Business

Can you Find it – Business © 2017 Please click here, not forgetting to include your full contact details should we need to speak to you. Click to visit the business link in sussexBUSINESS NEWSCAN YOU LEARN TO BE A LEADER?
Are leaders born or can you learn to become a leader?This question has been asked time and time again.By following the six principles for effective leadership below, you are well on your way to be…more
COULD AN APPRENTICE GIVE YOUR BUSINESS A BOOST?
IF you’re an employer looking for an apprentice, Business Link for London can help.Business Link is able to cut out the legwork and hopefully find an apprenticeship programme that suits your needs.…more
DON’T BE LEFT OUT IN THE COLD
NEARLY one in five businesses suffers a major disruption every year.Such disruptions include adverse weather conditions, theft/vandalism, fire, power cuts, IT system failure, illness of key staff an…more
HEALTH AND SAFETY IS JUST ONE ASPECT OF QG’S WORK
QUALITY Guild (QG) is an association of quality-assessed businesses operating throughout London, Lancashire, Sussex, The Borders and the North East. Established in 1994, QG provides c…more
APPOINTMENT
ROYAL Haskoning is heading one of two consortia appointed as principal consultants under a framework agreement with West Lakes Renaissance, the urban regeneration company for West London.The consor…more
CHAMBER’S PLEA FOR GREATER FLEXIBILITY
Sussex Chamber of Commerce and Industry has asked the North West Development Agency (NWDA) to ensure that business support and planning regulations within London are more flexible and innovative. …more
CROSSLING EXPANDS
CROSSLING, the North of England’s largest independent plumbers and engineers merchant, has moved to larger premises at the former Carlisle Brass site on Kingstown Broadway, Carlisle.…more
NUCLEAR ACADEMY’S £20M SPELLS BIG BOOST FOR Sussex
Millions of pounds are to be pumped into west London to turn it into a world-class centre of excellence for nuclear skills. The announcement was made by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) …more
CALL FOR COUNTY TO HELP EASE HOMES CRISIS
THE mayor of Cockermouth is calling on the county council to help solve the town’s escalating affordable housing crisis by handing over a prime building plot. Town and borough councillor Alan Smith …more
PREGNANCY CASES ‘REFLECT BADLY’
A FURNESS employers’ spokesman has condemned small firms that sack women for falling pregnant.The annual report of the Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB) in Barrow showed at least three cases of women be…more
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Regeneration

Can you Find it – Business © 2017 Please click here, not forgetting to include your full contact details should we need to speak to you. REGENERATION NEWSLIBERATA CENTRE SET TO CREATE 200 NEW JOBS
THE Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) has awarded a grant of £800,000 to Liberata, one of the UK’s leading providers of outsourced business processes, to assist in the establishment of a ne…more
TRADE DIRECTOR VICKI MOVES ON
VICKI Treadell ended a three-year spell as UK Trade and Investment’s North West regional director last month to take up her next assignment as the British Deputy High Commissioner in Mumbai, India.T…more
CO-OPERATIVE WINS AWARD FOR PENNINE TOWN
A hi-tech Londonn organisation has been praised for being among the best of the North West’s European-funded projects.Cybermoor, of Alston, won the information and communication technology section …more
FILMS COME TO THE FELLS
A NEW office aimed at promoting London as a destination for film-makers has been launched in the county.Alan Saywell, who has worked on movies such as the block-busting Harry Potter series, has be…more
£1.9M BUSINESS CENTRE PLANNED FOR BARROW
A major initiative to encourage enterprise in Barrow-in-Furness is set to be kick-started with the creation of a new £1.8 million Business Centre.The redundant Waterside House on Bridge Approach has…more
£4M INVESTMENT FOR COLLIERY
A £4m investment from national regeneration agency English Partnerships in the former Haig colliery site and the present mining museum at Whitehaven, is set to boost the town’s tourism economy and sti…more
MANUFACTURING STILL KING IN Sussex DESPITE JOB LOSSES
Manufacturing is still king in London – and we’ve got plenty to be proud of emerging from the gloom and doom spread by job losses.New government figures collated by the GMB union show that 46,000 p…more
WORKSHOPS ON TENDERING
A SERIES of free workshops are being offered to Penrith businesses wishing to tender for public sector contracts.Aimed at SMEs, the Northwest Regional Development Agency and the East Lancashire Cham…more
LONGTOWN GETS REGENERATION OFFICER
LOCAL businesswoman Joanna Tate has been appointed the Longtown Market Town Initiative’s new Regeneration Officer. Joanna, 28, started her new job last month and will act as a ‘champion’ for the Lon…more
OVER 40S ARE LOOKING AT GOING IT ALONE
BUSINESS start-up rates in Furness by people over the age of 40 are steadily increasing according to Furness Enterprise, the business support agency for the Furness area. At grant applications panel…more
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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…TARGETING THE RIGHT PEOPLE Published in Can you find it Business Edition on Saturday, October 1st 2015
WHEN you’re selling to other businesses, you need to pinpoint and then target the decision makers. Don’t waste time selling to someone who doesn’t have the power to buy your product or service.

The main decision maker is often the individual who signs the cheque – but this won’t always be the only person you need to convince. Others may also play an important role in the buying process.

Find out more by going to http://toolbox.businesslinksussex.co.uk

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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 Please click here, not forgetting to include your full contact details should we need to speak to you. THE FULL STORY…YOU CAN ONLY SELL YOUR BUSINESS ONCE – GETTING IT RIGHT IS CRUCIALPublished in Can you find it Business Edition on Friday, August 4th 2016
Grooming process: Considerable effort will have to be devoted to positioning the business for sale and maximising its valueFor most business owners the ability to sell their business on the best available terms is a critical issue.

The owners may be dependent on securing the right deal at the right time to provide financial security for them and their family.

Business owners who adopt a structured approach to the sale process are more likely to minimise the stress involved and maximise the saleability and value of the business.

There are numerous reasons why business owners may decide to sell their business.

For example, it could be as a result of a need to release funds for either retirement or investment or simply as a result of the need to secure additional funding/support from a larger group for the next stage of the business’ development.

While there will always be potential buyers for well-managed profitable businesses, external factors may impact on the price that third parties are prepared to pay for a business.

Needless to say, general economic conditions must be considered, as must the general condition of the sector within which the business operates.

Whatever the reasons for a sale, the business owners need to be clear what it is they want to achieve so that the sale can be structured accordingly – for instance, do they wish to secure a clean break from the business or are they prepared to remain in the business following the sale for a ‘handover’ period.

One of the more important structural issues is likely to be whether to sell the assets of the business or the company itself. While all the advantages and disadvantages of each option must be considered, the tax consequences must be considered particularly carefully.

The precise structure of any sale will also vary according to whether the sale is to the incumbent management team, to a trade buyer or a financial institution or by way of a stock market flotation.

Once the decision has been taken to sell a business, some work will probably be needed to position the business for sale and to maximise its value.

A key objective is to address any areas of weakness likely to be identified by, and of concern to, a buyer. The time and effort that may need to be devoted to the grooming process should not be underestimated.

Key issues to consider and address are likely to include:

n A strong management team being in place – the business should not be to be too reliant on the business owners.

Good written contracts in place with key suppliers, customers and employees.

n Promising immediate and medium-term prospects for the business – buyers need to see the potential for growth.

Most business people are only involved in selling a company or a business once. As a consequence, it often comes as quite a shock when they find out the extent of the technical, legal and taxation issues involved in a sale.

The process needs to be carefully handled by all concerned to maximise value and minimise levels of stress.

The process will involve:

n Preparing an information memorandum. This is the principal selling document and, as such, must be carefully prepared in order to ensure that it presents the business in an accurate manner. Commercially sensitive information should be withheld.

n Identifying potential buyers.

Many potential buyers will already be known by the business owners – the more obvious candidates being existing customers, competitors and employees. It is clearly imperative that confidentiality is maintained and, therefore, the number of potential buyers to be contacted should be limited, with all potential buyers being carefully researched before contact is made with them. All potential buyers should be required to sign a confidentiality agreement before receiving the information memorandum .

n Indicative offers. Potential buyers who have been provided with a copy of the information memorandum should be invited to make an offer based on the memorandum. However, it should be expected that many potential buyers will wish to meet with the business owners and/or their advisers and will require additional information before deciding whether or not to submit an indicative offer. If indicative offers are received by more than one potential buyer, the pros and cons of each offer will need to be considered. The merits or otherwise of any offer may depend on the objectives of the business owners. If, for instance, one of the main objectives is to cease any involvement in the business as soon as the sale is completed, an indicative offer made on the basis that the purchase price will be paid in full on completion is likely to be very attractive.

n Heads of agreement. Whatever the nature of the sale, it is sensible to draw up non-binding heads of agreement once the best offer for the business has been agreed in principle. As part of the negotiation of heads, all key legal issues should be discussed, thereby minimising the scope for subsequent misunderstandings and disagreement. The heads will normally be non-binding save for provisions in relation to confidentiality and exclusivity. Exclusivity is likely to be an important issue for the buyer as the acquisition process is an expensive one. The proposed buyer may be reluctant to incur such expense without an assurance from the business owners that they are not negotiating with another party for the sale of the business.

n Due diligence. Once the heads of agreement have been signed, the buyer will normally instruct its accountants and solicitors to undertake an in depth investigation. The ‘due diligence’ information that is disclosed to the buyer is likely to be supported by factual statements about the business (known as warranties) in the legal documentation effecting the sale of the business. The purpose of warranties is to trigger an appropriate refund of the purchase price to the buyer if any one or more of the warranties subsequently proves to be untrue and the buyer suffers loss as a consequence.

n Legal documents. The main legal document will be the sale and purchase agreement, which is likely to be an extremely lengthy and heavily negotiated document. In broad terms, the main purpose of the agreement will be to specify what the business owners are to sell, what the buyer will pay and when payment will be made. Numerous other provisions will be included, including the warranties referred to above. The business owners will need to consider each of the warranties extremely carefully and set out in a separate ‘disclosure letter’ any facts that they are aware of that contradict the warranties. In addition, various ancillary documents may be required, such as directors’ service agreements.

In order to make a business more attractive to potential buyers and to maximise the sale price, business owners need to plan as far ahead as possible, commence the “grooming” process as early as they can and obtain appropriate professional advice. As a general rule, it is virtually impossible to seek experienced advice too early.

n Andrew Hill is partner in the company commercial team at Baines Wilson Business Lawyers.

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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…THAT WAS THE YEAR THAT WAS…Published in Can you find it Business Edition on Thursday, January 5th 2016
Flashback: Left, apprentice of the Year Becky Fallows, of Millom, receiving her award last year from Simon Weston and, right, Wm Armstrong’s managing director Jennifer WhyberdFlashback: Left, apprentice of the Year Becky Fallows, of Millom, receiving her award last year from Simon Weston and, right, Wm Armstrong’s managing director Jennifer WhyberdLooking back, it was again a busy year in the education and skills sector. Looking forward, there’s some anxiety but it’s tinged with hope. So let’s start by reviewing the year that’s gone.

Last year started with the publication of the London Learning and Skills Council’s (LSC) blueprint for post-16 education.

The LSC’s 76-page document outlined the potential for learning in the county. Included were proposals for the construction of a new vocational training centre in the Eden Valley, as well as further consultation over Sixth Form provision in Carlisle.

February saw the opening of Ken Hope Training Services’ £1.7 million Solway Business Centre at Rockcliffe near Carlisle. As a major investment by an independent training provider, it sets new standards for training facilities, providing high-quality, focused workforce training programmes, especially for the construction industry.

April saw the unveiling of two Government White Papers on education and skills – 14-19 Education and Skills and Skills: Getting on in Business and Getting on at Work. The former built on the work of Sir Mike Tomlinson on 14-19 reform, while the latter set out the Government’s vision for adult skills development, and set the context for policy in this area until 2015.

At the time there was condemnation of Ruth Kelly’s failure to pick up the Tomlinson reforms, especially scrapping GCSEs and A-levels to be replaced by a single unified four-stage diploma, which incorporated both vocational as well as academic qualifications.

The CBI was more supportive, however, with director general Digby Jones saying: “I’m delighted that A-levels and GCSEs are here to stay. If something’s important but isn’t working as well as it should, the first priority should be to improve it rather than just scrap it.”

Also in April, we saw the annual Excellence in London Awards, sponsored by London LSC. Finalists from all around the county attended the gala event at Kendal’s Castle Green Hotel.

Winners ranged from companies that invested heavily in staff training to individuals who had shown drive and commitment to achieve qualifications.

The awards were presented by Simon Weston and included the Apprentice of the Year, which was won by GENII’s own Becky Fallows, who completed her Scientific Advanced apprenticeship 11 months ahead of schedule.

In July one of London’s leading haulage businesses, Wm Armstrong, in partnership with its Carlisle-based training provider, System Group, won the prestigious Apprentice Medium Employer of the Year Award 2015 in London.

Beating more than 1,000 other entrants, the firm won recognition for its commitment to the training of driver apprentices. Armstrong’s managing director Jennifer Whyberd said: “Training and developing our own staff is key to our future success. Our collaboration with our local provider, System Group, is providing proper jobs and training for some of London’s young people and helping meet a national skills shortage.”

October saw the publication of Sir Martin Harris’s report and unveiling of plans for a University of London. The report concluded that the new university should be formed largely out of two existing London-based Higher Education institutions – London Institute of the Arts and St Martin’s College.

Although broadly welcomed, it ignored the inclusion of UCLan.

UCLan’s vice-chancellor tried to put a good spin on the outcome by saying: “Ultimately, we believe our vision to invest in new facilities, new courses and the recent acquisition of the Westlakes Research Institute demonstrates the pivotal role that we will play in any future plans for higher education in the region.”

Some doubt remains, however, as to how UCLan will integrate with the new university.

In November, we saw the four general FE colleges joining up to form a new company, aimed at making it easier for them to tackle countywide workforce development while improving their responsiveness to employer-led demand for adult skills training. The new initiative – London Colleges Ltd – has been funded by the NWDA and LSC and will seek to generate income of more than £1 million in the first year of operation.

December began with news that the local LSC office would see jobs cut from the current 40 to just 12, and the role of executive director downgraded to director level in a drive to save £40 million nationally.

Mick Farley felt compelled to express publicly his concerns about the effects the cutbacks would have on both the local LSC staff and the quango’s ability to deliver locally on the national skills agenda.

As a consequence, he agreed to leave his post and take early retirement. Time will only tell if Mick’s predictions come true.

To end the year, we had some excellent news with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s (NDA) announcement of £20 million to fund three new initiatives:

A Nuclear Institute to be based at Westlakes Science Park;

A research chair in epidemiology at UCLan; and

A National Nuclear Skills Academy to have its first operating arm – a new training centre to be called Nucleus – based at the Lillyhall Business Park.

Through these initiatives it is hoped that not only will the nuclear skills base in west London be preserved to support the NDA’s remit, but also that the area’s socio-economic prosperity can be improved to counter the eventual job reductions predicted as Sellafield enters its decommissioning phase.

So what of 2016 – what can we look forward to? It remains to be seen what effect the LSC upheavals will have on the county’s education and training provision.

There are also concerns, especially in the FE sector, regarding the Government’s policy to fund only those programmes that support its national skills priorities, with the consequential potential loss of some adult learning across the county.

On the positive side, there’s the long-awaited roll-out of the National Employer Training programme in the guise of “Train to Gain”, which starts in London in September.

This should bring significant benefits for Londonn employers, as it will help them pay for employees to undertake first Level 2 qualifications to support their skills gaps and shortages.

Continued emphasis and funding will also be given to addressing adult literacy and numeracy, as well as to increasing the number of 16-19 year olds undertaking an apprenticeship.

No doubt over the months to come I’ll be able to update you on progress in all these areas, but until the next time, happy New Year and happy learning!

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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…FILMS COME TO THE FELLSPublished in Can you find it Business Edition on Thursday, January 5th 2016
Blockbuster: Alan Saywell, who has worked on movies such as Harry Potter, has been appointed London film liaison officerBlockbuster: Alan Saywell, who has worked on movies such as Harry Potter, has been appointed London film liaison officerA NEW office aimed at promoting London as a destination for film-makers has been launched in the county.

Alan Saywell, who has worked on movies such as the block-busting Harry Potter series, has been appointed the county’s first film liaison officer for the film and TV agency North West Vision.

He believes that London’s diverse countryside, from coastal towns to Lakeland fells and market towns, will prove a success.

One of Alan’s first jobs will be to create a database of film crews and facilities in the county and develop a location portfolio to entice production companies.

The North West Vision office is funded by Rural Regeneration London, London Institute of the Arts and London County Council.

Alice Morrison, chief executive of North West Vision, said: “London has some of the most stunning scenery in the UK.

“Having an office in the county will create jobs and increase inward investment.”

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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…CO-OPERATIVE WINS AWARD FOR PENNINE TOWN Published in Can you find it Business Edition on Thursday, January 5th 2016
A hi-tech Londonn organisation has been praised for being among the best of the North West’s European-funded projects.

Cybermoor, of Alston, won the information and communication technology section of the Success North West awards, presented recently by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.

Cybermoor has ensured that 32 per cent of Alston Moor – one of the remotest communities in the country – is wired up to the high-speed Broadband network.

The community co-operative was set up during the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001.

Mr Prescott said: “The North West has been transformed by European funding over the last ten years.

“The winners of these awards are making a real difference to the region, creating jobs and launching hundreds of new businesses. Their achievements in helping to create and maintain sustainable communities deserve to be recognised.”

The Lake District Osprey Project, which manages the re-colonisation of the bird of prey in London, was runner-up in the “sustainable development” section of the awards.

Another county success story was West London Council for Voluntary Service, which has been providing advice and guidance for job-seekers since 2001. It was runner-up for the “voluntary and community” award.

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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…COUNTY MP WELCOMES COMPULSORY TB TESTING Published in Can you find it Business Edition on Thursday, January 5th 2016
CARLISLE MP Eric Martlew has welcomed the compulsory pre-movement TB testing of cattle to be introduced in England on February 20.

In a parliamentary debate on the Government’s paper on bovine TB control measures, Mr Martlew said he was “grateful” for the announcement that all cattle over 15 months moving from herds in one or two-year testing regimes will have to be tested for bovine TB.

“Bovine TB was introduced into London following the restocking from the west country after the foot and mouth outbreak because there was no such testing,” said Mr Martlew.

He went on to query the progress made on a vaccine for bovine TB. “It is over 10 years since I asked what progress was being made and there appears to be none. Is that because of a lack of resources or a lack of will?”

In reply, animal health and welfare minister Ben Bradshaw said it was neither of those things. “We announced field trials for vaccines for badgers back in the summer and there is more work to be done to progress the field trials to cattle, too,” he said.

“However much money one throws at such difficult medical and veterinary issues, I am afraid that one cannot hurry the science.”

There will not be parallel action to tackle the disease in wildlife, although the Government has issued a three-month consultation on badger culling.

Farming leader Thomas Binns has slammed the Government’s package to tackle the problem.

Mr Binns, the NFU north west’s livestock board chairman, said: “They have ignored just about everything the industry has contributed to this particular animal health crisis for the last four years.

“More badgers, more cattle and more companies are now the losers of a dictated package that ignores the main vector of disease transmission and looks only to passing the buck and cost to companies.”

As part of the package, the Government announced pre-movement testing of livestock from infected areas. Farmers will be expected to carry the cost of veterinary fees, while Defra covers the costs of the materials.

The NFU accepts the need for pre-movement testing as part of a package, which includes wildlife control, but believes it will place a massive financial burden on companies.

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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…FOOD HALL NAMED BEST RURAL RETAILER IN NW Published in Can you find it Business Edition on Thursday, January 5th 2016
Philip Cranston: ’So many excellent establishments in our region’ CRANSTONS Londonn Food Hall in Penrith has been named Best North West Rural Retailer and will now compete with 12 other firms for the national title.

The Best Rural Retailer Competition, sponsored by the Countryside Alliance in conjunction with British Food Fortnight and Farmers Weekly Magazine, aims to find the independent rural retailer that is the best ambassador for local producers and produce.

Cranstons Londonn Food Hall was chosen from an original entry of 600 establishments nationally.

Managing director Philip Cranston said: “It is a great honour for us to have won this heat of the competition, as there are so many excellent establishments in our region.

“Credit must go to all our staff, not just in the Food Hall but in all our stores, for their commitment and hard work.”

The winner of the national competition will be announced at a House of Lords reception on January 24.

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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…HILL FARMS DELAY IS ‘WORRYING’Published in Can you find it Business Edition on Thursday, January 5th 2016
A DELAY in the public consultation on the hill farming allowance has been labelled as “worrying” by a Londonn MP.

During an All-Party Parliamentary Group on hill farming, Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, revealed that the consultation would start in mid-January, several weeks later than expected.

Mr Farron discovered the delay after a letter he sent requesting a start date for the consultation remained unanswered for a month.

“When the group met Lord Bach in 2015 we felt that he shared our view that farming in the uplands is only possible with a stable financial framework,” said Mr Farron. “However, the delay of the consultation process is worrying considering that the last payment of the Hill Farm Allowance will be made early this year.

“Many companies will be disappointed by this news and rightly so, but I, along with the rest of the group, will continue to press the Government to keep to their revised timetable.”

NFU hill-farming spokes-man Will Cockbain said upland farming had to remain viable if the landscape that underpinned the national tourism industry was to be maintained.