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What are the implications for businesses in the professional services industry if Britain leaves the EU without a deal?

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The accounting software provider Sage, recently prepared a white paper to help businesses in retail, pharmaceutical, agricultural and professional services sectors, to decide what to do if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

According to Sage, businesses in the professional services industry have to consider in particular; continuing cross-border data flows; mutual recognition of professional qualifications; and access to talent and movement of people. The following is an excerpt from the white paper;

Continuing cross-border personal data flows

Restrictions on movement of personal data are likely to disproportionately affect services firms, given potential high reliance on cross-border personal data flows. Without appropriate safeguards, even internal emails from EU to UK colleagues could breach data compliance rules under the GDPR. You will have to assess where you have relevant flows of employee and customer personal data, including to any third parties that you use. You will also have to ensure appropriate legal safeguards such as standard contract clauses are in place.

The UK Government has said it will not impose additional restrictions for movements of UK personal data to the EU/EEA, but transfers of personal data from the EU/EEA to the UK are likely to require additional safeguards. Unless the European Commission grants an adequacy decision for the UK in time, you will have to implement safeguards to continue transferring personal data.

The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has released guidance, including an interactive self-assessment tool, that could help you to determine which data safeguards might be most appropriate to your organisation. For many businesses, this will be standard contract clauses, and you should consider the time needed to implement these safeguards, particularly where it requires re-opening existing contracts. You will also have to review whether there are any Member State or contractual requirements for personal data to be located in a particular jurisdiction.

Mutual recognition of professional qualifications

Regulated subsectors of the professional services industry, such as lawyers and auditors, rely on mutual recognition of professional qualifications to provide their services to the UK and to the EU.

The specific requirements vary by sector, i.e. there are different requirements for lawyers than for auditors. In the absence of any agreement, there will be no system of reciprocal recognition of professional qualifications between UK and EU, meaning that UK-recognised professionals may not be able to deliver services and advice in the EU.

Access to labour and movement of people

Due to the specialist skills required by certain professional services firms, it may be harder for businesses to secure the key skills they require. All non-UK nationals will be subject to the new immigration regime to work in the UK, coming into effect from 2021, and it may be administratively more difficult and costlier to recruit international employees. You could consider different options to access key skills, such as training apprentices, or offering increased financial and non-financial incentives, like flexible working.

While both the UK and EU have expressed intent to have reciprocal arrangements for short-term visitors, these will not allow UK nationals to work in the EU, even on a temporary basis. You should review where you are delivering services internationally and the relevant work requirements for that Member State. The UK Government has announced a temporary leave to remain scheme for EU/EEA citizens, under a no-deal scenario, that will allow EU/EEA workers to come to the UK for up to 36 months. There may also be impacts on social security for employees and employers when working internationally, for example, with liabilities in both the UK and the EU Member State.

For more information visit https://www.sage.com/en-gb/blog/no-deal-brexit-business-plan/

 

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International Women’s Month: Barriers to Success

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In September 2018, the government appointed Alison Rose, the Chief Executive of RBS, to examine all the barriers women face going into business. With only one in five small and medium-sized companies today being run by women, the government promises to do more to support more women going into business.

SPARK Hub currently has over 25 companies incubated here, and boasts a diverse community of entrepreneurs, with nearly a third of these companies owned and run by women.

These women are role models, and this International Women’s Month, SPARK is pleased to celebrate their successes;

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Augusta Moses –owner of bookkeeping company August Financials and Media & Communications company Novello Media. When Augusta Moses first launched her bookkeeping company August Financials just over 2 years ago, she recalls approaching Lloyds bank for funding, and was underwhelmed by their response. Without securing funding to cover start-up expenses Augusta went on to self-finance her business. A mother of 4, Augusta works part time in order to invest in and grow her business. Augusta has now secured clients both across the Midlands and London, and the company continues to grow. Augusta recently launched her second business Novello Media, a social media marketing agency developing bespoke social media marketing strategy to help businesses generate brand awareness, sales and  grow leads. “Starting on my own, has been life transforming, I have worked on all aspects of the business, from workflow management, financial accounting, creating a website and so on. I am enjoying growing as a business woman” www.novellomedia.co.uk.

 

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Hadia Malik, started Kiswah Well-being, after feeling disillusioned by the state of prescribed and traditional medicine. Hadia was the primary carer to her elderly mum, and used cupping to treat her mother’s ailments.  Seeing her mother’s condition improve and health restored, Hadia was inspired. “I wanted to help people, and educate them on an alternative and better form of care” Hadia now provides cupping therapies to help improve female health and wellbeing. A former head teacher, with teaching experience spanning over 20 years, Hadia has gained insight into the pressures learners often face, and how stress manifests into physical ailments, and acts as an obstruction to learning. “I love being my own boss, I have experienced financial barriers, but I have been able to explore other funding options that have enabled me to be sustainable. Starting a business has also meant challenging some societal conditioning of women as business leaders, but that has only made me more driven to succeed”

 

Natasha Albanese

Natasha Albanese – owner of Natasha Albanese Coaching. By using an authentic blend of Hypnotherapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Transformational Life Coaching, Natasha makes permanent, significant change in the lives of her clients, helping with a range of issues including: Anxiety, Stress, Phobias, Sports Performance, Self Confidence Issues, Insomnia and Pain Management. Natasha shunned a more traditional business approach when starting out, and instead focused on staying true to her values. “Sometimes it can seem that our kindness is labelled as weakness, and empathy is a character flaw. But kindness is power. Empathy is power. And these are the very values that drive my business and give me purpose.“Doing well by doing good is a pretty cool basis for business, and I’m proud of the contribution I’m making to improving the lives of others.”

 

Jemma Robinson

Jemma Robinson is the Director of Bluesky Cosmetics UK HQ Limited. Bluesky are industry leaders in innovative, high quality nail products all the time ensuring our research and development is one step ahead! Specialising in nail gel polish, we are proud to be able to offer our professional clientele thousands of highly pigmented colours which has enabled us to become the hugely successful global brand we are today. With gum gels, hard gels, and a vast collection of special effect products on offer, 2019 will be the biggest year for Bluesky UK to date and the most exciting time for our salons and technical specialists! www.blueskycosmetics.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

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Workplace Well-being Week 2019 February 25th – March 1st

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Meet our Mental Health & Well-being Specialists

Workplace Well-being Week 2019 is about helping employees and employers create good mental health in the workplace. During the week, a series of workshops will be delivered by Mental Health and Well-being specialists. The workshops will be held in SPARK meeting room PC108, 1st Floor, Creative Industries Building. The sessions will run between 12 pm – 2pm. Salsa sessions will be held in SPARK Photo Studio, Ground Floor, Creative Industries Building.

 

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Wolverhampton Healthy Minds

Monday 25th February

Wolverhampton Healthy Minds is a psychological therapies service for people who are experiencing common mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and stress.Stress is a common way of describing how we feel when the demands of our day to day lives start to feel overwhelming and too much for us to cope with.Cognitive Behaviour Psychotherapists  will lead the workshop on stress and self-management.

 

 

Natasha Albanese

Natasha Albanese

Tuesday 26th February

Certified Hypnotherapist, NLP Practitioner and Transformational Life Coach.
By using an authentic blend of Hypnotherapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Transformational Life Coaching, Natasha makes permanent, significant change in the lives of her clients, allowing them to get rid of the ‘stuff’ that’s been holding them back and keeping them stuck.Hypnotherapy and NLP are non-exclusive and are often combined to help clients with a range of issues including; anxiety, stress, phobias, sports performance, self confidence issues, insomnia and pain management.

Workshop 1: 12pm-12.45pm & Workshop 2: 1pm-1.45pm

 

 

Hadia Malik

Hadia Malik

Wednesday 27th February

Qualified Cupping therapist & Life Coach.
Hadia provides many forms of cupping Wet, Dry, Moving and Fixed.
“The benefits of cupping include removing toxins, pain relief, reducing inflammation, strengthening immune system, and reducing muscular tension”
This treatment addresses a range of health problems, chronic conditions, sports recovery, general physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. It addresses the root cause of the problem, restoring balance and activates the body’s natural healing ability, leaving the body refreshed, and revitalised, and able to return to optimum health.
Workshop 1: 12pm-12.45pm & Workshop 2: 1pm-1.45pm

 

 

Fiona Lamont

Fiona Lamont

 Thursday 28th February

Fiona has always had a passion for dance and has been dancing Cuban / New York salsa for over 18 years.

Fiona will run *2 salsa fun sessions in the Photo Studio, Creative Industries Building at the Science Park. These sessions are an introductory level with very basic steps.

“So it doesn’t matter if you feel you have two left feet, all you need is enthusiasm!   You will need comfortable footwear and 45 mins to spare.  It is as simple as walking and great if you are counting steps, helps build your confidence and above all absolute fun.  The joy I get out of running these sessions is seeing colleagues master the steps, their sense of fulfilment and watching their confidence grow, plus it can be a real stress buster.”

 *Session 1 : 12pm – 12.45 & Session 2: 1pm – 1.45pm

 

 

So come and join us, let you hair down and dance like there’s no-one else watching.

 

 

 

 

Dominic Bennett

DB Sports Agency: The Future of Football Transfers

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As the Premier League football transfer window opens, the usual rumours and whispers ensue, the gap between fact and fiction is where DB Sports Agency enters, an online football agency jobsite to quell the gossip and player unrest.

A fresh approach for the football community and a new method for the transfer window, bringing transparency to a previously hidden world as Clubs, Players, Coaches and Managers sign up to use DB Sports Agencies innovative platform. A sports jobsite that connects without the need for intermediaries.

DB Sports Agency works with Premiership, Championship, League One, League Two and Non League football clubs.

Stoke City’s search for a central defender, winger and striker was recently featured on DB Sports Agency jobsite.

DB sports agency was recently featured in Sports Bible, The Sun, The Daily Mail, Four Four TwoSky SportsSport1, and Loala1.tv

The Wolverhampton based DB Sports Agency is a ‘forward thinking’ football agency, and prides itself in providing services to professional, semi professional and non league football clubs, football players, staff, and agents.

Dominic Bennett

Dominic Bennett

The Managing Director, Dominic Bennett, started the company back in 2017, with the goal to put the power back in the hands of fans and people who love the game, and to help clubs be more transparent in their search for new talent.

Sports Bible, the online football news site, referred to DB Sports Agencies portal as the ‘new method’ for advertising Premier League transfers.

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SPARK team attends Coventry & Warwickshire Business Festival 2018

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coventry business festival

As part of Coventry and Warwickshire Business Festival, SPARK team attended  a national conference in Rugby entitled “Business Support – What Works? Harnessing the power of productivity“. The conference included business support professionals, and representatives from Local Enterprise Partnerships, Growth Hubs, Economic Development Officers, Accelerators, Incubators, the Department for International Trade and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Round table discussions enabled delegates to explore the productivity challenges facing the UK today and how Business Support professionals can help businesses drive improvement and growth.

The conference included a line of speakers and representatives from the UK’s leading business support institutions;

–       Andrew Paterson, Deputy Director at the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy

–       Rebecca Riley, Business Development Director, City-REDI, West Midlands Productivity Commission

& Birmingham University

–       Professor Stephen Roper, Director, Enterprise Research Centre, Warwick Business School

–       Dr Jacob Salder, Research Fellow at Birmingham City University

–       Professor Nigel Driffield, Professor of international business and Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor,

Warwick University

–       Jacqueline Moore on behalf of Paul Uppal, Office of the Small Business Commissioner

–       Kerrie Dorman, Association of Business Mentors

–      James Phipps, Head of Economic Analysis and Policy Development, Innovation Growth Lab, Nesta

 

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Lift off for former Carillion employee, and director of new company Savesta Construction Ltd.

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Business is booming for a former Carillion employee who has set up his own construction company in the City of Wolverhampton. Samuel Hudman, established Savesta Construction Ltd within days of leaving his post as a Bid Manager at industry giant Carillion when it announced it was going into liquidation in January.

He secured his first contract the following month and now employs four other former Carillion workers from Savesta’s base at SPARK Business Incubation Centre at the University of Wolverhampton Science Park in Glaisher Drive.

Specialising in new build and refurbishment building projects up to a value of £6 million across the West Midlands, the company has drawn on help and advice from City of Wolverhampton Council and SPARK Business Incubation Hub.

It is also using the local supply chain and its first project to construct a £3 million stand-alone new art block at Heath Park Academy School is progressing well. The building is expected to be completed in November and will house the school’s art and media provision.
Samuel said: “When Carillion collapsed a number of projects and clients in the West Midlands were left in limbo, this coupled with a desire to put our large main contractor experience to good use locally and a long-standing hunger to work for myself culminated in the formation of Savesta Construction Ltd.

“Savesta’s USP is our early contractor advice offering. We want to help customers through the construction project lifecycle by offering clear and honest advice from initial design development, through costing advice, planning development and then go on to deliver the construction works. Effectively creating a one-stop shop for the delivery of a construction project.

“Our focus moving forward is to deliver exceptional projects to delighted customers. We hope this approach of high quality insight and delivery will enable us to develop a strong order book of repeat customers.”

Councillor John Reynolds, Cabinet Member for City Economy, said:

“This is a fantastic phoenix from the flames story and Sam deserves a huge amount of credit for what he has achieved in such a short space of time. It is an example of the entrepreneurial spirit in the city and shows how businesses, with support from the council and city partners, are thriving in Wolverhampton. It is great to see a Wolverhampton company and local people in the supply chain benefiting from city contracts.”

Immediately following the Carillion news in January, the city council combined forces with local training providers to offer ongoing support packages to former Carillion employees and staff affected by redundancy in supply chain businesses affected by the Wolverhampton-based company’s liquidation.

For further information on the support available visit: www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/carillionsupport.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SPARK companies give student a taste of entrepreneurship.

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People always ask me, ‘What do you want to do when you’re older?’ and I always sit there contemplating to myself “what do I want to do?” At school I have a strong idea of the subjects I dislike and don’t plan on exploring as well as the subjects I have an interest in.

This is why work experience has been of so much use to me. In my school we get a week long period to do a work placement. I decided to take this opportunity to gather a greater understanding of what I wanted to do. I reached out to SPARK Incubation Hub who help new businesses to succeed. They agreed to take me on for the week and gave me an agenda for the week mainly based on technology which was what I had discussed in the meeting and in my CV.

When I first arrived I was a little nervous but also quite excited to start. I was given a tour of the building and introduced to the people I’d be spending the week with who all seemed really nice. After this I was informed of fire procedures and other cautions to be weary of.

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On my first day I spent the day with School of Coding, a business that offer workshops, after-school clubs and summer camps that aim to  improve children’s programming and general skills using technology. I was given tasks such as putting together a set of kits for the workshop they had booked for the next day, helping prepare resources and installing software onto a set of laptops. This gave me an idea of what working in a business that is heavily centred around technology would be like. I went onto do another day there later in the week which was also very useful.

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During the week I also worked with Code Consult who recruit skilled programmers and software developers for other businesses. From spending the day with them it gave me a firm chance to look into the recruitment process including the skills employers are looking for, how candidates can stand out and how a good CV is written.

 

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On the penultimate day of my week I spent the day with Dominic Bennett who taught  me about cryptocurrencies and how these are used in everyday life as well as how they are created and how they grow. I was given a chance to use Photoshop to design photos to upload to his company’s social media which was enjoyable.

Overall my experience at SPARK Incubation Hub has been very positive, giving me a good idea of the areas I want to go into within the next few years.

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ICB honours August Financials as inspiring female entrepreneur.

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August Financials owner Augusta Moses, has been honoured as part of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers 100 inspiring women alongside top cosmetic brand Elizabeth Arden.

Spark tenant August Financials has been featured in ICB yearlong campaign to recognise inspiring women entrepreneurs. Many of whom, like Florence Nightingale Graham, one of the wealthiest women in the world, and owner of cosmetic brand Elizabeth Arden, started their careers as bookkeepers. For a lot of women, the appeal to go into this profession is primarily to gain a firm grasp of business accounts, to provide key support services to business leaders, and to help improve financial literacy within the business community.

Augusta Moses, a mother of four children, started August Financials because of the flexibility that self-employment provides, and chose to establish her bookkeeping practice in SPARK.  The practice has since grown, with the company moving from a personal workstation to a 1 person office in just 9 months. Augusta now uses her copywriting, and digital marketing skills to promote the start-up community in SPARK.

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Augusta Moses

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CodeConsult bridges IT skills gap

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SPARK welcomes new company, CodeConsult, a bespoke IT Staffing Solutions provider. Their slogan is “Connecting Excellence”.  CodeConsult operate within a very specific market, both in terms of skill-set and location. They provide bespoke staffing solutions to businesses’ ranging from small level start ups’, to billion pound turnover blue chip giants. They’ve successfully been able to bridge the IT/Digital Technology skills gap, specifically within the West Midlands, and have proven to be experts in their field.

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For decades now, the IT/Digital space has been boisterous– in simple business terms, demand has always outweighed supply. On the topic of growth, Founder of CodeConsult, Suraj Basra, forecasted that things aren’t likely to change anytime soon.

“I’ve been operating in the IT/Digital space within the West Midlands for pretty much all of my consultancy career. It’s always been a relentless, energy-sapping, and ridiculously fast paced arena. However, in recent times, the demand for IT/Digital Talent has ascended exponentially. I’ve found customers have had to really think twice about their recruitment strategies. Personal recommendations have been for customers’ to consider more Junior level candidates (with a focus on tailored development), placing heightened emphasis on building their value proposition/voice to market when engaging candidates (something CodeConsult offer to do, free of charge), and re-considering how more value could be added to remuneration packages on offer”.

The company have a genuine candidate network, this has been developed through years of relationship building through successful placements, attending local Tech Meet Ups and placing strong emphasis on meeting as many candidates as possible face to face. Another candidate source has been to pro-actively attack the market, and individually head-hunting top tier Talent. It’s rare to find the best talent actively looking.

CodeConsult are currently seeking multiples of the following positions (all within the West Midlands):

  • Software Developers’/Engineers’ (C#, ASP.NET MVC, React, Angular 5 – Junior to Principal Level)
  • DevOps Engineers’ (C# essential – Mid to Senior Level)
  • Software Development Team Leads’ (.NET background essential)
  • Solution Architects’ (.NET background, strong emphasis on Microservices Architecture)
  • Scrum Masters’ (.NET background, strong Agile experience)
  • Front End Developers’ (HTML, CSS, Javascript, as well as React)
  • Automation Testers’ (C#, Selenium)
  • Manual Testers’ (Web Testing experience)
  • Business Analysts’ (.NET background)

Contact sb@codeconsult.co.uk, for more information.

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manny and donald

SPARK hosts Careers Development Week!

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As part of the university’s week long events and activities for students to help build new skills, and enrich learning in their subject areas, SPARK team hosted an event, ‘meet the entrepreneurs’. The goal was to inspire students to engage in entrepreneurial activity while connecting them to potential collaborators and mentors. The event included motivational speeches and information from SPARK entrepreneurs about starting a business, and a tour of SPARK office spaces.

The Global Gallery’s internationally renowned sculptor Donald Brown used his art work to take students through the ups and pitfalls of business management and development. Students were enthralled with his sculpture, ‘A Sporting Chance for Peace’, which depicts numerous sports, and promotes positive principles for life, including perseverance, resilience, focus and risk taking.

Donald Brown is an Award Winning Sculptor, an Elite Masters Athlete and a graduate from Wolverhampton University with a BA Honours Degree in Fine Art Sculpture. He was invited in 2006 to speak at The United Nations in New York. In 2016 Donald made the Fortune Magazine list of Game Changers and in 2017 was nominated as one of the 100 Masters by Creative Black Country.

The School of coding, duo Manny Atwal and Gus Basson, also inspired students with their start-up story. Manny talked to students about the formative stages, to how together , he and Gus have managed to attract investors, grow from a one man band providing private tuition within homes to running a tuition centre in SPARK, and delivering coding lessons in independent and LEA schools across the city of Wolverhampton.