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The independent business magazine for the Southeast

ISSUE 7 . 2014



THE GREAT ENVIRONMENTAL CON Plus: NatWest Funding Guide Personal Finance Guide International Trade Legal Issues Accountancy Marketing Business Travel Editorial Opinion Expert Panel Networking Motoring





Discover the gems of local business!

The 2015 Business Awards will be launched on 2nd October 2014

WELCOME TO THE REGION’S PREMIER BUSINESS AWARDS The Gatwick Diamond Business Awards celebrate people who have shown innovation and inspiration in their work, and have demonstrated a real commitment to the sub-region. Now in their Seventh year, the awards have become one of the regions premier business occasions - celebrating the best of the best across the Gatwick Diamond region.


The Awards will culminate in a spectacular Awards Dinner, presented by Hugh Dennis on the 19th March 2015, at the Copthorne Effingham Park Hotel. Be sure to put the date in your diary today, and prepare to dance the night away at our fantastic After-Show Party.

www.gatwickdiamondbusinessawards.com or call us: 01293 813888


For full details and to download an entry form, visit



ISSUE 7. 2014

This being our last issue before Christmas, we thought we would look back over what has been a very busy and eventful first year for PBM. Our recent Steering Committee dinner was an enlightening event. We brought together business leaders from across the region for a frank discussion on our first six issues. We are delighted to say that there were few negatives, quite a few positives and some exciting plans for 2015 discussed and, after a little sleep, we are raring to go for the New Year. In very short time, PBM has become the leading authority on business in the Southeast, and the proof of this is the sheer number of companies wishing to come on-board next year and join what has become, THE business publication for our region. We would like to thank all our existing Partners and


TRADING ABROAD The Southeast is a powerhouse of economic activity, but there are still far too many companies that shy away from trading internationally. It is quite a daunting step, so we have asked the experts at NatWest, the UKTI and Kelly Hoppen to offer some tips on how to get started. We also report from a fascinating seminar on Trading in China that was organised by Handelsbanken..See page 38.


offer a warm welcome to our new Partners and to

We take a working lunch with

thank you, the reader. We have increased the print

Coast to Capital CEO, Ron Crank

run every month from day one, and that is due to the demand for copies. An example of this is the recent mail we received from Rosemary French OBE, of the

at Stanmer House in Falmer... See page 63.

Gatwick Diamond Initiative, in which she requested more copies as her boss reads his from cover to cover and will not give it up: ‘I must say that the magazine is looking smashing and very readable. Please send more as my boss will not give up his


copy.’ From all the team, who work so hard on the magazine, we would like to wish you a great Christmas and a fruitful and prosperous New Year, and watch this space, as we have only just got into our stride, and 2015 is set to be even more exciting. Have a great Christmas, from all at PBM.

Ian & Maarten

16 4



Never give a grumpy old man a mouthpiece. Unfortunately, as Maarten is one of the Founders of PBM, we had little choice, and this regular feature will allow him to rant to his heart’s desire. You might agree or disagree, but that’s why we are proud to live in a democracy and enjoy free speech... See page 74.

THE TEAM Maarten Hoffmann – Director maarten@platinumbusinessmagazine.com 07966 244046


Ian Trevett – Director ian@platinumbusinessmagazine.com 07989 970804

MOTORING Take a look at the summary of the best and worst cars we have reviewed in 2014 and find out which ones will fit in your Christmas stocking... See page 76.

AT A GLANCE 6 15 16 24 26 28


34 42 46 49

International Trade

Institute of Directors Boris Johnson Mergers & Acquisitions Ghost of Christmas Future

Gatwick Diamond Business Awards Airport Expansion Leatherhead Awards Marketing


Lynne Edwards - Commercial Property lynne@portfoliopublications.co.uk Tel: 07931 537588

Sally Wynn - Senior Designer

50 52 56 63 68 74 76 86

PBM Steering Committee Legal Politics

Julia Trevett – Accounts Manager

Working Lunch Education Anger Management Motoring

Networking, Chambers & Awards

99 Advice Panel 102 Secret Sussex 106 Wise words

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. Platinum Business Magazine is published and owned by Platinum Business Publications Limited. Directors: Maarten Hoffmann and Ian Trevett


A ruffle of the hair, a bemused grin and a rambling, off-the-cuff quip. Is this bumbling toff just an entertaining clown, or is it all part of a cunning masterplan to charm and disarm the electorate? Maarten Hoffmann tries to unravel the enigma of the ‘buffoon’ who may, one day, be PM... See page 16.



NEW BOARD MEMBER A champion for social services and housing has been appointed to the board of Coast to Capital, the local enterprise partnership for Brighton and Hove, Lewes, London Borough of Croydon, the Gatwick Diamond and West Sussex.

Toni Letts, who was awarded an OBE in 1994 for her services to housing and the community, chaired the Croydon Health Authority for eight years, the NHS Primary Healthcare Trust for six years and also the London NHS Specialist Commissioning Board. For 10 years the former mayor of Croydon also worked as a director of housing for Croydon YMCA, later becoming the Chief Executive of South London YMCA for a further 10 years, developing housing in several of the capital’s boroughs.

Speaking on her appointment, Toni said: “I join the board during a very exciting time as we set about delivering our Growth Deal across the region, including my home patch of Croydon. I want to show the board the positive side to Croydon and encourage the LEP to help the area exceed and achieve.”

NEW JOBS 120 new jobs are set to be created in the latest round of grants awarded from the Coast to Capital Business Growth Grant scheme, with nine companies receiving a slice of almost £500,000.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY One of Britain’s longest-running creative marketing agencies, Oliver & Graimes, has just celebrated its 35th birthday this month. The Sussex-based agency was launched in 1979 and has won multiple awards for its creative and marketing work across many industry sectors. 35 years is a rare milestone to reach, but founding director David Graimes isn’t surprised by their success, “This is our milestone and if I’m honest, it is one I expected to reach. I never set out to build a business to make money as I always enjoyed a feeling of privilege from running a business operating in this highly creative sector. You can read some bad press about business, but I’ve had some amazing experiences of passion, patience and loyalty working with brands such as Kuoni Travel, Elite Hotels, Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Ingeus, to name but a few. A natural thing to do at this time is to make a list of lessons that we have learnt, but for O&G that seems a little arrogant. What I’d say is that, actually, one thing we have learned is “you are only as good as your last job”.


“Even if you are on the right track, You’ll get run over if you just sit there”

The successful applicants demonstrated how their proposals would increase local employment. Grants ranged in size from £5,000, awarded to Surrey-based Shippo, to £137,000 for Brighton-based software company TImNexus, who will spend the money on staff development to meet the fresh challenges of changing technology. Other beneficiaries included the Ridgeview Winery Estate, whose new bottling process will almost treble production; energy solutions firm Black Box Energy, who will provide additional customer support facilities; and the Young Start Up Talent project, which is expanding into Croydon. Coast to Capital chief executive Ron Crank said the latest round of grants showed how significant a role SME’s had to play in our local economy. “As a local enterprise partnership concerned with supporting and encouraging local businesses, we are able to help many companies and groups make a real difference” Ron said. “These businesses are the drivers of our regional economy, so we are pleased to be able to support them, and I encourage others in a similar situation to get in touch with my team at Coast to Capital to see if we are able to help their growth plans.”

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REEVES ARRIVE Crawley has further strengthened its standing in financial services with the move by a prominent accountancy firm to the town centre. The relocation by Reeves to offices in Griffin House creates a convenient focus for mid-sized firms in particular to gain a personal, local and international tax and accounting service. Crawley MP Henry Smith hailed the move at an evening event for the business community to mark the official opening of the offices. “I am delighted to welcome Reeves to Crawley, which has a burgeoning financial services sector to rival towns such as Reading. The firm is an important addition to the town – one that can help provide an important service to mid-sized firms.” Reeves Chairman Clive Stevens stressed the strategic importance of the location: “Our Crawley office is a major complement to our offices in Canterbury, Chatham, London and our insolvency and restructuring office in Eastbourne.” He added: “We have the expertise to offer a full partner-led personal, local and international advisory, tax and accounting service to all businesses, entrepreneurs and other organisations, regardless of their industry sector or whether they are a start-up or a large, established business.” The firm is sharing the site with solicitors Rawlison & Butler, who also welcomed its new neighbour. “We are excited to have another professional firm within the building. Crawley is a busy town with great development prospects.”


BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU Type “secret recorder” into Google and you will almost instantly be directed to a number of websites offering cheap and effective covert recording devices. We found a USB secret recorder (£22.99), a pen that records sound (£9.99) and a car fob key ring that can record video (£10.99). It is easy and cheap for employees to obtain sophisticated recording devices and they are increasingly using them. The ease of obtaining these devices may partly explain why we are finding more people covertly recording workplace meetings such as redundancy consultation meetings, grievance meetings and disciplinary hearings. Employees often do this because they suspect a legal dispute may arise and they believe (sometimes correctly) that it will benefit them in any potential claim they may have against their employer. “There is no legislation that specifically prohibits covert recording by employees during confidential workplace meetings”, said Pam Loch, head of niche employment law practice, Loch Associates.

The Funding Room, an online match-making service for start-up companies and small businesses backed by a collective of Sussex-based entrepreneurs was launched recently. The service aims to match local start-up companies and more recently established firms which require an alternative source of funding to standard terms offered by the High Street small business lenders. The core aim of the service is to secure phase one funding for a company which may not be able to access formal High Street bank lending because of a lack of track record or no business credit history. Investment typically starts from £5,000 up to £100,000 at low rates of interest, into a business start-up, or a company wanting second tier finance could be offered. “Many new companies come to us complaining that banks are still reluctant to lend to small businesses, but with The Funding Room, it could not be easier: the company pitches to a local investor, either face to face or via an online video chat,” said spokesman Phil Davies. “If the investor likes what he or she hears and thinks the idea has ‘legs’, then they can strike up a deal whereby the investor offers backing to the start-up business for a percentage of the turnover,” said Davies. “We are not competing with crowd funding services, but we match the individual investor to the start-up to provide both money and advice. By getting an ‘angel’ onside, new and established companies can realise their business potential and give rise to opportunities that not only assist their vision but also go some way towards promoting the local Sussex economy”, added Davies. www.thefundingroom.co.uk

“On our own we are one drop. Together we are an ocean”




Local businesses are set to benefit from the launch of a sector-targeted copywriting and marketing service. David Andrews Media Ltd, the Sussex based UK and international financial services public relations consultancy, recently announced a new copywriting & marketing arm, specialising in digital/online and print/adverting copy. With a decade’s experience launching products and services for some of the world’s leading financial institutions, David Andrews Media is expanding to offer bespoke copywriting services to financial services and corporate clients wanting experienced writers to deliver polished, erudite copy to help them stand out in a crowded market. “We have carried out extensive research into the local market, and know there is a demand for bespoke expertise,” said director David Andrews. “How many times have you looked at advertising copy which is clearly produced inhouse and thought, ‘Oh dear, that doesn’t sound very good’. At best, companies can shoot themselves in the foot by delivering shoddy and grammatically awkward copy to promote their business. At worst, they risk looking sub-literate, which is guaranteed to alienate potential clients,” added Andrews. David founded DAM back in 2004, following a long career in financial journalism on national newspapers.


DMH STALLARD GROWTH DMH Stallard has announced the lateral hire of four new Partners as the firm looks to further strengthen its service offering and support growth in its London and regional teams. Kerry Beattie joins from specialist construction consultants Schofield Lothian and was previously Partner at Taylor Wessing. Kerry will join their Real Estate Group in London and has expertise in all areas of noncontentious and contentious construction and engineering matters. Anthony Lee joins from Bircham Dyson Bell where he was a Partner specialising in IT, outsourcing and intellectual property. Anthony will join the specialist Commercial, IT & IP Group in London, bringing with him an impressive track record of advising on a range of complex outsourcing, managed services, procurement and IP projects. Emily Wood joins as Partner from CMS Cameron McKenna and will be based at the Gatwick Office where she will strengthen the firm’s leading Real Estate Dispute Resolution Group.


Finally, they announced in August, the lateral hire of Abigail Owen from regional competitor Rawlison Butler. Abigail was named Corporate Lawyer of the Year 2014 and 2013 at the Insider Dealmaker Awards, and has joined DMH Stallard’s Corporate Team in Gatwick. Speaking about the new lateral hires, Richard Pollins, DMH Stallard’s Managing Partner elect commented: “After a very successful financial year during which the firm has grown its revenues, strengthened its balance sheet and delivered improved profits, it is the right time to strengthen the firm’s service offering by bringing in experienced partners with established credentials. We are always looking for high-quality partners in London and the region who will help us drive our business forward. The firm’s reputation has allowed us to attract Partners with City experience who will deliver the expertise and service our clients expect”.

Dominic Travers has joined the Brighton & Hove office of Rix & Kay Solicitors as Partner. His arrival boosts a Corporate & Commercial team already recognised as one of the leading teams in the Southeast by the Legal 500 and Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession. Dominic’s areas of expertise include mergers and acquisitions, company establishments and restructures, joint venture shareholder agreements and tax efficient investments. He also advises on corporate governance, venture capital and private equity fund raisings, initial public offerings and secondary fund raisings on AIM, corporate aspects of insolvency transactions as well as Partnership agreements, including LLPs for professionals such as GPs and dentists. Previous to joining Rix & Kay he was a partner at the boutique City office of DMH Stallard, and prior to that was a corporate finance lawyer in the City for nearly a decade. Head of Corporate & Commercial at Rix & Kay, Bruce Hayter, added: “Dominic has significant and broad-ranging corporate experience combined with a real insight into the issues faced by businesses, in particular care homes, property development companies and the technology and leisure sectors. He really enjoys getting out and about, talking to clients about their businesses and getting to know them better and works closely with other professionals such as accountants and banks to deliver a full service to clients. We are really excited about him joining the firm.”

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SUSSEX ENTREPRENEUR SHARES STAGE WITH APPLE CO-FOUNDER The managing director of a Sussex customer feedback service shared the stage with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak at a recent conference for entrepreneurs. Shopper Anonymous founder Jonathan Winchester addressed a 1,500-strong audience at the International Convention Centre alongside the billionaire inventor. Jonathan, who started his career on a management training programme at Harrods, passed on customer service insights based on the 298,000 mystery shops his company has conducted over the past 19 years. His tips on delivering first-class service, developing a customer-focused team, creating a positive first impression and best practice in obtaining feedback, won praise from the audience. “It was a great experience to have been invited to speak at such a prestigious event,” said Jonathan. “Both Steve and I really got the message across that to develop a great business you have to deliver great service. “Steve is possibly one of the most influential individuals of our generation and he spoke so humbly about his story and how he developed the Apple brand with Steve Jobs. To then spend some time with Steve was one of my Bucket List moments.” Jonathan was delighted with the response and is planning a similar event in Sussex for SMEs. For more information visit www.shopperanonymous.co.uk

BITEAPPY A creative new free app has been launched to make it easier for people with intolerances and allergies to eat out. Seaford-based Caroline Oldham, a coeliac with an additional lactose allergy, faced an ongoing battle to locate suitable restaurants for her dietary needs. The experience was the inspiration for biteappy, the first app to comprehensively cover all dietary requirements across the world. It has a searchable directory of restaurants with suitable menus for the entire range of dietary issues and allergies and can also be translated across 25 languages. Caroline, who was born in Brighton and now lives in Seaford, said: “As a coeliac with a lactose intolerance, I found it incredibly hard to locate suitable places to eat – particularly when abroad or when not in my home town of Brighton. “It was on a trip to Amsterdam just after Christmas, when once again I couldn’t find a place to eat, and that inspired the idea for biteappy. “I hope it will be helpful to the millions of people out there who find themselves in the same situation. Biteappy is available in the iTunes store.

“The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same”

THE IRON MAIDEN HIPPY The MP for Lewes, Norman Baker, has resigned from his ministerial post in the Home Office, describing working in the department as like ‘walking through mud’. Mr Baker said juggling his role as a minister for four and a half years with his constituency work was very demanding and it had left him with less time to spend with his family and pursue his outside interests, such as music. In his letter of resignation to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Mr Baker said at the Home Office, the goodwill to work collegiately to take forward rational evidence-based policy had been in somewhat short supply. Writing to Mr Clegg, the Lewes MP said: “You will know that I have spent four and a half years in ministerial office, three and a half at the Department for Transport and the last year at the Home Office. You will recognise that it has been particularly challenging being the only Lib Dem in the Home Office, which I see a newspaper the other day likened to being the only hippy at an Iron Maiden concert.” Despite these challenges, Mr Baker said he was proud of what he had achieved during his time as a minister.



SUPER-SME’s A small army of high-growth small businesses hired 5,000 new staff every week in 2013, and are behind the majority of the UK’s economic growth, according to a landmark report. A super-charged subset of small businesses is driving unprecedented levels of growth in the British economy. The so-called “high-growth small businesses” (HGSBs) account for just 1pc of the business community but generated 68pc of new jobs in the UK between 2012 and 2013.

In a landmark report out this month, UK fund management firm Octopus Investments found that these super-SMEs are generating a disproportionate amount of employment, adding 256,000 jobs in a single year (or 5,000 a week), bringing the total HGSB workforce to 667,000, and driving significant economic growth in the UK.

TOP OF THE POLLS The United Kingdom has been revealed as the most prosperous of all the major EU countries in an international study published by the Legatum Institute. The results of the 2014 Prosperity Index show the UK is ranked at 13, three places higher than last year’s Index. The UK is the most prosperous of all the leading major EU nations, coming ahead of Germany (14th), France (21st), Spain (26th) and Italy (37th). The Index reveals that the UK is a world leader for entrepreneurship (8th in the world). This, combined with other non-economic factors such as improvements in how people feel about their personal safety (up from 66%74% compared to 2009), the perception that working hard gets you ahead (up from 78%84%) and people feeling as though they have more personal freedom (up from 78%-91%), places Britain among the most prosperous countries in the world. The Index also shows that British people are some of the most charitable in the world, and the country is marked by strong social bonds. The UK ranks 12th on the Social Capital sub-index, again above its European peers (Germany is 17th and France 56th). Brits are world leaders in charitable giving: 74% of Brits donate to charity, the 3rd highest in the Index; the figure is 42% in Germany and 26% in France. The 5 most prosperous countries are: 1. Norway 2. Switzerland 3. New Zealand 4. Denmark 5. Canada


The Index shows that freer, more socially cohesive and well-governed countries recovered from the financial crash better than the rest. Data from the Index also show that prosperity is positively correlated with mobility and opportunity. Simply put, the most prosperous countries are those that provide opportunities to their citizens and where social mobility is high. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne said: “Today’s report by the Legatum Institute, which shows the UK as the most prosperous major EU country, provides further international support for the government’s long-term economic plan. Thanks to the difficult decisions we have taken to deliver economic security and control the public finances, we have moved three places up the global rankings. It is fantastic to see Britain leading the way for entrepreneurship, personal freedom, health and education.”

“Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgement”


The 5 least prosperous countries are: 1. Central African Republic 2. Chad 3. Congo (DR) 4. Burundi 5. Yemen

The amount that British companies pay in business rates is growing at almost the same level as council tax and fuel duty combined, according to a new analysis that highlights the strain that the levy is putting on businesses. Estimates by the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) show that the amount generated by the controversial tax will surpass council tax and fuel duty in the 2015/2016 financial year. Business rates need to be reformed and fast if UK PLC is to grow further.

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ROYAL TO ROYAL HRH The Duke of Gloucester planted an Oak Tree recently to officially open a new park in the centre of the Manor Royal Business District. The new People’s Park, which links Fleming Way with Manor Royal, offers a boardwalk, decked area, cycle paths, seating and picnic benches, and should be called the Mars Park as, apparently, it will help you work, rest and play. Manor Royal was formally named by HRH Princess Elizabeth in 1950, just two years before she ascended the Throne, and the Duke of Gloucester’s visit maintained the business district’s royal connections. The Duke was welcomed by West Sussex’s Lord Lieutenant Mrs Susan Pyper before being introduced to Manor Royal Business Improvement District’s (BID) chairman Trevor Williams and executive director Steve Sawyer. The Manor Royal Business Improvement District (BID) team has enabled regeneration to take place, aided by a £350,000 Kick Start grant from West Sussex County Council. Those working on Manor Royal Business District may now use the new park for informal meetings, relaxation and exercise.

F1 CROWD FUNDING Last month accountants Smith & Williamson were appointed as administrators to Caterham Sports Limited (CSL), the team which designs and builds the cars used by Caterham Formula 1 racing team. Caterham has turned to internet crowd funding as it battles to get back on the race track after going into administration in October.

“I’m a great believer in luck, and find the harder I work, the more I have of it”

SANTANDER LEAP The eurozone’s largest bank, Santander, has seen third-quarter profits jump more than 50%, helped by good results from its UK business. Santander reported net profit for the Julyto-September quarter of €1.6bn ($2bn; £1.25bn). For the first nine months of the year, profits rose 32% to €436bn. The results are the first under new chairman Ana Botin, who replaced her father Emilio Botin after his death in September.

The Oxfordshire-based business has launched “RefuelCaterhamF1” in an attempt to raise enough money to fund the team so it can enter the Abu Dhabi grand prix on November 23.


Caterham is asking racing fans and companies to pledge £10 or more in the hope of collecting the £2.35m it needs to get on the starting grid. The debt-laden team says it will reward financial backers, and one of the incentives is the chance to have supporters’ names on the car if it makes the starting line.

Authorities in Brussels have charged HSBC’s private banking arm, which is based in Switzerland, with helping wealthy Belgians to avoid taxes. Prosecutors allege that hundreds of clients - including diamond dealers in Antwerp - moved money to offshore tax havens with the help of the bank. They said it resulted in hundreds of millions of euros in lost tax revenue.

“Profit growth in 2014 helped consolidate the earnings recovery, thanks to improving revenues, falling costs and less need for write-downs,” Ms Botin said. Santander’s UK business reported a 26% rise in pre-tax profits to £1.01bn for the nine months to September.



EURO RESCUE PLAN The European Central Bank (ECB) will attempt to revive the struggling eurozone economy with €970bn (£760bn) of liquidity as the currency bloc has suffered low growth and inflation.

Mario Draghi, president of the ECB, said that the central bank would restore the size of its balance sheet to where it was in March 2012, implying an expansion of nearly €1 trillion. The euro area has nearly ground to a halt this year, as the economy as a whole contracted in the second quarter. Now analysts believe that the currency bloc could fall into a triple-dip recession - its third technical recession since the financial crisis. Simultaneously, inflation has remained well below the ECB’s target of just below 2pc. The IMF believes there is a 40pc chance that the eurozone will fall into outright deflation by the end of the first half of 2015.

The UK is still the leading economy in Europe, outpacing them all, and we should be damned proud of that fact. Such progress is 49% governmental decisions and 51% hard graft by the core businesses of this country of which the Southeast has an inordinate number.

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


BANANA KING BUYS GHERKIN The secretive banking billionaire Joseph Safra, known as the Banana King since his takeover of global producer Chiquita, has paid £726m for the iconic building, otherwise known as 30 St Mary Axe. The deal was handled by Savills and Deloitte Real Estate and the main tenants are insurer Swiss Re and commercial law firm Kirkland & Ellis.


The taxpayer stands to lose £78m from the controversial demise of Phones 4U, new documents show. The high street retailer owed £69.2m in VAT and £8.8m in corporation tax when it collapsed in September, and administrators have warned they are only likely to recover a tiny fraction of the debt. The debts to HMRC are part of £168m owed to unsecured creditors by Phones 4U. Less than 0.4pc of this will be repaid – the equivalent of £672,000 – according to PwC, the administrators. These debts included £4.8m to Phones 4U customers, many of whom paid for preorders on new phones they never received. Other debts include £42m to suppliers, £25.9m to employees and £17.2m in unpaid bills.

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£75 MILLION SMALL BUSINESS FUND RBS and NatWest have launched a £75m Small Business Fund for the South East region, aimed at supporting small businesses across the region. Part of a wider-dedicated £1 billion which will be split between eleven different areas across the UK , the fund will target both new and existing customers who are looking to grow or diversify their businesses through new borrowing with fixed rate loans from £1,000 to £250,000 with no arrangement fee. With the potential of a base rate rise on the horizon, this fund will help small businesses to grow by borrowing money with the certainty of a fixed rate and repayments. This fund comes a week after the bank pledged its support for thousands of entrepreneurs and high growth businesses with the launch of a network of eight new business accelerator hubs that will offer free workspace, hands on mentoring, a start-up ‘bootcamp’ and a free programme of up to 18-months of advice, support and funding clinics.


“The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary”

The world’s oldest bank is up for sale.

Car sales could hit their highest level in a decade according to the motor industry trade body, as it reported registrations of new vehicles broke through the two million mark the first 10 months of the year. In the year to October, 2,137,910 cars were registered, data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows. It is the first time that the number of cars registered in a single year has broken through the two million mark since 2007. At the current rate, 2014 could be the best year for new car sales in a decade, with the SMMT predicting full-year sales of 2.46 million, some 20,000 higher than the total in 2005.


RED WARNING “Red warning lights are once again flashing over the state of the global economy”, the Prime Minister has said. David Cameron said weak growth in Europe, a slowdown in Asia and conflicts around the world had created a “dangerous backdrop of instability”. Chancellor George Osborne said the UK was outperforming many other economies but it was vital the government was not “diverted” from its long-term goals.

Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Italy’s third largest lender, is reported to have hired advisers to find a buyer for the bank, after the European Central Bank’s recent asset quality review found a €2.1bn black hole in its accounts. On Wednesday, the bank’s board met following last month’s stress tests and approved a €2.5bn rights issue in order to plug the gap. It does not intend to do this until next year, however, and management believes a sale or merger of the bank in the meantime could prevent a fundraising, according to The Wall Street Journal. Should it be sold, one of the most historic names in banking could potentially be lost. Monte dei Paschi was founded in 1472, and is generally believed to be the world’s oldest bank, serving as a symbol of Siena’s wealth for centuries.


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CUTBACKS AND CSR By Dean Orgill Chairman of Mayo Wynne Baxter www.mayowynnebaxter.co.uk • www.iod.com


uring various presentations, meetings and discussions I have attended recently it is plain that recession remains one of the defining themes of the moment. Why still recession when the UK economy continues to grow? Well, largely because most of us have not yet felt the most direct effects of the recession on public services. The promised/ threatened cuts to public funding have begun, but the majority of us have probably not felt their full bite yet. Whilst we can all disagree with some particular decisions that have been made, I would argue that those leading our public bodies have implemented the cuts that they have needed to make so far with as little adverse effect as possible. However, they face further massive budget cuts in the next three years at least, and there will need to be some real innovation in the way that their services will be delivered in order to ensure that there is any delivery at all. Many such bodies are engaging in consultations on these issues now. I urge you to take part. Business can help to innovate, and put across the lessons that the private sector has needed to learn to survive. The public sector

needs these ideas, or the services that we all take for granted may no longer be delivered in the future. Why should business be bothered? Why not let the public sector get on with things as best it can and leave it alone - so long as it does not interfere with business? Well, for one thing the public sector currently has responsibilities for some essential elements for business growth, for example planning and licensing. Cuts in those departments will inevitably lead to delays unless further changes in how matters are processed can be proposed and put into practice. But beyond this “self interest� I am sure that today most good businesses recognise the advantage of good corporate citizenship and their corporate social responsibilities. Although I do not think there is one absolute definition of CSR, I think most of us recognise that it goes beyond recycling and charitable donations, and extends to playing an active part in shaping our local communities. This can be by way of supporting other local businesses through its supply chain arrangements or its staff giving time to voluntary and/or community projects.

In a previous column I encouraged engagement with politicians ahead of the forthcoming elections. But I think this engagement needs to be extended to council officers, emergency service budget holders and those who lead other public bodies, not forgetting (of course) the charitable sector. In broad community terms greater engagement and more collaboration between the private, public and third sectors will benefit everyone. If we engage in the discussions now, we can help to shape the delivery of services for many years to come.

Just a thought What is the most critical piece of customer feedback your business has received? Did you make any changes as a consequence?



HAIR TO THE THRONE? By Maarten Hoffmann


nigma, conundrum, buffoon or the smartest guy in Whitehall? I am not sure that anyone really knows the answer to this, for a man prone to gigantic gaffs, ridiculous photo cock ups and an overly colourful private life, he remains the most popular politician in the country. And he’s not even an MP – or is it because he’s not an MP – yet? Boris began his colourful journalistic career at The Times and the Telegraph before ending up at the Spectator in 2005, where he left to join the Conservatives in the role of shadow Minister for Culture and then Higher Education under both Michael Howard and his old Billingdon mucker, David Cameron. Having been elected as MP for Henley in 2001, he rapidly became one

of the most conspicuous and media-friendly members of the House. And such wonderful media fodder that the press couldn’t resist him. But then it is in the bloodline: father Stanley was a Conservative member of the European Parliament; mother Charlotte was the daughter of Sir James Fawcett, President of the Commission on Human Rights; brother Jo is a Government Whip and MP for Orpington; sister Rachel is a journalist and author, and his stepfather was the American academic Nichols Whal. Therefore, the chance of Boris taking a normal job and staying out of the limelight was nigh on impossible. In reference to his cosmopolitan ancestry, Johnson has described himself as a “one-man

melting pot”—with a combination of Muslim, Jew, and Christian comprising his great-grand parentage. His father’s maternal grandmother, Marie Louise de Pfeffel, was a granddaughter of Prince Paul of Württemberg, through his ‘wrong side of the sheets’ relationship with a German actress. Through Prince Paul, Johnson is a descendant of King George II and, through George’s great-great-great grandfather James I, a descendant of all of the previous British royal houses. Johnson is an 8th cousin of David Cameron. His public popularity comes from his tendency to do down those in power, for example calling his political opponents ‘great supine protoplasmic invertebrate jellies’ and


“If I pour you a glass of Livingstone’s Chateauneuf-du-Pape, I’d have to fill in some sort of blasted form” yet somehow getting away with it all. Should he really be lining up number 10, he might find that his historical verbose comments will come back to haunt him. He was fired from The Times after admitting to falsifying a story, caught on the phone with friend Darius Guppy arranging for someone to be beaten up, had an extramarital affair and lied about it to leader Michael Howard. Columnist Polly Toynbee branded him ‘a jester, toff, self-absorbed sociopath and a serial liar’. Zoe Williams of the Guardian called him ‘a bigoted, lying old Etonian buffoon’ and Vivian Westwood declared ‘Boris as Mayor? It just exposes democracy as a sham.’ When asked about this continual barrage of spite, he says “Obviously, I love journalists and love journalism and people have got newspapers to sell, points of view to make and attitudes to strike, and they’ve got to get on and do it and quite right too.” He slaps the table, grinning. “Democracy would be the poorer without it. It’s a privilege to be written about in The Guardian!” he says with a wry grin. This would be enough to sink any normally functioning public figure, but Boris goes from strength to strength. And isn’t that the

point? Rather than supporting Boris, he just holds a mirror up to the public’s malaise over politicians, and the most evident encapsulation of this is Nigel Farage. It is not so much that they want him, they just don’t want anyone else. Asked about his intentions for number 10. his standard response is: ‘if a loose ball pops out of the back of the ruck, l would of course collect it in and run with it’ Such obfuscatory metaphors only serve to feed the appetite. When pushed, he remarked ‘in those circumstances it is completely nonsensical for me to indulge this increasingly hysterical clamour.’ And what is his proudest achievement and biggest blunder so far? “Oh boy, um,” is Johnson’s opening gambit, making him sound rather more like a lethargic Bagpuss than the aforementioned political tour de force. “My proudest achievement is to have brought to City Hall a pretty diverse team of talents, many of whom were broadly Conservative and they’ve taken over seamlessly the running of London. They’ve understood that the priority for us - and I think for the next Tory government - is tackling deprivation and disadvantage.” He pauses. “And let me think of

a mistake for you. The most disappointing thing was um...” A smile creeps over his face, as he jabs a finger into the distance. “That wine store... [Ken] Livingstone’s wine store... I was thrilled to find it, but it turns out it was all owned by the taxpayer and I can’t even drink it. If I pour you a glass of Livingstone’s Chateauneuf-du-Pape, I’d have to fill in some sort of blasted form...” Is there any truth in the press reports that ex-Mayor Ken Livingstone has become a regular visitor to City Hall, where he is said to watch Johnson from the public gallery? “Yes, he hangs around like a sort of brooding pterodactyl and he’s very welcome to do it,” confirms Johnson. “Honestly, this is a wonderful job, it really is the best in British politics. But I have no official opposition. I’ve got a Labour Party in meltdown and it’s good that there is someone in London who’s there to fire off press releases saying what a tosser I am, which Livingstone does virtually every day.” Then, he adds, tellingly: “But obviously I’m hopeful we’ll do some things which will show that compassionate Conservatism can work in London and therefore can work in metropolitan areas across the country.”

“Livingstone hangs around like a sort of brooding pterodactyl and he’s very welcome to do it”



“I always tell the truth, even when I lie”



“It’s the constant ‘it’s not that we like you, we just hate all the others’ protest vote that might well see non–traditional political figures such as Boris and Farage eventually triumph” How often does he speak to Cameron? The mayor mumbles for a moment before reaching for his mobile phone. “You know... I... Shall we call him now?” he says, scrolling for his boss’s number. But as he clamps the phone to his ear, he remembers something. “Ah, he’s on holiday! I can’t ring him. Poor chap, he’s on holiday!” Do they speak on a daily basis? “No, no, we talk from time to time,” he says, cagily. Simon Heffer described him as “the most ambitious person I have ever met who will regard the mayoralty as a stepping-stone to a Cameron cabinet.” Indeed, when quizzed by Piers Morgan in GQ magazine a year ago, about whether he wanted to be PM one day, Johnson replied - tongue, perhaps, in cheek - “Well, of course. In an ideal world.” So does he still harbour ambitions for the top job? He bumbles and brays, before paraphrasing Thatcher’s nemesis Michael Heseltine. “Look, I really cannot foresee the circumstances in which I’ll be called upon to serve in any such office,” his eyes gleam mischievously. “Honestly, my appetite for power is glutted.” We’ll take that as a maybe, then. But if he does hanker after Downing Street, he’ll have to cut down on the gags first. I am obviously not going to make any headway on that subject, so dive off into frivolity, venturing that we might peek behind the mask with some quick-fire questions:

What’s your favourite view in the world? He points out of the window of County Hall and says: BJ: ‘From this window, look at that’. Favourite movies? BJ: ‘I’d say Apocalypse Now, probably. No, Jaws. Which girl did you have stuck up on your wall at school? BJ: Um. I didn’t because l was, l was…um. Cheryl Tiegs! Yes, that’s her, the American model. Oh, and that girl with her bum hanging out in the tennis poster. And I’ll tell you this much for free: on the whole, I was in favour of the blonde one rather than the dark one in Abba, but it was a close-run thing’. Which song gets you onto the dance floor? BJ: Start me up by the Rolling Stones every time’. Earliest political memory? BJ: Um. Oh God. Wait a moment. Yeah. Jesus, what was it? Let me just think. This is a question which deserves... Obviously I remember lots...William Hague giving his famous party conference speech? (mimics Hague’s Yorkshire accent) That was when I was at school. I was at prep school. Ah yes. I was 11 or 12’. Which five people, dead or alive, would you invite to dinner? BJ: Oh yes, this is easy. Scarlett Johansson and um, Scarlett Johansson. Can we stop with her? Oh, and Pericles and Shakespeare.

Is character more important than personality? BJ: They’re the same thing, aren’t they? ‘Ethos anthropoi daimon’, ‘Character is destiny’. Tony Blair or Gordon Brown? BJ: (A touch sheepishly) I’m afraid I miss Tony a bit. We love the thought of Boris. A man who says what many of us feel, is not shy about making an arse of himself, and a man who is ‘down with the people’. But this is a sham. Boris is as big a toff as a toff can get and is so far up the social tree as to be invisible to us mere mortals. And as to him getting away with such behaviour, l think we all know that were he to run, he would be pilloried and scrutinised to the point that he would have little chance of success. We like the ‘idea’ of Boris but do we like the idea of him ruling the country? Stranger things have happened. One of the most popular US Presidents, Ronald Reagan, was a b-movie actor. Italy fell for Silvio Berlusconi, a so-called ‘anti-establishment’ figure with a knack for a verbal gaff, and the UK is currently being courted to great effect by one Nigel Farage. It’s the constant ‘it’s not that we like you, we just hate all the others’ protest vote that might well see non–traditional political figures such as Boris and Farage eventually triumph. Then there’s the hair. An unruly thatch of blond fluff perched atop his head like a yellow


wisp of cumulus. It is jolly hair, school boyish hair, hair that apparently refuses to be anything other than what it is. It’s the hair that asks you not to take it seriously and, simultaneously, it manages to be hair which implies there are more pressing concerns in this world than trifling matters of follicular vanity. It is hair that says: ‘why should I waste time with a brush when I have the world to run’? It might seem trivial to discuss his hair, given that this is the man who many are touting as a future Conservative leader following his selection as the Tory candidate for Uxbridge and South Ruislip in the 2015 general election, but I suspect his hair says a lot about him. I suspect, in fact, he takes a great deal more care of it than he is willing to let on. On two separate occasions – once at a Conservative party conference, once at London

“I’ve got more in common with a three-toed sloth than I have with Winston Churchill”

Fashion Week – onlookers have reported that Johnson deliberately ruffled his hair just so, before taking the stage. He doesn’t want to look too tidy or too styled. A big part of his schtick is not being overly smooth. So what is your haircare regime? He roars with laughter. (The diverting guffaw is a favourite tactic of his when he wishes to avoid answering certain questions.) The laughter gradually subsides. “OK, right. Well, I have no idea.” You must have some notion of what shampoo you use. “No, I don’t! I’m now so short-sighted, I’m blind!” he shouts. “My eyes used to be fantastic, but now I cannot actually… There was something in the shower this morning that I used, I cannot honestly tell you what it was. It might have been acne cream” – another rousing squall of laughter – “It might have been toothpaste. I honestly couldn’t see, but I put it on and it seemed to work.” And then what? He lets it dry naturally or…? Loud guffaws. “This is what they call the…” Johnson breaks off. He seems a bit uncomfortable. Then he thinks of a joke and his face clears. “What I want,” he continues cheerfully, “is a new Barnett formula [the means by which public spending is allocated between Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales]. I want a formula for Barnett! I want proper recognition. We’ve got to devolve power to London and the cities as well as to Scotland…” And he’s off, talking about the recent referendum results, treading a well-worn path of familiar political argument, and the hair is all but forgotten. It is a classic Johnson response: smart and witty and, yes, undoubtedly entertaining, but also carrying just a hint of slipperiness. I imagine he’s clever enough to know that if he declares what brand of shampoo he uses, it will undermine the casual nonchalance he wishes to project. Because, in an age of Identikit, silken-suited politicians,

who all seem to have studied at the same Tony Blair School of Hand Gesturing, the 50-year-old Johnson is seen as a blast of fresh air. He is popular among grass-roots Conservatives, who like his mildly antiEuropean bluster (he says he favours a semidetached approach to Europe, where the EU is “more congenial” to Britain, and he’s against muddle-headed attempts “to create a single nation out of loads of different ones”). But he also carries a surprising cachet among those who would rather drink battery acid than vote Tory. Why? “I tell you what it might be,” he says. “It might be that I really began my political career by going on Have I Got News for You [Johnson has hosted on several occasions]. So, in that way, I’ve been able to inveigle myself under people’s natural defences.” It might also be that when you ask Johnson about, say, taking drugs, he doesn’t seem to worry about confessing all manner of past indiscretions, which is refreshing for a politician. He says he smoked cannabis as a teenager, but “it didn’t do much for me.” Was it at Eton with his near-contemporary David Cameron? “Ah. No. No to both. Good question though. I mean, full marks.” The Australian political strategist Lynton Crosby, who ran Johnson’s two successful campaigns for London Mayor, once said that if you showed a focus group who knew nothing about him a picture of Boris Johnson, they would instinctively warm to him because of “something to do with the way he looks”. It’s that hair again. Where does Johnson think his appeal comes from? “I’ve no idea,” he mumbles. “The first thing to say is that all that is much exaggerated and if you cycled around London with me, if you came on a tandem or followed me, you’d be subjected to a volley of happy abuse.” Really? What sort of abuse? “Oh: ‘Tory tosser’,”

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he says, blithely adopting a semi-Cockney accent. “’Sort it out, Boris!’; ‘What’s going on? Run him over! Go on, finish him off now!’” But he says the great thing about being Mayor is that: “I interact constantly with people in the streets and that’s probably valuable for me because I know what they’re thinking, roughly speaking.” We are here to talk about another politician with huge popular appeal. Johnson has just written a book about his hero, Winston Churchill. The Churchill Factor is an engagingly written romp through the elder statesman’s greatest achievements (a few of his failings are touched upon briefly, but Johnson manages to magic them into character strengths without too much trouble). Johnson has been asked repeatedly if he models himself on Churchill and there’s no doubt, reading the biography that he has pored over the great man’s speeches, books and diaries at length. But, he says: “I’ve got more in common with a three-toed sloth than I have with Winston Churchill. There is no easy comparison with any modern politician. The more you read about him, the more completely amazed you are about what he did – his energy, his literary fecundity, his ability to work – just unbelievable energy.” Churchill was famously sentimental. Does Johnson cry easily? “Er… it’s not one of my things.” There is a long pause. Eventually he says he misted up at the opening of the Invictus Games. That’s a typical

politician’s answer, I say. “Sorry, should I be more emotional?” He calls out to his press secretary on the other side

“If he does want to be Prime Minister, Boris Johnson will need to be more than just Tony Montana in a jolly blond wig”

of the room. “Camilla, is it good to be more of a blubber or less of a blubber? What are the readers of the Observer going to want?” They want you to blub, Camilla replies. “Do they? Oh bloody hell.” Does he still own the Bullingdon uniform

(rumoured to cost around £3,500)? “Uh, not immediately available,” Johnson says. “Why, do you want me to be photographed in it? That’s a very good idea. With a spliff? Come on, now we’re talking!” Has he gained more respect for the truth as he’s got older? “I… er… I try to tell the truth in a way that is whole and entire and as clearly as I can and I think that is the secret of, uh, of success in politics and…” He breaks off. “I think it is Tony Montana in the film Scarface who says: ‘I always tell the truth, even when I lie.’” It is hard to think of any other modern-day politician who’d choose to quote Scarface, let alone that nugget of dialogue. What I think Johnson means is that, as long as he is honest with himself about who he is, the truth he offers to others can be made to fit according to what he perceives as their best interests. He is being honest about his own dishonesty. Well, I suppose it’s a start. He leaves the interview in a flurry of Johnsonian charm and self-deprecation. “Oh my God,” he mutters. “You’ve extorted the truth from me! What have I told you? Yards of stuff…” And then off he potters to the adjoining room to have his photograph taken. It has been a highly entertaining hour. Still, I can’t help but feel a man with his political ambitions should probably stop quoting fictional drug barons with a penchant for grenadelaunchers and vast mounds of cocaine. If he does want to be Prime Minister, Boris Johnson will need to be more than just Tony Montana in a jolly blond wig.



GET READY FOR A BOOM IN M&A ACTIVITY By Nik Askaroff, CEO, EMC Corporate Finance


o sooner had I sat down to write this article, a paean of praise for how well the economy had performed in 2014, than the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street lobbed a small spanner in the works by downgrading its 2015 growth forecast a few notches from 3.1% to 2.9% and its 2016 forecast from 2.8% to 2.6%. But somehow I doubt whether this news will have done much to spoil Chancellor George Osborne’s Christmas, especially as it was accompanied by other figures that showed


unemployment tumbling again between July and September and real wages starting to outstrip inflation and looking set to do so through 2015. If you’d offered that set of figures to the Chancellor at the beginning of this year, I reckon he’d have bitten your arm off. So I guess we can all agree that, overall, the UK economy has performed pretty well in 2014. On a personal front, it has been an exceptional year, and not just because it was EMC’s 25th anniversary.

We have also had a really good year on the M&A front with several notable deals, including a couple of big trans-Atlantic ones, that earned us a flurry of top industry awards and an invitation from the Sunday Telegraph to provide a commentary for its annual M&A supplement, published on 7 December. We seem to have outstripped the market, certainly for the first half of the year which, according to the statistics, was, in Strictly Come Dancing terms, more waltz than quickstep.


“Selling a company is one of the biggest and most important transactions most people will ever undertake and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” However, the tempo nationally picked up bigtime in the third quarter with trade deals leaping by 36% and private equity acquisitions by 32%. Trade multiples, too, have been on the rise, moving from 8.8x to 10.0x. So will this continue into 2015? I can see no reason why not. Both corporates and PE are showing a renewed thirst for acquisitions and a greater preparedness to pay a premium to ensure they land their chosen targets. Quoted companies are also coming back into the market in greater numbers. In the first nine months of this year, they were involved in almost 25% of transactions worth £5m or more, up from 16% between 2011 and 2013. Another reason why I am so optimistic for 2015 is that many corporates have large amounts of cash sitting in their war chests just waiting to be splashed on good-quality deals. And even the much-maligned banks are now much more prepared to lend where the case is properly made and presented. And it’s not just me looking at the year ahead through rose-tinted specs. A recent survey carried out by EY, who I still prefer to know as Ernst & Young, showed that almost two-thirds of those interviewed were expecting deal volumes to increase further in the next 12 months with a particular focus on the middle market. Pip McCrostie, EY’s Global Vice Chair, Transaction Advisory Services, says: “The majority of companies are focusing on acquiring businesses in their core sectors, with an eye to boosting market share, managing costs and improving margin growth. As cost efficiencies are paramount for the vast majority, planned M&A activity will consist of bolt-on acquisitions that will complement their current business model.” So if any owners are thinking of capitalising on their years of hard work building and running successful businesses, 2015 could be their year. Even those that haven’t necessarily been contemplating selling could find themselves faced with an out-of-the-blue approach as the acquisition trail heats up. They’ll need to be ready for it. I have always been amazed by how little attention business owners pay to their exit strategy. All too often they don’t think about it

until circumstances force them to do so. As a result, they frequently fail to achieve the value that they might have done had they been better prepared. It’s particularly surprising coming from the people who run the rump of fast-growth small businesses that do so much to oil the wheels of the UK economy. These companies – typically those turning over between £1m and £20m and achieving annual growth of at least 20% - are responsible for just 3.4% of the total economy yet contribute 10 times that amount in business growth.

“We seem to have outstripped the market, certainly for the first half of the year which, according to the statistics, was, in Strictly Come Dancing terms, more waltz than quickstep”

A survey carried out recently by the Centre for Economics and Business Research on behalf of Octopus Investments estimated their 2013 turnover to be £114.4bn and their gross added value, which measures their economic contribution, to be £55bn. They also generated more than two-thirds of all jobs created in 2012/13. Now that’s what you call punching above your weight! The South East in general, and our corner of it in particular, have a higher number of these high-growth small businesses than any other part of the country except London. We have made sure that those that we have worked with on a regular basis have prepared

properly either for a planned exit or an unexpected approach. We’ll have warned them how easy it is to be seduced by interest being shown in them by larger corporates. Time and again I’ve seen highly successful small businesses fall prey to the blandishments of bigger concerns without first testing the market. It’s estimated that 40% of businesses sell after an approach by a single suitor and that just 10% of them achieve maximum value by doing so. Any business’s real worth is only ever properly established once the market has been thoroughly explored for other potential bidders. That takes time, patience and, perhaps most importantly, the perseverance of a trusted corporate finance advisor. As I wrote in my Sunday Telegraph article, selling a company is one of the biggest and most important transactions most people will ever undertake and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to secure their own and their family’s future. If they get it right, their years of hard work can be turned into something of considerable financial value. If they get it wrong, there’s rarely a second chance. So surely it’s worth a bit more support than is currently the case. With the deals market set fair for a bumper year ahead, I hope that we will be able to add several more to the large number of people we have helped to become millionaires over the last 25 years by making sure they get full value for their years of hard work creating and building their businesses.

CONTACT: EMC Management Consultants Ltd, Rochester House, 48 Rochester Gardens, Hove BN3 3AW Nik Askaroff, CEO Tel: 01273 945984 Email: nik.askaroff@emcltd.co.uk Web: www.emcltd.co.uk



Disney’s A Christmas Carol

THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS FUTURE By Richard Skerritt Managing Director www.skerritts.co.uk


any small and medium-sized businesses will have two or three Directors or Partners, and this can be problem, free and very successful strategy. However, have you thought about the impact on both the business and the surviving spouse in the event of the death of one of the Directors or Partners? This is probably best explained through the use of an example: Dan and Clive are the Co-Directors and 50/50 shareholders in ABC IT, an information


technology company, that has been trading successfully for a number of years. Business is good and profits steady. They value ABC IT at approximately £2million. Dan and Clive are both married, with dependents, and their only source of income is from the company. They don’t have a Shareholder Agreement in place. One day, Dan is out running and gets run over by the proverbial Number 7 bus and unfortunately does not pull through.

“Thankfully, in true Dickensian Christmas style, Dan didn’t get run over by a bus”


“Have you thought about the impact on both the business and the surviving spouse in the event of the death of one of the Directors or Partners?”

Not only is Clive faced with the loss of his friend and business partner, but Dan’s share of the business has now passed over to Dan’s wife, Cheryl. Clive has always got on very well with Cheryl on a social level, but has never dealt with her outside of social occasions. Cheryl has not only got to face losing her husband, but is worried sick about how she is going to support herself and her children now that Dan is no longer with them. She has inherited Dan’s share of ABC IT, but obviously Dan’s income has stopped. She is faced with 2 scenarios: • Sell the shares – Clive unfortunately does not have the resources to pay Cheryl anywhere near the £1million Dan’s half share of the business was worth. Her only option is therefore to sell the shares to a third party – this may even be a Competitor to ABC IT, but due to her circumstances, Cheryl has to put her family first and therefore this may be her most attractive option. This could spell disaster for Clive. • Keep the shares – if Cheryl decides to keep the shares, she will be dependent on dividends from the business and may want to draw a salary. Unfortunately, Cheryl has no experience of working in an IT business, so this soon causes massive problems and resentment from Clive,

who feels that he has all of the knowledge, is doing most of the work (more work, in fact, as he is having to do some of the duties that Dan did). Not a great scenario for Clive or Cheryl. Thankfully, in true Dickensian Christmas style, Dan didn’t get run over by a bus – it was all a dream, or in Clive’s case, an absolute nightmare. As soon as he was in the office, the first thing Clive did was phone ABC IT’s corporate financial advisers and ask them what he and Dan could do to prevent his nightmare becoming reality. Thankfully, his financial adviser was able to sit down with him and Dan and talk through the solution. Firstly, all Limited companies should have a Shareholder Agreement (or in the case of a Partnership, a Partnership Agreement). ABC’s financial adviser recommended that they put in place a Double Option Agreement (also known as a Cross Option Agreement). What this meant in practice is that in the event of the death of either (or any) Director or Partner in the agreement, their family could insist that ABC buy the shares for an agreed amount. In this case, should Dan or Clive die, then their family could insist that the company, ABC buys their shares, straight away, for £1million. This would then provide them with the financial security they need at that time and in the future. Alternatively,

the remaining Director could choose to buy the shares of the deceased, and their family, under the terms of the agreement, would have to sell them – this would prevent the shares going to a competitor, or maybe even worse, having the spouse of the deceased involved in the business and taking money out of the company. To ensure that ABC IT has sufficient money (in this case £1million) to buy the shares should the worst happen, ABC’s financial adviser put a Life Assurance Policy in place, which meant that should either Director die, it would pay out £1million, straight away, and this could be used to buy the shares. Very simple, and the nightmare scenario is avoided. For Clive and Dan, there was no cost in setting up the Cross Option Agreement, and the cost of the Life Assurance cover was less than £50 per month per Director. If you would like to discuss what you as a Director or Partner should have in place, covering both the Shareholder (Partnership) Agreement and the Life Assurance cover, contact Skerritts on (01273) 204999 or email sophie@skerritts.co.uk, where one of our qualified and knowledgeable advisers will be able to assist you.

The information contained within this document is for guidance only and is not a recommendation of any investment or a financial promotion.

Skerritt Consultants, Skerritt House, 23 Coleridge Street, Hove, BN3 5AB. Tel: 01273 204 999.


THE SPONSORS AND JUDGES As we near the closing date for entries, we ask the sponsors and judges to give their views on why they support the Gatwick Diamond Awards year after year. The sparkling gala event takes place on March 19th, 2015 at the Copthorne Effingham Park Hotel, hosted by comedian Hugh Dennis, and will be a night to remember – especially for those lucky winners who will be recognised by their peers as leaders in their field. To add further recognition, we will be featuring the finalists over the coming months, and there will be an in-depth feature on the winners once the results are known. The closing date for entries is nearly upon us, so if you haven’t entered, there is still a slim window of opportunity. Contact Jeremy Taylor now at www.gatwickdiamondbusinessawards.com or call 01293 813888.

THE ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND RBS are very proud sponsors of the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards for the second year running. Having sponsored the awards last year for the first time, we were very impressed with the professionalism, integrity and support for the Awards and we are delighted to continue our proud association with them. It is important to recognise the achievements and contributions of the various businesses and individuals within the Gatwick Diamond Business area, who all work very hard to promote and drive success for the region. In many respects, the Gatwick Diamond is the engine room for growth in the Southeast and we are very proud to be able to play our part in supporting our customers to deliver the continued growth and development of the region.

GATWICK AIRPORT We are delighted to sponsor the Gatwick Diamond Awards, and we would like to congratulate everyone who has been nominated. London Gatwick is very keen to promote local and national businesses and thank them for the faith they’ve shown in us by using Gatwick Airport for their travel in ever-increasing numbers. Local businesses are critical to the success of Gatwick, and we will continue to work with the business community, as suppliers, customers & neighbours in the years ahead.

NESTLÈ Nestlé UK is pleased to sponsor the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards for the second year running. We are a major player within the UK and Irish food industry, employing 8,000 employees across 23 sites, with our UK HQ in City Place, Gatwick. We are proud to produce some of Britain’s best-loved brands, such as Kit Kat, Nescafé, Smarties, Buxton, Go Cat and Shreddies. We would like to congratulate all those nominated and wish them the very best of luck.


{ BUSINESS AWARDS } RAWLISON BUTLER Tim Sadka “Rawlison Butler has been a sponsor of the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards right from the start. We play a leading role in supporting our local area and, in particular, promoting innovation and technology, both of which are so important to our business as lawyers. We are looking for the winner of this award to demonstrate how innovation has led to an improvement or efficiency in their business, whether in just a part of a larger and established company or as part of their overall growth strategy. This innovation can be around a product or service offered to customers or the way processes have been used or developed to help them to establish or grow their enterprise. We have seen some excellent entries in recent years and are looking forward to this trend continuing this year.”

CENTRAL SUSSEX COLLEGE Sarah Wright Central Sussex College is proud to sponsor ‘The Award for Developing People for Business Success’. It’s essential, particularly in the current economic climate, that organisations continue to invest in developing the skills of their staff to help sustain and grow their business. A well-trained workforce leads to increased efficiency, productivity, motivation and morale – all essential components for business success. Central Sussex College has a long-standing commitment to supporting employers within the Gatwick Diamond by helping them to identify the training needs of their business and to develop their workforce through flexible training and development programmes, apprenticeships and tailored solutions.

GATWICK DIAMOND INITIATIVE Rosemary French OBE The Gatwick Diamond Initiative has sponsored the International Business of the Year Award since the awards began. We want to highlight and celebrate the export trade successes of our businesses in a £20.7bn airport city economy. It is always a pleasure to see the international trade innovation that entrants have demonstrated. It is not a matter of size of business, rather the trend of export growth that we are looking for. Some of the businesses are new and growing exporters while others are 100% exporters, like the winner in 2014, Rainbo Supplies in Crawley. Our only problem is that it is far too difficult to choose a winner because they all deserve an award!

ACUMEN BUSINESS LAW Penina Shepherd On 09 October 2014 Acumen Business Law launched its new Gatwick Office as an addition to its successful and thriving Brighton Office. As such, Acumen is sponsoring the 2015 Gatwick Business Diamond Awards as a way to get to know the main players in the Gatwick business community as well as to support the Gatwick Diamond Business Association, which is a fantastic organisation that does excellent work for businesses in the area. Also, as a firm that has won business awards from the likes of the FT, Observer, British Chamber of Commerce, and was a GDB Finalist, we know from first-hand experience that awards enhance business success, both internally and externally.

REEVES Paul Roe and Shirley Smith As previous finalists, and then winners, sponsoring completes the circle @gdb Business Awards for us. To celebrate moving our Gatwick office in to Crawley, we’re very pleased to sponsor the New Business Award. There really is nothing to lose and everything to gain from entry. Shortlisting is good, winning is great for the whole team, but the feedback is priceless. Our Top Tip? Enter TWO award categories, the one you have best chance to win, and the one you really want to win. Good luck to all who do enter, we’re looking forward to judging some inspiring new businesses.



PVL Nick Broom PVL UK, with sister company Preview, are proud to have been involved with the Gatwick Diamond Business awards since inception, and this is PVL’s second successive year as sponsors. Part of the Preview Visual Communications Group, we supply reflective vehicle safety markings to the emergency services, helping save lives, as well as branding vehicle fleets and surfaces throughout the UK and beyond. This year we are sponsoring the “Place to Meet 2015” and are looking forward to considering entries from innovative, inspiring and interesting meeting venues around the region - Don’t think about entering the awards, just do it!

SOUTHERN WATER Southern Water is proud to sponsor the Award for Corporate Responsibility. Every day we supply our customers with 535 million litres of drinking water and treat and recycle 700 million litres of wastewater. We work with the communities we serve across Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in a number of ways. We support projects that help educate and inform about the environment, water efficiency and healthy hydration and our award winning Learn to Swim programme has taught 650,000 children this life saving skill in just over ten years. We’re looking forward to meeting the companies who like us, really believe in supporting and enriching the communities we serve.

LLOYDS BANK David Rawlance Lloyds Bank are delighted to be sponsoring the “Professional Services Firm of the Year” award at the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards. This category demonstrates the great work professional firms are doing and the difference they are making in their local business communities. Lloyds Bank are determined to make a difference to both the UK economy and the communities we are part of, and we look forward to meeting all the entrants of this important award.

NATWEST Paul McConalogue NatWest is proud and delighted to be associated with the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards and sponsor the prestigious “Business of the Year” award for the second time. We are again looking forward to this fantastic showcase for the outstanding businesses and talent throughout the Gatwick Diamond. One of the most important things we do at NatWest is to support Local Enterprise so we are delighted to be able to stand alongside the entrants and help promote and support the businesses and people that are at the heart of driving forward the Gatwick Diamond Economy.

SEARCH Trish Breach Search Consultancy is proud to be associated with the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards. All of those nominated for this award will have delivered above and beyond expectations, a trait with which Search identifies and strives for in the services we deliver to our clients. We believe that success in business is about being passionate, innovative, knowledgeable, honest and supportive. These are central to our values and they have enabled us to build an enviable blue chip client base across all the sectors we work across. We’re also very proud of to have been placed 37th in the Top 100 Best Companies to Work For.


{ BUSINESS AWARDS } CRAWLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Crawley Borough Council has sponsored the Gatwick Diamond Green Business Award since its inception as it places a high value on sustainable business practice and innovation. Our experience with the awards is that we discover wonderful new companies with great ideas as well as learning about real progress made by old business friends. We like to share their successes. We are conscious that good sustainable practice is good for business and is important for the healthy future for Crawley. The council is committed to supporting local business in helping Crawley becoming carbon neutral. These influential awards recognise the efforts of these companies and demonstrate their achievements to the wider world.

STORM Matt Saunders Storm has been working with companies throughout the Southeast for 15 years, developing results-driven marketing strategy, and we’ve supported the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards with design and marketing work for the past 5 years. We’re delighted to sponsor the Award for Customer Delight for the third year running. We get to meet some truly inspirational businesses that are excelling in keeping their customers happy and creating new and exciting ideas to keep improving! We look forward to reviewing this year’s applications and meeting more talented companies. Our approach to judging is methodical and objective to ensure a fair outcome for all entrants regardless of sector and size. Although it’s a big commitment for us as a small team, it’s hugely motivational. We would encourage all companies to consider entering the GDB Awards to help showcase the ideas and successes of businesses across this vibrant region.

HAYS Helen Kirk-Brown Hays launched their sponsorship of the inaugural Supply Chain Excellence Award last year. Our passion lies in developing people and businesses in the region, which is why we are immensely proud to support this award, promoting best practice and engagement with local suppliers. The entries last year demonstrated commitment from so many local suppliers, with an astounding range of services and products benefiting everyday life. Hays view this as an opportunity to showcase the very best that the Gatwick Diamond has to offer.

CHICHESTER COLLEGE Aaron Buston Chichester College are delighted to be sponsoring the Digital Marketing Business of the Year award. This category demonstrates the amazing work Sussex businesses are doing within this industry and how creative projects are helping to go above and beyond the required expectations to create successful campaigns and initiatives. As an organisation, Chichester College are incredibly passionate about Digital Marketing and how the future of this industry will be shaped by the innovative processes involved in this sector. We fundamentally believe that further education, specifically through apprenticeships, is an extremely feasible option into employment, so we are proud to sponsor this award and look forward to meeting the entrants.

PLATINUM BUSINESS MAGAZINE Maarten Hoffmann Platinum Business Magazine is delighted to be the exclusive media partner for the Awards as these are the most prestigious business awards in the Southeast. From the many conversations we have had with past winners, winning a Diamond really can have a major effect on business and team morale, and the only drawback to being a sponsor is that we can’t enter! We will be covering the event and profiling all the finalists in future issues.









Masquerade Dinner Dance Gatwick Diamond Businessl The Gatwick Diamond Business’ dinner dance is always a highlight in the social calendar, and this year was no exception. The Masquerade Dinner Dance at the Arora Hotel brought the business community together for a big party. The event was sponsored by the Arora Hotel and Gatwick Airport, with music by Boogie Wonderland. Gatwick Diamond Business has been representing, supporting and empowering local businesses for 60 years

1. Val Taylor, Jeremy Taylor, Lee-Ann Connor. 2. Adam and Eve Clennell, Andy Sewell. 3. Graham and Karen Godley, Karim Mohamed, Maureen Scholefield, Mike Oliver, Dulcie Brookfield. 4. Natasha Money, Mark Dunn, Sally Brown. 5. Guy Hilton, Bianca Timsley, Nicky Binning, Jason Edge. 6. Jane Bainbridge, Bruno Delrieux, Di Game. 7. Laura Henwood, Katie Wilson. 8. Steve Tuhey, Katie Tuhey. 9. Annabel Simpson, Andrew Simpson. 10. Sally Brown, Andrew Brown. 11. Jess Barnard, Sophia Chapman. 12. David, Ben, sam, Josh, Lorraine, Richard, Penina, James, James. 13. Guy Hilton, Di Game. 14. Stan Wells, Colin Wells, Adrian Harris.






8. 12.

9. 13.

10. 14.

Photo credit: Stephen Lawrence


The world awaits International solutions for you Trading overseas is an exciting proposition for any business, but there’s a lot to think about. It can be challenging, especially if it means venturing into a new territory where the language, the laws and the business culture are different. But it can also bring benefits – such as helping you win new customers, increase economies of scale and reduce your reliance on the domestic market. We have a range of resources and partnerships that could help your business fulfil its global potential.


TRADING ABROAD By Gary Chown ACIB MCIBS - Chartered Banker Director Commercial Banking NatWest Bank Gary.Chown@natwest.com Gary Chown, Director of NatWest Commercial Banking, outlines the three main types of risk a company may encounter when conducting business overseas and how the bank can work with its customers to help mitigate them. RISK 1:



Payment Businesses shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that a lot of international risks are not hugely different from the ones they face when trading in the domestic market. All businesses accept some form of payment risk, whether at home or abroad, and as they would in the UK, there are a number of specific measures firms can take to make sure they are paid by foreign debtors.

Currency When trading internationally, businesses may have to transact in a currency other than their home market currency. They will have to consider how they will convert back into their preferred currency or hold for use at a later date. Foreign exchange is a key service that NatWest offers customers trading overseas and can be planned into international deals well in advance.

Political While payment and currency risks are financial, political risk is non-financial and covers problems where a country becomes unstable or difficult to work in. In general, there is a scale of international risk where most developed countries in the US and Europe are low risk, while others are higher. However, even fairly well developed markets can have issues, as was seen in Ukraine earlier this year.

How NatWest can help The ease of exporting and developing your business into new markets can differ from one region to another. You should consider factors such as the UK’s trading history with that country, its geography, its demand for your products and your products’ life cycles. While an individual economy may be attractive in terms of its prospects, a knowledge of local dynamics and how to mitigate potential risks is essential. NatWest provides support to customers throughout the entire international trading process, and it works to make sure that

businesses understand the whole trade cycle and the risks that are associated with each stage. NatWest uses its local and international expertise to help businesses trade overseas. This ensures that it can provide support to help them pinpoint and qualify the opportunities sector by sector, region by region. NatWest is dedicated to building strong relationships with its customers, with the aim of enabling them to be in a stronger position to negotiate more effectively, allowing them to establish and develop international

opportunities that can lead to financial growth for the business. Next steps Speak to your relationship director (or your international trade adviser, if you have already done business overseas) to set up a suitable time to meet with one of our advisers and discuss your international business plans.

“NatWest provides support to customers throughout the entire international trading process” 35

Want to expand into global markets? The University of Brighton is launching a new programme for companies with ambitions to operate internationally. This new strategic development programme, Business Beyond Borders, will help companies to develop their ideas into a tangible export plan for their business, and gain the knowledge and skills to deliver it. The five workshops will cover the identification of new overseas target markets, assessing the most appropriate market entry methods, adapting product and service offerings for international markets and managing export markets. They will be facilitated by experts with firsthand industrial experience of international business development and the expertise of UKTI and other partners. Starts December 2014. For more information contact the Business Helpdesk on +44 (0)1273 643098 or email businesshelpdesk@brighton.ac.uk

Our services include: • Accountancy & bookkeeping • Audit services • Tax returns • Tax planning

Passionate about business.

• Payroll services • Financial and investment services* • Wealth management We love to make your profits larger and tax payments smaller! Go to www.carpenterbox.com to see what our clients say or get in touch on 01903 234094

*Carpenter Box Wealth Management LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority



CHASING THE GAZELLES Mike Punter, Managing Director, Parafix Tapes and Conversions Ltd, www.parafix.com


arafix Tapes and Conversions is a £10m company based in Lancing. The company employs 135 people and has factories based in the UK and Hungary. Managing Director Mike Punter explains how two recent collaborations with the University of Brighton have helped with increasing productivity and raising efficiency in international marketing. “Following a successful business turnaround, I saw a great deal of potential in Parafix, so in 2005 I bought the business. In doing a SWOT analysis for the bank I found myself considering our strengths. The most obvious was that we manufacture our products really well. Another was the fact that staff rarely leave, and in fact sons and daughters of employees now also work for the company. This is a very laudable strength, and something to be really proud of, but the flip side is that we only did what we knew. We did it very well, but if we were to develop, we had to bring in some outside intelligence. I wanted some input from experts, and some bright brains that would challenge me. So I thought ‘I need to get close to a university’. The first piece of work we did with the university was about driving out waste and improving our process flow. The biggest element of waste we had was that valuable time was being spent by people wandering about looking for things. So our first graduate came in and analysed exactly where everything needed to be

positioned in the factory, reducing our footprint and streamlining production processes, and we saw a dramatic change in productivity as a result. We continued to make and sell things to hundreds of clients around the world, but we didn’t have a clear view of where we wanted to be or how we were going to get there.

“I wanted some input from experts, and some bright brains that would challenge me” So we embarked on a second Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with the University of Brighton which aimed to produce a five year marketing plan. We took on a graduate, Louise Vincent, from the university’s business school and she very quickly got to grips with analysing the markets we were in, identifying which were the most profitable, and what our customers thought about us. We also had input from a senior academic at the university who helped guide the project. As a result of the KTP we now really

businesshelpdesk@brighton.ac.uk understand our customers’ needs across 22 different countries, know exactly which markets we want to focus on, and where the high-growth potential lies. We have backed the conclusions of the analysis and we are now looking at healthcare, automotive, electronics and lighting sectors. We’re chasing the gazelles. Louise is now a full time employee at Parafix and she is implementing the new marketing plan. We want to show potential clients all over the world the capabilities and facilities we have here at Parafix, so we have been upgrading our communications materials. We have built a new website and interactive brochure, and we have seen an improvement already in recognition of the Parafix brand. Going forward, I am focussing on giving opportunities to younger people. This year we have hired 10 new employees under the age of 25, and I plan to continue building a two-way relationship with the University of Brighton, as you never know what sort of expertise you are going to need next. It’s really useful to have that community to ask. For example, we wanted to put bright lights over a machine in the clean room. We kept trying to make the lights brighter and brighter, but we just couldn’t seem to get it quite right, so we asked the photography department at the university, and now part of the clean room is painted black! We would never have thought of that.”




Handelsbanken hosted a seminar on trading with China


e all know that China is becoming a global business juggernaut and that this market is becoming ever more important. It is the largest trading nation in the world, the largest manufacturing economy in the world, the world’s fastest-growing major economy, and the world’s second largest economy by nominal GDP. In short, China is rather important. This, of course, is hardly breaking news, yet the numbers of companies that take the plunge remains relatively low. It is daunting, with language and cultural barriers, and, most of all, the fear of the unknown. The seminar hosted by Handelsbanken was organised with the aim of dispelling some of these fears, and encouraging local businesses to think big. Handelsbanken’s Stephen Chan opened with a presentation aimed at increasing understanding of the country, its economy and the currency. Stephen explained the regional variations and dialects before presenting a few facts and figures on the economy: there has, for instance, been an average GDP growth of 9.9% a year for the last three decades. Last year it was 7.7%, which was perceived as a calamitous figure (though partly because it fell below 8%, and 8 is seen as a lucky number representing wealth and prosperity). There isn’t a nation in Western Europe who would see 7.7% as unlucky!

The big issue in China, apparently, is air quality and pollution, so Stephen pointed out the opportunities for green technologies. The banking system is dominated by five banks, with foreign banks struggling to make a big impression, and those that trade in China tend to build relations with one of the big five. The restrictions on currency are gradually being lifted. The CNY, known locally as the people’s currency (renminbi - RMB) is a semiconvertible currency. Finding a way of trading in RMB is a less expensive way to trade than in dollars. Bruce Watt, the Handlesbanken Trade Finance Manager, recommended considering using Letters of Credit rather than Open Accounts when dealing with the Chinese. A Letter of Credit can be provided to waive a deposit or to prove that the buyer has a proven upstanding financial background. Dealing internationally can be a very risky business, and a Letter of Credit is a useful method for minimising risks. Bruce also spoke about currency variations. He advises to ask for dual quotes in USD and CYN when dealing with Chinese businesses or institutions. CYN (known as RMB) is accepted by more small suppliers and dollar trades tend to incur big mark-ups. The seminar concluded with a presentation by Mark Hedley, from the China-Britain Business Council. Mark spoke about the market entry models that can be used when starting out in

China, and the pros and cons on having a local presence or using distributors. Customers in China may require or demand local technical or customer support, and foreign-based companies can be excluded from tenders/bids with no local office, so a local presence would seem to be preferable. However there is the issue of finding reliable and trustworthy local partners. Market entry models include starting a Wholly Owned Foreign Enterprise (WFOE), a Joint Venture (JV), a Representative Office (RO), a Foreign Invested Commercial Enterprise (FICE), or, to test the market, the CBBC Launchpad (a service offered by the China-Britain Business Council). Without going into detail, the main differences between these models can be measured by the amount of autonomy and control you retain, and conversely the doors that may be opened if you are in business with someone with local knowledge. If you are considering doing business in China there are plenty of organisations that can offer advice and help to find a model that suits your company. These include Handelsbanken, China-Britain Business Council and United Kingdom Trade & Investment (UKTI). The seminar offered food for thought, and, as the case-studies by Mark Hedley illustrated, those companies that can find a way in China, go on to experience incredible growth.

“If you are considering doing business in China there are plenty of organisations that can offer advice and help” 38






3. 1. Stephen Chan, Bruce Watt, Sam Leonard, (all Handelsbanken), Mark Hedley (China-Britain Business Council), Simon Nicholson (Handelsbanken). 2. Chris Lowsley (UKTI), Gordon Lui (Geoswift), Kevin Powell (Knill James). 3. Chris Christou, Geoff Wightwick (Baker Tilly), Cameron Allen (Acro Aircraft Seating). 4. Maarten Hoffmann (PBM), Simon Howe (Handelsbanken), Richard Carnochen (Handelsbanken). 5. Mina Mikhail (Woolley, Bevis Diplock), Lev Denker (UKTI).

Trading In China Seminar - Amex Stadium Handelsbanken hosted a seminar, Trading In China, at the Amex Community Stadium, to encourage companies to think about the opportunities this powerful nation offers. The first speaker was Handelsbanken’s Stephen Chan, who gave a presentation on some facts and figures about China and the potential there is to do business. Bruce Watt, also from the bank, spoke about how companies can minimise risk when undertaking a venture in China. Finally, Mark Hedley, from the China-Britain Business Council, offered some advice on choosing the right entry model and detailed some casestudies of successful UK companies who have grown through their Chinese experience. It was a fascinating and thought-provoking morning.

6. Dayan Maharajh (Handelsbanken), Niky Hunt (Handelsbanken), Victoria Mason (Cardens). 7. Sam Leonard (Handelsbanken), Nick Rawson (Knill James), Alison Jones (Spofforths), Kevin Powell (Knill James). 8. John Billing (Carpenter Box), Stephen Golding , Chris Lowsley (UKTI), Simon Nicholson (Handelsbanken). 9. Chris Coopey (Carpenter Box), David Barden (Handelsbanken).




9. 8.

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By Chris Lowsley, UK Trade & Investment International Trade Adviser – China specialist.


xporting is a proven route to business growth. Government export body UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) urges UK-based companies to rise to the opportunities that globalisation can offer. For those considering, or who are new to exporting, UKTI may be an unknown source of support. However, we can offer companies tailored and specialist support as well as access to a global network of trade specialists in over 100 markets. Why Export? Many independent studies have shown that companies who export see a dramatic impact in the following areas: • Higher rates of growth; • Enhancement of revenues and profits; • Resilience to competitive pressures; • Spread of market and business risks; • Innovation - the global market boosts productivity and product development; • Benefit from economies of scale and increased return on investment in Research & Development; • More productivity, flexibility and ability to overcome business challenges; • Enhanced reputation with a global profile. Companies who would like to utilise the support of UKTI can benefit from a free consultation with their local International Trade Adviser (ITAs), all of whom possess a wealth of experience within the international private sector, and who will offer impartial advice and support.


What does UKTI offer Sussex and South East companies? UKTI have an experienced team of ITAs in the Sussex area, managed by Brightonbased Stephen Golding, who can help local businesses with a variety of support services and programmes, ranging from selecting suitable markets to helping companies with market research, and from identifying local importers and partners to offering overseas market visits. Companies can also take advantage of UKTI’s Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS), where they can tailor requirements to fit their own needs; ITAs work closely with a dedicated global network of market experts to assist companies entering new markets. Joining one of our export programmes, such as Passport to Export or Gateway to Global Growth, encourages businesses to look strategically at their international growth and helps them plan the steps required to succeed. Other services, such as Export Communication Reviews and Export Market Research Services, are available for firms wishing to develop their international web presence and be fully informed and prepared for the competition in their chosen market. There is also a programme of seminars and master classes in various export-related subjects, as well as services which can support exhibiting overseas through the Trade Association Network.

Why do business in China? High-growth markets such as China require special care from new entrants. ITA Chris Lowsley is UKTI’s China specialist based in Sussex, with many years’ experience in doing business in China and business-counselling companies on the ‘do’s and don’ts’ in the market. China can seem daunting, but for those who do their homework, take time to investigate the market properly and know their own strengths and resources, it can be very rewarding. Time and resources need to be carefully managed, and finding the right partner can be crucial to success. China’s consumer market now has a buying power similar to the combined purchasing of all EU countries. It is worth noting that China is not a single market, and it presents a level of diversity similar to that seen in continental Europe. China’s E–commerce market and online trading are more developed than in much of the EU, and demand for branded goods from Britain has mushroomed. UKTI can assist in areas such as managing trading risks, understanding the local business culture and practices, and selecting the best partners. Given the demand for assistance in dealing with China, UKTI has appointed China-Britain Business Council (CBBC) to offer commercial advice and support. To find out more about the wide range of support services available through UKTI to help your company succeed overseas call the South East International Trade Hotline on 08452 789 600 or email: info@uktisoutheast.com.



CAMPAIGNS FOR BRITISH EXPORTS Kelly Hoppen MBE backed the recent British Export Week with a list of Top Tips on ‘Exporting a Business Abroad’. As a proud ambassador of the GREAT Campaign and whilst working closely with UKTI over the years, Kelly not only promotes Quintessentially British brands abroad but is also an extremely successful exporter herself.

RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH Contact UKTI and use the expert international trade advisors (ITAs) to help you research your target markets and potential customers. PLAN Have a business plan and the necessary capital. Talk to your bank and UK Export Finance (UKEF), the government’s export finance provider, well in advance. If pitching to an investor, they will care more about how you are going to a.) get to revenue, b.) scale it over the first year, and c.) retain those customers. Plan your responses in advance. MEETING WITH INVESTORS When preparing to pitch to an investor, it’s important to know your pitch inside and out, and have multiple lengths stored in your brain. This doesn’t mean learning it by rote, but practice the content and deliver it confidently. Include your learnings in your investor pitch. Investors like to see the market research you’ve done. Wherever possible, include positive testimonies from real customers. KNOW THE CURRENCY Understand the currencies you will need to deal with. Talk with your foreign exchange provider early, as they can give you insights into the potential currency risks.

SEEK OUT SUPPORT AND ADVICE There are several organisations that are dedicated to supporting overseas trade, such as UKTI, UKEF and Chambers of Commerce, as well as specialists in banks, law and accountancy firms. Their support will be crucial. Seek support from your peers too. Deliver your pitch to a friend and ask them to pose the tricky questions to you so that you are fully prepared. APPRECIATE CULTURAL DIFFERENCES Failure to take account of different cultures can lead to damaging and costly mistakes. This could range from causing offence by not observing correct protocol to inappropriate packaging and marketing.

and make sales. UK Trade and Investment’s (UKTI) Trade Access Programme provides grants to companies to attend trade shows and missions worldwide. GET PAID It is easy to overlook the risk of non-payment. Establish the credit rating of potential clients and guard against non-payment through letters of credit or credit insurance. UKEF can provide advice and insurance where the private market cannot help. BE PATIENT It will not happen as quickly as you anticipate. Local customs and legislation can slow things down.

START SMALL It’s tempting to pursue multiple markets. Don’t. Begin by focusing on one or two markets. TEST Take part in overseas events, trade fairs or missions to test markets, attract customers, appoint agents or distributors



“Throughout this process I believe the lines have been blurred. We mustn’t forget that an airport is a profitable commercial business”

GATWICK vs HEATHROW By John Burroughes Managing Director of UNIGLOBE Preferred Travel T: 0845 180 7817 • E: sales@uniglobepreferred.co.uk • W: www.uniglobepreferred.co.uk


t would appear to me that here in Sussex we are embroiled in a passionate debate about our future airport capacity and integrated transport policy - at least that’s what we should be debating in my view. Instead, due to some nifty political footwork we find ourselves in what is now described as a two-horse race for who should have a new runway, Gatwick or Heathrow. To demonstrate this, I recently had a conversation with a budding politician in Sussex whose opinion was most definitely for Gatwick. When I asked him why, he said: ‘well I’m standing in the Sussex area so I have to support Gatwick.’ Is this really the intelligent basis on which we make decisions about the future transport policy and requirements of this fantastic thriving country that we are all a part of? The real problem, as far as I can see, is that this country does not have an integrated transport policy; instead, we make decisions in silos. This is why if you live south of Gatwick and


want to catch an early morning flight you have to drive, as there seems to be no linkage between flight times and train times. To put this into perspective, imagine being an American, or indeed any other international traveller landing at Gatwick, and needing to catch a connecting flight from Heathrow. The traveller would be looking for our bullet train; you would then be presented with a very bemused face as you explained the intricacies of the train journey into London and the tube connections, or the fast coach service via that paragon of high-speed travel, the M25. However, I think what we can all broadly agree on is that we need to utilise all modern efficient transport options to help us deliver the transport requirements of both the business and leisure traveller in the 21st century. At the heart of this requirement is clearly airport capacity. The Davies commission is due to start an open consultation within the next couple of weeks and it’s worth recapping on what their original terms

of reference were. The commission was set up to examine the scale and timing of any requirements for additional capacity to maintain the UKs position as Europe’s most important aviation hub. It’s worth reminding ourselves what a hub airport does. It simply puts together a mixture of passengers and freight that are able to fill large planes to capacity in order to make them economically viable, flying directly to all major long haul destinations, as well as emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil. In doing so it also provides us with lower fares. The airport’s clients are the airlines, who ideally want a large hub airport so that they can base all of their fleet and services in one location. Heathrow is the UKs only hub airport and one of only six airports in the world with over 50 long haul routes. It is also a fact that UK businesses trade 20 times more with emerging markets where there are daily direct flights.


IS IT THE WRONG QUESTION? Having said that, this is clearly a political hot potato and, with the exception of Boris Johnson, no other leading politician wants to take a stand one way or the other, particularly with an election looming. Instead, they have left it to the Davies commission, who have now examined all of the submissions, resulting in two options being left for them to consult on, Heathrow or Gatwick. However, what most people don’t realise is that there are actually three options the commission are about to consult on. One is indeed a new runway at Gatwick, the second is a new runway at Heathrow, and the third and lessknown option is to extend a runway at Heathrow. I’m sure over the coming weeks we will all hear much more about this third option which is being championed by Jock Lowe, a retired British Airways Concorde Pilot. In essence, the plan is to extend the northerly runway to the west, approximately 6,800m. This will allow flights to land and take off from the different ends of the runway at the same time, whilst in the middle allowing for a 650m safety zone. I understand the CAA have examined these proposals together with all of the safety aspects and are satisfied. As part of this proposal a new 16 lane section of the M25 would be built alongside the existing

M25, thus not causing massive congestion whilst it is being built, together with an integrated rail hub that will link into the new high-speed cross rail that will cater for increased passenger numbers. I am also told from a noise perspective this plan would be significantly better. Currently Heathrow is 98% full with 472,000 flights, compared with Paris’ 700,000 flights at 73% capacity, Frankfurt’s 700,000 flights at 70% capacity and Amsterdam’s 650,000 at 67% capacity. With either a new runway or an extended runway, the capacity of Heathrow would rise to between 700,000 and 740,000 flights, bringing it in line with our European competitors. The other great advantages of implementing an extended runway is that it’s cheaper and could be built quicker with much less disruption to people and the environment. It is also future proof because in due course you could extend the other runway in the same manner; I also suspect that having looked at the plan it may be much more acceptable politically. Throughout this process I believe the lines have been blurred. We mustn’t forget that an airport is a profitable commercial business that is there to serve the needs of its customers, who are both the airlines and the travellers. So in making the decision on future airport

capacity I do hope that the Davies commission take into account the commercial requirements of the airline industry. As it’s only in recent years, and with much consolidation, that we are beginning to see profitable airlines emerge who are able to invest in new planes that have increased fuel efficiency, are more environmentally friendly and are a much nicer way to travel. Having said all this, as somebody who lives in Hove I would much sooner have a hub airport that is only a 40 minute drive away, but we have to be practical. This is not about whether we live and do business in the south of England or anywhere else; this is about making a sound business-based decision that will support, promote and enhance the future growth and trade of UK plc. For that reason, tomorrow I will drive to Heathrow to catch a direct long haul flight, and I suspect we will be doing this for some time to come. This is why we need to be focusing and asking our politicians why we don’t have an integrated cross-party transport policy that will support the growth and requirements of every member of this great country that we have the privilege to live in.


Do you want to be part of a winning team? Hastings Direct is a multi-award winning business and one of the UK’s fastest growing insurance providers with over 1.5 million customers. We have ambitious plans and we’re seeking talented professionals to join our winning team based in Bexhill-on Sea. As a company that’s going places and yet still small enough to feel like you can make a difference, we can offer genuine development and career progression. We have many exciting career opportunities;

Customer Facing /Contact Centre roles available;

Claims Personal Injury Manager - To design and implement the Claims Personal Injury Strategy and drive strategic initiatives to develop business area, empowering management of best practices.

Customer Representatives Customer Representatives earn up to £18,000 (including basic salary and bonus)

IT Development Manager - To provide leadership and supervision to technical teams who are responsible for developing information technology initiatives that support the strategic objectives of the Corporation.

We provide our customers with a refreshingly straightforward service and we’d like to hear from you if you enjoy talking to customers and love working in a fast paced, busy office.

Risk Manager - The purpose of the role is to manage the risk function, whilst providing strategic oversight on emerging risks as the business undertakes significant growth plans and co-ordinating risk activity which takes account of regulatory change. Project Managers - Establish and maintain portfolio projects to support our PMO office implementation of major business, tactical and strategic change in operational areas. Call Centre Manager - Successfully lead and develop the contact centre to deliver excellent customer service to Hastings Direct customers. Information Security Manager - Provide leadership and strategic direction to Hastings Insurance Group, to bring the group IS risks under control via the design and implementation of policy standards.

As a customer representative you will be talking to our customers over the phone, providing straightforward service, whilst working in a supportive team that recognises and rewards hard work. We provide first class training in order for you to succeed in your role. Are you: • Self motivated? • Adaptable? • Dedicated to delivering great customer service? • Flexible to working 37.5 hours per week within the hours below? Mon – Fri 8am to 9pm, Sat 9am to 5.30pm & Sun 10am to 5pm.

Retention Manager - Define and implement a market leading renewals and in-life customer journey to drive business performance.

To learn more about each of the above vacancies please contact us:


01424 735735 ext 8924.

2013 and 2014 Car Insurance Provider of the Year, Consumer Moneyfacts Awards 2013 Insurance Times Awards, Personal Lines Broker of the Year 2013 UK Broker Awards, Personal Lines Broker of the Year.


LEARNING TO LEAD Amanda Menahem HR Director, Hastings Direct Insurance


n last month’s issue I profiled the Hastings Direct undergraduate leadership programme in partnership with Brighton University Business School. Work continues on the design of this exciting programme with a close partnership approach between the Hastings Learning and Development Team and Brighton University. Since then Hastings Direct has also kicked off some joint ventures with Sussex University. These include the creation of a new module which will be uniquely designed by the Hastings Learning and Development Team and will become part of the existing, successful ‘Learning to Lead’ Sussex programme. The module will focus on personal brand and provide students with valuable tools and techniques to ensure they create a positive impact and communicate the right verbal and non-verbal messages through how they behave and interact with others. I am sure you’ll agree this type of life lesson is often missing within the education system and

yet is a critical success factor in business. It is likely that this module will also be opened out to other interested students within the university.

“We know that Sussex students have the kind of drive and ‘spark’ that helps business thrive” As an alumnus of Sussex, it’s fantastic to think we can make a difference to these students. We know that Sussex students have the kind of drive and ‘spark’ that helps business thrive. Similarly, Brighton University has a progressive and fresh approach that suits our culture. We have important skills requirements

in order to secure our future growth plans, and both Brighton University and Sussex can play a vital role. These are exciting times! So many businesses are stagnating or shrinking and focus only on the short-term, but here we are actively building for our future, and together making a difference in Sussex. The only way we are going to fully prepare the current University students, our future workforce, is for local business to get involved with the educational facilities and assist with their induction into the workplace. Our great Sussex Universities are open and ready to listen, and business really can make a significant difference.




LEATHERHEAD & DISTRICT BUSINESS AWARDS 2014 WINNERS ANNOUNCED Business leaders came together in November to celebrate the winners of the Leatherhead & District Business Awards 2014 at an awards ceremony and dinner held at St John’s School, Leatherhead, Surrey, organised by Prowse and Co Ltd. The Awards celebrate the achievements of businesses in the Leatherhead & District area and shine a spotlight on the companies and business leaders that make Leatherhead a great place to live, work and visit. With excellent transport links and business premises, the area is home to businesses of all sizes, from world-class corporates to innovative smaller enterprises. Clare Cowan from BBC Radio Surrey acted as MC for the evening.

WINNERS Business of the Year 2014 Sponsored by the Leatherhead & District Chamber of Commerce. Winner: Humidity Solutions. Innovation in Business Award Sponsored by ExxonMobil. Winner: Monochrome. 
 Start Up Business of the Year Sponsored by Mole Valley District Council. Winner: Positive Autism Support and Training (PAST). Meet and Eat Space Award Sponsored by The Leatherhead Advertiser. Winner: Clark’s Café. Customer Service Award Sponsored by Riverbridge House. Winner: Fine Fettle Multi-Healthcare. Award for People Development Sponsored by Unilever UK. Winner: Broadplace Advertising. Marketing Award of the Year Sponsored by Prowse & Co Ltd. Winner: Humidity Solutions. Charity/Social Enterprise/Community Interest Company of the Year Winner: The Freewheelers Theatre Company. Social Responsibility Award Sponsored by Surrey Connects. Winner: Liquid Productions. International Business of the Year Sponsored by The Gatwick Diamond Initiative. Winner: ETD Consulting.

Photographs: Top image: Sponsors, winners and runners up Left-hand, side working down: Humidity Solutions collecting Business of the Year Award, Monochrome collecting Innovation in Business Award Welcome by Joanne Rogers, Managing Director, Prowse & Co Ltd



THE POWER OF EMPATHY By Sarah Hopwood Business Consultant, International Speaker, TV Presenter, Voiceover Artist and Cruise Lecturer. www.sarahhopwppd.com Discussions around stress, conflict absenteeism and mental illness are dominating headlines and, at times, discussion, in the boardroom. Often, even though staff are at their desks, they are actually absent – primarily due to distraction. So how can we help manage their thinking? It is my belief that when we think and behave emotionally intelligently, we can off-set some barriers and fears that fundamentally impact the output and profits of your business. So what is EQ, Emotional Quotient – better known as emotional intelligence? EQ is the ability to identify and manage the relationship we have with others and ourselves. The key word is empathy; sensing others’ feelings and perspectives – taking an active interest in their concerns. Empathy is stronger and more intimate than sympathy: incorporating the ability to acknowledge with understanding. E-motion really means energy put into motion, the ability to generate, use and feel emotions to communicate feelings – or employ them in thinking and creating. Emotions come from our thoughts. If we don’t like what we are feeling we can go back and change that thought. How can EQ help your business generate better long-standing results? In business leadership ‘IQ’ is well established. The significance of ‘EQ’ is also a key component of both great leadership and sustainable business results, yet not as well recognised in many organisations. EQ empowers us to deal with the cause of a problem, rather than the effect. We will make better decisions by responding, rather than reacting. This helps us so much when coaching staff, managing conflict, staff promotions, the recruitment and sales process and in recognizing emotions, thereby gaining a true insight and understanding of what is really happening. When it comes to marketing, understanding multiple intelligences will empower you to market to each of the intelligences, and in so doing, throwing your net wide, empowering you

to beat your competitors. Using EQ incorporates left field thinking. It allows you to unpack what the real issues are instead of shuffling papers around the boardroom table – usually looking good, but actually not dealing with root problems.

“Empathy is stronger and more intimate than sympathy, with the ability to acknowledge with understanding” Can EQ be taught? Daniel Goleman published ‘Emotional Intelligence: why it can matter more the IQ’ in 1995. It was a best seller, so many of you will be familiar with his work. He talks about personal & social competencies. Goleman argues that the traditional cognitive way of teaching doesn’t work – but working within our inner core does. It is all linked to our ‘why’. Seth Godin wrote about Blue Ocean Strategy

and it really is a good read. I work in the space between IQ and EQ, believing I work in Blue Ocean. The space helps you see, taste, smell, touch and feel your blue ocean and how to get there. Many businesses are investing thousands in stress reduction learning; it is well known that ‘absent from your desk’ does not mean you are out of the building. To access EQ we need space and time (at times, play), giving the ability to suspend judgments, be in the ‘now’ and then reflect. Technical ability often stands at the forefront for business leaders; I am suggesting understanding emotion is just as powerful as understanding those technical abilities. Doing what is right is a must. We are responsible for our choices, decisions and actions, meaning a person with high EQ will have more trust and confidence in themselves. These people are good at living as ‘human beings’ and not, as so many, trying to be ‘human doings’. These people are invariably found in meditation, prayer or moments of mindfulness. I really like Peter Shepherd’s words about EQ: “You are responsible for your choices, decisions and actions; for being true to your judgment; for communicating with honesty and integrity, developing and maintaining an open mind, and promoting understanding and empathy; for never compromising your freedoms and rights nor trampling on another’s; for always acting from the primary motivation of love. That’s all and quite enough.”

Direct Mail Innovation using Smellymail and Augmented Reality in your next campaign Contact our team to find out more details

T: 01444 231 400 E: sales@novadirectmail.co.uk

W: www.novadirectmail.co.uk

Edward Way, Victoria Business Park, Burgess Hill West Sussex RH15 9UA


FAIL TO PLAN, PLAN TO FAIL Big Beach Marketing Tel: 01273 434552 Web: www.bigbeach.co.uk

By Louise Walden Director of Big Beach Marketing Have you got a plan? Not a Marketing plan, a business plan. Why do I ask? Because it is fundamental to me as a marketeer that there is some kind of plan for your business. Marketing activity should support the agreed objectives of the business. If you don’t know where you want your business to be, it is difficult for marketing to help you get there. Sometimes producing a marketing plan can help a business focus on what is important for its success.

I have a plan, what’s next? Working with a new client is very exciting as we have to quickly get ‘under the skin’ of the business in order to understand it, to deliver the best marketing advice. We do this by conducting a Marketing Audit: 50 questions about your business, designed to draw out the real picture and often completed though discussion. We prefer to talk through the questionnaire as it means we can quickly build trust, rapport, ask further questions if necessary, and involve other key members of the team.

The Marketing Audit, what kind of things do we ask? We’ve usually had some communication prior to carrying out the audit so we’re able to tailor it around unique concerns or common industry

issues. The obvious and most direct questions are often the best: what is your historical and projected turnover? Do you have a company vision or mission? How do you segment your customers? What is the competition like? A good ‘starter for 10’ is;

What are the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to your business? Let me first insert a caveat here; please don’t assume that this well-known high-level analysis is easy to do. It requires evidence, honesty, being open and more than one person in the business to answer it. A new pair of eyes may see things that owners and employees of a business do not, so we may ask uncomfortable questions in order to get to the heart of any issues. In the Marketing Plan which follows the audit, we always provide our analysis too, it usually differs from the client’s initial response.

What is the % split between new and existing customers? It is simpler, cheaper and easier to sell more to existing customers, than to acquire new ones, but what does the split look like for your business? If you’re only selling to new customers, is it because you’ve saturated your customer base or you don’t have enough

diversity in your product range? Or is it that you are not sure what products have been purchased by existing customers?

How often and how, do you communicate with your customers? Do you only send an invoice or do you communicate regularly in other ways: email, direct mail or by telephone? How often does your management team meet with your top clients to learn more about what their issues are? It is not always about ‘the sell’, it is listening and relationship building that sustain loyalty and generate future sales.

How would you describe your company culture? Interesting, why should this make a difference? Is this really a business related question? Your culture includes your processes, the approach and attitude of everyone within and connected to your business. So this affects how your customers and future customers are treated, how your data is used and ultimately whether you will achieve your business goals. So let me ask again about your business plan… you would be surprised how many business owners don’t have one (or maybe you wouldn’t…?)

“If you don’t know where you want your business to be, it is difficult for marketing to help you get there” 49
















Platinum Business Magazine, Steering Committee Dinner At the inception of this magazine, we vowed to remain relevant, informative, entertaining and ahead of the game. There was only one way to do that, and the PBM Steering Committee was born. Comprising leading business figures from across the Southeast, the PBMSC meets bi-annually for an open and frank discussion on past issues and helps define where the magazine should be headed in the future. This is our way of remaining current and relevant and is why other publications are following our lead. We would like to thank the Committee for their time and sage experience along with Simon Maguire and his team at Hotel du Vin for hosting such a splendid meal.

13. 8.

Steering Committe: Gary Chown – Commercial Director, NatWest Bank Nik Askaroff – CEO, EMC Corporate Finance Amanda Menahem – Director, Hastings Direct Insurance Bruce Hayter – Managing Partner, Rix & Kay Viki Faulkner – University of Brighton John Burroughes – MD, Uniglobe Preferred Travel Simon Maguire - GM, Hotel du Vin Richard Skerritt - MD, Skerritt Wealth Management Stuart Noakes - Partner, Carpenter Box Sasha Davies - Director, Godfrey Investments Dean Orgill - Chairman, Mayo Wynne Baxter Craig Walden - MD, Big Beach Marketing Sarah Hopwood - MD, Sarah Hopwood Consulting Linda Buckham - University of Sussex Clarence Mitchell – The Conservative Party Maarten Hoffmann - Director, Platinum Business Magazine Ian Trevett - Director, Platinum Business Magazine Rebecca Weller - Stanmer House Abigail Owen – Senior Corporate Partner, DMH Stallard Guy Hilton – GM, Hilton Hotels Jeremy Taylor – CEO, Gatwick Diamond Business Keith Jackman – MD, Mercedes-Benz Ana Christie – CEO, Sussex Enterprise Andy Fry – MD, Nova Direct Rob Fawcett – Partner, Bennett Griffin

14. 9.

Photographs: 1. Sasha Davies, Richard Skerritt 2. Sarah Hopwood, Stuart Noakes 3. Rebecca Weller 4. Dean Orgill, John Burroughes, Amanda Menahem, Nik Askaroff, Sarah Hopwood 5. Ian Trevett, Maarten Hoffmann, Craig Walden, Gary Chown 6. Ian Trevett, Stuart Noakes 7. Stuart Noakes, Bruce Hayter 8. Viki Faulkner, Rebecca Weller 9. Sarah Hopwood, Stuart Noakes 10. Craig Walden, John Burroughes 11. Abigail Owen, Clarence Mitchell 12 Steering Committee 13. Linda Buckham, Simon Maguire 14. Richard Skerritt, Abigail Owen 15. Clarence Mitchell, Sasha Davies

15. 10.

Photographs by Lesley Taylor



BREAKING NEWS - OVERTIME TO COUNT TOWARDS HOLIDAY PAY By Elaine Smith Elaine is a Partner and Head of the Company and Commercial Department es@bennett-griffin.co.uk• 01903 229948



“These cases are creating major uncertainty for businesses and impacting on investment and resourcing decisions”


s you may have seen in the recent national media, UK workers won a ground-breaking case when The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) ruled in favour of the right for overtime to be included in holiday pay.

At present, only basic pay counts when calculating holiday pay, but the ruling means that many people could claim for additional holiday pay. It relates to the UK’s interpretation of the EU working time directive and it focuses on workers who regularly work overtime and claim that their holiday pay should reflect this.

How did this come about? The ruling followed an appeal by Bear Scotland (the road construction and maintenance firm) against an earlier decision by an employment tribunal which found that the company had made unauthorised deductions from the wages of two employees. Bear Scotland had failed to include overtime and other payments associated with their work when calculating holiday pay owed. The tribunal also heard cases from two other companies, Hertel and Amec, who also appealed decisions that they had made unauthorised deductions by failing to include overtime when calculating holiday pay. EAT’s ruling suggests that UK companies have interpreted the EU directive incorrectly. The tribunal defined non-guaranteed overtime as overtime which is offered, but not guaranteed, by the employer but which employees have to agree to do if it is offered. The ruling held that such payments should be included in the calculation of holiday pay, that regulation 16 of the Working Time Regulations 1998 can be read as allowing such payments to be included in holiday pay and that only the first four weeks of holiday would be subject to the new overtime calculations. In addition, the ruling specified that payments for time travelling to and from work also needs to be included when calculating working time directive holiday pay.

Will it be retrospective? The tribunal has also ruled that workers will be able to backdate claims, although there will be a limited time to do this – three months from the date of the unlawful deduction.

“Time travelling to and from work also needs to be included when calculating working time directive holiday pay” Will there be an appeal? Given the sums of money that could be involved, it is likely that the companies will refer the ruling to the Court of Appeal. The workers’ union Unite has claimed the case as a great victory. Executive Director for legal, membership and affiliated services at Unite, Howard Beckett said: “Up until now some workers who are required to do overtime have been penalised for taking the time off they are entitled to. This ruling not only secures justice for our members who were short changed, but means employers have got to get their house in order. “Employers will now have to include overtime in calculating holiday pay, and those that don’t should be under no illusion that Unite will fight to ensure that our members receive their full entitlement.”

What are the implications to UK businesses? There are some 30.8 million people employed in the UK, with 5 million of them thought to do overtime. The ruling, therefore, has widespread implications for companies and organisations where staff are required to do overtime as a regular part of their job. However, the tribunal is not clear on whether the ruling applies to people doing voluntary overtime. The Business Secretary Vince Cable has said that the UK Government will be reviewing the case as a matter of urgency and that they will set up a task force of representatives from government and business to look at how the ruling’s impact can be minimised. The CBI Director General, John Cridland, has warned of the consequences: “This is a real blow to UK businesses now facing the prospect of punitive costs potentially running into billions of pounds – and not all will survive, which could mean significant job losses. “These cases are creating major uncertainty for businesses and impacting on investment and resourcing decisions.” He has called on the UK Government to challenge the decision and use its powers to limit any retrospective liability that firms may face. Because of the costs involved, it is likely that many employers may now consider reducing the availability of overtime. For further information regarding this legislation and how to implement it within your organisation, we would recommend that you seek professional legal advice.


Sussex-based Skerritts received the coveted Citywire award for a record fourth successive year from comedian Ed Byrne at the awards ceremony at the Park Plaza in Westminster.


Reeves launch new Gatwick office Crawley MP Henry Smith, opened the new offices for Reeves, the accountancy and financial services firm who employ over 300 staff in the Southeast. He said, “I am delighted to welcome Reeves to Crawley, which has a burgeoning financial services sector to rival towns such as Reading. The firm is an important addition to the town.” Reeves Executive Chairman, Clive Stevens, stressed the strategic importance of the location: “Our Gatwick office is a major complement to our other offices in Kent, London and Eastbourne. We have the expertise to offer a full partner-led personal, local and international advisory, tax and accounting service to all businesses.” Partner, Shirley Smith, welcomed the move and said, “The local team can draw on the combined talent of 300 colleagues as required.” Partner Paul Roe, President of the Crawley & Gatwick Chamber of Commerce commented on the role Reeves plays locally: “Our nominated charity, Crawley Open House, does great work helping homeless people in the area, while we are also sponsoring Crawley Town FC this season.”



Eastbourne: Secure a strong future for us all Caroline Ansell Candidate for Eastbourne and Willingdon


ocal matters: I know my area and I love my home town but there’s also a bigger picture behind the General Election in May 2015, and much is at stake. Results in constituencies like Eastbourne & Willingdon will be the difference between a Conservative government and a return to the Labour years. So, benefit 1: should the good people of Eastbourne & Willingdon elect me, as a Conservative MP, at the heart of a Conservative government, ‘the Plan’ goes on... a plan which has - these last four years - delivered record numbers of new businesses, new jobs and new apprenticeships, and it’s official: we are the fastest growing economy in the developed world. And how? By backing Business. And I’m backing local businesses, not least in my efforts to regenerate the business rates regime. With an innovation mall coming soon to Sovereign Harbour, £80m of investment is in the pipeline for the town centre, and with aspirations for a bright conferencing future at The Devonshire Park, we have good cause for optimism in our future - but local economies rise or fall on their transport links. So, I am leading the local campaigns for an upgraded A27, protected coastway rail services and a 2nd runway at Gatwick, all to keep us connected to the east & west, the capital and the world. 2015 is the window to win millions of pounds of investment in our transport links; that makes the Transport Secretary my new best friend and the ‘Design for Roads and Bridges Manual’ my new bedtime read. If elected, I can see these campaigns home, and they are game-changing opportunities for business. Our strategic road to the West - notably Brighton, Gatwick, London and beyond - is

famously dangerous and turns business away. We know it, and I have made it my business to make sure Ministers know it too. I personally drove the Minister from Polegate to Lewes. If poor transport links are one barrier to realizing future business potential, then a skilled local workforce is another. Education is key, and I bring over a decade of experience

“Greater synergy between schools, colleges and businesses will be the difference to how we help young people get the skills they need to be successful and how our businesses compete at home and abroad ”

in the sector. Having trained for schoolheadship, my core business has been inspiring the next generation of doctors and artists, entrepreneurs and engineers. Going forward, greater synergy between schools, colleges and businesses will be the difference to how we help young people get the skills they need to be successful and how our businesses compete at home and abroad. I will also be working further to ensure we have leading digital connectivity, available to all.

Caroline Ansell Tel: 01323 418112 56

And on the home front, I am working to see our town recognised as the official ‘eastern gateway’ to the South Downs National Park, a development which would strengthen our partnership with the Park and give Eastbourne - and our area - bigger presence nationally and internationally. I mean for us to be put on the map. Four generations of my family live in the town, I have a massive stake in its prosperity and so the highest ambitions for its future. I will continue to support the campaign to petition for a cut in VAT on accommodation and attractions to boost our tourism economy, an important driver in a seaside town like ours and a move which would help us to compete with the overseas holiday market. In me, the business community will have an MP with real local connection and influence in government.


Eastbourne: Beating the Recession Stephen Lloyd MP MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon


ithin a few weeks of winning Eastbourne at the General Election I set up a body called the MP’s Commission. Its members were the Chamber of Commerce, FSB, Eastbourne Hospitality Association, the Council and a few key local businesses. Our main focus for the next few years would be the local economy and what we could do to push the business agenda. We all recognised the country was going into what was going to be a really tough recession and that if we didn’t prioritise action locally, then Eastbourne could struggle like so many other seaside towns to come through the recession successfully. This was not about party politics, it was about our own community and how, by working together with a clear emphasis on jobs and supporting local business, our town could get through the recession. Four and a half years later, how successful has Eastbourne been in pursuit of our objective? The short answer is: very! Our latest unemployment stats are 2.9% which is over 50% lower than at the height of the recession. Our apprenticeship scheme, 100 apprenticeships in 100 days, which I was the first MP to launch, was a resounding success: 181 new apprenticeships in 100 days and over 3,500 since. This also had the benefit of enthusing the whole town and significantly boosting confidence. Private sector investment has been significant - £85 million by Legal and General to completely regenerate our town centre. It has passed all the planning and consultation hurdles and the compulsory purchase order is imminent. The development will include a new nine-screen Cinema and seven new restaurants – a game changer for Eastbourne’s town centre night economy. In addition, a new Morrison’s superstore has been built, opening with 300 jobs, of which a significant number were long-term unemployed, and a new TK

Max recently opened to great acclaim amongst Eastbourne shoppers. Alongside that, the town and my constant support for and publicising of new and expanding businesses has helped push the narrative that our town is very much ‘open for business.’ This was tested by the dreadful fire that wrecked a third of our beloved Pier only a few months ago, but our response was immediate. I and the Leader of the Council, David Tutt must have done over 40 media

“Eastbourne is buzzing, private money is pouring in, and the town feels good about itself. My short answer to what I will do for business locally if reelected is – more of the same ” interviews between us, in the space of 15 hours, constantly pushing the same line – Eastbourne remained ‘open for business,’ we are a community-focussed town, we will rally around all those affected by the tragedy and we will re-open the Pier very soon. And this is what happened. We immediately set up a Pier Committee to support the kiosk holders and employees affected and I received countless emails and calls from local businesses and hotels asking how they could help. Thirty-two of the thirty-eight Pier employees affected

were found replacement jobs within 10 days and the Pier re-opened to visitors within 8 weeks. And equally importantly, the town feels a tremendous sense of achievement. We unilaterally refused to be portrayed as victims – despite initial strenuous attempts to brand us as such by the broadcast media. Their default position, frankly, when disasters happen – and this sense of empowerment was palpable. The town rolled its sleeves up as it has since 2010 and we just worked our way through the tragedy. A constant theme recurring through my article, as I’m sure many of you will have identified, is ‘confidence’ and ‘community’. A town that works together, works! Another example of this, which, on the surface was a bit of fun, but actually had a deeply serious intent on my part: I brought back to Eastbourne, after a gap of 15 years, our Sunshine Carnival. It was an enormous challenge, we had no money from the council (to misquote Labour Treasury Minister, ‘There is no money’) and we had to start the whole momentous event from scratch. But, with thanks to a fantastic team lead by our Pageant Master and local businessman David Cooper, and the tremendous support and enthusiasm of the whole town, the Eastbourne Sunshine Carnival has just had its third year back and was watched by more than 20,000 spectators, with 1,800 people taking part. And the town loves it! Meanwhile, I now know more about running a carnival than probably any other MP in Parliament. Not something I anticipated when I took the ‘interesting’ decision to get involved in politics rather than throw a brick at my television set! To conclude, Eastbourne is buzzing, private money is pouring in, and the town feels good about itself. My short answer to what I will do for business locally if re-elected is – more of the same.

Stephen Lloyd MP Tel: 0207 219 7061 57

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3. 1. Andy Brett (Liminal Consulting), Gemma King (Vivid Marketing). 2. Lynne Edwards (Portfolio Magazine), Joanne Whippy (Whippy Insurance). 3. John Burroughes (Uniglobe Travel), David Edwards (Burt Brill & Cardens), Maarten Hoffmann (The Platinum Club). 4. Mark Tully (Gemini Print), Sophia Lee-Spencer (Callisto Associates), Kate McCoy (Cloud Nine Marketing). 5. John Kelly and Hanna Flack (Square One Financial).

The Platinum Club Networking Forum, held at The Grand Hotel Brighton The Platinum Business networking forum met recently at the Grand Hotel and was busier than usual as more members take advantage of one of the most relaxed and high profile groups in Sussex. There is a certain indefinable atmosphere to Platinum events that ensures that for many, it is the only group they ever attend.

6. Karim Mohamed (Mayo Wynne Baxter), Sam Leonard (Handelsbanken), Pieter Grobbelaar (Condordia Health), Robert Hanna (Augusta Ventures London). 7. Pieter Grobbelaar (Concordia Health), John Burroughes (Uniglobe Travel), Ian Trevett (Platinum Business Magazine). 8. Maarten Hoffmann (The Platinum Club), Hemantha Trevelyan (ZSTa Architects), Fiona Anderson (NatWest Bank) 9. Lloyd Magee (St James’ Place WM), Tony Rice (Audi), Martin Krawczyszyn (St James’ Place WM)






For more information on joining the most dynamic networking group in Sussex, contact info@theplatinumclubbrighton.co.uk or call 07966 244046



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Jacek turns up the heat


acek Kochmanski is a project manager for Boustead international Heaters, which specialises in all aspects of fired heaters

and waste heat recovery units and is based in West Sussex. Jacek chose to study a full time Master of Business Administration (MBA) at Portsmouth Business School because he felt that the qualification offered him greater choice for his future career. He said: “Regardless of whether I choose to continue my career in a corporate environment, or if I decide to start my own business, I know that having the latest knowledge in marketing, operations, finance, and leadership will give me a head start. “The fact that the course at Portsmouth has AMBA accreditation gave me confidence.” The University of Portsmouth MBA is a globally recognised programme that focuses on the educational requirements of senior and executive level management. It covers typical

business subjects such as finance, operations management and marketing, and the core themes which run through the whole programme are strategy and leadership. It is one of the longest running MBAs in the UK. Jacek said: “The international flavour of the full-time cohort is something that I will remember fondly. Our group was composed of students representing 11 different nationalities, which was an enjoyable as well as a valuable educational experience.” The University also offers a part time Executive MBA and an MBA with a business placement, which is designed for students who wish to combine study with the opportunity to work in the UK. For further information please visit www.port.ac.uk/mba

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‘The MBA is a key to unlocking the doors to senior and executive level management roles. The pace of the course allows me to carry out a full time international sales role at the same time as studying.’ Katie Ilincariu Europe and South America Sales Manager, Fosse Liquitrol


For more information or to apply: T: +44 (0)23 9284 4888 E: mba.admissions@ port.ac.uk W: www.port.ac.uk/mba


WORKING LUNCH WITH RON CRANK This month we had the pleasure of sitting down with the Chief Executive of Coast to Capital LEP, over a splendid lunch at Stanmer House in Falmer, to find out more about Coast to Capital and the man driving its progress. Interview by Maarten Hoffmann.


oast to Capital is a Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), and, having signed a Growth Deal with central Government, it has begun a six-year programme of investment in jobs, infrastructure and transport in the region. Investment will go into major transport schemes, international trade and support for businesses across West Sussex, Brighton & Hove, Lewes, East Surrey, Croydon and the Gatwick Diamond. The deal is worth £202m over the six years and begins with an investment of £44m of new funding for 2015/16. By 2035, it hopes to create 100,000 new jobs, increase international trade by £780m and increase regional output by £1.1bn There is little doubt that it is doing some remarkable things for businesses both large and small across the region along with significant infrastructure projects. We often criticise our politicians for never having had a real job and, therefore, failing to benefit from any real-world experience. Although not a politician, this claim cannot be laid at Ron’s door.

BEFORE WE EXPLORE THE LEP, CAN YOU TELL ME A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND, RON? I have enjoyed a varied business life, having started with Grand Metropolitan and Mecca Leisure, where l achieved a management buy-out (MBO) for £8.5m. I also owned a hotel in the Lake District and then went on to establish a food manufacturing company, Signature Leisure, also via an MBO, with over 100 employees and a turnover of £5m. I joined West Sussex County Council in 2005 to develop a new team and economic strategy, and l am delighted to now take on the exciting challenge of Coast to Capital. HOW DID COAST TO CAPITAL COME INTO EXISTENCE? In June 2010, whilst I was working at West Sussex County Council (WSCC), a letter arrived from Eric Pickles and Vince Cable saying that they wanted to replace Regional Development Agencies (RDA). It is a natural development, and I’m not so bold as to say that LEPs will be around forever. WSCC saw this as a great opportunity and wanted to quickly determine our region and our partners. We talked to everyone and eventually came up

with the current strong partnership. Previously at WSCC, l had developed area partnerships, so WSCC was the first authority to invest in the Gatwick Diamond. I helped to develop the Coastal West Sussex Partnership by using a SEEDA programme called the Area Investment Framework, so we had something solid to build on there. Jon Rouse, CEO of Croydon Council, stated his desire for Croydon to join the partnership, and there then followed some useful debate over the name before we settled on Coast to Capital. We then submitted this to Government at the end of July 2010 and were called to London for the announcement in the Houses of Parliament. The new LEP was born. WHAT IS THE PRIMARY REMIT OF THE LEP? Jobs. We want to create 100,000 jobs in the next 25 years. That’s our banner, that’s our master. Everything we do will be dictated by how many jobs we can help to create. SO HOW ARE YOU GOING TO DO IT? Through a focus on enterprise and international trade. In enterprise, with highgrowth businesses, supporting education and



enterprise to work together and encouraging communities (through diversity and inclusion) to be more entrepreneurial. And then on the international trade side, getting businesses to export more. They are just not exporting enough through nervousness, fear after the recession, through to just not knowing how to do it. Creating more foreign direct investment – and we had quite a bit of success in that – and also promoting international tourism. However, I believe the role of tourism is for the districts and boroughs to decide. Visitors come to Gatwick, Brighton, the National Park and all the other wonderful attractions we have to offer. And we’ve got some wonderful hotels that are able to cater for international conferences. It’s not our role to lead on tourism but to help others to do it. THERE ARE 39 LEPS ACROSS THE COUNTRY. WHERE DOES COAST TO CAPITAL FIT IN? We were one of the initial LEPs, in the first tranche. We were told we had a very innovative and cohesive bid, and that is something l was particularly proud of. There was a sense of this being a burgeoning and developing partnership, something becoming tangible and exciting. YOU’RE SAYING 100,000 NEW JOBS BY 2035, £1.1 BILLION INCREASE IN OUTPUT AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE UP BY £780 MILLION. DO YOU THINK THAT’S REALISTIC OR IS THAT MORE OF A WISH LIST? The 100,000 was tested. The most pessimistic prediction was 72,000. This is pre-SEP (Strategic Economic Plan). So in the old days, when we first


started, we tested it. So it was either 72,000, or the top side was 120,000. So we felt comfortable with 100,000. The economy has churned and changed, so the signals I’m getting are that it’s do-able, it’s achievable.

“We saw it as a great opportunity and we wanted to quickly determine our region and our partners” AND HOW DO YOU QUANTIFY THAT, THE NUMBER OF NEW JOBS DIRECTLY ATTRIBUTABLE TO YOUR ACTIONS SINCE 2010? I don’t think we can take the credit alone. I think what we have got to say is, it’s our partners and our stakeholders who work with us to achieve that. I’m not going to sit here and say, “That was all happening because of Coast to Capital”. We’ve set our stall out, we’ve set our priorities and said, “This is what we want: we want to create some permanence, we want to reduce deprivation. We want to make sure that there are new businesses coming through.”

AND YOUR £780 MILLION INCREASE IN INTERNATIONAL TRADE? DO YOU SEE THAT VIABLE, AND IS IT COUNTABLE? Well, we have to rely on other organisations to do the counting for us, and we have to work with the universities, who can do the academic research, and UKTI, who are a significant partner. And they have not given me any reason to believe that there’s doubt at the moment. IF YOU CAN GET IT UP BY ABOUT £780 MILLION, THAT’S IMPRESSIVE. Take the example of Gatwick airport. They are opening up new routes, and all of a sudden Gatwick has got these new destinations that we need to work with, and start introducing some of the smaller companies to export. YOU QUITE RIGHTLY SAY THESE THINGS ARE NOT REALLY MEASURED. A LOT OF THESE THINGS ARE NOT EVEN DECLARED BY THOSE COMPANIES BECAUSE THEY’RE JUST BUSY GETTING ON WITH THEIR BUSINESS. Quite right – we have got to measure exports more. So we’re thinking about doing some trade visits and delegations. And then possibly Tim Wates, my Chairman, who is now a UK trade ambassador, wants me to see if we can organise one to Vietnam, or to one of the Asian countries. It’s trying to educate some of the businesses to say, “This is really not as difficult as you think it is. This is an incredible opportunity.” DO YOU IDENTIFY, AS WE DO, THAT THE DIFFICULTY WITH EXPORTING IS THE FEAR


“We want to create 100,000 jobs in the next 25 years. That’s our banner, that’s our master. Everything we do will be dictated by how many jobs we create. ” WHICH STOPS A LOT OF COMPANIES DIPPING THEIR TOE INTO THE EXPORT MARKET? Yes, I do. When I had my small food manufacturing business in Bristol, I wanted to export but I didn’t know where to go and get help. I talked to the Bristol Chamber and they said, “Well, you need to do this and do that.” But I said, “I need someone to hold my hand.” We wanted to export but we actually didn’t because we were nervous and potentially fragile. We had a turnover of £5m, we had 100 staff and we were getting ready. Then, sadly, my wife died, so I had to go back to the family. It’s one of those things. But I know the pain that some of these businesses are going through, and we will do our best to work with them. We’ve got some amazing businesses. 141,000 businesses in our region, 81,000 VAT registered. DO YOU FIND APPLICATIONS FOR FUNDING COMING FROM A CERTAIN GEOGRAPHICAL AREA? ARE YOU MORE KNOWN FOR DOING CERTAIN PARTS OF THE LEP? Many businesses are not aware of Coast to Capital or they don’t know why we exist. Those companies that are aware of Coast to Capital will want to know if they are able to borrow some money or obtain a grant. We’ve been talking to the Institute of Directors (IOD) and other membership organisations and some of the interesting questions come out, and they’ll say, “We really didn’t know that you did that.” It’s my job to communicate through the area partnerships and networks.

WELL, THERE IS NO DOUBT YOU HAVE BEEN BUSY CONSIDERING THE NUMBER OF EVENTS YOU ATTEND AND THE HUGELY POSITIVE PRESS RELEASES PUBLISHED. I WOULD SAY WHO THAT HAVE NOT HEARD OF COAST TO CAPITAL HAVE HAD THEIR HEAD IN THE SAND. That’s good to hear, thank you. At this point in a meal, with the rain falling and the fireplaces glowing inside Stanmer, we realise the time, and Ron has to be at a meeting at Parliament in two hours. SO IN THE CAR, ON THE WAY TO THE STATION, I ASK RON ONE FINAL QUESTION. IS THERE ANYTHING THAT KEEPS HIM AWAKE AT NIGHT? We’re looking forward to the election with great interest. The Labour Party has said that they would still maintain LEPs, at least another parliament’s lifetime. They would give us more money and they would want to work with us more on skills. The Coalition are obviously committed to us, and I think we’re all going to look with great interest at what is going to come out of the Autumn statement on the 3rd of December. So we’re feeling relatively comfortable that there is a sustainable future. One of the things the Labour Party did say was that they would want to reduce the number of LEPs. It’s referenced in the Adonis Report. The LEP Chairmen and Chief Executives have met with the Opposition, who has answered some of the questions, but not all of them. We are challenging the Government to give us more

funding in order that we can meet the needs of the businesses. One big issue is the cost of homes. If we want to maintain and retain staff, students and growing businesses, they’ve all got to have somewhere affordable to live. That is a real difficulty. It is a real headache. We are pushing for more private sector rentals and are encouraging more affordable housing. On the rural side, we are working on developing Community Land Trusts, working with the South Downs National Park and seeing where there are some new opportunities. We won’t get the skills answer if we don’t have places for these people to live. Brighton is short of housing and we are looking at housing across the region. We know that Croydon can supply a lot of housing needs. So if there is anything that keeps me awake at night, it’s where are these people going to live? We have a housing waiting list of 50,000. There is much more to discuss with Ron, and hopefully we will return to this subject in the New Year and conduct another interview, but suffice to say that Coast to Capital is a force for good in our region and this magazine will support them in whatever way we can.



No more secrets Stanmer House review by Ian Trevett


t seems a bit of a cliché to refer to a venue as a well-kept secret, especially when it comes to Stanmer House. If it was a secret, then how do you explain the vibrant and busy restaurant/ bar we found on a mid-week lunchtime, as we entered the impressive early 18th-century mansion, set in the greenery of Stanmer Park, halfway between Brighton and Lewes? I think of it as a secret solely because I haven’t been there for an eternity, and was taken aback by how comfortable and popular the house had become. Just because I haven’t visited, it doesn’t make it a secret. Of course, I’m not the only one. Stanmer House isn’t visible from any main road and doesn’t have a long-standing reputation as a destination restaurant. After all, it was derelict for decades, but clearly more and more people are discovering this gem. The bar and restaurant is set up with a series of linking rooms, many with warming fires and luxurious sofas. All the sofas were already taken up, many by family groups.


So who are these knowledgeable people? The Head Chef and General Manager, Simon McLoughlin, is on hand to answer this question. “We have gained a large number of very loyal regulars, and the visitors numbers are going up by 15% year on year.”

“I can no longer refer to the secret of Stanmer. I am now fully aware of the wonderful food and glorious environment” Stanmer House is part of Whiting and Hammond, a chain of gastro pubs, with some

excellent locations across Sussex and Kent. Surprisingly, Simon refers to Stanmer House as a pub, whereas I would see it as more of a restaurant and coffee bar, but I can see the attraction of sinking a few pints in such comfortable surroundings. “We get a lot of support from people enjoying the park and walkers.” continues Simon. “And we always welcome dog owners. We are well known for our doggy menu, with sausage rolls, trotters, pigs ears and tails.” As we have invited Ron Crank to lunch, the CEO of Coast to Capital, the Local Enterprise Partnership responsible for an investment budget of £202m, hopefully we will get the right menu! We are in safe hands though, and we are presented with an extensive lunch menu, which changes regularly. The three of us decided to skip the starters and choose a selection of ‘nibbles’ to share. We chose sautéed chorizo & garlic new potatoes (£5.25), which is served in a rustic


www.stanmerhouse.co.uk 01273 680400

tapas style, with the smokiness and deep red color from the chorizo nicely infusing the potatoes. A simple yet flavoursome dish. Bell peppers stuffed with feta (£5.25). The petit capsicums were filled with tangy, salty sheep’s cheese, with the strong flavours tempered by a bed of salad. Lemon & thyme infused feta with mixed olives (£4.95). Keeping up the Greek theme with more feta, this time with a pleasing mix of marinated green and ripe olives. And Miniature onion bhajis, served with homemade tomato chutney (£5.50). Now, these should surely be referred to the Trade Descriptions Act. The pair of sprawling, tentacled beasts could barely fit on the plate. If Stanmer ever offers large bhajis, it may be a re-making of the Day of the Triffids. But who’s complaining? The chef’s secret combination of Indian spices with the crunchy gram flour batter was a moreish treat. Bring on the bhajis - the bigger, the better. Moving on to the mains, I went for pan-fried monkfish, sautéed squid, confit garlic Israeli cous-cous and squid ink, tomato vierge (£18.95). I do enjoy the meatiness of monkfish, a fish that thankfully tastes infinitely better than it looks (it isn’t a pretty sight in the flesh). The tenderised garlic and tiny balls of durum wheat (actually not that tiny, the cous-cous was larger than I am used to - clearly a Stanmer theme) were just begging to be scooped up. The vierge, made with tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, and basil, worked nicely with the delicate fish. Maarten chose the chicken breast coated with a herb and parmesan crumb, stuffed with bacon, mushroom cheddar, served with mushroom veloute, spring onion mash potato (£13.95). Our waiter warned him that it may not be quite what he expected, and Maarten confirmed it was an

unusual combination of flavours, before quickly demolishing the dish. Our guest, Ron, chose blackstick blue cheese salad with walnuts, grapes, figs, balsamic strawberries and blackstick blue cheese (£8.50). Blackstick is a creamy cheese that has been winning an array of awards, and has been described as the “daddy of blue cheeses.” Ron was certainly very complimentary, and not just because the cheese is produced in his native Northwest. The salad was a delightful mix of sweet and savoury and, like our fantastic bhajis, was served as a generous portion, one that our guest struggled to complete. We were offered an extensive wine list, but Ron was leaving for the Houses of Parliament straight after lunch, and decided it was best to avoid alcohol. We made the obvious point that everyone else there was usually half-cut, but in the end we opted for soft drinks, followed by teas and coffees. I will save the Stanmer pub experience for another time. With the satisfying Stanmer portions having sated our appetites, only Maarten attempted a dessert - the vanilla crème brulee, served with

berry compote (£5.45). After the imaginative mains, it was back to an all-time classic, which Maarten verified as ticking all the traditional boxes when it comes to a perfect crème brulee. The lunch flew by, with excellent food and service, as well as a fascinating conversation with Ron, who really has a complex and challenging assignment on his hands. I can no longer refer to the secret of Stanmer. I am now fully aware of the wonderful food and glorious environment. I will be spreading the word!



DO WE NEED ABSTRACT ACADEMIC TARGETS? Ex-engineer and Carpenter Box Partner Chris Coopey, who heads the national Manufacturing Group at accountancy association MHA, reports from the roundtable held at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, involving businesses from England, Scotland and Wales.


he roundtable saw businesses contributing to a ‘Manifesto for Manufacturers’ report, which said that secondary and tertiary education needs to be re-focused away from ‘abstract academic targets’ towards the skills needed by employers. In turn, such schools and colleges will feed both industry and our universities with a motivated work force which is so desperately needed to pump-prime the sector with the range of skills it needs to reach its potential. The recommendations in the report, which is being sent to politicians of every political persuasion ahead of the 2015 election, are designed to put the case for increasing the support given to the manufacturing and engineering sector by whichever party or parties form the next government. Although the report touches on other areas of government support such as through tax breaks, grants etc the most radical proposal asks for a system termed ‘Demand-Led Education’ basing the way we educate our children and young people on the needs of future employers whose job it is to keep the UK competitive within the global economy. On a positive note, the new UTCs (University Technical Colleges) for 14 – 18 year olds that are opening around the country (with Harbourside in Newhaven being the first scheduled in Sussex), are a step in the right direction. These new


colleges, together with the local businesses that support them, are working together to start to address the skills shortage, although much more needs to be done.

“‘Demand-Led Education’ necessary to keep UK Plc competitive”

The reality is that the UK has made some significant steps in re-establishing manufacturing as a mainstream economic activity, but unless our schools, colleges and universities start to produce young people in large numbers with the skills and motivation to innovate and become the engineers and technicians of the future, our ability to compete in the global market will be severely limited. Some sources suggest that 800,000 are set to leave the sector through retirement over the next decade, and that is a huge potential loss which we need to address. Demand-Led Education is an obvious way to

help to undertake this tremendous task. Instead of targeting our schools to achieve abstract academic targets, we should as a nation look at what we need by way of a future workforce and challenge our schools to meet that need. In simple terms, it’s about educating our young people in the skills which employers want now and will need in the future. That way they get jobs for which they are qualified, and UK plc can successfully make its way in this increasingly competitive world. For a copy of ‘A Manifesto for Manufacturers’ contact Chris: chris.coopey@carpenterbox.com

Carpenter Box are hosting a seminar on personal investments: Invest in your Future; Protecting Wealth for you & your Family: 11am, 3rd Dec Wickwoods Country Club, Albourne Register for free at www.carpenterbox.com


Students get a nose for science Northbrook College hosts Big Bang, the fair promoting technical and scientific choices in education


science fair gave students in Adur and Worthing the chance to test their handeye coordination, learn how a motorracing team prepares for events, drive a robot vehicle around a maze – and understand what goes on in their noses when they have a cold! The Big Bang @ Adur and Worthing, which took place at the Shoreham Airport campus of Northbrook College in November, is the first in a series of “mini-Big Bang” fairs across the region leading up to the 2015 Big Bang Southeast fair on 30th June. 200 students aged up to 14 years and their teachers attended the event, which was sponsored by the Adur and Worthing Business Partnership, EngineeringUK and Rossetts Commercials, Worthing, and supported by local companies that include Ricardo, ETI, ESP and Southern Water. One of the interesting and entertaining activities introduced the students to the basic concepts of barrier immunology and infection,

‘The Secret Life of Snot,’ provided by the British Society for Immunology. Students enjoyed a whistle-stop tour of their nose and its snot-making factory. They found out what snot does, why we produce so much of it when we have a cold – and even got the chance to make their own bag of fake gruesome snot! Northbrook College’s student-run racing team, with professional driver Shane Kelly, talked to students about how they maintain their car and prepare it for races, while the Army provided an electronic reaction game aimed at improving hand-eye coordination. Visitors to the fair explored how the brain makes sense of the world around us with the British Psychological Society and the University of Nottingham, and students from Steyning Grammar School ran a robotics activity. Event Organiser Maxine Green explained; “The Big Bang is a fun and engaging way to bring science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to life. There were a wide range of STEM

related activities for the students to engage in and put into context what they learn in school and the range of employment opportunities available locally.” “Northbrook College works closely with local schools and employers, and shares a responsibility to ensure that young people understand the skills they need to support the local economy for the future.” The Big Bang @ Adur & Worthing is part of the nationwide Big Bang programme. The main celebration event for the South East, the Big Bang Fair Southeast will take place at the South of England Showground on 30th June, 2015. It is the biggest single celebration of STEM for young people in the UK, and around 6,000 students and their teachers from across the region are expected to attend. For further information, contact STEM Sussex Project Manager Jo McKinney-Green, tel. 01273 641874 or email j.j.mckinney@brighton.ac.uk


Your Apprentices and the future of your business...

Built just the way you like it.

The right people

The right support

The right College

Apprentices are highly motivated and eager to learn new skills. You usually have a choice of candidates and are involved in their training from day one putting you in control of the learning process. Northbrook College work hard to find the right candidates for your business.

Northbrook College offer an all-inclusive service, from the successful appointment of your Apprentice to a full training package with continued support and guidance throughout the Apprenticeship framework as your employee develops their range of skills.

Northbrook College is the largest and most successful training provider of Apprenticeships in Sussex, with the highest employer satisfaction rates as a result of our flexibility and responsiveness to our clients.

To really understand what Apprentices can do for you, call 01903 273375 and talk to one of our advisors.

Tel: 01903 273375

e-mail: apprenticeship.team@nbcol.ac.uk www.northbrook.ac.uk/apprenticeships Information can also be found at: www.apprenticeships.org.uk


By Maxine Green, Northbrook College



pprenticeships are for those people who didn’t do very well at school; not good enough for University, right? Absolutely

not! Lord Sugar, the face of the Government Apprenticeship campaign, said ‘People who do apprenticeships become ambitious; they’re ‘doers’, the kind of people who will make things happen. These are the qualities I look for in people’. In countries such as Germany, apprenticeships are held in high regard and many ambitious young people are scooped up and offered job opportunities abroad. This is particularly true in relation to engineering. Significant feedback from employers gathered by Northbrook College, the largest provider of apprenticeship training in West Sussex, highlighted seven key benefits of employing a young apprentice as part of their recruitment strategy: Apprentices bring fresh ideas: they look at things in a different way and ask ‘how about doing it this way?’ They turn things around and come up with new solutions. They have energy and enthusiasm: apprentices are interested in their work and most want to move onto the next level. They support business initiatives: employing an apprentice enables you to shape your staff to fit your business; apprentices are adaptable and can help the team to embrace new concepts. Apprentices are keen to learn: they are eager to get involved with the business; they want to achieve their qualifications and many want to progress and craft a career. Technology Savvy: if you are struggling to get to grips with social media and feel your business may be missing a trick in relation to tweeting and blogging, a young apprentice can lead the way in support of your marketing initiatives. Support new staff dynamics: young people have a certain energy and enthusiasm which is infectious and encourages the whole team to be more open to learning new skills. Great value for money: the majority of apprentices are loyal to their employers; they

feel valued and supported as they gain new skills and good work experience. Apprentices are productive, bringing new energy and ideas into the business; they are a great business investment. These key benefits were relevant to all types of business, whether small start-ups or large organisations, across the full spectrum of qualifications available. Steve Owen, Managing Partner, Graves Son and Pilcher, explains his experience: Taking on an apprentice was a cost-effective way of recruiting assistance at a junior level, whilst providing a young person with the opportunity of entering and learning a business which would enhance their CV for the future – always assuming they were not recruited to stay on a long term basis. Indeed, we have now renewed the contract for our apprentice, paying the minimum wage. Our training provider, Northbrook College, assisted with the initial documentation to formalise the Apprenticeship Programme, which was a fairly easy process and included a Health and Safety check of our building. Northbrook College provided the formal training for the Business Administration Apprenticeship, on a day release scheme (8 days in all), during the first 2 months of the Apprenticeship. Thereafter, occasional planned supervisory visits to our offices took place to interview the

apprentice and monitor their progress. Our apprentice, Josh, has undertaken tasks which have filled a number of gaps, enhancing the job satisfaction for other members of the team and has also strengthened the business. Quite often with the minimum wage requirements, it is too big a step to take on an inexperienced person in order to spend a great deal of time, energy and money getting them trained. The Apprenticeship scheme is the perfect way of securing labour on a cost effective basis that suits the employer and provides a wonderful platform for a young person to obtain a solid initial grounding in the business world, thus enhancing their CV for their future employment prospects. We are now in the process of taking on our next apprentice. There has been much talk in the media about Apprenticeships, including how many job opportunities the Government is generating. However, the fact is that the jobs are created by local businesses, which may be eligible for a Government grant to help meet the costs of taking on a new member of staff. Due to the high success rates Northbrook College has achieved in relation to Apprenticeships, significant funding has been secured which could help you to grow your business too. www.northbrook.ac.uk/apprenticeships



CONTEMPORARY COOL The best new homes around the City


Interviews with Alan Sugar and Davina McCall

WINTER SHOPPING Gift ideas for the home


WARM UP INSIDE With seasonal decorations

The Region’s largest property publication


Platinum Business News!

Develop potential and access future talent through placements At the University of Sussex we believe that Undergraduate Placements can open up a world of opportunity for both the employer and student. Finding a placement is a very competitive process and so successful students tend to be motivated, enthusiastic and very keen to learn. You can test potential graduate hires over the course of the year and in doing so expand your talent pipeline and narrow the graduate skills gap.

Students on placement can bring enthusiasm, creativity and up-to-date academic knowledge; they can be a huge asset to your business for a year. If you have a project or temporary role that could benefit from extra staff and fresh ideas, a placement student could be just the employee you are looking for. The Careers and Employability Centre can help you at each step, from honing a job description to engaging with potential employees. We can advertise and promote your vacancy free of charge. All undergraduate students at the University of Sussex can choose to undertake a placement as part of their degree, so you can access a wide range of subjects and students. Students retain a University supervisor, so your company can build links with the faculty here, many of whom are engaged in cutting-edge research.

for more information on our Placements and Work Experience service to employers: Contact Claire Colburn, Senior Placements and Work Experience Officer. Careers and Employability Centre, The Library, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9QL T: 01273 877528 E: c.colburn@sussex.ac.uk W: www.sussex.ac.uk/careers/employers

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ANGER MANAGEMENT By Maarten Hoffmann



think we all share doubts over the environmental claims that we are subjected to on an almost daily basis in the press – a mixture of fear stories, impending calamity and weeping sorrow for the Polar bears. But what’s the truth? Are we being led up the garden path by bureaucrats who either stand to benefit from the scaremongering or speak from ignorance? Lets’ take a subject that l have been banging on about for years: diesel engines, sold to us as the clean fuel, the fuel that will give you a gazillion miles to the gallon, a fuel that will surely save the Polar bears and pull humanity back from the brink. Well we now know this to be total tosh that was stuffed down our throats lock, stock and barrel as the world raced towards a world of diesel cars. More than half the cars sold each year in the UK run on diesel compared with only 7.4% just nine years ago. The dramatic rise has been explicitly encouraged because they emit slightly less carbon dioxide than their petrol-driven counterparts. And big environmental groups that used to campaign noisily against them have remained largely silent, possibly because of their overwhelming, if understandable, concern with climate change. This is a serious matter. Tiny particulates, one of the two most serious pollutants emitted from car exhausts, are officially calculated to kill 29,000 people a year, over 10 times as many as die in car accidents, a toll only exceeded by smoking. And the Government’s Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution has also suggested that they may play a part in 200,000 more deaths. No one has yet worked out a similar fatality figure for the other big danger from exhausts, nitrogen dioxide, but it is strongly linked with asthma, and a major 25-city study has suggested that living near main urban roads could account for up to 30 per cent of all new cases of the disease in children.


Much the worst problem is in London, shamefully the European capital city most polluted by nitrogen dioxide. Vehicles are responsible for half of this pollutant, and 80 per cent of the particulates, in London air. And of these – according to a ground breaking report by Policy Exchange, the Prime Minister’s favourite think tank, last year – no less than 91 per cent of the particulates and 95 per cent of the nitrogen dioxide come from diesel exhausts.

“Last year the World Health Organisation officially designated diesel fumes as a cause of cancer alongside asbestos and plutonium” Last year the World Health Organisation officially designated diesel fumes as a cause of cancer alongside asbestos and plutonium. And the most deadly particulates are largely made of black carbon, which is emerging as one of the most important causes of global warming. So the saving in carbon dioxide emissions is almost certainly outweighed. Instead of combating climate change, the dash to diesel is likely to be making it worse. Much of the problem is down to EU emission standards, which have long allowed diesel engines to emit much more nitrogen dioxide than petrol versions. In the United States, where equal limits are applied, the diesel expansion has not taken place: just 0.6 per cent of cars

burn the fuel. Worse, though the standards have been tightened so that they look good under laboratory conditions, they have had little effect on real driving: King’s College London scientists say actual emissions from diesel engines have remained much the same since the turn of the millennium, while those from petrol ones have tumbled by 96 per cent. If that were not bad enough, official incentives designed to fight climate change have focused only on carbon dioxide. The most carbon-friendly cars pay no vehicle excise duty (compared with £475 a year for the worst ones), are exempted from London’s congestion charge and may get discounts on parking permits. Such measures have done much to fuel the diesel boom and so increase pollution. The campaign group Clean Air in London says that nitrogen dioxide emissions are more than twice what they would have been if we had retained the same mix of cars as in 2000. When our UK and European politicians make statements of such magnitude, should we not be entitled to fully expect them to have researched the subject to such a degree, that we can blindly trust what they decree? Yes, we should and no, we can’t. This nonsense has been going on for years whilst certain parts of the industry line their pockets. A diesel car costs on average 10% more to buy new than its petrol equivalent and the fuel costs more to purchase at the pump, yet there is absolutely no concrete evidence that you will gain more miles to the gallon to offset this increase. In fact, a driver who covers 20,000 miles per annum would take over three years to recover the extra costs and will now be made a pariah for an honest attempt to save the planet. As the average new car is sold on within three years, the financial advantage is a big fat zero. Edmund King, the president of the AA, said: “Some drivers will feel betrayed and misled because they were encouraged to go for the dash for diesel.

“The British public will suffer from the farcical and ignorant decisions made by headline grabbing political pygmies” “In the 1990s there was a near hysteria about carbon dioxide, yet nobody looked at the bigger picture. Drivers thought they were doing the right thing, but now they are being told that it has serious health implications. They are being made to feel guilty for something that they were encouraged to do. “There is no doubt that other cities, encouraged by EU legislation, will look to introduce similar restrictions on diesel cars. I think it’s highly likely that the Treasury might slap extra penalties on diesel vehicles.” In 2001, Gordon Brown, then chancellor, overhauled vehicle excise duty so that cars that emitted a higher level of carbon dioxide faced a higher level of vehicle excise duty. Labour introduced the new regime despite official warnings that diesel vehicles emit “10 times the fine particles and up to twice the nitrogen dioxide”. It beggars belief that they totally ignored the advice and now they are all out of office, sitting pretty on their fat state index-linked pensions, immune to any consequences or repercussions. Frank Kelly, the chairman of the Department of Health’s Committee On Air Pollution, said the public were still being misled about the benefits of diesel cars. He said: “I have full sympathy with the public who have not been provided balanced information on this issue. Even today, if you go to buy a new car you are provided with lots of information about its CO2 emissions and nothing in respect to the pollutants it emits. The whole scenario is a very good example of why government policy needs to founded on best science available – not just one aspect, as it was in this case.” Prof Stephen Glaister, the director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Buying a car is one of the biggest purchases people make. Drivers do not

want to go to the garage one morning only to find what was previously worth a lot of money has plummeted in value overnight because politicians have suddenly moved the goalposts. People with the oldest, dirtiest diesels will feel the financial squeeze most. They face paying more to use their cars and getting less for them when they try to sell.” This race to convert the country to diesel engines was started out of total ignorance and a sheer refusal to listen to any opinion other than their own entrenched, short-sighted viewpoint, and now there are 11 million people driving diesel cars who not only have to face the fact that they have made a serious mistake but now stand to be heavily penalised for their decision. Duty is due to be increased on diesel cars and even Boris Johnson is about to remove the low-carbon diesel emission exemption from the congestion charge. The result: the resale value of your diesel

car is about to plummet as no one will want to buy it, and yet again the British public will suffer from the farcical and ignorant decisions made by headline grabbing political pygmies. Oh, and thousands of children will contract asthma and people will die from the pollution that this debacle has created. Not so bad if they had made a genuine mistake, but the last Labour government was fully informed of the problems and chose, no doubt out of political expediency and much needed headlines, to totally ignore the advice David Cameron made a promise upon his election that he would reduce net immigration. He has failed dismally, but now there is a ray of hope. Kill enough of us each through diesel pollution and the numbers might work. No doubt our revered politicians see it as a form of population control.





t’s that time of the year when l look back with a mixture of joy, occasional ambivalence and, on that very rare occasion, total horror at the cars we have tested and reviewed. Here’s the top ten in each category and l have included a category entitled ‘please don’t go’, for those rare cars that l totally fell in love with and was tempted to stash around the corner so they couldn’t take it away. Obviously, l then had to add a section entitled ‘Please don’t come back’ and l am sure that is quite self-explanatory. This section could come in handy if you haven’t yet decided what you want for Christmas!



1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

1. Fiat 500 2. Mini Cooper 3. Audi A1 4. Citroen DS3 5. Ford Fiesta 6. Renault Clio 7. VW Polo 8. Hyundai i20 9. Suzuki Swift 10. Honda Jazz

Peugeot 308 1.6 Blue HDi Vauxhall Corsa 1.3 CDTi VW Golf Bluemotion Kia Rio 1.1 CRDi Renault Clio 1.5 dCi Skoda Octavia Greenline Ford Fiesta ECOnetic

8. SEAT Leon 1.6 TDI Ecomotive

BEST ESTATE 1. Jaguar XF Sportbrake 2. Audi RS4 Avant 3. BMW 5 Series Touring 4. Mercedes E-Class Estate 5. SEAT Leon ST 6. BMW 3 Series Touring 7. Mercedes C-Class Estate 8. Audi A6 Avant 9. Honda Civic Tourer 10. Skoda Octavia Estate

BEST CONVERTIBLE 1. Jaguar F-Type 2. Mercedes SL65 3. Jaguar XK 4. BMW 6 Series 5. Audi A5 6. VW Golf 7. Mazda MX-5 8. Mini 9. BMW Z4 10. Renault Magane

BEST SUPERCAR 1. Bugatti Veyron SuperSport 2. Koenigsegg Agera R 3. McLaren F1 4. Pagani Huayra 5. LaFerrari


6. Ferrari 458 Italia 7. Aston Martin Vanquish 8. Lamborghini Huracan 9. Bentley Continental GT Speed 10. Zenvo ST1

Motoring powered by

BEST 4 X 4 1. Range Rover 2. Range Rover Sport 3. Audi Q5 4. Range Rover Evoque 5. VW Tiguan 6. Kia Sportage 7. Ford Kuga 8. Skoda Yeti 9. Land Rover Discovery 10. VW Toureg


PLEASE DONT COME BACK 1. MG 3 2. MG 6 3. Volvo XC60 4. Mazda 6 5. SEAT Toledo 6. Ssang Yong Radius 7. Daihatsu Copen 8. Smart Crossblade 9. Fiat 500L 10. Vauxhall Mokka

1. Mercedes S-Class 2. Range Rover 3. Jaguar XJL 4. Bentley Continental 5. Rolls Royce Ghost 6. Audi A8 7. BMW 7 Series 8. Porsche Panamera 9. Lexus LS600h 10. Rolls Royce Phantom

PLEASE DON’T GO 1. Jaguar XKR-S 2. Jaguar F-Type V8S 3. BMW M6 Convertible 4. Range Rover 5. Audi Q5 6. Mercedes SL65 AMG 7. Bentley Continental 8. VW Beetle 50’s 9. Audi R8 10. Porsche 911 Carrera GTS

BEST CLASSIC AUCTION PRICE 1. 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R - £19,601.500 – Bonhams, Goodwood. 2. 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 Spider - £17,593,000 – RM Auctions, Monterey 3. 1956 Ferrari 250 Testarossa - £10,837,400 – Gooding & Co, Pebble Beach 4. 1953 Ferrari 340.375 MM Competizione Coupe - £8,472,075 – RM Auctions, Villa Erba 5. 1957 Ferrari 250 Testarossa - £8,200,700 – RM Auctions, Maranello 6. 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Roadster - £7,781,700 – Gooding & Co, Pebble Beach 7. 1960 Ferrari 250GTO LWB California Spider - £7,454,900 – Gooding & Co, Pebble Beach 8. 1968 Ford GT40 Gulf Lightweight Racer - £7,273,000 – RM Auctions, Monterey 9. 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider - £7,203,700 – RM Auctions, Maranello 10. 1931 Duesenberg Model; J LWB Whittell Coupe - £6,837,100 – Gooding & Co, Pebble Beach




often wonder about the process of selecting a car’s name. When they get it right, they are worth their salary in spades, as with Stingray, Continental and Evoque. But who recalls the Hyundai Pony (rhyming slang), Mazda LaPuta (Spanish for prostitute) and the Mitsubishi Pajero (Spanish slang for a word I fear to repeat). Assuming the new Renault Captur meant Capture in English, I looked it up to find it means Captured, but that doesn’t stop me wondering each time I approached the car if the E had fallen off the badge. Why not follow the native language where the car sells? If the LaPuta had been launched anywhere but Spain, it wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow, but it was, and for some odd reason, few were sold! ‘I have just bought a prostitute’ is not a phrase that rings well around the office! The Captur(e) is Renault’s new-ish high-riding cross-over that rivals the Nissan Juke, Skoda’s Yeti, and Peugeot 2008, and it makes a good fist of it. The new body is underpinned by the highly successful Clio running gear and certainly looks distinctive, and although you don’t actually get four-wheel drive, you do benefit from the

high-rise driving position, but as I point out ad nauseam, there are now so many such cars on the road that we are all now at the same height! There is a choice of two petrol engines – a 0.9 litre, 1.2 litre and a 1.5 litre diesel and all are turbocharged, meaning it does get a lick on. Even the 0.9 has plenty of poke, and as a town car it makes great sense and is really easy to

drive. The steering is accurate and smooth, as is the gear change, and it does have some really neat touches, such as the adjustable boot floor height and a sliding back seat that increases the size of the boot without having to put the seats down.

The SatNav is a breeze to use, as I find so many require a 2.1 degree; the dash is well laid out, and the seat covers are zippable so they can be changed. The personalisation list is lengthy, with a choice of colour-coded bits and pieces as long as your arm. It should easily return 60mpg in real world driving, is cheaper, quieter and easier to drive than all its rivals, and has a 5 star NCAP crash rating. It also comes with a 4-year/100,000 miles warranty, which also trumps its rivals. I particularly like the little bleep it emits when you are approaching a speed camera, which led to my discovery that there are indeed operational speed cameras on the M25. Beware.

Technical Stuff: Price: £14,195 - £18,895 Power: 0.9, 1.2, 1.5 litre Performance: 0-60 13 secs. Top Speed: 106 mph Economy: 75mpg (quoted) Warranty: Four-year 100,000 miles

“It is cheaper, quieter and easier to drive than all its rivals”

Motoring powered by


A1 CAR AND FLEET SOLUTIONS Last month we introduced you to the world of car and fleet supply and the new form of personal shopping for large ticket items. Figures just released show that the UK motor industry is on track for its best year ever for new car sales, and more and more busy professionals are opting to employ a specialist company to locate, service and finance their new car or fleet. But don’t take our word for it. We asked a couple of our clients to state what they thought about using a personal shopper for their vehicle requirements, and if you are only as good as your last job, we are very happy indeed.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE A1 SERVICE? Kevin and the team were fantastic. He took a thorough brief of what I was seeking and delivered a car that was exactly what I wanted. He took the time to explain the pros and cons of my selections and allowed me to make my choice. A first-class service throughout. WOULD YOU USE US AGAIN? I certainly will be using them again and will recommend them at every opportunity. Why on earth would I ever waste my time trawling around looking for my own car when these experts are there to do it all for you? WERE YOU HAPPY WITH THE DEAL? Absolutely delighted. It is wonderful to find a company that ‘does what it says on the can’. They offer a great deal and they delivered a great deal without me having to take any time out of work. DID YOU USE ONE OF OUR FUNDING OPTIONS? IF SO, WERE YOU PLEASED WITH THE RATE? The rate was highly competitive. I am delighted and don’t think I could have bettered the deal anywhere.

JAMES DEMPSTER Managing Director Cobb Digital Personal Client

Cobb Digital Rochester House, Rochester Gardens, Hove, East Sussex. T: 01273 208913 www.cobbpr.com 82

DID YOU PART EXCHANGE AND DID YOU GET A FAIR PRICE? That’s the other thing that makes it so easy to use A1. Not only did they arrange the sourcing and funding of my new car, but they took my old car away and gave me a great price for it. It really is a one stop shop. WAS THE DEAL COMPLETED WITHIN YOUR TIMESCALES? No – faster. In my role as MD of Cobb Digital and Cobb Healthcare, we are used to tight deadlines and therefore can be a little impatient with others, but A1 were fast, efficient, professional and saved me money. This really is the new way to buy your next vehicle, and I would highly recommend Kevin and the team at A1 to anyone.

Tel: 01444 620 620 Mail: sales@a1carsearch.co.uk • sales@a1fs.co.uk Web: www.a1carsearch.co.uk • www.a1fs.co.uk

“I am delighted with A1. It is wonderful to find a company that does what it says on the can”

WHY DO YOU USE A1 TO MANAGE YOUR FLEET? With over 50 vehicles in our fleet, A1 provide us with a valuable service. With the services of A1 Fleet Solutions, Posturite Ltd can achieve our fleet success, which enables us to focus on our core business. In taking advantage of A1’s industry knowledge, we have made considerable savings in both time and money. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF OUR SERVICE? The personal service that A1 gives to our drivers enhances driver/user satisfaction levels. A recent survey carried out with all our drivers showed that they were all happy with the service they receive from A1. Kevin, Rhiannon and their team are always on hand to assist our drivers and head office contact. They are all professional, approachable and a pleasure to work with. HOW MUCH EFFORT DOES IT SAVE YOU TO USE A1? By outsourcing key responsibilities to A1 Fleet Solutions it has enabled Posturite to transform productivity. By not having to worry about the burden of fleet management, our staff has much more time to concentrate on other important areas of the business.

IAN FLETCHER-PRICE CEO Posturite Fleet Client

ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THE VEHICLES THEY SUPPLY? With the industry knowledge that A1 have, Posturite are confident that the vehicles provided are the best for our business needs.

Posturite is the UK market leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of posture-improving products for the workplace and the only company providing health and safety consultancy, training, software and product on a national basis.


Posturite Ltd The Mill, Berwick, East Sussex, Bn26 6SZ. T: 0845 345 0010 www.posturite.co.uk 83


Motoring Editor: Maarten Hoffmann



TECHNICAL STUFF: Engine: 2.0 litre diesel hybrid. 36 BHP electric Performance: 0-60mph 8.3 seconds. Top speed: 131 mph Economy: 74.3 mpg Price: from £28,100 84


have always thought that French cars present something of a conundrum. Over the years, they have produced some visually beautiful specimens but never quite managed the reputation for solid, reliable motor cars with a decent resale value. Take the stunning Citroën SM, built in collaboration with Maserati, a forever classic, or the original, funky DS that started production in 1955. And who can forget the quirky 2CV? A company that started building cars in 1919 obviously knows a thing or two, and this was proven when they became the first company to develop selflevelling suspension, the first car with disc brakes, and the first with swivelling headlights so that the driver could see around corners – a trick that has been copied today by just about every manufacturer, although it’s an extra bulb rather than a swivel. Citroen was also the first to produce cars that were stunning to look at, with revolutionary interiors that can now justifiably be called works of art. The DS logo has been back with us since 2009, and now we have the DS3, DS4 and the one in my driveway, the DS5 Hybrid. The old cliché style over substance is long gone with the DS5 combining the two. First thing you notice is that they have lost none of their design flair, as this is a very, very good-looking car. From every angle, it’s pleasing and has a symmetry and style not seen in many mass produced cars. Opening the door, however, is a tad disconcerting. I drive

hundreds of cars a year; therefore, getting in and away is instinctive. Not anymore. It truly looks space-age and had me sitting in the driveway for 15 minutes before l had a grasp on everything and drove away. In a hybrid, the dash layout is always that little more complicated, with lights glowing, screens for everything and, to be frank, information overload. It’s all beautifully sculptured and a very nice place to be, but as with all hybrids, you get the feeling that the designers are showing off. The information is fascinating and the development leap is stunning, but do we need to know everything it wants to tell us? I found myself continually checking the dash at the array of ever-changing information, rather than looking through the windscreen. That apart, it is a good drive, and with the engine also running a generator that charges an electric motor at the back of the car, you effectively get four-wheel drive. The car switches from engine to battery whenever it is optimum to do so, and under light acceleration the electric motor works alone and in total silence, with the diesel kicking in when required. This transition is not as smooth as I’d

like, but crawling along in traffic is silent, relaxing and totally free as not a drop of fuel is being used – and you’re charging the battery. It makes you feel quite smug! The ride gives you a high-seated SUV view, but by cleverly lifting the console and wrapping the dash, it feels like a standard car. The 3-part split glass roof brings great light into the cabin and while we are in the cabin, the seats! Beautiful, sculpted seats, with criss-cross watch-strap leather that just beg to be sat in. I am a sucker for gorgeous seats, and bravo Citroen. It drives very nicely, with zero lag and instant torque from the electric motor, and even when the engine kicks in, it is certainly less obtrusive than the Toyota hybrids, and at 8.3 seconds to 60 mph, it’s no slouch either. I would choose the entry level with the 17-inch wheels as the 19-inch offer a less serene ride, but it drives very nicely on the motorway with all the gizmos required, and the only oddity is a small glass screen that rises up eerily out of the dash to act as a head-up display screen. Now, l am a great fan of HUD, the most superb of which l found on the BMW M6 last year,

but at £107.000 it should be good, l hear you say. But with Citroen cleverly fitting this, why not fit it with a longer screen, and run all the relevant info to it – it is so much safer to change focus to the bottom of the windscreen than it is to view dials. Other nices touches are the aeroplane-style switches in the roof and the ergonomic design of the gear stick - and did l mention the heated, electric, memory, soft leather seats? Rear legroom is sufficient, but the boot is smaller than l would like due to batteries and motor. However the back seats fold flat, so loading is pretty good. But it does have the smallest rear window wiper that l have ever seen and a spoiler that cuts right across the rear windscreen. The DS5 is a great-looking, smooth and well-equipped car, and with the low emissions, temptingly low mpg and reduced company car tax, you would be extremely foolish not to consider this car, and as much as l admire German cars, this does possess a certain panache and avantgarde styling that Bavaria often does not.

“First thing you notice is that they have lost none of their design flair, as this is a very, very good-looking car”

Motoring powered by


FULL HOUSE - ACES ON TOP Christina Ewbank on The Alliance of Chambers in East Sussex (ACES)


n late 2012 the majority of East Sussex Chambers of Commerce joined forces with the Federation of Small Businesses to discuss strategic issues affecting the economic performance of the County. It was agreed that we should work together to overcome barriers to business as we represent 4,000 companies across the County. It was also agreed that our members should meet regularly to network across the County as well as influence all our policy makers. We have now joined forces with Platinum Business Magazine to promote East Sussex as an excellent business destination with great work-life balance, cost-effective premises, good transport links to the continent and close proximity to Gatwick Airport.

ACES agreed five goals to help business succeed throughout East Sussex: 1. One voice • For business in East Sussex to influence policy makers. • For structured, strategic approaches to all local authorities to achieve stated goals. 2. Improve the road and rail infrastructure in East Sussex Roads • The A21. • The A27. Rail • Speed up Hastings / Ashford line.

3. Connectivity • Provide high-speed broadband to rural and urban East Sussex by Spring 2016. • Close East Sussex mobile ‘not’ spots. 4. Promote East Sussex • As the place to do business outside London. • Develop the coastal, urban and rural tourism offers across the County. 5. Workforce skills • Develop links between business, schools and colleges to ensure all students develop the skills needed for our businesses. • Influence local authorities to provide skills training as required in rural areas as well as urban.

“We have now joined forces with Platinum Business Magazine to promote East Sussex as an excellent business destination”


To achieve its goals, ACES has already held talks with: • The Secretary of State for Transport; • The Transport Minister Rob Goodwill, MP; • The previous Transport Minister, Norman Baker MP; • The Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills, Matthew Hancock, MP; • Amber Rudd and Charles Hendry, MPs; • Spencer Dale, Chief Economist of the Bank of England and member of the Monetary Policy Committee responsible for setting interest rates; • Becky Shaw, CEO of East Sussex County Council; • Rupert Clubb, Director of Economic Development and Transport ESCC; • Roy Galley, Head of Economic Development, Wealden District Council; • Nigel Hannam, Corporate Director, Wealden District Council; • The Vice President of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, Derek Godfrey.


During these discussions ESCC committed to rolling out high speed broadband across 90% of the county by Spring 2016, and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership has started working on a programme to close the ‘Not Spots’, where mobile cover fades out on major East Sussex roads. Funding for transport is more difficult in the current economic climate, but we have made sure that all our partners are fully aware that the A21 and A27 in their current condition are not fit for purpose; so, when funding is available, we want these roads prioritised for development. In November this year the Institute of Directors joined ACES to add their voice to ours. At a meeting with Sussex Coast College, Sussex Downs College and the University of Brighton we pushed for work-ready skills for college leavers. It’s all about attitude, common sense and intelligence, and that’s what they are focused on.

East Sussex is Open for Business We are working closely with Locate East Sussex and all ACES members to promote the County as the successful business destination it is. If you have any issues or concerns you would like ACES to communicate on your behalf, speak to your local Chamber of Commerce, the FSB or IOD, or email info@edeal.org.uk, or call ACES on 01323 641144.

ACES members: Chambers of Commerce Battle Bexhill Crowborough Eastbourne Hailsham Hastings Heathfield The IoD Lewes Newhaven Peacehaven Seaford Uckfield plus the FSB

Partners: East Sussex County Council Locate East Sussex South East LEP Wealden District Council All the MPs in East Sussex (outside Brighton and Hove)

Photographs Left to Right: Tim Cobb Eastbourne UnLtd with Nick Clegg Graham Peters SELEP team and Sec of State Justine Greening MP William Hague Visit May 2014




The Chestnut Tree House Business Awards recognise generosity of spirit. Platinum Business Magazine is proud to be a media partner for the awards.


ocal businesses will be in the spotlight when Sussex children’s hospice, Chestnut Tree House, hosts their second Business Awards on 12 March, 2015 at South Lodge Hotel, Horsham. The awards were launched in 2013 as part of the charity’s tenth anniversary celebrations to reward and recognise the businesses which had supported the hospice over the years. Companies from across East and West Sussex were nominated and, as the first Chestnut Tree House Business Awards were so successful, the charity has decided to do it again. Sarah Arnold, Corporate Fundraising Manager for Chestnut Tree House said, “Hundreds of businesses have raised thousands of pounds to help us run Sussex’s only children’s hospice over the last 11 years and we want to thank them and give something back.

The categories include: Outstanding Original Fundraiser The winner will be an inspiring and exceptional individual who showed true initiative and a drive to make things happen; a proactive champion of Chestnut Tree House. Fundraising Team of the Year The winning team will demonstrate how, through working together, they took ownership of their fundraising to the benefit of their company and the hospice.

“We are inviting businesses to nominate themselves or name individuals in their organisations who have put in extraordinary effort to raise funds to help us. We need to raise a staggering £6,850 per day to provide all our care services – both at the hospice and out in the community - for children with life-shortening illnesses and their families.

Most Innovative Fundraising Idea This is where the fun begins! Judges will be looking for a new, unusual or simply downright barmy idea with a successful outcome.

“We are caring for more children than ever before – over 300 – and care costs are increasing, yet we receive less than 8% of our funding from central government and so are almost entirely dependent on the generosity of local businesses and individuals to support us and help cover our costs.”

Outstanding Long Term Supporter It all began 11 years ago and some businesses have helped with fundraising, sponsorship, or staff time for many of those years. Time to say thank you!

The awards will be judged by an expert panel comprising Hugh Lowson, Chief Executive of Chestnut Tree House, Gary Shipton, the Editorin-chief of Sussex Newspapers, Poppy Szkiler, Founder and Managing Director of Quiet Mark, and Lisa Bradley, Founder and Managing Director of Pegasus PR.


Outstanding Voluntary Project Unusual and creative projects that made the best use of volunteers’ personal skills, interests and passions will all be considered.

Outstanding SME Supporter This category will look for a recent project (within the last 12 months) where the staff and their clients have worked together. Outstanding Corporate Supporter Sometimes the benefits of fundraising go beyond the financial rewards; here judges will also focus on further-reaching support and its benefits.

“We are caring for more children than ever before” To nominate a business or an individual for their support of Chestnut Tree House, just visit the hospice’s website at www.chestnut-tree-house.org.uk and submit your nomination online, or call the Fundraising Team on 01903 871821. The closing date for nominations is 2 February, 2015. Tickets for the Chestnut Tree House Business Awards can be purchased for £65 per person or £600 per table of 10. To book a place, please email at corporate@chestnut-tree-house.org.uk or call 01903 871838.


RIDE THE WAVE: THE SUPPORT YOUR BUSINESS NEEDS Says Sarah Springford, Director of Brighton Chamber


unning a business is exciting. It’s liberating. But it can also be tough. Most new business people know before they start that they’ll have to work hard to be successful. Many don’t realise that, as well as having to work hard, they’ll probably have times when they feel isolated too. Ride the Wave, Brighton and Hove’s flagship business support programme, helps to change that. It offers workshops, networking, training and meet-ups for established businesses, new businesses, and those businesses that are still an idea. All Ride the Wave events are free or very

“Help your new business grow faster and smarter” low-cost, making them accessible to businesses of all sizes (including those so small they have yet to get started). As well as the chance to gain expert knowledge, businesses that attend Ride the Wave events get the chance to be part of something. They are able to get support and inspiration from others like them, and to get away from the isolation of working alone, without the knowledge sharing that happens

naturally for those in employment. Ride the Wave is funded and led by Brighton and Hove City Council, and designed and delivered by Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has some of the city’s most creative and successful business people among its members. Ride the Wave attendees can expect to see some of them leading workshops and offering mentoring as part of the programme. New businesses looking to move beyond the start-up stage should go to the ‘Help your new business grow faster and smarter’ workshop (November/February). The workshop will include practical advice on how to make a business grow, with advice on marketing, tax, price setting and goal setting. It includes a peer support session, a Q&A with an accountant and a local case study. There is also ‘Turn your idea into a live business’ for those with a great idea, and looking to start trading (workshops in January/March). The Smart Bidding workshop on 3rd December will help established businesses take advantage of the many opportunities to win contracts in the public sector. With Brighton and Hove City Council committed to making the

tendering process easier and more accessible for local small and medium-sized businesses, it’s a must-do event. Ride the Wave is all about practical help for local businesses. For those at the beginning of their business journey, it offers vital peer support and expert knowledge they would not normally be able to access so easily and affordably. And for established businesses, Ride the Wave offers the chance to find their potential. They can learn how to keep growing and improving their business model, creating a secure and successful future. Specialist workshops include those aimed at creative businesses, social enterprises, food and drink businesses wishing to make their businesses more eco-friendly. Workshops run from November 2014 to March 2015. Ride the Wave is a fantastic opportunity for anyone in business in Brighton and Hove. Book events or find out more at www.businessinbrighton.org.uk/ridethewave You can also get information by email at ridethewave@businessinbrighton.org.uk or by calling 01273 719097.



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Eastbourne UnLtd Chamber of Commerce By Christina Ewbank Chief Executive, Eastbourne unLtd Chamber of Commerce BUILDING THE FUTURE Two construction students from Sussex Downs College get the experience of a lifetime on The Prince’s Foundation Residential Summer School programme.

Project work often took them up until midnight, but the experience was an opportunity neither Connor nor Nathan would have traded. With hopes of studying architecture at Bath or Brighton University in the future, the Summer School boosted the students’ confidence in taking the next step to higher education and securing a career in the architecture industry. “I would definitely recommend the Prince’s Foundation Summer School,” says Connor. “We’ve also made great contacts in the industry,” Nathan adds. “This experience has been invaluable.”

CELEBRATING MORE SUCCESS AT MCCRUDDEN TRAINING It is rare to secure a much coveted place with the Prince’s Foundation Residential Summer School, but this was the reality for not one, but two Sussex Downs College students this year. Construction students Connor Lambert ,21 and Nathan Joslin, 20, were both offered a fully-funded place on the three-week summer programme. The Summer School ran in July and August this year. With just 25 available openings, Nathan’s and Connor’s new classmates included men and women of all ages and backgrounds. The programme kicked off in London, with classes including Geometry and Life Drawing. Each session was delivered by experts in their fields, with special guests including Lucien Skilly, Jon Allen and Henry Gibbons. Between classes, the two SDC students joined their 23 classmates on sight-seeing tours with architecture at thier heart. After the first week, the next stop was Dumfries House in Scotland. Activities included workshops in timber and stone masonry, pargetting, plastering and thatching. In the final week, the class was split into six groups and started work on a design for an agricultural school. Each group presented their final developed proposal to the Stakeholder Panel on the last day of the programme.

reputation for quality, brain-friendly training, working with clients across the South East”, explains Nicky McCrudden, Managing Director. “Our team of trainers have a strong reputation for knowing their subject matter, with frontline

“I am really pleased that we continue to grow our reputation for quality, brainfriendly training”

experience and having the skills to deliver engaging training that adds value to our clients,” Nicky adds. Hot on the heels of success in Kent, the company also passed the first stage of procurement of a contract with the Houses of Parliament, and have recently won contracts to provide leadership training to three leading Sussex organisations. “We have access to a number of different funding streams that mean we can effectively halve the cost of training for businesses wanting to expand by developing their staff. As a result, we are seeing a dramatic increase in the volume of bookings” says Nicky. After winning a three-year contract to provide training to the City of London Authority earlier this year, the team at McCrudden Training are celebrating another successful tender, this time winning opportunities to deliver training as diverse as Health & Safety through to Leadership & Management skills to Kent County Council. “I am really pleased that we continue to grow our

To explore how McCrudden Training could help your business visit our website or contact us on 0845 257 5871. For a free trial of our online courses visit www.mccruddentraining.co.uk/e-learning-courses For more information about your local Chamber visit www.acesalliance.org and www.eastbourneunltd.co.uk



THE BUSINESS NETWORK By Emma Pearce, Marketing Consultant, outsourced marketing services and social media training www.pearcemarketing.co.uk

Emma Pearce interviews four Sussex businesses about how they utilise networking in their marketing plan and the benefits it brings. Here is part two with Martin Riley.

Leadership & Business Development

Martin Riley Coach at Martin Riley Leadership & Business Development www.martin-riley.co.uk WHAT NETWORKS DO YOU ATTEND? I try to attend at least one event a month during a marketing drive; or, if I’m not working at capacity, that can increase to over four a month. I attend local Chambers’ events or any other business group event like Curry Clubs. I’ve been a member of ProfitNet, Business Cornerstones and BNI over time.

HOW IMPORTANT IS NETWORKING IN YOUR MARKETING? WHAT ARE YOUR OBJECTIVES FOR NETWORKING? Networking is central to my marketing. As a business coach, my core market is local businesses - so it’s essential to meet and get to know the local business community. My primary objective is literally ‘to network’: that is, to get to know people, what they do - and help put the right people together. I’m always interested in who solves what - and why. DO YOU UTILISE OTHER MARKETING OPPORTUNITIES VIA THE NETWORKS YOU ATTEND? I’ve run taster sessions and workshops through a number of business groups. I enjoy presenting and public speaking. If done well it builds profile and credibility - and has often produced contacts and clients as a result. DO YOU PREFER A PARTICULAR FORMAT OF NETWORKING EVENT? (FOR INSTANCE LOCK-OUTS AND STRUCTURED MEETINGS VS MINGLING AND CHATTING?)

In my opinion, BNI style lock-outs and referral networks are great to get started. They’re much more focused on this goal. In the long term, I believe that the highest-value and ‘best fit’ contacts evolve more naturally over time. But both routes work! WHAT SUCCESS DO YOU HAVE WITH NETWORKING? HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO GET BENEFITS FROM IT? ANY TOP TIPS? I was lucky, my first ever networking meeting produced my first local client - so then I was hooked. However, I’ve also seen people network avidly - and without success. When this occurs, there’s often a mis-match with how they appear and what they sell. If it’s selling financial advice, they have to look successful; plumbing, you need to look clean and professional (how the plumbing result should look). ANY OTHER BONUS BENEFITS OF NETWORKING? Profile, credibility, useful contacts, partners and suppliers, grapevine opportunities, developing friendships, fun events, good food, wine, beer and curry!

LIST OF BUSINESS NETWORKING EVENTS IN SUSSEX Check out www.pearcemarketing.co.uk/marketing/blog/business-networking/ NETWORK FOCUS 4Networking operates throughout the South East and nationally with fortnightly breakfast or lunch meetings in a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere where members and visitors can meet other local businesses from around the area. Members of 4N can attend any meeting anywhere in the country simply by booking on-line at www.4networking.biz. Breakfast meetings cost £12.00 and our local venues include Worthing, Shoreham, Hastings, Tunbridge Wells, Haywards Heath and Crawley/Gatwick, and for lunch, costing £15.00, we meet at Brighton, Eastbourne, Uckfield, East Grinstead and Sevenoaks. Visitors are always welcome to try out the concept, and if they like the idea there is a modest joining fee. 4Networking is ideal for small to medium-sized businesses to market locally and for start up organisations to get off the ground fast. Members can benefit from the expertise of an excellent selection of accountants, solicitors, web designers, copywriters, commercial letting agents, insurance brokers, private investigators, insolvency practitioners, photographers, business coaches and many more professionals.




By Ana Christie Chief Executive at Sussex Enterprise Chamber of Commerce


hilst attending various events in the last few weeks in Sussex, people have commented on the positivity and vibe in the air. Feedback from businesses has been optimistic around the economic growth aspects. Various businesses in Sussex have opened up new offices and are showing signs of expansion. Support from the Local Enterprise Partnerships has created a framework for businesses to grow safely. This recovery is creating more jobs and opportunities. Coast to Capital recently reported that 120 new jobs are set to be created in the latest round of grants awarded from Business Growth Grant scheme with nine companies receiving a slice of almost £500,000. The programme helps local small and medium-sized enterprises expand their businesses by supporting projects such as skills improvement, research and development and investment in equipment or premises. Grants have ranged in size from £5,000 awarded to Surrey-based Shippo, to £137,000 for Brightonbased software company TimNexus, who will spend the money on staff development to meet the fresh challenges of changing technology. Other beneficiaries included the Ridgeview Winery Estate, whose new bottling process will almost treble production, and energy solutions firm Black Box Energy, who will provide

additional customer support facilities. London Gatwick Airport recently opened its first Regus Express location which combines arrivals facilities with a business lounge and meeting rooms. This provides travellers a drop-

“Support from the Local Enterprise Partnerships has created a framework for businesses to grow safely ”

in facility located in the South Terminal arrivals area. More people are choosing Gatwick as it continues to add new short and long haul routes and has seen continued growth in business travel.

Following the recent results of the Quarter 3 Economic Survey, the Southeast results were reflective of the national results. The service sector domestic balances remain strong, but there was a large fall in the export balances. In the manufacturing sector both domestic and export balances returned noticeable declines. However, all indicators are firmly positive and show that the economy is growing, but it has slowed down and been replaced by more normal levels. The results of the survey show that policy makers, both in Government and at the Bank of England, must pursue policies that will help businesses achieve their full potential. Sussex Chamber of Commerce works closely with the British Chamber of Commerce to influence key decision makers. Businesses can help support legislation to improve business life, challenge legislation that hinders local and national business and help create positive change and an improved business environment by taking part in the economic survey. Furthermore, the chamber provides businesses with opportunities to explore international trade to export or expand into overseas markets. Additionally there are options to network, meet new contacts and grow, thereby contributing to increased employment opportunities and economic growth.




Networking clubs abound across the Southeast, but few, if any, can have grown as fast as The Mumpreneurs Networking Club (MNC). By offering a friendly environment for women (though men are most welcome) businesspeople to meet, the club has grown rapidly to 15 clubs, with over 12,000 visits, the majority being in Sussex. Platinum Business met co-founders Sara Guiel and Nicky Chisholm to find out why a gender-based networking movement remains so popular in 2014 CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE CONCEPT OF MUMPRENEURS TO SOMEONE UNFAMILIAR WITH THE GROUP? The Mumpreneurs Networking Club is a business networking club for mums in business. It’s run at family-friendly


times, after school drop-off and in term times. Our Club supports and connects its members with like-minded people in the immediate and wider business community. Once a month each location holds an informal, dynamic networking meeting lead by an MNC Manager who is an established businesswoman in the locality. YOU HAVE GROWN VERY QUICKLY. HOW MANY NETWORKING GROUPS DO YOU NOW HAVE, AND WHY DO YOU THINK IT HAS GROWN SO FAST? We currently have 15 groups across the UK; our most recent launch was in Edinburgh. Mumpreneurs are one of the fastest-growing business sectors in the U.K, and the emergence of this economy is due to multiple factors: low cost business models, the recession, redundancies and job cuts, which have forced many families to reassess their priorities and establish extra income streams. Flexible working and homebased business have flourished as child care costs can be crippling when setting up and running a business. Business networking has become a primary source of customers and support for these businesses. Traditional networking meetings are held at the most inconvenient times of day for parents in business. Business parents need flexibility, therefore, networking over a cup of coffee once the kids are in school allows them to get their networking done and still meet business and family commitments. The cultural shift towards the acceptance of flexible working along with the

advent of social media, low cost management systems, the growth of mobile business, freely available technology have meant that people have demanded and embraced a new way of business and networking. MNC is unique with its

“Many women need specific support, in an informal and welcoming environment, in our experience, a female-biased group is more open and friendly” energy and it’s welcome; we strive to encourage our members to raise their game, and to date we’ve had just over 12,000 visits through ours doors.


“Mumpreneurs are one of the fastest-growing business sectors in the UK” general). Sole traders and freelancers are a large part of women’s groups and the variety of businesses that fall into this category is vast! Recent figures released by the TUC and The Fawcett Society reveal that • Women are half as likely as men to have a job paying more than £50,000 • The pay gap is so large that women effectively work 57 days a year for free.

ALTHOUGH IT IT ISN’T EXCLUSIVE TO WOMEN, MUMPRENEURS, AS ITS NAME SUGGESTS, IS VERY MUCH AIMED AT WOMEN. IS THERE STILL A NEED FOR WOMEN’S NETWORKING GROUPS OR BUSINESS ASSOCIATIONS? It’s a contentious issue these days in a lot of business circles, but it’s simple enough for Mumpreneurs: many women need specific support, in an informal and welcoming environment. In our experience, a female-biased group is more open and friendly. Traditional networks can be very imposing and, dare we say, male dominated. With new technologies, many women have been enabled to start businesses, and they need organisations that encourage their work and ambition. It’s more about the attitude and vision of the groups and associations these days than

about gender specifics. That said, with just over 12,000 visits to our network, an organisation run by women that’s aimed at women has obviously wide appeal in the business community. BEING A (MOSTLY) WOMEN’S GROUP, DO YOU THINK THE TYPE OF BUSINESSES REPRESENTED IS DIFFERENT TO THAT OF A ‘MIXED’ GROUP? There is a difference currently but we are expecting that to change over the years. Mumpreneurs are still running their businesses alongside family schedules; therefore, many choose to remain self-employed to make sure they remain flexible around their family commitments. As their children grow their businesses do too. Mixed groups have a far more corporate attendee focus to them (in

IS THERE STILL GENDER DISCRIMINATION IN BUSINESS? There is still a massive gap in the support and finance that women can access to start forward or develop their businesses. At MNC we aim to challenge this with our involvement with ‘The Manifesto’ for women in business, which calls for parties to commit to backing this highly ambitious group of entrepreneurs in a number of ways, including childcare, financial backing and education. These women will also be raising the entrepreneurs of the future, so the gap that currently exists needs to be challenged and closed. WHAT IS YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH? IN OTHER WORDS, WHY SHOULD SOMEONE GET INVOLVED? Whatever you feel about the word Mumpreneur, you cannot deny the contribution these women have made to the U.K. economy. Our network welcomes many differing businesses, all with a fundamental need to make connections, find support and raise their businesses profiles. Our membership of highly ambitious Mumpreneurs throughout the South East, London and most recently Edinburgh, can assist those who attend within a dynamic community committed to helping them to raise their game. Hilary Clinton said that “women are the most underused resource in the world.” Being involved with MNC will help you find this very considerable resource and utilise and employ the skills and experience of our network to the advantage of your own business.



Brighton & Sussex 2014

They’ve got it

The Venus businesswomen of the year awards go to...


he most influential, inspiring and efficacious women from the forefront of business in Sussex gathered at The Grand on Friday, 17th October in celebration of the phenomenal working women of Brighton & Sussex. From a selection of 59 outstanding finalists, 16 winners were announced for each award category who truly stood above the rest. The Venus Awards, who are sponsored by NatWest, as well as many other local prestigious companies, provided a welcomed platform for exposure, elevating women in their businesses across the South Coast. Hosted by Guy LLoyd from Brighton’s Juice 107.2, the event featured an entertaining set with the show girls from Manic Productions. Founder of the Venus Awards, Tara Howard, said, “I would like to extend massive congratulations to the winners of the 2014 Venus Awards. The Venus Awards, now in its fifth year, has expanded incredibly since the inaugural awards back in 2010. I am immensely proud of how the awards have grown to give phenomenal women in the work place and businesses all across the country the recognition they deserve. This year the competition reached a new standard of excellence and it was an absolute honour to attend the Sussex Awards Ceremony!”


THE WINNERS Brighton’s Juice 107.2 Business Mother of the Year Gem Staiano American Express MX Strategic Marketing Business of the Year Naomi Ridley Hastings Furniture Service The Argus Customer Service Award Nicola Cunningham Jurys Inn Brighton NatWest Small Business Award Carol Lewis Bainbridge Lewis Accountants Employee of the Year Ami Wheeler Savoir Faire Accounting Ltd.

Home Based Business Award Kerry Herbert Stand-Up Marketing, Charity Chuckle Quality Solicitors Howlett Clarke New Business Award Clair Letton Wigwam Toys Platinum Business Magazine Inspirational Woman Award Suzy Butler Kiya Survivors Influential Woman Award Lorraine Nugent Media Word Waves / Young Start-up Talent Lifetime Achievement Award Petrina Mayson Furniture Now

The British Engineerium Entrepreneur of the Year Benita Matofska Compare and Share

New Media & Online Business Award Jacqui Pearce Pearl and Earl

Lightfoot LED Green Business Award Ruth & Amy Anslow Hisbe Food CIC

Professional of the Year Caroline Cole Savoir Faire Accounting Limited

Quality Solicitors Howlett Clarke New Business Award Clair Letton Wigwam Toys

Young Manager/Entrepreneur of the Year Lucy Pearce The Argus








Venus Business Awards The awards for the county’s most influential, inspiring and talented businesswomen took place at The Grand in October. The Venus Awards, sponsored by NatWest, celebrate the successes and achievements of women in business. The event was hosted by Guy LLoyd from Brighton’s Juice 107.2.

1. Venus awards at the Grand Hotel, Brighton, 2. Melanie Martinez, Sam French, Marie Harris, Matt Turner, James French. 3. Jenny Pearce, Katey Rice, Sue Pearce, Lynsey Houlton, Lucy Pearce, Jess Neale, Tallulah Berny, Kate Bennett. 4. Ian Trevett, Lisa Henning, Alison Thompson, Nickie Brooks, Maarten Hoffmann. 5. Sarah Hopwood, Maarten Hoffmann, Rachel Hutchinson. 6. Charlotte Metcalf, Gem Staiano. 7. Alzbeto Tonova, Nicola Cunnigham. 8. Gary Chown, Sara Bassett, Lynne Edwards, Sue Smith. 9. Casey Herbert, Bola Ajani. 10. Gemma Saunderson-Barker, Ami Wheeler, Analiese Doctrove. 11. Abby Moreton, Rachel Regan, Vicky King. 12. Gwen Godfrey, Lynne Edwards, Lara Squires, Fiona Anderson, Sue Smith




8. 10.

9. 11.

10. 12.

Photo credit: Stephen Lawrence


HOTELS GET RENOVATIONS. HILTONS GET MAKEOVERS. Ascot Suite has been completely redesigned with improved sound-proofing, new carpeting and decorations, making it the perfect place for successful business meetings and social events. To celebrate these splendid improvements, every event booked by 31 December 2014 will receive complimentary bacon rolls and Wi-Fi. To book please call 01293 610809 or email events.gatwick@hilton.com and quote ASRO2014. (subject to availability, minimum numbers apply)

South Terminal, Gatwick Airport | West Sussex | RH6 0LL facebook.com/HiltonGatwick | twitter.com/HiltonGatwick W: gatwick.hilton.com

©2014 Hilton Worldwide

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Meeting Rooms From

01273 680400 Email:


£35 Per Hour



Guy Hilton General Manager, Hilton

I am organizing a conference and want to ensure we make a positive impression on the delegates. Can you suggest any ideas that will make the event stand out?

Small details can make a big difference to your event. Firstly, I would recommend that you allow at least two weeks prior to the conference in which to discuss your requirements and needs in detail. Here at Hilton London Gatwick Airport, for instance, you would be assigned a Conference & Events Executive. They would use their expertise to work with you to ensure every aspect is covered, such as including an adequate number of breaks and activities to keep the day flowing smoothly and enough signage to make certain that attendees know where to go. Moreover, it is always a good idea to book delegates’ accommodation at the event venue. Our Event Expert would create a Personalized On-Line Group Page, enabling attendees to book reservations directly. The page would be customized to include your event program, company logo and any other information that may be required, such as car parking facilities.

In my opinion, a positive first impression is extremely important. Therefore, I would suggest you start your conference with a friendly ‘welcome’ break. This could be something simple like tea, coffee and pastries or something more personalized like a themed break that could be designed to represent your company. A good example would be for the food and drinks to incorporate your company’s brand colour. An arrival break would also allow you to personally welcome your guests and present a positive and sociable start to the event. This would also provide an opportunity to engage delegates with your conference topic from the very beginning! Depending on the nature of your event, you could organize various team-building or ice-breaking activities to take place at the start. My team here might arrange Master Classes in cocktail making or cupcake decoration for example.

Another popular idea would be to organize gift bags for the delegates. These could include branding material from your company, such as notepads and pens, or perhaps a treat prepared especially for the occasion. Once again, these important details can be organized with the venue’s experienced Conference & Events Executive. Lastly, I would suggest that you enjoy an After Event Drinks and Canapés Reception. This provides an excellent opportunity for your delegates to share their experience and thoughts about the conference followed by a gourmet dinner at our newly refurbished Amy’s Restaurant.




0844 736 4251 events.brighton@hotelduvin.com w w w. H O T E L D U V I N . c o m

HOTEL DU VIN&BISTRO SHIP STREET, BRIGHTON, SUSSEX BN1 1AD Terms and conditions: All tickets must be prepaid and are non-refundable. Food is required to be pre-ordered, dietary reuests can be catered for upon request.


Hotel du Vingt Hotel du Vin celebrates 20 years • www.hotelduvin.com


ince the opening of Hotel du Vin Winchester, in 1994, in an 18th century town house, Hotel du Vin has created the template for boutique hotels across the UK. Sensitively converting buildings with character as diverse as an asylum, a brewery and an eye hospital, the collection provides stylish accommodation with great dining at its heart, serving classic dishes with superb wines. Every property that followed was sought after for its character and interesting past. Whether converted from a sugar house, asylum, brewery or eye hospital, each property was sensitively converted to provide the structure for Britain’s first boutique hotel experience. Within each new property that boasted a different story, the founding concept behind Hotel du Vin – that it was a ‘restaurant with rooms’ – continued to grow. Hinted at in

its name, Hotel du Vin and their successful sommeliers pioneered the tradition of fine wine and matched it with the great food that has come to define the group. 20 years after its inception, Hotel du Vin continues to provide a distinctive experience. Simon Maguire, the General Manger at Hotel du Vin, Brighton, commented, “We are all excited to be part of the team that has seen Hotel du Vin reach this milestone, and with the recent acquisition of our 16th property we will soon be celebrating more milestones and anniversaries before we know it.” The Brighton hotel outdates the first Hotel du Vin in Winchester. The jumble of quirky gothicstyle buildings was, appropriately enough, first built by a wine merchant in 1695. Now is the time of year to sink into a leather armchair in the bar or lounge and choose from over

100 whiskies and rums or savour one of the delicious cocktails. Or to train your palate with expert guidance in the wine cellar with Ziggy, in-house Sommelier. Tuck into simple, robust dishes prepared with fresh, local, seasonal ingredients in our trademark bistro. Select your favourite cigar from the humidor and enjoy a smoke under the stars. Or disappear to Cave du Vin, a snug hideaway for intimate private parties, or make merry in the striking 1920s-inspired Ruinart private dining room. Hotel du Vin operate fifteen hotels across the UK, including Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Cheltenham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Harrogate, Henley-on-Thames, Glasgow, Newcastle, Poole, St Andrews, Tunbridge Wells, Winchester & York. For more information, or to book, visit www.hotelduvin.com or call 0845 365 4438.




“One might think that this is incredibly complicated, but it is so simple as to defy logic that the third world is not covered with such industry�


remarkable group called Aquaponic Life, founded by Neil Whichelow and Emerald Poole, is diligently working away in East Sussex in an attempt to feed the world. A bold claim indeed, but one that stands up to scrutiny, with a unique system of keeping fish, that aids the growth of plants and vegetables with no fertilizers, which then feeds clean water back to the fish. The fish multiply and therefore ensure a steady supply of food, and the nitrates they produce can grow a lettuce in just four weeks! Food miles zero; harmful pesticides zero; cost virtually zero. One might think that this is incredibly complicated, but it is so simple as to defy logic that the third world is not covered with such industry. The biological filter in the fish tank is made up of beneficial bacteria that convert the ammonia into nitrates. By pumping this nutrient rich water into a grow bed full of plants, the plants absorb the nitrates as plant food, which travels directly to their roots. In doing this, they clean the water, which is then returned back to the fish. This means water is constantly recycled and the only water lost is through transpiration


or evaporation. This reduces water consumption by up to 98% when compared to traditional soil based farming techniques. The water lost can be topped up with rainwater harvesting. It is worth mentioning at this point that no harmful fertilisers or pesticides can be added to an aquaponics system as it would kill the fish. Aquaponics is nature embraced. By allowing these ecosystems to develop, aquaponics lets us grow crops in a more natural way, with microbial activity in effect driving these systems and making the crops even healthier. But the benefits don’t stop there. As nutrients are delivered direct to the plant roots along with oxygen and microbial activity, there is a substantial gain in plant growth. In a mature aquaponics system a lettuce will grow in just four weeks. In fact, most produce will grow at two to three times the rate of soil based farming, and there is absolutely no possibility that humans will continue to consume vast amounts of harmful pesticides. With this rate of growth and the ability to grow vertically, another opportunity arises in the form of Urban farming. This allows us to grow fresh food in City centres, thus enabling it to be grown,

sold and consumed within the community, reducing food miles to almost zero. This and the lack of soil make it the most flexible form of agriculture in terms of location and potential proximity to markets. Tilapia are by far the most common fish used in aquaponics and aquaculture in general because of its hardy nature, rapid growth rate


and flesh texture. There are many other suitable species such as catfish, trout, cod, Perch, Koi and others. In a well-run system, there should be a harvest of at least 20-40kg of fish per year from each cubic meter of water, with Tilapia reaching 500 grams and therefore harvestable in under a year. If that is not enough, they are now developing a dehumidifier to recycle water in the atmosphere which will control humidity and at the same time generate heat to be dispersed either through the atmosphere or into the fish tanks. On hot days, which in the third world tends to be almost every day, the excess heat can be converted to electricity. It is no coincidence that the countries facing immediate water and land shortages, and the ones feeling the effects of population increase, have been the first to adopt Aquaponics. The current Western food system is a logistical triumph, connecting billions of urban customers with millions of farmers they have never met, allowing most of the people to take food for granted and to be blissfully unaware

of seasons, droughts, floods, pestilence and plague. The system is also ruthlessly focused on profit, not on feeding people well or preserving the planet for future generations. And the cost of consumer convenience in the West includes developing countries enduring hunger and the developed world an epidemic of obesity. Our global food system is also driving biodiversity loss, soil degradation and climate change, partly because these impacts are seen as ‘externalities’ which are not reflected in the cost of food or in any corporation’s balance sheet. Climate change is in turn making food production less predictable and increases the pressure on available soil and water. As with the majority of developing industry, it is the next generation that we need to push into understanding the technology and the urgent need for it. For those of us with kids who already keep fish as pets, it’s a tremendous way to teach them a little more about where food comes from, whilst reducing the amount of time spent nagging at them to clean out the tank! Schools benefit from

it in the same way because it illustrates many lessons, not just in biology, chemistry, physics, maths, nature, sustainability and animal care, but it can also supply their lunch! As well as teaching how to construct home based systems, Aquaponic Life are designing a research and training facility for Plumpton Agricultural College, where they will be testing it alongside hydroponics. At the Edible Garden Show at Alexandra Palace, Aquaponics has been deemed “the food production technique of the future” All their profits will be used to build living food banks for communities in need as well as the further research and development of aquaponics as a sustainable form of farming in the UK climate. They need help – volunteers, donations and business development investment to fully realize this incredibly sustainable food source being developed right here is Sussex. A line I never thought l would write is that maybe Sussex can feed the world! For more information, please visit: www.aquaponiclife.org

Each month we will unearth a company in Sussex that you didn’t know existed; a company with a niche product or service hiding their light under a bushel... 103

Chestnut Tree House

BuSInESS AwArdS 2015 Thursday 12 March 2015 South Lodge Hotel, Horsham 6pm Drinks Reception, Dinner and Awards Ceremony

Hosted by Ambrose Harcourt Broadcaster and Patron of Chestnut Tree House

The Chestnut Tree House Business Awards are to recognise businesses and individual employees who are outstanding in their communities and to thank them for supporting Chestnut Tree House. The awards categories are: • Outstanding Individual Fundraiser • Fundraising Team Of The Year • Most Innovative Fundraising Idea • Outstanding Voluntary Project • Outstanding Long Term Supporter • Outstanding SME Supporter • Outstanding Corporate Supporter Deadline for nominations 2 February 2015

To nominate a business, book a place or find out more visit: www.chestnut-tree-house.org.uk email: corporate@chestnut-tree-house.org.uk Or telephone: 01903 871837 Registered charity number: 256789

Chestnut Tree House Business Awards 2015 are kindly supported by:







There is an increasing array of alternative funding options, and we navigate the jungle


We break bread with Eleanor Harris, MD of Brighton’s i360

AUDI A8 Executive

We give this corporate express train a good going over


We chat with Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Davies of Sussex University and ask what the future holds and how we can involve more businesses with the future of our students


We examine some of the technological breakthroughs that are about to change your working life


With the election looming, we ask politicians of all parties what they have to offer business in the Southeast


How to minimise your company’s exposure to risk


We chat with Christina Ewbank, CEO of Eastbourne’s unLtd Chamber of Commerce about the future plans of The Alliance of Chambers in East Sussex (ACES)

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Issue 7 Wise

By Robert Clare ACIB, DipFSL, MCIBS, Director of Innovation Capital robert.clare@innovationcapitalteam.com 07503713425 • www.innovationcapitalteam.com

WISE WORDS: Writing this short article comes at an interesting time for me as I embark on my second career, this time as a business owner. The key phrases below are all borrowed from song lyrics that have become touchstones for me, plus a final few words from someone very special to me. SOMETHING THAT I SAID... In recent years I have been lucky to lead many people, which is both a privilege and huge responsibility. The responsibility of leadership really hit home when someone I hadn’t seen for years said to me “I remember what you said back then and it really helped me, thank you”. I don’t remember the earlier conversation at all and it really emphasised to me that as the boss what you say and do can have a huge positive or negative impact on people, especially in off guard moments. I’m quite an avid reader of leadership books and leadership has been described as a performing art with the added challenge that you’re always on the stage. I know it’s not rocket science, but it is easy to be caught off guard. Many people have recounted stories to me of things I have said that they have remembered and acted upon, which is at the same time both humbling and scary – leadership is a responsibility, not an accolade.


THE SMALLEST SOFTEST VOICES... The full lyric is “sometimes the smallest softest voices come up with the grand, biggest solutions” and is a reminder to me to seek out the quiet voices and to listen very carefully to everyone’s contributions and ideas. I have chaired thousands of meetings, and I always see that role to include making sure every voice is heard.

“Leadership has been described as a performing art with the added challenge that you’re always on the stage” RISE ABOVE, I’M GONNA RISE ABOVE... I try very hard not to get wound up by the little things in life that can be so annoying. I think an over-reaction to petty things can indicate an inability to deal with the real issues at hand. I’m human, so I could list plenty of things I’d

like to consign to room 101, but in business, certainly, I often find myself saying ‘rise above it’. Somehow it helps me to keep my focus on the bigger issues. It also gives me that moment of thinking time so that I respond rather than react to issues, and I take my finger off the ‘send’ button until I’ve really thought about what I’m about to say or do and what I want the impact to be. JUST A TOUCH OF SELF DESTRUCT... The full lyric on this one is “a lot of heart, a little luck and just a touch of self destruct” which I have adopted as my personal motto. We all go through trials and tribulations in our business and personal lives, and for me these words are a reminder to put my heart and soul into the things that really matter, be persistent and resilient, take the luck that comes my way and sometimes take a chance. YOU’RE AN IDIOT... I’m really a 52 year old child, and every time I get told “you’re an idiot”, which is frequently, it is a reassuring reminder that I haven’t lost my sense of fun. It does have a deeper meaning, though, in terms of continuing to learn from other people, never thinking I know it all, always asking ‘dumb’ questions and never thinking I’m the smartest person in the room.


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Profile for Platinum Business

Platinum Business Magazine Issue 7  

Platinum Business Magazine, Issue 7. The independent business magazine for the Southeast.

Platinum Business Magazine Issue 7  

Platinum Business Magazine, Issue 7. The independent business magazine for the Southeast.