Driving Hastings forward 01424 205481

If you’re thinking about setting up or moving your business to St. Leonards on Sea, Hastings or Eastbourne and are looking for the minimum of hassle in set up and want ongoing management then check out this video to see why having your business in these locations will not only provide a prime location it will also provide you with a great work/life balance.

If you want to know more then visit their site here.

Over the next two years, UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are planning to increase investment into their digital capabilities by £53 billion and will prioritise their websites over mobile technologies, according to new research from Santander Corporate and Commercial.

According to the survey, the average firm has committed £33,212 to digital investment over the past year and plans are underway to increase this figure by £28,224.

Stephen Dury, the managing director of SME Markets & Business Development and Santander Corporate & Commercial said: “Investment in digital capabilities can significantly enhance business growth opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses.”

Despite this, firms are hoping to invest further with 8% of the companies that took part in the survey estimated that in the last year they have spent over £100,000 on digital capabilities. 6% plan to increase investment by over £100,000 in the future.

The financial services and IT sectors have spent the most and this is expected to continue in the coming years. On average, IT companies invested £46,429 in the last year whereas the financial services each invested £49,500.

Within two years, IT firms predict that they will increase this by £43,962 whilst financial services companies expect to spend £42,083 more.

“Just having a functional website can have a dramatic impact on a firm’s visibility and connectivity with customers and other stakeholders,” said the managing director. “While it is great to see that many firms are focused on this, the concern is that a significant number are still failing to invest effectively and are therefore missing out on these opportunities.”

In terms of regional numbers, London is up top and is set to invest the most at £42,925, which is ahead of businesses in the Midlands who are in second place at £31,531. Compared with this, businesses in the South West are, so research suggests, looking to invest a much lower amount of £19,500.

Although mobile technologies is constantly growing, traditional websites are still the main priority for SME owners with nearly 56% of firms saying their websites make their businesses more successful, research says. 16% of SMEs have said that they do not have a website while 34% can accept payments online. Only 13% host a foreign-language version of their website.

“Santander is committed to helping UK businesses prosper. As a scale challenger, we are bringing much-needed competition to the banking market with what we believe is a unique approach to UK businesses,” said Stephen Dury.

Around 54% of firms that are investing in digital capabilities are looking to develop their websites compared with just 16% who are launching digital apps. An additional 13% plan to develop online payment facilities with 10% launching websites for the first time, and 10% planning to access new markets by launching foreign language versions of their website.

At the core of its proposition, Santander Corporate & Commercial has put market-leading digital functionalities and services for its SME clients. The business offers the Trade Portal; a data-rich online platform that allows them to research global markets and this will help businesses trade internationally. To add to this, they will also be able to access the Trade Club which is a network of five million SMEs based all over the globe that bank with Santander.

“Our success is evidence by four years of double digit growth in lending and support to UK companies,” said Stephen Dury. “We also continue to invest in technology, digital, product and customer service improvements which underscores our desire to be the bank of choice for UK SMEs.”

Tracey Kane from Hastings based FundingBusiness lets us know what the options are for SME’s when it come to funding. Read on to see what the options are.

It is such a satisfying achievement to run your own business, but in order to succeed and promote growth within your organisation you may need to seek additional funding.

Managing the finances associated with your business is both hugely important and can be incredibly difficult to manage and many SMEs have felt the pinch after suffering rejection from their high street lender due to the economic downturn, however it shouldn’t hold you back as you might be unaware that there are alternative finance solutions and support available in the financial market.money-up

It is a healthy exercise to regularly review the funding facilities of the business and the opportunities currently available. To promote growth and expansion businesses should also look at tailoring their funding requirements to their needs which may be the acquisition of bespoke machinery or restructuring the business.

Almost all small businesses require an injection of cash at some time in their trading life, sometimes at very short notice or as part of a long term plan. The key is to find a facility that works for your business and ultimately making an informed choice to promote success.

Potential Finance Options

  • Asset Finance
  • Business Angel Investment
  • Cash Flow Finance
  • Commercial Mortgages & Buy to Lets
  • Equity Finance
  • Invoice Discounting/Factoring – Raising Money from trade sales
  • Leasehold Loans
  • Secured & Unsecured Business Loans
  • PDQ Loans – Raising Money against sales to the general public

There are many factors a business need to take into account when considering its options, including its size and turnover.

The key is to identify lenders who can provide the necessary funds that your business requires and enter into agreements which fully serve the needs of the business.

On average it can take almost a day to make a single application for a business loan.  SME’s can take back control of their finances and save valuable time by talking to Commercial Finance Experts. You might find finance options available to you that you were not aware of.

If you are looking for more insight into the finance options for SME’s then checkout FundingBusiness on our B2B directory here.

 

Sustrans, the national charity championing sustainable travel, has launched a new project to help small businesses based in East Sussex reduce the cost of business travel.

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Reduce business travel costs with Sustrans

The Smarter Small Business Travel project offers a range of free* services delivered by a dedicated Sustrans travel advisor. The advisor can offer anything from advice or short courses to a tailored programme including a review of current travel habits, the development of a travel plan, staff engagement activities and monitoring and evaluation tools to review progress made.

What support is on offer for your business?

  • Site visit and audit to establish transport-related costs and potential for on-site improvements
  • One-to-one support with a specialist travel adviser to develop a travel plan for your business to help monitor the money saving measures. For example, we can advise on fleet vehicles, technology and skills to support smart working and how to promote active travel to staff.
  • Delivery of practical activities such as group walks and rides, cycle training, technology skills workshops and information events
  • Invitations to business networking events and opportunities to share best-practice
  • Signposting to grants to enable smarter ways of working and travelling, and signposting to local providers and tools to support our work
  • On-line resources and web-based challenges between participating businesses
  • Monitoring and evaluation, including baseline and follow-up audits and surveys
  • Recruitment of, and training and support for, a workplace sustainable transport champion

Who can take part and why is it free?

The project is open to independent East Sussex based businesses with fewer than 250 employees and a turnover of less than £35 million. It is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and East Sussex County Council, who are keen to see small businesses improve their profitability and reduce their carbon footprint.

How can you get involved?

For more information or an informal chat about the project, please contact either:

Posted by: In: Economy, Ideas, Initiatives, Retail, Services, SME, Training 10 Feb 2014 Comments: 0

Sussex Coast College Hastings launches a campaign to improve customer service across Hastings and St Leonards on Sea by offering a leading Customer Service programme to local small and medium enterprises – Absolutely free!!!

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Free customer service course from SCCH for businesses in Hastings and St. Leonards on Sea

WorldHost, who will be providing the training, offer world-class customer service training programmes that have already been used to train nearly one million people worldwide. This includes tens of thousands of staff and volunteers for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Programmes include training on serving customers with disabilities, welcoming customers from other cultures and an introduction to the general principles of customer service.

The training will give businesses the skills to succeed in an ever competitive market and increase customer spend through great customer service skills.

Sussex Coast College are offering this training for free until March 2015, thanks to the Coastal Communities fund through Hastings Borough Council.

SCCH will also be working in partnership with Job Centre Plus to offer WorldHost Training to unemployed learners, offering them leading industry training, which will support them back into employment.

Cllr Peter Chowney, lead member for marketing at Hastings Borough Council, said

“This is an excellent scheme, and excellent news for Hastings. Tourism is worth over £250m to the local economy, and supports over 5000 jobs in the town. With the pier due to open in early 2015 we can expect even more visitors, and WorldHost will help ensure that we are ready for them.”

Jim Norris, Chair of Hastings and St Leonards Tourism Association added “The Hastings & St. Leonards Tourism Association is the voice of hospitality for Hastings; and the opportunity for our members to benefit from the renowned WorldHost training is one to be snapped up. We are keen to participate in this generously-sponsored offer, because it is this kind of high-level training which will help tourism providers in Hastings & St. Leonards to gain – and maintain – the edge in our tourism offer.”

Businesses who are interested in this ‘gold standard’ training should contact the Coastal Communities Team at Sussex Coast College by calling 01424 458570 or emailing coastalcommunities@sussexcoast.ac.uk.

You can also view the one day programme here via the folllowing link. WH Pogramme Overview.

The leader of Hastings Borough Council, Jeremy Burch has today put forward the key points and benefits as to why Hastings, Bexhill & Rye and the surrounding areas should be granted Assisted Area Status. Rother council leader Carl Maynard has also sent a letter out today requesting support.

We as a region have only until Friday 7th February 2014 to inform the government that we are all in favour of it. Assisted Area Status will give the town and region as a whole priority access to Government, EU grants and development funds, however, to get this it needs support and backing from local businesses and residents of the area.

Sunset Over Hastings - 100104 - 002

Assisted Area Status. Sign up today!

Read the key point below and if you are in favour then put the details of how to let the government know that your in favour for it is below the key points.

Key points:

  • The proposed area includes all but two wards Hastings, which is the 19th most deprived area in England. It also includes the most deprived neighbourhoods in Rother, including Sidley ward. Therefore Assisted Area Status has the potential to benefit target areas most in need of employment-generating investment.
  • The proposed area contains major sites with achievable development potential, including North-east Bexhill (off the Hastings-Bexhill Link Road currently under construction), off Queensway, Hastings and Bexhill’s existing industrial areas, and off Rye Harbour Road (Make sure you include Rye Harbour Road in your response to the consultation).
  • There are also a number of smaller potential development sites for business development.
  • There are genuine prospect of a total potential of over 5,000 jobs being created, with a high proportion in manufacturing, building on the strong existing base of manufacturing SME’s. This will help correct an imbalance in the local economy which has an over-reliance on public sector
  • employment.
  • There is a strong track record of recent employment-generating development by Sea Change Sussex and others, in Hastings Town Centre and off Queensway. New businesses locating in Hastings include Saga insurance services.
  • The area had Assisted area Status up to 2000, which contributed to investments by several businesses who are all still major employers. It is credited with creating today’s strong high-vacuum engineering cluster.

    innovatio&skillsDept

    Make your voice heard today.

  • Assited Area Status reinforces strong partnerships between the private sector, Borough, District and County Councils, Sea Change Sussex (the private-public partnership regeneration company) and the South East LEP. It supports the 6-point plan for regeneration agreed by the Hastings & Rother Economic Task Force which provides strategic leadership for regeneration and economic development.

As you can see it will be worth signing up for as anything that provides jobs and growth for the area is a good thing for everyone. Full details of the consultation can be found here.

You can inform the Assisted Areas Team that you are for it by letting the know via the following ways.

Email to: AssistedAreasConsultation@bis.gsi.gov.uk

Write to:

Assisted Areas Team
Local Growth Directorate
4th Floor, Spur 2
Department of Business, Innovation and Skills
1 Victoria Street
London
SW1H 0ET

There is also a form on the site, however the quickest way to lodge your views is via email and we highly recommend that you do it this way if your able to.

The South-East Urban Coast Creative Enterprise Support Scheme (SUCCESS fund) provides grants for new or expanding creative businesses that are creating jobs in Hastings.

success-fund-hastings

Success Fund for creative businesses in Hastings

Other areas includeed in the scheme are Thanet and Tendring local authority areas.

Funding comes from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF), and is there to help creative businesses grow and flourish and in turn create new jobs.

The application process for grants from the Success Fund takes approx. 2-3 months and there is a five step procedure which you can see here

So if you are in the creative sector and are looking for funding to expand or to build up your business then this will be a potentially perfect opportunity for you.

See more at: http://www.success-creative-fund.biz/

The University of Brighton Hastings would like to invite the business community to their Business Enterprise Seminar.

 Business Enterprise Seminar 2013

  •  9 December, 5-9pm, Priory Square Building, University of Brighton in Hastings TN34 1EA
Business enterprise seminar 2013 at brighton university hastings campus

Business enterprise seminar 2013 at University of Brighton’s Hastings campus

This free public Business Enterprise seminar for local business owners and entrepreneurs is part of a series of events to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the University of Brighton presence in Hastings. Speakers include faculty from Brighton Business School and business students studying at Hastings campus.

Come and listen to the latest thinking about how to overcome challenges faced by small businesses locally in the current climate: challenges concerning finance availability and how to develop and grow businesses beyond start-up. Our students need your support as business owners of the future.

Refreshments provided along with opportunities to discuss and network with other local business entrepreneurs. To book your free space(s) for this seminar please email Chris Matthews at C.R.Matthews@brighton.ac.uk, or call 01273 642135. Booking will be open until 8th December 2013.

Speakers include Professor Aidan Berry, Dean of Brighton Business School, Dr George Tsekouras, Principal Research Fellow at CENTRIM, Brighton Business School (founder and Lead academic of the ProfitNet network) and local entrepreneur Sonia Blizzard of Beaming Ltd, part of the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 list for 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Further information can be found here

An opportunity has arisen for the Hastings and Bexhill area to potentially have assisted status. Assisted status means that business in the area may be eligible for extra funding which can aid capital purchases or to take on additional staff or help with training. Basically its good for the area so its worth trying to get.

assisted status

Help Hastings & Bexhill get assisted status.

This will need the support of the local business community (including Business In Hastings visitors).

All that is required is a letter of support needs to be sent to Government Minister Michael Fallon backing our bid for Assisted Area Status for Hastings & Bexhill area.

The area meets most of the criteria for assisted status but the bid will be strengthened considerably by businesses writing in with support letters.

Below is a draft letter to Michael Fallon for you to adapt on your company letterhead and we at Business In Hastings would be really grateful for your help to achieve this important recognition, to attract funding and investment for the town longer term.

Here is the PDF version of the letter: Assisted area letter to Michael Fallon. You can use this, however you may need to highlight the text and copy to a word or open office document

If you would like a Microsoft  Word version (.doc or .docx) then please send an email to Jim Christy here.

Any extra funding and help to improve the local economy for both businesses and for the everyone who lives in the area is a good thing and the request will more likely be considered if the local business community is behind it.

We’ll keep everyone updated via the site and our newsletters. If you haven’t signed up for our newsletter yet then you can do so here.

Its well worth doing and only take a few seconds to sign up and gets you a summary of all the important business and developement news that’s happening in Hastings & Rother.

**Update**

You can now simply sign up at Amber Rudd MP’s website, the letter is already ready and all you need to do is add your name and email address and it will be sent immediately. Here’s the link.

http://amberrudd.co.uk/businessinvestment/

 

We were fortunate enough to be at the huge Business Start-Up and Innovation show last week. It was a very busy exhibition with numerous seminars, workshops, speed networking  and hundreds of exhibitors to see, however we managed to get a few shots of the event and here they are. The next event is in the new year so if you are thinking of starting a business or need ideas or just want to see what other services and help there is out there for the business you already have then this event is well worth going to.

Thanks to i-Jam Media for the images.