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ACES The official magazine for the Alliance of Chambers in East Sussex


Issue 1. Dec 2016 - Jan 2017

AMBER RUDD Hastings’ own Secretary of State

OVERVIEW Autumn Statement


TRAVEL Going Dutch

BRUFORDS The Art of Rolex




The official magazine for the Alliance of Chambers in East Sussex

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WELCOME TO ACES MAGAZINE from our chief executive Christina Ewbank Welcome to the launch issue of ACES Magazine, brought to you by the Alliance of Chambers in East Sussex (ACES) and Platinum Publishing Group. This magazine will keep you informed on what is happening in business in East Sussex, showcase the positive enterprise culture we have in the county and help you overcome barriers to business. If you are a member of your local Town Chamber or the FSB you are automatically a member of ACES. This gives you access to 4,000 members across East Sussex and 15,000 employees. It also gives you a loud voice with central, regional and local government to make sure East Sussex is a great place to do business. When ACES started in 2011, fewer than 3% of East Sussex businesses had access to high speed Broadband. Having recognised the need for connectivity we worked closely with East Sussex County Council (ESCC) and BT and we are pleased to confirm that 96% of the County now have access to high speed Broadband and we continue to work with BT to bring Broadband to the remaining 4%. We are also working with ESCC to close “mobile not spots�

PUBLISHERS Maarten Hoffmann Ian Trevett THE PLATINUM PUBLISHING GROUP Number 3, 30 Bedford Square, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 2PL Tel: 07966 244046 Tel: 07989 970804 Mail: Web: ADVERTISING and SPONSORSHIP Lesley Alcock Business Development Director Tel: 07767 613707 Mail:

so that business people can use their mobile phones in rural business locations across East Sussex. The road and rail infrastructure is taking longer to improve but we are working with ESCC on the A27 between Lewes and Polegate and lobbying MPs and Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling about Southern Rail. We are also keen to improve the A21 to Hastings and the A22 north of Hailsham along with rail links across Sussex. We are working actively with Skills East Sussex to ensure college leavers are work ready and to help fill the skills shortages in construction, engineering, manufacturing and digital technologies. And finally we are introducing ACES Magazine to help promote East Sussex as a great place to work along with all the incredible businesses located here.

On behalf of the Alliance of Chambers in East Sussex Head Designer: Amanda Spicer Travel Editor: Rose Dykins Sub Editor: Kate Morton Food Editor: Amanda Menahem Photographer: Sarah Walker-Bennett Accounts: Julia Trevett All rights reserved. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. The publisher cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions relating to advertising or editorial. The publisher reserves the right to change or amend any competitions or prizes offered. No part of this publication may be reproduced without prior written consent from the publisher. No responsibility is taken for unsolicited materials or the return of these materials whilst in transit. ACESussex Magazine is published by The Platinum Publishing Group.



The ACES members


Best4Biz - The Awards




Amber Rudd


Rix & Kay


Legal News


Autumn Statement - The Verdicts


Interview - Tim Cobb


Best4Biz - The Conference




Business Consulting


Lotus Labels


Travel - Holland


Interview - David Mellor


Carrot Events


Uckfield Awards


Brufords - The Art of Rolex


Why BIDS work


Nova Direct




Lets Do Business


Sussex Skills Solutions


Neva Consultants




The High Speed Lawyer


Wine Masterclass


The Sussex Ox


Hydro Hotel


Business Expo Preview


Hastings Chamber


Hot Air Balloon Festival


Events Diary


Anger Management






Aces Members


The East Sussex Network ACES is THE East Sussex business network including all the Chambers of Commerce and the FSB in East Sussex, representing over 4,000 local businesses with over 15,000 members of staff.

The East Sussex Chambers Battle Chamber of Commerce

• Regeneration • Skills Building with Schools & Colleges

Battle and District Chamber of Commerce’s objectives are to promote and protect the trade, commerce, manufacturing, professional and general interests of the town. We have over 70 business and personal members, and meet on the third Monday of every month. We encompass several committees which organise events in town, including: • Battle marbles on Good Friday • Battle Medieval Fayre on the Spring Bank Holiday weekend • Christmas lights installation and maintenance, followed by Lights On and Gala Night events

We welcome the membership of Bexhill businesses or businesses based elsewhere but who want to do business in Bexhill. We hold regular networking breakfasts, evening events and are constantly in touch via email with our members with up-to-date information about business or about Bexhill. We also have an email service where we send out members offers and promotions to fellow members. We have no political affiliation and are totally independent. We work with other organisations locally, county wide and nationally and are delighted to be associated with ACES. We are here to help and promote business in Bexhill and Bexhill as a place to visit for the day, stay for a while or as a place to live and run your business.

Tel: 01424 842892

• ELF – Every Last Friday of the month, a mini musical festival We also work with local organisations including Beautiful Battle, Battle Marketing Group, Battle Abbey Advisory Group, and the Scarecrow Festival.

Crowborough & District Chamber of Commerce

• Maintaining and rejuvenating local businesses • Networking with other local businesses Chamber membership offers the chance to become involved in a friendly and effective organisation that can help you improve your own businesses as well as representing your interests to key decision makers.


Eastbourne UnLtd Chamber of Commerce Eastbourne UnLtd is the largest town based Chamber of Commerce in the South East and is a founder member of ACES. We are described as UnLtd because we are always looking for new ways to help our Members grow their businesses. Our activity is unlimited and includes: • Networking, morning, noon and night • Joint events with other ACES Chambers • Golf days, quiz nights, export seminars, training, coaching and mentoring


• Free services including HR advice, business clinics, start-up workshops and business one-to-ones

Bexhill Chamber of Commerce

We run the Eastbourne Borough Market every Wednesday and Sunday to promote retailing in the town and the Christmas Market on the iconic Bandstand.

Bexhill Chamber of Commerce & Tourism is run by its members for its members. Our current strategic focus is: • Improving business and tourism in Bexhill




Crowborough & District Chamber of Commerce promotes business, trade and services in Crowborough and the surrounding area. We offer a forum for local business issues such as: • Voicing concerns for the business community

We run events like Eastbourne’s Day of the Undead, Neon Noel Spectacular Light Show, Xmas Factor and EastBourne to be Wild Harley Davidson rallies.

Tel: 01323 641144

Aces Members

Federation of Small Businesses

environment for businesses to operate in – irrespective of their size, sector or age. Tel: 01424 205500 @HACC1066

Hailsham Chamber of Commerce The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is the largest independent business organisation in the UK with some 200,000 members. Businesses with up to 250 employees can join and in East Sussex we have 4,400 members. The FSB is a pressure group for small business interests and we lobby Government at every level including MEPs, MPs and Local Councillors. The FSB also provides benefits to help start up and growing businesses alike. Our benefits package, including 24/7 legal advice and free business banking, aims to keep costs down, to protect your business and enable sales. We run a busy programme of local networking events including breakfasts, curry nights, ladies business lunches and ‘share the knowledge’ evening seminars to improve your ‘know-how’ on key business topics. We are delighted to work with ACES on the issues that matter in East Sussex to enable economic growth. Tel: 01424 754686 Tel: 01323 482018

Hastings Chamber of Commerce

Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business for Hastings, St Leonards and the surrounding area, representing its members to all levels of government and to community leaders across the statutory, community, voluntary and charitable sectors. Our overriding aim is to make the voice of business even stronger. Through our provision of breakfast and networking events, newsletters and lobbying, we give members the opportunity to influence, inform, debate, network and profile. We work on behalf of our members, to grow the economy of the town and the wider region in order to create a more supportive

Hailsham & District Chamber of Commerce was formed in 1984 and exists to support and encourage growth and prosperity within the business community of Hailsham and its environs. Membership of the Chamber gives you opportunities to network with local organisations and other Chamber members. Out of this networking grows contacts and friendships, from which we can all draw benefit. The Chamber also organises networking evenings and ‘Share the Knowledge’ events to benefit their members. Through our regular monthly networking meetings we are able to discuss key issues and concerns which members may have and decide on supportive action. We have guest speakers in attendance once a month and also maintain strong links with both Wealden District Council and Hailsham Town Council through key groups such as Hailsham Forward. As a Chamber we believe it is our responsibility to do everything we can to support our members and to encourage and help local businesses to the best of our ability.

Tel: 01323 310531

around the high street. The Chamber has developed links and works with other local groups including Heathfield and Waldron Parish Council and the Heathfield Partnership, as well as other local chambers including Crowborough and Uckfield.

Tel: 01435 865858

Lewes Chamber of Commerce

Established in 1935, Lewes Chamber of Commerce represents the voice of the business community in this thriving county town. From accountants and solicitors to shops, hotels and restaurants, the Chamber unites businesses, comments and advises on behalf of the business community and stimulates debate across a variety of local issues. Thanks to our range of members we also have direct access into the local authority, particularly the Town Council level, meaning we can represent Lewes business issues raised at relevant meetings. Through our extensive programme of activities, and through our links with relevant local organisations, we provide a wide range of benefits and services for local business.

Newhaven Chamber of Commerce

Heathfield Chamber of Commerce The Heathfield Chamber is a thriving membership group which covers Heathfield and the surrounding rural economy and provides a forum for local business people to meet, network and develop their businesses. We support local businesses in Heathfield and the surrounding villages. The Chamber runs a programme of regular networking opportunities including regular business breakfasts and Wealden Expo – Heathfield’s own business exhibition. We are responsible for the Christmas lampstand lights

Newhaven Chamber of Commerce has over 70 members. We are dedicated to supporting businesses both small and large in the Newhaven area, by organising various events throughout the year including the Seahaven Business Awards, presentations, evening events with guest speakers, social functions such as an annual Karting Challenge between Newhaven, Peacehaven and Seaford Chambers, a Day at the Races, BBQs and trips to the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace. In addition we have a vibrant Business Breakfast Club that meets every Wednesday. We negotiate discounted advertising rates for




Aces Members our members in the local media. We also run the twice weekly Newhaven Street Market and the once monthly car boot sale in Newhaven Town Centre. Our mission statement is to enhance and encourage development of trade, employment opportunities and the environment of Newhaven and to re-establish and maintain premier status for Newhaven within Europe.

Tel: 0800 107 0709 Tel: 01273 517544

Peacehaven & District Chamber of Commerce is a thriving modern membership organisation and is the responsible voice of business in the local area. A dynamic member-led organisation, we work to support the local business community and specifically our network of member businesses. Our job is to strengthen the position of our members and ensure that the interests of local businesses are heard. We support any size company at any stage of development to grow and prosper within Peacehaven, Telscombe Cliffs and East Saltdean area. Run by business owners for business owners, Peacehaven Chamber and ACES are committed to promoting the interests of the business community in East Sussex. By joining the Chamber, members’ business voices are heard. We have a thriving Breakfast Club on the first and third Tuesday of each month, an evening Dining Club on the last Tuesday of each month and regularly hold networking events with other Chambers of Commerce.

Tel: 01273 586222

Seaford Chamber of Commerce Seaford Chamber welcomes all types and sizes of trades and businesses, from start-ups to established companies, from any sector or from other business organisations.


We put forward members views on key strategic points affecting the local business community - we are involved in meetings covering local business issues, traffic, parking, etc. within the Seaford area. Members can support the Chamber in town planning and other local business issues.

Peacehaven Chamber of Commerce


The Chamber regularly holds networking events where members can meet other likeminded businesses. Its Breakfast Meetings take place on the first Thursday of the month at Seaford Golf Club.


We have close involvement with local councils and provide the opportunity to share in the future of Seaford. The Chamber is a key partner in the ‘Christmas Magic’ late night shopping events and organises regular visits from French and Italian Markets to Seaford.

Tel: 0800 881 5331

ACES GOALS One Voice • For business in East Sussex to influence policy makers. • For structured, strategic approaches to all local authorities to achieve stated goals.

Infrastructure • To improve the road and rail infrastructure in East Sussex.

Connectivity • To provide superfast broadband to rural and urban East Sussex, as a matter of urgency.

Uckfield Chamber of Commerce Uckfield Chamber of Commerce is a successful networking organisation which also offers advice to businesses and industries of Uckfield and district. It encourages and supports measures to improve the social and economic conditions of the community, and liaises with representatives of outside bodies about business interests affecting the town and district. Uckfield Chamber is a founder member of ACES and is pleased to support and attend all ACES meetings and events with our sister Chambers across East Sussex.

Tel: 01825 722607

• To close East Sussex mobile ‘not spots'.

Marketing • To promote East Sussex as the place to do business outside London. • To develop the coastal, rural and urban tourism offer across the county.

Skills and Workforce Development • To develop links between business, schools and colleges to ensure students develop the skills needed for work. • To influence local authorities to provide skills training as required in rural areas as well as urban.




ast Sussex is a great place to work with a fantastic worklife balance. Away from the rat-race in London, where else could you leave work and be para-gliding over the South Downs or windsurfing in the waves off the South Coast in under 40 minutes?


To celebrate the many successful businesses in East Sussex, the Best4Biz Conference introduced these special awards last year. The nominees were all nominated by their Chamber of Commerce or the FSB and here are the very worthy winners of each category. The ceremony was held at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill.

SMALL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR WINNERS Sponsored by Our Jobs Rock Boom Boom the Label

BUSINESS PERSON OF THE YEAR WINNER Sponsored by Martin Riley Leadership and Business Development Richard Soan of Richard Soan Roofing

START-UP ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR WINNERS Sponsored by Edeal Rory Myers and Matt Woodhouse Half Man! Half Burger!

THE INNOVATION AWARD WINNERS Sponsored by Basepoint Surrey NanoSystems

Photography by Sarah Walker-Bennett (






Dealing Off the Line

Lewes Chamber member, Knill James, assisted Off The Line vineyard in Hellingly to secure £200,000 for a winery.

Jobs jump by 40

Having spent the last three years getting the vineyard up and running, founders Ann-Marie Tynan and Kristina Studzinski turned their attention to developing a winery in order to produce high-quality rosé on-site. Knill James partner Suzanne Craig has worked with the couple from the start of their adventure, and put them in touch with a specialist commercial broker who approached several banks on their behalf. Barclays proved the best fit, and having visited the vineyard and reviewed the winery business plans, approved £200,000 of funding. Kristina explains: “We’re so excited about the new winery. It will help put Off The Line on the map, enabling us to produce our own wine, which we’re really excited about. Our first bottles, produced by a winery in Surrey, will be hitting the market in Spring 2017 and by October, we’ll be pressing our own grapes! We’ve got big ambitions to make the best red and rosé wines in England.

“Early to bed and early to rise probably indicates unskilled labour”

Fishing for Funding Hastings Borough Council has been awarded a share of £4.8 million in the latest round of funding under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). Hastings, Cornwall, Dorset and East Devon, Holderness, North of Tyne and North Thames will each receive £800,000 to progress their local development strategies to benefit and develop fisheries, coastal communities and the wider supply chain infrastructure. “This is really excellent news and our thanks must go to all who have been involved in supporting the FLAG programme and developing the bid for the second round of funding,” said Cllr Dawn Poole, vice chair of FLAG and the council’s lead member for regeneration. “As a small scale fishery, there are several challenges from the Common Fisheries Policy reforms, which may or may not change as a result of leaving the EU, and this local development strategy will work to mitigate some of these challenges at a local level. Now with this new funding in place we hope to start implementation of the programme early in 2017”.




Urban Jump, which has just opened in a warehouse in Ghyll Road Industrial Estate in Heathfield, combines the latest state of the art trampoline park with a unique ninja warrior assault course. The park can accommodate over 150 visitors across all facilities at any given time, with over 50 trampolines, a dodgeball court, foam pit, basketball nets and interactive games. The business, founded by Richard Hand and Graham Owen, received funding from the East Sussex County Council Grants and Loans panel fund through Locate East Sussex, the county’s business support service. Urban Jump is now employing over 40 people from the local area. Adam Berger, Location Service Manager at Locate East Sussex, commented: “Urban Jump is one of the most exciting new attractions to the region in years. We are delighted to have been able to help Richard and his team to get this impressive facility off the ground.”

“A meeting is an event

at which the minutes are kept and the hours are lost.”


Sign of Success

Lukewarm Response

Having received three nominations and three highly commended awards in 2015, Identity, an Eastbourne Chamber member, went a step further at the 2016 British Sign Awards, by winning the Retail Signage of the Year Award.

Graham Marley, Chief Executive of the Let’s Do Business Group, said he was ‘lukewarm’ about the Chancellor’s first Autumn Statement. He said: “It was a measured approach which lacked the bombshell moment often delivered by George Osborne, but is probably more appropriate for the economy at this time.

Two projects made it through the tough judging panel, including the works to the Eurotunnel terminals in both England and France and Identity’s first ever bendy bus wrap design on behalf of Brighton & Hove buses. Identity’s chairman Paul Gietzen collected the award on behalf of all the staff from BBC TV’s Bill Turnbull.

A Lewes wall?

“The highlights for businesses are the extra funding to support export finance and £400m

The United States President Elect is adamant that his infamous wall along the border of Mexico will be built, but might he also consider a wall around the Sussex county town of Lewes?

fund to support tech firms through Venture Capital.

Not one to accept criticism or a joke at his expense, ACES Magazine suspects that Lewes might not be in Donald Trump’s good books. During this year’s Bonfire Celebrations, no less than three effigies of Mr Trump were thrown to the flames. Look out for a huge US customs tariff on any imports of Harveys Best!

“The problem with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat”

Muddy Marketers Eastbourne UnLtd Chamber members, Pearce Marketing, raised £1,320 for the Now! Charity Group in a muddy teamwork challenge to help the local East Sussex community. The team took on the Tough Mudder event near Crawley, and completed an 11 mile course with 21 epic obstacles. Emma Pearce said: “We wanted to fundraise for our local community, and The Now! Charity Group is perfect because it supports over 35,000 people in East Sussex every year. It’s also a great resource for local businesses to donate and buy office furniture.” The charity’s main activities are Training Now! - a service that helps those in need with free workshops and courses to build confidence and skills to get into work in Hailsham and Eastbourne. Furniture Now! offers everyone low cost new, second-hand and refurbished home and office furniture. There are stores in Hailsham, Eastbourne and Lewes giving special extra low prices for those receiving benefits.

“On the flip side, businesses will suffer from increases, albeit marginal, in National Insurance and Insurance Premium Tax. The Chancellor is also removing the Flat Rate VAT scheme which may impact on some businesses.” Philip Johnson, Director of Locate East Sussex, was ‘concerned’ by Mr Hammond’s speech. He said: “We welcome the Chancellor’s investment into transport and housing and very much hope East Sussex is a beneficiary of this additional funding. However, more support is urgently needed to help job creation within the new communities that are being developed. “It is important the investment to support 5G and broadband provision goes towards improving coverage and reducing ‘not spots’ in rural areas, as well as making networks faster. The increase in Rural Rate Relief to 100% is good news for a rural communities although it is not clear yet whether this will be extended to all types of businesses or just villages with only one shop such as a convenience store or a pub.”

See pages 22 and 23 for in-depth coverage of the Autumn Statement.

“The only place success

comes before work is in the dictionary”




The Big Story

AMBER RUDD The Indefinable Politician

Remainer, green champion or hard-line Home Secretary? Amber Rudd is a hard politician to define. Profile by Ian Trevett


y the end of the EU referendum campaign, Amber Rudd was probably the Remain campaign’s leading light. As passionate as Cameron and Osborne were, strategists (rightly as it turned out) realised that too much emphasis on the PM and Chancellor would simply trigger protest votes against the Government. The Liberals were largely ignored, Nicola Sturgeon could only rally votes north of the border, and Jeremy Corbyn was… well actually, where was Corbyn? Rudd was the unifying figure. With a record of speaking out on climate change and women’s issues, as well as a business

background, she was regarded as a centrist politician, who could get the message across to diverse audiences. As the bitter fight neared its climax at a big TV debate, the ‘Stronger In’ campaign lined up an all-female tag team to get Boris Johnson. Referring to some of the questionable figures banded out by the Leave campaign (e.g £350m a week for the NHS) she prodded him with the spiky line: “I fear that the only number Boris is interested in is Number 10.” More memorably she hit him with: “Boris is the life and soul of the party, but he is not the man you want driving you home at the end of the evening.” Aside from the pantomime of the live debates, it was clear that the close collaboration with Europe was an issue that she firmly believed in. She said: “I firmly believe that we will be stronger, safer and better off as a member of the EU than we would be out on our own. “Our businesses will be better off because they have full access to the free trade single market, bringing jobs, investment and financial security. “Our families will benefit from lower households bills. “Our children will grow up in a safer, more secure world, as we play a leading role in one of the world’s largest organisations from within.




Helping make the decisions that affect them.” So it is perhaps all the more remarkable that she was appointed Home Secretary after the vote went so badly wrong for her. She is undoubtedly the most powerful Remainer in the cabinet. I’d exclude May from this category as she clearly was less bothered about Remain or Leave than where her next job might be!

“Probably Theresa wanted a safe pair of hands, you can’t get much safer than Amber Rudd.”

For those holding out a hope that the abrupt hard Brexit may be tempered by the Remainers in the camp, Rudd’s first announcements proved to be quite a shock. Many might have wondered if she had been replaced by a robot being operated from behind the curtains by a smirking Michael Gove. She hit the headlines at the 2016 party conference when she put forward the idea that companies should be forced to disclose how many foreign workers they employ. What followed next was what can only be described as a baptism of fire. As well as the predictable howls from opposition parties, business leaders lined up to criticise the proposal. Adam Marshall, the director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said that having a global workforce should not be seen as a “badge of shame”. He added: “Most companies do their utmost to train their workers, engage with local schools and colleges, and look for local hires before going to the overseas market – which is often an expensive and bureaucratic step. Businesses shouldn’t be penalised or questioned for recruiting from overseas when they have specific skills requirements.” Mike Cherry, the national chairman of the FSB, said: “We do not want to see small business owners turned into immigration officers nor encumbered by new bureaucracy.”

The Big Story

Seamus Nevin, head of employment and skills policy at the IoD, said: “The notion that employers prefer foreign workers to UK-born is wrong. Employers don’t discriminate by nationality – all that matters is the talent available.” The most damaging response came from LBC DJ James O’Brien. On his show he quoted an extract from Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf, which explained the necessity of controlling immigrant workers for the ‘greater good’. “For the state must draw a sharp line of distinction between those who, as members of the nation, are the foundation and support of its existence and greatness, and those who are domiciled in the state, simply as earners of their livelihood there.” The passage had embarrassing similarities.

Billings, the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, admitted that the police had been “dangerously close to being used as an instrument of state.”

“Boris is the life and soul of the party, but he is not the man you want driving you home at the end of the evening.” Following the 2016 inquest verdict into the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, previously censored documents suggesting links between the actions of senior South Yorkshire Police officers at both incidents were published. So why no review? Is this an indication of the

hardening of Amber Rudd’s politics? Maybe. But the fact is that no Conservative Home Secretary would ever sanction a review into Orgreave. There is too much at stake with regards the legacy of Mrs Thatcher. A review would probably discredit the historic actions of the South Yorkshire Police, but no big deal as they have already been shamed by their coverup of Hillsborough. The issue that worries the Conservatives is an investigation into the role of the Government of the time, and what Home Secretary would ever wish to drag up the bitter, confrontational days of 1980s for forensic examination. Tories may be proud of the outcome in which the unions were emasculated, but few would wish the methods to be publicly reviewed!

Soon after, her swing to the right was seemingly confirmed by her decision to block a statutory inquiry or independent review into the ‘Battle of Orgreave’, the violent clash between miners and the police at the height of the Miners Strike in June 1984, described by QC Michael Mansfield as “one of the most violent clashes in British industrial history.” Although the event happened over 30 years ago, new evidence recently uncovered meant a review would almost inevitably be called. In 2015, the Independent Police Complaints Commission reported that there was “evidence of excessive violence by police officers, a false narrative from police exaggerating violence by miners, perjury by officers giving evidence to prosecute the arrested men, and an apparent coverup of that perjury by senior officers.” Alan




The Big Story As far as the idea of foreign worker disclosure, it would be fair to give Rudd the benefit of the doubt as an idea that may not have been fully thought through. She later doused the flames with a conciliatory statement that forcing companies to reveal their foreign workforce was “not something we are definitely going to do” and was part of a wider review of immigration and employment practices. i.e. let’s try and forget I ever said that. So what kind of Home Secretary will Amber Rudd be? On her website she declares her motivation is defined by wanting the best for her children’s generation: “I’m a parent and I want the best for my children. I don’t want them to spend most of their lives paying off the debts that my generation ran up. “I don’t want them to feel betrayed because my generation did nothing to create a society where talent was nurtured, where effort was rewarded, where success was encouraged, where people took responsibility for their own actions and had pride in their own achievements. “Most of all, I don’t want them to look at us and say, “you saw what was happening and didn’t try to make a difference.” I want a future our children deserve.” Her maiden speech to the Party conference as Home Secretary concentrated largely on her determination to fight against modern slavery and domestic abuse, and to ensure the




legal system offers better support for victims of rape. She offered a vision that few would argue with. “We will drive through ambitious social reforms that will deliver equality of opportunity. “Reforms that define the Conservative principle that the things that matter the most are the talent you have. And how hard you are prepared to work.

“I think she got into a bit of trouble on the day we left school, when she tied together all the chair legs in the dining-room.”

“For me, as Home Secretary, building a society that works for everyone means that we must help those right at the very bottom. “I feel very strongly that, as we work to deliver a Britain that works for everyone, it is our duty to help the less fortunate. This means that we have to discuss issues that make us feel uncomfortable.” If she makes progress on these crucial issues then no-one will care how her politics are defined; all that matters is that she made a difference.


mber Rudd was born on 1st August 1963 in London, the daughter of Ethne Fitzgerald and Tony Rudd. She has one brother, PR executive Roland Rudd, perhaps best known as the chairman of Business for New Europe. The pro-European leanings clearly run in the family. She was educated at Cheltenham Ladies’ College and Queen’s College, and went on to read History at Edinburgh University. Emma Craigie, a contemporary at Cheltenham recalls: “There were real problems in our school house, there were 17 in our year and a huge proportion developed eating disorders. But Amber was very comfortable in herself, very warm, outgoing, confident, and very, very competitive. I think she got into a bit of trouble on the day we left school, when she tied

The Big Story A A Gill has been in the news recently, opening up about his struggle with cancer. Rudd’s political career began in earnest when she was selected to contest the Liverpool Garston seat in 2005, an exercise which can only be described as character building, as it was always going to be a Labour stronghold. Her career was fast-tracked when David Cameron took over the leadership of the party and announced plans for an A-List, which was designed to increase the number of female MPs, as well as increase representation from ethnic minorities. Rudd was selected for another Labour-held seat, but this one was definitely winnable. In 2010 she won the Hastings and Rye seat with a majority of 1,993. together all the chair legs in the dining-room.” Rudd helped to find extras for the 1994 film Four Weddings and a Funeral, for which she was credited as the ‘aristocracy co-ordinator’. She made a brief on-screen appearance in one of the church scenes in the film. Director Richard Curtis said he gave Rudd the job of casting extras for the movie, because, ”She knew a lot of dukes and earls.” As her career progressed into serious politics, she retained that sense of fun. In 2008 she won an award for her poem on the subject of safe sex. Rudd submitted the poem to the Hastings & St Leonards Observer in a competition to raise awareness during National Contraception Week. The poem won joint first prize in the over-25s category, with her assertion that if more people chose bingo at the beach over unprotected sex, the world would be a better place. Echoes of Boy George’s declaration that he preferred a nice cup of tea to sex? After university, Rudd joined J.P. Morgan and then embarked on a stint as a financial journalist before founding a recruitment agency. Her business career was not without controversy - or at least it became controversial once she entered public life. The Guardian reported that she was a co-director of Monticello, a company that was at the centre of a share ramping investigation and that, “she was also involved in a company prospecting for diamonds in Siberia, that was traded on a notoriously unregulated stock exchange”.

had investments in a tax haven that imposes no income, corporate or wealth taxes on individuals investing in offshore companies. However, no report has suggested any legal wrongdoing on Rudd’s part.

Director Richard Curtis gave Rudd the job of casting extras for Four Weddings and a Funeral, because: “She knew a lot of dukes and earls.” Amber was married to writer A A Gill between 1990 and 1995, a period when Gill was a recovering alcoholic who was starting to build a successful career in journalism. Although the marriage broke down, Gill publicly declares: “The truth is I adore Amber. We’re still close friends and she’s been the most amazing mother to our two children.”

Rudd moved to Hastings Old Town in 2007 and she embraced the causes that matter to the town. She sat as a Conservative member on the DEFRA Select Committee arguing for improvements to small local fishing fleets, like those found in Hastings and Rye. “Fishing is emblematic of our coastal communities and the fleets in both Hastings and Rye are important sources of jobs, skills and immense local pride,” said Rudd. “After a grossly unfair initial allocation of quota a decade ago, which left our fishermen with catch limits which were too small, working to help the industry has been a constant challenge. However, I am now more optimistic for our fishermen’s future than I have ever been previously.” She has also been a campaigner for improved transport links to the area, and had some success with the go-ahead for construction of the Hastings to Bexhill Link Road. She continues to lobby for upgrades in key rail links.

When a tranche of data, including a list of directors of 175,000 Bahamas registered companies, was leaked to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Rudd’s name appeared. The question was asked why she




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The Big Story Rudd’s rise through the ranks was swift. In September 2012 she was appointed the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP. She became the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change in 2015. At the time, political journalist, Andrew Gimson, wrote, “When forming a Cabinet, David Cameron pursues an unusual policy. He likes to promote people who know something about the department they are going to run, and then he keeps them there for a good long time. Rudd was an Under Secretary at DECC before making the double jump to become its head.

“I want the best for my children. I don’t want them to spend most of their lives paying off the debts that my generation ran up.” “For those of us who treasure the fine old tradition of throwing ministers into departments of which they know nothing, and moving them on just as they start to understand what is going on, this is a disconcerting process.” Rudd was indeed a passionate advocate for tackling the looming catastrophe of climate change, a fact that did not go unnoticed. Even Greenpeace, not known for their praise of the Conservative Party, welcomed her appointment. John Sauven, Executive Director of Greenpeace UK, said: “Amber Rudd’s appointment as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate is a hopeful sign that the Government remains committed to implementing the Climate Change Act, and achieving a strong international climate deal in Paris later this year. Ms Rudd was a key player in securing vital reforms to the EU Common Fisheries Policy and championing a better deal for the UK’s local, sustainable fishing sector. We look forward to her bringing the same drive and ambition to securing the clean and efficient

“Want a lift, Amber?”

energy future Britain needs.” Since 2015, events have moved quickly, and this year she became just the third female Home Secretary, and only the fifth woman to hold one of the Great Offices of State. After being at the heart of the Blue-on-Blue divisions that were laid bare during the referendum, the promotion may have been a surprise. Or maybe not, as Therese Coffey MP, explained: “Probably Theresa wanted a safe pair of hands, you can’t get much safer than Amber Rudd.” Big challenges lay ahead but perhaps the biggest worry lies within the party. She may have to get in Boris’ car after all, as she confirmed in her conference speech! “I sparred with the Foreign Secretary live on television. Now he keeps offering me lifts in his car.”




Legal - Company Profile

FROM THE BEWICK SWAN TO BREXIT We are not your traditional law firm


aw firms” and “fun” are not terms which often enjoy sharing the same sentence. Then again Rix & Kay is not your typical law firm. From the outside, Rix & Kay may look fairly traditional – an award winning full service commercial law firm with its roots firmly in Sussex. Its first office opened way back in 1948, the same year as the creation of the NHS, and has since flourished with a reputation that has allowed it to develop a strong client base in Brighton & Hove and across the South East. From the inside however, the picture tells a different story. Take, for example, Rix & Kay’s work this summer to support a unique expedition to save Europe’s smallest swan from extinction. Flight of the Swans is a one-of-a-kind project and this September Sacha Dench of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) took to the sky in a paramotor from the Bewick’s swans’ breeding grounds in Arctic Russia. Her aim is to fly solo 4,500km across 11 countries before finishing at the swans’ final destination in the




UK. Rix & Kay are providing the dedicated legal support for the expedition and are thrilled to be involved. Bruce Hayter, Rix & Kay’s Managing Partner and Head of Corporate explains: “When we were approached to support the project there was not much more to say other than yes. We want to work on projects that are inspiring and in the public interest. Our reputation in the challenging expeditions arena has helped us pick up projects like this over the years. It’s fantastic that our teams are engaged in the project and it fits perfectly with our culture at Rix & Kay. We want our people to work on projects that are both rewarding and fun.” Closer to home, other projects leap out that suggest Rix & Kay are not just concerned about supporting businesses and individuals with their commercial and legal needs. The list is impressive. The firm works closely with Active Sussex, supporting grass roots sport and is a primary supporter of The Starr Trust, where a team of cyclists, including Partners and staff from Rix & Kay, recently raised more than

Bruce Hayter £20,000 for the Brighton based charity. The firm will again support the Sussex Food and Drink Awards and together they continue to help boost local farmers, food and drink producers and the outlets across Sussex. Yes, the project helps connect Rix & Kay with its

Legal - Company Profile

community, but there’s also something to be said about the quality of English sparkling wine at the moment. It’s another example that underlines the essence of making work enjoyable. So what about business and Brexit? Well, much like Rix & Kay’s approach to work, the firm is pragmatic but fully prepared. It’s very much business as usual for the firm’s Teams and, if anything, the lawyers are busier than ever working on a host of impressive client projects and deals. The Corporate team epitomises the firm’s outlook and they are not dwelling on what may or may not happen post Brexit. Dominic Travers, Partner who leads Rix & Kay’s team in Brighton Dominic Travers has recently completed three significant M&A deals. Advising New Era UK Holdings on its acquisition of UniServity Ltd and two crossborder deals, he advised global operator, Flint Group, on the acquisition of Druckfarben Limited in the UK, and a UK based business that was acquired by an Indian based business. Dominic states: “A number of professionals across the region were surprised by the Brexit vote and are concerned it will impact the volume and quality of deals. While no one really knows what will transpire post-Brexit, particularly when Article 50 is triggered, we are remaining positive. The recent cross border deals we helped complete show that there

will continue to be inward investment for the right businesses in the UK. We want to work with like-minded people who remain positive about business and who want to grow and succeed, talking down the economy becomes self-fulfilling.” So it’s no coincidence that Rix & Kay’s summer has been a particularly busy one, and the number of clients that continue to return time after time, speaks volumes about how the firm works with clients. It’s not just about great client service, which the firm excels at, but how

Alan Zeal

Rix & Kay go about their business. They make a point of being open, approachable, always accessible and easy to talk to, as well as being commercially minded and technically brilliant. The result is that their people aren’t typical lawyers and they don’t wear “Lawyer” as a badge.

Alan Zeal, Partner in the firm’s Corporate team in Uckfield reflects on some of the projects he has worked on over the last few months: “It’s hugely rewarding to know that clients put complete trust in our lawyers to handle their work and the fact that they don’t go elsewhere is testament to that. So far this year we’ve completed multiple acquisitions for a number of clients, one of which is Green Insurance Group which has been determined to deliver growth to its business. They know we can get the deals done for them and they know they are in safe hands”.

So what about the future? Rix & Kay makes no bones about the fact that it is ambitious and wants to continue to grow. Not just in Brighton & Hove and Uckfield, but across Sussex and Kent. The firm has just opened a new office in Ashford, Kent and sees this as a great opportunity to build on its successful operations in Sevenoaks. The Corporate Team is one of the strongest in the South East in terms of numbers and depth, with a dedicated regional team of ten professionals including four Partners who are focused on supporting businesses in the region.

Sara Carpenter

Sara Carpenter, who is Partner in the firm’s Sevenoaks office and leads the team’s operation in Kent sums everything up: “Rix & Kay is a great place to work and that helps to recruit and retain the best people. Our team has grown over the last 12 months and it has needed to, bearing in mind the range of interesting and diverse projects that we are now working on. It’s hard work, but most importantly it’s enjoyable and rewarding, and this is reflected in our attitude to work. Above all, I think that’s what clients really like”.

You can find more information about Rix & Kay’s involvement with Flight of the Swans at or visit





WHAT BETTER TIME IS THERE TO EXPORT.......? by David Sheppard Chairman, Sussex Chamber of Commerce.


ere we are with the pound at historically low levels and exporters, we are told, doing very nicely thank you. Well, if input costs are stable and especially if sourced in the UK, then exporters are over 20% more competitive than a year ago or alternatively 20% more profitable. If that isn’t sending you to the “me too” export counter

then you must be fat, dumb and happy… or just lazy… or just not well informed.

“Exporting is not just the domain of manufacturing but is applicable to the service sector as well” Of course, not every business has export potential, and most would only have potential if time was spent thinking laterally and doing research. Exporting is not just the domain of manufacturing but is applicable to the service sector as well, as many companies throughout Sussex have proven. Sometimes export success creeps up on a business by accident through a chance contact or referral but there are rich rewards to be had with a carefully planned and targeted approach. So, at first sight exporting seems full




of pitfalls to catch the unwary business out. Language, culture, legal jurisdiction, approvals, finances, tax, documentation to name a few. But the UK, as a historically great trading nation, has steered through these issues for years and there is a mountain of experience out there to call upon. Remember “Brand UK” is still a powerful force in international trade and forms a key part of our government’s industrial strategy. Mind you, government never fails to make things more complicated than it needs be for business. Witness the recent metamorphosis of UKTI (Department of UK Trade and Industry) into DIT (Department of International Trade) and the uncertainty on the role it is expected to play. Suffice it to say that despite the confusion, there are a cadre of experts out there to guide you through the process and provide invaluable insight. If there were any doubt, and to prove his commitment,


additional support for exporters was one of the few business benefits coming out of the Chancellor’s Autumn statement in 2016.

“You might be surprised at the level of export support available throughout the world and the passion those overseas agents have in helping you - the potential exporter”

You might be surprised at the level of export support available throughout the world and the passion those overseas agents have in helping you - the potential exporter. DIT have traditionally used the support of the commercial desk of the UK Embassies, but more recently the British Chambers of Commerce have accredited over 40 overseas Chambers from Chile to Singapore who can provide active and immediate support, whether it’s finding desk space, bank accounts, customers, agents, distributors or any other aspect of getting to grips with a new country or culture. So, if you want to make hay while the sun shines, get on with it now. The terms of trade are in your favour, the government wants you to do it and there are customers out there who don’t particularly give a damn about Brexit. It has proven unbelievably difficult to get Sussex businesses engaged in exports. DIT,

the Chambers of Commerce, local authorities, LEPs have all tried to get businesses out on wet and windy Sussex evenings to provide information and guidance on exporting, generally to little avail. There would be a better turn-out to a knitting class for construction workers! To counter the apathy, the Sussex Chamber of Commerce and DIT are supporting the Sussex International Trade Forum (SITF) to provide an informed opportunity to investigate the why’s and wherefores’ of exporting by holding events throughout the county. Great speakers and venues are being laid on to provide an honest view of what it takes to be a successful exporter, borne principally from other company’s experience and knowledge.

“There would be a better turnout to a knitting class for construction workers!” So if the UK is the limit of your ambition then fine, miss out on a great opportunity. But if not then put some time aside to do some research and find out for yourself whether exporting is an easy way to grow your business and potentially make it more profitable. Don’t let the weather put you off and you’ll receive a warm welcome from the SITF.

The SITF is chaired independently by Brett North of Elekta and is widely supported by representatives from the LEPs, Universities, businesses and the Chambers of Commerce. The 2017 plan is advertised on the Sussex Chamber of Commerce website www. sussexchamberofcommerce. and has tempting insights into different countries, regions, ways of starting out and how companies, large and small have exported - successes and failures.




Autumn Statement

Autumn Statement - Review 1

COULD DO BETTER MR HAMMOND says Chris Coopey, Partner at Carpenter Box


hilip Hammond’s first Autumn Statement was always going to be a juggling trick that was likely to please no one. That’s not to be unkind, but the reality was always going to be around what he could possibly give that wouldn’t rock the fiscal boat too much, ahead of the uncertainty of a post Brexit Britain. The latest forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) confirmed an increase in borrowing, now expected to reach £68.2bn this year. Economic growth is expected to slow over the next two years, initially rising marginally to 2.1% for 2016, then reducing to 1.4% in 2017. Overall, the ‘Brexit effect’ is expected to impact on economic growth to the tune of 2.4%. The statement did confirm a number of previous proposals including the reduction in corporation tax from 20% to 17% from 2020. This plays into the government’s aim to make the UK an attractive global destination in which to do business giving us as it does, the lowest rate of Corporation Tax amongst the G20 group of countries. For the employed the proposed increase in the threshold of Personal Allowance, of which people pay no tax, from £11,000 to £11,500 was also confirmed. There were however no big giveaways and no mention of a reduction in VAT, which some had said would contribute to helping growth in the economy. One welcome tactic was the announcement of further investment into research and development in the UK in a bid to boost overall productivity. This it is hoped will help us to keep up with our European counterparts, and is most definitely welcome. £2 billion extra per year by 2020/21 should further some of the great R&D work that UK businesses, often in partnerships with universities, undertake. Progress around




monetising Artificial Intelligence and Biotech should certainly benefit.

KEY POINTS: Business • Corporation tax (currently 20%) will fall to 17% by 2020 • £400m into venture capital funds through the British Business Bank to unlock £1bn in finance for growing firms (“to tackle the longstanding problem of our fastest growing technology firms being snapped up by bigger companies”)

“There is disappointment around losing yet another opportunity to reward investment and promote growth” • Rural rate relief will increase from 50% to 100%, giving businesses in rural areas a boost • There will be an additional £4.7bn in R&D funding by 2021, including an increase in grant funding to Innovate UK

Taxation/pay • Income tax threshold to be raised from £11,000 to £11,500 in April, with the government still committed to taking the allowance up to £12,500 by 2020 • Higher rate income tax threshold to rise to £50,000 by the end of the Parliament • Tax savings on salary sacrifice and benefits in kind to be stopped, with exceptions for ultra-low emission cars, pensions, childcare and cycling • National Living Wage to rise from £7.20 an hour to £7.50 from April next year • Employee and employer National Insurance

thresholds to be equalised at £157 per week from April 2017

Other • Ban on upfront fees charged by letting agents in England “as soon as possible” • Additional £1.4bn to provide 40,000 new affordable homes, with a further £1.7bn to be used to acceleration the construction of new homes on public sector land • New penalty for any person who has enabled another person/business to use a tax avoidance arrangement that is later defeated by HMRC

IN SUMMARY Marking a major change to policy-making processes, the Chancellor announced that his first Autumn Statement would also be his last. 2017 will see the final Spring Budget, as from that point, the main Budget will be held in the Autumn. The OBR will produce a Spring forecast from 2018, with the Chancellor responding in a new Spring Statement. From a business perspective, the date of the statement and budget are far less important than the content, and this time around there is disappointment around losing yet another opportunity to reward investment (for instance on general Capital Expenditure) and promote growth, particularly in the SME sector. Could do better Mr Hammond.

Autumn Statement

Autumn Statement - Review 2

GOOD NEWS FOR BUSINESS, BAD NEWS FOR BORROWING By Bryan Elkins, Senior Tax Partner, Kreston Reeves


hort on flourishes it might have been, but the Autumn Statement did offer some significant promise for corporate enterprise of all kinds. Not least was the commitment to spend £23 billion over the next five years on innovation and infrastructure, £2 billion on research and development generally, and to provide 5G broadband speeds where they will most help. The focus from Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, is clearly on improving productivity and the environment for business against the uncertain backdrop of Brexit. But it also laid the groundwork for a much more competitive future, particularly in digital technologies. The boost for technology represents a 20% rise in Government Research and Development funding. And there is also the promise of £400 million in venture capital funding to firms making technological advances. There was a polite nod to the fiscal probity that defined his predecessor, but not much of a commitment to stay acquainted. Instead, Mr Hammond promised to “chart a new future” and turn Government into an un-locker of pent-up enterprise, whether in the tech sector (to keep new firms in the UK) or as an enabler of new housing (to start to ease problems of supply), whilst borrowing grandly to do so.

Taxing times Businesses will have been pleased by the firm promise to keep the planned reduction in Corporation Tax to 17%. The pledge to raise the higher rate tax threshold to £50,000 will also be welcomed. Somewhat less happy might be the millions of people who take part in salary sacrifice schemes, which essentially give them a range of perks, such as mobile phones and gym membership, at little cost to them or their employer. Not for much longer.

Owner managed corporate businesses were also significant losers in the Autumn Statement. They face a potential big rise in taxes following a review designed to level the tax playing field between the employed and self-employed. This will be a blow to the many people who felt encouraged to incorporate their selfemployment in recent years, typically quite modest enterprises, to save tax and national insurance. Following consultation, it is likely to mean that they face significant rises in tax/ National Insurance contributions.

“There was a polite nod to the fiscal probity that defined his predecessor, but not much of a commitment to stay acquainted” The South-East may also benefit from changes to the way Government funds affordable housing, and developers might indeed follow leads given by the Government’s promise of heavy investment in infrastructure, such as road and rail improvements. We must also hope that the detail will mean relief for the region’s many congested routes, particularly the A27 through Sussex and the promise of the Lower Thames Crossing. The Statement contained a few crowdpleasing measures, particularly aimed at the so-called ‘Jams’, people who are said to be ‘just about managing’, including a freeze on fuel duty, a ban on uncontrolled tenancy fees in the rented property sector, and a rise in the National Living Wage to £7.50 from next April. The latter however will further increase costs for businesses in certain sectors employing large numbers of lower paid staff. But these

seemed almost incidental to something bigger being cautiously moved towards: a fundamental change to our economy.

Choice cuts The big question will be whether Project Spend also produces Project Growth. That is the gamble that underlines the measures Mr Hammond outlined; and it will cost an extra £122 billion in Government borrowing by 2020-21 to find out. Meanwhile, the Office for Budget Responsibility estimates that growth will be 2.4 per cent lower in 2021 than it would otherwise have been before the Brexit vote exactly five months ago. The road for which the British economy is being prepared, clearly looks much rougher to the Chancellor than the many others which his infrastructure spending aims to improve.





EASTBOURNE’S PR CHAMPTION Back in 1995, Tim Cobb quit his career as a journalist to strike out on his own on the other side stepping in to the dark world of PR. He has never looked back. Interview by Ian Trevett


eing a journalist was all Tim Cobb ever wanted to be, holding on to the dream of making it on Fleet Street. The dream was realised, but long hours and a painful commute eventually took the gloss off the life in print, so it was time to realise the other long-standing wish - to work for himself. It was a brave move in the mid-1990s. Today PR companies abound and Public Relations is recognised as an essential element in any business plan. It wasn’t always this way, as Tim recalls... “I was working as the Day News Editor for the Press Association, looking after a team of about 30 writers, which was a very enjoyable experience, but the PA then decided to combine the News Editor and the Day News Editor roles, and I was offered the job. As I was still living in Eastbourne, I was already having to catch the 5.06am train every morning and getting back late. “I knew that going out as a freelance journalist would mean a hand-to-mouth existence, so PR seemed much more appealing. I was used to getting poor quality press releases from PR companies, who didn’t know what constituted a good news story, and I thought that I could do better. “So I set up my own PR company. I based it in Eastbourne as I had had enough of




commuting, and I also involved my wife Sue, which has always worked very well. I had a good contact book of national journalists, though now I was on the ‘dark side’!”

if she heard a siren she’d change direction and follow the fire engine to see if there was a story. When I was late for school, I had great excuses.

Much has changed since then. News rooms at both the nationals and regionals were packed with journalists, and PR releases were largely treated with disdain. Now resources at papers are so scarce that PR companies have a much bigger role to play, as newspapers now need content.

“I wanted to follow in their footsteps, but unfortunately my school grades weren’t good enough to get into the local paper. I managed to get on a trade magazine, though back in the 1980s, writing for the trade press was, rather unfairly, seen as second-rate journalism. I was in Sutton working for Commercial Motor, and I took advantage of the training in my three years there.

“It is a shame that newspapers, especially regionally, now have so few ‘proper’ journalists. When I was on the papers, we used to go ‘off-diary’ and talk to people, digging out stories. Now papers are actually grateful when we send stories in! It is a complete reversal.” There was a sense of inevitability that Tim

“My initial ambition was to earn so much money that I would have to become VAT-registered! ”

would be a writer. “My parents were both journalists; my mum worked on the Eastbourne Herald and my dad worked at the Evening Argus. When mum was driving me to school,

“My mum was then the deputy editor at the Herald and she told me about an opportunity for a trainee. The editor very kindly took on the deputy editor’s son, so you can imagine how well this went down in the newsroom. I took a big pay cut but I was where I wanted to be and I did two years of newspaper training. “When I completed my training I joined the Evening Argus, and built up some freelance work for the nationals. I got some shift work at the Daily Mail, and in 1990 I was taken on full-time by the Press Association.” Having taken the step into freelance, Tim’s ambition could be described as modest: “I had no ambition of running a business or employing people. My initial ambition was to earn so much money that I would have to

Interview “Eastbourne Borough Council outsourced its corporate communications to us and we are in advanced talks with another local authority. “We recently did a workshop at the House of Commons about crisis communications which went very well. Ten local authorities were there and we had great speakers from Eastbourne and Worthing talking about the pier fire and the Shoreham Air Show crash. Rupert Clubb from East Sussex County Council spoke about his work in emergency planning.

Tim Cobb, when he was handling the PR around the moving back from the cliff edge of Belle Toute Lighthouse in 2000. become VAT-registered! It wasn’t the highest target ever! In reality it was just a case that I didn’t want to work for someone else; I just wanted to be a freelancer.” As the client list grew, expansion was the next obvious step. “I finally broke out of the cautious mind-set, when I took on my first staff member, and we embarked on a growth spurt. We should have taken that step much earlier in hindsight, but until then I wasn’t keen on taking on the responsibility of someone else’s livelihood.

“If something goes wrong in the town, people will usually blame the council, even if it is nothing to do with them. It is about the public getting a balanced view on a council rather than just the bad news.”

“It is good that we have two sides to business, so if one is slow, the other might be busy. The ‘traditional’ PR company is growing organically at a decent pace, but the dynamic growth is in the digital side as this is how people are accessing their information.” The move into digital hasn’t been the only successful change of direction, as Tim explains: “When the recession hit, we saw some of our clients fall off the cliff, particularly in the construction sector. Others saw PR and marketing as an easy part of their business to scale back, so we saw the public sector as being a safer harbour when the waters were choppy.

“Public sector PR tends to have more emphasis on helping with difficult situations than you would get in the private sector. Let’s face it, if something goes wrong in the town, people will usually blame the council, even if it is nothing to do with them. It is about the public getting a balanced view on a council rather than just the bad news that might be reported in the local paper.” The work for Eastbourne Council is a refection of the passion that Tim has for his home town, and he is also the current President of the Chamber. “It is a good place to work as there is a close-knit business community in Eastbourne and most business people know each other. We have a growing digital cluster in both Eastbourne and Hastings, and a high proportion of businesses with three or less people. It is a very diverse, dynamic business environment”

“There are nine of us currently in the Eastbourne office and we are now reestablishing a Brighton office. Three years ago, I was approached by James Dempster, who was then working for one of our clients, with the idea of setting up a Healthcare division of the company, which soon switched into a digital agency. Under James’ stewardship it has grown very quickly and James now employs 15 people in the agency. “James is a very driven individual and we tend to leave him to do his own thing, but Sue and I, as well as company chairman, Nik Askaroff, are always there for mentoring and advice.

1986 when Tim was working as a reporter on the Eastbourne Herald and joined the local TA group in Germany.





IS YOUR BUSINESS IN DENIAL, DIGITAL OR DISRUPTIVE? Best4Biz Conference review by Emma Pearce Marketing Consultant – marketing planning, outsourced marketing and social media training


he Best4Biz Conference is only in its third year, but has earned a strong reputation for delivering an impressive line up of international business speakers, a Question Time style panel discussion with local MPs and business leaders, along with useful breakout seminars on a range of topics. But that’s not all, there’s also a small exhibition area and great networking opportunities with 250 East Sussex delegates throughout the day.

Allister Frost’s ‘takeaways’ for business owners were: • Build your business on solid ground - have a website with strong clear messages that answers people’s questions. • Mobile first - everything must work on mobile devices

• Be easily found - search engine optimisation (SEO) is vital - included voice activated search

The first keynote speaker was Allister Frost. He was Head of Digital Marketing for Microsoft and now advises companies all over the world.

• Targeted social media posts and advertising - target your posts to specific segments of your existing fan base for free and new potential customers via the paid marketing options.

Is your business in Denial, Digital or Disruptive? Allister gave examples of companies that are in three distinct categories: DENIAL - remember Blockbuster? They were offered the opportunity to buy Netflix in 2000 but refused and went bust in 2010. DIGITAL - a business that is embracing the new digital world. For example, even in retail, John Lewis has screens in store where you can see every piece of furniture with any of their fabric options. They can’t hold all that physical stock - but they can digitally. DISRUPTIVE - a business like the Uber taxi service. Uber offers a whole new world of taxi rides. A customer uses an app on their phone that can now integrate with Google Maps, pay by credit card or paypal and choose to play their Spotify music playlist in the cab.





• Email Excellence - targeted messages to segmented lists that build a long term relationship

The event is delivered by East Sussex County Council and ACES, the Alliance of Chambers in East Sussex in October each year.

Allister’s presentation was dynamic, thought-provoking and entertaining.



Best4Biz Round-Up After Allister’s presentation he joined the lively interactive Question Time Panel session. The panel included Malcolm Diamond MBE, Nus Ghani, MP for Wealden, Huw Merriman, MP for Battle and Bexhill and Alex Storey from Google. Brexit, transport and other issues were covered with questions from the floor. The next session included three more presentations about local innovation, how to differentiate your offering and success in overcoming the skills shortage by businesses and schools working together on The Enterprise Advisor programme. The afternoon programme included informative breakout sessions on social media from a legal standpoint, facebook as a B2B marketing tool, growing your business via sales into the public sector and exports and cyber security.




Best4Biz Google Keynote Presentation The final keynote speaker was Alex Story, Head of SME Partnerships at Google UK. Alex said businesses must give people information at the early stage of their research and ultimately take them to a mobilefriendly and easy-to-use transaction environment. We look forward to seeing the Best4Biz programme in 2017!

10. 7.


9. PHOTO CAPTIONS: 1. Alex Storey, Google 2. Jason Fry, Pav IT 3. Shea Bennett, Identity 4. Pearce Marketing 5. Causeway School, Eastbourne 6. Graham Marley, LDBG and Debbie Martin, ESCC 7. Huw Merriman MP 8. Allister Frost 9. Allister Frost and Nus Ghani MP 10. Penina Shepherd, Acumen Business 11. Will Callaghan 12. Christina Ewbank, ACES 13. Rupert Clubb, ESCC



13. ACES




THE HIDDEN BRAIN DRAIN by Emma Cleary, Director, Ten2Two Sussex

The UK is missing out on up to £170bn worth of economic benefits by not having enough women in employment.


he annual ‘Women in Work’ Index from accountants PWC shows that the UK could boost its GDP by 9% (£170bn), if it could increase the number of women in work to match that of Sweden, the highest performing country. There are significant opportunities for businesses to leverage the skills experience of women returning to work through flexible




“Around 60% of candidates that register with Ten2Two are not otherwise active in the jobs market and do not register with other agencies.”

working. Part-time working and jobshare opportunities can encourage women who would prefer to work fewer hours, committing to a job alongside their family responsibilities, to return to work and increase female employment levels. It’s a big opportunity. Office of National Statistics data shows that there are over 1.5m women in the UK who want to work more

Recruitment hours than they currently do. A Government commission highlighted that this opportunity is significant amongst those with professional and managerial skills.

Based in local areas with real teams of business professionals, Ten2Two has built a community of thousands of professionals who have asked for Ten2Two’s support in their flexible job hunting. In exclusively specialising in flexible working and supporting candidates with free professional development events in areas such as working flexibly, CV writing, presentation skills, social media and networking, Ten2Two has privileged access to a community often invisible to other recruitment agencies.

“Office of National Statistics data shows that there are over 1.5m women in the UK who want to work more hours than they currently do”

Around 60% of candidates that register with Ten2Two are not otherwise active in the jobs market and do not register with other agencies. Candidates feel the recruitment industry is not interested in them as part-time professionals and that quality professional part-time and flexible opportunities are not easily visible to them.

Conflict of Interests Mothers with young children are a third less likely to be in work than fathers. Amongst the challenges women face is the availability of affordable childcare. In many cases full-time childcare can cost more than a parents’ posttax income, making work uneconomical. Ten2Two research also shows that women working full-time with young children in fulltime childcare, experience real challenges in managing and balancing work and family. They often feel they have to compromise on both fronts and therefore don’t do either job as well as they could. Around 75% of working women with children are the primary carers, so until the recent shared parental leave legislation matures and workplace attitudes change, it’s a female issue. However, the situation can change when children start full-time education. Women who have taken a career break to start and care for their family often turn their attention to returning to the workplace when their children start school. The predictable hours, boosted by the range of breakfast and after-school activities, creates space for work.

Flexible Solution For over six million women in the UK, flexible working is the solution. For women with professional skills and experience, a part-time role allows them to re-enter the workplace, continue their career, use and maintain their hard-won skills and experience and care for their families, a situation many didn’t think possible. Basing working hours around the school day or working several full-days a week with less childcare support, makes work a viable option. Women in this situation also prefer to work locally. Long commutes and the unpredictability of travel can make balancing childcare and work problematic, so working close to home or school completes the solution.

A Compelling Business Case There is a clear business case for employers offering greater flexibility. Reducing working hours of a role from a standard five day week to three days a week or to five hours a day, reduces the salary requirement by 40% or more without compromise on the experience or abilities on offer. And if you’re clear about what you want this person to achieve, a lot can be done in 20-25 hours a week by an experienced person. Research has also shown that offering flexibility increases business efficiency by more closely matching hours and salary to the requirements of a job, and increases business effectiveness through supporting seasonal or business peaks and troughs. Increases in employee satisfaction and retention has also been proven. Employers’ attitudes about flexibility are important for women returning to the workplace. In a 2015 Ten2Two survey conducted amongst 650 women returning to work, 80% of respondents felt an employer’s attitude towards flexible work was an important factor in their decision to work for a company.

Finding the Win-Win Ten2Two was established ten years ago with a single purpose: To connect local businesses of all sizes with local professionals in their area seeking professional part-time and flexible work.

Ten2Two has introduced flexible working to hundreds of businesses, many of whom have returned to find more talented people time and time again. They provide a full end-to-end service, handling every step of the recruitment process on behalf of their client, and often consult on refining job descriptions, identifying the right part-time working pattern for the job and even on-boarding job-share partners. Flexible working has no boundaries. Sectors have ranged from Advertising and Digital Media to Pharma and Manufacturing, professional services to not for profit. Roles ranges from HR and Finance to Marketing and Sales. Even Surveyors and Food Scientists have been sourced.

“For over six million women in the UK, flexible working is the solution”

The Future’s Flexible New generations of employees think flexibility is a natural aspect of their job. They can connect and work from anywhere and expect a balance between work and play. UK businesses still have some way to go to achieve this position, but in the meantime Ten2Two is playing a part in bringing people and businesses together, flexibly.




Business Consultancy

THE SECRET TO YOUR SUCCESS By Janette Whitney ACIB MCMI, of award-winning Business Consultants Janette Whitney & Associates


any people will have heard the terms Business Consultant or Management Consultant, but few fully understand what they are, much less what they can potentially do for a small or growing business. It is assumed by many small business owners that business consultants are the thing of big businesses or major corporations, but recruiting the right Business Consultant can help a small business gain experience, knowledge, contacts and ideas as well as constructive criticism, all of which cannot fail to be of value to a company regardless of its size. So what are the benefits?

Been there, done it! An experienced Business Consultant can fill the gap in a small business owner’s experience or can add industry knowledge of a specific sector the business is targeting. A good Business Consultant will be an experienced business person with a respected background who has probably helped a number of businesses find their feet, grow or survive tough times.

Think outside the box A Business Consultant does not work with a business full-time and won’t be concerned with day to day issues, but will instead look at the bigger picture. What is the direction of the business? Are targets being met? What environmental changes might affect the business? Which competitors to watch out for and what are the plans to keep ahead?

Impartiality A Business Consultant does not engage in office politics and retains their independence. In addition, the consultant will have witnessed changes sweep over the business sector in the past, which means that they are able to advise with confidence and recommend unbiased decisions in the interests of the business.

Connections A successful business is a connected one, usually through networking. However for a small business it can be time consuming and can often prove difficult to build a trusted network of contacts. A Business Consultant can usually offer an address book of relevant contacts to go along with their own experience. This could be a supplier, distributor or potential customer to help boost business, or a potential partner to add a new dimension to your business.

The benefits of working with an experienced Business Consultant are: • Provides business expertise that can far outweigh the costs • Adds credibility and strengthens the management team (especially helpful to gain funding) • Will be a sounding board for the MD or CEO • Assists with growth and raising the company profile • Brings years of experience to bear when looking at proposed business plans • Can provide crucial guidance at critical stages of a business • Fills particular skills gaps which the owners of a young company may have

ABOUT JANETTE Janette Whitney ACIB MCMI is a multi award-winning Business Consultant and business growth specialist, providing practical strategic advice to businesses from start-ups to £10m turnover companies. Professionally qualified with over 35 years business experience and a proven track record of satisfied clients, she helps businesses to grow profitably and achieve their goals. Janette is also an award-winning business author and media columnist. If you would like assistance to achieve your growth ambitions, please call Janette on 01403 733671 for your free 15 minute telephone consultation. Email or visit





IT’S ALL IN THE LABEL For almost four decades, Lotus Labels has been supplying labels and labelling products to thousands of companies in the UK and abroad. Managing Director Andreas Schillinger explains why labelling matters and how he became involved in the industry.

An experienced label company will guide and consult in the choice of suitable materials and production methods.

How did you become involved in the labelling industry? In my previous roles in the print industry I had always perceived the packaging and the related labelling sector as consistently buoyant. Some print sectors have gone through some tremendous changes, but packaging and labelling haven’t been affected to the same extent- and this why my business partner, Dr. Harald Lossau, and I decided to put our recent investment into the UK label market. Lotus Labels was a good target, due to its experienced workforce and its established client base and an excellent reputation in the market place.

Can you give us a brief history of the company? The company has been around since the 1980s. The early success of the business was built on strong demand for price guns and related labels and then grew further with the printing of general labels, mostly for food packaging. In February 2014, we took over from the previous owners and founders who have embarked on a retirement life.

It is never just a ‘sticker’ but a print product that has to suit an environment: frozen storage conditions, humidity, heat, light exposure, mechanical impact, etc. There are a multitude of materials and adhesives that combine appearance and function, one example are labels that feature the use of metallic effects or special varnishes or laminates.

How important is label design in the branding of a company? Terribly important. The label says everything about the product such as essential product information including nutritional values and guidelines. Whatever the branding message is, there is always a way to use modern technology and innovative materials to further enhance promotion of a product.

You recently became a member of the international Dynamic Systems Group of companies. What is the advantage of this link-up? Being part of a group gives us access to know-how and technologies that are well established in our sister companies. There is an excellent synergy between the production

sites and our new digital press complements the group framework very well.

Have you had any unusual label requests? We have been asked for labels that completely dissolve in water, are made from edible materials, that have to withstand the extreme rigors of marine environments, that can be attached to red hot steel bars, that glow in the dark, that are as secure as a banknote and that have built-in electronic circuits

Have you noticed any trends over time in label designs? There are generally more embellishments, such as gold and silvers, but also interesting surface textures produced by embossing or by structured varnishes. For technical and pharma applications multi-layered labels are further evolving.

What tips would you give to someone wanting to make their packaging distinctive? Clients are getting their inspirations from design platforms like Pinterest. There is a lot out there that people are sharing freely.

Why should a company choose a professional labelling company? The label production process from design to dispatch of the final label can be very involved and often the devil is in the detail.




Business Travel

GOING DUTCH by Maarten Hoffmann


hen l got my hands on the new Jaguar F-Pace, l really wanted to stretch the cats legs so where better to go than Holland. As my father was Dutch, l have a few connections there and l was overdue a visit and really wanted to take my kids as, by default, they are a quarter Dutch. The only proviso was that they had to read Ann Franks Diary before we departed or they couldn’t come. I have never seen speed reading like it and the final page was turned in the car on the way. Ok, l relented but it worked. Before l discuss Holland, let us not forget that marvel of engineering that is the Channel Tunnel. I always prefer the ferry as l quite like the whole boarding thing and wandering around the deck as the white cliffs fade away and the French coast hove’s into view but l relented and we went underground. It really is quite amazing and seems to take just a jiffy before we are there. The road journey to Holland is easy and as Jaguar had kindly loaded the latest European Satnav for the journey, l do think the car could




have done the journey without the lump of meat sitting in the driver’s seat. First to Amsterdam and a city that l have fond memories of. What a beautiful city. Canals, pretty waterside homes, markets and the ever present bicycles that, unlike England, seem to have far more of a right to be there than cars. This is a city in which you are best to dump the car and take to your feet as you see and absorb so much more.

“l do think the car could have done the journey without the lump of meat sitting in the driver’s seat.” I first went to Ann Frank’s house after reading the book as a 12 year old, it had such a huge impact on me that l had to take my girls there as they are her age and the impact would be so much stronger. It was. Tears were flowing as we toured the totally ‘as was’ house that has been meticulously maintained and

throws you straight back to those dark days. Amsterdam was not bombed during the war so is as beautiful as it always was. We stayed the night at the 23-story 5-star Okura Hotel and what a treat. The uniformed doorman whisked the car away as we were ushered into the glorious reception and efficiently checked in and shown to our rooms. Huge rooms and huge bathrooms with sumptuous beds and a room service order form for pillows. I didn’t even know there were eleven types of pillow! Nothing was too much trouble and although we couldn’t eat as it was, by this time, gone 11pm but l left the family and wandered around the hotel. The Nagomi Spa is like an oasis of calm with Shiatsu massage, indoor pool, Turkish bath and full fitness centre. It was a huge mistake to arrive so late as we missed the key to the whole hotel – dining. The Okura has three Michelin star restaurants: Ciel Bleu Restaurant – two Michelin stars with Chefs table and private dining rooms; Yamazato Restaurant – one Michelin star with a superb Sushi counter;

Business Travel Teppanyaki Sazanka – one Michelin star; and the Serre Restaurant with a Michelin Bib Gourmand. If that were not enough, there is the Twenty Third Bar on, oddly enough, the 23rd floor with panoramic views of the City, the La Camelia for breakfast and a cooking studio and wine room. This is a hotel for serious gourmands and, as you might have gathered, is aimed at Japanese visitors but there is no better way of tasting Japan than staying here and so much quicker to get to. There is absolutely no doubt that l will be returning in time for dinner - several dinners.

Ann Frank’s diary

They also have a magnificent Ballroom that can seat over 1,000 theatre style along with several smaller meeting rooms and corporate bookers can be assured of sublime food and service, whatever the occasion. But no time to dally – onto Rotterdam. This is my father’s birthplace and although l would like to conjure up memories, it looks so different today that l struggle. The struggle was resolved when 25 of my family turned up, but that’s for another day. Our berth here was the brand-new 5-star Mainport Hotel, right on the edge of the River Maas with views over the river and the skyline. Breath taking. 215 funky rooms and each floor has its theme. Designer Feran Thomassen has ensured that each floor represents a different continent. Again, just dump the car at the door and it vanishes as you enter the vast glass





Business Travel

Okura Hotel

reception area. Glass is evident everywhere to ensure you never forget you are riverside. Up the glass elevator that made the girls a tad woozy as you shoot at speed up the outside of the building, hanging over the river. After 5 minutes they were up and down it like a fiddlers elbow as it was quite addictive.

The rooms are stylish and superbly equipped although one does wonder what visitors to Rotterdam get up to when, searching the copious shelves, l found a bag marked ‘for him’ next to a black box marked ‘for her’. For him was a bunch of condoms and for her virginal love balls! I kid you not. Half way through my inquisitive inspection, my head exploded with

the realisation that the girls must have the same things in their room! I left scorch marks on the floor as l shot out of the room and into their room just as Millie was reaching for the box. I have no issue with explaining condoms to an 11-year old but l would cringe at the thought of explaining quite what you do with the love balls!

Rotterdam’s cube housing

Rotterdam after the bombing




Bicycle parking at the station

Business Travel The Mainport is not called ‘Manhattan on the Maas’ for nothing and you will want for nothing. The continent theme is carried through into the menus with the Restaurant Down Under serving a superb array of dishes from East to West; from sashimi to Argentinean steak. I am a huge fan of Argentinean beef and this was some of the very best l have ever tasted. We made great use of the Cocktail Bar on the Rocks and yes, you’ve guessed it – it is riverside and, as the weather was fabulous, it was truly a beautiful experience. And all my family can attest to the quality of the cocktails and the speed with which people vanished when the bill arrived!


“Huge rooms and huge bathrooms with sumptuous beds and a room service order form for pillows. I didn’t even know there were eleven types of pillow!” Any post-cocktail suffering was remedied with a visit to Spa Heaven. This sanctuary on the 8th floor offers a Finnish panorama sauna, a sultry Turkish steam room, a Hamam mecca and two treatments rooms. If you have never been stark naked in a Finnish sauna with wall to wall windows, l suggest you try it but possibly leave the love balls in the room! I was going to try the pool but the siren call of the cocktail bar got the better of me. To cap it off, the hotel has conference and meeting rooms for up to 400 delegates and l cannot think of a better place to host that next meeting.


Holland is a captivating, picturesque country populated by friendly and welcoming people and l would heartily recommend both these superb world class hotels. Interestingly, l was asked on more than one occasion what l thought about Brexit. During the discussions, l couldn’t avoid what l determined was a slight look of envy on their faces.

OKURA HOTEL, Amsterdam Ferdinand Bolstraat 333, 1072 LH Amsterdam. Tel: +31 (0) 20 678 7111 Web:

MAINPORT HOTEL, Rotterdam Leuvehaven 77, 3011 EA Rotterdam Tel : +31 (0)10 217 57 57 F: +31 (0)10 413 32 22 Email :







In his latest book, author and business mentor David Mellor set out to bust the myths surrounding entrepreneurs by getting them to agree to a series of candid interviews. Sue Scott turned the tables with an exclusive Q&A.


e truly has been there, done that, and now he’s written the book!” is how one grateful entrepreneur described Sussex-based business author David Mellor’s first stab at sharing the pain and gain that comes with jettisoning yourself from a corporate career to pilot your own business. With a trilogy of DIY manuals, self-made success and an honorary fellowship at the London Guild for Entrepreneurs behind him, David has embarked on a series of talks. He aims to motivate others to not only follow in his footsteps, but into the craters left by some of the disruptive giants as they strode across their respective business landscapes. Characters such as Vernon Hill, the founder of Metro Bank UK, the first bank to open on a British high street in more than 100 years; multiple business and social entrepreneur Steve Moore, who also helped transform




Channel 4; and Justine Roberts, once described as the most powerful woman in the UK and the founder of mumsnet. In his latest book, Inspirational Gamechangers – How the Best Business Talent Create Astonishingly Successful Companies, co-written with Brighton’s Gerry Thompson, David set out to nail just what lies between the ears of these and other successful entrepreneurs and, crucially, if it could be replicated by those of us not gifted with the genetic instinct for building successful commercial empires.

Are entrepreneurs born or made? I get asked that question a lot, and the answer is that you can learn to be an entrepreneur, but if you have some entrepreneurial characteristics you have a natural advantage. You’re not doomed from

the start if you do not have entrepreneurial flair, though. In my previous life at Deutsche Bank I learned that the one who comes up with the idea is not always the one who can be evangelistic about it. You might be brilliant at R&D and analytics, but if you’re a galloping introvert it’s going to be hard work getting your message out. Does that mean you’re not an entrepreneur? No.

In the new book with Gerry Thompson, you had access to an impressive number of high-profile international entrepreneurs. How did the book come about? Intellectually, it sounded fascinating to me – to study these people, look at what they had in common and see what lessons could be drawn from them. But we only had nine months

Interview to write it and I had to get to these people without an advantageous route, visit them, write up the interviews and get them approved by their lawyers. So we sat down in Gerry’s house in Shoreham and drew up a list of 60 we’d like to target. Then it was a question of finding who I was one-step removed from. That way, I was able to figure out who I could put a sniper rifle on rather than carpet bombing the lot. If nothing else, this book demonstrates the power of networking!

Some of these people were surprisingly frank with you about their personal and professional experience and how it had affected their business. Do you think that ability for self-analysis is an important trait in an entrepreneur? In terms of emotional intelligence, yes. They have quite a high level of self-awareness – whether they act on it is another question. They are pretty clued up in terms of where their blind spots are. Anita Roddick was not afraid to surround herself with people smarter than herself; Richard Branson is the same. In addition to a high level of self-awareness, they have an awareness of other people, too. A great example of that is Lesley-Anne Alexander of the RNIB. She had a board of 12 people, 10 of whom were either blind or partially sighted, because that was the community she served and she needed people who understood it. Women are particularly good at that and it’s why we need more of them on boards.

You put the entrepreneurs you spoke to into five categories: ‘trailblazers,’ including James Dyson, ‘disruptors,’ such as Branson, people who established ‘values-led businesses,’ like Anita Roddick and ‘community players,’ such as Justine Roberts. Then there are the ‘upand-coming influencers’, like Darren Fell of the alternative online accounting service

Crunch, in Brighton. What, if anything, do they have in common? All of them, somewhere in their thought process, have an understanding, not just of the community they are setting out to serve, but also of where the pain is in that community and what they can do to make it go away. Part of what Lesley Anne Alexander did at the RNIB was to create a common voice from the 731 charities representing blind and partially sighted people in the UK; Branson talks about how most of his innovative projects stemmed from his dissatisfaction with the way he’d been treated as a customer. Vernon Hill at Metro Bank sums it up. He says he doesn’t want customers, he wants fans, and he benchmarks not against other high street banks but other high street retailers.

“ If you’re a galloping introvert it’s going to be hard work getting your message out. Does that mean you’re not an entrepreneur? No.” Being single-minded can lead to bad business decisions. How important is flexibility in an entrepreneur? The clue is in the title of the book. They not only change the game, they are also prepared to change. Flexibility is hugely important. It’s not in the book, but there is an example from when Starbucks was expanding in the States, and one of the things they introduced was a Starbucks newspaper, which was the brainchild of the CEO. The feedback from the guys on the counter was that it sucked – customers hated it. You’ve got to be a brave person to tell the CEO their idea stinks, but he took it on the chin and dropped it. I’ve seen people, through personal pride, keep pumping cash into things that are not working. Philips and Betamax come to mind.

Has the landscape changed for entrepreneurs, especially since you’ve been mentoring them over the last 15 years? The successful ones these days have a higher level of commercial acumen than 40 years ago. One of the myth busters we talk about in the book is that these guys are not Wild West pioneers. They are not doing anything blind. They do a lot of analysis and work the numbers, then find the right balance between the emotional and commercial arguments. If you are going to appeal to hearts and minds, you have to back it up with figures. The ability to get that message out there has also changed, largely because of social media. Finally, crowdfunding has also made a huge difference. Banks don’t want to do this kind of financing anyway, and while the government was saying ‘we have these funds to aid start-ups,’ if you actually look at the entry requirements, nobody passes the test. Not even my strongest client measured up. So there’s a change in the mindset of the entrepreneur, changes brought about by social media, and a change of attitude in the investor community.

Finally, what one thing did you take away personally from meeting these people? It doesn’t matter how good your product or service is and how good your plan is, if you haven’t got the right people around you, it’s not going to happen. I’ve seen firsthand the psychological, emotional and financial pain people suffered because they made the wrong decisions in terms of who they chose to associate with, whether they were board members, second tier of management or others they depended on. That’s the make-orbreak – and it’s one of the reasons I’m a sole practitioner! Inspirational Gamechangers – How the Best Business Talent Create Astonishingly Successful Companies, co-written by David Mellor and Gerry Thompson, and published by the Financial Times, is out now, priced £14.99.

David Mellor spent more than 25 years as a senior executive at HSBC and Deutsche Bank before setting up his own consultancy in 2001. He is now a leading lecturer in entrepreneurial thinking and strategies at the Cass Business School, where he holds the title Honorary Senior Visiting Fellow.




Event Management - Company Profile



arrot Events design, organise and produce their own high-impact events such as gala business awards, business networking events, community awards, conferences and exhibitions. They provide event planning services from conception to conclusion for a range of events including; conference event planning, corporate event management, gala award dinners, brand activations and much more. Their team are passionate about what they do and embrace the ethos of offering high impact, streamlined events with a twist of imagination. They deconstruct the norm in order to surprise and delight their clients by creating events that have a lasting legacy. By combining a hands-on and personal approach with creativity, design and leadership, they ensure the very best event delivery possible.




Carrot create an unforgettable experience, with impeccable attention to detail and deliver a truly bespoke, customer focused service. They pride themselves on going that extra mile to deliver excellence for every event that they design and produce and their creative and caring team would love to hear about your requirements for any of the following:

• Event Management • Event Production • Conferences and Conference Planning • Exhibitions • Gala Awards and Gala Dinners • Corporate Events • Themed Events • Product Launches

“2017 will also see the launch of two new awards events and they are the Sussex Retail Awards and the Sussex Trades Award”

• Team Building 2016 saw the launch of the Business Women Excellence Awards Sussex Edition, and 2017 will see them expand into Kent, Surrey and Hampshire with central London to follow later. These awards are a celebration of creativity, professionalism and the fantastic results that clients deliver for their business. Winning an

Event Management - Company Profile

award can play an integral part in gaining new customers and may help them choose you ahead of one of your competitors. Entering, or third-party nominating, takes considerable time and effort but this process ensures entrants review their systems, products, processes and what makes them and their business special. It gives an in-depth prospective and helps assess their business from many aspects and may even provide them with ideas on how they can improve and refine their offering.

“Sussex economic growth and development will be the main subject matters of the conference”

busy exhibition that will appeal to all ages. Each of the zones will comprise exhibitors who have something special, different and entirely relevant to the visitors’ lifestyles covering such subjects as finance and law, homes, décor and gardens, education, kids zone, lifestyle, entertainment, hobbies, technology, new skills, leisure, fitness, beauty, fashion, travel, wining and dining, nutrition, arts and crafts and much more. The New Year will see the launch of two new awards events and they are the Sussex Retail Awards and the Sussex Trades Awards both offering the opportunity for businesses in both fields to be recognised for their achievements. More about these awards will follow in the next issue of ACES Magazine. 2017 will also see the first Sussex Economic Forum take place mid-November in Brighton.

Sussex is a vibrant county with a rapidly growing population offering great business opportunities with so much strength in construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade and retail and tourism and is as dynamic as it is diverse. Sussex economic growth and development will be the main subject matters of the conference and will see many high profile keynote speakers, politicians, local government bodies, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, local businesses, universities and a variety of other institutions attending. The conference will accommodate over 1,250 delegates and will open with a huge Business Gala dinner the night before the full day conference. More news to follow in the next edition of this magazine.

If you would like more information about any of the events above or would like Carrot Events to organise or run any event for you then do contact: Faiza Shafeek on 07540406685 or via email at:

The Awards Intelligence Group says: “Winning business awards for your achievements as an entrepreneur, business leader or as an organisation that supports working women, is one of the fastest and most effective ways to raise your profile and create a platform for ongoing success. Receiving an accolade for your outstanding work achievements brings your successes to light, opens doors to new opportunities and builds a positive path for others to follow.” In 2017, the Sussex Lifestyle Show move to its new location of Brighton and will be taking place on June 27th and 28th at the Metropole Hilton Hotel Brighton with over 220 exhibition stands. Not only will the exhibition be packed with opportunities and offers but there will be an array of celebrity guests appearances, cooking demonstrations by top chefs, dance and fitness demonstrations and much more on the exhibition’s main stage. Those who exhibit at the Sussex Lifestyle Show are assured of a

Faiza Shafeek

Events and Sponsorship Director Identity House, Westham Business Park, Westham, East Sussex, BN24 5NP t 01323 469111 | m 07540 406685 e | w




Business Awards



ckfield FM’s Mike Skinner was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award at the 2016 Uckfield Business Awards, which took place at the East Sussex National Hotel.

Mike was chosen to receive the award by the Executive Committee of the Uckfield Chamber of Commerce who organised the awards night. Mike along with Gary King, Alan French and the late Paddy Rea, were the original team that set up the radio station back in 2002 as a trial




radio station for the Uckfield Festival. Roger Critchley from Addagrip who sponsored the category said: “Mike Skinner has been a very prominent and active member of the community for many years.” Fifteen other awards were given out during the glitzy awards dinner attended by over 300 people – the whole event was sponsored by C J Thorne & Co.

Business Awards

















1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.

There was also an additional award, ‘The Presidents Award’, which was presented to the Uckfield - The Future group by the chamber president, for all their hand work during the town’s roadworks this year.

Business of the Year sponsored by C J Thorne & Co : JEMTECH (UK) LIMITED Small Business of the Year sponsored by Lawson Commercial : UCKFIELD MOTOR SERVICES Business Person of the Year (Female) sponsored by Swindells Accounting : JACQUELINE HARDAWAY from Dawson Hart Business Person of the Year (Male) sponsored by B G Bentons : BERNARD SMITH from Oldfield Smith Retailer of the Year sponsored by Dawson Hart Solicitors : TN22 Large Business of the Year sponsored by Scientifica : BUXTED PARK HOTEL Young Employee/Apprentice of the Year sponsored by TR Fastenings : JAKE HOLMES from C J Thorne & Co Tradesperson of the Year sponsored by Neva Consultants : MARTIN HALL from Sureflow Plumbing and Heating Customer Service Award sponsored by Simmons Gainsford : ACADEMY OF HAIR Contribution to the Community Award sponsored by C P J Field & Co : UCKFIELD FESTIVAL Best Rural Business sponsored by NFU Mutual : BUXTED PHARMACY Best New Business sponsored by Knibbs Computer Services : OFF THE WALL ENTERTAINMENT Best Looking Shop sponsored by Uckfield Matters Magazine : CARVILLS Outstanding Achievement Award sponsored by Addagrip : MIKE SKINNER from Uckfield FM Restaurant, Hospitality and Leisure Award sponsored by Rix & Kay Solicitors : THE PICTURE HOUSE CINEMA & RESTAURANT

The awards dinner was hosted by Gary King from Uckfield FM and Jan Edwards from The Marketing Eye. Bernard Smith, President of the Uckfield Chamber of Commerce and Kathy Gore OBE DL from the Friends of Sussex Hospices welcomed everyone on the night.




Luxury Lifestyle



n the evening of Wednesday 2nd November, W Bruford hosted an exclusive VIP evening at Eastbourne’s Towner Art Gallery to showcase the much coveted new collection of watches, by luxury Swiss watch makers Rolex, unveiled earlier this year during BaselWorld. Guests were greeted with champagne and canapes, courtesy of Urban Ground Towner Café, and music from Fiona The Harpist whilst they browsed the selection of 150 Rolex models and were given the opportunity to enjoy the exhibitions at The Towner Art Gallery. Including, ‘One Day, Something Happens: Paintings of People’ which showcased works of art from the likes of Lucien Freud and David Hockney. Guests Chris and Jean Wallace commented that it was “an excellent evening, with marvellous displays” and that it was “wonderful to be able to try on so many varied Rolex models”. Though green is not Chris’s favourite colour he was surprised how much he liked the new 60 year celebration green dial of the Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 40. The main highlight model of the evening was the extremely sought after Steel Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona with black or white Cerachrom bezel. Tel: 01323 725 452




Luxury Lifestyle

Cosmograph Daytona

Day-Date 40

Cosmograph Daytona




Business Improvement Districts

BIDDING FOR QUALITY Christina Ewbank on the towns that like to say “Yes!”


astings has just won a “Yes” vote to create a Business Improvement District (BID) for the first time ever. Brighton is renewing their BID for the second time after a successful “Yes” vote and Eastbourne is progressing towards their first BID vote in February 2017.

So what exactly is a BID? A Business Improvement District or BID is exactly what it says on the tin! A business-led and business funded body formed to improve a commercial area, normally, but not exclusively a town centre. In a BID the businesses decide and direct how they want to improve the area in order to increase footfall, improve sales, cut costs, improve promotion of the area and improve the general environment of the BID area. This could include marketing, floral planters, winter lighting, Christmas lights, street ambassadors, security wardens, seasonal events, positive image and/or wayfinder signage.

“The combined annual BID levy is over £63 million; averaging £352,000 per BID per year” In a shopping area, for example, a BID will aim to provide an attractive environment to persuade shoppers to visit the town with their friends on a regular basis rather than merely shop online.

Key BID Facts • In the UK, the majority of BIDs exist in town centres, however they are also in industrial, commercial and mixed-use locations. For example, some towns like Bournemouth, have two BID areas; in the town centre and on the seafront. • The BID mechanism allows for a large degree of flexibility and as a result BIDs vary greatly in ‘shape’ and size. • Annual income is typically £200,000-




Business Improvement Districts £600,000 but the smallest BID raises £50,000 per annum while some of the London BIDs raise as much as £2 million per annum. • Legislation enabling the formation of BIDs was passed in 2003 in England and Wales and in 2006 in Scotland. • The first BID in England started in January 2005. • The first Scottish BIDs started in April 2008 as did the first Welsh BID. • BIDs were first established in Canada and the US in the 1960s and now exist across the globe. • There are over 230 Business Improvement Districts in the UK at present. • The combined annual BID levy is over £63 million; averaging £352,000 per BID per year.

representing the BID area. BIDs operate for a maximum of five years. If they wish to continue they must go through a renewal ballot process to secure another BID term of up to five years, which Brighton has done successfully twice.

Eastbourne’s Vision for 2017 “To create a BID to enable us to develop and promote a vibrant and successful town centre at the heart of Eastbourne with an attractive shopping and social environment that visitors and residents will enjoy for shopping, eating and exploring. We will link Eastbourne town centre to the seafront via a stylish, buzzing and attractive place for families, visitors and residents of all ages.”

• BIDS tend to act as a catalyst to stimulate additional income from different funding streams. • Some local authorities charge to collect the BID levy although the majority (34%) do not charge. • After the initial 5 year term a renewal ballot is required – there is a pattern of improvement in the percentage voting in favour at the renewal ballot.

“In a shopping area, for example, a BID will aim to provide an attractive environment to persuade shoppers to visit the town” The small print… A BID can only be formed following consultation and a ballot in which businesses vote on a BID Proposal or Business Plan for the area. The ballot is run by the local authority and all businesses situated in the BID are balloted over a minimum period of 28 days. In the UK, for a BID to go ahead the ballot must be won on two counts: a straight majority and majority of rateable value. This ensures that the interests of large and small businesses are protected. The BID Business Plan sets the priorities chosen by the businesses situated in the BID area for improvements in the area, as well as how the BID will be managed and operated. This plan becomes a legally binding document once a ballot has been won and becomes the framework within which the BID operates. The BID area enters into Baseline Agreement with their local authority and other service providers, which specify the level of service provision in the area. These ensure that any services the BID provides are additional. A BID is funded through a levy, which is calculated as a small percentage of a businesses’ rateable value. Once a ballot is successful the BID levy is mandatory for all eligible businesses. BIDs can be successful at attracting funding in addition to the BID levy. They are particularly attractive to public sector grant making bodies due to the private sector match-funding available through the BID levy. Local authorities, property owners, and businesses outside the BID area can all provide additional income for BIDs through voluntary agreements. The vast majority of BIDs are not-for-profit companies limited by guarantee and are governed by a board made up of BID levy payers




Direct Marketing


“Our sophisticated marketing lists and data management systems ensure you only mail the correct individual by their title. This comes about by Nova Direct cleaning, sorting and refreshing customer databases, and then adding new prospect data with the same criteria. Through this energising process Nova Direct makes your promotions a more effective marketing tool. “All systems are managed by our knowledgeable, skilled staff, whose experience in interpreting the results can make an inspired difference.”

“Profiling your data is the first step in strategic marketing.” DATA PROFILING “Profiling your data is the first step in strategic marketing. It is important, as it identifies the characteristics of your actual customers, highlighting when and where to look to win new business. Understanding the market demographic will help in designing your marketing communications. “Using your cleansed database, Nova take a snapshot of your typical customers and identify the key demographics.”

DATA CAPTURE “We capture data from forms, questionnaires or coupons to add into a database ready for processing or return to the customer. This data can also be used to identify prospective clients and improve engagement with your existing customers,

Stuart Sutherland from Direct Marketing specialists Nova Direct, explains how they build their mail and email databases and how they avoid irresponsible mailing

personalising messages and communications using the medium that is most appealing to your your individual clients.”

DIRECT MARKETING LISTS “Nova Direct can generate and supply approved direct marketing data lists and mailing lists. We obtain fresh, quality, tailormade direct marketing mailing lists to ensure




Direct Marketing

high response rates. “Lists can include numerous data fields,

project or as part of an on-going service through mechanisms of your own e-commerce

receive unsolicited direct mail. • Telephone Preference Service (TPS):

including Name, Business Title, Company

platforms or widely used front end services

This is a list of telephone numbers who

Name, Address, Fax Number, Telephone

such as Amazon and Ebay. We can also

would prefer not to receive unsolicited sales

Number and so on, plus industry, turnover,

provide you with a customised eStore or web

number of employees, postcode area,

portal to simplify the order-fulfilment process.”

list of fax numbers who would prefer not to

(Business Data) or income, hobbies and interests, household type, family demographics and postcode area and more (Consumer Data).”

DATA WAREHOUSING “We store and maintain customer databases within a secure on-site environment. “Nova Direct is registered under the Data Protection Act 1998. As part of this act we are obliged to ensure that our customers are

“We are obliged to ensure that our customers are aware that in certain circumstances their databases are screened against the Mailing Preference Service register to ensure no law is broken relating to unsolicited direct mail.”

aware that in certain circumstances their databases are screened against the Mailing Preference Service (MPS) register to ensure no law is broken relating to unsolicited direct

and marketing telephone calls. • Fax Preference Service (FPS) : This is a receive unsolicited faxes. • National Change of Address (NCOA): This file contains approx 9.5 million records of new and old addresses. It is compiled by the Royal Mail using re-direction requests from householders. It can be used as a Gone-Away File or to track and trace. • Postal Address File (PAF): A file that contains every address in the UK and can be used to cross-reference data. Compiled by the Royal Mail.

DATA PROCESSING “Our systems and data technicians

• The Deceased Register (TDR): This file is collected in collaboration with local registrars throughout the UK at the time a

mail. All members of staff have undertaken

continuously monitor, refresh and update data.

to abide by the rules of the act and maintain

This enables us to deal with all aspects of data

confidentiality at all times.”


file is collected in collaboration with local

• Merge, purge and de-duplication

government registrars, law firms, hospitals

• Mailing Preference Service (MPS):This

and funeral directors throughout the UK

SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT “Writing and developing of bespoke

is a list of families who would prefer not to

death is registered. • The Bereavement Register (TBR): This

within 7 days of a death.”

programmes to enable us to create an interface with any CRM system allows us to provide bespoke printing solutions such as financial statements, daily fulfilment and other essential communications. We have IT solutions which can be set up to distribute products as part of a special, one-time




Formal to Funky to Fun! Great photography shows your customers how seriously you take your business and yourself

Business Headshots Headshots to reect you and your business plus increase your social media standing amongst your competitors

01323 384672


YOUR COMPANY IMAGERY MATTERS You can deliver impact and individuality with the right commercial photographer, says Sarah Walker-Bennett of Artemi Photography


hy is it so important to recognise and own good photography in business? So many businesses still overlook this extremely important part of their makeup. As a business owner in East Sussex, it is important to class professional imagery for your business as a core asset. A company can benefit from good imagery in so many ways - from social media through to printed material and in all places that represent your business. Nowadays, online is the biggest platform. This tends to be the first place potential customers will start to interact with you. This is the place where you, as a business owner will probably make your first impression, and first impressions count. Great photography lets your customers know how seriously you take your business and yourself. How many times have you seen a badly cropped, fuzzy, pixelated photo of a CEO, MD or owner on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Google? Or one that was taken on an iPhone at the Christmas party? What do potential clients think when they see that? Theoretically they might want to invest or spend money with you and there you are, hardly visible, taking a selfie in your kitchen or worse still, your bathroom (Yes, I’ve seen that too!).

with old contacts, convey an impression of quality, individuality and recognition for you and your brand. It offers a perfect opportunity to outshine the competition, deliver impact and interest, and get taken seriously.

Tips for choosing the right photographer • Choose a photographer you trust, like the style of and one that has your best interests at heart. • Meet with potential photographers. • Make sure you feel relaxed with them.

“Great photography lets your customers know how seriously you take your business and yourself.”

How to find the right photographer With so many photographers now in business, how do you know who to choose? It’s a minefield, and one that could potentially be damaging to your business if you get it wrong.

• Ask how and where they suggest the photographs be taken. • Make sure the photographer finds out details and asks questions about you and your business. • Finally, make sure you say how many images you want and where you will be using them. Sarah Walker-Bennett runs Artemi Photography and is a professional photographer based in Eastbourne, East Sussex. She is also a recommended business on the Best of Eastbourne.

Email: Web:

This doesn’t mean that you can’t have a fun profile image, after all people buy from people. Let it be a fun image relative to you and your business, that’s been taken in a studio, edited correctly and with a high enough resolution that you don’t look like a member of a rouges gallery on BBC’s Crimewatch. With professional images, you effectively increase your social media standing amongst your peers. With professional photography, you can create opportunities by sharing and shouting about them on social media. You will reconnect




Promotional Feature

LET’S DO SPONSORSHIP A fter a successful series of Business Expos in 2016, Let’s Do Business have confirmed they will be back again in 2017 at the same towns and same venues.

The events will take place at Brighton Racecourse, Eastbourne’s

Winter Gardens and The Hastings Centre.

In 2017, the headline sponsor package will be shared between two companies. They will be snapped up quickly, so get in touch fast if you want to be one of the key brands for the show.

The full sponsorship opportunities Headline Sponsor Package £3k per Expo OR £7.5k for all 3 (max 2 per Expo)

Prior to the Expo:• Your logo and acknowledgement on all pre-event marketing, including newsletters, flyers, roadside banners, lamppost banners and newspaper adverts. • Your logo and company name to be included on our exhibitions website with a link to your website. • Contact details of all exhibitors will be provided to you 2 months and 1 month prior to the event (not provided to exhibitors until 1 week before). • Each exhibitor and visitor to receive confirmation of your sponsorship when they book/register. • Mentions on social media. At the Expo:• Free premium exhibition stand of 4m x 2m included (worth £500 per Expo). • To have a seminar slot on a subject to be agreed. • Logo on the front of the exhibition guide and on the narrow/gusset side of the exhibition bag. • A full page advert in the Expo show guide as well as a premium listing with your logo (worth £275). • Flyers in the exhibition bags for each visitor and exhibitor (worth £95). • The ability to put pop-ups/branded signage in key locations around the Expo including the entrance area, any staircases and other areas.


£350 per Expo OR £795 for all 3 (max 2 per Expo)

The Package

The Package

For more information contact Wes Game Tel: 01424 205500 Mob: 07823 320175 Email:

Expo Bag Sponsor Website: www. All figures exclude VAT



• Your logo to be on one large side of the Exhibition bag given to every visitor and exhibitor. • Logo size approx. 30cm x 24cm max. • A page advert in the showguide (worth £130). • A flyer of your choice to be put into each Exhibition bag (worth £95).

Showguide Sponsor £695 per Expo (1 per Expo)

The Package • Logo and company name on the front cover of the showguide, alongside Headline Sponsor. • 2 x Full page adverts in the show guide. Location to be inside front cover (next to the schedule) and back cover/inside back cover unless otherwise agreed (worth £550 per show). • A flyer of your choice placed in the Exhibitions bags for visitors and exhibitors (worth £95). Did you know that visitors keep their showguide for months after the event?

Keynote Speaker & Workshop Sponsor £695 per Expo (1 per Expo)

The Package • A personal introduction to the keynote speaker with photos on your stand for use on social media • Introducing/ compering the keynote speaker. • A seminar slot for your own company on a subject to be agreed. • Pop-ups/banners placed in the workshop area. • Your logo and sponsorship to be mentioned in social media and our newsletter. • Acknowledgement and logo to appear in the exhibition guide on the seminar schedule page. • A free half page advert in the show guide (worth £195).

Lanyard Sponsor £350 per Expo OR £795 for all 3 (1 per Expo)

The Package • Your business name or website printed on lanyards for visitors and exhibitors. • A free half page advert in the exhibition show guide (worth £195 per Expo).

New Degree Apprenticeship in management Government grants available

The University of Brighton is launching a new Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship which will start in January 2017. The apprenticeship is for middle managers and those aspiring to management positions. It’s for employees of any age, leads to a University of Brighton honours degree, and is studied parttime through blended learning. Benefits to employers: • Boost your reputation as an employer • Motivate and inspire your workforce to improve quality and efficiency • Get high quality work-related education for your staff at dramatically reduced cost • Benefit from government subsidies and grants

Successful apprentices will achieve: • BSc (Hons) Professional Development in Business • Degree Apprenticeship • Chartered Manager status awarded by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) Degree Apprenticeships are two-thirds funded by the government, which means they are highly cost effective for employers. In addition, the University of Brighton has a limited number of extra grants available which will can further reduce the cost to employers, meaning the whole apprenticeship can cost as little as £600.

For further information contact Viki Faulkner on



SUSSEX COLLEGES COMBINE ON SKILLS FOR EMPLOYERS With a big shake-up in apprenticeship provision due in April 2017, Sussex Downs College and Sussex Coast College have joined forces to launch Sussex Skills Solutions – a joint venture project aimed at providing employer focused skills training. Clare WestbreyTong (Assistant Principal of Sussex Downs College) and Dan Shelley (Vice Principal of Sussex Coast College) explain why they decided that together they are stronger. Dan Shelley, Vice Principal of Sussex Coast College


n April the Government will be launching its new Apprenticeship Levy, which means companies with a payroll of over £3m will effectively have to pay a ‘tax’ of 0.5% of the payroll. In return they will receive ‘vouchers’ to spend on apprenticeships and training. Smaller companies will also be affected as they will have to contribute 10% of the costs of training. The government reforms seek to put employers in the driving seat both designing Apprenticeship standards and taking more control of the Apprenticeship funds. Rather than seeking to compete to win new business the two Colleges have decided to team up and work together through Sussex Skills Solutions. “From the start we have seen the reform as a major opportunity to ensure local employers and Apprentices receive the best service possible. We are really excited to be working collaboratively, talking to employers about the changes and devising plans together to ensure local employers receive a joined up service,” says Clare Westbrey-Tong. For Dan Shelley, from Sussex Coast College




in Hastings, the collaboration has immediately helped with a long-standing problem. “One of the things we recognised is that we often ended up competing for business in employers’ premises. It would get very confusing for employers as the names of the two Colleges are quite similar and they would mix up the two.

“We have a great talent bank which we can effectively broker, offering a supply of talented young people.“

“We decided to join forces and develop Sussex Skills Solutions so employers could benefit from what is good about the Colleges and their provision, but get the information in a simple and straightforward way. Also, it allows us to engage with the companies in the way a private sector firm would.”

Clare Westbrey-Tong, Assistant Principal of Sussex Downs College

‘’As well as combining our sales teams the two Colleges are also looking at opportunities to develop a coherent set of qualifications for employers. For example, we are already in talks with the construction sector to make sure the skills and qualifications on offer at both Colleges are complementary and meet the future training needs of the sector,” says Clare. The apprenticeship levy will create a revolution in training provision, but Dan sees this largely as a good thing: “It will leverage in about £3bn a year nationally. It provides a great opportunity although it’s important to remember that there are not too many companies in East Sussex who will find themselves paying the levy. So through Sussex Skills Solutions we are offering a service to all local employers who want to discuss their training needs. “Since the 15th Century, apprenticeships have always been seen as a way of passing down skills to young people. Now it can work in that traditional way or it can be set at any level right up to degree level. It is no longer

Apprenticeships just focussed on job entry points; it can now be up-skilling or retraining of existing staff, such as managerial training. The levy can be used for workforce development, or as part of a CPD programme. Clare says, “We can supply support and consultancy services advising companies how to manage their training budget, and we can advise on what can be mapped over into apprenticeships.” One of the direct consequences of the change is that businesses will be looking to find the brightest talent. “Both Colleges have a great talent bank of young people, which we can effectively broker. Together we supply the majority of high quality vocational training in East Sussex training just under 6000 full time 16-18 students between us. Our aim is to prepare young people for the world of work and support them to apply for employment in local companies including via Apprenticeships. “We are seeing more young people who are studying A levels making the choice to progress onto an Apprenticeship.”

“We want to be the provider of choice across Sussex and beyond.“ Dan adds, “One great advantage for a student taking on a higher degree level apprenticeship is that they won’t need to take on a student debt, the company will fund the education. They can earn while they are learning, but still can pick up those valuable higher level skills. “Companies who will not pay the levy will co-invest 10% in the cost of training and the Government will pay the remaining 90%. There are other incentives for companies; when an employer takes on a 16-18-yearold they will receive £1000 to help them with any additional costs e.g. mentoring. For employers with less than 50 people working for them they will be able to train 16-18 year olds without any co-investment with the Government covering the full costs.

Twins Marco and Luca Belim are apprentices with Humphrey & Co “The levy will encourage companies to invest in their staff training, and this is something that UK Plc has not always been good at.” For the two Colleges, the Sussex Skills Solutions service offers enormous potential that goes beyond their local catchment areas, as Dan explains: “Most apprentice delivery can be in the workplace, we are not restricted to the classroom, so this means our delivery of training is not restricted to the immediate locality. We want to be the provider of choice across Sussex and beyond.” In the next issue of ACES Magazine, we interview the newly appointed Director of Sussex Skills Solutions, Stephen Burkes, to find out more about how the new service will work with local companies, and how it will help businesses make the most of the changes in apprenticeship provision. In the meantime, if you are thinking of taking on an Apprentice, want to discuss your training needs or are a levy employer tasked with considering your businesses’ strategy for Apprenticeships Sussex Skills Solutions can help: visit or email Tel: 030 300 38241.

Martin Greenham was an apprentice at the Clock Tower Nursery Lewes and is now Deputy Manager




Company Car Policy

DRIVE ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE LAW Are you liable when employees use their own cars for work? The answer is quite frightening, says Graham Prince of Neva Consultants


hen I speak at business events, I often ask the audience: “Did you drive to this event today?” Virtually all the delegates raise their hands. Then I ask: “Did you use your own car?” Most hands remain up. Finally, I ask: “Does your car insurance policy cover business use?” The most common response is usually a look of slight alarm! If a member of staff drives to a conference, visits another site, goes to a sales meeting or

Sometimes using a private car is not the best way to represent the company




picks up some leaflets from the printers, they are using their vehicle for business purposes. And if you are the employer, this becomes your responsibility.

A third of those surveyed believed that there was no significant risk to the organisation from an employee using their own vehicle for work

Drivers who use their own vehicle for work (we call these ‘grey fleet vehicles’) are more likely to pose a road safety risk than company car drivers, according to new research (an independent study commissioned by Lex Autolease). The study found that “grey fleet” drivers are more likely to engage in illegal behaviours while driving, including using a hand-held mobile phone. The research, involving more than 1,000 drivers, also found that grey fleet drivers are

Company Car Policy

more likely to drive without correct insurance or a valid MOT, or whilst knowing that the vehicle needs some attention. According to results from the research, 20% of grey fleet drivers have driven while using a hand-held mobile and almost 5% of grey fleet drivers have, at some stage, driven under the influence of recreational drugs. Apart from the clear road safety risk that this type of behaviour poses, many UK bosses are unaware that they are ultimately liable for these drivers when they’re out on the road for work purposes. The study also interviewed nearly 300 company decision-makers with responsibility for managing business vehicles. A third (33%) of those surveyed believed that there was no significant risk to the organisation from an employee using their own vehicle for work. More worryingly, 40% were not fully aware of the employer duty of care regulations within the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) and how they impact the grey fleet. Under current health and safety laws, employers owe the same duty of care to employees driving their own private vehicles for work as they do to employees who drive an organisation’s owned, leased or hired vehicles.

driving any vehicle for any business purpose and The Company Vehicle Policy MUST include all vehicles driven on company business regardless who funds or owns them.

“Grey fleet drivers are more likely to engage in illegal behaviours while driving, including using a hand-held mobile phone” This must include :• Driving License Checking • Vehicle Inspection rules and time frames • Mobile Phone use • Monitoring hours the vehicle can be driven without a rest • Checking drivers are medically fit to drive – eg eye tests • Ensuring the vehicle is both fit for purpose and legal

According to figures from the Department for Transport, tragically almost 2,000 people are killed on our roads every year. Of these, it is estimated that around 25 to 30% are due to accidents involving drivers on work journeys. The stakes are high. Up until March 2015 any offence under the HSE Guidelines had a maximum fine of £20,000. Now it is an unlimited fine and could even include a jail sentence for the Directors if they cannot demonstrate competence around the Duty of Care Policy for all of the vehicles driven on company business regardless who owns/leases them. Ignorance is no defence for a Company Director. If you are at all concerned regarding any vehicles that are driven for Company Use then Neva Consultants can offer you free advice around managing your risk For more information on creating a comprehensive Company Car Policy, contact Neva Consultants on 01825 720900 and speak to one of their Key Account Managers


Employers have a legal and a moral responsibility to ensure that their drivers and vehicles meet all legal requirements. So what can you do to ensure you meet the legal requirements? When dealing with Company Vehicles, it is a natural process to educate, inform and instruct drivers to be diligent. Company car drivers must ensure their car is serviced, MOT in date and the vehicle in acceptable condition. However, Business owners must recognise that this Duty of Care extends to any employee






Jaguar F-Pace By Motoring Editor, Maarten Hoffmann


t’s been a long time coming. We have longawaited the DNA swap between Jaguar and Land Rover although it’s been going the other way for quite a while. JLR have long offered a four wheel drive with the luxury of a Jaguar with the Range Rover but we have never seen it go the other way. That is, a Jaguar with a dose of the Land Rover and, finally, here it is in all its party frock and fancy knickers. The traditional German manufacturers outsell the likes of Jaguar by a million a year against Jags 100,000 but the F-Pace is designed to change all that. The company’s concern is that this car will simply steal sales from its own stable. If you want a Discovery, you might be tempted by the F-Pace and therein lies the problem of nicking sales from yourself. But at least the profit remains within the company, l guess.




Firstly, this is a very handsome car. Beautifully designed and styled from every angle and the nose is one that l could look at, in the right colour combo, all day long. The

“The petrol version does have a drinking problem but then, don’t we all?”

interior is an equal delight with a great 10.2 InControl Touch pro screen with a 10GB hard drive for music storage and a sound system that goes from the standard 80W system up to the mighty 825W Meridian surround system. As usual on recent Jags, some of the interior buttons and surfaces are a tad low-rent but that can forgiven as the general feel is superb -

and did l mention that sexy nose? The seats hug you, and, if you go up the spec sheet, you get 10-way adjustable heated seats that work so well that you really do feel like your’ve lost control of your bladder. There’s a general Range Rovery feel to the whole thing and that aint no bad thing. The only really annoying item here is the location of the window controls. Just as you get comfy with elbows where they should be, you have to rearrange yourself to operate the windows as they are high up on the door and in a very silly position. I am sure you get the point - if that is all l can think to complain about, things are going well. But, what about the all-important drive. I really wanted to stretch the cats legs - so l drove to Holland. Well, you would, wouldn’t you? Having mentioned this to Jaguar, they

Motoring efficiently supplied the car with a European up-date of the SatNav system that was so damned efficient, l think the car could of got there without me. I loaded the family on-board and headed for Folkestone and that other marvel of engineering, the Chunnel. It is easy to take this for granted but what a bloody marvel of engineering it really is.

Future World Heavyweight Champion, Anthony Joshua

“I really wanted to stretch the cats legs so l drove to Holland. Well, you would, wouldn’t you?” I headed to Amsterdam first to take the girls to Ann Frank’s house and although l have no time to sound off on that subject here, if you haven’t cried for a while, go and the tears will flow. The car just wafted us all there with little drama apart from the stares of people wondering what this car was. It is still novel enough, and beautiful enough, to make folk stare. It has superb road manners, corners flat for a high rider and will sit up and go when required. The diesel engine is pretty good, against my hatred of the damn things, and once it gets going, it is quiet enough. The volume sales might head toward the frugal 2.0 litre diesel for those watching the costs but really, move up to the 3.0 litre V6 and you will want for nothing. Based on the fact that the world is FINALLY waking up to the shocking damage that diesel engines cause, l would also recommend going for the petrol version thus avoiding the ban on dirty diesels entering our cities that is coming soon. The petrol version does have a drinking problem but then, don’t we all? I did expect the handling to suffer the normal compromise of high riding SUVs, but there’s little evidence of it due, in part, to the

lightweight aluminium bits and the torque vectoring system that helps you aim into corners by braking the inside rear wheel. It’s the way it flows through fast bends that impresses most; it may be lighter than most of its rivals, but this is still a 1.8-tonne SUV, and yet it genuinely feels as agile as many hatchbacks. There will be few issues with interior space as there is plenty of front leg space and rear headroom and with the panoramic roof, light floods into the cabin. Jaguar claim the boot space beats all its sector rivals at a whopping 650 litres with the rear seats in place although it is roughly on a par with the BMW X3 or Disco Sport but flatten the rear seats and you are left with space enough for a double bed, a couple of bedside tables and the kitchen sink. There are bundles of options but the range topping S and Portfolio would be the ones for me that come with everything fitted although





“Beautifully designed and styled from every angle and the nose is one that l could look at, in the right colour combo, all day long.” class SUV with all the style and panache you could want. So much so, that it is the Auto Express 2016 Car of the Year but far, far more importantly; it is time for me to announce the Platinum 2016 Car of the Year. you will pay the price. You could get an Audi Q7 for less but it doesn’t drive as well and is a lumbering old beast. The Q5 and Porsche Macan are competitors but this gives them both a good run for the money. Reliability is one aspect that Jaguar needs to look at as they finished a disappointing 30th out of 37 in the recent What Car reliability survey. In conclusion, Jaguar have produced a world

Last year, the barnstorming Audi RS6 Avant was my car of the year and that is a tough act to follow and with so many great cars on the market, this really does require the engagement of the old grey matter. In the end, it is quite simple. The Jaguar F-Pace is the ACES Car of the Year 2016 and it is well deserved.

“Flatten the rear seats and you are left with space enough for a double bed, a couple of bedside tables and the kitchen sink.”




TECHNICAL DETAILS Model tested: F-Pace S AWD Engine: 3.0 litre diesel turbocharged Power: 300 bhp Performance: 0-60 mph 5.8 seconds Top Speed: 150 mph Economy: 47.1 combined Prices from: £35,020.00 As tested: £59,665.00


PEUGEOT 2008 By Motoring Editor, Maarten Hoffmann is not verbose. Rather than repeating every road number and direction 100 times as you approach a turn it simply tells you where to go and then says ‘go left’ or ‘go straight’. Quite a relief. Avoid the base model and go for the Allure spec and you get all the toys such as handsfree, auto headlights, parking sensors, climate control and auto wipers. Peugeot offer an excellent finance package called Just Add Fuel; a three-year deal that includes lease costs, insurance and servicing costs. I quite enjoyed the 2008 once l looked past the Gallic anomalies and with the fuel economy and sticker price, this is a good car for the money.


he compact SUV sector is getting very crowded and is one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK. These models might look like four-wheel drives but in fact they are actually based on small hatchbacks and therefore sacrifice the all-wheel drive capability for low running costs. You, like me, might then ask ‘what’s the point then’? To be frank, l have no idea what the point is bar the elevated seating position that is cancelled out as, with so many on the road, we are all now raised and therefore the point is lost. The Nissan Juke and Vauxhall Mokka top the UK sales charts although God knows why as the Mokka is a shocker and the Juke looks like one of those plastic cars that used to fall out of cereal packets.

very small and hinders a full view of the dash. Unless you drive with the wheel lowered into your lap and the seat at its highest position, you will rarely ever see the bottom of the dash. Peugeot claim that this is not a problem. Peugeot are wrong. I quite like the drive though. It’s nippy round town, easy to see out of and to park and the seats are well bolstered and hold you well. The steering is light and easy and it is quite well weighted although if you get too butch with the gas pedal, you will experience quite a bit of torque steer from the front wheels but it will certainly get up and go. The SatNav

TECHNICAL STUFF Model tested: 2008 Allure Blue HDi 120 Engine: 1560cc Power: 120 bhp Performance: 0-62 mph 9.6 seconds Top Speed: 119 mph Economy: 76.3 mpg combined Price from: £13,970.00 As tested: £19,820.00

Enter the Peugeot 2008 that landed on my drive and my first thought is that is has the looks that only a mother could love. The French love doing this – taking a design and perverting it just enough that is divides opinion. Bravo, job done. The only place you cannot see it from is inside so l jump in and hey, not too shabby. It is well laid out and the quality feels pretty good except for the glittery silver plastic infills on the doors. Why? Also, this daft habit of putting lights in the roof. Again, why? It does have a great touch screen with smart phone connectivity and everything is quite well laid out although the steering wheel is





THE HIGH SPEED LAWYER H arry Sherrard runs a leading specialist employment law firm from offices in Sussex and Heathrow. This successful firm has been praised for providing commercially driven and practical advice with an impressive international reach and is a leading firm in the Chambers Legal 500. So far, so good, but what many of his clients will not know is that once the business suit comes off, the overalls go on as Harry has spent 33 years in motorsport with a resume that comprises some of the most exciting and glorious events in the calendar.

Harry’s new book, Taking Part, is a wonderful romp through the past three decades of adrenaline filled racing and adventure, from a 4x4 mission across the Sahara, his time at the Brighton Speed Trials in his Van Diemen Multisports car to stories about Paddy Hopkirk, racing at the Goodwood Revival and his time with Eddie Jordan racing, the birth of which came in 1982 when he was found sleeping in the back of Jordan’s pickup truck.

“A wonderful romp through the past three decades of adrenaline filled racing and adventure”

As with all motorsports, it’s an array of joy and horror in equal measure and one of the more hilarious recollections is when Harry took part in the British Cross Country Championship which, inadvertently, resulted in an appearance on the television programme ‘Best of Crash’. Harry recalls: “On an event in the Brecon Beacons, l put the Land Rover into a glorious four-wheel drift only to run out of road. In tarmac racing terms, ‘running out of road’ means a visit to a friendly gravel trap but in the Brecon Beacons it has a somewhat more literal meaning. The road really did run out and all we had was fresh air. As we rolled down the ravine, my concern was for Ivor, my co-driver, but when we came to rest against a tree stump, the right way up as it happened, he took it all

Running out of road



Harry (left) with faithful (and fearless) co-driver, Ivor Heading in his stride and we extracted ourselves calmly from the battered vehicle. That evening, the car was winched out of the ravine and returned to the service park and despite every panel being damaged, it still ran.” The book is full of fascinating details from his racing career and spans road racing, off-road adventure and everything in between, across the globe. The title Taking Part is derived from his mothers reaction when she learnt of his interest in motorsports and remarked “It’s not as if you’ll ever take part”. How wrong she was.

“As with all motorsports, it’s an array of joy and horror in equal measure”

To get a copy, go to where you will find an overview of the book and a copy can be purchased. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than absorbed in Harry’s book and if you think you have been involved in motorsports, read this book and think again.

Ooops in the Sahara


Wine Masterclass

Wine Masterclass


Pinot Noir red and rosé. A list of approved village names can be suffixed if you want more provenance – eg. Mâcon-Lugny, Mâcon-Fuissé, Mâcon-La Roche Vineuse. There is also the white only Mâcon-Villages AOC, a tighter area of vineyards spread over the region, although somewhat confusingly these wines are often not as good quality as some of the suffixed wines mentioned above. The five communes with the highest reputations have their own appellations – Pouilly-Fuissé AOC and nearby Pouilly-Vinzelles AOC and Pouilly-Loché AOC and also Viré-Clessé AOC and Saint-Véran AOC. In the hands of a good producer like Les


Héritiers du Comte Lafon, Bret Brothers,

aybe it’s the fish stall at the Friday


Domaine Gilles Morat, Gerald Talmard and

market in Lewes or the publicity

about these

Christophe Cordier you can really taste

about healthy omega 3 fats but

wines that

the differences between each village and

either way I’m eating a lot more fish these

just hits the


days. When it comes to meat it’s increasingly

spot with

a case of eat less but go for better quality.

white meats,

There’s a fantastic farm shop five minutes up

white fish

the road with top quality free range pork and

dishes and semi soft cheeses. There is enough

beef from rare breeds amongst many other

acidity too for them to work as an aperitif.

good things.

The Mâcon wine region is a patchwork of

I have been particularly enjoying Christophe Cordier’s wines recently. He describes himself as a “haute couture negociant” buying in top quality grapes from excellent plots and making wine in a meticulous fashion in his modern, gravity fed winery. Wines are vinified by

villages, sedimentary soils and terroirs with

terroir, only natural yeasts are used for extra

all this lovely pork loin, free range chicken,

the best villages huddled together in the hilly

complexity and the wines spend time on their

sea bass, monkfish and scallops? I’ve come

limestone amphitheatre around Fuissé to

gross lees before being matured in barrel.

to the conclusion that the answer is the ripe,

the south just above Beaujolais. There is the

Check out my list below left for other Macon

sunshine whites from the Mâconnais region of

regional appellation Mâcon AOC for mostly

wines to try.

southern Burgundy. There is a suppleness and

Chardonnay whites and a little Gamay and

The question is which wines to pair with

Some suggested Macon wines: • Mâcon-Villages 2014, Domaine Mallory et Benjamin Talmard – The Wine Society £8.95 • Mâcon “Aux Bois d’Allier”2014, Domaine Cordier – The Wine Society £10.95 • Mâcon-Villages 2014, DomaineFichet – Quaff Wines £12.99 • Mâcon-Milly – Lamartine 2015, Domaine Chene – South Downs Cellars £13.95 • Viré-Clessé Vieilles Vignes 2014, Christophe Cordier – Majestic £13.49 • Pouilly-Fuissé “En Carementran”2013, Bret Brothers - BBR £15.75 • Mâcon-Milly-Lamartine 2012, Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon – Domaine Direct, Tanners, BBR £18-£19

Jonny Gibson is the head tutor and owner of Sussex Wine School, an independent company that runs regular tastings and courses including WSET Levels 1-3 in Brighton, Lewes and Tunbridge Wells.




Dining Out

Restaurant Review

THE SUSSEX OX By Amanda Menahem


worked for many years in Bexhill-on-Sea as

So it was with some relief that I read about the

concerned with train times and the lack of

the HR Director of Hastings Direct Insurance

Sussex Ox in Polegate being shortlisted as a

parking, so I booked the Sussex Ox feeling

and have many friends and colleagues

finalist for ‘Best Eating Experience of the Year’

pleased with myself for pulling a good option

dotted about East Sussex. This has meant a

at the recent Sussex Food and Drink Awards.

out of the bag for him.

long-term hunt for eateries between Brighton

Perhaps, at last, I won’t have to drag East

and Bexhill for after work soirees. In my

Sussex dwellers to Lewes or Brighton!

opinion there is very little to choose from at

The pub – a beacon of light and warmth in the surrounding countryside - is tucked away in the

“On entering the pub, the atmosphere felt immediately cosy and welcoming, and it’s full of character with oak beams and open fires I love this sort of place.”

middle of nowhere (near Polegate and Alfriston).

Pelham Arms and the consistent Bills. I guess

I reserved a table for two, for dinner on a

the lighting and ambience was pleasant. This is

you could choose to go Michelin and head to

Thursday night with a friend from Hastings.

clearly a place for the locals, giving it an intimate

Ockenden Manor but for a casual dinner with

We had been due to dine in Brighton (The

family feel - I felt like I was in someone’s lounge

a colleague, sometimes this can be a bit much.

Ginger Pig), but he became understandably

(in a good way).

that end of Sussex. There’s the Jolly Sportsman at East Chiltington (very good), and well... that’s it isn’t it? Lewes is usually my safe bet with the promising Limetree Kitchen, the Mediterranean style home cooking of Le Magasin, the fairly decent pub food at the




It’s set within its own farm, which supplies much of the restaurant’s produce including the meat. On entering the pub, the atmosphere felt immediately cosy and welcoming, and it’s full of character with oak beams and open fires - I love this sort of place. We were shown to our table in the corner of the bar area, by the fire where

Dining Out

The menu is quite ‘heavy’ and long – length in a menu tends to

guest ordered the cheesecake. When his arrived, it looked fantastic; a

make me uneasy but I always keep an open mind. It’s filled with lots

large portion of baked cheesecake New York style with a thick biscuit

of classics such as fish and chips and the like but there’s nothing wrong

base, exactly how I like it. It tasted overcooked and over set with not

with that if it’s done well. Sometimes you just want good old-fashioned

enough sweetness and the base was cloying and dense. The attempt

comforting pub food. Nevertheless, I didn’t fancy any of the starters

suggested a chef who knows their food, but a kitchen in which

on this occasion. On offer were dishes such as ham hock terrine, deep

something had gone wrong on the night perhaps. My cheese was

fried whitebait and salt and pepper squid. The lightest option was a

almost comical. A huge breadboard arrived with what could only be

beetroot, walnut and feta salad, which I was tempted by but as my

Jacobs crackers (or more likely supermarket equivalent) and hunks of plastic, over-chilled flavourless cheddar. A chunk of brie arrived later

“The wine list is interesting, with some unusual choices. I’d just completed my wine qualification, so my guest invited me to choose his wine for him (oh the pressure).”

having originally been ‘forgotten’. Again, over-chilled. A third cheese was so underwhelming bland I can barely even recall it. I did wonder if they had run out of cheese and nipped to the corner shop to buy some. The service was warm and friendly though quite neglectful at times, needing me to interrupt chats with locals to get some attention. And whilst the food was fine for a pub and quite skilled in places (my main

dining partner didn’t want anything from the list, I too chose to give them a miss, which is most unlike me. From the main course menu I ordered roast salmon with sauce vierge, green beans, samphire and crushed new potatoes. My dining partner ordered ‘lamb shank’ (the menu gave nothing else away). The wine list is interesting, with some unusual choices. I’d just completed my wine qualification, so my guest invited me to choose his

course), on the strength of this visit alone I was amazed that they could have been awarded ‘Best Eating Experience of the Year’. I could only assume that the chef was off on this night, and so I vowed to return. I did so twice and I’m pleased to report that I had two very good meals subsequently. They seem to excel at wholesome food, big flavours and good portions at good prices. They just need to ensure a consistent experience.

wine for him (oh the pressure). I suggested a red from Navarra whilst I chose a white Fallanghia. This was dry, light and flowery, a good choice. When the mains arrived, so did my immediate food envy. My guest’s lamb shank was a beautiful hunk of meat glistening in a dark, rich sauce and resting on a mound of creamy mash. He tucked in to both food and wine, noting that the meat was properly slow-cooked but the sauce apparently over rich. My salmon dish was an exercise in classic pub food. A good portion of salmon with crisp skin resting on buttery vegetables. Braised red cabbage added a nice sweetness to the richness of the dish whilst the sauce vierge was well made and gave a freshness to the dish. Rich salmon, fresh herbs, olive old and buttery vegetables, it all tasted good. Desserts, however, were a disappointment. I ordered cheese and my

The Sussex Ox


Telephone: 01323 870840 / 07532 305909 Milton Street East Sussex BN26 5RL







he famous Hydro Hotel in Eastbourne commands one of the finest views in the area, sitting 121 feet above sea level with panoramic views across manicured lawns to the sea, since 1895.

“The reception area is unique with incredible gothic arches leading to the hotel’s two restaurants” The hotel was originally formed by the Eastbourne Hydropathic Company, who purchased the existing mansion and 3 acres of grounds. Eastbourne was chosen for it’s perfect sanitation, salubrious air and it’s perfect climate therefore ensuring it was a winter and summer resort for all those wishing to undergo hydrotherapy. Since those halcyon days, the hotel is now established as one of the finest in the area and is about to undertake yet another




transformation. The new General Manager, Jonathan Owen, is undertaking a total refurbishment of the building with renowned hotel interior designer, Angela Amesbury. Angela has an intuitive feel for this historic building having spent many years working with companies such as the Handpicked Hotels portfolio, Intercontinental, Peel Hotels, Hilton Hotels and a range of independent boutique hotels. ACES caught up with Angela to find out what her vision is for the Hydro. “The most important thing is to ensure that any design will stand the test of time and will not date. Private homes are so different from public buildings, such as hotels, due to the constant wear and tear and of course, we

“Weddings, private dining, anniversaries and meetings are perfectly accommodated in this highly flexible space.”

have to adhere to the copious regulations such a fire retardant fabrics and the like. The Hydro is such an exciting building to work on, with its long Angela Amesbury and illustrious history, and it is important that we appeal to the existing clientele whilst at the same time being attractive to a new audience. In addition to the 81 guest rooms, l am also tackling a refurbishment of the Garden Suite which is so popular for business events and weddings along with the reception area and all public areas. This is such an exciting project.” The Hydro is a perfect location for events and meetings with 5 function suites ranging from the Meads Room for small groups up to 16, to the Wedgwood Room and the Garden


Art Deco Reception leading to Gothic arches

Suite that can accommodate up to 100 delegates. Weddings, private dining, anniversaries and meetings are perfectly accommodated in this highly flexible space. The reception area is unique with incredible gothic arches leading to the hotel’s two restaurants: the Crystal and Orangery offering everything from casual dining to full à la carte. As if this were not enough, there are plans afoot to build an outdoor wedding ceremony venue with a gazebo overlooking the sea for up to 100 guests that will double as an al fresco dining area during the summer. To ensure that guests want for nothing, there is also the Hydro Spa offering a range of pampering treatments for ladies and gents, cinema events, a hair salon, car park, croquet lawn, putting green, snooker room, outdoor pool and superb service from their caring and attentive staff. I cannot imagine why anyone would ever leave.

Stunning Sea Views

“Since those halcyon days, the hotel is now established as one of the finest in the area and is about to undertake yet another transformation” It is wonderful to see this historic Eastbourne landmark hotel undergoing a refurbishment by such an expert as Angela and Jonathan demonstrates a real passion for the building that is totally infectious and results in the high level of service and passion from his team. The Hydro Hotel has stood here for over 121 years and, we are delighted to say, will be here offering sublime service for another 121 years. Angela’s Mood Board

Hydro Hotel Mount Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, England BN20 7HZ Telephone: 01323 720643

General Enquiries and Reservations: Conference and Banqueting Enquiries:






East Sussex National venue


etwork Xpress (also known as Net XP) is a branch of the business marketing network known as Sussex Pages. It is a digital marketing hub of services for SME businesses which encompasses digital, creative and social media management in the Sussex region. Net XP was founded in January 2016 and offer an alternative business trade show with an enlightened approach to business networking. The company was born from the recognition of a lack of engagement with networking the foundations of any successful business. Founder, Sonny Cutting, believes that the key to any successful business lies in the relationships that you forge face-to-face with potential clients, and this in turn, led to the birth of the annual Net XP event, a trade show with a themed games twist. Set in 1100 acres of beautiful rolling countryside at the superb East Sussex National in Uckfield, the venue is larger than ever before, with Net XP’s greatest number of exhibitors to date. With over 70 different businesses and a professional blend of entrepreneurs and directors taking part, the opportunity to connect with other businesses and forge lasting partnerships is at your fingertips – and with a twist or two.




No ordinary B2B networking and trade show event, Net XP wants to share with Sussex a revolutionary idea for trade shows. They are providing an exciting new venture of themed trade shows, be it pirate, casino or Trivial Pursuit themed, to involve all businesses at the event, get people talking and encouraging interaction.

On the 16th March 2017 Net XP will be holding a dynamic, casino themed B2B trade show, complete with a business poker table, roulette wheel and prizes, to profile local businesses in Sussex. With previous events having been such a success, exhibitors from every spectre of trade find that the more informal, relaxed and fun


atmosphere is conducive to making business contacts more personal and rewarding. Trade shows are a vital and reliable platform for delivering business leads to your business and levelling the playing field even against larger organisations. Marketing strategies for B2B networking can be diverse and, at times, daunting but at Net XP’s events, elements of serious networking combine effortlessly with a fun atmosphere in an effort to make marketing not only easier, but more enjoyable too. Net XP’s sponsors for the March event are already in place and they are proud to be associated with such prestigious brands such as Platinum Business Magazine (exclusive media sponsor), Basepoint, Worldpay, Cleankill and Ridgeview Wine Estate.Net XP are excited to continue working with these brands and many more, in a long term strategic partnership. Organiser Sonny Cutting said: “We want our events to be different and remain with people long after they leave. We want people to realise this won’t be your traditional networking day and that you can have fun and promote your business at the same time.” He added: “Too many networking gatherings are formulaic and rigid which doesn’t always allow entrepreneurs to interact as much as they would like with other business owners. We believe, by

introducing a fun element, people will get more out of our event, break down some barriers

We want our events to be different and remain with people long after they leave. and make some new exciting contacts.” Not only are the company’s trade expos uniquely designed to provide a platform for you to market your business and brand but they have a wonderful charity focus too. In 2015, they raised £500 for Kangaroos in Haywards Heath – a fantastic charity in Mid Sussex running out-of-school activities for children with severe learning disabilities. Helping families since January 1994, the charity relies on donations to keep going. From personal experience, Sonny recognised the importance of the community coming together after his wife was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and, as a result, Net XP tries to support a chosen charity each year. This year it is CHEC, a charity supporting young, physically disabled people who have experienced problems with employment due to their disability.

encouraging people to share knowledge, contacts or even a trade swap whilst maintaining a fun atmosphere. Net XP offers your business the opportunity to network with 70 other exhibitors, present your business to over 500 businesses from across Sussex, gain a wealth of information from notable key speakers, advice and guidance on your business growth and gives you access to a free business exhibition whilst delivering a service flushed with success!

Check out the Net XP’s sites: (desktop) or for (mobile) users and join them on March 16th 2017 for this special one-day B2B trade show, dedicated to you and your business. Google Digital Garage and LinkedIn Seminars from 11am For a media pack or further information contact Sonny on

From this community outlook and a recognition for the need for dynamic, comprehensive and affordable advertising for small businesses, Net XP has worked hard to open new business marketing opportunities,




Hastings Chamber of Commerce

DEVOLUTION WITHOUT THE ARROWS by Sean Dennis, Chamber Director, Hastings Chamber of Commerce


e couldn’t let the 950th anniversary celebrations pass without some kind of involvement, so we packed our passports and headed off to Battle Abbey School where we held October’s meeting in the impressive library, one of the oldest parts of the building. Given the previous weekend’s celebrations, about being turned over by the Normans, it was with only the slightest hint of irony our main presentation was on ‘devolution’ and what this might mean for the three southern counties of Surrey, East and West Sussex. Becky Shaw, Chief Executive of East Sussex County Council, set the scene with an overview of the County, its priority outcomes and economic development strategy that are focused driving growth by creating the right environment and infrastructure for businesses; using resources to support local economy; and ensuring people have the right skills to take advantage of the opportunities available.

“With an economy larger than either Wales or Greater Manchester, it would be the only devolved power that would be a net contributor to the exchequer,“

Incredibly 26 Borough, District and County councils have already agreed in principle to the partnership, along with 3 Local Enterprise Partnerships, East Sussex Fire Authority and South Downs National Park Authority, which is no mean feat in itself.

With an economy larger than either Wales or Greater Manchester, it would be the only devolved power, from the existing or proposed devolved areas, that would be a net contributor to the exchequer, which is seen by them, as a powerful argument. They see benefits to long term infrastructure strategy for road and rail networks plus the digital infrastructure; action to improve the pace of house building; realising full economic potential for the area and greater engagement with business and skills providers. Clearly there is a long way to go, and government priorities have already changed since the Brexit vote, however, we will continue

to keep a close eye on how these proposals develop. Continuing the theme of collaboration, Stephen Burkes from Sussex Skills Solutions (the joint venture training company between Hastings & Eastbourne Colleges) also attended to provide a helpful update on the Apprenticeships levy coming into effect next year. To round off we heard from Nick Warren of Christians Against Poverty, with a fascinating account on the excellent work they undertake helping people of all ages and backgrounds who find themselves in financial difficulty.

COMING UP 26th January 2017 Breakfast meeting at The White Rock Theatre, Hastings, 7:30 - 9:15 am The main speaker is Peter Chowney, leader of Hastings Borough Council. For full details and to book please visit .




Award-winning pest control services




Balloon Festival

UP, UP AND AWAY A new balloon festival is set to take to the skies in July


he Eastbourne International Hot Air Balloon Festival will take off on the 29th and 30th July in Hampden Park, Eastbourne. It is set to become a new highlight of the summer season and limited sponsorship opportunities are available. The event will include approximately 20 hot air balloons, a fleet of helicopters and countless more festivities and activities for all age groups. It is estimated it will attract between 10,000 to 18,000 visitors to the area. Beside the main attraction of the hot air balloons, the event is expected to include: • A food zone with ‘Ready Steady Cook’ events, demonstrations and healthy eating guides, a farmers market and craft market stalls • A floral zone with demonstrations, competitions and a ‘Gardeners Question Time’ • Charity stalls • A kids area and a fun fair • A dog show • A live stage with local performers and an evening headliner From what started as a small idea, when a balloon visited the local Hampden Park last year on its summer fun day, a mini county-show type event has blossomed. It has already attracted vast interest and positive feedback from local people as well as potential sponsors. The biggest sponsor for the festival will be Gatwick Airport. The event




organisers are hoping the top ten local businesses will match Gatwick Airport’s confidence in Eastbourne, by offering £1,000 each and join in on the unique advantages that will be on offer to Premier Sponsors. Local businesses have already come forward such as Gardners Books, The Hydro and the York hotels, plus a local garage. There is still room for more! All the sponsors logos will naturally be included in the programme available to all visitors. The highlight of the event will be an extraordinary NightGlow where the balloons are inflated, tethered and their pilots burn off to the beat of the music. The variety of activities will be attractive to residents and tourists from all over the south east of England.

To find out more about pitches, corporate entertainment, advertising or sponsorship, get in touch with or telephone 01293 817229.

Events Diary



EVENTS DIARY Eastbourne UnLtd Chamber 01323 641144 Chamber Friday, Saturday & Sunday 2nd to 18th December 2016 Neon Noel Spectacular Light Show Eastbourne Town Hall

3rd to 18th December 2016 Bandstand Christmas Market Eastbourne Bandstand Christmas Market with locally made gifts and food court

Tuesday 20th December 2016

Tuesday 7th February 2017

Christmas Breakfast Meeting The Hydro Hotel Eastbourne

Business Breakfast Meeting The Hydro Hotel Eastbourne

Friday 13th January 2017

Tuesday 21st February 2017

Cyber Security Seminar Sussex Downs College Cyber attack prevention with Pav IT

Business Breakfast Meeting The Hydro Hotel Eastbourne

Friday 13th January 2017

Crowborough Chamber

Mike Hopkins Chamber Lunch Sussex Downs College Lunch with CEO Mike Hopkins to talk about business skills development

Tuesday 17th January 2017 Tuesday 6th December 2016 Business Breakfast Meeting The Hydro Hotel Eastbourne

Business Breakfast Meeting The Hydro Hotel Eastbourne

Thursday 2nd February 2017 Friday 9th December 2016 Christmas Lunch The Grand Hotel

Saturday 17th December 2016

Cocktail Hour Hudsons Wine Bar Eastbourne Chamber Member Cocktails and Networking

Wednesday 7th December 6.00 pm Christmas Fizz and Canapés Crowborough Rugby Club, Green Lane, Steel Cross, Crowborough TN6 2XB This event, which is open to all, is an opportunity to socialise and celebrate in a relaxed atmosphere accompanied by a glass of fizz or non alcoholic punch, canapés and nibbles. Member businesses and their employees £5 Non Members £10 To book email secretary@

Holidays Are Coming Eastbourne Town Centre Iconic Coca Cola Truck Tour, Family Photo and Winter Wonderland




Anger Management

ANGER MANAGEMENT By Maarten Hoffmann


s it just me or does anyone else feel that exPM Cameron missed a wide open goal in his last months in the job when trying to wriggle his way out of the Panama Papers fiasco? His father set up an off-shore vehicle to avoid inheritance tax (IHT). Surely, the point here is not that he did it but that he, like so many others, are forced to do it in the first place. It is an immoral double taxation and should be scrapped immediately. The open goal that Cameron missed is not taking that opportunity to state the unjust horror of this tax and vow to repeal it and it looks like Theresa May is set to ignore this injustice too. Wealthy countries have always seen generational trickle-down wealth. It’s what gives the next generation a leg up and aids them in exceeding the achievements of their




parents. This is what enables a nation to grow wealthier and more successful. Take that away and everyone starts from scratch again. It’s like a reset button.

“There is nothing wrong with taking legal steps to avoid IHT - as every family would, given the chance. It’s the tax itself that’s immoral.” The truth is that there are no parents in this country, of any income bracket, who do not want their children to do better than themselves and who want to give them a leg-up in life. This is one of the most fundamental of

human instincts. It is also among the most selfless and morally admirable. Indeed, the urge to look after our own families is a hugely powerful incentive to work hard. After all, it should never be forgotten that the richest 1% in this country today pay 27% of all income tax, with the top 10% paying well over half, at 55%. Without their effort and enterprise, a huge burden would fall on the 12% who pay no income tax at all and the welfare state would collapse. The Tories had their strongest surge in popularity when George Osborne promised to raise the threshold for IHT to £1 million for married couples - a pledge he will now never have to fulfil as he is unemployed. By reregistering a resounding vote of approval for this policy, the public demonstrated their

Anger Management

belief that the tax was deeply iniquitous. And rightly so. Why, when we have paid tax on our earnings throughout our lives, should we be taxed on the same money again upon our deaths? There is nothing wrong with taking legal steps to avoid IHT - as every family would, given the chance. It’s the tax itself that’s immoral. Isn’t this the message Cameron should have been shouting from the rooftops? Instead, he scuttled around as if he had got his hand caught in the till, and then, in an attempt to extricate himself, having hoisted himself by his own petard, he set the worrying precedent of publishing his tax returns. By throwing this tasty morsel to the hounds of class warfare, did he not risk sharpening their appetite for more, until the pressure grows for all politicians to lay bare the details of their own private finances? At this rate, the clear danger is that people with private means will no longer

wish to enter public life for fear of being mauled by the ever-hungry pack. If that happens, the field will be left clear for politicians who know nothing of wealth creation and are, effectively, unemployable in any other profession.

“What amazes me most in this debacle is that the Tories could not hit a barn door at fifty paces.” Leaving an inheritance is a positive choice, which should be encouraged and facilitated, not punished. It is clearly good for our society that parents take an interest in helping their offspring to secure their futures. It means more people have the safety net of savings, rather than relying on the safety net of the taxpayer when things go wrong or times are bad. The idea of seizing people’s savings and homes when they die might appeal to hard-left ideologues like Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, but to most voters it looks like opportunistic big government at its least attractive, snaffling money when people are at their most vulnerable by rebranding death as a transaction.

If you choose to leave some money or assets to your children rather than spending it all on yourself in retirement, you should be congratulated for your selflessness and sense of family responsibility – not hammered with tax. If you pay tax on earnings, then pay tax for getting interest on your savings, then pay tax for buying and maintaining your home, you shouldn’t have to pay tax again for the simple act of dying. What amazes me most in this debacle is that the Tories could not hit a barn door at fifty paces. Here they are with a wholly unexpected majority, absolutely no opposition whatsoever and a public and press consumed with the EU, and yet they fail to make the big changes that are needed and, in the main, are fully supported by the public. IInstead, they split on Brexit and start knocking seven bells out of each other. As long as there are unjust laws, the majority with something to leave to the next generation will do all they can to ensure that happens and no amount of laws, taxes or press blood baths is going to change it. And nor should it. It is a deeply unjust, unfair and downright immoral tax and should be scrapped tomorrow.




Institute of Directors

A TAXING ISSUE DAVID SEALL CEng FRAeS MiMMM MIoD David is the Regional Chairman of IoD South. He is a former Chair of IoD Surrey and is an experienced Non-Executive Director. He is retained by DMH Stallard LLP as their Strategic Adviser Manufacturing ∕


he recent furore over Google’s settlement of its corporation tax payments in the UK have highlighted the way that the

public’s perception of a powerful nation state is just no longer the case.

as they become intertwined with their daily

For nation states to gain some grip and

lives, for example most teenagers in the UK

control on these companies perhaps more

watch online video content in preference to

joined up thinking in the trading blocks helps.

live TV.

Large corporations do sit up and listen when

The rapid rise of these businesses and the

the EU or USA take them to task, which may be

acceptance and usage of their products seems

the case with tax regimes shortly. Anti-trust or

providing services rather than physical

to grow exponentially. Amazingly it’s only 9

anti competition legislation can certainly hurt

products, sometimes delivering them through

years since Apple announced the iPhone.

and some will remember the “Bundled Internet

The rise of truly global corporations,

third parties and aided by communications technologies that no longer recognise national borders, has meant that individual countries

This pace of change as well as feeding the growth and power of these companies is also their Achilles heel. Much of the debate in 2016

Explorer v Netscape” legislation which stopped the then all-conquering Microsoft in its tracks. Of course in a really competitive market

are now impotent in taming or indeed even

was whether the Apple growth miracle had

influencing these companies. Companies such

economy the consumer decides the fate of

reached its zenith. I must admit I was surprised

as Apple, Amazon, the large coffee retailers

these mega-corporations. The consumer will

how dependent Apple is on iPhone sales

and Google have wealth exceeding that of a

contributing over 60% of revenues. One can

look at price, value and quality of service. More

whole host of countries, which in itself creates

see how the introduction of new products is key

a new paradigm.

to their future. With Amazon making drones

Additionally, countries claim indignation

and rockets and Tesla making rockets and

and pander to public opinion and yet do

rapid transit “tubes”, there are lots of rumours

everything they can to attract inward

around an Apple car becoming a reality. It’s

investment from these companies, including

interesting how these businesses are moving

a race to the bottom in corporation tax rates

back toward physical products.

to compete with their neighbours. Indeed as

Of course these businesses can decline

importantly they will also look at the values of these corporations and decide where they wish to spend their money. One looks at the VW scandal and now the revelations of how Tesco has treated its supply chain, charging fees to suppliers just to be “in the game”, to see how this influences consumer choice. I suspect that these companies are well

Google says, “Governments make tax law,

as fast as they can grow. There are many

aware of the importance of their brand and

the tax authorities independently enforce the

businesses of the new age that have come

have risk management of it at the top of their

law and Google complies with the law,” so

along, achieved market dominance and then

agenda, so perhaps we will see some different

one can hardly blame them for finding the

almost disappeared without trace. The recent

approaches in the not too distant future and

most efficient solution and providing the best

closure of “Friends Reunited” was an example

fewer negative headlines. If not, there are

shareholder value. Alongside this, the public at

of this. A company basically obliterated by

bound to be some very aggressive challengers

large clamour for these products and services


after their business.




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ACES Magazine - issue 1  

The official magazine for the Alliance of Chambers in East Sussex. Issue 1 - Dec 2016 - Jan 2017. Articles on Amber Rudd, MP, reaction to t...

ACES Magazine - issue 1  

The official magazine for the Alliance of Chambers in East Sussex. Issue 1 - Dec 2016 - Jan 2017. Articles on Amber Rudd, MP, reaction to t...