As if there hadn’t been enough change in our lives already, you may notice there’s a new face as editor of Business Network. So firstly, an introduction – I’m Dan, a journalist by background with experience working on

local and trade publications across the country, including several years in this region. A North East native, I’ve recently returned to the East Midlands from London. This outside

perspective, I believe, enables me to help people and businesses here understand how their area is viewed by others. My arrival at the Chamber is perhaps reflective of the times in which we live. I’m one of

those strange individuals who decided to move jobs – and cities – during lockdown, and secured this role following two “virtual” interviews. I’ve spent my first month meeting new colleagues on Microsoft Teams, the same platform

on which I’ve interviewed business leaders for features in this very publication. Our vice-president Eileen Richards believes more companies should get used to virtual

recruitment in the post-Covid world, while others accept remote meetings to be part and parcel of the so-called “new normal”. This is a phrase that’s already being over-used and scrutinised – as Geldards chairman

David Williams points out in our big interview, many employees are eager to return to the office because of its social benefits – but it’s doubtful our lives will look just as they did before the Government imposed a nationwide lockdown in mid-March, even if a vaccine is found soon. Speaking of lockdowns, this has been a particularly difficult time for the people and

businesses of Leicester, who are still seeking some light at the end of the tunnel at the time of going to press. We cover this subject, and much more related to the new world, in this issue. I hope you find it interesting and informative, and I look forward to telling the stories of the great companies we have in the East Midlands for a long time to come.

Best wishes, Dan Robinson Editor, Business Network


NEWS UPDATE 4 MEMBER NEWS CityFibre rolls out recruitment programme

18 APPOINTMENTS Top accountant made managing partner at UHY

20 STRATEGIC PARTNERS AND PATRONS How organisations can better manage contingency risks

22 CHAMBER NEWS Chancellor’s Summer Statement offers hope for economic recovery

INTERNATIONAL TRADE 32 Spotlight on: North America


34 Latest QES reveals challenges for the local economy

THE BIG INTERVIEW 36 David Williams, chairman at Geldards


41 PROFESSIONAL SERVICES The business case for using a consultant

44 FOCUS FEATURE The ‘new normal’ – how Covid-19 has changed the workplace

49 SKILLS & TRAINING Step into the virtual world of skills training

53 Develop your furloughed workforce TRAINING & EVENTS

54 Taking time out to reflect as we move into autumn


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56 DIGITAL GROWTH Taking your store online

59 SKILLS Rebooting your business through skills

61 FINANCE How R&D tax relief can help

62 LEGAL Examining a new mode of transport

64 TECHNOLOGY The importance of digital technologies

67 PROPERTY A new vision for Derby

68 MOTORING Nick Jones tests the Audi A7

69 INFORMATION Ensuring change is good for your people


70 THE LAST WORD Chamber president Dawn Edwards comments on the latest issues

business network August/September 2020 3

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