BITE 2017

Thursday 27th April 2017, Amex Stadium, Brighton

The countdown to BITE 2017 (Business, Innovation, Technology, and Efficiency) is well underway. In these days where productivity is so much the buzzword (and not in a good way), our free one-day business event aims to give business owners awareness of many of the most modern and innovative technologies and techniques around. The result? We hope delegates will go away with ideas which will have a direct and positive impact on their business profitability.

One area of innovation we’re particularly excited about is Alternative Funding, which will be featured in our second keynote session of the day. Below, we’ve provided a beginner’s guide to an increasingly popular method, crowdfunding.

A whistle-stop tour of crowdfunding

So what is crowdfunding? It’s an alternative and creative route to raising money for your business. Essentially you use a platform to appeal to a large group (crowd!) of people and persuade them that you have a project worth investing in. Of course they need to see a return which might be anything from a badge and thank you letter, a product, or a percentage of your equity (depending on the amount of money donated and the size of the business).

How does it work?

Predominantly used by start-ups, crowdfunding is an innovative alternative to more traditional forms of financing. If a business is finding it hard to secure a start-up loan, it can be a great alternative where traditional funding is hard to source. Start-ups that raise large sums of money crowdfunding, are also more likely to receive external financing later down the line.

Another advantage of crowdfunding is its ability to go viral. If a campaign does exceptionally well, the sheer success of the company’s ability to sell their business/product well enough to produce a lot of donations is often newsworthy in itself (Google Pokito and see).

Crowdfunding is often used to raise smaller sums of money, although it is possible to raise millions from it. The music and tech industries are particularly well suited to crowdfunding. This is probably due to their ability to easily impress investors with exciting concepts and ideas, as well as offering the final product in return for funding.

Because crowdfunding campaigns reach out to such a widespread audience, it’s important for businesses to appeal to the heart as well as the head. Your audience is far more likely to engage with a thought-provoking video than a graph of the company’s financial projections!

A panel of alternative funding and industry experts will be on stage at BITE 2017 to provide an insider’s guide to innovative routes to funding, including crowdfunding. You will also gain insight into how the panel sees the future of funding innovations, the impact of interest rates and other current issues surrounding alternative sources of finance.

For more information and to register for BITE visit

Is your business ready for the Apprenticeship Levy?

We may have heard Philip Hammond’s first budget, but we’re still feeling the effects of George Osborne’s previous budgets. One scheme due to come into effect next month is the Apprenticeship Levy which aims to fund three million apprenticeships by 2020. The move was not greeted with enthusiasm by many employers when it was announced by George Osborne in the 2015 Budget, but according to the government, it is designed to put the funding of apprenticeships on a ‘sustainable’ basis.

The Apprenticeship Levy comes into effect on 6th April and will apply to both public and private UK employers across all sectors. Without doubt, many employers will have heard of the levy, but may not be aware of what it entails for their business.

Paying the Levy

The levy is an annual charge based on the employer’s salary bill, although it is reported on and paid monthly through usual payroll processing. It applies to every UK employer, however, only those with a salary bill in excess of £3m will actually pay it because there will be a £15,000 fixed allowance, which can be off-set against any payment due. According to the government’s statistics, around 98% of businesses will not pay anything into the levy for those large businesses that do, the costs may well be significant.

A few examples below highlight the possible payments:

• For a business with a £4m salary bill the calculation would be: 0.5% x 4,000,000 = £20,000 – minus the £15,000 fixed allowance = £5,000 payable.

• For a business with a £2m salary bill nothing would be payable: 0.5% x 2,000,000 = £10,000 – minus the £15,000 fixed allowance = £NIL payable.

Accessing Funding

The levy is designed to encourage employers to support apprenticeships and so a decision needs to be made by employers as to whether they would like to access funding. Any funds applied for and held in digital accounts that are not utilised within 24 months, will expire and be lost.

Funding is available to:

• All employers who have contributed to the levy. These employers qualify for a 10% government top-up on their levy payment within their digital account. See graph at the foot of the page for illustration.

• Employers who have not contributed (as their pay bill is below £3m) or employers who would like to invest more in training than they have available in their digital accounts will qualify for ‘Co-investment’.

Co-investment requires the employer to fund 10% of the cost of the apprenticeship (up to the funding band limit) with the government paying the remaining 90%.

Business Considerations

There is a broad range of apprenticeships available covering many sectors including healthcare (adult care, dental, plus others), motor, construction and real estate, technology, financial services, hospitality, legal, and travel sectors, so finding apprenticeships suitable for your business requires detailed evaluation.

Do you know how much the levy is going to cost your business and have you budgeted for it? What is your current spend on training or apprenticeships and what opportunities do you have to mitigate further costs associated with the levy? How can you utilise apprentices to develop your workforce to meet the future strategic plans of the organisation?

For more information on how the Apprenticeship Levy will affect your business, please visit

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