Platinum Business Magazine - issue 104

Page 60

THE LARGEST CIRCULATION REGIONAL BUSINESS PUBLICATION IN THE UK platinum Dame Mary Perkins ANGER MANAGEMENT The obliteration of SMEs International Trade Opportunities 2022 SUSSEX BUSINESS AWARDS All the winners revealed THE WOMAN WHO REALLY WENT TO SPECSAVERS MDHUB Leaders Awards MOTORING Italian pocket rocket Gatwick Summit ISSUE 104 DECEMBER 2022

The Platinum Business Club for Leaders and Innovators in Business

Now in its 15th year, the Platinum Club is the longest running, most effective and most enjoyable networking event in the South East. Looking forward to the major Christmas Party on December 15th.

Limited memberships are available and to apply, please contact

Left to right: Lesley Alcock (Platinum Media Group) and Zaneta Bealing (BIPC) Left to right: Barry Carden (Galloways), Andrew Clark (Lloyds Bank), Kevin Boyd (McMillan Wealth Management), Colin Grant (Lloyds Bank) Jenny Ray (DMH Stallard) and Anthony Fitton (Bailey & French)


Left to right: Jo Baldwin (Mentor), Dr Adam Jones (University of Brighton), Jenny Ray (DMH Stallard) Left to right: Pam Loch (CEO, Loch Associates), Donna Holland (CEO, Rockinghorse), Emma Cleary (Flexibility Matters) and Maarten Hoffmann (MD, Platinum Media Group) Left to right: David Sheppard (Chairman, D-RisQ), Chris Thomas (Let’s Do Business), Alex Williams (Burt Brill & Cardens), Anthony Fitton (Bailey & French) Julie Sebastianelli (Mattioli Woods Wealth Management) chatting to Oliver McDonald (Engage Wealth Management) Alexandra Nott, Trade Mark Attorney from Dehns

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26 Dame Mary Perkins

Platinum casts its eye over ophthalmic visionary Dame Mary Perkins, founder of Specsavers as it approaches its 40th anniversary


70 Anger management

It’s back. Maarten losing his rag Disclaimer: All views stated here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this publication


8 Local and international news

A round-up of the important business stories in Sussex and around the world


18 Kreston Reeves

Exploring international trade opportunities

51 Haines Watts

How to structure a property investment company


12 Loch Associates

Work Christmas parties: how to prevent the nightmare aftermath

34 DMH Stallard

Partner Richard Pollins looks back at a very good year for the company

58 Mayo Wynne Baxter

Changes to Capital Gains Tax which affect separation and divorce



2 Platinum Club

Now in its 15th year, the South East’s premier networking social event has its big Christmas party this month

20 Sussex Business Awards 2022

With a third of a century on the clock, the region’s most prestigious business awards took place in Brighton on December 1st. Turn to see who the winners are…

24 Gatwick Summit

News from the airport-led economic summit in order to drive the area’s economy

36 Surrey Business Awards 2022

All the winners from last month’s spectacular business awards event held in Guildford

46 Starr Trust

Highlights from the glitzy Starr Trust Winter Extravaganza Ball


Who are the recipients of MD HUB’s prizes at its annual Leaders Awards event?


54 Martlets Halloween Ball Martlets raise £113,000 in a single evening

64 Chestnut Tree House

Celebrate Christmas while helping Chestnut Tree House at the same time



14 Let’s Do Business

Why businesses are choosing to relocate to Newhaven

38 Surrey Research Park

The astonishing success of the Research Park at the Surrey Business Awards

42 Mattioli Woods

When is the best time to review your pension?

44 NatWest Business

NatWest’s PMI Business Activity Index: the indicator of regional economic health

48 People Puzzles

Introducing the company set up to help other companies achieve their goals

57 Business & IP Centre

Give yourself the gifts of time and headspace at the BIPC

66 Lloyd’s Bank

Meet the bank’s new Area Director, and recent Sussex Business Awards judge, Debbie Cenaj

69 Cleankill

2022 was a good year for wasps, which doesn’t necessarily mean bad for us…


52 Sussex Innovation

What does 2023 hold for you –and what can you do about it?


72 Cosy getaways

Tess de Klerk discovers the best places to head to in the UK for a cosy winter lodge stay


74 Motoring Review

Motoring editor Maarten Hoffmann reviews the Italian ‘pocket rocket’ –the latest Fiat Abarth 595

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. Surrey Business Magazine is owned and published by Platinum Media Group Limited.

2022 • ISSUE
Visualise your future with a 360° review delivering trusted, expert advice. Pensions Investments Estate Planning Financial Management Get in touch 020 8936 3970 Now in the South East, Mattioli Woods will work hard to deliver the best financial outcomes for you. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

As we reach the end of 2022, some will look back with fondness and some with delight it’s over. Whatever you feel, Christmas is nearly here and that’s a wonderful time to get the family together and remember why we all do what we do. Remember, no one’s last words on their deathbed were, “I wish l’d spent another day in the office”!

In this year’s final issue of the largest circulation business magazine in the UK, we bring you the story of the Specsavers founder, Dame Mary Perkins, news on the Gatwick Airport summit and we introduce the new Area Director of Lloyds Bank, Debbie Cenaj.

The 33rd year of the Sussex Business Awards took place on December 1st in front of 500 business leaders making it the business event of the year – and we reveal all the winners. MDHUB also presented their Leaders Awards and a few weeks earlier the Starr Trust and Martlets presented their stunning galas in aid of very worthy charities.

Much much more inside and we wish you all a very happy Christmas and a great New Year – and here’s to 2023.

The PlatinumTeam


PUBLISHER/EDITOR: Maarten Hoffmann



TRAVEL EDITOR: Tess de Klerk

HEAD OF DESIGN: Michelle Shakesby

SUB EDITOR: Alan Wares




Britain is in the grip of a mental health crisis that is causing workers to drop out of the labour market and fuelling staff shortages. The number of people neither working nor seeking work has ballooned since the pandemic to almost nine million. Figures show that this is being driven by longterm sickness and, in particular, mental health conditions.

Levels of economic inactivity among the long-term sick jumped by 537,500 between the year to June 2019 and the year to June 2022. Some 454,300 can be attributed to mental health conditions, such as depression, stress and anxiety orders. The figures relate to those aged 16 and over.

The figures also suggest that employers could do better to support the workers they do have. The number of employed people with long-term mental health conditions jumped by 816,400 over the same period.



Rolls-Royce said it has successfully run an aircraft engine on hydrogen, a world aviation first that marks a major step towards proving the gas could be key to decarbonising air travel and eventually, all the world’s cars.

The ground test, using a converted Rolls-Royce AE 2100-A regional aircraft engine, used green hydrogen created by wind and tidal power.


The boss of retailer Next is urging the government to let more foreign workers into the UK to ease labour shortages.

Lord Wolfson, who was a prominent advocate of Brexit, said the UK’s current immigration policy was crippling economic growth. He said firms should pay a tax to employ foreign workers, to encourage them to recruit from the UK first.

The government said it had delivered on its promise to ‘take back control of our immigration system.’

“Unemployment is at record lows and it’s vital we continue to bring in excellent key workers the UK needs, including thousands of NHS doctors and nurses through the Health and Care Visa and the Seasonal Workers scheme which brings in the workforce our farmers and growers need,” a government spokesperson said.

Rolls and its testing programme partner easyJet are seeking to prove that hydrogen can safely and efficiently deliver power for civil aero engines.

❛❛ Sell a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, you ruin a wonderful business opportunity ❜❜ Karl Marx, philosopher and author



Elon Musk has sold Tesla stock worth £3.46bn after completing his takeover of Twitter. The chief executive of the electric vehicle maker unloaded 19.5 million shares, according to filings published by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The purpose of the sale was not disclosed but it leaves Musk’s holdings in Tesla at around 14%, according to the Reuters news agency.

The value of Tesla’s stock has plummeted by almost half in 2022 alongside many other so-called growth stocks - seen as susceptible to the tougher global economy but particularly high levels of inflation. However, Tesla’s value also reflects a series of sales by Musk himself to fund the $44bn Twitter acquisition, and wider shareholder sentiment that Tesla would lose focus now that the Tesla/Twitter/SpaceX billionaire had further demands on his time.


Britain will struggle to fill the jobs of the future if computer science and artificial intelligence (AI) are not made part of the school curriculum, research has warned. Demand for jobs that require such skills is estimated to rise by 40% over the next five years - but with only 15% of UK businesses having adopted AI, a report says the country risks falling behind.

Research suggests teaching AI skills in secondary schools may help to fill rising demand for computer science and other such roles, supporting an average of £71bn of economic output annually to 2030. According to YouGov, 72% of secondary school teachers support making an active effort to increase education and resources around AI and computer science. Without it, 75% fear long-term skill gaps.

But among STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) teachers surveyed, 64% had limited access to computer science resources - rising to 79% when focused on AI.


n Paramedic drone programmer – an AI expert with medical knowledge to ‘teach’ drones to help emergency rescue teams

n Smart-assisted sports coach – data and AI skills will help coaches measure player performance and welfare, predict outcomes, and adjust tactics

n AI speech coach – help voice assistants and visual avatars become more realistic


The government is facing growing calls to raise more money from the windfall tax on energy firms after oil giant BP reported a huge rise in global profits.

BP made £7.1bn between July and September, more than double its profit for the same period last year. Surging oil and gas prices have led to big gains for energy firms but are also fuelling a rise in the cost of living. BP expects to pay $800m in UK windfall taxes this year while rival Shell recently said it will pay none.

Alok Sharma, UK’s COP president and the former Business Secretary, tweeted, “We need to raise more money from a windfall tax on oil and gas companies and actively encourage them to invest in renewables.”

n Metaverse architect – create environments and activities to entertain people in the virtual world

n Zero carbon transport planner – design and programme driverless public transport networks

n Augmented learning technician – use AI and augmented reality to create state-of-the-art tools for teachers and their lessons

n Agricultural AI engineer – help farm sustainable foods like synthetic meats and insects at faster and grander scales

n AI creative skills producer – help creators enhance their music and art by learning popular trends

n Community care technician – use AI to detect loneliness in the community, alerting care workers to who needs their help the most

n Tech fashion designer – create the next-generation of sustainable smart clothing and wearables, like garments that can react and respond to the weather.

❛❛ If at first, you don’t succeed, take the tax loss ❜❜
Kirk Kirkpatrick, entrepreneur



A new partnership has been announced to support thousands of entrepreneurs and businesses in Crawley, Hove, Worthing and across Sussex.

Workshops and events, sector specific meetups, seminars and digital learning material plus networking and more, will be on offer thanks to a new collaboration between Freedom Works and Barclays Eagle Labs. The Freedom Works and Barclays Eagle Labs partnership will provide a more extensive package of support for over 2,000 businesses across the Freedom Works network.

This will include support from a dedicated ecosystem manager providing access to technical expertise, mentoring and connections required to integrate companies into Barclays’ UK wide network. It will bring businesses together to create potential new partnerships to help start-up and scale-up businesses alike achieve their ambitions.

Jon Trigg, Founder and Managing Director of Freedom Works, said, “One of our goals is to provide a collaborative environment for our members to help provide more than a roof over their heads. The partnership with Eagle Labs will now enable our members to benefit from the fantastic curated support delivered through Barclays Eagles Labs programmes.”


The group behind a trio of luxury South East hotels has returned to profit and posted a huge rise in turnover during a strong year. Elite Hotels operates The Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club in Sussex, The Grand Hotel in Eastbourne and Tylney Hall Hotel and Gardens in Hampshire.

In December 2021, the group sold its subsidiary Luton Hoo Park Ltd, which operated the Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa in Bedfordshire. For the year to March 31st 2022, Elite Hotels (Rotherwick) Ltd report turnover of £32.7m compared to £12.2m the prior period. Of this total, £23.7m is from continuing operations, with £9m from those that are discontinued. The group also returned to the black, making a total pre-tax profit of £4.89m against a loss of £5.25m.

❛❛ If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it ❜❜
WC Fields


The recently announced merger between Sussex-based Galloways Accounting and Cardens Accountants and Business Advisors creates the largest independent accountancy in East Sussex.

Galloways Accounting made its acquisition of Cardens Accountants official in November, resulting in a combined team of more than 200 finance and business professionals. The acquisition brings sites in Hove and Worthing and increases the reach of Galloways Accounting group across the entire Sussex area, alongside its Brighton, Haywards Heath, Horsham, and Uckfield offices.

Cardens Accountants, which was founded by Barry Carden in 2006, grew from a team of 10 to employing more than 60 local finance professionals. Following an initial merger agreement in May 2022, Barry Carden has accepted an offer to oversee the wider Galloways Accounting business as managing partner. Its larger Hove team will continue to work from the Old Casino in Hove where it became an awardwinning firm.

Barry Carden commented, “My partners and I felt we were at the right time in our growth cycle to combine forces with another firm. As our clients’ needs for specialists in the areas of audit and tax grows, and as the business world evolves, personally I am delighted to have accepted the role of managing partner to bring my skills honed over the years to bear in the enlarged practice”



Accountants, business and tax advisors Kreston Reeves has been named as one of the UK’s top accountancy firms for wealthy individuals and families by the influential trade magazine eprivateclient.

Kreston Reeves has a large team of specialist accountants, tax advisors and solicitors providing a full range of advice on complex private client matters including tax, trusts, wills and probate.

Daniel Grainge, Partner and Head of Tax at Kreston Reeves said, “It is enormously satisfying to see the efforts of the firm recognised by eprivateclient again. The firm has a clear strategy defined by its purpose of guiding clients, colleagues and communities to a brighter future.”

Recognition by eprivateclient is the latest in a string of awards that has seen Kreston Reeves winning both ‘Large Firm of the Year’ and ‘Tax Team of the Year’ awards at the annual Accounting Excellence Awards, being a finalist in the Tolley’s Taxation Awards ‘Best Tax Team in a Regional Firm’ category, being named a top 10 firm on the Accountancy Age Mid-Tier Power Index, and having two of its team members named as rising stars in Accountancy Age’s ’35 under 35’.

❛❛ An acceptable level of unemployment means that the government economist to whom it is acceptable still has a job ❜❜

Work Christmas parties are back on the Agenda in 2022. By Pam Loch, Managing Director. Loch Associates Group

Work Christmas parties: avoiding ‘partygate’ nightmares

There are many benefits to having an ‘in person’ work Christmas party. It is an ideal opportunity for colleagues to get together in a relaxed setting, and to appreciate and celebrate team and indi vidual success. However there are risks to consider for both employers and employees.

The key to holding a successful Christmas event mirrors that of a successful team and workplace. It takes a combination of good knowledge of employer rights and responsibilities, sound policies and training, a positive workplace culture, good planning and communication. It’s important for employers, to know their responsibilities and plan early and carefully.


Employers are likely to be responsible and liable for the event as they have a duty of care to their staff. Think care fully about health and safety at the venue and also about acceptable behaviours. Offering a free bar could be popular, however by providing this, will you be exposing the business to claims against the business arising from excessive drinking? Think about the time and location of the event, how easy is it for staff to get there and home, is it accessible for disabled team members and suitable for all groups and beliefs?

Your event is an extension of your workplace in terms of your responsibili ties. Therefore, set expectations accordingly and communicate this clearly. Employees may be wrong by thinking that as this is a night out, outside of office hours, in a completely different location, they are not obliged to behave as though they are at work. Although you don’t want your Christmas party to feel like a normal working day, in some respects the boundaries must be the same.


Balance is key. Think carefully about what you’re responsible for on the night. Think ahead and try to make sure that if you’ve got any potential issues that could arise, you make sure they are avoided. Prime your managers to keep a watchful eye and defuse any situa tions. Look out for any unusual or unreasonable behaviour and look after all staff on the night. It is no surprise that many HR managers are super vigi lant and drink little alcohol at work Christmas events.

It is reasonable to say, as an employer, “I’m liable therefore the same rules apply as in the office.” However, there is a balance to consider in terms of communicating expectations and setting the scene for a great event.

❛❛ Your event is as an extension of your workplace in terms of your responsibilities ❜❜


To avoid discrimination claims it’s important you have effective policies in place and staff are trained on them. Employers are liable for what the employees do if they, for example, sexu ally harass another colleague at an event. Without policies and training being done, the employer will not be able to defend their position to avoid liability. Many employers have effective policies in place but don’t train staff, so exposing an employer to liability for the employee’s acts.


Workplace culture is evolving which presents new challenges. Hybrid working and more social media use means that people are not engaging in person on a daily basis. People are engaged in chat on social media regu larly, where strong opinions and beliefs can be validated. Tensions can be heightened and this can spill over when people meet in person. Training managers to deal with this shift in workplace culture and communication is critical and important to keep in mind when planning and hosting work events.


You need to allow for the needs of different personality types. The more outgoing types may be bombarding managers with requests for a wild night with a free bar. There may be another group, quietly reacting with horror at this prospect and wanting a different type of event. A compromise event may be needed. Staff surveys can help you identify what the majority would like to do.

It is important to also consider multi-generational differences in the workplace and different expectations in terms of behaviour and language use. Up to date diversity policies and equal opportunities training is vital. An aware ness of the expectations of different generations will help to create mutual respect and avoid flashpoints being created from outdated and unaccept able language being used, for example.


Think about your team as a group of individuals with different needs and consider each separately. Individuals have expectations of their needs being accounted for, more so than before covid. It is harder to keep track and chat individually in a remote setting and so problems and anxieties can be missed. Talking to each team member will high light needs and anxieties and enable you to tailor a Christmas event accord ingly, providing facilities for anyone with specific disabilities and ensuring the venue meets travel needs.


For some there is a feeling of anxiety, post-covid, about meeting in person and possibly being exposed to covid at a Christmas event. There could be more anxiety about being in crowded areas as people are currently less accus tomed to this. Ensure that managers do regular check-ins with team members to monitor and allay anxiety as far as possible. Perhaps encourage team members to work at the workplace more regularly before the event.


Two-way conversations before the event, with management support and vigilance on the night will not only avoid flashpoints and conflict but enhance engagement and motivation, ensuring that everyone is able to enjoy a great event.

The Christmas event stakes are high this year, however the potential benefits in terms of employee engagement and motivation are enormous. With a great workplace strategy, employers can provide an event, appreciated by staff and reap the benefits in terms of increased motivation and productivity in the year ahead. The culmination of a good ongoing workplace strategy will be a great Christmas event and a successful 2023.

To find out more, please visit


At a time where businesses are being challenged more than ever with rising energy costs and rampant inflation passing 10%, and many still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, many are finding themselves reevaluating their overheads to see if there are cost savings to be made

Why businesses are choosing Newhaven Enterprise Centre

With hybrid working models looking like they’re here to stay, many businesses are now taking the time to reassess the size of their space, the location and, most importantly, the costs.

Inner city space comes at a premium, and as a result business centres like Newhaven Enterprise Centre have seen an influx of enquiries and new tenants who are benefitting from its affordable rents and easy to reach location.

Nestled at the foot of the South Downs and surrounded by scenic countryside views, Newhaven offers substantial physical capacity for growing busi nesses. Being home to a growing

number of industries, ranging from food and drink, manufacturing, creative and digital, to high-tech engineering sectors, the town contributes heavily to East Sussex’s diverse and growing economy.

The Enterprise Centre, which is owned by Lewes District Council and managed by Let’s Do Business Group is located on Denton Island, adjacent to the town centre, and benefits from easy access by road, and by public transport along side free parking for tenants and their visitors. With good rail connections to London and Brighton, plus close prox imity to Newhaven Port, tenants at the Centre are well-placed to cater for local, national and international customers.

❛❛ Moving to Newhaven Enterprise Centre was the best move I made last year. It isn’t just the facilities, but also the staff who always have time to provide a listening ear as well as signposting for business advice and services ❜❜ Barbara Rowe, Take Good Care



Comprised of high-quality offices and workshops available on short flexible terms to suit your business’ needs, and offered at a competitive price with no hidden charges or additional fees, the centre houses a variety of small (140218sq ft), medium (224-332sq ft), and large (348-586sq ft) offices, workshops and studio space (323-850sq ft) and also co-working areas (112sq ft) which include a private desk, chair, and pedestal.

❛❛ Simply the best serviced offices in the area. No rip-off prices, council-owned and managed locally. No long-term deals required. If you need affordable space get in touch with them. You won’t be disappointed ❜❜ Fred Bass, Bass Lighting

There are many benefits to working at the Newhaven Enterprise Centre including:

n Fully inclusive pricing

n Full-time reception service

n Free on-site parking, n 24/7 access

n High-speed broadband and wi-fi n Bookable serviced meeting rooms

n Virtual offices service n Dog-friendly offices

The centre is also committed to reducing its environmental impact, and has recently received a £5,000 grant from Locase to update the lighting in the communal spaces in the centre to LED lighting. This work aims to reduce not only the carbon footprint of the centre by 19.97 tonnes per year but also to ensure over 70% of energy efficiency

But the one thing that stands out most of all about Newhaven Enterprise Centre, and the one that current tenants talk about the most is the sense of community it provides. Regular events and networking allows tenants to meet each other and find ways to collaborate and work together. Small businesses then have access to support from a wide range of industries, creating one large team they can tap into when needed.

❛❛ Newhaven Enterprise Centre is Newhaven’s best kept secret, but it shouldn’t be. Being here couldn’t be better for my business. It’s welcoming, professional, affordable, and the community of businesses here is amazing. For a small business, we have access to a large corporation of expertise and knowledge all under one roof ❜❜ Grace Hanley, Sussex Staffing Solutions

Tenants also have access to free and impartial business support from Let’s Do Business Group, providing support with business planning, strategy and access to business finance and training. The group, who manages the centre, is regularly on hand to help businesses to achieve their business goals.


With the ambitious regeneration plans from Lewes District Council to make Newhaven an exciting location for busi nesses, the designation of Newhaven as an Enterprise Zone in 2017, and £30 million of investment allowed the town to be shortlisted for the next round of £675 million Future High Streets Fund. It also has with the opportunity to secure further funding of up to £25 million from the Government’s Town Fund.

Cooperatively, these projects are set to transform the future of Newhaven with the needs of both the residents, busi nesses and communities in the town being at the heart of the regeneration plans.

The Newhaven Enterprise Centre is committed to providing safe, clean, professional and affordable space to businesses in the area, and would be delighted to discuss your business space needs.

To find out more contact them on 01273 615250 or visit the website on



We can help. Call our Gatwick office to arrange a free introductory meeting with Paul Cannons. Call 01293 661 323 or email

The value of investments can fall and you may get back less than you invested.

RBC Brewin Dolphin is a trading name of Brewin Dolphin Limited. Brewin Dolphin Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Financial Services Register reference number 124444) and regulated in Jersey by the Financial Services Commission. Registered Office; 12 Smithfield Street, London, EC1A 9BD. Registered in England and Wales company number: 2135876. VAT number: GB 690 8994 69

Growing a business through international trade has never been easy. There are many hurdles and barriers to cross. Yet, in recent years it has become much harder. That is, in part, down to global events and deliberate political decisions from governments around the world.


In 2019 and again in 2022, Kreston Reeves surveyed over 600 business owners to understand what those barriers are, how they might have changed, and the measures they would like to see change to make international trade easier. Our survey results were published in a report called ‘Global Britain? A report on the global ambitions of UK businesses.’

Our international network, Kreston Global, has also surveyed 600 business leaders in six countries to better understand the challenges of overseas growth. Its findings were published in a report called ‘Global vision and the ‘Interpreneur’ mindset’.


The primary concerns for UK businesses looking for growth overseas in 2022 are taxes and duties, tariffs and trade barriers, and the overall cost. They were also primary concerns for businesses in 2019 and are amplified following the UK’s departure from the European Union. They are all arguably a direct result of government policy.

It is interesting to note that in 2019 currency fluctuations were particularly concerning. Our 2022 survey was conducted when Boris Johnson was still our Prime Minister and his position was yet to be challenged. If this survey had been conducted following the ‘mini budget’ on September 23rd by the next Prime Minister and Chancellor and the pressure

What do you consider the biggest challenge(s) to trading internationally? There are no challenges Inexperience/not knowing where to start Distance Lack of demand Data IP theft Inability to resource Language and culture Access to funding Credit/getting paid Carbon footprint Knowledge of jurisdictional differences Employing or moving staff abroad Currency fluctuations Red tape and regulations Logistics, freight and transporation Cost Tariffs and trade barriers Tax, VAT and duties n 2022 n 2019 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30%
❛❛ Constraints to supply chains are understandably of greater concern today than three years ago ❜❜
that was put on the pound,

currency fluctuations might have figured a little more prominently.

Constraints to supply chains are understandably of greater concern today than three years ago. That is as a direct result of the Covid pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine. With no immediate end to that conflict in sight, supply chains are likely to remain stressed for months if not years ahead.


Taxes, tariffs and trade barriers have all been erected in the UK as a result of the UK’s decision to leave our largest and closest trading partner. Whilst they are troubling for UK businesses that have enjoyed free trade with our European neighbours for four decades, Kreston Global’s international survey highlights slightly different barriers.

Limited capital is the most pressing concern shared by businesses irrespective of where they are located. Lack of familiarity with local tax, culture and supply chain issues are also seen as key barriers.

It is widely recognised by governments around the world that businesses do need support to grow successfully overseas. The UK government’s Department for International Trade is a good example of how support is


and fears

channelled to businesses wishing to access overseas markets.

Yet businesses in the UK are equally clear what they want from government to make international trade easier. Over a third (35%) of businesses told us that they want free trade deals, 34% want tax breaks on profits made overseas and 32% told us that they want removal of red tape.

The reality, however, is that international trade is complex and multi-faceted. A coordinated package of support and incentives would be the most effective, requiring government, professional bodies and advisers to work in concert with each other. Having a good team of the right advisers

with the right connections is seen as critical irrespective of where a business is based.

The landscape for UK businesses remains incredibly challenging. We know that a lot of uncertainty and instability remains. However, we also know that businesses often look for and find opportunity during challenging times.

It’s during change and challenge that business owners review and refocus their plans. There are some surprising and refreshing views from UK businesses in our findings despite all the challenges they have faced.

81% of the businesses we surveyed already trade internationally and of those that don’t, 38% are currently planning to expand overseas. Businesses are ambitious in their growth plans. Despite the barriers, there is support and guidance available to help you work round or jump over these, whether that’s through professional or trade bodies, your accountants/financial advisers, the Department of International Trade or even other businesses.

business from expanding abroad?

What was you/your business’ main fear and/or concern in expanding business abroad?

culture and language

Lack of familiarity with local tax issues

Limited capital N/A – no fears in particular

If your business is considering setting up or expanding overseas, get in touch with Andrew Griggs:

Email: Call: 0330 124 1399


❛❛ The landscape for UK businesses remains incredibly challenging. We know that a lot of uncertainty and instability remains ❜❜
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
are the barriers
stopping you/your
Limited capital Lack of familiarity with local tax issues Lack of familiarity with local business culture and language International supply chain issues The unknown unknowns Understanding local market N/A – no fears in particular N/A – no intention to expand my business
International supply chain issues Understanding local market Lack of familiarity with local business
The unknown unknowns 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%


The winners of the 2022 Sussex Business Awards have been revealed at a spectacular ceremony.

The prestigious black-tie event took place at The Grand Brighton on December 1st and recognised the achievements and resilience of the county’s business community.

Newsreader and the first ever winner of Strictly Come Dancing, Natasha Kaplinsky OBE, hosted the ceremony which brought together some of the most successful companies – and their leaders – in Sussex.

The 16 winners featured individuals and companies from across a wide range of sectors including recruitment, manufacturing, retail, health and marketing.

Maarten Hoffmann, Managing Director at Platinum Media Group and organiser of the awards said: “The Sussex Business Awards celebrate all the remarkable businesses in the region – and the people that work for them!

“Everyone should be rightly proud of their achievements, and it is these businesses that are putting Sussex on the map, adding weight to the county’s burgeoning reputation for innovation, creativity and excellence.”

❛❛ Last year Nordell won and in 2022, we decided that we wanted to give something back therefore decided to sponsor!

We had the honour of judging some fantastic entries and selecting the overall winner ❜❜



PROUDLY SUPPORTED BY Children s Charity Proud to support SUSSEX BUSINESS AWARDS 2022 Ryan Heal collecting the Community Hero Award Loch of Loch Associates and Maarten Hoffmann of Platinum Media Group with host Natasha Kaplinsky.

Right at Home Chichester &

❛❛ It was an honour to be involved with the Sussex Business Awards.

We had the unique opportunity to gain an insight into the numerous inspirational businesses involved and the fantastic initiatives they have in place showcasing their ongoing commitment to their employees ❜❜

Sherrards Employment Law Solicitors

❛❛ It is quite possibly one of the proudest moments of my life. I would like to thank Platinum Media Group for everything they do in supporting and showcasing local businesses, it is an honour to be part of it ❜❜

Abi Selby, Businessperson of the Year

❛❛ Our entire team has worked tirelessly throughout the last two years, with a relentless drive to deliver outstanding care and support to our wonderful clients. This award is 100% dedicated to our amazing team! ❜❜
Bognor Regis Best Customer Service
Surely Bassey The 2022 winners








Innovation in Business Award Sponsored by Sussex Innovation DEFINITION HEALTH Business Growth Award Sponsored by Brewin Dolphin CLOUD, VOICE & DATA of the Year Sponsored by School of Business and Law University of Brighton RESUS RANGERS Services Award Sponsored by Mattioli Woods ALWAYS POSSIBLE Creative Industries Award Sponsored by University of Sussex Business School ROSE MEDIA GROUP Business of the Year Sponsored by Loch Associates Group SERVO PRIVATE WEALTH Business of the Year Sponsored by Mayo Wynne Baxter PVL UK Business of the Year Sponsored by Verlingue MONTEZUMA’S

the Year Sponsored by Ignata Finance DAVID HARRISON, IMEX Group

of the

Sponsored by FRP Advisory ABI SELBY, SpaBreaks

Sponsored by Lloyds Bank BIRD & BLEND TEA CO.

Best Customer Service Sponsored by Handelsbanken RIGHT AT HOME Chichester & Bognor Regis
Community Hero Award Sponsored by Ridgeview Employment Law Solicitors PVL UK BEST
OF BRITISH EVENTS International Business of the Year Sponsored by Kreston Reeves
Young Achiever of the Year Sponsored by Nordell SAM HICKMAN, Summerley Recruitment Employer of the Year Sponsored by Sherrards
CFO of
Businessperson Year Company of the Year


Over 120 delegates, representing local authorities, businesses, developers, education providers, and business forums from across the south east attended the summit at the airport’s Hotel Sofitel on November 3rd

Gatwick Airport instigated the summit to bring together key stakeholders to discuss driving long-term, sustainable economic growth, following the impact the pandemic had on the region.

A key focus of the event looked at how the region could better define and promote its economic identity, compete for inward investment, attract new, diverse industries and jobs, and secure its long-term economic prosperity.

This follows a major piece of research commissioned by Gatwick Airport earlier this year looking at how other successful Airport Economic Zones (AEZs) across the world define, orga

nise, and promote themselves. A speaker for Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, which neigh bours Washington, DC also presented at the summit.

Delegates heard keynote presentations from Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate, Henry Smith MP and The Sunday Times’ Economics Editor David Smith, who revealed his economic predictions for London and the South East.

❛❛ The event saw the launch of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative’s new inward investment platform, with Gatwick Airport as a strategic partner ❜❜


Other influential speakers included:

Acting CEO of BA Euroflyer, Tom Stoddart, CEO of Sussex Chamber of Commerce, Ana Christie, and Chair of Coast to Capital LEP, Julie Kapsalis.

The event also saw the launch of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative’s new inward investment platform, with Gatwick Airport as a strategic partner.

Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive, London Gatwick Airport, said, “In addi tion to making a significant economic contribution to the region by supporting jobs, tourism and trade, Gatwick Airport is committed to being a partner and advocate for a thriving resilient local economy. This successful event demonstrated how a successful airport can support the wider economy.”

Henry Smith, MP for Crawley, said, “During the financial crisis we were grateful for Gatwick and during the pandemic we began to realise the importance of the airport. Gatwick really does represent the best of local and global opportunities. We need to find innovative ways of achieving sustainable growth for our local and global economies.”

Following the success of the inaugural Gatwick Airport Economic Summit, the airport has today announced that it will hold a second event next year.

To find out more, please visit


Ever since the de-regulation of the UK optician market in the mid-1980s, one company has raced ahead on the high street to become a market leader, and a household name

Alan Wares takes a look at the background story to Specsavers, and especially Dame Mary Perkins, who founded the company with her husband Doug

Dame Mary Perkins

A spectacular visionary

Aneurin Bevan may be spinning in his grave at what is happening with the NHS right now, but it hasn’t always been the case that the service covered all aspects of health and welfare.

Since its inception in 1948, ocular and dental care have been omitted from the sphere of automatic state-funded care. Most dental and ophthalmic practices manage to get limited funding for a few patients, but for the most part, people in the UK have had to pay for their eye tests, their spectacles, and their dental check up, and the drilling and filling.

It was into this world that the husbandand-wife team of Doug and Mary Perkins, who graduated from University College, Cardiff in the late 60s, found themselves. “It was a crazy time,” says Doug, “they made obstacles for anybody actually expanding.”

They began their own practice in Mary’s home town of Bristol, working days and

evenings. During the next few years they began to expand.

Their business philosophy was to explore value for money to their customers - known as ‘patients’ then. They opened a series of practices outside Bristol under the name of ‘John Perkins & Partner’.

“We had to develop our practice solely on goodwill, by word of mouth and without advertising. We opened prac

tices in places across the West Country and South Wales,” says Doug. “Everything in those days revolved around the NHS - all the lenses and the eye testing were standard. It was about the mid-70s that the fashion side broke out and NHS frames began to disap pear.”

In 1980, the couple sold their chain of 23 outlets for around £2m, dissatisfied with how they were being corralled with restrictive business practice laws. By then, however, the monopoly in the optical care market was coming under governmental scrutiny. Within four years, Margret Thatcher’s Conservative government passed legislation to de-regulate the optician’s marketeffectively breaking the stranglehold previously jealously held by indepen dent local opticians.

Specsavers was founded in 1983 in Bristol. It was a different company to the one it would eventually become; for


the first three months, they worked from their bedroom with two staff and a table tennis table for a desk.

They opened their first public store on the island of Guernsey the following year, taking full advantage of this new deregulation, with pilot stores opening in Swansea, Bath, Plymouth and new outlet in Bristol.

The stores were privately owned by the Perkins, although in partnership with a local optician. Specsavers – then as now – held a ‘helping hand’ stake in each business, charging a fixed management fee related to turnover. For this the optician had a full back-up in shop fittings, stock, equipment and deals with other business issues.

The optician chain’s joint venture struc ture, whereby each partner has a 50% stake in his or her store, offers partners a long-term incentive to perform well and grow. This structure – different

from a franchising arrangement – is something Dame Mary Perkins believes offers greater rewards and motivation to each partner. It has been an excellent formula for growing a company and getting staff to buy into its vision.


Mary Lesley Bebbington was born on February 14th 1944 in Bristol. She went to Fairfield Grammar School in her home city, before heading to University College, Cardiff to study ophthal mology. It was here that she met Doug Perkins, whom she later married. After graduating, they took over two small optician’s practices owned by Mary’s father, which they renamed Bebbington & Perkins. They developed this business, changing it name, into a small but successful chain of 23 outlets, which they sold in 1980

In 1983, they set up their first Specsavers outlet, eventually going international

with outlets in more than a dozen terri tories. By 2020/21, the company turned over £2.73bn across the franchises, with nearly 2,300 outlets employing 38,000 people. The Perkins themselves are estimated to have an estimated personal wealth of £1.55bn.

Although she may appear in the Sunday Times Rich List, she doesn’t really shout about it. On the subject of the impor tance of good business leaders being willing to listen and learn, she says, “I am willing to lead from the front and will muck in when needed. I treat others as I would like to be treated – whoever they are, staff, suppliers, anyone I meet.”

Amazingly, Specsavers has never had close a store, has no loans nor ever had any outside investment.



Within the company itself, her current title at Specsavers is ‘founder’. Dame Mary sits on the company board, over sees business development and has particular responsibility for running PR. She has admitted wearing disguises and visiting Specsavers stores, posing as a customer.

Dame Mary Perkins was made an honorary fellow of Cardiff University in 2005. She was the first female optome trist in the UK to receive the title of Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 2007.

The accolade was also in recognition of her charitable work, including the Guernsey annual ‘Specsavers Liberation Tea Dance for Pensioners,’ and her direc torship of Women’s Refuge and Age Concern. She is also a patron to leading children’s safety and anti-bullying charity Kidscape.

In February 2013 she was rated as one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour programme. In October

2017, Dame Mary was honoured with an EY Entrepreneur Of The Year UK Lifetime Achievement Award for her continued contribution to entrepreneurship and the economy.


As well as the patronages mentioned above, Dame Mary Perkins is a founding patron of the not-for-profit social plat form ‘The Modern Muse Charity’; designed to encourage the next genera tion of female business leaders and entrepreneurs.

The platform,, features the professional pathways of women working across business and society, with a focus on encouraging girls into STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers.

Modern Muse seeks to improve female social mobility through engagement with education and by providing insight to the variety of career options, work experience, job placements, internships and apprenticeships available.


At the age of 78, Dame Mary clearly has no intention of letting up just yet. The plans are all in place for their children to take over – when the time is right.

When it comes to running her company with husband Doug, Dame Mary Perkins emphasises the importance of creating a good corporate culture as a business grows. She places high emphasis on good customer service, strong links with local communities, and an extensive charity programme.

One of her favourite phrases is ‘stick to the knitting.’ In this context, she means that companies like Specsavers, with huge customer databases, are

The famous slogan has had the advertisement executive’s ultimate dream played out into reality – by entering the modern lexicography. The phrase was first used to advertise the company in 2002, and has featured on TV, in print and on billboards as a humorous dig as what happens when things go wrong in everyday situations due to poor vision.

Richard James, creative director at The Agency (Specsavers’ in-house creative agency), said on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the ad, “ ‘Should’ve’s real strength isn’t in the joke, it’s in the friendly nudge it gives people towards better sight and hearing, while putting a smile on their face.”

The in-joke has even gone so far as Specsavers sponsoring the kits of rugby referees on the world stage, as well as Scottish Football League referees, for the past 20 years.

First Specsavers store
Doug and Mary Perkins

continually approached by people with an idea for a new activity or market they might consider entering. But to her, it’s important to stick to core skills or activi ties that mesh with your existing skills and customer base.

“You might think an idea sounds glam orous,” she states, “but you have to ask, ‘Is it really going to help the company?’


❛❛ The poor choice of options at my local opticians during the 1970s is something I can attest to. I have always been short-sighted. However, it wasn’t until the age of seven that my junior school pointed out to my mother that her son was struggling with his vision.

Not coming from a wealthy background, and with NHS glasses and frames for under 16s being free, we took full advantage. The downside was that the choice of frames was… how can I put this? Awful. As for the lenses, I was looking out on to the world through goldfish bowls - or ‘re-entry shields’ as my brother would unhelpfully call them.

As we all know, seven year-olds can be merciless. To have someone in your class actually wearing out-of-fashion glasses at this age was horrendous. Today, glasses come as part of a fashion statement - even to the point of some people wearing them with no adjusting lenses, just to change their appearance. But back then, I suffered. I’m OK now though ❜❜

Reputation is ever more important with the new media around. Companies should stay close to their customers and be part of their communities.” That said, the company did successfully expand into audiology in 2002 – and hearing aids are now a key service offered by Specsavers.

She also emphasises that, in the current economic climate, entrepreneurs need to make careful judgements about the relative merits of expansion and consolidation.

Growing a business necessitates some ruthless decisions, she points out. Others would do well to remember that if they wish to grow as big as Specsavers.


Love it or hate it.

Marmite’s self awareness around the fact that not everyone likes its product has become a well-used phrase for the extreme opposites of an everyday opinion

Does what it says on the tin. Ronseal describes exactly the contents of its tin – by way of the name of the product on the tin. A lesson to us in straightforward language Face it, if you admit you’re confused about something, you’ll add ‘dot-com’ on to the end of it these days, won’t you?

Google it. Carrying on from the online lexicon, ‘Google It’ has largely replaced ‘hang on, let me look that up…’ as a go-to phrase of research and discovery

If Carslberg did… A wistful phrase used to describe how good something would be if only someone else had done it; Carlsberg lager in this instance. Now, if only Carlsberg did drinkable beer…

Referees with Specsavers shirts

Brownie and the Bea n

In 2017 husband and wife duo Charlotte and Luke Giddings retreated from the hustle and bustle of city life in London towards rural Suffolk with the help of BBC One’s Escape to the Country. Here, they decided to convert an old horse trailer into a mobile coffee bar. To take this further, they had the romantic idea to combine their pop up operation with the festival lifestyle, having met at a festival themselves. The one thing they needed was a “hero” product that hadn’t been done for festival foods before. It just had to be brownies. Luke’s family had passed down an incredible top secret recipe from their little black book and Brownie and the Bean was born. With the scene set, they ventured out and began making appearances at events and festivals in their pop up box.

When lockdown hit in 2020, the couple changed their business model from festival pop ups to a doorstep delivery service. They were able to work from home around their young family and within weeks Charlotte was out hand delivering bakes across Suffolk and Norfolk. This has since scaled country wide “Nothing like a global pandemic to bring you out of the woodwork!” Charlotte says as she adjusted from 4 years of back to back maternity leave to working 20 hour days.

With Luke front of house and baking full time, Charlotte heads up the business strategy and they are enjoying every moment of evolving their business since coming out of lockdown. Brownie and the Bean now has a corporate offering and wholesale baked products alongside selling directly to consumers through their website, events, and markets in the UK. The current dream is to expand their wholesale customer base further and grow their corporate gifting service. Throughout their business journey, what has remained constant is their commitment to sustainability, use of local produce and creating only high quality products. These include brownies, blondies, fudge, and cakes all with vegan and gluten free options. With hampers, assortment boxes, seasonal goods and more, their product range has grown as rich as the bakes themselves. Want to see for yourself? Charlotte and Luke are offering all readers an exclusive 20% discount using code ‘NW20’ on online products!

Brownie and the Bean joined the NatWest Accelerator Hub in 2020, at a time of economic uncertainty, as they felt it important to access support to help them learn more about growing their business. Being part of the NatWest Accelerator has helped to accelerate growth within 6 months of being on the Accelerator, sales revenue was up by 82% in 2021 and set to be up another 22% in 2022. Charlotte thanks her Enterprise Acceleration Managers at NatWest for being able to understand her complex character and getting the best out of her. She says they provided perfect clarity and are very thankful for all the help and connections through the Hub’s resources.


Instagram & TikTok: @brownieandthebean Twitter: @browniethebean

Contact for Corporate Gifting & Artisan Wholesale Bakes:

Specially hand crafted bakes Brownie and the Bean: Christmas Collection Santa’s coming! Get your brownies ready Founders Charlotte and Luke Giddings

Thinkers Challengers


Richard Pollins, Managing Partner of DMH Stallard, has heralded another year of growth which has further reinforced the law firm’s leading position in the South East


During the year the firm announced the fifth in a series of mergers together with a number of partner-level appointments and internal promotions, in addition to reporting record financial results.

Richard Pollins, Managing Partner at DMH Stallard, said, “It has been another exceptional year. It’s been hard work, but we work well together as a team, and all take pride in the continued growth of the firm.

One of our key strategic goals is to fill the firm with amazing people. We will continue to work hard to attract the best lawyers and support staff in London and the regions, and pursue good quality merger opportunities when they arise. We are the natural choice for high quality ambitious lawyers in the region.

Continuing to build the quality of our team enables us to focus on delivering an exceptional service and experience to our clients.”

2022 started positively for the firm with the announcement of the merger with Griffith Smith. It followed mergers with Brookman in May 2021, Rawlison Butler in 2017 and both AWB Partnership and Ross & Craig Solicitors in 2015.

Griffith Smith brought a reputation as a modern legal practice with an estab lished heritage and strong roots in Sussex; a great match for DMH Stallard and the regional strength across Sussex and Surrey that the firm is known for.

The recent merger principally strength ened services to private clients in the areas of inheritance tax planning, wills, trusts, power of attorney, estate admin istration, family, contentious probate, and real estate.

Richard said, “Griffith Smith was well-established and a highly regarded firm in the Sussex market and the merger strengthened the services we provide to private individuals, families, businesses and entrepreneurs.

Our combined offering to high net-worth clients is unparalleled in Sussex and reinforced our position as the go-to firm for clients seeking quality advice. The merger also increased choice for our clients who can meet with us virtually or at one of our wide network of office locations throughout Sussex, Surrey, and London.

It was also another important milestone in our broader expansion plans.”

In addition to welcoming the highest quality partners through the New Year merger, there have been senior appoint ments throughout 2022, and multiple internal promotions.

The firm announced the hire of Matthew Akers in the London litigation practice in February. Matthew was formerly at Weil, Gotshal & Manges where he acted for major corporations and financial institutions in a wide range of interna tional commercial disputes.

Another partner hire in dispute resolu tion quickly followed with Nicola Billen joining the team in Guildford from Knights. Nicola has specialised in dispute resolution since 2004 and has particular expertise in IT disputes. She said: “When the opportunity at

❛❛ The last couple of years presented challenges that no one saw coming and yet our staff responded magnificently throughout ❜❜

DMH Stallard came up, I grabbed it with both hands, the firm is blazing a trail in the south east that was impossible for me to resist.”

Reflecting the dynamic growth in dispute resolution, the team’s third partner hire arrived in May from Shakespeare Martineau with the appointment of Frank Bouette. In November we saw another new Partner arrival with Michael Lynch. Formerly a Senior Legal Counsel at NatWest, Michael Lynch is an insolvency litigation specialist, acting for parties subject to complex and high-value disputes, often involving multiple international jurisdictions.

Known for a tough and no-nonsense approach, he brings vast commercial insight into financial distress and insol vency positions from a lender perspective, providing a multi-faceted understanding of business failure and recovery strategies.

DMH Stallard’s renowned real estate operation was also boosted in 2022 with the first of two partner hires in the summer with Jo Rovery joining from Knights, and Lucy Rudd following from Judge & Priestly.

Internally, the firm was also busy recog nising the massive contribution of colleagues when the largest single round of promotions in the firm’s history was confirmed in August. Helen Mead, Mark Rennie and Emily Wood became full equity Partners, and Kerry Young and Sara McGrigor were promoted to the partnership.

Additionally, Jay Barnett, Cathryn Culverhouse, Jade Paine, Kay Miles, Michelle Broscombe and Chris Gleeson became senior associates, while Tyne Harman, Marissa Allen, Mo Ahmed, Sara Whittle, Katie Moscatelli and Alex Dawson were promoted to associates.

Also in August, the firm reported a record 9% rise in revenues to £33.5 million, whilst continuing to maintain zero operational borrowing. Since 2020, the firm has seen a 55% surge in profits. Richard said, “We take great pride in our financial performance and were delighted to see another strong set of

financial results which was achieved through long term strategic planning, an immense amount of hard work and by consistently providing a first-class service to clients that has become synonymous with our firm.”

There was also external recognition for the firm itself at the prestigious Gatwick Diamond Business Awards. DMH Stallard was named Professional Services Firm of the Year for the consis tent delivery of outstanding service to clients, making staff welfare a number one priority, constantly pursuing innova tion across the business, and demonstrating market leading legal knowledge and expertise.

The firm’s innovative client listening programme, which ensures rapid adap tation to the changing needs of clients, came in for particular praise by the judging panel. The firm also received accolades from Legal 500 with eight departments receiving a top tier ranking with 45 recommended lawyers. In Chambers, which is recognised as the leading authority for ranking the most outstanding law firms and lawyers throughout the world, seven of our teams received a ‘Band One’ position, and 28 of our lawyers were individually ranked.

Summing up, Richard said, “I am immensely proud and grateful to my colleagues across the firm who have made all these achievements in 2022 possible.

The last couple of years presented chal lenges that no one saw coming and yet our staff responded magnificently throughout.

It is of course a lot easier to say ‘busi ness as usual’ than it is to deliver ‘business as usual’ during a pandemic, but we did it, and I know from speaking to our clients that they fully appreciated the efforts we made in supporting them personally and their businesses. The key now for us is to build on this further and we are well placed to do that”

❛❛ Since 2020, the firm has seen a 55% surge in profits ❜❜

Congratulations to all of the finalists, it was a totally brilliant evening… ❜❜

Ellie McFadden, howell jones solicitors



The winners of this year’s Surrey Awards have been revealed at a spectacular ceremony at the G Live Theatre in Guildford, in the presence of the cream of the Surrey business community.

The prestigious black-tie event took place on November 3rd and recognised the achievements and resilience of the county’s business community.

British actress, writer and comedian Jo Caulfield hosted the ceremony, which brought together some of the most successful companies in the region.

The 16 winners included individuals and companies from across a wide range of sectors including technology, pharmaceutical, retail, law and marketing.

Maarten Hoffmann, Managing Director of Platinum Media Group and organiser of the awards said: “The Surrey Business Awards celebrate all the remarkable businesses in the region – and the people that work for them! This was a spectacular event and with a theatre venue, we were able to produce a full theatrical production to really wow the audience. But even using the largest venue in the county, we still had to disappoint 243 requests for tickets.

“Everyone should be rightly proud of their achievements, and it is these businesses that are putting Surrey on the map, adding weight to the county’s burgeoning reputation for innovation, creativity and excellence.

Congratulations to all the very worthy finalists and winners”.

❛❛ I am incredibly grateful and overwhelmed to be sharing this and I am so thankful to have been put forward in the first place.


Professional Services Award

Sponsored by projectfive Rosewood Solicitors

Business Innovation of the Year Sponsored by Surrey Research Park AURA Veterinary

Start-up of the Year

Sponsored by Sandown Mercedes-Benz Signapse

Business Growth Award Sponsored by People Puzzles Opus Technology

Chamber Member of the Year Sponsored by Surrey Chambers of Commerce Perfect Pitch

Most Sustainable Business Sponsored by Heathrow Airport Mesh Energy

Young Professional of the Year Sponsored by Inspohub Ellie McFadden, howell jones solicitors

Small Business of the Year Sponsored by Surrey Business Magazine Bays Consulting

Medium Business of the Year S Sponsored by Partridge Muir & Warren Black Label Creations

Large Business of the Year Sponsored by RSM Antler Homes

Community Hero Award Sponsored by Platinum Media Group Oakleaf Enterprise

❛❛ We are very honoured to have won this fantastic award. Thank you to Platinum for an absolutely fabulous evening… ❜❜

Emma Patel, Rosewood Solicitors

The 2022 Winners

Best Customer Service

Sponsored by Dynamic Magazine Igenomix

Businessperson of the Year Sponsored by Mayo Wynne Baxter Mandira Moitra Sarkar Mandira’s Kitchen

International Business of the Year Sponsored by DMH Stallard NatureMetrics

Employer of the Year

Sponsored by Surrey Business School Gold-i

Company of the Year Sponsored by Haines Watts Opus Technology

❛❛ An incredible achievement for Team Bays! Thanks to Platinum Media Group for a spectacular event and huge congratulations to all the winners ❜❜ Bays Consulting


Innovation, creativity and excellence are qualities that epitomise the five Surrey Research Park companies that recently secured a plethora of big wins at the 2022 Surrey Business Awards

Surrey Research Park businesses celebrate award success

Boasting an enviable reputation and huge reach across the county, the awards recognise the achievements and resilience of Surrey’s business commu nity. This year, the prestigious blacktie event took place on November 3rd at the G Live Theatre in Guildford, with a ceremony hosted by British actress, writer and comedian Jo Caulfield.

On the night, 16 winners were announced, and it was a night of big celebration for Surrey Research Park businesses. Impressively with AURA Veterinary, NatureMetrics, Signapse, Igenomix UK and Gold-I each winning an award, the businesses located on the Park took home almost a third of the total prizes.

AURA Veterinary won the ‘Business Innovation of the Year’ award. The first of its kind in Europe, the veterinary hospital specialises in oncology, soft tissue surgery and interventional radiology (IR). It is on a mission to change the way cancer is treated in companion

animals, offering a comprehensive clinical pathway on-site for diagnosis and treatment of all solid tumours and blood cancers in dogs and cats, including surgical intervention, critical care and chemotherapy.

There are two key practice-led initia tives that underpin the long-term

research ambitions of AURA – the hospital’s patient database, which stores over 7,700 comprehensive patient records, and its tissue BioBank. Since 2019, it has collected samples from over 100 spontaneous tumours to support clinically-relevant research into tumour biology, biomarkers and treatment solutions.

Business Innovation of the Year Sponsored by Surrey Research Park AURA VETERINARY

The ‘International Business of the Year’ award was won by NatureMetrics, which uses cutting-edge technology to generate biodiversity data at scale using environmental DNA. It strives to create a comprehensive, accessible database of life on earth to accelerate collective understanding, engagement and protection of the natural world.

❛❛ The businesses located on the Park took home almost a third of the total prizes ❜❜

NatureMetrics delivers bespoke biodi versity survey solutions to suit diverse project needs across all continents. It has sold its DNA-based biodiversity monitoring products in more than 80 countries and, to date, 47% of its annual revenue comes from international sources.

Utilising $15m in recent investment, NatureMetrics plans to build a series of new digital products to enable its customers to set and monitor long-term targets on nature whilst accelerating its expansion into interna tional markets.

The success continues with Signapse winning the ‘Start-Up of the Year’ cate gory. Established in February 2022, the company is revolutionising British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation to help enhance the lives of Deaf people in the UK and around the world.

Currently, due to a limited number of human signers and a lack of suitable alternatives, the Deaf community faces major barriers in communication and messaging. Signapse has set out to create a low-cost, accessible platform to ensure those who use sign language do not miss out, suffer and become margin alised.

Its dynamic AI Sign Language Translator uses neural networks and deep learning to provide anonymisation, consistency and reliability to sign language interpre tation, generating sign language from text/voice, detecting and understanding sign language and translating it to text/ voice.

❛❛ It is incredibly pleasing to see that a Surrey Research Park company won an award in one out of every three categories at this year’s Surrey Business Awards. This is testament, of course, to the range of leading-edge companies here, but also speaks to the deepening links within our wider innovation community, including the University of Surrey. It’s been an enormously tough period for businesses, and it was inspirational to see the success of so many companies across the county ❜❜

Start-up of the Year Sponsored by Sandown Mercedes-Benz SIGNAPSE International Business of the Year Sponsored by DMH Stallard NATUREMETRICS Grant Bourhill, CEO of Surrey Research Park, comments:

Triumphant in the ‘Best Customer Service’ category is Igenomix UK, a medical testing laboratory which provides private and NHS IVF clinics and their patients with the genetic informa tion they need to maximise their chance of having a healthy baby.

Igenomix UK’s award-winning customer service is underpinned by respect, teamwork, responsiveness, and profes sionalism – skills that are mixed with a unique requirement for empathy. The organisation hosts a broad range of initiatives to engage with and support employees and customers on a deeper level. These include Employee and Customer Satisfaction Surveys, a staff Rewards & Recognition Programme and Educational Events/Symposia for customers, which enable the team to regularly collate and review feedback to optimise performance, develop ideas and generate new opportunities.

And finally, Gold-i, a global market leader in trading systems integration, won ‘Employer of the Year’. Staff motivation is a high priority for Gold-i, which has a number of initiatives in place to ensure all employees feel valued, receive great training and development, and are able to offer a high-quality service.

The company prides itself on employing young, relatively inexperienced people in the sector and filling senior vacancies

from within the organisation whenever possible. Staff are invited to share in Gold-i’s successes, and many social activities are organised throughout the year to maintain team morale. Health, wellbeing, and work-life balance are at the forefront of the organisation, and employees are offered a wide range of benefits, including extra days off for special occasions, share options and access to MyGP for fast access to GP appointments, to name just a few.

Employer of the Year Sponsored by Surrey Business School GOLD-I Best Customer Service Sponsored by Dynamic Magazine IGENOMIX
❛❛ Boasting an enviable reputation and huge reach across the county, the awards recognise the achievements and resilience of Surrey’s business community ❜❜

The bridge to international trade?

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There are challenges to address but opportunities available.

If your business is considering setting up or expanding overseas, our Global team can help ensure you get the support you need.

For more than accountancy, business and wealth advice. Call: +44 (0)33 0124 1399 Email:


Wealth Management Consultant James Hounsell of Mattioli Woods explains why the best time to review pensions is when you are in good health


Many people in their 50s or 60s will delay a formal review of their private pensions until the time at which they intend to draw from them. The investments held in the pension may seem appropriate, and performance is either acceptable or possibly too difficult to appraise. So why

the need to change anything? Putting off what does not appear to be urgent can be a familiar trait.

One very good reason exists – and that is because good health cannot be guaranteed. This can become a factor in a number of situations.

The pension freedoms introduced in 2015 offer flexibility of benefits at retirement which were previously unavailable. Phasing of tax free cash and taxable lumps sums, and income options which

❛❛ The logical route is to transfer older pension plans to a modern pension contract, which accommodates the new pension retirement freedoms ❜❜

can be varied at a whim are now extremely attractive. The problem is that whilst newer pension contracts have been designed around the latest legislation, many of the older contracts were not, and have not, been updated to include the 2015 pension freedoms.

These older pension contracts may insist on the purchase of an annuity at age 75. Some, like pre-1990s retirement annuities may insist upon an annuity at date of drawing benefits.

If, for any reason, health suddenly becomes a factor, even an impaired life or guaranteed annuity is unlikely to offer a suitable outcome as there is no flexi bility to choose and vary the level of pension drawn, and the initial capital is lost.

Some of the older retirement annuities still operate archaic death benefits, meaning instead of paying out the full value of the pension policy on death, the benefit is a return of premiums with minimal interest (Return With Interest) or the even more draconian simple return of premiums (Return No Interest).

Although these products are now almost extinct, those still remaining could have an effective loss on death of tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Even Return of Fund policies, unless written in trust, will pour money into the

deceased individual’s estate potentially increasing any liability to Inheritance Tax.

The logical route to avoid these issues is to transfer older pension plans to a modern pension contract, which accommodates the new pension retire ment freedoms. More importantly the new flexible death benefits will be avail able. The pension fund can deliver tax-efficient sums and planned retire ment income. Carefully written pension fund nominations can be put in place to ensure the death benefits can be managed to conserve wealth through many generations.

The problem when an unforeseen health issue occurs is that a transfer between pension vehicles when the individual is knowingly in poor health can be regarded as a chargeable transfer against the estate, even if pension funds were not, or during transfer never fell within the estate.

In the recent well publicised case of HMRC vs Parry, the Revenue’s insis tence of pursuing the letter of the law shows that this matter, however fair or unfair it may seem in concept, is ripe for taxation.

For this reason, a review at an early age and the placing of retirement funds into a suitable modern vehicle capable of accommodating the most flexible of retirement planning now, whilst the individual is in good health must be a prudent consideration.

At Mattioli Woods we work with our clients to ensure they understand the features of their private pensions and how they fit into their wider financial position. This includes regular review meetings with a Wealth Management Consultant which ensure that both their investments and the plans we have made with them remain appro priate to meet their objectives.

Mattioli Woods plc is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

❛❛ Carefully written pension fund nominations can be put in place to ensure the death benefits can be managed to conserve wealth through many generations ❜❜


NatWest London and the South East Regional Board:

“The start of the fourth and final quarter of 2022 revealed a decline in private sector activity in the South East. Business conditions were dampened by weak client spending as concerns over the global macroeconomy and higher interest rates hindered growth. Sentiment in turn dipped to a two-and-a-half year low with firms reportedly concerned of a recession as well as the implications of the weak sterling.

“Nevertheless, companies in the South East remained committed to hiring staff and increased their headcounts sharply in October. Anecdotal evidence suggested firms anticipate a recovery in demand and, as a result, hired to fill vacancies where they could source skilled labour.

“There were also positives on the price front with inflationary pressures continuing to ease. Input price and output charge inflation moderated to 13- and eight-month lows, respectively, suggesting the peak in inflation may have passed.”




Private sector firms in the South East recorded a sharp and accelerated downturn in new orders during October, with the rate of decline the quickest since January 2021. Firms indicated rising interest rates and the challenging economic environment deterred clients from placing orders.

Similarly, new business fell sharply across the UK as a whole though the rate of decline was slightly softer than that seen in the region.


>50=growth expected over next 12 months


>50=growth since previous month


61.3 Oct 2022

SENTIMENT FALLS TO TWO-AND-A-HALF YEAR LOW Sentiment regarding business activity in the year ahead remained in positive territory in October, but the degree of optimism dropped to the lowest in two-and-a-half years. While firms expect new product launches and greater demand to provide a boost to activity, others noted concerns of a recession and the weak pound.

Sources: Natwest, IHS Markit

Sources: Natwest, IHS Markit

07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22
50 40 30 20
70 60
10 45.9 Oct
12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 90 80 70 60 50 40

The South East Export Climate Index is calculated by weighting together national PMI output data according to their importance to the manufacturing exports of the South East. This produces an indicator for the economic health of the region’s export markets. The Export Climate Index registered at 48.4 in October, down from 49.1 in September, to signal three consecutive contractions in export market conditions for firms in the region.

Across the South East’s top five export markets, the quickest contraction was recorded in Germany and, for the second month running, followed by the Netherlands. The US, meanwhile, registered a modest decline. France saw output expand fractionally while Ireland recorded a marginal uptick.


The start of the fourth quarter revealed another expansion in headcounts at South East private sector firms. The overall rate of growth was sharp, despite being the slowest in the current 20-month sequence of job creation. Firms sought to hire staff in anticipation of greater future demand.

Employment trends were stronger in the service sector than in manufacturing.


Private sector companies in the South East registered a rise in input costs, thereby bringing the period of inflation to 29 months. Respondents linked higher prices to rising energy costs and unfavourable exchange rate movements. Moreover, input prices rose at a quicker pace in the South East than across the UK as a whole. That said, the overall rate of input cost inflation was the weakest since September 2021.



sa, >50=inflation since previous month

77.2 Octt 2022

07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

>50=growth since previous month

48.4 Oct 2022 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 70 60 50 40 30 20 10

❛❛ The start of the fourth quarter revealed another expansion in headcounts at South East private sector firms ❜❜

EMPLOYMENT INDEX sa, >50= growth since previous month 65 60 55 50 45 40 35 30 25 20

54.6 Oct 2022 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Sources: Natwest, IHS Markit


October data signalled another rise in selling prices across private sector firms in the South East. Higher prices were linked to firms passing on higher cost burdens, particularly for energy. That said, the overall rate of inflation was the weakest since February.

At the regional level, the South East ranked joint-second with only Wales registering a steeper rate of output charge inflation.

90 80 70 60 50 40 ECONOMY

Sources: Natwest, IHS Markit
Sources: Natwest, IHS Markit

Olympians turn out to support the Starr Trust Winter Extravaganza Ball

The Winter Extravaganza is the biggest fundraising effort in the Starr Trust charity’s annual calendar of events, and this year returned for the first time following the pandemic

Held on October 29th at the Hilton Brighton Metropole, the event was generously sponsored by Rubix VT and Handelsbanken, meaning all £40,000 raised on the night went directly into supporting young people aged 10-25 years who are struggling to overcome roadblocks in their lives.

During the evening, Chairman of the Starr Trust, Rob Starr candidly interviewed special guest and inspirational Olympic legend Eddie ‘The Eagle’

Edwards, where the audience were invited to ask their own questions of the Olympian.

Good friend of the Starr Trust Olympic decathlete Daley Thompson CBE attended the occasion, chatting and posing for photos with young people supported by the Trust. He said of the event, “This was my first Starr Trust Winter Ball, and it was a lovely night out for a charity I love, with people giving generously. But the best thing is obviously the number of young people and their families the Trust will now be able to help.”

Scottish television personality, Gail Porter joined her good friend and Ambassador of the charity Marc Abraham OBE to co-host on the night, encouraging guests to get behind 0the cause.

Left to right: Dr Marc Abraham OBE, Tracey Starr, Gail Porter, Nick Taylor, Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards, Rosie Molloy, Gemma King, Rob Starr


of the

Trust said: ❛❛ A wonderful occasion amongst friends, with both new and long-term supporters showing their support. We can’t thank the generous sponsors and guests enough for helping to raise these funds which will literally change lives. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who gave their time and contributed to

event the success it was ❜❜

Rob Founder and Chairman Starr making this Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards and Partner Left to right: Daley Thompson CBE, Rob Starr, Young Starr Nathan, Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards Left to right: Rosie Molloy (Starr Trust), Stephanie Prior (Healys), Katherine Tanswell (Walk in Wardbrobe) Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards being interviewed charity Chairman Rob Starr Mike Pay of EMC and Partner Deni Nice-Lee and Katherine Tanswell (Walk in Wardbrobe) Julie, Tracey and Rona of the Starr Trust

Platinum meets People Puzzles, a company whose passion is to help other businesses achieve their growth goals

People Puzzles help mid-tier businesses to exceed their growth targets


People Puzzles was founded 12 years ago by Ally Maughan, after working as an HR consultant. 12 years on, it now has a team of over 90 part-time board level People Directors working in ten regions, with over 400 clients across the UK.


People Puzzles’ priority is to drive change and deliver growth for ambi tious businesses. We help them to thrive and be more successful by trans forming the people stresses holding back progress to create happier, more productive workplaces that will attract and retain brilliant people.

We provide our clients with a dedicated local strategic, commercially savvy, part-time People Director, who will get to know your business. More impor tantly, they get to know the people within it, and develop people strategies that help them to deliver results, trans form and grow.


Two-fold really. Many mid-tier busi nesses don’t need or want a full-time resource, but they do need that injection of senior skill and experience to move them successfully through their next stage of growth. People Puzzles’ parttime solution meets our clients’ needs and requirements.

We are also strong believers in everyone having the flexibility and freedom to work around their needs. Our parttime model gives our clients access to a brilliant People Director when they need it and our team the flexibility to fit their lifestyle. It’s a win:win, and it’s a value we live and breathe by.


There are six areas that we believe are the essential elements of a healthy organisation’s HR function. What we call our People Puzzles Pinwheel, it’s driven by your company’s business strategy at the very centre.

From this we work with our clients on the transformational elements of your leadership team and company culture, as well as with the operational elements that include your people processes, team structure and talent.

❛❛ We now have a clear vision for the Companies 5 Pillars, In-house manager, leadership ‘Power 90’ Training and a rhythm of key meetings throughout each year. This has had a direct contribution to the significant growth of the company in the last three years. With this support from People Puzzles, the company continues to grow both financially and culturally for the benefit of all. ❜❜ Managing Director, RVT Group


We often start with what we call a Discovery; a deep dive into the heart of your business and get to the nub of what is really going on.

It focuses on all six areas of the Pinwheel, and you are presented back with the findings, together with a stra tegic rolling action plan aligned with the delivery of your business goals to help your business grow longer term.

We then continue to work with you to ensure the solutions are delivered successfully, and drive these changes throughout the business for you, continuing to adjust and flex as your business grows and changes.


We don’t just talk about scaling up, fast growth and business change. We actively practice what we preach, growing at 35% in the last year. Our

passion is helping mid-tier businesses to be more successful, and profitable through the power of people. With our guidance, our clients create better places for their people to work. We help build motivated teams who are focused on achieving the business growth targets and help to increase profits.


Here in the south east, we have a bril liant, dedicated team run by Regional Director, John Walsh, covering Brighton to Twickenham to Guildford and surrounding areas. We work with a broad spectrum of sectors including manufacturing, IT, finance, logistics, retail, charity and many more.

With our help, our clients’ transforma tion journeys have been truly amazing and their feedback makes us smile at the impact our support has.

❛❛ That’s why we were proud sponsors of the Business Growth Award for the 2022 Surrey Business Awards. It shone a light on the hard work and dedication of successful businesses growth journeys.

“I was honoured to be a judge of the Business Growth Award. It was a perfect match for what People Puzzles do for our clients in recognising businesses with outstanding vision and leadership who have achieved significant and sustained growth. It was great to have met some of the nominees and getting to know more about how they achieved their growth journey. ❜❜

John Walsh, People Puzzles

We would love to help your business on its growth journey. Take our free business HR Healthcheck and receive instant customised results with practical advice on how unlock the potential of your people for successful business growth. Just scan the QR code to begin

Free 30-minute call – book now on 020 3239 3307 or email

A Wild in Art event in support of Martlets Registered charity number: 802145 Don’t be sheepish - download our SPONSORSHEEP Pack today! Join our flock #BrightonFlock Be part of the biggest brightest charity event to hit Brighton Headline Sponsor Big ™ Aardman Animations LTD 2022

How to structure a commercial property investment company

Property is a highly rewarding avenue for investment, but the sector also brings its own unique risks and challenges. When setting up your property investment company, it’s important to make the most of the structural options available to mitigate these challenges.


The nature of property development contains some risk, including:

n Diversifi cation challenges: Property investment is hard to diversify, given the high value of the individual assets.

n Funding risk: Given the large amounts of capital involved, many property investments will rely on external lending.

n Third party risk: Property development projects are multi-stakeholder projects, and take on the risk of these partners. If they fail to deliver or go under, the project itself can be at risk.

n Commercial risk: The conditions that determine value can change dramatically over course of the project, including market conditions, interest rates or economic environment.

For these reasons, it is common for a property investment business to involve multiple companies, using a holding business to manage a range of sister companies, often a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), that owns individual projects, isolating risk within a particular structure.


It’s essential to consider your own objectives when setting up the business to ensure your structure supports your goals.


One of the most common reasons to invest in property is to generate a passive income, for example as a savings vehicle or a pension supply. In contrast, some choose to develop property as an investment, building a portfolio over time to generate revenue to invest in new projects. If you are aiming to:

standard rate for which is 40% once over the allowable threshold.

Using a family holding company to manage the portfolio can enable the business to pass on value through controlling shares in the company instead of the assets themselves.

Share classes can also be used to move value across generations, using growth, or freezer shares that are capped at a certain value level.



Extract income - this should be refl ected in your share structure. If there are other stakeholders involved in your business, you may also need to use an additional level, e.g. a Family Investment Company, to control the dividend policy for different stakeholders and their needs.

2Invest - profi ts and revenue should be kept in the business. Your structure should then focus on being as tax efficient as possible to maximise profi t retention for future projects.


Property investment is a long-term business, with property generally holding value over long periods. This can make it an ideal method for passing on wealth. However, the recipient can be liable for Inheritance Tax (IHT), the

The structure of your companies can help you allocate and offset income between corporate entities to manage your tax burden. Companies pay Corporation Tax rates of 19% (25% from April 2023) while the top rate for personal income tax is 45%. No Corporation Tax will be payable on dividends between entities in the company, unlike if they had been paid to the owner. In addition, expenses incurred between subsidiaries to the holding company are considered tax deductible.

The structure of your company is one of the most powerful tools available for business owners to reach their goals and manage risk.

Get in touch with us to fi nd out how you can make your property structure work for you. T: 020 8549 5137 E:


We’re living through a time of rapid and unpredictable change. Disruption in politics, society and the economy can create a challenging business environment, but they can also create opportunities for the most responsive.

WHAT DOES 2023 HOLD FOR BUSINESS… … and what can you do about it?

As we head into 2023, we at Sussex Innovation have been taking stock of the trends we see happening globally and locally. We hope that sharing these insights will help inform your strategy over the next 12 months.


Accenture’s Fjord Trends 2022 report identifies five key trends that are impacting our relationships with brands, technology and businesses:

n Come as you are. The economic shocks of the past year have led to an explosion of micro businesses in the creative, crafts and retail sectors. From content creators and influencers to Etsy stores, a huge proportion of people in their 20s now have a secondary source of income. These side-hustle projects not only offer financial security, they can also provide more fulfilment than the 9-to-5.

n The end of abundance thinking. From the continuing effects of Brexit, the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, to the increasing visibility of the climate crisis, consumers are becoming more conscious of how fragile production and supply chains are. This awareness has influenced a shift away from pure consumerism and towards a range of more sustain able practices including making and mending, thrift shopping and upcy cling, and vegan products.

n The next frontier. While ‘the metaverse’ is yet to find the right application to turn it into a massmarket product, we seem to be entering a new phase of technological connectivity and artificial intelligence. Having witnessed the unintended side effects of the information revolu tion of the past 20 years, consumers are increasingly demanding that big tech consider the ethical implications of their products – particularly as machine learning, AI, blockchain and other technologies become more and more sophisticated.

n This much is true. Public trust in political leaders and the media has been shaken, resulting in more scepti cism and less patience. Brands and employers that are able to combine integrity, openness and responsive ness are set to benefit most from the backlash.

n Handle with care. Mental health and wellbeing are higher in every body’s priorities than ever before. Organisations that fail to make space for their employees’ care are losing the ability to recruit and retain staff, while customers are voting with their wallets for businesses that demon strate kindness, compassion and empathy.

❛❛ The number one problem that business owners have mentioned to us time and again is with recruiting and retaining talent ❜❜


We’ve spent most of the past year working closely with SMEs across East Sussex on behalf of the UK Government’s Community Renewal Fund. The stories we’ve heard on the ground show that local challenges often reflect these global mega trends.

Creative problem solving continues to be a major need, with the end of abun dance thinking and the emergence of new technology affecting each busi ness in unique ways. Supply chains continue to be unstable, and proper environmental and social governance is becoming a necessity as legislative pressure increases to build a more sustainable future. Savvy management of innovation processes has never been more crucial.

But the number one problem that busi ness owners have mentioned to us time and again is with recruiting and retaining talent. Employees – and particularly younger generations – are not prepared to settle when it comes to their working lives. They are looking for jobs that provide them with both a fulfilling purpose and a work/life balance.

This recruitment challenge combines nearly all of the mega trends listed above – people may be more conscious of the purpose and values of their employers, and may rely on several sources of income instead of one stable salary. They are likely to be less trusting of authority and leadership, and seek a workplace culture that values their health and wellbeing by providing flexi bility and empathy.

That’s why we believe that the most important strategic conversations you can have going into 2023 are with your team. A better understanding of what makes them want to work for you – and where they are frustrated or unfulfilled – will go a long way towards helping you retain your best people and become an employer of choice for new prospective hires.

We are currently developing our core consultancy programmes for 2023, with a focus on these issues. We plan to support the SME community by facili tating open, honest and unbiased dialogue with their employees, devel oping their customer insights to better understand emerging needs, and offering innovation coaching to help solve legislative and supply chain chal lenges with agility and flexibility.

Watch this space in next month’s Platinum Business for an introduction to our new consultancy offering.

❛❛ Savvy management of innovation processes has never been more crucial ❜❜

Martlets Halloween Ball hits new heights for hospice care

Martlets held its 25th anniversary Halloween Ball at The Grand Brighton recently, with attendees raising £113,000 on the night –a best ever total for the annual fundraiser

Martlets, the charity that provides lifechanging hospice care for Brighton & Hove, served up a spook-tacular fund raiser on Saturday October 29th at The Grand Brighton.

The silver-themed Halloween Ball – to tie in with the charity’s 25th anniversary – raised an incredible £113,000, as supporters from across the city partied with a purpose to help local people. Many tables were made up of guests from local businesses, including Adelphi who are raising money throughout the year for Martlets as part of their charity of the year partnership.

The Ball featured live music and enter tainment, topped off with a headline set from Martlets ambassador and super star DJ Fatboy Slim. The auction brought the room to its feet, with 70 bidding to pay for a nurse for the day.

The event also featured an appearance from Marc Valentine, a patient of Martlets, who has shared his poignant personal story to help raise awareness of the need for Martlets nurses. He is also currently helping to lead the chari ty’s wider winter campaign – Help Keep Martlets Caring this Christmas.

Candy Apple Blue Juliet Smith Martlets Chair of Trustees with guests –Maureen and David Edwards, Nadia Cowdrey, Tess de Klerk, Robbie and Debi Raggio, Michael Bedingfield Ambassdors Carol Harrison and Ian Grant Marc Valentine -Morton and his partner Perrie

Partnerships and Philanthropy Manager Susi Owusu said, “The Ball was a real celebration of all that we do and we were delighted with how it went. To raise £113,000 – which is the most the event has ever brought in – is just brilliant and shows how well-loved Martlets is in the community.

“We couldn’t have done this without the support of our Halloween Ball committee, Shore Events and all our sponsors.

“Next year is going to be huge for us as we not only look to move back to our rebuilt hospice but we’re bringing Shaun the Sheep to the city with our art trail Shaun by the Sea.”

❛❛ To raise £113,000 is just brilliant and shows how well-loved Martlets is in the community ❜❜

To find out how you can support Martlets, contact Susi in the fundraising team on 01273 747455.

This year the Ball’s headline sponsor was Trident, table drinks were sponsored by Creative Pod, the meal was sponsored by Skerritts and Rockwater, welcome drinks by RT Williams, and Platinum Media Group was the media sponsor.

FatBoy Slim Compere for the evening Steve Bustin Alex and Laura Preece and guests – Tillo
Family Law Specialists Offices across Sussex Call us on 0800 84 94 101

Give yourself the gifts of time and headspace at the BIPC

As many of us are working from home now, sometimes we just need a change of scenery for a couple of hours

At the Business & IP Centre (BIPC) Sussex, we offer one-to-one support, a hands-on look at market research, events and expert advice from 15+ business partners for entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses, all completely free. But we also offer something that can be just as valuable: workspace.

Our regional centre located on the top floor of Jubilee Library in Brighton offers a modern space designed for entrepreneurs to network, workshop, focus and fl ourish.

We’re not a co-working space but, as part of the library, it’s important to us to provide a free, accessible and comfortable space for you to drop in and get some work done. We think of it more as a space to work on your business – with BIPC staff there to answer any questions that might pop up – rather than a business workspace.

By blocking out a few hours in your day or week to come and work in our quiet, stylish, and well-resourced space with our staff on hand, you can give yourself the gifts of time and headspace.


This is a stylish and practical space used for delivering our workshops, training, and networking events.

If your business involves, for example, offering training or courses, this space can be hired out for a charge.

Networking Room

Our relaxed lounge style room is for entrepreneurs to come and research their business ideas using our online databases and business books, work on their business plans and network with their peers. This is a free of charge space to use.

Glass Pods

We have two glass meeting pods – a two-person and a six-person pod – that are available to book. Our pods are great for small meetings or taking business calls. It can be a good option to keep in mind, particularly if you work from home or are tired of taking important meetings in noisy coffee shops.


By visiting us in Jubilee Library, you’ll also get the opportunity to meet other people in the same boat as you, who are starting or running a business in the local area. It’s been fantastic to see connections being made on a casual weekday, with entrepreneurs exchanging opinions, then ideas and then business cards.

And if you’re looking to start networking, come to one of our free coffee mornings on the fourth Monday of each month, from 10.00 – 11.30am at the BIPC in Jubilee Library, Brighton. Grab a cup of coffee and get to know us and each other!

We look forward to your visit!

Find out more at or email


Proposed changes to Capital Gains Tax on separation and divorce

In July 2022 the Government published draft legislation in the form of the Finance Bill 2022-23 in which changes to the current Capital Gains Tax (CGT) were proposed. This could impact couples in the process of separating or divorcing.

Capital Gains Tax is a tax payable on the profit or gain when an asset is sold that has increased in value. The current law provides for transfer of assets between spouses or civil partners who are still living together as having no gain or no loss in the tax year in which they are living together. Gains or losses are therefore deferred until the asset is sold.

In addition, under the current legisla tion, Private Residence Relief (PRR) is not available after nine months. Therefore, if a spouse leaves the former matrimonial home for more than nine months, there will likely be a CGT liability on sale or transfer of the property.

Furthermore, if a spouse or civil partner transferred their interest in the former matrimonial home to their former spouse or civil partner for a percentage of the proceeds when sold, CGT would be payable on the increase in value of the charge on sale.

❛❛ In July 2022 the Government published draft legislation in which changes to the current Capital Gains Tax were proposed. This could impact couples in the process of separating or divorcing ❜❜


Under the new proposed legislation, the key provisions are that:

n Separating spouses or civil partners will be able to extend the time limit for transferring assets at no gain or loss between themselves from up to one year to up to three years after the date of separation.

n Any assets subject to an Agreement or Order to be transferred on a no gain no loss basis without time limit.

n A spouse or civil partner who retains an interest in the former matrimonial home will be given an option to claim Private Residence Relief (PRR) when the family home is later sold.

n A spouse who transferred their interest in the former matrimonial home to their former spouse or civil partner, and are to receive a percentage of the proceeds when the family home is eventually sold, will be able to apply the same tax treatment to those proceeds when received that applied when they transferred their original interest in the property to their former spouse for civil partner.

The changes are due to apply to disposals which take place on or after April 6th 2023.

If you need any assistance with a Family Law matter, please do not hesitate to contact our experienced Family Team at Mayo Wynne Baxter on 0800 84 94 101.



We spend years building relationships with our clients, helping them grow and develop their leadership skills. It’s always wonderful to see our members succeed, especially following the instability of the last few years.


It was a pleasure to bring MDs not just from Sussex but also London, Kent and the Channel Islands together at Hendall Manor Barns near Uckfield for the MDHUB Leaders Lunch & Awards 2022.

With wonderful Ridgeview sparkling wine and a fabulous selection of food, the event was an opportunity for our members to come together, as friends, to learn from and congratulate one another. As one attendee said, “it was lovely to see so many other founders/ MDs and leaders in one place, sharing each other’s successes.”

At the MDHUB, we support MDs at all stages of their professional develop ment. We presented Emma Penn, plastics manufacturer Nordell’s head of HR, with our Rising Star award, for her phenomenal drive and commitment to her job. This award was available to attendees of our Futurehub programme that develops future business leaders. MDHUB’s Phil Green has watched Emma thrive on the Futurehub course, and described how “Emma’s dedication to her team, her company and her boss shines through everything she does. There have been times on the

(Top) Justin Sayers of Adventure Connections – The Alchemist Award being presented by sponsor Andy Sturgeon (Above) We had three Honourable Mentions for Best Supporting Act – L to R: Jo Lucas of Alistair Fleming Design, Emma Penn of Nordell, Nicki Conboy of Extech Cloud

Kath Akturk of TEK Express – Best Supporting Act – being presented with her award by sponsor Phil Green of MDHUB The winners

Futurehub programme when we have all sat back stunned with the latest things Emma is dealing with. She throws herself into the tasks and chal lenges on the programme, leading some challenges and proving a great team player on others, she soaks up the learning and is very clearly one to watch for the future.”

Nordell’s MD Paul Mason sung Emma’s praises too, with anecdotes that illus trate her dedication and skill: “not only

did Emma successfully guide, recruit and onboard 120 new staff inside of 12 months, our new staff were integrated seamlessly with our existing [staff]. Emma performed further miracles through implementing two completely new shifts over weekend days and nights. Over the coming months, our business continued to evolve to its demands, Emma again delivered on several shift changes for the business which were precisely implemented and positively received by staff.”

(Left) Honourable Mention to Andy Ferrett and Josh O’Riordan of Brightec for The Lioness Award (Near left) Sam Francis of TEK Express – MDHUB MD of the year –being presented with her award by sponsor Paul Mason of Nordell (Below left) Emma Penn of Nordell – The Rising Star Award – being presented by sponsor Paul Feist of Plus Accounting

It’s fantastic to see such drive, and we’re all excited to see how Emma continues to develop and prove her skills in the future.

Matt Turner of Creative Pod, a multi-dis ciplined marketing agency, was awarded with our Lioness award for looking after and rewarding his work force and developing fantastic working relationships with key clients. His efficient processes mean that his team have autonomy to connect with companies’ prospects and build pipe lines, while Matt handles the conversion. Building trust and accountability is at the heart of Matt’s philosophy, as demonstrated by the team leadership adventure weekend attended by 50 of his staff and clients.

Matt is extremely generous. His work force are rewarded through a bonus scheme that contributes to both indi vidual and team KPIs, and support with the cost of living crisis is one of his current top priorities. As a result, his team is highly productive, committed, and happy. Matt’s leadership is a fabu lous example to any business looking to improve workplace culture.

The MDHUB was thrilled to award English sparkling wine producer Ridgeview’s entire workforce with our Eco-Warrior award, for their extraordinary collective effort to mini mise their environmental impact while running their business.

In an interview with Fiona Shafer, the MDHUB’s MD, Ridgeview’s CEO Tamara Roberts revealed the philosophy behind their project: “as a purpose-driven, family business, we have always had a vision to match the quality and dedi cation we devote to our wine with our commitment to a positive social impact, our employees, customers, suppliers and our wider community.”

❛❛ Running a business is far easier with help. This is demonstrated wonderfully by the winner of our Best Supporting Act award, Kath Aturk at Tek Express ❜❜
Honourable mentions for The Eco Warrior Award went to Harriet Mears and Molly Freshwater of the Secret Linen Store

As well as recently being awarded B Corp status, Ridgeview has introduced a bee-keeping project as part of a wider plan to promote and enhance biodiver sity by planting wildflower meadows. The vineyard is also one of only a few in the UK to achieve the Sustainable Wines accreditation. Ridgeview is setting a fantastic example of which we hope all vineyards take note.

In the spirit of going above and beyond, the Beyondce Award was presented to Wave Leisure’s CEO Duncan Kerr, for his contributions to the wider community. The amazing outreach programmes they run help participants to prevent falls, escape from long-term pain or recover from serious illness. Through these programmes participants get stronger, keep active and keep safe.

This is all summed up in Wave Leisure’s mission to ‘inspire active lifestyles’. There may have been challenges along the way, but Duncan’s trusty whiteboard and adaptive plans have allowed Wave Leisure to continue to flourish.

Adaptivity is the theme of the next award that the MDHUB presented: the Alchemy Award. Justin Sayers, CEO of Adventure Connections, received this award for his graceful navigation of several turbulent years as an events business.

Just before the pandemic took hold of the world, Justin and his son Josh (who also works for the company) visited a team of developers in Ukraine to start a development project of a new platform

for the business. Sadly, that project could not progress due not only to the impact of the pandemic but also the outbreak of war. With the events sector shut down and Christmas effectively cancelled, things looked dire. Yet with his agility, prudent financial manage ment, great team and his brilliant sense of humour, Justin built back even better than before.

Midway through 2021, Justin invested in a non-exec advisory board for the business for the first time. This massive leap allowed Adventure Connections to develop a set of core values which spell out the word FIESTA – fun, innovative, empowering, successful, trustworthy and adventurous. The development project is now back on course with a team in Moldova, and Adventure Connections is set to have their best year in the company’s history in 2022.

When demand rockets and you have to scale your business, it can be easy to lose quality in your service. The Born to Run award, which we presented to Rachel Walker and Kate Underdown from The Foldline, celebrates the right way to handle rapid business growth.

Based in London, The Foldline was created in 2015 by Rachel and Kate to build a diverse, inclusive and sustain able online community for people who love sewing their own clothes. Their clear-sighted and ambitious business strategy is underpinned by their passion for championing independent sewing pattern designers from around the world.

During just seven years of trading, they have successfully navigated Brexit and rapidly rising costs alongside the pandemic to maintain a profitable busi ness. Today, they have 132,000 Instagram followers, a 1,600-strong Facebook community, over 5,000 designs, and are now the largest supplier of sewing patterns in the world.

❛❛ At the MDHUB, we support MDs at all stages of their professional development ❜❜
Duncan Kerr of Wave Leisure – The Beyondce Award being presented by sponsor Anna Shephard of E & S Heating and Ventilation

(Left) Rachel Walker and Kate Underdown – Directors of The Foldline – sponsored by Jonathan Grant of DMH Stallard (Below far left) Matt Turner of Creative Pod – The Lioness Award – being presented by sponsor Russ Mckenzie of nTrust (Left) Esther Dawson of Ridegview, collecting the Eco Warrior Award on behalf of all of the Team at Ridgeview –being presented by sponsor Sam Francis of TEK Express

Our final award of the event, MD of the year, was awarded to Sam Francis of TEK Express.

In 2000, Sam set up TEK Express when she spotted a gap in the IT support market for businesses and their remote workers, as traditional in-house support was no longer a fast or effective solution. Sam and her team provide fast, remote repair that gets employees’ tech back up and running in a few hours and returned to them via courier.

Sam and her team also offer TEK Refresh to their customers, a recycling service for laptops, mobile phones and tablets. Over 10,000 devices have been re-sold instead of going into landfill.

Nurturing great, long-term customer relationships is absolutely crucial to TEK Express’ success, alongside Sam making excellent strategic decisions in her business. She also champions her team and leads from the front, investing in her their development so that they all lead equal and fulfilling lives.

An MDHUB member for 14 years, Sam has always been an excellent and encouraging supporter of her fellow peers. Thank you Sam, for being you.

Running a business is far easier with help. This is demonstrated wonderfully by the winner of our Best Supporting Act award, Kath Aturk at Tek Express. Kath’s boss Sam Francis nominated her for the award, and explained the poten tial that she showed right from the start.

“In 2016, I convinced my friend Kath who was a part-time working Mum to become TEK’s deputy as Operations Manager, as her skills were being vastly wasted. Within months, I elevated her to Operations Director to match her acumen. What Kath lacked in confi dence she exuded in professionalism and the team took very quickly to her, looking to her for management and guidance.

“Covid was obviously a challenging time and she took the lead on ensuring everyone’s mental health was covered. Being such an empathetic person, she was always putting others first. She played a huge part getting 100% of the team back to work as well as helping me navigate the rocky path through Covid, reducing costs and maximising our profit.

“I may be the business owner, but when I brought Kath into the business it was to have a sidekick; one that would chal lenge me and support me with demanding situations and decisions. This is no easy task for anyone that knows me! The business has never been in such great shape.”

Thank you to everyone who attended the awards; it was a pleasure to cele brate your successes together. As one member put it: “so many lovely people in one room. I think that may be some thing to do with getting the membership you deserve.” It’s great to see that our MDs are as happy with the service that the MDHUB provides as we are to support them.

If you are interested in finding out more about the MDHUB, please visit

Email MDHUB Directors: Fiona Shafer: or Phil Green:

❛❛ An MDHUB member for 14 years, Sam has always been an excellent and encouraging supporter of her fellow peers. Thank you Sam, for being you ❜❜

Celebrate Christmas with Chestnut Tree House

From creating magical memories, to helping families through some of their toughest times, Chestnut Tree House needs you this festive season. We’ve put together some of our favourite festive fundraising ideas opposite to get you in the festive spirit and support your local children’s hospice.


This time of year can be very hard for anyone who’s lost a loved one. But no words can describe how Kate and Sam felt when baby Rupert sadly died one November day. At four months old, after fighting for his life, his little heart gave up.

Chestnut Tree House gave Rupert’s loved ones a special place to say goodbye. It was the positive, beautiful experience they needed to process their grief and remember the pure joy Rupert had brought them.

Rupert was born with a hole in his heart

and, after months of complications, he suffered a devastating stroke. Because his parents had chosen to help more babies by donating Rupert’s organs, they had to say goodbye in the hospital.

Turning off Rupert’s life support could have been their last memory of being with him.



Will you donate today and help families like Rupert’s this Christmas?


Don’t forget to send your family, friends, and colleagues a Christmas card. You can browse the range of Chestnut Tree House Christmas cards on their website or pop into one of their charity shops.


Hold a Reindeer Fun day full of Christmas-themed activities. It could be a festive brunch, company fun run or anything else you can think of!

Chestnut Tree House will provide antlers for everyone taking part, so all you need to do is raise sponsorship.


Play the Chestnut Tree House Lottery and help support local children and families this Christmas and all year round. For just £1 a week you could win £1,000 every week, which would mean Christmas presents for everyone!

But that evening, Kate received a call from a Chestnut nurse to tell them that they could bring Rupert to their special bereavement suite. The next day, the family were able to see Rupert at Chestnut Tree House.

Kate and Sam had no idea Rupert’s life would be so short and hadn’t needed hospice care before that day. So, it was a comfort to find that Chestnut’s bereavement suite was available to any family like theirs, who suffer the devas tating and unexpected death of a child.

The family continue to be supported by Chestnut’s bereavement team. Sam has


Mince pies, gingerbread or yule log –get everyone to bake their favourite festive treats and crown the winner Star Baker. Dish out your delicacies at the end and ask for a donation.


Release your inner quiz master by hosting a Christmas quiz and asking colleagues to donate to play.


Whatever way you choose to support Chestnut Tree House this Christmas, you can be sure you are making a big difference to your local children’s hospice. It costs over £4 million each year to provide all the specialist care services offered by Chestnut Tree House. Families are never charged for their care and only a small proportion of the hospice’s care costs are funded by central government, so they rely heavily on the generosity of people like you.

Find out more about how you can support Chestnut Tree House this Christmas at

received emotional support from the chaplain and remains part of the Dad’s Group who meet for walks, crazy golf, or just a pint and a chat with others who understand.

Each year, Kate and Sam also attend the Chestnut Tree House Christmas memorial with other bereaved families who come together to remember and celebrate the lives of their children.

You can help another family receive the same support as Kate and Sam.

A donation of £15 can help pay for a memory box full of precious keepsakes.

£28 could help pay for a nurse to support a bereaved family and £62 could fund a session with a family counsellor.


We would like to introduce you to the new Area Director for Lloyds Bank SME Banking, Debbie Cenaj.

Here is Debbie in her own words...


“I’ve worked in Financial Services for over 15 years, and although I have spent time in both retail and private banking functions, the majority of my career has been spent in relationship management, looking after businesses ranging from start-ups, to £250million turnover. Geographically, I have primarily operated across Dorset and Hampshire, so Sussex is a relatively new area to me.

“I worked with NatWest Bank for almost 14 years, and moved to Lloyds Banking Group in August 2021 taking on the role of Relationship Director. In July 2022 I moved into my current role which is the Area Director for Sussex. I now look after a team of eight Relationship Managers and Directors, who look

after SMEs in the Sussex area. They offer a face-to-face banking service, and are passionate (as am I) about supporting the businesses in their local community.

“Having undertaken the Relationship Management role for many years, I have a strong understanding of what businesses expect and require from a banking partner, and I am really focused on supporting Sussex-based busi nesses achieve their growth ambitions through tailored advice and funding.

“However, I also appreciate the difficult economic conditions businesses and their employees find themselves in currently, and my team and I want to be by the side of businesses through this challenging period. We have all experi enced working through previous recessions and the financial crisis, so are armed with what it takes to help businesses navigate through these turbulent times.

❛❛ In terms of future plans, a topic really important to me and which filters through into my role is sustainability ❜❜

“In terms of future plans, a topic really important to me and which filters through into my role is sustainability. My team and I are all accredited in sustainability essentials through the Cambridge Institute for Sustainable Leadership, and are really keen to talk to local businesses as well as the professional community about their own journey to net zero.

“We want to be a key part of the force driving change for good, and looking after our planet now, and for future generations, is really important to me. If I can help others also with this transition then even better!

“Outside of work I am a mum to two young children who keep me busy. You will usually find me cheering on the sidelines of a football pitch or a spec tator at a gymnastics club at the weekend! I am also a governor of a

local school, as giving back to young people is another really important topic for me. Supporting the younger genera tion now will lead to the successful entrepreneurs, professionals and busi ness owners of tomorrow!

“I am really looking forward to getting out and about in the Sussex area, meeting existing and new contacts and supporting as many businesses as I can to grow and thrive - and of course, to meeting the entire business community at the Sussex Business Awards on December 1st – good luck to all finalists.”



Sussex SME Banking Mailing Address: Lloyds Bank, 171 – 173 North Street, Brighton, BN1 1GL

❛❛ You will usually find me cheering on the sidelines of a football pitch or a spectator at a gymnastics club at the weekend! ❜❜

It’s finally time to bring that idea to life.

It’s finally time idea life.

Join NatWest’s free online Business Builder course today to start turning your idea into a business tomorrow.

Search NatWest Business Builder to sign up

As we come to the end of the wasp season, Cleankill Pest Control Operations Director

Jonathan Whitehead has just given me the figures for wasp nest call outs in 2022


This year we have dealt with 676 nests, compared to 478 in 2021 and 447 in 2020. For the reasons behind the increase, we must consider outside factors such as lockdowns, which may have affected fi gures for pest control companies in both negative and positive ways –

Negative: people didn’t want to invite pest control technicians into their homes during the pandemic;

Positive: they were more likely to find a nest that was a nuisance in their home. However, even if we take these factors into account, our figures definitely suggest there has been a significant increase in the number of wasp nests causing people problems.

The average nest contains three to fi ve thousand wasps, although a big nest could have up to 10,000 wasps. An increase in nests therefore also means a signifi cant increase in wasps.

When I say wasps, I am essentially referring to yellowjackets; what Dr Hannah Fry referred to as ‘stripey jerks’ on Radio 4’s ‘The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry’.


One reason could be the heatwave we had in July. This allowed wasps to be more active. Wasps thrive in warm weather, meaning they produce more offspring and that ultimately means more nests. At the same time, warm weather also means more small insects

to the wasps to predate. Their papery nests are quicker and easier to build in warm weather too.

Therefore, an increase in the number of wasps isn’t just good for pest controllers, it is also a sign that biodiversity has improved.


Well, there was a massive decline in wasp numbers in 2012 that experts predicted could take several years to recover. In that sense, the news of a bumper year for wasps is good news in terms of biodiversity.

However, for us the answer isn’t always so clear. Increases in wasp numbers goes hand in hand with more and more wasps building nests in places that could be a nuisance for humans. Wasps don’t spread diseases so they aren’t a problem in themselves, but if they decide to nest in your home there is far greater chance of you being stung.

For most people who are not allergic,

the primary issue with having a wasp nest in your home is the nuisance value of being stung – extremely unpleasant but not life-threatening – and the insects buzzing around your home.


Our advice, leave wasp nests alone and call a professional pest control company to come and deal with it. A wasp nest could contain at least 4,000 wasps, and when a wasp is hurt or threatened it will send out a pheromone that alerts the other wasps who will rush to its defence.

A professional pest control technician will have the training and necessary equipment to do the job safely.

Award-winning Cleankill Pest Control deals with ‘distress’ pests such as wasps, fl eas and bedbugs as well as preventative maintenance against public health pests such as mice, rats, cockroaches and pest birds such as pigeons and seagulls. The company prides itself on a fast and efficient service and aims to be recognised as a market leader for innovation, ‘green’ and new pest control techniques.

For more information go to or email to book a free survey or price comparison.


Small and medium size businesses (SMEs) in the UK are the very backbone of the country’s economy with a value in excess of £2.3 trillion. They employ 44% of the UK workforce, representing more than 99% of all registered businesses and providing the jobs for more than 86% of every worker in the country.

SMEs employ 16.3 million people –that’s 61% of the total, with the largest number being in London and the South East at 34% of the total. To quote various government ministers, “SMEs are the engine of the UK economy.”

So, why the hell are we kicked in the teeth at every turn as if we were a cash cow that just keeps on giving?

Running a business is bloody hard work and the bigger you grow, the harder it gets. Not only do we have to continu ously reinvent the wheel to remain competitive, we often mortgage ourselves to the hilt and are forced to sign personal guarantees, risking our

This phrase is often used, but l can say with total confidence that Anger Management is back due to public demand


homes and families; work seven days a week; endure sleepless nights worrying if we can make payroll; neglect our families; deal with staff who, lately, think working from home is a right; deal with business rates which are among the highest in Europe; worry about keeping the doors open with goods and energy prices doubling every three minutes; clients who presume it is their right to make you wait three months for invoice payment; Brexit and the end of much needed immigration to do the jobs that Brits are too bone idle to do as benefits pay more; and ridiculously complex tax regulations.

I could go on for 20 pages, but suffice to say if you squeeze until it cracks, the UK economy will go bust. Yet, here we go again.

Not only were Directors’ dividends excluded from any form of financial help during the pandemic, leaving many scrabbling around in the dust and pushed into even more personal guar antees to raise capital to survive, but now the government is looking to raid those very same ‘ignored’ dividends in an attempt to shore up the totally knack ered UK economy.

❛❛ The government is making it harder and harder for those who work for themselves. Of course we need to raise tax to pay for vital public services, but time and again it seems our very smallest businesses are the first targets. We’ve already seen the number of self-employed fall dramatically since the pandemic – the government seems intent on reducing that number further.

By slashing the dividend allowance, the government has once again demonstrated that it does not support small business ❜❜

Andy Chamberlain, Director of Policy at ISE

The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed

All views stated here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this publication

You know the one – a PM for 44 days that cost us £65 billion – yeah, that one. They cocked it up and now come back to the cash cow to get their sorry back sides out of the fire.

Not only did Chancellor Jeremy Hunt reinstate plans to raise income tax on dividends by 1.25% but he has now suggested another rise of 1.25% to steal (sorry, raise) £6.5 billion. They are also planning to cut the tax-free threshold for dividends from £2,000 to £1,000.

Just as one in seven high street stores are closed, inflation is set to increase the rates burden by £3 billion in 2023 alone. Next year will see the first revalu ation of commercial property since 2017; l will leave you to guess if it will go up or down! UK business rates are already 50% above the G7 average.

Then we have Corporation Tax at 19%, essentially a tax on being slightly successful having done all of the above, now set to rise to 25% in 2023. Then VAT, ever-increasing national insurance contributions and then – if you are successful in business and decide to sell – Capital Gains Tax. If you survive all that, still manage to make a buck and then die, we have the hated and deeply unfair Inheritance Tax.

Then we are told to go green and are about to suffer the onslaught of a Plastic Packaging Tax, Building Safety Levy, Residential Property Developer Tax and the Economic Crime Levy.

Then we have the ludicrous term ‘quiet quitting’; the old-fashioned phrase was ‘lazyitis’ for people having lost interest in their job. The old answer was fire their lazy backsides and employ someone who does want to work. Oh, but then you’ll end up in front of an employment tribunal who will decree you owe them 50 grand for hurting their feelings.

Just when the economy is in the dump ster and we need all hands on deck, staff begin thinking it is their right to work 3-4 days a week for the same salary and the right to work from home. This is not a right, it is a result of the pandemic. Covid has resulted in over 2.5 million people being off work and long-term sick (the benefits super highway) leaving even fewer people in the talent pool.

There is absolutely no doubt that the government needs to plug the hole in the public finances, or that we are suffering a mental health crisis, but continuously slamming the SME community will result in more liquidations, more unemploy ment, less tax paid, less business rates paid, less NI paid, more Directors losing their homes and livelihoods, and less contribution to the much needed ‘busi ness growth’ that politicians, of all colours, trumpet ad nauseam. All this without really understanding what that means or how to achieve it as few of them have ever held a job in the real world – and few couldn’t run a whelk stall on Brighton Pier!

This really has to STOP.


Imagine coming in from the cold, after exploring our UK winter wonderlands, to a crackling fire to nourish and warm the soul. Find rest and respite at these splendid hideaways.



This picture-perfect lodge was built over a century ago, perched just above Loe Bar Beach. Head down to the beach for a stroll, and explore the woodlands behind the lodge before admiring the fabled Cornish sunsets from the roof terrace. Or stay in nice and cosy, playing board games in front of the multi-fuel stove. Bar Lodge is in a prime location for exploring some of Cornwall’s most stunning scenery. The Lizard and Kynance Cove are less than a 40-minute drive away. The Helford River, famous for its links with Daphne du Maurier, is a 40-minute drive to the east. Nearby Helston is interesting for its folk heritage and beautiful Georgian and Victorian architecture.

Sleeps 6, 3 bedrooms

Minimum stay of 3 nights From £1,169 for 3 nights


Nestled in the treetops is this beautiful lodge for a perfect romantic retreat. It is small and intimate but with everything you might need for a comfortable stay whilst feeling fully immersed in the surrounding nature. Treehouse Lodge is hidden away on a working farm with cattle while being only 3.5 miles from the world-famous Ironbridge, where you can visit museums, independent shops, pubs and restaurants. Fishermen will appreciate the River Severn, walkers can enjoy numerous paths along the Ironbridge Gorge and in the Shropshire Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Sleeps 2, 1 bedroom Minimum stay of 7 nights 7 nights from £500



Feel the heartbeat of the 500 year old oak around which this fairytale treehouse is built, its boughs and trunk twist through the centre of this storybook-worthy place. Soak in the bathtub while enjoying the view from the huge adjacent window and snuggle on the soft rugs in front of the fire. Head out onto the balcony to enjoy the sunsets and the starry skies. Listen as the wind blows through the leaves and watch as the wildlife gathers around the lake as the miles of Essex country side disappear into the distance.

Sleeps 2, 1 bedroom £250-300 per night accommodation/the-old-oakat-colemans-farm


This rustic log cabin is perfect for romantic retreats or a countryside escape with the family. It is set on its own island in the middle of a fishing lake, accessed only on foot by a wooden walkway. Row on the lake and explore the Surrey Hills by day before snuggling up in front of the log burner at night.

Sleeps 4, 2 bedrooms

Minimum stay of 3 nights £275-375 per night


Leave the gadgets behind and experi ence nature at its finest with a stay at this award-winning, eco-hideout in the West Devonshire countryside. There is no wi-fi or mobile phone signal (landline is available), which guaran tees your digital detox. Devon Dens have an uber-green ethos with solar power, dry toilets and wood burners. The cabin is a gorgeous space for families and friends to gather and feast with its own outdoor space, games, books and access to a wood-fired sauna.

Sleeps up to 6, 2 bedrooms

Minimum stay of 3 nights From £140 per night

❛❛ Row on the lake and explore the Surrey Hills by day before snuggling up in front of the log burner at night ❜❜




What makes the perfect city car?

That’s a question that has been asked for many years and always with an assortment of answers.

For me it is size, turning circle, cost of body parts for all those dinks and scratches that will inevitably arise, fuel consumption, capacity (i.e., how many kids, bags of groceries you can get in?), and the all-important factor –fun!

Look no further than the Abarth 595. The 500 we all know but the addition of the word Abarth maybe not so much. Abarth is an Italian tuning house, launched by Carlo Abarth in 1949. It began its association with Fiat in 1952, essentially tuning its engines to enable Fiat to boast some high performance models – much like AMG for Mercedes,

and M-Sport for BMW. Fiat purchased Abarth in 1971 and it is now regarded as their racing department.

The fi rst 500 Abarth was introduced in 1964 and, as if they needed it, helped the slightly deranged Italians drivers to go even faster around their tiny town streets. In 2008, Fiat re-launched the model and, as you can see on the streets where you live, it is selling very well.

As you know, my preference is very fast V8s or V12s; lots of noise, 0-60 in under three seconds, and topping out at over 200 mph. I know l’m a dinosaur and, to be frank, l don’t give a hoot but it begs the question as to why l love this car so much.

We have the Mini Cooper S, Ford Fiesta ST, VW UP GTl and a few more besides and they are all good, fast little cars but the Fiat has something the others do not – character. And bundles of it.

It comes in an array of crazy colours, and a few understated ones. You can customise with stripes and patterns, it has lots of muscular touches such as the bumpers, a rear spoiler, a rear diffuser, funky wheels and more besides – and did l mention character?

The Fiesta ST is bigger and only a tad more on price, but for me, it fails to make me smile; fails to make me want to get in and drive. I got in the Abarth and drove to Bath and back for an offspring’s University visit and blimey, it really is quick and great fun. It also has a noise that is quite addictive – not quite a McLaren roar of course but a very satisfying deep growl that will always make you feel as if you are


going faster than you are, and you can even get a bit of pop and bang on the overrun.

There are almost too many models to mention but l will try: 595, 695, Competizione, Turismo, Biposto, Turbo T, esseesse, Tributo Ferrari and there’s a convertible – Gawd, there’s probably more but who’s got the time? So, let’s look at the Competizione with its quad-exit ‘Record Monza’ exhaust system.

The ride is quite hard, but then it has been lowered and carries a sports suspension and can unsettle itself on mid-corner bumps. But the trade-off is the scorpion button (sport) that imme diately doubles the weight of the steering.

Get too lively on the ‘go’ pedal and you will receive some tyre scrabble as those little front tyres fight for grip but get it just right – and the thing fires off the


MODEL TESTED: 595C 1.4 T-Jet

ENGINE: 1.4-litre, 4 cylinder

POWER: 165 bhp SPEED: 0-62 7.3 secs

TOP: 134 mph

ECONOMY: 40.9 mpg combined

PRICE FROM: £23,475

AS TESTED: £24,875

line like a scalded cat with a rocket up its chuff. It loves to go through the gears and you can even re-visit the toe/ heel action on the changes to get the most out of it.

There’s no sixth gear so it works hard on the motorway over 70mph, and there are no active safety features,

which l find a joy - it’s car and driver. It works well on the motorway but it is not really a M-way car as it essentially comes into its own in town and on B-roads.

The interior is a tad aged and little changed since its inception in 2008 but nothing to really annoy. The lovely Sabelt buckets seats are great but there is no height adjust so tall drivers will feel a tad cramped. However, l’m 6’1” and really didn’t have an issue.

The back seats are really for kids and small adults and the boot is only 185-litres but then this is a small town car so what do you expect? Go to Waitrose, two bags in the boot and the rest on the back seats and off you go.

My need for speed can be ignored if so desired as with the scorpion button off, it is a sedate and so very easy to drive, park and manoeuvre. It’s fast, can be furious and simple to drive but the key is fun. Life can be a pain in the derriere so why not have some fun when you get into your car?

Make it about the journey and not the destination.

❛❛ The Abarth has something the others do not – character. And bundles of it ❜❜

With over 40 years of experience in selling and servicing Mercedes-Benz and smart vehicles, we pride ourselves on being experts in this iconic brand. Our simple goal is to continue to deliver award-winning service from each of our retailers throughout Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire, Dorset and Wiltshire. In addition, as the official BRABUS representative for Southern England, we offer sales and aftersales expertise on this prestigious brand.

Our customers are our main priority, which is why we aim to deliver the most pleasant purchase experience possible. This promise extends right through to our aftersales and My Service™ scheme, making your service as flexible and convenient as possible. We also have a number of schemes designed to benefit our range of customers, including our ‘Sandown Platinum Programmes’, which offers significant service and MOT discounts for owners of ‘mature’ Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

Whatever your Mercedes-Benz, smart or BRABUS needs, Sandown is a friend of the family.

For more information please contact the team at Mercedes-Benz of Guildford on 01483 916291

Mercedes-Benz of Guildford

Moorfield Road, Guildford, GU1 1RU

Sandown, a friend of the family.
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