Q1 2023 The Change Agency: Agents Of Change
A note from the Editor... Welcome to the 2023 Q1 edition of SME News Magazine, where we provide you with all of the latest news, announcements, and features about some of the best up-and-coming enterprises around the United Kingdom. As daffodils start to bloom and the temperatures get warmer, we know that spring is officially here. This must also mean that we are nearing the end of Q1 and that we are already three months into 2023 – but despite it no longer being the new year, this season of new beginnings feels like a fresh start. In this issue, we are excited to be showcasing the businesses that are welcoming new opportunities, growth, and success as we make our way into glorious spring. These businesses are innovative and creative and not afraid of change – whether bespoke fitted kitchen designer, energy efficiency installer, speciality skincare company, youth community housing organisation, or language training provider. Hailing from a variety of sectors, our awardwinning businesses truly deserve to be celebrated and acknowledged as the best of the best. We hope you find their stories as insightful and inspiring as we do. Here’s to a wonderful few months ahead and we look forward to welcoming you back again soon for our Q2 issue. Rebecca Scotland | Editor +44 (0) 203 970 0037 [email protected]
Contents 4. News 6. RVA Surveyors: Best Nationwide Business Rates Reduction Specialists 2022 Business Growth Excellence Award 2022 7. Northumbria Kitchens: Best Bespoke Fitted Kitchen Company 2022 - North East 8. All Seasons Energy: Nationwide Energy Efficiency Installer of the Year 2022 10. Manority Skincare Ltd: Best Speciality Skincare Product 2022 11. GGM Accountancy: Accountancy Practice of the Year - Cambridgeshire 12. Cladspray Solutions: Paint Perfection 13. The Change Agency: Agents Of Change 14. Bedspace Resource Ltd: Youth Community Housing Organisation of the Year 2022 16. Busuu: Go Beyond the Textbook 17. Flowers by Lamb: Best Floral Design Specialists 2022 & Customer Service Excellence Award 2022 18. e2w Property Services: Mixtio: Most Trusted Estate Agents 2022 – Highlands 19. Hamilton Auto Services: Local MOT & Vehicle Repair Garage of the Year 2022 – Scotland 20. Jason Threadgold Funeral Director: Most Dedicated Funeral Services Provider 2022 - Lincolnshire 21. Signature Flooring: Flooring Retailer of the Year - Greater Manchester 22. Lanset Medical Ltd: Most Innovative Medical Device Supplier – Cheshire 24. Cameraman Scotland: TV Cameraman & Drone Pilot of the Year 2022: Richard Cook 25. JAS Building Services Ltd: Comprehensive Building Services You Can Trust 26. Apex IT: Best Wholesaler & Distributor ERP Solution 2022 27. JSM Company Group: Best Commercial Property Development Company 2022 - North West 28. The PC Agency: Travel Broadens The Mind 29. Rebox HR: Putting People First 30. GEL Studios: Design In Action 32. KME Recruitment: Hiring Heroes! 33. Barney and Echo Educational Resources: Best Educational Book Publisher - North West 34. Datod Consulting Ltd: Putting Quality First 35. Skin Cosmedics: Best Premium & Medically-Approved Skincare Brand – Manchester 36. Westcountry HR: HR For The Future 38. The Nutcracker Agency: Mixtio: Leading The Way 39. LILA International Logistics Ltd: Freight Forwarding Made Flexible 40. ABAX UK Ltd: Tracking Triumph! 41. Be Our Guest Princesses: Be Our Guest! 42. Mercer Marsh Benefits: Making Economics More Empathetic 44. Jjk Offers Limited: Global Construction Machinery Trade / Export Enterprise of the Year 2022 45. MyMedic Ltd: Best Healthcare Staffing Platform - Yorkshire 46. Andy Drinkwater Ltd: Best Online Technical SEO Consultant 2022: Andy Drinkwater 47. CP Staffing and Events: Best Temporary Staffing & Recruitment Company - Yorkshire 48. Funding Alternative Group Ltd.: Funding Made Easy 50. A. Armstrong Roofing: Best Roofing Repairs Company – North East 51. Scentual Aromas Ltd: Best Quality Home Fragrance Products Wholesaler 2022 - North East 52. Bantham Technologies: Turn Paper Forms Digital. 53. The Appeal Guru: Best Seller Account & eCommerce Consultants 54. LendingMetrics: A Positive Disruptor 55. JEM Lettings Ltd: Best Lettings & HMO Management Company 2022 – Cumbria 56. Winners’ Listing
4 | Q1 2023 Leading retail expert and Gently co-founder Elian Pres-Gurwits has warned that existing logistics infrastructure is seriously harming small businesses and needs urgent reform. The former Glossybox President’s intervention follows recent findings, revealing that the past two years saw the greatest number of US small business applications on record, according to Census Bureau data. This was largely fueled by the boom in e-commerce companies during the pandemic. Pres-Gurwits commented: “The recent rise in new small businesses is exciting, but we can’t expect these businesses to realize serious growth while they’re being held back by our outdated, monopolized logistics system. If we want these new businesses to survive and grow, we need to change how logistics works.” He cautions that small businesses rarely have the means to deliver their products to a large customer base themselves. From his experience, they rely on major e-commerce platforms to expand their customer base and deliver their products, believing that this will help their business grow further. Large e-commerce companies collect data from small businesses which can be used against them, as revealed by the House Antitrust Subcommittee hearing in 2019. During proceedings, Amazon admitted to using aggregated data from sellers to create its own competing products, pushing small businesses out of the market, despite claims by the company that their platform helps small businesses. Pres-Gurwits continued: “Our current logistics system forces small businesses to rely on huge corporations to deliver their products swiftly and cost-effectively. 99.9% of businesses across the US are small businesses, and Amazon accounts for 37.8% of all e-commerce sales globally.This is damaging their individuality, handing over their data, and removing them from their local communities. “E-commerce giants have a monopoly on next-day and short delivery times in the US due to the outdated, patch-work system created by rapid expansion. There have been some attempts to improve the last mile of delivery, such as the gig economy, but it has failed to live up to expectations.” In response to the lack of options in logistics, Elian PresGurwits and co-founder Anas Aljumaily have established a decentralized logistics company called Gently. The company plans to level the playing field and allow businesses of all sizes to compete with e-commerce giants while maintaining their identities, data, and connection to their local communities. Elian Pres-Gurwits added:“By decentralizing the supply chain, we want to unlock opportunities for local communities to drive a more efficient supply chain directly through operating nano-fulfillment centers.They can add value to and generate income from the supply chain, which is currently extremely capital-intensive and difficult to penetrate. “For retailers, a decentralized system allows them to capitalize on the shift to remote shopping without surrendering their sales and consumer data to large e-commerce companies.This is essential if we want to keep small businesses – which make up over 99% of the US economy – afloat through the coming years of uncertainty.” “E-commerce giants are crushing small businesses,” warns leading retail expert
Smaller Businesses Increasingly at the Mercy of Rogue Rating Surveys as Deadline for 2017 Rating List and New 2023 Revaluation Approach Colliers calls on Government to Regulate Ratings Industry and Introduce Register of Rating Surveyors. The Government must regulate the Rating Surveying profession to protect customers from cowboy rating surveyors that are trying to take advantage of vulnerable businesses say rating experts at international property consultants Colliers. According to Colliers Business Rates Team the upheaval caused by the closing of the 2017 List at the end of March 2023 and the new 2023 Rating Revaluation from April 1st has increased the number of rogue agents who claim they can help businesses. Colliers believes this situation will only be further exacerbated when the Government brings in annual returns and “the duty to notify” as part of its business rates “reforms” expected later this year, adding further complications to the system. According to Colliers, the latest Revaluation has created a two-tier system between those owners and occupiers who either themselves or via agents made representations to the VOA during the assessment process and who appear to have been more successful in negotiating lower and more correct values - and those that didn’t. This means some of the smaller businesses in market towns across the UK may not be seeing the reductions in their rate bills that they should be in the Revaluation on April 1st, making them vulnerable to approaches by rogue rating surveyors who promise they will help them negotiate the new Rating Revaluation, but who often just take up front fees, then fail to deliver and disappear without trace. And Colliers believe the situation will get worse when the Government brings in new legislation which will request the annual provision of information from the rate payer and the duty to notify whereby businesses will not only need to confirm the physical details of the property on an annual basis but also updates on rents and lease information as well as trading information, even when there have been no changes. This will pass a significant administrative burden onto the rate payer. According to John Webber, Head of Business Rates at Colliers, “To put into context , currently out of approximately 1.9 million ratepayers, 700,000 pay no business rates due to reliefs. These changes will result in these 700,000 ratepayers being required to send one or more pieces of information annually to the VOA, involving them in a bureaucratic exercise that plays into the hands of rogue “advisers” who will claim to advise them. We are really worried about the consequences of this new legislation.” Colliers say are increasingly being approached to help businesses who have been approached or even burnt by unscrupulous advisers. And even to pitch against them. In one recent pitch, the firm was pitching against a newly set up rating advisory business set up by two people with no rating experience who had previously been in prison! Other trends Colliers is seeing: • Rogue surveyors are spamming companies to act with a sense of urgency as the 2017 list comes to a close at the end of March and promising them they can find them savings “for a fee”. Often no such savings are available and the fee is non refundable. • Businesses are finding themselves tied into contracts for “all multiple lists” which means they are tied in indefinitely and reputable firms are then not able to help them. • Well known rating scammers, including ones who have been exposed as rogue traders under other company names are setting up as new firms and spamming businesses acting under new names. • A number of new “rating companies” do not have any members qualified in rating. One firm investigated by Colliers had two directors, one of whom was a lawyer and one an account manager. “The problem is the industry is totally unregulated- anyone can set up and claim they are experts,” continues Webber. “That is why we have been calling for RICS or failing that, government regulation and for there to be a register of rating advisors, similar to the FCA to make sure the cowboy and criminal element that prey on businesses are kept at bay. Until reformed, businesses need the best advice if they are to navigate the complex business rates and particularly CCA.”
6 | Q1 2023 Nov22568 RVA Surveyors RVA Surveyors (RVA) is a family-owned, independent business rates reduction specialist offering services to business rate payers, whether commercial property owners or tenants, on a ‘no reduction, no fee’ basis. With core values of trust, transparency, progression, and support, RVA Surveyors has engaged with over 47,000 properties across England and Wales with an 85% success rate, with almost 50% of cases settled in just four weeks, and so far saving over £350 million for clients. RVA Surveyors was acquired by Steve Hughes in December 2011. At that time, it only had 12 employees, but the team fast expanded to 100 by 2020. However, during the pandemic, the company was forced to scale down to 50 people; with its business mainly conducted face-to-face, its operations essentially came to a halt. This didn’t stop its employees going above and beyond, though, and as a result of their massive effort, not only was the company able to hugely increase its client sign-ups during this time, but it also continued operating throughout the pandemic, and it was able welcome back its employees once restrictions eased. CEO, Steve Hughes tells us, “What is so satisfying to see as a family business is that our services in reducing business rates for an entire rating list period (the 2017 rating list was five years, for example) creates historic savings, as well as reduces future liabilities. By assisting commercial property owners and tenants through the business rate reduction process, we help businesses secure a much-needed cash boost that they may not have been aware of.” The Hughes family takes pride in its workforce for their dedication and for being long serving, embracing its “family within a family” atmosphere that emphasises growing and developing individuals from the local region. Over 20% of RVA’s current employees have been with the company for at least five years, and its longest serving team members have been with it for over 14 years – before Steve acquired the company. The business’s purpose is to simply reduce business rates, with the overall aim to sustainably grow through employing local people. The Hughes family members involved in making this happen at RVA are Steve Hughes, Anthony Hughes (managing director), Leanne Kelly (client liaison), and Kerry Hughes (administration). Steve says, “We believe that the business rates system is flawed, as we have found that 50% of all commercial properties reviewed could receive a reduction in their business rates liability. Inspecting every commercial property in England and Wales would allow us to take each case at its merit; ensuring that commercial property owners and occupiers are paying a fair and accurate tax. We offer services to business rate payers, whether commercial property owners or tenants, on a ‘no reduction, no fee’ basis.” He goes on to say, “Without a cohesive and happy workforce, we cannot work to the standards that our clients have come to expect from us. Our monthly peer review meetings are just as much about employees being able to communicate about opportunities they wish to take, as much as how we are able to support them inside and outside of the workplace.” In creating a sustainable future, two of the Hughes family’s values are hard work and progression, and one doesn’t happen without the other. RVA has an ongoing Junior Management & Team Leader training course which has launched again this February and is devoted to teaching its employees the skills they need to become the future leaders of the business. This programme was initially developed by Anthony Hughes with one very simple thought process – everyone deserves the same opportunities to move onwards and upwards. “This steady development has allowed us to dedicate time and effort into supporting our employees in both their physical and mental wellbeing,” says Anthony. “RVA Surveyor’s principles have always been employee- and client- based. Without a unified team, we cannot work to the standards that our clients have come to expect from us. From our partnership with the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) Health Assured, which allows us to provide a 24/7, confidential, helpline for our employees, as well as the training of Mental Health First Aiders, to monthly peer review meetings where employees can express interest in upcoming opportunities, RVA have always put team members first.” The company launched its Graduate Scheme initiative in 2021, which enabled it to double its headcount within four months. In 2022, RVA Surveyors was determined to do even more , and as well as expanding the Graduate Scheme, opened up the Surveying programme in March last year , which led to the number of its internal surveyors doubling. It took on seven trainees through this tailored and intensive training programme, six of which completed the programme successfully. This programme is part of RVA’s wider plan to invest in new and existing employees as they expand throughout the year – Several of whom will soon be undertaking qualifications within the Institute of Revenues and Valuation (IRRV). Steve comments, “This quick intake of employees is a reflection on the increased demand of our services. It was RVA’s drive during the pandemic to exceed all previous standards and to create a new level of expected service that we could deliver – to clients, and our employees; both to those who have returned to our family, and those who have joined us more recently.” Now, there is less than a month left until the next revaluation, where thousands of pounds in savings will be lost if commercial property owners and tenants don’t review their business rates – Get in touch with RVA Surveyors today. Company: RVA Surveyors Contact: Molly Jackson-Holm (for press) Email: [email protected] (press), [email protected] (to speak with a savings specialist) Website: www.rvasurveyors.com Best Nationwide Business Rates Reduction Specialists 2022 Business Growth Excellence Award 2022
Q1 2023 | 7 Nov22414 Best Bespoke Fitted Kitchen Company 2022 - North East For a kitchen that is truly unique, designed with your own home and usage in mind, and filled with designer detail, look no further than Northumbria Kitchens. We speak to the firm’s owner, Vivian Spencer, as the company is crowned with a prestigious title in the Northern Enterprise Awards 2022. Based in Kirkharle Courtyard, located between Newcastle and Northumberland, Northumbria Kitchens offers customers professional, bespoke handmade cabinets, incorporating only the finest quality materials, and using traditional craftsmanship such as highly specified cabinetry incorporating solid wood drawers. The beautiful designs are all inspired by distinguished periods in north eastern English history, with each kitchen being custom built to stand the test of time. The experienced and fully qualified awardwinning in-house design team can cater to practically all customer wants and requirements. Owner and designer, Vivian Spencer opened the company seven years ago, and has experienced much success, as well as vast growth, in that short time frame. She tells us a little more about what the firm can offer. “We’re completely bespoke, meaning customers can essentially design their own kitchen and kitchen doors,” she enthuses. “There are more than 50 different styles to choose from, or be inspired by, and then its fully customisable with paint from Little Greene and a range of stunning handles, doorknobs, and other accessories.” With a career spanning more than 30 years in the industry, it’s safe to say that Vivian really knows her stuff, and can guide customers through their dream kitchen from initial design concept right through to adding the finishing touches, including the electrics, plumbing works, insulation, and flooring, too, courtesy of the in-house fitting team. But it’s the attention to the finer details that really make things stand out and mark Northumbria Kitchens out as the best, most opulent choice for its clients. From Laura Ashley kitchens to Fisher and Paykel appliances, and from granite and quartz worktops, to Shaws sinks to the premium Perrin and Rowe taps, these bespoke kitchens are filled with designer details, making them quite unlike anything else around. “Shaws kitchen sinks are still made by master craftsmen, in the same area of Northern England, using techniques that haven’t changed for 120 years!” delights Vivian. “They were created to add authenticity, charm, and character; these sinks blend beauty with practicality – providing you with a sink that can last a lifetime.” Having spent much of her career down south, Vivian returned to the north east eight years ago, and hasn’t looked back. “I love the north,” she continues. “The traffic is so much better, which makes it easier to see customers as we can get from A to B much more easily.” Recently, Northumbria Kitchens gained recognition in the Northern Enterprise Awards 2022 and was named Best Bespoke Fitted Kitchen Company 2022 - North East. A very worthy and prestigious accolade which is testament to the time, energy, and detail that goes into each and every kitchen that Vivian and her team creates. Now as the future beckons, Vivian is poised for yet more growth as the demand for beautifully bespoke kitchens is on the increase. Contact: Vivian Spencer Company: Northumbria Kitchens Email: [email protected] Web: www.northumbriakitchens.com Tel: 07500380055 / 01830 540048
8 | Q1 2023 Nov22629 Nationwide Energy Efficiency Installer of the Year 2022 Helping to keep people warm for more than a decade, All Seasons Energy specialise in heating systems, renewable energy and insulation across all aspects of the business. Being the perfect example of how passion can fuel success, All Seasons Energy’s commitment to the environment is at the heart of everything they do. They’re helping people through rising energy costs at a time when heating the home is a serious struggle, tackling energy efficiency in thousands of properties and creating honest and tailored services for each customer regarding energy-saving measures. With installers located throughout the UK, they have an excellent track record working with customers and local authorities within the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) sector and other government-backed schemes, such as the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) and various Warmer Homes Scheme. The team install all types of insulation, from loft and cavity wall insulation to upgraded renewable heating systems, including solar panels. Their aim is to make homes warmer and cheaper to run. All Seasons Energy don’t just sell renewable technology; they use the very same technology to heat and power their business. They’ve designed an energy-efficient system with two 11kW heat pumps, 4 EV charging points, and a 35kW solar panel system coupled with 30kW battery panels. Using and storing the renewable energy they produce, they’re setting a pathway for other businesses and customers to reduce carbon usage. Their showroom also displays the renewable options available in an informative and accurate way. They believe that customers should be able to see and fully understand the renewable technology they’re having supplied and fitted. With a buoyant energy market, the company has experienced great expansions across the business in the last five years thanks to its strategic planning. Its growth is something to watch as the team plans to grow the company and expand their already incredible efforts for the benefit of the planet. Contact: Tom King Company: All Seasons Energy Web: https://www.allseasonsenergy.co.uk All Seasons Energy is one of the UK’s most trusted installers of home efficiency improvements. The Sheffieldbased business offers energy-efficient solutions that are directly impacting fuel poverty, lowering carbon emissions and the world of renewable energy.
Q1 2023 | 9 Nov22629 - - - Tel: 01909 771 838 www.allseasonsenergy.co.uk All Seasons Energy is a company registered in England & Wales no. 10737981. VAT number GB 259956930. All Seasons Energy Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority FRN 946160. We act as a credit broker not a lender and offer finance from a panel of lenders. 10x Canadian Solar panels + Sunsynk 3.6kW inverter & 5.12kW battery Terms & conditions apply Solar PV system fully installed
Jul22085 Best Speciality Skincare Product 2022 Finding skincare tailored to men of colour that is cruelty free, vegan, halal, and kind to skin can be a huge challenge. However, Manority Skincare can offer all of that and more. Here we take a closer look at its dedicated research, products, and passionate nature as it gains its award-winning status from SME News. Formerly known as CULTURE1, Manority Skincare has now transformed itself into the specialty skincare company we’ve all been waiting for. Tailored to avoid harsh chemicals, promote the use of ethical ingredients, and address any skin concerns that dark-skinned men may be facing, Manority Skincare’s products are changing the way we see beauty brands. As the first and only company that provides skincare products that are specifically designed for men with dark skin, researched at length, and tested on a variety of skin tones, Manority Skincare has opened a gateway to a revolution within the skincare industry. By concentrating on addressing issues for men with the darker skin experience, Manority Skincare pours all of its attention into changing the lives of people who are hugely underrepresented in the industry. Men with darker skin may suffer with hyperpigmentation due to the sensitivity of pigment cells. As there is a higher concentration of pigment cells in their skin, the epidermis may be extremely sensitive to chemicals, temperature, inflammation, and other factors related to our everyday lives. Steering clear of harsh chemicals, Manority Skincare focuses on its use of retinyl palmitate, glycol acid, and sodium hyaluronate, which are all kind to the skin while combatting any skin issues present. Retinyl palmitate aids in uneven skin tone and hyperpigmentation while dealing with dead skin cells and smoothing out the epidermis, glycol acid aids inflammation and irritation to keep the surface smooth, and sodium hyaluronate reduces dryness and flaking by increasing skin hydration. All of these ingredients have been combined to elevate our skincare and body confidence on a daily basis – encouraging flawless skin and better self-confidence. We face the digital age every day, where we see carefully filtered and posed photographs that showcase the “perfect” skin textures and conditions, but we don’t see how to truly achieve this for ourselves. Skincare is always going to be an individual journey that we each embark on, but, with Manority Skincare, men of colour won’t have to feel left out any longer. This extraordinary business is breaking societal barriers while protecting our skin’s barrier all at once, which is exactly why it has won Best Speciality Skincare Product 2022. Contact: Curtis Headley Company: Manority Skincare Ltd Web Address: https://www.manorityskincare.co.uk/ “ Men of colour are underrepresented in the world of skincare, but Manority Skincare is devoted to changing that. ”
Q1 2023 | 11 Jan23586 Accountancy Practice of the Year - Cambridgeshire For sole traders and SMEs, having a good accountant is vital. The team at GGM Accountancy offer incredible service to ensure the highest standards of financial care. With the aim of 100% satisfaction, the team have secured incredible success in the UK Finance Awards 2022. We dig a little deeper to uncover precisely how they have grown over the years, and what this means to the team moving forward. Tax and compliance lie at the heart of what the GGM Accountancy team do. Their workload consists of providing all accountancy, personal tax and corporation tax needs, for individuals, small and medium sized businesses, whether established or start-ups, sole traders, partnerships or limited companies. With such incredibly varied work at the team’s fingertips, what makes them tick? First and foremost, it’s relationships. The GGM Accountancy team are trusted by their clients because they build honest and transparent relationships with all of their clients. They take the time to understand a business and what it needs, helping companies to run their operations without the challenges of excessive paperwork. The aim is always to secure 100% client satisfaction, and more often than not, the team achieve this with ease. Working with GGM Accountancy means working work a team that prides itself on their professional qualifications. The very best in service and advice in every area of personal and business tax can be achieved through working with the team. Since opening their doors, the GGM Accountancy team have prided themselves on an atmosphere of professional development. A clear example of this is the way in which the team have recently joined an apprenticeship scheme to offer junior employees the opportunity to grow within the company and gain the skills for a future in accountancy. 2022 was an enormous year for GGM Accountancy, one which saw the team move to a larger premises which has allowed the team to provide a hub for clients and a communal area for meetings and events. Investment in marketing and branding has also had a major impact on how the team works, exposing clients to more insightful accountancy information to support their businesses. Growth has seen the GGM Accountancy team expanding its sponsorships and charity work to help give back something to local organisations. Local businesses are the very lifeblood that keeps GGM Accountancy afloat, so maintaining these standards is vital. Looking forward, it’s clear that this is a path that the team will be able to follow and maintain for many weeks and months to come. Supporting SMEs and sole traders is no easy business, but someone has to do it. The GGM Accountancy team have thrived through a passion for the sector that is not often seen. It’s little wonder that alongside their success in the UK Finance Awards, the firm’s CEO Gemma Goodale has won Business Woman of the Year 2021 at The Women in Peterborough Awards, and also Small Business Hero in 2022 for outstanding support and commitment to small businesses at The Peterborough Small Business Awards. With these accolades fresh behind the team, we can’t wait to see what they do next! Company: GGM Accountancy Name: Gemma Goodale Email: [email protected] Web: http://www.ggmaccountancy.co.uk/
12 | Q1 2023 Jan23743 Paint Perfection Since opening their doors, the team at Cladspray Solutions have earned a reputation for excellence when it comes to industrial painting services. Properties up and down the country have been transformed by the tireless efforts of these experts in the field. With success in the Business Elite Awards 2023 where the team was named Best Spray Painting Specialists 2023 – UK, we thought it the right time to take a closer look at the secrets of their success. When Tom Carter opened the doors of Cladspray Solutions, he couldn’t have known what he was letting himself in for. His work has been seen in branches of Tesco, IKEA and McDonalds, to name a few, with his hard-working team refurbishing dilapidated and potentially unsafe buildings and giving them a new lease of life. Cladspray Solutions are renowned for their specialist on-site spray painting services and their ability to transform commercial buildings. Over the years, they have moved from purely cladding spraying to industrial roof coatings, epoxy resin floors, commercial internal decorations and more. Their ability to provide industrial renovations, alongside their other offerings has meant that as the demands of customers continues to grow, so too does the team’s range of work. At the heart of how Cladspray Solutions operates is a deep understanding of what skilled sprayers need, and what they bring to any project. While the team at Cladspray Solutions have a range of skills, it’s this specialist knowledge that truly sets the firm apart. As such, it’s little wonder that they have encouraged future development through the initiation of an in-house training scheme through Train The Painter. Train The Painter is an internationally-accredited coating applicator training and certification programme, created and developed by experts throughout the industry. In just ten years, Cladspray Solutions has grown to become one of the Financial Times’ Top 1000 Fastest Growing Companies in Europe, an achievement which not only reflects the tenacity of the team but the support of key clients over many years. Customer retention is a priority for the Cladspray team, and their portfolio of projects has been built with long-standing clients like Lotus Cars and Birds Eye at the core. When it comes to respecting and understanding their clients, minimising disruption to businesses, and managing budgets, there are few finer. The team’s growth over the years has demanded careful planning indeed, with a new industrial unit, close to the firm’s existing site under development. This unit is being adapted to suit the precise needs of the firm, acting as the perfect showcase for what the Cladspray Solutions team can offer their clients. As a thriving SME, Cladspray Solutions has had to build many new skills over the years. While skills can be learnt, efficiencies improved, and systems put in place, it’s relationships between staff, suppliers and clients that keep a business going. They have also created a workflow that everyone is familiar with and can scale with their business, meaning that when opportunities arise, they are able to take full advantage of them. Cladspray Solutions is an incredible success story, one which is certain to have an impact on the market at large. Given the team’s impressive track record in the industry, we cannot wait to see what they do next! Company: Cladspray Solutions Name: Tom Carter Email: [email protected] Web: https://www.cladspraysolutions.co.uk/ “ Over the years, they have moved from purely cladding spraying to industrial roof coatings, epoxy resin floors, commercial internal decorations and more. ”
Q1 2023 | 13 Feb23051 Social strategy is an essential part of any modern business, with clear communications generating loyalty with audiences around the world. With The Change Agency named Best Beverage Social Media Agency 2023 – UK in the prestigious Business Elite Awards 2023, we thought it the right time to explore some of how this incredible team have driven standards ever higher in this competitive industry. The principle that lies at the heart of The Change Agency is the idea that ‘change is the only thing that remains constant’. No business with ambition remains the same over the years, as audiences shift and demand alters. By partnering up with this impressive agency, organisations have discovered a path of long-term success that changes to match their fortunes. With a team that has grown up with the power of social media more prescient than ever, it’s little surprise that The Change Agency has unique insight into how to leverage this impressive resource. “We understand the human triggers that make people want to engage and buy,” Vishal Ladwa explains. “Whether it’s connecting you with tastemakers, completely reimaging your communications or providing the subtle nuances and insights; we will make your brand and campaign stand out and shine.” Since opening their doors nine years ago, The Change Agency has worked with over 48 clients in 19 different companies. This beverage social media agency draws not only on the specifics of this industry, but the universal truth that an understanding of underlying data is the secret to success. “Our data driven approach gives our clients a special and insightful viewpoint on their marketing initiatives,” Vishal tells us. “We combine this with the simple philosophy that every piece of communication has to capture your target audience’s attention using eye-catching imagery, humour, or emotion.” For the beverage industry, however, a specialist approach has allowed The Change Agency to become the gold standard which others must meet. The team has worked for long-standing names such as Faxe Beer and Wild Turkey, using their knowledge as a beverage social media agency to push them forward into the 21st Century. Their work on Faxe Beer can be seen here: https://thechangeagency.uk/socialmedia/faxe-beer. In brief, the team were responsible for creating culturally appropriate content that could be used in more than 15 countries. With a historic brand that hadn’t ever used social media, the focus was to formulate a launch strategy across multiple platforms. The team generated 8k followers in 10 months, hitting high engagement rates of 16.2% engagement and lows of 4.8%, completely smashing the industry benchmark. For Wild Turkey, the team were taking a renowned brand of bourbon and pushing it to another level. Their work, which can been seen at https://thechangeagency.uk/socialmedia/wildturkey was achieved through the use of premium photography shoots, smart advertising, strong copy and active community management which saw the brand grow 51% more than the previous year, reaching over 22 million people and maintaining an average engagement rate of 13.8%. The Change Agency team also supported the expansion of Wild Turkey into television with their first commercial which was directed by and starred Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey. The success of The Change Agency has always come from knowing the detail of what the beverage industry wants, and does. The team are currently looking to grow their portfolio of beverage clients and help more spirit and beer brands grow rapidly. “As the landscape of social media evolves we look help our clients do more cool campaigns with things like as augmented reality,” says Vishal. It’s clear that the future is bright indeed for this intrepid crew. We can’t wait to see what they do next. Company: The Change Agency Name: Vishal Ladwa Email: [email protected] Web Address: www.thechangeagency.uk Agents Of Change
14 | Q1 2023 Nov22673 Youth Community Housing Organisation of the Year 2022 Bedspace’s goal is to create a foundation of improved wellbeing, valuable life skills, and a level of independence which can be built on in later life. This service goes far beyond simply putting a roof over someone’s head but is part of a long-term approach to support the individuals it works with. Bedspace considers the personal needs of each individual and provides them with the facilities and additional support services they require to ultimately achieve independence. Bedspace operates as an intrinsic part of the communities it works with in the North West in Manchester, Liverpool, Preston, and Lancashire, and across Yorkshire. With 268 staff and growing, it specialises in providing support to 16- to 18-year-olds through tailored and bespoke service pathways to best suit each individual’s needs. Whether it is group living, supported tenancy, solo enhanced or even emergency placement housing options, Bedspace is able to find a place in which its people will not only find safety and comfort, but also be able to thrive. The variety of housing support options that Bedspace offers ensures that unique and personal needs are met depending on the individual’s circumstances. The brilliant and hugely important work that Bedspace does is the result of a team dedicated to improving the lives of vulnerable people. Each staff member at Bedspace, from support workers to administration officers and team leaders, genuinely cares about their work and are passionate about making a difference. The idea of togetherness is in the organisation’s DNA, and everyone within the company shares a common purpose; to transform lives. Bedspace’s innovative services also provide it with the flexibility and ability to adapt to the changing needs of the housing and care sectors. In the current economic climate, where the cost-of-living crisis is putting the biggest pressures on those most vulnerable, coupled with the lack of funding for the social sector and political instability has meant that this support is needed more than ever. The excellence of Bedspace’s services has been recognised at several awards, including ‘Best Community Housing Organisation’ (2021 and 2022) at the Northern Enterprise Awards, ‘Best Vulnerable Persons Shelter & Support Provider’ and ‘Most Sustainable Independent Living Services’ at the 2019 Social Care Awards alongside many more. These awards reflect its unwavering commitment to providing the best support possible through its services and staff. When the organisation first began in 1999, the team was set up to provide accommodation to asylum seekers, mainly in Blackpool. Since then, the passion that led to the creation of Bedspace has led to it developing its services to support a wide variety of vulnerable people including care leavers (typically aged 16 to 18) homeless families, and vulnerable adults. Bedspace truly believes people are stronger together. Its partnerships with landlords and local authorities in the communities it works in are a key factor in helping to improve the lives of those most in need of support. It understands the need for a collaborative approach and consistent hard work to really make a positive difference in the world, so is committed to always going one step further. Bedspace will continue to build on that success by championing continuous improvement of both its team and its services. Bedspace’s innovative and flexible care pathway can take people from age 8 through a series of services from children’s residential to group living, trainer flats, supported tenancy and independence with support. The pathway has been carefully considered, using the team’s extensive experience to help young people achieve independence through uniquely tailored support. The pathway is such that no matter what point a young person comes to Bedspace, the right accommodation and support is available. Beginning with children’s residential, the pathway consists of group living, trainer flats - whereby a young person has their own flat and a support worker living as a neighbour - supported tenancy - where a support worker visits regularly, and finally independence with support. Trainer flats help to provide service users with more than just a place to call home; the continuation of support can help them develop and build longlasting life skills to live independently. We strongly believe they should be adopted by more organisations in the future to ensure continued and long-lasting success for independent living. Bedspace has seen first-hand the impact that trainer flats can have on service users and has found them to be instrumental in helping vulnerable young people to confidently live independently, preventing the need for further intervention from local authorities later down the line. Thanks to this pathway, in 2021, 70 of Bedspace’s service users in the North West successfully gained independence, meaning they could live alone, manage bills, and rent and care for themselves, demonstrating the effectiveness of this approach. Bedspace believes that support should go beyond providing accommodation. The organisation not only provides safe and appropriate housing, but also prioritises personalised and consistent support across all different types of challenges that someone may face. As well as receiving ongoing mental health support, all service users develop critical life skills Launched in 1999, Bedspace is a fully accredited housing organisation committed to transforming the lives of vulnerable people. Based in the North of England, it provides accommodation and tailored support for vulnerable young people across the UK and has transformed the lives of over 20,000 people to date.
Q1 2023 | 15 that they need to live independently. For 11 years, Bedspace has worked with educational charity, ASDAN, to provide accredited skills in three key areas: learning, employment, and everyday living. This partnership with ASDAN is crucial to ensuring service users can work towards enjoying independence and wellbeing. In 2021, Bedspace was proud to award 200 ASDAN certificates to its service users. This year, Bedspace made the exciting move into the children’s residential sector by launching its first children’s home in Staffordshire to help more vulnerable people. The home is now officially open after gaining Ofsted approval, with the inspector describing it as a “lovely, welcoming and family-like home”. The home will provide a safe and nurturing environment for children, aged 8 up to 18 years old, with emotional and behavioural difficulties. Importantly, it will provide the children in care with an opportunity to be supported as they transition through the pathway on their journey to independence and adulthood. This new home will act as a blueprint for other children’s homes in the future and is part of Bedspace’s ambition to open five children’s homes in five years. Bedspace is already actively recruiting for a second home, with the team for the first Staffordshire home already in place and raring to go. Throughout a service user’s time at Bedspace, they are regularly assessed to understand if they are ready for independence, as well as for any additional support they may need to get there. Despite Local Authority funding ending at 18, Bedspace continues to support its users after this age as it believes that continued support is the key to achieving long lasting outcomes for vulnerable people. In the last three years, Bedspace has spent approximately £1 million supporting approximately 200 young people post 18. If not for its self-funding of support and accommodation, then these young people would be left unsupported and at risk of homelessness. Bedspace believes it is essential there’s not a cliff edge at 18 where vulnerable young people must fend for themselves. That’s why this year it created a charity, The Bedspace Trust, to raise funds to help vulnerable people post-18. The hope is that this will act as a blueprint for Local Authorities and other organisations in the sector. With a host of exciting new projects and services underway, there is significant growth on the horizon for Bedspace. It is set to increase this number and bolster its property portfolio by 40%in the next three years, partnering with landlords in new regions and in turn creating more jobs across the country. To keep a pace with its rapid growth, it has committed to taking on 100 new staff members in the next two years. This means that the brilliant team at Bedspace will be able to support even more vulnerable people and expand in new and existing regions across the UK to transform more lives. To find out more, visit: https://www.bedspace.co.uk, or contact [email protected]. Contact: Nick Thornhill Company: Bedspace Resource Ltd Web Address: https://www.bedspace.co.uk
16 | Q1 2023 Feb23513 Go Beyond the Textbook Bernhard Niesner and Adrian Hilti developed Busuu to deliver a unique quality mix of self-paced online learning and teacher-led Live Lessons, all supported by help from native language speakers. This unique methodology is what makes Busuu so effective, with its courses designed so learners can gain and retain language skills that can be applied in everyday life. These courses cover all pillars of language learning – listening, reading, writing, and speaking – and so build a fully rounded skillset. There are courses that enable learners to reach fluency up to CEFR C1, and shorter courses covering specific needs such as travel or business, with learning can be enhanced with Live Lessons focusing on pronunciation. The company offers plenty of opportunities to get feedback from native speakers so users can actively learn from each other. The recent addition of video flashcards provides even more opportunities to hear and see language in action, which is crucial to mastering pronunciation. These integral human interactions are supported by AI technology, found in key features, to provide supportive solutions that complement learning. For example, Busuu’s Smart Review function compiles all grammar and vocabulary covered in completed lessons for easy revision. Busuu works with a broad range of clients who choose it because its learning programmes are easy to manage day-to-day and completely scalable. This means organisations of all sizes, in multiple locations, can democratise language learning for their staff, upskilling teams with very different learning needs, many of whom cannot access classroombased study. All students are supported by a dedicated Customer Success team and CRM campaigns that keep them on track with their studies long-term. Felix Schuchter, Sales Director at the company states, “Busuu is very flexible, and we’re able to mould our offer to provide services to clients in diverse market sectors with different learning needs. We have teams locations across the world, with each client assigned a dedicated customer support manager speaking their native language. “This flexibility extends to the content we can produce for clients. We work with expert content writers to produce bespoke courses meeting clients’ individual communication needs, and we have a wide portfolio of specialised courses including retail, pharmaceutical, healthcare, and automotive. Our clients choose packages that will bring the applicable learning outcomes for their business for best possible return on investment.” Busuu has worked closely with its client, PUMA to create a professional-standard language learning solution that could drive inclusion for the multinational sports brand’s 16,000 employees in 134 countries. PUMA’s head office alone has people from 75 nationalities, so it needed a flexible language solution to overcome communication barriers and support its diverse teams working both at head office and in stores. Busuu was able to offer just that. For PUMA, encouraging diversity and inclusion across the workforce was key. Polina Ivanova, Manager of People Development and Organisational Learning at PUMA explains, “Our biggest motivation for going with Busuu was to make everyone feel at home wherever they are. There is a big aspect of diversity and inclusion, everyone feels included and welcomed, whatever language you speak and whatever language you want to learn.” Busuu’s online self-paced lessons designed to engage learners to meet long-term study goals were the answer. Polina continues, “The biggest benefit of Busuu for PUMA is enabling lifelong learning. We are measuring the success of Busuu and PUMA through employee satisfaction. We see that people are happier that they have more possibilities to learn. People can travel more, people can get to know new people, new friends, and new connections through different languages.” Dietmar Knoess, Global Director of People and Organisation at PUMA says, “We discovered a great fit with Busuu. It’s a great contribution to improving languages and communication with others, especially for our store employees… and I am sure it’s leading to better satisfaction here in the company.” Company: Busuu Email: [email protected] Website: business.busuu.com Busuu is the language training provider of choice for over 500 corporate brands including L’Oréal, PUMA, HelloFresh, and Inditex. Founded in 2008 by Bernhard Niesner and Adrian Hilti, Busuu’s mission has always been to empower people through languages. The platform was created after the duo became frustrated with traditional language learning methods. Now, there are over 120 million registered Busuu users accessing free, complete language courses in 14 languages aligned with internationally recognised CEFR standards. Recognised as Most Innovative Language Learning Platform 2023, we learn more.www.sme-news.co.uk