UK Business Bulletin
UK Business Bulletin
This is our 15th edition of the UK Business Bulletin. We have unashamedly promoted what is best about Britain and doing business there. This month we take a look at the Olympic legacy and a new bank in town. There is also the latest on the British economy and a “A Global View from HSBC” on Trade and Investment matters that affect the UK and New Zealand.
In this bulletin:
• Latest from the British Business Embassy
• Olympics, we’re there, but what happens after?
• Maths learning challenges eased by UK/NZ companies
• Cash boost brings new life to UK robotics
• The secrets of a technology phenomenon
• M&S Bank to launch in summer 2012
• New Zealand hosts key global Agricultural Biotech Conference
• Finally the latest from London on the British Economy
This month as part of the Great Campaign, we are highlighting Sport, obviously, as it’s the start of the Olympics. Fitting really that the first sport of the games was football, NZ Women v GB Women at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
Latest from the British Business Embassy
Billions of pounds of UK investment announced as the Global Investment Conference opens for business at the British Business Embassy
• British Business Embassy brings together nearly 4000 world leaders, policy makers and investors to London.
• New owners of Battersea Power Station announce £8 billion development and expected 33,000 jobs.
• UK inward investment results show jobs generated by inward investment up by a fifth to over 112,000. China is now the third largest source of inward investment projects.
• Over £1 billion of deals and projects expected to be announced this summer as businesses capitalise on the Olympics.
• UK businesses attending the British Business Embassy expected to benefit by another £1 billion in the years to come.
£29 MILLION FOR LIFE SCIENCES RESEARCH ANNOUNCED AT BRITISH BUSINESS EMBASSY
• Olympic drug-testing labs to be converted into permanent research centre.
• £10 million to support academics and SMEs explore the market potential of scientific ideas.
• £19 million to create four e-health research centres.
Ministers will announce substantial new funding awards to boost the UK life sciences industry, as UK and international delegates meet in London for the British Business Embassy Life Sciences summit.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley and Universities and Science Minister David Willetts announced that the first awards totalling £10 million from Government’s £180 million Biomedical Catalyst have been awarded to fourteen UK universities and 18 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). These awards from the Medical Research Council and the Technology Strategy Board will support UK academics and businesses on the first vital step in exploring the market potential of their early-stage scientific ideas.
David Willetts also announced that the Medical Research Council and a consortium of 10 UK Government and charity research funders have invested £19 million to establish four e-health research centres in London, Manchester, Dundee and Swansea. The new centres will enable the UK to make more effective use of electronic health data – a field with huge possibilities for health care delivery and the understanding of disease.
Olympics, we’re there, but what happens after?
The “greatest show on Earth” - the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games – has begun in the UK.
But what is to happen to the specifically built venues after both Games finish and all the competitors and thousands of spectators go home?
In fact, the 2012 Games have created an “Olympic record” even before the first day, because by January 2012, six permanent Olympic venues had their future legacy secured - a first for any host Olympic city.
Two of them, the Olympic Stadium and the Aquatics Centre will be the first areas to offer cultural and sporting events from 2013 onwards at Stratford, east London.
The Olympic Stadium continues running - it will host the World Athletic Championships in 2017 and is available for grassroots sports and world-class athletes next year, along with the dramatically designed Aquatics Centre that expects 800,000 visitors a year.
The first venue to be used for an international tournament after the Games is the Lee Valley Hockey Centre in north London that will host the 2015 European Hockey Championships, becoming England Hockey’s national events venue. It will contain two hockey pitches, four indoor and six outdoor tennis centres, and five-a-side football pitches.
But it is not only the sporting venues that are going to provide lasting benefits. London’s largest film and TV studios, the 3 Mills Studio in the Olympics borough, has become the home of the London 2012 Ceremonies Team during the Games, creating 450 jobs and, after, will continue providing facilities for the creative and media industries.
The International Broadcast Centre will be a 24-hour hub for about 20,000 media people who will bring the Games to an estimated four billion viewers and listeners worldwide. It has been designed with the intention that it can easily be adapted for any type of use. It has 91,500 square metres of business space that is intended to become a main employment area after the Games.
An even more dramatic future is in line for the eye-catching ArcelorMittal Orbit tower that is 114 metres tall and set to become a top London visitor location, in every sense. Not only will the tower provide visitors with glorious views across London from the UK’s tallest sculpture, but it will also be able to cater for conferences and events.
Compared with other Olympic sites across the world that still lie empty or badly under-used, many experts are saying it is an achievement for London to have such plans in place before the Games have even begun.
For the full article click here
Source: The London Press Service, UKTI
Maths learning challenges eased by UK/NZ companies
New Zealand educational supplier Real Special Ltd has teamed up with Power of 2 from the UK to help increase the offering of resources for dyslexic students and students with other learning needs in New Zealand.
Real Special Ltd is an internet-based company offering a range of specialised books and software for use in the home or school to help those with learning difficulties such as dyscalculia, dyslexia, autism, memory problems and sensory impairment issues. Their latest addition is a web-based product called 123maths. As the first online product being offered through their website, Real Special Ltd is thrilled to take on this new venture as part of the company’s recent expansion.
123maths was developed by UK company Power of 2, based on their books which help enable all people to succeed with maths. The books this programme is based on have been received positively in the UK, with 20,000 copies sold and 80% of sales being repeat orders.
Real Special Ltd and Power of 2 have developed a strong working relationship from opposite sides of the world. “There are many similarities between New Zealand and the UK which has made doing business quite simple”, says Carole Bennett from Real Special Ltd. The two companies were introduced through the business opportunities service provided by UK Trade & Investment. David found the service provided him with an established route to market, while for Real Special Ltd, the business opportunity listing was an efficient way to find new products to add to their offering.
Although there are differences in the British and New Zealand education systems, Carole, one of the Real Special Ltd directors, explains that 123maths develops the building blocks of mathematics which means differing curricula is not an issue. Selling an online product also has the benefit of providing more efficient delivery to customers.
For David Sharp, Director of Power of 2, the benefits of an online product were clear for both his company and the end consumers as time differences are no longer inhibitive to doing business, stating "We felt our online product would be ideally suited to the New Zealand education market as it can be accessed anywhere at any time”.
With maths, the basics are always required before tackling more advanced topics. 123maths recognises that an apparent lack of understanding in a current topic may be the result of a gap in past learning. The programme aims to fill the gaps in a child’s knowledge, also leading to increased confidence in the student.
For Real Special Ltd, being able to really transform people’s lives is one of the motivations for their business. By collaborating with Power of 2, they have gained yet another tool for their route to success.
Cash boost brings new life to UK robotics
Funding of 16 million pounds to research aimed at developing smart machines that think for themselves has been announced as part of a partnership between government and industry in the UK.
This research includes safe ways of monitoring in dangerous environments such as deep-sea installations and nuclear power plants, “nurse-bots” that assist patients in hospitals, and aerial vehicles that can monitor national borders or detect pollution.
Robotics research and the development of intelligent autonomous systems - such as unmanned aircraft - are vital to many major UK companies, emerging industries, and small-to-medium-size businesses - from advanced manufacturing to oil and gas exploration, nuclear energy to railways and automotive, and healthcare to defence.
Autonomous and intelligent systems are capable of independent action in dynamic, unpredictable environments. They interact with each other and humans, using sensors to learn from their environment, adapting their behaviour and making choices based on their immediate and stored knowledge and experiences.
Speaking at the official opening of the Bristol Robotics Laboratory at the University of the West of England, the Minister for Universities & Science, David Willetts, announced funding for 22 exciting university-based research projects in the UK.
Led by the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and an eight-strong group of partners, the investment has more than four million pounds in support from industry. This will include access to specialist laboratories, equipment, expertise and advice on commercialisation and industrialisation. The partners are BAE Systems, Schlumberger, the National Nuclear Laboratory, Sellafield Ltd, Network Rail, SCISYS, DSTL and the UK Space Agency.
For the full article click here
Source: Ray Cooling, The London Press Service, UKTI
The secrets of a technology phenomenon
Key ingredients for the astonishing success of the “technology cluster” based around the university city of Cambridge in eastern England have been identified by one of its leading players.
According to Charles Cotton, the rise and impact of the Cambridge technology cluster has been based firstly on a “cultural shift in views about commerce when the University of Cambridge began actively encouraging academics to pursue non-academic roles”.
One of the first tenants in the city’s Science Park - the first of its kind in the United Kingdom - Cambridge Consultants was set up with the avowed aim of placing the expertise of the university at the disposal of industry.
Today, serial entrepreneurs such as Greg Winter (Cambridge Antibody Technology), Shankar Balasubramanian (Solexa) and Andy Hopper (Acorn Computers and Virata) are also active professors inspiring the next generation of students.
Secondly, Cotton said, entrepreneur activity had become more attractive as the environment of the cluster helped overcome “the inherent British fear of failure”. “Setting up a business, particularly one based on a novel technology, is inherently risky”, he acknowledged.
“We have now developed a better understanding of the nature of failure and distinguish between external events, such as loss of funding after the bursting of the dot.com bubble, and internal factors such as poor decisions - which can be learned from - and this has increased confidence. Soft-starts, where technology is developed within a company before being spun out, have also successfully de-risked technology for many investors,” he added.
The third factor he identified is what he called the “Cambridge Spirit” - a willingness to collaborate and share knowledge. This was particularly evident in the growth of Angel groups in which serial entrepreneurs offer experience and finance, providing a nurturing environment for young companies.
Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, vice-chancellor of Cambridge University, agreed about the role of the university, saying: “The contribution of technology to quality of life is as important as the economic benefits.
For the full article click here
Source: David Welsh, The London Press Service, UKTI
“ A Global View from HSBC”
M&S Bank to launch in summer 2012
This summer will mark the arrival of M&S Bank - bringing the trusted Marks & Spencer brand values to banking and offering customers a new choice of bank on the UK high street.
Over the next two years, 50 M&S Bank branches will open in M&S stores across the UK, with the first branch scheduled to open in July at Marks & Spencer's flagship Marble Arch store.
Branches will be open twice as long as traditional high street banks; mirroring M&S store opening hours and enabling customers to bank while they shop, seven days a week. Customers will benefit from 24 hour access to online banking, as well as UK based call centres.
A current account will be made available from autumn 2012 and customers can pre-register their interest in July, mortgages will be offered by the bank at a later date. Over 3 million customers already use M&S Money products, including credit cards, loans and savings. Research amongst its Premium Club customers revealed that over 70% found the idea of an M&S current account appealing.*
Marc Bolland, Chief Executive at Marks & Spencer said: "M&S is one of the most trusted brands on the UK high street and we've achieved this by continually listening and responding to the needs of our 21 million customers. This bank will be built on M&S values; putting the customer at the heart of the proposition and delivering the exceptional service that sets us apart from the competition."
Colin Kersley, Chief Executive of the new M&S Bank, added: "We know loyal M&S customers will be genuinely excited by the prospect of banking with their favourite retailer. With over 25 years financial services experience, M&S Bank is the natural next step for M&S Money and will provide customers with a credible, alternative choice in the banking sector."
In addition to its strong retail heritage, M&S Bank has the support of one of the world's most successful and financially strong banks - HSBC.
Joe Garner, Head of HSBC in the UK, commented: "This is our most significant innovation in retail banking since we launched First Direct over 22 years ago. It is concrete evidence of HSBC increasing innovation, competition and investment in the UK."
The launch of M&S Bank will create 500 new UK roles by the end of 2013. This includes 400 customer-facing roles in branches across the country and around 100 roles at the company's Chester based head office.
Each branch will be managed by a dedicated M&S Bank team and will feature private meeting areas, self service banking points, as well as a bureau de change. The aim is to create, a relaxed, modern banking environment for customers, with personal touches such as M&S furniture and fresh flowers.
The M&S Money brand, along with its existing product portfolio, will be re-branded to M&S Bank later this year. For more information visit the M&S Money website at:
The above material has been provided for general information only and does not constitute personalised investment advice. Although every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy, it should not be relied upon or used as a basis for entering into any products or making any investment decisions. Readers should seek independent legal/financial advice prior to acting in relation to any of the matters discussed in this publication. Neither HSBC nor any person involved in this publication accepts any liability for any loss or damage whatsoever that may directly or indirectly result from any advice, opinion, information, representation or omission, whether negligent or otherwise, contained in this publication. HSBC in New Zealand is The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, incorporated in the Hong Kong SAR with limited liability, acting through its New Zealand branch.
Large UK presence at key global Agricultural Biotech Conference
ABIC, the world’s top agbiotech conference, is taking place in Rotorua in September, hosted by New Zealand’s biotechnology industry organisation NZBIO with support from its Australian counterpart AusBiotech
This is an opportunity to meet the key players involved in technologies that will fast track the development of affordable bio-based products including bio fuels.
With the global industrial biotechnology industry set to grow by more than 400 per cent over the next five years, ABIC 2012 organisers say the industry’s potential to revolutionise sectors such as energy and consumer products will be an important topic in Rotorua.
“In those areas, there is a huge flowering of research and business uniting organisations ranging from chemical companies to agbiotech firms and energy providers, says Elspeth MacRae, General Manager Manufacturing and Bioproducts at crown research institute Scion, and a member of the ABIC programme committee.
Among the international leaders confirmed to attend the agricultural biotechnology event is Dr Gunter Festel, the founder of Swiss-based investment firm Festel Capital, which is putting considerable capital into bio energy projects. Also attending is Michael Christiansen who heads the China arm of Novozymes, producer of a wide range of bio solutions, including enzymes suitable for bio fuel production. Additionally, United States energy crop producer Ceres is sending its Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Richard Flavell.
UK Trade & Investment want to talk to NZ companies who are seeking collaborations with UK agricultural biotechnology organisations and are interested in investing in Britain
Up to 400 internationally represented delegates and 60 experts are expected to attend including a large delegation from the Asia Pacific region, the United States and the UK.
More information about ABIC can be found at http://www.abic2012.com/ or please contact Paul Tuckley, UKTI Trade Development Manager
DDI +64 9 303 5017
Mobile +64 21 337778
UK Economic Brief
The Office of National Statistics today released a preliminary estimate for Gross Domestic Product(GDP) in Q2, 2012. It showed that the UK economy contracted by -0.7 per cent.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne said;
“ We all know the country has deep-rooted economic problems and these disappointing figures confirm that. We’re dealing with our debts at home and the debt crisis abroad. We’ve made progress over the last two years in cutting the deficit by 25% and businesses have created over 800,000 new jobs. But given what’s happening in the world we need a relentless focus on the economy and recent announcements on infrastructure and lending show that’s exactly what we’re doing.”
The IMF indicated Britain’s economic outlook has deteriorated faster than any other G8 country, marking down their growth forecasts to just 0.2% this year and 1.4% in 2013. The 0.6pp reduction in growth both this year and next, was among the biggest seen in the IMF’s interim forecast update, and reflects weak GDP numbers seen so far this year and larger spillovers from the eurozone crisis. According to the IMF urgent policy action is needed to boost spending and increase investment if the economy is to avoid a long depression and a "permanent loss of productive capacity".
Hong Kong’s biggest tycoon Li Ka-shing is to make a $1bn (£646m) investment in a UK gas company. This is a major vote of confidence in the UK as an investment destination from the UK’s single biggest inward investor, just a week after his infrastructure company’s interim results statement hailed the “outstanding contributions from UK businesses” to their profits.