UK: Enterprise Alerts What´s Making The News?

Last Updated: 3 October 2008

Aim – signs of life?

It has been a very quiet year so far on Aim, but there are slighty more encouraging signs if you look carefully.

The number of new companies that joined Aim fell from 146 in the latter half of 2007 to just 69 in the first half of 2008. There was a large drop in funds raised for new admissions – from more than £3bn in the second half of 2007 to under £1bn in the first half of 2008.

However, funds raised by existing companies on Aim in secondary fundraisings have fared better (only down from £3.3bn to £2.3bn over the same period) and companies in minerals and natural resources are making the most of record commodity prices – of the £2.3bn raised in secondary fundraisings to June 2008, over £1bn went to companies in the sector.

Business intelligence maps

Google has joined forces with Information Builders to release WebFOCUS, the first so-called business intelligence 'mash-up'. The mix and match software gives users a visual representation of sales figures and stock movements in different locations via an interactive Google Map. Businesses can compare key data for numerous outlets using maps enriched with analytic content. The intention is to make it easier to identify regional trends, as well as give users the ability to zoom in and out of critical locations.

UK online ad spend overtakes mainstream TV

Spending on online advertising overtook mainstream TV in Britain last year for the first time, according to Ofcom. In its annual report, the watchdog found that online spending in 2007 grew to £2.8bn. The combined net advertising revenues of ITV1, Channel 4, S4C and Five were £2.4bn. Internet advertising equalled that of outdoor and magazine advertising combined.

Online spending was dominated by paidfor search (£1.6bn), where sponsored links appear as internet search results. The rest was split equally between display and classified ads.

The success of the internet remains a particularly UK-focused phenomenon. Last year, online spending accounted for 19% of all advertising – a much higher proportion than in the US, France or Germany.

Lords urges scrapping of VAT on electrical goods repairs

VAT should be lifted from the cost of repairing televisions, vacuum cleaners and fridges to discourage people from throwing them away when they are broken, argues the House of Lords Science Committee.

The committee believes that with appliances getting cheaper and labour more expensive, most people are not prepared to pay high repair costs. Buying new or repairing can cost the same, so more and more electrical goods are being dumped into landfill and replaced by the latest design on the market.

The peers' report says that waste could be reduced if consumers were encouraged to keep products for longer and repair them when necessary.

The committee also calls on the Government to introduce variable VAT rates, reducing VAT on projects which use sustainable raw materials.

Free web accelerator for small Businesses

A free web accelerator is being offered to start-ups, entrepreneurs and emerging new media businesses.

The free web accelerator, available from Velocix, makes videos stream faster, music play uninterrupted and games run smoothly.

The free service has an allowance of 500GB – the equivalent of more than 8,500 songs, or 10,000 to 12,000 music videos – more than enough for a young company starting out. Velocix offers the free accelerator to young companies in the hope that their clients will stay with them for the long term. As a business expands and its needs grow, other larger, paid-for packages are available from the firm.

Save on recruitment costs by promoting internally

The average recruitment cost of filling a vacancy per employee has risen to £4,667. This increases to £5,800 when organisations also calculate the other costs of staff turnover such as vacancy cover, redundancy, recruitment and training. This is according to the latest figures from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Right to work overtime secured

British workers will continue to have the right to work more than 48 hours per week, after ministers made a landmark agreement with the European Union Employment Council.

The Government said the agreement will allow the UK's "vital labour market flexibility" to continue while, at the same time, ensuring that workers are treated fairly.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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