Woking Business

CHANGES in the Autumn Budget could see small businesses losing out on money they are owed to them in insolvency cases, warns the West Byfleet-based firm Gibson Hewitt.

The leading insolvency firm, says that the changes will see HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) take up position as a preferred creditor in insolvency cases, which could lead to creditors such as small businesses, struggling to claim money owed to them, which could have a trickle-down effect leading to more businesses becoming distressed.

Lynn Gibson, Director at Gibson Hewitt

The current rules allow for taxes (PAYE, VAT & VAT) paid by employees and customers that are temporarily held by an insolvent company to be used to cover the company’s debts to other creditors, instead of being paid directly to HMRC, who is currently left in a similar position to all other unsecured creditors.

Frustrated that this leaves millions of pounds a year uncollected by the tax authority, Philip Hammond has indicated that HMRC will become a preferred creditor from 6 April 2020.

This will ensure that when a business enters insolvency, more of the taxes “paid in good faith by its employees and customers, and temporarily held in trust by the business”, will be paid to the Government to fund public spending, instead of to a business’ creditors.

Under the new rules, it is envisaged that HMRC will remain below other preferential creditors, effectively employee remuneration, but Gibson Hewitt is warning that unsecured creditors may find they are able to recover less or nothing at all from their insolvent debtors instead of sharing the funds on an equal footing with HMRC.

“This is a poor deal for ordinary trade creditors, who will now likely find themselves with lower realisations in an insolvent business to recover their debts,” said Lynn Gibson, Director at Gibson Hewitt.

“Unfortunately, this is likely to have an effect on the cashflow within a creditor’s business, which often then has further implications for its own customers and creditors further down the line.

Whilst the Budget is trying to emphasise the “trust” held over payroll & VAT deductions it will have a detrimental effect on other unsecured creditors, particularly where HMRC have effectively been financing continued training.

“The reality of the situation is that the pot of money within an insolvent company is going to get smaller for all unsecured creditors after April 2020 and so it is essential that these businesses take time to review their current relationship with their debtors to ensure they are able to spot the early signs of business failure in future and can be quick to react,” concluded Lynn.

THE TRAVEL industry honoured one of Woking’s best-established businesses, Global Travel Management, naming it Business Travel Agent of the Year, 2018.

The family-owned business travel company was presented with the award at a ceremony hosted by the Advantage Travel Partnership, the UK’s largest independent travel agent group, with TV’s Mark Durden-Smith making the presentation to GTM’s Managing Director, Scott Pawley and Sales Director, Paul Baker.

Paul Baker, left, GTM’s sales director, and Scott Pawley, managing director

Julia Lo Bue-Said, CEO at Advantage Travel Partnership said: “We are very proud of our members and business partners and are excited to once again celebrate what we have collectively achieved in the past year. We would like to congratulate Global Travel Management for their outstanding performance this year.”

GTM, was founded by Scott and Natalie Pawley in 1997, has been a stalwart of the local community gives its support to a number of local youth groups via sponsorship and prizes. The new award adds to a string of awards received by the local company including previous recognition by Advantage, which it has been a longstanding member.

THE HEAD of a Woking flooring company has been named as one of the country’s top business leaders in a prominent new report.

Chris Vincent, V4 Wood Flooring managing director, has been named as ‘One to Watch’ in this year’s Top 50 Most Ambitious Business Leaders programme, supported by The Telegraph

Chris Vincent, V4 Wood Flooring managing director

Chris, 41, who is dyslexic, left secondary school with no qualifications with ambitions to become a F1 racing drive. At 23 he joined the family’s flooring business, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, and to set up V4 Wood Flooring, with his older brother, Nathan.

Today, V4 Wood Flooring turns over circa £12million and Chris says: “We started from the bottom and had no contacts, which were hard to develop without the internet. It has taken a lot of hard work over the years, but I’d like to reinforce that no matter what obstacles may be in your way, you can achieve your goals.”

Chris adds: “I’m humbled to be named in this prestigious list amongst some fantastic business leaders throughout the country.

“I left school without any qualifications, mostly due to being dyslexic. I focused all my energy on motor racing and raced at quite a high level but realised I couldn’t make a career of it so turned to entrepreneurship.”

Selling to retailers, V4 manufactures and provides quality, hardwood flooring to a network of approved dealers throughout the UK. It has a range of flooring. It prides itself on its environmentally-friendly policy and is committed to finding new ways of producing flooring that lessens the impact the industry has on the environment.

WOKING Means Business at the HG Wells Conference Centre brought the local business community out in force for a full day of networking and power events.

With a pre-breakfast seminar by Woking Borough Council kicking off events at 7.30, local businesses had the opportunity to attend a series of talks, with Sales by Anthony Stears and LinkedIn by Keith Grover drawing particularly keen interest.

IN THE NEWS – from left, Terry Tidbury, News & Mail MD, Catherine Richardson, president of Woking Chamber, Carol Miller of Carol Miller Media, and Ray Morgan, Woking Council Chief Executive

A Woking Chamber of Commerce event, the exhibition was organised by Business Development Chairman, Paul Webster, who said: “Exhibitors were obviously happy, we had some brilliant speakers which the visitors really appreciated, but most of all I thought it was great to see people smiling, enjoying talking to each other and apparently doing business.”

As a key media sponsor for the event the Woking News & Mail was among the exhibitors and were given an exclusive interview with Woking Borough Council CEO Ray Morgan (filmed by Team360media and posted on the News & Mail website).

Other exhibitors included Woking Football Club, which had several representatives from the club in attendance including manager Alan Dowson and Martin Tyler, the Sky sports commentator and assistant manager of the team.

“We met with and spoke to many businesses and are already setting up further meetings for collaborations with them. This was a great event for linking up with local organwisations and we have no doubt that we will achieve what we wanted out of the day,” said the club’s Marie Withers.

Among the visitors was Lorna Gangotra winner of BBC TV’s Family Cooking Showdown 2017, who in addition to running her restaurant and business The Little Indian Kitchen, was a panellist at Woking Food Festival and is a regular stallholder at the Ripley Farmers’ Market. She said: “Woking Means Business is a really good opportunity to find out what’s new and to meet businesses in the area.”

Simon Woodbridge, Thomas International said: “I thought it was a great event, very friendly, well organised and really useful for our business to gain exposure in the Woking area. I made some very good contacts both from useful suppliers for our organisation and perhaps more importantly potential new clients.”

Mark Warner, Headline Design & Print, whose team were manning a roulette table at their stand, said: “We had a very good day making new contacts and selling our services to potential customers.”

A SOUTH American treat that has been receiving growing media attention could soon become a favourite in the UK thanks to a Woodham-based business woman.

Jen Munson-Montanez has launched her business Just Because Treats in June, baking alfajores (pronounced al-fa-ho-res), a Latin American version of a macarons, using traditional recipes alongside some flavour innovations of her own.

In her native home of Caracas, Venezuela, the alfajores are a part of life but the wider world has only gradually becoming aware of their existence. The idea of launching a business to sell them in the UK came to Jen as a way of remembering her roots.

Entrepreneur: Jen Munson-Montanez

She said: “Coming from a Venezuelan family, food is very important and it is when it is enjoyed with family that memories are created.”

“I guess it was thinking about the amount of time I’ve spent abroad and nostalgia for the alfajores that made me decide to honour my roots and bring a piece of my greatest food memories to Surrey.  They are the perfect way to finish off a dinner party or as an extra special treat for family and friends, and they make beautiful and unique wedding favour gifts.”

For the full story see the 11 October edition of the News & Mail

A BESPOKE curtains and blinds business run by a young Goldsworth Park mum has expanded so much that she has had to move into a shop in Horsell High Street.

Sophie Wickenden started Sophie Sews six years ago at home after studying interior design at Guildford College and then learning how to make curtains through adult education services in Woking.

“I first made curtains for family and friends and it took off from there. I set up a website and it continued to grow,” Sophie said.

The Mayor, Cllr Will Forster, at the official opening of the shop, with Sophie Wickenden left) and some of her family, friends and customers

Storing material and curtain poles at home became a problem and so Sophie found an empty shop that was formerly a dry cleaners and started setting up in June.

“I wanted the holidays to be over and get everything ready. Having the shop means my life is divided into home and work and its also made the business easier,” Sophie said.

She has so much business that she has contracted out the curtain-making to a specialist company in Norfolk. Sophie designs all the curtains and helps customers to choose the fittings and soft furnishings.

The curtains are then installed by her fitters, who are from Chobham and Knaphill. At the moment, the only other staff is Sophie’s PA, but she is hoping to employ another local person.

Sophie went to Sythwood School and then to one in Esher. Her husband, Paul, is a landscape gardener originally from Chobham.

They have two daughters, Poppy, 8, and Ebonie, 4, who go to Beaufort Primary School in Goldsworth Park, where Sophie is joint chairman of the PTA.

Poppy is already showing special awareness above her years, one of the qualities needed to be an interior designer.

Sophie said bespoke curtains are not cheap but are priced competitively compared with similar services elsewhere.

“It works well for a lot of people who are not sure what they want and what exactly to get,” she said.

Sophie held two opening days at the shop on Friday and Saturday last week and said that many local people she hadn’t previously met, as well as former customers, popped in to congratulate her.

“It was really lovely. Now it’s back to work – there a lot going on,” she said.

HEALTHCARE company GlucoRx has been named one of the UK’s top 100 tech firms in a new Sunday Times league table published on the weekend.

The Woking supplier of diabetes products to the NHS recorded a 66 per cent sales growth over the past three years and was ranked 70th in the Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100 league table.

GlucoRx group managing director Chris Chapman

The table ranks Britain’s private technology, media and telecoms companies with the fastest-growing sales and GlucoRX, in Monument Way West, is one of only two in the county and seven in the region to feature.

Chris Chapman, group managing director, said: “We are immensely proud to have appeared in the Tech Track 100 for the first time. It’s a vindication of our desire to make a real difference to the care of people with diabetes and we will continuously innovate on their behalf to develop technology with a real purpose.”

For full details, pick up a copy of 13 September edition

A WOKING mother of five is featured in a new book of inspirational stories of women who have launched their own businesses overcoming all kinds of life challenges.

Inspirational Serena Novelli and her husband Adriano

Serena Novelli, 40, from Sheerwater, is one of 25 women featured in the book, Mumpreneur On Fire 3, that is due to be launched on Amazon in this month. It’s the third volume in a series that draws on the stories of members of Mums in Business Association.

Her story tells of how she coped with having a baby at only 18, her struggle to build a business despite suffering from depression and subsequently the death of her mother while she was pregnant with her fifth child.

“I have gone from being on housing benefits and miserable to supporting my whole family and being financially free to live a comfortable life,” says Serena.

See full report in the 6 September edition

BUDDING entrepreneurs looking to launch a business with a social or environmental focus in Surrey can benefit from a major international project.

Sweet success for The Candy Care team at work in the County Care headquarters in Addlestone

A total of £1.45 million of National Lottery funding, through the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund is being made available for a two-year programme called Inspiring Enterprise.

Among those who have already benefited is a local group of adults with learning difficulties who have been able to set up a business as The Candy Care group making and selling sweet bags, helped by Woking-based specialist support provider County Care. It is now selling the sweet bags in nine Addlestone High Street shops – clearing £150 in the first month alone.

Candy Care products

Their enterprise joins an estimated 80,000 autonomous businesses already with a social or environmental mission already operating in the UK that contribute £24 billion to the economy and employing nearly one million people.

The project is reaching out to unemployed people, young people not in education, employment or training, lone parents, older workers, people with disabilities and people in minority groups to make a difference to their communities. It aims to help at least 500 unemployed people take steps to set up a business or improve their work readiness.

See full report in the 6 September edition

BUSINESSES  in the Thames Valley region now have a chance to enter one of the most prestigious multi-category awards events in the area.

The Thames Valley Business Magazine Awards, now in their 23rd year, have a a tight deadline of less than a month, with final entries due on 28 September. The eight categories acknowledge profitability, innovation and employment as well as the contribution made to the local economic community and the provision of support to culture and charities in the region.

The awards ceremony takes place on 15 November at the, Madejski Stadium, Reading, and will be hosted by BBC Radio Five Live Breakfast presenter, Rachel Burden along with special guest, presenter and journalist, Sir Trevor McDonald.