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Local Businesses Recognised at Awards Ceremony

The nine budding entrepreneurs who won funding for their businesses in Dacorum Borough Council’s Dacorum’s Den competition were recognised at an awards ceremony.

The businesses attended a celebratory lunch at Maylands Business Park on Friday 28 July.

Inspired by the Dragons’ Den TV show, the competition is now in its sixth year and has invested £50,000 in business growth and created 35 jobs since it was launched in 2011.

This year’s the judges were so impressed by the community aspect of two businesses they decided to double the prize for them to £2,000.

Emerald Kitty Entertainment, who organised cabaret pop-up shows and the Fishery Wharf Café, in Boxmoor were both given the top prize money.

A further £1,000 was awarded to:

• Abbelle, Hemel Hempstead Old Town
• Audition Oracle, Tring
• Elementary Skin and Body, Tring
• MRO Accounts, Hemel Hempstead
• Gilded Bee, Tring
• The Tyre Changers, Tring
• Wildwood Studio, Chipperfield

Judge and Hemel Hempstead MP, Mike Penning, said: “As well as the grant, the winners also receive one year’s free membership of Connect Dacorum and Hemel Hempstead Business Ambassadors.

Thanks to all of this year’s sponsors on the judging panel: Alan Butchers from McDonald’s, John Ellison from JE2, Alison Murray from Abode Bed; and additional sponsors Gyron and Haspineall Collins.

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Small companies losing money in energy contracts.

Price comparison website has found, after a survey that 18.4% of small businesses have been rolled over onto a new energy contract by energy providers without their permission.  Nearly one third of those surveyed had been placed on a ‘deemed contract’, where a business will continue to use energy from the same supplier after the fixed term contract ends.   One in six surveyed  were uncertain about the status of their energy contract and half stated that they had problems understanding it.  Approximately 25% of respondents were confused about how to end their current business contract.

For more information about the survey, go to:

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Making Projects Work – Project Management 28th September

Duration:   1 day    Monday 28th September  9.30 -4.30

Course Description: Understanding different project types, their purpose and deliverables can be a complicated process.  choosing the project team, defining outputs, costing, managing the team and time management all need to be considered to ensure a successful outcome.

This one day interactive workshop with short inputs, discussions, diagnostics, exercises and syndicate work will help you understand the role of the project manager and your team.

Who should attend? Anyone working in projects as a team member, team leader or project manager.

What will it cover?

  • Understanding different project types, their purpose and deliverables.
  • Reviewing past projects strengths and weaknesses to identify and differentiate key issues with your projects.
  • Identify, scope and prioritise key outcomes for your projects.
  • Organising projects, teams and steering groups at management level and at frontline level.
  • Knowing how to plan and record project milestones and stages, dependencies and networks.
  • Understanding how to set time scales including Gantt charts.
  • Managing project resources and costs.
  • Building a project team effectively for the best outcomes.
  • Becoming more self aware of your team type (belbin and NLP models) and that of others and to being able to adapt your communication to get the best results out of everyone.
  • Being able to adapt your leadership style to meet changing priorities and time scales.
  • Understanding the importance of outcome quality and how to measure it.
  • Understanding the importance of project documentation for everyone.
  • Understanding project controls and meeting and amending the plan.

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Unfair contract terms guidance published

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has produced guidance documents to help traders comply with forthcoming alterations to unfair contract terms legislation. The alterations will take effect from 1st October 2015, when the remaining provisions of the Consumer Rights Act come into force. The new guidance gives traders information about what makes terms and notices unfair, what risks and penalties they can face when using unfair wording and tips about ensuring terms and notices are fair and clear. The documents range in length from a single-page flowchart to assist when  deciding  whether a contract term is fair or not, to a 144-page ‘long’ manual that explains the changes to the legislation in detail.
The guidance documents are available at:

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Financial guidance should be more accessible.

The Money Advice Trust stated that advice and guidance about financial management should be made more accessible, as many people are not aware of the financial risks they take when becoming self-employed.  According to a survey of small business owners carried out by the Trust, more than a third draw less than £100 a month from their business and 69% of those that had taken out a personal loan were using it to finance their business.  Chief Executive of the Money Advice trust stated: “Advice and information is available, but we believe the Government could do more to make sure the self-employed and other small business owners can access the expert support that can often make the difference between triumph and disaster.”

Read more about the survey at:

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Small Business Commissioner consultation launched.

The Department for Business (BIS) has launched a consultation seeking views on plans to establish a Small Business Commissioner Service.  Primarily, the proposed role of the Commissioner will be to help smaller companies resolve late payment and supply chain disputes without the need to go to court.  the Commissioner service would also assist small companies to access advice, support mediation and conciliation services and have the power to investigate complaints and report on its findings.  The closing date for responses is 21st August 2015.

To read more about the proposals, go to:

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Coaching, Mentoring and Developing your Team workshop – 3rd September 2015

Due to popular demand, Dacorum Borough Council are running another Coaching, Mentoring and Developing your Team workshop on 3rd September 2015, 9.30am to 12.30am at the Maylands Business Centre.

Understanding how to develop your staff is a key management skills. People who are coached and trained properly are more motivated, make less mistakes, are more confident and likely to stay with you. Retaining great staff is key as organisations grow and for smaller businesses the loss of a couple of key members can put a real strain on the effectiveness and growth potential.

Understanding how to coach, mentor and train your existing staff is a very important part of your role as manager or team leader. People have very different learning styles and if you can vary your approach to match their needs you will get a better result.

There are many different types of activity and approaches which can give you significant results in a relatively short period of time. Coaching can be an very effective way of dealing with people whose performance is not meeting expectations and well as those whose performance shows real potential for development.

This workshop explains the difference between coaching, mentoring and training and when to use different methods. You need all of your team to feel like they are valued and are being given the change to develop. Just because someone is very good at one particular role doesn’t mean that’s all they can do. Coaching helps everyone reach their potential and developed people are normally loyal and effective team members.

Who should attend? Anyone who is responsible for developing the skills, knowledge and capability of others.

What will it cover?

Understanding the learning process

Know how to recognise different learning styles

Be able to tailor development approaches to different people who are at different stages

Be able to identify learning needs

Devising a training and coaching plan

Structuring coaching and mentoring

Developing your skills in coaching and mentoring

Understand different development techniques for enhancing learning

Strategies for embedding learning

For further information and to book on please email or telephone 01442 531002.



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Treasury consultation on credit and debit card fees

HM Treasury have instigated a consultation about regulations to cap fees charged by banks to their business customers for processing credit and debit card payments.  Starting December 9th 2015, an EU-wide cap on the charges a business pays to their bank when a client makes a debit or credit card payment will be introduced under the Interchange Fee Regulation.  The consultation is looking for views about how the Regulation will be introduced and managed.  The consultation closes on 29th August 2015.

For further information about the Interchange Fee Regulation, go to:

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Framework for changes to IR35 announced.

HMRC has released details of proposals to enhance the effectiveness of the IR35 tax rules, which were established in 2000 to stop people avoiding tax by working through an intermediary such as a Personal Service Company (PSC).  HMRC is recommending various options for change, such as treating  people who work through a PSC as direct employees and requiring them to be taxed as such.  HMRC is inviting views about how such an approach would work in various situations, and whether the proposed IR35 reforms would achieve their objectives.  The deadline for responses is 30th September 2015

Read more about the proposals at:


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UKEF funding available to exporters’ suppliers

Eligibility for the Export Working Capital Scheme organised by UK Export Finance (UKEF) is to be extended to exporters’ direct supply chains. This is one of the procedures set out in the Government’s Productivity Plan, which has been introduced to reverse the UK’s long-term productivity problem and secure rising living standards. The development  is made possible by the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015. It will ensure that UKEF’s services are comparable with other leading export credit agencies, helping to keep UK exports competitive.

Read more about the change at:



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