Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Global communications company Spirent opens Swindon office

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Darren Cooke, Qasim Khan, Ashutosh Dudka, and Julian Hicks of Spirent with Tom EndacottGlobal communications company Spirent has opened its newest UK site in Swindon.

Spirent Communications provides test and service management solutions for the communications industry. The world’s biggest telecom companies rely on Spirent to help design, develop and deliver their networks, devices and services.

The company is headquartered in Crawley, listed on the London Stock Exchange and has 1,200 customers worldwide. The firm’s new Swindon base is at Rombourne Serviced Offices’ Kingston House at Lydiard Fields.

“Spirent is a hugely successful global company, and we’re absolutely delighted that out of all the office accommodation available in Swindon, they chose Kingston House”, said Rombourne’s Swindon manager, Tom Endacott.

Kingston House was officially opened by the Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Sarah Troughton, on May 16 following its purchase and extensive refurbishment by Rombourne.

More information about Spirent is available from www.spirent.com ; more information about Rombourne Serviced Offices is available from www.rombourne.co.uk

Smiths News wins SAP Quality Award 2014

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Swindon-based Smiths News has been selected as the Excellence Winner of the SAP UKI Quality Awards in the Mobility Innovation category for its mobile application, SNapp.

The prestigious award recognises Smiths News’ SAP software implementation in SNapp, which allows its retail customers to manage supplies in real-time, at a touch of a button.

Representatives from Smiths News and its systems integration partner, Keytree were presented with the award at the SAP UKI Awards Dinner, held at Brewers’ Hall, London on Thursday, November 27.

Marcus Cotes, IT Director, Smiths News said: “Winning this award is fantastic news. It recognises the skills and dedication of the SNapp cross-functional project team, the focus we placed on meeting customer requirements and the meticulous testing we completed to ensure quality.”

Recently, Smiths News reported on surpassing the number of retailers who have signed up to use SNapp within its first year of launch; over 2,000 retailers have now registered with SNapp and are using it to manage their newspaper and magazine supplies.

As a winner in the UK and Ireland market, Smiths News’ nomination will automatically proceed to the SAP Awards for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

South West manufacturers answer call for greater productivity

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Simon HowesA drive in productivity is helping to sustain growth among small to medium sized manufacturers in the South West.

As manufacturers in the region continue to adapt to a general softening in the marketplace, over half (52 percent) of respondents to the latest Barometer from the Manufacturing Advisory Service stated that they had increased their productivity in the last six months.

Meanwhile, nearly three quarters (74 percent) of companies highlighted that further efficiency gains are needed in order to remain competitive. It appears that SME manufacturers are committed to spend to make these improvements, with 61% expecting to increase investment in new technology, machinery or premises by the spring of 2015.

Simon Howes, MAS Area Director for South West England, commented: “Our Barometer shows that South West manufacturers are already raising productivity, which is good for the region and country as a whole. It should also please the Bank of England, who recently called for the UK to improve its performance in this area.

“This could include anything from introducing new processes and eliminating waste, to upskilling staff and investing in technology and state-of-the-art machinery. Management teams are continually looking to get more out of their business, a feature that will become increasingly important with the market showing some signs of softening.”

Business Minister Matthew Hancock said: “Britain's small manufacturers are driving our economic recovery, boosting our national productivity and helping create a record number of jobs. This is part of our long term economic plan to build a better Britain.”

Cautious optimism is the other main sentiment from respondents to the Barometer. More than half (51 percent) of manufacturers recorded an increase in sales, with 56% expecting to increase their sales turnover between now and the end of March 2015.

Furthermore, 94 percent of companies questioned plan to either maintain or increase their workforce over the six months, highlighting a determination to retain skills and build capacity across the supply chain.

Simon Howes added: “This is welcome news at a time when there are mixed messages around economic activity, with the UK holding up relatively well against a less than positive outlook from our Eurozone trading partners. Our advisors are continually working with manufacturers to help them understand market forces and plan steps to make them more competitive, especially against international rivals.”

The Barometer was launched by SWMAS Ltd in the South West in 2009 and now covers the whole of England. It provides insight and analysis into small and medium sized manufacturers.

For more information on MAS and the services it provides, call 0845 658 9600, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.mymas.org

Dragon Doug Richard to share tips with Wiltshire entrepreneurs

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Doug RichardFormer Dragon’s Den star Doug Richard will be giving advice to budding entrepreneurs at a start-up event in Salisbury next month.

The Enterprise Network Swindon and Wiltshire is launching a series of free networking and learning events with top UK entrepreneurs sharing their knowledge and insights with start-up, growing and innovative small businesses.

The first event in the Enterprise Series, START, on Thursday, December 11 at the Old Fire Station Enterprise Centre, Salt Lane, Salisbury is ideal for would-be entrepreneurs thinking about launching a new business, or who have recently got their idea off the ground.

Start-up champion and business coach Doug Richard will pass on essential tips and ideas over lunch. Doug featured in the first two TV series of Dragon’s Den and founded the School for Startups helping people start better, more profitable, businesses.

The Enterprise Series is organised by The Enterprise Network and supported by Wiltshire Growth Hub and Wiltshire Business Support Service which will run a ‘Becoming your own boss’ workshop in the morning of the event.

After the networking lunch, businesses can book a session with experts offering free, impartial advice on all aspects of starting and managing a new business including business branding, sourcing finance, registering a business and recruiting staff.

Each of the four Enterprise Series free drop-in events will have a different focus: “start”, “grow”, “accelerate” and “innovate” and include:

  • A practical and informative morning seminar
  • A lunchtime buffet with renowned keynote speakers
  • Pre-bookable afternoon one-to-one surgeries with business experts

Future events in the series will be held in 2015 at The Enterprise Network’s other Enterprise Centres in Ludgershall, Trowbridge and Royal Wootton Bassett, live streaming of the day and with a focus on growing and expanding, fast track expansion and innovation.

The Enterprise Network, a £5.2m initiative led by Wiltshire Council with Government and EU funding, is nurturing new and growing small and micro businesses by supporting them right from the first ‘light bulb’ moment.

It has four Enterprise Centres in Wiltshire offering affordable offices, meeting rooms, co-working and networking opportunities alongside free, impartial, business advice.

For more information about the Enterprise Series, to confirm a free place, or to pre-book a one-to-one business surgery: https://theenterpriseseriesstart.eventbrite.co.uk

Wiltshire’s only Small Biz 100 winner supports SMEs ahead of Small Business Saturday

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Alison Edgar of Sales Coaching Solutions with members of the Business Growth GroupWiltshire's only Small Biz 100 winner, Sales Coaching Solutions, is supporting other business owners in the county in the run-up to Small Business Saturday UK on December. 6

Sales training and coaching provider Alison Edgar has been working with the members of Melksham-based Business Growth Group to spread the Small Business Saturday message and support local companies.

The group, which has shared over £700k of business in the last 12 months, comprises of small businesses from stationary retailers to website designers and tradesmen. They hold weekly meetings and regular training sessions, as well as encouraging 1-2-1 meet-ups to build a successful referral system.

“Members of the group are pleased to see that the concept of shopping local is being recognised nationally as an important part of the growth of the UK economy,” said Alison.

“With small and medium sized businesses accounting for over 99 percent of all private sector businesses in the UK at the start of 2013, it’s clear to see just how important. Small Business Saturday is working to collaborate, promote and support small businesses and encourage the public to more readily think of local companies when looking to buy products or services.”

Alison is holding a Boost your Business for 2015 workshop on the December 11 to teach small businesses owners how to sell more of their products and services to increase their profits.

Combined with her role on the National Panel for Growth Voucher funding, she says there is a lot of support for small companies to grow – there just needs to be more awareness.

For more information on the workshop or on Sales Coaching Solutions, contact Alison at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Wiltshire Business Club to relaunch in the new year

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Wiltshire Business Club has announced it is relaunching its series of networking meetings in the new year.

The club suspended its meetings in June following months of lower than normal attendance, choosing to concentrate instead of social media activities.

But this week, club founders Phil Hendy of PAH Accounting and internet marketing expert Roland Millward announced it would be returning to the New Inn at Coate, with the first meeting being held from 6pm until 7.30pm on Wednesday, February 4.

“Due to popular demand, The Wiltshire Club is returning,” they announced to their 433 Facebook members.

Attendees are promised an introduction round of a minute per attendee, two one-to-one 10-minute networking sessions, and an informative talk by a guest speaker from the business world.

As of Wednesday, and with two months to go, eight members had already booked: the total number that attended the final meeting in April. Attendance costs £12. To book a place, log on to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/wiltshire-business-club-relaunch-event-tickets-14580985119

 

Hills brings polar bear to Calne winter festival

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Bjorn the Polar BearA polar bear will be prowling the streets of Calne this weekend - thanks to The Hills Group.

The firm has sponsored three performances of Bjorn the Polar Bear as part of the Calne Winter Festival.

The life-sized animated puppet will be accompanied by an Inuit keeper from the Los Kaos theatre company, who will act as an intermediary between the bear and the public.

Three shows will be held at Calne Leisure Centre at noon, 1pm and 2pm tomorrow (Saturday). Later in the day, reindeer Snowflake and Blitzen will lead the annual lantern parade.

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