A team of angels to encourage new ideas 3 Chipping away at a biomass solution 5 If music be your food of love, read on 6 Toast of Surrey looks for cream of crop 8
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IT problems? find a nerd Not everyone has embraced the IT revolution and, for some, fixing problems with communication or computer hardware is an issue... but help is at hand. Two teenagers have come up with a solution to match IT ‘nerds’ with those who need assistance. By Pete Bryant
firstname.lastname@example.org TWO Godalming students are on the hunt for ‘nerds’ to help them establish a business that will provide a service to the provider as much as it will the consumer. Theo Puddephatt and Red Covacic, who attend Godalming College, are keen to connect people struggling with computer and technology issues with those to whom the problems are a doddle, using their business Find a Nerd. The 16-year-olds are in particular targeting commonly encountered problems such as slow-running computers and laptops, and cracked smartphone screens. Theo said: “There are so many people in this country who are very intelligent and have great jobs but are hopeless with computers. They need someone who can tell them in plain English what is wrong. “There are also a lot of people with technical skills and we want to link them with these people.” The service, currently being provided on a small scale by the two friends alone, offers customers either an over-the-phone diagnosis, a visit, or a upgrade and repair option. The pair’s motive behind the business is not only to make the experience of using computers easier for those less adept, but also to encourage people to prolong
Red Civacic and Theo Puddephatt run Find a Nerd.
the life of their technology by seeking to repair rather than replace them. “Lots of people don’t really know you can fix smartphone screens when they crack, and on most phones it is beyond what people are generally prepared to delve into. “I have fixed iPhone screens for people and also laptops which have begun running very slowly
“There are so many people in this country who are very intelligent and have great jobs but are hopeless with computers. “There are also a lot of people with technical skills and we want to link them with these people.” over a period of time. “We want to get it across to people that for a small cost you can hold onto your product for a long time, and stop things like computers having to go to landfill.” The teenagers said they were able to replace the screen on an iPhone for around £50, representing a huge saving on buying a new
handset, some of which cost up to £700. Despite their relatively young age, Theo and Red have found themselves churning out business concepts, having started up a croissant delivery and a recycling collection service as 12-year-olds. The new Find a Nerd business could eventually see consumers pay a monthly fee for ongoing support as and when they need it, but for now the two friends are offering solutions on a ‘pay as you go’ basis. Guildford and Godalming are currently the focus of the service, but this is planned to be expanded as resources grow to establish a network of ‘nerds’ across the south east. They brushed off the suggestion that they might overload themselves as they try to juggle academic studies with customer service, saying that the time commitment was below the suggested workload outside of college hours. “We are both ideas people so turning ideas into products is our thing,” said Red. “When we have more orders we plan to approach the University of Surrey and also people who are retired who want something to do and need a source of income. “Then we will explore how we might be able to make more money out of the idea. But for now we just want to build up our client base and help nerds to find work.”
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My first job STAFF at a Surrey IT support company which project manages companies’ office moves got to practice what they preach, when they moved into larger office space themselves. Waytime recently relocated into a new office close to their Leatherhead premises, which offers them three times the space for dealing with customers and testing computers. The team’s experience in advising clients in their moves meant its own was a smooth operation, with many of the typical hurdles avoided thanks to forward planning and anticipation. A common problem experienced by companies which have completed office moves is a delay in getting internet and phone lines up and running again. However, plans were put in place early, and suppliers contacted, to ensure that email contact with Waytime’s customers were not disrupted. The extra space has allowed the team to create a new build area in which to carry out server scenarios for customers as well as offering a better working environment for staff. Waytime director Liz Turner said past experience had proved invaluable when completing the move. “It meant we knew the procedures, particularly with internet and phone connections,” she said. “Physically unplugging everything is quite straight forward but you have to make sure it all works again at the other end. “The main challenges are keeping all the threads together. If people have lease equipment then there are more suppliers to contact, and we are able to take on all these tasks.”
Charlie Davies, co-founder of iGeolise, the Guildford company behind Travel Time software that converts distance into time.
What was your first job? I started out doing computer repairs at my parents’ house. I used to travel around on a bike fixing them for people. I’ve never had a job technically, but I’ve created jobs for myself. How did you get from there to where you are today? I met people in the area and that rapidly led to website development so I started doing work for a local website design and development company – generally everything technology based. At this point I was 16. I went off to university thinking I would never work in technology again. I was studying philosophy and politics in Cardiff and I wanted to develop my understanding of why things happen
rather than just accepting that they do happen. However when I graduated I started a small company called iForest doing more web design and did everything that was available. Then I had the idea for
iGeolise. I knew from a young age that I didn’t want to work for anyone else and always wanted to run my own business. I ran the company out of my parents’ loft and co-founder of the business Peter Lilley’s house. We got some investment last year and moved
into Surrey Research Park, where we are today. What does the future hold? We’re commercialising. Now we’re selling, we want to take the product to different markets and different countries.
APPRENTICES in Surrey have had a good month, kicked off with a free breakfast event at Epsom Downs Racecourse. The event was aimed at encouraging businesses to try the apprenticeship process and founder of Chapters Financial Keith Churchouse spoke positively about his own apprentice Jack Bishop, who was taken on at the start of the year. He commended Jack for his attitude and contribution and emphasised the satisfaction he felt in helping a young person take their first step onto the employment ladder. A delegate from Godalming-based IT company ramsac was invited to speak at a conference on the shortage of IT-qualified school-leavers and how apprenticeships can offer benefits to young trainees and the companies training them. ramsac has been offering its own apprenticeship scheme for the last three years, which often leads to full-time roles being offered. Commercial director Dan May said: “Debate rages over how much the IT industry and the channel should be involved in the education system, but the hard fact is that IT touches all our lives and it’s essential that the UK stays at the forefront of the IT revolution if we are to compete with other economies.”
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Artist and designer Jacqueline Smith offers creative solutions.
Imaginative solutions from an artist and mother A MOTHER with a background as an artist and designer is putting her skills to good use as she attempts to establish a business offering creative solutions to photograph editing needs. Jacqueline Smith, who is operating her business Imagenique from her Godalming home, offers a photograph restoration service giving people the option to airbrush out irritating imperfections from their treasured images. Her experience of using editing software has made her a dab hand at the often painstaking process of airbrushing and altering photographs for a range of clients. In the short time since setting
up the business in September this year, the mother of two has worked on projects for a Simple Minds fan who wanted some original artwork inspired by their favourite band as well as a tourist who had taken a photograph of the Rialto Bridge in Venice but had decided they did not like the flag on it. “I had to study lots of different images of the bridge to make sure that once the flag had gone the structure made sense,” she said. “It seems the bridge almost always has a flag on it, but I got there in the end. “I think that is what sets me apart from the competition – I
have the artist’s eye. I offer a creative service as well, rather than just knowing the tricks of the trade.” Jacquline has also worked for estate agents and owners of holiday homes who wish to advertise their properties. She was quick to point out, however, that she was not in the business of creating false images that could be used to lie to customers. “Estate agents have to be very careful about that,” she said. “Sometimes people will leave the washing line up, or may have taken a photo on a cloudy day. “I can brighten the photos up
or if there is a car parked that is obstructing the property I can take it away.” Another side of the business is creating digital murals and canvas wall art for people’s homes, for which Jacqueline can draw upon her experience including having appeared on ITV’s Doing It Up as chief interior designer and artist. She added: “I’m setting up this business at quite a penultimate time in my life, having given up my previous job to have my children. It can be scary and also exciting, but I am happier when I am creative.” Visit www.imagenique.co.uk for more information.
A team of angels set to encourage new ideas
Fresh and exciting business ideas with the potential to turn into multi-million-pound businesses are being nurtured in Surrey, but how do you impress in a pitch of just ten minutes? With help from the experts By Pete Bryant
firstname.lastname@example.org REACTION in the first few seconds after an investment pitch can often indicate whether or not the idea will fly, and yet the preparation for this moment begins more than a month earlier. At Surrey 100 Club’s angel investment meetings, the business men and women behind groundbreaking and profit-making concepts have ten minutes to impress an audience of investors enough to attract financial support. Those hoping to be next to face the investors at the University of Surrey are first put through a free crash course in pitching to ensure they are equipped to leave the investors spellbound. Unlike BBC’s Dragon’s Den, where bumbling and fumbling characters are part of the show’s
appeal, SETsquared Surrey incubation director Sarah De’Lacy, entrepreneur in residence Ben Partridge and administration officer Joan Moore pride themselves on producing attractive pitches to bring development into Surrey Research Park. Mrs De’Lacy said: “We put the time and effort into each company for two reasons; to ensure that the company delivers the best pitch it can to try and encourage dialogue and interest following the event from the investors, and to ensure the Investors are seeing quality, investable opportunities. “Our motto is quality not quantity which is why the club has raised more than £12m over the past four years.” A month before the meeting, companies are sent a template on which to base their pitch and encouraged to communicate their
idea, experience and how much money they require. Feedback is offered, before, two
“We are making a name for ourselves in getting companies investor-ready.” weeks ahead of the meeting, the five best presentations are selected to go forward to the main event to pitch for real. Finally, following each all-important pitch is a brief opportunity to ask questions about the company, and this is the moment in which it can become apparent if the pitch has communicated the message in a clear and captivating manner. A noisy and curious audience is a good sign of this, and the
business representatives are given a second stab at winning over the investors over refreshments in the university's Lakeside restaurant. “The 10-minute presentation is a hook,” said Mrs De’Lacy. “You need to get the idea across straight away and you’re selling the fact that you will make them a lot of money. We want to make it so people come to Surrey and get investment. We’re making a name for ourselves in getting companies investor-ready.” Investment is rarely immediate, and sometimes takes six months to come to fruition, meaning the journey can be a long, but ultimately rewarding one. n See next month’s Business News Extra to see whether the latest hopefuls were able to use their ten minutes in the limelight to wow the investors.
Joan Moore, Sarah De’Lacy and Ben Partridge.
Hospital’s success due to good senior partnership
Professor Mark Saunders of Surrey Business School, Kingston Smith LLP senior partner Sir Michael Snyder, Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP, minister of state for business and enterprise, and Professor David Gray of Surrey Business School take questions at the launch.
STRONG results achieved at a Guildford hospital have been put down to the relationship between its two senior operators. Hospital director Jayne Cassidy and matron Elaine Banerjee, who both started careers as nurses more than 20 years ago, have helped Nuffield Health Guildford Hospital become one that stands alongside private hospitals in London. However, Jayne said the hospital is different to those she has previously worked at in the capital. “Nuffield Health’s business
model is unlike that of any other
“Our working relationship together is critical – so it’s great that we work well together” private hospital where I have previously worked, such as The Wellington and The Portland Hospitals in London,” she said. “As a not-for-profit organisation, any surplus made by the hospital group is put back into
improving our infrastructure, completing refurbishments and enhancing the skills of our staff.” The hospital has 200 medical specialists, four operating theatres, 50 en suite bedrooms and a four-bed high dependency unit. Elaine added: “Although Jayne is the legally registered manager with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), I need to provide her with the clinical expertise to help her to run an effective, legally compliant hospital. Our working relationship together is critical – so it’s great that we work well together and understand each other’s goals.”
Academics lead the way on SME research Revved up for relaunch ACADEMICS at the Surrey Business School have spoken of their pride at being part of a study that it is hoped will feed into government policy on small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The research study into the triggers for success in such businesses was commissioned by chartered accountancy firm Kingston Smith, and the finished report was presented at Google Campus in London last month. The launch was attended by business and enterprise minister Michael Fallon and revealed that businesses that used a range of finance options were the most successful. It is hoped that the report will encourage the government to provide working capital finance to SMEs to enable them to develop and flourish.
Professor David Gray, Professor Mark Saunders and Harshita Goregaokar, from the University of Surrey-based business school, were seen as holding the necessary expertise and were chosen to lead the study, including 13 focus groups held across the UK and 20 case studies, between May and September this year. Professor Saunders said: “It was a really exciting piece of work to do. “I think the value of the study has already been very clear. It’s very rare that you get the minister of business to come and take on board what you have found.” Surveyed were 1,000 commercial businesses with less than 250 employees from across the country. Most SMEs are started and sustained using a single source of
finance, often personal savings, however the study revealed that successful companies are more likely to use more than one. Successful SMEs were those that encouraged staff to be innovative, were willing to seek external advice and able to adapt to changing market conditions. “Businesses in Surrey can be proud of this research, which has already generated a great deal of interest,” said Paul Samrah, partner at the Kingston Smith Redhill office. “We look forward to further exploring the in-depth findings of this report through a series of seminars and presentations in the coming months, to help Surrey businesses better understand how to succeed – which, in these recessionary times, is more crucial than ever.”
Makeover for Brooklands’ clubhouse hospitality MORE than 100 guests attended Brooklands Museum to celebrate the £200,000 re-launch of its clubhouse hospitality with an evening fuelled with speedy entertainment including special guest and racing legend Tiff Needell. Food and drink specialist Creativevents has re-launched the clubhouse with a restyling of the hospitality suites at the Weybridge museum. Invited guests were welcomed into the motoring village area of the museum to enjoy a drinks reception and given the choice of taking vintage car drives around the grounds as well as boarding the famous Concorde for a guided walk through.
In keeping with the Art Deco feel of the museum, the new-look clubhouse includes the makeover of the Edwardian Napier Room with its own private balcony overlooking the Paddock. Other rooms that have been restyled include the Members' Bar and the Blue Bird Room, which celebrates Sir Malcolm Campbell’s exploits with his world-famous Blue Bird racing cars. The 105-year-old Clubhouse has also had upgrades to its AV facilities, heating and ventilation as well as a new-look reception area and corridors, and houses the public Sunbeam Café, which was refurbished two years ago. John Uphill, hospitality and
special events director at Creativevents, said: "We are delighted to have had the opportunity of working with the museum on this project to enhance the Brooklands Clubhouse. "The museum is steeped in great British history, offering event organizers a truly unique place to host exciting and entertaining meetings, parties and events. Our exclusive event packages include activities such as the Concorde Experience and the F1 Simulator. “We very much look forward to revealing our new suites to everyone and putting this fabulous venue firmly on the hospitality map.”
Raise a toast to success of diversity This year’s adverse weather conditions have not been ideal for vineyards. But at Denbies, diversification means customers are attracted through the doors come rain or shine
Whatever the weather, visitors have something to do at Denbies.
Sandra Skelt out in the vineyard picking this year’s harvest.
By Pete Bryant
email@example.com THE many facets of a Dorking business have helped it to its most successful year ever. This year, turnover at Denbies Wine Estate will top the £5m mark, representing continued progress for a company that has grown three-fold in the last 10 years. Its success is partly down to the fact that visitors have an array of options when visiting, and manager Chris White said this was a crucial factor in an unpredictable industry. A visitor attraction most famous for its vineyards and wine production, Denbies is able to lure people in even on rainy days, with conference and wedding facilities, dining and even an art gallery all on site. “For every agricultural business it is important to diversify,” he said. “You can never depend on the weather. You are in the lap of the gods. “It hasn’t been such a good year in terms of harvest, but the Olympics were good for us.” During the Games, both Tesco and Sainsbury’s approached Denbies about stocking exclusive wines for their customers. For Sainsbury’s it was the first English sparkling wine it had ever sold. Mr White said there was a philosophy of investing profits back into the business that had allowed the business to grow to the point where it employs 150 members of staff. It has also allowed a restaurant and bed and breakfast to be
Selling direct to the customer allows control of finances.
opened during the last decade, while the Surrey Hills Brewery was added last year. The multiple parts of the business is not just good news for visitors but staff too, with employees able to gain skills in a number of fields. Chris added: “Some people do work in a few departments. “They enjoy the fact that they can go down many paths, from being out in the fields harvesting the grapes to working indoors.” With this year’s harvest just finished, the wine-making season begins now at Denbies. Although next year’s wine sales may take a hit overall thanks
to the punishing weather of 2012, Christmas is always a lucrative time of year for catering services. Decisions taken as the business has expanded will also ensure that Denbies is able to come out fighting no matter what the weather throws at it. “What we have done, which is fairly unusual, is to develop ways to do things in house to avoid always selling wines to retailers and restaurants for resale,” said Mr White. “We can sell wine straight to customers in our shop and it allows so much more control of our finances.”
GREEN BUSINESS ROMAN Abramovich was a surprise visitor to Dunsfold as his investments firm announced that more than £8m would be invested into hydrogen fuel cell technology there. The Chelsea Football Club owner’s company Ervington Investments Ltd has invested £8.6m into AFC Energy, based on Dunsfold Park, giving him a 15% stake. The news sparked excitement on the stock exchange as shares in AFC Energy jumped up four pence by the end of the day. The deal means the company has a total of £11.2m to invest in the low-cost energy supply over a number of years. Ian Williamson, chief executive of AFC Energy, said: “Our low-cost hydrogen fuel cells are cleaner and more efficient than technologies that use combustion. They also supply continuous, base-load power unlike other clean energy sources.” As part of the deal, Mr Abramovich also has the right to nominate two directors to the AFC Energy board.
Steps to reduce our footprint
Chipping away at a biomass solution By Pete Bryant
firstname.lastname@example.org A ‘FLUID’ business based in Shere is producing biomass to fuel buildings from the University of Surrey to Heathrow Airport. LC Energy creates and delivers wood chips harvested from sustainable woodland and, with Surrey the most wooded county in the country, it is an abundant resource. The company, founded in 2007, uses only virgin wood which is clean and untreated meaning customers can be satisfied they are being kind to the environment. “The core of our business is wood chip supply,” said managing director Mark Lebus. “We provide a link between timber and heat.” Wood comes from a range of sources, from woodland in Surrey and neighbouring counties to timber collected by Surrey Highways and from landowners. Among other Surrey clients on
LC Energy’s books are the Universty of Surrey, Guildford Borough Council, Birtley House in Bramley and the Hilton Hotel Group. The company recently helped Heathrow Airport to secure an award for Best Contribution to Corporate Responsibility from the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply thanks to the wood fuel energy used in Terminal 2. The airport has entered into a 15-year wood fuel supply contract with LC Energy as part of its plans to reduce its carbon footprint by 34% by 2020. LC Energy will supply 25,000 tonnes of wood chip a year to Heathrow, which will also be sourced from within a 50-mile radius of the airport, reducing CO2 emissions from deliveries. Although there has been a significant increase in the use of biomass in the UK, due to government incentives and greater awareness, Mr Lebus said the
Grants still available for heat pumps Government grants are still available this winter for those wishing to change their oil or LPG boiler for a highly efficient Air Source Heat Pump. The Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) still has funds available for anyone installing certain renewable heating products. For a Heat Pump there is a one off payment of £850 available, when displacing oil or LPG. In addition to this the detail of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), which is due to start in the summer of 2013, is now in full consultation. It is expected this will give those installing Heat Pumps an annual payment for the
next seven years. So why is a heat pump such a good replacement for an oil or LPG boiler? Anthony Afram, MD at Heat Pump Installations Ltd explains. “Heat Pumps have been around for a long time, particularly in the Nordic Countries, but are generally not well known in this country,” he said. “They work by extracting heat from the outside air and transferring it via a refrigerant to the property’s heating system. “Even when it is minus degrees outside there is still plenty of heat energy in the air to be used. We have successfully installed
Heat Pump Installations can advise you how to save money.
hundreds of system in a variety of different style properties from a 42m2 flat up to a 1200m2 mansion house. “Savings in running costs can be considerable and are often up to 50% cheaper when comparing with oil or LPG. In addition to all of this Heat Pump Installations Ltd are offering an additional £400 to go with the RHPP payment on orders placed before January 5 2013, so there really never has been a better time to get one installed.” So how do you go about seeing if a Heat Pump can work for you? “Once we receive an enquiry,” said Anthony, “we arrange to do a survey of the property so the necessary information can be collected to design a heat pump system in accordance with the current MCS guidelines and establish the level of savings that can be made. “There is no survey charge with no obligation to buy and we will guide you through the grant application process. Once installation is completed we offer a full after care and maintenance service.” If you would like further information, or just a chat to see how you could save money on your heating, contact Anthony and his team at 01483 750447 or email email@example.com.
country was still behind countries like Austria, Sweden and Denmark in terms of its biomass sector. “Here, biomass will make up a piece of energy provision, but it won’t be the biggest piece,” he said. “It’s a sensible solution, but it’s not right for everyone. For example it is not necessarily right for an energy demand that is switching on and off a lot. However my message is that the knowledge is out there for people who are wondering about doing this.” At the Wood Fuel Conference, organised by the Surrey Wood Fuel Group earlier this month, he further emphasised this message, stressing that he aimed to remove the ‘fear factor’ and increase confidence in biomass. It was also announced that a business plan to drive forward the use of wood to create heat and electricity will be published in the new year. Around 200 delegates heard how Surrey’s woodlands could help the UK’s renewables strategy.
Steve Morgan, capital director at Heathrow Airport, with LC Energy directors James Maclean and Richard Meluish and managing director Mark Lebus.
If music be your food of love, read on Rebecca Younger talks to Julia Leggett, CEO of Guildford’s Academy of Contemporary Music The Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) is a world leader in music industry education. It currently has six major teaching centres across three continents and enrols thousands of students from across the globe each year. However, its roots (and its headquarters) are held firmly in Surrey. As are those of its Chief Executive Officer, Julia Leggett, who was brought to the helm of the academy earlier this year. Julia was born and bred in Woking – she’d moved seven times within the town by the time she was seven and so knows the place like the back of her hand, she tells me – eventually settling in Westfield. “We lived just near The Cricketers pub, where Paul Weller and The Jam used to play,” the 42-year-old enthused. “That was kind of their place and it soon became mine.” Educated at Bishop Reindorp
School in Guildford (now Christ college), Julia would often find herself hanging out at the town’s Andertons Music Store during her early teens. “My very first musical instrument was from Andertons, it was a Gibson SG copy bass and I used to pay about 25 pence a week for it,” she remembered. “There was a guy, called Guy, who let me have a little book behind the counter and I would bring in whatever money I could and he would knock it off.” Although her love of music meant she became less focused on school, Julia firmly believes it is this that kept her on the straight and narrow throughout her teenage years. “My dad was working full time, my mum had died, I was almost parentless in that regard, I could have done anything and no one would have known but music became my boundary, it made me have to channel things in a positive light,” she said.
Julia’s dedication to music meant that by the time she left school at 16, she was fitting four part-time jobs around her gigs so that she could pay the rent. “I worked a fruit and veg stall, a bar in the evenings, at Woking Leisure Centre and my main job was at Evans bike shop,” she said “But music was the centre for me. I had no plan B, I didn’t expect anything but superstardom.” Despite wanting and believing she was going to make it big (“I thought and honestly believed I was going to be Kylie’s best friend”) Julia’s music career didn’t go to plan. “I made some terrible decisions and ultimately my music career clearly wasn’t as successful as it should have been, as Kylie and I would be sharing secrets now,” she joked. Julia started working in sales but her enthusiasm and workhard attitude soon saw her experience management and before
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Julia Leggett has come back to her musical roots at ACM.
long she was travelling the world and making multi-million pound deals in the multi-media industry. By the time she was 26, she was the UK managing director of digital entertainment company, Creative. Although it had taken a back seat, music was still a big part of Julia’s life and she was still performing regular gigs and even joined a band in America when she was posted out there for a a couple of years. But it wasn’t until Julia had her two children Mia and Connor with her husband, Neal, that she thought about actually working in the music industry again. “I really went for motherhood, which was a surprise to my friends because I had always been so corporate – I
in the music industry and helping others to do the same. “I do eat, sleep and breathe it. I put an ACM hoodie on when I get home and get out of my formal clothes. I’m heavily involved in ACM Juniors on Saturdays. I’m at the gigs for the main school, I try and go out at least once a week to see what bands are here,” she said. “I just completely live it but then a lot of people at ACM do. “What we are looking to achieve as a business is very deeply ingrained in everyone here. “They are very passionate about it because they see what difference it makes. “These youngsters come here and we can help them achieve their ambitions and it’s very rewarding to do that.”
Beware of the dangers of that office gossip The case of Nixon v Ross Coates Solicitors is evidence that office gossip concerning a pregnant employee can amount to harassment and sex discrimination. The claimant worked for a firm of solicitors and attended the firm’s Christmas party at a local hotel. At this time, although she did not know it, the Claimant was pregnant by one of the firm’s solicitors. After the party, she flirted publically with the firm’s IT manager and retired with him to a room paid for by the firm. In the New Year, when the firm’s HR Manager learned of the claimant’s pregnancy, she gossiped openly about the baby’s paternity. The claimant complained but the firm refused to move her to a different office away from the HR Manager, and stopped her pay when she stayed away from work. She resigned and the EAT held that the firm had constructively and unfairly dismissed her. Since the gossip related to the paternity of her baby, it was conduct related to her pregnancy and therefore amounted to sex discrimination. Comment: This case not only serves as a warning of the dangers of water-cooler gossip, but highlights some dangers of the festive
actually sold all my suits,” she said. It was then, in 2004, that she decided to call up an old acquaintance from the local band circuit, Phil Brookes, who had founded ACM. “I had heard about the academy from a friend and so I phoned Phil and said I wanted to help him make a connection between the students with the work place,” she said. “So we pretty much there and then hatched the idea of the Business Development Centre, which was the first project I worked on at ACM.” Eight years later and what started out as a part-time job to fit around her kids has become her life and she is finally living her dream, working alongside experts
season. Had, for example, the Claiment complained of sexual harassment by the IT manager, since she was at a social event paid for by the firm, and in a room provided by it, this would almost
certainly have been seen as a workplace function and her employer would have been potentially liable for any acts of harassment or discrimination occurring there. Francesca Tilley is a solicitor in the employment department at TWM Solicitors. Contact 01483 752700 or email Francesca.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Connect to make things happen By Pete Bryant
email@example.com ACTIONS speak louder than words in the eyes of the two men at the helm of Surrey’s businessled enterprise partnership, as they pledge to ‘make things happen’ in the county. Surrey Connects chairman Brian Farrugia and chief executive Mark Pearson are part of a 16-strong board of business leaders on a mission to double the value of Surrey’s economy to £52bn by 2030. Approaching five months since its launch, the pair has spoken of a belief that the partnership will produce major results for businesses across the county. At the centre of the ambitious aims of Surrey Connects are four
key themes: global competitiveness, driving enterprise, a knowledge economy and innovation culture.
“We’re not just talking shop, we’re going to make things happen.” From these stem a list of objectives including stimulating export activity, establishing a world class business school, encouraging investment in youth and promoting Surrey as a leader of the digital age. The eight objectives in all are each headed by a board member, with the aim of placing the responsibility for making progress in each area on that individual and, hopefully, creating
The board members of Surrey Connects at its launch.
a pressure to achieve. While Mr Farrugia and Mr Pearson do not shy away from waxing lyrical about the project, they stressed they are determined to achieve real and tangible results that will speak for themselves. “By breaking down our aims into separate objectives they become measurable and we can see that we are making progress in the short term rather than the very long process of 15 to 20 years,” said Mr Farrugia. “We’re not just a talking shop, we’re going to make things happen. It’s about ownership, that’s the way I see it.” Asked what action had been taken since the launch of Surrey Connects in June, Mr Farrugia said four interns had been taken on from universities, including two from the University of Surrey. One of these is helping Surrey Chambers of Commerce to set up a Surrey business leaders network. Research has been carried out into trade and export projects, while a LinkdIn network, featuring more than 600 members, has been set up as board members actively collect opinions on how the local economy is performing. “We’ve been true to our word,” said Mr Farrugia. “I think business have probably already started to see changes to an extent. I
didn’t want people to hear what we were going to do at the launch and then never hear from us again.” He added that although infrastructure changes would take ‘some time’, he was confident Surrey Connects would achieve its aims and some would be striking. Updates are currently being communicated to Surrey Chambers members as well as via www.surreyconnects.com. Incubation hubs and support for exports are next on the list for the board, and a meeting is planned for around a year’s time at which members will demonstrate what they have achieved. Mr Pearson concluded: “One thing that I’m really enthused about at the moment is that the public authorities are really showing that they will support their local business communities.” He pointed to the example of Surrey County Council signing a £32.8m contract with BT in September as it bids to provide superfast internet to hard to reach areas of the county. “I really believe that Surrey Connects has shown them they should be proactive,” he said. “The fact that the council have gone out and secured broadband shows they are stepping up to provide for businesses who have said they need that.”
Ambassador network champions a new approach to economic growth
Anne Crean (Connect2Innovation), Jonathan Lord MP, Cllr John Kingsbury and Chris Shrubb (Partner at Hamlyn’s LLP Business Services Group).
Championing economic growth is a top priority for Woking Borough Council. Six months into the delivery of a five-year economic vision, Woking aims to be recognised nationally and internationally as a
premier location to do business. However, the council understands that it cannot deliver this ambitious plan in isolation. To achieve success, the council is looking beyond borough boundaries to form strategic
partnerships to help create the right conditions for innovation and growth across the borough, county and beyond. An important step in this process is the council’s agreement with Connect 2 Innovation (C2I) Ltd. This new partnership is capitalising on C2I’s dynamic Ambassador Business Club, a network of high growth businesses, corporate organisations, investors and academic experts to create new business opportunities, collaborate on innovative ideas and attract funding for companies. C2I’s reputation and network is already helping to attract new, Woking-based ‘Corporate Ambassadors’, who share this aim. Quick to recognise the potential of being involved, Hamlyns LLP, chartered accountants and business advisors have come on board as one of Woking’s first Corporate Ambassadors for Innovation and Growth in the Ambassador Business Club. Chris Shrubb, Partner at Hamlyns LLP Business Services Group, said: “We commend the
council and C2I’s vision to support economic growth. “We are pleased to be able to contribute our expertise to deliver opportunities for enterprise on the back of that vision. “The Ambassador network we are building will pro-actively identify exciting opportunities for businesses to tap into. It will do its bit locally to help businesses and our economy succeed.’’ Anne Crean, CEO of Connect 2 Innovation Ltd, added: “I look forward to working with Hamlyns to grow the Ambassador Business Club and encourage other firms to become members.’’ The network will develop an action plan that will attract new investment and suppliers into the area, provide physical business space, expertise and funding to support growing businesses, while linking the area’s universities and colleges with business. To find out how Woking’s Economic Development Team could help your business, please call 01483 743487 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Fox with Mayor of Guildford Cllr Jennifer Jordan.
Silver service marked by business community A CELEBRATION at a historic Guildford landmark was held to mark a businessman’s 25-year association with the town’s business community. In the quarter of a century of involvement with Chambers of Commerce in Guildford ands Surrey, Richard Fox has been president of Guildford Chambers for two years, helped set up Guildford Business Forum and was its chairman for the first five years. A sell-out event at Abbots Hospital, Guildford High Street, was held for him, attended by 60
of his former colleagues and fellow chambers members. Mr Fox’s career spans back to his days as a partner at KPMG where he helped turn round the fortunes of some well known businesses that were facing closure by the banks. He said: “Over the years, I've helped around 50 business start ups. I love to see business people have the courage be more innovative and entrepreneurial. I think that's the way to lead us out of the recession.” He remains on the Guildford panel of Surrey Chambers and is a business mentor and coach.
Forthcoming events Everyone owns Intellectual Property - What do you own? 9am, Thursday November 29, 2012, H.G. Wells Centre, Woking Where do you start? Whilst it is obvious you should protect your inventions – your product, less obvious is your design, branding and logo. Do you own what you think you own? Connect 2 Innovation has partnered with The Intellectual Property Office to explain this important topic in an interactive workshop. The workshop will give you an overview of intellectual property and how it can impact on the value of your company. Don’t miss this opportunity gain an understanding of trademarks, patents, copyright, designs and confidentiality.
Local Opportunities for Business Growth with Hamlyns LLP 8am, Wednesday January 23 2013, H.G. Wells Centre, Woking Connect 2 Innovation is running its January business breakfast in partnership with local Corporate Ambassador, Hamlyns LLP. Hamlyns advises hundreds of local businesses. All their clients have one thing in common – they all share the desire to succeed. At the event, Hamlyns will provide insight into the local economy, highlighting opportunities for companies to build profitable business. In addition, guest speakers from three fast-growing local companies will share their experiences.
To find out more about forthcoming Connect 2 Innovation events, please visit www.connect2innovation.co.uk
Keeping an eye on the markets
Market flat-lining as Q3 GDP beats expectations By Philip Scott
Head of Advisory Stockbroking at Simple Investments Current Overview Volatility traders and active investors are having to be patient in a market which has in general moved sideways for close to three months. Of course at some point there will be a definitive move one way or the other but with volume remaining relatively low, I would suggest there is no major conviction out there as to which way we will ultimately break. Further to the significant leg up since May on the back of multi central bank support, associated renewed optimism for Europe and on the whole, an encouraging US picture, the market seems to be in search of a new catalyst to maintain the uptrend. In the absence of this, a drift lower is logically possible. China could be a driver in this final quarter. Ongoing monetary stimulus and a change in leadership may result in an improved confidence in the region; something that has clearly been lacking for an extended period. It is interesting to see some of the Chinese Investment Trusts
moving higher over the past month ahead of these events. Low valuations and negative sentiment has made China a favoured contrarian play and I am pleased to see Anthony Bolton’s Fidelity fund also moving up; the gearing (leverage)within the portfolio should assist performance to the upside as it has on the way down. The UK economy grew at 1% from July to September, much better than the expectation of 0.6%. Possibly flattered by the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, the Q4 numbers will likely be a clearer indication of the strength of the economy. While in theory we are now back out of recession, data is so often revised higher or lower over time, it is easy to lose track of how best to describe our economic environment. “Mixed” is a reasonable description on balance as we continue to see positive data knocked by something weaker at either the macro or the corporate (company specific) level. However, adopting the ‘glass half full’mindset, the UK is likely to be passed the worst, equity valuations are not overly stretched and taking a 9-12 month view, the market can probably move higher. ‘Glass half empty’ thinking may
centre on a dysfunctional financial system which is still going through the deleveraging phase and grave ongoing concerns for Europe in a world where stimulus meaasures will ultimately run their course. Encouraging US Q3 GDP data has also just been announced adding further weight to the steady improvement the world’s largest economy continues to demonstrate. Whether (like the UK) the data has been distorted by one off government spending, of more interest will be the outcome of the impending Presidential election and obviously how the fiscal cliff will be addressed next year. Notwithstanding the potential upcoming changes in economic policy (both domestic and international) that will be digested with interest by the market, the negative impact on the US economy of possibly significant spending cuts and tax rises is of heightened importance. Market Specifics The BAE / EADS merger has hit the buffers for numerous reasons but the stock still has some speculative appeal. Will a transatlantic alliance now materialise or will the company
look to break itself up ? While not the cheapest play in the Defence sector, a rewarding 6% plus income yield on the shares at 310p is still appetising in view of the fact that further corporate activity going forward seems likely.One for the radar in my opinion. BP has fallen back to 425p (from a recent 455p) having agreed a deal with Rosneft of Russia. Fund managers have differing views over the merits of the transaction. BP gets shares in Rosneft and cash to enable it to boost further the shareholding to just shy of 20%. In exchange, BP relinquishes its stake in TNK/ BP which will reduce production and thus earnings. Question marks over the dividend have thus been raised but BP has committed to raising the payment going forward and they will now have access to the Arctic and drilling plans there. Time will tell as to how good a move this has been. My suspicion is that the shares look an interesting prospect at current levels further to a 6.5% recent fall in the price. This article was written by Philip Scott, Head of Advisory Stockbroking at Simple Investments on 29/10/12 when the FTSE 100 was trading at 5785. The writer does not hold a position in any equities mentioned above, although his clients may.
Toast of Surrey looks for cream of the crop THE Toast of Surrey Awards are back, even bigger and better than before. The event’s launch means judges are now on the lookout for the cream of the crop in Surrey’s business field. Open to any business operating within Surrey, the awards recognise both up-and-coming businesses and those already established in their market, along with other strengths and initiatives such as apprenticeship schemes and social enterprises. New categories this time include the returning Creative Industries Award and Business Leadership Award, which replaces the Business Personality prize currently held by Mark Whiteley of the Whiteley Clinic. The judges are looking for evidence that nominee organisations show excellence in management,
innovation, financial performance, customer service, employee development and community awareness. IT support company ramsac, winner of 2012’s ‘Company with a turnover of up to £5m award’, returns this time around to sponsor the same category, while the other new sponsors are Surrey Business School, Institute of Directors and Nuffield Health Guildford Hospital. Nominations are welcomed across all categories until January 4, 2013, with the awards ceremony set to take place in March next year. For more information on the build-up to next year’s awards, including how to enter, follow the coverage in the Surrey Advertiser business pages and online at www. getsurrey.co.uk.
From left: Virginia Cook of Nuffield Health, Chris Mansfield, Guildford Borough Council head of economic development, Marnie Wilson, Surrey Advertiser editorial director, Sarah De’Lacy, incubation director at SETsquared Surrey at the University of Surrey, Natalie Maxim, Surrey Advertiser brand manager, Robert May, managing director of ramsac, Amanda Masters, Surrey Chambers business development manager, Sam Farrow of the Institute of Directors, Abi Bradbeer of Surrey Business School, Cllr Lavinia Sealy, Surrey County Council chairman, Louise Footner, Surrey County Council head of communications and Stephen Arnett, Guildford Borough Council local economy manager.