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Business Now Mag

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  • Business Matters: Small rural businesses have nearly £1M of funding opportunities open to them

    More than a third of the D2N2 area’s total of 880,000-plus jobs are in rural local authority areas but according to DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) problems for the rural economy can include reduced income among farmers, lower than average wages and difficulties in finding business investment.

    D2N2 – a partnership of business, local authorities, skills and training providers, and community organisations tasked with boosting economic growth across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire – is making £933,000 available; to help new or established small or micro businesses in rural areas to expand and create new jobs.

    Capital grants – made available through D2N2’s funding allocation from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) Growth Programme – could fund activities including:
    farmers diversifying into non-agricultural activities such as tourism or an attraction to create jobs;
    rural food and drink manufacturers, for example craft breweries looking to increase production;
    the construction of workshops or investing in new machinery, to enable a rural business to expand.

    To be eligible to apply for a grant a rural business must operate in the D2N2 area and in one of its eight key economic sectors – the visitor economy, food and drink manufacturing, low carbon, construction, transport equipment manufacturing, transport and logistics, creative industries or life sciences – OR be looking to create new jobs, OR increase productivity; OR introduce a technology, product or process new to their sector.

    Up to 26 projects will be funded in the D2N2 area. Grants available will range from £35,000 to a maximum of approximately £140,000 and can cover up to 40 per cent of a project’s total costs. Projects must have a total value of at least £87,500 to be eligible for funding.

    The EAFRD funding will aim to create at least 68 new jobs in the area, and boost tourism and visitor numbers, increase the turnover of businesses and increase productivity in the rural economy.

    Businesses must be registered with Government agency the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) before they can apply for the EAFRD funding. To register online for RPA go to website ruralpayments.service.gov.uk/

    Once registered with the RPA a business can make an outline application for EAFRD funding online.

    Applications – which must be submitted by 5pm on Friday November 27 – will be assessed by the Government and the D2N2 LEP. Those with the strongest business case will then be asked to make a further, full application for project funding.

    Other funding could also be made available, for agricultural and forestry businesses in D2N2 rural areas; through the European LEADER funding programme, the Countryside Productivity Scheme and Countryside Stewardship. Additional support for businesses, including rural ones, may also be available through other parts of D2N2’s European Structural Investment Funds (ESIF) allocation – £214m to be spent in the D2N2 area over the six years, to 2020 – of which the EAFRD funding is a part..

    D2N2’s Growth Hub team will be holding a series of information sessions for would-be applicants across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, in September and October – dates to be announced shortly – to give help and guidance on the new EAFRD funding.

    David Ralph, Chief Executive of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Small rural businesses provide a service to their community, accessible employment opportunities and are an important part of the economy but can struggle to find funding which is perhaps more readily available in urban areas.

    “The EAFRD funding we’re announcing today is aimed specifically at providing owners of new and established, smaller businesses with the help they need.”

    More information about the Growth Programme can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/collections/growth-programme-grants-for-the-rural-economy

  • BBC Business News: 'Massive gas discovery' off Egypt coast
    Italian energy group Eni says it has found one of the world's largest natural gas fields off Egypt's coast.
  • Business Matters: BMW: All our models will be electric within the decade

    Virtually every BMW model would be converted to be powered by electric drivetrains, including range-extending engines and plug-in hybrids.

    The transition will see even the company’s top-selling 3 Series sport saloons turned into plug-in hybrids.

    The company is weary of the stringent European Union regulations that greatly reduce the average carbon emissions permitted from road vehicles. They are said to be tougher than either North American or Chinese emission levels.

    The current EU limits extend only to 2021, and is expected to be pulled down further lower through 2025. Under the pressure of regulation, BMWs of the future will be smooth, powerful-and largely electric.

    According to reports, BMW is now intends to convert all its vehicles to some configuration of plug-in hybrid. It will also lower their weight dramatically to compensate for larger battery packs, and make them far more aerodynamic. BMW is already acknowledged to be the electric-car leader among German makers.

    The new range of cars could be driven by separate electric motors powering the front and rear wheels, with a small petrol engine to generate electricity to extend the range of the batteries.

    The company has already invested billions in its Project i, a separate division dedicated to building alternative-fuel vehicles in eco-friendly factories. The project was created in the face of tightening emission standards and dwindling natural resources.

    BMW has already unveiled the first of its i series vehicles last year, the i3 five-door electric car and i8 sports car. These vehicles have had a successful market run, with the i3 managing to become the fourth best-selling electric vehicle in the US region. The company sold a total of 17,793 i3s worldwide in 2014.

    Ex-Dragon Duncan Bannatyne has already said that he is in for BMW’s electric cars after recently taking delivery of a £115,000 BMW i8 sports car, which uses a petrol-electric hybrid system to combine astonishing performance with exceptionally low exhaust emissions.

    At the same time, electric charging points have been installed at his headquarters in Darlington. An increasing number of his visitors are said to be using electric or plug-in hybrid cars.

    Bannatyne said: “I’m delighted with the new car, which combines outstanding, eye-catching design with an eco-friendly system that is just superb.

    “I am a great believer in technological progress and it’s good to see the increasing number of mainstream cars that are available with hybrid or electric power systems.”

    He is reportedly enjoying the head-turning styling of the car, which features gullwing doors, futuristic dashboard displays, a sleek outline and recyclable interior materials to further boost its green credentials.

    Duncan quipped: “This car certainly attracts attention and won’t harm my pitch to be the next James Bond in any way!”

  • BBC Business News: Rate rise on agenda despite China woes
    Bank of England governor Mark Carney says the decision on when to raise UK interest rates is still likely to be made at the end of the year, despite China's slowdown.
  • BBC Business News: HSBC glitch payments 'all processed'
    A computer glitch that delayed 275,000 HSBC payments has now been resolved, the bank tells the BBC.
  • BBC Business News: Brooks 'to return as News Corp chief'
    News Corp confirms it is in talks with Rebekah Brooks after the Financial Times newspaper reports she is to return as chief executive of its UK division.
  • BBC Business News: Ex-Sainsbury's boss slams Living Wage
    Justin King, the former chief executive of Sainsbury's, says the National Living Wage will "destroy jobs".
  • BBC Business News: Shanghai shares end wild week down 8%
    Chinese shares have ended the week almost 8% lower after volatile trading that started on Monday with shock losses and spread fear to global markets.
  • BBC Business News: HSBC clears '99%' of delayed payments
    HSBC says it has processed "99%" of payments affected by an IT glitch, with the remainder due to be completed overnight.
  • BBC Business News: CPS considers new hacking prosecution
    The Crown Prosecution Service is considering a file for a possible corporate prosecution over phone hacking at the now closed News of the World.
  • Money Saving Expert: Prevent huge bill shock as games firms told to stop pressuring kids
    Online children's games, Moshi Monsters and Bin Weevils, have been forced to clean up their acts by the ASA
  • BBC Business News: FTSE up after quieter trading day
    London's leading shares closes slightly higher at the end of volatile day at the end of a volatile week.
  • BBC Business News: Ashley Madison founder steps down
    The founder and chief executive of the Ashley Madison extra-marital affair website, Noel Biderman, steps down following data hack.
  • Business Matters: Getting to know you: Sean Mallon

    What do you currently do?

    I’m CEO and founder of www.bizdaq.co.uk, an online marketplace for buyers and sellers of businesses. We have built an online platform where businesses can be bought and sold without the need for brokers or agents, allowing our users huge savings on time and broker fees.

    What is the inspiration behind your business? 

    I’ve been helping small business owners buy and sell businesses for over ten years, and in that time the marketplace hasn’t changed much. I wanted to disrupt this industry by providing a more credible option for small business owners wanting to sell their business, by providing all the tools they need using technology as well as the marketplace to make it happen. When hard-working business owners decide to sell up, brokerages can help them find a buyer. But traditional brokerages tie business owners into strict 12-month contracts, are often too slow to act and charge sellers up to 15% of their sale fee. I’m inspired by our mission to give business owners the flexibility and price point to sell on with far lower outlay.

    Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?

    Very little if I’m honest. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but I learn quickly and pivot when I think its right. The biggest mistake I did make in the early stages of the business was not hiring our own design and development team. Early on we spent a lot of money on external contractors, and while the work was to a high standard, you cannot overestimate the benefit of having a team internally that is living and breathing the design of the site. Since hiring our own team, the business has accelerated further and we have the power to make instant changes to the site that improves our customer’s experience.

    Overall though, I think making mistakes is healthy and all part of the journey providing lessons are being learnt on the way.

    What defines your way of doing business? 

    I think it’s probably the passion to make a difference. I want to be the best at what we do but I want it to be done right, no shortcuts. Our team is driven by making a difference to small business owners and those aspiring to own a business, by providing an excellent service with all the guidance they need.

    Who do you admire? 

    I admire anyone who has the tenacity to start, buy or run a business – no matter what size. Business owners live and breathe what they do, it becomes all consuming in many ways. I also admire anyone who is married to a business owner!

    What advice would you give someone starting up? 

    I would ensure you set short and long term goals for your business, this is an easy way to measure your success and push yourself. I’d also start developing a great team as early as possible. I used to think I could do anything and would get involved in all aspects of the business, however I realised that through finding people who are better than you at certain things you will have far more success much quicker – so focus on what you are best at.

  • BBC Business News: VIDEO: Why India matters - in 3 seconds?
    Official figures show that India's economy is growing at an annual rate of more than 7%, the fastest of any major country.

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