Archives for July 2013

Huppert Meets Home-Based Entrepreneurs At The Business Lounge

julian huppertMP Julian Huppert will meet some of the city’s home-based entrepreneurs on Monday, July 29 at the Cambridge Business Lounge.

Mainly sole traders, they run companies in sectors from technology to marketing and 3D printing to entertainment. Occasionally they work from the Cambridge Business Lounge, where they are offered desk space and wi-fi access as a change of scenery from their home-based offices or to meet other small business people and exchange ideas.

Cambridge Business Lounge in Burleigh Street, Cambridge is run by Ed Goodman and Nicky Smerdon.

Ed said: “Nicky and I launched Cambridge Business Lounge in January this year to provide home-based businesses with a platform to work from, where they can share ideas and experiences, and access much of the support and interaction that working from home can sometimes lack.

“We are delighted that Julian is so keen to meet the diverse businesses who use our facilities and support small businesses in the Cambridge area. We look forward to welcoming him into our growing community”

It is estimated that there are 8,000 self-employed workers in Cambridge, many working from home and home-working has increased by 13 per cent to 46 per cent in the last five years.

Peter Robbins has been running his Artisan Entertainment agency from home for the last year but uses the Cambridge Business Lounge, often for just half a day at a time.

He said: “It gives me everything I want and need from office space – good company, fast internet access, pleasant surroundings and good coffee.”

Vhari Russell runs The Food Marketing Expert helping small retailers to grow and she finds the Cambridge Business Lounge invaluable for holding meetings and meeting other business people.

She said: “Sometimes it can be hard running a business on your own and it’s good to bounce ideas off other people and get a different viewpoint.”

And Len Keenan, who runs enablen3D which looks at how 3D printing can be introduced into primary schools, said: “One of the key things about running a business is that you can’t do it on your own.

“At the Business Lounge it’s like having an office with people in it. You never know who is going to walk through the door and you can make connections with people from all different backgrounds – computer, engineering marketing.”

Julian said: “It is really good news that there are so many successful self-employed workers and that home-working is on the increase. Home-working gives businesses, especially new start-ups, the opportunity to keep costs down and offers great flexibility. I am looking forward to finding out more about these businesses and meeting the people behind them.”

Is Good English Really Important in Business?

A guest post from Kathy Salaman of The Good Grammar Company, who are a Cambridge based company offering training for staff in schools and businesses helping them get to grips with grammar…

When I was working as an English teacher, I received the following memo from the head teacher:


Mrs Maloney*, mother of Thomas Maloney*, has requested a meeting following you unfairly depriving his human rights in yesterdays English lesson.  I need definate confirmation that you will be there at 8am so we don’t exasperate the situation.


*Names have been changed to protect the guilty.

dv072022bFirst, I feel I should exonerate myself.  My crime was to ask Thomas to refrain from trying to set light to his shirt (which he was wearing at the time).  I did indeed apologise to his mother for denying her son the right to set fire to himself, and promised that, in future, I would do all in my power to ensure that he should be granted the right to self-combust whenever he disrupted one of my lessons.

But enough teacher whinging!  What horrified me more was the quality of the head’s writing skills.  As a mere teacher, I was supposed to have respect for, and confidence in, our mighty leader; instead I felt embarrassment for the school and began to wonder whether similar communications to parents of prospective students might be the reason for the school’s rapidly decreasing roll.

It isn’t only in teaching that such errors can undermine credibility and authority.  I know from conversations with fellow business owners that spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes on business literature can often be the deciding factor in not using a company’s services, and that finding errors on one’s own corporate literature is something about which many have nightmares.

Some errors are obviously typos and just the result of trying to do too much too quickly, but often errors that appear on company literature are due to misunderstandings or complete unawareness of the rules.

Whether or not we agree with all the rules, there is no doubt that we are judged on our ability use them correctly, and nowhere is the awareness of grammar rules more important than in business.

For many, the problem stems from school.  Unless you were one of the fortunate few who attended expensive fee-paying or grammar schools, the chances are that your experience of grammar teaching was, at best, sparse.

I wasn’t aware of the number of grammatical errors I was making in my writing until I began studying for my degree.  It was with grim determination and a feeling of shame that I made it my mission to learn as much as I could, and that was where my fascination with the English language began.  Today I’m a grammar geek, but I still break a few rules.

It isn’t necessary in business to be an expert linguist, but a confident grasp of the basics will save you from those glaring errors that others will notice.  Once aware of how grammar works, you will quickly realise how ridiculous some of the rules are; understanding how they work will arm you with the means to break those rules effectively rather than unwittingly.

You can follow Kathy on twitter at @GoodGrammarComp

Caption Competition Time!

Ed recently had a day out at Downing Street in aid of the brilliant and inspiring Liam Fairhurst Foundation, and came back with this picture.

We want your captions! Email your best effort to and the winner will receive a free 4 day coworking pass at Cambridge Business Lounge (worth £60).

Entries need to be in by 9am on Tuesday the 23rd of July, and we’ll decide the winner on the day. Good Luck!!

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