Q2 2022

Q2 2022 Creating Communities, Managing Homes As the ‘Most Trusted Specialist Residential Block Management Company’ in 2022 for the United Kingdom, Fraser Allen Estate Management has gained notoriety for its charismatic, dedicated, and hardworking team. In essence, this block management firm puts people first at every turn, striving to keep up close communications with clients and their residents alike in order to cultivate a true community in the homes under its care. Madhulika Syal: Best International Banking & Finance SME 2021 Centelli: Eliminating Repetition in the Workplace

A note from the Editor... Welcome to the 2022 Q2 edition of SME News Magazine, where we provide you with all of the latest news, announcements, and features about some of the best up-and-coming enterprises around the United Kingdom. We are now celebrating the richness of summer and the wealth of experience we have all gathered over the last quarter of this year. This issue looks closer at companies that are improving the world around them. From waste management to childcare, automotive and aviation innovation to energy providers, installations to hospitality improvements, and much more, SME would love to present you with a myriad of developments within different industries. Here we are proud to present our featured business, Fraser Allen Estate Management, as it wins ‘Most Trusted Specialist Residential Block Management Company’ in 2022. Fraser Allen Estate Management is reaping the rewards as it puts its clients first. Fraser Allen Estate Management doesn’t treat clients as numbers or pound signs, it works with them to create better living experiences. With its expert block management, Fraser Allen Estate Management builds long-term relationships with individuals so that they can have peace of mind when taking care of their residents. We sincerely hope you enjoy this issue and we look forward to welcoming you back for Q3 soon. Sofi Bajor | Editor +44 (0) 203 970 0018 s.bajor@aiglobalmedialtd.com

Q2 2022 | 3 Contents 4. News 6. Fraser Allen Estate Management: Creating Communities, Managing Homes 7. The PC Agency: The Agency Every Travel and Tourism Brand Needs 8. The Only Way Togo Limited: Best Hospitality Booking Systems & Marketing Agency - Yorkshire 10. Madhulika Syal: Best International Banking & Finance SME 2021 12. Avidety: Powering Up the Future 14. Design Spec Ltd: The New Wave of Architecture 15. The Travel Franchise: The Company Bringing New Talent To The Travel Industry 16. Intelligent People: A Different Kind of Agency 17. Aurora: Helping Innovative RegTechs Stand Out From The Crowd 18. JB Woodworks Glasgow: Quality Hand-Crafted Woodwork in Glasgow 19. JAS Building Services: Building Trust In the Construction Industry 20. Propel Finance: Best Transport SME Finance Lender 2022 21. MATCHFiT Consults: Best Coaching & Organisational Development Consultancy 2022 22. Ezee Cabs: The Company Offering Freedom Through Accessible Transport 23. Trapeze Media: Creative Content Atomization 24. Waste Wave Ltd: Waste Management MD of the Year 2022 (North West): Josh White 26. Macleans of London Ltd: Equestrian MD of the Year 2022: Alex Maclean 27. eSpares: Repair, Don’t Replace 28. Centelli: Eliminating Repetition in the Workplace 30. Zip Private Hire: Most Innovative Private Hire Taxi Company – Bradford & Customer Service Excellence Award 2022 31. Jaama Ltd.: Best Fleet Management Software Provider 2022 32. Fimatix: Digital Artisans of the Future 33. Ice Tickles Childcare: Creating a Better World Through Childcare 34. Bite IT Marketing: The Heartbeat of Your Business Promotion 35. Software Solutions Director of the Year 2022: Darren Kelk: Local Software Solutions Secure Success 36. Ziggy’s Pet Supplies: One-Stop Pet Shop 37. Prestige Wheels: Prestige Wheels 38. Aico: Most Outstanding Carbon Monoxide and Domestic Fire Protection Company, 2022 - United Kingdom 39. M&B Skills Solutions: Recruiting The Brightest And Best 40. Onyva The Agency: Best Science & Technology Specialist Director 2022: Seema Sharma 41. Alba Power Ltd: High-Flying High-Performance Management 42. Blue Florist: Beautifully Crafted Floral Delights 44. White and Brooks: Five Stars for the South East Agency 46. APD Global Research Limited: High Flying Success! 47. Advantage: Securing Property Success 48. MJS Contracts: Most Client-Focused Joinery Installations MD 2022: Jon Sutton 50. Effortless Websites: How Good Web Design Can Benefit Your Company by Rebecca Scotland 51. Food For Thought – Vegan Liberation by Sofi Bajor 52. Legacie Developments: Outstanding Service for Investors 53. Winners’ Listings

4 | Q2 2022 New research1 from Aldermore has found that UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) invested an average of £61,250 on their own sustainability during the last 12 months. Investing in sustainability With the green agenda becoming more prominent across society, businesses have been increasingly willing to take action, with over half (53%) of SMEs investing in their own sustainability during the last 12 months1. This represents a significant shift from the research Aldermore conducted2 among SMEs in early 2021, which found that only 12% of businesses saw sustainability as a significant priority. The high-profile nature of events like COP-26 and the Government’s own green agenda has likely emphasised the importance of green transformation to SMEs. SMEs have employed a wide variety of strategies to become more sustainable. The leading approach has been recycling, with two thirds (65% - 3.3million) of UK SMEs investing in workplace recycling schemes. Meanwhile 55% (2.9 million) of UK SMEs have consciously reduced their business travel and half (50% - 2.5 million) have changed the materials they use to be more sustainable. The future is green The research reveals that businesses plan to increase their investment in sustainability in the next year, spending on average £78,392, an increase of 27% (£17,142) compared to the previous year. SMEs are willing to take more significant steps to tackle sustainability in the next year. One in five (21% - 1.1 million) SMEs are considering changing to an eco-friendly product or service. Furthermore, over one in ten (12% - 550,000) will invest in carbon offsetting. In terms of the barriers to embracing more sustainable practices, just over one in four (27%) SMEs think Covid and the broader economic climate are a limiting factor, whilst less than one in ten (7%) found access to finance was a barrier. Funding sustainability While 31% of UK SMEs plan to fund their investment in sustainability with business savings, the vast majority will turn to personal finance products such as personal savings (22%), personal investments (12%), their overdraft (18%) or a personal line of credit, like a credit card (8%). Many SMEs recognise the importance of having a lender who understands funding around sustainability, with nearly half (45%) wanting a partner with experience funding green projects. For mighty businesses Aldermore recently launched its ‘For mighty businesses’ campaign, profiling stories of its SME customers who are looking to grow and innovate their business in a rapidly changing world. A GREENER FUTURE FOR SMES

The Biggest Financial Issue for SMEs is a Squeeze on Cash Flow – Yet Just a Quarter of Accountants Offer Cash Flow Support Accounting firms are missing a key opportunity to adopt Open Banking to help meet the needs of small businesses facing a cash flow squeeze, according to a report by iwoca, one of Europe’s largest small business lenders, and AccountingWeb. The report, titled ‘Open Future | What does Open Banking mean for accounting firms’, is based on a survey of accountants representing more than 25,000 small business clients. It explores how the accounting industry has adopted Open Banking so far, identifies existing limitations, and discusses what needs to be done to increase Open Banking usage in accounting firms in the future. Accountants missing opportunity to support small businesses with cash flow concerns amidst rising business costs. The biggest financial issue for small businesses, according to accountants, is a cash flow squeeze (52%) – unsurprising, given the current volatile economic climate. This stress on businesses’ liquidity is exacerbated by other issues related to accessing finance (35%) and getting paid late (35%). Despite the prevalence of these issues, only a quarter of firms (25%) offer cash flow management support, and only 18% offer clients support with sourcing finance. Open Banking offers tailored financial solutions that meet the needs of small businesses The report outlines a number of benefits of Open Banking to accountants, and how it can address the issues their clients face. Firstly, Open Banking leads to more thorough, accurate and up to date data for cash flow forecasting apps. And secondly, this live data feeds into easier finance application processes for small businesses. The overall result is faster access to vital funds for businesses in need of urgent cash injections. The report data suggests that Open Banking can connect with precisely the issues that small businesses struggle with. The most pressing issue for SME clients, according to accountants, is record keeping and management information (73%). Correspondingly, the most popular use cases for Open Banking were bookkeeping (57%), followed by Accounts Receivable (43%) and Accounts Payable (42%). This proves the potential for Open Banking to streamline the data capture process via better integration with financial data sources. Open Banking adoption amongst accountants low despite clear benefits Despite these benefits, over a third of accountancy firms (34%) still aren’t using Open Banking. And the report suggests that if accountants don’t use it, their clients won’t either: data revealed that 40% of small business clients don’t use Open Banking, and over 70% of these clients were from firms who don’t use the technology themselves. (Equally, 74% of accountants who do use open banking said most of their clients also use the technology.) The research identifies key issues preventing a bigger adoption of Open Banking in accountancy practices. These are: 1. trust and interest from clients (48%) 2. lack of understanding/ confidence from accountants (38%) 3. concerns over data security (34%), and 4. general distrust of the technology (24%). Change of attitude needed to drive Open Banking adoption The report outlines the steps needed to drive Open Banking adoption and radically enhance the value accountants can provide to small businesses. First, there requires a change in attitudes whereby accountants show clients how Open Banking can benefit their businesses and demonstrate trust in their solutions, deploying use cases that are targeted at real problems firms face. Second, accountants must create significant competitive advantage by increasing efficiency, lowering costs and solving the problems that matter most. Colin Goldstein, Commercial Growth Director at iwoca said: “Considering the increasingly volatile economy at present, which is forcing many small businesses into a cash flow crisis, it’s disappointing to see that so few accounting firms offer tailored solutions to this issue. Max Whiteley, Head of Accounts, Accounts & Legal added: “If your client doesn’t care about Open Banking, then it’s our job to educate them so that they do. Open Banking is the gateway to real-time data, so we can make real-time business decisions.”

6 | Q2 2022 Mar22322 Creating Communities, Managing Homes As the ‘Most Trusted Specialist Residential Block Management Company’ in 2022 for the United Kingdom, Fraser Allen Estate Management has gained notoriety for its charismatic, dedicated, and hardworking team. In essence, this block management firm puts people first at every turn, striving to keep up close communications with clients and their residents alike in order to cultivate a true community in the homes under its care. Under the direction of CEO Jodie Fraser, Fraser Allen Estate Management has become one of the pre-eminent residential block management companies in the UK. Nominally, it has become well known for maintaining a safe, secure, and attractive living space for its clients and their residents, operating with kindness, care, and diligence at every turn to ensure this. It will never settle for second best when it comes to its properties, something that has taken it from the management of 10 blocks to 38 blocks in the past year alone; additionally, its properties are found all over the country, with properties in Bath, Bristol, Cheltenham, the county of Wiltshire, and the London Metropolitan area, as well as dotted across the Midlands. With all of these under its belt and more management blocks on the docket to be added to this portfolio soon, it has gained the respect of its peers and the trust of its market both. Critically, its industry notoriety has been built upon a foundation of caring, compassion, and a person-first approach, preferring to see the properties it manages as homes first and buildings second in order to keep the resident’s comfort at the fore. Furthermore, it has a staunch dedication to the protection of the most vulnerable amongst its residents, striving to create environments in which they feel safeguarded. Able to work effectively both remotely and with in-person interactions, its empathic, charismatic, and understanding staff strive to meet its clients and their tenants on an individual, human level, championing regular on-site interaction with its clients. This helps Fraser Allen Estate Management to foster a sense of community and ensures that its clients know they can call on it and its team at any time, the CEO herself leading client outreach during lockdown in line with social distancing parameters and giving back to charitable initiatives in the community. With a great deal of reviews and referrals that speak to the excellence of her team, Jodie Fraser wishes to extend her thanks to every one of them for their hard work, especially in the face of the pandemic. Having worked closely with a team of contractors, and with growth into the West Midlands increasing, Fraser Allen Estate Management extends its gratitude towards Alice Baker and Carol Gaston of its core team, as well as Fiona Scott of Scott Media – a contracted freelancer – each of whom have allowed the company to reach the heights of success it enjoys today. Company: Fraser Allen Estate Management Contact: Jodie Fraser Website: fraserallenem.co.uk

7 | Q2 2022 Mar22291 The Agency Every Travel and Tourism Brand Needs It is unsurprising that The PC Agency has been named The UK’s Leading Specialist Travel PR and Brand Consultancy, 2022. The agency is home to an abundance of specialist knowledge covering the travel and tourism industry, which has resulted in the agency working with globally renowned brands. As the world returns to normality, the future looks increasingly bright for The PC Agency. Founded in 2016, over the past six years The PC Agency has been dominating its industry. Indeed, specialising in the travel and tourism sector, The PC Agency provides dynamic and innovative solutions that have aided some of the biggest players within the industry. Working with airlines, hotels, tourism boards, cruise lines, tour operators, villa specialists, and much more, The PC Agency provides an elite consultancy service that focuses upon pushing its clients towards global success. Focusing extensively on delivering high-impact campaigns, Paul Charles, the company’s founder and CEO, explains, ‘Here at The PC Agency, our mission is to offer world-class consultancy to established and emerging travel and tourism brands, and help them boost sales.’ In essence, it works to push its clients to the next level, aiding them in the acquisition of new customers, markets, and sales. The PC Agency raises the bar for the industry, offering a plethora of advanced, premium services. From public relations management to brand building, the agency is equipped to deliver measurable results from the moment it undertakes a project. Consequently, the best brands in the business consistently seek out services from The PC Agency. Much of its portfolio is showcased on the company’s website, in which it displays an impressive range of clients, including household names. Aer Lingus, The Luxury Travel Book, and the World Travel and Tourism Council are a select few of the diverse clientele that The PC Agency has attracted. Of course, in order to work with such names, the company has had to establish a positive reputation. Paul attributes The PC Agency’s success to the consistently highquality results it achieves for its clients. However, it can also be said that a significant portion of the company’s success stems from The PC Agency’s team and Paul himself. With an internal culture consisting of a friendly, highlyproductive, yet flexible structure, Paul’s broad range of experience played a large role in how the internal culture developed. Paul is perhaps best known for his award-winning work as a BBC News presenter, Sir Richard Branson’s Communications Director at Virgin Atlantic, and for rebuilding the brand at Eurostar while in charge of Communications. Moreover, he is a renowned figure within the tourism sector, enjoying numerous accolades. In effect, there is no one better to run The PC Agency. He possesses a deep understanding of the industry and truly understands the value of his staff – ‘staff are undoubtedly our number one asset - if you look after them, they will look after your business and ensure its growth,” he comments. “We enable our colleagues to build substantial expertise in the sector and turbo-charge their own careers by working with world-class brands,” Paul continues. “We offer a huge range of benefits to help the team rest and relax, intertwined with their work. For example, we offer days off for a birthday and team-working sessions building gingerbread houses or making pizzas over Zoom!” However, such levels of success often come hand-in-hand with challenges. The Covid-19 pandemic left a scar upon the lives of many, and as time progresses, it is undoubtably clear that it has had major ramifications for the tourism sector. Due to international lockdowns, the industry saw a decline in demand, particularly for international ventures. Seeing how his industry was suffering, Paul remained at the forefront of lobbying the government for changes to quarantine rules, via the Quash Quarantine and Save Our Summer campaigns. As 2022 progresses, it is becoming clear that the world is transitioning back to normality – just as Paul predicted – which certainly offers a positive outlook for The PC Agency’s future. Paul concludes, “travel will bounce back further as vaccination programmes are rolled out and clients are searching for stand-out publicity in a cluttered world. We are also expanding our new data division, called Thrive, which offers unrivalled market intelligence and analysis about the travel and tourism sector, as data is key to success in the next decade.” Contact: Paul Charles Company: The PC Agency Web Address: www.pc.agency

8 | Q2 2022 Oct21772 Best Hospitality Booking Systems & Marketing Agency - Yorkshire Following 18 months of lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic, more of us have seen the benefits of digital technology than ever before. The Only Way Togo is living proof that taking things online can have faster, more efficient and more effective results than traditional methods. We speak to Managing Director Mark Hayhurst about the companies innovative offerings and how it is helping to transform the hospitality industry. The main core of hospitality specialist The Only Way Togo’s business is Togo – the online booking system and marketing suite designed to make life easier. It’s offerings are wide and varied, with the aim of simplifying the hospitality sectors management solutions and creating one system to rule them all. The Togo engine is provided to restaurants, pubs and hotels, although the innovative system can also sell vouchers, take pre-payments and pre-orders, and help with marketing via email, text and WhatsApp. Then there’s the recent addition - a new booking engine called Spacebook which takes bookings for commercial space and deals, with appointment making features for artists, stylists and therapists. Finally, a web and app development arm and we can build anything from a small website for an SME through to a complex app for a large global corporate. Mark Hayhurst is the Managing Director of The Only Way Togo, and he tells us more about what the firm can offer its customers. “We build beautiful high conversion websites that work perfectly on all devices,” he begins. “Our websites are fully responsive, so they look and function perfectly on all devices. Google prioritises sites that work well on mobile devices, so you’ll be found easier on searches.” But that is not all, one of Togo’s unique selling points is the fact that it can tightly integrate all kinds of systems into a customer’s website in order to give their customers a seamless experience. These websites also pair perfectly with the Togo and Spacebook booking systems too. “We take a solid brief so that nothing is left to guesswork,” Mark elaborates. “Your vision and our knowledge of the web make for creations that feel and look right the first time around. If you need a website as soon as possible, our team are ready to work with you to make that happen. No compromises to quality are made; we can work around the clock to get you the results you need.” Then there’s the marketing side of the business, so once a customer has had the website of their dreams built to perfectly reflect their business’s goals and objectives, plus to appeal to its target audience, Togo can set about promoting the brand and the site to gain maximum exposure for the best results available. “We offer a more bespoke service than our competitors,” says Mark, speaking of the key differentiating factors which distinguish Togo from its competitors. “Instead of trying to shoehorn them into our products we try to mould our solutions to fit the needs of their business.” Togo’s marketing features are very easy, very affordable and very effective,” states Mark. “They encourage people to think outside the box and do things slightly differently.” E-shots are an obvious offering that is easily implementable and highly effective. When customers book with a company via the Togo system, it will offer for them to join that company’s mailing list. With just a few clicks, the company is then able to send email correspondence to customers who have booked previously. “Togo has a powerful email designer built-in, meaning you can design an eye-catching email within minutes. You can even quickly send customers your new menu or promotion,” says Mark. Vouchers, sent with the simple touch of a button, are another benefit. Not only are they a great way to bring in additional revenue around holidays and special occasions, but they are perfect for bringing in new customers, too. Vouchers can be sent automatically by Togo’s system and can be redeemed with the simple scan of a QR code. Promotional codes and online discounts can give previous customers an incentive to return and therefore maximise business. Promo codes can be shared via a mailshot, social media or even printed on the top of a business’s receipts to give a good reason for customers to come back soon. Finally, events ran at a venue can be bookable in the Togo system - keeping track of them alongside regular bookings to organise everything in one easily accessible space. “Togo can even handle the payments and deposits, meaning events can be paid for upfront. Events could be anything from a comedy night to a special menu,” Mark tells us. Being based in Halifax, West Yorkshire, has enabled Togo to gain a really strong foothold in the north and therefore it is able to give a much more personal level of service than if it had offices in London, for example. The company benefits from having clients throughout the UK due to some great referrals, as well as a large contract with a pub company, however its proactive sales approach is still focused heavily on the north, with clients ranging in size from small cafes to one of the world’s largest beer brewers. It’s no surprise that the hospitality industry was perhaps the hardest hit sector last year when the Covid-19 pandemic struck, with people being forced to stay at home and companies having to close their doors. The last 12 months have

Q2 2022 | 9 Best Hospitality Booking Systems & Marketing Agency - Yorkshire certainly been a struggle for a lot of businesses within the food and beverage world as they attempt to recover lost revenues and get their operations running smoothly once again. “Thankfully we were stable enough to ensure that we were able to be here for our clients right the way through the pandemic,” says Mark. “Since the lockdowns have ended, we have seen significant growth and that doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down. Our turnover has more than doubled year on year for the last four years.” One of the positive side effects of the Covid-19 pandemic is that people have become more tech-savvy and more businesses have turned to focus on their online presence. Many people are now having to work from home and communicate more via things like Zoom. Mark elaborates on how this move to a more digital age has benefitted Togo enormously. “We have seen a surge in online bookings vs phone bookings. They have gone from around 50% online up to around 80%. People now prefer to book online than use any other means. They are also happy to pay a deposit or leave card security when they book. Which means less no-shows and cancellations. “We have also seen pubs now even taking bookings for tables, not just restaurants, and now that people have had the ability to book their table and know they have it for a couple of hours they seem to want to be able to do that and continue to do that. It was a facility that was previously used mainly only in VIP areas of clubs but now it’s becoming more mainstream,” Mark adds. It’s not all about having a great product – Mark is quick to praise the dedication and commitment of the hardworking team behind the scenes at Togo. “Most of our top team are not from within the industry but they are great people that care about the work they do, and they genuinely have a desire to be the best,” he explains. “We believe that for a lot of roles you can train anyone as long as they have a great work ethic, honesty and integrity and we recruit on this basis. Obviously, all of our designers and developers came to us with a great amount of technical knowledge and creative flair in addition to the personal qualities we needed.” Recently, Togo was rewarded for its diligence to the industry by being bestowed with the coveted title of Best Hospitality Booking Systems & Marketing Agency – Yorkshire in the SME News Northern Enterprise Awards 2021. Now, Togo is “launching our consumer app very soon which will be an additional marketing tool for our clients, and we are looking to continue to expand our Spacebook product into more markets,” says Mark excitedly. “We have also recently finished a huge 18-month project for a key global client, so when we have got our breath back, we will be looking for another big corporate project to start that runs alongside our websites and booking engines.” Contact Details Contact: Mark Hayhurst Company: The Only Way Togo Limited Web Address: www.togo.uk.net

10 | Q2 2022 Apr22088 Best International Banking & Finance SME 2021: Madhulika Syal Introducing Madhulika Syal: a strategic management leader with a twist. Working for 21 years for diverse businesses, she has surpassed her own expectations of personal and professional advancement. Here we look to Madhulika as she explains some of her achievements and skills – inspiring and motivating us to take hold of our own success just the same. With much experience in Internal Audits & Controls, Risk Management, Compliance, Fraud Identification and Implementation – at a global level – Madhulika has adapted herself through a multitude of positions. Building herself up, on a foundation of honesty and respect, Madhulika has created a path for herself in the corporate world. She tells us that she has “successfully worked with major global regulators across the UK, US & APAC region. I am currently working at a top management capacity as Vice President – leading and heading a team of six professionals for managing end-to-end audits and controls functions with prior experience in heading endto-end operations.” Madhulika says she also deals with “FS Risk Practice including RA, ITRA, RT and TPRM impressive success in leading completion of various banking transformation, ad-hoc compliance, regulatory and governance projects such as GDPR, due diligence efforts, SEPA implementation, FATCA, AML, sourcing review, data protection, special investigation, and more.” She always finds a way of working her magic with any size team and through a wide variety of processes. She ensures suitable audit strategies success in the setup of entire internal audit practice in the UK for consulting broad-based expertise in preparing and providing standing and recurring operational risk deliverables – such as business unit operational risk profiles and results of scenario analysis to business partners. With a “front-led major role in coordinating bank audits, compliance and government audits, risk-based audits and so on; I ensured completion of the audit assignments within time,” Madhulika explains. She also works with “budgets and calendar schedules while managing multiple tasks – contributing in achieving cost savings through Technical, Financial & Operational Audits Insightful professional with success in coordinating multiple audit projects.” Madhulika’s vast array of experience across many sectors and throughout many ventures has produced the strength that she holds today. She tells us, “These projects include issue identification and execution of corrective action plans in accordance with regulatory and departmental guidelines with expertise in assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of business.” By working closely and intensively with the financial service industry, Madhulika possesses a high volume of knowledge regarding the processes that have been and must be put into place for businesses to be able to operate seamlessly. Whether a business needs aid with internal audits and controls, risk management, compliance, fraud identification, implementation at a global level, or any number of other things, this company can help them to handle it with tenacity and comprehension. Thus, her services have become synonymous with the word ‘holistic’, as she considers every variable and factor before deciding on the best course of action. Recognised by both clients and peers, Madhulika’s ability to act quickly, efficiently, effectively, and with respect, allows a bond of trust to form between herself and the individuals she works with. With procedures and policies acted upon in accordance with regulations, she was able to set up a business upon the ideas of consulting-based expertise, preparing and providing risk deliverables, and operational risk management summaries. Fundamentally, her existence has only benefitted the financial world in the macro scale. Madhulika believes that positivity and gratitude are some of the most important things throughout a business and career venture. She says, “Gratitude is one of the most underestimated ways anyone can enrich their lives. Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything that you receive. For me, it means learning to live my life as if everything is a miracle and being aware on a continuous basis of how much I have been given.” We can all take a leaf out of his book and explore what we are truly grateful for as this will, more often than not, inspire us to be the best that we can be. Madhulika adds, “I am expressing my gratitude for the current situation where I am spending a lot of time with my baby. I am grateful to my mum who was my pillar of support. She offered me unconditional support and fought very well with her disease until the last breath. My friends hold special place in my heart. With their unconditional support both mentally and emotionally I get by my stressful days. The feeling in me is quite enriching my heart and soul.” With this, Madhulika shares, “I am recollecting a famous quote from Lionel Hampton, ‘Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind’.” The Covid-19 pandemic hit everyone hard but it didn’t stop Madhulika from making a difference. She always looks on the bright side and she informs us that things have been about overcoming challenges for the past couple of years shares, “I now work from home, which I considered as a luxury, as it is now a necessity. I do miss interacting with colleagues face to face. Looking at the situation, I am balancing it by implementing ritualisation, positive thoughts of working like this, setting up time for tasks. This has actually improved my multi-tasking skills.” Madhulika perfectly understands the weight of the situation and has done everything she can to keep herself and others safe. With positivity flowing through her she enthuses, “There is a lot of time spent with my family – which is a positive side for me. I have learnt how to draw work life balance in the unexpected situation like this. This journey of me is reaffirming my believe that when you are no longer able to change a situation, you are challenged to change yourself. So the change in me is continuing.” Moreover, with Madhulika’s experience and belief in business, she has cultivated a people-

Q2 2022 | 11 Best International Banking & Finance SME 2021: Madhulika Syal first attitude for professional and personal development. This attitude promises to allow her to retain this success long into the future, sticking staunchly to the adage of ‘knowledge always increases when you share’. In this way, she ensures every client and staff member she works with is seen and heard. Not only does Madhulika use her knowledge to benefit her own progress, but she connects with others by working “quite intensively with colleagues” and makes “fundamentals strong.” In today’s work from home culture, and emboldened by her dedication to personal growth, her gratitude for continued development knows no bounds, and it vows to keep impressing others as she continues on her current and upward trajectory towards greater success. Contact: Madhulika Syal

12 | Q2 2022 Mar22399 Powering Up the Future Avidety, a company that has made a name for itself by earning the award for being the ‘Best Specialist Electricity Distribution and Refurbishment Construction Company’ in 2022 for United Kingdom, has made itself a stand-out voice in its industry and an invaluable cornerstone of deciding what its future will look like. Having developed its own training schools to train up young professionals, it keeps its finger on the pulse of legislative pressures and responds quickly and efficiently to challenges such as weather impacting power lines. Specialising in the refurbishment and construction of both overhead and underground electricity distribution networks, Avidety is led by experienced industry executives who are proficient in the delivery of the best results. Fundamentally, its efforts have accrued the respect of its industry through the delivery of exemplary results, made possible by the experts that make up its ranks. From the top to the bottom of the company, every member of staff is uniquely gifted in their field and carries a deep understanding of how to resolve problems for Avidety’s customers. Its core strength, revolving around its experienced teams, is the diverse people with different specialisms found within; as a result, Avidety’s reputation as an imaginative and effective problem solver has been secured. Each time it demonstrates its acumen in this way, it ensures that Avidety remains at the fore of its industry for years to come. Furthermore, each staff member works in a collaborative manner that allows them to bring their knowledge in electricity distribution and refurbishment to bear in a comprehensive manner, giving each team a direct link through with they can communicate with the company board. All personnel deeply care about their contributions in this manner, as each of them know that said contributions are deeply valued. No one’s hard work is overlooked within Avidety, and throughout its RIIO periods, it has stuck to ambitious plans for future growth that will allow it to retain its core values of promise delivery without compromise, formulating and applying engineering solutions that allow for incredible performance improvement. With an ethos of ‘if there’s a problem, there’s a solution,’ it strives to never accept defeat when faced with a challenge. Thus, it has made itself the contractor of choice for many, with its values factoring into its success due to how its professionals deliver them. From commitment to health and safety to integrity when it comes to communications with customers, supply chains, and staff, it has made itself a universally reliable engineering business that shows its co-operative nature right from the very first interaction. Whether a client has found out about Avidety through peers’ word of mouth referrals, reviews, or simply through the grapevine, it will always show the proof behind the lofty words said about it by way of leading by example in its industry. Moreover, in a changing world, it recognises that this element of its business is more important than ever. With innovations daily that it creates and incorporates into itself, it retains its status as a leader of the pack by implementing only the best of these in order to keep up with continually changing trends, resulting in work that is forward-thinking and efficient. Efficiency, after all, is another hugely important element of success in modern business. Bloatware when it comes to processes and engineering is helpful to no one, and is simply incredibly frustrating for all parties involved. So, it has worked hard to ensure that such things do not become a problem for its stakeholders or its customers, making itself as streamlined as possible in order to keep its performance agile and its results outstanding. It has not had a lost time injury since the company was founded in 2014 as a result of this. Having trained each staff member with its comprehensive knowledge sharing and standards of education, its internal and external processes both have achieved it notoriety. Considering that its services involve the turning off and management of electricity supply to allow for work and maintenance, its 93.1% customer service score for 2021 is second to none, and it is always seeking better ways to bump up these numbers. Operating with positivity, high staff engagement, and low turnover, it ensures that each team member thinks of themselves as an irreplaceable part of the business – which they are. No one, to Avidety, is dispensable, and it has been striving to prove this throughout its efforts, as well as showing to its end customers how much it deeply cares for their safety and wellbeing. Most recently, this was shown during Storm Arwen – both during and in the aftermath – wherein Avidety stepped up to the plate in terms of damage response, ensuring power was restored and recognising the needs of everyone impacted, especially vulnerable people. Having been recognised by its main client and others for this work, the overhead powerlines industry has been seeing a skills shortage that has been bubbling up behind the scenes for several years now. Nominally, this challenge has been brought forth by people working longer, retiring later, and decreasing apprentice training as a result. This is now working against the resources needed for the sector’s future health – mostly due to lack of funding – and it is something Avidety will be keeping an eye on. Moving forward, therefore, Avidety will be evolving its company further by aiming to hit the carbon neutral by 2050 goal, as well as complying with the UK’s EV implementations. Developing its own training schools to help young people get into and stay in the industry, it looks forward to remaining a front running voice for the present and a guiding hand for the future. Company: Avidety Contact: Jon Phillips Website: avidety.co.uk With an ethos of ‘if there’s a problem, there’s a solution,’ it strives to never accept defeat when faced with a challenge.

Q2 2022 | 13 Powering Up the Future

14 | Q2 2022 Mar22684 The New Wave of Architecture The architectural revolution is upon us, and at the forefront stands Design Spec Ltd. The fixed fee architecture service is leading a new wave of businesses that hope to change the architecture world for the better, henceforth, it has been named the Best Architectural Design Group, 2022 - United Kingdom. Since 2014, Design Spec Ltd has been dominating the architecture industry. The company is unique as it acts as a fixed-fee architecture company that serves the entirety of England, noting that it believes ‘that a great service can be provided on a fixed fee basis, nationally!’ This aspect of the business has been at the forefront of the company’s mission since its founding eight years ago and has proven to be greatly successful. Moreover, it remains one of the three fundamental pillars that support the business – the other two being one-to-one management and an unlimited design stage. In essence, whether a client needs assistance with paperwork or is planning on revamping their property, Design Spec is equipped to fulfil these services. Home extensions, loft conversions, and internal alterations are all in a day’s work. Design Spec has garnered an abundance of experience in these areas, resulting in a truly impressive portfolio. From commercial properties to blocks of flats, and home renovations to visual aesthetics, the company works with a diverse group of clients. Henceforth, Design Spec has become accustomed to working with a range of requirements, desires, and outcomes. Yet each design has one thing in common – quality. Design Spec prides itself in the quality of each of its projects, creating luxury for its clients. Of course, every project, no matter the size, is completed at a fixed rate. In addition, homeowners receive the promised unlimited design stage, as the company understands that settling on something permanent is a difficult decision. It notes that some of its clients have struggled to choose even after four designs – hence why this stage is necessary, as it provides an added layer of comfort when pushing the project forward. Further success has been generated by its highly-professional team. Design Spec is home to a young, diverse, and devoted team that are incredibly passionate about architecture and design. From the daily management of clients to delivering projects, there is a general buzz of enthusiasm that radiates from the staff, largely due to the positive workspace Design Spec has created. It hires people that it knows will be great. As such, it opts to recruit those with people skills, commenting that ‘most Architectural Project Managers come with an over dominance of experience in the field and an underwhelming ability to simply listen to a client’s needs.’ Therefore, it has built a team that is not only effective in its collaboration, but one that prioritises client-centricity. However, this success has been paired with a fair number of challenges. The Covid-19 pandemic had a significant impact on many industries, causing deep wounds that will be felt for years to come. Design Spec found itself having to adapt greatly in order to fit the new normal – however, it recognises that the pandemic did offer some benefits. For example, its most notable improvement comes in the form of a rise in the acquisition of new technology, including Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. Prior to the pandemic, this technology seemed increasingly unobtainable – like something out of a sci-fi film or futuristic story. They were, in effect, a luxury. Whereas now, such technology has become commonplace within the company, working alongside Planning and Building Control applications. Consequently, 2022 and beyond is looking increasingly bright for Design Spec. It has numerous plans in the works, many of which it hopes to bring to fruition in the upcoming months. It hopes to introduce more people to the world of fixed fee architecture, bolstering what it calls the ‘architectural revolution.’ Additionally, it hopes to push its services throughout the company, infiltrating the Midlands and the North. Contact: James Collinson Company: Design Spec Ltd Web Address: https://www.designspec.co.uk/

15 | Q2 2022 Mar22661 The Company Bringing New Talent To The Travel Industry As the ‘Best Travel Franchise’ in 2022, The Travel Franchise has continued to break sales records for both new franchisee recruitment and holiday sales. The business has also consistently outperformed rivals, becoming the UK’s leader at taking people without travel experience and making them successful business owners. The Travel Franchise is the UK’s number one home-working agency for people new to travel, having helped over 900 people start a successful travel business. Not simply content to provide everything required to run a travel agency, the company also specialises in helping people get the ongoing support they need to become both a successful travel agent and entrepreneur. New franchisees get an instant travel agency that can be trading in as little as one week. And, with ongoing training and mentorship programmes included, they’re guided each step of the way as they create their own multi-million pound businesses. All without worrying about creating the infrastructure required for growth. They can also opt to start part-time, allowing them to scale-up at their own pace. This approach to business and personal development, combined with a ‘fanatical about service’ ethos that runs throughout the company, has seen them rapidly become one of the UK’s highest rated independent travel agencies. Refusing to stand still during the pandemic, they instead invested over a million pounds into their operations, technology, staff and customerfacing “Not Just Travel” brand, to support both franchisees and passengers. Bespoke business software enabled seamless customer support when refunds were at their highest. New sustainability programmes helped create significant, long term change with every passenger booking. And brand new marketing initiatives were made available to all franchisees, including “The Travel Podcast”, which kept them front-of-mind with potential new customers. Launched in the early days of lockdown, it rapidly reached number 1 in the iTunes charts, inspiring people to plan ahead for future holidays. The business also places a large emphasis on corporate and social responsibility. Franchisees and team members were supported with financial aid and emotional wellbeing programmes during the pandemic. They are also currently paying staff £350 a month to host Ukrainian families escaping the war, all while continuing to invest in expansion. Recently, The Travel Franchise broke new ground in the travel sector, by offering a unique low-cost, low-risk package for people who want to start a business around other work or life commitments. With start-up costs of just £2,995 + monthly subscription, they can still benefit from award-winning support and training without needing to commit full-time immediately. This forward-thinking approach has clearly paid off, with over 135 new franchisees joining during the pandemic alone. And, with sales up 300% and passenger booking records being broken almost daily, many have already chosen to upgrade their package to make it their fulltime occupation. With plans in place to quadruple sales in the next 12 months, as part of further major technology and joint venture initiatives, this business is clearly one to watch. Company: The Travel Franchise Contact: Jenny Farenden Website: the-travel-franchise.com Email: join@thetravelfranchise.com

16 | Q2 2022 Mar22408 A Different Kind of Agency Intelligent People is a boutique recruitment agency with over 20 years’ specialist knowledge of the industry, specialising in retained executive search, permanent contingency recruitment, and contract/interim placement. It places experienced and executive level product management, marketing, e-commerce, and commercial leadership candidates within scale-up and enterprise B2B and B2C companies in the UK and internationally. In light of Intelligent People being recognised as Leading Product Management and eCommerce Recruitment Consultancy, 2022 – London, we take a closer look at how it can help clients and candidates. Priding itself on being a different kind of agency, Intelligent People always takes a collaborative and ethical approach to recruitment. Since 2002, it has been genuine in its brand mission – to help clients find expert talent and leaders across product, marketing, and e-commerce, while taking the most exciting career opportunities to its candidate network. It does this by taking the time to understand the needs of its client, and aspirations of its candidates. In doing this, the company is highly successful and has become a trusted recruitment partner to many large and scaling businesses across the world. Its expert consultants and researchers manage recruitment projects from end to end. They are a team made up of experts who listen closely and work ethically, providing support as needed and keeping employee wellbeing as a priority. More often than not, they get it right – placing the right candidate in the right role, leading to lower staff turnover and a greater impact on client businesses. For corporate and scale-up clients, this means advising on employer branding, candidate profiles, salary benchmarking, search strategy, engagement strategy, candidate assessment, selection process, and everything to do with engaging interims. For candidates, it offers advice around career planning, personal development, salary/benefits, benchmarking, resumé formatting, and interview preparation. Intelligent People’s considered, highly consultative approach means it constantly meets candidates and gets to know every single individual – not just their professional capability, but what makes them happy and what makes them tick. This goes hand in hand with listening carefully to its clients’ needs and the kinds of people they want to see thrive in their business. Don’t take our word for it; Intelligent People’s clients speak for themselves. Nick Brown, Chief Product Officer at Pebble said, “Simply put, Intelligent People are my go-to for product hires. I’ve been on both sides (IP have placed me in a new role as well as helped me recruit candidates multiple times, most recently as CPO of a marketplace), and they have always been honest, professional, and considerate balancing the needs of candidates with those of the hiring company. For my recent search - in a very difficult market - they were my first port of call and helped me land the perfect Product Manager for the role, who’s doing a fantastic job. The process was simple and straightforward, the shortlist was exactly what I wanted and the advice along the way, including salary benchmarks, candidate profiling and analysis was invaluable and refreshing in the scrappy world of recruitment. I would highly recommend to anyone looking to hire at any level in product or indeed as a recruiter to work with as a candidate.” Ruth Tapley, Lead Product Manager at Ambassador Theatre Group Ltd said, “A friendly and professional team who really know their market and clients, I’d highly recommend Intelligent People as specialist recruiters for product and product design. They take the time to thoroughly understand a brief, role and requirements, and always put forward a shortlist of highly relevant candidates. Intelligent People are our first stop for product positions, and we’ve successfully recruited a number of both contract and perm roles over the years.” Candidates are delighted with their experience of dealing with the agency, too, having successfully found career opportunities while enjoying the process. Jade Phillips said, “By far one of the best recruitment agencies out there. I’ve worked with Intelligent People twice and on both occasions, they have genuinely focused on helping me to find a role that is right for me. Highly recommend working with them!” Adam Maidment said, “Chris and Doug placed me in an early Web Developer role back in 2007. Since then, I have gone on to build my own agency and now Intelligent People is a client of ours. Chris and Doug are the same honest, personable and down to earth guys as they were over a decade ago and their team is based on the same values. I can’t recommend Intelligent People enough.” Ultimately, Intelligent People’s clients and candidates can’t say enough positive things about it – and it’s easy to see how the agency has achieved such success within the SME Business Elite Awards 2022. The agency is now focused on the future, with plans to extend its networks and place more executive level candidates into their dream roles. Company: Intelligent People Contact: Laura Richards Email: laurarichards@intelligentpeople.co.uk Website: www.intelligentpeople.co.uk