Monday 25th March 2019
Home Weekly Business<br />E-newsletter ebusiness weekly news 28/02/2019

Rise in tech start-ups helped by hotspots

The number of new tech companies set up in the East of England rose by 5 per cent in 2018 helped by thriving tech hotspots in Cambs and Essex. An analysis of Companies House data by RSM showed that there were 748 new software development and programming businesses formed in the East last year, up from 715 in 2017. However nationally, there were 11,864 new tech firms set up a 14 per cent increase on the previous year. Tech start ups grew in every region except Scotland and the North East. Laragh Jeanroy, RSM's managing partner for Cambridge and Bury St Edmunds, said: “Given the current economic uncertainty, it's fantastic to see that tech start-ups across our region have continued their upward trajectory. Particular hotspots include Cambridgeshire and Essex which are both proving to be a magnet for the next generation of tech entrepreneurs. We are also seeing good interest from venture capital, private equity and traditional funders who are still lining up to commit funds to the right projects.” Tax incentives such as the Enterprise Investment Scheme, R&D tax credits, video games tax relief and the Patent Box regime were playing their part in fuelling growth.

…whilst venture capital investment picks up

Cambridge and other cities outside London saw a sharp rise in venture capital (VC) investment in the final quarter of 2018, as it rose by 26 per cent to £1.1 billion, based on a 12-month total, according to figures from business space provider Workthere. VC investment in Cambridge rose by 33 per cent during 2018. Steven Lang, research director at Savills, said : “Over the last 12 months the ‘traditional’ technology, media & telecoms sector has attracted the lion’s share of VC investment accounting for 25 per cent. However, we are seeing other sectors such as life sciences, including oncology, expanding their appeal, which could start to have a visible impact take-up for flexible laboratory space.”

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New air services to Scotland to launch from Southend

Scottish airline is to launch three new routes from London Southend Airport to Aberdeen, Glasgow and Stornoway from May. Aberdeen and Glasgow will have three non-stop flights each way every weekday and various weekend services, operated by Loganair’s Embraer 145 regional jet aircraft. Loganair managing director Jonathan Hinkles said: “These new fast and frequent flights to London’s favourite airport, together with our inclusive checked baggage allowance and on-board service, make this a hugely significant development both for Scotland-London air links and for Loganair as Scotland’s airline." Fares will start from £49.99 one-way to Aberdeen, £39.99 to Glasgow; and £99.99 one-way to Stornoway.

Photo:The Essex Caledonian Pipe Band at London Southend Airport

Resilient firms plan to hire more staff

Business hiring intentions in the East of England jumped in February and confidence held steady in the region, according to a business barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking. The survey showed hiring intentions rose by 16 points, with a net balance of eight per cent of businesses in the region now expecting to recruit more staff during the next year. Firms in the region reported a slight drop in confidence in their own business prospects at 15 per cent, down from 17 per cent in January. But together with their views on the economy it left overall confidence unchanged at six per cent. Nationally, overall confidence fell by 15 points to four per cent. Steve Elsom, regional director for the East of England at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “This month’s business barometer demonstrates the resilience of East of England firms."

Tourism businesses urged to take part in survey

Businesses are being encouraged to take part in Larking Gowen's annual tourism, leisure and hospitality business survey which was launched this week with support from Visit East Anglia, Visit Essex, Visit Norfolk and Visit Suffolk. All businesses in the sector including restaurants, hotels, tourist attractions as well as retailers in tourism hotspots can take part in the survey at: http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/TBS2019/ Tourism, leisure and hospitality is the largest sector in East Anglia, worth an estimated £10 billion and one of the biggest employers. The anonymous survey provides provides an annual snapshot of the sector across East Anglia and includes questions on the short and long term impact of Brexit, the national living wage and the national minimum wage and on the use of plastics, profit margins and how businesses have performed in the last year. It is sponsored this year by Adnams, Camplings, and Howes Percival.

See Profile Larking Gowen

Consultancy expands with new office in Cambridge

Property and planning consultancy Rapleys has launched a new office in Cambridge. It is the second in Cambs for the firm which was founded in Huntingdon and has maintained a strong presence in the region since 1951. The new Cambridge office has both professional advisory and transactional teams from across Rapleys’ service lines, delivering a joined-up, multi-disciplinary offering to clients in the region.  Stuart Harris has been appointed head of the Cambridge office and joins Rapleys with more than 30 years’ experience, including roles with Strutt & Parker and Carter Jonas. The firm’s core services in the city will include town planning, building consultancy, development, affordable housing & viability, commercial agency, landlord & tenant and investment. Robert Clarke, senior partner at Rapleys, said: "Our new Cambridge office, alongside the appointment of Stuart, represents a key further stage in Rapleys’ evolution… We saw a real opportunity in Cambridge, which is undergoing substantial growth, and a market opening where we can bring in services – such as affordable housing and viability, strategic land, building consultancy and town planning – which are currently underrepresented in the region or are subject to increasing demand. “

Stuart Harris said: “…There are significant opportunities in Cambridge, which is rapidly increasing in commercial importance and is one of the fastest growing cities in the UK. This looks set to continue … and we are seeing an increasing demand particularly for planning and consulting services from businesses seeking to capitalise on this growth.” Rapleys’ Cambridge team can be contacted at 20 Station Road, Cambridge CB1 2JD / 0370 777 6292.

Photo: Rapleys' Cambridge contacts.

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New partners join law firm

Prettys Solicitors has made two senior appointments to its dispute resolution team, following its appointment of three new partners last month. Graham Mead (photo, right) is re-joining the firm as a partner in the team in April from a local Suffolk firm where he was made a partner in 2005. He is an experienced litigator, particularly in contract disputes, professional negligence, insolvency and property litigation and a solicitor advocate. He said: “I am delighted to be re-joining Prettys, to add to the strength and depth of their highly regarded dispute resolution team.” Andrew Kinnison will be joining Prettys in early March adding further strength to its dispute resolution team. A qualified barrister, he previously spent seven years as a solicitor and partner in another Suffolk firm and worked for 20 years at a City firm. Prettys CEO Ian Carr said: “The volume and variety of work asked for by clients means that these senior appointments are essential to enable us to deliver the quality and service we wish to provide. It will also enable us to further expand our offering and help meet our ambitious growth plans in the future.”

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Credit union awarded funds

Ipswich-based credit union Eastern Savings and Loans has been awarded a £30,000 grant by Lloyds Banking Group through its Credit Union Development Fund to invest in local communities. The credit union offers savings accounts and affordable loans to businesses and individuals in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambs. Chris Mole, CEO at Eastern Savings and Loans Credit Union, said: “We’re extremely grateful for this significant cash injection, which will strengthen our capital position. It is difficult to add to reserves while investing in the new technology and marketing needed to grow. This will help us boost our membership and still meet regulatory requirements.”

Grant gives pupils insight into offshore wind

Thanks to a grant from the Sheringham Shoal Community Fund teams from The Mason Trust and  Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm were able to give year 9 pupils at Fakenham Academy an insight into the offshore wind industry. Colin Bye, head of geography at the academy, said: "This STEM activity, combined with studies of the environmental issues in the design of an offshore wind farm, is an excellent example of work-related learning.  It was a memorable day which excited and engaged students in learning, whilst opening their eyes to future career paths through the use of The Mason Trust's icanbea … website (www.icanbea.org.uk)." Yvonne Mason founded The Mason Trust as a charity in 2008 to inspire young people in East Anglia to fulfil their potential. It provides workshops, careers events and advice through schools.  The grant from the Sheringham Shoal Community Fund is enabling The Mason Trust to deliver its ‘Renew Your Future' energy workshop to six secondary schools in north Norfolk.