The home of professionals and business services in North Staffordshire


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finest is the most respected professional services organisation in the region. With 500 individual member contacts, you’ll have access to a vibrant network, and so much more.

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finest brings you the most comprehensive guide to professional services in North Staffordshire. Search our directory to find the right organisation for your needs, or post a business opportunity and let the professionals come to you.

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Make It Stoke-on-Trent Investment Development Service Commercial Property Event

2 November 2011
Keele Hall

Latest news

futurefinest 5th Anniversary Celebration Event

Over 200 guest, partners and members attended the 5th Anniversary celebration of futurefinest, North Staffordshire‘s young professionals network. Maitland Hyslop, MD of Internet Central and Chair of Stoke and Staffordshire LEP formally opened the event and spoke about teamwork and the importance of supporting our leaders of the future.

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New Buisnesses set up in the North Staffordshire Regeneration Zone

Staffordshire is committed to areas of redevelopment for business and innovation. As regards redevelopment in the region in their recent history. In 2004 plans were released to create 5000 jobs in North Stafford. Its position was the Chatterley Valley, which is located near Tunstall. The area was classed as a brownfield site. It included an old coal mine and a gas works. Despite the failure of old industries there does seem to be the start of a rebirth.As well as building a number of pubs and restaurants the plans were to attract a number of technological businesses. A wetlands park was also planned, creating a better place for people to live in. 

The Ceramic Valley

As well as factories, offices and a park, a residential area is also planned.Another brownfield site was looked at in 2015 for Stoke-On-Trent called the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone, one of 24 such zones across the country planned that year. This was built near the A500 which is a main thoroughfare. This development promises 2.5 million pounds worth of development in the next ten years, though as with anything it depends on the economic situation and other political events.This development above was related to the 2016 European City of Sport event. As this area will become linked to London by the HS2 it seems as if this is an area which in business terms their time has come. It is likely that more factories and businesses will move to this profitable region.This makes excellent economic sense really. Business users can apply for business rate relief on selected zones. Businesses using the area include manufacture and logistics companies. The Chatterley Valley East region for instance is used for car manufacturing by Jaguar Land Rover and for enlarging the ceramics factory.Perkins, who produce both gas and diesel engines for export intend to expand their current site and Gestamp, who like Land Rover also supply vehicles, are planning on starting a manufacturing plant here too. When many car factories are struggling these seem to be thriving.

The Stafford Gateway

In addition to this the Stafford Gateway has been unveiled this year. Offices, a conference centre and the hotel are also planned. This will cost 500 million to redevelop. With the new railway development in North Staffordshire it seems this area will go from strength to strength. The area has had decades of being deprived so it about time that a change took place.

Newcastle Business Competition Open for Entries

A competition which rewards small and medium size businesses for innovation and strategic thinking launches its 2011 campaign for entries.

The Business Boost Competition invites businesses from all sectors with less than 250 employees to apply. Businesses must be located in the Borough of Newcastle within post codes ST5, ST7, CW3 and TF9.

This year, businesses are competing for cash awards of £1,500 under three categories: Impact on the Borough, Entrepreneurial Spirit and Progress through People.

A discretionary prize of £1,000 will be presented to the most innovative business that fires the imagination.

The Realise Foundation Apprenticeship Award worth £5,000 will provide the winning business with a 12-month day-release apprenticeship placement with all associated costs paid.

Bernard Lovatt, business entrepreneur and chair of Business Boost said: “It has been very tough for business over the past few years, but despite this, we have seen many shining examples of exceptional leadership and entrepreneurship.

“We find that the awards go some way in helping to boost business growth, but businesses have to compete to win an award.

 “Successful applicants will be invited to submit a business plan and give a 15-minute presentation to a judging panel. The winners will be presented with cash prizes during an awards ceremony hosted at Newcastle College later in September.”

Last year’s winners included hand-embroidered cushions designer and Olympic Games 2012 supplier Jan Constantine, Wolstanton-based Home Instead Senior Care, Keele-based Rydale Roofing and outdoor activities provider Peak Pursuits, an approved supplier for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

In its fifth year running, the competition has attracted sponsorship from major organisations including Aspire Housing, Newcastle Borough Council, Keele University Science and Business Park, and the Realise Foundation.

Businesses are urged to apply online at to meet the deadline of Friday, 29 July 2011.

To view the competition flyer please click here

Photograph of winners from last year's competition

finest Member Wardell Armstrong strengthen archaeological and heritage service with NPA acquisition

Engineering and environmental consultancy Wardell Armstrong LLP has expanded and strengthened their range of archaeological and heritage services through the acquisition of the business and assets of North Pennines Archaeology Ltd on 15 July 2011.

A new company, N P Archaeology ltd (NPA) has been formed. Based in Nenthead near Alston in Cumbria, NPA is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the LLP.

The two organisations have already been collaborating closely for more than three years in providing archaeological and heritage consultancy and field investigation services throughout the UK.

Wardell Armstrong has an extensive twenty year track record of providing high quality archaeological and heritage advice on all aspects of the historic environment, as well as environmental impact assessment services as part of the planning process. Employing eighteen people, NPA provides a full range of archaeological services from geophysical and topographic surveys through to buildings recording, archaeological evaluation and excavation sample handling, preparation, analysis and reporting. They also have an in-house environmental team and specialist processing facilities.

“We’re delighted to have been able to join forces with NPA,” said Dave Hodgkinson, Wardell Armstrong’s technical director of archaeology and heritage. “They’re highly respected in their specialised field with a considerable pool of experience, knowledge and skills, and we see an excellent fit between our two organisations.

“Building on our existing relationship, we’ll be able to provide clients with an all-encompassing, cost-effective and fully integrated archaeological and heritage service from the very outset of a project. This will span initial advice, risk and constraint assessment, expert guidance through the planning process, and co-ordination and provision of archaeological evaluations through to site-based investigations and final reporting.

“We hope both to maintain the valued client relationships that NPA have established across the region and those that they’ve developed with local interest groups within the area.”

The management team leading the business in its new guise will consist of Daryl Harvey, Christine House and Dave Hodgkinson from Wardell Armstrong, and Frank Giecco, Matt Town and Martin Railton from NPA.

Need help recruiting a graduate?
Recruiting the right people for any business is vital for its success and Keele University can help you to do just that. We have access to hundreds of graduates who can bring fresh ideas to benefit your business. If you are looking for a graduate to work on an internship lasting anywhere between 2 days and 12 months, are an SME and based in the West Midlands, we can find you graduates with skills in Marketing, Business, IT, Science, Design and Engineering, as well as enthusiasm and a genuine desire to gain experience. Whether you need a graduate to complete a short project for you, or whether you are looking for a new long-term recruit, we can help. What are we offering? At Keele we will: Advertise your role Short-list applicants Select the best applicant for your needs Provide you with a dedicated contact from our Internships team for general advice and guidance How much does it cost? This scheme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) so our recruitment service is free of charge.  The only cost to you is the graduate’s wage.  The minimum wage for this scheme is £250 per 37.5 hour working week or £6.67 per hour. When can the graduate start? As soon as we receive your completed application form we will start looking for a graduate for you straight away.  Graduates can start their internships any time.  Places are unlimited and the scheme runs until 2014 so if you need a new graduate any time in the next 3 years, get in touch. Types of internship As long as the work is graduate level, we can help you.  Possible ideas for a graduate internship include Marketing Writing press releases and pitching them to publications Evaluating your current marketing activities and developing creative strategies to move your company forward Undertaking market research, through online surveys, focus groups and face to face meeting Writing engaging company literature and website copy Business Development Helping your company gain a quality standard such as ISO9001 and Investors in People Researching new markets Organising high-profile events and networking on behalf of your company Developing training and development materials for your business Environmental Management Researching methods for waste reduction and recycling Looking into ways to improve your energy efficiency Helping your company gain an environmental quality standard such as ISO14001 Looking into carbon reduction techniques Developing green training for employees IT Designing, developing and testing new software Researching new developments in IT and implementing innovative IT solutions Developing your company website, and ensuring SEO Designing and updating your website Science and Engineering Developing and testing new product lines Undertaking laboratory-based research and development Prototyping and testing new designs Applying your investigative skills when fault finding How to get involved: For more information on Keele University Graduate Internships, visit or contact the Internships team on 01782 733371 or
Help available to set up new businesses in the city

Social enterprises are to get a boost as grants become available to support entrepreneurs looking to start up a new business in Stoke-on-Trent. Stoke-on-Trent City Council, in partnership with Voluntary Action Stoke (VAST), is offering investment grants and mentoring support, to encourage the development of social enterprises in the city. The Growing Social Enterprise Programme aims to help new businesses flourish in the city during the next year. Based at the Dudson Centre, in Hope Street, a mentor service provides practical support in developing a business plan as well as access to business services.  Funding is also available for initial business costs for new start ups and businesses looking to develop by creating extra jobs in the city. Councillor Mark Meredith, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for economic development, said: “Supporting and developing businesses within Stoke-on-Trent is a key priority for the city council. These grants will provide an added boost to individuals looking to set up a social enterprise which will not only benefit the city but create extra jobs for local people. The scheme worked very well last year and I would encourage people thinking of setting up a social enterprise to get in touch as help is available.” The initiative, which is in its second year, saw more than £75,000 of investment grants awarded and 14 new jobs created in 2010. The Community Scrap Shack, in Elsing Street, Fenton, is a social enterprise that reclaims clean and safe waste from local businesses and supplies it to local schools, pre-schools and voluntary or community groups for creative play and arts and craft activities.   Last year the social enterprise benefited from a grant and is now looking to employ an extra member of staff to help develop the business further. Michelle Folkes, founder of the Community Scrap Shack, said: “The funding we received was invaluable in getting the Community Scrap Shack off the ground, it supported some of our initial marketing and set up costs, and after three months of trading we are fast approaching 100 members”. T6 Elite, based in Nile Street, Burslem, benefited from support last year to fund initial costs of employing a gym manager and part time instructor. The community interest company uses boxing and martial arts as a means of education and fitness for socially excluded young people or youngsters at risk of social exclusion. Since opening up it has helped more than 100 young people and is now looking to expand into larger premises. Aaron Durber of T6 Elite said: “Without the funds we never would have been able to get off the ground. The grant helped to set up the business and provide the support to employ staff and get our business model right. Eight months on and we are now self sufficient and are helping local young people to use martial arts as a means of improving their self confidence and fitness.  Coming to T6 Elite helps to give local young people a purpose and a focus for their lives away from anti-social behaviour and makes a real difference to the young people involved.” Social Enterprises are businesses that support  social objectives and operate primarily to support re-investment of profit into providing social and economic outcomes that benefit people who are disadvantaged,  produce environmental benefits, and add value to community well being. More information about the programme and advice on setting up a social enterprise is available by calling Amanda Locke at VAST on 01782 683030 or via email on

Lets Do High Growth

Is your business expanding?

Would FREE support help you to take your business to the next level?

This could be for you if your business is:

•In manufacturing, wholesale or in business to business sector (B2B) •Located in Stoke-On-Trent •Currently employing between 10-250 members of staff •Looking to grow substantially over 3 years by either increasing turnover by 20% every year and/or an increase in staff by 20% every year Support will be tailored to individual business needs.  Below are just some of the ways in which the program could help your business to grow.

•Assistance with accessing suitable funds (grants/loans/equity finance). •Subsidized support from Keele or Staffordshire University such as; ◦Research and Development ◦Short and long term student placements ◦Consultancy advice such as business planning, patents and intellectual property ◦Business accommodation •Grant up to the value of £1500 (to be 50% matched by your company) •Access to an innovation voucher worth up to £3000 from Staffordshire University (eligibility criteria applies) •Assistance from a mentor through our Let’s Do Mentoring program •Access to free economic intelligence reports using online databases •Free networking opportunities at the North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce •Access to two free high growth workshops •Access to a business advisor for up to Download the full flyer

Interested? Next step is to download the application form

Applications to be emailed to, closing date 19th September 2011

For further information please call: 01782 213929 and ask for Adele Cope or David Wellings

This is a pilot initiative funded by Stoke-On-Trent City Council, delivered by the North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Staffordshire and Keele Universities. It is envisaged that this will be the beginning of further support made available to high growth companies, so this is a perfect opportunity to have your business highlighted and recognized as a high growth company. Places are limited and final acceptance on to the program will be made based on those companies who best meet the criteria.