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Kember Associates – international mission

Breakfast Photo295x200 Kember Associates   international mission

Intel and Samsung may be the most familiar names that spring to mind when you think about micro-chips.

But one company based in North Somerset has carved out its own international territory regarding these specialist components.

Kember Associates, which is based in Yatton, is a hi-tech international science and technology organisation.

The company has established a global reputation for the management, design and building of fabrication factories which make the integrated circuits, commonly known as chips, which are the heart of such devices as mobile phones, laptops, cars and even in your fridge.

 95% exports

With 95% of its business export, and with the company celebrating the twentieth anniversary of its founding, its owner Peter Kember says that trade is booming.

“We’re in our twentieth year and we really haven’t been busier. The manufacture of micro-chips is now de-facto done abroad so we pretty much operate solely in foreign markets.

“Our core markets are in Russia, Singapore, India and China. A recent project I was involved in was the completed design and the overseeing of the installation of the first phase of a gallium arsenide fabrication factory at Tomsk in Siberian Russia.”

With such global clout, Peter is well-placed to discuss what more could be done by UKTI, government and related institutions to improve conditions for British exporters.

“It does seem that unless the ambassador is business orientated you don’t always get the service you require from an embassy.

“For example not so long ago the British Ambassador in Moscow hosted a breakfast for the governor of the Tomsk Region to boost bilateral business with the area which has a rich history in innovation.

“Many key businesses came to the meeting held at the British embassy. I was among those invited to attend.

“Unfortunately although I was introduced by the Ambassador to several of the key commercial staff in the Embassy, they have not responded to any of the emails I sent subsequently seeking assistance in various matters.

“It can sometimes feel that unless you’re a huge brand name or a big corporation you don’t always get the appropriate help.”

International advice

Advising smaller to medium sized British based exporter is an area that Peter is keen to broach.

So what initial advice would Peter give to businesses looking to enter export markets?

“You have to build up a relationship and see people in the eye, you have to go the trade shows and have a presence more than once to demonstrate you’re serious.

“It can take a long-time to build up a relationship. It took three years before we won our first contract in Russia and we had to keep plugging away.

“But once you get your foot in the door you get recommendations and it becomes easier.

“You also have to be adaptable and find out about the culture of the country and the business culture that you are looking to work in.

“Ultimately you have to understand your market, do lots of research and know where your product is going to fit.

“You have to be targeted and put in the time at the exhibitions and get yourself trusted and recognised.

“At the end of the day there will always be someone who wants to buy your product you just have to find them.”

Sir Graham Watson MEP 241x300 Kember Associates   international mission

Sir Graham Watson MEP (left) with Peter Kember(right) at a recent meeting.

Five-year plan

Kember Associates is also a business with a clear five year plan.

Upcoming high-profile projects are about to begin in Russia, Malaysia and India and running alongside his highly specialised work related to micro-chips, science and engineering, Peter is also keen to do work in the UK in the form of training seminars to help smaller businesses people.

“Investment and growth in the future has to be from abroad and unless you’re a big business sometimes the support and help isn’t there.

“But small firms are the life blood of our economy. I’d like to get involved in helping them to continue succeeding.”

Science in action

With a physics degree from Bristol University and an MBA from the University of the West of England Peter has embarked on a number of cutting-edge technology projects around the globe which make you stand up and take note.

These include working as part of a small dedicated team to build a new factory to make electronic displays; training a team of 10 graduates in a new sensor technology for both military and civilian applications and working with a Chinese manufacturing company to a produce a small electronic device for the UK and China.

Kember Associates is also investigating how replacements for obsolete silicon integrated circuits might be economically produced in the UK and the USA; and is planning and then managing the rebuilding and modernisation of a silicon integrated circuit plant in India.

First e-book factory

Peter was also heavily involved in the opening of the first plastic e-book factory in Dresden Germany, a feat which he carried out with a specialist team from Plastic Logic, a company spun out from Cambridge University.

Exporting North Somerset

Being involved in such projects is a clear demonstration that high-end, cutting-edge services are being exported internationally from North Somerset; with Kember Associates pioneering this movement.

In its celebratory twentieth anniversary year Kember Associates are doing North Somerset proud and it is very much a case of watch this space regarding its role in the advance of science and technology.

To find out more about Kember Associates please visit: http://www.kember-associates.com/

Make your business life easier with a virtual assistant

iStock 000004158211Small 300x198 Make your business life easier with a virtual assistantAt Lifestyle VA we want to make your life easier.  Whether you want a virtual assistant or personal assistant on an ad-hoc basis, we have the experience and skills to offer an all-round service that can save you time and money.  We can deal with a wide range of projects from the filing that you’ve been meaning to do or the organisation of corporate events.  Whatever it is, we have the people to undertake the task quickly, professionally and efficiently.

We have the experience and knowledge to deal with just about any situation and offer a fully confidential service.  We hold professional indemnity and public liability insurance, all our staff are CRB checked to enhanced level and we are registered under the Data Protection Act 1998.

Unlike agency staff, which can be short-term, we offer you continuity of support and service and our team work closely with you to bridge the “knowledge gap” that can occur when bringing in new people.  We can also offer dedicated staff for your project or business to develop  a solid working relationship and good background knowledge of  your business requirements.

We all know that life can pull us in many different directions. At Lifestyle VA we want to help you deal with all of the different priorities that may be causing you anxiety.  From simply ensuring that your pets and plants are cared for, to organising a plumber or decorator to sort out your home, we can help. Also experienced in many areas of pet care we can offer a service to suit.

Amongst the other services we offer are house-sitting, pet-sitting or fostering, dog walking, personal shopping & gift-wrapping, party & event organising and managing home improvement projects.

To find out more about the range of services we offer please visit our website: www.lifestyleva.co.uk or alternatively find us at:21 High Street, Corsham, Wiltshire.  SN13 0ES. Email:Info@lifestyleva.co.uk, Tel:01249 712 958, Mobile: 07963 600 096

Film festival calling all businesses

Weston Film Event 200x300 Film festival calling all businessesTraders in Weston Super Mare are being asked to mix business with cinema by acting out their favourite movie for the Weston Film Festival.

Taking place between September 19 and 25 2011 Weston Film Festival aims to celebrate the silver screen by inviting local pubs, shops and all other businesses to hold a party or themed event depicting a famous film.

Each company that enters can chose to interpret any film for their themed day and each entrant will need to produce a short – maximum three minutes – video of their event which will be judged at the Weston Film Fesitval awards night, with prizes being handed out to the themed event judged the most engaging and true to the original film.

Tavern Inn the Town, The Commodore Hotel and The Parish Pump are amongst those already signed up to the event and their chosen films are Chicago, Jailhouse Rock and The Rocky Horror Movie Show respectively.

A full programme of events and prizes will be posted shortly and it costs £20 to enter the event. For more information or to place an entry please call Terry Gilbert on 01934 418118.

Somerset firms sign up to business event

sbslogo2 Somerset firms sign up to business eventBusinesses and organisations are rushing to sign up to the inaugural Somerset Business Show in order to sell their products and services to a room full of prospects, that will include businesses and visitors.

The show is being held at Taunton Holiday Inn from 2pm to 7pm on Wednesday September the 28th and organisers say it is shaping up to be the biggest meeting of companies in the region this year.

Visitors enter free and exhibitors can showcase their products and services for as little as £50.

Jon Hebbes, Managing Director of Poppy Communications, who have already signed up to exhibit, explains why business people should attend the exhibition:  “Everybody involved in business should be at this event because there will not be a better opportunity in Somerset for networking, sharing knowledge and winning more customers.”

“We expect to attract lots of new clients from the Somerset Business show because where else can companies put their products and services in the hands of prospects so easily? This will be the event of the year in the business calendar and I would urge other companies not to miss out.”

Already signed up to exhibit at the one-day event are the Somerset Tourism Association, Cost Control Services, Woodlands Castle, Business Against Poverty, JT Retail and many more.

The event will also host numerous seminars providing vital tips on how to grow your business and win more customers, as well as presentations from expert speakers that shoot from the hip.

The Somerset Business Show is organised by Weston-super-Mare based C4 Events and its director Ian Williams believes that because of the current economic climate, it is more important than ever for firms in Somerset to be networking, sharing knowledge and making new connections: “If you exhibit you will be able to meet buyers face to face and with a host of major names already signed up, this a great opportunity for firms, large or small, to learn from each other and be part of an event that will put Somerset on the map.”

To find out more or join the long list of businesses already signed up to exhibit visit: www.somersetinbusiness.co.uk or call C4 Events Director Ian Williams on 07775 928772

Family business offering touch of class

Family Business 300x238 Family business offering touch of classA FAMILY-run business in Weston-super-Mare has brought style and sophistication to the resort by swapping a strip club for a cocktail and champagne bar.

The Kimitri family opened Club Tabu on the Boulevard to the public on Friday August 5, 2011, at the site of the former Players Lounge strip club.

The venue underwent an extensive renovation and now boasts luxury décor to appeal to its clientele.

Weston Town Mayor, Cllr Cyril King, conducted the official opening ceremony by cutting the ribbon.

The Kimitri family, who own several businesses in Weston and Bristol, said they wanted to bring the modern designs of London to the seaside town and help to clean up the evening trade.

Owner Kerry Kimitri said: “Weston needed a sophisticated venue tailored toward the older customers who do not wish to mingle with kids in the night clubbing trade.

“After the tenants left the Players Lounge I felt this was the perfect opportunity to rejuvenate the building with a complete refurbishment.

“Many residents in the town had always been opposed to the strip bar and its previous establishment Vamps, which was a pole dancing club.

“I felt it was time the community were heard and I have created a classy venue for people to enjoy a safe and friendly night out.

“Club Tabu is situated in an up and coming area of town, which has seen significant investment recently with the opening of other quality bars and restaurants.

“As it is further away from the main night clubbing area it also does not attract troublemakers.

“I am delighted the town Mayor, Councillor Cyril King, assisted with our official opening and I look forward to welcoming more customers.”

Club Tabu is for people over the age of 21 and customers can choose to opt for a free platinum membership card, which allows free entry and queue jumping privileges.

As well as the boutique cocktail bar there is an exclusive VIP area and the dress code is smart.

For more information on Club Tabu contact Kerry Kimtiri on 0787 962 6614.

Former Weston journalist fights back against redundancy

Tudor logo 1 300x124 Former Weston journalist fights back against redundancyA former Weston journalist has fought back against redundancy by setting up her own PR firm.
Morwenna Tudor, aged 31, set up Tudor Communication in February this year, after being made redundant from her previous job as a communication manager when the government cancelled the project she was involved with. Since then, she has seen her business go from strength to strength, working with local and national companies.
After leaving university, Morwenna worked as a journalist for four years on local newspapers in the town, before moving into a PR role within the fire and rescue service. Clocking up more than 10 years’ experience in the industry, she also worked with international clients at a marketing and communications agency and as a communication manager both regionally and nationally on a government project.
She said: “I’ve always been passionate about good communication and, when I was made redundant from my previous job earlier this year, it seemed like a great opportunity to set up my own business. This has enabled me to focus on the work I enjoy and to become more involved with my local community.”
Morwenna balances her paid work with a number of voluntary roles, including being the executive member for PR with the Weston and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce, volunteering with Guide Dogs for the Blind and working on Weston’s RNLI week.
Among the clients she has worked for are the Weston Business Improvement District bid, North Somerset Council, The Wine Tasting Co and RSL – a Coventry-based company.
Tudor Communication offers a wide variety of services to clients, including writing news releases, copywriting, developing case studies and trade press articles, proofreading, media training, stakeholder consultation and engagement, development of communication strategies and production of newsletters. Full details of the services offered can be found on the website at www.tudorcommunication.co.uk
Morwenna added: “Every client is treated as an individual and I bring together all the skills I have developed over the past 10 years to ensure they receive the communication support they need in order to help promote and grow their business.”
Morwenna Tudor 300x291 Former Weston journalist fights back against redundancy

Morwenna Tudor

Chamber’s new president outlines future plans

Gail Parsons4 254x300 Chambers new president outlines future plansWeston and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce’s new president adressed members and visitors at a recent meeting.

More than 20 people attended the meeting at the Royal Hotel to see Gail Parsons, who is Managing Director of Vanguard Surveillance and Security, outline her vision for the chamber.

Gail’s plans include continuing to represent member’s interests by working closely with North Somerset Council as well as increasing networking opportunities amongst businesses in the town.

Gail comments: “We have already been successful in supporting North Somerset Council’s bid for superfast broadband and are currently gathering support among our members for the Weston Package, which is a bid for funding towards transport improvements to reduce congestion and upgrade transport links.”

“I also want to continue to organise events relevant to our businesses, the aim of which is to ensure members are kept up-to-date with current trends and provide opportunities for them to question the experts. I will continue to promote Weston Chamber members in an attempt to create business opportunities by raising our profile even further, and being on the frontline ready for new developments and growth within Weston.”

Andrew Scott, who is on Weston and District Chamber’s Executive Committee felt strong business relationships were built upon at the meeting: “It was great to see our members enjoying themselves and having discussions with other businesses, many of which continued after the meeting finished.”

Business Improvement District

BID Business Improvement DistrictTraders in Weston town centre are being asked to come forward and have their say on improving business conditions.

Weston’s Town Centre Partnership has come up with an initiative known as The Business Improvement District (BID) which is a collective way for businesses to improve their trading environment through planning, influencing local decision makers and paying for additional services.

These services could include:

  • Additional policing or wardens
  • Improved collective marketing and events
  • Improved street cleaning and litter collection
  • Specialist business advice and preferred supplier schemes
  • Night time economy promotion and safety initiatives

Weston businesses can download a questionnaire from the BID website which will enable them to list in order of priority what they see as the most important components for a successful business environment. The results from the survey will then be put together to form a business plan which will shape the Business Improvement District’s thinking for the next five years.

All businesses within the Business Improvement District area will then be asked to vote on the plan and, if successful, the plan will then be implemented. In order to win the vote, the BID will need to have achieved majority of “yes” votes and these also need to represent a majority of the rateable businesses who vote.

If the vote outcome is positive, the team will be legally bound to deliver the BID business plan, which will be paid for by all the businesses within the BID area. The amount businesses will have to pay will be based on their rateable value, with every business having to make an equal percentage contribution to the scheme.

The vote on the scheme will take place in February/March 2012 and, if successful, the additional services will start being delivered in May 2012.

Please see below a map of the Business Improvement District area.

The Weston BID team is asking all businesses within the BID area to support the scheme and to share their views by filling out the questionnaire.

You can find out more information and download the questionnaire on the Weston BID website at http://www.wsmtcp.co.uk/weston-bid.htm

You can also follow them on Twitter @WestonBID for the latest updates or visit the Weston BID Facebook page.

BID Map1 271x300 Business Improvement District

Royal seal of approval for Weston

Grand Pier1 300x200 Royal seal of approval for Weston Her Royal Highness Princess Anne visited Weston this week to officially re-open the Grand Pier three years after it was destroyed by fire.

Princess Anne last visited the town back in 2008 where she saw the fire ravaged pier first-hand and met with the owners and those involved in plans to rebuild the landmark. Since her last visit the pier and surrounding public space has undergone a transformation.

Crowds of people waving Union Jack flags lined the streets as the Queen’s daughter unveiled a plaque to commemorate the official reopening of the pier.

The Echo understands that Princess Anne also opened the public space situated near the pier that will now be known as the Princess Royal Square. The Royal guest learnt how work had first begun on the square in 2010 and cost around £3.9 million.

The princess also viewed the new tourist information centre and met local residents.

A visit of such magnitude can only be good news for business in the town and the Echo believes local traders will have been given a boost from this Royal seal of approval.

Weston businesses pledge support for RNLI Lifeboat Week

logo 300x260 Weston businesses pledge support for RNLI Lifeboat WeekA host of local businesses have pledged their support to Weston RNLI’s first ever fund-raising event – Lifeboat Week.  The theme is ‘go mad for the RNLI’ and it will run from July 30 to August 7 in order to celebrate the work of the charity and raise funds to keep the service in operation.

All money raised during the week will go to the RNLI’s Weston crew and businesses that have already signed up for the event have agreed to put up posters or flags in their window and have a collection box to raise funds.

Organisers are urging more businesses to come forward and get involved in the week-long charity event by helping in any way they can, such as coming up with a fun way to raise funds for the RNLI.

The RNLI have access to the Italian Gardens for the week and two Weston firms have already agreed to put on a circus skills workshop and karaoke session.

According to members at Weston RNLI it’s vital that they raise funds to keep the station going because the operation is entirely supported by voluntary donations. The crew work without pay, and all the money raised during Lifeboat Week will help keep the local Weston station and crew above water.

As well as businesses pulling together to raise money for the RNLI, there is also a full programme of events for the public to enjoy – a full listing of events can be found here.

If you would like your business to promote Lifeboat Week, please give Weston RNLI a call on 01934 824587 or email rnli@amiconf.demon.co.uk and to find out specific details about events log onto http://www.facebook.com/pages/Weston-Lifeboat-Week-RNLI/137264399679798