SBT Round Up – A Look Back at Another Year 

Issue 436 – CBC

This is obviously my personal favourite issue of the year as my business partners, Lee Mansfield, Greg Carroll, and I launched County Business Clubs.

This has been several years in the making and crystallises many meetings where we tried to imagine an online space which brings the Sussex business community together. Based on the back of the 50 years running successful Sussex Business Times, this Club brings many wider online platforms into one space to promote and establish visibility for your business.

With five different platforms, County Business Clubs will allow you to access many areas which you might usually have to seek, and pay for, from separate providers:

Business Community (Social Networking)

Business Funding (Raising money for your business)

Marketplace (Selling your products)

Business Content Hub (E-courses and webinars)

Business Services (Advertising and Sponsorship)

You can pay one membership fee and have access to all of these areas. Business, social, and online events will include many top Sussex businesses and will be a chance for you to show off your own services and a fantastic way to explore providers of other services specific to your requirements.

There are seven different membership options, you can choose a rate which suits you and tailor make your accessible services in order to ensure you are at the forefront of the new County Business Clubs.

We are very happy to report that we now have the support of several big named Value Added Partners such as Ridgeview, LoveLocalJobs.com, MHA Carpenter Box, and New World Tech. We have now upgraded our website, adapted some content, and are ready to continue expansion.

We would love if you could join us and be part of the new wave of the Sussex Business Community in 2021.

Issue 438 – Love Local Jobs

This issue was a celebration of the ten-year anniversary of Brightonandhovejobs.com. Our article outlined in-depth look at the business and an interview with the company founder Gary Peters.

With the main intention of filling a gap in the market, and making a positive difference to the local community, Gary outlined that he wanted to ensure he provided a business which would help and inspire local future generations. With some big names on board, such as American Express, Bupa, Domestic & General, Legal & General, City College and EDF, Gary set about securing their support and growing the business to become the successful one it is today.

Brightonandhovejobs.com have supported local schools and persistently encourages skills of resilience, determination and grit, skills which must have been of particular use to all of us this year. It prides itself on it’s unique offering of knowing local business and being able to provide online and face to face services for recruitment.

Two years ago, Gary launched the Love Local Jobs Foundation which concentrates on working with school and employers to raise the aspirations of the next generation. Launched by the legend Harry Redknapp, the Love Local Jobs Foundation brings inspirational conferences, events, and trips away to local schools. This supports the core values of the business to raise confidence and help people be the best version of themselves, which then springboards them into successful career choices.

During the COVID crises, like many of us, LoveLocalJobs.com has had to adapt and try and move into more online training for the schools, certainly a tough gig but one which they appear to have managed seamlessly. Gary is clearly passionate about ensuring students have the right tools to equip them to manage, and has shown determination in securing the delivery of that training.

Despite a tough year, there are successful businesses across Sussex who continue to use and support the recruitment business at LoveLocalJobs.com and I wish them every success going into 2021.

Issue 439 – Ridgeview

This article focused on the history and success of the Ridgeview Wine Estate and makes for a fascinating read. A family-run business which started 25 years ago as a dream, has now developed into a hugely successful award-winning wine maker in Sussex.

The Roberts family business is now headed up by second generation CEO Tamara Roberts and her brother, Chief Wine Maker Simon Roberts. Ridgeview is at the forefront of the English sparkling wine industry, pioneering a change in the reputation of English wines. Their dedication is clear and Ridgeview was recognised in the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) as the “International Wine Makers of the Year,” a truly respectable accolade. They were also crowned number 36 in the World’s Best Vineyards. Tamara has herself been personally recognised as Sussex Businessperson of the Year and has also accepted a place after recently being elected as President of the IWSC.

Ridgeview work closely with the nearby Plumpton College in order to assist and employ winemaking and viticulture graduates. This shows a commitment to local employment and a keen devotion to ensure the best possible knowledge from their employees.

In 2020, Ridgeview has done their best to celebrate their official 25 year anniversary, an event slightly subdued due to the Coronavirus restrictions. Inside the foil on opening every bottle is their philosophy “Life is for Celebrating.” To meet their own business needs, Ridgeview has pivoted to offer socially distanced tours and online wine tasting events and this has allowed them to remain open and continue with business. The company has also taken the time to reflect and plan for events and business ideas for the future.

Going into 2021, and with the hope of a vaccine for all, Ridgeview hope to continue with their brilliant Ridgefest Music and Street Festival in August. With their wines now being sent to seventeen countries around the globe, there is no reason why they cannot continue to grow and maintain success. I wish them all the very best in 2021.

Issue 440 – PRG Marketing Communications

A close up at the business of PRG Marketing Communications for this issue, with a particular celebration of their 40th year in business.

Based in Eastbourne, this fantastic business started at the home of Ray Groves, Simon Groves’ father, purely as a PR company. Over time and with clear hard work and commitment, PRG has expanded into a full marketing and graphic design company.

The company has now stepped into website development and digital marketing, which has seen it go from strength to strength. Originally UK based, the company has seen clients throughout Europe and even as far as Oman and Africa.

Very much a family-run business, they take strategic business decisions together as a team and have faced their fair share of difficulties. The managing director Simon Groves, describes a time in 2018 when some large clients were lost through no fault of their own, and a very valued member of staff was lost to cancer. Showing resilience, they soldiered on and it seems have now gone from strength to strength.

A fantastic partnership with the Lawn Tennis Association to handle the corporate hospitality for the Eastbourne based Nature Valley International Tennis Tournament has served them well. A massive acquisition campaign for Johnson Controls, and the infamous Let’s Do Business Exhibitions over the last few years are also perfect endorsements for the brand.

Passionate about Eastbourne, PRG created and ran the Change Your View campaign, and Simon Groves is also a Parent Governor of Pashley Down Infant School, showing commitment and support of the local community.

Despite a tough year, PRG continues to go from strength to strength as is a beacon of hope that it is possible to continue with a thriving business, even in a year like 2020. I wish PRG, and Simon, every success going into 2021.

Issue 441 – New World Tech

New World Tech are the focus of this round up from issue 441. NWT provides a portfolio of digital consultancy services. The company was designed to help their clients modernise their IT and embrace the digital world.

CEO Glenn Ballard has partnered with Sussex Business Times to supply a series of four articles detailing the reasons for, and how to pivot to survive during the Coronavirus crisis. In the first article, Glenn described how an aligned IT and business strategy might allow businesses to get ahead of the crisis. Founded in 2016, NWT has built a number of small to medium sized business clients, as well as enterprise clients, and he intends to provide them with the support to continue despite the crisis.

Undergoing massive transformation and pivoting to a completely new direction might be, in Glenn’s opinion, the only way for certain businesses to survive. He gives examples of hotels opening up rooms for businesspeople to use instead of working in their home environment, or restaurants providing pick up or delivery services to adapt to the current crisis.

Whilst 2020 has been challenging on all of us, NWT continues to support many businesses with their IT and business services, a time when many need it the most. Thank you Glenn for the positive article showing that it is possible to think outside the box even in these times. I wish NWT, and Glenn, every success going into 2021.

This year is certainly one we will all not forget, but as many of us have collaborated, and truly come together as a community, it has been great to continue sharing stories with advice and tips shared from our members, as well as helping some businesses celebrate some amazing milestones from across the Sussex business community. We have survived and we will come back stronger in 2021!

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