Leicester joins retro-themed business-swapping service

Leicestershire is the latest county to join an innovative business- swapping platform inspired by a retro TV show. The Leics Swap Shop follows the

launch of the Derby Swap Shop at the beginning of lockdown and subsequent Notts Swap Shop, which between them have more than 250 members that trade services for free within local communities. The concept, founded by three

Derbyshire entrepreneurs and backed by the Chamber, is a simple one based on the Multi-Coloured Swap Shop children’s TV programme that was broadcast between 1976 and 1982. Presented by Noel Edmonds, it

encouraged children to exchange toys and collectors’ items – but the Derby Swap Shop and subsequent additional platforms involve businesses, freelancers and charities swapping services such as video editing, SEO optimisation guidance, paid social media advertising and website development support. Lee Marples, co-director of

Derby-based creative agency think3 and one of the Derby Swap Shop founders, said: “Following the recent local lockdown, we believe the Leics Swap Shop will be just

‘Following the recent local lockdown, we believe the Leics Swap Shop will be just the website to help businesses and charities get moving again’

the website to help businesses and charities get moving again.” More than 200 organisations have

signed up to the Derby Swap Shop website since it was set up in May by the four partners at think3, along with bid-writing consultancy Ask the Chamelon’s managing director Rachel Hayward and sports apparel brand Huub’s founder Dean Jackson. The Chamber members had

taken inspiration from an idea by Safe and Sound Group CEO Tracy Harrison. Tradeable services already

North Notts BID scheme helps firms save money

As high streets begin to return to normality, businesses in North Nottinghamshire are saving thousands of pounds a year by taking advantage of North Notts BID’s savings scheme. The North Notts Savings Service – which has

identified potential savings of nearly a quarter of a million pounds since its inception in 2018 – allows businesses within the business improvement district’s jurisdiction to submit bills to its partner company, which then compares prices for outgoings like utilities, merchant services, waste management, stationery and pest control. Meercat Associates, a specialist procurement service

that serves BIDs, then reviews the bills free of charge, identifying the best available offers and deals for the businesses to take up once their existing contracts expire. While the scheme has been running for more than

two years, it has witnessed a recent uptick in interest as small businesses look to mitigate the impact of Covid- 19 on their income. Joe Sentence, BID ambassador at North Notts BID,

said: “Since its inception, the North Notts Savings Scheme has identified savings of £210,358 for local businesses. We believe that this service is a bit of a hidden gem that some businesses in the district have yet to take full advantage of. With many local firms suffering

North Notts BID ambassador Joe Sentence

from a loss of revenue during lockdown, the scheme can be the kind of helping hand that they need.” The savings scheme forms part of North Notts BID’s plans to help businesses recover from the economic

impacts of the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown. The BID has also recently relaunched its maintenance service, which allows members to make use of the team’s maintenance operative for improvements such as painting, gardening and tidying.

on offer in the Leics Swap Shop since it went live on 23 September include reviews on business plans, headshot photography, online yoga instructions, logo design and blog writing. It will be led by three local champions – Nicola Moss, who recently set up social media agency Moss Social after previously working at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB); Jessica Southworth, former fundraising manager for the CLIC Sargent charity; and Sonia Viner, who has extensive experience working on key partnership strategies in criminal justice and as operational lead for a disability charity. Nicola said: “Having worked with

small businesses for the last few years at the FSB, I’m truly inspired by the courage and determination they show in the face of adversity. “Both the Derby Swap Shop and

Notts Swap Shop have brought many businesses together through a wide variety of products and services being offered, so I’m intrigued to see how this network will grow.”

To create a free Leics Swap Shop account, visit

Free review helps firms get prepared

Businesses in the East Midlands have been offered a free “2020 Reboot Review” to assess how prepared their staff and preparations are for the commercial challenges of a Covid-19 world. The 30-minute

complimentary review is being offered by Chamber strategic partner Access Training, based in Nottingham. It will help to uncover areas of a business that may benefit from upskilling, whether they are improving team performance, customer engagement strategies or business process efficiencies. The Reboot campaign

recognises the importance of staff training in quickly adapting to both survive and thrive in an increasingly competitive “new normal”.

‘It’s often the small, incremental changes that can make all the difference to a business’ long- term outlook’

It’s a view shared by those

businesses that responded to the Chamber’s Quarterly Economic Survey for Q2 2020. A quarter of respondents signalled they would increase investment in staff training to help counteract reduced turnover and profitability. Corrina Hembury, managing

director at Access Training, said: “It’s often the small, incremental changes that can make all the difference to a business’ long-term outlook. “Through insightful

questions, our 2020 Reboot review helps businesses see through a fresh pair of eyes where they might improve and where an increase in skills might bring the greatest dividends to their business.” Participating businesses will

be provided with a final Reboot Recommendations report, outlining both apprenticeship support and, where relevant, signposting them to wider business support.

To find out more or to arrange a review, email or visit

business networkOctober 2020 13

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