions that need to be taken. Our findings will enable health practitioners to evaluate change and on this basis make important decisions.”
Through the analysis of demographic data, health professionals are seeking information to help plan service development, and it is Professor Allan Brimicombe and Dr Yang Li from the Centre for Geo-Information Studies at the University of East London, who have taken on the project. In a bid conducted through Knowledge Dock, the academics have been tasked with using their specialist knowledge in the area of geographic mapping, to conduct a scoping study, in which they are evaluating a broad range of data sets, and variables pertinent to strategic health asset planning. As Professor Allan Brimicombe explained:“Our particular emphasis is on up-to-date estimates of households and population, to be set alongside the 2001 census figures, as well as information on lifestyle classifications, indices of deprivation and measures of accessibility to services and facilities. All this information will be integrated to enable us to identify patterns and underlying processes, which will help predict what is happening and in-turn provide actionable information.” This valuable data will be made available to health professionals via the Strategic Health Asset Planning Evaluation (SHAPE) Toolkit, which is an online, evidenced based application, designed to support the strategic planning of services in the NHS. The insights provided by Professor Brimicombe and
“SHAPE is a strategic planning database, which gives insights into opportunities or actions that need to be taken. Our findings will enable health practitioners to evaluate change and on this basis make important decisions.”
ACADEMIA IN ACTION
ADVANCES IN TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE
EX-CITE-ING OPPORTUNITIES Advances in Technology Conference raises awareness and interest amongst local SMEs.
Knowledge Dock has joined forces with the University of East London’s (UEL) School of Computing, Information Technology and Engineering (CITE) to urge more local businesses to participate in funding opportunities that will allow them access to academic expertise and the latest, cutting edge technology to streamline and develop their business operations. In response to the government’s call for greater collaboration between local businesses and universities, as a means to economic recovery, Knowledge Dock and CITE held an ‘Advances in Technology’ Conference at De Vere Venues, Canary Wharf on Wednesday 28th January, to inform SMEs in the Thames Gateway of the various ways UEL can help local businesses during the economic downturn. Director of Knowledge Dock, Rob Moss said:“Any business can benefit from the specialist knowledge and expertise available at the University of East London. We have a range of academics, students and in-house professional expertise, including opportunities internationally, to resolve any business challenge, in an innovative and inspiring way. Whether the company requires assistance to bring their product to market, advice on how to develop, consultancy input or novel ideas for new products or services, Knowledge Dock is a gateway to those resources which will give a business that vital competitive edge in these tough economic times.”
An audience of SMEs and start-up businesses attended the event which included presentations from SME directors who have worked with Knowledge Dock previously, to help enhance their company’s competitive position. John Burgess, Managing Director of Barking based business Frames Direct, explained how he utilised the student expertise sourced by Knowledge Dock to produce a new website for the company, which resulted in online sales for Frames Direct quadrupling; and pre-employment screening company Powerchex spoke of how the company has benefited from student expertiseand the current Knowledge Transfer Partnership they are engaging in with an academic from CITE, which will play a vital role in their strategic plans. Academics from CITE, including Professor DC Wijeyesekera, Dr Haris Mouratidis and Guarav Malik, spoke of former business related projects they had engaged in and their knowledge of the latest technologies, including key topics, such as using web technologies to reach global audiences, developing cutting edge products using innovative technologies,
deploying technology to improve efficiency and how to reduce costs and achieve sustainability through new technologies. The event was an important step in encouraging networks between local businesses and academics, and opened up a whole new window of opportunities for many companies, striving to grow in this challenging economic climate. One of the guests, Michelle Langton, from Novaplex Solutions, suppliers of professional software, said:“This event has been really good for me. It has revealed a whole new area of support and expertise that I didn’t know existed. We are a relatively new company, so it is always challenging to find funding, but now I know where to look for help, and the resources at the university, such as academic experts and the skills of student’s could really help my company develop.” For more information on how Knowledge Dock can help connect you to the expertise and funding to improve your company’s competitive position, please contact Knowledge Dock on 020 8223 3301 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
ACADEMIA IN ACTION
WEB WONDERS Gaurav Malik highlights some simple steps that can help your website get the attention it deserves.
From slick design to interactive content, Gaurav Malik, computing and IT academic at the University of East London (UEL) uses his web development expertise to help companies improve their website pulling power. Here are some of Gaurav’s top tips:-
Get the look…
Say what you mean…
“Your website’s colour scheme should be in line with your corporate image. Your site must be attractive and easy on the eye. Ensure that there is plenty of white space and that the graphics and images complement the text, rather than stand out alone. Text should be in the middle of the page, allowing visitors to scan.
“Studies have shown that people do not read web pages, instead they scan the page. It is important to get as much original content as possible on your website, because search engines scan for text and quality of information. Very often companies make the mistake of using loads of images on their homepage and not enough text. This is a big mistake, as search engines cannot read images and rely on text for content.
Try to have some ‘teasers’ of information on your home page. This can be followed by detailed text on a subsequent page. Remember, people buy people, so it’s important to use your own images of employees rather than stock photos. This gives a personal feel and helps people visualise the service they can expect from your company. Videos can be used to grab attention.”
The important thing is to identify key words relating to your business and use them throughout your website.”
Beat the traffic… LINKS “I suggest having lots of links from your website to other websites and also encourage business partners or companies with common interests to do this on their websites. This will help increase your rating on a search engine. It also demonstrates you know your sector. Make use of resources like maps, weather information, stock quotation. This adds value to your site.”
ACADEMIA IN ACTION
Start a debate… BLOGS “By having a blog on your website it will give it a personal feel, so that your business is not just presented in a corporate way. One of the main benefits of a blog is that it is considered original content, so it gets picked up by search engines more effectively. You must bear in mind that if you commit to a blog, it must be because you have enough to say and are able to keep it up to date. Topics of discussion might be – product recommendations, trends in the market, legislation, changes affecting your industry, news about companies – in all these areas you could start a debate. Everyone wants a platform to speak on and you can give them that by asking questions like ‘what are your thoughts about this, how has this affected you etc.
STAIRWAYS TO HEAVEN Gaurav Malik recently worked with TMK Stairways to revamp and update their website. Joanna Kane from TMK Stairways explained the purpose behind the project:-
Allow your customers to provide content. This could be through votes, recommendations, recipes, pictures. Again this is original content.”
Conclusion “A great website can serve your business better than a brochure and is accessible to everyone. You are able to up date information on your business and can add interesting features to enhance the look of your website. A professionally designed website can make your business look bigger than you actually are, and in that sense puts you on a level playing field with bigger organisations. Do remember, websites need regular attention, so ensure your information is up to date, the links work and that the design reflects the professional outfit you are.”
“I was introduced to Gaurav Malik via Jean Bean at Knowledge Dock, who explained that we could apply for a LEGI grant to fund the redevelopment of our website. Gaurav assessed our current online presence, including a look at our competitors, and he took on board our vision for the business. Following our discussions, Gaurav gave constructive feedback and suggestions on how the website should be developed and maintained, offering to assist with the content development. He took time to investigate current technologies, to help us decide on the best platform to take our business forward. Based on all this information Gaurav produced a prototype website with the technology best suited to our needs. Jean explained that the LEGI grant was there to assist small businesses increase trade and turnover, and she suggested that improving our website could be an effective way in doing this, so we’re hoping that as a result, the website will increase our business, which has moved from general joinery to the specialist trade of staircase manufacturing.”
ACADEMIA IN ACTION
TASTE THE DIFFERENCE
TASTE SENSATION UEL expertise helps catering company to re-evaluate its position.
“The perspective I had, gave Barrington options, that he may not have otherwise seen,” said Ian Bathgate, Field Leader for Strategy, Operations, Management and Marketing at the University of East London Business School. As part of a LEGI (Local Enterprise Growth Initiative) funded project, which supports entrepreneurs in Barking and Dagenham, Ian’s expertise was called upon to help Barrington Palmer, of Palmers Catering Ltd, out of a tricky situation. The issue was that Barrington had a business plan which was failing to help Palmers reach its full potential. As a former business owner, Ian could see at once where the problem was:“I spent many years in advertising, I also used to own a restaurant/bar and ran a marketing consultancy business, so my experience combined with my academic knowledge was directly transferable to this project. I read Barrington’s business plan and made comments and recommendations.” He continued:“Barrington wanted to expand his business. To do this we needed to change the focus of his business plan. He had a single business plan for the separate parts of his business, but they had different income streams, so he had no idea of his profits and margins.” Barrington’s two business operations are the events catering and the running of Palmers restaurant. Ian provided the insight that Barrington needed to make valuable changes to his business plan.
In Barrington’s own words:“Ian took a copy of the business plan then came back to me with suggestions on how to separate the two, even if one is temporarily financially subsidising the other. The support I received from Ian enabled me to split the business plan into two separate enterprises. This has enabled me to identify my target market for each enterprise and target my marketing services more effectively." Barrington also received advice on how to pitch his company strategy to influential decision makers:"Ian gave me guidance on how I could present the plan to, for example, the bank manager, a member of my team, or my accountant, omitting information that would not be necessary, relevant or appropriate for one or the other to view." In addition, Jean Bean, LEGI Project Manager, acted as another inspiring mentor to Barrington:"Jean Bean was a constant source of inspiration and advice, encouraging me not to settle for second best but to stay focused on the long term goal. Jean also encouraged me to look very carefully at attention to detail in business, to be bold and sell Palmer’s Catering UK LTD when marketing and networking.” The project has now finished and Barrington can reflect on the many ways he has benefited:"The project has enabled me to complete company policies, target my marketing services more effectively and how to continually improve Palmer’s Catering UK LTD. The whole experience with Knowledge Dock and LEGI has been a great benefit to Palmer’s Catering UK LTD, as a businessman and as an individual." Knowledge Dock regularly works on funded projects to help entrepreneurs, and actively connects businesses to the University of East London expertise, which includes a dedicated academic consultancy facility.
ACADEMIA IN ACTION
Several academics work with companies in a mutually beneficial way, as explained by Ian Bathgate:“I enjoy consultancy work. It is a way of interacting with the business world and helping businesses who can become so focussed on what they are doing, that they become fire fighters instead of having the vision to see how they can progress.” For more information on academic consultancy, or funding opportunities, please contact Knowledge Dock on 020 8223 3301.
“The support I received from Ian enabled me to split the business plan into two separate enterprises. This has enabled me to identify my target market for each enterprise and target my marketing services more effectively."
ACADEMIA IN ACTION
HABERDASHERS’ ASKE’S FEDERATION
SCHOOL DAZE Leading psychologists create wellbeing classes for today’s challenged children.
In the current economic climate many parents may feel concerned about how the impending challenges will affect their children, both financially and emotionally. Equipping children with the skills in dealing with the realities of life is a worthwhile exercise, and one that a school in Lewisham is seeking to do.
A new project jointly funded by the Haberdashers’ Aske’s Federation (a leading consortium of academies educating children aged 3 to 18 years old in South East London) and facilitated by Knowledge Dock, in partnership with the psychology department at UEL, has been designed by Dr Ilona Boniwell, psychology academic at the University of East London. As a specialist in positive psychology, Ilona Boniwell, along with her colleague Nash Popovic and UEL graduate Lucy Ryan, have developed a series of wellbeing classes designed to teach children how to channel their feelings and emotions to help reach their full potential. Under the guidance of a joint steering group the programme is continually evolving and improving. Dr Boniwell described the process:“We are using a series of exercises to engage the pupils, and as part of the scheme we are training the teachers to practice these wellbeing exercises to help empower students to make the right life choices. On a broader level we hope our exercises will help the children beyond the classroom and give them the strength of mind to deal with difficult situations in life.”
The team from UEL have already trained teachers at Hatcham College, the lead school in the Federation, in Years 1, 7, 10 and 12, and the programme is set to be extended throughout all three Federation schools, with each year group learning different aspects of wellbeing, covering topics such as self awareness and managing positive and negative emotions. As a result, teachers are hoping to see visible changes in the way their students react and behave to learning. Dr Sidwell, CEO of the Federation explained what the Federation hoped to achieve from the programme: “The physical and mental health of our students is paramount and central to us in supporting students so that they are fully equipped for the opportunities, challenges and responsibilities of adult life in the 21st Century and well prepared to be the leaders, professionals and parents of tomorrow. We felt positive psychology was the right way for our schools to focus on the holistic needs of our students. The University of East London is the only University outside the USA to offer a masters degree in positive psychology and we have total faith in the outcome of the programme when working alongside such experts.”
ACADEMIA IN ACTION
Dr Boniwell is therefore delighted to be involved in such a valuable scheme, in which her expertise in positive psychology can make an important difference to the child’s quality of life:“This type of academic collaboration is a perfect example of how I can use my knowledge to help the outside world. If I keep my skills within the University, like an ivory tower, away from the world, I am wasting an opportunity, so I feel it is important to share our expertise and for us to learn from it by road testing our knowledge.”
“If I keep my skills within the University, like an ivory tower, away from the world, I am wasting an opportunity, so I feel it is important to share our expertise and for us to learn from it by road testing our knowledge.”
COLOURS TO DYE FOR New photo chromatic ink technology could open a whole spectrum of opportunities.
The Fabric Print and Design Bureau - FabPad, at Knowledge Dock, has recently partnered with nanotechnology expert Nanoforce, to explore the possibility of creating colour changing fabrics. The fabrics will be printed with photo chromatic inks that change colour in response to light variances.
The team are confident that if they find a solution it will have a wide market appeal, including high-end fashion, sportswear and textiles. Sanam Ghaffari, from Nanoforce said:“Photo chromic dyes are already well established and used in a variety of applications, including children’s toys and sunglasses, however previous tests using dyes on fabric showed that the dyes suffered a short lifetime. We now hope that with the technology we have available that we will be able to address this problem.” FabPad Manager, Nerys Mathias said:“The possibilities are endless, ranging from designer clothing, to sofas and curtains. We currently use a Mimaki Textile Jet Tx2 digital textile printer, which is the industry standard, but there is room to modify the way these operate and enhance the current capabilities of digital fabric printing.”
A DIFFERENT CLASS FabPad evening class will help you get to grips with digital print.
FabPad has introduced a new evening class, ‘CAD Design Specifically for Digital Fabric Printing.’ This new course is an opportunity for anyone to become confident in all aspects of digital printing, and can also help develop the professional skills of textile designers, artists, photographers and fashion designers.
The aim of the course is to achieve printing expertise through learning all aspects of fabric printing in the Fabric, Print and Design Bureau. This includes the benefits and limitations of digital printing, file preparation, the fabric printing process and colour matching. Nerys Mathias, FabPad Manager said:"The Fabpad evening course is designed to give people the confidence and experience of making and providing professional digital files specifically for digital fabric printing as well as digital paper printing." For more information about the course, please call FabPad on 020 8223 2560 or email email@example.com
ALL SYSTEMS ARE INDI-GO Fabpad recently exhibited at Indigo which is part of Premier Vision, one of the world’s largest apparel trade fairs, hosted in Paris.
Fabpad was one of the only digital print bureaus to exhibit at the show, promoting digital fabric printing to both industry and student representatives on a global scale. Alongside the more standard types of digital print on offer to designers, Fabpad was also promoting research in digital print that aims to combine standard print practices with the use of Nano technologies. This is being done in collaboration with Queen Mary University's Nanoforce.
C LEN E
EF FIC AC ILITIES
IN E-M D
SU ON LT
ES SIN S C
RES O NT F EXCEL
KNOWLEDGE DOCK CONNECTS YOU TO…
EM AD IC
…TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS
Connect with Knowledge Dock: Tel: 020 8223 3301 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.knowledgedock.com
The quarterly magazine from the University of East London's Knowledge Dock: Connecting enterprise with academic expertise.