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young once Making capital from the youth market think green-tech There’s money in carbon credits trading cloud computing Technology reaches higher and higher no step forward The regional development agency’s legacy


The man who woke up to smell the coffee and ground a £2.5m business out of it BUSINESS NEWS: COMMERCE: FASHION: INTERVIEWS: MOTORS: EVENTS


Business Quarter Magazine



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Our clients state our case: “Gordons is much more than simply an excellent law firm. They clearly care for our business and that’s what really sets them apart.” Ian Andrew Company Secretary Home delivery specialist Hermes

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BUSINESS QUARTER: AUTUMN 10: ISSUE SIX So that was it, then. After a few weeks of uncertainty in the wake of the election, the new Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has spoken his mind and declared that yes, all regional development agencies, including our very own Yorkshire Forward, are to be abolished. If laws due to go before parliament in the autumn are passed, Yorkshire Forward will be no more after March 2012 at the very latest. Some in the region had been hoping for a stay of execution, or at least a reprieve for the RDAs in the north, where, it was felt, the need for some kind of support is so much stronger. The coalition government has instead decided that smaller local enterprise partnerships can do the job just as well. While the Yorkshire business community appears to have responded to this new initiative enthusiastically, in this issue we ask Terry Hodgkinson, outgoing chairman of the regional development agency, how he thinks the changes will work. Of course, there are other demises Yorkshire business folk have been bemoaning for some time. Like the demise of traditional Yorkshire manufacturing. Chris Lord, founder of Bartuf Systems, is certainly one to regret the changes, and in this issue he tells us why he is so proud that his company sources everything – well, nearly everything – from good old Blighty. Others would say that the region is more than capable of finding new industries to benefit from instead. Over the past few years one of the most successful businesses in the region, Jemella, was all concerned with haircare. But some of that business’s founders are now setting up a rival business. We report on a story that’s anything but straightened out. IT, of course, is always a place for new inventions. Like cloud computing, for example – a new trend that even Microsoft is having to respond to. We report on one company, Liquid Accounts, that is really hoping it will catch on in the world of accountancy. But such systems

may not be as new as we think. Leeds-based EMIS has been quietly producing something similar for more than two decades, and in the process has come to have a really dominant share of its GP surgery market. We talk to chief executive Sean Riddell. With more and more emphasis being put on green issues these days, there’s money to be had in carbon trading as well. Sean O’Connor, a Yorkshire boy recently returned to his home patch, has really found that out. He’s one of the richest people under 30 in the UK as a result. But if all that sounds too overwhelming, why not sit back and have a coffee. Preferably one made by Cooper’s Coffee, an upmarket coffee supply company founded by true aficionado David Cooper. We get him to talk about what everyone who wants to open a coffee shop doesn’t realise. Or listen to Ian Douthwaite, the ever youthful founder of youth marketing agency Dubit, explain why our hankering after eternal youth will never go away. If you are feeling a bit past it in these chastened times, that ought to make for sobering reading.

CONTACTS ROOM501 LTD Christopher March Managing Director e: George Cheung Director e: Euan Underwood Director e: Bryan Hoare Director e: EDITORIAL Peter Baber Editor e: Alastair Gilmour e: DESIGN & PRODUCTION room501 e: PHOTOGRAPHY KG Photography e: ADVERTISING If you wish to advertise with us please contact Mark Anderson on 0191 537 5720, or email

room501 Contract Publishing Ltd, 16 Pickersgill Court, Quay West Business Park, Sunderland SR5 2AQ room501 was formed from a partnership of directors who, combined, have many years of experience in contract publishing, print, marketing, sales and advertising and distribution. We are a passionate, dedicated company that strives to help you to meet your overall business needs and requirements. All contents copyright © 2010 room501 Ltd. All rights reserved. While every effort is made to ensure accuracy, no responsibility can be accepted for inaccuracies, howsoever caused. No liability can be accepted for illustrations, photographs, artwork or advertising materials while in transmission or with the publisher or their agents. All information is correct at time of going to print, October 2010.



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Features 18 STAND AND DELIVER Retail display systems entrepreneur Chris Lord enjoys working for his shelf

64 STRAIGHT UP The multi-million pound hairdressing story that had Yorkshire gripped



The outgoing chairman of the regional development agency on its legacy

Sean O’Connor has developed from property into environmental trading

36 GROUNDS CONTROL The £2.5m business that rose out of drinking 100 espressos a week



76 CLOUD FORMATION Information technology is reaching ever higher after some blue sky thinking


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The landmark developments creating our industrial landscape



Ian Douthwaite chooses Harvey Nichols’ Fourth Floor to explain youth marketing

48 WINE Tokay is OK – and so is Argentina

50 FASHION Golf star Ian Poulter’s style on the course


ON THE RECORD Doing the positives in business


NEWS Who’s doing what, when, where and why, here in Yorkshire

24 AS I SEE IT Simon Pearson talks recruitment’

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56 EQUIPMENT Mars, watch this space

60 MOTORS Nissan’s 370Z is a jaw-dropping sexy beast that steals hearts

81 FRANK TOCK Gripping gossip from our backroom boy


56 BUSINESS QUARTER | AUTUMN 10 04/10/2010 16:02



A survey suggests Yorkshire business confidence has fallen, though is still slightly above the national average. On the other hand, the region has seen encouraging commercial action from a wide range of sectors >> Spice acquired Spice, one of the most acquisitive Yorkshire companies of recent years, has agreed to be taken over by investment company Cinven in a deal which values the outsourcing company at £251.3m. After raising its offer twice in the face of a rival bid Cinven has agreed to buy the company, founded by former Yorkshire Electricity director Simon Rigby, at a price of 70p per share. That was a 10.7% premium on the price the day before the deal was announced, and Spice’s share price has not subsequently risen above that. Spice initially floated on AIM and moved to the main market two years ago. With a string of acquisitions it became one of Yorkshire’s most successful publicly listed companies. But a series of profit warnings had tarnished its otherwise good record in recent months. Rigby stood down as chief executive in February this year, and has subsequently been reported as speaking positively about the company being back in private ownership.

>> Yorkshire set for five LEPS Proposals for five Local Enterprise Partnerships have been submitted for approval to Whitehall, after Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced that such partnerships would be replacing Yorkshire Forward, which is to be wound up. The five proposals are for the Leeds and Sheffield city regions, and York and North Yorkshire. More controversially two separate proposals have been put forward in Humber, one for Hull, the East Riding and Scarborough, and another pan-Humber proposals that includes the authorities on the south bank. However a group of businessmen and council leaders, including former Yorkshire Forward chief executive Tom Riordan, are lobbying hard for a Yorkshire-wide enterprise partnership (YEP) to run alongside the new LEPs. Although the precise role of LEPs – and their funding – is yet to be decide, in a letter sent to local authorities in June Mr Pickles said he believed they should focus on transport, housing, planning and infrastructure, while other work that had previously been conducted regionally, such as inward investment and business support, will be taken back nationally.


As a result of this, Business Link Yorkshire is also being wound up. Miles Templeman, director general of the Institute of Directors, claimed that some LEP proposals did not have proper business support and called on Mr Pickles to select “only the very best LEP collaboration”. He claimed that some proposals showed dangerous levels of parochialism and were only being supported on the private sector side by a “handful of named business proponents”. However Riordan said the proposal for the

Leeds city region LEP had the backing of the Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, the CBI and the IOD itself, while he believed separate but parallel YEP would help the separate LEPs fit together. He dismissed concerns that different parts of Yorkshire were too disunited for such an idea to come together. “There has only ever been one issue that has divided us,” he said, “and that was the Leeds Arena. That was exceptional.” The Government will reveal which LEP proposals it is backing in a forthcoming white paper.

>> Hammonds in merger talks Law firm Hammonds has revealed that it is in talks about a possible merger with US-based law firm Squire, Sanders & Dempsey. If the merger were to go ahead, the combined firm would be among the 50 biggest law firms in the world, with 37 offices in 17 countries, 1,300 lawyers and revenues of £405m. Squire Sanders chair James Maiwurm and Hammonds managing partner Peter Crossley said preliminary talks showed both firms had compatible client bases and a


similar culture of wanting to act as a single firm. If the merger were to go ahead, it would be a big turnaround for Hammonds, a law firm that originated in Bradford but which went through a troubled period in 2006 that included a lock-in for partners and a series of staff defections. It would also be the largest transatlantic merger involving a Yorkshire law firm since DLA merged with Gray Cary Ware & Friedenrich and Piper Rudnick in 2005 to form DLA Piper.

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>> Eastern Airways buys Air South West Eastern Airways, the mainly business airline headquartered at Humberside Airport, is to buy loss-making Air South West from its owner Sutton Harbour. The airline, which also operates from Leeds Bradford Airport, says it will retain the Air South West brand for services to Plymouth, Newquay and Bristol. Air South West made a loss of £3.5m in the year to the end of March 2010. Sutton Harbour has revealed that, thanks mainly to the Icelandic volcano, it had already made losses of £1.5m this year. Meanwhile, Jet2 has opened its eighth base in the UK at Glasgow Airport, offering the Scottish city its first direct connection to Nice, and creating 150 new jobs.

>> Region’s confidence dips Business confidence in the region has gone down in the past three months, a survey suggests, despite positive news earlier in the year on both employment and inward investment. According to the ICAEW/Grant Thornton Business Confidence Monitor, business confidence among the 80 senior business figures interviewed fell by “marginal” 3.6 points to achieve an index score of 22.0. This was still above the national average of 21.5, But unlike the rest of the country, Yorkshire businesses also reported weak turnover and profit growth, where these figures all showed more positive growth in other regions. They were more upbeat about future prospects, however, with a 4.1% growth in turnover overall and a 2.8% growth in gross profits forecast for the next 12 months. The relative gloom contrasts with the latest employment figures released by the Office of National Statistics in August. These showed

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that the number of people in employment in the region went up by 31,000 from April to June, to stand at 2,427,000. That represents an increase in the employment rate from 68.9% to 69.7%. Unemployment in the same period fell by 14,000 to 244,000. Figures released in July by Yorkshire Forward also showed that 147 overseas companies had invested in the region in the past 12 months, the highest figure ever. Some 60% of these investments were supported by the regional development agency.

>> CPP sees profits jump York-based CPP Group has reported a 53% jump in pre-tax profits in its first interim results since floating earlier this year. Reported pre-tax profits in the first six months of the year came in at £17.4m. Underlying pre-tax profits, which take account of share schemes and amortisations, were up 38% to £22.7m. The card protection and life assistance business, now one of York’s largest employers, says it is continuing to grow well in newly opened markets, particularly Turkey, where it has broken even after just three years. In the reporting period it also signed its first ever agreement in China – with Guangdong Development Bank. The £25.7m it raised in its float has also helped it reduce net debt to £13.2m from £48.8m over the six months. Total revenues over the six months were up 11% to £156.9m. Group chief executive Eric Woolley said: “In the UK our core business has grown


and through successful initiatives we have introduced such packaged accounts we are expanding our existing product and channel offering. “Internationally we are making real progress with our recently launched markets in Turkey, India and Mexico all showing good growth year on year.”

>> Straight down Environmental products supplier Straight has seen its interim profits dip slightly to £850,000, although it insists that recent acquisitions mean that it will exceed expectations in the second half. The Leeds company, which has specialised in providing recycling cartons and wheelie bins, also saw first-half revenue drop £4m to £13.2m. But overseas sales are up 7%, and turnover in the retail business jumped from £72,000 to £1.16m. Over the period the company also made two acquisitions – the UK manufacuting operations of Helesi for £1.65m in March, and Dyro, which trades as Powell Plastics, for £2.9m in August. The company says these acquisitions have changed its business model in bringing in manufacturing for the first time. Previously it had outsourced this to other companies. Chairman James Newman said: “The Group continues to maintain a healthy order book and with the benefit of the recent acquisitions the board is confident that performance in the second half of 2010 will exceed expectations.”

Chairman James Newman

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Yorkshire is a hub of the nation’s business activity – and also its fine food production with the likes of Tingley pickle, Yorkshire Blue cheese and Funky Chunky Double Chocolate Muffins >> OHS moves to Leeds Environmental consultancy OHS has moved to new headquarters in Wellington Place in Leeds, and is actively recruiting. The group, set up by Martin Penney of ghd fame, has a plan to reach a £10m turnover within two years, and will still be maintaining its operational laboratories near the Bradford University Science Park. The debt free company has recently hired two further business development specialists and plans to make additional company acquisitions to the OHS Group in the next few months. Managing director John Horsfall said: “We’re seeking to recruit staff including analysts and surveyors across our seven UK offices, but especially in Yorkshire.” The company, which includes Asda, The Co-operative, Nestle and Cadbury among its clients, already has 85 staff in seven offices across the UK in South Wales, Cannock, Manchester, Northern Ireland, London and the North East. It also plans to expand its presence in the South East and Scotland.

>> Curry cuisine in Asda Tingley and Dewsbury-based Curry Cuisine has won its first national supermarket contract with Asda. The company will supply more than 270 stores with four products from its chutneys and pickles range. Thes include luxury mango chutney, beetroot chutney, rhubarb and mango chutney, and aubergine pickle, all of which are hand-made at the company’s Dewsbury site. Operations director Paresh Tejura said: “We have supplied Asda stores locally for some time, so this increased business is testament to the quality, taste and demand for our award-winning products.”

>> Dickinson Dees expands Penny Darrah has joined Dickinson Dees’ employment law team in York from Thompsons Solicitors. She trained at Wake Smith in Sheffield, before moving to Rowley Ashworth in Leeds to specialise in employment law. Rowley Ashworth subsequently became


part of Thompsons. Claire-Jane Nicol, partner in employment law at Dickinson Dees, said: “Penny’s expertise will strengthen the team and enable us to continue to provide a first-class service in the Yorkshire region.”

>> Malmaison shows the locals The Malmaison Hotel in Leeds underlined its commitment to sourcing local ingredients for its brasserie by holding an indoor famers market for its suppliers over a weekend in September. The hotel is committed to sourcing local ingredients from a 50-mile radius for all its dishes. At the market guests were able to taste West Moor outdoor reared pork, Yorkshire Shorthorn beef, Yorkshire partridge and other livestock from Sykes House Farm in Wetherby, freshly cut Shepherd’s Purse Yorkshire Blue and seasonal fruit and vegetables from Wellocks. Sally from Bondgate Bakery in Otley, said: “It’s been fantastic. We’ve had lots of people interested in finding out about good


traditional food and they are fascinated by the ingredients on our doorstep.” Hotel general manager, Grant McKenzie, said: “We believe you can taste the difference using local ingredients. We have launched an approach called ‘daring to keep it local’ to our brasserie and room-service menus. These menus are quite possibly the best we’ve produced since we opened our brasserie doors back in 1999.”

>> Gordons defies downturn Law firm firm Gordons says it has defied the downturn in the legal sector by seeing an increase in both full-year profits and turnover. In the year to the end of April 2010 turnover rose by 1.5% to £22m and average profit per equity partner over the period was £702,000, up from £478,000 the previous year. Managing partner Paul Ayre, said: “We are very pleased to have increased the firm’s revenue in light of the past year’s challenging market conditions. It speaks volumes about the resilience of Gordons and itspotential. The past financial year has seen Gordons further develop its corporate department with the appointment of former DLA Piper partner Andrew Morris. The team advised on the Card Factory management buyout and helped car retailer JCT600 expand its operations through acquisition. The firm also consolidated its two Bradford offices into one open-plan office in Piccadilly in the city, which accommodates 120 people. Gordons currently employs 250 people, 180 of which are fee earners. Clients include Morrison’s, Saint Gobain and the world’s largest electrical heating business, Glen Dimplex. >>

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Gillian Hall is senior partner of Watson Burton law firm. She has been providing effective legal advice for businesspeople across the north of England for over 20 years. In this article Gillian highlights the need to retain talented people in the north of England



T’S a truism to say that we need to keep talent in the north of England. Success breeds success. Recruiting the best makes it more likely that our businesses become market leaders, in turn able to grow and create job opportunities. Post-recession profitability has to be sustainable, so attracting and retaining talent is more important than ever. My own firm has a strong training and recruitment strategy which has a track record of employing excellent people who fit our culture. Over the years many trainees have climbed the career ladder to partnership with us, and it’s always fantastic to welcome new partners who have trained and qualified with us. However, for many people that first step into a career can be a chilling experience. Fortunately there are excellent initiatives to help graduates and young people begin their careers such as the University of Leeds’ Spark business support and York University’s Enterprise at York. What many of our regional companies do not appear to have, however, is a clear strategy for keeping that talent loyal to the region as their careers develop. If bright, trained individuals are successfully recruited by local companies, there have to be more reasons to keep them here. Creating an “intent to stay” is fundamental. The main problem for many businesses is in finding and keeping the best possible middle managers. That is where we appear to be losing pace and position against other regions. ‘Talent management strategies’ are now in place with the most successful enterprises. They make sense in planning the retention of the best people in the face of fierce competition – regionally, nationally and internationally.

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Gillian Hall: Senior partner, Watson Burton LLP

RECRUITING THE BEST MAKES IT MORE LIKELY THAT OUR BUSINESSES BECOME MARKET LEADERS, IN TURN ABLE TO GROW AND CREATE JOB OPPORTUNITIES As one business owner said: “People are not your most important asset. The RIGHT people are.” To drive ahead we have to ensure we maintain the engagement and motivation of the most talented, as they can transform a business. Losing them will affect the future fortunes of the many. The four guiding principles of talent management, according to an international management


consultancy firm, are to build a ‘winning environment’ that people want to belong to, establish a talent management mindset, so that all employees make the most of talent and potential across the company, create the means to identify, select and deploy people of outstanding talent and fully engage them. However dry it all appears, once the mechanics are agreed, the pace of a business can speed up. The beauty of clarifying priorities is that companies can commit to an ongoing strategy. This is so much better than relying on initiatives which can disappear just as they are making an impact. Talent retention in the north of England feeds in to the infamous north-south divide, truth or myth, which is said to rob us of many substantial people through the lure of London or increasingly other countries as career destinations. Key to eradicating that divide is having a range of high value companies with sustainable, long-term futures on the doorstep. Those companies - and our region - rely on significant flair and innovation to compete on a world stage. We have to look after our talent.

Gillian Hall is senior partner of Watson Burton LLP. Find out how Watson Burton can help you or your business by emailing Gillian at

BUSINESS QUARTER | AUTUMN 10 04/10/2010 16:02



>> Bartuf for M&S Leeds-based Bartuf Systems, whose founder Chris Lord is interviewed this issue, has just finished designing and installing a range of augmented reality (AR) greetings cards units as part of a trial of the technology being undertaken in Marks & Spencer stores. AR technology allows the recipient of the card to view a 3D animated feature via a webcam, bringing the card to life. The units, produced on behalf of Tigerprint, which produces Marks & Spencer’s own-brand cards, feature a range of six cards and a demonstration screen to allow customers to view sample animation and an instructional video before they make a purchase. The Tigerprint cards available in M&S include a range of female, male and children’s cards, plus a soft toy that incorporates AR technology. The freestanding units feature a three-tier card display and either a laptop or screen to demonstrate the technology. Ten units have been installed as part of the trial, with the potential for a UK-wide roll out dependent on success. Bartuf Systems’ design manager Dave Williams said: “Augmented reality is an exciting development which is already being applied to greetings cards and magazines. Our brief from Tigerprint was to showcase the new technology and range of cards by creating a display that would help customers to engage, both physically and visually with the product.” Tony Cartwright, advancing technology manager at T21 Tigerprint, said: “The first launch of products within M&S will allow Tigerprint to create a solid platform of understanding. Bartuf Systems has played a key part in the development of the launch and I’m sure this will continue for many years to come.”

>> Craftwork cards gets onTV Leeds-based greeting card producer Craftwork Cards has signed an exclusive deal with TV shopping channel QVC which it hopes will deliver up to 40% of new sales. The 12-year-old company, started by founder Sue Taylor as little more than a hobby in her back bedroom, has also moved into new 7,000 sq ft headquarters in Garforth to cope


>> Turnaround newcomer merges Ilkley-based business advisory and restructuring boutique Armitage Jones has merged with Montpelier Chartered Accountants’ newly-launched turnaround division. The new business, Montpelier Business Reorganisation, will incorporate the Armitage Jones business which was founded in 2008 by its three partners Chris Jones, Tony Armitage and Simon Padgett. Since 2008 the company has grown to a team of eight staff and generated seven figure levels of fee income in its first full year of operating. The merger, which was advised by Gordons and Lupton Fawcett, will see the team relocate to Montpelier’s existing Leeds office which will become Montpelier Business Reorganisation’s first UK location. Chris Jones, co-founder of Armitage Jones Reorganisation: Simon Padgett, left, Tony said: “Montpelier has a great deal of Armitage, centre, and Chris Jones at momentum and the deal gives us the ability Montpelier’s Leeds offices. to become a national firm very quickly. The merger was a compelling offer for us as arelative newcomer.” Montpelier founder Watkin Gittins said: “We have been looking for the right expertise to bring a business restructuring and reorganisation offering to our clients, and we have been impressed by the rapid growth of Armitage Jones into a formidable player in the market in less than two years. Montpelier has a head office in the Isle of Man and has more than 23,000 clients across 52 offices in 14 countries.

with demand. Taylor said: “Continued business increases made expansion necessary and we virtually doubled our space to 7,000 sq ft with the move to Garforth and its excellent motorway network connections. The council’s Locate in Leeds team helped to find the new unit which meant we avoided getting tied into a six-year lease on premises we had outgrown.” She added: “As well as growing sales to individual hobbyists there’s been further retailer interest as a result of TV exposure and we’re also looking at franchising to further accelerate growth.” Taylor came up with the idea for the company after going to a greeting card-making demonstration. And for the past eight years the company has run the annual Great


Northern Papercrafts Extravaganza at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate. The event sees 5,000 customers and 50 retailers come together for demonstrations, competitions and the “Card Oscars”.

>> Emma wins through A woman from Wakefield who joined Asda in 2002 as a management trainee and worked her way up through the supermarket to become the company’s youngest general manager in finance is the winner of this year’s hidden talent award at the Specsavers Everywoman in Retail Awards. Emma Harris, head of food business

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development at the supermarket, knew retail was an industry she wanted to pursue as a result of working in a shoe shop throughout her time at Sheffield Hallam University, which she left in 2002 with a degree in business and finance. The awards aim to provide women who want to work in retail with spectacular role models.

>> Renovo Homes in on authorities Yorkshire based recruitment consultancy Renovo has launched a new service that aims to support local authority employee managers faced with redeploying staff or making some redundant in the light of forthcoming cuts in funding. The distance-based service includes an interactive online careers system and personal guidance over the telephone which is designed to keep costs down. If an employees’ redeployment is unsuccessful Renovo offers career management support through the service for employees to help them to seek employment in the private sector. At the same time the company puts at emphasis on staff retention, and aims to assist managers in putting together a retentions strategy. The service follows on from the work Renovo has already been doing with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and Jobcentre Plus where it has helped over 12,000 jobseekers over the last 12 months and is now DWP accredited. Renovo chief executive David Twiddle said: “As


>> Bradford in snooker win Bradford has won the right to host the world’s first ever World Seniors Snooker Championship. Steve Davis, Dennis Taylor and Jimmy White are among seven former world champions who will be competing at the event at the Cedar Court Hotel from November 5-7. The invitation event, which is being organised by Bradford businessman Dave Shipley and former snooker world champion Joe Johnson, is expected to attract more than 1,000 spectators. It will be filmed and broadcast by Sky over Christmas.

budgets tighten managers are facing increased requirements for multiple staff redeployment and redundancies not to mention the task of engaging and motivating an existing workforce. With extremely limited budgets and resource, particularly at local authority level, there is currently little support in terms of expertise to achieve this adequately. The new service aims to address those challenges with a range of innovative and extremely cost effective packages.”

>> Esteem in second acquisition Wetherby-based Esteem Systems has acquired SiRViS IT Holdings, which provides IT services and support throughout the UK and Europe. Backed by Primary Capital and Lloyds TSB, the acquisition is Esteem’s second deal of the year

Potted: Former snooker world champion Joe Johnson

following the purchase of Oracle services provider, MIDAS IT Solutions in May 2010. The new deal doubles the size of Esteem’s business to 230 employees. Esteem’s chief executive Joe Connolly said: “Our aim this year is to grow Esteem to a thriving £60m business both organically and through acquisition, despite difficult market conditions, so the acquisition of SiRViS is an important part of this strategy. “SiRViS will complement our specialised managed services portfolio with its reputable outsourced customer and IT service capabilities.” Woking-based SiRViS, which trades as Linetex and ATM, provides both on-site and remote IT services and support. Linetex and ATM will continue to be managed as a separate division by its current management team. Grant Thornton’s Leeds office advised on the deal.>>


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>> York company gets cancer funding A consortium including York-based Neotherix has won funding from the Technology Strategy Board to develop a regenerative medicine product to help skin cancer patients. EktoTherix assists tissue repair and regeneration, has been developed by Neotherix with Lorien Engineering Solutions and Smith & Nephew Advanced Wound Management. The consortium has secured 50% funding for the £345,000 project to take the therapy to its next stage of development. This follows an earlier feasibility project grant made to Neotherix by the Board in 2009. Neotherix chief executive Mike Raxworthy said: “This Technology Strategy Boardfunded project will continue the development of the product towards full commercialisation. On completion our aim is to conduct a clinical evaluation of the product, with an estimated market launch in late 2012. The estimated global market for this product is £360m per annum.”

>> Rebrand for office supplier Office supplier Supplies Team Solutions has relocated to a new site in Normanton as it goes through a rebrand. The firm’s 160 employees have relocated from the original head office in Bradford to the new site which includes a 255,000 sq ft distribution centre.


The centre has room for an additional 10,000 stocked lines, and includes 2km of conveyer belts and 8,000 pallet locations. At the same time the company, which is more than 40 years old, has launched a new catalogue and website with a bigger range of products, and new more eco-friendly services. Managing director Steve Haworth said: “We have successfully recovered from a difficult time last year and emerged with a very bright future. As well as growing our core business we have launched our own line of private label office products and are working with all suppliers to offer a greater emphasis on ‘green’ products and with customers to help reduce costs and waste.”

>> Morrison’s takes Yorkshire Blue nationwide North Yorkshire artisan cheese maker, Shepherds Purse, has secured a national listing for its best selling cheese with Morrisons. The Thirsk-based business started supplying Yorkshire Blue cheese into more than 400 stores at the end of August. Traditionally handcrafted at the company’s North Yorkshire dairy, the cheese, made from 100% cow’s milk, will be available as a 180g “buy me whole” portion on the Market Street deli. The cheese is based on a continental style recipe and has a mellow, creamy and buttery flavour. Sales and marketing director Katie Bell said: “We have worked with Morrisons


regionally for many years and have featured as one of the supermarket’s Local Heroes, so we are delighted to introduce our handmade Yorkshire Blue cheese nationwide to customers.”

>> ICM in biggest deal Batley-based ICM Continuity Services has won the largest contract in its history – a £19m deal to provide one of the largest dedicated UK stand-by dealing capabilities outside of the City of London for a global financial services group. The new facility creates an alternative workplace at one of ICM’s dedicated business continuity centres. The secure centre instantaneously mirrors the technology, voice and data systems currently in use at the financial group’s London headquarters. It will provide the client’s traders and support staff with a permanently configured alternative facility they can use in case a major incident in London prevents normal operations. The £3.44m per annum, five-and-a-half-year deal is an early extension of an initial three-year contract that was due to end in March 2011. It includes a significant upgrade to the dealing room and PC systems to provide a “like for like” facility that will offer continuous business with no data loss and no service degradation from the “normal” operational environment. ICM managing director Mike Osborne said: “This is great news for all of our 230 staff including those based in our Leeds office. It’s also great news for Yorkshire that a locallybased company has the expertise and capability to deliver these leading-edge services.”

>> Deloitte £16m down on last year Deloitte’s North East practice brought in earnings of £75m in the year to the end of May this year, new figures show. Such a result is less than 5% down on the same period the year before. Worldwide earnings for the business >>

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advisory firm came in at £1,953m, a drop of £16m on the year before. Within the North East practice itself, which includes offices in Leeds and Newcastle, revenues in corporate finance grew by 11%, higher than the national result, while audit revenues were unchanged on the year before. Tax revenues also remained level, thanks to a buoyant performance in corporate tax, but consulting revenues dropped by 10%. Geoff Taylor, practice senior partner for Deloitte’s North East practice based in Leeds, said he expected to see more growth in the M&A market this year, following increased local activity such as private equity investment in retail chain Republic and the car leasing company Zenith, as well as Deloitte’s involvement in the CPP Group float, where the practice acted as reporting accountants. Staff levels in the North East practice have been kept level at 550, and four new partners were appointed over the year. Taylor said: “Despite a second successive year of extremely challenging markets for Deloitte and our clients, we are emerging from the recession with a very satisfactory performance and our standing in the market enhanced.”

>> Grant Thornton team expands Grant Thornton has added five new people to its corporate finance team in Leeds. Four of the new recruits are internal appointments and include Vicky Wilson, a former young accountant of the year, Kate Lawrenson, Payam Keyghobadi and Scott Brady. Alice Harvey, meanwhile, joins the firm from Deloitte. Will Oxley, partner in Grant Thornton’s transaction advisory services team, which together with the lead advisory team makes up corporate finance, said: “To know that we can find excellent recruits both internally and externally means we can have the best team possible for the upcoming months as the market changes.”


>> Start-up moves on A start-up IT company which initially used office accommodation provided by business network Bradford Grid has moved to new offices in the Wool Exchange in Bradford after completing over 40 project in 18 months. Cloud2 has tripled its turnover since its first year and has become a Microsoft Gold Certified Provider. It now has eight permanent staff members within a total team of 15. The company specialises in providing Microsoft SharePoint technology which is designed to help employees in large organisations create, store and manage operations and collaborate. Director Taran Sohal said: “It has been a terrific few years and we have managed to carve out a niche for ourselves within the health sector which will stand us in good stead for the future.” As a start-up Cloud2 benefited from using office space provided by Kickstart partner Bradford Grid within the Carlisle Business Centre, in Manningham. Bradford Grid, a business network supported by Bradford Council’s Kickstart programme, provided the company with space in the Carlisle Business Centre in Manningham. The organisation aims to allow pre-start and start-up businesses to work alongside each other, share advice and attend development events. It has two other sites at the Park Lane Centre and Low Moor Business Park. Cloud2 also benefited from Kickstart business growth advice and funding, helping it create professional exhibition materials which secured sales leads worth more than £250,000. Coun David Green, Bradford Council’s executive member for regeneration and economy, said: “The success of Cloud2 shows how Kickstart is so beneficial for start-ups as it offers businesses a helping hand on the way to becoming established companies. The Grid network has helped hundreds of businesses like Cloud2 in recent years and continues to play a vital role in bringing the best out of the enterprise culture within the district.”

>> New boss for CPP


CPP Group UK managing director Stephen Kennedy, pictured left, has been promoted to the new role of chief operating officer at the York-based international life assistance company. He will be responsible for operational performance across the group’s 15 countries including the UK and Ireland. He joined CPP, headquartered at Holgate Park, as UK managing director in 2005 from HFC Bank where he was a director of several business units. >>

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Big decisions follow you around.

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At Grant Thornton, we understand that the big decisions you have to make are sometimes difficult, often finely balanced, always with you. To explore this and other big decisions, visit our website. For more information please contact: Jonathan Riley Office Managing Partner T 0113 200 1542 E © 2010 Grant Thornton UK LLP. All rights reserved. ‘Grant Thornton’ means Grant Thornton UK LLP, a limited liability partnership. Grant Thornton UK LLP is a member firm within Grant Thornton International Ltd (‘Grant Thornton International’). Grant Thornton International and the member firms are not a worldwide partnership. Services are delivered by the member firms independently. B1631412 GT6.indb Big Decisions_266x211.indd 1 BQ_MAG Issue 15

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>> Package to boast six stars Tourism body Welcome to Yorkshire has launched a Welcome to Yorkshire Michelin Star Experience for event organisers to underline the fact that the county holds more Michelin stars than any other county in the UK. The organisation is offering unique corporate packages for delegates to get a taste of the top class culinary skills available in the region by offering new and unique corporate packages. Trips can be tailor-made to include arrival by helicopter, chefs’ tables, being a chef for the day and chauffeured services around Yorkshire. The Michelin Star Experience consists of detailed itineraries visiting two, three, or all six restaurants. Delegates will also be able to visit local producers, cheesemakers, vineyards and breweries as well as go on walking trips in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire said: “We are incredibly proud of our Michelin collection of restaurants in Yorkshire and our talented chefs. It is a great opportunity for us to showcase this to the corporate sector by putting together these unique one-off experiences.” This year Yorkshire gained its sixth star as the Pipe and Glass Inn in South Dalton near Beverley joined The Yorke Arms in Ramsgill, The Burlington at The Devonshire Arms in

Bolton Abbey, The Box Tree in Ilkley, The Star at Harome and The Old Vicarage in Sheffield. Derek Bulmer, who edits the Michelin Guide, said: “These establishments all offer something a little different to the usual team building or business event – whether that’s country house formality at the Devonshire Arms in Bolton Abbey to more relaxed pub dining at The Pipe and Glass Inn.”

>> Lucre women in new agency Eloise Garrett and Sarah Giangregorio, formerly of PR agency Lucre, have teamed up to launch a new agency focusing on the business-to-business, trade and professional services sectors. The Right Agency will draw on the pair’s combined experience of more than 20 years in PR, working at some of Yorkshire’s most respected agencies. They are launching the agency with four retained clients. Giangregorio, formerly a regional journalist and joint head of PR at Leeds agency Poulters, said: “Yorkshire has one of the most exciting PR scenes outside of London but there are few agencies with a dedicated business-to-business and trade offering.”

>> New head for Lloyds TSB Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets has appointed Joanne Williamson as business development director for North and West Yorkshire. Williamson has been with the bank’s Manchester corporate team for several years, but has more than 25 years’ banking experience, 14 of which have been spent working in the corporate banking arena, building relationships with corporates across Yorkshire and the North West. She will be joined in the North and West Yorkshire team by two new relationship support managers, Richard Howarth joins from the banks business support team in Leeds, while Michelle Oates is also transferring from the Manchester office. Area director Shaun Ellenthorpe said: “Having people on the ground is crucial to the way in which we do business. 2010 continues to see our doors open for business. With our enlarged team providing increased support to businesses, I see no reason why we cannot further strengthen our position as one of the main banks in the Leeds corporate banking market.”



>> Austin Hayes partners up Industrial coating contractor Austin Hayes has signed a long-term partnering agreement with the Ministry of Defence. The five year, £18.5m contract, with options for a further five years, has the potential to be worth £40m over the next 10 years. The agreement builds on an existing contract and long-term relationship between the Leeds company and the MoD and will see the company supply a range of over 50 refurbished munitions packaging components for use by munitions manufacturers supplying British troops on operations around the world and in training. It is anticipated that up to half-a-million items will be recovered from the UK and abroad each year and refurbished to an “as new” condition, saving the MoD £20m that would otherwise have to be spent on new items.

>> Screening Centre bought out The two owners of the Leeds Screening Centre, which provides foetal screening and genetic monitoring services for expectant mothers, have both been acquired by a subsidiary of SkinCity Limited, a company set up by Yorkshireborn entrepreneur Ian Richardson and partner Dr Magdy Ishak. Genome Screening, SkinCity’s subsidiary, has acquired Leeds Ultrasound Screening Service (LUSS) and Genome, the two owners, as part of SkinCity’s growth strategy to become a multi-million pound turnover personal products lifestyle group. LUSS was set up by Mr Gerald Mason, consultant in feto-maternal medicine at Leeds General Infirmary. Genome was set up by Professor Howard Cuckle from Columbia University in the US, who is also Emeritus Professor at the School of Medicine at the University of Leeds. The deal allows both men to retain a stake in the business. Richardson said the screening centre offers “an unparalleled range of services and tests for not only genetic conditions such as

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Down’s Syndrome, but also pre-eclampsia. “Genetic screening in conjunction with ultrasound scanning has the potential to enable expectant parents to know more about their baby before birth than ever before.” he added. A team from Leeds-based The Needle Partnership advised the purchaser. Corporate finance advice to both vendors was provided by Hardy Transaction Management with legal advice coming from HLW and Keelys.

>> Chilli helps with ice cream brand Brand design consultancy Chilli UK has been appointed to launch a new ice cream brand for Northallerton-based R&R Ice Cream,

the manufacturer behind some of the nation’s favourite iced desserts including Fab and Skinny Cow. New brand Spoony’s is aimed at the fast growing super premium ice cream tubs market. It will initially launch with four flavors – Funky Chunky Rocky Road, Funky Chunky Caramel Shortcake, Funky Chunky Cookies & Cream and Funky Chunky Double Chocolate Muffin. Charlotte Hambling, senior marketing manager of R&R Ice Cream, said: “Consumer research into the tubs market suggested that a gap for a new challenger brand exists in the super premium category despite the presence of two well established brands. Consumers are looking for a brand which offers all of the excitement and indulgence of a premium brand in a 500ml paper tub but at a more accessible price point. “Working with Chilli UK we’ve developed an

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exciting new ice cream brand and come up with some really tantalising recipes to provide consumers with the ultimate affordable self-indulgent treat.” Chilli UK’s managing director David Whittle said: “The brief was to create a brand positioning and design that was all about self indulgence and personal reward and also communicated the unique flavours and ingredients on pack. Importantly, the design needed to appeal to families, as they were identified as a key target audience, and by using colour and psychedelic shapes, we achieved this.”

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in association with

NO SHELVING OF AMBITION Presentation is everything, as any retailer will tell you. Peter Baber talks to a man who understands the difference between display and screen

Nothing very glossy in plastics, you might think. A dour industry, down to earth – typical Yorkshire, in fact. But the fashionistas, social commentators and other pundits who now take up so much of the British media industry might care to take note that without the work of one particular Yorkshire plastic-based manufacturer their pearls of wisdom might never end up in the hands of their faithful readers. And no on would know who they were at all. How so? Well, Bartuf Systems is a Holbeckbased company that builds retail displays for the likes of WH Smith, Marks & Spencer, and a wide variety of smaller newsagents. As its founder and owner Chris Lord will tell you, that may sound mundane, but actually for the publishing world it is incredibly important. “Up until a few years ago, 60% of magazine sales were impulse sales,” he says. It’s a fairly safe bet to assume that that figure hasn’t come down much more recently either, despite the best efforts of subscription managers to get their readers to be more brand-loyal. Magazine editors know how important it is to put something exciting on the front cover so that someone will take the rag off the shelf. (This writer once worked on a magazine where the editor thought nothing of taking a whole day out from the monthly cycle just to write the cover lines.) And those


newsagents whose turnover largely depends on selling magazines know that they have to make them look as impressive as possible. Which is why Bartuf’s products – made of a certain kind of plastic, but almost unbreakable, and 100% biodegradable to boot, have proved such a success. The company is certainly doing well, notching up a turnover of over £6m in just over a decade and being in profit for every year of its existence. Nor is it the first successful business Chris has built up in his career. The company was borne out of another rubber and plastics company he successfully sold off to management eight years ago so he could concentrate on his new baby. “I had become a little bit bored with the old business,” he admits. “You need sweepers >>

We are now sourcing over £1m of metal and £500,000 of joinery each year, all of which is manufactured right here in the UK

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ENTREPRENEUR – new ideas, and people who can pull the thing together.” But he is enormously proud that both businesses have managed to be successful while relying on materials and a workforce that is almost entirely UK-based. “This is the sort of thing I do get wound up about,” he says. “We are now sourcing over £1m of metal and £500,000 of joinery each year, all of which is manufactured right here in the UK. The metal either comes from within Yorkshire or elsewhere in the North East. And all the plastic we use is fabricated here in UK.” Much of this pride comes from his own love of his home city of Leeds with its manufacturing history, and his equally strong awareness of how little attention other entrepreneurs have paid to the need to keep things at home. “I went to hear Ultimo founder Michelle Mone speak at a function recently,” he says. “She was very impressive, but she calmly said that the first thing she did after designing her bras was to get on a plane to China to source someone who could produce them. Could we not have done that in the UK, with all this unemployment?” Such fighting talk betrays Chris’s background right in the heart of manufacturing Leeds. “We used to have industrial estates,” he says. “Now we have retail parks, and the retail parks are full of products made in China. He even admits to feeling an inner sense of glee when he hears reports of some workers in China starting to protest at their conditions. “I really believe that as and when the world has given up all of its manufacturing resource, the Chinese will suddenly say that the price has gone up by 50%. Chris is proud of Leeds too because it was the city that taught him his business skills. Brought up in a council estate in Moortown, he first got a job working for a stallholder at Kirkgate Market after the man was impressed with his caddying skills at Moor Allerton golf course. “The concept he came had come up with – which was very new at the time – was that biscuits were a shilling a packet, but you could get three packets for two-and-six,” he says. “It was all based on volume, and it really worked. You would open the roller shutter and start the day full with boxes and as the day progressed the pile would flatten. I used to



A lot of people stay small, because they have got themselves into a small business mentality. When you come down to it, does a corner shop have to stay small? stay back and watch this guy putting the five pound notes away ready for the bank. He honestly took in £700 a day, which was a huge amount in those days.” The wisdom of such business practices put him in good stead when he got into a series of jobs in technical selling that eventually led to him setting up his first plastics business Barkstone with a sleeping partner. “I looked at the way many of the distributors who worked for us were operating,” he says, “and wasn’t that impressed. They described themselves as merchants but they weren’t, they were just selling things on. I felt it was time to apply a bigger company idea to the business. A lot of people stay small, because


they have got themselves into a small business mentality. When you come down to it, does a corner shop have to stay small? It depends how you work it.” Right from the beginning, however, it’s clear Chris wanted to succeed. He got into selling plastic tubing after first thinking he might set up a business as a TV engineer “because at that time I could see there was going to be a market for that” but got diverted into being a vending machine engineer. “Retailers didn’t have the same hours of opening, then,” he says, “so vending machines were huge, particularly for cigarettes.” But the company concerned, he says, wasn’t

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so interested in the maintenance side, and it was his interest in this that led him into plastic tubing – an essential part of any vending machine – and from there to Barkstone. Bartuf eventually came about because, after many years of dealing in industrial plastic, he decided to buy a company out of receivership that was much more focused on retail display. “Part of the issue with Barkstone was that everything was bespoke,” he says. “I fancied doing something that was a bit more off-the peg, and focused on retail, too.” He did initially try to integrate the two businesses, but found the cultures just did not match. “In the commercial sector. a delivery period of between 10 and 14 days is perfectly acceptable,” he says. “But within the retail sector somebody always wants to make sure you’ll be on site at 9.30am on Monday to deliver for them, won’t you?” So after many years of taking a more managerial role, he opted to, as he saw it, go back to being a salesman. With six staff, he moved a short way across Holbeck into the property that had been vacated by the collapsed business and set up shop as Bartuf. One of the staff who came with him was Jo, his wife, who is an industrial designer. She hadn’t worked for some years, but with their two daughters now seven and nine, she felt it was time to go back to work. Chris says they made just £50,000 in the first year, and he remembers how wet behind the ears they felt as they drove off for the first time to catch the ferry from Hull to get to their stand at Euroshop, Europe’s biggest retail display trade show in Germany. “I remember Jo saying, ‘I’m really worried about this, because I don’t really know anything about the product,’” he says. “I said, ‘Don’t worry, darling, neither does anyone else who will come onto the stand.’ We still had to work that stand for six days. I was absolutely knackered.” He was right, however, because there was something novel about the Bartuf product, and so when the chance came in the second year to pitch for a contract with WH Smith Wholesale, he knew its advantages had to be put to the fore. Unlike almost all of his competitor’s >>

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No corner-shop mentality: Chris Lord has had vast experience in the retail sector

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ENTREPRENEUR products, Bartuf’s shelving wasn’t made out of acrylic. Its main ingredient is polyethylene terephthelate, or PETG. (It’s actually the only material Bartuf sources from outside the UK, but that is only because it is currently not made in UK. The company gets it from three suppliers in Belgium.) “PETG is still a relatively new product,” he says. “But it is 10 times stronger than acrylic. That’s one of the reasons why we called our company Bartuf. It’s other advantage of PETG is that it doesn’t bend at the corner.” Any newsagent, he thought, faced with the prospect of having to stack heaps of heavy magazines – the kind of newsagent WH Smith Wholesale dealt with in their thousands would welcome such a product. But he still wasn’t convinced he had won the day. “At the time we only had a turnover of £1m, and the contract was for £1.5m,” he says. “The person running the bid looked as if he was going to go with our competitor, even though we had already put a trial in.” Chris knew this was one time he would have to go against his instincts. He has made it a rule in his business life, he says, not to try to knock the competition to a client, no matter how bad he thinks they are. (And he really does think some of them are bad, with tales of some companies hiring “ladies of the night” to pose as salespeople.) “You really have to be careful,” he says, “because if that client is already dealing with those competitors you are actually saying: ‘Well, you are bloody stupid.’” But on this occasion, he decided to risk it. “I sneaked in and took a photo of competitor’s installation in situ,” he says, “and one of ours in situ, and showed the two to the client. It was almost like a before and after shot. I also offered a three-year guarantee; we were leading with our chin, because it was a new product. But we got the contract. We went from six to 16 people virtually overnight, and gained huge credibility in the marketplace, because everyone was looking at what the market leader was doing.” That’s not all that happened either. That opposite number at WH Smith was one Steve Davenport. He must have been impressed with the business, because a couple of years later



slackened off a little bit in terms of holding the reins, he is nowhere near retiring. He says: “I probably made more of a contribution last year than the previous three years, and that was through keeping the team together. As I had been through a downturn before, unlike many of the team, I saw myself very much as coach, telling people to put a smiley face on, even though you might think different inside.” In any case, he says, making an exit from the business looks unlikely at the moment, and could even be unwise. “The problem with management buy-outs now is raising the money,” he says. “That was considered four or so years ago, but I feel that the major issue is the level of borrowing the incoming management team would require and whether that return would be good enough on their investment. “For me, this business is still the best return on any investment I would get anywhere outside the business. And of course the business as it stands will be outside inheritance tax. The minute I try to monetise that it becomes taxable for inheritance purposes.” n

he came to work for Bartuf, and is now managing director with a stake in the company. Chris has, in fact, recruited a number of people into the business who were former clients of his – although he insists that each such recruitment wasn’t poaching, but was done amicably with the other employer. “Even though we have many other customers now,” he says, “WH Smith is still a sevenfigure account to us.” The other customers have included moving much more into the convenience store market. Lord says this has involved a much more sophisticated sell as ownership in this sector is far more disparate – there is no one owner of the SPAR network, for example. Such new ventures have also led the company into fresh new designs. It was one of the first companies to produce new displays and baskets to suit the S-shaped queuing system many retailers have introduced. Chris admits that he “will never see 60 again,” but he insists that, although he may have


Lee & Priestley’s specialist Entrepreneur Team works with clients as a strategic partner, offering a unique blend of legal, business and entrepreneurial expertise. Lee & Priestley acts for businesses across a broad range of industries and has a particular reputation for entrepreneurial expertise in the new media, media, internet, technology, creative, leisure, entertainment and healthcare sectors.

Jonathan Oxley, Senior Partner, Lee & Priestley LLP Tel: 0845 129 2300 10-12 East Parade, Leeds, LS1 2AJ

04/10/2010 16:03



A fundamental part of a relationship is knowing who you are dealing with and that you can trust them. Yorkshire Bank has been helping people in the region for over 150 years.



HE appointment of Gary Lumby as Director of Small Business Banking at Yorkshire and Clydesdale Banks underlines the focus on growing their market share and reputation in the small business market. Gary was previously Head of Retail Banking at Yorkshire Bank and is currently President of Leeds York and North York Chamber of Commerce, so he is well placed to champion the cause of small businesses. Gary says, ‘At Yorkshire and Clydesdale Banks, we see this as a great time to be building on our already successful Business Banking proposition. The small business market (those with turnover below £1million) is underserved by the big banks, who have abandoned their High Street services. We see an opportunity to establish local relationships to help small businesses flourish, with services that suit their needs; in branch, online or by phone. ‘In uncertain times, businesses need to be confident that they have strong relationships, particularly with their bank. That’s something we very proud of at Yorkshire and Clydesdale Bank; our strong relationships. That isn’t necessarily the case at other banks; a recent report by the Federation of Small Business said up to 250,000 small businesses are unhappy with their bank. ‘We’ve been listening to small businesses and are developing our business to help them develop theirs. We will soon be launching new propositions so that we can do even more to help viable small businesses looking to switch banks. We will give them a Relationship Management driven alternative, based on simplicity and expertise with understanding of their business and their local market. ‘This means we will have locally based Relationship Managers, contactable by email, mobile phone or via our UK-based call centre, able to advise small businesses on cost effective solutions to their business needs. We will have new products that

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IN UNCERTAIN TIMES, BUSINESSES NEED TO BE CONFIDENT THAT THEY HAVE STRONG RELATIONSHIPS, PARTICULARLY WITH THEIR BANK. THAT’S SOMETHING WE VERY PROUD OF AT YORKSHIRE AND CLYDESDALE BANK; OUR STRONG RELATIONSHIPS the world’s strongest banking groups. Our parent company National Australia Bank has been voted 11th safest bank in the world by Global Finance, so businesses can be confident that their money is in safe hands. ‘Yorkshire and Clydesdale Banks have already shown their commitment to help businesses and are on target to meet their promise of £10bn of new lending by 2012. ‘And it has been the Banks’ prudent approach to managing our own business has enabled us to make these commitments. While being prudent hasn’t always been headline-grabbing; it is certainly an attribute that Yorkshire businesses will value. ‘We are passionate about small business and are focussed on providing a real alternative, a local specialist that small businesses can rely on and trust. Many small businesses are beginning to look to the future and how they can build for it. Yorkshire and Clydesdale Banks will be there to listen to their plans, guide them and help them succeed.” Gary Lumby: Director of Small Business Banking at Yorkshire and Clydesdale Banks

position us squarely as the champion of the small business; quality and value backed up by service from a bank that knows about business. ‘A fundamental part of a relationship is knowing who you are dealing with and that you can trust them. Yorkshire Bank has been helping people in the region for over 150 years and is part of one


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Don’t forget the people A harsh economic climate is no reason for you to overlook making your company more attractive to would-be employers, says Simon Pearson. Enhancing your brand in this way can also help you engage with your existing staff

Funnily enough, and despite what you may have been led to believe, recruiting does still go on in a recession. Yes, a “sit tight” attitude does come into play – with employers and employees alike. But there are still companies out there actively looking for highly skilled employees. And when times are hard, how much more devastating will it be to your company if one such person employed by you decides to up sticks? That is why I believe there’s no time like the present for companies to pay a little more attention to what is increasingly being known as employer branding. Essentially that means how the company is received in the marketplace and its employer reputation. Employer branding is not just about attracting quality candidates, it is also about retaining good people by motivating them. Again, difficult times make it even more important to get this right, as companies tend to go through major changes which, if they are not handled properly, can be very damaging for employers. Of course, you will already be totally familiar


with your consumer brand. Many organisations spend huge amounts on marketing that. But you also need to make sure that your employer brand is aligned with the consumer brand, as both potential candidates and employees see both. Why is this important? Well, let me tell you. When I started in the employer communications business more than 40 years ago (all right, it was called recruitment advertising back then), life was straightforward. You simply placed an advert in the appropriate publication, sat back, and waited for the responses to come flooding in. Brands like ICI, Northern Foods, and major public sector employers didn’t have any problems recruiting talent and in terms of engaging with employees, many businesses felt that the company newsletter was more than enough. The problem was of course, that everything that was included in there was already historical. So employee engagement in many organisations didn’t really exist at all. How things have changed now, and how


much more difficult it is to attract and retain talent, even in a recession. Skills is one issue, certainly. Universities are not turning out qualified graduates in the kind of subjects that would be useful for northern businesses which are still to a large extent centred on manufacturing. Students are shunning sciences, technology, engineering and maths for more trendy things like media studies and politics. A knowledge of Jacques Derrida is hardly likely to get you far in producing lubricants. On top of that we have an ageing population, while those who still have a working life ahead of them may no longer believe that a career is for life. All that means that companies are having to compete even more fiercely for talent in what is a dwindling market. Those with the strongest employer brands will be at a distinct advantage in such a competition. Making sure your brand has that winning edge involves going on a journey, a whole process of attracting, recruiting, retaining, engaging and

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The job scene today Recent surveys have revealed the hard facts about how today’s employees view their jobs and workplace. • Thirty three per cent of current UK employees would leave their current position for a new job (PricewaterhouseCoopers). • One in four employees leave their job within the first six months. Fifty per cent leave within two years (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development). • One in three employees say they never or rarely get feedback on their performance (CIPD). • Sixty seven per cent of organisations say they are now putting more emphasis on communication. Fifty per cent say ‘engagement’ is their top priority (Corporate Leadership Council). motivating talent. You shouldn’t shirk this part of the job. As Arthur Ashe said: “The doing is often more important than the outcome.” You really need to create a proposition that resonates with target audiences. Making such a proposition clear will also help you de-select potential employees who don’t share your values. Just think in the current climate how expensive it could be to take such people on. To get there you first need to run internal and external research that ensures current perceptions are indeed where you would want them to be. You need to make sure any compelling and differentiated brand message

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Students are shunning sciences, technology and maths for more trendy things like media studies. A knowledge of Jacques Derrida is hardly likely to get you far in producing lubricants.

you may build is embraced both internally and externally. Many employers are surprised when they do this research to find out just how differently other people and their own employees see them. Getting senior management and board members to buy into the project is particularly important. You don’t want them giving off a different impression to what you want. But seeing such a process as a continuous journey will also prevent you falling into the

suitable vacancy arises you have already started to win them over. You don’t even have to do all of this through the company website. Potential candidates may be more comfortable communicating with you on more neutral ground such as Facebook or Twitter. The millions of users that these social networks have already attracted should alert you to how useful a tool they can be. Managing candidates through the process like this is critical if you want to make sure everyone

usual trap of only communicating about possible job opportunities on an “as and when required” basis – something that an awful lot of companies are wont to do in a recession. This is where a great company careers website or web page can really turn your business into a talent magnet by providing a central place where you can list all your available opportunities and highlight what you can offer to candidates and existing staff – don’t forget them in your rush to impress. With their help, you can also paint an accurate picture of what it’s like to work in your organisation. In fact, forward-thinking companies will have a dedicated talent pool on their site to capture potential candidates for future vacancies. If you include this, however, remember you need to keep in regular touch with anyone who leaves their CV in such an area. Nothing is more likely to put highly skilled people off coming to work for you than a speculative application that goes unacknowledged for months. You need to communicate with them regularly about what is going on at the company so that when a

gets a positive employer brand experience from your company whether they are successful in getting a job at this time or not. Keeping potential candidates engaged keeps them interested in your company into the future. The same applies too to people who may choose to leave your company – you never know how quickly they might want to come back. Nor should you overlook the process of on-boarding – getting your chosen candidates ready for working with you. They can often be under intense pressure when they are serving out their notice at their previous job – not least from their existing employer who may try to encourage them to stay. By helping candidates feel welcome and valued, feel that they know what their exciting new job entails, and feel that they understand the employer brand, you can be sure that such top talent will be happy to make the leap and come and work with you. Yes, even in difficult times. ■


Simon Pearson is chairman of Pearsons Digital

BUSINESS QUARTER | AUTUMN 10 04/10/2010 16:28

Walk on the wild side Main photo: Roseberry Topping © Joe Cornish

Beamish Hall Hotel in the heart of Durham, offers clients the chance to conference on the wild side within Beamish Wild birds of prey conservation centre. With exclusive access to the centre, delegates get hands-on experience of handling and flying hawks and enjoy a close-up flying demonstration from the resident owls, falcons and eagles. After a meeting like no other, dinner awaits in the newly-opened Stables gastro-pub and beer tasting from the on-site microbrewery, before delegates retire to one of Beamish Hall’s 36 luxury bedrooms for a well-deserved rest.

Howzat for an impressive venue? Home of Durham County Cricket Club (LV County Championship winners 2008 and 2009), Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground is located in a secluded valley on the banks of the River Wear yet is only minutes from the A1(M). The ground’s modern meetings and events facilities include a range of meeting rooms and function suites and also offer panoramic views of the pitch, Lumley Castle and the Durham countryside. It’s a venue that will give your delegates a first-class welcome and leave them feeling inspired to achieve great things.

Find some ‘Space to Think’ EVERY business needs space to think; to focus the mind and refresh the batteries. With North East England boasting some of the most spacious rural countryside in the UK and voted the most tranquil county in England by the Campaign to Protect Rural England; there is no better place to get away from the office, motivate staff and build relationships with key clients. Research by psychologists has shown that holding events in a tranquil, rural setting is key to stimulating creative new solutions which can impact on your company’s bottom line. North East England’s range and quality of rural venues provide the perfect opportunity to escape to a place where the only ‘tweet’ is from the countryside’s natural birdlife. Thirty venues across North East England have teamed up to encourage businesses in Yorkshire to venture north and experience the region’s space, beauty, quality and value, with a new promotion launched offering 10 delegate places for the price of nine. ‘Space to Think’ is a new campaign offering meeting planners a unique insight into North East England’s stunning rural conference scene, with a whole host of top-class venues and icons to choose from, dotted throughout the region, from the atmospheric Hadrian’s Wall, to Durham’s beautiful landscapes; right through to the striking countryside of Tees Valley.

A new ‘Space to Think’ brochure and bespoke website enable conference organisers to directly access information on conference venues, with details on function suites, the great leisure offer, maps and locations, and the ‘10th delegate goes free’ promotion. Major venues, hotels, castles and stately homes, including big-name brands such as Barceló, De Vere, Von Essen and Macdonald, are all part of the campaign, as are a range of high-quality independent properties like Langley Castle Hotel, Seaham Hall and The Serenity Spa and Ramside Hall. The very highest standards are ensured but at prices that won’t break the bank - with five-star 24-hour delegate rates from £175 and day-delegate rates from £40. Time is always of the essence and with Hall Garth Hotel, near Darlington, under 1 ¼ hours’ drive from Leeds and the stunning Lumley Castle, near Durham, just 1 ½ hours’ drive from York, delegates and team members will be feeling relaxed, inspired and motivated in next to no time. To receive your essential brochure guide to conferencing in rural North East England and take up the unique promotional offer, contact NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau on: 0191 440 5757 email: or visit:

Venues across North East England have teamed up to offer meeting planners a fantastic 10-for-9 deal running to the end of March 2011, so there’s never been a better time for you to find Space to Think.

10 for 9

Visit today to find out more, or request a Space to Think brochure by emailing or calling 0191 440 5757. In association with NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau, Northumberland Tourism, Visit County Durham and Visit Tees Valley.

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From Yorkshire’s highest building to one of its largest – a warehouse in Tockwith – coupled with interests as diverse as a grade II guest house and a DIY store, the market is showing signs of stirring. >>Bradford asipres for more

A key residential and commercial scheme in Bradford that had been put on hold for two years because of the recession is now going ahead after the first plot on the site was sold to York-based property developer Skelwith Group. The £30m first phase of development at the Aspire Citygate site on Manchester Road will see Skelwith build 224 apartments in two blocks costing from £50,000. Construction will begin next year. Skelwith bought the plot from Bradford Trident Trading, a company formed specifically to enable community charity Bradford Trident to benefit from the sale of land, in a deal advised by Gordons. Vipin Joshi, vice chair and director of Bradford Trident Trading, said: “The redevelopment and regeneration on Manchester Road is long overdue and Aspire CityGate is a prime example of how, even in these difficult financial times, we are driving projects through. The plot was transferred to Bradford Trident Trading by Bradford Council as part of a longstanding agreement to bring about redevelopment of the site and generate capital for reinvestment in the locality. Gordon’s Nick Chamberlain said: “It was a complex deal involving several different parties and tight timescales. However, working in close partnership with the charity, its trading company and the council meant we were able to handle the instruction quickly and effectively.”

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>> Former Eversheds space available Knight Frank and BNP Paribas Real Estate have been appointed jointly by Eversheds to market 20,000 sq ft of prestigious office space at the city’s iconic Bridgewater Place. Eversheds was one of the first tenants to move into Yorkshire’s tallest commercial building when it opened in 2007. The office space is available on a single floorplate on the west wing of the eighth floor. Michael Leonard at BNP Paribas Real Estate said: “We are looking at rents in the region of £22.50 per sq ft, which is very good value in view of the recent deals of up to £27 per sq ft in the centre of Leeds. It would suit a professional services firm wanting to expand or relocate or a successful private sector company.”

>> Fobi for 5Rise DIY store Fobi is to take a unit in the new 5Rise shopping centre in Bingley, just weeks after the Jaldi Jaldi (Mumtaz) restaurant also took space there. 5Rise’s developer 4Urban has secured a deal to let a 2,450 sq ft unit over two floors to Fobi under a 15-year lease at an average rent of £47,500 per annum. The unit on Myrtle Walk is next door to Home Bargains and directly opposite the Co-operative supermarket. Fobi Retail has been running for more than 21 years at its larger store in Meanwood, Leeds. It sells a range of products ranging from DIY tools, hardware and kitchenwares through to electrical items and car accessories. Fobi’s owner Steven Forrest said: “5Rise provides a good location with strong footfall and customer catchment. We will open the store in late October and plan to open a further store in Leeds as a part of our expansion programme.”


>> University in Evans joint venture The University of York has entered into a joint venture agreement with Leeds-based Evans Property Group to own and run the new 589-room Goodricke College on the University’s campus expansion at Heslington East. The multi-million pound deal is one of the biggest property transactions in York this year. Goodricke College was officially opened in April by Prince Andrew. It features three accommodation blocks: Janet Baker Court, Kenneth Dixon Court and Oliver Sheldon Court. The new buildings feature a mixture of standard and en-suite accommodation and a central “nucleus” with large communal common rooms, a laundry and offices for staff. The new facilities double the college’s capacity. Graham Gilbert, finance director of the University of York, said: “This is an important and, we believe, innovative transaction that has enabled us to liberate significant funds >>

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COMMERCIAL PROPERTY for the further development of our estate whilst allowing us to make a valuable investment in student accommodation. Alan Syers, portfolio director at Evans Property Group, said: “We expect that this innovative approach to the ownership and management of student accommodation will deliver long term benefits to both partners.” Dickinson Dees played a key role in this deal, introducing the joint venture partners and advising the University during the complex negotiations. Philip Ashworth, partner in charge of Dickinson Dees’ York office, said: “This is one of the most significant deals in York over the past 12 months. It enables the University to keep an interest in Goodricke College, while sharing the responsibility of ownership with one of the leading development and investment companies in the North of England.” Evans of Leeds was advised by Leeds law firm Pinsent Masons and property agents Ryden.

>> DTZ advises Leeds DTZ has been appointed to advise the University of Leeds on bringing forward its scheme to build new sustainable student accommodation at St Marks Residences, close to its campus. The University of Leeds has achieved planning consent for a 526-room scheme at St Marks Residences, which will replace the existing student accommodation on site. The building will include a biomass boiler and will be built to achieve a minimum rating of “very good” under the BRE Environment Assessment Method (BREEAM) for commercial buildings. The university had previously been planning to self-finance the new building via a design-and-build contract. DTZ will work with the university to consider its options in terms of funding and procurement in a move which might involve an independent provider. Andrew Smith, director of consulting at DTZ, said: “There are a lot of factors that are driving change in this sector and many universities are looking at how they should



>> Tomlinson’s building sold

A warehouse which is claimed to be the largest building in North Yorkshire offered for sale in 2010 has been sold to retailer the Textile Warehouse by DTZ. The premises, which is situated on the outskirts of Tockwith, was owned and occupied by the famous antiques dealer and restorer, Tomlinson’s Antiques. The 50,700 sq ft warehouse was built specifically for Tomlinson’s in 1992. The company was founded in 1977, initially on Wetherby High Street. The Textile Warehouse, an online retailer of household goods, has bought the building so that it can expand from its current premises in Swillington. Tomlinson’s Antiques will continue trading as an online retailer, while looking to develop a new site in Wetherby where it is looking to relocate to in the near future. Paul Mack, associate director at DTZ, said: “Tomlinson’s Antiques is one of the region’s best known and well respected companies. “Their premises presented an extremely rare opportunity to acquire the freehold interest of an industrial/warehouse building of such a size in North Yorkshire. From the outset we received a staggering amount of interest.”

restructure the provision of their student accommodation. “We are working closely with the University of Leeds to drive forward their vision of modern, sustainable student accommodation at St Marks Residences.”

>> Leyburn guest house for sale

International Leeds office said, “Grove House presents a very attractive small business opportunity, being ideal for easily run tourist B&B but also boasting great potential for anyone wanting to develop restaurant or tea room business. “The property has its own front garden and rear private car park which is a real bonus for a location so close to the bustling town square.” >>

A guest house in the centre of Leyburn in the Yorkshire Dales is being sold by the Leeds office of Colliers International for a guide price of £495,000. The freehold Grade II-listed Grove House incorporates seven en-suite bedrooms to sleep up to 17 guests, a lounge and dining room and three-bedroom private accommodation for the potential owners. Peter Bean, Head of Hotels at Colliers


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BQ_MAG Issue 6.indb 29

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>> York hotels saved Inn Focus, a Harrogate leisure business, has bought Guy Fawkes and Marmadukes, two boutique hotels in York whose previous owner went into administration, for a rumoured £2m. The deal with joint administrators Phil Pierce and Andrew Sheridan of Baker Tilly was negotiated by the Leeds office of Collier International. Guy Fawkes is situated opposite the Minster and includes dining and bar areas and 13 individually designed bedrooms. Nearby Marmadukes on St Peter’s Grove just off Bootham is a town house hotel with a bar, restaurant, lounges, meeting rooms, and 20 bedrooms. Colliers International Leeds director Peter Bean said: “Guy Fawkes and Marmadukes created a high level of interest from buyers attracted by their high quality facilities and outstanding trading locations in this major tourist destination city which continues to perform well. “The whole process from first viewings to completion of the sales took about five months. The deals were struck following competitive bidding which has left a number of strong underbidders seeking similar high quality acquisition opportunities.”

>> Air company expands Sovereign Air Movement, a manufacturer and distributor of air movement products, has taken out a six-year lease on a 17,141 sq ft industrial building at Fox Way on South Accommodation Road in Leeds as part of an expansion plan. The development provides warehouse space and office accommodation and is located close to Leeds city centre and Junction 4 of the M62. The deal on the building, owned by Airebank Developments, was negotiated by DTZ. Senior surveyor Philip Caspell said: “It is refreshing to see a manufacturing company within the region expanding at this challenging time.”

never won approval. The prime agricultural and development land is located by Junction 30 of the M62, and is for sale as a whole or in a number of different lots. The estate includes Royds Green Farm, a Grade II listed five-bedroom farmhouse, two derelict cottages and a range of traditional farm buildings with development potential. A substantial part of the estate is tenanted. It is being marketed by the Leeds office of global property consultancy Knight Frank. Partner Jonathan Hyland said: “The original plan has bitten the dust and the land is now back on the market and providing a rare opportunity to buy a diverse portfolio of prime freehold and agricultural land.”

>> ‘Eco town’ site back for sale A 550-acre site at Oulton in West Yorkshire that had been proposed as an “eco town” is back on the market at a guide price of £4.65m. The site, part of Oulton Hall Estate, had been planned as an eco-town with more than 9,000 carbon neutral homes, together with six new primary schools, a secondary school, an urban farm, a cemetery and a new dual carriageway. But the proposal by Oulton Hall (Isle of Man), one of several put forward as part of a scheme run by the previous Government,


The first new-format Waitrose convenience store opened in Cambridgeshire this spring, creating about 40 new jobs. A further five have followed since. Target sites are up to 10,000 sq ft gross in city and town centres, transport hubs and suburbs. Jonathan Newns, head of the in-town retail team at King Sturge in Leeds, said: “Waitrose’s move into smaller stores demonstrates that convenience shopping is a growing market. The convenience stores which open in the North will help to create easier access to wider choice of quality products which is good news for shoppers. “From a property point of view, the smaller format stores should be easier to accommodate as they allow for greater flexibility in the size of retail unit and location, and should encounter fewer potential planning hurdles.”

>> Costa expands in York

>> Waitrose on the hunt King Sturge has been appointed by Waitrose to identify and acquire new sites for a roll-out of convenience stores. The supermarket chain aims to launch its new convenience stores in the north as part of a move to open 30 new stores throughout the UK next year.


Costa Coffee has taken out a lease on a 1,350 sq ft retail unit at 13a Museum Street in York after the previous occupant went into administration. The deal was negotiated by DTZ on behalf of RT Warren Investments. Chris Wilkinson, a surveyor at DTZ in Leeds said: “In a distressed market the previous tenant of the unit went into administration, having previously agreed a rent review at the

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top of the market. The DTZ retail team in Leeds attracted the attention of a number of retailers and was able to secure a very attractive package for the client.”

>> Northern Foods building changes hands GMI Property Co has sold its long leasehold interest in 2180 Century Way, Thorpe Park in Leeds to Formal Investments in a deal advised by DTZ. The property comprises approximately 26,000 sq ft of grade A office accommodation. Built in 2005, it is let on a single lease to Northern Foods until February 2015. GMI managing director James Poskitt said: “Our association with what is the premier business park in the north of England, Thorpe Park, Leeds, stretches back some 20 years as developer and investor. The location’s ability to attract high quality tenants and investment capital continues.” Tim Cameron-Jones, investment director at DTZ said: “This deal demonstrates the strong opportunities available for investors in the Leeds office market, which has seen DTZ advise on transactions exceeding £88m in the last 12 months alone.”


>> Shaw Lodge finally starts St James Securities has begun development at the historic Shaw Lodge in Halifax, a 10-acre site for which it secured planning permission in 2008. The Leeds company has begun with a complete refurbishment of Shaw Lodge House, at the entrance to the site. The 4,000 sq ft Grade II* listed office building is being converted into 10 office suites from 275 sq ft upwards and the adjacent garage, which fronts Shaw Lodge Mills, has been demolished to make way for car parking. These suites will be available by the end of the year and are aimed at the small business and start-up market. Oliver Quarmby, of St James Securities, said the first phase of development would provide “an attractive gateway and shows that we are moving forward”. But he warned that original plans for housing on the site might still be some way off. “In the longer term, we are looking to fulfil our dream of an urban village on this unique site,” he said, “but we believe it is in everyone’s best interests to proceed carefully as the property market begins to recover from a deep recession.” There are already 15 tenants on the site, ranging from community and educational organisations such as West Riding Stonecarving Association, Creative International Adventures and The Artworks (Yorkshire) CIC, Calderdale’s Independent Art and Design School, to commercial companies such as telecommunications firm TTG (UK) Ltd, Five Talents design agency and document scanning company Safer Europe. Jon Rodmell, TTG’s managing director, said: “We consider Shaw Lodge to be an ideal location which will enable our rapid expansion by offering excellent facilities, easy access and a fabulous historic environment to work in.” Once the refurbishment of Shaw Lodge House has been completed, St James Securities is planning to convert the six-storey 1850 mill to larger offices of between 3,000 sq ft and 10,000 sq ft on whole floors, providing up to 46,038 sq ft of offices in the building in total. The 69,000 sq ft Weaving Shed, providing extensive warehouse and workshop accommodation, is also available on short and long-term leases. The mills were founded in the 1820s by John Holdsworth and remained in the ownership of the same family until 2005, employing 3,000 people at their height. The main product woven at the complex was moquette, used for covering seats on trains and buses across the world. The last loom fell silent in September 2008.

>> More for Tower North

>> Meltham hotel sold The Durker Roods Hotel in Meltham, West Yorkshire, has been sold close to its asking price of £700,000 by Colliers International. The traditional hotel was sold on behalf of Simon Thomas and Fred Satow of Moorfields Corporate Recovery. The property is set in attractive grounds and comprises 30 bedrooms, a lounge bar, restaurant and function facilities.

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Two new tenants have occupied space in LaSalle Investment Management’s Tower North Central on Merrion Way in Leeds in deals negotiated by joint leasing agents Jones Lang LaSalle and CB Richard Ellis. Recruitment firm Logical Resources has taken a five-year lease on the entire suite on the building’s top floor comprising 4,111 sq ft of office space. Meanwhile social enterprise Create has leased 1,658 sq ft of space on a three-year lease on part of 10th floor. Tom Brammeld, from Jones Lang LaSalle, said: “These latest lettings complement Tower North Central’s existing strong occupier line up. They also highlight that the sub 5,000 sq ft office market in Leeds continues to be a key area of activity. This size bracket made up 89% of city centre office take-up in the second quarter of this year with the service sector being the stand out sector.”

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forward or back?

Regional development agencies are being wound up, with their replacements still to be decided on. Peter Baber picks over the Yorkshire fallout



Achievement: Terry Hodgkinson defends private sector support

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“Christ,” the man sitting next to me in the garden outside Yorkshire Forward’s headquarters one warm September afternoon says to his colleague. “In 12 months’ time this will be a ghost town, with no-one here at all.” And he takes another puff of his cigarette. Whatever your view of public servants and their perceived largesse may be, it seems hard not to acknowledge that a significant period is coming to an end. Especially in Holbeck, where much of the recent developments you see around you can in some ways be linked back to Yorkshire Forward. Just think of the Round Foundry and much else that is included in the Holbeck Urban Village. Then there’s the Yorkshire Forward building itself, Victoria House. Up until Bridgewater Place was completed a couple of years ago, for many business people coming to Leeds Yorkshire Forward’s offices in Holbeck were the only reason they had for turning right out of the station entrance. It will be a shift if all of that is to go. But to the chagrin of many a recently-opened sandwich bar owner, go it must, because new Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles – himself a Yorkshireman – has now decided that all regional development agencies like Yorkshire Forward are to be disbanded. He has urged them to work with the coalition in putting together a new form of local enterprise partnerships. Their exact nature is still to be spelled out, but he envisaged they would be led where possible by a business leader with a board made up of public and private sector people. The partnerships, he said, would tackle planning and housing, transport and the transition to a low-carbon economy. But many functions which have in the past been within the regional development agencies’ remit will now be delivered nationally – including business support. It was hardly surprising, therefore, that Business Link Yorkshire was one of the first victims of this new vision. It is being wound up entirely. Such a response can hardly have been a total surprise. Tom Riordan, who left his position as chief executive of Yorkshire Forward to become chief executive of Leeds City Council earlier this year, concedes this. But like many people, he was expecting less drastic action,

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In 12 months’ time this will be a ghost town, with no one here at all

such as the demise of the RDAs in the south only. “I always expected there would be changes,” says Riordan, “but I thought the northern RDAs would be more protected.” Given that he had worked for Yorkshire Forward from its outset and had helped to set up its modus operandi, he also felt his decision to jump ship so close to an uncertain election was an “agonising one”. But Pickles’s letter suggests that one of the key aims of the new LEPs will be to “rebalance the economy towards the private sector”. Is this some implied criticism of how the regional development agencies including Yorkshire Forward have behaved? In the past it has proved very difficult to get any business figure to criticise Yorkshire Forward publicly and openly. In fact, many



would tell you that the RDA we had operating here was the best in the country. But many column inches have been written about the northern economy being too skewed toward the public sector. This is a key criticism of the new pressure groups the Taxpayers’ Alliance. It has brought out two research reports into RDAs in recent years, criticising them for expanding the public sector too much and for encouraging private enterprise to look for government grants rather than commercial profit – with many of these grants themselves being administered by other public sector agencies. “They have helped create businesses that are really just grant junkies,” says John O’Connell, deputy director of research. But sitting up in that same Yorkshire Forward headquarters building on this September day, what does Terry Hodgkinson, outgoing chairman of Yorkshire Forward, think? Can he defend Yorkshire Forward’s record? As you might expect, he can – with a bit of “my goodness me” here and there. In fact he sees one of Yorkshire Forward’s key achievements as being the support it gave to private sector businesses through the recession – and not in terms of grants. “By mid-2008 business had hit rabbits in the headlights,” he says. “My goodness me – during that three-month period, banks went from lending to zero to withdrawing facilities. To give you some indication of the challenges, Business Link had a target of 28,000 assists for that year. That’s where an assessor goes in for two days. They actually hit 88,000. “We set up a financial services task force too, and met with senior bankers in the region. The first one was very shaky, but we moved from that to engineering Business Link to have financial advisers to go with the businesses to the banks to get the right facilities. The banks said the businesses were coming to them really badly prepared. So we put that right. In 2008/9 we got 2,800 businesses facilities that they may not otherwise have got.” It’s not surprising to hear that as a result of this he is particularly dispirited at the demise of Business Link. “When the Government gave us control of Business Link, at roughly the same time, they said they wanted us to improve the >>

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performance, but we’ll give you 20% less than the budget last year,” he says. “We improved the performance by 50%.” Of course, during that period there were huge clouds over the future of HBOS as an employer in Yorkshire, particularly after its takeover by Lloyds TSB. “One of our big wins was to broker a meeting with Helen Weir (the head of retail banking at Lloyds who took a lead role in the merger). Our then Minister for Yorkshire Rosie Winterton came, and we had four leaders of the affected authorities. We convinced her that Halifax as a location was a positive, not a negative. She swallowed it.” There have, of course, been many redundancies from HBOS in Halifax following the merger. But it’s true that the axe mostly fell on the Cheltenham & Gloucester instead. “We could have lost many thousands,” says Hodgkinson. “On the wider scale, the regional economic council I co-chaired with Rosie Winterton worked really well. It brought together the universities, the Department for Education and Employment, and JobCentrePlus – the people who were in a direct firing line of the people who were affected by the recession. In its fairly short life it drew a lot of funding forward.” He cites Yorkshire Universities, a grouping of all the higher education establishments in the region, as an example. “Within a week of us starting it had agreed to bring £180m of building work forward into this year in construction work,” he says. “So when the industry was looking decimated, we were able to pull forward. The Highways Agency did much the same, and for them it was £100m. Just in the region I would say we brought forward £500m. That is admittedly taking the money from the following year, but when you hit a blank wall, as we did in 2008,

the jobs weren’t looking like they were going to taper off, the jobs just stopped. Our aim was to get that transition going.” As a property man – he still has an interest in Magna Holdings, a Yorkshire-based property company – Hodgkinson can also wax lyrical about the benefits Yorkshire Forward has brought to the challenged Yorkshire property industry. In particular Wakefield, his home town, where a shopping centre and regeneration development looked like it might fail when the property developer behind it went into administration. “Wakefield we managed to save, but my goodness me that was by sheer determination on the part of the local authorities and ourselves,” he says, “and the bank taking a big hit. We loaned the project £5m via the local authority to see it through.” Of course, many people when talking about property in Yorkshire might point not to Wakefield but to Bradford, a city which despite having a dedicated urban regeneration company in operation for the best part of the last decade is still waiting for most of the ambitious plans it had laid out in Will Alsop’s plan in 2004 to come to fruition. The much-promised Westfield shopping centre, for example, is still a building site. “The Westfield scenario was unfortunate,” says Hodgkinson. “They were, and are, the right developer. They were an integral part of making the Olympics work, although the amount of pre-lets in that planned centre was struggling at 50%. But retail is starting to come back – certainly in Leeds, and in Sheffield where Hammerson is starting to talk to the council again. That type of thing is really important, because if you let the compulsory purchase orders go, they take 10 years to get back. I hope the visions that were visions five years ago Bradford keeps hold of. They were

Wouldn’t it be better just to reduce the tax burden generally in our regions, so that United Biscuits didn’t feel it necessary to leave



well thought through and well consulted.” In contrast, Tom Riordan thinks too much emphasis has been put on the Westfield situation in the Bradford story. “Lots of the public sector projects in the city have come off,” he says, “such as Eastbrook Hall, with its link with the university, and Lister Mills. It’s the private sector part of the city that hasn’t happened.” For his part he believes Yorkshire Forward’s success in beating the South East region for inward investment in 2009 was major achievement. Hodgkinson puts this success down to the agency’s key account management team which interfaces with 700 companies in Yorkshire, encouraging them to stay and grow in the region. “I went on a visit with one to a £100m Huddersfield business that was on the point of pulling out,” he says. “The break point was the refusal of a planning application. We awoke the local authority to the economic consequences. We weren’t looking to change statutory planning, but to work with business to get a solution that would increase capacity by 50% and create 250 jobs.” Of course, the likes of the Taxpayers’ Alliance would claim that this kind of work is exactly the kind of unnecessary bureaucracy that is best avoided. O’Connell cites in particular a £200,000 grant paid to United Biscuits in 2008, which he claims was aimed at encouraging it to stay. “Wouldn’t it be better just to reduce the tax burden in our regions, so that United Biscuits didn’t feel it necessary to leave?” he says. One of the Taxpayers’ Alliances more radical proposals is in fact the decentralisation of tax, although as this is yet to feature on any major political party’s manifesto, it could be a long way off happening, if it happens at all. Nor does its stripping down of government agenda seem to have caught on with the business community. The five new proposed LEPs for Yorkshire, for example, have all been supported by the Chambers of Commerce, the CBI and the Institute of Directors. They are now just waiting to see what will transpire. But both Hodgkinson and Riordan see even centralisation on the cards instead, and are concerned about the loss of expertise and funding this may cause.

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Freedom gives you the ability to do things in a different way

35 BQ_MAG Issue 6.indb 35


“You can’t rebuild the Yorkshire economy from Victoria Street,” says Riordan. In addition to the plans for LEPs, the Government has launched a £1bn regional growth fund that will be spent between 2011 and 2013 on regions in the UK that have been most dependent on public sector employment. Hodgkinson is sceptical about this at best. “That £1bn amounts to roughly £100m for the Yorkshire region,” he says, “and yet our last budget was £370m alone. And that fund is very controlled. You can’t use it for administration or big capital projects.” He says whatever follows Yorkshire Forward “has not got by any means the freedom that the we had.” He is perfectly happy to admit the RDA may have made some mistakes. “Not everything we have invested in has been successful,” he says, “but if it had been we would have failed because we wouldn’t have reached the bits that we wanted to. “Freedom gives you the ability to do things in a different way. That is where the agencies have been able to flex their muscles. With our cash and influence, we have been able to up the game and move projects from being ordinary to being excellent or above.” It is this freedom, and this expertise, which he fears will be lacking in the new set up, particularly if the LEPs are underfunded. Yorkshire Forward was a unique organisation, he believes, because of the background of its staff – roughly half public sector and half private sector. “Although many outside are aware of the work of the RDAs, how they have penetrated the economy is not well understood, even in parts of Whitehall,” he says. “When you have executives going down and talking to central government about assets – and we currently have £60m of them – they are not just motorway sites. They are strategic sites that are part of the bigger picture for towns in the region. We are goingto lobby hard to make sure that at the end of the day they are used for the purpose they were acquired for, not just speculatively sold.” But that won’t be a job for him. Come December, the business of winding Yorkshire Forward up will be the remit of Thea Stein, current chief executive, and whoever is brave enough to follow him. n

BUSINESS QUARTER | AUTUMN 10 04/10/2010 16:03



Running a coffee shop would appear to be a perfectly stress-free way of running a business. Not so. Peter Baber talks to one man who woke up and smelt the reality >>


36 04/10/2010 16:04


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When I was made redundant in 1989 I made a coffee in my back bedroom, sold it to a restaurateur that I knew, and ended up with 22 customers within six weeks

Cup tied: David Cooper once drank more than 100 espressos a week for research

Ask the average person slaving in an office what they would do if they ever decided to jack it all in and start their own business, and you can be sure that “open a coffee shop” will be fairly frequently mentioned. After all, people have seen the great success of the likes of Starbucks and Caffe Nero, and feel they want to emulate it. In this country at least, such a plan might not be such a bad idea. Starbucks, far from being


a giant ogre gobbling everything in its path, has in fact really benefited the market. The country has become so obsessed with coffee in the past few years (to levels we probably haven’t seen since the 18th century) that you can get away with charging at least £2 a cup. By contrast, in Italy, the country which could reasonably claim to have invented modern café culture, an espresso usually costs around a euro.


There, is, however, a downside. Rents and business rates compared to many countries in Europe are disproportionately high in the UK, so a lot of the £2 you would be getting for each perfectly roasted cup will not be going to you, but to the landlord. How do I know all of this? Well, these are just some of the views of David Cooper, founder and managing director of Coopers Coffee, a £2.5m Huddersfield company which for nearly two decades has been distributing coffee and other related merchandise to independent coffee shops right across the country – 750 at the last count, although Cooper says that figure is growing by on average 10 a month. “Last month we had 11, the month before that we had eight,” he says. The company currently sources beans from 42 different coffees to make nine different espresso blends, ten different cafetiere coffees, and more than 15 filter coffees, all under the Coopers Coffee brand. “We also bespoke roast for companies under their own brand,” says Cooper. Although he develops the recipes for these coffees himself, the company is focused on marketing and selling only. “We stopped roasting our own products in 1996,” he says, “and thank goodness we did that, because it allows us to concentrate on what we do best. The dirty end of the business we now sub-contract.” But that does mean that he has a more than usually keen focus on what makes a coffee

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shop work, and what common mistakes people make who think they can set one up. He should know anyway, because before setting up Coopers Coffee he himself opened and ran a coffee shop in York for 18 months before cutting his losses. You can see some of these suggestions in the panel on page 40. This is seriously elite coffee we are talking about here. Last year, for example, Cooper created a blend of Blue Mountain and Kopi Luwak coffee and sold it in aid of Macmillan Nurses. Blue Mountain is a well-known upmarket coffee from Jamaica, but Kopi Luwak is more exclusive still. For those not in the know, it is a coffee bean which is only harvested once it has been digested and – ahem – defecated by a civet cat that only lives in Sumatra. The bean ferments while it passes through the cat’s digestive system, and this is what gives it its distinctive taste. “Only about 250kg of Kopi Luwak is available each year for obvious reasons,” says Cooper. “It sells for up to £1,000 a kilo. We sold our blend for £50 a cup and sold out in first day.” Earlier this year he also made an aphrodisiac coffee for a lingerie company, blending a high caffeine coffee with an oyster essence. The jury may still be out among scientists, but Cooper is convinced that certain well-known aphrodisiacs do have an effect. “Chilli, ginger, cardamom – they all work,” he says. Again, the coffee sold out in a very short time – three days. If this sounds very much like caffeine for the aficionado, it is. David Cooper

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is unapologetic about that for three reasons. First because coffee is his passion – so much so, in fact, that his two teenage sons cower under the table whenever he and his wife Jackie order coffee at a restaurant. They know from bitter experience that a round of tasting, comparing notes and, on more than a few occasions, sending the coffee back will follow. “I often send coffee back if it is undrinkable,” says Cooper.


This passion was generated at a very early age. He says he became partial to espressos as a 17-year-old while working as a chef in an Italian restaurant in the 1980s – long before anyone had heard of Starbucks. He read up on the subject, and went on to sell espresso makers for a living. “When I was made redundant in 1989 I made a coffee in my back bedroom, sold it to a restaurateur that I knew, and ended up with 22 customers within six weeks,” he says. “I really intended it to be a back bedroom business while I was looking for a job. But I never found a job – the coffee business just carried on growing. We did £133,000 out of that flat in the first year.” He is also a fan of high-end coffee, he says, because compared with the instant variety it has far less caffeine, and so whatever health issues there may be are dissipated. “What actually gives you the stimulation in a good quality coffee is the crema,” he says. “That’s a complex emulsion of oils and sugars that’s quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. Caffeine is, if anything, a cheapener.” Cooper is someone who should know about addiction, as he admits that in the 1990s he drank more than 100 espressos a week. He jokes with his sons that he is in the drugs business – he does, after all, take imports from Colombia. But coffee’s addictiveness is one of its key USPs, he says. It is what has made the café industry so resilient throughout the recession, he believes – and that’s the >>

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ENTREPRENEUR third reason why he sticks to the high end of the market. “We all thought all our customers would be suicidal when the recession started,” he says. “But the opposite was the effect. Once they have tasted it, people will not forfeit their daily cup of quality coffee. It’s an affordable luxury. The high street coffee market is set to grow by between four and 12% in 2010/11.” After that, things are looking rosier still. He says: “2011 is set to be the first time in the last decade that the supply of coffee of the quality that we buy will be less than demand. That scares my industry, but I welcome it, because it will drive the price up. We will all have some pain, but there is so much margin in it. “As long as these prices are passed on to the end user it will keep the quality up and, more importantly, the farmers will get a good price.” Coopers does sell a full range of Fairtrade, organic and Rainforest Alliance-approved coffees, but Cooper says the market has grown so much in recent years that he knows of many Fairtrade producers who are trying to decertify themselves, because the minimum price Fairtrade offers is now well below the going market price. “Four years ago Fairtrade was less than 2% of our annual tonnage in volume. Now it is 24%. My friends in the US and Australia find that hilarious, because as a brand Fairtrade is totally insignificant outside the UK.” Coopers’ focus on the high end of the market means that it does not do discounts, preferring instead to offer customers a loyalty scheme. There is a generic unbranded price-fighter coffee available, but it is not offered on the website or in the company catalogue, and is mainly a way of winning large new contracts in the hope that the customer will soon upgrade. “We do not sell on price, we sell on added value and quality,” says Cooper. The added value is quite considerable; Coopers offers barista training for all of its customers’ staff on an ongoing basis. It can also supply the necessary equipment without forcing the customer into a lock-in – equipment sales alone were worth £500,000 last year. And its in-house graphics team can provide brand



designs and menus. If the new customer hasn’t opened the venue yet, Cooper tries to go and see it, and offer advice (hence the panel). He is not afraid to say if he doesn’t think the venue will work. “We are very good at pointing out the stark reality,” he says, “because if we don’t it’s potentially a bad debt.” Nevertheless, there have been some changes in the past few years. The company has planning permission to expand its current Huddersfield office – a superbly done-up portable cabin it moved from a site in Garforth 15 years ago – but hasn’t done so yet. Three years ago it also had plans to grow by 40%. This was subsequently reduced to 15%, but come January, Cooper wants to scrap all sales targets completely and just get his staff to go for as much as the company can afford, with rewards setting in once 10% growth has been reached. “There is as self-defeating nature to setting targets because you either just get near them or just achieve them,” he says. As it is, the company is already converting 35% of the 35 new business calls it gets each month into new customers. But what about future plans? After all this success, has he never been tempted to try again at retail? He ponders. It turns out the company already runs a café in Huddersfield, but purely as a means of testing products. Anything more than that would be tricky. “I don’t have time and can’t get over the fact that we would be competing with customers,” he says. “And to do the kind of emporium I would want would cost several hundred thousand pounds, and I could use that kind of money more wisely. But I am not saying never. I do see Jackie and I having a flagship store one day.” In the meantime, there are other developments too. If you are a coffee hater, preferring the other kind of perk-you-up drink, you will be happy to know that Coopers also sells a range of teas, and these are currently getting him really enthused. “Tea makes up 4 to 5% of our total sales at the moment,” he says, “but year on year those sales are 400%. We think it will be a major growth area.” Watch this space. n


Don’t spoil the coffee shop According to David Cooper, these are the key things wannabe coffee shop owners need to do. 1) Do the sums. “New starters are attracted by the high profit margins – 85% is typical. But what they forget is that you often need to do about 1,000 cups a day, and there is often a limit to what one particular site can do.” 2) Do a business plan. “Nine out of 10 of the people I meet haven’t done one. You want to think ‘how much do I want to earn?’ How am I going to do that? Am I going to employ a manager so I can go on holiday? What about the next three years?” 3) Do at least consider really obvious things. “When I go to a new shop, I often stare at four blank walls, and say, ‘Is it table or counter service?’ And they often say, ‘What do you mean? I’m not sure.’ So I say, ‘Stop right there,’ because the ergonomics are totally different. If you walk into a coffee shop and see a menu on a table, naturally you are going to sit down. If they are on the walls, hopefully the café will be designed in such a way that you can migrate. Sometimes people say, ‘When we’re quiet, we’ll ask them to sit down.’ But not only does that change the ergonomics, it also means your staffing requirements are double what they would be for counter service.” 4) What happens if you don’t follow these rules? “We have lots of customers who are just working to pay rent. They work six days a week, and have one day off to do all the hassle of VAT returns. They create jobs for other people and themselves, but that typically gives them only an average income. It’s really important that you don’t spend £100,000 of your retirement income to open your dream coffee shop only to change your mind after three weeks.”

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Nationally NatWest are providing 5,000 new loans to businesses every week. Here’s how one is helping a Yorkshire business to diversify.



Leeds farm has completed the purchase of new buildings allowing them to open a brand new farm shop to accompany its existing livery service. Swithens farm in Rothwell is owned by husband and wife team Ian and Angela Broadhead and the 200 acre site is home to a livery with 111 stables available for rent. Now, with the help of a £200k loan from NatWest, the couple have purchased outbuildings adjacent to the farm and are now rearing livestock to be sold through their very own farm shop. The business is very much a family affair with Angela and Ian having been married for 26 years and their 23-year-old daughter, Nicola, runs the on-site tack shop. Their other daughter Samantha, 22, is hoping to help with the new farm shop. Initially, the new Swithens Farm Shop will be temporarily located in the ground floor of the tack shop but will soon move to a permanent base nearby and sell free-range eggs, locally produced fruit and vegetables as well as jams, chutneys, biscuits and cakes. Meat from their own livestock will be available and the Broadhead’s intend to hire an on-site butcher in the future. Ian Broadhead has lived on the farm for 50 years and he and Angela took over the business when Ian’s parents retired. Ian said: “This is a great way for us to generate extra income from the farm. We are really happy to be able to offer fresh food to people in the local area at competitive prices. It helps us be more environmentally conscious too as there are no food miles involved in what we sell. “Going forward we’d like to add a café and play area to the site to encourage more people to visit us and we’ll offer farm tours so children can learn about where their food has come from.” Darrell Furze, relationship manager for NatWest, said: “It’s fantastic we’ve been able to provide

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Ian and Angela Broadhead with Darrell Furze, relationship manager for NatWest

WE ARE REALLY HAPPY TO BE ABLE TO OFFER FRESH FOOD TO PEOPLE IN THE LOCAL AREA AT COMPETITIVE PRICES. IT HELPS US BE MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS TOO AS THERE ARE NO FOOD MILES INVOLVED IN WHAT WE SELL this funding for Ian and Angela. They have a great business and prospect here and it’ll be a really nice amenity for people in the local area. Nationally, we are providing 5,000 new loans to businesses every week and I’m really keen that we make sure we are supporting those in the Leeds and wider Yorkshire who need our support to take the next steps for their business.”



For further information please contact: Liam Kane Regional Director Business & Commercial Banking, West Yorkshire. Tel: 0113 307 8420 Email:

BUSINESS QUARTER | AUTUMN 10 04/10/2010 16:04



in association with

YOUNG ONCE, AND NEVER BEEN AFRAID Every business sector everywhere has been trying forever to attract the youth market, but very few succeed. Ian Douthwaite, founder of Dubit, is perceptive enough to know how it’s done. Peter Baber reports

Everyone wants to stay young, don’t they? You want to carry on having the right to stay up late, wear dodgy T-shirts, and go to music festivals forever. Even when you are, say, 46. But can you? Really? One person who can probably answer that question – and who is 46 – is the person I am waiting for now in the suitably hip surroundings of the Harvey Nichols Fourth Floor Café and Bar in Leeds. For Ian Douthwaite is the founder and chief executive of Dubit, a marketing agency in Leeds that is known around the world for its perceptive insight into the youth market. Way back at the start of this decade it was also known for the youth of its directors. In fact it still holds the Guinness World Record for having the youngest-ever company director. That was managing director Adam Hildreth, a 14-year-old school leaver from Leeds who since went on to be named Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the CBI in 2006, and this year was ranked equal tenth in the Sunday Times list of rich people under the age of 30, with an estimated fortune of £25m. But the power behind the throne and majority shareholder at the agency was, and is, Douthwaite. Since Hildreth left Dubit a few years ago to move onto pastures new, but as we shall see, not totally dissimilar, Douthwaite has stepped forward to run the agency.


And now here he is, looking suitably youthful, albeit conventional, in a corduroy jacket and open-necked shirt. With his boyish looks and slight figure you have to keep reminding yourself that this is someone who in only four years will no longer even be able to claim he is in his 40s. On first meeting he is reserved too, as he orders a grilled mackerel fillet with fennel, watercress and orange dressing to start and a corn-fed chicken breast with chicken and mushroom broth and button mushrooms for mains. So, you also find it hard to imagine this was someone who ever cut the mustard with the youth scene and all its stress on street cred and respect. But he quite evidently did, as the record shows. He got into the role when his family’s business, a Leeds-based floristry supplier of

over a century’s standing, was sold to new owners. He says he had always been interested in the youth market, and clearly wanted to make more young people aware of the virtues of setting up in business. It was almost like a mission. In fact on his Twitter page he lists God as being one of three interests in his life, along with tennis and wine. He was taken on by HSBC to act as an ambassador for young people in business – although the bank did not give him any funding. It was through researching youth business that he first began to realise what a raw deal young people generally were being served, not just by banks. And in 1999 that was where the idea of an agency that was purely focused on youth marketing was born. “The banks were trying to enable banking >>

At the time we could never explain to enough people what an avatar was, it wasn’t earning us any profit.

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Instinct: Ian Douthwaite has a knack for knowing what areas young people connected with

for young people to make it easier for them to shop online, for example,” he says. “But we could see that a lot of youth marketing was seen by young people as cheesy and patronising and wasn’t connecting to them.” They soon discovered that the young people traditional marketing agencies were sounding off were usually not very representative either, being overwhelmingly white and middle class. You would need to dig much deeper than that to get a truly representative view. And he and his team of directors, many like Hildreth having been recruited straight from school, decided there were two ways to create such market expertise. The first was to put together a virtual world for young people – a kind of precursor of Second Life. When this attracted half a million users, it was big news. “We were on the Six O’Clock News,


on Working Lunch and on the Big Breakfast,” he says. From this they realised they could put together what has eventually become the largest youth panel in the UK, a database of some 30,000 young people from right across the country, and from all walks of life. So Dubit was born with a blaze. But what has happened since then? In fact, although many people at the time thought the online world would become a money spinner, Douthwaite says that if anything they were too far ahead of their time with it. Advertisers and other sponsors couldn’t really see its potential. “At the time we could never explain to enough people what an avatar was,” he says, “It wasn’t earning us any profit.” Instead, the research database really took off, to the point where worldwide brands such as


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As marketers we enjoy the youth market because it is always changing, there is always something interesting Coca-Cola were using it. Dubit now has a staff of 40, still operating out of Leeds, and should turn over £3m this year. There have been changes at the top too. With the exception of Hildreth, many of the young directors first appointed didn’t stay long at the company, although they have been nicely rewarded as founding shareholders. Douthwaite says their parents were much more concerned that they get a stable university education first. But there is no doubting the respect many of the founding directors had and continue to have for Douthwaite. Now the world has turned full circle, for Douthwaite says the agency’s digital media division is once again receiving regular commissions to put together online worlds associated with films or TV series, and its experience back at the start of the last decade stands it in good stead for this. The agency is currently putting together just such a package for a US blockbuster due to come out next year. Much of this kind of work takes place in America, in fact, which is why Dubit has opened an office in New York when it still doesn’t have one in London. Douthwaite sees many reasons for the growth of such online activity, beyond the need for film and music companies to exploit yet another marketing channel. There’s the cost to start with. Although the $5m the US film company may have available to spend on developing an online presence may seem a fortune to the likes of Dubit, it is but a few pence compared with the amount of money the it would have

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Fourth floor café and bar It seems entirely appropriate that the person behind one of Leeds’ biggest success in marketing in recent years should opt to have lunch at one of the city’s biggest successes in retail. As everyone know, Harvey Nichols’ opening in Leeds was the event the pretty much kickstarted the grown in reputation of Leeds as a shopping destination in recent years. But part and parcel of the success was the Fourth Floor Café and Bar. (Fourth Floor, mind, not Fifth Floor. It seems somewhat appropriate that Harvey Nichols eating establishment in down-to-earth Leeds should be one floor below the Fifth Floor Restaurant in its London shop that was the haunt of Patsy and Edina in Absolutely Fabulous.) With its minimalist décor, and the added attraction of a roof terrace looking out over the city’s rooftops, it has rapidly established itself as a fresh and funky place to dine And not just for the media types who you might expect to home in on such a place, but also for the wide variety of Yorkshire ladies who lunch. (Ir remember going there with a city solicitor some years back only to find that the wives of two of his most important clients were also lunching, and one was having problems with a speeding fine. It was a great demonstration of professional services in action.) Head chef Richard Walton-Allen makes a habit of using high quality fresh ingredients from local and more distant sources. The menu includes chargrilled Lishman’s ribeye steak, east coast crab and pan-seared scallops. The restaurant also has an active programme of events, including inspirational wine and beer tastings. A private dining room is also available.


to spend in developing the movie itself. “With an online version you can experience the film’s storyline.” he says, “You can see how well that does, generate the audience, and then launch the film on the back of it.” It’s an obvious response, he believes, to a world where young people have many different types of media to entertain themselves. They may not want to spend their whole evening at a cinema, but they might just want to have a quick look online and see what develops from there – especially if there is some interactivity. “Young people want to be more involved in the story,” he says. “If you’re watching Scooby Doo you want to be part of the mystery gang.” Such online activity also helps production companies keep hold of their brand and their intellectual property. While traditional media such as DVDs and CDs are increasingly under threat from illegal downloading and filming, Douthwaite sees more and more companies moving over to the point where you generate more revenue by developing an event around whatever it is you are launching. “Music, for example, is now much more geared around live events,” he says. “Previously you would probably go to a gig perhaps two to three times a year. Now it seems young people are going to a festival every weekend. Brands are being monetised so you have to be there to experience it. “It’s the same online; you can create a situation where you have to be on the internet with other people experiencing that intellectual property. By making entertainment social you are creating a great reason for buying into the experience.” But isn’t all this talk of going to gigs, surfing online and writing storylines for Scooby Doo an example of just how youth-obsessed today’s marketing industry has become? With all the talk about ageism at the BBC and elsewhere, I can’t believe that I am the first person to have asked him such a question. But he genuinely seems puzzled as he gives an answer. He more or less dismisses the idea that there could ever be a Dubit for oldies. “As marketers we enjoy the youth market because it is always changing,” he says. “There is always something interesting, >>

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BUSINESS LUNCH controversial and newsworthy coming out of it. And it keeps us all young in a strange way, because we are in contact about what young people are doing.” When I bemoan the relative scarcity, for example, of men’s lifestyle magazines openly aimed at the over-35s, he is quick to correct me. “Would you buy such a magazine?” he asks. (Actually I would, but perhaps that is just me.) “Isn’t that us feeling we want to be younger than we are? Life is aspirational, after all.” But what about the more serious charge that a lot of marketing activity aimed at young people isn’t that far removed from bullying? Already this year, Dubit has faced charges from both the Daily Mail and the Sunday Times that it is paying young people to “encourage” their friends and schoolmates to drink certain brands of fizzy pop and junk food – claims that Douthwaite himself has been quick to deny. The agency does not employ anyone under the age of 16 in such a way, he says. “We are actually looking at how to market ethically to young people,” he says. “We are setting up a group across the UK in association with the Advertising Association to bring such guidelines together.” It is in fact this area that Adam Hildreth has moved into. His new venture, Crisp Thinking, is a software company selling child protection technology. But Douthwaite also seems to claim that some people more or less put themselves in the line of fire when it comes to bullying online. “Anything that is anonymous like Formspring is a licence to bully, and you would be foolish to go on that,” he says. What I find least positive about the everincreasing power of youth marketing is the way it seems to swamp everything. I tell Douthwaite that when I took my son to see Avatar (coincidentally the last film he actually saw at the cinema) I was disturbed at how even the adverts before the film all included clips from it. Is there no room for individuality in such a world, or for left-field creativity? After all, even the Academy Award judges decided that despite all the hype about Avatar they preferred a low-budget film about a bomb



around their audiences,” he says. “Often people who work in such brands don’t have constant contact with their customers. It’s not like a corner shop. You are looking at sales figures, but not sentiments. So the agency who can bring brands to their audiences stands to gain.” In Dubit’s case, especially when those audiences are youthful. He may be 46, but Ian Douthwaite shows no signs of moving into old age yet. n disposal squad in Iraq. So why can’t young people reach the same conclusion? After all, who in marketing ever anticipated the success of Tamagotchi? Who predicted the rise of the emo kid? On this Douthwaite is clear. There is still plenty of room for creativity, he says. Anyone who thinks they can tell young people what to think is in for a surprise – including those who think young people will only go for the unconventional. “People think young people want stuff that is off the wall,” he says, “but they actually have a very strong feeling of ‘don’t think you know what I want’. You have to speak to them on their terms.” Here again, he sees an opening for Dubit. The agency is now working so closely with major brands that it could start offering them access to their own online communities and thus remove the need for contacting the kind of agencies who think they know what young people want. “We are helping brands to build communities


Over the past five years, Watson Burton’s Leeds office has developed a strong reputation for being professional and pragmatic whilst remaining approachable and always delivering value. It achieves this by offering experts who work in partnership with clients to provide high quality legal advice at competitive rates.

Find out how Watson Burton could help your company by contacting Matthew Dalzell, Property Partner. 0113 235 5702, matthew.dalzell@

04/10/2010 16:05

I think. Therefore I du Vin.





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BQ_MAG Issue 6.indb 47

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Wines are far too often lumped into categories and ignored because we perhaps don’t really care for a particular overall style. But Russell Davidson advises that by delving a little bit more we can uncover some gems



Something new: Russell Davidson believes you never stop learning – so when it comes to wine, there’s a whole world of education waiting to surprise and delight.

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LOOK BEYOND GEOGRAPHY TO A NEW NEW WORLD Dobogo Furmint 2007, Hungarian Tokay that defies the style’s preconceived notions. Available from the Hotel du Vin, Harrogate

It doesn’t matter how much you think you know there’s always something new to learn. Sometimes I wish certain members of my profession would remember that, because a common criticism of lawyers is that they should shut up and listen more. And so it is with wine; Hotel du Vin having kindly sent over two samples I’d never previously encountered. The first, Dobogo Furmint 2007 is a Hungarian Tokay. Say “Hungarian” or “Tokay” to a drinker half in the know and the response will be “Ah, sweet dessert wine?” Nothing could be further from the truth. Here is a fruity, medium dry wine, very pale green in colour and with a tannic finish and good length. “Tannic?” some of you will ask “What’s that, then?” Well, its the slightly bitter, lingering finish that is produced in the making by the grape juice resting in contact with the pips. It gives the wine the ability to age and a taste that cuts

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Textual Caladoc 2006, an Argentinian red with a rare elegance (Hotel du Vin, Harrogate).


through, and hence partners well with richer, and oilier dishes. Here is a wine that will go nicely with roast pork, goose and mackerel. And don’t forget cheese. I’ve become a stalwart of English cheeses; our Yorkshire Blue and Welsh goats’ cheeses can match anything the French produce and it’s a fallacy to think you need a red wine or port with them – try a white like this and the cheese course becomes a revelation. So to Textual Caladoc 2006, an Argentinian red. This held a surprise for me, because red wines from hot vineyards in South America, Australasia and Southern Africa so often are alike; heavy in alcohol, heavy in fruit, deep in colour and much the same as each other. Just boring. Textual is different; it is made from the rare caladoc grape variety which is a cross between grenache and malbec and was banned from French appellation contrôlée wines. Yes it has a high alcohol content (13.5% abv) and yes it has plenty of fruit, but this wine has an elegance so often missing from new world reds – a complexity, bouquet and a length that merits it being kept in store for a few years to soften its flavours. This will go beautifully with meat dishes and rich vegetarian nut roasts and pastas. I loved these two unusual wines. Both are good quality. Do try them. Russell Davidson is managing partner at Davidson Large Commercial Law, Harrogate.

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Being sponsored by a sportswear firm is one thing, but one of Britain’s most successful golfers is going one step further by developing his own line in clothing. Ian Poulter talks to Chris Porter This year, professional golfer Ian Poulter is ranked seventh in the world. It is lucky for some; 2010 has also seen him take a runner-up position in the Abu Dhabi Gold Championship and his first PGA Tour win, at the WGC Accenture World Match Play. It follows on from a successful 2009, which saw him finish second in The Players’ Championship and win the Barclays Singapore Open. But never mind all that, have you seen his trousers? >>


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“My dad always dressed nattily and one of my first jobs was selling menswear on a market stall,” says Poulter, who seems that much more at ease talking about clothes than clubs. “Sport was always my first love but I knew it was important to me to look good on the course and wear what I wanted. So I thought I’d best do it myself.” Certainly, if some might recall a golden age of golf style – Bing Crosby and Bob Hope in pastel checks, or Frank Sinatra, reputed to spend $30,000 a year on orange knitwear from the Canyon Club shop in Palm Spring, and the swinger credibility of Jack Nicklaus, Dan Sanders and Arnold Palmer – is to admit that today’s golfers, in chinos and baggy polo shirts, just don’t cut it. With the notable exception of Poulter. And he takes it sufficiently seriously that he has launched IJP Design, his own golfwear company. “Style in golf just became too easy – all those XXL T-shirts rather than a shirt that fits, multiple pleats rather than a flat-fronted trouser,” says Poulter. “Golf itself has become more fashionable, appealing more to younger men, evolving so more people can get out there and enjoy it. But its style has yet to catch up. It’s time it revived its old colour and edge.” He is not kidding. Staple to the 35-year-old’s collections are bold tartans, signed off by the Scottish Tartan Authority no less and a signature for the player, as are bootleg cut trousers “because plain trousers just look all the same”. Also included are lightweight sleeveless striped cardigans, brightly-hued knee-length tailored shorts, neat, fitted polo shirts and even Swarowski crystalstudded belts. These are smart garments in a broader sense as well, cut to allow necessary ease of movement, using technical fabrics to wick away moisture and maintain breathability. It is a brand doing as well in club shops as Poulter is on the course too. What began as an idea sketched on hotel letterhead paper in 2003 and launched tentatively three years ago has this year gone into overdrive. As of this summer it is sold in all 35 golfplaying nations, is moving into fashion retail and is set to expand in line with golf’s popularity (it is the world’s fastest growing leisure activity). A women’s golfwear line

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There is a recognition among professional sportspeople that their increased visibility, or the public’s access to them via social media, makes them brands now

and even one for kids are preparing to tee off for 2011. “I’m the crash test dummy,” Poulter jokes, referring to his wear-trialling every design. “It needs to look right but also feel right in more practical terms. It has to be cool, the buttons have to be in the right position. It’s back to basics stuff but the kind of thing you don’t think off when you’re just buying a T-shirt. Just a button can get in the way of a swing. There needs to be a performance element. But I don’t understand why golfwear can’t look great too.” There is, however, more to IJP Design than Poulter’s love of flashy duds and his confession that he “tends to be a bit flamboyant off the course as well”. If other players turn to a new club or caddy to improve their game, Poulter finds it in his attire. “Clothing is psychologically important on the course,” he explains, “but I think it can be for everyone. If you go to a business meeting and


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your suit doesn’t fit well, you won’t feel right – you may not get the deal.” But, more than that, the clothing company is a longer term business prospect, a cashing in on his public profile and his sartorial reputation alike with post-golf life in mind. “I don’t want to get to 50 and wonder what to do next and I’ve always admired golfers who have looked beyond the sport alone to do something in the business of golf,” he says. “But there is also a recognition among professional sportspeople in general that their increased visibility, or the public’s access to them via social media, for example, makes them brands now. Sportspeople are businesses, in part because they have to leverage their names to have something in place for when they can’t play any more.” To develop it as Poulter has done is, however, harder than it looks. Poulter’s insistence on wearing his own clothing means, for instance, that lucrative sponsorship deals are not in >>

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the offing. Rather, young up-and-coming British players, the likes of Steve Lewton, Giowan Suh and Gary Boyd are being sponsored by IJP. Nor is this to forget that launching a clothing line, let alone a specialist one, is a gamble in the current climate and that few other golfers, with the exception of Greg Norman, have successfully pulled off launching a clothing line. Poulter, however, may benefit from the increased style-consciousness among men now. “It’s just too easy to sign up with some fashion brand now,” he says. “This is a business decision and if it doesn’t work out at least I’ve given it a try, and at least I’ve got to wear what I like. It is a huge risk, though; it requires huge investment. But I think there will be a growing crossover of golf and fashion in coming years. More players want to look good on the course and keep looking good in the clubhouse. There’s room for what we’re doing.”


I think there will be a growing crossover of golf and fashion in coming years. More players want to look good on the course and keep looking good in the clubhouse


Indeed, while he certainly imposes his experience of play and his idea of taste on IJP Design products, the company is building a dedicated design team to keep the new collections coming. He needs it, since he still sees his job as playing championship golf, with a hectic schedule that leaves little time for pondering fabric swatches and samples. “My job is still to try to hole some putts and if I can give some design ideas on the side that’s great,” he says, though the fact that putts equals units sold is not lost on him. “There’s certainly a relationship there to work with – success on the course translates into sales. For the moment though, my working life has a very simple dynamic. It’s called performance-related pay. If I don’t play well, I don’t get paid. That keeps you on your toes.” n

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The future of the luxury car has arrived. With the all new XJ from just £799* a month for business users, why wait to book a test drive? The all new XJ looks like no other car in its class. It performs like no other car in its class. And according to experts at Glass’s Guide, it will hold its value like no other car in its class. Yet its effortless performance and extravagant specification can be yours from as little as £799* a month (business users only) through Jaguar Contract Hire. Why wait to experience the future of the luxury car? Call us today to arrange your test drive. For a personal appointment and demonstration at your business or home address contact Alan Walker, Business Sales Executive – 01274 5144 0 0

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watch this space, mars A timepiece designed to withstand the excesses of space travel may have too high a specification for grounded consumers, but that’s the point, it’s authentic. And exciting

It would probably be a case of overkill to wear it on a classic car rally. After all, a watch designed to go into space far exceeds the requirement of coping with the roaring engine noises and odd rattle from a vintage Ferrari, MG or Jaguar E-Type. But, should a touch of excess be required, the Russian Space Administration might be able to supply it, together with the help of the Swiss watch brand Fortis, specialists in tough, minimalistic, functional timepieces for serious flyers and the occasional high flyer with a somewhat more grounded lifestyle. When Star City, the Russian State Scientific Research Test Centre for Cosmonaut Training, decided it needed a general-issue watch for all of its crews, it opted to have one designed to order. In developing its Official Cosmonaut’s Chronograph in 1992, the Russians turned to Fortis – and then asked for the watch to fulfill some challenging and unexpected specifications. It had to have, for example, no reflective surfaces – without cloud cover, glare can be a painful experience in space – as any reflection may hinder the legibility of the dial, which Fortis say should be clear at just a glimpse. But it did have to have an alarm – presumably because cosmonauts must never be late for lift-off of, course. More understandably, it had to be able to sustain massive g-forces, huge temperature variations


– from a staggering 180ºC to 150ºC – and pressure differences, including the negative pressures of a vacuum, as well as provide legibility in total darkness or in unfiltered, direct sunlight. It had to be, in others words, a pilot’s watch and then some. It also happened to be the world’s first chronograph automatic alarm. And the first to leave the planet – tests having proven that, contrary to widespread belief, yes, an automatic would work in low gravity. Which, much as one might ask, why a timepiece capable of performance in such extremes is really required by the Earthbound and sedentary, even if they are zipping along in a Maserati. It also poses the question of why a cosmonaut needs a watch at all. But perhaps the almost-disastrous Apollo 13 mission, in which a life-or-death rocket burn had to be precisely timed using a wristwatch, answers that. “You need a solid mechanical watch in an emergency, when the electronics fail,” says Liese-Lotte Peter, director of Fortis. “It provides a sense of security. Of course, all those notions also excite the men who buy the watch who don’t happen to be astronauts. But they do also want something that is authentic – that actually is used in space – and not something that’s the product of some marketing ploy.” That is perhaps what gets the drivers of the >>


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EQUIPMENT FORTIS IN SPACE Our tradition is supporting new technology, like we did in the past with John Harwood in the development of the first self-winding wristwatch in the early Twenties. Since the companies foundation in 1912 we have continuously been producing watches and in the course of this history the FORTIS founder’s principles still remain valid and they are reflected in the current Pilots, Cosmonauts and Marinemaster watch collection. To follow the premise that “form follows function”, these lines represent watches which are functional and usefullyconstructed timepieces of high recognition and value. Today, as in the past, major developments in watches result out of sporting or military requirements. Thus, the FORTIS official Cosmonauts Chronograph was developed on request from the Russian scientific training and test centre for cosmonauts in Star City (the place where Yuri Gagarin, the first human being to go into space, was trained in the 1960s). Before the watches were selected as official items for manned space missions and on board the ISS, they had passed endurance tests on the borderline of modern physics. Since 1994, FORTIS watches have been on duty in space on the wrists of all Russian space flight commanders. At their request we have included a mechanical alarm device to the automatic chronograph movement and thus developed a new alarm calibre, the FORTIS F2001 movement (now fifth generation), a world-first Swiss patented and unique timepiece. Latest space project: MARS 500.



Tour Britannia quite so excited. As one of the main partners of the three-day event – an annual classic car rally now in its fifth year in which some 75 pre-1981 cars compete in gentle races, hill climbs and circuits round stately homes in some unspoiled corner of the UK – Fortis has won something of a reputation with them. Indeed, Fortis presents watches as race prizes and has also produced a limited edition Flieger Automatic model specifically for sale to the competitors, or free if they manage to persuade a friend to take part in the subsequent year’s event – an offer they prefer to having a discount on their entry fee. “There is a real cross-over between a love of classic cars and an interest in watches, it seems,” says Alec Pool, Tour Britannia’s commercial director. “There’s a shared appreciation of mechanics and for things working well. A lot of the entrants to the Tour tend to be higher net worth individuals and drawn to top-end watches and goods generally. And they understand that a mechanical watch needs looking after much as they do their cars. We even have to be careful


that nowhere the Tour events are held involves a gravel drive or speed humps ...” The watches certainly sound tougher than the cars. Indeed, Fortis, established in 1912 as the first specialist manufacturer of automatic watches but still a relatively niche name compared with some of the Swiss watch brand giants, has quietly built a position of influence. Its 40mm Flieger Chronograph arguably started the trend for outsize watches – and a signature style. Its designs have the aesthetic clarity of cockpit instruments and the hardiness of old boots that through the years has allowed certain models to pick up prestigious gongs, including the Long Life Design Award, the European Aviation Watch Award and, this year, the iF Product Design Award, for a watch created in conjunction with Volkswagen Design and worn in the future by the commander of a spacecraft in Cargo, the first science-fiction movie made in Switzerland. Compared with its Pilot Professional, Marine Master and Flieger series, its latest model, this year’s B-47 Calculator GMY 3 Time Zones, has the busiest dial in its

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The company is partnering the Mars 500 project, an initiative to simulate a space mission to Mars. Needless to say the crew are all wearing a limited-edition Fortis watch

portfolio and is still a pure product of form following function, its looks being a consequence of a slide-rule. But for all that the brand makes an elegant companion to a classic car, Fortis still finds it hard to keep its feet on the ground. Last year the company enhanced its space credentials even further by partnering the Mars 500 project, an initiative between the European Space Agency and the Russian Institute of Biomedical Problems to simulate a space mission to Mars. Six people are spending every 24 hours of 520 days in the lab in spaceflight conditions to evaluate just what impact on a crew living in such confined conditions might have. Needless to say they are all wearing a limited-edition Fortis watch created for the mission. Never mind the count down to lift-off. This will help them count down the time to getting out. n

FORTIS 5 1. First factory for self-winding wristwatches HARWOOD • Catalogue – Book: “Cult watches” 2. Since 1992 in Space • 1992 the first art painted rocket. • First space museum in orbit (dial). • Since 1994 official cosmonauts’ chronograph. • Third generation space chronographs. 3. The world’s first and only – FORTIS Automatic Chronograph Alarm EP 0806712 • Spin-off from space – developed on request of the space specialists the three basic functions of time (time/date display h/m/s. Measurement of time – chronograph, reminder at a certain time – alarm). • 1997 pre series – first prototypes; 1998 series production 3D animation alarm (DVD 2009). • Fifth generation of FORTIS automatic calibre F-2001-5. 4. Partnership with • European Space agency: ESA: Global Transmission Services – GTS option for the next generation.

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• Russian Space Agency: FSA Roscosmos FORTIS exclusive supplier to the Russian space program. • GCTC – official equipment on space missions and onboard the ISS International Space Station. • IBMP Moscow, Mars 500 life science experiment to simulate the mission to the red planet MARS. • Volkswagen – development of the new FORTSIS SPACELEADER by Volkswagen Design. • Film production: CARGO – first science fiction film made in Switzerland; international distribution started 2010. • Artist: Art Edition MATTERN 2010 – Modern Constructivism. 5. Top news in the different EU regions • iF Product Design Award 2010 (SPACELEADER by Volkswagen Design). • FORTIS FLIEGER CHRONOGRAPH second place (2009). • Long Life Design Award FLIEGER 597 (2008). • European Aviation Watch Award (2004).


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YOU SEXY THING Being practical is not what the Nissan 370Z was designed for. It excites every pleasure nerve, going straight to the heart, not the head, as Philip Hesketh finds out

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Most couples I know need three cars. They may only have one or two, but really need three. There’s the large, practical, vehicle that can carry golf clubs, dogs and suitcases and cruise up and down the motorway to ferry us to our work or leisure, then the small, nippy, “easy to park” car to get in and out of town easily and then there’s the one you want. The “nice” car, two heads and one heart. The Nissan 370Z is a heart car. When I saw it come down the drive it was all I could do not to run alongside barking. >>

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People stare at you as you park. Men of all ages look longingly at it like it as though they had seen Marilyn Monroe in a vision – at her pouting best. I’d describe the drive as “muscular”; not that it’s heavy work, anything but. It’s like taking a keen, young butcher’s dog for a walk; you feel like it wants to be let off the leash. I didn’t reach the claimed 62mph in 5.3 seconds, but I don’t doubt it could. The sound from the very first push of the starter button sounds wonderful and the low-slung driving position lets you know that this is a far cry from the sofa on wheels my Lexus 430 is. Whenever you are testing a car your reference point is your current one and everything is relative. The 430 is the flagship car for Lexus and has all the gadgetry you could wish for, but the Nissan pushes it all the way on spec and has those wonderful “paddle-shifters” to allow you to change gear. The suspension is firm, which means roll-free cornering but you do know when you’re on one of Harrogate’s bumpy roads caused by last January’s snow. So, given that most couples compromise and have one or two cars rather than three, how practical is it? Well, if you’re buying this car, practicality is not high on your agenda. You could get golf clubs in the boot but you’d have to be driving to the course on your own. This is a heart car, not a head car. Practicality is not the 370Z’s forte and it doesn’t claim to be that. It’s a sexy beast; that’s what it is. Part of a recent study in the US by Professor Antonio Rangel from the California Institute of Technology asked people to sample five different varieties of wine, informing them of the price of each as they tasted it. However, in reality, they only sampled three wines because two were offered twice. The first wine they were told came from a bottle costing $5. Later, this very same wine was offered to them but this time they were told it cost $45. Similarly, they were given a more expensive wine to taste – $90 a bottle – and then later, offered the same wine but told it cost only $10. Finally, they were offered one sample of wine which was correctly priced at $35 a bottle. (I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling thirsty.) You can probably guess the outcome. Not only


did the subjects rate identical wines as tasting better when told they were pricier, but brain scans showed greater activity in the medial orbitofrontal cortex – known to be related to the experience of pleasure. In other words, they genuinely experienced greater pleasure from an identical object when they thought it cost more. And when the team designed the Nissan 370Z they pretty much guaranteed that the activity in your medial orbitofrontal cortex would jump about like a nudist frying sausages. So when you slink down into those seats you


expect to experience a great drive and you do. It’s nice. Make your own mind up. n Philip Hesketh is a professional speaker on the psychology of persuasion and influence. His book How To Be More Persuasive And Influential is an Amazon best-seller. Philip Hesketh: Car supplied by Mill Garages Nissan, Knaresborough, 01423 863614. Priced from £25,995.

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At one time the hairdressing supplies sector was a low-profile one, then came a new development in hair-straightening irons. Peter Baber tells how it livened up Yorkshire business You could say it is a reflection of the times we live in, but when you look back over the past 10 years probably the biggest success story in Yorkshire business wasn’t anything to do with coal mining, or steelworking, or any of the traditional industries the region has been associated with. Given how decimated such industries have been in the recent past, that is perhaps not surprising. But this story doesn’t concern financial services either, the other industry that has really made an impact particularly on the Leeds area in the past few years. No, this story is all about the way today’s women choose to style their hair. Over the past few years the trend has been for ever straighter, more silky locks. And if there is one product that has helped millions of women not just in Yorkshire, not just in the UK, but all around the world achieve that look, it is the GHD hair straightener. The success of


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the Leeds company behind GHD, Jemella, has been there for everyone to see. Sold to private equity house LDC for £55m in 2006, it was sold again two years later to Montagu Private Equity for £160m. Martin Penney, its managing director during both of these buyouts, was named Consumer Products Entrepreneur of the Year in the national Entrepreneur of the Year awards run by Ernst & Young, and has since graced many a motivational business event with an inspiring speech about his story. Its proved beneficial for the two other co-founders too – Robert Powls, a man with a long history in hairdressing who first came across a version of what became the GHD styling iron in Korea, and Gary Douglas, the owner of a tool-hire company who wisely choose to join Penney and Powls in investing £15,000 into the venture way back in 1999. >>

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Penney is now rumoured to be worth £62m, while Powls made £15m, and now lives in a house in his beloved south of France and has a yacht moored off Monaco. But of course time passes, and so does business. Powls left the business shortly before the first buyout, and Penney has since parted company with it too, although he remains chairman of the other business he founded, the environmental consultancy OHS. So it’s all the more surprising to discover, that, at the age of 63, Powls is preparing to sally forth back into the world of hairstyling all over again, with a new venture called Cloud Nine. His stepson may be doing the day-to-day


management of the new venture, but it is Powls who is very much in the design driving seat. What’s more, he is also using Propaganda, the marketing agency he initially worked with for GHD. It stopped being GHD’s marketing director shortly after the LDC buyout. And he is using the same Korean manufacturer that made GHD. Given the house in France, given his yacht – most of all given his age – one is only inclined to ask Powls a simple question: Why? Powls chuckles quietly, and puts it down to his long career in the hairdressing business, going right back to working

Robert knew that at the time he did not have the resources to take on the likes of Babyliss in the open market



with Vidal Sassoon in the 1960s. It was that experience, he says, which led him to realise just what a useful product the styling iron he came across was going to be. He was shown it by a business associate he met who worked for RedKen, another hairdressing success story, in the late 1990s. Up to that point the prototype had been developed by his associate and a Mr Ok Nam Cho, president of Unil Electronics in Korea. “Cho had got the idea from catalytic converters,” he says. “But it was still a bit too unwieldy. I shrunk the product down to the width of an iron. It was being manufactured by Cho, with the guy from RedKen doing sales in the USA and me in the rest of the world.” In hindsight what really made GHD successful in the UK was the decision to sell it only through hair salons, and not on the high street. The idea was that the brand had added cachet. Women felt they were getting something no one else knew about, and hairdressers felt they could exalt their expertise in recommending it too. There is an argument about who exactly came

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up with this idea, which has since been lauded by all and sundry in the world of marketing. Powls insists he did, but whatever the reality is, Julian Kynaston, founder of Propaganda, who put it into practice, says it made perfect sense. “Robert knew that at the time he did not have the resources to take on the likes of Babyliss in the open market,” he says. Initially, however, sales were low. Powls says hairdressers were used to selling tubs of mousse for £5, but not electrical items for £85. It was only when he went to visit his old friend and hairdressing expert John Frieda at his salon in London that things took a dramatic upturn. “He wanted me to talk to the beauty editor of the Evening Standard who was there, just for 45 minutes while he was with a customer. So I told her about the product. She tried it out there and then and burst into tears. She said: ‘I have been trying to straighten my hair for 40 years and this is the first time I have done it.’ “On the Friday evening we had half a page in the Evening Standard. The first edition went out at 1pm and by 5pm that day we had 500 callers, all coming through to my house in Ilkley. By the end of the weekend we had had over 5,000 calls. I had half the village of Addingham working for me.” That obviously couldn’t do, so the company moved first to new headquarters Powls sourced in Silsden. “Our sales were 500,000 in the first year, six million in the second, 13 million in the third and 39 million in the fourth,” he says. By then Penney was managing director and Powls was chairman and in such a role he spent many months abroad, setting up an operation in Australia and meeting the manufacturer in Korea. But that, for Powls at least, is where the Jemella and GHD story ends. He and Penney had a falling out, which eventually involved lawyers and he left the company, although he and Douglas remained significant shareholders until the first buyout to LDC. As part of the settlement he agreed not to work in the industry for three years. So it is only now we have Cloud Nine, a company which along with producing a range of hair straighteners produces the Theo, a hair styling tool Powls himself

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designed that comes with its own thermostat. It was in fact, Cho the Korean manufacturer who first contacted Propaganda about setting up a new hairstyling company. One of the first things Montagu had done on taking over control of Jemella was to move manufacturing away from Korea to China. But why decide now to launch against GHD, a brand which both Powls and Kynaston concede they had initially thought was too dominant for any challenge to succeed? There is, it has to be said, some history there. Powls says he is unhappy about the way the story of the success of GHD has initially been told – in particular Penney’s part in it. He claims Penney had no involvement in the venture at all for the first two years, and was only invited in by him. But both Powls and Kynaston say the reason they see an opening for a new brand is what they perceive GHD’s lack of product development. “The technology behind GHD is actually nearly 30 years old, whereas our technology is less than two years old, is more efficient and more effective,” says Powls. GHD itself has gone away from only selling through the salons and is now available on the high street. Powls says that is an inevitable consequence of the company after he left choosing not to extend the product range beyond hair straighteners. It had saturated the salon market, he says, and so had to go somewhere else, even if that meant upsetting your original suppliers. With Cloud Nine he has made a written undertaking with his hairdressers that he will never put the product on the high street. Kynaston claims that for too many years the only product development coming out of GHD has been a change in the colour of the iron. This is something Propaganda has sought to exploit in marketing campaign for Cloud Nine that says “We don’t do gimmicks” with the word “gimmicks” spelled out in GHD’s current colours. Speaking of gimmicks, Powls says he is also quietly amazed at Jemella’s decision to move out of the Silsden offices he had found and relocate to a lavish new headquarters in Bridgewater Place in Leeds, complete with an entranceway that wouldn’t be out of keeping


on the Star Trek set. Powls says there was no need for such extravagance. (Jemella, however, has chosen not to comment.) But he has also noticed a change in the market. After all these years, it seems, something other than straight hair may be coming back in. “The industry is always after something new,” he says, “and looks come and go. A style will stay if it is something that a girl can do easily, and to some extent that is what GHD achieved. But now it is changing. Girls are going for bigger, more voluminous looks, and at the moment there has been no easy way of achieving that look. Sales of straightening irons have peaked and are now actually falling.” Kynaston says this change in trends is something Propaganda had already picked up through research on another project. “Women wanted the look, but they weren’t prepared to put up with the damage,” he says. “The salons were also very full of GHD and wanted a new product.” Both men claim Theo gives the market what it wants, because the thermostat allows you to adjust the temperature to avoid harming hair and make the more voluminous styles of today. But what about Propaganda’s role in all this? After all, Kynaston’s role in Jemella was very much more than just a marketing adviser. He invested close to £1m in the company around the time of the LDC buyout, took a seat on the board, and allowed a management buyout to take place at Propaganda which left him with a smaller share of the agency, albeit still a majority one. But he and the company parted company within months. He claims he soon realised his mistake when he went to his first board meetings at Jemella and saw that, despite what the company may have said in the past, with Penney now firmly in charge, it wasn’t going to invest in new products. Propaganda, in fact, had an idea that the GHD brand should eventually be extended to cover an ‘electric wall’ of products. “We always make it clear that we are paid to give our opinions and if they aren’t followed then we won’t stay,” he says. “Why else would I have left a £2m fee client? >>

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I understood as a marketer that there was little point in staying on the board of a company that didn’t want to invest in new products. Any marketer will tell you that is a bad idea.” But isn’t he worried at what other potential and existing clients might think of Propaganda when they see the agency effectively working against its old client? He says that was exactly why he stayed out the industry for some time after parting company with GHD. “I specifically did not do a knee-jerk reaction for that reason,” he says. “I certainly didn’t want to hop into bed with Clairol, for


example, even though they would have jumped at the chance.” He enjoyed marketing an “emotional brand” to women. And that was why in the intervening period he has launched the Illamsaqua make-up brand which he claims is now a multi-million pound business. “But there was a four-year gap in my involvement in ceramic straighteners. Fairly inevitably GHD ended up with a marketing agency in London.” Not quite true, to be fair. The marketing agency GHD chose after Propaganda was actually TBWA/Manchester, although the account moved again three years later to

The technology behind GHD is actually nearly 30 years old, whereas our technology is less than two years old, is more efficient and more effective



RKCR in London, after a new pitch which TBWA/Manchester went on the record to say it would not take part in. You are more or less forced to ask both men whether they are motivated by another feeling – revenge. Kynaston admits to a bit of this. “I must admit I am getting a buzz out of what we are doing now,” he says. But Powls himself insists he does not have such thoughts. Plans at the moment are all for Cloud Nine’s expansion. “Cho is being careful and is currently running at only 20% of capacity,” he says. “We want to keep production low to increase demand. But Cloud Nine has already gone down incredibly well in Australia, where we have appointed the former managing director of GHD there. We are selling in France, Italy, Spain, Dubai, Australia, Norway and Sweden. Our projection was to sell five million products in the first year, and we are easily in advance of that.” The world of hairdressing, meanwhile will wait to see what happens. n

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Trading in carbon emissions is vastly misunderstood, property entrepreneur Sean O’Connor tells Peter Baber. It’s just like dealing in currency



You can’t knock up £33m just a few years after university and not expect friends to josh – especially when they know you’re earning more than Keira Knightley, Cheryl Cole and Princes William and Harry. Yes, agrees Sean O’Connor, it was quite funny when the latest Sunday Times Rich List came out showing him in the top ten of Britain’s richest people under 30 – a new entry, in fact, at number six. “I’ve had a lot of jokes on evenings out from my friends, like it always seems its my turn to buy the round,” he says. Not bad for someone born and brought up in Wibsey, a fairly average suburb of South Bradford. O’Connor’s confident look is about all you might associate with him holding a BSc first-class honours degree in sports management. You would, if anything now, expect a furrow or two on the brow, like many more seasoned City types have been showing. This entrepreneur entered the wealth list this year largely through his Clean Energy Capital (CEC) venture – launched when he was only 27 and still in its third year. >>

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I was earning more off a house in six months for doing nothing than I was in my job at Nike. I thought: ‘There’s got to be a business in this

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Once a market’s mature, it becomes a lot harder to penetrate. I felt I had to build a business in a new sector



Window of opportunity: Sean O’Connor shares his business philosophy

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The company was set up in Sunderland during O’Connor’s nine-year sojourn in the North East that began when he went away to university and only ended last year when he and his wife moved to Leeds to be nearer the family in Bradford after the birth of their first baby. The company achieves enviable revenues given that it only has a staff of 11. O’Connor says there are essentially two sides to the business. Some three quarters of its activity is given over to investing in environmentally-friendly energy projects that originate carbon credits – the trading system devised in the wake of the Kyoto Protocol that is designed to help the world’s largest economies tackle global warming. The remaining 25% of the business is taken up in carbon trading. In recent months this particular industry has attracted a fair amount of media criticism that it is essentially trading in nothing. Lurid stories have appeared about people making massive fortunes thanks in large part to the idiosyncracies of individual governments’ carbon trading programmes. O’Connor says the media has misunderstood what carbon trading is all about. “All the market is doing is really providing companies with incentives to reduce their carbon emissions,” he says. So a large energy company that would normally emit, for example, one million tonnes of carbon over the year would only be given enough carbon credits to enable it to emit 800,000. If it wanted to emit more than that it would have to buy extra credits on the open market. The company’s overall allocation would also be reduced over the years to encourage it to reduce its carbon footprint. Of course, the fact that energy companies are given their carbon credit allocation some months ahead of the time when they will need to make their final payments has led to the creation of a market that trades in carbon credits, which is where CEC gets involved. But O’Connor insists there is nothing particularly new in this. “It’s really just like livestock trading,” he says. “It’s an attempt to put a price on emissions. Carbon is a commodity; it’s a type of currency.

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We are opening a door of opportunity.” In any case, he says, carbon trading isn’t where the business started and only accounts for a small amount of its earnings. “If the system collapsed tomorrow, it would adversely affect one part of our business,” he says. “It wouldn’t be disastrous.” CEC is certainly doing well. It looks set this year to more than double last year’s profits from £1.25m to £3m with a £110m turnover, despite a mere 1-2% profit margin on some activities. O’Connor himself was also crowned Cleantech Entrepreneur of the Year for the North and Midlands at this year’s Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards, and now

Personal note Sean O’Connor has broken new ground in his family circle, unable as he is to recall anyone close with a background in financial business. His father’s career: Teaching. His mother worked in a newsagents. One of his sisters has a design agency, the other is a writer. His wife Jilly, 33, is a teacher. “It has been very much trial and error for me, trying to learn what I have done,” he says. Sean and Jilly live in Leeds. He moved there in 2009 after nine years a North East resident, mainly in Gateshead. His advice to aspiring entrepreneurs? “Be totally committed, not just to something you want to do or would like to do – but something you’ve got to do. Take the view that if it fails you’ll start again. You must have that mindset. There’s a greater chance of your venture failing than succeeding. But there’s no substitute for having a go. It’s worth the effort. If it succeeds, the rewards are great. “But do it when you’re young. Once you have children or more responsibilities it’s harder to take that leap of faith. What’s the worst scenario when you’re young? If it goes wrong, you get a job.”


goes on to the finals in London later this month. But there have been no silver spoons at birth for O’Connor. Nor any luck from the Irish implicit in his name and family background. For the record, his father was a teacher – a career also chosen by his wife Jilly. His mother worked in a newsagents. His two sisters sound more entrepreneurial – one has her own design agency while another, Anne-Marie O’Connor, is a writer with several published novels to her name and a film script in the works. O’Connor just studied at Northumbria University, got his degree and, after gaining a bit of management experience at the Sydney Olympics and the Iron Man triathlon event in Lanzarote, covered the North East and Scotland as a salesman for Nike. The “big corporate environment” didn’t suit him, he says, but he realised soon that other options exist. He bought a house off-plan in Gateshead whose value had soared £25,000-£30,000 on completion. “I was earning more off a house in six months for doing nothing than I was in my job at Nike,” he says. “I thought, ‘there’s got to be a business in this’.” So he ventured still deeper into property. He still has a personal portfolio of 40 properties worth about £5m, and although it started in the North East he says Yorkshire probably takes up the largest part of it now. He has properties as far afield as Essex and is also a sleeping partner in the online Sunderland-based estate agency Launchpad Homes. Housing markets, though, are cyclical and in 2005 with the property still going well “but starting to get hard”, he devoted a year to anticipating the next big money maker. “I realised everyone who’d done very well creating businesses has done so by getting into a new market at the start,” he says. “Once a market’s mature, it becomes a lot harder to penetrate. I felt I had to build a business in a new sector.” He would hardly have been the first person to have reached such a conclusion. But what does he think caused him to back a winner in choosing green technologies rather than >>

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ENTREPRENEUR one of the many other new markets of recent years that have rather too rapidly been shown to be non-existent markets? “It’s really a case of gut feeling and trial and error,” he says. “And it is still very much a case of hard work winning the day. I had a feeling that green tech was going to be a big area. But you still have to knock on the doors.” Was it the Kyoto agreement that made CEC? “That was a specific protocol that got people thinking green,” he says.”But Kyoto was just the first of a number of things in this evolving market. Governments all over the world are now worried about what’s to be done about finite energy. But the market is built on more than government concerns. It’s built also on ordinary people’s concerns. That’s what has created it.” In 2005, however, Kyoto had already driven regulatory and infrastructural support. With a £10,000 grant and guidance from Business Link North East, O’Connor launched CEC. The money the company uses to invest is both its own and money from high net-worth individuals, although owing to financial regulations the company isn’t yet strictly speaking a fund manager. You couldn’t walk in off the high street and invest in CEC. “We’re targeting people who’ve made money in other sectors and who know it’s a space to be in, but don’t have expertise currently to access this market,” he says. “We do that for them.” While he is keen to spread the green message in the UK, he finds however that many barriers delay things that ought to be done. “You’re met by reasons why you can’t, rather than reasons why you can, especially in planning,” he says. “I have a friend who is trying to put together a range of waste-to-energy plants. It’s a very robust plan, but it’s also clear that planners don’t understand the technology. They think he’s putting in incinerators. There’s also lots of bureaucracy and vested interests about.” Does he see any changes in this situation with the new government coming in? O’Connor says it’s early days. “But we are getting the right noises, such as the ideas they have for a green bank,” he says. He says both Yorkshire and the North East are technologically favoured when it comes to



You have to give people incentives to go green. So we need go make sure we invest in types of fuel that are non-polluting green technology. But for the moment at least all the projects CEC invests in have to be overseas. One of the less-well publicised drivers of the Kyoto agreement is Western governments’ desire to get more investors putting their money in developing countries. CEC’s investment goes into desalination of water, biofuel farms, waste-to-energy and even research into eco-towns aspiring to have homes creating their own energy supplies. As for himself, O’Connor says: “I wouldn’t say I’m a particularly green individual”. The car he drives, for example, is a Mercedes Benz. But that, he concedes, is entirely the point. Government initiatives and other attempts to encourage people to reduce their carbon footprint have to be realistic. “You can’t expect people to reduce their standard of living,” he says. “You have to give people incentives to go green. So we need go make sure we invest in types of fuel that are non-polluting, such as a sports car that runs on electricity.” That doesn’t mean, however, that he discounts public transport. “The railways should be more affordable so people would use them,” he says. “It’s daft that when I go to London it is almost always cheaper to drive – I only use the train because I can work on it. But people will always use planes, trains and cars, but we need to make them more environmentally friendly.” One success story in incentives, he says, is solar power, which he believes is becoming more mainstream as a mass-market product. But he says for the moment at least the focus in this country should be more on energy producers than energy consumers. “If everybody turned the lights off a bit it would do nothing when we have power stations belching out carbon all the time,” he says.


He believes climate change is happening but is phlegmatic, not evangelistic. “If climate change sceptics are wrong and we do nothing, we have a problem. If they’re right and we still do something then we have renewable energy. There’s no logic other than pursuing renewables.” Talking of renewables, now he has returned to his native roots, what does he make of more physical attempts to renew his home town of Bradford? Can he offer any property advice there? “The pity for Bradford is that after the credit crunch everyone cut back and only stayed with places that were proven, which generally meant London,” he says. “But Bradford has history, and we need to build on that, because the Bradford brand is now quite weak. It was once one of the richest cities in the country.” He is quite hopeful, however, when he compares it with other towns he has some knowledge of. “I can see how people would make the connection between Bradford and Sunderland, for example, as both are former industrial towns in the shadow of much larger cities. But I believe Bradford has more going for it.” As for his own company, despite CEC’s rich returns, O’Connor is not overly sentimental. “My plan is to build CEC to a position where it could be sold, hopefully within five years perhaps. You never know what’ll happen by then though. There is certainly a space for a green business-to-business investment company. A larger investment brand, say, might want to move into that space without having to start from scratch. “I’m looking at other projects meanwhile, rather than being linked permanently to any one market. Clean energy is just what’s been very successful very, very quickly.” n

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Anyone who has got multiple offices should come to cloud. You don’t have to worry about networking and you are all looking at the same data

CLOUD FORMATION Up until very recently, the only time you might connect the word “cloud’ with the word “computing” might have been when you were feeling particularly exasperated with your IT department, and how they had their head in the clouds all the time talking ethernets and RAMs – and probably Warcraft, when you weren’t listening. All you wanted to do was work out why you couldn’t send an email. But that could all be about to change. Cloud computing, some say, is a new development in the world of IT, one that could revolutionise not just the way we set up our business infrastructure, but even the way that infrastructure is sold.


Just as an example, we feature two Yorkshire businesses – one still very much a start-up, the other much more established, if relatively low profile – that could stand to gain enormously from the growth in cloud computing. But don’t just take their word for it. Nowadays nothing seems to make the headlines in IT unless Microsoft is doing it, so a comment from Steve Ballmer, the software giant’s current chief executive, should make you sit up and take notice. Back in March, in a speech at the University of Washington, he revealed that around 75% of Microsoft’s entire workforce was already working on cloud-based or cloud-inspired


technology. Within a year, 90% them would be so employed, he said. So what is this new technology, so revolutionary that no less a person than Bill Gates has allowed his company to be dramatically restructured to cope with it? Well, let’s just assume (because we will in all probability be correct) that for the past few years the computers in your office have been linked to each other and to an often mysterious piece of apparatus called a server. Everyone in the office knows where the server is, even if they don’t know what it does. It’s generally in a cupboard which only those geeky guys from IT go into and which you

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want to avoid sitting next to, particularly on a hot summer’s day, because of the heat and noise it gives off. And everyone knows that if there’s any hitch in the system, no matter whose fault it really is, hey, you can always blame it on the server. Well, cloud computing does away with all that in much the same way that client servers, as they are officially called, did away with even more clunky mainframe computers more than 30 years ago. Essentially, and in very basic non-IT speak, under a cloud system your company doesn’t own a server. Instead, it pays a monthly subscription to a software provider and makes use of the software provider’s servers. Nor are these necessarily physical servers in the old-fashioned sense. The technology can “virtualise” a server so that you have your own secure system running across a range of machines, exactly as if it were a server in the office. What are the advantages of such a system? Well, one is flexibility. The amount of server space made available to you can be expanded and contracted as you see fit. For example, Liquid Accounts, one of our profiled companies, provides accounting services for small businesses. February and March are busy times of the year, because that’s when most small companies will be filing their accounts. Managing director Matt Holmes says that under a conventional system, that would put a great strain on the server and lead to what he euphemistically refers to as a “resource issue” (a crash to you and me). “But virtualisation will give us two more processors automatically,” he says. Another benefit is that you no longer have to go through all the inconvenience of buying software upgrades. The software provider upgrades the system automatically for you, so you don’t have so many compatibility issues with other users and other offices. “Anyone who has got multiple offices should come to cloud,” says Holmes. “You don’t have to worry about networking and you are all looking at the same data.” Another obvious benefit is the cost. Upfront subscription charges might appear to be expensive at the start, but fans of cloud computing point out that once you are all

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How many people are doing tape back-ups and never checking that they can actually restore them?

signed up the overall cost should come down as you should never have to worry yourself again about the expense and distraction of software upgrades. That’s certainly what EMIS, our second case study company, is hoping. The £29m turnover Rawdon company has spent the past two decades building up an enviable reputation in providing software for GPs’ surgeries. Its software is already used by 52% of all GPs in the country, while 63% of the UK population have their medical records stored on EMIS software. The company is in the process of rolling out a web-based system, EMIS Web, that should allow all those GPs and associated healthcare professionals to share such information easily. It’s not surprising if that sounds familiar. Over the past decade the NHS has been trying to establish something similar with its Connecting for Health project, except that after running up costs that some critics claimed were as high as £12bn, it effectively abandoned the project before it was finished. Sean Riddell, EMIS’ chief executive, insists that some parts of Connecting for Health, such as the patient’s choose and book system, have proved effective, but he says the central problem with the main project – and the reason why it cost so much – was the “rip out and replace” approach that was adopted for installing new IT. A web-based system, he says, will be much more cost-effective. Of course, cloud computing depends for its success on you having a reliable and high speed broadband connection – that’s really the


reason why it hasn’t evolved earlier. And there is always the issue of security. There is still a wide body of opinion out there that maintains that your data is always going to be more secure if it is held physically in a machine that you own rather than somewhere out in the ether. Holmes concedes this is an issue he is still facing. But he insists that, because they have been developed more recently, cloud software providers’ security apparatus is often considerably more advanced than that of more conventional providers. “We have a five-part log-in,” he says. “It drives me mad when you go to a website and you only have an email address and a password.” Companies that rely on traditional client servers may also have an overly optimistic view of their ability to retrieve a back-up, he says. “How many people are doing tape back-ups and never checking that they can actually restore them?” he says. “Unless you test your back-ups on a regular basis, how do you know they will work? Even now you can back-up with cloud for £5 a month. You would be completely mad not to do it.” There are some issues that never change. How to deal with your legacy system, for example – a perennial problem in the world of IT – will still be an issue. There are no magic fixes there. But the fact that Microsoft has moved so many of its 42,000 software developers over to cloud computing is a big sign that things are changing – not least because Microsoft has traditionally made all of its money on the conventional licensing route. It’s an upheaval indeed. Even Holmes says he had something of a Damascene conversion two years ago, when he went to give a presentation armed with a USB memory pen. “One guy in the audience stood up and said I was clearly not that into cloud, because if I was I could have accessed my presentation across the web,” he says. “So, since then I have never done a presentation that isn’t online. I do turn up with a broadband dongle, in case there are communications issues. So far two, years in, I have never had a problem.” >>

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DOCTOR DOCTOR Ask Sean Riddell, current chief executive of EMIS Group, when he became chief executive, and he looks a bit puzzled. “I don’t want to sound blank,” he says, “but without getting my personnel file I don’t know. It’s been a while. That’s all I know.” He quickly goes on to explain that at EMIS, where he has worked for 21 years after a short spell at Provident Financial, “the company has grown up and we have all worked together”. But if you think that is a fairly typical answer from what you assume is a sleepy little healthcare technology company based in a fairly sleepy suburb of Leeds, you would be wrong. In the 20-odd years of its existence, EMIS has grown to be something of a phenomenon in providing software that is specifically designed for GPs’ surgeries. More than half of all such surgeries in the UK now use its products, and there is even an EMIS web users group which organises regularly conferences and seminars on the subject. The company employs more than 700 people, mostly in Rawdon but also in Wakefield, in Gosport and Hampshire, and now, thanks to a recent acquisition, in Hertfordshire. And Riddell claims its latest product EMIS Web which in effect takes the EMIS system into the realms of cloud computing, could really transform both the way GPs work and, more importantly, how patients are served within the NHS. The company floated on AIM earlier this ear, although this was mainly to provide a partial exit for the company’s GP founders and to incentivise staff. It raised over £50m in the process. “The web is really transformational in what you can do with healthcare,” says Riddell. “Historically, patient data was always kept in a


GP’s file server, but as we know, GPs are only one part of the overall healthcare team. So, if you are seen by an out-of-hours doctor, where is your data? With a conventional system you probably wouldn’t be able to access it anyway, because it would more than likely be in another server running a back-up. So the benefits of making that data portable into what is known as cloud but which is absolutely controlled by the consent of the patient, are huge. Riddell says moving such data online also hugely increases a patient or carer’s ability to find more information out about their condition easily. He shows me one dummy EMIS Web patient’s record as an example, a child with chronic asthma. One link takes the child to a poem about Vlad the Impaler who Learned to Use his Inhaler. Another link for the child’s parents provides details of asthma support groups in the area. “There is no point giving a seven-year-old information on what happens to them during an asthma attack,” says Riddell, “but that would be useful for an adult. So would information about self-help groups,

The web is really transformational in what you can do with healthcare


information about what peak flow means, and even links into high-level data.” He is quick to counter suggestions that providing an uninformed public with such easy access to a wide range of web-based information would lead to a nation of hypochondriacs. If anything, he says, the opposite is the case. “Research on providing this information shows that it puts the patient’s mind at rest,” he says. “Patients can get access to information. This is actually causing fewer encounters for doctors.” Nor does he think providing a hugely increased group access to confidential patient data would necessarily increase the chances of people – insurance companies, say – being able to snoop on confidential patient data. Confidentiality, he insists again, is paramount, and if any patient requested that no-one should see the data, the system respects this. But he says it is the operators themselves – the GPs and other healthcare professionals – who are the gatekeepers, not the IT system itself. “It’s actually a question of trust,” he says. “Do you trust your GP to keep your records confidential and safe? I remember when people would not buy stuff off the internet. You do still get a degree of internet fraud, but clinical systems within NHS are actually an intranet, not at internet, so there is enhanced security. And insurance companies will do what they have always done and write to your GP. Our system doesn’t change any of that.” While EMIS Web is still very much a new product, Riddell is particularly proud of how easily GPs have been able to adapt to it. “We have just had an experience with what you could say was our most legacy product – a practice that had been using EMIS for 20 years,” he says. “They turned the old system off on a Tuesday night and started running live with EMIS Web on the Wednesday morning.” In fact, EMIS’s initial success in establishing itself as a software house back in the 1980s was probably very much down to its tagline. “It was ‘built by doctors for doctors’,” says Riddell. “That’s a trite phrase, but it goes to the heart of what EMIS did. If you looked at systems that clinicians used back then, you generally found clinicians didn’t use them.

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They were essentially glorified accounting, appointment, or printing systems.” EMIS was initially devised by two GPs – Dr Peter Sowerby and Dr David Staples – initially just to use in their own Leeds surgery. But other GPs quickly realised just what a useful product it was, and with the appointment of Tony James as a commercial manager, the company quickly grew, surpassing what Riddell claims were more than 50 competitors who claimed to be offering something similar. What is both unusual and inspiring about such growth is that it has been almost entirely organic. Up until it took over pharmacy software company Rx Systems in July, EMIS hadn’t acquired anything. Long before cloud computing came along, the company had been operating on a subscription model. “We introduced annuity-based licence fees –


where you had a licence rental, rather than perpetual licence – 20 years ago,” says Riddell. “This means that we have been able to provide GPs with new features all the time. We would write software for the doctor and give them an upgrade before they realised they needed it.” And now with the transfer of such technology to the web, Riddell believes a key component will be what he calls “interoperability” – or allowing EMIS systems to synchronise with other systems and software providers. “We recognise that healthcare is not able to be delivered by one single company in IT terms,” he says. Interoperability as an idea is becoming more widely accepted across the IT industry as a whole anyway, he says. “If you buy a book on Amazon you are actually using four different companies’

software. You track delivery by using software that was developed by the US military.” But such an idea is particularly important for EMIS because at the moment alongside EMIS Web the focus is very much on expanding its services out beyond GPs to the million-plus people who work elsewhere in the NHS. Pharmacy is one key area – hence the acquisition of Rx. But EMIS is already running a joint venture with, another Leeds healthcare technology company which Riddell is a non-executive director of. EMIS Web can already handle repeat prescriptions, but if a patient has nominated pharmacy2U to be its preferred pharmacist, then the patient can request the drug over the internet, have that request authorised by the GP over the internet, and then have it delivered to location by No more waits for two working days. n




HE role of chartered accountants in the world’s economies has never been more important. As the financial crisis has shown, decisions which affect nations, businesses and individuals alike are being made every second of every day. Now more than ever, world leaders and the general public need knowledge and guidance based on the highest technical and ethical standards. ICAEW (the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) is the largest professional accountancy body in Europe with 134,000 members running and advising businesses across all economic sectors. Widely respected as an expert commentator on business and industry issues, ICAEW spans more than 160 countries and counts the majority of the FTSE Chief Executive Officers and Financial Directors as members. More than 7,500 chartered accountants live in the Yorkshire and Humber region, working in practices large and small, within major companies and public organisations or acting as mentors and sounding boards for the vast raft of SMEs so vital

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Chris Manners: Regional Director to the region’s economic health. Through their wide-ranging involvement in the local economy, chartered accountants help create a foundation for business systems and models that underpins sustainable prosperity Regional Director Chris Manners adds: “Chartered accountants, recognised as the most trusted business advisers, are ready to put their experience and expertise to work. Most will offer a first consultation free or at extremely generous


rates – so a newcomer can obtain top quality initial guidance from qualified experts. “The most important thing for people to remember is that word ‘qualified’- only if they have completed the rigorous training programme and passed several tough exams can individuals gain the right to put the letters ACA or FCA after their name, indicating that they are a fully qualified chartered accountant and a member of our Institute, with all the checks, assurances and back-up that provides. “Because of the work of ICAEW and its members, people in Yorkshire and Humber can do business with confidence.”

Visit or contact the ICAEW Regional Office on 0113 322 0872

BUSINESS QUARTER | AUTUMN 10 04/10/2010 16:14



ONE BIG BREAK IS ALL THAT’S NEEDED Liquid Accounts’ story is a real example of how having a web presence – and offering a remote service like cloud computing – can sometimes get you that big break you have always been waiting for. Two or so years ago, the company, which had been formed in 2005 but like all software companies was still in development mode, got a call out of the blue from Switzerland. The caller was a man who traded in biofuels for Shell. He was looking for an organisation that could provide him with a decent accounting software package that could be tailored to his needs. “His currency issues in particular were quite specific,” says managing director Matt Holmes. “He wanted his base currency to be in Swiss francs, but wanted to trade in euros, dollars and sterling. He had already looked at the big guys, who had all said it would cost him at least £500,000, and then at other online offerings who said they could do multicurrency but had never got back to him. So he rang us up and said,‘I found you guys on the web. Can you do it?’ He signed up, we turned his multi-currency on there and then. The system ran for a month, during which time Liquid Accounts also changed its nominal structure to standard Swiss, and the language to French as the client had an accountant in France. But then the client, in Holmes words, “got a bit nervous about our size, and flew over from Switzerland to come and meet us”. It was all a bit nerve-wracking for a company that is based in a small office in Lockwood, a suburb of Huddersfield that few Swiss people would have heard of, and only employed five at the time. They all crammed into one small office for what they knew could be a make or break meeting. But the meeting went all right, and to show goodwill, Holmes took the client to a business awards dinner he had been invited to in Leeds that evening. They both got in, after a bit of blagging. But horror of horrors, Holmes was


We don’t have this distribution issue of having to send out disks which have to be checked to make sure they run with umpteen different drivers on table four, but his client was at the other end of the room on table 17. So serdendipity stepped in. The client happened to sit next to a business that was already one of Liquid’s very satisfied customers. And to cap the evening off Holmes won one of the awards that was on offer. Needless to say, the client has remained with them ever since. That’s certainly one reason Holmes gives for the company’s success, that has seen it win close to £1m in two rounds of fundraising in the past two years, including a star performance at Connect Yorkshire, the Dragon’s Den-type event for technology companies in the region. The other major help, he says, has come from having had a marketer on the board of directors from day one. Former BBC journalist Lisa Kendrick is a former BBC journalist offered to do some market research on whether the idea of converting the ASP accounting package Wright had developed into an online product for small businesses was commercially viable. After the research proved it was, she has stayed with them ever since. Kendrick also helped in getting the money on board. Thanks to the three-person board being one third female, the company was able to apply for and get money from the Aspire Fund, a Government-backed fund aimed at


encouraging female-led businesses. You might wonder why a company that can attract business from Switzerland and has relatively small operating costs needs such funding. “We don’t have this distribution issue of having to send out disks which have to be checked to make sure they run with umpteen different drivers,” he says. “All we need is a browser.”But a small IT company still has to get itself known before it can take on really serious clients, and that is where the money, and the marketing, has helped. “People are still a bit nervous about cloud,” he says. “You can get out on the web as much as you like, but people still want to hear about you. So you have to go to conferences. “It has also taken us two years to get ICAEW approval, and approval by the Institute of Chartered Bookkeepers. These things all cost money – Baker Tilly had to come in and check our software does what we say it does.” Holmes believes the Liquid Accounts product has also partly built its success on the degree of personalisation it offers – something else that would really only be possible through cloud computing. They were conscious that the product would be used by both business owners and their own accountants, and the former might not be familiar with some fairly standard accounting terminology such as a trial balance. So the system can be adjusted to remove such data when the business owner logs on, unless he or she wants to see it. VAT data will only be included if the company is VAT registered. Similarly, payroll data can be made visible only to those staff members who actually need to see it. The system is not like some other accountancy packages, where non-accessible areas are only greyed out. Holmes believes a cloud solution provides new opportunities for accountants too. “Traditionally you sent your accountant a disk, and they needed 16 different versions of whatever programme you were using. Now the accountant can look in on what you are doing whenever he or she wants. They can actually do management accounts for you, just by logging in. “Such a system allows the business owners to drive their accountants to give them more of the kind of advice that they are really after.” n

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presence on Second Life which had been quietly dropped after less than a year. Second Life, for those who might not know, is a networking site that is now so passé you might as well call it Former Life. Will they be saying the same thing about Foursquare in years to come? Once bitten, as they say…

with Frank Tock >> Plus ça change It is remarkable how quickly once hallowed people end up tarnishing their haloes in grime. Adam Hildreth, the man who still holds the record for the youngest person ever to be appointed director of a UK company (it was Dubit, as you can find out if you read the Business Lunch this issue) used to be verging on sainthood. Crowds of young people would come up to him at events wanting to know how to become an entrepreneur like him. (Or so the papers told us at the time.) But key in Adam Hildreth into Google now and what do you find? He has since become one of the youngest people in the country to be convicted of drunk driving! Pah!

>> Once bitten Interesting how keen public sector agencies are to latch on to what they see as the latest fad, no matter how badly such ventures have come unstuck before. Welcome to Yorkshire is proud to announce that it is the first tourist organisation to have a presence on Foursquare. Given that the social networking site is based entirely on where you are located, you can sort of see the sense, only then you discover that WTY is the first tourist organisation on there outside America – a rather crucial distinction. I can only hope that Gary Verity and the rest of WTY are mindful of the flak that Tameside Council received earlier this year when it was revealed that it had spent £36,000 on building a

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>> Pieces of eight Good to see that work is finally starting on Shaw Lodge, one of Halifax’s many excellent former mill buidings. One little known fact about the area that a friend of mine once let me in on is that apparently Robert Louis Stevenson was staying close by in the area when he came up with the idea for a book that became Treasure Island. Quite what blackened mills and blasted moors have to do with a Caribbean Island is anybody’s guess. But given working conditions in the factories of the time, and their high rate of what me might call incidents, I don’t suppose it would have taken him too much trouble to find someone with a wooden leg who could be the model for Long John Silver.

>> Whatever the weather I hate to mention it, but I always get a bit of a laugh when someone tells me how well they know Yorkshire and then almost immediately does something which shows that they absolutely do not. Putting together the magazine this time I was sent a missive from a PR person from London (I will spare their blushes by not revealing who they were) who wanted to tell me all about this new client of theirs who I absolutely must know who was operating out of that well-known Yorkshire town Weatherby. Yes, that’s


right, as in the weather. It rather reminded me of the time Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall came up to do a show in Todmorden earlier this year and spent the whole programme pronouncing the name of the town with the emphasis on the middle syllable. One hardened Todmordenite I know, who has lived in the town all his life, rang me up and said: “I’ve never heard of this place TodMORden. Have you?”

>> Hooray for Yorkshire We are very pleased to report that in the latest list of the great and the good produced by that bastion of the fashionable, Vanity Fair, a Yorkshireman comes out as the most important Brit in the world. Yes, Christopher Bailey, creative director of Burberry and a proud native of Halifax, comes in at number 61 in this year’s Vanity Fair 100. (Number one is Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook, which tells you everything you need to know about how geeks are storming into fashion.) Of course, we will overlook the fact that not having anyone from Britain higher than 61st is a rather poor showing for this country. Even more unbelievable is the fact that the only other Brit in the list – John Galliano – comes in at number 91. Is it really the case that the two most important people in this country are both fashion designers?

>> More and more Moyle Radio 1 DJ, who, as everyone knows, comes from Leeds, isn’t doing much to raise wider opinions of the average intelligence of people who come from that fair city. On one of his recent breakfast time shows, he was the only one of his team who did not know that Nairobi was the capital of Kenya – even though he admitted he had actually flown through Nairobi on his way to a charity trek up Mount Kilimanjaro last year. Wonder what he might think of someone flying through Leeds Bradford and not knowing where Yorkshire was?

BUSINESS QUARTER | AUTUMN 10 04/10/2010 16:14




BQ’s business events diary gives you lots of time to forward-plan. If you wish to add your event to the list send it to:

OCTOBER 12 OCTOBER Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce networking breakfast. York College, York. 7.30-9.00am. For more details visit 13 OCTOBER Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber Business Forum Leeds. Pinsent Masons Leeds, 4.00-6.00pm. For more details visit 13 OCTOBER The Met Club – Yorkshire’s own networking club. City Inn, Leeds, 5.30-7.30pm. For more details ring 01423 525622. 14 OCTOBER Leeds and Bradford Construction Lunch. Headingley Experience, Leeds, 12.002.00pm. For more details visit 14 OCTOBER Leeds Media Tapas Night. Bewleys Hotel, Leeds, 6.00-8.00pm. For more details visit 15 OCTOBER Bradford Society of Chartered Accountants Annual Dinner. With Bobby Davro. Cedar Court Hotel, Bradford, 6.45-11.00pm. For more details ring 01274 733184. 19 OCTOBER Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber Networking Evening in association with Fenwick. Fenwick, York, 6.00-8.00pm. For more details visit 20 OCTOBER The Met Club – Yorkshire’s own networking club. Yo Yo Restaurant, Bradford, 5.30-7.30pm. For more details ring 01423 525622.

12 NOVEMBER Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce networking breakfast. Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, 7.30-9.30am. For more details visit 16 NOVEMBER Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce networking breakfast. Dean Court Hotel, York, 7.30-9.30am. For more details visit 17 NOVEMBER The Met Club – Yorkshire’s own networking club. Cedar Court Grand Hotel, York, 5.30-7.30pm. For more details ring 01423 525622. 18 NOVEMBER Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber networking evening. Quid Quo Pro, Leeds, 4.00-6.00pm. For more details visit 19 NOVEMBER Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber Ladies Networking Lunch. Woodlands Hotel, Morley, Leeds, 12.00-2.00pm. For more details visit 19 NOVEMBER Bradford Chamber Annual Dinner. With a speech by Dalton Phillips, new chief executive of Morrison’s. Cedar Court Hotel, 6.45pm. For more details ring 01274 354750. 19 NOVEMBER The Met Club – Leeds Business Lunch. City Inn, Leeds, 12.00-2.30pm. For more details ring 01423 525622.

21 OCTOBER Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber Business Lunch Harrogate. Holiday Inn, Harrogate 12.00-2.00pm. For more details visit

23 NOVEMBER Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber Business Lunch Scarborough. Beiderbecke’s Hotel, Scarborough 12.00-2.00pm. For more details visit

21 OCTOBER Exploring the world of LLPs – a seminar organised by Ralli Solicitors looking at opportunities and practicalities of limited liability partnerships. Hilton Hotel Leeds, 3.007.00pm. For more details email

23 NOVEMBER Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber Business Forum Scarborough. Beiderbecke’s Hotel, Scarborough 2.30-4.00pm. For more details visit

22 OCTOBER The Met Club – Leeds Lunch. Mumtaz Restaurant, Leeds, 12.00-2.30pm. For more details ring 01423 525622.

24 NOVEMBER Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber Networking Evening. The Living Room, York, 5.00-7.00pm. For more details visit

27 OCTOBER Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber Charity Five-a-side football tournament. Powerleague Leeds Central, Leeds, 7.00-10.30pm. For more details visit


28 OCTOBER Keighley Business Network. Steeton Hall Hotel, Steeton, 7.30am. For more details ring 01274 354750.

NOVEMBER 2 NOVEMBER Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber Business Forum York. Innovation Centre, York, 4.00-6.00pm. For more details visit 3 NOVEMBER Bradford Chamber Members Lunch. Bradford Chamber, 12.00-2.00pm. For more details ring 01274 354750. 3 NOVEMBER Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber Business Lunch York. 12.002.00pm, Holiday Inn, York. For more details visit

4 NOVEMBER The Met Club – Yorkshire’s own networking club. Harrogate Hotel du Vin, 5.30-7.30pm. For more details ring 01423 525622. 5 NOVEMBER The Met Club – Harrogate Business Lunch. Crown Hotel, 12.00-2.30pm. For more details ring 01423 525622. 9 NOVEMBER The Met Club – Yorkshire’s own networking club. Ramada Encore, Barnsley, 5.30-7.30pm. For more details ring 01423 525622. 10 NOVEMBER Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber Special Lunch. Mansion House, York, 12.00-2.00pm. For more details visit

BQ_MAG Issue 6.indb 82

2 DECEMBER The Met Club – Yorkshire’s own networking club. Harrogate Hotel du Vin, 5.30-7.30pm. For more details ring 01423 525622. 3 DECEMBER Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber Annual Lunch York. Royal York Hotel, York, 12.00-3.00pm. For more details visit 7 DECEMBER Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce networking breakfast. Kings Manor, York, 7.30-9.30am. For more details visit 8 DECEMBER The Met Club – Yorkshire’s own networking club. City Inn, Leeds, 5.307.30pm. For more details ring 01423 525622. 9 DECEMBER Keighley Business Network. Steeton Hall Hotel, Steeton, 7.30am. For more details ring 01274 354750.

4 NOVEMBER Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce networking breakfast. Leeds United football ground, 7.30-9.30am. For more details visit


2 DECEMBER Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce networking breakfast. Leeds United football ground, 7.30-9.30am. For more details visit

Please check with the contacts beforehand that arrangements have not changed. Events organisers are also asked to notify us at the above e-mail address of any changes or cancellations as soon as they know of them.


Acas: Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service, CECA (NE): Civil Engineering Contractors Association (North East), HMRC: Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, ICE: Institution of Civil Engineers, NSCA: Northern Society of Chartered Accountants, FSB: Federation of Small Business, Tbc: to be confirmed.


04/10/2010 16:14

54062 08 AL Mill BQ Yorks XC90 260x205c:200



Page 1



Designed for icy Scandinavian conditions, the Volvo XC90 is ideal for the North East winter. Features include automatic rain sensors, power adjustable driver’s seat, brushed aluminium roof rails, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and 18” Camulus alloy wheels. On or off the road, you’ll be able to make light work of the heaviest snowfalls. If you buy before the end of the year, you’ll also be able to outrun the VAT man, with an increase due in January. So you’ll save money and save yourself trouble on those winter roads.

Mill Price

Customer Deposit

42 x Monthly Payments Of

Followed by 1 Payment of (Guaranteed Future Value)

Total Amount Payable by Customer








Based on 9,000 miles per annum, excess mileage charged at 14.9p per mile*

Mill Harrogate Grimbald Crag Road, St James Retail Park, HG5 8PY Tel: 01423 798 600

Mill Newcastle Scotswood Road, Newcastle, NE15 6BZ Tel: 0191 274 8200

Mill Sunderland Wessington Way, Sunderland, SR5 3HR Tel: 0191 516 8778

Mill Hexham Bridge End, Hexham, NE46 4JH Tel: 01434 605 303

Mill Stockton Preston Farm Business Park, Stockton, TS18 3SG Tel: 01642 673 251

Offer ends 31/10/2010. Finance subject to status. Guarantees/Indemnities may be required. *Payable if you wish to return the vehicle at the end of the finance agreement and the agreed mileage has been exceeded. Excess mileage rate doubles after first additional 5,000 miles. Further charges may be made subject to the condition of the vehicle, if the vehicle is returned at the end of the finance agreement. Volvo Car Finance SL7 1YQ. Picture for illustration purposes only.


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BQ Yorkshire Issue 06  

Issue 06

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