Business MK April 2022

Page 1

Business MK April 2022

Incorporating Business2Business


In print and online, Business MK is published in Milton Keynes and North Bucks for the area’s business community


Report focuses on tech future for Milton Keynes. P5


$200m investment round backs expansion plan. P7


‘Public support has validated our values’. P10


Manufacturing: New opportunities for robotics: P14

The latest news from business in Bedfordshire. P17-20

n More than 600 businesspeople were at Stadium MK to celebrate the best in Milton Keynes business at the MK Business Achievement Awards ceremony. The night belonged to Shalom Lloyd, named Entrepreneur of the Year while businesses she founded collected two awards including the overall Business of the Year. Report and pictures from the night: Pages 8-9.

MK:U vision will become a reality, say delivery partners


lans for the new MK:U university in Milton Keynes will press on despite its failure to secure government funding. Cranfield University, Milton Keynes Council and its wholly owned subsidiary Milton Keynes Development Partnership are set to explore alternative delivery approaches for the MK:U project over the coming months. The council opted at its full meeting last month to extend the terms of its existing agreement with Cranfield University. “The local, regional and national need for MK:U has not gone away,”

said MK:U’s chief executive Professor Lynette Ryals. “Although we were unsuccessful in securing government funding in the Autumn Budget for a large new building project that would have accelerated our growth, MK:U is very much still happening.” Degree apprentices have begun studying with MK:U, with the first cohort starting in October last year. Students are taking courses in chartered manager, digital and technology solutions and data science, including courses exclusively for apprentices from Santander and BAE Systems.

MK:U is based at Bouverie House in Central Milton Keynes and has opened an Innovation Hub to support local businesses. The hub houses some of the latest technologies including virtual reality, robotics and 3D printing facilities and has been set up to help businesses develop their products and accelerate their growth. Professor Ryals said: “We have a lot of local support from businesses and our partners. Already, we are seeing students reaping the benefits of our industry-focused courses, developing digital and technological skills that industry so desperately needs.”

Milton Keynes Council’s deputy leader Cllr Robin Bradburn said: “MK:U will be a world-class university that equips students with the skills and knowledge needed for future jobs. The benefits extend well beyond Milton Keynes and the university will help us compete on the international stage. “Good progress has been made so far with degree apprenticeships already under way. We remain absolutely committed to delivering the full project with a state-of-the-art campus and will continue working hard with partners to make our vision for MK:U a reality.”


Milton Keynes taxi

3 Local and long distance

01908 676767

3 Airport transfers

We’re more than just legal experts. We’re trusted advisers who take the time to really understand your issues.

0330 0945 500

Business News

Chamber begins search for new Next Generation president

Business MK T Distributed by Royal Mail to more than 5,000 key executives and decision makers every month.

Editor Andrew Gibbs

Publisher Kerry Lewis-Stevenson

Sales Director Martin Lewis-Stevenson

Advertising Sales Glenda Clark

Advertising Sales Jan Lewis

Advertising Sales Sharon Maplethorpe

Feature Editors: Annie Roberts Sammy Jones

Graphic Design:

Advertising Sales Jenny Homeshaw

Simon Goodger


Steve Brill

The deadline for advertising in the next edition of Business MK and Business2Business is TUESDAY 19 APRIL To book space in a future edition or talk to us about your advertising plans call 01908 465488 or email Read previous editions online at





he president of the Next Generation Chamber, an organisation which supports more than 100 young entrepreneurs from across Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes, has stepped down after completing her tenure. Hannah Brady became the second president of the Next Generation Chamber when she was appointed in November 2020. Since then, she has been a champion of the organisation, hosting countless events including the social sandwich online networking events during the pandemic. “Being involved with Next Gen over the last three years has been brilliant,” she said. “I have broadened my network, learned from members and CPD speakers and built friendships. As somebody who likes to get stuck in, it has been great to help drive things behind the scenes. “I love working in a team so being on a committee with such great people has been an absolute pleasure. I will always be a cheerleader of Next Gen and what it stands for and I am looking forward to

Hannah Brady attending some of the upcoming events as a member.” Next Generation Chamber was created in 2017 by Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes Chambers of Commerce to help businesses to support and nurture staff who are dedicated to advancing their careers. The Chambers’ deputy chief executive

Julie Maclennan said: “Hannah has been a hugely influential leader of our Next Generation Chamber and we thank her for her commitment and dedication over the past three years. She has welcomed many new members to the fold, supporting and inspiring them all to strive and thrive. “Next Generation Chamber continues to grow and will now refocus its activities to do what it does best - champion, inspire and encourage young business professionals from across Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes.” Next Generation Chamber’s next event is on April 26, 5.30pm-7pm, at the offices of Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce. The speakers are Chamber board members Reemesh Patel, managing consultant at energy broker SK Group, and Kevin Rogers, chairman of Northamptonshire law firm Wilson Browne Solicitors and Northamptonshire Chamber’s immediate past president. n To find out more about the benefits of joining Next Generation Chamber, visit

Look Smart: Recruiters relax after charity run


olleagues at a recruitment specialist in Milton Keynes have run their way to raising more than £1,500 for local charity Ride High. Greg Dorban and Simon Billsberry from Smart Recruit Online were taking part in the Dave Goggins Challenge, where competitors run four miles every four hours for 48 hours. They were joined by colleagues Matt Scott and Jack Slinn in the challenge raising money for Ride High, which provides equine therapy to vulnerable and disadvantaged children at its base in Loughton. The challenge was launched by American

Landlords urged to join council scheme

M ultramarathon runner Dave Goggins. All four individuals completed the challenging 48-mile challenge in under 48 hours, going through the night with one-hour breaks every four miles. “We are incredibly grateful to the team at Smart Recruitment for taking on such a tough challenge as this and for raising money for Ride High,” says the charity’s chief executive Olivia Sugden. “It shows great determination and strength and a real desire to make a difference and the money raised will do just that, as

every penny will go towards helping the most vulnerable children in the local community.” Smart Recruit Online’s HR manager Chantel George adds: “We are proud of the guys for achieving this. They put a lot of work into getting prepared and the team here were subsequently able to help raise a significant amount of money for this great local charity on the back of their efforts.” It was the first of several charity events that the company has planned over the coming months, she added.

ilton Keynes Council has launched a new accreditation scheme for landlords. Those signing up to scheme will receive free membership of the National Residential Landlord Association for 12 months, which gives them access to high-quality training and deals on insurance and other products. Cllr Emily Darlington, cabinet member for adults, housing and healthy communities, said: “This accreditation scheme will help landlords better understand their role and responsibilities. Every family deserves to live in a warm, safe and decent home that meets all the necessary standards.” NRLA represents the interests of landlords in the private rented sector across England and Wales.

Connect with us on social media and join the conversation /BusinessMK1999 @BusinessMK Business-MK 17 Stilebrook Road, Olney, Bucks MK46 5EA

Disclaimer Lunar Publishing Limited cannot take responsibility for the content of the advertisements, editorial or the services provided by the advertisers. Advertisements are accepted on the understanding that descriptions of goods and services are accurate. All artwork is accepted on condition that permission has been given for use in Business Times. Reproduction, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited. ©Lunar Publishing Limited


Business MK


April 2022

n The Association of Milton Keynes Hoteliers has raised £2,500 for the British Red Cross contributing to the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. Association members are pictured with the cheque during a meeting at Horwood House.

For local business news visit

Business News Bars unite in fight against drink spiking


round 10,000 drink protectors are being distributed to clubs and bars in Central Milton Keynes in a bid to clamp down on incidents of drink spiking. The CMK Bar Watch campaign has received funding from Milton Keynes Council to provide thousands of StopTopps to clubs and bars in the city centre. The foil drink protectors are suitable for all sizes of bottles and glasses. All customers have to do is to ask a member of bar staff for a free cover to place on top of their drink. Drink spiking is an underreported crime. Statistics from a StopTopps survey show that more than 97 per cent of cases are not reported to the police, even though the offence can carry a ten-year prison sentence. CMK Barwatch chair Tom Miell, who is also general manager at Popworld MK in Xscape, said: “The wellbeing of our guests and team is our top priority. We have always had various initiatives and procedures in place to ensure everyone can enjoy a night out at our venue in a safe environment. When Milton Keynes police and council saw our drink protectors in operation, they recognised the value of these being introduced more widespread across our town.” The £2,500 from the council is designed to show how the StopTopps help to deter those looking to spike drinks. Cabinet member for public realm Cllr Lauren Townsend said: “Drink spiking is a hideous crime, which can have a devastating impact on someone’s life. It is massively under-reported which means we need to work together with everyone in our night-time economy to prevent it happening in the first place. We are funding this for local bars and venues to show how they can make a difference and to make predators think twice.”

Robots operator ready for take-off


elivery robots have become a common sight on the streets of Milton Keynes. Indeed, the city has the largest single fleet of such robots in the world. Now Starship Technologies, the company behind the concept, is to expand it into new cities across Europe and North America after raising $100 million, including $42 million from two venture capital firms the JapaneseNordic VC firm NordicNinja and Estonia-based Taavet+Sten. The new investment, including the recently announced €50m investment from the European Investment Bank, doubles the company’s funding and brings Starship’s total funding to $202 million. Other investors in Series B include TDK Ventures and Goodyear. Starship tripled deliveries in 2021 and is continuing to gain momentum as the autonomous delivery industry expands. The size of the autonomous delivery robot market is expected to reach $55 billion by 2026, according to research. Starship, which set its first robot on its way in 2014, has since completed more than three million deliveries and operates more than 1,700 robots daily in cities and university campuses around the world. In the UK, it is extending its partnership with retailer Co-op and has plans to launch in five UK cities. “The autonomous delivery market has been gaining momentum the past couple of years and we think it will really take off this year,” said Starship Technologies chief executive Alastair

$100m funding round brings in new investors and enables UK expansion

Starship Technologies’ delivery robots on the streets of Milton Keynes Westgarth. “The demand for Starship’s services continues to rapidly increase and we are regularly contacted by more college campuses and cities that want our services. “I also appreciate the investors who trust our vision and who are helping us get to the next phase of our journey.”

The Starship Food Delivery app enables customers to choose from a range of food or drink items, then drop a pin where they want their delivery to be sent. The user can then watch as the robot makes its journey to them, via an interactive map. Once the robot arrives, the customer receives an alert

Security expert warns of Russia cyber attack risk


usinesses could be at a heightened risk of cyber attacks following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a cyber security expert has warned. Ukrainian banking and government websites were knocked offline by a spate of distributed denial of service attacks, which are designed to crash sites by bombarding them with excessive requests at the same, causing server overloads and shutdowns. The government

To feature or comment email:

claimed the attacks were carried out by Russianbacked military hackers, prompting concerns that a similar virtual onslaught could be attempted in a bid to disrupt UK businesses. Mike Wills pictured, director of strategy and policy at Milton Keynesbased cyber and data security firm CSS Assure, said: “Businesses should make themselves as hard to hack as possible at all times but more so than ever. From a strategic perspective, there is a significant risk that Russia may seek to create instability within Western countries and, specifically, the UK as a means to distract focus and attention away from the situation in Ukraine and on to closer, acute problems at home.” Cyber attackers may target national infrastructure through its supply chain, which may be easier to hack, Mr Willis added. “No business will want the association or ignominy of being the weakest link.”

and can then meet the robot and unlock it through the app. Shinichi Nikkuni, managing partner of NordicNinja VC, said: “Everyone is talking about how to fix the issues with last mile delivery.Time and again, Starship has proven itself to be years ahead of others with world-leading autonomous driving technology for sidewalk delivery, leading to accumulating more and more data and experiences through much wider commercial operations. “We think Starship has found the right formula for success on a global scale and are excited to be part of their future journey.” Existing investor TDK Ventures made its inaugural investment in Starship Technologies. “We use the term ‘king of the hill’ for start-ups that we feel are at the top of a small emerging market and in our estimation are poised to become world leaders in massive markets within five to ten years,” said TDK Ventures president Nicholas Sauvage. “Starship was our first king of the hill. We are excited to be part of their journey and join this new funding round.” Since Starship invented the delivery robot in 2014, the industry has developed around automated last mile delivery and become more competitive, said Starship Technologies co-founder and chief technology officer Ahti Heinla. “So many unexpected things have happened to get us where we are today but I think we can all agree that on-demand services are mainstream and not going away anytime soon.”

Action Express Courier Service Big Enough to Cope, Small Enough to Care

Overnight Parcel Express

Express Pallet Delivery

Same Day Delivery

Action Express Milton Keynes Units A B & C, Hayfield Business Park, Aspley Guise, MK17 8HL

Worldwide Express

Office Opening Hours Monday - Friday: 8:30am to 7:30pm Saturday: 8:30am to 12:00pm

01908 586999 Business MK


April 2022


Business News

Pandemic has pushed us to the limit, warns lab boss

‘I wanted to be master of my own destiny’



he founder of the longestestablished HR company in Milton Keynes has been reflecting on its 25 years in business. Angela Rhodes, pictured at an anniversary celebration at MK Gallery, is due to retire in June. “Crispin Rhodes has very much been a labour of love for me,” she says. She set up the business having worked for a Japanese company and after becoming a mother to two children. “I was sick of missing sports days and I wanted to be master of my own destiny,” she says. “My mother ran her own business from home and she inspired me to do the same.” More than four in five firms in Milton Keynes employed fewer than 20 people at the time “I thought they would all need HR support.” Angela worked from home for the first 12 years of trading before Crispin Rhodes moved into shared offices with a client in 2009. The company was acquired by Northamptonshire-based HR Solutions in 2020. “We were the first HR consultancy in Milton Keynes and to keep that going for 25 years to the point that someone wanted to buy us was pretty amazing,” says Angela. “It has given me so much freedom and

Angela Rhodes flexibility in my career. I am overjoyed and proud to celebrate 25 years of success and, while both my name and heart will always be in this company, I feel now is the perfect time to step down.” Angela now plans to travel the world with her husband, who has already retired. “I know that my clients will be well supported by the HR Solutions team. I leave the company in good hands,” she says. Guests at the MK Gallery event enjoyed afternoon tea and a presentation of key employment law updates to help businesses manage their teams.

nder-pressure laboratories are facing growing challenges as spiralling costs, rising demand and stockpiling strategies lead to empty warehouses and a shortage of vital laboratory equipment. The surge in demand brought about by the pandemic is pushing medical and non-medical laboratories to their limits, the head of a laboratory supplies company in Milton Keynes has said, with concerns that clinical laboratories have been favoured due to the pandemic. The Starlab Group, a European supplier of laboratory products with its UK headquarters at Blakelands, has issued the stark warning following a survey of more than 200 laboratory employees in the UK and mainland Europe. The mood barometer showed that only 23 per cent felt they were adequately supplied with the necessary liquid handling materials such as protective gloves and pipettes, a figure that has almost halved compared to last year. Late deliveries are to blame, according to 64pc, with 58pc attributing the shortage of

materials entirely or mainly to the fact that medical laboratories are being given preference because of the pandemic. Starlab chief executive Klaus Ambos said: “With the emergence of the Omicron variant, infection rates and demand for PCR tests increased so rapidly at the turn of the year that laboratories have long since reached their limits in terms of materials and personnel. The consequences are radical restrictions on testing and, above all, impacts on the vast majority of laboratories in Europe working in the non-medical sector that often do not feature at all in the current discussion.” The shortage of laboratory material may lead to less testing, fewer results and missed research opportunities to discover new mutations of the coronavirus to help prevent deaths in the future, Mr Ambos added. Staff shortages,

insufficient testing capacity and rising costs have put pressure on laboratories across all sectors. Denise Fane de Salis, Starlab’s UK managing director and area head for northern Europe, said: “Covid-19 is the largest but by no means the only challenge facing Europe’s laboratories. The mood barometer clearly shows that we need to look at the entire range of laboratory work. The laboratory sector is not only essential in medicine and research. Diagnostics have long since encompassed almost all areas of life and the economy.” Demand for more material comes at the same time as a lack of supplies, meaning the laboratory industry has been in a vicious circle for the past two years, she added. “Institutes that perform important basic work cannot keep up with the price competition triggered by Covid-19 and are particularly suffering. “There could be an even greater crisis for mankind if we stop supplying to other fields of research such as cancer research, molecular research, and multigerm resistance research.”

Chartered Accountants and Tax Advisers

Customs advisory & compliance service As HMRC listed agents, our customs advisory and declarations service is designed for SMEs. We can help keep your goods moving and avoid delays. Speak to our expert customs team to find out how we can help you. Independent member of


Business MK

01908 232 020 |

April 2022

HH66_HillierHopkins_BusinessMK_Advert_2022_AW.indd 1

For local business news visit 10/03/2022 09:55

Business News

Tech study will guide city’s economic future


ork on a major report into the technology sector in Milton Keynes is under way. The research project will draw together data and insight from across the tech sector, combining national and regional sources including key economic data. The report, due to be published in June, will contain detailed analysis, case studies and recommendations, with a focus on sector strengths, weaknesses to address, opportunities, specialisms, tech hubs, themes and trends. It has been commissioned by professional services firm Mazars, Milton Keynes College, Milton Keynes Council, banking giant Santander, The Open

University and the University of Buckingham. The project is being led by management consultancy Whitecap Consulting and Protospace, a community-led initiative in Milton Keynes that champions local digital innovation. Whitecap has led on a range of key research reports across the UK including regionally focused FinTech, LegalTech, accelerator and funding reports. It says Milton Keynes has a productive, resilient economy with one of the highest start-up rates in the UK. Sitting at the heart of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, digital tech will be important to Milton Keynes’ future economic strength. Whitecap director Lal Tawney said: “Initial discussions with local

Lal Tawney organisations about the analysis has been overwhelmingly positive.” Milton Keynes Council is one of the sponsors of the research. Deputy leader Cllr Robin Bradburn said: “Digital, engineering and technology

will be important to our future economic strength. We are pleased to be supporting this project as it will strengthen our position to capitalise on future tech opportunities and ensure a fair and balanced recovery.”

Jake Yeo, director of research and enterprise at fellow sponsor The Open University, added: “With tech at the heart of Milton Keynes, and a key enabler of societal development and innovation, the analysis of the ecosystem will help to better understand the current tech landscape with regards to collaboration and connectivity, while highlighting where Milton Keynes might have the opportunity to develop its distinctive capabilities and contribution both locally and more widely.” Protospace’s co-founder Oliver Waters expects the research findings to be important in guiding the sector’s future in the city. “The technology sector in Milton Keynes is growing

n Milton Keynes Mayor Cllr Mohammed Khan relishes the opportunity to try some of the dishes on the menu at the newly-refurbished Maaya Indian Kitchen & Bar in The Hub. The refurbishment was completed in time for celebrations of the restaurant’s sixth anniversary. Guests at the reopening were treated to a display of fire-breathers and Dhol drummers. The peacock-inspired décor - India’s national bird - has been created by Stony Stratford

rapidly and Milton Keynes provides a convenient, connected and forwardthinking environment for innovation and technology driven businesses. We believe this report will be an important resource for the understanding and strategic development of the tech ecosystem in Milton Keynes.” The newly opened South Central Institute of Technology at Bletchley is also keen to read the report’s findings the report. Principal Alex Warner said: “We believe that it is a vital piece of analysis to support the growth and development of tech-education provision across Milton Keynes and to support conversation across the wider Southeast Midlands and Thames Valley regions.”

artist Luke McDonnell and the transition from Maaya’s purple to dark blue and gold is part of the restaurant’s reinvestment, says joint owner Mo Abdul. “Being six years old now, we thought it was time for a change and to give our customers a fresh new look,” Mr Abdul adds. The restaurant has also invested in a new electric Tuk Tuk vehicle which will take guests on rides around the city and will be used for a lunchtime delivery service for office workers.

COMMERCIAL SECURITY SYSTEMS The security of your premises is critical

Securing your stock and property is a critical business security requirement. Tindall Security have a wealth of experience in commercial alarm systems and the security and protection of the differing requirements of commercial premises such as factories, offices, retail outlets, educational establishments, pubs and restaurants, public sector institutions and rail networks.

P Intruder Alarms P CCTV Systems P Locksmiths P Access Control P Gates & Barriers P Security Lighting P Fire Alarms

Warehouse and logistics face skills crisis


arehouses and logistics firms are suffering from a serious skills shortage, says new research. The figures, compiled by order management system specialist Mintsoft, found that vacancies for warehouse operatives were up across the country. Milton Keynes warehousing and logistics firms had 122 vacancies, while companies in Bedford

were looking to fill 90 posts, according to live jobs board data compiled on February 21. The e-commerce boom and a reduction in EU labour availability has left firms struggling to find enough operatives to fulfill high order volumes. But Mintsoft’s analysis shows that some regions are faring worse than others. London tops the list for the highest number of unfilled vacancies at 233.

To feature or comment email:

Rob Hodgson, warehouse management systems and e-commerce fulfilment expert at Mintsoft, said: “Competition for skills is particularly acute in Milton Keynes, making it difficult for businesses to meet demand and protect margins. The pandemic has changed consumer buying behaviour forever, which will continue to drive demand in the e-commerce and third party logistics sector. ”



FREE SURVEY 0800 433 7748 Tel: 0800 433 7748 Tindall Security, Unit 3 Mead Business Centre Mead Lane, Hertford, Hertfordshire. SG13 7BJ

Business MK


April 2022


Business News

MKDP seals Brunel Centre acquisition

Suzuki GB extends Dons sponsorship


uzuki GB has extended its sponsorship deal with MK Dons FC for a further two seasons. The auto manufacturer, whose UK headquarters are in the city at Snelshall, has agreed a two-year deal to remain as title partner until the end of the 2023-24 season. The new deal takes the partnership past the ten-year mark. MK Dons chairman Pete Winkelman said: “We continue to be so proud of our association with Suzuki, who have been with us through thick and thin. Their backing and support through the most difficult of times in these last couple years is something I will, personally, never forget.” The Suzuki logo will remain on front and centre on all MK Dons first-team and replica shirts through the next two seasons. The partnership continues to extend beyond the football pitch, with continuing its support of MK Dons Sport and Education Trust. The company is encouraging

B its employees to involve themselves in the partnership, both in terms of attending matches at Stadium MK and volunteering at events such as the forthcoming Ability Counts Day. Mr Winkelman said: “The partnership not only focuses on the football and helping us provide a team that our supporters can proud of but also on the vital work of our Sport and Education Trust and their various programmes, not least disability football. “With two of the biggest names in the area working together to deliver for the people and the community, I can only see our partnership

going from strength to strength as we continue forward.” Stadium MK provides Suzuki with the ideal facility to engage with their dealer network across the two-wheel, four-wheel, ATV and marine divisions. Suzuki has been based in Milton Keynes for 17 years. Nobuo Suyama, managing director of Suzuki GB PLC, said: “Our long-established sponsorship of MK Dons has again proved a successful and mutually beneficial partnership. As well as reaching out to people outside our business, we see it as a great way of building pride and engagement with our head

office staff, many of whom live in and around the city. “Collaborating for the next two seasons will take us to our tenth year as title sponsor which we know provides a solid foundation on which to further our strong relationship with the club. We are also proud to help maintain the support of the renowned and invaluable work that MK Dons Sport Education Trust do in the surrounding community.” MK Dons commercial manager Andy Wooldridge described the extended deal as “massive”. He added: “Our relationship with Suzuki remains so multifaceted.”

letchley’s Brunel Centre has become the latest addition to the property portfolio of Milton Keynes Development Partnership. The investment has been made by MKDP after Bletchley won funding through the government’s Town Deal project, which has allocated £23 million for urban regeneration programmes in Bletchley and Fenny Stratford. The Bletchley and Fenny Stratford Town Deal Board is coordinating the use of the funding, with a general pot of £8.9 million to be used by MKDP. The fund will identify sites and property assets that could be redeveloped or refurbished in line with the Town Deal’s aims. The Brunel Centre is the third asset MKDP, a wholly owned subsidiary of Milton Keynes Council, has purchased in recent years, having acquired the police station and fire

station sites next to Bletchley railway station. MKDP says the purchase is an important step forward in the regeneration of Bletchley and Fenny Stratford. Property development director Matthew Green said: “Adding the Brunel Centre to MKDP’s existing ownership in Bletchley gives us excellent control over the future of this important gateway area.” Consultation on the town centre regeneration plans for Bletchley is already under way. MKDP will work with the Town Deal board and local stakeholders to ensure the transformation of Bletchley is delivered in the right way, Mr Green added. Milton Keynes Council leader Cllr Pete Marland called on residents and businesses to have their say on the plans. “The Brunel Centre site is essential to the successful regeneration of Bletchley Town Centre,” he said.

WORKOUT. REFRESH. SWIM. RELAX. Get in touch with us at




Business MK


April 2022

For local business news visit

Business News

‘Better for the tax payer, better for the planet’ Investment call raises $200m to back electrification pioneer’s expansion plans


ioneering technology that is upcycling and electrifying industrial vehicles has attracted a rush of investment from around the world into a company based at Silverstone. An investment round launched by Lunaz has valued the company at $200 million and confirms it as one of the UK’s fastest-growing businesses. The growth capital is to fund what will be the UK’s largest remanufacturing and electrification facility, to be sited next to Lunaz’s current headquarters on Silverstone Technology Park. The new headquarters for Lunaz Applied Technologies will be a state-ofthe-art engineering, design and production hub for the manufacture of upcycled electric vehicles for industrial applications, starting with

electrified and reengineered refuse trucks. The first Mercedes-Benz Econic vehicle has already been upcycled by Lunaz.The Econic is a common sight on industrial duty as an airport service vehicle, in construction site logistics, waste management and fire and rescue. Lunaz estimates the number of vehicles ready for upcycling and electrification is 80 million vehicles in the UK, USA and Europe alone. The company has already signed fleet electrification agreements with councils including Buckinghamshire Council and private organisations on both sides of the Atlantic and is planning full market entry in 2023. “We are proud to stand among some of the fastest-growing companies in the UK,” says Lunaz’s founder and chief executive David Lorenz. “By

David Lorenz

upcycling and electrifying industrial vehicles at scale, millions of tonnes of embedded carbon is saved by dramatically extending the usable life of thousands of vehicles that would otherwise be scrapped. By applying this approach to public sector vehicles like refuse trucks we deliver a result that is better for the taxpayer and better for the planet.” The successful funding call and the expansion plans confirms Lunaz as a leader in the rapidly expanding cleantech sector. The company is at the forefront of the industry’s response to the need for more ecologically viable and cost-effective solutions to convert more than two billion vehicles currently on the planet to clean-air powertrains. Governments around the world have passed what Lunaz describes as “aggressive” legislation to ban the sale of new internal combustion engine vehicles within the next decade. To deliver its vision, Lunaz has targeted specific “highly strategic”

investors who bring expertise and interests around the world in sectors including engineering, logistics, media, technology and investment banking. The investors include the Reuben, Barclay and Dallal families, former England and Manchester Utd footballer David Beckham and Brendan Iribe, founder and chief executive of virtual reality specialist Oculus VR until it was acquired by Facebook’s parent compay Meta. It is now a leader in the gaming sector. Frederic Wakeman, the former managing partner of leading global private equity firm Advent International, is also an investor and a director of the company. “In backing Lunaz I have invested in the proven potential of upcycling and electrification as an effective solution to the pressing question of how the world transitions sustainably to clean-air powertrains,” he says. “Governments and companies need to urgently find ways to decarbonise their fleets.”

Business association considers bids to produce town’s promotional film


usinesses in Stony Stratford are working with the town council to put together a marketing film to showcase the town. A tender has gone out for a professional film maker and producer to create the film after Stony Stratford Town Council received government funding for the project. Stony Stratford Business

Association representatives are part of a group discussing the film’s content. But areas that will feature include High Street, Swinfens Yard, Market Square, Stratford Arcade, Timor Court and Odells Yard. It will also feature the River Great Ouse, the nature reserve, car parking, electric charging points, listed buildings and music, sport and dance. The town council is

To feature or comment email:

Stony Stratford High Street

considering responses but expects the successful bid to incorporate the design, filming and compilation, an integral soundtrack and a programme of sponsored posts on social media. The council said in its tender document that the film’s aim is use social media to attract footfall for shopping essentials and gifts, leisure visits for sporting or other activities and

to surrounding countryside and night-time venues. “The final film will be a short, bright, attractive, fastmoving account of all the best that Stony has to offe. Stony Stratford Town Council and the Business Association would like to work closely with the successful tenderer to make use their creative abilities and to follow their advice and guidance.”

Business MK


April 2022


MK Business Achievement Awards: Picture Special

Judges hail tenacity as entrepreneur steals the show


hree awards, one businesswoman… the Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards belonged to entrepreneur Shalom Lloyd. The founder of the businesses Naturally Tribal Skincare and healthcare development company Emerging Market Quality Trials saw the latter pick up the New Business award before herself being named

Entrepreneur of the Year. Then, in a first for the awards since they launched in 2014, not one but the two businesses Ms Lloyd founded were named joint Business of the Year. More than 600 guests packed the ballroom at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Stadium MK to hear the 13 category winners announced on stage. The judges commented that both businesses clearly


WINNER Bridgman & Bridgman LLP


WINNER MK Foodbank


WINNER Emerging Markets Quality trials



WINNER Emerging Markets Quality Trials

Business MK

green space in Milton Keynes, championing sustainability and expanded the reach of green space to the people of Milton Keynes, helping them to connect and engage with river valleys, woodlands, parks and landscaped areas, which represent 25% of our city. The theme for this year’s awards was MK - Leading the UK’s Green Recovery: Survive, Revive & Thrive and many of the

WINNER Pragmatiq Solutions



demonstrated what can be achieved under the helm of an inspirational leader, with the vision, tenacity and a drive to support others. The Lifetime Achievement Award went to David Foster, who recently retired as chief executive at The Parks Trust after 19 years at the helmr Foster has steered the independent charity, which cares for more than 6,000 acres of parkland and


April 2022

WINNER Clearview Intelligence Group

night’s winners had shown their ability to adapt their businesses to be more aware of their environmental responsibilities both now and into the future. Nicholas Mann, chair of MKBAA organisers Milton Keynes Business Leaders Partnership, said: “It was fantastic to host so many Milton Keynes businesses and to celebrate some tremendous successes again at MKBAA

2022. It was humbling to see how many businesses had taken on board the environmental theme of this year’s awards, giving us all a positive outlook for the future. “On behalf of the entire MKBAA team, I would like to congratulate all of our winners, and to thank all entrants, judges, sponsors, speakers and guests, without whom the awards simply would not be possible.”




WINNER South Central Institute of Technology / Milton KeynesCollege Group


WINNER Climb Quest Milton Keynes

For local business news visit

MK Business Achievement Awards: Picture Special BUSINESS IMPACT IN THE COMMUNITY

WINNER Future Wolverton



SPECIAL RECOGNITION Diversity Marketplace


David Foster, chief executive of The Parks Trust

ROLL OF HONOUR ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY Sponsor: Mazars Winner: Bridgman & Bridgman Finalists: Clearview Intelligence Group; KAIA Clothing; Red Giraffe Marketing. INNOVATION Sponsor: CityFibre Winner: Emerging Markets Quality Trials Finalists: (more:trees); Tomorrow’s Journey. WINNER The Stables

WINNER Whitecap Consulting


LEISURE & ENTERTAINMENT Sponsor: Milton Keynes Council Winner: Vertigo VR Finalist: Climb Quest. CHARITY OF THE YEAR Sponsor: PJ Care Winner: MK Foodbank Finalists: Harry’s Rainbow; Milton Keynes Hospital Charity; Willen Hospice. TECHNOLOGY Sponsor: CityFibre Winner: PragmatiQ Solutions Finalists: Tomorrow’s Journey; Triad plc. DESIGN & CREATIVITY Sponsor: The Open University Winner: South Central Institute of Technology / Milton Keynes College Group Finalists: Red Giraffe Marketing; Visual Identity. NEW BUSINESS Sponsor: MK:U Winner: Emerging Markets Quality Trials Finalists: (more:trees); Shoedini CHARITY OF THE YEAR Sponsor: PJ Care Winner: MK Foodbank Finalists: Harry’s Rainbow; Milton Keynes Hospital Charity; Willen Hospice.

WINNER Shalom Lloyd, Naturally Tribal Skincare

SPECIAL RECOGNITION Sanj Chandi, Treat Street


NEW BUSINESS Sponsor: MK:U Winner: Emerging Markets Quality Trials Finalists: (more:trees); Shoedini. SMALL & MEDIUM BUSINESS Sponsor: AdValorem Group Winner: Clearview Intelligence Group Finalists: Cook Recruitment Group; Diversity Marketplace; Emergency Care Gateway; WSA - The Communications Agency. CUSTOMER SERVICE Sponsor: Shoosmiths Winner: Climb Quest Finalists: Allica Bank; Aztech IT Solutions; EAC Consulting Group. BUSINESS IMPACT IN THE COMMUNITY Sponsor: MyMiltonKeynes Winner: Future Wolverton Special Recognition: Diversity Marketplace Finalist: Autism Early Support Trust. CULTURE & ARTS Sponsor: MK Gateway Winner: The Stables Finalists: Pauline Quirke Academy; The Arches Theatre. PROFESSIONAL SERVICES Sponsor: dbfb Winner: Whitecap Consulting Finalists: Cook Recruitment Group; Dentons UK & Middle East LLP; DOTS Chiropractic.

WINNER Naturally Tribal Skincare; Emerging Markets Quality Trials

To feature or comment email:

ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR Sponsor: MHA MacIntyre Hudson Winner: Shalom Lloyd - Naturally Tribal Skincare Special Recognition: Sanj Chandi - Treat Street Finalists: Scott Jones - 123 Internet Group; Harry Alston Generation Z Marketing.

Business MK


April 2022


Sustainability A new regular feature highlighting how business is playing its part in meeting the sustainability and climate change challenges

Battery recycling: A natural evolution Waste specialist opens new division



aste management specialist Cawleys has launched a new dedicated division to its business, recycling lithium-ion batteries. The new business Lithium Battery Recycling Solutions is an offshoot of Cawleys’ hazardous waste department and will specialise in the collection, transportation, dismantling and recycling of lithiumion batteries. It is one of very few such services in the UK and has been developed to meet the growing demand for electrical power both from electric vehicles and other areas such as machinery. Cawleys has been handling and treating lithium-ion batteries for some ten years within its hazardous waste division. The company says that establishing Lithium Battery Recycling Solutions as its own brand is a natural evolution. Cawleys has also launched a website Lithium batteries are a known fire risk and dealing with the batteries compliantly at their end of life is a basic health and safety requirement. The business is headed by technical director Alan Colledge and Tony Goodman, the new venture’s lithium business development consultant. Mr Colledge said: “This launch involves working with household names in vehicle and machinery production, as well as research and development. The automotive industry, along with many other with a reliance on electric power, will be highly reliant on services such as ours in the very near future.” Lithium battery production relies on mining raw materials such as cobalt and nickel. Recycling the batteries provides a sustainable, full circle solution, says Cawleys, by reclaiming valuable elements and putting them to good use. “This approach is vitally important in a world where protecting the environment is top of the agenda and we predict that demand for battery recycling services will grow exponentially,” a spokesman said.

Matt Pearson, co-founder of eco-friendly bar and restaurant Foxy Wings


eople are ready to invest in the place where they live. Some will certainly put their money where their mouth is. Just ask Matt Pearson, owner of the eco-friendly bar and restaurant Foxy Wings. He set up the venture at home in Bedford during the pandemic, when his previous job with a local charity ended. Joined by his wife Gabs and brother Jamie, it was initially a home-based catering operation but grew to provide highquality chicken and cauliflower wings and street food from premises deliberately designed to be environmentally sustainable. Then, after an approach by bar owner Tim Edwards, came a linkup with town centre bar Beerfly made possible by a crowdfunding offer that raised almost £45,000. The bar and restaurant opened just over a year ago. “This has really shown us how many people are ready to invest in where they live,” says Gabs. “This level of support has really validated some of the values we want to incorporate into the business. We want to be part of the business community that makes Bedford a great town to live in.”

Support has validated our green business values When designing and creating the restaurant, the three spent time and money to salvage and reuse as much material as possible. This included repurposing the internal metal structures, seating, tiles, exterior wood cladding and panelling. They also rehomed plants and existing light fixtures and decorated with non-plastic materials. “Our vision is to see environmentally sustainable business models become the standard and working with an organisation that helps local business on the path to carbon neutrality and ultimately net zero is the perfect fit for us,” says Matt. That organisation is waste management and recycling specialist Cawleys, which is taking waste produced by the restaurant on Bedford’s riverfront to be either recycled or converted into energy. Recycling includes the restaurant’s take-away Vegware

food packaging, cutlery and straws, made from a fully compostable ecofriendly alternative to traditional takeaway containers. “Our ethos is to minimise our burden on the planet when it comes to waste, which is why we chose to work with a local partner such as Cawleys,” says Matt. The restaurant’s menu is 50 per cent plant-based and uses free range chicken. The business runs on 100pc renewable energy and recycles all its cooking oil into biodiesel. It also works with Tried & Supplied, which champions sustainable local procurement. Cawleys collects general waste and segregated recycling from the restaurant, sorts and recycles it for second life use. Says marketing manager Nicky Severn: “We have worked tirelessly to ensure our business model offers a truly sustainable waste management solution and we are delighted to see local businesses doing the same.”

Funding backs training for firms on reducing carbon footprint


ree training to businesses on how to reduce their carbon footprint and to tradespeople on the installation of ecofriendly equipment is on offer from the National Energy Foundation in Milton Keynes. Milton Keynes Council has provided £70,000 of funding from its Green Business Recovery Fund to finance hundreds of hours of training. Under the partnership, the NEF will provide: n Training for up to 25 local tradespeople on how to gain TrustMark accreditation for the install of eco-friendly equipment such as insulation, double glazing


Business MK


April 2022

Scheme puts modern building on display

and new heating systems; n Online training for businesses looking to make the first step in developing an environmental policy, including an all-staff exercise to demonstrate how everyone can make a difference; n Certification for up to ten people to give advice on the best way to make homes more energy-efficient; n Training to help professionals already qualified as domestic energy assessors to gain additional qualifications. NEF director of development Sandra Hayes said: “We are really pleased to have been given this funding by MK Council to deliver

support to local businesses interested in becoming greener. With lots of government initiatives to support householders make their homes more energy-efficient and a high interest from consumers in the environmental credentials of suppliers, the training on offer as a result of this funding is very well timed.” The training is paid for by the council’s £500,000 Green Business Recovery Fund and is intended to help local businesses improve their green offer to residents and create more sustainable jobs. “Our work with the National Energy Foundation will provide genuine support for businesses

who want to become greener,” says Milton Keynes Council deputy leader Cllr Robin Bradburn. “This is an opportunity to help grow our economy responsibly and for some businesses to ‘bounce back green’. “We are very proud of our work in this area and look forward to seeing more businesses take steps to becoming cleaner and greener on our journey to delivering a fair and balanced economic recovery.” The NEF is an independent domestic energy and sustainability charity based in Bletchley which has been working to improve the use of energy in buildings for more than 30 years.

ew building technology is to be used for the first time in the UK on a new homes development in Milton Keynes. Housebuilder Bellway is to build 160 homes using Modern Methods of Construction on 9.2 acres at Tattenhoe Park. This will include 40 modular homes and 120 homes built using timber frame panels. Bellway purchased the land from Homes England and is developing the site as part of a Homes England pilot project to speed up the delivery of new homes. Some homes will be built on a factory production line and the build programme will be completed within two years of work starting. Paul Smits, managing director of Bellway Northern Home Counties, says: “Bellway is committed to exploring innovative ways of delivering new homes more quickly and more sustainably. Tattenhoe Park is therefore a key project for the company and for the community in Milton Keynes.” The modular homes are built offsite and, like the timber frame panels which replace traditional breeze blocks, are produced in a controlled factory environment. This ensures consistent quality and removes any impact of weather conditions, Mr Smits adds. The process improves energy efficiency by creating a more airtight home and timber is more sustainable than brick. Modern methods also reduce the amount of waste produced in the build process. The project is one of a series led by Homes England aiming to deliver 1,800 new homes using modern construction methods.

App aims to boost public transport


he dream of a city-wide transport app that shares real-time information and books tickets regardless of the operator is one step nearer thanks to Milton Keynes Council’s 5G plans. The app is being made possible due to the council developing a reliable local 5G service, which made headlines earlier this year when a trial of 5G-powered driverless vehicles began at Stadium MK. The council hopes better real time information will encourage more people into trying sustainable transport. It would eventually integrate the app into its existing journey planning website and app Cllr Jenny Wilson-Marklew says: “The app will give passengers greater confidence that a vehicle is on its way and how long a journey by public transport will actually take. Uncertainty is one of the reasons some people are put off using public transport so we hope these kind of innovations will encourage more residents to give public transport a try.”

For local business news visit


of Three

The Power of 3 runs through the core of OCM as we have three professional disciplines brought together allowing

us to deliver such a powerful client focused proposition. As an Independent Chartered Financial Planning Firm, a Discretionary Asset Manager and Tax planning

specialist, we utilise the power of 3, to ensure we deliver a seamless and first class, cost and time efficient service to clients. This is because at OCM we truly believe Our Clients Matter.


Financial Planners TAXATION


Asset Managers 01604 621 467

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate the activities of tax planning, estate planning or IHT planning.

OCM Wealth Management Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority ( uk/register/ FCA Registration No: 418826. OCM Asset Management is a trading name of OCM Wealth Management.

To feature or comment email:

Business MK


April 2022



Trade mark specialist joins regional law firm

New partners head annual promotion round



total eight promotions take effect at regional law firm Woodfines from this month. The appointments include two new members of the LLP, four partners and two senior associates. New partner Hannah Johnson has worked at Woodfines since joining the Bedford office as a trainee. She is a specialist in probate will and inheritance disputes. Fellow new partner Claire Spencer is a commercial and property litigation specialist who joined Woodfines in 2016 after relocating back to the UK from New Zealand. She was promoted to associate three years ago. Nathan Taylor-Allkins is also taking on the role of partner after joining Woodfines as a trainee in 2013. He qualified into the crime and regulatory department in 2015. Corporate and commercial specialist James Wilkinson, who

also becomes partner, works with clients ranging from energy suppliers to battery storage sites and EV infrastructure businesses and is leading the way in reducing Woodfines’ carbon footprint. Becoming members of the LLP are property department head Suzanna Stephenson and Mikhala Leak, who becomes head of the private client department. Private client lawyers Zara

Bracegirdle and Helen Simpson are promoted to senior associate. Woodfines managing partner Neil Gibbs said: “All eight bring experience, positivity and enthusiasm to their work and the firm. The promotion round this year is testimony to our strategy of developing talent internally and blending that with experience gained outside of the firm across the legal sector.”

arah Dacre is pictured below with Matthew Talbot, partner and head of intellectual property at regional law firm Howes Percival, after making to move to become the firm’s first Chartered Trade Mark Attorney. Ms Dacre has joined from London and South Buckinghamshire law firm Blaser Mills. She is able to file trade marks worldwide but also conducts trade mark litigation through the Intellectual Property Office in the UK. She has worked as vice president senior trade counsel at Barclays Bank intellectual property officer at Walgreens Boots Alliance. Her experience covers trade mark protection and enforcement including managing national and international trade mark portfolios. “As a firm, we are always on the

lookout for exceptional talent and Sarah certainly fits into that bracket,” says Mr Talbot. “Sarah is a hugely respected lawyer in her field, with a long and distinguished career history. Our IP team has a national reputation and her experience will be a big asset to the firm and our clients.” Howes Percival acts for food sector producers and organisation, much of the work in relation to the EU protected food name scheme. The IP department also advises footwear brands including Start-Rite and Shoe Zone and clothing brand JustHype. “Over the past few years, we have seen an increase in trade mark filing and opposition work,” says Mr Talbot. “Intellectual property is one of an organisation’s most valuable assets and, for many, it is central to their commercial success.”

Builder boosts commercial department with surveyor hires


ousebuilder Hayfield has bolstered its commercial department with the appointment of Shane Kelly as senior quantity surveyor and Gareth Evans as quantity

surveyor. They will both be based at Hayfield’s Milton Keynes office. Mr Kelly has moved from a similar position at Persimmon North London. Mr Evans joins Hayfield from Hill Group, where

he was a contracts surveyor. Hayfield’s commercial director Wesley Keane said: “We will be able to manage the commercial aspects of many more sites simultaneously.”

THIS IS S WA N B O U R N E S P I R I T Next Open Day Friday 22nd April

A dynamic & challenging curriculum, small class sizes, inspirational extra-curricular activities and extensive facilities set in 55 acres of Buckinghamshire countryside, near Milton Keynes. We’re creating change makers ready for the world of tomorrow.


Co-ed independent day & boarding prep school for children aged 4 -13 years Search: swanbourne house admissions | 01296 720264 | 12

Business MK


April 2022

For local business news visit


Party firm celebrates senior management restructure

Director joins to boost export drive


C James Witham

Bereavement group leader earns new branch position


he leader of a bereavement support group set up by funeral directors Neville Funerals has been promoted to run three of the company’s offices in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. James Witham already runs the Dunstable office but is now also in charge of Neville Funerals’ offices in Stopsley and Hemel Hempstead. He also runs the Talking Elephants support group for bereaved families, which has resumed its faceto-face meetings across the region since the pandemic. Director Vicky Trumper said: “Branch manager roles at the business are viewed as pretty crucial positions for us. James has already proved he is very capable of

being one at our Dunstable branch, he understands the responsibilities of the position and so it felt natural to appoint him branch manager for Stopsley and Hemel Hempstead too. He is well respected and trusted within the organisation and has also built great relationships with our local community in Dunstable. We have no doubt he will do same in these additional locations.” Mr Witham said: “Providing our communities with the best advice and support is always at the forefront of everything I do and my aim is to use my experience from Dunstable to ensure our Stopsley and Hemel Hempstead branches continue to thrive.”

To feature or comment email:

hief executive Gary Panons is to become the first executive chairman at party products and supplies company Amscan International. The move is the next stage in the Milton Keynes-based company’s development following a management buyout in January last year. Mr Panons will be succeeded as chief executive by Amscan International’s chief financial officer and chief operating officer Joe Hennigan. The changes take place from this month. Amscan International, whose headquarters are at Brinklow, is the world’s largest designer, manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler and retailer of party products and supplies. Mr Panons said: “There are hugely exciting times ahead with further organic growth and acquisitions.” He joined Amscan International in 2011 when the company of which he was managing director, Christy’s by Design, was acquired by the business. Before arriving at Amscan International in 2016, Mr Hennigan spent 12

Gary Panons (left) and Joe Hennigan years working for business advisory firm PwC. He joined Amscan International as chief financial officer before also becoming chief operating officer in 2019. Current group finance director Rob Sidell becomes chief financial officer. Mr Hennigan said: “We are all excited for what the future holds as we further expand the business. We have a clear strategic growth plan and the funds available to make additional investments to accelerate the plan.” The Amscan MBO was supported by private equity firm Endless. Two significant acquisitions followed, of foil

balloon printing technology business Luftballon-Markt in August and Ginger Ray in October. The company has a turnover of more than £250 million and employs around 2,500 people worldwide, 350 of whom are based in the UK. Mr Panons said: “We have incredibly supportive investors and partners in Endless, a great leadership team and a wealth of experience and energy across all areas of our business. Part of any evolution is growing, developing and harnessing positive change. These changes to our board structure are entirely right for the stage and future success of our business.”

mpact protection equipment specialist Brandsafe has appointed a senior executive as it continues to invest in its UK and international operations. Rob Taylor pictured joins as commercial operations d i r e c t o r and takes charge of the operational side of Brandsafe’s business as it continues to develop and grow throughout the UK, Europe and North America. The company, based at Stonebridge and part of IWS Group, sees a strong market in 2022 Activity remains busy as warehouse and logistics centre operators invest in infrastructure projects in the UK and Europe. “Brandsafe continues to grow and expand on the back of its innovative product range and key project wins,” says Mr Taylor. “We are delighted to welcome Rob to the team,” says Brandsafe’s managing director Susy Keating. “He will be a tremendous asset with his industry insight, experience and expertise.”

Business MK


April 2022


Feature: Manufacturing Post-pandemic acceleration continues for robots in new sectors such as logistics, retail and for the production of electric vehicles. The adoption of robots is also driving demand for new skills that require education and training. Marc Segura, robotics division president of ABB - which has a facility in Milton Keynes - outlines the key trends for robotics in 2022.

Driving innovation to create new possibilities Advances in technology is creating demand in areas where, traditionally, robotics have not been used


ith demand for robots growing as companies in multiple sectors look for new ways to enhance their productivity and competitiveness post-pandemic, ABB has compiled a set of growth predictions, looking at key trends driving demand for robots in the coming year. “The pandemic accelerated far-reaching global mega trends, from labour shortages and supply chain uncertainty to the individualised consumer and growing pressure to operate sustainably and resiliently, leading new businesses to look to robotic automation,” says Marc Segura, ABB’s newly appointed robotics division president. “As technology opens new opportunities for meeting customer demands, new trends will continue to emerge that will further drive demand in areas

where robots have traditionally not been used.” Based on customer conversations, market research and a global survey of 250 companies across multiple industries, ABB has identified three key trends that will shape the demand for robots in 2022.

The EV revolution is bringing wholesale changes for automotive manufacturing With many countries restricting and phasing out the production of combustion engine vehicles over the next decade, the race towards electric cars has accelerated. Manufacturers and their supply chains must tackle the complexity of diversifying into EVs alongside combustion engine vehicles to meet varying regulatory frameworks governing EV adoption across the globe.

NELSON HOUSE Auckland Park, Mount Farm, Milton Keynes


The speed and added flexibility needed will see new and established manufacturers move away from traditional linear manufacturing towards modular, flexible production. “EV is not about a change only in the powertrain but a larger transformation to a digitised car,” says Mr Segura. “This transition will also see the growing uptake of robots in combination with other technologies, including Autonomous Mobile Robots. “This will enable manufacturers to optimise the delivery of components across facilities and enable integrated scalable, modular production cells - methods traditionally associated with e-commerce and consumer goods but now required in automotive to ensure the necessary flexibility to meet varying levels of demand.” Another major shift will see battery manufacturing brought closer to vehicle assembly, to meet sustainability and regional requirements, which in most cases requires all-new facilities.

The e-commerce boom will accelerate

Detached HQ office / showroom 3,250 sq ft 14

Business MK


April 2022

Consumer behaviour and expectations are driving companies to find new ways to satisfy demand, developing new channels through omnichannel retailing and adapting their production lines and distribution processes to enable personalisation of both products and delivery. Fulfilling these requirements has seen thousands of robots installed worldwide where they were not used just five years ago and this

Marc Segura rapid rate of automation will investing in robots. This is continue in 2022 driven by seeing an acceleration of robots a combination of consumer in general industry and small trends and a growing shortage and medium-sized enterprises of labour. as companies seek new ways to “This trend will see the growth automate different tasks. of lighter, smaller “As we look beyond robotic applications, 2022, we see an ever enabling the greater emphasis Flexibility expansion of on connectivity is a strategic automation and data into new areas need across the acquisition as of warehousing key enablers entire value and distribution of future operations,” says manufacturing,” chain Mr Segura. “As says Mr Segura. Artificial Intelligence “Data collected from in robotics matures and learning intelligently automated robots become mainstream, processes will be analysed expect to see these technologies by producers to make more deployed alongside AMR informed decisions. At the technologies, orchestrated and same time, more advanced managed by intelligent software and responsive simulation to provide enhanced flexibility, and programming software speed and efficiency.” tools, such as those in ABB’s RobotStudi, will cover the entire More robots will appear in life cycle of robotic applications more places and workers will - from commissioning to need new skills onstream productivity - using Smaller, more affordable, and AR and VR tools to simplify easy-to-use robots, such as automation for customers.” ABB’s YuMi, GoFa and SWIFTI cobots, are helping to remove many of the barriers previously preventing companies from

The enhanced ability of robots to work directly alongside humans, share tasks and learn through AI is also making

it easier for companies to adopt intelligent automation in new environments such as construction, healthcare laboratories and restaurants and retail. In a future with a high prevalence of robots in workplaces, engineers and staff will need to be retrained and more robotic training will be demanded in schools, colleges and universities, for the skills to programme, operate and maintain robots for an automated future. The trends outlined for 2022 are the latest chapter in the ongoing transformation of robotic automation which is seeing a rapid acceleration and adoption of robots across industry. “While automation has always been about productivity and quality - scaling up, doing more - the shifts we are witnessing today (the greatest in a generation) mean that flexibility and simplicity are key to success,” says Mr Segura. “Today, flexibility is essential - it is a strategic need, essential across the entire value chain from manufacturing and logistics through to the point of consumption. Robotic automation is a vital enabler of this flexibility. “ABB’s goal is to help our customers achieve this flexibility and add value to their businesses by driving innovation to create new possibilities with robotics, mobile robotics and machine automation, supported by the digital services and training they need to get the most from their investment.”

For local business news visit

The Growth Debate

Theo Chalmers Theo Chalmers is director of Verve Public Relations and chairman of Urban Eden. e: 01908 275271

Chase plan returns and traffic hell looms


eaders will be aware that I have been writing about Salden Chase for years, since June 2010 in fact. I wrote then that the leader of Milton Keynes Council, Cec Tallack, appeared to want to prevent such anomalies as the planned 5,300-home Salden Chase development which was set to be tacked on to the side of Milton Keynes with no support infrastructure of its own, with all the council tax going to Aylesbury Vale (as it was then) and no grid system extensions. In 2013 I wrote that, thankfully, the scheme was abandoned but we all know that, when so much potential profit is involved, these schemes never die. I assumed back then that it was pressure from the council and residents of Milton Keynes, coupled with a failing economy that had stalled it. However, John Byrne, head of planning at AVDC, told me at the time: “The applicants withdrew their previous application after AVDC had withdrawn the Core Strategy that allowed for the Salden Chase development.” This was because the government scrapped the South East Plan which dictated how many houses should go on land to the south west of Milton Keynes. But then the scheme was suddenly back. That time, the consortium of Hallam Land Management, Taylor Wimpey, Connolly Homes, William Davis and bellcrosshomes appeared to have learned from the pushbacks and their policy appeared to be ‘softly, softly catchee monkey’. The development, on which they had then consulted the public, was a portion of the original site and included ‘only’ 1,885 homes. It was no longer called Salden Chase but South West Milton Keynes even though it was not actually in Milton Keynes but just dumped on its borders. In 2015 and 2016, I wrote frequently about the furtherance of these plans. It was clear then - and clear now - that central government saw Milton Keynes as a place to which more people could be persuaded to move from crowded and rapidly becoming unaffordable cities, particularly London. Government desires to build more than 40,000 new homes here before 2031 - 1,750 dwellings a year - provided the stimulus for Milton Keynes Council to create the somewhat stuttering Plan:MK. Its desperation to hit targets was already showing, resulting in house-building firms buying up and optioning every available potential site in order to capitalise on this mindless expansion and infilling. Bizarrely, of course, this would and will inevitably result in Milton Keynes itself becoming a crowded and unaffordable city. Cheers, central government. Cheers, house builders. Cheers, Aylesbury Vale and Milton Keynes Councils. At that time Aylesbury Vale was required to expand by 33,000 new homes. And where better to dump them than right on our doorstep? AVDC would collect all the council tax and government house target Brownie points,

while Milton Keynes would collect all the grief supplying transport links, doctors’ surgeries, hospital beds, fire, police, ambulance, schools and colleges, railway stations etc. And so, inevitably, the plan returns and still using the softly softly approach. It is for 1,855 new homes and has now been approved by Buckinghamshire Council, the unitary council that replaced Buckinghamshire County Council and Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern, South Bucks and Wycombe District Councils in April 2020. West Bletchley Council, however, is not happy. “In July 2021 we advised that, following a Public Inquiry, planning permission had been granted for the Salden Chase Highways Application (Ref:15/00619/FUL). We regret to further advise that Buckinghamshire Council has, following that decision, now approved outline permission for the development of 1,855 new homes on land adjacent to West Bletchley. This is likely to be the first of three phases, with ultimately more than the originally-planned 5500 new homes, being built.” At its last full council meeting WBC restated its long-term opposition to the development of Salden Chase, noting that it would lead to significant long-term traffic problems on the already frequently gridlocked Buckingham Road and A421. The council also registered concerns regarding Hamilton Lane becoming an access route to the new development and noted that the development would put pressure on both local schools and medical services. Now WBC and other parish councils are trying to minimise the adverse development of Salden Chase by securing funding for a southern bypass. They have launched the Milton Keynes Southern Bypass Campaign to urge Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up Housing & Communities, to fund the major project. Sadly, for financial reasons, this is highly likely to fail as are at least some of their co-ordinated efforts to: n Work with Buckinghamshire Council, Milton Keynes Council and the developers to ensure there is no road, including works access, from the Racecourses estate into Salden Chase via Hamilton Lane or any other route; n Ask the planning authority and the developers to provide 20 per cent of the new housing as social rent and 15pc as affordable rent or shared ownership; n Request that the developer build a new primary school and a GP practice at the commencement of the new housing build; n Lobby to ensure that the required infrastructure is in place prior to the commencement of house building. Call me an old cynic but, given how these things generally play out, this will be a disaster for every resident, commuter, user of schools, hospitals and doctors and those who may require fire, police and ambulance services. Only the property developers and the coffers of Buckinghamshire Council will benefit. Cheerio.

To feature or comment email:

Steve Ottewill and Linda Betts, sales manager of Access Platform Sales, outside the Source UK unit at Milton Keynes Business Centre


The sky’s the limit for equipment hire company

ike virtually every business, Steve Ottewill had no choice but to close when the pandemic struck and lockdown was originally declared by the government. The timing was bad… he had just invested thousands in purchasing equipment for the next stage in his company’s growth providing plant hire, powered access, tools, skips and scaffold towers. “We had literally just bought it a month before,” he recalls. “We shut for three weeks and I was not sure what was gong to happen.” However, as an essential industry, construction continued and Steve took the decision to reopen. It was, he says, a smart because besides the calls from construction firms looking to hire, his equipment was in demand for DIY and home improvement projects taking place as lockdown continued. “We grew,” says Steve, who founded his business Source UK Hire & Sales in 2012. “Buying the equipment actually helped us.” Previously he had sought equipment for clients from suppliers all around the country but had opted to purchase as the business grew and shortly after it moved from Bletchley to an office and unit in Milton Keynes Business Centre on Linford Wood. “We had built the business up from scratch and it was the logical next step.” Source UK Hire & Sales is independently owned and provides training and equipment operators as well as the equipment itself. Steve and his team are based at the company’s modern office in Milton Keynes Business Centre, with the unit housing the equipment for hire on the same site,

only yards away. The company also has its own drivers and transport, as well as a national sales manager. There are competitors in the market but Steve believes the business has grown because of its USP: a ‘One Call Hires All’ offer to industrial, commercial and domestic users. “Our customer friendly approach offering a ‘one call hires all’ choice is popular with both national and local contractors wishing to source their hire requirements through one person,” says Steve. Source UK now works with clients all over the UK, including the film industry, electrical and mechanical contractors, builders, roofers, facilities management and shop fitters. Being based in Linford Wood, convenient for road access anywhere in the UK is a big part of the company’s success. “Milton Keynes Business Centre is a great place. We have picked up clients by being here,” says Steve. “It works so well for us.” Such has been the growth of the company that Steve is beginning the search for larger premises. “We will definitely stay in Milton Keynes and I hope here at Linford Wood.” Milton-Keynes-Business-Centre

Business MK


April 2022


Feature New legislation that comes into force this month aims to make the process of divorce simpler and less contentious. But, warns family law specialist Tina Shah, the law of matrimonial finances remains unaltered and it is therefore imperative to take advice on how to best protect your affairs, including your business.

Divorce made simple... but ignore your finances at your peril


o Fault Divorce has come into force from April 6. Under the new legislation, you can divorce without having to blame your spouse. Previously, parties could only apply for a divorce if they were able to prove to the court that their marriage has irretrievably broken down by establishing one of five specific facts. Under the previous system, unless you had been separated for two years and you had both agreed to get divorced, one of you had to effectively blame the other for your marriage having broken down. Under the new legislation, as it is no longer anyone’s fault that the marriage has broken down, the divorce application cannot be contested. The only instance in which you can contest

the divorce will be if you do not believe the marriage itself is valid. Previously, only one spouse could make the application for divorce. The new legislation allows both parties to apply on a joint and amicable basis for divorce. There are also changes to the language that will be used. For example, the first stage of divorce known as the Decree Nisi - has been changed to the Conditional Order. You will need to wait 20 weeks after the original application is made to apply for the Conditional Order and a further six weeks from then to apply for the final stage of divorce, the Decree Absolute, which is now called a Final Order. These changes also apply to the dissolution of civil partnerships. The reasoning behind these changes

is that divorce will become less complicated and less contentious. What does this mean for a business? People often believe that when you are divorced and have your Decree Absolute/Final Order, you are protected financially. However, matrimonial finances are an entirely separate area of law. Even if you are divorced, your ex-spouse could still make a financial claim against you at any time in the future, even if you remarry. It is therefore extremely important that if you have a business and are getting a divorce that you obtain the appropriate legal advice. The court will always encourage parties to reach an agreement over their finances between themselves and to do so as amicably as possible. If an

Tina Shah agreement can be reached, whether between the parties independently, through negotiations in mediation or through the parties’ respective solicitors, it is important that this agreement is recorded within a Consent Order. The Consent Order is like a contract between you and your ex-partner setting out how the matrimonial finances are to be settled. It is approved by the court and is a legally binding Court Order. It protects both parties from further claims against each other both now and in the future. It is therefore essential that the Consent Order is correctly drafted to reflect what has been agreed by the parties and to provide for a clean break if appropriate. There is currently no time limit to

when an ex-spouse can make a claim against you. I cannot stress enough how important it is, with the new legislation making divorce easier for people to obtain, that where you have pensions, property, savings and especially a business, you obtain legal advice as to matrimonial finances. Failing to do so could prove to be a very costly mistake in the future. While No Fault Divorce aims to change the landscape of divorce itself, the law regarding matrimonial finances remains the same. n If you are unsure about your situation or need advice about your matrimonial finances, contact the family lawyers at Neves Solicitors on 0330 0945 500, email family@ or visit www.nevesllp.

Modern markets demand more active investment approach Published on behalf of OCM Wealth Management


he last few years have proved challenging to say the least for financial markets, with investors grappling with the effects of Brexit, Donald Trump, a pandemic and now the emergence of war in Europe. Against this backdrop, long-term investors have attempted to navigate considerable uncertainty with their long-term plans remaining intact. However, for the majority, the age-old approach of ‘time in the market’ has proved to be a costly strategy. Keen investors and observers of financial markets will know that maintaining diversification between asset classes and geographies is key in any longterm strategy. However, what happens when asset classes stop performing the way they used to? More specifically, what happens when traditionally low risk assets start to behave differently? Movements over recent years have challenged longheld assumptions about the relationship between asset classes and risk, leading many investors questioning whether traditional asset management strategies still hold up in modern markets. Although the traditional longhold approach to investing whereby an investor maintains a static portfolio allocation over the long term - has proved to be an effective strategy in the past, it is our view that shifts in financial markets over the last decade have


Business MK


reduced the efficiency of this approach. Particularly, the increase in correlation between equity and non-equity assets in recent years, the increased interconnectivity of global markets on the back of globalisation and the surge in volatility of assets which have traditionally been perceived as low risk (such as government bonds). As a result, it is our view that a static asset allocation approach is no longer effective as a long-term investment strategy.

By cyclically rotating assets, we can produce higher risk-adjusted returns While the majority of asset managers still follow the traditional long-hold approach, at OCM we recognise the need to be dynamic when it comes to structuring a portfolio. Our investment strategy focuses on an active, risk-managed approach, which aims to deliver a predefined ‘Outcome’ at an agreed level of risk. Our proactive approach focuses on what clients are looking to achieve rather than trying to ‘beat’ the market or ‘ride the rollercoaster’, as we say.

April 2022

It is our fundamental view that all assets, apart from cash and ultra-low-risk government bonds, are subject to varying degrees of market risk during different phases of the economic cycle. As such, OCM’s flagship Outcome Based Investment strategy is based on the principle that by cyclically rotating assets throughout the economic cycle, we can produce higher risk-adjusted returns over the long term. In doing so, we can reduce downward drags on portfolio performance by removing assets expected to erode returns in this phase of the cycle in favour of those with a more positive outlook. We do not try to ‘time’ the market but to hold the right assets at the right time, based on cycle positioning. The effectiveness of the OBI strategy versus a traditional long hold approach is clear to see over the long term, with the strategy providing of particular value to investors during significant market events, such as in 2008, 2011, 2020 and during the recent invasion of Ukraine. As long-term investors, we cannot remove all negative shocks from the market. However, by taking a dynamic approach we are able to add value for investors over the long-term and adapt to the ever-changing market environment. Modern markets demand a more active approach and we have exactly that.

Chris Hall, manager of the Spirit Health and Fitness Club at the Holiday Inn Milton Keynes Central



evive, refresh and reinvigorate your spirit. That’s what they offer at the Spirit Health and Fitness Club at the Holiday Inn Milton Keynes Central. The porcelain-tiled menthol and eucalyptus infused steam room will help to clear your pores and airways so you emerge relaxed and refreshed. Or perhaps immerse yourself in the fully heated pool and then lay back on a lounger to destress with music playing subtly in the background. Maybe you feel like putting your swimming prowess to the test and cut a few laps of the 16-metre pool… 100 laps will hit that mile target. Work your body and mind into shape by using the excellent fitness facilities. On offer is a fully modern equipped fitness gym boasting Lifefitness interactive machinery with concept II rowers. The gym also boasts a functional training area combining cable resistance training, TRX Suspension trainer and much more. Club manager Chris Hall, who has more than 20 years of experience in the fitness and hospitality sector including on cruise ships and in hotels, is simply passionate about your wellbeing. Combining all of the skills of his team, including qualified PT sessions with Neil or Zumba with Daryl, Chris aims

Get into the Spirit and boost your wellbeing to provide a wonderful friendly environment that you will love to be part of. A completely new club awaits. The bright and spacious club lobby is a great place to relax before or after your session in the club. There are stacks of neatly arranged fresh white towels as you enter the changing rooms, with natural elements of planters, soft greys and natural woods that all add to your experience when you visit the Spirit Health Fitness Club at the Holiday Inn Milton Keynes Central. When you become a member at the Spirit Health Club at the Holiday Inn Milton Keynes Central, you’ll see that it’s far more than you might have imagined. With fresh fruit in the club each day, free wi-fi and free parking, there’s also so much more on offer. Other membership benefits include a massive 50 per cent off the Holiday Inn Milton Keynes Central lobby menu and a wow factor of 20pc off dining at Marco Pierre White’s New York Italian restaurant.

For local business news visit

Business2Business April 2022

In print and online Business2Business is published throughout Bedfordshire for the area’s business community NE W S

Logistics firm mourns death of founder


The latest business news from Central Bedfordshire. P18


Recycling firm begins its anniversary celebrations. P19


he founder of one of Bedfordshire’s leading logistics companies has died. Miniclipper Logistics has announced that Mick Masters passed way earlier this month after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. He was 83. Mr Masters founded the business in 1971 by responding to a newspaper advert in the Leighton Buzzard Observer for someone to develop a parcel delivery service doing daily runs between Bedfordshire and London. He bought a VW van and Miniclipper was born. The business and fleet grew steadily during the 1970s and 1980s, built on a foundation of strong customer service led by Mick and supported by his wife Janet, who managed the administration as well as driving one of the company’s vans.

From one van to 40 trucks and five sites: Miniclipper pays tribute Miniclipper has grown to occupy 450,000 sq ft of storage and more than 38,000 pallet spaces across its five sites in Leighton Buzzard, Houghton Regis and Dunstable. Its fleet comprises 40 trucks and 30 trailers. The company employs 140 staff, many of whom have been with the business for many years. Mr Masters’ son Peter took over as managing director in 1995 and daughter-in-law Jayne was appointed as sales director with Mr Masters officially retiring in 2005. “Mick was proud to see Miniclipper reach its 50th birthday in 2021 still

Mick Masters as a family business just as the third generation of Masters joined the team,” the company said.

Mr Masters’ funeral took place on March 23 at Crownhill Crematorium in Milton Keynes.

College beats the drum for construction

‘We never forget we are a people business.’ P19 NE W S



Firms ready to back return of Bedford River Festival. P20

1st choice recruitment 124mm x 28mm.qxp_Layout 1 06/04/2021 16:08 Page 1

Better times ahead as London Luton offers new jobs. P20

1st Choice for Recruitment in Bedford, Biggleswade, Milton Keynes, Northampton and Huntingdon for over 30 years.

Some of the hundreds of visitors to the stand run by The Bedford College Group and the Construction Industry Training Board at the National Apprenticeship Show in Milton Keynes, eager to hear of the career opportunities available across the sector Head office: 01234 210025

We’re more than just legal experts. We’re trusted advisers who take the time to really understand your issues. To feature or comment email:

he Bedford College Group teamed up with the Construction Industry Training Board to welcome people interested in careers in construction at the National Apprenticeship Show. CITB staff Amy Gardner and Emma Cook and Bedford College’s director of business development Gina Bubbins welcomed young people to hear about the job prospects in the construction industry. Hundreds learned about the thousands of job opportunities across the UK in a wide range of industries which can be accessed via apprenticeships. Employers such as Mercedes Benz, the Royal Navy, Aldi and Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue were among those showcasing opportunities with their respective organisations at Stadium MK’s Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes. The Bedford College Group has links with 1,500 employers across Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes. Ms Bubbins said: “We offer a gateway to quality employment opportunities and ongoing training for those in a wide range of industries.”

0330 0945 500 Business2Business


April 2022



Be Central Bedfordshire - Economic Growth Partnership

Central Bedfordshire Council, through its Be Central Bedfordshire website and services, provides a wealth of support and information to help all businesses, either established or new to the area, to thrive and grow.

Protecting services and supporting the vulnerable: why council tax is rising


entral Bedfordshire Council has agreed its annual budget which will see substantial investment in infrastructure projects as well as providing added support for our more vulnerable residents. The budget means an overall rise in council tax of 1.95 per cent, which includes the application of a 1pc Adult

Social Care Precept to help fund adult care services. Executive member for corporate resources Cllr David Shelvey said: “The increase in Council Tax is not a decision we

take lightly but it is necessary to protect services and meet the increasing demands to provide care for more older people and provide more support for children with special educational needs and disabilities.” The council is planning £12 million of efficiencies for next year and is investing £240 million in infrastructure projects

Army extends service life of air defence system


he UK sovereign Land Environment Air Picture Provision capability, developed by Lockheed Martin UK for the British Army, has its in-service date extended to 2029. The enhanced system will boost the army’s existing command and control capability to ensure it can effectively communicate via Link 16 - the military’s tactical data link network used by NATO - and plug into the wider UK defence systems. The capability provides early air defence warning through airspace management, surveillance and ground-based command and control. Deployment of the upgraded system will deliver an operational advantage by enabling the sharing of real-time command and control data exchange between users and platforms.

support hundreds of new homes and bring new community facilities. The All Saints View independent living scheme is set to open its doors and work on Marigold House, the new state-of-the-art residential home for older people in Leighton Buzzard is almost complete. The council has also opened the new secondary school in

Houghton Regis, Houstone School. Sandy Secondary School is being transofrmed and other schools are expanding to meet increased pupil numbers. More details on the budget, including council tax levels, were due to be issued to households last month. The council tax support scheme is available for those struggling to pay their council tax.

EV charge points set to increase across the area

The army has deployed LEAPP around the world with the British Army and was used for surveillance at the G7 2021 Summit in Cornwall and the COP 26 Summit in Glasgow. Lee Fellows, vice president and managing director at Lockheed Martin UK, Ampthill: “Extending the Out of Service Date for LEAPP clearly demonstrates its importance to the British Army and we are proud to support the UK with ongoing LEAPP deployment. Today’s multidomain integration environment requires digitalready systems that deliver advanced capabilities and the ability to share real-time battlespace management data between platforms and users. The upgraded LEAPP capability has been advanced with exactly this in mind.”

Companies urged to join scheme to support victims of abuse


usinesses and community organisations are being asked to consider signing up to Central Bedfordshire Council’s Safe Space scheme to help people experiencing domestic abuse. A Safe Space is a designated area within a building that displays information about local and national support services. Anyone experiencing domestic abuse can use the area to safely make a confidential call or seek help via the internet. Data from the Office for National Statistics suggests that around one in four women and one in six men over the age of 16 experiences domestic abuse at some stage in their lives. Cllr Sue Clark, executive member for families, education and children, said: “Everyone deserves to live a life free from fear and abuse. We know that reaching out for help can seem daunting for victims so making it as easy as possible is incredibly important. The Safe Spaces scheme allows people experiencing domestic abuse to access support services in confidence.” As well as physical violence, the current definition of domestic abuse includes

improving roads, building care homes and schools and increasing leisure provision. Work is set to start on the new M1-A6 link road and rail freight interchange at Sundon. Work is under way at the new transport interchange at Flitwick with a similar one planned at Biggleswade railway station. The Arlesey relief road and associated development will

emotional and psychological abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, stalking and harassment, coercive and controlling behaviours, forced marriage and ‘honour’-based abuse. Cllr Clark said: “Any businesses or community organisation that can host a Safe Space will be providing a really important service for victims. Staff do not need to be experts in domestic abuse; just displaying information about support services and providing a safe environment for someone affected by domestic abuse could make a big difference.” n To find out more about becoming a Safe Space, email BDAP@ The Bedfordshire Against Domestic Abuse Partnership has published a directory of businesses that are part of the Safe Spaces scheme. Find out more at www.


entral Bedfordshire Council has appointed BP Pulse to expand the network of electric vehicle charging points across Central Bedfordshire. The partnership will focus on the delivery of fast and rapid charge points in public and residential locations to support the transition away from fossil fuel-powered vehicles and to work towards meeting government targets on transport decarbonisation and net-zero. The council has an opportunity to bolster the network in Central Bedfordshire and beyond, with neighbouring authorities Bedford Borough, Luton Borough and Milton Keynes Council also partnering with BP Pulse. It is hoped the partnership will provide consistency of choice in the local area for residents and commuters.

Organisations host business networking


he annual Spring Business Networking event organised by Leighton Linslade Town Council, takes place at Leighton Buzzard Golf Club on April 27, 6pm-8.30pm. The event is hosted with Central Bedfordshire Council, the Federation of Small Businesses, Alpha Marketing, Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce, Hascat Safety and Bee Local Magazine. Besides the networking opportunities there are some fantastic prizes to win. Register your attendance at business-networking-event2022-tickets-274406726907.

Cllr Steve Dixon, executive member for sustainability and transformation, said: “BP Pulse is currently the UK’s largest public charging network and we are committed to supporting more sustainable travel methods as we work towards meeting the objectives set out in our Sustainability Plan. “This partnership is one of a number of initiatives we have planned for electric vehicle infrastructure.” More information, such as finding existing charging points and the council’s Electric Vehicle Charge Point Plan, is available at www. roads_and_parking/580/electric_vehicles. Once confirmed, announcements will be made on the location of new charge points.

Transport interchange supports climate and sustainability agenda


nother major development in Central Bedfordshire is to start as the site of the new £2.3 million Biggleswade Transport Interchange is prepared for construction. Central Bedfordshire Council’s main contractor Galliford Try has begun clearing unused land owned by Network Rail next to Biggleswade railway station. Construction of the new interchange is due to start in the summer. The new bus and rail interchange will make it easier for people to use public transport and will support future growth in Biggleswade. It will include bus stops, improved pedestrian access and new public space and landscaping, with plants, trees and a garden set alongside paved areas and seating. This will create a striking development offering improved public transport connections and encourage more sustainable travel to and from the railway station. The scheme is one of four projects in Biggleswade benefiting from a total of £70 million of Homes England funding through the Housing Infrastructure Fund. The other three are a new electricity substation, a footbridge to replace Lindsell’s Crossing over the

East Coast main line and the council’s Schools for the Future programme. Under the government’s Access for All programme, Network Rail is creating an obstacle-free, accessible route to and between the railway station platforms. Cycle parking at the station and accessible toilet facilities will also be improved. Cllr Kevin Collins, executive member for planning and regeneration, said: “This project will create a vibrant new bus and rail interchange with enhanced public transport and offer a superb sense of arrival and public space. It will encourage more people on to public transport and supports our sustainability and climate change agenda. ” The transport interchange will become the new Biggleswade bus terminal. The town centre will continue to have bus stops at Hitchin Street. Construction is due to complete by spring 2023.

For more Central Bedfordshire news and event updates, visit or email 18



April 2022

For local business news visit

Business News

Put your business in the spotlight at the SME Bedfordshire awards


usinesses wanting to enter the prestigious SME Luton and Bedfordshire Business Awards with a view to be crowned the best are being urged to enter the 2022 awards. The SME Luton and Bedfordshire Business Awards are widely recognised as the most prestigious and highprofile awards for the business

community in the county as the winners will go through to the SME National Business Awards in December. Awards director Damian Cummins said: “We know from previous awards that when firms showcase their hard work and talent by entering, it makes a real difference to how they are seen by their existing and future customers.”

The SME Luton and Bedfordshire Business Awards are made up of categories that allow any successful business in the county to enter these prestigious awards. All entries are judged by a panel of local judges with the awards night taking place in June. “Luton and Bedfordshire SMEs can put themselves in with a real and tangible

opportunity of winning by entering the awards over the next few weeks,” says Mr Cummins. “We want to encourage those businesses to put themselves forward and put themselves in with the chance of being on the national stage later this year.” The SME Luton and Bedfordshire Business Awards 2022 categories include: Business Chameleon;

Lockdown Leader; Best Enterprising Business; Best New Business; Business Innovation; Business of the Year - Less than 50 Employees; Business Person of the Year; Business Woman of the Year; Community Business of the Year; Sustainability Award. “With the extra hard work and commitment over the last year we also want to hear from the public who they think

should be crowned in 2022,” says Mr Cummins. “We also want people to nominate their Business Hero of the Year and Business Chameleon.” The winner in each category will be decided by a public vote, he added. n For more information, visit sme-luton-and-bedfordshirebusiness-awards/

Back to the land to mark start of a landmark year


olleagues and their families have taken part in a day’s tree planting to mark the start of the 75th anniversary year of recycling and waste management company Cawleys. They are pictured at Houghton Ouse near Ampthill taking part in an initiative across the Forest of Marston Vale to plant five million trees across the local area. Cawleys has committed to plant new trees for each new client - as a result, the team planted a total of 200 saplings before enjoying a celebratory lunch. Cawleys, headquartered in Luton, is one of the town’s largest employers with more than 200 staff based at its

headquarters in Luton. It also has sites in Milton Keynes and Wellingborough. It is now a third-generation family business, headed by Jon Cawley and his daughters Anna and Kate. Many other anniversary celebrations are planned for 2022, including charity events, a milestone video, new lorry and truck signboards, blogs, articles and award sponsorships. Cawleys communicatiosn and strategy director Anna Cawley said: “It is fantastic that we are able to start the celebrations for our milestone 75th anniversary in this way. The last few years have been a challenge and now that we are looking at bright future, the environment, and our impact

Cawleys staff and their families take a break from tree planting in the Forest of Marston Vale

on it, is more important than ever. Planting trees for future generations and the local community is the perfect way to give back and start a legacy for our next 75 years.”

Company celebrates Living Wage status


ackground screening specialist Verifile is now an accredited Living Wage employer. The company, whose headquarters are in Bedford, has committed to pay the minimum hourly rate of £10 as the Real Living Wage. It provides background screening services for employers all over the world and has been trading for almost 18 years from its


office on Priory Business Park. Achieving Living Wage accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation is a key part of its growth plans, said founder and chief executive Eyal Ben Cohen pictured below. “We never forget Verifile is a people business, and we genuinely care about the impact of what we do. Ensuring our colleagues earn a wage they can live on is crucial to us,” he added.

astline Northampton Diesel has been successfully testing and repairing diesel fuel pumps and injectors for more than 40 years. Located within the engine, an injector in each cylinder sprays fuel into the engine in a precise way to ensure that all the fuel is burned as efficiently as possible. The latest exhaust emission standards and future directives increase the significance of testing common rail injectors in modern diesel engines. Therefore the more precise the measurement is, the more accurately the injector can be adapted to perform at its maximum efficiency.

“We are committed to their wellbeing and the impact this has on their families and the community.” Almost 9,000 UK employers already pay the Real Living Wage. “These businesses recognise that paying the real Living Wage is the mark of a responsible employer,” said Living Wage Foundation director Katherine Chapman. “We are delighted that Verifile has joined the movement.”

To modernise workflow and reduce set-up and test times, the company has invested in the latest technology, a Bosch DCI 700 injector test stand that uses a new high-speed precise measurement system. Most makes of injector can be tested for both car and commercial vehicle engines. This will result in a shorter turnround time for the customer as well as providing a detailed analysis report from the test. n For further information on testing and repair of injectors and fuel pumps, or for a quote, contact Fastline Northampton Diesel on 01536 485584 or visit

To feature or comment email:

Soot and ash Scania ‘chemical factories’

NOx sensors Temperature sensors Dosing units Fast ser vice for : Tr uck & Bus Plant & Agricultural Generators Car & vans •



April 2022


Business News

Airport offers new jobs as travel restrictions ease


ondon Luton Airport is looking to fill 400 new jobs in anticipation of a busy summer ahead. Passenger numbers in February, including the halfterm break, have shown a promising recovery, the airport says, and the government has now confirmed the lifting of

all remaining Covid travel restrictions. Jobs available include aviation security officers, fire fighters and retail and hospitality staff and positions related to the Direct AirRail Transit system, which will link the airport terminal with Luton Airport Parkway

railway station. London Luton chief executive Alberto Martin p i c t u r e d said: “We are confident that demand for air travel is returning given the busy

half-term period, and will only increase further with the relaxation of the final travel restrictions. A l t h o u g h reaching our prepandemic figures will be tough, flying

to the UK is now as easy as it was before, removing a key barrier to booking for many passengers. “Hiring key staff will be essential to accommodate this anticipated uplift, and we look forward to recruiting ahead of what we know will be a busy summer season.”

A busy ski season and halfterm city breaks boosted London Luton’s passenger count in February, with a total of 611,00 passengers. Geneva, Amsterdam and Belfast topped the most popular destinations, followed by Edinburgh, Glasgow and Paris.

Companies flock to back River Festival’s return

B Staff at Clearhead are preparing to mark the company’s 15 years in business

Action... Video agency unveils its anniversary plans


video production agency is set to mark 15 years in business with a calendar of events, classes, good news stories and celebrations. Clearhead, set up by schoolfriends Alex Lawrence and Gavin O’Brien, has grown from a modest bedroom-based business in 2007 to an award-winning agency with state-of-the-art offices in Luton’s Hat District. With a film, production, design and in-house team of 15, Clearhead’s clients now include global names and brands,

universities, colleges and local charities. “We want to share the fun and make sure our anniversary milestone is a celebration not just for us but for all our clients, the film-making sector and the people and communities of Luton where we are still proudly based,” says Mr O’Brien. “A lot has changed in 15 years and over the next 12 months we will be sharing stories and memories, running masterclasses to equip others with digital skills, interviewing past clients to find out about their successes and finishing with a great big birthday


party.” As the Clearhead team put the finishing touches to the anniversary plans, the agency announced further cause for celebration. “We have scooped our biggest award yet, gold at the EVCOM London Live Film awards for a two-minute animated film we made last year for Bedfordshire Place,” says Mr Lawrence, Clearhead’s executive creative director. “We were up against some huge names in the UK so to bring this award back to Luton is a real buzz.”

usinesses in Bedford are lining up to support the return of the town’s River Festival in July. Bedford Borough Council has announced much of the festival programme, when the Embankment, Mill Meadows and St Mary’s Gardens will be packed with music stages, a funfair, stalls and activities on dry land and dragon boat and raft races on the river Great Ouse itself. Bedford High Street will also be closed for the whole weekend to bring the festival into the town centre. The High Street, sponsored by Bedford Business Improvement District, will host the Festival of Motoring, with 100 unique and eclectic vehicles on display. This year’s event takes place on July 23-24. Festival sponsors already confirmed include HSBC UK, Bedford BID, the Harpur Centre, the

Harpur Trust, the University of Bedfordshire, Henderson & Taylor, Goodacres, Carpets 4 Less and Copybox Document Systems. Sponsorship opportunities remain available and companies are already signing up to take part in events including the dragon boat and raft racing. Mayor Dave Hodgson pictured said: “We will be announcing more news and activities as we get closer to the big weekend but it is great to be able to launch the River Festival and start inviting people to get involved. “I know lots of people me included - are looking forward to seeing the River Festival back in all its glory this year. “There are so many different elements to the Festival and there is sure to be something to for everyone during this fantastic weekend along our beautiful riverside.”

n For more information on how business can become involved in the festival, visit

Property firm tops deals list

digital origin - mkt place.qxp_Layout 1 13/04/2021 09:30 Page 1



ompleting 132 deals in 2021 has put property consultancy Kirkby Diamond at the top of the list of commercial property agents in Bedfordshire. The list has been compiled by the EG Radius community of agents, showing which agents have been the most active across the UK. Deals completed include the office, industrial and retail sectors and the rankings are continually updated throughout the year, giving

an up-to-date breakdown of which agents are transacting the most space in a specific sector or geography. Eamon Kennedy, executive partner and head of agency and business development, said: “To have completed 132 deals in 2021- a year in which we all faced major challenges as we learned to live with the Covid pandemic - is quite remarkable. It is testament to all the hard work by our first-class, team. This year is already shaping up to be one of our best ever.”

Developer wins homes go-ahead

IT Support | Connectivity | Telephony | Mobile





April 2022


iving Space Housing has received planning approval from Central Bedfordshire Council for 57 eco-efficient affordable homes on land off Bedford Road in Houghton Regis town centre. All the homes will be delivered to housing provider Stonewater.

The site lies within the Houghton Regis North Strategic Allocation and is part of a major urban extension. Living Space Housing managing director Paul Breen said: “We can now make preparations to break ground and commence construction.”

For local business news visit

TOP TIPS FOR ENTERING THE “Does my business really get kudos for entering awards?” Award winners and those who are shortlisted win an enormous amount of trust and kudos through being independently assessed. This is not only impressive for potential customers but for existing customers too.

“Is there a ‘feel good’ factor too?” There is no doubt that existing and future customers feel good about buying from a ‘winner.’ Your staff will also feel motivated by being linked to the winners, especially when you’ve taken them along to the awards night!

“Does our entry need to cover the whole history of the business?” Concentrate on what you have achieved in the last 12 months or done differently. Perhaps you have changed direction or spotted a gap in the market. Judges love that kind of information.


Headline Partner

Platinum Partner / Gold Partners

Partner / Media Partner / Charity Partner

Business MK

To feature or comment email:



April 2022


Networking Crescent, 12th Street BEDFORD 1st Wednesday: George & Dragon, Mill Street Networking lunch. AYLESBURY 2nd Tuesday 12 noon-2pm: Online MILTON KEYNES 2nd Thursday 12 noon-2pm: Online BUCKINGHAM 3rd Tuesday 12 noon-2pm: Online CAPPUCCINO CONNECTIONS 4th Thursday 10am-12 noon: Online Contact: Anna Atkins-Carter, regional director North Bucks / West Chilterns. 07540 097776 or email anna.atkinscarter@theathenanetwork. com

BIGGLESWADE 2nd Wednesday: Yorkshire Grey, London Road Price: £6, payable in advance on the Business Buzz Booking App org/app or at the event. EAST MIDLANDS 1st Friday: Online. Price: £10 BEDFORDSHIRE 4th Tuesday: Online Price: £10, payable in advance on the Business Buzz Booking App org/app or at the event.

BEDFORD 2nd Wednesday 12 noon-2pm: Online BEDFORDSHIRE (EAST) 4th Tuesday 12 noon-2pm: Online WOBURN 3rd Thursday 12 noon-2pm: Online CAPPUCCINO CONNECTIONS 3rd Friday, 4th Thursday 10am-12 noon: Online Contact: Kate Cherry, regional director Bedfordshire & St Albans. 07909 675333 email or visit

Business networking and referral group. Price: £6. MILTON KEYNES 2nd Thursday, 7.30am-9.30am: Abbey Hill Golf Centre, Two Mile Ash Tuesday Brunch 2nd Tuesday, 9.30am-11am Wednesday Breakfast 4th Wednesday, 7.30am

Friday Breakfast 2nd Friday, 7.30am More information:

WRITING A GREAT 60-SECOND PITCH April 26 10am-10.30am: Online Presented by Ricke Williams, local enterprise manager, NatWest. The tools, tips and hints to write a clear and concise pitch for your business. Suitable for investment readiness, networking introduction or creating marketing content. Free event. To book on to Chamber events, visit

CHERWELL & NORTH BUCKS April 27, 10am-11am: Online Networking forum for entrepreneurs, the self-employed and small businesses. Hosted by business owner and FSB member Justin Charlton-Jones. Free event. To book on to FSB events, visit Kevin Rogers: The immediate past president of Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce is a guest speaker at the Next Generation Chamber meeting this month Breakfast networking online and face to face. 1st + 3rd Friday, 7am Monthly dinner event. For more information. Email


Thursday Breakfast 3rd Thursday, 7.30am

April 20 Speaker, time + venue tbc 3rd Wednesday of the month (exc. August), 7.30am Networking breakfast with speaker. Contact: Kerry Ransby email kransby@ or visit www.

MILTON KEYNES VIRTUAL NETWORKING April 8 10am-11am: Online. Hosted by Daxa Patel. Free event.

Alt. Fridays 7am: Abbey Hill Golf Centre, Two Mile Ash Networking breakfast with speaker. Price: £15. Contact: or Mark Orr 07903 655169

If you are serious about growing your business, BNI works. Last year BNI members in the UK generated more than £482 million worth of business for each other. To find out how, visit a local chapter meeting and see for yourself. Each chapter has a personality of its own and finding where you fit best helps you get connected.

NET ZERO CARBON - HOW TO DO IT RIGHT April 7 2pm-4pm: The Forest Centre, Marston Moretaine Advice on how to start a Net Zero Carbon journey by helping you to understand the approach, understand where your business is now and how to plan to improve, implement the plan and report on it. Expert speakers will explain all the technical terms and what they mean; provide an introduction to Net Zero Carbon Planning and your carbon footprint; introduce the standards relating to these areas and how to implement them. Free event for GBN members, Green Connector or any business based in Central Bedfordshire. Others: £40 per delegate. Contact: visit

SPEED NETWORKING April 27 11am-1pm: Horwood House, Little Horwood Open to Chamber members and non-members. Price: £15 + VAT. To book on to Chamber events, visit www.

DIAMOND Tuesday 6.45am: Abbey Hill Golf Centre, Two Mile Ash APOLLO Wednesday 10am: MK Gallery April 5, 19 7.45am: Online meetings. More information:

PHOENIX Friday 9.45am: The Bedford Golf Club ENCORE Friday 6.45am: Holiday Inn London Luton More information: Airport

No fuss, no membership, pay as you go... The Business Buzz format is relaxed, informal, conversational B2B networking. Our town focused events meet face-to-face, allowing visitors to build better and more robust relationships. These are complemented by regional virtual events. All Business Buzz events run 10am-noon BRACKLEY (New Group) 1st Thursday: Plough Pub & Kitchen, High Street MILTON KEYNES 3rd Friday: Revolucion de Cuba, Savoy


Business MK


April 2022

PIONEER Wednesday 9.30am: Online meetings More information:

April 20 12 noon-2.30pm: Maaya, The Hub, Central Milton Keynes Sponsors: Document Logistix; EMW; Pinders

Networking in a relaxed environment with exceptional Indian cuisine. Price: £25. Find out more at

Networking April 26 5.30pm-7pm: Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce. A platform to meet, connect, develop relationships and share best practice with peers and fellow members. Speakers: Kevin Rogers, chairman of Wilson Browne Solicitors and immediate past president of Northampsonshire Chamber of Commerce; Reemesh Patel, of SK Group. Free event. To book, email info@

WILLEN HOSPICE BUSINESS CLUB April 7 5.30pm-7.30pm: Willen Hospice Clearance Outlet, Grafton Gate, Central Milton Keynes Networking and a chance to see behind the scenes with an insight into Willen Hospice’s volunteering activity. Free event. To book, email uk, call 019008 303058 or visit

12 noon-2pm, networking lunch. Bedford & Ampthill 1st Tuesday: The Swan Hotel, The Embankment, Bedford / Online Leighton Buzzard 3rd Wednesday: The Dukes, Heath & Reach / Online Luton 2nd Monday: South Beds Golf Club, Warden Hills Road / Online Sandy & Biggleswade 1st Wednesday: Stratton House Hotel, Biggleswade Contact: Louise Yexley on 07989 020647, email or visit Milton Keynes 1st Tuesday: The Brasserie at Milton Keynes College, Sherwood Drive, Bletchley Contact: Edith Samambwa on 07802 581838, email or visit

NETWORKING COFFEE April 27 10am-12 noon: Planet Ice, 1st Floor Café Central Milton Keynes Price: £3 members; non-members £5. To book, visit

>> >> To have your networking group’s events included in future editions of Business MK, email details to

For local business news visit

In the Community

Teams race to sign up for Dragon Boat Festival


ompanies, clubs and organisations from across the region are putting their teams together and signing up to take part in the eagerly anticipated Milton Keynes Dragon Boat Festival which celebrates its 19th anniversary this year. The Festival is back after two years and takes place at Willen Lake on Saturday, September 24 and there is plenty of time to get a crew together and guarantee a place on the start line. The Dragon Boat Festival, supported this year by Business MK, Pulse Magazine, MKFM and MK Charities, attracts more than 40 companies annually and for the first time companies can raise money for a charity of their choice. Enhanced Gold and Silver entry packages are available, which include marketing benefits such as the company’s logo on each side of a dragon boat as well as a significant donation to the charity. There

Photos: Vanessa Barton Photography

will also be a host of bankside activities to entertain teams and spectators alike. Each year the festival attracts a mix of new and returning crews and it is great to see the entrants enthusiasm to get back to this amazing event again after the pandemic. The

dragon boats, qualified helms and all necessary equipment are provided by the organisers NewWave Events, each team is guaranteed a minimum of three races and no previous experience is needed, just plenty of team spirit. Early entrants include Gold

entries from Siemlus and R S Response Ltd and silver entry from PJ Care. Standard entries include Allica Bank Ltd, Bespoke Support MK Ltd as well as Dascher which has entered three teams. All crews are encouraged to raise money for a charity of their

choice and the top fundraisers will win the charity trophy. Says: NewWave Events’ executive director Alicja Mierzejewska: “Since the closure of Gable Events in 2020, we have been planning to bring back the festival as soon as possible and we are proud to announce that we are continuing the legacy. We have partnered with MK Charities this year to help as many charities as possible in the Milton Keynes community.

“For the first time ever the festival is open for any company, club or organisation to raise money for a charity of their choice so we want to encourage charities to spread the word as this is a great option for an extra way to maximise their fundraising. “We are hoping for another great year of networking, fundraising and team building so get your team together and we will see you on 24th September at Willen Lake”

For more information and an entry form, visit or call NewWave Events on 01536 674 748. For information and advice on which charity you can fundraise for, visit

Conservation work reveals historic medieval artwork


istoric artwork, including evidence of paintings dating back to the 12th century and a carved stone head believed to represent Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife of King Edward I, are set to go on show at Bradwell Abbey. The findings were made during conservation work on the Farmhouse which have just been completed. Now the building, sited on a Scheduled Ancient Monument, is to be transformed into a visitor centre including an education hub, lecture theatre, care, shop and exhibition space. The extensive work to the building has been funded by Milton Keynes Council, Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre and Historic England and will

ensure that the historic building, with its origins dating back to the 12th century, will be safeguarded for generations to come. “This is a really important milestone in the project and we are delighted that the capital works to the site are now complete,” says the council’s deputy leader Cllr Robin Bradburn. “Milton Keynes Council has invested heavily in the Bradwell Abbey site, recognising its national importance as a collection of medieval buildings including the 14thcentury Pilgrim Chapel.” The City Discovery centre will take on the management of the site. A programme of guided tours and events is set to run during the spring and summer.

The Farmhouse at Bradwell Abbey: Set to become a visitor centre following extensive conservation work

To feature or comment email:

Speakers inspire in bias battle

T HRH The Duke of Kent is pictured with (from left) Professor Helen Atkinson, Helen Nellis and Iain Ferguson

Royal Visitor takes his final tour


RH The Duke of Kent is pictured on his latest visit to Cranfield University, also his last as Royal Visitor to the University as he steps down after almost 30 years. The Duke was shown the latest aviation research taking place at the Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre, where researchers are working on solutions to the industry’s current challenges such as airport efficiency, shared airspace and aircraft reliability. He was also briefed on the university’s work on autonomous vehicles, transport safety and engineering. “The Duke has been a

long and ardent supporter of Cranfield University and has always shown a keen interest in the research and teaching that we do here,” says Professor Dame Helen Atkinson, Pro Vice-Chancellor at the School of Aerospace, Transport Systems and Manufacturing. “It was a pleasure to show him the latest facilities we have on campus and the innovative work that is being done into the future of transport.” The Duke and Professor Atkinson are pictured with HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Helen Nellis and Iain Ferguson, chair of the university’s council, after planting a new liquidambar tree near Kent House, which

he had opened in 2012, as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative to celebrate Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee. The party then toured the Cranfield Forensic Institute, a new facility for forensic science research and teaching featuring mock crime scenes, digital forensic investigation capabilities and forensic materials analysis labs. “The Duke of Kent has had a long and fruitful association with Cranfield University and it was wonderful to welcome him once again to Bedfordshire,” says Mrs Nellis. “He leaves a lasting legacy of support and enthusiasm for all of the innovation and teaching that goes on at Cranfield.”

he power of mindset was at the heart of a speech by Laura McLean, human behaviour coach and representative of Santander at the Women in Business Network, at the International Women’s Day event hosted by Milton Keynes Community Foundation. Ms McLean was one of four speakers who addressed a packed audience at Milton Keynes Theatre. The event tackled issues around gender bias, stereotypes and discrimination and discussed steps to encourage a genderequal world. Business owner and writer Amanda Carter-Philpot, a member of the Women’s Equality Party, reflected on the many biases she overcome and Ellie Reid, women’s participation at the MK Dons Sport & Education Trust, presented on the impact on physical wellbeing, the arts and heritage of Milton Keynes hosting the UEFA Women’s Euros football championships this summer. They were joined at the podium by Lisa Lovell, who lives in Milton Keynes and is the senior engagement coordinator at London Social Justice Charity. The event was hosted by MKCF president Fola Komolafe.

Business MK


April 2022

23 03303 801 651 Unit 5 Darwin House, Corby Gate Business Park, Corby, Northamptonshire, NN17 5JG

Covering the entire marketing mix Based in Northamptonshire, qoob group helps businesses to market themselves effectively. As a group we offer a truly holistic and allencompassing marketing approach, combining traditional media with cutting edge digital marketing, all underpinned with a strategic plan designed to help your business grow. In early 2022, alongside their acquisition of SilverDisc, the Management Team behind Square Media officially formed the qoob group. Square Media had already enjoyed years of skyrocketing growth, and having recently established a sister company, geexe, it was time to bring all the companies together under a single common entity.

The formation of the qoob group serves to add an additional dimension to the businesses, allowing us to pool expertise, attract top talent and continue to deliver exceptional marketing campaigns for our clients. No individual agency can be good at everything... But as a group we offer a true full-service marketing agency, dealing with consultancy, strategy, and advice, through to implementation across print, media, and digital. ...And we don’t just aim for good. We aim for marketing excellence.


Unlocking the value of technology for business!

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.