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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.

Jack Peilow – Beards of Whitstable

Jack Peilow (local photographer) and the Sheriff of Canterbury at his private viewing of his exhibition Beards of Whitstable. The private viewing was very successful and Jack received some great comments on his work.

Beards of Whitstable is a photographic series shot in 2013 that features portraiture of strangers I met and friends I knew while stood outside the studio I used to work at. The theme came half way through the weeks as I shot the series. Originally it was going to be just the interesting faces around Whitstable, however, as time went on the series gravitated mainly toward facial hair. The exhibition is open daily from 12 July until Tuesday 18 July at the Horsebridge in Whitstable.

Jack has been supported by StartMyBiz and this is his first exhibition.

To find out more about the exhibition or Jacks other work contact Jack@Jackpeilow.com or visit his website www.jackpeilow.com

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How start-ups can make the most of R&D Tax Credits

If you’re a UK start-up you may already have heard about R&D Tax Credits. But do you know exactly what they are? You’re not alone if the density of information and advice available to new companies has left you in the dark. So, in one sentence: research and development (R&D) tax credits are a form of tax benefit designed to reward UK companies for innovation.

Who can claim?

Any UK limited company which, at its own financial risk, is looking to resolve a ‘technical or scientific uncertainty’ can claim. So, if you’ve set up a company to create a brand-new product or process, or to significantly improve on existing ones, then there’s a good chance you’ll qualify. And it isn’t limited to a particular industry: whether you’re innovating in Nano-tech, software development, or food manufacture, you are equally eligible.

What costs qualify?

You can claim for expenditure that directly relates to the development activity, such as the salary and subcontractor costs of the people involved, materials used for prototyping, even certain software purchases.

What does it mean for your company?

An injection of cash can be a life saver for companies desperate to innovate and stay ahead of the competition. That’s the potential outcome of an R&D Tax Credits claim. It can come in the form of a refund of corporation tax; a tax credit that can be surrendered for cash; or tax relief to put against future tax bills. Understandably, there are qualifying criteria, but you could ultimately receive between 20-33% of your development spend.

‘But hold on, we’re not trading yet…’

Profit? What profit? As an innovative start-up, your profit may still seem like a distant dream. But R&D Tax Credits aren’t only for those companies already turning a profit. In fact, companies running at a significant loss are more likely to receive the most benefit from the scheme: a generous 33p for every £1 of qualifying costs. So, whether you are currently loss making, in profit, or at pre-revenue stage, you can claim for R&D Tax Credits.

Tips on maximising your claim

  • First things first, make sure that everything you pay out on development goes through your company accounts.
  • Include your accountant in R&D Tax Credit discussions. They are best positioned to advise you on how this can be used by your company moving forward. That said, keep in mind that your accountant may only have a rudimentary knowledge of the R&D scheme (you can’t expect them to be experts in every field of taxation).
  • Finally, if you’re looking to make a claim, the simplest and most headache-free way to do so is by engaging the services of an R&D specialist. Even if you think there’s only a slim chance you qualify, a short chat with them will set you straight. And most R&D specialists will be happy to provide this initial consultation without it costing you a penny.

Tax Credits

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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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Free guides to help your start up

There is so much to consider when starting a business so we thought we would help out with our free downloadable guides.

They’re packed full of practical tips, examples and ‘how-to’ information and, best of all, you can read them on your device or print them out. Whether it’s advice on conducting market research, analysing your strengths and weaknesses or optimising your website to find more customers online, we’ve got it covered. See our full menu below to find the right guide for your needs. Our 3 free guides are:

Start Up Toolkit 2017

  • A month-by-month guide to important business deadlines
  • Advice on self assessment and tax payments
  • Start up events and shows across the UK
  • Time management and planning techniques for the year ahead
  • Tips for reducing Corporation Tax liability

Marketing Toolkit

  • How to research your target market and test your business idea
  • Creating a marketing plan and setting goals effectively
  • Building a business website and attracting online customers
  • Low-cost options for on and offline advertising, affiliate marketing and PR.
  • Free and cheap ways to market your business on a shoestring budget

SEO Toolkit

  • Discovering keywords and how to use them
  • Content creation and how it can boost your website
  • How to structure your site with search engines in mind
  • Backlinks and how to get them
  • Registering with Google

Click here to find out more and get your free guides now!

The Start Up Loans Company was established in September 2012, with a mission to help new and early stage UK businesses access affordable finance and mentoring support.