New help scheme for small businesses
A business rates relief scheme which will benefit nearly 200 businesses in Erewash is expected to get the green light at an Erewash Borough Council meeting this week.
The move comes following a national government revaluation of all commercial properties in England and Wales, leading to new rates payable by business owners. The last revaluation was in 2010 and the latest one has resulted in the business rates of some premises in the borough increasing significantly.
The government has made a funding pot available for local authorities to cover a four year period to help the predominantly small, medium and independent businesses facing the steepest increases in their bills as a result of the revaluation.
Erewash Borough Council’s share of this additional funding is £251,000 which will be distributed to local businesses over four years through a new rates relief scheme that councillors are expected to support at the Full Council meeting on Thursday 12 October.
The scheme will target the funding at those premises with a rateable value not exceeding £100,000 and work across two bands – those with a value up to £20,000 and those with a value between £20,001 and £100,000.
It is proposed that relief awarded to businesses in the lower band will cover the increase in business rates payable as a result of the revaluation between the 2016/17 and 2017/18 financial years, while the funding will be used to ensure the increase payable by businesses in the upper band will be limited to 1.5%
Councillor Wayne Major, Erewash Borough Council’s Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Resources, says:
“We continue to do everything within our power to encourage business growth across the borough, creating opportunities for local people and helping to generate new jobs.
“This proposed scheme will target relief at businesses that are facing a significant increase in their business rate bills in order to minimise financial hardship.”
It is recommended to the meeting that the relief is distributed to the eligible local businesses automatically and efficiently without the need for an application process.
The funding is ‘front-loaded’, meaning £141,000 is available for the current financial year followed by £68,000 in 2018/19, £38,000 in 2019/20 and £4,000 in 2020/2021.
The Full Council meeting is at Long Eaton Town Hall this Thursday 12 October, at 7pm.
New mobile app video gives customers the power of instant credibility in reviews
A BUSINESSMAN hopes that his new mobile app will revolutionise the way that customers give reviews and comments on services they have used.
Innovator Naseem Iqbal has designed the Mobytap app so that people can give their honest views about a service in a shop, restaurant, hotel, or other business on a short video which can go viral.
Naseem(45), from Alvaston, Derby, has a background in rubbish removal and re-cycling, and for six years has been running his own business, Junkporters, in Nottingham. Through this experience he learned about online marketing, social media and digital technology.
For some time Naseem has had pictures of happy customers on his own liveried trucks which he then uses as testimonials on social media.
“Then I asked a contractor on a job if I could feature him giving feedback on my smartphone,” he said. “That was my 'lightbulb moment'.”
He did his research, then created the app whereby customers can record a video up to 30 seconds long on their mobile phones, instead of typing, giving their comments or endorsements. Importantly, these are first checked to make sure that there are no rude or abusive words or actions.
The app can be applied to any trader who has an online presence. The reviews are uploaded live onto social media networks by the businesses themselves so that potential customers can see them and make informed decisions. The first five videos are free after which businesses pay an annual subscription to Mobytap for storing them.
Naseem said that other people know the reviews are authentic because those giving their comments by this method cannot hide behind anonymity. “No reviews are ever deleted, including bad ones,so that people know they are genuine.”
The app cost £60,000 to develop, but is free to download. The company does not have to manufacture anything, and simply depends on cloud-based 4G technology.
Naseem, (pictured) whose Mobytap business is based at The Ingenuity Centre at the University of Nottingham's Innovation Park, said: “We keep our overheads very low.”
“Now the development is complete we hope to turn over a profit at the end of this financial year. I'm confident this will be a success.
“Companies always want good reviews or to improve what they provide if they have poor comments. This app and way of publishing comments online will help them up their game.”
In September the Mobytap app was downloaded more than 1,500 times.
Naseem said the opportunities and potential for the Mobytap are endless. As the concept and company grows it will need to take on staff.
Workers' pedal-pushing power produces pounds to give sick children holidays
TEN employees from an Ilkeston firm swapped work clothes for cycling shorts and helmets to take part in a charity bike ride for a local good cause.
The cyclists, from Dales Fabrications, which designs and makes aluminium building products, got on their bikes and made their way to the Lincolnshire seaside resort of Skegness.
And their pedal-pushing power raised a minimum in sponsorship of £2,500, including a donation from the company, for Ben's Den.
This is the second time this year that workers from the company have raised money – previously it was £1,200 – for the charity that was set up in memory of Ben Parker who passed away in 2003 after a three-year battle with leukaemia, diagnosed when he was just 10.
The money will go towards the upkeep of caravans at Mablethorpe used to support the families of children fighting leukaemia or cancer by giving them much-needed quality time away from hospital.
Karl Prosser, managing director of Dales Fabrications, on Crompton Road, said: “Most of the employees have had bikes from the Government's cycle-to-work scheme. So this ride was combining the idea of green travel with leisure and the added benefit for charity.
The distance from the factory to Skegness was 103 miles, but one worker Anthony Fowkes(43), went extra miles by cycling to the start from his home in Allenton, Derby. “People were cycling at their own pace, but I was doubling back to make sure everyone was OK,” he said.
Four others, including Karl, though joining the spirit of the ride, did a shorter distance of 30 miles from Boston. He explained: “Some were not experienced or fit enough to do the whole journey. One, Nicola Chambers, an organiser along with Rebecca Cross, had just returned from maternity leave!”
One of those, 18-year-old Tia Bexon from Ilkeston, said:”I was nervous doing it because I had not ridden for four years before practising for it.
“I wanted to take part because the charity is close to my heart as my brother Ryan died of leukaemia 12 years ago, the day before his first birthday.”
Ben's dad Darren, on behalf of the charity, praised the “fantastic effort” of the cyclists. “In July I cycled to Skegness myself as part of a fund-raiser and I know what an effort it was.
“Such is the demand for our help that, sadly, we were turning away families before the summer break, but now we have purchased a fourth caravan to cope with requests.”
Dales, which has 40 employees, is celebrating 40 years in business.
“This charity ride reflects the good team ethos that we enjoy at the company, and we would also like to add particular thanks to those that gave valuable support to the riders, and also to the significant number of people that turned up to cheer us over the finish line in Skegness,” Karl added.
Pictured(left to right) on arriving at Skegness, are: Colin Dales, Kelly Bexon, Jhyrl Francis, Anthony Fowkes, Karl Prosser, Adam Shaw, Rebecca Cross, Tia Bexon, Darren Barker, Nicola Chambers.
Anyone who wishes to donate to the charity can do so online at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/darrenbecant
More free support on offer to help potential entrepreneurs take first steps in business
A second free programme to help would-be entrepreneurs in Amber Valley and Erewash set up their own business starts next month.(October).
Enterprise agency Erewash Partnership is delivering the starter workshops plus mentoring support behalf of East Midlands Chamber as part of a county-wide initiative that is funded by Derbyshire County and Derby City Councils and Derby and Derbyshire Economic Partnership.
Residents of Amber Valley or Erewash who want to take part have to enrol and register through the Partnership, based in Long Eaton.
They will be offered a package of tailored support, and arrangements will be made for them to attend five workshops. The workshops will be followed by advice, support and guidance from an experienced mentor, at no cost to the participants.
Experienced professionals will lead the workshops, which will take place at Amber Valley Borough Council offices in Ripley Town Hall. This follows those held in the summer in Erewash, which were well attended.
Starting on October 10 and finishing on November 30 the five half-day workshops include subjects such as getting the basics right, understanding your market and how to reach it, business planning, bookkeeping, and starting with social media.
Now in its 23rd year of supporting enterprise, the Partnership has an excellent record of helping people start businesses, nurturing them while they develop and continuing to give advice and help once established.
In Amber Valley 11.4 per cent of the economically active population is self-employed, which is higher than the national average of 10.8 per cent that are self-employed, according to figures for the year up to last September.
Of 4,400 businesses in Amber Valley, 88 per cent are micro businesses employing fewer than 10 people.
Councillor Trevor Ainsworth, Amber Valley Council's cabinet member for regeneration, said his authority was pleased to be working with the Partnership on this business starter initiative.
“The workshops will be a great support, they have been specially tailored to provide the necessary tools and foundations for anyone considering starting their own business,” he commented.
“This programme is flexible so people can pick and choose where they need support and which workshops to attend. There is also an ongoing mentoring offer which is invaluable to this programme, giving reassurance and guidance through the journey to self-employment.”
Over the last three years the Partnership helped 275 businesses set up in Erewash and Amber Valley. To do that it delivered more than 1,600 advisory sessions. It also helped more than 500 established businesses.
Chief executive Ian Viles said: “We are delighted to be helping entrepreneurs taking their first steps towards hopefully becoming the business successes of tomorrow.”
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