News in brief: HR; finance; technology

News in brief
News in brief


New guide on workplace eye care regulations

A free guide to display screen equipment (DSE) regulations and eye care has been published by Specsavers Corporate Eyecare. The new DSE eye care resource provides employers with comprehensive guidance on workplace eye care regulations for screen-users. It covers the regulations in detail, looking at who is covered, what exactly now counts as DSE, how the funding should work, right down to the wider benefits of eye care and how other companies have seen benefits from their eye care provision.

Director of strategic alliances at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare Jim Lythgow said: “Our guide to DSE regulations and eye care aims to explain the details and clarify exactly who is covered and what the employer is required to fund. We hope this will assist employers in meeting their responsibilities for eye care in the most cost-effective and time-efficient manner.”

Nominate your ‘Everyday Business Hero’

For new businesses just taking off, one enthusiastic person can make all the difference. It’s vitally important for a small company to hire the right people. With this in mind, global courier ParcelHero, which works closely with start-ups and SMEs, has launched a competition to identify and reward these Everyday Business Heroes.

ParcelHero’s head of PR and publications, David Jinks said: “That new standout admin assistant or warehouse operative might not yet be a shining mentor, but reliability and adaptability are qualities that make ‘everyday’ employees our own business heroes. If you can find the right person who shows initiative when problems hit – as they inevitably will – and who keeps customers onside, then you have found your businesses hero.”

To nominate someone you admire, fill out the form on ParcelHero’s Everyday Hero site. Get your vote in soon, as submissions close on 22 November, after which a panel of judges will pick a winner from each category and they will receive a heroic experience day.

As an employer you have a certain duty of care to your employees; never put them in unsafe working conditions, and bear in mind that a little encouragement goes a long way.


Real-time crowdfunding summit

Crowdfinders, new-era social funding specialists, recently held a live crowdfunding summit which achieved its goal of raising £1.9m for SMEs. The summit was launched to introduce the concept of live business pitches that receive real-time investment pledges. Titled Rise to the Top, seven entrepreneurs delivered a series of competitive pitches to an audience of 400 high net-worth, ultra-high net-worth, angel and institutional investors.

CEO of Crowdfinders Luke Davis said at the event: “Social funding as a concept is nothing new – however crowdfunding continues to evolve due to the technology that defines it. By bringing international enterprise talent, investors, pitches, insights and real-time investments into one day, entirely dedicated to deal-flow and dialogue, crowdfunding is propelled into it next phase of delivery.”

A third of SMEs seeking finance are doing so in order to grow

Fundbird, an online platform that matches SMEs with the right funding, has released data detailing the profile of small businesses in the UK seeking finance. Just over a third of businesses using the site to find funding are doing so to fuel expansion and growth. Despite the recent surge in negative headlines highlighting the impact of late payments, just 21% are looking for funding to improve cash flow, 15% are looking to purchase inventory and assets, and 11% are seeking working capital.

Around 4% of businesses using Fundbird are doing so to refinance debts. CEO and co-founder of Fundbird Sharon Argov says: “It’s encouraging to see that Britain’s businesses are looking for funding from alternative lenders for positive reasons, both in London and beyond. Our data suggests that British SMEs are optimistic about their future despite repetitive headlines around cash flow, invoicing and late payments.”

It is encouraging to see that so many SMEs are seeking alternative finance in order to grow their business, rather than to improve their cash flow.


SMEs have a positive outlook towards digital technology

Virgin Media Business has published a report which reveals that digital technologies could provide a £56 billion boost to SMEs, as well as creating more than 920,000 new jobs.

When examining the impact of digital capabilities on business, UK SMEs said that they increased their revenues by 6.6% and reduced their costs by 4.4% in the past year. This generated an estimated £71 billion contribution to the UK's economy.

Looking at the next two years UK SMEs are optimistic about the potential of digital to drive growth. While digital is expected to result in some job losses (approximately 180,000 jobs from SME businesses), 63% of SMEs expect no jobs at all to become obsolete from the increasing use of digital. Overall, expected job losses are far outweighed by the number of employees SMEs anticipate hiring as a direct result of digital investments, which aggregated across the sector are expected to total in excess of 920,000 new jobs over the next two years.

This is further evidence that digital technology is crucial for the success of SMEs. If you get stuck in, there’s no telling what the benefits could be for your business.