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Grants from £2,000 to £20,000 available to help you lower your energy bills!


The Business Energy Efficiency Programme is available throughout Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Telford & Wrekin offering FREE energy assessments and grants to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

How does the Business Energy Efficiency Programme work? 

We are offering FREE energy efficiency assessments which could lead to grants for SMEs who wish to use their energy more efficiently, reducing costs and improving environmental credentials.

Step 1 A free assessment offering 2 days of support worth up to £1,000 to assess your equipment, premises, processes  and performance to find opportunities for improvements in energy usage.

Step 2 Following the assessment, we send you a report containing recommended actions. You can then apply for a grant for projects worth up to £50,000. The grant intervention rate is 40% and your business contribution is 60% for the project. For example, if your project costs are £30,000, your contribution is £18,000 and we provide £12,000.

Step 3 If your application is successful, we will require you to sign an agreement detailing the grant conditions. Once signed and returned you can carry out the approved activities.

Step 4 We will monitor your project to ensure that it is on track.

Grant activity examples:

  • Lighting
  • Compressors
  • Insulation
  • Roller doors
  • Renewable technologies
  • Refrigeration
  • Energy storage
  • Voltage optimisation
  • Energy management
  • Behavioural change programmes
  • Feasibility studies
  • Heating & boilers
  • Double/triple glazing
  • Energy efficiency equipment that leads to process improvements

Please discuss other technologies with us to see if they are eligible.

To qualify, your business must:

1. Be situated in and trading from Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Telford & Wrekin
2. Employ fewer than 250 employees
3. Have a turnover of less than the equivalent of 50 million Euros per annum or an annual balance sheet of less than 43 million Euros

Some industries such as primary agriculture and retail are not eligible.  Retail is defined as the provision of goods and services to the general public. This support is aimed at businesses who primarily serve other businesses. Other activities excluded are social welfare and education facilities, banking and insurance. Priority will be given to businesses that help meet the projects aims.

Full ERDF eligibility criteria applies.

For all programme information, and details of how to apply, please contact Rachel on 01952 208200 or email:

BEEP Registration and Assessment Form – Download Here


Does your business comply with GDPR 2018 250517

Does your business comply with GDPR 2018?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a European Union regulation to bring data protection legislation into line with modern day data usage, aiming to give people more control over how their personal data is used.

It will also give businesses clearer guidelines in how they must manage and are permitted to use client data. Coming into force in May 2018, it will apply to anyone dealing with the data of EU residents.

Cox Mahon, specialist professional risks insurance broker, based in Shrewsbury, Worcester and London  have recognised the need to assist law firms with understanding the risks associated with the forthcoming GDPR regulations and are holding 2 free events for Solicitors to attend.

Cox Mahon will be partnering with Clyde & Co, one of the UK’s leading law firms in the field of professional negligence, and Rpost, a specialist technology provider, to deliver the risk management seminars.

The free events, entitled ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You?’, take place in Worcester on 7th June and in Shrewsbury on 8th June 2017 and will cover the following topics:

  • IDENTITY FRAUD – the impact on qualifying insurers, continuing shock-waves from Dreamvar (UK) Limited v Mishcon de Reya, and new guidance on what to look out for.
  • GENERAL DATA PROTECTION REGULATIONS – a summary of the GDPR’s new provisions, which come into effect in May 2018, and the implications for law firms.
  • RECENT CLAIMS TRENDS – recent developments in the type of claims  –  Friday afternoon frauds, the growth in claims involving regulatory complaints, claims by litigation funders, and higher value claims.
  • CUTTING THE COST OF DEFENDING CLAIMS – recent developments in claims defence – increased use of the adjudication procedure, ombudsman, fixed costs.

Solicitors and their colleagues are invited to join the free events, at which there will also be drinks and canapés and an opportunity to network. Events are CPD qualifying.

Director at Cox Mahon, Andrew Kenyon, commented, “The Legal Profession operates in a highly regulated environment, as Solicitors hold a great deal of sensitive information and data. However, there are ever-increasing additional factors including the growth in cyber fraud and new data protection regulations that are putting increased pressure on the risk management and compliance of legal practices.

As a leading Solicitors’ Indemnity Insurance Broker, we strongly believe that our service to our clients should be much more than purely the independent placement of Professional Indemnity Insurance – we also assist Legal Practices in understanding what additional developments they should be aware of in the management of risk to both their clients and their own firms.”

Richard Amphlett, Director, concluded by adding, “We are delighted to be partnering with Clyde & Co and RPost on these seminars. Clyde & Co are a leading law firm and act for a number of Solicitors’ Indemnity Insurers in defending claims against law firms in England & Wales – they will bring significant knowledge and expertise to the attendees. RPost’s product is a very exciting technological development in the security of electronic communication and we are certain that law firms will want to find out how it may assist them.”

Shropshire businesswoman addresses international conference

A Shropshire digital marketing expert flew to Croatia to speak to some of the brightest talents in medical travel from across the world.

Helen Culshaw speaking at the IMTJ Medical Travel Summit

Helen Culshaw speaking at the IMTJ Medical Travel Summit

The IMTJ Medical Travel Summit took place in April at the Milenij Hotel, in Opatija, Croatia with the UK’s Helen Culshaw speaking on how to deliver ‘real’ business solutions through digital marketing.

Helen’s Shifnal-based company Ascendancy Internet Marketing was this month announced as a finalist in the Small Business category of the Shropshire Chamber Awards.

She said: “It was great to fly back from Croatia and find out that Ascendancy as a whole had been recognised for its work.

“As a speaker I am known for my insight and knowledge as well as the skills to communicate to a multinational conference audience, and all of that comes from my experience as the owner of a digital marketing company.

“To be recognised and shortlisted in these prestigious awards is testament to the expertise of the staff and we are looking forward to the event.”

The IMTJ Summit is a high level event aimed at senior decision makers involved in the medical tourism and international patient market.

A spokesman for the event, which attracted representatives from over 120 organisations in 40 countries, said: “Helen is a renowned public speaker, trainer, visiting lecturer and consultant on digital marketing, and her hands-on, pragmatic approach has earned her a reputation as a results driven, no nonsense, no-jargon digital practitioner with specific knowledge and expertise in supporting the private healthcare sector.

“Helen has a deep understanding of Google and Google AdWords, and has supported a wide range of private healthcare businesses in maximising this vitally important marketing channel to reach and inform potential customers.”


Shropshire media production company show support to local charity

7video, based at the Shrewsbury Business Park, have recently worked in collaboration with The Little Rascals Foundation to produce several videos that highlight the great work the charity does.

The Charity, which is run by business partners and long-term friends Ben Wootton and Wolves and Wales footballer David Edwards, aims to support children with disabilities and their families.

Pete Sims, Director of 7video, says he is extremely proud to be involved in a charity that does so much for so many people.

He said: “The difference that the Little Rascals Foundation makes to people’s lives is incredible and we were truly humbled to play a small part in supporting that great work.

“I think what makes them stand out is that yes, they want to raise money for children with disabilities, but they also want to support the families of those children. I think the role that these families play is overlooked sometimes and the fact that these guys see this and work to do something about it is very commendable.”

The video that was made helped support the official launch of the charity and Director Ben Wootton feels it helped show people what the charity was all about.

The final video turned out great and was even better than we could have imagined,” said Ben.

“We played it to 250 guests at our launch evening and had lots of positive feedback on how good the video was and I think it helped capture everything our charity is about.

“I really felt that you could see from the video the passion and enthusiasm all our staff have for what we’re trying to achieve as well as meeting the families who we’re supporting.”

Dave Edwards, who combines his footballing and ambassadorial roles with the Little Rascals Foundation added: “It’s great when local companies, like 7video, get involved in supporting charities, especially ones that are on their doorstep.

We hope to encourage other businesses in the local area to get involved with what we’re doing here and help us go from strength to strength.”


Backing business to drive long-term growth

BCC’s Head of Economics, Suren Thiru, writes about the importance of getting the conditions right in the UK’s business environment.

For UK businesses to the deliver the jobs, growth and investment needed to secure our long-term economic future, they need a competitive environment here at home. However, as we approach yet another General Election, the UK continues to lag behind its international competitors.

While corporation tax is decreasing, businesses remain disappointed at the lack of action on the high up-front taxes and costs of doing business in the UK. Companies continue to face unacceptably high input costs which weigh heavily no matter the stage of the economic cycle, company performance or ability to pay. The new tax year saw firms hit with a raft of changes adding to the upfront cost of doing business, including the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, Immigration Skills Charge, and a new National Living Wage.

Despite some improvements, the fundamental unfairness of the business rates system remains, with firms across the country continuing to pay the highest business property taxes in the developed world. In its current form, the business rates system creates a number of perverse incentives for business location, property improvement and plant and machinery investment. Businesses also continue to face significant difficulties in hiring staff with the right skills. The BCC’s Quarterly Economic Survey – the UK’s largest and most authoritative private-sector business survey – confirms that the proportion of firms reporting recruitment difficulties remains close to a record high.

Business communities are therefore calling for the next government to commit to no new up-front business taxes or costs until the end of the next Parliament in 2022 and further, more radical, reform of the broken business rates system. This must include the removal of plant and machinery from business rates valuations which does so much to undermine business investment.

The new government must also do more to protect the long-term health of the UK jobs market, including improving the transition from education to business by guaranteeing universal ‘experience of work’ in all schools for under 16 year olds, and delivering a future immigration regime based on economic need – rather an arbitrary migration target.

Tackling these longstanding issues has come even more pressing with the UK economy set to enter a more challenging period. The first estimate of UK GDP growth indicated that the UK economy suffered a loss of momentum in the first quarter of 2017. With inflation rising it is likely that the Q1 slowdown is the start of a sustained period of weaker growth, as the UK’s over reliance on consumer spending becomes increasingly exposed.

Yet you wouldn’t really know this from reading the various party manifestos that have just been published with political posturing largely put ahead of the need to create the best possible conditions for long-term economic growth. While there were some bright spots, notably promise of further action on business rates and improving digital and mobile connectivity, these were largely offset by proposals for higher personal and business taxes, significant market interventions and cuts in immigration. While business confidence remains relatively strong this may not last if such short-term political thinking is put ahead of securing our long-term economic future.

Tackling these fundamental concerns will help ensure that our economy successfully navigates through a world full of turbulence, both political and economic, and crucially remains a great place to do business through the Brexit process and beyond.


Adam Marshall 1

BCC/DHL: Exporter confidence remains high, but exchange rates a concern

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), in partnership with DHL, today (Friday) publishes its latest Quarterly International Trade Outlook, which shows that confidence among UK exporters remains strong.

The number of businesses reporting improved export sales increased in the first quarter of 2017. Businesses in both manufacturing and services are also more confident that their turnover and profitability would increase in the coming 12 months.

The BCC/DHL Trade Confidence Index, which measures the volume of trade documentation issued by accredited Chambers of Commerce, rose by 5.5% on the quarter – and is up 9.06% from the same quarter last year – standing at its second highest level on record.

The results show that businesses are continuing to trade despite political uncertainty, however currency fluctuations remain a concern. 52% of manufacturers and 25% of services firms say exchange rates are more of a concern to their business than three months ago.

To maintain momentum, and to help UK firms succeed beyond Brexit, the government should develop an expanded trade mission and fairs programme, help businesses build links with key trade partners and underpin deals, and expand funding for front-line assistance to exporters. Businesses will be looking for the next government to secure frictionless future trade arrangements with the EU, crucial to both importers and exporters, as well as to broker new relationships with emerging markets.

Key findings from the report:

  • The BCC/DHL Trade Confidence Index, a measure of the volume of trade documentation issued nationally, rose by 5.5% on the quarter. The Index now stands at 126.55 –up 9.06% on Q1 2016 – and is the second highest level since records began in 2004
  • The balance of manufacturers reporting improved export sales rose from +16% to +26%. Looking at services, the balance of firms reporting improved export sales rose from +8% to +10%
  • The balance of manufacturers reporting improved export orders rose from +13 to +22 in Q4 2016, while in services it fell slightly from +6% to +5%
  • Looking at expectations of turnover over the next 12 months, the balance of manufacturers confident of an increase held fairly steady, rising from +43% to +44%. In services this rose by four points from +35% to +39%
  • Confidence that profitability would improve rose to +28% for services companies – up from the +21% in Q4 2016. The balance of manufacturers jumped by ten points, from +22% to +32%

Commenting on the findings, Dr Adam Marshall, BCC Director General, said:

“Confidence among exporters is strong, which is a timely reminder that businesses are doing their best to ignore the cacophony of political noise around them and focus on the success of their own operations.

“While confidence among UK exporters is high, rising costs, recruitment difficulties, and concerns around currency fluctuations could temper their growth if allowed to continue unchecked. Alleviating the burden of upfront costs and addressing the skills gap would increase productivity, investment and growth.

“For UK exporters to succeed in the long-term, the next government must deliver not only a Brexit deal which allows for frictionless trade with Europe, but also pragmatic and practical support for businesses looking to develop lasting links with new customers and markets around the world.”

Ian Wilson, CEO DHL Express UK and Ireland, said:

Despite the many unanswered questions about what a post-Brexit Britain will look like, this latest Quarterly International Trade Outlook demonstrates that UK exporters remain optimistic about what the future holds.

“As a facilitator of international trade, we’ve seen our customers embrace the short term benefits that came with the fall in the value of the pound. However, this report demonstrates that whilst businesses are confident, they are not complacent – with currency fluctuations a lingering concern for exporters. In these uncertain times, there is an even greater imperative to expand the portfolio of markets businesses trade with to help spread the risk across multiple currencies.”


BCC Logo

BCC: labour market robust but firms hampered by skills gap

Commenting on the labour market statistics for April 2017, released today by the Office for National Statistics, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

With unemployment continuing to fall and employment levels rising, conditions in the UK labour market remain robust.

“However, labour market indicators often lag behind the wider economy and it remains likely that employment growth will start to soften over the near-term, as more subdued economic conditions and the rising cost of doing business in the UK stifle firms’ ability to recruit. The BCC’s Quarterly Economic Survey shows the proportion of firms reporting recruitment difficulties remains close to a record high, which is undermining their productivity and growth.

“With increases in regular pay slowing again, earnings growth is now comfortably trailing behind inflation. If the disparity between pay and price growth continues to increase as we predict, household spending is likely to slow further, weakening overall economic activity.

“The next government must do more to close the skills gap, including improving the transition from education to work by guaranteeing universal experience of work in all schools for under 16s, and delivering a future immigration regime based on economic need, rather than an arbitrary migration target. This will help firms compete on the global stage, boosting UK productivity and growth.”

SBA 2017 logo v2

Finalists Announced Shropshire Business Awards 2017

The four companies battling for the title of Shropshire’s 2017 Company of the Year have been revealed.

Three Telford firms – driver education group TTC, waste management company Reconomy and temperature-controlled transport business Dale Brothers – will be competing with Market Drayton-based Culina Logistics for the showpiece prize at the black tie ceremony on June 23.

More than 600 guest will be at the Oscars-style awards night, at The International Centre in Telford, for the 17th annual Shropshire Business Awards – which will once again be the largest awards event on the county’s corporate calendar.

This year’s finalists come from all over Shropshire – from Oswestry, Market Drayton and Whitchurch in the north to Ludlow and Leebotwood in the south, plus many from Telford and Shrewsbury.

Teams of judges will be touring the county over the next couple of weeks to meet all the finalists at their premises, before making their final decision.

The Outstanding Customer Service category will be decided between law firm FBC Manby Bowdler, R&D Tax Claims of Shrewsbury, the Maket Drayton branch of optician Mincher-Lockett, and the Best Western Valley Hotel at Ironbridge.

Best New Business this year is a battle between Beaver Bridges of Battlefield, The Inspirational Learning Group from Telford, Purition at the Shrewsbury Food Enterprise Centre, and SkinSincere from Telford.

And in the Best Small Business section, firms in the running are Ascendancy Internet Marketing of Shifnal, Quorum Support Limited and China Enterprises UK Limited from Telford, and Burlton Cottages near Shrewsbury.

In the Online Business category for firms making the most of sales technology, the finalists are Choiceshops Limited of Telford, Purition of Shrewsbury, Kadai Firebowls from Leebotwood, and Croud Inc of Shrewsbury.

Shortlisted in the Technology Enterprise and Innovation category this year are Telford trio Seymour Manufacturing International, Sentinel Care Services and QI Van Systems, plus Stallion AI Services of Whitchurch.

The Export award will be taken this year by either Sirane or KRL Limited, both from Telford, Stallion AI Limited of Whitchurch, or Red Step Marketing from Shrewsbury.

In the Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics Category, the finalists are Fabdec Limited of Ellesmere, QI Van Systems and Dale Brothers UK from Telford, and Flowfit of Ludlow.

Companies which nominated star apprentices for the Apprentice of the Year title, and have made it to the final four, are The Inspirational Learning Group, Global Freight Services, and Ace Supplies UK Limited – all from Telford – plus Shrewsbury Colleges Group.

Competing for the Business In The Community award this year, for firms which give something back to the county, are Reech Media of Shrewsbury, J&PR Limited from Wellington, Energize Shropshire Telford & Wrekin, and Pave-Aways Limited from Oswestry.

And last, but not least, the contest for the Tourism Leisure and Hospitality Award this year is a four-way fight between the Buckatree Hall Hotel, Lakeside Coaches Limited, Hadley Park House Hotel, and Wroxeter Hotel.

Tickets are now on sale for the glittering awards night on June 23, when the multi millionaire founder of the Poundland retail empire, Steven Smith, will be the guest speaker.

To book tickets, and for more information, see

The event is organised by Shropshire Chamber of Commerce, and chief executive Richard Sheehan said: “Once again we are delighted with the number and the calibre of applications.

“We have had a record number of first-time entrants this year, with amazing success stories to share.

“Since its launch back in 2001, the Shropshire Business Awards has been famed as the largest celebration of our county’s business success.

“A key part of the night is always the quality of high-profile guest speakers, and we are delighted to add Steven to that list in 2017. He is an outstanding speaker, and an outstanding businessman, with strong connections to our area.”


COMPANY OF THE YEAR: TTC Group, Reconomy, Dale Brothers UK Limited, Culina Logistics

OUTSTANDING CUSTOMER SERVICE: FBC Manby Bowdler, R&D Tax Claims, Mincher-Lockett, Market Drayton, Best Western Valley Hotel

BEST NEW BUSINESS: Beaver Bridges, The Inspirational Learning Group, Purition, SkinSincere

ONLINE BUSINESS: Choiceshops Limited, Purition, Kadai Firebowls, Croud Inc

TECHNOLOGY, ENTERPTISE AND INNOVATION: Seymour Manufacturing International, Sentinel Care Services, Stallion AI Services, QI Van Systems

INTERNATIONAL TRADE THROUGH EXPORT: Sirane Limited, Red Step Marketing, KRL Limited, Stallion AI Services

MANUFACTURING, TRANSPORT AND LOGISTICS: Fabdec Limited, QI Van systems, Dale Brothers UK, Flowfit

BEST SMALL BUSINESS: Ascendancy Internet Marketing, Quorum Support Limited, China Enterprises UK Limited, Burlton Cottages

APPRENTICE OF THE YEAR: The Inspirational Learning Group, Global Freight Services, Shrewsbury Colleges Group, Ace Supplies UK Limited

BUSINESS IN THE COMMUNITY: Reech Media, J&PR Limited, Energize Shropshire Telford & Wrekin, Pave-Aways Limited

TOURISM LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY: Buckatree Hall Hotel, Lakeside Coaches Limited, Hadley Park House Hotel, Wroxeter Hotel


International Trade – weekly focus from BCC’s key manifesto asks

The nuts and bolts of a model for Brexit

BCC’s Senior Trade Policy Manager, Anastassia Beliakova, discusses the impact of Brexit on UK trade.

The Norway model. The Swiss model. The Turkish model. A CETA (the EU-Canada trade deal) inspired Free Trade Agreement. What kind of deal can the UK strike with the EU? And can businesses prepare for one of these options – or even for the possibility of leaving the EU without a transitional or future agreement in place in 2019?

The answer is: at the moment – no. The implications of each of these scenarios are far-reaching – affecting issues such as movement of people, tariffs, taxation arrangements, customs procedures – and the difference between each of these models is so significant, that it is currently too challenging to scenario-plan for any of these eventualities.

This is why many businesses are choosing to get on with their day-to-day work, and wait until there are further developments in the upcoming negotiations. Of course, there are some – such as those that use the UK as a hub into Europe, or businesses that were already looking to expand to the continent prior to the referendum – for whom Brexit has been a catalyst to strengthen their footprint on the continent.

For most other businesses, it is a question of wait and see. But when details start emerging on the future arrangements with Europe, the high-level discussion of models will need to be brought back down to earth. Businesses will not be concerned with how the deal will be called. Instead, they will want to know answers to questions such as: Will I now have to pay VAT on imports? What kinds of origin rules do I need to adhere to? Will I need to prepare myself for longer customs procedures? If my products go through phytosanitary checks in the UK – would they now have to go through a second set of checks in the EU?

These are the questions that will have the greatest impact on UK trade in the immediate term. Changes in areas such as taxation and customs will have significant implications for supply chains, for importers and exporters alike, for companies both large and small. But where a larger company can, should they wish, afford to think through potential answers to the above questions – SMEs will remain focused on the day-to-day running of their business, and wait until there are clearer answers.

And that is why, when significant progress is made in the negotiations, and future arrangements with the EU become firmer – the government must communicate this to businesses without delay. At the end of the day its companies that trade, not governments – so they must make sure not only to deliver the best deal for business but also take into account the tangible impacts and focus on the practicalities for firms.

Only when the future UK-EU trade ‘model’ is broken down into its practical nuts and bolts can Government truly enable companies to keep thriving in their trade with the EU – and beyond.

Anastassia Beliakova
Senior Trade Policy Manager



Infrastructure – weekly focus from BCC’s key manifesto asks

Invest in the UK’s infrastructure to boost business confidence and local growth

Investment in infrastructure is crucial to the success of local economies, but ask anyone who spends time on congested roads or overcrowded trains in the UK, and they’d probably argue that the delivery of infrastructure projects lags too far behind demand.

The same could be said for those who suffer from unreliable internet connections and mobile coverage, who await much-needed upgrades to the UK’s digital infrastructure.

For too long, successive governments have delayed making tough decisions on infrastructure projects for fear of political fallouts – so instead they got kicked into the long grass, and plans were delayed again and again.

That said, when the current government was formed, it came out of the blocks strong on this front, making a number of long-awaited announcements on major infrastructure projects in their first few weeks and months in office – including HS2, Hinkley and Heathrow.

Just last month a decision on the Lower Thames Crossing was finally announced, a prime example of a project which will reduce congestion in local areas and creates links for local businesses to reach markets, labour and customers.

It’s clear that the positive effects of investing in infrastructure go beyond the physical connections created, and can be found in increased business confidence in local communities and job opportunities for the construction industry and its supply chains.

But the fear now is, having waited so long for many of these decisions to be made, businesses will have to wait longer again before they see action. Until diggers actually break ground and construction begins, local communities don’t reap the benefit, so the next government must make the delivery of these projects a top priority.

So too must be the development of a long-term energy security strategy, which maximises the output from our domestic sources of oil and gas, nuclear and renewable providers. The UK should be striving to improve its energy efficiency, without hammering energy-intensive industries with taxes and costs that make them globally uncompetitive.

Of course, when speaking about infrastructure, the physical projects are only half of the equation. Digital is the other crucial component. If the UK is to remain a competitive and globalised economy, there is a lot of work to be done on improving our digital infrastructure.

The UK should be a digital world leader, yet 18% of our businesses don’t have a reliable internet connection. Far too many rural businesses can’t connect to the internet or get coverage on their phones when they need to, and even in our cities, modern and developed as they are, business people can’t get the coverage they need to make calls. This is not good enough.

If we are to be competitive economy in a post-Brexit world these are the fundamental issues which need to be rectified. Even a great trade deal with the European Union would be of little benefit if UK businesses can’t connect with labour, customers and supply chains.

Business communities are calling on the next government to ensure that Brexit doesn’t absorb all their attention when there is so much to be done at home. Investment and action on infrastructure projects is a prime example of a deliverable which will reap countless benefits including boosting business confidence, investment and growth. Surely a no-brainer?

Orla Hennessy
Communications Officer, British Chambers of Commerce’s-infrastructure-to-boost-business-confidence-and-local-growth.html