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“My mate’s a builder” He’s a photographer.” How Craig Fordham went from builders site to shoot location following his passion.

Two ears, one mouth Building relationships in business and how to listen


No ads. No clutter.

Harlow Stories Magazine was created by Magnificent Stuff Ltd.

Harlow Stories - Issue 1

Hello and Welcome


to Harlow Stories

Noticeboard & Business Awards ..................2

We formally describe the title as: A refreshing publication produced in association with Harlow District Chamber of Commerce, with a focus on good news stories and entrepreneurial inspiration in the Harlow and West Essex region.

Letters ..................................3 Rob Halfon MP .....................4 Local events & networking ..5

We hope you agree! Hopefully, you’ll notice that Stories is advertisement (and indeed, advertorial) free. Our feeling is that there are plenty of advertising opportunities out there already for local businesses (we are happy to recommend some if anyone’s interested) and that this publication will thrive best if it has some independence from advertising.

Relationships .......................7

Harlow Stories is produced by local people for local businesses. Our aim is to help attract, inspire, motivate and intrigue readers. Each issue of Stories will have a theme or a red thread.

Entrepreneurs ....................16

Given that relationships are what drives business and membership organisations, and is in fact, our motivation to produce this magazine, the launch issue kicks off with ‘Relationships’. How can our businesses gain from strong professional relationships? How is networking beneficial to our bottom line? How important is social media in relationship building? We welcome any and all feedback and would be very glad to hear your views on our magazine. For now though, put the kettle on, kick back and have a read!

Harlow Development ..........14

Life Story Craig Fordham ..18 The Community Farm ........20 Charities .............................21 Best Kept Secrets ...............23 Harlow in Business ............25

Emma & Steve @ magnificent stuff Story telling marketeers.

Produced with thanks to: Magnificent Stuff Content and Production Anton Group Printing BMS Distribution PDT Design Graphic Design / Art Director Craig Fordham Photography Amy Grace Subediting Cover shot: © Craig Fordham



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HDCC Noticeboard This is the re-launch of the Harlow & District Chamber of Commerce magazine. I am delighted that Emma & Steve from Magnificent Stuff have taken up the cudgel from DCSR who did a tremendous job over the last few years.

Join the HDCC! The Harlow & District Chamber of Commerce is where local business, public sector, education and voluntary communities come together for mutual benefit. Joining is a great opportunity to increase awareness of your organisation, find out what’s happening in Harlow and to get to know and understand local businesses. You’ll also get to meet business owners and people in all sectors. If you are not sure about joining the HDCC why not come along to a meeting to experience what we are all about? We welcome visitors and you will be able to network with other Harlow businesses (bring along plenty of business cards). The application form can be found at

Although I admit to initially being a bit unsure about the title, Emma has convinced me that it is the right name for this quarterly publication and I hope you enjoy reading it.

There is also the strong possibility of a significant number of new houses being built to the north of the town. 70% of our members support this development and believe it will help growth.

The 2016 Harlow Business Awards dinner at the Manor of Groves on October 6th saw around 280 people enjoy an excellent meal before the presentation of awards in 8 categories. Congratulations to all finalists and, especially, to the eight winners.

We are very keen to attract more local organisations to the Chamber of Commerce. With over 200 members, we are ideally placed to introduce people in the business, voluntary, education and public sectors to each other.

Harlow will be undergoing significant changes over the next few years. Kao Park and Harlow Science Park will attract many large companies. Public Health England is making the town it’s UK Headquarters and this is sure to attract a lot of related businesses so we are entering an interesting period in the town’s history.

Details of our monthly meetings and some other events can be found on our website calendar. Ian Hudson General Manager, Harlow & District Chamber of Commerce 07817 778870

2016 Harlow Business Awards This year’s Business Awards took place at The Manor of Groves Hotel on October 6th. The winners and nominees are listed below (congratulations to all). As usual HDCC is indebted to a number of local businesses for sponsoring the awards. Sponsors in italics. Thank you. Business Growth - Greenway Business Centre Winners: LandSheriffs Runners Up: OfficeScape

New Business - Price Bailey Winner: Insignia Group Runners Up: AVM Workwear, Harlow Photo Booths

Website / Social Media - DCSR Winners: Oakmont Construction Runners Up: Stort Blinds, The Grown Up Chocolate Company

Small Business - Ansmann Winner: Sirona Runners Up: Architecture and Design Services Ltd, Galleon Travel

Innovation - Longmores Solicitors Winners: CAB4-1 Runners Up: SGC Facilities Management, Harlow College - Young Professionals Young Person - Harlow College Winner: Chelsey Thomson (CAB) Runners Up: Simon Dewhurst (Price Bailey), Shauna Buckley (Harlow College)


Customer Care & Service - Bidvest Winner: Holiday Inn Express Runners Up: Graham Rogers Jewellers, Holisticare “Not for Profit” Organisation - SGC Facilities Management Winners: Herts & Essex Community Farm Runners Up: Build Aid, Harlowsave Credit Union

Harlow Stories - Issue 1

Letters It’s incredibly important to write stuff down and share it. Communication is key to relationship building and having something hand-created by someone else is becoming increasingly precious.

Dear Stories, I am very pleased to see the return of a business magazine for Harlow. As a member of the Harlow Chamber of Commerce for a number of years, I have always been interested in the business community in and around Harlow. The magazine is a great source of information and it is a fantastic platform for celebrating success and achievement within the Harlow Business Community. As a chamber member and a regular networker, through the magazine and from my networking, I can see the fantastic collaborations which are happening between businesses in and around the Harlow area. For us, collaboration with other local businesses has been a lynchpin of our growth as a business over the last few years. Through the magazine and networking, I have been able to find out about other businesses, and identify ways that we can better serve our customers through collaborating with others. I am very pleased to see the return of the magazine in a format which is informative and not sales orientated, with the interesting content of interest to not just the business community but the wider community. Well done on a great publication. James Director - HNE Media

New Chamber Members AUGUST Whitney-Brown Business Services George Harrigan-Brown website to follow KN-Fotograffi Photographer Nyree-Dawn Adams Seniguk Consultants Ltd Accountants Adeola Falako Herts & Essex Community Farm Community Farm Elliot Wollen Aspray Property Insurance Claims Andre Van der Walt Harlow Photobooths Photobooths Chris Spowart


Dear Stories, iRepairs just want to say how good it is to have the HDCC members publication up and running again. We are a family business, which almost completely relies upon referral, local business contacts, and content, knowing that this is the best way to grow our business. Nothing is more satisfying than someone coming into see us and saying ‘I’ve read about you in’ or ‘We have been recommended to come to you’: A friend, Business contact etc. We have found that publications such as Stories are rich sources of information within the business networking community in Harlow. At iRepairs we are totally committed to building a business with the local companies and consumers as our client base and we feel that every local publication adds to the community and is a part of our expanding local business culture. Keep up the good work. Yours Faithfully

The Grown Up Chocolate Company Confectionery James Ecclestone Affect Facilities Cleaning Services Daniel McCarthy website to follow Harlow Town Football Club Football Club Jill Demoulin Surface Medic Restoration and repair Dan Cable


Steve Mills

GB Contractors Renovation and restoration specialists

We really welcome your feedback! Please share your thoughts with us by emailing to or writing a good old fashioned letter and posting it to: Harlow Stories Magazine, Best Mailing Services, Merlin Way, Epping CM16 6HR

Glenny LLP Property management services

We’ll publish the best ones here!



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Harlow Stories Your MP Writes... By Rob Halfon MP I’m very pleased to be writing my first article for Harlow Stories Magazine and wish them every success with their new venture! Dear reader, I was delighted to hold my 5th Annual Harlow Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair last month. The day was a great success that saw hundreds of visitors coming to see over 60 businesses and organisations that were exhibiting. I am very grateful to Harlow College, Stansted Airport and DMG Mori for sponsoring the event and making it all possible. Harlow Jobscentre, Seetec, Ingeus and the Harlow Chamber of Commerce were also a great help in organising the day. It was a pleasure to have BBC Essex supporting the event too. They brought along the BBC Bus for visitors to find out more about a career in journalism and try out reading the weather. I had a lot of fun giving it a go myself! Other than the fantastic BBC Essex, the stand-out exhibitor had to be GU Puds who were giving out free deserts all day! They are opening a factory in Bishops Stortford next year and will be creating a wide range of jobs for Harlow residents. It is great news that unemployment in Harlow is continuing to fall. As of September, the total number unemployed claimants in Harlow was 991. This is 97 lower than in September 2015 and 16 lower than in August 2016. This wouldn’t be possible without our fantastic, hardworking and thriving business community that we have in our town. Thank you again to all the businesses and organisations that came and supported the event. I look forward to seeing everyone there again next year! As Skills and Apprenticeships Minister, one of the main things I have been working on is the Apprenticeship Levy. The Apprenticeship Levy is a tax that only large businesses will have to pay, which will help to fund three million more apprenticeships by 2020. My passion for apprenticeships and skills stem from a simple truth: they represent a huge ladder of opportunity for those seeking work, giving thousands of people the chance to go as far as their talents will take them. That’s why the apprenticeship levy is so important. Last week, the Government set out how apprenticeship will be funded. The main measures include more support for younger apprentices and disadvantaged people, and more flexibility for employers. • • • • •

100% of training costs will be paid by government for employers with fewer than 50 employees who take on apprentices aged 16 to 18 years old. This will also apply to smaller employers who take on 19- to 24-year-olds who were in care or 19- to 24-year-olds with an education and health care plan. £1,000 each will be given from government to employers and training providers who take on 16- to 18-year-olds and 19- to 24-year-olds who were in care or who have an education and health care plan. Providers that train apprentices from the most deprived areas on apprenticeship frameworks will continue to receive additional funding from government. More than £60 million will be invested in supporting the training of apprentices from the poorest areas in the country, equalling around one third of all apprentices. Employers will have longer to spend funds in their digital account, with 24 months before they expire. Employers will be able to transfer digital funds to other employers in their supply chains, sector or to apprenticeship training agencies in 2018, and a new employer group including the Confederation of British Industry, Federation of Small Businesses, British Chambers of Commerce, Charity Finance Group and EEF - the manufacturers’ organisation – will help government to develop this system so that it works for employers. There will be more funding for STEM apprenticeship frameworks and higher pricing of apprenticeship standards to support improved quality.

Very best wishes,

Rob @halfon4harlowmp


Harlow Stories - Issue 1

NETWORKING Story: “I hate networking with a passion. I hate being forced to engage with people. I find the best contacts I’ve made networking are the ones where we’ve connected on a professional or even personal level with something in common, a shared interest or situation.” The moral: The best and most successful networkers are listeners.

EVENTS Harlow & District Chamber of Commerce The HDCC promotes a number of events throughout Harlow: For more information, contact us on 01279 271104 Harlow BNI Meets every Tuesday at the Park Inn Hotel at 6:30 for a 7am start. BNI networking follows a strict agenda designed to maximise results – a formula that has proven itself over many years. If interested please contact Robin Stretton on Harlow Professionals Meets on the last Friday of the month at the Park Inn Hotel. This is an informal meeting with no need to book – just turn up with loads of business cards and enjoy the (free) lunch with other Harlow professionals.

If you would like to list an event or business networking opportunity in the next issue of Stories please get in touch:

WIBN Harlow Women in Business Networking meets at Miller and Carter in Harlow. This women-only event meets at midday one Tuesday each month. More information can be found at

Just outside of Harlow… Stansted Business Breakfast Informal and friendly networking group which meets at the Radisson Blu Hotel at Stansted Airport every second Friday at 7am. Contact Eric Chorley on 01279 324837

Given our experience of networking we’ve come up with the following top tips: • Do LinkedIn with those you connect with – you can download your LinkedIn contacts spreadsheet if you did want to use your contacts as a database later. • First impressions count, there’s no excuse for poor personal hygiene – you know who you are! • It’s really worth getting a VA to build a quick database of all of the business cards you’ve collated over the years, not only can it really help de-clutter your office it also gets rid of one of those hideous ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ jobs we all have! • Do ask to be introduced to others by existing business contacts. • Don’t treat everyone like a potential customer from the offset (it’s off-putting), and don’t just shake hands – give a business card and move on (it’s rude!), or get drunk – it’s not a great look!



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Stansted Business Forum This group meets at the Ash Pub on the first Friday of the month and is friendly and informative. Contact Peter James on 01279 813318 BeCollaboration Run by Harlow based business owner, Jill Tiney BeCollaboration meets around London, Herts, Essex and Surrey. For more information visit MEETUP & EVENTBRITE There are fantastic resources for info on the latest and closest events, they even select relevant gatherings based on your personal interests. PREPARE A PITCH



© Craig Fordham

Today people maintain relationships more easily than before – with the click of an update or a message you can reach out to your customer, colleague or prospect incredibly quickly however engaging them by standing out is becoming increasingly more difficult. There’s a lot to be said for regular face-to-face interaction.


Harlow Stories - Issue 1

RELATIONSHIPS Whether you’re a Start-Up of a well-established business the importance of relationships can never be underestimated.

RELATIONSHIPS IN BUSINESS “The key to business success is winning and keeping customers. And the key to winning and keeping customers is, and has always been, relationships.” - Steve Tobak, Author of Real Leaders Don’t Follow

Back in 2014 we set up Magnificent Stuff, like most businesses we had one obvious, over-riding focus “Where do the customers come from?” Now for us, as a predominantly digital marketing agency, one would think that the answer would be rather obviously, ‘on-line’. However, even in this age of seemingly all-consuming internet usage it takes time to establish a digital presence. As our business has grown over the past 2 years 90% of our clients have evolved from recommendations and referrals. These referrals often come out of the blue – from a chance meeting or an introduction from a business associate who has met a third party who might need our expertise. Likewise, one of our biggest clients, a global automotive organisation, have built a multi- million pound business without any sales or marketing function, based entirely upon relationships and recommendations. The learning from our very short story is that relationships are as fundamental to the success of large established, global organisations as they are to SME’s and start-ups. In this article we have made it our business to curate some great tips on relationships in from HDCC members and loyal supporters.


Harlow Stories - Issue 1


Without effort business relationships that have taken months or years to establish can fade away. You need to work at them – here are a few tips that can help: 1 Keep up. This sounds obvious but it’s easy to forget to do it. If you don’t keep up with people it’s natural for you to fall of their radar and when they get an opportunity that could be referred to you it will go elsewhere. 2 Build trust. Don’t take advantage of people. Don’t spam them. Don’t assume that because you’ve exchanged cards with someone that they are interested in receiving your newsletter. The key to building trust is being honest. 3 Network. Networking is the key to building successful relationships; there are many options available locally, as we’ve mentioned before. The Harlow Chamber of Commerce is extremely active organizing two or three events per week. These events are often educational, which is an added bonus. Even if you aren’t much of a people person, putting yourself out there a little bit can help. You don’t have to be the life of the party. People would rather you just be yourself. 4 Show an interest in others. Unless you’re a children’s entertainer or a musician showing off is not going to do you many favours. It’s not rocket science to realise that early step to gaining respect and building a relationship is to show interest in other people. Listen to what people have to say and show a sincere interest in them. Ask questions about their job and kids. Everyone is impressed when someone shows they’ve taken the time to remember their stories. 5 Work hard. People will invest in those who provide results and deliver. When someone asks for something, give a little more. Deliver early and take initiative to help in ways you weren’t asked. 6 Focus on giving. Many people want to build relationships so that they can have someone to help them out when they need it. You need to have a less Machiavellian attitude. Always think about how you can help people in your network. They’re far more likely to return a favour than they are to go out of their way for you, especially early in your relationship.

Top Tips 1) Over communicate. Offer valuable information repeatedly and unexpectedly. 2) Empathise. Understand what others are trying to achieve and find solutions to help them. 3) Deadlines. Do things when you say you’ll do them and by the deadline you said you’d do it in. Ed Pearson CEO’s Sounding board at The Entrepreneurs Network



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Top Tips 1) Two ears, One mouth. Use in that proportion 2) Go out of your way to put people together for their mutual benefit 3) Ask about their interests away from business (and remember for when you met them again) Ian Hudson HDCC

It’s fair to say that there’s a networking group for practically every sector, and for all business sizes. It can be a little nerve-wracking giving presentations or elevator pitches for the first time, so often a small, friendly group can be beneficial to begin with if you are new to networking. There are also more formal options, groups such as BNI and 4Networking.

“The relationships I’ve made via networking, and the Stansted Business Breakfast group, have generated an enormous amount of business for my company. By the same token I have given a great deal of work to members I’ve met through the group.” Eric Chorley - Guardhome

Networking is another form of social interaction, however with the rise of social media and online interaction taking over our business environment, face to face networking can be daunting to many professionals at all levels.

Top Tips 1) Honesty – always

1) Try to attend these on your own or if you take a colleague try not to stand in a corner interacting only with each other, otherwise there is no point in attending. Be prepared to walk up to people to introduce yourself and your business. They might be in the same situation as you (first timers and on their own) or they might have been there before and can assist you in meeting some other contacts.

2) Treat customers/products like your own 3) Over and above – give more to expect more Craig Fordham Craig Fordham Photography

2) Be prepared; see which company representatives are attending and find out a little more about what they do. Then when you are there you can ask questions about their business. Also don’t forget your business cards but don’t throw them around like confetti. Make sure you exchange them under the right circumstances and at appropriate moments. 3) A key piece of advice someone told me once was listen more than you speak, however if everyone did this at a networking event then not many people would be talking. I prefer the 50/50 approach. Introduce yourself, your company and your services, however don’t forget to ask about the other person, to give their background too. Then try to find a common link to explore and open a conversation by asking open questions to get an engaging discussion going. The more interactive and engaging the topic of discussion the more networking contacts will want to join in. Michael Pagalos – Insignia Group

“BNI Networking group have a ‘Giver’s Gain’ mantra, suggesting that if a contact were to give you business, you’d want to reciprocate. To me that is the whole crux of beneficial business relationships and what networking is all about.” Robin Stretton, Director Consultant, BNI ESSEX


Harlow Stories - Issue 1

Just in case you were in any doubt about the value of relationships in business, here are 7 ways they can really benefit: 1 Sharing advice. Within your network there will be someone with experience or expertise in most areas who can give you a few pointers. 2 Sharing leads and finding jobs. Just one close contact doubles your chances of knowing someone who has the news, information, or resources you need. The more you focus on your network and relationships, the better connected to opportunities you’ll be. 3 Investing and lending opportunities. Building a great rapport with others may help raise finances to develop an idea and grow your business. 4 Word-of-mouth marketing. Many businesses will tell you that they get the majority of their business through referrals. These referrals come from business associates, friends, family, and satisfied customers. It’s a free, unbiased, and extremely effective way to promote your work and generate more business. 5 Your relationships create new relationships. If you work closely with someone who you’ve impressed, they’re more likely to recommend you. 6 Potential partners, employees or freelancers. One of the best reasons to keep up with your relationships is because you never know who you may one day be working alongside.. People change companies all the time. Someone who is a colleague from a previous organization may end up sharing the cubicle next to you at your work, or he might be able to help you find the new hire you’re looking for. Simply put, more positive relationships means fewer enemies, less stress, and no more closed doors.

Top Tips 1) Treat everyone in a business with respect, from the cleaner to the MD; they all play an important part and one day the cleaner might be the person you have answer to! 2) Be honest, and have a never say ‘no’ attitude, especially when you are growing. Find areas of vulnerability in your customers business and identify ways to help! 3) Make the client feel like number one priority, always! (even if they sometimes aren’t!)

Tyler Lemay MD Land Sheriffs

Top Tips 1) Nothing reinforces a professional relationship more than success! 2) If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, Just wait until you hire an amateur! 3) Think big and don’t listen to people who tell you it can’t be done. Life’s too short to think small! Paul Tanner PDT Design



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Relationship Building Mistakes to Avoid With all this work and benefits, there must be some potential pitfalls as well, right? People make plenty of mistakes, so watch out for these ten:

1) Not being personal. Don’t just talk about business. 2) Not being appreciative. Make a conscious effort to be grateful for things that others do for you. 3) Failing to be consistent. Treating everyone you meet the same way helps you come across as sincere and genuine. 4) Acting unprofessionally in bad times. If things go bad, be upfront about it and offer resolution. 5) Failing to admit your mistakes. Part of developing trust is showing that you know how to be accountable. If you mess up, admit to it. 6) Not being reliable. You can really offend someone when you’re not reliable. Don’t miss meetings, and don’t flake on promises. 7) Loose lips sink ships. No matter where you are or who you are with, you are representing yourself, be professional and consistent. 8) Surrounding yourself with untrustworthy people. You’re going to be judged by the company you keep.

Top Tips

9) Keeping too many secrets. Be as transparent as you can, being unnecessarily secretive smacks of dishonesty.

1) Networking involves building and developing relationships over a period of time. Don’t go to an event expecting to generate new business instantly, but do expect to meet interesting people who may prove to be far more valuable to your business in the longer term.

Rina Sond & Catrin Mills Longmores Solicitors


© Craig Fordham

2) Having the right people doing the right jobs in front of the right customers is essential to growing your business.

10) Don’t forget the relationships with your current customers, too!

“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realise it themselves”

Steve Jobs

Harlow Stories - Issue 1

Top Tips 1) Networking is the most economical way for me to regularly meet new prospective customers and grow brand awareness in the business community. 2) It gives me the opportunity to meet reliable and trustworthy suppliers that will help my company to grow. 3) It attracts positive people with a positive business mindset and gives you the opportunity to discuss best practice in the workplace.

One of our strongest skills is our ability to Project Manage for clients. We look after everything an in-house marketing department would and to do this it is incredibly important to have a trusted team to take on specialist tasks. We are often asked, for example, to create a new website on behalf of a client. Now we may be copywriters but we are NOT designers, nor web-developers, or SEO experts, but we know people who ARE. Years of working in the industry and networking globally has provided us with an unrivalled black book which means we can pull together the most skilled and suited team to each and every project we work on. To begin with it would be fair to say that 90% of our clients came directly or indirectly from networking and the relationships we have developed over the years. Steve Chew – Magnificent Stuff

Anna Sedgebeer Prontaprint Bishop’s Stortford

Top Tips

“Your success in life is largely determined by whom you know and who knows you positively.” Brian Tracy, The Power of Charm

1) Always be honest about what you can and can’t do. 2) If it’s not working, say so. 3) Make sure everyone’s expectations are managed professionally. Lisa Dellow A Virtual Presence

“Business Relationships are 360 degrees, - working on relationships with customers, primarily, but also with collaborators, internal teams and even with competitors. There’s a lot to be said for keeping your friends close and your enemies closer!” Emma Knewstub, Magnificent Stuff

List of Contributors Ed Pearson The Entrepreneurs Network

The Insignia Group Business Management Consultancy

Longmores Solicitors

Ian Hudson Harlow Chamber

BNI Harlow Robin Stretton

Prontaprint Stortford Printing Services

Stansted Business Breakfast David Hatmil

Craig Fordham Photography

Lisa Dellow Virtual Assistant

Guardhome Ltd security systems and CCTV

PDT Design Graphic Design Services

Magnificent Stuff Ltd Marketing Services



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Infrastructure & Development News The Enterprise Zone and Science Park Few can argue that this is not an exciting time for industry and business in Harlow. Geographically the town is ideally and strategically situated between the capital and Cambridge, which has been predicted to be the fastest growing City in Europe over the next decade. The area, broadly defined by the M11, has been coined the ‘London-StanstedCambridge corridor.’ Harlow itself benefits from being uniquely well located on the motorway, which gives businesses fast and reliable access to London, Cambridge and the South East England region. Similarly it boasts a well-connected transport infrastructure with rail services into London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport terminals only 20 minutes away. Some of the world’s top companies such as Pearson, GlaxoSmithKline, Pitney Bowes and Raytheon have chosen to relocate to Harlow, recognising it as a


very competitive business location in the South East. There is a catchment of 3.3 million people with a one hour journey of Harlow – a figure set to rise by 20% by 2032. There are significant cost advantages for businesses too, with Harlow offering highly competitive rental prices and land values and being the most competitive location in the South East with such close proximity to London. The development of the Harlow Enterprise Zone on London Road and Templefields including the development of the Harlow Science Park is designed to attract new businesses to the town and secure thousands of high quality new jobs for the residents of the town and surrounding areas. The benefits for existing SMEs in the region are obvious.

The first businesses have already moved into Kao Park on the Enterprise Zone and infrastructure work is now underway on the Harlow Science Park with the first building due to commence construction in spring 2017. Public Health England’s move to the town from 2021 will also significantly increase the town’s science base as well as creating additional employment and business opportunities. In addition, the proposed new junction 7a of the M11 near Gilden Way will be of great advantage to the Enterprise Zone and the Science Park and we welcome its development. Andrew Bramidge Enterprise Zone Project Director.

Harlow Stories - Issue 1

Harlow Civic Society The Harlow Architectural Design Awards (HADAs)

The original master plan for Harlow, drawn up by Sir Frederick Gibberd and his team in 1947, included cutting-edge building design from some of the most recognised architects of the post-war era. As a result, Harlow became a truly novel town: home to the first pedestrian precinct and the first purpose-built health centre in Great Britain. It also had the world’s first modern-style residential tower block at The Lawn. The unique post-war heritage of Harlow is being celebrated for the first time, with the launch of a new public competition last month. Organised by the Harlow Civic Society and sponsored by Places for People, The Harlow Architectural Design Awards (HADAs) aim to recognise the very best in residential and nonresidential buildings in the town, as well as encouraging excellence in the design of Harlow’s future developments. The public is being asked to nominate its favourite residential and nonresidential buildings in Harlow, before voting on the ultimate winner from a shortlist of entries. An expert panel will then use the results of the public vote to select a winner in each category, to be announced in January 2017. The winning buildings’ architects will receive a custom-made glass trophy to hold for a year, designed and produced by local artists at Parndon Mill – Harlow’s creative hub. The winning buildings will also receive a commemorative plaque for display.

Paul McLintic, Secretary of the Harlow Civic Society, said: “Harlow has a unique design history built as a new town to re-house Londoners following the destruction caused by the Blitz during World War II. “The Harlow Architectural Design Awards are a chance to celebrate the town’s history of creative design and encourage new developers to create and build spaces that further enhance the town and its unique character. “I’m sure that everyone in the town has a building with special significance to them. We hope to include as many local people as possible in deciding this year’s winning entries.” Mary Parsons. Group Director of Placemaking and Regeneration at Places for People, said: “Strong design plays such a vital role in attracting people to a place, as well as helping residents to identify with their surroundings. Through the Architectural Design Awards, the people of Harlow will have a say in what makes their town work and help ensure that the future developments stay true to Harlow’s unique heritage.” To get behind this excellent initiative and vote for your favourite buildings in Harlow please visit

In future years, the HADAs will celebrate buildings completed in the proceeding 12 months. As 2016 sees the launch of the awards, however, any building in the new town era (1947 to present) will be considered for this year’s prize.



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Ricky Deamer - CAB4-1 Ricky Deamer used to be a courier driver. In fact, he’s spent all his working life as a delivery driver around London and Essex. In true entrepreneurial style, and fuelled by the desire to be his own boss, Ricky managed to find a niche within the transport industry which he believed could make him successful. “I remember taking a cab from Sawbridgeworth to Roydon,” he said over coffee, “which was already overpriced. Only for then the cab company sent a people carrier and charged double for my return. They were charging for the vehicle and the extra seats, despite the fact I was a single passenger.” And thus the concept of CAB4-1 was born. What if, reasoned Ricky, a minicab company ran only single passenger vehicles? If it only utilised ‘Smart’ cars then the running costs would be demonstrably lower. There would be no road tax to pay for example, and the vehicles could achieve 50 to 60 miles per gallon. These savings could then be passed on to the consumer. There is a huge customer base of passengers - who regularly journey alone - who would benefit from not travelling in a five-door diesel with all of its additional expenses.

The lower emissions from Smart cars ticks all the right environmental boxes too. Setting up the company was not an easy process, in fact getting through the existing ‘red tape’ took almost nine months. Smart cars do not fulfil any minicab regulations and as a result, Ricky had to plead his case to use such vehicles to the licensing committee at the East Herts council chambers before being allowed to trade. With that, all done and said even then CAB4-1 was only allowed to be ‘Private Hire/PreBook’ only. “I’m sure it was the economic and environmental advantages that swayed licensing committee in the end, but it was quite nerve-wracking.” Ricky’s company is self-funded and now has four cars on the books. In the first month, they took only 40 calls, by the end of September that was up to an average of 170 per day. Ricky explains this growth simply: “We offer oldfashioned value for money (discounts to pensioners and pregnant women for example) and courtesy to our customers. I have tried to combine minicab, chauffeur and customer care all in one. If it’s raining why shouldn’t you be greeted at your front door by the driver with an umbrella to escort you into the car? We agree, Ricky.

If you’d like to get in touch with CAB4-1 please contact the office on

01279 279551 or visit the website


Harlow Stories - Issue 1

James Ecclestone

The Grown Up Chocolate Company It is hard to imagine that this rather small and nondescript unit is home to a confectionery business that is manufacturing anything between 80 – 100 thousand chocolate bars per week. And these are not ordinary chocolate bars either. Imagine if Jimmy Choo was a chocolatier or if Ralph Lauren gave up making frocks and turned his hand to praline and nougat? Something like that. The owner, James, took Harlow Stories on a brief tour of the premises complete with lab coat and hair net. If you’re a chocoholic like me it was like dying and going to Heaven – gently churning vats of white and dark chocolate, slabs of chocolate bars and mouth-watering ingredients everywhere.

2013 and now employs a dedicated staff of 25. ‘Chocolate needs to be created in very controlled conditions,’ explained James, ‘It’s imperative that humidity isn’t allowed to affect the product. When we moved here we needed to be able to purchase the unit freehold because of the alterations that are necessary to create highquality chocolate. We invested £167k alone just in insulating the walls and ceilings.’ Harlow itself offered some advantages, primarily the relatively inexpensive building costs. ‘We needed to be close to our markets in London too,’ James added.

The processes are honed to perfection as you might expect from a company that produces 2.3 million chocolate bars a year for Virgin Atlantic alone.

The Company is ambitious, with 25% of its produce is currently exported but this looks like a figure likely to rise. ‘The idea behind our Grown Up Chocolate bars is that they are reminiscent of the bars we ate as children but reimagined for Grown Ups only’.

The Grown Up Chocolate Company relocated in Harlow from Enfield in

I can’t remember the chocolate I ate as child tasting quite that good…

If you’d like to get in touch with the Grown Up Chocolate Company you can call the offices on

01279 430293 or visit the website



07723 024865



“With my qualification, I took up a teaching role at Harlow College, and my career just grew from there.”


Harlow Stories - Issue 1

CRAIG FORDHAM Craig Fordham has lived in Harlow since he was nine. Not knowing what he wanted to be when he grew up he discovered a passion for photography after buying an Olympus Trip when he left school – but like so many other people he had no idea how to turn his hobby into a career. Whilst working his way through various jobs, including working on building sites, a childhood friend, who was also a budding model, asked Craig to shoot his portfolio for him. The images were taken in the portfolio and presented to influential 80’s stylist Ray Petri. Ray Petri was behind the disruptive and radical movement that transformed and disrupted fashion in the 80s. He has been described as inventing the ‘Stylist’ with models in Dr Marten boots and Armani suit jackets. Neneh Cherry, Culture Club and Soul II Soul took Buffalo to the mass-market main stage. Petri was clearly impressed and wanted to know who took the pictures? “Just a mate of mine took them, he’s a builder.” “No, he’s not. He’s a photographer.” - Ray Petri Overwhelmed after hearing this Craig decided this was just the motivation he needed; determined, he set out on his career path. Trying to break into photography via assistant roles Craig realised that he lacked the experience and technical ability he really needed, so he took himself back to college at the age of 28, taking an HND and PQE in photography. His first major commission was with ‘19’ Magazine and from there his career snowballed with impressive editorial, advertising and commercial jobs. Over the years Craig has travelled the world working with brands such as The White Company, Burberry Lacoste, Lyle & Scott and reams of newsstand publications including Vogue, Red, Marie Claire, Elle, The Times and The Telegraph.

© Craig Fordham

“Looking back, I guess I was lucky in the first place, having such a photogenic friend!”



07723 024865

Craig now works as a freelancer and in addition to shoot management and art direction Craig runs the and can be contacted via


Collaborating and Co-working

The latest figures available (at least available to us) suggested that there are no less than 2,550 VAT registered businesses in the Harlow area. We would assume, although the stats aren’t available, that there must be at least that number of businesses again that are not registered for VAT. Regardless of the exact figure, it’s clear that there are a huge number of micro, small or mediumsized enterprises within this small area of West Essex. It’s forecasted that around 600,000 new businesses will have been started in the UK in 2016. Given that some of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in this country can run a business with nothing more than a smartphone it’s not surprising that so many new businesses no longer require premises at all. The overheads associated with owning or renting office space can be crippling, and nowadays being available only between 9-5, 5 days a week is becoming less and less acceptable. The flexible working trend has rocketed.

The way people do business is changing dramatically as is their expectation to be able to work more flexibly creating a healthier work/ life balance. With so much data sitting in the cloud today, there has been a distinct shift in the number of homeworkers in the UK. In all big cities, especially overseas, there is a wide choice of different co-working spaces to subscribe to on a PAYG basis or as a more permanent solution. This allows for any size of business to have a dedicated office space that can be used flexibly, suiting their needs. Such spaces also drive collaboration and networking. To have a business address and sit in a vibrant and buzzing atmosphere, sharing ideas and collaborating with other like-minded entrepreneurs is invaluable and as an established business looking to upscale, a shared workspace offers resources, cost savings and multiple opportunities to help grow.

More and more empty desks and office spaces are adopting the Air BnB model of being rented ad hoc. If you have a spare desk in your office space and want to potentially generate a bit of an income from it as well as encourage entrepreneurship and networking with other businesses or if you’d like to do a spot of ‘Hotdesking’ it could be well worth having a look at some of these Air BnB style setups (loads of them are London based but it’s a trend that is spreading fast!) • • • •

• • • •

There is, of course, the local library which has wi-fi and encourages footfall from those who are ‘working from home’.


Harlow Stories - Issue 1

Best Kept Secrets Parndon Mill Parndon Mill can be found nestled on the banks of the River Stort on Harlow’s outskirts. It has a history stretching back to Domesday and remained a working mill late into the twentieth century.

Its current incarnation owes its inception to the artist Sally Anderson who discovered the Mill in the late summer of 1968: “It was in a sorry state,” she says, “It looked neglected…it was wonderful!” Local photographer Roger Lee came to take photos of the first studios and, whilst there, installed lighting in the first Gallery and fixed the vital van. He was promptly given a studio and became the general manager at the Mill. He was joined by numerous other artists and tradespeople and room at the Mill was traded for goods and services. Within a few years, designers, architects and creative professionals moved in, working alongside craftspeople and fine artists, creating an almost unique atmosphere. Parndon Mill now provides workspace for artists, craftspeople, webdesigners and metalworkers (amongst others) who have the opportunity to share ideas and use their different skills to collaborate on creative work. Art for an office can be purchased or hired, commercial graphics ordered or a building or a product designed. The expertise is on-site and can be supplemented by numerous associates with complementary abilities and a high level of professional skill. As Roger says: “Every inch of Parndon Mill is occupied by someone very creative doing something amazing.



What excites Sally and I is when you see two or more disciplines working together to create something truly original.” The Gallery In 2004 work began converting the remaining floors of the Mill into new studios and a gallery was created as a centre point on the ground floor. The Gallery has since become a focus for the Mill’s resident artists and for many others from the area. It has become the hub of a community and been nicknamed the ‘Central Office of Information’. It is now front-of-house for Parndon Mill, open to the public five days a week. There is great demand for the wide variety of tuition and creative experience provided here, including drawing and painting, sculpture, ceramics and blown, fused or cast glass. Beginners are always welcome as well as those who wish to extend their skills. It hosts eight exhibitions a year, selected to be as varied as possible. These may include figurative or abstract painting, original prints, drawings and sculpture, ceramics or works from a glass artist et al. The annual exhibition of works of art in glass includes pieces by some of the most distinguished artists in the country. This year’s exhibition was sponsored by Astro Lighting and focused on emerging artists, including recent college graduates and students attended workshops here at The Mill.

07723 024865

The Gallery has often worked with local businesses many of which have sponsored exhibitions and enjoyed the facilities of Parndon Mill. It also operates a scheme where artwork can be hired and installed in offices (and sculptures out of doors). Many of these artworks look magnificent in situ and can enhance the appearance and well be of places of work. Parndon Mill serves the local community in many ways. It is truly one of Harlow’s ‘best-kept secrets’ and we are very fortunate to have such a hub of creativity in our town. Realising that their philanthropic life’s work was as fragile as they, Sally and Roger with Pro-Bono help from Longmores Solicitors, have been successful in registering charitable status for Parndon. If you have time and a skill to share Roger would very much appreciate your help!

To find out more please contact us on parndon.mill



A Community in Bloom A closer look at Herts and Essex Community farm Now in its third year, Herts and Essex Community Farm, Harlow’s first urban farm, has cultivated more than just fresh produce. Volunteer Jo O’Reilly talks us through the challenges of the project and the friendships that have grown along the way. My first involvement with the farm came, like most things with me through curiosity. When a good friend said his flatmate was starting a community farm I wanted to know what it was all about.

We fit our hours working on the project around busy personal lives, whether we work long hours, raise kids alone or struggle with physical or mental ill health, everyone’s contribution big or small is valued.

Once I had spoken to Elliott (Wollen, Herts and Essex Community Farm’s founder) I was impressed by his vision for the fly-tipped plot of land Harlow Council had earmarked for him. I was, however, sceptical about how much could be achieved. First and foremost he had no money. He was depending solely on the goodwill of the local community to get the project rolling. He set up crowdfunding, hoping to raise £5,000. In the end, it raised just shy of £6,000, people had been generous.

We have become a community and we share in the project’s successes, something we celebrate in yearly in July with our very own festival on the site, and also its disappointments, our onion crop this year developed rust.

My first day at the project was a miserable grey day in early March 2014. Impressed by Elliot’s enthusiasm, myself a group and a small group of volunteers found ourselves staring, unprepared, at six-foot brambles and twenty year’s worth of dumped rubbish. This was going to be a challenge. Four hours later, with blistered hands and aching muscles, I was amazed by what the small group had achieved. There was still a long way to go, but the plot no longer looked like a landfill site. Not only was there something incredibly satisfying about working with my hands, the sense of teamwork and camaraderie as volunteers passed around mugs of soup was something I hadn’t experienced before. Over the years this core group of volunteers have become like a family. Although some of us had been friends prior to our involvement with the project, many of us were working together for the first time. Whatever sense of achievement we took away from the project individually, was magnified when we saw what we were achieving as a team.


Despite ups and downs, we all agree that we are proud of what we’ve achieved. This year we have grown over 1.5 tonnes of produce. This means not only have all our volunteers had access to fresh, organically grown fruit and vegetables for themselves and their families, but also we have been able to deliver weekly fruit and veg boxes to Streets to Homes. As the farm grows we look forward to welcoming more volunteers into the fold and sharing our community as well as our vegetables with a wider audience. If you are interested in supporting or volunteering to help at The Community Farm contact Elliot on

or visit the website


Harlow Stories - Issue 1

Giving Something Back games room, which is the home to the marvellous Mike’s Den – a friendly and fun hang-out for adults, including those with disabilities.

Tucked away on the south side of Potter Street is the rather grand David Livingstone House. This is owned by Sanctuary Supported Living and provides housing and support for 19 adults with mild to moderate learning disabilities. To its rear is the David Livingstone Club, consisting of a hall, kitchen and

(Reg No: 1108811)

Started in 2005, BuildAid is a Harlowbased charity founded by a father and son team of Chartered Surveyors. It was set up with a very simple mission: to provide professional, permanent construction aid for people in need. In the 11 years since the founding of BuildAid, the impact of this work has reached over 400,000 aid recipients. In the aftermath of the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004, Robert Muir and his son Ben were moved to use their construction

(Reg No: 2951374)

St Clare Hospice (Hastingwood) provides specialist palliative care for people living with terminal or life-limiting illnesses across the West Essex and East Herts border. It provides care for patients and their families, including physical, emotional, social, psychological and spiritual support, ensuring they have timely access to skilled, compassionate and sensitive care in a place of their choice.



Mike’s Den was founded by Harlow resident Neil Crouch and named after his good friend Mike Jackson – a teacher for children with learning disabilities, who sadly passed away in 2003. It is run entirely by Neil (who has physical limitations) and a loyal band of volunteers who give up their evenings, and often weekends, to help those less fortunate in the community. It is affiliated with PHAB England, a National charity which aims to integrate people with physical disabilities in the community.

experience to assist with the relief effort. After running a fundraising appeal they travelled to Sri Lanka where, over the next 2 years they helped to rebuild a devastated village and reconstruct 6 schools, benefiting the education of 8000 school children in the region. Using their design and construction knowledge, and using a volunteer network of built environment professionals, they were able to deliver buildings that maximised usefulness to the affected communities and made the best use of their supporters’ donations. This successful model was extended into ambitious projects in Nepal and Haiti – including the construction of schools, hospitals, orphanages and a comprehensive medical

The Hospices services are free of charge to those who need care but cost over £4million a year to run. With limited NHS funding, it need to fundraise the majority of this enormous amount through donations and other voluntary sources. The Hospice is very active in this area, organising a great many local fundraising events from coffee mornings and cycle rides, to black tie balls and bungee jumps.

Mike’s Den regularly hosts BBQs, Zumba evenings, Tribute acts, Discos, Quizzes and Bingo nights. It meets on a Wednesday evening, 7:30 to 9:30, and is open to everyone over the age of 16! If you’d like to find out more or are interested in visiting the Den contact Neil via the Facebook Page.

mikesdenharlow facility serving 10,000 people. Currently, BuildAid is reconstructing typhoondamaged classrooms and building a new orphanage facility for abandoned infants in the Philippines. Founding Trustee and Technical Director Robert Muir is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. He has extensive experience in development projects from Russia, through to Ethiopia and has delivered presentations to the UN on sustainable urbanisation. If you would like to find out more please visit, or contact them on

01279 443111

helping businesses to succeed over a sustainable period of time through dedicated partnership management.

It is also very pro-active with corporate partnership initiatives and has a Business Club, away from philanthropy and non-strategic donations.

For more information, contact our Communications Officer Rebecca Hedges on

This club is designed to bring vital annual funding for St Clare while also

01279 773752 or

07723 024865


SMEs Steve Godfrey of Auditel considers the Importance of SMEs to the Future British Economy There are 5.4 million businesses in the UK. 99% of them are SMEs, defined as a business with less than 50 staff.

Quick SME Glossary Some useful terms you may hear in the business world and what they actually mean! Acquisition Taking ownership. Frequently paired with Mergers – as in Mergers and Acquisitions. Amortisation The cost recovery system for intangible property. Angel Investor Individuals who back emerging entrepreneurial ventures . Business Incubator Provides workspace, coaching, and support services to entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses. Due-Diligence The investigative process of obtaining accurate information, which may influence the outcome of a transaction. EBITDA A company’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation. Entrepreneur A person who organises, operates, and assumes the risk for a business venture. Joint Venture A legal entity created by two or more businesses joining together. Venture Capital (VC) Form of financing for a company in which the business gives up partial ownership and control of the business.


SMEs employ 60% of all private sector employees and contribute 47% of private sector turnover. 95% of UK businesses are micro-businesses with less than 10 staff and yet they employ one-third of all UK workers. SMEs create new jobs. Between 2008 and 2013 85% of new jobs were created by SMEs. UK SMEs also work hard. According to a recent survey commissioned by Bizdaq, many small business owners work 50.5 hours per week against a UK average of 37 hours. Some work 60 or even 80 hour weeks. 87% of business owners with children under 18 are not taking a holiday this year. 28% feel that the pressures of running a business have negatively affected their health. There is a geographic divide. One-third of all UK businesses are located in London or the South East. For example – the South East has 878,000 businesses, but the North East has just 136,000. This disparity looks likely to increase. The future for small businesses is uncertain. The UK all-sector PMI index (Purchasing Managers’ Index) measures a range of indicators from private sector companies such as new orders, production/inventory levels and staff headcount. It is at its lowest level since 2009. UK SMEs contain fewer high-growth firms than other major European economies. Whilst the UK can boast a record number of start-ups, many of these are micro businesses created for reasons of personal independence or lifestyle and with no intention to grow. Moreover only 20%-30% of start-ups survive a decade and most (75%) never grow beyond 5 employees. The UK economy is shrinking at its fastest rate since the 2009 crash, and unless this trend is reversed the future looks worrying.

So where could GDP growth come from? A Goldman Sachs study sought to identify the areas in which SMEs could usefully improve. They identified three main weaknesses - a lack of innovation, low productivity and a reluctance to export. UK SMEs lag behind our European neighbours for innovation ranking 24th out of 34 countries. We also lag our G8 peers in productivity. UK productivity – GDP earned per hour worked – was climbing until 2008 and now trails G8 averages by 6%. Only 1 in 5 UK SMEs ever export, and only 17% of those do so frequently. The ‘UK Small Business Survey’ of 2012 identified a group of potential exporters who have the characteristics of typical exporters. Goldman Sachs estimates that 9%-12% of current non-exporting SMEs could start to export, and if done regularly this would add £1.15 bln to our GDP. Access to capital is a frequent barrier to prospective exporters however – most of those that have taken the leap find that the extra revenues and opportunities more than justify the initial outlay. And if one of the unwelcome repercussions of Brexit is to trigger an exodus of large employers from the UK, we will rely more than ever on entrepreneurial SMEs to pay the bills. If you would like to contact the author please e-mail

Harlow Stories - Issue 1

Harlow In Business We have collated the latest available information from the Office of National Statistics showing the drop in unemployment and growth of SMEs since 2012.

Population of Harlow

2004 – 78,000

2014 – 84,600 (Source: ONS Population estimates)

Size of Enterprises Employment Sizeband


0 to 4


5 to 9


10 to 19


20 to 49


50 to 99


100 to 249


250 to 499


500 to 999







Unemployment in Harlow







5.5% * (Source: ONS business register and employment survey)


Total Number of Enterprises

Percentage change in total enterprises 12%


10% 8%



1500 2550





4% 2% 0%


-2% 0












Great Britain

*(Source: ONS Population estimates)



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Stories Magazine for Harlow and District Chamber of Commerce  

The new magazine produced in association with Harlow District Chamber of Commerce. Mailed to members of the chamber and distributed througho...

Stories Magazine for Harlow and District Chamber of Commerce  

The new magazine produced in association with Harlow District Chamber of Commerce. Mailed to members of the chamber and distributed througho...