Colors: Purple Color

The Crystal Maze LIVE Experience, set up by leisure and attractions company, Little Lion Entertainment, is firmly focused on the future as it welcomes a new Managing Director, Glen Mintrim, to help further grow the brand and drive it forward.

Since opening its London site in 2016, following a successful crowdfunding campaign, The Crystal Maze LIVE Experience has only increased in popularity with those travelling across the country to experience the 90’s nostalgia. This surge in bookings led to the Crystal Maze LIVE Experience opening in Manchester on 1st April 2017 to enable more people to work against the clock to solve both mental and physical challenges to win crystals in each of the four themed zones.

Glen Mintrim, former managing director of STA Travel’s UK business, will take the helm with a focus on experience operations to exceed Crystal Maze LIVE’s commercial success, particularly in the competitive corporate event industry.

Keen to hit the ground running in his new role, Glen comments: “Being a part of such a unique company is a welcomed challenge; I’m ready to get stuck in. Seeing how quickly The Crystal Maze LIVE Experience has become so well-known indicates that there are only good things to come.

“In the 90’s I loved the TV show so it was a dream to race through the Aztec zone and try to grab those crystals! Unfortunately, I wasn’t quick enough to make it onto the leaderboard - maybe next time!”

Having previously worked at companies such as Emirates, TUI and British Airways, Glen is eager to put down roots in Manchester after travelling around the world and studying in both Dubai and South Africa.

Welcoming Glen’s appointment, CEO Tom Lionetti-Maguire said: “We are excited to have Glen joining the Little Lion Entertainment Family. We are not a big faceless corporation, so one of our main focuses with That Crystal Maze LIVE Experience brand is that we are a team because every employee matters, and has such a key role to play, which is especially true in Glen’s case.

“As our Manchester site reaches its first birthday, it’s all hands on deck to ensure our growth continues so we look forward to Glen’s input, especially with his worldwide business exposure. We’re excited to see what the next year brings – be sure to expect unexpected news!’

Four full themed adventure zones, a crystal dome and over 30 maze masters at each site ensure the ultimate experience as groups of eight enter the maze every seven minutes. As of late, The Crystal Maze LIVE Experience has seen a growth in commercial bookings of both sites for corporate away days as more companies are searching for a unique experience to further team bonding.

More than 20 West Midlands companies have made their first steps towards trading with countries in South East Asia after meeting export experts who flew in from the region.

The Fast-Track Your Growth in South East Asia event saw more than 70 one-to-one meetings take place in Birmingham between a wide range of local companies and trade advisers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Organised by the ERDF SME International Growth Project and Britain in South East Asia (BiSEA), the event was hailed a success as the experts said a number of businesses were already in a good position to start – or grow – their exports in the next financial year.

Peter Rimmer, executive director of the British Business Group Vietnam, said: “It has been a really useful event, seeing a good selection of clients, some who are very ready to start trading, while others will need a little longer to begin.”

Olivia Widen, of the British Chamber of Commerce Singapore, said: “The UK’s key strengths are in areas such as education, technology, healthcare, aerospace and renewable energy. There’s a misconception about the difficulties of accessing the South East Asia markets, but it is far easier than China, for example.”

Andy Smith, International Relationships Manager for the ERDF SME International Growth Project, said: “Local businesses are really opening up to the possibilities in the South East Asia region, which is the fastest-growing in the world. We were pleased to see so many companies from many sectors who have the ambition to see what opportunities there are.

“There’s no substitute for speaking to the trade advisers from the regions because they have the expertise and contacts to help them get on the right route for exporting.”

VisitEngland and the National Autistic Society and England’s Inclusive Tourism Action Group are launching a web-based guide to help tourism businesses overcome barriers to welcoming autistic people.

The ‘Welcoming Autistic People’ guide will help tourism operators to increase business by better understanding autism and making appropriate improvements.

VisitEngland Director Andrew Stokes said: 

“By following the tips in this new guide, businesses can offer autistic people and their families and friends the very best experiences when visiting our attractions, accommodation and tourism businesses, increasing the value this important sector brings to tourism and the economy across England.” 

Daniel Cadey, Autism Access Development Manager at the National Autistic Society, said: 

“We were delighted to have been able to work on this important guide for businesses that will benefit autistic people and their families. 

“Over 700,000 people are on the autism spectrum in the UK and many would love to visit heritage sites and other tourist attractions but are prevented from doing so because unfamiliar and unpredictable places make them extremely anxious. Our recent research revealed that 79% of autistic people and 70% of family members feel socially isolated because they are unable to access places others take for granted. “ 

The Welcoming Autistic People guide provides tourism businesses with tips and practical advice including the provision of visual stories, quiet spaces, ear defenders and sensory backpacks to help autistic people and their families prepare for and enjoy a visit.

VisitEngland research in 2015 showed that £12 billion was spent on trips where a member of the party had an impairment.

To download the guide go to

Selling your home is one of the most stressful things we go through in life, second only to weddings and funerals. Not only do you have to organise your finances and pick a new place to call home, you also need to sell your existing home to make all of this possible.

Open House is becoming an increasingly popular way to sell your home among working professionals and busy parents. Inviting all prospective buyers to view your property on a single day means less inconvenience for you and creates a competitive atmosphere which often leads to buyers placing higher offers.

We wouldn’t want you to go to all the trouble of getting your home ready and have no one show up, that’s why we go above and beyond to market our Open House events.

We manage the Open House every step of the way, leaving you to get on with your property search.

Even if you don’t accept any of the offers placed on the day, an Open House provides a good indication of the level of buyer interest in your home, what they are prepared to pay so you can ascertain whether the asking price is accurate.

The process begins with the sending of post and email invitations to our extensive buyer database. We then telephone customers who we know are actively looking for properties like yours to notify them of the event. The local press will then be asked to feature your Open House to ensure we get as many attendees as possible.

Open Houses aren’t just open to Romans buyers but to the general public, meaning you can attract a wide range of buyers. As buyers don’t need to make an appointment you are also more likely to attract a wider range of people including those who just happen to be passing by.

On the day of the Open House, our agents run the show. They will guide the attendees through the property and answer any questions they may have. Whether you attend the event is completely up to you, but you can rest assured that your property is in safe hands.

The magic of an Open House is the competitive atmosphere it creates, much like a good clothing sale. It’s surprising how many buyers will make on the spot offers to ensure they can buy their perfect home. The agents on-site will look after all negotiations on your behalf, helping you achieve the best possible price for your property and often giving you a choice of buyers.

The Asian Business Chamber of Commerce (ABCC) have welcomed Qasim Majid as their new president for 2018-19. Qasim takes over from Saqib Bhatti, who served as ABCC president for four years.

Originally from Manchester, Qasim has been an active member of the ABCC since moving to Birmingham in 2002 when he founded his digital marketing agency Wow Zone.

He has previously served as the ABCC’s vice-president and is currently the vice-chairman of the Ronald McDonald House Charities Birmingham.

Qasim said: “My message is a simple one, the ABCC, first and foremost is a business organisation. We are here to support our members get better connected to opportunities and build their networks.

“If we focus on building long lasting, meaningful relationships, and add value to one another, we won’t go far wrong.

“I thank our members, sponsors and partners for supporting our organisation over the years. The ABCC wouldn’t be where it is today, without your unwavering support.”

Qasim will be joined by Haseena Lockhat and Lakhbir Singh, as the Chamber’s new vice-presidents.

Haseena currently works as a consultant clinical psychologist at Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, serves as a panel member for the West Midlands Police Independent Advisory Group and is the chair of Mosaic Network.

Haseena said: “At such an exciting time in Birmingham, where growth and development of the Second City is on an all-time high, I am looking forward to stepping up my involvement within the ABCC executive committee, in my role of VP.”

Currently working as a relationship director for Barclays, Lakhbir has held a number of managerial roles in the finance industry, including regional and business manager roles at BCRS Business Loans and Barclays. This is his first committee position, having served on the ABCC board since 2015.

Lakhbir said: “It's a great honour to be elected to be vice-president at the ABCC. I've been involved in the ABCC for the past three years now and I look forward to the new challenge of the vice-president’s role.

“The Chamber offer great support for businesses and I look forward to being a part of this.”

The new executive committee also includes Aftab Chughtai MBE, Gurmeet Jakhu, Dr Nasir Awan MBE, DL, Neelam Afzal, Omer Simjee, Prithpal Saimbi, Ravinder Masih, Ruzwan Boota, Sunny Araf, Amandeep Hyare and Steve Brittan.

Andy Street, West Midlands mayor, said: “I congratulate the ABCC on the election of Qasim Majid as their new president.

“The ABCC have a great track record of promoting business across the region and giving a voice to the vibrant Asian business community.

“I wish the ABCC all the best and hope they continue the great work they have been doing in promoting business and enterprise, in particular in encouraging diversity and more women to start up in business.”


As part of the Black Country Business Festival, Walsall College are inviting local businesses to attend its Skills Summit panel discussion on Monday 30th April to discuss the skills gaps both within their organisation and across the region.

The event, which includes an expert panel, will take place at Walsall College’s Business and Sports Hub between 4pm – 6pm.

The aim of the panel discussion is for local business to network and share where their organisations have experienced skills gaps. Delegates will be given the chance to influence the direction of the skills agenda and find solutions to recruitment challenges.

During the event, Walsall College will share results from their independently commissioned report on local labour market workforce, which also reveals predictions for key growth occupations.

The Skills Summit is also an opportunity for local businesses to hear from those who have successfully identified and mitigated skills gaps in their businesses, and how organisations are using the apprenticeship levy.

Headed by James Norris, the College’s Assistant Principal, the expert panel includes a wide range of apprentice recruitment professionals from a local organisations that have been significant business growth through apprenticeships.

The panel composed of Mark Stone (Apprentice Recruitment and CSR Manager at Perkins Engine), Helena Baxter (Project Officer for Walsall Council’s Apprenticeship Programme) and Rachel Andrew (Head of Learning and Development at Dudley Group of Hospitals)

Laura Myatt, a former Walsall College student who is now an apprentice engineer at Perkins Engines, will also join the panel to talk about how an apprenticeship has helped her start a career in a field she is passionate about.

Business of all sizes can attend the event, and will be of benefit to those with responsibility for training, such as financial director and training managers.

James Norris, Walsall College’s Assistant Principal in Commercial Development, said: “In the Black Country, 66 per cent of employers report that they have skills shortages, indicating that technical, practical and job specific skills are an issue with skilled trades the most difficult vacancies to fill.

The Skills Summit is a great opportunity for local businesses to work together to address the skills gap across the West Midlands, and discuss the benefits of apprenticeships.

Responding to employer needs is one of our highest priorities here at Walsall College. The event is a chance for us to listen to employers about what they require from the next generation of workers. This will feed into our curriculum to ensure that students are equipped with the skills to not only build a successful future for themselves, but to also drive prosperity for West Midlands area.

A drastic fall in the number of people out of work and a surge in employment will hopefully signal the start of an upward trajectory for the region, business leaders said today.

The West Midlands unemployment rate fell by 0.5 per cent to 5 per cent between December and February – the largest decrease of any UK region.

During the same period, the employment rate increased by 0.5 per cent.

Nationally, unemployment fell by 0.1 per cent to 4.2 per cent, with employment rising from 0.1 per cent to 75.4 per cent.

New figures also revealed wage growth is up to 2.8 per cent, outstripping inflation for the first time in a year to ease the burden on households.

Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce chief executive Paul Faulkner (pictured) said: “The regional labour market statistics this month are highly encouraging.

“We are proud to see that the West Midlands has had the largest decrease in unemployment rate estimates of any region between December and February, and we hope that the rise in our employment rate is the start of an upward trajectory.

“We are also pleased to see the national rise in nominal average weekly earnings surpassing February’s inflation figures, which will ease costs for those in employment.

“However, locally, employment rates trail behind the national figures, and there is still work to be done to ensure that employers have access to the skilled talent that they need, and that they are able to offer quality jobs that will drive increases in productivity and economic performance.

“Skills shortages in our region continue to affect employers’ ability to source the right people for key roles.”

Mr Faulkner said clarity from the government over funding for apprenticeships is vital to the region’s long-term prospects.

He added: “From the end of this month, apprenticeship-levy paying employers who are not using all of their levy funds themselves will be able to transfer 10 per cent of the funds to another organisation, and the Chamber hopes that this will boost apprenticeships and long-term, employment in the region.

“However, we are increasingly concerned by the caveats surrounding this and call on the government to address the growing complexity of apprenticeship funding.”

City of Wolverhampton Council and partners will help drive an exciting new Black Country initiative launching next week.

The Black Country Business Festival – an idea put forward by the Black Country Chamber of Commerce – will be held from Monday, April 23 to Friday, May 4.

It is based on an approach introduced in other parts of the country, such as Leicester and Coventry, and will provide a platform to showcase and celebrate innovation, culture and commerce across the Black Country.

The aim is to raise the profile of the strong investment opportunities the Black Country, including City of Wolverhampton, has to offer.

It will reach out to new business audiences, and encourage businesses and intermediaries, including sector and trade representatives, to visit the area and engage with partners and businesses.

City of Wolverhampton Council Head of Enterprise, Isobel Woods, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for city businesses to once again come together and showcase what they have to offer to a new audience.

“The council, supported by public and private sector partners, recently promoted Wolverhampton at MIPIM - the world’s leading property forum – as part of the Midlands Engine and people were impressed by what we have to offer.

“There is £3.7 billion of investment on site or in the pipeline in the city and an excellent support network to help businesses of all types thrive.”

More than 120 events across nine sectors are being held as part of the Black Country Business Festival. This includes over 60 events at City of Wolverhampton venues.

Examples are Black Country Growth Hub, WV Active, PLANit Global, and Wolverhampton Fairtrade events, plus forums such as ‘Master the Power of Influence’ at The Mount Hotel, ‘Protecting your Most Valuable Assets: Your Ideals!’ at Wolverhampton Science Park, and ‘Making Branded Merchandise Work’ at the Ramada Park Hotel.

City of Wolverhampton Council is staging its INVEST event at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, between 2pm and 3pm on Wednesday, April 25, to further promote opportunities for developers, investors and end occupiers that were showcased at MIPIM last month.

In just under two weeks’ time, the Walsall area will host fourteen exciting business events – all part of the Black Country Business Festival starting on 23 April.

In total,122 events will be taking place throughout the Black Country over the fortnight to 4 May, making the Festival – in its inaugural year, the biggest business event in the region.

There is everything from seminars, workshops, behind-the-scenes tours and speed networking to conferences, exhibitions, gala dinners and debates. Most events are completely free to attend.

Walsall has a fantastic assortment of different topics which really showcase the diverse nature of its business community. Subject matters include healthier cakes, electric vehicles, hypnosis and art, whilst there are also practical events focussing on common industry themes such as health and safety, manufacturing, exporting, digital marketing and skills.

Business Festival initiator, the Black Country Chamber of Commerce is running a Manufacturing Roadshow at Walsall Football Club on 3 May. Corin Crane, chief executive said, “It’s amazing to see the colourful range of events in just this one part of the Black Country alone. The entire business community has pulled together to make this Festival the biggest business event in the region that contains something for everyone.

“Our Manufacturing Roadshow at Walsall Football Club is open to any business of any size in the manufacturing sector in particular. We will be providing bags of information specifically for manufacturing businesses such as funding, innovation support, training, staffing, planning and much more. As well as the exhibition, there will be short presentations and lots of opportunites to network, gather knowledge and make new connections. So it would be worth anyone in this sector coming along to find out more and see how they could tap into available help and support to grow their business.”

Leading environmental and engineering services company RSK Group Ltd has announced that it has acquired Non Destructive Testing Services Ltd (NDT Services), an independent pile testing engineering company contracting to the construction sector and based near Nottingham, and Copeland Wedge Associates (CWA), consulting civil and structural engineers based in central Birmingham.

NDT Services has been providing a wide range of testing services at construction sites throughout the UK for over 29 years. Its prestigious projects include various Airbus UK facilities, Wembley Stadium and the London Olympic Park.

CWA provides a range civil and structural engineering services for projects ranging from multimillion-pound developments to the niche engineering required to complement bespoke architectural designs. It has worked on a wide range of building projects across the UK, including schools, colleges, police and fire stations, health and care centres, and hotel, retail and leisure facilities.

Both businesses, including NDT Services’ 20 staff members and CWA’s 39, will join RSK’s geosciences and engineering division headed by divisional director George Tuckwell.

This is the latest in a major series of acquisitions by RSK, which is based in Helsby, Cheshire. It follows the acquisition of Central Alliance Pre Construction Services Ltd in March, CJ Associates and Up and Under Group, and the merger with RSKW in January, and the acquisition of acoustics, noise and vibration consultancy Cole Jarman and site investigation services firm Ian Farmer Associates in November 2017, all of which add to RSK’s growing portfolio. Acquiring NDT Services and CWA builds on RSK’s recent growth in civil and structural engineering capabilities.

Permira Debt Managers has backed RSK in making the acquisitions and the merger as part of a £140-million funding package agreed in 2017 that will include about 10 acquisitions for the group. RSK’s advisers on these latest purchases were Dow Schofield Watts Transaction Services LLP (due diligence), Dow Schofield Watts Corporate Finance Ltd (corporate finance) and Memery Crystal LLP (legal).

The acquisition of NDT Services and CWA brings RSK’s headcount to over 2300 in 85 offices worldwide. The NDT Services and CWA businesses will continue to operate under their existing brands. NDT Services directors John Purser and Andrew Martin will continue to head the company working alongside existing key NDT Services personnel. Directors David Copeland, Jim O’Donnell and Steve Wedge will continue to lead CWA.

According to the 2017 UK industry Market Trends report, RSK ranked as the eighth overall environmental consultancy, top for contaminated land/remediation and environmental/sustainability policy and strategy. Other top five places included third for regulated industries; third for environmental liabilities, risks and hazards; fourth for environmental management and compliance; and fifth for working infrastructure and development clients.

These latest acquisitions will likely see RSK’s profile grow in the industry’s

important rankings. RSK is listed in the New Civil Engineer’s top 100 engineering companies and has acquired 20 environmental and analysis companies across Europe and the Middle East in the past decade and seen impressive growth during that time that has helped to create a £150-million-turnover business.

Dr Alan Ryder, chief executive officer, RSK, said, I am delighted to join forces with NDT Services and CWA. Both companies have extremely experienced and skilled people who share our common values. Our plan is to invest in the companies and help them to grow. RSK can now offer pile testing to complement our existing geotechnical and structural engineering expertise. And CWA will bring us better access to the Birmingham/West Midlands market and further enhance our engineering teams.”

John Purser, managing director of NDT Services, said, “The prospect of NDT Services moving forward with the support of RSK is exciting for staff, suppliers and clients alike. We feel that adding our specialist pile testing services to the RSK portfolio is a perfect fit that will enable the company to fulfil its potential within the industry.”

Steve Wedge, director of CWA, said, “The announcement of RSK’s acquisition of CWA is very positive news for our business. Combining our expertise with RSK’s considerable engineering strengths means we can grow and deliver ever more powerful solutions to meet our clients’ needs.”

U.S. Virgin Islands Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty continues to make audiences across the U.S. mainland and the globe aware that the Territory is open for business.
Addressing a broad range of consumers and industry stakeholders over the past week in Atlanta, Chicago and New York, Commissioner Nicholson-Doty thanked partners for their support of the U.S. Virgin Islands during the ongoing recovery process and suggested that the best way to continue helping the U.S. Virgin Islands is to visit the Territory.
Last weekend, the Commissioner addressed close to 200 delegates attending the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Region III Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, and thanked the media for keeping St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas in the spotlight since last September's storms.
While in Atlanta, Commissioner Nicholson-Doty participated in a live on-air segment with Lynda Kinkade on CNN International's CNN Newsroom, where she gave a comprehensive update on the U.S. Virgin Islands' recovery.
"We have several hotels that have reopened ... our yachting industry is absolutely glorious and we have wonderful villas. However, it is a journey ... we will have more hotels opening at the end of the year and as we look towards the future we really feel that we're going to have an even better tourism product," the Commissioner told national and worldwide listeners tuned into the popular news program.
During her in-market travels she also met with journalists from the Chicago Sun-Times, the New York Daily News, and TravelPulse.
At a meeting with United Airlines in Chicago, the Commissioner, who was accompanied by David Mapp, Executive Director of the Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA), provided updates on the Territory's accommodations and tourism offerings. She reconfirmed that United resumes service to St. Thomas this weekend from Newark, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. The airline will recommence flights to St. Thomas from Houston later this month, and provide daily flights from Washington Dulles International Airport this summer between early June and late August.
The Commissioner and Executive Director held similar talks with JetBlue Airways in New York and attended an airline training program in the city. "As we bounce back, it's critically important that we update our partners on the significant progress we are making, while taking the necessary steps to ensure that flights return as more accommodations become available," Commissioner Nicholson-Doty said.
"Power has been restored across the Territory, our beaches and attractions have reopened, cruise lines and airlines have returned and a wide variety of accommodations are available even as our rebuilding and resiliency work continues," she reported, affirming that the "USVI is Still Nice".

Sandwell Council’s taxi licensing team has picked up an award from West Midlands Police.

The award from Chief Superintendent David Sturman, Commander of West Midlands Police’s Operations department, praised the team for their role in preventing child sexual exploitation, fraud and traffic offences.

The team were praised for enforcing laws and regulations among Sandwell’s 1,500 registered taxi drivers, as well as helping detect, suspend or ban poor drivers.

The award also thanked the team for supporting the force’s camera enforcement unit and assisting when police officers interview taxi drivers.

Ch Supt Sturman said: “You continue to make the West Midlands, in particular the Sandwell area, a safer place to be and your tenacity, dedication to the role has resulted in you being part of the most successful licensing department in the West Midlands.”

As sellers became reluctant put their homes on the market in 2017, buyers became increasingly frustrated that they were unable to find their dream home and so the market slowed. But, with more stock on the market, those buyers are now more likely to find their dream home.

In order to move into their new home, buyers must first sell their existing home, adding even more stock to the market. With more stock on the market, transactions are likely to climb and confidence in the market will grow.

Antony Gibson, Romans’ Sales Managing Director comments; “One of the biggest frustrations being voiced by home hunters may be coming to an end. The absence of choice in the market place – and the cry that there are simply not enough homes on the market to satisfy demand.

This has in recent times caused many to give up hope of finding the right property or place searches on hold.”

Those buyers need to take another look as we are taking instructions from more sellers than this time last year and the choice of property to buy through Romans is up 15%!


With more stock available and less competition from landlords, first time buyers are also more likely to find a suitable first home. This, coupled with their exemption from stamp duty has resulted in a record number of first time buyer purchases being recorded by Halifax at the start of the year.

First time buyers are incredibly important to the overall housing market as they allow existing owners to sell up and take their second step.

Antony summarises, “Buyers want choice and we have sellers who want to move. Finding a property to buy this spring will be easier than in previous years – you just need to get out there.”

A new, free of charge service has just been launched to help local businesses. Business owners can come along to a business clinic where they can ask questions about their finances or about how to move their businesses forward.

The service has been set up by accountant, Anna Goodwin, of Anna Goodwin Accountancy in Walsall. Anna knows that business owners find aspects of accounting daunting and sometimes difficult to understand. She says,

“Business owners often have questions about their finances. I did a quick survey among my contacts and asked them whether they would be interested in a business clinic where they could come and ask me any questions they might have. The response was an overwhelming ‘yes’.”

Anna’s Business Clinic takes the form of 15-minute slots, which can be booked in advance with Anna and is open to both clients of Anna Goodwin Accountancy and non-clients.

Having been an accountant for over 30 years, and with more than 12 years’ experience of being in business herself, Anna knows how small businesses work and understands the highs and lows that come with self-employment. Small business owner, Tiffeny Hildick came to Anna for advice. She says,

“Anna is very approachable and understanding and offers a space of openness and honesty. With very little information she’s able to piece together the options with clarity and simplicity for the non-accountant!”

Anna’s Business Clinic takes place twice a month locally. The first is usually on the first Friday of the month in the coffee bar at the Village Hotel in Walsall (Tempus Drive, Walsall WS2 8TJ), near junction 10 of the M6. And the second is usually on the third Friday of the month at Burlington Hotel in Birmingham (Burlington Arcade, 126 New Street, Birmingham B2 4JQ) until further notice.

Anna also welcomes accountants who wish to explore new ways to develop the broader advisory services required by business owners today. She recognises that the role of accountants is changing due to new technology, increased competition and evolving client expectations.

“There is real concern among accountants that technology will literally take their jobs. I provide a mentoring service, which helps accountants to future-proof their practices. The business clinic is a good opportunity for accountants to find out more about my mentoring service.”

The mentoring service Anna provides covers the key issues that business owners face and how accountants can address them, how to reach out to new and existing clients via channels that are often overlooked, and how to build successful working relationships with clients. Jen Parker of J.P. Accountancy Services recognised the need to start her new accountancy practice on the right footing with some timely advice from Anna. Jen says,

“After meeting with Anna, I was given a fresh boost of confidence in how to make my business work. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when starting an accountancy practice but Anna’s advice has given me the clarity I was lacking. I would definitely consider using her as a mentor in the future.”

If you have a burning question about your business finances or are an accountant looking to future-proof your practice, book your place at Anna’s business Clinic by contacting Anna on 07711 805183 or by filling out the contact form on her website

Intra-Commonwealth trade and productive greenfield investment is expected to reach US$1.6 trillion by 2020, in spite of the global trade slowdown caused by the 2008 financial crisis.

This rising share of intra-Commonwealth trade and investment underscores the growing significance of Commonwealth markets for member countries, according to a new report by the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Commonwealth Trade Review 2018, which will be published this month, says proactive policy measures such as improving trade facilitation or tackling non-tariff barriers could trigger even greater gains for member countries.

In 2017, cumulative intra-Commonwealth greenfield foreign direct investment was estimated at $700 billion, creating 1.4 million jobs through 10,000 projects. The Secretariat projects intra-Commonwealth greenfield investment - when a parent company establishes its operations in a foreign country - could reach $870 billion by 2020.

Trade among Commonwealth countries grew to just under $600 billion in 2016 and is expected to increase by at least 17 per cent to around $700 billion by 2020. Together, intra-Commonwealth trade and greenfield investment is expected to surpass $1.5 trillion.

“This is a remarkable indication of the power of Commonwealth connection and of the benefits that accrue to member countries as a result of Commonwealth Advantage, particularly with world trade only now emerging from the unprecedented slowdown triggered by the financial crisis a decade ago,” said Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland.

She added: “With rising protectionist sentiments and a backlash against globalisation in many countries, the role of the Commonwealth becomes increasingly important as a positive influence for strengthening trade links across boundaries and building prosperity in which all can share.”

The review found that Commonwealth countries, overall, are less protectionist and tend to apply fewer harmful measures against fellow member countries.

On average, Commonwealth members enforce commercial contracts much faster, taking 20 per cent less time compared to the world average. “This finding is a significant selling point for boosting investor confidence in the Commonwealth,” the report’s authors said.

Their research also explores how Commonwealth members can harness new technologies, especially digitisation, to strengthen their domestic trade governance, further reducing costs and fostering new trade and investment.

The new research reinforces earlier studies into ‘Commonwealth Advantage’ by which Commonwealth members tend to trade 20 per cent more, save around 19 per cent in costs and generate 10 per cent more foreign direct investment inflows.

Secretary-General Scotland said: “Our trade review shows that economic and governance ties in the Commonwealth provide ready and robust foundation fabric from which collectively as a family of nations we can tailor a future that is fairer, more sustainable, more prosperous and more secure”.

The new research was prepared ahead of this month’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, taking place in London. Intra-Commonwealth trade and investment will be a major issue under discussion with member countries seeking to expand markets and increase growth.

A Birmingham law firm is celebrating after having raised £20,534 for Alzheimer’s Society with a year-long charity partnership.

Squire Patton Boggs has been fundraising across 2017 with a number of activities such as an abseil, silent auction and taking part in Memory Walk.

The law firm united friends, colleagues and family members against dementia and raised awareness about the condition throughout their fundraising.

Neil Taylor, Partner at Squire Patton Boggs, said: “This fundraising has been very much a partnership between us and Alzheimer’s Society: we have been involved in some public events such as volunteering at the Memory Walk in Sutton Park last year. It was a very inspiring moment when the final figure was revealed and it is double the sum we raised last year.”

Squire Patton Boggs employees Rose Chaudry and Christina Georgiou, both Associate Solicitors, co-chaired the charity committee that oversaw the calendar of events dedicated to raising money and awareness.

Rose Chaudry said: “We are very proud to have raised so much money, with fantastic backing from across our office. The scale of the problem that dementia presents has become apparent as so many people have a connection to someone with dementia. Dementia doesn’t just affect the person, it affects everyone around that person.”

The NHS estimates that there are currently more than 13,000 people over-65 living with dementia in Birmingham and this number is set to increase.

Lisa Courtney, Community Fundraiser for Alzheimer’s Society in Birmingham said: “This is a fantastic achievement on behalf of Squire Patton Boggs and Alzheimer’s Society is very grateful for all their fundraising. This money will help fund important research into dementia and valuable support such as our National Dementia Helpline for those currently living with the condition.”

Squire Patton Boggs has selected Prostate Cancer UK as their next charity partner of the year. To find out more about dementia or how people can access support in Birmingham, visit or call 0121 706 4052.