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My first job – Shahid Azeem is the managing director of Arcom IT  2 ICT company chief scales the heights  4 Vote now for town with best customer service  5

July 2013 in association with

where is the space for developing businesses ? There is no doubt Guildford is a great incubator town for start-up firms but where do expanding firms move on to? By Tim Harris

Office space for second stage businesses is needed in Guildford.

DEVELOPING businesses in Guildford may not have the room to grow and expand, it has been suggested. Concerns have been raised about the limitations that could hit expanding firms in Guildford by the lack of medium-sized office space for them to move into. It has been put forward that the town is strong as a business incubator but, once thriving companies start to grow, there is nowhere for them to go. Keith Churchouse, chairman of the Guildford Business Forum, expressed his worries and said there is no middle ground between space for small new enterprises and the larger firms who require significant office space. “It is a concern,” he said. “In the Guildford area there is much incubator space for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), who start up as one, two, three man businesses, and look to get their business going. “There seems to be space for that level of new start up, and there are many new start ups in Guildford. “There also seems to be space in Guildford for the large employers.

“But when the young SMEs want to move out to the next phase of 10, 15 or 20 members of staff, there is a lack of space in Guildford. “We need to have space available for after the incubator period to allow these new businesses to thrive to the next level. “It is an area that does need to be addressed. “I am hoping that moving forward we can address the issue to effectively look after the business-

‘When the young SMEs want to move to the next phase, there is a lack of space.’ es that move on from the incubator space to the next phase.” One business that has experienced the issue first hand is legal firm The Partnership, based in Mary Road. Peter Ambrose, director, voiced his exasperation after his firm's attempts to expand in Guildford. He said there is plenty of office space at around the 1,000 square feet size, but suggested finding anything between 2,000 and 5,000 was a struggle, and the next step up was 20,000 square feet. Mr Ambrose said: “There

doesn’t seem to be much in between, there is a massive gap. There is no middle ground for companies to expand into. For a growing company it is a real challenge. “To use our company as an example, we expanded about a year ago and we had eight people. Eight people is fine, but once you get 10 or 11 you find there is a major shortage.” One solution Mr Churchouse suggested would be dividing up ‘vast office space’ into suites which could benefit rising SMEs. He admitted this would ultimately be a decision for the landlords who own the space, as it would need to be profitable and financially viable for them. Mr Churchouse added that if no answer is found, the problem may encourage flourishing firms to find an alternative home to Guildford. “Some SMEs open up a separate office, but not necessarily in Guildford,” he said. “Some go to London for example. “I have seen some move out of the borough which is not a good situation. It is a testament to Guildford businesses that are thriving and wishing to expand and that is good news. “Our ambition is to keep businesses in Guildford and keep them thriving.”

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July 2013

My first job A SUCCESSFUL business improvement company has expanded its operations into Surrey. An event at the University of Surrey on Thursday July 4 marked the launch of Pro-actions Surrey. The company helps business owners, from start-ups to small companies in London and the South East, with plans to expand nationwide in the next three years. Without tying companies into long contracts Pro-actions provides assistance in achieving profitable growth, working in collaboration with the major high street banks, local authorities and a range of professional partners. The launch event included presentations from founder Andy Linnett and area director for Surrey Ted Clarke as well as existing clients. Mr Clarke said: “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to help business owners and partners across the county by leading a new team delivering the proven range of Pro-actions services. "Surrey is a vibrant county with an abundance of businesses and we aim to help all of those that need it”. Pro-actions offers free business briefings aimed at the leaders and managers of small and medium size businesses. Advice is given on subjects including marketing, sales, cash management and time management. The firm was founded in Essex in 2007 and now operate out of London, Essex, Kent, Hertfordshire, Sussex and Surrey. THE South East remains the UK's biggest exporting region after figures revealed exports in the area were worth more than £11 billion at the start of this year. Figures published by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) showed exports were worth £11.057bn to the South East between January and March of this year. BUSINESS confidence in Surrey has fallen in recent months, according to new research. Research carried out by workplace provider Regus has revealed business confidence in Surrey has not only dipped during the last six months, but also lags behind the national average. Six months ago, the Regus Business Confidence Index (BCI) showed Surrey firms to register 103 on the index, compared to an overall UK standing of 94. While confidence in the UK as a whole currently remains unchanged, Surrey firms appear to have taken a step back, registering a BCI of 90. Steve Purdy, UK managing director for Regus, said: “This edition of our confidence index shows a sharp correction in the local figures, with confidence falling back into line with national averages.”

Editorial Director Marnie Wilson Group Deputy Editor Mark Miseldine Business Reporter Tim Harris Commercial Manager Amanda Ducas Regional Sales Manager Sarah Firth


Shahid Azeem is the managing director of Arcom IT What was your first job? When I was 17 I began working life at the Guildford Sheet and Metal Company, cutting metal panels. When I was 18 I got a job as junior data processor at the now defunct Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF), in Guildford. I didn’t know anything about computers at the time, only that they were said to be the future, and that was good enough for me. This is where my passion for computers started and I was also lucky in that my first boss at MAFF, Pete Brayne, who is now chief executive of Guildford YMCA, was tremendously supportive of me. Several businesses later, A+P Computers morphed into Arcom IT.

How did you get from there to where you are today? I am very grateful to the start that Pete gave me, and the faith that he showed in me. I remember the motivational way he talked to me, a young person starting out, and I've tried to help young people along the way ever since. I am involved with a youth charity called Mosaic, set up by Prince Charles. I have always had a strong social conscience and Arcom IT is a Patron company of Mosaic. What has your career so far taught you? I have learned over the years that you should treat people as you would like to be treated yourself, to conduct business with openness and integrity. I am passionate about helping other businesses and to encourage entrepreneurial spirit. I have done a lot of mentoring, particularly in schools and for disadvantaged people. I helped set up the Woking Asian Business Forum and Arcom IT is a supporter of several local charities. What does the future hold? Recently we moved from the

Shahid Azeem, managing director of Arcom IT.

Arcom IT office in Guildford to refurbished offices in Woking, and we are involved with Woking Borough Council in setting up a business incubation scheme. As for the future, I would like to develop this side of our business, working in conjunction with

prestigious partners to help budding entrepreneurs. A long time ago when I was cutting out sheets of metal I didn't know that I could be an entrepreneur, and I want to help young people to achieve their dreams too.

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Younsters at St Thomas of Canterbury School are hooked up.

Green company connects with some young learners A GREEN award-winning company has helped a school in Guildford double its number of computers. Construction group Skanska, which has a base in Woking, recently sent technicians to St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School, in Horseshoe Lane West, to install power and data on 15 new computers. The school had was awarded

the computers by the Olympic Delivery Authority for a nominal fee after London 2012, but could not afford to make them operational. Skanska, which was awarded The Sunday Times Best Green Company Award in 2011, decided to help out, meaning all 30 children in a class at the school can work on their own computer instead of sharing.

“Each child can fully participate in the lesson,” said Vikki Merry, a Year 2 teacher at St Thomas School. “There has been a noticeable improvement in their computer skills already.” Headteacher Kevin Gawley said: “It was very kind of Skanska to arrange for technicians to carry out the cabling and electrical work and without their generous

support we would not have been able to finish the project.” Skanska’s work at St Thomas School was part of the firm's project to provide ‘commitment to young people’. “We are delighted the children can now work from their own computer at St Thomas,” said Becki Taylor, administration and communications manager at Skanska.

July 2013


Brewery set to create more jobs with its expansion plans By Tim Harris NEW jobs will arrive in Surrey as a brewery near Tongham prepares to double in size. The Hogs Back Brewery, at Manor Farm, in The Street, is set to expand as part of a major development of the facility. The brewery has placed an order for four new fermenters, to go with the four 40-barrel fermenters currently on site, plus a large dual purpose vessel. In addition, the Hogs Back Brewery is also ordering more casks and kegs. Rupert Thompson, managing director of the Hogs Back Brewery, confirmed this would create around five to 10 jobs for people in the local area over the next 18 months. “We will be hiring some more people,” he said. “The jobs will be for the local area, I am very keen that as far as possible we are generally hiring local people.

I think this is good news for the local area. “We will be putting some new jobs in the brewery, but the jobs will mainly be in sales and marketing. We are starting to hire people now.” Mr Thompson said the brewery has already appointed a new assistant shop manager, and is currently looking for an assistant brewer. He described this burst in growth as a positive sign for microbreweries around the nation. “I think it is a reassurance to other breweries,” he said. “It is a quite difficult and trying time economically. So we are growing in the face of a tough, tough market. “We have been around for a long time and once you have been around for a long time you have got a lot of experience about what works and what doesn't work. I think it does make a difference. “I am pleased with it. It has taken a lot of work, it has been a lot of

work to get there and it doesn’t happen overnight.” The new equipment will be funded as part of a £400,000 expansion programme at the Hogs Back Brewery. This will also include work done to the brewery building to accommodate the new vessels, building a new visitors’ facility, improvements to the Hogs Back Brewery shop, and also the website. Mr Thompson said: “I hope we will keep expanding and brewing. We have got plans for the future.” He revealed the expansion is partly a result of plans to launch a new lager that is currently being brewed. Mr Thompson said he could not divulge any more information about this at the current time. Another reason for the expansion, described Mr Thompson, was the brewery’s wider reach supplying its ales to supermarkets. Building work at the Hogs Back Brewery will start in two to three week’s time, which will mark the beginning of at least six months’ work. Mr Thompson admitted this will cause some disruption at the brewery, as installing the new vessels will involved knocking through walls, and in one case, lifting the roof off. The Hogs Back Brewery will also celebrate its 21st birthday tomorrow (Saturday), with a special party at the brewery.

MD Rupert Thompson and staff. (Ref: AN134139_6)

eCommerce conference back for 2013

Vail Williams in Guildford celebrates its 25th birthday.

Double celebrations at Vail Williams A PROPERTY firm in Guildford has marked a double anniversary with a pledge to help the community through a new initiative. Vail Williams, in Station View, has celebrated its 25th birthday as a company, while also reaching 10 years of being in Guildford. The firm has commemorated the occasion with an initiative called Leaving a Legacy – building a future, which aims to make a difference to the community and inspire its employees. This will involve stepping up its fundraising activities for nominated charities, increasing efforts to

develop staff, and investing in projects such as mentoring for future generations. The Legacy initiative will enable the team to make charitable donations to staff-nominated local causes, such as Guildford mental health charity Oakleaf Enterprise. Staff will make a weekly contribution in return for taking part in ‘dress-down Fridays’, while their efforts will be met with a donation from the central Legacy fund, specifically allocated for this purpose. Ian Rudland, partner and chief executive at Vail, said: “Our Legacy initiative is designed to recognise

both our 25-year heritage and to reflect our commitment to the future by benefitting the communities. Legacy provides a real focus for us all to give something back. We are all proud of our history and standing in the property industry, and want to mark this milestone achievement in a truly significant way.” Vail also announced new appointments, including graduate Emily Knowles, who will work with the valuation team, together with Chris Fairchild and John McNally, graduate planner and senior planner respectively.

A BUSINESS online networking conference will return this year, after it was held for the first time in 2012. The BIG eCommerce Conference will return to Surrey in September following 'huge success' from last year and will be hosted at the H G Wells Centre in Woking town centre. The inaugural 2012 event saw more than 100 delegates attend to hear from 15 speakers, which included Thomas Power, from networking group Ecademy, who will once again compère and chair proceedings. The BIG eCommerce Conference 2013 is expected to attract established companies already trading on the internet, to start-ups keen to enter the virtual retail market. The conference has been organised by Surrey-based digital media business b:web. Zoe Brown, managing director of b:web, said: “The feedback from last year’s event was fantastic which is why we have chosen to run another this year with completely fresh content. “The online world moves at a rapid pace, and much has happened over the past 12 months which we will cover in the form of seminars, workshops and guest speaker presentations. “For those who attended the

Thomas Power and Zoe Brown. Picture: Ian Olsson

2012 conference to increase their skill set, there is much more to learn in 2013.” The conference will include topics such as mobiles, conversions, the user experience, return on investment (ROI) and social media. It will feature case studies from companies that have actively embraced the ecommerce world. One guest speaker at the conference will be Louise Punter, chief executive of Surrey Chambers of Commerce.

“The BIG eCommerce Conference is a fantastic initiative from b:web, helping businesses locally to make the most of digital marketing,” she said. “We are delighted to be sponsors and hope to improve our own techniques in the process.” The BIG eCommerce Conference 2013 starts at 8.30am on September 27. For further information and £50 early bird tickets visit the website www.thebigecommerce


July 2013

ICT company chief enjoys scaling the heights Guildford entrepreneur Kate Craig-Wood talks to Rebecca Younger about the future of cloud computing and how becoming a woman helped her conquer the business world ELEVEN years ago Kate CraigWood set up Memset from a room above her mum’s garage in Guildford. Since then the cloud computing company has grown to become one of the UK’s most successful internet hosting providers, has won numerous accolades and Kate has been hailed as one of the most influential people in British ICT. “In the first few years we grew very aggressively. Since then our growth rate has slowed, but we are on target to achieve £4.2m turnover this year – not bad, having started the company with £3,000 above my mum’s garage,” said Kate. “I bought a laptop and some Google AdWords and bootstrapped business that way, got customers to pay in advance, and it snowballed from there.” Kate’s entrepreneurial skills have been key to her achieving success in the world of business, but there is one other aspect of her life that she says has made a huge impact on her career. Up until eight years ago Kate was a man called Robert. Kate decided to have gender reassignment in 2005 after her desire to become a woman left her feeling suicidal. The transition involved around 25 hours of surgery in Thailand, Britain and the US,

but Kate said it was worth it as she believes it has enabled her to better achieve her goals. “I’ve always had a female brain, but I was brought up and socialised as a boy, and that I think has given me an advantage in business, because I’m something that you don’t tend to see much of,” said Kate, who went to Guildford’s Royal Grammar School and Southampton University. “I’ve got the usual, somewhat more feminine skills but I was brought up to be confident and analytical and, whereas my sister was encouraged towards art and literature, I was encouraged towards business and science.” Memset was the country’s first carbon-neutral internet service provider and recently won a G-Cloud Framework agreement for the delivery of cloud services to government. Kate has also just joined the steering board of the European Cloud Partnership, which aims to overcome the barriers for cloud computing adoption within the public sector. “This is an area that I have been passionately championing since my involvement with the UK’s G-Cloud Project,” she said. “The G-Cloud strategy claims that it could save the government £3.2bn of its annual £16bn ICT

budget. However I believe that the government should actually be aiming for a 70% to 80% savings on their ICT spend from the G-Cloud. “If done properly, G-Cloud has the potential to be saving the government £12bn per year by 2020.” It’s ideas like this that have led to Memset being held in high regard within the national and international IT market – it has retained PC Pro's Best Web Host for seven consecutive years. However, Kate said she regards an award she was given here in Surrey as one of her greatest achievements. “On a personal level, being named Business Personality of the Year at the Toast of Surrey Business Awards in 2011 was one of my proudest achievements, having gained the support and endorsement from my local peers,” she said. “I surprised myself at how rapidly I climbed to modest celebrity within the IT sphere – but I think it came not from me being aggressive, but me being outspoken and having faith that I have something to contribute. “I think having an opinion and sticking to it and believing it and sharing it is something that doesn’t necessarily come naturally to women.”

Kate Craig-Wood MD of Memset. Picture: Tom Stockill.

New managing partner rides in at TWM solicitors A SOLICITORS firm in Guildford has appointed a new managing partner, who is excited to take on the challenge. TWM Solicitors, based in Woodbridge Road, recently confirmed Matthew Truelove as the new managing partner of the firm. Forty-five year-old commercial property lawyer Matthew has worked at TWM for more than 20 years, and described feeling positive about his new role. “I am hugely excited,” he said. “It is obviously going to be a challenge and it will be a fun one. “It is a period of great change in

‘Petrol head’ Mr Truelove in action on the track.

the legal services field at the moment. “My role will very much be guiding the ship. “It is evolution, not revolution; all partners have a say in the management of the firm.” Matthew takes up the position from Patrick Stewart - who is stepping down after 10 years – and Matthew commended the work of

his predecessor. He said: “To have been elected to be Patrick’s successor is a big job, and it is a great privilege to be asked to do it – I feel very honoured.” While the firm’s roots can be traced right back to the 1790s, TWM was created by a merger of three practices back in the Millennium, and is a full-service

law firm with 20 partners and more than 150 staff operating from six offices across Surrey. Matthew has lived in Guildford for 13 years and Surrey for 20. He has three teenage children, 18-year-old Alexander, Rachel, 17, and Josephine, who is 15. In his spare time he says he is a ‘serious petrol head’, racing cars and motorbikes. He has completed 10 24hour races in England and Germany. Matthew starts his new role on August 1, which will mark the beginning of a three-year term in office, at least. He said: “The plan is very much ‘steady as she goes’. We have been going for 200 years, and we plan to go another 200 years. “My plan is to build on what we have already achieved, adapt and change to the new legal marketplace, and continue to go from strength to strength in delivering the very best in client service and value at all times.” For enquiries, contact matthew.

Sponsor’s feature

Matthew Truelove succeeds Patrick Stewart as managing partner.

July 2013

Vote now for firm with best customer service By Tim Harris A RANGE of new customer service awards that recognise companies in Guildford has been launched. Experience Guildford Business Improvement District and the Surrey Advertiser have teamed up to create the Customer Service Excellence Awards, with voting set to begin today (Friday). Experience Guildford explained that Guildford town centre boasts a variety of shops, restaurants, bars and leisure venues offering choice to visitors, residents and workers in the town. In recognition of this diversity, people now have the chance to vote for their favourite shop, eatery and venue. Amanda Masters, general manager of Experience Guildford, explained why customer service is crucial for the buoyancy of town centre economies.

Time to vote for the Guildford business with the best customer service. (Ref: SA127930x_1)

She said: “Most towns have a strong retail offering and a choice of places to eat. “Fewer have the right mix of independent retailers, beautiful surroundings and unique eateries topped off with a friendly welcom-

ing atmosphere. That’s what we have in Guildford. “We are so lucky to have a town on our doorstep that blends the big chains with smaller independents and where you feel like your custom is genuinely appreciated.

“That is why we want people to vote for their favourite customer service experience. It isn’t just what you’ve got but what you do with it that counts.” The voting for customer service excellence in an independent and national/chain company will be split across three categories: shopping, food and drink and lifestyle and leisure. To cast your vote, visit www. or www. and one lucky person drawn out will win £500 to spend in the town. “People are so passionate about buying local,” said Ms Masters. “I think these awards are a great way to spread the word far and wide that not only is Guildford open for business but all are welcome and will want to return soon.” Voting is open until Monday September 2.

Exhibition invites community to help shape future of towns RESIDENTS and business communities in Guildford and Woking have been urged to have their say on redevelopment that could shape the future of their towns. Guildford and Woking are blighted by housing and traffic problems, and people in both towns have been encouraged to get involved with planning for the future. An exhibition entitled Little Town, Now What? was held recently at The Lightbox, in Woking, highlighting urban development and challenges in the county. Little Town, Now What? was curated by Guildford architect Anna Hummel and was sponsored by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) East and West Surrey branches. The exhibition, which was open to the public, focused on the theme of urban intervention and town development in light of many towns facing the prospect of new expansion. A variety of architect firms took part, suggesting changes to the design of single pieces of street furniture and urban buildings through to the masterplanning and regeneration of town centre areas. Ms Hummel flagged up current flaws within Guildford and Woking’s infrastructure, naming housing and traffic as the two key issues. “The challenges are enormous, we are in a new era of expansion,” she said. “I think housing is very necessary in the Surrey area, we have got a huge housing shortage. I think the exhibition showed some of the work that is being done to address that. “We also need a lot of space for traffic. That is really coming to a


Coaches Andy Webb, left, and Trev Porter celebrate 30 years of their training classes.

Long-running training class remains fit at thirty TWO friends and keen sportsmen have celebrated the 30th birthday of their Guildford fitness class, which is still thriving and in great shape. Andy Webb and Trev Porter celebrated the milestone anniversary of their circuit training fitness class after launching it in the early 1980s. The pair began the classes on June 16 1983 at the old Guildford Sports Centre, in Bedford Road. Today they meet at Guildford Spectrum, in Parkway and the class has run at the venue since it opened in 1993. Andy and Trev reminisced about their 30-year association with the fitness classes.

“So many people have attended the classes over the years, including international sportsmen and women,” said Andy. “We have also trained sports people who play in various local teams competing in a variety of sports, or those who just wish to maintain a level of fitness. “We have also managed to bring together at least two couples that have met at our classes and subsequently married.” A few of the current regulars have been attending Andy and Trev’s class for nearly 20 years and in one case, more than 25. Trev said: “We have had so much fun and made so many lasting friendships over the years.”

McLaren boss lends a ‘hand’ at opening

Michael and Frances Edwards view housing plans at the Little Town, Now What? exhibition. Pictures: Terry Habgood. (Ref: WK133944_9)

head now – population growth and traffic growth come together. “There are very difficult challenges facing everybody. These challenges are very present in Guildford and Woking.” Ms Hummel added it was vital for local interest in Guildford and Woking to become involved with the future of their towns. She said: “I think it would be great for the public to take more interest in their buildings and improvement. The people who live in the neighbourhood understand the growth better than anybody. “They can really make their voices heard. Together with local groups their voices will be strong and a willingness to get involved with what we are building will make it better. “We need to accept the chall-

enges and all the different problems, they won’t go away. “We need to look very positively at the issues to get the best possible outcome.” Laith Anayi, chairman of RIBA East and West Surrey branches, and director of Stedman Blower Architects praised the event. “Anna Hummel pulled together a very well curated and considered exhibition,” he said. “The diversity of the projects in both scope and approach is a credit to the profession and to Anna’s tenacious attitude to getting it done. “To see how each practice interrogated the problem of dealing with built environment and to see their solutions displayed in one place is a wonderful thing to behold. “As an architect I left inspired.”

Anna Hummel, Laith Anayi and Laura Caines. (Ref: WK133944_9)

A NEW high-tech engineering facility in Woking received a boost from a motorsport supremo at its official opening. Originally based in Winton Lea Industrial Estate, the engineering firm Semmco has moved to Goldsworth Park Industrial Estate to enable increased production for international clients. And its new facility was opened by Ron Dennis CBE, chairman of McLaren Automotive and McLaren Group. The decision to stay in Woking means experienced staff can be retained and the firm remains close to the M25. Semmco’s production output has doubled in the past three years and its clients include First Scot Rail, East Midland Trains, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa and Qantas. Stuart McOnie, managing director of Semmco Ltd, said: “The new facility will help assist Semmco’s growth, particularly in the export market, which is set to represent 30% of company turnover in the coming years. “Although small in comparison to the McLaren Group, our philosophy is the same – innovation, creativity and a commitment to excellence. With financial backing from a local bank and continued support from loyal staff, the future

McLaren’s Ron Dennis CBE, right, with Semmco’s Stuart McOnie. Picture: Grahame Larter. (Ref: WK133679_6)

of Semmco is bright and the best of British manufacturing is guaranteed.” The 13,000sq ft engineering facility marks a milestone in the 21-year history of Semmco. The company was founded with two employees in 1993 and has since grown to 29 employees. Mr Dennis said: “In life there are many times when a helping hand can do so much. I am here today at Semmco to give a helping hand. It is with great pleasure that I officially open this facility and I wish Stuart and his team every great success in the future.”


July 2013

Connecting with employment Surrey Connects aims to double the county’s economy to £52bn by 2030 by facilitating and leading activities that embed sustainability into businesses to enable them to weather economic storms in the long term.

Unemployment figures in the county are falling.








5000 4000

20.2% 2,110



Fig 1 percentages denote the ratio of all Surrey residents of working age who claim JSA. Fig 2 shows the percentage of all Surrey claimants (as seen in Fig 1) who do so for 6 months or more. Fig 3 percentages denote the ratio of residents of working age in each Surrey district/borough who claim JSA.


May 2013

Percentages denote the ratio of all claimants in that given data range who are aged 24 or under.





14.7% 620

May 2012

May 2013

% 3 2.

Data source: Nomis Courtesy of Surrey Connects


Fig 3




3.7 %




May 2012

Finally, the Surrey Connects Economic Prospects revealed which boroughs and districts in Surrey have the highest levels of people claiming JSA last month. The figures show that Spelthorne had the highest percentage of residents at the working age claiming JSA, at 1.9%. After this came Reigate & Banstead with 1.7% and then Tandridge with 1.6%. The area which had the smallest percentage of working age residents claiming JSA was Waverley at 1.2%, followed by Elmbridge and Mole Valley, both at 1.3%. The percentage of working age people in Guildford claiming JSA was 1.4%.


The proportion of claimants aged 24 and under is currently showing a downward trend across the county




and Berkshire (2.2%).” The Surrey Connects Economic Prospects also served up good news on the county's youth unemployment front, as less people aged 24 and under appear to be claiming JSA. The number of JSA claimants aged 24 and under in May stood at 2,110, compared to the 2,220 the month before, a drop of more than 100. In addition to this, this figure has also fallen in the last 12 months, revealing annual improvement in Surrey. In May 2012 there was 2,785 JSA claimants aged 24 and under, which represents a 675 person decrease at the same point this year.

The figures show a drop in people claiming for longer than six months, however because the overall number of claimants, shown left, has fallen by so much this is recorded as a proportional rise.




You’re hired: less people are claiming JSA in Surrey.

Fig 2



MATTERS could be improving for Surrey's economy according to the Surrey Connects Surrey Economic Prospects, released at the end of June. The prospects suggest that unemployment has fallen in Surrey in the last month with the data revealing the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) benefit has dropped. The number of Surrey claimants in May stood at 10,557, a drop of more than 350 from the month before, when the figure stood at 10,920. In March the figure was higher again, at 11,508. In addition to this, the Surrey JSA claimant figure for last month represents an annual decrease in those claiming the benefit. In May 2012 as many as 12,037 people were claiming JSA in Surrey, nearly 1,500 more than the number last month. The Surrey Connects Economic Prospects report read: “The most up-to-date way of measuring unemployment is by using JSA claimant data. “Surrey’s claimant count rate (1.5% of residents at working age) continues to be low relative to the South East (2.3%), England (3.6%) and the UK (3.7%). “It also remains low relative to economic comparators: Oxfordshire (1.5%), Buckinghamshire (1.8%), Cambridgeshire (1.9%)





Fig 1



By Tim Harris


1.5 %

































July 2013

Investment watch

Keeping an eye on the markets

Market rattled as US signals end of stimulus By Philip Scott

Head of Advisory Stockbroking at Simple Investments Current Overview Downward pressure has continued on share prices for much of the last month. Most sectors have now been implicated as investors continue to fret and focus on the knock-on effects of the US central bank removing all stimulus possibly by the summer of next year. A big sell-off in the US Bond market has given rise to a sell-off in equities as risk appetite has reduced; investors are now able to achieve a higher yield buying into shares as risk is perceived to be higher. Further fuelling the downside has been continuing evidence of a slowdown in China, coupled with tighter credit policy aimed at mitigating the potential negative impact of so-called off balance sheet “shadow banking” practices. Declining emerging markets have been very much a feature over the past month providing a useful reminder of the risk (reward) of these regions. Has an opportunity now been created for investment after this correction? I would argue that it has. When the dust settles and investors focus more on the improving economic fundamentals in

particular of the US and now of the UK, I see scope for a decent recovery in the second half of the year. I also continue to believe in the medium to longer term forward potential of China where shares are now trading at very low valuations and I do not see slowing growth as a reason to not invest. I have continued to add selectively to underperforming mining stocks which offer strong ‘total return’ potential (dividends and growth) and Chinese Investment Trusts where discounts to NAV (Net Asset Value) have widened. An investment trust provides a diversified and actively managed portfolio of stocks from one geographic region or sector. There is a risk that macroeconomic progress falters, which would potentially jeopardise my prediction for a better second half of the year. If weaker than expected data does present itself, this will likely mean stimulus will continue and the market may still go higher! I can see upside potential for equities from current levels (arguably) irrespective of how global progress unfolds. Gold has been a well documented big loser of the recently announced possibility of the withdrawal of QE. For whatever reason(s) experts believe gold is bought or sold, it seems clear to

me that its pricing is subject to a variety of conflicting and unclear forces. Metal prices (in general) have fallen a long way over the past few months, largely due to demand factors but a strengthening dollar (on the back of less QE and an improving outlook for the US) is exacerbating the downside pressure. My suspicion is gold has had its shiniest period and with no yield attached to an investment here, this is now a zone for punters as opposed to investors. As for it being a safe haven and/or an inflation hedge, I remain sceptical. Market Specific Comment I have been sticking with my contrarian accumulation of certain mining companies despite ongoing uncertainty and downward pointing charts. There is much chat regarding the now end of the 10-year mining boom, but I still see real reason to stick with the big players who have the scale to manage tricky periods. Costs at these businesses are now back under control and I struggle to believe that Chinese urbanisation is going to significantly slow. Some of these companies now offer utility like dividend yields which for me provides a very handy addition to the potential returns going forward. I am eyeing the likes of Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.

UK Construction is another sector I have been investing in further to a period of significant underperformance. Difficult low margin market conditions are slowly being replaced with decent indications of UK economic improvement. There is, in my view, some real value lurking in this space. Balfour Beatty has been busy dealing with some contract specific issues and yields over 6% at 225p. Carillion (at 275p) has similar characteristics and Costain also looks attractively priced for future gains. Their recent trading update was reassuring and the support of UK infrastructure remains firmly on the government’s agenda. Standard Chartered Bank (1460p) has been hit heavily due to the double whammy of it being both a share (!) and emerging markets focused. Well capitalised and now offering a secure 4.5% dividend yield and on under 10 times next year’s expected earnings, this rates attractive in my view. The company recently confirmed it is in line with expectations for the year and operating in growth markets, when sentiment turns to the better, I would expect to see this trading higher. This report was written by Philip Scott, Head of Advisory Stockbroking at Simple Investments on July 2 2013 when the FTSE 100 was trading at 6300.

Campaign to serve up success will stop thread-bare marketing BUSINESSES in Woking have sunk their teeth into a campaign to help food and drink establishments in the town flourish. A month on from the launch of Woking Borough Council’s Serving Up Success campaign, progress has been made from the initial networking events. The campaign aims to help food and drink establishments improve their presence online, using social media as a marketing tool. Serving Up Success was developed in partnership with Woking Asian Business Forum, Woking Chambers of Commerce and Guildford College Group. Businesses in the town attended the inaugural session when the campaign launched on June 3, where they gathered to share industry information, listen to speakers and receive feedback on business issues. The initial workshop also looked at the benefits of social networking. “Feedback was very good and there was interest in continuing the Serving Up Success network,” said Matt Peachey, economic development manager at Woking Borough Council. “We had about 15 or 20 businesses come along to the first session, it was the start of the process. The first session went very well but

Woking Borough Council’s Sam Marshall, The Sovereign pub franchisees Chris and Lucy Kelly, Matt Peachey of WBC and Louise Punter of Surrey Chambers of Commerce all access their mobile gadgets to promote the use of social media. Picture: Grahame Larter. (Ref: WK132797_1)

we need to keep it going now and keep that momentum going. “The campaign is very much about the businesses telling us what they want to do. We are keen to engage with the businesses that we have currently got in Woking. We want to work with our businesses to help them grow. “Out aim is to grow the evening economy offered in Woking, particularly by improving the restaurants. Ultimately, we are just trying to support the growth of the local economy.” Louise Punter, chief executive

of Surrey Chambers of Commerce, described the Serving Up Success campaign as ‘powerful’ because it encourages the businesses themselves to share their views. She said: “I think there is so much to be gained by just networking with similar types of organisations, hearing from the experts and then other people’s reactions to them. “The support from the council is really, really good. I think businesses appreciate that the council is trying to add support where it is needed.

“I do think we will see a positive effect on businesses in Woking from the campaign. “I am absolutely sure it will make a difference.” The next Serving Up Success workshops will be held in September, although a date is yet to be confirmed. These sessions will look at improving websites and search engine optimisation (SEO). The campaign will run for an initial pilot year but if demand is high, it could be extended into coming years.

Philip Scott of Simple Investments.

Award-winner Michelle could be hot property A UNIVERSITY of Surrey student has been named one of the top property students in the country, in a national property industry competition. Michelle Hicks, who studies civil engineering at the university, based in Guildford, has taken one of the top awards for the South East region in the Association of Women in Property (WiP) National Student Awards. Michelle said: “I was really pleased to be put forward for this award by my tutor and I am incredibly happy to have won. “I know how tough the competition was so I am thrilled that the judges chose me for one of the top prizes.” The competition’s judges described Michelle as ‘high calibre in terms of her skills, experience and knowledge as well as her interpersonal skills and awareness’. Michelle will now go on to represent the region at the national final, which takes place in London on September 17. Lindsay Morgan, chairman of WiP’s South East branch and head of real estate at Norton Rose Fulbright LLP, congratulated Michelle on her accolade. She said: “This is a great achievement for Michelle. The judging process puts the entrants through their paces in what might be their very first ‘business’ interview but the feedback they receive, the skills they acquire and the

Michelle Hicks.

visibility they receive from this award will be invaluable in helping to establish their early careers. “I wish Michelle every success in the national final but, whatever the outcome, she is a winner already.” Through receiving the award Michelle wins a trophy and £300, ongoing support from the WiP network and an opportunity for work experience and participation in the WiP mentoring programme. The National Student Awards is now in its seventh year. They are open to female second-year students studying a built environment degree course, and they must be nominated by their university.


July 2013 Sponsor’s feature

Cut cyber crime worries – get specific with internet policy needs

To ensure total enforcement of your internet policies, this practical guide by James Taylor of Arcom IT’s distributor for WatchGuard’s XTM series, Wick Hill, provides all the answers Sam Hawkins.

Sam joins the team Sam Hawkins, 28, has recently joined Arcom IT’s support team having previously worked for a firm of solicitors in Guildford, providing IT support. Sam holds Microsoft accreditations, which he says helps him deal with the variety of support issues that arise on a daily basis. With the varied technology that Arcom IT implement and support, every day is different, which Sam says makes Arcom ‘a great place to work’, and helps enhance his skills. Sam enjoys watching all sports, especially football, being an avid Woking FC supporter. He also enjoys a relaxing round of golf when not spending time with his family.

As soon as we mention the word policy we immediately think of verbose governmental gobbledygook, enough to give anyone a headache. However, if we break down all the component parts on an ‘internet policy’, they really are bite-size and easy to understand. Once we are properly equipped with what is needed, we are quickly able to build a policy that is fit for our business and, if done sufficiently well, are then able to interpret your written requirements into a proactive computer policy on to your Firewall. STEP 1 Why do you have a connection to the Internet? Going back to basics is essential in building a robust policy. The response ‘we need it for business’ is just not sufficient; we require as much detail from you as possible. The more specific you can make

The design and implementation of a robust IT infrastructure is critical to an organisation’s success. As such, choosing the right technology partner is an important first step towards ensuring that your IT infrastructure meets your core business objectives. In the last ten years, the role of professional technology consultants has changed from simply supplying and installing products, to support business growth through tailored solutions. Since 1998, our team of experts has fully embraced this changing role, and has successfully delivered sustainable IT solutions to organisations all across the UK’s South East business community. At Arcom IT our highly trained team can design and implement a reliable and secure IT infrastructure that is capable of evolving with your ever-changing needs, and can then support these powerful solutions with an unrivalled service that will give you the peace of mind that you deserve. Simply contact us to find out how we can help address your particular technology requirements right now.

your response the better. STEP 2 Who needs the Internet? By understanding the tasks that need to run we can very quickly identify which employees are charged with completing those tasks. Is it only senior management and the external sales force that needs remote access to identified services? By properly understanding the ‘why’ and the ‘who’ we make significant strides into those key benefits identified in the introduction. Business critical applications get prioritised; granting access to only those that need them will enhance productivity and, not surprisingly, we automatically improve our security position by reducing our exposure. STEP 3 Harden Your Internet Acceptable Usage Policy Acceptable Usage Policies have nothing to do with trust. All we are

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looking to do is ensure our web access is kept clutter free of nonbusiness traffic; by association we have the added bonus of making sure our employees’ minds are kept clutter free of distraction. If we allow access to the Internet for personal purposes, set the time-frames for the non-working hours to make certain we protect the business. Today, we are able to get highly granular in the policies we can set. Where previously we granted a straight yes/no access policy to social networking sites or even Facebook as a unique site, we are now able to control various applications within that specific site – maybe my new policy states we can use Facebook so we can read our messages – but that’s it. No chat, no gaming, no posting etc. The benefits to our business are two-fold. Firstly, the anecdotal feedback from a number of organisations that deploy this kind of discipline is Facebook browsing time has been significantly reduced; their staff are more productive, the business is more efficient and secure. Secondly, the vast majority of malicious code is delivered via active content over the internet, so by limiting and controlling this active content you mitigate your

A well-designed internet policy will keep your system secure.

security risk. With cyber crime on the increase and moving swiftly into SMB, this market is the one that is confidently stating ‘it’ll never happen to me’ – therefore the hacker knows the guard is down. With the bottom falling out of the black market for

personal details such as credit cards, national insurance numbers etc, the hackers now need to find new revenue streams. Banks, e-retailers and online betting houses have tough defences; it is far simpler to tackle the unaware and those companies in denial.

Arcom has implemented a whole new IT system for JetAir.

Arcom takes to the skies JetAir is a successful aircraft charter company, providing helicopter, private jet, commuter and commercial aircraft charter services to corporate, leisure, sport and event management clients. The firm has offices at Gatwick Airport and in Algeria. Three years ago JetAir appointed Arcom IT as its technology support company. Since then Arcom IT has become an important part of

JetAir’s IT strategy and helped the company completely revamp and update its technology infrastructure. With JetAir operating across international boundaries it needed to renew IT systems, and Arcom IT has played an integral part in this process. From assisting with specifications to installation, which has involved several trips to Algeria, Arcom has implemented a whole

new IT system for JetAir. Malcolm Norris, from JetAir Travel Logistics, said: “During the past two years we have updated our IT infrastructure to become more robust, and to future proof our business. “Arcom IT has been a reliable technology partner for us. “The advice given is always expert and impartial, and we value the service which we have received.”

Business News Extra July 2013  

The latest edition of Business News Extra.

Business News Extra July 2013  

The latest edition of Business News Extra.