Latest research and innovation funding opportunities

Find the latest research and innovation funding opportunities from the UK Research and Innovation on their funding finder tool.
Some of the latest funds include:

  • Innovate UK smart grants for game-changing and commercially viable research and development (R&D) innovation that can significantly impact the UK economy.
  • Healthy ageing challenge for service-led innovations to support healthy ageing.
  • Digital security by design for projects to work on the development of the digital security by design (DSbD) software ecosystem.

Click here for further details. 

Small Business Virtual Conference: The Journey to Net 0

The Federation of Small Businesses is hosting a free online conference to explore the significant role small businesses will play in the transition to Net Zero.

The whole day is designed with you in mind; with the specifics around what “net zero” really means and exactly why these international targets apply to you. You will hear from other small businesses about what they are doing to adapt and diversify to meet the challenges. All that before leaving you inspired to form your own action plan so you can play your important part in the UK’s transition towards net zero emissions.

This event is being held on 2 November 10:00-15:30.

For more information, click here. 

Help to Grow: Management programme

Businesses in Dorset can benefit from 50 hours of in-depth training, 1:1 business mentoring, and the opportunity to grow their business, fast.

Help To Grow: Management is the 12-week programme that is 90% subsidised by the government and is aimed at senior leaders of small and medium businesses. Business leaders can take part around existing work commitments and access learning through a blend of online and face-to-face sessions.

The course covers financial management, strategies for growth and innovation, digital adoption and responsible business practices. It features inspirational business leaders and the opportunity to learn alongside local peers, with access to a national alumni network. Help to Grow: Management programme at Bournemouth University Business School is now open for applications.

To register, click here. 

Take part in Future Skills Employment Week

Between 18th and 22nd October, Boscombe’s Royal Arcade will play host to the ‘Future Skills and Employment Week’. Whether you are an individual wanting to know more about careers in creative and digital technology or a business looking for new and innovative ways to upskill staff, this week is your opportunity to ask for expert advice, find out about the new ‘virtual careers platform’ and even test the latest technologies.

For example, find out how your team can use virtual reality as part of a training programme; and see 3D printing in action. The events programme includes a range of interesting talks from knowledgeable speakers too and you are encouraged to sign up in advance to secure your place.

In addition, Dorset Growth Hub is on hand to answer questions about setting up a business, they can even help get you started; and career advisors will be there for some friendly guidance.

Curious? Feel free to head in between 10 and 4 (every day except Wednesday), no appointment necessary.

For more information, click here. 

AFCB are hosting Arsenal at Vitality Stadium in their first home fixture of the season in the Premier League Cup. The Gunners make the short trip south on Wednesday 6th October for a 7pm kick-off in what is set to be an exciting tie.

The Premier League Cup proved crucial for the development of first-team players such as Jaidon Anthony, Jordan Zemura and Zeno Ibsen Rossi, and Wednesday night will give you an opportunity to catch a glimpse of the next generation of talent.

Previous Arsenal squads have included Premier League appearance makers Emile Smith-Rowe, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and England European Championship finalist, Bukayo Saka.

Tickets are now available for all ticketing account holders and are priced at just £5 for adults and £3 for concessions. Please note, each ticket must be assigned to a supporter with an individual ticketing account on a one ticket per person basis.

To secure your seat, simply click below, login to your account and follow the on-screen prompts.

There is also an opportunity to enjoy our exclusive matchday hospitality packages for this fixture which are priced at £50 per person. To speak to a member of our hospitality team, please click here.

AFCB look forward to seeing you at Vitality Stadium!

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends on 30th September 2021

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government has been supporting businesses through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for employees who have been on furlough or partial furlough for the last 19 months. This support will end on Thursday, 30th September 2021.

Many businesses dealing with this loss of support and increases in National Insurance beginning in April 2022 will face difficult decisions on future staffing requirements. There are a number of options that a business can consider while the economy continues to recover:

  • Redundancies;
  • Reduced hours and job sharing;
  • Flexible working patterns.
  • In the coming period, each business will face its own challenges and shall require planning advice and HR support to meet business objectives and comply with regulations. As always, TC is on hand to offer the guidance you need.

If you would like HR support, please contact our Head of HR, Wendy McGarvey. For business planning advice, please get in touch with your local TC Partner.

Saffery Champness sponsor ‘Independent Business of the Year’ Award in the Poole Business Awards

Saffery Champness Chartered Accountants have come on board as a sponsor of the ‘Independent Business of the Year’ Award in the inaugural Poole Business Awards.

Partner Hannah Mazrae said, “We are delighted to support these Awards which recognise excellence in our communities across Poole.  Poole is home to a number of thriving businesses across all sectors of varying size and the award categories cater for everyone.

“The last 18 months has been a challenge, no matter the sector. I have no doubt that independent businesses found the last 18 months harder than most and we look forward to supporting those businesses in the future.

Our team at Saffery Champness supports a significant portfolio of clients within the local market, acting for small entrepreneurial businesses to large corporate entities. We are extremely proud to work alongside our clients assisting them to develop a range of strategies and solutions to aid success.”

Entry to the Awards is via the web site and entries close on 4th October.

The 15 categories are:

  • Start-Up Business of the Year
  • Young Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Service Provider of the Year
  • Best Place to Work
  • Independent Business of the Year
  • Digital Innovation Award
  • Retail Business of the Year
  • Best Customer/Client Service
  • Health, Beauty, Fitness Award
  • Green/Eco Business of the Year
  • Hospitality Business of the Year
  • Tourism Business of the Year
  • Artisan/Local Produce Provider of the Year
  • The Dorset Mind Excellence in the Community Award
  • Overall Business of the Year

A great article in Coach & Bus Weekly about our Patrons, Yellow Buses!

Continuing their staycation series, Richard Sharman takes a look at Yellow Buses’ offerings that have recently gained an extended season due to demand

Bournemouth is one of the key attractions on the South Coast of England; try driving there on any sunny day and you will appreciate just how many people favour it as a day out. It also has the advantage of being just over two hours’ drive from London, with frequent departures by coach and rail. With staycations being the only option for many this year, UK holiday destinations geared up for the season, including bus operators that provide seasonal and tourist services.

For further reading, click here. 

Saffery Partner Jamie Lane looks at the pitfalls to avoid when looking to sell a business​

For most business owners, selling a business happens once in their lifetime. Such an exit event is normally the end game for most entrepreneurs, however it is human nature that lots of other emotive factors can often distract from the main goal of completing a smooth transaction and maximising value.
Having emerged from a sharp downturn in buyer appetite over the first six months of the Covid-19 pandemic, buyer appetite has rebounded strongly to such an extent that 2021 is on track to break all records in terms of the value of aggregated deals completed. This is being driven by the availability of cash on buyers’ balance sheets and the continued increased availability of both debt and equity funding. Despite merger and acquisition (M&A) deal values being dominated by multi-million-pound transactions, we are also seeing increased deal volumes in the SME market.

With the M&A landscape set to continue to boom for the foreseeable future, an increased number of business owners are receiving unsolicited approaches to acquire their company. It is important to be able to be ready and react to such approaches, as it could be the ideal opportunity to exit, albeit earlier than anticipated.

In selling a business, getting it right the first time is absolutely key, there will be no second chances. The sale process is long and potentially complex; we have set out below a few pitfalls to avoid before and during the process.

What’s it worth?
Valuation is arguably the most important factor for most vendors in a sale process. While maximising value is always the key focus, vendors can often have unrealistic expectations as to what price a business can achieve. Sometimes valuation is driven by market sentiment and other factors outside your control, and therefore timing becomes an important factor. Ultimately, the business is only worth what someone is prepared to pay and independent views should be taken on board. In a situation where you have been approached by a purchaser, consideration should be given to undertaking a wider search for potential buyers as competitive tension can often result in a higher sale price.

Numerous factors are taken into account in valuing a business by potential acquirers and growth prospects will be high on the agenda. ‘Earn-outs’ are a good way of bridging a pricing gap (where the seller receives a contractual provision for compensation, subject to the business’ future performance), but care should be taken on two fronts – that the mechanism is not subject to manipulation and that vendors’ personal tax position is not compromised.

Don’t ignore management
A key strategy in preparing any business for sale is to have strong management in place, such that the business can operate successfully after the vendor departs. Employee incentive schemes are a great way to incentivise and tie in key management and are especially important in people-based businesses. Not only is it beneficial to have such schemes in place, but timing is equally as important and if not done early enough, this could lead to the management team potentially being left in a tax position that is less than ideal.

Management could also potentially be an option as an exit route for your business by way of a management buy-out, and this should be considered. The challenge can be assessing whether management can obtain funding and whether such funding can meet your own price expectation.

Fail to plan, plan to fail
It is never too early to start planning for the sale of your business as you never know when you might be approached outside of a sale process. Good planning should also extend into how the sale process is run and managed. Certain buyers will quickly sense if there is a lack of direction from the vendors and use this to their advantage, creating opportunities to chip away at the price. Being clear about the process and the transaction structure all the way through to completion helps to set certain parameters for all to work within and these should be fully reflected in the heads of terms at the outset, before granting exclusivity.

Once a buyer is in a period of exclusivity and commences due diligence, any opportunity to chip away at the price could potentially be taken. It can be particularly tempting for sellers to succumb to these tactics and accept these price chips, especially right at the end of the process after many hours of work and being within touching distance of the finishing line.

Plan B
With the best will in the world, sometimes deals will fall over part-way through a process, perhaps because of something that comes up in due diligence or maybe as a result of the buyer being unable to obtain the required funding. The seller and their management team will likely devote considerable time and resources to the sale process and may well inadvertently take their eye off the day-to-day running of the business. The impact of this may not become apparent until a few months down the line when you are marketing the business again and talking to other potential buyers. There are ways in which these risks can be managed and mitigated.

A numbers game
As alluded to above, there is much more to selling your business than the numbers, yet ultimately this is where a significant focus for any buyer will be. Good steady growth in revenues and profits over the last few years will appeal to potential buyers, particularly if these are in the public domain and where they have been subject to independent review.

If you are considering selling your business, or have any questions based on the issues raised here, please contact your usual Saffery Champness partner, or speak to Jamie Lane