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Monday, Nov 24th

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Late Payments - More Legislative Protection

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Jeremy Edwards (Chairman of the Chamber outlines the recent legislation which should improve the protection availble to suppliers suffering from 'late payers'.

On 16 March 2013 the Late Payment of Commercial Debts Regulations came into force which will affect all traders involved in the supply of goods and services. This is an invaluable piece of legislation in the war against those who are regular late payers who use credit facilities of their suppliers to ‘fund’ their own businesses.

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'Business Boost' - Grant Funding for Small Businesses

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Business Boost was launched by Cornwall Council and the L.E.P. as it was recognised that national grants such as the Regional Growth Fund are a good support mechanism for established manufacturing companies with project teams. Cornwall Council and the L.E.P. understood that the majority of Cornish businesses are small and would be unlikely to be able to draw up and submit detailed bids for projects under the times scales under which the Regional Growth Fund operates. Consequently, the Council and L.E.P. bid for money from the Regional Growth Fund and combined this with some of its own money to create a £17 million pot. This is called Business Boost.

The original four funds that made up Business Boost were launched in May 2012 and one of them will be available until March 2015. This will allow small businesses the time to put a project together and submit bids outside of the time constraints of the Regional Growth Fund. Early contact with the relevant contact point in the guidance link above is strongly advised if you believe your business fits the criteria of one of the funds. The Rural Business Investment scheme has been added in the last few weeks as a fifth fund under the overall Business Boost programme. The programme is administered by the Cornwall Development Company which is an arms length company of Cornwall Council. For more information and to find out how to make an application follow the link: http://www.cornwalldevelopmentcompany.co.uk/investment-funds/business-boost.html 

Hodgsons ‘Money Matters’

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Hodgson Accountants has recently issued their latest newsletter. It covers a diverse range of subject matter from Accounts Records to The Chancellors Autumn Statement and Renewable Energy some of which will be of interest to most business owners. To see more follow the link Hodgson Spring Newsletter 2013

LEP Business Plan Nov 2012

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The new Local Enterprise Partnership business plan is available to read or down load here LEP Business Plan Nov 2012

National Minimum Wage - update 2013

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The National Minimum Wage (NMW) has now been with us since 1999 but still employers are being prosecuted in large numbers (1,746 in 2008/09) for failing to pay the correct amounts to their employees. The government has now decided to adopt a far tougher stance and from January 1 2011 those employers found guilty will be named and shamed on the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) website. Furthermore those guilty employers will be named in regular BIS press releases and other media sources who choose to report this.


Getting it Right
The NMW is the minimum amount per hour that an employer is legally required to pay its employees. The rates are normally changed each year on 1 October. An employee is entitled to this hourly rate even if he/she has signed a contract which stats a lower rate. Since 1 October 2010 the age at which an employee is entitled to the main rate was reduced from 22 to 21. The apprentice rate was introduced on the same date.

Current NMW rates

There are different levels of NMW, depending on age and whether the employee is an apprentice. The current rates (from 1 October 2012) are:

  • £6.19 - the main rate for workers aged 21 and over
  • £4.98 - the 18-20 rate
  • £3.68 - the 16-17 rate for workers above school leaving age but under 18
  • £2.65 - the apprentice rate, for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship

If the employee is of compulsory school age they are not entitled to the NMW. Some of their other employment rights are also different.

2013 Rates

The rates from 1 October 2013 will be:

  • £6.31 - the main rate for workers aged 21 and over
  • £5.03 - the 18-20 rate
  • £3.72 - the 16-17 rate for workers above school leaving age but under 18
  • £2.68 - the apprentice rate, for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship


Helpful Tips
If you employ workers below 21 make sure you diarise their birthdays and forewarn your wages department well in advance of that date. Furthermore a letter should be sent to your employee to confirm the rate change.


The new rates of NMW are usually announced well in advance of the 1 October. Therefore contact the Low Pay Commission website http://www.lowpay.gov.uk/ or the government website http://www.direct.gov.uk well in advance of this date.


If you spot any NMW errors, notify your employee immediately and reimburse them, plus interest. An apology would also be a sensible move, along with a suitable non monetary gesture (perhaps a bottle of wine or an equivalent) to improve employee relations.

This article was written by Jeremy Edwards, Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce

and first published in The Falmouth Packet

SMS - An New Tool for the Business Toolbox!

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The Falmouth Chamber of Commerce recently played host to Dan Parker the winner of the Cornwall young person of the year 2011 award. Dan , co-founder of Firetext provided an interesting and stimulating presentation to the membership about SMS texting can used as highly effective business tool for business. SMS texting offers a fast and effective solution to businesses wishing to develop their client base to the maximum in both marketing, customer service and a whole range of business activities.

Dan and his company Firetext have helped many businesses utilise SMS technology throughout Cornwall and beyond, in a whole host of business activities, ranging from GP and dentist surgeries sending reminders to patients about forth coming appointments, retailers providing customer after sales service, to sales teams notifying clients of new promotions and bargain offers. The uses to which SMS texting can be put to use seem to be almost limitless and Dan inspired in all the members present all sorts of ideas as to how they might be able to make use of the technology.

To find out more about the SMS ‘revolution’ you can contact Dan through the Firetext website www.firetext.co.uk or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Email marketing - a powerful and cost effective way of promoting your business

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At the last Members meeting on 16th May Email Marketing Specialist Anna Penrose of MailAway provided an interesting and lively presentation on the benefits of email marketing. As a follow up to this Anna has kindly provided the following supplement and links for those who who would like to know more.

MailAway is a self service email marketing provider based in Falmouth. Our aim is to provide a simple, cost effective email marketing solution to SMEs in Cornwall and beyond. We have some simple aims including the utmost customer service and to demonstrate our expertise within the industry. It’s important for us at MailAway to be a part of the local community and share our knowledge with local businesses; we are committed to helping get people online. And of course, we want you to be as excited about email marketing as we are!

You can view the presentation by following this link http://www.slideshare.net/annapenrose/effectively-using-email-marketing. and find out more about MailAway at www.mail-away.co.uk or contact Anna direct at on 01326 219542.

 

IT Training for Windows PC's

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 The Falmouth School are offering training in IT for Windows computers at a remarkably low price. 5 two hourly sessions for just £20! Thats just £4 a each! Sign up quick before all the places go! For more details click here Learn_to_love_your_PC .

New Forum for Business

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There is a new on-line Forum which allows all Cornish Businesses to have their point of view and needs heard.  The aim is that these needs will be communicated into the new Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), and that this will allow business support services in Cornwall to become more representative of what businesses need, and that this will help Cornwall to grow and prosper.

The "Cornwall Business Forum" is free to join, and contains sections for joining in with debates, submitting your own, news and current affairs for Businesses in Cornwall.

You can visit the site here: www.cornwallbusinessforum.com

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