Woking Business

NEW challenges for businesses have been kept human resources expert Martine Robins in demand in the Woking area; so much so, she is taking over The HR Dept Guildford and broadening the reach of her outsourced HR support business.

The expansion became live from 1 April, less than three years after she moved from her corporate role to running her own business. A prominent member of Woking Chambers and founding partner of CMPP Woking, Martine expects the current unsettled impact of Brexit and ongoing issues over employment legislation will continue to keep her busy providing support to local businesses.

“The ‘employment field’ continues to be regarded as a battleground for businesses not least with the introduction of new legislation, in May 2018, namely GDPR. Meanwhile, it’s clear that Brexit is having an effect on the labour market and will continue to do so regardless of whatever the final outcome is,” she said. “Finally, there are also issues following the Matthew Taylor report in 2017 – the Good Work Plan – which the Government has accepted. The outcome will mean more that employers will have to ensure that they are employing people in line with the recommendations that will become law.

“If you are an SME business, how do you cope with these changes by ensuring compliance that will support and align to your business rather than detract from it?  This is where I can add value to clients, by ensuring that they are compliant and removing risk from employing people wherever possible.”

THERE’s no stopping Liane Jackson, who set up her own franchise as a Daisy First Aid Trainer less than a year ago and came away from a national business ceremony with a Highly Commended award.

“It was very exciting,” said Liane, a 55-year-old Woking grandmother, having made it through to the finals of The Family Network Recognition National Business Awards to receive a Highly Commended in the New Business of the Year category.

Liane at the awards ceremony on London

“Being a grandma to a gorgeous three-year-old, I wanted to bring paediatric first aid training to as many parents and also grandparents as possible.”

Daisy First Aid CEO Jenni Dunman said: “Liane has shone so brightly since joining Daisy First Aid, she is a fantastic trainer with such incredible feedback. 

“She has had to learn so many new business skills but has done this with enthusiasm and confidence. I am so impressed with the way Liane has grown her business from a seed. She has become a popular member of her local community and is a true delight to be around.”

For Liane, Daisy First has been “some of the best training I’ve done in my life”. She is currently working for her Level 3 Education and Training certificate which will enable her to train teachers and school classes: “I am passionate about providing all parents with lifesaving first aid skills so that they feel prepared in an emergency.”

A qualified paediatric instructor and registered nurse with 25 years nursing experience, she worked in intensive care in several London hospitals as well as St Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey for many years. She also worked as a school nurse with children with severe disabilities and as a genetic counsellor working with families affected by genetic diseases before leaving the NHS to work for Virgin Airlines as a cabin crew first aider on long haul flights.

Technology solutions specialist, Krome Technologies, has purchased new office headquarters near Chertsey town centre from Gardiner Real Estate plc.

Woking-based property advisers, Vail Williams LLP, were the selling agents for one of the biggest property deals to date in the Chertsey area this year.

It will see Krome relocate from its offices in Addlestone, to a fully self-contained office building at Kestrel Court, Pound Road, Chertsey – just two miles from its former premises.  

New premises – Krome Technology’s new 9,658 sq. ft. premises in Kestrel Court in Chertsey, which is soon to be named Krome House

Situated five minutes’ walk from the town centre, the building, which will soon be renamed Krome House, underwent full refurbishment to create 9,658 sq. ft. of outstanding high-quality office space spread across two floors.

Made up of an open plan first floor, together with two separate ground floor wings accessed from a modern reception, the building is ideally situated close to the M25, with good transport links to both Heathrow and London.

Steve New, partner at Vail Williams, who marketed the property on behalf of Gardiner Real Estate said: “We’re pleased to have secured the sale of this property to Krome at what is an incredibly buoyant time for the Chertsey office property market.

“Having been involved in every detail from the design of the space to the marketing and subsequent sale of the property, it is very satisfying to see the end result and welcome such an exciting, high growth firm to the town.”

Krome, founded in 2009, recently announced turnover in excess of £15 million for the first time, with profits up 19% on the previous year.

John Hall, Managing Director at Gardiner Real Estate, commented: “We’re grateful to Vail Williams for the expert insight they brought to this transaction, which resulted in a competitive Grade A property capable of attracting a high-quality, high-growth occupier like Krome.”

Krome, which has contracts in place with a number of enterprise businesses and High Street names, is committed to providing a quality service around all aspects of Information Technology, delivering an enhanced customer and employee experience. A core part of this is the environment in which its employees work.

Rupert Mills, Director at Krome discusses: “We moved our Manchester office into new high-quality facilities in Salford Quays last year with great success. This move for our head office in Surrey was the next natural evolution for us.

“Having a great working environment that our team can enjoy and be proud of helps us build on our culture of being a quality place to work, whilst providing the right services for our customers.”

75 staff from Krome are expected to relocate to the new premises over the next 6 months.

The Woking-based, multi-million pound, international IT distributor Nuvias, has appointed Simon England as its new CEO. He has been tasked with taking Nuvias into the next phase of its development, leveraging the service-led and solution-rich platform and completing the vision to become Europe’s leading High-Value distributor, accelerating growth and impact for partners.

Simon England

Simon takes full operational control as chief executive from 1 April. His experience in developing and leading businesses in the value added distribution space for almost 30 years includes his most recent role as senior vice president at Next Generation Technologies.

The Nuvias Group, which has a turnover in excess of $500million, has brought together award-winning channel businesses across Cybersecurity, Advanced Networking and Unified Communications. The initial phase, integrating these acquisitions as a group, has been led by Paul Eccleston, who will take the position of Executive Chairman of Nuvias Group, retaining responsibility for vendor and corporate Strategy.

He said: “This is a very exciting step in the development of Nuvias and will enable us to move forward under Simon’s leadership to fully realise the enormous opportunity for Nuvias over the months and years to come.” 

Simon said: “Nuvias is exceptionally well positioned in a market which continues to grow strongly and is transforming how IT Services are securely delivered and consumed. Nuvias has a unique set of assets, from its expertise and reputation to its partner network and portfolio of market-leading vendors and services. I am excited about the opportunity to build on these foundations”.

THE Woking-based digital intranet software company Invotra hosted a visit by Anne Milton, the   Apprenticeships and Skills Minister.

The visit marked Apprenticeship Week and also International Women’s Day. Mrs Milton was formerly Minister for Women and met several female apprentices at the Chertsey Road offices.

MPs Anne Milton and Jonathan Lord with Alison Galvin, far right, and other staff and apprentices at Invotra

Andrew Doyle, a former Apprentice of the Year, and Leonie Watson led a session demonstrating Invotra’s enABLE laboratory, which helps to improve the accessibility of computer equipment and software.

Mrs Milton used several sets of special glasses, which simulate different forms of visual impairments, so she could experience what this was like and how different products and designs could be used to improve accessibility.

The visit was organised by Alison Galvin, the Invotra HR director, who met Mrs Milton, who is also MP for Guildford, at an International Women’s Day event last year.

During the visit on Friday the minister saw a session led by Chelsea Cadd, who has completed a level 4 cyber security apprenticeship, that included a live cross-site scripting attack involving apprentices Shona McClarence in the Newcastle office, and Georgia Ashby.

The day included visits by Keith Smith, the director of apprenticeships at the Education and Skills Funding Agency, and Jonathan Lord, the Woking MP.

Alison said the visit went very well.

“It was wonderful – beyond what we thought it would be,” she said. “It has put Woking on the map.”

Alison said that Invotra software was used in more than half of all government offices and having apprentices had helped the business to succeed.

“Many of them are now heading up their areas of business and several are now part of our management.

“We have put a lot of investment into apprentices; its very multifaceted.”

WOKING-BASED Harvey Water Softeners has been presented with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation by the Duke of Kent, who visited the Hipley Street factory and offices.

The Duke was given a demonstration of the company’s products and then taken on a tour of the factory and production line where thousands of domestic water softeners are made each year.

He presented the trophy to company founder Harvey Bowden and Martin Hurworth, the managing director.

Harvey Bowden, the Duke of Kent, and Martin Hurworth

Harvey was chosen as a winner of The Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation for 2018 for its invention of the first compact, non-electric block salt water softener.

Guests included Michael More-Molyneux, the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, Jonathan Lord, the MP for Woking, Jeannie Satchell from the Local Enterprise Partnership Enterprise M3 and John Pearce, CEO of the manufacturing organisation Made in Britain, of which Harvey is a member. Also, in attendance were Beryl Hunwick, the deputy Mayor of Woking, and Louise Morales, the borough councillor for the area around the Harvey.

Mr Hurworth said: “We’re really pleased to have won this award and it’s great that our team has been able to take Harvey Bowden’s original idea and grow this business into the success it is today – so well in fact that we now need to move to larger premises to keep that growth going.”

Mr Lord said: “What a great Woking business success story we have here. What began as one man with a dream is now the largest water softening company in Europe with 300 staff in Woking alone.

“It only goes to show what can be achieved when you develop the best product and have the drive and ambition to go out and sell it to the rest of the world.

“Harvey Water Softeners is an amazing example for local businesses.”

The compact twin-cylinder water softener was invented by Mr Bowden and was the first to fit under a kitchen sink with two cylinders that allowed for continuous softening. It solves the problem of limescale build-up for hard water areas.

Harvey sells thousands of water softeners every year to households across the UK and around the world. The company hopes to move from its Old Woking site to Fairoaks Garden Village, where it would create a further 150 new jobs in 2023.

The company, which turns over more than £30 million a year, posted record sales last year, with a quarter of that coming from exports, after recent multi-million-pound investments helped to increase factory output by 28%.

John Pearce, CEO of Made in Britain, said: “Everywhere you look at Harvey you see exemplary business practice. It’s a truly unique business that, after 40 years, isn’t defined by just surviving but rather by turning its long legacy into a strong strategic future. That’s often what we see in manufacturers across our other 50 product sectors.

“At Made in Britain, we champion this manufacturers mindset that Harvey demonstrates; that ability to cope with changing economic or political uncertainty far better than many other non-manufacturing sectors.”

Churchill Retirement Living voted 2nd Best Company to Work For in the UK and wins special Wellbeing Award

Byfleet housebuilder Churchill Retirement Living has been named in the Top 100 Best Companies to work for in the UK by the Sunday Times, achieving its highest ever position of 2nd place. The Company also won a special ‘Wellbeing Award’ in recognition of its leading approach to looking after Colleagues’ health and wellbeing – from regular social events to free health checks, a day off on your birthday, and a confidential Colleague support line.

“To be named the second best company in the country to work for is a fantastic accolade and something every single member of the team can be proud of,” said Spencer McCarthy,  chairman and chief executive officer of Churchill Retirement Living.

RUNNERS-UP – Some of the Byfleet team celebrating their success

I’ve always believed in the importance of looking after my team and treating them well, so it was great to have that recognised with a special award for wellbeing. The culture of any company is its lifeblood, and I believe that happy and motivated Colleagues are the key to Churchill’s continued success.”

Jonathan Austin, Founder and CEO of Best Companies, added: “I would like to congratulate Spencer, Clinton and the Churchill team on their achievement. Best Companies have been producing the Accreditation standard since 2006 to acknowledge excellence in the workplace. Organisations like Churchill have continued to focus on their Colleagues and have been rewarded with an engaged workforce who tell us that this is a best company to work for.”

The Sunday Times Best Companies survey has been produced and published annually since 2001

A RADIO Woking presenter has developed an app that helps learner drivers through the practical side of getting a licence.

Keith Woodhouse, who helped to set up the online station that is based at The Winston Churchill School in St John’s, said the app is firmly targeted at young drivers, aged 17-25, with the aim of helping them to get the most out of every driving lesson.

HELPING HAND – Keith Woodhouse has developed and app to help learner drivers pass their test

“Often, the start of a driving lesson recaps the last. With the Driving Lessons UK Lite App, it enables young drivers to do more of this in their own time, ensuring that lesson time can be maximized,” Keith said.

The app draws together content of the practical driving lesson with the theoretical concepts behind the principles of driving safely, so young drivers can continue learning even when they’re not behind the wheel.

Keith said the app, which can be downloaded to smart phones, is a learning aid that is intended to complement driving lessons and keep what they’ve already learned fresh in their minds.

It was written by the owner of a driving school with more than 15 years’ experience and comes with an accompanying website.

“The content has been split in to clear and easy-to-understand sections

that take young drivers through what they did on their last lesson and

what they can expect on the next.

“The website and app will not teach you to drive on its own, but it will

support the lessons that young drivers take in the run up to their test,” Keith said.

The Lite App can be used free of charge and gives users an idea of how to get the most out of the full app, which costs £5 to download.

Keith, who is a professional app and website designer, helped to set up Radio Woking, which developed from the Winston Churchill School station Yay Radio.

He and Justin Coll, the IT manager at the school, built the community station when the studio was built about five years ago.

Keith presents The Wot Show every Thursday at 6pm featuring local unsigned bands.

The work of a Woking-based charity that provides small businesses with loans has been recognised with a European microcredit award for its good practices.

The Fredericks Foundation, which received a European Code of Good Conduct for Microcredit Provision earlier this month, provides small business loans to people excluded from mainstream credit.

The microfinance charity, founded in 2001 by Paul Barry-Walsh, a successful IT entrepreneur, says its loans aim is to give individuals the opportunity to transform their lives with dignity – rather than through hand outs.

The European Code of Good Conduct for Microcredit Provision (ECoGC) provides a set of standards in terms of management, governance, risk management, reporting, and consumer and investor relations that are common. These standards are for the benefit of customers, investors, funders, owners, regulators and partner organisations.

It made the award following an extensive audit and review process where every aspect of the Foundation was tested, Fredericks scored highly and received the award on 4 February 2019.

Duncan Parker, CEO of Fredericks, said ‘We are thrilled to have received this affirmation from the European Microfinance organisation. We strive to provide a great service for our beneficiaries and donors and this will give them much confidence in us as the relationship is one built on trust and integrity. I’m delighted for my team at Fredericks as it’s a huge ‘well done’ recognising both their professionalism and especially their passion, commitment and hard work.’

Fredericks Foundation, a member of Woking Chamber of Commerce, has helped create over 1,600 companies and has granted loans of over £5 million. For more information visit www.fredericksfoundation.org

Chobham Business Club Members were delighted to host the Mayor of Woking Cllr Will Forster, 45th Mayor of Woking, at a business lunch on Friday 15th February at the Rosso Mazaro Italian Restaurant in Chobham attended by 22 members.

HELPING THE HOMELESS – Chobham Business Club Members Craig Bourne, Tricia Matthews, Vivian Woodruff and Richard Whittington present a cheque to Mayor of Woking Cllr Will Forster with owner Diego and Ciro from Rosso Mazara. Picture by Marilyn Taylor

The food was excellent and everyone enjoyed their lunch consisting of a variety of different food. The Mayor of Woking gave a speech regarding his chosen charity for his Mayoral year which is to support Woking’s local homeless charity, the York Road Project, which provides emergency lodging and longer term accommodation and ongoing support to help those experiencing homelessness get back on their feet.

Will explains: “My grandmother used to support this excellent charity and as a result I have grown up in Woking and supporting it too. I was surprised to hear that it has never been the Mayor’s charity before and so I am hoping that I can help raise funds for this very deserving cause, as well as raise awareness on how the people of Woking can best help people who have fallen on hard times.”

Craig Bourne Chairman and Tricia Matthews President of Chobham Business Club were delighted to hand over a cheque to the Mayor in the sum of £250.00, some of this money was raised in a raffle on the day.