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Blogs

Check out our blogs section where Chamber representatives, members and high-profile business figures write about a range of topics. If you are a member and want to submit a blog, please click here.

Switch your business to energy efficient LED lighting with zero capital investment

By Linda Ram | Professional Copy Creation

Carbon Trust Green Business Fund grants of up to £10,000 also available towards project cost Many businesses appreciate the commercial benefits of making the switch to energy efficient LED lighting in terms of the huge savings that can be achieved on energy bills. Often the main barrier to LED lighting is the initial capital investment required in changing the light fittings throughout an office, factory, school, hospital or other large public building. Mr Electric Birmingham North has teamed up with UK Energy Lighting, which offers fully-funded LED lighting solutions. Funded through Energy Efficiency Finance packages, businesses, industry and public sector organisations can have LED lighting...

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Why “wait and see” isn’t acceptable anymore

By Damian Walton | IntaForensics

The right cyber security advice is out there; it’s up to companies to listen to it, writes Damian Walton, director of professional services at IntaForensics An often quoted statistic is that 80 per cent of cyber security risks can be tackled by 20 simple to implement preventative steps. The UK government introduced a relatively simple “light touch” assessment process in the form of Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus in 2014. Having supported companies of all types around the UK, we can attest that this programme proves that even companies with a modest budget can significantly improve their chances of being secure in the face of growing cyber threats and is a far better strategy for...

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What do the Dutch elections mean for Brexit?

By Arno van Beurden | Van Benthem & Keulen Advocaten

Today, voters in the Netherlands are heading to the polls to elect their next Government. It has been a very tight election race with Geert Wilders, controversial leader of the far-right Freedom Party, frequently making the headlines. The Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce’s Brexit Advisory Group have been asking contacts in the Netherlands for their views on the election and what it means for Brexit. See below for Arno van Beurden, LL.M., Partner Van Benthem & Keulen Advocaten’s take on the election: The elections for the Lower House, the Dutch Parliament, will take place on 15 March 2017. The polls show that these elections will be very exciting. The media in particular focus on whether...

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Why Employee Engagement Matters

By Louise Mallam | Leadership Capability

In 2001, I discovered something totally unexpected and surprising. It was so profound that it shaped me and my life. At the time I was doing OK at work, but saw it very much as a separate aspect of my life, something that needed to be done in order to fund my 'real life'. What I discovered was that it is entirely possible to love Monday mornings. Not just tolerate them or accept them, but love them and look forward to them, to ditch the growing lump of anxiety on a Sunday evening as I stared into another week of work. What led to that discovery? It wasn’t a ‘what?’ in this case, it was a ‘who?’ - a key role model leader who literally transformed my life. It's why this topic is so compelling...

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A stampede of deals

By Darren Hodson | Smith Cooper

Whilst there is significant political unrest and it feels like the world is at a significant point of change you may not have noticed but news on the global economy has almost disappeared.  It’s actually as we are in a period of global economic stability (not a newsworthy story!).  Growth is slow but steady which is putting increasing pressure on global corporates to hunt out growth. A key aspect of this is through M&A.  According to EY’s 2017 Global Capital Barometer a staggering c.60% of CEOs surveyed were actively pursuing acquisitions!  That is as high as it’s been for the last 5 years.   Combine this with a UK economy about to go through a significant period of change, with some shareholders...

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This Week in Brexit: 10th March 2017

By Raj Kandola | GBCC

This week in Politics The week began with Theresa May declaring that MPs and Peers would not be allowed a veto over the final Brexit deal in case it gives the EU the incentive to offer the UK bad terms. Downing Street confirmed that the Prime Minister was concerned that the EU would pre-empt any notion of a fair deal by offering unfavourable terms to ensure the agreement was rejected which would mean Britain would remain in the European Union. However, on Tuesday, the House of Lords voted to support a Labour amendment which called for Parliament to have a veto over the final Brexit outcome. This followed on from the vote last week, in which peers voted to guarantee the rights of EU nationals...

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Changes to the Apprenticeship Landscape

By Jennifer Appleton | ISO Quality Services

Formed in 2000, ISO Quality Services Ltd is a Worcester based, family-run business that specialises in the implementation, certification and continued auditing of ISO and BS EN Management Standards. In addition, we offer consultancy, training and internal auditing as additional services. As a company we have been investing in apprenticeships for over 4 years, and have now trained and developed five apprentices in various roles within the business. We have also been awarded a regional award two years running for our work with apprentices, from the National Apprenticeship Service. Our Operations Director, Jennifer states ‘To us apprenticeships are an affordable and imaginative way of bringing...

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Build confidence using accountability to supercharge your strategy

By Clare Whalley | Meta4 Business Coaching

If you’ve set your business goals for this year, the next step to achieving is keeping yourself accountable. With the 20th of January well and truly behind us (the day where 95% of people give up on their new year resolutions and goals) those who remain are left with a clear strategy of what we want for the year ahead. We also know in order to achieve we must show diligence, persistence with our efforts and possess serious levels of commitment. Overall the more you achieve against your goals the more your confidence will increase. Easier said than done, right?! Set some accountability in place and you’ll be dramatically increasing your chances of reaching your business goals. Build a trusted...

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Businesses should grab opportunities presented by Apprenticeship Levy changes with both hands

By Paul Thomas | WSP | Parons Brinckerhoff

The opportunities the changes to the Apprenticeship Levy will bring for businesses are an exciting development, and something we enthused about at the recent event on the topic held by Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce. We shared our insights and thoughts with local businesses ahead of the changes - which will be introduced to the Apprenticeship Levy by the Department for Education (DfE) this April. I strongly believe these changes by the DfE are great news for businesses of all sizes, and to young people wanting an alternative to the traditional academic route into their chosen careers. This is particularly apt for those who are keen to gain higher education qualifications, but are restricted...

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This Week in Brexit: 3rd March 2017

By Elliot Mason | Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce

It’s been yet another busy week for Brexit as we move ever closer to the Government’s end-of-March deadline for activating Article 50. That means there’s plenty to include in this week’s Brexit blogs… The Economy It’s been a difficult week for Sterling as the currency has fallen steadily against both the euro and the dollar with particularly notable dips on Wednesday 1st March. At close of play on Thursday the pound was valued at €1.167 and $1.226. This week’s dip has seen the pound fall to its lowest value against the dollar since early January. Despite enjoying a strong climb during the week, the FTSE 100 stuttered on Thursday due largely to the fall in value of the pound versus the dollar....

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