20 December 2018

Business Bulletin from Guildford Borough Council

Welcome to the Business Bulletin from the Economic Development Team at Guildford Borough Council

Brexit – How to Prepare Your Business

Gustaf Duhs, EU and regulatory lawyer and Head of Brexit at Guildford law firm Stevens & Bolton LLP, discusses what businesses should be doing now about Brexit:

With Brexit (in some form) potentially imminent, businesses are wondering what they should be doing to mitigate risks. What we have seen from our clients is a flurry of activity immediately after the referendum result, a relatively quiet last couple of years from a Brexit perspective and now a slight uptick in work associated with Brexit.  Of course there are a number of well-publicised cases of relocations based on Brexit-related risks, and projects involving EU entities have of course had to take Brexit into account, but most businesses we are advising have understandably adopted a ‘wait and see’ attitude. 

However, there comes a point when waiting and seeing is no longer prudent. Are we there yet? Much depends on whether the Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and EU receives UK parliamentary approval.  Assuming the Withdrawal Agreement is agreed, we will leave the EU on 29 March 2019 but from a practical perspective the effect of the withdrawal agreement is by and large to kick the can down the road - EU law will continue to apply as before, the UK will simply have lost its ability to shape it.  The phased withdrawal under the Withdrawal Agreement will end at the earliest at the end of 2020, but it envisages the possibility of one extension. So, IF the Withdrawal Agreement gets through, businesses will have some time to align themselves with the 'brave new world’.  But currently that’s a big IF.  So what should businesses do, given in particular the possibility of 'no deal'?  Well, there are plenty of potential steps, for example:

  • Check the impact on your workforce.  Will you find it harder to recruit and retain important labour? Can you orientate yourself to a more British workforce?
  • Revisit existing contracts, or put provisions in future contracts to deal with Brexit related risks.  For example, can you ensure that delays caused by Brexit are included in your force majeure provisions?  Will you need to renegotiate some of your cross border contracts?
  • Is there ‘at risk’ Intellectual Property protection?
  • Is your business reliant on EU regulations or equivalence to sell products or services in the EU? Have you considered the impact of these not applying?
  • Do you receive any EU funding? The government has guaranteed continuity for such funding, but there may practical steps to ensure it continues. 

 For more information and detailed advice on legal issues associated with Brexit, please visit Stevens & Bolton’s Brexit webpage:


Free Business Advice Service – Guildford Business Growth

Guildford Business Growth is a free-of-charge dedicated business advice service available to all businesses in the borough, no matter how small or large, whether existing or start up. The service is delivered by the Enterprise M3 Growth Hub and BE Group on behalf of Guildford Borough Council and includes web chat, telephone advice with business advisers, face-to-face one hour clinics with a business specialist, and workshops dedicated to helping your business grow. Further information about the full service can be found at:

The next business clinic will take place on 22nd January, 2019, at Regus, Guildford Cathedral Hill.    Attending a clinic gives you the chance to meet with a specialist and discuss any issues or advice you may need related to growing your business. You can register for a place by calling 01483 478108.

For free business advice, please call the business support helpline on 0300 4563565.


Guildford Innovation Awards

Guildford Borough Council’s Innovation Awards took place on Monday 3rd December, to recognise outstanding innovation across a number of sectors in the Borough.  Award winners in each category were:
Innovation in Retail - sponsored by Experience Guildford
Winner: SaidSo
Sustainability Award - sponsored by Dunsfold Park
Winner: Smart Separations
Innovation in Healthcare - sponsored by Whiteley Clinics
Winner: Human - True Invivo
Winner: Animal - The Pirbright Institute
Innovation in the Voluntary Sector and Corporate Social Responsibility - sponsored by Guildford Borough Council
Winner: Streeva

Innovation in the Creative Industries Sector - sponsored by Charles Russell Speechlys
Winner: Media Molecule
Emerging Technologies - sponsored by InterFocus
Winner: University of Surrey
Young Business of the Year - sponsored by University of Surrey Student Enterprise
Winner: B4SH
Young Innovator of the Year (25 and under) - sponsored by Gold-i
Winner: Ben Luxmoore
Most outstanding innovation - sponsored by Kyan
Winner: Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with the University of Surrey


Council Task Group to address Climate Change

On 6 October 2018 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a special report which concluded that human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels and that global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate.

The key message here is that climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth are projected to increase with global warming.

Through its new Local Plan and related economic policies Guildford Borough Council recognises the importance of investing in the environment, promoting health and well-being in shaping our local communities as well as, for example, tackling congestion, improving connectivity and reducing carbon emissions. While the Council’s Innovation Strategy Board is already working with local technology companies, the University of Surrey and its Surrey Research Park business partners to shape a more sustainable future, the Council acknowledges that more can and must be done. Without environmental sustainability there cannot be sustainable and proportionate economic growth.

To take up this challenge, Councillors agreed at the Full Council meeting on 4 December to set up a task group – chaired by former Mayor Councillor Nikki Nelson-Smith – to ensure that the Council leads by example in achieving a sustainable environment through innovation, at the same time encouraging businesses and residents also to play their parts. This shared dialogue will link external expert advice with practical suggestions to shape and deliver local policy that can minimise the harmful effects of global warming and climate change.

For more information on ways in which your organisation or local community could become involved please


Exporting is Great

Are you considering expanding your business into international markets, or perhaps you have already started your export journey? You might be a more experienced exporter. The Council is keen to link up local companies with the services offered by the regional Department of International Trade Team who provide through their international trade advisers free export advice plus an extensive programme of training, opportunities to meet overseas sector and market experts visiting the UK, international market research and trade missions. There is a considerable body of evidence that export companies have higher levels of productivity, are more resilient and up-skill more quickly than those that do not.

For some general export advice and guidance see the attached link

For DIT events, visit


Visit Guildford:  Business 2019

Visit Guildford: Business – new Venues Guide is released in December, showcasing the best places to go for conferences, meetings, team building, exhibitions and events.  Full details can be found online here:


Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (Industry Networking Event)

The Surrey Centre for Cyber Security (SCCS) are hosting an Industry Networking Event, showcasing our activities in the rapidly-developing field of Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies and will feature a number of invited talks from academia and industry.

The event will take place on Thursday 24 January 2019, 16:00 – 19:00, in the Lecture Theatre F (LTF), Lecture Theatre Building, University of Surrey, and will include light refreshments.

The agenda will include presentations by:

This event will also be an opportunity for you to network with the Digital Catapult and local businesses as well as University of Surrey academics. If you are a business interested in collaborating with the University of Surrey or an academic keen to work with industry in the domain of Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies, please join us to find out more. 

If you would like to attend please register via Eventbrite as soon as possible (spaces are limited). 

For further information about this event, please contact

We look forward to seeing you soon.

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