Business news in brief – updated today

Delivery services hints at expansion plans

A one-hour grocery delivery service, which delivers from most of local grocery retailers is set to launch their operation nationwide by December.

Grocemania, which launched in February 2018, currently delivers groceries from more than 150 Independent and chain stores across London, Bristol and Brighton in as little as one hour for a fixed £2.50 delivery fee. Founder Askar Bulegenov plans to expand the service across the Birmingham and offer deliveries from most of the stores over the next few months, although he did not name the target retailers.

According to Sales Director, Alexander Zhexembayev, since the launch a year ago they’ve acquired over 60,000 active users on their platform and are currently serving 70,000 – 100,000 monthly orders.

“What I like the most about our service- is that feeling that we actually help customers and businesses,” said Alex. “Mostly it’s local mums with children, who need some simple things for cooking, but can’t leave their children alone at home”.

Previse duo to bolster team behind InstantPay

AI Fintech Previse has announced additions to its London team. Niv Subramaniam joins as Commercial Lead and Steve Dempsey as Sales Director.

Previse is growing its team in response to increased demand for its InstantPay technology, which has been spurred by the need for SMEs to receive faster payments to be able to survive Covid-19.

Last year, Previse was awarded a £2.5 million grant by the Banking Competition Remedies’ Capability and Innovation Fund. The money is being used to fund further development of Previse’s industry leading InstantPay solution, making it accessible to more SMEs.

Niv (above) has run functional teams across global organisations including HSBC, where she served as MD, Head of Global Lending Product; and Barclays, as Director of Global Debt Product.  Steve joins from Tungsten Network, where he served as Enterprise Sales Manager.

Carrington announces new hires

Carrington Communications has expanded its team with the arrival of Ellen Bailey and Jack Nelson. Ellen will bolster Carrington’s PR team and Jack will work with Carrington’s paid media team to lead PPC and paid social accounts.

Carrington founder Rob Tomkinson, said: “We’ve come through a challenging year in a good position,

fortunately, and with the team we’ve got, I’m excited for the year ahead.”

The appointments follow recent client wins for Carrington, including manufacturing supplier Bytronic construction firm MBMS and takeaway delivery site easyFood.

Jack has worked in paid media at a London agency for a portfolio of international brands and Ellen studied journalism at the University of Lincoln before working in marketing and social media for BGU.

More on Carrington Communications here

Tool launched to help combat work stress

A new mental health tool has been developed with a mission to reduce work-related stress and help businesses create a positive culture.

Co-founded by psychologist Dr Robin Hart, Companion is featured in the NHS Apps Library, and offers a range of digital therapy guides in written and audio formats, inspired by Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).  With 828,000 workers reported to have suffered from work-related stress, depression and anxiety in 2019-20, Companion claims to have identified a way to positively impact working culture as we know it and encourage businesses to deliver a duty of care and develop a culture of wellbeing and high performance.

Work-related stress levels have increased by nearly two-thirds since the pandemic with concerns over home working, isolation, job insecurity and burnout reaching crisis point.  Companion’s tools give employees the broad range of guides and content they need to identify problems.

CEO Dan Bladon (above) helped to develop the tool after experiencing work-related stress himself. He said: “We are aware that it is sometimes hard for smaller businesses to offer mental health support to their employees, so we have created a mental health tool that can be easily adopted, customised and offers employees the practical advice and support they need to manage their thinking and achieve higher performance.”

 More about Companion here.

 

Lawyer urges action on Lockdown health

An employment lawyer has called on employers to focus on the mental wellbeing of their staff as businesses continue to adjust to the realities of Lockdown,

In June, the mental health charity, Mind, released figures showing that 60 per cent of adults found that their mental health declined during the first Lockdown. With shorter days there are fears that these figures could be even higher. 

Tessa Robinson, Associate at the law firm Furley Page, said: “Although employers may want to focus on messages around job security by stating it is business as usual, the pressures facing employees at the current time are unprecedented.

“Businesses need to communicate clearly with staff, admit that this period is extraordinary and make reasonable allowances to suit each individual’s specific circumstances during lockdown, including strategies to promote good mental health. 

More on that story here

Stressed at work? There’s an App for that!

A new mental health tool has been launched with a mission to reduce work-related stress and support businesses to create a positive company culture.

The tool, called Companion, is designed to help people manage their thinking, reduce stress symptoms and proactively look after their mental wellbeing.

Co-founded by psychologist Dr. Robin Hart, it is featured in the NHS Apps Library, and offers a range of digital therapy guides in written and audio formats, inspired by proven Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

With 828,000 workers reported to have suffered from work-related stress and depression during  2019-20, Companion has been developed to focus on core topics of concern and equip people with practical skills to apply to their working day.

Dan Bladon, CEO said: “After experiencing work-related stress and anxiety myself, I am thrilled to have come together with Dr. Robin Hart to design a mental health tool that I think can make a positive long-term impact on workplace culture.

“We are aware that it is sometimes hard for smaller businesses to offer mental health support to their employees, so we have created a mental health tool that can be easily adopted, customised and offers employees the practical advice and support they need to manage their thinking and achieve higher performance.”

Companion’s tools give employees the broad range of guides and content they need to identify and manage work-related stress and anxiety, and employers the ability to deliver a duty of care and develop a culture of wellbeing and high performance.

More on Companion here.

Funding partnership gives SMEs grant options

Andrea Reynolds of SwoopNatWest has launched a grant-finder service in conjunction with the funding and savings platform, Swoop.

The bank wanted to give SMEs greater access to third-party funding which is not in the form of debt. This new service aims to connect them with grant providers such as local authorities, growth hubs, local enterprise partnerships and privately funded schemes.

The platform will allow businesses, not just NatWest customers, to access tailored grant options via a questionnaire which matches applicants with suitable options.

Andrea Reynolds, CEO of Swoop (above) said: “Our mission is to empower entrepreneurs to make the right financial decisions every day by bringing all their finance options together in one place, personalised to their specific business circumstance.”

More on the NatWest/Swoop initiative here

 

Covid ‘hampering workplace relationships’

Covid-19 has had a significant impact on employer-employee relationships, and is hampering productivity, according to a new report from MetLife UK.

Thirty-two per cent of employees told researchers the relationship been weakened and reduced their sense of belonging to the business. Almost half felt their relationship had worsened and agreed their productivity had diminished.

The report also pointed to a divergence of opinion with employers significantly under-estimating the impact on productivity, according to the Re:Me report which explores the changing priorities and expectations from employers and colleagues and the importance of individualism in a changing world.

Findings from the research show that with two in five office workers primarily working from home, there has been a fall in collaboration and social interaction among colleagues, representing a decline in that all-important sense of community. A sense of belonging is critical for employers, given its correlation with job performance, employee turnover risk and even sick days. And the research shows how a more positive employee experience can harness a culture of care and rebuild a sense of belonging.

More on Metlife here

 

FFE role for Meadowcroft

Doncaster-based alternative lending provider Finance For Enterprise has strengthened its team of Investment Managers by appointing experienced banker and business support manager, Jeremy Meadowcroft.

He will be responsible for helping business owners across the region to access a range of tailored business lending support packages including access to the Government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme, as well as nurturing new entrepreneurs through Start Up Loans.

Jeremy spent 30 years working in the banking sector, where he rose through the ranks to become a branch manager, developing a particular interest in helping owner-managed businesses to prosper, before making the switch to commercial banking. In recent years he has also helped growing businesses secure business angel investments and hosted monthly ‘Dragons Den’ equity pitch day events which brought together business owners and investors from across the North of England.