Driving Hastings forward 01424 205481

The 29th September see the Let’s Do Business Hastings Expo return to The Hastings Centre.

It promises to be an exciting year as we link in with the 950th Anniversary of the 1066 Battle of Hastings, so come along and try some archery, but not in the inflatable lounge!

Not only have we managed to get Google to run 2 digital workshops, but we have acquired Levi Roots of Reggae Reggae Sauce to come and share his experiences.  To hear how his business venture started and grew, why don’t you come along and be inspired on 29th September from 10am – 4pm.  Visit our website www.letsdobusiness.org/hastings  for further details.

We’ll be starting the day off with a speed networking session, run by Sussex Business Bureau so there will be plenty to see and do.

If you want your business to move forward and grow, exhibiting your business is a great way to show people what you can do.  You get plenty of time to talk to visitors as well as other exhibitors and build up your contacts in the local area.  The show is attended by a mix of businesses from a wide range of industries from around Sussex and a few further afield.

It’s free for visitors so if you want to come and meet local businesses, or wish to exhibit, please take a look at www.letsdobusiness.org/hastings  and decide to take the next step.

The Business in Hastings website is designed to keep companies up-to-date with what’s happening in Hastings and the wider area. It’s also aimed at providing you with the information you might need to expand or relocate to the area. And also to find businesses already based here through our Business Directory.

Three years on, we would like your views on what works well and what you would like to see us develop.

All entries will be put into a prize draw for £100 of retail vouchers kindly provided by Hastings Borough Council. The closing date for this is 30th July 2016

Enter here

The 1066 Anniversary Community Grants Fund 2016 is a small grants scheme set up to help the communities of Hastings mark the 950th anniversary of the battle that bears its name.

The Fund is aimed at voluntary and community sector groups who want to hold their own events or develop their own projects as part of the town’s anniversary activities and offers grants of up to £3,000.

The fund would like to support a diverse range of projects, which enable people to mark the anniversary in any way, but might include cultural or community events, educational activities or more permanent memorials.

The events or activities must be developed by or with the communities who will benefit.  Events must take place during 2016 and take place within Hastings Borough.

Examples of activities and events which would be welcomed for consideration are themed mini-festivals, street parties, performances, local community tours, displays, talks and storytelling, art installations etc.

The closing date for applications is midday (12pm) 16th June 2016.

For the grant criteria or to request an application and guidance please email 1066AnniversaryGrantsFund@hastings.gov.uk  or telephone Cheryl Chitty on 01424 451391 (working days are Tuesdays and Thursdays). Alternatively go to http://www.hastings.gov.uk/community_living/tourism_culture/arts_culture/


1066 Anniversary Community Grants 2016


SEPnet (South East Physics Network) is a consortium of university physics departments – Hertfordshire, Kent, Portsmouth, Queen Mary, Reading, Royal Holloway, Southampton, Surrey, Sussex and Open University and organises an annual placement scheme for physics students from the above universities. SEPnet are seeking 8-week plus projects in industry or research in areas such as data analysis, mathematic modelling, product design and testing or science communication to place their undergraduates with.

If you’re in one of the mentioned sectors than this will be a great opportunity for you and them and in some case funding is available for SME’s too. Here’s some of the benefits of placement.

  • Early access to bright, numerate students with excellent problem-solving and IT skills
  • Enables you to carry out projects you would not normally have time for
  • Provides a fresh perspective on your business challenges

The scheme is aimed at any organisations interested in recruiting physics graduates, or who can offer valuable business experience, including large companies, research institutions, charities, NGOs, start-ups and SMEs and all the advertising, administration and placement support is handled by SEPnet

For more information:

Visit http://www.sepnet.ac.uk/students-employers/information-for-employers/  
for further information and to register your placement project, or projects, online.  Email veronica.benson@sepnet.ac.uk

The University of Brighton is marking the launch of its new Journalism and Digital Media Hub by bringing together industry and academics involved in the digital creative industries for an early-evening gathering of short talks and discussion.

The aim of this event is to consider the future of the digital creative industries and ways in which universities and industry can work together in advancing the sector. The digital revolution has taken place – but how can the creative industries evolve?

  • De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill
  • Wednesday September 23 2015, 4pm-6pm
  • Drinks and networking to 7pm

To book you place please visit the De La Warr Pavilion booking page. There is a £5 fee to cover the cost of refreshments

For the full programme and more information about the speakers, please visit the Hastings Exchange blog.

A Virtual office  is an ideal way for any budding entrepreneur to get a prestigious office address and access to other office services whilst keeping business costs to a minimum and is also just as ideal for those who are moving to the area to have an immediate base whilst setting up. We asked Jenny Haley from the Innovation Centre in St. Leonards to give us a guide on what they are, how they work and what the benefits are.

Is a virtual office right for your business?

A virtual office provides you with a business address and telephone number, without the full time office premises to go with them.

For many people who run a business from home, this is an ideal way to cultivate a professional image and means you don’t have to give out your home address.

It can also be an ideal first step for entrepreneurs who plan to have their own premises later but want to get their business up and running first.

A virtual office or a PO Box?

A PO Box is a lower cost alternative to a virtual office. It provides an address for your post, which you collect from your local Royal Mail delivery office.

This typically costs as little as £8-£10 per month. But there are big limitations:  there is no associated phone number; it doesn’t give your customers the impression that you have a local office; the Royal Mail won’t accept mail from other carriers; and a PO Box is not acceptable under the Distance Selling Regulations if you want to sell online.

A virtual office service, on the other hand, will normally give you an address at an established business centre; will accept deliveries from other carriers; and you can choose either to collect your mail or have it posted onto you.

Many virtual office address providers also offer other invaluable benefits such as meeting room hire at your virtual address, networking events and ‘hot desk’ facilities.  So as well as having it as a professional postal address, you can use it as a base for meeting clients and business contacts.

Top tips when choosing a virtual office:

  • Decide what services you want first. You can then seek out the service that’s right for you instead of convincing yourself that what you happen to have found is what you want.
  • Are you looking just for a business address for mail and visitors, or are you looking for a telephone answering service as well?  Depending on where you are, you might find local providers who offer both these services, or you might have to source them separately.
  • Visit the premises to be certain they portray the right image. Are they presentable and reputable? Do they have the kind of feel that will appeal to your customers? Do they fit the style of your business—your business brand, if you like?
  • Speak to the staff working there. They will be the face of your business, so make sure they will make a good impression on your customers.  Even if you don’t expect regular visitors, remember that potential clients may investigate where you are based, either in person or by searching on the Internet.
  • Look at what associated services are available. Are there meeting facilities there for you to see clients or suppliers on-site? Are there hot desks available for you to work at on an ad-hoc basis if you’re in the vicinity or in between meeting clients on the premises?  Ask to see these and find out about the costs.
  • Find out if there are networking or training events held there.  Are there any useful bureau services on offer such as admin assistance, photocopying and an outgoing post service?
  • If you intend a virtual office to be your first step as you grow your business, see if you can find a business centre that also has a range of office units for rent that will suit your future needs.
  • Ask to speak to other virtual clients to see how happy they are with the services provided.
  • Make sure you understand the costs and contract. Clarify what is and isn’t included in the monthly fee and look at how this will affect your budget.
  • Read the terms and conditions in full. Check what notice you are being asked to give and how long the contract is for. A good contract should be written in plain English. Make sure you ask about anything you’re not certain about and, as ever, don’t sign anything you don’t understand.
  • Put the service to the test. When you find a virtual office service you think is right for you, ask for a free trial before you commit. Most providers will be happy to agree to a short test period.

Send yourself a letter and make some sample phone calls to check everything works as it should. Only use the address or phone number with your customers when you’re fully confident with the way things work. Even then, test the service a couple of times a year once it’s up and running.

After all, it’s not just a simple support service you’re buying. You are putting your business reputation on the line. What could be more important than that?

To find out more about virtual office services for companies in the Hastings & St Leonards  area, contact Jenny Haley on (01424) 858199 or visit the Innovation Centre website at www.innovationcentrehastings.com


Hastings is getting more popular bringing in more tourists every year.  Over the years it has become bigger with more restaurants, an art gallery and plenty of  boutique shops opening up.

It always great to see Hastings in the news for positive reasons.

Have a read of this brilliant article from The Guardian about what you can do in Hastings.100680575

Ever heard of  TED Talks? Well if you haven’t they full of great speakers from all sections of business and society who are there to share ideas and inspire delegates to the event. Normally you would have had to travel quite far to go to one, however there is some good news as TEDxBrighton 2014 will be taking place on Friday the 31st of October 2014 at the Dome Concert Hall. tedxbrighton logo

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California almost 30 years ago, TED has grown to support its mission with multiple initiatives. The two annual TED Conferences invite the world’s leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes on a diverse mix of topics.

Many of these talks are then made available, free, at TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and many more.

Now you don’t have to travel far to go to these hugely popular events as TEDxBrighton is happening soon.

The title of  this year’s TEDxBrighton is ‘Many Hands’, the theme being exploring ideas around connectivity, convergence and community.

The one day event will be looking at the prevalence of technology in the networked age, how our social networks can leave us feeling more isolated than ever and how, in our world surrounded by screens, we are driven to desire the physical and also explore how intimacy looks in the modern age along with ideas of connectivity across distance, flash mobs, subcultures, the maker movement and how skills once commonplace within our locale, have become rarities akin to art.

TEDxBrighton will present those innovative individuals whose work engages with that sweet spot between audience and performer, those who’ve brought ideas, theories and people together in unexpected places and those who are changing the face of technology to be more physical than ever.

There will also be the ‘ideas lab’ which will running in the Dome foyer throughout the day and aims to be a soap box for the very best ground breaking inventions, designs and new technologies from the South East and beyond.

All in all it should be a great day for those that are looking for inspiration and ideas both for life and business.

You can find out more via the link here.

When morale is low, productivity levels can drop dramatically. It’s always best to act quickly rather than leaving things and hoping for the best, and one of the best ways of getting to the root of the problem if your company is underperforming is to conduct an employee feedback survey.


Having an Employee Feedback Survey can help staff be more involved and can raise morale.

An employee survey can give you an exceptional insight into how your staff feel about working for your company on the frontline and how changes could be made to improve performance, morale and efficiency. It’s always best to encourage staff to be as honest as possible when conducting a survey even if you don’t like the sound of the answers, as these responses could be the very thing that helps you to turn your fortunes around.

Improving Morale

Staff tend to be far more co-operative and productive when they are happy. Just conducting a survey shows your staff that they are interested in their opinions, and they are likely to feel even better if they feel that they have a say on how the company is run. By conducting a survey, you can identify any changes that might need to be made whilst noting areas of growth that you may not have previously paid attention to. An employee engagement survey can help you to find out more about what your staff are capable of. Perhaps some team members feel that they have useful skills that aren’t being utilised? Maybe they feel that they aren’t being given a chance to work with new team members? Whatever the case, an engagement survey can help.

Why Do They Feel This Way?

Work needs to be enjoyable if it is to be anything more than a simple means to an end. Once one team member is clearly unhappy, the feeling of despondency can quickly start to infiltrate the entire workplace. This means that negativity needs to be addressed as soon as it is identified. Where several team members cite unhappiness with a certain aspect of the workplace, it becomes easy to identify which changes are the most important. It’s not enough to simply find out whether your staff are unhappy or not – you should ask them why they feel the way that they do and what can be done to change this.

Asking for Help

Many companies produce their own surveys in-house, but some choose to work with specialist external organisations like Employee Feedback who have years of experience in surveying. If you have never produced a survey before, it could be wise to get outside help to ensure that it is useful and has integrity. Whether staff feel that they aren’t listened to, certain procedures could be improved or that they aren’t being given a chance to develop their skills, a staff survey can help you find out how your employees really feel. Some people are more likely be honest on paper than on a face-to-face basis, so if you’re looking for truthful employee feedback, an engagement survey may be ideal.

The Hastings Independent will be celebrating its six-month anniversary this Friday 15th August when its 12th issue returns hot off the press.

The fortnightly paper is a non-profit venture run entirely by local volunteers – writers, editors, photographers, designers and distributors. It was conceived in a pub, as all the best ideas are, and has grown rapidly. It expanded from 16 pages to 20 pages two months ago, and plans to increase its current print run of 10,000 to 13,000 as soon as finances allow.

Hastings has welcomed the paper with open arms, with letters and emails flooding in and more volunteers turning up to the public news meetings each week, asking how they can get involved.


The Hastings Independent News team

And that’s the plan, says Sam Kinch, one of the paper’s four directors: “I see the Independent as a mouthpiece for the town, to give people a voice to air their views, to take a stand or even just to share gardening tips. But more than that I see it as a vehicle for community-led regeneration.”

For some of the team, setting up the paper has meant learning a whole new set of skills – for example the chief designer, Joseph Gregory, who taught himself to use InDesign and the intricacies of newspaper layout.

Others have taught themselves and one another how to write and edit news. For those trying to build up their CVs, it has provided an opportunity to build up portfolios of published articles and gain insight into the journalism industry – experience that is increasingly hard to access in mainstream journalism.

However, there have been challenges – the biggest, of course, being money. While the paper has applied for and been awarded some grants, so far the £700 a month printing costs have been funded mainly through advertising sales and fundraising, leading to several white-knuckle press days. But with new and repeat advertisers steadily coming on board, and the introduction of new sponsorship packages for local businesses, the finances are slowly stabilising.

“There have been times when we didn’t think we’d make it,” says Cathy Relf, one of the paper’s volunteers. “But with a bit of determination and a fantastic and expanding team, we’ve got stronger and stronger. Getting to six months is a fantastic achievement, and the reader feedback makes all the hard work worthwhile.”

There are big plans for the next six months, including a stall at Brighton University’s Freshers’ Fair, collaboration with a group of year 12 and 13 students at Parkwood 6th Form College, an art auction at the Crown in September and the much-requested addition of a sports page. Watch this space!

For more information about the newspaper, visit www.hastingsindependentpress.co.uk. You can also call them on 07961 108801 or email subs@hastingsindependentpress.co.uk.