Business News, Derbyshire July 2010
PUBLISHED: 12:25 18 March 2011 | UPDATED: 17:40 20 February 2013
Derbyshire-based communications consultant Simon Turton reports on the latest news and views from the business community across the county
As we have moved beyond the midpoint of the year it is interesting to reflect on how different things were at the start of 2010. We were enduring the longest and hardest winter in living memory, for me at least, which coincided with a country still in the grip of recession. Half a year on and we have a new coalition government; warmer weather and finally, growth in the economy.
However, with uncertainties over the future of Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy it is safe to say that were not out of the woods yet. A destabilised or weakened euro might benefit the UK in the short-term, especially for holidaymakers, but as a high proportion of our exports go to Europe we could find ourselves affected as our exports start to get more expensive. The shoring up of Greeces debt has, for now, sated the markets hunger for action but there is no certainty that other countries debts wont impact on the viability of the euro itself.
Here in Derbyshire, judging by the positive news that has been flowing in to the office since my last column, I can only conclude that the UK economy is heading in the right direction. Whether were looking at businesses winning awards, companies enjoying growing order books or assessing business confidence it seems that we havent let the grass grow under our feet.
Business is blooming - Pople Landscapes is celebrating record new contract wins and a 30 per cent increase in turnover for the financial year 2009/10, despite the UKs difficult trading conditions. In its second year since it was bought by a new owner turnover has been boosted by 20 new contracts. Managing director, Peter Botham, is predicting further growth for 2010/11 and said: Weve had a great year thanks to a focus on delivering exceptional customer service and winning some decent sized contracts. These have been achieved across both domestic and commercial sides of the business, although the mix has changed as the year developed.
The company has seen increasing interest from domestic customers investing in their gardens to create extensions to their living space, adding long-term value to their properties. Peter continued: This year we expect it to remain tough in the commercial construction sector, however were confident with the work we are gaining with our private customers that we can continue our strong growth pattern.
Pople employs over 20 staff and services clients across Derbyshire, the East Midlands and Yorkshire from its base in West Handley, near Chesterfield. It has a sister company, Shed Grounds Maintenance, which specialises in the maintenance of commercial grounds.
Innovation Awards - Two Derbyshire businesses were awarded top prizes in this years Medilink East Midlands Innovation Day Awards, held at Pride Park, Derby. Chapel-en-le-Frithbased Peakdale Molecular and Derbybased Quadralene were the joint winners in the Outstanding Achievement category. In helping to land the joint award for Peakdale Molecular, the company secured a ground-breaking agreement with global pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer, to provide custom synthetic chemistry services at Pfizer's laboratories in Kent. The award endorses the companys competence and its ability to compete on the world stage in a highly competitive knowledge-based industry.Peakdale Molecular has earned a reputation for completing difficult synthetic organic and medicinal chemistry projects for a wide range of customers around the world.
Quadralene, joint winners of the Outstanding Achievement award, is a privately-owned company that manufactures a range of high-quality, specialised, cleaning detergents and disinfectants for the healthcare, dental, food, automotive and micro-electronics sectors. They are now one of the UKs leading suppliers of quality cleaning and surface enhancement products with export markets in Africa, Asia, Western and Eastern Europe and Canada.
The company, now in its ninth decade, was established in 1930 by Fred Smith-Neal and was originally called Commercial Supplies Syndicate. The company employs 30 people including three research chemists and a microbiologist.
Derbyshire a first class destination for business - Travel and events organisers from across the UK have praised the Peak District and Derbyshire for being a first class destination for business and a superb location for conferences. The plaudits follow a recent fact-finding tour organised by Conference Derbyshire, which emphasised the countys impressive blend of heritage, natural beauty and attractive modern amenities. Its range of high quality venues suitable for almost every type of corporate event was also seen as a major advantage.
Commenting on the positive feedback the team received, Nick Jordan, chairman of Conference Derbyshire said: The aim of our familiarisation tour was to introduce travel and events organisers to the many advantages of choosing the Peak District and Derbyshire as a prime business venue. The team at Conference Derbyshire also came in for praise, particularly for offering a first-class service with detailed on-the-ground knowledge that is essential for event managers. Following its success, a second tour is being planned by the team. For nmore information contact Conference Derbyshire on 01332 594446.
Developer turns business model on its head - Tim Turner of Hathersage-based development company, Blue Deer, has turned the business start-up model on its head by planning to give away a new business he has just set up.
Traditionally, the start-up model follows a reasonably logical pattern. First the flash of inspiration, then the refinement of the concept and writing of a business plan. Next, the tasks of raising finance, finding premises, hiring staff and then actually running the new venture. In Tims case he decided that one of his units at the high quality development at 131 Chatsworth Road in Chesterfield, would be ideally suited to a florist. But rather than wait to attract an occupier through the usual channels, he decided to cut out the middle man and set up the business himself.
Naming the new florist Black Eyed Susan, he took care of the design and fit-out, and then ran a competition in the local media to recruit a budding entrepreneur. The successful applicant, Anna Groves, is a third-generation florist and in 12 months time she will become the owner of the business without having had to put in a penny of her own money. To recoup his initial investment Tim will charge a slightly increased annual rental.
Commenting on his decision to open a new florist Tim said: With the banks still resolutely uninterested in lending to start-up businesses and nothing forthcoming from any other agency, I decided to launch the new business myself. It is a risk but given the tenant mix in the development I feel that they will complement each other extremely well. My decision to create the business and then hand over the reins is purely down to wanting to get the right tenant mix, while at the same time encouraging a young entrepreneur and give them the chance they wouldnt otherwise have had.
Black Eyed Susan will be donating 5% of all sales (all year, every year) to Chesterfield-based Ashgate Hospice.