Sunday 13th June 2021
Home Weekly Business<br />E-newsletter ebusiness weekly news 08/06/2021

Boost to foreign investment as overseas groups back region's key sectors during pandemic

The success of key business sectors in the East of England during Covid such as logistics and R&D helped boost the number of foreign direct investment projects in the region to 54 last year, up from 40 in 2019, and the largest increase of any UK region, according to the EY 2021 UK Attractiveness Survey. Overseas investors were attracted to key sectors in the region including digital tech (which saw 12 projects in 2020 in the East, up from seven previously), transport and logistics (10 projects, up from seven), and agri-food (eight projects, up from one) and particularly to Cambridge and Peterborough. The 35 per cent increase in overseas-backed projects in the East was the region’s second best performance in a decade and came as the the UK as a whole saw a 12 per cent fall in projects to 975 in 2020 from 1,109 previously. Cambridge-based FDI projects increased to 12 from 10. Meanwhile, the need to boost capacity for online commerce during Covid may have been behind a surge in overseas-backed projects in Peterborough to ten, from just one previously. FDI projects in the region were most likely to involve sales and service activities, logistics and R&D. Stuart Wilkinson, office managing partner at EY in the East of England, said: “The East of England has a diverse regional economy, and some of its sectors have seen an impact from global economic and business shifts linked to Brexit and the pandemic. With increasing focus on sectors and activities in which the East of England excels – including logistics and research – the region is one of the best positioned to thrive in a changing economy. It’s not a surprise that the region is much more attractive to investors than it was just two years ago....Read more

Business urged to talk to creditors as key to survival

Businesses in the region should start talking to creditors over arrears built up during the pandemic as government bans on key debt enforcement actions are due to run out at the end of this month. According to the Eastern branch of insolvency trade body R3, any rush by creditors to recover debts too quickly might force firms out of business. R3 Eastern chair Alistair Bacon (right) of AMB Law in the region, said: “Businesses have built up debt over the pandemic for very understandable reasons, so it will be important for them to have productive and frank discussions with those to whom they owe money about the best way to proceed.”

He added: “Aggressive action to recover debt, while shortly to be allowed once more, would go against the spirit of everything that the government has done to keep many businesses afloat, and to protect the jobs that they support.”

Professional services firm hiring in Cambridge and Ipswich

Professional services firm Deloitte is seeing growing demand for its services in Cambridge and Ipswich and has strengthened its regional team with a new partner and three new director promotions. Neil Clements has been promoted to partner in the economics advisory team. He set up the team in Cambridge in 2018 and has a focus on the TMT sector and works with tech and telco clients. Terry Roberts, Kat Fish and Jeffrie Mann have been promoted to directors in the tax team. Paul Schofield, practice senior partner of the South East, said: "After the initial impacts of the pandemic, recovery, albeit in some but not all sectors, has been rapid. We see increasing demands for our specialist services and Cambridge and Ipswich in particular are locations where we are hiring to support our clients’ growth”. A round of promotions at Deloitte across the UK has involved 79 new partners and 219 directors promoted.

Ipswich MP visits warehouse units in demand

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt (photo, left) last week visited Crane Park - near to the town’s John Lewis and Waitrose - where Northwood Urban Logistics is developing 19 eco-friendly warehouse units, nine of which have now been let or are under offer. Penn Commercial managing director Vanessa Penn said: “New product – to this high specification, in such a convenient location – is in short supply within the local area. Crane Park is already experiencing strong interest and is proving especially attractive to those looking to relocate or grow their business, within easy reach of the major road, rail, port and airport connections in the East.” The visit was hosted by Penn Commercial’s Robin Cousins and Rachael Jackson and the MP was keen to learn about the economic benefits of the development to Ipswich and the employment skills that will be required.

See Profile Penn Commercial

Partnership provides two new Colchester business hubs

The IoD in the East of England has partnered with Colchester Business Enterprise Agency (Colbea) to provide two business hubs in Colchester for IoD members. The move comes as businesses prepare for a return to face-to-face meetings and consider options for more flexible and agile work and meeting space. Biplab Rakshi, chair of the IoD in the East of England, said: “Colbea not only has great workspace facilities in two prime Colchester locations, but is a valuable resource for our members to access everything from training to meeting and conference facilities. We hope this Colchester hub will encourage our members to meet up for business and networking in Colchester.”  IoD members can pre-book free workspace, with free parking and wi-fi and discounted rates on meeting and conference room hire at the North Colchester (photo above) and Central Colchester Business Centres.

New qualifications and appointment at law firm

Norfolk-based Rogers & Norton Solicitors has announced two qualifications and a new appointment to its team. Donatas Staniulis has qualified as a solicitor into its Norwich property team. Having joined the firm in 2017 as a conveyancing executive, he became a trainee in 2019 and has gone on to gain experience in dealing with a wide range of commercial and residential, freehold and leasehold transactions. Meanwhile, Lauren Golder has qualified as a chartered legal executive with CILEx. She has been with the firm since 2014 and has extensive experience in residential conveyancing and handles sales and purchases of freehold and leasehold properties, including unregistered land. Finally, Laura Davidson has joined Rogers & Norton as marketing manager. She has over ten years’ experience in the legal sector and will be working across the offices in supporting all marketing activities. Managing director Bruce Faulkner said: “It is great news that Donatas and Lauren have attained their respective qualifications. We like to support our staff to improve their qualifications but it takes hard work and dedication to do coursework while working full time and both of them have done well to achieve what they have. It also means that we now have one of the best qualified property teams in the city. Laura brings a level of expertise and experience in marketing that we have not previously had and I am very pleased to welcome her to the team.”

Photo (l-r): Donatas Staniulis, Lauren Golder and Laura Davidson.

See Profile Rogers & Norton

New partnership to support hybrid and virtual events

Meet Cambridge, the venue-finding service, is expanding with a specialist service focusing on hybrid and virtual events. It is teaming up with Opening Doors & Venues to offer event organisers a comprehensive service to manage meetings and conferences which incorporate in-person or virtual attendance. With the status of many international events uncertain, companies are adopting either a hybrid model - where local delegates can attend and others further afield can participate virtually - or a fully virtual meeting. OD&V, based in the West Midlands, has a strong record as a professional conference organiser, including digital events and the new partnership complements Meet Cambridge’s existing event management service, provided through an agreement with Suzy Howes & associates. Judith Sloane, head of Meet Cambridge said: “We have listened to both client and venue feedback and are delighted to be able to offer not only these new services from our collaboration with OD&V, but also enhance the existing expertise we have with SHA. This means we can now provide support for in-person, hybrid and virtual events or indeed any combination."

See Profile Meet Cambridge

Photo (l-r): Suzy Howes (Suzy Howes & associates); Rose Padmore (director, ODV);  Judith Sloane (Head of Meet Cambridge);  Madalina Marincas (OD&V and Gordon Padmore (OD & V)

Cambridge company partners with Procter and Gamble on ‘tactile coding’

Cambridge company Domino Printing has collaborated with Proctor and Gamble to create tactile coding, helping people living with visual impairment. Domino Printing was approached by P &G, one of the world’s largest suppliers of consumer and personal care products, to work together on packaging for one of its Herbal Essences bio:renew range of shampoos and conditioners. Together with colleagues, P&G’s special consultant for inclusive design, Sumaira Latif, who is registered blind herself, came up with the idea of including tactile notches onto existing bottles to enable them to be easily differentiated by touch. Using Domino’s D-Series CO2 laser coders to etch the markers during production seemed the optimal solution. The decisive factor in choosing Domino was its scientific expertise and highly collaborative and iterative design testing. The chosen design features a row of raised lines on the bottom of the back of the shampoo bottles with two rows of raised dots in the same place on conditioner bottles. Sumaira Latif said: “By choosing a simple, more universal approach to differentiate the bottles, P&G hopes to make the bottle more accessible, not just to those with a visual impairment, but for anyone who may struggle to tell the products apart during use.” Based on the success of the initial trial, P&G has rolled out the new inclusive design across all its US range of Herbal Essences bio:renew shampoos and conditioners.