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Business Mentor: Robert de Fougerolles

Robert de Fougerolles is a business mentor, offering free business mentoring to SME’s in our district, if you would like to arrange a meeting with Robert please email ahmed.khan@canterbury.gov.uk

  • I successfully ran my own businesses for over 20 years in Canada and the United States.
  • I taught in the MBA program of Concordia’s University’s Molson School of Business with a course in the Entrepreneurial Studies Program.
  • I lectured at McGill University on Mergers & Acquisitions.
  • I was the Business Champion and Founding Chairman of the Sittingbourne Enterprise Hub Ltd. SEHL sponsored the first Dragon’s Den style competition in Kent with prize money exceeding £100,000.
  • I was the Founding Chairman of the Kent Science Resource Centre.
  • I was the Founding Treasurer of the Application Home Initiative in Britain.
  • I was the owner and CEO of Admail 4 International Limited, located in Sevenoaks, a marketing services company.
  • I have been on the boards of public listed companies and usually served as Chairman of the Audit and Corporate Governance Committees.
  • I ran the Canadian Divisions of Schweppes, Chivers, Roses and Powell Foods.
  • I was Secretary-Treasurer and CFO of Molson’s Brewery in Quebec.
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Business Mentor: Professor Richard Scase

Professor Richard Scase is a business mentor, offering free business mentoring to SME’s in our district, if you would like to arrange a meeting with Professor Scase please email ahmed.khan@canterbury.gov.uk

Professor Scase has been advising business start-ups for more than 30 years. He has been a director of start up programmes at Kent University advising would be entrepreneurs how to prepare business plans. He is currently working with Chinese business leaders at Oxford University on their strategies for growth, developing their product portfolios and growing market share.

He is not only a small business adviser but also an entrepreneur in his own right. He is founder of the Kent radio station now known as Heart FM and also of an online accountancy training company until he sold his share stake last year. As a mentor, he helps entrepreneurs with developing business plans with a particular emphasis on branding, marketing and driving traffic to company websites.


We are supporting independent retailers in Whitstable

Find out how we can work together to help make your business a success…

In an increasing competitive retail environment we are aware that you need additional and bespoke support. We have therefore created a free business support package delivered by specialist independent business advisers that includes Workshops, 1-2-1 support, seminars and a shop local marketing campaign.

Here’s what some of the independent businesses in Whitstable had to say about our 2016 support programme:

“Brilliant and so beneficial”

“It has been invaluable. I feel a lot more confident”

“The one to one sessions were so helpful as a they were tailored to my business”

We are supporting independent retailers in Whitstable

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Fly Free with FreeFly VR’s Mobile Gaming Headset!

Immersive Experiences

Inspired by his father’s entrepreneurial spirit and by being raised in an environment with great work-life balance, Mark Little started FreeFly VR in October 2013. The business enables customers to connect their mobile phone to the FreeFly VR headset to take sports, gaming, education and horror into a whole new level of immersive experience. It opens the door to hundreds of compatible experiences available on both iTunes and Google Play where you can share new realities with other virtual reality enthusiasts. Mark says the headset has full blackout casing and headphone access and can be used with apps like vTime, enabling you to meet, chat and interact with your friends and meet new people, in fabulous locations under the sea or, for example, in virtual Tuscany! It’s simple to set up with the GLIDE controller and is regularly updated with all the best GLIDE experiences.

Networking & Integrating

FreeFly VR is currently situated in London, but Mark is shortly moving the business to Birchington. In order to help him integrate with the Kent business community ahead of the move, Mark decided to attend the StartMyBiz and GrowMyBiz Kent UNconference this year. He says of the event “it was a great day for our growing business as we were able to meet face to face with our Kent partners, such as AM Marketing who run our Google Marketing and RIFT Accounting who we work with for our accountancy and R&D tax credit requirements. I also loved the talks by local business people and found some really inspiring, particularly the workshop led by Bradley from AM Marketing.”

Achieving Business Goals

As an entrepreneur, what Mark has found most fulfilling is building his team of employees. He delights in watching them innovate and explore the market to produce increasingly better products that have exceeded both his and his customers’ expectations. To help propel his team to success, Mark sets web traffic and sales targets so everyone knows exactly what they need to do to grow the business.  His client base is currently 55% in the USA, 20% in the UK and 25% around the globe.  You can find out more about FreeFly VR via the website www.freeflyvr.com and on Twitter @freeflyvr. Mark also offers customers a “Club Class” membership option through which they get notifications of upcoming Virtual Reality shows and new experiences.

Entrepreneurial Advice

Mark’s excellent advice to other entrepreneurs is, “Speak to other business owners and listen to their stories, they’ve already learned a lot and could help you avoid the mistakes they have made.”

So, if you have ever wondered about Virtual Reality or you are already a loyal VR gamer, watch out for new promotions and experiences on the FreeFly website and be prepared for new “realities” that will blow your mind!

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Start Your Business Here and Succeed

Canterbury is the top location in the southeast for starting a business, according to research out today (Wednesday 26 April).
Domain registration company Nominet also places the city as 16th highest in the whole country in the survey, which identifies where the opportunities are for new owners to harness online interest in their trade.
In addition, the research picks out the best locations for specific services, and shows Canterbury as sixth best for starting a car valet business or a bakery. Cleaners, cafés, grocers and accountancy firms also do well in the city, featuring in the top 20.
Canterbury City Council’s Head of Business and Regeneration, Caroline Hicks, said: “This is brilliant news for Canterbury and the surrounding area. The research shows our economy is strong and that there is plenty of demand, both online and offline, for local products and services.”
The council works closely with the business community in the area and runs its Start-my-Biz and Grow-my-Biz programmes. This is a partnership of various organisations in the district aimed at supporting businesses to start, grow and invest.
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Canterbury City Council is delighted to bring you Expo 17

Canterbury City Council is delighted to bring you Expo 17, Herne Bay’s biggest business and community exhibition. Come along to the King’s Hall, right on the seafront, to find out what’s happening in the local area.

This popular event is celebrating its 10th year! Join more than 60 exhibitors as we bring together local businesses and community groups for an afternoon of networking, sharing ideas, promotion and updating on major projects, including our business support initiative ‘Buy in the Bay’.

  • Meet businesses with great products and services and knowledge to share
  • Expand your network with like-minded business experts
  • Find out more about ‘Buy in the Bay’ and how the council can help your business
  • Meet community groups and see how you can get involved in town life
  • Find out about local events including the air show, sci-fi and festivals

Expo 17 is free to attend. Come and celebrate our 10th birthday and make it our biggest event yet.

Free refreshments at the networking cafe for the first 100 people to visit.

Visit canterbury.gov.uk/expo17 for more details and remember to use #HBExpo17

Register now!

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Expo 17 – Expo is back!

Expo is back with Expo 17! One of the largest business and community exhibitions in Herne Bay takes place on Wednesday 3 May 2017 between 11am and 4pm at the impressive King’s Hall, right on the seafront.

Building on the success of last year’s event that hosted 65 exhibitors, over 600 visitors are expected to attend this year.

Join us at King’s Hall to showcase your business, take advantage of networking opportunities and see what else the district has to offer you.

You’ll also be able to find out how our Buy in the Bay shop local campaign is supporting local businesses.

Watch the video below to get a taste of last year’s event. Stay tuned for more updates on Expo 17.

Book your stand

To book your Expo stand at a cost of £50, please email angela.furlong@canterbury.gov.uk or call 01227 862 262.

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What is Better Business for All (BBfA) Kent & Medway?

BBfa – What is it?

A partnership designed to improve the way regulation is delivered to ease the burden on the local business community.

Who for?

All businesses, but especially SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises). All regulators working with the local business community.


By working together to remove real and perceived barriers to growth. By understanding each other’s perspectives we can adapt our approach, tackle obstacles and find solutions.


To create a safe and fair trading environment that:

  • Supports business growth
  • Encourages fair competition
  • Protects consumers


  • Consumer confidence
  • Public safety
  • Local economic growth (jobs and apprenticeships)
  • Safe, happy, thriving communities

Get Advice?

Businesses — find links to the right type of regulatory service support to get assured advice and find useful information on each type of regulatory service and a general downloadable guide for business.

Click here to visit the BBfa website and find out more

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Campaign Films – How Movies Can Be Worth More Than A Million Words (Local Business)

Anton French is a self-employed film maker and Brighton Film School alumni, who runs his two film production companies Curious Films and Campaign Films from his home in Kent. Curious Films makes films for and with the local community and other arts professionals, Campaign Films is an independent production company that creates promotional films and other commercial work for businesses, local authorities and charities, supporting people of all ages and abilities in the community.

Research, Script, Lights, Camera, Action

Anton discovered his passion for film whilst working as an advertising account manager. He began to realise that he no longer wanted to administer other people’s work; he wanted to unleash his own artistic capabilities and create his own films! His highly-experienced team includes a BAFTA award winning writer; a business strategist with expertise in disability, community, local authority and health; and a marketing and research expert with a keen interest in philosophy. Their creative talents combine to enable them to create excellent, broadcast-standard, high-definition films with the right cast and location and great catering, even for clients on a low budget.

Anton and his team always go the extra mile to provide a great customer experience, developing the full potential of their clients’ campaign films by thoroughly researching their target audience and ensuring that the creative piece will engage the right people, in the right place, at the right time. For both promotional and informational films Campaign Films creates imaginative, innovative and accurate scripts in-house and works closely with every client to develop their ideas for the screen. As a local business man himself, Anton says he, “Understands the needs of local businesses. Whether you’re just starting out in a new venture or if you’re established and looking to expand, your potential clients need to find you and engage with you. Film allows you to grab the attention of your clients straight away and to involve them in a way that a body of text just can’t accomplish.”

Creative Gifts

As a hugely creative person Anton admits that one of the hardest aspects of being an entrepreneur is that he is not financially motivated and only wants to make money so that he can continue to produce excellent work that his clients love. There is also a fair amount of competition locally. This is true for a lot of creative professionals and the key to success lies in forging relationships with clients who offer interesting opportunities and value your unique creative gifts and working on your motivation and self-discipline. Business workshops and regularly seeing a mentor are great for keeping a strong business focus.

Growth Planning

Anton first heard of GrowMyBiz by word-of-mouth through a client. He says that the Project has provided him with invaluable information about business support groups in the area and connected him to people who have helped him make decisions on how to grow Campaign Films. He says “It has been inspiring find out that Canterbury City Council is focused on growing the business community through helping individuals such as myself. It has certainly helped grow my confidence too. I have also been able to develop the marketing for the business further due to the contacts GrowMyBiz has given me –  it’s an excellent advisory service that is readily accessible.”

If pictures say a thousand words, then films say a million more! Film is proven to be the most popular and successful form of online communication that gets the highest engagement and most social media shares, so take a look at Anton’s website here (http://www.campaignfilms.co.uk/) and give him a call to see what he can create for your business.

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Enamellist Kate Samuels Can Brighten Up Your Home and Your Day (Local Business)

It’s clear from talking to talented enamel artist Kate Samuels, that she is truly passionate about her art. She gets her inspiration she says, from her children, the sea and “my surroundings, life adventures and sunshine moments; I like things that make me smile.” This happy, upbeat attitude is wonderfully apparent in her brightly coloured, bold, artworks, sculptures, mugs, bowls and plates all bearing uplifting words to brighten your day.

Kate’s process is evolutionary, every piece of work beginning with a moment or several images she has collected from her own experiences on day trips in and around the Kent area and sometimes further field. The beauty of her work and the reason for its popularity with both locals and visitors, is that every piece is a handmade, signed original and every collection reflects a local story. They are created with British steel and enamel from China. Enamel is a great medium for customers as all Kate’s creations are hygiene standard tested, durable and dishwasher proof.

As we so often hear, particularly with successful creative entrepreneurs, enamelling was Kate’s hobby for many years. Once she had children she decided to turn her love for enamelled art into a business so she could create a better work-life balance while also doing a job she loves.

The converted Victorian coach house where she lives with her family houses Kate’s studio and her kiln so she can conveniently work from home. To reach out to the local community Kate runs an open studio once a year, during which people can come to her house and watch her work, enamelling and hand-firing in her kiln. As the Director of Made in Herne Bay she also brings local artists together giving them a platform to discuss their lives and their work and how to market and sell it.  

Below is a video that shows what Made in Herne Bay is all about:

Big trade shows in venues like Olympia have proved a very successful way for Kate raise brand awareness and sell her creations. She has made some great connections through networking and you can find her designs in 20 galleries and shops in the UK and Australia and in many local Kent galleries. Next she is set to conquer New York.  

Kate says she is looking forward to the StartMyBiz, GrowMyBiz and Herne Bay Shop Local projects helping her grow by managing her time more effectively, planning for the future, and finding the funds to take on a new employee. Her advice to entrepreneurs is to stay true to your individuality, as this has always worked so well for her. To see Kate’s designs visit her website at: http://www.katesamuelsdesign.co.uk/