Monday 27th June 2022
Home Weekly Business<br />E-newsletter ebusiness weekly news 21/06/2022

Work starts on region's largest hq-style building at University of Essex

Work has got underway started on a new £10.7m office development for SMEs on the University of Essex’s Colchester Campus which is the largest headquarters-style office currently under construction in the Eastern region. The new Grade A building at the Parkside Office Village on the Knowledge Gateway research and technology park at the university involves almost 42,000 sq ft of new space and will be ready for occupation in 2023. The new building will provide opportunities for businesses to move to the campus and take advantage of links to the university’s researchers, graduate and student talent pool, campus facilities and business networks. University registrar Bryn Morris said: “Seeing the latest, most ambitious phase of Parkside starting to take shape is extremely exciting for the university. This shows the level of ambition we have for the Knowledge Gateway research and technology park." He added: “We have a growing community of businesses across Parkside Office Village and the Innovation Centre and this building offers a fantastic opportunity to bring in new tenants who share our vision of driving forward the economy of the Eastern region." RG Carter is the contractor on the project.

Norfolk Chamber set for ‘next stage of modernisation’ under new leader

Norfolk Chambers of Commerce is preparing for its next stage of modernisation under a new leader when Nova Fairbank (left), the chambers’ current chief operating officer, succeeds Chris Sargisson (right) as the organisation’s chief executive in August. The chamber said Chris Sargisson, who was appointed to the role in 2017, has been “…integral to disrupting the business community scene by stripping the Norfolk Chambers of Commerce back to its core and revamping the membership organisation and laying the foundation for a chambers of commerce with a vision to connect, support, and give voice to every business in Norfolk.”

Nova Fairbank said: “A succession of leadership does not mean a change of direction. I’m looking forward to carrying the torch for the Norfolk Chambers of Commerce, continuing the current journey backed up by the new, sturdy foundation and building blocks Chris’ leadership has laid for its future development over the last five years.”

International conferences in Cambridge set to generate activity worth £720,000

Member venues of Meet Cambridge, the conference and events bureau, are set to host around 850 delegates at three international association conferences across the city during August and September, creating an economic impact to the area worth £720,000. The 35th International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences on 15-19 August will see 300 international delegates at Cambridge Union Society, Clare College and King’s College. Meanwhile, the International Symposium on Veterinary Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy will attract 200 international delegates over 18-20 August for a hybrid conference using facilities at West Road Concert Hall and Gonville & Caius College. The client is being assisted by Meet Cambridge’s digital conference organiser partner, Opening Doors and Venues. The 20th Biennial Congress of the European Psychiatric Association Section of Epidemiology & Social Psychiatry is taking place on 8-10 September at three venues; West Road Concert Hall, Darwin College and Selwyn College. To deliver the event for 350 delegates, Meet Cambridge introduced its client to its professional conference organiser partner Suzy Howes & Associates. Judith Sloane, head of Meet Cambridge, said: “We are delighted to finally be able to host these three major conferences at our venues and to welcome delegates from around the world to our wonderful city so they can experience the unique ‘Cambridge Experience’, as well as get together with others in their field.”

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Businesses face ‘unprecedented challenges’ in next 12 months

With the UK economy shrinking and inflation hitting a multi-decade high, UK businesses are facing unprecedented challenges over the next 12 months, the PrimeGlobal 2022 Business Leadership Forum in Manchester heard recently. Julie Grimmer, managing partner at Larking Gowen, said: “This event has brought together likeminded firms and has produced some powerful thought leadership. It’s highlighted important challenges including economic fallout and talent acquisition, which face not just the accountancy sector but the business community as a whole.”

John Atkins, partner at Larking Gowen, said: “The well-publicised cost of living crisis is affecting us all, whether it be our businesses, or personally. Inflation is currently running at around 9 per cent  with over 50 per cent of this being driven by energy prices. With the UK being a net importer, and heavily reliant on several third parties, mitigation against this is  very difficult in the short-term."  He felt some optimism, however, with economic rebounds to unprecedented one-off events historically happening within 12-18 months.  Firms from across the UK, Ireland and EMEA region, attended the forum, bringing together over 140 delegates from 308 member firms.

Photo: (L-R) John Atkins, Larking Gowen, and Alex Brandreth, Luna Investment Management

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Vision for region’s ‘hydrogen cluster’ unveiled

A vision of what a ‘hydrogen cluster’ in the region may involve has been unveiled by an industry group Hydrogen East. It says the East is taking a central role through the first hydrogen cluster centred on core electrolyser projects and that Norfolk and Suffolk can make a significant contribution in bringing clean hydrogen’s potential to the surface. This would support the government's Hydrogen Strategy outlined earlier this year. Speaking in the House of Commons recently Waveney MP Peter Aldous said: “In East Anglia we have a real opportunity to be a major producer, user and exporter of hydrogen. We have an abundance of resources, infrastructure—both on land and at sea—that can be readily retrofitted, and developers keen to step up to the plate, provided that the right policies are in place. That way, we can not only more readily realise our decarbonisation goals but create new and exciting jobs for local people".

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Record start ups despite challenge from late payments

East Anglia saw a record 7,553 new business start-ups in May, the largest number of any region outside Greater London, according to research from the Eastern branch of R3. The figure marked a 13 per cent increase on April's total and was 15 per cent up on the beginning of the year. But R3 warns that late payments could pose a sizeable challenge to new company cash flow and survival. Businesses in East Anglia also have the highest number of late payments in the UK outside the capital. R3 Eastern chair Alistair Bacon said: “The growth in start-ups is a positive, which is likely to have been led by local individuals who were furloughed or made redundant during the pandemic and who used the lockdowns as a springboard to venture out on their own. However, their sustainability is being threatened because, like many longer-established companies in the region, they are being forced to trade amidst rising inflation, contracting economies, spiralling fuel, energy and wage costs, and consumer confidence at a near historic low. Workplace mental illness at ‘all-time high’

Norfolk retailer expands distribution hub

Norfolk retailer QD is expanding its distribution centre at Snetterton in the south of the county by almost two-thirds to meet demand from its 52 stores and growing online sales. A 100,000 sq ft extension is being added to the existing 155,000 sq ft site, which is located just off the A11 and employs 80 people. More jobs are being created at the distribution centre through the expansion which is due for completion in November.

Growing logistics operator opens in Cambridge

Growing logistics operator Europa Worldwide Group has opened its first site in Cambridge at Cambourne Business Park. The company, which is investing half a million pounds in increasing its UK European road freight sales network, said it identified Cambridge as a prime location, especially as it had already been earmarked in the government’s Levelling Up strategy as a key driver in the UK’s post-Covid economic recovery. Despite the challenges of the global pandemic, the firm says the prospects for the European road freight market remain strong.

Cambridge company celebrates women in enginerring

Cambridge company Domino Printing is marking this year’s International Women in Engineering Day on 23rd June by paying tribute to some of its female employees working in key technical roles. The firm welcomes the annual awareness campaign by the Women’s Engineering Society to highlight the range of rewarding careers available in the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics which for a long time were more popular with boys. Rachel Hurst, chief operating Officer, said: “The annual International Women in Engineering Day shines a light on successful female role models at different career stages to inspire more women and girls to believe they can do it too..…Engineering doesn’t have to be male dominated and companies need to do more to be inclusive and inspire women to develop in technical subject areas.”

Photo (l-r): Rachel Hurst, Mariam Khalfey, Josie Harries, Susan Palmer and Natasha Jeremic.

Barclays Van to meet businesses over two days in Great Yarmouth

Barclays is offering businesses in Great Yarmouth the chance to attend a two-day event and meet colleagues at the Barclays Van which will be located at the town’s Harfreys Industrial Estate. Teams from across the group including retail branch staff, Digital Eagles, Barclays Business, Barclays Corporate, Barclaycard and partners Nimbla and Propel, will be attending. The Barclays Van operates throughout the East of England, and offers flexibility and convenience to customers seeking more complex banking solutions on their doorstep. Businesses wishing to register or understand more about the event can contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Successful challenge by law firm on planning permission

Mid Suffolk District Council has agreed to quash a planning permission it has granted following a successful challenge by Ashtons Legal acting for an affected neighbour. The site in Badwell Ash in Suffolk had previously been the subject of a successful earlier judicial review by Ashtons Legal when the council had granted planning permission for a dwelling despite a planning inspector finding that it would have an unacceptable impact and that the site was not suitable to be developed. In the present case the council granted planning permission for what purported to be a garage.

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Young people urged to consider apprenticeships in construction

Asma Parker, a 19 year-old apprentice at property and construction consultancy Ingleton Wood, is encouraging more young people to consider apprenticeships in construction for the opportunities and hands-on experience they provide. She recently attended a parliamentary apprenticeship fair in London to meet with “inspiring” MPs passionate about developing young people’s skills. Ingleton Wood offers degree apprenticeships for future architects, engineers and surveyors in association with London South Bank University (LSBU) and Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford.

Photo: Asma Parker meeting MP Emma Hardy at the Parliamentary apprenticeship fair.

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The power of togetherness: why it’s time to be more human at work

Can a workforce have too much togetherness? US TikTok workers complained that ceaseless online meetings left them exhausted. Luis De Souza (right) of East of England-based NFS Technology says working life is bringing the human to the fore. “There is already a strong focus on wellness and productivity – and you don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. Now we’re beginning to understand what togetherness really means – and how business success is underpinned by human needs for companionship." The Happiness in the workplace survey 2021 revealed that 21 per cent say working alongside friends improves creativity and that 12 per cent are less likely to leave if they have a good friend there. Luis says: “Workplace leaders should never underestimate the power of creating the conditions where friendship can thrive," says Luis De Souza. https://nfstechnology.co.uk/

Cambridge college strengthens AV expertise

Murray Edwards College Cambridge is strengthening its technical capability with the appointment of Liam Martin (right) as audio visual technician – including meeting the currently changing needs for hybrid events. Responsible for all the AV equipment across the college and conference spaces, he runs the technology aspects of all events including sound, live streaming, filming, recording and hybrid elements. Following a first class degree in audio and music Technology from Anglia Ruskin University, Liam worked freelance as an audio producer, mostly making podcasts, as well as organising live streams and remote meetings during the pandemic.