Business Leader South West Awards shortlist revealed
Business Leader
by Sarah Vizard
1d ago
Business Leader has revealed the shortlist for this year’s Business Leader South West Awards. The finalists were decided through a rigorous selection process by the awards’ judging panel, which this year included Gallagher’s managing director Andy Ferguson; Steve Preston, CEO, Heat Recruitment; Alison Jaap, vice-president care at Ovo; Strike Communications MD Catherine Frankpitt; and entrepreneur Allan Rosengren. The awards aim to celebrate the best businesses in Bristol and the south west by bringing together the most influential leaders in business, education and government to recognise ..read more
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Wage growth is ‘too hot to handle’
Business Leader
by Sarah Vizard
2d ago
This article is an online version of our Off to Lunch newsletter. Sign up to receive it straight to your inbox here. The latest jobs and wages data paints a conflicting picture of the state of the UK economy that is likely to make the Bank of England’s upcoming interest rate decision even harder.  The figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that wage growth is cooling. Annual pay increases (excluding bonuses) slowed to 5.7 per cent in the three months to May, down from 5.9 per cent in April. Wages are now growing much slower than a year ago, when growth was 8.6 per cent ..read more
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Growth Stories: The prefab disruptor
Business Leader
by Josh Dornbrack
2d ago
Almost a decade ago, Tony Wells had an epiphany after realising he couldn’t grow his off-site manufacturing and construction business, Merit. “I announced to the management team that whatever we’d done in the past was wrong,” says Wells from the firm’s base in Cramlington near Newcastle. “We ripped up the business plan and went back to first principles: if we had a clean sheet, how would we do it?” he explains. “I couldn’t find a business model that was scalable.” Wells, 59, an electrical and controls engineer, took on the business with his wife Kirsty in 2002. Wells knew he couldn’t match the ..read more
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High hotel prices cause inflation headache
Business Leader
by Sarah Vizard
3d ago
This article is an online version of our Off to Lunch newsletter. Sign up to receive it straight to your inbox here. Have you booked a hotel room in the UK recently? If so, you might have thought the price seemed a bit high. And you wouldn’t be imagining it. Rapidly rising hotel prices are causing problems not just for travellers but for inflation and the wider British economy. New data from the Office for National Statistics shows the inflation rate was 2 per cent in the 12 months to June, bang on the Bank of England’s target for the second consecutive month and well below the double-digit hi ..read more
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Bookshelf: Female Founders’ Playbook
Business Leader
by Josh Dornbrack
3d ago
Female Founders’ Playbook brings together the experiences of leading female entrepreneurs and VC investors. These successful businesswomen share their thoughts on every aspect of launching a high-growth business, from coming up with a unicorn-worthy idea, through to building a multi-talented team to winning investment. Their tales of success and failure are drawn together by commentary and insightful analysis by award-winning technology founder and the architect of Starling Bank, Anne Boden, creating an easy-to-follow guide for any female leader. Here is an extract from the book: How ..read more
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Grocery inflation drops and the Rubik’s Cube turns 50
Business Leader
by Sarah Vizard
4d ago
This article is an online version of our Off to Lunch newsletter. Sign up to receive it straight to your inbox here. The latest episode of our Business Leader podcast is out today and features an interview with Steve Hare, the chief executive of Sage, the biggest technology company on the stock market in the UK. The episode looks at how Sage grew from a promising business in Newcastle to a FTSE 100 giant worth more than £10bn – and how Hare has led the company since becoming chief executive in late 2018. Here are some of our key takeaways from the episode and some quotes from Hare to go with t ..read more
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Growth Engines: Lead using a simple, big, bold number
Business Leader
by Sarah Vizard
4d ago
Jonathan Bourne, joined by his former boss, Phillip Bennett, exited corporate life and bought Damar Training, a small apprenticeship training provider, to turn their talk into a walk. Today, with 65 people and nearly 1,200 apprentices across various disciplines, many organisations depend on Damar to equip new and existing staff members with the skills needed to drive business performance. Motivated by their accomplishments, Bourne and his team have set an audacious 20-month goal to double the number of apprentices on Damar’s books. The back story The Apprenticeship Levy is charged to all emplo ..read more
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Burberry ousts its CEO and could you survive 378 days of team bonding?
Business Leader
by Sarah Vizard
5d ago
This article is an online version of our Off to Lunch newsletter. Sign up to receive it straight to your inbox here. The UK’s new chancellor Rachel Reeves said on taking office that she is seeking a “mandate for growth” and looking for ideas that can help new UK businesses to grow and flourish. At Business Leader, we want to inspire and support high-growth companies as well, and one way we do that is through our My CEO Secret video series. This week we feature Matt Grech-Smith, co-founder of the company behind the Swingers urban crazy golf chain. The company star ..read more
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Swingers CEO: A pop-up gave us our breakthrough
Business Leader
by Dougal Shaw
5d ago
Matt Grech-Smith, co-founder and joint CEO of Competitive Socialising, which runs the Swingers chain of mini-golf and entertainment venues, shares his personal business advice for our video series, My CEO Secret. Grech-Smith and his business partner Jeremy Simmonds had been entrepreneurs since their university days, specialising in events and marketing for students. Then in 2014 they had a novel idea. What if they could transport mini golf from the world of the seaside, to an inner-city, night-club style experience, with food and cocktails? They called the idea “competitive socialising ..read more
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Graphcore sold and Biden rattled
Business Leader
by Josh Dornbrack
1w ago
This article is an online version of our Off to Lunch newsletter. Sign up to receive it straight to your inbox here. Happy Euros final eve eve. Before all eyes turn to Berlin this weekend, big news out of Bristol this morning as another promising British AI company has been snapped up. Graphcore, which was once dubbed “Britain’s Nvidia”, is on the verge of being sold to the Japanese investment giant SoftBank after the government green-lit the deal. Having been valued at £2bn in a 2020 financing round, the value of the deal for the chipmaker is reported to be closer to $500m (£386.9m). The comp ..read more
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