Archive for May, 2011

On your marks, get set – they’re off! Gumball 3000 Rally participants depart for Istanbul in a flurry of revs, excitement and farewells. Among them was Opia’s Adrian Harris, a Porsche 911 enthusiast

Opia, Gateshead, May 31st 2011  Opia Sales Director Adrian Harris swept out of London – first stop Paris – in his Opia-sponsored Porsche 911 [on May 26th] in the iconic Gumball 3000 Rally, named after the 3000 miles the event covers in eight days, including a stopover at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Adrian at the Gumball 3000 start, London

“It’s been a whirlwind and very demanding three years. Gumball 3000 is an opportunity to let off steam but also carry the name of Opia across Europe,” Adrian said before he left on the first leg. “We have plans for further expansion of the business and participation in Gumball 3000 fits naturally into that because so many brands and influential people are involved in it.”

Adrian is updating a blog about the rally at

Adrian’s participation, to promote Opia on the European stage as a key player in promotional risk management, caps a meteoric rise for the company he founded in the North East just five years ago.  By 2010 revenue had exceeded £6m,  in 2011 staff numbers have shot up to 24 and Opia is providing its services to some of the biggest names in business.

After Paris the rally moves on to Barcelona, Monaco, Venice, Belgrade and finally Istanbul, where its drivers, many well know names from film, music, sport and business, will celebrate with a huge street party.

About Gumball 3000

Founded in 1999 by Maximillion Cooper – entrepreneur, creative director, racing driver and ex-skateboarder – Gumball 3000 is an annual 3,000 mile international road rally that takes place on public roads and uses a different route each year. The Gumball 3000 Group features Maximillion as its CEO and Creative Director and operates several companies under the Gumball 3000 brand, including Gumball 3000 Apparel, Gumball 3000 Films, Gumball 3000 Licensing, Gumball 3000 Events, Gumball 3000 Music and his own creative consultancy company Maximillion Cooper Limited.

About Opia

Opia first appeared in 2006 as a new promotional risk management concept for Mobious, a Newcastle based marketing agency. Given the task of developing the business was Adrian Harris, and in just over a year Adrian successfully made an offer to buy the Opia brand from Mobious – so in 2008, Opia began trading in its own right.

In 2010 Opia posted revenue in excess of £6M and now employs 24 permanent staff. Opia is one of the largest risk management agencies in the UK. Opia uses a range of tools to measure and manage risk, including Per Redemption Pricing, Coupon2Print, and Validation, to name a few. Clients include many well known product and high street names.

Opia Managing Director is Steve Gales, recently appointed to the position and bringing with him more than 20 years sales, marketing and business management experience with Hewlett Packard.



For further information please contact:

Paul Whitehead, Western Associates PR
email Tel 01403 711177


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Dinamiks Ltd offers 60 days free use of Dinamiks to help companies adapt to new retirement legislation

Dinamiks helps employers demonstrate just cause and follow due    procedure, while managing employees’ performance

May 31st 2011.  Dinamiks Ltd, the online employee performance measurement provider, is offering new users 60 days free use of its online tool, Dinamiks.  The move is designed to help companies adapt to the new retirement legislation, which sees the default retirement age of 65 being phased out from April 6th 2011.

Replacing the usual seven day free usage, the free 60 days will enable users to take advantage of the six month transition period to full implementation of the legislation,  and put protective measures in place including demonstrating just cause and following due procedure.

“The change in retirement age legislation has consequences for many businesses, large or small, including firms having to have a good reason to ‘retire’ someone,” says Shirley Barnes, Client Services Director, Dinamiks Ltd.

“That could spell trouble for employers unless they can demonstrate just cause and follow due procedure.

“Many companies will have situations where age, experience and capability may be a challenge and where the business will require evidence leading up to and beyond the legislation change, to justify why staff should retire from a role – or even why they should stay,” says Barnes.

“Employers who fail to embrace the new legislation may face claims of unfair dismissal and discrimination.

“It’s our view, though, that the legislation also gives firms an opportunity to get a better grip on their employees’ performance and thereby deliver a boost to the performance of the business.”

New redundancy legislation

Other new challenges faced by employers in 2011 are the higher costs associated with making employees redundant.  The maximum limits on statutory unfair dismissal compensation, redundancy payments and other awards were increased on February 1st.

“Dinamiks can assist here, too, because it helps employers conform to employment law,” says Barnes. “It does this by providing an audit trail of performance, behaviour, attitude and the ability of individuals to meet set objectives.”

About Dinamiks

Dinamiks (i) aligns every employee’s objectives to those of the business (ii) provides the means to set development plans, and track and record progress (iii) provides a record of capability for all employees, thereby supporting a common and consistent set of guidelines and principles that apply across all employee ages of the business (iv) helps with talent management (v) help firms comply with employment law (vi) allows employers to demonstrate just cause and follow due procedure.

More at




Note to the press.  For further information please contact:

Shirley Barnes, Client Relationship Director, Dinamiks Ltd
Tel (+44) (0)1243 538835

Or Paul Whitehead, Western Associates PR,
(+44) (0)1403 711177

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SUSCIN announces free Meet The Buyer event – Bracknell, July 13th 2011 – to enable SMEs in the South East to meet regional and national buyers of sustainable products and services

June 13th  2011.  SUSCIN – Sustainable Supply Chains through Innovation – has announced a free Sustainable Supply Chains Meet the Buyer event in Bracknell, Berkshire, on July 13th, to enable SME suppliers of sustainable products and services in the South East to meet and sell to regional and national buyers.

Through pre-arranged private appointments on the day, the event will showcase the wide range of sustainable, eco-innovative products and services on offer in the region. Buyers will typically be looking to purchase a variety of items, from construction and building maintenance products and services to packaging, cleaning supplies and environmental consultancy.

A similar event in Crawley last year attracted some 20 buyers and 80 of the best sustainable suppliers from across the South East. Buyers included Balfour Beatty Workplace,  the Ministry of Defence,  Oxfam, Partners in Purchasing Ltd, Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Trust and West Sussex Council.

SUSCIN is currently seeking suppliers who wish to meet buyers.  Suppliers will be able to conduct up to eight pre-arranged meetings with buyers of their choice, save time and money on research, marketing and cold calling, and benefit from networking with other suppliers on the day.

To reserve a free place and receive more information, suppliers should contact Kim Newton at Action Sustainability on or 02476 236290.

There are three core partners in SUSCIN: The Centre for Sustainable Design [CfSD – University of the Creative Arts], Action Sustainability and Remade South East. Action Sustainability is an expert in sustainable procurement and is organising this, the third event in the SUSCIN “Meet the Buyer” series.

Martin Charter, SUSCIN Project Director, says  “Meet The Buyer is ideal for suppliers who have lessened the environmental impact of their products or services or have produced new, low impact products or services, and are committed to sustainability in their operations.  The event will deliver them face to face meetings with buyers and therefore save considerable research and marketing costs.”

More about SUSCIN at

SUSCIN’s Meet The Buyer events are funded by South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the South East ERDF Competitiveness Programme 2007–2013, via the SUSCIN (Sustainable Supply Chains Through Innovation)  project


Note to the press: for further information please contact:

Leanne Elliott, Project Manager, Action Sustainability   T: 0191 2815777 E:

Or Martin Charter,  SUSCIN Project Director, University for the Creative Arts T: 01252-892772   E:

Or Paul Whitehead, Western Associates PR,
T:  01403 711177   E:

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SUSCIN announces free workshop [Reading, June 16th 2011] to help SMEs in the South East market and commercialise their eco-products

May 30th 2011…A European funded project focused on innovation, supply chains and environmental issues – SUSCIN – will run a free workshop called “Marketing Your Eco-Product” at The First House – Shehnai, Reading, on June 16th to help SMEs market and commercialise their eco-products.

The workshop is a collaboration between SUSCIN and the Thames Valley and Hampshire-based Sustainable Business Partnership.

The workshop will be led by Martin Charter, Director of the Farnham, Surrey-based Centre for Sustainable Design, which is the lead partner in SUSCIN. Martin is a veteran green business consultant, with more than 20 years experience in “business sustainability” and the author of three publications on marketing and sustainability.

Martin Charter, Director, CfSD

Martin says, “SMEs in the Thames Valley are strong on R&D, manufacturing and distribution and include eco-innovative companies that have very interesting greener products and technologies – but suffer from a lack of experience in marketing, sales and communications. That is where the workshop comes in.

“It will be useful for MDs, CEOs, directors and marketing personnel and will cover a range of issues related to product development, pricing, promotion and distribution.”

Martin will introduce the 12!s, 11Ps, 5Is and 8Cs “green marketing” frameworks that focus on market intelligence gathering, marketing strategy development and communications issues “which many companies find useful because they typically lack resources and specialist knowledge,” he says, adding:

“Greener marketing has a greater emphasis than classical marketing approaches on strategic thinking, gathering good market intelligence and commercialising eco-innovative solutions.”

The workshop is targeted at (i) companies that produce and/or distribute environmental, low carbon and resource efficient technologies, products and services (ii) companies that wish to understand and promote the “green” features and benefits of their existing and new technologies, products and services.

The workshop is free to SMEs based in the South-East. To book a ticket contact Ros Carruthers on 01252-892772 or email Registration is at 08.00 for an 08.30 start and the workshop concludes at 12.30, followed by a free lunch.

More information on this and other events to be organised with the SUSCIN project can be found on and

The venue: The First House – Shehnai. Map and directions:

Click to access directions.pdf

What past delegates say about previous courses

“A must for any SME looking into Green products or services”
– Director, Solarpack (UK) Ltd

“Very well presented, very informative” – Managing Director, Lion Commercial Cleaning Ltd

“An expert on his home ground! Brilliant” – Managing Director, The Olive Consultancy

“The workshop has helped me evolve my perception and understanding of this segment of business” – Director, Sustainables4u

More information on SUSCIN

The Sustainable Supply Chains Through Innovation (SUSCIN) project provides a range of business support to SMEs in SE on ‘green innovation’ advise on sustainable procurement.  SUSCIN is funded by South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the South East ERDF Competitiveness Programme 2007–2013.

More information on The Centre for Sustainable Design
The Centre for Sustainable Design (CfSD) was established in 1995 at University for the Creative Arts . The Centre provides a range of services focused on ‘product sustainability’ and ‘sustainable innovation’ issues: research; training; consultancy; and events. CfSD organises the ‘Sustainable Innovation’ series of international conferences now in its 16th year – see .


For further information please contact:
Martin Charter, Director, The Centre for Sustainable Design, University for the Creative Arts T: 01252-892772 E:

Or Paul Whitehead, Western Associates PR,
T: 01403 711177 E:

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