Business Diary: November 13

DIARY is always impressed by press releases that broaden the mind and challenge convention.

A medal of honour should be bestowed on a release sent on behalf of business transfer agents Ernest Wilsons, which quoted Napoleon, in French.

It’s a merciful respite from the bland fare that usually begins: “We are delighted/ecstatic/overjoyed to have achieved...”

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The release from Ernest Wilsons recalled Napoleon’s scathing comments about the Brits: “L’Angleterre este une nation de boutiquers.”

Translated, this means: “The English are a nation of shopkeepers.”

It was a charming and spirited way of highlighting the work being done by Ernest Wilsons to help revive the local economy. What next? How about a saying of Confucius in his mother tongue?

Life is sweet at firm

A YORKSHIRE company is offering its staff some ‘sweet moments’ to improve their health and ensure they spend more time getting to know their colleagues.

When thebigword, the Leeds-based translation company, conducted research into the happiness of its staff, it found that those who smoked took, on average, three breaks per day, of between seven and eight minutes each.

The social aspect of these breaks meant they were in “a heightened positive frame of mind” when they got back to their desks, the research found.

Thebigword’s CEO, Larry Gould, has come up with an idea that should ensure that non-smokers have similar opportunities for socialising.

The company has set up ‘Sweet Moments’, which are sweet and fruit counters for them to gather around.

These ‘sweet treats’ will be offered to workers for free, although thebigword requests that staff consider an optional donation to its chosen charity, Martin House Hospice.

Mr Gould said: “We want all our colleagues to feel comfortable to take a break from their desks, have a chat with their co-workers and enjoy a sugar fix or some healthy fruit.

“The happiest workers are the best workers, so thebigword will benefit from a refreshed, happy workforce that can return to its desks in the best possible frame of mind for delivering excellent work.

“There might also be the added advantage, we hope, that staff who smoke might pack it in and join their colleagues at the sweet and fruit counters instead.”

Walk the walk

WHEN Zulfi Hussain, founder of social enterprise Global Promise, was helping to promote WALKTALK, a 200-plus mile walk from Leeds to London that took place in 2008, the likes of BBC, Sky, ITV and Channel 4 paid attention.

But, Leeds-based Zulfi didn’t expect the event, which aimed to bring people together regardless of background, culture or religion, to be picked up by Japanese television.

“I happened to bump into these guys at a hotel in London. I just got talking to them and found out they were from Japan’s Nippon TV and I said, if you want an exclusive of the biggest story about to break in the UK come to Leeds.

“It was a bit of a tongue-in-cheek comment, but they actually turned up two weeks later. It was brilliant.”

The idea for the walk was conceived by Gill Hicks, who lost both her legs in the 7/7 London bombings, and her husband Joe Kerr, and developed with Global Promise and Together for Peace.

The walk attracted more than 3,000 people, and was repeated the following year in aid of African causes.

Winter warmers

A SOCK business has made an unlikely addition to its customer base – a family of chipmunks.

Yorkshire-based has donated hundreds of pairs of socks to the creatures. This came after Wiltshire-based safari park Longleat launched an appeal for socks to keep the chipmunks warm and to ensure they survived the harsh winter months.

Mark Hall, managing director of, said: “Sending socks to the chipmunks was the very least we could do to make sure that our furry friends are kept warm this winter.

“We pride ourselves not only in our high quality sock subscription service, but also on our etiquette tips for gentlemen.

“And high up on the list is the need to treat animals with as much care and respect as you would your fellow man.”

Longleat keeper Darren Beasley said: “We had a good response from local people but we weren’t quite prepared for the huge number of socks from

“There are hundreds, and we’re looking at making further use of them around the safari park.”