Stella Sleep Develops The Future Bedtime Routine For Kids

The war pretty much destroyed everything for Saga Sleep and the Swedish-Ukrainian founding couple. Their first priority was to put the family to safety, and then the company had to be saved. Now the tech company – which wants to help tired parents of young children at night – has braced itself and re-charged. To help them, they have John Cleese and new heavy investors.

Parents around the world can unite in the challenges of toddler and smaller kids’ bedtime. It can be equal parts a cozy winding down, as a desperate struggle for hollow-eyed moms and dads. The company Saga had a solution to the problem. They built a sleep app for children with a library loaded with bedtime kid sleep stories, constructed with the help of Swedish sleep psychologists, that would act as complement to the everyday routines.

The service was launched in Russia in 2020, where the founding couple Svetlana and Erik Björkman, with a background in the beauty brand Oriflame, had business experience. When the war started, everything changed. Svetlana Björkman comes from Ukraine and her first priority was to make sure the family was safe. At the same time, revenues plummeted for the company Saga Sleep, which had 80 percent of the turnover in the now hard sanctioned Russia.

“My wife and partner is from Ukraine so we were very affected by the war. It was hard to focus. In addition, our technical director is a Russian who has now moved to Thailand with his family.”

Erik Björkman, CEO of Saga, says that the couple faced a tough trade-off.

“We had to make a decision: Should we just shut everything down?”

The decision was to continue.

“There was no doubt in the end. After all, we both live off Saga, and we had seen there was a clear demand for this product, so we steeled ourselves. But it is clear that we have pulled each other through this, it has not been hunky dory.”

The company had completed a financing round in November 2021, and now asked their investors if they should close down the whole operation, and send the remaining money back – or invest in a new market?

It became a new market and a new product. In July, the new app Stella Sleep was launched to the English-speaking market. The app has now been downloaded 20,000 times times (which compares to almost half a million downloads for Saga Sleep). Most of the investors stayed, says Erik Björkman. And the company, who pretty much had to roll up their sleeves and start over, now gives announcement of strength in the form of a new financing round in October 2022. Saga added 3 million SEK, with a total raise of 13 MSEK to date, and added new investors to the cap table.

“It is a good proof of confidence that we could raise another round now, and that we have attracted five new investors, which together with 15 existing angel investors have provided more capital,” comments the CEO.

The owner list includes Viva Wine co-owner John Wistedt and Alireza Etemad who is a partner at IK partners. Among the new investors in the latest round are notable Swedish business profile Maria Rankka, Silver Life CEO Carl-Johan Westring and Henrik Wrangel, with background at Kry.

The company has also received help from the legendary Monty Python member John Cleese and his 5.6 million followers on Twitter. The founders got in touch with the comedy legend through common acquaintances. Now the Briton has read fairy tales to lull toddlers to sleep and act as a narrator in the app.

The future of bedtime stories

The company is investing heavily in synthesized voices being the future for bedtime storytelling. By creating a believable speech synthesis of a father’s or grandmother’s voice, a parent can read any fairy tale remotely when the child sleeps over with someone else or an older relative remains as narrator after his demise.

“It exists, but it still sounds robotic when you apply this tech, and you can only make it sound nice if you apply a lengthy manual process in a studio really. But give it 12-24 months, and the tech will be good enough so make it sound 100% natural and be commercially scalable. It makes me think of the imperfect speed when Spotify developed the best streaming music player in the beginning, as we can become the first in the market to provide this service,” says Erik Björkman.

“In five years, we hope that you will have 50,000 synthesized voices and have become a trusted channel for basically saving audio memories for future generations,” says Erik.

In terms of turnover, Saga has actually increased from last year. The company who was born during covid more than doubled its revenues in 2022, despite the war. In 2023, it aims to grow revenues 3x the 2022 number.

Try the app today.

EU Business News Announces the Winners of the European Enterprise Awards 2022

United Kingdom, 2023 – EU Business News Magazine unveils the winners of the 2022 European Enterprise Awards.

Over the past few years, the pandemic has brought waves of uncertainty amongst other emotions, and the economy suffered. However, we’ve found some outstanding businesses that are helping us, and the economy, to recover – and even flourish.

For the fifth year running, the European Enterprise Awards programme has brought with it a fine selection of businesses that have won spectacular titles for their hard work. It is our pleasure to present you this collection of enterprises that have won recognition for their fantastic, dedicated efforts. Speaking on the success of this year’s winners, Awards Coordinator Laura O’Carroll commented, “It has been a great delight hosting this year’s European Enterprise Awards. I want to wish each business a very sincere congratulations, and all the best for the future.”

EU Business News prides itself on the validity of its awards and winners. As such, very one of our winners can be certain that their success is deserved. We carefully evaluate everything from a business’s, or individual’s, performance over the past 12-months to ensure that only the most deserving parties walk away with one of our prestigious awards.

To learn more about our award winners and to gain insight into the working practices of the “best of the best”, please visit the EU Business News website https://www.eubusinessnews.com/awards/eu-business-awards/ where you can access the winners supplement.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

About EU Business News

The EU is a vital and exciting region filled with businesses and individuals creating unique innovations, supporting their customers around the world and, ultimately, driving change. As such, EU Business News aims to provide an absorbing overview of this exciting region and the businesses and individuals operating within it.

Much more than just a magazine, alongside our online publication EU Business News also boasts an informative newsletter, a regularly updated website and a series of awards programmes showcasing the excellence of businesses and the individuals behind them from across this vibrant region.

As subscription to EU Business News is free there is absolutely no reason not to sign up to receive this informative and fascinating resource.

About AI Global Media

Since 2010 AI Global Media has been committed to creating engaging B2B content that informs our readers and allows them to market their business to a global audience. We create content for and about firms across a range of industries.

Today, we have 14 unique brands, each of which serves a specific industry or region. Each brand covers the latest news in its sector and publishes a digital magazine and newsletter which is read by a global audience. Our flagship brand, Acquisition International, distributes a monthly digital magazine to a global circulation of 108,000, who are treated to a range of features and news pieces on the latest developments in the global corporate market.

How Data Privacy Laws Will Affect Your Online Business 2023

Data privacy rules around the world govern how customer information is used, such as their address, phone number, and other personal information. These laws provide an excellent framework for how data is processed, individual rights, removal requests, penalties for not complying with them, and more.

However, keep in mind that data privacy laws are changing each year. What kind of changes can you expect this year? How will it affect your business in 2023?

Let’s read more in this article to find out what you need to know.

New regulations with U.S data privacy laws

Despite the many proposals made in the past few years, no federal law governs data privacy in the U.S.A. However, individual states are not waiting for the federal government to act and have set up their own acts. 

Changes made to state regulations

While 2022 limited progress for a federal regulatory scheme in data privacy. Four states in the USA have made significant adjustments to their data privacy regulations that will go into power this year:

The Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (VCDPA) has implemented new regulations from January 1st, 2023. The VCDPA has included a few new requirements, including CCPA compliance, opt-outs, data security and more. 

The Colorado Privacy Act (CPA) targets Colorado residents. New regulations strictly target data collection regarding advertisement, data processing enforcement and restrictions. In addition, fines can result in up to a million dollars! All new rules the CPA sets will go into power from July 1st, 2023.

The California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) buys and sells information of hundreds of thousands of consumers and gains more than 50% of revenue from all the personal information sold. New regulations imposed by the CPRA have come into power since new year’s day. They include increased restrictions regarding personal data retention, protecting employee and business contact personal information and more opt-out rights.

The Connecticut Data Privacy Act (CDPA) will come into effect from July 1st, 2023. It has new restrictions that are similar to the other state privacy acts. However, this is only for Connecticut residents.

The Utah Consumer Privacy Act (UCPA): Will take effect from the end of the year, but has similar regulations to the CPA and VCDPA. However, the UCPA still has more enlightenments to data privacy compared to other states, respectively.

The New York SHIELD Act

The New York SHIELD Act encourages data protection at the maximum level to avoid online breaches. Sometimes, it may be difficult for organizations to comply with several security standards, so they’ll use the SHIELD Act standards for collecting and maintaining private information.

Osano wrote an article that goes deeper into what the New York SHIELD Act is all about and how it’s becoming essential to follow new privacy regulations imposed.

Amendments made to The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2023

The GDPR is the world’s most significant data privacy regulator and accounts for all data privacy collectors in the European Union and those doing business within its boundaries. In addition, it regulates all private data collected and transmitted across all states within the European Union.

Fines for all states and users who refuse to comply will result in paying up to 20 million Euros. The most fundamental requirements of the GDPR are:

Consent: Data subjects have to be given before personal data is collected. However, personal data is information collected through cookie usage in countries such as the USA. Personal information like IP addresses are not considered personal data in the USA, but this isn’t the case for the GDPR. Data Subject Rights: This covers many important parts and keep in mind that your data subjects should be precise and easy to access on your website. This includes all essential information regarding the right to be informed, access personal data, delete information users don’t want on the website, restrict processing, data portability, and refuse data processing. Notifying users about data breaches: All organizations must inform users about data breach at least 72 hours (three days) before it affects their personal information. The GDPR takes this seriously and will increase controls in 2023 because many data breaches go unreported.

Another important aspect to consider under the GDPR is the secure shredding of personal data. This includes the destruction of both physical documents and digital files containing personal information, to ensure that it is irreversibly destroyed when it is no longer needed. Organisations must have processes in place to properly dispose of sensitive information, such as financial or medical data, to avoid potential breaches and ensure compliance with the regulations.

What can you do to prepare for these changes?

Firstly, your organisation should be well aware of which data privacy law it has to follow.

Secondly, each country has its own local data privacy regulators, so always pay attention to them first. Afterward, the organisation should be vigilant of the data it processes, manages, and collects.

If you are in the United States, you won’t have to follow what the GDPR implies, unless you do business within EU states.

In short, organisations should always inform individuals how their data is collected, stored and obtained.

If you’re still wondering how you will comply with data privacy laws this year, make sure to hire a data advisor or counsel that will provide you with the data management framework and governance plan you need. One key element of this plan should be the use of contract management software. This type of software can automate the process of assessing vendor security and privacy, as well as facilitate the return or deletion of data once a contract has ended. Utilising contract management software can help ensure compliance with data privacy laws and protect sensitive information, making it an essential tool for any data management framework and governance plan.

How to Create a Flawless Stock Trading App: Dos and Don’ts for Beginners and Beyond

The applications and websites that let stock market traders trade with a few taps or clicks on their mobile phones and other devices are increasingly attracting the attention of stock market traders. The market will have a solution and trading convenience by making a stock trading app. Due to the lack of fully functional trading apps on the market and among consumers, it is a great time to find out how to create a trading app (the Topflight Apps blog will help you in this matter). If you have brilliant ideas for trading app development, you should create a stock trading app.

Types of Stock trading apps

The market grows and evolves to accommodate various developments. Consequently, there are now two main kinds of trading platforms. People often utilise the following kinds of trading networks or platforms:

Traditional: It encompasses trading in commodities, including currencies, precious metals, and various other conventional items. In the market, this form of trading is widely accepted and trusted. Traditional equities are more recognisable to individuals, so they feel safe investing in them. The creator of a trading app gains from traditional trading since he may include several assets in the app.

Cryptocurrency: This kind of trading software is brand-new and well-liked by customers. You may have heard of terms like Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc. When it comes to cryptocurrencies, there are numerous things to watch out for, such as purchasing, selling, and managing assets with a few smartphone taps. Both controlled and decentralised exchanges of the cryptocurrency asset are possible. The market will change if successful software is developed for bitcoin trading since many consumers and traders are interested in doing so.

Functions of a stock trading app

The fundamental trading software features provide all the tools required to execute a successful trade. However, the user will obtain more tools in the program that assist him in making better-informed judgments about his trade using the trading software premium features.

This is a list of some of the standard features included in all trading software and apps:

  • Online dashboard: The purpose of the stock trading dashboard is to provide the user with organised stock market data so they can quickly follow their objectives, make decisions, and learn from their platform trials.
  • Stock screeners: The stock screening algorithms have proven to be highly successful. These stock trading algorithms provide results that aid in stock comparison and comprehension for the user.
  • Real-time screening of stock charts and coats: The feature is available on the dashboard of the most popular trading applications. The services enable users to develop a better plan by updating stock market data every second.

Your trading platform development must have these aspects of investing apps. Additionally, ensure that financial services regulatory compliance is included in the creation of your trading platform.

Trading app development rules

You must have an onboard team which is essential to create a stock trading platform. Three key individuals should lead the development team for a stock trading app. One is a skilled project manager with knowledge of financial issues and other associated issues. The other is a qualified IT architect to create a stock market app. You need a business analyst with extensive knowledge of the financial sector. You must monitor your money while the trading software is being developed.

Set up your trading platform and decide what products you will provide before you do anything else. It would help if you first conducted surveys about the stock trading software. This can help you understand what users want in a new trading app. After many discussions with your team over the surveys, you will have a good idea of what your trading app will provide.

Determine the features your stock trading app will provide before you start designing trading APIs. Is it intended for speakers of English or a different language? IOS and Android compatibility for the trading platform? Does the webpage for your stock trading software exist? Before you begin to make automated trading software, all such concerns should be addressed.

Trading through platforms like those in mobile banking applications has a real-time threat intelligence security system. Because the trading app will retain sensitive user data and specific authorities will audit the security of the stock trading app, the development process must be safe, like that of mobile banking applications. Use contemporary techniques like multi-factor authentication and bank-grade encryption while trading app development.

More Than Just Ink: Are Tattoos in the Workplace Becoming More Acceptable?

In early 2022, Virgin Atlantic became the first UK airline to allow cabin crew to display their tattoos.

Tattoos are a type of body art that has been celebrated for thousands of years, yet a lot of people have had to hide them in the workplace due to negative associations and connotations.

While the stigma around tattoos in the workplace is definitely shifting, and Virgin Atlantic’s new policy is a prime example of that, there are still some conversations to be had when it comes to tattoos.

Today, we explore Britons’ attitudes towards tattoos in the workplace, what industries are more accommodating to tattoos, and how to comply to a workplace’s appearance code.

Changing the stigma around tattoos

The art of tattooing has been known to humanity since 12,000 BC and has served many purposes, from a means of communication to a reflection of culture and tradition.

When tattooing was introduced in Europe, it was first popular amongst mariners and the lower classes, and that has likely contributed to the stigma around it. For a long time, it was associated with jail, criminals, and misfits.

Nowadays, tattoos are seen as a means of self-expression and an appreciation of this ancient body art. According to a recent YouGov study, little over a quarter (26%) of Britons have tattoos, with the younger generation more likely to get one than the older. Tattoos are popular amongst the working population too, with 31% saying they have a tattoo.

They’ve become so commonly accepted that even world leaders from the past and present are known to have tattoos. King George V, who reigned the United Kingdom from 1910-1936, for example, had a red and blue dragon tattooed on his arm, which he acquired during a trip to Japan. Winston Churchill also supposedly had an anchor tattoo on his arm, while the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, boasts a Haida raven on his left arm.

As society embraces this type of body art more and more, the stigma around tattoos in the workplace is also shifting.

Are tattoos accepted in the workplace?

Britons have a generally positive attitude towards tattoos in the workplace. In fact, 86% said that they don’t see non-visible tattoos as unprofessional.

Nevertheless, things look slightly different when it comes to visible tattoos, especially on the face and neck, as 63% of the general public would consider them unprofessional. The older population, aged 55 and above, have a firmer stance on this, as 80% see face and neck tattoos as unprofessional.

With such attitudes, it’s no surprise that many industries still have certain appearance codes. According to Susan Harris, legal director at the GMB union, tattoos are not a protected characteristic, meaning legally you could be dismissed or be ruled out of a job due to having a tattoo.

Nevertheless, there are some prime examples that prove that the stigma is slowly shifting. Vladimir Franz, for example, who has a full-fledged face tattoo, ran for president of the Czech Republic. While he didn’t get elected, he serves as an example of the shifting attitudes and outlook towards tattoos.

Responsible tattoo artists also have a duty to inform clients about the complications of visible tattoos. Sheffield-based Krissie Langley always explains to her customers what impact hand and neck tattoos could have on their future jobs.

She said that she “puts off a good 95% of people” from getting a face or neck tattoo: “This is how I earn my living, but I also want to sleep at night. I do like to point out to people that this could affect their life.

“If you know you’re going into a job that is accepting it, then it’s good. But, at 18, how many of us know what we want to do forever?”

Krissie added that a lot of people have rang her back thanking her for putting them off from getting a visible tattoo, because it has allowed them to secure a job they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to.

What industries have a more relaxed attitude towards tattoos?

A lot of young people see visible tattoos as something trendy and impressive. Nevertheless, they don’t consider the impact it might have on their future careers.

“It’s all very well following your favourite rapper or favourite singer, but unless you’re going to be a rapper, a singer, or a tattooist, you probably will hit these problems,” added Krissie.

Indeed, there are certain industries that have a more relaxed approach towards tattoos, such as music, art, and media. Most Britons consider it acceptable to have visible tattoos for workers in low-end customer-facing services, such as waiting staff, mass market retail, as well as firefighters and paramedics. Teachers in primary and secondary school, those involved in legal work and high-end customer service workers are subject to more scrutiny.

How to hide your tattoos at job interviews and the workplace

Before going to a job interview or starting a new job, it’s important to study the company policy. Based on the industry and company culture, it might have a more relaxed or a stricter approach to tattoos in the workplace.

As we mentioned, it’s not illegal to get fired due to wearing a visible tattoo; therefore, it’s important to learn how to adhere to certain appearance standards.

When attending an interview, consider wearing a full suit that will cover any tattoos on your arms and legs. This is the case if you have face or neck tattoos too. While you can’t hide them, you can opt for a smart and refined look that will highlight your professionalism and help the interviewer see beyond your body art. Match your suit with men’s brogues, a watch, and a tie for the ultimate interview look.

If you have tattoos on your hands or fingers, accessories such as rings and watches can help hide them.

While you’re at work, consider wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, accessories, and even putting on a special tattoo concealer if required.

Covering your tattoos doesn’t mean that you are undermining your own identity. Tattoos are a unique form of self-expression, and while we’re in the process of shifting the stigma around them, it’s useful to learn how to comply to certain workplace appearance codes.

How To Navigate the New Rules for Supermarkets on Sugary Foods

If you’ve been shopping at a supermarket recently, you might have noticed some changes. The usual snacks and sugary sweets that we’re used to seeing at multiple spots throughout the stores have been reduced.

In a bid to tackle the country’s obesity issue, the UK government has put new legislation in place that bans the display of HFSS (high in fat, salt, and sugar) items in certain locations in a shop, such as entrances, aisle ends, and checkouts. For online food shops, the same rule will apply to high-traffic spots on the website.

But how has the new rule been met by both businesses and consumers, and what can supermarkets do to adapt to the changes?

What are the new rules?

The new rules came into force on October 1, and have since attracted the attention of supermarket managers, employers, and consumers alike.

As customers we have got into the habit of buying last-minute snacks – which are usually processed foods – while strolling through the aisles or when we reach the checkout. The government’s goal is to reduce those mindless, impulsive purchases and help break bad habits.

According to the Health Survey for England 2019, around 28% of English adults are obese (BMI>30) and 36.2% are overweight but not obese. Processed foods that contain HFSS (high in fat, salt, and sugar) contribute to the obesity issue in England.

While these foods can be consumed in moderation, their regular consumption can increase the risk of underlying chronic inflammation and developing certain diseases, such as fatty liver disease. The government sees the ban on certain locations where these products can be displayed in supermarkets as a viable solution for combatting obesity.

How ready are businesses?

While the ban is geared towards making a positive change in the decisions we as consumers make, there is resistance from the supermarket industry in implementing the new rules.

A study by global standards organisation GS1 UK shows that 66% of businesses and 68% of consumers agree that precautions should be taken to tackle Brits’ unhealthy eating habits and obesity issue.

But what is halting them from fully embracing the change is fears around the shift in consumers’ behaviours. Buying HFSS foods is an integral part of the shopping behaviour of Brits, and the new legislation could change that. In fact, 51% of the survey respondents said they would be less likely to purchase HFSS products if they were less visible in the shop.

Businesses are concerned that this can impact sales and revenue and are also hesitant about implementing the new changes. According to the GS1 UK survey, more than 40% of business owners and managers feel unprepared for the shift. Not only that, but another research shows that only a third of businesses have audited their products ahead of the legislation, and that 20% of businesses are not even aware of the new law. Nevertheless, failing to comply with the new rules can lead to penalties.

Storage containers to keep supply deals

But what can businesses do in order to navigate the new changes and implement the legislation without hurting their business and by promoting healthy eating habits in Britain?

Tackling the limited space for displaying HFSS items points to the fact that businesses will need additional storage space for those items they are unable to display at the time. Although they are only able to showcase a certain amount of HFSS products, that wouldn’t change their supply behaviours.

Buying goods to sell in bulk is cheaper for businesses than frequent small purchases. They have most likely arranged deals with their suppliers to account for enough stock to fill the shelves. Cutting down the stock they purchase might have an additional toll on their expenses, and therefore isn’t a viable solution for all.

But, using storage containers can help businesses keep their good deals with suppliers while also complying with the new legislation. This is a sure way to get prepared in advance without having to make massive budget sacrifices. There are many storage containers for hire that come in various sizes to fit your business’ needs and are a great way to keep everything organised. This will ensure the smooth operations of your business and will allow for minimum disruptions.

Implementing data and technology

Technology and data play a big part in helping optimise businesses’ operations. It can be used to track consumer behaviour, automate processes, and also to help businesses navigate the complexities of the new law. In fact, 41% of respondents in a survey by AI nutrition technology company Spoon Guru believe that technology can aid businesses in managing the new regulations.

Technology that monitors the HFSS scores of products and communicates the information with the supermarket managers and owners is what they need. This will ensure that businesses are categorising products properly and are staying up to date with the recent legislations.

The ban on where HFSS products can be displayed is just one of the tools that the government is using in their efforts to combat obesity. Bans on multibuy deals on unhealthy foods and drinks, junk food adverts on TV before 9pm and paid online ads are also in the pipeline.

Although the new legislation is causing friction in the supply chain and the customer journey, its mission is to reduce obesity, and hopefully in time, healthier snack options will be put in the spots where HFSS items were previously displayed.

EU Call to Ship Goods, Not Air

Tighter EU Regulations for ecommerce packaging are on the way, with implications for UK businesses. What are the options? By Jo Bradley, Business Development Manager at Sparck Technologies

Despite somewhat depressed Christmas trading, parcels shippers and couriers have been under huge stress this season. Severe weather and industrial action at Royal Mail have added to the perennial problem of driver and warehouse operative shortages, and the pressure isn’t over yet – with so many delayed Christmas deliveries, the rate of returns in January is said to be up by 25%.

So, every available delivery vehicle has been loaded to capacity. But loaded with what, exactly? Quite possibly, mostly fresh air. The scandal of goods being shipped in vastly oversized boxes, with all the waste both of materials and transport capacity that this entails, shows no signs of abating.

However, change may be imminent – the European Commission has a plan.

At the end of November the Commission published a draft Regulation on packaging and packaging waste. This includes a wide range of proposals covering packaging design, materials, re-use and recycling, but importantly, it also includes Article 9, headed ‘packaging minimisation’. This requires that ‘Packaging shall be designed so that its weight and volume is reduced to the minimum necessary’.

It goes on, ‘Empty space shall be reduced to the minimum necessary… for grouped and transport packaging, including e-commerce packaging, in relation to the total volume of the grouped or transported products and their sales packaging… and space filled by paper cuttings, air cushions, bubble wraps, sponge fillers, foam fillers, wood wool, polystyrene, Styrofoam chips or other filling materials shall be considered as empty space’.

Businesses will have to ensure that the empty space ratio is a maximum of 40% – and if the sales packaging is the ecommerce packaging, the same rules apply. This has major implications for the ecommerce sector where lax practices on the use of wasteful, oversized boxes is commonplace.

But surely this is solely a problem for businesses operating in the EU?

It’s worth noting that, whilst this is a proposed EU Regulation, it will of course apply to any UK distributor selling to customers in the Union and it’s highly likely that the UK will follow suit. The target date for implementation may be 2030, but the issue can, and should, be addressed right now. There are plenty of sound reasons for doing so, with many retail businesses stepping up to lead the way.

Users of Sparck Technologies’ automated packing lines are already ahead of the game. Using scanning technology, our CVP systems can cut, erect, fill, seal and label a ‘right size’ box for any group of items presented, ensuring a snug fit without the use of any void fillers. Users are meeting the Commission’s objectives by minimising the use of cardboard, eliminating void fill – many forms of which are hard or impossible to recycle – and maximising the utilisation of vehicle capacity, which in turn decreases the environmental impact per tonne-mile.

The net result is a slashing of material and transport costs, a reduction of in-transit damage, along with a much-improved customer experience, while replacing up to twenty manual packing desks with just one or two machine operators, with a throughput of up to 1,100 packages per hour.

So, while we thoroughly support the Commission’s aims, we really don’t see why companies should be waiting until 2030. They can get ahead of the curve, right now, saving the planet and their bottom line. 2023 should be the year of the right-sized package.

Breaking Bank – The Modern Costs of Car Rentals

With over 50 million registered DVLA driving licences in the UK, it might be surprising to some that Reuters reported that registrations for new cars fell by around 9% in July 2022. The lack of new cars on the roads has been attributed to supply shortages due to COVID-19 and global events.

This could be a huge contributing factor to why the car rental market is forecast for growth during the 2023 to 2027 period. Car rental is a cost-effective solution to buying, but outside of the booking prices of the vehicle you’re after, there’s still a lot of budgeting to consider.

In this article, we’ll look at the budgeting you need to plan before tackling the open road. Hiring a car to use on a need’s basis could be a great alternative to owning one, but could on-road charges make it less convenient on your wallet?

Renting prices – hour, day, mile, etc.

Depending on the car, the cost of renting in the UK will vary. Bigger cars and vans will cost more, while smaller, more economical vehicles will cost less per day. But recently, we’ve seen a huge leap in prices for weekly renting, with data from iCarhireinsurance finding that within some of the major cities in the UK, there has been an average of a 190% increase in weekly car hiring prices from 2020 to 2022. This results from more people holidaying in the UK rather than going abroad with concerns over COVID and airport staff shortages.

This is where the option to rent on a need’s basis could be a difference maker for people’s budgets. For example, you could find a car to rent for a day and pay by the hour or even the mile. With the average car journey only taking 21.5 minutes, this could be much better suited if you need it for a short trip and could save you a lot of money.

Charges on the road – congestion, CAZs, & ULEZ

Beyond the costs of obtaining the car you’ll use for your trip, several charges can be acquired when out on the roads driving. These costs are put in place to reduce the number of cars on the road and subsequently bring down emissions, such as London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). This is a zone within the City of London and out towards Greenwich, Brentford, and Richmond, where if you drive a non-compliant car during the operating hour, you must pay £12.50 to avoid any further penalty fines.

Similar to the ULEZ but with smaller overall coverage, Clean Air Zones (CAZs) have been introduced in major cities all over the UK. The CAZs in each city is a code from A to D, which defines what vehicles can travel within the zone without being charged (A has fewer vehicles while D has a broader list). The costs these areas could run you entirely depend on where you are and what vehicle you drive within it. Non-compliant cars, for example, could be charged as low as £8 while larger vehicles such as lorries or buses see costs from £50 – £100.

On top of this, London also has the Congestion Charge in the centre of the city. This is a £15 charge to deal with the number of cars driving through the city and reduce both congestion and emissions. In February 2022, the decision was made to reduce operating hours to 7 am – 6 pm and 12 pm – 6 pm on bank holidays.

Your budget for renting a car will be impacted by the type of car you want to drive, how long you want it for, and where you live and regularly drive through. For example, if you want a larger car like a 4×4 or truck and regularly drive through central London, you’re likely to pay a lot more each time you drive it. However, if you only need a car for a specific task or trip, renting is far more economical than buying your own and all of the costs that come with it.

4 Ways Video Subtitles Can Increase Your Website Engagement Time

We’re constantly scrolling and searching for suitable content that will satisfy our interests. But what do you do when you see a video in a language you don’t understand? Swipe, scroll down, exit, and go back. I suppose that these are the most common options. 

People don’t have that much time on their hands these days. So believe me when I say, no one is grabbing a dictionary when they see a video without subtitles. Maybe your video has helpful information for everyone around the globe, but everything goes down the drain if you don’t make it accessible

If you thought that subtitles are something that the older generation would prefer your conclusion would be wrong. According to a survey, 70% of Gen Z prefer to watch video content with subtitles. 

And what is more important, all generations have pretty solid reasons to do so. Let’s find out how by just simply adding some subtitles to your content you can boost your website engagement. 

With subtitles, people tend to stick around

When a person visits a website one of the main goals is to keep them there for a while. If you have video content that is hard to comprehend, it’s not in their language, or they are not in a situation to hear it, then you have one person less on your website. 

The more accessible content you have the bigger the chances that people will stay and come back. Subtitles are a great way to avoid all sorts of obstacles that may arise while watching videos. Not to mention that today adding subtitles is easier than baking a pie. 

Automatically add subtitles

By using the right tool you can automatically add subtitles to a video without moving a muscle. Just upload your video and subtitle file and your job is done. You don’t have a subtitle file? No, worries you can autogenerate subtitles with this tool. 

Subtitles are essential and that’s why adding them is also much easier these days. Now, when you don’t have excuses about how adding subtitles is complicated we can move on to other benefits. 

Universal content brings more audience 

If you want your website to be visited by more people, you will have to make your video content more ‘user friendly’. 

It should be harder to ignore and easier to engage with. The video will be more accessible with subtitles to: 

  • People with a hearing problem
  • People who don’t understand the language
  • People that aren’t in a position to play the audio
  • People that prefer to read

People with a hearing problem

According to WHO, there are over 1.5 billion people around the globe that live with hearing loss. This number is constantly rising.  Videos with subtitles will make these people’s lives much easier. 

People who don’t understand the language

The world is a global village, but not all people will understand your language. To get more global customers and audiences to your website you need to ‘speak their language’. 

You will not be just simply adding subtitles, you will be conquering new markets by getting closer to customers all around the world. 

People that can’t play the audio

Imagine you are on the sub, and you don’t have headphones. Then an interesting video pops up, but you don’t want to be rude and play the audio. 

This and many similar situations could be avoided with subtitles. It’s not hard to do the math. If you can’t hear it, read it. 

People that prefer to read

Some people are not very visual. They prefer to read everything they see and the same thing goes for videos. If they can read while watching the content it will help them engage better with the subject you are trying to elaborate on. 

66% of Netflix’s audience uses subtitles to better understand the storyline. So why would this be any different for your website videos? 

Subtitles are good for your SEO rankings 

Here are a couple of ways subtitles help your SEO rankings:

  • Google pushes forward videos with bigger engagement: The views, the time spent on the page, everything is measured and ranked. 
  • It’s easier for Google to pick the right keywords: SRT and VTT format subtitles help you achieve this. 
  • It will help you boost your on-page ranking: Thanks to the subtitle Google can read semantic elements. 

The right subtitles bring better reach on social media

Extra, extra, read all about it!” It’s much easier when we can read it, right? When you get a bigger audience, more people visit your website and content, and in the meantime, Google boosts your rankings. It’s very logical that you will get popular. 

People post, reshare, and like the content that pleases them. Subtitles are really a cherry on top when it comes to social media. 

Adding subtitles means playing smart 

Videos come from so many sources today, which means the competition is huge. If you want the content from your website to stand out, keep the old and attract a new crowd, you need to play smart. 

Video subtitles are not anymore something that you should consider adding, it’s something you must add in order to thrive. It’s an advantage that can be easily added in a couple of simple steps. 

With subtitles, you add context and value to your website. Also, you show respect for diversity. The impact of subtitles can only be positive, so I suggest you don’t waste your time and give your content a new dimension. 

4 Tips to Help Deciding How Much to Invest in Dogecoin

Since its release in 2013, Dogecoin has emerged as one of the most popular cryptocurrencies globally. Before 2020, Dogecoin saw a number of major pushes and subsequent falls but failed to gain much traction. With an unexpected jump of over 12000% between January and May of 2021—Dogecoin has become one of the well-known cryptocurrencies.

While many new investors have been drawn in by Dogecoin’s price and popularity, it is essential to be careful before investing in Dogecoin. Although it is one of the very few cryptocurrencies to gain widespread recognition, future outcomes cannot be predicted by looking at the past.

Dogecoin’s present status is still up for discussion. Some argue that it is still vulnerable to push and crashes since only a few wallets possess the bulk of Dogecoin, even though many think it better represents the values and interests of the broader community.

Let us walk you through some essential tips to help you decide how much to invest in Dogecoin while delving deeper into whether Dogecoin is worth investing in.

Is Dogecoin a good investment?

While Dogecoin gave investors much hope in the first four months of 2021, Dogecoin still needs to retain the growth momentum. Investors who have invested in Dogecoin still hold it with the hope that Dogecoin will bounce back and prove to be a worthwhile investment, but this cryptocurrency has yet to show any further signs of growth. When considering investing money, it is essential to ask whether the asset fits your portfolio.

Dogecoin is a risky, unpredictable investment—only invest in it if you have a solid financial foundation. According to general investing guidelines, riskier investments like these must be at most 10% of your investment portfolio.

At around $0.08 in January 2023, Dogecoin must have done better. Dogecoin investors who purchased it between 25 and 45 cents in the first few months of 2021 have seen huge losses on their investments.

Although Dogecoin still has a $10.88 billion market cap as of January 2023 and is accepted at almost 2000 places as payment, from premium cars to goods and services, you must consider investing in Dogecoin. However, it’s also crucial to keep in mind that Dogecoin’s price is prone to extreme fluctuation daily and has yet to be used much other than to make payments faster than using bitcoin.

With all this in consideration, it is advisable to allocate less of your portfolio to Dogecoin, despite the fact that enthusiasts are ready to hold it as a long-term investment.

4 Tips on deciding how much to invest in Dogecoin

There are a few things you must take into account before investing in a cryptocurrency like Dogecoin. You’ll be in a better position to decide if investing in Dogecoin is the correct choice for you once you’ve given the below questions some serious thought.

  • Have you thoroughly mastered the principles behind cryptocurrencies to make an informed decision?
  • How much money and for how long are you planning to invest in cryptocurrencies?
  • Are you prepared to lose all of your investment in cryptocurrency, which is usually risky?

Here are some essential aspects to think about before investing in Dogecoin.

1. Recognize the true worth of buying Dogecoin

It will be challenging, time-consuming, or downright impossible to determine the true worth of a digital asset.

If you’re sure about buying this asset, you can instantly buy Dogecoin with a credit card, bank transfer, or using local currency via your bank account in more than 150 countries. No matter how many Dogecoins you want to acquire, you will be able to do so with the help of stringent security controls that will guarantee your safety.

2. Think about your investment goals for Dogecoin

Investing with caution is essential because online rumours claim that some investors gained large sums of money using Dogecoin. Cryptocurrencies like Dogecoin, Ethereum, etc. are speculative investments, and Dogecoin is particularly unstable because of its infinite supply. Investors must keep adding to their coin purchases for the price of Dogecoin to rise or stay stable. If not, the supply of Dogecoin quickly increases, depreciating the value of every coin currently in use.

Take into account your total financial condition, investment portfolio, and risk tolerance when choosing how much money to put into investments. Experts advise investing what you afford to lose with cryptocurrencies.

3. Liquidity

It is critical to understand that the high level of volatility of Dogecoin has made it very uncertain to predict the fate of this asset. Dogecoin’s popularity has increased as more people become aware of it and invest in it, but when these investors sell their investments as the price climbs, the price of Dogecoin falls.

Dogecoin’s price has changed significantly since the beginning of 2021. It showed a significant surge reaching an all-time high of almost $0.70. However, it quickly fell to around $0.45 and is now valued at $0.082 as of 12 January 2023.

4. Public opinion and FOMO

FOMO is a significant danger to a lucrative investment opportunity since Dogecoin is consuming the internet. Everyone is talking about investing in it. (FOMO describes the “fear of missing out” when someone decides irrationally to trade or buy in a crypto asset based on some information they have learned without thoroughly checking its authenticity or source). But before that occurs, it’s critical to keep in mind that only some achieve the same level of success as the select people who became billionaires by risking their whole money on a craze.

Investing in Dogecoin

Dogecoin will be a pleasant addition to your investment portfolio. But it’s crucial to comprehend the danger involved in purchasing this asset. Whether you’re prepared to purchase Dogecoin and grow your investment or are only beginning to dabble in the world of cryptocurrencies, there is still plenty to learn.

Portfolio Backtesting: 5 Rules for Successful Investment

People often confuse investing with luck. The truth is – investing is mostly strategic. It requires skills and patience. With the right strategy, the chances of gaining exceed the chances of losing.

The world went through a global crisis as a result of COVID-19. This caused a negative financial impact, which led people to broaden their horizons regarding extra income.

That said, the number of people in Europe investing in the stock market is slowly increasing – around 33% of UK citizens and 15% of Germans.

Are you ready to embark on your successful investment journey?

If the answer is yes, you’ve come to the right place. This article will discuss the importance of portfolio backtesting strategy along with five rules for successful investment.

Let’s dive in!

The true meaning and importance of portfolio backtesting

Backtesting lets you test an investment strategy to understand how it would’ve performed in the past. So, before risking any capital, you’ll know the probability of the outcome.

Backtesting makes people more confident in their investment decisions. You’re probably thinking, how does it work?

Backtesting takes historical data into account. If a strategy wouldn’t do well in the past, it probably won’t do well in the future. It lets you know beforehand which strategies are worth your time and money. Even though we all know the market is always changing, stock patterns tend to repeat.

Portfolio backtesting has its benefits but is not always 100% accurate. It doesn’t predict the future, just gives you pointers. Still, analysts and professional traders are constantly using backtesting. They wouldn’t even consider risking big amounts if their strategy hasn’t previously been backtested.

To successfully backtest portfolio performance and improve your investments there is a set of rules you can follow.

5 rules for successful investment with backtesting

Consider various market conditions

See how your trading strategy performs during a tough economic crisis. Aim for a specific market condition, for example, The Asian Crisis of 1997, and then compare it with the COVID pandemic of 2020. Backtesting allows you to do this and is a great way to see how effective your strategy is when tried on different market conditions.

Make sure your portfolio contains at least 20 stocks

This allows us to lessen the likelihood that your strategy was simply fortunate and chose a successful stock by ensuring that no single stock will have a significant impact on the performance of your portfolio.

It gives you the certainty that your trading strategy will turn out to be profitable even if it has been applied to multiple stocks. This helps you greatly reduce your investment risk. So, if you’re trying to decide which backtesting tool works best for you, it’s better to choose one that gives you the option to select numerous stocks, instead of only one.

Have reasonable expectations

Even though trading can bring you wealth, don’t always set high expectations and expect to make a fortune overnight! If a strategy would’ve brought you 80.000$ twenty years ago, you can’t expect that same strategy to now bring you 800.000$.

It all depends on the risk you’re willing to take and the asset to wish to invest in. One thing is sure though – having proper expectations will never set you up for disappointment!

Take transaction cost into account

A lot of things can impact your investment profit, for example, the transaction cost of your broker. That’s why, when backtesting, it’s always better to consider them in advance. It gives a realistic point of view on things, so you won’t be confused if the return turns out to be lower than expected.

Aim for a longer period of backtesting

This world has suffered a lot of difficult times and all of them in different time frames. Considering the fact that backtesting works with historical data, backtest your strategy for at least fifteen years.

That way, you’ll cover different market conditions and if a market crash is to happen in the future, you’ll be able to adjust your strategy to it and still achieve the best possible outcome.

How to perform backtesting

Backtesting has been an option for investors for quite some time now. It has always been considered to be a time-consuming task, especially since in the past, it was mostly done manually, along with trading itself. Imagine manually calculating every moving average – it couldn’t have been easy.

Nowadays, the technology is so advanced that you can actually backtest your portfolio with the help of trading and backtesting software. It allows investors to test their strategy in a matter of seconds and save valuable time.

Some of the trading tools that don’t require coding are:

MetaTrader5TradingViewTradeStationAmibrokerEven though there are apps that don’t require coding, it’s still considered to be the most effective way to practice backtesting. Up to this day, the most popular programming language for traders remains Python.

Game-changing strategy

Portfolio backtesting is a huge advantage for both beginners and experienced traders. Firstly, it’s flexible and can be applied to various markets. Secondly, it’s just a simulation and no capital is involved in the process, therefore, you’re not risking anything.

Making your money work for you is not a bad idea at all. People understand this and are all about securing their future. That’s why investing has always been a popular trend and an effective way to potentially build wealth, especially when it’s strategically done.

Having said that, backtesting is a real game-changer. It can be used to significantly optimize your portfolio and improve your investments. Carlos Slim Helu once said ‘’With a good perspective on history, we can have a better understanding of the past and present, and thus a clear version of the future’’.

Best Ways To Travel Through Europe For Business In 2023

Europe is a large and varied continent that can be quite complicated to navigate at the best of times. But with all the further complications that arose due to COVID and the various strikes and delays constantly hitting the news, you might be put off travelling through the continent for work.

But there are so many things that can’t be achieved over a Zoom call. Sometimes, you need to meet that client face-to-face or be able to show off how your product works in person. Business travel still needs to happen and when it comes to European business travel, there are three major options to consider.

Using a car

Perhaps one of the most exciting things about Europe is how easy it is to drive from one country to another. Most of the continent is contained within a single block and even the UK can be driven to and from thanks to the channel tunnel. There are only really two downsides to travelling Europe for business by car – the time and the fuel.

As long as you ensure you get a basic car service before setting off on your trip you should be golden but that’s not going to make you go any faster and it’s not going to make the petrol cost any less. Of course, if you are planning on visiting multiple clients in different cities and countries then it could be more practical to drive, and you’ll get to see a lot of Europe you wouldn’t see otherwise. But if you’re strapped for time, driving through Europe is perhaps not the best option.

Using public transport

While public transport here in the UK is going through a pretty rough time right now, in many European countries the train and bus networks are still solid. You can also quite comfortably take trains up and down and across many different European countries. There’s a train, for example, that runs all the way through France, Belgium and the Netherlands. On a train, you can also get some work done, which is not something you’d be able to do while driving.

The downside of using public transport, however, is that it’s wildly inconsistent. You might have an exceptional bus service in one city that’s utterly useless in the next. As far as the trains are concerned, meanwhile, there’s always the potential for delays and cancellations.

Travelling by plane

It’s certainly not the most environmentally friendly way to travel but there’s a reason why so many of us still travel by plane when making business trips. If you’re travelling more than a few hundred miles then there’s really no contest here, as you can get from the UK to Brussels in about an hour by plane when it would take you around 6 hours from London by car or train (on a good day).

The best tactic is to take each trip individually and plan accordingly. It might make sense to travel by car if you have multiple meetings across France in one week, for example, and to travel by plane if you have a one-off meeting in Vienna. Play it by ear and don’t be afraid to change plans on the fly. That’s the European way!

Why Switch from QuickBooks To Sage 50?

For over 20 years Intuit QuickBooks has ruled the roost when it comes to enterprise resource planning compliant accounting software packages. But today Quickbooks has competition from Sage software – and both are battling it out for the top spot.

However, more and more people are turning to Sage 50 – but if you compare the two solutions is there a bona fide reason for switching from QuickBooks to Sage 50 – and just how easy is it to migrate from QuickBooks to Sage 50?

About QuickBooks and Sage 50

QuickBooks bases its enviable reputation on the ease of use of the software when it comes to users, even without advanced accounting training to access relevant financial records and reports, as well as crucial business data and much else. Quickbooks organizes the information so that it is easy to understand and manage. It also allows for the management of day-to-day functions such as payroll as well as sales, expenses, and purchases.

The costs associated with QuickBooks will depend to a large extent on the complexity and functionality of the specific package that the user selected. As a starting point costs will be around €15 per user (that’s the ‘Self-Employed’ package). Quickbooks has an enviable reputation among small and medium-sized business owners.

The Sage entry-level ‘lite’ offering costs €10 per user, per month, but, similar to Quickbooks Sage offers more advanced versions of the accounting software that can cost significantly more. For instance, the software suite developed for Enterprise use can cost in the region of €1,340 per annum.

It is worth noting that each software suite has functionality such as payroll management that will cost extra to unlock.

Sage has also been around for about two decades and today boasts about 6 million users worldwide. It has built an impressive reputation for ease of use and the fact that it offers something for almost every small and medium-sized business. The fact that it is so easy to customize makes it suitable for a variety of business environments and, like Quickbooks, Sage also offers financial reports, record keeping, and overall business management tools. If the business outgrows Sage 50, the company has a variety of other products in its portfolio that are even more customizable.

Cost Advantages

One of the areas where Sage 50 shines is in the costs associated with each user. While Quickbooks will charge for each user above a set limit – and will even require that each user pays for their own account (for certain packages). Those costs can quickly mount as the business expands. Sage, on the other hand, allows unlimited users, a feature that is attractive to most small and medium-sized businesses.

Those payroll service fees can eat into budgets. QuickBooks and sage will both expect users to pay extra for payroll services. Users of Quickbooks can save significant amounts of money by bundling their payroll services with bookkeeping functionality. Sage HRMS Payroll can be purchased as a stand-alone module or it can be bundled with your other sage accounting software – but you will need to reach out to Sage to get a quote for doing things this way.

Are Sage 50 and Quickbooks Basically the Same?

Both pieces of accounting software offer small to medium-sized businesses a tried and proven solution to meeting the accounting challenges of today’s fast-paced and competitive business environment. Both offerings offer value for money – and are intuitive to use, even for non-accountants. For those searching to migrate to Sage 50 from QuickBooks the best route is probably to start off with Sage 50Cloud (which used to be known as ‘Peachtree). The most cost-effective software in the Sage portfolio is ‘Sage 50 Cloud Pro Accounting’ which will go toe to toe with QuickBooks and will cost in the region of €500 per year.

Cloud Concerns

Sage, in common with QuickBooks is not inherently designed as a Cloud Based solution. But the software does allow for third-party hosts that can make the software Cloud friendly. The same applies to Quickbooks. Both Intuit and Sage boast extremely large ecosystems of third-party developers and solutions who have products such as expense management solutions, AP Automation, and payment automation.

So is Sage 50 Better?

It’s easy to migrate data over to Sage 50 from Quickbooks, but is it the right move for your business? When QuickBooks and Sage 50 face off it becomes obvious that each of these accounting packages has something to offer – but it depends on the size and type of business that will be using the software. Sage 50 is ideal for a small to medium-sized business that wants exceptional functionality, access by unlimited users, and ease of use – and also wants financial management tasks automated where possible.

QuickBooks also meets the needs of a small to medium-sized business but will be able to handle more complex Enterprise needs (for example mileage tracking or 1099 contractor management) and the organization does not have over 40 employees.

The conclusion is that business owners in search of a world-class accounting-orientated business management solution could see benefits from either solution. However, in order to realize those benefits the business owner must ensure that the functionality of the software meets the current and future needs of the business.

Winter Walks: Best Places to Visit Across the UK This Year

Winter can be a tough season for the temperature; during the coldest months, the UK reaches a low average between 2 and 7 degrees Celsius. This might make many of us reluctant to leave our homes for the most part, but we should take advantage of sporadic opportunities to enjoy healthy walks in the great outdoors.

Walks in the winter can be a special time, especially when made into a family bonding activity. Not only can our immune system activate itself when exposed to the cold (meaning an improved ability to fight off infections), but parks, beaches and forests often look truly breath-taking in the bright winter light. When your health, heart and sight can be satisfied, why wouldn’t you want to embark on a winter walk?

Here are some of the best places to visit across the UK.

#1 Heddon Valley, North Devon

Whether you’re seeking an appropriate area to take the kids for a short trail, or somewhere that would accommodate a longer, more experienced hike for you and your friends, North Devon’s Heddon Valley is a walker’s hot spot, and for very good reasons.

Drink in the fresh air as you explore soaring cliffs, riverside paths, and a pebbly beach. Choose between three available trails, from two to six miles long, and refuel your bodies with some delicious pub grub from the historic Hunters Inn.

#2 Beatrix Potter Walk, Sawrey, Lake District

The Lake District is one of the most magical places you’ll ever visit – especially during wintertime. Nestled in Cumbria, North West England, it’s known for its ribbon rivers, monumental mountains, and fantastic forests.

If you want to make the most of your wintertime outdoor adventure, visit Beatrix Potter Walk in Sawrey. Beatrix Potter, one of the world’s best-selling and most cherished children’s authors, was inspired by the enchanting landscapes of the Lake District. Choose here for your winter walk and enjoy the sights and sounds that motivated some of her best literature.

#3 Glencoe Lochan, Highland

If you’re based in Scotland, or fancy booking a trip there, we recommend Glencoe Lochan for a brisk winter walk to get the legs moving and the heart pumping. A truly beautiful sight, weaving in and out of trees bursting with life in the tall woods before taking a break to admire the breath-taking glacier lakes.

The area offers three different trails, so there’s something for everyone. If you’re looking to take the whole family – kids included – you should explore the Lochan Trail, which is described as ‘gentle’ with a wide, firm, and generally flat path. If you’re searching for something a bit more strenuous, you can pick between the scenic Woodland Trail and the charming Mountain Trail.

#4 Strangford Lough, County Down, Northern Ireland

You wouldn’t believe this fairy-tale spot is just a short distance from the lively, bustling Belfast. Book a weekend trip to the city and make time to visit this secluded island for a winter walk you’ll never, ever forget. As your boots crunch along the solid ground, tilt your head and embrace the sounds of the local wildlife as they greet you and your family.

To make this trip a success, make sure you pack all the necessities! Find an appropriate weekend bag for women and load up on warm clothing, snacks, and water to keep you and your family hydrated and fuelled during your walk. This place couldn’t be more Instagrammable, so it’s also a good idea to ensure your phone or camera is fully charged before you embark on your adventure.

#5 Three Cliffs Bay, Swansea

Beaches aren’t just for the summertime! Three Cliffs Bay in Swansea offers a picturesque walk that might make Wales your new favourite place in the UK. Mindfully stroll through the sandy beach and stop to take a moment to appreciate the iconic three limestone cliffs.

While Three Cliffs Bay is an incredibly photogenic location, be careful not to see too much of it through a screen and not with your own eyes; take a deep breath in and let your eyes wander across the panoramic views of something so very close to paradise.

#6 Blakeney Freshes, Blakeney, Norfolk

If you’re fond of birds and their beauty, visiting Blakeney Freshes in Norfolk should be at the top of your bucket list. This coastal walk delivers tranquillity as well as thriving wildlife, giving you and your family the very best of both worlds.

The full trail comes in at three miles long, which will last you roughly one hour and 45 minutes. If you have a family dog and you don’t want them to miss out on all the fun, bring him or her along too! This walk is paw-fect for everyone.

#7 Embleton Bay, Northumberland

Northumberland is an area in North East England that’s steeped in rich history, some of which you can encounter by arranging a walk at the iconic Embleton Bay. This entire adventure would take roughly three hours and 45 minutes to complete, so you should consider that when arranging who to bring along with you.

Enjoy panoramic views of the sea as you amble along the gentle coastal paths, and don’t forget to stop for a moment to appreciate the stunning views of the ruined 14th century Dunstanburgh Castle that backdrops part of the trail.

Dust off the hiking boots and winter gear

Walking is good for both our heart and soul, so don’t be put off by the cold temperatures this winter. If you wear suitable shoes, wrap up warm, and carry plenty of supplies (such as spare gloves and water), you should be absolutely fine.

In fact, you’ll be more than fine! You’ll have a stronger immune system, a healthier heart, and family memories that will last forever. We hope you have a wonderful time.

How to Scale Your Remote Development Team in 2023

Finding and retaining the right talent is difficult, especially when it comes to software developers. Companies find it challenging to scale their development teams. The challenge is both in monetary terms and time.

In 2019, the number of employed people working remotely in EU was 5.5%. This number increased to 13.5% by the year 2021.

It makes sense to create a process related to hiring the best talent. This article gives some tips on how to expand your remote development team in 2023. Let’s get right in!

Use an applicant tracking system

Applicant tracking systems (ATS) assist recruiters to hire candidates faster. Through an ATS, it’s easy to source, shortlist and evaluate candidates. An ATS allows:

  • Automated job postings to source candidates (including employer brand management to attract the best talent).
  • Candidate management (including uploading data to a central database and shortlisting the best candidates).
  • Pre-screening candidates by searching for relevant keywords in the resume and cover letter of candidates, sending out interview invites and automated rejection messages. Screening candidates by managing video interviews and sending out job offers to candidates that are successfully evaluated. Recruitee’s Applicant Tracking System guide explains the benefits of ATS in detail. Recruiters need to keep in mind that candidates know how to game the ATS to get through the initial stages.

Create a list of the most effective interview questions

No need to re-invent the system again. Create a screening process that can be followed for every candidate.

Create your own list similar to this. For example, here are some C++ interview questions to ask candidates. Overtime modify the list. Remove the questions that don’t help you judge the candidate’s ability. Add questions that effectively do so.

A number of big companies in Europe such as PepsiCo, Oracle, H&M, Revolut and Bain & Company make use of screening tests. It’s an unbiased way to shortlist and gain the best candidates. The screening assessments gauge the personality of candidates – especially helpful for scaling a remote team.

Send out screening assessments

For hiring developers, it’s more important to evaluate hard skills than soft skills. Send out coding tests before conducting interviews. This will also make the process faster since standardised coding tests can be used. Tip: Value the time of candidates. To attract great talent, set up a budget and pay the candidates for the time they spend (especially if the test is extensive and requires significant effort).

The costs of hiring a remote developer is lower than hiring a resource that comes to the office. You don’t have to pay for a workspace, computer, insurance and recruitment and onboarding costs are lower as well.

Create a strong work culture

A strong work culture means communicating ideas and sharing suggestions is easy. The most essential component of a successful remote team is seamless communication. Teams should be able to have a one-on-one discussion easily.

Too many meetings is considered micromanagement and a waste of time.

Developers need to be able to collaborate using messaging apps such as Slack or Microsoft Teams. If a team leader has to explain a task by showing their screens, using Loom is the best way to convey the message across.

Read: Strategies for ensuring remote workers aren’t excluded

The goal is to send the message across without taking away the valuable time of developers.

In addition, a strong work culture is where developers are able to voice their opinions – on anything they disagree with.

Some final tips

Before we wrap up, let’s give you some of the best tips for hiring the best talent:

– Include the salary or salary range in the job posting. No use of wasting your or the candidates time only to realise the financial expectations don’t match.

– If you’re a small company, quality developers will be sceptical about joining. Keep the LinkedIn of employees accessible, so potential candidates can reach out if they have any queries.

– Don’t ghost the employees. Keep them updated at every stage of the recruitment process even if they are not shortlisted.

Why You Need A Good Solicitor For Your Business

A solicitor is a legal practitioner that can create wills, handle various legal matters, handle conveyancing, represent clients in court, etc. Solicitors are essentially a type of lawyer. Now, once you have a business, then you need to have a good solicitor. This is essential so that you can avoid breaking the law, protect against legal issues and penalties, ensure your business runs smoothly, etc. So, we will now take a much deeper look into why you need a good solicitor.

1. Protect your business from lawsuits

When you have a solicitor, they can help prevent lawsuits from happening. You should avoid waiting to get into legal trouble before hiring a solicitor, since it may be too late. Now, having a solicitor will help lower the charges but this doesn’t mean that they will be able to prevent you from facing all legal consequences. It is best to take a proactive legal approach with your business to prevent as many legal issues from ever happening.

2. Reduces damages from lawsuits

If you’ve already been served a lawsuit, then a good solicitor can help to reduce the number of damages that you’ll face due to it. With that said, for your solicitor to do the best job possible, you need to be completely honest with them. This is necessary so that they can take the correct legal action to get the best possible result for you and your business.

3. Compliance with EU and National laws

There are many differences between EU and national laws and these need to be paid attention to when running a business. For example, if you intend on doing business across various EU countries, then there are different laws that you need to adhere to. There are many different national and EU laws and they can be quite confusing if you’re not a qualified legal practitioner. So, it is highly recommended that you have a solicitor to help ensure that your business is fully compliant with all laws.

4. Compliance with environmental regulations

It is no secret that the environment is becoming more protected and as a result, there are now many environmental laws and regulations that impact all businesses. If your business does not comply with these regulations, then you will have to face many stiff penalties and lawsuits. So, having a solicitor is essential to protect your business against these types of violations.

5. Drafting contracts

While operating a business, you will need to draft multiple contracts. For example, you may need to draft contracts with your suppliers, employees, clients, etc. However, when you draft contracts, you must have a solicitor to oversee and approve these contracts before they are signed. You may be tempted to do the contract on your own but this will likely cause many problems since you would not know all the loopholes that need to be avoided. Hiring a good solicitor to help draft your contracts or at least look over them before they are signed is essential to prevent legal problems in the future.

6. Problems with employees

Unfortunately, once you have a business with employees, you will eventually have to deal with various workplace problems. However, once you have a qualified solicitor, then they can prevent many of these issues from occurring or quickly deal with and resolve these problems. A solicitor would be responsible for drafting agreements with contractors and employees, handling compensation, handling the hiring and firing process, etc. A solicitor will go a long way in protecting your business and reducing the risk of lawsuits from employees.

7. Restructuring your business

When it comes to restructuring your business, there are numerous things you’ll need to deal with such as tax issues, particular expenses, liabilities, employees, and more. It is extremely difficult to deal with these things on your own without proper legal knowledge. Unfortunately, this can cause many legal problems over time. So, once you intend on restructuring your business, you need to have a professional solicitor to assist.

8. Applications for patents

As a business, you will likely create new products and services. These will need to be protected with patents. Unfortunately, getting a patent is a complicated and time-consuming process. It is also very difficult to get one approved if you don’t have professional legal assistance.

9. Business incorporation

Incorporating a business is quite complicated and a solicitor can help you to handle this process. Most people don’t understand all the details of business incorporation but a good solicitor will know what needs to be done.

10. Claims

If someone files a claim against your company, you will also likely not know what to do. If this happens, a solicitor will be able to help. They will know exactly what to do, explain the claim to you, and get it resolved quickly and efficiently.

Conclusion

We have just looked at the ten top reasons why you need a good solicitor for your business. So, if you’re on the fence about hiring a solicitor, then you should now be able to understand why you need one.

Strategies to Grow Your Service Business in 2023

As the service industry continues to evolve and mature, it is becoming increasingly important for businesses to develop effective strategies for growth. In 2023, the service sector is expected to be even more competitive and dynamic, and businesses must be prepared to stay ahead of the game. In this article, we’ll discuss the key strategies that service businesses should focus on in order to grow their business in the coming year. We’ll explore the importance of customer service, developing a strong online presence, leveraging technology, and building relationships with key partners. With these strategies, businesses can ensure that they remain competitive and successful in the fast-paced and constantly changing service industry.

The Importance Of Customer Service

The single most important factor in growing your business is providing good customer service. This is also the easiest factor for your competition to imitate, so it’s crucial that you excel in this area. Customer service is a foundational aspect of almost every industry. If a business provides exceptional service, they are far more likely to earn repeat business and referrals. If a business provides terrible service, it likely won’t receive either of these things.

Focusing On SEO Keyword Research

If your business has a website or an online presence, you need to make sure that it’s optimised for search engines. This means that you’ll be more likely to show up in search results for relevant queries. This will increase your traffic, which will lead to more conversions and sales. The most important thing you can do to optimise your website for search engines is to focus on keyword research. One of the top keyword research tips is to select highly relevant keywords for your business, as these are the terms that customers will use when searching for your product or service. These keyword research tips will help you select the right keywords to help keep your business on the first page of search results

Developing A Strong Social Media Presence

Social media has become an essential part of many people’s daily lives. Therefore, businesses must understand the importance of developing a strong social media presence in order to grow their brand. Having a strong social media presence can significantly benefit your brand. It can allow you to effectively connect with your customers on a more personal level and provide them with valuable content that educates, inspires, and engages them. A strong social media presence can also help you grow your audience and increase brand awareness. 

Creating An Effective Marketing Strategy

Having an effective marketing strategy can be instrumental in growing your business. It can allow you to effectively reach your target audience and increase your brand visibility and awareness. A well-thought-out marketing strategy can effectively drive customer engagement, generate leads, and increase brand recognition. By implementing a well-developed marketing strategy, you can effectively reach your target audience and increase brand visibility. This can be beneficial for your business as it allows you to engage with your customers on a more personal level and provides them with valuable information. Marketing strategies can be implemented in a variety of ways, such as through social media channels, email marketing, or with the aid of a marketing automation tool. By developing an effective marketing strategy, you can effectively reach your target audience and increase brand visibility. 

Enhancing Customer Experience

The customer experience is more important than ever in the service industry. As competition continues to rise, businesses need to ensure that they are providing their customers with an exceptional experience whenever they engage with your brand. Providing your customers with an excellent experience can be an effective strategy for growing your business. It can help you to differentiate yourself from your competitors by highlighting the benefits of your brand above others. Customer experience can be an essential part of retaining customers and reducing your customer churn. Ensuring that your customers have an excellent experience when engaging with your brand can be an effective method for reducing your customer churn rate. A positive customer experience can significantly affect your brand reputation and can lead to a significant increase in customer retention. In order to effectively enhance your customer experience, you must understand what your customers expect from your brand. Once you understand your customers’ expectations, you can work to exceed them and provide your customers with an excellent experience.

Optimising Operations

Finally, service businesses should focus on optimising operations in order to prepare for success in 2023. This means taking a look at your current operations and trying to identify areas for improvement. This can include assessing your current technology, reviewing your staff schedules, and identifying areas of improvement in terms of workflow or communication. Part of optimising operations includes making sure that your company is efficient and productive. This often involves removing unnecessary tasks or steps and outsourcing or automating those that can be done more effectively by someone or something else. It can also mean finding ways to be more productive, such as using time-management tools or working with a virtual assistant to free up extra time.

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Will the Cost of Doing Business Keep Increasing in 2023?

Sky-high rates of inflation on energy prices have had a significant impact on businesses as well as consumers all around the world. This has also prompted central banks, from most countries, to tighten their monetary policies and raise interest rates – at the fastest pace in recent memory. As a result, the cost of running a business and buying goods and services has never been higher than before, so will this pattern continue into the new year? In this article we will take an overview of 2022 and how doing business has changed and see how 2023 could look like.

Inflation thus far in 2022

Following the coronavirus pandemic and global lockdowns, inflation has been on the rise to help rebuild and recover the UK economy. As people began to spend their money again once businesses reopened, the demand for goods and services increased massively.

This demand put severe pressure on businesses, leading to the increase in supply prices which were then passed onto the end consumer, causing a financial impact that was felt by all.

In addition, the war between Ukraine and Russia has caused huge amounts of pressure on the fuel and food industry. With various sanctions being held against Russia, the import of their oil and gas was subsequently banned, meaning many EU countries had to look elsewhere, affecting supply and prices once again.

Impact on small businesses

Small businesses have been hit hard by the rise of inflation, with wholesale prices soaring and owners struggling to stay afloat. Not only this, but employers have had to keep up with wage increases that employees are expecting as compensation for the cost of living crisis.

Local pharmacies are struggling to keep up with the prices of basic medicines, leaving patients at risk of being left without prescription drugs that they heavily rely on. Chemists are running out of existing stock and can’t afford to purchase more, asking customers to look elsewhere.

As well as this, pharmacy insurance and other operational costs of the business have to be considered on top of these looming expenses, making it more difficult for them to stay open.

Predicted outlook for 2023

Fortunately, it’s expected that inflation will begin to fall from the middle of 2023. This is due to the price of energy not continuing to rise as quickly, with demand dropping off as we head into the warmer months.

Plus, the price of imported goods will ease, as businesses learn to deal with the challenges that were initially faced at the start of the crisis.

It’s also expected that demand for various goods and services across the country will decrease, meaning prices won’t rise at a fast rate and will eventually flatten out.

Banks have been raising interest rates to keep up with the rise of inflation, helping to slow down the ever-increasing prices in the UK. The continuous raising of interest rates is said to ensure inflation begins to reduce next year.

Where to Find the Best Deals on Car Leasing in the EU?

Car leasing can be a convenient and cost-effective way to drive a new vehicle. Finding a good deal is important to ensure you get the most value for your money. When looking for the best deals on car leasing in the European Union, there are several places you can look. Here are some of the places available you can find the best deals on car leases in the EU:

Car dealership websites

Many car dealerships offer leasing options on their websites. You can browse different models and get quotes for car leases directly from the dealership. Be sure to compare prices from multiple dealerships to find the best deal. You can also visit the dealership to discuss your leasing options and negotiate the lease terms with a salesperson.

Leasing companies

Many leasing companies offer flexible lease terms, such as short-term or month-to-month leases, which may be more suitable for your needs than a traditional long-term lease. You can search online for leasing companies in your area and get quotes from multiple companies to compare prices and terms. Some leasing companies may have a wider selection of vehicles available, so it’s worth considering this option if you have specific make and model preferences. They can provide expert advice and guidance on the leasing process and help you find the best deal for your needs.

Online price comparison websites

Some websites allow you to compare car leasing prices from multiple dealerships and leasing companies. You can easily access online price comparison websites, making it easy to shop around and compare prices without visiting multiple locations. These websites can be useful tools for finding the best car lease deals in the EU. Just be sure to read reviews and research the websites and the companies they feature to ensure that you’re dealing with reputable sources.

Manufacturer websites

Manufacturer websites can be a convenient way to browse and compare different car models and leasing options. You can often get quotes and apply for leasing online, making the process more streamlined. Some car manufacturers offer special leasing deals on their websites. You can check the websites of the car manufacturers you’re interested in to see if they have any promotions or special offers on car leases. These offers may be available for a limited time, so if you see a deal that interests you, it’s a good idea to act quickly.

Local classifieds

You may be able to find private individuals who are looking to lease their cars. You can check local classifieds websites or print ads to find these opportunities. Just be sure to do your due diligence and research the seller before entering into a lease agreement. It’s also a good idea to have the car inspected by a mechanic before committing to a lease to ensure it’s in good condition.

National and international car rental agencies

Some national and international car rental agencies, such as Enterprise and Hertz, offer car leasing options in addition to short-term rentals. These companies often have a wide selection of vehicles available for lease and may offer competitive rates. Many national and international vehicle rental companies have locations throughout the EU, making it easy to pick up and drop off the automobile.

Online forums and social media groups

These can be a good source of information and advice on car leasing in the EU. You can ask for recommendations and get insights from other car lease customers on where to find the best deals. Just verify the information you receive and research before making any decisions.

Auto shows

Auto shows are a great place to learn about new car models and compare prices from different companies. Auto shows often have various leasing options available from different manufacturers and dealerships. This allows you to compare prices and features from multiple sources. Many manufacturers and dealerships offer special deals and discounts on car leasing at auto shows. These offers may be exclusive to the show and not available through other channels.

By considering all these options and researching, you’ll be well-equipped to find the best deals on car leasing in the EU. Keep in mind that it’s essential to carefully review the terms and conditions of any lease agreement before signing to ensure that you understand all of the terms and obligations. It’s also a good idea to negotiate the lease terms to get the best deal possible and consider purchasing gap insurance to protect yourself financially.

3 Best Retirement Savings Options in the United States

You must have heard about investment gurus preaching about investing in retirement plans.

So, why is it advised to start investing in retirement plans, especially from the very beginning of our professional careers?

As we have seen in history, as years pass currency losses its value due to a variety of factors such as inflation and other geo-political reasons. Thus, without adequate savings aside, it will become difficult for us to maintain our expenses, especially in our older ages.

This is where retirement saving plans come into the picture. There are many retirement-focused savings plans, wherein you can invest your pre-tax or post-savings, and comes with tax benefits, thus allowing you to save more on your investment.

Moreover, due to the compounding effect, your investment principal will most likely yield better returns in the long run.

To help you plan your retirement savings journey, in this article we will be taking a look at some of the best retirement savings options for people in the United States.

Let’s Look At the Options –

Individual Retirement Account (IRA)

IRA or Individual Retirement Account is a type of individual savings account, wherein the account holder can contribute pre-tax or post-tax savings. IRAs usually invest the money in stocks, bonds, etc., thus giving the investor the ability to grow their investment returns in the long run.

Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, and SEP IRA are the common types of IRAs offered by providers.

Investments made in traditional IRAs are tax deductible. Moreover, the returns aren’t taxable until withdrawn.

Post-tax savings are invested in Roth IRAs, thus there are no tax benefits with the investment itself. However, under certain conditions, the withdrawal from Roth IRAs is completely tax-free, making it more attractive for long-term retirement investment.

A Simplified Employee Pension Individual Retirement Account, or SEP IRA, is another type of IRA that is focused on self-employed individuals and small business owners. SEP IRAs offer tax benefits similar to traditional IRAs. A key highlight of SEP IRA is that it allows employers to contribute on behalf of their employees, in turn attracting employees to remain with the employer.

Instead of investing in regular IRA plans that in turn put your money in assets like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc., investors are nowadays more interested in gold-based IRAs.

So, gold IRA plans can either be based on a traditional IRA or Roth IRA. The key difference here is that your investment is made in precious metals such as gold, silver, etc., instead of mutual funds, stocks, etc. However, you will require a gold IRA custodian like Lear Capital to buy, store, and sell the precious metals in your gold IRA account.

401(k) and 402(b) Plans

401(k) and 403(b) are another popular schemes for retirement-focussed investments.

Both 401(k) and 403(b) are similar retirement saving schemes offered by employers. The major difference is that 401(k) plans are offered by businesses that operate for-profit whereas 403(b) plans are offered by tax-exempt organizations such as govt. Organizations, schools, charity organizations, hospitals, etc.

In both schemes, employees can contribute their savings and employers have the option to match employee contributions. The exact contribution made by the employer will depend on the business/organization.

Pension Plans

Pension plans are another retirement savings scheme wherein employers contribute a set amount of money to the account of each individual employee. The employee can withdraw the amount post-retirement.

Defined Benefit Plans and Defined Contribution Plans are the two common types of pension plans.

In a Defined Benefit Plan, the employer decides the pension amount that the employee receives after retirement. The amount is calculated based on the salary the employee receives and the number of service years in the company.

In a Defined Contribution Plan, the employer deposits a fixed monthly amount to the pension account of the employee. The deposited amount is then used for investments such as stocks, mutual funds, bonds, etc. Thus, post-retirement the employee can withdraw the amount contributed by the employer and any profits made on the investments made.

Final Words

Just like any other form of investment, the key to success in retirement savings is to diversify your investment into different available schemes. Even though the 3 retirement saving plans mentioned in this article are the commonly opted ones, you may get other options as well depending on your income bracket and other factors.

Trip.com Reveals European’s Wish Lists of Destinations this Christmas with Long-Haul and Short-Haul Travel Seeing Vitality Among Travellers

An analysis of Trip.com travel data reveals the wish list of destinations this Christmas, chosen by European users of the global travel platform.

London was the most searched for place by European Trip.com users looking for destinations this Christmas, with fellow European cities Paris and Istanbul making the top five.

Trip.com’s European customers also showed a desire to revisit Asia, with Bangkok and Manila being the second and fourth most searched-for flight destinations this December.

Travellers in the UK continued to explore the best of Britain, with London being the most searched-for destination during the month of December. Data reveals that domestic trips to London were up by a dramatic 232% compared to 2019, before the pandemic.

The easing of travel restrictions in Asia has also caused a jump in popularity for trips to the region, with BangkokManilaKuala Lumpur and Singapore all being in the top five most searched for destinations by Brits.

Andy Washington, Trip.com General Manager EMEA, said: “December is a popular time for getaways to destinations near and far for Europeans, and Trip.com data shows where our users are searching this festive season to go visit.

“Our data analysis reveals London in the UK is still the top sport according to our search history for Trip.com users looking to travel this month, with popular holiday Asian hotspots like BangkokManilaKuala Lumpur and Singapore also making the top five.”

For Italian users of Trip.com, the country’s domestic tourism hotspots proved the most popular, with no other destinations – short of long-haul – appearing in Trip.com’s top five.

The most searched for destinations for December getaways were Milan in the north of the country, Catania, the capital RomeNaples and in fifth place, Palermo in Sicily.

Meanwhile, French users of Trip.com set their sights on exotic long-haul destinations and aside from one major French city – Paris – where searches have reached 96% of 2019 levels.

According to Trip.com data, the most searched for destination was the country’s capital, followed by New York, and in third place Bangkok with Istanbul in Turkey in fourth place and in fifth position, Dubai in the Middle East.

Among German users of Trip.com, Istanbul was the most searched for destination in December followed by Bangkok. Interestingly the cities in third, fourth and fifth places were German domestic destinations; FrankfurtBerlin and Munich.

Spanish users of Trip.com chose the Spanish capital of Madrid and the capital of Catalonia, Barcelona, as their top two favourite destinations. London was selected as their third, followed by France as their fourth and the capital of Argentina as their fifth.

For the British market, an analysis of UK Trip.com users revealed that in December the most searched for destination was the country’s capital, London, followed by Bangkok in second place and Manila in the Philippines as third. Maintaining the Asian theme, Kuala Lumpur appeared in fourth place, followed by Singapore in fifth.

Inbound travel to Europe has also remained strong this winter, despite economic headwinds, as Asian travellers returned to the continent for post-pandemic trips.

During December, flight searches reveal that after domestic travellers, the largest inbound market for the UK was Spanish tourists, followed by Thai, German and Chinese holidaymakers.

Across the other European nations, domestic travellers lead the way, with the highest number of regional searches. However, data reveals visitors from CanadaTurkey and the US also led Europe’s inbound travel revival.

Travellers to Europe also continued to immerse themselves into the culture of each country, with bookings for tickets and attractions on the rise.

In the UK, The London Eye on the city’s South Bank proved the most popular attraction this Christmas, followed by the Tower of London, near the world-famous Tower Bridge.

In France, the most popular attractions are Disneyland® Paris & Walt Disney Studios Park and

Eiffel Tower, as travellers enjoy the city’s famous sights and sounds.

ItalySpain and Germany also saw strong bookings for the most popular attractions of the Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel, Park Guell and Neuschwanstein Castle, respectively.

For more information about destinations to search, please visit Trip.com.  

How Fabric Ducting Technology Promotes Environmentally Friendly Business Practices

Fabric Ducting as an air diffusion and ventilation product comes alongside several environmental benefits, helping businesses operating across a wide range of industries to make greener decisions within their everyday company practices. In order to learn more about the environmental benefits of fabric ducting technology, we must first understand what fabric ducts are and the applications in which they are typically used.

What is Fabric Ducting?

Fabric ducting technology assists with both the diffusion and transportation of air within a room, with systems visibly mounted to deliver air throughout any given space. Air socks are constructed from polyester materials that are sewn together to the shape or diameter best suited to the needs and requirements of the application.

Due to their bespoke nature, fabric ducts are typically made to order – they’re not stock items. Each and every system is custom-made for its project, taking into account any special requirements or design specifications. Factors such as mounting height, air volume, air throw distance, air velocity requirements, available pressure, and supply air temperatures will be unique for all applications – meaning fabric ducting systems are not typically suited to a one-size-fits-all approach.

With a wide variety of materials available to choose from, fabric ducting provides both a visual and technical ventilation solution to almost any business space. The highly customisable nature of fabric ducting systems results in a bespoke product that offers technically robust air distribution to most applications, ranging from offices and classrooms, warehouses, laboratories, and hospitals, to even swimming pools, sports halls and gyms.

Environmental Benefits

Numerous environmental benefits come along with the use of a fabric ducting ventilation system within any business application, helping companies to not only make greener business decisions, but to save on spend while doing so.

So, how do fabric ducting systems help businesses to support eco-friendly practices?

As previously mentioned, air socks are constructed from polyester materials, replacing traditionally manufactured diffusers made from galvanised sheet steel. Compared to these galvanised steel ventilation systems, polyester fabric ducts hold over 18 times less embodied carbon per metre 2 of materials. This comes as a result of fabric ducting options being much lighter in weight than their sheet steel counterparts.

The lightweight nature of these fabric ducting systems results in both spend-based and environmental savings, including lower transportation costs, reduced storage space, and packaging materials. As all fabric ducts are supplied and transported in cardboard boxes, these systems also use sustainable packaging options.

The majority of fabric ducting systems operate on an air pressure of about 120Pa, working to inflate the duct and distribute air around a space. These ventilation systems are self-balancing, which results in higher pressure, energy, and cost savings, reducing pressure drops through dampers that control different branches within the system.

Most fabric ducting systems are bespoke and made to order. As they are constructed to the specific dimensions and design requirements for their business application, air socks help to cut down on excessive fabric waste.

To take these environmental benefits one step further, fabric ducting suppliers at Prihoda work to produce ducts made from 100% recycled materials. Constructed from recycled plastic bottles, their ventilation solutions work to re-utilise roughly thirteen 500ml plastic bottles per metre 2 of materials used. This means that the average 710mm x 10m fabric ducting system supplied by Prihoda would use roughly 290 plastic bottles that may have otherwise been sent to landfill.

Choosing these recycled fabric ducts will help businesses see a 34% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, a 50% reduction in water use, and a 66% reduction in energy consumption in the production of their bespoke ventilation system.

Overall, fabric ducting systems, particularly those constructed from recycled plastic materials, provide significant environmental benefits compared to the traditional ventilation systems of the past, allowing businesses across a range of industries to promote environmentally friendly practices within their daily operation.

Custom-made to the exact requirements of each and every application, and available in a variety of different colours and prints, fabric ducts blend seamlessly into any space.

With a low cost, extended warranty, and hygienic, cleanable design, fabric ducts provide an adaptable and practical air diffusion solution – one that is widely used throughout Europe and around the world.

How Website Speed Can Impact Online Businesses

Having a well-optimised website is more important nowadays with more and more customers spending their time and money online. It’s not uncommon to have a prospect convert to a customer without ever stepping foot in a business. This is only more true for businesses that operate solely online. Your website will dictate whether or not a prospect does business with you. While the design plays an important role in converting customers, one of the most important things is your website speed. You should seek professional website speed improvement services to get the best performance from your website. Your website’s speed can dictate whether or not someone converts into a customer for your business. How does website speed play such a critical role? By the end of this article, you will know exactly what the speed of your website is of utmost importance when it comes to having success as an online business.

Why Your Website Speed Matters:

1. Rankings

One of the main reasons your site’s speed is so important to the overall success of your business has to do with how it impacts your organic search rankings. If your website is slow, you will not have good rankings overall. Google and other search engines have a single mission. They want to provide the best user experience for their users. Because of this, search engines utilise an algorithm that punishes websites that provide their users with a poor experience. One thing no one likes is having to deal with a slow and clunky website. Thus, if your website provides a poor experience because it loads slowly and it’s difficult to navigate, you can expect to get punished by the algorithm with lower organic rankings. If you want to succeed in today’s highly competitive digital landscape, it’s more important than ever before to get high rankings. Why? Because it costs a lot of money to solely rely on paid advertising. You need to maximise your organic reach. The best way to do this is by generating the best organic rankings possible. This can help you drive more traffic to your site without having to pay for it. It can help you maximise your return on investment and help you run a profitable business.

2. Better Conversions

One of the things that you need to do when you get someone to visit your website is to get them to convert into a customer. Your mission is to take them from being a prospect to actual customers. How do you accomplish this? Well, you need to gain their trust. A prospect isn’t going to convert into a customer unless they 100% trust your business. How do you gain their trust? You can gain their trust by providing them with a high-quality experience while on your site. You can also do this by establishing yourself as an authority within the industry. If your website is slow and clunky, no one is going to trust you. They will assume that you are not professional and that you don’t have the resources to protect their data. A lot of customers are sceptical enough when it comes to submitting payment information and their personal information on an unknown website. By having a slow website, you will only play into these concerns and they will simply bounce off your site onto a competitor’s site. This is one of the easiest ways to lose prospects to your competition. You can expect to have high bounce rates when you have a site that doesn’t load properly or one that takes a long time to load.

3. The Rise In Mobile Users

One of the biggest reasons you need to be concerned with your site’s speed to improve your online business has to do with the drastic rise in mobile users. The fact is, more people than ever before are using mobile devices to find products and services. They are even making their purchasing decisions on their favourite mobile devices. Because of this, you need to be actively targeting these users and focused on improving your mobile experience. If not, you will lose them. You don’t want to lose your mobile traffic because a large part of them are ready-to-buy customers. However, if your website is slow and clunky and it’s not mobile responsive, they will bounce off your site to your competition that has a well-optimised and mobile-friendly website.

4. Get Them To Come Back

If your website doesn’t provide people with a good experience, they may buy something from your site, but they likely won’t come back. You need to generate more return/repeat customers. It’s much easier to get someone to purchase from you multiple times than it is to acquire a new customer. This can lead to skyrocketing marketing and acquisition costs. It’s better to provide a good all-around experience to get repeat and loyal customers.

Overall, you can see why it’s so important to have a high-quality and speedy website when you run an online business. It’s one of the best ways to better position yourself for success.

How Wide Is The Digital Skills Gap And How Do We Bridge It?

The rapid digitisation in the UK has meant higher-than-ever demand for digital skills. In fact, some degree of digital know-how is now necessary for many aspects of daily life, from banking or getting a passport to applying for jobs and more. The changes are apparent in employment too. The UK government recently reported that over 80% of all jobs advertised require at least some digital skills.

Meanwhile, global tech company OKdo found that vacancies in the UK’s tech sector rose by 191% between 2020 and 2022. Yet, companies are finding it difficult to recruit people with the right skills. In 2021 nearly half of businesses reported struggling to fill roles that required hard data skills.

If businesses cannot keep up with digitisation, it can severely impact productivity, innovation, and growth. In a recent survey by AND Digital, 22% of employees reported that a lack of digital skills impacted their ability to hit their work targets. Analysis from Virgin Media O2 has also revealed that this shortage of digital skills is costing the UK economy £12.8 billion.

What’s causing this gap?

The digital skills gap faced by the UK has been caused by a variety of factors. One reason could simply be that the UK’s digital transformation has been developing so rapidly that skills training, or a lack thereof, hasn’t been able to keep up.

The gap also highlights socioeconomic disparities when it comes to digital skills.

The Digital Divide Report from Accenture analysed the key indicators of digital exclusion, a term used to describe the barriers that stop people from learning necessary skills. Accenture found that the groups most likely to experience digital exclusion are those over 55, those without a degree, and those from low-income households.

Other research from WorldSkills UK points towards a lack of knowledge about the career paths and job roles available as a barrier for young people. Considering that 60% of businesses believe advanced digital skills are going to become increasingly important over the next five years, it’s vital that we act now to develop digital skills and bridge the gap.

What can businesses, educators, and individuals do to bridge it?

The main way we can work to shorten the digital skills gap is through increased training, accessibility to learning resources, and by encouraging lifelong learning.

Worryingly, according to the AND Digital survey mentioned above, 58% of employees said they had received no digital training at work. It’s up to employers to remedy this by implementing training courses or sessions for employees to increase their digital knowledge. Understandably, it can sometimes be difficult for businesses to fit this into employee schedules. One way of overcoming this issue is, to begin with, a set learning objective and focus on short courses that can be done within the working day.

In the long term, it’s also a good idea to promote a culture of learning within the workplace. Knowing that their employers are invested in their skills will help employees feel supported and valued. As well as this, having a team who are continuously upskilled or reskilled will also make the business more resilient and able to adapt to technological changes in the future. One survey conducted in 2021 found that employers had seen multiple benefits from digital skills training, including higher employee satisfaction (90%), higher retention (83%), and increased productivity (88%).

In terms of education, it’s a good sign that more students than ever before are signing up for computing or computer science courses. Compared to 2021, there has been a 16% increase in applications for undergraduate computer science degrees in 2022. If we are to bridge the digital skills gap in 2023 and beyond, it’s vital that this upward trend continues and young people are encouraged to expand their digital knowledge.

Elsewhere, there needs to be a greater focus on accessibility, especially for those in disadvantaged groups who struggle more than others to gain digital skills. For many individuals and businesses, the costs associated with training courses can be a barrier to learning. The UK government has compiled a list of free digital learning resources from organisations, colleges, and universities known as The Skills Toolkit. This features courses from beginner computer essentials all the way to coding and programming.

Confidence is another major factor that can hold employees and individuals back from learning new skills. Therefore, all efforts to upskill employees, students, or other members of the public should be accompanied by mentoring and support.

In all, digital skill is a critical area of development. With the potential impact on individuals and businesses, the time is now to embrace continuous learning and encourage people to gain the skills they need. The digital skills gap has been widening for years now, and it’s going to take a joint effort from the government, educational organisations, charities, and individuals to bridge it.

Golang Developer Salary: How to Calculate a Worthy Offer for Potential Experts

Go language has become a very popular choice for developers and companies, as it can provide many benefits for every party. That’s why the Go developer salary has been a very popular topic within the industry. In this article, we’ll show you how to calculate the Golang developer salary so you don’t overspend your budget.

What is Golang, and which are its main benefits?

Before we discuss the Go programmer salary, we need to show you what this language is all about. Golang is a programming language made by Google. It is a statically-typed language with a syntax that is close to that of C, but it has additional features and libraries that make it unique.

Golang was designed with the intention of making development more efficient and scalable than other languages. The benefits of Golang include its speed, simplicity, and robustness.

Golang is known for its speed; it compiles quickly and runs fast. Additionally, Golang is easy to learn for developers who are already familiar with C-style syntax. The language also has strong built-in types and supports garbage collection, which can save time and resources.

Finally, Golang was designed for concurrency from the ground up, meaning that it can handle multiple tasks simultaneously without issue. All of these factors make Golang an attractive option for companies looking for an efficient and reliable programming language.

Which are the factors that affect the Go developer salary?

Go language developer salary depends on many factors, and the difference might be pretty substantial, which is why you need to have that in mind.

Experience

When it comes to deciding the salary for a Golang engineer, experience is still the most critical factor. This is because experienced engineers are generally more skilled and knowledgeable than those who are new to the field.

Additionally, companies are often willing to pay more for engineers with more experience, as they are seen as being more valuable to the company.

Location of the developers

As a business seeking a Golang developer, your paychecks will largely depend on your chosen location. In general, developers in Silicon Valley and other major tech hubs will earn more than those in other parts of the country. However, there are a number of factors that can influence your bills, including the cost of living in your developers’ area and the specific company you work with.

A senior Golang developer salary in USA can reach up to $175,000 per year in the US. A senior Golang developer salary in Eastern Europe is in the range of $60,000-$72,000, which is more than twice cheaper.

Expertise and qualifications

The Golang developer salary depends on expertise and skill. This is because expertise is one of the most dominant factors for finding complex solutions. As a result, those with more expertise and qualification will typically be able to command a higher salary.

Therefore, when hiring Golang developers, companies should consider both the candidate’s skill set and their problem-solving abilities.

In-house vs. outsourced Golang developers?

This is another question that arises in employers’ heads – which option is best? Let’s find out the pros and cons of each model.

In-house hiring

There are both pros and cons to having in-house Golang developers on staff. Some of the pros include having better control over the development process, being able to easily customise the software to meet specific company needs, and generally having a better understanding of the codebase.

On the contrary, some of the cons include potentially higher costs, inflexibility if the company needs change, and reliance on a small number of employees for critical software development.

Outsourced Golang developers

There can be both pros and cons to outsourcing your Go development. On a positive note, you can tap into a global pool of talent and often find developers who are more affordable than those in your own country. Additionally, working with an expert outsourced development team can bring a level of expertise and experience that might be difficult to find locally.

On the downside, there can be language and cultural barriers when working with an outsourced team, which can make communication and collaboration more difficult.

Final words

The Go developer salary depends on many factors, including location, experience, and skills. And the best is that you can save money without sacrificing quality.

Implementing Green Strategies For Your Business For A New Working Year

Many businesses today are searching for ways in which they can reduce their carbon footprint for a few different reasons. First of all, it’s a way to show that the business is ethical and cares about the planet as well as society. This will then naturally bolster public opinion of that company, leading to greater success. If that’s not reason enough, then remember that many efficient and green practices can also significantly reduce your operating costs, leading to greater profits. Ultimately, it can pay to go green, so there’s really no reason not to. Here are some green strategies and how you can implement them in your company, ready for the next working year.

Support Green Initiatives

One of the best things a company can do as a green strategy is to support wider green initiatives. Of course, you can start your own internal initiatives, but this can be fairly time-consuming and costly. We highly recommend supporting green initiatives run by dedicated groups, such as those replanting trees or cleaning oceans, for example. If you choose to run your own green initiatives, this could include a company or community-wide recycling initiative or perhaps going paperless in the office.

Use Green Materials

When ordering office supplies, you should ensure that you’re purchasing items that are made using ethically sourced and environmentally friendly materials. Purchasing non-green items and materials perpetuate the demand for these things and will encourage producers and suppliers to continue to source more for public use. Consider using green office supplies wherever possible, whether that’s pencils made of recycled paper cups or sustainable polythene from Polythene UK to wrap pallets in your warehouse, for example.

Order Locally Where Possible

A big environmental issue in the world of business is carbon footprints. It’s important to search for ways to reduce your business’s carbon footprint, which can be done in a few ways. First of all, you need to take a look at where you’re purchasing items from. Whether it’s materials for you to manufacture into other things, items that you’ll then sell as a retailer, or just simple office supplies, try to order them locally if possible. This will help to reduce the distance at which things have to be delivered to your business, reducing the amount you will contribute from vehicle emissions. Ordering things from overseas, for example, is one of the worst things you could do to your carbon footprint because of how much more pollution these delivery methods will cause.

Save Power In The Office

You should also try to reduce the amount of energy you use across your business where possible. Running an office with many power-hungry devices isn’t always avoidable, but you and your team can make use of some energy-saving practices to reduce the overall energy consumption of your workspace. You can do this by remembering to turn off lights when they’re not needed, turn off computers at the end of the day instead of leaving them on standby or sleep mode, and switch to more energy-efficient devices and appliances. Don’t forget to change any lightbulbs to energy-efficient versions such as LEDs if you haven’t already.

Peak Season 2022: Record Parcels Delivered Despite Strikes

Online deliveries almost tripled on Cyber Monday despite Royal Mail strikes 

Online parcels shipped on Cyber Monday were 252% higher than the average shopping week, according to data released today, despite delivery delays and a cost of living crisis.

The figures provided by e-commerce delivery platform Sendcloud represent peak season retailing trends across Europe, which also showed a 125% increase in parcel volume for the week of Black Friday.

In total, online stores sent 14% more parcels during the entire week of Black Friday compared to last year, bumping a predicted slump in online deliveries.

Royal Mail strikes took place on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but the disruption seemed minimal as parcel deliveries remained strong over both weeks. 

Parcel volumes are expected to remain high until Christmas, and although the weekend of Black Friday often sees the most orders, many of these parcels are in fact shipped only after the weekend.

Less manpower, more packages: 4 tips to make Christmas successful

Despite peak season promising to be busy again for retailers, this year’s peak season looks different to previous years Rob van den Heuvel, CEO and Co-founder at Sendcloud explains, “for the first time in 2 years, consumers can again choose between shopping online or hitting the high streets. 

And although the number of online orders will therefore be relatively lower compared to previous years, online retailers will still have to deal with congested parcel networks due to staff shortages. We recommend shipping with multiple carriers as this helps spread the load and allows merchants to be flexible in case of delays.” 

Van den Heuvel shared four tips for online retailers to get ahead of the peak season:

1. Entice consumers to pick up parcels at pick-up point

Offering flexible shipping options and pick-up points in your checkout is a must nowadays. As the delivery driver doesn’t have to stop at every doorstep but can stop at one parcel point instead. Pick-up points always have a 100% first delivery guarantee. 

Thus, shipping to pick-up points helps to reduce the pressure on parcel networks – which makes it a great tip ahead of the peak season. 

2. Spread risks and parcel volumes

Make yourself less vulnerable by working with multiple carriers – at least during the busiest period of the year. As an online retailer, you are dependent on the carrier you work with and its capacity. When setbacks such as staff shortages occur, it is nice if you can spread risks. 

By using multiple carriers, you can transfer orders from one carrier to another to ensure customer demand is being met. 

3. Expectation management is key

Communicating ahead of the holidays helps to make consumers aware of the busy period and potential hick-ups. For example, you can indicate on your homepage that orders ordered before a certain period are more likely to be delivered on time. It will never be the case that everyone will be understanding, but it might make customers think twice about last-minute purchases and might encourage them to purchase early on.  

4. Make sure timely shipping notifications are on point

There is nothing more annoying than not knowing where you stand. “Where is my order?” is one of the most frequently asked questions online stores get, and for a good reason. 

Make sure you enable automatic tracking notifications in advance to update customers via SMS or e-mail in case of changes. This way, consumers know exactly when they should be home or when they can pick-up a parcel. 

Why Packaging Could Be A Worthwhile Investment For Companies And Their Products

When you are planning to create and sell a product, packaging might not be the first thing that comes to your mind. However, it is the first thing your customer sees when they get the product into their hands. Of course, its main purpose is to keep the product inside safe. Therefore, the packaging should be strong enough to maintain its purpose. At the same time, it needs to be eye-catching. Here are reasons why packaging could be a worthwhile investment for companies and their products.

You Can Influence How Customers Perceive The Company

Putting effort into the packaging of your product can help you to make a good first impression and allow you to shift the way customers perceive the company. For instance, if your packaging has a luxurious feel and looks beautiful, your customers might start to think the same about your company. Luxury packaging suppliers like Maxipos can help you to create the best customer experience possible. Make the design work with the brand identity and bring a piece of luxury to your customers.

Increase The Sales Of Your Product

If you design your packaging carefully, your products will become more attractive to your current and potential customers. At the same time, the luxurious experience will make your brand more appealing to others. And if customers find your brand appealing, you might notice a rise in the sales of your product. As a result, your business will become more profitable, and you will be able to keep running your business smoothly.

Improve Your Brand Awareness

During the process of designing the packaging, you should ensure that the logo or name of your company is visible. After all, before the package gets to the customer, it goes through the hands of many different people. If the packaging of your product looks unique and intriguing, all these people might be curious about the company and try to find out more. Make sure that the packaging design goes hand in hand with your branding strategy. Then, you will be easily recognisable from your competitors.

Support Your Sustainability Efforts

Perhaps your business is well known for its sustainability policy and efforts. In that case, you might want to project your mission into the packaging as well. Choosing sustainable packaging will help you to show your customers that you truly care and are trying to do your bit to combat climate change. Of course, you need to consider the material the packaging is made of. However, you should also consider your supplier and find out where they stand when it comes to sustainability.

Let Customers Learn More About The Brand

Finally, you can utilise the packaging of your products to allow the customers to learn more about the brand. Naturally, there should be a name and the logo of your company. However, you might also want to include some contact information for your business. Make sure that there is a website for your business and that it is easy to read. Then, your customers and everyone else who sees the parcel can easily find out more about the company.

What Should You Know about Ethereum Before Purchasing it

Cryptocurrency has seen a huge increase in popularity over the past few years, something that has been heavily influenced by the pandemic. During the pandemic, people had a lot more time on their hands and could also not spend their money on things like shopping or eating. This led to a lot of people investing in cryptocurrency, as they could spend their money wisely. One type of cryptocurrency that has seen a rise in popularity is Ethereum, which is what we are going to discuss in this article.

Ethereum is an ideal option for EU investors, because, unlike other digital currencies, it is deemed eco-friendly by European lawmakers, and could help eco-conscious European citizens to make money without increasing their carbon footprint. Also, as countries in the EU look to legalise and legitimise cryptocurrencies, this popular coin is a likely option to be allowed to be sold, traded and used as a form of payment as it meets the EU’s strike sustainability criteria.

Cryptocurrency is considered a high-risk investment, which is why it is important to know what you are getting into before you invest. So, if you are considering investing in Ethereum, then this article is for you. Keep on reading to find out more.

Understand The Basics Of Cryptocurrency

Before you invest in Ethereum, you must first have a clear understanding of the basics of cryptocurrency. If you are new to the world of investing and cryptocurrency, then it would be a good idea to do some reason into how cryptocurrency works, so that you know how to invest your money wisely. As mentioned in the introduction, investing in cryptocurrency can be risky, but if you understand the basics and recognise when it is the right time to invest, you should end up with a successful investment.

Manage Your Expectations

Another thing to be aware of before you purchase Ethereum is managing your expectations. The crypto market can be volatile, so you need to have reasonable expectations of what money you will make. Although keeping an eye on the markets will be helpful, starting off your investment with a sensible expectation will help you make smarter investment choices. Before you invest, you should do some research into how to securely sell Ethereum as this will give you a good guideline of what to expect if you do choose to sell in the future.

Keep An Eye On The Market

When investing in any sort of cryptocurrency, it is important to keep an eye on the market. The financial market can be volatile, and cryptocurrency is no exception. Keeping your eye on the market will be useful throughout your investment as it means you can recognise when prices are changing, and you can make any adjustments to your investments as you see fit. It would perhaps be a good idea to download an app that helps you manage your investment, as the app will be able to tell you when prices are changing. Additionally, keeping up to date with financial news will be helpful, as you can get daily updates on what is happening to your investment.

Be Wary Of Scams

Although cryptocurrency is secure, there is still the potential to be scammed when buying Ethereum. It could be that one site is offering a particularly good deal and that draws you in or they are promising you a high return on your investment. The best way to avoid a scam is to research the website well and check that they are a legitimate seller of Ethereum. It could also be beneficial to read some reviews and see if people have had a positive experience dealing with the site.

New EU Regulations Set to Improve Driving Safety

In the middle of 2022, new EU regulations came into effect in a bid to improve road safety. The European Council has introduced these new regulations following an agreement with the European Parliament a few years prior with the changes designed to reduce the number of severe injuries and fatalities on EU roads. This means that all car manufacturers are now having to make automobiles that abide by these regulations to improve safety, but there are both benefits and drawbacks to these changes.

Examples of Changes

So, what are some of the new regulations that have been introduced? The most notable is the introduction of a mandatory speed limiter. This clever technology can limit engine power so that the speed limit cannot be exceeded and uses a combination of speed-recognition cameras, sat-nav and specialist software to know the speed limit at all times. It is thought that speed limiters could reduce road collisions by as much as 30% and fatalities by 20%.

Other new regulations include alcohol interlock installation facilitation, drowsy driver detection and advanced driver distraction warning systems. New vehicles will also have to include enlarged head impact protection zones, which will help to reduce the severity of injuries in collisions involving pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists.

Pros & Cons

Obviously, these new safety regulations are welcome because they should reduce the number of collisions, injuries and fatalities on the roads. The EU has a 2050 target of 0 road deaths and these new regulations will be a key step in achieving this. Roads are dangerous places for all and many accidents are a result of human error, so it is hoped that these new regulations will make a positive difference and help motorists to feel more confident behind the wheel.

In terms of drawbacks, you will find that all of this new technology that manufacturers have to implement will come at a cost and this will be passed on to motorists. New cars will become even more expensive as a result, which could make it hard for many to afford a new car. Due to these vehicles being more expensive, it is a good idea to take out gap insurance. What is gap insurance? This is an optional form of insurance that will bridge the gap between an insurance pay-out and the amount originally paid after a write-off.

Regulations Beyond 2030

There will also be many more regulations to come into effect in the near future to make roads safer as well as to reduce environmental impact. The most notable is the restriction of selling petrol and diesel vehicles with the UK implementing a 2030 ban and a 2035 ban in the EU.

Motorists should be aware of these new safety regulations that have come into effect that will hopefully help to reduce accidents and fatalities as well as increase drive confidence.

Best Real Estate & Leasing Solutions Company – Munich

Modern systems require modern solutions. The team behind the HOME & CAR Energie Solution Company Limited By Guarantee have made it their mission to deliver new developments to the property market that will revolutionise the way it works. Having achieved such enviable success in the German Enterprise Awards, we take a closer look to find out more.

Traditional home ownership has not changed significantly over the past decades, with tried-and-tested, well-known methods at the heart of their way of working. However, these ideas are not the ones that best suit the needs of today. They require a lot of consumables and are altogether too expensive to produce. A new way and form, a new approach to create new objects with essential characteristics, which takes into account the modern climate challenges, is crucial.

The HOME & CAR Energie Solution Company Limited By Guarantee team was established in 2020. These guarantee and development experts are breaking boundaries. They are unique, in every sense of the word, combining elements of various segments to create something brand new. With a focus on the natural and environmental sectors, combined with new cost structures, they offer a transformative take on previous industry applications. Their properties are sensational, preventing the release of heat and exhaust gases, and keeping them out of the atmosphere. These new buildings keep the environment 80% cleaner than traditional structures.

HOME & CAR Energie Solution Company Limited By Guarantee is not only committed to the use of energy, but to energy production on site, in the new property. Your consideration is the challenge they rise to every day, with a team determined to enable and use energy regardless of price spirals and enabling you to prevent problems of any form. Raw materials and supplies, for example, are becoming increasingly rare and, at certain intervals, increasingly expensive. This is exactly where the team thrive, with various developers from different departments able to connect the renewals for newly built objects with each other. Through this system of new service in self-sufficient form, instead of buying or selling electricity, it is produced directly on site. Specially designed storage units are used for extensive supply and are able to supply all supply points in a property, even up to 31 days without daylight.

Beyond the practical elements of designing new properties, the HOME & CAR Energie Solution Company Limited By Guarantee team also provides the knowledge base of how important to live life to the fullest in old age. The team has developed appropriate units and become a leader in this field, expanding age-friendly living with numerous special features, up to and including intensive care as required.

This has also resulted in the real estate exchange sector, a kind of real estate exchange whose system on the market results in older customers being able to move into senior-friendly housing units without any problems or encumbrances. The modern world requires modern solutions, and that’s precisely what the HOME & CAR Energie Solution Company Limited By Guarantee team are determined to deliver.

It is quite telling that the HOME & CAR Energie Solution Company Limited By Guarantee team offers and facilitates such comprehensive solutions in the residential property sector, implementing complete solutions in every aspect future safe and oriented. Thinking ahead and freeing customers from price spirals is the most important thing, moving forward. End users often find it difficult to purchase residential units on the market, but with the help of the HOME & CAR Energie Solution Company Limited By Guarantee team, many have been able to put themselves in a position to purchase a residential unit. Giving them the ability to move right in after completion and pay off the debt through monthly amounts is a direct result of the team’s newly designed property leasing and property hire purchase system.

From planning, creation to completion and related works, it is possible to directly partner with HOME & CAR Energie Solution Company Limited By Guarantee. This removes the need to carry out the contract settlements and replaces the need for complex application procedures for financing. In the past, the team have been taken aback by the immense popularity of their offerings. People from all walks of life found a way to their dream of combining nature and environmental thinking with living. Creating these green changes has not only resulted in the implementation of the necessary techniques, technologies and social changes, but also overcomes the stereotypes of those who disagree with the green agenda.

Given the continued success of HOME & CAR Energie Solution Company Limited By Guarantee, it is easy to see that the forward thinking attitude has been a triumph of the company. A significant part of this is due to Germany’s impressive position in the development of new technologies and manufacturing techniques. Unfortunately, environmental protection has taken a back seat in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have had a major impact on the global status quo, making it very clear that there is a lack of raw materials of many kinds which keep operations moving.

The approach of HOME & CAR Energie Solution Company Limited By Guarantee has therefore enabled new ways for clients to become less vulnerable in the future. These new ways, designed to be sustainable and independent, have led to the HOME & CAR Energie Solution Company Limited By Guarantee team trying to avoid third party involvement as much as possible. This gives the team the freedom to make unrestricted decisions that will drive their growth. Thanks to the tireless efforts of a small team and a core group of developers, the future looks brighter. Customers are gaining tremendous value from these developments, with savings effects that are currently unrivalled.

Looking to the future, the team have already started implementing concepts that can be realised and mean the difference for many in the long run. One of these is the team’s proprietary bank designs in communities where bank walls can be up to four metres high automatically to prevent flooding when required by high water. The HOME & CAR Energie Solution Company Limited By Guarantee’s approach is entirely different, using these changing circumstances to convert the energy into power for the community. It also keeps people’s feet dry when crises arise.

Such construction in the form of new buildings cannot happen overnight, but must occur through an approach that aims to make future and local requirements predictable. Preventing millions of dollars of damage can come to fruition through this truly remarkable development, safeguarding citizens throughout Germany. Climate development makes these changes to our lives inevitable. An enormous amount of money can be saved if it is used wisely and at an early point. These are problems which will arise not tomorrow, not next week or next year, but in the next decade and making these changes now will save money in the long run.

Like any business, the team at HOME & CAR Energie Solution Company Limited By Guarantee is happy to take on the challenges of tomorrow. They take great pride in the fact that no matter what, your developments will mean a great deal to all stakeholders. Your customers will no longer have to deal with energy structures and spiralling costs by applying your current needs to the new model. With this, you can use your residential property in a safer way. Anyone thinking of buying condominiums and semi-detached houses should definitely approach HOME & CAR Energie Solution Company Limited By Guarantee in the future. In the long run, you can be sure of saving money and time! With such success from this impressive team we can’t wait to see where they innovate next.

For business enquiries, contact HOME & CAR Energie Solution Company Limited By Guarantee via email – [email protected]

EU Business News Announces the Winners of the 2022 German Business Awards

United Kingdom, 2022 – EU Business News Magazine has announced the winners of the 2022 German Business Awards.

This past year has seen an influx of businesses rising from the ashes that were created by the global pandemic. The winners in this supplement offer products and services that are altering our perception of sustainability, technology, construction, food, health, and much more. They have conquered an assortment of complications and unfortunate situations to secure these prestigious accolades.

Business in Germany is inspiring the rest of the world as its leading companies conquer all challenges thrown their way. The globally recognised economical progression of Germany truly shows dedication to a better future. Breathing life into their industries, the companies we showcase here have become a motivational source for our own business endeavours.

Celebrating the achievements of this year’s winners, Awards Coordinator Holly Blackwood commented: “This year, the German Business Awards celebrates a variety of enterprises making a huge difference to the corporate landscape of Germany – and beyond. EU Business News is proud to present these awards, and we wish each winner the best for the future.”

EU Business News prides itself on the authenticity and uniqueness of its awards and winners. In this way, all of our winners are rewarded for their absolute dedication and innovation. We evaluate all performances of a collection of businesses, from over the past 12 months, to guarantee the most revolutionary parties gain one of our brilliant accolades and sincere congratulations.

To learn more about our winners and to gain insight into the working practices of the “best of the best”, please visit the EU Business News website https://www.eubusinessnews.com/awards/german-business-awards/ where you can access the winners supplement.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

About EU Business News

The EU is a vital and exciting region filled with businesses and individuals creating unique innovations, supporting their customers around the world and, ultimately, driving change. As such, EU Business News aims to provide an absorbing overview of this exciting region and the businesses and individuals operating within it.

Much more than just a magazine, alongside our online publication EU Business News also boasts an informative newsletter, a regularly updated website and a series of awards programmes showcasing the excellence of businesses and the individuals behind them from across this vibrant region.

As subscription to EU Business News is free there is absolutely no reason not to sign up to receive this informative and fascinating resource.

About AI Global Media

Since 2010 AI Global Media has been committed to creating engaging B2B content that informs our readers and allows them to market their business to a global audience. We create content for and about firms across a range of industries.

Today, we have 14 unique brands, each of which serves a specific industry or region. Each brand covers the latest news in its sector and publishes a digital magazine and newsletter which is read by a global audience. Our flagship brand, Acquisition International, distributes a monthly digital magazine to a global circulation of 108,000, who are treated to a range of features and news pieces on the latest developments in the global corporate market.

Alongside this, we have a luxury-lifestyle magazine, LUXlife, which appeals to a range of high-net-worth individuals, offering them insight into the latest products, experiences, and innovations to ensure they can live the high-life to its fullest.

Who’s Setting the Standard for Sustainable Packaging?

As the conversation around the environment and sustainability becomes increasingly prevalent and with 2050’s net zero targets not that far away, we have a lot of unpacking to do around how UK businesses package products.

For instance, the Plastic Packaging Tax which was introduced in April 2022, requires all plastic packaging manufactured or imported into the UK to contain at least 30% recycled material. In 2023, the UK government is also introducing Extended Producer Responsibility, which means brands, distributors and supermarkets alike will be required to cover recycling costs for their packaging. The result of these restrictions will mean greater demand for packaging to be recycled at end of life, and for the recycling process to be as easy as possible.

The necessity for easily recyclable and sustainable packaging is only going to increase, so let’s take a look at the retailers who are already paving the way.

We all know the feeling of frustration of ordering something relatively small online followed by the never-ending game of pass the parcel with yourself just to get into it. Thankfully that’s not the case with all online retailers; in fact, reassuringly, some of the most popular online retailers are shifting behaviour and opting for fully recyclable (and simple) packaging options.

In-store, the UK’s biggest supermarket chains are also taking steps towards innovating their packaging and reducing plastic use – particularly single use.

With 66% of consumers willing to spend more on products from sustainable brands and one-third happy to pay a premium for products that deliver on sustainability claims, it’s clear that increasing numbers of people are making conscious decisions when it comes to their weekly shops. Online alternatives to the classic UK supermarket model are becoming more attractive because people know their groceries will be delivered in the most environmentally friendly and sustainable way.

Supermarkets wishing to go the extra mile can work with plastic manufacturers to help find sustainable packaging solutions. Here are some of the grocery companies that are making sustainable packaging really count.

Abel and Cole

There’s just something so wholesome about this company. What started as supplying organic fruit and veg boxes in 1988 has naturally evolved into a one-stop shop for all the household essentials. With an ethos of ‘all you need is less’, Abel and Cole offers delicious organic food and drink with less waste and fewer food miles. Customers can get pretty much everything they need and feel good in the knowledge they’re doing their bit for the planet. When it comes to their packaging waste, they’ll pretty much pick up all waste on your next delivery and recycle or reuse it again. Even plastic bags.

What’s more, they’re a certified B Corp, never use air freight, and sustainability is at the heart of everything they do.

Milk and More

Remember the milkman days? These guys do. That’s how they began their sustainable journey, 50 years ago. More recently, they saw an opportunity to go beyond the classic reusable glass milk bottles. Milk and More has now partnered with small sustainable suppliers to offer consumers eco-friendly food, drink, and more to customers’ doors. They have a zero-waste range too that spans juices, store cupboard essentials, and household must-haves, whereby they’ll collect and reuse again and again. Their charming milk floats are fully electric too.

Good Club

If you’ve not yet heard of Good Club, they’re definitely one to watch in terms of innovation and environmentally friendly packaging. It doesn’t get much more friendly than a zero-waste approach. Their ethos is to make zero-waste shopping as simple as possible, with fully reusable packaging. Consumers have the option to shop from hundreds of sustainable brands at supermarket prices for products that are either entirely plastic-free or refillable.

They offer consumers over a thousand reusable items across food, drink, cleaning, and all your bathroom must-haves. Any products they can’t offer as refillable are made from low-waste, environmentally friendly packaged solutions. Once you’re done with your empties, you simply pop them in your delivery box, and they’ll collect them the next day.

Online not for you?

If getting your weekly shop online isn’t really your thing, then here are the two supermarkets you can visit in real life that are doing better than the rest to turn the tide on the damage supermarkets have done so far, with more environmentally friendly and sustainable solutions:

 

Waitrose

In terms of a ‘traditional’ supermarket, Waitrose is one of the smaller chains, yet by comparison, is making the biggest plastic reduction. A recent analysis from Which? found that Waitrose is leading the pack when it comes to plastic use, greenhouse gas emissions, and food waste. They’re making the right moves by opting for sustainable suppliers and have committed to increasing reusable and innovative packaging solutions throughout their stores.

They have pledged that all their own-brand packaging will be reusable or made from widely recyclable or compostable material by next year, with 86% of their own-brand packaging so far meeting that goal. They just need to make sure their buyers are looking out for brands with the same sustainable packaging ethos when it comes to the items they stock.

Lidl

It wouldn’t be fair to leave Lidl out of the mix. According to the same report from Which?, they’re head-to-head with Waitrose, coming out with the same overall sustainability score of 74%. While its no-frills, low-cost business model varies dramatically from that of Waitrose, Lidl is the greenest among the other big UK supermarkets. With lower carbon emissions and eyes firmly set on reaching net zero, its plastic and packaging will continue to shift away from single use. But they need to get a wriggle on if they’re to hit that hefty 2023 target – they have a ‘Lidl’ way to go yet.

It’s clear that offering consumers sustainable packaging will require a lot of work but it is also entirely possible. It’s time for all supermarkets and grocery companies to begin investing more heavily in delivering sustainable solutions, not just for consumers but to protect our environment in the years to come.

VisionTrack’s Simon Marsh Wins Great British Entrepreneur Award

VisionTrack CEO, Simon Marsh, has been recognised for his role in transforming the video telematics marketplace at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2022. He was named ‘Disruptor of the Year’ for his determination to make the roads a safer place for all by continually pushing the boundaries of what is possible and embracing the latest advances in artificial intelligence (AI).

The Great British Entrepreneur Awards showcase inspiring entrepreneurial success stories and the most exceptional UK business leaders. At a prestigious, 10-year anniversary ceremony at Grosvenor House in London, 1,400 entrepreneurs, judges, mentors, investors and partners came together to celebrate a collective £2 billion generated in turnover and over 17,000 jobs. This year, the awards received over 5,000 entries, with 98 entrepreneurs being recognised across 12 categories.

Since the formation of the business and under Simon’s leadership, VisionTrack has grown to become Europe’s leading provider of cloud-based video telematics. He has also overseen the development of Autonomise.ai, a device agnostic, highly-scalable, multi-award-winning IoT platform, which is enabling the company to drive innovation in behaviour and video analytics, machine learning, and computer vision.

As part of the company’s growth strategy, VisionTrack launched a US business in 2021. The new venture aimed to capitalise on growing demand in North America for advanced AI video telematics solutions by replicating the success it has achieved in the UK, Ireland and Europe. This was quickly followed by the multi-million-pound acquisition of SkyLab Solutions, a telematics specialist and an established VisionTrack partner, to accelerate the expansion into the US marketplace.

Simon founded VisionTrack based on an ethos of reducing injuries and saving lives. His passion to improve safety was ignited when he experienced first-hand the devastation caused by fatal road incidents and this is driving him to make a difference. He believes that all collisions have the potential to be avoided and is the very reason VisionTrack’s approach is all about prevention. The company recently launched a Fleet Risk Reduction campaign to educate and engage with customers and the wider fleet community to tackle some of the biggest threats facing their drivers and other road users.

VisionTrack has also been involved in multiple initiatives that are studying emerging technologies to improve road safety, enhance vehicle performance and ease congestion. This has included providing video support for truck platooning trials in the UK and being involved in Together for Safer Roads’ Truck of the Future program in the US. The company is also a partner of Driving for Better Business (DfBB) and road safety charity, Brake, and is co-headline sponsor of Road Safety Week.

Simon Marsh, CEO of VisionTrack commented: “I am so proud to be presented with this award, which is fantastic recognition, not just for me, but the entire VisionTrack team. To be part of an event that celebrates the creativity, ambition and resilience of entrepreneurship in the UK is really special and underlines the progress we have made as a business. Our aim is to make the road network a better and safer place, so we are continually striving to change how vehicle operations approach road safety, claims management, duty of care, fleet compliance and operational risk.”

iwocaPay Integrates With WooCommerce To Offer B2B Buy Now, Pay Later To Ecommerce Businesses 

  • Businesses who use WooCommerce to sell online can now embed a B2B buy now, pay later solution into their ecommerce checkouts to help convert their customers.   
  • This is thanks to an extension iwocaPay has built for WooCommerce using its new ecommerce API solution.
  • This new API makes iwocaPay the only UK-based B2B BNPL provider that’s fully omni-channel: able to integrate with invoices, checkouts and anywhere businesses take payments.
  • iwocaPay is calling for more integrations to help ecommerce businesses offer B2B buy now, pay later from their online stores.  

iwoca, one of Europe’s largest small business lenders, is today announcing the integration of its B2B payment solution iwocaPay with leading ecommerce software WooCommerce.  

WooCommerce holds 37% market share of ecommerce software platforms worldwide.  iwocaPay’s new extension will provide tens of thousands of ecommerce businesses with the option to offer buy now, pay later to their business customers.

New B2B buy now, pay later (BNPL) solution for ecommerce

This announcement comes just after iwocaPay has launched its brand new B2B BNPL API solution, and WooCommerce is one of the first companies it has connected with. The new solution allows businesses to embed iwocaPay into their ecommerce checkouts, and makes iwocaPay the only UK-based B2B BNPL provider that is fully omni-channel, letting businesses offer B2B payment terms to their customers (whilst getting paid instantly themselves) anywhere they take payments – whether that’s in invoices, in person, or in their ecommerce checkout.

The global B2B ecommerce sector is expected to expand to over $33 trillion by 2030, and growth in this market is a key tailwind for B2B BNPL – a market currently worth $1 trillion. iwocaPay recently announced that it saw 250% growth in Pay Later transactions over the past 12 months.

Embedded solutions to help SMEs – iwoca calls for more plugin partners 

Leading the way in embedded finance, iwoca is calling for more partners to integrate with their B2B payments solution. 

Lara Gilman, Co-lead of iwocaPay said: “We’re proud to be the only fully omni-channel B2B buy now, pay later provider in the UK, letting businesses offer payment terms in their invoice, their ecommerce checkouts, or anywhere they take payments. We’re delighted that WooCommerce users now have the option to include iwocaPay in their checkout, so they can offer business customers the extended payment terms they need, without carrying the credit or late payment risk.”

“We welcome more companies to integrate with iwocaPay so that we can help both buying and selling businesses grow and manage cash flow with our digital B2B BNPL payment solution.”

Small businesses owners can add iwocaPay to their WooCommerce site by signing up to iwocaPay and installing it from their account. 

Steps to Increase Your Business Security in Recession Times

When recession fears start to appear in the headlines, companies and organizations first come up with ways to cut their spending and increase the budget. Often, they will make a mistake and try cutting the budget in the areas they should instead work on improving, such as cybersecurity.

Recession and business security

While there have been several recessions throughout European history, since 1960 Europe as a whole has experienced only four of them according to Rabobank research. While some lasted months such as the first oil crisis, others, such as the Global financial crisis tortured nations for years. Worst of all is that even once the recession is over, economies still have a long recovery process. For some countries such as Ireland and Greece, recovery from recession took a lot longer than a recession itself. Not knowing when it will start, how long it will last, or even which industries will be affected the worst makes it one of the greatest fears any business owner can have. This is why they always focus on the bottom line, trying to prepare their business as best as possible. Unfortunately, that means reducing the budget and cutting what they consider unnecessary expenses. Quite often, they will feel cybersecurity is one of those expenses. The truth is that the situation should be completely opposite as in desperate times, there is more danger of criminal activity, especially fraud.

Your cybersecurity strategy is the only thing that stands between your business and malicious actors. The irony is that the fact that the cybersecurity strategy is so effective is the reason business owners believe they don’t need it and can get away with reducing it. Don’t wait for cybercriminals to prove you the opposite. Dealing with recession and accepting the necessary changes doesn’t mean you have to reduce your cybersecurity strategy. Instead, you should approach it smarter. By making informed choices, you will not only have an effective strategy, but you could even improve it despite the recession.

How can you increase your business security despite the recession?

Companies often get lulled into a false sense of security because they haven’t yet been victims of a cyberattack or other fraudulent activity. They convince themselves it is because they are not big enough to attract the attention of scammers, so they should be fine. Unfortunately, we live in a world where fraud attempts are increasing daily. The question is no longer whether you will become a victim but when. By introducing the following steps, you can improve your business security and mitigate the risk of online dangers even in recession times.

1.    Assess your security strategy

You might be losing your money on unnecessary aspects of your business without even realizing it. By reviewing your security strategy, you will be able to identify any possible vulnerabilities and weak points fraudsters can exploit and fix it before that can happen. Not only that, you will be able to use your findings to identify areas you should concentrate on, allowing you to use your funds more efficiently instead of wasting them on unnecessary elements.

2.    Accept changes

Keeping up with industry trends is essential in any element of your business, especially cybersecurity, as this area is constantly changing, trying to stay ahead of cybercriminals. It is time to accept those changes instead of relying on the same old methods that left you struggling to keep up. Innovative cybersecurity companies such as SEON utilize machine learning and artificial intelligence to transform and update necessary processes such as onboarding or customer verification to ensure the business and customers’ safety. These technological advancements allow them to create adaptable cybersecurity tools that can reduce operational costs while increasing efficiency.

3.    Prioritise your employees

Your employees are your first and your last line of defense. You are putting your business in grave danger by leaving them unprepared for dealing with the new security challenges. You would train them how to deal with any other element of the business you deem necessary, so why is cybersecurity any different? You can strengthen your cybersecurity layer by educating your employees about recognizing, reacting to, and preventing malicious attempts. Just consider how much more cost-efficient it is to educate and train your employees than to deal with the aftermath of a cyberattack.

4.    Introduce and implement clear and strict security policies and procedures

This step applies to your employees and customers, as threats can come from anywhere. The security policies and procedures explained by Polyglot Group, define the rules of operation, standards, conditions, and guidelines your employees and customers need to follow. This helps you ensure your business stays protected from potential threats while staying compliant with regulations.

Conclusion

We can’t prevent a recession, but we can change how it affects us. By thinking long-term, planning, and implementing changes before the worst happens, you will be on the right track to survive it and increase your business security in the process.

The Perils of Driving Dangerously: What Should Drivers Avoid on the Roads?

By the end of March 2022, according to data from the RAC Foundation, 33.1 million cars were licensed and on the roads in the UK. With so many of us on the highways every day, even though we don’t like to admit it, we’re likely to develop a bad habit or two.

And while we may be able to say that our bad habits aren’t directly referenced in The Highway Code, they could still result in the loss of control and lead to a fine or worse.

There is a chance that if one of those bad habits causes an accident or results in you being stopped by police, it could be deemed to be in violation of the careless driving codes, which means you could end up with between three to nine unwanted points on your licence for at least four years.

In this article, we’ll go through some of the things you may do on the roads without even realising how dangerous they could actually be. We’ll also offer solutions and alternatives to avoid any fallout.

Preoccupied hands – food, drink, & smoking

On longer drives, there’s every chance you will want a quick refresh while you’re driving. Whether it’s a quick snack, a sip from a bottle or flask, or even smoking, remember that none of these are illegal.

However, smoking, if there are passengers in the vehicle under the age of 18, is a law-breaker.

The main worry with engaging with any of these while you’re driving is that your hands should always be free to engage with the wheel, indicators, wipers, and gearstick. This way, you can react appropriately to the environment and road around you without any threat of incident. Holding bottles or cigarettes could occupy your hands, distract you and take your eyes away from the road putting yourself or others in danger.

The easiest way to avoid getting distracted is the most obvious. Whatever you need, whether it’s a good meal or a quick smoke, do it before getting behind the wheel. Hydrating is one of the more important factors, as a study conducted by Loughborough University found that a loss of concentration by 20% can occur if the driver is dehydrated with even two or three percent hydration being lost.

Headphones in or out?

One of the most important parts of driving is awareness, particularly being able to listen to your own car and hear those around you.

Headphones, while not illegal to wear when driving, could affect awareness – especially if you listen to music at a loud volume or are prone to taking lots of calls that could take your attention away from the road.

If your car has Bluetooth capabilities on the dashboard, it should solve this potential hazard efficiently. Connecting your phone to your car and selecting the music you want to listen to before setting off, as well as listening at a reasonable volume, will help maintain a greater level of awareness behind the wheel.

Flip-flops and footwear

Wearing flip-flops to drive is illegal, right? It’s a myth that has plagued motorists for generations, but it is NOT illegal to drive barefoot or while wearing flip-flops.

A survey by the RAC found that 27% of men and 39% of women in the UK have admitted to driving in flip-flops at some point. This shows that even with the misconceptions of legality, drivers are still willing to take the risk.

There is the danger unsuitable footwear increases the risk of accident – wearing heavy shoes and boots, or those with a taller sole or heel can cause a shift in the ability to brake or grip onto the pedal.

Whether the vehicle you’re driving is a hire car or your own car, if you can safely operate the pedals then you aren’t breaking any laws while driving. It’s sensible to wear appropriate footwear that you feel both comfortable wearing and driving in to avoid any dangers while driving.

More Than Half of UK EV Drivers Don’t Have Access to Charging at Work

52% of respondents say workplaces are yet to offer EV charging according to a recent survey of EV drivers, despite huge appetite from employees.

More than 52% of surveyed EV drivers, or those considering buying an EV, do not have access to a charge point at their place of work, a YouGov survey commissioned by Monta has revealed today.

When questioned further, 82% of these drivers expressed a desire to charge their EV at their place of work if it was available.

Just 25% of respondents’ workplaces have an EV charge point installed, according to the survey. Only 10% of surveyed EV drivers reported charging their EV at their place of work.

Despite there being 530,000 battery electric vehicles in the UK, the continued disconnect between accessibility and availability of EV charge points is still putting off a large number of would-be owners.

“There’s a huge gap between what EV drivers want and what is currently available in the UK. While workplaces are still being slow to install charge points, their employees are charging at expensive public chargers or waiting until they get home and plugging in at peak times. Both of which will become more untenable as energy prices and the demand on the grid increases.” said Alok Dubey, UK Country Manager at Monta.

“Workplaces are a crucial charging solution to help build a stable and accessible charging infrastructure in the UK, and there are huge benefits for employers who install a charge point,” Dubey said.

“There are several ways to raise revenue from a charge point in a work environment. For example, business owners can share their charge points with the public during weekends or outside work hours, earning a small profit on per charge while contributing to the continued electrification of the UK’s infrastructure.”

“Staff and the general public alike are showing a huge appetite for workplace chargers due to the lack of viable options elsewhere – especially those in inner cities, without access to private driveways or nearby public chargers. One-in-five EV drivers primarily work from home, but how many would prefer to work in the office are put off by the lack of charging at work? If employers are serious about wanting staff to return, then the place of work needs to be seen as an extension of the home office where amenities are provided to make commutes more attractive,” Dubey concluded.

Unique and Magical Christmas Markets To Explore This Year

Christmas lovers searching for festive magic and beautiful markets this winter are being told exactly where to head. 

The holiday car rental experts at StressFreeCarRental.com have researched the world’s weird, wonderful, traditional, and themed Christmas markets. 

From the ‘Grinchmas’ wonderland in Orlando to the tradition of ‘Los Reyes Magos’ in Tenerife and Europe’s biggest underground market in the Netherlands, these Christmas events and celebrations are must-visits this season. 

One of the best ways to celebrate at this time of year is to browse the Christmas markets and join in with the festive traditions different countries have to offer.  

Whether it’s in the sun or snow, on top of a mountain or underground, Christmas markets come in all different sizes and traditions – but they all give those magical festive feelings to those that visit, wherever they are in the world. 

A spokesperson for StressFreeCarRental.com said: “For many of us, exploring a Christmas market is one of the best winter activities for getting into the festive spirit. But instead of visiting your local market this year, why not check out some of the most decadent and unusual Christmas markets that countries all over the world have to offer.

“Whether you want to embrace Christmas by heading over to Orlando’s The Grinch-themed winter wonderland, or stay more traditional with Tenerife’s Three Kings Parade and the Santa Claus Village in Finland, there are so many different markets to wander around. 

StressFreeCarRental.com rated these Christmas markets as the most magical spots to celebrate the festive season this year:

Dresden, Germany

Dresden’s ‘Striezelmarkt’ is the longest-running Christmas market in the world and one of the largest, attracting millions of visitors each year – a definite trip for all Christmas lovers. 

With over 200 stands Striezelmarkt features traditional foods, drinks and lots of handmade crafts, this famous Christmas market also hosts fairground rides and a giant wooden Advent calendar in the heart of the festive city.

 

The Three Kings Parade (Los Reyes Magos), Tenerife

On the 5th of January every year, Tenerife celebrates the arrival of the Three Wise Men. The tradition goes that Los Reyes Magos bring sweets and small gifts for Spanish children overnight, and during the day families enjoy a festive feast together. 

The parade is a wonderful festive tradition to enjoy in Tenerife over Christmastime with camels, floats, dancers and local bands and market stalls.

Santa Claus Village, Finland

One of the most famous Christmas destinations is the Santa Claus Village in Lapland, Finland, the home of Santa. The Village draws in thousands of visitors every Christmas, who can meet Santa, his elves, and his reindeer. 

Santa Claus Village is also home to a large Christmas market featuring lots of traditional Finnish foods and crafts, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a reindeer ride or dog sledding. The classic Christmas village is also a great place to try and see the Northern Lights, which really adds to the festive magic. 

Valkenburg, Netherlands

Valkenburg is home to the biggest underground Christmas market in Europe. This unique festive experience is in the heart of the city’s famous caves and turns into an extraordinary underground winter wonderland during Christmas time. 

The caves are filled with captivating lights and decorations, market stalls from local vendors, life-size nativity sculptures and decadent Christmas trees hidden away in the caves settled under the Valkenburg castle ruins. 

Mount Pilatus, Switzerland

The Christmas market on top of Mount Pilatus is officially the highest in Europe. At over 2000 metres visitors must ride up on the world’s steepest cogway railway to experience the Swiss Christmas magic. 

The mountaintop Christmas market is set amongst the beautiful panoramic views and sells traditional gifts, handmade presents and tasty treats and is decked out in festive ornaments and lights. 

For cheap, hassle-free car hire to travel to festive Christmas markets and celebrations all over the world, visit StressFreeCarRental.com.

UK’s Luxury Campsites Unveiled as AA Caravan and Camping Award Winners Announced

The leading campsites and caravan parks in the UK have been revealed, as featured in the AA Caravan and Camping Guide 2023, out now from AA Publishing.

Award Winners – the best sites

Amongst those celebrating is Silverdale Caravan Park in Lancashire, the AA Campsite of the Year for England and Overall winner.

A rise in eco-friendly camping has shown holidaymakers are looking for environmentally friendly destinations. Camp Katur, winners of the AA Glamping Site of the Year, focuses on upcycling materials with fire pits created from washing machine drums and galvanised bucket washbasins.

Among the regional winners is Beaconsfield Holiday Park, winner of AA Campsite of the Year Heart of England, a purpose-built, family-run park on farmland in open countryside which offers quality in every area.

Brand New Guide

All winners will feature in the 55th Edition of the AA Caravan & Camping Guide. All the destinations featured in the guide have been inspected and rated by AA professional inspectors, grading sites from one to five Pennants, based on their facilities and hospitality. Each entry within the guide includes location, ratings, contact details, directions, prices, opening times, facilities, and a description to help holidaymakers select the right site for their needs.

Mirroring the increasing popularity of luxury camping, this year’s winners include glamping facilities, including yurts, shepherd’s huts, and vintage caravans. The winners include a focus on family friendliness, eco-friendliness, fishing, best views and sites for lake lovers.

The winners of the AA Caravan and Camping Awards are:

AA Award Winners 2022-23

AA Campsite of the Year

AA Regional Campsites of the Year

AA Glamping Site of the Year

AA Most Improved Campsite

AA Small Campsite of the Year

AA Holiday Centre of the Year

Simon Numphud, Managing Director at AA Media says “With people spending their holidays in the UK and exploring the great British countryside, we are thrilled to celebrate the UK’s best campsites for 2022. This year’s winners have demonstrated outstanding quality, high levels of customer care and fantastic facilities which meet customers’ growing expectations. We are also delighted to release the 55th Edition of our bestselling Caravan & Camping Guide. With UK staycations continuing to prove popular among holidaymakers, the AA Caravan and Camping Guide offers an invaluable guide to holidaymakers choosing to stay in a tent, caravan, motorhome, or glamping site. We hope this new guide inspires people who are set to embark on new journeys.” 

Congratulations to all 2022 AA Caravan and Camping Award winners, watch the full award celebrations on RatedTrips.com here.

The AA Caravan & Camping Guide 2023 is available in bookshops now.

For press enquiries please contact Henrietta Richardson and Anna Zanetti at Midas:


E: [email protected]

Tel: 07500828340

E: [email protected]

Tel: 07583127515

Employment Lawyer Warns England Fans They Could Be Sacked for Pulling a Sickie to Watch the World Cup

An employment lawyer has warned football fans they could be sacked if they call in sick to watch the World Cup.

The tournament in Qatar kicks off in less than two weeks’ time and with England’s first game taking place on a Monday afternoon many workers may be tempted to pull a sickie in order to watch the match.

With this in mind, the experts at national law firm Richard Nelson LLP have encouraged footie-mad fans to think twice before faking an illness as it could lead to them being dismissed.

Andrew Knorpel, consultant solicitor in the employment law team at Richard Nelson LLP, said:

“With England having come agonisingly close to winning the European Championships last year, the anticipation around the World Cup will only grow in the coming week.

“Due to the time difference many of the games are being played during working hours. While many England fans may be worried about missing the team’s first group stage match, we’d encourage them to have an open discussion with their employers about their working arrangements for that day.

“Where possible many companies may be able to offer an extended lunch break or even remote working for the afternoon and this is something we’d encourage.

“If this cannot be granted, employees should consider taking annual leave rather than resorting to pulling a sickie. If an employer thinks their employee has called in sick and it is not genuine, they can investigate the case and take disciplinary action over unauthorised absence.”

Last year at Euro 2020 an England fan was sacked after she called in sick to attend the Three Lions’ semi-final against Denmark at Wembley.

If a worker does lie or exaggerate an illness or injury for the purpose of getting time off work when in reality they are fine, this would amount to gross misconduct and a fair reason in some circumstances for being let go by their employer.

Should workers be granted special permission to watch the game, Mr Knorpel has encouraged them to act responsibly.

Fans who are under the influence of alcohol upon their return to work later that day or otherwise do anything which might bring their employer into disrepute could leave themselves at risk of being fired also.

Credit – Richard Nelson, employment law

B2B eCommerce Software Comparison

B2B eCommerce platforms can be a significant asset to any B2B company. They help simplify product management, inventory tracking, and accounting operations. Many factors go into making that decision when you’re trying to determine which platform to use. It would help if you had something that would support your business as it grows while being easy to use for clients and employees. But what exactly makes one brand of B2B eCommerce software better than another? Keep reading to learn more.

What Is B2B eCommerce and Why Does It Matter?

B2B eCommerce is the sale of goods and services between businesses, online.

B2B eCommerce platforms provide the tools to build and manage your online store, from the creation of products to their listing on third-party marketplaces like Amazon.

These platforms are designed for B2B sales, not B2C (businesses selling to consumers). They also allow you to differentiate yourself from competitors by offering a unique experience with personalised service—all while boosting your bottom line.

A Closer Look at the Top B2B eCommerce Platforms

As you’ve read, there are many B2B eCommerce platforms to choose from. With so many options, how do you know which one is right for your business? The answer lies in understanding the problems that each platform solves and how they do it.

The first step in choosing the right platform is understanding the problem that needs solving. For example, do your customers want a mobile-friendly shopping experience? Or do they want a secure payment system? Understanding these problems will help narrow your search when it comes time to decide.

Once you’ve identified what problem(s) need solving, it’s time to research solutions. There are multiple ways of doing this: Talking with friends who work in eCommerce or even doing some initial test runs by building an online store using different platforms on Shopify’s website yourself (a great idea if you’re unfamiliar with code). This will give you insight into what works best for others and whether those solutions would also be effective for your business.

Shopify Plus

Shopify Plus is a B2B eCommerce platform that helps you manage customer relationships. It’s designed for businesses that need to scale quickly and often, like retailers who sell on multiple channels. Shopify Plus offers features like:

A single dashboard where you can manage all of your stores at once.

Customizable payment processing options.

Advanced reporting tools, including sales data and product performance statistics.

BigCommerce Enterprise

BigCommerce Enterprise is a cloud-based eCommerce platform that allows you to create a professional-looking store quickly and easily. You can choose from over 100 customizable themes and thousands of products to sell, while BigCommerce’s experienced team offers practical training, support, and guidance as you grow.

BigCommerce is suitable for large businesses, small businesses, or start ups who want an affordable solution with all the features they need (and then some).

Adobe Commerce

Adobe Commerce (formerly Adobe Echo) is a cloud-based eCommerce platform that helps companies sell online, on social media, and in mobile apps. It’s designed for B2B and B2C businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Adobe Commerce offers everything you need to create an online store, including free stock images and videos; analytics tools; a marketplace where third parties can sell products on your site; the ability to add social sharing buttons to product pages; customisable templates; built-in payment processing options; integrations with other creative applications like Photoshop CC or Illustrator CC via Creative Cloud membership plans.

Shopware

Shopware is a German eCommerce platform that offers a wide range of features and capabilities. It can be used by businesses of all sizes, from small online stores to enterprise-level eCommerce solutions. The platform’s user interface and usability are excellent, making it easy to use even for those with little knowledge of web development. Shopware is not free but has affordable plans starting at $28.19 per month (with the first two months free).

OroCommerce

OroCommerce is a cloud-based eCommerce platform for B2B businesses. OroCommerce has many features and plugins to help you run your business. It is easy to set up, use, and maintain. It can be used by any company, from small to large enterprises.

OroCommerce has a lot of features that make it easy to run your business:

  • You can track sales and inventory in real time, so you always know what’s happening with your products at any given time.
  • OroCommerce even includes an order management system that lets you manage customer accounts in one place where all information about who ordered what product is stored (including payment history).
  • This makes it easier for customers who already bought something from one website before visiting another later—all those details are available in one place.

SAP Hybris Commerce Cloud

SAP Hybris Commerce Cloud is a cloud-based eCommerce platform that provides B2B retailers with an integrated solution to manage their web stores, marketplaces, and mobile commerce activities.

SAP Hybris Commerce Cloud enables retailers to deliver a seamless experience across all channels, including the desktop and mobile web, while supporting native Apps and custom integrations with existing POS systems. The integration capabilities of SAP Hybris Commerce Cloud allow businesses to connect their internal ERP systems with external partners such as fulfillment centres, logistics providers, or payment service providers (PSPs).

Insite Software

Insite Software is a digital commerce platform that helps businesses create, manage, and grow online stores. Insite Software has been around since 2000, based in the Netherlands. The company provides eCommerce solutions for small to medium-sized businesses selling physical goods.

Insite’s Merchant platform allows users to easily create and manage inventory, product listings, promotional campaigns, and more. Users can also monitor sales activity through Insite’s analytics dashboard, which provides valuable information about how customers find products on your site and how much they spend when they do so—allowing you to make changes accordingly.

Tomato

Tomato is a B2B eCommerce platform that was built for the needs of small and medium-sized businesses. It’s built on the Laravel framework, a popular PHP framework used by many developers today. According to their website, “Tomato allows you to create a customized online store with an easy-to-use interface.” It’s also compatible with multiple payment gateways like Stripe, PayPal, and more.

You may want a specialised platform if you’re doing a lot of B2B eCommerce.

You may want a specialized platform if you’re doing a lot of B2B eCommerce.

The most popular platforms are Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce. They are all different and can be customised according to your needs.

BigCommerce offers excellent flexibility with its many add-ons. Still, it has one of the steepest learning curves for beginners because it has many options available on its platform. Also, if your business proliferates or becomes very large over time, this could become an issue since BigCommerce’s support is limited compared to some other platforms (which offer 24/7 support).

In summary

B2B eCommerce is a growing part of the business world. For many companies, it’s essential to their success. We hope our list has given you some ideas if you’re interested in this space but don’t know where to start. There are plenty of great options, so don’t hesitate to research and find which one works best for your needs.

Alfa Laval Launches New Multipurpose Membrane Filtration System

With sterling volatility affecting SME pharmaceutical and food manufacturer costs around raw materials and ingredients, a prominent processing equipment supplier is highlighting the importance of flexibility in production lines.

The current weakness of the pound, combined with the rising cost of energy has put pressure on stakeholders in both sectors to optimise processes. In response to this demand, Alfa Laval has launched the MultiSystem, the latest development in its lab and plant equipment range.

A new cross-flow skid-mounted membrane filtration system that can be seamlessly connected to both up and downstream operations, it increases flexibility across a range of process applications. This includes the purification of proteins, sugar and starch, concentration of peptides and amino acid streams and recovery of water from condensates, as Ian Forrester, Business Unit Manager for Separation Systems at Alfa Laval, explains.

He said: “Until recently, membrane filtration systems would be designed bespoke to the needs of each operation, which can prove not only costly, but time-consuming and difficult to integrate into the wider process. At a time when bills are rising and raw materials and ingredients from abroad are rising with the falling pound, these inefficiencies can place SMEs under significant strain.

“For this reason, we have developed our new MultiSystem as a standardised offering for food, beverage and pharmaceutical applications. The launch of the MultiSystem marks the completion of our lab and plant equipment range, meaning businesses of all shapes and sizes are now able to benefit from membrane filtration technology.”

As the largest of the lab and plant equipment range, the MultiSystem has a test processing capacity from 100l/h to 6m­³/h, and testing volume ranging from 500l/h up to several m³.

Crucially, the MultiSystem can test all filtration processes, including microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration and reverse osmosis in batch, semi-batch and continuous modes. Diafiltration mode is also available as standard.

The module is also compatible with Alfa Laval’s entire range of 8.0” spiral membranes, which can be quickly and easily interchanged, and features a PLC-based control system also enables automatic control of production sequences. This includes flow, VCF (volumetric concentration factor), temperature, tank level, pressure and diafiltration volume or ratio control.

Ian concluded: “The development process for the MultiSystem was undertaken with small and medium sized production lines in mind. The plant is capable of performing all of the key functions demanded of a filtration system, and can easily transition between these thanks its interchangeable membranes.”

“Adopting a more flexible, standardised approach to the design of process equipment will allow manufacturers to diversify their offerings and increase efficiency without the need to invest in multiple pieces of technology, facilitating not only cost saving, but an improved workflow.”

For more information on the Alfa Laval MultiSystem, visit: https://www.alfalaval.co.uk/products/separation/membranes/membrane-filtration-systems/multisystem/

New CEO Appointed To Drive Forward Future Growth 

A new CEO has taken over the reins at the international regulatory consultancy, Ashbury, as its founder and current CEO, James Post, takes on new challenges within the business.

Zoe Jordan, a highly experienced commercial director with a background in food manufacturing, has been promoted from Business Development Director to CEO – a move which will see her take on responsibility for further growing the business across the UK and overseas and developing its 200-strong team.

James Post, who founded the regulatory consultancy just over a decade ago, will take on the new position of Executive Chairman, overseeing the firm’s strategic direction, partnerships, accountability, and governance.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to hand over the CEO baton to Zoe, who is undoubtedly one of the most natural people leaders I’ve ever met,” he explained. “Over the last decade, we’ve gone from strength to strength and recently reached an incredible milestone of signing off on our 200,000th product approval – all of which is absolutely testament to the talent and dedication we have within the business.

“As we set our sights on the next phase of growth, now feels like the perfect time for me to step aside to focus on the overarching strategy, and allow Zoe the opportunity to flourish as our brand new CEO. She brings a unique set of skills having worked across technical, manufacturing, and commercial roles, and I’m confident that she is the best person to lead Ashbury to new heights over the years to come.”

Joining Ashbury five years ago as a Business Development Manager, Zoe has worked with some of the world’s best loved brands and retailers, helping them to overcome regulatory challenges and launch products with complete success in new and existing markets.

Spending over 25 years working in food safety, Zoe understands fully the very real issues and opportunities that clients face within their businesses, insight that will help strengthen Ashbury as the partner of choice for clients worldwide.

Zoe added: “I’m hugely excited and proud to be taking on the CEO mantle from James. As a business, we’ve matured and achieved the growth that we have in such a short space of time by implementing the right structure to support, as well as getting the right people in the right seats, with the skillsets to be successful.

“My ambition for the role is very much to retain our strong internal culture that James has so brilliantly instilled and nurtured, and to continue seeking new ways to enhance our business – both as a workplace for our talented and diverse team, but also as a trusted and reliable partner to our existing and prospective clients.

“Food safety is the primary focus for every food manufacturer and retailer, and the industry has always faced matters that the regulatory framework has had to adapt to. Navigating the current economic factors impacting the supply chain today is no exception. We’ve always taken a proactive approach to supporting businesses with their compliance policies and procedures, ensuring they get their products to market with ease. And this will continue to be our focus in the months and years ahead.”

Launched in 2011, Ashbury is a leading regulatory consultancy, helping businesses navigate the complex world of product and labelling regulations for food and non-food products. Its expert team guides clients from a place of uncertainty to complete reassurance, helping them to understand, apply, and comply with domestic and international regulations, and empowering them to help their customers make safe and informed choices. For more information, please call 0845 459 5019, email [email protected], or visit www.ashbury.global.

How You Can Improve Your Company’s Social Media Marketing Today

What has now become the most powerful tool for businesses to advertise their products and services, social media dominates many of our daily lives. This makes it the perfect vessel for delivering marketing materials to customers as well as attracting new audiences to a business that may have never learned about that business otherwise. New EU laws are starting to tackle social media problems, helping regulate the industry. Social media is utilised by small and large businesses alike and can have a direct impact on sales as well as customer services. It’s common, then, for businesses to search for ways to improve their social media marketing efforts, and to help you keep ahead of the game. We’ve listed a few quick and simple tips to follow.

Focus On The Right Platforms

There are a number of different social media platforms out there in use today, and this varies not only by demographics but geographic location too. Certain countries, for example, hardly use some social media platforms, whereas some may make use of all that is available. Across the EU, Facebook is the most popular, with over 457 million users in the EU region. It’s also worth noting that certain demographics will either solely use one specific social media platform, yet many people will dabble in most of the platforms available to some extent. Either way, you should figure out who your primary audience is and put most of your focus on the platforms that they will be using. For example, if your target audience is Gen Z, it’s worth noting that over 60% of Generation Z use Instagram and YouTube daily, so these platforms would be your focus.

Keep An Eye On Your Competition

Improving your social media marketing can also be done by keeping an eye on what your competitors are doing to engage with customers. Successful campaign tactics can be utilised by your own business to drum up similar interest in your audience but, be wary not to copy your competitors’ tactics. Instead, take inspiration from other successful social media marketing campaigns and adapt it to suit your business, as well as put a unique spin on it so it doesn’t appear similar. This is the same for other aspects of your business, as keeping up with competitors should be a common goal for all business owners. It will be in your best interest to look across the EU to find out how your European competition is doing. This will be relevant for businesses operating across the EU, as well as just nationally. Learn from the success and failures across the EU, and your business will be able to improve its marketing efforts.

Make Use Of Analytics

Hiring a talented data analytics specialist, or seeking training via a data analysis for management course, will help you use insightful data gathered. Having someone trained in data analytics within your team, whether a current manager, a new hire, or even yourself, will help you understand critically important information to better steer your social media marketing towards success. There are many analytical tools available across the EU that could benefit your business. However, you should ensure that you follow EU regulation regarding GDPR. You must only use data the right way and seek the proper permission. Analytics can help you to spot any unexpected changes within your audience as to what they want from your products or services, allowing you to act quickly to change things for the better.

Utilise Helpful Software

The speed at which social media content is turned out today is faster than ever before, and this means it continues to get more difficult to stand out from the crowd. It’s important to post regularly and at the right times to maximise the visibility of those posts, and a skilled social media marketer will understand this. Automation software such as scheduling software like Hootsuite will help your team to plan out their content in advance and ensure that things are posted on time. Large and small businesses alike within the EU use these useful tools. This frees up a lot of their time to focus on other critical aspects of their work, such as engaging with customers.

Planning Your Conference Venue Interior With Commercial 3D Rendering

Planning for a conference can be complex, especially the venue’s interior. It can be complicated because there are a lot of balls to keep in the air, and you may find it challenging to come up with an interior design that matches your taste and style and that of your audience or clients.

However, you need to have your radar up for commercial 3D rendering services to ease your job because there are endless possibilities you can unlock with commercial architectural 3D rendering. In this article, you will discover how to plan the interior of your conference venue with commercial 3D rendering.

Planning your conference venue interior with commercial 3D rendering

Commercial architectural rendering services include 3D rendering of various types that can help match or improve your conference venue’s interior appearance. Furthermore, you can experiment and develop multiple virtual furniture and interior design options without incurring additional costs.

With commercial architectural 3D rendering, you can produce realistic images of your conference venue’s interior that have not yet been created in real life. 3D visualizations and renderings are, therefore, valuable tools in the fast designing and planning of physical events. Below, we will explore how to plan the interior of your conference venue with commercial 3D rendering.

Previewing of interior design options

If you have ever participated in planning a conference, especially as a DIY, you would have realized how challenging it can be. Therefore, it becomes necessary to visualize different interior designs before making final decisions.

Commercial architectural rendering services are of great use when you need to develop and preview different designs for the conference you are planning for. 3D visualizations and renderings also allow you to make essential changes on time before the stage is set on the day of the conference.

Pre-programming of technical setups

Technological and creative execution is a modern approach to conference planning. It involves using sound, video, lighting, decoration and other means to achieve the desired atmosphere that affects the mood and emotions of people at your conference.

3D commercial building rendering companies can help you pre-program your technical setups before the conference starts with augmented reality and 3D visualizations and renderings. Consequently, you would have a feel of what your conference will look like, and it will also form a foundation for the technical staff coming to set up the equipment to be used at the conference venue.

Up-to-date design trends

When planning for your conference venue’s interior, it is essential to be up-to-date with the latest trends. It would help if you were up-to-date with trends because your clients or audience care about them. Therefore, no matter if you are looking to do a complete overhaul of the furniture or interior design at the venue or if you want to add subtle elements, visiting a 3D commercial property rendering company is your best option.

For instance, 3D artists and designers are explorers of global trends, so they are best positioned to help you pick something new and exciting based on their international exposure. Furthermore, they will provide exquisite furniture and interior design options that will make your clients or audience enjoy every minute of the conference.

Clear design and setup communication

Communicating design and setup ideas for a conference is not always easy because you can have difficulty explaining what you have in mind to your interior designer, decorator, or team members. This is one major challenge that commercial architectural 3D rendering companies can solve for you with 3D visualizations and renderings.

3D visualizations and renderings will help you reduce the risk of misunderstandings between everyone involved in planning your conference. They will also help everyone involved understand complicated technical terms and get a quick grasp of what visual effects different types of technology and interior designs will bring to the conference.

Conclusion

Planning your conference venue’s interior is a tremendous undertaking that requires significant effort and all the help you can get to achieve a unique and captivating venue interior and a successful conference. Therefore, it would be best to employ commercial architectural rendering services to assess several interior design options and how each of your ideas will look before going ahead with the actual interior decoration.

Seqera Labs Raises €22 million in Series A Funding Led by Addition

Investment from Addition, Talis Capital, Speedinvest, BoxOne Ventures, and Amino Collective follows 400% YoY revenue growth and builds on grants from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Seqera Labs, the leading provider of data orchestration and workflow software for life sciences, announced that it has raised €22 million in Series A funding. The financing was led by Addition, with follow-on funding from Talis Capital, Speedinvest, BoxOne Ventures and Amino Collective.

Seqera Labs is dedicated to empowering scientists to assemble and deploy massively scalable data analysis pipelines in multi-cloud environments with minimal friction. With this investment, Seqera aims to move beyond scientific workflows to encompass tool development, data management, reporting, infrastructure deployment, and interactive computing.

The additional funding will help Seqera Labs bolster its team, as well as to expand its product portfolio to be able to cover the entire data analysis lifecycle. The raise builds on the €4.4 million raised in seed financing last year, plus several grants from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, founded by Mark Zuckerberg and Dr. Priscilla Chan.

The Series A follows a period of strong growth, with a 400% year-over-year revenue increase and a tripling of employees over the last 12 months. Seqera Labs was also pivotal to the Covid-19 variant detection with its technology used to discover and track Alpha, Delta and Omicron variants of the virus.

Tower, the company’s flagship data analysis platform, has also managed to expand its footprint and achieve rapid adoption, being used by over 150 leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, including AstraZeneca, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, and Oxford Nanopore.

Evan Floden, Co-Founder and CEO at Seqera Labs, comments:

“Partnering with Addition, alongside our existing investors, Speedinvest and Talis Capital, as well as Boxone and Amino, demonstrates their belief in our direction and our ability to execute. Our ambition is to develop a portfolio of innovative products that positively impact millions of patients worldwide by optimizing drug research and discovery costs. We are delighted to be able to count on their support in achieving this goal.”

Jason Schneider, of Addition, adds:

“The biotechnology industry is undergoing a transformational shift and organizations must rapidly expand their capacity to process complex data at scale. Seqera Labs’ products make this easier than ever before and allow research teams to remain focused on their critical work. We’re proud to support Evan and his talented team as they continue on their impressive growth trajectory and lead breakthrough innovations in healthcare and life sciences.”

Founded in 2018 as a spin-off from the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), following the initial success of Nextflow, Seqera Labs aims to accelerate discovery and therapeutic breakthroughs through foundational open science software.

The team created Nextflow in 2013, the popular open-source workflow and data orchestration software which has become an industry standard among cloud providers, sequencing companies and genomics platforms. Today, Nextflow is used by thousands of organizations worldwide, is downloaded more than 55,000 times monthly, and is among the most successful open-source software projects in life sciences.

Kirill Tasilov, General Partner at Talis Capital, comments:

Seqera is rapidly becoming a de facto standard for complex data processing in life sciences and biology. We are beyond excited to continue supporting them on their journey of bringing the entire industry into the modern age.”

Dominik Tobschall, Partner, Speedinvest adds:

“Seqera Labs is a prime and exciting example of successful commercial open-source software being built in Europe. Evan and his team’s mission to empower scientists and accelerate time to results continues to consistently produce both community growth and commercial success – nothing short of spectacular! We’re excited to keep supporting the team.”

Seqera Labs is dedicated to empowering scientists to assemble and deploy massively scalable data analysis pipelines in multi-cloud environments with minimal friction. With this latest investment, Seqera aims to move beyond scientific workflows to encompass tool development, data management, reporting, infrastructure deployment, and interactive computing.

Bormioli Pharma and Pierre Fabre Develop a 100% Recycled PET packaging for ELUDRIL® Brand Mouthwashes

Bormioli Pharma – international leader in the production of containers for the pharmaceutical industry, and Pierre Fabre, a French pharmaceutical and dermo-cosmetic group present in more than 100 countries, are consolidating their partnership started in 2020 through an innovative initiative in eco-design and sustainable development.

The two companies have developed an innovative 100% recycled PET packaging for the mouthwashes of the ELUDRIL® brand, one of the European leaders in oral care in the pharmacy channel. ELUDRIL® mouthwashes thus are among the first oral hygiene products in Europe to benefit from this type of packaging. This achievement is the result of a prospecting process conducted with ten different suppliers of recyclable PET in order to find the solution meeting the requirements of Pierre Fabre in terms of machinability, safety for the consumer, aesthetics and regulatory compliance. In addition to the use of recycled plastic, the new packaging is also lighter than its old packaging, which reduces the consumption of raw materials. Thanks to this innovation, more than one ton of plastic will be saved each year.

This initiative reflects the shared commitment of the two companies to sustainable development, a fundamental pillar for both Bormioli Pharma, which has committed to manufacture 50% of its products from materials with low environmental impact by 2025, and for Pierre Fabre, who has pledged as part of his Green Mission that 50% of his dermo-cosmetic and oral hygiene portfolio will be eco-social-designed by 2023. 

Roberto Valenti, Head of Materials Development Bormioli Pharma, said: “The historic collaboration with a group as important and recognized as Pierre Fabre is a source of pride and inspiration for us. We are delighted with the excellent results we have achieved together on the new packaging for ELUDRIL®, one of Europe’s best-selling oral care products, which could well pave the way for the widespread adoption of recycled PET in this sector. For our part, we continue to innovate and improve, aiming to meet the most stringent quality and safety requirements in the industry, in order to provide even greater satisfaction to our customers.”

Frank Legendre, Packaging, Innovation and Development Director of Pierre Fabre said: “With our teams, we conduct a daily reflection to eco-design our packaging in order to improve its environmental performance from the design and throughout its life cycle. Our partnership with Bormioli Pharma reinforces our common commitment to implement concrete and measurable actions in favour of sustainable development, an approach at the heart of our responsible innovation approach, carried with the Pierre Fabre Green Mission.”

Pierre Fabre has also chosen sustainable packaging designed and manufactured by Bormioli Pharma for its dermo-cosmetic brands Eau Thermale Avène, Ducray, René Furterer, Klorane and A-Derma. A majority of Bormioli Pharma’s packaging used by Pierre Fabre is manufactured in the Saint-Sulpice (Tarn) factory, less than 50 kilometres away from Pierre Fabre’s main dermo-cosmetic production factory. This short circuit reduces CO2 emissions and road pollution caused by the transport of packaging.

To evaluate the environmental and societal impact of dermo-cosmetic and family health products, and to communicate transparently on this impact to consumers, Pierre Fabre launched the Green Impact Index in June 2021, a tool based on the evaluation of 20 criteria. Among the criteria used to assess the environmental impact is the eco-design of the packaging, which is based on seven variables such as recyclability and the integration of recycled materials in its composition. Thanks to the technologies and tools it develops in these two areas, Bormioli Pharma is making a concrete way to the continuous improvement of the Pierre Fabre Green Impact Index.

EU Business News Announce the Winners of the French CEO of the Year Awards 2022

United Kingdom, 2022 – EU Business News Magazine has announced the winners of the French CEO of the Year Awards 2022.

EU Business News has introduced the French CEO of the Year Awards in order to award and celebrate those corporate leaders who have led their corporations and businesses to new heights of success and growth. The last two years have been difficult to navigate large businesses through and that has therefore changed the way leaders prioritise for their businesses.

The aim of the French CEO of the Year Awards programme is to recognise the determination and perseverance of the Chief Executive Officers that operate throughout France across a wide range of industries. The awards programme is designed to acknowledge those who have made a significant amount of progress within their industry.

On the eve of the announcement, Awards Coordinator Holly Blackwood commented on the success of the winners and the inaugural programme: “It has been an honour and a delight to host the inaugural French CEO of the Year Awards – I offer a sincere congratulations to all of those recognised and hope you have a delightful 2023 ahead.”

EU Business News prides itself on the validity of its awards and winners. As such, very one of our winners can be certain that their success is deserved. We carefully evaluate everything from a business’s, or individual’s, performance over the past 12-months to ensure that only the most deserving parties walk away with one of our prestigious awards.

To learn more about our award winners and to gain insight into the working practices of the “best of the best”, please visit the EU Business News website (https://www.eubusinessnews.com/issues/french-ceo-of-the-year-awards-2022/) where you can access the winners supplement.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

About EU Business News

The EU is a vital and exciting region filled with businesses and individuals creating unique innovations, supporting their customers around the world and, ultimately, driving change. As such, EU Business News (https://www.eubusinessnews.com/) aims to provide an absorbing overview of this exciting region and the businesses and individuals operating within it.

Much more than just a magazine, alongside our online publication EU Business News also boasts an informative newsletter, a regularly updated website and a series of awards programmes showcasing the excellence of businesses and the individuals behind them from across this vibrant region.

As subscription to EU Business News is free there is absolutely no reason not to sign up to receive this informative and fascinating resource.

About AI Global Media

Since 2010 AI Global Media (https://www.aiglobalmedialtd.com/) has been committed to creating engaging B2B content that informs our readers and allows them to market their business to a global audience. We create content for and about firms across a range of industries.

Today, we have 12 unique brands, each of which serves a specific industry or region. Each brand covers the latest news in its sector and publishes a digital magazine and newsletter which is read by a global audience. Our flagship brand, Acquisition International, distributes a monthly digital magazine to a global circulation of 108,000, who are treated to a range of features and news pieces on the latest developments in the global corporate market.

Alongside this, we have a luxury-lifestyle magazine, LUXlife, which appeals to a range of high-net-worth individuals, offering them insight into the latest products, experiences, and innovations to ensure they can live the high-life to its fullest.

Post-Pandemic Shopping: One in Four Now Make Majority of Purchases Online

More than a quarter of Brits now make the majority of their purchases online – an increase of 18% when compared to shopping pre-pandemic, according to new data.

 

In a survey of 4,000 international shoppers, in seven different territories, it was found those living in the UK were most likely to have changed their shopping habits over the past few years.

Global business messaging provider Esendex surveyed customers in the UK, United States, Australia, France, Germany, Italy and Spain to discover what the retail landscape looks like in 2022. More than a quarter of Brits (29%) now make more than 80% of their purchases online, compared to 11% pre-pandemic.

In the territories surveyed, France experienced the least change, with an 8% increase in customers making the majority of their purchases online, compared to 2020, closely followed by Spain at 9%.

Wider statistics from the survey show that those living in the UK, France and Italy are the least patient when it comes to customer service. More than half of the respondents from these territories admit they get frustrated if they have to wait more than five hours for a response – highlighting the demand for an always-on culture.

Chris Gorman, Head of Professional Services at Esendex, comments: “We wanted to do a deep dive into the customer of today, post-pandemic. At the heart of what we discovered is that there’s been a real shift in shopping habits, in the way people are making purchases, and wanting to get in contact with their favourite brands.

“The lesson here is for businesses to ensure they build an omnichannel presence so that customers can stay in touch – and get in touch – with companies via the platform(s) they prefer. Businesses should also look to invest in different ways of improving their customer service response time, through email autoresponders, live chat and chatbots, for example.”

The findings of the survey have been published in a report which aims to give businesses a better understanding of customer expectations, alongside actionable tips to improve response times.

Despite call centres being a traditional means of communication between brands and their customers, this is now the preference for under half of the UK population (43%); shoppers would far prefer email, or to contact customer service via SMS or WhatsApp. The US was the only territory where more than 50% of shoppers would rather get in touch with a company via phone.

In a similar vein, almost four in five (79%) UK consumers would consider purchasing a product from a company as a result of a marketing message received via text or WhatsApp, with notifications of a sale, one-time discount or alert that an item they wanted is back in stock, most likely to lure them in.

Top Tips For Catering To Online Shoppers’ Needs

Statistics show that 73% of people use multiple channels during their shopping journey. What’s more, those that use four or more channels spend 9% more with a business, on average, when compared to those who just use one channel. Here are some tips for making online shopping a smooth process for customers.

1. Go omnichannel 

Think about your audience – which channels are they most likely to be receptive to? A customer survey could come in handy here, so you can hear first hand rather than guessing by trial and error. The idea is to be as visible as possible so that you can maximise the chances of a customer seeing your brand. One channel worth considering is SMS, which has an open rate of 95%. Through SMS, you can send prospective and current customers the latest information on your products/services, with links directing them to whichever page you wish – accessible within a single click!

2. Make it easy for customers to get in touch

Similar to the above, it is very important to make it as simple as possible for customers to contact your customer service department, should they need to. SMS can be utilised here too, alongside email autoresponders, live chat and chatbots. Try and make it clear from the offset when a customer can expect to hear back from you as research shows that more than half of Brits admit they get frustrated if they have to wait more than five hours for a response from customer service.

3. Provide a range of payment options

Research shows that Brits abandon over £20bn worth of goods from their online shopping baskets each year. Payments provider Mollie found the absence of Paypal, Apple Pay or Klarna (buy now, pay later) would most likely put shoppers off completing the checkout process, with 93% of those that have neglected a minimum of one cart in the last six months citing a lack of preferred payment method at the checkout as to why.

Another common reason for cart abandonment comes down to shipping costs and options (i.e. expensive or long delivery times), so it’s worth ensuring your business stays competitive even if it cannot offer free shipping. 

4. Make the website mobile-friendly

In 2021, it was estimated that 72.9% of ecommerce sales came through mobile devices. Online shopping statistics for the UK show that, by 2024, UK customers will spend around £105 billion through their mobile phones – so it’s not hard to see why businesses should be investing in making their site as user-friendly as possible. A site that is too slow to load, or is missing functions such as a search bar or filtering options, is likely to frustrate a customer and encourage them to shop elsewhere.

Source – https://www.esendex.co.uk/black-friday-guide-form/

Strategies For Ensuring Remote Workers Aren’t Excluded

The best workforces have a sense of unity running through them. Though different departments make up a business, they must work together cohesively at the end of the day.

Firms that implement hybrid work strategies poorly often fail to include remote employees in their business connectivity plans. In many workplaces, these talents are still treated differently. There was even a suggestion of additional taxes being imposed on remote workers at the end of 2020.

Remote workers need to be treated equally. They must feel as part of their business as anyone else. If you’re a business boss struggling to make this a reality, the tips below might help you.

Host Meetings and Meetups

Remote workers shouldn’t feel isolated at home. Opportunities for further engagement should always be presented to them.

After all, remote workers worry that they may be affected by proximity bias, fearing they don’t get enough face time with their superiors. To counter those concerns, you should host weekly Zoom meetings to discuss their progress and keep those lines open throughout every working day in case the remote worker wishes to have an impromptu discussion.

Socialise informally too. Even if workers are far away from each other, literally meeting halfway for a staff party, meet and greet, or even just a day out can make all the difference when facilitating feelings of inclusion. Remember, if workers can’t attend, they’re still likely to appreciate the invitation and be comforted that there’s a place for them in these situations.

Offer the Same Training eLearning Materials

It’s not always necessary to have a strict approach to training today. Many of these resources are now available on demand, thanks to technology.

For example, the eLearning courses from iHASCO can be accessed from any device and any modern, compliant web browser. The offerings can fit any screen size and can be presented in dozens of different languages with audio or text-based learning. That means your remote workers can access the same 150 accredited eLearning courses as anyone else in your firm.

Implementing these measures means your remote workers will understand their talent is being invested in with other workers. It keeps them connected to the firm’s present and future learning hub, as new courses are always added around compliance procedures, health and safety, and more. This can give them confidence that they’re learning new skills the same way their peers are.

Celebrate Remote Working Success

For all the disruption the pandemic wrought, it proved that remote working could be a roaring success under the correct management practices. Many people became remote workers in that period, even temporarily, and kept their places of work afloat and thriving in some cases.

Consequently, remote workers should never be treated as sub-tier workers ever again. They played essential roles during the pandemic and continue to do so, giving firms greater flexibility in how they operate. Working remotely can also help firms reduce facilities and maintenance costs, saving the business money indefinitely.

Celebrate your remote workers and their essential role and continue to play. Regularly acknowledge the importance of their contributions, and encourage all workers to recognise one another for their efforts. Positive reflections should be constant, as well as uplifting assurances about the future of remote workers in the business.

LucaNet Acquires Belgian Distributor Seefo

German market leader for CPM for Finance strengthens presence in BeNeLux.

Berlin-based LucaNet AG successfully completes the acquisition of long-term Belgian distributor Seefo BVBA to strengthen its international footprint and further expand into Belgium and Luxembourg. The Seefo management team stays aboard, Kristof Vanherle is appointed Managing Director of the new subsidiary.

Today, LucaNet AG (“LucaNet”), a leading financial consolidation, planning, and reporting software business based in Germany, announces the successful acquisition of its Belgian distributor Seefo BVBA (“Seefo”). This transaction marks another important milestone in the company’s growth and ambition to become a global leader for Corporate Performance Management (CPM) for Finance, further strengthening its market position in Europe.

As a 100% subsidiary of LucaNet, Seefo will be renamed „LucaNet“ and cover the Belgian as well as the Luxembourg markets via direct sales activities as well as the expansion of a regional network of sales partner.

LucaNet was founded in 1999 with the vision of developing a software solution that combines planning, controlling, and consolidation in a single tool. Since then, the company has grown to become a leading provider of CPM for Finance worldwide. With more than 3,500 customers in over 50 countries and offices in China, Singapore, and the USA as well as a strong European presence, LucaNet employs around 500 people worldwide.

The Berlin-based company has special ties to the BeNeLux countries. In 2006, the first location outside of Germany was founded in the Netherlands. In the meantime, LucaNet has become one of the most important market players there with customers such as Cegeka, Ahlers, Van Breda Risk & Benefits, DCM, Neuhaus and Upgrade Estate.

The cooperation with Seefo started back in 2016. when the company entered the Belgian market. “Our partnership with Seefo has proven to be very valuable. The Seefo team has demonstrated a very successful sales approach and go-to-market. They have developed an outstanding reputation as absolute experts in consolidation under local GAAP. We are glad that the Seefo shareholders Patrick van Gaelen and Kristof Vanherle, decided to join the LucaNet family – we are very much looking forward to the joint future”, says Elias Apel, LucaNet Board Member.

Simon van Koppen, Managing Director LucaNet Netherlands, also appreciates the collaboration: “Seefo has been an important driver of our customer growth throughout the BeNeLux markets and we are glad the team decided to join our group.” 

The two founders of Seefo, Kristof Vanherle and Patrick Van Gaelen, have deep roots in the financial sector. Together, they bring the experience of more than 50 years. Kristof Vanherle, designated Managing Director of the new subsidiary states: “We are excited to join the LucaNet Group. With the help of the knowledge and resources of the LucaNet we can accelerate this growth and strengthen our client base in Belgium and Luxemburg.”

Patrick van Gaelen, designated Regional Head of Services, adds: “We are happy to be part of the global LucaNet family and to strengthen further our position on the Belux market.“

LucaNet was advised by ACE Law (Legal) and Finvision (Financial & Tax). Terms of the transaction are not disclosed.

What You Need to Operate Effectively in the Automotive Industry

The automotive industry is one of those industries where customers’ feedback on quality and services is key to boosting sales. However, to achieve maximum efficiency and maintain favourable revenue, several aspects of the business have to be optimised, including the work environment. So, here’s what you need to operate effectively in the automotive industry.

1. Create a Good Workplace Culture 

Work culture is a shared set of beliefs, attitudes, and values that guide an organisation. It reflects how employees treat each other at work and how they deal with clients and customers. The workplace culture also impacts the kind of people you want to attract when hiring new employees. Creating a good workplace culture boosts productivity, increases employee engagement, and lowers turnover.

Work culture can affect various aspects of an automotive business, especially employee experience. It affects workplace engagement, team morale, and job satisfaction. Negative work culture could steer the organisation towards the opposite direction, making it difficult for companies to retain their best employees and achieve organisational goals. 

The first step to creating a good workplace culture is to set clear organisational goals, which give your employees a clear picture of what you are trying to achieve. It also encourages collaboration amongst team members and guides individual performance. Promote the organisation’s goals and ensure everyone is aware of them. Another essential component of creating a good work culture is promoting diversity and inclusivity. Work with your HR team in making diversity a significant aspect of your recruitment strategy.

2. Health and Safety Laws and Regulations 

Health and safety are essential for any business, but even more so in industries where employees are always at high risks, such as the automotive industry. Companies that fail to meet the standard regulation on health and safety will have to deal with various consequences, including a hefty penalty. So, its important to ensure that your employees are able to access health and safety training courses in order to remain compliant. 

Health and safety in the automotive industry apply to various professions, including mechanics, engineers, auto electricians, and those involved in repairs, manufacturing, and parts. Some of the most common hazards for people working in automotive are slipping, tripping, falling, and getting hit by moving vehicles. Forklift incidents are also a common occurrence. 

Companies in the automotive industry must provide health and safety training to employees. With proper training, everyone will know how to keep clear of safety hazards and follow health and safety regulations to create a safe and healthy environment. If employees have proper knowledge of health and safety, they will be more confident with their work and know how to react if a problem arises. The training will guide automotive workers on what to do if danger arises. It arms them with the ability to protect themselves during accidents at work.

3. Make Your Processes Efficient 

Automotive companies should work hard to improve their efficiency, and with the continuous improvement of tools, this should be easy. Manufacturers should continue to find ways to deliver products to customers faster and implement quality improvement processes to mitigate issues that can delay the delivery of manufactured parts.

In the automotive industry, a machine downtime of even a few minutes can cost significant money. Therefore, every second counts. The process involved in vehicle manufacturing is very complex and requires many different steps. To ensure the vehicles are of the highest quality possible, manufacturers should adhere to the guidelines set by the International Organization for Standardisation. In most cases, manufacturers will prototype their vehicles and test these to see how they perform in different situations.

To make the process more efficient, vehicle manufacturing plants should implement a system that minimises inventory storage, saving the company money on warehouse costs. Aside from saving on storage costs, the system should help reduce any risk of stockouts while improving overall efficiency across all sectors of the automotive industry.

4. Knowledgeable Employees

Automotive companies should equip their employees with the knowledge to help them perform well in their respective roles. It also helps to hire employees knowledgeable in the field of automotive. When it comes to this, companies can get help from specialist automotive software engineer recruiters in looking for knowledgeable and well-skilled employees.

Product knowledge is essential for employees working in the automotive industry and should be part of staff training, especially those in the sales team. Having a thorough knowledge of the products helps sales staff communicate the value of products more effectively to prospective consumers. It also helps them convey the vehicle’s best features to impress customers and convince them to buy. 

Customers will have many questions before buying a vehicle and rely on the staff to give accurate answers. Employees who have in-depth knowledge of what the company can offer can provide a detailed explanation to whatever question the customer throws their way. Product training can also help motivate employees and boost their morale. Employees who know what they offer will be more confident in carrying out their tasks.

5. Keep up With Trends

The automotive industry is one of the world’s largest sectors, with a supply chain involving different facets, from manufacturing to engineering, semiconductors, and more. While it’s stable in the past ten years, several trends continue to affect how vehicles are driven, powered, and acquired. Companies in the automotive business must be aware of these trends if they want to keep up with the competition.

Arguably, the most significant trend in the automotive industry is the shift towards using electric vehicles. It’s estimated that electronic vehicles make up more than five per cent of all vehicle sales in the past few years, with Europe and China leading the way. In three years, more than ten per cent of all vehicles will be electric powered. Car manufacturers moving into the EV sector are breaking new ground in the most sustainable way possible. The manufacturing processes and an entirely new supply chain are some of the trends that the automotive industry has to understand and embrace.
The shift into electric vehicles is a crucial time for the industry, and the elements that make up their supply chain must be reputable and trustworthy since failing at this can damage the reputation of electric vehicles.

How to Use Instagram to Advertise your Company in 2022?

Instagram first appeared on the scene in 2010 as a platform filled with selfies, pets, and food pictures. It has transformed into an efficient marketing channel later. As a result, taking a business to the next level is possible with such a platform. In this article, we will demonstrate the fundamental steps a business needs to grow on Instagram:

Step 1: Start an Instagram business account

A business account grants access to several features and tools unavailable for personal profiles. After signing up, tap on the account setting to choose “Business Account.” Finally, choose a business category and add some relevant contact details to launch your Instagram business account officially.

Step 2: Create an Effective Instagram Marketing Strategy

First and foremost, the audience is the starting point of any social media marketing strategy. A strong Instagram marketing strategy should include the following:

Insights

Researching Instagram’s audience demographics is the key. A better understanding of what the audience posts about and engages with will leave a business owner in a better position.

Competitor Research

Understanding competitors creates an enhanced idea about the market. It involves researching major competitors to keep an eye on their products, sales, and marketing tactics.

Goals 

An Instagram strategy should state the target a business is set to reach.

Content Calendar

Now that audience and goals are defined, the next step is to have a purpose when posting on Instagram. Posting when followers are online is the most important point. Moreover, a neat calendar with highlighted upcoming events creates larger engagement. 

Step 3: Ensure your Instagram profile is perfectly designed

An Instagram profile is the follower’s first impression of the business presented. The following points will help any business to leave a better first impression:

Have a professional profile picture

Many international brands use their logo as an Instagram profile picture, and even a small business could do the same with the help of a logo maker. It is important to use one profile picture across social media platforms to gain recognition. 

Have an Informative Bio

A business account Instagram bio is a short 150-character summary of what your business can present. In the case of accounts with less than 10.000 followers, a bio is the only place on Instagram where posting an organic clickable link is possible. Therefore, it should be short and customer-oriented. 

Use CTA

A “Call To Action” urges a page’s visitors to take the next step. For example, “call us now,” “comment down below,” or “tap like if you agree.” So, an Instagram user needs a CTA to know the next step to buy a product or get a service from your page. 

Add Story Highlights and Covers

When a business owner wants to keep the best content live, the choice of story highlights comes in handy. It is an effective way to organize stories into saved collections. Creating engaging story highlights and covers with an Instagram story maker will update new and old followers with your business’s latest updates.

Step 4: Share High-quality Content

Since Instagram is a photo-sharing app originally, pictures shared should always meet high-quality standards. Simple thumb-stopping pictures are the key to creating the best content. No matter how good the photos are, editing them is sometimes a must.

Luckily, free sources are available, including Instagram built-in tools.

An indication of high-quality content is not only about the consistency of posting inclusive content but also about compelling captions, for captions make pictures meaningful. Plus, Instagram followers expect high-quality content regularly. Hence, experts recommend scheduling Instagram posts with a social media management tool.

Step 5: Grow and engage your audience

The starting point for business growth on Instagram is responding to comments and mentions; it will keep users motivated and engaging. 

Hashtags are another tool to grow because it helps make any content easier to find. Moreover, a branded hashtag is a source of user-generated content that encourages followers to share relevant photos and videos.

Now that a brand is ready to go viral promoting it on other channels and collaborating with influencers is the final stage.      

Step 6: measure success and make adjustments

Instagram’s built-in analytics tool can present a good business insight to measure success. Yet, Instagram only tracks data for 30 days; keep that in mind to measure success perfectly. 

Last but not least, the use of A/B testing to know what works: Testing various types of content to check how they perform is one of the best ways to improve results. Eventually, as what works for a specific audience becomes clear, we can achieve a refined overall strategy.

Conclusion

Instagram is the right place to promote a business, so if you plan well and take the previously-mentioned process step by step, your business will have a high growth potential.

Easy Ways to Keep Up With Industry Trends

Successful businesses know that it is critical to evolve along with their industry. Failing to respond to new developments and changes in demand can result in serious money being lost. Luckily, there are a few easy ways to keep up with trends in your industry. Here are our top five tips:

1. Pay attention to social media

One of the most convenient places to stay updated with trends is social media. When there are significant shifts in supply and/or demand, there is often heavy discussion on Twitter or Facebook. These issues are often caused by a change in the trend. You might also consider checking out “subreddits” on Reddit, a social media site fuelled by user-driven content. Locate the subreddit most relevant to your business and check it often, as these are regularly updated with breaking news and discussion about the latest trends.

2. Give industry newsletters a try

Another way to follow trends is to sign up for newsletters. It is possible that even big companies in your field are handing out information in their publications, much of which is typically tied to trends in the industry. Most newsletters are free too, so there is really no reason to avoid them! To find the best newsletter for your needs, turn to Google. Helpful search terms might include “newsletters” and “[your industry]”. A hospitality business, for example, might Google “newsletters” and “hospitality”. Once you are signed up, schedule some time to read the letters as often as they arrive in your inbox. Most newsletters are released according to a set schedule, so it should be easy to find the time.

3. Read interviews with industry leaders

Reading or watching industry leader interviews is another great way to stay up to date with news in the industry. These interviews are often quite common and are often published on websites related to the industry. LeapRate, for example, offers the latest news and interviews in the forex and fintech market, among other populations. This type of aggregate news website is a particularly easy way to stay on top of industry developments.

4. Use analytical tools

There are a few tools which have been developed specifically to help people stay up to date with the latest trends in their industry. One of the most popular of these is Google Trends. All you need to do is enter your industry name or a related search word and hit “enter”. The results will show you information about interest in the topic over time, where it is most popular in the world and what people are discussing about the industry.

5. Watch your competitors

Watching your competitors can also keep you clued into the latest trends. What are they offering, and has that changed recently? Remember that any trends you are able to find online are trends that they are seeing too, and sometimes they deem them important enough to act on.

One of the best things you can do for your business is to keep tabs on emerging trends. Try some of our tips and you’ll always be ready for changes down the line!

Side Hustle App Shepper Predicts 9X Revenue Growth in 2022

  • The apps users have surged from 60,000 to 180,000 since January 2022
  • Shepper has completed over 150,000 reports for clients in the past six months, and 425,000 reports total since its 2016 launch
  • Shepper has paid over £1.2million to Brits so far this year and £2.7million overall
  • Users of Shepper earn on average £100 per month from the community jobs they carry out

Innovative data-collection service app, Shepper, is predicting a 900% increase in revenue in 2022, compared to 2020, as demand for real-life, tangible data insights and side hustle incomes skyrocket. 

The innovative service has also seen a 300 per cent increase in the number of people using its app to generate additional income each month, going from 60,000 users in January 2022 to 180,000 in September. 

Shepper offers businesses real time data collection, mystery shopping, and audit services to help protect and inform brands such as L’Oréal and Ferrero. By offering payment for small jobs, the company is changing the face of data collection and offering Brits a chance to earn extra income. 

The quality of data collection and insight gathered for clients has also resulted in strong customer loyalty, with 80 per cent of revenue in 2022 coming from repeat business. Shepper has completed over 150,000 reports for clients – over 2.6 million data points – in just the last six months as demand from businesses grows.  

The app financially rewards its users for carrying out market research, mystery shopping and audit services in high street stores, restaurants, and properties, fondly naming its community as “Shepherds”. This year, Shepper is expecting to pay out around £2 million to its community of Shepherds.

Shepper’s rapid surge in popularity has resulted in an increase in job availability for its users across the UK, with Shepherds having completed almost 90 per cent of last year’s jobs in just the first half of 2022. It expects to double the number of jobs available year-on-year from 2023.

Commenting Lindsay Forster, CEO of Shepper, said: 

The cost of living crisis and rising inflation have put increased strain on the relationship between brands and their customers, leading more brands to use our service. In the wake of an economic downturn, it is more important than ever for brands to understand their customers and their experiences, which has led to a sharp growth in our clientele.

The deepening cost of living crisis and economic uncertainty have also led to a huge increase in the use of our app, as more and more people are seeking alternative ways to top up their income.

Average Household Would Earn £66.80 Cashback On Food Bills With Amex

Groceries (food)

According to the Office of National Statistics, the average UK household now spends around £3,601 on groceries per year, which is equivalent to £300 per month. The table below shows how many points you would get buying groceries on each different reward card:

 

Restaurants and takeaways

According to the Office of National Statistics, the average UK household now spends around £1,744 on food and takeaways per year, which is equivalent to £145.30 per month. The table below shows how many points you would get buying takeaways and eating out on each different reward card:

 

Types of Rewards Cards: 

Air miles credit cards

An air miles credit card is designed to reward your spending by giving you airline points. The more you spend on your air miles credit card, the more points you’ll get.

You can then exchange the points for discounts on the price of your flights or upgrades.

Supermarket rewards credit cards

These cards offer the most points for spending in ‘home’ shops – so the supermarket itself as well as linked retailers e.g Sainsburys is linked to Argos.

By using these cards for your groceries, you can also use them to collect rewards, in the form of Nectar or Clubcard points, on other purchases you make on the card at other retailers.

Cashback rewards credit cards

The most straightforward type of rewards cards are cashback ones.

Cashback cards give you back a percentage of what you spend, which might be added to your account once a year or more frequently. American Express (AmEx) usually offers the best cashback cards in the market and the best reward cards in general, although it’s not accepted in as many places as Visa and Mastercard.

Make sure you watch out for annual fees. You could end up paying a hefty charge on the card if you don’t spend enough on it – outweighing any benefit you get from using it. Approach cards charging feed with caution.

Salman Haqqi, personal finance expert at money.co.uk explains how to get the most out of your rewards card, and the pitfalls to avoid:

“The secret to getting the best out of a rewards card is to make sure you know what’s on offer.

For example, lots of cards come with introductory bonuses, where the points ramp up if you spend a certain amount, in a certain store, within a certain time. Miss out on that target and you could see how much you get back seriously affected.

Bonuses aside, many cards pay far more for spending in certain shops – with supermarket cards often tripling rewards for spending in store. If you have the option to pay in more than one way, getting this right can also boost your rewards.

But more importantly, never spend more than you can afford to repay that month in the hunt for reward points.

Doing that is a losing game, with a few more points here and there almost never making up for missed payments, interest charges and the damage to a credit score that can result from spending more than you can afford to repay.”

New European Law Set to Topple the Big Tech Monopolies; Leading Global Data Body Brings Story to Light

In a global first for Big Tech, a new regulation is being enacted that could mark the end of online monopolies. The Digital Markets Act will introduce digital restrictions in the EU that will radically change how leading tech giants can handle users’ data and promote their services in 2023 — but the news has yet gone mostly unnoticed. The first, complete overview of how this will affect every internet user worldwide will be revealed in the latest digital briefing from the Institute of Analytics on Thursday, 13th October.

As data continues to become one of the most valuable global resources, it has also become clear just how much control leading online tech companies, such as Meta, Google and Amazon, have had in the digital frontier. This has caused an imbalance of power when it comes to how smaller businesses can compete in the marketplace, as well as an erosion of users’ rights in how their data is handled and shared.

The Institute of Analytics (IoA), the leading global body for analytics and data science professionals, will be hosting a free, online briefing for business executives, The Digital Markets Act and Data Interoperability at 9:30 AM GMT on Thursday, 13th October 2022, to help individuals and businesses alike gain a competitive advantage in the future of internet practice.

This marks the latest informational talk from the not-for-profit organisation that is ahead of the curve on new digital regulations and receives information first, consulting with governments, academia and industry globally to advance the study, education, application and standing of data science in societies worldwide. It follows a series of pre-regulation insights that support members worldwide in having the edge over new data developments. This includes having consulted on the UK’s white paper on AI oversight.

Dr Clare Walsh, IoA Director of Education, says: “A lot of the world’s data is concentrated in private hands — and particularly those of enormous tech companies that use our data to their advantage. The ‘too big to care’ attitude has led to practices that actively defy current anti-monopoly and anti-counterfeit laws seen in any other marketplace, creating an unfair playing field for businesses and unsafe space for regular people. This has led to the necessity for the Digital Markets Act, which is now being rolled out as EU internet law.

“In our upcoming talk, we will address what this new regulation means to both companies and users alike, how practices will be forced to change and the new windows of opportunity available which may finally bring to an end the Big Tech monopoly on data.”

Although the Digital Markets Act is strictly EU policy, it is expected to have an industry-shaking effect worldwide as leading tech giants are forced to change their approach to still cater online services to European users. However, due to the complex nature and terminology that new regulations and reports can often take, a clear understanding of their implications can often go unreported. This is a fact that the Institute of Analytics is working tirelessly to reverse, providing holistic and expert knowledge on socio-technical developments before they enter legislation.

“The IoA has its finger on the pulse of new stages of legal and data advancement globally. In fact, in many cases we have helped to shape it and are regularly consulting with leading authorities,” Dr Walsh continues.

“One of the main challenges we often see with these laws is that they can be hard to grasp without a proper understanding of all their facets. This means they are often misunderstood by individuals, industry and the media until long past their enactment. One of our roles as the leading body for data analysis is to give everyone access to what these new regulations and developments actually mean; not from purely social, technical or business perspectives, but from a holistic view of how it all fits together and affects the global market as a whole.”

What is the Digital Markets Act?

The Digital Markets Act will come into force in the EU in October 2023, with other nations considering similar approaches to the same challenges.2 It will outlaw certain practices using data that have consolidated power online, such as Amazon’s hidden practices of cloning best-selling products into their own range, or the forcing of in-app purchases within search websites. Tech companies will be required to make their digital platforms more open and transparent, as well as allow interoperability where it is in the interests of the customer.

For example, the location of a room listing on Airbnb is currently kept secret until the point of purchase, effectively blinkering users’ from exploring other options on the market. However, under the new laws, the customer will now have the right to the visibility of any other listings where the same room is offered, to ensure fair competition.

The intention of the regulation is to grant consumers and businesses new freedoms to use technology the way they expect and want. This will undermine a large scale of Big Tech hegemony that has currently held the digital market, such as isolated systems and platforms that have locked users into using one-brand products (e.g. forced system apps that can only be communicated with via the same platforms), as well as undo restrictive practices that have closed the opportunity for competition.

Dr Clare Walsh says: “We already have the power to say ‘no’ when it comes to how we use the internet, for example not advertising products on Amazon, or not using mainstream social media platforms, but this puts us at a social and commercial disadvantage. Any threats from new and disruptive players in this market that used to keep these companies in check disappeared around 2009 when Big Tech’s influence passed a tipping point and they have since been able to do what they want.

“After the new laws have come into effect, organisations that previously gave up because the market was so stacked against them now have a realistic chance to compete. We have seen monopoly laws catch up with giants like Microsoft in the past. We have seen the dominance of the big 9 banks challenged in the UK when interoperability laws in the banking industry changed. Small changes in the data requirements can create a whole new market if the UK introduces similar laws to the EU in this respect.”

New Highway Code Has Been Implemented But Drivers Don’t Understand

At the beginning of this year, the Highway Code was ruled out; and with it, there have been significant changes to pre-existing rules that motorists are to obliged to folow. Despite that, the AA Accident Assist had commissioned a survey that discovered that only 39% of British drivers have acknowledged these new rules, and another survey conducted by Nextbase found that 70% of respondents don’t understand the new rules.

The new rules being introduced to the Highway Code are designed with the safety and well-being of those on the roads in mind; but how effective are these rules in preventing accidents and saving lives? In this article, we’ll give you an overview of the Code’s history as well as how things have changed over time. We’ll also look into what the most recent changes will mean for motorists on the road going forward.

A brief history of the Highway Code 

The first edition of the Highway Code was published in 1931 when there were approximately 2.3 million motorised vehicles sharing the road with horse-drawn carts and carriages. Composed of 21 pages of advice, information, and adverts for oil and petrol companies, it cost a single old English penny and was the first attempt to collate information for educational purposes for motorists.

The book has received multiple amendments and updates over the year, creating many iterations that reflect the evolution of motoring in the UK. One of the most significant updates came with the Road Traffic Act, 1934. This act introduced the now standard 30-mph speed limit in built-up areas as well as the exemption for fire engines during emergencies. But the most important change it brought to the world of motoring in Britain was the necessity to test new drivers before they are classed as road-safe with the option to stop the issue of licences or vehicle sales to reckless drivers.

Evolution over decades

Our understanding of road safety has evolved over 91 years since the Highway Code was first published. Cars have become more of a mainstream and accessible commodity, going from 2.3 million cars to 32.8 million cars registered in the UK at the end of 2021.

In fact, even after the Code was first introduced, there were 7,202 reported road user deaths in 1933. In comparison, the statistics coming out of 2021 reported 1,560 road deaths, which was a 12% reduction from 2017–2019. From this, we can see that as driving has become a natural part of day-to-day life for so many of us, our understanding of road safety has reduced fatalities significantly.

The new changes and what they could cost you

So, what are the most recent changes to the Highway Code that you should know to avoid fines? The first thing to note is the change to the hierarchy of people on the road, with pedestrians being the most vulnerable and therefore placed at the top. Cyclists are next, with cars following them and heavy goods vehicles taking the last spot on the list.

As a result, this changes how drivers must look at road position, junctions, and even more things we may have taken for granted when initially driving. For example, when a cyclist is ahead of you on the road, you should leave at least 1.5 metres, or 5 feet, between you and the cyclist when driving at 30 mph. If there are riding horses, then that distance should be increased to 2 metres (6.5 feet) to avoid startling the animals. The new hierarchy also revises how motorists must approach junctions and roundabouts, as pedestrians crossing roads at junctions and cyclists on roundabouts now take priority.

Disobeying the Highway Code is a criminal offence that can come with a heavy fine, as well as points on your licence which could lead to disqualification from driving with repeated or serious offences. While the lowest fines that motorists could field are between £500–£1000, if you were seen to be careless or inconsiderate behind the wheel the fine could be 3 to 9 penalty points on your licence and an unlimited fine based on how bad the incident was.

We’ve come a long way from horse-drawn carts to a Mercedes GLA. Updating the Highway Code has shown that over time the levels of casualties on the road can be decreased significantly, which is why road safety measures develop as our understanding grows. Making sure you’ve read the most recent changes and keeping up to date on when new laws will come into place will prevent you from being hit with fines you didn’t know were a possibility.

Learning From the Best: How to Tackle Unemployment in the UK

The UK is a great place to find a meaningful career, progress, and live a satisfactory lifestyle. It comes as no surprise that so many European and international students are flocking into the country to pursue their higher education and career development in an environment that motivates and supports them. In 2020/2021, there were 605,130 international students pursuing their degrees in the UK, which is an increase of 8.71% since the year before.

Yet, the UK is also suffering from unemployment, like the majority of countries in the world. Some cities and areas are better developed and have lower unemployment rates, while others are more affected by the severity of the problem.

Today, we look at what we can learn from the cities with the lowest rates of unemployment, in order to increase employment and help businesses find the best talent.

Unemployment in the UK

The overall unemployment rate for those aged 16+ in the UK is 3.8% for the period December 2021–February 2022. This is a 31.58% decrease from the same period in the previous year when the unemployment rate was 5%. Similarly, the employment rate in the UK increased by 1.07% for the same time period.

According to the Labour Force Survey conducted by the Office for National Statistics, the English regions with the highest unemployment rate in that period are the North East (5.5%), London (5.0%), and West Midlands (4.9%). The regions that are best tackling unemployment are the South West (2.8%), East Midlands (3.1%), and East (3.1).

The Centre for Cities has tracked unemployment rates across UK’s cities and largest towns. York (2.6), Exeter (2.9), and Cambridge (3.3) are priding themselves on the lowest rates.

But what are these cities and towns doing to promote employment, and what can other cities and organisations do to expand their workforce utilisation.

Investing in areas of growth 

Investing in areas of growth
Employment opportunities are not lacking. The number of job vacancies in January to March 2022 rose to a new record of 1,288,000. This is a 102.51% increase since the same period the year before. The industries that have increased their vacancies between September 2021 and November 2021 are education, construction, wholesale and retail trade, and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles.

So, one of the reasons unemployment is present is because the job vacancies aren’t distributed proportionally within the UK by utilising the strengths of each region or city.

York, which has the lowest unemployment rate, for example, is focusing on developing its rail sector, as it’s a hub on the nation’s rail network. It’s also investing in biotech and agricultural research.

Another prime example of investment in local areas is Cambridge. With an unemployment rate of 3.3, the city, which is world-renowned for its university facilities, has been growing significantly. It’s projected that the number of jobs will rise by 22% in Cambridgeshire between 2011 and 2031. There are already over 1,500 science- and technology-based companies, echoing the area’s investment in IT and technology.

Ann Dowdeswell, Sales and Marketing Director of the leading work uniform supplier Jermyn Street Design, commented: “The investment in areas of growth not only opens new job opportunities but also attracts students who can excel in those sectors after completing their education. Firms specialising in those sectors can also benefit from investing in locations where the industries and flourishing. This will feed into other promoting the growth of other external aspects of the business, such as supply chains, sourcing staff uniforms, and logistics. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.”

Additional training to overcome the current skills shortage

What’s also making York, Cambridge, Exeter, and the other top cities score low on the unemployment tracker is the investment in education and additional training. This will help with labour mobility, which is the ability to switch jobs and sectors by possessing transferable skills.

Amidst the current skills shortage in the UK, which is the most severe one on record, it’s especially important to target employees right away and equip them with the skills needed to promote labour mobility. In a recent KPMG pulse survey, 70% of the surveyed companies said that they found it difficult or very difficult to attract and retain employees. Flexibility in terms of skills and career development is also critical, according to 50% of the respondents.

This can be achieved through education and additional training. York, for example, launched its One Year Skills Plan, Helping People Through Change: Skills for Employment in York, to help both businesses and residents adapt to the changing work landscape amidst the recovery from the pandemic.

Upskilling can also help with tackling sector-specific shortages in an ever-changing environment. According to the 14th ManpowerGroup Talent Shortage survey, conducted in Q3 of 2021, the three most in-demand roles in the UK are operations/logistics, manufacturing/production, and IT/data. These sectors are dependent on digitisation and technology, which some employees might lack the knowledge of. That’s where certifications, programming courses, and apprenticeships can help.

Investing in developing specific areas and sectors, as well as in providing education and upskilling for employees is the key to tackling unemployment in the UK. It’s people who are paving the way forward, and we need to lay the basis to allow them to succeed.

Credit – Jermyn Street Design – https://jsd.co.uk/

How Technology is Helping Unmute International Languages for Business Meetings

Oddmund Braaten, CEO at Interprefy

“You’re on mute” has to be one of the most popular (or unpopular) phrases of the past couple of years.

With everyone having to get to grips with the new standard of communication, the likes of Zoom, Teams, and Slack have been the saviours of enterprise comms over this period. But for global businesses, there’s a long-standing issue to do with communication that has so far remained unresolved.

Despite a mass of different communication tools, language barriers are preventing business meetings from reaching their full potential. Staff huddles are isolated depending on the host’s mother tongue, and a lack of support is stopping them from properly connecting, interacting, and engaging with colleagues outside of their geographical border.

We have the ability to communicate with people across the globe at the touch of a button, so why are we so bad at it?

Language barriers preventing growth

As businesses expand, international growth eventually reaches a tipping point. Success takes an international team capable of understanding and speaking the language in each specific region.

The problem of language is one that continues to hold a lot of businesses back. A lack of communication can lead to misunderstandings, low morale, and poor company culture, but it can even lead to more serious consequences. An Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) study estimated that language barriers contributed to 25 percent of job-related accidents.

Another example where live translation from conference interpreters is needed is during virtual town hall meetings, where company-wide updates are shared between leadership teams and staff. These have become immensely popular recently, but important messages can often go misunderstood or missed completely by non-native speakers.

Language barriers can also be a stumbling block for when businesses host international client meetings. Localised support and cultural understanding is vital in building trust and a working relationship, but you can’t create this if you haven’t got the staff or mechanisms to support it.

The problem of communication is stopping them from growing exponentially, but there is a simple solution that’s right under their noses.

How can businesses remove language barriers?

The typical solution from businesses is to communicate solely in English, yet less than one in five (19%) actually speak the language fluently. The issues of miscommunication, a lack of engagement, and isolation remain.

The other option might be to hire interpreters where relevant for each meeting. But it can quickly become complicated and costly trying to accommodate international staff, clients, and partners on a daily basis.

However, there are tools widely available that can support simultaneous translations for any business setting – the most exciting of which has been the advancement of machine translation technology.

For example, often used alongside live interpreters, the combination of voice recognition software and machine translations is now capable of being used as a standalone solution. The technology can quickly connect international teams involved in smaller, more intimate business meetings or when human interpreters simply aren’t available or viable.

Where a human touch might be more relevant, such as for large-scale events and town hall meetings, remote simultaneous interpretation (RSI) is a popular option. Here, interpreters can provide language support from the comfort of their homes, meaning businesses save costs on travel, accomodation, and logistical support while also reducing their carbon footprint and providing real-time interpretation in the language of the attendees choice.

Employee development is also key, and there’s a lot that staff can learn from their colleagues from across the world. In-person and virtual training sessions are therefore a good opportunity to provide interpretation technology to help facilitate better understanding and clearer conversations. You could even take this one step further by using interpretation technology to provide your own workshops on learning different languages and cultures.

Bringing an international flavour to business meetings

Reducing language barriers for meetings means businesses can effectively accommodate diverse teams from across the world, inviting new ways of thinking and problem-solving. But it can also widen the cultural understanding from everyone within the organisation while helping improve cross-border communication, engagement, and morale.

Being able to break down language barriers and communicate with each other is an important factor for international growth. Only when we can communicate in the same language can we start to understand what’s outside of our horizon, build trust, and come closer together.

Whether face-to-face or at the other end of a computer screen, businesses that can remove communication barriers stand to gain a significant competitive advantage.

Poland is the Emerging Tech Hub of Europe, Says STX Next

Maciej Dziergwa, CEO at STX Next explains why Poland is the perfect place for a tech company to thrive

In recent years, Poland has surfaced as a leading location for technology investment, start-ups and entrepreneurial talent in Europe. This is according to Maciej Dziergwa, CEO of Europe’s largest Python software development company, STX Next. Dziergwa firmly believes that Poland’s recent economic growth, wealth of software development talent and appeal to venture capital firms cement its place as a promising European tech hub, and is full of optimism for its future.

The economic growth in Poland has seen the country spearhead a series of technological innovations and advancements. Poland’s IT industry constitutes about 8% of GDP, employing over 430,000 people. Poland is the largest economy in central and eastern Europe with 30% share of total GDP and 25% of the population.

Dziergwa said: “Poland’s status as central and eastern Europe’s technological beating heart has been well-recognised by those inside the industry for some time. As of 2022, market leaders such as Google, Samsung, Facebook, Amazon and Intel have set up shop here, alongside more than 500 other R&D facilities.

“For new founders and established players, young developers and team leaders, Poland is a hotbed of opportunity. The technology market is thriving, and the country is ready to play its part in growing the global tech economy” says Dziergwa.

The country’s collective IT expenditure grew by nearly 17% in 2021, totalling more than $20 billion. Below, Dziergwa outlines the factors that he believes are behind Poland’s rise as a major tech hub in Europe.

Poland is educating the next generation of developers

Poland is the preferred study destination of more than 57,000 international students at more than 500 universities. Nine of these feature in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) world university rankings. According to the National Science Foundation, Polish people also have a strong educational background in IT-related disciplines: 43% of people in Poland aged 25-34 have a bachelor’s degree or higher in technology or software development.

Dziergwa: “First and foremost, Poland’s proximity to the rest of Europe is a crucial factor for its success. Travelling toPoland takes less than three hours no matter where you are in Europe. It is perhaps for this reason that we sit on such a wealth of tech talent, with a seemingly never-ending stream of developers entering the industry.

“Much of the world is navigating its way through a tech talent shortage, something that luckily hasn’t had as strong an effect in Poland. As such, Poland is an attractive location for tech giants with a host of new developers ready to innovate, armed with some of the most advanced technical skills in the world.”

A venture capital hotbed

In the first three months of 2022, venture capitalists invested a total of €251 million in Polish businesses across 98 transactions. If investment were to carry on at the same trajectory, by the end of 2022 Polish start-ups could attract over €1bn for the first time in the country’s history.

Dziergwa: “Poland is home to one of the most start-up-friendly ecosystems across the globe, spurred by the remarkable increase in investment. We have the talent, the funding and all the other ingredients necessary for businesses to make a success of their pursuits here, as has been proven in the past.

“Many central European-born businesses retain a large proportion of their headcount in their home country even after flying the nest. Brands like Booksy, Allegro and Docplanner all started out in Poland and have since had huge impacts in other parts of the world.”

A burgeoning pool of experts to pick from

Dziergwa: “Poland has the largest pool of developers in central and eastern Europe, accounting for nearly 25% of the entire developer population in the region.”

According to a study conducted by HackerRank that put a series of challenges to over 1.5 million people around the world, Poland has the third best developers globally, behind only China and Russia. Around the country, Poland has seven major IT hubs employing over 85% of all IT professionals in the country. Despite the level of quality on offer, outsourcing software development in Poland is typically 30% cheaper than in the US, and 20-25% cheaper than in western Europe.

Dziergwa concluded: “When considering the recipe for a prosperous tech hub, Poland has the most important ingredient in abundance: people. Not only are there plenty, but they are highly skilled, motivated and industrious, and are supported by a healthy infrastructure and investment. Poland has all the attributes to be Europe’s tech engine room for years to come.”

Easing Your Employees Back To Work

As the work-from-home (WFH) policy is beginning to die down all across the EU, more and more companies are opting for a hybrid model approach. This means that they are giving their employees the chance to work from home 2/3 days out of their working week, whilst encouraging them to come into the office the remainder of the days. More remote workers than ever are operating across Europe, so it’s something to be aware of. For many people, this may not seem like a big deal, but they forget that these employees have made working from home their new routine. Having to deal with rush hour traffic, the rising costs of public transport and just an overwhelming number of people surrounding them in the busy town centres is enough to make anyone stressed out. This is, of course, different for each country in the EU, but the overall trend is the same. What can you do as an employer to ease your employees back into the workplace?

Host a Party or Night Out

Parties are one of the best methods for encouraging your employees to come back to the office place. It allows them to retract any negative feelings they may have about returning to the physical aspect of the office, whilst having a fun time in the process. Depending on what time of the year you are going back to work, and where you are based in the EU, you could have a summer cocktail party or a staff Christmas party. During the party, you shouldn’t discuss with people why they should come back to the office, you should allow them to create bonds with their colleagues and realise that this is the sort of social experience they have been missing out on.

Puzzle-solving

As a great way to ease employees back into work, you could encourage great team-building activities that aren’t work-related. One of these activities could be to solve a puzzle. The puzzle could come in the form of a large jigsaw puzzle or a very hard brain teaser. If you want to be sneaky, you could even give them a time limit and offer an incentive that would encourage them to work as a team to figure it out. This can be a great experience for people who have had little to no team-building interaction over the past year or so. If you have recently hired workers from another country in the EU, then this will be a great way to integrate them into the tea and again will help them understand that office life for a couple of days may not be the worst thing.

Host a Hack Day

A hack day is a great way to connect everyone in your workplace together. If you are a tech or engineering firm, this is a very popular method that you should be implementing. The idea behind it is that you will have everyone in the building drop whatever tasks they are working on and come together to spend the day completing a project that you have deemed as a high priority. For businesses that operate in multiple EU countries, this is a great way to work internationally. The project will normally have large benefits for the team and/or the company. This encourages people from different skill sets and backgrounds to think outside the box and be creative. The fact that they are all in the office together also allows them to bounce off one another’s ideas in order to create a fool proof plan over video meetings across EU operations.

Offer The Team Counselling

If you have employees that are particularly nervous about coming back to the office due to their anxieties about the COVID-19 pandemic or any other reason, you could offer them counselling so that they are able to discuss their worries with a professional. Counselling across the EU is regulated by the EAC, so you can get expert help no matter where you are based. This is a great way to ease your employees back to work as it shows that they are working for a business that does truly care about how they are getting on, both physically and mentally. It also allows them the chance to speak out, whereas before, they may not have been able to afford such luxuries.

New Programme Launch by IIM Ahmedabad & ENAC France Advanced Management Programme for Professionals in Aviation and Aeronautics

The 6-month programme offers joint certification, dual alumni status and 10-day campus immersions at IIMA and ENAC, France

Global content, faculty and cohort to help professionals scale new heights and prepare them for leadership roles

The Indian aviation and aeronautics sector has emerged from a challenging pandemic period and is flying high once again. The number of travellers is expected to double to 400 million in the coming years and the market size is anticipated to grow to US$ 4.33 billion by 2025.

To meet the needs of this rapidly expanding sector, premier B-School IIM Ahmedabad, in association with Ecole Nationale de l’Aviation Civile (ENAC) France, has launched a programme that aims to equip new-age management professionals with skills necessary to lead the sector through its next phase of development.

This 6-month programme is curated to offer a comprehensive understanding of the principles, practices and policies relevant to the aviation and aeronautics industry, including technical aspects as well as leadership and business management dimensions.

Participants from a wide range of aviation, aeronautics and allied industry sectors will learn airline and airport operations & management, multi-modal logistics, infrastructure development, public-private partnerships; mergers & acquisitions in aviation, ESG, sustainability, IT strategy & applications, and various other topics from distinguished IIMA faculty.

Further, this limited seat programme includes industry leading global exposure at the state-of-the-art campus at ENAC, Toulouse, France. Participants will learn about the emerging technical and operational aspects covering aviation and air transportation operations & management, big data applications and optimisation, maintenance and safety issues, drones and UTM, and air traffic management.

Commenting on the programme, Prof. Debjit Roy, IIM Ahmedabad, said, “The Indian aviation and aeronautics sector is growing, and so is the need for experts with techno-managerial skillsets. We are pleased to offer this programme to those who can steer the sector towards a more disruptive future. While the sector’s future may present many challenges, participants will have the chance to envision and reinvent how the sector should operate in line with the government’s objective of making India a worldwide aviation hub.”

Prof. Sandip Chakrabarti, IIM Ahmedabad, added that “The aviation and aeronautics sector in India has outstanding growth prospects. Our unique custom-designed programme is backed by strong academic research and deep insights from the industry. Our programme faculty have extensive global experience in business management as well as aviation technologies. We will focus on the changing dynamics of the sector and introduce to participants the latest global innovations in the field.”

The live interactive classes will be held online and can be accessed remotely every Saturday for 6 months on VCNow platform. Another highlight of the live online blended learning programme are the two short in-campus modules at IIM Ahmedabad and a five-day Campus at ENAC France. The latter will cover industrial visits for networking and business development. Participants who complete the programme successfully will receive joint certification and dual alumni status by IIMA and ENAC, France.

The eligibility criteria for the programme allow graduates/postgraduates in any discipline with 50% or more marks and a minimum of 5 years of work experience in the relevant sector. The last date to apply is October 31, 2022, and the course will commence on November 10, 2022.

To know more about the programme, click here or email: [email protected]

Revealed: The Most Common Credit Mistakes Brits are making

  • Many Brits are worried about how the cost-of-living crisis could impact their finances.
  • Searches for “how to improve your credit score” have risen by 160% in last 30 days alone.
  • Car finance experts at Zuto Car Finance have compiled six of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to getting credit.

Your credit score is one of the most important indicators of your financial health. So, with the cost-of-living crisis causing concern for many Brits, increasing numbers of people are looking at how they can develop good credit habits and build a good credit history. In fact, searches for “how to improve your credit score” have risen by 160% in the last 30 days alone.

As critical as that is, though, it is equally important to understand and avoid common credit mistakes that could stifle your progress and even damage your credit score in the long term.

Bad credit car finance experts at Zuto Car Finance have compiled a list of the most common credit mistakes Brits are making, from late payments to avoiding credit entirely. Having helped over 100,000 customers with a ‘poor’ credit score get approved for car finance in the last 12 months, and working closely with their large panel of lenders, Zuto know what it takes to avoid these common credit mistakes.

 

1. Making late payments

Making late payments can quickly and drastically affect your credit score. To avoid this happening, Zuto suggest setting up a monthly direct debit or a reminder on your phone to ensure you pay on time.

2. Maxing out your credit cards

Exceeding your credit limit can also hurt your credit score. One of the main factors in determining your credit score is your debt utilisation rate – how much you currently owe divided by your credit limit.

You should try to avoid carrying over a balance of more than 30% of your credit limit each month. For example, if your card has a £10,000 credit limit, the most you should charge in a month is £3,000. 1

3. Not shopping around

Another common credit mistake made by Brits is taking out credit without comparing the market to find the best interest rates possible. Even a small difference in interest rates can save you money in the long run.

4. Taking out unnecessary credit

In the current financial climate, taking out credit will be necessary for many people, but some Brits make the mistake of using their credit on discretionary purchases like holidays.

Doing this, though, could put a strain on your budget, making it more challenging to keep up with your monthly payments and negatively impacting your credit score. To avoid this, Zuto advises only using your credit when you really need it.

5. Avoiding credit entirely

Many Brits also make the mistake of thinking that not using credit at all shows how responsible they are with their finances. Zuto Car Finance explains how this can have the opposite effect as lenders rely on past payment history to dictate how reliable someone is to lend to. Thus, not having any credit history at all may mean that you become “credit invisible”, with lenders being unable to determine whether you are trustworthy or not. 

6. Not reading the terms and conditions

Every credit agreement has fine print which most Brits choose to ignore. But this is a huge mistake that could end up costing you. While the terms and conditions of your credit agreement might seem boring, you need to know the details of the promotional interest rates or the limits on the points you can earn.3

Lucy Sherliker, Head of Customer at Zuto, commented on the findings:

“The cost-of-living crisis is showing no signs of slowing down, so we want to highlight the most common mistakes when it comes to applying for credit to ensure that you have the best experience possible.”

“By ensuring that you do not make too many applications in a short space of time or avoid credit entirely, you will be able to avoid the possible impact that these will have on your credit score.”

If you’re one of the many Brits whose credit scores have been affected by these common credit mistakes, but are still looking for car finance, then Zuto can help. Find out how you can get a loan despite having bad credit here: https://www.zuto.com/bad-credit-car-finance/

Revealed: The Top 3 Healthiest Places to Live in the UK

There’s no denying that the United Kingdom is a beautiful country. From the stunning coastline to the rolling hills and picturesque villages – there’s plenty to admire. But what makes the UK even more special are the healthy lifestyles that many of its residents enjoy.

The UK is home to some of the world’s healthiest regions. The clean environments offered by these areas can relieve stress and boost your respiratory system.

So, where are they located?

Flogas – the off-grid gas experts, has identified the top 3 locations that offer the best environment in terms of wellbeing in the UK:

1. Milton Keynes

Awarded the right to call itself a city – Milton Keynes – the Buckinghamshire urban area is hands down the healthiest place to live.

Based on the World Air Quality Index data, Milton Keynes enjoys the lowest pollution rates across the UK. On a scale from 0 to 100, it scored a whopping 97.97, meaning that people lucky enough to call it their home have the luxury of taking rejuvenating deep breaths without fretting over something toxic going down their lungs.

That’s not it!

Milton Keynes far outdoes its fellow cities and towns regarding green spaces.

The Numbeo Quality of Life index reveals Milton Keynes has the highest satisfaction rate considering its greens and parks.

2. Brighton and Hove

The city of Brighton and Hove maintains its status as a popular destination for sunbathers and beach trotters. But, if you have the funds to relocate to an area that has the potential to do wonders for your mental and physical health, Brighton should be on the top of your “list”.

The city’s most significant advantage is that; it has pleasant, sunny weather across the year – with an unbelievable 1,670 hours of sunshine/year. Since sunlight triggers the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for uplifting your mood and helping you feel calmer, Brighton can prove no less than a heaven for those residing in the colder parts of the UK.

3. Swansea

The third place is won by Swansea – Wales’ second-largest urban area with a range of natural, green spaces for its residents. With a score of 98.13 out of 100, there is no surprise that Swansea’s people find themselves in a never-ending romance with their city’s parks and greenery. To top it off, UK regional stats indicate that the real-life Rivendell (hint: Lord of the rings); is one of the warmest locations in the UK, with an average temperature of 11.27˚C the year round.

 
To summarize

Whether you’re thinking of relocating or simply wondering about the healthiest towns and cities in the United Kingdom, there you have it, the three most beneficial places to live in the UK according to the latest research.

Innovative Light Set to Transform Falls Prevention and Detection

An innovative, AI-powered smart lamp which detects and prevents falls in older adults is now available in the UK & Ireland.

A lamp, designed by Nobi, a European provider of innovative technologies in elderly care, launches this week in the UK and Ireland. It is set to transform residential care settings’ ability to both prevent and detect falls which are the most significant cause of fatal injuries in the elderly.

The Nobi lamp offers a solution to a global problem. Around a third of people aged 65 and over, and around half of all people aged 80 and over, fall at least once a year1. Offering help as quickly as possible is crucial and can be a lifesaver.

If a resident falls, the intelligent lamp detects this immediately and speaks to the resident, asking if they are okay. In the event of no response or a call for help, the intelligent lamp is pre-programmed to send a message – to either caregivers or family members.

In the event of an emergency, the emergency services are notified with the lamp having the ability to open the door for them.

There is also the ability to send an image to show where in the room the fall has occurred. The Nobi lamp can be pre-programmed in line with the resident’s wishes. They can choose whether or not to share an image should a fall occur and can also opt for the image to be converted to an abstract figure to ensure privacy.

Nobi also aims to help prevent falls. When a resident sits upright in bed at night Nobi will shine soft light upwards to gently illuminate the room and if the person then stands up to go to the bathroom, for example, the smart lamp will illuminate the entire room.

In time, the AI technology built into the Nobi smart lamp will also be able to predict certain falls; preventing even more incidents. Changes in walking pace, length of stride and even the person’s posture when sitting will be detected and can be used to alert caregivers of a potential risk.

Speaking about the need for Nobi, co-founder and CEO of Nobi, Roeland Pelgrims said: “Falls are the most common cause of fatal injuries, and 50% of the elderly who lay on the floor for longer than one hour die within six months of the fall2. Quick help after a fall is crucial and equals saving quality years of life.

“Nobi’s ability to communicate immediately with care providers or family members provides peace of mind.”

The Nobi smart lamp has been carefully designed to feel familiar in every interior and as such is unobtrusive and is easily installed with no need for new cables – only a Wifi connection is required.

Nobi is set to play a pivotal role in the use of innovative technologies in care settings as the sector searches for solutions that fit seamlessly into the care environment. Pelgrims commented: “The population continues to age at a rapid pace. In fact, one-fifth of Europe’s population is currently over 65, and this will be one quarter by 2040.

“This ageing demographic is a tough challenge for all healthcare systems worldwide including the UK and Ireland which are already suffering from an acute shortage of healthcare personnel.”

Against this backdrop, Nobi aims to support care workers in residential care centres and assisted living facilities or hospitals so they can focus on their core task knowing that the lamp is watching over residents and patients and will alert them in case of a fall.

The lamp also takes repetitive administrative tasks off caregivers’ hands, freeing up time for duties that really make a difference.

For example, Nobi can be integrated with devices like smart scales and blood pressure monitors to automatically log health measurements and ensure this data is logged efficiently. Eventually it will help predict when things might go wrong so that preventative action can be taken.

Nobi’s ambitions don’t stop with residential settings; the company is set to develop the Nobi smart lamp further to offer an option for the elderly living independently in their own homes. A consumer market rollout is scheduled for 2023.

Nobi lamps are already in place in a number of settings in Europe and the company has started collaborations with large and small Belgian and international healthcare providers, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals, community care and convalescent homes. 

UK distribution is being handled by Porters Care with the Irish market being handled by Medguard who have a demo room set up at their Ashbourne office in Co.Meath.

Speaking about Nobi, Porters Care managing director, David Knowles said: “I came across Nobi several years ago and watched the progress of the smart lamp with interest.

“After speaking to the team and experiencing how the system works, I had no hesitation with us becoming the UK Distributors. The potential is huge for the UK market, it’s a great product, it looks good, is easy to install and, importantly, it works out of the box!”

For more information in the UK, please contact David Knowles on 07393 537620 or visit https://porterscare.co.uk/. For Ireland contact Donal Doherty on 01 835 2411 or visit https://www.medguard.ie/

1  Falls: applying All Our Health – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
2 Research AAFP (American Academy of Family Physicians) Falls in the Elderly

How are Couriers Combatting Increased Fuel Costs?

With the cost of living on the rise, fuel stress has become an increasing concern for couriers and delivery drivers operating across Europe. The increased price of both petrol and diesel at the pump is greatly affecting the finances of courier companies and delivery services, as businesses struggle to absorb the rising fuel costs.

However, there are steps that delivery drivers can be taking to combat the increased price of petrol and diesel, helping that full tank to last just that bit longer.

In the article below, we will discuss how couriers can work to combat the increased fuel costs, helping you and your delivery company to save on petrol and your money.

Plan Around Anticipated Traffic

While a fairly simple suggestion, planning out your journey as to avoid times of heavy traffic and congestion can work wonders for helping you to cut down on your fuel consumption. Travelling at times of the day when traffic is minimal will allow you to avoid wasting your petrol or diesel by sitting around in stand-still traffic for sometimes even hours on end, meaning you will get the most out of the fuel that you are paying for.

While traffic jams and congestion cannot always be anticipated, such as in events of road accidents, planning out your journey with the information that you do have, such as typical rush hour times and pre-planned roadworks, can save you time and fuel.

With gas prices across Europe currently at a record high, planning out the most efficient route to take is a must for any and all same day courier service providers, helping you and your delivery company to beat the traffic, save on rising fuel prices, and deliver parcels to your customers quickly and on schedule.

Adopt a Smoother Driving Style

The way in which you are driving can have a huge impact upon your overall fuel consumption, particularly when it comes down to your braking and acceleration habits. There is no avoiding the need to adjust your speed whilst driving, helping you to get from point A to point B safely and efficiently, but adopting a smoother driving style can help you to save considerably on your fuel usage.

Breaking and accelerating are the two driving functions known to use up the most amount of petrol or diesel, but harsher acceleration or braking habits will see you facing an empty tank much sooner than necessary. By changing your driving style, you can help to greatly cut back on fuel waste, saving you a great deal on petrol costs in the long run.

Avoid Unnecessary Speeding

It is common knowledge that driving at higher speeds will lead to higher fuel consumption. While we are not suggesting that you drive at 20 MPH on the motorway, being mindful of your speed and working to avoid higher speeds when possible is a great way to save on fuel.

Overall, there are a number of ways in which your delivery drivers can work to combat the rising fuel costs across Europe while out on the road, helping your courier company to keep outgoing finances to a minimum and provide your customers with the best quality of service possible.

Aggreko Brings European Business Closer Together with Key Senior Appointment

Leading temporary power and temperature control company, Aggreko, has announced its new One Europe strategy with a view to better supporting companies decarbonise through the energy transition, as well as addressing more immediate concerns to reduce fuel usage and costs.

At the helm of the restructure is newly appointed Nicolas Protais, Managing Director Europe, previously Managing Director of Continental Europe of nine years.

As industry strives towards a low-carbon future, Aggreko is already helping many companies to adapt effectively. Nicolas brings a wealth of expertise from previous roles which enables acute understanding of the challenges customers across Europe are facing and how best to compete.

Over the coming months, Aggreko will be continuing to help grow demand for low-carbon power and energy solutions which are already helping companies to lower fuel usage, environmental impact and reduce energy costs. New technologies such as Aggreko’s Stage V generators, hybrids and load on demand solutions have already proved successful in the UK and will continue to be invested in across Europe.

According to Aggreko, this new structure is already enabling them to help customers future-proof against forthcoming challenges via cross-geographical leaning.

It is also seeing an increase in the uptake of decentralised energy solutions, where customers can generate their own, cleaner energy, with bespoke packages that can also provide more reliable power, as well as sending surplus energy back to the grid. As such, Energy as a Service (EaaS) contracts also appear to be becoming a more popular way of achieving this as it removes the barriers of high upfront capital investment.

Nicolas says: “I am excited to be leading this transformation in my new role as Managing Director for Europe, to build a low-carbon business over the coming decade. We have already come such a long way in the past few years, and our continued investment into innovations like Stage V generators, hybrids and commitment to a 100% switch to HVO are central to this.

“In order to create a ‘One Europe’ structure, I will leverage my international experience to ensure the merger of these successful two business units combine to be more than the sum of their parts. For me, partnership, communication, and collaboration are key to success, and these are qualities that are built into Aggreko. Our strength is in our people, and across Europe we have a deep pool of experience, relationships, and innovative solutions which I plan to leverage to the benefit our customers. With a shared vision and values, we are now better placed to share our technical capabilities without geographical barriers.”

For more information on Aggreko, visit: www.aggreko.com

Swiss Krono Accelerates Digitalization and Growth in Poland with Kyndryl

Swiss Krono increases performance after embracing a new enterprise resource planning system and migrating to SAP S/4HANA®

Kyndryl helps Swiss Krono rely on a strong, reliable and resilient IT infrastructure

Kyndryl (NYSE: KD), the world’s largest IT infrastructure services provider, announced that Swiss Krono, the Polish subsidiary of the world’s leading manufacturer of wood-based materials, has engaged Kyndryl in Poland in a five-year technology services agreement to standardize its IT infrastructure and migrate its core applications to SAP S/4HANA® in order to enable faster innovation and increased focus on new business opportunities.

Since 1966 the Swiss Krono Group, headquartered in Lucerne, Switzerland, has been growing its diversified businesses. This has led to an exponential increase in data and systems operating across 120 countries and branches. For many years, companies of the Swiss Krono Group have relied on enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions to boost operational efficiency. The speed of digitalization however – such as adopting new digital solutions while keeping up with traditional production – has led to numerous new applications and new server installations. Streamlining and integrating production processes has become essential and a top priority for company’s management.

To gain a unified view of operations, the group is currently working to implement next-generation business applications including SAP S/4HANA®. Key success factor for this transformation is the resilient, flexible, and secure IT infrastructure.

“With Kyndryl’s managed IT services we are about to implement an infrastructure that provides an ideal private cloud platform for our requirements. This allows us to flexibly combine existing systems with completely new workloads on a proven and reliable architecture in order to realize our vision for cross-company integration of business operations,” says Marek Ługowski, Head of IT-Infrastructure, Swiss Krono, Poland. “With Kyndryl’s services we are able to flexibly scale our SAP systems without complex adjustments to the configuration.”

As a result of this implementation, Swiss Krono’s can seamlessly connect all its plants across the world for consolidation of applications and IT infrastructure. Swiss Krono has gained tight integration of planning, manufacturing, and business processes, that enable new, future-ready business models that can fuel growth in furniture production.

“After standardizing SAP applications on Kyndryl’s managed IT infrastructure, Swiss Krono has improved and streamlined its business operations,” says Paweł Raczyński, Managing Director, Kyndryl Poland and Baltics.”We are providing a robust IT infrastructure that meets their current and future expansion plans and digital transformation needs while delivering a lower total cost of ownership and higher return on investments.”

Price More Important than Security for Smart Devices Say European Homeworkers, Putting Home and Business Cyber-Safety at Risk

  • 68% of European homeworkers don’t prioritise security in top three purchase factors
  • 75% of all European businesses take no steps to secure home internet connection or provide software protection for home devices, and over a quarter offer no protection at all, creating gaps for attackers 
  • With sales of smart domestic devices booming, unsecured home workers create lucrative entry points for exploitation by cybercriminals

BlackBerry Limited (NYSE: BB;TSX: BB) today published new European research exposing the cybersecurity risk created by cost-conscious homeworkers who prioritise security behind price, usability and ease of set up in their purchase of domestic smart devices. Less than a third (32%) of European home workers who own a smart devicei surveyed said security was a top three factor when choosing a smart device, compared to 50% who prioritised price. Over a quarter of businesses (28%) aren’t putting adequate security provisions in place to extend cyber protection as far as homes. This heightens the risk of cyberattacks for businesses and their employees, as hybrid and home working become the norm.

The survey of 4,000 home workers in the UK, FranceGermany, and the Netherlands revealed that over a quarter (28%) of people say that their employer has not done or communicated anything about protecting their home network or smart devices, or they don’t know if they are protected. Furthermore, 75% of Europeans say their employers have taken no steps to secure home internet connection or provide software protection for home devices. This failure to extend network security to home devices increases risk of the vulnerabilities created by hybrid and home working being successfully exploited. Particularly sobering findings for small and mid-sized businesses who face upwards of eleven cyberattacks per device, per day, according to BlackBerry research.

“An increase in unsecured smart devices in Europe is equally ideal for cyber attackers,” said Hans-Peter Bauer, Senior Vice President EMEA, BlackBerry Cybersecurity. “When consumers drop their guard to focus on price, and businesses don’t extend their security cover to compensate, cybercriminals will take advantage of any unsecured access point that could lead to lucrative personal and corporate data.”

Through even the most innocent of devices, bad actors can access home networks with connections to company devices – or company data on consumer devices – and seize the opportunity to steal data and intellectual property worth millions. It’s likely businesses will bear the brunt of cyberattacks caused by unsecured home devices, with knock-on effects to employees themselves. With device security far down the list for fraught buyers trying to cut costs, and employer protection of smart home devices being afforded to few, a huge opening is left for cybercriminals looking to take advantage of the boom in smart devices in the home. 

“A global hike in the cost of living, potential recession looming, escalating conflict and rising cyber-insurance premiums are creating perfect conditions for cyberattacks. Cybercrime increased during both the financial crisis of 2008-9 and the COVID-19 pandemic, and we expect to see a similar spike over the coming months,” continued Bauer. “These conditions compound the challenge of implementing effective hybrid and home working practices in homes that are getting smarter, but not necessarily more cybersecure. So, it is crucial that organisations remember the devices beyond their immediate reach when they are considering their cybersecurity protection and preparing for challenging economic times ahead.”

For more information on how BlackBerry’s comprehensive, prevention-first, AI-driven cybersecurity solutions can help your business prepare for, prevent, detect and respond to cyber threats, please visit BlackBerry.com/Cyber.

Monta Lands 30M EUR in Additional Financing to Accelerate the Buildout of EV Charging Infrastructure

Company will use the funding to open up new markets, create transparency within the electricity market, and digitalize the power grid infrastructure.

Monta, the only all-in-one EV charging management platform, today announced it has secured an additional EUR 30 million as part of a Series A+ round led by Energize Ventures, a leading global investment manager accelerating digital innovation for energy and sustainability, with participation from returning investors Creandum, Pale Blue Dot, byFounders, and Headline. The latest financing brings Monta’s total to EUR 50 million.

While 2021 European EV sales increased <https://www.iea.org/reports/global-ev-outlook-2022/trends-in-electric-light-duty-vehicles>  by more than 65% compared to 2020, the lack of EV charging infrastructure is still one of the biggest hurdles to mass adoption. Not only do nearly 3,000 new public charge points need to be built each week for Europe to reach its target of operating one million charge points by 2025, but the customer experience is often hampered by a highly fragmented ecosystem of charge point operators and owners.

Led by a team of seasoned entrepreneurs with experience managing large software development organizations, Monta is delivering an all-in-one EV charging platform that simplifies and streamlines deployment, use, and management of EV charging infrastructure. Via the Monta platform, charge point owners have full visibility into charge point use, pricing, access, and transactions. For EV drivers, Monta provides reservation, virtual queuing, and payment features under one platform as well as access to public charge points.

“We are aiming to fully digitalize the EV ecosystem to tackle all the immediate challenges within the industry and build toward a more transparent and flexible future. By partnering with hardware OEMs we can deliver new features straight out of the box, like our new feature that allows operators to set a percentage on top of the spot price in order to follow the market fluctuations and automatically offer a fair price for charging, ” says Casper Rasmussen, Monta CEO. “The investment from Energize and our returning investors is a strong vote of confidence in our vision, team, and software as the cornerstone of the mobility infrastructure of the future.”

Monta’s EV charging management platform is used by notable utility, aviation, and transportation industry companies such as Vestas, CPH Airport, and PostNord as well as wholesalers, who are leveraging Monta to upskill installers. Since the company’s latest financing in January 2022, Monta has secured strategic partnerships with hardware manufacturers to launch its Powered by Monta (PBM) program in multiple markets. Key partners include Garo, CTEK, and ABB which each boast a range of charge points in Europe as well as Zaptec, which recently launched Zaptec Park, a co-branded app for its users.

“The market penetration of electric vehicles is climbing sharply as economic, regulatory, and climate levers accelerate EV adoption – and deployment of charging infrastructure has to keep pace. We expect more than 1.6 million public chargers and 20 million private charging stations to be deployed in the U.S. and Europe by 2025,” said Juan Muldoon, Partner at Energize Ventures. “As the market for charge point hardware grows and commoditizes, Monta offers a software solution that enables a consistent, improved charging experience for players throughout the EV charging value chain – from installers to drivers. We’re thrilled to partner with the Monta team as they pave the way for a more scalable and sustainable EV infrastructure.”

Monta will leverage the additional investment to open up new markets including North America, while consolidating its position in Scandinavia, the UK, and Germany, all of which have legislation in place slated to ban new ICE vehicle sales by 2025, 2030, and 2035 respectively. To further support the needs of the EU and the US – which has set a goal for 50% of its car sales to be EVs by 2030 – Monta will ramp up its product innovations and develop critical features to help EV drivers and charge point owners seamlessly navigate the industry.

Looking further ahead, Monta seeks to expand its product development to include grid management services amid challenges as more EVs hit the roads. Ultimately, the company expects to facilitate the sale of excess power back to the grid (V2G), manage interoperability with other zero carbon technologies (V2H, V2X), aid in the creation of local energy markets, and empower end users with ownership over their energy consumption.

“The ability to take advantage of these new opportunities requires changes in information flows among grid devices as well as innovations in communication and coordination tools that increase the observability, predictability, and controllability of the grid. The societal impact and environmental potential of these technologies are massive. Monta is at the forefront of developing the systems needed to monitor and reward this flexibility to create an equitable energy solution for all EV drivers,” said Casper Rasmussen.

The deal is expected to close later this year, subject to regulatory approval.

Best Business Advice For Italian Dual Citizenship Aspirant

With the dual citizenship trend gathering pace, aspiring immigrants are keen to join the bandwagon. After all, nothing sounds more exciting than the freedom of living as a global citizen with double the rights and privileges. Italy is among the most-loved immigration destinations as it offers an excellent lifestyle and benefits to its citizens. Think beyond living an incredible life in the country because you can unlock lucrative business opportunities here. But knowing your facts gives you an advantage as an entrepreneur. As a start, you can get a consultation on Dual Italian Citizenship on mbersanilaw.com to choose the appropriate route. We also have some more valuable business advice for aspiring immigrants.

Pick the apt alternative

Before planning for your Italian business, you must chart a roadmap for immigration. The good thing is that you have multiple alternatives, but you may have a hard time deciding on the apt one. The eligibility criteria may sound simple, but there is plenty to learn when you dig deep. It is better to seek expert advice in this context. Here are the routes to consider-

Citizenship by descent for aspirants with ancestral roots in the countryCitizenship by marriage for people married to an Italian citizenCitizenship by naturalization for individuals with an extended residence (ten years) in the country

Explore local business opportunities

Once you obtain Italian dual citizenship, you are free to live and work in the country. Since the Italian markets are lucrative, almost every vertical offers alluring opportunities for entrepreneurs. Identify your target customers, check the competitive landscape, and go through the regulations to launch your startups. Also, go through the tax norms of the country. You can collaborate with local experts to guide you for a smooth start and ensure that your business is compliant.

Expand across the EU markets

Another valuable tip for business owners is to consider expansion opportunities across the EU markets. The dual citizenship status entitles you to visa-free travel to Schengen countries, and you can also work in these markets. It is an excellent opportunity to set up a global conglomerate, and you should not miss out on it. Explore the demand for your offering in overseas markets, collaborate with local partners, and set up your business for a global launch.

Create a multi-generational legacy

Italian dual citizenship passes on automatically to the next generations through the Jure Sanguinis rule. So your children, grandchildren, and the next in line will be citizens too. You can bequeath more than one of the best passports to them. Setting up a business in the country is like creating a multi-generational legacy for your loved ones. They can reap the rewards of your effort for the years to come and do their bit to take the company to the next level.

Setting up a business is the best thing you can do after obtaining Italian dual citizenship. You should definitely capitalize on the opportunity that the local markets offer. Think beyond to expand to the EU markets as well.

Fewer Than Half of UK Chains Across Numerous Categories Respond to Online Reviews

The results of a cross-category online brand reputation study of more than 500 UK retail businesses found only 44% respond to online reviews. Moreover, 38% do not have local branch pages, and less than half (42%) employ UTM performance marketing tracking.  

The study, conducted by digital performance marketing agency DAC Group, audited businesses across seven categories – automotive, fashion, finance, health & fitness, food & beverage, land & property and supermarkets. The study was designed to understand what reputation management strategies are in place across each segment.

“Two months ago, we established that nine in 10 UK businesses are challenged by managing brand reputation”, says Mike Fantis, VP Managing Partner of DAC Group. “By looking at best practice, we were then able to establish what this actually means in practical terms – and the reality is worse than expected.”  

Reviews

Of the seven categories audited, automotive is the best at responding to reviews with 84% of businesses doing so; on the other hand, not one supermarket brand does this and only 37% of financial services. 

Mike Fantis comments: “Marketers understand the value of reviews in influencing and attracting new customers. This is particularly the case for high ticket value items, so reputation is key for segments such as Automotive and Land and Property, both of which engage well with reviews. However, it is surprising this isn’t also the case in Finance, in which it’s generally the smaller local players that take the time to respond to reviews – notably, only one High Street bank does so.

“Google recently announced that responding to reviews is one way to improve the brands’ local ranking and visibility. Even if brands don’t care about what individual customers think, maybe they should think twice when it comes to the volume of website sessions and store footfall. The big picture is, of course, missed revenue.”

Local brand pages

67% of Food & Beverage chains do not have individual sites for local outlets, instead opting for i-Frame pop-ups from their main national or international site. While this is an easier option, it means those brands are not maximising their local relevance for local searches (i.e. ‘restaurants near me’). This impacts those businesses’ ability to reach customers at a local level. 

UTM tracking

Less than half of UK chains audited use URL tracking parameters, which means they lack visibility on website performance, and in particular, click and collect trends. Again, Automotive is the category employing UTM most effectively with 75% usage. By comparison, three quarters (77%) of Food & Beverage and 72% of Land & Property businesses don’t use UTM. Those categories  lose out on the data insights identifying exactly where searches are conducted and what marketing channels are most successful in driving engagement. 

Fantis concludes: “Other than in Automotive, we’re seeing missed opportunities across the board and this confirms what our previous study suggested – most UK chains are doing a poor job on online reputation management. 

“While other factors like brand recognition might trump reputation for certain segments, such as supermarkets and banks, it is all-important for smaller brands who need to use reputation as a differentiator to build trust and demonstrate expertise at a local level.”

What Sort of Visas Are Available for Finance and Banking Jobs in the UK?

The UK has more finance and banking vacancies in 2022 than ever before, with more and more jobs filled by overseas workers. In this article, we’ll look at the visas that are available for finance and banking jobs in the UK…

Great Britain has always been a popular destination for overseas workers due to the volume and variety of positions available. The rules regarding getting a work visa for the UK may have changed recently, but that has put few overseas workers off – particularly within the finance and banking industries.

Figures show that 19.5% of UK financial services staff are from abroad. In this article, we’ll explain what sort of visas are available for finance and banking jobs in the UK.

What are the Different Types of Visas Available in the UK?

Following the UK’s departure from the European Union in January 2020, new rules were put in place for those hoping to live and work in Great Britain. In order to relocate to the UK, overseas workers now need to match a certain set of criteria as well as, gaining a sponsorship and a visa. Below we’re going to be taking a look at some of the different visas available to those looking to work in the finance and banking sector as well as, reviewing some of the requirements.

The Skilled Worker Visa

Introduced in January 2021, the Skilled Workers Visa allows foreign nationals to live and work in the UK finance and banking sector if they have a confirmed job offer from a UK company or organisation. In order to be eligible for a Skilled Worker Visa, the following criteria must be fulfilled:

  • The offered job is eligible under the visa scheme
  • The UK employer has been approved by the Home Office
  • The offered job pays a minimum of £25,600 per annum or £10.10 per hour

The Skilled Worker Visa usually has a term of five years, after which the visa may, under some circumstances, be renewed for a further length of time. This kind of visa will generally only be available to those who have qualifications and experience of working within a particular sector.

The High Potential Visa

For those who are not eligible for the Skilled Worker Visa, perhaps due to a lack of working experience, the High Potential Visa may be an alternative option. This visa is available to people who have graduated from an eligible international university within the past five years and can demonstrate their potential to provide value to the UK workforce.

The High Potential Visa, which was introduced in May 2022, offers a short term (two years) gateway to the UK for overseas nationals, provided that their university is on the accredited list.  This type of visa could work well for economics, accounting and finance graduates.

Global Expansion Visa

This kind of visa is available for those who work for a banking or finance company overseas and are tasked with opening a new branch of the company in the UK. To be eligible for the Global Expansion Visa, candidates must:

The Global Expansion Visa runs for 12 months, and in some cases, an extension may be granted at the end of this term. Should you require an extension, it’s advisable to apply well before the end of the existing contract to avoid problems.

Senior or Specialist Worker Visa

This visa replaced the old intra company transfer visa back in April and offers senior managers and specialist employees the chance to undertake a temporary work assignment in the UK. The route is part of the new global business mobility visa. To be eligible for this type of visa candidates must:

  • Be an existing employee of a UK Home Office approved company
  • Have a detailed certificate of sponsorship from the employer
  • Possess a job included on the list of eligible occupations
  • Earn a salary of at least £42,000 per year

The senior or specialist worker visa does not lead to permanent residence in the UK and time spent on this visa does not count toward settlement for an indefinite leave to remain application.

However, if  a senior or specialist worker visa holder does want to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK then there is the opportunity to switch their visa options, such as the skilled worker visa.

 

Ready to Relocate to the UK?

When the trigger was pulled on Brexit, many foreign nationals feared that it spelled the end for opportunities to live and work in the UK. However, we’ve shown in this article that talented and skilled workers are still very much  in the UK.

This is particularly true within the banking and finance sectors which are currently crying out for qualified and experienced personnel. A combination of Brexit and the global COVID-19 pandemic has meant that there are more empty seats in these sectors than ever before – thus increasing the chances of success for overseas professionals wishing to experience life in the UK.

When considering a move to the UK, it’s important to first read all of the criteria for your chosen visa really carefully to make sure that you’re eligible to apply. It’s also crucial to leave plenty of time as the process can often take up to six months to complete.

Vilnius Recognized for Best FDI Strategy in Europe, Climbing Through Ranks in Other Categories as Well

Vilnius, the Capital of Lithuania, has placed second among the top Mid-Sized European Cities of the Future by the fDi Intelligence ranking. The city’s strategy to attract foreign investments was also recognized as the best in the category, reflecting the capital’s consistent efforts in fostering a business-conducive environment.

 

Vilnius has secured the second spot among the Mid-Sized European Cities of the Future category in the European Cities and Regions of the Future ranking by fDi Intelligence, a specialist division of the Financial Times. Additionally, the city’s strategy was named the best in the category for the first time, allowing the city to climb higher in other sub-categories compared to results from 2020, demonstrating consistent growth.

Vilnius was also listed in the top 10 for other sub-categories in this group, ranking third in Economic Potential as well as Human Capital and Lifestyle, in which the city was placed fifth last year. It also secured the sixth spot in Business Friendliness, while in 2020 the city was not included amongst the 10 best cities.

In the Small European Regions of the Future category, Vilnius was named fifth. The capital also earned the seventh spot in the Economic Potential sub-category, ninth in Human Capital and Lifestyle, tenth in Cost Effectiveness and the sixth spot in Business Friendliness as well.

The positions were decided after evaluating a number of the city’s foreign direct investment measures, like recent overseas investment attracted to Vilnius, various economic indicators and overall business development.

fDi Intelligence produces the European Cities and Regions of the Future rankings every two years in order to distinguish the best locations for business development and investment. Alongside the general ranking, the cities are also evaluated in six different sub-categories: FDI strategy, Economic Potential, Cost Effectiveness, Connectivity, Human Capital and Lifestyle, Business Friendliness. 

Quick response is key to success

The Mayor of Vilnius, Remigijus Šimašius, says that the high ranking is the result of diligent work and concentrated efforts to make the city more open to projects and ideas coming both from locals and foreigners, even in the midst of the pandemic.

“Despite the hurdles that came with the pandemic, Vilnius has remained focused on growth, innovative ideas, and solutions that will benefit both its residents as well as investors, scientists, and entrepreneurs. This is why we managed to come out of this peculiar situation stronger than ever, by being bold and fast to make the best of emerging possibilities—from welcoming talents from all over the world with the newly-opened International House Vilnius, to facilitating the rapid growth of our biotech sector, which almost doubled it’s revenues,” said Remigijus Šimašius, Mayor of Vilnius.

“We believe that flexibility, creativity, and quick response are key in order to overcome difficult circumstances and are confident in our ability to make sure that Vilnius continues to grow under any conditions that await in the future,”  Šimašius concluded.

Biotechnology and fintech named among growth sectors

In the ranking, experts evaluated various Vilnius projects from the past two years. Among those assessed was the Open Data portal to make information about the city more easily accessible, the One Giant Outdoor Café initiative, created during the pandemic to help restaurants stay in business, as well as International House Vilnius, a support center for people planning to relocate to the city.

The city listed biotechnology, ICT/fintech, and laser technology as their three main growth sectors with great potential for inward investment and post-pandemic economic recovery.

Vilnius has consistently gotten high evaluation for its projects—in 2021 it won third place at European Capital of Innovations (iCapital) awards. The initiatives the city named in the application for the awards include Intelligent Energy Lab, a platform dedicated to efficient energy use, The Intelligent City Lungs project, created to analyze air pollution, as well as Hack for Vilnius, an event to promote ideas for the city with a 19,000 euro reward—all were included in the application for the fDi ranking as well.

The award ceremony was held at the world’s biggest property event MIPIM on March 15-18 in Palais des Festivals, Cannes.

How EU Businesses Can Use Marketing to Attract a Global Customer Base

Marketing is all about communicating the value of a product or service.

Essentially, marketers need to connect with buyers by providing them with a reason why they should purchase their product rather than go elsewhere.

Marketing can be done in many different ways, from social media marketing to email marketing and everything in between. If you have a business in the EU, here is how you can use marketing to attract a global audience.

How to Promote Your Product or Service

The goal of any marketer is to successfully promote their business and make it more visible in order to ease the process of getting customers and clients.

No matter what kind of company you run, though, there are a few easy-to-implement marketing practices for any global business that can be used for success at any stage – regardless if you’re just starting out or if your business has been running for years.

Build an effective website

A website is the face of any business, so it’s important to invest the money and effort into building an effective one.

It is also a great way to get potential clients and customers interested in your product and services, especially if you have a blog or company forum on your site.

It should be noted that websites need to be in the user’s native language. If you are a German company but trade in Italy, for example, be sure to translate your website properly into Italian rather than just relying on Google Translate.

An effective website is nothing without a good SEO strategy, though. It’s worth giving a company like www.clickintelligence.co.uk a message to see what an expert SEO consultancy can do for you.

Leverage social media popularity

Social media marketing can be used in conjunction with other marketers’ strategies (useful for increasing traffic and visibility) as well as giving new information about products, services, or general happenings.

Social media is not something that can be used for “one-hit wonders,” though. It’s something that requires continued work and effort to maintain.

Use your existing website as well as Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms to welcome them into your greater community.

If your business is going global, be sure to check out the most popular social networks in other countries too. While the big four social networks are popular in most of the world, many countries in Europe and beyond have specific local social networking sites.

Build trust via reviews, testimonials, and endorsements

Trust is earned through action, and building trust takes time and effort. A product or service can either be loved or hated, no matter how good or useful it is.

The only way to get your product to sell is to get it in front of customers and make them see the value in what you are offering.

Create a long-term marketing strategy to build local customer loyalty

Marketing should not be an impulsive decision or short-term burst of activity but rather a long-term process that should build upon itself over time.

If you want lasting results, create a marketing plan that gets clients and customers invested not only in you and your business but also in each other.

This may mean working within the community and being visible across the EU where you are trading.

Your brand should be unique and appeal to a global audience but on a local level.

Phenom Study: First Benchmark of European 100 Uncovers Opportunities to Meet Job Candidates’ High Expectations

Inaugural European Edition: State of Candidate Experience Report Provides Recommendations for Improvements

Phenom, the global leader in Talent Experience Management (TXM), released its first-ever State of Candidate Experience Report — European Edition. The comprehensive audit, which assessed the top 100 European companies on the Fortune Global 500 list in three key areas of the talent journey — attraction, engagement and conversion — revealed there is significant room to improve the experience with personalisation and automation.

Talent acquisition is now a business priority among the C-suite — especially across industries with high-volume hiring needs — such as healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, retail and transportation. But instead of using personalisation and automation technology to effectively and efficiently scale hiring, the majority of European 100 companies are falling short.

The 2022 audit of European 100 career sites reveals:

  • Only 9% had an intuitive job search and application process
  • Only 10% sent applicants a satisfaction survey
  • Only 6% had a recruitment chatbot
  • 96% did not present job recommendations based on browsing history
  • 90% did not display recently viewed jobs
  • 68% lacked a job cart or favorites function to save jobs
  • 0% communicated application status beyond initial confirmation

How Companies Can Improve the Candidate Experience

Simplify search and apply.

Requiring three or more clicks to apply for a job is a major roadblock for candidates. The longer it takes for a candidate to find and apply to a relevant job, the greater the chance they will abandon the process and look elsewhere. One recommendation is for companies to equip their career sites with the ability to provide relevant suggested jobs based on a candidate’s keywords, skills, experience and location.

Create hyper-personalisation. Candidates are used to superior tailored experiences in their consumer lives. If finding a job that matches what they want is difficult, they are quick to move on. Dynamic personalisation is one way companies can automatically match a candidate’s preferences, experience, skills and location with best-fit job openings — and surface content for candidates as they move through their own unique end-to-end talent journey across multiple channels.

Automate communication. Job seekers want to know where they stand in the screening and interview scheduling process. Failure to communicate status details jeopardises employer brand and acceptance rates. Using conversational AI chatbots, SMS and email campaigns are a few ways companies can automate individualised communications to keep job seekers engaged while differentiating their brand.

“Hiring, developing and retaining talent isn’t just an HR priority — it is a business priority. Companies must differentiate themselves by the experiences they provide to their candidates and their employees to sustain,” said Mahe Bayireddi, CEO and co-founder of Phenom. “This benchmark report of the European 100 provides industry-specific insights and actionable recommendations for using automation and personalisation to earn and keep top talent.”

How Automation Helps Talent Experiences
Automation enables a quick, efficient hiring process that serves up best-fit jobs to candidates — and best-fit candidates to recruiters — while optimising omnichannel communications that nurture talent communities. Not only do job seekers appreciate a streamlined, personalised experience, but with efficiency at the core, recruiters and hiring managers benefit from decreased time to fill and better long-term fits.

Employees are no exception. The same hyper-personalised candidate experience should extend to internal talent, who may be looking to move within their current company. By making relevant open roles and development opportunities visible, actionable and attainable, companies stand a better chance at retaining them. AI-powered talent marketplaces automate the process for an employee experience that unifies all key stakeholders: internal candidates, recruiters and hiring managers.

With this report, companies can learn how to make changes — large or small — to enhance the candidate experience and provide a measurable, positive impact on their businesses.

Download the full 2022 State of the Candidate European Edition report and rankings here. Also recently published, the sixth annual report auditing the Fortune 500 is available for download here. Organisations can request their own complimentary career site audit here.

To request a demo of Phenom TXM visit phenom.com.

GoHenry Expands into Europe with Acquisition of French FinTech Pixpay

GoHenry, the prepaid debit card and financial education app for kids aged 6-18, has acquired French FinTech Pixpay in a deal that will see the financial education pioneer expand into Europe for the first time.

Ten years after it launched in the UK creating a new category in financial services, this new deal will enable GoHenry to rapidly expand its two million plus UK and US member base and accelerate growth across Europe as the company seeks to deliver on its mission to make every kid smart with money.

Having more than doubled its revenue during the pandemic to $42M in 2021, the acquisition follows a successful $40 million fund raise in 2020 to accelerate its leadership position in the UK and expansion into the US. Investors include French entrepreneurial growth equity investment fund Revaia, US growth-equity fund Edison Partners, Citi Ventures, and Muse Capital.

In just two years, Pixpay has established itself as the leader in teen banking in France and Spain, with nearly 200,000 members. Its opening in Spain in November 2021, less than two years after its commercial launch in France, embodies its ambition to become a key player in Europe. Pixpay has plans to expand into Italy and Germany later this year. To support its launch, Pixpay has raised more than €11M since April 2019 from the investment fund Global Founders Capital and BPIFrance via its Digital Venture division. 

Alex Zivoder, CEO at GoHenry, comments: “Ten years ago we saw an opportunity to give young people access to the digital economy. Since then we’ve looked to transform financial education for kids, teens and their parents through our groundbreaking financial education app and debit card to help children across the world gain confidence with money and finances. 

“Pixpay is the most developed player in Europe and we’re excited to combine our expertise in financial education to accelerate not only GoHenry’s growth but to accelerate the financial fitness of even more kids and teens globally. This deal marks a significant chapter for the future of financial education.” 

Benoit Grassin, CEO at Pixpay, says: “We are delighted to be joining the GoHenry Group as we prepare to accelerate Pixpay’s expansion across Europe. GoHenry’s experience and heritage will only serve to strengthen the already strong proposition offered by Pixpay. We look forward to building a strong, long-term relationship with GoHenry and we are excited about what the future holds.”

GoHenry and Pixpay will continue to operate under their own brands with no change in leadership, headquarters or headcount. The acquisition will instead allow both companies to accelerate their growth by executing synergies in knowledge and resource that will free up funds to reinvest in the financial education of kids and teens.

As part of its commitment to financial education, GoHenry recently launched its first Junior ISA, introduced in-app gamified money lessons, Money Missions, and continued to champion the importance of financial literacy through its membership of The Centre for Financial Capability. Alongside accountancy firm Wilson Wright, the company also commissioned CBI Economics analysis in March this year calling on the UK Government to work with industry to prioritise financial education from a young age.

How to Know if Management Buyout is Right for You?

Knowing when and how to sell can be a difficult decision, especially in volatile times for businesses. There are many ways to sell a business, each of which have their own advantages and disadvantages. It may be that your own management team present you with a bid for a buy out – a sale opportunity that could hold unique benefits for both you and your team. But how can you know if such a buy out is right for you?

How a Management Buy Out Work

In essence, a management buy out describes the acquisition of a business through the purchase of its assets, or of a controlling majority of its shares, by a collective formed from the business’s existing management team. The team in question would pool their resources, and collectively form a singular purchasing entity to attain control of the business from its prior owner.

In the vast majority of scenarios, the team in question will assume direct control, using their unique expertise and experience to continue the business in the wake of its prior owner.

Advantages of a Management Buy Out

The advantages for the acquisition team are well-documented, as they can improve their personal financial positions while preserving the business’ operation according to their experience. For the seller, though, there are also key measurable benefits.

For one, sellers with a particular attachment to their business – or a vested interest in the form of minority share-holding – can rest assured that their business will remain functionally intact, in the safe hands of a team that understands its needs.

Confidentiality is maintained, where a public sale would require the release of private information and company processes that could benefit competitors. Sellers can also guarantee a relatively quick sale, depending on the speed at which financing is granted.

Funding

Speaking of funding, one of the downsides to management buy outs relates to the methods by which a buy out team acquires the capital necessary to complete the purchase. There are multiple routes a team can take to facilitate a purchase. They may rely on asset-backed financing, using personal assets as collateral to guarantee a loan.

Alternatively, they may seek investment from an external party in the form of an angel investor; this is a preferable outcome for both parties, as funding is provided immediately, and largely free of condition – guaranteeing a quick sale.

The Right Option for You?

Ultimately, whether a management buy out is the right decision for you and your business is a decision only you, as business owner, can make. The benefits of a management buy out might not appeal to you, especially where there is no personal attachment to the business or industry; public tender may also invite offers above market value. But if you are in search of a quick sale and known quantity in your buyer, a management buy out may be for you. There are other options such as an employee ownership trust, or the standard company buyout.

0800 Numbers for Businesses Outside of the UK

Guidance on 0800 Numbers for Businesses Outside of the UK.

If you run a business that is outside of the UK but would like to have a presence in Britain that British consumers and businesses will recognise, then investing in an 0800 telephone number makes a great deal of sense. In the past, 0800 numbers – toll-free or freephone numbers in the UK – used to have to be supplied by a registered network operator. This meant that the service would piggyback on a standard telephone line with a fixed connection somewhere in the country. However, with virtual telephony services, 0800 numbers can be supplied in a way that means that they can redirect calls to any phone number you like. This includes overseas numbers, VoIP services and even mobile phones.

Consequently, it is now possible for companies in Germany, Japan, the United States and South Africa, for example, to publish a telephone number that UK callers will feel at home with. Even better, they are more likely to call it than a standard, geographical number that connects to a UK telephone exchange because nearly everyone in the country understands that an 0800 call won’t cost them anything. As such, they are popular throughout the British Isles as both customer service and sales hotlines.

All you need to make a success of an 0800 number – even if you are based outside of the UK – is to publish it in places where British consumers and businesses will see it. This might mean on your social media or it could be as simple as putting it on your corporate website. Of course, adding an 0800 number to business cards, promotional literature and sales leaflets that will be distributed in the UK is also a good idea. Most firms find they get more inbound calls when they use an 0800 number as their point of contact compared to a standard British landline.

According to one of the main British suppliers of 0800 numbers, Cleartone Communications, when people in the UK dial a freephone business number, they won’t even realise that their call is being redirected overseas. As such, you can have calls to the service forward to any country you like without there being a delay or a noticeable alteration in the way the call connects. So long as calls are answered by someone who can speak English well, there is no reason for callers to even know they are connected to an office outside of the UK. Indeed, you can even have calls to your 0800 number answered automatically and for a recorded greeting to be made before the call goes on to be transferred for an even more professional service.

Please note that overseas businesses that have an office in the UK can have calls to their 0800 number directed there instead of their head office. What’s more, there is a great deal of flexibility on offer. For example, if it is a national holiday in the UK and your London office, for example, isn’t open, then you can have inbound calls sent to one of your overseas offices for a while before resuming normal operations at a later date. As such, investing in an 0800 number is a good idea if you want to build up your commercial presence in the UK.

Why does a Business need an SEO Strategy to be Successful?

Search engine optimisation, more commonly referred to as SEO, is a digital marketing strategy that provides businesses with a long-term and cost-effective advertising solution, helps to improve their visibility online and within the organic search results. It is often said that behind every successful company is a great SEO campaign, but with the different elements that go into building a strong SEO strategy often taking a longer time to yield distinguishable results, many business owners may find themselves wondering whether SEO is worth the investment.

SEO is a long-term marketing plan, meaning some business won’t start to see the real benefits of their efforts until around 4-6 months down the line. This is because it can take some time before the search engines will start to pick up on the changes being made to your website, allowing them to re-evaluate and then rank your website accordingly. While this delay is slowly seeing progress, meaning business owners will begin to see increase to their web traffic and overall performance as a result from their SEO campaigns much sooner than in previous years, many entrepreneurs may still question whether a search engine optimisation campaign is worth their time and effort.

In short, SEO is crucial for any company that wants to succeed within the organic search results, helping to boost their online visibility, increase traffic, and drive overall sales.
In the article below, we will discuss why an SEO strategy is vital for success, helping your business to thrive.

Stay Ahead of the Competition

SEO is a great way for businesses to improve their online visibility, boosting their organic ranking position within the search results and bettering the chances that their brand be seen by their target audience. A strong SEO campaign will help you to dominate the competition, meaning your business is the first thing that users will see when searching for the products and services that you rank for. Ranking highly for your chosen search terms is a great way to stay ahead of your competitors – potential customers will be much more likely to choose your brand if it’s the one that they’re seeing first!

Increase your Organic Traffic

Websites that are seen to rank at the top of the organic search results are much more likely to experience increased levels of interaction from their customer base, with the website ranking in the number one position for any given search term receiving 33% of all clicks for that query. Therefore, it’s important to rank highly amongst your competitors, helping your business website to see a significant boost in online traffic.

A successful SEO strategy is detrimental to improving your site’s ranking position within the organic search results, increasing your traffic flow and online visibility as a result.

Overall, a great SEO campaign is vital to the online success of your business, allowing you to drive sales and boost your traffic, as well as stay two steps ahead of your competitors. SEO is highly important for your online success, and while it may take time before you start to see the results of your efforts, it is a digital marketing strategy that is well worth the investment.

If you’re unsure of where to start when building a search engine optimisation strategy for your website, there are a number of excellent online SEO course options on the market, helping to provide you with all of the information that you need to succeed.

EU Business News Announce the Winners of the 2022 Benelux Enterprise Awards

UNITED KINGDOM, 2022 – EU Business News Magazine have announced the winners of this year’s instalment of the Benelux Awards.

The last two years have been defined by new beginnings and getting back on track, with companies now excelling despite recovering from the considerable impact of the pandemic. With the business landscape back and thriving, companies are capitalising by making up for lost time. New product launches, entering new markets, new marketing, and recruitment drives – regardless of the method, Benelux businesses are setting themselves up for future success.

With all this in mind, we have endeavoured to celebrate those who in 2022 have returned to a growth mindset and are taking business to a whole new level. Awards Coordinator, Gabrielle Ellis took a moment to comment on the success of the winners: “Congratulations to all of our well-deserving award winners who work tirelessly to make the Benelux region the powerhouse it is. I would like to wish you all the very best of luck for the future.”

EU Business News prides itself on the validity of its awards and winners. As such, every one of our winners can be certain that their success is deserved. We carefully evaluate everything from a business’, or individual’s, performance over the past 12 months to ensure that only the most deserving parties walk away with one of our prestigious awards.

To learn more about our award winners and to gain insight into the working practices of the “best of the best”, please visit the EU Business News website (http://business-news.eu) where you can access the winners supplement.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

About EU Business News

The EU is a vital and exciting region filled with businesses and individuals creating unique innovations, supporting their customers around the world and, ultimately, driving change. As such, EU Business News aims to provide an absorbing overview of this exciting region and the businesses and individuals operating within it.

Much more than just a magazine, alongside our online publication EU Business News also boasts an informative newsletter, a regularly updated website and a series of awards programmes showcasing the excellence of businesses and the individuals behind them from across this vibrant region.

As subscription to EU Business News is free there is absolutely no reason not to sign up to receive this informative and fascinating resource.

How Will the UK Accommodate Growing Inner-City Populations?

The population within the UK has rapidly increased over the last two decades. To put it into perspective, between 2000 and 2020, the population had increased from 58,886,100 to 67,081,200. Based on these figures, they suggest that the population size could potentially numbers of around 69,207,197 by 2030.

The population of cities is also increasing. The number of people in the City of London, for example, has risen by 58.3 per cent between 2014 to 2019. To accommodate for the growing number of inner-city dwellers, professionals must continue to think of innovative building and construction solutions.

Nifty Lift, a leading supplier of cherry pickers, considers whether brownfield remediation is the answer to growing population sizes.

What is brownfield remediation?

First and foremost, professionals in the construction industry need to decide where to build new housing and accommodation units. Greenfield land, for example, presents a blank canvas for professionals to expand the size of metropolitan areas. On the other hand, brownfield land utilises previously developed lands and breathes life back into crowded cities.

The Countryside Charity, an organisation campaigning for the preservation of greenfield land, argues that brownfield remediation is the most suitable option for developing cityscapes. This is because it regenerates and recycles unused land across the nation. It also reduces urban sprawling and ensures our countryside is safeguarded for future generations.

Brownfield remediation also reduces costs for construction industry. This is because the foundations, drainage, and electrical wiring may have already been established. It can also be easier to receive planning permissions on brownfield land. There are certain challenges, however, that construction managers must take into consideration before wheeling in aerial work platforms. These are dependent on whether the area is contaminated or if buildings need to be demolished before construction can begin.

Can brownfield remediation address the housing crisis?

The nation is full of unused land. Birmingham, for example, has 958 brownfield sites that can be utilised, amounting to a possible 37,326 housing projects. Using these spaces could help solve the housing crisis, which Marie Chadwick, a policy leader at the National Housing Federation, argues is “exceptionally bad”. To address this issue, the government has introduced the Brownfield Land Release Fund (BLRF). The fund amounts to £75m and offers £25m to local councils that want to develop housing on derelict or abandoned land. This has the effect of encouraging the remediation of brownfield land in cities.

Can brownfield remediation help community and professional projects?

Brownfield remediation may also be beneficial for community projects, such as community housing. In recent years, storage containers have become a solution for these issues as they can be fitted with electricity and present a more affordable option than standard bricklaying.

Homelessness continues to be a social concern. Despite the average number of people sleeping on the streets declining within the past four years, the demographic is still 38 per cent higher than it was in 2010 when 1,110 people lived without a home. In an effort to tackle this issue, Embassy is creating community accommodation of 40 modular homes out of shipping containers. Embassy Village will be based near Bridgewater Canal in Manchester, developing inner cityscapes while remediating a brownfield site and offering a solution to homelessness.

On the other hand, brownfield remediation can address professional projects, including an increasing need for office spaces. In London, for example, strenuous lockdowns throughout the COVID-19 pandemic halted 50 per cent of both newbuilt and ongoing construction projects. This has forced professionals to think of innovative alternatives to traditional office spaces, such as storage container offices.

Companies in Cardiff are also coming up with imaginative solutions to dwindling office spaces. Meanwhile House, for example, is a three-storey complex offers spaces for professionals within the city, as well as including communal bathrooms and a coffee shop. This concept is ready to be adopted by city councils as storage containers can be placed on the abundance of brownfield land across the nation.

To summarise

Brownfield remediation may be the answer towards inner-city development. Not only can this help preserve the Great British countryside, but this also helps breathe life into previously unused land. It may also help the housing and office crises in cities around the nation. Can you think of any land that can be repurposed as brownfield sites?

How Technology will Improve the Legal Industry

While the legal sector has traditionally been less open to change than some other industries in the UK, recent years have seen a marked increase in investment in legal tech. Tech has been an instrumental tool in many industries in the last two decades, and this trend can easily be seen when comparing the growth of the likes of Amazon compared to high street shops. In the legal sector, investment is already having a transformative effect on the way that law firms do business, but how is technology likely to improve the industry?

Many law firms are now embracing technology and using it as a collaborative tool.

The increased investment in tech has enabled legal innovation, broadening the scope of services offered and allowing for cross-sector collaboration. While the use of tech can speed up many tasks (with AI providing quicker and more reliable data processing, for example), it also fosters diversity in the workplace – law offices today encompass many more competencies and roles than they did previously, from process designers and data analysts to project managers. We have even seen innovation hubs in universities designed to prepare students for the newly ‘digitized’ legal sector.

Legal clients have higher digital expectations in modern society

While the use of new technologies like Blockchain can provide extra security in terms of data and payment processing, the growing use of technology also enables law firms to meet the increasing expectations of their clients and become more ‘customer-centric’ in general. Businesses can use tech to improve the experience for their clients, whether it be 24/7 portal access for case and file monitoring, progress notifications or direct messaging with solicitors. This is all increasing the value that law firms can offer their clients while still being able to operate at manageable costs. If other industries are anything to go by, this factor may well prove to be pivotal for the long-term viability of many legal firms should they shun technology adoption.

Technology will improve case management and free up more time for over endeavours

There is no doubt that the use of AI and intuitive tech can dramatically speed up time-consuming legal processes, increasing workflow and efficiency. This is especially true when it comes to digital case management systems, which eliminate the requirement for antiquated paper filing systems. This enables lawyers to spend less time sifting through/organising caseloads and more time getting results for their clients – as we move further into new tech investment, it seems as though speed and organisation are likely to improve.

The use of technology will help when making data-driven decisions

Perhaps the most important change in the sector that has been attributed to technology is the leveraging of big data. Legal firms can now analyse vast quantities of data in order to help them make key decisions, improve the experience of their clients, increase speed and efficiency, keep up with competitors in the market and even devise data-driven strategies for the future.

Stop At Source! The Benefits Of Early Dust Collection For The Grain Industry

There are multiple advantages to investing in dust control equipment for agribusiness companies working in the grain industry, particularly given the scarcity of current supplies.

With worldwide food production falling and prices spiralling because of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, drought, rising energy and transport costs, fertilizer shortages and COVID-19, attention on the industry is at its sharpest in years. With global production of wheat, rice and other grains likely to drop by 16 million tons this year – the first decline in four years – many in Europe’s food industry are looking again at the infrastructure they have, to examine whether there are improvements to be made. And when it comes to the grain industry there is one obvious area where efficiencies can often be gained – dust collection.

The infrastructure for moving grain from one point to another includes small country elevators, larger elevators, large grain terminals, trucks, trains, barges, and ocean-going shipping vessels. And every time grain is moved from one of these points to another, dust is generated. This dust must be collected and, most importantly, retained within the overall process to be returned directly back into the product stream. This is an essential part of the processing operation, that ensures waste is kept to an absolute minimum.

One innovative approach to dust management is to collect and manage dust at the point of generation – at the source. Capturing and controlling dust at its source provides several benefits including:

Reduction or Elimination of waste streams.

When captured dust is retained within the process generating it, it stays as part of the revenue producing product stream. Instead of turning a portion of the product into a pile of wasted dust, it remains as part of the product stream that has economic value.

 

Reduction or Elimination of waste stream equipment.

When dusts produced in a process are separated from the original process stream, they require independent material handling equipment and process equipment. Keeping the dust within the product stream minimizes the cost and maintenance of additional material handling equipment.

Minimizing the amount of duct runs.

It takes a tremendous amount of energy to move dust-laden air through long duct runs. Installing point-of-use dust collectors closer to the dust-generating process minimizes or eliminates unnecessary ducts, which saves energy.

Reduced duct maintenance.

Minimizing duct runs reduces maintenance costs, eliminates wasted air from leaks in the duct system and eliminates costly lining of ducts.

Easier installation.

Less ducting also equates to a simpler and easier installation for dust collection equipment. Smaller, lighter collectors mean less support infrastructure in grain handling facilities where collectors are often not placed on the ground.

Improved uptime and reliability for the system as a whole.

With centralized dust collection, when a dust collection system requires servicing the entire dust handling system, and often the entire grain handling facility, must be shut down to resolve the problem. With a series of point-of-use collectors, when an individual leg of the process is taken offline for maintenance, the rest of the system continues to operate. This provides a level of redundancy to the system, leading to improved uptimes for the facility. Other potential benefits of point-of-use collectors include:

  • Minimizing impact on uptime due to servicing – minimize downtime to allow more flexibility in servicing scheduling (20 minute cycle vs. 4-8 hours); design characteristics that simplify and speed servicing actions.
  • Localized systems minimize the impact on total operations when a single component has issues.
  • Localized systems improve energy utilization, allowing operations to use energy only when needed to manage dust in each area. This approach eliminates wasted energy used to pull air from areas not handling dust.
  • Technologies that extend filter life to reduce service frequency.

Supporting a point-of-use innovative dust control solution requires a dust filtration product with a very small footprint, but with robust performance to handle moderate to large air volumes. Traditional bag houses and cartridge collectors are generally either too large for point of use installation, or when sized to fit, are unable to handle the necessary air volumes.

Newer products on the market, such as the Donaldson®Torit® PowerCore® CP-Series dust collector, work very well as a point-of-use source collector. As a small, light, easy to maintain collector capable of handling the required air volume, this product offers distinct advantages over the more typical bag house technologies, which have been in use for over 40 years.

Products like this offer the ability to collect materials at the source, and allow dust control with a more manageable investment in energy costs. Point-of-use collectors reduce air volume for dust control; reduce horsepower investment, and minimize operational energy costs. With its smaller size and low profile, the Torit PowerCore CP collector can be installed at multiple locations in new facilities as source collectors, and can squeeze into tight spaces in existing facilities (due to its smaller size) to solve nuisance dust problems.

Learn more about Donaldson dust collection offerings at the Donaldson website.

iwoca SME Expert Index: Recession Risk Sparks Concern In SMEs As Demand For Finance Rises

  • More than three-quarters (77%) of brokers say their small business clients are concerned about the possibility of a recession.
  • In light of these recession anxieties, demand for loans – and larger ones – has risen sharply as small businesses look to shield growing economic uncertainty.
  • SMEs’ reasons for applying for finance also suggest increasing economic concern, with a rise in the number of brokers reporting ‘managing day-to-day cash flow’ as the most common loan purpose (37%).
  • However, growth remains the top driver for financing (40%) – an encouraging sign that small businesses will remain resilient to what could be ahead.

Small business owners are concerned about the possibility of a recession, according to iwoca’s latest quarterly SME Expert Index.

With both the cost of living and of doing business climbing, over three quarters of brokers surveyed (77%) say their small business clients are worried about the possibility of a recession. By contrast, fewer than 7% of brokers reported their SME clients as ‘unconcerned’.

iwoca’s Q2 2022 SME Expert Index is based on insight from UK brokers who collectively submitted over 1350 applications for unsecured finance on behalf of their SME clients in June.

Demand for finance increases as small business owners contend with rising inflation.

As small businesses face mounting economic uncertainty, their demand for finance has risen sharply. Almost half of brokers (46%) submitted more loan applications for small business financing in the last month compared to the one previous – a continuation of an upwards trend since the end of last year, with 28% citing the same in Q4 2021, and 34% reporting increased loan demand in Q1 2022.

In addition, the latest SME Expert Index saw 0% of brokers reporting significantly fewer applications.

The survey also reveals that small businesses are looking for larger loans in light of the turbulent economic forecast. Over one in eight brokers (13%) identified £200,000+ loans as most sought after for small businesses, the highest proportion since the Index was first released. Looking back at this trend, demand for loans valued above £200,000 has steadily increased since iwoca’s first Index in Q1 2021 when only 4% of brokers reported these larger loans as the most commonly requested.

To meet this growing appetite for high value loans in the small business sector, iwoca recently announced that it is more than doubling the maximum size of its core lending product, Flexi-Loan, allowing small business owners to access business loans up to £500,000, up from a previous lending cap of £200,000.

Managing cash flow a key priority amidst the economic storm.

This heightened demand for financing, and larger amounts of it, suggests small businesses are gearing up for financial strain: in particular, cash flow issues. Over a third of brokers (37%) reported managing day-to-day cash flow as the most common loan purpose for small businesses. This represents an increase of 6 percentage points since last quarter.

Nonetheless, as in Q1 2022, brokers report ‘growing the business’ as the most common reason for small business owners to apply for finance, although it’s down by 3 percentage points since Q1. So, whilst managing day-to-day cash flow is becoming more important, small businesses are continuing to seek loans to finance broader growth ambitions.

Steven Scoufarides, Head of Broker Channel at iwoca , said: “The current economic outlook for small businesses is precarious – we are seeing signs of an increasing number of SMEs searching for finance solutions to manage their cash flow and brace for the potential of a recession. But, as they’ve proven time and time again, small businesses are resilient and will shield themselves against this economic threat in every way they can; encouragingly, it looks like most are still seeking finance to grow their businesses, rather than to holster it up. At iwoca, we’re working hard to adapt to small businesses’ needs, which is why we’re now offering  the higher-value loans up to £500,000.”

Leanne Barry, Broker at LB Finance Solutions Ltd, added: “We have definitely been receiving more applications from smaller businesses over the last 2 months since the Recovery loan scheme came to an end. This is mainly from businesses that either did not manage to source any government backed funding, or indeed have already used any funding they received for cash flow and are now needing further funding to stay afloat.” 

 

SME Expert Index

This SME Expert Index from iwoca provides a snapshot on what’s driving small business owners to borrow, the trends seen in the types and value of finance being accessed, and how these patterns change over time. iwoca publishes this index every quarter to capture the experience of brokers working with small businesses.

iwoca is reaching 2.3 million businesses across the UK and Germany through its embedded lending technology, which allows businesses to access loans through a range of platforms such as accountancy software apps and digital neo-banks. In June 2020 the lender launched iwocaPay – an online buy now pay later invoice checkout to help small businesses get paid. Most recently iwoca launched a Revenue Based Loan, where businesses can spend on growth and repay at their own pace, based on their revenue. The company also offers free mental health support for all small businesses in the UK, in partnership with online therapy platform Spill.

How the pandemic could affect the healthcare systems of European countries: the British example

The coronavirus pandemic was a traumatic event on a global scale, having caused incalculable damage to national economies and services. The effect of the pandemic is still being felt keenly today, in the EU and around the world. A recent report (State of Health in the EU – Companion Report 2021) revealed that almost all European countries have had an important mortality impact.

Like any other healthcare system, the NHS (the British health care system), was naturally at the frontline of the pandemic, shouldering the burden of increased cases and casualties. The after-effects of this burden are impacting the service and its users to this day – but in what ways? How private healthcare could become the norm in Europe ?

Longer Waiting Times

The coronavirus pandemic naturally taxed hospitals across the country, as wards continued to fill – in some cases, beyond capacity – with Covid patients. The knock-on effect was catastrophic for access to healthcare, which has been felt most keenly by the public in terms of waiting times.

Accident and emergency waiting time increases have been well-reported, but the more profound impact of coronavirus prevalence on the NHS can be seen in waiting times for ‘elective’ operations – meaning non-emergency interventions that improve quality of life such as hip replacement surgery.

According to recent figures provided by the BMA, the number of people on the waiting list for elective care has skyrocketed to 6.5 million over the course of the pandemic, with some facing a wait of over a year to receive treatment.

Demand for Private Care Higher

The growth in wait times across the board has inspired a sympathetic increase in demand for private care. Many are choosing to shoulder the cost of private healthcare to alleviate their condition or symptoms. However, while those who have suffered a personal injury are potentially able to recoup costs through compensation claims, many do not have the requisite funds to afford such care.

Private healthcare is a tender subject for the UK, with support for the NHS remaining high amongst the adult population in spite of growing issues with patient-side healthcare. Even the Government has committed to using private healthcare entities to lighten the load on the NHS, but face an uphill battle when it comes to offering administrative support.

Staffing Issues

That uphill battle comes as a result of waning staff numbers. Persistent shortages and unequal geographic distribution of health workers/services have impacted several European countries. In the UK, over a decade of underfunding, capped off by a once-in-a-lifetime national medical event, has made the NHS a stressful working environment for newer members of staff, seeing many abandon the career path altogether. Those that remain, or those graduating from medical schools, are generally choosing private healthcare.

For all the negative press about the state of the health care systems around the world and problems with frontline care, there are positives to take away. The nations are more united behind their healthcare workers than ever before, and internal measures are showing a stronger commitment to looking after staff mental health.

Finally, significant changes in how health healthcare services are delivered have been triggered by the pandemic. In turn, this led to digital innovation in healthcare delivery and public health. In the long term, digital health technologies could be beneficial to boosting public health measures in the EU and across the world.

4 Key Business Benefits of Fleet Insurance

In a world of rising inflation and shrinking profits, it is more critical than ever that small and big businesses find the tools and means to reduce costs and boost efficiency. Fleet insurance is one such tool that can make some areas of your business much more efficient to oversee while cutting down costs significantly. Fleet insurance can be purchased if you use more than one vehicle for your business. Fleet insurance can be used by a business in any sector as long as they own or lease at least two vehicles. Here’s a closer look at four key benefits of fleet insurance for your business.

Greater Discount

Fleet insurance can save money for your business from the get-go by making available quantity-based discounts on your vehicles – it is cheaper than insuring each individual vehicle separately. Thus, the greater the number of vehicles operated under your business, the more the discount on your insurance costs. You can further save money by hunting for the best insurance deal for your specific needs from a price comparison website such as Quotezone.co.uk. The UK’s leading price comparison platform, Quotezone offers a one-stop-shop for finding the best fleet insurance via their free price comparison tool. You can thus compare the various fleet insurance offers and pick the one that best suits both your needs and your budget.

More Efficient Admin

Keeping all your vehicles under a single policy is also a good way of simplifying some of your admin tasks. In case of big or small accidents, it’ll be easier for you to contact your insurance provider for help. Similarly, renewals and changes are also far easier when it’s all under one policy. A uniform fleet policy thus involves lesser documentation, lesser follow-up, and much more efficient admin.

Greater Safety

In the scenario of an accident, time can be of the essence. To help your employees and the business with replacement vehicle expenses and other costs, you’ll need your insurance to come through quickly and smoothly without a ton of hassle. Easier access to funds can translate into greater safety and security for your employees and you in the event of an unfortunate accident. A fleet insurance policy can thus help your employees, business, and you when you need it most.

Better Protection from Driver Turnover

A business can sometimes go through periods of high employee turnover. In such a scenario, having fleet insurance is even handier since you don’t have to keep trying to work out the policy for every driver leaving or any new driver joining the team. As long as you recruit drivers that meet the conditions of your insurance policy (such as a prior driving track record), you’ll be able to extend the policy to them without having to keep changing your insurance policy.

Fleet insurance can make it much less expensive to operate your business vehicles while reducing the admin hassle. Fleet insurance is thus an important part of the risk and future-proofing your vehicles and your business.

EU Business News Announces the Winners of the 2022 European Travel Awards

United Kingdom, 2022 – EU Business News Magazine proudly announces the winners of the brand new 2022 European Travel Awards programme.

This programme is crafted to acknowledge and celebrate leading, revolutionary pioneers in the travel, tourism, and leisure industry sweeping across Europe. Guiding and strengthening these industries, after a tumultuous 12 months, these businesses have reinforced and rekindled our love for travel. They have carried themselves with pride, expression, and vigour with their innovative and dedicated work, and we are here to applaud their devotion.

Catering to adventurous audiences, these businesses have acted as a buttress for the travel, tourism, and leisure industries throughout the pandemic – thus, allowing the industries to flourish once more. People are now wishing to go on their new ventures to places they already love and destinations they are yet to explore. This inspiring awards programme offers a deeper look into the businesses that have changed the way we experience travel, tourism, and leisure for the foreseeable future, so that we can capture our own slice of excitement.

As a brand, Eu Business News takes tremendous delight in awarding businesses and professionals that have altered this ever-developing realm – from relaxation to wanderlust, these entities have made a name for themselves. These awards go to show that their committed work goes a long way.

Our Awards Coordinator, Laura O’Carroll, has commented on the success of this programme:

“Hosting the new European Travel Awards programme has been a pleasure. It has been a significantly valuable experience and it is with honour that I congratulate all the winners of the 2022 European Travel Awards. I wish them all the best for their future plans and further success!”

To find out more about these trail-blazers and learn about what has led them to becoming who they are today, please visit https://www.eubusinessnews.com/awards/european-travel-awards/ to access our winners supplement.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

About EU Business News Magazine, a publication under AI Global Media

EU Business News magazine is a widely read magazine with audiences of around 78,000 C-suite executives and leading decision makers in EU countries – as well as countries that have free trade agreements with the EU, including Canada. EU Business News is a crucial tool that offers readers the opportunity to keep up to date with the latest developments in the EU markets – as well as offering insight into businesses that are altering our perception of them.

About AI Global Media

Since 2010 AI Global Media has been committed to creating engaging B2B content that informs our readers and allows them to market their business to a global audience. We create content for and about firms across a range of industries.

Today, we have 14 unique brands, each of which serves a specific industry or region. Each brand covers the latest news in its sector and publishes a digital magazine and newsletter which is read by a global audience. Our flagship brand, Acquisition International, distributes a monthly digital magazine to a global circulation of 108,000, who are treated to a range of features and news pieces on the latest developments in the global corporate market.

Revealed – the Healthiest Cities to Live in the UK!

If you love the tranquillity and allure of the countryside and the fun of the city, you’re not alone. There’s certainly something to be said about the fresh air, privacy and expansive greenery of living in a rural area, but cities tend to offer easier access to a wider range of amenities and better transport links.

However, it needn’t be a trade-off. The health and wellness gurus at Made4 Vitamins have analysed which of the UK’s 25 largest cities will allow you to live the healthiest lifestyle, considering factors such as air quality, walkability, access to green spaces, sunshine, life expectancy and more. If you’re looking for the charm of the countryside with the hustle and bustle of the city, then don’t miss out – now, you can have both.

Air Quality – Edinburgh

Air quality can have a huge impact on your health and wellbeing – fresh air has been associated with a healthy digestive system, improved blood pressure and heart rate and more, whilst polluted air can result in various cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and cancers.

As such, the World Health Organisation has established guidelines for acceptable air pollution levels, based on the concentrate of PM2.5, fine particulate matter of 2.5 micrometres or less in diameter, in the air.

Of the top 25 most-populous cities in the UK, Bradford ranks worst for air quality according to IQ Air, with their 2021 air quality exceeding the WHO guideline by 2-3 times. The second-worst UK city by air quality was Brighton, followed by London, Bristol, and Belfast.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh offered the best air quality of the top-25 cities, followed by Glasgow, Leicester, and Birmingham.

Green Spaces – Edinburgh

Green spaces add a charm and freshness to any city, breaking up the monotony of skyscrapers and tower blocks. Not only that, but they create a safe space for community and exercise, for kids to play and to meet friends in.

According to Natwest’s Green Cities report, Edinburgh is the number one city in the UK in terms of green space. The city offers a massive 233.3m2 of green space for each person living there, beating out second-placed Sheffield who boast 155m2 of green space per head. Public-access parks and green spaces constitute a whopping 49.2% of the city, meaning that there are plenty of great options when it comes to getting a bit of fresh air.

Sheffield also ranked well when it came to other metrics such as green energy production, residents’ energy consumption and the percentage of car owners with ULEZ vehicles, and topped the NatWest study’s list of Greenest Cities. At the other end of the list was Wolverhampton, where there was just 25m2 of green space to each person, and high numbers of people commuting by car.

Walkability – Edinburgh

If a city is lacking proper infrastructure for pedestrians, you’re much more likely to get into unhealthy habits, such as driving or taking public transport everywhere. Luckily, that problem is much more common in the US, where cities fail to provide proper pedestrian areas or walking routes.

Edinburgh topped the list of UK cities for walkability too, no doubt helped in part by the sheer number of green spaces on show throughout the city. A survey by Living Streets quizzed residents on how they felt about their city’s walkable access to shops and parks, the quality of pavements and streets, and whether they felt safe walking there.

Again, Edinburgh ranked highest for walkability, followed by Sheffield, with London in third place. 82% of respondents found Edinburgh’s streets to be of good quality, with 67% of respondents finding it easy to reach a park on foot and 65% finding it easy to get to the shops on foot.

Sunlight – Plymouth

Though the UK’s sunniest city, Chichester, falls outside the top-25 population ranking, two of the UK’s most populous cities make the top 10 – Plymouth and Bristol. Plymouth was ranked the UK’s second-sunniest city in the country in a 2018 survey, having enjoyed 1730.1 yearly hours of sunshine. Meanwhile, Bristol took eighth position on the list with 1627 yearly hours of sunshine.

Ensuring you get enough sunlight can be crucial for your health – a failure to receive enough sunlight can result in an insufficiency or even deficiency of vitamin D. A 2021 study backed this up, with areas in the north of England most likely to suffer from insufficient vitamin D. Scotland was the most likely area for this to happen, though residents in London were also likely to have lower vitamin D levels.

Life Expectancy – Westminster 

When it comes to judging cities or even regions on their life expectancy, it can be a little trickier to gauge due to disparities that exist in each city. For example, there are significant fluctuations within London when comparing areas such as Kensington and Newham. The highest life expectancy in the country, according to data from 2017-19, is from the London borough of Westminster, where men tended to live to around 85, and women to 87.

Overall, however, data highlights the fact that places in the south of the UK tend to have higher life expectancies than places in the north. Though these figures vary across London, the capital city as a whole boasted approximate life expectancies of 81 for men and 85 for women according to figures from 2017-2019.

Meanwhile, Newcastle and the surrounding areas had the lowest life expectancies in England. Many other cities north of the Watford Gap had a noticeably lower life expectancy than London, including Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds, where life expectancy tended to be around 78 for men and 82 for women. These numbers were lower still in Scotland, where life expectancy was 77 for men and 81 for women.

Though the life expectancy is lower in Scotland, Edinburgh remains a similar level to Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds, and boasts significantly better walkability, access to green spaces, and better air quality – it therefore tops our list of the healthiest places to live in the UK.

Dr Bhasha Mukherjee, Medical Lead at Made4 Vitamins, commented: ‘it’s crucial that wherever we live grants us the ability to live a healthy lifestyle, whether that’s in terms of air quality or being able to exercise safely. Edinburgh’s amazing pedestrian infrastructure and expansive green spaces make living healthily a breeze, and that’s why it tops our list!’

Why Communication In The Workplace Is Essential And How To Improve It

Solid communication is commonly emphasised in business. Improving communication skills is something both employers and employees are encouraged to do. Implementing and developing ways to improve communication skills is easier said than done. Poor communication within a business can and has proven to be a costly issue for numerous companies.

Understandably, business leaders want to implement strategies that will help them to improve communication within their company’s workplace. These are some reasons why communication is essential in the workplace and how a company can improve it.

Team Is On The Same Page
Working with customers daily requires a company to have strong communication. Employees in direct contact with customers are the face of the company. They need to ensure that their levels of communication with the customer are strong. This means they must respond promptly, be clear and direct about the company’s services and processes and be friendly. If the customer is in contact with other team members, everyone on the team must know everything they need about this customer. This helps to maintain a smooth process and avoid any delays in the service. The customer will feel they are being treated well, which helps reduce any issues they experience with the company.

To achieve this, the team must have a solid process. The initial point of contact should share all the information, requirements, queries and concerns regarding the customer with the rest of the team. These updates should be shared if there are any changes along the way. Employers should look at their current process of working with a client. See if the current way the team takes notes about a customer can be improved. Improving the communication so that the team is on the same page will positively impact customers. They will more likely have a positive experience with the company, encouraging them to recommend the business’s services.

Productivity Levels Can Improve
High productivity levels are great for business. They can reflect a hard-working team dedicated to achieving the company’s set goals. Communicating to employees what their role is, their responsibilities and what targets they need to be achieving is something all employers should do. It means that employees have a better understanding of their roles and can also complete their duties to a higher standard.

Team members should also communicate with one another tips on how to save time whilst working. Sharing knowledge, such as converting a JPG to a PDF or shortcuts on a keyboard, can greatly benefit team members. It provides them with new tools that will enable them to complete their work more efficiently. The improved efficiency in how the team operates will be noticeable in their productivity levels.

Improvement In Collaboration
Working from home has become countless companies’ most popular form of working. Many modern-day companies do not require employees to be in the same room or country. Many employees heavily favour this way of working. They enjoy the flexibility that working from home allows them to have. However, for a company, it does bring numerous challenges, including communication. Investing in technologies that allow for easier communication amongst the team. Important information can easily be shared, and updates on a customer’s progress can be communicated to all relevant parties. It helps to minimise the chances of essential details being missed.

In addition to this, strong communication amongst the team also allows for opportunities for collaboration. If business leaders have any ideas regarding their company’s future, ask some employees to share their thoughts and opinions. The expansion business leaders want to plan for the company will inevitably impact them. Asking them to share their feedback can give employers a fresh perspective on their idea. Employees know the company’s current process because they use these processes daily. They know what customers want as they are often in regular contact. When asking for their opinions, they will likely use their knowledge and experience to determine how successful the plan could be. This advice could help business leaders make better-informed decisions about the company’s future. They achieved this by communicating clearly with their employees and asking for feedback.

In Summary
Implementing and developing strategies to improve communication in the workplace can be worthwhile for the company. Some advantages that come with good communication amongst employees include greater job satisfaction. If employees are happy in their position, they are more likely to stay with the company. In turn, this allows the company to boast a high retention rate amongst its employees.

It is possible to improve communication in the workplace. It will likely take time before results are noticeable. However, it is essential to be patient and trust the process. Keeping some of these tips in mind will probably see companies reaping the rewards before they know it.

Best Indian Restaurant 2022 – Denmark

Sønderborg might not seem like somewhere you’d find authentic Indian cuisine, but Curry Leaves has ensured that those looking for such delicacies are well satisfied. Their delightful dishes have tantalised tastebuds for years and been justly recognised in EU Business News’ Scandinavian Business Awards 2022. We take a closer look to uncover precisely what the secrets are behind their enviable success.

Finding a taste of India in Southern Denmark doesn’t quite sound right, but people have come from around the world to sample the delights that Curry Leaves offers its customers. The team’s traditional homecooked meals, nestled in the heart of one of Denmark’s finest towns, have been a hit with residents and tourists alike. When it comes to finding tasty and delicious food, with great service to boot, there really is no better option.

Since first opening their doors, the Curry Leaves team have aimed to make Indian food applicable for fine dining over a casual evening. As a country, India boasts enormous range in what is on offer and the team try every day to showcase this variety to their guests. Making everything themselves and using traditional family recipes to provide an authentic experience is at the heart of the experience offered by the team. Guests are guided through a scintillating smorgasbord of delectable dishes, each more tempting than the last.

To some, being based in Denmark might seem an odd choice, but the team have taken the opportunity of being a new, vibrant, and fresh approach to really bring about exciting change. In this part of Scandinavia, Indian food is still new, and so the priority is to ensure that guests understand the vastness and the depth of Indian cuisine. No matter if they enjoy spicy food, or would prefer something with a little less kick, guests can find the ideal path forward.

As a relatively new experience for many, being based in Scandinavia has proven to be the right choice for the Curry Leaves team. People are generally very open to exploring the background of new cultures that they have no experience of. Some customers had never tried Indian food before they had come to Curry Leaves. Now they are much loved and easily recognised regulars. It’s a credit to the team’s tireless efforts to welcome people into a world which is not entirely like their own.

In many ways, Curry Leaves is more than just a business to this talented team. It’s a passion for food which they are sharing with others. This attitude is key to the mindset behind the team, allowing them to really connect with the unique demands of each customer who walks through their doors. It’s this element which sets Curry Leaves apart, allowing the team to provide an exemplary experience in every respect.

The team offers two different services, each tailored to suit the needs of different markets. Firstly, there is a delectable buffet, bringing together a variety of different dishes from a mild and creamy Butter Chicken to the spicy flavours of the world-renowned Vindaloo. The second option is a personalised a la carte experience where the Curry Leaves make the dish of your choosing, carefully adapting the recipe to suit your wishes for spice and taste.

The breadth of flavours available in India mean that the team has had to work hard to ensure that every region is represented, and every meal is as authentic as it possibly can be. Recently, the team has considered broadening their horizons by narrowing their focus. Events are already being planned to present guests with meals and cultural offerings that are specific to regions of India, or unique styles of food. Having such a range of options on offer can create a culturally messy menu, but these evenings of focus provide the chance for guests to really dig into what sets each region apart.

Whilst Curry Leaves has been open, the team have seen an extraordinary transition in people’s eating habits. Now, more than ever, people are seeking out vegan and vegetarian cuisine, and that happens to be an area where Curry Leaves excels. The various recipes and dishes produced by the team match their non-vegetarian dishes, with more and more options joining the menu by the day. Both a la carte and self-service buffet reflect this changing trend. The team actually offer a vegan night every two months wherein their self-service buffet is vegan.

As a restaurant, it’s little wonder that the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the way in which the business was run. With people unable to come through the doors, takeaway orders became incredibly popular. The community of Sønderborg made the effort to ensure that the local eateries and cafés throughout the region were kept busy throughout the pandemic, and this is something for which the team at Curry Leaves will remain thankful for. It’s a testament to their skill and their position within the community that so many turned to them when they needed food that would offer comfort and warmth.

This warmth flows through the entire business, with the team brought together almost like a family. Respect at all levels is crucial and has built a work ethic which is incredibly hard working. This is an environment where it’s not enough purely to do the job – it’s one where success comes from having fun throughout. As such, when looking for new staff members, the aim is to find open and smiling people, who like to meet new people and enjoy working with food. By building a family within the business, Curry Leaves presents a family atmosphere to all who come to taste true delight.

The future is bright for the team, with a market that has reacted warmly to the incredible meals on offer. At the moment, ideas for sharing the delicacies created by the Curry Leaves team abound, with new restaurants opening, or even cooking classes. This would allow guests to learn how to make stunning Indian food all for themselves from a selection of chefs renowned for their cooking.

Nothing tastes as good as authentic cooking, designed to be enjoyed and savoured in good company. That’s precisely what is on offer from the team at Curry Leaves. Their sterling efforts have ensured they’re a standout in the Danish restaurant scene. Having delighted thousands upon thousands of diners, they are always looking to improve. We can’t wait to see what stunning ideas they’ll have to tantalise tastebuds in the coming months!

For business enquiries, contact the Curry Leaves team via email at [email protected] or visit their website at www.curryleaves.dk.

EU Business News Announce the Winners of the 2022 Scandinavian Business Awards

United Kingdom, 2022 – EU Business News Magazine have announced the winners of this year’s instalment of the Scandinavian Business Awards.

Whether it is by entering new markets, or capitalising on new technology, 2022 has so far been a year of new beginnings and catalysts for business across the Scandinavian region. Beyond the events of the last couple of years, Scandinavian businesses have long been defined by innovation, and a dedication to excellence that seems utterly unique to the region.

On the eve of the announcement, Awards Coordinator Katherine Benton took a moment to comment on the success of the winners. “Congratulations to all of those recognised in this programme. Scandinavian businesses have long enjoyed a reputation for client centricity and expertise that distinguishes them from their international peers. As such, the Scandinavian Business Awards have been one of the pillars of EU Business News Magazine’s since its launch last year. It’s been a delight to helm this year’s programme – I hope you all have a fantastic rest of the year ahead”.

EU Business News prides itself on the validity of its awards and winners. As such, every one of our winners can be certain that their success is deserved. We carefully evaluate everything from a business’s, or individual’s, performance over the past 12-months to ensure that only the most deserving parties walk away with one of our prestigious awards.

To learn more about our award winners and to gain insight into the working practices of the “best of the best”, please visit the EU Business News website (https://www.eubusinessnews.com/) where you can access the winners supplement.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

About EU Business News, published by AI Global Media

The EU is a vital and exciting region filled with businesses and individuals creating unique innovations, supporting their customers around the world and, ultimately, driving change. As such, EU Business News aims to provide an absorbing overview of this exciting region and the businesses and individuals operating within it.

Much more than just a magazine, alongside our online publication EU Business News also boasts an informative newsletter, a regularly updated website and a series of awards programmes showcasing the excellence of businesses and the individuals behind them from across this vibrant region.

As subscription to EU Business News is free there is absolutely no reason not to sign up to receive this informative and fascinating resource.

About AI Global Media

Since 2010 AI Global Media has been committed to creating engaging B2B content that informs our readers and allows them to market their business to a global audience. We create content for and about firms across a range of industries.

Today, we have 14 unique brands, each of which serves a specific industry or region. Each brand covers the latest news in its sector and publishes a digital magazine and newsletter which is read by a global audience. Our flagship brand, Acquisition International, distributes a monthly digital magazine to a global circulation of 108,000, who are treated to a range of features and news pieces on the latest developments in the global corporate market.

The Difference Between EU And UK Dentistry

Dentistry is an incredibly exciting field. For recently graduated dentists moving from the European Union to the United Kingdom, the excitement of the field is coupled with the excitement of working in a novel environment. However, there are significant differences between the European Union and the United Kingdom that dentists should be aware of.

 

You Need to Sort Out Your Paperwork

Graduating in dentistry from the European Union does not entitle you to practice in the United Kingdom. You have to apply to the General Dental Council (GDC). Dental students in the United Kingdom are helped by their universities, but as an EU graduate, you have to go through the process yourself. It is a very arduous process, and you have to stay on top of it throughout the ordeal.

A case worker will be assigned to you once your application has been accepted and you have been given a GDC number. This will likely be between eight and 12 weeks after your application.

 

Your GDC application requirements are:

  •   Two references. Your professor is a good place to start. It has to be someone who is willing to vouch for you and make themselves available for you.
  •   Translations of your degree into English by a GDC certified translator. The translation must be accompanied by the appropriate stamp.
  •   A certified color copy of your passport. A notary, or attorney can certify your passport for you.
  •   If your course was in English, you will need proof of this.
  •   You will also need to have a criminal record check done from the country you got your diploma in. This usually takes a few weeks.
  •   You will also need a passport-sized photo, with its authenticity vouched for by someone at your university, with their name, signature and date when they signed.
  •   You will also need to get a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, apply for a National Health Service (NHS) performer number, and get an occupational health test.

 

Look for a Job

You need to start looking for a job as soon as possible. You should, ideally, start as soon as you get your GDC number. Dr. Hal Arnold suggests that you tap into your existing network for possible jobs, attend seminars, webinars, and speak to other EU graduates who have made the shift to the United Kingdom.

You may work for the NHS, or work in the private sector, but either way, you need to find a job where you will have a mentor guiding you through your first year as a practicing dentist. This mentor can guide you through diagnostics, treatment plans, and other vital elements of dental work.

You should also think about enrolling in programs to build your skills. For instance, the General Practice Foundation Programme trains dentists, evaluating them every month to see how they are evolving. You will be able to meet other dentists, improve on diagnostics and development of treatment plans, and learn how to be a better overall dentist. You need to maintain a state of constant improvement.

5 Steps to Win More Jobs As a Contractor

As a property maintenance contractor, there is rarely a time when your work isn’t in high demand. There are always homes and commercial properties that need repair, renovation, maintenance, and/or construction work. According to research, the U.S. construction industry will grow by 8.8% in 2022. This forecasted growth is great for business and means more opportunities are likely to arise in the coming year. 

However, as the industry becomes more competitive, it can be challenging to win bids and get projects. If you’re looking for ways to give your contracting business an edge, consider these five techniques:

1. Leverage technology

In order to compete with the best, you have to conduct your business like the best. Leveraging technology is one way to ensure this is possible, enabling you amongst other things to bid for jobs quicker than anyone else. Companies like Jobber offer complete business management tech solutions tailored to your niche and specific to your needs.

Here are a few advantages of using this smart software:

  • You can offer 24/7 appointment scheduling 
  • Customer communication updates with the use of SMS texts and appointment reminders
  • Estimates and quotes can be sent on-site
  • Invoicing and payment tracking and reminders

The invoicing process often gets overlooked but this is arguably one of the most important things to get right as this determines the speed at which your invoices get paid and you maintain a healthy cash flow.  The ability to use a fully customizable invoice template can make a big difference in enhancing your administrative efficiency. Personalized invoices can be quickly generated and sent the moment a job has been completed, the standardized nature of which naturally means best practice is adhered to. 

2. Offer value-added services

Look for ways you can differentiate yourself from your competitors. Customers are always looking for contractors that can offer them something extra. The word “value-added” means offering something to your clients that other businesses don’t or can’t provide. This little difference can do wonders for your company and significantly impact whether you win a job or not. An example of a value-added service could be anything from a free consultation or discount on a future project.  

Have a think about what might work best for you and not necessarily cost you a lot of money or time but be appealing to your customers. Before deciding on what to offer, ensure it’s something that your target market wants and needs.

3. Create a solid portfolio

Your portfolio is one of the first things clients will look at when considering your contracting business. This will act as a resume of your previous projects and give potential customers an idea of what you’re capable of. If you don’t have one, start by creating a simple website that’ll showcase your expertise. It can be a valuable marketing tool that’ll help you attract prospects, improve online visibility, and grow your business. So, ensure it showcases your company in the best light possible.

4. Be prepared for the bidding process

The bidding process can be a make or break for your contracting business. It’s where you’ll create proposals that outline the cost and scope of your project. To win more jobs, you have to be strategic in your approach and ensure that your bid is airtight.

5. Participate in community events

You can increase brand awareness and be top of mind when prospects need your services by getting involved in community events. It’s no secret that prospects are more likely to do business with someone they know, like, and trust. This tactic will allow you to interact with the attendees, build rapport, and show them that you’re invested in the community.

Takeaway

There you have it—five steps to help you win more jobs as a contractor. If you want to succeed in this competitive industry, you have to be proactive in your approach. Follow the guidelines outlined here, and you’ll be one step closer to achieving your business goals.

How Can You Expand Your Business Internationally?

Business growth is a fundamental aim, but one often trammelled by specific logistical or demographic barriers. International expansion is one way to circumvent these barriers and an exciting way to take a business into a new era. But international expansion is a difficult process; how should you approach it?

Due Diligence

Before you begin to draft a formal expansion plan, you will need to carry out research and analysis on the specific locations into which you intend to expand. This is a multifarious process, and one which should give you a clear picture of the market in your target territories – and the space your business could occupy, if any. Your research should include two vital forms of analysis: SWOT analysis and gap analysis.

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, and provides a robust framework through which to examine the market in your intended areas of expansion. This analysis is often best outsourced, especially where knowledge of local markets and competition is minimal; if finances are tight, a business cash advance can help you unlock funds for research which will be recouped following expansion.

Gap analysis, meanwhile, is an internal process that examines the internal structure of your business, and its readiness for expansion. Gap analysis can help you identify weak links in the chain, and better brace your business for the growth it is about to experience. It can also help you with future pivots to better suit the needs of local demographics.

Planning

With the preliminary research conducted and complete, the next step is to craft a comprehensive expansion plan. There are various factors you will need to contend with and needs that will need to be met in order to guarantee the smoothest possible expansion.

There are logistical issues to solve, including business regulations in your target territory and the hiring or emigration of staff. There are funding implications for specific needs, and scheduling to plan for the production or delivery of local supplies. Assigning a ‘beachhead team’ to overseeing the expansion and managing the creation of an international branch can ensure results and accountability.

Organisational Processes

In the formation of localised branches, it is important to pay close attention to building a team effectively. On top of differences in legislation and regulation, there will be cultural differences with which to contend. These cultural differences could alter your business’ hiring approach or render any roles you are tendering uncompetitive against local businesses.

Expansion Partners

Expansion can be especially difficult to manage alone, even with a beachhead team of trusted managers to oversee the logistics. External advice will already have been useful in the research stage, but collaboration with another business partner or industry leader can assist with navigating the expansion process itself. This can materialise through assistance in understanding the market, or through lobbying local government to assist your expansion into their jurisdiction.

Business Tax

Lastly, as a business owner within the European Union (EU), you must be concerned with the rules on company tax of the country you plan to operate in. This also includes knowing how to register for business tax and prepare a business tax return. Specific rules can apply if you have your main country operating within one country and smaller parts or subsidiaries of the business in others – it is important to know how to deal with and reduce tax issues, such as double taxation and cross-border profit distributions between the businesses.

What are the Key Steps in the Litigation Process?

Court cases are thankfully a rare event in day-to-day life but can be nothing short of necessary when other forms of recourse fail – whether due to civil cases in the form of personal injury and medical negligence, or commercial claims in relation to copyright infringement or other business disputes.

Civil claims are easily accessible to claimants, allowing the opportunity for fair judgement and recourse to be meted out. However, navigating the court process should only be attempted with the assistance of experienced litigation lawyers, who can help you through the process and ensure the best possible resolution. What are the key steps involved in arriving at such a resolution?

Before Proceedings

In the event that one wishes to make a claim against an individual or organisation, some pre-action proceedings must take place. To start, a ‘letter before claim’ must be sent from the claimant’s solicitors to the defendant, outlining the basis of the claim in question and any particulars involved in the drawing-together of the claim.

This letter is also legally required to explore the possibility of alternative dispute resolution, or ADR – enabling a potential defendant to agree to an alternative means of settlement before claim action is commenced.

These pre-action proceeds are often the resolution to any dispute, and often the better scenario through which to conclude proceedings; civil cases can become expensive and emotionally draining if they culminate in a trial unless pre-trial resolution can save both parties a significant degree of money, stress, and potential publicity.

Commencement of Claim

If the defendant refutes the accusations levied in the letter before the claim, or declines to respond within the window given, the claimant will then file a letter of claim with the court, initiating the legal process properly. This letter of claim formalises the case laid out in the letter before action and outlines the reparations sought.

Once the letter of claim is served by the courts to the defendant, the defendant’s legal team then submit a statement of their own as defence, forming the basis of the case and its particulars.

Exchange of Documents and Evidence

With the claim formally underway, both the claimant’s and defendant’s legal teams are required to share the documents and evidence with which they are building their respective cases.

The timescale for this evidence gathering and announcement process depends on the track that the court has chosen to place the case – small claims, fast track, or multi-track. In the case of fast-track cases, which concern claims with a value between £10,000 and £25,000, the timescale is 30 weeks for direction and trial.

Trial

If no pre-trial settlement has been agreed between the claimant and defendant, the court will arrange a date and time for trial. Civil claims trials will see evidence explained and witness testimony taken on both sides before a judgement is made one way or the other. The losing party will be liable for the legal costs of the winning party – and, in the event of the claimant winning, the defendant will be liable for the cost agreed in the judgement.

Cross-Border Litigation

For those within the European Union, there are laws in place that are specially designed to help businesses and individuals with cross-border litigation. Those with claims up to the amount of €2000 typically use the Small Claims Procedure, or the European Payment Order if it is unlikely that the defendant will contest the amount owed – the latter is also useful for those seeking information in their native language. Taking legal action against someone or a business within a different member state can seem like an intimidating ordeal, but this should not deter from the fact the defendant must face legal action – understand your rights and look for guidance where needed.

What Does the Future of Transport Connectivity Look Like?

In 2022, we are living in a connected world. We communicate through robust virtual channels, conduct work remotely, and receive healthcare at a distance, all due to advancements in technology and the transition to the Internet of Everything.

That intelligent connection between data, processes, and people is at the core of our mobility and is bound to shape the future of transport. Connectivity can improve the customer experience, optimise transportation, and create new opportunities for economic growth.

Today, we explore the trends and innovations that will revolutionise the future of transport connectivity and provide a seamless door-to-door experience.

Connected vehicles

Connected vehicles aren’t a new technological innovation. From 2017 to 2022, the estimated stock of connected cars in the UK was expected to increase from 4.86 million to 16.65 million, which is a 242% increase.

What characterises connected vehicles is their connection to an external network, such as a phone, Bluetooth, GPS, or an internal SIM, and, most commonly, the internet – usually through an internal SIM card. That allows you to be connected with your car at all times and communicate with it when you’re not in it, usually through an app on your smartphone. This allows you to perform a number of functions, such as connecting to your car’s radio, using in-car assistants such as Amazon Alexa, receiving traffic updates, and even starting your car remotely.

But with advancements in technology, the future of connected vehicles is looking brighter than ever. With a 5G-enabled connection, vehicles will become an integrated, fully connected hub. Vehicle-to-vehicle (V-2-V) connected technology also enables communication between vehicles, so they can share vital journey information, such as road conditions, traffic, and speed limits.

5G-connected vehicles offer a host of benefits, including an enhanced consumer experience, improved road safety, maximised fuel economy, and reduced emissions.

Connected vehicles technology is also helping advance public transport. Through fleet management, detailed operational information for both bus and rail can optimise performance and operations, improve traffic, and offer more sustainable mobility.

Real-time data collection

According to the UK’s Future of Transport programme, real-time data collection and analysis is “driving the development of new modes of travel and new ways to do business”. It is also an integral part of improved transport connectivity, shows UK Transport Vision 2050, which is an in-depth study mapping out the future of the UK transport system.

Real-time data can benefit the public sector and transport industry overall, as well as travellers and maintenance. For example, it can improve road-usage planning, which can help with emissions reductions, cost savings.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning can also play a major role in achieving advanced traffic management. As a prime example of connectivity, traffic signals can be adjusted based on real-time traffic data. This data can then be sent to vehicles in traffic, enabling interconnected data sharing and feeding into public transport platforms. That way, cities can manage their mobility ecosystem more efficiently.

Not only that, but machine learning and real-time data collection can aid planning simulations by creating digital twins. Real-time digital counterparts of physical objects can significantly improve traffic management systems.

Advanced rail connectivity

Based on the UK Transport Vision 2050, the UK has mapped out a pathway to improving transport connectivity, and rail connectivity plans are looking promising.

By 2025, the European Train Control System (ETCS) level 2 is expected to commence, and by 2049, 95% of networks should be connected to the system. ETCS is the main signalling and train control component of the European Rail Traffic Management System. Its purpose is to calculate a safe minimum speed for each train. ETCS level 2 is a radio-based system that monitors signalling and moving authorities in the cab.

Not only that but by 2030 all trains are also expected to have Wi-Fi connectivity and fully developed trackside infrastructure, which will take rail connectivity even further.

Technology is changing the world at the speed of light, and we’re witnessing the evolution of connectivity. Bolstered by real-time data collection, robust transport infrastructure, and advanced transport management systems, the future of transport connectivity is beyond bright.

4 Factors That Impact Employee Health and Ways to Handle Them

4 Factors That Impact Employee Health and Ways to Handle Them

It’s in your best interest to maintain your employee’s health in the workplace. What they do out of those hours is up to them, but if they are in pain or finding their mood greatly affected by coming into work, you will see their productivity go down, costing you money.

There’s a lot that employees think they can’t complain about for fear of getting in the bad books with their boss, so it’s important to ask if they are uncomfortable or have any concerns about safety in order to do something about it. Take a look at our suggestions for a starting point.

Ergonomics

The biggest complaint about working in an office is the trouble that sitting at a desk for eight hours a day inflicts on your body. For example, Emma, hit the news in 2019. A life size model that showcased all the health issues to be expected from working in an office in the future, she had varicose veins, bloodshot eyes, weight problems, and a hunch.

This is why a lot of offices have been looking into different seating options for employees, which is why you’ve heard of everything from yoga balls to bean bags and even standing replacing desk chairs. Ergonomic chairs are becoming more and more common, making them more affordable.

But chairs aren’t the only problem. Thanks to better nutrition, believe it or not, we as a species are getting taller, but our desks aren’t. Our arms are always resting an inch or two too low, which you can feel on your upper back, and our legs are cramped under desks that we hit our knees off. Luckily, adjustable desks are also becoming more affordable, with them flying off of IKEA shelves.

Physical health and safety

If you are running a business that requires your staff to handle various materials to make your products, you will have to make sure your health and safety requirements are met.

This differs from industry to industry and depends on what you’re selling. You have to take into account the health and safety of your customers using your products but also the health and safety of your staff making the products. Manufacturing compliance issues covers everything from the correct work gear and tools to making sure you have a COSHH risk assessment done.

It is the responsibility of the employer to create and continually implement and review a robust risk assessment to ensure that no harm comes to your employees.

Work/life balance

There’s no doubt that since lockdown started, team managers all over the western world have been dealing with the fallout of opening up offices again. Some people practically hugged their team managers, glad to get away from the house, but a lot of people found they actually liked working from home – to the surprise of no one but higher ups.

Getting back into the idea of a 9-5 with no escape has been a bitter pill to swallow, making productivity worsen, childcare harder and mental health to decline.

It is possible for team mangers to have their cake and eat it too if you’re not willing to go as far as to permanently introduce working from home as an option. There is the concept of flexible working hours to explore. Theoretically, staff can come in on the hours they want, on alternate days, their desk taken up by someone who isn’t working from home the next day. You cut down on equipment and your staff enjoy more freedom on when they work and as long as they are working, everything should run smoothly.

Mental health

However, there are a lot of other ways that mental health can be affected by the workplace. One thing comes down to layout. The cubicle layout of the office has been touted for making sure productivity is at its highest, but it has gained a reputation for being isolating and even oppressive. There are plenty of other options, including hybrid options that allow your staff to work wherever they fancy today, be that the sofa or the desk. But the cluster option is the best for mental health and productivity. Staff members can share ideas and learn from the people around them, as well as allowing for an environment that doesn’t restrict the occasional natter about celeb gossip at lunch.

Plants are also a good way to keep your employees’ mental health at its best. There are a lot of offices bringing plants into their offices, knowing full well the healing benefits of being in nature. Not only will they keep your employees happy, but they will boost productivity by oxygenating the room. You just have to hope someone in the office has a green finger.

Of course, keeping mental health a priority isn’t just about the state of the office space. It’s important that you have policies and support in place to help out any of your staff members should they report to you a problem with your mental health. In fact, it’s important to foster an environment that encourages the sharing of your mental health state in the first place.