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Young entrepreneurs urged to enter awards

YOUNG entrepreneurs have been urged to submit their ideas to win a £20,000 prize from one of the UK’s fastest growing accountancy firms.

Baldwins Accountants launched the Baldwins KickStart Young Entrepreneur Awards in 2013 and committed to giving away £10,000 worth of funding and £10,000 of mentoring to the winners for the next ten years.

The two runners-up will also be presented with £5,000 of mentoring and accounting advice in the annual competition which encourages young entrepreneurs, aged 18-25, to take their first steps in the business world.

David Baldwin speaking at the Baldwins KickStart Young Entrepreneur Awards 2016

David Baldwin speaking at the Baldwins KickStart Young Entrepreneur Awards 2016

This year’s entries will close on Thursday, August 31, and young entrepreneurs are invited to complete the registration form here.

Ten businesses will then be shortlisted and invited to meet an interview panel made-up of the senior management team from Baldwins Accountants, which has offices across the UK including Ventura Park Road, Tamworth.

The three finalists will be invited to pitch their business to an invited audience of over 450 businessmen and women at a gala dinner. The event will take place at Edgbaston Cricket Ground, the home of Warwickshire County Cricket Club for the second successive year. on Thursday, November 16.

This year marks the first time the competition has expanded across the UK after its success in the Midlands as the Baldwins Accountancy Group grows at a rapid rate.

Entries have got off to a great start with a wide range of different business ideas coming through.

David Baldwin, director at Baldwins Accountants, said the standard of the entries for Baldwins KickStart Young Entrepreneur Awards 2017 has been as high as ever.

He said: “This is a great opportunity for young entrepreneurs to make their mark in a competitive business world.

“The competition aims to encourage those aged between 18 and 25 to submit business ideas which are still in the planning stage or for start-up businesses who have been trading since August 31 last year.

“The whole focus of the competition is to encourage entrepreneurial spirit and give a helping hand to ambitious young people as well as nurturing their talent by providing mentoring and financial advice which can often make the difference between success and failure.

“The competition continues to be a major success and we are still helping businesses from our first year which underlines that they are growing and we take a great deal of pride in playing a part in their achievements.”

Applications for the Baldwins KickStart Young Entrepreneur Awards 2017 remain open for 18-25-year-olds until August 31 at  www.baldwinsaccountants.co.uk/kickstart

Mercedes Car Bonnet and LSH Autos logo

TAMWORTH has been chosen as the prime location for a brand new Mercedes-Benz dealership and regional test drive facility in a major multi-million pound investment which has been described as a huge coup for the area.

LSH Auto UK Limited, the UK subsidiary of the international Lei Shing Hong Group, based in Hong Kong, is in the process of securing a five-acre plot of land south of the A5 bypass in Ventura Park where it plans to deliver a brand new Mercedes-Benz dealership, with class leading showrooms, workshops, offices and a regional test drive facility – as well as creating up to one hundred jobs for the town.

Tamworth Borough Council has played a key role in securing the investment for Tamworth and facilitating the deal between Lei Shing Hong and owners of the land, Aucotts.

The authority will now be working closely with both parties on the detailed design of the property and the wider development scheme.

Although the land already has outline planning permission for employment-generating development, including a new access off the A5 slip road, a detailed planning application is now being prepared and is expected in the autumn. The whole site is expected to create an additional 400 jobs.

Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Regeneration, Cllr Steve Claymore, said: “This investment is a significant coup for Tamworth and increases what is already a healthy confidence in the town as a perfectly-placed investment opportunity. LSH Auto UK Limited has chosen Tamworth for this facility due to its excellent connectivity and the strength of the existing quality offering in the area.

“This should be just the first phase of development on land south of the A5 bypass, which we hope will attract further inward investment to the town to become a major employment site and cement Tamworth’s position as a perfect place to do business on a global scale.”

The site of the proposed development is highlighted in red

The site of the proposed development is highlighted in red

(L to R) Pridewater Estates Marinas Manager Ben Lane and Greenford Ltd Managing Director Claire Greenwood

Greenford Ltd who have offices at Fazeley Mill Marina were thrilled to receive not one but two awards at the prestigious ICE South East England Engineering Excellence Awards 2017.

Civil engineering firm Greenford Ltd’s design and build project of the hydropower station in the village of Sonning, Berkshire on behalf of client Pridewater Estates Ltd was the scheme which swept the categories.

Greenford Ltd, who have offices in Tamworth and perform works all over the West Midlands and home counties, took home the trophies for both the Award for Sustainability & Resilience as well as the Thames Valley Award for Engineering Excellence.

Greenford Ltd Managing Director and ICE Fellow Claire Greenwood could not have been happier with the result. “We were thrilled andhonoured to walk away with two prestigious awards on the night. The Sonning hydropower scheme was an excellent design and build project, incorporating all of the sensitive aspects in terms of the environment, watercourse and location as well as the engineering achievement in delivering the scheme, all while meeting the all-important client objective of producing clean energy.

“It is wonderful to be recognised for our efforts in working towards a Greener energy future for Britain’s civil construction industry as well as being a part of what our client Pridewater Estates are working to achieve.”

The Completed Hydropower Station in Sonning, Berkshire

The Completed Hydropower Station in Sonning, Berkshire

Greenford Ltd ensured the client’s goals of a Green energy solution were not only realised in the end result but also throughout the project design and delivery including practices such as the reusing and recycling of materials, constant review of construction procedures and practices to ensure maximising materials and efficiency, as well as a high level of engagement with the local business and residential community throughout.

The ICE Engineering Excellence Awards are the premier showcase for engineering achievement in South East England with 14 shortlisted infrastructure and building projects for the annual awards, taking place at the Grand Brighton on Thursday 27 July 2017.

Suzanne Moroney, Director of ICE South East England, said: “The ICE South East England Engineering Excellence Awards showcase the very best of what the region has to offer in construction and engineering. All projects shortlisted for the awards are exemplars of great infrastructure projects, whether through their use of innovative new construction methods, their community engagement or their commitment to sustainability and the environment. I would like to congratulate all projects on their outstanding achievement.

The Hydropower Station, Sonning has used a number of innovative techniques to achieve its clean energy objective.  It puts South East England on the map for green energy initiatives and has taken a great leap towards providing value to the wider community and look forward to seeing its full completion.”

Sonning Hydropower Station’s successful completion by Greenford Ltd has meant that the client Pridewater Estates Ltd have been given the means to achieve their goal, of producing enough electricity to equal and exceed the combined annual energy usage of their four canal marina locations across England. The organisation is now well on its way to becoming Britain’s first 100% ‘Green’ marina company.

To find out more about this award winning project and to view the full works gallery visit the Greenford Ltd website www.greenford.ltd.uk

Start Mart logo

A NEW Market Hall which is designed to supporting small traders in the Tamworth Area is to open it’s doors next month!

Named ‘START-Mart’ (Small Tamworth ARea Traders MARkeT) is a new market hall, based in St Editha’s Church Hall – the site of the old ‘flea market’ for those that remember it.  This is when there was a side door to Woolworths that you could use!

START-Mart will have it’s Grand Opening on Saturday 16 September and will then be open every other Saturday from then onwards.

Paula Burton who is one of the traders told Tamworth Informed: “We have Mr Pincher MP attending as a guest of honour who will be giving a short speech and Mayor Cllr John Chesworth & Mayoress Mrs Tereasa Chesworth officially opening the hall at 10am.

“There are 15 different traders joining us offering a fantastic blend products for you to peruse and purchase’


The traders attending the opening day will be:

  • Suzie Q’s
  • Bowbizz by Stephanie
  • Colleens On-line shop/Kleeneze
  • O’Beez Home Sweet Home
  • Naughty but Nice
  • Just For Little’ns
  • Lauren Heaton Accessories
  • Dolly Daydream
  • Andrea Mullins Designs
  • Paper Craft Heroes
  • Geektastic
  • Forever Living
  • Sonia’s Craft
  • Dye Hard
  • Paula’s Kitchen: A Cupcake Witch

There will also be tea, coffee, cakes and other delicious treats on the day.  ‘Paula’s Kitchen: A Cupcake Witch’ will be running ‘The Muggle Tea Shoppe’ which will be run by .

IN OTHER NEWS: Tamworth Enterprise Centre declared officially open for business

Sync Studios are providing the sound system and there will be the beautiful Teresa Meads providing some live music too.

START-Marts initiative is to offer small Tamworth based businesses an opportunity to have a regular outlet where they can present their produce and build a strong client base.

The idea is to help them to expand their businesses, and hopefully allow them to take the next step in furthering their businesses.

START-Mart also therefore offers the Tamworth community an exciting and unique shopping experience while helping to support businesses within their own town, and hopefully begin the process of regenerating the town centre.

Finally, and importantly, as residents and visitors, PLEASE support this venture.

Expand Digital - work experience 2017

BUDDING young entrepreneur Kyle Raffo, 23, recently welcomed five work experience students for a fortnight placement at his Expand Digital premises in Tamworth.

Kyle Raffo

Managing director of Expand Digital who started the business when he was just 17.

The award-winning businessman created Expand Digital when he was just 17. He launched his career after winning a place at the Dragon’s Den supremo Peter Jones Enterprise Academy. Today his company specialises in web, print and multimedia design.

Giving 16 and 17-year-old students a taste of working life is something the Tamworth local has been committed to providing for his community over the last five years.

Speech Bubble, Tamworth InformedKyle, who won the Entrepreneur of the Year title at the prestigious Business Networking awards in 2016, said: “This year I’m thrilled that we have had the capacity to take on five students. It has given them first hand experience of working for an employer. Not only do they involved with real-life projects, but I set them challenges in the areas of our business including marketing, manufacturing and design. At the end of the fortnight the students walked away with a really strong set of skills.”

Kyle welcomed four pupils from The Rawlett School – where he himself was a student – and also one from the Landau Forte Academy.

Speech Bubble, Tamworth InformedHe said: “I’ve been really impressed with the positive attitude of the students we’ve had with us this year. It’s really important for me to show them that if you have passion and a business idea, then age shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your professional goals. We also welcome anyone looking for intern experience of working life within a creative industry.”

Expand Digital - work experience 2017

Kyle Raffo, managing director of Expand Digital with four of the five teenagers who enjoyed work experience with his company last month. Also pictured is customer service manager Phoebe Glynn

Speech Bubble, Tamworth InformedGaye Jones from The Rawlett School said: “Kyle has once again provided an extremely valuable experience for our students. It’s been brilliant to see not only how well they have done, but also how they have matured after spending time in a dynamic working environment such as Expand Digital. ”

Expand Digital is based in the Tame Valley Industrial Estate, Tamworth. The company specializes in digital marketing and media including web design, printing and embroidery services.

TAMWORTH based Reference Technology Ltd, which was started by ex-Rawlett pupil Simon Clayton, has just recruited its thirtieth employee.

The company is recognised across Europe and America as the technological leader in providing online and onsite event management services for conferences and exhibitions.

The new employee will join the company’s project department, liaising with clients on events ranging from major medical congresses to international exhibitions.

Reference Technology was originally set up to provide badging services for events but has extended its range of online products which now all centre on its core Event Reference program.

The most recent development to attract widespread approval is an app for exhibition visitors. It was first used by The Meetings Show at London’s Olympia exhibition centre. The app drew praise for ease of use and the fact that it continued to be fully functional even when the user couldn’t get a phone signal.

Speech Bubble, Tamworth InformedCommenting on the company’s development, Simon Clayton said: “There are several factors behind our success but I think there are two that are particularly important. First is the effort we put into making sure we have the right people in our team. That goes all the way through the company.

“Second is the fact that we devote huge resources to developing our software. It’s all done in-house so we have complete control over what it does and we can make sure we’re offering the best systems on the market.”

Although most of Reference Technology’s clients are UK based, many of them operate internationally so the company sends teams across the world providing onsite services. Simon Clayton spends more time in his Amington office than onsite these days but he still gets a thrill out of looking back.

“When I’m setting up our systems in an exhibition in Las Vegas or Frankfurt, it amuses me to think about when I started working with computers at Rawlett” he says. “Things have come a very long way since then, in many ways.”

THE brand new Tamworth Enterprise Centre has been declared officially open for business with a ribbon cutting and plaque unveiling ceremony this week.

Housed in the former Philip Dix Centre in Corporation Street, the state-of-the-art business hub provides modern serviced offices to rent, well-appointed meeting rooms for hire, an executive business lounge, virtual offices, conference facilities, superfast broadband, Wi-Fi, interactive TVs and much more.

It officially opened with an almost full complement of businesses, with 15 of the 16 available offices already home to a range of small local firms.

Business organisations, civic dignitaries and the centre’s new tenants joined together for an official open evening on Wednesday, July 26.

The creation of Tamworth Enterprise Centre is the first phase of the £6.1million scheme to develop an Enterprise Quarter in the Corporation Street area, which will include the refurbishment and extension of Tamworth Assembly Rooms, the redevelopment of the Carnegie Centre as a restaurant, improvements to the library and surrounding area and the creation of a new public open space.

The Enterprise Quarter is a joint project between Tamworth Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council, which has received additional funding, including £2.95million from the Local Growth Fund, through Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

A meeting room with an interactive board at the centre

A meeting room with an interactive board at the centre

Speech Bubble, Tamworth InformedSpeaking at the official launch of Tamworth Enterprise Centre, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Regeneration, Cllr Steve Claymore, said: “This is the first phase of the Enterprise Quarter scheme, which is about looking after our buildings and bringing them into the 21st century while ensuring they work for us, rather than us working for them.

“Hopefully this will be a truly valuable asset in supporting the creation and growth of small businesses and entrepreneurship in Tamworth, as well as creating jobs and employment in the town, which is extremely important for the local economy.

“We have started with an almost full complement of businesses, which is amazing. I am really proud of what we have achieved here and it is a fantastic start to the Enterprise Quarter. We are also delighted to welcome the Lichfield and Tamworth Chamber of Commerce to the centre which will be a great source of support to local businesses.

“I would like to thank the staff of Tamworth Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council for their hard work in bringing this fantastic project to fruition.”

Speech Bubble, Tamworth InformedStaffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Economic Growth, Cllr Mark Winnington, said: “We are finding that if money is spent in town centres you do attract businesses and this starts to benefit everyone in the area. Once the Enterprise Quarter is completed it should be the fantastic gateway to the town centre that Tamworth deserves.”

The official part of the ceremony was performed by Mayor of Tamworth, Cllr John Chesworth, who cut the ribbon and unveiled the new Tamworth Enterprise Centre plaque. He said: “This is a great facility for small businesses in the area and I hope it provides them with a strong foundation from which to grow into even bigger enterprises in the future. The fact the centre is almost full shows that Tamworth can produce some great local businesses with opportunities for employment and growth.”

Speech Bubble, Tamworth InformedStoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP Chairman, David Frost CBE, added: “We are delighted that this impressive new Enterprise Centre is off to a flying start and has attracted such strong interest from businesses – even before its official opening this week. This is great evidence of the ‘can-do’ entrepreneurial drive of local business people and our public sector partners who are working to transform Tamworth.

“The LEP is proud to be contributing a total of £2.95million to the creation of Tamworth’s Enterprise Quarter, nearly half the cost of this ambitious scheme. The Enterprise Quarter will revitalise the town centre and help make Tamworth a vibrant and go-ahead place to live, work and do business.”

Businesses can use the centre for a variety of purposes, whether they’re looking for a professional setting in which to meet a client, need room for a large training session or conference, or require an official registered address. Serviced offices come with ‘easy in, easy out’ terms and no long leases.

For more information about the facilities on offer, businesses can visit the website www.tamworthenterprisecentre.co.uk, or email tec@tamworth.gov.uk to enquire about hiring a meeting room. Prices range from £10 to £20 per hour depending on the size of the room.


THE £2million business plan detailing how Tamworth can be improved as a more vibrant and welcoming place to work, shop, stay and play is now being finalised, ready for putting to the ballot in October.

The plan to create a Business Improvement District covering Tamworth town centre, the Ventura retail parks and the riverside area in between, is now entering its final phase with the creation of the key document.

It sets out how the potential budget of £2million can be spent over the next five years; delivering improvements identified by the businesses of Tamworth.

The business plan marks the culmination of months of consultation, involving 330 business visits, 120 surveys and interviews, several workshops and countless meetings and discussions to find out what the problems facing Tamworth businesses are and how they can be addressed.

All that information has been fed in to the business plan, which sets out how the potential budget of £2million can be used to deliver projects to the benefit of the whole area. The £2million is based on all businesses with a rateable value of £12,000 or more, each contributing 1.25% of their rateable value to the pot each year.

The final plan will be revealed to businesses in the BID zone at a special launch event taking place at Tamworth Castle on Wednesday, September 6, from 5.30pm.

The development of a BID is being driven by a steering group of business representatives from a cross section of industries.

Steering group Chairman, Rob Holder, manager of John Lewis Tamworth, said: “This is an exciting time for businesses as it presents a great opportunity for them to take hold of the future of Tamworth and shape the town in a way which is going to benefit them. It will raise the profile of Tamworth, locally, regionally and nationally and help to re-establish some pride in what we have here.

“This is our chance to make a real difference to the town and put it on the map as a thriving area to visit, shop and do business.”

The over-riding desire for businesses from across the whole of Tamworth was to develop the town’s identity and promote the unique retail, leisure and heritage experience which Tamworth has to offer – with 78% of respondents saying that this would help their business.

The area to be included in the Tamworth BID

The initial area thought to be included in the Tamworth BID

Proposals within the business plan include measures to promote the town, retail parks and riverside areas as a single entity and raise its profile, locally and nationally. It includes a range of proposals including organising more events and markets, more festive lighting, floral displays and art, introducing uniformed guides to help promote the area, developing the town’s heritage appeal, working with other bodies to improve the experience of travelling and parking in the area and developing a diverse evening and night time economy.

Samantha Panton, owner of Roasters and Vice Chair of the BID Steering Group, said: “Tamworth is such a great place with an outstanding retail offer in the Ventura area, a leisure offer around the river area which includes the fantastic SnowDome and of course the castle and the heritage and specialist retail of the town. Unfortunately, we do not make the most of these things or tell people about what we have here and changing this is at the heart of the entire business plan.”

Businesses identified key priority areas for a new BID which fall into four project groups:

  1. Well promoted
  2. Welcoming and accessible
  3. Lively and attractive
  4. A great business and leisure offer

Objective 1 is about developing and promoting the strengths and characteristics of Tamworth and raising awareness of its retail, leisure and heritage experience locally, regionally and nationally. The key activities identified in the plan include the promotion of different elements of Tamworth – the town, retail parks and riverside – as one single entity.

Objective 2 aims to make Tamworth a more accessible and welcoming place for visitors, workers and residents to explore. Traffic flows around Ventura were a particular issue, along with pedestrian signage to the different areas. This initiative will also see the introduction of uniformed hosts to welcome visitors and support events across the area.

Objective 3 will see the BID supporting and managing events and markets which attract people to the town, but also ensure that businesses benefit from them. The BID also recognises that the heritage of Tamworth is something to value and will work with others to ensure that the area makes more of this.

Objective 4 aims to bring about an improvement in the range and quality of retail and leisure offer and encourage more investment into the town, to boost both the daytime and night-time economies.

If you are business within the BID zone and would like to attend the launch event on September 6, please email enquiries@bidtamworth.co.uk or phone 01827 214131. More information about BID Tamworth is available at www.bidtamworth.co.uk.

Yours 11

A BRAND NEW store opened it’s doors for the first time in Ankerside Shopping Centre today as the plus size fashion retailer, Yours Clothing began trading.

Well known for its wide range of ladies fashion in sizes 16 – 36, including clothing, lingerie, footwear and accessories, Yours Clothing opened its doors at Ankerside Shopping Centre today, Friday 21st July.

The arrival of the fabulous clothing chain at the shopping centre, which is located next to Bluc Inc and opposite Poundland, will see the creation of up to five jobs for the people of Tamworth, of which the store are still recruiting.

THE town’s shopping centre is set to welcome a brand-new addition next week as the plus size fashion retailer, Yours Clothing announces the opening of its new Tamworth store. Well known for its wide range of ladies fashion in sizes 16 – 36, including clothing, lingerie, footwear and accessories, Yours Clothing will open its doors at Ankerside Shopping Centre on Friday, 21st July. The arrival of the fabulous clothing chain at the shopping centre, which will be located next to Bluc Inc and opposite Poundland, will see the creation of up to five jobs for the people of Tamworth, of which the store are still recruiting for a store manager and three sales assistants.

Ankerside Shopping Centre manager, Jeff Wigley with Yours Clothing staff.

Jeff Wigley, Ankerside Shopping Centre manager, said the opening of such a popular fashion store is a fantastic addition to the town. “It has been extremely exciting to be able to welcome Yours Clothing to the centre this week and even better to see so many shoppers enjoying the opening on Friday,” he said.

“We have a terrific mix of fashion retailers at Ankerside including Blue Inc, Peacocks and Select, so we’re thrilled for Yours Clothing to be a part of the offering at the centre,” Jeff added.

Former Yours Clothing model turned plus-size style advisor, Amy Steed at the opening of Ankerside's Yours Clothing.

Former Yours Clothing model turned plus-size style advisor, Amy Steed at the opening of Ankerside’s Yours Clothing.

You can find out more about Yours Clothing and see their full range at www.yoursclothing.co.uk

online safety

CYBERCRIME and online fraud are on the increase but recent figures suggest that company directors are twice as likely to become the victims of identity theft as members of the general public.

Cifas, the organisation that operates the National Fraud Database has highlighted the fact that a great deal of personal information about company directors is available via the Companies House register, leaving directors vulnerable.

Responding to a report in the Financial Times last month, Companies House stated that they were working with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to review the availability of personal information on the register.

Identity fraud is said to cost around £5.4bn a year according to research undertaken by Portsmouth University.

The Deputy PCC, Sue Arnold, has today written to the Right Hon Greg Clark, the minister responsible, asking for an urgent update.

DPCC Sue Arnold with Detective Superintendent Amanda Davies, Staffordshire Police lead on Cyber Crime

DPCC Sue Arnold with Detective Superintendent Amanda Davies, Staffordshire Police lead on Cyber Crime

‘There were 173,000 recorded cases of identity fraud in the UK last year. Cybercriminals and online fraudsters are becoming increasingly sophisticated but it’s clear that Companies House has failed to move with the times. Here in Staffordshire, we are working with our partners to reduce the levels of online crime but we need to be assured that the government is doing all it can to reduce the number of incidents.’

The Police and Crime Commissioner is leading a coalition of partners from businesses, banks, law enforcement and public safety agencies who are sharing their expertise in a concerted effort to protect residents and businesses from all forms of online fraud.

‘Online fraud often targets the vulnerable but we all need to be vigilant to prevent what can be a costly and deeply upsetting form of crime.’

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