BUSINESS THE OFFICIAL SURREY CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE MAGAZINE
ISSUE 51 JUNE 2022
HELPING THE PLANET NatureMetrics TRAVEL An extraordinary polar expedition
PRESIDENT MACRON The Return INFLUENCERS FORUM Intellectual Property
HM QUEEN ELIZABETH II CEO, UK PLC PL ATINUM JUBILEE
SURREY CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE CONNECTING PROMOTING SUPPORTING & REPRESENTING YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS
CALL US TODAY AND JOIN SURREY'S MOST INFLUENTIAL BUSINESS NETWORK @SURREYCHAMBERSOFCOMMERCE
J U N E 2022
CONT ENT S EVENTS
22 Central South Business Awards 2022 54 Sussex Business Awards 2022 66 Surrey Business Awards 2022 72 The Dynamic Awards 2022
INFLUENCERS FORUM INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
48 Drugs and alcohol at work 52 Commercial property – successfully managing your real estate 84 Who REALLY owns your brand? – Is your logo or website really owned by you? 86 Your website has needs too
26 Long live the Queen
40 Le défi de Macron – Macron’s challenge
32 Mattioli Woods consolidates in the South East 36 A measured approach to the survival of our planet 46 Four reasons to invest in an ISA this year 58 Case Study: Inovat 68 When doing good is good business 88 Is hybrid working the secret to success? 90 Dad and daughter team up to master your mobile
51 How to pay yourself as a business owner 60 Increased costs and rising inflation – businesses must rethink and recalibrate to shape a better future
56 The innovation and investment roadshow
62 NatWest’s market analysis
64 Martlets on the move 71 Caring in the community for children and young people
94 Le voyage de découverte The ultimate expedition cruise 96 Inside Le Commandant Charcot – the next generation ice-breaker
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THE COST CRISIS FACING BUSINESSES SPEAKING ON YOUR BEHALF
The current cost of living crisis has become really evident over the last couple of months, and Chambers have come together to lobby government to gain some support for businesses. Businesses are telling us that the rise in National Insurance (NI) contributions has been a body blow as they try to get back on their feet. Whilst they are already facing a toxic mix of surging inflation, rising energy costs and supply chain disruption, this increase is very hard to swallow. The tight labour market is already pushing up staff costs and the NI rise has only served to exacerbate that pressure, without having a positive impact on recruitment. With firms’ profits also taking a further hit, after two years of the pandemic, it is no surprise that their investment intentions are also weakening. But it is not too late to change tack and push
❛❛ Businesses are telling us that
the rise in National Insurance contributions has been a body blow as they try to get back on their feet ❜❜
the increase back until firms are in a better place to take on the extra burden – and that is what we are saying to government. The costs crises facing both firms and people in the street are two sides of the same coin. If we can ease the pressure on businesses, then they can keep a lid on the price rises. Acting now will also put businesses in a better position to create the future profits needed to fill tax coffers. We have also asked for a cut in VAT on business’s energy bills from 20% to 5% for a minimum of one year. And as a way of addressing labour shortages, we have asked for a reinstatement of free Covid tests for companies to ease the strain on productivity caused by persistent high absences. Although the Chancellor’s statement at the end of May did not address any of these measures, we will continue to push for them to avoid the otherwise inevitable damage to the economy.
THE SURREY BUSINESS ACCELERATOR
We are now at the next stage of the Surrey Business Accelerator, and three of the nine businesses that applied for investment and mentoring are in the final stages. We will now be looking for further investors and potential businesses to invest in on an ongoing basis, so do get in touch if you fall into either of these categories.
After the success of two cohorts completing our Start-up Academy, we are now open for the next group of prestart and early start businesses (up to three years). This runs across eight sessions at the Login Business Lounge, Camberley and provides a fantastic set of resources for businesses of the future.
Following the successful Trailblazer Local Skills Improvement Plans, which were designated last year, a new tender has been released encouraging applications for further expressions of interest. Surrey Chambers will be taking the lead on an Enterprise M3 plus East Surrey bid, with the support of other
business membership organisations, local authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships and education providers, plus many other stakeholders. The important thing to understand about this initiative is that it gives employers the opportunity to influence the skills agenda. We will be able to identify gaps in provision and share with providers the barriers faced when looking to upskill our teams. At a time when employers are facing huge recruitment issues, this opportunity could really make a difference. Surrey Chambers of Commerce can be reached on 01483 735540, firstname.lastname@example.org, @surreychambers www.surrey-chambers.co.uk
Louise Punter CEO Surrey Chamber of Commerce
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CHAMBERS NE WS SECURITY AND CACHET PROVIDE IP LAW FIRMS WITH IDEAL HOME AT FETCHAM PARK While businesses weigh the pros and cons of staff returning to the oﬃce, for professionals working with confidential data and government agencies, the security and focus of a private space is more a question of necessity than luxury. Intellectual property lawyers, Nick Kounoupias of Kounoupias IP and Iain Russell of Russell IP, recently moved their firms to Fetcham Park, near Leatherhead. The serviced oﬃce and meeting venue combines security and discretion with the cachet of a striking, historical building that appeals to their clients in the creative industries.
campaigning organisation, and a notfor-profit trade association for designers and manufacturers. Fetcham Park has given his business an identity and flagship oﬃce that chimes with his clients aspirations and skills: “ACID’s members are exceptionally talented creatives and include many leading household names in design. Fetcham Park appeals to the ethos of our members with the care and attention
Nick Kounoupias is one of the bestknown names in international IP law. He is also Chief Legal Counsel and IP Director for Anti Copying in Design (ACID), the UK’s leading design and IP
Sally Ashford, who joined the firm in Guildford over 26 years ago, has headed up the non-contentious Private Client team since 2012. In addition to her expertise in advising high net worth individuals and family business owners in relation to their estates and family succession planning, Sally has considerable experience in capacity work and the court of protection. Sally takes over from Duncan Elson who has headed up the Guildford oﬃce for the last 20 years. Duncan has stepped down from this management role but continues as a Partner leading
UK and European Patent Attorney, Iain Russell, is recommended in the Legal 500. He is the inventor of around 40 UK, US and Canadian patent applications, including almost 20 granted patents, making him one of the top-ten most prolific inventors of granted UK patents filed in recent years. Iain says: “Co-working isn’t suitable for the nature of my business. I handle confidential and sensitive data which needs to be stored appropriately and the set-up at Fetcham Park means there are numerous levels of security.” Read the full story at www.fetchampark.co.uk/blog/ security-cachet-ip-law-ﬁrms-ﬁnda-home-at-fetcham-park
NEW APPOINTMENTS AT CHARLES RUSSELL SPEECHLYS Charles Russell Speechlys has appointed Sally Ashford as the new Head of Guildford Oﬃce and promoted Richard Flenley, specialist in real estate disputes, to Partner.
to detail that delivers a first-class service.”
the Guildford Private Wealth Disputes team. Richard Flenley, a commercially focused disputes lawyer who joined the firm in Guildford in 2012, is one of six individuals across Charles Russell Speechlys nationally to have been promoted to Partner. Duncan Elson, Partner, Charles Russell Speechlys said, “It has been a huge privilege to have headed up the Guildford oﬃce for over 20 years but the time has come for me to step down from this role. I am delighted that Sally Ashford has been appointed to take over the reins. Sally is widely respected by our clients as well as our teams locally, nationally and internationally and I look forward to working with in her new role. I also congratulate Richard on his promotion.”
Sally Ashford commented, “With Duncan at the helm, Charles Russell Speechlys in Guildford has become recognised as one of the leading law firms for business and private clients in the South East. We have ambitious plans for further growth and I look forward to playing an even greater role in the firm’s expansion.” Charles Russell Speechlys employs over 180 staff in its Guildford oﬃce and provides a full range of legal services to businesses and private clients in the region, backed by the resources of an international law firm.
DIGITAL COMMUNICATION AND CREATIVE SERVICES
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The Surrey Lieutenancy
FOREST BATHING & NATURE-BASED WELLNESS SESSIONS These exciting new events launch on June 11th 2022 at Alice Holt Forest, Farnham. The Forest Bathing Institute is launching the Forest Bathing and nature-based wellness sessions on June 11th in forests cared for by Forestry England. The sessions will take place in Alice Holt in Hampshire. Situated just four miles south of Farnham, Alice Holt Forest offers a variety of wellbeing activities for individuals and families to enjoy, along with over eight miles of waymarked trails through the forest that covers an impressive 2,100 acres. Forest Bathing, also known as ‘ShinrinYoku’, is a mindful walk in woodland, under the canopy of the trees. In Japan and South Korea, it is a well-known public health intervention and is used for preventative healthcare, as well as to aid high blood pressure, anxiety, and stress. It has seen an increase in popularity across the UK, particularly since the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, which saw a signiﬁcant amount of people spending more time in nature and appreciating how beneﬁcial it is to their health and wellbeing. Gary Evans, Director of The Forest Bathing Institute, said, “We are thrilled to be working with Forestry England to deliver Forest Bathing + nature sessions. There have been countless studies, particularly from Japan, that reveal how valuable time in nature can be. The majority of people who join our sessions are surprised at how much better they feel after onlya short time with us in the forest. We designed our sessions to be accessible and approachable for a UK audience. Feel free to join us; you might be pleasantly surprised.”
SURREY IMPROVES ITS POSITION IN THE GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY RANKINGS The University of Surrey has been named one of the world’s top universities for its global contribution to society and communities. Surrey is placed 55th in this year’s global Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings. It’s the universities highest position in the prestigious international tables which assess more than 1,400 universities’ performance against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Professor Max Lu, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Surrey, said: “These rankings demonstrate that the University of Surrey is going from strength to strength in advancing our mission to help create a fairer, healthier and more sustainable future for all through education, research and engagement.”
Platinum Jubilee The ranking looks at how universities’ research and operations are contributing to the SDGs. Operational performance includes a university’s efforts to reduce environmental impact, partnerships with local, national, and international bodies, as well as teaching and outreach work with schools and local communities. Surrey has improved its position from 61st in 2021 and 59th in 2020 in the The Global Impact Rankings. Professor Bob Nichol, Executive Lead for Climate Change at the University of Surrey, said: “Creating a healthier and more sustainable society is something that matters a great deal to everyone at the University of Surrey – particularly our students – and it is why we are committed to being a sector leader on issues such as improving our estate and resource eﬃciency. This result shows we are on the right track, but we are excited about our future progress as we introduce teaching on sustainability in every course, along with a new project that will allow us to reach our net zero goal by 2030.” This year, Surrey submitted evidence under 13 of the 17 SDGs. Read more about the THE Impact Rankings 2022 on their website.
Forestry England’s Wellbeing Projects Manager, Ellen Devine said; “Our nation’s forests are fantastic for boosting our mental and physical health. Spending time in woodlands is estimated to save the UK a staggering £185 million a year in mental health costs. We’re delighted to be working with The Forest Bathing Institute to provide forest bathing sessions to help people experience these beneﬁts for themselves.”
Selling, buying or starting a business? Call us on 0800 84 94 101 Offices across Sussex
Guildford Shakespeare Company announces a magical open-air double-bill this summer in two stunning outdoor venues in the heart of historic Guildford
OPEN-AIR SEASON 2022 First up is the enduring summer favourite A Midsummer Night’s Dream (June 16th – July 2nd) at the enchanting Racks Close. This former chalk quarry is now a wooded oasis, a stone’s throw from the High Street, and the town’s best kept secret. Shakespeare’s raucous comedy of young lovers and mischievous fairies is directed by the award-winning Abigail Anderson (Park Theatre London, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds), who last worked with GSC on their 2014 hit, The Canterbury Tales. In July the company will move to Guildford’s largest and most popular award-winning green space, Stoke Park, for an Edwardian-set promenade production of Shakespeare’s final solo play, The Tempest (July 15th-30th). On a remote island a mother and daughter watch as a ship is wrecked on the shore; but this is no accident, and this is no ordinary island. As the survivors come to discover, magic does exist and those we think are lost forever are really just waiting to be found. The Tempest will be GSC’s 50th production since their inception in 2006, and the sixth since restrictions were lifted last summer following the pandemic:
“The 50th show is an exciting milestone for us,” said Matt Pinches (GSC CoFounder), “even more so when you consider what we have all lived through the past two years. For GSC to still be making theatre for and in our local
community, ensuring our outreach and education work continues to engage and inspire is something we are very proud of. We hope this summer season will be the perfect way to thank our loyal audiences for making us what we are”.
For booking and further details: www.guildford-shakespearecompany.co.uk
SURRE Y CHAMBERS E VENT CALENDAR JUNE ONWARDS….
BUSINESS BITES NETWORKING LUNCH
SOUTH EAST CHAMBER NETWORKING
HAVE YOUR CAKE & EAT IT
SURREY YOUNG PROFESSIONALS NETWORKING
Friday June 10th | 12:00 – 14:00 Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford Our Business Bites Networking Lunch is a series of networking events designed to bring businesses together over a delicious lunch and speakers from our vast pool of members presenting a variety of business-related topics. Running from 12:00 – 14:00, the Networking Lunch is the perfect opportunity to meet new clients in the area. Click here to book.
Thursday June 16th | 14:30 – 16:30 Hog’s Back Hotel & Spa, Farnham Surrey & Hampshire Chambers of Commerce invite you to Have Your Cake and Eat It! An afternoon tea networking for businesses located on the Surrey and Hampshire border. Join us for two hours of facilitated networking over tea, coffee, and a slice of cake as you network. You can expect a guest speaker or a networking activity to break-up the afternoon. Click here to book.
Wednesday June 15th | 10:30 – 12:00 Zoom Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire, Dorset, Isle of Wight, and Kent Invicta Chambers of Commerce are delighted to present our fourth South East Chamber Networking session. This series of events is created to connect the businesses of the south eastern Counties. Click here to book.
Thursday June 23rd | 18:00 – 20:00 The County Club, Guildford Surrey Chambers of Commerce present our Surrey Young Professionals Networking Evening. Whether you are new to the world of networking or simply wish to brush up on your networking skills, our Surrey Young Professionals Networking series is here to connect you with likeminded people, all over some delicious canapes and cocktails. Click here to book.
ANNUAL SUMMER BBQ
SURREY COMMERCIAL PROPERTY GROUP LUNCH
Wednesday June 29th | 17:00 – 20:00 Hartsfield Manor, Betchworth Surrey Chambers of Commerce are delighted to present our Annual Summer BBQ for 2022 at the beautiful Hartsfield Manor. We look forward to this fabulous summer event where you can expect some entertainment, cocktail making, delicious BBQ food, a glass of bubbly and a charity raﬄe in support of Oakleaf Enterprise. The perfect opportunity to catch up with clients, colleagues, and fellow Chambers members. Click here to book.
Tuesday July 5th | 12:00 – 15:00 Guildford Pavilion, Guildford Join us on the 5th July for our Annual Commercial Property Group Lunch, held at the Guildford Pavilion and proudly sponsored by Charles Russell Speechlys, Guildford. As well as catching up with colleagues in the industry you will also hear about topical challenges facing the sector today. Click here to book.
MEMBERS NETWORKING EVENING
Tuesday July 12th | 08:00 – 10:00 Denbies Vineyard, Dorking Join us for our bi-monthly Business Breakfast and meet a range of Surrey businesses over a delicious breakfast. Hear from a guest speaker or be involved in a networking activity over a two-hour breakfast networking to start your day off. Don’t forget your business cards! Click here to book.
Thursday July 28th | 18:00 – 20:00 The County Club, Guildford Join us at The County Club for our Members Networking Evening for networking, welcome drinks, and canapes to catch-up on the happenings of the previous month’s business calendar. This event is the perfect occasion for an informal, relaxed gathering with members you already know and the opportunity to meet new connections. Click here to book.
Importing? Exporting? We can help take the stress out of customs declarations for your goods ChamberCustoms is the customs training, advisory and brokerage service delivered through Surrey Chambers of Commerce and across the UK Chamber network. Our customs declaration service is for UK importers and exporters, of all sizes, in every region of the United Kingdom. With direct links to the HMRC Customs handling system and all inventory linked ports, we can guarantee that your goods, no matter where they enter or leave the UK, will be cleared for onward transportation smoothly.
A high level of compliance and assurance for customers Confidence on tariff and data entry to remove fiscal risk; backed by the technical expertise of the market leader in this sector A wealth of international trade experience and expertise from across the trusted Chamber of Commerce network Contact the ChamberCustoms team at Surrey Chambers of Commerce now
firstname.lastname@example.org l 01483 735549 Helping traders to keep on trading
SOUTH EAST TECH INCORPORATIONS JUMP 35% IN 2021 The number of new tech companies incorporated in the South East jumped 35 in 2021, according to new analysis by leading audit, tax and consulting firm RSM UK. A total of 4,115 tech businesses were incorporated in the region in 2021 according to an analysis of data held by Companies House, up from 3,056 in 2020.
Simon MacDonald, partner at RSM UK, comments on the findings: ‘‘Our research shows an unprecedented level of tech incorporations. As expected, London saw the biggest take-up, but it’s great to see the South East isn’t far behind. It is clear the tech sector has thrived, and the culture of innovation is alive and well post-Covid.
“The South East has always had a diverse tech culture, with specialist hotspots around the region. The development of infrastructure to support tech businesses and entrepreneurs is particularly encouraging, including angel invest groups, local government support, co-working spaces and mentoring. Businesses in the South East no longer need to look to London for this support. It is now far easier to find the support within the region, with many experienced individuals and organisations prepared to invest their time and expertise in helping tech businesses get off to a great start.” Overall, UK tech incorporations increased 62 per cent in 2021, from 23,579 to 38,240.
In addition, the UK tech sector this year became only the third economy, alongside the US and China, to reach $1 trillion in value after a surge in growth throughout the pandemic. The UK’s digital industry is now worth more than double Germany’s equivalent, its closest European rival. RSM’s latest analysis further evidences the UK’s key role in supporting entrepreneurs and encouraging innovation.
TECH COMPANY INCORPORATIONS BY YEAR REGION
East Midlands (England) East of England London North East (England) North West (England) Northern Ireland Scotland South East (England) South West (England) Wales West Midlands (England) Yorkshire and The Humber Unknown UK Total
794 1,722 9,572 295 1,658 227 772 3,056 1,156 384 1,119 849 1,975 23,579
975 2,190 18,549 469 2,371 326 1,055 4,115 1,445 481 1,799 1,135 3,330 38,240
% INCREASE 23% 27% 94% 59% 43% 44% 37% 35% 25% 25% 61% 34% 69% 62%
Surrey Chambers Golf Society SCGS 2022 Golf Fixtures
2022 Order of Merit sponsored p by: 2022 Nearest the Pin Sponsored by:
16th June: Hindhead
3 Ball stableford & team event, 11am tee off. Sponsored by Eclectic Interiors
6th July: Hayling Island
4th August: Camberley
4 Ball stableford & team event. Sponsored by Maris Interiors
4 Ball stableford & team event. Sponsored by I See Apps
6th September: New Zealand
4th October: RAC Old Course
4 Ball stableford & team event. Sponsored by 4 Ball stableford & team event. Sponsored by Jenkins Associates Lester Aldridge
3rd November: Swinley Forest 3 Ball stableford & team event. Sponsored by Commtel
Surrey Chambers Of Commerce
Surrey Chambers Of Commerce
December: Woking G.C. 4 Ball stableford & team event. Sponsored by Klarity Works
Surrey Chambers of Commerce is proud to announce a new service: Virtual Event Hosting Surrey Chambers of Commerce is delighted to announce a new service – Virtual Event Hosting. Choose from one of three packages and we will promote and organise your virtual event. All you need to do is provide the virtual content, share it with your audiences and we will do the rest. We are living in an ever-changing environment, where some favour meeting virtually over physically. It is often more convenient, quicker, and you don’t even have to travel. Whether you are looking to host a webinar, a networking session or just looking for a virtual environment
to catch up with clients or colleagues, we can arrange this for you. You can have access to hosting control over a Zoom meeting, or you can let us take the strain and depending on the package of choice, you could host 100+ delegates. Surrey Chambers of Commerce will be able to take bookings for you and, depending on the type of virtual event we can also promote the event on our social media platforms, our newsletters, targeted media and on our website. We understand that Zoom membership
isn’t for everyone, and maybe you are just looking for a one-off event. We can set up, take bookings, and run this for you. There is no other virtual event hosting service like ours, and with exclusive prices for Chamber members, we are delighted to be launching what we hope will be a highly sought-after service. If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, please contact our Events & Marketing Manager Hannah.Joslyn@ surrey-chambers.co.uk
A time to recalibrate report As businesses continue to adapt to a rapidly changing economic landscape, now is the time to recalibrate, prepare for and shape the future for your business. Download your copy of the report from a survey of owner managed businesses at: www.krestonreeves.com/shapingyourfuture
For more than accountancy, business and financial advice. Call: +44 (0)330 124 1399 Email: email@example.com Visit: www.krestonreeves.com
Platinum Jubilee By Tazeeb Rajwani, Professor in International Business and Strategy, Surrey Business School
Managing the trade-off between corporate greening and corporate growth Sustainable business practice has moved out of the footnotes in Corporate Social Responsibility reports and by-lines in shareholder statements to become not only key indicators of the long-term prospects of a business but also a new operational ethos. And yet the trade-off between corporate greening and corporate growth — that is, the arduous issue of obtaining growth while being really sustainable – is a significant challenge. For decades, it has been assumed that the more a corporation can expand, the more profitable it will become. Consider the phenomenal growth rates of Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Amazon or Alibaba to see how the ability to grow aggressively has been critical for a company to become a leader in its field. Nonetheless, an increasing portion of society is now more concerned than ever about how sustainable the current status quo is and the impact of the relentless pursuit of environmentally degrading growth. Consequently, research focused on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) attempts to reshape and transform business thinking through concepts such as ‘corporate citizenship’ and ‘shared value’ - a new form of capitalism where companies enhance their competitiveness while advancing communal socio-economic welfare. This ‘gracious growth’ approach, coined by the founder Brunello Cucinelli, positions the company as a custodian of creation - setting sustainable and fair objectives for growth and profit. It also means that the economic value produced for shareholders is in
equilibrium with the value created for society and the planet. Instead of one-off large CSR initiatives driven by profit- orientated publicity, it concentrates on making value chain activities truly sustainable, allowing companies to focus on profitability while also acting as genuine custodians of the environment. There is no doubt about the importance of sustainability when organisations are under pressure to usher in a new
era of ecosystem-friendly operations. However, questions remain concerning the legitimacy of company sustainability measures when it comes to growth ambition. Gracious growth may offer the answer to these questions, by supporting environmental balance, innovating, reorganising, and humanising business. In creating the ‘gracious growth’ idea, Brunello Cucinelli may provide a blueprint to move us away from sustainability as a fad and towards a future where true sustainability may be achieved.
To access the full paper, read “Gracious growth: How to manage the trade-off between corporate greening and corporate growth”, Organizational Dynamics, https://doi.org/10.1016/j. orgdyn.2022.100895
SURREY CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE
EXECUTIVE PARTNERS & PATRONS
Taylor Wimpey www.taylorwimpey.co.uk
Charles Russell Speechlys www.charlesrussellspeechlys.com
Royal Holloway University www.royalholloway.ac.uk
Surrey Business School
Woking Borough Council
Akiko Design www.akikodesign.com
Greatest Hits Radio www.planetradio.co.uk
Royal Automobile Club www.royalautomobileclub.co.uk
Foxhills Resort www.foxhills.co.uk
Activate Learning www.activatelearning.ac.uk
Heathrow Airport www.heathrow.com
Surrey Chambers of Commerce welcomes its latest member companies When you join Surrey Chambers of Commerce, your company details automatically get listed on this page alongside fellow new members. What a fantastic way to let the Surrey Business community know you are out there and ready to get those all-important connections.
LOGIN BUSINESS LOUNGE www.loginbusinesslounge.co.uk 01276 539600
CLARITY 4 INTERNATIONAL SOFTWARE SERVICES LIMITED www.clarity4d.com 07990 584281
RAD ADDITIVE LIMITED www.radadditive.co.uk 07472 300223
OFFICEHOUNDS www.oﬃcehounds.co.uk 01483 674365
All new Chamber members are entitled to a one-off 50% discount for a company proﬁle within this magazine. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details
If you are looking to join Surrey Chambers, then please do get in touch: email@example.com or call 01483 735540. We look forward to hearing from you!
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OPEN FOR ENTRIES ENTRY DEADLINE JUNE 15TH 2022
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❛❛ The only networking event l ever attend ❜❜ KEITH JACKMAN MERCEDES-BENZ
Paula Seabourne (MD, Minds Matter Now), Donna Holland (CEO, Rockinghorse) and Laura Foster (Lawyer, Loch Associates)
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Lesley Alcock (Commercial Director, Platinum Media Group), Richard Pollins (Managing Partner, DMH Stallard), Alex Bailey (Director, Bailey & French) and Maarten Hoffmann, (MD, Platinum Media Group)
Nicky Craddock (Cow Corner), Karen Lord (Partner, Healys), Fiona Anderson (Innovate UK Edge) and Alex Bailey (Director, Bailey & French)
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Colin Laidlaw (Director, Kreston Reeves), Sophie Campbell-Adams (Lawyer, Britton & Time), Chris Thomas (Advisor, Let’s Do Business) and Alex Williams (COO, Burt Brill & Cardens)
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The Platinum Club has been the region’s leading peer-to-peer business networking event for CEOs, Managing Directors and Partners of many of the leading companies across the South East for over 12 years. Limited memberships are available and to apply, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
THE PLATINUM CLUB
Caroline Merchant (LMP Education), Camille Pierson (MD, Float Spa) and Rebecca Blott (Director, Castle Construction)
Sophie Campbell-Adams (Lawyer, Britton & Time) and Maarten Hoffmann (MD, Platinum Media Group)
LONG LIVE THE QUEEN
Maarten Hoffmann pays his tribute to Her Majesty The Queen I can be a heartless, sarcastic old curmudgeon at times but when it comes to the Queen, oddly, l get a bit gooey and sentimental!
She has been there throughout my entire life, a fixture who appears in one’s subconscious several times a week via the media, and stamps, post boxes, HMRC, Royal Mail and so on. It’s surprising how often her image floats through our minds. My Grandmother died when l was three, so she became, as to many of us, my de facto Granny. With a remarkable 70 years on the throne, what is there to say about her that has not been said a million times before? Congratulations of course, and maybe just some fun facts that you might not know.
She owns an elephant, two giant turtles, a jaguar and a pair of sloths
She’s owned more than 30 corgis throughout her lifetime
During her 70-year reign, there have been 14 different British prime ministers, 14 different US presidents and seven Popes
She has carried out more than 21,000 engagements over the course of her reign She owns all the unmarked mute swans in the UK, and all of the whales, dolphins and porpoises that swim within three miles of UK shores
Her correct title is: Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom, Canada and Her other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith Her nicknames include “Lilibet” and “Cabbage”
She has never given an interview in her entire reign She speaks fluent French
She doesn’t have a passport or a driver’s license
She wakes up to a bagpiper every morning
The site of the Queen’s birthplace is now a fancy Cantonese restaurant 27
She first met Prince Philip when she was 8-years-old
Her wedding cake was over nine feet tall She paid for her wedding dress in coupons from the war
Her tiara snapped on her wedding day
Technically, Elizabeth and her husband, Philip, were third cousins. Elizabeth is related to Queen Victoria on her father’s side, and Philip was related to Queen Victoria on his mother’s side
She’s been wearing the same nail polish since 1989, and it’s surprisingly cheap at £7 28
Prince George calls her “GanGan”
She gets to appoint the UK’s poet laureate, who is traditionally paid with a yearly salary of £5,750 plus an entire barrel of sherry
She has sat for over 129 portraits during her reign She uses the position of her purse to send secret signals to her staff She was one of the first heads of state to send an email
She has a private ATM at Buckingham Palace supplied by her bank, Coutts
She’s been portrayed as a character in over 100 TV shows and movies
Windsor Castle, currently Her Majesty’s main residence, is the oldest and largest occupied palace in the world
WEALTH MANAGEMENT EXECUTED BEAUTIFULLY
We pride ourselves on our ability to provide independent, sophisticated and bespoke financial advice. Aissela, 46 High Street, Esher, Surrey, KT10 9QY 01372 471550
MATTIOLI WOODS CONSOLIDATES IN THE SOUTH EAST Mattioli Woods is a wealth management company that covers the whole of the UK with a great backstory and an envious depth of knowledge Ian Mattioli and Bob Woods set out to challenge the status quo over 30 years ago from a converted garage in Leicester. They both had a vision to create a business that was different, a business with trust at its heart and the needs of clients at the centre of everything. Today, they would be called disrupters; taking on the big institutions. But 30 years ago, Mattioli Woods was formed by two men who wanted to do the right thing, and although the company has grown considerably since those early days, that basic principle has never changed. Perfecting a solution that evolves as their clients’ circumstances and objectives change is at the heart of everything
Mattioli Woods ❛❛ now has a substantial
presence in the South East, having acquired Hurley Partners in July 2020 ❜❜ Mattioli Woods does. Its clients want and receive the comfort of knowing their finances are meeting their family’s needs now, and in the future - whatever life throws at them. Services include pensions, tax efficient investment solutions and management, retirement and inheritance tax planning, protection and much more.
Since 2016, Mattioli Woods has been proud sponsor of rugby giants, Leicester Tigers. Having proved a successful partnership, 2020 saw them strengthening their support for the club with a new five-year deal that included the stadium being rebranded to Mattioli Woods Welford Road
From a start-up of just three people, Mattioli Woods now employs more than 800 people and has passed some pretty impressive milestones. The company finds itself as one of the UK’s leading providers of pension consultancy and wealth management services with shares quoted on the AIM market, advising over 11,000 clients throughout the UK, with assets under advice and administration in excess of £15 billion. Mattioli Woods now has a substantial presence in the South East, having acquired Hurley Partners in July 2020. This business had an equally rich heritage as far back as the early 1980s and while clients could be anywhere in the UK, the typical demographic was always London, Kent, East and West Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire. Success like this comes through sheer hard work, a clear strategic direction, integrity, trust and in-depth knowledge of a superb range of solutions providing families and individuals with careful management of their financial assets. It is not ‘what’ or ‘why’ but ‘how’ that makes the company so different. The aspiration is always to deliver the best possible outcome for clients and this comes through fostering long term and often very personal relationships with its clients from generation to generation. Some such clients were young, successful business owners ‘way back then’ and Mattioli Woods still act for them, their children (who may have inherited the business interests) and their grandchildren who may also be involved.
We have a soul. ❛❛ We have a culture.
We have values. And our clients are absolutely at our core ❜❜
Ian Mattioli MBE, Chief Executive Officer, Mattioli Woods
SO, WHAT DO THEY DO?
Successful wealth management is the integration of financial planning and asset management, and Mattioli Woods provides a full service, all under one roof. Uniquely, clients will always know the consultant looking after their affairs, leading the integration of solutions and importantly, the specialist who makes the decisions on a day-to-day basis on the investment of their assets. There is a real transparency here with no hiding behind unknown third parties.
The company now ❛❛ finds itself as one of the
UK’s leading providers of pension consultancy and wealth management services ❜❜
In a world of social media and DIY finances, who needs help planning for the future when there is so much information available? There will always be a place for an expert hand to guide clients. Financial planning is not a one-off event but rather a journey through the stages of life, picking off some important milestones along the way. Building and protecting wealth is a good place to start, particularly for younger clients, who are always welcome at Mattioli Woods. Fast forward a few decades and the concept of retirement has become non-binar y. Mattioli Woods’ advice is central to clients who want to know if and when to start drawing a pension and how they can pass wealth on to the next generation while minimising the impact of inheritance tax (IHT).
decisions and events such as savings, school fees, weddings and the desire of most to pay as little income tax as possible, and this point is particularly relevant when clients decide to draw from their pension funds. The sandwich generation may also have to help make financial decisions for their own parents. Mattioli Woods provides a balanced approach and advice on strategies to improve a client’s position. The focus always centres on what objectives are centre-stage and through regular reviews assisted by the close relationship and knowledge of changes to circumstances, Mattioli Woods gives clients the peace of mind that their financial affairs are on track.
In the middle, the often-called ‘sandwich generation’, there are crucial
In its first year ❛❛ of trading, the company employed just three people and achieved a modest turnover. Today, it has a workforce of over 800 and revenues of over £62 million ❜❜ LEADERS IN SIPP AND SSAS
Mattioli Woods is a leader in the provision of Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs) and Small Self-Administered Schemes (SSASs). The opportunity for these schemes to play an important and effective role in family business, tax and personal legacy planning has never been better. Mattioli Woods has established a reputation for technical excellence and practical experience, widely acknowledged within the industry, while the provision of trusteeship and dedicated administration further differentiates Mattioli Woods from its competitors.
INVESTMENT AND ASSET MANAGEMENT
The cornerstone of helping its clients protect and grow their financial prosperity is Mattioli Woods’ asset management services; a proposition that has solutions for all investors, regardless of experience, amount or objective. Mattioli Woods has developed investment strategies to meet client needs in this ever-changing world within the group. These include the £2.04 billion multi-asset funds – which have received external recognition – through to solutions for clients where tax efficiency is the objective, for clients seeking the potential for higher-yielding asset-backed opportunities and an investment club for more experienced investors. Where appropriate, Mattioli Woods intends to expand upon these offerings in the future to enhance the client service provision and drive further organic growth. This can be seen in action with the recent launch of a unique Responsible Equity Fund aiming to generate attractive long-term returns while ensuring that the companies owned are behaving in the interests of their communities and wider society. A fund for 21st century values.
ASSET MANAGEMENT DISCRETIONARY INVESTMENT SERVICES
Mattioli Woods own focused funds.
Full discretionary service investing direct into equity markets – clients own individual shareholdings within their portfolio. Mattioli Woods Responsible Equity Fund – a unique direct equity and equity funds investment into companies who are behaving in the interests of their communities and wider society – using UN sustainable goals as the base.
Many of the SIPP and SSAS clients invest direct into commercial property – often the premises from where the sponsoring business operates. Clients can invest in Custodian REIT PLC – a UK Real Estate Investment Trust established by Mattioli Woods.
Equity and AIM ISAs. VCTs and EIS schemes through a Mattioli Woods specialist group company.
MATTIOLI WOODS BUSINESS PARTNERS
The building of long-term and mutually beneficial relationships is central to the culture of Mattioli Woods, with its clients and quality professional advisers, notably firms of accountants and solicitors. Its clients have a need for expert advice at every stage of their business and personal lives. When they see the need for specialist legal or tax advice, they are always pleased to recommend a suitable firm. Like many
of its clients, the company has built countless successful relationships with professional firms. Mattioli Woods is now firmly established in the South East serving clients in Surrey, Sussex, Kent and Hampshire as well as London continuing the firm’s ethos of always putting clients at the centre of everything that it does.
Please visit their website, mattioliwoods.com for further information. Mattioli Woods plc is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Peter Collier, Business Development Director can be contacted by e mail email@example.com or by calling 020 8936 3970
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NatureMetrics, a research company based in Surrey Research Park, explains ‘eDNA’, the game changing technology that can help reverse the extinction and climate crises.
A MEASURED APPROACH TO THE SURVIVAL OF OUR PLANET BREAKTHROUGH
When it comes to the climate crisis, the value of protecting biodiversity has been overlooked until relatively recently. Happily, though – and especially since COP26 - the world has recognised that our only chance of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees is to preserve and restore nature on an unprecedented scale. The cost of not doing so is stark, especially for business. In the short term, harming biodiversity can result in mitigation costs linked to protected species legislation. In the medium to long term, it can lead to the breakdown of ecosystem services such as pollination, the provision of clean air and water, soil health and productivity – all of which humankind needs for its survival. Clearly, it pays to account for nature. This crucial realisation is expected to translate into new global goals and targets for biodiversity that will filter down into policies and regulations at all levels.
In response, a new technology has emerged that is a complete gamechanger for measuring biodiversity at scale. This technology measures environmental DNA (or eDNA) – the small traces of DNA that are left in the environment by a given species.
Organisations are now looking for ways to monitor their progress in achieving positive change – but biodiversity is extremely complex and difficult to measure. Not only that, but conventional biodiversity survey methods are expensive to implement, demanding of field expertise that is in short supply, and offer data on only a tiny fraction of species. This can’t provide anything like the data that’s needed to enable meaningful goals and targets to be set and for progress to be measured.
Their technology is so simple to use ❛❛ on the ground that it’s been used by school children and citizen scientists ❜❜ 36
Leading the charge with this technology is NatureMetrics, which was founded in 2014 to deliver biodiversity data at scales that hadn’t been possible before. The company has two eDNA laboratories in the UK and Canada, which have delivered comprehensive data from soil, and freshwater and marine samples on species from bacteria to blue whales to more than 450 clients across the renewable energy, infrastructure, water and banking sectors. Their technology is so simple to use on the ground that it’s been used by school children and citizen scientists with just as good results as ecological consultants, meaning that monitoring can be conducted by non-specialists and local stakeholders or by technical contractors – whichever suits their clients. If a company wanted to find out what species were present in and around a body of water under its responsibility, their site-based team or contractor
Platinum Jubilee and can significantly mitigate ocean acidification. NatureMetrics is working with Kelp Blue to establish biodiversity baselines in a number of pilot sites so that the impact of the kelp farm on biodiversity can be quantified in future years. Biodiversity is no longer an afterthought or a tick-box exercise. Increasingly, companies are realising that shifting to nature-positive business practices has the potential to deliver business gains in the same way as investing in the circular economy for production and manufacturing.
simply take a NatureMetrics kit and push two litres of water through a filter and send it to the NatureMetrics laboratory for analysis. This is far easier, quicker and cheaper than deploying large teams of biodiversity specialists to spend weeks in the field conducting surveys with a range of trapping and observation methods. The filters pick up the DNA of all species of all sizes.
As an example of how this works in practice, one of NatureMetrics’ clients, Fauna & Flora International (FFI), trained up national park rangers and local community assistants in Liberia to collect eDNA samples to see if they could confirm local reports of pygmy hippopotamuses. The company analysed the samples in its UK lab, and not only did the analysis detect the pygmy hippo in both rivers – meaning FFI can
mobilise conservation resources to that area – it also returned data on over 160 other vertebrate species including endangered species ranging from parrots to monkeys and a critically endangered fish species that could trigger a new protected area. Another example is Dutch company, Kelp Blue, who is piloting large-scale, offshore kelp farming, a technology with huge potential for carbon, biodiversity and economic benefits. Kelp is phenomenally productive, growing up to 60cm per day, and its canopy can be sustainably harvested and used for the production of a vast array of products, many of which have environmental benefits by replacing unsustainable materials. At the same time, kelp is a vital habitat for marine biodiversity, has the potential to act as a highly efficient carbon sink,
Embracing nature-positive does require rapid systems change and a transformation in how we engage with the natural world and, as with any disruptive change, this creates vast opportunity for innovation. NatureMetrics is itself an example of an innovative SME that stands to gain from whole sectors of industry needing for the first time to track their biodiversity impact, and how that changes risk and value in their business. It is now offering monitoring options for companies at every stage of the nature-positive journey from those taking their first steps to simply start some monitoring to those who already have corporate commitments to Net Positive Impact on biodiversity. These range from companies working on cutting edge technology such as earth observation, AI, blockchain, soundscapes, virtual reality and DNA to those piloting new ways of working on the ground, demonstrating scalable, profitable, nature-positive business models for primary resource production. At the end of the day, we can only manage what we can measure. Taking biodiversity seriously and conducting detailed monitoring and evaluation will pay off for nature, for business and for the planet.
If you’d like the chance to get ahead of the game on your biodiversity measurement, get in touch with NatureMetrics for a friendly chat. www.naturemetrics.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org
UK Corporate Games 1 – 4 September 2022 UK Corporate Games
1 –Festival 4 September 2022 Europe’s Largest Multi-Sport for Businesses Europe’s Largest Multi-Sport Festival for Businesses
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Organisations Organisationsmay mayenter enteras asmany manyindividuals individuals &/or teams as desired in one or more &/or teams as desired in one or more Sports. Sports. Individual athletes Individual athletesmay mayenter enterone one Sport Sport only. £85.00 £85.00+ +Vat VatPer PerPerson. Person.
CONTACTLONDON@CORPORATEGAMESUK.COM LONDON@CORPORATEGAMESUK.COM CONTACT
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BIG BUSINESS STORY
Emmanuel Macron won his second term as President of the Fifth French Republic in April 2022. The ‘La Republique en Marche!’ (LREM) party candidate defeated the Rassemblement National (RN - known until 2018 as the Fronte National, or FN) candidate, Marine Le Pen. By Alan Wares
LE DÉFI DE MACRON Macron’s challenge This was the second time the pair had met in the final run-off, and the vote showed an 8% swing from the election 2017 towards Le Pen. This was less than expected by French political commentators, and nothing like enough for the swing to defeat Macron. For a rough comparison, if French Presidential politics were to be transposed into the largely duopolised UK political arena, one supposes this was a run-off between the Liberal Democrat candidate and the (now defunct) British National Party. Though, like much of Macron’s political and personal life, these comparisons are nothing like as clear in reality. Emmanuel Jean - Michel Frédéric Macron was born in Amiens, northern France on December 21st 1977. He studied philosophy at Paris Nanterre University, later completing a master’s degree in Public Affairs at the Paris Institute of Political Sciences, graduating from the École nationale d’administration in 2004. He then worked as a senior civil servant at the Inspection générale des finances (the closest UK equivalent would probably be the Financial Conduct Authority). He also became an investment banker at Rothschild & Co.
He was appointed as a deputy secretary general by President François Hollande after his election victory in 2012, making Macron one of Hollande’s senior advisers. He joined the French cabinet in 2014 after his appointment as Minister of the Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs by Prime Minister Manuel Valls. He resigned from the cabinet in August 2016, launching a campaign for the 2017 French presidential election. Although Macron had been a member of the Socialist Party from 2006 to 2009, he ran in the election under the banner of La Republique en Marche!’ (‘The Republic On The Move’, or ‘Republic Forward’), a centrist and pro-European political movement he had founded in April 2016. Macron was elected eighth President of the Fifth French Republic on May 7th, 2017. Two months later, his LREM party won an overall majority in the legislative elections.
For all his political machinations, it’s Macron’s private life that has raised most eyebrows, even with the otherwise liberal-minded social attitudes across France. He is married to Brigitte Trogneux, 24 years his senior, and his former high school teacher in Amiens. They met during a theatre workshop that she was giving when he was a 15-year-old student and she was a 39-year-old teacher, though they say they only became a couple once he was 18. She has three children from a previous marriage, while he has no children of his own. According to Brigitte’s youngest daughter, Tiphaine Auzière, the first time she fell for Macron, “they were quite smitten.” Macron first declared his love for Brigitte when he was 16 years old, though his parents attempted to separate the couple by sending him away to Paris to finish the final year of his schooling, as they felt the relationship was inappropriate. They asked Brigitte to stop seeing him until he was 18 but she replied, “I can’t promise you anything.” The couple reunited after Macron graduated, and were married in 2007. Brigitte’s role in Macron’s 2017 presidential campaign has been considered pivotal, with close Macron allies stating that she assisted Macron with developing skills such as public speaking.
Talking of their continued loyalty to one another, Auzière said: “If I have to give a vision of love, it’s Emmanuel and my mother. When they are together, it is almost as if the world doesn’t exist.” She added that the children suffered as little as possible when her parents divorced. Discussing the age gap in her relationship, Brigitte Macron told Elle France: “There are times in your life where you need to make vital choices. And for me, that was it. So, what has been said over the 20 years, it’s insignificant. Of course,
AGE OF CONSENT IN FRANCE The age of consent in France is 15, as specified by Article 227-25 of the Penal Code, and has been since 1945. Article 227-27 (updated 2021) prohibits sexual relations with minors (aged 15-17) where they are committed by an ascendant or by any other person having a legal or factual authority over the victim; or where they are committed by a person abusing the authority conferred by his or her functions. This is very similar to UK law, with the exception that the age of consent in the UK is 16.
we have breakfast together, me and my wrinkles, him with his youth, but it’s like that. If I did not make that choice, I would have missed out on my life. I had a lot of happiness with my children and, at the same time, felt I had to live ‘this love’, as Prevert used to say, to be fully happy.”
Platinum Jubilee EUROPEAN POLITICAL ARENA
France, along with Germany, is at the very epicentre of European politics. The economic, social and cultural treaties France signed up to as partner of closer integration immediate post-World War II even pre-date the Fifth Republic. While there are rumblings of a French exit from the EU – as there is to greater or lesser degree across all of Europe - France has too much committed to a united Europe than to wish to abandon their 70-year treaties with the rest of the continent. The majority of the French population (61% in 2016) have a general dissatisfaction with the EU, but conversely have little appetite for leaving. The figure wishing to remain at that time was 57%. The figure has increased across the population, with more than 60% having no desire to leave. Commentators are pointing to the mess the UK has made of its exit strategy as one of the strongest reasons for France’s continued desire for membership. It’s against this backdrop of those figures - ‘Frexit’ basically isn’t an issue that Macron feels he can present a continuation of his centrist politics, being distinctly pro-European, calling for a new political organisation to unite democracies on the European
❛❛ For all his political
machinations, it’s Macron’s private life that has raised most eyebrows ❜❜
continent, while putting notification on Ukraine that it would probably not be joining the EU for several decades yet. He called for more joined thinking on Europe’s future, citing the war in Ukraine showed the need for a “historic process of reflection”. He proposed “a European political community … a new European organisation that would enable democratic European nations who adhere to our values to find a new space for political cooperation”, mentioning security, energy, transport, infrastructure investment and movement across borders, especially for young people, as issues that body would tackle. Being part of this organisation would not exclude a country from joining the EU, and the organisation could include “those who have left”; a clear nod to his desire to have closer economic, political and even militaristic ties with the UK than at present. Depending on your stance about closer or lesser integration with the EU, this sounds remarkably like a move towards a European superstate - a notion that certainly pre-dates Macron. Given that a lesser version of what he is calling for largely already exists, this comes across as something no country has ever really
called for with any level of seriousness. With the backdrop of uncertainty across the continent, it’s also something that will take a huge amount of convincing for Macron to get his wish. His desire for closer integration comes with one large caveat; Macron has expressed caution over Ukraine’s desire to join the EU. For a country to be allowed to join, aside from the years of negotiations over the economic, social and political integration, it requires the unanimous approval of the EU member states. Given Macron’s concerns on this matter, Ukraine may well be stuck in the Waiting Room for a while yet. Despite - and more likely, because of the war in Ukraine, Macron is in constant contact with the President of Russia. While the EU’s, USA’s and UK’s sanctions - along with the social, economic and cultural exorcism from around the world - are there to enhance Russia’s international isolation, Macron believes a continued dialogue with the President is vital to help stop any escalation of the conflict.
The majority of the French population ❛❛ have a general dissatisfaction with the EU,
but conversely have little appetite for leaving ❜❜ Macron’s concern over Ukraine’s membership of the EU (the USA has already knocked back its membership of NATO), combined with his conversations with the Russian President, are not policies shared by everyone across the continent. One UK commentator suggested it had an air of appeasement about it, but the reality is, total isolation and shutdown of Russia from international affairs runs the risk of causing more harm than good. Only Ukraine could decide on negotiating conditions with Russia, Macron has said. And he warned against excessive punishment on Russia when the war is eventually over. “When peace returns to European soil, we will have to build new security balances and together we must never give into the temptation … or the desire for revenge, because we know how much that has ravished the road to peace in the past.” History has already taught us that lesson. For Ukraine’s part, President Wolodymyr Zelenskyy was asked about Macron’s recent comments, in which he suggested Europe must try to avoid humiliating Russia and its President. “We want the Russian army to leave our land — we aren’t on Russian soil,” Zelenskyy replied. “We won’t help him save face by paying with our territory. That would be unjust.
“Macron is looking in vain for a way out for Russia,” Zelenskyy said. In response, an Elysée official rejected Zelenskyy’s allegations. “The president of the Republic has never discussed anything with the Russian President without the agreement of President Zelenskyy - and has never asked President Zelenskyy for any concession. He has always said that it was up to the Ukrainians to decide the terms of their negotiations with the Russians.” Once this conflict is at a natural end, given what all participants are looking for, diplomacy will be delicate. Macron, having left the dialogue route open with Russia, may well have a role to play.
DOMESTIC POLITICAL ARENA
Now that Emmanuel Macron has successfully negotiated his second election as French President, he must turn to more immediate domestic election matters. Close on the heels of April’s presidential vote, voters in France go back to the polls between June 12th and 19th to elect lawmakers to the National Assembly - the France equivalent of a UK General Election. France’s legislative elections tend to be a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’ compared to the more glamorous Presidential race for the Élysée Palace, but with 577 seats to fill in the lowerhouse, the results are no less critical - to France, and to the President’s ability to enact his own policies. In the 2017 legislative elections, Macron’s own ‘La Republique En Marche!’ Party managed to gain an overall majority in the lower house. Whether this can be retained remains to be seen, and is LREM’s main priority. In the Presidential election, if no candidate receives more than 50% of the popular vote, the top two performing candidates face a winner-takes-all run-off. Macron’s battle against Marine Le Pen nearly didn’t happen as the leftwing candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon of
FRANCE’S REPUBLICS Since the French Revolution in the late 18th Century, France has operated under a number of ‘Republics’. These are, in turn, effectively a new form of government which takes into account the roles of the distinct separate seats of power of the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. The French constitution provides for a separation and proclaims France’s attachment to the ‘Rights of Man’ and the principles of national sovereignty as defined by the Declaration of 1789. France’s current Republic - its fifth - was established on October 4th, 1958, following the collapse of the Fourth Republic. The trigger had been the Algerian crisis of 1958, where France, still a colonial power, was in conflict with Algerian separatists who wanted independence. The Fourth Republic, set up in 1946 - immediately after the Second World War - was suffering from a lack of political consensus, a weak executive, and governments forming and falling in quick succession. Charles De Gaulle, leader of Free France from 1940-44, proposed a system of presidents with more executive power, elected for seven-year terms. On June 1st, 1958, de Gaulle was appointed ‘Head of Government’, and through a referendum in September that year which achieved 80% agreement, he was able to get a new constitution agreed and signed into law, establishing the Fifth Republic. It is now France’s third-longest-lasting political regime, after the Ancient Régime (late Middle Ages – 1792), and the parliamentary Third Republic, which lasted 70 years from 1870 onwards, and the most stable France has been for centuries.
La France Insoumise (France Unbowed) party finished just 1.2% behind Le Pen in the first round of voting. Now Mélenchon is gathering a coalition of left-leaning parties, buoyed by their Presidential results, to take on Macron’s LREM. Many political commentators in France believe this is where the main challenge will come from, though they do have a huge hill to climb in order to overtake Macron’s party. A quick scout through President Macron’s policies mark him down as being on the centre-left slant of ‘liberal’; he is an advocate of public healthcare, a secularist, favours the free market (though with appropriate restraints),
❛❛ France’s legislative elections tend to be a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’ compared to the more glamorous Presidential race ❜❜ ardently pro-European, calls for the rapid increase of environmentally— beneficial policies, has an open-door policy to immigration, wishes to give more autonomy to schools and colleges. He also intends to restrict homeschooling (with medical exceptions) in order to address separatist Islamic indoctrination which he sees as being at odds with a secular France. Whilst a centre line may be appealing to many in France, the far-left and far-right
often manage to win enough seats to have their voices heard in the Bourbon Palace. Macron’s challenge is to repeat his victories from 2017 and be able to appoint a French Prime Minister of his own party (one of the President’s roles immediately post-election). This is a task the incumbent rarely manages to repeat, with only Charles de Gaulle, François Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac before him managing to get re-elected in the Fifth Republic.
Four reasons to invest in an ISA this tax year The new tax year has begun, bringing with it a fresh ISA allowance that enables you to invest more of your money tax efficiently. For the 2022/23 tax year, the ISA subscription limit is once again £20,000. Many people wait until the last minute to maximise their ISA allowance, but the sooner you act, the better your chances are of realising your financial goals. Here are four reasons to invest in an ISA today. 1. Greater potential for long-term growth
as up, history shows that over periods of ten or more years, it tends to perform more strongly than cash and above the rate of inflation.
Investing in an ISA early on gives your money the opportunity to produce tax-free returns over a longer period. This is especially important in the current environment of high inflation and low interest rates. Money in a cash savings account could lose its real value over time as inflation erodes its purchasing power. Although the stock market goes down as well
The chart below shows that if you invested your full £20,000 ISA allowance every year for 20 years, you could build up a pot worth nearly £700,000, assuming a return of 5% per year net of charges and before inflation.
Investment growth over 20 years £800,000 £700,000 £600,000 £500,000 £400,000 £300,000 £200,000 £100,000 £0 1
£5,000 annual investment
£10,000 annual investment
£20,000 annual investment
Source: Brewin Dolphin. For illustrative purposes only.
2. Tax-efficient growth and income The reason why investing through an ISA is especially powerful is that your investments can grow free of tax. If you hold investments outside an ISA, you’ll pay capital gains tax (CGT) at up to 20% on the profits (‘gains’) you make above your CGT exemption, which is £12,300 for the 2022/23 tax year. If your investments generate income – for example, dividends from shares or interest from bonds – this is also tax free when inside an ISA. In a nutshell, investing through an ISA ensures more of your money goes towards meeting your goals.
3. Choice of lump sum and regular investing If you have a large lump sum of money ready to go, investing it in an ISA early on will give it the opportunity to grow tax efficiently over a longer period. You might, however, prefer to invest your money gradually over several months. Known as ‘drip-feeding’, this may help to reduce the impact of a sudden market downturn on your portfolio. Even if you don’t have a lump sum, you could make the most of the new tax year by setting up monthly Investment ISA contributions. This is a great way of ensuring you’re consistently saving for your future, and it removes the temptation of trying to time the market, which is a strategy that is fraught with risk. Setting up a standing order makes
this process simpler and means there is one less thing for you to remember.
4. ISAs have a ‘use it or lose it’ allowance The ISA allowance is a ‘use it or lose it’ allowance, which means you can’t carry it forward to the next tax year. By taking advantage of your allowance earlier in the tax year, you won’t face any last-minute decisions when April 2023 approaches. Whether you prefer to invest your full £20,000 allowance in one go or drip feed it each month, having a plan in place will ensure you invest in a way that suits your individual needs.
Next steps An Investment ISA is a great way to save money for your future, but it isn’t always easy to decide how much to set aside, when to invest, and how to build an investment portfolio that is right for you. Taking some smart advice will give you the confidence that you’re doing the right thing with your money, so you can focus on enjoying life today.
brewin.co.uk/gatwick Paul Cannons 01293 661323 | email@example.com
The value of investments, and any income from them, can fall and you may get back less than you invested. Tax treatment depends on the individual circumstances of each client and may be subject to change in the future. Neither simulated nor actual past performance are reliable indicators of future performance. Information is provided only as an example and is not a recommendation to pursue a particular strategy. Brewin Dolphin Limited is a member of the London Stock Exchange, and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Financial Services Register reference number: 124444). Registered office: 12 Smithfield Street, London, EC1A 9BD. Registered in England and Wales – company number: 2135876. VAT number: GB 690 8994 69
By Pam Loch, Employment Law Solicitor and Managing Director of Loch Associates Group
DRUGS AND ALCOHOL AT WORK In 2021 it was reported that nine out of ten people admitted to drinking alcohol while working from home, with the quantity ranging from “just a glass with lunch” to “a whole bottle” to get through the day. Drug driving arrests are also on the rise too. With many employees still working remotely or adopting a hybrid approach, should employers take a greater interest in what their staff are doing in and out of working hours and take steps to help staff avoid becoming intoxicated or using drugs during their working day? Do employers have an obligation to support those suffering with alcohol or drug dependency? There are physical, cognitive and emotional consequences of anyone being under the influence of drugs or alcohol not only for themselves, but also for their colleagues and the business too. Nearly one in four employees admit to making mistakes at work due to having a hangover. As well as the quality of the work they produce being jeopardised, there are also significant health and safety risks too. Many studies have reported hangovers increase the frequency of absences, which results in staff sleeping at work and contributing to trouble with tasks and relationships. The effect on productivity costs UK employers an average of £100 billion per year.
There is also the potential for life changing accidents occurring, resulting in physical and financial consequences for those directly involved. Directors could also be exposed to criminal prosecution under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, if they don’t take the necessary steps to prevent accidents, caused by alcohol or drug misuse. Several reports have shown that alcohol and drug consumption increased during the Covid-19 pandemic, with many citing the pressure of the ‘new way of life’ as the reason. The pandemic has been a catalyst for normalising drinking at home and throughout the working day, so many are facing challenges with adapting back to their original working patterns. Employers have a legal responsibility to care for their staff’s physical and mental health wherever they work. Proactively taking
steps to look after your employees’ health not only ensures they can work safely and efficiently, but also shows your team you care about them too. Staff may not be abusing drugs or alcohol in the work environment, however its impact at work means you need to be aware of the use of drugs and alcohol recreationally and consider the implications of that for work too. Those using substances at the weekend or in the evenings may still have the substances in their system when they return to work the next day, but it also can have longer term impacts too. There is a reciprocal relationship between substance misuse and mental ill-health. A survey by the Priory Group in the UK reported that a third of people who are at risk of substance disorders also utilise mental health services and those with more serious mental health problems are more likely to smoke, use recreational drugs and misuse alcohol. Even individuals with no previous mental health issues are at risk of developing
Platinum Jubilee There are many reasons individuals may misuse drugs or alcohol. If there is a common trend of alcohol or substance abuse within your workplace, this may be because employees are using alcohol or drugs to self-medicate, to address high levels of work-related stress. It’s worthwhile considering workloads and encouraging your team to support one another. Having trained mental health first aiders so they can spot symptoms of stress and mental ill-health, as well as a Wellbeing Policy and a Drug and Alcohol Policy, are other ways you can help support staff.
mental ill-health symptoms from the chronic use of some drugs, including alcohol. The symptoms that may develop can be both short and long term and could lead to depression, paranoia, aggression, hallucinations, and anxiety, to name a few. However, there are many who misuse drugs or alcohol and are able to appear to function ‘normally’. During my career as an employment law Solicitor, I have often encountered situations where it turned out that someone who was perceived to be a moody member of the team was, in fact, a functioning alcoholic. In one scenario, the employee’s mood changed after lunch breaks when he topped up from the vodka he stored in his car windscreen washer compartment. In England, 586,780 people are dependent on alcohol, with only 18% of these individuals currently receiving treatment and support to tackle the issue. So what must and can employers do to support their staff and protect their business?
There are two things to keep in mind: n W hat are the legal obligations? Although alcohol and drug addictions are not disabilities under the Equality Act 2010, there are conditions associated with it, which can be, for example depression and cirrhosis. If the person has a disability, then the employer has a legal obligation to consider and make reasonable adjustments. Providing counselling support to help them could be such an adjustment. n Do you want to retain the employee? Then it is certainly worth thinking about how you can help them if they don’t have a disability. If they have more than two years’ service, then an Employment Tribunal would expect you to try to help the employee overcome their addiction, perhaps by providing counselling, rather than exit them because of the addiction. Otherwise, the employer could be facing a Tribunal decision that any exit was an unfair dismissal.
It is worth considering having a routine testing policy in place, which Loch Associates is doing more and more of for our clients. Certain sectors such as construction already have programmes in place to protect health and safety. However, extending this to other sectors makes a lot of sense with employees in organisations without drug testing programmes reported to have 40% higher drug and alcohol use. Loch Associates Group can suppor t employers by carrying out drug and alcohol testing, as part of their drugs and alcohol policy. Testing not only ensures your staff are fit and safe to work and therefore reduces the risks to your business and staff, but prevents accidents or costly mistakes due to being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It’s important if you do go down the route of putting in place random testing that you ensure you have contractual consent and a clear policy in place before you start testing. Our expert employment Solicitors and HR Consultants can help you ensure the testing is carried out lawfully and work with you following any positive results being received too.
To find out more, contact Pam Loch or the team at Loch Associates Group T: on 01273 311 855 E: firstname.lastname@example.org www.lochassociates.co.uk
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HOW TO PAY YOURSELF AS A BUSINESS OWNER PENSION CONTRIBUTIONS
By Daniel Morgan, Managing Partner, Haines Watts Esher When setting up your business, the key aim is to drive a profi t. But once your business’s revenue becomes steady and reliable, a consideration will be how to pay yourself. Careful planning is needed to ensure that you are doing this in the most tax efficient way possible whilst also safeguarding your business’s cash reserves.
SEPARATING YOURSELF AND THE BUSINESS
It’s vital to remember that your personal money is completely separate to the company money. Often owners who started as a sole trader and have then gone on to incorporate as a limited company, find it difficult to get into the mindset of isolating their business’s finances from their own. There will be tax consequences for taking any money out of the business and this needs to be handled carefully.
PROTECTING THE BUSINESS’S RESERVES
When extracting cash, it is important to ensure that your business keeps enough working capital to continue running. This means that thorough forecasts will need to be undertaken to allow you to measure your cash reserves against a number of different scenarios. Then you can make an informed choice over the amount you would like to extract from the business and the timing for doing so.
SALARY VS DIVIDENDS
Salary and dividends incur different taxes and most of the time a combination of the two is best. However, this needs to be reviewed, particularly if there are other taxes such as Research & Development tax credits to consider. The different tax implications can be complex but at a glance: n Salary Has the benefi t of a tax-free personal allowance. It also has the advantage of running through the company payroll meaning that any tax or National Insurance contributions are taken at source monthly. Taking a modest salary also means that you can qualify for a state pension and can reduce your Corporate Tax bill. n Dividends There are also tax savings to be had through dividends. The first £2,000 is tax-free regardless of your tax bracket and can be utilised in addition to your personal allowance. Dividends are also taxed at a lower rate than a salary, but do not get a deduction from corporation tax.
Pension contributions can be one of the most tax-efficient ways to protect your wealth by making the most of the £40K yearly allowance (subject to income levels). Typically clients begin to take more of an interest in pensions once cash flow is good, and they don’t need access to the cash invested. Even if you aren’t considering a pension just yet, it is worthwhile having one set up with a small amount in. If over the preceding three years you haven’t utilised your allowances, you can use them for current contributions. This hugely increases the level of contribution when sufficient cash and profits are generated. You can also make contributions on behalf of your family members which can be useful for protecting generational wealth, subject to their role in the business.
The company can pay for items such as private health insurance on your behalf. These create a taxable benefit, for which the company pays employers NIC, and you would pay income tax. The very popular benefit currently is electric cars, which is very tax-efficient. I’m interested in cars, so can happily explain the tax benefits, and can also give my opinion on which car. I should really be on commission from Tesla and Porsche! Extraction of profits is a complex area in tax planning, and professional advice should always be sought before you make any decisions. There are many different variables to take into account and the right approach will be as unique as your business. If you would like to discuss the best way to pay yourself, get in touch. www.hwca.com/accountants-esher T: 020 8549 5137 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
In this article we look at options for moving on from your current premises or sharing your space
Commercial property – successfully managing your real estate The global pandemic has undoubtedly had an impact on commercial leasehold premises of all kinds and in all sectors. We have seen some businesses accelerating their plans for their real estate whilst for others their entire premises strategy will have been re-written. This could mean a business reducing their real estate portfolio, co-locating their operations or taking more space. Any of these objectives will involve a commercial tenant carefully considering its exit options. Landlords too will need to be ready to react to tenant requests and understand how best they can protect their investment. Most exit options available require landlord consent or agreement. Understanding what the landlord can and cannot ask for will be key. There are a variety of points to consider, and not all of the options will be available to all occupiers but understanding them is key to helping businesses formulate their next steps. If you are looking to reduce or increase the property footprint of your business or move to new premises, you will find the key points below. Typically, tenants will have one of four options to consider: n exercising a break clause; n assigning their lease to another tenant; n underletting; ns urrendering the lease.
EXERCISING A BREAK CLAUSE
This is usually the only way a tenant can unilaterally terminate their lease without the consent or agreement of the landlord. A tenant should check its lease carefully to see if they have a break date in the near future. It is important to know how much prior notice needs to be given to the landlord to exercise the break; six months is common, but it can be longer. Tenants should be wary of any conditions attached to a break right, these are very strictly construed – not complying with a condition can mean a tenant’s break is not valid, with the result that the tenant has to stay in the premises paying the rent until the end of the lease (or the next break date). From the landlord’s perspective, they should carefully review the lease to understand whether a break notice has been served correctly and what the break conditions are. This could be the difference between having tenanted premises and an empty unit.
ASSIGNING A LEASE
If the tenant can find someone to take on the lease, then they will almost certainly need their landlord’s prior written consent to the assignment. The lease will normally say that the landlord cannot unreasonably withhold or delay giving its consent, will set out the circumstances when consent can be withheld and will list the conditions the landlord can impose on the assignment.
It is important for landlords to understand the conditions, for example they may have the right to ask for a guarantor or a rent deposit. It will be crucial for a landlord to carry out referencing on the incoming tenant and a review of its accounts. This will help the landlord form a view whether the tenant will be able to pay the rent and help protect the value of the landlord’s investment.
There are a variety ❛❛ of points to consider,
and not all of the options will be available to all occupiers but understanding them is key to helping businesses formulate their next steps ❜❜
Platinum Jubilee UNDERLETTING
Where the landlord is entitled to refuse its consent to assign the lease, or to impose conditions that the new tenant cannot accept, it may still be possible to grant a lease to a third party that “sits underneath” the tenant’s own lease, known as an underlease. Landlords are often less able to refuse their consent to an underlease. The tenant will not be released from its obligations in its own lease. The tenant will however be able to pass down some or all of its own obligations to the under tenant in the underlease (payment of rent, repair liabilities and so on). The landlord’s consent will most likely be required before underletting and the lease will set out the conditions that apply to the underletting. Landlords will be concerned that, despite the tenant still being primarily responsible for the premises under their lease, the underlease rent is appropriate, the undertenant is using the premises for an acceptable use, the undertenant is a responsible occupier and the underlease is in an appropriate form. In some circumstances the undertenant can become the landlord’s direct tenant and therefore there is a legal as well as
If a tenant is unable to break its lease unilaterally, or find an assignee or undertenant, then a tenant could look to agree the “surrender” of its lease with a landlord. Many landlords may not be willing to accept a surrender, particularly where the premises would be difficult to re-let – it would leave them with an empty unit and they will be liable for business rates. Often a tenant will need to pay an incentive to the landlord to accept the surrender in such circumstances. management imperative behind the landlord wanting to keep a close eye on underletting. One advantage of underletting is that leases will sometimes allow a tenant to underlet part only of their premises. This can be particularly useful for tenants who want to retain some but not all of their space, allowing them to mitigate part payment of the rent and reconfigure their space to suit the changing needs of their business. Landlords will need to ensure that their leases correctly control such underlettings. Too many underleases may affect the marketability of the building.
However, some landlords may be willing to engage – they might have development plans or perhaps another tenant lined up. If a tenant is very lucky, the landlord may even be willing to make a payment to their tenant in such circumstances. A surrender will normally give both parties a clean break from their lease obligations. It is important for the surrender deed to clearly set out these arrangements to ensure that all required payments are made, and neither party retains any unintended liability after the surrender, or releases liability that they intended to remain.
The lease is the rulebook that governs a tenant’s exit options and sets out what a landlord is entitled to ask for in response, so it is the place to start for a tenant considering its premises strategy or a landlord faced with an application for consent or other proposal from its tenant. A well negotiated lease can help support the landlord and tenant’s immediate requirements and protect them against the uncertainty of the future. We are here to help both landlords and tenants secure the best possible outcomes.
Ben Price and Tom Watkins are both Partners in our Real Estate Team, both advise commercial landlords and tenants in all sectors. They are part of a real estate team which is known for “First rate legal minds. Highly efficient and organised in their dealings. Immensely personable” (Legal 500, 2022)
SUSSEX BUSINESS AWARDS 2022
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We felt very privileged to be among ❛❛ some incredible businesses and we’re
We are still a bit in shock! This recognition has given the whole team a lift to have and we’re very proud
to have won Green Mop
absolutely over the moon to win Thomson Properties
CATEGORIES Best Customer Service Business Growth Award Businessperson of the Year Community Hero Award Creative Industries Award Employer of the Year Innovation in Business Award International Business of the Year Professional Services Award Start-up of the Year Small Business of the Year Medium Business of the Year Large Business of the Year Company of the Year Young Achiever of the Year
is very much an award ❛❛for This our team – each member works so hard and is dedicated to our vision and our goals. We honestly couldn’t have won it without them all. What a fantastic end to the year for them and the business Nordell
SUSSEX BUSINESS AWARDS 2022
INNOVATION Platinum Jubilee
The Innovation and Investment Roadshow Sussex Innovation’s expert consultancy team is hitting the road over the next six months for a series of free live coaching events across East Sussex. If you have ambitions to develop a new product, shift your business model, grow your company or raise investment, it’s not to be missed Search for Sussex Innovation on Eventbrite to book your place at one of these upcoming dates, packed with facilitated workshops, expert advice and mentoring. With the support of East Sussex County Council and funding from the UK Community Renewal Fund, each day of sessions has been purpose-built to respond to the needs of local SMEs.
n Investment Bootcamp, 14th June Lansdowne Hotel n Innovation Masterclass, 15th June Lansdowne Hotel
n Investment Bootcamp, 20th September White Rock Hotel n Innovation Masterclass 21st September White Rock Hotel
n Investment Bootcamp, 11th October East Sussex National Hotel n Innovation Masterclass, 12th October East Sussex National Hotel
WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE INVESTMENT BOOTCAMP
How to Design and Present a Pitch Deck Your pitch deck will often be investors’ first exposure to your business. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so how do you decide what to include? We’ll explain what our community of investors want to see, and how to create a deck that stands out without burying the important detail.
Pitching Your Story With only a short window to impress, a clear and compelling story is essential to grab investors’ attention and get them bought in to your idea. This session shares the secrets of how to use your business journey as the starting point to craft an effective narrative that will leave an impression.
Developing a Video Teaser In this practical session, presenter and performance coach Doug Faulkner and videographer Sam Beard take you through the skills, tools and techniques to create a short video teaser that you can share with the investment community to win the opportunity to pitch.
A crash course for start-up founders preparing to raise funds. Working as part of a small cohort of likeminded business owners, you’ll learn how to develop an investment-ready business plan and pitch or pursue alternative finance.
Alternative Finance Angel investment is one of the most popular routes to securing start-up finance, but it’s not the only way. A breakdown of the range of different options, including grants, bank loans, equity fundraising and more – as well as when and how to apply them. Fireside Chat What Angels are Looking For Interviews with successful angel investors about how they decide which projects to back, the due diligence that every investor needs, and which factors make the biggest difference in the pitch.
Implementing Innovation How can you minimise risk and uncertainty while trying to do something new? Turn strategy and process to your advantage to move on quickly from failure and capitalise on success. Leading and Managing Innovation Innovative businesses depend on strong leadership with the flexibility to adapt and balance long-term ambitions with short-term plans. Uncover your own leadership style and learn how to play to your strengths. Innovation and Sustainability Building sustainable practices has become something that business owners can no longer afford to ignore. But facing a seemingly insurmountable challenge, what are the simple steps we can take to start protecting people and the planet, and plotting a practical route to net zero carbon? Finding Funding A great product may never succeed without the financial backing to reach the market. Find out the secrets to securing investors, grants or alternative means of finance to give your innovation the best chance of success. Creativity in Entrepreneurship Unlock the power of lateral thinking and creative design throughout your business by building a culture that encourages and rewards ideas. Discover different approaches to structuring creative problem solving, as well as tools and techniques you can use to enhance it.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE INNOVATION MASTERCLASS
Inspiring workshops for SME owners who want to think bigger and create new opportunities for their business. You’ll be challenged with strategies to develop and implement new ways of working, rooted in research, insight and world-leading expertise from the University of Sussex Business School, allied to practical methods developed by the Sussex Innovation team.
The Search for Opportunity How do we discover new ideas, and decide which ones to pursue? The day’s first workshop sets out how to differentiate a great insight from a real commercial opportunity. Lean Thinking Lean Thinking underpins many of the biggest start-up successes of the 21st century. But what is it, and how can you apply it in your business to achieve more with less?
Capturing and Measuring Innovation An innovation hasn’t succeeded until you find a way to both capture the value it delivers and measure how things have changed. The day closes by discussing how to confirm the impact of the Innovation Masterclass on your business journey.
INOVAT Claiming VAT refunds on shopping when travelling to Europe can be a very stressful experience for many and that is exactly why Sonya Baranova and Ilya Melkumov decided to start Inovat. Here’s a look at their entrepreneurship journey with Inovat, starting at university and going strong presently. Sonya was an early employee at Revolut Legal and Operations teams, and then an Investor at Fuel Ventures while Ilya was investing in start-ups at an earlystage VC fund FOM Capital, and sold his first business in gaming at the age of 19. Both enjoy travelling but have encountered the problem of claiming VAT refunds numerous times which led to missed flights and a lot of stress. They both believed that the outdated VAT refund process, which included high fees and often required paper forms and a lot of manual work, could benefit from technologies that are helping many industries to improve and modernise the processes today. They mapped out currently available solutions and figured out what the industry didn’t yet have and where they could fill the gap. They then quickly started building the actual product, resulting in Inovat, a digital solution that allows travellers to save thousands of pounds on shopping stress-free. When asked about their business and personal motivations, they mentioned that they are not the only ones who suffered from the problem of getting tax refunds while abroad. Many travellers are still not aware of the fact that they can save more than 20% on shopping and many struggle with obsolete processes which involve wasted time in queues and high hidden fees. Both Sonya and Ilya, are motivated to allow travellers to easily get their tax back from any purchase, through Inovat, thus saving them money and their valuable time. They state that making customers happy is the most satisfying and rewarding part of their job as Inovat founders.
Left-right: Sonya Baranova and Ilya Melkumov Currently, Inovat is live in Belgium and Austria, and they are in the process of expanding its operations rapidly by adding more countries to its offering. They are planning on launching their service in France and Spain soon and working on signing partnerships, such as one with MasterCard. However, they have faced problems along the way due to the regulatory changes from Brexit and then the pandemic. They have tackled these problems head-on and adapted their solution to a B2B2C model, allowing for a ‘one click’ integration with financial institutions which allows travellers to receive refunds directly to their banking apps. Inovat has already started the integration phase with a Tier 1 bank in Europe. Both founders wanted to give a big thanks to NatWest Accelerator for helping them through its mentorship and support, and for making it possible for Inovat to start discussions with NatWest on the integration of the solution into the NatWest banking app. They acknowledge that running a start-up is a learning curve that can be both exciting and hard, but it is important to be adaptable, be open to feedback and continue learning from your successes
and mistakes. They also mention two key things to keep in mind when starting a start-up: 1) Customer is the King. Building the technology that brings value, makes lives easier, and is needed is crucial. 2) Team. Choosing the right people is very important as they set the speed for the start-up development – and the speed has to be fast.
To end, they had one ask for the people reading this. “If you are travelling to Europe anytime soon, save money on shopping with Inovat. Simply sign up on https://inovat.tax/ and get your Tax Free stress-free”.
Thinkers Challengers Innovators Leaders DISCOVER THE SUS SE X MBA FIND OUT MORE
Businesses are facing increasing costs and soaring inflation. Simply passing those costs on to customers cannot always be the answer, say Andrew Griggs and Andrew Tate from Kreston Reeves
Increased costs and rising inflation - businesses must rethink and recalibrate to shape a better future As the Chancellor delivered his annual Spring Statement in late March, inflation hit a four-decade high of 6.2% and there is talk of it hitting 10% later in 2022. This follows many months of increased manufacturing and supply chain costs, soaring energy bills and increased wages. The uncertainty of the Covid pandemic, the UK’s new relationship with its largest trading partner and now conflict in Ukraine driving up energy costs even further will continue to create challenging economic and trading conditions for many months if not years to come. Some businesses will look to pass on these costs, at least in part, to customers, yet for many that will simply not be an option. Suppliers on fixed price contracts will have no choice but to try and renegotiate or absorb increased costs. Consumers also feeling the pinch will have to make sometimes difficult choices voting with their feet and wallet. Other businesses will look to maintain profitability by slashing costs. An example might be cutting a workforce. P&O faced widespread condemnation for its decision to fire its 800 UK employees and replace them with cheaper agency workers. Other businesses that look to follow suit may
face the same criticism and damage to their brand. It is unlikely businesses can expect the UK government to provide meaningful support, having spent £370bn over the past two years helping families and
businesses through the C ovid pandemic. In fact, the tax burden on businesses has recently increased (April 2022) and may increase further with the Government facing the electorate in 2024 with the promise of tax cuts.
Platinum Jubilee A TIME TO RECALIBRATE
Now is the time for entrepreneurs to rethink and look towards building their businesses for the next decade. That will mean addressing immediate challenges and, in the longer term, recalibrating business models. A ‘whole business’ view and an investment mindset is needed to build tomorrow’s business. Labour, energy, property and logistics will typically represent the largest overheads facing a business. Those that have not already done so need to understand the impact of these costs now and in the near future. Look for quick wins but consider carefully the impacts. Businesses are already taking radical steps. Home technology retailer Currys in late March 2022 announced that it was to ditch its West London HQ in favour of flexible working space both saving cash and in acknowledgement of hybrid working patterns. Others will undoubtedly follow.
❛❛ ‘A whole business’ view and
an investment mindset is needed to build tomorrow’s business ❜❜
Businesses should look too at logistics functions. Innovation driven by large retail and logistics businesses is now also available to businesses of all sizes enabling them to better utilise vehicle fleets, warehousing and delivery schedules.
Whilst businesses crave certainty, that remains in short supply. Yet uncertainty also provides oppor tunit y and sometimes the much-needed driver for fundamental change. For farsighted businesses, the future continues to look promising.
Customer loyalty is, of course, to be desired but not at a cost to the business. A long and often hard look at the profitability of customers is good practice. This can be achieved through solid management accounting and well thought out reporting. Costs can also be scrutinised through such systems.
HOW KRESTON REEVES CAN HELP
Businesses could also invest time to consider more fundamental and structural change in the mid- to longerterm. Now is the time to bring an investment mindset to the business and recalibrate. Areas to consider include: n M any businesses are investing in AI technology to drive greater productivity, with matching investment in the training and development of staff. AI will continue to dramatically reshape businesses over the next decade. Those that don’t invest will continue to struggle. n W hilst globalisation is far from dead, businesses are looking to bring manufacturing back to the UK from China and Russia. They are looking for greater control over pricing and security of businesscritical supply chains. It is a trend that will continue. Re-shoring will demand considerable investment from businesses and drive greater employment demands. n For many businesses, this will mean lower profits as cash is reinvested into the business building for the next decade. A clear understanding what that means for business owners and investors will be paramount.
It is not a journey business leaders need take on their own. Kreston Reeves has dedicated teams that can help businesses better understand the costs facing a business and their impact today and in the future. We can help with forecasting and scenario-planning in different economic and trading conditions that aid better informed decisions. We have specialist teams that work alongside business leaders to explore how technology can transform key functions within a business, where the investment in people is needed, and where the business needs to be transformed and recalibrated. And we have a dedicated team of restructuring specialists that can help turn around troubled businesses.
Visit our Shaping your future hub of resources for support and guidance with your business planning www.krestonreeves.com/ shapingyourfuture, or call 0330 124 1399. Andrew Griggs, Senior Partner and Head of International can be contacted via email at andrew. email@example.com and Andrew Tate, Partner and Head of Restructuring and Transformation can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
› COM M E N T SARAH BILBY
Managing Director, Business Banking London and the South East
“A lack of virus-related restrictions and the continuous movement towards normality once again supported private sector activity growth in the South East during April. Despite softening from March, both output and new orders rose markedly, and at above trend rates. Employment growth was also solid, even following reports of voluntary resignations, retirements and difficulties sourcing skilled candidates. Capacity pressures continued to emerge however, but at a relatively weak pace suggesting firms are somewhat keeping up with demand. “However, the strong performance was once again overshadowed by record, and nearrecord increases in output prices and input costs respectively. Geopolitical tensions, lockdowns in China and supply-side issues have exacerbated costs over the last few months. We can expect elevated prices for at least the duration of the year, but firms will hope inflationary pressures subside before it takes too much of a toll on demand.”
NATWEST'S MARKET ANALYSIS DEMAND AND OUTLOOK GROWTH OF NEW BUSINESS SLOWS, BUT REMAINS SOLID
NEW BUSINESS INDE X
sa, >50=growth since previous month
Companies in the South East noted a 14th consecutive monthly expansion in new work intakes during April. The rate of growth was solid and quicker than the long-run series average. Where sales rose, panellists mentioned a pick-up in footfall following the easing of restrictions, and buoyant demand conditions in the service sector. That said, the rate of growth softened to a four-month low with some firms reporting that price hikes deterred sales.
54.8 Apr ‘22
70 60 50 40 30 20 10 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22
EMPLOY MENT INDE X
sa, >50=growth since previous month 65
Sources: Natwest, IHS Markit
54.9 Apr ‘22
BUSINESS CAPACITY STAFFING LEVELS RISE AT THE JOINTSOFTEST PACE FOR 13 MONTHS
60 55 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 Sources: Natwest, IHS Markit
April data revealed a 14th successive monthly rise in head-counts at private sector companies in the South East. That said, the rate of growth was the joint-weakest since March 2021. While some firms raised their head-counts in response to rising orders, others recorded voluntary resignations, retirements and a lack of skilled candidates. Staffing levels rose at a quicker pace across the UK as a whole than in the South East.
Platinum Jubilee EXPORTS EXPORT CONDITIONS CONTINUE TO IMPROVE SOLIDLY
E X P O R T C L I M AT E I N D E X
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. At 54.3 in April, unchanged from that in March, the Export Climate Index signalled a solid overall improvement in export conditions. Of the key export destinations for South East firms, Ireland recorded the strongest expansion for the third month in succession. France followed, recording the quickest expansion in over four years. The US saw output growth moderate while the Netherlands registered a sharp uptick. Germany, meanwhile, noted the softest expansion for three months.
sa, >50=growth since previous month
70 60 50 40 30 20 10
07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 Sources: Natwest, IHS Markit
TOP E XPORT M A RK E TS
❛❛ Companies in the South
East noted a 14th consecutive monthly expansion in new work intakes during April ❜❜ PRICES NEAR-RECORD INCREASE IN INPUT PRICES
Private sector companies in the South East registered another monthly rise in overall cost burdens in April. In fact, the rate of inflation was substantial, and the second-quickest on record, surpassed only by that seen in the previous survey period. Panel comments continued to indicate surging prices for fuel, materials, wages, transportation and energy. Once again, manufacturing companies saw the steeper increase in input prices compared to service providers.
Rank 1 2 3 4 5
Market USA Germany Netherlands France Ireland
Weight 16.4% 12.0% 6.3% 6.1% 6.0%
Output Index, Mar ‘22 56.0 54.3 55.7 57.6 59.6 Sources: Natwest, IHS Markit
INPUT PRICES INDE X
sa, >50=growth since previous month 90
84.4 Apr ‘22
80 70 60 50 40 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22
PRICES CHARGED INDE X
sa, >50=inflation since previous month
71.5 Apr 22
Sources: Natwest, IHS Markit
OUTPUT PRICE INFLATION ACCELERATES TO NEW RECORD IN APRIL
Charges levied by private sector companies in the South East rose at a survey-record pace for the third month running during April. Global material shortages, the energy crisis and higher prices for a range of inputs prompted firms to hike their selling prices during the month.
65 60 55 50 45
By comparison, average input costs rose at a quicker pace in the South East than the UK as a whole.
40 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 Sources: Natwest, IHS Markit
CHARITY FOCUS Platinum Jubilee
MARTLETS ON THE MOVE
Martlets is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and big changes are afoot to ensure the hospice continues to provide expert care for many years to come. New CEO, Claire Irving, talks about the importance of placemaking, community, and local business engagement Mention Martlets to anyone living in and around Brighton and Hove and they are likely to tell you that a friend, family member or colleague has been touched by their care in some way; over the years, more than 34,000 local people have accessed Martlets’ services. Since opening in 1997, the hospice has been based in Wayfield Avenue, Hove, but its remit extends west to Portslade, north to Falmer and as far east as Newhaven. Claire Irving joined the organisation in March of this year and is leading on exciting plans to keep Martlets caring for many years to come. “Over the past 25 years, expectations of hospice care have changed significantly,” says Claire. “As we look to the future, we need to upgrade our facilities. To achieve this, Martlets will be rebuilding a large section of the hospice this summer and we will temporarily close our doors at Wayfield Avenue. Our staff will continue to deliver expert care at temporary sites across our community.” Martlets’ inpatient unit will be relocating to a private floor at Maycroft Manor Care Home in Brighton, and Claire is keen to point out that patients and families will continue to access the amazing care and support they have come to expect from Martlets. “We may be shifting our location for a while, but Martlets will remain at the heart of the community and local people
will still have full access to all our services,” she explains. “That includes our inpatient unit, caring for people in their own homes, and outpatient services such as physio, rehab and counselling.” Meanwhile, construction will begin at the Wayfield Avenue site. The new facilities will include 14 ensuite rooms and more space for patients and their loved ones to spend time together. It will also increase the space available to offer outpatient appointments. “We want to offer comfort and dignity as well as a high level of clinical and supportive care, so that families can experience their time together as richly as possible. That aspect is a crucial part of placemaking in healthcare.” Patients and families visiting Martlets were asked what additional facilities they would like to see in the new building. “Our patients told us that ‘cuddle beds’ would make a big difference so that their children and loved ones could cuddle up alongside them when they visited,” explains Claire. “So, we’re providing larger beds and creating more space for families to spend time together. Our new inpatient unit will also provide garden access from all rooms.” “Life expectancy has increased over the past 25 years which is good news,” adds Claire, “but it does mean we’re seeing a lot more patients with illnesses that
occur in later life such as Alzheimer’s. Our aim is to engage with people from a diverse range of backgrounds and to provide specialist care for many more facing terminal illness in our community, particularly those who are most vulnerable.” “We rely on the generosity of the local business community, and we know that businesses aren’t just faceless entities, they are comprised of people and individuals.” Community-building continues to be key for the charity as it moves into this new phase of development. “We have an amazing business community that supports Martlets in so many varied ways,” says Claire. “Please get in touch and help us understand your needs as a business. From exciting individual fundraising challenges to booking a group table at our Halloween Ball or sponsoring an event, we’ll connect you with an opportunity that works for you and your team.”
To find out more about Martlets’ business partnership opportunities, contact Susi Owusu, Partnerships and Philanthropy Manager, on 07469 855568 or email email@example.com
At Martlets we rely on your HELP , but we never take it for granted. So, thank you for joining US , as we launch what is possibly our biggest challenge yet: to BUILD a new hospice. Why do we need it? Because after twenty-four years during which time we’ve created SOMEWHERE truly unique, and helped over 25,000 people face end-of-life with dignity and hope, we need a new home. A place THAT’S better equipped to deal with the challenges of a pandemic, and which can act as a hub for our work in Brighton and Hove, the Deans, and the Havens. Somewhere FULL of dedicated clinicians, therapists, nurses, and support staﬀ, who help every terminally ill person they meet and OF course, their families and loved ones too, in the building itself, and the surrounding community. In fact, it’s our aim to help each person we meet, to ﬁnd the comfort, care and purpose they need to make the most of the LIFE they have left. With your gift, we can make it happen.
BE A PART OF OUR MOVING STORY www.martlets.org.uk Words poster.indd 1
Charity number: 802145 11/05/2022 09:37:23
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CATEGORIES Chamber Member of the Year Employer of the Year Business Growth Award Most Sustainable Business Professional Services Award Best Customer Service Business Innovation of the Year Young Professional of the Year Businessperson of the Year Community Hero Award International Business of the Year Start-up of the Year Small Business of the Year Medium Business of the Year Large Business of the Year Company of the Year
All of the team ❛❛ work so hard and the award win was very much for them ramsac
When doing good is good business Can you do me a favour? Take your mobile phone, laptop, and wifi router, put them in the car and drive them to a field. Now dump them on the grass and tell me, how are you going to power them now? How are you going to run your business if you can’t find a power source? Who are you going to call when your ability to pay the bills is threatened assuming your phone isn’t dead too? By Kate Bendix
If you live in Africa, you call Africa Power and ask to speak to its founder, MDHUB member Dr Alastair Livesey and he will tailor-make an electricity system bespoke to you. I kid you not. Africa Power was set up ten years ago to provide “African solutions to African problems”. In this instance how do you run a household or small business and make money without electricity? You can’t afford to buy the infrastructure and there is no Western-style power grid. It’s impossible to grow crops for the market if you can’t irrigate them, power your clippers if you’re a barber or charge your phone without power. So you stay poor, and underfed and your prospects remain diminished. Alastair says “Africans aren’t interested in tapping into a power network, most of them wouldn’t have the equipment to make use of it. They want the services electricity can supply; irrigation, refrigeration, and something so simple – phone charging. Women want to recharge their torches so they can see where they’re stepping in the dark and fishermen want
to haul in their catch without drowning. They want a useful, mobile outcome. “So, we lease them that outcome, a renewable energy source and the necessary tools to go with it.”
Africa Power leases ❛❛ me a Business in a Box
which includes solar power, storage batteries, power sockets, lights and a fridge ❜❜
Alastair and his team developed the Business in a Box aimed at microbusinesses, smallholders, and store owners, for example, and it is, in my humble opinion, downright genius. It works thusly. Say I want to sell locally produced milk, fish and meat, cold drinks to thirsty customers and rent out my electrical socket to power hungry mobile phone users. There’s only one snag, I don’t have electricity. Africa Power leases me a Business in a Box which includes solar power, storage batteries, power sockets, lights and a fridge.
that providing services such as this are best done by businesses for profit. NGOs do a great job but creating opportunity and wealth is our strength”. Alastair was first introduced to the MDHUB when he joined the Coast To Capital Peer Networks programme in March 2020 and then went on to become a member in 2021.
The genius bit, I also get trained on how to use and maintain this window into my future prospects, with energy saving advice, business training and support. So, I get my profit margins right, I’m now ‘solar savvy’ and sell my spare electricity to mobile users raising my profits further. Now I can prosper. Alastair again, “It’s in my interest for my customers to succeed. As the shop gets busier they’re going to need more fridges. We advise on which products to stock and how to negotiate with big brands. If a business fails I’m left with second hand equipment and unimpressed investors. So we take every business and then lease them precisely what they need. We don’t sell kilowatt hours, we lease the equipment which allows small businesses to flourish. And sometimes we save lives. “Research by the RNLI shows more fishermen on Lake Victoria (half the size of the North Sea) die by drowning than from HIV/Aids, malaria and TB combined. They fish using rudimentary floats with kerosene lights on top to attract the fish and haul in their catch. We’ve replaced the floats with lifebuoys with a recharge-
able light attached saving them $35 a month on kerosene and increasing the catch by up to 100%. Feeding the family, making a profit and saving a third of their income.” Alastair’s background is in renewable energy and efficiency from as far back as the 1980s working for Shell. He was approached by a company that built cell phone towers to sell renewable energy in Africa and realised selling wouldn’t work but leasing would. Africa Power was born and set up with grant funding. “I believe
MDHUB’s support is invaluable to Alastair. “I get a lot out of my peer group, but enormous support from MDHUB as a whole. There’s so much knowledge and advice from other members and a wealth of experience. They’re helping me tap into grants and look for loans, and another member is now doing my marketing. She’s brilliant. MDHUB is also great at what I call ‘soft support’, during Covid they helped us to hang in there, for two years! We all kept each other’s heads above water. Membership aside you can’t buy that kind of support.
Africa Power web site www.africapowerltd.com Interview by MDHUB Member Kate Bendix.
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Caring in the community for children and young people and schools, to ensure that everyone involved in the child’s life is working from the same information. This also ensures that families have a constant person who can help if they have any questions.
Some people think that all of Chestnut Tree House’s care takes place at the hospice, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. As well as organising day trips for children and young people to places like the Sea Life centre, adventure parks, and even speedboating, a lot of care takes place in families’ own homes. Chestnut Tree House’s community care is a vital aspect of the hospice. It gives parents and carers in Sussex and South East Hampshire a well-earned break, children and young people a routine and some independence, and it gives families additional support during times of crisis.
GIVING CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE INDEPENDENCE
When a member of Chestnut’s Community Team visits a family’s home, each child (depending on their abilities) and family are empowered to make a choice about what they want to do. Whether they want to go out and do an activity, stay at home, visit Chestnut Tree House, or even go and see a sibling’s school play, they can facilitate that. On a typical visit, the team includes clinical care which, depending on each child’s needs, can include medication, feeding, and clinical interventions. What they get up to on each visit varies – some children like routine and want to do the same activity each time, whilst others want to do something different.
GIVING PARENTS AND CARERS A BREAK
Children and young people with a lifelimiting or life-threatening condition often require 24/7 care, and due to their complex medical needs, a parent may be the child’s sole carer. Community visits provide families with respite and an opportunity to take time away from their round-the-clock caring duties. Some families like to use this time to relax or get on top of daily errands, others like to use it to spend quality time
Each family is given a key worker that is only a phone call away, so they have regular contact between visits. Families often phone if they have a medical question or need some advice.
BEING THERE AT THE END-OF-LIFE
with their other children, and some like to take the opportunity to go out for dinner or to the cinema. Whatever they choose to do, Chestnut Tree House is there to take care of the child, allowing parents and carers to have time for themselves or relax with their child and just be ‘mum’ or ‘dad’ rather than a carer.
OFFERING ADDITIONAL SUPPORT
Often the children and young people the hospice cares for have complex health, care and nursing needs that require a range of skills and services, provided by different organisations and professionals. From doctors’ appointments, meetings with consultants, school nurses, social workers and so on, there can be several services involved and it’s important that they all work together to provide care for families. To help families, the Chestnut team can attend different meetings with them, such as those with doctors, consultants,
Being there for families throughout their journey is a vital part of Chestnut Tree House’s care, and they are often alongside families around the time of the death of their child to offer help, support, or guidance. At this difficult time, the team is often involved in complex decision-making and symptom management, managing the child’s medical needs to make sure they are as comfortable as possible in their final days, hours, and minutes. The nurses can move the child to the Stars bereavement suite at the hospice or to a funeral director, depending on the family’s wishes. When a child dies, there are steps that need to be taken, and this can often feel overwhelming for families when they are going through such a distressing time. The team is there to support them through this process and help ensure that everything that needs to be done is done, at the same time as supporting and guiding the family through their preparations for the funeral and returning home.
To find out more about children’s hospice care, please visit www.chestnut.org.uk/blog To find out how you can support local children and young people who need hospice care, visit www.chestnut.org.uk. It costs over £4 million every year to provide all of Chestnut Tree House’s care services. Only a small proportion of this comes from central government, so they rely heavily on donations and fundraising. Your support makes children’s hospice care possible.
INFLUENCERS FORUM What is intellectual property (IP)? Intellectual property is a broad categorical description for a set of intangible assets owned and legally protected by a company or individual from outside use or implementation without consent. An intangible asset is a non-physical asset that a company or person owns. The concept of intellectual property relates to the fact that certain products of human intellect should be afforded the same protection rights that apply to physical property, which are called tangible assets. Most developed economies have legal measures in place to protect both forms of property. Companies are diligent when it comes to identifying and protecting intellectual property because it holds such high value in today’s increasingly knowledgebased economy. Also, producing value intellectual property requires heavy investments in brain power, time and skilled labour. This translates into heavy investments by organisations and individuals that should not be accessed with no rights by others. Extracting value from intellectual property and preventing others from deriving value from it is an important responsibility for any company. Intellectual property can take many forms. Although it’s an intangible asset, it can be far more valuable than a company’s physical assets. Intellectual property can present a competitive advantage and, as a result, is fiercely guarded and protected by the company that owns the property.
Maarten Hoffmann is the facilitator for the Platinum Influencer Forums The Platinum Media Group is the largest circulation business publishing group in the UK, reaching up to 720,000 readers each month across three titles.
Lesley is a marketing professional, having spent many years with Capital Radio in London and the Observer Newspaper, and was instrumental in the launch of the Observer Magazine.
T: 07767 613707 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Platinum Publisher
Commercial Director Platinum Media Group
INFLUENCERS BUSINESS FORUM
JONATHAN GRANT Partner DMH Stallard
UK Chartered Trade Mark Attorney Dehns
Sam works with owner managed businesses and large corporates to ensure they receive comprehensive corporate tax advice. She specialises in employee share schemes and incentives, transaction tax structures, Research and Development.
Jonathan is Head of DMH Stallard’s corporate department and he maintains an active corporate practice across the south east. In 2021 the regional team handled deals in excess of £400 million. Jonathan himself is an award winning deal maker and has managed many deals where the intellectual property assets of a company has had a significant influence on the final deal value.
Alexandra assists in a variety of UK, and international trade mark matters for a wide-range of clients from individuals to multinational corporations, in industries as diverse as sport, cosmetics, medical technology and healthcare, media and entertainment, and hospitality. Dehns is a leading European IP law firm. Top tier ranked, with over 260 people across nine offices (including London, Munich and Oslo.)
Corporate Tax Director Kreston Reeves
Information Expert: Intellectual Property BIPC Jeremy O’Hare is an Information Expert in Intellectual Property (IP) at the British Library’s Business & IP Centre, and has worked for the British Library in a number of roles since 2006. He presents the Centre’s series of IP workshops and oneto-one clinics. Jeremy writes for the British Library’s Innovation and Enterprise blog as well as promoting the importance and value of IP to a diverse range of businesses. email@example.com www.bl.uk/business-and-ip-centre/ innovating-for-growth
Franchise Development and Recruitment Consultant The Franchising Centre
UK and European Patent Attorney and an Associate Dehns
Pam Gordon is a Franchise Consultant with The Franchising Centre, the UK’s leading team of professional consultants, bringing unparalleled knowledge and experience to clients’ projects. She has a background in finance and business development, and has spent the past 23 years in the franchising sector working with many different franchise businesses. A member of the British Franchise Association, she is committed to ethical franchising.
Alex has a wide variety of technical expertise, but his patent work is mainly focused on aerospace-related subject matter. Alex primarily works with large multinational companies in a variety of fields including aerospace, healthcare, medical devices, and oil and gas. Dehns is a leading European IP law firm. Top tier ranked, with over 260 people across nine offices (including London, Munich and Oslo.)
INFLUENCERS FORUM Platinum Jubilee
Alexandra, how active is the market of people infringing IP? AN: Online, it’s pretty much constant. For trademarks, infringement doesn’t have to be intentional. It’s not just looking at those people who are intentionally trying to rip off someone else’s product. It’s also about safeguarding your particular goods or services and the space around it. We say to companies that they should be vigilant on social media, looking at domain names that people are using, because infringements will pop up all the time. There are so many companies trading, it’s a really crowded field. It is becoming more difficult to carve out a space for yourself. There are a lot of online-only businesses, which makes it more accessible for people to start up their own business these days. MH: Alexander, as a patent attorney, protection of IP comes under the word ‘patent’ I assume? AF: There’s a lot of different types of IP rights. I deal primarily with patents, but I also do registered designs. A patent protects an idea, whereas the design, for instance, protects the aesthetic of something; it’s a different aspect. The patent can’t be used to protect the aesthetics, the design is for that. So you have to restrict yourself to the different types, and work out which one is best for you. The patent is quite a powerful form of IP, because if you’ve invented something, it doesn’t matter what it looks like, if someone comes along and does the same thing, using those same technical features, you’ve carved out that space, then you’ve got an argument against them. Coming back to the overall question - for big companies, they’re very aware and active about working out what their competitors are doing, what innovations are coming through and so on. Because the patents are all on a Public Register, there will be watch lists, and you’ll have people looking out for things getting published, particularly in areas of technology they’re working in. And that company is now looking for a hole between that patent and that patent to get their product in it…? AF: That can happen. That’s what we’d call a ‘workaround’. You’d have to be careful about what you’re doing with that because if you’re reading a patent, just because you think it means ‘that’, it doesn’t necessarily mean a court in Bulgaria will also think it means ‘that’, particularly if you’re looking at worldwide jurisdictions.
❛❛ Registering your trademark is a really sound investment ❜❜ Pam, from a franchise point of view, it’s vital to franchise with an appropriate name. Do you come across this a lot? PG: Hugely. When I start working with businesses who want to franchise or licence, they’ve not done anything about their IP protection. The assumption sometimes for small businesses is that having a domain name leads them to believe they are then protected. We know that’s not the case. I did one years ago with a local business called the Landscape Gardening Company, but the trading name was too descriptive. So we had to look at re-branding before they started on the franchising journey. Make sure your trading name, your domain name or your brand can actually be protected in some way before you start. That’s a perfect time to bring Jeremy in because you’re working with a lot of new companies, and you’re bringing that up at the start – get your IP sorted… JO: That’s key for us. We really push that message of getting into IP as early as you possibly can. I’ve been an agony uncle many times for people who have got their heart and mind settled a particular brand name that they’ve wanted to start with - only to find it’s in use by someone else. We offer more targeted information to help a particular entrepreneur in their industry make good decisions. When they hopefully increase in scale, this will all scale up with them. So get it right early, and you can do much better later. PG: The other thing that I come across quite often is that they’ve had a design done for their branding, but actually, they don’t own it. So it’s often useful to do an IP audit before they’re going to start. Jonathan, from a DMH point of view, when you’re preparing a company for sale, you must be coming up across this all the time? JG: We do. The common issue is websites. Small businesses get a website designer to help them, and if they’re freelancers, then the assumption is that the designer owns that copyright. If you get your employees to create your website, the assumption is the business owns the website.
Sam, from Kreston Reeves’ point of view, how often do you get involved in IP issues? SJ: All of the time. Touching on the sale point, what tends to happen is a buyer will come and say, ‘we’ll buy you for five million.’ And then we need to break that down into what is making up that five million. But when we actually get to IP, it’s ‘well what is the value of that?’ There are different tax reliefs as well. They want to get these intangible pieces of IP, the ones that are registered, and they’ve actually been protected because we can get tax relief for those. Businesses need to be looking at this long before sale. We created the Platinum Media Group and Platinum Business Magazine about 15 years ago. About five years ago, a new magazine came out called Platinum which is a Silver Surfer Magazine. Would I have had any rights against another company who came out calling themselves ‘Platinum’? JG: You get a lawyer’s answer for this - you might have protection, you might not. The answer is if your readership – the people who know you as Platinum Business – confuse the other Platinum magazine as being you, then you would have a common law action in passing that off; that you’re confusing your buyers into thinking they’re buying you. Even if there was no official registration of our name? JG: It’s a common law right. But it’s quite hard to prove, because you’ve got to show that members of the public or your readers would think they were buying you when they were buying this other magazine. The frightening thing with most companies here with IP is cost; of fighting or taking someone on. The cost of registering is a lot cheaper than going into battle. We would have struggled to fight the other Platinum because they are in one space, which is the Silver Surfer area, and they’re national. We are a regional business and current affairs magazine. In this example, what would your advice to me have been? AN: It depends on how much they were affecting what you’re doing. If they’re not causing you any harm, then you might not deem that worthwhile to fight. What this highlights is registering your trademark is a really sound investment. In terms of dispute, if you’d been able to just write to these people, and enclose a copy of your trademark registration, then that’s quite often enough for the other party to back down. That registration should be an investment from the beginning, and it can really help you reduce the costs of having to enforce and defend your IP in the future.
INFLUENCERS FORUM Platinum Jubilee
There are a lot of new businesses coming along all of the time. What are the costs of registering an IP? PG: The IPO websites are quite straightforward. If you’ve got a very simple business, it’s quite clear, and you can register links for £170 +VAT. So I’m starting my new business, and I’ve paid my £170, when it comes to a dispute, do I have enough protection with this? JG: If you get it registered, this is an absolute protection. PG: It’s the brand, the logo and the name. JG: ‘It can’t be descriptive’ is the easiest way to remember it. The ‘Landscape Gardening Company’ was a good example. It describes the service, but you can’t protect that name. The website is protected by copyright as it’s created. Another good example is a car company I dealt with. It was a secondhand car dealership saying, ‘we’re a specialist in Land Rover.’ And they did a version of the Land Rover logo on the letterhead. But the likes of Land Rover are really hot on that. So they’ll send you a letter saying, ‘take it off the letterhead or we’ll sue you.’ So for exactly that reason they will protect their own brand, because of reputation and everything that goes with it. AN: One of the main things to think about is if you have a registered trademark, it’s not just that trademark that you’re protected for - it’s that trademark, and similar. So if you had a wordmark ‘Platinum’, and somebody used that on a cover of a magazine, irrespective of font, regardless of if whether they used it in a logo form, you could still stop them doing that.
❛❛ For me, IP is anything you wouldn’t want your competitor to have ❜❜
Pam, how difficult does it become to rebrand a company when you’ve worked so hard building that company as XYZ? PG: You might have to re-brand locally from your original name. And only then once you’ve got that history with that new brand can you then move forward and expand – whether licensing or franchising.
❛❛ We quite often bring lawyers
in to do the IP audits and to find the holes before they move forward in franchising ❜❜
Someone like McDonald’s are on your case within seconds of anybody registering anything. Is that draconian protection or are they just being a very smart company? PG: They’re being very smart. Their IP is that everyone globally knows McDonald’s so well. Would you allow somebody else even a small kebab shop in Bradford to use that name? AF: There’s also precedent. In other words, if they don’t pursue that, someone more serious may well come along. And then the argument is ‘well, you didn’t chase that one…’ What is the issue with the ownership of who created something? I’ve employed a designer to create my logo. When I paid his bill, does that automatically become mine? JG: No. You need a contract; something simple saying that, ‘when I pay you for your services, then I will own that.’ And probably the designer will say, ‘that’s fine, you can own that. But some of the elements are unique to me, because they’re clever things that I know how to do, and I’m going to use them elsewhere.’ In the same way, if you have a junior employee who comes up with a really clever idea, while he’s working in a design department, and he has a really simple contract without any IP protections, he can go away and set up his own business - and you find that he’s taken some creative ideas. So the fact he works for me in full-time employment – I don’t own anything he creates? JG: If the contract doesn’t say so, then the assumption goes, the more senior the person and the more designrelated or executive their role is, the more ownership the business has. The more junior the person is, the less control the business has.
Jeremy, is that something that you talk to people about? JO: We always say, so that people know when they’re getting a freelancer, to just be aware. This is a major pitfall that you’ve just got to get around. The assignment of IP is crucial. Keep good records all the way through. Whether it’s email transactions, or if you need to file them with a solicitor – just have them on file. It’s absolutely vital. The problem then comes that, suppose my business is now worth £50 million, I will want to franchise it, or I’d like to come to DMH to sell it. When I go to those designers, they can all hold me to ransom, can they not? PG: Yes. And we see it. Sometimes you can’t find the person who did it originally, so it needs to be re-done. And that’s another expense. But in that design company, for example, ‘Fred’ who did the design has now left that company. Has that design gone with Fred? Or is it sitting with the company who paid him to do it in the first place? JG: The assumption is that if it’s an employee, then it belongs to the company, If your contract is with the business, and one of their employees has created something for you, and the business has assigned the rights to you, you should be protected. Because they have the right to everything their employees create.
INFLUENCERS FORUM Platinum Jubilee
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. When you’re so consumed with a myriad of things that you’ve got to do with a startup, always on a small budget, always with not enough people in the team, it’s a very complex situation.
The failure rate of companies after the pandemic has increased dramatically. Does the liquidator accept the fact that the company actually doesn’t own the IP; the individual owns the IP?
JO: It is. But it’s good to catch people early. What we like to do is give people the right options for the business that they’re in, and for the stage that they’re at. You just need to provide some clarity. That’s the most valuable thing for businesses at that stage, then they could focus on everything else.
JG: If an individual has the IP registered in their name, there’d have to be a licensing agreement to allow the business to use it. If that was in place, and the licence could be terminated on insolvency, then the owner could keep the IP.
JG: With ‘know how’, which is a non-registerable IP, it’s not all about stopping other people doing things, it’s about demonstrating to other people what the value of your business is.
What are the tax implications? Sam, are there smarter ways to do this from a financial point of view?
With a lot of service-based businesses, the real value of the business is how they go about running their business. What’s their DNA? Why do customers come to them? Because they do some stuff really well. But often, it’s not written down. It’s not packaged up in a way that can be explained; they’ve just done it for 20 years, and people really like it. JO: I couldn’t agree more. And this is where I think we could try and define IP. For me, it is anything you wouldn’t want your competitor to have. And then you’ve got some clarity around what you need. SJ: I’d say a lot of IP tends to be with a business owner, because people buy into people or the team. If they’re delivering a service really well, who are your core people in that team? How do you keep them there? And if you’re going for a sale, you can’t have them get nervous and just leave. You need them there to work with the new owners. What about putting the IP in the business owner’s name? Can one legally do that? JG: If you sold the company, and the owner of the company had the IP registered in their name, the owner would have that valuable asset; the business wouldn’t have it. So you’d be selling the company without that key asset. But isn’t that often the very reason for trying to do it? Would I be smart to put IP in my name, which I could do because I own the company? SJ: A business owner might have their IP at the start when they set up their company. Then when they want to sell, whoever’s buying it is going want that as well. So you negotiate to transfer it at a point where it’s a lot more valuable. PG: That’s what we advise in franchising. You have your original business, ABC Ltd, and that’s where the IP sits and then your friend, ABC Franchising Ltd is the thing that grants the agreements. But you have an assignment licence. So if something happened, your IP is not affected.
SJ: There’s reliefs all the way through, encouraging businesses to be innovative in the UK to create technology, science etc. The HMRC want you to be doing this in the UK. So there’s good tax relief, there’s R&D tax credits, which is when you’re trying to overcome uncertainties etc. All the time, you’re still building your product or your technology, there’s already tax credits that could get you 33p in every pound that you spend back, if you’re an SME. Once you’ve actually protected your patent, you’ve got something you can create value from. If you sold a whole product that has that patented aspect in it, then HMRC will allow you to potentially get Patent Box claims, which gives you an effective tax rate of 10% which, when our corporation tax rates go up to 25%, is a huge advantage. Talking about selling, Jonathan, is there a set route that you go down, from a legal point of view, in auditing and checking that everything’s in place? JG: We can apply the same kind of questioning criteria that apply to a buyer and say, let’s do a test. And let’s see whether everything’s in place. One of the big areas is data protection, which is not an exciting area, but it’s one of those ones where people in businesses get fined. There are buyers who are very aware of that, checking website ownership, checking the employment contracts, making sure they’re all lined up. We can do a lot of it in a short space of time before sale; we’ve sorted out website ownership in a couple of months before a sale, for example. But it’s hard to change employee terms and conditions just before a sale, for the obvious reasons that it unsettles people.
❛❛ If you get it registered, this is an absolute protection ❜❜
INFLUENCERS BUSINESS FORUM
And I presume when we will come to look at franchise, do you recommend this same thing? Do you have a law firm come and do it? PG: We quite often bring lawyers in to do the IP audits and to find the holes before they move forward in franchising. Often we get approached with an idea. Somebody wants to franchise, or it’s a very new business. And I’m very wary of getting involved in that because the whole point of franchising is that it’s a proven model that someone’s going to be following. Data lists are increasingly important within a company. Supposing an infringement has been committed already. For example, it’s very easy to send yourself an email with a data list and then delete the email. OK, there’s a track there somewhere, but how do I deal with protecting my data list? JG: That’s why businesses have things like ‘gardening leave’. You pay someone six or 12 months to sit at home in the garden, because it’s better to do that than to have them out in the market. You can protect that. PG: I often find with franchising, it’s about a really good franchise agreement regarding the ownership of those customers because it’s a really grey area. The franchisee, who is using the same system, is effectively building up goodwill in their territory where they’re operating. But often in the agreement, the franchisor still owns the client base. So when the franchisee comes to sell, they’re selling the goodwill, but not the brand. However, the franchisor, as long as they approve the buyer, allows that new franchisee to use the data effectively. A franchisee can’t sell outside of the agreement. There’d have to be a new agreement. If you’re going to allow somebody else to use your IP, it’s about getting really strong agreements. Equally, if you’re buying in as a franchisee, it’s about really understanding what it is you’re working with. AF: On that point, if you’re a franchisee you may know how many burgers you sell on a Monday, and what the margin on that is. But presumably that belongs to the franchisor? Or at least it’s certainly contracted in a way that you can’t then go and open a burger shop down the road with the knowledge of that tied into your business plan. PG: There are restrictive clauses, but they are only really for 12 months. If you were in, say, Brighton, but you decided to go and set up in Worthing, technically, you probably could.
INFLUENCERS FORUM Platinum Jubilee
Alexander, how complex is it to protect my logo? Where do I present it to get it trademarked? AF: You can trademark a logo. You get a registered trademark on a logo and you have unregistered rights on it as well. Depending on who’s designed it, there might be copyright issues. If you’re talking about the UK, you would submit it to the UKIPO. Upload it, pay your money and click Submit, and hope you’ve ticked all the right boxes. I then also have to think well, I’m only running my business in Bradford, but a few years down the road, it might be I’ve needed worldwide protection. Is that that a large step to go from the UK protection to going global? AN: It is. And this is one of the difficulties of trademarks, because IP generally is territorial. There’s no such thing as a global trademark, though that would obviously make life a lot easier for businesses. The likes of McDonald’s pay in each country. These big companies, their portfolio of IP is huge, because it’s in every single country. For smaller businesses, that’s just that’s not viable; the costs are totally prohibitive. There are some systems that help reduce costs. In the EU, you can get an EU-wide trademark; one registration covers you across the whole of the EU. There is also an international system. What happens is, you can get a single registration, and you choose specific countries that you want that international registration to be protected in. Then you have to go through the application process in each of those countries. With Brexit, I’ve ticked all my boxes; I’ve done everything; I’ve used the right law firm to do it, and I’m protected within the EU. Now we’re not in the EU, do I still have that protection? AF: It depends on when you did that. There was a transition period, and if you had an EU mark, they got duplicated at the end of the transition period. So you automatically had both UK and EU protection. Today, you would have to apply for both separately. However, you may only be interested in, say, Germany and France. So you may say ‘I’ll bung in a cheap design in France, Germany and the UK, ignore the rest of the EU; I’m not interested in it.’ This comes back to if you’re looking to reduce costs. As a small business, identify those jurisdictions that are most relevant to where you want to be, and cover those more.
❛❛ This is one of the
difficulties of trademarks, because IP generally is territorial. There’s no such thing as a global trademark ❜❜
From the financial side, once one starts trying get into Europe, are there individual ways that you can claim your tax relief, your R&D relief in each of these countries? Or does that become too complicated for words?
So if I’m in Spain, Italy and Germany, I therefore have no protection if someone copies me in Belgium? So it’s not EU-wide, is it?
SJ: On the assumption that you’re a UK company, and then you’re setting up subsidiaries elsewhere, you have to follow their accounting and tax rules.
AF: But it would be cheaper. You should normally try and protect it in where you’re going to make stuff, where your main market is, where your competitors are, or where you may manufacture in the future. And those are ones you try to pick out.
If you set up your factory in France, then you’ve got a taxable presence there. As it comes profitable, you might decide to set that up as a subsidiary. It depends on the jurisdiction as well, because each of these jurisdictions in Europe have got different tax rates,
I work for one of the major gas turbine engine manufacturers, and it’s basically UK, France, Germany that’s all they’re interested in. Because they’re the only places people make jet engines.
JG: The really big one is the tech companies who put their intellectual property in a low tax area like Ireland, and charge all of the manufacturing businesses a licence fee for using IP, which then goes into the low tax place rather than paying tax in the places where their manufacturing process is more expensive.
So once I’ve done that, and I suddenly decide I do want to do Belgium. I then simply apply? AF: It depends on the IP. In the patent world, and the design world, publication or displaying of your invention or design will actually blow any future protection you can get, because you’ve destroyed the novelty of it. What you have in IP is what we call the priority period. Suppose you designed something, you patented it, and you filed your patent in the UK, you then have a one-year grace period to decide where else you would like that patent. After that grace period, you’re no longer entitled to the earlier date that you have secured. Then after six months, your patent will actually publish. Everyone then knows what you’ve patented, and you can no longer pursue it with any validity elsewhere.
JO: I think it’s good for anybody not to separate IP from the business in the sense that, for example, if you’ve got a new invention, it may be a new invention. But is it commercial? Is it timely for the marketplace? Given that the world is a fast moving place, your technology today, even though you might have a patent 20-year monopoly, it might be obsolete in five years. There are 100 million+ patents out there on the last bit of searching I did, and not one of those was commercially successful. It always feels like we have another couple of hours because there’s other places to dig. But thank you very much for your time.
JG: It’s one of the issues with patenting. Although it gives you guaranteed protection for a period of time, you’re showing everybody what you’ve got. JO: That’s the quid pro quo; you’ve got the state monopoly for 20 years. But in exchange for that you’re revealing the technologies.
Anyone who has set up a business can appreciate that developing a “brand” or a company identity is imperative.
Who REALLY owns your brand? Is your logo or website really owned by you? There are many facets to creating a brand, starting with the company name and logo, the website, any relevant photos, social media and developing strategy to tie it all together. More often than not some of these aspects will be dealt with by a third party – in some cases each will be dealt with by a different third party. For example, a graphic designer may be tasked with producing a company logo; a website designer may be hired to develop a website and a photographer may be employed to take professional photos.
❛❛ Any third party
that is instructed to create something for a company is likely to retain ownership of the intellectual property in whatever may be created ❜❜
Whilst the focus of creating a brand often starts with the tasks listed above, one that often gets overlooked and one of the most important considerations is the Intellectual Property (IP) which may arise from working with these third parties. These are rarely given the attention they deserve and can, in some instances, be extremely detrimental to businesses.
OUTSOURCING AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
When dealing with third par ties, par ticularly where it relates to developing something which could give rise to intellectual property rights (such as a logo, a website or an advert), issues can arise in relation to the ownership of those rights. This is an issue which needs to be explicitly dealt with in any agreement or contract that you may have with those third parties – if there is no clarity as to the ownership of such rights, any argument will often be decided to the detriment of the instructing party. In most cases, that will be the business.
The general starting point in law is that the creator of the work will be the owner of the copyright in it (subject to contracts that may be in place). Consequently, unless there is an agreement to the contrary – any third par ty that is instructed to create something for a company is likely to retain ownership of the intellectual property in whatever may be created.
WHO OWNS YOUR LOGO OR WEBSITE?
As an example, if a logo or website was designed by a graphic designer without a formal contract in place, the designer will retain ownership of the IP in that logo, even if the company is actively using it. Likewise, if an agency has developed a website or advertising campaign for a company, if the IP in these is not properly assigned, then the company could be prevented from utilising these at all. The fundamental problem being that if the IP is not owned, use of the thing in which the IP subsists (without proper authority) is likely to result in an infringement of those IP rights.
❛❛ If a logo or website was designed
by a graphic designer without a formal contract in place the designer will retain ownership of the IP in that logo ❜❜ THE IMPACT – COULD IT LEAD TO A REBRAND?
When not properly addressed, not owning your brand or parts of it can cause a variety of issues. Possibly the most significant being the potential for a company to have to re-brand if the IP in their logo / brand name is not assigned to them properly, therefore meaning they are not able to use it. That is not to mention the costs that can be incurred in engaging third parties to assist with such things which could, if an issue were to arise, be wasted. From a legal perspective, infringement on IP can also give rise to legal claims which can lead to court cases and even damages having to be paid out. In the modern age so much of a company’s value is wrapped up in its brand and IP, therefore it should always be a fundamental consideration to
ensure that it is properly protected. If not, then the true value of a company can be severely impacted.
HOW CAN IP ISSUES BE FIXED?
It is easiest, and recommended, to address issues of IP ownership at the outset of any relationship with third parties. It is still possible to deal with it subsequently – it can, however, be a bit more difficult. Some instances can give rise to what is known as an “implied licence”, which can allow the party using the IP to do so, on a limited basis, without express permission. In reality, attempting to rely on such a licence is risky, particularly from a commercial perspective, as the terms are often unagreed and unclear. Ultimately what needs to be in place is an effective assignment agreement between the parties in relation to the
relevant IP. Such an assignment will need to be explicitly clear as to what rights are being transferred. This will either take the form of a clause within a main engagement contract, or a separate, dedicated agreement. In each case, we recommend that such a clause or agreement be reviewed to ensure that the rights are being assigned completely, and there is no lingering ownership rights or confusion as to where the rights will subsist moving fo r ward . G et ting this r ight is fundamentally important. It is not too late to address issues surrounding IP ownership - if you have not considered it before, you should consider it now.
If you would like any assistance with this please contact our IP Specialists at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01276 686 222.
Copyright is another important factor to ❛❛ consider – both protection of original content
produced by/for the website owner, and not inadvertently breaching copyright by reproducing somebody else’s work in whole or in part
Next is the issue of the content appearing on a site. Copyright is another important factor to consider – both protection of original content produced by/for the website owner, and not inadver tently breaching copyright by reproducing somebody else’s work in whole or in part. There is insufficient room in this article to explain what can be a complex legal right, ownership of which often turning on points of fine detail and timing. Suffice to say, web owners need to know the basics of copyright - and the basics of trademark rights.
If a website has a newsfeed/content aggregator or allows comments then the issues of the website inadvertently displaying defamatory or ‘hate-crime’ posts, comments or articles may be an issue. This topic cannot be unpacked in a 500-word article.
Sarah Gopaul E: email@example.com www.mayowynnebaxter.co.uk
Is hybrid working the secret to success? Business support organisation Locate East Sussex explores how post-pandemic businesses are adapting to a ‘new normal’ of hybrid working, resulting in the increase in popularity of managed and co-working spaces Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was reported that of the 32.6 million people in employment, 5% were working mainly from home and 12% were adopting a hybrid model. These figures were already rising, but in March 2020 the jump increased drastically as lockdowns and restrictions came into force that made large offices unavailable for work. This new regime had mixed opinions, with some enjoying the quiet, comfort and flexibility that came with being at home, alongside the added benefit of reduced travel time. For some however,
working from home full time resulted in feeling isolated, unmotivated, and suffering from ‘Zoom fatigue’. The University of Sussex, working alongside East Sussex County Council and partner organisations, conducted a project titled ‘Working Well from Home’ in May 2021, to analyse the impact of homeworking on both employees and employers, looking at elements such as productivity, environment, and mental health. Their findings concluded that, with adequate technology and good team management, a mixed
approach between office and home was favoured, with 61% of its 263 surveyed respondents supporting a hybrid approach.
SO WHAT DOES THIS HYBRID APPROACH MEAN FOR BUSINESSES?
Adopting a hybrid approach is an opportunity for businesses to look at overhead costs, and assess business space to establish if downsizing could be an option. For London-based offices with a southern-based workforce, it has meant considering smaller satellite offices at key locations, based close to commuter lines and employees’ home. On the whole, what hybrid working has most definitely changed for business is the rise in popularity of co-working spaces, managed workspaces and business centres.
Platinum Jubilee Co-working spaces offer a welcome change of scenery for those working from home on a more permanent basis, providing a stimulating working environment, community of like-minded individuals and all of the technology needed to provide a professional service. Co-working pre-pandemic was already on the rise, with analysts predicting five million people to be using co-working spaces by 2024 In East Sussex, co-working spaces have been popping up across the county, ready to support the increased demand. These include spaces like The Hive in Flimwell, Cohub in Eastbourne, and Rock House in Hastings. The CIPD ‘Embedding new ways of working’ report (September 2020) conducted a survey of 1,000 employers,
and reported 40% of employers are expecting more than half of their workforce to work at least a part of the week from home. A switch to a hybrid working model has many looking at downsizing their existing space. Those seeking a more permanent work space than co-working might consider a managed workspace, or business centre. Using this as your base provides all of the comforts of having your
own office with the added benefit of communal spaces for networking, a professional postal address and a team who are there to ensure the building is safe, secure and maintained. These spaces are often modern, well designed, suitable for a variety of uses, and benefit from flexible terms, regular events and the ability to scale up or down as you grow and develop.
With hybrid working, and corporate satellite offices on ❛❛ the rise, Locate East Sussex can assist both individuals and
corporate regional groups find suitable co-working locations. We offer free support for those entities looking for new commercial locations and have a readymade list of suitable office space across the county
Brett Pearson, Service Director, Locate East Sussex
Contact Locate East Sussex on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website www.locateeastsussex.org.uk
MANAGED WORKSPACES IN EAST SUSSEX In East Sussex we benefit from a plethora of managed workspaces and business centres, and are pleased to see some new spaces recently opened or under construction. Each with their own benefits and unique selling points, they are well worth a visit if a new base is on your agenda.
NEWHAVEN ENTERPRISE CENTRE
HIGH WEALD HOUSE
Enterprise Park, Bexhill www.seachangesussex.co.uk/ our-programme/bexhill High Weald House business centre is part of a major new business community in an attractive countryside setting. Offering offices to let from 627 sq ft to 18,248 sq ft with on-site parking, it is an ideal space for small, medium, or larger businesses looking for flexible office space.
Situated on Denton Island, the Newhaven Enterprise Centre benefits from close proximity to Brighton, Lewes and Eastbourne thanks to good transport links. The Enterprise Centre offers a wide range of flexible managed office space and workshops, from small units (140sq ft through to mid-size and larger units (500+sq ft). Its high-quality office and workshops are also available on short flexible terms to suit your business needs and offered at a competitive price.
Multiple Locations www.freedomworks.space Developed for those looking for a ‘workplace home’ Freedom Works is a co-working and flexible office space provider, which is ‘more than a roof over your head’. They pride themselves on providing good quality workspace to encourage growth for those wanting to work near their home along the South Coast. Freedom Works is pleased to be expanding into Hastings, providing a new space opening Summer 2022, offering 15,000 sq ft of workspace to support over 100 businesses.
Dad and daughter team up to master your mobile Over the last few years, we’ve all had to adapt to working from home (WFH). Organisations are fully embracing remote team members and employees are exploring new routines and ways of working
We interviewed Ryan O’Meara, Media Creator at businessmobiles.com, who has fully welcomed the transition to WFH. With his new routine, he is able to spend more time with his daughter, 5-year old Rainn, whom he’s even been able to involve in the YouTube videos he produces.
soundtrack and impressed Managing Director, Charmaine de Souza, with his quality and attention to detail. So much so that, in 2021, she offered him the chance to become businessmobiles. com’s full-time Media Creator of its YouTube Channel named ‘Simply Mobile’.
R yan f irst star te d wo r k ing at businessmobiles.com in 2020; before that time, he was working as a freelance musician, creating music for adverts. Businessmobiles.com required an artist to create a soundtrack for its YouTube Channel. Ryan was chosen to create this
With his new routine, he is able to spend ❛❛ more time with his daughter, 5-year old Rainn, whom he’s even been able to involve in the YouTube videos he produces
Platinum Jubilee Having seen her Dad take over full-time management and production of the YouTube Channel, Rainn was very interested in the work Ryan was doing, and would always want to join him when he was filming. Ryan was quick to spot his daughter’s talent on screen and he decided that Rainn was the best person to help smartphone owners unlock the features on their mobile phones without a tech overload. Rainn freestyles in her lovable, inimitable way, sharing the spotlight with Ryan. In a series of videos, this popular pair explain how to get the most from mobile technology; reviewing and comparing smartphones and apps, discussing the latest rumours, and reveal secret hacks for smartphones in an easy and simple way. At the end of the day, if a 5 year-old can do it, so can you!
Ryan was quick to spot his daughter’s ❛❛ talent on screen and he decided that Rainn was the best person to help smartphone owners unlock the features on their mobile phone
Ryan says, “I love my role at business mobiles.com; creating content that is simultaneously entertaining and educational is something I am hugely passionate about. Charmaine gives me the freedom and trust to think “outside the box” and she really champions the team and myself to bring our own ideas to the table. This has enabled me to work closely with my daughter to create and produce content for the videos which are now hugely popular – especially when Rainn is giving her top tips! I am so
grateful to be able to do this as a job and to be part of such a supportive business and company culture”. The content featured on the Simply M o bile Chann e l is guid e d by businessmobiles.com customers and tackles common solutions to queries that can be used to support other users. We asked Rainn for her best tip of all, to which she replied, “You should subscribe to our YouTube channel and get all the tips that you would ever need!”
* Research by Childwise suggests that 53% of children own a smartphone by the time they’re seven years old. What’s more, it seems they’re unlocking secret features and picking up time-saving tricks that are putting their parents to shame. Astonishingly, according to businessmobiles.com, the average user knows how to use just 10% of the features on their smartphone. But that’s not necessarily the case for a clued up and hyper-connected generation of pre-schoolers.
You can see Ryan and Rainn in action at Simply Mobile on YouTube. For more information and mobile hacks, visit businessmobiles.com
THE SUSSEX BUSINESS SHOW The Sussex Business Show arrived with a bang on May 5th at the South of England Event Centre, Ardingly. Renowned for more than just B2B tradeshows, Sonny Cutting, the event director, has, for a number of years, hosted tradeshows with a twist. He brings together game-themed events to break the ice, and pioneering conferences featuring innovative B2B services offering an experience of energy with networking opportunities. The South of England show was his biggest event to date with a refreshed style and feel, to cement its profile in the B2B event scene. The show had high expectations to live up to with over 400 business guests to please, and it did not fail to deliver! With a showcase of the local region’s powerhouse speakers, the Sussex event was teeming with expertise, experience
and energy. It also brought together 12 masterclass leaders who all delivered business talks on the day. Topics included wellbeing, cyber security, diversity and inclusion, data storytelling, digital marketing and start-up success – to name a few. For the first time ever, the Sussex Business Show utilised a full shell system to enable exhibitors to have their very own spaces, elevating the exhibition’s professionalism. And, along with the new professional look to the show, the day was host to the innovative spin-off, The Tiger’s Pen. The Tiger’s Pen gives eight aspiring start-ups the opportunity to pitch for investment and advice. The ‘Best Pitch’ award in The Tiger’s Pen, sponsored by Gold Pebble this year, went to an aspiring start-up called ‘Changing Minds Training’ owned by Olivia-Louise Hamilton. She didn’t win investment on the day. However, her passion and professionalism won her the Best Pitch prize – a day out at English’s restaurant in Brighton, courtesy of Simon Rand, and KuulEats Local. Another delightfully surprising element of the tradeshow was the long-awaited customer experience awards. All 85 exhibitors with a phone number on their website were called pre-event with
a mystery shopping campaign. Three winners were chosen and a fourth business was given an honorary mention. Big congratulations are in order for the businesses that demonstrated exemplary customer service experience. Gatwick Diamond Business came in as the event’s Honorary mention. Third place was Knockhatch Adventure Park and second place was print specialists, Nettl Face Media Group. But the outright winner for the show was Yeoman’s Toyota in Brighton, who proved that customer service is still at the very core of business today. The show’s focus of games, experiences and recognition at every event is unmatched. However, at this particular show, Sonny wanted to do something special for this new format and created The Grand Draw to go along with the casino theme. Prizes were given out throughout the day, and we also had guests from a galaxy far, far away with Darth Vader and his stormtroopers making a surprise entrance. A spectacular day of business was had by all.
The Sussex Business Show moves to The Brighton Dome Corn Exchange in 2023. Please look at our website for more details www.sussexbizshow.com
There is a significant amount of effort associated with accreditations that are worthwhile – if there isn’t they are probably not worth the paper they are written on
INVESTORS IN PEOPLE – IS IT WORTH THE TIME AND EXPENSE? One of the best decisions we’ve made at Cleankill was to enter the world of Investors in People. From the start, we knew how important it was to invest in and retain our staff, and Investors in People seemed like it could help with this. Another reason was that very few pest control companies had the accreditation and we knew it would be a great differentiator. The thing I like best is that you are allocated an assessor who gets to know you and your business. It’s their job to guide you through the process and gather information from everyone in the company. This forms a very clear picture of what you need to do and why, in order to move your company forward. As a Director, the feedback you receive from staff through the process is invaluable and often heart-warming. For example: “How do you improve on perfection? I personally feel it is the best company I’ve ever worked for. It literally is.” And “You get people from all walks of life with problems as pests don’t discriminate. I love solving people’s problems and get a great buzz out of it. Cleankill is the best firm I’ve ever worked for.” At the end of the process you receive a comprehensive report and find out whether you have reached the required level. Seventeen years ago we started with the initial accreditation and in 2017 achieved Gold – one of my proudest moments since the company was started. But just because you have achieved Gold it doesn’t mean you keep it forever. We had to apply to retain our
Gold status which we successfully did in 2020. When we reached Gold, a Platinum category was launched – just so we don’t rest on our laurels! The cost? Well for us it was around £5,000 which may seem expensive for a small business – but I estimate that it costs around £4,000 to recruit a new member of staff – and then a lot more than that by the time you have factored in the training required! So if we do everything we can to retain staff and Investors in People helps with this, then it’s worth every penny. On top of staff retention, Investors in People gives us a wonderfully positive thing to talk to customers about and shout about in any PR – especially as we were the first pest control company in
England to achieve the Gold standard. Our reputation is incredibly important to us and, again, Investors in People is part of our work to position the company as professional and trustworthy – very important when people are trusting you to enter their home or property and deal with sometimes distressing and disturbing pest situations. So is it worth the effort and expense? Most definitely yes!
For a free pest control survey email email@example.com or call 0800 056 5477
Platinum travel writer Tess de Klerk found herself on an Arctic cruise ship
LE VOYAGE DE DÉCOUVERTE The ultimate exploration aboard Le Commondant Charcot Best I start with a confession: I’m Tess, I’m a travel writer and I hate cruises. There, I said it, the cat’s out of the bag. Nothing sends shivers down my spine quite as violently as the thought of being trapped in a giant floating tub with up to 6,000 other people for days on end, being herded like cattle, being told ‘this is Venice, you now have three hours ashore,’ (bearing in mind that it takes at least three days to explore the unique and fragile city) then joining the over-animated throng down the gangplank to rush to buy some tacky souvenirs before clambering back on board for some mediocre food and steaming off to the next unfortunate destination. Thanks, but no thanks.
Then came an invitation from the bespoke French cruise company, Ponant. At first, I cast it aside but then the proposed route, and the fact that it was a polar exploration cruise pulled me back. Hmmm... Iceland, Greenland, the Arctic circle! My interest piqued. Oh gosh, a chance at perhaps seeing polar bears in their natural habitat, and surely places of incomparable beauty, and maybe the the opportunity to tread where few have trodden before. Shivers of excitement ran down my spine, and so herein lies my first ever cruise review.
ONBOARD THE BOAT
Slightly nervously I started researching Ponant and its fleet. I want to see parts of this world still relatively untouched and pure, but not at the expense of those areas; not on a gigantic vessel the size of a small town, barging through delicate ecosystems without consideration or concern. My conscience would not allow it. I can assure you that my conscience was clear throughout this trip of a lifetime. Ponant’s fleet consists of 13 vessels, and all are on a small, bespoke scale. Our stunning luxur y ship, Le Commandant Charcot, is the latest addition to the fleet, and has a capacity of 208 guests. It really is the perfect size to allow for whatever On the bridge with Captain Garcia
The Spa with floor to ceiling windows
mood you’re in, be it the mood for privacy or the mood for a bit of socialising. She was designed from scratch with ecological responsibility in mind and is the first hybrid ship of its kind. I’ll let Maarten fill you in on the technical details of this remarkable icebreaker at the end of this review because I’m dying to tell you all about the experience. We overnighted in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, and were collected from our hotel by a chauffeur-driven car, whisked to the port to find our beautiful vessel, gleaming in the spring sunshine, with countless uniformed staff buzzing around, and all with one aim – to assist anywhere and everywhere possible. We checked in, our bags disappeared and we were genuinely warmly welcomed by a smart team of consummate professionals.
My view from the sauna
Our luxurious stateroom
Our stateroom was gorgeous and spacious; the equal to many a 5-star hotel room with a huge comfy bed, glasswalled bathroom, sitting area, stocked mini bar, pillow menu, fabulous artwork, satellite TV and fluffy towels and robes. Every suite has its own balcony – you’ll not find any claustrophobic poky cabins on Charcot, that’s for sure. 24-hour room service, turn down service and our fantastic housekeeping team headed by Pin, our butler, ensured the ultimate in luxurious, relaxed indulgence.
and drink at the bars and restaurants in the evening and come to me in the morning for balance,’ all said in his lovely French accent.
Upon exploring the boat, it all remained true to that with Skandi design, exquisite works of art everywhere, glass-walled lifts in ‘the atrium’, a spa with Biologique Recherche treatments, a snow room and – a personal highlight for me – a sauna, with the most stunning view you’ll ever find. I’m a real sucker for a sauna with a view and this view of the sea, ice floes, mountains, glaciers – whatever dream scene was passing by at any given moment – was hands down the best I could ever have imagined. If a sauna is not your cup of tea, you could marvel at the same exquisite scenery while lying on a lounger by the indoor pool (there is also an outdoor pool, of course), and sipping on your tailor-made fresh juice from the detox bar. I sought wisdom with the advice of the lovely barman at the detox bar, something along the lines of ‘enjoy the superb food
MICHELIN STAR QUALITY
And superb it was! One of the many highlights of this trip was the food, as Alain Ducasse is in charge of the cuisine and this is the first time he has ever lent his name to a cruise line. For those unfamiliar with Ducasse, he is one of the world’s most successful chefs, holds an unprecedented 21 Michelin stars around the world, including three stars at the Dorchester in London. Let’s just say that not a single meal ever disappointed – ever! Always beautifully served, with not a mark on the cutlery and wine glasses that sparkled. The French sommeliers were on tap for any tipple required and there certainly were plenty of tipples required. Meals were made even more special by the beauty of our surroundings; restaurant walls are floor to ceiling glass to the exterior of the ship and there were times when I had to consciously tell myself to close my gaping mouth as scenes that I couldn’t even conjure in my imagination passed by. All of this was happening while being served Chateauneuf-du-Pape and wagyu beef by staff who were genuinely also delighted to be there. This was the stuff that dreams are made of.
Whilst chatting to Hervé Bellaiche, Ponant’s Chief Sales Marketing & Communications Officer, l asked how it came about that Alain Ducasse selected the company for his first ever water borne restaurant. Thinking high-powered boardrooms and years of negotiations, l was therefore surprised to learn that whilst on a flight into New York, the Ponant directors bumped into Alain in the immigration line and they started chatting. Hervé suggested the idea and by the time they were in the cab, the deal was done.
called a cruise – it’s an expedition. Hence the name of the ship, named after Jean Baptiste August Etienne Charcot, a French scientist, medical doctor and polar scientist who was appointed leader of the French Antarctic Expedition 1904. In 1921 he set sail for the Arctic in his wooden boat to explore Eastern Greenland – as were we – although not suffering quite the same privations on board! Sadly, Charcot died in a storm off the coast of Iceland in 1936, and there is a monument to his heroic efforts on that site today.
I think you’re probably getting the gist of things – Le Commandant Charcot is a remarkable, ecologically responsible, s u p e r- l u x u r i o u s y e t e l e g a n t l y understated vessel of per fe ct proportions. She was designed and built as an icebreaker to allow guests to cruise to areas of the Arctic and Antarctica. Here it is important that I explain that this cruise, aptly named ‘At the genesis of the French polar expeditions’ is no ordinary cruise. In fact, it is not even
Ponant equipped Le Charcot with two laboratories – one wet and one dry – and staffed her with leading oceanic scientists, marine biologists and assorted other sector experts. It was fantastic having access to these passionate scientists. They were always enthusiastically sharing their knowledge and involving guests in ‘citizen science’. This exercise costs Ponant over £1 million a year with no income in return – just the drive to educate, inform and research while taking lucky guests to places where man has seldom, if ever, visited. For this, I take my hat off to Ponant for its genuine care and concern about the environment – and for the £350 million spent on a ship that leaves virtually no footprint on the pristine wilderness we were heading for.
Due to man’s effect on the planet, ❛❛ it was explained in stark detail that within 20 years or so, the Arctic will be totally ice free in the summer months
Each day, there were lectures offered in the beautifully-appointed theatre by the scientists onboard. It truly makes a difference to learn all about your destination before you get there from passionate experts. The best was a fascinating talk on whales by a marine biologist, only to be interrupted by the Captain on the tannoy announcing sperm whales off the port bow – l have never seen a theatre empty so fast!
Our first night was spent crossing the frigid Denmark Strait and we slept like babies! I should point out that this hybrid ship is virtually silent even when the engines are running and the stabiliser system eliminates virtually any roll. Honestly, I slept better than I do on land. The next day was spent at sea and this gave us the perfect opportunity to explore our vessel and meet other guests. A choice of two lounges and the accompanying bars ensures there’s always a spot to relax and watch the frozen wilderness go by. Plus, live classic musicians playing soothing background music each afternoon made for the ultimate atmosphere to sit back, sip something delicious and contemplate this other world going by. I must speak of the food again here – at every turn there was superb food. Most afternoons, the chefs showed off their culinary skills with pastries and canapés laid out in the lounge, morning was an artful demonstration of what they could do with breakfast, with amazing juices, exquisite French croissants and coffee to die for and as we crossed the Arctic Circle, an incredible one-metre long Pavlova appeared to much fanfare. The Chefs with their famous metre long Pavlova
The colourful village of Tasiilaq
Bundled up like Nanook of the North
An incredible iceberg with ridges caused by bubbles rising to the surface before it carved
For those unfamiliar with Ducasse, he is one ❛❛ of the world’s most successful chefs, holds an The cigar and Brandy room
We awoke to the most incredible sight on day two – we were well into the ice fields and were utterly entranced when, looking over the balcony with our morning croissants in hand, we saw that this remarkable boat was carving through ice that was easily a metre or two thick, with the ease of a knife through butter. Huge chunks of ice the size of buses were split in two and disappeared, only to resurface behind the boat like behemoth monsters rising from the depths, creaking and crackling. Captain Etienne Garcia navigated Le Commandant Charcot expertly through the ice for the rest of the day, on our way to the fjords of east Greenland. Hypnotised by the behaviour of the ice and the silence of our environment, we spent a large chunk of the day outside on the observation deck just staring into the ever-changing icy sea and on heated seats. More of those seats from Maarten later.
unprecedented 21 Michelin stars around the world, including three stars at the Dorchester in London
I, who was born and raised in the tropics, was never cold on this trip! Yes, that’s right, I was never cold in some of the coldest places on earth! The boat is kept at a lovely, comfortable temperature while Ponant provided guests with miracle parkas and snow boots that meant we were always happily toasty inside and out. Day three saw us arriving at Sermilik Fjord, slowly sailing through the ice into the fjord surrounded by white powdered black mountains. The tiny town of Tasiilaq slowly appeared before our eyes, with gorgeous, picture-perfect, Running with the dogs
colourful little buildings poking out from the snow. At this point I had to wonder what the local people would be thinking of this boat, comparable in size to some of their mountains, and its guests with their telescopic camera lenses. Later on, I got chatting with Natasha Hanson, a remarkable woman who worked her way up from the lowest rungs of cruise jobs to her current position of Director of Expedition Operations for the whole of Ponant; she is the first woman to ever hold this weighty job. She explained that scouts were sent to the village weeks before we arrived to dialogue with the local community; to get permission and their input regarding what they might want to share with guests, and their advice and expertise on how to ensure that the ship’s impact on the environment is minimal and transitory.
For those of you thinking ‘sounds great but I don’t like the cold’ I should add that
The local children just kept smiling
Ice fishing and his catch on the right
Indeed, we were warmly welcomed by the curious local community who guided our boat through the ice. Not only the local people though, but excited sled dogs also welcomed us with a deafening cacophony.
confused about what to do with the little bite sized things on silver platters, overseen by large shivering men in white chef’s uniforms and tall hats! Someone explained that they could do whatever they liked when they grabbed handfuls of the delicate bites and stuffed them chipmunk-style in their mouths. I will never forget the delighted, confused rapture on their smiling faces
INTERACTION WITH THE LOCALS
The gangplank was lowered and we could hardly wait to set foot on the frozen sea! We were left to our own devices and explored the fascinating little town with its 1,800 inhabitants – the largest settlement on the eastern coast of Greenland. Children excitedly waved to us from their school windows and teenagers shyly took photos of us on their phones. As we returned to our ice-bound ship, Chef had again decided that we could not possibly go more than 15 minutes without food, and had prepared a superb array of canapés and locally bought salmon (the best I’ve ever tasted) and served it to us right there on the ice. The local children were encouraged to partake but were understandably The Ringed Seal pup
All local people were invited to see the boat, and excited school children came in groups with their teachers, wide-eyed and chattering. The kids were absolutely blown away by the two glass lifts – and we were delighted by their wide-eyed little faces. That evening, we were treated to songs by the local Inuit choir, and the traditional drum dance used for at least 4,500 years by the Inuit people to entertain and resolve interpersonal conflicts.
EXPLORING THE EAST COAST OF GREENLAND
Over the next two days, guests had the opportunity to hike the surrounding area with very experienced mountain guides, go sea kayaking amongst the floating ice, ice fishing with the Inuits and dogsledding on the frozen fjord; what an experience! The dogs were remarkable, and far more wolf than dog. Once harnessed, they could not wait to run – and run and run. The mushers were quite calm unless two running packs converged, then all hell broke loose. These are committed pack animals, and if you’re not in their pack, you are the enemy with each pack ready to attack their neighbouring pack at any opportunity. At some point two dogs from our pack got entangled with another
Huge chunks of ❛❛ ice the size of buses
were split in two and disappeared, only to resurface behind the boat like behemoth monsters rising from the depths, creaking and crackling
and, believe me, it was not a pretty sight – blood splattering everywhere on the white virgin snow. It’s not for the faint hearted but it is nature in the raw. The dogs do love running, and could not contain their excitement at pulling the sledges. The experience was magical; the silence of the surrounding white broken only by the running paws and swishing of the sledge on snow. Day five was spent navigating the scenic Sermilik Fjord and as soon as possible Zodiacs were lowered and we all piled into these little boats to get up close and personal with icebergs and glaciers. Just stunning! Our passionate naturalist guide explained all about the secret lives of these behemoths – some still floating around from the ice age. We spotted a gorgeous, blubbery ringed seal pup just seemingly chilling on the ice, unperturbed by our presence and clicking cameras. Our guide explained that these specific seals are born without their insulating fur therefore the pups have no choice but to lie out on the ice until their hair grows – easy pickings for predators.
Platinum Jubilee CATASTROPHIC HUMAN FOLLY
Sadly, due to man’s effect on the planet, it was explained in stark detail that within 20 years or so, the Arctic will be totally ice free in the summer months – for the first time ever. This is depressing for so many reasons, not least that commercial shipping will then have access to this far shorter global transit route with their polluting diesel engines. Whaling ships will also now have summer access and the polar bears, who need the ice to hunt, will vanish as a species from the planet. This is stark when you read about it sitting in your warm house in Sussex but being in the Arctic, next to a towering iceberg with awe-inspiring polar bears roaming around, was, to be frank, a bolt to the heart. More reason if you needed to go as it will not be there for long.
GREENLAND FOR THE BRAVE
During the night, our captain and his crew sailed on and we awoke to the now familiar ‘ding-dong’ ‘Dear guests, this is your captain speaking…’; a bit reminiscent of ‘morning campers’ from Hi-De-Hi, for those old enough to remember. We were enthusiastically informed that we were now sailing in the exquisite Ammassalik Fjord, breaking through solid ice to get a little closer to the majestic, towering peaks of Greenland. Hopefully, we would get the chance to stop and interact with local Inuit fishermen. We did, and what a treat. The day brought more oppor tunities to participate in valuable citizen science, educational hikes, sea kayaking and even ice dipping for the very brave (after an ECG performed by the onboard doctor – but not a test for sanity). The bird-watching enthusiasts amongst us were often slightly delirious at spotting longed-for feathered treasures too. Really, every person seemed in their absolute element as the sun sparkled and we explored where few had been before. “Dear Diary: Such a perfect day!”
sent to get permission from the local Inuit residents who happily accepted our request and sent people to help us find our way to them. If I had to – absolutely had to – choose my favourite experience of the trip, it would be the time spent in this unique village, learning the unpronounceable names of the beaming little kids following us and noticing the girl of about eight carrying a huge rifle while out walking with her grandma. Only then did I realise that this remote little settlement of about 30 buildings is a prime feeding ground for hungry polar bears. Clearly one has to be tough to live in Greenland.
ENTERING THE CIRCLE
The next day we continued on and crossed over into the official geographic Arctic Circle! What a joy – we celebrated with an understated champagne reception on deck, keeping it low key and quiet as people had spotted polar bear tracks. It wasn’t long before we spotted the polar bears – a dream come true.
First we saw a mother and her cub, then a male and then another male. Normally a male bear would try to kill a cub that isn’t his but mercifully, because of the confusing scent we emitted, the male bear didn’t pick up on the mother and the cub. We watched those bears for hours... entranced, mesmerised, contemplating the privilege we were privy to. Honestly, people hardly spoke; they just stared in wonder. Eventually the day came when Charcot had to head south again – our trip of a lifetime was coming to an end. We crossed the Strait of Denmark during the night and had choppy seas for the first time in 10 days. As we approached the port of Reykjavik we wished that we could turn around and head straight back to the coast of east Greenland and beyond. In truth, I could fill this entire magazine regaling you with the wonders and adventures of our trip but for now, all I can say is – add this exploration cruise to your bucket list and don’t wait too long to have the chance to experience the Arctic in its untouched splendour. At the genesis of the French polar expeditions’ 11-day cruise on the magnificent Le Commandant Charcot starts from £13,250 pp, all-inclusive. https://en.ponant.com/ le-commandant-charcot Fly to Reykjavik from Gatwick with Iceland Air
On we went and sailed along the Blosseville Coast. As Captain Garcia explained, exploration cruises are not set to a strict schedule. We go where mother nature takes us. Each day the captain would take off in the onboard helicopter to scout and see where the ice might allow us to go. He had hoped that we might be able to reach another, even tinier village, and scouts had been
LE COMMANDANT CHARCOT
– inside the next generation ice-breaker
Following on from Tess’s travel review of the Le Commandant Charcot trip to Greenland l have, for the first time in 15 years, replaced the Motoring Section with a review of this remarkable boat. By Maarten Hoffmann The Charcot is a groundbreaking vessel and the first of its kind, due to the hybrid nature of the propulsion system. It is all aimed at leaving the smallest footprint possible in the pristine wilderness, while saving fuel, of course. Below the waterline, instead of regular propellers, they have fitted Azipods, a marine propulsion unit consisting of fixed pitch propellers mounted on a steering gondola containing the electric motors that drive the propellers. The beauty of this system is that with a rotary dial, the boat can be manoeuvred in any direction as the pods can rotate 360 degrees. Each propeller blade weighs 300 tons and it was remarkable to witness it chew through blocks of ice the size of cars with such ease, and then to watch the ice reform behind the boat within minutes, as if we had never been there.
This system was designed and built in Finland by Masa-Yards and the ABB Group. The Charcot is a PC2 ice-breaker (PC standing for Polar Class), the second class; with PC1 being the first, reserved for serious nuclear-powered commercial vessels that break ice for The Azipods visible when the boat was under construction
marine shipping, but a first yet again for this type of vessel. Although ‘only’ 6cm thick, the hull is designed to thrive in this icy environment and carves through the ice as if it were not there, although there were the occasion thumps as a massive block resurfaced and struck the hull. The US Coast Guard also ordered three of these vessels for Polar Security duties. The Charcot was delivered to Compagnie du Ponant in July 2021, who ran an empty exploratory trip to the Captain Garcia rotating the Azipods
Always nice to have a private helicopter
One of the four massive engines Arctic Circle in preparation for its maiden voyage; a voyage we had the pleasure of joining. The cost was circa £300 million and the vessel weighs in at 31,000 tons, with the batteries alone weighing in at 50 tons. These batteries are different to anything running the Azipods, as the boat is hybrid. Therefore, just like your hybrid car, it can run on battery or engine power with the engines recharging the batteries when required. Even when the engines are used, they run on Liquified Petroleum Gas rather than dirty diesel, again to limit emissions. All waste water is recycled to clean the boat and flush the loos. Even the metal benches on deck are heated with recycled water. I must say that it was very odd in -5 degrees, dressed to the nines in Artic clothing to then sit on a bench that was hot – delightful and pleasingly odd. The engines produce 60,000 hp, with 40,470 kW of battery power. Even with the engines being used, it is very quiet at all times and l have to say that l never really heard the engines running. Until, that is, the Chief Engineer, Richard Vito, took me into the bowels of the boat to see them! Wow! They were the largest marine engines l have ever seen with four huge stacks; each running about 10 metres along the hull, matched to row after row of batteries covered in kevlar for safety. Everything is computer controlled, of course, and there were computer screens ever y where controlling everything – requiring more of a
computer scientist now than a marine engineer. We then proceeded through several water-tight doors to the stern to see the top of the Azipods; huge circular monsters which l could see rotating whenever the Captain manoeuvred. It was quite mesmerising, and a feat of engineering way beyond my pay grade. Most of our ‘parking spots’ were in what they call ‘fast ice’. Oddly, there is nothing fast about this ice but it is the term for ice that is fixed fast to the shore, extending out across a bay. The Captain would simply line up the bow and then
I thought l might be able to push the boat out of the ice! power through this ice until half the boat was within it, and then lower the gangplank and we would step off onto this pristine ice-covered bay. It was slightly nervy when they remarked that the water depth below us was 800 metres! Even nervier (though comforting) was when the guides all disembarked with powerful rifles over their shoulders and flare pistols on their belts to scare the polar bears away. At one point, we were told not to leave the boat as there were polar bears everywhere, and we happily obeyed and instead spent hours taking photos of them. Of course, having our own private helicopter all helped. I have a bit of a passion for boats and can happily say that La Commandant Charcot is one of the most advanced and unique vessels l have ever had the pleasure of boarding.
We flew with Iceland Air to Reykjavik and it was superb, with great seats, good food, screens in the seat back and happy and attentive cabin crew. Sadly, we had to return with British Airways; what a let-down. Uncomfortable non-reclining seats, haphazard service, no screens, no food and when l asked for a cup of tea l was told to go online, onto the BA app and order it. It was more expensive that Iceland Air, and the app didn’t work. They should be ashamed of themselves – as should we all - that they are the nation’s flag carrier.
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