Business Diary: February 12

SOMETIMES it’s the lesser known that reaps the greatest reward.

In today’s business supplement the Yorkshire Post looks at the “significant and sustainable” export opportunities that exist in ‘emerging Europe’ – or Central and Eastern Europe – for Yorkshire firms.

Lesser known economies such as Poland, Croatia and Romania should not be overlooked, says the UKTI. According to this view, language services firm Global Lingo, based in Leeds, is already one step ahead as it has announced the opening of an office in the Romanian city of Cluj – the capital of Transylvania.

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The Romanian office will open with a team of five who will support the company’s translation and transcription offices in Leeds, London and Singapore.

After a search covering Eastern Europe and an extensive interview process, with a long list of candidates, Global Lingo said it chose Cluj over Warsaw, Gdansk and Vilnius in Lithuania.

In early January, Global Lingo’s MD Andrew Trotter, Richard Michie and Paul Green visited Cluj to hold face-to-face interviews and scope out the opportunities available.

“It was bitterly cold when we landed in Romania, but the warm welcome we were given, and the enthusiasm and drive of the people we met, meant that it was an easy decision to make in the end,” said Mr Trotter.

“Cluj holds great opportunities for inward investment. There are many large UK companies based in the city, so there’s a great talent pool already there. Opening the Romanian office is a great step for us as it now gives us coverage over several time zones.”

Global Lingo’s first five Romanian team members will be flying to the UK in the middle of February to meet the team in London. From there they will travel on to Leeds for an intensive two-week induction and training programme at the company’s offices at Thorpe Park.

Diana Lupu, who joins the Global Lingo Cluj office as financial controller from accounting giant PwC, said: “All I can say is that I’m very excited and I can’t wait to get started.”

Get on your bikes

Diary was heartened to hear that a new service has been set up to get people back on their rusty bikes.

A Bradford based cycling training company has expanded, in a bid to get bikes which are gathering dust in garages and sheds back in full working order. Safe 2 Repair is the new service from Safe 2 Cycle, which has been operating in the Bradford area. Safe 2 Repair will operate a mobile bike repair service, coming out to the owner at home or work, carrying out repairs on the spot where possible. If it is not possible to repair the bike there and then it will be taken away to the Safe 2 Repair workshop, repaired, tested and delivered back to the owner. If a customer uses their bike to get to work there is even a courtesy bike service to keep them going.

The mobile repair service will be led by Malcolm Hoddy, a former newspaper editor, who after retirement last September, started a new career with Safe 2 Cycle which is run by his wife Francine.

Explained Mr Hoddy: “Figures show the number of people cycling in Bradford has doubled and numbers will increase even more over the next few years. We know there are people of all ages and abilities who would love to get back in the saddle, but can’t because of a problem with their bicycles.

“Their bikes are laid up in the garage or shed gathering dust and rust. It may be something as simple as a puncture or sticking cable, or problem with gears. Now is the time to act. Don’t wait until the sun comes out.”

He added: “We are not out to be in competition with the local bike shops. It is part and parcel of the commitment of Safe 2 Cycle to get more and more children and adults, of all abilities riding their bikes. There is nothing like seeing and hearing the whoops of joy from people of all ages and backgrounds when they get back in the saddle after a long break or learn to ride a bike for the first time “

The Libor blockbuster

The Star Wars movie franchise has become a handy reference point for many a long drawn out saga.

The latest comes from Cass Business School’s Nick Motson on the release of details of the £390m settlement between RBS and global regulators, which he calls ‘Libor Wars III – Revenge of the Sith’.

According to Dr Motson, this is the third such bank settlement in the long running LIBOR saga, following on from Barclays (The Phantom Menace) and UBS (Attack of the Clones).

He concludes that unfortunately for the other banks that are still under investigation and yet to settle, it is unlikely that episode IV will bring ‘A New Hope’.