Thursday 30th October

Record crowdfunding investment sought for new film

A team of writers, directors and producers are hoping to finance the development of a feature film with £3 million finance from crowdfunding platform CrowdBnk....

A team of writers, directors and producers are hoping to finance the development of a feature film with £3 million from crowdfunding platform CrowdBnk.

If successful it would the biggest amount raised on any crowdfunding platform for a film production.

The feature, entitled Black Flash, tells the story of Laurie Cunningham who became one of the first black professional footballers to play for England. Real Madrid and Manchester United were among the many clubs he played for.

Recently retired football player and current pundit Jason Roberts has signed as associate producer for the film.

Rapper and actor Ashley Walters is in line to play the lead character, while the crew have approached James Cordon to play Cunningham’s manager at West Bromwich Albion Ron Atkinson.

If the crowdfunding round is successful, most of the money will go towards the production of the film and the provision of production services to third parties.

The team says investors will be playing an active role in addressing racism in football.

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Technology predictions for 2015

Tristen Rogers, chief executive of enterprise collaboration platform Concrete, describes some of the big changes happening the technology sector in 2015....

Tristen Rogers, chief executive of enterprise collaboration platform Concrete, describes some of the big changes happening the technology sector in 2015.

Omnichannel inside the business

After so much focus on consumer empowerment this past year, 2015 will see more businesses providing their internal teams with the alignment and tools they need to cope with an ever faster, more demanding customer.

Customers are now connecting with their brands via a number of different platforms, which means that businesses will need to adopt a similar omnichannel approach for their own internal processes to ensure they are fully aligned with their customers’ expectations.

Social goes useful

We’ve seen social chat tools for the enterprise gaining traction in the US this year – and they are now spreading to the UK as well.

2015 will see the next evolution of these social chat tools, with businesses integrating social business platforms alongside their other internal systems. Solutions like these will not only let employees ‘chat’ across an internal intranet, but will also enable them to work together on projects at the same time online, thereby increasing collaboration and visibility for employees at all levels.

Everything in the cloud

With Google, Microsoft and now even Apple entering the cloud storage business, we won’t see a slowdown in cloud-based working in 2015.

Trusting teams' information in the cloud is swiftly becoming a viable and secure option for more and more businesses, with the benefits for those who made the move first already obvious. No hardware, no maintenance, just an SLA and unprecedented flexibility – this trend will continue to grow.

The beginning of the end for files

Phones and phablets already hate files; on mobile devices, files lock information behind unnecessary barriers, present information badly and offer little opportunity to work on the move.

As mobile devices and consumerised IT increasingly become the norm for working life, we will see more and more need for IT to ‘Googlise’ the information in the business, providing open, searchable text, image and video via suitable enterprise software that lets people get on with work - instead of wading through the latest file versions.

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Click and Collect to dominate online retail this Christmas

Some 95% of consumers will be using click and collect services to pick up gifts and other purchases this Christmas, according to a survey by Postcode Anywhere....

Some 95% of consumers will be using click and collect services to pick up gifts and other purchases this Christmas, according to a survey by Postcode Anywhere.

Of the 2,400 respondents to the survey only 5% said they wouldn’t use the service for festive purchases.

Chief reasons for its popularity including now having to wait for delivery days and avoiding the cost of shipping.

Guy Mucklow, CEO of Postcode Anywhere, said: “We know from our own research that the cost of delivery and inconvenient delivery times are the two biggest obstacles of online shopping, making click and collect an increasingly attractive option.

“For retailers there is the added benefit of increased footfall – something that the rise in online shopping has harnessed. Studies have found that 40% of consumers are proven to pick up something extra in store.”

In other findings from the research, Argos was considered to have the best click and collect offering, while the top three items purchased were gadgets, household technology and shoes.

Click and collect is far more popular in the UK than in the US. Across the pond only 9% have used it and 88% have never even heard of the service.

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Wednesday 29th October

For brand simplicity 'follow ALDI and Lidl'

UK companies need to rethink their marketing strategies to make messages simpler, research by Siegel+Gale an international branding company....

UK companies need to rethink their marketing strategies to make messages simpler, research by Siegel+Gale an international branding company.

Siegel+Gale’s fifth annual Global Brand Simplicity Index, launched today, shows that UK businesses are absent from the top 10 companies with the best brand communications.

Research based on feedback from 12,300 consumers in eight countries, 1,750 from the UK, showed that German firms like ALDI, LIDL and Miele had brands that were easier to understand.

The simplicity index measures perceptions about brands’ products, services, interactions and communications. In the UK German supermarkets are chipping away market share, in part because of their clear no-nonsense offering.

“In the UK, it is well documented that German discounters Aldi and Lidl are stealing market share from the bigger supermarkets. This research suggests that one of the key reasons for this lies in the simplicity of their branding,” said the report.

The research also pointed to a new breed of start-ups which are challenging established players and have simplicity at the core of their offering.

Key elements offered by these businesses, according to the report, are empowering people, reimagining experience, removing friction and saving time.

The research found that the world’s most successful start-ups, including AirBNB, Nest and Uber embody these characteristics.

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UK growth ‘slow but solid’, says CBI

Business group the CBI says UK growth is “slow but solid” despite its figures pointing a slowdown across all industry sectors....

Business group the CBI says UK growth is “slow but solid” despite its figures pointing a slowdown across all industry sectors.

Research by the organisation involving 749 large UK businesses revealed slower growth across the board in the third quarter of the year, with manufacturing particularly weak because of drying up export orders from the Eurozone.

But the research showed that more businesses were experiencing growth than not. The positive balance of 19% was only slightly down on last month’s balance of 23%.

Businesses were also confident of future growth with a balance of 25% predicting slightly stronger results; in September the balance was 27%.

But the CBI admitted that many businesses had scaled back expectations; in August the balance was 38%.

The results will add to fears that poor economic performances across Europe could be impacting on the UK’s economy and that growth will be hindered in coming months.

“The economy is continuing to grow at a slower, but nonetheless solid pace,” Rain Newton-Smith, CBI director of economics.

“This isn’t surprising since we expected growth to tail off somewhat in the second half after a strong start to the year. Despite all the international headwinds, it’s encouraging to see our surveys showing a steady expansion in the UK economy.

“Nonetheless…faced with huge political and economic uncertainties, ranging from a weak Eurozone, a deteriorating outlook for emerging markets and an increasingly febrile geo-political climate, it’s little wonder that firms have been gradually scaling back their predictions for growth.”

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London studio launches five games in five weeks

A London-based games studio says it will launch five new games in five weeks, thanks to a 100% outsourced business model allowing to go from concept to launch in less than two months....

A London-based games studio says it will launch five new games in five weeks, thanks to a 100% outsourced business model allowing it to go from concept to launch in less than two months.

Captain Spinks Games will release its first title tomorrow and will release a new product each Thursday for five weeks in a row. The first game is entitled ‘Adrian the Ant & the Sugar Factory’.

“Two months ago Captain Spinks Games was just an idea and now we’re ready to launch 5 games.” said Captain Spinks founder Michael Rodwell.

He added: “It’s amazing how fast Captain Spinks Games has progressed. Outsourcing and App Reskinning has transformed an idea into reality in such a short space of time.”

Captain Spinks Games operates with a completely outsourced global workforce which collaborates to create the games’ subject matter, app development and business objectives.

The approach has enabled the business to create its ambitious launch schedule. Being in different time zones means the team can work on projects around the clock and meet tight deadlines, it said.

The games will be made available in the Apple App store and Google Play.

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Tuesday 28th October

FSB wants ministers to know #ibacksmallbusinesses

Small businesses have turned to social media to lump pressure on the main political parties ahead of next year’s general election in the UK....

Small businesses have turned to social media to lump pressure on the main political parties ahead of next year’s general election in the UK.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has launched the hashtag #ibacksmallbusinesses on Twitter to publicise its manifesto for entrepreneurs and start-ups.

The main points of the campaign are:

1. Deliver a sustained economic recovery

2. Rebalance the economy

3. Create high quality jobs and full employment

4. Make all markets work better

5. Lower the cost of doing business

John Allan, national chairman of the FSB, said: “This is a unique opportunity for those wishing to win a seat in the next Parliament to talk directly with small business owners via social media.

"Our business manifesto is the product of months of direct engagement with real small businesses. It plainly outlines what the next Government needs to do to support entrepreneurs seeking to start a new business or grow an existing firm.

The group has also created a website to push its message to the next government. See the link below for details.

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Victoria Beckham named ‘entrepreneur of the year’

Management Today Magazine has put Victoria Beckham, formerly known as Posh Spice, atop its list of Britain’s top 100 entrepreneurs in 2014....

Management Today Magazine has put Victoria Beckham, formerly known as Posh Spice, atop its list of Britain’s top 100 entrepreneurs in 2014.

Mrs Beckham, wife of the England football great David, took first place in the run down due to her eponymous fashion business soaring in revenue and staff numbers.

In five years ‘Victoria Beckham’ has increased sales from £1 million to £30 million, while headcount has leapt from three to 100 in the same timeframe.

In a notable step for the brand, it also recently opened a flagship shop in Mayfair, arguably the most exclusive part of London.

According to Philip Beresford, the MT 100 author who also compiles the Sunday Times Rich List, the UK’s 100 bets entrepreneurs employ a total of 158,189, a rise of 61,556 in five years.

The top 100 boast a collective turnover of about £25 billion, well above the 2011 total of just £10 billion, according to the report.

Concluding, Mr Beresford wrote: “The one fact that unites all our MT 100 - whatever region or sector they belong to - is their demonstrable record of success.

“But with the economic recovery still fragile, they will need to draw on all their resilience and experience to keep growing. We can only pray that they succeed.”

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Monday 27th October

UK firms drop £5.6bn ‘by not adapting smart tech’

Companies could save a total of £5.6 billion in the next 12 months by adopting smarter technologies, according to a new report by Samsung....

Companies could save a total of £5.6 billion in the next 12 months by adopting smarter technologies, according to a new report by Samsung.

The Smart Society Barometer suggests firms could save an average £81,000 each by adopting more efficient products and systems in every part of their business.

Research for the report also found that one in 10 businesses are yet to adopt any smart tech. Samsung calculates that, taken together, the figures add up to a £10 billion deficit in the UK economy.

Andy Griffiths president of Samsung UK & Ireland, said: “Smart technology adoption is happening and where it is being used most effectively, the benefits are already being felt both by individuals and businesses.

He added: “If we are to accelerate as a smart society, we need to fully understand how to get the most out of this technology.”

In other findings from the research, more than one in four businesses said they had lost out on business because they lacked the necessary technology. The figure rises to more than one in three four businesses in the financial sector.

The research quizzed 1,000 businesses and 2,500 members of the public.

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Fintech firm launches new crowdfunding platform

Fintech firm launches new crowdfunding platform...

A UK financial technology (fintech) business has launched a crowdfunding platform aimed at “sophisticated investors” and private businesses of all sizes.

Fireflock.com was founded by investor Callum Campbell and its stated objective is to becoming a “leading source of growth capital”.

The platform gives businesses seeking investment a 60-day online roadshow, allowing entrepreneurs to advertise their business and sell their vision.

Investors have access to a trove of important information such as business plans, financial projections, director profiles, and interactive discussion forums.

Founder Callum Campbell said: “Equity crowdfunding has experienced tremendous growth since inception: growth which has served to validate the model.

“A more professional approach is now required to ensure that companies not only have access to capital but are able to build the knowledgeable and experienced investor base required to scale.”

Fireflock is based at Level 39, Canada Square in London’s Canary Wharf, and Europe’s largest accelerator for FinTech companies.

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