Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Chance to catch up on Chippenham's BID initiative

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Mo Aswat of Mosaic PartnershipChippenham's aspirations to become a Business Improvement District will be explained at a business breakfast run by accountants Monahans on Wednesday, June 26.

Melody Thompson and Mo Aswat of the Mosaic Partnership will update 90 networkers on the current status of the Chippenham BID initiative, which is moving into the development phase.

There are already over 180 BIDs in the UK, and the guest speakers will explain what a BID is and how it could benefit businesses in and around Chippenham.

The event will be held at Chippenham Sports Club, starting at 7.30am and costs £10 per head to attend.

For an invitation, or more information, log on to www.monahans.co.uk/events-seminars.asp

Delegates can explore a new way of earning a living

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Gail GibsonA masterclass led by two of the UK's thought leaders in portfolio career and lifestyle development takes place in Highworth next week.

How Colourful is Your Umbrella? is aimed at people seeking a new working lifestyle.

Coaches Steve Preston and Gail Gibson will lead delegates through a day-long course that will help them to:

  • Change their thinking about what work they can do

  • Develop a portfolio of work based on their interests, talents and passions

  • Make an existing portfolio career work for them to achieve the results they want

  • Take control of how they live their life

The masterclass will be held in Highworth on Friday, June 21. For more information, or to book a place, log on to http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/event/5090860902

LEP prioritises high value manufacturing

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Paul Johnson, chairman of SWLEPThe Local Enterprise Partnership has prioritised the high value manufacturing sector as an area for growth in Swindon and Wiltshire.

Due to its current contribution to the local economy and potential for growth, high value manufacturing is high on the LEP’s agenda, with local businesses such as Apetito, Herman Miller, Intel, Alcatel Lucent and Dyson leading the way.

The Swindon & Wiltshire LEP is now looking for a research partner to review the high value manufacturing sector in the local area.

By mapping out the composition of the sector in Swindon & Wiltshire, the research will then enable the LEP to identify specific growth opportunities and exploit them, to the benefit of the local economy.

Details of the tender process for this research study can be found on the LEP’s website – www.swlep.biz

The closing date for tender responses is 5pm on Friday 5th July 2013

Chance for green businesses to network

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Rushey PlattGreen businesses will have the chance to network at the next Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Sustainability Forum.

The event will be held at the National Self Build & Renovation Centre, Lydiard Fields, Swindon, on Wednesday, July 10 from 8am to 10am.

Guest speakers will include:

  • NSBRC on its extensive range of eco and energy saving building products and services
  • Nationwide on its in-house sustainability initiative and
  • Accord Office on its revolutionary new closed loop, sustainable stationery products and services

Following the event there will be an opportunity to take an optional wildlife tour around a local nature reserve: Rushey Platt, a rare fenland which is home to water voles and dragon flies including the broad-bodied chaser and the fearsome emperor.

The event is free to attend. For booking details contact Matthew Powell at Wiltshire Wildlife Trust on 01380 736087 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Economic pressures continue to affect racing

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Andrew Chalk and Richard Brooks of Withy KingEconomic conditions continue to take their toll on horse racing with over half (53 percent) of the trainers who took part in a survey by Wiltshire law firm, Withy King, admitting they weren’t confident about the business climate over the next six months.

One-fifth (21 percent) said they felt less confident than they did a year ago while 62 percent said they felt the same. Half (50 per cent) said their businesses were just breaking even while 23 percent admitted to being unprofitable.

The Racing Barometer survey of 550 UK trainers, including many in Wiltshire, was carried out by the specialist racing and bloodstock team at Swindon and Marlborough-based law firm, Withy King.

Commenting on the results, Withy King partner Andrew Chalk said: “It comes as no surprise that the sentiments expressed by those at the coalface in racing reflect those in wider society. These remain challenging times for all, but the results paint a picture of resilient trainers digging in and working hard through the recession, with many being innovative in the way they structure fees to attract new owners.

“As always, it’s a mixed picture.  Some trainers continue to find trading conditions very tough, but let’s hope that in time we will look back on this survey as showing the green shoots of recovery.”

Withy King partner Richard Brooks added: “We know that some trainers are plagued by debts owed by owners.  They are, in turn, living off credit given by their suppliers. We know of many instances of huge debts being built up with feed merchants and vets among others. 

“This in turn can generate closer scrutiny from the BHA’s Licensing department. We have seen in recent seasons that the BHA is willing to refuse licences on the basis that trainers do not have the skills or willingness to run a solvent business.

“But while there are some obvious difficulties, there is also a fair degree of optimism. We see a regular stream of new businesses started by some fairly savvy characters. A balance needs to be struck between keeping owners happy and having a business-like relationship that requires good cashflow.  The successful trainers maintain their cashflow with a keen eye on the business as well as their horses.”

The survey also blamed a lack of decent prize money for deterring owners from the sport. Over three-quarters (77 percent) of trainers who took part in the survey said the number of owners in their yard is affected by prize money levels.

Over half (51 percent) are seeing more shared ownership than they were a year ago; 57 percent said they had to offer discounts to attract owners to their yards. With prize money due to increase by 10 per cent in 2014, it’ll be interesting to find out whether trainers think this is likely to have any impact.

Withy King’s Racing Barometer is a new initiative designed to provide a real insight into the issues of the day and a snapshot of what it’s like to be a trainer in this economic climate. Trainers will be surveyed twice a year – in April and October.

Three Steps to a Great Elevator Pitch shared over breakfast

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Debbie NewmanThree Steps to a Great Elevator Pitch will be shared by Debbie Newman from Armstrong Beech Marketing at the Wessex Chambers business breakfast in Westbury on Tuesday, July 16.

Debbie will identify the key ingredients of the perfect elevator pitch and clarify what entrepreneurs and small business owners can do to make theirs even better.

The event will be held at Player's, 26a Quartermaster Road, Westbury, Wiltshire, BA13 4JT, from 7.30am to 9am.

Attendance costs £12 for members and £40 for non-members. For more information, or to book a place, log on to www.wessexchambers.org.uk/events

Wiltshire pubs and clubs pass police booze sting

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Picture posed by modelsAll but one of 11 Wiltshire pubs and clubs targeted in a recent a police operation to clamp down on underage boozing has passed the test.

Young people aged between 15 and 17 were dispatched to eleven licensed premises in Calne, Corsham, Chippenham and Salisbury during an operation in May, police revealed this week.

All except one – The Jenny Wren pub in Calne – challenged the underage volunteers and either refused them entry or declined to serve them alcohol. 

Police licensing manager, David Bennett said: “We are really pleased to see that, in the main, premises visited were compliant and challenged our volunteers by either refusing entry at the door, in the case of clubs, or refusing to serve at the bar in the case of public houses. 

"Following the previous failure of two premises in Salisbury in March, it is particularly pleasing to note that all premises visited within Salisbury passed, which includes the venues that had previously failed the test purchase. 

"This does evidence the improvements that have been made since the previous operation, which goes toward supporting the ongoing objectives of minimising the exposure to youngsters of harm from alcohol consumption, and reducing alcohol related crime and disorder.

"The Jenny Wren pub in Calne did fail by serving a volunteer without any challenge being made.
The designated premises supervisor has been advised and follow up action will be taken. We will work with the venue in an effort to improve procedures.”

Mr Bennet said that 
underage consumption of alcohol was of significant concern to Wiltshire Police, and warned: “We will conduct this type of operation on a regular basis.”

All other venues visited – which include The Kings Arms, Calne; Wheatsheaf, Calne 
; Four Seasons, Chippenham; Brunel, Chippeham; Rose and Crown, Chippenham; 
Bar 11, Chippenham; The King's Head, Salisbury; 
The Cathedral Hotel, Salisbury; 
White Rooms, Salisbury; and The Chapel, Salisbury will now be formally notified with details of the operation.