Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Two new Enterprise Centres to open in early 2014

Old Fire Station Enterprise Centre, SalisburyTwo new Enterprise Centres are to open in Wiltshire, thanks to £5.2m of government funding.

The Wiltshire Council-led Enterprise Network Initiative, which last year opened similar incubation centres in Trowbridge and Ludgershall, plans to open new centres at Wootton Bassett and Salisbury.

The Initiative is also offering free expert advice and grants to small businesses.

All the Enterprise Centres offer new, flexible and purpose-built office space and hot desk facilities designed specifically with micro businesses in mind and at affordable, all-inclusive rents.

Hot desks can be hired by the half day, and offices for between one and five people by the month, with easy-in, easy-out contracts. High speed broadband, communal networking areas and bookable meeting rooms complete the package.

In addition, The Enterprise Network offers free expert business advice through the Wiltshire Business Support Service and access to grants - available to any start-up or step-up business in Wiltshire and rural Swindon - as well as for all Enterprise Centre tenants.

Manor House Enterprise Centre, Royal Wootton BassettManor House Enterprise Centre, High Street, Royal Wootton Bassett will provide 19 offices on two floors offering 44 desks across a range of different sized offices, and free parking.

The Old Fire Station Enterprise Centre, Salt Lane, Salisbury will have seven ground floor offices with 16 seats and 12 first floor offices with 19 seats.

Since TEN launched, 22 people have been helped to start a new business, 61 existing businesses have received expert support and advice, 36 women-led enterprises have had support and more than 40 new jobs have been created across Wiltshire.

Kate Forrest, manager of The Enterprise Network, said: “We believe there’s never been a better time for Wiltshire people to start a new business, or grow an existing enterprise thanks to this brilliant combination of practical support, workspace and grants.

“We’re particularly keen to support military leavers and their dependents in Wiltshire to take their first steps to becoming their own bosses. There is help and support every step of the way for anyone keen to do business, from the first light-bulb idea.”

Fleur de Rhé-Philipe, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for economy, skills and transport said: “One of our top priorities is to boost the local economy and these new centres will provide fantastic support for emerging and existing businesses in Wiltshire.

Ensuring local businesses are given the opportunity to thrive is integral to boosting the local economy. We will continue to work with our partners on innovative projects like these so businesses have the support and resources they need to be successful.”

To find out more about workspace at TEN’s four Enterprise Centres across Wiltshire, free business advice or grants, or hire of meeting rooms, call 01264 848311 or visit www.enterprisewiltshire.co.uk/projects/The-Enterprise-Network-TEN

Manufacturers head to STEAM for networking breakfast

Monahans Inaugral Manufacturing Breakfast  October 2013Manufacturers will be heading to STEAM - the spiritual home of engineering in Swindon - for the second Manufacturing Breakfast from accountancy firm Monahans next week.

The event is being held in support of UTC Swindon, the new University Technical College opening in September 2014.

Guest speakers will include Graham Dean, operations director at Herman Miller, Swindon Local Enterprise Partnership business board member, and sector lead for advanced engineering and manufacturing, who will be telling networkers more about the role of the LEP.

And Clive Turner, stakeholder relations manager at the Manufacturing Advisory Service, will be explaining how manufacturers can easily access the wide variety of support and funding available through MAS.

Monahans works with many clients in the manufacturing sector and recognises the huge importance of manufacturing to the UK economy.

As a partner of UTC Swindon, the firm is committed to developing manufacturing and engineering in the UK.

The event will be held on Thursday, February 6 from 7.30am to 9.30am. Attendance is free. To book a place, contact Clare Way at Monahans on 01793 818300 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

HMRC is increasingly seizing assets to collect tax debts - report

HMRCHM Revenue and Customs seized assets from a new high of nearly 1,500 self-assessed taxpayers – the majority of whom are self-employed professionals – over the past year.

A report by independent business IT finance provider Syscap suggests that self-employed people who owe tax to HMRC are increasingly likely to have their assets seized.

This latest year saw HMRC use its its power of ‘distraint’ against 1,488 self-assessment tax debtors – up eight percent on the 1,376 seizures in 2011/12, and more than double the 730 seizures of 2010/11.

HMRC's power of distraint allows staff to visit business premises without warning in order to collect unpaid taxes. If the bill, usually including interest and penalties, is not paid within five days, HMRC can remove and sell business assets such as computers, vehicles and other key equipment, without a court order.

At the height of the recession, HMRC allowed businesses a grace period under its Time To Pay scheme. In 2009, the organisation allowed UK businesses to defer £4.5 billion in tax payments. But the Time To Pay scheme has now been virtually wound up, with HMRC instead targeting an overall revenue increase of £7 billion per year by 2014/15.

Friday’s tax bill deadline could trigger another wave of enforcement action as small professional firms struggle to find funding for their tax bills. If these businesses fail to find funding, it can set the wheels of enforcement action in motion, which may lead to business asset seizures, potentially destroying their ability to do business, warns Syscap.

Syscap CEO Philip White said: "Small businesses facing cashflow problems as the January 31 tax deadline looms need to take immediate steps to secure funding. HMRC is more likely than ever to take a draconian approach to tax debts."

Syscap adds that the January 31 deadline is not the only tax bill facing small businesses in the coming weeks. VAT bills for the fourth quarter of 2013 are due to be paid by February 7.

Expert opinion: Eating a frog can get your day off to a great start

Nigel ScottI don’t usually give dietary advice – and you probably don’t think much of this suggestion! However, what I’m really talking about is an approach to managing yourself and your time.

This idea comes from Michael Treacy’s book Eat That Frog, which is a book I often give it to clients who feel they have too much to do.

Actually the book (which is small and easily digested - unlike the frog) is full of simple tips on making time to get the most important things done.

Why the title?

Well the idea is that, if the worst thing you have to do today is eat a big slimy frog that is sitting on your desk going ‘ribbit ribbit’ at you, then you might as well get on and eat the pesky thing right away, first thing. Then it’s done and out of the way.

Why is this powerful? Think about it this way; if you have a difficult piece of work to do, one you really don’t like doing and really don’t want to do, then the longer it sits in front of you, the more unhappy you will get about the prospect of doing it.

That unhappy feeling will be with you for as long as it takes you to get started. What a way to ruin a great day. Or week…..

On the other hand you could choose to keep that unhappy time as short as possible. Couldn’t you? Do the most unpleasant thing first, then you can feel great about yourself all day, all week if you want!

How about a little ‘reward to self’ (doughnuts in my case)?

There’s always a ‘Plan B’ though… you could always hide the nasty task in a cupboard and hope it will go away (though I can’t promise this one will work).

I have lots more ideas to help you get the most out of your busy day. So get in touch if you’d like to know more.

Nigel Scott offers business and executive coaching in Wiltshire and Swindon. Contact him on 01672 512001 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The shops come to Swindon business leaders on Valentine’s Day

Steve Fawke, general manager of The Brunel shopping centreSwindon business leaders will be going to the shops for their next networking event; or, rather, the shops will be coming to them.

The guest speakers at the next Swindon Chamber of Commerce business breakfast will be Steve Fawke, general manager of The Brunel shopping centre, and Rowena Rowland, CEO of InSwindon, the company in charge of managing the town centre.

They’ll be talking about the retail landscape in Swindon: sharing their expertise, findings from the Christmas and New Year sales, and predictions for Swindon as a shopping destination in 2014.

The event will be held at the Marriott Hotel, Swindon from 7.30am on Friday, February 14, and will no doubt include a gentle reminder to networkers who’ve not yet secured a Valentine’s gift for their significant other.

Attendance costs £21.60 for members and £33.60 for non-members. For more information, or to book a place, log on to www.thamesvalleychamber.co.uk

More rural communities to get superfast broadband

Superfast fibre broadbandThe next rural communities set to benefit from a multi-million pound superfast broadband partnership between Wiltshire Council, BT and South Gloucestershire Council have been revealed.

Businesses and communities in Hawthorn & Neston, Winterslow, Lacock, Wilton, Broad Chalke
Idmiston / Gomeldon / Porto, Westwood & Avoncliff, Pitton, Farley, and East and West Grimstead will be able to order superfast broadband from the end of summer 2014:

John Thomson, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for broadband, said: “We have invested significantly in this scheme and it’s great to announce more communities that will have access to this vital service.

Superfast broadband will also provide a huge boost to local businesses and will make Wiltshire an even more attractive county to set up business in.

“We look to forward to announcing more communities who will benefit in the very near future.”

Bill Murphy, managing director of next generation networks for BT Group, said:

“We are continuing to make excellent progress in Wiltshire and this is another important step forward for the partnership which is taking this game changing technology to locations where the economics and engineering challenges are that much greater.

“High-speed fibre broadband is vitally important if our businesses and homes are to make the most of the huge range of opportunities offered by the internet.”

This rollout marks the continuation of the scheme that will see 91 percent of premises in Wiltshire connected to superfast broadband of 24Mpbs and above by the end of March 2016. So far, more than 1,100 homes have been connected thanks to the scheme.

Back in December, Wootton Bassett was the first town in the county to ‘go live’ as part of the scheme.

Once complete, nearly 1,500 kilometres of fibre cabling will be laid across the county, and more than 300 new fibre cabinets installed.

More than 10,000 homes and businesses in Wiltshire will be able to connect to fibre broadband by June 2014 under the project as it rolls out to other areas in the county.

The £35.6 million project was one of the first in the country to deliver broadband to communities and businesses thanks to a partnership between the two councils and BT, along with funding from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

More information on the project can be found at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/wiltshireonline

People can also get regular updates on the scheme and other projects the council’s Wiltshire Online team are running by following @WiltshireOnline on Twitter.

Banks launches new series of free business networking events

Richard Mathews of Banks charted accountantsA series of free business networking events in Swindon has been relaunched by Banks chartered accountants.

The next event of the series - which runs up until July then resumes in the autumn - is on Wednesday, February 12 and is an open networking breakfast for business people from any sector and from sole traders or partners, up to large limited companies.

On Wednesday, February 26 an evening presentation will explore the Sale of a Business, while on Thursday, March 20 an evening seminar will review the contents of the government’s latest Budget.

The popular Professionals Breakfast returns on Wednesday, April 30, and on Wednesday, May 21 the firm will play host to an Open Networking Breakfast.

The final event before the summer break is a Retirement Planning evening seminar, to be held on Wednesday, June 18.

All the events are held at Banks’ offices at Ermin Court, Stratton. Breakfasts run from 7.30am until 8.45am, with coffee and bacon rolls on offer, while evening presentations take place from 5.45pm until 7pm, and are followed by a light buffet.

Since Banks launched the events, when it moved to its Stratton offices in May 2012, scores of business people have attended.

“We’ve had excellent feedback for the events we run,” said Richard Mathews, director at Banks.

“They give people a chance to network with other businesses as well as gain some really useful knowledge at our themed events.”

More details of the programme are available at www.banksca.co.uk. Booking is required via the website or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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