Member News & Events

Marine Systems technology business grabs DBA attention with its innovative rigging and ropes load-sensing solutions

A marine systems technology company grabbed the attention of the Dorset Business Angels with a concise and compelling pitch. Several of the Angels are keen sailors themselves and were impressed with the innovation demonstrated and the gap in the market that is being filled and the opportunities that the ambitious brand is building.

The Company’s products are designed to give boat owners real-time load data that will allow them to sail their boats faster. Their system provides a unique wireless load-sensing range of technology for rigging and soft line/ropes.  Investors learnt how the rig loading on the vessel has a strong influence on the shape of the sails and hence the speed of the boat and also the boat’s safety. The capturing of this real time information is severely lagging behind other technology in the sailing market and this innovation fulfils a significant gap in the market and delivers the first ever solution to the mainstream market.

The founder and CEO advised, “Our vision is that every racing yacht will aspire to have one of our products to help measure their racing performance. With power boat, cruiser and charter owners using to enhance their safety.

The business is currently working with Sir Ben Ainslie to test and develop the products.  Sir Ben, who is Olympic yachting’s most decorated sailor, is leading next year’s British challenge for the America’s Cup.

Seeking to raise £200,000 for 11% of the business, putting its valuation for investment at £1.8m.  Future ambitions were shared and questions from the floor were answered well.  3 Angel investors expressed interest to carry out the due diligence process.

Remote condition monitoring of hardware devices

Also attracting investment attention was a spin-out company from Cambridge University. Founded in 2015 this Company has developed a successful ’fit and forget’ solution for the ever-increasing need for the ‘remote condition monitoring’ of hardware devices. The benefits include early warning of equipment failure, increased operational efficiency, energy reduction and regulatory compliance. The business is now raising £2M of investment to offer its products and software subscription services to an ever-growing industrial world-wide market.

Corrugated cardboard manufacture

A company aiming to disrupt the corrugated cardboard market, that has seen little innovation over the past 50 years or so, didn’t secure interest from their initial pitch but received interest from an investor who had been unable to attend the virtual pitch event but was impressed by the proposals submitted.

The business explained that current manufacturing methods use large scale ‘corrugators’ that are expensive to purchase and run, and require large amounts of gas, electricity and water to operate.

They have developed a ‘steam-free’ corrugator that requires no process water, uses 78% less energy than the traditional manufacturing process and occupies 88% less space than current equipment of a similar capacity. This will allow individual packaging companies to increase their margins by bringing board manufacture in-house, thus allowing them to produce just enough product to meet their short-term requirements. This avoids the current large investment needed to provide sufficient warehousing capacity for all grades of corrugated board they normally require.

With strong patent-protected IP, they now plan to subcontract the manufacture of their equipment to keep overhead costs low and are seeking investment to run their sales and marketing operation

Dorset Business Angels Chairman, Don McQueen advised, “This was our 2nd Virtual Pitch Event. The 1st event back in April created significant interest from would be investors and partners in what we do and we were pleased to welcome over 30 guests online at our July event. All pitching businesses had submitted their business proposals and financial documents prior to the online event, during which they had just 3 minutes to make their real time presentations.  Questions followed by investors and partners, after which the pitching businesses leave the virtual room and investors hold a private conversation to gauge interest. The process has worked well for us and it was encouraging that 2 of the businesses secured immediate interest.  Subsequent interest was received for another of the pitching companies following the event.”

DBA was formed in 2013 with the aim to bring investors and entrepreneurs together to accelerate the growth of early stage businesses. DBA provides quality, private equity investment opportunities to local high net worth (HNW) and sophisticated investors (SI). 

Four times a year companies are invited to attend an event at which they pitch their business to the savvy Angels in a Dragon’s Den type scenario. Angel investment might come from a single investor or it could be 2 or 3 Angels pooling funds together to support a company. Any investments are in the form of an equity investment and not a debtor’s loan. Investments are made across all sectors. 

DBA is sponsored by Saffery Champness Accountants, Ellis Jones Solicitors and Investec Wealth and Investment. To find out more about Dorset Business Angels or to book on to the pitch event on 12th October visit 

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Saffery Cham​pness win Parker Bullen Solicitors as a client​

The Bournemouth office of national Chartered Accountants Saffery Champness LLP, has welcomed a significant client win, having been appointed by Parker Bullen Solicitors as their advisor and reporting accountant in relation to Solicitors Accounts Rules.

Parker Bullen is a long-established firm of solicitors with offices in Salisbury and Andover. Providing legal services to individuals, businesses and charities in Wiltshire, Hampshire and beyond.

Saffery Partner Jamie Lane advised, “I was thrilled to get the opportunity to work with Gareth, Nikki and the team at Parker Bullen.  Safferys focus on growing our client portfolio of professional practices means that Parker Bullen will receive the high levels of service that they expect, combined with the sector expertise required.  Gareth and Nikki were seeking a professional advisor that is both proactive but capable of being responsive to the needs of their Firm.  I’m excited to be working with them.”

Gareth Horner, Managing Partner at Parker Bullen said, “We are delighted to be working with Saffery Champness.  They have demonstrated an excellent understanding of the challenges and opportunities for law firms and have already used this to our advantage.  This coupled with a focus on delivering excellent client service aligns to our own ethos.  We are delighted to have them as a partner working with us.”

About Saffery Champness LLP

 Saffery Champness LLP is a firm of chartered accountants that advises individuals and families, not-for-profit organisations and businesses across a range of sectors. As a member of Nexia International, it is part of a worldwide network of independent accounting and consulting firms.

For over 160 years, the firm’s success has been founded upon providing clients with a genuinely partner-led service and working with them to create bespoke solutions that help them to achieve their personal and business objectives. For more information visit or see Twitter @Safferys.

About Parker Bullen

Parker Bullen is a long established firm of solicitors with offices in Salisbury and Andover. For over two centuries we have provided legal services to individuals, businesses and charities in Wiltshire, Hampshire and beyond.

The current partners are proud of their long standing tradition but have modernised the firm, its approach and services.  With a strong focus on client service and ‘putting itself in its clients shoes’ Parker Bullen is firmly committed to serving the legal needs of our clients.

Parker Bullen is a firm that is big enough to provide a complete service but not so big that personal contact between us and our clients is lost.

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Income Tax Deferral – from Taylorcocks

If you are due to make a payment on account of Income Tax on 31st July 2020 then you have the option to defer the payment until 31st January 2021.

You can defer the payment due on 31st July if you complete a tax return and you are struggling to make the payment due to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. This is an automatic deferral, so does not need to be applied for, but you can still make the payment by 31st July if you are able to do so.

The income tax will be payable by 31st January 2021 and there will be no interest or penalties for deferring the payment, provided it is paid by 31st January 2021.It is worth remembering that on 31st January 2021 you will be paying, in addition to any deferred Income Tax, the balancing payment in relation to 2019/20 and the first payment on account for 2020/21. So if you do defer the July payment, then you could be paying a whole years tax liability at the same time.

If you are struggling to pay taxes generally then it is possible to agree on an instalment plan with HMRC to spread the payments, but there will be an interest charge for late payments.If you require any support on this, please contact your TC adviser today on 0330 088 7111.

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COVID-19 Information for Hospitality & Tourism Businesses from BCP Council

We’re looking forward to helping you prepare to re-open your business and operate from 4th July

The new government guidance to help you plan to re-open hospitality and tourism businesses has now been released and comes in to effect from 4 July 2020.

Working safely during COVID-19 sector guidance:

List of businesses able and not able to open from 4th July: from-4-july-2020

Guidance for people who work in or run restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes or takeaways: ping-workers-and-customers-safe-during-covid-19-restaurants-pubs-bars- takeaways-230620.pdf

Guidance for people who work in hotels and guest accommodation, indoor and outdoor attractions, and business events and consumer shows: visitor-economy

Guidance for people who work in or run hotels and other guest accommodation: and-other-guest-accommodation

Guidance for people who provide close contact services, including hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, tattooists, sports and massage therapists, dress fitters, tailors and fashion designers: contact-services

UK Hospitality is preparing guidance to help prepare COVID-19 Risk Assessments:

Free webinar to help businesses keep a safe record of customers visiting their premises as part of the NHS ‘Track and Trace’ system, in accordance with the new guidelines: recording-customer-contact-data-tickets-110988401296

Over the coming week BCP Council will be issuing further support and guidance from our local agencies including Licencing, Police and Fire services to help your business to re-open and recover. Please continue to check back for updates.

Good luck with your re-opening plans.

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Small Business Accelerator initiative for SME’s

Enterprise Nation is delighted to announce a partnership with Amazon to deliver the Amazon Small Business Accelerator, a major support package for 200,000 small businesses across the UK. Being a valued community member of Enterprise Nation, you are first to hear that from today, you’re able to join this new programme! Sign-up for free to take a quick diagnostic plan and find the e-learning path that best fits your business!

Why Sign Up?

> Diagnostic

Take a quick and easy business diagnostic to find the support best tailored to your needs. 

> Online learning

Access e-learning from experts, with modules on social media marketing, selling on Amazon, accounting, hiring and more. 

> Week-long bootcamps

Apply to take part in a week-long intensive training bootcamp and access ongoing support to help your existing business start trading online quickly.

  These will be run across different business sectors including: 

  • Beauty & Wellbeing
  • Food & Drink
  • Service based businesses
  • Home, leisure, gadgets & gifts
  • Fashion

> Other exclusive benefits 

By joining the programme you can access a bundle of business offers worth over £2,000.


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BCTC Local Government Affairs Meeting (LGA) June 2020

The LGA was very well attended and we were delighted to welcome the Leader of the Council, Cllr Vikki Slade and CEO Graham Farrant attendance.  

Graham Farrant gave an update on the impact of COVID19 on the community, the economy and its resultant effect on BCP.  As we know the amalgamated Council was created 1st April 2019 and whilst it has been in place for just over a year in time,  they have still not completed a full year under ‘normal circumstance conditions’.  

With a budget of £283million/year made up of council tax, 50% business rates, and some grant money, the authority has seen a loss of £50-53 million. (Affected by big losses from car parking, trading and more money spent on moving patients out of hospitals and into care homes earlier than necessary.)  Graham highlighted that food distribution and shielding were left to Council and with children not attending school, many referrals and safety issues have arisen.  However, the Councils relationship with Police and Health have improved over the past few months which benefits the community. 

Graham went on to say that before he arrived in post, everything in the Council was paper based and that this has completely been reversed with everything ‘online’, significantly improving planning.   

Vikki Slade discussed the Community Response, Business Grants and new Discretionary Grants scheme.  The Council were able to very quickly pull together a community hub response called “Together We Can” with the intention that everyone who needed it, got support in terms of food, medicine, shelter etc. Council staff were redeployed to help with essential services and participated in creating a new environment together, as well as 2,000+ volunteers who were matched up with vulnerable people.   BCP is now a leading council in the way it has worked during COVID19 and found new ways of communicating with the public, including weekly ‘FaceBook lives’.   To date, 6000 businesses within BCP have received £75 million in grants. 

Graham and Vikki continue to lobby government to look to accommodate those businesses that aren’t covered by the grants. The Discretionary Grants Scheme has a small budget which will not go far, with the Council allocating £0.3million to business that didn’t meet criteria but were deemed important to the local economy e.g. hospitality & tourism, nurseries, finance, health & social care. Currently, the Fund has had 502 applications, with 650 businesses anticipated to apply. 

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Jacqui Rock, BCTC VP speaks to Steve Bicknell on Facebook Live

Our very own Jacqui Rock talking the benefits of Chamber, The Wonky Table, BH Area Hospitality Association, COVID-19 and much much more…. to Steve Bicknell from Bicknell Business Advisers Limited

To view the interview, click below.


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Coronavirus: Bournemouth’s hotels have been preparing to welcome back guests

By Jason Lewis, The Bournemouth Echo

HOTELIERS across the conurbation are ready are raring to welcome back guests when the time is right this summer.

That is the message from the chair of BH Area Hospitality Association (BAHA), the group that represents many of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole’s hotels.

While the hospitality industry has taken a big hit as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and government-introduced lockdown, BAHA chair Tim Seward said hotel owners are remaining upbeat.

“Staff are furloughed still and there are businesses that are very positive about the summer when we can open in July,” he said.

“We are waiting for an announcement on when and where and how.

“It comes back to as and when hotels can open, they can get the rest of the summer and we can be okay.

“Some hotels are looking to close temporarily to be ready for next spring, but they are not closing forever. They are looking at how to keep their business going.

“With the people I speak to, not just in big hotels but in little B&Bs and guest houses, there has been some positive work.”

Lockdown put a stop to the traditional income from visitors but several Bournemouth hotels took the chance to use this time to make improvements.

This includes the Hampton by Hilton creating a new breakfast area, Hotel Piccadilly painting the front of their hotel, Marsham Court creating a new seating area and the Queens Hotel & Spa continuing with a full refurbishment to a four-star standard.

Operations, such as those at Cliff House Hotel, Southbourne, and Oceana Hotel Group, diversified by offering collection or delivery takeaway which have been well received

On Rightmove there are around 18 hotels, guest houses and B&Bs across Bournemouth on the market.

However, Mr Seward said there had not been an increase in sites on the market since the start of the pandemic.

“Those hotels were all on the market pre-Covid-19,” said Mr Seward. “I keep a very close eye on those hotel listings at the moment and those hotels and guest houses were all on the market.”

He added: “When you look at the beach being full, we want everyone to come back safely, but actually as a seaside resort compared to others, we are doing very well.

“There is another resort that has eight hotels for sale on their seafront. We don’t have that. We are in a good place at the moment and I think hoteliers have been careful.”

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Coronavirus: Saffery Partner Roger Wareham looks at five key issues for hospitality businesses

The UK economy has been met with the worst recession in history due to the outbreak of Coronavirus, with one of the hardest hit sectors being travel and hospitality. There has been a wealth of government resource which has had to be provided to businesses across the country, however none that are sector specific to date.    Government announcements have been issued at rapid rates and re-opening dates for the industry remain uncertain, making it difficult for businesses to plan and budget. 

Saffery Champness Partner Roger Wareham looks at five key issues that are particularly topical for the hospitality sector at present:

1. Social distancing – a new 1m rule?

The UK government has come under recent pressure from the hospitality sector to reduce the social distancing measures from two metres down to one. Whilst social distancing restrictions in any form negatively impact trade for most businesses within the sector, the reduction down to one metre could be the difference between around 75% of pubs and restaurants reopening and capacity increasing as much as 40%.

The official advice from the World Health Organisation is for people to stay at a minimum of one metre apart during the pandemic and this has seen countries such as France, China and Denmark implementing a one metre rule. 

More than half of the Conservative cabinet have shown support for the reduction in distancing measures including business secretary, Alok Sharma, who stated that more than 3.5 million jobs in the hospitality sector would be at risk if the UK didn’t have a “lucrative summer”, hence calls for a one-off autumn bank holiday.

Boris Johnson has stated that the measures are “constantly under review” and we expect to hear more by 4 July 2020 – the earliest date expected for the re-opening of the sector per government legislation at the time of writing.

2. The furlough scheme and the hospitality sector

Changes to the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) have been welcome news for the hospitality sector, which has been one of the hardest hit sectors during the Coronavirus pandemic. It is estimated that only 11% of the sector has been able to operate normally since the crisis began.Rishi Sunak announced on 12 May that the CJRS would be extended from 30 June to 31 October 2020, with employers being allowed to bring furloughed staff back for part-time work as of 1 July 2020.

The government will continue to pay the lower of 80% of the wage bill or a cap of £2,500 a month until the end of July, after which employers will be required to begin making staged contributions towards these wages until 31 October, at which point the scheme will end. 

Whilst this offers a short-term ease to cash flow for the country it is expected that, of the 8.4 million employees that have been furloughed since the start of the UK lockdown, one in three works in the hospitality sector. 

The sector is one of the last to be able to re-open and with the current social distancing measures in place, full capacity cannot be reached for the majority of businesses. Trade bodies have expressed their concerns in light of the staged cessation of the scheme and have called out for other sector specific support measures to be implemented.

3. Rent standstill

At the start of lockdown, many businesses faced possible eviction over a lack of funds to keep paying their rent bills. Though the government announced that commercial tenants would be protected from eviction for a three-month period, ending 23 June 2020, the rent still remains due, unless otherwise agreed with property landlords. Furthermore, with the June rent quarter approaching at the same time, this could come as a final blow for many. 

Trade body, UK Hospitality, has written to the Chancellor to warn that, unless financial support persists, then many businesses will face extinction, jobs will be lost and rent will not be paid. 

Proposed schemes so far have included the introduction of tax credits to incentivise rent waivers, property bounce back bonds to cover lost revenue and a furloughed space grant scheme (FSGS).

The proposed FSGS would result in the government making tapered fixed property payments depending on the level of trade that the business is able to undertake. This would require an audited 24-month cash flow to be provided. A similar scheme has been seen in practice in Denmark.

A scheme such as this would however qualify as State Aid under EU law and so must pass onerous tests to be enabled. In addition, the government appears to have avoided providing sector-specific support during the crisis so far, instead urging landlords to obtain loans under the Business Interruption Loan Scheme. As such, it may be that the FSGS is not being considered an option at this stage. 

4. Will the UK cut its VAT rates for the hospitality sector?

The UK is now one of the very few European countries not to have cut its VAT rates. Germany is due to reduce its VAT rate for the country as a whole (from 19% to 16% from 1 July to 31 December), and will also make reductions in its reduced rate, due to fall from 7% to 5%.

The UK has made similar changes in the past, notably during the 2008 recession, at which point it cut its standard VAT rate down from 17.5% to 15%. This was costly to the government and done in order to boost customer confidence. However, this reduction was not necessarily met with an overwhelming boost to the economy as hoped with many businesses struggling to pass the costs on to customers.

However, changes to VAT rates are quick and easy to administer and will provide an immediate ease to cash flow for the majority. It is a definite possibility that the government will cut the standard VAT rate to 15% (the lowest it can go while the UK is still governed by EU VAT law) in the near future. 

5. Hidden Coronavirus costs and cashflow forecasting

Re-opening hospitality businesses is costly in itself.  Not only will there be reduced capacity due to social distancing requirements, but there will also be financial investment required to make spaces safe for customers and staff (“social distancing ready”). These might include the cost of installing protective screens, providing additional staff, staff training and PPE, and sanitiser stations among many other potential costs. Footwear retailer, Kurt Geiger, has suggested that such measures could add an additional £75,000 per store to its costs for the year.

Whatever the level of preparation required, businesses will need to ensure their forecasts include any additional costs expected, as well as reductions to the furlough support scheme and the reintroduction of rent payments. Whilst there may be future hospitality-specific support measures introduced, we strongly recommend businesses forecast as prudently as possible to ensure that they are braced for recommencing trade

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