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27/02/17

A lesson in resilience - how our business rose from the ashes

When fire ravaged through the factory warehouse of Suffolk-based Future50 firm Challs in October 2014, it could have signalled the end for the household cleaning products business. Director Graham Burchell recalls the events of that day and how the team pulled through.

 

“I was woken up the phone ringing at 5.45am from one of my production people saying there was smoke coming out from the factory and they had called the fire brigade.

“It’s interesting to know how you are going to react to these situations and for me I didn’t jump out of bed.

“I went to the bathroom, had a shave and a shower and thought that the guys had done all the right things.

“I headed to the industrial estate at Hadleigh and as I approached from the Sudbury side I could see as I was driving up that there was quite a lot of smoke and the whole area had been cordoned off.

“The first thing the emergency services do is lock down the entire area. Only my key staff were there, nobody else could get through.

“The fire brigade do not go in there, they are not there to put the fire out, they are there to try and contain it.

“We realised pretty quickly that it was a major fire which had practically destroyed the building.

“About a year before we had written our company crisis plan, but these were stored inside the building so we were trying to provide a rough map of the building.

“Initially you are in complete shock, but you have to deal with that and the adrenalin of the situation. We also needed to get some messages to our staff. Clearly our directors couldn’t get to the site, but we had mobile phones so we split up and set up a crisis centre from our homes.

“We wanted to be the first to talk to our suppliers, customers and bank managers. We needed to take control of the situation and give a story to the media.  I was very much aware that this was a window to the outside world. My bank manager and staff were watching and I wanted them to know that we were in control.

“There was nobody in the building as we didn’t have a night shift – we were in control and that helped a great deal but most of our records and our stock had gone as the inside of the building had been incinerated throughout.

“There was a lot to deal with, we had to get everything replaced and we had to get all the computer systems set up. We had back-ups offsite but we struggled to get the data off them as some of it had been corrupted.

“We were insured but we found out we weren’t covered for everything. For us it wasn’t just a case of rebuilding the factory, we had forgotten that we had to take down the old building before we could rebuild.

“Once we had go through the initial shock, I thought ‘this is an opportunity’. We were financially sound and we were insured. We would bounce back and we would be bigger and better.

“I went round and spoke personally to every member of staff. They were in shock, many of them had worked for me for years. Some were concerned about their jobs, and I told them the business was absolutely safe, but we all had to work together.

“I knew I had a good team but as a team they were phenomenal. That was very humbling.”

Crisis Tips – Graham sets out his tips for how to make sure your business is resilient when the worst happens.

 

1.      Have a crisis plan – it doesn’t need to be long, and keep it off site

2.      Take control of the situation as quickly as possible and before somebody else does

3.      Communication is vital, if something is going to attract media interest by in control otherwise it can be seriously damaging to your business

4.      Make sure you have back-up systems in place. If there is one thing I would take from this, it would be to make sure you have robust systems

5.      Make sure you have got the right insurance in place as that’s going to get you out of trouble

6.      Know your team – if you have a strong team in place then together they can get through all sorts of problems

7.      Step up to the mark – it can be tough but if you are a senior manager or director that’s what you are being paid to do

 


27/02/17

Pupil Asset shortlisted for edutech award

Edutech specialists Pupil Asset will by vying to win a prestigious industry award in Birmingham next month (March).

The Norwich-based firm has been named a finalist in The Education Resources Award (ERA) and will be competing with 10 other businesses in the primary tools for leadership management and assessment category, one of 20 awards to be announced on the night.

James Leeds, CEO of the company, said the recognition caps off a great 12 months for the Future50 firm, which was also a finalist in the 2016 EDP Business Awards.

He said: “Continuous product development and improvement has underpinned our growth strategy and we are delighted that our Pupil Asset platform, has been recognised by our industry peers. We’re all looking forward to celebrating that success, whatever the outcome on the night.”

The black-tie event takes place at the National Conference Centre, Birmingham, on Friday March 17.


27/02/17

Flexibility was key in helping me build my business

Most businesses need to be nimble to survive and prosper - particularly in the early stages.

But for Laura Morrison - managing director of Your Telemarketing, flexibility has been key to the company's success.

Your Telemarketing was founded in 2011 by Laura, who had a vision to be able to support small and medium sized businesses with flexible and affordable telemarketing solutions. She recognised that East Anglia’s entrepreneurs needed business development support, alleviating time constraints and bridging a skills gap, to grow their businesses.
Since then the company has gone from strength to strength, expanding into new offices and now employing 8 telemarketing agents.

And in a climate of continued uncertainty of how Brexit will affect the economy and employment, the Future50 business, continues to flourish, something she attributes to having a great team working with her.

"My staff are amazing," she said. "They are dedicated to each and every client that we work for, as well as supporting each other. The nature of our offering means that I am able to offer flexible working options to my team," reported Laura. "I'm delighted to say that of my team of 8, 7 work part-time, to fit in around their personal circumstances."

The national average, according to the CIPD, of employees on flexible working is 54%. Your Telemarketing is delighted that over 87% of the team are on flexible working. Part-time hours fit well with the company's business model, but more than that, the staff are more highly motivated, less stressed and can maintain their work/life balance.

"It also means I have a high staff retention rate", said Laura "which allows me to continue to grow the business with well trained staff behind me. I'm so pleased to be able to offer employment in the local community."

"In 2016 we were also selected as one East Anglia’s Future50 businesses. Our success has been built on providing our clients with flexible, affordable telemarketing solutions and working as an extension to their own brand. We work closely with our clients to drive effective telesales campaigns that are tailored to the prospect base and designed to meet our client’s targets and goals.
"Over the last 5 years we have completed telemarketing campaigns across numerous sectors, including Accountancy, Web Design, Vending, Retail, Logistics, Coaching, delivering good quality leads and appointments."

 


27/02/17

Venture with estate agent aims to help movers declutter


Future50 business Loads4Less has teamed up with Estate Agents Iconic to create the first full buy/sale and removal service in Norfolk. The package provided will include the opportunity to buy or sale of a property with less hassle or stress, a full removal, including packing, service, short or long-term storage and a de-cluttering facility.
Gary Craven, Co founder of Iconic, said: “Together we have looked at the key issues related to buying and selling property and produced a tailor made package designed to make the process of moving home as stress-free as possible.”

Adam Soall, Managing Director of Loads4Less, said: “Misplaced possessions and realising furniture does not fit in the new house topped the list of most stressful moving day moments. And a quarter of us admit leaving it weeks before we unpack all the boxes. Our de-cluttering service and full removal support helps to eliminate these issues.”

The firms are addressing the results produced from research by energy company E.ON who found that moving home is more stressful than a relationship breakdown, divorce or even a new job, Almost two in three (61 per cent) placed the ordeal at the top of their stress list in a poll of 2,000 adults who have moved home in the past three years. Relationship breakdown, divorce and starting a new job were all joint second. Less than half – 42 per cent – voted them their most stressful life event. An average Briton will move home five times during their lifetime and the stress of it will last more than three months.


30/01/17

How should your business avoid a massive EU data fine?

With the possibility of fines of up to 4% of a company’s turnover the upcoming EU data legislation – the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) – is set to become a major factor for many businesses.

We asked Birketts associate Kitty Rosser what firms needed to bear in mind.

 

Q. What is GDPR?

A. GDPR is a new European regulation which comes in to effect on May 25 2018.

When it comes fully into effect it will be quite significant as it completely replaces our current data protection laws. The idea is to bring our laws up to date with technological development.

 

Q. What does it mean for businesses?

A. We will have to adapt to an entirely new data protection regime. In particular there are quite high new standards of transparency and accountability about how data is recorded, kept and processed. There will be a greater level of detail about how companies will use the data they collect.

 

Q. Will it make much difference?

A. The single biggest change is to the level of fines which can be imposed.

Fines will be increasing from €500,000 to a maximum of €20m or 4% of global turnover. For most businesses fines at this level will mean data protection is no longer an issue they can afford to ignore, which some seem to have been doing.

We [Birketts] are already seeing businesses engage with this in a way we haven’t previously.

 

Q. Who will be affected?

A. Any business which collects data, particularly when they are providing an online service.

A number of businesses that fall outside the current laws will be affected and businesses outside the European Union which collect data from European customers are going to be as affected by the regulations.

The law is based around where the consumer is rather than the business.

 

Q. What kind of businesses will be most impacted?

A. There are very stringent rules for businesses which provide and analyse data for other businesses.

Businesses which collect data from children are going to have to provide a model of what they are doing with that data in a way children can understand. Some may even need to gather parental permission and to prove that permission is genuine which could be very difficult to do.

 

Q. What about small tech firms?

A. This will be a major issue. There is concern about how they will find out about it and how they go about complying with it.

They have 18 months before it comes into effect and it could take that long to make the adjustments so it is important they are aware of the changes.

 

Q. What are the costs involved?

A. A lot of numbers have been bandied around but the figure being given by the Ministry of Justice is a total cost of £320m for UK businesses.

 

Q. Why is this needed?

A. Our current law is more than 20 years old and in that time technology has changed so much, in particular the way personal data is collected and used.

The new law is trying to be ‘technologically neutral’ so that, hopefully, it is still relevant in the future.

 

Q. But didn’t we vote to leave the EU?

A. It is becoming increasingly apparent that we are not going to have left the EU before May 2018 when these laws come into effect.

That means businesses here will have to comply with the laws.

Most commentators expect the UK will adopt equivalent legislation when we do leave the EU.

If businesses are operating in the EU they will need to comply anyway and so it can be considered an investment in the long term.

 


30/01/17

Hammers at the ready as Avanti begins 2017 with a bang

Accountancy firm Avanti has kicked the New Year off with a bang thanks to an office expansion.

The Future50 company, which prides itself on its vibrant, colourful, anti-jargon approach to accountancy is doubling the size of its office at Brightwell Barns, Ipswich (now units 4 & 5), following an successful year.

The last 12 months saw the launch of the Avanti Tax Accountants Franchise opportunity, and subsequent membership of the British Franchise Association (Bfa), along with Avanti's recognition as one of the regions' most forward-thinking firms by Future50.

The expanded offices will provide an enhanced working environment, complete with 'chill out area' for the current team, as well as enable Avanti to increase their team of tax advisors and administrators who not only support the Ipswich office, but who provide invaluable support to Avanti franchisees starting their new adventure as business owners.

Managing Director of The Avanti Group (UK) Ltd, Victoria Sharp, had the pleasure of sledge-hammering the first hole in the wall for their new double-office.

She said: "This expansion is an amazing way to start 2017 and it has only been possible thanks to the support of the amazing team I have around me. Our expansion will allow us to provide better facilities for our franchisees and staff; as well enable us to maintain our personal touch and friendly approach towards our clients, for which we are known".

A new, purpose-built meeting and training area will be introduced for new franchisees joining the Avanti Tax Accountants network to learn how to develop and market their business throughout their chosen territory.

In addition to operating as a distinctive, highly-recognised and already established brand, Avanti franchisees will benefit from a proven model of success, along with bespoke accounting systems, marketing support, training, ongoing business support and a unique opportunity to launch a business networking group within their territory.

For more information on the Avanti Group (UK) Ltd's services, including tax accountancy, business networking and the Avanti franchisee opportunity, visit www.avantigroup.uk.com.


30/01/17

Why 2016 was a good year to be an entrepreneur

Enterprise is on the rise: East of England’s start-ups play crucial role in helping to foster high growth companies and entrepreneurship

2016 will likely be remembered as a year of economic uncertainty, but it was also a good year to be an entrepreneur in the UK, according to Barclays research.

Barclays’ eighth Entrepreneurs Index, which tracks the entrepreneurial lifecycle across UK regions, using data to measure start-ups, business growth and exits, showed that overall UK entrepreneurial performance is at an all-time high – up 10 per cent since 2011.

In this latest edition of the Index, for the first time, Barclays has combined environmental measures, such as access to finance and talent, along with entrepreneurial outcomes of growth and exit activity, in order to assess the strength of the UK’s entrepreneurial environment and opportunities for wealth creation.

The UK’s environmental enablers for entrepreneurs are up 13 percentage points in five years and, encouragingly, 4 percentage points higher than in 2015. This shift was driven by greater access to finance and skills, and also gradual improvements in regulation and research and innovation, all of which created optimal conditions for enterprise across the country.

On a regional level, in the East of England, entrepreneurial activity has continued to thrive. The number of new businesses in the East of England rose by 4.5% in the year to March 2016 reaching a total of 253,955 start-ups. The Index also showed a steady rise in the percentage of high-growth companies within the East of England SME population, with a 0.7% increase. The picture for the UK tells a similar story, with the same small increase of 0.7%.

The East of England region also saw an increase in the number of entrepreneurs realising their wealth from their businesses in the year to June 2016. The region saw 160 deals, which represents a 29% increase on the same period previously. This is a trend seen by the UK as a whole, with a record number of deals resulting in a rise of 33%.

Whilst entrepreneurship in the East of England seemingly continues to flourish, we cannot ignore the fact that this year, Britain has gone through significant economic and political change. However, instead of feeling discouraged by the complexities of the EU Referendum results and how it may impact them, entrepreneurs and business leaders should feel positive about the wider economic opportunities available to them, as evidenced by some of the findings of the Index.

At Barclays we believe that entrepreneurs are instrumental to the future of the UK. Therefore throughout this period of uncertainty, it’s important that we continue to focus on and support entrepreneurial growth. The East of England is a very collaborative, successful region for entrepreneurial activity and remains well placed to see further growth and expansion. This is why Barclays is focused on developing a range of specialist support services and funding solutions for high growth companies in order to help drive this continued economic growth and prosperity for all.

Simon Smith, Regional Director, Barclays Wealth and Investment Management, East of England


22/12/16

Coping with the rise of the machines

For the avoidance of doubt, I would like to make it clear from the outset that this article has been written by a genuine, bona fide human being and not by a robot. Whilst this comment may appear to be no more than a slightly glib opening to a piece on artificial intelligence (AI), it is actually rooted in fact. In October the UK’s Press Association announced that it will be following in the footsteps of US news giant, Associated Press, by recruiting robot reporters to produce news content within the next few months.

The use of natural language generation engines to produce news content neatly encapsulates many of the current controversies linked to the increasing use of AI. In particular, it highlights many of the issues that surround the potential impact of AI on traditional job roles.

Proponents of the new technology argue that news content can now be generated with much greater efficiency and accuracy. A single bot named Xiaomingbot produced over 450 articles on the 2016 Olympics for Chinese news syndication service, Toutiao, whilst the Washington Post relied heavily on in-house automated storyteller, Heliograf, for its own coverage of the 15 day event. Associated Press has been able to achieve a twelve-fold increase in its quarterly earnings reporting using Automated Insights’ Wordsmith program and has stated that this has freed up the equivalent of three full-time employees across the organisation. In 2015, Automated Insights itself ‘wrote’ a total of 1.5 billion individual articles. Not bad for a company with only 50 employees.

So, what has happened to those journalists whose time would previously have been spent in producing content that is now automated? Associated Press has stated that automation has not displaced any reporters but has instead allowed them to re-direct their focus, to think more critically about the bigger picture and produce content which examines the nuances behind the numbers. Put bluntly, the humans can get on with producing quality, insightful journalism whilst the computers take care of the drudge work. In the short term, this looks like a win-win situation but one has to question whether this is a sustainable model in the longer term.

As the use of automated content becomes standard industry practice and more professional reporters produce an increasing volume of quality content, will we reach a saturation point beyond which there is simply no further demand or outlet for high quality human-generated content? This saturation point would, for most professional journalists, no doubt represent the tipping point – the moment at which AI ceases to be a positive resource to be relied on and instead becomes, at best, a career redefining hurdle and, at worst, a career destroying hindrance. And to what extent will this situation be further exacerbated by continuing technological development?

As consumers of automatically generated news coverage, we are generally entirely unaware that the article we are reading has not been written by a human. Reg Chua, Executive Editor at Thompson Reuters (another proponent of the technology) reports that in blind testing automated content actually came out as more readable than human-generated content. Whilst this is testament to the high standard of the existing technology there is no dispute that, at present, the scope of that technology is limited.

The current generation of robot reporters are, in fact, simply software programs that can process specific data sets to generate a fairly narrow range of essentially standardised reports on topics such as sports and finance. Those at the forefront of the technology are confident that in time AI will be able to produce increasingly complex ‘human’ content. Kris Hammond of Narrative Science predicts that “a machine will win a Pulitzer one day”. However, it is likely that there will be significant technological hurdles to overcome before we see a wholesale replacement of human journalists by cyber-hacks.

Concerned journalists may take some comfort from the recent experience of Microsoft’s chatbot, Tay. Tay, launched on Twitter earlier this year, was taken offline within 24 hours after posting a variety of tweets containing racist and sexist content, promoting drug taking and denying the Holocaust. It subsequently made a brief return only to meltdown and start tweeting out of control, spamming its 210,000 followers with messages reading, somewhat ironically, "you are too fast, please take a rest...”

According to recent research by Oxford University and Deloitte, about 35% of current jobs in the UK are at risk of computerisation over the next twenty years. Interestingly, journalism scored a relatively low 8% likelihood of automation, placing 285th on a list of 366 professions considered. The clergy came in at position 341. The job deemed most likely to be automated is that of telephone sales person. Those looking to guarantee long term job security are advised to start looking for management opportunities in the hospitality sector. My own job, solicitor, came with a reassuringly low 3.5% likelihood of automation. For now, at least, I can feel some degree of job security as I return to considering who I might sue when my client is defamed by a robo-scribe whilst my lawbot gets busy dealing with my contract drafting.

Kitty Rosser

Associate, Birketts LLP

01603 756559

kitty-rosser@birketts.co.uk

 

 

 


22/12/16

New Year and a bright idea for 2017

If somebody you know hopes to follow in your footsteps and become their own boss in 2017, Nwes is offering the perfect opportunity for them to develop their business skills at one of their workshops.

With new events announced each week, including the popular ‘First Steps to Start Up’ Nwes is helping more business start-ups than ever before. January workshops will run in Ipswich, Norwich, Kings Lynn, Lowestoft and Poringland.

A new event for 2017 is ‘New year, bright idea?’  Taking place on Monday 16 January and aimed at those with a business dream, Nwes business advisors Paul Walmsley and Ian Bird will offer insights about becoming your own boss.  They will be joined by guest speaker and ‘Google insider’ Paul Brittain, who will introduce the new Google Allo app.

Nwes Business Advisor Ian Bird: said: “We are sure there are lots of budding entrepreneurs with a New Year’s resolution to become their own boss in 2017.  This event can help.”

Free to attend, with refreshments provided by Tofurei and Lasagneria – both new businesses who have benefitted from the support of Nwes – the event will also offer networking opportunities.

He added: “We would encourage anyone with a business idea to come along and find out more about how Nwes can offer total business support.”

All Nwes events and training, including ‘First Steps to Start Up’ and ‘New year, bright idea?’ can be viewed and booked on the Nwes website https://www.nwes.org.uk/events/

For more information about Nwes, visit https://www.nwes.org.uk/ or telephone 08456 099 991.


14/12/16

Hard work helps take Avanti's growth plans to next level

Hard work is helping to drive the ambitions of one Future50 business as growth plans take a fresh step forward.

Avanti Tax Accountants based in Ipswich, has announced that they have been accepted as provisional members of the British Franchise Association (BFA) - the UK's only regulatory body for franchising.
 
The news comes just three months after the firm launched its unique franchise opportunity, which offers qualified accountants the chance to run their own business, with the support and expertise of a working accountancy practice, with more than 16 years' experience behind them.
 
To be accepted into BFA membership, the firm had to pass a rigorous accreditation process which reviewed all aspects of its franchise operation to ensure that is proven, protected, ethical, sustainable and that its documents are free of ambiguity and misleading statements
 
With assistance from regional law firm and Future50 partner Birketts, itself an Affiliate member of the BFA, Avanti's franchise agreement was deemed to meet all of the BFA's Code of Ethics and its franchisee development programme demonstrated to be founded on good franchising practise. 
 
Victoria Sharp, Managing Director of the Avanti Group (UK) Ltd said: "A lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes to ensure that our franchise opportunity was given the seal of approval by the BfA, as the voice of ethical franchising in the UK. We are absolutely delighted to be recognised in this way and look forward to progressing towards the next level of membership as the Avanti Tax Accountants Franchise goes from strength to strength".
 
In addition to operating as a distinctive, highly-recognised and already established brand, Avanti franchisees will benefit from the franchisor's proven model of success, along with bespoke accounting systems, marketing support, training, ongoing business support and a unique opportunity to launch a business networking group within their territory.
 
For more details on the Avanti Tax Accountants Franchise opportunity, visit www.avantitaxaccountantsfranchise.co.uk or call 01473 558866.
 


14/12/16

One Traveller triumphs again for the third year running

Congratulations to Ian Darkin and the team at One Traveller for being named the UK’s ‘Best Singles Holiday Company’ at the British Travel Awards 2016 for the 3rd year running.
 
One Traveller, a Swaffham based family-run tour operator specialising in holidays for single travellers aged 50 plus, won their category after seeing off competition from large national travel brands.
 
Recognised as the ‘Oscars’ of the travel industry calendar, winners were announced at a prestigious ceremony at Battersea Evolution on Wednesday 23rd November. The gala evening was attended by hundreds of travel industry professionals.  
 
Winners were chosen by members of the public, who voted for companies they believe are providing the best products and services in leisure and travel. 
 
Ian Darkin, Director of One Traveller, is delighted to have won another year and thanked his loyal customers for the all their support.
 
“Next year sees One Traveller celebrating 10 years in business and to win this accolade for a 3rd year in a row is fantastic," he said. "The team ensures we take care of every detail on our holidays and to be given recognition for this hard work is great.
 
We hope it reassures people thinking of travelling alone for the first time that there’s a company out there who really understands the needs of mature single travellers.”
 
After 9 years as a tour manager, travelling worldwide, Ian and his wife Emma founded One Traveller to cater exclusively for the mature single traveller aged 50 plus. Ten years later the company welcomes more than 3,000 like-minded travellers a year to over 60 destinations across the world.
 
 
British Travel Awards’ chief executive Lorraine Barnes Burton said: “Competition was fierce this year with more companies entering the competition than ever before - but ultimately it is the travelling public who decide the winners by voting for the travel companies they consider the best in the business. 
 
The British Travel Awards is the largest awards programme in the UK and to win is truly an accolade and testament to the great products and services travel companies offer to their customers.”


30/11/16

Would you like to be an early adopter of TRACKIT's latest software release?

For over eight years TRACKIT’S software and solutions have provided complete visibility of Data Centre and IT assets for some of the world’s largest companies and demonstrated the value of accurate and trusted asset data. 
The firm is about to launch its new software solution that enables businesses to manage any type of physical business asset on one intuitive platform – starting with property and estate management through to a limitless ability to track all assets, across locations, inside and even outside your buildings. 
And it is looking for fellow Future 50 members to be early adopters to trial its latest intuitive TRACKIT software release and drive more value from the assets they own.

The development team led by CTO Mike Pettitt have carried out months of development work and rigorous testing which has led to the completion of its new cloud-based asset management solution – soon to be launched and available for all business from SME to Enterprise.
He said: "This innovative solution allows you to manage any type of business asset on one intuitive platform, starting with property and estate management through to a limitless ability to track all your businesses physical assets, across locations, inside and even outside your buildings. You can track any asset no matter how big or small including details of asset hierarchy (assets within assets).
From laptops and office furniture to data centres or warehouses the size of shopping centres – now assets have nowhere to hide!"

We have a genuine need for early adopters to trial the software and work collaboratively with us before its general market release early next year. We figured what better businesses to ask than our fellow Future 50 members who are growing businesses with a requirement to drive ROI from the increasing number assets they own!
You can find out more or sign up to be an early adopter here

 

BENEFITS SNAPSHOT
TRACKIT gives you the ability to map, track and control all your physical business assets no matter where they are located across multiple locations with ease. This visibility and insight will empower you to make more intelligent strategic decisions and more effectively manage the entire life-cycle of your assets and increase ROI.
• Smarter – Replace outdated and inaccurate methods like local spreadsheets/databases with our intuitive, web-based multi-user platform.
• Flexibility– A choice of cloud or hosted application. It has the flexibility to adapt with your business and is completely scalable – one solution but multiple applications and bespoke pricing based on enterprise requirement.
• Fast implementation – Quick to implement with fully automated set-up and helpful “Wizards”. Its 100% browser-based, no need to install and manage local software clients.
• Easy to use – Simple cross-platform interface with fully responsive design. iOS and android mobile apps for searching and managing assets. Drag and drop floor and building plans instantly, import and update asset inventory quickly and easily, maintain asset information seamlessly for complete accuracy.
• Complete visibility– View your assets in an instant. Comes complete with full audit trails / workflows, intelligent fully customisable reporting and dashboards, monitoring alarms and threshold alerts providing insight and integration with many different systems (incl. your BMS).
• Complete control – Track movement of all assets, asset history and easily append purchase, warranty, value and ownership information. Maintain full control with precise location and real-time asset collection / updates.
• Seamless integration – Open API with the ability to fully integrate with multiple IT, facilities and enterprise software and monitoring solutions or your CMDB, BMS or existing legacy asset management systems.
• Peace of mind – Secure platform with the ability to control and set levels of access to individuals or groups. Online service and support with expertise on hand when and if you need it.

 


28/11/16

National final beckons after regional success for Events Under Canvas

Events Wedding Show success

Congratulations to Jenna Ackerley and the team at Events Under Canvass who were awarded Best Marquee Provider in East of England at The Wedding Industry Awards   . The win means the firm is also now a national finalists and will be going to London for the National awards night in January.

 


28/11/16

Free trial could help you gather your business information in one place

Cascade.bi is looking for volunteers from the Future 50 community who use Sage 50 to manage their finances.

The Norwich-based company is currently carrying out Beta trials of its  software system that allows SMES to gather all of its business information on one simple dashboard

Mark Donaldson, CEO, said: "We would like to offer members a 2 month free trial in exchange for feedback to help craft our final product. We have been described as the ‘cloud solution for Sage 50, bringing all the benefits of the cloud without changing platforms’. In terms of the time commitment for the trial, we take care of the installation process and provide them access to their data via a web login.

 

"We have 30 beta companies and we would like to extend this for a limited period, so that anyone who signs up before Christmas receives 2 months free access, worth £300 with no obligation."

Anyone interested in taking part should email  mdonaldson@cascade.bi

View the demo here

You can also click here to find out more


24/11/16

Future50 invited to learn about latest local and national business trends at Barclays Whitespace Eagle Lab

Join the Barclays Business Team at Whitespace – Eagle Lab, to find out about the potential opportunities ahead for business in a changing market place.

The breakfast seminar will look at:

• The economic backdrop following the EU referendum
• Our local business landscape.
• Barclays Local Insights - key performance indicators from the local area.
• How Barclays can help – access to finance, export opportunities, understanding
“big data” – using analytics to improve business performance.

 
The formal proceedings will start at 8am and will be over by 9.30am and there will be an opportunity for networking afterwards.
 
Places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, so email matthew.peek@barclays.com to confirm attendance

Event details: St James Mill, Norwich, NR3 1TN for a breakfast seminar on Tuesday 29th November at 7.45am for an 8am start until 930am.
 


24/11/16

Cyber Security the keynote topic at Do Different event

Future50 members will be sharing their industry knowledge at breakfast event themed aorund Cyber Security at the Forum in Norwich on December 6.
Do Different has helped put the session which is being hosted by Lloyds Banking Group and which will also feature a presentation from Indigo Swan.
Other speakers include Norfolk & Suffolk Cyber Crime department, and JLT Specialist Cyber Security insurance brokers.
Topics under discussion include:

- Wellbeing and mental health (HR)
- Leadership and team development
- Cyber Security (key note).

To find out more or to receive an invite contact morgan@dodifferent.solutions


24/11/16

Iceni Diagnostics wins international award

xxx david russel pr banner

 

Scientists behind Future50 firm Iceni Diagnostics have won a prestigious international award for a breakthrough that could help the fight against antibiotic resistance.
Prof David Russell, pictured left, from University of East Anglia’s School of Chemistry, in collaboration with Prof Rob Field, right, from the John Innes Centre, were recognised for their method of performing a rapid diagnostic test to quickly identify bacterial pathogens.
At an award ceremony held at the Royal Society in London on November 21, the team was presented with a prestigious Longitude Prize Discovery Award which supports the development of a diagnostic device for anti-microbial resistance (AMR), one of the biggest challenges facing modern medicine.
Based on dipping a tiny sample into a solution of sugar labelled with gold, the system provides a quick diagnosis, with results being indicated by a rapid colour change. The simple 'dipstick ' test is much faster than existing methods of testing, removing the need to send samples on for laboratory testing and allowing much faster decisions to be made about appropriate antibiotic treatment.
Russell and Field started the company Iceni diagnostics, a joint spin-out from the John Innes Centre and the UEA based at the Norwich Research Park’s Innovation Centre, in 2014 in order to explore the potential of this new technology. They received seed funding from Iceni Seedcorn Fund at end of September.
They are one of 12 winning teams who will use the prize to develop their technology and compete for the coveted Longitude Prize, a challenge with a £10 million prize fund to reward a point of care diagnostic test that most fully addresses the global problem of bacterial antibiotic resistance.
Prof Russell said: "We are delighted to be awarded this prestigious, highly competitive award. This discovery award has given us further motivation that we are working on an important international medical problem and heading in the right direction to try and solve the problem of bacterial resistance to antibiotics."
Prof Rob Field said: “It is great to receive recognition for our efforts to take basic science through to potential products for medicine and agriculture. The JIC-UEA team have been working on these topics for more than ten years, but it is with the establishment of our joint spin-out Iceni Diagnostics that we began to achieve the necessary momentum to translate academic discovery into end-user devices”
UEA vice-chancellor Prof David Richardson said: “Winning a Longitude Prize Discovery Award is a significant and prestigious achievement for Professors Rob Field and David Russell and all the team at Iceni Diagnostics.  This is a young spin-out company from UEA and the John Innes Centre undertaking vital applied research to help healthcare professionals diagnose whether an infection is caused by bacteria or viruses within just 15 minutes. The benefits of this research are considerable and range from human health to agriculture.”
Prof Dale Sanders, director of the John Innes Centre said: “This award recognises the great potential of Professor Field and Professor Russell’s research. Once developed the diagnostic could dramatically reduce unnecessary use of antibiotics, helping to address the global threat of drug-resistant infections which are killing up to 50,000 people every year in Europe and the US alone. We are proud to host Professor Field’s laboratory at the John Innes Centre and congratulate him and the Iceni Diagnostics team on winning this award.”
For more information about Iceni Diagnostics visit: http://www.icenidiagnostics.com/


24/11/16

Crafted wins two contracts with regional law firm

xxx Tom Gilman Matthew Rowe.jpeg

 

Leading digital marketing agency Crafted,  has been appointed to work on two significant marketing projects by top 100 UK law firm, and Future50 partner Birketts.

Following a pitch process which concluded in January this year, Crafted was appointed to rebuild the award-winning law firm’s corporate website, birketts.co.uk and then achieved further success in June, winning the opportunity to support a strategic brand realignment project which underpins the creation of a new website and positioning for the progressive law firm on-going.

‘Being appointed to create digital identity for an award winning, top 100 law brand is exciting, doing it for a company who’s built that success from a regional base is even better! A new website build is something we always feel extremely proud of at Crafted and I can’t wait to see what our team create for our new client.’ said Crafted’s Commercial Director Tom Gillman

Matthew Rowe, PR and Communications Manager at Birketts, said “Crafted are Kentico Gold Partners, have an impressive client roster and understood our requirements quickly. They have a great reputation for delivering first-class sites and I am very confident that our new website will be a significant improvement.”

 


24/11/16

How collaboration can help sow the seeds of growth for your business

xxx SG and DFC DigiBee Office

How can you bring new skills into your business when staff turnover is low and money may be tight?

Collaboration between companies is being increasingly seen as a way of spreading good ideas and with it sowing the seeds of future growth.

And now some Future50 businesses are taking part in informal  ‘work shadowing’ to see what they can learn from each other.

Work shadowing was never part of the original Future50 blueprint, but it is something which was inspired by Paul Gardner, business consultant at Nwes in Suffolk, and is now gaining traction among members.

Paul said: “We had been talking about how to bring new skills into a business when there is quite low staff turnover, and if it was a question of trying to resource outside knowledge and experience, the best way of doing it was shadowing.

“It’s an alternative to training and it just makes it a bit more real when you parachute in and see somebody doing the job on a day-to-day basis.

“The downside is you can go into a company and simply come away with a nice warm feeling, so we have put together a crib sheet so that the businesses can think about what outputs they want to achieve.”

Among the first to take part were DigiBee, a digital insurance specialist, and the Avanti Group, whose businesses include tax accountants, and networking. Both are based at Brightwell Barns, near Ipswich.

Topics for discussion included how to manage meetings, social media and marketing.

Sarah Gilder, financial administrator at DigiBee, who spent a day with Avanti's staff, said: “It’s really challenged me to review our internal processes.  Thanks to my insight into Avanti’s ways of working, I have already implemented new templates and procedures which will help my whole team to work more efficiently.

“We are constantly reviewing how we do things as our company grows in size and reach,” she said. “I hope we were able to pass on some valuable insights from our experience with SEO and how we manage our teams, which will help Avanti Group at this exciting time of expanding into franchising.”

Paul Newson, operations manager at Avanti Group, said: “There were particular things I wanted to check out, such as how they did their staff meetings. There is a difference in size between the two companies, and it was interesting to see how a company with more employees does things

“As a company we are very open to new ideas and suggestions. It just seemed a good idea to the do the job shadowing.

Meanwhile, two Norfolk-based companies, Evoke Systems, and Lintott Control Sytems, are also set to embark on work shadowing later this month.

Melissa Mitchell, chief operations officer at Evoke Systems, said: “It’s just to understand how their business works – they are really well-known for their business models and their approach and are very innovative and forward-thinking. It’s nice to look at other companies and be inspired by them.

xxx Jamie Thums

Jamie Thums, chief operating officer at Lintott Control Systems, said all too often businesses were unaware of what other companies were doing in their area and this was a great way of helping to overcome that.

He said the company had supplied Evoke with a copy of its employee handbook as the first step in beginning to start a dialogue between two firms.

 “I think there is a great opportunity for Future50 businesses to work together to help put Norfolk and Suffolk on the map,” he said. “I know it sounds Utopian but I truly believe that our destiny is in our own hands. If we start working together then we can build a supply chain. There’s a great opportunity to do that and help each other and in turn help businesses in the region prosper.

“Hopefully there will be some spin offs and it will spark a discussion as there is always something which you can learn.”


24/11/16

Could you mentor a UEA student entrepreneur?

Setting up a business might not be the first activity people would associate with being an undergraduate, but it’s a growing phenomenon amongst students. In fact, 113 UEA graduates became self-employed and 19 started up their own businesses in 2014/15. With an increasing demand from students and graduates, UEA are seeking help from like-minded entrepreneurs.

 “We’ve a strong culture of enterprise here at UEA. We are looking for mentors to help us support the journey of our student and graduate entrepreneurs,” said Finbarr Carter, Enterprise Development Officer. “We provide a variety of services such as coaching, access to funding and connecting them with networks. However a one-to-one relationship with a mentor can make a huge difference to their chances of future success, opening their eyes to the challenges and rewards of running their own business.” Research shows that small businesses that receive mentoring are 70% more likely to succeed.

 UEA has a growing Mentoring Programme and we are looking to increase our diverse range of mentors to reflect the backgrounds of their students, particularly in the fields of product development, technology, retail, catering and art. Finbarr explains “They can be from large or small organisations and don’t need previous mentoring experience. They just have to be passionate about what they do and keen to share their enthusiasm and expertise with the next generation of business owners.”

 Elaine Reilly, owner of the Mustard Coffee Bar in Bridewell Alley, Norwich, and Mustard at UEA’s Enterprise Centre, has been a mentor for two years. “I find it extremely rewarding,” she said. “Mentoring is a two-way experience because every person you encounter brings knowledge and ideas. It’s a great way of making you review your own business practices.”

 We currently have 90 mentors across the whole mentoring programme working with students and graduates and we’d love to have you join us. The mentoring can be one-off or ongoing over six months and can be in person, over the phone, by email or over services like Skype. Mentors get to choose how much time they commit and what kinds of topics they discuss with mentees.

 If you’d like to become a mentor or for further information, please contact UEA on 01603 597637 or visit www.uea.ac.uk/business/talent/share-your-knowledge

 


27/10/16

Good luck to Future50 members at EDP Business Awards

Several Future50 firms have made it as finalists of the 2016 EDP Business Awards.

This year's event takes place at the Norfolk Showground Arena on Thursday November 3 and Future50 members who have been selected as finalists on the night are:

Lintott Control Systems

Wearable Concepts

Cameron Ventures Group

Lisa Angel

P:rison Voicemail

Pupil Asset

Selesti

 

Good luck to all those involved!

Click here to see a full list of finalists.

Interested in going to the awards?

Tickets are £120+VAT to book or find out more email stephanie.griffin@archant.co.uk or call Stephanie on 01603 772371.

 

 

 

 


27/10/16

Future50 businesses among those at launch of new Barclays Eagle Lab

Eagle Lab Humprey Ruddy

Future 50 businesses were among those gathering to find out more about how a new Barclays Eagle Lab hopes to help tech businesses in the East.

The new venture has been set up at Whitespace in Norwich and is unique as previous Eagle Labs are based in existing Barclays Bank branches.

BT Sports presenter Jake Humphrey and Norwich City Footballer officially opened the new venue at an event on Wednesday October 26, during which businesses had a chance to test out some of the facilities available - including 3D printers.

It aims to provide businesses with the tools they need to rapidly produce and test prototypes without having to import from overseas, which can significantly reduce the time and cost taken from concept to market.

The lab will be available for community events, digital Tea and Teach and LifeSkills sessions, with the aim of bringing together and developing useful technology and manufacturing skills to help inspire future innovators and drive commercial and social benefits.

 

Eagle Lab crowd

 

Neil Garner, founder of Whitespace, and CEO of Future50 business, Thyngs, said: “Whitespace was established to give fledgling technology businesses a home to expand and achieve growth.

“The spirit of collaboration is part of the fabric of the Whitespace Norwich tech co-working experience and so this new relationship with Barclays Eagle Lab MakerSpaces fits perfectly with what we are all about.

“The new Barclays Eagle Lab will take the Whitespace in to a new and exciting level, giving our members access to technology like 3D printers that will no doubt inspire new ways to achieve further growth.”


27/10/16

Lisa Hayward from Birketts explains how employee incentives can further your business  

Giving an employee a stake in the business can motivate them in a truly unique way, aligning their interests with those of shareholders in a way that can’t be replicated with salary.  It can also be extremely tax efficient.

You may need, or want, to put the day to day control of your business in the hands of another.  Delegation is something that some business owners struggle with, at least initially, but the right person with a new perspective can make a business really flourish.

Salary and bonus may not be enough.  Many executives will also want a hand in the ownership of the business.  It’s understandable that if this desire isn’t met your executive might be tempted to look elsewhere.  Or perhaps you are recruiting and the talent you want to bring on board is already seeking this kind of incentive. They might be giving up a bigger package elsewhere and this is the trade off, or alternatively, they may already have employee share incentives in their current package and are looking to replicate the benefit.

Obstacles?

It’s natural to be concerned about sharing equity, but there shouldn’t be any obstacles you can’t overcome:

  • ·        If you don’t want to share the value you’ve worked hard to build you might consider a growth or hurdle share scheme to ring-fence a set value or prevent the employee sharing value until a particular target is met.
  • ·        You might not want the employee to have any voting rights or have the complication of other shareholders when you declare a dividend. These matters can be easily dealt with by amending the class rights attached to shares or by using an option based scheme.
  • ·        What if the employee leaves? Option based schemes can be designed to lapse and share based schemes can include automatic transfer provisions on the termination of employment with “good” and “bad” leaver mechanisms to determine price (if desired).
  • ·        A suitably worded set of company articles (or a shareholders agreement) can include provisions to prevent your employee from selling his shares to anyone without having giving you first choice.
  • ·        If you are concerned about being diluted you could use a phantom share scheme or share appreciation rights to mimic the incentive and performance of a real share scheme.

Tax efficiency

The great thing about sharing equity with employees is that it can be incredibly tax efficient which means that you can provide rewards for less.  There are many different types of scheme available which can be used to engage key executives or, your entire workforce, to deliver business plan objectives.  For more information on specific schemes including EMI option plans, growth and phantom schemes visit the Employee Incentives page on the Birketts website: www.birketts.co.uk/employee-incentives/ or please contact Lisa Hayward, Head of Employee Incentives on 01473 406316 or email lisa-hayward@birketts.co.uk

 


27/10/16

Claire shares her story about stepping into the hotseat at Box-It East

xxx Claire Brooks.jpeg

Heading up a business is a challenge for anybody, but Claire Brooks who stepped up to become managing director of Box-It East earlier this year, feels she has taken the move in her stride.

The business, which is part of a national Box-It franchise, specialises in document management and storage and clients range from councils to law firms, and universities.

Based at Symonds Farm off the A14 at Risby, near Bury St Edmunds, the firm employs eight staff, but is all set for further growth as part of plans to double the size of the state-of-the-art storage facility, which is getting close to its 230,000-box capacity.

It is an enormous undertaking, the store is filled with rows of 11-metre high shelving units stacked high with boxes - each carefully bar-coded so that they can be easily tracked and sent out to clients within the promised next day delivery time, if requested.

Claire originally joined the business after spotting a job advert in her local paper, while working in Thetford. That was a decade ago and she has since worked closely with owner David Midwood as the pair built up the business.

When he announced last year that he was retiring, she was asked a rather coded question about whether she wanted to work Fridays – the first sign that she was being considered to take over.

And the married 41-year-old mother-of-one said she was enjoying setting about putting her own stamp on the business, which has seen sales more than double to about £750,000.

Key to that is winning more work in Norfolk, but she has also been inspired by work with her business coach Suzanne MacDonald-Carr to introduce some processes around performance management for her team.

“This year we are looking at the services that we offer, such as archiving and re-location,” she said. “I am thinking about promoting scanning a bit more in the future too.

“I am very much a target driven person,” she said. “My plan is to add value to our current clients and get them singing our praises. To get more business I would like to focus on the Norfolk area.

“I do a lot of networking in Suffolk and I am hoping through Future50 to get up into Norfolk more too.

“We have become a lot more well-known. I am doing a lot more networking and community work and I am getting in front of the right people and that’s helping to spread the word.”

At face value document storage can seem like a benign business to be in – but think about it, if your business lost its critical documents, it could have a significant impact on your operation.

And contrary to popular belief it is significantly cheaper to store documents for the seven years often required under data management laws before you can destroy them, than it is to scan each one.

“Seventy to 80pc of companies that go through a fire or a disaster either do not recover or are dead and buried within three years,” she said. “We are not a storage company, we are a documentation management company – it takes people time to understand what that is. We are experts in what we do – we have got 10 years’ experience. This is a purpose-built documentation storage facility – it’s not a converted grain store.”

She is also very clear on what sort of boss she wants to be.

“I want this to be a good place for people to work, but they mustn’t be complacent, I want them to enjoy coming here and have pride in what they do.”

“I do not work late, and I do not take work home with me. Day to day this place runs itself and that’s a credit to the team we have got in place.

“I love it – I’m not going to make the right decisions all the time, and if something doesn’t work, I’ll try something else. But I will take responsibility for it.”

 

 


27/10/16

New business network for women

 Rural and small business is the focus of a brand new networking group for female entrepreneurs in West Suffolk.
 
The West Suffolk Women in Rural Enterprise (WiRE) group is due to hold its first meeting, On: Tuesday 8th November 10am to midday At: AccountAbility-plus, Samples Farm, Ashfield Green, Wickhambrook
 
The aim is to help women with small and/or rural businesses with setting up, running and marketing their venture, to maximise their potential and success.
 
The need to offer support to women in business was recognised by WiRE nearly ten years ago, and WiRE has grown into a national organisation supporting rural business women across the UK.
 
Female entrepreneurs come up against a number of barriers including lack of confidence, isolation and insufficient business support. WiRE aims to help women overcome these barriers, and help them to develop and grow their businesses. WiRE offers a range of services; including the opportunity to network and do business with other women in a similar situation to their own. 
 
Kate Sammons, Managing Director of AccountAbility-plus, the company organising the new local network, says, “The meeting will provide an opportunity for women in business in West Suffolk and the surrounding area to meet in an informal and pleasant setting to discuss the issues which affect them and draw upon the experiences of others.”
 
 
For further details, call Tracey Stephenson on 01440 821991 or email 
 
tracey.stephenson@accountability-plus.co.uk
 
 
For more information on WiRE, please contact us on 01952 815338 or email: info@wireuk.org or visit the website www.wireuk.org
 
 


27/10/16

Find a grant to help boost your business

Pre-start and existing business owners are invited to attend surgeries across Norfolk and Suffolk, with experts offering advice in areas such as accountancy, HR, law and social media.  During the business surgeries, business owners can find out more about specific grants that are available in their region, industry-specific grant pots, Start Up Loans, crowdfunding and much more.

With mini one-to-one consultations with business experts, there will also be opportunities to network with other business owners.  Information will be provided from Nwes about funded support for businesses and the range of property services that are available through the enterprise agency, including easy in, easy out office space, virtual business solutions and conference and meeting room facilities, which are available to hire. 

Business Growth Advisor, Glen Moore, from New Anglia Growth Hub said a recent Nwes Business Surgery at OrbisEnergy in Lowestoft resulted in four leads "of which three will almost certainly result in grant applications.”

Specialists from organisations such as Lovewell Blake, Larking Gowen, Ashton Shaw, Norwich Accountancy, Whiting and Partners and Business Advisors from the New Anglia Growth Hub will be supporting the Business Surgeries, which are free to attend. 

Nwes business trainer John Clarke comments, said: "The Business Surgeries are an excellent window of opportunity for pre start and existing businesses to access free mini consultations with business specialists such as Business Banking Managers, Solicitors, HR professionals, and Tax experts.

“Furthermore, the surgeries offer excellent networking opportunities and a chance to hear from Nwes about how we can provide business support.”

The Business Surgeries are taking place at Nwes Business Centres in Norwich, Ipswich, Lowestoft, King’s Lynn and Great Yarmouth between October 2016 and March 2017.

The next Business Surgery is taking place on Monday 31 October 4pm – 6pm at the Norwich Enterprise Centre on Guildhall Hill.  Contact Nwes to book your free place on 08456 099 991 info@nwes.org.uk

For a full list of business surgeries and further information, visit www.nwes.org.uk 

 

Business Surgery with the Pros - a free event to boost your business
Monday 31 October 2016
4.00pm – 6.00pm
Norwich Enterprise Centre, 4B Guildhall Hill Norwich NR2 1JH
 
This free event will provide pre-start or existing businesses with the opportunity to network and access one-to-one mini consultations with the following professionals:
 
Glen Matthews, Larking Gowen Accountants
Andrew Tomes, Barclays
James West, New Anglia Growth Hub
 
Discuss your business and learn about the benefits of the New Anglia Micro Grant Scheme of between £1,000 and £10,000 from Growth Hub Advisor James West. Attendees will also learn from Nwes Business Trainer, John Clarke about how to turn great ideas into a reality with rewards based Crowd Funding.

 
 

 

 

 

 


17/10/16

Why not forcing your staff to stick to the script can help increase customer satisfaction

 

Organisations in the service sector that have more creative employees enjoy higher levels of customer satisfaction, according to new research led by the University of East Anglia (UEA).

The study looked at how creativity-orientated HR practices influence customer satisfaction. The authors recommend that businesses should invest in developing the creative capabilities of their customer service employees by implementing a system of HR practices tailored towards creativity.

These could include workshops to help staff increase their creative confidence and training to provide creative thinking and problem solving techniques. Training could be provided for managers to help enable employee creativity, while rewards for individual and team ideas could also encourage creativity, though these would not necessarily need to be financial.

Despite the potential influence of employees’ creative performance on customer outcomes and ultimately, organisational performance, creative performance in frontline service roles has received little research attention. Sales and customer service roles are also usually associated with more scripted rather creative behaviour.

However the findings of this study, published in the Journal of Management, show that in retail companies, branches that on average were more creative as rated by their managers received higher satisfaction evaluations from their customers.

The researchers also found that in branches where employees perceived there to be more HR practices in place for creativity, staff expressed higher levels of their needs being satisfied – for example having control in their work, feeling competent, feeling connected to people in their team - which was in turn positively related to creative performance.

Lead author Dr Ieva Martinaityte, a lecturer in business and management at UEA’s Norwich Business School, said: “We are living in a constantly changing environment and companies need to adapt to changes in technology and customer needs. Customers want a more personal service and we show that a more creative approach is a way to enhance their experience. Delighting the customer will increasingly stem from frontline employees’ creative rather than scripted role performance.

“Service organisations must aim to understand the drivers of creative performance. Our findings suggest that this may be supported by adopting a set of HR practices that are geared towards the environments and skills necessary to motivate creative performance. By helping employees to be more confident and enabling them to have control over their own work they will engage in creative efforts.”

The study, conducted with researchers at Aston University and King’s College London, involved frontline employees and their managers employed in 53 branches of two international companies operating in retail banking (31 branches) and cosmetics (22) in Lithuania. 

Questionnaires on creativity-orientated HPWS, need satisfaction, creative process engagement and demographics were completed by 329 employees. Fifty-one branch managers rated their employees’ creative performance, as well as the extent to which creativity orientated HR practices had been implemented at their respective branches. Data on customer satisfaction was collected from company records for the six months before to six months after the quarter of survey data collection. 

'Delighting the customer: creativity-oriented high performance work systems, frontline employee creative performance and customer satisfaction', Ieva Martinaityte, Claudia Sacramento and Samuel Ayree, is published in the Journal of Management.


17/10/16

Spirit of adventure has helped define Sleepy Nico

xxx Angeline Braidwood Sleepy Nico.jpge

Back in the 1980s you could watch TV adverts from a smiling Victor Kiam, the US businessman who told consumers he loved Remington Razors so much that he bought the company.

Well, it’s a feeling which is very familiar to business owner Angeline Braidwood.

As a mother living in London she fell in love with Sleepy Nico baby carriers, so much so that when the opportunity came up to buy the pattern and the name in 2008 she jumped at the chance.

“I’d bought one of the baby carriers and people stopped me in the street – I was walking down the King’s Road feeling really trendy and people kept asking me where it was from.”

Up until that point the 42-year-old had worked in various industries – originally training to be librarian before jobs in publishing, marketing, and IT recruitment, while at the time of taking on Sleepy Nico she had been combining motherhood with selling greetings cards to other mums.

“I sat down with my husband over a glass of wine and it was one of those moments – from there I decided to buy the pattern and the name,” she said. “I was looking for something that really peaked my interest.

“I was happy to be a mum but further down the line I wanted a bit more to do.”

After moving from London to Suffolk, she now runs the business from her kitchen table in Sudbury – which she admits is not without its challenges.

“It’s incredibly difficult and it’s very hard pleasing everybody,” she said. “You think working from home is easy because of the flexibility, but what it means is that you work later. My customer base understands this, which is lovely.

“You find you get orders at 3am, people are up with their babies, and I am up too!

“I’m selling about 100 slings a month – for me work isn’t just sitting down and doing things, it’s doing all the washing and emptying the drier.

“I would love to move into an office. If it’s your own business you are always carrying it around with you, so to be physically separate from it would be a relief.”

The business enjoys sales of about £80,000 a year and has recently launched its latest ‘spirit of adventure’ range.

“Spirit of adventure sums up the whole thing about being a parent and running your own business. The design is the closest to my heart which is why I decided to model it for the autumn collection photoshoot.

“Before I was a parent I travelled extensively and was worried that settling down would mean an end to this. Becoming a mother and in turn setting up a business has been the greatest adventure of my life.”

Launched at the weekend, at the Southern Babywearing Show in the New Forest, the £79 Autumn range includes Lyra, a horse print named after a family friend, Family Forest which is decorated with hearts and trees and is dedicated to friendships made in Suffolk, while the two floral prints are for Sleepy Nico’s seamstresses Kerri and Ana as a thank you for their incredible hard work and dedication.

But growth is bringing its own set of challenges, and with it the need to scale up the business, bringing in additional manufacturing capacity to support the work of the firm’s Suffolk-based seamstresses.

“I am at that terrifying stage in a small business where you have got to take it to the next level,” she said.

“The whole point of Future50 for me was to create jobs,” she added. I am speaking to a manufacturer in Lancashire who can create more slings for me – that’s going to help me expand the business.”

 


30/09/16

Hotel group has big plans for renamed Ipswich Hotel as it adds to its portfolio.

A growing East Anglian hotel business has added another venue to its expanding portfolio as it looks to continued expansion in the region.

Mildenhall-based Cameron Group has recently taken over the Cameo Hotel in Copdock, near Ipswich.

The group, which already operates the Best Western Priory Hotel in Bury St Edmunds and the Best Western Brome Grange in Eye, and is a member of the Future50, is embarking upon a £700,000 18-month programme to revamp the new addition and turn it into a four star venue.

The group specialises in acquiring hotels with potential but in need of a turnaround and fresh investment.

Each is within a 35 minute drive so that the business can refer guests to other venues if need be and more expansion could be on the cards if the right locations could be found, with venues around East Anglia on the target list.

Rameth Kurdi, General Manager, said the first step had been to rename and rebrand the venue the Ipswich Hotel as the new owners set to put their stamp on the venue.

The group are investing heavily in the future by introducing the Reslynx Guestline front office technology to all its hotels to help them improve the customer experience.

“This hotel came on the radar about six months ago,” he said. “It was a hotel that had a lot of potential – it’s got 77 bedrooms and the largest banqueting room in Suffolk with a capacity of 500. We are very active at the moment in promoting the hotel such as our wedding fair in October and making changes so that people know that we are here. We wanted to call ourselves the Ipswich Hotel because we think that has more of a ring to it.

“There is a lot of demand here,” he added.  “Ipswich is a booming area. You only have to drive around to see how much industry is going on. There’s building work going on and the centre is becoming more attractive around the marina.

“We hope to get into Best Western and reposition the hotel as a four-star hotel in the next 18 months,” he said.

“Within the last three to four years we have gone from nought to three hotels and we have got a good track record.”


29/09/16

Growing success for Portable Space

Portable Space has been established since 2002 and employs a growing team of 28 staff at its Bacton, Suffolk headquarters.

Recently they helped a local garden centre which was seeing huge success with the expansion of its popular Coffee Shop and needed to increase its provision of toilet facilities for customers.

Established since 1997, Hillcrest Nurseries, near Bury St Edmunds is a busy garden centre employing 21 people and in addition to its Plant Nursery, also operates a Farm Shop, Delicatessen and Bakery.

Asher Gregory from Hillcrest says: “Our new Coffee Shop opened in March 2015 and was an immediate hit with customers – so much so that we needed to expand it to meet demand. This project meant that we also had to install a new toilet block.

“We contacted Portable Space after looking at its website and spent time talking to the knowledgeable team about our requirements. They recommended we buy a
Jackleg Cabin to house the new toilet facilities.

“Throughout, it was a very positive experience with good channels of communication. Delivery and installation went well and we were impressed with the way the team handled it on the day.”

Portable Space has also helped a Special School which urgently needed additional office space after winning a contract to deliver an outreach service.

Priory School, based in Bury St Edmunds, provides specialist help for children with moderate learning difficulties. It is both an academy residential and day school and recently achieved ‘Outstanding’ in its latest Ofsted inspection.

Headteacher Lawrence Chapman said: “Our new contract from the Council to provide an outreach service to schools across Suffolk meant that we needed to increase our office area to give the outreach team a dedicated space.

“We had used Portable Space before and everything had worked smoothly so we decided to go back to them. We also liked the fact that they are local."

Mark Black, Managing Director said: “Our job is all about finding solutions for our customers who need additional space for their business or home. We offer both sale and hire and have a full service at our Bacton headquarters where we can create bespoke cabins and containers for specific needs. Helping Hillcrest Nurseries and Priory School are just two examples of how we have recently helped organisations in our area.”


29/09/16

The People Solutions Team planning expansion

 

The People Solutions Team, an Occupational Health service provider, based in Pakenham just outside of Bury St Edmunds, is delighted to have recently been named as a Future 50 member. Noted as one of the top 50 companies to watch in Norfolk and Suffolk for 2016, the company has a clear plan for expansion over the next year, adding to the existing Occupational Health team along with the introduction of a Health and Safety service. 

Sam Page, Occupational Health Director and owner of the business: said: “This is a fantastic accolade for us and we are keen to work with the Future 50 to grow our business with the wealth of business resources and support we have access to as Future 50 members”. The company’s expansion plans are well underway with the team recently welcoming Kevin Lynch, an experienced Health and Safety Advisor, enabling them to offer both Health and Safety Consultancy and Training alongside their existing Occupational Health services. Kevin has extensive knowledge of Health & Safety legislation together with over 15 years’ experience over a broad range of industry sectors. He has developed and implemented Health & Safety policies, procedures and risk assessments and has a good understanding of complex issues and accident investigation. Sam says “I have worked with Kevin in previous roles and could not be more delighted to welcome him to the team and to offer his expertise to our clients. Our new Health and Safety services complement the existing Occupational Health Services we offer enabling us to offer a full service to our clients”.

Kevin’s appointment follows the recent expansion of the Occupational Health team to four qualified nurses with the most recent appointments being Jade Arkell, Occupational Health Nurse and Catherine Moriarty, Occupational Health Administrator. The team offers a variety of services to clients including onsite Occupational Health Clinics, Wellbeing services and post-offer pre-employment questionnaires. Sam says “We are committed to helping our clients reduce sickness in the workplace and having a strong team is key to delivering this. Jade and Catherine have settled in really well to the team delivering the excellence service we strive for whilst supporting us to grow our client base”.

These changes are part of a detailed growth plan for The People Solutions Team over the next year so watch this space to see what the team have in store next! The team are running two Business Breakfasts in September and October for local businesses to meet its Occupational Health and Health and Safety teams and learn more about the services we offer. 


29/09/16

Dragon Hall Debates - Sparky Exchanges on Contemporary Controversies

A brand new series of monthly debates, held every second Monday until March (December excluded).

Climate Changed? Is it too late? UEA environmental scientist Naomi Vaughan will discuss radical options for responding to climate change; John Turnpenny, from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change will help us understand climate futures and philosopher Tom Greaves will explain what he means by environmental ethics.

The brand new series of monthly Dragon Hall Debates, which are held every second Monday, are jointly presented by UEA and Writers' Centre Norwich. The speakers will talk briefly, and then the audience are invited to ask questions, offer opinions and the discussion opens up. A pop-up bar will be on site

Information about the whole series here

For further information contact: events@uea.ac.uk

Event details

Date: Monday, 10 October 2016 – 7.00pm to 9.00pm (monthly, every second Monday until March – December excluded)

Venue: Writer’s Centre Norwich, Dragon Hall, 115-123 King St, Norwich

Cost: Free

Booking details: No need to book – further information here

 


31/08/16

Small Business success for Aponic

Aponic, an award-winning producer of vertical soilless growing systems based near Sudbury, Suffolk has been named among the 100 small businesses in the UK to be celebrated by Small Business Saturday, the campaign that culminates in the UK’s dedicated day for small businesses on December 3rd.

Acton-based Aponic has designed, developed and now manufactures growing systems that use 90% less water than traditional growing methods, utilising technology to automate water and nutrient delivery in an energy efficient manner. The systems can be used to grow low carbon, high yielding herbs, salad crops, flowers, fruit and vegetables, whilst maximising ground usage and turning an infertile plot almost anywhere in the world into a low-input, high-value output productive farm. The company will be among those featured one per day for the 100 days leading up to Small Business Saturday itself.

CEO, Jason Hawkins-Row says: “Working with other local suppliers in the East of England for our components and manufacturing has been central to our low carbon and ethically-focused brand, so we are as proud to support and enhance local business as well as supplying businesses from all over the world. We are now also looking at joint ventures with other food producing businesses to create secondary markets using our products in pop-up farms, emergency humanitarian housing and community projects as well as adding extra strings to the bows of diversifying farmers, farm shops and commercial flower growers. We hope that being part of the Small Biz 100 will help in our search for joint venture partners to showcase and help develop our new products.”

Small Business Saturday is already the UK's most successful small business campaign. This is the fourth year of the campaign, which last year saw £623m spent with small businesses across the UK on Small Business Saturday, an increase of £119m or 24 per cent on the previous year. The campaign trended at number one in the UK on Twitter on the day with more than 100,000 campaign-related tweets being sent. Over 75% of local councils supported the campaign, giving considerable national reach into local communities.

The campaign is a great nationwide promotional and marketing tool for small businesses. It is totally free to participate and any small businesses can get involved - from one-man-bands, through to a high growth office, and from tradesmen to social media gurus. In addition to the big day, the campaign also delivers help and advice alongside opportunities to connect with other small businesses. In short, Small Business Saturday exists to support, inspire and promote small businesses.

“The British public has a great affection for small businesses and we continue to see that grow year on year. Small Business Saturday is an exceptional example of collaboration and co-operation with small businesses teaming up in communities around the UK,” explains Campaign Director, Michelle Ovens. “Although the campaign focuses on one day, the goal is to have a lasting impact on small businesses by changing mind-sets, so that people make it their mission to support small businesses all year round. Most people in this country own a small business, work for a small business or know somebody who does, so supporting a small business on Small Business Saturday is absolutely personal.”

 

An award-winning producer of vertical soilless growing systems based near Sudbury, Suffolk has been named among the 100 small businesses in the UK to be celebrated by Small Business Saturday, the campaign that culminates in the UK’s dedicated day for small businesses on December 3rd.

 

Acton-based Aponic has designed, developed and now manufactures growing systems that use 90% less water than traditional growing methods, utilising technology to automate water and nutrient delivery in an energy efficient manner. The systems can be used to grow low carbon, high yielding herbs, salad crops, flowers, fruit and vegetables, whilst maximising ground usage and turning an infertile plot almost anywhere in the world into a low-input, high-value output productive farm. The company will be among those featured one per day for the 100 days leading up to Small Business Saturday itself.

 

CEO Jason Hawkins-Row says:

 

“Working with other local suppliers in the East of England for our components and manufacturing has been central to our low carbon and ethically-focused brand, so we are as proud to support and enhance local business as well as supplying businesses from all over the world. We are now also looking at joint ventures with other food producing businesses to create secondary markets using our products in pop-up farms, emergency humanitarian housing and community projects as well as adding extra strings to the bows of diversifying farmers, farm shops and commercial flower growers. We hope that being part of the Small Biz 100 will help in our search for joint venture partners to showcase and help develop our new products.”

 

Small Business Saturday is already the UK's most successful small business campaign. This is the fourth year of the campaign, which last year saw £623m spent with small businesses across the UK on Small Business Saturday, an increase of £119m or 24 per cent on the previous year. The campaign trended at number one in the UK on Twitter on the day with more than 100,000 campaign-related tweets being sent. Over 75% of local councils supported the campaign, giving considerable national reach into local communities.

 

The campaign is a great nationwide promotional and marketing tool for small businesses. It is totally free to participate and any small businesses can get involved - from one-man-bands, through to a high growth office, and from tradesmen to social media gurus. In addition to the big day, the campaign also delivers help and advice alongside opportunities to connect with other small businesses. In short, Small Business Saturday exists to support, inspire and promote small businesses. 

 

The British public has a great affection for small businesses and we continue
to see that grow year on year.  
Small Business Saturday is an exceptional example of collaboration and co-operation with small businesses teaming up in communities around the UK,” explains Campaign Director Michelle Ovens.

  

“Although the campaign focuses on one day, the goal is to have a lasting impact on small businesses by changing mind-sets, so that people make it their mission to support small businesses all year round. Most people in this country own a small business, work for a small business or know somebody who does, so supporting a small business on Small Business Saturday is absolutely personal.”

 

Small Business Saturday, which is a grassroots, not-for-profit campaign, was originally founded by American Express in the U.S. in 2010 and it remains the principal supporter of the campaign in the UK, as part of its on-going commitment to encourage consumers to shop small. The campaign also benefits from the backing of leading business organisations including the Federation of Small Businesses and Enterprise Nation. The campaign is also supported by PRS For Music, TalkTalk Business, Vistaprint, Post Office and Clear Channel

Logos, digital banners, a social media guide and toolkits will be available to download from the website www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com and can be displayed online or on premises. Businesses around the country can also upload information to the ‘My Small Business Finder’ on the website (www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com) on what special events or promotional offers they will be running for Small Business Saturday.

 

More information on Small Business Saturday can also be found on the Small Business Saturday Facebook page (www.facebook.com/smallbusinesssaturdayuk) and Twitter feed (@SmallBizSatUk).


31/08/16

Be part of the #CavCrowd!

Nwes is proud to be part of Cavendish Enterprise, a consortium of highly respected enterprise agencies from across the country, who work in partnership to deliver nationwide contracts that support start-up and growing businesses.

Cavendish Enterprise has joined forces with Crowdfunder UK for an exciting initiative to offer crowdfunding advice and support to over 100,000 businesses in England.

Nwes has nearly 35 years of experience in supporting new start-ups and growing businesses. Much has changed during this time, but one thing has remained unchanged: questions about finance are often top of the list of clients' concerns when they come to us for advice.

Support in terms of accessing finance is nothing new to Nwes and there is now an exciting new stream on offer: Crowdfunding is the latest phenomena to hit the finance market and Cavendish has seized the opportunity to offer this innovative funding source as an additional support service to new businesses with its #CavCrowd initiative.

For those new to the concept of crowdfunding, this alternative means of funding allows individuals to take their ideas forward with the power of the ‘crowd’ by offering rewards in return for money. Our Business Advisors will also be able to support those who wish to crowdfund. Cavendish Enterprise, supported by Nwes, is offering the opportunity for 10 businesses to receive a share of £5,000 of extra funding and, subject to eligibility, receive up to 100 hours of business support and guidance through the Start & Grow programme. Start & Grow is delivered by seven of the regional Cavendish Crowd partners – including Nwes.

Kevin Horne, Nwes CEO and Chair of Cavendish Enterprise, said: “In our continued efforts to provide innovative support to new and growing businesses, Cavendish Enterprise is pleased to offer a dedicated crowdfunding platform for our clients.”

“The service offers a facility to source the necessary funding required for start-up and growing businesses where it might not have been available through traditional routes," he continues. "By working in partnership with Crowdfunder UK, we will have the expertise and support of an established platform provider to ensure the Cavendish Crowd facility is a useful and successful additional service to complement our business support programmes.”

How can you get involved with CavCrowd? Contact Nwes 08456 099 991 and join the Cavendish Enterprise conversation on Twitter by using #CavCrowd

Find out more and launch your project on the Cavendish Crowd platform by clicking here

For further information, support, and advice on crowdfunding contact Nwes.

More information can be found at: www.cavendishenterprise.co.uk/crowdfunding/

Nwes is proud to be part of Cavendish Enterprise; a consortium of highly respected enterprise agencies from across the country, who work in partnership to deliver nationwide contracts supporting start-up and growing businesses.

 

Cavendish Enterprise has joined forces with Crowdfunder UK for an exciting initiative to offer crowdfunding advice and support to over 100,000 businesses in England.

 

Nwes has nearly 35 years of experience in supporting new start-ups and growing businesses.  Much has changed during this time; however one thing has remained unchanged:  Questions about finance are often top of the list of clients concerns when they come to us for advice.

 

Support in terms of accessing finance is nothing new to Nwes and there is now an exciting new stream on offer:  Crowdfunding is the latest phenomena to hit the finance market and Cavendish has seized the opportunity to offer this innovative funding source as an additional support service to new businesses with the #CavCrowd initiative.

 

For those new to the concept of crowdfunding, this alternative means of funding allows individuals to take their ideas forward with the power of the ‘crowd’ by offering rewards in return for money.  Our Business Advisors will also be able to support those who wish to crowdfund.  Cavendish Enterprise, supported by Nwes, is offering the opportunity for 10 businesses to receive a share of £5,000 of extra funding and, subject to eligibility, receive up to 100 hours of business support and guidance through the Start & Grow programme. Start & Grow is delivered by seven of the regional Cavendish Crowd partners – including Nwes. 

 

Kevin Horne, Nwes CEO and Chair of Cavendish Enterprise, says:

 

“In our continued efforts to provide innovative support to new and growing businesses, Cavendish Enterprise is pleased to offer a dedicated crowdfunding platform for our clients.” 

 

Kevin continues, “The service offers a facility to source the necessary funding required for start-up and growing businesses where it might not have been available through traditional routes. By working in partnership with Crowdfunder UK, we will have the expertise and support of an established platform provider to ensure the Cavendish Crowd facility is a useful and successful additional service to complement our business support programmes.”

 

How can you get involved with CavCrowd?  Contact Nwes 08456 099 991 and join the Cavendish Enterprise conversation on Twitter by using #CavCrowd

 

Find out more and launch your project on the Cavendish Crowd platform:  http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/campaign/cavendish

 

For further information, support, and advice on crowdfunding contact Nwes.

 

More information: https://www.cavendishenterprise.co.uk/crowdfunding/


31/08/16

New member Avanti launches exciting new accountancy franchise opportunity

One of Future50's 2016 cohort, Avanti Tax Accountants, part of The Avanti Group (UK) Ltd, has launch of an exciting franchise opportunity for accountants. The Avanti Tax Accountants Franchise Opportunity will offer qualified accountants the chance to run their own business with the support and expertise of a working accountancy practice that has more than 16 years' experience.

In addition to operating as a distinctive, highly-recognised and already established brand, franchisees will benefit from Avanti's proven model of success, along with bespoke accounting systems, marketing support, training, ongoing business support and development. The opportunity is also open to accountants who are already running their own business, but who may be in need of additional support to flourish.

Avanti's unique opportunity includes a license to operate a successful business networking group within their territory, which will not only enable franchisees to connect with likeminded business-people, but also emphasises the local community support that Avanti holds as its core value.

Victoria Sharp, managing director at Avanti Group (UK) Ltd, says: "We are very excited to announce our plans to launch our territory-based franchise opportunity. Our own business has been going from strength to strength and the only thing better than reaping the rewards of this is being able to help others do the same. As a former award-winning franchisee myself, I understand the importance of having a proven business model behind you and knowing that you are never on your own when it comes to launching your business - often a daunting proposition for many - even accountants!"

Future50 members are the first to hear about this exciting development, so if you or somebody you know is interested in finding out more details then visit www.avantitaxaccountantsfranchise.co.uk, which is being launched on 5th September 2016. In the meantime keep an eye on Avanti's Facebook for regular tax tips and other useful information.


30/06/16

New premises for StrategiQ

StrategiQ new office team shot

 

Fast-growing agency StrategiQ Marketing has completed a move into new flagship offices at Brightwell Barns, to the east of Ipswich.

Set in picturesque countryside but with easy access to the A12 and A14, the barn conversion provides open-plan studio space, plus meeting rooms, a funky kitchen and staff room, and showers for team members who like to exercise to get the creative juices flowing.

The move has been more than a year in the planning, with every aspect of the design and build has been carefully thought through, from the bespoke bench desks to the character-filled kitchen, as well the latest technology that every digital agency needs.

On the back of a six-month recruitment drive, which has seen the team and client base almost double in size to a total of 14, it is hoped the new office will put StrategiQ firmly on the map as one of the region’s top up-and-coming creative agencies, while also helping it to attract talent as the business continues to grow in the years ahead..

StrategiQ has already been recognised as one of the region’s most innovative companies, with inclusion in the Archant Future50 list of high-growth-potential businesses and selection as a finalist for the Future50 One to Watch award at this year’s East Anglian Daily Times Business Awards.

The company initially operated from the home of its founders and, immediately before the recent move, was operating from temporary premises at the Masterlord Office Village in Ipswich.

StrategiQ director Andy Smith said: “When we started out, less than three years ago, we had a clear vision of what we wanted StrategiQ to be. “Now, looking at the environment, culture and people we’ve brought together and nurtured, we couldn’t be more proud of our achievement.”

Co-director Sarah Smith added: “Seeing the look on the team’s faces when they first arrived at the new office, and throughout the first week, was something very special given our humble beginnings. It reflects how hard we’ve all worked to get to this point.”

James Bavington, StrategiQ’s creative director, said: “With the new office, we wanted to create a vibrant studio environment that clients and suppliers would enjoy visiting.

“We regularly invite clients in to discuss and review their integrated marketing strategies, so it’s really motivating to now have an inspirational setting for our creative sessions.”

 

StrategiQ new office wide


23/06/16

Indigo Swan shortlisted for four national awards at the 2016 TELCAs

TELCA16 Detail

 

Everyone at Indigo Swan is delighted to be shortlisted for four national awards at the 2016 Energy Live Consultancy Awards (TELCAs). The TELCAs are the equivalent of the Oscars for energy consultants.

The Future50 member is in the running for:

  • Most Trusted Consultancy
  • Consultancy of the Year
  • Business Person of the Year – Emily (Our Founder & MD)
  • Unsung Hero – Andy (Our Innovation Engineer)

 

The TELCAs are independently judged by an esteemed panel of industry experts from organisations such as Sainsbury’s, The Energy Institute, Starbucks and Linde Gas. The judges' shortlist awards entrants anonymously, so they don’t know which companies they are putting through to the finals.

In 2015 Indigo Swan won the Most Trusted and Best Small Consultancy awards, and was also shortlisted for Best Customer Service.

Emily Groves, Indigo Swan's Managing Director, highlights how much it means to the business: “We are delighted that yet again the hard work of everyone at Indigo Swan has been recognised in these awards. Trust is at the heart of what we do so to be in a position to win Most Trusted two years in a row, is a real testament to the service we provide and the integrity we maintain.”

“Consultancy of the Year is about demonstrating all the elements that make a consultancy exceptional. We believe Indigo Swan is trailblazing in our industry by successfully combining sustained growth with excellent customer service, trust worthy advice, accurate knowledge and an innovative approach to helping business make better energy decisions.”

“ We are also very excited for Emily and Andy to be externally recognised for their work” said James Wortley, Chief Plan Hatcher. “Andy works tirelessly to continually improve our processes as our Innovation Engineer and his experience with suppliers is invaluable to the team is resolving queries.”

“Emily as founder, heart and soul of Indigo Swan has created a company that not only provides an outstanding service, but also provides a wonderful working environment for her swans. Last year she was the Institute of Directors Young Director of the Year for the East of England and we are all very proud that she continues to be recognised.”

The awards are hosted at the Honourable Artillery Company grounds in London on June 30. Let's all keep our fingers & feathers crossed for Indigo Swan!


06/04/16

New appointment for Inheritance Data signals further growth

Sam Thelwell Inheritance Data

Wymondham-based Inheritance Data has appointed Sam Thelwell as Client Relationship Manager.

His main role will be to connect probate solicitors with Inheritance Data’s online estate search facility as it seeks to grow its client base and build its brand across the probate industry.

Sam, 26 and from Attleborough, is a research specialist with seven years’ experience in the data and heir tracing industry and a strong customer service background.

Inheritance Data is designed for probate professionals, providing a system which helps safeguard their reputation and offers a service that the client could not cost-effectively achieve on their own.

For more information visit: www.inheritancedata.co.uk. 

 

 


15/02/16

Geosphere Environmental pioneers novel river drilling technique

xxx Geosphere

Suffolk-based Future50 firm Geosphere Environmental has carried out an innovative drilling project on behalf of a client in the eastern region’s busiest waterway.


Geosphere, which is based near Ipswich, undertook the work across the River Stour and the River Orwell where they converge, an area used by shipping calling at both the Port of Felixstowe, the UK’s largest container port, and Harwich International Port, used by many large ferries and cruise ships, as well as a substantial volume of leisure craft.

The work was carried out with a drilling rig fixed to a shallow-draft 26-metre catamaran, retro-fitted with legs which enabled it to manoeuvre in and out of location, and up and down with the tide, for two months.

“This was an innovative approach and novel method which had not been tried before and resulted in the client saving 50% of the cost of using a standard jack-up platform,” a spokesman for Geosphere said.

Geosphere Environmental is a member of the Future50 growth programme which features some of Suffolk and Norfolk’s most innovative companies.

Besides its headquarters at Brightwell, near Ipswich, Geosphere has offices at South Woodham Ferrers in Essex and Wells in Somerset.

It offers a range of geotechnical and geoenvironmental services, including geotechnical site investigation work raging from small residential extensions to large projects for major contractors and geoenvironmental investigations and remediation on contaminated land.

Its services also cover ecological assessments, invasive species eradication and flood risk assessments, and it also has plans to add consultancy on BREEAM standards for the sustainability of buildings.

 


11/02/16

Expansion continues at Netmatters Ltd

IMG 0569

 

Work is well under way on a new dedicated 'Disaster Recovery Suite' (DR) for Norwich-based web design company and Future50 member, Netmatters Ltd. The project, which is part-funded by money secured from the Regional Growth Fund through Netmatters' membership of the Future50 initiative, is well on course for completion by the end of April this year. 

The Disaster Recovery Suite is the latest in a number of recent expansion projects at Netmatters' headquarters and will provide a 24-7, 365 days-a-year quick access solution for businesses in the event of a disaster, such as fire or flood, that renders their existing premises unusable. 

Once completed the DR suite will also play a vital role in the company's ambitious growth plans, which by the end of 2016, will see a 30 per cent increase in turnover and will create an additional 13 jobs for the local economy. 

"Being selected to be a part of Future50 has opened up new opportunities for training, innovation, networking and funding," said Netmatters' Managing Director, Chris Gulliver. "The additional funding has enabled us to release money, previously earmarked for specific projects, allowing us to invest in other areas of the business earlier than anticipated."

He continued: "Netmatters started life with just three of us in a tiny unit in Attleborough, but we have quickly expanded to more than 30 staff today. Our team is built on a foundation of great attitudes and a strong technical skill set, and our ethos is to deliver a high degree of satisfaction and service delivery to anyone who comes into contact with us, be it customer, supplier or member of staff. We achieve this through a robust and systematic approach to business, with transparent reporting and accountability."

It's certainly a great start to the year for Netmatters. The company, which provides IT support, digital marketing, website and software development services to local business is looking to build on a hugely successful 2015, which saw the creation of a dedicated project management team, together with a doubling of its business development team. Find out more about what's in store at https://www.netmatters.co.uk


18/01/16

How Pupil Asset is helping schools make sense of their data

Data has never been more important for schools. From headline figures such as the number of pupils gaining five ‘good’ GCSEs and the overall attendance rate, to more finely-grained statistics such as the performance of white boys in maths, or the progress made by children from deprived backgrounds, huge amounts of data are collected.

Some of this is used by schools to check how their pupils are performing, and where more needs to be done; some is used by governors to challenge senior school leaders; and some of it is used by Ofsted and the Department for Education to hold schools to account for how they are performing.

But although there has never been so much data, how do schools collect it and analyse it - and how do they make sure the whole process does not take up too much time, and prevent them doing what they are supposed to be doing, educating children?

Just eight years after starting up, one Norfolk company helps almost 80pc of schools in the county do this, and has ambitions to become a bigger player, nationally and internationally.

Pupil Asset was founded by James Leeds, the company’s chief executive officer, and Michael and Deborah Cooke.

Mr Leeds said: “There was a need for a local school to do something a bit more sophisticated with their spreadsheets, and I said I would have a look at it, and see if there was anything we could do. When I looked up whether there was a product that helps you see how your children are doing at school, there really was not much there.”

He said existing software was “really awful”, not allowing teachers to search for pupils by name, or see how they were doing and who needed help.

As well as finding a market “ripe for disruption”, he said it was an area where he could do something that would “make a fundamental difference to people’s lives”.

The company now has about 25 employees based in two offices, and works with nurseries, primary and secondary schools, and sixth forms. It is also a member of the EDP’s Future 50, which champions the fastest growing 50 firms in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Mr Leeds described Pupil Asset’s core mission as “to simplify”, allowing schools to easily see how they are doing and who needs help, and then allowing schools to go into whatever level of complexity it wants.

Its systems are all web-based, and staff and parents can access it on smart phones. Mr Leeds said the security of its website and data was “the thing we take most seriously”, and, despite some attempted attacks, it had never been compromised or had an outage.

The system allows people to look at areas such as attendance, attainment, behaviour and progress, allowing schools to look for correlations between different areas, and give them clues to possible problems.

It also allows schools to compare their performance to national benchmarks, and the company is now looking at including the ability to benchmark at more local levels.

Schools can choose what they use the system for, with some using it to record all their information, from test scores to collecting dinner money. And as well as the data that the government and Ofsted expect from schools, it can also record things the government does not ask schools to capture, such a child’s outside interests, helping supply teachers or those meeting their classes for the first time to get to know them better, and understand hidden strengths or achievements.

What about the future?

The company hopes, from September, to allow pupils to have access to the system, with the ability to look at timetables, contact teachers and submit homework.

In terms of expansion, Mr Leeds said there is “no limit”. As well as Norfolk, it is strong in places like south London, and is taking on a sales manager to help it expand into the north of England.

He added: “The ambition is to help as many kids as we can. We are currently in the process of expanding nationwide. Then it’s taking it internationally.”

It already has some international schools and is considering areas that are becoming more technically advanced. But Mr Leeds added: “Our goal beyond that would be to go to America. We don’t have any schools in America. The American school system is similar. We can support it technically speaking, but their technical systems are atrocious.”

Mr Leeds said expanding into higher or further education is a question for the future.

There will also be increasing ethical questions about who owns the data the company is collecting. Personally, he thinks young people should own the data about them.

However, one thing will not change. Mr Leeds said he was passionate about Norwich, and Pupil Asset would continue to be a Norwich company.


14/01/16

Future50 member Indigo Swan is looking forward to an exciting 2016

With ambitious growth plans and a strong focus on local business, Future50 member Indigo Swan is hoping that 2016 will be it's most successful year to date.

The company, which is based in Norwich and provides independent business energy consultancy services plans to build on a fantastic 2015, during which it saw sales increase by 40%, welcomed four new 'swans' to its flock and was awarded "Most Trusted Consultancy" and "Best Small Consultancy of the Year" at the National Energy Live Consultancy Awards (TELCAs) in London. In addition, Indigo Swan Managing Director, Emily Groves, was named IoD Young Director of the Year (East of England).

"We believe in a better way of managing energy," said Chief Plan Hatcher, James Wortley. "Our focus is on taking the headache out of managing energy and energy contracts and giving our clients the information they need to make better business decisions. We have been recognised for our innovative and customer focused approach with a number of awards, our Future50 membership and our excellent client retention, and we're excited about building upon this in 2016."

It certainly looks to be a busy year for Indigo Swan. The company plans to double turnover by the end of 2017 and increase its flock to 20 swans. It is currently looking for a Client Guide to work with clients to reduce their energy headache, and hopes to have at least two more positions become available over the next 12 months.

Indigo Swan was founded by Emily Groves in 2010 with a culture rooted in strong values and a philosophy of doing things 'A Better Way', an approach that's cemented its reputation as an industry leader.

"Attitudes are as important to use as skills when we recruit," said Emily. "We look for people who fit with our values: 'Be Trusted, Be Responsible, Be Effortless and Be Exceptional'. Innovation is at the heart of our culture, we are always looking for a better way, so it is essential we find new people who push boundaries and challenge the status quo."

Find more information about Indigo Swan visit: http://indigoswan.co.uk/ 


23/12/15

Why Future50s are helping the next generation of start-ups through Sync the City

The recent Sync the City event in Norwich showcased the tech potential of Norwich. Sally Harding from Liquid11 explains how several Future50 companies had supported the event.


The Sync The City 2015 start-up weekend organised by SyncNorwich and the UEA saw 14 brand new tech business ideas pitched, researched and launched in just 54 hours, with the overall winner, Everyday Spaces, receiving £3,000 in funding to get their business off the ground and the People’s Choice award going to DocDirect who want to reduce costs for the NHS by £1,900 per minute!
As a company, we at Liquid11 Ltd not only sponsored this inspiring event, but provided mentors to assist with business advice and development; with our MD Grant Hardy being one of the four judges, along with Julianna Meyer of SupaPass, Jon Bradford former MD of Techstars London and Julie West from New Anglia LEP; being responsible for choosing the overall winning business idea.
Sync The City presented a platform for collaboration, with individuals from various age groups and backgrounds including schools, university, developers, marketers and business people coming together to pitch their ideas and turn them into reality.
Business support in the form of workshops and mentoring was provided by a range of business individuals travelling from as far as London; giving up their personal and family time to offer help and advice to the hopeful attendants; highlighting how important these events are to the local economy.
For us as a company, a large percentage of the team were present for the full event. Only a few days before we had been announced as one of the Future50 companies for Norfolk and Suffolk; gaining access to business advice and networking opportunities to enable us to grow and share experiences with local businesses; so were understandably on a high.
One of the fellow judges, Julianna’s business - SupaPass was also chosen as a Future50 company, as well as FXHOME and Liftshare who provided mentors all donating their time and expertise as well as sharing in our excitement. It’s no coincidence that so many Future50 companies were involved, as this passion for business and enthusiasm is what drives companies forward.
Events such as Sync The City allow budding entrepreneurs to access a community who have been there and done it; gaining knowledge and being privy to actual experiences that they may not normally come into contact with in every-day life. It provides a safe environment to develop proposed business ideas and utilise experience and practical help not normally available in such condensed time scales or all in one place.
Whilst in practice businesses are not as a rule normally created in 54 hours; with in-depth planning required to ensure that all areas are covered before committing to start; this event highlighted that it can be done – but should be followed up with specific support to ensure that the businesses created start, grow and flourish.
We see these events as extremely important. We have a huge amount of talent that is nurtured at the University of East Anglia and through events such as this and the support available locally. We want to keep it here.
In years gone by business was all about being centred around a specific geographical location. These days with technical advances, business is more about the technical infrastructure rather than the location, proving that providing you have the right input business will happen anyway.
Future50 businesses have a common goal of growing their business with a desire to learn from others, evaluate what they are doing and take action; with a desire to innovate and openness to explore opportunities and possible collaboration. This event enabled us to provide some of our skills and experience to the Future50 of tomorrow.
Liquid11 is a technology company behind a new tech hub for start-ups at New Patrick’s Yard in Norwich.


23/12/15

Lisa Angel is looking to exports as next stage of growth cycle

Following trends, cashing in on Black Friday and a high profile visit have helped gift and jewellery business Lisa Angel experience 40pc growth last year - and boost staff numbers.

Lisa Angel Jewellery, based in Rackheath Industrial Estate, saw sales rocket to more than 78,000 online orders from November 1 to 22, and more than 17,000 orders on Black Friday weekend.
And prime minister David Cameron’s visit to the warehouse in January shone the national spotlight on the business, launched by 42-year-old Lisa Angel from her living room 10 years ago.
Now the firm, run by Lisa  and her husband David, 41, has been named a Future50 firm, which champions the fastest growing 50 firms in Norfolk and Suffolk.
“I can see so much potential,” said Mrs Angel. “Every day I see improvements that need to be made, I’m nowhere near ready to stop. That’s when we have done everything we can do, and our business is as big as it can be.”
The website now sees orders flow in from across the world, as far away as the US and Australia, where Lisa said she has a wide customer base in Perth.
She said the next step would be to translate the website into different languages, in a bid to target a wider audience and drive exports.
Turnover has increased to about £3.5m for the year to the end of August, up from £2.2m the year before, and the business expanded into another warehouse at the end of the summer, bringing the total space up to 9,000sq ft.
The drive to increase capacity to catch up with superfast growth will see the firm build a mezzanine floor in the warehouse.
But while sales have increased in Lisa Angel’s retail space in Chapelfield and store in Norwich Lanes, it is online where Mrs Angel is focussing efforts, ruling out further shops for the time being.
“I really wanted to open more shops, but unless we have a bigger management team in place we can’t do everything,” she said. “We decided to put our energy into the website.”
Staff numbers have risen to 60, up from 40 last year, and the wholesale side of the business has taken off, with Lisa Angel supplying more than 100 boutiques nationally.
“We are really pleased, it is mind blowing,” Lisa said.


23/12/15

Fast growing Future50 firm targets new business in the Republic of Ireland

A fast-growing personal alarm business established two years ago has launched into the Republic of Ireland - and is eyeing worldwide expansion.


Lifeline 24, which supplies alarms to elderly people across the UK and now Ireland, now has more than 5,000 customers, after growing 130pc on last year.

The firm, which is based in Taverham, near Norwich, was established by Simon Budd, 37, and his wife Treena, 44, in a bid to reduce the cost of personal alarms - by moving registration online - and speeding the process up to free NHS beds.

Now the company has seen staff numbers jump from just three a year ago to 12 today and is “recruiting aggressively”, according to Mr Budd.

“I was frustrated having worked in the industry and felt it could be more modern about delivering these personal alarm services,” he said.

“I thought it would be possible to offer the services at a much cheaper price and also quicker.

“The NHS is trying to free up beds, so it is important people get home but a personal alarm is necessary.”

Mr Budd previously worked in stocks and shares in London, before moving up to Norwich when he started a family.

After working for a housing association for a couple of years the father of two and his wife - who is a director at the company - decided to launch the business.

Now he hopes to expand into the US and Australia next year, and is searching for new office space in Norwich.

“In our original business plan we hoped to open 120 accounts in the first year,” he said. “We actually opened more than 2,000 accounts.

“Profits have been way beyond expectations.

“As an expanding business there have been huge pressures in terms of cash flow. We’re not taking any money out of the business yet.”

Turnover for the year to the end of March was £350,000, and Mr Budd said he expected this year to reach £900,000.

Mr Budd, who launched the business with an £8,000 government loan through Nwes and £20,000 of his own money, added sales were growing at a pace of 130pc year on year.

He said one third of the customers came from individual inquiries, one third from the families of people requiring alarms and one third from health professionals.


16/12/15

Exciting times for Inheritance Data as new office officially opens

The team at Inheritance Home have celebrated the official opening of their new offices at Wymondham. Founded by Bruce Cane the company is managed by his son Daniel and supported by business development manager Ollie Wright, and all three are hoping for great things for the business

Inheritance Data has created a specialist web platform that identifies assets held in banks, building societies and pension funds. Research conducted by the company showed unclaimed assets were found in around 10pc of probate cases, worth around £16bn, highlighting a problem for probate professionals. Inheritance Data is exclusively designed for probate professionals, giving solicitors a system which helps safeguard their reputation and offers a service that the client could not cost-effectively achieve on their own. By providing a platform allowing them to conduct a search of up to 200 financial services institutions, the Future50 business has the potential to revolutionise the process for helping families access the lost savings of their late loved ones. Founder Bruce Cane said the business had grown from a one-man operation to a company employing eight staff with a new telesales division about to be added.“Probate is a time-consuming, manually-driven process, which has not benefited from technology – until now,” he said. “Technology has revolutionised almost every business sector, from banking and retailing to travel, and we are delighted to be working with probate professionals throughout the UK to deliver the benefits of speed and convenience that other sectors now take for granted.”Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman was the guest of honour at the official launch of its new offices in Philip Ford Way. 

“You are doing something incredibly exciting,” he said. “You are creating opportunities and jobs and this is a story of Norfolk businesses driving the recovery in the economy.”


16/12/15

FXHOME launches special Limited Edition Star Wars software

The team at FXHOME has released a special edition of its free editing, effects and animation software, HitFilm 3 Express complete with Star Wars-inspired effects to help filmmakers channel their inner George Lucas or J.J. Abrams.


Josh Davies CEO, said Star Wars had been a big part of the company’s history and the firm had used actors locally to film Star Wars style tutorial scenes showing how to create the effects.
“The very first effect we developed at FXHOME was a lightsaber - made specifically for Star Wars-style fan films,” he said. “We know how passionate the Star Wars community is; we want to do everything we can to support the creativity ‘The Force Awakens’ has already inspired worldwide. By releasing HitFilm 3 Express Special Edition for free this December, we’re opening up a universe of possibilities to filmmakers on a budget.”
From humble beginnings, the UK-based developer of HitFilm, an all-in-one video editing, effects and animation platform, has grown, boasting hundreds of thousands of users, four major releases of HitFilm, plus dozens of plugins and add-ons for the platform.
HitFilm is also releasing the HitFilm Strikes Pack. Available until December 31. The Strikes Pack includes the ultimate collection of effects and features like a 3D models toolkit, Destruction pack, Sci-fi adventure pack, Pro light flares pack, Colorist Pack, Premium formats and Starter Pack.
The Star Wars limited edition downloads come on the heels of the release of HitFilm 4 Pro, FXHOME’s latest editing, effects and animation offering, the all-in-one software which combines non-linear editing (NLE), 3D compositing, 3D object rendering, an industry leading particle simulator, an expansive toolkit for advanced colour correction and grading as well as more than 200 fully customizable visual effects. Also included is HitFilm Ignite, a collection of over 140 plugins for use in Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, Final Cut Pro X, Sony Catalyst Edit, Sony Vegas Pro, DaVinci Resolve and Apple Motion.


03/12/15

Future50 company eyes exceptional growth

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Future50 debutante Inheritance Data has opened up new premises in Wymondham, confirming its commitment to the region as it seeks to develop with 'exceptional growth potential'. The offices, on Phillip Ford Way, were officially opened by George Freeman MP on 11th December. 

"We're a web-based platform for probate specialists - and we're already working with local professionals to help identify assets held in financial institutions," said Operations Manager, Daniel Cane (pictured right with Business Development Manager Ollie Wright). "We have exceptional growth potential and our new offices show our commitment to Norfolk, which is also where our cloud-based technology was developed." 

Inheritance Date is an online searching platform that allows probate professionals to explore financial institutions for active, lost and dormant accounts belonging to a deceased person. Its service uses a unique combination of online technology and traditional searching methods to trace multiple account types, helping probate professionals to connect with financial institutions and maintain both parties' due diligence. 

 

 


19/11/15

Future50 members are revealed in a night of celebration

It has been one of the most talked about events among the business community in Norfolk and Suffolk and last night members of the new look Future50 were revealed at a launch meeting held at Redwell Brewery in Norwich.

The list is comprised of companies from across the two counties which will now be eligible to apply for a slice of the government’s £1.26m Regional Growth Fund to create 200 jobs.

Applicants were selected after consideration by an investment panel. As member businesses they will have access to free business advice, support and mentoring.

A second round of applications is planned for 2016 and of the businesses selected 31 were Norfolk based and 19 from Suffolk.

Members heard details of the benefits of being part of Future50 including access to a programme of events and masterclasses throughout the course of the programme which aims to bring companies together so that they can discuss common issues facing them on their growth journey.

The launch event also saw Patrick Fisher, one of the founders of Redwell talk about how the business had got to where it is today, while members also had a chance to meet each other for the first time.

The firm, which produces craft beer at its site in Bracondale and runs four pubs around Norwich – recently linked up with Norwich café Kofra Coffee to create a special beer combining roasted barley, chocolate malt and seasonal coffee from Central America.

Earlier this year it also opened a gin distillery at the Ten Bells pub in Norwich.

The Future50 programme is supported by a number of partners including Nwes, Birketts, Lovewell Blake, Barclays, the University of East Anglia, and Archant, publishers of the EDP and East Anglian Daily Times.

Richard Voisey, senior business advisor Nwes, said: “A Future50 business is one that’s going to make a real impact on the economy of Norfolk and Suffolk. It’s going to have drive and ambition, create jobs, invest money and make Norfolk and Suffolk a better place to live and work.

“An added bonus of the Future50 programme is the opportunity to take advantage of a grant and every single business within the membership can claim up to £50,000 of grant money. That’s going to help them to drive that business forward that little bit quicker, develop better jobs and put more infrastructure into their businesses to make their business that much better.

Simon Watson, corporate business partner at Lovewell Blake, said: “Future50 is really the opportunity for ambitious minds to meet to spend time together to discuss business issues among fellow entrepreneurs. There’s been many instances where Future50 has become the background where businesses can work together, collaborate and share business ideas.

Adrian Possener, partner at Birketts, said: “We are looking for companies that are exciting, have lots of prospects, bags of potential and ones that are well-run.”

You can see all the action from the exclusive launch party by watching the video on this news page.


12/10/15

Future50 grant funding can help your business

When the government awarded £1.26m of its Regional Growth Fund to support the Future50 programme it had a clear objective in mind - to help businesses create jobs.

While the funding is new to the Future50 programme, RGF funding has already been used to support businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk. 

Many have been supported through New Anglia Local Enterprise partnership's Growing Business Fund and we wanted to find out how it had helped. 

Brad Warwick is chief commercial officer at Crafted, a growing digital agency and former member of Suffolk Future50 that received a £60,000 grant. "We'd been doing consistent year-on-year growth but we realised we'd need to invest heavily in new staff and premises to push on to the next stage of growth and pass through 40 staff," he said.

"This meant taking on significant costs of increased head count, larger offices and associated fit-out costs. The £60,000 we received gave us an extra layer of financial support to push through the next barrier and aim for even more growth. We're now heading towards 60 staff with a second office in London and are winning more and more new clients."

Norwich-based special effects company has already been a part of the Future50 family. It received £30,000 in funds, which was used to help create three new roles in the organisation and to invest in new equipment. 

Andrea Wake, Operations Manager at FXHOME, who recently met with Treasury Minister Harriet Baldwin to discuss support for local businesses said: "The investment from the Growing Business Fund has had an immediate impact, allowing us to create new roles doubling the capacity within the marketing department, and accelerating our strategic plans."

As a Future50 you too can have the opportunity to apply for a dedicated grant find that, subject to application and independent assessment, can provide you with business support. Apply now and build a stronger future for your business. 


07/09/15

Former "One to Watch' completes first commercial installation

Former Future50 member which has developed a patented solution to one of the biggest maintenance issues facing offshore operators has completed its first commercial installation.

Lowestoft based Scour Prevention Systems (SPSL) was a member of 2013's Future50 programme, winning the One to Watch category for the East Anglian Daily Times Business Awards, which is sponsored by Nwes and is open exclusively for members of the EADT's Suffolk Future50 listing of up-and-coming business with high growth potential. 

The company uses life-expired tyres to form protective mats which lie securely on the sea bed to prevent currents eroding sand from around and under infrastructure such as pipelines, cables and support columns.

This problem, known as “scour”, is a global issue but one of particular significance for the growing wind farm industry off the coast of East Anglia, which accounts for more than half of the UK offshore wind energy market.

Following several years of development, the system was successfully trialled at a wind farm off the Norfolk coast and the first commercial application has now been completed, as part of an installation in the Southern North Sea oil and gas sector of new fibre optic cables by offshore communications network operator Tampnet.

Company chairman John Balch said: “We have a patented solution for preventing and remediating scour for offshore foundations, turbines, platforms, cables and pipelines and everything that needs protecting on the sea bed.

“Our first commercial project was in the offshore oil and gas industry, working with partners such as Tampnet which has embraced our innovative approach.”


07/09/15

From bedroom to £1million

A Norwich Care company that was launched in a spare bedroom three years ago is about to break the million pound barrier with a record turnover. 

NR Care, which looks after more than 100 people in their own homes across Norwich and Norfolk, has moved into new offices on Thorpe Road. 

The business was launched in December 2012 with help and advice from Nwes. A year later is was a successful member of Norfolk's Future50 programme.

Since that time, founders Rebekah Bedingfield and Nathan Slater have seen turnover almost double year on year, and are on target to reach £1million this year. "We used to do interviews in Bawburgh and were based in my spare room, now we're in an office on Thorpe Road," said Rebekah. "It was really scary to give up my job. Nathan covered my mortgage for the first couple of months."

NR Care now employs 55 people, a mix of care workers and office staff, after taking on 12 staff in the first six months. A move to offices in Aylsham Road, Norwich, followed the first expansion, and in June they moved into their new space in Thorpe Road.

The company is acredited by the NHS, and as a spot provider, is generally offered smaller contracts. Rebekah added: “We have had turbulent times and had difficulties finding the right kind of staff but there is a demand for community care.”

She said the company targeted rural areas where there are fewer providers, such as North Walsham. She is also hoping to expand in Great Yarmouth.

Business partner Nathan, who looks after the company’s finances, said: “I feel we have grown quickly because Rebekah and I have maintained the ethos that we want people to be looked after the way we would want our own parents to be looked after.”


07/09/15

Former Future50 member invests in Norfolk's talent

Software company Epos Now, a former Future50 member that supplies electronic and cloud-based point-of-sale software to 6000 cafes, restaurants and retail stores has seen 250pc growth year on year, has taken on 29 new staff since December and has posted 37 new vacancies this May to keep up with demand.

And proving its Google-esque approach to market domination stretches to its work environment too, the company’s new head office on Norwich Business Park has a strong emphasis on team recognition, with unusual motivational items such as PS4s, arcade machines, pool tables and a guitar.

Michael Casanova, head of HR and recruitment, said time to unwind and a strong reward recognition system was an uncostly and important way of attracting new talent - and shouldn’t depend on company turnover to implement.

“The idea of having leaderboards, challenges, voucher rewards is to create a culture of team recognition, where even if your manager is downstairs you will get a pat on the back,” said the 26-year-old. “A lot of those things don’t actually cost money - it’s so important businesses don’t cut back, as your staff are your most valuable resource.” He added that the "gameification" of work environments, where employee effort is rewarded in imaginative ways results in higher productivity.

Now the £600,000 monthly revenue company, which has offices in Glasgow, London and Manchester as well, is looking to increase its sales and software engineering team in particular for its base in Norwich. The city is seen as having a growing digital technology sector, voted 15th in the government's UK-wide Tech Cities project and complemented by high application rates at the UEA and Norwich University of the Arts (NUA).

Employing the innovation, ambition and drive seen in all Future50 alumni, the company is thriving due to a changing market that is the result of ongoing confidence in the economy. Although it has applications from London and further afield internationally, the business plays an important role in the local economy by largely recruiting from the region – especially from the UEA for software and other skills.


04/09/15

Future50 has launched - Apply to join now!

Entrepreneurs are pivotal to the success of the economy both across the UK and here in Norfolk and Suffolk. But making the leap to starting up and running your own business can be a long and arduous journey. And that is why Future50 is here to help.

Future50 is a business growth programme designed to recognise Norfolk and Suffolk’s most innovative companies – the “ones to watch” – and accelerate their growth ambitions through quality business advice, inspirational networking events that stimulate peer learning, innovative multimedia business support and access to grant funding as an investment catalyst.

The new look programme has secured £1.26m of support from the government’s regional growth fund designed to help selected businesses fulfil their job creation and growth ambitions by creating 200 jobs across Norfolk and Suffolk over the course of the next two years. And now applications are open for businesses to apply.

The search is on for the individuals and companies that will be creating jobs, growing at a faster rate than others, and going on to be leaders in their sector.

The scheme will work exclusively with businesses where job creation and investment plans can be brought forward or the scope can be increased. It will feature 50 of the region’s small and medium sized businesses identified as having the potential to make the most economic impact locally in the course of the next three years will become successful members and be able to access the full range of support to catalyse their growth.

The programme funded in Round 6 of the Regional Growth Fund will be delivered across the region by Nwes and Archant with partners Barclays, Birketts, Lovewell Blake, and the University of East Anglia.

Kevin Horne, chief executive of Nwes, said: “Future50 provides an excellent opportunity for us to assist the entrepreneurs with the most potential to have appositive local impact over the next few years and this matches our objectives to benefit the local community in which we are based. We can only continue to thrive and grow ourselves if we enable our business community to do likewise. Therefore, we are delighted to have helped shape the secure government’s investment into the Future50 that we can now deliver to the local businesses of the future.


“Future50 companies are looking to create jobs, grow and lead. They are what’s exciting about business and they will inspire others to take the first step onto the road to creating a successful company. We are excited to meet the Future50 of 2015 and to support them on their journey. Simon Watson, partner at Lovewell Blake, said: “We believe that supporting such forward thinking people and their organisations through Future 50 is an ideal way of contributing to growth in the local business community. 

“If Future50 is a vehicle for sharing ideas, rewarding excellence and supporting innovation then the Norfolk and Suffolk economy will be the richer for it.”