Business - Page 169

Business stories in and around Harrogate, North Yorkshire

New Community Platform to Encourage Self Employment

A new community activity partly funded by the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce to help people gain self-employment has been launched in Harrogate.

The Harrogate Community Enterprise Hub is a new community driven and run network to assist and connect with Harrogate people who have aspirations to develop their own employment, business or social enterprise but are unsure where to start. In addition to those setting out on self employment the Hub is seeking to attract mentors to be advisors.

The project has been led by Dr Richard Williams and a group of fellows of the Harrogate area group of RSA, a social charity. It includes local JP Marion Simons and a range of local business people.

The launch event at Café Culture in Harrogate  brought together over 40 people to hear personal stories of journeys to self employment of business and social enterprises. The launch included famous local entrepeneur Deirdre Bounds who spoke about finding a niche and working hard to deliver new services to meet new market needs.  Cosmopolitan Woman of the Year and Oslo Business Peace prize winner Emily Cummins (22) who told about her amazing story of social enterpise in bringing new products for rural communities in Africa to make and sell.  Student Pritesh Ladwa (20) who is developing a social business to create community forests through offsetting.  Local mother and business woman Karen Allen working from home and developing a network of singing groups for young mothers and their children.  Local businessman John Shakleton talked about linking the fruits of success in business to meeting global social need in provision of medical equipment.  Guests and speakers were able to exchange views on how to start and drive forward new ideas and some of barriers and opportunities in starting new ventures.

Deirdre Bounds speaks to potential Harrogate entrepreneurs


The operation of the new hub was launched, which invites those with skills to offer and those seeking advice to contact the hub or call into Café Culture on Leeds Road Harrogate for further information.

Richard Williams commented: “We hope the community project will connect people who have needs for advice and support to local experts who may be able to assist and signpost people to develop self employment. It is not intended to replace any existing local support infrastucture but to direct people to key contacts and sources of further advice”

Self employed Harrogate IT businessman John Rowe commented: “Its often hard getting started and developing a business and the hub should provide assistance in overcoming barriers to start-up or discussing early stage ideas. This is going to be helpful for people wanting to enter the self employment work market, such as mothers, college students or those made recently unemployed from larger organisation”

Owners of Café Culture, Graham and Glenda Carter commented: “Over the last two years we have been developing a a range of activities here with all sectors of the community. When the RSA Fellows approached us this seemed an ideal opportunity to further serve community needs. The café will provide informal meeting facilities to enable those seeking advice to meet mentors over the coming year.”

Further details are obtainable from the “Harrogate Community Enterprise Hub” pages on Facebook or Linkedin or by emailing

Amnesty for Plumbers Marks New Trend by Taxman

Tom Roseff, Senior Tax Manager at Saffery Champness

A Harrogate tax expert has said the latest tax amnesty for those working in the plumbing trade marks a new trend by HM Revenue and Customes.

The taxman has announced an amnesty for plumbers and associated tradesmen ahead of a clampdown on those failing to fully declare their earnings.

A new tax disclosure agreement set up by HM Revenue and Customs will allow those in the profession to declare their unpaid taxes for the past five years. The penalties for those taking advantage of the amnesty will be ten per cent for careless errors and 20 per cent for deliberate defaulters.

Affected businesses have until May 31 to notify HMRC of their intention to participate in the scheme and will have until the end of August to pay the penalties.

Tom Roseff, Senior Tax Manager at Saffery Champness Chartered Accountants in Harrogate said the latest amnesty built on HMRC’s previous schemes for holders of offshore accounts and medical professionals and reflected a well considered strategy to target those sectors where there is a perception that taxes have been underpaid. 

“It will be interesting to see how many take advantage of this latest amnesty arrangement,” he said. 

 “Depending on the results, it is likely that further sectors will be targeted in a similar way in the future.”

Orthodontist Helps Secure Future of Family Practice

Dentist Jack Cooke with his son, Jack, and daughter-in-law Megan

A leading orthodontist in Wetherby is helping to secure the future of a longstanding family business in the town.

Megan Hatfield of Wetherby Orthodontics has been instrumental in positioning a dental practice started by her father-in-law to allow for future growth and expansion.

Embracing change and preparing for the future is always a challenge for family businesses and although the name Cooke has been synonymous with dental care in Wetherby for decades thanks to Jack Cooke and his son, also called Jack, the family realised that significant investment was needed to keep the business at the forefront of modern dentistry.

At the cutting edge of that innovation is orthodontist Megan Hatfield, wife of Jack junior, who worked alongside her father-in-law in his original town centre practice and has helped position the business for growth.

“Five years ago we made a decision to look for new, larger premises to allow for expansion and modernisation,” explains Megan. They bought a detached house on Deighton Road and started the long process of renovating it to create what is now Ashby Dental, incorporating Megan’s business Wetherby Orthodontics.

“This site has allowed us to double the size of our general dentistry practice, which is run by my husband and his partner Richard Moon,” says Megan.

“It has also meant we’ve been able to create dedicated consulting and treatment rooms for my orthodontic work.

“The project has been time-consuming and has required significant investment but it has given us a bigger, brighter and more up-to-date practice as well as enabling us to modernise our team and our systems.”

Renowned for her approachable manner and her enthusiasm for new ideas Megan treats all age groups, from primary school children to pensioners.

“Most people think of orthodontists as specialists who fit children with braces but 50 per cent of my clients are adults, many of whom missed out on treatment as children and think they have left it too late.

“They are often nervous when they come in so a friendly and supportive approach is very important,” explains Megan.

“People also appreciate being kept informed at every stage of their treatment and I believe in constant communication with my patients.”

Megan’s work has received national recognition. Last year two of her cases were shortlisted for the 2010 Smile Awards and she was highly commended for her treatment of a teenager with crooked teeth. She is also a MOrth gold medal winner and has been shortlisted in both the Private Dentistry Awards and the Dentistry Awards. This year she has a further two nominations in the Smile Awards.

“Recognition at this level is not only a fantastic endorsement of my work, it really helps to put Wetherby on the map as a leading location for modern orthodontics,” says Megan, who believes innovation is key to the practice’s future success. As well as ensuring she is trained to work with the latest products available on the market, including new “hidden” braces that sit on the backs of the teeth instead of the front, Megan regularly communicates with existing and potential clients using new technology.

“I confess to being a bit of a gadget geek and I’m a real fan of Twitter,” explains Megan and she is always looking for new ways to use technology to make her work more accessible.

“Anything that makes it easier for people to get in touch and communicate with us has to be a good thing.”

Corporate Audit Expert Joins Independent Harrogate Accountancy Firm

orporate accountancy specialist Mike Briggs is welcomed to independent Harrogate accountancy firm
Corporate accountancy specialist Mike Briggs is welcomed to independent Harrogate accountancy firm Lithgow Perkins LLP by partner Robert Horner.

Accountancy firm Lithgow Perkins LLP has appointed Mike Briggs to its senior management team as it prepares to expand its audit department.

Mike joins the Harrogate-based practice from Tenon, where he managed audit and accountancy services for the company’s larger business clients.

His extensive corporate experience will enable the long-established general practice firm, which has been doing business in Harrogate for more than 50 years, to broaden the service it offers to small businesses and private clients in North and West Yorkshire.

Partner Robert Horner said Mike was already an established part of the local business community, having been based at Tenon’s Harrogate office and a former chairman of Harrogate and District Round Table.

“Harrogate has a particularly close-knit business community and a wealth of professional expertise,” said Mr Horner, whose own father Jim was a partner of Learoyd and Longbottom before it was taken over and ultimately became the Harrogate office of Tenon.

Mike Briggs said: “I started my career with a small firm in London before moving to a large national organisation and I’m delighted to be working for a local independent practice again.”

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Help to reduce waste in business

A helping hand for businesses in North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire County Council has teamed up with Leeds City Council to produce a handbook full of tips and advice regarding the reduction of waste in businesses.

All businesses produce unnecessary waste which is costly and environmentally damaging. The aim of the handbook is to encourage businesses to think about new ways of disposing of this waste, for example recycling materials. In addition to this it will give advice about how to carry out waste audits and a guide to legislation.

County Councillor Clare Wood, executive member of waste disposal, said: “The handbook is an excellent resource for local businesses to help them find practical advice on reducing waste.”

The handbook has been funded through the Yorkshire and Humber Improvement Efficiency Partnership. It will be available to download from the commercial waste and recycling page of the business section at

North Yorkshire’s broadband vision set out at conference

Dozens of community groups, business leaders and industry figures have come together to discuss the future vision of broadband across North Yorkshire.

The event heard that around one third of North Yorkshire’s households get below average broadband speeds with many communities unable to get any connections at all.

North Yorkshire County Council set out their vision to enable as many people and businesses as possible to be connected to superfast broadband in the years ahead. The Government have nominated the County as one of four pilot areas to roll-out high speed connections and the vision is to use that as a catalyst to get the whole of North Yorkshire online.

The Broadband North Yorkshire website ( was also formally launched to provide a gateway for further information about the campaign.

Andrew Jones, Harrogate and Knaresborough MP

Almost 200 people attended the event held at Ripon Racecourse.

The campaign is supported by every Member of Parliament from across North Yorkshire and York including Foreign Secretary William Hague who recorded a video interview for the event.

Among the companies represented were BT, Virgin, Cable and Wireless, Avanti, the Post Office and Black Sheep Brewery. Organisations attending included the NHS, DirectGov, Race Online 2012, councils, charities and voluntary groups.

Andrew Jones, MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, said:

“The campaign is great news for Harrogate and Knaresborough. Superfast broadband in North Yorkshire will mean improved communications capabilities for many local businesses and individuals, placing them in a better trading position and encouraging growth.

“As industry moves towards increased online trading, it is important that our local area does not get left behind. The government’s decision to pilot the roll-out of superfast broadband here ensures that we are at the forefront of this nationwide race for superfast internet connection.”

William Hague, Foreign Secretary and Member of Parliament for Richmond, said:

“It is an essential part of the infrastructure of our economic success in the future. Clearly public sector spending is not going to be the engine of growth in Britain or any European economy in the years to come.

“That means we need private sector expansion, we need businesses to be able to trade more easily with each other and we need the future economic recovery to be more evenly spread out across this country including in the North of England.

“So in the same way as high speed rail is important to the future of our economy including the North of England, high speed broadband is critical – it’s part of that infrastructure.”

A date was set for the next Broadband North Yorkshire Conference in one year’s time to assess the progress made as more of the County connect to broadband. It will take place at Ripon Racecourse on Saturday 11 February 2012.

Local businesses flying the flag at Venturefest

James Love and Darren Buttle

Two North Yorkshire businessmen will take centre stage at Venturefest Yorkshire next week – helping to put the county firmly on the map when it comes to worldwide trading.

Darren Buttle, CEO of ABF Europe and ABF USA, the innovative office furniture design and manufacturing business based in Hunsingore, near Wetherby, will join intellectual property lawyer James Love, of James Love Legal in Harrogate, as a keynote speaker at the event, which takes place at York Racecourse on Wednesday, 16 February.

The duo will talk on ‘Success in a Global Market’, focusing on the opportunities available to develop business internationally and how to avoid the mistakes made by others.

They will also highlight the role played in their success by UK Trade & Investment, which both credit as a major contributor to helping grow their businesses overseas.

“In the past 12 months we’ve expanded our European business, held successful trade events in the British Embassies in Paris, Madrid and Barcelona and established our new facility in Pennsylvania,” explained Mr Buttle. “We’re also looking at the Far East as a growing new market. UKTI has played a key part in helping ABF identify and explore these opportunities.”

Mr Love added: “UKTI has been essential in helping us obtain work from three visits to China and in marketing events in Europe and the USA. The majority of our case load now involves an international angle, and our success abroad was recognised recently in the prestigious national Law Society Excellence Awards.”

‘Success in a global market – Yorkshire companies reveal how they developed an international business, the benefits and how not to do it’ takes place from 10.45am to noon in The Voltigeur Suite, 3rd Floor, York Racecourse as part of Venturefest Yorkshire.

For more details on the event, visit

Darren Buttle will be available throughout Venturefest Yorkshire on the UKTI stand to offer independent, impartial advice on export strategy. He’s also happy to discuss the benefits of providing ‘a great meeting experiences’, a subject on which he advises some of the world’s largest companies.

New Support for Henshaws Means Business

Henshaws has welcomed a number of new corporate supporters to its Henshaws Means Business programme, including Hunters, VocaLink and Barclays Bank.

The businesses have pledged to help the charity, which provides a range of educational, residential, day-care and community services support for visually impaired and disabled people of all ages, with wide-ranging fund raising and promotional activities during 2011.

Henshaws Means Business has provided wide-ranging services such as visual impairment awareness training, disability etiquette training and disability advice and

consultancy since its launch in March 2009.

Supporters include hlw Commercial Lawyers and the Leeds, York & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce.

Henshaws Yorkshire CEO Caroline Smale said: “It’s tremendous that we’re

being approached by more companies who understand the business benefits of

embarking on a corporate social responsibility programme.”

Taking CSR on board: Hunters managing director Kevin Hollinrake

Jobs and economy boost for North Yorkshire

A new organisation dedicated to planning and promoting a prosperous economic future for York and North Yorkshire has been given the go-ahead by the Government.

The York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership will bring together business leaders and local authorities in a partnership dedicated to ensuring a flourishing private sector.

The Partnership was officially recognised today by the Government.

The process of recruiting private sector members of the board is now under way.

Shaun Watts, chairman of the Partnership steering group and President of the York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said the Government’s recognition was a “great step”.

He added: “It enables the private sector and the public sector to take co-ordinated action in driving job creation, prosperity, and investment.

“The LEP will lie at the heart of local decision-making, and sitting on the board will be a fantastic opportunity for business leaders to play an influential role in the growth and success of the local economy. We want the board to consist of the best people from a range of sectors.”

Besides the Chamber, the steering group involves key business organisations, including the Federation of Small Businesses, the Country Landowners and Business Association, the National Farmers Union, and local business groups.

“This is an exciting development which gives all of us in both the private and public sectors the chance to help shape the economic future of York and North Yorkshire,” said Councillor John Weighell, the Leader of North Yorkshire County Council, on behalf of the local authority partners in the new organisation.

The new LEP will work closely with existing Partnerships in the Leeds City region and the Tees Valley, as well as a Partnership being proposed for Hull, the East Riding, and Scarborough.

Further details on applying for Board membership can be obtained from Jonathan French, the Executive Manager of the York and North Yorkshire Partnership Unit on 01904 477974, or by email to More information can be found on the Partnership’s new website

New senior appointment for local branding agency

Jonathan Robson joins Bluestone Design

Jonathan Robson joins Bluestone Design of Harrogate after eight years as a leading figure in the growth of signage and graphics company, Ad Bells.

He is also a director of Connect Conference Services.

He explained: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing a part in making Ad Bells an established name, but I’m really excited about the opportunities that lie with Bluestone. It’s a fast-changing world, especially in the branding and digital media industry, and being able to offer clients a full service is essential. “I’ve built up a lot of contacts in the Yorkshire region and look forward to continuing to work with them.

Bluestone is a very forward-thinking company with big ambitions and I’m delighted to be part of it.”

The Bluestone Design team has also been bolstered in recent weeks with the appointment of additional designers in the studio, underlining the company’s expansion plans.

Managing director Jonathan Armstead said: “Bluestone is growing rapidly and it was definitely time to bring a sales director on board.

Jonathan has developed a reputation as one of the leading sales professionals in the region and has a focused, entrepreneurial attitude that will be invaluable for our future success. “It’s great to have him with us – his experience, knowledge and approach will really benefit the team.” Bluestone was created in 1998.

The business currently employs seven people at its head office just outside Harrogate and also has satellite offices in London and Edinburgh.