Woking Business

FOUR trainees are celebrating achieving chartered status thanks to support from Vail Williams.

Eren Boyraz, Tom Horton, Hugo Langlois and Jamie Mayland recently completed the assessment of professional competence (APC), with Vail Williams achieving a 100% pass rate.

CONGRATULATIONS – Three of the Vail Williams APC successes are Eren Boyraz, Hugo Langlois and Jamie Mayland

The property advice company, which has a branch in Woking, paid to put the four through their training. Colleagues in the firm, many of whom are former APC assessors, supported and guided them during a two-year scheme.

To complete the APC, the trainees took part in a three-day course, internal mock interviews, submitted of a portfolio of evidence, undertook practical experience and were interviewed by a RICS panel.

Vail Williams managing partner Matthew Samuel-Camps said: “On behalf of everyone at Vail Williams I would like to congratulate Eren, Tom, Hugo and Jamie on this achievement. We’re immensely proud of the hard work and dedication shown by all four and we’re thrilled to have been able to support them.

THE Woking branch of a storage and business facilities company is offering free space for donations to a children’s hospice and free delivery of Christmas gifts.

Titan Storage Solutions is providing up to 300 sqft of storage space for direct donations or overflow items that the charity cannot store.

Donations intended for Christmas should be made before next Friday (14 December).

A Titan spokesman said: “We noticed Shooting Star Chase was collecting donations so we wanted to help to brighten up the children’s Christmas by helping the charity get as many donations as possible over the Christmas period.

“We realised that if they were to have a high number of donations they would need somewhere to store their items – and rather than paying for this the charity were delighted we could help by providing free storage and a free drop-off service.

GENEROUS – Titan Storage Solutions’ Woking branch opened in February last year

“After this Christmas appeal we have offered to assist with any storage needs that the charity has on an on-going basis so we can continue to support them.”

Titan staff have been in Woking town centre this week promoting the charity collection.

New clothing, bedding and toys can be posted or delivered to Titan Storage Solutions on Orchard Business Park, Forsyth Road, Woking GU21 5RZ, or delivered directly to Shooting Star Chase.

The Woking branch of Titan opened in February last year and is the latest facility for the company, which has five other stores  in the southeast, Essex and the Midlands and plans to open two more next year.

As well as storage, Titan offers office space, meeting rooms and parking and mail and delivery acceptance services for businesses and individuals.

FOR more information on the charity, visit www.shootingstarchase.org.uk

THE Woking town centre Christmas tree has been installed after being donated by the Woking Asian Business Forum.

This is the 11th year that the WABF has presented a tree to the residents of Woking.

The 34-ft tree was put in place in time for the panto-themed Big Christmas Lights Switch-On in Jubilee Square.

It was presented to the High Sheriff of Surrey, Jim Glover, by WABF chairman Shahid Azeem, who said: “The Woking Asian Business Forum is delighted to once again sponsor Woking town centre’s fabulous Christmas Tree.

“The festive season is always a time for friends and family to come together and a tree is always the focal point of these celebrations.

Mohammed Zubair of the Woking Asian Business Forum presents the town centre Christmas tree to Jim Glover, the High Sheriff of Surrey, with Woking Borough Council neighbourhood manager, Andy Calfe, second left, and members of the WABF, from left, Sarmad Nasir, Sangeeta Patel and Shahid Azeem

“We live in a most multicultural society with great relations and it is vital that we celebrate our community.”

Mr Glover said: “It is always a delightful time of year when Christmas Trees appear in town centres across Surrey.

“The continued support of the Woking Asian Business Forum reflects the strong community spirit that is enjoyed in Woking, and a reminder that no matter what race or religion you are, Christmas is a time for giving and being thankful.”

The tree will stay in place until early January when it will be taken down and recycled via a large wood-chipping machine.

FOR more information about events across Woking borough during the festive season, visit www.celebratewoking.info

THE West Byfleet company Gibson Hewitt has won the Turnaround Firm of the Year category at national awards.

The business recovery and insolvency firm impressed judges at the TRI (Turnaround, Recovery and Insolvency) awards with the work it does and the high esteem in which they are held by their clients.

The TRI awards are regarded as one of the most prestigious honours in the insolvency profession and celebrates the best professionals and firms in the UK.

The trophy was presented by comedian Ed Byrne at the Hilton Bankside in London.

SUCCESS – Lynn Gibson with Ed Byrne and award sponsors

Gibson Hewitt director Lynn Gibson said receiving the award was a highlight of her career.

“We have had a very successful year and handled matters for a wide range of clients from a variety of sectors, but to have this success recognised nationally by our peers is a real honour,” Lynn said.

“Business turnaround is a key aspect of what we do at Gibson Hewitt and lies at the heart of our practice. Our tenacious, but caring approach is certainly valued by our clients, which the judges praised us for when presenting us with this award.”

Lynn added that the firm’s recent success would not be possible without the support of staff and its contacts and clients.

Gibson Hewitt, which covers West Byfleet, Woking, Guildford and the rest of Surrey, works with businesses, partnerships and individuals, first looking at measures such as turnaround and restructuring and voluntary arrangements. It also provides administration, liquidation and acting as Law of Property Act Receivers.

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.