Business Extra: News in Brief

Training to win

A 25-year-old entrepreneur from Wolverhampton has been named Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2010, winning a £10,000 cash injection for her business, Freelance Training and Consultancy.

Jessica Grosvenor received the award, which recognises and celebrates the achievements of the UK's finest young entrepreneurs, in recognition of the success of her business providing bespoke training packages to college students, teachers and nurses. She started Freelance Training and Consultancy in April this year, initially to help people who have been made redundant retrain to find a new job. Within six months Jessica had secured contracts worth £1.4 m. The company now offers a huge range of training, including courses that help 16-to-18-year-olds gain access to education and jobs by offering government-funded NVQs and technical certificates, in addition to such functional skills as Maths, English and ICT. The business also provides teacher development qualifications and end-of-life-care training to nurses of hospices, private care homes and support services.

Design quality

Dexela, a London-based developer of innovative technologies used in medical x-ray imaging has been awarded two prizes in the British Engineering Excellence Awards. The company, which was founded in 2004, won the Judges’ Special Award and also received a special commendation in the category for small companies. The judges of the awards, which aim to promote the quality of engineering design within the UK, were especially impressed by Dexela’s success in marketing its CMOS flat panel x-ray detectors - which combine speed and superior quality with value and reliability - around the world in the first year of production. It was felt this was a testament to the quality of engineering.

Bright sparks

The role of businesses sprung from university science departments in solving some of the world’s most serious problems is highlighted in a book describing how 25 individuals from within the Oxford innovation ecosystem - scientists, investors, entrepreneurs and executives - have helped to build the city’s reputation as a leading centre for technology entrepreneurship. The stories collected by Sir Douglas Hague and Anthea Milnes in “From Bright Sparks to Brilliant Businesses” (published on 5 November by A&C Black) illustrate how the three different worlds of commerce, investment finance and academic research have come together to create technology companies that are commercialising pioneering research in areas ranging from drug discovery to green technology. However, the book also calls for the government to help foster an environment that rewards such collaboration, through tax, funding and strategic direction, and for universities to be rewarded for their part in the industrial eco-system.

Trading up

UK global trade grew by 12 per cent in the first four months of this year, while the figure for sales to emerging economies was up 31 per cent, according to a report for HSBC Commercial Banking by Delta Economics. The survey, published last month, finds that Britain’s fastest-growing export markets this year have been Chile, Senegal and Nigeria. Over the period between 2000 and 2009 the fastest-growing trading partners were China (up 260 per cent), United Arab Emirates (up 130 per cent) and India (up 45 per cent). There has also been significant growth in trade between Britain and emerging countries in mainland Europe, such as Portugal, Slovenia, Latvia and Romania). The report finds that companies that look beyond selling products to exporting skills, knowledge and the country’s reputation for quality will prosper most.