Business News Scotland - 6 June 2022

Business News Scotland – 6 June 2022

Welcome to our round up of the latest business news for our clients. Please contact us if you want to talk about how these updates affect your business. We are here to support you!

 

Cash Flow Is The Single Most Important Issue Right Now?

Do you agree?  Most of our other clients do.  In this economy CASH IS KING and managing your cash flow is more important than ever.

If you are concerned about the future of the economy, then take some time to reflect on where you are and what could happen in the next few months. It is now vitally important for all businesses to plan ahead for a range of scenarios. Cash flow and business planning in these uncertain times may appear difficult but there are some practical steps you can take to minimise potential disruption to your business.

  • Review your Budgets and set realistic and achievable targets for the remainder of 2022.
  • Get your employees involved in a discussion of likely trading conditions and get their input on reducing costs and maintaining revenues.
  • Review and flowchart the main processes in your business (e.g. Sales processing, order fulfilment, shipping etc.) and challenge the need for each step.
  • Put extra effort into making sure your relationships with your customers are solid.
  • Review your list of products and services and eliminate those that are unprofitable or not core products/services.
  • Pull everyone together and explain the business strategy and get their buy-in.

We specialise in helping our clients manage their cash flow.  We do this by preparing and updating detailed cash flow forecasts, using the latest and most powerful software.  We can also help you negotiate or renegotiate overdraft facilities and find specific funding to help you grow!

Please talk to us about cash flow planning for the next few months, we can help with a template so you can do this yourself or work together to produce estimates for a variety of scenarios.

 

Need Some Inspiration?

After the Jubilee celebrations and as we return to work, hopefully ready to face new challenges, if you are looking for some new business ideas then ask us for a copy of our guide called “57 Ways to Grow Your Business”! Our publication is packed full of bright ideas for the Serious Entrepreneur and starts with the four basics of growth.

All the ideas in this guide ultimately revolve around four basic insights about growing a business:

  • Increase the number of customers
  • Increase the number of times each one does business with you
  • Increase the average value of each transaction
  • Increase your own effectiveness and efficiency

Here are some other business principles that we explore in the guide:

  • What you can measure you can manage
  • Build in unique core differentiators and focus on them constantly
  • It’s more important to be different than it is to be better
  • Cutting the price is always an option but there is usually a better way – increasing value
  • Break compromises and lower the barriers to people doing business with you
  • Systemise every aspect of your business
  • Empower your team to make it right for every customer
  • Create a clear and detailed action plan

Ask us for a copy – you never know there may be a gem or two in there for you to help you grow faster!

 

UK Governments’ New ‘Help With The Cost Of Living’ Website

The UK government have launched a new website to help you find the support available to you to help with the cost of living.

Find out about:

  • Supporting your income
  • Help with your bills
  • Help with childcare costs
  • Housing support
  • Help with transport costs
  • Help finding work

For further information visit:

Cost of Living Support – Get government support to help with the cost of living (campaign.gov.uk)

 

A Summary Of Tax Reliefs Available For Innovative Companies

Here is a summary of information provided by HMRC on tax reliefs available for innovative companies. Please contact us if you need more information.

Patent Box

The aim of the Patent Box is to provide an additional incentive for companies to retain and commercialise existing patents and to develop new innovative patented products:

Research and Development Tax credits (R&D), (including Advanced Assurance)

Research and Development (R&D) tax relief (or credit) is a company tax relief that may reduce a company’s tax bill or in some instances involve a payment of credit by HMRC to the company. It is based on the company’s expenditure on R&D:

Creatives Tax Reliefs (Film, Animation, High End TV, Children’s TV, Video Games, Theatre, Orchestra, and Museums and Galleries)

These are a group of eight reliefs that allow qualifying companies to claim a larger deduction for certain expenses. The company will receive a reduction in their Corporation Tax liability, or in some circumstances a payable tax credit.

Creative industry tax reliefs for Corporation Tax – GOV.UK

Venture Capital Schemes (EIS, SEIS, VCT)

The schemes are intended to incentivise investment in smaller, higher risk, unquoted trading companies that would otherwise struggle to access finance for growth by providing a range of income tax and capital gains tax reliefs to individual investors:

 

HMRC Urges Businesses To Move To New Customs IT Platform Now To Continue Trading

HMRC is urging businesses to move to its new customs IT platform now to continue trading and is writing to businesses to support them with the changes.

The letters and emails include further information about making the move to the UK’s single customs platform – the Customs Declaration Service – and sets out the steps businesses must take now to ensure they can continue trading. They also signpost to online resources to support businesses through the process.

Whether you make your own declarations or use an intermediary, HMRC is urging you to act now to plan and make your move to the Customs Declaration Service. It can take some time to complete the preparation needed and the sooner you start, the easier it will be.

The Customs Declaration Service supports making import and export declarations when moving goods into and out of the UK. It is a resilient, reliable and adaptable IT platform, which replaces the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) and is the first step of the UK border transformation.

The CHIEF system is closing for import declarations after 30 September 2022. After 31 March 2023, the ability to make exports declarations will end and the CHIEF service will close.

See: HMRC urges businesses to move to new customs IT platform now to continue trading – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

 

SBRI Fusion Industry Challenges: Phase One

This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition funded by the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA).

Organisations can apply for a share of £2 million to develop solutions to encourage innovation in the fusion industry through the use of:

  • novel and innovative heating and cooling systems
  • materials
  • manufacturing and technologies

To lead a project, you can:

  • be an organisation of any size
  • work alone or with other organisations as subcontractors

Contracts will be awarded to a single legal entity only.

The competition closes on Wednesday 22 June 2022 at 11am.

See: Competition overview – SBRI: Fusion Industry Challenges – phase 1 – Innovation Funding Service (apply-for-innovation-funding.service.gov.uk)

 

Meeting Net Zero With The Power Of Place

Innovate UK KTN publishes interactive report ‘Meeting Net Zero with the Power of Place’ on how location data can help us fight against climate change.

The report, which comprises videos, case studies, as well as written commentary, explores the vast potential of geospatial data, innovation inclusive growth, collaboration, system thinking and cultural change in dealing with global challenges.

Cross-sector examples include:

  • Energy – Geospatial data has the potential to uncover suitable sites for greener energy generation such as solar, wind and wave power; the locations for such sites are predicated by earth observation data on geography, natural climates, and prevailing weather conditions.
  • Nature – Satellite cameras allow for real-time monitoring of deforestation around the world. Global Forest Watch monitors 600 million hectares of forest at any one time and has alerted authorities of illegal mining and logging in protected areas of the Amazon.
  • Built Environment – British geospatial companies are working with Homes England and Welsh Government to help urban planners create more resilient urban environments, that factor in sustainability and net zero.
  • Transport – 4G and 5G cellular data can help plan the installation of EV charge points by tracking popular routes, particularly as coverage extends into rural areas.

See: Meeting Net Zero with the Power of Place | Business Wales (gov.wales)

 

New App To Counter Malicious Approaches Online

An innovative app, allowing users of social media and professional networking sites, to better identify the hallmarks of fake profiles used by foreign spies and other malicious actors, and take steps to report and remove them, has been launched.

In the last year, over 10,000 UK nationals from across society have been targeted on sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. The use of fake profiles on social media and professional networking sites is occurring at scale. In the first half of last year alone, LinkedIn stopped 11.6m fake accounts at registration.

The new app is part of the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure’s (CPNI) ‘Think Before You Link’ campaign. It has been developed with behavioural scientists to include features such as a profile reviewer, which will help individuals identify potentially fake profiles and report anything they deem suspicious.

The launch of the app comes as increased espionage by state actors persistently threatens the UK and is increasingly conducted online.

See: New app to counter malicious approaches online – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

 

Faraday Battery Challenge Round 5

The Faraday Battery Challenge, part of UK Research and Innovation, and delivered by Innovate UK, is looking for projects that will deliver innovative developments in sustainable propulsion battery technologies.

The competition will invest up to £25 million, subject to business case approval. This will support technologies with the potential to enter the automotive market within the next decade.

The competition aims to move UK battery innovations from technological potential towards commercial capability. Additional aims are to develop and secure material and manufacturing supply chains for battery technologies in the UK.

It is designed to support the research and development of the most promising, innovative and sustainable battery technologies for the propulsion of electric vehicles in the automotive sector.

See: Competition overview – Faraday Battery Challenge Round 5 Innovation: Feasibility Studies – Innovation Funding Service (apply-for-innovation-funding.service.gov.uk)

 

Commercialising Connected and Automated Mobility

The Commercialising Connected and Automated Mobility competition is providing grants to help roll out commercial use self-driving vehicles across the UK from 2025, delivering convenience for consumers and making journeys safer, greener and more reliable.

The competition will help bring together companies and investors so that sustainable business models be rolled out nationally and exported globally.

Types of self-driving vehicles that could be deployed include delivery vans, passenger buses, shuttles and pods, as well as vehicles that move people and luggage at airports and containers at shipping ports.

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will work with the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) to invest up to £41.5 million in innovation projects across two competition strands, which will both close to applications at 11:00 on 20 July 2022.

See: Competition overview – Commercialising Connected and Automated Mobility: Mass transit – Innovation Funding Service (apply-for-innovation-funding.service.gov.uk)

 

Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition: Round 2

The Department for Transport is working with Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, to invest £12 million in innovative feasibility studies and pre-deployment projects.

This competition is part of a suite of interventions by the UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK SHORE). UK SHORE aims to transform the UK into a global leader in the design and manufacturing of clean maritime technology.

The Clean Maritime Demonstration Round 2 competition has two strands.

Funding is available in strand 1 to develop feasibility studies for pre-deployment testing for innovative clean maritime technology demonstrations.

Find out more about strand 1 of the Clean Maritime Demonstration competition.

Funding is available in strand 2 for agile technology demonstrations and pre-deployment testing of clean maritime technologies.

Find out more about strand 2 of the Clean Maritime Demonstration competition.

Both strands opened for applications on Wednesday 25 May 2022 and close on Wednesday 13 July 2022 at 11:00am.

 

Points Based System Welcomes High Skilled Graduates To UK

The world’s top graduates in subjects such as science, engineering and medical research will be able to bring their skills to the UK following the launch of a new visa route targeting graduates from prestigious universities such as Harvard, MIT, the Karolinska Institute and Kyoto University.

From engineering to cyber security to advanced medical research, the UK will be able to welcome talented individuals to drive both economic growth as well as technological and medical advances. The race to attract the brightest and best international talent is fierce and inviting talented individuals from international universities will complement the pool of high achieving graduates from UK universities.

See: Points based system welcomes high skilled graduates to UK – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

 

Live Events Reinsurance Scheme Supports Over £400 Million Of Investment And Paves Way For Busy Summer Events Season

Nearly three million people are expected to have attended events supported by the Government’s Live Events Reinsurance Scheme by the end of the summer.

The scheme, which closes in September, has paved the way for a busy summer events season, giving event organisers the confidence to invest in future events – safe in the knowledge they can insure against the most severe coronavirus-related risk, providing job security and boosting the economy.

The Government acted as a reinsurer and guaranteed to make sure insurers offered products to event companies. Prominent insurers in the Lloyd’s Market including Munich Re, Beazley, Arch, Dale Underwriting Partners, Hiscox and Ark are carriers of the scheme.

The scheme has already provided well over £100 million worth of cover – supporting more than £400 million of investment and protecting almost 15,000 jobs, keeping the economy moving and driving growth across the country.

Events supported across the UK include national set-piece events such as Wimbledon, The BRIT Awards, Birmingham’s Spring Fair and the London Art Fair. It has also supported important community events such as the Shaftesbury Book Fair, the Cardiff Half Marathon and the Gloucester Quays Christmas Outdoor Ice Rink.

See: Live Events Reinsurance Scheme supports over £400 million of investment and paves way for busy summer events season – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

 

Sustainable Tourism Certification Scheme Discounted Membership Offer

Through this scheme, 3 sustainable tourism certification scheme providers are offering a £500 discount on fees for tourism businesses in Scotland that join their certification schemes before March 2023 (or until all funding is used up). The providers are EarthCheck, Green Key and Green Tourism.

The discount will mean eligible tourism businesses will get membership for the first year either discounted or even free, depending on the certification fees. The discounts are limited, and will be provided on a first come, first served basis.

The funding for the scheme was provided through the Sustainability Certification Scheme Fund for Tourism Recovery, launched earlier this year by VisitScotland as part of the Destination Net Zero Programme. It provided grant funding to certification providers to support tourism businesses to recover from the impacts of COVID-19 in a sustainable manner.

Businesses should contact their certification programme of choice directly and apply for membership – more information is available on the VisitScotland website.

See: Green Certification Schemes for Tourism Businesses | VisitScotland.org

 

Business Loans Scotland

The Scottish Growth Scheme is a package of financial support of up to £500 million for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Scotland. Backed by the Scottish Government, it aims to help businesses grow.

This funding includes Business Loans Scotland, which is a consortium of Scottish local authorities. They provide loans ranging from £25,000 to £100,000 (and in exceptional circumstances up to £250,000) to eligible businesses on behalf of the Scottish Government.

These loans can be used for a variety of purposes, including:

  • working capital
  • capital expenditure
  • growth funding

See: Business Loans Scotland | Business Funding & Finance | BLS

 

Foresight Scottish Growth Fund

This funding includes the Foresight Scottish Growth Fund, which is managed by the Foresight Group on behalf of the Scottish Government. It provides equity finance of up to £2 million in rounds of up to £10 million for eligible businesses.

This equity funding can be used for a variety of purposes, including:

  • working capital
  • capital expenditure
  • growth funding

See: https://www.foresightgroup.eu

 

Scottish Microfinance Fund

This funding includes the Scottish Microfinance Fund, which is managed by DSL Business Finance Ltd on behalf of the Scottish Government. It provides loans of up to £25,000 to eligible businesses.

These loans can be used for a variety of purposes, including:

  • working capital
  • capital expenditure
  • startup and growth funding

See: DSL Business Finance – Affordable Small Business Funding (dsl-businessfinance.co.uk)

 

Techstart Ventures Equity Finance

This funding includes Techstart Ventures Equity Finance, which is managed by Techstart Ventures on behalf of the Scottish Government. It provides equity finance of up to £2 million, in rounds of up to £10 million, for eligible businesses.

The equity funding can be used for a variety of purposes, including:

  • growth funding
  • research and development
  • working capital
  • capital expenditure

Techstart Ventures invests principally in early stage startups and SMEs who are developing innovative new products with high growth and export potential.

See: Scotland | techstart | Supporting tech start-ups across the UK

 

Umi Debt Finance Scotland

This funding includes UMi Debt Finance Scotland, which is managed by UMi Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government and provides loans of £25,001 to £250,000 to eligible businesses.

Loans can be used for a variety of purposes, including:

  • working capital
  • capital expenditure
  • growth funding

See: SME Business Loans | UMi Debt Finance Scotland (weareumifinance.scot)

 

Msip Accelerator Programme

The third cohort of this programme is now open for applications. The MSIP Accelerator programme will support a cohort of up to 15 companies that have developed products, prototypes or investor-ready solutions focused on sustainable mobility. The programme includes a range of workshops, interactive sessions and mentoring which offer each team access to industry insights and experience to ensure the success of their growth ambitions.

See: Innovation – Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc, Dundee (MSIP) (msipdundee.com)

 

How To Use Data And Data Science To Improve Your Business

The Data Lab can help you gain the skills to use data and data science to improve your business. This is an opportunity to learn about data science technologies and the latest trends and developments.

Many organisations don’t know where to start when it comes to data science. This course will help businesses discover:

  • the value of personal data
  • how organisations drive value from data
  • how organisations can drive value from artificial intelligence (AI)
  • How data can improve decision making and operations
  • how to create a data strategy

See: How to use data and data science to improve your business (findbusinesssupport.gov.scot)

 

Low Carbon Manufacturing Challenge Fund

The Low Carbon Manufacturing Challenge Fund is for any company with a manufacturing base in Scotland that wishes to pursue business growth by developing low carbon products, processes, or services. This may be achieved through pure research and development (R&D), capital investment or environmental aid support.

This grant is primarily focused on supporting projects that will help the transition to a low carbon economy. This may include, but is not limited to, developing:

  • a new product or service, or introducing new technology that will use less energy, produce less waste, reduce emissions, and use less raw material in its manufacture than the existing alternative
  • a new product or service which will use less energy, produce less waste, reduce emissions, and use less raw material in its end use than the existing alternative
  • new business models based on the principles of the circular economy – for example, through circular supplies, resource recovery, product life extension, use of sharing platforms or delivery of ‘product-as-a-service’

Funding is available until 31 March 2026.

This grant is part of Making Scotland’s Future activity, a programme led by Scottish Government and delivered by a range of partners including Scottish Enterprise, to help Scottish manufacturers grow and thrive.

See: Low Carbon Manufacturing Challenge Fund (findbusinesssupport.gov.scot)

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