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.

The East Sussex Social Enterprise Conference will take place on Tuesday 22nd March 2016 and will involve an afternoon of speakers, topical discussions and practical workshops.

The conference will address issues facing social entrepreneurs at every stage from start-up to sustain and scale-up. The workshop topics will be investment for growth, financing start-ups, impact measurement, European funding and community enterprise.

An opportunity to help shape the future of support for social entrepreneurs will be available as the East Sussex Social Enterprise Strategy and the formation of Social Enterprise East Sussex CIC will be launched.

Networking will start at 12:30pm before the opening speakers begin at 1pm. The event will last until 4pm and is held at the University of Brighton’s Hastings campus.

To register for the event please click here.business-breakfast

With new official statistics from the ONS showing another 89,000 businesses were formed in the UK during the past year, it’s clear that Britain is enjoying an enterprise revival. Despite the daily challenges of sustaining cash flow, keeping up with regulation and ensuring adequate protection of assets small businesses are increasingly leading the charge in the economic development stakes.

The great news for Hastings is that this spirit of resurgence is not only a national phenomenon but a local one too. Recently revealed as among the top five areas within the South East of England for consistent growth in company formations since 2011, Hastings is ready and open for business. Here we take a closer look at just what is on offer in this vibrant commercial town.

Access to innovation

Innovation is often hailed as the life blood of business, particularly for those in the early stages of development. One of the many benefits of basing your company in Hastings is having easy access to a structure of innovation support. The facilities and services offered by Hastings Innovation Centre and the Creative Media Centre provide a plug in and play option for businesses which want to get off the ground and grow.

Creating a professional first impression is so important in a busy marketplace and that is exactly what can be delivered by the infrastructure services associated with the centre. Added to that are the many networking and clustering opportunities presented by being sited with other ambitious start ups as well as established business players.

The recent announcement that Hastings has been awarded assisted area status under one of the government’s flagship initiatives can only add to the innovation friendly economic environment. With special interventions in the form of factory developments and job creation programmes, further opportunities for support with research and development activities will no doubt emerge as the initiative moves forward.

Access to skills

Activating business growth strategies can be dependent on having a talented workforce to support expansion. Employers in the Hastings area have the opportunity to build that workforce and develop their employees as part of the local ‘Own Grown’ initiative. Success over the last two years in particular has seen this scheme attract widespread acclaim including as winner of the Community Project of the Year 2014 at the 1066 Community Awards.

Representing a real partnership between private, public and voluntary bodies as well as schools, colleges and training organisations, Own Grown offers the chance for employers and young people to meet and engage in a variety of ways. One option is to offer an Apprenticeship Scheme.

This involves employing an individual aged 16 or over and developing their skills to support your business- all with funding support from government. A local engineering company, Marshall-Tufflex, has found the scheme so beneficial in feeding its engineering skills pipeline that it is now considering extending apprenticeships into other areas of the business. Sussex Coast College, a key partner in the initiative, also offers pre-employment training and bespoke, flexible provision for existing staff as part of its enterprise, employment and skills agenda.

Access to transport links

Another plus point in Hastings’ favour is its connectability to other commercial hubs. Positioned on the Kent/Sussex border the town has already got well developed road links to cities such as London and Brighton.

It is also an excellent base for those who need access to seaports such as Dover and to Eurostar services. Airline access is also good with Lydd and Marston airports delivering on European and freight services and Gatwick providing international links.

When it comes to train links, while these are already well developed, Hastings is now hoping to become home to a high speed rail link to London. The subject of a recent economic assessment report, this link could reduce the journey time to the nation’s capital to only 68 minutes. Expected to ‘supercharge’ the local economy bringing in £19 million of benefit and upwards of 400 jobs as part of the associated regeneration by 2028, the link could contribute as much as £354 million in overall benefit by 2044. Local councillors are understandably delighted by the recent findings and are urging government and Network Rail to press on with the link extension.

With all these attributes it is clear to see why Hastings is already hitting the high notes of business success, and can offer an attractive proposition to new and expanding organisations looking for the ideal base.

Article from Gemma Cairns

i-Jam Media, who are an advertising sales agency based in Hastings, have announced that they are working with the prestigious TEDxBrighton event again this year and will be securing sponsorship for this year’s event.

The Brighton TEDx talks are independently organised by a volunteer team and have grown rapidly over the last few years and is now a sell-out event with over 1000 delegates attending 2014’s event, which is held at the Brighton Dome. The delegates themselves come from a wide range of industries from tech start-ups to global corporations and the public sector and anyone in technology, education and design (which, incidentally, is what TED stands for) will be there to hear the speakers talk on a whole range of diverse topics.

The one-day event is held on the 30th October and has a theme on Losing Control. The line-up of speakers has already been announced. There will also be another one-day event called the ‘Ideas Lab’, which will showcase emerging technologies such as start-ups and other businesses from across the region.

If you are interested in going along then please visit their website here where you can find out about who is speaking and where to get tickets. Likewise, if your business could benefit from being associated with TEDxBrighton then please call i-Jam Media today on 01424 205481 or visit their website here. There are opportunities to find out about sponsorship (some options are sold out) and advertising on the day to the delegates.

It was an extremely successful night on Friday for McPhersons’ clients, both for the start-up businesses they have nurtured and for their more established clients

McPhersons are proactive with all their clients and in this case, advised their start-up business clients to enter these important local awards.

Ainsley Gill said: “From our own experience, winning an award like this leads to much welcome publicity. Potential new customers are reassured that your company is doing something right. McPhersons received many enquiries as a result of winning the 1066 customer service award and hope our winning clients will benefit too.”

Amongst the winners were The Crown in Hastings, overall winner for Best Eatery and highly commended for Best Start-up Business, Fulrum Learning  were highly commended for Best Start-up Business as well as Investor in Training. The True Crime Museum were overall winner for Best Start-up Business and highly commended Tourism & Leisure Business of the Year.

Of their more established clients, Hastings Printing Company were the overall winner of the Medium Business of the Year and The Swan House Bed & Breakfast were winner of the Tourism & Leisure Business of the Year.

To top it all off, Tim Pearce from Kurt J Lesker, another McPhersons client, was named the Business Person of the Year.

It’s easy to see the pattern emerging here; become a McPhersons Client and you will be well on your way to success!

The largest business to business exhibition and networking event returns to Hastings on Thursday 29th October with Lets do Business Hastings.

Returning to Sussex Coast College again this year, the show will welcome hundreds of business owners, directors and key-decision makers under one roof.

Let’s Do Business Hastings offers companies the perfect opportunity to promote their business, make new connections and generate new leads. All through good old-fashioned networking!

Exhibition stands are selling fast, with more than 50% booked up within just one week.

Wes Game, exhibition organiser said:

“We’ve had a great response to the Hastings exhibition again this year, which I think is testament to the thriving business community in the area.

“There is no substitute for face-to-face networking and the Let’s Do Business exhibitions give companies a great platform for this.”

The show will also feature speed networking in the morning and four free interesting and thought-provoking seminars throughout the day.

Stands start from just £215 (plus VAT) – book your space today online.

The Let’s Do Business Group is the leading social enterprise in the country for finance according to the NatWest Social Enterprise 100 Index.

In addition to topping the Index within the finance sector, the Let’s Do Business Group (LDBG) feature third across the South East region and fourth overall out of more than 800 social enterprises.

Let’s do Business have helped start-ups and established businesses to grow and prosper throughout the South East of England for more than 20 years.natwest se100

Its finance arm, Let’s Do Business Finance (LDBF) offers an alternative source of commercial funding to companies that are unable to source the capital they need from high street lenders.

In the last financial year, LDBF lent more than £700,000 to SMEs in the South East, a marked increase compared to the £238,000 lent the previous year, representing almost an increase in growth of almost 70%.

This is in addition to the £1 million the Group has lent to start-up ventures in the past four months throughout the South of England.

Ian Smallwood Head of Services at LDBF said, “We are delighted to be number one within the finance sector in the NatWest SE Index. Not only have we grown considerably in the past couple of years, but we have been able to almost triple the number of businesses we can help.

“This is a great achievement for our team, but importantly these businesses are now able to grow and thrive, creating more jobs and further strengthen the economy in the South East.”

The team at LDBF offers loans of between £3,000 and £50,000 to companies looking to scale-up their operations, with start-up finance available up to £25,000.

The SE 100 Index tracks data from social enterprises across the UK, offering an insight into their performance.

 

Local business mentor and business author Richard Eaton has released a revised edition to his previous book titled, Getting Ready To Start A Business.

The revised and updated edition also has a new title: Owning a Business: Things you need to Know and covers all the things that budding entrepreneurs need to know when considering or setting up a business.

So if you are in this position and want to learn more and get insight before you go ahead (or even brush up on a few things if you’re already in business) then it should be worth a read.

The book is available for digital download on Amazon right now and here’s the link to the books listing.

 

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

 

Employment in the the UK creative industries grew by 8.6% between 2011 and 2012, compared to the UK average of 0.7%, according to official statistics.

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Creative Industry in the UK is growing massively.

The Creative Industries, which range from advertising, design and crafts to TV, film, music and games, accounted for 1.68 million jobs in 2012, 5.6 per cent of the total number of jobs in the UK.

Employment in the Creative Industries increased by 8.6 per cent between 2011 and 2012 a much higher rate than for the UK Economy as a whole (0.7%).

The figures, which present a significant increase on previous data, were released by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Maria Miller commented:

“These incredible statistics are confirmation that the Creative Industries consistently punch well above their weight, outperforming all the other main industry sectors, and are a powerhouse within the UK economy.

“We are committed to ensuring that the energy, innovation, skills and talent existing in this dynamic sector continues to translate into economic success, and  provide a remarkable platform from which, we can showcase Britain to the world.”

Download the DCMS stats here.

This story originally appeared here.