The 2016 Congress of Polish Entrepreneurs in the UK

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Media Partners:

Contact us: UK Polish Business Link



Chief Adviser

British Polish Chamber of Commerce Michael Dembinski Twitter: @policies4poland

Membership and Event Coordinators in the UK Bartłomiej Kowalczyk, London and South England, Ewa Jasinska-Davidson, North & Central England, Wales, Anna Drogon, Scotland, North Ireland,

Official Congress Website: Congress Venue Information: NatWest 280 Bishopsgate EC2M 4RB London United Kingdom

Please Note This event will be filmed and photographed by professionals, for marketing and PR purpose. In addition, members of the local and national media may be present. If you do not wish to be filmed or photographed, please make yourself known to a Polish Business Link staff member and we will comply with your wishes as best we can.



Arkady Rzegocki The Ambassador of the Republic of Poland 12 years ago, in May 2004, Poland became a member of the EU. Our partner and ally - the United Kingdom with its competitive and market-oriented economy was one of the few existing EU members to

open its labour market for Poles on the date of our accession. As a result, new opportunities were created for Poles who decided to use their energy and skills to live and work in the UK. Many took the opportunity to settle down and take a job here. Many of them, attracted by the business-friendly economic system of the country, decided to set up their own companies or to start economic activity. No doubt they have contributed to the prosperity of the UK. Over the last 12 years Polish entrepreneurs have made a name for themselves in the British Isles and have managed to conduct successfully their economic activity. Tens of thousands of different Polish companies have been established in the UK. Not only do we have here construction and repair companies, a network of retailers and wholesalers of Polish food, Polish bakeries, pastry shops, cafes, various businesses offering services, restaurants, but also Polish doctors and nurses, dental treatment practitioners, psychologists, stockbrokers, architects or photographers. A specific �business infrastructure�, such as law firms or accounting offices that support Polish entrepreneurs has also been set up.


Poles have demonstrated their entrepreneurial skills and their ability to adapt to new conditions. Today Polish entrepreneurs have an increasing impact on the British economy and the British institutions. The British business community recognises more numerous direct benefits it can gain from business relationships with Polish enterprises in the UK. Successful Polish companies try to meet the needs not only of the Polish diaspora in the UK, but also those of the British people, thus increasing their chances of a market success. This year, however, at the 3rd Congress of Polish Entrepreneurs in the UK we are in quite different situation than before. Brexit referendum and its result is undoubtedly one of the events influencing the course of modern European history. Regardless of the scale of their business, both entrepreneurs from the UK who operate in Poland and Polish entrepreneurs in the UK will face many changes and they will need to adapt themselves to the reality after Brexit. Today the immediate result of this situation is uncertainty. The precise impact of Brexit is very unclear at this stage. The best way to adopt to this new situation is to grow and strengthen your business;

to scale it and make it more efficient and less vulnerable. And this is what the 3rd Congress of Polish Entrepreneurs in the UK is all about. The Polish Embassy in the UK has been actively supporting bilateral Polish-British economic relations. We also support Polish entrepreneurs in the UK through various activities of the Trade and Investment Promotion Section of the Embassy. I am convinced that Polish businesses in the UK will continue to develop and the 3rd Congress of Polish Entrepreneurs will strengthen the Polish business community in the UK even further. I wish all participants a very interesting, thought-provoking and productive meeting.


CONGRESS MANIFESTO The Congress aims to raise the profile of Polish entrepreneurs in the UK and to highlight their contribution to the British economy in terms of wealth generated and jobs created. The Congress serves as a celebration of Polish entrepreneurship and the ease of doing business in Britain. Businesses set up by Poles in the UK will only reach their true potential if they do not limit their target group to fellow Poles. The importance of networking cannot be over-stressed. And reaching out to that wide business support eco-system, far better evolved than it is in Poland, also needs to be mentioned. The Congress also serves as a reminder that Poland’s business environment, though much improved since EU accession, must improve further. Congress Organisers Polish Business Link Polish Business Link is a membership organisation and B2B portal. Our patron is British Polish Chamber of Commerce (BPCC). Our aim is to facilitate business to business connections, helping your company raise its profile, increase its valuable contacts and develop new contracts.

We host over 10 tailored networking events & business mixers in and outside the UK to help Polish & other diverse business communities to grow on domestic and global markets. Our business focussed network and events attract business owners, directors and SMEs from a rich mix of business sectors. British Polish Chamber of Commerce The BPCC has over 390 member companies across Poland and the UK. Working actively with the UKTI, the chamber helps British SME exporters enter the Polish market, as well as working with Polish Business Link to support Polish entrepreneurs in the UK. The BPCC has been recognised as the best British chamber in continental Europe no fewer than four times within the past decade by the Council of British Chambers of Commerce in Continental Europe. The BPCC engages with high-profile partners such as the chambers network in the UK, the CBI and IoD, Federation of Small Businesses, UKTI, British Embassy in Warsaw and Polish Embassy in London as well as many Polish business organisations and government bodies.


START – SCALE - SALE Polish entrepreneurs are among the most dynamic group of foreign nationals in the UK when it comes to setting up businesses. In late 2013, the Centre for Entrepreneurs and DueDil found over 21,000 Polish entrepreneurs, who had set up limited liability companies in the UK, invested their own capital and employed at least two people. By the summer of 2016 the figure had grown to 33,000. This rapid rise has put Poles into the No. 1 position in terms of overseas entrepreneurs starting businesses in the UK last year. The benefits to the UK - in terms of wealth and employment created and taxes paid - are clear. Starting a business that’s small and stays small is fine - if all the entrepreneur wants to do is to pay the bills and feed their family. But does the business have the potential to grow from small to medium to large? From local to regional to national to global? What are the factors that hold back business growth - is it lack of a larger vision and the entrepreneur’s limited ambitions - or does growth have to be designed into the business from its start? This year’s Polish Entrepreneurs’ Congress is about scaling up. How to

plan for it, how to finance it, how to make it happen. It’s about Thinking Big. You’ve just got your business up and running - how soon before you open a Birmingham or Glasgow office? Should you open a second office - or invest in your online presence? Who can help you grow? These - and many more - questions about business growth, with answers based on real-life experience - will be discussed at this year’s event. I hope you will find plenty of insights and that the networking sessions will lead to valuable introductions of mutual benefit.

Bartłomiej Kowalczyk Director Polish Business Link


UK ECONOMY AFTER BREXIT The Conservative Party conference which took place at the beginning of this month left anyone hoping for a soft Brexit or ‚Brexit lite’ feeling disappointed. Speeches by Prime Minister Theresa and Home Secretary Andrea Leadsom have set the course for a more protectionist economic policy. The balance of economic power between employee and employer, between producer and consumer, is likely to shift. The UK’s openness to global entrepreneurs, its ease of doing business, its connectivity between the single European market and the USA, Middle East and Far East, are among the main reasons that its economy has done better overall than many countries of the eurozone. Yet inequality has increased in particular - between London and the South-East and the rest of the country and between a comfortablyoff older generation and younger people who’re worse off than their age group was ten years ago. Foreign exchange markets reacted to the conference speeches by a sell-off of sterling, which fell to its lowest level against the dollar for 31 years.

This weakening of the pound will have an adverse effect on the UK’s balance of trade. Last year, Britain’s overall trade deficit was £35 billion. Now, the surplus in exported services was a healthy £90 billion - revealing a deficit in goods of £125 billion. The truth is that the UK manufactures too little and has to buy in what it doesn’t make. A weaker pound will help make UK exports more competitive - but imported raw materials are priced in dollars will become more expensive. In the meanwhile, postBrexit, the UK will find it much harder to sell its services - in particular financial services - to continental Europe. So any improvement in the UK’s export of goods will be more than matched by a drop in its export of services. I would forecast that after Brexit, inflation would increase significantly, as the effects of dearer imports make themselves felt. UK businesses that have been able to competitively sell their products and services on the home market thanks to availability of EU labour, will have to raise wages and thus prices. Rising wages across the lower-skilled end of the UK economy will also affect the price of exports, levelling off the benefits of a more competitively priced pound.


And then of course tariffs. Negotiations to extricate the UK from the single European market and the customs union will be long and arduous, as haggling over the trading conditions for many thousands of categories will take many years. In the predictable absence of a trade deal before the end of the Article 50 negotiations, World Trade Organisation rules kick in, which could mean 10% tariffs on many categories of manufactured goods and raw materials. Given the UK’s huge deficit in goods, the resultant price hikes on imported products would cause further inflationary pressure. We are moving into an entirely new phase of economic relations between the UK and Poland, after a period of 12 years of bilateral expansion after Poland’s entry to the EU. How exactly it will affect your business remains to be seen, as there is so much fiddly detail to be resolved - including issues which our political leaders as as yet unaware will crop up. These will be uncertain and difficult times, yet for the astute entrepreneur, new opportunities will suddenly appear.

Author: Michael Dembinski Chief Adviser British Polish Chamber of Commerce

Great to see you all today in London

Thank you for your participation We are proud sponsor of The 2016 Congress of Polish Entrepreneurs in the UK.

Kotrak Ltd is international provider of IT bespoke solutions and ERP software to support business. Would you like to boost your company, make your work more efficient and run your business under control?

Let’s contact us: Wish you all many new business opportunities!


CONGRESS AGENDA 9:00 – 09:30 REGISTRATION 09:30 09.35 09.45

Introduction, Michael Dembinski, BPCC Official opening and welcoming, Arkady Rzegocki, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland Polish Business Link role in supporting entrepreneurs in the UK, Bartlomiej Kowalczyk


Start – Scale - Sale

11:30-12.00 12:00-14.00

Break out session with experts & morning networking Business Clinic Session

09.50 10.20 10:40 11.00

From Start-up to Scale-up, Taz Hossain, Avouch Capital Techniques and tools to grow your business, Steven Turner, Exolta Capital Keeping lean while scaling nationally and internationally, Jordan Fleming, DBPL Group Pitching for an investor, Nick Howe, NatWest Business Banking

12.00 Growing your business through Franchising, Harun Rashid, Hayaa Ltd 12:30 An overview as to how businesses can recognise and avoid potential areas of dispute or future conflict in the UK, Steven Simpkins, Simpkins & Co Solicitors 13.00 Winning Business: How to Close the Deal – The Modern Approach to Selling, Stuart Lotherington, Senior Partner, SBR Consulting 13:30 Post Brexit economic outlook for SMEs and wider economy, Izabella Kaminska, Financial Times

14:00 – 15:00 Break out session with experts & lunch 15.00 - 16.00 DISCUSSION PANEL moderated by Kasia Madera, BBC World

News Presenter -Marta Stelmaszak, Want Words -Lloyd Hinton, Insolve Plus -Piotr Kubalka, Capital Business Links -Krzysztof Kierys, BC Printing -Bozena Botul, Wilkins Kennedy LLP -Ricky Kothari, T-Sticks London -Daniel Stachowiak, DocSafe Limited -Pawel Mes, One Money Mail Ltd T/A Sami Swoi

16:00 16:30

Elevator Pitch: 15 businesses presenting their pitch in 100 seconds Closing remarks, Natalia Glabik-Stankiewicz, One Money Mail Ltd T/A Sami Swoi



17:00 – 20:00 Informal Business Networking



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business managers can work with you to identify what support there is available - whether from the bank or via a whole host of other business support organisations - to help get you to where you want to be.

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Simpkins & Co Solicitors is one of the premier Law Firms in the South of England who specialise in certain areas of the law, which means that

our clients get the best service from the right people. We provide business advice and represent employers (small & big businesses) and employees. We also specialise in the following areas of the law: Employment Law, Personal Injury, Clinical Negligence, Business Advice. We offer free initial advice and a Polish speaking agent is available to assist with enquires.

CONGRESS SUPPORTERS The Enterprise Europe Network provides advice and assistance to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), supporting them to make the most of the opportunities in the European market by promoting business and technology partnering opportunities at local, regional, national and international level, across a broad range of industrial and service sectors. We supply a range of frozen fruit & vegetables to the retail, manufacturing & foodservice sectors throughout Europe from our award winning BRC accredited IQF production facilities in Poland. BC Printing is printing and signmaking company based in Glasgow but trading nationwide. With many in-house facilities BC Printing is able to print quick-turnaround jobs stationery, flyers, business cards, posters, banners, stickers, booklets, car signage, shop signage etc.



Michael Dembinski, BPCC Michael Dembinski was born in London in 1957. He studied at Warwick University and The City University, and worked at the Confederation of British Industry - for nine years as editor of CBI News - the monthly magazine of the employers’ organisation. Michael moved to Poland with his family in 1997 to take up the job of communications director of Polska Telewizja Kablowa - now part of UPC Polska, then worked as managing director of Trader.Com Polska - now a part of Agora SA. He has worked with the British Polish Chamber of Commerce since 2002. Taz Hossain, Avouch Capital Taz Hossain is the Founder & Executive Partner of Avouch Capital UK LLP, Managing Director of Cogent Growth, Advisor and Mentor at Seed Investments and works as Growth Coach and Mentor for some extremely bright talent – He helps high-growth businesses to “scale” and provides access to finance. With two decades of hands-on business experience he can quickly identify hurdles and barriers to growth and provides the necessary support to management. His dayto-day activities centre around consultancy and raising finance capital for businesses (across the spectrum) from Startups, SMEs right through to listed companies. He also has involvement with a Bangladeshi Cancer Charity and multiple entrepreneurship networks. Nick Howe, NatWest Business Banking Nick has worked for NatWest Business in various roles for the last 20 years having been inspired by the very first business customer that he met. As Enterprise Manager Nick’s work sees him travelling across London & South East and working in partnership with numerous business support organisations and educational establishments who are all focussing on the area of enterprise.


GUEST SPEAKERS Harun Rashid, Hayaa Ltd In just a decade, Harun Rashid has built businesses and created a multi-million dollar companies, with a 70+ strong team of talented, creative individuals and offices spanning the globe. With online franchises in the U.S, Canada, and France as well as storefronts in Jordan, Tanzania, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Egypt. His companies have global reach, with a distribution network spanning to more than 60 countries. Harun has made it his lifelong goal to be a serial entrepreneur in building and expanding businesses in the international marketplace. He is blessed with the gift of experiences- through success and failures- while working both at home and internationally.

Stuart Lotherington, Senior Partner, SBR Consultingt Stuart’s twenty years in sales and ten in sales consultancy has seen him build sales teams of 250+ from scratch in both America and the UK. He has trained over 3,500 people in sales and sales leadership, of which many have gone to be great sales leaders or to run their own businesses and still refer to Stuart’s training and tips. He trains consultants and advises giants in industry such as Google, Dropbox and Expedia as well as helping smaller companies and start-ups, for example, to grow from £1m to £16m in two years. The myth of sales is that it is a black art; the reality of sales is that all high performers, whether consciously or unconsciously, work to a structure in their sales meetings. Stuart’s engaging presentation will give you valuable tips on how the world’s best sales people continue to hit and exceed targets – all of which you can put into practice instantly.



Steven Turner, Exolta Capitalt Steve is a Partner at Exolta Capital Partners who specialises in high growth strategy development and delivery. He is a regular writer, public speaker and contributor to debate on international trade and entrepreneurship which he combines with his consultancy work for select group Exolta of clients. With a deep understanding of business development, sales processes, client behaviour, and innovation cycles, Steve has a track record of developing new business and managing the financial and operational impact of rapid growth within ambitious businesses. Steve has worked in senior commercial and consultative roles within the international operations of Global business including Casio and Acco Brands and has extensive experience of delivering consultancy within both the public and private sectors. During his session at the 2016 Congress of Polish Entrepreneurs, Steve will talk about the principles behind scaling your business and take a look at the range of tools available to Entrepreneurs today with examples of how some of our fastest growing companies have achieved their results. Jordan Fleming, DBPL Group Jordan started out life as a degenerate musician and, for his sins, ended up as a respectable businessman. He’s the CEO of DBPL, a company that helps small & mediumsize businesses establish themselves nationally and internationally and helps them to deliver, locally, to their customers. Jordan has a creative flair and an uncanny ability to spot new opportunities for his clients – which makes him a good candidate to invite out for lunch.


GUEST SPEAKERS Steven Simpkins, Simpkins & Co Solicitors Owner, Founder and Principal of Simpkins and Co Solicitors Solicitor, Legal Compliance Officer and Financial Compliance Officer for the Legal Practice. Steven Simpkins specialises in dealing with accident, clinical negligence, employment claims as well as civil and commercial disputes and has over 20 years experience in these areas. Steven is Southampton born and completed his legal training with a Southampton firm. Thereafter Steven became a Partner at a firm of solicitors in Bournemouth before founding and establishing Simpkins and Co. Steven has been a member of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel for over 10 years and has attained Senior Litigator status with the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), as well as being a member of the Employment Lawyers Association (ELA). Steven is a Trustee Board Member for the New Forest Citizens Advice Bureau and takes a keen interest in this charity. Steven enjoys most sports, music, art and film.



Discussion Panel moderated by:

Kasia Madera, BBC World News Presenter

Marta Stelmaszak, Want Words

Lloyd Hinton, Insolve Plus

Piotr Kubalka, Capital Business Links

Krzysztof Kierys, BC Printing

Bozena Botul, Wilkins Kennedy LLP

Ricky Kothari, T-Sticks London

Daniel Stachowiak, DocSafe Limited

Pawel Mes, One Money Mail Ltd T/A Sami Swoi


AN OVERVIEW AS TO HOW BUSINESSES CAN RECOGNISE AND AVOID POTENTIAL AREAS OF DISPUTE OR FUTURE CONFLICT IN THE UK We all hope that running a business as with life generally, will be plain sailing and as pain free as possible. Sadly, life is not like that. It likes to throw challenges our way and it is how we as people deal with or try to avoid or head off these challenges that helps define who we are. In many ways the same is true of running a business. If a business or a sole trader fails to recognise or effectively deal or plan for disputes or future conflict, this can cause significant problems in terms of wasted resources, logistical issues and ultimately costs to the business. Continued failure over time to effectively deal with problems, disputes or conflicts can ultimately prove fatal to a business.

I am the founder and principal solicitor at Simpkins & Co solicitors and have over twenty years’ experience of advising businesses and individuals in terms of dealing with disputes and conflicts. By the time my client provides me with their first instructions it is often too late and the damage has already been done. A conflict or dispute has already arisen which may ultimately lead to the matter being resolved in a Court or Tribunal. My talk at the Congress is intended to be a brief overview as to how a business can seek to recognise and avoid potential areas of dispute or future conflict. In some cases, if not all, professional advice is of great if not fundamental assistance.

So first, for businesses, what are commonly encountered areas of dispute or conflict?

These are often; 1)Poorly drafted contractual documentation that does not provide cover for future problems / issues including the failure of one party to act in accordance with the overall contractual agreement. 2)Employers’ liability. A sole trader or business may have secured insurance cover for third party acts, but avoiding claims and liability in relation to the same will also avoid unnecessary costs such as paying increased insurance excess and also a future increase in insurance costs. There can also be issues in terms of actual insurance coverage and whether or not the business is indemnified by their third party insurers.


Are businesses aware of how wide their liability might be? These can relate to issues such as vicarious liability (where a business is found liable due to the acts and omissions of their employees, servants or agents). This then leads on to the issue of whether or not; A)The employee / servant / agent is doing something within the course of their employment or contract or B)Is the business aware that they may be found liable for these acts or omissions even if they are otherwise unaware of this fact? 3)Jurisdiction and clauses dealing with disputes. Where contracts are relevant to more than one country, such as relating to exports or imports or a provision of services in different countries the jurisdiction in terms of the law to be applied to any relevant agreement in relation to the same is incredibly important. The adversarial rather than inquisitorial legal systems has been established over many centuries in England & Wales, I would humbly suggest, has for some time been viewed as the preferable jurisdiction for international, commercial or contract disputes to be negotiated or litigated. Having the correct contractual clauses to ensure your business is protected in terms of jurisdictional issues is therefore incredibly important. So too are any clauses in relation to arbitration or mediation as from my experience there can be significant and entrenched disputes simply on whether or not mediation or arbitration should take place, let alone who ought to be the mediator or arbitrator or where it would take place. Having as much detail within the agreement covering these aspects I would therefore suggest is again incredibly important and would warrant specialist advice in relation to the same. 4)Employment disputes can be a big issue and problem for businesses. Effectively dealing with these issues can make savings to the business both in terms of costs, resources and time. Some of the issues that a business ought to actively consider in my opinion are the following issues; A) is correct contractual documentation in place? Does the employee’s contract fully protect the business? B) employee conduct and behaviour. Are procedures in place to ensure the business is protected when staff or agents do not act in accordance with their contract? Is the business able to deal with unwanted or potentially disciplinary behaviour? Are sufficient procedures in place and does the business have an up to date staff handbook and rules to deal with these issues?


In UK law there are only a number of fair reasons to dismiss an employee and these include amongst others; 1) for disciplinary reasons 2) lack of capability 3) redundancy. It will be useful for a business to be aware of what are the fair reasons for dismissal so as not to act in breach of UK law and the employment contract and therefore potentially face a legal claim. Pursuant to the Equality Act 2010 employees and servants or agents of the business have protection in terms of sex, race, disability and age discrimination amongst others. These others can include discrimination on grounds of religion or belief and sexual orientation. Some other areas where employees have protection include equal pay, where a transfer of undertakings has occurred (i.e. when one business has bought another business which will in most cases result in the buying business acquiring the obligations in relation to the existing staff). Employers also have obligations in terms of protecting their staff in terms of Health & Safety at work and must ensure that correct procedures are in place in terms of a safe place of work, a safe system of work and to ensure that a full system of risk assessment preparation is in place to avoid unnecessary accidents or problems at work. During my talk at the 2016 Congress of Polish Entrepreneurs in the UK which will occur at the NatWest (RBS building) on 19th October 2016 I wish to expand on these issues. I do not wish to provide an article that provides negative or problematical issues in terms of running a business. Once correct procedures and documentation is in place a business or sole trader can be fully protected and proceed in being successful and making a profit without having to worry unnecessarily in terms of their potential liabilities or legal problems that will otherwise arise. With proper advice and procedures in place all businesses are able to flourish and succeed. Steven Simpkins Solicitor Simpkins & Co Solicitors

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In the words of Brian Smart Director General of the British Franchise Association (BFA), Franchising is a highly specialized and professional business technique that requires detailed and co-coordinated attention to all aspects of running a business – financial, operational, administrative, human resource and legal as well as marketing. If it is done well, franchising is a powerful tool for business development, growth and competitiveness. There are many definitions to what is franchising. Is a method of marketing goods and services, etc etc, but the one that concerns us is the popular business use of the word franchise, defined as the business format franchise.

BFA Defines Franchising as a contractual licensee granted by the franchisor to the franchisee which: (basic parameters) a)Permit the use of the name. b)Franchisor exercises control. c)Franchisor provides on going support. d)Franchisee pays money – for product and services.

The business format franchise is the grant of a License by one person (the franchisor) to another (the franchisee), which entitles the franchisee to carry on business under the trade mark/trade name of the franchisor and doing so to make use of an entire package (knowhow), comprising all the elements necessary to establish a person previously untrained in the conduct of a business to run the business developed by the franchisor under the brand and, after training, to run it on a predetermined basis with the continuing assistance. Through franchising it is possible to expand a network using the financial and manpower resource of others. However, the franchisor needs to develop an infrastructure to enable it to cope.

The business format elements fundamentally comprise: 1)The entire business concept. 2)A process of initiation and training in all aspects of the running of the business, according to the concept. 3)A continuing process of assistance and guidance. Author: Harun Rashid, Hayaa Ltd


FUNDRAISING – RULES OF THUMB FOR BEGINNERS As a founder and managing director of MyDocSafe I took part in number of fundraising events and here, I would like to share some of my experience. Please note that if you have a revolutionary idea that can easily raise millions on a crowdfunding site, then this article is probably not for you. However, if you are, as most entrepreneurs, fighting your way to persuade ‘the first external investor’, then read on. Here are a few rules of thumb that might help you manage your expectations.

1.Put the first cash in. Investors want to see a significant financial & time commitment from the founders. Clearly, if you are not committed, you can hardly expect anyone else to follow you. The best way to show commitment is to invest your own cash into the project and possibly quit your day job. If you have no cash, start with ‘family and friends’. If that fails, you have to pitch to external investors ‘cold’ and show willingness to work for below market rates until a certain point. 2.Pick a rich board and reputable

advisers. Persuade senior executives to advise you in exchange for a modest equity stake or stock options and/or ‘a privilege to invest first’. Make sure they want to and are able to invest. Pick them wisely. 3.Try crowdfunding more for exposure than for money. If you need 100% of cash to come from crowdfunding, then do not go that route. Your first crowdfunding

campaign will raise only a fraction of the capital you need, if you get 80%, you are lucky.

4.Pick your valuation and amount

you are raising. This is a bit of an art and a bit of a science. Both of these variables are intricately related. Ideally, your advisers should help, otherwise, talk to fellow entrepreneurs. To start, create an 18-24 month budget that shows how the company will spend the money, find the point in time when the company will ‘prove something significant’ such as ‘break into revenue’, ‘release the prototype’ etc. which in your view should be enough to raise the next round of funding, then add 3-6 months of cash requirement. The amount to raise is the aggregate sum.

5.Pitch to angel networks across

the country. It is good training and networking. Most importantly, it is a rather humbling experience that will help you communicate your idea better.


6.Apply for SEIS/EIS status early. It is good to get pre-approval from HMRC which takes around 4-6 weeks. Investors like to hear that you are well prepared. 7.Prepare the collateral.

This includes 1-pager, 10 slide deck, and the budget. You can get templates for these off the internet. A video is increasingly a must or at least an interview with the founders.

8.Have your lawyers ready. For early stage deals, make sure you work with a law firm that understands the startup world, and gives you a fixed fee quote that includes the funding deal and the stock options scheme.

9.Do not spam investors. Apart from potentially being ‘unlawful financial promotion’ your emails are likely to miss the feel of exclusivity, loved by investors. 10.Do your due diligence.

If you want to join an incubator, talk to its alumni to find out if they are happy. Remember, this is a two way street: you are selling part of a company to them, investors/advisers/ incubators are selling their expertise/ connections to you.

About MyDocSafe MyDocSafe exists because we believe that the time and cost involved in everyday dealings with customers, employees or investors is too high for most service firms. A lot of time is wasted which could be productively spent elsewhere: from manually signing contracts, collecting and verifying customer information through to filing, archiving and retrieval of important documents. MyDocSafe reduces the complexity, cost and carbon footprint of such processes by automating workflows that involve sensitive documents and their e-signing, distribution, backup, data collection, and archiving. With MyDocSafe service providers are more secure, efficient and customer friendly. Where is MyDocSafe now? We launched our first commercial product in the spring of this year which, in a nutshell, is ‘an electro nic signature with secure document distribution’. MyDocSafe has recently been offered a place at CyLon, the only European software accelerator focused on cyber security. We continue innovating in the space of trust services such as ‘electronic signature’, ‘document timestamping’ and ‘document flow security and automation’ and are applying blockchain technologies to improve security of online transactions that involve identity and sensitive documents. Author: Daniel Stachowiak Founder and Director MyDocSafe


HOW YOU CAN BROADEN YOUR BUSINESS SAFELY WITH A LITTLE HELP OF SOFTWARE? If you are planning to make your business bigger, or if it’s already growing – congratulations! One question is: do you know how to control and manage the whole process? Owning a bigger company means that there are more key decisions to be made, more people to be employed and more employees to be trusted. One of way to automate your work and to simply making life easier is specialised software. We do not mean just “any” system, because it is crucial to have a programme

which is flexible and scalable. It must keep pace with the growth of your business. Let’s take a look at the challenges, that are met by bigger companies, and how software can help you approach them better.


Many tasks, not that much time A good programme can automate monotonous, tedious and timeconsuming activities. Depending on the profile of your company, it can speed up delegating the tasks, document flow, creating optimized schedules for warehouse or logistics. You can also eliminate the manual input of data – there are programmes which support scanning bar codes and import data within a few seconds instead of painstakingly rewriting them. Predicting the future? No problem! Development and success of the company depend on controlling the level of aiming the goals, changing the strategy in case of problems and detecting the opportunities in the possible quickest time. The advantage of having a great tool is that you can teach it to support you. Business Intelligence tools or ERP systems are able to monitor the schedules and warn you if it reached your critical point. It can also create detailed analyses, reports and trends which are easily understood thanks to clear and user-friendly bars, maps and tables.

High quality of customer service for more customers It is quite easy to control the quality of customer service when you do it on your own or where there few clients. However it becomes increasingly harder when your company is bigger. The best solution is to implement a CRM system, which improves the contact with clients and lets you mirror their needs. Modern systems are connected to great marketing tools and give you deep insights into the individual customer’s behavior. How to choose the best software supplier? When you choose a software supplier, it is important to remember that it will be a long-term collaboration. It can create more possibilities to improve processes and workflow if a supplier has broad experience and focuses on getting to know your company better. It also creates software which meets your needs instead of forcing you to match the software.

We hope that you will find running a bigger company much easier with our professional software! Kotrak Ltd. | We do IT better

13 Bayley Street | WC1B 3HD London | tel: +44 (0) 74 70 31 84 21, +44 (0) 74 69 98 58 63,


GOING GLOBAL IN BUSINESS - TOP TIPS Taking your business to the next level may include business growth. Depending on your business model, this may mean expanding into a new market place for example, sector, country or perhaps both. Before embarking on any new venture, research and strategy take priority, ensuring a project’s viability. Expanding your business into a new country has its own set of challenges. A new market and a new culture with different languages can become very complex. English has become the lingua franca in international business however you cannot rely

on this being enough to successfully scale your business. Current affairs have inevitably caused uncertainty in business, for example the shock vote to Brexit. Agile businesses will flex their approach and business offering depending on the current climate. Brexit could present opportunities for international trade and business expansion. In order to fully take advantage of these opportunities, it is important to consider the differences that international business communications and relationships require.

Top tips for doing Business, if English is your common denominator: -Be open-minded and aware of the communication challenges and cultural differences -Be patient – building trust and relationship is a long term process -Try to avoid local idioms, slang, buzzwords, lingo and keep it simple -Try to avoid abbreviations and acronyms -Stress key actions and check for understanding -Observe the non-verbal communication signs to see if the meaning was understood i.e. the word „yes” or an affirmative nod often means „Yes, I hear you” in Asian cultures, not „Yes, I agree.” In Bulgaria for instance a single nod of the head up (not down) indicates a „no”. This may easily cause a miscommunication. -Consider speed of delivery, pauses and speak clearly – accents may sometimes be difficult to follow -Try to avoid culturally specific information Marketing in your target language is important. Research conducted by Common Sense Advisory showed that over 72% consumers are more likely to purchase a product in their own language. Translation isn’t everything, it is also important to localise your business offering to capture as much of your market as possible. Important things to consider: -Culture - what is and isn’t relevant to your audience? Is ‘that’ going to hit their sweet spot?


-Customs, expectations and preferences – how does your target audience spend their free time, what car do they drive, where do they shop etc -Branding and packaging – colours, images, look & feel – i.e. some colours may have a different association in another part of the world -Payment options & currencies - how will your client want to pay for your products or services and what do they consider a safe payment? At a recent networking event, Anna Parker from UKTI gave an example of an advertising campaign for TAGHEUER watches, different influencers are used for relevant regions: i.e. whilst Brad Pitt is relevant in USA and Europe, in Asia they would use the relevant influencers to suit that frame of reference. How can you tackle all these obstacles? During my recent consultative work with an international company (18 different countries with over 500 employees), I suggested they used their in-house resource, appointing ‘Country Ambassadors’. Their language specific ambassadors are currently responsible for the cultural and linguistic aspect of advertisements, social media moderation and engagement with people in order to localise and become relevant to each audience. You may not all be as lucky to have that resource on your door step. It would be ideal to employ someone who could act as this resource for your target country. Initially, as you are considering these opportunities, you may want to speak to a freelancer to discuss your options and opportunities. Translators and Interpreters will be able to assist you. They can help specifically with language translation, with further consultation such as localisation and can become a vital link for the negotiations with your client. Let me finish with Nelson Mandela’s words which hopefully will give you some food for thought: ‘If you

talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language that goes to his heart.’

Good luck with your business endeavours! Author: Ewa Jasinska-Davidson


IN THE LIGHT OF BREXIT: ARE POLES FACING RISKS OR OPPORTUNITIES? The debates and concerns about the future of the British economy have been trending since the UK referendum’s result in favour of leaving the EU. Not only has it shaken the political situation, but it has also affected the currency exchange market. How will it affect Poles living in the UK? As a result of the British vote to leave the EU, the Pound Sterling has dropped dramatically in relation to the US Dollar – the greatest fall in the past three decades. The Media has reported a critical situation in the economy, comparing it to the 2008 recession, thus causing fear amongst investors. However, after the initial, nervous reaction to Brexit, the situation has become more stable.

Meanwhile, when the Referendum results were revealed, the Pound dropped from PLN 5.6998 to PLN 5.4831, showing only 3.96 percent decrease in value. Sterling reached its lowest exchange rate in midAugust, PLN 4.9168. Since then however, the situation has been improving and the British Pound has shown a steady increase.


Investors will probably be looking at the opportunities which economic instability might afford. It could be advantageous for those currency traders who buy Pounds at a low rate and sell at a profit in the future. It is also a perfect moment for those Poles who plan to stay in the UK permanently. Sale of assets in Poland and transferring the money at relatively low exchange rates may be a good strategy. Although, this should be planned with a reserve, as any potential law changes after Brexit remain uncertain. Brexit has brought a decline in fuel prices, oil prices have fallen about 6 percent, and the increase in gas prices has stopped. This is good news for Polish drivers.

the trend, and the unemployment rate has decreased. Therefore, the British economy seems to be resistant to the adverse effects of Brexit ‘Armageddon’, at least in the short term. What happens in the long term is still uncertain. Brexit has not yet happened. We do not know what kind of trading arrangement the UK will end up with. Until we do, the only certainty is that uncertainty will last.

On the other hand, the changes in currency exchange benefit tourists coming to the UK. Not only will it bring opportunities to those working in the tourism sector, but it also means lower costs for Poles visiting their families in the UK. The instability of the Pound has been mainly driven by those who fear Brexit; the key players have been uncertain about post-referendum market conditions, thus their raised cautiousness with regard to major investments. However, the improved position of the Pound is mainly due to relatively good macroeconomic data. Despite the fear of difficult economic times, retail sales for July were even above

Author: Sara Trzpiola, Accounts Assistant. BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance. One Money Mail Ltd T/A Sami Swoi



Dear Friends, With the prospects of a hard Brexit looking more likely, the trading and investment relationship between the UK and Poland will undoubtedly change. For some businesses, there will be upsets. New tariff barriers are likely to be erected, regulations will diverge creating new non-tariff barriers. VAT on business transactions between the UK and Poland will become more complicated. And access to Polish labour will be limited for UK employers. But new opportunities will arise – and the trick for businesses will be to spot them - and act swiftly. A weaker pound (it has lost some 15% against the zloty since 23 June)

should make UK exports more competitive on the Polish market. Poland’s economy looks set to grow by 3.1% this year; Polish consumers’ disposable income is rising – this should all be great news for UK exporters seeking new markets. On the other hand, Poland is presenting itself as a prime inwardinvestment location for businesses needing to maintain a direct presence within the EU, to ensure continued tariff-free access to a single market of 440m consumers after Brexit. Membership of the British Polish Chamber of Commerce (BPCC) has become more valuable than ever in these uncertain times. The BPCC – a network of 390 British and Polish businesses – will be working hard on three fronts to


ensure that disruption to UK-Polish economic relations is minimised. Firstly – we will continue to hold community events across Poland and the UK, to give our members the greatest number of chances to swap first-hand experience and create business opportunities. Secondly – we will continue to engage with UK and Polish exporters, regionally and by sector – to explain how Brexit will affect their markets and where those opportunities lie. And thirdly – we will continue to engage with the UK and Polish governments to press for positive outcomes for our members within the constraints set by the political environment in both countries. We work closely with the Polish Embassy in London and the British Embassy in Warsaw. We are an accredited overseas partner chamber for the 53 British chambers across the UK and are a member of COBCOE, the network of British chambers of commerce across continental Europe. We have regular

contact with institutions such as the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the World Bank and Lewiatan in Poland. The BPCC has supported PBlink from its inception in 2011 and set the motion for the first Polish Entrepreneurs Congress in 2014. Over the past quarter century, we have been a part of the Polish business community in the UK. Today, we come together to jointly celebrate the exceptional contribution that Polish businesses are making to the UK economy. We shall work hand in hand with our friends and stakeholders to secure the best conditions for Polish businesses in the UK so that they can continue to thrive amid Brexit’s complexity. British Polish Chamber of Commerce @theBPCC


KEEPING IT LEAN Lean is one of those concepts that everyone talks about, but few people do. On the face of it, it’s a pretty simple, and arguably critical, maxim that every business should adhere to. I mean, the tacit idea behind the truism “cash is king” is the simple need to actually have cash! I know I shouldn’t be surprised when I meet businesses who are going through their first growth cycle and are busy spending their money on the non-essentials, but I still am. (It’s been a long standing joke between and one of my accountants - if we see a new aquarium being installed at a company’s office, we know their six months from

insolvency!) I particularly shouldn’t be surprised because I’ve played this game before. My first business started to scale to a second office down in London and the costs started to soar. It eventually brought us crashing back down to reality in a bump. I learned some lessons, most of them painful, brushed myself off and started up hill again. (I’d like to say I’ve learned my lesson, but there are probably still some areas I could improve on!) But being lean isn’t just about avoiding the frivolous. I mean that’s crucial, but it’s relatively easy to do.


Real lean scaling is about wringing every last drop out of your resources, and in being incredibly clever with the resources you build your company with. Let’s look at one example: your distribution chain. Years ago you’d start making a product. If you did well, you’d make a lot more of them. You’d outgrow your initial workshop and invest in a bigger place. You’d get a warehouse and maybe even some trucks. As you grew, your logistics need grew as well...and too often that turned into capital investment into something that really isn’t a core part of what you do. Making the thing is one thing - getting it delivered is a completely different game. These days, you can run pretty sophisticated import/export businesses from your bedroom. No warehouses No trucks No staff Just last week I sat down with a company from Denmark who is about to launch their bottled water product here in the UK. They are using my company, DBPL, to do it. One of my first questions to the owner was “so how are you going to store and ship these bottles?”. He was surprised by the options that are now open to him. We’ve put him together with one of our logistics partners who will be handling the entire logistics chain for him. They will receive the pallets from the manufacturing company. They will process to order and ship quantities as needed (it’s called pick and pack

if you want to look into it). Sure he’s paying a higher price on each shipment, but he has no need to sink any cash into warehouse space, logistics equipment, personnel...none of it! We’re going to replicate this model in three more countries for him, and he’ll be able to sell and distribute millions of bottles of water with a laptop and a phone. That’s lean scaling. The tools are all around us. Every business, no matter how small, can take advantage of it. I’ll rephrase that: every business, no matter how small, must make it part of their growth planning. It’s the only sensible way.

Author: Jordan Samuel Fleming CEO, DBPL


THINKING OF TAKING YOUR BUSINESS ABROAD? The world is your Oyster but do ‘Mind the (culture) Gap’. As new technologies bring the world closer together, companies are tempted to go global. The bright lights of international markets seem attractive both to the established brands as well as to those that are not that well-grounded or even facing challenges in their domestic markets. It is luring as it offers plenty of opportunities, however, this venture into the great unknown can also be unsuccessful. Therefore, the ability to skilfully navigate in a global environment is essential. In order to minimise the risk of failure or falling into too many pitfalls on the way, ask yourself some questions before preparing your strategy. Will the product sell well in the target culture? Is the target market familiar with my product or service? Am I prepared to invest time and money in consumer education? Do I feel comfortable in the target culture? Do I know how to set prices, negotiate deals? Do I know enough of legal and economic nuances and differences that can create a challenge outside my home environment? What is the infrastructure like? Can I get financial support? What are the

regulations for payments, shipping or packaging? How to effectively communicate the vision and the offering to my potential clients and business partners? The list of challenges is not exhaustive‌ What can possibly go wrong? Quite a lot. The biggest difference perhaps between doing business domestically and internationally is the culture and our false assumptions about the nature of the market. Different approaches to meetings, negotiating, building trust and closing a sale may all impact your success. Sometimes businesses overestimate and rely too much on their success at home. Assuming that if your business works in in your country it will work anywhere else is wrong. Mattel Inc, an American multinational toy manufacturer can serve as a great example. After having invested in a massive store in Shanghai, combining hundreds of displays, they closed the store down after two years. An elsewhere popular Barbie proved not to be as popular in China as in the other parts of the globe. Success always depends on a variety of efforts and preparation. Evaluate


best methods of distributing your product abroad. Check sources of financing, figure out ways to make sure you are getting paid on time. Be ready to make an investment in marketing and research. Most of all, adopt a slow-build approach as it may take longer to establish your company outside your original home environment as you first need to build trust and develop your network of connections. It is quite uncommon for an entrepreneur to possess the knowledge and all the skills required to navigate successfully through the vast sea of unknown. Investing in the advice of a local expert consultant or a manager with know-how to avoid pitfalls might not be cheap but in comparison to the costs of failed attempts and missed opportunities, might be worth considered a crucial investment. You will understand the needs, terms of transactions, the real cost of doing business, and make the most of an opportunity ahead. Many businesses rely only or too heavily on expatriates while an experienced local expert could help them understand the local practices and culture and most importantly, have the connections established. Marketing materials and campaigns are successful if they originate in the local market, too. You should recognise the fact that international business is not simply an expansion of your domestic operations beyond your home country but more like a different business with different needs and requirements than you have known before.

Even the most experienced face challenges when they endeavour into the new market for the first time. The approach and techniques that work at home may not work overseas. A thorough market research and the right strategy are key. So are the multicultural capabilities that are becoming equally significant as other core elements of business strategy nowadays.

Author: Patrycja Maksymowicz London Business Academy


London Business Academy supports international business driven professionals to share their experience and expertise, solve problems together, develop professionally, and improve performance of their companies both on a local market as well as globally.


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