• Small Business

    Thousands enrol Cleo app to avoid going into overdraft

    Cleo. a financial technology start-up with an artificial intelligence system to help customers handle their money, has attracted tens of thousands of customers worth 400 million just 18 months after its launch.The money-managing assistant analyses spending patterns and offers advice on budgeting, paying bills and finding deals.Last month Cleo.secured a 2 million investment from sources including Skype founder Niklas Zennstrom and Entrepreneur First, an investment programme for technical founders. Cleo.analyses spending patterns and offers advice on budgeting, paying bills and finding dealsCustomers can view their spending according to transactions, categories or merchants. They can automatically save money, send cash to ...

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  • Small Business

    The smiley face logo is happy once again, after the firm behind it becomes a licence giant

    The Smiley Company is smiling again, thanks to Nicolas Loufrani's plan to create a lifestyle brand with more style.The smiley face symbol was once associated with the 1990s rave scene, but Loufrani has turned the firm into a licensing business, co-creating designs for fashion, home decor and marketing on behalf of retail and manufacturing clients, but also the likes of Dior and Adidas by Stella McCartney.Loufrani's father Franklin trademarked the original smiley in the early 1970s and founded the company through a newspaper promotion aimed at making people happy, using the logo to highlight good news. The smiley face symbol ...

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  • Small Business

    Want your business to give back to society AND benefit from start-up innovation? The Baobab Network has come up with a radical approach

    This is Money's start-up spotlight column has looked at proptech and fintech firms seeking to make customers' lives easier - this time, we look at a firm trying to help businesses. The Baobab Network partners socially-conscious corporate brands in the UK with innovative Sub-Saharan start-up businesses.Why? Because according to university friends Tom Fairburn, 25, and Toby Hanington, 26, both have a lot to learn from one another.In March 2016, the pair launched the Baobab Network with the aim of giving African entrepreneurs the tools they need to scale their businesses, while at the same time giving UK companies access to ...

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  • Small Business

    Trust me, many are happy in the gig economy: Trade body boss claims sector provides great opportunities

    Code of conduct: Richard Laughton wants TrustSeal opened up to more firmsThe trade body for Britain's burgeoning 'gig economy' is planning a fresh push for its code of conduct in an attempt to improve public trust in controversial online businesses.Richard Laughton, chairman of Sharing Economy UK, said he wants to open up the trade body's new TrustSeal to more applicants.TrustSeal which already has eight members, including Airbnb sets out a set of principles for businesses to follow.The initiative follows criticism over the way companies in the gig or sharing economy where customers link up with providers over an internet ...

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  • Small Business

    Oscar-winning actress and closet entrepreneur Halle Berry unveils her secrets for business success

    The only way is ethics for Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry when it comes to business ventures that peak her interest.Berry is best known for her exploits on the big screen - most notably her performance in romantic drama Monster's Ball for which she was awarded the movie industry's top gong.But behind the scenes, she has a penchant for philanthropic initiatives, having supported a number of charities, including Make-A-Wish foundation, and participated in United Nations World Food Programme to fight world hunger. Halle Berry was a judge at this year's iteration of The Chivas Venture, a competition where social enterprises from ...

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  • Small Business

    From Wonga to food-sharing start-up Olio: Former boss of controversial payday lender goes green to crackdown on wasted groceries

    Think twice before you throw out those perfectly good tins of baked beans or your unloved collection of chutney grandma replenishes every Christmas. You never know, your neighbour might need it.This is the philosophy of Olio, the food recycling app co-founded by Tessa Cook, the former boss of payday lender Wonga.The concept is quite simple but is one that has taken her to Hollywood as one of the 30 finalists in the Chivas Venture - a global $1million ( 770,000) search to find the next generation of entrepreneurs with ventures that are likely to have a positive impact on the ...

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  • Small Business

    Could paying mothers more after they return to work and encouraging dads to take time off boost your firm's productivity and profits?

    Small and medium-sized businesses often struggle to balance their own needs with giving parents the flexibility they need. And with most childcare duties still falling to mothers, this can often feed through to women taking lesser roles in order to give them breathing space.That in turn can lead on to perpetuating gender inequality, both in terms of progression and pay. But could being more flexible with parents and channelling energy into improving mother's pay after they return to work actually boost productivity and profits? We take a look with the help of cultural insight expert Annie Auerbach. Jodie Whittaker was ...

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  • Small Business

    Is this the end of hours waiting for the plumber to show up? Start-up Hometree offers video chats with a boiler expert

    Sorting out a problem with your boiler or getting a new one installed can be the stuff of nightmares. Most of us have a story or two to tell that involves an all-day wait for a no-show engineer or weeks spent having cold showers while you try to schedule an appointment around working hours. But new heating start-up, HomeTree, claims to have the answer - video chat appointments with an engineer on your mobile, tablet or browser.Not only that, but it claims to offer longer warranties, quality guarantees and to charge around 30 per cent less than using established services ...

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  • Small Business

    SMEs are increasingly asked by larger firms to show they have cyber security systems in place

    Larger firms are increasingly demanding that smaller suppliers sign up to stringent cyber security systems in order to win contracts.One in three small and medium-sized enterprises have had their cyber security precautions questioned as part of winning a contract in the past year, a study by cyber security platform Cybsafe found.Meanwhile, half have had cyber security clauses added to new contracts in the past five years and 44 per cent had been required to show they have introduced a recognised security standard. About 28 per cent have received a demand in the past year alone. Half SMEs have had cyber ...

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  • Small Business

    Ashleigh s a true visionary... 28-year-old launches new contact lens subscription service

    A contact lens subscription service is being launched this week by 28-year-old entrepreneur Ashleigh Hinde.Customers can upload their prescription at hiwaldo.com and will be sent boxes of 60 lenses for 24 by the firm s six staff.Hinde said: We re not trying to disrupt customers relationship with their optometrist or health professionals, but the profit and complex distribution channels of pharmaceutical firms. Focused: Ashleigh Hinde has launched a postal contact lens serviceWaldo will compete with Boots, Vision Direct and Specsavers. Hinde said: We ve partnered with a manufacturer in Taiwan and the water content, curve of the lens all those ...

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  • Small Business

    The 'productivity puzzle': How is the UK's slump playing out in small businesses and can it be turned around to boost profits?

    Britain is in a major productivity slump and the truth is, no-one really knows how to fix it. The Office for National Statistics recently published figures showing that the hourlyoutput per worker slipped by 0.5 per cent in the first three months of this year. This means the average British worker has to work until Friday afternoon to produce what a German employee would produce in four days.UK productivity is now back below levels seen before the financial crisis in 2007 and for the past decade, average productivity growth has been negative. UK productivity is now back below levels seen ...

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  • Small Business

    Fed up paying over the odds for your razor blades? We meet Harry's the US start-up coming to the UK that will deliver to your door AND is cheaper

    Shaving clubs are the latest simple but disruptive innovation thought up by our American cousins that could revolutionise how we do everyday things in the UK.Dollar Shave Club upended the industry's status quo back in 2011 by offering a subscription service that delivers razors and other personal grooming products to customers by mail for as little as a couple of quid a month.Now another US razor upstart Harry's, which recently launched into the UK market, has joined other low-cost subscription shaving clubs in hacking away at giant's like Gillette's market share. Old friends Andy Katz-Mayfield (left) and Jeff Raider (right) ...

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  • Small Business

    Why has London become one of the start-up capitals of the world? We dive into the world of founders, incubators and edible water bottles to find out

    In a glistening new laboratory at Imperial College, west London, a team of scientists is perfecting the design of the world's first edible water bottle.Two doors down a group is creating food packaging that bubbles when the contents have gone off and across the hallway a team is solving the world's energy crisis with a 'hydrogen sponge'. Across the city, at Old Street's 'silicon roundabout', entrepreneurs are working on a computer that can read and a version of Airbnb for warehouse storage space.Britain's start-up economy is booming with a record 1.1billion of funding poured into London's tech firms this year ...

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  • Small Business

    Sterling's slump forces importers to raise prices by 9% while exporters continue to gain

    While most exporters are benefiting from sterling s slide, importers are suffering and 61 per cent have raised prices by an average of 9 per cent in the past 12 months new research has found.The study, conducted by East & Partners for American Express, found nine in ten small and medium-sized exporters were doing well from the pound s fall, increasing their profit margins by 16 per cent.And 95 per cent of those already exporting are now planning to take advantage of the low exchange rate by increasing exports further over the next 12 months. While most exporters are benefiting ...

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  • Small Business

    Tapped! Cash boost for drink from birch trees as start-up raises 240k through crowdfunder Seedrs

    Good health! Tapped co-founder Charlie HoareTapped, a start-up firm selling birch water, has raised 240,000 through crowdfunder Seedrs.Charlie Hoare and Paul Lederer harvest sap in Finland for the drink, which contains four kilocalories per 100ml.With a sugar tax on its way, sales of plant-based water drinks, such as coconut water, passed 2.1 billion last year.Tapped s three lines pure, apple and ginger, bilberry and lingonberry will be stocked by Waitrose later this month and are already in Sainsbury s, Holland & Barrett and Boots.

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