Small firms call for a Brexit-ready Autumn Budget

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is urging the Chancellor to commit to matching EU funding allocations post-Brexit while protecting investment reliefs at his Autumn Budget next month.

FSB is seeking reassurance that no nation or region will lose out after 2019 as a result of the Government’s proposed UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).

Its Budget submission calls on the Chancellor to rule out any new business tax increases and maintain investment incentives, including Entrepreneurs’ Relief, the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS).

Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman, said: “With the Brexit clock ticking, other nations are trying to tempt our businesses to their shores. The Budget marks an opportunity to position the UK as the best place in the world to invest in innovative firms.

“We lag behind the EU when it comes to producing serial entrepreneurs. If we want to catch-up, and enhance our international competiveness post-Brexit, we need to see investor incentives protected. Doing so will inject some much-needed stability into a climate dogged by delayed decision-making because of persistent uncertainty.

“If the Chancellor is serious about tackling the staggering disparity in productivity between different areas of the UK, he should replace EU funding according to existing allocations. No region or nation should lose out as a result of Brexit.”

With local Growth Hub funding coming to an end in 2018, and no extension to the Local Growth Fund for England planned beyond 2021, small firms are calling for continued support for Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and Growth Hubs.

They are equally highlighting the threat posed by loss of access to the European Investment Fund (EIF). The fund committed around €2.8 billion to the UK between 2011 and 2015.

Small businesses that trade overseas are still bullish about trading prospects. FSB recommends exporting vouchers as a means to maintaining this international momentum post-Brexit.

Mike Cherry added: “We’re staring into a funding black hole from 2021. LEPs and Growth Hubs, which provide vital support to small firms all over England, need reassurances about the future. Continuation of their work will be integral to boosting productivity as part of an ambitious industrial strategy after we leave the EU.

“Then there’s the EIF to consider. The fund has proven a vital lifeline for firms struggling to access finance, particularly outside of London and the South East where private investors are less active. The Chancellor must avoid a cherry-picking approach to replacing this growth funding. Doing so threatens to entrench regional access to finance disparities. We need to see small firms supported at all stages of their expansion alongside increased diversification of finance markets.

“One in five small businesses currently exports. With the right support, we could double that figure. Export vouchers would give aspiring exporters the freedom to invest in the resources they need to start selling overseas, particularly in harder to reach non-EU markets. We can’t rely on a weak pound to boost exports forever – we need to encourage more small businesses to look beyond our sluggish domestic market.”

Want to be happier? The answer is entrepreneurship, according to Akashic Ventures

Entrepreneur. Chart with keywords and icons

Akashic Venture’s managing director Aaron Passley is a firm believer that entrepreneurship is the path to true accomplishment, gratitude and happiness.

Recently, the firm released a statement on why entrepreneurs are some of the happiest, most fulfilled people on the planet.

Akashic Ventures is the newest event-marketing agency to hit the streets of Leeds, with a new vision for the future of the industry. The firm develops dynamic and unique events where they can provide high levels of customer interaction on a face-to-face basis. The company specialises in bespoke campaigns that fit specifically to a client’s needs, with positive testimonials that speak for themselves.

A recent study supports Mr Passley’s theory that owning a business is a direct path to happiness, stating that a massive 81% of small business owners regard their entrepreneurship as the primary reason for happiness in both their professional and personal lives. The study goes on to explore the reasons behind the astounding statistic, primarily due to optimistic entrepreneurial qualities, financial security and more extensive plans for business growth.

Despite the significant statistic that correlates small business owners to high levels of happiness, this is not a new finding. These results are consistent with a similar study, exploring that entrepreneurs lead happier and more fulfilling lives. This supporting survey of 197,000 small business owners found high levels of satisfaction, with particular emphasis on developing economies. A number of reasons behind this put emphasis on a sense of ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ having direct and positive effects on professional well-being.

Akashic Ventures has been a supporter of encouraging entrepreneurship within its staff since the company’s inception. Mr Passley has stated that the company believes this to be an exciting opportunity and outlines a couple of the reasons behind professional happiness:

  1. The ability to provide opportunities to people you can count on Akashic Ventures has a hugely productive and dedicated workforce, Mr Passley defines the reason behind this as having an active hand in the onboarding process. “When searching for new candidates you want to know that you can count on them, you want people who want to progress and have great entrepreneurial potential.”
  2. Create your ideal environment: As an entrepreneur, you can set your limits, your physical environment, and your position within the company. Managing director, Mr Passley explores this within his own company “If something isn’t working, you change it. That’s the beauty of owning your own business. You can change anything that isn’t working”.

Mr Passley continues to state how he wishes to encourage entrepreneurship qualities within the Akashic Ventures family and urges other new businesses to follow their example. The company emphasises the happiness that comes with owning a business and reiterates that accomplishment, gratitude and personal success is the path to true happiness.

World’s first digital cryptocurrency vault DigiPulse passes $1million fundraising target in token sales

DigiPulse, the world’s first ‘digital cryptocurrency vault’ which provides an inheritance service for digital and crypto assets, has passed the $1million fundraising mark in its token sale which ends on 31 October 2017.

The new brand enables customers to safely secure and pass on their digital assets to those they care about when they pass away. These assets can include cryptocurrencies, digital images and other documents.

Co-founder and CTO of DigiPulse, Dmitry Dementyev-Dedelis, first saw the potential for DigiPulse when he encountered health issues and realised that, if he were to pass away, his family would be unable to access his digital wallet. His cryptocurrency assets would be effectively lost.

DigiPulse solves this very important issue by allowing its users to store and encrypt information on their own decentralised blockchain.

Normunds Kvilis, the firm’s CEO and formerly an analyst in a leading Scandinavian bank, said, “The idea behind DigiPulse is that we are addressing one of the major flaws that cryptocurrencies themselves have, which is that in order to use cryptocurrencies you need to have a digital wallet.

“Cryptocurrency wallets consist of a public address and a password. If you lose either one of them, your assets are stuck in internet limbo. We offer, firstly, a way for you to pass your assets on, with an inheritance service, and secondly, a failsafe solution – in case your PC gets lost or your house burns down. You can still access everything that you have stored.

“The system is based on smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain, which are put together on top of our own blockchain which encrypts and stores the data in small chunks so it is practically impossible to hack.

“We are seeing a great deal of support from the crypto community because they are in need a product like this. As people begin to use cryptocurrencies for a broader range of applications and hold significant crypto assets for investment, we must ensure that their families receive their belongings if the worst does happen.”

The DigiPulse system uses what is often known as a ‘dead-man’s-switch’, in connection with the customer’s smartphone, social media account or emails. If these are not accessed for the agreed period of time – between one day and 18 months – DigiPulse will automatically contact the rightful inheritor.

If the customer chooses to remain anonymous, there is no requirement for them to share their details and the system can work by tracking activity by their digital wallet.

The DigiPulse team is largely based in Riga, Latvia, with team members around the globe.

DigiPulse tokens (DGTP) are sold at a fixed price (with additional tier bonus rewards) of 0.004 ETH (1 ETH = 250 DGTP) and the sale will continue until October 31 2017.

Four common CX myths debunked


The customer buying experience is the most crucial element of sales and marketing because it has a direct impact on whether a customer decides to give their services to a brand or to return and buy from them again. The customer buying experience is how customers perceive the experience of purchasing a product or service from a particular brand. 52% of senior company leaders believe that the customer buying experience is what businesses use to differentiate their brand.

Promotional marketing company, Blue Custard, believe that consumers are the most qualified group to assess how good a brand’s customer buying experience is and that it is important to debunk common myths about the successful ways to orchestrate an efficient customer journey.

  • Myth one – low price results in a happy customer. Even though a low price is an appealing feature, a survey by CEI revels that 86% of customers are willing to pay a higher cost in return for having a better customer buying experience.
  • Myth Two – no complaints mean satisfied customers. Most customers prefer not to confront a company about their concerns, and instead just switch to a competitor. But they may be telling their friends and family about their negative experience.
  • Myth three – marketing budgets are more important than the customer experience budget. The service and support given to customers are vital for getting repeat business. Investing in an excellent customer service experience will result in customers becoming advocates for a brand.
  • Myth four – positive reviews results in guaranteed business. All companies have a mix of good and bad reviews so it is vital to embrace it and show off how poor service has been compensated.

Blue Custard go a long way to ensure an excellent customer buying experience for their client’s customers. The firm pride themselves on their face to face interactions that portray a positive energy to customers, generating an outstanding customer buying experience.

UK government ramps up support for SME trade

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has announced that small businesses can now access government-backed export finance directly from their banks, boosting UK trade.

UK Export Finance (UKEF), the UK’s export credit agency, is on Monday 16 October launching a new partnership with 5 major high street banks allowing smaller businesses to access millions of pounds in government-backed trade finance directly from their bank in seconds.

UKEF, as part of the Department for International Trade, provides financial support to help UK companies sell to international customers. This new partnership with Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS/NatWest and Santander, announced by Liam Fox in July, comes as the Board of Trade met for the first time last week (12 October).

For the first time companies which supply exporters can now access UKEF-backed finance, helping them become part of major export contracts and spreading the benefits of trade to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the UK.

Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox, said: “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and giving them the support they need to seize international trading opportunities is a priority for the Department for International Trade as an international economic department.

“That’s why we’re partnering with the five major high street banks to make government-backed finance from UK Export Finance readily available in a matter of seconds, opening up new global contracts to businesses across the UK.”

UKEF provides guarantees to banks to help businesses access bank finance, even where they’ve reached their credit limit or where the deal is considered too risky for the banks to take on alone – opening up emerging global markets to UK suppliers.

With this new partnership for finance up to £2 million, SMEs can access UKEF support directly from their bank quickly and efficiently, without the need to apply separately. Provided a transaction meets UKEF’s criteria, the bank will just notify UKEF through a new secure digital platform. This means that, where previously it could take weeks in addition to the banks’ own turnaround times to access this support, it will now take a matter of seconds where the transaction is eligible.

As a result, the UK’s SMEs can quickly and easily access the funds they need to increase their exports, grow their revenue and sell British products around the world just by speaking to their bank manager.

At the same time, companies that aren’t yet selling overseas but are supplying products directly to those who are will also now qualify for UKEF support. Supplying to an exporter is a great way for smaller companies to get products into new markets, and government-backed finance can help secure contracts with big UK exporters to benefit from worldwide demand for UK goods and services.

Mike Cherry, National Chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: “Through our work with the Secretary of State for International Trade, I am delighted to see the Government’s plans to improve access to export finance.

“The success of the UK economy rests on helping more small businesses to export, and export more. FSB research shows 20 per cent of UK small firms already export, and with the right support this could double.

“Today’s announcement of faster and more readily available finance means more small businesses will be able to access growth markets around the world.

“Small firms’ contribution to the UK’s export market is of course not limited to those that sell products overseas. Our research highlights that one in six of all UK small businesses also form part of a supply chain of which the end product is exported, so opening up export finance to this group of firms is great news.”

Businesses interested can find out more by speaking to their bank. to open state-of-the-art design studios at Here East

Here East has announced that MATCHESFASHION.COM will open a photography and video production capacity with a new state-of-the-art 22,000 sq. ft. studio.

The studio will allow MATCHESFASHION.COM to accelerate the business’s innovative digital ambitions and substantially increase its visual content output.

The new studio’s location is at the heart of the Mayor of London’s plans to create an East London Fashion Cluster; an area where fashion, technology, business and education meet

Initially 75 people will be employed in the new space with the capacity to grow the team by 150 jobs over four years.

This follows the recent announcement that Ford will open a dedicated Smart Mobility Innovation Office focusing on future mobility solutions for Europe at Here East and that Plexal, Europe’s largest technology innovation destination has now opened its doors on the campus.

Gavin Poole, CEO, Here East commented, “Here East is unique in providing the space and infrastructure for entrepreneurs, global businesses and academics to come together and collaborate in the pursuit of innovation. MATCHESFASHION.COM’s decision to join our community of innovators, start-ups and tech specialists is exciting for the whole campus and further realises our vision for different sectors to come together and collaborate.

“The renaissance of fashion in East London has given rise to an emergent fashion cluster and it is driven, in part, by the growth in digital creativity. Here East provides a perfect home for a brand such as MATCHESFASHION.COM to further develop their brand and content platform.”

Ulric Jerome, CEO, MATCHESFASHION.COM said, “Creating the best visual user experience is at the heart of everything we do – we are renowned for the content we produce in house and this move to Here East, and our investment in a new creative space, will help us to achieve our plans to generate even more innovative and engaging content for our brands and our customer. This is yet another exciting step forward for the business as we continue to scale MATCHESFASHION.COM.”

Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor, Culture and Creative Industries said, “London has all the best ingredients as a centre for fashion. It is home to leading fashion colleges, is renowned for growing the next generation of talent, has wonderful established brands and is a world-leading tech hub. Without first-class technology including photography and video production, London would not be the international fashion powerhouse it is today.

“I’m thrilled to see MATCHESFASHION.COM expanding with a new state-of-the-art studio in the East London Fashion Cluster, creating many more tech jobs for London, building on Here East’s reputation as a destination synonymous with innovation, and showing the world that London is open to business, talent and creativity.”

Paul Goswell, Managing Director, Delancey said, “This is a significant milestone in our curation of tenants at London’s creative and tech hub and further reinforces Here East’s reputation as the preferred campus for cutting edge companies looking to work alongside innovative start-ups and world renowned universities. We know that the most ambitious and far-sighted companies are now not just looking for outstanding spaces and excellent transport links, but they also want to be working alongside creative thinkers and brilliant researchers and this is precisely what can be found at Here East.”

HMRC launches online tax forum for small businesses

A new online tax forum and dedicated webchat service for small businesses and the self-employed has been launched today by HMRC.

The Small Business Online Forum is a quick and easy way for small businesses to get answers to their tax questions, as well as help with:

  • starting a business
  • support for growing a business – including taking on employees and expanding
  • buying and selling abroad
  • completing tax returns
  • tax credits

Linked to the forum, HMRC’s new dedicated webchat service offers direct support to businesses and the self-employed.

Mel Stride, Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General, said:

The UK’s 5.4 million small businesses play a vital role in our economy. We want to help businesses get off the ground and support them as they grow.

That is why we are launching a new forum and webchat service which will give these companies useful hints and tips – including how to complete tax returns, grow a business and trade outside the UK – so that they can continue to flourish.”

Instantt avoids the queues with newly launched food ordering app

Innovative new mobile app Instantt is a brand new food-ordering service with a mission to end queuing for its rapidly growing user base. At its core Instantt believes in empowering its users by enabling them to make the most out of their time by engineering an intuitive, user-friendly virtual queuing technology to search for and order the best local food in London.

As the world goes digital and with the average UK lunch-break standing at just 20-minutes, Instantt doesn’t believe people should have to ‘physically’ queue for anything. Once an order is made, Instantt places users in a virtual queue and gives them an ‘instantt’ real-time ETA for when their order will be ready for collection. Its uniquely optimised dashboard incorporates a fitbit step emulator to calculate how many steps a user will need to walk when picking up their order, providing an even more precise order-ahead service. Push-notifications alert users when the app is minimised.

Available on the App Store & Google Play, Instantt makes use of the latest GPS innovations to locate the phones nearest merchants; and through machine-learning technology will curate local services to allow its customers to discover the best premium food around them.

Instantt’s recommendation service is perceptive and quickly adapts to the tastes and habits of its users. The app caters to all dietary requirements and prioritises restaurants based on user’s prerequisites. To ensure a smooth service, Instantt works closely with each restaurant when on-boarding a menu and through close collaboration can uniquely offer a customisable order-ahead system in fewer than two clicks.

Instantt also stamps out the need for customers to waste time with cash, offering secure in-app purchasing, as well as a credit system to reward its loyal users (“iCredits”). Furthermore, Instantt’s newly launched web ordering service also allows its customers to easily order from their desktops via:

Fixated on offering the best in fresh food Instantt has partnered with a diverse and fast-growing number of restaurants in and around London. Instantt’s mission is to eliminate the guesswork when ordering food through a device, ensuring its users are only recommended the highest quality food available. Early partners include Café Brera, Protein Haus, Zest, CHICK, Moi An, Kruger, Garbanzos and many more across London.

Instantt has also partnered with The Pecking Order at Barnet Football Club and will shortly be going live at The Hive at Barnet Stadium. Additionally, Instantt is in talks with a number of leading restaurants at Westfield Stratford, Brent Cross Shopping Centre, as well as various Hotel chains and Stadiums across London.

Vikas Sharma, Instantt founder & CEO: “People hate to queue and so do we! We believe Instantt can solve this problem by providing a unique and intuitive service that empowers people to easily order the best in fresh food on-the-go. We get a real buzz knowing that we have users picking up their morning coffee while on their way to work without wasting a minute in a queue.”

Instantt looks to attract tens of thousands of new users and to partner with hundreds of restaurants across London by the end of this year.

Leading light in British HealthTech, Network Locum, rebrands to Lantum

Network Locum, the online platform that enables flexible working for healthcare professionals, specifically locum GPs, today announces it has rebranded to Lantum – a name change to reflect the company’s growing ambitions.

Lantum started life in 2012 as a marketplace for locum GPs to book their own shifts. Today it manages the GP resourcing problem for 19 boroughs across the UK and has arranged over 2 million patient appointments, saving millions for the NHS.

Lantum is now evolving into a workforce software company – an end to end platform that facilitates payments, handles compliance, manages staff bookings, and is also a marketplace for practice managers and GPs to communicate.

Says Melissa Morris, CEO of Lantum: “We couldn’t be more excited about the rebrand. The new name reflects the extent of our ambitions. The NHS is facing significant staff shortages and front line staff are incredibly stretched. Lantum addresses this by freeing up GPs time and reducing practices’ reliance on external agencies, putting control back in the hands of healthcare professionals.”

Lantum enables GPs to work how, when and where they want and in doing so provides the balance they are looking for. Lantum also helps Practices manage their existing workforce but also find and book new GPs.

The platform is free for doctors to use. The network has a great success rate to date, enabling 44,000 connections between practices and GPs and a base of over 8,000 GPs using the platform.

As of 4th July, the company unveils a new look-and-feel, including logo, typeface and new design across all of its platforms.

The new logo represents of a beam of light, inspired by the ‘lady with the lamp’, Florence Nightingale.

Co-founder Dr Ishani Patel comments., “We focused on the lamp or lantern as a source of light and inspiration. Lantum is not just a health tech platform, it’s very much a people company, as a frontline physician I know that the people providing the health care are fundamental to its future success”.

“Lantum represents direction, innovation, ambition and optimism for the future of healthcare.” says Ishani.

London-based Lantum was founded in 2012 by CEO Melissa Morris who witnessed first-hand, whilst working in NHS London’s Transformation team, what technology could do for workforce management within Primary Care in the UK.

The company has grown to a workforce of 45 and last year raised £5.3m in a post-Brexit funding round from VC firms BGF Ventures, Beringea, Piton, Samos, and Playfair Capital. The company has raised a total of £10m to date and helps place locum doctors in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leicester.

While digital marketing now dominates, print marketing isn’t going anywhere

Many people in business and marketing are leaning towards the thought that print marketing is dead – long live digital marketing. However, it would be more accurate to view both mediums as a team as there are some amazing benefits offered by print marketing that can’t be replicated in the digital world… Print and digital marketing can work well to improve the marketing efforts of one another, and many businesses still get results from print media marketing.

It is, however, a little more complicated than just putting something out there and hoping for the best. Here are a few tips on how to best integrate the two methods of marketing to create a well-rounded cross media strategy.

Understanding the target audience

Print media engages the senses far better than digital equivalents. This makes your marketing far more memorable, as you are adding tactile sensations and even scents to the experience. Writing your ads, brochures, coupons etc… in a way that doesn’t speak to and resonate with your audience can have a detrimental effect. For instance, a funeral home wouldn’t use a slang-strewn piece with a sassy undertone. It may seem obvious, but it is a common mistake – you need to make sure that the message you’re sending fits with your audience. You can achieve this by thinking about the industry sector you’re in as well as the demographics of your audience. Print marketing enables you to test out your engagement without that digital crutch. When no clickable components and animations are there to capture your viewers’ attention, just how effective are your designs and message?

Create the right materials

Print marketing enables you to build credibility with a targeted audience in a very tangible way. Through consistently displaying your branding, including your logo, colours, and over all ‘look’, you are building awareness of your brand within your community. Considering this it’s imperative that you choose the right type of Print marketing as it comes in a variety of different mediums. From magazine ads, leaflets and brochure printing to direct mail and billboards, there is an array of choices for you to pick from. Every business is different when it comes to which combination will work best, so you’ll need to do some research.

Brand continuity

Brand continuity and its level of interconnectedness is one of the most important factors of a successful campaign – no matter what the medium is digital or print. Building your brand up with specific values, colours, tone and style is worthless if you don’t keep it consistent across all of your marketing and customer service channels. Print marketing is great for making your business more personable. Print media is a reminder that you’re the face behind the curtain, particularly if you include photographs of yourself or your team. Couple this with online digital marketing such as Google Adwords and you are accessing the potential consumer at various touch points which increases the likelihood of purchase conversions and builds upon the brand awareness. Brand continuity allows brands to be easily recognised, it also lets you put across your values, what you stand for and who you are – instilling trust with your audience.


The distribution of your print media requires a little more thought and effort than digital media. Think beyond the standard direct-mail approach and look into trade shows, events and other places you can get your message out. There are a lot more eCommerce businesses employing print marketing and media than you might think. If you have ordered from large online companies, you’ve undoubtedly received the ultimate mark of power where print media is concerned: a printed brochure.

Printed brochures command an impressive amount of online profit, due to the convenience they afford in terms of browsing, and the overall experience they provide. Shoppers can easily make note of any items they like, then pop online when they’re ready to order. The addition of handy apps to the process makes this even easier, with shoppers able to quickly enter item numbers from the brochure into their smartphones to order.

Tracking success

It’s essential that you define your goals (what you want the result of the campaign to be) and how you’ll measure it before enacting a campaign, that way you can see what is and isn’t working.

Brochure printing can do wonders for your web traffic, but if you’re unsure it’s right for you, start with a small digital print run of brochures. Test the waters. See what works and what doesn’t, and adjust accordingly. You don’t need to create doorstop brochures to benefit from this form of marketing! Ensure to use online discount codes to track your print marketing performance and through Google analytics measure your pre-marketing stats i.e. web traffic, conversion rates, bounce rates etc… and compare with your post marketing campaign stats.

Good luck with your cross media marketing endeavour and if you would like any help along the way please get in touch with a member of the team at Print UK.

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