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Client Focus Q&A: Checkd Media

We met up with Wendy Simpson, Managing Director of Checkd Media (pictured below) for our latest Q&A. Wendy joined the company two years ago as Operations Director. She is responsible for the delivery of the company’s strategic goals and overseeing a team of 35 and has over 10 years’ experience in the Online Gaming Industry.


1. What is your business?

Checkd Media is a privately-owned Media business, founded by Jamie Knowlson & Lee Struggles operating out of Manchester city centre. We are the UK’s largest sports betting community reaching over 6 million sports betting followers and fans across our portfolio of brands including FootyAccumulators, TeamFA, Oddschanger, AccaTracker, HorseTracker, GiveMeOdds, TheTennisTipster and TheWinnersEnclosure. We also provide B2B services with white-label products and other business solutions.

2. Which solicitors do you use at Bermans and how do we compare to other firms?

Jamie & Lee (Checkd Media founders) established the relationship with Bermans back in 2012, from my experience of working with them they have been a great support to the business. We acquired Oddschanger in August this year and Robin Hastings & Jon Davage were extremely helpful in making the process efficient for both parties.

3. What are the biggest challenges you face in growing your business and maintaining profits?

This business has continuously grown since it began, I’ve been a part of the journey for 2 and a half years and we’ve had some huge challenges thrown at us. The industry is becoming more and more regulated which is a great thing. Making sure we can maintain our USP and abide with the ASA, the Gambling commission and other regulatory bodies is a careful balancing act, but one we relish. We’re also growing the team quite rapidly, so increasing headcount and making sure everything keeps moving is an on-going challenge.

4. Tell us about your typical working day?

The day starts early, I am generally up at 5am and I try to get into the office by 7am to get my emails cleared before most of the team arrive. The day is then filled with meetings and strategy sessions. I try to leave by 4:30pm, and do more work in the evenings. The nature of our business means we are busiest at weekends and in evenings, so being available at all different times is a very important feature of my role.

5. Highlight for CheckdMedia over the last 12 months?

In the last 12 months we’ve seen 32% growth Y.O.Y, increased headcount by 42%, made an acquisition, took on a number of new partners and managed to remain sane in the mix of it all! We are creating a highly motivated and skilled team, and take pride in our policy of recruiting mainly people who are on the very first rungs of their career ladder. They work hard and we reward them with external events, such as this year’s Chester Race Day trip, or our Dublin trip. To say those trips were eventful, would be an understatement!


6. What are the business plans for the year ahead?

The goal is growth. That could be achieved by adding to the 8 brands we have already, developing new products and / or looking at new territories. The owners and the board have heavily invested in the company to continue as the UK’s Largest Sports Betting Community and we’re in a great position to do that and more.

7. Is there a sector or industry that you are strong in or looking to develop?

Checkd Media is very strong on Social Media, it is one of our key channels, but we also have clear development plans for working in overseas markets. We’ve launched our first white label this year with a company in the Netherlands, which has been quite exciting so if that takes off that will be a focus. We are potentially looking at Africa as we have already got quite a good business model for that continent.

8. Do you find social media assists with your business and if so, how?

40% of our business is Social Media driven. The Company was founded through Social Media so it is a great asset to us and what we’re doing. I’d encourage all businesses to look at Social Media and see how it can benefit your business goals.

9. If you were chancellor, what single change would you make to help improve the economy and/or your business?

I believe the uncertainty around Brexit is the single biggest “drag” on UK economic growth, it cannot be coincidental that before the Brexit vote, the UK had the fastest growing economy in the EU, and now has the slowest growing economy. The chancellor and the rest of the government should be focusing their efforts on negotiating the right Brexit for the UK, and communicating that to the wider public and business.

10. What are your passions away from business?

I enjoy travelling and going to new places, a good box set and walking my Jack Russell dog.

11. Do you have a business tip for our readers?

Work hard, set clear objectives and KPI’s, break down the key drivers to achieving those objectives, focus on them and how you will deliver them. Looking after the small items, ensures you don’t get distracted by what seems a big and scary objective at the top. Tea, cakes and any sort of savoury snack always helps too!



To feature your company in the next issue please contact our Marketing Assistant, Emma Bartram on 0151 224 0506 or email

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Start collecting and investing in art


Matthew Palentine is a private Art Consultant from Manchester. Over the last five years he has worked with companies and private collectors from all over the world to build incredible investable art collections. In Spring 2018 he will be opening his first permanent gallery space in the heart of Manchester, exhibiting some of the most interesting artist of our generation.

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Bermans Social Media Masterclass with Tunafish Media


On Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st June we were delighted to welcome Sam Jones, Managing Director of Tunafish Media ( pictured above), to our Manchester and Liverpool offices to deliver sessions on using social media for business.

The session started with some myth busting on B2B and social media. For example, by spending as little as six hours per week, 66% of B2B marketers see lead generation benefits through social media.


Sam then shared his knowledge on 5 of the main social media platforms and we learnt some interesting facts in the process! (Please note, there are many more platforms out there and these should be selected to suit your industry and target audience.)

Twitter: 54% of users have taken an action once seeing a business named in a tweet (e.g. visited a website)

LinkedIN: Responsible for 80% of B2B online lead generation.

Facebook: 74% of users say that they use Facebook for professional purposes.

Medium: A personal publishing platform used for sharing your knowledge.

Quora: A platform to see what people are querying and use to create your own content.

Tunafish Media is an award winning creative social content agency based in Manchester and servicing the North West, who believe in generating ideas and content that gets results. They create content for use on social media platforms and your website that matches a business’s culture and speaks to their audience, in order to drive traffic and deliver results.


If you are looking to take the first steps in social media or seeking to develop your social media offering get in contact. Sam would be happy to devise similar presentations or training for Bermans contacts.



Twitter: @SamJonesMCR

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Driving Faster

Tom Cheesewright is an Applied Futurist and the author of ‘The Book of the Future.’

His recent keynotes and talks have covered ‘The Future of Money’ (Finextra, London), ‘The Future Office’ (OPI, Amsterdam), ‘The Future of Language’ (ALTO, New York) and ‘How to Apply Futurism’ (Institute for Leadership and Management, London & Manchester).

In the media you can catch him most weeks on BBC TV and radio, across BBC Breakfast, 5live, Radio 4 and other local and national stations. He’s also featured in and worked on shows for Channel 4 (Sunday Brunch, In the Future, Home Hero), Channel 5 (Saturday Show) and Sky News, and been quoted in The Guardian and Entrepreneur Magazine (US).

He spends his time helping people and organisations to answer three questions:

  • What does our future hold?
  • How do we tell that story?
  • And what do we do about it?

He does this through consulting, speaking, writing, and the media, appearing on telly, on the radio, online and in print, explaining technology and tomorrow.


When driving faster, look further ahead

The faster you’re travelling, the further ahead you need to look. When we get behind the wheel of a car, we all do this automatically. But we don’t seem to do it in business.

The reality is that all of us in business are travelling faster now. We may not notice it. The effects are subtle. There are no trees whizzing past the window to give us the impression of speed. But it’s there. Information flows faster. Disruption happens quicker. You can see it in everything from the speed of the delivery to your door, to the turnover on the stock market.

This places an imperative on every business leader to look further ahead. Not necessarily at the far horizon – the rate of disruption is so great that it is further clouding that already-unclear picture. But certainly beyond the next quarter or year.

Expand your field of view

Not only do we have to look further, we have to expand our field of view. To return to the driving analogy, we’re not on a long, straight motorway. We’re crossing a constant stream of intersections. Industries are colliding at an unprecedented rate. The threats to the safety of our journey do not come from our competitors coming up behind us. They come from the unexpected entrant to our lane, veering in from elsewhere.

Few – too few – leaders have gotten to grips with this new reality.

From a vision to a mission

I confess a level of self-interest here. This is what I do. I help businesses to see the future and expand their field of view. It’s called Applied Futurism. I’d like to do it for you. But even more, I’d like you to do it for yourself.

Because this belief in the need to look beyond has gone beyond a business proposition. It has become a mission. I genuinely believe the way that most people do business now is broken.
Firstly, we spend far too much time worrying about our competitors. To return again to my driving analogy, this is like watching your rear view mirror instead of the road ahead. You’re so focused on who might overtake you that you miss the turn that could put you on a much faster route.

Secondly, we spend all our time focused on incremental improvements when there’s an existential threat around the corner. This is like concentrating on your fuel economy when there’s a crash in front of you. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing a few more MPG than your peers if you’re all headed for a pile-up.

Be a futurist

I can’t fix every business. But I can share what I’ve learned in the last five years working with organisations around the world to address these problems. That’s why I now license my knowledge to consultants and business leaders, so that they can address these problems in their own businesses and those of their clients. And I teach the tools I I’ve created to professionals on one-day courses at the University of Salford.

Whether you choose to use my tools or not, I’d urge you to do this: next time you get in the driving seat of your business, stop and look up. Look ahead, not one year but two, three, five. Look around. Look to your left and to your right, at your customers, at the businesses you interact with at home and think: what could these people, their processes, their technologies, do to my industry and my business?

Look ahead and then act. Make change. Steer around that potential crash. Be the first to take that new route.

Tom writes about the future at You can find out more about his consulting and speaking at And licence his tools or book a place on his courses at


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Client Focus Q&A: Steve Barber

We met up with Steve Barber (pictured below), Managing Director of Bridging Finance Solutions, an independent finance house providing short term property finance solutions to individuals, investors, property developers, professional advisors and intermediaries for our latest client focus Q&A.


1. What is your business?

Bridging Finance Solutions is a premier independent finance house providing short term property finance solutions to individuals, investors, property developers, professional advisors and intermediaries.

All of our loans are secured on residential property for between 1 and 12 months, from £25,000 to £5m. We are fully regulated by the FCA and we are able to lend to individuals, partnerships and companies throughout England and Wales.

As principal lenders, we lend our own funds, which means we can offer our clients flexibility and a speed of service which we consider that you will rarely find elsewhere. We pride ourselves on fast, consistent decision making and are totally committed to transparency, clarity and the retention of the administration to a necessary minimum.

The company’s ethos is to provide the best possible service. Our success is based on our reputation for speed, flexibility and personal approach delivered with care and courtesy.

We specialise in Short Term Finance for Fast Property Purchase, Refurbishment Funding, Auction Finance, Immediate Capital Raising for all purposes whilst property is sold or refinanced and Development Finance. We often compliment the banks and long term funders to get deals done quickly, often within 7-10 days, whilst long term funding is arranged.

2. Which solicitors do you use at Bermans?

Our principal point of contact is Fergal O’Cleirigh and we have had our cases looked after by Guy Pattison, Andrew Palmer and Melanie Morris. Nicky Benson looks after our HR and we have also been advised on various corporate matters over recent years.

3. What are the biggest challenges you face in growing your business and maintaining profits?

The short term finance sector is very price sensitive sector and our principal drive is to deliver transparency of pricing to all clients which genuinely adds value to projects. Over 40% of our loans are to repeat clients which is testament to this, along with an increasing number of referrals from professional advisors.

4. Tell us about your typical working day?

We are very client focused organisation and by definition need to be ‘fleet of foot’ and react quickly to our client’s requirements so no individual day is typical. One thing that can be assured as typical, however, is that days are long, particularly when working to a deadline which requires co-ordination of several parties …

5. What has been a highlight for your business over the last 12 months?

The growth and development of an extremely professional, client focused and experienced team alongside considerable growth in the size of the business, which has seen turnover double for the past three consecutive years.

6. What are your plans for your business for the year ahead?

Bridging Finance continues to retain an out dated stigma of ‘lender of last resort’ and ‘expensive’. Much of our growth has been based around education of finance brokers and professional advisors who are increasingly seeing the use of bridging as a mainstream and commercially viable solution to clients requirements, often complimenting a long term funding solution. This education process continues to be central to our growth plans for the coming year and we have invested heavily in IT to ensure that we continue to offer the same personal service as the business continues to grow.

7. Is there a sector or industry that you are strong in or looking to develop opportunities?

Whilst we have funded refurbishment and conversion projects for many years, we launched a development finance product this year, specifically aimed at schemes less than £2m in the North West. These schemes often fall under the radar of large financial institutions who perhaps do not have a strong appetite for these smaller schemes, and that often need to be completed very quickly to secure the best available terms for the client. We believe that this product fits into a growth area in which we are seeing considerable demand and hope to develop on.

8. Do you find social media assists your business and if so, how?

We use social media to raise the awareness of our brand and keep clients and advisors up to date on products, case studies and networking events. I think it is difficult to measure the tangible benefits other than the adage of ‘out of sight…out of mind.’

9. If you were chancellor, what single change would you make to help improve the economy and/or your business?

I would stagger corporation tax rates to encourage the growth and development of the SME sector, by way of investment and growth incentives.

10. What are your passions away from business?

I have a 9 year old son whose social activities tend to keep me occupied as a taxi driver, but I am also a keen fell walker and runner and take part in a number of endurance challenge events….slowly. I am also a keen follower of all sports and we are a principle sponsor of Tranmere Rovers FC locally.

11. Do you have any business tips to share with our readers?

Leave enough money in a deal for the next person……



To feature your company in the next issue please contact our Marketing Assistant, Emma Bartram on 0151 224 0506 or email


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Client Focus Q&A: Gnatta

We met up with Jack Barmby (pictured below), Founder & CEO of multichannel customer interaction company, Gnatta, to find out about his typical working day, business challenges, and what he would do if he was chancellor.

Jack graduated in 2014 and has been focused on learning the keys to disruptive growth. His background comes in the form of social media consultancy during his University studies, and since has paved the way to re-imagine and reshape the way businesses and customers talk to each other through the use of Gnatta. This, as well as growing an outsourcing customer service team of 350, FM Outsource and Gnatta give businesses all around the UK and the world the ability to connect with their customers more effectively than ever.


1. What is your business?

Gnatta is a web based application that let’s businesses deliver a more intelligent customer service solution. We act as a thin layer between the customer and the customer service team to help ensure the business is answering the right customers at the right time. Focused on large scale customer service operations, Gnatta will automate a large part of the information gathering and routing that teams would otherwise have to facilitate, letting the advisors focus wholly on the customer query, helping provide a service that works for the customer and the business.

2. Which solicitors do you use at Bermans and how do we compare to other firms?

We’ve been working with Jon Davage as part of our demerger. Jon and the team have been phenomenal with quick turnaround and a really high standard of work.

3. What are the biggest challenges you face in growing your business and maintaining profits?

For us it’s all about sales. From day one we’ve been a product first business focused on delivering a product that is ahead of the market, fit for purpose and can wow our clients. Where we’ve spent a lot less time is in developing our sales pipeline; profits have been invested back into product development but our sales strategy as yet, hasn’t matured. We’re profitable and are making a product fit for the market and a leader in its sector, but to continue to grow we need to find the right people that need the solution we provide.

4. Tell us about your typical working day?

It’s a mix of helping resolve BAU issues with clients, speaking with new prospects and thinking about the strategic direction going forward. As a quick developing team, most of my time is taken up in helping keep everybody focussed and keep the team working synchronously as we continue to grow.

5. What has been a highlight for Gnatta over the last 12 months?

As a product first team, it’s got to be some of the features we’ve implemented. We’ve had some great clients wins including Missguided and ASOS, but we’ve been really excited about our AI functionality that we can start rolling out to our customers. AI is a new endeavour for businesses, and our take on it is going to be a real game changer; we can implement AI to get involved in the customer journey only in very specific scenarios to make the customer journey slicker. For example, let’s say you want to know where your order is, the bot will ask you for DPA information instantly, and once it has it (or can’t get it) it’ll pass that to a team member to give you the personalised service. Customer wins, business wins.

6. What are your plans for Gnatta for the year ahead?

We’ve got a great product, but we’re never as far ahead as we’d like to think and so the answer must come in two parts. Firstly, we need to keep developing new, exciting things that wow people, because if we’re not doing it, someone else out there is. Secondly we need to mature our sales process and get some new clients involved and on board; we know we can provide something truly innovative and we’d love the opportunity to show what we can do to more businesses.


7. Is there a sector or industry that you are strong in or looking to develop opportunities?

We’ve had great success in fashion retail and would love to develop into other retail sectors. Any business who has a strong digital presence on multiple channels would benefit from using Gnatta.

8. Do you find social media assists your business and if so, how?

Certainly! A big arm of what we provide is a platform for businesses to speak to their customer via social. One of our focuses is the impact of social for businesses. As a medium to let a customer vent, compliment, berate or otherwise a business or product with no barriers or say from the business, it impacts everyone in a massive way.

9. If you were chancellor, what single change would you make to help improve the economy and/or your business?

I’d love to implement a system where startups had access to development resource. Big businesses would be obliged to contribute a small portion of their development resource to small start ups (validated by the system first, of course) to give them chance to get their ideas off the ground. How many people do you know with a great idea that will never have the capital of attraction to get the right talent to get a prototype? Imagine the number great ideas would crop up if the barriers to entry in terms of development resource were lowered.

10. What are your passions away from business?

I’ve always had a big swimming background, so I like keeping fit. That aside, I yoyo between reading socioeconomic behavioural books and epic fantasties (not the classic combo), spending time with friends and family and networking with like minded guys and girls.


Whether you’re looking to better understand and listen to your customers, improve your customer experiences across all channels, seeking a third party customer service provider or planning a social engagement campaign, contact Gnatta:

t: 0333 344 0659


Twitter: @Gnatta

Connect on: LinkedIn


To feature your company in the next issue please contact our Marketing Assistant, Emma Bartram on 0151 224 0506 or email


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Apparent Authority Sufficient to Bind Lessee

In the recent case of CRJ Services Limited v Lanstar Limited [2011] EWHC 972 (TCC) the lessee disputed liability under 3 Lease Agreements on the grounds that the signatory did not have authority to enter into the Agreements.

The problem for the lessee was that although the signatory was not an employee, he was engaged as a consultant and given the title “Landfill Manager” to run a landfill site operated by the lessee. It was common ground that in this capacity he had actual authority to enter into short term Hire Agreements with the Financier for various items of plant, but it was the lessee’s case that he had no actual or implied authority to enter into long term hire contracts. Nevertheless the signatory entered into two 3 year contracts and a 2 year contract for the hire of plant all of which contained terms that if the lessee terminated the arrangement before the expiry of the fixed period of hire it would be liable to pay 60% of the agreed hire rates for the remaining periods of hire.

The lessee claimed that it had no knowledge that these 3 long term contracts had been signed, and had effected payments on the assumption that as with the short term hire contracts rentals were payable on a monthly basis but without any long term commitment.

When the signatory left his engagement with the lessee as a result of an acrimonious dispute the lessee’s solicitors did not improve the lessee’s prospects of being able to avoid liability by writing to the Financier and stating inter alia that the signatory “…was the Landfill Materials and Recycling Facilities Manager…[and] was required to “run things by” the Finance and Managing Directors”.

The court had little difficulty in rejecting the lessee’s arguments that the signatory to the Hire Agreements lacked the necessary authority to bind the lessee. There was no suggestion that the lessee had taken any steps to inform the Financier that there were limits on the signatory’s authority, and at no stage had the lessee protested or withheld any payments during the periods of hire before termination. Thus although the signatory had no actual authority to contract for long term hire, he clearly had apparent authority on the principles set out by the Court of Appeal in Freeman & Lockyer v Buckhurst Park Properties (Mangal) Ltd [1964] 2 QB 480:-

“An “apparent” or “ostensible” authority…is a legal relationship between the principal and the contractor created by a representation, made by the principal to the contractor, intended to be and in fact acted upon by the contractor, that the agent has authority to enter on behalf of the principal into a contract of a kind within the scope of the “apparent” authority, so as to render the principal liable to perform any obligations imposed upon him by such contract…

The representation which creates “apparent” authority may take a variety of forms of which the commonest is representation by conduct, that is by permitting the agent to act in some way in the conduct of the principal’s business with other persons. By so doing the principal represents to anyone who becomes aware that the agent is so acting that the agent has authority to enter on behalf of the principal into contracts with other persons of the kind which an agent so acting in the conduct of his principal business has usually “actual” authority to enter into.”


The key point in this case is that the lessee by its conduct in allowing the signatory to enter into short term hire contracts effectively clothed him with apparent or ostensible authority to enter into long term hire contracts as well. It would have been different if the signatory had no actual authority to enter into short term contracts either.

An agent or employee cannot clothe himself or herself with authority: the essential point is that it must be the lessee itself which has done some act or made some statement which has the effect of clothing the agent or employee with apparent or ostensible authority.

Thus it is good practice to ensure that in any case of doubt as to the actual authority of a signatory to a Hire Agreement there should be some communication with the Directors or others with senior management responsibility to confirm that the proposed signatory has indeed authority to contract on behalf of the lessee.

Even in cases where actual or ostensible authority in the signatory is lacking it may still be possible to establish liability if the lessee subsequently ratifies its involvement in an Agreement, for example by using the equipment and making payments with knowledge of the lack of authority in the signatory.

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CLIENT FOCUS: Q&A – The Isla Gladstone

We met up with Gemma McGowan (pictured below), Managing Director of The Isla Gladstone, a popular wedding and events venue in Liverpool to chat with her about her typical working day, business challenges as an SME, and exciting plans for the future.


1. What is your business?

I am the owner of the business that operates the Isla Gladstone Conservatory and Kemps Bistro in Stanley Park Liverpool. We have over 100 weddings per year and look after the official off-site Hospitality for Liverpool FC.

Each year we host on average 200 events and provide outside catering for small and large events.

I am also the founder of HESTIA CAREERS, an Apprenticeship program for young people wishing to have a career in hospitality. I founded this after I saw how many young people had the potential for a career in this growing market – but didn’t have the understanding of what the industry actually was. Our young people have travelled to London for silver service and butler training and even to Dubai to work with the Emirates Training Academy.

2. Which solicitors do you use at Bermans and how do we compare to other firms?

Fergal O’Cleirigh (Partner and Head of Property) is my point of contact at Bermans.

I have known Fergal now for a number of years and would not choose to work with anyone else. Not only is he excellent with his knowledge – he cares. He cares enough to take late night calls from me and have my best interests at heart. This type of relationship is priceless and I trust him implicitly – if I had a circle of trust he would be the ring leader!

3. What are the biggest challenges you face in growing your business and maintaining profits?

As I am an SME risk is always seen as the biggest challenge. I personally don’t ever worry about risk – but sometimes to enable yourself to grow you need to take risks that some financial institutions might not be able to place a tick in a box next to. Through Fergal I have met a Bank now that I can work with and who want to grow with me.

The ever increasing utility charges, living wage and business rates have always been an issue when trying to maintain profits. The industry I work in is seen as not a necessity in everyday life. You can choose how much you spend on a wedding or a corporate event – it is not a ‘must’ in your life. Therefore when times are hard these are the first things people stop spending money on. Thankfully for us we work with our customers to ensure value for money and also for us to make a profit.

Also not many people will admit this – but being a woman in a man’s world is still an issue – as I have got older its not as apparent – maybe because I have proven a point – that I am equal to any man – but it still happens and it drives me insane!


4. Tell us about your typical working day?

The school run for the school bus at 7.30am is really the only typical part to my day.

For the rest of the day it can either be spent working with the team at the Isla Gladstone, meeting with my team who are overseeing the Hotel development in Anfield or developing the CIC we have set up for Stanley Park to animate the park and bring more park users to north Liverpool. My day is never dull – and I always go to bed exhausted!

I like to be hands on and know everything that is going on!

5. What has been a highlight for The Isla Gladstone over the last 12 months?

Year on year our business has continued to grow. Particularly with the new hotels and venues opening in the city – this makes me proud that we have been able to continue the growth.

6. What are your plans for The Isla Gladstone for the year ahead?

We have just appointed a new head chef – so I am excited about the new menus and events that we will be catering for. Our demand for corporate and private outside hospitality is also growing. It’s good to see that our brand is being recognised and people chose to work with us.

With the Stanley Park CIC – we will also have lots of exciting weekly community and large scale events being brought to the park that we will be working with.

7. Is there are sector or industry that you are strong in or looking to develop opportunities?

For the past five years I have been working with Your Housing Group, Liverpool City Council and LFC to bring a training hotel to Anfield. We have finally got to a position where we will be signing a franchise agreement with a major brand to bring a 150 bedroomed training hotel to Anfield.

The community of north Liverpool will be able to work and train in the hospitality industry whilst gaining qualifications. This is something I am very proud and excited about. I understand that in this industry people like to learn by working and not by attending college. The way we teach will cater for this. I know first-hand how this feels, I went to University for half a day and I left at dinner time as I didn’t want to read 50 books – I wanted to learn… so I went to work instead!

Bringing a branded training hotel to a regeneration area in Liverpool will be my proudest moment to date – I just can’t wait to get the spade in the ground!


8. Do you find social media assists your business and if so, how?

Our customers love to see new ideas and keep up to date with different trends. This is a major part of our business. In fact I have just employed someone to start looking after this for us as I realise how important it is. We need to have a regular presence and ensure we are always in our customers minds – but without being boring!

9. If you were chancellor, what single change would you make to help improve the economy and/or your business?

If I can be allowed two changes, reducing the burden on business of corporation tax/business rates and increased investment in providing employment opportunities for young people.

10. What are your passions away from business?

Whenever I can I jump on a plane to Portugal with my family – it’s my happy place and I love spending time with my husband and 2 children watching them grow up and enjoy life!

To get in touch with Gemma at Isla Gladstone:


t: 0151 263 0363


To feature your company in the next issue please contact our Marketing Assistant, Emma Bartram 0151 224 0506 or

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Businesses must embrace technology

Article by Chris Maguire, editor and co-owner of the UK’s newest tech magazine BusinessCloud.


“What do you know about tech?” asked an unnamed family member.

As ringing endorsements go this was hardly what I was looking for when I announced I was leaving my safe job as editor of the North West Business Insider for a leap into the unknown.

I’m the first one to admit that I’m not a ‘techy’ person. I don’t sit at my laptop in my underpants at 3am in my bedroom coding. I know very little nothing about HTML but throughout my 25-year career as a journalist I’ve realised there isn’t a single tech sector any more – every sector is tech.

Think about it for a second. From calling an Uber; booking a holiday; ordering the weekly shopping; staying in touch with friends; and downloading flight tickets, everything involves technology in one form or another.

Retail, healthcare, sport, property, finance, travel, education, manufacturing etc are all underpinned by tech. If you want to scale your business you need tech.

However, when I was the editor of Insider, I spoke to more than 1,200 businessmen and women and I was struck by how many chief executives, managing directors and business owners paid lip service to tech. “I’ve got a chief technology officer who takes care of that for me,” they would say. Ask them about their social media and a common reply was: “I’ve got someone who tweets for me.”

This struck me as odd. How can you shape the direction of a business if you don’t understand the benefits that technology can bring? And that’s how BusinessCloud was born with the simple aim being to demystify tech.

Of course I couldn’t launch BusinessCloud without a partner and I’m lucky to have Lawrence Jones in my corner. Lawrence is the co-founder and CEO of fast-growing Manchester headquartered tech firm UKFast. One of the country’s highest profile tech entrepreneurs he and I are committed to making a difference.

And that’s exactly what’s happened. So far we’ve produced five editions of BusinessCloud; hosted 40+ events; overseen a growing website; and launched a weekly newsletter. Our social media following is flourishing and the feedback has been brilliant.

From artificial intelligence to virtual reality; from automation to holograms; from bots to big data; from algorithms to social media; from cloud to cyber security; the list goes on.

We’ve held events in Manchester, Liverpool, Lancashire, Leeds, Newcastle, Birmingham, Bristol and Belfast. We’ve interviewed start-ups to unicorns.

Because we’re a tech company we’ve embraced tech. We film our roundtables, breakfast events and conferences and upload the videos and podcasts onto our YouTube channel. Some people like to read stories; some like to watch videos; and some like to listen to interviews. In this day and age you have to be omni-channel.


So how can Bermans clients and contacts benefit?

To learn about all that is going on in tech in the North West I suggest that you sign up to our quarterly magazine, which is the bedrock of BusinessCloud. It’s 80 pages and is completely FREE. If you want to subscribe just email or complete the form on our website –

Every quarter we like to get out and visit businesses in the region and help promote the interesting things they are doing. We’re gaining real momentum and working with some big name clients like KPMG; NorthEdge; Peel Ports; recruitment experts Search; Jumpstart; Watch This Space; and OBI Property. We have also recently featured Bermans clients, SRO Solutions Ltd and Smartlife Inc. If you are doing interesting things in tech we would be delighted to hear from you and feature you in the magazine.

We also host events for the business community to get involved. Some of these have been joint events with Pro-Manchester and Business Growth Hub. I have listed below details of our calendar of events that you might want to consider attending and if you have an idea for an event in your particular industry then get in touch and we will see if we can work together.

Business Cloud Events

17th Feb – Technology in Manchester

7th March – Technology in manufacturing

23rd March – How technology has changed PR and marketing

19th April – The Lancashire Powerhouse

If you haven’t seen BusinessCloud then you don’t know what you’re missing. Let us demystify tech for you.

About Chris Maguire


Chris Maguire is the editor and co-owner of BusinessCloud and was previously Editor at Insider Media’s North West Business Insider magazine from January 2012 to March 2016. Over the course of a 25-year career he’s also worked for the Daily Mail, Gloucestershire Echo, Yorkshire Evening Post and his career started at Chorley and Leyland Guardian.

He can be contacted on

Follow on Twitter:
@editor_maguire @BCloudUK


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